A Matter of Some Gravity

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

A couple of apparently related theories have been making the rounds lately. One is by Nikolov and Zeller (N&Z), expounded here and replied to here on WUWT. The other is by Hans Jelbring, discussed at Tallblokes Talkshop. As I understand their theories, they say that the combination of gravity plus an atmosphere without greenhouse gases (GHGs) is capable of doing what the greenhouse effect does—raise the earth at least 30°C above what we might call the “theoretical Stefan-Boltzmann (S-B) temperature.”

So what is the S-B temperature, theoretical or otherwise?

A curious fact is that almost everything around us is continually radiating energy in the infrared frequencies. You, me, the trees, the ocean, clouds, ice, all the common stuff gives off infrared radiation. That’s how night-vision goggles work, they let you see in the infrared. Here’s another oddity. Ice, despite being brilliant white because it reflects slmost all visible light, absorbs infrared very well (absorptivity > 0.90). It turns out that most things absorb (and thus emit) infrared quite well, including the ocean, and plants (see Note 3 below). Because of this, the planet is often treated as a “blackbody” for IR, a perfect absorber and a perfect emitter of infrared radiation. The error introduced in that way is small for first-cut calculations.

The Stefan-Boltzmann equation specifies how much radiation is emitted at a given temperature. It states that the radiation increases much faster than the temperature. It turns out that radiation is proportional to absolute temperature to the fourth power. The equation, for those math inclined, is

Radiation = Emissivity times SBconstant times Temperature^4

where the Stefan-Boltzmann constant is a tiny number, 0.0000000567 (5.67E-8). For a blackbody, emissivity = 1.

This “fourth-power” dependence means that if you double the absolute temperature (measured in kelvins), you get sixteen (2^4) times the radiation (measured in watts per square metre, “W/m2″). We can also look at it the other way, that temperature varies as the fourth root of radiation. That means if we double the radiation, the temperature only goes up by about 20% (2^0.25)

Let me call the “theoretical S-B temperature” the temperature that an evenly heated blackbody planet in outer space would have for a given level of incoming radiation in W/m2. It is “theoretical”, because a real, revolving airless planet getting heated by a sun  with the same average radiation will be cooler than that theoretical S-B temperature. We might imagine that there are thousands of mini-suns in a sphere around the planet, so the surface heating is perfectly even.

Figure 1. Planet lit by multiple suns. Image Source.

On average day and night over the planetary surface, the Earth receives about 240 W/m2 of energy from the sun. The theoretical S-B temperature for this amount of radiation (if it were evenly distributed) is about -18°C, well below freezing. But instead of being frozen, the planet is at about +14°C or so. That’s about thirty degrees above the theoretical S-B temperature. So why isn’t the planet a block of ice?

Let me take a short detour on the way to answering that question in order to introduce the concept of the “elevator speech” to those unfamiliar with the idea.

The “elevator speech” is simply a distillation of an idea down to its very basics. It is how I would explain my idea to you if I only had the length of an elevator ride to explain it. As such it has two extremely important functions:

1. It forces me to clarify my own ideas on whatever I’m discussing. I can’t get into handwaving and hyperbole, I can’t be unclear about what I’m claiming, if I only have a few sentences to work with.

2. It allows me to clearly communicate those ideas to others.

In recent discussions on the subject, I have been asking for that kind of “elevator speech” distillation of Jelbring’s or Nikolov’s ideas, so that a) I can see if whoever is explaining the theory really understands what they are saying and, if so, then b) so that I can gain an understanding of the ideas of Jelbring or Nikolov to see if I am missing something important.

Let me give you an example to show what I mean. Here’s an elevator speech about the greenhouse effect:

The poorly-named “greenhouse effect” works as follows:

• The surface of the earth emits energy in the form of thermal longwave radiation.

• Some of that energy is absorbed by greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere.

• In turn, some of that absorbed energy is radiated by the atmosphere back to the surface.

• As a result of absorbing that energy from the atmosphere, the surface is warmer than it would be in the absence of the GHGs.

 OK, that’s my elevator speech about why the Earth is not a block of ice. Note that it is not just saying what is happening. It is saying how it is happening as well.

I have asked, over and over, on various threads, for people who understand either the N&Z theory or the Jelbring theory, to give me the equivalent elevator speech regarding either or both of those theories. I have gotten nothing scientific so far. Oh, there’s the usual handwaving, vague claims of things like ‘the extra heat at the surface, is just borrowed by the work due to gravity, from the higher up regions of the atmosphere‘ with no mechanism for the “borrowing”, that kind of empty statement. But nothing with any meat, nothing with any substance, nothing with any explanatory value or scientific content.

So to begin with, let me renew my call for the elevator speech on either theory. Both of them make my head hurt, I can’t really follow their vague descriptions. So … is anyone who understands either theory willing to step forward and explain it in four or five sentences?

But that’s not really why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because of the claims of the promoters of the two theories. They say that somehow a combination of gravity and a transparent, GHG-free atmosphere can conspire to push the temperature of a planet well above the theoretical S-B temperature, to a condition similar to that of the Earth.

I hold that with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere, neither the hypothetical “N&Z effect” nor the “Jelbring effect” can possibly raise the planetary temperature above the theoretical S-B temperature. But I also make a much more general claim. I hold it can be proven that there is no possible mechanism involving gravity and the atmosphere that can raise the temperature of a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere above the theoretical S-B temperature.

The proof is by contradiction. This is a proof where you assume that the theorem is right, and then show that if it is right it leads to an impossible situation, so it cannot possibly be right.

So let us assume that we have the airless perfectly evenly heated blackbody planet that I spoke of above, evenly surrounded by a sphere of mini-suns. The temperature of this theoretical planet is, of course, the theoretical S-B temperature.

Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.

But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.

And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.

Q.E.D.

Now, I’m happy for folks to comment on this proof, or to give us their elevator speech about the Jelbring or the N&Z hypothesis. I’m not happy to be abused for my supposed stupidity, nor attacked for my views, nor pilloried for claimed errors of commission and omission. People are already way too passionate about this stuff. Roger Tattersall, the author of the blog “Tallbloke’s Talkshop”, has banned Joel Shore for saying that the N&Z hypothesis violates conservation of energy. Roger’s exact words to Joel were:

… you’re not posting here unless and until you apologise to Nikolov and Zeller for spreading misinformation about conservation of energy in their theory all over the blogosphere and failing to correct it.

Now, I have done the very same thing that Joel did. I’ve said around the web that the N&Z theory violates conservation of energy. So I went to the Talkshop and asked, even implored, Roger not to do such a foolish and anti-scientific thing as banning someone for their scientific views. Since I hold the same views and I committed the same thought-crimes, it was more than theoretical to me. Roger has remained obdurate, however, so I am no longer able to post there in good conscience. Roger Tallbloke has been a gentleman throughout, as is his style, and I hated to leave. But I did what Joel did, I too said N&Z violated conservation of energy, so in solidarity and fairness I’m not posting at the Talkshop anymore.

And more to the point, even if I hadn’t done what Joel did, my practice is to never post at or even visit sites like RealClimate, Tamino’s, and now Tallbloke’s Talkshop, places that ban and censor scientific views. I don’t want to be responsible for their page views counter to go up by even one. Banning and censorship are anathema to me, and I protest them in the only way I can. I leave them behind to discuss their ideas in their now cleansed, peaceful, sanitized, and intellectually sterile echo chamber, free from those pesky contrary views … and I invite others to vote with their feet as well.

But I digress, my point is that passions are running high on this topic, so let’s see if we can keep the discussion at least relatively chill …

TO CONCLUDE: I’m interested in people who can either show that my proof is wrong, or who will give us your elevator speech about the science underlying either N&K or Jelbring’s theory. No new theories need apply, we have enough for this post. And no long complicated explanations, please. I have boiled the greenhouse effect down to four sentences. See if you can match that regarding the N&K or the Jelbring effect.

w.

NOTE 1: Here’s the thing about a planet with a transparent atmosphere. There is only one object that can radiate to space, the surface. As a result, it is constrained to emit the exact amount of radiation it absorbs. So there are no gravity/atmospheric phenomena that can change that. It cannot emit more or less than what it absorbs while staying at the same temperature, conservation of energy ensures that. This means that while the temperature can be lower than the theoretical S-B temperature, as is the case with the moon, it cannot be more than the theoretical S-B temperature. To do that it would have to radiate more than it is receiving, and that breaks the conservation of energy.

Once you have GHGs in the atmosphere, of course, some of the surface radiation can get absorbed in the atmosphere. In that case, the surface radiation is no longer constrained, and the surface is free to take up a higher temperature while the system as a whole emits the same amount of radiation to space that it absorbs.

NOTE 2: An atmosphere, even a GHG-free atmosphere, can reduce the cooling due to uneven insolation. The hottest possible average temperature for a given average level of radiation (W/m2) occurs when the heating is uniform in both time and space. If the total surface radiation remains the same (as it must with a transparent atmosphere), any variations in temperature from that uniform state will lower the average temperature. Variations include day/night temperature differences, and equator/polar differences. Since any atmosphere can reduce the size of e.g. day/night temperature swings, even a transparent GHG-free atmosphere will reduce the amount of cooling caused by the temperature swings. See here for further discussion.

But what such an atmosphere cannot do is raise the temperature beyond the theoretical maximum average temperature for that given level of incoming radiation. That’s against the law … of conservation of energy.

NOTE 3: My bible for many things climatish, including the emissivity (which is equal to the absorptivity) of common substances, is Geiger’s The Climate Near The Ground, first published sometime around the fifties when people still measured things instead of modeling them. He gives the following figures for IR emissivity at 9 to 12 microns:

Water, 0.96
Fresh snow, 0.99
Dry sand, 0.95
Wet sand, 0.96
Forest, deciduous, 0.95
Forest, conifer, 0.97
Leaves Corn, Beans, 0.94

and so on down to things like:

Mouse fur, 0.94
Glass, 0.94

You can see why the error from considering the earth as a blackbody in the IR is quite small.

I must admit, though, that I do greatly enjoy the idea of some boffin at midnight in his laboratory measuring the emissivity of common substances when he hears the snap of the mousetrap he set earlier, and he thinks, hmmm …

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1,196 thoughts on “A Matter of Some Gravity

  1. Willis, I agree with amonst everything you said with one exception. I question the emissivity of fresh snow. Yes cetainly water and ice have IR emissivities very close to 1 but fresh snow is a mixture of ice and air with each “layer” or crystal a few to a few 10’s of microns thick. each transition of refractive index gives rise to reflections and the repeated and rapid change of refractive index results in a highly reflective surface. That is also what makes crazed paint surfaces appear whitish. It means absorptivity and hence also emissivity should be low – well below 1. I know how at least some of these absorptivity measurements are made (using an integrating sphere) and integrating spheres give the wrong answer for translucent materials – they suggest a reflectivity lower than it actually is (I know I design them). Consider how the interior of an igloo could be at +18C with minimal heating if the interior walls had an absorptivity of about 1. A high absorptivity would make an igloo more or less the equivalent of a sub zero cool store. Much more significantly, consider how the temperature in the antarctic as measured from satellites is around 180K when the coldest point even on the high plateau is more like 220K. The only way that I know for a low temperature to be recorded spectroscopically is if the surface emissivity is low.

    Its an important issue because of the claim that snow gives rise to positive feedback. Supposedly the snow reflects incoming energy whilst radiating outgoing energy so it signifiucantly cools the surface yet the ground underneath would absorb incoming energy and thus would be more warming. If the emissivity of snow is far less than 1 then that theory is disproven.

  2. “Now, I’m happy for folks to comment on this proof”
    Seems to me to be sound.

    The notion of emissivity for S-B as usually expressed is a surface emissivity. For a partly transparent medium like a gas, it’s a bit more complicated.

  3. I’ll take a shot at this task though I’m a bit fuzzy still about it. I’ll give my current wimpy understanding.

    1. Planet with mass and GHG free atmosphere.
    2. Planets gravity pulls down on the gas compressing it causing heat near the surface.
    3. Convection sets in and gas rises. cools then back to step 2.

    It’s just to simple to be believable.

  4. Willis, if i may call you that, you have in my view made the same fundamental ,mistake as most ‘climate scientists’, and it comes from not understanding heat transfer.

    First a correction to the IPCC thought experiment: if you remove the atmosphere you have no water precipitation so no clouds or ice, but you still have the seas [which by magic can't evaporate!]. Emissivity falls from 0.3 to 0.07 so equilibrium radiative temperature falls to ~0°C meaning maximum GHG warming is 15 K.

    However, if you the put back the atmosphere sans H2O and CO2, you still have aerosols and convection. Real present GHG warming is ~9 K.

    The key is that you must always have lapse rate warming and it’s controlled by convection. The real radiative temperature with an atmosphere is always less by that convective temperature drop.

  5. The only problem I see with your proof is the assumptions. A “GHG Free” atmosphere. On the one hand you say everything on the surface emits in the IR and give a long list of emissivities near one. On the other you say “except the air”…. It just causes me to think that you are defining the air as the functional equivalent of a vacuum… If it can absorb surface heat and convect, but NEVER emit, how can it ever then cool to return to the surface? Does not the assumption force another paradox? High altitude hot air that reaches equilibrium at the highest possible temperature that ever rises from any spot?

    It just seems to me like it is a bit of a tautology with all the reality squeezed out of it…

    Or, as one wag once said of ‘how an economist stranded on an island would use his strongest skills to open a food tin without a can opener: ‘First, assume the can is open…’..”

  6. Hi Willis,
    I assume when you say the earth receives 240 W/m2, that’s a typo for 340?
    If not, I’m going to have to go back to school :)

  7. The lies never stop.
    “Ghorama is an island located in West Bengal, India, that is eroding into the ocean due to a dramatic increase in the sea level. The photographer posed locals on disappearing segments of the island. According to the artist, locals who still live on the larger segment of the island expect to be relocated within the next 25 years.” (Photo: Daesung Lee/Sipa Press) http://news.yahoo.com/photos/snapshots-1320966603-slideshow/snapshots111312-photo-1326482674.html
    Eroding, yes, but not due to any change in sea level, much less a “dramatic” one.
    Yahoo has no option to post comments on these photos.

  8. “And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. ”

    I fail to see how this is a given with an IR transparent atmosphere. It would behave like a black body and radiate like one, except for one thing: the atmosphere would be heated by conduction and distribute heat by convection. As the nonGHG atmosphere cannot radiate IR, it would have to heat up and that’s the source of elevated temperature. Once heated, the atmosphere would go to equilibrium with the surface and would distribute heat back to the surface where IR would carry it away.

    I would say that CO2 and water vapor are energy leaks, or rather small holes in the glass of the greenhouse, allowing heat to move both in and out during the day and out only at night.

  9. I think I see the problem you have with conservation of energy, but let’s do a little story.

    You have a black body that is emitting exactly as much as it absorbs, but when the Sun first hit it, this was not the case. There was a period when more heat was going in than out. Once it had warmed, then the surface went to equilibrium with the input and output.

    The same would be true when the IR-clear atmosphere is added. There would be a time during which the surface/atmosphere would be getting up to temperature and then go to equilibrium as above. Thus, the planet is warmer than a gasless black body.

    That’s my read—it just appears that you ignore conduction between the surface and the atmosphere.

  10. OMG.

    Did not expect, Eschenbach has such grave problems with physics.

    He writes

    “the Stefan-Boltzmann constant is a tiny number, 0.0000000567 (5.67E-8).”

    Sorry, the the Stefan-Boltzmann constant is a DIMENSIONAL constant.
    You never can say a dimensional constant is “tiny”, because its numerical value depends on the units,

    For example

    σ = 5.6704)×10−8 W m−2 K−4 in SI

    or

    σ = 5.6704×10−5 erg s-1 cm−2 K−4 in CGS

    or you can also write it

    σ = 0.56704 erg s-1 m−2 K−4

    and it looks already not that tiny!

    .
    .

  11. I’ve been reading a lot, but saying very little, ever since first becoming acquainted with Nikolov and Zeller’s theory.

    FWIW, my “elevator speech” can be summed up thus :

    On a planet with no atmosphere, radiation is king, no other processes occur and it can explain surface temperatures almost perfectly (witness the Moon).

    Introduce an atmosphere, regardless of composition, and things start to get complicated, because you introduce the additional processes of convection and conduction.

    Gravity is a key, (but unchanging) element because, along with the mass, it defines the vertical structure of any atmosphere, and hence the surface pressure.

    The greater the surface pressure on a planet, the more influence conduction and convection have on surface temperatures, and the less influence radiation has (witness the unchanging temperatures on the surface of Venus).

    Higher surface pressures elevate surface temperatures by suppressing convection because the greater the weight of the overlying atmosphere, the more energy (heat) is required to enable the process to get under way.

    Nobody is ever going to disprove N + Z by obsessing about the details of all the complex processes that occur in the atmosphere, you have to look at the bigger picture.

    If N+Z are correct (reserving judgement on that one) what they are is essentially saying is that the average surface temperature of any planetary body is pre-determined by insolation, surface pressure and albedo, and that all the processes that occur in any atmosphere – regardless of structure or composition will adjust, and act in such a way essentially by definition, as to preserve the average surface temperature of that body. Holy moley!!!

    Ultimately, there will be only one way to settle this argument. There are literally billions of planetary bodies out there waiting to be discovered. One day (which maybe sooner than anyone anticipates) we will develop the technology to acquire the relevant data from a large enough number of those bodies that the theory will be proved, or disproved, once and for all. Until then, there’s going to be one heck of an argument. Try and Enjoy it! (:-

  12. We aren’t talking about heat. We are talking about temperature. In a perfectly transparent atmosphere all of the heat being radiated would radiate out. But radiation would be the smallest of available heat transfer mechanisms. There would also be conduction because the atmosphere touches the planet. So the actual physical surface interface of the planet would be slightly cooler and the atmosphere will be slightly warmer. We would have a warmer temperature at 5 feet above the ground (but a cooler temperature AT the ground). The problem is all this talk about radiative heat loss at the surface. The main loss of heat from the surface of the planet isn’t radiation, it is and the loss from evaporation of surface water which absorbs a huge amount of heat when simply changing state from liquid to vapor without any change in temperature. [SNIP– way off topic. I'm talking about a GHG free atmosphere, as are Jelbring and N&K. Sorry, w.]

  13. Just a small correction. Night vision uses a silicon detector and amplifies the available ambient light. Silicon is not responsive in the MW or LWIR, 3-5um and 8-12um, the naturally occuring atmospheric IR windows where us radiometric guys make our measurments. A FLIR or Forward Looking Infrared “see’s” thermal differentials without visible light. I believe you are referring to a FLIR, not night vision.

  14. @Willis Eschenbach
    Not being familiar with the N&Z or Jelbrick theorems, you do ignore the far reduced but still present conduction and subsequent convection present in the system. This would cause a drop in the energy available to be radiated due to loss to kinetic energy. I don’t know how much of an effect this would have on allowing increased warming above and beyond the S-B calculations because I don’t want to do the math right now but it is a place for energy to go since you added a liquid to the system.

  15. In other words, on a planet without an atmosphere surrounded by a sphere of tiny suns, the surface is some temperature and all photons of LWIR radiate from the surface. Add an atmosphere and the temperature of the SURFACE drops because that atmosphere conducts some of the heat away, the temperature of the atmosphere rises and where each photon radiates from is variable due to convection. Some will radiate from the surface, some will radiate from 1 foot above the surface, some will radiate from 1000 feet above the surface. Even if the air is completely transparent to IR it will still be warmed by conduction by contact with the surface of the planet, cool the surface, warm the atmosphere. The atmospheric temperature will still vary by the adiabatic lapse rate.

    You seem to have been assuming a warming atmosphere without any associated cooling of the surface. Don’t confuse surface temperature with “surface temperature”. What we call surface temperature in most cases is the temperature of the atmosphere some distance above the surface. To my knowledge, nobody actually records the surface temperature of the planet itself except possibly the oceans. [NOT SO. Repeat after me, "GHG-free atmosphere". The surface is the only thing that can radiate. w.]

  16. Anteros says:
    January 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Willis,
    I assume when you say the earth receives 240 W/m2, that’s a typo for 340?
    If not, I’m going to have to go back to school :)

    Apologies for the lack of clarity, Anteros, that’s the amount after albedo reflection of 30% of the incoming.

    w.

  17. alex says:
    January 13, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    OMG.

    Did not expect, Eschenbach has such grave problems with physics.

    He writes

    “the Stefan-Boltzmann constant is a tiny number, 0.0000000567 (5.67E-8).”

    Sorry, the the Stefan-Boltzmann constant is a DIMENSIONAL constant.
    You never can say a dimensional constant is “tiny”, because its numerical value depends on the units, …

    That’s it? That’s my crime? You are busting me because I called ten to the minus eighth tiny? You are a waste of bandwidth, sir. I specifically requested that people not bother me with this kind of petty nit-picking, and yet here you are.

    Come back when you have something of substance to say, and my advice for your optics would be to leave off the “OMG”, it makes you sound like a Valley Girl.

    w.

  18. Having made only a superficial reading of N&Z, can someone explain the difference between that and Harry Huffman’s explanation? They seem largely the same although Huffman argues N&Z are not quite correct. As for Willis’ wish for a clear explanation, Huffmans several posts on his blog appear to do so quite well. For me as a layperson looking from the outside, Huffmans explanation makes sense but more usefully meets the test of Occam’s razor…

  19. beaker says:
    January 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Just a small correction. Night vision uses a silicon detector and amplifies the available ambient light. Silicon is not responsive in the MW or LWIR, 3-5um and 8-12um, the naturally occuring atmospheric IR windows where us radiometric guys make our measurments. A FLIR or Forward Looking Infrared “see’s” thermal differentials without visible light. I believe you are referring to a FLIR, not night vision.

    Thanks, beaker, but that’s not true. There are two kinds of what are usually called night vision devices, image enhancement and thermal imaging. I’m speaking of the second of these. See here for details.

    w.

  20. 1. The non greenhouse gas atmosphere is a perfect conduction insulator to space, it can’t radiate its heat out.
    2. The radiation transparent atmosphere is heated from the surface via conduction/convection until the atmospheric average temperature is at the S-B average. (Almost exactly the same way GHG’s heat the atmosphere, except that it is the planets surface molecules directly heating the atmosphere.)
    3. According to the ideal gas law the average temperature will be at the midpoint of the atmosphere with the upper half lower than the S-B average temperature and the lower half higher than the S-B average temperature. I think with our earth the temp at 5k altitude is something like -18˚.
    4. The thicker and denser the atmosphere, the higher the near surface atmospheric temperature will be.
    5. Once the atmosphere is heated, the net radiation from the surface will be exactly the same as if there is no atmosphere, but the near surface atmosphere temperature will be warmer than the S-B average.

    I can give a more detailed explanation tomorrow, but I just wanted to get this in tonight.

  21. Michael Bergeron (@zerg539) says:
    January 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    @Willis Eschenbach
    Not being familiar with the N&Z or Jelbrick theorems, you do ignore the far reduced but still present conduction and subsequent convection present in the system. This would cause a drop in the energy available to be radiated due to loss to kinetic energy. I don’t know how much of an effect this would have on allowing increased warming above and beyond the S-B calculations because I don’t want to do the math right now but it is a place for energy to go since you added a liquid to the system.

    Michael, the energy radiated by the surface is fixed. It must emit what it recieves, no more and no less. Energy will go into and out of the transparent GHG-free atmosphere, but that is net zero, no loss or gain.

    The main point is that for the surface to be warmer, it must radiate more … but then it’s violating conservation of energy. So speculations about possible mechanisms are futile, because the surface cannot be warmer than it it.

    w.

  22. One tiny nit, Willis.

    That’s how night-vision goggles work, they let you see in the infrared.

    Night vision goggles amplify visible and near-visible photons reflecting off objects and impinging on the device, such as are produced by starlight. You’re probably thinking of infrared sensors (e.g. FLIR) that rely on the emissivity of the observed scene in LWIR, MWIR, or SWIR bands – which “curiously” happen to align with gaps in CO2 and H2O absorption of infrared radiation.

    In military applications, night-vision goggles are typically helmet-mounted devices used by everyone from infantry to pilots. IR sensors are usually larger devices with relatively massive optics and cooling systems, and are found mounted on airborne platforms and connected to MFDs in the cockpit.

  23. I have used light amplification night vision devices that also had IR capability along with an IR search lamp built into the device for use in completely dark conditions (inside of something where there is no ambient light to amplify).

  24. It’s late, so I’ll just maunder. Hopefully, I’ll maunder minimally.
    ☻Wouldn’t a planet lit by thousands of suns eventually achieve solar temperature, say, 5000°?
    ☻The problem with Stephen Singer’s comment is that the compressed atmosphere would heat over its entire depth, not merely at the surface.
    ☻Meinhundthatkeinenase is looking at a more complicated model. Convection heating would occur, but the transparent atmosphere would not radiate the extra heat.
    ☻But is there really such a thing as a transparent atmosphere?
    ☻How were the absorption spectra of gases determined? Did they shine light down a tube 100 miles long? Or did they use a shorter tube? How long? Did they control the temperature of the tube foot by foot? Is that short a tube accurate enough for the levels of energy and accuracy we’re dealing with?
    ☻What about diurnal atmospheric thermal tides? Wouldn’t the daily increase and decrease in atmospheric thickness translate to work? Wouldn’t work heat the imaginary column of air? Wouldn’t it heat more at the bottom than at the top, creating a “lapse rate”?
    ☻Could it be that other factors will cancel out, leaving the apparent lapse rate as an artifact dependent only on atmospheric mass or density?
    ☻Night, all.

  25. amazing willis how few people can follow instructions.
    nick stokes is correct. Nice proof.

    Sorry to see TB act that way. Tamino once banned Lucia for asking a question of the 2nd law.

  26. “How would Earth’s surface temperature change if atmospheric pressure were doubled, that is, increased to 2 atm by adding more N2 (and nothing else)?”

    Well, by Stephen Wilde, the increased pressure and density would bear down on the surface increasing the conduction of energy from the surface cooling it, which would therefore reduce the amount of radiation also cooling the surface. In other words the conduction / radiation ratio would shift in the conduction direction. More conduction, less radiation.

    Since conduction is slow, the air at the surface would be warmer and that would also cause more convection to constantly bring more cooler upper air in contact with the surface. All in all, the lower air would be warmer, probably in the doubling case much warmer. But that is just way we get our environmental lapse rate right now in our atmosphere.

    Also, if there is any absorption of radiation by the air, then more radiation would be absorbed lower due to the increased density and that can be from both solar radiation and surface infrared radiation. That too causes more warming lower.

    There’s more. High density gases hold onto their internal energy better radiatively, there are more molecules in a given volume so the distance that radiation travels between absorptions decreases. This too keeps the temperature higher for it is harder for that energy to radiatively escape from a given volume of air.

    Each one of those statements seems true, so it appears just that simple, more mass causes more warming of the low atmosphere and this likewise causes more warming of the air all of the way up to the top.

  27. @willis

    You are absolutely right that the N&Z speculations are junk. Almost every sentence in their contributions is either incomprehensible or plain nonsense.

    Brave of you to give an ‘elevator speech’ version of GHG theory. Given the demands for concision, though, I think you go wrong or oversimplify on a number of points.

    • The surface of the earth emits energy in the form of thermal longwave radiation.
    – Get the nitpicking out of the way: ‘thermal’ is not necessary.
    – The surface of the Earth also loses energy by conduction to the atmosphere and the subsequent convection.
    The convected air, both before and after mixing, is at a lower temperature than the surface and so radiates less.
    Unlike the 2D surface, the 3D lower atmosphere acts as a thermal accumulator during periods of low insolation (e.g. nightime). In electronic terms it would be the equivalent of a capacitor.
    – I appreciate that I have gone beyond strict GHG ideas here, but you cannot discuss planetary temperatures just in terms of GHGs.

    • Some of that energy is absorbed by greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere.
    – OK, of course.

    • In turn, some of that absorbed energy is radiated by the atmosphere back to the surface.
    – I get tetchy whenever I read about this ‘backwelling’ radiation.
    In radiative terms, photons are emitted randomly in all directions: forwards, sideways and backwards. A proportion will head back towards the surface, most will not.
    A GHG molecule that has absorbed radiation from the surface will also have its kinetic energy increased and pass on some energy by colisions with neighbouring atoms.
    A proportion of any radiated energy will also be absorbed by other gas molcules.
    What counts here is not the warming of the surface, but the warming of the atmosphere.

    • As a result of absorbing that energy from the atmosphere, the surface is warmer than it would be in the absence of the GHGs.
    – Again, the only temperature you are considering is that of the ‘surface’ and neglecting the heat stored in the atmosphere.
    – At the moment, where I live, we have snow and ice on the ground but a pleasantly warm south wind and bright sun. I don’t care much about the surface temperature today.

    Sorry – we’ve gone up three escalators by now and got to the roof.

  28. [NOT SO. Repeat after me, "GHG-free atmosphere". The surface is the only thing that can radiate. w.]

    NOT SO! The atmosphere TOUCHES the surface. It will warm by conduction. That will COOL the surface and WARM the atmosphere. Radiation has nothing to do with that. The atmosphere will then convect … GHG or no GHG. Now the surface has cooled and the atmosphere has warmed. Add a little wind and the conductive loss increases at the surface and the atmosphere warms even more. The efficiency of heat transfer by conduction is much greater than efficiency by radiation. That warmed air (with NO greenhouse gas at all of any sort, make it pure nitrogen if you like) will then begin to convect. Some of it will radiate at the lower altitudes, some of it will radiate at higher altitudes. Earth will radiate all the heat that it receives but that heat will not be even because of the chaos of turbulence caused by that convection. Add hills, mountains, random trees, etc. and that turbulence can become quite chaotic and result in very uneven temperatures.

    Model the atmosphere as a bunch of concentric surfaces that are transparent to IR but still radiate. The surface at 1 foot altitude has a given amount of radiation and a given amount of surface area. The surface at 1000 feet has a larger surface area so with a given amount of total heat content it’s “surface” is cooler. At 10000 feet, the “surface” is even cooler and at the very tipppy top of the atmosphere you have the greatest “surface area” of all but the temperature at any given point of it is lower.

    Even an atmosphere with no GHG will still exchange heat by conduction and will still convect and will still radiate heat as it rises. It will still have an adiabatic lapse rate.

  29. Take for example a radiator on a car (bad name, actually, because it doesn’t lose heat by radiation, it looses heat by conduction to the air, more air flow, more transfer of heat. Air flow doesn’t change radiation one iota. It is a heat exchanger to air). Rule of thumb is you lose 10% efficiency with every 1,000 feet of altitude because the air becomes less dense. At over 10,000 feet they basically become useless unless they are significantly over sized. About the only place on the planet that radiation would play a significant part in heat loss would be at the top of Mt. Everest.

    Part of my life experience is designing flight qualified electronics that were required to be convection cooled to 10,000 feet altitude. That is hard to do because at 10,000 feet, heatsinks start relying on radiation as the major heat transport and radiation is the LEAST efficient heat transfer mechanism there is. The result was that heatsinks had to be much larger to work at 10,000 feet because conductive loss is so much less.

    Earth’s surface acts as a conductive heat exchanger to the atmosphere. Radiation at the Earth’s surface is a minority route of heat transfer. Conductive losses are much greater.

  30. “Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.

    But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.

    And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.”

    I am not sure this is correct. If the GHG-free atmosphere is cooling the thinnest surface layer (via conduction and convection) what it has absorbed it is not radiating. Like a water-cooled engine block if you remove the water its going to heat up to equilibrium to radiate as much energy as it absorbing from the combustion. But with the water cooling system the block is cooler.

    OK so the heat goes into the GHG-free atmosphere and convects upwards. Its not going to radiate rapidly because a substance is as efficient at radiating as it is at absorbing radiation. And a GHG-free atmosphere is considered to absorb zero by AGW scientists. I think that is incorrect also. Argon has a emissivity about .0005, meaning its quite transparent but not completely transparent. CO2 has an emissivity around .08 meaning its about 160 times more efficient at radiating than the IR inert Argon. I presume this relationship holds with other monoatomic gases as well. Supposedly the diatomic gases have higher emissivities than the monoatomic gases and both have far less emissivity as triatomic gases like CO2 and water vapor.

    But the problem is an inefficient emitting substance has to be hotter to emit the same level of radiation as a substance which is a theoretical black body. So this heat that is being absorbed into the GHG-free atmosphere is trapped there and the surface film is being cooled in the process and also not emitting its budget to the sky. . . .so the system heats until the budget is balanced again.

    Keep in mind when thinking about surface temperatures that we don’t measure the actual surface temperature but instead the warmth of the air 6 feet above the surface so a little irrationality is possible here.

    Gravity’s role is to run the convection engine that separates the heat from the surface and warms the entire atmosphere.

    Now I am not sure thats how it works but it does seem logical.

    And I think the interesting part is even if thats not how it works the idea of a GHG-free atmosphere is still an impossibility. The term GHG-free atmosphere is in essence an oxymoron as the only way to have a GHG-free area above a surface is to have nothing there.

    Finally, it may be up to 160 times less efficient at absorbing GHG but when there is 2500 times more of it than CO2 it may belittle the effect of CO2 so this should still work even if the mechanism is back radiation.

    So this is when somebody pops in with the radiation curve and the CO2 bight. Well maybe that bight is created in a thin area of the atmosphere where water vapor is missing.

    With that I am going to put my shield over my head.

  31. The basic issue is that there is no such thing as an equlibrium temperature, or equlibrium flux. The solar flux is zero at night and about 1000 W.m-2 around summer noon. The sun heats the ground during the day. 1000 W.m-2 corresponds to an equlibrium temperature of about 93 C. Dry ground may reach 50 or 60 C. At 50 C, the surface can only dissipate an excess of ~ 200 W.m-2 by IR emission. There rest is dissipated by convection. Some heat is stored below the surface by thermal conduction and gets radiated later in the day. The peak surface temperature is not reached until about 2 hours after the peak solar flux. This is the classic ‘signature’ of a therma storage oscillator. It means no thermal equilibrium.
    The air is heated mainly by convection and the first 2 km or so above the surface acts as a ‘thermal blanket’ that cools quite slowly by radiation at night when the convection stops. Typical ‘average’ numbers are 50 W.m-2 lost from the surface and about 50 W.m-2 lost at the 2 km boundary. This is the ‘dynamic balance’ of the so called greenhouse effect. The heat capacity of a 2 km x 1 m^2 column of air is about 2 MJ.K-1. 12 hours of night time cooling at 100 W.m-2 is 4.3 MJ.m-2, so the night time ‘thermal blanket’ cooling is around 4 or 5 K. Usually, the air is moved on by the weather system before this cooling is observed.
    As the air rises through the atmosphere it cools by expansion. Most of the IR cooling radiation to space originates from the water bands at around 5 km altitude. The ‘average’ lapse rate is about -6.5 K.km-1. To get to 5 km the air has to cool by 5 x 6.5 = 32.5 K. This is where most of the 250 W.m-2 ‘thermal equilbrium’ to space emission originates. The cooling occurs as the linewidths of the water band lines start to narrow and the water vapor concentration drops becasue of condensation. The IR flux ‘escapes’ beteen the water lines and does not get reabsorbed.
    Almost all of LWIR flux reaching the surface comes from the first 2 km ‘blanket’. The air above 2 km up to the tropopause acts as a second independent thermal reservior that cools to space 24/7. It just keeps on cooling until it gets heated again by the next convective ‘pulse’ the following day. The daily temperature fluctuation of this upper reservoir is about 2 K or less. There is no equilibrium and the tropopause just moves up and down in altitude with latitude and seasons to maintain the thermal balance.
    The Earth’s surface temperature can only be explained by the dynamic coupling of heat into thermal storage reservoirs. There are at least four thermal reservoirs and 6 energy transfer processes needed to explain even the basics of the surface temperature.
    It is time to stop thinking in terms of an equlibrium flux.
    (A freight elevator ride?)
    This is a complicated subject. There are more details on my website at http://www.venturaphotonics.com. There is also a book ‘The Dynamic Greenhouse Effect and the Climate Averaging Paradox’ available on Amazon.

  32. Take a rock in a still air in full sun and take its temperature.
    Put a fan on that rock for 30 minutes and take its temperature again.
    The rock will be cooler, the air will be warmer. No greenhouse gasses needed.

  33. “which “curiously” happen to align with gaps in CO2 and H2O absorption of infrared radiation”

    Glad you said that Pops, that is so curious isn’t it. So where is this -20 degC worth of LW radiation energy coming from when pointing a thermal radiation thermometer at the sky if the instrument is tuned to AVOID all GHG lines, right in the radiative “window” frequencies? That definitely perked my mind up. Hmm…

    (I did earlier read of a report directly from the FLIR manufacturer on that very subject)

  34. Verifying Willis’ numbers


    On average day and night over the planetary surface, the Earth receives about 240 W/m2 of energy from the sun. The theoretical S-B temperature for this amount of radiation (if it were evenly distributed) is about -18°C, well below freezing.

    Radiation = Emissivity times SBconstant times Temperature^4

    240 = 1 x 5.67 x 10^(-8) x Temperature^4

    Temperature^4 = (240 x 10^8)/5.67 = 42.32804233 x 10^8

    Temperture = (42.32804233 x 10^8)^0.25 = 42.32804233^0.25 x 10^2 = 2.55 x 100 = 255 K

    Deg C = K – 273 = 255 – 273 = – 18


    But instead of being frozen, the planet is at about +14°C or so. That’s about thirty degrees above the theoretical S-B temperature.

    Difference between actual and theoretical global mean temperature = 18 + 14 = 32 deg C

    Willis, it is all right!

  35. If the atmosphere is GHG free I cannot see how the temperature at the surface can change.
    If there are GHGs present I believe that the Stefan-Boltzman equilibrium surface of the planet is raised above the surface and is therefore a larger sphere. This can then allow for radiative equilibrium with a higher surface temperature without violation conservation of energy.

  36. @Willis
    Again you are narrowing yourself into only considering a single form of heat transfer, Incoming radiation heats the blackbody, this in turn through conduction loses some of that heat through conduction to the atmosphere, all of the energy transfered by conduction cannot radiate as IR. You are now ignoring an entire realm of thermo dynamics, yes any radiative energy absorbed by the blackbody has to go somewhere once it is in S-B equilibrium but it is not restricted to a single energy form, heat is both EM radiation and kinetic energy.

    Adding the atmosphere would add a second source of radiation once it has also reached an equilibrium point because even if the atmosphere is IR transparent it will still radiate IR of which a bit less than half will radiate back into the planet. This in turn will begin to raise the energy going into the planet by radiance, which will then raise its temperature under the S-B. The only way the atmosphere does not conduct heat energy away from the planet is if there is no way for them to physically interact, though the only way I see gravity having anything to do with this is as a driver of convection which just speeds the rate of conduction into the atmosphere.

    Energy from the sun must equal the energy leaving the blackbody in ALL FORMS not just radiation.

  37. Willis: consider the difference between ground frost (radiative cooling) and air frost (radiative cooling + convection).

  38. Thanks, Genghis, I would say that yours is the first substantive response. It is not (as far as I know) the N&Z or the Jelbring hypothesis, but it is interesting. Comments below.

    Genghis says:
    January 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    1. The non greenhouse gas atmosphere is a perfect conduction insulator to space, it can’t radiate its heat out.

    True

    2. The radiation transparent atmosphere is heated from the surface via conduction/convection until the atmospheric average temperature is at the S-B average. (Almost exactly the same way GHG’s heat the atmosphere, except that it is the planets surface molecules directly heating the atmosphere.)

    I don’t think so. As soon as the dry adiabatic lapse rate temperature profile is established, circulation will stop and the atmospheric temperature will stabilize. At that point the energy in the atmosphere will be evenly distributed from bottom to top. However, because the molecules at the top of the atmosphere have more potential energy, they have less kinetic energy, which means a lower temperature.

    3. According to the ideal gas law the average temperature will be at the midpoint of the atmosphere with the upper half lower than the S-B average temperature and the lower half higher than the S-B average temperature. I think with our earth the temp at 5k altitude is something like -18˚.

    I don’t see how this is physically possible. If the lowest part of the atmosphere is constantly warmer than the planetary surface immediately below, the heat will constantly be flowing from the warmer atmosphere above to the cooler surface below. How is that possible?

    In addition, I see nothing in the ideal gas law requiring the atmosphere mid-point to have the same temperature as the surface. You’d have to explain that one.

    4. The thicker and denser the atmosphere, the higher the near surface atmospheric temperature will be.

    I don’t think so. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is g / Cp, where g is gravity and Cp is the specific heat of the atmosphere. The lapse rate does not vary with elevation, which means that Cp doesn’t vary with density, so I don’t see how a denser atmosphere would perforce be warmer.

    5. Once the atmosphere is heated, the net radiation from the surface will be exactly the same as if there is no atmosphere, but the near surface atmosphere temperature will be warmer than the S-B average.

    If so, there would be a constant flow of heat from the warmer atmosphere to the surface. Not physically possible.

    Thanks, much appreciated,

    w.

  39. I have a problem with your proof by contradiction. Let me quote it here so that it is fresh in the mind:

    So let us assume that we have the airless perfectly evenly heated blackbody planet that I spoke of above, evenly surrounded by a sphere of mini-suns. The temperature of this theoretical planet is, of course, the theoretical S-B temperature.

    Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.

    But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.

    And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.

    Let me propose a thought experiment. We have a black box floating in space evenly surrounded by a sphere of mini-suns, as at the start of your proof by contradiction. The black box radiates exactly the same energy as it receives and is in temperature equilibrium. The temperature of the black box is given by the S-B law.

    We don’t know what is inside the black box. At its simplest, it could be a single solid mass. Or perhaps there could be two solid masses inside the black box, one at temperature T1 and one at temperature T2. Each mass radiates towards each other as well as the universe generally. Each mass within the black box is continuously exchanging energy with the other, and their temperatures vary over time as well. We don’t care because overall the black box as a whole is radiating as much energy as it receives. We can use the S-B law to calculate an equivalent black body temperature, but this is an exercise in maths: the temperature we derive from such a calculation is relevant only to the black box as a whole. It is not an “average temperature” of the two bodies within the black box; in fact we cannot deduce any information about the masses within the black box using only the S-B law. We can only use the S-B law to describe the black box itself, and everything it contains.

    Of course the black box could contain many, many masses. Some could be solid (earth) some liquid (oceans) and some gaseous (atmosphere). Each mass could vary in temperature in complex ways, continually transferring energy between each other. But overall the entire system can be described by the S-B law, and the entire system overall is in equilibrium with the universe.

    Getting back to your proof by contradiction. When you add the atmosphere you now have two masses inside the black box. You then assume (this is the assumption that you are going to come back to and say is false, once the proof by contradiction is completed) that the atmosphere heats the ground. You then say that because the ground is hotter, it must radiate more energy (by S-B law) which is false therefore the assumption is false.

    But this is not correct. You have not taken into account any change in temperature of the atmosphere.

    Take your black box which is radiating according to S-B law. Put inside the black box some solid mass (ground). Take your measurements and deduce the black body equivalent temperature. Now add a second mass to the black box, without introducing any extra energy into the system. This second mass is a gas (atmosphere). Now assume that the presence of the atmosphere increases the temperature of the ground. The two masses exchange energy inside the black box, the ground heating and the atmosphere cooling until they reach equilibrium with each other. The entire system (the black box) will still be in equilibrium with the universe if one of the masses inside (the atmosphere) is at a different temperature compared to the temperature of the other mass inside (the ground).

    Your proof by contradiction is flawed. You cannot deduce the temperature of any item within the black box according to the S-B law. You can only look at the system as a whole. You said: …I’m interested in people who can either show that my proof is wrong… and I believe I have done so.

    I cannot say anything about the Jelbring or the N&Z hypothesis. As I understand it, the presence of an atmosphere in gravity will lead to a higher pressure and higher temperature at the surface. This can only come about because the temperature reduces at altitude – conservation of energy as well as various Gas Laws apply. This is exactly how our own atmosphere behaves. Whether or not this entirely explains the temperature rise of the Earth over the black body temperature, I cannot say. I am not trying to prove their theorem; I am only pointing out the mistake in your own criticism of that theorem.

    I trust that you shall receive this in good faith. I am not impugning your character nor taking personal attacks; I just don’t see how your proof by contradiction is correct. Perhaps there is something I’ve missed; please correct me if so. Kindest regards,

    David

  40. Nick Stokes says:
    January 13, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    “Now, I’m happy for folks to comment on this proof”

    Seems to me to be sound.

    Thanks, Nick, that is significant to me.

    steven mosher says:
    January 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    amazing willis how few people can follow instructions.
    nick stokes is correct. Nice proof.

    Thanks, mosh, your vote is significant as well.

    Sorry to see TB act that way. Tamino once banned Lucia for asking a question of the 2nd law.

    What’s the deal, does thermodynamics make people crazy? I love thermo because it cuts through all the other stuff to say that some things are simply not possible. Although upon reflection I do see how that could lead to panic if you’ve built your theories on sand …

    My appreciation to you both for your comments,

    w.

  41. By introducing an unnecessary condition in your thought experiment, i.e. the multiple suns, you have made it impossible to gain any insight to the real working of the atmosphere.

    Without that condition, the air would heat up to the surface temperature.

    Differential heating , night / day, polar / equatorial, would induce circulation.

    Lapse rate heating, determined by the depth of the atmosphere would ensue.

    A new higher temperature equilibrium would be established.

    But what would I know, I left school at 15, 64 years ago ;)

  42. NoIdea says:
    January 13, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Having made only a superficial reading of N&Z, can someone explain the difference between that and Harry Huffman’s explanation? They seem largely the same although Huffman argues N&Z are not quite correct. As for Willis’ wish for a clear explanation, Huffmans several posts on his blog appear to do so quite well. For me as a layperson looking from the outside, Huffmans explanation makes sense but more usefully meets the test of Occam’s razor…

    So are you saying that you understand Huffman’s explanation? Because I couldn’t. Give us the elevator speech about that one if you understand it, it does sound similar from what I’ve read.

    Or if you can’t give the elevator speech, consider that you might not understand Huffman after all.

    w.

  43. Willis: “Michael, the energy radiated by the surface is fixed. It must emit what it recieves, no more and no less. ”

    Absolutely false. Conduction carrying away energy from that same surface does reduce the radiation leaving from that surface when in equilibrium. Willis, you can call it a reduction in the emissivity of that surface if your mind prefers. Well… that is really what does happens, the emissivity decreases. A surface receiving all of its energy by radiation and part of that energy leaving by conduction, then, the amount leaving by radiation WILL decrease under the amount received. WILLIS…. do you happen to remember the first law of thermodynamics???

  44. “NOTE 1: Here’s the thing about a planet with a transparent atmosphere. There is only one object that can radiate to space, the surface.”

    Unless your point is to exclude conduction and convection in this thought experiment the GHG free atmosphere will also remove heat from the surface by conduction and convection. Each molecule in the atmosphere can emit radiation both upward to space and downward to the surface just as a GHG does. But it would not be able to absorb any outgoing radiation from the surface or reabsorb any IR emitted from the atmosphere toward space, only a GHG could do that. For the part that goes downward it will retransfer energy to the surface again.

    In this case the more air molecules you add the more IR can be transfered via the atmosphere back to space until you get a balance where the energy transfer via conduction between surface and atmosphere is the same as the IR radiated from the atmosphere back out to space.
    The atmosphere in this case works as a heat sink for the surface.

    But since in this case both surface and the atmosphere would emit IR to the space then the temperature of the surface must be lower in order to split some of the radiation back to space between the atmosphere and the surface. As you said, the energy must be conserved.

    To sum it up for a GHG free 100% transparent atmosphere.
    – The surface gets heated by the incomming radiation.
    – Some energy gets transfered from the surface to the atmosphere through conduction.
    – Backward radiation out to space is now split up between atmosphere and surface thus the surface has to be cooler since it is emitting less.

  45. Willis

    Nice article.

    I enjoy the input from both R Gates and Joel Shore over here and think Blogs such as this one would be diminished if everyone were to sing from the same song sheet. Both are knowlegable and argue their corner well-although I disagree with most of what they say and they do have a blind spot on Climate History.

    Banning Joel from Talk Shop for the reasons stated seems extreme and makes me uncomfortable as it has echoes of Real Climate.

    Come on Roger, you’ve always seemed a resaonable person. How about showing that you accept all scientific viewpoints even if you disagree with them? Banning should only be applied to especially irksome or abusive trolls and neither Joel or R Gates fit into that category by any stretch of the imagination.

    tonyb

  46. crosspatch says:
    January 13, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    … Even an atmosphere with no GHG will still exchange heat by conduction and will still convect and will still radiate heat as it rises. …

    I will repeat it again. If there are no GHGs in the atmosphere, the atmosphere will not and cannot radiate energy. That’s the whole point. The only thing that can radiate is the surface. You keep claiming the atmosphere will radiate. It will not.

    w.

  47. The reason your thought experiment could radiate more heat than it gets (from the sun) is that you are adding thermal energy int he form of moving molecules. Boyle’s gas laws tell us if you pressurize a gas it will increase heat. So assuming that when you say you add an atmosphere you are adding low density gas molecules and allowing gravity to be your pressurizer then you would have a one time spike of temp. until it convects into the land/ocean/air and radiates out. Then it would return to the temp before you added the atmosphere. If the atmosphere was already compressed to 1 atm. at the sea level and lower pressures at higher altitudes before you added it, then it wouldn’t have any effect. (I think.)

  48. crosspatch 13 Jan 10.40pm.

    This comment was snipped by the Willis, the guest poster.
    crosspatch is debating and disagreeing with the post. He is not off topic. He has been censored. Please restore this comment.

    Moderators should moderate not the poster.

    The theory of gravitational enhancement claims there cannot be a Greenhouse gas free atmosphere. The mass of all gases in the atmosphere cause the so-called Greenhouse Effect.

  49. “1. The non greenhouse gas atmosphere is a perfect conduction insulator to space, it can’t radiate its heat out.”

    What? Everything with a temperature radiates. I don’t care WHAT a substance is, it will cool. It will cool until it reaches equilibrium with its background. Greenhouse has absolutely nothing to do with radiation, it has to do with absorption. Something can be completely transparent to LWIR and still cool down by radiation. A greenhouse gas is something that absorbs LWIR. It has nothing to do with what it radiates. So I can have a non greenhouse gas that heats via direct contact … conduction. It will STILL radiate that heat away. It just didn’t heat by absorbing LWIR.

    Are you guys sure you know what greenhouse is?

  50. A slight correction to make your statements work within the laws of Thermodynamics:

    The poorly-named “greenhouse effect” works as follows:
    • The surface of the earth emits energy in the form of thermal longwave radiation.
    • Some of that energy is absorbed by greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere.
    At Night there is a net radiation by the atmosphere back to the surface.
    (During the day, there is no heating, only a slowing of heat loss, as net radiation is outward)
    • As a result of absorbing that energy from the atmosphere, the surface is warmer at night than it would be in the absence of the GHGs.
    So the effect is that the night time temperature is higher and the day time temperature is cooler (due to the thermal mass of the air & oceans)

    However, there is the same contradiction with the greenhouse effect.
    Because there is ALWAYS more energy radiating from GHG out to space, (since emissions go equally in all directions, and the geometry of a sphere means just more than 50% is outward) this means that IF the planet gets MORE energy to the surface from GHG then the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.

    It matters not how many “layers” of GHG you have, Once equilibrium is established, more than half is always heading to space. The real world atmosphere is turbulent, but that standard explanation is always worked out on a static atmosphere.

    It seems to me that there is a maximum effect, and once this is reached, there can be no further warming. Everyone seems to forget that classic climate theory (from textbooks prior to 1988) was that the atmosphere warms by convection and cools by radiation.

  51. A curious fact is that almost everything around us is continually radiating energy in the infrared frequencies. You, me, the trees, the ocean, clouds, ice, all the common stuff gives off infrared radiation.

    And the air.

    GHGs just absorb in certain bands of outgoing IR and make the air warmer. That makes the entire atmosphere radiate more, half the time right back down to the surface. An atmosphere sans GHG would still radiate, just less.
    How would the atmosphere get warm without GHGs? Conduction and convection as others have mentioned.

    The assumption made in the post is ALL of the energy absorbed during the day is immediately radiated back to space, and so we seem to have trouble explaining a higher than expected temperature.

    If a significant fraction of the solar energy is absorbed, it may take time for it to be radiated away. Consequently, the temperature will rise until balance occurs. When the Earth is significantly warmer the total output matches the total input, accounting for delayed release of input energy. One mechanism for absorption of solar energy that cannot be immediately re-radiated is ocean mixing. Only the surface will radiate to space. The solid surface of Earth can act in the same way – as an energy sponge. The delay in reradiation must raise the temperature of the Earth to achieve balance.

    To illustrate: Try walking barefoot in a freshly paved parking lot in Florida some summer.

  52. Willis, surely your transparent atmosphere is, like the standard GHE model, an unphysical and unhelpful concept, since in reality all gases will have some absorptive / emissive characteristics. If that were not so then, by definition, adding as much of this ‘atmosphere’ as you like cannot have any influence on the purely radiative balance between your planet’s surface and its shell of mini-suns, as you say. As soon as you concede that the added atmosphere can absorb and emit on its own account, though, you have an ‘atmosphere effect’, temperature gradients in that atmosphere, convection and so on, whereupon yes, the planet’s surface will warm as the effective radiating level moves upwards and away from the planet’s surface.

    It seems to me that the basic error (in the Earth case, at anyrate) is in the assumption that the planetary surface receives a quarter of the available power coming in from the sun, continually. It doesn’t. I’m much more impressed by Postma’s thermodynamic analysis (‘Understanding the Atmosphere Effect’, ‘The Model Atmosphere’ etc.) in which he shows that consideration of a dynamic system, with a rotating planet orbiting a single sun, renders the introduction of a ‘greenhouse effect’ unnecessary, the (considerably) higher equilibrium temperature at the subsolar point plus the insulation of the atmosphere giving quite enough increase in average energy input and surface temperature to account for what we observe.

    If I’m making a cup of tea, I need one cup of boiling water. Two cups of lukewarm water – even if the amount of heat energy is identical – just don’t do the work! It’s not only how much energy there is in the system, it’s also how it’s distributed.

    As ever, a thought-provoking post. And now I know to keep an eye open for a copy of that Geiger book.

  53. Bill Hunter says:
    January 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    … Keep in mind when thinking about surface temperatures that we don’t measure the actual surface temperature but instead the warmth of the air 6 feet above the surface so a little irrationality is possible here.

    Um … er …

    Gravity’s role is to run the convection engine that separates the heat from the surface and warms the entire atmosphere.

    Ah … well … eee …

    Now I am not sure thats how it works but it does seem logical. …

    Bill, I don’t know how to be polite about this, but I assure you it is meant well. Your comments are exactly what I requested people to refrain from, vague suppositions. I said that I wanted science and substance.

    You are doing nothing but guessing and speculating, often in impossible directions. Gravity can’t run an engine of any kind. If it could, you’d have perpetual motion.

    Folks, let’s stick to the hard science, could we?

    All the best,

    w.

  54. “If there are no GHGs in the atmosphere, the atmosphere will not and cannot radiate energy.”

    As far as I know all atoms above 0K raidate IR, even molecules in our atmosphere. Otherwise the air can be heated to any temperature and it will never cool until it gets into physical contact with cooler molecules i.e heat transfer via conduction.

  55. @willis/crosspatch

    Of course a gas can radiate energy, whether it has GHGs or not. If conduction/convection increases its temperature, it radiates more.
    Why should gases not obey thermodynamic principles?

  56. Why everybody here imitates Mr. Eschenbach, using hyphen in “Stefan-Boltzmann temperature”, “Stefan-Boltzmann equation”, and “Stefan-Boltzmann constant” expressions, as if “Stefan” and “Boltzmann” were two people who developed this formula?

    Stefan Boltzmann was one man, his last name was Boltzmann, his first man was Stefan, and the correct way to use his name is “Boltzmann’s equation” or “Stefan Boltzmann’s equation” (if you insist for some reason on repeating his first name all the time) but not “Stefan-Boltzmann equation.” The “S-B” abbreviation, in this context, is incorrect.

    Boltzmann killed himself, because the “consensus” among most of the respected, published and peer-reviewed “scientists” of his time was that Boltzmann was nuts. Since then, however, his classic formula has become a mandatory part of any high-school course of physics, and it is not clear to me, why discussing it here is of any interest, and why one has to be “mathematically inclined” to read one of the simplest formulas ever.

    P.S. By the way, all gases and gas mixtures radiate heat, not only those containing the ubiquitous “green-house gases.” An atmosphere containing no water vapor or other “GHG” gases would warm up under sunlight and radiate heat, because light dissipates, to some extent, in an atmosphere consisting of any gas, however transparent.

  57. Willis,

    Thank you for showing the incorrectness of the Nikolov and Zeller idea in such a simple and straightforward way.

    Meanwhile Robert G Brown’s article on WUWT showed some of the true complexity of calculating the surface temperature distribution of the Earth – no N&Z in sight!

  58. “How would Earth’s surface temperature change if atmospheric pressure were doubled, that is, increased to 2 atm by adding more N2 (and nothing else)?”

    Well, according to the GHG hypothesis, that would reduce the mixing ratio of atmospheric CO2 and less heat would be trapped. The surface would cool.

    In reality 2 atm would change a lot of things, evaporation, convection, density of the atmosphere…

  59. 1) Earth/Atmosphere is a thermal machine (details unimportant)
    2) Mechanical Energies are Earth rotational energy + Earth/Moon Potential Energy (Tides)+…….+Atmospheric energies (small)
    3) Energy imbalance goes into tiny change of earth rotation speed or ……

  60. Gravity, plus the Sun, water vapor, rain, runs all the hydro power. The atmosphere is a little more diffuse, and harder to extract work from, but it does heat up as it falls down.
    By the way, O2 and N2 seem to have significant IR absorption bands, considering their proportion of the atmosphere, was your hypothetical atmosphere also hypothetical Willis?

  61. Alexander Feht says: January 14, 2012 at 12:55 am
    “Stefan Boltzmann was one man, his last name was Boltzmann, his first man was Stefan”

    No, Boltzmann’s name was Ludwig. Joseph Stefan was his predecessor as Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Vienna.

    He was a highly respected scientist in his lifetime, and had been appointed to the most eminent scientific chair in the Austrian Empire. He had been received by the Emperor, shortly before his death.

  62. To correct some misunderstanding:
    Yes, all gases will emit and absorb energy, but for non GH gases the effect is small over thermal ranges (what we associate with earth temperature ranges). For Oxygen and Nitrogen, only collisions provide the dipoles needed for thermal absorption and emission. This is significant only at high pressure and temperature (where there are more collisions). Since the atmosphere is mostly non GH gases, even though this effect is small, it is by no means zero, but it is maybe less than 1% of that of the GH gases. Thermodynamics means that heated gases must cool to that of their surroundings. They do this by mainly by expanding, which is the cause of convection.

  63. Hello again Willis

    We didn’t quite finish our discussion at the Moon/Mistress thread so I’d like to continue it here if you’re willing.

    The key concept to keep in mind is that warming by conduction (between a solid surface and a gas) is always more efficient than cooling by conduction.
    This is because a warming parcel of air rises and expands, is replaced by a cooler parcel of air which is also warmed by the surface and the cycles goes on so long as the surface is warmed by insolation.

    First floor, giftware

    Cooling by conduction is not quite the exact opposite of warming by conduction due to the phenomenon of temperature inversion.
    When a warm parcel of air conducts with a cooler surface, the air cools, the surface radiates away the newly attained warmth. However, the parcel of air higher up cannot make its way down because it is blocked by the now cooler parcel of air underneath.
    Though conduction WITHIN the molecules of air will move some warmth to the adjacent lower and cooler molecules, this process is very slow and inefficient, otherwise temperature inversions wouldn’t happen.

    Second floor, ladies wear

    Temperature inversions on Earth are most common near coastal upwelling zones (note the famous Californian smogs of the 70’s and 80’s) where cold upwelling water cools the air immediately above which prevents the air higher up from descending because it is now warmer than the air below.
    They are also very common at the poles especially in winter where warmer air from lower lattitudes conducts with the frigid surface forming a barrier which stops the warmer air above from descending.

    third floor, menswear

    Therefore, with the above in mind, a previously bare rock planet, injected with a non-GHG atmosphere will first and foremost have its outgoing longwave reduced because of conduction.
    Due to the fact that the equator of a sphere is the warmest, this is where the most conduction will occur. The atmosphere will transport this equatorial heat towards the higher lattitudes.
    This conduction cannot cease until the atmosphere attains the same temperature as the surface at the equator.
    In all this time, the outgoing longwave from the surface will be lower than that of a blackbody, i.e. the system as a whole (surface plus atmosphere) is accumulating heat.

    fourth floor, manchester

    The process will come to equilibrium when the atmosphere (at all lattitudes) reaches the same temperature as the surface AT THE EQUATOR (or near enough so that convection is a tiny trickle)
    Therefore, the AVERAGE temperature of the ATMOSPHERE will be higher than the AVERAGE temperature of the SURFACE, i.e. higher than the SB temperature.
    Theoretically, because of the limited conduction from a warm atmosphere to the cold polar surface will warm the surface by a small amount (temperature inversion prevents continual heat transfer by conduction) the polar surface will be warmer than it was when without an atmosphere.
    By the same token, the equator will be cooler than they were when without an atmosphere.

    Put simply, a planet with a non-GHG atmosphere would be dominated by temperature inversions.

    fifth floor, home made pies

    This is where I humbly get off

    p.s. my last response at the Moon/Mistress thread is at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/08/the-moon-is-a-cold-mistress/#comment-860181

    my best regards as always.
    We need more Willisses in Science. He makes us think

  64. Alexander Feht says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Why everybody here imitates Mr. Eschenbach, using hyphen in “Stefan-Boltzmann temperature”, “Stefan-Boltzmann equation”, and “Stefan-Boltzmann constant” expressions, as if “Stefan” and “Boltzmann” were two people who developed this formula?

    Stefan Boltzmann was one man, his last name was Boltzmann, his first man was Stefan, and the correct way to use his name is “Boltzmann’s equation” or “Stefan Boltzmann’s equation” (if you insist for some reason on repeating his first name all the time) but not “Stefan-Boltzmann equation.” The “S-B” abbreviation, in this context, is incorrect.

    Alexander, the amazing thing about you is that your bull is so convincing I always have to shake my head. Here’s what Wikipedia says about what they call the “Stefan-Boltzmann law”, complete with hyphen:

    The law was deduced by Jožef Stefan (1835–1893) in 1879 on the basis of experimental measurements made by John Tyndall and was derived from theoretical considerations, using thermodynamics, by Ludwig Boltzmann (1844–1906) in 1884.

    Go away, sir, your impudence knows no bounds. You haven’t a tenth of the knowledge you claim.

    w.

  65. I have talked with one engineer who is working infrared warmer manufacturer company. They have tried to warm air with infrared warmer and they have never managed to do so. They have even set tens of radiators to work at same time (hundreds kilowatts), no measurable results in air temperature. So the claims that infrared radiation warms atmosphere can’t be correct, so the main question is, what is absorption when you deal with gases (or air). How gases can backradiate anything if you can’t increase it’s temperature with radiation? If you have dust, water or other tiny particles in air, then radiation can warm these a little bit. They don’t add energy only transfers the original energy, so these can’t warm (add energy that increases temperature) anything cause they are not energy sources.

  66. Alexander Feht says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:55 am
    Why everybody here imitates Mr. Eschenbach, using hyphen in “Stefan-Boltzmann temperature”, “Stefan-Boltzmann equation”, and “Stefan-Boltzmann constant” expressions, as if “Stefan” and “Boltzmann” were two people who developed this formula?

    Stefan Boltzmann was one man, his last name was Boltzmann, his first man was Stefan

    Come on. Jožef Štefan was a full professor at the University of Vienna, he has discovered (and published) that energy flux of black body radiation is proportional to T⁴ in 1879 (based on measurements of French physicists Dulong and Petit). Ludwig Boltzmann was his student, he earned his PhD under his supervision in 1866 (the same year prof. Štefan became Director of the Physical Institute) and has extended Štefan’s results in 1884 to grey body radiation (at that time he was professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Graz). Also, Boltzmann’s beard was much thicker, therefore we are most definitely talking about two separate persons.

    It is not a shame to be ignorant, but it is to pretend to know.

  67. I asked an alarmist a very simple question recently. What emites/gives off IR, a block of ice, a bottle of water or a pot of boiling water? He (I assume so based on name) answered water vapour. He could not grasp the fact that ice emits IR. And then accused me of asking him a “trick” question!! This is the level of scientific stupidity anyone equiped with even a basic knowledge physics has to deal with in this “debate”.

  68. Apologies for the long comment, there’s quite a lot to deal with here.

    Nikolov and Zeller’s extended conference poster ‘The Unified Theory of Climate’ was originally posted at the Talkshop a day before it was posted here at WUWT. On my website Willis says of it:

    ” I find the work of Nikolov and Jelbring to be laughable. I cannot even understand Nikolov. I invited him to state the core of his theory in a few sentences, since his writing is unintelligible….. He talks about atmospheric sponges and bowls, I can’t make sense of it…..As a result, I can’t tell if Nikolov’s theory violates the laws of thermodynamics.”

    I ran a word search on the text but could not find any references to “atmospheric sponges and bowls”. Willis often complains that people argue against what they think he said rather than directly quoting him. I think he should follow his own advice and extend the same courtesy to others.

    I also republished Hans Jelbring’s 2003 E&E paper ‘The Greenhouse Effect as a function of atmospheric Mass’ on which Hans Jelbring was kind enough to engage with Talkshop contributors.

    Willis didn’t place any comment on that thread but said elsewhere on my website:
    “Here’s the short proof, by contradiction. Jelbring proposes that a perfectly transparent, GHG-free atmosphere will raise the temperature of a planet’s surface well above the S-B temperature obtained from the average impinging solar radiation. (This is the situation of the Earth, for example.)

    But if that is so, and the surface is somehow warmed above the S-B temperature, and the atmosphere is transparent, then the surface must radiate more energy to space than it is receiving, which is clearly impossible. Q. E. D…..I said the same thing to his face—his theory breaks the laws of thermodynamics.”

    Once again Wiillis is doing what he tells other people not to do; arguing about what he thinks Dr Jelbring said instead of quoting him: Here is a brief excerpt from the beginning of section 2.1 where Hans Jelbring sets up the definitions for the model Earth in his 2003 paper. It is sufficient to dismiss Willis’ ‘proof':

    “A simplified model of Earth will be considered. The model planet does not rotate. It
    neither receives solar radiation nor emits infrared radiation into space.”

    Hans Jelbring tells me he has never met Willis face to face. To help resolve this apparent contradiction Willis could tell us when and where he
    “said the same thing to his face—his theory breaks the laws of thermodynamics.”

    Perhaps Willis is speaking figuratively, and is referring to an interaction with Hans Jelbring on the old CS email list? Before banning himself from the Talkshop because I ‘banned Joel Shore’ Willis should have engaged directly with Hans Jelbring on the same page where the entire E&E paper is published. That would have been the more scientific (and courteous) thing to do in my opinion.

    Willis complains that I am preventing Joel Shore from expressing his scientific beliefs. This is incorrect. I won’t let Joel engage in the various very active and nicely undisrupted threads we have running at the moment but instead offered him a guest post where he could set out his scientific position formally on a thread of his own. It’s a strange kind of censorship which offers the ‘victim’ the microphone and points the way to the stage. According to Willis:
    “Joel may have a hundred reasons not to want to invest the time and effort in a guest post.”

    Joel himself says:
    “I’m not particularly interested in doing a guest post. I have my hands full just trying to respond to all the misguided people over at WUWT and, with classes starting again tomorrow, I won’t be able to allow this time sink to continue for too much longer.”

    Considering the much bigger loudhailer Joel has here at the biggest climate site in the world, it’s understandable why he would think it more important to spend his time here rather than on a website which gets around 1/20 of the traffic WUWT does.

    The benefit to the Talkshop is that it enables its contributors to continue calmly discussing the merits and demerits of the properly set out scientific positions in the papers kindly provided by

    Nikolov and Zeller
    Hans Jelbring
    Gerlich and Tscheuschner
    R.P Sheehan
    Johann Josef Loschmidt
    Coombs and Laue
    Roman et al.
    Velasco et al.
    William Gilbert
    and
    Dean Brooks

    Cheers

    TB.

    [SNIP: No, there's not a lot to deal with here, Roger, you have your blog for that. As I clearly requested above, we are dealing with two things:

    • Your contribution of an elevator speech explaining Nikolov/Jelbrings work. Since you have not given one, I assume you don't understand them.

    • Your demonstration that my proof is wrong.

    As a result, I have snipped your complaints about me and what I have done and what I understand or don't understand. You can whine about that with your friends on your own website. Here, we're discussing a couple very particular scientific questions. Come back if and when you are willing to give us your elevator speech or show my proof is wrong.

    Sadly, but firmly,

    w.]

    [NOTE: Tallbloke's post has been restored in its full glory. -w.]

  69. No gas is transparent to all radiation – even if it is transparent to infrared, it will absorb ultraviolet, x-rays, something, and be heated by them..

    So the true receiving area, even for a planet with a perfect GHG free atmosphere, is the disk section of surface + atmosphere.

    And I put it to you that the resulting lapse rate could raise the surface temperature at least a little above the SB theoretical limit.

  70. Alexander Feht and others,

    If all gasses are capable of absorbing radiant energy and if all gasses are capable of emitting at least a small amount of energy by radiation, then presumably all gasses are, to at least a small degree, greenhouse gasses. So any mixed atmospheric gas, for instance one composed exclusively of N2, O2 and Ar, will absorb some component of shortwave radiation and emit longwave radiation. Therefore there will be a greenhouse effect even if it is not large.

    The question then would be whether these gasses are or are not capable of sublimation from a liquid or solid state at the Earths blackbody temperature. If the “gasses” are capable of existing in a gaseous phase at this temperature then there will be an atmospheric greenhouse effect even though it may be a small one. So logically the temperature of the gas at the earths surface must be greater than the blackbody temperature.

    It would therefore seem that the greehouse effect attributable to the usual suspects (primarily H2O, CO2, O3, CH4) is less than 100% of the full greenhouse effect.

    Could someone please explain where the above is incorrect?

  71. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:37 am

    “I will repeat it again. If there are no GHGs in the atmosphere, the atmosphere will not and cannot radiate energy. That’s the whole point. The only thing that can radiate is the surface. You keep claiming the atmosphere will radiate. It will not.”

    I dont understand this . Are you saying I cannot heat Nitrogen?
    If I put Nitrogen in a bottle. I lower the bottle in water that is constantly at 293 K. I leave it there for 50 years. Now the Nitrogen should be at 293K too.

    I build a rocket with an insulation chamber.. I put the Nitrogen bottle inside this chamber. I launch the rocket into space. Via radiocontrol I manage to open the insulation chamber and release the nitrogen bottle into empty space.

    The nitrogen bottle is now at 293K ? Empty space is…2-3K? Wouldnt the Nitrogen bottle ratiate energy?

  72. Willis,
    Thank you for your intellectual honesty: your critiques of the warmist theory is not blindfolding you when physical reality and valid physical laws have to be taken into account. So, for two reasons I appreciate the title that you gave to this post: a game of words and a call for seriousness.

    Warming is not only due to GHG. Some of the Incoming solar radiation is absorbed by nitrogen, oxygen, CO2 and water in the UV/visible range, contributing to a temperature increase of the air mass.

    In the atmosphere, there are enough components to ensure a long wave radiation according to SB law.: GHG (CO2, water, methane, nitrogen oxide), liquid water in form of clouds (cloudiness is about 60% of the Earth surface), and aerosols (liquids and solids).

    Please have a look at this simple two layers model which is just assuming the existence of an atmosphere, regardless of its composition: http://climate.mr-int.ch/TwoLayersClimateModel.html

    After having taken various feedback mechanisms the calculated surface temperature increase due to GHGs since the beginning of the industrial era is approx. 0.4°C, quite below values cited in most papers about warming, in particular by the IPCC. But some warming takes place thanks (or because of) GHGs. For any doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration a temperature increase of 0.5-0.6 °C can be expected.
    A simple (simplistic?) model giving reasonable orders of magnitude, and satisfying the golbal heat balance requirement.

  73. Alexander Feht:

    I don’t usually quote Wikipedia, But Ludwig Boltzmann’s superviser/tutor was Josef Stefan.

    And I agree with other, all gases radiate EM if above 0K. It can’t be ignored if a “greenhouse gas”-free atmosphere is being hypothesised.

  74. michael hammer says:
    January 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm
    Willis, I agree with amonst everything you said with one exception. I question the emissivity of fresh snow. Yes cetainly water and ice have IR emissivities very close to 1 but fresh snow is a mixture of ice and air with each “layer” or crystal a few to a few 10′s of microns thick. each transition of refractive index gives rise to reflections and the repeated and rapid change of refractive index results in a highly reflective surface. That is also what makes crazed paint surfaces appear whitish. It means absorptivity and hence also emissivity should be low – well below 1. I know how at least some of these absorptivity measurements are made (using an integrating sphere) and integrating spheres give the wrong answer for translucent materials – they suggest a reflectivity lower than it actually is (I know I design them). Consider how the interior of an igloo could be at +18C with minimal heating if the interior walls had an absorptivity of about 1. A high absorptivity would make an igloo more or less the equivalent of a sub zero cool store. Much more significantly, consider how the temperature in the antarctic as measured from satellites is around 180K when the coldest point even on the high plateau is more like 220K. The only way that I know for a low temperature to be recorded spectroscopically is if the surface emissivity is low.

    Its an important issue because of the claim that snow gives rise to positive feedback. Supposedly the snow reflects incoming energy whilst radiating outgoing energy so it signifiucantly cools the surface yet the ground underneath would absorb incoming energy and thus would be more warming. If the emissivity of snow is far less than 1 then that theory is disproven.

    Wow–this is something that might be put to the test–maybe even by a college-class or a high-school science fair project! (If the kid can get a grant.)

    [COMMENT: Roger, I use the MODIS IR emission library for this question. It gives the same value as Geiger, .98 or so - w.]

  75. I found this thread somewhat interesting until I read tallbloke’s rebuttal just above. Willis is being disingenuous, setting up a strawman to knock down and thus not engaging with the actual theoretical model he claims to be taking apart.

    [SNIP: If you wish to accuse me of being disingenuous, quote my words or go home. I won't stand for this kind of vague nasty accusation, that's a slimy tactic. And if you believe a man like Tallbloke, who censors scientific opinion that he disagrees with, you are an idiot. -w.]

  76. Okay I obviously know very little compared to you lot, but surely planet Earth has to radiate more than it receives to maintain a crust… ?

  77. Steve C says (January 14, 2012 at 12:45 am): “Willis, surely your transparent atmosphere is, like the standard GHE model, an unphysical and unhelpful concept, since in reality all gases will have some absorptive / emissive characteristics.”

    I assume W’s “transparent atmosphere” is a conceptually ideal experimental tool much like the frictionless planes and weightless pulleys I remember (vaguely) from physics class. Granted it may not apply to any real atmosphere, but we’re talking about a narrow thought experiment, not real life.

  78. Somehow, I have difficulty with the concept of a perfectly transparent atmosphere, one that does not absorb radiation. As has been pointed out, neither could it emit radiation. An interesting concept, but not available in this particular galaxy.

    Genghis is closest to my thoughts on this. The atmosphere is going to sort itself out to the adiabatic lapse rate temps, and the radiative “surface” is going to rise, warmer below, cooler above.

    The dry adiabatic lapse rate is g / Cp, where g is gravity and Cp is the specific heat of the atmosphere. The lapse rate does not vary with elevation, which means that Cp doesn’t vary with density, so I don’t see how a denser atmosphere would perforce be warmer.

    Lapse rate indeed has nothing to do with elevation, but density does. A denser atmosphere will be thicker, for any gas. We think of elevation in terms of “up,” but a better term for our purposes would be “depth.” Starting at the top of the atmosphere, zero depth, zero density, the deeper you go, more more distance that lapse rate has to work, thus higher temperature.

  79. Willis [NOT SO. Repeat after me, "GHG-free atmosphere". The surface is the only thing that can radiate. w.]
    Since both the surface and the atmosphere consist of atoms and molecules, it might help if you explain the fundamental difference between them that allows the surface to radiate, but not the atmosphere.
    You must envision some solid materials that emit far infra red that passes unchanged through the non-GHG atmosphere. They are all around us. The commercial FLIR camera will detect temperature differences that show as lifelike images via a microbolometer detector, into the tens of microns wavelength range at least. The “image” can travel many kilometers through the atmosphere. The cameras perform better when the interior optical path, where the image is smaller and more concentrated after passing through lenses, is filled with dry nitrogen gas to remove absorbers CO2 and H2O (gas). The idealised FLIR camera would seem to be a working example of your preferred elevator in action.

    For a model where an atmosphere is suddenly introduced, there would be an equilibration period. Depending on the precise method, there should be heating from gravitational compression. Then there would be cooling, because the introduction process is a once-off, not a continuous one. The cooling cannot reintroduce hot material by conduction or convection to lead to an overall gain because the external heat sorce has a constant input in the first approximation.

    BTW, it would be interesting to know if there is a compilation of global surface temperatures taken a few meters BELOW the surface. We seems to be fixated on certain concepts because Stevenson screens with thermometers were a meter and a bit above the surface.

  80. Willis I cannot believe that you do not understand adiabatic heat gains due to compression. [SNIP- I specifically asked you to stick to elevator speeches and disproving my proof. -w.]

  81. shot in the dark.

    [SNIP ... I specifically asked people not to shoot in the dark. -w]

    Anyway i hope that helped.

    [It didnt. -w]

  82. I have only one question, why all the argument over a hyperthetic planet with an unreal atmosphere using equations that only apply to something that does not exist.

    We have a real planet and a real atmosphere and a sun, the vagarities of which are real, there is a mystery to solve and the answers do not lay in hyperthetics.

  83. Is there a virtual bar where Willis, TB and JS can line up at the bar and sink a few whiskies and settle their differences? Such’he said/you said/they said’ squables are a distraction from the far more important AGW debate. Its good to disagree and debate, its not good to throw your toys out of the pram.

  84. And discussing the chemical composition of methane, CH4, with the same person in my previous post claimed CH4 had “4 carbons”…and was “interesting”. I think CH4 having “4 carbons” would be interesting to many.

  85. The air above the south pole in winter has as little CO2 and H2O as you’ll get anywhere, so makes the nearest thing to a GHG-free atmosphere we have.
    If calibrated beacons at various wavelengths were put there the Dr. Spencer’s satellites could get a direct reading of absorption from a GHG-free atmosphere??

  86. Steve (Paris) says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:48 am

    “Is there a virtual bar where Willis, TB and JS can line up at the bar and sink a few whiskies and settle their differences? Such’he said/you said/they said’ squables are a distraction from the far more important AGW debate. Its good to disagree and debate, its not good to throw your toys out of the pram.”

    Well said, Sir. However, responsible bar staff would eject – at least two of them – for being excessively drunk wih their own importance

  87. The thought experiment is interesting, but its usefulness may be limited by its own constraints.

    The issue is defined in terms of surface temperature, and not temperature of the gas.

    This ideal transparent gas can be warmed from the surface, and this means gas temperature above the surface could rise above the surface temperature. All we need is a day/night temperature profile at the surface, and convection to selectively warm the gas at higher levels towards the higher daytime surface temperature. This could eventually settle with the almost the whole atmosphere at the highest surface temperature with a very slim Temperature profile near the surface due to conduction.

    Energy is conserved as the gas is a perfect insulator (constrained to not radiate at any frequency).

    I’m not sure whether this thought experiment adds much to the debate. As I understand things, all matter will emit photons at certain frequencies so long as electrons are excited and then drop to ground state. The ideal non-emitting atmosphere sounds unphysical.

    There may be more productive thought experiments if we were to focus more on the kinetic theory of temperature and pressure.

    Cheers – I’m now off to the football (soccer) to observe other examples of kinetics.

  88. “Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Genghis says:
    January 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    1. The non greenhouse gas atmosphere is a perfect conduction insulator to space, it can’t radiate its heat out.

    True

    2. The radiation transparent atmosphere is heated from the surface via conduction/convection until the atmospheric average temperature is at the S-B average. (Almost exactly the same way GHG’s heat the atmosphere, except that it is the planets surface molecules directly heating the atmosphere.)

    I don’t think so. As soon as the dry adiabatic lapse rate temperature profile is established, circulation will stop and the atmospheric temperature will stabilize. ”

    Perhaps, but on earth we have a night and and day. Whereas night may in some degree may stablize. Day time with sunlight will heat the ground and air will rise- destabilizing the adiabatic lapse rate.

  89. I think that the planet has to be considered as a whole – including its atmosphere – and that it must obey the laws of thermodynamics regardless of energy transport mechanisms. I have tried the following as a mind clearing exercise:

    “Considering the entropy of the planet as a whole, including the conductive effects of the surface – gas boundary and with calculations performed within a boundary high above the top of the atmosphere, the lapse rate acts to maximise entropy, and minimise enthalpy, in a near – equilibrium thermodynamic system that constantly seeks equilibrium as a consequence of rotation. the laws of thermodynamics subsume the effects of all energy transport mechanisms – conduction, convection and radiation.”

    I think that he implication is that only insolation, gravity, rotation and the mass of the atmosphere are responsible for “climate”, and that doubling, tripling or whatever the mass of CO2 will have a negligible effect on the total mass of the atmosphere, and hence would not lead to any measurable effects on the “climate”.

    I am not sure if the “total mass of the atmosphere” should read (the bulk specific heat of the atmosphere”

  90. Willis, you have just done something no man has done before. In all the years of lurking on climate sites this is the first time I’ve seen peoples objections to the radiation balance model reduced to pretty much a single theme. Normally we all but drown in the extravagence of response.

    My challenge to you is to now is to get just the right words to convey the fact that, if a gas doesn’t significantly absorb in a given wavelength range, then it follows that it doesn’t significantly emit in the same range. A challenge for the elevator speech maestro.

  91. Willis – I need to think more about your explanation, so I may (or may not) come back again some time later.

    As a first comment, it seems to me that your explanation of why N&Z are wrong can equally be applied to greenhouse theory.
    If all energy leaving the earth is radiated from the surface, then, by your own explanation, greenhouses gasses cannot warm the surface, as all additional warming would be radiated out into space to preserve equilibrium at the top of the atmosphere and surface temperatures would quickly return to pre greenhouse levels.

    Something may be wrong with your facts or with you analysis, me-thinks.
    Never-the-less, I almost enjoy your posts.

  92. Willis – just a quick, second comment.
    I suggest that you think some more about how heat is transferred around the planet and up and down in the atmosphere, before being radiated out into space.

    And a request for clarification – is heat radiated out into space directly from the surface or from the top of the atmosphere?
    How do these two factors mesh with temperature on the surface, the near surface where it is measured, and the top of the atmosphere?
    How does the lapse rate fit in and how is that caused?

  93. Willis is correct…if the atmosphere cannot absorb or emit IR, then the surface must emit thermal radiation at the same average rate as it absorbs solar radiation, which then (through the S-B relationship) yields a much lower average energy-equilibrium temperature than that observed.

    Conduction into the ground or to the atmosphere does not alter this fact. Conduction might change the timeline if the ground or atmosphere are not at the same temperature as the surface, but eventually the average temperature of the surface must correspond to the average rate of solar absorption, since IR emission by the surface is the only way for the planet to cool in the face of solar heating (in the absence of a GHE).

    As I have discussed on my blog, the observed temperature lapse rate of the atmosphere only describes how temperature CHANGES with height *IF* the atmosphere is convecting. It says nothing about what the temperature will be, in an absolute sense, which is an energy budget issue. If the atmosphere cannot absorb/emit IR, it would become isothermal, and all convection would cease. The greenhouse effect is what destabilizes the troposphere (by cooling the upper layers) and enables convective overturning. Without the GHE, we would not have weather as we know it.

  94. I think many commentators are confused because they have heard or read the somewhat loose statement ‘All substances above absolute zero emit electromagnetic radiation’. This is certainly true for solids and liquids but it is NOT true for low density gases in our atmosphere. At atmospheric pressures gases absorb and radiate in specific spectral lines. Let me clarify, this is not just my opinion, this is an empirical result based on measurement (no models involved). Gases such as oxygen and nitrogen do absorb (and emit) at short wavelengths but not perceptibly in the long wave infrared where the greenhouse effect is important.
    Kwik says: January 14, 2012 at 2:08 am “Are you saying I cannot heat Nitrogen?”.
    No, Kwick, this means that you cannot heat nitrogen with long wave infrared radiation. You can heat it, as you describe, by putting it in a bottle and immersing the bottle in hot water – but not by LWIR radiation.
    As I say, these things are confirmed by actual measurements. The following graph of the spectral distribution of downwelling (‘back’) radiation at the earth’s surface is very informative in this respect. Note that there is no typical blackbody distribution, instead radiation comes back from the atmosphere in specific spectral bands. There is no contribution from oxygen or nitrogen. Notice the dominant input from CO2 – the clear ‘fingerprint’ of CO2 in ‘back radiation’.

    Again – these are measurements, not models.
    So, when Willis talks of a transparent GHG-free atmosphere he postulates an atmosphere that is not going to absorb radiation – and if it doesn’t absorb then it doesn’t emit – Kirchoff’s Law,
    Is that clear?

  95. @John Marshall and all the other adiabatic compressors

    Adiabatic compression cannot warm an atmosphere in any lasting way.

    When a gas is compressed adiabatically its temperature is raised as long as no heat escapes from the gas.
    In the real world, near-adiabatic compression usually only happens when a gas is compressed very quickly, as, for example, in a bike pump.

    If you hold the gas compressed, heat will gradually escape by conduction/convection/radiation and the temperature will fall until it reaches ambient temperature again. A compressed atmosphere will just leak heat to its surroundings and return to ambient temperature.

    A gas is not hotter just because it is denser. If it were, liquified gases would not be possible.

    How can gravity apply continuous work compressing the atmosphere?
    When does it decompress? (If a gas decompresses it loses heat (because of the work it is doing in expanding) and its temperature falls).

    In other words a one-off compression will not permanently raise the temperature of an atmosphere.

  96. Solids absorb and radiate in a black body manner because of there electron structure gives near continuous energy levels. Gas however do not interact with radiation fields unless the energy of the radiation corresponds to an discrete energy level of the molecule most the vibration modes are in the IR most of the atomic levels are in the visible or higher energies. Green house gases have vibrations modes in the IR and absorb and radiate.

    Now come on this is basic physics.

    The adiabatic lapse rate which this thread is talking about only gives the temperate change between the top and bottom of atmosphere. If the earth temp is -18C then the top will be a lot lower.

    It tells us nothing on its own about the surface temperature.

    Paulus

  97. Willis,
    As a final comment tonight, may I suggest that you put aside all that you have learnt about greenhouse theory and just read the N&Z paper and see what it actually says.
    [SNIP: If you understand it, give us the elevator speech. If not, why are you posting? w.]

  98. Mouse fur, 0.94
    —–
    Wow, thats soo cool, mice are soo cute.

    Wanna add few remarks:

    [SNIP: read the instructions. Elevator speeches and disproofs only. And mice. Mice are cute. -w.]

  99. What is the physics explanation for why temperatures of a gas/star/planet increase as it is gravitationally compressed?

    Why does matter do this?

    I think the answer to this question will point to the answer about an atmosphere in gravitational equilibrium.

    Otherwise, in a non-GHG atmosphere, the molecules next to the surface will be colliding with the surface 8 billion times per second.

    Energy will be transferred from the surface to the non-GHG molecules in translational energy. These molecules then appararently NEVER lose their energy without colliding with another non-GHG molecule or the surface again. I don’t see how the atmosphere does not continually increase in temperature then. At some point, millions of years worth of solar energy will be locked up in the inert atmosphere.

    [COMMENT: This is total nonsense. I mean, there is not a valid scientific thought in it. I leave it in to give a flavor of the nonsense that I am snipping. Give me your elevator speech, disprove my proof, or stay schtumm. What in that is not clear? -w.]

  100. Let’s take a step back.

    [SNIP: No, let's not. Read the instructions. Elevator speeches and disproofs only. -w.]

  101. Like Willis, I found Nikolov & Zeller’s poster, well, inscrutable. And I confess to being appalled at how many arguments on this thread are so clearly based on violating conservation of energy.

    But anyone who has even a nodding acquaintance with tallbloke’s evenhandedness on the one hand and Joel Shore’s often ill-mannered thread monopolizing on the other should be able to appreciate that, not blessed with the moderator manpower that Wattsupwiththat enjoys, tallbloke’s choice to segregate Joel Shore’s output in a separate thread was a reasonable solution to the problem, brought on by Joel Shore, of how to avoid intolerable disruption but preserve open discourse.

    I personally have benefited greatly from tallbloke’s blog, and I commend it to everyone’s attention.

  102. [NOT SO. Repeat after me, "GHG-free atmosphere". The surface is the only thing that can radiate. w.]

    You keep saying that, but it’s BS.

    [SNIP: No, it's not bs, it's called science. -w]

  103. [snip - you seem to forget the comment where you told Willis and I to go F*** ourselves about a month ago. As a result of that, and continued threadjacking and references to your website to try to draw traffic, you've been banned, do the words get out and stay out have any meaning to you? Apparently not. - Anthony]

  104. OK Willis, I’ll bite.

    Daytime;
    Consider a photon leaving the sun in the IR absorption band of CO2.

    [SNIP- I'm talking about a GHG-free atmosphere, why are you discussing CO2? -.w]

  105. Willis, my best shot at an elevator speech version of Huffman’s analysis. I am not saying that I believe him to be right, or that I even properly understand his claims, I merely observe that to me, a layperson, it makes sense and is simple. My original question was to seek a comparison between N&Z and Huffman’s ideas.
    —————————————————————————————————-

    All energy in the system is received from the sun.

    The ‘US Standard Atmosphere’ defines the pressure/temperature gradient for the Earth atmosphere. For example, at sea level, the pressure is determined to be 1013 millibars and temperature 15C, while at 20000 metres the pressure is determined to be 55.29 Mb and the temperature -56.5C.

    The atmosphere is largely warmed by direct solar infrared irradiation (the surface can and does warm a part of the atmosphere – but only transiently and locally).

    ‘Visible’ light passes through the atmosphere without warming it but is also reflected back by clouds, ice etc. The portion of the solar irradiance which warms the Earth atmosphere is the same portion as heats the Venusian atmosphere – the differing albedos play no part in that absorption.

    The Venusian atmosphere at the same pressure levels as defined in the US Standard Atmosphere has a temperature that is 1.176 times that of earth (for example, at 1000Mb Earth has a temp of 288K and Venus 1.176 times that or 338K, while at 600Mb the figures are 260.8K and 302.1K respectively).

    The 1.176:1.00 ratio is derived from the difference in distance from the sun – Venus receives 1.91 times the power from the sun when compared to Earth due to being closer, and applying SB to obtain the 4th root of the power gives 1.176.

    Atmospheric pressure does not cause heating rather it enables the atmosphere to retain more heat energy per volume at higher pressures. ‘Greenhouse gasses’ via radiation facilitate increasingly rapid distribution of heat throughout the atmosphere rather than heating it per se (ie local temperature variations are more quickly dissipated by heat transfer, both vertically and around the planet).

    The greenhouse effect does not warm the atmosphere, the sun does directly.

  106. Bill Illis says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:10 am

    [SNIP: PLease stick to either an elevator speech, or a formal showing that my proof above is incorrect. Thanks, -w.]

  107. Stefan-Bolzmann radiation is called black body radiation because it applies to bodies. S-B radiation may apply to the atmosphere, but at orders of magnitude less than the surface. Willis is right to ignore any atmospheric S-B effect.

    “Greenhouse” gases – CO2, H2O, NH4, etc, are such because their asymmetric modes of molecular vibration interact with long-wave radiation, at quantised energy levels. O2, N2 don’t have asymmetric modes of vibration. They can’t absorb long wave radiation ON ANYTHING LIKE THE SAME ORDER OF MAGNITUDE, and can therefore be ignored as “greenhouse” gases. It’s basic physical chemistry.

    [Thanks, Phil. Fighting this level of ignorance is like wading through molasses. I appreciate the assistance. -w.]

  108. I doubt that these novel theories are correct since they sound to me like perpetual motion machines, but there are two sources of energy that would have to be ruled out or at least quantified, the rotation of the planet and tidal effects, since these could perturb the atmosphere and keep the machine from running down. Instead, the orbit of the moon, and the speed of the earth’s rotation runs down.

    That being said, it sounds like a theory people want to believe.

  109. Willis,
    Of course you are correct. Not sure how many you will help to understand this simple concept, but I applaude your efforts. I become too frustrated when I try to do this sort of thing.

    Too bad about Tallbloke; he is supporting nonsense and behaving like Tamino…. a bad combination.

  110. Willis, what is the temperature of the atmosphere as due to difficulties in losing energy it doesn’t seem well constrained?

  111. wayne says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:30 am
    Bill Illis says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:10 am

    [SNIP: PLease stick to either an elevator speech, or a formal showing that my proof above is incorrect. Thanks, -w.]

  112. First of all I think this deserves a historical perspective. The reason the GHG-less atmosphere became a discussion point is because it highlights the claims of N&Z. If gravity/conduction/convection are to replace the GHE then they should do it when no GHGs are present.

    Willis is absolutely correct that this simply can’t work. I initially tried to find some way to make N&Z work myself. I failed and I admit it.

    However, there is something very important to take out of the N&Z paper. If one follows it to its obvious conclusion one finds that, yes, GHGs are required, but, it only takes a modest amount of GHGs to provide the MAXIMUM GHE. That’s why N&Z found so many planets temperature can be determined by a simple formula. They all have reached the maximum GHE. Hence, the addition of more GHGs will have no impact on the temperature.

    One possible reason for this has to do with the turbulence of gases. The turbulence mixes the gases very well and drives the heavier gases like CO2 to greater altitudes. Since the GHE is essentially determined by the height of the effective radiating temperature, that height is almost immediately quite high. This also means that additional CO2 has almost no effect. The basic reason for this has to do with gravity placing bounds on the atmosphere.

    Think of a basketball. I can fill it with a little air and the structure does not change much. Put in more air and it gets a little more firm but still stays pretty much the same. I have to put in a lot of air to get the ball to expand to any degree. Gravity puts the same general limits on an atmosphere. Clearly, not as much as my analogy but along the principle.

    As a result the GHE becomes a function of pressure (gravity and mass) just as N&Z stated. However, some GHGs are required.

    [Richard, thanks ... but if you could boil that handwaving down to an elevator speech, I might be able to understand what you are saying. Leave out the basketballs, and explain the science of what you claim N&Z say is happening. -w.]

  113. Now, I’m happy for folks to comment on this proof, or to give us their elevator speech about the Jelbring or the N&Z hypothesis

    Wills. I can see a fairly easy way to prove or disprove the thesis. First a thought experiment and then a real one.

    You and most folks only talk in terms of radiative theory when talking about temperature but that is not the only way that energy is exchanged.

    Lets say that the sun is shining and the atmosphere is 100% transparent to infrared energy. We have to think about what is actually happening when the sun shines on a surface. Speaking in simple terms a photon in the visible spectrum (say 550 nanometers) has energy x. That photon strikes a surface that is capable of absorbing that energy x. This raises the temperature of a single molecule by y. Since this is happening en masse, you would do a summation of x and y and eventually you get the rise in temperature of the surface as described in the S-B equations.

    There is a lag time between absorption and emission of energy, depending on many factors but between the absorption time T and the emission time T1, there is time for elastic collisions between the molecules of the surface, and the molecules of the non IR emitting atmosphere above it. These elastic collisions increase the energy of the molecules, and thus the temperature. Since the molecules cannot radiate in the infrared anymore than they can absorb energy in the infrared, the temperature of the atmosphere rises and via convection, the energy absorbed by the molecules is spread through the same elastic collisions between molecules. Thus we now have a mechanism whereby the temperature of the atmosphere rises without any resort to radiative theory at all.

    This is very easy to test. Take a cylinder of air without any GHG’s in it. The cylinder needs to be to be at say 25c. At the bottom of the cylinder you have a radiative surface that you raise in temperature to say 75c, which is close to what the temperature of the ground would be with the sun shining directly down on it. Use multiple temperature probes at 50 cm intervals from the bottom of the cylinder to the top.

    If this hypothesis is true you will se a temperature gradient between the first probe at 50cm and subsequent ones. As convection takes hold due to the gradient, eventually the temperature of the gas will rise to the temperature of the emitting surface, and this is without any resort to GHG’s.

    The reverse would happen at night with the atmosphere transferring energy to the ground and with nothing more than mechanical energy equations I can describe an atmosphere above the S-B average temperature.

    So the elevator pitch is that we can describe a atmosphere with no GHG’s that is above the S-B temperature by resorting to nothing more than equations of mechanical energy transfer.

    What is wrong with this picture?

    [Thanks, Dennis. If as you claim the atmosphere is above the S-B temperature and the surface is still at S-B temperature, heat will be constantly flowing 24/7 from the warmer atmosphere to the cooler surface ... and that violates conservation of energy. -w.]

  114. Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect

    Both sides of the argument generally stated miss the basic point of an atmospheric greenhouse gas causing a higher ground temperature. In order to understand what is occurring, you first have to …

    [SNIP: Read the instructions, stick to an elevator speech for Nikolov or Jelbring, or a falsification of my proof. Thanks, -w.]

  115. The mechanics of W. Eschenbach’s thinking is interesting to observe. Temperature is a property of matter. Willis can’t grasp how gravity, which directly controls the gradient density of an atmosphere which is constantly stirred, agitated and wafted, can influence our surface temperature. Wow. Does gravity influence density? Is heating more efficient when you stir a dense or thin fluid?

    [Again, I'll leave this in, to give a flavor of the vague nonsense folks are posting. Please read the instructions, stick to an elevator speech for Nikolov or Jelbring, or a falsification of my proof. Thanks, -w.]

  116. [SNIP: Read the instructions, stick to an elevator speech for Nikolov or Jelbring, or a falsification of my proof. Thanks, -w.]

  117. This is my “elevator speech” version of the discussion so far.

    Postulate. Gibberish-gibberish-gibberish.

    You’re right. Gibberish-gibberish-gibberish.

    You’re wrong. Gibberish-gibberish-gibberish.

    You’re all wrong and the original postulate is beeswax. This is why. Gibberish-gibberish-gibberish.

    What’s a liberal arts education to make of all this? Could someone please tell me if humans are causing the planet to burn up, or what?

  118. [SNIP: Read the instructions, stick to an elevator speech for Nikolov or Jelbring, or a falsification of my proof. Thanks, -w.]

  119. [SNIP: Read the instructions, stick to an elevator speech for Nikolov or Jelbring, or a falsification of my proof. Thanks, -w.]

  120. I’m convinced you’re right, Willis. The simple energy conservation is enough. Roy Spencer & many others agree.

    Willis & others should continue to be patient. Everyone can’t be convinced. I feel fortunate for a good thermo education & work experience to follow most of this — at least in general. Coal-fired boiler design (especially in radiant boilers) has to take into account radiation effects of H2O & CO2 in the flue gas.

  121. Why not test the data?

    There is a recent statistical method that can be used to separate cause and effect from multiple interacting variables. Originally developed for economics, this technique looks like a possible way forward to resolve the cause and effect climate question.

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

    Vector autoregression (VAR) is a statistical model used to capture the linear interdependencies among multiple time series. VAR models generalize the univariate autoregression (AR) models. All the variables in a VAR are treated symmetrically; each variable has an equation explaining its evolution based on its own lags and the lags of all the other variables in the model. VAR modeling does not require expert knowledge, which previously had been used in structural models with simultaneous equations.

    Sims advocated VAR models as providing a theory-free method to estimate economic relationships, thus being an alternative to the “incredible identification restrictions” in structural models.[1]. Sims was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in applying VAR models to macroeconomic analysis.[2]

    [Interesting, so I'll leave it. But in general, read the instructions, stick to an elevator speech for Nikolov or Jelbring, or a falsification of my proof. Thanks, -w.]

  122. I am enjoying the thought process here. Some aren’t paying attention to Willis’ constraints:
    1. The perfectly smooth, perfectly round, single substance planet is receiving equal amounts of heat/energy uniformly from all directions.
    2. The added surrounding atmosphere is perfectly transparent to the heat/energy sources.
    In this scenario, it would logically seem that since the atmosphere by definition can have no effect, it is having no effect; the denseness of the atmosphere caused by gravity will not matter.
    However, now replace that atmosphere with one of 100% of any other gas, also insuring that the parameters will not be such that the gas will cool or warm enough to change state. Now, the warmer surface of the planet will heat the portion of that atmosphere that touches it, and heat “rises” (moves away from the center of gravity) toward the upper levels of the atmosphere while the cooler gas replaces it and is being heated and it “rises”, etc. until it reaches equilibrium.
    If I’ve got that correct, than here are my questions: If there was only a “ball” of that gas in that same theoretical position, what would the temperature of center of the gas be? Would it not be lower than the surface of the theoretical planet? If so, then with all the conduction and convection going on in the planet/gas configuration, wouldn’t the gas ultimately be a coolant for the planet? Wouldn’t gravity be the driving force causing the heat to be moved away from the surface of the planet by pulling the cooler, denser gas toward it?
    In this regard, I have a serious doubt regarding “down welling” in this scenario, too. Even if the chosen 100% gas is CO2, wouldn’t warmer molecules always “rise” or move away from the surface? As has been pointed out many times, the radiation is “out welling” – moving out in all directions. Essentially, if all the molecules in a given area are “out welling” at essentially the same rate, wouldn’t they all move somewhat together, taking their heat/energy with them, “up” or away from the center of gravity?

  123. Willis, can you also confirm that your model has an atmosphere thst can not radiate any energy at all? It seems there are a lot of posters that question that assumption, if so.

    I thought anything raisef in energy tends to radiate it away eventually.

  124. I suggest you can test both theories with data at the South Pole during the six months of night. There is no direct energy input from the sun. Water vapor is the least of any place on earth and the accumulation of snow is a measure of energy conservation. The air is thinner at that altitude. Energy is being delivered by the atmosphere and lost to space by radiation. These input and output rates can tell us if atmospheric CO2 has had any significant “greenhouse” effect.

  125. Essentially, more mass equals more gravity which results in a hotheaded person, radiating fury at a crazier rate the denser he be. :p

  126. I dont know the theories of N&Z but the physics in your example are quite easy and clear. An atmosphere will increase the temperature of the planet even if the atmosphere does not emit infrared. The reason is that the atmosphere will get heated by the ground by convective heat transfer. Because of this heating the air at the ground will raise up and create air circulation causing a redistribution of heat from hot parts of the planet to cold parts of the planet. In other words heat will be transfered from the ground to the atmosphere in hot places and heat will be transfered from the atmosphere to the ground in cold places. The result is that acording to the T^4 law the temperature has to be higher to emit the same amount of energy. All of this ofcause assumes that the planet is rotating. The confusion stems from the fact that there are more than one way that heat can be transfered or moved.

    – Convective heat transfer only happens between a liquid/solid gas/solid og gas/liquid interface
    – conductive heat transfer only happens inside solids
    – radiation
    – Mass transfer for eksample when air moves from one place to another carrying stored heat
    – Phase transitions like evaporation and solidification.

    In this case Willis has forgotten about the convective heat transfer. and the mass transfer modes of moving heat. If convective heat transfer and mass transfer does not happen Willis is right.

  127. In an atmosphere basically IR-inert, there would still be an adiabatic lapse rate due to pressure differential with altitude.

    Gas heated by conduction from the surface would expand and rise (convection), trading thermal kinetic energy for potential (gravitational) energy.

    This thermal energy convected away from the surface as potential energy is no longer available for reradiation, and the potential energy acquired will be expended when the now-cooled body of gas eventually descends to equalize the pressure differential caused by the rising of another warmed body of gas.

    This is why the “evenly-heated average” image has to be discarded for a more realistic picture of constantly-changing areas of maximal warmth (i.e. planetary rotation; noon is always moving).

    So whether weather is climate or not, weather clearly regulates climate, and both received solar energy and gravity contribute to both weather and climate. The question (here again) is the relative magnitude of the “greenhouse” contribution, not whether it exists or not.

  128. jorgekafkazar says:
    January 13, 2012 at 11:27 pm
    “Is that short a tube accurate enough for the levels of energy and accuracy we’re dealing with?”

    If I remember my light physics correctly, light energy is lost by destructive interference laterally during transmission through the atmosphere. I do not know what proportion is lost but the sky is blue because of the lateral dispersion. This dispersion to the atmosphere might the atmosphere a bit but it would decrease the energy reaching the surface, making it difficult to hold the planet up to a gas less black body radiation budget. It would not be fair.

    Also, I know the discussion involves surface temperature but the numbers we have for Earth are NOT surface temps, they are from 5–6 feet above the surface; thus, atmosphere is being measured not the surface. Measuring the surface would be much too circumstantial regarding conditions, materials, etc. I am coming to an apples and oranges position, albeit reluctantly.

  129. In science there is only one test that has any meaning. The ability to predict. The method that gives the best predictions is the best theory.

    N&Z have found a means to predict the temperature of planets based on atmospheric density. Repeat their exercise with radiation and see if it gives a better result. Not just on one of two planets and moons, but all of them.

    Because in the end, a theory that matches the data in one of two cases, but fails in other cases, is a failed theory. So far, the climate models which are based on the radiation theory have done a pretty poor job of forecasting temperatures since 2000. This suggests there is more to the story that GHG.

  130. Willis
    I admire your honesty and your knowledge. (perhaps a tiny bit less anger wouldn’t go amiss!)
    II totally agree with your reasoning.
    The only difficulty I have is with “bb radiation”:
    a) it is said all matter radiates broadband according to its temperature
    b) it is then said gases do not radiate in this manner but only radiate at discrete wavelengths (GGs at LWIR and O2 N2 in UV This is the reason why the sun does not heat the atmosphere little UV gets through to gnd level)
    c) most people seem to have trouble with the concept of GHG free air not being able to cool / heat other than by conduction ( a N2 packet – uncontained – of gas in a vacuum would not cool – any containment would heat and then BB radiate to cool the gas by conduction).

    Perhaps they also need to consider a roughened black anodised aluminium block radiating efficiently – change the surface – polish it to 100% reflectance and most would agree that radiation will be reduced. i.e. change its state and you change its level of radiation.

    Can the same be said of a gas.
    Does liquid nitrogen have a bb radiation? I would say yes.
    Does changing to gas then change the only radiation to a few lines in UV? I am not sure but side with the possibility that non-GHGs do not have bb-radiation

    Can anyone who can show proof that gasses to NOT have “BB-radiation” please?
    scienceofdoom has promised to cover this!

  131. My elevator speech to fellow engineers is this: GH gasses are qualitatively like applying insulation on a hot pipe — it impedes heat-loss to the environment (outer space in earth’s case). Once applied, the pipe’s insulation surface (tropopause) is cooler than the bare pipe is (earth’s surface). So it’s losing less heat when insulated & the heated pipe surface (earth’s surface) is warmer than w/o the “insulation”.

    That’s where the proposed 33K GHG rise (insulation effect) comes from — 288K (earth surface) – 255K (tropopause surface). Not a bad approximation, but valid IMO for an atmosphere w/only non-condensible GH gasses.

  132. I recently watched a Horizon program on the BBC that mentioned the ‘South Atlantic Anomaly’. A strange depression in the earths magnetic field that affected the Hubble Space telescope. If this is the case then according to the Svensmark hypothesis then surely there should be an increase in cloudiness in this area. Does anybody now whether this is the case ? An interesting little study for some enterprising research student.

  133. Planet without atmosphere warms to S-B temperature. Energy out = energy in. Everyone happy.

    Wrap planet in an atmosphere (GHG free if you wish), atmosphere provides a insulation effect, ‘slowing’ the release of the out going energy, temperature of planet rises to a sufficient level that the original energy out figure is reached.

    Planet plus atmosphere give same energy out = energy in but with the planets near surface warmer than before. Everyone happy.

    In both cases the energy in and out are the same, no rules broken.

    Specifying which heat transport mechanism is in use and by how much does not help the basic explanation.

  134. Hunter raised questions regarding snow as a blackbody. Between temperatures of
    250 and 273 K, reasonable for snow, the emissivity is about 0.98. You’ll notice that snow around trees- picking up the infrared radiation from the tree, melts a lot faster than snow further from the trees.

  135. Nature is not in any way influenced by the logic of argument. What may seem completely rational and logical has been shown time and time again to be wrong. If your argument describes nature, then it will have predictive power. If there exists a single case where this prediction fails, this is evidence that the argument does not describe nature, simply coincidence.

  136. Willis, you responded to one post as valid. Your response did not mae sense to me. here is the assertion you rejected…

    4. The thicker and denser the atmosphere, the higher the near surface atmospheric temperature will be.

    Willis responded…

    I don’t think so. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is g / Cp, where g is gravity and Cp is the specific heat of the atmosphere. The lapse rate does not vary with elevation, which means that Cp doesn’t vary with density, so I don’t see how a denser atmosphere would perforce be warmer.
    —————————————

    I am not certain Willis’s response makes sense to me. The lapse rate may be constant, but it is a constant VARIATION,which appears to be predicated on g and Cp. (IE, the greater the gravity, the higher the specific heat of the atmosphere) What does “specific heat emanate from? If specific heat, which is the heat capacity per unit mass of a material, then the more materials there are per volume, then the greater heat per volume. Therefore an atmosphere of more (denser) material, will have a higher specific heat content then a thinner atmosphere. The lapse rate will be the same in both atmosphers, just the starting point or temperature will be different.

    What am I missing here?

  137. Willis

    interesting post as always.

    There seems to be some confusion about the roles of conduction and convection in the GHG free atmosphere. I think the point is that when the GHG free atmosphere is ‘added’ it will take some time for the system to reach equilbrium. During this period the atmosphere will be heated by conduction and I think it therefore follows that during this period the outgoing radiation will be LESS than the incoming radiation simply because some of that energy is being used to heat the atmosphere by conduction. Once the system reaches equilibrium I think you are quite correct -incoming radiation will equal outgoing radiation. The outgoing radiation from the surface will pass through the atmosphere as if it was not there.

    Roy Spencer says that in this model convection has no role to play. I would not argue with Roy. But even if there was convection all it would do is assist in raising the atmosphere to equilibrium temperature.

  138. Willis Eschenbach listed a book as a reference. More convenient would be online sites.
    Years ago, I was searching the web trying to get at least a highschool science understanding of the greenhouse effect, as opposed to heuristic handwaving,. The firs numerical site I found was the late John Daly’s site: Here’s a good link describing the greenhouse effect.

    http://www.john-daly.com/miniwarm.htm

    From there, it was guest papers like this,

    http://www.john-daly.com/artifact.htm,

    other sites like this,

    http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/387H/Lectures/chap2.pdf

    and finally links to other sites, leading to “Climate Audit”, and finally to the promised land-
    “Watts Up With That?”

  139. Willis, excellent elevator pitch!

    I agree completely, as the gas, which can’t radiate or absorb, will gain energy from contact with the surface, causing the surface temperature to drop. Since the gas can’t radiate the energy away, and the surface temperature has dropped, the next contact of a gas molecule with the surface will exchange energy in the other direction. Initially, the temperature will drop, but in the steady state, the temperature of the surface will remain at the non-atmospheric level. The mass at the steady state temperature has increased, but the temperature has not. The “missing radiation” from the surface was used to increase the gas temperature to that previously enjoyed by the surface. As soon as that has be accomplished, the system is once again in equilibrium.

  140. Michael Reed,

    I believe you have made a profound point. Engineers such as myself struggle for years with expert help to understand these devilishly complex technical questions/issues. Without having gone through that, you must rely on someone who has. Find one you trust and ask him or her.

    Failing that, I will answer. No, we are not. The earth has been far warmer and far cooler than now, with far higher, but not much lower, concentrations of CO2. There is no correlation between the two according to data from many sources. The “average temperature of the earth” is nearly impossible to ascertain, and we have only been recording temperature data in more than just a few places since 1851, and not accurately enough to determine whether changes mean anything. For example, climate scientists debate changes on the order of 0.01 degrees C, using data from weather thermometers accurate to +-1 degree C, obviously ridiculous. Despite this, most of them agree that the average temperature of the Earth probably has risen 0.7 degrees C since 1851! Does that seem like a lot? Not to me. Has it changed more than that and faster than that many times? Yes it has.

    There, glad I could clear that up for you!

  141. I haven’t had time to carefully read all the replies, but several comments and conclusions in the posts seem to forget one important fact.

    Air cools as it rises.

    Rising air is gaining gravitational potential energy and must be losing other energy. It does this by expanding and cooling. This is the physical reason behind the lapse rate. So even if we had a planet with a uniform temperature of 255 K at the surface, only the bottom layers of the atmosphere would warm to this temperature. Temperature in the the upper layers would drop off at approximately the lapse, so the “average temperature” of a transparent atmosphere will always be less than the surface temperature.

    COROLLARY. The idea that “falling air will get heated by gravity as it falls” ignores the fact that gravity had equally cooled the air as it rose. If you added NEW air at the top (perhaps from a small comet hitting the earth), then this new air falling would have warming effect (at least temporarily).

    **********************************
    A second very minor point is that the energy balance must also include geothermal energy. On earth this is a minor effect (on the order of 1 W/m^2), so the energy emitted will be slightly larger than the energy absorbed. On the moon this would be an even smaller effect. On Jupiter, however, this is a significant effect, warming the “surface” well above the SB temperature. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_heating#Gas_giants)

    ********************************
    Finally, I want to reiterate that I agree with Willis and his overall conclusions.

  142. Alexander Feht says: Boltzmann killed himself, because the “consensus” among most of the respected, published and peer-reviewed “scientists” of his time was that Boltzmann was nuts.

    I have to say, it’s pretty darn thrilling to see WUWT folks taking such an interest in thermodynamics and transport theory! There is perhaps no better subject than transport theory to unite mathematics, physics, engineering, biology, ecology, and economics. And conversely, an solid grasp of transport theory makes it far easier to appreciate these topics as aspects of a unified whole … which is perhaps why three of the greatest scientists of the 20th century were attracted to it:

    (1) Albert Einstein for Brownian motion and black-body radiation,

    (2) Paul Dirac for a (still largely classified) theory of U235 isotope transport in centrifuges, and

    (3) John von Neumann for the computational theory of detonation waves and
         boundary layer transport (H-bombs, aircraft, and missiles)

    Regarding Alexander Feht’s dubious assertions, it is true that Boltzmann killed himself, and it is true too that Boltzmann faced opposition to his ideas. But opposition is very commonly encountered in science, and perhaps a more likely explanation is Boltzmann’s lifelong history of depression, worsened by grief over the unexpected death of his eldest son (from appendicitis).

    On the other hand, perhaps it is well to reflect upon the celebrated opening lines of David Goodstein’s physics textbook States of Matter:

    “Ludwig Boltzmann, who spent much of his life studying statistical mechanics, died in 1906, by his own hand. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on the work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics. Perhaps it will be wise to approach the subject cautiously.”

    So if you should find yourself starting to feel a bit “down” reading this particular WUWT topic … then please take a break!   :)

  143. Only got partway thru the replies so if this has been said before ……”never mind!”.
    W’s argument only applies if the absorptivity and emissivity (albedo) of the planet’s surface are identical. He is correct if his ideal atmosphere, where convection, conduction, adiabatic lapse rate (thus gravity) play no part, has zero absorptivity and emissivity. Also not stated and assumed (I assume) is that any H2O is inert, like the atmosphere, and must have zero heat of vaporization/crystallization, and absorptivity = emissivity.

    If these apply W’s simplistic argument is correct and gravity cannot play a part but in the real world Willis has previously shown here that excess heat is transferred to the upper atmosphere by condensing water vapor in thunderheads and radiated into space to keep the Earth’s temp withing a narrow range. Brilliant Willis!!!!!!

    Now looking at N&Z’s and HJ’s argument that gravity (adiabatic lapse rate) plays a part; the elevator explanation is: Assume that the air is dry. All other properties are the same. It warms from contact with the warmer surface. A warm bubble breaks away and rises. As it rises it cools thru expansion, radiating some of that heat energy, as long wave IR, into space or warming some of trace GHGs. (These then radiate some of that miniscule energy, as LWIR, into space as they cool.) As the cold air bubble sinks back to the ground it cools the surrounding warmer air and surface absorbing the remaining energy NOT radiated into space. So N&Z and HJ are correct; gravity plays a part in transmission of some energy into space.

    Now add water vapor. As Willis explained previously, the amount of energy transferred to space thru LWIR is dramatically increased because of the large amount of energy released when the water vapor condenses into clouds, driving the clouds to ever higher altitudes and ever more efficient transmission of the released energy into space. N&Z and HJ are still correct but the overall contribution by gravity now becomes a far smaller proportion of the total heat removed, possibly insignificantly small.

    BC

  144. My roof stored negative energy last night. It was covered in frost. When the sun hit it in the morning, energy that would otherwise have heated the tiles was used up in melting the ice and evaporating the resulting wet surface.

  145. simpleseekeraftertruth says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:10 am ,

    Your description was based on the idea of an IR photon from the sun being absorbed on the way in, and showing that 50% will be reflected back into space. The idea is that, in agregate, the co2 will have a cooling effect.

    However, you have ignored the fact that most of the energy reaching the Earth from the sun is not in the IR, but in the visible spectrum. This bulk of energy goes straight through the CO2 and reaches the surface. It is then absorbed by the ground and the oceans and is emitted as IR. So, although the CO2 has intercepted the small amount of incoming IR and sent it back into space, there is a much larger flow of outgoing IR on which to act. This means the cooling effect is much less than the warming effect.

  146. michael hammer says:
    January 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Not only integrating sphere, Michael, but also thermal IR sensors and cameras. One has to know the true emissivity in order to sense temperature accurately.

    Nick Stokes says:
    January 13, 2012 at 9:57 pm
    “Now, I’m happy for folks to comment on this proof”
    Seems to me to be sound.

    The notion of emissivity for S-B as usually expressed is a surface emissivity. For a partly transparent medium like a gas, it’s a bit more complicated.

    It is quite a lot more complicated, which is why in engineering we do two things to simplify. To avoid having to integrate emitted power throughout the entire volume of gas onto the point of interest, we resort to a “effect length” of path through the gas that depends on the geometry of the enclosure, which makes the problem quasi-one dimensional. For example, the effective length of path to one surface in an enclosure between infinite planes is 1.8 times the distance between the planes.

    Second, we find the “emissivity” of the gas as a function of partial pressure of H2O and CO2 (the two common gases involved in IR) and temperature from a chart, or from a program that represents the chart. Problems in which there is a temperature gradient in the gas are more complex yet. Active gas in an enclosure is not a simple problem.

    I agree quite generally with Willis on this post. One general comment I would make is about the common use of the term “radiation” as in radiation=sigma*T^4. What we actually calculate is emitted power; i.e. power (watts) emitted per unit area of surface into a hemisphere above that surface. Not keeping in mind the units of things leads to a lot of confusion.

  147. Willis says he disagrees with this notion:

    “somehow a combination of gravity and a transparent, GHG-free atmosphere can conspire to push the temperature of a planet well above the theoretical S-B temperature, to a condition similar to that of the Earth.”

    Wayne says: “No Bill, if the air was ever warmer than the surface the air would transfer by conduction that energy from the air TO the surface, always warmer to cooler. It would not just accumulate. Eventually an equilibrium would be established.”

    Peter Sorenson says: “Willis has forgotten about the convective heat transfer. and the mass transfer modes of moving heat.”

    There is no planet that derives heat from a multitude of surrounding suns. [snip: My friend, it's called a "thought experiment". -w]

  148. The argument that theory trumps observation is what has led so many astray. Here is a practical demonstration of a device that is theoretically impossible.

  149. David says:
    January 14, 2012 at 7:46 am

    am not certain Willis’s response makes sense to me. The lapse rate may be constant, but it is a constant VARIATION,which appears to be predicated on g and Cp. (IE, the greater the gravity, the higher the specific heat of the atmosphere) What does “specific heat emanate from? If specific heat, which is the heat capacity per unit mass of a material, then the more materials there are per volume, then the greater heat per volume. Therefore an atmosphere of more (denser) material, will have a higher specific heat content then a thinner atmosphere. The lapse rate will be the same in both atmosphers, just the starting point or temperature will be different.

    What am I missing here?

    First, let’s clear up two separate uses of the term “lapse rate”. Willis refers to the dry adiabatic lapse rate. This is a decrease in temperature per height gain in a rising air parcel. It is a process — adiabatic decompression.

    Second, the term “lapse rate” in the atmosphere is the general decline in temperature of the troposphere with altitude. It is the end result of a whole series of processes that contribute to a final temperature distribution — one of these processes is adiabatic sinking or lifting of air, so is radiant emission.

    When we use the term specific heat, we are not speaking of heat, but rather how much heat is needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of material one degree celsius.

    Cp is a measure based one-kilogram mass of material. If you increase density by jamming more kilograms into a volume, the specific heat remains the same because it is per unit mass. The heat capacity per unit volume increases, but not the specific heat. So thinner air has less heat capacity, but not less specific heat.

  150. I’m not sure about lapse rate warming being the answer as lapse rate cooling in the convection cycle would tend to cancel it out however… does gravity (which can do work) add energy to the equation such that radiation in + work done by gravity = radiation out? (Where the heck does gravity come from anyway?)

  151. Willis is right, but they might quibble (though they didn’t think to make this suggestion) that clouds radiate at colder temperatures, so this effect goes in the right direction to balance the energy. However, the cloud-top distribution that is observed does not help to close the energy balance.

  152. Conservation of energy dictates that the amount of energy radiated from the Earth’s system must be equal to the energy it receives. Under the GHG hypothesis, it is argued that this balance occurs at a place called “top of atmosphere”, while any level below this is allowed to be at a higher temperature.

    The gravity hypothesis must similarly involve a TOA radiation that is equal to the incoming radiation, and would allow that the temperature at the Earth’s surface be higher than this. Willis premise is that there cannot be a TOA radiating less that the surface, because to do so, the atmosphere would need to absorb outgoing IR, and without GHG’s it cannot do so.

    But, if the lower atmosphere is warmed by the gravity effect, there would indeed by a temperature gradient, with temperature declining as you go higher. At this point, it could be imagined that there is a TOA higher up radiating the same amount of energy that is received from the Sun.

    But. . .the crucial point is, these molecules in the atmosphere cannot radiate. To do so would require molecules of N2 and O2 to emit photons. As far as I am aware, they do not. The only way energy can leave the Earth is by radiation, and only the surface can radiate. This does lead to the violation that Willis states – the ground is supposedly warmed by a gravity compressed atmosphere, yet the energy can only leave the planet by radiating from the surface, which implies more energy radiating than being received.

    However. . . What if we imagine some GHG’s are added to the atmosphere (just like our good ol’ Earth, actually). What happens if we suppose the gravity hypothesis to be correct? The ground is warmed by compression, and this extra outgoing radiation is absorbed by the GHG’s in the atmosphere. There can now be a TOA effect, radiating exactly the same amount of energy into space as is received.

    Does this sound as if GHG’s and gravity both play a role in regulating the Earth’s temperature? Could be. The moral is – never thow out the baby with the bath water, Willis.

  153. The Love of AGW Theory “elevator speech”

    Free enterprise capitalism and America for that matter are an evil that must be crushed through govcernment regulations on all factors of production and taxing productivity. Fear of AGW is what informs us because the ends justify the means.

  154. If I understand Jelbring, the elevator speech version of his paper is “the temperature at the surface has to be higher than at altitude due to the adiabatic lapse rate, even without greenhouse gasses”. He then (it seems to me) confuses that with the greenhouse effect.

    Willis’ proof appears to me to be unassailable, but his statement that “they say that the combination of gravity plus an atmosphere without greenhouse gases (GHGs) is capable of doing what the greenhouse effect does” is only true for Jelbring because Jelbring re-defines the greenhouse effect as the adiabatic lapse rate.

    Leonard Weinstein’s post above has the best explanation of the difference.

  155. Let me see if I have this correct. An N2 O2 atmosphere without GHG does not cool by radiation.

    Thus, without GHG, the earth’s surface would need to be warmer than it is now, to radiate the equivalent amount of energy to space as is currently radiated by the surface and atmosphere together.

    Thus, the only effect that GHG can have on the surface is to cool the surface.

    (atmosphere + surface) ^4 is greater than (surface) ^ 4

    (atmosphere + surface) ^4 is equal to (hotter surface) ^ 4

    Since we know that radiation in must equal radiation out, if N2 and O2 do not radiate, then the only conclusion that is possible is that GHG cools the surface.

  156. I think some seem to be missing the obvious part here. If you take a volume of gas at a given temperature and compress it, the same gas in a smaller volume now has a higher temperature, due to the compression and resulting density.

    Let’s take a long thin tube of air in thermal equilibrium (100km long lets say), and extend if from the surface of the earth outward.

    Gravity is going to compress the entire column of air down to about 17km. That compression heats the air and establishes the lapse rate, greatest density at the bottom and less density at the top. The part of the column of air that is most compressed (heated) is closest to the earth with the part at the top of the column not compressed much at all. The air will be denser and warmer closest to the surface (higher compression) gradually getting less dense and cooler as the altitude (less compression) increases. “Even though there is a non-uniform temperature distribution, the column of gas will still be in thermal equilibrium because the non-uniformity simply arises due to the decreasing density of the atmosphere with altitude.”

    Now for the fun part. If this column of air is in a perfect insulator, it will be completely stable, warmer at the bottom transitioning to colder air at the top.

    Under Willis’s steady state though, he is essentially placing a heating/cooling element at the bottom of the column of gas. This will act much like a pot of boiling water with convection cells rising and falling in response to the comparative temperature differences at the surface boundary layer. While the equilibrium temperature of the atmosphere won’t change, the atmosphere itself will be in constant dynamic change striving to reach equilibrium.

    Willis’s heating/cooling surface will remain in equilibrium, emitting exactly as much radiation as it receives.

    This by the way is a much better description of how our atmosphere actually works than the greenhouse gas theory.

  157. ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 8:56 am
    The argument that theory trumps observation is what has led so many astray. Here is a practical demonstration of a device that is theoretically impossible.

    Badly done experiments can prove almost anything–thankfully here one of the participants at least tries to explain why the experiment does not debunk Newton. This thing works for the same reason that thrust deflectors on a jet engine slow the jet airplane. Newton rules!

  158. “You are doing nothing but guessing and speculating, often in impossible directions. Gravity can’t run an engine of any kind. If it could, you’d have perpetual motion.”

    Willis, you need to give what I wrote more thought than that! Does convection work without gravity? No! Gravity is a condition necessary, not a condition sufficient.

    I am not a scientist but have experience in practical passive solar design. One can maintain water in an insulated tank at a warmer than average temperature using passive solar principles and convection by placing the collectors below the storage.

    The poor emissivity of the bulk of gases in the atmosphere acts as the insulation.

    The irrationality I posited was a semantic irrationality. Claiming an average temperature at the collector (surface) when what is being measured is the water in the insulated tank (air 6ft above the surface). Thus the average temperature of the surface needs to be lower than claimed because they are instead measuring the stored temperature.

    This is actually pretty simple when you recognize accepted rules of radiation that something is as good of a radiator as it is as an absorber. In building insulation one does this by placing shiny non-radiative surfaces in the insulation space. The foil is hotter, approaching the insulated space temperature, and radiates less.

    Assuming the average temperature of the surface is 288K by measuring air 6 feet above a convecting surface provides a one-way path for heat into the atmosphere that becomes trapped there. There is no convection process to deliver it back to the surface as in the solar collector system placed below the storage.

    I think the only way you could disprove this is by actually measuring the surface, the real surface, and still come up with 288K. As a check using the NASA budget of 30% of solar energy transferred via convection one can calculate that as 84% of the greenhouse effect. Throw in a factor for the earth’s surface not being 1.0 but maybe more like .9, a dash of UHI, a pinch of cloud IR reflectivity, and maybe a spoonful of error resulting from weather stations favoring low altitude locations and you may have the recipe.

    Keep in mind that its the diurnal cycle and perhaps the curavture of the earth that makes this happen. If the globe received it average radiation uniformly the passive solar water system would not work either.

  159. Mathematical proof that GHG cools the surface of planet earth

    In an atmosphere with GHG

    total energy incoming from sun = net energy emitted to space by GHG atmosphere + net energy emitted to space by surface(1)

    In an atmosphere without GHG (non radiating),

    total energy incoming from sun = net energy emitted to space by surface(2)

    Therefore this can be rewritten as:

    net energy emitted to space by atmosphere + net energy emitted to space by surface(1) = net energy emitted to space by surface(2)

    Which then becomes:

    net energy emitted to space by GHG atmosphere = net energy emitted to space by surface(2) – net energy emitted to space by surface(1)

    Since we know that “net energy emitted to space by GHG atmosphere” > 0

    We can rewrite this as

    net energy emitted to space by surface(2) – net energy emitted to space by surface(1) > 0

    Thus

    net energy emitted to space by surface(2) > net energy emitted to space by surface(1)

    Since we know that net energy radiated to space is a function of temperature, we can then say:

    Temperature surface(2) > Temperature surface(1)

    QED

  160. There’s a cart/horse problem not mentioned previously. The constitution of an atmosphere is affected by chemistry- With a warming of the planet, much of the carbon in Venus’s rocks went into the atmosphere- cool the planet by other means, and much of Venus’s CO2 would wind up back in the soil. In other words, one could argue that Venus has a dense atmosphere because it’s hot, rather than argue that it’s hot because it has a dense atmosphere.

  161. Thanks, Willis, for another interesting post.
    Edim says:
    January 14, 2012 at 1:01 am
    “How would Earth’s surface temperature change if atmospheric pressure were doubled, that is, increased to 2 atm by adding more N2 (and nothing else)?”
    Leonard Weinstein’s comment (above) seems to be relevant to Edim’s question. I don’t claim expertise in this field, I’m still learning, and would welcome correction, but as I currently understand it this is what might happen.
    1. The mass of the atmosphere would be aproximately doubled.
    2. The newly added N2 would be quickly mixed with the existing atmospheric components, included the radiative gases.
    3. The mean height of emission of out-going long-wave radiation (OLR) would be increased. By how much I don’t know, but I don’t think it would be doubled.
    4. If the lapse rate remained the same the average surface temperature would rise. By how much would depend on the magnitude and sign of the feedback factor.

  162. An addendum to the above. Most people apply an electric pump to their passive solar designs (making it a little less than passive) because they want the collectors on the roof and the insulated storage in the basement. So then convection works against you so you have to provide a pump for the transport of warm water to the basement during the day and a valve to limit convection of the warm water in the basement to the roof at night. But the lack of emissivity of the storage still makes it work.

  163. As a chemical engineer, I support Willis’ conclusions completely. It’s nonsense that a GHG free atmosphere will affect the temperature. The field of climate science is full of such nonsense, and it doesn’t help the skeptics cause to unskeptically perpetuate their own.

  164. One can’t have an atmosphere at 0K – absolute zero – because it would be a solid, not a gaseous atmosphere.
    At any temperature above 0K the atmosphere must be radiating, and the energy it radiates must get replaced somehow, or it would cool and liquify, then solidfy.
    In your model, where is the atmosphere getting its energy? What is its temperature? How much is it radiating?
    Does this atmosphere have a lapse rate? Is it, or is it not warmer at the bottom of the pile than at the top? Why?
    If we add more gas to this atmosphere will the difference in temp between the top and bottom of the atmospheric column increase, decrease, or remain unchanged?

    In my limited experience with solving physics problems, one needs a complete, coherent model. Otherwise one gets silly, meaningless answers. I’ve never seen such a model in any discussion of the “greenhouse effect.” Why is that?

  165. So, Willis. Did you choose the 9-12 micron range because it hits the water and CO2 main bands? Some other reason?

  166. Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
    TO CONCLUDE: I’m interested in people who can either show that my proof is wrong

    There is no free lunch. If the GHG atmosphere is radiating, then there must be a reduction in radiation somewhere else.

  167. lateposter says: January 14, 2012 at 9:13 am

    No you don´t understand the content of my E&E, 2003 paper correctly. Willis has been putting words in my mouth that I have never said and he refuses to adress what is written in my peer reviwed paper, since 8 years. There certainly are no “Elevator version” of my paper which is based on first principal physics. It means that what I have written is either true or false. There is nothing inbetween. After 8 years nobody has falsified it and Willis attempt here is subclass for a number of reasons.
    See the reference given by Tallbloke here 3:35 PM “The Greenhouse Effect as a function of atmospheric mass” and get firsthand information. I certainly appreciate a number of comments in this thread where the authors can discriminate between an approximate model and to what degree its properties can be applied to any real planetary atmosphere. There is little or any use for Willis model in this respect but there is plenty of use with the model I have describe. The former cannot be verified in any planetary atmospheres. The one I describe can be verified by observational evidence in Venus, Titan, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptun. Mars fails for a simple reason. Its atmosphere is not massiv enough. The earth´s atmosphere is in the middle between Mars and Venus and is especially tricky to handle. There are so many physical processes that are involved changing the static average tmperature rate from -9.8 K/km to about 6.5 K/km. Some poeple in this thread has notice the importance of atmospheric surface mass per unit area. This is the first and last comment I will do on this thread.
    Thanks
    Hans Jelbring

  168. Thanks, Willis, for the nice post.

    Bill Illis says:

    What is the physics explanation for why temperatures of a gas/star/planet increase as it is gravitationally compressed?

    If an object is truly undergoing gravitational collapse then you can have some gravitational potential energy being converted to other forms of energy (in particular, thermal energy). Hence, there truly is another source of energy besides the energy being received from the sun.

    Why does matter do this?

    I think the answer to this question will point to the answer about an atmosphere in gravitational equilibrium.

    Yes…Comparison to this case shows why for gravitational collapse, you can truly have more energy coming out than you are receiving from the sun. However, for gravitational equilibrium, all that you can have is energy being moved around and, at the end of the day, you have to have only as much energy being emitted back out into space as is being absorbed from the sun.

    So, the Earth is not undergoing gravitational collapse and hence it must be emitting ~240 W/m^2 back into space. And, indeed, measurements from satellites confirm this is what it is doing. The fact that the surface is emitting 390 W/m^2 has nothing to do with an internal energy source but is simply because some of the emissions from the surface are absorbed by the atmosphere, i.e., there is a radiative greenhouse effect.

    erl happ says:

    But the cooler latitudes in fact emit more energy than is acquired in solar radiation. The warmer latitudes emit less. The denser atmosphere increases the residence time and the amount of energy stored in the system, hence the temperature.

    Last sentence is the elevator statement

    And, one easily shown to be nonsense.

    First of all, what we are interested in is the global energy balance. Yes, radiative energy does not balance locally because there is considerable movement of energy around on the Earth, as well as storage and release of energy. That is a good reason why we look at global energy balance and not local balance.

    Second of all, your notion that some sort of energy storage can be invoked is not reasonable. What you would have to argue is that there is such a huge store of energy that the Earth can continuously emit 150 W/m^2 more than it absorbs without cooling down. Sorry, but this ain’t going to happen. To a good approximation, any energy storage that is occurring (e.g., due to plants converting sunlight into chemical energy) is balanced by energy release that is occuring (e.g., due to plants decaying). Also, the amounts involved are pretty small. For example, despite the fact that we are going through fossil fuel reserves much faster than they were created, we are only releasing about 0.02 W/m^2 of thermal energy by burning them, which is 4 orders of magnitude less than the 150 W/m^2 deficit.

  169. Willis Eschenbach and others have assumed that without water vapor, the lapse rate for a planet would be constant,
    It wouldn’t. Lapse rate also depends on temperature. As the temperature cools with height, the
    lapse rate drops
    let atmospheric density = r., pressure= p, temperature = T, gas constant for dry air = R,
    lapse rate = L.
    T0 = ground temperature, p0= ground pressure, height = H

    Then
    L = (gr/RT)(dT/dp)

    With constant density,, at current surface pressure, the lapse rate would b
    :L = g/R = 3.42 C per kilometer. Such an atmosphere would have a specific finite height.

    With constant temperature, the pressure would be proportional to the log of the pressure
    height 2 – height 1 would be 29.3* ground temperature *( lnp1/lnp2)

    With constant lapse rate

    p = p0 ( 1 – (LH/T0))^(g/RL)

    Needless to say, in the real world atmospheric density is not constant, nor does it drop off
    exponentially with height- which would imply a constant temperature atmosphere, nor
    is the lapse rate constant, It’s a messy average of those 3 ideal cases.

  170. …because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.
    OMG!..The Earth has no lid!…We urgently need to release the millions of degrees under the ground down there, according to Al Gore!

  171. Phil’s Dad says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:01 am
    I’m not sure about lapse rate warming being the answer as lapse rate cooling in the convection cycle would tend to cancel it out however… does gravity (which can do work) add energy to the equation such that radiation in + work done by gravity = radiation out? (Where the heck does gravity come from anyway?)

    Let’s put this gravitational work in its proper perspective…

    [SNIP: Let's not. Lets stick to the topic of the thread. -w.]

  172. ferd berple says:

    Mathematical proof that GHG cools the surface of planet earth

    You are just embarrassing yourself. An atmosphere with GHGs doesn’t just emit radiation, it also absorbs radiation from the surface. And, in fact, it absorbs more from the surface than it emits back out into space. (It has to emit as much in total as it absorbs overall, but some of what it emits goes back to the surface, not out into space.)

    There is no free lunch. If the GHG atmosphere is radiating, then there must be a reduction in radiation somewhere else.

    And, what law of physics is this…and how does it pertain to anything being talked about?

  173. Gina Becker says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:57 am
    It’s nonsense that a GHG free atmosphere will affect the temperature.

    Stand at sea level in an atmosphere free of GHG. Now stand at the top of a mountain in an atmosphere free of GHG. There will be an affect on temperature.

    The problem comes in assuming that GHG warms the surface. In fact the opposite is true. GHG cools the surface, in the same way it cools that atmosphere, by radiating LWR to space that would otherwise remain trapped in a non-radiating atmosphere.

    This effect is most noticeable in the upper atmosphere, where temperatures can reach 1500C in the absence of GHG cooling.

  174. The contributor known as wayne previously summarised my position on this issue which has been in my mind for several years as a very important aspect of the climate debate.

    Willis did not address wayne’s version so here it is in my words:

    [SNIP: vague, wandering, unscientific, and off topic. -w.]

  175. hmmm… my elevator attempt above no doubt falls apart if convection stops, as it eventually will if no photons at all can ever be emitted, as indeed roy spencer points out. Isothermic. But that calls into question the usefulness of the model, as some have noted above. If the original papers had used this model, then fair game, but Tallbloke seems to suggest this was not the case. maybe a more interesting model would be to use just nitrogen and oxygen at earth ratio and pressure. Awful lot of it, so still significant emission despite low emmissitivity. Just a thought…

  176. @ Willis

    Your proof is of course correct. Did you realize why Jelbring and N&Z-“theories” give quite nice values? The deeper reason is the lapse rate, the dry lapse rate given by g/c_p. There it is, the effect of gravity. The “theories” are equivalent to lapse rate calculation, but they miss the central point: Where to start with, what is the right height h?
    The answer ist given by ghg-theory: it’s the height, where the ghg-concentration is optical thin enough, that IR-radiation is able to escape to space.
    (Therefore I like the following explanation of GHG-theory more: Adding more GHGs will elevate the level, where radiation can escape to space. It’s colder there, so earth emits less energy than it receives. The atmosphere will warm, until it radiates in the elevated level the same energy as before.)

    Another indirect proof:
    Imagine a planet moving around a black hole or wandering through empty space without a star like the sun. According to Jelbring or N&Z this planet should have the same temperatur as the planet moving around the sun. Nonsense.

  177. Willis said (to Crosspatch): “I will repeat it again. If there are no GHGs in the atmosphere, the atmosphere will not and cannot radiate energy. That’s the whole point. The only thing that can radiate is the surface. You keep claiming the atmosphere will radiate. It will not.”

    I don’t profess to any real knowledge of thermodynamics but isn’t this then postulating (a) an atmosphere with mass, (b) capable of convection and conduction, and (c) with its own localised temperatures and gradients (separate from the surface temperature, although no doubt coupled to it, with lags).

    Why can’t such an atmosphere radiate? Suppose, instead of surrounding a planet, it was just a cloud of the (hypothetical) transparent gas, in space. Would there be no way of physically detecting it’s presence, outside the gas envelope itself?

    I’m smelling an impossible premise here, somewhere.

  178. ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:06 am
    Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
    TO CONCLUDE: I’m interested in people who can either show that my proof is wrong

    There is no free lunch. If the GHG atmosphere is radiating, then there must be a reduction in radiation somewhere else.

    There is no principle called “conservation of radiation”. There is conservation of energy and radiant energy is but a part contributor to that principle.

  179. The problem with ferd berple’s argument is that just because GHGs reduce the amount of surface radiation escaping to space, you can’t conclude that there is less surface radiation entering the atmosphere, and actually it turns out it has to be more because a GHG atmosphere has to be cooler than the surface due to the lapse rate (or gravity if you like).

  180. wayne says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:33 am
    Willis:

    “Michael, the energy radiated by the surface is fixed. It must emit what it recieves, no more and no less. ”

    Absolutely false. Conduction carrying away energy from that same surface does reduce the radiation leaving from that surface when in equilibrium. Willis, you can call it a reduction in the emissivity of that surface if your mind prefers. Well… that is really what does happens, the emissivity decreases. A surface receiving all of its energy by radiation and part of that energy leaving by conduction, then, the amount leaving by radiation WILL decrease under the amount received.

    So your argument is that on a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere, the surface is continually losing energy by conduction … riiiight, that’s the ticket …

    WILLIS…. do you happen to remember the first law of thermodynamics???

    Why is it that when a charming fellow like you make some idiotic statement that clearly violates conservation of energy, they feel they have to finish it off by insulting my understanding? Medica, cura te ipsum …

    w.

  181. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:32 am
    So how do you not understand Huffman’s explanation?
    Throw out unrealistic assumptions about blackbodies, greybodies, albedos, etc. and the complications surrounding them.
    It’s simple recognition that the temperature profile of earth and venus are very close given similar pressures and considering their relative distances from the sun in spite of massive differences in concentrations of CO2. It’s natures results and natures experiment.
    Can you explain why the temperature/pressure profiles are so close? Here’s the link.

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

    Surely it’s a rather amazing coincidence if there is a greenhouse effect.

  182. Convince me that the molten core of the earth has no effect on the temperature of the planet surface with or without an atmosphere or a solar source. [SNIP: Not on this thread, I won't. -w]

  183. Roger Clague says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:38 am

    crosspatch 13 Jan 10.40pm.

    This comment was snipped by the Willis, the guest poster.
    crosspatch is debating and disagreeing with the post. He is not off topic. He has been censored. Please restore this comment.

    Moderators should moderate not the poster.

    The theory of gravitational enhancement claims there cannot be a Greenhouse gas free atmosphere. The mass of all gases in the atmosphere cause the so-called Greenhouse Effect.

    Crosspatch was wandering off to discuss the earth with an atmosphere of greenhouse gases. As I recall, I told you I would snip what I thought was off topic, not what you thought was off topic, lemme check … yeah, there was no mention of you deciding who was off topic.

    Don’t like it? My apologies, you weren’t around to ask.

    w.

    PS—I note that you have not given us the elevator speech for your “theory of gravitational enhancement”. Until you rectify that egregious omission, why are you opening your mouth about your theory? I do love that your theory claims that you can’t have a GHG-free atmosphere, that’s a new one for me.

  184. - Willis, – is your GHG-less atmos transparent? or just approximately so for gubmint work.
    – There is mass in this atmosphere in the form of gas atoms that photons do collide with (and are absorbed).
    – Beers Law T= I/I sub o (Transmissivity = incident photons/transmitted photons through a slab of air) which equals e^(-sigma l N); sigma is absortion cross-section of gas atoms/molecules; l is thickness of air and N = number of atoms/molecules in the path.
    -N increases as the air pressure increases – greater excitation in the lower atmos
    -Energy absorbed (and eventually re-emitted) E =Planck cons*c (speed of light)/lambda wavelenght of light (not just IR).
    -Imagine an atmos pressure at the bottom that is near liquifaction to exaggerate the picture.

  185. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:19 am
    Thus Oxygen and Nitrogen are involved despite being relatively non radiative.
    Oxygen and Nitrogen participate fully in adding to the process of conduction
    in its competition with radiation.

    Exactly. In the absence of GHG, the atmosphere would not be able to lose energy to space. Any energy lost to the atmosphere from the surface would eventually be returned to the surface.

    In contrast, with a GHG atmosphere, energy lost from the surface to the atmosphere can then be radiated to space by the atmosphere and need not be returned to the surface.

    Thus, without a GHG atmosphere, S-B tells us that the surface of the planet must warm to radiate this excess energy, that is no longer being radiated away by the atmosphere.

  186. ferd berple says:
    >The argument that theory trumps observation is what has led so many
    >astray. Here is a practical demonstration of a device that is theoretically impossible.

    and
    >Mathematical proof that GHG cools the surface of planet earth

    Unfortunately, Fred, you don’t quite understand the theory involved in either case. The blow-your-own-sail is counter-intuitive to many people, but fully within the rules of newtonian mechanics. The greenhouse is also and counter-intuitive to many people, but it also follows the rules of physics.

  187. Eric Barnes says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:32 am
    So how do you not understand Huffman’s explanation?
    Throw out unrealistic assumptions about blackbodies, greybodies, albedos, etc. and the complications surrounding them.
    It’s simple recognition that the temperature profile of earth and venus are very close given similar pressures and considering their relative distances from the sun in spite of massive differences in concentrations of CO2. It’s natures results and natures experiment.
    Can you explain why the temperature/pressure profiles are so close? Here’s the link.

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

    Surely it’s a rather amazing coincidence if there is a greenhouse effect.

    Not a coincidence at all if there is a maximum greenhouse effect. All the planets would warm up until they reached that maximum. If that maximum just happened to be determined by the mass and the gravitation of those planets then we would see exactly what Huffman sees. However, for the surface to warm above the SB calculations there must be an effective radiation altitude above that surface.

    We don’t need to discard the GHE. It’s real, it just has limits that haven’t been discovered because of simplifications made to climate models.

  188. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:50 am
    So your argument is that on a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere, the surface is continually losing energy by conduction … riiiight, that’s the ticket

    I think you have this backwards. In a non GHG (non radiating) atmosphere, any heat lost by the surface to conduction must be returned to the surface – for example at the poles. In contrast, in a GHG atmosphere, heat lost by the surface to conduction can then be radiated to space by the GHG atmosphere.

    Thus, the GHG atmosphere MUST result in a lower average surface temperature as compared to a non GHG atmosphere, due to the energy lost via atmospheric GHG radiation.

  189. Crosspatch and others keep claiming that oxygen and nitrogen are greenhouse gases, for example saying:

    crosspatch says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:39 am

    “1. The non greenhouse gas atmosphere is a perfect conduction insulator to space, it can’t radiate its heat out.”

    What? Everything with a temperature radiates. I don’t care WHAT a substance is, it will cool. It will cool until it reaches equilibrium with its background.

    I don’t know why, but some folks seem to think that all things radiate at all temperatures. They don’t.

    Here’s the deal, Crosspatch and others. Nitrogen and Oxygen are diatomic molecules. Basically, they are transparent to IR, neither emitting nor absorbing infrared energy. They might radiate at high temperatures like in the sun, I don’t know.

    But at the temperatures that we are talking about, all of the radiation is in the infrared, a frequency where oxygen and nitrogen neither emit nor absorb radiation.

    Here’s the IPCC on the subject, emphasis mine:

    Gases are the simplest type of molecule, and they only vibrate in very particular ways. Vibrations in a gas molecule are like vibrations of a piano string in that they are fussy about frequency. This is because, like a piano string, a gas molecule will only vibrate at its “ringing” frequency. The ringing frequency of an oscillator made of weights and springs depends on two things: the amount of weight on the ends and the strength of the spring holding them together. Heavy weights will have enough inertia to keep a bond growing in the wrong direction for longer than will a pair of light weights, so the frequency of the vibration will be slower. If the spring is very strong, it will reverse the velocity of a vibration more quickly, and the frequency of the oscillation will be higher. Vibrations in chemical bonds depend on the mass of the nuclei and on the energy penalty for having the nuclei too close or too far apart: the springiness of the chemical bond.

    However, the vibrations of many gas molecules, such as the major gases in the atmosphere oxygen and nitrogen, are invisible to the electromagnetic field. They don’t shine light or absorb infrared light; we say they are not infrared active. Oxygen and nitrogen are not greenhouse gases, because they are transparent to infrared light. These molecules are invisible because when you stretch one, it doesn’t change the electric field. These are symmetric molecules, made of two identical atoms whose electric fields just cancel each other out. Neither atom can hold the electrons any more tightly than the other. In general, symmetrical molecules with only two atoms are not greenhouse gases.

    So no, Crosspatch, the idea that you have that all things absorb and radiate in the IR range is simply not true. A non-GHG atmosphere will radiate only the most minuscule amount in the IR, an amount that is way, way, way below the 1 W/m2 levels we’re talking about. Sure, over the next billion years that would cool them … but in terms of our questions, they do not radiate in the IR.

    w.

  190. I believe Willis’ proof is not correct.

    In a real world with a no-GHG atmosphere, the atmosphere still absorbs heat from the surface through conduction and convection. And the near-surface temperature of the atmosphere is not the same as the “skin” temperature of the solid or liquid surface.

    If one adds more atmosphere, there will be more conduction/convection. The “skin” temperature will decrease and the skin will radiate less. The near surface gas temperature, however, will rise and the radiation from the atmosphere as a whole will increase, maintaining a total balance.

    In simple terms, the sand on the beach will not burn your feet as much, but the air you are immersed in will be warmer and will be radiating more.

    When we talk about the “surface” temperature, what are we talking about, the “skin” or the air? We should at least be clear about that, because the “skin” can get very, very hot. With radiation increasing as T^4, hot beach sand radiates a hell of a lot more than the same beach sand, irradiated in the same way by the same sun, but cooled by a brisk wind.

    In short, none of the models I’ve ever seen is either complete or coherent. Which explains the confusion.

  191. Well, to stupid me it seems unbelievable how many here seem not to understand the difference between energy and temperature. Thanks to the few voices in the wilderness who clearly do understand. (One thing I do seem to remember from my university days too many decades ago) When I got to Willis’ talk about temperature issues somehow conflicting with conservation of energy (or something to that effect) I just skipped to the comments.. And why, pray tell, should it be possible to definitively explain the physics of it all in an ‘elevator speech’ of a few lines? Who was it who said that simplicity can also be the essence of untruth?

    Gabriel van den Bergh

  192. @fred berple GHGs can only radiate into space long wave / infra red photons intercepted from the surface and stored in internal energy states. They cannot emit additional photons that they haven’t captured emerging initially from the surface of the planet.

    AIUI The effect of GHGs is that they STORE energy in the vibrational energy states corresponding to the infra red radiation energies. This energy may be later released as heat. The rate of spontaneous emission has a reverse relationship with frequency, so the energy is retained for a relatively long time (minutes, hours).


  193. What? Everything with a temperature radiates. I don’t care WHAT a substance is, it will cool. It will cool until it reaches equilibrium with its background.

    I don’t know why, but some folks seem to think that all things radiate at all temperatures. They don’t.

    No one said it radiates at all temperatures. No one is even saying that all things radiate IR. What they”re saying is that everything radiates at SOME frequency. At least that’s my understanding… correct me if I’m wrong. U of Virginia seems to agree.

    http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/black_body_radiation.html

    Any body at any temperature above absolute zero will radiate to some extent, the intensity and frequency distribution of the radiation depending on the detailed structure of the body.

    So simplifying the earth to only consider IR is a gross oversimplification. For example, the earth was also hit by UV rays. Some of the material in the earth will absorb those UV rays and increase the energy of the earth. Conduction within the earth will transfer some of that energy to other materials, which may have a different emissivity… say it emits in IR. So in that instance we have IR being generated from the surface that did not arrive as IR!

    So, an atmosphere that aquires heat content from the surface of the earth (and it MUST, right? your atmosphere can’t be at absolute 0 or it’d be a solid) has the possibility of radiating that energy as microwaves, etc, etc. Reducing the heat content of the atmosphere and the surface.

    To totally ignore all emissivity except IR seems a gross oversimplification.

  194. Tim Folkerts says:
    January 14, 2012 at 11:11 am
    The greenhouse is also and counter-intuitive to many people, but it also follows the rules of physics.

    No, you have it backwards.

    Nature does not follow the rules of physics. Physics describes the actions of Nature, and the description is imperfect, due to the existence of the “unknown” which for all practical purposes is infinite in size.

    I have shown a very simple mathematical demonstration of why the GHG theory does not describe nature. If you wish to refute this, show where the mathematics in in error. You cannot do this via rhetoric, you must do so via mathematics.

    The gravitation theory of surface temperatures has demonstrated a predictive power across multiple examples. Something the radiative theory is yet to demonstrate.

  195. I thank Dr. Jelbring for his response, and I apologize if I misrepresented his paper. But my comments were based on reading it, not second-hand from Willis. I thought it was easy to understand, and I’m not claiming to have found any statement in it that wasn’t true, but the definition of greenhouse effect implied by the paper seems to be different from what other people mean by it.

    I understand the greenhouse effect to be something that raises the effective radiation height, which together with a relatively constant lapse rate, results in a higher surface temperature, as explained by Leonard Weinstein.

    Dr. Jelbring defines the greenhouse effect quite clearly as “The average global surface temperature minus the average infrared black body radiation temperature, as observed from space”. But this definition cannot be applied to his model, because it “neither receives solar radiation nor emits infrared radiation into space” and the GE “is independent of the absolute average temperature of the model atmosphere”. In it’s place, he identifies the GE with the lapse-rate-induced temperature difference (“the temperature difference (GE) between the surfaces”), dropping the all-important black body radiation temperature reference point.

  196. Richard M says:
    January 14, 2012 at 11:11 am
    Not a coincidence at all if there is a maximum greenhouse effect.

    Convenient explanation.

    So we’ve maxed out at 390ppm CO2 and our current level of water vapor/methane?

    Watch how far you back up. The cliff of never ending rationalization is near.

  197. Eric Worrall says:
    January 14, 2012 at 1:57 am

    No gas is transparent to all radiation – even if it is transparent to infrared, it will absorb ultraviolet, x-rays, something, and be heated by them..

    So the true receiving area, even for a planet with a perfect GHG free atmosphere, is the disk section of surface + atmosphere.

    And I put it to you that the resulting lapse rate could raise the surface temperature at least a little above the SB theoretical limit.

    Nope. If you include the area of the atmosphere in your calculation, the theoretical S-B radiation will increase as well. Apples to apples.

    w.

  198. It just occurred to me, when Hansen said..

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/20/hansens-arrested-development/#more-53430

    The precision achieved by the most advanced generation of radiation budget satellites is indicated by the planetary energy imbalance measured by the ongoing CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System) instrument (Loeb et al., 2009),, which finds a measured 5-year-mean imbalance of 6.5 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009). Because this result is implausible, instrumentation calibration factors were introduced to reduce the imbalance to the imbalance suggested by climate models, 0.85 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009).

    Was he talking only about the IR portion of the spectrum?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clouds_and_the_Earth's_Radiant_Energy_System


    Each CERES instrument is a radiometer which has three channels – a shortwave channel to measure reflected sunlight in 0.3 – 5 µm region, a channel to measure Earth-emitted thermal radiation in the 8-12 µm “window” region, and a total channel to measure entire spectrum of outgoing Earth’s radiation.

    If so, conversion of other wavelengths into emitted IR might account for some of that.

  199. “The problem comes in assuming that GHG warms the surface. In fact the opposite is true. GHG cools the surface, in the same way it cools that atmosphere, by radiating LWR to space that would otherwise remain trapped in a non-radiating atmosphere.”

    The oposite is often true in life. But I digress, I agree with this. The question is, how strong is the effect. Probably not very strong.

  200. Willis:
    Crosspatch and others keep claiming that oxygen and nitrogen are greenhouse gases, for example saying:

    crosspatch says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:39 am

    “1. The non greenhouse gas atmosphere is a perfect conduction insulator to space, it can’t radiate its heat out.”

    What? Everything with a temperature radiates. I don’t care WHAT a substance is, it will cool. It will cool until it reaches equilibrium with its background.

    I don’t know why, but some folks seem to think that all things radiate at all temperatures. They don’t.
    ——————————————————————————–
    So is only IR relevant? Are we saying that a substance transparent to IR but having heated up through energy gain by conduction or by compression cannot cool down by any mechanism other than (reverse) conduction or expansion? No radiation? So it will retain its heat indefinitely if none of these options apply? Or are we saying it cannot gain energy via conduction? Which is it, or am I missing something? Crosspatch makes more sense to me… sorry.

    Gabriel van den Bergh

  201. kcrucible says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:27 am
    [NOT SO. Repeat after me, "GHG-free atmosphere". The surface is the only thing that can radiate. w.]

    You keep saying that, but it’s BS. Being “transparent” to IR just means that it can’t absorb energy via RADIATION. That does not mean that it can’t absorb energy by CONDUCTION. And ANY mass that has a higher energy than the stable state will then emit energy.

    No it won’t because being transparent means that it has an absorptivity of 0 and by Kirchoff’s Law an emissivity of 0. Fundamental misunderstanding of the physics of gases.

  202. Fred says
    >The argument that theory trumps observation is what has led
    >so many astray. Here is a practical demonstration of a device
    >that is theoretically impossible.

    And

    >Thus, the GHG atmosphere MUST result in a lower average surface
    >temperature as compared to a non GHG atmosphere, due to the
    >energy lost via atmospheric GHG radiation.

    Unfortunately, Fred, you are wrong on both counts. The blow-your-own-sail is perfectly within the laws of newtonian mechanics. The greenhouse-effect-warms-the-earth is perfectly within the laws of thermodynamics and radiation.

  203. Interesting analysis Willis, but I admit a problem I have with it is that if a GHG atmosphere cannot radiate heat, than how can the surface of the blackbody do so, since it is also non GHG? Also, are conduction and convection limited to an atmosphere or do they also play a role in the surface (and below) of the planetoid? It seems to me these are salient points not addressed by your post.

  204. There are mind-sets here which are almost impossible to overcome. I have limited my own mindset to the following:

    Gravity compression of atmos is continuous process, not a one time batch compression. Conduction then convection ensure this continuity.

    All gases when energized by conduction, above ambient, will radiate energy. Convection moves all heated gases, to locales, where it is above ambient. GHG or non-GHG matters not a twit. As long as it is matter… it matters. Poor radiators require higher delta T to transmit the same E as efficient radiators. This higher delta T is found at altitude.

    Thermal energy conducted from ground (surface) to atmos is intercepted future radiant heat. Conservation of energy is maintained, as surface IR rate decreases due to conducted/convected heat loss.

    Pressure induced lapse rate does seem to set the limits or mixture of radiative/conduction/convection rates… according to my present mind-set. That is all…as you were. GK

  205. I’ve closed the other two threads on this subject since they were getting a bit ragged and Shore-worn, and directed everyone here to this thread.

  206. On the wisdom or otherwise of an “elevator speech”:

    Ok, I refreshed my memory. From the foreword of Aldous Huxley’s Brave new world: This is what was lurking in my mind:

    “The soul of wit may become the very body of untruth. However elegant and memorable, brevity can never, in the nature of things, do justice to all the facts of a complex situation. On such a theme one can be brief only by omission and simplification. Omission and sim­plification help us to understand — but help us, in many cases, to understand the wrong thing; for our compre­hension may be only of the abbreviator’s neatly formu­lated notions, not of the vast, ramifying reality from which these notions have been so arbitrarily abstracted.”

    Gabriel van den Bergh

  207. Roy Spencer says: January 14, 2012 at 4:09 am
    As I have discussed on my blog, the observed temperature lapse rate of the atmosphere only describes how temperature CHANGES with height *IF* the atmosphere is convecting. It says nothing about what the temperature will be, in an absolute sense, which is an energy budget issue. If the atmosphere cannot absorb/emit IR, it would become isothermal, and all convection would cease.

    I hate to argue against authority, but an isothermal atmosphere is unstable and will not remain that way. It will convect until it reaches the adiabatic profile, only then will convection cease.

    N&z predicts only how a temperature will vary from the starting grey-body temperature, not the initial temperature itself.

  208. FTA: “The Stefan-Boltzmann equation specifies how much radiation is emitted at a given temperature.”

    Only for a blackbody in equilibrium. The corrected statement is

    The Stefan-Boltzmann equation specifies the maximum amount of radiation that is emitted at a given temperature for a body in thermodynamic equilibrium.

    There are many loopholes in that description which might allow non-GHG heating to be physically realizable. I discuss some of these here. Your “QED” is not, in fact, demonstrative.

  209. Willis,
    I have stated the cause of the greenhouse effect in basic terms in a previous reply. The issue I want to discuss is your claim that if the amount of greenhouse gases was constant, but non greenhouse gases (O2 and N2) increased, there would be no change in ground level temperature. That is incorrect. Increasing the mass of the atmosphere not only increases surface pressure (linearly by the increase in mass), but also results in greater thickness (not a linear process). The mechanism for increase in greenhouse heating is simply that the gases would be mixed at all altitudes, so the average location of outgoing radiation would be increased some due to the greater thickness of the more massive atmosphere. The increase would be a nonlinear effect, and doubling mass of non-greenhouse gases would only increase temperature slightly for Earth, but it would definitely increase. It takes both greenhouse gases and the lapse effect to heat above a non-greenhouse level, but it is the effective average altitude that locks the temperature on the lapse rate curve. The effective lapse rate is not density dependent in the Troposphere until near the Tropopause, and for Earth, not temperature dependent.

  210. Willis: “So your argument is that on a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere, the surface is continually losing energy by conduction … riiiight, that’s the ticket”

    According to NASA, Trenberth, and every global energy budget I have seen thats the case. Its somewhere in the range of a 100 watts global 24/7 average.

    [SNIP: I'll say it real slow. Traaaanspaareeent GHG-freee aaaatmooospheeereeee. NASA, Trenberth, and the energy budgets are about non-transparent atmospheres containing GHGs. The rest of your post is about that, and hence way off topic. -w.]

  211. “”””” Alexander Feht says:

    January 14, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Why everybody here imitates Mr. Eschenbach, using hyphen in “Stefan-Boltzmann temperature”, “Stefan-Boltzmann equation”, and “Stefan-Boltzmann constant” expressions, as if “Stefan” and “Boltzmann” were two people who developed this formula?

    Stefan Boltzmann was one man, his last name was Boltzmann, his first name was Stefan, and the correct way to use his name is “Boltzmann’s equation” or “Stefan Boltzmann’s equation” (if you insist for some reason on repeating his first name all the time) but not “Stefan-Boltzmann equation.” The “S-B” abbreviation, in this context, is incorrect. “””””

    Balderdash; and that’s the polite comment.

    Boltzmann’s name was Ludwig.

    Stefan was a totally different person.

    All that either of them did, in this instance, was to successfully integrate from zero to infinity wavelength range, the Planck Radiation formula for a completely fictitious, non-existent ideal absorber called a Black Body, whose only required property is to totally absorb any and all electro-magnetic radiation that falls on it in any direction, and originating from ANY source or multiplicity of sources, anywhere, having ANY Temperature or Temperatures, without restriction.

    This is not to denigrate ANY other scientific contributions either of them made; and Boltzmann’s were significant.

  212. There are two many comments to study so I’ll just put in the elevator speech.

    [SNIP: I specifically asked for elevator speeches about two theories, Jelbring's and N&Z's. I also asked you to leave your own pet theory out of the mix. In response, you give us the elevator speech on your pet theory. Fail. -w.]

  213. Wills is correct in that the Earth mainly cools by emission from its surface. Gravity cannot heat the atmosphere, just organize the molecules into a heat gradient.

    Wills is wrong, in that all gases will absorb & emit at all frequencies. However, greenhouse gases absorb & emit at specific frequencies, and this absorption is many orders of magnitude greater than “black-body” emission from non greenhouse gases. Gases without dipoles (Oxygen, Nitrogen, Argon) can ONLY absorb & emit Earth frequency thermal radiation during collisions. This effect is vanishingly small at low temperature and pressure,

    Our atmosphere is a grey body – in that there is a small amount of black-body type absorption and emission. This is from dust, aerosols, water droplets and (very minor) gas molecules in collision. This part of atmospheric radiation obeys the T^4 rule. This varies greatly due to cloud cover,

    But Greenhouse gas absorption is at specific frequencies and depends on the proportion of molecules over a specific energy level. It does not obey the T^4 law. Depending on the thermal signature coming from the Earth (day/night) emission/radiation may increase or decrease.

    It is too simplistic to say that if the atmosphere warms then more GHG radiation will be returned to the Earth’s surface. Firstly, thermodynamics will require the warm air to cool by expansion, Warming of the atmosphere by capture of outward thermal radiation is dwarfed by convection and latent heat effects, Secondly, since for all absorption and emission there is full equality (a good absorber is an exactly good emitter) then there is always more GHG emission heading to space.

    Thus the contradiction I noted in an earlier post: If GH gases send MORE radiation back to the Earth’s surface, then they send even more radiation outward,

    I can illustrate this in a simple energy balance equation:
    S – Energy in from the Sun net of albedo and outer atmosphere reflection)
    E – Earth Surface radiation without the GH Effect. (So S = E)
    GB – Greenhouse gas ‘Back; radiation. Since the Earth is a Sphere, simple geometry requires slightly more GH gas emission to leave to space than returns to Earth. I use 2% extra as an approximation in this illustration.

    In the Green house effect we have at the Earth’s Surface:
    Energy emitted = E + 0.98 * GB (The Earth needs to emit the extra energy in non GH absorbing bandwidths)
    In the atmosphere:
    Outward: 1.02 * GB
    Downward: 0.98 * GB

    So We have S in and E + 0.98GB + 1.02GB outward,
    OR: The Earth cools by twice any heating effect of greenhouse gases.??????

    Surely there is a problem with my logic, but I can’t see it.

  214. Think I’ll just let the readers here pass judgment. It started with a comment from Michael.

    [SNIP: No, I think I'll just let the readers focus on the science and not worry about your complaints. -w.]

  215. The point is that a greenhouse-gas-free planet’s SURFACE temperature is set in stone by its emmisivity, once it reaches equilibrium with the sun’s energy. The atmosphere also reaches an equilibrium. It’s surface temperature is independent of any qualities of the atmosphere that are not radiation absorbing. Adding more oxygen or nitrogen, making it thicker or thinner or non-existent, doesn’t affect the surface temperature. The surface temperature of the earth remains the same, soley based on the emissivity–unless radiation absorbing gases are added. If greenhouse gases are added, then the surface temperature is changed.

    Again, as skeptics, we should not fight the nonsense of the alarmists with our unskeptical nonsense.

  216. Willis Eschenbach wins the thread by default. No one has met the challenge.

    “A simplified model of Earth will be considered. The model planet does not rotate. It
    neither receives solar radiation nor emits infrared radiation into space.”

    If that model assumes the mechanical work of introducing an atmosphere where there was none, and then does not permit the energy of that work (compression as described by Gas Laws) to radiate into space then of course the temperature will rise but it is a circular argument. As W. Eshenbach has also explained it promotes transient effects to equilibrium states by making radiation to restore equilibrium impossible by stipulation.

  217. NoIdea says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Willis, my best shot at an elevator speech version of Huffman’s analysis. I am not saying that I believe him to be right, or that I even properly understand his claims, I merely observe that to me, a layperson, it makes sense and is simple. My original question was to seek a comparison between N&Z and Huffman’s ideas.
    —————————————————————————————————-

    Thanks, Noldea. You say above that you don’t properly understand Huffman’s claims. I fear that your attempt at an elevator speech suffers from that, as it is not understandable. I do appreciate the effort, and I encourage you to take another shot at explaining it. Leave out Venus and the rest, you’re not trying to prove anything. Just focus on explaining the science of how it works.

    All the best,

    w.

  218. i suppose you can statistically raise the average temperature of an atmosphere-free planet by coating it with anything that redistributes heat better than conduction of the solid material because it carries energy to places it would never get due to not receiving any radiation.
    but it can’t raise the temperature of the heat source; it can only cool that.

  219. Willis: Your proof is pretty tight but not yet perfectly so. What follows is a theoretical counter argument with some specific points that could be tested.

    1. Your proof applies to the radiating surface of the planet. Conservation of energy limits that surface temperature to at or below the theoretical S-B limit . On earth, 70% of the time, we are discussing the first few microns of ocean (IR penetration limit).

    2. The practical near surface temperature, outside that few micron range, can exceed that limit if a mechanism exists for maintaining a sharp positive heat gradient relative to the actual radiating surface.

    3. Short wave solar radiation penetrates the radiating surface delivering energy to the liquid below. This can maintain a positive gradient relative to the radiating surface and hence the average temperature of the liquid below can exceed that of the radiating surface.

    4. Evaporative heat transport, since it occurs within the radiating surface, can maintain a sharp temperature gradient between the top few microns of liquid and both the liquid below and atmosphere above.

    5. The effectiveness of evaporative heat transport is proportional to the probability an evaporated molecule will be convected away from the surface which in turn is proportional to atmospheric density.

    6. Due to the heat gradient maintained by evaporative heat transport, the practical near surface temperature (outside of those few microns) can exceed the theoretical S-B limit by an amount regulated by atmospheric pressure without regard to the composition of the atmosphere.

    Concluding: Your proof is valid within a few micron range. But it fails, for wet windy planets, if the practical near-surface temperature is substituted for the actual radiating surface. This is because evaporative transport can suppress the temperature of the actual radiating surface relative to the surrounding matter.

  220. G. Karst,
    Your statement “All gases when energized by conduction, above ambient, will radiate energy.” is wrong. All gases that are diatomic or have more than 2 atoms per molecule will absorb and radiate some range of radiation. In general, the diatomic gases only absorb and radiate at short wavelengths (typically in the UV). Water vapor, CO2, Methane, etc, absorb and radiate at wavelengths typically found at near ambient temperatures on Earth. These wavelengths are related to excited vibration energy states of the molecules, and occur only at specific ranges of frequencies. Gases do not act like solid and liquids, as black or gray bodies. The specific interaction frequencies are the cause of the atmospheric greenhouse effect (along with aerosols, which do act like black bodies, but are being neglected in this discussion). If an atmosphere had only O2 and N2, it would only heat by conduction and convection with the solar heated ground (except for a very small UV absorption, and this could not be radiated back due to the air temperature). Convective mixing would cause a lapse rate to form, but no radiation would cool the top of the atmosphere, so once it warmed initially, the radiation balance would only be due to the absorbed solar energy, and ground to space radiated energy.

  221. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 1:36 am
    Go away, sir, your impudence knows no bounds. You haven’t a tenth of the knowledge you claim.

    I made a mistake, and admitted it. My childhood memories let me down. I was so sure I remembered it correctly that I didn’t check before posting (something I usually do). It will serve me right to be more prepared next time.

    Which doesn’t give you any ground to dismiss out of hand anything else I said or may say in the future, or to make sweeping and insulting conclusions about the volume of my knowledge.

    By commanding everybody who disagrees with you to “go away,” you are making yourself more and more ridiculous every time. Not to mention that your insulting language, which you alone are allowed to use with impunity on this forum, makes me even more determined to keep you in check.

    Before your arrival on the scene, Mr. Eschenbach, this site was almost 100% civil. Now, with your non-moderated outbursts, whatever are the merits of some of your articles, it stinks of favoritism.

  222. practical illustration:
    heating a piece of metal with a torch.
    if you want the whole thing hot, it works best to blow the hot gases back and forth over the entire thing rather than just one spot.

  223. I’m still thinking about this but one thing you said in a reply to a comment is wrong. Your GHG atmosphere does radiate. It receives energy from the surface by conduction. To have a temperature it radiates even if it can’t absorb IR.

  224. “”””” Genghis says:

    January 14, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I think some seem to be missing the obvious part here. If you take a volume of gas at a given temperature and compress it, the same gas in a smaller volume now has a higher temperature, due to the compression and resulting density “””””

    Not true !

    The same gas in the smaller volume, now has a higher Temperature, DUE TO THE WORK DONE ON IT TO COMPRESS IT.

    The volume (V) of gas has some surface area(A) depending on the geometry of the container, and neglecting the weight of the gas itself, that surface experiences some pressure P everywhere on the surface.
    So the total force pressing on the container, and vice versa is given by F = P.A
    So now if you move every pointon that container surface inward by an infinitessimal distance ds, the total wark done is force times distance W = F.ds = P.A.ds = P.dV, where A.ds = dV the change in Volume.

    It has nothing whatsoever to do with the density of the gas, and furthermore, the heating that results because all of that work done ends up as waste heat, is a purely transient event, so it is NOT a new stable state of the gas; which will eventually return to the ambient Temperature with a reduced volume, and an increased density.

  225. Eric Barnes says:
    January 14, 2012 at 11:48 am

    [Richard M says:
    January 14, 2012 at 11:11 am
    Not a coincidence at all if there is a maximum greenhouse effect. ]

    Convenient explanation.

    So we’ve maxed out at 390ppm CO2 and our current level of water vapor/methane?

    Watch how far you back up. The cliff of never ending rationalization is near.

    I was simply pointing out there does exist another simple explanation. Is it true, well one shouldn’t ignore all possibilities dealing with physics. You can heat water forever and it won’t get much warmer than 100C. Why not 1,000,000C? The answer we all know has to do with the physics of water.

    In fact, the maximum could occur at much lower concentrations of CO2 simply because CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas. Remember, I said a maximum GHE, not necessarily a maximum if CO2 was the only GHG. Also, it could be not an actual maximum, just a threshold where increases take so much additional GHGs that the result is effectively a maximum.

    All it really takes is a catalyst that enhances the GHE at low concentrations so it maxes out before one would normally expect. In a gravitation field with constant downward acceleration we might not have a linear response.

  226. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Willis, my post, as above, awaits your attention :)

    I think it is as good an elevator speech as you could reasonably expect.

  227. I feel sorry for Mother Nature–she so desperately wants to randomize the universe that she’ll even apply forth-power gain to motivate radiation in the cause of entropy. But then she comes up against gases like Nitrogen, Oxygen and Argon and regardless of her futile frustration, there is nothing she can do as these stubborn gases hold their acquired energy forever. Couple thermal energy into them and there it stays for all eternity.Then CO2 comes into play and increases the temperature of these gases even more. Oh, how our Mother is vexed and powerless. I wish I could send her a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine.

  228. Willis says
    “TO CONCLUDE: I’m interested in people who can either show that my proof is wrong”

    I have shown Willis that his proof is wrong here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/13/a-matter-of-some-gravity/#comment-863688

    [Tallbloke, I snipped that because it had no scientific content. Post your elevator speech or give it up. -w.]

    It is an easy to understand demonstration that his assertion that Hans Jelbring’s 2003 E&E paper violates the laws of thermodynamics because of considerations regarding radiation to space is incorrect. I provided him the same demonstration in email yesterday. The demonstration consists of two lines from the very paper Willis attacks. They are:

    “A simplified model of Earth will be considered. The model planet does not rotate. It
    neither receives solar radiation nor emits infrared radiation into space.

    Willis has been unresponsive regarding this demonstration both in email yesterday and on this thread he subsequently posted here at WUWT.

    Joel Shore made similar accusations, also unsupported by fact, against Nikolov and Zeller. I have offered him a guest post in which to lay out his objections formally. This offer was declined.

    It is now a matter of public record that Willis has been formally alerted to the failure of his ‘proof’. I will record this on my website in a new post. Since Willis hasn’t responded to my demonstration of the failure of his ‘proof’ here, any whining about his inability to respond on my website due to his self banning will be met with the derision and ridicule it deserves in a place his snipping scissors cannot reach.

    I will not have people who ignore correct formal scientific points directly offered to them multiple times and who then continue to cast demonstrably false slurs against reputable scientists posting comments on my site. They can cry “censorship” all they like, but it doesn’t cut it with me, especially when they have censored parts of adverse comments here on this thread, and deleted others completely.

    [Tallbloke, first give us your elevator speech about Jelbring's hypothesis. Until then, I will not believe you understand it well enough to "prove" anything. You have not shown that my proof has "failed" as you claim, record it on your website or not.

    Finally, what "demonstrably false slurs" by Joel are you talking about? You keep making accusations without a shred of proof or even a hint of evidence, which I suppose shouldn't surprise me by now, but still does. I snipped the last bunch, but I left these in so people can see your willingness to make unsupported accusations.

    -w.]

  229. Consider a simple analogy. [SNIP: Consider instead giving and elevator speech or disprove my proof, but no vague handwaving. -w.]

  230. Good article Willis.
    I think I am being persuaded by your argument. But, I have one lingering question.

    Although I fully understand that N2 and 02 are not IR absorbers (different bond energy), my question is the following. Lets say I manage to heat up some non-GH gas through some other means other than a radiative process… and then isolate it so that conduction and convection are no longer possible… will the non-GH gas not radiate? Will the temperature just hold constant forever?

    That seems unlikely, but I admit I am unsure. Even if they do not radiate in the IR spectrum, it still seems like the non-GH gas would still eventually radiate all its energy away… perhaps at some other frequency?

    So, even if a non-GH gas atmosphere were transparent to IR, it still seems like it could participate in radiative processes once heated. If a planet heats its atmosphere through conduction and convection, it still seems like the atmosphere could then radiate some of that energy away to space, even if its not at IR frequencies.

    -Anton

  231. [SNIP: If you wish to accuse me of being disingenuous, quote my words or go home. I won't stand for this kind of vague nasty accusation, that's a slimy tactic. And if you believe a man like Tallbloke, who censors scientific opinion that he disagrees with, you are an idiot. -w.]

    Well, Willis, since you took out the substantive part of my post and then called me an idiot I really have nothing more to say to you on the subject except, as you have opened that door: you are an arrogant, insufferable ideologue who refuses to countenance the possibility that other ideas may be better than your own. You have constantly belittled and attacked anyone who disagrees with you, characterise your opponents as ignorant fools, accuse them of the very tactics you use against anyone whoholds a differing opinion to your own and act as if you’re God’s own gift to the internet. In short, sir, your condescension ill behoves a scientist as you claim to be.

    Consider this a formal protest at your behaviour, your arguments and your continued presence on this site.

    Graham Dawson

    [Your protest is noted. I also note that you have said absolutely nothing scientific in your post at all, you just whined about what a terrible awful person I am.

    I called you an idiot because you obviously believed the bull that Tallbloke was spouting. You didn't ask me if Tallbloke was right, you didn't check your sources, you just started out your post by saying I was being disingenuous but didn't say where.

    Now, you have come back and once again, just like in your first post, you start out with the accusations. Now the problem is that I'm an arrogant insufferable ideologue ... well, that's all good to know, and I'm sure it does one important thing—it might, just might, make people forget that there isn't a scrap of science in this post.

    w.]

  232. Thanks Willis but I’ll pass. I don’t think there is any more ‘science’ in Huffman’s claims than that. That is perhaps his weakest point – he does not bother to debate the detail. The Venus stuff is essential for the simple reason that he claims it is the comparison between the two that is the critical issue. There is no ‘runaway’ GE on Venus – the temperature at various pressure levels conforms to the profile of the ‘standard atmosphere’. Were the earth’s atmosphere substantially deeper, then the temperature near the surface would be higher. I suspect that means that the temperature in say a deep hole (mine) on the earth would be higher (absent any geothermal effects that is).

    I thought the point of the elevator speech was to describe in concise terms what is happening. And I think it’s pretty clear what he claims. How deep into science you’d need to go to prove/disprove his analysis I have no idea.

    My question was merely to what extent does his claim differ from N&Z, as to me they appear largely similar. I’m in no position to judge however.

  233. Well said, TB.

    My post appears on your blog too but I refined it slightly, above.

    I want to hear Wilis’s reply and if he can show that my formulation is incorrect then c’est la vie :)

    Mind you, I do entirely agree with Willis’s fine ‘Thermostat’ idea but still think he should have extended it globally as I have done.

  234. If the proof is in contradiction: The basal metabolic rate of a human is 58wm2. A human is on average 2m2 thus the average human emits around 100m2 of radiation. YET: Infrared devices record humans as a glowing patch, yet the ambient background is dark. Thus at night the earth emits FAR LESS than 100wm2.

    The S-B equation is a gross oversimplification. It is a theoretical tool that expresses the relation between temperature and radiation emitted from a surface. As it is a single equation, it is applied to all surfaces, gas or liquid or solid without any regard whatsoever for their properties. Air for example has little very low heat capacity, and is not even a surface, but a 3 dimensional gas which emits virtually nothing compared to a solid. Solids themselves give off very little radiation at standard/average temperatures.

    the absurdity of the results from this equation is not science.

    In fact, very little radiation is given off by surfaces at normal temperatures. In terms of the earth, it is probably about a tenth (1/10) of the radiation given off by a human.

    The SB equation for example gives water at freezing (0c) as 315Wm2, if 5.67051 x 10-8 x K4.

    That is the equivalent heat emission of three combined people at body temperature on an average day.

  235. Wow! Too many posts to read in detail so I skimmed and hit what appeared to be the best ones.

    My conclusion:
    I would second Willis’s elevator speech and fully agree with his thought experiment as posed.

    Some of the fallacies (in my opinion) demonstrated by posters to my mind are:
    -gravitational compression elevating surface / atmospheric temperature.
    -atmospheric convection having a role in this thought experiment.
    -non greenhouse gases emit significant black body long wave radiation.
    This kind of esoteric topic seems to generate a great deal of heat, so to speak. I hope you and tallbloke can kiss and make up. The same for tallbloke and Joel Shore.

  236. Part of the confusion is that Jelbring defines the GHG effect differently from just about everyone else, as mentioned above by lateposter, and as you can see from the paper. If you eliminate solar and IR radiation, you are also eliminating the greenhouse effect and all you have left to explain everything is gravity, so what is being explained is not the greenhouse effect, but just the classical lapse rate effect, which is also explained in the first chapter of any atmospheric textbook.

  237. ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Exactly. In the absence of GHG, the atmosphere would not be able to lose energy to space. Any energy lost to the atmosphere from the surface would eventually be returned to the surface.

    In contrast, with a GHG atmosphere, energy lost from the surface to the atmosphere can then be radiated to space by the atmosphere and need not be returned to the surface.

    Thus, without a GHG atmosphere, S-B tells us that the surface of the planet must warm to radiate this excess energy, that is no longer being radiated away by the atmosphere.
    ———————————————————————————-

    with the absence of a pathway for IR to “radiate” the black body will warm to the point of equilibrium that CONVECTION will control the balancing of incoming and out going energy.

    in the absence of convection (even in a non GHG atmosphere) the black body will warm until it begins burning. without one or the other to remove heat the body will get very hot.. a non conductive atmosphere will stop energy loss at night

    Convection passes heat from molecule to molecule and with each transference, a loss of energy to space. Gravity compresses the molecules in close proximity and as it diminishes allows further space between them.. Thus gravity controls the rate of convection.

    as a layman its a rather simple concept.

  238. Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.

    But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.

    And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.

    This is not correct. Add an atmosphere to a rotating planet with an inhomogeneous temperature distribution, hottest at the equator, coldest at the poles. If you use this as your baseline temperature instead of an ideal blackbody, adding an atmosphere enables lateral heat transport (whether or not the atmosphere radiates, surely it convects and conducts). This move heat from the hot equator towards the colder poles, which produces net heating as in an increase in mean surface temperature for the same insolation.

    The reason your last statement isn’t correct is that things aren’t linear. T^4 is not linear. ^4 \ne . This is what davidmhoffer has been pointing out in the other thread. As long as one can transport heat in air or water, one can achieve “heating” of the average temperature while maintaining balance.

    However, this doesn’t effect your general argument. I have no idea what N&Z could possibly be saying either. Some of what I read sounded like complete nonsense — connecting PV = NkT to the effect, for example, and making noises about gravity being a “source” for additional heating or the like.

    The only thing that I can imagine that makes sense is this. If the atmosphere of a planet is thick enough that you cannot see the ground, and is layered so that relatively transparent gases live outside relatively opaque gases, you end up achieving energy balance at some atmospheric height that leads to some equilibrium temperature there (recall you have BCs of “low pressure, cold” somewhere above the surface at the top of the transparent zone). You then have an e.g. adiabatic lapse rate all the way to the ground. So the ground is much warmer. That suffices to describe Venus — somewhere high above the surface, there is a maximum height from which energy directly radiates, and from that height down the atmosphere gets hotter because of the increase in pressure and equilibrium.

    The Earth is completely different, though — the surface radiates directly and there is a lapse rate with an atmosphere in between that radiates energy from many heights and temperatures (but only in certain bands). The lapse rate is due to gravity and thermodynamics, sure, but that’s not news, nor is it the “cause” of the warming. As you say, in a perfectly transparent atmosphere with no lateral heat transport there would be no surface warming caused by the atmosphere, because the atmosphere would be in quasi-static thermal equilibrium with the surface and would not lose energy at all on the outside (air-vacuum) interface. The only way I can think of that it would
    “warm” is by buffering the incoming heat so that it produced a smaller warming in the first place, then released it to slow the cooling as well, again by moving the temperature everywhere closer to uniform.

    rgb

  239. Roy Spencer’s comment is incontestable. If the atmosphere is transparent to radiation then there is no convection, it must become isothermal via conduction and cannot alter the radiating surface temperature at equilibrium.

    Dr Jelbring seems to contest his model is based on a transparent atmosphere reference but leaves me no wiser as to what if anything it proves.

  240. The previous reply once again ate my < type brackets, sorry, that were supposed to denote averages. It said "T to the fourth average is not equal to T average to the fourth". A very common problem in the discussion is conflating the two as if they are somehow equal.

    rgb

  241. JohnWho says:
    January 14, 2012 at 7:08 am

    I am enjoying the thought process here. Some aren’t paying attention to Willis’ constraints:
    1. The perfectly smooth, perfectly round, single substance planet is receiving equal amounts of heat/energy uniformly from all directions.
    2. The added surrounding atmosphere is perfectly transparent to the heat/energy sources.
    In this scenario, it would logically seem that since the atmosphere by definition can have no effect, it is having no effect; the denseness of the atmosphere caused by gravity will not matter.
    However, now replace that atmosphere with one of 100% of any other gas, also insuring that the parameters will not be such that the gas will cool or warm enough to change state. Now, the warmer surface of the planet will heat the portion of that atmosphere that touches it, and heat “rises” (moves away from the center of gravity) toward the upper levels of the atmosphere while the cooler gas replaces it and is being heated and it “rises”, etc. until it reaches equilibrium.
    If I’ve got that correct, than here are my questions:

    Thanks, John. People seem to be in some confusion about what the eventual state of the atmosphere in my example will be.

    Suppose we put a cool gas on the planet. It will warm from below. This will set up a circulation. But of course, the circulation will not last forever. That would be a violation of conservation of energy.

    Since there is gravity, the atmophere will have a “dry adiabatic lapse rate”, which means that the temperature must drop with altitude. The atmosphere will warm until the bottom layer of the atmosphere has the same temperature as the surface, and has the dry adiabatic temperature profile above the surface. It will neither gain nor lose energy after that, and will be stable with no bulk motion.

    All the best,

    w.

  242. [SNIP: stick to elevator speeches or disproving my proof. Vague meanderings need not apply, nor long expositions on basic theory. Sorry, w.]

  243. Jim D says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:48 am
    The problem with ferd berple’s argument is that just because GHGs reduce the amount of surface radiation escaping to space, you can’t conclude that there is less surface radiation entering the atmosphere

    At no time did I discuss surface radiation entering the atmosphere. One the contrary my proof relies upon “net energy escaping to space”.

    A large part of the confusion in climate science is a result of analysis of GROSS energy, which leads to the problems of calculating energy transfer between the surface and atmosphere, convection, back radiation, etc. etc. My proof purposely avoids this confusion.

    As soon as you consider only the net transfer in energy from the surface to space and from the atmosphere to space, the problem is crystal clear. There is no need to calculate the relative transfer between the surface and atmosphere, because in the end it is the radiation to space that must balance. Radiation in = radiation out.

    A second part of my proof was to compare two planets, one with a radiating atmosphere and one without. Rather than avoid the confusion of trying to calculate temperature, I used the simplifying device of an inequality. My point wasn’t to show how much effect GHG has, only the sign of the effect.

    My proof shows that the standard model of GHG theory has the sign reversed. In which case this lends weight to the gravity model of regulating planetary surface temperature, and assigns GHG a secondary role in redistributing energy between the surface and atmosphere.

  244. George E Smith said:

    “furthermore, the heating that results because all of that work done ends up as waste heat, is a purely transient event, ”

    Hi George,

    I’m a fan of your work but you’ve missed something there.

    It isn’t called a gravitational CONSTANT without good reason. Joel Shore and others make the same mistake.

    Gravity is a continuous renewing process which replenishes itself over time. No one knows why or how, not even Einstein, but we must live with it.

    So it is NOT a transient effect and the result is PERMANENT all other things being equal.

    Without that effect the Ideal Gas Law would not be a Law.

  245. TimC says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:46 am
    Willis said (to Crosspatch): “I will repeat it again. If there are no GHGs in the atmosphere, the atmosphere will not and cannot radiate energy. That’s the whole point. The only thing that can radiate is the surface. You keep claiming the atmosphere will radiate. It will not.”

    I don’t profess to any real knowledge of thermodynamics but isn’t this then postulating (a) an atmosphere with mass, (b) capable of convection and conduction, and (c) with its own localised temperatures and gradients (separate from the surface temperature, although no doubt coupled to it, with lags).

    Why can’t such an atmosphere radiate? Suppose, instead of surrounding a planet, it was just a cloud of the (hypothetical) transparent gas, in space. Would there be no way of physically detecting it’s presence, outside the gas envelope itself?

    I’m smelling an impossible premise here, somewhere.

    An atmosphere of Argon fits the bill, M=40, can conduct and convect, will have a lapse rate, this atmosphere will not radiate. No impossible premise.

  246. I humbly ask that everyone stop the derision, ridicule, slurs and snide remarks. I have been a fan of both Tallbloke and Willis. Either take it to the alley or transcend the silliness.

    Here’s my simple understanding. Take a water bottle and fill with boiling water or with equal temperature gases. Don’t care. Hold up your hand an inch away. Does the heat radiate to warm your hand? Isn’t the atmosphere under pressure from gravity also the the gas in the water bottle?

    By the way can’t both positions be true that there is a GH effect and gravity/atmosphere pressure working together?

  247. tallbloke says:
    January 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Wow, Willis’ censor’s scissors have been busy here in the last few minutes. Good job I screenshotted relevant posts.

    Tallbloke, I said I would snip. I’m snipping. Don’t pretend to be surprised, it makes you look meretricious. Screenshot all you wish, I have nothing to hide.

    w.

  248. It is very easy to test backradiation theory. Put a mirror towrads ground approx 2 meters high on a sunny day so that it reflects all IR from the ground to sunny place on a ground. Now measure temperatures from this place where mirror reflects all IR and surroundings. Result from that test is there is no difference in temperature on ground in any spot. Why so, mirror is obviously cooler than the ground and radiation from cooler object can’t warm warmer objects. If you somehow can warm the mirror over the temperature of the ground you might get some little difference depending of the temperature difference. So backradiation warming is pure bulls**t from cooler atmosphere to warmer ground.

  249. Willis.
    You have been wholesale deleting peoples responses to this thread to leave it looking like most people agree with you.

    [Bull. I have been deleting just what I said I would delete, and I should have deleted more. Your pretended surprise that I would actually do what I said I would do doesn't become you.]

    At least I was clear direct and upfront about who was not being allowed to post at the talkshop and the reasons why. You have been removing comments altogether because they disagree with you. It’s all being recorded at the talkshop in real time. Any justification you thought you had for complaining about Joel being barred from posting is out of the window.

    [Oh, I see, my subsequent actions after the fact mean that your banning Joel was correct and proper ... ]

    There was scientific content in my first reply on this thread, and it also contained a reply about the situation with Joel. Your removal of it shows who the real censor is. You are doing yourself terrible damage here. Stop now.

    [Tallbloke, every post can be claimed to have scientific content, including yours. I said that I would snip things that were off-topic, which your post most assuredly was. If you (or anyone else) think your post contained actual science that has been deleted incorrectly, then post the scientific part again and we can discuss it. -w.]

  250. Ken Coffman says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm
    Then CO2 comes into play and increases the temperature of these gases even more.

    CO2 reduces the temperature of the atmosphere, according to WP which is my bible:

    Within the mesosphere, temperature decreases with increasing altitude. This is due to decreasing solar heating and increasing cooling by CO2 radiative emission. The top of the mesosphere, called the mesopause, is the coldest part of Earth’s atmosphere.[1] Temperatures in the upper mesosphere fall as low as −100 °C (173 K; −148 °F),[2] varying according to latitude and season.

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

  251. ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Let me see if I have this correct. An N2 O2 atmosphere without GHG does not cool by radiation.

    Thus, without GHG, the earth’s surface would need to be warmer than it is now, to radiate the equivalent amount of energy to space as is currently radiated by the surface and atmosphere together.

    Thus, the only effect that GHG can have on the surface is to cool the surface.

    (atmosphere + surface) ^4 is greater than (surface) ^ 4

    (atmosphere + surface) ^4 is equal to (hotter surface) ^ 4

    Since we know that radiation in must equal radiation out, if N2 and O2 do not radiate, then the only conclusion that is possible is that GHG cools the surface.

    Right mechanism, wrong conclusion, ferd. GHGs cool the atmosphere because they give it another way to lose heat. But they also warm the atmosphere because they give it another way to gain heat. Most importantly, they decouple the radiation from the surface since there is more than one thing in the system that can radiate.

    If there are no GHGs, the surface must radiate (to space, since there are no GHGs) the amount of energy it absorbs. Its radiation is fixed and unchangeable.

    If there are GHGs, some of the surface radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere, so the radiation of the surface is no longer fixed.

    That’s why a transparent GHG-free gravity/atmosphere can’t warm the surface about theoretical S-B temperature, because the radiation of the surface is fixed.

    w.

  252. Gravity does effect temperature, i.e. without gravity there can be no atmosphere and therefore the atmosphere following the basic gas laws at each altitude level DELAYS or slows the rate of radiation back to space via it’s specific heat. Venus is an example of this, given the 90 bar pressure at the surface we expect to see high temperatures maintained even at night time due to the pressure-temperature relationship. Due to the thickness of the atmosphere even the night time side of Venus is quite hot unlike airless Mercury or the Moon on the dark side that approach but do not reach absolute zero.

    Moreover it’s not just the atmosphere that slows the rate of IR back to space via it’s specific heat property, it’s also the type of regolith that absorbs energy and then releases that energy according to its own physical properties via density and conductivity, specific heat. E.g. a stone heated in the sun absorbs that heat all the way to the core if the heat is applied to it long enough depending upon it’s material composition, size and shape; then once the sun drops (planet rotates) the stone being slower to release it’s heat than air radiates it’s energy in the IR band back to space for hours until it reaches equilibrium temperature with the surrounding air.

    Your argument fails the test of reality because you make the false assumption of time scale and rate of heat conductivity. The fact that the Moon’s surface does not achieve absolute zero during the two weeks of darkness as it revolves around the earth demonstrates this concept of time delayed IR radiation. Basic thermodynamics tells us that the rate of heat transfer (even via radiation) decreases as the temperature differential decreases. Call it a heat storage effect if you will.

  253. Published elevator speech: Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. & Karl Zeller, Ph.D.
    Based upon the analysis of data for eight planetary bodies [Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Europa, Titan and Tritonus] they derived a simple yet robust formula for predicting a planet’s mean surface temperature as a function of only two variables: 1) TOA solar irradiance and 2) mean atmospheric surface pressure.

    Plain speaking elevator speech: Harry Dale Huffman
    All the supposedly learned theorizing by one and all is precisely worthless, because everyone uses it to ignore the simple, definitive fact that disproves the tyrannously-promulgated carbon dioxide greenhouse effect, and reveals the radiative transfer theory as unconnected from the real thermodynamics of the atmosphere.

  254. kcrucible, January 14, 2012 at 11:40 am
    OK, I think by now most people should have got the message that the major constituents of the atmosphere, nitrogen and oxygen. do not absorb or emit long wave infrared radiation. Consequently, they play no part in the greenhouse effect and they cannot cool the atmosphere by radiating energy to space. It is not a difficult concept, so those who haven’t got that yet are not going to get it.
    “Simplifying the earth to only consider IR is a gross oversimplification”. No it isn’t. This is what the earth radiates from its surface.
    “We have IR being generated from the surface that did not arrive as IR!”. Yes, that is quite possible, in fact it is what happens. So, you got something right.
    “So, an atmosphere that acquires heat content from the surface of the earth ….. has the possibility of radiating that energy as microwaves, etc, etc.”.
    The wavelengths that a body is able to radiate at are determined by its temperature. The spectrum of wavelength distribution is governed by Planck’s Law. This specifies how much power can be emitted at each wavelength and this is what determines whether it emits UV, infrared, visible, radio waves or microwaves etc. and in what proportion. The temperature of the Earth’s surface dictates that the earth will emit in the infrared. The temperature of the atmosphere dictates that it will also emit in the infrared, if it is able to emit at all. If a body cannot emit within the range of Planck prescribed wavelengths for its temperature, then it will not emit anything. It cannot just decide to emit in some other part of the electromagnetic spectrum instead. Therefore, only the infrared region is pertinent to the greenhouse effect. It is not a gross oversimplification – it is called physics.

  255. Willis,
    I am not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, so please forgive me if it has been mentioned. I am in a hurry to paint the family room before my wife gets home so I haven’t thoroughly checked the thread.
    You said in a comment earlier that the potential energy of the molecules in the upper atmosphere is greater than at the surface, thus, we have a lapse rate (or something to that effect). If we double the amount of atmosphere, then we would increase the potential energy of the molecules at the top of the atmosphere. Maybe about 1.2 times for the first doubling in my hasty estimation (gravitational potential doesn’t double, and gas is compressible, so something less than the sqrt of 2).
    If we increase the potential E of the top molecules of gas, then we increase the KE of the lower levels and we have temperature rise. I don’t see how it matters whether this is a greenhouse gas or not. Maybe I am not understanding where this fits into your argument when you brought it up in the thread.

  256. Willis said:

    “Since there is gravity, the atmophere will have a “dry adiabatic lapse rate”, which means that the temperature must drop with altitude. The atmosphere will warm until the bottom layer of the atmosphere has the same temperature as the surface, and has the dry adiabatic temperature profile above the surface. It will neither gain nor lose energy after that, and will be stable with no bulk motion.”

    Ok, you’ve accepted the gravity induced dry adiabatic lapse rate.

    And you seem to accept that the warming is from the solar irradiated surface and that the lapse rate is supported by conduction from the surface.

    That is then the baseline gravity induced GHE as per N & Z and the Ideal Gas Laws. Nice and stable and set by gravity and atmospheric mass alone.

    Then one introduces GHGs which have two effects.

    They absorb more energy due to their radiative characteristics.

    They then radiate 50% up and out of the system and 50% back down to the surface.

    The 50% sent upward reduces total system energy content because it is lost to space. That is a cooling process.

    The 50 % sent downward destabilises the gravity induced GHE but in turn provokes more convection and on a water planet energises the water cycle too.

    Now, convection and the water cycle are cooling mechanisms (evaporation has a huge net cooling effect of 5 to 1 – see latent heat of vapourisation) so that 50% sent downward must be all or mostly negated unless you can show otherwise and the N & Z data seems to show that the negation is pretty much complete.

    Which leaves the (admitted) gravitationally induced GHE firmly in control does it not ?

    Checkmate ?

  257. The reason, I feel, that people are not paying attention to the model is that it removes the one element that’s necessary to understand earth’s atmosphere. It radiates. Your model is an exercise in pointlessness – it doesn’t model that one tiny little detail that makes earth’s atmosphere tick; it’s full of gases that radiate all over the place and because of those gases radiating all over the place – but specifically radiating outwards at the top – the atmosphere can’t reach an equilibrium and stop circulating. That outward radiation introduces an imbalance that in turn provides a mechanism to create work, by cooling gases much further than lowering their pressure would do in the non-radiating atmosphere your model describes.

    That’s why I said you were being disingenuous. Your model doesn’t model anything approaching reality, which is also why I described it as a strawman: it’s a parody of the argument you’re trying to refute with key elements removed.

    Finally, since I’m sure my other comment won’t get posted I’m going to rephrase one part of it: you have accused me of being an idiot for supporting the opinion of someone who is, as far as I can tell, making an honest and effective rebuttal of your model. I never attacked you personally, though I did question your motivations. I would be pleased if you never posted on this site again and you can consider this my formal protest against your continued presence.

  258. ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Mathematical proof that GHG cools the surface of planet earth

    In an atmosphere with GHG

    total energy incoming from sun = net energy emitted to space by GHG atmosphere + net energy emitted to space by surface(1)

    In an atmosphere without GHG (non radiating),

    total energy incoming from sun = net energy emitted to space by surface(2)

    Therefore this can be rewritten as:

    net energy emitted to space by atmosphere + net energy emitted to space by surface(1) = net energy emitted to space by surface(2)

    Which then becomes:

    net energy emitted to space by GHG atmosphere = net energy emitted to space by surface(2) – net energy emitted to space by surface(1)

    Since we know that “net energy emitted to space by GHG atmosphere” > 0

    We can rewrite this as

    net energy emitted to space by surface(2) – net energy emitted to space by surface(1) > 0

    Thus

    net energy emitted to space by surface(2) > net energy emitted to space by surface(1)

    Since we know that net energy radiated to space is a function of temperature, we can then say:

    Temperature surface(2) > Temperature surface(1)

    QED

    Took me a minute to figure out what is wrong with this. It is in the assumption that “net energy radiated to space is a function of temperature”. It is, but for the surface it is also a function of the amount of energy absorbed by the atmosphere. That’s why the surface can get hot, because some of the energy radiated by the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so we’re not emitting to space more that we’re absorbing.

    As a result, the last step of your proof is incorrect.

    w.

  259. Willis said:

    “If there are no GHGs, the surface must radiate (to space, since there are no GHGs) the amount of energy it absorbs. Its radiation is fixed and unchangeable”

    You forgot something.

    The Ideal Gas Law means that the warmest molecules of air are at the surface.

    Those molecules are at a higher temperature than the average for the atmosphere.

    Thus they will inhibit upward energy transfer more than would be the case if the atmosphere were at a cooler average temperature throughout.

    That will give a higher surface temperature than predicted by the S-B equation.

  260. crosspatch says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:39 am
    “1. The non greenhouse gas atmosphere is a perfect conduction insulator to space, it can’t radiate its heat out.”

    What? Everything with a temperature radiates. I don’t care WHAT a substance is, it will cool. It will cool until it reaches equilibrium with its background. Greenhouse has absolutely nothing to do with radiation, it has to do with absorption. Something can be completely transparent to LWIR and still cool down by radiation. A greenhouse gas is something that absorbs LWIR. It has nothing to do with what it radiates. So I can have a non greenhouse gas that heats via direct contact … conduction. It will STILL radiate that heat away. It just didn’t heat by absorbing LWIR.

    No it won’t, you need to learn about the physics of gases.

    Willis’s theoretical planet, uniformly illuminated from all directions, in the absence of an atmosphere will be at a uniform temperature of Tsb. Add a transparent atmosphere and initially the gases next to the surface would heat up to close to the surface temperature, briefly cooling the surface, as gases conduct poorly the temperature will fall off rapidly with height. This would be unstable so convection cells would form and the temperature profile will approach the adiabatic lapse rate . As the same radiation is incoming and less is leaving because the surface is cooler and the atmosphere can’t radiate the surface will warm up to the original Tsb with a temperature profile at the adiabatic lapse rate.
    Double the mass of the atmosphere and the pressure everywhere will double, the surface will achieve the same temperature, Tsb, and the atmosphere will have the same profile, -g/Cp. The only difference would be the time to achieve equilibrium.
    Increase the gravity of the planet and the surface pressure will increase and the lapse rate will change but the equilibrium temperature will be the same Tsb, again the only difference would be the time to achieve equilibrium.

    Therefore in the absence of GHGs there is no ‘gravitational enhancement’.

  261. Willis, You have your ladder upside down.

    LWR reaches and excites the atmosphere to a equal state of LWR emission relative to the atmospheric pressured state of of it’s molecules. The atmosphere reaches a maximum saturation of LWR before any surplus LWR reaches the Earths surface and excites it to it’s maximum saturation of LWR.

    In turn, some of that absorbed energy is radiated by the surface back to the atmosphere.

    None of reflected energy from the Earths surface is absorbed by greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, as they are already excited to a state of maximum LWR.

    INMO, LWR steps down to the surface but uses a elevator to get back up. Due to the different atmospheres of Earth, strats & tops, It’s like, two steps down, one step up.

    How does LWR from our Sun pass through GHG’s with no effect but the same GHG’s are not effected by the Earths surface emissions? Your steps mean a gas sphere held by gravity, would have the same T as deep space.

  262. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm
    Tallbloke, I said I would snip. I’m snipping. Don’t pretend to be surprised, it makes you look meretricious. Screenshot all you wish, I have nothing to hide.

    Willis, censorship has no place in the discussion. What sets WUWT apart from RC is the ability to express ideas right or wrong. Lose that right, and tyranny will follow.

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

  263. Gina Becker says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:57 am

    As a chemical engineer, I support Willis’ conclusions completely. It’s nonsense that a GHG free atmosphere will affect the temperature. The field of climate science is full of such nonsense, and it doesn’t help the skeptics cause to unskeptically perpetuate their own.

    Thanks, Gina. I appreciate your comment.

    People keep trying to come up with novel mechanisms for the putative warming. What they don’t understand is, I don’t care about the mechanisms. My proof applies to any and all such mechanisms, so the details are unimportant. Won’t stop the speculation of how gravity brings energy from the top to the bottom and the like, I suppose …

    w.

  264. “That’s why the surface can get hot, because some of the energy radiated by the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so we’re not emitting to space more that we’re absorbing.”

    Which is why the equilibrium temperature rises intead ?

  265. ferd berple, yes, you didn’t discuss surface radiation entering the atmosphere, but that is part of the surface radiation, and if you are equating radiation to temperature, you have to consider it too because temperature affects both parts.

  266. JimOfCP says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:03 am

    So, Willis. Did you choose the 9-12 micron range because it hits the water and CO2 main bands? Some other reason?

    Thanks, Jim. That’s the range covered by Geiger, so I used it. If you want more info, look at the modis link I gave above.

    w.

  267. JEEZ. I Meant;

    How does LWR from our Sun pass through GHG’s with no effect but the same GHG’s are effected by the Earths surface emissions?

  268. ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

    TO CONCLUDE: I’m interested in people who can either show that my proof is wrong

    There is no free lunch. If the GHG atmosphere is radiating, then there must be a reduction in radiation somewhere else.

    GHG-free atmosphere, ferd. GHG-free, doesn’t radiate in the IR … is my writing really that unclear?

    w.

  269. Willis
    As usual a clear and simple post.
    Your reductio ad absurdum as presented with note 1 is all you need to convince me that there is a problem with N&Z.
    Does such a planet exist, probably not.
    Is the Earth more complex, yes. But it does not take anything away from your argument.
    Dr Brown.
    In the planet that Willis describes it is surrounded by mini suns. Incoming energy is evenly distributed over the entire surface, pole to equator. As presented I do not see any lateral heat transport, rotating or not.
    Is my understanding correct?

  270. Hans Jelbring says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:08 am
    lateposter says: January 14, 2012 at 9:13 am

    No you don´t understand the content of my E&E, 2003 paper correctly. Willis has been putting words in my mouth that I have never said and he refuses to adress what is written in my peer reviwed paper, since 8 years. There certainly are no “Elevator version” of my paper which is based on first principal physics. It means that what I have written is either true or false. There is nothing inbetween. After 8 years nobody has falsified it and Willis attempt here is subclass for a number of reasons.

    Hans, good to hear from you. It is quite possible that I do not understand your theory. But if you yourself refuse to give us a simplified version containing only the salient scientific facts, aka the “elevator speech”, then I’m afraid you are posting in the wrong thread.

    How does your proposed effect work, Hans?

    Here you have a literate and interested audience. But if all you can say is to wave your hand at your paper, what good are you? I tried reading that. It didn’t make sense. So give us the easy-to-understand version, Hans, so we can get a hold on what your claim is. I don’t want to depend on my own admittedly flawed understanding.

    Because either you can tell us, simply and clearly, how your “Jelbring effect” is supposed to work, or you are worse than useless and should just audit the discussion because you have nothing to add.

    This is crunch time, Hans, this is where the rubber hits the road. There’s enough heat already, give us some light. Give us your elevator speech about your grand theory that will revolutionize science. Explain your stupendous ideas clearly in a few well-thought-out sentences. You’ll never have a better or larger audience for your words.

    You and I have spent hours on this topic. I still don’t understand how the “Jelbring Effect” works. So fight my ignorance, let me know clearly and cleanly just what happens first, and what happens next, see my example of an “elevator speech” in the head post.

    Or walk away, I truly don’t care, Hans. This kind of stuff hurts my head, which I should have examined for posting this thread …

    Thanks,

    w.

  271. Anton Eagle says:January 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm
    .”.. will the non-GH gas not radiate? Will the temperature just hold constant forever?”

    Anton, non-GH gases like O2 and N2 don’t radiate IR (vibrational energy transitions) because they have no dipole moment – except when they are momentarily and rarely produced by collisions. So they will slowly leak energy. However that process is very slow relative to others.

  272. Willis,

    I think I understand the point you are making.

    A body absent the ability to either radiate or convect energy, it will collect energy until it gets to a fission state. thus a star which then radiates in all bands..

    There in lies the problem with N&K. in their attempt to show black body balance they have nulled their hypothesis. And possibly yours also…. nothing in the universe is static, including gravity. it is constantly changing..

    By creating a planet with an atmosphere of any substance which is clear, convection becomes the controlling “balancing” act. Now gravity plays a roll as does the type of gas and the size of its molecules. thus the rate of convection. The lapse rate is what will dictate the temp at which it balances (equilibrium). Now mix gases and it really becomes fun..

    when one looks at atmosphere challenged planets their own night time radiation out ways the daytime collection usually by a factor of 3/2. the reverse is true during day time hours where thy reach 500K while at night they can drop to below 100k. by adding a clear atmosphere you attempt to create a thermal blanket to “balance” your outcome.. however, there is always loss with any atmosphere.

    I’m not sure what it is they are trying to say other than confuse the subject with their paper. That being said, certain gases will allow warming with their compaction near the surface with convection due to their molecular weight and gravity holding them there..

    a warm surface will warm the immediate area above it and depending on wind speed and its make up it will hold that thermal layer close. this will a allow warming.even absent an IR reflecting gas.

    Bill

  273. Wow I come back from work and find this thread has boomed.

    Firstly, people please stop it with the “all gasses radiate” meme.
    It all depends on the vibrational mode.
    Co2 has 4 fundemental vibrational modes. 2 of them are called scissoring, one is called asymmetrical stretching. These 3 modes ARE infrared active.
    But even CO2 has a mode that is not responsive to infrared.The 4th mode, the symmetrical stretching, is not INFRARED active because the vibration does not cause a change in the dipole moment of the molecule.

    One further point. Just because a molecule is symmetrical, does NOT mean it is invisible to IR.
    So long as the vibration can change the dipole moment, it is active in IR. That is why, symmetrical molecules such as Carbon Monoxide and Iodine Chloride ARE active in IR.

    But does any of this mean Nitrogen and oxygen can’t absorb and emit radiation? No, of course not, BUT IN THE INFRARED REGION…..THEY CANNOT AND DO NOT.

    http://orgchem.colorado.edu/hndbksupport/irtutor/IRtheory.pdf

    http://www.ems.psu.edu/~bannon/moledyn.html

  274. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    Took me a minute to figure out what is wrong with this. It is in the assumption that “net energy radiated to space is a function of temperature”. It is, but for the surface it is also a function of the amount of energy absorbed by the atmosphere. That’s why the surface can get hot, because some of the energy radiated by the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so we’re not emitting to space more that we’re absorbing. As a result, the last step of your proof is incorrect.

    I’ve already accounted for that energy, by using “net” energy. The problem with your rebuttal is that you are double counting, confusing net with gross.

    To explain, here is the problem in diagram form: “===>” denotes energy flow.

    space <==A== surface ghg ==C==> space

    In my calculation, I’m only considering energy flows A and C. You are adding in flow B. However, flow B is meaningless and only serves to confuse, because it does not take part in the flow to space. It is only the flow to space that is subject to the equivalence, radiation in = radiation out.

    Therefore from above:

    A + C = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    However, on an earth with no GHG, atmospheric radiation to space = 0,

    space <==D== surface no ghg ==F==> zero radiation to space

    D + F = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    However, since F = 0, this becomes

    D + 0 = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    Therefore, since solar energy remains the same

    A + C = D (because F = 0)

    Since C > 0, for GHG atmosphere

    D > A

    Since D and A vary as 4th power of Temp

    Temp(D) > Temp(A)

    Therefore the surface will be hotter on a planet with a non radiant (non GHG ) atmosphere.
    QED

  275. arghh html spoils my posting above. The use of gt and lt characters goofed things up. I will repost.

  276. Willis, you are probably not understanding Jelbring’s paper because you are trying to read too much into it. All he says is that two layers S and A in the atmosphere, separated by a distance D, under the adiabatic assumption will have a temperature difference give by gD/cp where g is for gravity (9.81 m/s/s), and cp is the atmospheric heat capacity (1000 J/kg/K). This temperature difference he defines as his GE (greenhouse effect). It is apples when the real GE is oranges.

  277. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    Took me a minute to figure out what is wrong with this. It is in the assumption that “net energy radiated to space is a function of temperature”. It is, but for the surface it is also a function of the amount of energy absorbed by the atmosphere. That’s why the surface can get hot, because some of the energy radiated by the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so we’re not emitting to space more that we’re absorbing. As a result, the last step of your proof is incorrect.

    I’ve already accounted for that energy, by using “net” energy. The problem with your rebuttal is that you are double counting, confusing net with gross.

    To explain, here is the problem in diagram form:

    first some terminology:
    “==X==)” denotes energy flow from left to right, called X.
    “(==Y==)” denotes two way energy flow between right and left, called Y.
    “(==Z==” denotes energy flow from right to left, called Z.

    Here is the model I described,

    space (==A== surface (==B==) ghg ==C==) space

    In my calculation, I’m only considering energy flows A and C. You are adding in flow B. However, flow B is meaningless and only serves to confuse, because it does not take part in the flow to space. It is only the flow to space that is subject to the equivalence, radiation in = radiation out.

    Therefore from above:
    A + C = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    However, on an earth with no GHG, atmospheric radiation to space = 0,

    space (==D== surface (==E==) no ghg ==F==) zero radiation to space

    D + F = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    However, since F = 0, this becomes

    D + 0 = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    Therefore, since solar energy remains the same

    A + C = D (because F = 0)

    Since C > 0, for GHG atmosphere

    D > A

    Since D and A vary as 4th power of Temp

    Temp(D) > Temp(A)

    Therefore the surface will be hotter on a planet with a non radiant (non GHG ) atmosphere.
    QED

  278. I feel compelled to add to the confusion.
    It doesn’t matter whether the atmosphere is transparent or opaque. If the atmosphere is transparent the surface will be at the radiating temperature and the atmosphere will get cooler as you ascend. If the atmosphere is opaque the top of the atmosphere will be at the radiating temperature and it will get warmer as you descend.
    How does the transparent atmosphere develop the adiabatic lapse rate? In Willis’s scenario it doesn’t. However on a real planet the polar surface is cooler than the equatorial surface. Because a gas is transparent does not mean it cannot conduct heat, so when the bottom layer is heated from the surface it expands just like the opaque gas, it rises and cools just like the opaque gas until the adiabatic lapse rate is recovered. The cold polar surface cools the gas by conduction so that the gas densifies and creates the necessary driving force for poleward convection which results in development of the lapse rate.
    How does the opaque gas develop the adiabatic lapse rate? In Willis’ scenario it doesn’t. However on a real planet the equator is a net receiver of energy and the poles are a net radiator of energy (cosine effect) this will cause density differences in the upper atmosphere that cause poleward motion of the top of the atmosphere where it cools and descends just as it does on earth. Convection develops when there is a temperature difference, whether it is at the surface (transparent atmosphere) or at to top of the atmosphere (opaque atmosphere like Venus).
    Willis places the earth inside a Dyson Sphere where everything is in a universal thermal equilibrium, temperature is the same everywhere, and there is no driving force for convection, no change in the system entropy and no creatures running around happily increasing entropy.
    The real world is in a far-from-equilibrium situation which is completely different. We have a high temperature compact source of radiation in the sun and a low temperature sink in the 3 K temperature of the background radiation of space. The energy flows that take place to maximize the entropy of the universe produce the temperature differences that are the driving force for convection and for developing the adiabatic lapse rate common to all planetary atmospheres.
    How about that, Willis?

  279. You have been told Hans : Prove it or p**s off.

    Kinda like what the general public would like to say to all the theoretical climate scientists out there.

  280. I’m not a scientist, so I feel like I am sticking my head into the lion’s mouth … BUT … in willis’ experiment, isn’t the only way he could have a completely (100%) transparent atmosphere would be if that atmosphere had no mass? Others have pointed out that any gas, no matter what it is comprised of, has at least SOME ability to store and radiate? If that’s true, then willis’ thought experiment gas must have some unusual property … if that unusual property is that it has no mass, then doesn’t that make it irrelevant as a disproof of the claim that the action of gravity (which requires mass) can heat the surface? I guess my question is this:

    Willis, in your thought experiment … what are the properties of this proposed atmosphere that would enable it to be completely transparent?

  281. Willis is correct.

    If you assume that the only thing that radiates heat is the earth’s surface, then an atmosphere can’t heat the surface up.

    I think that where most of the arguers against are wrong is in failing to consider the situation in equilibrium. Yeah gasses can get warm due to changes in pressure, etc., but that doesn’t matter. In equilibrium, all we need to consider is net heat flow. Since the gases only have thermal contact with the surface, the equilibrium result is that there is no net heat flow between the atmosphere and the surface. On the other hand, the heat flow into the surface is from the “sun”, and the heat flow away from the surface through radiation have to match.

    Temporarily, heat could also flow into the planet’s interior, but this would be trapped in the interior, and heat flow out of the interior would cool down the interior. These are not things that go on in equilibrium so there is no net heat flow. Note that the temperature at the core will be (very very slightly) different from the surface temperature but that no heat will flow. The temperature difference is due to the small difference in potential energy. If the reader has trouble believing this, then see Tolman(1930) which is discussed and generalized in Phys. Rev. A 30, 1461–1464 (1984), “Spherically symmetric heat conduction in general relativity”, U. F. Wodarzik, http://pra.aps.org/abstract/PRA/v30/i3/p1461_1

    This situation is analogous to the situation with the atmosphere (again for this GHG free atmosphere). The atmosphere will be slightly warmer at the lowest elevation, but only very very slightly. There will be no circulation. This is the equilibrium condition and it’s not the most realistic model of a planet but this whole argument went off the deep end about three decades ago.

  282. Tallbloke,

    Please don’t behave like an idiot. You are completely wrong on the technical issues, and worse, wrong to ban someone from your blog who says that utter nonsense is in fact utter nonsense. Get a grip man, and stop embarrassing yourself.

  283. Alan D McIntire says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Willis Eschenbach and others have assumed that without water vapor, the lapse rate for a planet would be constant,
    It wouldn’t. Lapse rate also depends on temperature.

    No, I haven’t said that, Alan. This is why I ask people to QUOTE WHAT I SAID, to try to stop folks like you from accusing me of vague, un-cited and unreferenced things.

    I’ve talked about the dry adiabatic lapse rate on an evenly heated planet. It is defined as g / Cp, and as such does not depend on temperature.

    w.

  284. Elevator explanation

    A gas which absorbs no radiation also emits no radiation. It has an emissivity of zero

    If such a gas were to envelope a planet it would absorb energy from the planet surface resulting in an increase in gas temperature (the kinetic energy of its molecules would increase).

    Eventually the gas would reach an equilibrium condition whereby it’s temperature would equal that of the planet surface. Since the gas cannot radiate energy (zero emissivity) there would be no heat loss from the gas into space, no heat transfer through the gas and therefore no temperature gradient. The whole gas would be at the same temperature as the planet surface.

    The radiative balance of the planet would be undisturbed by the presence (or absence) of the gas at equilibrium.

    The temperature of the planet would not be affected by the gas.

    This is simply a question of thermodynamics. Gravity has no part to play and does not influence the planet temperature.

    You, sir, are thus vindicated.

    David Coe

  285. Willis says:
    [Tallbloke, first give us your elevator speech about Jelbring’s hypothesis. Until then, I will not believe you understand it well enough to “prove” anything. You have not shown that my proof has “failed” as you claim, record it on your website or not.

    No Willis, before we can move on to a discussion of the science, you need to acknowledge that Hans Jelbring defined his model planet as one which does not radiate to space, and therefore your allegation that his model breaks the laws of thermodynamics because of radiation to space considerations fails. No-one needs to understand the rest of the paper to see this simple point of logic. So acknowledge it, apologise to Hans for blackguarding him for the last eight years, and then we can move on.

  286. Alexander Feht says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

    OK, I made a fool of myself with “Stefan-Boltzmann”.
    My mistake.

    The problem was not your error. We all make those.

    It was that you were acting like a jerkwagon about it, insulting people for their stupidity when you were the one being stupid.

    And the problem is not that you made a fool of yourself, it’s not all about you, really. The problem is that you insulted everyone, and you still haven’t apologized for that, only for your “it’s all about me” mistake …

    w.

  287. Willis is considering a highly idealised case, but for that highly idealised case (perfectly IR transparent, and therefore non-radiating, atmosphere and uniform constant surface illumination, thermal equilbrium established) his argument is obviously correct.

  288. TimC says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Willis said (to Crosspatch): “I will repeat it again. If there are no GHGs in the atmosphere, the atmosphere will not and cannot radiate energy. That’s the whole point. The only thing that can radiate is the surface. You keep claiming the atmosphere will radiate. It will not.”

    I don’t profess to any real knowledge of thermodynamics but isn’t this then postulating (a) an atmosphere with mass, (b) capable of convection and conduction, and (c) with its own localised temperatures and gradients (separate from the surface temperature, although no doubt coupled to it, with lags).

    Why can’t such an atmosphere radiate? Suppose, instead of surrounding a planet, it was just a cloud of the (hypothetical) transparent gas, in space. Would there be no way of physically detecting it’s presence, outside the gas envelope itself?

    I’m smelling an impossible premise here, somewhere.

    I do love people who start out by saying they don’t profess to any real knowledge, and end up by telling me that what I’ve said is impossible …

    TimC, you are right. You don’t even have enough knowledge to ask intelligent questions. I don’t wish to be cruel, but in such a situation, just listen and learn, OK?

    w.

  289. Eric Barnes says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:32 am
    So how do you not understand Huffman’s explanation?
    Throw out unrealistic assumptions about blackbodies, greybodies, albedos, etc. and the complications surrounding them.
    It’s simple recognition that the temperature profile of earth and venus are very close given similar pressures and considering their relative distances from the sun in spite of massive differences in concentrations of CO2. It’s natures results and natures experiment.
    Can you explain why the temperature/pressure profiles are so close? Here’s the link.

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

    Surely it’s a rather amazing coincidence if there is a greenhouse effect.

    As I said to someone else who wanted to abuse me because I don’t understand Huffman, if you’re such a dang expert, where’s your elevator speech on the Huffman Effect?

    w.

  290. With all the snipping going on this layman is hesitant to step into the elevator, but….

    A while back NoIdea said: “Willis is correct…if the atmosphere cannot absorb or emit IR, then the surface must emit thermal radiation at the same average rate as it absorbs solar radiation…”

    Before that Dr. Spencer said pretty much the same thing.

    But solar radiation is not the only source of heat on the planet — I can think of two others that have nothing to do with the sun: one is independent of the composition of the atmosphere (or even the existence of an atmosphere — the molten core. The other heat generated by the friction created between the atmosphere and the surface where the force necessary to generate the friction is rotational force, not movement of air masses.

    I’ll retract my head from the debate and go watch Tebow and Brady duel with a pigskin.

  291. Leonard Weinstein says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    G. Karst,
    Your statement “All gases when energized by conduction, above ambient, will radiate energy.” is wrong.

    Everything you have stated is correct (thank goodness), however it is NOT an absolute, across all conditions.

    If we consider a gas that has reached the edge of space where rarefied to the density where conduction is unlikely, but continue to input energy, the gas will begin to radiate energy at the same rate as the input. Irregardless of the gas. It’s apparent temperature will increase until it does. Knowing what gas it is only tells us what part of the spectrum will dominate emissions. Otherwise non GHGs would be our ticket to infinite temperatures. Given a continuous energy input with no conduction output and you will soon have a gas with luminous characteristic qualities (plasma if necessary). Down here on the surface conduction, then convection, prevents this from happening. The lapse rate dictates it so… I think.

    This is all off the top of my head. Not sure how satisfying it will be. Your comments are always high quality, and I don’t want to muddy them. GK

  292. ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:50 am

    So your argument is that on a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere, the surface is continually losing energy by conduction … riiiight, that’s the ticket

    I think you have this backwards. In a non GHG (non radiating) atmosphere, any heat lost by the surface to conduction must be returned to the surface – for example at the poles. In contrast, in a GHG atmosphere, heat lost by the surface to conduction can then be radiated to space by the GHG atmosphere.

    Thus, the GHG atmosphere MUST result in a lower average surface temperature as compared to a non GHG atmosphere, due to the energy lost via atmospheric GHG radiation.

    Ferd, you claimed that the atmosphere in my example in the head post would be warmer than the surface. I pointed out that this means the atmosphere would then be continually losing energy to the surface, which is physically impossible.

    You have not answered my objection, despite quoting it.

    w.

  293. Is this good enough to be an “elevator speech” I’ve tried to break it down but the “atmosphere effect” is a bit more complex than the “poorly-named” and laughable “greenhouse” theories.

    The adequately-named “atmosphere effect” works as follows:

    • Thermal conductive bodies on the earth emit energy in the form of longwave radiation.

    • The mass of atmospheric gases have a constant thermal potential of absorbed longwave radiation.

    • The sum of longwave radiation is absorbed until the thermal conductive potential of the atmosphere is reached.

    •Once the sum of the thermal conductive potential of the atmosphere is reached longwave radiation is no longer absorbed, nor is it trapped by a potential thermal constant of an atmospheric gas.

    • As a result, the potential of thermal Transient conduction above the earths surface is greater than it would be without an atmosphere.

    Related references and wikipedia Links:
    Wien’s displacement law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wien%27s_displacement_law
    Planck constant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_constant
    Fourier’s law http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_conduction#Fourier.27s_law

    Atmosphere definition: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atmosphere
    Effect definition http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/effect

  294. Wow I have read all the comments in this post and now I am far more confused than when I started.For the next thought experiment can you use a planet with beer for an ocean and can it have small tropical islands and lots of hula dancers? It may not help with the science but it will keep my head from hurting,, well till I take a dip in the beer ocean.

  295. kcrucible says:
    January 14, 2012 at 11:40 am

    What? Everything with a temperature radiates. I don’t care WHAT a substance is, it will cool. It will cool until it reaches equilibrium with its background.

    I don’t know why, but some folks seem to think that all things radiate at all temperatures. They don’t.

    No one said it radiates at all temperatures. No one is even saying that all things radiate IR. What they”re saying is that everything radiates at SOME frequency. At least that’s my understanding… correct me if I’m wrong. U of Virginia seems to agree.

    http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/black_body_radiation.html

    Any body at any temperature above absolute zero will radiate to some extent, the intensity and frequency distribution of the radiation depending on the detailed structure of the body.

    True, kcrucible, but 1) we’re not talking about “bodies”, we’re talking about diatomic gases, and 2) only emission in the infrared occurs at the temperatures we are discussing, so other emissions don’t matter because they don’t occur.

    Go find what the U of V says about gases before going further.

    w.

  296. Richard M says:
    January 14, 2012 at 11:11 am

    “…. All the planets would warm up until they reached that maximum. If that maximum just happened to be determined by the mass and the gravitation of those planets then we would see exactly what Huffman sees. However, for the surface to warm above the SB calculations there must be an effective radiation altitude above that surface.

    We don’t need to discard the GHE. It’s real, it just has limits that haven’t been discovered because of simplifications made to climate models.”

    On Earth there is 390 parts per million of CO2 or .04% or 4/10,000th. And Venus has 92 of earth atmospheres, or 92 times 2500 more CO2 than earth. If CO2 added .01 watts per square meter
    for earth, Venus could be 230,000 times .01 watts per square meter or 2300 watts per square meter. And having more atmosphere could mean watts keep in the atmosphere rather than make it to space. It could be that CO2 in the amount earth radiates .02 watts, and around half leave, whereas on Venus only say 1/10th of energy leaves.
    It seems CO2 can add some heat if exposed to energy of certain frequencies of electromagnetic wavelengths.
    Not that know anything about it, but maybe CO2 can absorb longwave IR and via collisions or other absorption of wavelength, emit the energy at a higher wavelength- thereby actual warm a surface which is warmer than the CO2 gas. Or the temperature CO2 gas has nothing to do with temperature it emits. The temperature of any gas is the velocity of the molecules- which has to do with a gas emissivity. There is connection though, because CO2 is suppose to absorbing a “low temperature” wavelength and of course it can emit the same wavelength- and if it doing that it can’t heat up something of same temperature. Nor can block longwave IR by any means other absorbing it.
    Anyways it does seem to matter in regards to CO2 and heating earth- even if it heated by 10 watts per square meter, that is insignificant as in loss in the noise,

  297. Man, I am almost getting tired of coming to this web page any more. It seems the intelligence level of any person allowed to post is being quickly dropped to the point of mentally disabled.

    The no GHG theory works like this:

    • Energy from the sun heats the surface of the Earth.

    • The surface of the earth emits energy in the form of thermal long-wave radiation and transfers heat to the air through conduction.

    • The heated air transports the energy upwards into the atmosphere through convection. As the heated air rises it releases some of the energy to space through emission of long-wave radiation. (The idea that any gas is non infrared absorbing and emitting is a myth and nothing more, Both Oxygen2 and Nitrogen2 absorb and emit infrared radiation, we will ignore this for the moment.)

    • This raises the point where the 1:1 ratio of incoming and outgoing radiation exists off the physical rocky surface of the Earth and with our current atmosphere that point is about 5km off the ground.

    • As a result of the atmosphere moving the point of radiation balance, the lapse rate comes into effect and causes the added warmth at ground level. (The lapse rate it determined by the mass of the atmosphere.)

  298. I’m late to this party, and maybe this has already been said (285 comments, whew), but so long as we are only considering radiative energy transfer, nothing in Willis’ argument says that the ATMOSPHERE can’t be heated by gravity. As long as that heat doesn’t radiate into space, or irradiate the planet surface (Willis’ “transparent, GHG-free atmosphere”), it doesn’t affect the SB equilibrium temperature.

    So at least that narrows where to look for how to resolve the seeming conflict between ideal gas law SB equilibrium: the conflict only arises when we start taking kinetic energy transfer into account. Does that help?

  299. GabrielHBay says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Willis:
    Crosspatch and others keep claiming that oxygen and nitrogen are greenhouse gases, for example saying:

    crosspatch says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:39 am

    “1. The non greenhouse gas atmosphere is a perfect conduction insulator to space, it can’t radiate its heat out.”

    What? Everything with a temperature radiates. I don’t care WHAT a substance is, it will cool. It will cool until it reaches equilibrium with its background.

    I don’t know why, but some folks seem to think that all things radiate at all temperatures. They don’t.

    ——————————————————————————–

    So is only IR relevant? Are we saying that a substance transparent to IR but having heated up through energy gain by conduction or by compression cannot cool down by any mechanism other than (reverse) conduction or expansion? No radiation? So it will retain its heat indefinitely if none of these options apply? Or are we saying it cannot gain energy via conduction? Which is it, or am I missing something? Crosspatch makes more sense to me… sorry.

    Gabriel van den Bergh

    Only IR is relevant at the temperatures we are discussing. Oxygen may well emit visible if it gets as warm as the sun, I don’t know. But at the temperatures we live at, all that gets emitted/absorbed is infrared.

    A gas of that type, in the temperature range discussed, can only gain/lost temperature by conduction.

    w.

  300. Willis,

    The way you argue your case, or rather lack of it, you would fit really well with the RealClimate. Why dont you introduce new NULL hypothesis: “I am always right and whoever doesn’t like it they can go elsewhere”.
    db-uk

  301. Frumious Bandersnatch says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Interesting analysis Willis, but I admit a problem I have with it is that if a GHG atmosphere cannot radiate heat, than how can the surface of the blackbody do so, since it is also non GHG?

    Thanks, Frumious. One is a solid, and the other is a diatomic gas.

    Also, are conduction and convection limited to an atmosphere or do they also play a role in the surface (and below) of the planetoid? It seems to me these are salient points not addressed by your post.

    The surface, being evenly heated, does not experience any internal heat flow.

    w.

  302. “Because either you can tell us, simply and clearly, how your “Jelbring effect” is supposed to work, or you are worse than useless and should just audit the discussion because you have nothing to add.”

    This is a sad state of affairs. I hate to say this, but there’s a need of a moderator to moderate the moderator.

    This debate seems to be over.

    Time-out.

  303. Willis,

    Your whole argument is pointless. Nikolov & Zeller argued two points:
    1) the currently accepted understanding of how to apply physics to a planetary body’s surface temperature is wrong. (i.e. the laws of thermodynamics, Stefan-Boltzman, etc. are correct, they are just being misapplied)
    2) based on the (in their view) correct application of physics, they claim to be able to explain what governs a planetary body’s surface temperature.

    To clarify, you have to accept (1) in order to understand (2), if they are correct.

    What you, Joel Shore, and others keep saying is “based on the currently accepted understanding of how to apply physics to a planetary body’s surface temperature, N&Z’s (2) is clearly wrong” (paraphrasing). Well, yes, I think even they would agree to that. So what?

    The only important argument (so far) is whether “the currently accepted understanding of how to apply physics to a planetary body’s surface temperature” is correct or not. So far, all they have come up with is an unsubstantiated and unsupported assertion that it is not. Unless and until they can make their case, the status quo “wins” by default. You don’t have to do anything at all. But it’s clearly a waste of time to argue something that even they would agree with.

  304. “The temperature of the planet would not be affected by the gas.

    This is simply a question of thermodynamics. Gravity has no part to play and does not influence the planet temperature.

    You, sir, are thus vindicated.”

    The problem with that is you assume that earth in sunlight is absorbing the same amount energy regardless of the earth’s surface temperature.
    It doesn’t.
    Cold pavement absorbs more energy than hot pavement.
    The Non GHE gas is like a battery. It doesn’t add energy but it stores it.
    On top surfaces the gas takes the energy away- it recharges. If gas did not do this, the surface would warm more and radiate more energy.
    The gas is taking energy which would have otherwise be radiated into space.

  305. GabrielHBay says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    On the wisdom or otherwise of an “elevator speech”:

    Ok, I refreshed my memory. From the foreword of Aldous Huxley’s Brave new world: This is what was lurking in my mind:

    “The soul of wit may become the very body of untruth. However elegant and memorable, brevity can never, in the nature of things, do justice to all the facts of a complex situation. On such a theme one can be brief only by omission and simplification. Omission and sim­plification help us to understand — but help us, in many cases, to understand the wrong thing; for our compre­hension may be only of the abbreviator’s neatly formu­lated notions, not of the vast, ramifying reality from which these notions have been so arbitrarily abstracted.”

    Gabriel van den Bergh

    Clearly, Aldous was as clueless about the value of an elevator speech as are many folks here. Let me reiterate the advantages I listed above:

    1. It forces me to clarify my own ideas on whatever I’m discussing. I can’t get into handwaving and hyperbole, I can’t be unclear about what I’m claiming, if I only have a few sentences to work with.

    2. It allows me to clearly communicate those ideas to others.

    There is a third advantage. It allows me to determine if someone really understands a theory. For example, Tallbloke goes on and on about the N&Z and the Jelbring theories, but he can’t summarize either one … I find that significant.

    If you and Aldous have a real problem with those obviously valuable outcomes, I’d suggest that both of you post elsewhere. Certainly, the elevator speech cannot substitute for full knowledge … but then it is not meant to do so. As to the point that it could lead us astray … so can full knowledge .

    But those are not reasons to dismiss it as Huxley does. It still can be of inestimable value.

    w.

  306. If gravity is so important then why is the density of the atmosphere not proportional to the mass of the planet?

  307. “”””” Stephen Wilde says:

    January 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    George E Smith said:

    “furthermore, the heating that results because all of that work done ends up as waste heat, is a purely transient event, ”

    Hi George,

    I’m a fan of your work but you’ve missed something there.

    It isn’t called a gravitational CONSTANT without good reason. Joel Shore and others make the same mistake.

    Gravity is a continuous renewing process which replenishes itself over time. No one knows why or how, not even Einstein, but we must live with it.

    So it is NOT a transient effect and the result is PERMANENT all other things being equal.

    Without that effect the Ideal Gas Law would not be a Law. “””””

    Well Stephen,

    I’m not really looking for fans; just the truth and reality.
    So I’ll just take my apparatus up to the space station and do the experiment up there in ZERO GRAVITY.
    So my gas will still warm up when I compress it, and this time I don’t even need my legal disclaimer about neglecting the weight of the gas, since it is essentially zero; well it is at least orders of magnitude less than the weight was on earth.
    So the gas heats by the amount of work I do on it
    Just think of a part of a Carnot cycle experiment. But I stop everything with the volume reduced, the quantity of gas unchanged, the pressure and density higher, and the Temperature now slightly elevated above the ambient. The excess “heat” will now conduct through the walls of my apparatus to the surroundings, and the Temperature will come back down to the ambient equilibrium I had before I changed the volume. The amount of gas will still be the same, the volume will still be the same (I made the container out of Invar), so the density will still be the same; but the pressure will settleat a slightly lower pressure in accordance with the gas law. The final Temperature after about five times the thermal time constant will be within 1% of the original Temperature; as I said a transient event..

    And the graviational constant (of Einstein ?) is irrelevent to the problem.

    And Joel does make some misteaks; but I seriously doubt that he makes that one; he is quite careful.

  308. Unfortunately the link where people can actually see what Hans Jelbring said in his 2003 paper was lost in the carnage of Willis’ censorship spree. Here it is again:
    [SNIP: No, you cannot use my thread to drive traffic to your site. Nice try though. -.w]

  309. THANKS WIllis, for setting a great example for how scientifically-oriented Global Warming skeptics should react to a new theory. The N&Z theory reaches conclusions that are favorable to our negative view of the official climate Team hysteria. However, N&Z appear to violate the bedrock science principle of conservation of energy.

    Perhaps Ned Nikolov, when he posts the N&Z “reply paper” here at WUWT, will make it clear just what their theory encompasses, and how it avoids violating conservation of energy.

    In a comment on my “Unified Climate Theory May Confuse Cause and Effect” thread, I suggest some scientifically sound ways to calculate a warming effect that exceeds the 33K of the conventional accounting.

    Until I was forced to think about it by the N&Z theory threads, I did not fully realize the implications of the fact that the 33K conventional number for the Atmospheric “greenhouse” effect (GHE) compares our actual Earth with a very strange imaginary Earth. It must not only have a GHG-free atmosphere of the same mass, but that atmosphere must lack not only CO2 but must also be free of water vapor. So, that imagined Earth would have to be ocean-free as well. Lacking clouds and ice, it would also have to be painted to achieve an albedo of 0.3, equal to that of the actual Earth. Quite an artificial construct! But, it does get us to a mean surface temperature of (no more than the S-B limit) 255K which is 33K less than the measured mean Surface temperature of about 288K.

    I was also inclined to accept that the mean temperature of our Moon is around 250K, as published in some mainline sources. That now seems to be on the high side, but I do not think the Moon is as cold as the 155K apparently required by the N&Z theory.

    So, even if the N&Z theory turns out to be misguided, it has raised my awareness and understanding, at least a bit.

    Let us consider how could we get a number greater than the conventional 33K warming effect of a GHG-Atmosphere? Well, here are two possibilities:

    (1) As you state in your initial posting, any atmosphere, even without GHGs, distributes surface heat energy more evenly. The denser the atmosphere the greater the uniformity. That will increase the mean temperature of a planet above the mean of a similar planet that has no atmosphere. This effect, as you correctly state, is good only up to the S-B temperature associated with the mean incoming radiation from the sun.

    (2) A planet that already has an atmosphere with GHGs could warm further if we dump a big load of non-GHGs into that atmosphere. Even after equilibriation, the additional pressure/density may result in warming due to the pressure broadening of CO2 and other GHG spectral lines, but again only up to the S-B limit.

    So, if one starts with a barren Earth, with no water and no atmosphere, and adds an Atmosphere with both non-GHG gases (e.g., N2) and GHG gases (e.g., CO2), plus oceans full of water to produce the most effective GHG (water vapor), the mean Surface temperatures will be increased by more than the 33K of the conventional accounting.

    However, despite the efforts of those who commented on the previous two N&Z theory threads here at WUWT, I cannot see how that additional warming could possibly lead to 133K.

    – Ira

    PS: As Pops says (January 13, 2012 at 11:17 pm} “One tiny nit, Willis”. Pops is correct that you described night vision goggles (NVG) incorrectly when you wrote:

    … A curious fact is that almost everything around us is continually radiating energy in the infrared frequencies. You, me, the trees, the ocean, clouds, ice, all the common stuff gives off infrared radiation. That’s how night-vision goggles work, they let you see in the infrared. …

    Yes, NVGs do “let you see in the infrared” but it is in the NEAR infrared, just a bit past the visual range (about 0.7 to 0.9 microns). NVGs do not rely on the radiation given off by everything around us. They are merely image-intensifiers that multiply the reflected moonlight or starlight by tens of thousands of times. NVGs do not work when there is no light, such as with an overcast sky at some distance from populated areas. (While working on avionics systems for Special Forces helicopters, I was invited along on a couple of night-time, low-altitude training missions and had the opportunity to use NVGs.)

    As Pops also noted, there are sensor devices called Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) that work in the FAR infrared (centered around the 10 micron peak blackbody emission of the Earth, where there happens to be a good atmospheric window). FLIRs do depend upon everything continually radiating energy in the infrared. (A highlight of FLIR imagery is seeing cows glow in the dark, because they emit more far infrared than the grass below them. Cow flops glow as well.)

  310. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    Ferd, you claimed that the atmosphere in my example in the head post would be warmer than the surface.

    What I said was “for example at the poles”.

  311. Bart says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    FTA:

    “The Stefan-Boltzmann equation specifies how much radiation is emitted at a given temperature.”

    Only for a blackbody in equilibrium. The corrected statement is

    The Stefan-Boltzmann equation specifies the maximum amount of radiation that is emitted at a given temperature for a body in thermodynamic equilibrium.

    There are many loopholes in that description which might allow non-GHG heating to be physically realizable. I discuss some of these here. Your “QED” is not, in fact, demonstrative.

    Since my description is of a system at equilibrium, I fail to see how any of that applies, so my QED is not disturbed by your claims about systems not at equilibrium

    w.

  312. “BUT … in willis’ experiment, isn’t the only way he could have a completely (100%) transparent atmosphere would be if that atmosphere had no mass? Others have pointed out that any gas, no matter what it is comprised of, has at least SOME ability to store and radiate? ”

    It’s not radiating- it’s convection. Energy is transferred by conduction, convection and radiation- that’s all folks. At room temperature or earth’s temperature heat is best tranfered via conduction. Next, generally is convection, and lastly radiation.
    Or there is nothing stopping anyone from transporting energy via light- or micowave, but wires generally easier- small wires can conduct a lot of energy. Of course wires can annoying, and one can transfer energy in different ways.
    So the atmosphere is 5.1 x 10^18 kg and the gas molecules are traveling at around 1000 mph.
    The energy is 5.1 x 10^18 kg of mass traveling at 1000 mph.

  313. Leonard Weinstein says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Willis,
    I have stated the cause of the greenhouse effect in basic terms in a previous reply. The issue I want to discuss is your claim that if the amount of greenhouse gases was constant, but non greenhouse gases (O2 and N2) increased, there would be no change in ground level temperature.

    God damn it, Leonard, QUOTE MY WORDS. I have no recollection of saying anything of the sort, I don’t know the context, I don’t know if you understood me, I haven’t a clue what you are referring to. STOP THIS VAGUE ACCUSATORY BULLSHIT AND QUOTE MY WORDS.

    Is that so hard to understand?

    w.

  314. People keep saying that if you double the amount of gas in the atmosphere, you will keep the same temperature profile because the lapse rate is -g/Cp. These same people keep saying that the temperature of the surface will still be the same after the doubling of mass.
    I keep checking this, and maybe my math is wrong, but after a few doublings you will get a temperature below absolute zero for the top of the atmosphere. Seems unlikely. Either the -g/Cp does not apply (unlikely), my math is bad (pretty easy exercise, but somewhat likely), or the assumption that the temperature at the surface will stay the same is invalid.

  315. kiwistonewall says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Wills is correct in that the Earth mainly cools by emission from its surface. Gravity cannot heat the atmosphere, just organize the molecules into a heat gradient.

    Wills is wrong, in that all gases will absorb & emit at all frequencies.

    Is stupidity catching? I provided chapter and verse from the IPCC showing that all gases will NOT absorb and emit at all frequencies, and you come back without a cite at all and tell us in essence ‘They do too radiate’!

    No, kiwi, they don’t. Hie thee to a textbook, your slip is showing.

    w.

  316. pochas says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    “I feel compelled to add to the confusion.
    It doesn’t matter whether the atmosphere is transparent or opaque. If the atmosphere is transparent the surface will be at the radiating temperature and the atmosphere will get cooler as you ascend. If the atmosphere is opaque the top of the atmosphere will be at the radiating temperature and it will get warmer as you descend.
    How does the transparent atmosphere develop the adiabatic lapse rate? ”

    The gas doesn’t cool. The atmosphere is colder. But the velocity of the gas remains roughly the same. The velocity of gas molecules is the gas temperature. Stop gas velocity, get absolute zero, speed up gas to some fraction of lightspeed and if they gas are interacting with thing, the gas is hot. On earth average speed of gas molecule is about 500 m/s.
    What changes as you go to higher elevation is the gas become less dense. Gas molecules traveling same speed but lower density have less ability to warm things like thermometers.

  317. PaulR says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Willis Eschenbach wins the thread by default. No one has met the challenge.

    “A simplified model of Earth will be considered. The model planet does not rotate. It
    neither receives solar radiation nor emits infrared radiation into space.”

    If that model assumes the mechanical work of introducing an atmosphere where there was none, and then does not permit the energy of that work (compression as described by Gas Laws) to radiate into space then of course the temperature will rise but it is a circular argument. As W. Eshenbach has also explained it promotes transient effects to equilibrium states by making radiation to restore equilibrium impossible by stipulation.

    Paul, I don’t follow this. Why are you stipulating a simplified model of earth that doesn’t receive solar radiation or emit IR? How could it not emit IR? What does this have to do with my statement? Color me confused.

    w.

  318. Willy says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Willis: Your proof is pretty tight but not yet perfectly so. What follows is a theoretical counter argument with some specific points that could be tested.

    1. Your proof applies to the radiating surface of the planet. Conservation of energy limits that surface temperature to at or below the theoretical S-B limit . On earth, 70% of the time, we are discussing the first few microns of ocean (IR penetration limit).

    We’re not discussing the earth, we’re discussing a planet with no water (“GHG-free atmosphere”). So your points have no meaning in this discussion.

    w.

  319. And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.
    ——————-

    Thanks Willis, this works for me.

  320. QUOTE MY WORDS. I have no recollection of saying anything of the sort, I don’t know the context, I don’t know if you understood me, I haven’t a clue what you are referring to. STOP THIS VAGUE ACCUSATORY BULLSHIT AND QUOTE MY WORDS.

    I can imagine Hans Jelbring is probably thinking similar thoughts so if you don’t want to have the link to his paper I provided on your thread because you think I’m placing it to drive traffic to my site then copy his paper and upload it here and link it in the headline post so people can judge what he is saying for themselves instead of having to trust your VAGUE ACCUSATORY BULLSHIT

    Thank you.

    TB.

  321. @Willis Eschenbach
    One thing puzzles me with regard to your elevator speech about the greenhouse effect: you don’t include or even acknowledge the role of the lapse rate. My understanding is that it is fundamental to the greenhouse effect and just as important to the GHE as the presence of greenhouse gases. Say for example that the lapse rate is zero. Doesn’t this imply there will be no greenhouse effect regardless of the presence of vast quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? If the lapse rate is zero, I believe the first three bullets of your elevator speech will still be valid, but your fourth bullet, the conclusion, would be incorrect.

    (I have seen arguments that a lapse rate of zero is possible, but I personally am not persuaded.)

  322. David Coe says:
    January 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    “Elevator explanation”

    If it were true that a GHG-free atmosphere would find an equilibrium at the average temperature of the surface, why can I tomorrow go out with a few hundred dollars of materials build a solar water heating system that the water in it is higher 24/7 than the average surface temperature of the location I build it at?

    This is without any power running strictly on solar energy and convection. Its somewhat a cinch to achieve 10degC even with a storage vessel that is only modestly insulated. With the only means of cooling the upper atmosphere being the wind and conduction with the surface its not going to cool the upper atmosphere at all and equilibrium is really somewhere between the maximum temperature of the surface and the average temperature. I don’t think we can explain all the greenhouse effect with that, but where I have a problem is in the perceived need to have one mechanism explain everything.

  323. Michael Hammer says
    Willis, I agree with amonst everything you said with one exception. I question the emissivity of fresh snow. Yes cetainly water and ice have IR emissivities very close to 1 but fresh snow is a mixture of ice and air with each “layer” or crystal a few to a few 10′s of microns thick.
    ———–
    Yes Michael, but I think you need to consider the situation at visible and ir wavelengths is different. At visible wavelengths the Water in snow is transparent. At ir wavelengths it is essentially “black”.

    As for igloos a comparison needs to be made between the insulatng effect due to low thermal conductivity of snow and the ability of snow to absorb IR. I am guessing the first predominates.

  324. This thread should be closed. Willis Eschenbach is driven to exasperation now, writing “God damn it” and “Is stupidity contagious?” Willis is right in his approach in the original post but if he has reached the limit of his patient and polite endurance then it is time to close up shop for the day. Some people just can’t be reasoned with, but being unpleasant at them won’t work either.

  325. Alexander Feht says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Go away, sir, your impudence knows no bounds. You haven’t a tenth of the knowledge you claim.

    I made a mistake, and admitted it. My childhood memories let me down. I was so sure I remembered it correctly that I didn’t check before posting (something I usually do). It will serve me right to be more prepared next time.

    Which doesn’t give you any ground to dismiss out of hand anything else I said or may say in the future, or to make sweeping and insulting conclusions about the volume of my knowledge.

    As I said, and as you robustly ignored, your mistake is not the point, we all make those.

    The point is that you were a dickhead about it, insulting me, and insulting the other posters for “following my lead”. Nor did you apologize for acting like a prick, you only say “sorry I made a mistake”. That’s why I said “go away”. You insult people, then you pretend there was no insult.

    By commanding everybody who disagrees with you to “go away,” you are making yourself more and more ridiculous every time. Not to mention that your insulting language, which you alone are allowed to use with impunity on this forum, makes me even more determined to keep you in check.

    First, since you are still here, it’s obvious that I don’t “command” anyone.

    Second, I don’t tell “everybody who disagrees” with me to go away, Alexander, just the ones like who are assh*les about their disagreement.

    Before your arrival on the scene, Mr. Eschenbach, this site was almost 100% civil. Now, with your non-moderated outbursts, whatever are the merits of some of your articles, it stinks of favoritism.

    Well gosh, Alexander, if you don’t like the site then … I hate to say it, but in that case here’s a novel idea—go away. I will not blow in your ear and pat your tummy and pretend to be your friend when you come in here to tell us all what absolute jerks we are and you lambaste people for following my lead. You want someone to blow in your ear, you’ll have to apply to another thread. Here, on the other hand, you might actually learn something. Up to you, I’m not banning you.

    w.

  326. ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    That’s why the surface can get hot, because some of the energy radiated by the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so we’re not emitting to space more that we’re absorbing. As a result, the last step of your proof is incorrect.

    I disagree with Willis. I believe he is double counting. To answer Willis more completely, here is the GHG model I described,

    space (==A== surface (==B==) ghg ==C==) space

    I believe Willis is saying that because the surface radiates both through A and B, so lets replace the net flow B with H as follows:

    space (==A== surface ==H==) ghg ==C==) space

    Flow C takes part of its energy from the surface to ghg net of flow B, plus any energy absorbed directly from the sun by the GHG. Thus we can say that:

    H + solar absorbed by GHG = C

    Since solar absorbed by GHG > 0, then we can say than in all cases with a GHG atmosphere, that:

    (result a) H A + H

    D > A + H

    Since D and (A+H) vary as 4th power of Temp

    Temp(D) > Temp(A+H)

    Therefore the surface will be hotter on a planet with a non radiant (non GHG ) atmosphere.
    QED

  327. Paul, I don’t follow this. Why are you stipulating a simplified model of earth that doesn’t receive solar radiation or emit IR? How could it not emit IR? What does this have to do with my statement? Color me confused.

    Hans Jellbring stipulates that in his gravity-greenhouse model, not you. The distinction you made between transient versus equilibrium temperatures (with a graphic) was in a different thread.

  328. Willis opines:
    Tallbloke goes on and on about the N&Z and the Jelbring theories, but he can’t summarize either one … I find that significant.

    More innuendo. As you know full well from the email I sent you yesterday, I am awaiting the response to comments paper from N&Z before trying to summarize their work. Why are you misleading people like this? It reflects very poorly on you.

    By the way, when will you be snipping Roy Spencer’s reply for not being an elevator speech?

  329. tallbloke says:
    January 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    QUOTE MY WORDS. I have no recollection of saying anything of the sort, I don’t know the context, I don’t know if you understood me, I haven’t a clue what you are referring to. STOP THIS VAGUE ACCUSATORY BULLSHIT AND QUOTE MY WORDS.

    I can imagine Hans Jelbring is probably thinking similar thoughts so if you don’t want to have the link to his paper I provided on your thread because you think I’m placing it to drive traffic to my site then copy his paper and upload it here and link it in the headline post so people can judge what he is saying for themselves instead of having to trust your VAGUE ACCUSATORY BULLSHIT

    Thank you.

    TB.

    Dissatisfied with being able to ban people and post whatever you want on your own website, you now want to tell me what we should post on this website? … TB, you’re losing the plot. I have no responsibility and no desire to spread Jelbrings ascientific BS around, that’s up to you and him. If folks here want to find it I have faith that they can, their google-fu is strong …

    I notice you still haven’t provided an elevator speech explaining H&N’s theory, which certainly fits with my belief that you don’t understand it any better than I do … yet despite not understanding it, you ban people for saying it violates conservation of energy.

    How does that work again?

    w.

  330. “The most obvious way of transporting “heat” is to simply transport the physical mass of particles that comprise the material under discussion. That process is called CONVECTION and is the main process by which “heat” is transported from a car engine to the radiator, by pumping hot water from the heat source (engine) to the heat sink (radiator).
    The other process for transporting heat from one body of material to another, is to place them into contact, so that the particles of one body can collide with and exchange energy with the particles of the other body,without the particles themselves being largely moved from their positions.
    That process is called CONDUCTION, and is the mechanism by which the “heat” contained in the “hot” engine block is conveyed to the cooling water, that will then carry it to the radiator by convection.”

    Ok. good description

    “There is NO way to transport “heat” in the total absence of a physical material that has a rest mass. Furthermore the concept of Temperature has NO meaning, in the absence of materials with mass (real matter).

    In particular Electromagnetic Radiation is NOT “heat” nor is it a means of transporting “heat”.

    It IS a mechanism for transferring ENERGY; just not HEAT ENERGY.

    Electromagnetic Radiation ENERGY can be converted to “HEAT” energy, when it is absorbed in SOME REAL PHYSICAL MATERIAL HAVING MASS, that is unable to convert that energy to ANY OTHER form of energy, such as ELECTRICITY, for example, or SOUND (ACCOUSTIC) energy.

    For example, so far as we know, ordinary amounts of electromagnetic radiation energy having ANY frequency or wavelength if absorbed by water, do not result in either electricity, or sound forms of energy; essentially THE MAJORITY of the EM radiation energy absorbed by water is converted to waste “heat”. The only significant exception is when certain RESTRICTED frequencies or wavelengthsof EM radiation energy are re-emitted from the water, as molecular resonance radiation spectral lines or bands.

    We get oodles of electromagnetic radiation energy from the sun; we get essentially ZERO “HEAT” from the sun, since there is no real physical material medium to transport any heat from sun to earth.”

    Hmm. Energy is transferred, by conduction, convection, and radiation.
    You are saying heat is transferred by conduction, convection but not radiation.

    Now I would use an analogy that energy of the sun is sort of like room temperature.
    In that the distance from the sun is the sun heat. The sun 150 million kilometers closer is 5000 something K, at earth distance it is determined by S-B.
    At earth distance the sun is about 120 C [390 K]. As in 390 *390 *390 *390 times .0000000567
    being 1311 watts per square meter of solar flux.
    What is wrong with thinking of the Sun at earth distance is about 390 K?
    And follows thermodynamic laws. The sun can’t warm above 390 K?
    I realize it’s not exact. The sun can make plant grow and one have forest fire at 2000 K.
    But wrong with using this as approximation- generally the Sun is 390 K at earth distance?

  331. “The Stefan-Boltzmann equation specifies how much radiation is emitted at a given temperature. It states that the radiation increases much faster than the temperature. It turns out that radiation is proportional to absolute temperature to the fourth power.”

    If we are talking about a rotating planet like the moon. It has a hot side and a cold side. At noon it would be cooler say 10C because of the larger thermal mass, and therefore radiating less. At midnight it would have >>10C warmer to radiate the same energy. The average temperature would have to rise to balance the radiation.

    QED

  332. Here is another try at posting html
    ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    That’s why the surface can get hot, because some of the energy radiated by the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so

    we’re not emitting to space more that we’re absorbing. As a result, the last step of your proof is incorrect.

    I disagree with Willis. I believe he is double counting. To answer Willis more completely, here is the GHG model I

    described,

    space (==A== surface (==B==) ghg ==C==) space

    I believe Willis is saying that because the surface radiates both through A and B, so lets replace the net flow B with H as

    follows:

    space (==A== surface ==H==) ghg ==C==) space

    Flow C takes part of its energy from the surface to ghg net of flow B, plus any energy absorbed directly from the sun by the

    GHG. Thus we can say that:

    H + solar absorbed by GHG = C

    Since solar absorbed by GHG &gt 0, then we can say than in all cases with a GHG atmosphere, that:

    (result a) H &lt C

    Here is our other model, the non GHG atmosphere, that does not radiate:

    space (==D== surface (==E==) no ghg ==F==) zero radiation to space

    D + F = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    However, since F = 0, this becomes

    D + 0 = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    Therefore from above:

    A + C = solar energy in = radiation out to space
    and
    D + 0 = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    Therefore we can say

    A + C = D

    and from (result a) above

    D = A + C &gt A + H

    D &gt A + H

    Since D and (A+H) vary as 4th power of Temp

    Temp(D) &gt Temp(A+H)

    Therefore the surface will be hotter on a planet with a non radiant (non GHG ) atmosphere.
    QED

  333. does anyone have a solution so that html doesn’t see the LT and GT characters as html commands?

    [Try: & l t ; and: & g t ; (eliminate the spaces between the ampersand, the letters, and the semicolon. Test it on the Test page. ~dbs, mod.]

  334. Willis, I believe your proof contains a couple of fundamental errors.

    I haven’t read the Nikolov and Zeller or Jelbring papers in any great detail, and I haven’t read the comments here, so I don’t know what others have already posted. However, I do understand a bit about S-B radiation, as well as gravitational heating, starting from first principles. So here’s my first draft of an “elevator speech” about gravitational heating and S-B radiation of an atmosphere. I haven’t spent a lot of time refining it, so at this point, the elevator would have to be in a tall building.

    I’ll start by stating a couple of assumptions. First, by non-GHG atmosphere, I mean an atmosphere that is perfectly transparent to electromagnetic radiation at all wavelengths. Second, we need to decouple heat and temperature. One way people tend to confuse themselves is by thinking of heat and temperature as the same thing. They’re not. Heat is the kinetic energy of the molecules within a body–either their average velocity in a fluid, or vibrational amplitude in a solid. Temperature is not a measure of energy by itself, just as voltage alone is not a measure of electrical power. It’s a measure of the intensity or concentration of the heat energy within the body. A large body containing a given amount of heat energy has a lower temperature than a smaller body containing the same amount of heat energy.

    Now to your errors:

    1. “But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.”

    No, that’s incorrect. As the temperature of a S-B radiating body rises, the peak of its radiation spectrum shifts to shorter wavelengths. This says nothing about the total energy radiated. You are conflating heat with temperature. The energy emitted by the filament of a 25 watt incandescent bulb at 6000K (if you could build such a thing) would be MUCH less than that emitted by the sun, but have the same spectrum. And if you could build a 25 watt bulb with an 8000K filament (a materials problem, not a theoretical one) it would have a higher temperature S-B spectrum, but no increase in total energy emission. So, yes. It is possible to emit lower energy at the same temperature, or the same energy at higher temperature.

    2. You have ignored the fact that even a non-GHG atmosphere is itself a S-B radiating body. Even absent the property of intercepting outgoing longwave radiation, it gains heat energy by conduction, through contact with the planet’s surface. The atmosphere then re-radiates that energy through S-B radiation, but some of it goes back to the surface to be re-absorbed, converted back into heat until it’s transferred to an impinging air molecule again (speeding it up a bit), or radiated as S-B radiation. The overall effect is to slow the radiation of the earth’s heat into space (even without the greenhouse effect), and that necessarily raises the temperature of the atmosphere and the surface. It doesn’t, however, increase the amount of energy radiated–just changes the temperature and spectrum. The S-B radiation of an amorphous body of gas is how we can measure the temperature of gas clouds in interstellar space.

    As for gravitational heating, here’s a thought experiment. Imagine a transparent tube in interstellar space (no gravity), 200 km long, one square meter cross sectional area. Fill this tube with some amount of an ideal gas at 0K. That is, each molecule of gas in the tube is motionless. Without gravity, everything remains motionless WRT the tube.

    Now instantaneously put an earth-size planet in contact with one end of the tube. All the gas begins to accelerate toward the planet (now the bottom) end of the tube. There will be collisions between gas molecules. That means pressure must increase at the bottom as it decreases at the top. The ideal gas law PV=nRT tells us that with increasing pressure the temperature of the gas will rise. This increased temperature causes the gas to begin emitting S-B radiation.

    If no extra energy is imparted to the gas from the surface of the planet, the gas will eventually all settle to the bottom end of the tube, back at 0K. However, the gas’ temperature did rise, and EM energy was emitted. The planet doesn’t have any less gravity than it did before, so where did the energy come from? I don’t know. If you want to say that violates conservation of energy, I can’t dispute it. Maybe if we really knew what gravity is, we could answer the question.

    However, if we continuously add 240 W at the bottom of the tube, the gas will reach some equilibrium. When a falling air molecule collides with the bottom, and gets a little extra kick as it rebounds up (conduction heating) gravity still continuously accelerates it back down, therefore continuously keeps the temperature elevated. The fact that energy radiated must equal insolation doesn’t mean the temperature near the ground can’t be above the S-B temperature.

    Gravitational heating is real. Does it violate conservation of energy? I dunno.

  335. BarryW says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I’m still thinking about this but one thing you said in a reply to a comment is wrong. Your GHG atmosphere does radiate. It receives energy from the surface by conduction. To have a temperature it radiates even if it can’t absorb IR.

    I swear, some people just don’t know when to quit. BZZZZZT! Sorry, wrong. Next contestant, please.

    w.

  336. Anythingisposible says
    Higher surface pressures elevate surface temperatures by suppressing convection because the greater the weight of the overlying atmosphere, the more energy (heat) is required to enable the process to get under way.
    —————-
    Nup. There is no indication that higher pressures suppress convection. Convection is driven by differences in buoacy due to temperature differences. That’s all.

    The counter examples are easy. Water when heated convects even though it has a much higher density that air. Water convects even at extremely high pressures; witness the behavior of water near deep sea volcanic vents. The atmosphere of Venus convects and thereby establishes a temperature profile defined by the adiabatic lapse rate. The atmosphere of jupiter convects. The horizontal version of this can be seen with a telescope.

    The vertical temperature profile of the earths atmosphere is determined by convection. Therefore convection does happen.

  337. beaker says:
    January 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm
    Just a small correction. Night vision uses a silicon detector and amplifies the available ambient light. Silicon is not responsive in the MW or LWIR, 3-5um and 8-12um, the naturally occuring atmospheric IR windows where us radiometric guys make our measurments. A FLIR or Forward Looking Infrared “see’s” thermal differentials without visible light. I believe you are referring to a FLIR, not night vision.
    ————
    Almost.

    There are 2 kinds of night vision. There is a kind which depends on amplifying existing night light levels and another kind which depends on converting themal IR into visible light.

  338. tallbloke says:
    January 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Willis sez:

    I have no responsibility and no desire to spread Jelbrings ascientific BS around

    Your discourse is all circumference and no centre.

    That’s it? You’ve run out of real points and are reduced to simple insults? Disappointing, but OK, I’ll play if that’s what you want, although I’d prefer to discuss the science.

    Here’s one from my childhood, an insult for a cowboy:

    You’re all hat and no cattle!

    Gosh, isn’t this fun? Your turn …

    w.

  339. “I realize it’s not exact. The sun can make plant grow and one have forest fire at 2000 K.
    But wrong with using this as approximation- generally the Sun is 390 K at earth distance?”

    Or re-phrase this. The Sun has Planck curve [or it roughly follows Planck curve]. When objects at distance from the sun are radiating a similarly close approximation of a Planck curve. Is this not heat being radiated from one object to another?

  340. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Stephen Wilde says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Willis, my post, as above, awaits your attention :)

    I think it is as good an elevator speech as you could reasonably expect.

    I actually thought it unscientific, vague, and way off topic.

    w.

  341. Anton Eagle says:
    January 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Good article Willis.
    I think I am being persuaded by your argument. But, I have one lingering question.

    Although I fully understand that N2 and 02 are not IR absorbers (different bond energy), my question is the following. Lets say I manage to heat up some non-GH gas through some other means other than a radiative process… and then isolate it so that conduction and convection are no longer possible… will the non-GH gas not radiate? Will the temperature just hold constant forever?

    Sure. If there is no way for a gas to radiate energy, and it is isolated, it will stay at the same temperature indefinitely. I think N2 absorbs/emits very, very, very weakly in the IR, so it might cool over thousands of years, but basically indefinitely for practical purposes.

    w.

  342. Willis wrote:[SNIP: No, you cannot use my thread to drive traffic to your site. Nice try though. -.w]If this were Willis’ site, I would have no problem with this response to Tallbloke’s censorship of his views at Tallbloke’s Talkship Turnabout is fair play, as the saying goes. But this is NOT Willis’ personal blog and tit for tat is not a principled response to censorship. Two wrongs do not make a right, and if Willis is going to moderate comments on his own post, I think he has an obligation to be especially non-censorious.

    Anthony’s usual policy is non-censorship of any on-topic civil (or moderately uncivil) discussion. There is nothing the least bit uncivil in Tallbloke posting a link to Hans Jelbring’s paper, and the fact that it is hosted at Talbloke’s website certainly does not make it uncivil.

    I, for one, would like to have a link to Hans Jelbring’s paper available. For all who agree, Tallbloke’s posting is here:

    [SNIP]

    Will Willis censor me too? Nothing against Willis. Great post, by the way. But the censorship standards of Anthony’s blog should not be arbitrarily altered.

  343. Entertaining thread, and interesting challenge.

    OK, this first elevator speech may seem off topic at first, but it is relevant.

    1. Shallow pool of water, transparent to visible, absorbs IR in 20 microns.
    2. Heat comes in, hits bottom, radiated upwards.
    3. Water absorbs and re-radiates up and down.
    4. Energy radiated downwards absorbed by bottom. Warmer than it would be without water.
    5. Every 20 micron thick layer does the same. Pond explodes.

    There are other ways of doing this, I just happen to like this one.

    [SNIP: I'm glad you like it, but since it has nothing to do with the subject of the thread, I've snipped it. w.]

  344. Berényi Péter says:
    January 13, 2012 at 10:52 pm
    How would Earth’s surface temperature change if atmospheric pressure were doubled, that is, increased to 2 atm by adding more N₂ (and nothing else)?
    ————-
    There would be no change. If there was no GHG at all.

    The only route for energy to escape the earth with no GHG present is by surface thermal IR emission.
    The energy budget must balance, so solar energy in must equal thermal energy out.

    The rate of surface thermal emission is determined by just one thing: it’s temperature.

    So adding more non-IR gas makes no difference.

    ————–
    If you did have some GHG to start off with it is not clear to me how things would turn out. The vertical extent of the atmosphere would be higher, the GHG would also extend to a higher altitude but have a lower partial pressure at those altitudes and so on. In other words there are a bunch of countervailing factors that would need to be considered. There might even be no change.

  345. If as you claim the atmosphere is above the S-B temperature and the surface is still at S-B temperature,

    Nope. The surface normal to the sun is at a higher temperature than the atmosphere and thus through entirely mechanical means the atmosphere is heated.

    At night the temperature of the surface is lower than the atmosphere through radiation from the surface. So now the surface is at a lower temperature than the atmosphere. The atmosphere is convecting at the same time but lets keep it simple. The atmosphere now is mechanically transferring energy to the surface, raising its temperature and thus the surface radiates the heat.

    Heat only flows from warmer to cooler surfaces and this is nothing more than conductive, mechanical heat flow between dissimilar materials, 100% within the laws of thermodynamics.

  346. Willis sez:
    That’s it? You’ve run out of real points

    I didn’t run out of them so much as have them deleted by your censor scissors.

    [BULL: I quoted your whole entire post, that was all of it, uncensored. w.]

  347. Willis,
    Some people simply can’t understand the concept. That is why I long ago gave up trying to explain.

    Tallbloke,
    Please get a grip man, you are embarrassing yourself. You are completely mistaken, and only digging an ever deeper hole. Take a deep breath and really think about Willis’ thought experiment; you owe it to yourself to figure this one out.

  348. I skipped a few of the posts toward the end, but I figured out the “elevator speech” for the Jelbring Effect.

    STEP 1: Instead of a greenhouse gas like CO2 at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) that radiates at some IR wavelengths and is transparent at other IR wavelengths, use a greenhouse gas at the TOA that radiates at ALL IR wavelengths (ie is “black” to IR = emissivty = 1).
    Or in his words “[The model planet globe] (G) and the atmosphere (AT) are surrounded by a concentric, tight, black spherical shell. “

    STEP 2: Apply all the standard physics to the rest of the analysis.

    A quick read-through makes me think that his discussion of STEP 2 is right (or close to right). The lapse rate will cause the temperatures to increase below the TOA due to gravity, independent (to a considerable extent) of greenhouse gases. His “shell” at the TOA is taking the place of the GHGs at the TOA in terms of radiative effects.

    The “Jelbring effect” is simply postulating something besides CO2 to radiate from the TOA. The shell wouldn’t have to be “black” (emissivity = 1), but the emissivity would have to be definitely greater than 0. Without the shell, the temperature enhancement would disappear (ie an atmosphere without a “lid” and without GHGs, which puts the TOA at ground level).

    The “Jelbring effect” should actually work pretty well for Venus, where a permanent cloud layer acts as the “black shell”, since the cloud should be pretty close to “black” for IR light. The fact that the clouds are far from black for visible light would reduce the “Jelbring effect” but not eliminate it

    ————————————————————————

    PS I have concluded that the ability to allow visible light thru is only a part of the “greenhouse effect”. Focusing too much on this aspect can obscure other important aspects, like lapse rate and IR within the atmosphere — but that would take an entire post to explain the interconnections (and some time beforehand to figure it out and figure out how to explain it). So his postulate that the surface is “black” to visible light and not just to IR light would make some difference, but would not prevent the surface from being warmer than the shell at the TOA.

  349. heat will be constantly flowing 24/7 from the warmer atmosphere to the cooler surface … and that violates conservation of energy. -w.

    Our assumption is that the atmosphere has zero radiative absorption. Solar radiation at 10,000 kelvin is striking the surface of the Earth at an energy of 1366 w/m2 heating that surface. That surface is now warmer than the atmosphere and energy flows through conduction to the atmosphere through mechanical means. In conduction heat ALWAYS flows from the warmer system to the cooler system.

    At night the warmer atmosphere transfers energy through conduction to the ground where it is then radiated to space.

    You are getting too hung up on radiative transfer when it is not the only means of exchanging energy.

  350. try a cup of tea at 80C instead. Leave it 1 hour it cools to 15C.
    This infers the body of liquid cools because it is emitting radiation
    This is the point of contention:

    The radiation from the body of liquid doesn’t simply go into the atmosphere and increase its temperature. It thermalises with its surrounding atmosphere (15C). The prior radiation is no longer a form of heat. Neither does that radiation go into the floor boards through gravity. It disappears as radiative energy.

    There is a tendency to regard radiation/heat as a permanent factor, probably due to this erroneous S-Bolzmann equation, and its assumptions, which is a prize piece of thought experiment absurdity, yet stubbornly accepted as a gospel truth thrown from heaven.

  351. Ed Fix says:
    January 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm
    THANK YOU, Ed. On this topic (celestial body temperature), the insistence here on an equivalence between temperature and power has really had me bugged. I’ve begun wondering why thermometers don’t come marked in units of watts/mtr^2. My intuition and the dim memories of my thermodynamics courses 35 years ago tell me it’s much more indirect than that. Thanks for a lucid explanation.
    Dan

  352. ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    That’s why the surface can get hot, because some of the energy radiated by the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so we’re not emitting to space more that we’re absorbing. As a result, the last step of your proof is incorrect.

    To answer Willis more completely, here is the GHG model I described,

    space <==A== surface <==B==> ghg ==C==> space

    I believe Willis is saying that because the surface radiates both through A and B, this allows the surface temp in the GHG model to increase.

    I agree with Willis, so lets replace the net flow B with H as follows to see what happens:

    space <==A== surface ==H==> ghg ==C==> space

    Flow C takes part of its energy from the flow from the surface to ghg (flow H), plus the net energy absorbed directly from the sun by the GHG that re-radiates as C. Thus we can say that:

    H + net solar absorbed by GHG reradiated as C = C

    Since net solar absorbed by GHG > 0, then we can say than in all cases with a GHG atmosphere, that:

    (result a) H < C

    Here is our other model, the non GHG atmosphere, that does not radiate:

    space <==D== surface <==E==> no ghg ==F==> zero radiation to space

    D + F = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    However, since F = 0, this becomes

    D + 0 = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    and from above:

    A + C = solar energy in = radiation out to space

    Therefore we can say

    A + C = D

    and from (result a) above

    D = A + C > A + H

    therefore

    D > A + H

    Since D and (A+H) vary as 4th power of Temp

    Temp(D) > Temp(A+H)

    since

    Temp(D) = surface temp of planet with non GHG atmosphere
    Temp(A+H) = surface temp with GHG atmosphere

    Therefore the surface will be hotter on a planet with a non radiant (non GHG) atmosphere.
    QED

    While I agree with Willis that the inclusion of H has allowed the surface temperature of the GHG surface to come closer to the surface temperature of the non GHG planet, the GHG planet still has a lower surface temperature.

  353. Ed Fix: If no extra energy is imparted to the gas from the surface of the planet, the gas will eventually all settle to the bottom end of the tube, back at 0K. However, the gas’ temperature did rise, and EM energy was emitted. The planet doesn’t have any less gravity than it did before, so where did the energy come from? I don’t know. If you want to say that violates conservation of energy, I can’t dispute it. Maybe if we really knew what gravity is, we could answer the question.

    The extra energy came from falling down the gravity well and stopping/colliding at the end of the fall. It is a transformation of potential energy in the form of the “altitude” of the gas particles into the kinetic energy of linear motion, then vibrational modes for IR. The gas will never make it to absolute zero even given infinite time because of starlight falling on the planet and gas.

  354. Alec Rawls says:
    January 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Willis wrote:

    [SNIP: No, you cannot use my thread to drive traffic to your site. Nice try though. -.w]

    If this were Willis’ site, I would have no problem with this response to Tallbloke’s censorship of his views at Tallbloke’s Talkship Turnabout is fair play, as the saying goes. But this is NOT Willis’ personal blog and tit for tat is not a principled response to censorship. Two wrongs do not make a right, and if Willis is going to moderate comments on his own post, I think he has an obligation to be especially non-censorious.

    While this is not my site, it is my thread, and I said I would snip anything off-topic. Now I do that and you want to complain. Nor is this “turnabout” as you assume, if it were I would have banned Tallbloke as he has effectively banned me.

    Anthony’s usual policy is non-censorship of any on-topic civil (or moderately uncivil) discussion. There is nothing the least bit uncivil in Tallbloke posting a link to Hans Jelbring’s paper, and the fact that it is hosted at Talbloke’s website certainly does not make it uncivil.

    I will not allow Tallbloke, or you, to drive traffic to his site. The question is not civility. The question is whether he can use my thread to advance his own ends. The answer is no.

    I, for one, would like to have a link to Hans Jelbring’s paper available. For all who agree, Tallbloke’s posting is here:

    [SNIP]

    Will Willis censor me too? Nothing against Willis. Great post, by the way. But the censorship standards of Anthony’s blog should not be arbitrarily altered.

    Sure I’ll censor you too. Tallbloke put up a link above to Jelbrings paper at some third party site, and contrary to your claims about my motives, I have no problem with that. If that’s not enough for you, post it on your own site. I’m not sending anyone Tallbloke’s direction.

    w.

  355. You could use a fulcrum and lever, from which you infer the metaphysics of force and resistance.

    You cannot argue that once you exert force, then let go, that the energy you used to pull the lever remains permanently locked into the apparatus. It goes back to a state of potential/inertia and force/resistance are no longer operating.

    Much the same with radiation. Heating a stone doesn’t lead to transfers of heat from the stone to heat up the air around it which then travels off somewhere else. It disippates

  356. On a rotating planet without an atmosphere, there is a big temperature difference between night and day. Add an atmosphere, and the daytime high temperatures are lower because of conduction and convection. Therefore the daytime radiation is reduced. At equilibrium, the nighttime increase in radiation must equal the day reduction.

    “The Stefan-Boltzmann equation specifies how much radiation is emitted at a given temperature. It states that the radiation increases much faster than the temperature. It turns out that radiation is proportional to absolute temperature to the fourth power.”

    Because of the S-B equation, the night time temperatures must rise more than the daytime temperatures were reduced.

    Therefore, the average temperature must rise.

  357. Alec Rawls says:
    January 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Willis wrote:[SNIP: No, you cannot use my thread to drive traffic to your site. Nice try though. -.w]If this were Willis’ site, I would have no problem with this response to Tallbloke’s censorship of his views at Tallbloke’s Talkship Turnabout is fair play, as the saying goes.

    I haven’t censored anything said by Willis or Joel on my site. It’s all there. I won’t provide links since Willis thinks I’m trying to boost my hit count by doing so, but check the end of the suggestions page and the post about Joel Shore and scientific discourse, it’s all there. Every word said by both of them.

    I have told Joel he’s not going tto get the opportunity to disrupt the various relevant gravity threads, but offered him a guest post in compensation for this. Willis then banned himself in protest.

    By the way, I like the idea of a talkship. When Mickey Mann makes me rich I’ll consider this further. ;-)

  358. Willis I read Jelbring’s paper out of interest and frankly it’s nonsense. Basically he shows that an atmosphere has an adiabatic lapse rate which depends on g, calls that the greenhouse effect and declares victory. It’s idiotic! I read it twice because I couldn’t believe anyone could be that stupid. I like your model planet in this thread because as I showed above it’s possible to show no graviational effect, if it doesn’t work for this it won’t work in a more complex system.

  359. Anthony Watts says:

    January 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I’ve closed the other two threads on this subject since they were getting a bit ragged and Shore-worn, and directed everyone here to this thread
    —-
    … and leave the moderating to Willis, eh? (Or is this a new moderating policy?) Although I have been a lurker here at WUWT for several years, I don’t know what the average number of snips per thread is for your blog. However, IMO, the number of snips by Willis in this thread must be at least a 6-sigma outlier. FWIW, the number of self-snips on this thread suggests to me that others share my disappointment.

    Willis, I prefer to use the stairs …

  360. PaulR says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Ed Fix: If no extra energy is imparted to the gas from the surface of the planet, the gas will eventually all settle to the bottom end of the tube, back at 0K. However, the gas’ temperature did rise, and EM energy was emitted. The planet doesn’t have any less gravity than it did before, so where did the energy come from? I don’t know. If you want to say that violates conservation of energy, I can’t dispute it. Maybe if we really knew what gravity is, we could answer the question.

    The extra energy came from falling down the gravity well and stopping/colliding at the end of the fall. It is a transformation of potential energy in the form of the “altitude” of the gas particles into the kinetic energy of linear motion, then vibrational modes for IR.

    Hi Paul,
    Aren’t you missing Ed’s point though? He’s asking why it is that the gas gained that energy, when it hasn’t been subtracted from the gravity of the planet. Maxwell and Faraday burned the late night candles working on that problem too. Maxwell gave up on it in the end, basically saying gravity didn’t fit with the laws of mechanics too well. The best he could come up with was to say the ‘lines of force’ were like a web pervading space continually.

    • Given the existence of a force field such as gravity, that automatically implies energy and differences of energy due to position in space. We don’t need to know why gravity exists to understand the physics of motion, temperature, radiation and planets with atmospheres.

  361. tallbloke says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I have told Joel he’s not going tto get the opportunity to disrupt the various relevant gravity threads, but offered him a guest post in compensation for this. Willis then banned himself in protest.

    Tallbloke, that is nothing but fancy footwork to try to disguise what you did. You didn’t ban Joel for disruption, that’s after-the-fact flim-flam to convince the credulous. In fact, what you told Joel had nothing to do with “disruption”. You said the conditions of your ban were, and I quote your words exactly:

    … you’re not posting here unless and until you apologise to Nikolov and Zeller for spreading misinformation about conservation of energy in their theory all over the blogosphere and failing to correct it.

    I defy you to find anything in that statement about him disrupting your poor little thread. You were upset because he would not back down on his scientific beliefs.

    w.

  362. Ed Fix says:
    January 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    As for gravitational heating, here’s a thought experiment. Imagine a transparent tube in interstellar space (no gravity), 200 km long, one square meter cross sectional area. Fill this tube with some amount of an ideal gas at 0K. That is, each molecule of gas in the tube is motionless. Without gravity, everything remains motionless WRT the tube.

    Now instantaneously put an earth-size planet in contact with one end of the tube. All the gas begins to accelerate toward the planet (now the bottom) end of the tube. There will be collisions between gas molecules. That means pressure must increase at the bottom as it decreases at the top. The ideal gas law PV=nRT tells us that with increasing pressure the temperature of the gas will rise. This increased temperature causes the gas to begin emitting S-B radiation.

    If no extra energy is imparted to the gas from the surface of the planet, the gas will eventually all settle to the bottom end of the tube, back at 0K. However, the gas’ temperature did rise, and EM energy was emitted. The planet doesn’t have any less gravity than it did before, so where did the energy come from? I don’t know. If you want to say that violates conservation of energy, I can’t dispute it. Maybe if we really knew what gravity is, we could answer the question.

    Uh, how do we account for all of the energy expended putting that earth-sized planet in contact with one end of the tube instantaneously?

    If we could turn gravity on and off in such a manner, I can see all sorts of energy that could be created as long as it also didn’t take even greater amount of energy to turn that gravity on and off.

    Where gravity isn’t a constant, maybe such things are possible?

  363. “…But I digress, my point is that passions are running high on this topic, so let’s see if we can keep the discussion at least relatively chill …

    TO CONCLUDE: I’m interested in people who can either show that my proof is wrong, or who will give us your elevator speech about the science underlying either N&K or Jelbring’s theory. …”

    Willis wrote this post and put parameters on the type of comment he was looking for.
    Although the parameters are unusual, I think it’s ok to: “Snip it if it don’t fit it.”

    The choices are:
    prove it wrong,
    or write an elevator speech.

    I don’t like to see the contention between thinking minds, but this exchange seems to have a history to it and that’s a separate issue…. so… “keep the discussion at least relatively chill …”
    kbray.

  364. Ed Fix says:
    January 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Willis, I believe your proof contains a couple of fundamental errors.

    I haven’t read the Nikolov and Zeller or Jelbring papers in any great detail, and I haven’t read the comments here, so I don’t know what others have already posted. However, I do understand a bit about S-B radiation, as well as gravitational heating, starting from first principles. So here’s my first draft of an “elevator speech” about gravitational heating and S-B radiation of an atmosphere. I haven’t spent a lot of time refining it, so at this point, the elevator would have to be in a tall building.

    Thanks, Ed. Come back when you have spent the time refining it, it is far to complex and vague at this point. In particular, you claim that non-GHG gases radiate in the IR, so you’ll have to rebuild the parts of your theory that depend on that incorrect claim.

    w.

  365. On a rotating planet without an atmosphere, there is a big temperature difference between night and day. Add an atmosphere, and the daytime high temperatures are lower because of conduction and convection, and a larger thermal mass to apply the energy to. Therefore the daytime radiation is reduced. At equilibrium, the nighttime increase in radiation must equal the day reduction.

    “The Stefan-Boltzmann equation specifies how much radiation is emitted at a given temperature. It states that the radiation increases much faster than the temperature. It turns out that radiation is proportional to absolute temperature to the fourth power.”

    Because of the S-B equation, the night time temperatures must rise more than the daytime temperatures were reduced.

    Therefore, the average temperature must rise.

  366. Dennis Ray Wingo says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    If as you claim the atmosphere is above the S-B temperature and the surface is still at S-B temperature,

    Nope. The surface normal to the sun is at a higher temperature than the atmosphere and thus through entirely mechanical means the atmosphere is heated.

    Read the head post FIRST, Dennis, and then comment. See the multiple suns in the picture. Read the part about how the surface temperature is even everywhere?

    Sheesh …

    s.

  367. Dear Willis,

    I have no dog in this fight, I’m just a bystander. But you obviously do, and it seems so in a bad way. I don’t know or care who bit you on the ass, but by the timbre of your responses they struck a nerve. Some of your comments are excerpted below, all quoted as you prefer. I always enjoyed your writings and mostly agreed with the content, but you’ve come off the rails. Sorry that you’ve lost it emotionally…. Your responses belittle you and that is the sad part, and you can never tale any of it back, it’s out there forever.

    Please clip this response as this is a personal message. What’s important is that you re-read these quotes below, maybe after a couple of beers. This is all you in the mirror, and it’s not pretty. Feel free to contact me directly if you feel like lambasting me as well. My name directs to my website and my email.

    Best,

    J.

    “That’s it? That’s my crime? You are busting me because I called ten to the minus eighth tiny? You are a waste of bandwidth, sir. I specifically requested that people not bother me with this kind of petty nit-picking, and yet here you are.

    Come back when you have something of substance to say, and my advice for your optics would be to leave off the “OMG”, it makes you sound like a Valley Girl.”

    “Alexander, the amazing thing about you is that your bull is so convincing I always have to shake my head. Here’s what Wikipedia says about what they call the “Stefan-Boltzmann law”, complete with hyphen:

    The law was deduced by Jožef Stefan (1835–1893) in 1879 on the basis of experimental measurements made by John Tyndall and was derived from theoretical considerations, using thermodynamics, by Ludwig Boltzmann (1844–1906) in 1884.

    Go away, sir, your impudence knows no bounds. You haven’t a tenth of the knowledge you claim.”

    “Why is it that when a charming fellow like you make some idiotic statement that clearly violates conservation of energy, they feel they have to finish it off by insulting my understanding? Medica, cura te ipsum …”

    “PS—I note that you have not given us the elevator speech for your “theory of gravitational enhancement”. Until you rectify that egregious omission, why are you opening your mouth about your theory? I do love that your theory claims that you can’t have a GHG-free atmosphere, that’s a new one for me.”

    “Tallbloke, I said I would snip. I’m snipping. Don’t pretend to be surprised, it makes you look meretricious. Screenshot all you wish, I have nothing to hide.”
    “Because either you can tell us, simply and clearly, how your “Jelbring effect” is supposed to work, or you are worse than useless and should just audit the discussion because you have nothing to add.

    This is crunch time, Hans, this is where the rubber hits the road. There’s enough heat already, give us some light. Give us your elevator speech about your grand theory that will revolutionize science. Explain your stupendous ideas clearly in a few well-thought-out sentences. You’ll never have a better or larger audience for your words.

    You and I have spent hours on this topic. I still don’t understand how the “Jelbring Effect” works. So fight my ignorance, let me know clearly and cleanly just what happens first, and what happens next, see my example of an “elevator speech” in the head post.
    Or walk away, I truly don’t care, Hans. This kind of stuff hurts my head, which I should have examined for posting this thread …”

    “The problem was not your error. We all make those.

    It was that you were acting like a jerkwagon about it, insulting people for their stupidity when you were the one being stupid.

    And the problem is not that you made a fool of yourself, it’s not all about you, really. The problem is that you insulted everyone, and you still haven’t apologized for that, only for your “it’s all about me” mistake …”

    “I do love people who start out by saying they don’t profess to any real knowledge, and end up by telling me that what I’ve said is impossible …

    TimC, you are right. You don’t even have enough knowledge to ask intelligent questions. I don’t wish to be cruel, but in such a situation, just listen and learn, OK?”

    “Unfortunately the link where people can actually see what Hans Jelbring said in his 2003 paper was lost in the carnage of Willis’ censorship spree. Here it is again:
    [SNIP: No, you cannot use my thread to drive traffic to your site. Nice try though. -.w]”

    “God damn it, Leonard, QUOTE MY WORDS. I have no recollection of saying anything of the sort, I don’t know the context, I don’t know if you understood me, I haven’t a clue what you are referring to. STOP THIS VAGUE ACCUSATORY BULLSHIT AND QUOTE MY WORDS.
    Is that so hard to understand?”

    “Is stupidity catching? I provided chapter and verse from the IPCC showing that all gases will NOT absorb and emit at all frequencies, and you come back without a cite at all and tell us in essence ‘They do too radiate’!

    No, kiwi, they don’t. Hie thee to a textbook, your slip is showing.”

    “The point is that you were a dickhead about it, insulting me, and insulting the other posters for “following my lead”. Nor did you apologize for acting like a prick, you only say “sorry I made a mistake”. That’s why I said “go away”. You insult people, then you pretend there was no insult.”

    “Well gosh, Alexander, if you don’t like the site then … I hate to say it, but in that case here’s a novel idea—go away. I will not blow in your ear and pat your tummy and pretend to be your friend when you come in here to tell us all what absolute jerks we are and you lambaste people for following my lead. You want someone to blow in your ear, you’ll have to apply to another thread. Here, on the other hand, you might actually learn something. Up to you, I’m not banning you.”

    “Dissatisfied with being able to ban people and post whatever you want on your own website, you now want to tell me what we should post on this website? … TB, you’re losing the plot. I have no responsibility and no desire to spread Jelbrings ascientific BS around, that’s up to you and him. If folks here want to find it I have faith that they can, their google-fu is strong …
    I notice you still haven’t provided an elevator speech explaining H&N’s theory, which certainly fits with my belief that you don’t understand it any better than I do … yet despite not understanding it, you ban people for saying it violates conservation of energy.
    How does that work again?”

    “I swear, some people just don’t know when to quit. BZZZZZT! Sorry, wrong. Next contestant, please.”

    “That’s it? You’ve run out of real points and are reduced to simple insults? Disappointing, but OK, I’ll play if that’s what you want, although I’d prefer to discuss the science.
    Here’s one from my childhood, an insult for a cowboy:

    You’re all hat and no cattle!

    Gosh, isn’t this fun? Your turn …”

  368. Dennis Ray Wingo says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    heat will be constantly flowing 24/7 from the warmer atmosphere to the cooler surface … and that violates conservation of energy. -w.

    Our assumption is that the atmosphere has zero radiative absorption. Solar radiation at 10,000 kelvin is striking the surface of the Earth at an energy of 1366 w/m2 heating that surface.

    WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE EARTH! REPEAT AFTER ME! WILLIS IS DISCUSSING A HYPOTHETICAL PLANET, NOT THE EARTH!

    Grrrr …

    w.

  369. Vergent says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    On a rotating planet without an atmosphere, there is a big temperature difference between night and day. …

    NOR ARE WE DISCUSSING A ROTATING PLANET! READ THE HEAD POST!

    w.

  370. Willis sez:
    NOTE 1: Here’s the thing about a planet with a transparent atmosphere. There is only one object that can radiate to space, the surface.

    But earlier in the post Willis Sez:
    A curious fact is that almost everything around us is continually radiating energy in the infrared frequencies. You, me, the trees, the ocean, clouds, ice, all the common stuff gives off infrared radiation.

    Can I add oxygen and Nitrogen (AKA nearly all the air) to this list Willis? If so, what prevents the heat conducted and convected from the surface into the air being radiated to space by the GHG free model atmosphere as well as the surface?

  371. Ed Fix: “The planet doesn’t have any less gravity than it did before, so where did the energy come from?”

    Gravity is a (classical physics) force, not an energy. Forces are unchanged by work done by or against them. The energy came from the original work done in separating the planet and the gases and is now being returned when they are brought back together.

  372. Willis said:
    Thanks, beaker, but that’s not true. There are two kinds of what are usually called night vision devices, image enhancement and thermal imaging. I’m speaking of the second of these. See here for details.

    Those of us in the industry always chuckle at what you can find on the web. Thermal imaging is not night vision. Night vision is not thermal imaging. Each has it’s own specific use. Thermal imaging is useless if there are no radiating bodies in the FOV. Night vision is useless if there is no ambient light, even starlight. Each uses a completely different technology. I have been working 20 years with each.

    Willis, you have your specialty. I have mine.

  373. hmccard says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    … and leave the moderating to Willis, eh? (Or is this a new moderating policy?) Although I have been a lurker here at WUWT for several years, I don’t know what the average number of snips per thread is for your blog. However, IMO, the number of snips by Willis in this thread must be at least a 6-sigma outlier. FWIW, the number of self-snips on this thread suggests to me that others share my disappointment.

    Willis, I prefer to use the stairs …

    I don’t get this complaint. I said that, contrary to my usual practice, I was going to snip this thread to try to keep it on course, to prevent from wandering around the entire universe. I have done so, and now you want to complain that I’m snipping posts … what part of ‘I’m going to snip posts’ was unclear to you?

    w.

    PS—If this is a six-sigma outlier, and I predicted it, do I get credit for the successful prediction?

    [Only if Anthony gets the credit for the prediction, and the mods get the (compounded) interest that accumulates. 8<) Robt]

  374. tallbloke: “Can I add oxygen and Nitrogen (AKA nearly all the air) to this list Willis? If so, what prevents the heat conducted and convected from the surface into the air being radiated to space by the GHG free model atmosphere as well as the surface?”

    No. Because anything that radiates in the infra red spectra is a GHG model by definition of the GHG process.

  375. Willis,

    I may be risking a dreaded [snip] here, but I’ll take my chances. I read your piece and I agree with you. It’s not entirely different from what Dr. Roy Spencer wrote on his site a few days ago. I have plodded through something like 400+ comments. They have been mostly entertaining, some informative, some that produced laughter and some that induced cringing. But now I am worrying that your blood alcohol content is dangerously low. Rather than engaging the gormless cavilers or pursuing a slap fight with Tallbloke, why not step away from the keyboard and have a couple of beers?

    This stuff is interesting, but it’s not all that damn important. You’re just not your usual erudite, polite and cheerful self. I recommend a moderate dose of alcohol.

  376. Anthony Watts says:
    January 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I’ve closed the other two threads on this subject since they were getting a bit ragged and Shore-worn, and directed everyone here to this thread.

    Lol, nice one Anthony. Sorry to hear you had to close two threads though on such an important topic though. The Shore effect in action. It Shore isn’t going to happen on my site.

  377. Willis,

    Your error is this. You said:
    “But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.”

    This is true for a body of uniform temperature.

    What was needed for your “proof”:

    “But when the average temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises…the surface radiation must rise.”

    This is not true. consider the moon; cool the hot side, and then warm the cold side until the total radiation is equal. You will have warmed the cold side more because of the S-B equation. The average temperature will go up.

    Vergent

  378. Jose Suro says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Dear Willis,

    I have no dog in this fight, I’m just a bystander. But you obviously do, and it seems so in a bad way. I don’t know or care who bit you on the ass, but by the timbre of your responses they struck a nerve. Some of your comments are excerpted below, all quoted as you prefer. I always enjoyed your writings and mostly agreed with the content, but you’ve come off the rails. Sorry that you’ve lost it emotionally…. Your responses belittle you and that is the sad part, and you can never tale any of it back, it’s out there forever.

    Please clip this response as this is a personal message. What’s important is that you re-read these quotes below, maybe after a couple of beers. This is all you in the mirror, and it’s not pretty. Feel free to contact me directly if you feel like lambasting me as well. My name directs to my website and my email.

    Best,

    J.

    Thanks, Jose. OK, I re-read them all. I stand by every one. Oh, I might turn down the heat a bit in retrospect, but I’ve had it up to here with half educated fools saying something like “I know absolutely nothing about this, but OMG Willis, all gases radiate at all frequencies”. You try dealing with that combination of stupidity and arrogance for a while and see how hot your personal S-B temperature ends up.

    Now, I suppose that when people insult me in passing on their way to the science, and don’t pay any attention to my request that they stick to elevator speeches and attempts to falsify my proof, I could just be all kick back about it. I could act all California, ask about their feelings and blow in their ears and tickle their tummies and tell them what wonderful folks they are and let them spread their wrong ideas without comment. Don’t want them to lose self-esteem, after all.

    But I’m no good at that stuff, I’m not really a civilized man, I’m a reformed cowboy, and if I do that, they don’t stop, it just gets worse. I’m tired of the bogus claimed knowledge, tired of folks not paying attention, tired of people saying saying things like ‘well, I haven’t read your post or though about the issues, but here’s the way things really are …’

    So yes, Jose, it does upset me. Now I could pretend I’m not upset, I could moderate my feelings and act as though I was all calm as you advise.

    But that would be a lie, wouldn’t it? I’m not all calm and “whatever” about insults and vague accusations and failure to quote what I say in preference to attacking me for something I never said. So why should I lie and pretend to be kick back about that?

    Many thanks for your comments, and just being able to talk about it turns the heat down some, much appreciated.

    w.

  379. Alan Wilkinson says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm (Edit)

    tallbloke: “Can I add oxygen and Nitrogen (AKA nearly all the air) to this list Willis? If so, what prevents the heat conducted and convected from the surface into the air being radiated to space by the GHG free model atmosphere as well as the surface?”

    No. Because anything that radiates in the infra red spectra is a GHG model by definition of the GHG process.

    I thought GHG’s were the gases that absorb IR as well as emit it. Can we have the definition of GHG agreed please Willis.

    Thanks

    TB.

  380. Willis, how come everyone else is expected to stick to elevator speeches but you get to publish long self pitying diatribe? Now that Anthony has redirected the refugees from the “Shore worn” N&Z threads here, you need to relax, and relax the rules.

  381. Mathematical proof that GHG cools the surface of planet earth

    terminology:
    ==X==> denotes energy flow from left to right, called X.
    <==Y==> denotes two way energy flow between right and left, called Y.
    <==Z== denotes energy flow from right to left, called Z.

    In an atmosphere with GHG
    (1) space <==A== surface(r) <==B==> ghg ==C==> space
    total energy incoming from sun = net energy emitted to space by GHG atmosphere + net energy emitted to space by surface(r)
    (2) A + C = solar energy in = radiation out to space
    In an atmosphere without GHG (non radiating),
    (3) space <==D== surface(n) <==E==> no ghg ==F==> zero radiation to space
    total energy incoming from sun = net energy emitted to space by surface(n)
    (4) D + F = solar energy in = radiation out to space
    However, since F = 0, this becomes
    (5) D = solar energy in = radiation out to space
    Assume that in (1) above the surface is warmer than the atmosphere, and the net energy flow is positive from surface to GHG atmosphere. (1) can then be rewritten as:
    (6) space <==A== surface ==H==> ghg ==C==> space
    Flow C takes part of its energy from the flow from the surface to ghg (flow H), plus the net energy absorbed directly from the sun by the GHG that re-radiates as C. Thus we can say that:
    (7) H + net solar absorbed by GHG reradiated as C = C
    Since net solar absorbed by GHG > 0, then we can say than in all cases with a GHG atmosphere, that:
    (8) H < C
    from (2) we have:
    A + C = solar energy in = radiation out to space
    And from (5) we have
    D = solar energy in = radiation out to space
    Therefore we can say
    (9) A + C = D
    and from (8) we have
    H < C
    Therefore
    (10) D = A + C > A + H
    Therefore
    (11) D > A + H
    Since D and (A+H) vary as 4th power of Temp by S-B
    (12) Temp(D) > Temp(A+H)
    Since
    Temp(A+H) = surface(r) temp with GHG atmosphere
    Temp(D) = surface(n) temp of planet with non GHG atmosphere
    Therefore, because of (12) the surface will be hotter on a planet with a non radiant (non GHG) atmosphere.
    QED

  382. The if we separated the atmosphere including the oceans from the earth it would be a small ball of ice floating in space just like a large comet, wouldn’t the temperature of the earths surface be greater as a black body under a source of energy without an atmosphere?.

  383. Very interesting thread.

    There is certainly no Pal Review here.

    This is science review. What went wrong over the past 20 years? I hope this is the new normal which would be the old normal prior to Pal Review.

  384. PaulR says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    The extra energy came from … a transformation of potential energy … into the kinetic energy of linear motion…

    Paul, you must have had the same physics text I did. Was it “Halliday and Resnick”, like I used, or “Halliday, Resnick and Walker” like my son used?

    Basically, I can’t get past the fact that if an object is released in a gravitational field, it accelerates without gravity being depleted in any way. [SNIP: please, no philosophical speculations on gravity. It's a field. To move against it takes energy. To move with it gives you energy. No one knows why. w.]

  385. tallbloke says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Willis sez:

    NOTE 1: Here’s the thing about a planet with a transparent atmosphere. There is only one object that can radiate to space, the surface.

    But earlier in the post Willis Sez:

    A curious fact is that almost everything around us is continually radiating energy in the infrared frequencies. You, me, the trees, the ocean, clouds, ice, all the common stuff gives off infrared radiation.

    Can I add oxygen and Nitrogen (AKA nearly all the air) to this list Willis? If so, what prevents the heat conducted and convected from the surface into the air being radiated to space by the GHG free model atmosphere as well as the surface?

    No, you can’t add them to the list, my tall friend, because they don’t radiate in the infrared frequencies. I gave the standard scientific explanation above as to why that is.

    It is not my desire to snip your science, Tallbloke. My intention is to reply to your scientific statements. If I have deleted what you feel is serious science, please repost it.

    Again I invite you to give the elevator speech for the explanation that you believe is valid, N&Z or Jelbring, whichever. I showed that I understand the greenhouse effect by giving the elevator speech Simple, clean, four sentences.

    It’s your turn, again I invite you to elucidate the mechanism whereby N&Z doesn’t violate conservation of energy.

    I also renew my appeal that you rescind your ‘apologize to N&Z for saying their science is wrong, or else’ type fatwa on Joel.

    Finally, my apologies for if and when ever I’ve gone over the line, offered seriously.

    All the best,

    w.

  386. Genghis says
    Gravity is going to compress the entire column of air down to about 17km. That compression heats the air and establishes the lapse rate, greatest density at the bottom and less density at the top.
    ———–
    So calculate the temperature developed under this scheme.

    I think you will be surprised that the temperature you get bears no relation to the actual lapse rare either measured or calculated from the known theory of lapse rate..

  387. tallbloke: “I thought GHG’s were the gases that absorb IR as well as emit it”.

    Absorption and emission are symmetric processes. If it emits then it absorbs in the same manner afaik.

  388. crosspatch says:
    January 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm
    I have used light amplification night vision devices that also had IR capability along with an IR search lamp built into the device for use in completely dark conditions (inside of something where there is no ambient light to amplify).
    ————
    These are near infrared devices which are different again from thermal Infrared imaging devices.

  389. Willis: a little bit of reasonableness goes a long way with me, so thanks for that. It’s way past bedtime here so I’ll sleep on it and hope that the N&Z response to comments update is in my inbox when I awake. After I’ve digested that, and kicked it around for a while with my friends, I’ll be closer to formulating a brief summary.

    You shouldn’t try to hurry good science. Savour it and mull it around before describing it.

    Cheers

    TB.

  390. beaker says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Willis said:

    Thanks, beaker, but that’s not true. There are two kinds of what are usually called night vision devices, image enhancement and thermal imaging. I’m speaking of the second of these. See here for details.

    Those of us in the industry always chuckle at what you can find on the web. Thermal imaging is not night vision. Night vision is not thermal imaging. Each has it’s own specific use. Thermal imaging is useless if there are no radiating bodies in the FOV. Night vision is useless if there is no ambient light, even starlight. Each uses a completely different technology. I have been working 20 years with each.

    Willis, you have your specialty. I have mine.

    I’m not doubting your word, beaker, I gladly accept that in your specialty, “thermal imaging” and “night vision” mean different things, with “night vision” meaning only image enhancement. Any field of study uses specialized terms to mean specific thing that those same words don’t mean in general usage.

    But as the headline of my cited page demonstrates, out here outside your specialty, what are called “night vision devices” encompasses both kinds.

    You do have your specialty. You don’t get to insist that your specialty’s usage of words is the way the world works. Out here, when someone says “night vision glasses” they simply mean some kind of magic that you strap on your forehead to see at night. There’s no distinction as to the type of magic.

    My best to you,

    w.

  391. Dr. Dave says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Willis,

    I may be risking a dreaded [snip] here, but I’ll take my chances. I read your piece and I agree with you. It’s not entirely different from what Dr. Roy Spencer wrote on his site a few days ago. I have plodded through something like 400+ comments. They have been mostly entertaining, some informative, some that produced laughter and some that induced cringing. But now I am worrying that your blood alcohol content is dangerously low. Rather than engaging the gormless cavilers or pursuing a slap fight with Tallbloke, why not step away from the keyboard and have a couple of beers?

    This stuff is interesting, but it’s not all that damn important. You’re just not your usual erudite, polite and cheerful self. I recommend a moderate dose of alcohol.

    Done, and thanks. Like the song says, “I don’t drink as much as I ought to …”

    w.

  392. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm
    ….”I defy you to find anything in that statement about him disrupting your poor little thread.”
    =========
    Poor little thread ?,
    Rein in that horse, Willis.
    We are trying to spread information, or have I been reading the wrong blog for the last 3 years ?
    Petty arguments, achieve nothing.

  393. Willis, I believe I understand what you tried to do here. That was to try to factor out one of sooo many variables regarding the chaotic nature of the atmosphere. The results of your noble attempt has become chaotic.

    It seems that nothing is settled or that a consensus has been reached.

    Thank you for generating such a discussion.

  394. Vergent says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Willis,

    Your error is this. You said:

    “But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.”

    This is true for a body of uniform temperature.

    What was needed for your “proof”:

    “But when the average temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises…the surface radiation must rise.”

    This is not true. consider the moon; cool the hot side, and then warm the cold side until the total radiation is equal. You will have warmed the cold side more because of the S-B equation. The average temperature will go up.

    Vergent

    Vergent, all I’m talking about at the moment is the situation spelled out in the head post. This is a body of uniform temperature. As a result, what other bodies in other situations do is not relevant.

    w.

  395. Willis says: “We’re not discussing the earth, we’re discussing a planet with no water (“GHG-free atmosphere”). So your points have no meaning in this discussion.”

    Thanks for taking the time to read my remarks. I should have been more clear on the point that I was not using the GHG properties of water vapor. I was using its evaporative cooling effect. So lets specifically ignore radiative properties and only consider the effect of evaporative cooling.

    [No, lets not. No water. No evaporation, thanks. Read the head post again. Follow the instructions. w.]

  396. tallbloke says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Alan Wilkinson says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    tallbloke: “Can I add oxygen and Nitrogen (AKA nearly all the air) to this list Willis? If so, what prevents the heat conducted and convected from the surface into the air being radiated to space by the GHG free model atmosphere as well as the surface?”

    No. Because anything that radiates in the infra red spectra is a GHG model by definition of the GHG process.

    I thought GHG’s were the gases that absorb IR as well as emit it. Can we have the definition of GHG agreed please Willis.

    Thanks

    TB.

    In general, Kirchhoff’s Law says that good absorbers are good emitters, and vice versa. This makes sense because it’s basically the same process in reverse.

    w.

  397. Wayne says

    Also, if there is any absorption of radiation by the air, then more radiation would be absorbed lower due to the increased density and that can be from both solar radiation and surface infrared radiation. That too causes more warming lower.
    —————
    Depends. This would only be true if the green house density changed. Since the original question was about changing N2 only, you need to justify why the green house gases have changed. If CO2 is the only GHG to be considered then the claim that more radiation would be absorbed is likely wrong.

  398. Willis wrote:

    While this is not my site, it is my thread, and I said I would snip anything off-topic. Now I do that and you want to complain.

    A link to the paper that is the subject of the post is off topic? Personally, I can’t imagine writing a post without linking to the subject.

    [SNIP: I pointed out that Tallbloke above has linked to the paper. The rest of your post is merely complaining. Where is your elevator speech in defense of the theory? . w.]

  399. tallbloke says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Willis, how come everyone else is expected to stick to elevator speeches but you get to publish long self pitying diatribe? Now that Anthony has redirected the refugees from the “Shore worn” N&Z threads here, you need to relax, and relax the rules.

    Good question, tallbloke, thanks. The answer is, because I already gave my elevator speech and I already offered my proof.

    Give your elevator speech about N&Z or Jelbring, post up your measured, pithy, solid few sentences that explain the exact process you are arguing in favor of, and you can wax lyrical about the speech afterwards, defend it, do what you want.

    Or take a shot at falsifying my proof, and you can talk about that at length.

    I am merely attempting (without a surfeit of success, I must admit in fairness) to see if people do understand N&Z or Jelbring, and so far, no one has shown that they understand either one. Including you and Jelbring and Nikolov, none of you has been willing to give a simple, clear explanation of the claimed theory.

    So I don’t want to get lost in theorizing by people who are unable to show they understand what they are arguing in favor of.

    My regards to you, and thank you for hanging in.

    w.

  400. Hoser quotes Willis and says
    A curious fact is that almost everything around us is continually radiating energy in the infrared frequencies. You, me, the trees, the ocean, clouds, ice, all the common stuff gives off infrared radiation.

    >>>>>>>>And the air.
    No. The air does not radiate as a black body.
    The air radiates according to the ability of its component molecules to radiate. Molecules radiate electromagnetic radiation according to the same rules that apply to a radio aerial. In other words to produce IR emissions from a molecule the bond vibrations need to produce an oscillating electric field.

    Vibrations of a homonuclear diatomic like N2 or O2 cannot do this at all. No way, no how.

    Asymmetric molecules like CO can emit.

    Symmetric molecules like CO2 can emit via bending modes that are asymmetrical and cannot via bending modes that are symmetrical.

    So Willis is correct and Hoser is wrong.

  401. tallbloke says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Willis: a little bit of reasonableness goes a long way with me, so thanks for that. It’s way past bedtime here so I’ll sleep on it and hope that the N&Z response to comments update is in my inbox when I awake. After I’ve digested that, and kicked it around for a while with my friends, I’ll be closer to formulating a brief summary.

    You shouldn’t try to hurry good science. Savour it and mull it around before describing it.

    Cheers

    TB.

    Thanks, sleep well,

    w.

  402. Higley7 says
    If I remember my light physics correctly, light energy is lost by destructive interference laterally during transmission through the atmosphere. I do not know what proportion is lost but the sky is blue because of the lateral dispersion.
    ———–
    Sorry no.
    Nothing to do with
    1. Lateral dispersion
    2. Interference

    Look up the definitions of these terms and while you are at it look up Rayleigh scattering.

  403. eyesonu says:
    January 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Willis, I believe I understand what you tried to do here. That was to try to factor out one of sooo many variables regarding the chaotic nature of the atmosphere. The results of your noble attempt has become chaotic.

    It seems that nothing is settled or that a consensus has been reached.

    Thank you for generating such a discussion.

    It’s chaotic, but science tends to be that way. Some things have been settled. For example, the number of people claiming that oxygen and nitrogen radiate significantly in the infrared is approaching zero, albeit asymptotically, so it’s not all bad news …

    w.

  404. I think that Willis’ elevator model is flawed. A more realistic model is …

    [SNIP: Put your alternative theories and models on your own thread, please. We're discussing a particular model here, not your model. Thanks, w.]

  405. How hard can it be?

    Elevator speech: Venus …

    [SNIP: It is harder than you think, because I asked for an elevator speech about the N&Z or Jelbring theories, not about Venus. That's not only off-topic, it's off-planet. w.]

  406. Crosshatch says
    Model the atmosphere as a bunch of concentric surfaces that are transparent to IR but still radiate
    ————-
    That would be a violation of a physical law.

    If the atmosphere is transparent to IR it is impossible for it to radiate IR.

  407. Willis,
    In your response to me at 3:52 pm, you responded to the following:
    Leonard Weinstein says:January 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm
    Willis,
    I have stated the cause of the greenhouse effect in basic terms in a previous reply. The issue I want to discuss is your claim that if the amount of greenhouse gases was constant, but non greenhouse gases (O2 and N2) increased, there would be no change in ground level temperature.

    God damn it, Leonard, QUOTE MY WORDS. I have no recollection of saying anything of the sort, I don’t know the context, I don’t know if you understood me, I haven’t a clue what you are referring to.

    In fact I was referring to your response to Genghis at 12:19 am, where you responded to the following:

    4. The thicker and denser the atmosphere, the higher the near surface atmospheric temperature will be.

    I don’t think so. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is g / Cp, where g is gravity and Cp is the specific heat of the atmosphere. The lapse rate does not vary with elevation, which means that Cp doesn’t vary with density, so I don’t see how a denser atmosphere would perforce be warmer.

    I used the example of increasing density without increasing greenhouse gas content to show how that statement is incorrect. It is true the lapse rate does not change, but the altitude of outgoing radiation does, and that does change the near surface temperature some. I know you know that but the statement as made was wrong.

  408. Willis,
    The reply I just made above is not an exact quote of your words, so I understand the confusion. It is, however, equivalent in meaning.

  409. Willis says January 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm: “so far, no one has shown that they understand either one. Including you and Jelbring and Nikolov, none of you has been willing to give a simple, clear explanation of the claimed theory.”

    At the risk of being redundant, I did give an explanation of the “Jelbring effect” as a variation of the standard greenhouse effect, but it seems to have been lost in all the smoke. So, to quote myself from earlier:

    ———————————————–

    STEP 1: Instead of a greenhouse gas like CO2 at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) that radiates at some IR wavelengths and is transparent at other IR wavelengths, use a greenhouse gas at the TOA that radiates at ALL IR wavelengths (ie is “black” to IR; ie emissivty = 1).
    Or in his words “[The model planet globe] (G) and the atmosphere (AT) are surrounded by a concentric, tight, black spherical shell. “

    STEP 2: Apply all the standard physics to the rest of the analysis.

  410. Elevator speech: You’re pretty quick on the snip-button … [SNIP: Yes, I am. I asked for elevator speeches about the theory of either N&Z or Jelbring. Yours is neither, so I snipped it. w.]

  411. Leonard Weinstein says:
    January 14, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Willis,
    In your response to me at 3:52 pm, you responded to the following: …

    Leonard, I said nothing about GHGs in that quote, so I don’t understand how they got into the discussion, or why you are talking about them.

  412. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm
    …you claim that non-GHG gases radiate in the IR, so you’ll have to rebuild the parts of your theory that depend on that incorrect claim.

    Willis, you’re conflating absorption with emission. Any body, solid or fluid, emits electromagnetic radiation with a spectrum determined by the S-B relationship. A body’s transparency spectrum is independent of its emission spectrum. They’re separate processes.

    A transparent body of gas, however, is different from a solid body in that we can see EM radiation emitted throughout the volume, not just at the surface. Specifically, at those wavelengths where the gasseous body is transparent, we see the emissions from the entire depth at full intensity. However, at those wavelengths the intervening gas can absorb, we see a notch in the intensity spectrum. Carbon dioxide happens to absorb a wavelength of EM near the peak of the earth’s overall S-B radiation spectrum (about 15 micrometers), but it re-emits S-B radiation in a smooth spectrum depending on its temperature only. Just like any other body of matter.

    So I reiterate, an atmosphere containing a greenhouse gas gains heat both by conduction through contact with the surface, and by absorbing the earth’s (and the surrounding atmosphere’s) S-B radiation at some wavelength, while a non-GHG atmosphere is transparent to all EM wavelengths, and gains heat energy only by conduction. Both, however, emit their own S-B radiation in a spectrum determined only by their temperature.

    Come back when you have spent the time refining it

    I may do that at some point, but I’ve spent far too much time on this today already.

  413. Elevator speech: N&Z do not believe you can draw conclusions about the effects fo GHGs on the climate without understanding the effects of any atmospheric gas on climate–irrespective of the composition of the gas–when atmosheric pressure is added as a variable.

  414. EGADS! I’m at the end of the thread! It has been growing faster than I could stay ahead, but I finally caught up.

    My thanks to all commenters, except those that paid no attention to my request. I do note that we still do not have a clear, clean description of either the Nikolov Effect or the Jelbring Effect. In addition, I do not think that anyone has found a flaw in my proof that not only those two effects but [there] is no effect that can raise the surface temperature of a planet with a GHG-free transparent atmosphere as described in the head post.

    I have to confess that the focus on the specific mechanics of the Jelbring and N&Z effects is a bit of misdirection. Not all of it is misdirection. It is important to demonstrate that there is no one out there on either side of the discussion who actually understands either “Effect” well enough to give us a clear explanation of how it works.

    But my proof doesn’t depend on the mechanism that purports to raise the temperature. It shows that the consequences of any such warming violates conservation of energy. So it doesn’t matter what the particular mechanisms in question might be.

    w.

  415. Ed Fix says:
    January 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    …you claim that non-GHG gases radiate in the IR, so you’ll have to rebuild the parts of your theory that depend on that incorrect claim.

    Willis, you’re conflating absorption with emission. Any body, solid or fluid, emits electromagnetic radiation with a spectrum determined by the S-B relationship.

    Man, this idea is harder to kill than a cockroach. No, Ed, diatomic gases do not radiate at the temperatures that we are discussing. I posted about this way upthread, let me post it again. The IPCC says:

    Gases are the simplest type of molecule, and they only vibrate in very particular ways. Vibrations in a gas molecule are like vibrations of a piano string in that they are fussy about frequency. This is because, like a piano string, a gas molecule will only vibrate at its “ringing” frequency. The ringing frequency of an oscillator made of weights and springs depends on two things: the amount of weight on the ends and the strength of the spring holding them together. Heavy weights will have enough inertia to keep a bond growing in the wrong direction for longer than will a pair of light weights, so the frequency of the vibration will be slower. If the spring is very strong, it will reverse the velocity of a vibration more quickly, and the frequency of the oscillation will be higher. Vibrations in chemical bonds depend on the mass of the nuclei and on the energy penalty for having the nuclei too close or too far apart: the springiness of the chemical bond.

    However, the vibrations of many gas molecules, such as the major gases in the atmosphere oxygen and nitrogen, are invisible to the electromagnetic field. They don’t shine light or absorb infrared light; we say they are not infrared active. Oxygen and nitrogen are not greenhouse gases, because they are transparent to infrared light. These molecules are invisible because when you stretch one, it doesn’t change the electric field. These are symmetric molecules, made of two identical atoms whose electric fields just cancel each other out. Neither atom can hold the electrons any more tightly than the other. In general, symmetrical molecules with only two atoms are not greenhouse gases.

    So yes, you do have to redo your theory to accommodate that ugly fact …

    w.

  416. Elevator speech on Jelbring:
    The atmosphere is warmer as you go down in it because of the adiabatic lapse rate (g/cp) therefore greenhouse gases have nothing to do with the adiabatic lapse rate (true). The adiabatic lapse rate causes the greenhouse effect (false).
    Elevator speech on Nikolov and Zeller:
    You can fit a four-parameter curve to surface temperature over blackbody temperature ratio of seven solar system atmospheres just as a function of mass (not albedo or composition or clouds!). Therefore these other things don’t matter. It doesn’t matter that you can’t derive this curve except by a mathematical fit to the data. Who needs to explain why it fits?

  417. Willis Eschenbach says:

    January 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Sure. If there is no way for a gas to radiate energy, and it is isolated, it will stay at the same temperature indefinitely. I think N2 absorbs/emits very, very, very weakly in the IR, so it might cool over thousands of years, but basically indefinitely for practical purposes.
    __

    Uh, no. “All matter with a temperature greater than absolute zero emits thermal radiation”! The only difference between “greenhouse” gases and the others is that they absorb IR LOTS better than the others–they don’t emit IR any differently. Think about it like this, heat Xg samples of CO2 and Argon to the same temperature and put into separate Dewars (or do it at home in a thermos!). Measure the temperature after 1 hour. I can guarantee that they would be at the same temperature to within the error of the experiment.

  418. By the way, N&Z believe the blackbody temperature of the earth to be 154.3 K in disagreement with just about everyone else including Jelbring who believe it should be 255 K, so their mathematical fit may be flawed at this basic level.

  419. Willis, I feel you are getting a little emotional. There is no justification in your SNIP.

    The flaws in your model include ignoring the earth’s 70% cloud cover and assuming that the earth is primarily a solid rather than a liquid surface. These flaws allow only radiation as the heat transport mechanism. Radiation is insignificant between the earth’s surface and clouds, where the major heat transport mechanisms are convection and evaporation.

    No wonder you find GHG’s having a major impact when you only consider radiation. You should be considering radiation from cold clouds to space rather than radiation from a warm earth surface.

  420. @Willis Eschenbach
    Here is my best shot at an elevator speech explaining the N&Z “greenhouse effect”. The N&Z effect works as follows:

    • The sun transfers energy via radiation to the earth, warming the earth.

    • The surface of the earth transfers energy into the (non-GHG) atmosphere through conduction, heating the atmosphere.

    • Earth’s gravity causes an altitude-dependent temperature and pressure lapse rate to form in the atmosphere. The atmospheric temperature and pressure drop as altitude increases with the temperature ultimately dropping to that of deep space (~3K).

    • Atmospheric gases heated conductively at the earth’s surface then convectively rise through the pressure lapse rate.

    • As the temperature of the atmosphere drops towards that of deep space, the rising gases transition through a number of phase changes (e.g. gas => liquid => solid-a => solid-b). At the occurrence of each phase change the atmosphere releases latent heat in the form of radiation.

    • Some of the radiating energy from the released latent heat is directed downward through the gaseous, IR-transparent atmosphere and is absorbed by the earth.

    • As a result of absorbing that latent heat energy from the atmosphere, the surface is warmer than it would be in the absence of the (non-GHG) atmosphere.

  421. JIm D, great elevator attempt. However you may be over-generous in awarding one true point to Jelbring. I doubt the (observable) adiabatic lapse rate is independent of GH gasses since without radiation there is no convection and therefore as Roy Spencer points out the atmosphere becomes isothermal by conduction (violating the adiabatic premise)?

  422. Alan Wilkinson, yes there is a debate on the point of what the laps rate would be with no GHGs. Some believe isothermal, some adiabatic (well mixed), some in between (slightly stable).

  423. As I said previously, the science is not settled. There is a lot to be digested here.

    Damn if I know the answer! There is certainly no consensus.

    I have a view point, but uncertain enough to not express it. When in doubt, keep my mouth shut but my eyes wide open. I’ll keep my eyes wide open.

    Willis tried to break it down to components, but it seems much more involved that a simple solution as expressed by many. Chaotic? Idono. Maybe the whole shebang is more than can be modeled if we can’t get one single factor agreed upon. There are many.

  424. Roy Spencer is wrong.

    I didn’t think I would say that about a basic physics idea, but he is incorrect when stating “If the atmosphere cannot absorb/emit IR, it would become isothermal, and all convection would cease. ”

    It would become isentropic, not isothermal. At equilibrium, both the temperature and the density will decrease with altitude. This is the required condition for the stopping of convection, not being isothermal. This is directly related to the idea of “adiabatic lapse rate”.

    See http://mysite.du.edu/~etuttle/weather/atphys.htm
    or

    http://maths.ucd.ie/met/msc/PhysMet/PhysMetLectNotes.pdf

  425. The temperature of the radiating surface would be unaffected by pressure changes in a transparent atmosphere. If that is all the post is saying I agree. I am less sure that N&Z are dealing with transparent atmospheres in equilibrium when they hypothesise that the green house effect is negligible overall.

    Cue lift music

    * A “greenhouse”-gas-free atmosphere (by definition one which can not be involved in long wave radiation) will still pick up heat from the surface by conduction and mix it throughout the atmosphere by convection cells until it reaches stability (something like the surface heat at the warmest point / the equator normally, but your sphere of suns means all points will be equal so I would accept a lower adiabatic profile in this case).

    * Until this balance is reached overall radiation-out will be lower than radiation-in as some of the energy at the surface is conducted away from the radiating surface and stored by the atmosphere.

    * It can thus act as a reservoir for heat, resulting in a temperature at any given height above the ground surface depending on the density (heat is stored by the molecules. Less molecules per cubic foot = less heat per cubic foot = lower measured temperature) but changes to the atmospheric heat content would be very slow as exchange can only happen at the point of contact between surface and atmosphere.

    * If you add more of this “transparent” atmosphere [which is, I think, the mechanism N&Z are talking about] it will be able to hold more heat overall but it must still get this extra heat from conduction at the surface unless it is already warmed elsewhere (e.g. volcanic [again as N&Z suggest if I recall correctly]).

    * Because gravity is present, the density of that increased atmosphere near the surface will increase (I.e. there will be now be more of the atmosphere present near the surface than before) and it follows that there will be more heat present (per cubic foot as it were) leading to higher near surface temperatures.

    And for the lift journey back down.

    * It is tempting to think that the heat in the conductive bottom layer of the atmosphere can not exceed that of the surface from which it first gets that heat energy.

    * The atmosphere has however built up a store of heat as described above in the total volume of atmosphere.

    * If that is compressed as described because volume has been added to it (note I am ignoring for now the act of compression – assuming measurement after the compression is complete) the amount of heat can (temporarily) exceed that at the surface.

    * By definition it can not radiate this heat away. It will however pass some of this heat back to the ground to restore equilibrium at the conductive layer. (Much more slowly than conductive warming as convection constantly interferes.)

    * That will temporarily (but for a very long time) result in more radiation out than in, without breaking any laws.

    In the very fullness of time a transparent atmosphere would always return to match the radiating surface (at its long term warmest point) but this would be a very (very) slow process (cooling more slowly than it warms) and in shorter time scales temperature would be pressure dependant as N&Z suggest.

    So Wills and N&Z can both be right but not on the the same timescale.

    Does this apply to the Earth? Obviously not entirely as we do not have a transparent atmosphere, we have other stuff like night and day and a single light source, spin, wobble…

    Does that mean N&Z idea makes no contribution at all?

  426. Willis Eschenbach says
    January 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Willis, are you saying that if I am suspended in space, and a stream of 8,000 degrees N2 jets by me at say 10′ away, (nothing but the vacume of space between me and the gas) I will feel nothing and my thermometer will register nothing, but if that stream of gas, again with 10′ of the vacume of space separating me, streams past, I will feel emense heat from the radiating CO2, but none from the non radiating N2?

  427. Well, I didn’t read 400 comments. So, maybe someone already suggested this.

    The “Planet” is not uniformly heated by a thousand suns — there is just one. [SNIP: No, it's evenly heated. If you want to discuss your situation, write your own post. w.]

  428. Willis says,
    WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE EARTH! REPEAT AFTER ME! WILLIS IS DISCUSSING A HYPOTHETICAL PLANET, NOT THE EARTH!

    OK, lets imagine the atmosphere on this hypothetical planet (that is evenly irradiated) has five times the mass of the solid portion. And, within the bounds of the hypothetical example imagine a second planet where the atmosphere has just 1% of the mass of the solid portion, the diameter of the sold portions in each case being similar. So, they both gather the same amount of radiation.

    Then let us imagine that the only means of heat transfer to space is via radiation from the solid portion. But the atmosphere’s in each case are heated by conduction, i.e. collision of molecules.

    The atmospheres will not be equal in temperature from top to bottom. Temperature will relate to density.

    Will the equilibrium temperature of the atmosphere at two meters above the surface be greater in the planet with the denser atmosphere?

    I say yes, the planet with the denser atmosphere will impart more energy to a thermometer.

    Add a greenhouse gas to the denser atmosphere. It will become cooler and so will the surface of the planet because the surface that is emitting will be enlarged and there is still the same amount of energy to go round.

  429. Alan Wilkinson says:
    January 14, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    as Roy Spencer points out the atmosphere becomes isothermal by conduction

    Precisely. And on a spherical body like a planet, the atmosphere can only become isothermal when it reaches the temperature of the warmest part of the surface, i.e. the equator.

    This means the temperature of the ATMOSPHERE WILL BE HIGHER than the average temperature of the SURFACE as defined by the SB equation.
    This has profound implications for the greenhouse hypotheses.

  430. Open question; Surface heat conducts to the non GHG atmosphere, Can non GHG molecues conduct heat to the surface?

  431. David says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says
    January 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Willis, are you saying that if I am suspended in space, and a stream of 8,000 degrees N2 jets by me at say 10′ away, (nothing but the vacume of space between me and the gas) I will feel nothing and my thermometer will register nothing, but if that stream of gas IS COMPOSED OF CO2 and jets past, again with 10′ of the vacume of space separating me from the gas, I will feel emense heat from the radiating CO2, but none from the non radiating N2?

    This clarifies my poorly worded question at 8:05.

  432. NoIdea says:
    January 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Were the earth’s atmosphere substantially deeper, then the temperature near the surface would be higher. I suspect that means that the temperature in say a deep hole (mine) on the earth would be higher (absent any geothermal effects that is).

    Dunno if you will get to see this in such a long thread, but you are correct. The Mediterranean has been waterless (or almost so) several times in Earth history. At the bottom, the estimated atmospheric temperature would have reached ~80C. Some of the minerals formed there by evaporation only form at high temperatures. Or so I was taught…

  433. Baa Humbug said @ January 14, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Precisely. And on a spherical body like a planet, the atmosphere can only become isothermal when it reaches the temperature of the warmest part of the surface, i.e. the equator.

    This means the temperature of the ATMOSPHERE WILL BE HIGHER than the average temperature of the SURFACE as defined by the SB equation.
    This has profound implications for the greenhouse hypotheses.

    In Willis’s pedagogical example, the toy planet is lit uniformly by many suns. Every part of its surface is “at the equator”.

  434. Thus spake Willis: “…Oxygen may well emit visible if it gets as warm as the sun, I don’t know….”

    I do know what oxygen does when it gets “warm” enough. It’s called aurora borealis in this hemisphere. At 900°C +/- 300°. Fairly cool, relatively speaking.

    Like it or not, the elevator speech concept is valid. I think Nikolov & Zeller and Jelbring have overlooked some critical point necessary to make their case. Either that, or they’ve failed to explain some key concept or assumption. Maybe next month they’ll connect the dots.

  435. Dr Burns said @ January 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    The flaws in your model include ignoring the earth’s 70% cloud cover and assuming that the earth is primarily a solid rather than a liquid surface. These flaws allow only radiation as the heat transport mechanism. Radiation is insignificant between the earth’s surface and clouds, where the major heat transport mechanisms are convection and evaporation.

    No wonder you find GHG’s having a major impact when you only consider radiation. You should be considering radiation from cold clouds to space rather than radiation from a warm earth surface.

    There are no clouds in Willis’s pedagogical example. That’s the whole point of the example: to simplify in order to teach a very basic lesson that few seem willing to learn. It’s as if everyone wants to become Beethoven without learning the rudiments of musical composition.

  436. Willis,

    Your error is this. You said:
    “But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.”

    This is true for a body of uniform temperature.

    What was needed for your “proof”:

    “But when the average temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises…the surface radiation must rise.”

    This is not true. consider the moon; cool the hot side, and then warm the cold side until the total radiation is equal. You will have warmed the cold side more because of the S-B equation. The average temperature will go up.

    Vergent

  437. Willis Eschenbach @ January 14, 7:02 pm
    Quick test of the debate mechanisms here;

    Willis, you wrote in part to Vergent:

    “… all I’m talking about at the moment is the situation spelled out in the head post. This is a body of uniform temperature. As a result, what other bodies in other situations do is not relevant…”

    So what the…. Is this sphere rotating at infinite rate whilst retaining an atmosphere, and how is perfect distribution of energy from equator to poles obtained? (have you cancelled the cosine law?)

  438. I modify my previous to say that the friction free atmospheric temperature can only exceed the average surface temperature if that surface is unevenly warmed which in the given model would not happen. In that model near surface atmospheric temperature would be increased with increased pressure (for a long time perhaps) time but would never exceed that of the surface (a perfectly dense atmosphere would approach the surface temperature)

  439. erl happ :January 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm said:

    Hypothetical planet (that is evenly irradiated) within the bounds of the hypothetical example
    1. has five times the mass of the solid portion.
    2. a second planet where the atmosphere has just 1% of the mass of the solid portion, the diameter of the sold portions in each case being similar.

    So, both gather the same amount of radiation… Heat transfer to space is via radiation from the solid portion….the atmosphere’s in each case are heated by conduction, i.e. Molecular collision.

    The atmospheres will not be equal in temperature from top to bottom. Temperature will relate to density.

    …….the planet with the denser atmosphere will impart more energy to a thermometer (at 2 mtr above surface).

    Add a greenhouse gas to the denser atmosphere.

    It will become cooler and so will the surface of the planet because the surface that is emitting will be enlarged and there is still the same amount of energy to go round.

    This from Earl Hap looks like an excellent model, and has an interesting result! –

    I can’t fault his thinking – I look forward to more discussion on this.

  440. Bob Fernley-Jones says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    So what the…. Is this sphere rotating at infinite rate whilst retaining an atmosphere, and how is perfect distribution of energy from equator to poles obtained? (have you cancelled the cosine law?)

    Yes he did cancel the cosine law, he did it by assuming a planet equally lit by thousands of small suns. Read the OP? Twice?

  441. jorgekafkazar said @ January 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Like it or not, the elevator speech concept is valid.

    I usually find that if I can’t distil my learning into elevator speech, it’s because I really don’t understand what I thought I learnt.

  442. Willis,

    My reading of Jelbring is that the surface is going to be warmer than absolute zero even if there is no solar input because the adiabatic lapse rate reigns supreme.

    And since there is no such thing known as minus K an absolute zero surface cannot exist on a planet surface with more than a trifling atmosphere.

    If indeed your model of radiative equilibrium at the surface mandates an absolute zero surface then the upper atmosphere of this planet would have to be measured in minus kelvin something that does not exist. So the concept of a radiative equilibrium in dark space is in conflict with other physical laws like the ideal gas law.

    My apologies to Jelbring if I got that wrong.

    And whats wrong with the radiative model?

    I like the passive solar water heater system with collectors below the storage analogy.

    The water warms in the collector coils and convects up the pipes into the storage tank and out of the bottom of the storage tank cooler water drops down into the coils to be warmed in a convection driven cycle. The collector coils are cooled by this process so they remain below radiative equilibrium until the entire system has warmed to that level.

    And I am not talking about radiative equilibrium at the average blackbody temperature of a rotating planet but I would say that would be radiative equilibrium with the current radiation rate say around noon time if you managed to crank your efficiency up to 100% (which you can’t but you can get close).

    You can only get close with very good insulation on the elevated water storage tank. But what is better insulated than a non-radiative atmosphere? The answer is nothing.

    It can’t lose heat by conduction or radiation out the sides or the top. It can only lose heat out the bottom by conduction and common air is one of the best insulators around. You can’t build stuff this good at least you can’t economically at building scales. Maybe a polished vacuum bottle will rival it with the bottom closed.

    At the end of the 24 hour cycle you will find the system to average considerably warmer than the average radiation would dictate because it is far less efficient at cooling than it is at warming.

    The surface remains relatively cool even when the air is warm. Its hard to detect or measure this though as this coolness is confined to an infintessimally thin surface layer with strong temperature gradients immediately above and below that radiating surface.

    So the sand feels hot on your foot because your foot is more conductive than the air and its drawing subsurface heat into your foot.

    Then of course you have to enter latent heat of evaporation into this that is even more effective at transferring heat to the atmosphere in a one way route than conduction.

    As a kid I lived in the desert. We used to carry those old canvas water bags and hang them off the radiator cap of our Model A. The evaporation kept the water relatively cool despite outdoor atmospheric (Stevenson screen height) temps in excess of a hundred degrees (F).

    But even at that temp the atmosphere was not as hot as it would have been in the absence of convection.

    With 1200 watts burning down through a cloudless desert sky the temperature was not the 225degF such a radiation level mandates at equilibrium, nor was the ground though we often joked about frying eggs on the pavement nobody could.

    So what you have is a lot of daytime damping going on via conduction amplified by convection. At nighttime the damping of the cooling is far less.

    Add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and you probably change nothing as the additional heat it intercepts is offset by the heat it radiates. You no doubt will dispute that but I have to wonder why a ground molecule at 288K can radiate all its heat up and gas molecule cannot. I see this area as the borderline of AGW mumbo jumbo.

    I think the completely passive solar water heating system that one can build for a few hundred bucks proves that a simple radiative equilibrium model in a GHG free atmosphere is pure BS.

  443. Except I’m far too lazy to do it, it would be interesting to count the number of posts that show evidence of the commenter having actually read the headpost, never mind understood it. It must be alarmingly small!

    I occasionally drink with one of those lucky guys who gets to program a Cray with numerical simulations; of weather, rather than climate. When the talk gets to CAGW, there has on occasion been considerable bitterness between us, including said programmer being very dismissive of the level of scientific understanding of WUWT readers. In the past I have defended WUWT. Today I think it’s time to eat some crow. Mind you, he seems to have remarkably little grasp of basic Newtonian mechanics even though he has a Doctorate in astrophysics.

    We all have our blind spots.

  444. Dear Willis, I have not read the numerous comments, so somebody may have said the following already:
    In your gedanken experiment:

    Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.

    A transparent to radiation atmosphere is a contradiction. For an atmosphere not to have a heat capacity it means that no matter ( atoms, molecules) is there . If there is matter then there exists a heat capacity. This matter will be radiating at some part of the electromagnetic spectrum with a modified SB law ( I think it is T^6 ), and the surface temperature will be ameliorated accordingly because of that. I am saying that the experiment is unphysical and cannot be used as proof.

    I do not know the claims of the people you are arguing about.

    ( I will not digress into the oxymoron of talking of surface temperatures when all the fuss of AGW is made with temperatures measured at 2 meter height.)

  445. Willis,

    Your error is this. You said:
    “But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.”

    This is true for a body of uniform temperatureAND PRESSURE.

    What was needed for your “proof”:

    “But when the average temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises…the surface radiation must rise.”

    This is not true. consider the moon; cool the hot side, and then warm the cold side until the total radiation is equal. You will have warmed the cold side more because of the S-B equation. The average temperature will go up.

    Vergent

  446. “…while the temperature can be lower than the theoretical S-B temperature, as is the case with the moon”
    Actually it’s 20° cooler by day and 60° warmer by night, the net result being a surface that is 40° warmer than the S-B prediction. S-B applies to a surface and takes no account of heat absorbed and re-radiated by the subsurface, an observation made by other readers here.

    http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/pdf/Greenhouse_Effect_on_the_Moon.pdf

    NASA have long known about this contradiction to the greenhouse theory, but presumably sat on it for sinister reasons that are all too familiar now.

    http://climaterealists.com/?id=5783

  447. “Willis, are you saying that if I am suspended in space, and a stream of 8,000 degrees N2 jets by me at say 10′ away, (nothing but the vacuum of space between me and the gas) I will feel nothing and my thermometer will register nothing, but if that stream of gas IS COMPOSED OF CO2 and jets past, again with 10′ of the vacuum of space separating me from the gas, I will feel immense heat from the radiating CO2, but none from the non radiating N2?”

    A stream indicates they all going in one direction- they aren’t hot unless they hit something.
    But even if they are hitting each other and not you, there is no heat to you.

  448. Nice try, 20 down bye day and 60 plus by night, is a global temperature rise of 20C. This negates the premise of the argument.

  449. [SNIP: please, no philosophical speculations on gravity. It's a field. To move against it takes energy. To move with it gives you energy. No one knows why. w.]

    Since Q= U + W (simply stated)
    W= FD (simply stated)
    W is a path function which means W1-2 can be more or less than W2-1 then I think you have stated the N&Z idea. Gravity causes work(compression) that adds energy to the atmosphere. Convection work reduces energy in the atmosphere and the two do not have to be equal.

  450. PaulR @ January 14, 9:59 pm

    Yes he [Willis] did cancel the cosine law, he did it by assuming a planet equally lit by thousands of small suns. Read the OP? Twice?

    Sorry Paul, in a hurry, I overlooked that minor point of model definition. Me go and smack my wrist!

  451. They are probably going to erase it but from 20% into this thread until 80% The authors of this thread were bitchen an moaning and smitten at each other.

  452. Open question; Surface heat conducts to the non GHG atmosphere, Can non GHG molecues conduct heat to the surface?.

    Yes. Any gas does this.
    It doesn’t mean it will occur quickly.

    Put anything cold into room at room temperature. The main way it could lose heat is thru conduction, reduce the losses in conduction and main way it warms is due to air molecules- convection.
    Have cold jacket, hang from chair it should mostly warm from convection. If put near fire in fireplace, it would be largely from radiation. Radiation works good, if it’s 2000 F

  453. I’d appreciate hearing back from anyone willing to wade through my post of
    ferd berple says:
    January 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I cleared up the points Willis and a few others had and the result still comes out the same. The crux of my approach was to not try and calculate the specific amounts of the various energy fluxes. Rather to simply deal with them as inequalities, as it is much easier to say if one flux is larger than another, even if you can’t say by how much. This allows one to deal with the uncertainties and arrive at an answer that would otherwise be impossible to resolve.

  454. Phil’s Dad says:
    January 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    “* By definition it can not radiate this heat away. It will however pass some of this heat back to the ground to restore equilibrium at the conductive layer. (Much more slowly than conductive warming as convection constantly interferes.)”

    That part doesn’t sound right, heat is thermal energy in transit and energy will travel through the path of least resistance to restore equilibrium, less resistance equals shorter distance and shorter distance equals a more efficient transit of energy.

    Principle of least action: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_least_action

  455. Willis,

    494 responses and counting…wow!

    Your redcutio ad absurbum argument is elegant and shows conclusively that in there can be no gravitational effect. End of as far as I’m concerned.

    What is an interesting physics question is in your model what will the temperature distribution in the non-GHG atmosphere? I think it might be constant throughout with no convection and therefore no adiabatic lapse rate. The atmosphere in this model is effectively a gas column in an adiabatically bound state, heat conduction throughout the column will lead to an equilibrium of constant temperature distribution. I think Roy Spencer may have indicated this to be the case as well in his earlier comment.

    Thank you for an elegant disproof of gravitational theorems.

  456. ps: the correction I added was the energy flux H, which is the net flow of energy from the surface to the ghg atmosphere, which several readers mentioned as missing from the proof.

    The solution relies on the inequality H < C. Specifically that

    net energy flux from surface to ghg < net energy flux from ghg atmosphere to space.

    Keeping mind that we are talking net energy flux, this assumption seems supportable. The ghg atmosphere must itself absorb energy from the sun, which it then radiates to space. Thus in equilibrium the net transfer from the atmosphere to space must be greater than the net transfer from the surface to the atmosphere.

    If this inequality does not hold, then that would be an obvious starting point to attack the proof.

  457. Derek Miller says:
    January 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:

    January 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Sure. If there is no way for a gas to radiate energy, and it is isolated, it will stay at the same temperature indefinitely. I think N2 absorbs/emits very, very, very weakly in the IR, so it might cool over thousands of years, but basically indefinitely for practical purposes.

    __

    Uh, no. “All matter with a temperature greater than absolute zero emits thermal radiation”! The only difference between “greenhouse” gases and the others is that they absorb IR LOTS better than the others–they don’t emit IR any differently.

    Again with this one. All matter doesn’t emit thermal radiation in the IR frequencies that correspond to the temperatures we’re discussing.

    Also, Kirchhofs Law says that emissivity = absorptivity. Poor absorbers are poor emitters.

    w.

  458. Tim Folkerts, I don’t think you are correct for the conditions Willis specified (accepting Anna V’s point that they are unphysical at the limit). The adiabatic conditions are not satisfied at equilibrium so an isothermal condition is created and is neutral towards convection. With the atmosphere at the same temperature as the surface there are no sources of hot or cold spots to disturb it.

  459. Dr Burns says:
    January 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Willis, I feel you are getting a little emotional. There is no justification in your SNIP.

    The flaws in your model include ignoring the earth’s 70% cloud cover and assuming that the earth is primarily a solid rather than a liquid surface. …

    Dr. Burns, I’M NOT TRYING TO MODEL THE EARTH. Read the head post again. This is why I snip things like your last post, because they are so unbelievably distant from reality. I don’t care if I ignored cloud cover, I’m talking about a THOUGHT EXPERIMENT THAT HAS NO CLOUDS.

    Read the freaking head post three or four times if you need to. It is a thought experiment designed to simplify a complex situation. If you come back on these same lines, you will get snipped.

    w.

  460. When I opened this thread there were already about 500 comments, so I haven’t read the bulk of them, and if someone else has already said what I’m about to say, I offer them my apologies.

    Willis: I’m completely ignoring your “elevator speech” request, so feel free to just ignore this comment. For the rest of you, I will create a contradiction of the type that Willis appears to appreciate. Here’s what I have to say:

    (1) I’ll assume that the “suddenly added atmosphere” is at a lower initial temperature than the surface of the planet. I will use the term “surface” to refer to the hard physical surface of the planet, and the term “air” to refer to the molecules of the atmosphere, regardless of what species these molecules might be. I will also ignore the possibility of radiation produced by scattering of any kind, and from the natural radiation of the atmosphere in the far IR region, even though both of these will necessarily occur.

    (2) What happens just after the air is added is that the lowest thin layer will absorb energy from the surface by conduction, thus slightly reducing the temperature of the surface. That warmed thin layer of air will then conduct to the cooler air above it, will thus cool itself, and then be ready to accept re-heating by conduction from the surface. Under this logic, the process should then continue, propagating upward until the entire atmosphere has reached a single uniform temperature, namely the one possessed by the surface before any of this started.

    (3) So we would seem to have an isothermal atmosphere, and things are back to the way they were at the start, except for a brief interlude during which the surface cooled a bit while heating the air, and then came back up to its original temperature. But there’s a problem with this scenario, namely that you can’t have an isothermal atmosphere in a gravitational field if it isn’t being heated (given energy) from the top.

    Digression: We do have (approximately) such an isothermal situation in our real atmosphere, i.e. in the stratosphere, which has a fairly uniform temperature from the tropopause right up to the stratopause. Why does that occur? It’s because the top of the stratosphere is where the incoming UV starts to split up air molecules (notably diatomic oxygen, thus producing ozone). This, among other things, converts UV energy into thermal energy for whatever is up there. The effect gets reduced as you progress downward, so there is less heating in the mid-stratosphere than in the upper part, and by the time you get down to the tropopause the effect has run its course. The overall effect is that the decrease in temperature that “should” have continued upward from the tropopause has been negated by the absorption of incoming UV energy higher up, and the whole region is at a fairly uniform temperature (as long as the UV keeps coming).

    (4) Back to the steady-state and supposedly isothermal atmosphere attained without the injection of extra energy at the top, the problem is that all of those molecules, which are supposed to have the same Kinetic Energy (same temperature), also now have gravitational Potential Energy. The system, however, is supposed to have reached a stable state where nothing is changing, so at each level the total energy of any thin layer should remain fixed. Another way to say this is that dU = 0.

    (5) From basic thermodynamics, we have the relationship that dU = CpdT + gdh, so if dU is zero, then dT/dh = -g/Cp, which means that there is a lapse rate of the usual kind, and things get warmer as you go down. This implies that the new temperature of the air at the surface must be higher than the surface was at the beginning. I have no clue what the surface itself is doing, or what it’s temperature might be, but the AIR at the surface is warmer.

    And that’s my take on the matter…

    /dr.bill

  461. willb says:
    January 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    @Willis Eschenbach
    Here is my best shot at an elevator speech explaining the N&Z “greenhouse effect”. The N&Z effect works as follows:

    • The sun transfers energy via radiation to the earth, warming the earth.

    willb, thanks for the elevator speech. First step looks good.

    • The surface of the earth transfers energy into the (non-GHG) atmosphere through conduction, heating the atmosphere.

    OK

    • Earth’s gravity causes an altitude-dependent temperature and pressure lapse rate to form in the atmosphere. The atmospheric temperature and pressure drop as altitude increases with the temperature ultimately dropping to that of deep space (~3K).

    Kinda, although it ignores the thermosphere that may not be significant.

    • Atmospheric gases heated conductively at the earth’s surface then convectively rise through the pressure lapse rate.

    Not sure what “through the pressure lapse rate” means, but OK.

    • As the temperature of the atmosphere drops towards that of deep space, the rising gases transition through a number of phase changes (e.g. gas => liquid => solid-a => solid-b). At the occurrence of each phase change the atmosphere releases latent heat in the form of radiation.

    OK

    • Some of the radiating energy from the released latent heat is directed downward through the gaseous, IR-transparent atmosphere and is absorbed by the earth.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. The atmosphere is GHG-free. How does the released energy radiate anywhere, when the atmosphere has no GHGs, and as a result can’t radiate in the IR? I fear your explanation dies there …

    Many thanks,

    w.

  462. Tim Folkerts says:
    January 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Roy Spencer is wrong.

    I didn’t think I would say that about a basic physics idea, but he is incorrect when stating “If the atmosphere cannot absorb/emit IR, it would become isothermal, and all convection would cease. ”

    It would become isentropic, not isothermal. At equilibrium, both the temperature and the density will decrease with altitude. This is the required condition for the stopping of convection, not being isothermal. This is directly related to the idea of “adiabatic lapse rate”.

    See http://mysite.du.edu/~etuttle/weather/atphys.htm
    or

    http://maths.ucd.ie/met/msc/PhysMet/PhysMetLectNotes.pdf

    I agree, although like you I do hate to bust Dr. Roy. The atmospheric lapse rate is a result of the kinetic/potential tradeoff for all molecules. It does not require bulk convective motion for the lapse rate to exist. As Tim says, at equilibrium the atmosphere will be isentropic, rather than isothermal.

    w.

  463. David says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says
    January 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Willis, are you saying that if I am suspended in space, and a stream of 8,000 degrees N2 jets by me at say 10′ away, (nothing but the vacume of space between me and the gas) I will feel nothing and my thermometer will register nothing, but if that stream of gas, again with 10′ of the vacume of space separating me, streams past, I will feel emense heat from the radiating CO2, but none from the non radiating N2?

    I haven’t a clue what the radiational characteristics of high temperature nitrogen is, David. I wouldn’t be surprised if at that temperature it would radiate visible light, but I don’t know.

    I do know that it doesn’t radiate in the IR. So if the gas were at say 30°C, no, the nitrogen wouldn’t be emitting any radiation, your hand and your thermometer wouldn’t register anything.

    w.

  464. Willis said “TimC, you are right. You don’t even have enough knowledge to ask intelligent questions. I don’t wish to be cruel, but in such a situation, just listen and learn, OK?”

    A bit snippy, surely. I only have a science masters from long ago (my career was law), but I am still trying to learn – I thought that’s what this site was about …

    From Wikipedia (I know, I know): “Thermal radiation is electromagnetic radiation generated by the thermal motion of charged particles in matter. All matter with a temperature greater than absolute zero emits thermal radiation.”

    And: “A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range.”

    Am I right (to ask a question directly this time, rather than offer a comment) that SB is concerned with total thermal (ie electromagnetic) radiation – whether it falls within the IR, visible or UV parts of the spectrum?

  465. “The atmospheric temperature and pressure drop as altitude increases with the temperature ultimately dropping to that of deep space (~3K).”

    Objects in space have a temperature, space itself does not. 3K is the background microwave radiation of space. A non-radiating object (gas) would maintain its temperature.

  466. erl happ says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Willis says,

    WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE EARTH! REPEAT AFTER ME! WILLIS IS DISCUSSING A HYPOTHETICAL PLANET, NOT THE EARTH!

    OK, lets imagine the atmosphere on this hypothetical planet (that is evenly irradiated) has five times the mass of the solid portion. And, within the bounds of the hypothetical example imagine a second planet where the atmosphere has just 1% of the mass of the solid portion, the diameter of the sold portions in each case being similar. So, they both gather the same amount of radiation.

    Then let us imagine that the only means of heat transfer to space is via radiation from the solid portion. But the atmosphere’s in each case are heated by conduction, i.e. collision of molecules.

    The atmospheres will not be equal in temperature from top to bottom. Temperature will relate to density.

    It’s great that you assert that. But you have provided no evidence for that. For that to be true, the dry adiabatic lapse rate would have to depend on density. But it doesn’t, it’s g / Cp, no density involved. So the temperature profile of the two atmospheres would be the same.

    w.

  467. David says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Open question; Surface heat conducts to the non GHG atmosphere, Can non GHG molecues conduct heat to the surface?

    Sure.

    w.

  468. Willis,

    I don’t think I agree with you here and am with Roy Spencer on this point. I think the the lapse rate does require convection. In an adiabatically bound column of gas in a gravitational field, which I think your model is, the temperature is constant throughout the column. The tradeoff between kinetic and potential energy has been discussed as the ‘Loschmidt effect’ and treated by the following authors:

    Coombes, Ch. A. and Laue, H., 1985, Am. J. Phys, v53, 272-273

    Velasco, S., Roman, F.L. and White, J.A., 1995, Eur. J. Phys. v17, 43-44

    Qualitatively, since both the kinetic energy of the molecules and the number density of the molecules decreases with height, the average molecular kinetic energy does not necessarily decrease with height. The average molecular kinetic energy is the summation over all values of molecular energies divided by the number of molecules in any specific volume element. This average kinetic energy is constant throughout a column of gas in a gravitational field.

    Interestingly there is an interesting discussion of this over at Tallblokes. I’m with Roy Spencer on this one. However, I’m also going to go back and give some more consideration to the lapse rate to see if I’ve missed something. Keep up the good work.

  469. Bob Fernley-Jones says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Willis Eschenbach @ January 14, 7:02 pm

    Quick test of the debate mechanisms here;

    Willis, you wrote in part to Vergent:

    “… all I’m talking about at the moment is the situation spelled out in the head post. This is a body of uniform temperature. As a result, what other bodies in other situations do is not relevant…”

    So what the…. Is this sphere rotating at infinite rate whilst retaining an atmosphere, and how is perfect distribution of energy from equator to poles obtained? (have you cancelled the cosine law?)

    Read the head post, Bob. And if you can’t figure out the answer to your question, don’t come back.

    w.

  470. Vergent says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Willis,

    Your error is this. You said:

    “But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.”

    This is true for a body of uniform temperature.

    Yes, and since that is the body under discussion, further comments about other bodies are off-topic.

    w.

  471. thepompousgit says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    jorgekafkazar said @ January 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Like it or not, the elevator speech concept is valid.

    I usually find that if I can’t distil my learning into elevator speech, it’s because I really don’t understand what I thought I learnt.

    Indeed, git, my point exactly. That’s why I’ve asked for it, to see if anyone out there understood either the Jelbring or the N&Z theories. So far no one has given a clear precis of either one, so I must assume no one understands either one.

    w.

  472. anna v says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Dear Willis, I have not read the numerous comments, so somebody may have said the following already:
    In your gedanken experiment:

    Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.

    A transparent to radiation atmosphere is a contradiction. For an atmosphere not to have a heat capacity it means that no matter ( atoms, molecules) is there . …

    Thanks, Anna. First, certainly a gas can be transparent, why not? What is it that you think will stop a gas from being transparent?

    Second, the fact that it is transparent has nothing to do with its heat capacity. A transparent gas has heat capacity, as does a transparent solid.

    w.

  473. Vince Causey says:
    January 14, 2012 at 9:07 am
    “…But, if the lower atmosphere is warmed by the gravity effect, there would indeed by a temperature gradient, with temperature declining as you go higher. At this point, it could be imagined that there is a TOA higher up radiating the same amount of energy that is received from the Sun.

    But. . .the crucial point is, these molecules in the atmosphere cannot radiate. To do so would require molecules of N2 and O2 to emit photons. As far as I am aware, they do not. The only way energy can leave the Earth is by radiation, and only the surface can radiate…”

    Some very good points made in your post, Vince, except all matter does in fact radiate…

    “Radiation:
    Thermal energy emitted by matter as a result of vibrational and rotational movements of molecules, atoms and electrons. The energy is transported by electromagnetic waves (or photons). Radiation requires no medium for its propagation, therefore, can take place also in vacuum. All matters emit radiation as long as they have a finite (greater than absolute zero) temperature.”

    http://www.eng.fsu.edu/~shih/eml3015/lecture%20notes/radiation.htm

    At higher temperatures matter emits more photons. Also the number of photons being emitted depends on the density of the matter. The temperature of the atmosphere will be the same as the surface of the planet at the boundary between the solid and gas. It is also obvious that the surface of the planet contributes significantly more photons as it is significantly denser than air (~3000 kg/m3 vv ~1.225 kg/m for air at sea level and at 15°C).

  474. I know this isn’t the model Willis used but what is the outcome if the IR transparent atmosphere can radiate energy?

    I’m interested in the limiting cases of trace GHG gas in the atmosphere, what happens in a IR opaques atmosphere and also a GHG free atmosphere that includes the water cycle but without the IR properties of the water vapour.

  475. dr.bill says:
    January 15, 2012 at 12:05 am

    When I opened this thread there were already about 500 comments, so I haven’t read the bulk of them, and if someone else has already said what I’m about to say, I offer them my apologies.

    Willis: I’m completely ignoring your “elevator speech” request, so feel free to just ignore this comment. For the rest of you, I will create a contradiction of the type that Willis appears to appreciate. Here’s what I have to say:

    (1) I’ll assume that the “suddenly added atmosphere” is at a lower initial temperature than the surface of the planet. I will use the term “surface” to refer to the hard physical surface of the planet, and the term “air” to refer to the molecules of the atmosphere, regardless of what species these molecules might be. I will also ignore the possibility of radiation produced by scattering of any kind, and from the natural radiation of the atmosphere in the far IR region, even though both of these will necessarily occur.

    (2) What happens just after the air is added is that the lowest thin layer will absorb energy from the surface by conduction, thus slightly reducing the temperature of the surface. That warmed thin layer of air will then conduct to the cooler air above it, will thus cool itself, and then be ready to accept re-heating by conduction from the surface. Under this logic, the process should then continue, propagating upward until the entire atmosphere has reached a single uniform temperature, namely the one possessed by the surface before any of this started.

    dr. bill, that’s an attempt to falsify my proof, so it is no problem.

    However, statement (2) is where the train of thought gets derailed. The adiabatic lapse rate doesn’t magically disappear. It is still g / Cp, just like before. The molecules at the top of the atmosphere don’t magically convert their potential energy into kinetic energy. The atmosphere will not become isothermal. It will become isentropic.

    w.

  476. “I know this isn’t the model Willis used but what is the outcome if the IR transparent atmosphere can radiate energy?”

    Just to add, I think this is the most interesting model in that it appears to act something like the earth’s atmosphere but can obviously be seen to let surface radiation directly into space, so doesn’t have any direct GHG absorption properties

  477. TimC says:
    January 15, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Willis said “TimC, you are right. You don’t even have enough knowledge to ask intelligent questions. I don’t wish to be cruel, but in such a situation, just listen and learn, OK?”

    A bit snippy, surely. I only have a science masters from long ago (my career was law), but I am still trying to learn – I thought that’s what this site was about …

    From Wikipedia (I know, I know): “Thermal radiation is electromagnetic radiation generated by the thermal motion of charged particles in matter. All matter with a temperature greater than absolute zero emits thermal radiation.”

    If “you know, you know”, you should have listened to your inner Jiminy Cricket.

    And: “A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range.”

    True.

    Am I right (to ask a question directly this time, rather than offer a comment) that SB is concerned with total thermal (ie electromagnetic) radiation – whether it falls within the IR, visible or UV parts of the spectrum?

    The peak frequency of the S-B emission is dependent on the temperature. The hotter the object, the higher the frequency of the thermal radiation. At high enough temperatures, objects emit visible light. The S-B equation does cover all frequencies and refers to the total emission.

    And yes, yes, you are right, and I was wrong, those were some intelligent questions. My apologies.

    w.

  478. Willis,
    Do I have a simple “elevator explanation of the N&z hypothesis”? Yes. Are you getting it? No.
    Not until you apologise to Roger and many others.

    [SNIP: Well, I guess we'll never hear your brilliant elevator speech if that's the case. I gave my apology to roger above, that's done, not sure why you bring it up again but that's it. w.]

  479. RobB says:
    January 15, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I know this isn’t the model Willis used but what is the outcome if the IR transparent atmosphere can radiate energy?

    Can’t happen. Kirchhofs Law says that if it absorbs, it emits, and if it doesn’t absorb it doesn’t emit. Frequency dependent, before someone complains.

    w.

  480. Willis said
    >>I don’t care if I ignored cloud cover, I’m talking about a THOUGHT EXPERIMENT THAT HAS NO CLOUDS.

    Your model is quite pointless if you’re not trying to understand what goes on in the real world. A black solid sphere with a transparent atmosphere that has no convective circulation, no lapse rate, no clouds, no evaporation, no water and upon which only radiation acts, what do expect ?

  481. Dr Burns says:
    January 15, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Willis said

    >>I don’t care if I ignored cloud cover, I’m talking about a THOUGHT EXPERIMENT THAT HAS NO CLOUDS.

    Your model is quite pointless if you’re not [sic] trying to understand what goes on in the real world. A black solid sphere with a transparent atmosphere that has no convective circulation, no lapse rate, no clouds, no evaporation, no water and upon which only radiation acts, what do expect ?

    What do I expect? I expect to learn what happens in a simplified system where most of the variables are eliminated so that we can contemplate the rest. It’s called a “thought experiment”, Dr. Burns, a “gedanken” experiment in German, they were a great favorite of Albert Einstein for the same reason that I use them—to simplify complex questions so that they can be understood.

    w.

    PS- I think there’s an extra word in your first sentence.

  482. re Willis Eschenbach, January 15, 2012 at 12:52 am :

    However, statement (2) is where the train of thought gets derailed. The adiabatic lapse rate doesn’t magically disappear. It is still g / Cp, just like before. The molecules at the top of the atmosphere don’t magically convert their potential energy into kinetic energy. The atmosphere will not become isothermal. It will become isentropic.

    I see your point, Willis. The logic I used in coming to my conclusion involved nothing but quasi-static reversible adiabatic processes, which by definition are also isentropic, but I was ignoring my own point (5) while thinking through point (2).

    As far as Potential Energy is concerned, all of the molecules had some of that to start with, but now they’ve had extra energy added from below. I was assigning all of that to temperature increases in the molecules above, but forgetting that some of it will go into pushing those molecules to a higher altitude than they were at the start, so the atmosphere will expand until a balance is reached.

    Back to the drawing board… ☺

    /dr.bill

  483. Paul Dennis says:

    “Willis, I don’t think I agree with you here and am with Roy Spencer on this point. I think the the lapse rate does require convection.”
    It does not require convection in our adiabatic atmosphere

  484. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    “Since my description is of a system at equilibrium, I fail to see how any of that applies, so my QED is not disturbed by your claims about systems not at equilibrium”

    Wrong, Sir. Wrong!

    In thermodynamics, a thermodynamic system is said to be in thermodynamic equilibrium when it is in thermal equilibrium, mechanical equilibrium, radiative equilibrium, and chemical equilibrium. The word equilibrium means a state of balance. In a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, there are no net flows of matter or of energy, no phase changes, and no unbalanced potentials (or driving forces), within the system. A system that is in thermodynamic equilibrium experiences no changes when it is isolated from its surroundings.

    You have a conductive and convective medium in direct contact with your surface with which you are exchanging heat continuously. The entire surface-atmosphere system can be said to be in equilibrium, but you cannot break up that system and claim the individual pieces are in equilibrium. That would be the equivalent of drawing a free body diagram in mechanics and claiming that there are no contact forces, so the separated bodies move only according to the external forces applied directly to them.

    What you are continually failing to understand is that SB only works for a body in thermodynamic equilibrium. When you are not in thermodynamic equilibrium, then the energy distribution is not, in general, going to be Planckian. And, SB does not, in general, apply.

  485. Willis, I think you have stopped using only the word “radiate”, when you mean “radiate in the IR spectrum”. Later in the thread you use “radiate in the IR spectrum”. Good.

    This is what created some confusion early in this thread.

    Okay;
    You have agreed that non-GHG gases conduct energy.

    Elevator speech for N&Z;

    The non-GHG-gas can increase its energy via conduction at the surface.
    This means the gas gets a higher temperature. Via conduction.
    Via “bouancy” it will rise.(Figure of speech; Its density lowers, so it rise)
    When ascending it looses its energy (via conduction with other gas molecules) until “bouyance” equals gravity. Then it stops.
    The air-parcels close to ground that ascended is replaced by others, creating a circulation.

    Conduction increase with increased density.
    Density increase when the athmosphere has more mass.

    This is not a perpeteum mobile; The energy comes from the sun.
    It does not violate any laws. It radiate finally to space at TOA, instead of at surface.
    So looking from space, you see the same energy radiated..

    Not sure I am correct but I have decoded N&Z to this.
    Call me stupid and ask me to go away if you like. I dont care.

  486. by the time i got to to this thread there was far too many posts to read them all. I’ll stick with an “elevator” explanation as i see it.

    If a sphere in space has black body characteristics,
    If a clear atmosphere has no interaction with incoming radiation,
    If the incoming radiation Is equal on all sides
    If there is no motion of the sphere to stir up the atmosphere with a coriolis effect.

    1. The black body sphere with no atmosphere will radiate exactly as much energy out as it recieves, and have a temperature relating to its physical properties.
    2.the addition of an atmosphere initially causes an energy imbalance, since the atmosphere will recieve energy from the black body surface through conduction. convection occurs.
    3. eventually every molecule in the atmosphere contains the same amount of energy
    4. when every molecule has the same amount of energy, convection stops, as does conduction. the system becomes stable and stagnant. no energy moves in or out of the atmosphere.
    5. The black body sphere again radiates exactly as much energy as it recieves.
    6. one square foot of the atmosphere at high elevation contains less energy than one square foot of atmosphere at low elevation strictly due to atmospheric density. the “Temperature” is supposedly the same at the top and bottom.
    7. the temperature of the black body must be the same as the temperature of the atmosphere, whether or not a black body molecule contains as much energy as an atmosphere molecule, they have the same temperature.
    8. The temperature of both the black body and the atmosphere is determined by the whichever material of the two requires less energy to increase temperature 1C.
    9. thus when the atmosphere requires less energy to increase its temperature, it will determine the temperature of the black body. if the black body needed less energy to increase temperature, it would determine the temperature of the atmosphere.

    Possibly no one thinks about the system like this but there is a disparity between the Heat Capacity of atmospheric gases and solids like rock, and no one has ever considered that the black body could just as easily affect the temperature of the gas as the other way around.

    without doing an ounce of math I would contend that the end temperature of the system would HAVE to depend exclusively on the material requiring LESS energy per degree of temperature increase.

    I have followed the warming debate for several years now, but do not have any physics or chemistry education beyond a poorly remembered highschool education followed by a couple of mispent years taking introductory courses at university. I’m NO EXPERT, and the things i DO remember are admittedly a little bit foggy. I don’t believe i’ve violated the law of conservation of energy here, nor do i think this thought experiment follows through to the real world. the real world has more variables. What I do think I’ve done is show how a black body could change temperature due to the presence of a non radiating atmosphere.

  487. Correction ; When I say “It radiate finally to space at TOA, instead of at surface.” I meant the energy that was removed from the surface via conduction.

  488. I am disappointed that Willis cannot be bothered to read all I blogged. I ask a question and he ignores it and SNIPs it.

    Willis claimed that it is impossible for a planet to radiate more heat than it receives from its sun. NOT TRUE! Jupiter ans Saturn both do this, ask any astronomer.

    If he can’t be bothered to answer this relevant question then my estimation of him as a scientist and person have gone down the pan.

  489. I’m just learning and trying to make sense of both sides of the argument. My interpretation is this:

    The Earths’ surface … [SNIP: I'm talking about the situation in the blackbody planet described in the head post. Please restrict your comments to that, and leave the Earth for another thread. Thanks. w.]

  490. LazyTeenager says:

    January 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Hoser quotes Willis and says
    A curious fact is that almost everything around us is continually radiating energy in the infrared frequencies. You, me, the trees, the ocean, clouds, ice, all the common stuff gives off infrared radiation.

    >>>>>>>>And the air.
    No. The air does not radiate as a black body.
    The air radiates according to the ability of its component molecules to radiate……..

    Why not pop back and read my sole contibution way at the beginning. January 14, 2012 at 2:45 am
    If an atmosphere of mainly nitrogen and oxygen DID give off copious amounts of IR, the FLIR camera would not see distant objects because the atmosphere would obliterate their presence. It DOES see distant objects at wavelengths far away from the response of the human eye, like 20 microns or so. As a former spectroscopist, I’m prepared to conceded – without going back to the texts – that a small amount of energy at some frequencies that do not trouble a FLIR device might indeed exist, but on a scale so small as not to upset this hypothetical.
    Now, having ploughed through all of the above, we have to agree that Willis was correct, with the exception of tiny effects that do not detract from his thought experiment. And yes, there was one correction, that a change in temperature, via Wein’s displacement law, changes the peak wavelength of an emitting body, but is silent about the total energy under the curve.
    This used to be first year textbook stuff. Stefan-Boltzmann, Wein, Laws of Thermodynamics, Kirchoff. Are they no longer on the required reading list?

  491. John Marshall says:
    January 15, 2012 at 2:15 am

    I am disappointed that Willis cannot be bothered to read all I blogged. I ask a question and he ignores it and SNIPs it.

    Willis claimed that it is impossible for a planet to radiate more heat than it receives from its sun. NOT TRUE! Jupiter ans Saturn both do this, ask any astronomer.

    If he can’t be bothered to answer this relevant question then my estimation of him as a scientist and person have gone down the pan.

    My apologies, I thought it would have been clear from the head post that I’m talking about a planet which is not creating internal heat. So no, I’m not referring to gas giants, or anything like that. I’m referring to a regular blackbody sphere with no internal source of energy.

    Hope this helps,

    w.

  492. Bart says:
    January 15, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    “Since my description is of a system at equilibrium, I fail to see how any of that applies, so my QED is not disturbed by your claims about systems not at equilibrium”

    Wrong, Sir. Wrong!

    … The entire surface-atmosphere system can be said to be in equilibrium, but you cannot break up that system and claim the individual pieces are in equilibrium.

    I didn’t say the individual pieces are at equilibrium, Bart, I don’t even know what that would mean. I said, and you quoted, that it is the system that is at equilibrium. So I am right, sir, right.

    w.

  493. Dear Willis

    Transparency is in the eye of the beholder. For transparency to work in your argument the atmosphere should be transparent to all electromagnetic frequencies, which is not possible for matter as we know it. To have heat capacity, the molecules must have kinetic energy and interact by scattering, the scattering happens because of exchange of photons, photons are electromagnetic radiation at some frequency, even if very low..

  494. kwik says:
    January 15, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Elevator speech for N&Z;

    The non-GHG-gas can increase its energy via conduction at the surface.
    This means the gas gets a higher temperature. Via conduction.
    Via “bouancy” it will rise.(Figure of speech; Its density lowers, so it rise)
    When ascending it looses its energy (via conduction with other gas molecules) until “bouyance” equals gravity. Then it stops.
    The air-parcels close to ground that ascended is replaced by others, creating a circulation.

    True so far, but the circulation cannot continue forever.

    Conduction increase with increased density.
    Density increase when the athmosphere has more mass.

    The mass of the atmosphere isn’t changing, and I don’t understand why conduction would increase with density.

    This is not a perpeteum mobile; The energy comes from the sun.
    It does not violate any laws. It radiate finally to space at TOA, instead of at surface.

    Sorry, but there’s no GHG’s in the atmosphere … so it cannot “radiate finally to space at TOA”.

    All the best, thanks for giving it a try.

    w.

  495. kwik says:
    January 15, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Correction ; When I say “It radiate finally to space at TOA, instead of at surface.” I meant the energy that was removed from the surface via conduction.

    Sigh … in any case, you still haven’t explained why there is any temperature increase. You’ve talked about changes in conduction and density but not temperature.

    w.

  496. Willis sez:
    a “gedanken” experiment in German, they were a great favorite of Albert Einstein for the same reason that I use them—to simplify complex questions so that they can be understood.

    There is utility in gedanken experiments, and also danger. Things can be simplified to the point of meaninglessness wrt the real world you hope to gain insights into via the thought experiment. Another danger is that having appeared to prove something via such an experiment, insights of real value in longer than elevator speech length tracts may mistakenly get rejected a priori and without proper consideration.

    As Hans Jelbring pointed out to Willis above, there is no elevator version of his peer reviewed 2003 paper. It isn’t overly long, but clearly longer than Willis is prepared to countenance. If Willis had read it carefully in 2003, he wouldn’t have made the error of thinking that his own gedanken experiment falsifies it.

    Willis said to me above:
    [Tallbloke, every post can be claimed to have scientific content, including yours. I said that I would snip things that were off-topic, which your post most assuredly was. If you (or anyone else) think your post contained actual science that has been deleted incorrectly, then post the scientific part again and we can discuss it. -w.]

    Thank you. It’s a disproof of your assertion that Hans Jelbring’s paper is falsified by your argument that:

    “The proof is by contradiction. This is a proof where you assume that the theorem is right, and then show that if it is right it leads to an impossible situation, so it cannot possibly be right.

    So let us assume that we have the airless perfectly evenly heated blackbody planet that I spoke of above, evenly surrounded by a sphere of mini-suns. The temperature of this theoretical planet is, of course, the theoretical S-B temperature.

    Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.

    But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.

    And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.

    Q.E.D.”

    But in Hans Jelbring’s paper, the model planet by definition does not radiate to space. At the beginning of section 2.1 in his paper he states:

    “A simplified model of Earth will be considered. The model planet does not rotate. It
    neither receives solar radiation nor emits infrared radiation into space.”

    Your ‘disproof’ of Hans Jelbring’s 2003 paper therefore fails.

    QED

    Now, Willis, somewhere in the foregoing mess of comments and deletions, you asserted that my argument is incorrect, but you did not in any way shape or form say anything to back up that assertion. So let’s have the discussion you offer above, and you can start by enlarging on your rejection of my argument.

    Cheers

    TB.

  497. I have a relatively simple question. Are we considering that gravity does ‘work’ in the context of an atmosphere of some ‘mass’ being attracted downwards towards the centre of a body? If gravity is doing ‘work’ by attraction, then it must logically produce some energy somewhere, even in simple kinetic terms, if I ‘pull’ something towards me, I am exerting a force and doing ‘work’, the rubbing of the object (e.g. a molecule) against other molecules and producing tiny amounts of frictional heat as a by-product (if you like) of my ‘work’. So, in terms of Willis’ transparent non radiative atmosphere, it makes no difference if the atmosphere has some ‘mass”. Gravitational induced kinetic energy (i.e. movement or work) might be small, but it is clearly present and increases as an acceleration due to constant gravitational force? By conservation of energy, the gravitational ‘pull’ must conserve to some other form of energy once the object being ‘pulled’ comes to rest or hits another object – what’s wrong with it being converted to heat?

  498. Willis Eschenbach @ January 15, 12:31 am
    Willis, you triumphantly proclaimed to me:

    Read the head post, Bob. And if you can’t figure out the answer to your question, don’t come back.

    Willis, you clarioned don’t come back, according to YOUR beliefs?
    No Willis; you are very, very naughty! You must explain how a planetary body could possibly ever have a uniform body temperature, and even if it is contained in your fertile imagination, what has that got to do with the price of cheese anyway?
    Put another way, what has your very silly model got to do with the price of cheese, or Cornish Pasties or anything?

  499. Bryan says:

    “It does not require convection in our adiabatic atmosphere”

    As I said before I think convection is needed. The definition of the dry adiabtaic lapse rate is:

    “The dry adiabatic lapse rate (DALR) is the rate of temperature decrease with height for a parcel of dry or unsaturated air rising under adiabatic conditions.”

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

    A rising air mass is a convecting air mass. The parcel of air does work during expansion and therefore cools. If there is no convection, which I think is the outcome of Willis’ thought experiment then the temperature of the atmospheric column will become that of the surface of his black body. This is covered in the following paper:

    Coombes, Ch. A. and Laue, H., 1985, A paradox concerning the temperature distribution of a gas in a gravitational field. Am. J. Phys, v53, 272-273

  500. I should have added that if we have a moving atmosphere, e.g. via convection due to incoming radiation warming a surface, which then warms the atmosphere and sets up convection currents, then we have a situation where gravity constantly acts to ‘repull’ molecules back down after they have risen via convection. Hence, it is not beyond the realms of possibility to see that the atmosphere is ‘warmer’ than the sum of the incoming radiation as a result of the ‘work’ of gravity?

  501. tallbloke says:
    January 15, 2012 at 2:54 am

    a “gedanken” experiment in German, they were a great favorite of Albert Einstein for the same reason that I use them—to simplify complex questions so that they can be understood.

    There is utility in gedanken experiments, and also danger. Things can be simplified to the point of meaninglessness wrt the real world you hope to gain insights into via the thought experiment. Another danger is that having appeared to prove something via such an experiment, insights of real value in longer than elevator speech length tracts may mistakenly get rejected a priori and without proper consideration.

    As Hans Jelbring pointed out to Willis above, there is no elevator version of his peer reviewed 2003 paper. It isn’t overly long, but clearly longer than Willis is prepared to countenance. If Willis had read it carefully in 2003, he wouldn’t have made the error of thinking that his own gedanken experiment falsifies it.

    Oh, please, my friend, it’s not quantum physics or something. It’s a paper describing a climate theory. Jelbring is unwilling to describe it in clear, concise, simple terms as I requested because he knows very well that it won’t stand the light of day. So he makes up the claim that somehow it is much, much, much more complex than the greenhouse effect, which took me all of four freaking sentences to explain above.

    I don’t believe Jelbrings hypothesis is too complex to explain clearly and concisely, Tallbloke, and neither do you.

    Willis said to me above:

    [Tallbloke, every post can be claimed to have scientific content, including yours. I said that I would snip things that were off-topic, which your post most assuredly was. If you (or anyone else) think your post contained actual science that has been deleted incorrectly, then post the scientific part again and we can discuss it. -w.]

    Thank you. It’s a disproof of your assertion that Hans Jelbring’s paper is falsified by your argument that:

    “The proof is by contradiction. This is a proof where you assume that the theorem is right, and then show that if it is right it leads to an impossible situation, so it cannot possibly be right.

    So let us assume that we have the airless perfectly evenly heated blackbody planet that I spoke of above, evenly surrounded by a sphere of mini-suns. The temperature of this theoretical planet is, of course, the theoretical S-B temperature.

    Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.

    But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.

    And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.
    Q.E.D.”

    But in Hans Jelbring’s paper, the model planet by definition does not radiate to space. At the beginning of section 2.1 in his paper he states:

    “A simplified model of Earth will be considered. The model planet does not rotate. It
    neither receives solar radiation nor emits infrared radiation into space.”

    Your ‘disproof’ of Hans Jelbring’s 2003 paper therefore fails.

    As I understand it, Jelbrings hypothetical is just like mine, but without the ring of suns. It still has the non-GHG atmosphere and the blackbody planet. He still claims the planet will be above the theoretical S-B temperature. So the same considerations all apply, but with an incoming wattage of zero W/m^2.

    Now, my understanding may be wrong, and my proof may not apply to Jelbring. But since not one person has stepped forwards to say that they understand and can explain Jelbrings hypothesis, we don’t know, do we?

    You seem to be talking as though you understand it, and if so, you are the only one who says they do … so where’s the elevator speech? And spare me the claim that it’s all too complicated to explain simply. That’s Jelbring’s laughable assertion to avoid having to explain his own dang theory in clear, concise, simple terms. I don’t buy it. Almost any theory can be explained in an elevator speech, and Jelbring’s is no exception. Remember, you don’t have to justify or prove it, just explain how the flippin’ thing is supposed to work.

    Alternatively, if you don’t understand it (as is certainly suggested by your unwillingness to explain it clearly and cogently ), then we don’t know if what you say about it is right or not.

    Still waiting for the explanation of either theory, TB. If you refuse to explain a theory in simple terms, either you don’t understand it, or you are hiding something about it. You are in the first category. Hans Jelbring is in the second. I explained the greenhouse effect in simple terms. It’s your turn, put up or admit defeat.

    w.

  502. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 14, 2012 at 10:19 am
    The contributor known as wayne previously summarised my position on this issue which has been in my mind for several years as a very important aspect of the climate debate.

    Willis did not address wayne’s version so here it is in my words:

    [SNIP: vague, wandering, unscientific, and off topic. -w.]

    Incredible.

    It was precise, on topic and a clear rebuttal to Willis’s contentions.

    Anthony needs to realise that tjhis might as well be a Realclimate thread.

  503. Here it is again (approximately, since I didn’t save the slightly refined version).

    “The heat within the flames of a campfire would get hotter with more molecules (increased air
    density) around the flames because the heat energy is moved away more slowly
    due to the higher number of molecular collisions.. So the density of the air
    around the campfire increases the temperature gradient from fire to
    observer. In effect the denser atmosphere obstructs radiation leaving
    conduction relatively more important. Conduction is a slower process than
    radiation so the temperature within the flames rises

    In exactly the same way the denser the Earth’s atmosphere the hotter the
    surface becomes and the steeper the temperature gradient upward because
    space remains at the same temperature but the surface gets hotter. Just as
    with the campfire the solar energy hitting Earth’s the surface is moved away
    more slowly because the role of slow conduction is enhanced relative to that
    of fast radiation as a result of the greater atmospheric density.

    Density of the air at the surface is a result of the strength of the
    gravitational pull of the entire planetary mass and the mass (not
    composition) of the atmosphere.

    So, indirectly, through pressure and then density, gravity does determine
    the lapse rate and it is mass dependent and not composition dependent so
    Oxygen and Nitrogen are involved despite being relatively non radiative.
    Oxygen and Nitrogen participate fully in adding to the process of conduction
    in its competition with radiation.

    The ability of increased conduction to slow down radiative energy loss is
    what relegates radiative processes to a secondary role and explains why it
    is gravity rather than radiation that sets the lapse rate.

    Gravity and density alter the balance between fast radiation and slow
    conduction. If one reduces radiation and increases conduction the heat
    content and temperature will rise given the same energy input.”

    I think it sidesteps a lot of the problems if one regards density as
    shifting the balance from fast radiation to slower conduction giving a rise
    in equilibrium temperature as a consequence.

    After all, no atmosphere means an immediate turnaround of energy i.e.
    radiation straight in and straight out pretty much instantly. As soon as one
    adds an atmosphere capable of CONDUCTION which includes non GHGs then the
    conduction takes away from the efficiency of the radiation process by
    slowing energy dissipation down which is what then leads to the higher
    equilibrium temperature. The denser the atmosphere the more conduction takes
    place before the radiative energy can be released to space and the higher
    the equilibrium temperature rises.

    So, radiative processes are not in control because they are subject to
    interference from density and the consequent increase in conduction.

    Convection and the water cycle then act to try to reduce the slowing effect
    on energy dissipation of more conduction but can never get back to the
    efficiency of raw, in/out, radiation.

    Neat isn’t it ?”

    If it is wrong then a simple explanation as to why would be preferable to deletion.

  504. Stephen Wilde says:
    January 15, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Anthony needs to realise that tjhis might as well be a Realclimate thread.

    I am with you Stephen…so many guest experts pushing AGW themes, the PDO and solar influence on climate do not exist, as well as any new science on gravity heating.

    WUWT?

  505. I am also still awaiting responses from Willis on the following points:

    1) Willis said:

    “Since there is gravity, the atmophere will have a “dry adiabatic lapse rate”, which means that the temperature must drop with altitude. The atmosphere will warm until the bottom layer of the atmosphere has the same temperature as the surface, and has the dry adiabatic temperature profile above the surface. It will neither gain nor lose energy after that, and will be stable with no bulk motion.”

    Ok, you’ve accepted the gravity induced dry adiabatic lapse rate.

    And you seem to accept that the warming is from the solar irradiated surface and that the lapse rate is supported by conduction from the surface.

    That is then the baseline gravity induced GHE as per N & Z and the Ideal Gas Laws. Nice and stable and set by gravity and atmospheric mass alone.

    Then one introduces GHGs which have two effects.

    They absorb more energy due to their radiative characteristics.

    They then radiate 50% up and out of the system and 50% back down to the surface.

    The 50% sent upward reduces total system energy content because it is lost to space. That is a cooling process.

    The 50 % sent downward destabilises the gravity induced GHE but in turn provokes more convection and on a water planet energises the water cycle too.

    Now, convection and the water cycle are cooling mechanisms (evaporation has a huge net cooling effect of 5 to 1 – see latent heat of vapourisation) so that 50% sent downward must be all or mostly negated unless you can show otherwise and the N & Z data seems to show that the negation is pretty much complete.

    Which leaves the (admitted) gravitationally induced GHE firmly in control does it not ?

    Checkmate ?

    2)
    Willis said:

    “If there are no GHGs, the surface must radiate (to space, since there are no GHGs) the amount of energy it absorbs. Its radiation is fixed and unchangeable”

    You forgot something.

    The Ideal Gas Law means that the warmest molecules of air are at the surface.

    Those molecules are at a higher temperature than the average for the atmosphere.

    Thus they will inhibit upward energy transfer more than would be the case if the atmosphere were at a cooler average temperature throughout.

    That will give a higher surface temperature than predicted by the S-B equation.

    3)
    Willis said:

    “That’s why the surface can get hot, because some of the energy radiated by the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere so we’re not emitting to space more that we’re absorbing.”

    Which is why the equilibrium temperature rises intead ?

    In each case I have quoted Willis’s specific words as he has requested of others several times in this thread.

  506. Ed Fix says:
    January 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm
    “Carbon dioxide happens to absorb a wavelength of EM near the peak of the earth’s overall S-B radiation spectrum (about 15 micrometers), but it re-emits S-B radiation in a smooth spectrum depending on its temperature only. Just like any other body of matter.”
    No it doesn’t Ed. It can only emit at the wavelengths it can absorb, so CO2 emits at 15 microns (it also has some other distinct absorption lines around 2.7 and 4.2 microns, from memory). But it does not emit as a blackbody. Thin gases do not behave as blackbodies (see my earlier posts).

    Tenuc says:
    January 15, 2012 at 12:49 am
    “All matters emit radiation as long as they have a finite (greater than absolute zero) temperature.””
    Tenuc, we can and do measure the absorption and emission properties of atmospheric gases. You can find such rsults anywhere on the internet. Atmospheric gases do not behave like blackbodies and only emit at specific, well defined wavelengths. Oxygen and Nitrogen, for example, do not emit in the long wave infrared part of the spectrum. If you want to reconcile this with your citation, just consider that these gases have an emissivity of zero in this spectral region. Thin gases do not behave as blackbodies (see my earlier posts).

  507. The heating of the atmosphere is a purely physical process according to the Ideal Gas Law.

    “The Elevator speech”:

    Gravity acts as piston compressing the atmosphere.

    The atmosphere is then heated by this compression (think of a bicycle pump getting hotter as you pump).

    As you get closer to the Earths surface it becomes hotter because the atmospheric pressure is greater (or cooler with increasing altitude and lower pressure).

    Convection, evaporation and condensation transfers heat from the surface to upper atmosphere.

    Heat radiates then from the top of the atmosphere to space (an infinitely large heat sink).

  508. I have just been re-reading Hans Jelbring. He does indeed start his model with- Quote “The model planet does not rotate. It neither receives solar radiation nor emits infrared radiation into space.”
    With no energy passing through there is no trapping of energy and no Greenhouse Effect.

    As such its pretty much irrelevent to what Willis has defined here.
    His condition that the atmosphere cannot absorb or emit any radiation requires all radiation to be to or from the surface.
    As others have shown the “average surface temperature” is below what Willis called the “theoretical Stefan-Boltzmann (S-B) temperature.”
    He is right, all the atmosphere can do is raise the “average surface temperature” up towards the “theoretical Stefan-Boltzmann (S-B) temperature.”

    So to Nikolov and Zeller and the elevator speech. But first its important to understand they use a GHG atmosphere,
    Quote
    “An increase in atmospheric emissivity does indeed cause a warming at the surface as stated by the current theory. However, Eq. (3) is physically incomplete, because it does not account for convection, which occurs simultaneously with radiative transfer. Adding a convective term to (3) (i.e. Eq. 4) dramatically alters the solution by collapsing the difference between Ts, Ta and Te and virtually erasing the GHE”
    I thought the elevator speech from
    astonerii says:
    January 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm
    was doing fairly well except maybe for the lapse rate bit, but no comment from Willis.

    Perhaps I can give it a try (apologies to Nikolov and Zeller if I get too far off).

    The N & Z process works as follows (note it does include GHGs):
    The surface loses energy by conduction to the atmosphere.

    The majority of this energy rapidly convects to the troposphere.

    The surface of the earth emits energy in the form of thermal longwave radiation.

    Some of that energy is absorbed by greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere.

    In turn, some of that absorbed and convected energy is radiated by the atmosphere back to the surface.

    As a result of absorbing that energy from the atmosphere, the surface is warmer than it would be in the absence of the warm (GHGs) atmosphere.

    Thats the speech.
    The overall temperature seen from space is still the “theoretical Stefan-Boltzmann (S-B) temperature”, unfortunately their section on pressure and energy is contradictory.
    They say “Pressure by itself is not a source of energy!” and in the same section ” the atmosphere ……….is in and of itself a source of extra energy through pressure.)
    They are confusing correlation with causation, but there are many more questions about how all this works.
    However I better stop there as this thread has had lots of snip and delete (it must be rivalling “Realclimate”).
    So I must not incur the wrath of Willis for being off subject.

  509. Hail Core says:
    January 14, 2012 at 1:40 am
    I have talked with one engineer who is working infrared warmer manufacturer company. They have tried to warm air with infrared warmer and they have never managed to do so. They have even set tens of radiators to work at same time (hundreds kilowatts), no measurable results in air temperature. So the claims that infrared radiation warms atmosphere can’t be correct
    ————
    The observation about IR radiant heaters sounds correct but your interpretation is wrong.
    1. Over the short distances within a room you are not going to see much absorption and therefore only a small temperature rise.
    2. The absorption band for IR radiation matches room temperature at around 25C. It does not match the temperature of a radiant heater. Typically these operate around 800C. Again this means only a small fraction of the heater output is absorbed.

  510. anna v says:
    January 15, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Dear Willis

    Transparency is in the eye of the beholder. For transparency to work in your argument the atmosphere should be transparent to all electromagnetic frequencies, which is not possible for matter as we know it. To have heat capacity, the molecules must have kinetic energy and interact by scattering, the scattering happens because of exchange of photons, photons are electromagnetic radiation at some frequency, even if very low..

    I want to elaborate this.

    What is black body radiation? why do bodies at a given temperature radiate even if not a perfect black body?

    In a solid the atoms and molecules are on a three dimensional grid, vibrating about their position there with three degrees of freedom. As they vibrate they move in the left over electric fields of each other (Wan der Waals forces are related), motion in electric fields generates radiation and this radiation gets out of the solid at the frequencies where the solid is transparent and thus the solid cools because energy is lost.

    In gases there is the continuous scattering of molecules in the fields of each other, and again radiation is induced which leaves and cools the gas.

    Quantum mechanics modifies this picture by having photons mediate the interactions, sometimes off shell, some times on and leaving taking some of the energy of the interaction away.

    Thus one cannot have matter as we know it of a given temperature not radiating in some frequencies.

  511. ‘Energy is radiated by the atmosphere back to the surface’.

    This is not consistent with the 2nd law of Thermodynamics. Heat flows from hot to cold.

    Willis accepts that the Ideal Gas Law ( IGL) calculates the observed lapse rate. The IGL assumes all the small molecules in air behave the same. There is no GHG/non-GHG split. Why is the GHG radiation theory needed?

    It is needed so that CO2 can be said to cause warming

    The comment by Geoff Sharpe, which I agree with, is off topic and be snipped.

    I dislike the snide patronising snips by the author. Please get a proper moderator

  512. Wow – the word ‘Snip’ appears over 100 times on this thread – free and open debate or censorship?

  513. “And if you believe a man like Tallbloke, who censors scientific opinion that he disagrees with, you are an idiot. -w.”

    Have we not witnessed Willis doing exactly that over and over on this thread?

    How many comments like mine didn’t even make it past moderation?

  514. Hi Willis,

    “So let us assume that we have the airless perfectly evenly heated blackbody planet that I spoke of above, evenly surrounded by a sphere of mini-suns. The temperature of this theoretical planet is, of course, the theoretical S-B temperature.

    Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.

    But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.

    And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.”

    Sparse, essential, logical, what is there not to like. Congrats!

    Alex

  515. @bananabender et al.

    I have already commented on the fallacy of the adiabatic compression of an atmosphere.
    The nonsense is still surfacing in this thread, so I have to repeat myself (before Willis wakes up and starts shouting at us all again for not doing what he wants us to do).

    Adiabatic compression cannot warm an atmosphere in any lasting way.
    – When a gas is compressed adiabatically its temperature is raised as long as no heat escapes from the gas.

    – In the real world, near-adiabatic compression usually only happens when a gas is compressed very quickly, as, for example, in a bike pump.

    – If you hold the gas compressed, heat will gradually escape by conduction/convection/radiation and the temperature will fall until it reaches ambient temperature again. A compressed atmosphere will just leak heat to its surroundings and return to ambient temperature.

    A gas is not hotter just because it is denser. If it were, liquified gases would not be possible.

    How can gravity apply continuous work compressing the atmosphere?
    When does it decompress? (If a gas decompresses it loses heat (because of the work it is doing in expanding) and its temperature falls).

    In other words a one-off compression will not permanently raise the temperature of an atmosphere.

    Furthermore, unlike the piston of a bike pump, gravity is not doing work on the atmosphere, in the same way that a ball rolling down an inclined plane or just falling to earth is not having work done on it by gravity.

    There is therefore no adiabatic heating of an atmosphere as a result of gravity.

    NB: The air of an adiabatic (‘katabatic’) wind, which is forced downwards by circulation and topography and so warms and dries out (the infamous ‘Föhn’ in the Alps)
    has work done on it as a result of its motion.

  516. Anna, may I intercept?

    That is a very, very needed clarification, believe me, and well stated!

    Would you also generally agree with a general view that a gas’s gray body radiation is weaker as compared to solid and liquids at the ratio of the distance between the molecules, therefore weaker electric field? Without explicit knowledge on that aspect that seems the most logical view I have gathered. That would put air’s gray body radiation at about two+ magnitudes less than something like water. I am also assuming that also a gas can absorb gray body radiation in about the same ratio (Kirchhoff’s).

    And please, one more, could you clarify what is meant by “on shell / off shell”? (electron shells of course)

  517. Stephen Wilde:
    January 15, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Stephen, thanks, but let’s just drop it. I think Willis got my point. (but lets say an apology later would not be rejected☺)

  518. Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 15, 2012 at 3:17 am
    Now, my understanding may be wrong, and my proof may not apply to Jelbring. But since not one person has stepped forwards to say that they understand and can explain Jelbrings hypothesis, we don’t know, do we?

    Willis, thank you for your more fully fleshed out thoughts on my contention, and your recognition that you could be wrong. I will email your full comment to Hans Jelbring and together we will offer a considered reply in due course.

  519. LazyTeenager says:
    January 15, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Incorrect.

    Almost 100% of IR radiation will be absorbed by the CO2 and water vapour in only a few metres of air.

    The wavelengths of IR radiation at both 25C and 800C are similar and both will be absorbed.

    The reason why there is no heating is because the absorbed radiation is converted to kinetic energy which results in convection. Gases can only be heated in confined spaces.

  520. Well Willis you asked – and my elevator speech – I will stick to simple concepts and laws and not use any maths…

    Errors
    • Assumption that non-GHG gases (transparent to radiation) are somehow incapable of being at a temperature above absolute zero. You seem to think that only the GHG molecules have any heat content (kinetic energy)? Obviously FALSE
    • Ignoring conduction – you happily accept that GHG can warm other gases in the atmosphere by ‘collision’ with non GHG but for some reason do not accept that the surface molecules warm the atmospheric molecules by collision. Obviously FALSE
    • Confusion of ‘atmospheric heat content’ with ‘atmospheric temperature’ . Obviously FALSE

    Elevator speech – without mentioning radiaiton
    1. Atmospheric temperature is a measure of the sum of the kinetic energy of all the gas molecules in the volume being measured.
    2. If the number of molecules in the volume with the same kinetic energy increases the sum of the kinetic energy of all the gas molecules in the volume is higher – therefore as in (1) the temperature is higher.
    3. Pressure is a measure of the number of gas molecules in a volume. Pressure increases toward the bottom of the atmosphere due to the weight of molecules above. Therefore, there are more molecules in a given volume at the bottom of the atmosphere. If all molecules in the atmosphere have the same kinetic energy then as in (1) and (2) the temperature is greater at the bottom where there are more of those molecules in a volume than at the top. Pressure is also proportional by temperature as the gas molecules collide and ‘jostle for space’. (This is Charles’ Law – one of the gas laws)
    4. The molecules at the bottom of the atmosphere are given kinetic energy by collision with the high energy vibrating molecules of the surface then in turn they collide with other gas molecules transferring the kinetic energy upward from the surface
    5. As the molecules at the bottom of the atmosphere increase in kinetic energy raising local pressure and temperature that volume of atmosphere expands (Charles law) becomes lighter and moves higher (Archimedes principle)
    6. As the gas rises higher and expands the pressure caused by the atmosphere above it reduces the number of molecules in that volume reduces and therefore the number of molecules with a particular kinetic energy in the volume reduces so the temperature reduces. (see 1 and 2)
    7. As the process from 4 -> 6 operates cooler air is drawn in to replace the rising hotter air and a convection current starts. Indeed, convection is a simple term to describe the process 4 -> 6.
    8. Convection is a warm air current that takes sensible heat from the hot surface upward in the atmosphere until the expansion cools the volume to the level of the ambient atmosphere. As the planet is rotating Coriolis forces affect the currents of both rising warm air and inflowing cooler air moving the heat energy from the equator to the poles.

    I believe that the above describes how the atmosphere will warm from the surface to the top with a lapse rate that is directly due to the gas laws. Indeed convection is the major heat transport in the atmosphere to the tropopause (which literally means the place at which atmospheric convection currents stop ).

    Now it is postulated (firmly) by Willis that the gases Nitrogen and Oxygen ‘cannot radiate heat’ therefore the atmosphere will continue to warm by conduction of sensible heat and convection. But according to the Willis postulate never cool as it can only heat up. However, if we add some gas molecules to the mix that can radiate heat energy – say CO2 molecules, all of a sudden we have gas molecules that will radiate the kinetic energy that they have obtained by collision with Nitrogen and Oxygen. So CO2 instead of warming the atmosphere actually is one of the gases that is essential to cool the atmosphere.

    I could go on with the effect of water vapor from the surface but I believe we have reached your basement floor. :-)

  521. I’ve been wondering about the assertion that N2 and O2, being non GHG’s, can neither absorb nor radiate IR radiation. I considered a scenario of a cloud of N2 in space, of sufficient mass to be gravity bound into a ball. Let’s say this ball of gas becomes heated, either by gravitational compression or by the application of energy from some temporary external source.

    The question I would like to pose to anyone interested, is if this gas ball cannot radiate IR, then in what way can it loose heat into space? If there is no way for the gas to loose energy, then the only conclusion is that it must remain at that temperature for ever. This is of course, an absurd conclusion to reach.

    By the same logic as this thread has used, if it is impossible by the laws of physics for the gas to remain at the same temperature for ever, then there are only two conclusions: either the premise that the gas cannot radiate energy into space is false, or there is some way other than by radiation of loosing energy, which I have overlooked.

  522. Willis: thank you. May I then come back with another question, for I’m still having trouble with this.

    Your hypothetical atmosphere (by definition not absorbing or emitting radiation within the thermal infrared range) nevertheless has its own mass so must have its own gravitational field (additional to that of the planet itself without an atmosphere).

    This, to a second body at a distance, will presumably cause work (again, in addition to that of the planet without an atmosphere), therefore additional heat. This is not caused by conduction or convection – what can be the cause, other than radiation? Where in the spectrum does this radiation (if it be such) lie?