Extremely Black Carbon

English: Carbon black Deutsch: Pigmentruß

Carbon Black - Image via Wikipedia

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Of late there has been a lot written about the effect of “black carbon”, a.k.a. “soot”, and also “brown carbon”, a.k.a. wood and dung smoke, on the climate. Me, I think it’s worthwhile controlling black and brown carbon solely because of the health effects. Inhaled soot and wood smoke kill a lot of people every year. So reducing atmospheric black and brown carbon is an example of the “no-regrets” actions I have been advising that we should take. It is of value whether or not black carbon affects global climate.

And city dwellers are familiar with the phenomenon that when soot falls on snow, it absorbs sunlight, warms, and speeds the melting of the snow. In the country, people spread firewood ashes on frozen walkways to melt the ice. So black carbon tends to melt snow and ice, and thus reduce snow and ice albedo, and thus warms the climate. How much? Unknown, but estimates say black carbon is a definite factor in the Arctic warming.

However, there is one major misconception out there about the effect of black carbon on climate. It shows up in a recent editorial by Richard Kerr in Science magazine.

A Quick (Partial) Fix for an Ailing Atmosphere

Science 13 January 2012: , Vol. 335 no. 6065 p. 156 , DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6065.156

The world’s air could use a quick scrubbing. So a group of scientists has come up with 14 practicable approaches to doing just that. The researchers say the selected cleaning methods, described on page 183, would more than pay for themselves in lives saved and crop yields increased while cutting global warming to boot. “Technically, it can be done,” says atmospheric scientist Mark Jacobson of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who was not involved in the work. “It’s a question of will power.”

Scientists and policymakers alike have long known how, in principle, to get a quick start on cleaning up the atmosphere: Stop the gush of short-lived pollutants. Carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for centuries, warming the world all the while, but pollutants like soot and methane remain airborne just a few weeks and a decade or so, respectively. Stop their emissions and their concentrations would promptly start dropping, sharply.

And that would be a good thing. Inhaled soot, also called black carbon, kills or debilitates millions of people each year, while soot in the atmosphere tends to warm climate, mainly by absorbing more sunlight.

It is the last statement, “soot in the atmosphere tends to warm climate, mainly by absorbing more sunlight”,  that is in error. I can show this by means of a curious thought experiment, by taking black carbon to extremes.

The logic of their claim goes like this. The earth receives a global 24/7 average of 342 W/m2 at the top of the atmosphere. Of this, about 107 W/m2 is reflected back into space. Black carbon is very much like an ideal blackbody, it absorbs just about all of the light that hits it. The claim is that black carbon in the atmosphere absorbs the incoming solar radiation, so it cannot be reflected back to space. In addition, it also absorbs sunlight reflected from the ground and prevents it from escaping to space. So it intercepts and absorbs sunlight in both directions.

As a result, the system has to end up warmer than it is at present.

And to be fair, that all sounds eminently logical. We end up with more energy in the system, the atmosphere ends up warmer, because the black carbon is absorbing both more sunlight and more reflected sunlight. “Simple physics”, as the AGW folks are fond of saying.

So, here is the thought experiment. Suppose we have a planet just like the Earth, that receives a global 24/7 average of 342 W/m2 at the top of the atmosphere and reflects about 107 W/m2 back into space

We start adding black carbon to the atmosphere. We note that as Richard Kerr says, the black carbon absorbs more and more of both incoming (solar) and outgoing (reflected solar) radiation. Just as their logic says, there’s less and less energy reflected back into space.

We add more and more black carbon, slowly absorbing more and more sunlight and reflecting less and less sunlight. Finally we have added so much black carbon that it forms a shell of solid black carbon entirely surrounding the planet, say 20 kilometres above the surface. This shell is not reflecting anything at all, it is absorbing all the sunlight.

What happens to the temperature of the planet? This is the extreme case of black carbon in the atmosphere, and so it will tell us what the net effect is of adding black carbon to the atmosphere.

Well, we know that the shell has to radiate the same amount of energy that it receives, both inwards and outwards. Since the shell is the only thing heating the planet, that means the planet must be at the same temperature as the shell.

And what temperature would that be? Well, it would be the blackbody temperature sufficient to radiate 342 W/m2, which is … wait for it …

5.5°C or 42°F

This is well below the current temperature of the planet, which is usually taken to be about 14-15°C, or 58°F.

And this means that black carbon in the atmosphere cools the planet.

So where did the logic go wrong?

Their logic went wrong by not considering the effect of atmospheric black carbon on the poorly named planetary “greenhouse effect”. The greenhouse effect works because sunlight strikes the surface. When that energy is radiated back out towards space, some of the energy is absorbed by the atmosphere.

About half of that energy is radiated from the atmosphere back to earth, while the rest is radiated back to space. As a result, the earth ends up warmer than it would be without “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere.

But when atmospheric black carbon absorbs the solar energy, only about half of the absorbed energy is radiated down to the surface, with the rest radiating upwards towards space.

And as a result, the surface only receives half the radiant energy from the sun that it would have gotten if the black carbon were not there.

In other words, atmospheric absorption of solar energy by any aerosols or molecules, including black carbon, reduces the efficiency of  the greenhouse effect. Instead of the surface receiving energy from both the sun and the atmosphere, when black carbon intercepts the sunlight, the surface receives energy solely from the atmosphere.

For the greenhouse effect to work, the sun has to strike the surface. Any solar absorption in the atmosphere reduces the greenhouse effect, and in the extreme, total solar absorption in the atmosphere reduces the greenhouse effect to zero.

And as a result, as the thought experiment shows, adding black carbon (or anything that absorbs sunlight) to the atmosphere cools the planetary surface.

I cannot let this go by without expressing my displeasure at the use of bad science in pushing public policy. As Richard Kerr has just amply demonstrated, the understanding of climate even among scientists is still far too poor to serve as a base for any kind of policy decisions.

w.

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134 thoughts on “Extremely Black Carbon

  1. A veritable “Edison Cage” for energy as it were. The solution to the freshman physics E&M homework of what is the electric field inside the ball given that the electric field outside the ball is X. The answer of course is zero, which incidentally implies zero net energy transport within the sphere.

  2. “As Richard Kerr has just amply demonstrated, the understanding of climate even among scientists is still far too poor to serve as a base for any kind of policy decisions.”

    EXACTLY.

  3. After we fix the soot in the arctic issue, we could move on to Saharan dust. It’s one of the confounding issues in forecasting Atlantic hurricanes – when dust is blowing off the African coast, it absorbs sunlight and warms the atmosphere. Also, the reduction in sunlight reduces the oceanic warming, so sea surface temps rise more slowly than without dusty weather.

    The result is reduced convection and reduced tropical storm formation. While it is not responsible for the decline in tropical storm activity over the last few decades, we might be able to bring TS activity back to normal by taking better care of the eastern Atlantic! :-)

    Note – see smiley face? I’m just kidding. We don’t need to baby our hurricanes.

  4. Willis, is there any recourse here? How about submitting a dissertation to ‘Science’ explaining just what you did here and ask them, ‘What gives’? This is basic stuff.

  5. While “black carbon” may well have the radiative absorption described, it is my understanding that airborne particulate matter – aerosols – have a net cooling effect on the surface by reducing the amount of solar reaching the ground … hence why volcanic eruptions cause net cooling

    I would also think the airborne “black carbon” – while it may well be a good “black body” from an absorption standpoint, also still has to exist in its environment – and that environment is inherently cold – so while black carbon may absorb the energy, it is unable to store it as the battle between thermal masses – pitting airborne particulate, even when warmed by solar, against the vastness of the atmosphere, is no contest, and any warmth absorbed would seem to be quickly sucked away and diluted by the atmosphere

  6. This is completely incorrect. The important flux is the one at the tropopause and any extra absorption by BC below the tropopause is basically equivalent to lowering the surface albedo. So, yes, black carbon does warm the system.

    Note too that ‘brown carbon’ is something completely different (volatile organics), not soot.

  7. When will the “average” madness cease – it is simply wrong to say the Earth receives 342 W/sq m average 24/7.

    This simply lets the AGW crowd get away with their claims.

    The atmosphere provides a protection from the intense solar radiation, convection in the atmosphere and evaporation from the ocean act as an “air-conditioner” removing the heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere and preventing the Earth from ever reaching the blackbody temperature that the solar constant or 70% of it or even 51 % ( as the FPCC claim heats the surface ) is capable.

    51 % of the solar constant ~698 W/sw m – is associated with a temperature of ~333 K or 60 degrees C.

    This has never been measured as air temperature on Earth though 50 degrees C is probably a believable result.

    Given the IPCC state ~20% is absorbed by the atmosphere on the way in the temperature should be even higher – and we can artificially raise the temperature locally by preventing convective cooling such as in a glasshouse or your car.

    The atmosphere keeps the surface temperature down during the day.

    When the strong convection effects cease at night radiative cooling slowly lowers the surface temperature – at a slower rate and if the site of interest is close to the ocean the cooling is moderated even more.

    I am undecided if I even believe CO2 can increase the Earth’s atmospheric or surface temperature because every quantu of radiation emitted results in a lower energy state for the emitter. During the day convection is removing heated air from the surface much more than the radiative effect.

    I am still of the mind that backradiation is an example of perpetual motion because there seems to be no account for the fact that emission of radiation results in a decrease in the energy state of GHG molecules – but I could be wrong.

  8. Simpler experiment requiring no thought, just a fact:

    Mt. Tambora. 1816. Soot all over the world.

    Coldest year in the historical era of measurement.

  9. “Carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for centuries, warming the world all the while, but pollutants like soot and methane remain airborne just a few weeks and a decade or so, respectively. ”

    Wrong, right, and wrong. Soot is short-lived, but so are CO2 and methane, which have half-lives of 5-7 years, not the 200-1000 years the IPCC and NASA would like to claim. The annual rise and fall of CO2 in the Mauna Loa data bespeaks the high turnover of CO2. So, they are all short-lived and, once again, the climate “scientists” are lying to the people as well as other scientists.

  10. CO2 and water vapor are only greenhouse gases according to the climate science definition. Actually, as these gases can absorb IR and convert it to heat, they can just as well do the reverse and other molecules are perfectly able to hand them heat energy. So, during the day they might add a bit of energy, but during the night they act as IR leaks, bleeding IR to space. It’s like having many small holes in the greenhouse glass ceiling. During the day, they will hardly make a difference, but during the night, the cooling will be noticeable.

    Nitrogen and oxygen gases are the real greenhouse gases, as they are heated by conduction from the Earth’s warmed surfaces and, once heated, have no way to lose the heat besides convection or passing it off to CO2 and water vapor. Near the surface, it’s a safe bet that the main flow is heat energy to IR and NOT the IR to heat that everybody appears to fear.

    As climate models do not appear to have a night time, it’s also a safe bet that the one way outward flow of energy is not in the energy budget. Another FAIL!

  11. Ashes on the sidewalk melt snow for the same reason that calcium chloride on the sidewalk melts snow: the ionic solutes in the ash lower the freezing point of the snow.

  12. Willis: It is fine to go to extremes and see what happens but one should not necessarily fool oneself into believing you can predict all points in between. So, even if you are right about the extreme case, it may be that in the current climate state an increase in black carbon would have a net warming effect.

    And, as Neil points out (by looking at the top-of-the-atmosphere radiation balance), there is good reason to believe that in fact it would. Your arguments might hold once the absorption profile got so extreme that the lapse rate was no longer limited by convection. But, right now, the lapse rate in the troposphere is limited by convection…And so, if you add black carbon in the troposphere and increase the absorption in the top-of-the-atmosphere radiation balance, then that would cause the temperature in the atmosphere to increase and then increase will propagate down to the surface via the lapse rate. (Adding black carbon to the statosphere is different…That may well have a cooling effect on the surface.)

  13. Our ancestors lived around fires in caves for hundreds of thousands of years. Ventilation was very primitive, if existed at all. Undoubtedly, they have been breathing in a lot of soot (“brown” or “black” — this doesn’t matter). Too much soot (as well as too much of anything) is bad for health, of course. But I think that its effect on our health is exaggerated, as are many things these days. Scaremongering is as widespread in modern health care as it is in “climate science.”

    Footnote: this comment is for WUTW readers in general, not for Mr. Eschenbach personally. I am not interested in Mr. Eschenbach’s opinion, and will not respond to him unless he apologizes abjectly and publicly for his foul personal attacks on his critics, for his cowardly censorship, and for blatantly breaking the rules of this forum.

  14. “Neil says…”

    Huh? The carbon is high in the atmosphere – the atmosphere has a strong absorption gradient due the temperature dependence of the water vapor saturation point. Once you get to the top of the troposphere the radiation is much more likely to radiate out than in because of the gradient and the geometry. Any energy absorbed at the top of the troposphere is essentially radiated back to space. I could integrate a one dimension model to prove this (or a three dimension model if you really want accuracy) for say a point at the 10000 m altitude to prove this.

  15. Wood ashes are best used on the driveway, the grit gives extra traction. Never use on the walkway as it gets tracked into the house. Soon to dry, and airborne ash and soot it becomes. GK

  16. Simple way to think about it: the greenhouse effect is because there is an “in” window (visible wavelengths) and an “out” window (microwave), and CO2 blocks the out but not the in, letting heat build up. Soot in the air blocks the “in” window.

  17. Interesting thought experiment, and I’ll have to do a bit more thinking about it.

    A few things off the top:

    1) The effects of black carbon on melting snow and ice are particularly strong, and so of course, at lower levels of black carbon (where sunlight can still penetrate to the ground) we get an amplified effect in Arctic areas from a little bit of black carbon being around. The notion of taking an extreme case of creating a solid shell of black carbon surrounding the planet doesn’t prove anything. The effect of black carbon at the extreme might be non-linear, such that a shell of black carbon that was 95% opaque to sunlight might be completely different that one that was 99% or 100% (i.e. would could get net warming up to 95%) and then the effect is essentially flat from 95 to 99%, and then reverses dramatically from 99 to 100% to a cooling effect.

    2) I’m am wondering about the internal heat generated by the Earth if there is an external shell of black carbon 20 Km up in the atmosphere? Over time, this internal heat would warm up the Earth under the black carbon, as no heat would flow from the cooler Earth to the black carbon shell until such time as the Earth under the shell was warmer. Thus, even if the geothermal energy released by the Earth under the black carbon shell was only .1 w/m2, it would not flow to the much warmer black carbon shell, and would just be trapped, and over millions of years, the atmosphere and surface under the shell would get warmer and warmer, until some equilibrium was reached with the black carbon shell. This highlights the difference between a geothermally active planet like Earth versus a simple dead rock in space. The Earth has significant “body heat”, with a 5000C to 7000C interior or core temperature, and the black carbon shell would trap that heat bubbling up from that 5000C, until such time as the surface and atmosphere under the black carbon shell reached the same temperature or higher as the black carbon shell.

    The result: The estimate of 5.5C surface temperature is probably off.

  18. higley7 says:
    February 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm
    CO2 and water vapor are only greenhouse gases according to the climate science definition. Actually, as these gases can absorb IR and convert it to heat, they can just as well do the reverse and other molecules are perfectly able to hand them heat energy. So, during the day they might add a bit of energy, but during the night they act as IR leaks, bleeding IR to space.
    ______
    Interesting notion, but seems to go against observations. The warmest nights in the Arctic (without the passage of a warm front) are ones with a low stratus cloud deck . Thus, if you took two nights identical in every regard except for the amount of cloud cover, the clear sky night would be cooler than then cloudy night. The clouds trap LW and radiate it back toward the ground. Not seeing how this is acting like an IR “leak” to space.

  19. Interestingly enough, extremely black carbon is also extremely heavy carbon, at least as far as gasses go, which means that its extremely unlikely to escape the troposphere. As has been already mentioned, black carbon below the tropopause effectively decreases the surface albedo, as it absorbs incoming solar radiation that is re-emitted as long-wave and interacts with greenhouse gases in the tropopause similar to surface radiation.

    Generally, when you have a bright idea that makes smart folks like Ramanathan look stupid, its bears stepping back and thinking it through, as one of you is going to be wrong.

  20. “”J Storrs Hall says:
    February 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm
    Simple way to think about it: the greenhouse effect is because there is an “in” window (visible wavelengths) and an “out” window (microwave), and CO2 blocks the out but not the in, letting heat build up. Soot in the air blocks the “in” window””

    That’s too simple, in widows and out widows? the whole of atmosphere is a opened window, the pressure inside is greater than outside.

    How can co2 turn it’s back on incoming but catch the outgoing? Hansen mystics at work, no doubt.

  21. Willis

    Black carbon (soot particles) don’t float around very long – they’re heavy! And not gases. They tend to fall to the surface, darkening it. They are on the surface…

    “And this means that black carbon in the atmosphere cools the planet”

    Um, NO it does not.. It reduces the 0.3 albedo (in visible wavelengths, energy reflected from the sun) of the planet, meaning more energy into the climate to be radiated as IR, which means higher temperatures to radiate that energy out. That’s about as basic as the science gets.

    Regardless of your GHG issues, cleaning soot out of the atmosphere is a good idea just from reducing lung disease. Simple, relatively cheap – and the GHG effects are simply a combined bonus.

  22. “R gates says;
    The warmest nights in the Arctic (without the passage of a warm front) are ones with a low stratus cloud deck . Thus, if you took two nights identical in every regard except for the amount of cloud cover, the clear sky night would be cooler than then cloudy night.”

    Bit of a shame that thermodynamics comes along a blows a wind over snow-cover at night, totally obliterating your fairy tale of identical nights. Oh that’s right, the models don’t give much credence to things like thermos, so reality can’t be right, R gates only argues partially.

    I’ve spoken to you about that before Mr R gates, now you are trying my patience.

    Tell me please R gates, does near surface barometric pressure increase or decrease during cloud formation? Work it out as a conundrum against Co2 radiative forcing.

  23. I have to agree with Joel and Neil here. The thought experiment seems a bit contrived. I don’t know that the assumption of a solid sphere of carbon at 20km is valid. Perhaps it is. However, it may be more appropriate to have the sphere at 2km with much of the atmosphere still above it. That would have the effect of lowering the Earth’s albedo and raising temperature. It seems that the location of the carbon is critical to determine its net effect.

    I can also produce another thought experiment that leaves the Earth’s temperature completely independent of the shell’s temp. Imagine I coat the Earth with perfectly reflective paint, lowering its emissivity to zero. Then I have effectively removed it from the radiative universe, and it’s temperature as measured by direct contact will be totally independent of what’s happening in the carbon shell presuming there is no conduction/convection to transfer heat between the two. I don’t think this is a valid or useful state but it does show a danger of taking a thought experiment to an extreme.

  24. Zeke Hausfather says:
    February 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    “Generally, when you have a bright idea that makes smart folks like Ramanathan look stupid…”

    ____
    You will generally lose on that proposition.

  25. Layman’s question: What goes up must come down. Is that true? If we intentionally put a lot of black carbon (or anything else) into the atmosphere, wouldn’t it eventually come back to earth? Would my white car turn black?

  26. R. Gates says:
    February 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    2) I’m am wondering about the internal heat generated by the Earth if there is an external shell of black carbon 20 Km up in the atmosphere? Over time, this internal heat would warm up the Earth under the black carbon, as no heat would flow from the cooler Earth to the black carbon shell until such time as the Earth under the shell was warmer. Thus, even if the geothermal energy released by the Earth under the black carbon shell was only .1 w/m2, it would not flow to the much warmer black carbon shell, and would just be trapped, and over millions of years, the atmosphere and surface under the shell would get warmer and warmer, until…
    —-
    The shell and Earth are assumed to be in the steady state already. The small fraction of additional radiation received by the shell from the Earth would be made up in the higher temps of both.

  27. Nice post Willis. Amazing how it has the warmists here confused :-). It is climate science 101 from the alarmist text books – Aerosols cool! It does not matter if they are black carbon, sand or volcanic ash. How Richard Kerr made such a mistake I don’t know! Maybe he got confused after drinking to much kool-aid. After all, kool-aid lets you ignore the sign and use upside down series ;-).

    /ikh

  28. Joel Shore says:
    February 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Willis: It is fine to go to extremes and see what happens but one should not necessarily fool oneself into believing you can predict all points in between. So, even if you are right about the extreme case, it may be that in the current climate state an increase in black carbon would have a net warming effect.

    Joel, if you want to propose that some hugely unlikely thing interferes to make it so a little bit of carbon warms and a lot cools, be my guest. You might even have a chance of someone believing you if you can propose a plausible mechanism that does that.

    Until then? I’ll go with Occam and say you’re grasping at straws, as AGW folks are doing all over the world these days.

    w.

  29. Alexander Feht says:
    February 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Footnote: this comment is for WUTW readers in general, not for Mr. Eschenbach personally. I am not interested in Mr. Eschenbach’s opinion, and will not respond to him unless he apologizes abjectly and publicly for his foul personal attacks on his critics, for his cowardly censorship, and for blatantly breaking the rules of this forum.

    Sounds like something a proctologist might be able to help you with, and I’d get help quickly if I were you, because it sounds like it’s backed up all the way to your little gray cells …

    w.

  30. Zeke Hausfather says:
    February 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Interestingly enough, extremely black carbon is also extremely heavy carbon, at least as far as gasses go, which means that its extremely unlikely to escape the troposphere. As has been already mentioned, black carbon below the tropopause effectively decreases the surface albedo, as it absorbs incoming solar radiation that is re-emitted as long-wave and interacts with greenhouse gases in the tropopause similar to surface radiation.

    Generally, when you have a bright idea that makes smart folks like Ramanathan look stupid, its bears stepping back and thinking it through, as one of you is going to be wrong.

    Zeke, you left out the part where when an amount of energy “X” hits the surface and is radiated away, the surface gets back part of the radiated energy from the atmosphere, well call that “Y”. So the surface gets energy X plus Y.

    But when the sunlight hits the BC in the atmosphere, the surface doesn’t get energy X, it only gets Y from the atmosphere.

    You are right that it does gain the ~ 15% lost to surface albedo. So the final equation is without BC the surface gets 0.85X + Y, and with the black carbon, just Y.

    Perhaps you can explain how the surface will be warmer with incident radiation “Y” than with “0.85X + Y”.

    Finally, using a throwaway about Ramanathan like that is very bad manners. You get to pretend authority without either a) actually having the nerve to make a clear claim about what Ramanathan said or b) citing your claim. I’d wait until dawn before you start crowing …

    Your move.

    w.

  31. KR says:
    February 7, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Willis

    Black carbon (soot particles) don’t float around very long – they’re heavy! And not gases. They tend to fall to the surface, darkening it. They are on the surface…

    KR, you’re talking to the wrong boy. I’m discussing what Richard Kerr said, that “soot in the atmosphere tends to warm climate, mainly by absorbing more sunlight.”

    Not soot on the ground. Soot in the atmosphere. Soot on the ground is a separate question.

    w.

  32. “Markus Fitzhenry says:”

    What is going on is incoming radiation is almost entirely short wavelength radiation that is almost unaffected by CO2 (although water vapor does absorb some incoming radiation). Both water vapor (~85+%) and CO2 (~9%) absorb outgoing long wave radiation except for a big spectrum hole around 10 microns. All the atmospheric radiation incoming and outgoing absorbed by the atmosphere is re-emitted at its characteristic temperature in all directions.

    Carbon black absorbs all wavelengths and emits at all wavelengths omnidirectionally. Since this is high in the atmosphere and affects the incoming short wave (high energy) radiation the net effect is cooling. The radiation is coming in, strikes the carbon, and has a less than 50% chance of continuing in (due to geometry and the absorption gradient). Radiation that doesn’t strike the earth doesn’t warm the earth.

  33. “”Zeke Hausfather says:
    February 7, 2012 at 7:47 pm
    Compare the absorption bands under the visible and infrared spectra.””

    No worry, if I was to accept SB BB equation offhandedly, I’d agree with the spectra. As it is, I don’t.

    “Poriwoggu says:
    February 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    The radiation is coming in, strikes the carbon, and has a less than 50% chance of continuing in (due to geometry and the absorption gradient). Radiation that doesn’t strike the earth doesn’t warm the earth.”

    Given that the atmospheric density increases, doesn’t the convection lapse rate near surface slow and heat, from the radiation that does strike the surface?

  34. Willis,

    Here is the Ramanathan citation I was referring to: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v1/n4/full/ngeo156.html

    If you need a paywall-free version, try here: http://www.climate.org/PDF/Ram_Carmichael.pdf

    As to your question, you are assuming that heat reradiated from incoming solar radiation is only transported upward. It reaches the surface both through direct radiation (those black carbon particles reradiate in all directions) and through convection, which is rather significant in the troposphere. And even if it were radiated only upward, a good portion of it would be captured and reradiated downward by greenhouse gases higher up in the troposphere (recall that black carbon tends to remain in the lower part of the troposphere due to its weight; it is decidedly not well-mixed).

  35. Willis – I’ve read the editorial, and there’s certainly no claim of a “20 km shell” there. That’s entirely yours. Much of the effect of the soot is, indeed, on surface absorption, such as darkening polar icecaps.

    And it really doesn’t matter whether the soot is at 0 meters or a few kilometers. IR emissivity of the ground and water is ~0.98, not going to be affected much by soot. But visible light albedo is around 0.3 – and that can be dropped considerably with soot. That means more energy retained by the Earth climate, more that has to be dumped back to space by warming.

    Again – cleaning up soot benefits both from reducing lung disease and by reducing greenhouse effects. I really don’t see the point of your article.

  36. “”KR says;
    Again – cleaning up soot benefits both from reducing lung disease and by reducing greenhouse effects. I really don’t see the point of your article.””

    You are going to have to throw out all those incorrect textbooks KR. That is the point of the article. Explain the greenhouse principle as it relates to whole of atmosphere, not just the troposphere, tropopause and lower stratosphere.

  37. Willis, I am sort of with you on this one but I think this is a time when the average incoming power is going to give misleading answers. The reason is t^4 during the daytime and all that that entails.

    During the daytime the BC (black carbon) particles are heated very well from all frequencies and re-radiate very well in the IR (T^4…) BC also passes a lot of heat to the adjacent air. At night it continues to radiate heat very efficiently, picking it up from the adjacent air. Thus BC uses air as a heat battery for dumping heat day and night, at different efficiencies of course.

    Orbanic carbon (OC) is just a parasol.

    So it is true what they say about BC heating things like crazy – about 640 times the effectiveness of CO2 (for PM2.5), but it is also a great radiator in the daytime when it is hottest (remember T^4) and remains one at night too at a lower temperature. No need to go to extremes here, just calcualte a little ∑ this and ∑ that.

    It is often said that BC has a short lifetime in the air but Prof Philip Hopke from Clarkson U showed us his pocket aethalometer readings of BC nanoparticles recorded inside an aircraft way above 30,000 ft. The reason you don’t hear much about BC nanoparticles (BCn) is they are really hard to measure below PM0.10. They remain aloft for ages. There are gazillions of them. I suspect the total mass of BCn at PM0.01 is not known at all. They are to the atmosphere what aluminum is to engines – an efficient heat transport system. All that IR coming from the ground is very efficiently absorbed at all frequencies -way better than CO2, and 50% is passed upwards very handily, especially in the daytime.

    BC is another leak in the CO2 gasbag.

  38. Grímsvötn put more soot into the atmosphere than Eyjafjallajökull in a much shorter time. That probably explains my mysterious hacking in the mornings this fall and early winter. I don’t smoke, nor get colds to mention. Very healthy, haven’t felt at all that I might have been coming down with one. Glad that’s over with.
    Maybe Grímsvötn kept us milder this winter for a while.

  39. Neil says:
    February 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm
    “This is completely incorrect. The important flux is the one at the tropopause and any extra absorption by BC below the tropopause is basically equivalent to lowering the surface albedo. So, yes, black carbon does warm the system.”

    You are redefining the word “surface”. So, your reasoning is entirely incorrect when we take surface to mean what the dictionary says.

  40. KR says:
    February 7, 2012 at 8:46 pm
    “And it really doesn’t matter whether the soot is at 0 meters or a few kilometers.”

    The lowest few kilometers of the atmosphere contain most of the GHGs CO2 and H2O so what you’re saying is that it really doesn’t matter whether we have 40% more or less of these GHGs.

    Bad move!

  41. Me, I think it’s worthwhile controlling black and brown carbon solely because of the health effects. Inhaled soot and wood smoke kill a lot of people every year. So reducing atmospheric black and brown carbon is an example of the “no-regrets” actions I have been advising that we should take. It is of value whether or not black carbon affects global climate.

    This is a totally logical application of the “precautionary principle”. Sometime around the 1970’s, I think environmentalists “lost the point” of their own protest movement as their concerns veered from very real poisons and harmful elements in the environment to climate. Dare we hope they are hedging their bets, since they only propose to fix the climate “to boot”.

    Aerosols, soot and particulates cause very real problems for every human who breathes, and according to Willis’ proof above, few problems for the climate. If somebody can get past the paywall, it might be good to know how the authors intend to address the first problem, since their climate panacea is only secondary. How do they plan to “scrub the air” without hurting business and energy producers?

  42. Markus Fitzhenry“Explain the greenhouse principle as it relates to whole of atmosphere, not just the troposphere, tropopause and lower stratosphere”

    Well, Markus, as the mesosphere and thermosphere are not terribly relevant to greenhouse gas effects (as the effective altitude, 4-5km for IR radiation [http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/08/15/height-of-emission-of-olr-and-dlr/], is at most in the upper troposphere), I’m not certain what in the world you are talking about. Do you have an an actual point to make?

  43. DirkH

    If the soot absorption is below 4km (poles) to 5km (tropics) – it’s in the climate. And hence is energy that must be radiated to space.

  44. You refer me to science of doom? And expect me to think you know enough about atmosphere that you can say;

    “”Well, Markus, as the mesosphere and thermosphere are not terribly relevant to greenhouse gas effects”

    Except, the atmospheric space above your 4-5klms actually regulates DWLR to the surface, in turn heating atmospheric gases (no not GHG’s) relative to force of pressure on atmospheric mass.

    The fact that you, and the consensus of politically granted climate scientists, don’t know what your are talking about, is the point being made, by many.

    Community Science is bringing home more bacon, then consensus never could. And no, I don’t reference my knowledge, find your own.

  45. Following Zeke’s veiled hint, I find Ramanathan agrees with me. He says that black carbon warms the atmosphere, but it cools the surface. His exact words are

    Unlike the greenhouse effect of CO2, which leads to a positive radiative forcing of the atmosphere and at the surface with moderate latitudinal gradients, black carbon has opposing effects of adding energy to the atmosphere and reducing it at the surface.

    Ramanathan’s estimates are hardly definitive, however. He estimates surface cooling of -1.7 W/m2, and warming aloft of 2.6 W/m2. However, he adds that

    BC forcing obtained by running the Chung et al. analysis with and without BC. the forcing values are valid for the 2001–2003 period and have an uncertainty of ±50%.

    This is where triangular numbers are again useful. Ramanathan’s triangular number for atmospheric warming is [1.3, 2.6, 3.9] W/m2. His triangular number for surface cooling is [0.85, 1.7, 2.55] W/m2. The triangular number for the net forcing is therefore [-1.25, 0.9, 3.05].

    So I would hardly call that a definitive answer. Other than the comment about the 50% error, Ramanathan doesn’t mention that the net forcing is not significantly different from zero … in fact, he doesn’t put an error estimate on that number at all …

    But in any case, Zeke, Ramanathan agrees with me, that the surface forcing will decrease from BC.

    w.

  46. I think that whether black particulates in the atmosphere warm or cool the atmosphere depends on the altitude the particulates are at. During the dust bowl years many record high temperatures were set. Black particulates at low altitudes warm the atmosphere.

    Whem volcanoes spewed black particulates high in the atmosphere the climate cooled. Black particulates at high altitudes cool the atmosphere.

    High altitude black particulates capture the heat and radiate it into space before conduction and convection can tranfer the heat to the atmosphere. Low altitude black particulates capture the heat and transfer the heat to the atmosphere by conduction and convection better than the heat captured by the earths surface. This causes warming.

  47. “markus says: …Given that the atmospheric density… ”

    There has to be a paper on this, it has to have peaked someones interest.

    There are two effects that happen when you get out above 10km. One is that the majority of the radiation isn’t absorbed. CO2 has decreased with density and HO2 is reduced by pressure and temperature (at 0 C the water vapor saturation concentration/partial pressure is less than 12% of the saturation level at 30 C – this is what drives thunderstorms – isothermal expansion when the dew point is reached – as opposed to the normal adiabatic expansion). Radiation absorption is a function of the density (concentration) of CO2 and water vapor – no density – no absorption. Granted, the effect of altitude on CO2 absorption is much less pronounced since only about 30 ppm is needed to achieve half the sea level absorption.

    A negative gradient causes more radiation to leave the atmosphere since the radiation toward the planet is more likely to be absorbed by the atmosphere and at a shorter distance (and reradiated outward) than the outgoing radiation which is less likely to be absorbed or absorbed after traveling further.

    The other component is the part of the radiation sphere from a point in the atmosphere that faces toward the planet (inward) is a cone and the percentage of the residual (outward) part of the sphere increases with altitude.

  48. But what about convection?

    If black carbon warms the atmosphere, it decreases the lapse rate and convection reduces, that causes heat to accumulate close to the ground until the surface layer reaches a sufficiently high temperature for convection to occur again.

  49. Titan 28 says:
    February 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    What is Mr Feht talking about? Did I miss something?

    In Mr. Eschenbach’s answer to my footnote above you can see exactly, what I am talking about.

    Mr. Eschenbach allows himself to use vilest insults if he doesn’t like somebody’s comments (and I am not the exclusive target of these attacks). Since his answers are posted in non-moderated format, these puerile escapades are first and only examples of such behavior, unabated, on WUWT pages.

    I already wrote to Mr. Watts about it but, as it seems, Mr. Eschenbach is regarded as too valuable an asset here to be limited by the same rules that apply to everybody else. A pity, since civility has been — until now — a distinctive feature of this blog that made it radically different from the style habitual on alarmist sites.

  50. Willis, as I sit here in my apartment with my windows open with an outside temperature of -10C in Sweden utilizing communal heat which is fueled by the burning of household garbage I also have concerns regarding soot.

    The mathematics and data mining are all useful and entertaining exercises(mental masturbation would be the term used by some).

    The Kepler discoveries show earth like planets. Sci-Fi incessantly pushes the concept of man’s ability to terraform a planet. If an advanced species discovered Earth what would they determine would be the average phone number or the average global temperature? (Pielke Sr. is the most rational scientist in my book on Climate).

    In a fictional world where Mike Mann and his hockey team could control the earth’s temperature with their mythical CO2 thermostat, what temperature would they set it?

    Instead of ankle biting around the issue with truly eloquent mathematics and computer modeling I think there first has to be established that there is a problem.

    Once a problem has been identified there must be a cost effective solution presented.

    As far back as I can remember the once fertile arctic in my school boy days was referred as the “arctic wasteland”.

    Wastelands have dubious meanings today. In the USA the desert wasteland must be maintained at all costs because or some rodent unless huge patches can be bulldozed so that useless solar panels or wind mills can be implemented to destroy all local wild life.

    Willis, What is the ideal temperature of our plane?. Why is that temperature different than what we have now? Why is my local commune burning my garbage and putting black soot in the air towards Finland and Russia?

    Willis, I love your posts but I would really love for them to focus on the hard core of the issue. Is there a problem and if so do we have a solution.

    Now that I have bastardized the English language I will continue my day in Sweden.

  51. Poriwoggu says:
    February 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    “markus says: …Given that the atmospheric density… ”
    There has to be a paper on this, it has to have peaked someones interest.””

    You sound like a fairly intelligent person, so I won’t be fully mean but give you a taste of what community science can come up with.

    There is a *difference between the illumination and received energies. Received includes albedo but the albedo is affected by the presence of CO2 which reflects 50% of the Sun’s irradiance back to space at its absorption frequencies. Increasing CO2 will therefore increase albedo. This would suggest that CO2 cools but in fact the effect is net neutral because it similarly reduces emissivity in those same bands.

    Consider an addition of two molecules of CO2, one on the day side and one on the night side (for simplicity). Each would have an equal chance of passing a photon on or back (as CO2 re-radiates omni-directionally). The four possible outcomes are;

    1. Sun >[~>( 0 )~>]> Space. = Sun radiated photon in. Earth radiated photon out.
    2. Sun >[~>(+1)<~] Space. = Sun radiated photon in. Earth radiated photon in.
    3. Sun ^[<~( 0 )<~] Space. = Sun radiated photon out. Earth radiated photon in.
    4. Sun ^[]> Space.= Sun radiated photon out. Earth radiated photon out.

    Key;
    > Photon and direction.
    ~> Absorbing & radiating carbon dioxide molecule.
    [Earth-atmosphere system]
    (System energy change)

    Where, over time, the average will be a zero addition to system energy. By the same logic reversing the process by removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, albedo will reduce and emissivity increase but again, system energy will remain static.
    The conclusion is that ‘GHG’ concentrations in the atmosphere do not change system energy. Any energy level is therefore a function of the planet-atmosphere itself and supports the N&Z finding that annual average near surface temperature is independent of the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    * Illumination 343W, received 240W and radiated out 240W. 103W is albedo loss of illumination which includes CO2 reflection.

  52. Shoot. I meant

    Poriwoggu says:
    February 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm
    “markus says: …Given that the atmospheric density… ”
    There has to be a paper on this, it has to have peaked someones interest.””

    You sound like a……. blah blah blah

    [FIXED. -w.]

  53. Willis what the hell did you do? You have opened pandora’s box of AGW trolls. I have never seen so many on one thread.

  54. Poriwoggu, it can also follow that additional atmospheric mass (black coal) gives a, if you will, extra brick to the atmosphere. Upper atmosphere turbulence can sheer off when entering or exiting timescales of planetary harmonics as described by Dr Scafetta. This, and other, e.g: solar isolation, multivariate data of a planet with atmosphere can predict near surface climate exponentially compared to the greenhouse paradigm.

    Co2 back radiation principle is analogous to steel balls, in a pinball machine, bouncing against the posts on a plane. The models have been guessing the result. As a first principle the greenhouse effect was wrong. The “science” that followed was also wrong.

    Can you see the logic of treating atmospheric gases in a climate machine using the mechanism of the pinball machine plunger (solar radiation), and the slope of the the climate (force of pressure), to predict climate.

    Of course, as the science suggests, atmospheric gases are only on part of the puzzle, if the community keeps thinking individually, and combineing their predicates, they’ll progress well.

    There is still plenty of science yet in macroclimatology, but by gosh it’s fascinating.

  55. “Alexander Feht says:
    February 8, 2012 at 12:21 am
    Mr. Eschenbach allows himself to use vilest insults if he doesn’t like somebody’s comments (and I am not the exclusive target of these attacks).”

    I know Alex, he can be just so mean sometimes. He is such a naughty man when he hurts your feelings. Just naughty.

  56. Stephen Richards says:
    February 8, 2012 at 1:06 am Willis what the hell did you do?

    KISS

    Is there a problem?

    If there is a problem what is the reasonable solution?

    It is not productive to spend this many hours, days and weeks doing mathematical gymnastics on a problem that might not exist for a century if the problem exists at all especially being there currently are no cost effected solution if the problem does exist.

    The carriage has been brought before the horse.

    Non-workable and detrimental solutions have been implemented prior to an actual problem being identified.

    Puzzles and math games are fun. Wake up, public funds are being stolen for something that may or may not be a problem a century from now and the solutions that are being implemented haven’t a snow ball’s chance in hell if the problem actually exists.

    Get off the high horse and look at the task at hand.

  57. Come on Willis, get back to reality.

    If you want to continue to violate the laws of thermodynamics then go ahead but for me the GHG theory and the re-radiated heat is bunkum.

    As my lecturer at Imperial used to say, Hot>cold yes Cold>Hot never.

  58. Willis says: “the planet must be at the same temperature as the shell.”
    This is wrong, very wong

    You forget that the atmosphere is not a solid thing, it’s moving gases. This movement creates the lapse rate effect with decreasing temperatures at higher elevations.

  59. Jesse says:

    February 7, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Layman’s question: What goes up must come down. Is that true? If we intentionally put a lot of black carbon (or anything else) into the atmosphere, wouldn’t it eventually come back to earth? Would my white car turn black?

    Mine always does, I have to keep cleaning it!

  60. I wonder if this is all correct because the system is not homogenius and that means there must be an entropy problem. At lower lattitudes there is an energy surplus(Watts emitted to space will be less than received) dissipating to the higher lattitudes(Watts emitted to space will be higher than received).
    So it seems to me that carbon in the atmosphere at the equatorial region cools but in the polar region warms.
    Given the fact that the emission and distribution of all carbon is by average higher in the high lattitudes the overall effect is an increase of the temperature.

  61. Adding more explanation to my previous info it is of course correct when the distribution of the carbon would be homogenius. The low lattitude temperatures would drop and the high lattitude temperatures would raise and converge more and more. In the end at increasing carbon the 5,5 oC will be reached

  62. willis, Do a second thought experiment. Put your carbon black shell one meter above the surface of the earth. In that case we’ve replaced the earth’s surface with a perfect black body, but we still have greenhouse gasses reabsorbing and emitting infared radiation, so the net effect has to be warming. Now gradually move the shell further and further from the earth’s surface. If you are correct that at a distance of 20 kilometers from the eatth’s surface the shell results in cooling, then somewhere between one meter and 20 kilometers the effect has to change from warming to cooling. The implication is that the effect of black carbon depends on the height of the carbon in the atmosphere. My guess is that the average height is closer to one meter than to 20 kilometers, so the net effect is warming.

  63. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Joel, if you want to propose that some hugely unlikely thing interferes to make it so a little bit of carbon warms and a lot cools, be my guest. You might even have a chance of someone believing you if you can propose a plausible mechanism that does that.

    I explained the mechanism: The surface temperature is determined by the top-of-the-atmosphere radiative balance as long as there is sufficient warming of the surface and cooling of the upper layers of the troposphere to peg the lapse rate at the appropriate adiabatic lapse rate.

    Until then? I’ll go with Occam and say you’re grasping at straws, as AGW folks are doing all over the world these days.

    Well, you seem to go with Occam only in certain contexts. In the context of climate sensitivity, you believe that approximating it as being linear over a fairly small range of forcings is totally unjustified. However, in this case, you believe that you can go from one extreme to a dramaticaly different extreme and that the behavior of the surface temperature will be nice and monotonic.

    But in any case, Zeke, Ramanathan agrees with me, that the surface forcing will decrease from BC.

    No…The surface forcing due to radiative effects ONLY is negative from BC. However, the surface temperature is not determined by the surface radiative forcing. It is determined more by the TOA forcing. As Ramanathan himself explains: “The TOA BC forcing implies that BC has a surface warming effect of about 0.5 to 1 °C, where we have assumed a climate sensitivity of 2 to 4 ºC for a doubling of CO2.”

    One of the ironies of the climate debate is that AGW skeptics often claim that the consensus scientists are too hung up on radiation and ignore convective effects when the truth is exactly the opposite: It is often AGW skeptics who look at the surface radiative balance, thus ignoring convection. The consensus scientists understand the correct way to look at things: You consider the top-of-the-atmosphere balance that is in fact determined by radiative effects because that is the only game in town between the Earth and space. Then, you know that the surface temperature will be determined by that balance plus the fact that convection’s role is to keep the troposphere near the (appropriate) adiabatic lapse rate.

  64. Willis,
    The result would depend on the lapse rate of the atmosphere below the carbon layer. If there were enough atmosphere mixing (due to day to night and latitude local variation causing atmosphere circulation), the lapse rate would be non-zero, and might even approach adiabatic. In that case, the ground level temperature would be above the carbon level temperature. In any realistic case, with less than total obscuration, some solar energy reaching the ground would assure buoyancy assisted mixing, and would drive the lapse rate toward the adiabatic level. This is the condition on Venus, where the clouds block most, but not all solar energy from reaching the ground, but the temperature profile is almost exactly the adiabatic lapse rate, and results in the very got ground.

    If a simplified model of uniformly illumination on a totally opaque layer occurs, with no planet rotation, you might be correct, but all real cases are not that way.

  65. “Matthew W. says:
    February 8, 2012 at 4:57 am
    I’m still shocked/amazed that in places like China, coal is still used as fuel for cooking at home”.

    Oh come on Mathew W., how much walkabout have you done in China. I remember more cold than warm, even through the mist, morning coal stoves most corners, most towns, municipal coal powered electrical distribution along inefficient infrastructure. Street cluttered with antiqued taxis and buses. They’ve been doing it for years too.

    You’ll end up with phobias, like the next bloke, if you really believe co2 adds heat to the Earth from a cooler upper atmosphere.

    jjm gommers says:
    February 8, 2012 at 4:46 am
    Adding more is of course correct when the distribution of the carbon would be homogenius (sic). In the end at increasing carbon the 5,5 oC will be reached

    Oh come on jjm gommers , co2 doesn’t take on some mystical homogenous proprieties, turning it into some sort of transsexual devil. Ah! that gives me a psychological insight, jjm gommers. Scary.

  66. But..if you exchange black carbon to infra red carbon dioxide? It absorbs incoming infra red light, whereby it is heated and thus emits energy, half of it back into space and half of it down to the earth’s surface. Does that also mean that CO2 cools the surface? It acts as a shield against infra red light from the sun?

  67. Joel Shore says:
    February 8, 2012 at 5:11 am
    “”It is often AGW skeptics who look at the surface radiative balance, thus ignoring convection.”

    “You consider the top-of-the-atmosphere balance that is in fact determined by radiative effects because that is the only game in town between the Earth and space.Then, you know that the surface temperature will be determined by that balance plus the fact that convection’s role is to keep the troposphere near the (appropriate) adiabatic lapse rate.”

    Oh come on Joel Shore, If the consensus scientists think that is the correct way to look at things, well, no wonder you blokes have been in trouble for so long. What latent force does convection have that maintains a theoretically corrected BB Illumination described as, 343W: received 240W and radiated out 240W.and the 103W albedo loss of illumination which includes CO2 reflection.

    Maybe you don’t want to ping your IP over at tallblokes’, so you’ll miss out on the discussion Bob Fernley-Jones’, AKA Bob_FJ, is having on the effects of convection in the radiative illumination budget of a theoretical BB with an atmosphere.

  68. Leonard Weinstein” but all real cases are not that way “‘
    I agree with your statement, see my previous comments.
    Only in case of homogenius distribution of the carbon in the atmosphere it works. In that case the temperature difference between equator and polar regions start to converge with increasing carbon concentration and drops to the 5.5 oC.

  69. Willis, if I interpret your argument correctly, are you saying that there is a linear relationship between black carbon concentrations in the atmosphere and cooling on the surface?

    Is there a way to determine whether this would hold true at the tiny amounts of black carbon currently in the atmosphere (in contrast to the asymptotic argument that if the atmosphere were completely covered with black carbon, the earth would be frigid, which is obviously correct)?

    The other issue I wonder about is that if black carbon concentrations in the atmosphere are mainly in a few places (over India, China, parts of Europe (where there are various combinations of diesels; residential burning of wood, coal, and dung; “backyard” steel mills burning coal without emission controls), there wouldn’t be a “shell” of black carbon around the earth. Sunlight would penetrate to the surface in most places. Would your conclusions change if black carbon concentrations in the atmosphere were “patchy”?

    Just asking, not being contentious. The subject is pretty complicated!

  70. Willis: excellent point. It’s easy to get caught up with simplifications like “imagine a spherical cow in space”, which have no practical meaning. But I think you do need to listen to folks like David J. Ameling, above, who make the point that it depends on how high in the atmosphere your soot is. You say that soot on the ground is quite different than soot in the atmosphere, but it’s really only a matter of degrees. Your thought experiment could be: imagine the surface of the earth coated with soot, then imagine that layer of soot was floating 3 feet in the air, then 300 feet, 3,000 feet, …, 12,000 miles, …

    It seems reasonable that the higher the absorbing layer, the more direct the path to space for the blocked-and-upward-radiated energy.

  71. Poriwoggu says:
    February 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm
    “markus says: …Given that the atmospheric density… ”
    There has to be a paper on this, it has to have peaked someones interest.””

    Heh. I always wonder what word-induced image is in the mind of someone who writes “peaked interest” instead of “piqued interest”. A peak, after all, is a tall maximum, beyond which comes a fall-off. So do they mean “reached a temporary ceiling”? Or just that it was spiked.

    IAC, piqued means stimulated, no geometry involved. (In this context. In others, it can mean irritated. Of course, in biology and medicine, irritate means stimulate! So that’s OK. ;) )

  72. Well, well, well …. this is essentially what I have been saying for the last year. Black carbon is nothing more than a big GHG. Or, if you prefer, CO2 and other GHGs are just little pieces of black carbon.

    I’ve been stating time and again the these radiating entities have BOTH a warming and cooling effect. The climate crowd focuses on the warming effect and ignores the cooling effect. The key has to do with being well mixed in the atmosphere. When this is the case the warming and cooling effects balance out and we end up with a lapse rate that is dependent, not on the concentration of these elements, but on the physical structure of the atmosphere. This is the effect noticed by K&Z and others who have tried to claim that gravity is responsible for the GHE.

    Due to the balance of the warming and cooling effects it does not matter if more GHGs are added to the atmosphere as long as they are well mixed. Of course, there are times when the mixing is not perfect. One of these is large volcanoes injecting particles high in the atmosphere (and thus enhancing the cooling effect). Another is very humid (or very dry) regional variations. However, overall that stuff averages out over time and our global temperature varies within a few degrees.

  73. Wayne2 says:
    February 8, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Willis: excellent point. It’s easy to get caught up with simplifications like “imagine a spherical cow in space”, which have no practical meaning. But I think you do need to listen to folks like David J. Ameling, above, who make the point that it depends on how high in the atmosphere your soot is. You say that soot on the ground is quite different than soot in the atmosphere, but it’s really only a matter of degrees. Your thought experiment could be: imagine the surface of the earth coated with soot, then imagine that layer of soot was floating 3 feet in the air, then 300 feet, 3,000 feet, …, 12,000 miles, …

    It seems reasonable that the higher the absorbing layer, the more direct the path to space for the blocked-and-upward-radiated energy.

    Yes, yes, yes … my point exactly. Now, consider that in reality the turbulence of the atmosphere causes a distribution that has no layer at all. Instead, some of the particles at low altitudes do warming while other particles at high altitudes do cooling. So, when additional particles are added to the atmosphere they mix over time and the total effect balances out.

  74. ****
    Paul Kelly says:
    February 8, 2012 at 5:01 am

    The implication is that the effect of black carbon depends on the height of the carbon in the atmosphere. My guess is that the average height is closer to one meter than to 20 kilometers, so the net effect is warming.
    ****

    Yes, it depends on where the BC is. If it’s low in the atmosphere or on the ground, that’s where warming occurs (assuming its presence reduces the albedo). Further up, I’m not certain (the extreme case of a BC shell well above the surface would definitely cool the surface because sunlight would be completely blocked & you might end up w/a negative lapse rate?), but generally I’d agree that most of the BC stays fairly close to or even on the ground (look at the buildings in some European cities).

  75. I highly doubt that soot, dirt, and carbon black alone could melt significant portions of the Arctic or any other large snow mass. Have you ever seen a major city like Chicago in the winter? Once it snows, the snow can stay for up to four and sometimes six months. All the while getting ugly and becoming an eye sore until there is enough sun light and the ambient air temp gets warm enough to melt it. This can be seen even in sunny cities like Denver where mountains of snow are cleared from parking lots. It takes a week or more of 40+ temps to completely melt these mountains of snow which are caked/laced with debris from the parking lot. Not to mention, these mountains of snow are sitting on one of the biggest sources of carbon black, asphalt.
    /Rant…

  76. Willis — An interesting thought experiment, as ususal, but I don’t think it works:

    If there is a shell of black carbon 20 km up that is impenetrable to radiation, and its temperature is 5.5 dC, the adiabatic lapse rate below will make the surface very toasty. I basically agree with Leonard Weinstein above (2/8, 5:32 AM).

    I admit I don’t understand the mechanisms that make temperatures go back up above the tropopause, but apparently they are all radiative, so that this hypothetical shell would cancel them out below itself.

    It was mentioned above that volcanic eruptions tend to cool the planet. However, I believe this effect is due to high albedo SO2 and ash, rather than from low-albedo soot, so that contradicts, rather than confirms, Willis’s contention.

    So I buy that soot warms the planet whether it’s on the ground or in the air. But unlike CO2, which may ward off or at least delay the catastrophic next ice age if it some of it lingers in the air, soot is only transitory and so will not have this beneficial side effect.

    CO2 has been growing very stubbornly since 1958, so that the power of the biosphere and hydro/lithosphere to reabsorb it as kudzu or plankton shells appears to be limited. Two recent articles by Dana Royer argue that over the past 550 million (not thousand) years, glaciation is always associated with CO2 under 500 ppm, so that could be a very desirable level to strive for.

  77. All policy makers need is the impression of good science.

    No one would care if life changing policy making (law and regulation) were not at stake here and if it impacted no one other than the policy makers and global warming scientists but they intend to drag the entire population into their scheme.

    The global warming crowd are like Don Quixote a knight ‘Tilting at windmills’ for no logical reason except in his own mind and self-interest and not taking into account he was attacking private property, others income and free enterprise.

    Perhaps no one told them as children that honesty is the best policy.
    There is another adage waste not want not and that goes for good science as well.

  78. Markus Fitzhenry:

    Oh come on Joel Shore, If the consensus scientists think that is the correct way to look at things, well, no wonder you blokes have been in trouble for so long. What latent force does convection have that maintains a theoretically corrected BB Illumination described as, 343W: received 240W and radiated out 240W.and the 103W albedo loss of illumination which includes CO2 reflection.

    Could you give me an English translation of this paragraph? Seriously, what is a “latent force” and what is the question that you are even asking?

    Maybe you don’t want to ping your IP over at tallblokes’, so you’ll miss out on the discussion Bob Fernley-Jones’, AKA Bob_FJ, is having on the effects of convection in the radiative illumination budget of a theoretical BB with an atmosphere.

    Given how little understanding Bob has shown regarding convection over in this thread: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/03/monckton-responds-to-skeptical-science/ , it must be a most illuminating discussion, as seems to be true of most discussions over at tallbloke’s blog. (And, by the way, unlike Willis I am not as wedded to the principle of not increasing tallbloke’s views, so I do look at things over there just for entertainment value even though I am banned from posting there, as it seems are many people who might endanger the discussions there by injecting actual science into them.)

  79. The misunderstanding is the assumption that the W/m2 received and emitted is everywhere the same.
    This is not the case. At the equatorial region W/m2received = W/m2emitted + Q
    Polar region W/m2received + Q = W/m2 emitted
    Q represents the lapse rate (by lattitude) from equatorial region to the polar region.
    Now you get four cases.
    1. No carbon black in the atmosphere or on the ground T avg = 15 oC and the dT(eq/pol) is at maximum, lapse rate Q(1)
    2. Assume carbon black in the atmosphere(not on ground) only in the equatorial region (cooling) Tavg < 15 oC lapse rate Q(2)15 oC lapse rate Q(3)<Q(1)
    4. Assume carbon black in the atmosphere(not on the ground) over both (cooling)
    Tavg<15 oC The main reason is that the lapse rate Q(4)<Q(1) because the equatorial temperature drops and the polar temperature increases.
    So Willis theory fits only when the carbon black is equally distributed over the entire atmosphere,
    however in the real world the carbon black increases with lattitude and therefore resemblence
    case 3 with a temperature increase mainly at the high lattitudes

  80. I have found that when I add E+T to AH the humidity at AH and temperature rise’s. E=energy, T=teapot, and AH =Atmosphere inside Home.
    However when I add external wind factor (hot or cold) via my Swamp cooler (The Ocean) the humidity and temperature drops to an agreable level and I sit down and have a drink.

    In the winter I don’t turn the water on as that’s a waste of water. In the summer I use both water and electricity. In the winter I also collect ‘brown soot’ as my cooler is directly below my smoke stack. But I’m good there as I take my water from a shallow well and the electricity is produced by hydro dams in our local area. Plus I open my windows to get all that crap back out to the open atmosphere.
    Therefore I’m good as I’m a slight shade of green, maybe limegreen.

  81. Why is it that with all the calculations of earth’s temperature, no thought is spent on the several thousand degrees celsius core nor that just one kilometer down it is some 35°C. What I’m wondering is why not fluctuations in the core temperature eventually are felt, so to speak, on the surface? After all, those 35°C/Km for our first kilometer down is, apparently, not very static, so if that fluctuates with a couple of degrees up and down wouldn’t the surface temperature follow suite?

    How does that carbon heat shield at 20 km height have enough energy to heat the surface?

  82. Willis, as a non-scientist (I do not have a science degree) I agree with your comment that it is a good thing to clean up carbon particles which is the cause of pollution in the atmosphere. You are spot on with the comment. Again, I use observation, and in this case it is more personal because the smoke from wood fires cause asthma attacks in sensitive individuals…. yes, that is through observation!!

    Also, thanks for the explanation regarding what is wrong with the more general theory regarding carbon in the atmosphere. It is all beginning to click and make sense.

  83. “Joel Shore says:
    February 8, 2012 at 8:11 am”

    I’ve seen you answer, son. Sorry you can’t understand me, no I’m not. Now just close your eyes and it won’t happen.

    The reason you can’t go there and play is because last time you acted like a bully, and ended up getting a intellectual beat up. And you’re in for another one.

  84. Markus Fitzhenry. says:
    February 8, 2012 at 5:44 am
    “Matthew W. says:
    February 8, 2012 at 4:57 am
    I’m still shocked/amazed that in places like China, coal is still used as fuel for cooking at home”.

    Oh come on Mathew W., how much walkabout have you done in China. I remember more cold than warm, even through the mist, morning coal stoves most corners, most towns, municipal coal powered electrical distribution along inefficient infrastructure. Street cluttered with antiqued taxis and buses. They’ve been doing it for years too.
    You’ll end up with phobias, like the next bloke, if you really believe co2 adds heat to the Earth from a cooler upper atmosphere.
    ==========================================================
    WOW !!!!!!!
    “I’m still shocked/amazed that in places like China, coal is still used as fuel for cooking at home”.
    I have no idea how you misinterpreted what I said.
    I suggest switching to decaf

  85. Won’t BC function as condensation cores, and thus effectively increase rather then decrease the albedo of earth?

  86. Alexander Feht says:
    February 8, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Titan 28 says:
    February 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    What is Mr Feht talking about? Did I miss something?

    In Mr. Eschenbach’s answer to my footnote above you can see exactly, what I am talking about.

    Mr. Eschenbach allows himself to use vilest insults if he doesn’t like somebody’s comments (and I am not the exclusive target of these attacks). Since his answers are posted in non-moderated format, these puerile escapades are first and only examples of such behavior, unabated, on WUWT pages.

    Alexander, I don’t insult anyone who comes here to talk science and to contribute or learn or both. Nor have I censored anyone, as you claim.

    I do not, however, suffer fools gladly, and I’m happy to speak truth to people that show up just to insult me.

    If you don’t like that, I’d advise you to go be a foolish jerk somewheres else. Standing around whining because your precious feelings are hurt won’t get you any traction here.

    w.

    PS—So you don’t have to look it up, his footnote was as follows, along with my reply:

    Footnote: this comment is for WUTW readers in general, not for Mr. Eschenbach personally. I am not interested in Mr. Eschenbach’s opinion, and will not respond to him unless he apologizes abjectly and publicly for his foul personal attacks on his critics, for his cowardly censorship, and for blatantly breaking the rules of this forum.

    Sounds like something a proctologist might be able to help you with, and I’d get help quickly if I were you, because it sounds like it’s backed up all the way to your little gray cells …

    w.

  87. @Markus Fitzhenry

    “How can co2 turn it’s back on incoming but catch the outgoing? Hansen mystics at work, no doubt.”

    Incoming is visible light. Outgoing is IR. No mystics, nothing to do with Hansen either. The way you seem to think thermodynamics work refrigerators can’t exist.

  88. Stephen Richards says:
    February 8, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Willis what the hell did you do? You have opened pandora’s box of AGW trolls. I have never seen so many on one thread.

    it’s the unmistakeable sign of a good post …

    w.

  89. Matthew W. says:
    February 8, 2012 at 11:51 am
    “”I suggest switching to decaf.””

    Oh come on Mathew W. only a uber-enviromentalist would equate anything with decaf. How limp wristed can you get. What you favourite cuppa? Skinny milk, soy, decaf, sugarine, latte.

  90. John Marshall says:
    February 8, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Come on Willis, get back to reality.

    If you want to continue to violate the laws of thermodynamics then go ahead but for me the GHG theory and the re-radiated heat is bunkum.

    As my lecturer at Imperial used to say, Hot>cold yes Cold>Hot never.

    Now all you need to do is to learn to distinguish between a flow of heat and a flow of energy, and you will have almost caught up with reality.

    Energy can flow from cold to hot. Heat cannot.

    See my post “The Steel Greenhouse” for more info.

    w.

  91. Jan Kjetil Andersen says:
    February 8, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Willis says: “the planet must be at the same temperature as the shell.”

    This is wrong, very wong

    You forget that the atmosphere is not a solid thing, it’s moving gases. This movement creates the lapse rate effect with decreasing temperatures at higher elevations.

    No, I haven’t forgotten that, Jan. It doesn’t happen. If the planet is warmer than the shell it will lose energy to the shell until they are in thermal equilibrium. The same will happen if it is cooler than the shell, it will warm until equilibrium.

    Think about it some more. With no heating, the atmosphere will be isothermal. We just went through that here, with this exact example.

    w.

    PS—You’ll come out looking better if you ask questions rather than make statements that are foolishly incorrect.

  92. @David J. Ameling

    High altitude black particulates capture the heat and radiate it into space before conduction and convection can tranfer the heat to the atmosphere. Low altitude black particulates capture the heat and transfer the heat to the atmosphere by conduction and convection better than the heat captured by the earths surface. This causes warming.

    +++++

    What happens at night? The heat capture in the daytime and efficiency of radiation on the sunny side is not balanced by the conditions at night. The ‘average insolation’ is not appropriate here. The reason is that BC is uniquely able to pick up all frequencies but kick out IR very well, as well. This is not usually the case with gases. Any global dimming from airborne BC is heating the air and in effect, reflecting energy (because it emits so well). On the other hand, BC particles below 0.1 micrometers do not scatter light. Can they radiate in IR if they cannot pick it up? I will ask my FTIR guy about that.

    That aside, does the difference in the working temperature (day/night) work in favour of net heating or net cooling? At night, BC above 0.1 microns can collect collisional energy from the atmosphere and radiate it in the IR. It is literally a radiator.

  93. 1DandyTroll says:

    Why is it that with all the calculations of earth’s temperature, no thought is spent on the several thousand degrees celsius core nor that just one kilometer down it is some 35°C. What I’m wondering is why not fluctuations in the core temperature eventually are felt, so to speak, on the surface? After all, those 35°C/Km for our first kilometer down is, apparently, not very static, so if that fluctuates with a couple of degrees up and down wouldn’t the surface temperature follow suite?

    Because calculations show that the rate of heat transfer to the surface is simply too small to be significant. In particular, thermal conduction is a slow way to transfer heat. Here is a calculation (actually a nice problem for 1st year physics students) based on the typical geothermal gradient of 22 C per km and a typical thermal conductivity of granite rock of 3 W/(m*K). The result is a rate of heat flow of 0.066 W/m^2. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_gradient )

    If you compare that to the 4 W/m^2 of radiative forcing one gets from doubling CO2 levels, you can see that this heat flow corresponds to about a 1% increase in CO2 levels. And, note that this is looking at the total value of the heat flow. Variations in this average value of the heat flow will be smaller still.

  94. You say:
    “As Richard Kerr has just amply demonstrated, the understanding of climate even among scientists is still far too poor to serve as a base for any kind of policy decisions.”
    ==========
    And as long as they think the Earth gets to be 33 degrees Celsius, or Kelvin, warmer than the 255 K the Sun can provide just because the surface gets back half the energy it emits –

    I say: “the understanding of climate, especially among scientists, is going to stay too poor to serve as a base for any kind of policy-, or any other decisions.

  95. Let’s not forget the effect black carbon has on glaciers in the Himalyas that was noted back when Glaciergate was in the news. For example, see

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/03/lbnl-on-himalayas-greenhouse-gases-alone-are-not-nearly-enough-to-be-responsible-for-the-snow-melt/

    which opens with

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, and announcement that comes at a very inconvenient time for IPCC and Pachauri while their “Glaciergate” issue rages. Aerosols and black carbon are tagged as the major drivers.

  96. Does the carbon shield have enough energy to heat the surface 20 Km below?

    Heat rises ir doesn’t exactly sink unless the whole space becomes saturated, but then it would still be colder at the surface ‘an the top.

  97. How about your thought experiment with the BC shell at 1m above the surface?
    With the normal greenhouse effect operating mostly above the shell, I’ll bet the surface temperature is increased (due to the albedo change).

  98. Willys say: “No, I haven’t forgotten that, Jan. It doesn’t happen. If the planet is warmer than the shell it will lose energy to the shell until they are in thermal equilibrium. The same will happen if it is cooler than the shell, it will warm until equilibrium.”

    Well, have you thought about how that stream of energy from the warm part to the cold part will happen? Basically heat transfer can happen in three different ways, conduction, convection and radiation.

    Since air is a very good insulator, we can eliminate the conduction part when we talk about long atmospheric distances since the effect would be negligible.

    If I understand you thought experiment correctly, with the air so full of black carbon that all radiation is immediately absorbed, we can also eliminate the radiation element.

    Then we only have the convection element back, i.e. the moving air. And then if you move a volume unit of air up to a lower pressure, the temperature falls according to the thermodynamic laws. This is causing the lapse rate effect with cooler air in the height.

    This is all on the precondition that we have a real world condition with a turbulent atmosphere. You link to a thought experiment with a cylinder of non-moving gas. You are right that if you have such a perfectly insulated and air tight cylinder, the gas will not move, and the temperature will be equal all over. But it is hard to imagine that such non-moving air conditions can exist on a planet. The different energy input on day and night side is just one of the factors which will create an imbalance which again will make the air move and create a turbulent system.

  99. @feet2thefire

    Did anyone claim that it was warmer where these glaciers are retreating? Remember Arctic ice in 2007? All that noise about AGW’s litmus proof? The air was not warmer, was it? It was warm water pushing in through the Bering Strait and the multi-year ice being blown past the northern tip of Greenland, drifting south and melting. Just because ice disappears is no proof of systemic warming. If people were not so bent on looking for confirmation bias, rational explanations would be easier to find.

  100. Paul Kelly says:
    February 8, 2012 at 5:01 am

    willis, Do a second thought experiment. Put your carbon black shell one meter above the surface of the earth. In that case we’ve replaced the earth’s surface with a perfect black body, but we still have greenhouse gasses reabsorbing and emitting infared radiation, so the net effect has to be warming. Now gradually move the shell further and further from the earth’s surface. If you are correct that at a distance of 20 kilometers from the eatth’s surface the shell results in cooling, then somewhere between one meter and 20 kilometers the effect has to change from warming to cooling. The implication is that the effect of black carbon depends on the height of the carbon in the atmosphere. My guess is that the average height is closer to one meter than to 20 kilometers, so the net effect is warming.

    Paul, you are correct that in your experiment you have “replaced the earth’s surface with a perfect black body”.

    But we’re not talking about surface carbon. We’re talking atmospheric carbon. Up in the sky, you know, above our heads. Not replacing the surface.

    Remember what both Ramanathan and I agree on. Atmospheric carbon warms the atmosphere, but it cools the surface. When the atmosphere absorbs absorbs a photon of solar radiation, the atmosphere warms but the greenhouse multiplier effect of that photon is lost forever, so the surface cools. There is a bit more energy in the system, due to lower albedo. However, it goes to the atmosphere, not the surface, because the greenhouse efficiency has decreased.

    my best to you,

    w.

  101. Wasn’t this tested during the First Gulf War when Saddam set all the Kuwaiti oil wells on fire (not him personally and not all of them). Regardless, didn’t the models of the time (constructed to estimate the effect of GNW) predict a cooling effect and were they not proven wrong when nothing much really happened?

  102. “peeke says:
    February 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm
    Incoming is visible light. Outgoing is IR. No mystics, nothing to do with Hansen either. The way you seem to think thermodynamics work refrigerators can’t exist.
    peeke says:
    February 8, 2012 at 11:58 am
    Won’t BC function as condensation cores, and thus effectively increase rather then decrease the albedo of earth?”

    Peeke, so putting all that together one would get cooling of atmosphere. By this mechanism;

    Incoming Solar 100%
    Reflected from surface 4%
    ” ” atmosphere 6%
    reflected by clouds 20%
    Absorbed by clouds and atmosphere 19%
    Available at surface 51% 100%

    Radiated to atmosphere from surface 21% Distribution of UWR
    Radiated directly to space from atmosphere ( 6%) after themalisation.
    radiation absorbed by atmosphere 15%)

    Heat absorbed in clouds from surface 23%
    Convection force of rising air 7%
    Radiated directly to space from clouds & atmosphere 64%
    Radiated directly to space from surface after
    radiation absorbed by atmosphere 6% 100%

    Increasing albedo would reduce force available to convection and heat absorption in clouds. Cooling.

    Next.

  103. This didn’t come out to well.

    Radiated to atmosphere from surface 21%
    Radiated directly to space from atmosphere (6%)
    radiation absorbed by atmosphere (15%)

    Distribution of UWR from surface.

  104. Willis says:”When that energy is radiated back out towards space, some of the energy is absorbed by the atmosphere.

    About half of that energy is radiated from the atmosphere back to earth, while the rest is radiated back to space. As a result, the earth ends up warmer than it would be without “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere.

    Could you be more specific as to the word “energy”?

  105. Oh by the way peeke, it can also follow that mass extinction of megafauna and flora, can occur by rapid increase in albedo, upper atmospheric disturbances lost to space, and a decrease in pressure affecting biochemical absorptions to such a extent, whole biological systems failed and became unsurvivable in a completely different atmospheric pressure.

    Volcano’s may have very well exterminated the dinosaurs but not by greenhouse.

    Troposphere would cool initially whilst upper atmosphere would warm losing more mass to space. With a of gradual increase in Earths near surface temperature as pressure increases over times-scales. Just as is the geological record since the last glacial, with a couple of little joy rides in between.

    Get ready for another joy ride as the Suns isolation, and planetary harmonics, cause a loss of atmosphere from recent climate anomalies.

    Next.

  106. Joel, good to hear from you.

    Joel Shore says:
    February 8, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:

    Joel, if you want to propose that some hugely unlikely thing interferes to make it so a little bit of carbon warms and a lot cools, be my guest. You might even have a chance of someone believing you if you can propose a plausible mechanism that does that.

    I explained the mechanism: The surface temperature is determined by the top-of-the-atmosphere radiative balance as long as there is sufficient warming of the surface and cooling of the upper layers of the troposphere to peg the lapse rate at the appropriate adiabatic lapse rate.

    All you have done is repeat the crazy mantra that the surface temperature is determined by the TOA radiation and the TOA radiation alone. You can’t assume that, Joel, that’s what you are trying to prove, that the incredibly complex climate is perfectly linear in the form of

    ∆T = λ ∆F

    and you have given us nothing to support the validity of your presumed equation. Nor, despite my requests, has anyone given me an example of a complex natural flow system where the operating conditions are a linear function of the inputs. A river is a good place to start.

    In addition, even that claim doesn’t “explain the mechanism”. I say BC is cooling now, and it will be cooling no matter how much carbon you add. One mechanism

    You say there will be a switchover. You say BC is warming now, but that at some point as the concentration increases it will cease to be warming and start cooling. That’s the part you haven’t explained. How and when does that happen?

    Until then? I’ll go with Occam and say you’re grasping at straws, as AGW folks are doing all over the world these days.

    Well, you seem to go with Occam only in certain contexts. In the context of climate sensitivity, you believe that approximating it as being linear over a fairly small range of forcings is totally unjustified.

    I don’t believe that because of Occam. I believe it because I have produced a lot of evidence saying it’s so. I have shown, for example, that during an average tropical day, climate sensitivity is high in the morning, low around noon, and sometimes goes negative in the afternoons. If you think that is at all representable as an average, you’re not the scientist I believe you to be. Remember that the “narrow range” you are discussing goes from -80°C in Antarctica to 40°C in the deserts.

    However, in this case, you believe that you can go from one extreme to a dramaticaly different extreme and that the behavior of the surface temperature will be nice and monotonic.

    I don’t think it will be monotonic. I do think if you are proposing that the effect of adding carbon will be warming early and cooling late you need to explain how, where, and why the changeover will occur.

    But in any case, Zeke, Ramanathan agrees with me, that the surface forcing will decrease from BC.

    No…The surface forcing due to radiative effects ONLY is negative from BC. However, the surface temperature is not determined by the surface radiative forcing. It is determined more by the TOA forcing. As Ramanathan himself explains:

    “The TOA BC forcing implies that BC has a surface warming effect of about 0.5 to 1 °C, where we have assumed a climate sensitivity of 2 to 4 ºC for a doubling of CO2.”

    Man, talk about selective quoting, you should be up for some kind of prize. Ramanathan’s next sentence continues:

    Because BC forcing results in a vertical redistribution of the solar forcing, a simple scaling of the forcing with the CO2 doubling climate sensitivity parameter may not be appropriate.

    Ya think? He’s saying, you cannot ignore the reduction in greenhouse efficiency. He’s saying it “implies” that but we can’t simply do that. In fact, he shows exactly how that 0.9 W/m2 is split between the atmosphere and the surface.

    One of the ironies of the climate debate is that AGW skeptics often claim that the consensus scientists are too hung up on radiation and ignore convective effects when the truth is exactly the opposite: It is often AGW skeptics who look at the surface radiative balance, thus ignoring convection. The consensus scientists understand the correct way to look at things: You consider the top-of-the-atmosphere balance that is in fact determined by radiative effects because that is the only game in town between the Earth and space. Then, you know that the surface temperature will be determined by that balance plus the fact that convection’s role is to keep the troposphere near the (appropriate) adiabatic lapse rate.

    Again with the “TOA determines the surface temperature” nonsense. Did you ever hear of clouds? You guys all claim that if there is a change in the TOA, the only thing that can re-balance the equation is increasing temperature. In fact, there are three other possibilities.

    The first one is what we’ve just seen Ramanathan and I both explain independently. TOA radiation can go up while the surface radiation (and thus temperature) goes down.

    The second is that clouds can decrease the amount of incoming energy. It only takes a trivial change in the clouds to completely counterbalance a doubling of CO2.

    The third is that the system can increase the throughput, the amount of energy that is simply transported from the equator to the poles.

    That’s three mechanisms, Joel. Three. Three mechanisms that decouple TOA forcing from surface temperature. So please, stop with the “TOA determines surface temperature” nonsense.

    Finally, you imply I am ignoring conduction. What conduction do you think is relevant to this discussion, and how am I ignoring it?

    Best regards,

    w.

  107. Philip T. Downman says:
    February 8, 2012 at 5:51 am

    But..if you exchange black carbon to infra red carbon dioxide? It absorbs incoming infra red light, whereby it is heated and thus emits energy, half of it back into space and half of it down to the earth’s surface. Does that also mean that CO2 cools the surface? It acts as a shield against infra red light from the sun?

    The difference is that CO2 is transparent to visible light, where much of the solar energy is located.

    Black carbon, on the other hand, intercepts the sunlight and prevents the greenhouse effect from occurring.

    w.

  108. Hu McCulloch says:
    February 8, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Willis — An interesting thought experiment, as ususal, but I don’t think it works:

    If there is a shell of black carbon 20 km up that is impenetrable to radiation, and its temperature is 5.5 dC, the adiabatic lapse rate below will make the surface very toasty. I basically agree with Leonard Weinstein above (2/8, 5:32 AM).

    Hu, good to hear from you. However, in such a case there would be no adiabatic lapse rate. The planet would be at the same temperature as the shell, and the atmosphere would be isothermal. See the Jelbring thread.

    w.

  109. mkelly says:
    February 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Willis says:”When that energy is radiated back out towards space, some of the energy is absorbed by the atmosphere.

    About half of that energy is radiated from the atmosphere back to earth, while the rest is radiated back to space. As a result, the earth ends up warmer than it would be without “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere.

    Could you be more specific as to the word “energy”?

    Not sure what you’re asking. It’s energy. It exists in various forms. In this discussion we’re talking about longwave (infrared) thermal radiation, as well as sensible heat.

    w.

  110. “‘Black carbon, on the other hand, intercepts the sunlight and prevents the greenhouse effect from occurring.””

    Hi Willis, good to see you’re cutting them up here. No need to answer but, would it be insubordinate if I suggested that:

    “”Black carbon, on the other hand, intercepts the sunlight and prevents the atmospheric illumination/enhancement effect””.

  111. Markus Fitzhenry says:
    February 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    “‘Black carbon, on the other hand, intercepts the sunlight and prevents the greenhouse effect from occurring.””

    Hi Willis, good to see you’re cutting them up here. No need to answer but, would it be insubordinate if I suggested that:

    “”Black carbon, on the other hand, intercepts the sunlight and prevents the atmospheric illumination/enhancement effect””.

    Thanks, Markus. It would definitely be incomprehensible to me if you suggested that, as I know of nothing called the “atmospheric illumination/enhancement effect”.

    w.

  112. “”Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm Thanks, Markus. It would definitely be incomprehensible to me if you suggested that, as I know of nothing called the “atmospheric illumination/enhancement effect””.

    Funny that, I still trying to get my head around the fact there is a greenhouse effect, if black coal cools.

  113. @Markus Fitzhenry,

    “Peeke, so putting all that together one would get cooling of atmosphere.”

    That depends. A rise in CO2 levels of the atmosphere causes more heat to be trapped and more BC causes albedo to increase. What I wanted to say is that I think the albedo change may very well be far more important than any other effect.

    “Next”

    I am frightfully sorry if I don’t seem to understand this, but what do you mean by that?

  114. Willis says: “Not sure what you’re asking. It’s energy. It exists in various forms. In this discussion we’re talking about longwave (infrared) thermal radiation, as well as sensible heat.”

    w.

    Pertaining to the longwave IR thermal radiation would you show a radiative heat transfer equation using the surface and CO2, please? Assuming surface to be 255 K to start.

    Thank you for your prior response.

  115. Willis Eschenbach says:

    All you have done is repeat the crazy mantra that the surface temperature is determined by the TOA radiation and the TOA radiation alone. You can’t assume that, Joel, that’s what you are trying to prove, that the incredibly complex climate is perfectly linear in the form of

    ∆T = λ ∆F

    and you have given us nothing to support the validity of your presumed equation. Nor, despite my requests, has anyone given me an example of a complex natural flow system where the operating conditions are a linear function of the inputs. A river is a good place to start.

    You can always linearize a function about a point if you look over a small enough range. The question then becomes what the range is over which the approximation that it is roughly linear holds.

    In addition, even that claim doesn’t “explain the mechanism”. I say BC is cooling now, and it will be cooling no matter how much carbon you add. One mechanism

    You say there will be a switchover. You say BC is warming now, but that at some point as the concentration increases it will cease to be warming and start cooling. That’s the part you haven’t explained. How and when does that happen?

    Yes…I have explained it. You just aren’t listening to the explanation: I have said that as you increase black carbon, you increase the TOA radiative balance and hence you cause warming of the troposphere. That warming should translate to warming down at the surface provided that there is sufficient heating from below and cooling from above to maintain the lapse rate at the adiabatic lapse rate.

    Where the switch from warming to cooling happens is when the black carbon shell gets so thick that the atmosphere is no longer being warmed from below and cold from above sufficiently to maintain the lapse rate at the adiabatic lapse rate.

    Man, talk about selective quoting, you should be up for some kind of prize. Ramanathan’s next sentence continues:

    Because BC forcing results in a vertical redistribution of the solar forcing, a simple scaling of the forcing with the CO2 doubling climate sensitivity parameter may not be appropriate.

    Ya think? He’s saying, you cannot ignore the reduction in greenhouse efficiency. He’s saying it “implies” that but we can’t simply do that. In fact, he shows exactly how that 0.9 W/m2 is split between the atmosphere and the surface.

    Alas, your quoting is selective too. If you read the next sentence after that, he says: “For example, GCMs suggest that the reduction of sea ice and snow albedo by BC is three times as effective as CO2 forcing for global average surface warming.” So, no, he is not saying that the BCs are likely to cause surface cooling…He is in fact saying that they may warm the surface more dramatically than would be predicted by assuming the same sensitivity to forcing as for CO2.

    Again with the “TOA determines the surface temperature” nonsense. Did you ever hear of clouds? You guys all claim that if there is a change in the TOA, the only thing that can re-balance the equation is increasing temperature. In fact, there are three other possibilities.

    The first one is what we’ve just seen Ramanathan and I both explain independently. TOA radiation can go up while the surface radiation (and thus temperature) goes down.

    No…Ramanathan does not say that. He does say that surface radiation goes down but he does not say that this leads to a lower surface temperature because he knows that what is more important is the TOA energy balance (or, to put it another way, that a decrease in convection can compensate for a decrease in surface radiation).

    The second is that clouds can decrease the amount of incoming energy. It only takes a trivial change in the clouds to completely counterbalance a doubling of CO2.

    Well, if you want to make the claim that clouds do counterbalance things in the case of black carbon, then it would be helpful to show some evidence for this. However, I would also note that your thought experiment didn’t include changes in clouds either (although I suppose clouds may be irrelevant in the sort of bizarre extreme that you went to where the carbon extends to above the clouds, completely blocking out the radiation from getting down to the clouds). At any rate, I don’t see why we should consider your thought experiment of taking the atmosphere to a ridiculous extreme as more definitive in determining the effect of black carbon in the current climate than we should consider intelligent thinking about the effect of black carbon on the TOA radiative balance.

    The third is that the system can increase the throughput, the amount of energy that is simply transported from the equator to the poles.

    That is not relevant to the global energy balance at the top-of-the-atmosphere. You would still have BC causing a radiative imbalance that has to be compensated by warming.

    That’s three mechanisms, Joel. Three. Three mechanisms that decouple TOA forcing from surface temperature. So please, stop with the “TOA determines surface temperature” nonsense.

    …Only one of which could even plausibly cause a decoupling significant enough to be important, and very doubtful that any of them will change the sign from warming to cooling.

    Finally, you imply I am ignoring conduction. What conduction do you think is relevant to this discussion, and how am I ignoring it?

    Convection, not conduction. You are so focused on the surface radiative balance that you are ignoring the fact that changes in the radiative balance between the surface and the troposphere can easily be counteracted by changes in convection. That is why what is important at the end of the day is the top-of-the-atmosphere radiative balance, at least as long as you are in the regime where the heating and cooling distribution is sufficient to spark convection in the troposphere.

  116. mkelly says:
    February 9, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Pertaining to the longwave IR thermal radiation would you show a radiative heat transfer equation using the surface and CO2, please? Assuming surface to be 255 K to start.

    Sounds like you have some point you want to make. How about you just make it, and skip the Socratic questions? It might be faster, particularly since I have no clue what you are trying to get to.

    Thanks,

    w.

  117. Joel Shore says:
    February 9, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:

    All you have done is repeat the crazy mantra that the surface temperature is determined by the TOA radiation and the TOA radiation alone. You can’t assume that, Joel, that’s what you are trying to prove, that the incredibly complex climate is perfectly linear in the form of

    ∆T = λ ∆F

    and you have given us nothing to support the validity of your presumed equation. Nor, despite my requests, has anyone given me an example of a complex natural flow system where the operating conditions are a linear function of the inputs. A river is a good place to start.

    You can always linearize a function about a point if you look over a small enough range. The question then becomes what the range is over which the approximation that it is roughly linear holds.

    Indeed, that is the question. I have shown that it doesn’t hold over the period of a day. If it doesn’t work over a day …

    In addition, even that claim doesn’t “explain the mechanism”. I say BC is cooling now, and it will be cooling no matter how much carbon you add. One mechanism

    You say there will be a switchover. You say BC is warming now, but that at some point as the concentration increases it will cease to be warming and start cooling. That’s the part you haven’t explained. How and when does that happen?

    Yes…I have explained it. You just aren’t listening to the explanation: I have said that as you increase black carbon, you increase the TOA radiative balance and hence you cause warming of the troposphere. That warming should translate to warming down at the surface provided that there is sufficient heating from below and cooling from above to maintain the lapse rate at the adiabatic lapse rate.

    Where the switch from warming to cooling happens is when the black carbon shell gets so thick that the atmosphere is no longer being warmed from below and cold from above sufficiently to maintain the lapse rate at the adiabatic lapse rate.

    Ah. Sorry, I thought that couldn’t be your explanation.

    As I have shown here and here, Joel, you don’t need a lapse rate to have a greenhouse. You don’t even need an atmosphere.

    As a result, it is clear that the lapse rate is the result rather than the cause of the greenhouse effect.

    Finally, you say that the cooling will start when “the atmosphere is no longer being warmed from below and cold from above”. But that process is not an either-or thing. What you are describing is the loss of efficiency of the greenhouse effect, and that cooling starts as soon as the carbon is added.

    Man, talk about selective quoting, you should be up for some kind of prize. Ramanathan’s next sentence continues:

    Because BC forcing results in a vertical redistribution of the solar forcing, a simple scaling of the forcing with the CO2 doubling climate sensitivity parameter may not be appropriate.

    Ya think? He’s saying, you cannot ignore the reduction in greenhouse efficiency. He’s saying it “implies” that but we can’t simply do that. In fact, he shows exactly how that 0.9 W/m2 is split between the atmosphere and the surface.

    Alas, your quoting is selective too. If you read the next sentence after that, he says: “For example, GCMs suggest that the reduction of sea ice and snow albedo by BC is three times as effective as CO2 forcing for global average surface warming.” So, no, he is not saying that the BCs are likely to cause surface cooling…He is in fact saying that they may warm the surface more dramatically than would be predicted by assuming the same sensitivity to forcing as for CO2.

    Either way, Joel, whether it will be more or less forcing, what he is saying is that you cannot use TOA forcing to estimate the warming.

    Again with the “TOA determines the surface temperature” nonsense. Did you ever hear of clouds? You guys all claim that if there is a change in the TOA, the only thing that can re-balance the equation is increasing temperature. In fact, there are three other possibilities.

    The first one is what we’ve just seen Ramanathan and I both explain independently. TOA radiation can go up while the surface radiation (and thus temperature) goes down.

    No…Ramanathan does not say that. He does say that surface radiation goes down but he does not say that this leads to a lower surface temperature because he knows that what is more important is the TOA energy balance (or, to put it another way, that a decrease in convection can compensate for a decrease in surface radiation).

    No, Ramanathan doesn’t know that what is more important is TOA balance. That is just the oft-repeated assertion that ∆T = λ ∆F. You and Ramanathan keep trying to assume that, when it is what the AGW supporters have tried and failed to establish.

    In addition, he doesn’t even know if the TOA balance from carbon is positive or negative, the errors are too large.

    But I am overjoyed that you finally, after all these years, seem to be agreeing that the surface temperature is NOT a slavish function of the TOA forcing. Let me explain why.

    According to Ramanathan, the changes from BC are an increased forcing of 2.6 W/m2 for the atmosphere, and a decreased forcing of 1.7 W/m2 for the surface, giving a net TOA forcing of 0.9 W/m2.

    So lets suppose that a slightly different substance, I’ll call it “almost black carbon”, has almost the same effect as black carbon, except that it doesn’t warm the atmosphere quite as much. Suppose it only warms the atmosphere by 1.7 W/m2.

    Now, that is a perfectly physically feasible and possible outcome … but that means that there won’t be your claimed TOA rebalancing, because there’s no change in TOA forcing. And that in turn means that

    ∆T λ ∆F

    Ponder on that situation, my friend. Black carbon repartitions the energy between the surface and the atmosphere. But once you allow for the possibility of repartitioning, it means that surface temperature is decoupled from TOA forcing, and the canonical equation of the field is shown to be wrong.

    The second is that clouds can decrease the amount of incoming energy. It only takes a trivial change in the clouds to completely counterbalance a doubling of CO2.

    Well, if you want to make the claim that clouds do counterbalance things in the case of black carbon, then it would be helpful to show some evidence for this.

    I have shown evidence that clouds respond, not to black carbon, but to any change in temperature. The thing about the cloud governing mechanism is that its parameters are not set by the forcing. They are set by the surface temperature. I used to see this from my porch, looking out over the tropical Pacific ocean. As soon as a hot spot develops anywhere in my field of vision, a cloud pops up to cool it down.

    It’s not run by the forcing. It doesn’t matter what is causing the warming, the slow warming of the sun over millions of years, the warming of the day, or the warming from black carbon. When the het spot develops, the clouds appear to cool it down. If just clouds aren’t enough, then thunderstorms develop and dump mega-tonnes of cold water to chill things out.

    However, I would also note that your thought experiment didn’t include changes in clouds either (although I suppose clouds may be irrelevant in the sort of bizarre extreme that you went to where the carbon extends to above the clouds, completely blocking out the radiation from getting down to the clouds). At any rate, I don’t see why we should consider your thought experiment of taking the atmosphere to a ridiculous extreme as more definitive in determining the effect of black carbon in the current climate than we should consider intelligent thinking about the effect of black carbon on the TOA radiative balance.

    You know me, Joel, I’m always for intelligent thinking. The example of black carbon repartitioning of forcing between the surface and the atmosphere falsifies the claim that ∆T = λ ∆F. In other words, surface temperature is not simply a function of TOA forcing. What are your intelligent thoughts on that?

    The third is that the system can increase the throughput, the amount of energy that is simply transported from the equator to the poles.

    That is not relevant to the global energy balance at the top-of-the-atmosphere. You would still have BC causing a radiative imbalance that has to be compensated by warming.

    Again you are neglecting the effect of partitioning. Not all of the energy entering the tropics raises the surface temperature. Some merely passes through the system, from equator to poles, and is rejected at the cold end of the massive heat engine that is the climate.

    The question is the partitioning. All of the energy, as you point out, has to leave the planet to maintain the overall TOA energy balance. But that requirement does not uniquely determine the surface temperature. It depends on how much of that energy is heating the surface and how much of the energy is just passing through.

    One way to consider this is the idea of “greenhouse efficiency” or alternatively “greenhouse multiplier”. There are various ways to measure this, but it measures how much (in blackbody radiation terms) the system is able to jack the surface temperature above the expected theoretical S-B temperature. For simplicity, let’s use a multiplier calculated as (blackbody radiation from current temperature) divided by (Incoming solar after albedo). Incoming solar is after albedo is about 235 W/m2, and current surface temperature is about 390 W/m2, so the multiplier of the whole greenhouse system, dogs, cats, and all, is 390 / 235 = 1.66.

    Now, as you might imagine there are a host of things that affect that multiplier. One is how much outgoing radiation is intercepted by the atmosphere. Another is how much incoming radiation is intercepted by the atmosphere. And of course, both of those can change on both short and long time scales.

    And when that happens, as the black carbon example establishes, the surface temperature can change without the TOA forcing changing. When the greenhouse system gets less efficient, surface temperature drops and atmospheric temperature rises.

    That’s three mechanisms, Joel. Three. Three mechanisms that decouple TOA forcing from surface temperature. So please, stop with the “TOA determines surface temperature” nonsense.

    …Only one of which could even plausibly cause a decoupling significant enough to be important, and very doubtful that any of them will change the sign from warming to cooling.

    I believe I have demonstrated above that all three are significant.

    Finally, you imply I am ignoring conduction. What conduction do you think is relevant to this discussion, and how am I ignoring it?

    Convection, not conduction. You are so focused on the surface radiative balance that you are ignoring the fact that changes in the radiative balance between the surface and the troposphere can easily be counteracted by changes in convection. That is why what is important at the end of the day is the top-of-the-atmosphere radiative balance, at least as long as you are in the regime where the heating and cooling distribution is sufficient to spark convection in the troposphere.

    My bad, reading too fast, read “conduction” in place of “convection”.

    But you miss the point. The BC example shows that changes in internal distribution of the energy can occur on an ongoing basis with no change to the TOA radiation. It is not the be-all and end-all of the system.

    The climate is a huge natural heat engine. It does a stupendous amount of work driving the circulation of the ocean and the atmosphere. Like any heat engine, it has a hot (tropics) and cold (poles) end. Like any heat engine, it does not utilize all of the energy passing through it, some merely goes through and is rejected at the cold end.

    The oddity of natural heat engines is that they are always running as fast as they possibly can given the physical constraints. The are always adapting and changing to maximize the sum of throughput plus turbulence.

    In the case of the climate, it is also a governed system, with the governor being the hourly and daily evolution of the clouds and thunderstorms. The clouds are a throttle, that regulates the incoming energy.

    You AGW folks keep wanting to claim that changes in the operating temperature of this huge complex heat engine are a linear function of changes in forcing. But the forcing varies over a very wide range on an hourly, daily, monthly, yearly, and long term basis … and despite that, the operating temperature of the system changes very little. It’s not set by the forcing, Joel.

    The operating temperature of a natural heat engine running as fast as it can (as all of them do) is set by the physics of wind and wave and temperature and cloud formation. It is not a function of forcing.

    Off to work, gotta pound nails, take big pieces of wood, cut them into smaller pieces, and assemble them into a structure …

    My very best to you,

    w.

  118. Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 9, 2012 at 10:55 am
    mkelly says:
    February 9, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Pertaining to the longwave IR thermal radiation would you show a radiative heat transfer equation using the surface and CO2, please? Assuming surface to be 255 K to start.

    Sounds like you have some point you want to make. How about you just make it, and skip the Socratic questions? It might be faster, particularly since I have no clue what you are trying to get to.

    Thanks,

    w.

    I ask for a radiative heat transfer equation straight up. That is the point. I have asked Joel Shore (you know Joel) he has declined. I have asked Mr. Connelly, I think you know him, also and he declined. I have asked a fair number of people on different sites for the equation and no one will show how radiation from atmosphere heats the surface via a standard radiative heat transfer equation.

    Thanks in advance.

  119. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Indeed, that is the question. I have shown that it doesn’t hold over the period of a day. If it doesn’t work over a day …

    I’m not sure what this means. I don’t know how you would even try to measure the global climate forcing and resulting temperature change over the period of one day.

    As I have shown here and here, Joel, you don’t need a lapse rate to have a greenhouse. You don’t even need an atmosphere.

    As a result, it is clear that the lapse rate is the result rather than the cause of the greenhouse effect.

    Yes, you do need a lapse rate to have a greenhouse. It is discussed very clearly in Ray Pierrehumbert’s book (p. 148 if I remember correctly). If the temperature of the radiating level is the same as the temperature of the surface, then there is no greenhouse effect. [And, of course, Nikolov and Zeller just rediscovered this by putting convection into the simple shell (or "steel") greenhouse model in such a way that it (incorrectly) drives the two temperatures to be equal and not surprisingly found that the greenhouse effect went away.]

    But, yes, you are correct that the lapse rate is also the result of the greenhouse effect. What happens is that the radiative greenhouse effect would alone set up a lapse rate that would even exceed the observed lapse rate; however, since lapse rates steeper than the adiabatic lapse rate are unstable to convection, convection occurs and lowers the lapse rate back down to the appropriate adiabatic lapse rate.

    Finally, you say that the cooling will start when “the atmosphere is no longer being warmed from below and cold from above”. But that process is not an either-or thing. What you are describing is the loss of efficiency of the greenhouse effect, and that cooling starts as soon as the carbon is added.

    No…because the thing currently limiting the lapse rate is convection. If you start to warm the upper troposphere and cool the surface by radiative forcings, what will happen is not that the lapse rate will significantly decrease but rather that convection will decrease to compensate and the lapse rate will remain about the same.

    Ponder on that situation, my friend. Black carbon repartitions the energy between the surface and the atmosphere. But once you allow for the possibility of repartitioning, it means that surface temperature is decoupled from TOA forcing, and the canonical equation of the field is shown to be wrong.

    Such decoupling cannot really occur because of the lapse rate in the troposphere being limited by convection. I am not claiming that there can’t be any variability with the nature of the forcing (as there are complexities such as having both moist and dry adiabatic lapse rates), but in general the coupling is pretty strong, much stronger than the coupling of the surface radiative forcing to the surface temperature. This is talked about very nicely in a calculation done by L. Danny Harvey in his book “Global Warming: The Hard Science”.

    It’s not run by the forcing. It doesn’t matter what is causing the warming, the slow warming of the sun over millions of years, the warming of the day, or the warming from black carbon. When the het spot develops, the clouds appear to cool it down. If just clouds aren’t enough, then thunderstorms develop and dump mega-tonnes of cold water to chill things out.

    And, are you claiming that the phenomenon of heating of the surface sparking convection, leading to these clouds and thunderstorms, is not included in climate models? I find that hard to believe. I am certainly almost sure that it is included in numerical weather prediction models. I know that climate models are operating on coarser resolution but they still certainly are going to include this effect in some way.

    And when that happens, as the black carbon example establishes, the surface temperature can change without the TOA forcing changing. When the greenhouse system gets less efficient, surface temperature drops and atmospheric temperature rises.

    So, again, you are predicting a significant change in lapse rate in a troposphere where the lapse rate is pretty much pegged to be near the adiabatic lapse rate by convection.

    You AGW folks keep wanting to claim that changes in the operating temperature of this huge complex heat engine are a linear function of changes in forcing. But the forcing varies over a very wide range on an hourly, daily, monthly, yearly, and long term basis … and despite that, the operating temperature of the system changes very little. It’s not set by the forcing, Joel.

    You are confusing different things here. The climate system has a large amount of thermal inertia (particularly due to the oceans, although even the atmospheric thermal inertia is significant on the diurnal time scale). So, forcings on shorter time scales tend to get damped out. However, that does not mean that this will happen to a forcing on very long time scales, i.e., low frequencies.

    Hope the building went well.
    Cheers,
    Joel

  120. mkelly says:

    I ask for a radiative heat transfer equation straight up. That is the point. I have asked Joel Shore (you know Joel) he has declined.

    In my experience, what you’ve asked for are things that show that you don’t understand how radiative transfer works in the general case where radiation actually travels through a medium (as it does through an atmosphere) as opposed to simplified situations such as solids where all of the radiation is essentially either reflected or absorbed at the boundary. If you want to read about how such situations are dealt with, here is one starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiative_transfer A lot of this stuff goes beyond my expertise and way beyond what probably even anybody who has the expertise can explain to you in the simple soundbite that you seem to desire.

  121. I don’t get all this malfeasance over a harmless bit of good old black gold.

    Black coal on the ground doesn’t assume a different electromagnetic spectrum, by its composition, as the energy around it interacts with single atoms and molecules, its behaviour also depends on the amount of energy per quantum (photon) available.

    Solid, liquid or gas, mass cannot retain more photons then the energy balance around it allows. Hence, Co2 cannot add heat by its composition to the atmosphere.

    I thought is was akin to the universal nature of things. Now that there are other perspectives on how the climate works, the planetary harmonics, solar isolation, galactic energy flows, a complex coupled atmosphere/ocean system, are being seen in a new light.

    Not to mention Nikolav & Zeller knockout, United Theory Of Climate hypotheses. A killer punch to AGW, if there ever was going to be one.

    Who would think, the force of pressure was the enclosure regulating energy flow through the atmosphere? Seems better than having a roof over my head, there’s blue sky above now. I wonder if Baron Fourier owned a greenhouse?
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    The pressure of the atmosphere and bodies of water, has the general effect to render the distribution of heat more uniform. In the ocean and in the lakes, the coldest particles, or rather those whose density is the greatest, are continually tending downwards, and the motion of heat depending on this cause is much more rapid than that which takes place in solid masses in consequence of their connecting power. The mathematical examination of this effect would require exact and numerous observations. These would enable us to understand how this internal motion prevents the internal heat of the globe from becoming sensible in deep waters.

    General Remarks on the Temperature of the Terrestrial Globe and the Planetary Spaces; by Baron Fourier.
    —————————————————————————————————————-

  122. Joel Shore says:
    February 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm
    mkelly says:

    I ask for a radiative heat transfer equation straight up. That is the point. I have asked Joel Shore (you know Joel) he has declined.

    In my experience, what you’ve asked for are things that show that you don’t understand how radiative transfer works in the general case where radiation actually travels through a medium (as it does through an atmosphere) as opposed to simplified situations such as solids where all of the radiation is essentially either reflected or absorbed at the boundary. If you want to read about how such situations are dealt with, here is one starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiative_transfer A lot of this stuff goes beyond my expertise and way beyond what probably even anybody who has the expertise can explain to you in the simple soundbite that you seem to desire.

    Joel you don’t pay attention to the things I have told you in the past. I have my old college heat transfer book and use it for light reading sometimes. I told you that I used it to get my estimate of CO2 emissivity at 1 atm and 288K. (Hottel charts) I asked you what you would use for emissivity of CO2 under the same conditions. You and others fail to answer but still accept that CO2 will transfer heat back to the surface. The emissivity of CO2 at these conditions is a critical component of the transfer equations.

    No matter what the complexity of the issue it still comes down to two requirements for heat transfer 1. a path 2. a TEMPERATURE gradient. You seem to miss that point always. If T1 = T2 then Q is zero.

    If you admit your expertise is short on this then say so and stop telling others they are wrong or don’t understand. As far as I know I have never stated anything not inline with the text book I learned from.

  123. mkelly says:

    The emissivity of CO2 at these conditions is a critical component of the transfer equations.

    As we have told you at least 50 times before, there is no such thing as an emissivity for a gas. You have to specify the amount of gas and you have to specify the EXACT wavelength to many significant figures to talk about such a thing…because the amount of absorption or emission you get from a gas depends on the optical thickness of the gas and the optical thickness depends on both the amount of gas and very sensitively on the wavelength since absorption / emission lines are typically very narrow.

    No matter what the complexity of the issue it still comes down to two requirements for heat transfer 1. a path 2. a TEMPERATURE gradient. You seem to miss that point always. If T1 = T2 then Q is zero.

    Everybody understands it…but you seem to use that fact incorrectly to draw wrong conclusions.

  124. mkelly says:

    If you admit your expertise is short on this then say so and stop telling others they are wrong or don’t understand. As far as I know I have never stated anything not inline with the text book I learned from.

    The difference between us is explained by the Dunning-Kruger Effect ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning_kruger_effect ). I understand enough to know what I don’t know; you apparently do not.

  125. Your 20km high carbon eggshell is not a good model for where soot is really found in the atmosphere, and as such the conclusions you draw are misguided at best. As Zeke has mentioned, soot is unlikely to enter the stratosphere (where your hypothetical eggshell resides). More than 50% of re-radiated energy from low soot will be trapped because there is something above it to absorb that energy.

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