Environmentalist Air Pollution

Guest Post by Ira Glickstein.

What’s the difference between a whimsical fable and an environmental fallacy?

  • On the outside, fables are light-hearted fibs. But oh so true on the inside.
  • Environmental fallacies are just the opposite, serious and plausible on the outside but hiding egregious falsehoods on the inside.

Environmentalists have promoted the theory that human civilization is the main cause of global warming. They argue that Governments worldwide must take immediate drastic action to prevent a catastrophe. The chain of proof in their human-caused climate catastrophe theory is broken in at least six places:

All links in the chain from Theory to Proof are broken

Fossil fuels cause some air pollution, but the most dangerous air pollution comes from the fallacies uttered by environmentalists :^). If the voting public is misled by this kind of “environmentalist air pollution” our free economy will be destroyed, and with it, the most successful experiment so far of free peoples governing themselves. Only a High-Intellect Twit (HITwit), a person who is smart in some academic domain but quite foolish otherwise, could come up with and believe all these fallacies!

Environmental fallacy #1: Scientists have an accurate measure of warming since 1880.

Environmental fallacy #2: Human activities, primarily fossil fuels, are the main cause.

Environmental fallacy #3: Scientists can accurately predict future warming scenarios.

Environmental fallacy #4: Human-caused warming will lead to an environmental disaster.

Environmental fallacy #5: “Green” energy and conservation can replace most fossil fuel.

Environmental fallacy #6: Therefore, the Government must mandate and subsidize “green” energy to save our Planet.

Each of the above statements has a germ of truth that gives a patina of scientific validity to the argument, but none of them can stand close examination.

FALSEHOOD #1. Scientists have an accurate measure of warming since 1880, and it is at least 0.8⁰C.

The statement is false because the very US government-funded scientists charged with analyzing thermometer readings agree that their own past analyses are faulty, or that the raw data is of poor quality, or both. By their own admission, they have had to analyze and re-analyze the data multiple times. They have corrected their previous errors by more than plus or minus a quarter degree, altering the supposed warming trend by up to half a degree.

NASA GISS emails, released under the Freedom of Information Act, include one by climate scientist Makiko Sato [1] that details how official data, issued in 1999 for US mean surface temperatures, showed 1934 more than 0.5⁰C warmer than 1998.  That result, indicating a strong cooling trend in the US, was, let us say, inconvenient for the case of a warming world. Sato details seven adjustments that cooled 1934 and warmed 1998 until, according to three 2007 analyses, they were nearly equal, a net change of more than half a degree. (Re-analysis continued after Sato’s 2007 email. According to the latest available reports [2], 1998 was 0.078⁰C warmer than 1934. Our tax dollars at work! The 1934 data is old enough to collect Social Security, yet they are still making it work for them.)

This is not a cherry-picked example. Starting in 2001, virtually all officially reported US temperatures prior to the 1970′s have been systematically adjusted down, thus exaggerating apparent warming. Temperatures after the 1970′s have been systematically adjusted up, further exaggerating the claimed warming. [3]

Apologists point out that this is only US surface temperature data and the US covers only about 2% of the Earth’s surface. However, if US data analyzed by US scientists has half a degree of “adjustment” slop in it, how much worse must worldwide data be?  If the wiggle room in data analysis (0.5⁰C) is almost as large as what they claim to have measured (0.8⁰C), the official US, UK and other adjusted climate data has no scientific validity. It is anecdotal, at best.

The truth: The Earth has warmed a bit since 1880, but no more than 0.4⁰C.

FALSEHOOD #2.
Human activities, primarily fossil fuels, are the main cause.

This statement is false because, even as carbon dioxide (CO2) levels continue their rapid exponential rise [4], global temperatures, as measured by satellite sensors [5] over the past dozen years, have stabilized and even dropped a bit. If CO2 was the main cause of temperature rise, temperatures would have had to go up over this period, at least a bit. They have not, which disproves the strength of the causal relationship. There must be other causes that are greater than burning fossil fuels.

The Truth: While human-caused CO2 and other “greenhouse” gases undoubtedly have effects on temperatures, they are not the main cause of recent warming. Human activities will not, indeed cannot, cause any kind of “tipping point” or “runaway” warming.  It is becoming clear the main cause is natural cycles, such as Solar activity that modulates cosmic rays [6], and multi-decadal ocean oscillations, neither of which is under control or influence by humans.

One way to “lie with statistics” is to plot the data with an axis of the graph at an arbitrary value that exaggerates the variations. The figure below plots Temperature in Kelvin (above Absolute Zero) against CO2 levels referenced to zero, and indicates that Temperatures have remained quite stable as CO2 has gone up quite visibly.

On an absolute scale, with the “Y” axis starting from zero, CO2 rises rapidly while temperature is nearly flat

FALSEHOOD #3. Scientists can accurately predict future warming scenarios.

This statement is false because official warming scenarios depend upon a misunderstanding of the nature and magnitude of Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity. ECS is how much temperatures will rise given a doubling of CO2.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assumes ECS is a mono-modal distribution with the most likely value lying between 2⁰C to 4.5⁰C, with an asymmetric “fat tail” that extends out to 10⁰C or higher, and with a single peak at 3⁰C. However, this conclusion is based on combining the results of ten separate studies, from 2001 through 2006, that are each quite different [7]. They peak at various temperatures, from 1.1⁰C to 3.8⁰C. Some of the study results hardly overlap. Indeed, the one thing they have in common is their “fat tails” that extend out beyond 6⁰C, which turns out to be impossible based on the limited glaciation of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).

In 2011, Andreas Schmittner showed that ECS is multi-modal, with at least two separate peaks for data taken over land, and five separate peaks for over water [8]. A multi-modal distribution generally indicates that different populations have been conflated and, therefore, all bets are off with respect to the scientific validity of predictions of means that assume a mono-modal variable.

In addition, Schmittner showed that “fat tails” beyond about 6⁰C incorrectly retrodict the LGM as a totally frozen “snowball Earth”. However, it is well known that the LGM did not extend equatorwards beyond 40⁰ north and south latitudes. Thus, ECS-based models are not scientifically valid. [9]

The Truth: All else being equal, a doubling of CO2 levels will increase average temperatures by less than 1⁰C, and most likely less than 0.5⁰C. Climate models overestimate warming because they wrongly assume that clouds, on net, cause positive feedback. They also ignore the effect on cloud formation of cosmic ray modulation due to natural solar cycles.

Indeed, natural forces not under human control or influence are as likely to drive us into a period of global cooling as global warming. Future generations may come to thank us for the bit of added warmth due to our burning of fossil fuels.

FALSEHOOD #4. Human-caused warming will lead to an environmental disaster.

This statement is false because humans simply do not have the capability to cause more than  relatively moderate warming and increases in CO2 levels that cannot imperil human civilization.

The Truth: The supposed disaster of global warming has been overhyped. As Climate-gate and other scandals have revealed, the temperature data have been diddled, the books cooked, and climate models have failed to predict the near-term future, much less the long term.

Predictions of imminent disaster due to human activities are overstated speculations at best. Recent moderate warming and CO2 increases are likely to be of net benefit to human civilization.

FALSEHOOD #5. “Green” energy and conservation can replace most fossil fuel.

This statement will be true at some time in the distant future because fossil fuels are not renewable and therefore cannot last forever. However, for the foreseeable future (a century or two) the statement is clearly false.

Hydroelectric and nuclear power are the two significant “green” sources that make economic sense now and into the forseeable future.

Technological developments have made offshore oil as well as oil sands and shale oil much more attractive than anyone predicted a decade ago. Fracking has driven the price of natural gas way down. Coal to gas, coal to liquid, and other new technologies will make coal, our most plentiful fossil fuel, both cleaner and cheaper.

So-called “green” energy has proven to be much more costly than fossil energy, and, except for some special cases, it cannot succeed in the marketplace without massive government mandates and subsidies.

The Truth: Fossil fuels will be our primary source of energy for many decades into the future, even as “green” energy slowly increases in importance. As fossil sources become scarcer and therefore more and more expensive compared to “green” sources, the energy industry will voluntarily switch to non-fossil energy and consumers will, in their own self-interest, embrace efficiency. To some limited extent that is happening now. It should be encouraged by allowing free market forces to do their magic.

FALSEHOOD #6. Therefore, the Government must mandate and subsidize “green” energy to save our Planet.

This statement is false because the underlying assumptions are false. Our Planet is not in danger. “Green” energy cannot replace most fossil sources in the foreseeable future. And, a “cure” based on Government mandates and subsidies will most likely be worse than the “disease”.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wind, solar, ethanol, or any of the other harebrained schemes the climate change authorities have seduced us into supporting with taxpayer funding. No, the problem is with the process of public funding that inevitably distorts true market forces. It is a process that in-errantly chooses exactly those solutions that benefit special interests while making the real problem worse.

The Truth: Without doubt, fossil fuels are limited. Oil, natural gas, and even coal may be exhausted within the next century or two. Less expensive sources will run out first. Deep ocean oil, Arctic oil, shale oil, and additional fossil fuel technologies yet to be developed, will eventually raise the price of fossil energy to the point where market forces will drive industry to invest their own money to develop alternatives.

When the government picks winners, using our taxpayer money, you can be sure special interests, such as politically connected corporations and unions, will pressure the bureaucrats to choose net losers. Corn Ethanol has been a gigantic payoff to agricultural interests. It has raised the price of grain worldwide which has been a disaster for the poorest among us. Solar projects, such as Solyndra, wasted billions while creating zero permanent jobs and less than zero usable energy.

Government-provided seed money has been wasted on crazy schemes that have their own environmental drawbacks. Wind power kills birds and exposes animals (including humans :^) to noise pollution. Both wind and solar energy require backup by fossil fueled power plants when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

Private companies invest their hard-earned money only when there is a good chance it will pay off for their investors. Thus, they generally pick net winners. If a private venture turns sour, private money is lost and those responsible may lose their jobs and their employer may be forced out of business. That necessary process has been called “creative destruction”.

When government wastes our money on a loser, no one gets fired. The politically-connected recipients say the equivalent of “oops” (but in more legal mumbo-jumbo words), and keep their profits, except for the fraction they re-invest in further political contributions. The public agency responsible continues to blow taxpayer dollars. (What do we call it when a government program happens to pick a real winner? An accident. :^)

Fossil fuels cause some air pollution, but the most dangerous air pollution comes from the fallacies uttered by environmentalists :^). If the voting public is misled by this kind of “environmentalist air pollution”, our free economy will be destroyed, and with it, the most successful experiment so far of free peoples governing themselves. Only a High-Intellect Twit (HITwit), a person who is smart in some academic domain but quite foolish otherwise, could come up with and believe all these fallacies!

REFERENCES

[1] Makiko Sato, Email dated 14 August 2007 to James Hanson, NASA GISS, Original at http://www.judicialwatch.org/files/documents/2010/783_NASA_docs.pdf (page 48), annotated copy and detailed explanation at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/25/do-we-care-if-2010-is-the-warmist-year-in-history/

[2] NASA GISS, Contiguous 48 U.S. Surface Air Temperature Anomaly (C), accessed 9 June 2012, from http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.D.txt

[3] NASA GISS systematic distortion of US mean temperature data. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/16/the-past-is-not-what-it-used-to-be-gw-tiger-tale/

[4] NOAA Atmospheric CO2 measured at Mauna Loa observatory. http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/#mlo_full

[5] University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) Satellite-Based Temperature of the Lower Global Atmosphere. http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_May_2012.png

[6] Nigel Calder, 2012, Svensmark’s Cosmic Jackpot, http://calderup.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/a-stellar-revision-of-the-story-of-life/

[7] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007, figure 9-20, http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-9-20.html

[8] Schmittner, A., Urban N. M., Shakun, J. D., Mahowald, N. M., Clark, P. U., Bartlein, P. J., Mix, A. C., and Rosell-Melé, A. (2011), Climate Sensitivity Estimated From Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum, Science, 334, 1385-1388,doi: 10.1126/science.1203513. (Behind a paywall, but free access via Schmittner’s blog, http://mgg.coas.oregonstate.edu/~andreas/ Then scroll down to the paper, click on pdf.)

[9] Ira Glickstein, 2011, CO2 Sensitivity is Multi-Modal – All bets are off. An analysis of Schmittner, 2011, paper: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/18/co2-sensitivity-is-multi-modal-all-bets-are-off/

About these ads

118 thoughts on “Environmentalist Air Pollution

  1. Lusting after panic-stricken carbon strangulation policies in order to enrich themselves is the main outcome of these supposedly ‘scientific’ endeavours.

  2. From the text “All else being equal, a doubling of CO2 levels will increase average temperatures by less than 1⁰C, and most likely less than 0.5⁰C. Climate models overestimate warming because they wrongly assume that clouds, on net, cause positive feedback.”

    We know that global temperatures haved been rising ever since the LIA. We have reasonable global temperatures since around 1850. The trend of temperatures has not changed over the time that we have reasonable records, and no-one has detected any CO2 signal in any temperature/time graph. Therefore the empirical data gives a strong indication that the total climate sensitivity for CO2 is indistinguishable from zero. See

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/compress:12/plot/gistemp/compress:12/detrend:0.1/offset:-0.075/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/detrend:-0.83/offset:-0.35/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.0001/detrend:-0.83/offset:-0.9/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.0001/detrend:-0.83/offset:-0.64/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/offset:2/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/offset:-2

  3. Around five years ago I listed the conditions which all have to be true in order for spending on AGW mitigation to be worthwhile:

    1. There has to have been a genuine increase in atmospheric CO2 levels [NB: the source is not relevant]
    2. That increase has to be known to cause climatological changes.
    3. Those changes have to be shown to be deleterious on balance to living organisms.
    4. Stopping or mitigating those deleterious changes has to be possible, given our current circumstances.
    5. Stopping or mitigating those deleterious changes has to cost less than adapting to them.

    Let’s be wildly generous and assign the five claims probabilities of 95%, 90%, 85%, 80% and 75% respectively. Multiplying through, we get 43.6%. In other words, even an extremely generous evaluation of AGW claims leaves us with less than a 50% chance that vast spending on mitigation is justified.

  4. Good stuff… but not a word on nuclear power! Please.

    [Simon, thanks for pointing out my omission of nuclear power. I have just updated the main posting to include nuclear (and hydroelectric) as the two significant "green" power sources for the forseeable future. - Ira]

  5. from subtropical south-east queensland, australia… & thereabouts today….brrrrr!

    12 Oct: Courier Mail: Ricki-Lee Arnold: Dig out the jumpers across the southeast as windy conditions expected to bring a chill this weekend
    STANTHORPE residents woke Friday morning to discover a white wonderland in their backyards.
    Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Matt Bass said Stanthorpe recorded a minimum temperature of 3.5 degrees at 5am and had heard reports from the area that cool temperatures coming from New South Wales had resulted in sleet…
    Residents of Stanthorpe however are claiming they’ve been hit by snow as opposed to sleet.
    Stella Drake told the Granite Belt Wine Country that she had experienced three flurries of snow on Friday morning in Eukey, just south of Stanthorpe…
    Mr Bass said there had also been confirmed reports of October snow from the Snowy Mountains and Northern Tablelands in New South Wales.
    Guyra was one of the worst hit areas in the Northern Tablelands, recording 15cm of snow.
    Weather watchers across the border took to Facebook this morning to post pictures of falling snow and snowmen…
    At 6.45am Friday, Brisbane was experiencing temperatures of 13 degrees, with the apparent temperature at six degrees.
    Ipswich registered an apparent temperature of five degrees, while Toowoomba and Applethorpe, southwest of Brisbane, were dealing with the worst of it – recording an apparent temperature of -2 degrees.
    Senior forecaster Brett Harrison from the Bureau of Meteorology said Thursday’s rainfall, which occurred across the state, has cleared off shore but had been followed by “very cold” west to south-westerly winds.
    “The rainfall is bringing very cold air from southern Australia and we’re seeing low temperatures and high wind chill factor, which does make it feel colder,” he said…
    “We do expect the windiest conditions to be during this morning but there will still be some wind around into the afternoon so it will still feel cool all day and the temperatures are going to be below average right around the state.
    “We do expect it for everywhere apart from the Far Northern tropics.”
    The cool conditions are expected to last into early next week but Mr Harrison said it will be accompanied by fine, sunny days…

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/dig-out-the-jumpers-across-the-southeast-as-windy-conditions-expected-to-bring-a-chill-this-weekend/story-e6freon6-1226494186786

  6. Just watched the vice presidential “debate”. Absolutely needed a dose of sanity to chase away the urge to beat my head against a rock brought on by the sheer inanity. This article did it. Thanks, Ira.

  7. “The Truth: All else being equal, a doubling of CO2 levels will increase average temperatures by less than 1°C, and most likely less than 0.5°C.

    Son of a gun Ira, with such a statement you and I are now basically saying the same thing that we hassled over about two years ago in your bouncing photon series. Glad you are now seeing this to be true. In fact, in most you say here I have little problem with it barring a few trivial aspects. Good solid article.

    “Fossil fuels cause some air pollution, but the most dangerous air pollution comes from the fallacies uttered by environmentalists :^). If the voting public is misled by this kind of “environmentalist air pollution” our free economy will be destroyed …

    Couldn’t agree more.

    [Wayne, good to have you participating on one of my topic threads again, and thanks for the kind words. For readers who may wonder what Wayne means by my “bouncing photon series”, have a look at my WUWT Visualizing the “Greenhouse Effect” postings from last year: Physical Analogy, Atmospheric Windows, Emission Spectra, Molecules/Photons and Light/Heat. – Ira]

  8. “The Truth: All else being equal, a doubling of CO2 levels will increase average temperatures by less than 1⁰C, and most likely less than 0.5⁰C.”

    The Real Truth: There is no evidence that CO2 has or will cause warming. All evidence suggests that CO2 increases are a result of warming, NOT a cause.

  9. Chris,

    Let’s imagine a fable, set in the days before chemotherapy was recognized as a sometimes useful tool in the treatment of cancer.

    Let’s imagine that there are some medical scientists who get the idea that ingesting a poison might in some specialized cases actually be a good idea.

    For people with invasive cancer, even though the poison would harm their body, it would harm the cancer cells even more. While the idea of self-administering poison is repugnant, there are cases where consuming poison reduces overall harm.

    Now, let’s imagine that some nutters get hold of this information, and reason “well, if this poison has such positive benefits that it can tame aggressive cancers, maybe we should start consuming a little poison now, and prevent bad things from happening.” They become “poison advocates”. Some of these poison advocates think we should put some poison, like fluoride, in our drinking water now so that everyone can get this benefit as soon as possible. (The medical scientists were not sophisticated in the arts of public relations, so they called their idea “poison therapy”.)

    Then, a reporter from the Guardian calls one of the scientists working on “poison therapy”. The scientist tells the reporter, “I am researching whether there are certain circumstances in which ingesting poison can reduce overall harm. But, one thing that commonly happens is that people try to represent us as ‘poison advocates’ when we are really working scientists trying to investigate something that might in some special circumstances be able to reduce harm (and potentially save lives). Please make sure you distinguish clearly between poison advocates and scientists researching poison therapy. Oh, and by the way, here are links to two interviews in which I have made my positions clear.”

    Let’s furthermore imagine that it is early days and the government is not yet funding research into chemotherapy. So, a philanthropist steps in and says “I will contribute to studying this and other innovative ways to address threats posed by cancer, until the government can get its act together and start supporting this research.”

    Then, the Guardian reporter, in order to increase the titillation factor of what he fears might be a rather mundane story, decides to blur the distinction between advocating poisoning our water supply and researching chemotherapy, and decides to publish an expose about how a billionaire tycoon and his mad scientists are poison advocates, giving the impression if not out-rightly saying that they seek to profit off of putting poison in your drinking water.

    I think the above allegory reflects how I see the Guardian as handling this matter. The Guardian, it seems, has chosen to titillate rather than to inform.

    And in so doing, the Guardian does me and my colleagues personal harm. I get phone calls or emails nearly every day from nutters who think that I am spraying something in the sky. They have published my home address on the web, much the way doctors who perform abortions here in the US have had their home addresses posted on the web. The Guardian is inciting a bunch of nuts who think the doctors studying chemotherapy need to be stopped before they can poison us all. There is an issue of personal safety here.

    As I have said many times before, I don’t know if this climate chemotherapy can really reduce harm, but the stakes are high enough that we would be remiss if we did not examine this possibility.

    It is completely irresponsible of the Guardian to conflate working research scientists with the nutters advocating spraying aerosols in the stratosphere. I would appreciate it if the Guardian could manage to be more responsible in their reporting in the future.

    Best,

    Ken

    _______________
    Ken Caldeira

    Carnegie Institution Dept of Global Ecology
    260 Panama Street, Stanford, CA 94305 USA

  10. Great article Ira! It would make a great online test with true/false answer, that way lots of people could learn your facts and fallacies.

    I was clicking around on the TV this evening and I thought I saw Paul Ryan being interviewed by some lady I’m not familiar with. There was this white monkey in a suit jumping around in the background, making a variety of contorted faces. Eh, maybe I just imagined it.

  11. Oh, COME ON! How does one get three decimal output accuracy, when the input is INTEGER values! My poor old High School physics teacher gives you an F-!!!! His red pen would be BLEEDING by now!!

    “The Truth: The Earth has warmed a bit since 1880, but no more than 0.4⁰C.”

    How could we possibly know there has been ANY warming (or for that matter cooling) since 1880? We don’t know! The error band is larger than the supposed warming! ARRRGGHH!

  12. While I am not a supporter of uneconomic energy sources (which would be renewables in most, if not all, applications today) I think it is somewhat courageous to assume technology for the “next century or two.” I would be very surprised if some disruptive energy source, be it renewables or something else, hasn’t dislodged fossil fuels in a much shorter timeframe than 100-200 years. Given the rate of change of many technologies today, it would seem a fairly safe bet. I am not going to point at nanotech, fusion or anything else and say “that’s the one”, but chances are something competitive will come along and change the way we look at energy generation.

  13. About Ira Glickstein, PhD
    System Engineer (Advanced Avionics and Visionics, Route Planning, Decision Aiding, Five Patents … at IBM, Lockheed-Martin); Associate Professor (System Engineering at University of Maryland); PhD in System Science (Binghamton University, 1996); MS in System Science (Binghamton); Bachelors in Electrical Engineering (CCNY)
    ————————————————————–
    Yeah, but unlike algore, he aint a Climate Scientist – so that invalidates all his contentions. He prolly takes money under the table from big bad oil, smokes tobacco, cuts down trees for spite, and kicks children.

    j/k in case you couldn’t tell ;)

  14. Excellent, I was thinking about the same chain of flaws. No wonder the propaganda has been so relentless to distort the truth. You made the case much better than I could.

  15. Ot but its probably the coldest day in history in Brisbane Australia for this time of the year. Its been snowing all over NSW so much for global warming. No wait it is global warming……

  16. I see no reason to concede ANY effect of human activity on climate. Any such effect can be shown to be so small as to be utterly statistically irrelevant. I wouldn’t concede to even an increase of 1/10^303) (that’s one centillionth) of a degree in global temperatures due to human activity. Ain’t happenin’, bro.

    A more telling point about environmentalist-caused pollution: Diverting such huge amounts of capital to chasing the CO2 bogeyman will leave just that much less available to clean up pollution and develop cleaner fuels. Therefore, the AGW-enviro[word deleted, see Godwin’s Law – Ira] agenda will mean more, not less, pollution.

    Of course AGW isn’t about the environment – it’s about regulatory oppression and tax rapacity. The environment is only the guilt trip and fearmongering used by the AGW crowd to manipulate uninformed people into going along with their reactionary agenda of returning to the bad old days of tyranny and slavery.

    [Chad, it is true that the magnitude of the effect of human activities on climate has been way overstated (for political power), but I cannot go along with your refusal to “concede ANY effect”. The Atmospheric “Greenhouse Effect” is real. See my WUWT series Visualizing the “Greenhouse Effect” [Physical Analogy, Atmospheric Windows, Emission Spectra, Molecules/Photons and Light/Heat]. – Ira]

  17. “The Truth: All else being equal, a doubling of CO2 levels will increase average temperatures by less than 1°C, and most likely less than 0.5°C.”
    I think the outcome is open. There isn´t strong evidence both positive or negative feedbacks.

  18. There needs to be a climate science version of USADA to catch climate cheats. Compile all the evidence against them then humiliate them in public, like how serial cheater lance Armstrong is getting humiliated now. Will make them think twice before swinging their hockey sticks around.

    Michael Mann = Lance Armstrong of climate science.

    Mann just using a hockey stick instead of a bicycle. Unfortunately, the amount of taxpayer money involved is exponentially larger in Mann’s case.

    Does Mann think he is an “untouchable” like Lance Armstrong thought he was? Can’t wait for Mann to sue Mark Steyn.

  19. There is a problem with the first Chart worthy of the best efforts of the Team.
    To plot temperature on the Kelvin scale starting from 0 in a very thick blue line would successfully hide everything, catastrophic or not.
    This does not help people like me who would like to see real science and not ‘group think’ leading climate science forward.

  20. May be slightly OT, but why are all CO2 measures I have seen quoted from Mauna Loa? Surely atmospheric CO2 will be affected by local volcanic sources / activity levels. Just asking (go easy on me!)
    Dave (UK)

  21. Nicely argued post, although I don’t entirely agree with every point made – Dr Burns, for example, states my beliefs about the unimportance of CO2 quite well above, and others have mentioned nuclear. Unfortunately, though, as has been pointed out before, consideration of the scientific and logical validity of the AGW “argument”, among many others, is entirely irrelevant.

    The Real Truth: The HITwit “technocrats” comprising the UN, EU, the three letter agencies, your, our and most other governments have agreed among themselves that there are too many of us, and that we have come to believe, inconveniently, that we have some kind of right to self determination. (Which we do, absolutely.) Accordingly, they have set in motion a process to reverse this and concentrate all power and wealth in their own “highly intelligent” ranks.

    They use the sort of plausible “arguments” you demolish in this post to make those of “lesser” intelligence believe that there is a range of hugely important issues – AGW, overpopulation, “sustainability”, you name it – which will destroy the human race and/or the planet unless their poisonous “solutions”, always involving depopulation and the concentration of power in unelected hands, are implemented. By controlling theoretically “democratic” processes, primarily through their control of the media which feed us “information”, they make people believe that they are actually choosing these “solutions” to the invented “problems” themselves. And so the program is implemented, step by bloody step: advanced economies are being closed down, their people dispossessed and increasingly controlled; whole countries in the Middle East are being contaminated with DU or whatever to reduce the number of viable births; meanwhile “authoritative” agencies with absolute power are seen all to agree on the “necessity” of every action. No matter the distress of the honest worker whose job and home have disappeared. No matter the heartbreaking despair of the mothers in the Middle East as they give birth to their grotesquely deformed babies. All this is “necessary”, the “experts” agree. The blood-soaked history of the last century, and particularly the last few decades, bears eloquent testimony to the efficacy of the process.

    Think on that when you vote in November – or, if you’re British, in two and a half years’ time, or wherever whenever. It makes absolutely no difference whether you vote for Punch or for Judy, because the “technocrats” you don’t see – or, more importantly, vote for or have any control over – have their dirty hands firmly inserted in the nether regions of both. Their “superior intelligence” will continue to decide how the show proceeds, destroying us all, until the booth is ripped down and the bewitched ordinary person sees what is really going on. Whether that results in more enlightened rule by the “limited-intelligence wise” or Hobbes’ “war of all against all” remains to be seen, but nothing whatever will change until it happens. Power pollution, not air pollution, is the real problem.

    [Steve C, THANKS for picking up on my use of “HITwit” as a shortened version of “High-Intellect Twit”, namely a person who is smart in some usually academic domain but who is also so foolish that he or she thinks they know everything about everything else. Based on a Google search, I may be the first person to use “HITwit” in that sense, and I have nominated the Sheldon character in the hilarious The Big Bang Theory as the prime example HITwit. Sheldon is portrayed as a brilliant cutting edge theoretical physicist with an eidetic (photographic) memory loaded with true but useless knowledge and a foolish belief that, since physics is the basis of all science, he knows or can figure out everything about everything else. Perhaps we should add James Hansen, another PhD physicist and Twit to the list of prime examples? I considered adding Al Gore, but while he is a classic Twit, he fails in the High-Intellect department :^). Another prime example is our current President who is smart in the academic sense and a brilliant speaker but IMHO has adopted foolish policies he really believes in because has no experience in business or practical political matters. – Ira]

  22. Your 2nd falshood is incorrectly analysed. The ice core data continually show that temperature rises before parallel atmospheric rises in CO2. So today’s CO2 rise, neither rapid or exponential, could be due to the MWP or even the RWP. If temperature rises before CO2 then CO2 is temperature driven not the other way round. That being the case our paltry production of CO2 cannot in any way drive temperature or climate. This same research data demonstrates that all the claims for a doubling of CO2 as being totally false.

    [John, yes, the ice core record shows that temperatures rise hundreds of years before CO2 rises and temperatures fall hundreds of years before CO2 falls. And, yes, part of the current CO2 rise is due to positive feedback from the temperature rise. And, yes, most of the temperature rise and fall is due to natural cycles including multidecadal oscillations, cyclic variation in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun (Milankovitch Effect), cyclic changes in Solar activity (Svensmark’s Cosmic Ray Effect), and so on. And, yes, Correlation does NOT prove Causation and, even if there is Causation, we have to be careful about how to assign the DIRECTION of Causation.

    [However, I am convinced that some relatively small part of warming is due to positive feedback from CO2 levels, and some of the recent increase in CO2 levels is due to human activities. Human activities have also reduced the albedo (reflectiveness) of the Earth a bit, also adding some relatively small part of warming. See my WUWT series Visualizing the “Greenhouse Effect” [Physical Analogy, Atmospheric Windows, Emission Spectra, Molecules/Photons and Light/Heat. – Ira]

  23. @Dave

    The Mauna Loa measurements are have a collection protocol that works to remove the effects of volcanic emissions.

    It is interesting to note that the end result is little different from the raw data.

  24. Dave says:
    October 12, 2012 at 1:27 am
    May be slightly OT, but why are all CO2 measures I have seen quoted from Mauna Loa? Surely atmospheric CO2 will be affected by local volcanic sources / activity levels. Just asking (go easy on me!)
    ————————————————————–

    That is a good question but apparently Mauna Loa is an ideal place to make these measurements. The best explanation is contained in a previous post on WUWT by Willis Eschenbach
    “CO2 measurements are taken only at night. Thus, they are measuring descending air that is coming from thousands of feet aloft. This air has travelled across half of the Pacific Ocean, so it is far from any man-made CO2 sources. And as a result, it is very representative of the global background CO2 levels. That’s why Keeling chose the site.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/04/under-the-volcano-over-the-volcano/

  25. Oops, the quote got mistaken for an HTML Tag

    “Fossil fuels cause some air pollution, but the most dangerous air pollution comes from the fallacies uttered by environmentalists :^).”

    Quote of the week.

  26. Regarding analogy to chemotherapy, let’s not be absurd. Suggested remedies against human burning of fossil fuel is not akin to chemo, it is sacrificing our children to Moloch! It is throwing virgins into the volcano! The facts are simple, cold kills, warmer is better. Increased CO2 will not harm us. Increases in temperature have happened in the past, and the world is none the worse for the wear. HOWEVER, if we stop burning fuel and generating the life-giving, prosperity inducing power of our societies, we will die. Condemning millions to starvation and freezing is not akin to the suffering of chemotherapy. It is death.
    With regard to the actions suggested by the alarmists, the certain outcome of the government forced (by force and violence–or it will not succeed) reductions in fuel burning will be much worse than even the most extreme possible (and highly unlikely) results of “global warming.”

  27. “It is becoming clear the main cause is natural cycles, such as Solar activity that modulates cosmic rays [6]”

    Better not let Leif hear you say that :)

  28. There is an extensively researched chapter on AGW in my book (in press) concerning critical thinking. Your conclusions on 1, 2, and 4 are most likely correct. Your conclusion on 3 is most likely wrong. Four different methods, all based on multiple peer (not pal) reviewed undies since 2006 through 2012 suggest the most likely ECS is about 1.9, with plausible bounds from 1.5 to 2.1.
    Much more worrisome is that your conclusion in 5 is doubly wrong on facts. Although we will not run out of fossil fuels for centuries, we will have encountered peak fossil energy production rates for all types before about 2060. And there is no conceivable way that all ‘green’ replacements solve the resulting problems that arise before 2050. Just math, in the absence of inventions not yet even on the horizon. Therefore your conclusion about 6 fails, again because the underlying facts are wrong. Extensive factual explanation is provided in chapters 5,6,7, and 8 of my book Gaia’s Limits. Whether you agree or disagree with its conclusions, at least understand the facts. On those, IPCC AR4 is as usual also just plain wrong.

    [Rud, thanks for agreeing that my conclusions on Environmental Fallacies #1 (Accurate Measures), #2 (Humans Main Cause) and #4 (Predicted Catastrophe) are most likely correct. Since three links in the chain fail, the CAGW theory fails. Great, we agree! As for #3 being most likely wrong in your opinion, a value of ECS above 1 requires net positive cloud feedback. While nightime clouds do produce positive feedback, they do it at night when the Earth surface tends to be coolest, but daytime clouds produce negative feedback, during the day when surface temperatures are highest. You may be correct that ECS is 1.5 to 2.1, but I would not bet the US or world economy on that likelihood. As for #5 ("Green" Solutions) you say that peak fossil energy will be about 2060. Again, you may be right, but look at how the advent of fracked natural gas has changed the outlook over the past decade, and cut the price of gas drastically. No one knows what technological advance will be next or how it will make more fossil energy available at reasonable costs. Again, I would not bet against technological advances. But, if 2060 turns out to be peak fossil, and if nuclear and hydroelectric and declining fossil cannot support further development of human civilization beyond 2050, that generation will see rising energy costs and will be forced to conserve. The spread of western-style economics and government will lead to higher standards of living, and concomitant lower reproduction rates, further reducing energy needs. Perhaps a genetic engineering disaster or nuclear war will decimate populations. In any case, my Environmental Fallacy #6 (Government Mandates) is still correct. Bottom Line: Government subsidy of "Green" energy is mostly a waste of our tax dollars. If you disagree, please comment further. - Ira]

  29. Good post. A minor nit: I suggest using the term “global warming” in all cases where you have used “warming” in your list of fallacies, and also add “of current global warming” to the end of #2.

    The entire CAGW conjecture is a house of cards, and this post does a good job of demonstrating the weaknesses of the component arguments, each of which falls apart under the slightest critical scrutiny.

    For that reason, I don’t find analogies to be helpful. It’s better to stick to the facts, evaluate issues each on its own merits, and avoid muddying the waters by introduction of unrelated matters.

    Finally, I don’t consider nuclear power to be green, but I would like to have back my 100W light-bulbs, pretty please.

  30. Steve C: If what you say is true, and I am inclined to believe you, then realistically, who we vote for does not matter, at least not in the long-term. We are not really choosing one path or another with our elected officials, we are simply choosing variations in the same path.

    In the US, Obama was a test of our willingness to bend towards European socialism now rather than later. It is a test that proved we are not ready – yet, but the fact that Obama is not buried in the polls by Romney already is a good indicator to the testers that we are inching closer. Remember, Clinton’s attempt at universal health care was met with a 95-0 vote in the Senate, and this one was passed with most not even bothering to read it – less than 20 years later.

    Mark

  31. Dave Dodd says: October 11, 2012 at 10:21 pm: Oh, COME ON! How does one get three decimal output accuracy, when the input is INTEGER values! My poor old High School physics teacher gives you an F-!!!! His red pen would be BLEEDING by now!! “The Truth: The Earth has warmed a bit since 1880, but no more than 0.4⁰C.” How could we possibly know there has been ANY warming (or for that matter cooling) since 1880? We don’t know! The error band is larger than the supposed warming! ARRRGGHH!

    Well Dave, first of all the number 0.4 is one not threedecimal places of accuracy.

    Secondly, we know something about the data, namely that it contains a ‘noise’ component which causes it to jitter up and down from year to year. Even climate alarmists don’t claim those jitters are anything other than natural. But on a long enough timescale thse jitters tend to even out, leaving just the long term trend, up or down. Thet long term trend since 1850 has been a rise of 0.4degC per century. It is perfectly clearly defined above the noise. (see, for example, the blue line in the chart at http://www.thetruthaboutclimatechange.org/tempsworld.html )

    Of course the number is only as good as the temperature data on which it is based. But it is certainly not statistically insignificant. Moreover, it demonstrates very clearly that the temperature rise (even if the data is perfectly correct) has been most un-alarming.

  32. Ira,

    I am with you all the way on your very clear exposition of your six environmental fallacies.

    I have to take issue with you, however, on your reply comment to John Marshall, October 12, 2012 at 3:02 am, where you assert: I am convinced that some relatively small part of warming is due to positive feedback from CO2 levels, and some of the recent increase in CO2 levels is due to human activities.

    The danger in that statement is that it is unquantified and therefore scientifically meaningless. All it can do is to give succour to alarmists who will grasp in desperation at the straws you are inadvertently offering – something which I am sure you did not intend.

  33. Dr. Glickstein’s argument for the falsity of FALSEHOOD #3 fails, for it assumes the existence of the equilibrium climate sensitivity as a scientific concept but this concept does not exist. The non-existence follows from the lack of observability of the equilibrium temperature.

    Nonetheless, successful refutations of FALSEHOOD #3 are readily at hand. I’ll supply details if these would be of interest.

  34. Rud Istvan says, October 12, 2012 at 8:00 am, concerning Ira’s 6 environmental fallacies: Your conclusion on 3 is most likely wrong. Four different methods, all based on multiple peer (not pal) reviewed undies [?!] since 2006 through 2012 suggest the most likely ECS is about 1.9, with plausible bounds from 1.5 to 2.1. Much more worrisome is that your conclusion in 5 is doubly wrong on facts. Although we will not run out of fossil fuels for centuries, we will have encountered peak fossil energy production rates for all types before about 2060. And there is no conceivable way that all ‘green’ replacements solve the resulting problems that arise before 2050. Just math, in the absence of inventions not yet even on the horizon. Therefore your conclusion about 6 fails, again because the underlying facts are wrong.

    Rud, I disagree with you on each and every one of your points.

    Ira’s point 3 is robust. Climate models are an intellectual dead end. It doesn’t matter who reviews the claims (peer or pal), the claims are all subject to the fundamental fallacy that they assume the very fact that they seek to prove, namely that CO2 is a warming agent. That is circular reasoning of the worst kind. It is totally unscientific. Modelling in science is a completely valid technique (indeed it is the stuff of scientific creativity) but only if its predictions are measured against real world data. The climate models have all failed that test miserably, and, I predict, always will as long as they are based on the false assumption that CO2 is an atmospheric warming agent.

    Ira’s point 5 is robust. It doesn’t matter a scrap whether we reach peak fossil fuel production in 2060, even assuming you are remotely right about that magic date. The only significant issue is the rate of decine thereafter. In any case, just on nuclear fuel alone, we have enough existing nuclear fuel waste plus new sources such as thorium to last for several centuries. By failing to address the rate of decline rather than just the peak you are being alarmist and un-scientific.

    Ira’ conclusion 6 is robust simply because the underlying facts on points 3 and 5, contrary to your assertions, are correct.

    Concern over where energy sources will come from to see us through the next few centuries is, of course, a lesser degree of malfeasance that believing in the power of CO2 to cause armageddon, the latter view being just plain silly. But it exhibits in itself an alarming tendency amongst many people to worry too much about energy sources in the distant future when the real problem is short term, highly political, and urgent.

  35. I prefer to see the theory as a jigsaw puzzle, If one piece is missplaced you cannot say that you have solved the puzzle. And right now there are so many pieces that do not fit to each other.

  36. Lonnie E. Schubert says:October 12, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Regarding analogy to chemotherapy, let’s not be absurd. Suggested remedies against human burning of fossil fuel is not akin to chemo, it is sacrificing our children to Moloch! It is throwing virgins into the volcano! The facts are simple, cold kills, warmer is better. Increased CO2 will not harm us. Increases in temperature have happened in the past, and the world is none the worse for the wear. HOWEVER, if we stop burning fuel and generating the life-giving, prosperity inducing power of our societies, we will die. Condemning millions to starvation and freezing is not akin to the suffering of chemotherapy. It is death.
    With regard to the actions suggested by the alarmists, the certain outcome of the government forced (by force and violence–or it will not succeed) reductions in fuel burning will be much worse than even the most extreme possible (and highly unlikely) results of “global warming.”

    Effects already with us! The greens dreadful policy of reducing the population is working very well.

  37. [Chad, it is true that the magnitude of the effect of human activities on climate has been way overstated (for political power), but I cannot go along with your refusal to “concede ANY effect”. [The Atmospheric “Greenhouse Effect” is real. See my WUWT series Visualizing the “Greenhouse Effect” [Physical Analogy, Atmospheric Windows, Emission Spectra, Molecules/Photons and Light/Heat]. – Ira] (in response to Chaz Wosniak above)

    With all due respect to you and your opinion, Ira, please back it up with your reformulated version of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. This is the place where discussion should have started following on Hansen et al, back in 1981.

  38. David Socrates, Terry Oldberg (good to “see” you here again), and Ken Harvey: The Atmospheric “Greenhouse Effect” definitely DOES NOT violate the first or second Laws of Thermodynamics.

    We have been through this many times on WUWT and I (and the management) agree that the Atmospheric “Greenhouse Effect” is real, and disbelieving in that fact does not help our Skeptic cause one whit. I accept it as real but question the magnitude of the effect. As a reasonable Skeptic and Based on my knowledge of physics and reading the scientific literature and WUWT, I believe ECS (Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity, which is the expected average increase in global temperatures if CO2 levels double, all else remaining the same) is less than 1.0⁰C and most likely less than 0.5⁰C, in contrast to the “official” Warmist view that it is 2⁰C to 4.5⁰C. Disbelievers like you guys, in effect, say ECS is 0.0⁰C.

    Please view my WUWT Visualizing series from last year to see how so-called “greenhouse gases” (mainly H2O and CO2) make the Earth around 33⁰C warmer than it would be if the Atmosphere was just Nitrogen. For those of us (like Einstein and me) who need a mechanical analogy to understand physics, I provide that in the first posting of the series.

    Please have a look (or Terry another look) and try to follow my argument with an open mind. Then, come back and we’ll talk about it. OK? [Physical Analogy, Atmospheric Windows, Emission Spectra, Molecules/Photons and Light/Heat]

    advTHANKSance

    Ira

    • Ira Glickstein:

      Thanks for the friendly response! You’ve mischaracterised my position. This position is not that the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) has a numerical value of 0 Celsius per doubling of the CO2 concentration implying insensitivity of the equilibrium temperature to the CO2 concentration. Neither is it that the ECS has some other value. Instead, my position is that the notion that the ECS has a specific numerical value is scientifically nonsensical. It is nonsensical because the ECS is , by definition, the change in the equilibrium temperature from a change in the logarithm of the CO2 concentration yet the equilibrium temperature is not observable.

  39. Not bad, despite the usual sprinkling of lukewarmer nonsense.

    But the opening contrast of “… whimsical fable and an environmental fallacy” is lame and clumsily formulated

    On the outside, fables are light-hearted fibs. But oh so true on the inside.
    Environmental fallacies are just the opposite, plausible on the outside but hiding ugly realities on the inside.

    To be conherent, the contrast should say:

    “On the outside, fables are light-hearted fibs. But oh so true on the inside.
    Environmental fallacies are just the opposite, serious and plausible on the outside but hiding egregious falsehoods on the inside.”

    [Brian H, I have adopted your suggested improved wording and Edited my main topic accordingly. Thanks! Sorry you see "the usual sprinkling of lukewarmer nonsense" in my main topic, but time will tell if the Warmists, Lukewarmers, or Skeptics turn out to be closest to the "truth". - Ira]

  40. typo: coherent not conherent

    Actually, I do see the contrasts you are trying to draw, but you are trying too hard! “ugly realities” would require a substantiation of much of the conspiracy theory explanation of climatology’s rise. Not that that’s impossible to do, but your following text doesn’t really attempt that.

  41. Not that he needs any support from myself, but Terry Oldberg is completely correct. None of the numeric values that are associated with the climate sensitivity of CO2 have any meaning in physics. And, in any event. they are based on highly dubious physics, and the output of non-validated models. They can never be measured. The dubious physics relates to the no-feedback climate sensitivity being estimated without taking in to account the change in lapse rate. If the atmopshere is presented with an extra forcing, such as that associated with increased CO2 concentrations, the the whole atmosphere will respond, not just the radiation term.

    As I pointed out in the second comment to this story, such little empirical data as we have strongly suggests that the actual value of total climate sensitivity, which can be measured in theory, is indistinguishable from zero.

  42. How do we know that clouds have a negative feedback? I thought this was still up for debate.

    In fact, I thought that concentrating H2O in clouds, away from the ground, would drive more evaporation, allowing the atmosphere to hold more heat. That would allow it to spread heat more effectively and, with the T^4-dependence in energy-outflow from the Earth, drive up the temperature.

  43. Hi David, Terry, and Ken.

    I outlined at least one way in which the Greenhouse Effect raises the temperature in agreement with the laws of thermodynamics. Let’s put that question to rest.

  44. Stephen:

    In placing me among the list of recipients for your message of Oct 13, 2012 at 8:09 am, you seem to have assumed that I’m among the folks who argue that the numerical value of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (TECS) is nil. That assumption is incorrect. My argument is that TECS is a scientifically nonsensical quantity in light of the impossibility of observing its numerical value.

  45. Ira Glickstein, Jim Cripwell and etc:

    I write in hope of resolving the difference between those who think increased atmospheric CO2 concentration will result in some rise in global temperature and those who think it will not.

    I am convinced that increased atmospheric CO2 concentration will result in some rise in global temperature, but I am also convinced any such temperature rise would be too small for it to be discernible and, therefore, it would only have an abstract existence. I explain this as follows.

    Before presenting my argument, I point out I remain to be convinced that human emissions are or are not the cause – in part or in whole – of the observed recent CO2 rise. However, the cause of a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is not relevant to the effect on global temperature of that rise.

    My view is simple and can be summarised as follows. The feedbacks in the climate system are negative and, therefore, any effect of increased CO2 will be too small to discern. This concurs with the empirically determined values of low climate sensitivity obtained by Idso, by Lindzen&Choi, etc..

    Therefore, I say the man-made global warming from man’s emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) would be much smaller than natural fluctuations in global temperature so it would be physically impossible to detect the man-made global warming.

    Of course, human activities have some effect on global temperature for several reasons. For example, cities are warmer than the land around them, so cities cause some warming. But the temperature rise from cities is too small to be detected when averaged over the entire surface of the planet, although this global warming from cities can be estimated by measuring the warming of all cities and their areas.

    Similarly, the global warming from man’s GHG emissions would be too small to be detected. Indeed, because climate sensitivity is less than 1 deg.C for a doubling of CO2 equivalent, it is physically impossible for the man-made global warming to be large enough to be detected. If something exists but is too small to be detected then it only has an abstract existence; it does not have a discernible existence that has effects (observation of the effects would be its detection).

    I hold this view because I am an empiricist so I accept whatever is indicated by data obtained from observation of the real world.

    Idso’s “8 natural experiments” provide a “best estimate” of climate sensitivity of 0.37 deg.C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2.
    His paper can be read at

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/Idso_CR_1998.pdf

    Idso’s finding was obtained using 8 different methods from measurements obtained at the surface of the Earth.

    And Idso’s finding is similar to the finding of climate sensitivity of about 0.4 deg.C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 obtained by Lindzen&Choi in their paper which analysed ERBE data from the tropics.
    Their paper can be read at

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf

    Its conclusions include

    For sensitivities less than 2 deg.C, the data readily distinguish different sensitivities, and ERBE data appear to demonstrate a climate sensitivity of about 0.5 deg.C which is easily distinguished from sensitivities given by models.

    And

    Finally, it should be noted that our analysis has only considered the tropics. Following Lindzen et al. [2001], allowing for sharing this tropical feedback with neutral higher latitudes could reduce the negative feedback factor by about a factor of two. This would lead to an equilibrium sensitivity that is 2/3 rather than 1/2 of the non-feedback value. This, of course, is still a small sensitivity.

    Climate sensitivity is less than 1.0 deg.C for a doubling of climate sensitivity and, therefore, any effect on global temperature of increase to atmospheric CO2 concentration only has an abstract existence; it does not have a discernible existence that has observable effects.

    Richard

    [Richard, your comment helps to resolve the issue for me. I hope the others in this conversation will go along. You report credible estimates of 0.37⁰C (Idso) and 0.4⁰C (Lindzen & Choi), which comport well with my main topic posting that says “All else being equal, a doubling of CO2 levels will increase average temperatures by less than 1⁰C, and most likely less than 0.5⁰C.” I hope we can all agree that these ECS estimates are so low that it almost doesn’t matter which one turns out to be correct because even the largest will definitely NOT result in any kind of “tipping point” catastrophe. Furthermore, the effects of human-made CO2 and land use are so small compared to the effects of natural cycles that we may never know the exact value of ECS, or, indeed, if there really is such a thing as an exact value! THANKS for clarifying the issue for me, and I hope most of the others in this thread. – Ira]

  46. Stephen (at 8:01), in what you are saying “In fact, I thought that concentrating H2O in clouds, away from the ground, would drive more evaporation”, I don’t believe I have ever found that statement “drives more evaporation” with cloud cover to be true. Maybe give some data or links to back that up.

    My life-long experience has been that surfaces such as streets and vegetation always remains wetter, longer (less evaporation), after a rain has ceased but when it remains cloudy that if the sky suddenly becomes clear after the rain. That point you raises is the exactly opposite. Please explain from what you get this idea. Some simple real world examples will suffice.

  47. Hi Ira,

    i agree to most of Your arguments falsifying global warmng, despite I don’t think that CO2 causes warming at all. And please show me the physics book explaining the greenhouse effect. In my opinion You can’t argument against “global” warming with “national” data in 1) You are using only US-temperatures and citing only US-Scientists, US-surface being only anout 1,5% of the world. In addition, your sentence: “However, if US data analyzed by US scientists has half a degree of “adjustment” slop in it, how much worse must worldwide data be?” is unscientific and at least offensive……

    Have a nice day and please excuse my rather rusty english..

  48. Richard Courtney, you write “I write in hope of resolving the difference between those who think increased atmospheric CO2 concentration will result in some rise in global temperature and those who think it will not.”

    Everything you have written, I thoroughly agree with, and I think you have summarized the situation correctly, and satisfied Ira. However, I think you have omitted one important part. If, as we all agree, the actual climate sensitivity of CO2 is so small that it is negliglible, then somewhere in the physics presented by the proponents of CAGW there must be a fundamental error. There has to be, otherwise they would not come up with numbers that are far greater than anything we agree is the correct value. The question to me, is where is this error?

    I believe the error is in the way the no-feedback climate sensitivity is derived. No-feedback climate sensitivity is an abomination in physics. It is a hypothetical, meaningless number which can never be measured. But the way it is derived is based on highly dubious physics, which assumes that the atmosphere responds to a change in radiative forcing by only affecting the radiation term. This, to me, is clearly wrong., The atmosphere must repsond by also changing the lapse rate.

    What I am waiting for, is for the proponents of CAGW to agree with this, and do a proper estimation of the no-feedback climates sensitivity, with the change of lapse rate included. I suspect that if we ever get this value, no-one will ever need to talk about feedbacks again, because this number will be found to be too small to be significant.

  49. wayne and Jim Cripwell:

    I am responding to your posts addressed to me at 10:48 am and October 13, 2012 at 11:15 am, respectively, in this one reply. I do this for convenience of readers of this thread and this single reply is not intended as an offence to either of you.

    wayne, thankyou for the link in your post at October 13, 2012. I was not aware of that. It seems we now have three independent determinations of climate sensitivity which agree; one is from surface data, one is from satellite data and one is from balloon data. So, your link confirms my view. Thankyou.

    Jim Cripwell, you say to me

    I think you have omitted one important part. If, as we all agree, the actual climate sensitivity of CO2 is so small that it is negliglible, then somewhere in the physics presented by the proponents of CAGW there must be a fundamental error. There has to be, otherwise they would not come up with numbers that are far greater than anything we agree is the correct value. The question to me, is where is this error?

    I believe the error is in the way the no-feedback climate sensitivity is derived. No-feedback climate sensitivity is an abomination in physics. It is a hypothetical, meaningless number which can never be measured. But the way it is derived is based on highly dubious physics, which assumes that the atmosphere responds to a change in radiative forcing by only affecting the radiation term. This, to me, is clearly wrong., The atmosphere must repsond by also changing the lapse rate.

    I agree and – more importantly – so does Lindzen.

    In conclusion, my post seems to have resolved the disagreement and that pleases me.

    Richard

  50. Richard, you write “I agree and – more importantly – so does Lindzen.”
    That is wonderful news, and I am delighted. I would love to know where Lindzen has added his voice on this issue. Has he written anything, or is this based on some sort of conversation you have had with him?

  51. Jim Cripwell:

    Lindzen summarises his view on the lapse rate negative feedback in his paper at

    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10850&page=21

    The section on ‘Lapse Rate Feedback’ begins on page 24.

    His comments are muted in this peer reviewed paper but I think his meaning is clear.

    His paper titled ‘Climate v. Climate Alarm’ is more forthright and can be read at

    http://noconsensus.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/acs-2011-lindzen1.pdf

    The entire paper is worthy of note, but its pages 18 to 20 are especially relevant to your question.

    Lindzen also did a Guest Article on WUWT which is pertinent and the subsequent thread had much discussion of the lapse rate issue. It is at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/30/lindzen-on-negative-climate-feedback/

    I hope this is sufficient answer to your question concerning Lindzen’s view that adjustment of the lapse rate is an inevitable negative feedback on increase to radiative forcing. If you want more then you can follow references in the links or get back to me.

    Richard

  52. richardscourtney:

    Arguments that you’ve made in this thread assume the scientific legitimacy of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (aka TECS, the ECS, the CS, the climate sensitivity). If I’m not mistaken, in the same thread I’ve proved the scientific illegitimacy of the same concept.

  53. Terry Oldberg:

    I am disappointed that my attempt to resolve the disagreement failed. At October 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm you say to me

    Arguments that you’ve made in this thread assume the scientific legitimacy of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (aka TECS, the ECS, the CS, the climate sensitivity). If I’m not mistaken, in the same thread I’ve proved the scientific illegitimacy of the same concept.

    You are mistaken.

    Richard

  54. Terry Oldberg:

    In retrospect I think my post addressed to you at October 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm was too abrupt. In fairness I should have explained my answer to you. I apologise for that error and write to correct it.

    You have stated your point several times; for example at October 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm you say of your “position”

    This position is not that the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) has a numerical value of 0 Celsius per doubling of the CO2 concentration implying insensitivity of the equilibrium temperature to the CO2 concentration. Neither is it that the ECS has some other value. Instead, my position is that the notion that the ECS has a specific numerical value is scientifically nonsensical. It is nonsensical because the ECS is , by definition, the change in the equilibrium temperature from a change in the logarithm of the CO2 concentration yet the equilibrium temperature is not observable.

    Many things are not observable and or measurable but that does not mean they are “scientifically nonsensical”.

    Equilibrium states of dynamical systems are often not observable and are not directly measurable because they are never achieved. But both scientists and engineers often estimate them.

    Richard

    • richardscourtney (Oct. 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm):

      For use in logical discourse, the phrase “scientifically nonsensical” is unacceptably ambiguous. In the context of debate, terms that make ambiguous reference to the associated ideas promote the acceptance of false conclusions by negating the law of non-contradiction. Though the law is a true proposition, the negated law is a false proposition. When the negated law enters an argument as a false premise, the conclusion of this argument can appear to the audience to be true when it is false or unproved. Informally, this debating tactic is called “doublespeak.”

      In the article at http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/15/the-principles-of-reasoning-part-iii-logic-and-climatology/ I disambiguate pertinent terms in the language of climatology. I suggest that we use this disambiguation in our debate if you have no objection.

      As a result of the research on the use of language in climatology that is reported in the above referenced article, I’ve discovered that ambiguity of reference of the terms “science” and “scientific” to the associated ideas often lead people to believe climatological conclusions to be true when they are false or unproved. The question of how to disambiguate these two terms was taken up by a federal court in the United States in the context of the circumstances in which it was permissible for testimony to be described in court as “scientific” testimony. This proceeding resulted in the disambiguation that is known as the Daubert standard. According to Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daubert_standard ) the court defined ‘scientific methodology’ as the process of formulating hypotheses and then conducting experiments to prove or falsify the hypothesis…” This is the basis for the disambiguations of the terms “science” and “scientific” that I adopt in my article.

      Under this disambiguation, a methodology that assigns a numerical value to TECS cannot be described as “scientific” in view of the non-observability of the equilibrium temperature. It is in this sense of the term “scientific” that TECS is “scientifically nonsensical.” Under the same disambiguation, a methodology that makes claims about the numerical value of TECS can be described as “pseudo-scientific” if it appears to be scientific.

  55. @Jim Cripwell

    “… such little empirical data as we have strongly suggests that the actual value of total climate sensitivity, which can be measured in theory, is indistinguishable from zero.”

    I want to second this as bringing a dose of reality to the topic of AGW. After subtracting the hype and speculation that is the consequence of a good dose of “maybe’s” there is only a small positive value left for ECS. Working as I do in the measurement of things all of which have an uncomfortably low precision, it is a daily grind to remind people that a calculated result slightly better or worse than some other calculated value is not actually ‘different’.

    It is really helpful (for me) to put a confidence index on numbers but most people can’t grasp what that means. Putting visual error bars on charts is informative. Putting a plus-minus on two values is usually helpful. For example and “ECS of 0.4 +-0.3″ is meaningful and probably true within our current knowledge pool.

  56. Terry Oldberg:

    At October 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm you say to me

    Under this disambiguation, a methodology that assigns a numerical value to TECS cannot be described as “scientific” in view of the non-observability of the equilibrium temperature. It is in this sense of the term “scientific” that TECS is “scientifically nonsensical.” Under the same disambiguation, a methodology that makes claims about the numerical value of TECS can be described as “pseudo-scientific” if it appears to be scientific.

    No. The climate sensitivity has been measured by a variety of methods (which have been linked in this thread by me and wayne). A measured value is an observation and, thus, demonstrates that your claim of “non-observability” is untrue.

    I fail to see the value and purpose of your argument.

    In my opinion, the important issue was stated by me in my post at October 13, 2012 at 9:03 am and has been restated in different words by Crispin in Beijing at October 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm.

    Richard

    PS Please do not be offended if I do not reply to any further posts for many hours because I have important duties today.

    • richardscourtney:

      I take issue with your assumption that there is equilibrium temperature that is available for measurement. At an (x, y, z) space point in Earth’s atmosphere, the equilibrium temperature is the temperature that would be measured if all of the strengths of all of various forcings were to be held constant at every point in space and time, if the composition of Earth and its atmosphere were to be held constant at every point in space and time and if the observer were to wait for an infinite amount of time before measuring the temperature. In reality, the strengths, composition and temperature fluctuate continuously in space and in time. Also, a real observer cannot wait for an infinite amount of time. Thus, in reality there is not an equilibrium temperature that is available for measurement.

  57. Richard Courtney, you write “No. The climate sensitivity has been measured by a variety of methods (which have been linked in this thread by me and wayne). A measured value is an observation and, thus, demonstrates that your claim of “non-observability” is untrue. ”

    I take issue with this statement. It is theoretically possible to measure total climate sensitivity. You observe how much CO2 levels rise in the atmosphere, and you observe how much temperature rises as a result of this increase in CO2 concentration. This would give a measure of total climate sensitivity. No-one has actually made such measurements. My own look at this way of measuring CS has led me to conclude that CS is indistinguishable from zero.

    Other than this, all the numbers associated with CS have only been estimated; mostly by highly dubious physics. There is empirical data to support the idea of an increase in radiative forcing as more CO2 is added to the atmopshere. But there is no empirical data whatsoever that has been used as a basis for any claimed numeric value of CS.

  58. Jim Cripwell:

    I am responding to your post at October 14, 2012 at 3:49 am but I fail to understand the point you are making so I cannot answer it. Sorry.

    As an addendum, I think this discussion is devolving into an ‘Angels On A Pin’ discussion. If that is not so then I would welcome being enlightened.

    Richard

  59. Richard, you write “but I fail to understand the point you are making so I cannot answer it.”

    Maybe I am being supersensitive, but I am appalled by the lack of the use of empirical data by the proponents of CAGW. They rely on hypothetical data, and the output of non-validated models. So the point I am trying to make is that none of the numbers that are routinely claimed to be values for CS are based on any empirical data; any actual measurements. So when I see you claim that some of the numbers are based on measured data, I bristle.

    The point is that, because we do not understand what causes natural variations, it is impossible to claim that any particular observed change in temperature was actually caused by increasing levels of CO2. So, it is impossible to use empirical data to measure CS. I rely on negative data, which cannot prove anything. There is no sign that CO2 has affected the trend of global temperatures. Now, tomorrow, next week, next year, or some time in the future, a strong CO2 signal could emerge, and I would be proven wrong. But until that happens there is no sign that CO2 affects global tempertratures, and hence there is a strong indication that the CS of CO2 is indistinguishable from zero.

  60. Jim Cripwell and Terry Oldberg:

    In this one post I am replying to your posts at October 14, 2012 at 7:35 am and October 14, 2012 at 8:34 am, respectively, for the convenience of other readers and not as an intended slight to either of you.

    Jim and Terry,
    Please be assured that my ‘Angels On A Pin’ comment addressed to Jim was – and is – genuine. I do fail to see the importance of this esoteric issue but I am replying to your posts because the issue clearly matters to you sufficiently for you to each ‘come back’ to me.

    Jim,
    You say

    The point is that, because we do not understand what causes natural variations, it is impossible to claim that any particular observed change in temperature was actually caused by increasing levels of CO2. So, it is impossible to use empirical data to measure CS. I rely on negative data, which cannot prove anything. There is no sign that CO2 has affected the trend of global temperatures. Now, tomorrow, next week, next year, or some time in the future, a strong CO2 signal could emerge, and I would be proven wrong. But until that happens there is no sign that CO2 affects global tempertratures, and hence there is a strong indication that the CS of CO2 is indistinguishable from zero.

    OK, I now ‘get it’. Thankyou.
    You are making a philosophical point concerning whether we can ‘know’ what is measured.

    I am not a trained philosopher but my studies lead me to fully understand how amateur philosophy can be very, very wrong. Despite that I will give my views so it is clear I am not avoiding your point. And I hope any philosophers will correct me if I get this wrong.

    1.
    Changes in (a) radiative forcing and (b) temperature change can be measured. Therefore, the change temperature associated with a change to radiative forcing can be quantitatively observed.
    2.
    Change in radiative forcing from a given increase atmospheric CO2 equivalent can be calculated from SB.
    3.
    The calculation of (2) can be inserted in the relationship of (1) to determine the temperature change associated with a change in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    The result of (1) to (3) provides an indication of climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, as I understand it, you are saying that is not an empirical determination because stages (2) and (3) are calculations and not measurements.

    As I said, I am not a philosopher so I shall reply to that on the basis of measurement theory and – as I also said – I hope any philosophers reading this will say if my answer differs from the true philosophical answer. My point is as follows.

    Many measurements are conducted using a direct inference from a calculation of a fundamental physical equation. For example, some optical pyrometers do it, and the ZAF corrections applied in quantitative energy dispersive analysis of X-rays (QEDX) are each calculated using radiative physics. All such measurements are said to be empirical.

    Hence, many empirical measurements use a calculation from a fundamental physical equation as part of their procedure. However, such measurement methods (e.g. the instruments they use) are calibrated, and no calibration standard exists for climate sensitivity.

    In my opinion, the lack of calibration for climate sensitivity measurements does NOT stop the measurements being empirical. It reduces their reliability and their precision. Please note that this is my opinion and not a fact.

    I agree that climate sensitivity is indistinguishable from zero. Please read my post at October 13, 2012 at 9:03 am and take especial note of its analogy with ‘global warming from cities’. The point is that “indistinguishable from zero” is zero for practical purposes but is not zero in actuality.

    I hope the above is clear.

    Terry,
    You write saying to me

    I take issue with your assumption that there is equilibrium temperature that is available for measurement. At an (x, y, z) space point in Earth’s atmosphere, the equilibrium temperature is the temperature that would be measured if all of the strengths of all of various forcings were to be held constant at every point in space and time, if the composition of Earth and its atmosphere were to be held constant at every point in space and time and if the observer were to wait for an infinite amount of time before measuring the temperature. In reality, the strengths, composition and temperature fluctuate continuously in space and in time. Also, a real observer cannot wait for an infinite amount of time. Thus, in reality there is not an equilibrium temperature that is available for measurement.

    I again point out that I am not a philosopher and your point is also philosophical. Hence, philosophers may want to jump on me for stating my view (which would be a benefit to all including me).

    I agree that an equilibrium value of climate sensitivity will never be achieved and, therefore, it cannot be directly measured. However, as I said, scientists and engineers often calculate (estimate?) equilibrium values that are not achieved. I understand that such estimates have great value for chemists when determining reaction rates (I am not a chemist).

    If a calculated value has use then I don’t see a problem with calculating it (assuming the calculation is possible).

    Please note, Terry, I am not avoiding your point. I genuinely fail to see its importance.

    I apologise to both of you that this answer is inadequate but it is the best I can do.

    Richard

    • richardscourtney:

      I don’t believe that “esoteric” is an apt descriptor of the problem under discussion. You are well equipped for participation in this discussion if acquainted with the elements of logic.

      Though not a degreed philsopher of science, I acquired on the job training in this discipline in the period of 13 years in which I designed and managed scientific studies for a living. In designing a study I had to have a command over certain aspects of the philosophy of science to avoid commission of errors of methodology. Over time, I learned how to avoid commission of errors of this type.

      To think clearly about the methodology of science one must distinguish between the idea of an “observed state” and the idea of an “inferred state.” Let A designate a proposition. A is the proposition that “The system is in state ‘a’.”

      That state ‘a’ is “observed” implies that proposition A is true. That ‘a’ is “inferred” does not imply that A is true. To conflate the two kinds of state is to invite the unproved conclusion that when ‘a’ is inferred, A is true. In the context of debate, to conflate them for this purpose is to stoop to the unscrupulous tactic that is known as “doublespeak.”

      Now let ‘a’ designate the numerical value of the equilibrium temperature. As I demonstated in an earlier post, ‘a’ cannot be observed. However, through the use of various climatological tools ‘a’ can be inferred. Your argument for the observability of the equilibrium temperature conflates the idea of an “observed state” with the idea of an “inferred state” thus inviting the unproved conclusion that A is true.In truth, one cannot prove A because the equilibrium temperature cannot be observed.

  61. Terry Oldberg and richardscourtney:

    Terry is correct that ECS cannot be directly measured or even inferred to a high level of precision, and I believe Richard would agree. However, although Terry seems to disagree, it is completely SCIENTIFIC to make indirect observations and measurements and draw logical conclusions from them.

    The Mauna Loa measurements of CO2 levels are credible, and they show an increase since the 1960 level of about 315 ppmv to over 390 ppmv today. CO2 is rising at a rate that is unprecedented since we have been able to measure it. Based on Ice Core measurements, we believe it was at about 280 ppmv prior to 1880. Satellite measurements of Global Temperatures from 1979 to the present show an increase of at least 0.2⁰C. While temperature measurements prior to the satellite era are questionable, it is pretty clear that they rose about 0.2⁰C between 1880 and 1979, so the Earth has warmed about 0.4⁰C since 1880.

    I think all of us should accept the above measurements as being accurate to at least one significant figure.

    The “official” climate (hockey) Team has taken this data and run wild with it. The Alarmists and Warmists have convinced much of the media and political establishment and a good part of the population that Global Warming so far is about twice the amount that has actually occured. They blame most of this on human activities, namely land use changes and overuse of fossil fuels. They predict that the unprecedented increase in CO2 is mainly due to human activities and that it will lead to catastrophic consequences that will destroy human civilization on Earth as we know it unless govenments take drastic actions to severely restrict use of fossil fuels.

    Most of us on WUWT accept the CO2 and temperature measurements as I have summarized them above. However, we are properly Skeptical about the exaggerated amount of warming claimed by the “official” Team (0.8⁰C) as well as their models of Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity that yield ECS estimates of 2⁰C to 4.5⁰C.

    So, we point to studies that conclude that ECS is most likely less than 0.5⁰C. We also point out that Global temperatures have not increased at all over the past decade and a half, and may have actually dropped a bit, despite the undoubtedly rapid increase in CO2 levels over that period of time.

    OK, as Terry points out, none of this, on either side, has been exactly measured. So, to use his vocabulary, it is “inferred” and not “observed”. Terry says further:

    To think clearly about the methodology of science one must distinguish between the idea of an “observed state” and the idea of an “inferred state.” Let A designate a proposition. A is the proposition that “The system is in state ‘a’.”

    That state ‘a’ is “observed” implies that proposition A is true. That ‘a’ is “inferred” does not IMPLY that A is true. To conflate the two kinds of state is to invite the unproved conclusion that when ‘a’ is inferred, A is true. In the context of debate, to conflate them for this purpose is to stoop to the unscrupulous tactic that is known as “doublespeak.” [my BOLD]

    Yes Terry, that ‘a’ is “inferred” does not PROVE that A is true, but, No Terry, it DOES IMPLY that it is true.

    The word you used is IMPLY which means to strongly suggest the truth or existence of something, or to involve by logical necessity, or to express or indicate indirectly. It is definitely SCIENTIFIC to INFER and PREDICT trends and consequences based on INDIRECT measurements. Indeed, most of SCIENCE is based on indirect measurements and observations. To suggest otherwise is, non-scientific :^)

    To summarize, neither Warmists nor Skeptics can absolutely PROVE our inferences from the limited measurements that are available, but it is definitely scientific to interpret and model the measuerments and make predictions. As I have tried to show in the main topic above, the predictions of the Warmists have not held up very well over the past decade and a half. That does not PROVE that they are wrong, but it certainly IMPLIES as much, and it definitely is SCIENTIFIC to accept the implication they are wrong.

    The predictions of the Skeptics have held up very well over the past decade and a half. Again that does not PROVE we are right, but it certainly IMPLIES as much, and it definitely is SCIENTIFIC to accept the implication we are right.

    Ira Glickstein

    • Ira Glickstein:

      As you point out, that ‘a’ is inferred implies that A is true. However, as the equilibrium temperature is not observable, one cannot infer ‘a’ while acting within constraints belonging to the scientific method of inquiry that require the empirical falsifiability of claims. Relaxation of these constraints yields the dogmatic method of inquiry wherein ‘a’ may be inferred and A is true.

  62. cheatsout says:
    October 12, 2012 at 12:32 am
    There needs to be a climate science version of USADA to catch climate cheats. Compile all the evidence against them then humiliate them in public, like how serial cheater lance Armstrong is getting humiliated now. Will make them think twice before swinging their hockey sticks around.

    Michael Mann = Lance Armstrong of climate science.

    My comment on Lance Armstrong, on Bloomberg, was: From Mr. Zip to Mr. Zippo.

  63. Ira commented that some of our CO2 produced have a positive feedback on temperature. Only if you are drawn into the GHG theory. This theory has yet to be confirmed and it is certainly not needed for the extra temperature required to increase the surface temperature from that calculated using Black Body formula. I have yet to be convinced that this planet acts as a black body. There is a process that increases surface temperature, works regardless of atmospheric composition and has been proved many times:- adiabatic compressive heating by gravity. Use of the combined gas formula for our atmosphere produces the required temperature. It works on Venus and produces the surface temperature required there. The same process starts solar fusion, explains why Jupiter radiates more heat that it receives despite having a non GHG atmosphere and is why diesel engines work.
    But if Ira wants to still believe the thermodynamic law violating GHG theory it’s up to him.

  64. Earth to John Marshall ! ! ! :^) You say: “…GHG theory … has yet to be confirmed and it is certainly not needed for the extra temperature required to increase the surface temperature from that calculated using Black Body formula.”

    OK, so you seem to accept the Stefan-Boltzmann(SB) law, which is encouraging, and that the average surface temperature of the Earth is higher than it would be by SB calculations. It is about 33⁰C (58⁰F) warmer.

    You appear to attribute that 33⁰C (58⁰F) to “adiabatic compressive heating by gravity”. OK, Atmospheric pressure at the surface of the Earth is about 14.7 pounds per square inch (14 psi) and, you believe, that STATIC pressure causes, via “adiabatic compressive heating by gravity”, 33⁰C (58⁰F) increase in temperature.

    OK, say it is 20⁰F outside and you have no heater in your house. So, you seal it up real tight and pump air in until the pressure goes up by 14.7 psi. I agree that will TEMPORARILY increase inside temperatures a bit (but most likely not by 58⁰F). But then, unless your house is perfectly insulated, which is impossible, the inside pressure will remain high, BUT your home will eventually cool to the ambient temperature outside which is 20⁰F.

    If you do not agree to that, you do not properly understand conservation of energy.

    Ira Glickstein

  65. Ira Glickstein says, October 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm says:

    David Socrates, Terry Oldberg (good to “see” you here again), and Ken Harvey: The Atmospheric “Greenhouse Effect” definitely DOES NOT violate the first or second Laws of Thermodynamics.

    Nope, I never said it did. So that’s a straw man.

    We have been through this many times on WUWT and I (and the management) agree that the Atmospheric “Greenhouse Effect” is real, and disbelieving in that fact does not help our Skeptic cause one whit.

    So this is all a matter of belief it it, rather than science? That’s exactly what warmists do.

    I accept it as real but question the magnitude of the effect.

    A theory that has a predicted outcome lying somewhere between zero and infinity is unscientific. It is not, even in principle, falsifiable.

    As a reasonable Skeptic and based on my knowledge of physics and reading the scientific literature and WUWT, I believe ECS (Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity, which is the expected average increase in global temperatures if CO2 levels double, all else remaining the same) is less than 1.0⁰C and most likely less than 0.5⁰C, in contrast to the “official” Warmist view that it is 2⁰C to 4.5⁰C.

    Believe what you (and the management) like. I stand by my original comment that a theory that is not able to quantify its own expected result is not a valid scientific theory. The warmists can’t verify their figure of 2 to 4.5degC. You can’t verify your figure of 0.5 to 1degC. So it is unresolvable and therefore is unscientific.

    Disbelievers like you guys, in effect, say ECS is 0.0⁰C.

    Nope, I never said it was. I said that the feedback theory is not quantifiable and that therefore it is not scientific.

    I have said it several times now. Let me just say it once more: the feedback theory does not predict an outcome value. Therefore it is not falsifiable. Therefore it is unscientific. This should be shouted from the rooftops by all skeptics. Any other approach plays straight into the hands of the warmists.

  66. Ira Glickstein says, October 15, 2012 at 8:48 am: Earth to John Marshall ! ! ! :^) You say: “…GHG theory … has yet to be confirmed and it is certainly not needed for the extra temperature required to increase the surface temperature from that calculated using Black Body formula.”… the average surface temperature of the Earth is higher than it would be by SB calculations. It is about 33⁰C (58⁰F) warmer.

    Earth to Ira: duh!

    (1) An atmosphere-less earth would not be 33degC colder. It would be more like 90degC colder. This has been demonstrated both theoretically and empirically. The conventional black body calculation has been shown to be wrong because it first averages the incident radiation across the earth’s surface and then uses the S-B formula to calculate the corresponding average temperature. This violates Holder’s Inequality theorem which says that “averaging a function’s set of input values (in this case flux densities) and applying the result to the function does not produce the same output as applying each of the input values separately to the function and averaging the corresponding set of outputs (at least not if the function is non-linear as is very much the case with S-B).

    So if you first use the S-B function repeatedly to calculate the temperature at each point on the earth and then average those temperature values, you get the correct theoretical result which is a 134degC lower temperature than ambient. Doing it the other way round, as is conventionally done, gives you the 33degC value which is simply wrong. This error has now been confirmed empirically: the moon’s average surface temperature has been determined to be about 90degC below earth ambient. (The difference between the moon’s 90degC and the theoretical 134degC black body value is due to the heat retention properties of the moon’s regolith). Nevertheless the moon’s mean temperature is nearly 3 times further below ambient than the conventional 33degC result.

    You say: You appear to attribute that 33⁰C (58⁰F) to “adiabatic compressive heating by gravity”. OK, say it is 20⁰F outside and you have no heater in your house. So, you seal it up real tight and pump air in until the pressure goes up by 14 psi. I agree that will TEMPORARILY increase inside temperatures a bit (but most likely not by 58⁰F). But then, unless your house is perfectly insulated, which is impossible, the inside pressure will remain high, BUT your home will eventually cool to the ambient temperature outside of 20⁰F.

    Earth to Ira: duh!

    (2) This is the hoary old ‘bicycle tyre pumping’ story – except you have decided to pump up a whole house instead. The earth’s surface atmospheric temperature is not due to it being ‘pumped up adiabatically’ (billions of years ago, presumably). That would indeed have been a transient experience! Instead it is due to the steady state flow of energy arriving from the sun, passing up through the atmosphere, and back out to space. That continuous energy flow maintains a fixed surface air temperature because the only other variable, the surface air pressure, is itself fixed (1 bar) being itself a consequence of the (fixed) weight of atmosphere above the surface. So, sorry, there’s no room for any temperature variation due to CO2 or any other GHG.

    Here too, there is empirical evidence to back up this theory. The Venus atmosphere has almost 100% CO2 whereas earth has almost 0% CO2 – the perfect laboratory experiment. Yet, as Harry Dale Huffman discovered, the Venus atmosphere temperature at any chosen pressure (that lies within the pressure range of the earth’s troposphere) is almost exactly the same as the earth’s temperature at that same given pressure (after adjusting for the two planets’ relative distances from the sun).

    End of story.

  67. Thanks, David Socrates, for your detailed reply.

    I hope John Marshall (October 15, 2012 at 2:56 am) reads the following words copied from your most recent posting:

    …The earth’s surface atmospheric temperature is not due to it being ‘pumped up adiabatically’ (billions of years ago, presumably). That would indeed have been a transient experience! Instead it is due to the steady state flow of energy arriving from the sun, passing up through the atmosphere, and back out to space. [my bold]

    Indeed, you and I agree that it is not what John Marshall called “adiabatic compressive heating by gravity” that is responsible for the surface of the Earth being warmier than calculated by the SB Law. As you so aptly say, a one-time adiabatic pump-up would be a transient experience and the Earth surface would have cooled long ago if it was simply gravity acting on the Atmosphere. (For now, let us leave the question of whether it is 33⁰C or 90⁰C that has to be made up by some warming mechanism. The point is that the surface of the Earth is quite a bit warmer than it would be absent an Atmosphere.)

    So what is the Atmospheric warming mechanism? Well, you say, again correctly IMHO, “… the steady state flow of energy arriving from the sun, passing up through the atmosphere, and back out to space.” That is what somehow warms the Earth surface. Right! But how?

    Well, as I show in my Visualizing the “Greenhouse Effect” series, particularly the chapter on Emission Spectra, actual measurements have been made of the heat energy in the longwave infrared spectra departing the Top of the Atmosphere and heading back out to be Lost to Space, as observed by sensors on satellites, and of the heat energy in the longwave infrared spectra coming out of the Bottom of the Atmosphere and being absorbed by the surface of the Earth, as seen by sensors on the surface of the Earth.

    And, guess what, those measurements square with the so-called Atmospheric “Greenhouse Efffect”. The spectra graphs show the signature of the absorption and emission spectra of the most influential so-called “Greenhouse” Gas which is H2O (water vapor) and of the less influential but still important absorption and emission spectra of our friend, CO2, both of which make life as we know it possible on Earth.

    So, if that is not the explanation of how the Atmosphere utilizes the flow of energy arriving from the Sun to cause the surface of the Earth to be warmer than it would be absent the Atmosphere, what is? Please supply details and link them to actual measurements.

    Please explain how your explanation (which I confess I do not yet understand) comports with the graphs of inputs and outputs of longwave infrared heat energy from the Top of the Atmosphere to Space and, more importantly, the downwelling longwave heat energy from the Bottom of the Atmosphere to the surface of the Earth. (The longwave infrared energy from the Bottom of the Atmosphere warming the surface of the Earth is, of course, in addition to the UV/visual/shortwave infrared that arrives daily from the Sun and initially warms the surface of the Earth.)

    Ira Glickstein

    PS: Here is an animation from the above link that simplifies the explanation:

  68. David Socrates, Ira asks you “So what is the Atmospheric warming mechanism?” meaning related to pressure. Ira, would like your thoughts too but if I remember right you didn’t quite get my drift long ago, maybe this time.

    Ask any qualified astronomer or radio astronomer, it is from mass extinction and its units are the mass extinction coefficient. All molecules or atoms are disturbed by all frequencies evenly and this all-spectrum absorption is pressure dependent. You can see its effect magnified to its limit measuring light radiance coming from stars just above the horizon, and guess what, that light is reduced 34 times less than when the same star is directly zenith. So just where exactly does that 33/34th of the energy disappears to?

    David, I read your comment and agree with what you are saying. That is why I was surprised that Ira had finally considered that the ECS even be lower then 0.5. I take that very literally, could even be zero for not only co2 but all GHGs. I am beginning to think we have been fed a load of dung much deeper than most of the posts here at wuwt portrays, I think its flaws are in the way radiation is being handled completely by the climatologists.

    All light (e/m) is attenuated by all matter, yes even gases of any type. The influence is not of rovibration absorption lines but in the interaction of the electric field with the electrons about the matter’s atoms. Think of translational levels which are not quantitized. The effect is very small compared to rotation or vibration events but these events happen to all frequencies of the e/m waves and to interaction with each and every atom or molecules depending on the exact proximity (density), polarization plane, instantaneous electron configuration and frequency.

    Have you ever wondered how the air gets warm and so fast early in the morning? Put a thermometer on the ground’s surface… it isn’t from conduction, that’s for sure. The grounds cooler than the air! The ground or ocean water only absorbs more that the air by mass extinction when the coefficient gets smaller as the sun rises higher and the ground absorption reaches a maximum and air a minimum at zenith. Yes Ira, GHGs specific lines are also absorbing and radiating but their first absorption is high in the atmosphere when the sun is low… extinction is a continuous process, the more mass traversed the weak the light (speaking of any e/m here).

    I am not trying so say that GHGs vibration lines have no hand for their interaction is very strong and line specific and especially water molecules are bound to have a hand in it. But this is a bit getting back into Ira’s bouncing photon description which is by far too simplistic. Rotation and vibration absorption and emission is really no more than long reaching and very fast line specific conduction as far a energy transfers in an atmosphere is concerned. Think along those lines when explaining why absorption and warming depends on pressure (and really it the density, not the pressure but in an atmosphere they always closely track each other – see optical thickness and mass absorption or mass extinction (meaning this only depend on the shear mass of the gas transversed)).

    I don’t have the complete answers yet, still searching, but this topic brings back some deeper reading on radiation some forty years ago when I was an assistance to the astronomy professor and had an entire university library at my hands. Now the closest is some forty miles away or I might have already found the real answer I’m looking for. So far I have found but one thing, if it’s somewhere on the web it sure hides itself well! Maybe you or someone else can investigate that realm a bit.

    Started to re-write this for better flow but I’m out of time so please just befuddle through my hobbled together thoughts above.

  69. Ira-
    The atmosphere is not a static body of gas it is dynamic in 3 dimensions. I assume you understand the Fohne Effect, the reason why katabatic winds get warmer as they descend, there is vertical movement with convection and displacement so in no way can you compare increasing house pressure with the atmosphere.(Like comparing the atmosphere with a greenhouse which it definitely is not.).
    Bodies with an atmosphere are cooler than one without whilst receiving the same radiation. Compare the earth and moon. Both receive the same insolation but sunlit areas of the moon get to 150C or higher, shade areas -150C or lower. Earth high temperature rarely exceeds 50C or goes below -80C.
    Gravity dictates that molecules of CO2 are concentrated near the surface. The per volume concentration is around 400ppmv but we are not talking about the same volume at the surface compared to that at the tropopause which is 5 times larger. The volume increases as you ascend. Both water vapour and CO2 adsorb IR and when saturated emit at a lower frequency/energy, due to energy used increasing the molecular kinetic energy. Radiated energy from the surface is at the same energy level or lower, due to work done at the surface raising temperatures, and this energy is not at the adsorption frequency but at or below the emission band so how does this low level of energy get re-emitted to the surface? also at height the temperature is much lower, due to the lapse rate, imposed by gravity as is the heating effect, and the 2nd law of thermodynamics forbids transmission of heat(energy) from cold to hot.
    The GHG theory dictates that as atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise, as at the moment, temperature will rise. Temperatures remain static to a slight drop!
    The GHG theory dictates that there will be a temperature anomaly at the mid to high troposphere. Non has been found, temperatures fall with height following the adaibatic lapse rate.
    The GHG theory dictates that as atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise so the emitted energy from the earth will fall. We have rising CO2 levels but emitted energy remains the same and has done since satellites started to measure this metric 30 years ago.
    All the crisis events that the GHG theory claim have failed to come about. It is time that this benighted theory was laid to rest.
    And yes I agree that the SB formula is correct for describing and calculating black body radiation but there is only one truly black body in this solar system—- the sun.

    [John Marshall: 1) What you call the "Fohne Effect" (which I would pronounce "Phoney") is spelled "föhn" or "foehn" on Wikipedia and, in any case I do not follow how it explains what we all agree is the higher surface temperature on a planet with an atmosphere vs one without. 2) Once an atmosphere reaches an equilibrium temperature, it absorbs and emits at exactly the same energy levels due to conservation of energy. 3) About half of this radiation reaches the surface, and is absorbed, warming the surface. Once the surface reaches an equilibrium temperature, the surface absorbs and emits at exactly the same energy levels due to conservation of energy. 4) The second law of thermodynamics does not forbid a photon emitted from a colder surface to be absorbed by a warmer surface. Only a NET transfer of heat energy is forbidden from colder to warmer. 5) Yes, Earth surface temperatures have remained nearly static for the past decade and a half, while CO2 levels continue their rapid rise. What this proves is that rising CO2 due to human activities is NOT the MAIN cause of warming over the past century, but that other NATURAL causes are the MAIN cause and some NATURAL causes of cooling (probably reduced Solar activity) are counteracting the relatively minor effect of rising CO2. 6) Yes, the Earth (and even the Sun) are not ideal blackbodies, but the approximation is close enought for many practical calculations- Ira]

  70. Ira, thanks in turn for your speedy reply.

    Let’s first try and establish some principles on which I hope we can agree:

    PRINCIPLE 1: Yes, we both agree that “adiabatic compressive heating by gravity” is NOT the mechanism that could possibly keep the earth’s atmosphere at its current surface temperature. That is and always has been a ridiculous argument with no scientific merit.

    PRINCIPLE 2: Yes, I agree that for the sake of focus it is best to set aside the discussion about whether in the absence of an atmosphere the earth’s mean surface temperature would be 33deg C or ~90degC cooler (important though I believe that discussion is, for very fundamental reasons that can be discussed another time).

    PRINCIPLE 3: Radiation is energy flow, not heat flow. So no laws of thermodynamics are violated by a cooler body radiating towards a warmer body (how would it know anyway?!). If two isolated bodies at different temperatures radiate towards one another, the cooler body will get warmer and the warmer body will get cooler. This is simply because the net energy flow is greater in one direction than in the other. So the warmer body is losing net energy and the cooler body is gaining net energy. Anybody who argues otherwise is guilty of perpetrating another ridiculous argument of no scientific merit.

    PRINCIPLE 4: All matter absorbs and re-emits radiation all the time, including ALL atmospheric gases. GHGs absorb particularly strongly at atmospheric temperatures. The direction of emission of each individual emitted photon is random. Consequently, a significant proportion of photons are bound to travel from matter that is at a lower temperature towards matter that is at a higher temperature.

    PRINCIPLE 5: The term ‘back radiation’ is needlessly divisive because it implies something special about a photon that happens to be traveling towards the earth’s surface. There is nothing special about it at all. So why annoy professional scientists unnecessarily by using the term?

    OK, if you agree to the above this leaves us clear room to debate the real issue of what causes the ‘atmospheric warming effect’.

    You say it is GHGs, principally H20 and CO2. I say it is the effect of a constant flow of energy passing through the air on its way back out to space. We have both already presented evidence, theoretical and empirical:

    Your theoretical argument is that GHGs are strong absorbers of (a certain fraction of) the radiation flowing through the atmosphere. When they re-radiate, a proportion will be travelling downwards towards the earth’s surface and some will reach it. According to PRINCIPLE 3, this will slow down the rate of cooling of the earth’s surface so the surface will be warmer with the GHGs in the atmosphere than it would be if they were absent.

    Your empirical evidence in support of the above theory is the satellite-derived spectra of ToA radiation showing significant absorption notches in what would otherwise be the expected smooth black body curve to which the earth’s emissions would otherwise approximate.

    My theoretical argument is that a cubic metre of air at ground level has (by definition) a fixed volume and also a fixed pressure, the latter being in turn fixed by the weight of the mass of air above, all the way up the ‘atmospheric column’ to space. In those circumstances, the Universal Gas Law requires that, for a steady rate of energy flow through that cubic metre of air from the ground upwards, its temperature will be fixed. This leaves no room for ANY change in temperature unless the energy flow varies for any reason – e.g. a long term change in the sun’s output or a long term change in cloud cover. This means that that the temperature cannot be affected materially by the presence or absence of atmospheric CO2, because if it were, that would violate the Universal Gas Law. (I keep the discussion focussed on CO2 because it is the increase in this gas that is widely accused of causing global warming but of couse it is true for all the GHGs including H2O.)

    I have two empirical arguments in support of the above theory. Firstly, in the last 161 years of the relatively reliable instrumental temperature record, there has been no sign of an increase in global temperature above that which could reasonably be considered to be natural variability. Using the HadCRUT3 offical data set, the long term linear regression slope is 0.41degC per century. See http://www.thetruthaboutclimatechange.org/tempsworld.html

    My second empirical argument is based on Harry Dale Huffman’s amazing discovery about the pressure profile within the section of the Venus atmosphere that corresponds to the pressure profile of the earth’s troposphere. He has shown that, pressure-for-pressure, the temperatures are almost identical (after correcting for the relative distances of Venus and earth from the sun), just as you would expect from the Universal Gas Law. It is an especially important finding because the atmosphere of Venus is almost all CO2 (96.5%) whereas the earth’s atmosphere is almost entirely devoid of CO2 (0.04%) thus dramatically refuting the idea that CO2 has any special kind of warming effect over and above any other gas. This is a truly remarkable finding which in my view has never been successfully challenged. (There have been some pathetic attempts, like putting it down to ‘coincidence’!) I think it stands as the only really important empirical discovery so far in the troubled history of climate science.

    Like you, I am an engineer not a theoretical physicist. I strongly believe that empirical evidence always trounces theory. I argue therefore that my empirical evidence strongly and unambiguously supports the ‘Gas Law’ warming theory and that at the same time it flatly contradicts your theoretical argument. Therefore I respectfully submit that there must be a flaw in your theory, despite the apparent empirical support you have provided.

  71. DS above in his 1st principle claims that adiabatic compressive heating cannot work in an atmosphere. Fair enough but how do you explain the extra heat radiated by the gas giants. Jupiter has an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium, neither known for their GHG properties yet Jupiter has a very large heat signature despite receiving very little heat from the sun. There is no other process but the adiabatic compression by gravity.
    I assume that DS has never owned a diesel vehicle.

    [John Marshall: Yes “Jupiter radiates 1.6 times a much energy as falls on it from the Sun. Thus, Jupiter has an internal heat source. It is thought that much of this heat is residual heat left over from the original collapse of the primordial nebula to form the Solar System, but some may come from slow contraction (liquids are highly incompressible, so Jupiter cannot be contracting very much.)…” Quote source here.]

  72. John Marshall says, October 17, 2012 at 6:49 am: DS above in his 1st principle claims that adiabatic compressive heating cannot work in an atmosphere. Fair enough but how do you explain the extra heat radiated by the gas giants.

    John, I don’t have to. I haven’t the faintest idea. It is not at all pertinent to this thread which relates to rocky planets and the question of why their atmospheres are warmer than their surfaces would be without an atmosphere. Ira says CO2. I say the Gas Law.

    Perhaps, having graciously accepted your ludicrous error about “adibatic compressive heating” being the cause of atmospheric warming, you would kindly address yourself to the issue under discussion, namely my statement in my last post to the effect that theory and empirical evidence both support the position that there is no room for CO2 (or any other so-called greenhouse gas) to provide any measurable contribution to the atmospheric temperature enhancement because it is ALL accounted for by the Gas Law, as I have carefuly explained.

    Ira seems to be hiding under a table somewhere after my last onslaught and it’s clearly down to you now to carry the can. So, do you agree with me? Or do you agree with Ira?

    [David, I was not "hiding under a table" but rather, out of respect for your ideas and theory, I was composing a rather long, somewhat detailed, and completely convincing response. See my Comment immediately below. Enjoy! - Ira]

  73. David Socrates (October 16, 2012 at 4:31 am), thanks again for a very substantive posting, most of which I can agree to wholeheartedly.

    PRINCIPLE 1: … “adiabatic compressive heating by gravity” is NOT the mechanism … [it is] a ridiculous argument with no scientific merit. …
    PRINCIPLE 2: … for the sake of focus it is best to set aside … 33deg C or ~90degC cooler …
    PRINCIPLE 3: … no laws of thermodynamics are violated by a cooler body radiating towards a warmer body (how would it know anyway?!). [only] net energy flow [is covered by thermodynamics law] …
    PRINCIPLE 4: All matter absorbs and re-emits radiation all the time, including ALL atmospheric gases. GHGs absorb particularly strongly at atmospheric temperatures. The direction of emission of each individual emitted photon is random. Consequently, a significant proportion of photons are bound to travel from matter that is at a lower temperature towards matter that is at a higher temperature.
    PRINCIPLE 5: The term ‘back radiation’ is needlessly divisive because it implies something special about a photon that happens to be traveling towards the earth’s surface. There is nothing special about it at all. So why annoy professional scientists unnecessarily by using the term?

    I heartily AGREE with each and every PRINCIPLE listed above, except I have a minor quibble with PRINCIPLE 5.

    It is true that there is nothing special about the photons that happen to be travelling towards the surface of the Earth EXCEPT for the fact that those photons that pass out of the Bottom of the Atmosphere and strike the surface and are absorbed will add energy to the molecules that make up the surface, energizing (warming) them and causing them to emit more longwave IR than had they not been struck by a downwelling photon. By the same token, there is nothing special about the photons that happen to be traveling towards Space EXCEPT for the fact that those photons that escape the Top of the Atmosphere contain energy that is lost forever.

    I prefer the term “downwelling radiation” though “back radiation”, while not my preference, is also acceptable to me since it describes longwave radiation that is (mostly) the result of heating of the Atmosphere from upwelling longwave radiation. This radiative energy is coming BACK to the Earth surface INSTEAD of continuing off to be Lost in Space as it would be absent an Atmosphere. (I say “mostly” because some of the downwelling longwave radiation is due to energy from the original shortwave radiation from the Sun heating the air on the way down, so, technically speaking, that part of the downwelling radiation is not coming “back”.)

    So (so far) we agree, but for a minor quibble in wording.

    Now let us get to the meat of your argument.

    OK, [let us] debate the real issue of what causes the ‘atmospheric warming effect’.
    You say it is GHGs, principally H20 and CO2. I say it is the effect of a constant flow of energy passing through the air on its way back out to space. …

    … My theoretical argument is that a cubic metre of air at ground level has (by definition) a fixed volume and also a fixed pressure … the Universal Gas Law requires that, for a steady rate of energy flow through that cubic metre of air from the ground upwards, its temperature will be fixed. This leaves no room for ANY change in temperature unless the energy flow varies for any reason – e.g. a long term change in the sun’s output or a long term change in cloud cover. This means that that the temperature cannot be affected materially by the presence or absence of atmospheric CO2, because if it were, that would violate the Universal Gas Law.

    Clear enough, but there is not “a steady rate of energy flow through” your cubic meter of air! During the early afternoon, when the Sun is brightest and the Earth surface is warmest, there is a high flow of longwave energy, call it H, upwelling into the Bottom of the Atmosphere (BOA). In the depths of night, long after the Sun has set and the Earth surface is coolest, there is a lower flow of longwave energy, call it L, upwelling into the BOA. So, your cubic meter of air must cool down at night and warm up in the daytime. Right?

    How does this happen? Well, when the Sun sets the Earth surface cools. The cooler surface produces less than H upwelling radiation. So, the air molecules have less radiation to absorb and they continue to emit longwave radiation and the air cools. As the night progresses, upwelling radiation decreases to L. Then, when the Sun rises the next day, and the surface of the Earth begins to heat up to daytime temperatures, the upwelling radiation increases once again to H, and the air warms once again. Day follows night and season follows season, so, while the average flow may be more or less steady, the actual flow at a given time of day or night or season will vary considerably. Right?

    So, late at night, when the air is coolest, let us remove the CO2 and H2O “greenhouse” gases (GHG) from the Atmosphere and see what happens when the Sun rises again. OK, the surface of the Earth warms up due to incoming Sunshine and it emits H amount of upwelling longwave IR, as usual. However, that radiation is not appreciably absorbed by the N2 and O2 and, since we removed the GHG, there is no H2O or CO2 to absorb it, so most of it passes through the Atmosphere and out to be Lost to Space. So, the air does not heat up as much as it did before we removed the GHG. (Yes, the O2 will absorb some upwelling longwave IR so the air will warm some, but not as much as it did the previous day when CO2 and H2O were present in the Atmosphere.)

    Since the air did not absorb as much upwelling IR as usual, it will be cooler when nighttime comes and will emit less downwelling IR towards the Earth surface, so the surface will be cooler than it was the previous night. Thus, the next morning, when the Sun rises, it will not be able to raise the temperature of the cooler than normal Earth surface as much as usual. This sequence will repeat day and night and day and night until the Arctic and Antarctic snowcaps spread closer and closer to the Equator. As the snowcaps cover more and more of the Earth surface, the albedo (reflectiveness) of the surface will increase, and more and more of the shortwave IR from the Sun will be reflected back and through the Atmosphere and be Lost to Space before it has any opportunity to warm the Earth. The result will be a “snowball Earth”.

    By the above reasoning, your ideas about the Universal Gas Law and the steady flow of energy do not seem to hold water (pun intended :^).

    But, speaking of water, you will probably say, so long as there is water on the surface of the Earth you cannot remove all the H2O from the Atmosphere. Yes, the surface water will evaporate and soon there will be plenty of water vapor in the air and, as we all know, H2O is the most prevalent and effective GHG. Fair enough.

    So let us remove only the CO2. Now, have a look at the following diagram (from here where you can read more detail).

    For now, just look at the center area where I have graphed the measured absorption/emission spectra for H2O and CO2. Please notice that there is a range, between about 14μ and 17μ (microns = millionths of a meter), where H2O has a limited effect but CO2 has a strong effect. If we eliminate CO2 completely from the Atmosphere, the upwelling longwave IR in that 14μ – 17μ range (which is very strong according to the purple graph below the CO2 spectra) will not be absorbed as much by the Atmosphere and will therefore largely be Lost to Space.

    Note particularly that the top portion of the graphic shows a large “bite” taken out of the outgoing radiation spectrum at the TOA as observed by a sensor in a satellite. Please note further that that missing “bite” almost exactly matches the range, from 14μ – 17μ where CO2 is strongly active and H2O is not. (I don’t like lawyers, but one example of circumstantial evidence they love to quote is when a piece of fresh blueberry pie is missing and little Johnny is found with blue goo all over his mouth. It is pretty clear Johnny took the missing bite of pie. Just as clear, don’t you think, that the CO2 took the substantial “bite” out of the outgoing radiation that, absent the CO2, would have been Lost to Space?)

    Thus, if we leave H2O in the Atmosphere, but remove the CO2, we will have the cooling situation sketched in my paragraphs above, but it will not be as rapid or dramatic. The Earth surface will cool, year by year, the icecaps will progress, slowly but surely, equatorwards, and, at some point, when natural cycles push Earth towards an ice age (as they do every 100,000 years or so) we will get into not just a regular ice age, but we will get a “snowball Earth” ice age with little or no liquid water remaining near the equator. The resultant high albedo, will, absent CO2, prevent Earth from recovering from that extreme ice age. Note: The Last Global Maximum (LGM) ice age, about 20,000 years ago, did not ice up within +40º latitude and -40º latitude of the equator. Thus, of the 180 latitude degrees between the poles, the middle 80º segment centered on the equator, remained ice-free, so there was liquid water available to be evaporated and act as a GHG and the albedo was not nearly as high as it would be for a “snowball Earth”.

    So, the good news is that CO2 is absolutely essential for the Earth to recover from ice ages. It is also essential to all biological life on Earth. Three cheers for CO2 (and the other carbon gases).

    The “bad” news for your theory, David Socrates, is that I have demonstrated that GHG levels in general, and CO2 in particular, DO have an effect on the temperature of that meter cube of air, despite the Universal Gas Law.

    I hope the above explanation will convince you that CO2, and the level of CO2, does have an effect on the temperature of the Atmosphere and the Earth surface. It is a small effect, with Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) a fraction of what the IPCC and the “official” climate (hockey) Team would have us believe, but ECS IS CERTAINLY NOT ZERO.

    I am a (slightly-Lukewarm) Skeptic, but I do not claim to be any kind of a climate expert. However, based on what several Skeptic-friendly certified climate experts tell us here at WUWT, I think it is a valid Skeptic position to accept that ECS is definitely more than 0.0ºC or 0.1ºC or 0.2ºC. ECS is most likely less than 1.0ºC, and most probably between 0.4ºC and 0.5ºC.

    QED. (And I hope you take my comments, and the time and effort I spent to compose them, as a compliment to your thoughtful postings here in this thread. I really appreciate your efforts and ideas and I respect your opinions.)

    Ira Glickstein

  74. DS’s Principle 3, Radiation is energy flow not heat flow. Heat is but part of the energy spectrum and is radiated like all other forms of energy. (As far as the atmosphere is concerned most heat lost is by convection, to the tropopause then radiation.)
    The 2nd law must apply to all forms of energy since heat is energy. If the 2nd law did not apply then a PPM would be possible. It is not.
    A vacuum flask is used to delay cooling by re-radiating the escaping heat back into the substance in the flask. But the temperature still falls.

    Ira. Why call the Fohne (the spelling in my book) effect phoney. It is the application of saturated and dry adiabatic lapse rates and certainly exists, see the Chinook Wind. Reasonable explained on Wikipedia.

  75. John Marshall: The spelling on Wikipedia is “föhn” (see the two dots top the letter “ö”?) which they transliterate to “foehn”. Your spelling “Fohne” would be pronounced “phoney” by most English speaking persons, so I was making a little joke.

    In any case what has the föhn effect, which is that the lee side of a mountain tends to be warmer, to do with the cause of the Earth surface being warmer than is calculated using the SB law? If the physics in your book concludes that the föhn effect is a significant cause of a warm Earth surface, is it indeed “Fohne”.

    Please explain the connection.

    Ira Glickstein

  76. Ira: My goodness your jokes are coming thick and fast. perhaps this whole debate is Fohne? :-)

    John Marshall: You say DS Principle 3… The 2nd law must apply to all forms of energy since heat is energy.

    That is wrong in logic and wrong in reality. The 2nd Law only applies to heat. That is, kinetic energy of molecular motion. Radiation is a form of energy that can go in any direction anywhere without violating anything.

  77. Ira,

    Thanks for responding so fullsomely. Disappointingly you have responded with a straw man and a lecture describing yet again the theory you support.

    First the staw man When most people have discussions about anything to do with the world mean surface temperature they are talking about the temperature averaged in space (i.e. over the whole surface of the earth) and averaged over time (typically several years at the very least, if not several decades). Therefore introducing the diurnal cycle into the discussion really isn’t very helpful or relevant.

    So please take my observations about what happens to a cubic meter of air at ground level to refer to what happens to it when suitably averaged over the whole surface of the earth and over a very long time interval. Otherwise we will find we are just having a meaningless conversation about the weather.

    Now the lecture. Factoring out the diurnal cycle stuff, all you have responded with is a description of how CO2, being a GHG, must be the cause of extra warming. Yes I know that’s your theory. The reason I don’t support it is not because I can see an obvious flaw in it but because the theory I put forward involves the Ideal Gas Law. Unless you can actually see a flaw in that theory then it must stand against your, much more complex and therefore more questionable, theory. So far, you haven’t shown me where my reasoning is wrong – just repeated your theory back to me!

    But thanks nevertheless for your considered thoughts. What we must never forget is that we are on the same side in the great global warming debate. It is a mark of maturity of skeptics that they can debate between themselves on the finer points while the warmists just spout their usual pseudo-scientific bile and venom. And you never know, you and I might even reach some important conclusions some day!

  78. Ira: Looking through your “Visualising the Greenhouse Effect” article (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/_) I came upon this gem in the blog response trail:

    Arno Arrak says, March 10, 2011 at 10:11 am:
    You have gone to great lengths to explain the spectral absorption features of the greenhouse gases. These gases are in the atmosphere and that is what they do. But it is unhelpful to know what the gases that are sitting there do when the atmosphere is in a stationary state. What is important to know is how does the addition of more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere change this picture. We are told that if you do that the atmospheric absorption will simply increase at the wavelengths that the added gas absorbs and in proportion to the amount added. But is this really true? There are no direct instrumental measurements of this and we simply have to believe theory about it. But what if there was a way to actually observe how the total atmospheric absorption changes as we increase the amount of CO2 we add to the atmosphere? It turns out that there is as Ferenc Miskolczi has pointed out. NOAA has been keeping a database of weather balloon observations since 1948 and these can be used to determine the relevant atmospheric absorption parameters. Miskolczi used this database to calculate how the global annual infrared optical thickness of the atmosphere varied throughout these years. And he found that the optical thickness of the atmosphere in the infrared where carbon dioxide absorbs remained constant for 61 years, with a value of 1.87. This tells us that the transparency of the atmosphere in the infrared did not change for 61 years despite constant addition of CO2 to the atmosphere through all this long stretch of time. Hence, the greenhouse absorption signature of the added carbon dioxide which we are told about simply isn’t there. This is an empirical finding, not something derived from theory, and it overrides any calculations from theory that do not agree with it. Theories that disagree must either be modified or discarded. I want to point out also that his work came out in 2009 and no one so far has attempted to present any peer-reviewed arguments against it. Miskolczi concludes: “It will be inferred that CO2 does not affect the climate through the greenhouse effect.”

    Now there you have some direct empirical proof that refutes the GHG theory. As an angineer, surely you value experimental data observations over theory? What more do I need to do to persuade you?

  79. David Scorates: I am sorry, but your theory that all we have to do is imagine a cubic meter of air under static conditions does not make sense to me. The pressure and temperature of any cubic meter of air on the actual Earth varies warm day by cold night and warm summer by cold winter year after year.

    At best, we may say that the average over lots of day/night and summer/winter cycles is about the same over decades or centuries, but even that is not correct since the Medieval Warm Period (which the “official” climate -hockey- Team has tried to make go away) included decades that were considerably warmer than now, and the Dalton Minimum was a lot colder than now.

    Do not be mislead by the average. If my left foot was in a pail of very hot water and my right foot in a bucket of ice, you could say that, on the average I was “comfortable”, but that would not describe the situation very well, would it?

    However, let us accept a static situation for the sake of argument. Please give a step-by-step explanation of how the flow of radiative energy through an Atmosphere lacking GHGs causes the Earth surface to be about 33ºC (or as you claim 90ºC) warmer than the SB law calculation would say it should be.

    Imagine the average shortwave radiation falling on the Top of the Atmosphere (TOA) and the average short- and longwave radiation leaving the TOA was constant. Please assume an atmosphere consisting of an Ideal Gas such as is approximated by pure N2 of the same approximate mass as our actual Atmosphere. Then repeat the same calculations for an Atmosphere of the same approximate mass composed of N2, O2, H2O and CO2 in proportions similar to that on Earth. If your calculations come out the same, I will have to accept your theory.

    Details please! (advTHANKSance)

    Ira Glickstein

  80. David Socrates: If the Atmosphere was an Ideal Gas that had no “greenhouse” gas (GHG) properties, it would be transparent to both short- and longwave radiation. So let your cubic meter of air be some pure non-GHG air.

    1) Sunshine would pass through and be absorbed by the Earth surface according to the average albedo of that surface. Since the non-GHG air would be transparent to shortwave radiation, it would not be subject to radiative absorption/emission so it could not heat up except by conduction and convection.
    2) The surface would warm, according to how much energy was absorbed as calculated by the SB law.
    3) The surface, when it reached equilibrium, would emit longwave radiation of exactly the magnitude of the received shortwave radiation (of course multiplied by the albedo).
    4) Since the non-GHG air would be transparent to all longwave radiation, the upwelling radiation from the surface would pass through the atmosphere and be Lost to Space.
    5) The radiative balance would be maintained. At equilibrium, the Solar shortwave radiation IN (times the albedo) = the longwave radiation OUT.
    6) The surface would be at the temperature calculated by the SB law.
    7) By conduction and convection, the air would warm up, with the air near the surface being nearly as warm as the surface, and the air further up being cooler, according to some lapse rate.
    8) So, your cubic meter of air would be at or below the SB calculated temperature of the surface.

    I have done the calculations and that cubic meter of air is about 33ºC cooler than an actual average cubic meter of air in our actual Eart Atmosphere at whatever altitude you pick.

    Please do your calculations and explain how your cubic meter of air is at the approximate average temperature measured on the actual Earth.

    advTHANKSance

    Ira

    PS: Of course, you could assume that there would be H2O (in the form of water vapor) in your cubic meter of air. So there would be a GHG in the air that could absorb longwave radiation upwelling from the surface and warm up as a result. Now, please go through the steps necessary to explain how, given H2O in the air, the surface warms up to a temperature that is 33ºC (or 90ºC) warmer than the SB calculation. Can you do it without assuming downwelling longwave radiation from the air to the surface? I don’t think so.

  81. The re-radiation of LIR has been shown to exist by the measurement of the radiation received at the surface. That radiation being in the emission band for CO2 and H2O, roughly the same. But how do you guarantee that this is from re-radiated LIR and not from the emission due to inbound solar radiation? Both, if re-radiation exists, will be within the same emission band. Perhaps this claim is a leap of faith.
    I still fail to understand why the atmosphere of Jupiter has no bearing on our atmosphere. Both are gaseous and both are subject to the same physical laws. The fact that Jupiter has no rocky surface has no bearing on atmospheric physics in fact the Jovian atmosphere is so dense that solar light/energy would not reach anywhere near the probable metallic hydrogen surface but just below the top of the atmosphere. The claim that heat produced by that atmosphere is primordial does not really hold water because heat loss over 4.6Ba would have removed this heat. Present day heat is being generated by compression due to a violent atmosphere. Remember if Jupiter was a little larger there would be two suns in this system and adiabatic compression by gravity causes the start of nuclear fusion.

  82. John Marshall, you wrote, in part: “The re-radiation of LIR has been shown to exist by the measurement of the radiation received at the surface. That radiation being in the emission band for CO2 and H2O, roughly the same. But how do you guarantee that this is from re-radiated LIR and not from the emission due to inbound solar radiation? Both, if re-radiation exists, will be within the same emission band. Perhaps this claim is a leap of faith….”

    Good point, and partly true. As you may know, the radiation spectrum from any warm body depends upon its temperature and the Sun approximates a black body at about 5800 K (Kelvin, degrees C above absolute zero). As the graphic below (from here where you can read more details) indicates, the Sun has a radiation spectrum centered at around 0.5μ (microns – millionths of a meter). If you look closely you will see that Solar radiation is close to zero by the time it gets to 4μ and is much, much less than Earth radiation when it gets to 10μ. Earth approximates a black body at about 288 K and its radiation spectrum centers around 10μ. Therefore, the downwelling longwave IR that is absorbed by the Earth surface is nearly all from the Atmosphere, but there is, as you suspect, a tiny bit from the Sun. Also, on the way down, Sunlight does heat some gases in the Atmosphere and they would re-radiate in all directions, including downwelling, in the longwave IR spectrum. But, again, this is not significant compared to the downwelling radiation from Atmospheric heating due to upwelling Earth radiation.

    As for Jupiter, you are right that it has had a long time to cool (you say 4.6 billion years but I believe it is closer to 13.7 billion years). However, as you also point out, Jupiter is really big, almost the size of a sun, and the heat from its formation has not yet radiated away so it can still emit about 1.6 times the radiation is gets from the Sun. You and I cannot really get our minds around such great masses and such long periods of time in comparison to which our less than 100 year lifespans and 100 Kilo masses are insignificant. As you know, the core of the Earth is still hot from the formation of the planets billions of years ago. Some of that heat energy may come from nuclear decay and that may also be the case for Jupiter, but I am not sure.

    Ira Glickstein

  83. Ira, Thank you for at last engaging with the Ideal Gas Law-related theory of atmospheric warming rather than just repeating back to me the CO2 warming theory!

    Also thank you for accepting the ‘averaging’ argument. Although there are indeed dangers in averaging (particular where the extreme non-linearity of the 4th power S-B Law is concerned!) I do not think they apply in this particular discussion.

    Although you are now at last willing to debate the Ideal Gas Law-related theory of why the earth is several tens of degrees warmer than it would be without an atmosphere, I note that you have not yet addressed the corroborating evidence that I also put forward. Perhaps you are planning to do so later. In science, theories abound. Most turn out to be wrong. It is the nature of the human condition to jump to theoretical conclusions only to see them shattered by facts.

    But theories that are accompanied by compelling evidence have to be taken much more seriously. I have already put forward to you in a prevous post what are for me two pieces of compelling evidence for the Ideal Gas Law-related warming theory, namely:

    (1) The instrumental temperature record shows a gentle long term warming of only 0.4degC per hundred years. This is indistinguishable from natual variation. This is consistent with the Ideal Gas Law-related theory but it is not consistent with the CO2 warming theory.

    (2) Harry Dale Huffman’s Venus-earth atmospheric presure comparison conforms exactly to what one would expect from a simple application of the Ideal Gas Law. It also stunningly refutes the CO2 warming theory because the Venus atmosphere is almost all composed of CO2 whereas the earth’s atmosphere contains almost none.

    I have now added (in my most recent posting above to you) a third item of compelling empirical evidence from Arno Arrak that I only discovered yesterday but which was reported to you back in March 2011 in your own blog article, namely:

    (3) Over the period 1948 to 2008, weather balloon records show no variation in the optical thickness of the atmosphere in the infra red band where CO2 absorbs. This post-war period is the one in which the majority of the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration occurred.

    All three of these pieces of evidence point strongly towards the Gas Law-related warming theory, and strongly away from the CO2 warming theory. This is why it is very hard for me to see on empirical grounds why the CO2 warming theory is still discussed by serious physicists and engineers.

    I can now attempt to answer your specific question. Why, indeed, is the Gas Law-related atmospheric warming theory a satisfactory theoretical explanation for the 3 pieces of strong empirical evidence I have given above?

    Ah! but first I have to clear away a misconception in your second blog response immediately above. A GHG-less atmosphere is not relevant to this debate. Such an atmosphere would not be able to radiate ANY of its energy to space. All the radiation to space would come directly from the surface, passing through the perfectly transparent atmosphere. So the surface temperature, as you say, would be set according to the simple S-B relationship just as if it were a planet entirely devoid of atmosphere.

    So what we must use as our starting model is an atmosphere that has a high enough concentration of GHGs towards the top of the atmosphere (TOA) to do an efficient radiating job. The earth has plenty enough. It only needs a small proportion of GHGs towards the TOA to convert the sensible heat energy that is flowing upwards into radiation which can then successfully exit to outer space. This upward flow of sensible heat energy (from hot to cold!) is the reason why there is a negative temperature profile from the ground towards space.

    Given this real-world model, we can now ask the question, what according to the Gas Law-related warming theory will happen to the near-surface temperature if we add an extra bit of GHG?

    The answer, of course, is nothing!

    1. The VOLUME of our hypothetical cubic metre of surface air is…er…fixed.

    2. The PRESSURE is also fixed by the weight of air above, all the way up to space. This weight cannot change because there is a fixed mass of air in the atmosphere and gravity is constant.

    3. There must be a fixed amount of energy passing up through the atmosphere because this is dictated by the steady state incoming flow of energy from the sun, which we both agree has to find its way back out if we are to achieve steady state.

    4. Therefore that cubic metre of air will have a fixed TEMPERATURE.

    Wow! this is so simple and obvious, theoretically.

    Plus the killer is that it is supported by the three extraordinarily compelling lines of empirical evidence I outlined above.

    What more do you want, Ira?

  84. David Socrates: We are making some progress, but, at this point in this topic thread am not sure how many readers are still tuned in. I would like to see some comments from anyone still here.

    I was especially encouraged when you wrote this:

    A GHG-less atmosphere is not relevant to this debate. Such an atmosphere would not be able to radiate ANY of its energy to space. All the radiation to space would come directly from the surface, passing through the perfectly transparent atmosphere. So the surface temperature, as you say, would be set according to the simple S-B relationship just as if it were a planet entirely devoid of atmosphere.

    OK, we at least agree that some amount of GHG is required for the surface of the Earth to be warmer than what you call the simple S-B relationship. A planet with an atmosphere totally lacking in GHG would be the same as a planet with no atmosphere at all.

    So, in your Ideal Gas law theory, a planet with an atmosphere with a small amount of GHG would have a warmer surface than a planet with zero GHG, and a planet with a bit more than small amount of GHG would be warmer than one with only a small amount in its atmosphere. Right?

    It is clear that you understand the above objection because you hasten to add:

    So what we must use as our starting model is an atmosphere that has a high enough concentration of GHGs towards the top of the atmosphere (TOA) to do an efficient radiating job. The earth has plenty enough.

    OK, once we have enough GHG to do the job, adding more will not help any. A reasonable idea. If you put a black shade on a window, and that shade blocks all the incoming light, there is no need to add another shade on top of it, because all the light is already being blocked by the first shade.

    So, if we have enough GHG in the atmosphere, say from H2O (water vapor) too “do an efficient radiating job” it will not increase the radiation to add some more H2O or some CO2 since all the radiating needed to be done is already being done. Is that your argument?

    That is a good argument, but, I am sorry to have to tell you it does not apply in this case. Please look again at the middle of the graphic I posted above at October 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm. The graphic is based on actual measurements of IR radiation at different wavelengths passing through H2O and CO2 at the approximate concentrations they have in the Earth’s Atmosphere.

    Notice that, from about 18μ to 40μ, H2O pretty much completely absorbs (and re-emits) ALL the upwelling radiation from the Earth surface. That means that, for that portion of the spectrum, any absorption/emission by CO2, no matter how much CO2 is added, will not change anything. The H2O alone is doing 100% of the job, so adding more GHGs can do nothing more. If that were true for the entire longwave IR spectrum, I would have to agree with your theory.

    But, alas, it is not. Look at the range from about 14μ to 17μ. The available H2O is only absorbing/emitting about half the upwelling Earth surface radiation in this range. Now, look at the CO2 trace for about 14μ to 17μ, The CO2 is absorbing/emitting strongly in this range. What this proves to me is that the H2O alone cannot do the complete job in this range. Thus, if you have an Earth with only H2O as a GHG, there will be some portion of the upwelling surface radiation that is not absorbed and that therefore freely escapes out of the TOA. You already admitted that a planet with zero GHG would have a cooler surface than one with GHG, so, for this portion of the spectrum, where H2O alone cannot in your words “do an efficient radiating job”, the addition of CO2 can make a difference.

    A small amount of CO2 will make a small difference in surface temperatures. A larger amount will make a larger difference, up to some maximum level where this 14μ to 17μ portion of the spectrum is fully covered.

    Back to my window shade analogy. In a room with several windows (each corresponding to some portion of the longwave IR spectrum) if you have totally blocked some of the windows with black shades, but some with only light gray shades, you will still get some light coming in. That shade system will not “do an efficient” shading job. So, we need more shading on the window that has only light gray shades. If we add some additional shading to that window and block more of the light, there will be less light coming into the room.

    H2O “blocks” some of the IR spectrum “windows” efficiently, but some other “windows” less efficiently. CO2 happens to “block” precisely that “window” that needs more “blocking” to do the whole job more “efficiently”.

    Thus, adding CO2 to the Earth Atmosphere will have an effect on the surface temperature. Not as much as the “official” climate (hockey) Team would have us believe, but, nevertheless more than zero. You make the excellent and completely true observation that, despite continued rapid increase of CO2, the surface has warmed only moderately. Indeed, one of the points in my original topic posting was that over the past decade and a half surface temperatures have not warmed andmay have actually cooled a bit. That proves that the effect of CO2 is less than the effect of natural cycles, and disproves the IPCC contention that human-produced CO2 is the MAIN cause of Global Warming.

    Why can’t we just stop at this point and agree that the “official” climate (hockey) Team has over-hyped the GHG theory, cooked the books of temperature measurement data, and miscalculated Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity and exaggerated it by a factor of three to ten? Just because the Team believes a bunch of HITwit things, it does not mean that everything they believe is foolish. The GHG theory is true. That it has just been over-stated for political power reasons does not detract from its basic truth.

    ********************************************

    By the way, other than stating the Ideal Gas law, and citing some examples from planets that are very different from the Earth, you still have not explained the mechanism by which a GHG Atmosphere makes the surface warmer than calculated by simple SB.

    You give an enticing hint as to how your theory works:

    …The earth has plenty enough [GHGs]. It only needs a small proportion of GHGs towards the TOA to convert the sensible heat energy that is flowing upwards into radiation which can then successfully exit to outer space. …

    What I get from that is that “sensible heat energy” (which I believe refers to longwave IR upwelling from the surface plus heat conducted and convected from the surface towards the TOA) needs to be converted into outgoing radiation to space. I do not understand why we need GHGs to “convert” the heat energy from the surface into radiation. You already agreed that, absent GHGs, all the upwelling surface radiation would escape to space, leaving the surface colder, by tens of degrees, than it currently is.

    It would seem to me that the role of GHGs is not to help or speed the conversion and emission of radiation to be Lost to Space, but rather the opposite, to impede that radiation. Please explain.

    Also please explain how your theory accounts for the measured longwave IR downwelling from the Bottom of the Atmosphere towards the surface, as graphed in my comment October 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm.

    Further, how does your theory account for the large piece of “blueberry pie” (graphed in my comment October 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm) that is missing from the longwave radiation spectrum measured by a sensor on a satellite. Can you explain why that missing piece is precisely at the point of the spectrum, about 14μ to 17μ, where H2O does a less than complete job of absorbing/emitting while CO2 does a good job? Please provide details.

    Ira Glickstein

  85. Ira,

    I will have one more try.

    First I must deal with a couple of misconceptions in your latest response.

    MISCONCEPTION 1
    You say: What I get from that is that “sensible heat energy” (which I believe refers to longwave IR upwelling from the surface plus heat conducted and convected from the surface towards the TOA) needs to be converted into outgoing radiation to space.

    No! The term ‘sensible heat’ just means the thermal kinetic energy contained in the air molecules (GHGs and non-GHGs alike) as would, for example, be measured by a thermometer. It does not, repeat not, include radiation – which is not heat at all but an entirely separate form of energy.

    It is only the sensible heat that has to be converted to radiation before it can escape to space. Any radiation that manages to reach the TOA, whether originating directly from the earth’s surface or from thermalised GHG molecules somewhere in the atmosphere, just escapes to space anyway.

    MISCONCEPTION 2
    I do not understand why we need GHGs to “convert” the heat energy from the surface into radiation. You already agreed that, absent GHGs, all the upwelling surface radiation would escape to space, leaving the surface colder, by tens of degrees, than it currently is.

    You ‘need’ GHGs in the atmosphere precisely so that its surface temperature is several tens of degrees higher than it otherwise would do, absent GHGs. The ability of GHGs to radiate efficiently to space is absolutely necessary for this to happen. So in that (colloquial) sense we ‘need’ them to explain the enhanced surface temperature that we observe in practice as opposed to the much colder S-B calculated temperature of an earth whose atmosphere is either GHG-less or is altogether devoid of an atmosphere.

    ATMOSPHERIC MODEL:
    Let me now summarise my understanding of how energy flows through the atmosphere and see whether we can at least come to a suitable agreement on an Atmospheric Model.

    If a planetary body has an atmosphere containing GHGs, there are three routes for energy to flow from the earth’s surface to space:

    ROUTE 1: ~59% of the heat at the earth’s surface is transferred to sensible heat in the atmosphere, either by (i) conduction of the earth’s surface heat to air molecules immediately in contact with it (14%), or (ii) by evaporation of water to form water vapor molecules (45%). In either case the sensible heat contained in those molecules is transported upwards through the atmospheric column by molecular convection.

    The remaining 41% of the heat at the earth’s surface is converted to radiant energy and is radiated into the atmosphere where it follows one of two routes:

    ROUTE 2: ~29% is converted to radiation which is subsequently absorbed by GHG molecules in the atmosphere and is thereby thermalised (meaning that the radiation is anihilated and replaced by additional sensible heat).

    ROUTE 3: ~12% of the heat is converted to radiation which escapes directly to space through what is known as the ‘atmospheric window’ (i.e. it is emitted at those wavelengths that none of the GHGs can absorb).

    SO WHY IS THE SURFACE ATMOSPHERIC TEMPERATURE FIXED?
    You say…
    It would seem to me that the role of GHGs is not to help or speed the conversion and emission of radiation to be Lost to Space, but rather the opposite, to impede that radiation. Please explain.

    Well, in the light of the above atmospheric model, I hope you now agree that the only vital role of GHGs is to enable the flow of sensible heat up the atmospheric column, cooling to space via radiation. If you took those GHGs away, the molecules towards the top of the column would be unable to cool by converting their sensible heat to radiation. In this case the column would (eventually) become isothermal and would be at the same temperature as the surface.

    And (this is the coup de grace), the temperature at the hot end (ground level) is fixed by the Gas Law. This is because, as I have carefully explained a couple of times before, in the absence of any variation in VOLUME or PRESSURE, the Gas Law ensures that our ‘average’ sample of air at ground level has a temperature that is dictated solely by the rate of flow of heat through it.

    And since that rate of heat flow is derived from the Sun, it is fixed.

    So the TEMPERATURE IS FIXED irrespective of how much extra GHG you might add to the atmosphere.

    Q.E.D.

  86. David Socrates: You have the last word. Best of luck with your theory.

    (Oh, and enjoy the missing piece of “blueberry pie” :^)

    Ira Glickstein

    PS: From a high of nearly 3000 page views a day (12 Oct) we are down to a couple dozen today, so it appears interest has tapered down. THANKS to all who participated and made valuable comments.

  87. ira. the Earth’s core/mantle does not retain the heat of formation. That error was in Lord Raleigh’s calculation of planet age as being about 40,000 years in the 1700′s. Later evidence from fossils and newly discovered radioactivity changed everything. Remaining heat is due to the radioactive decay of potassium, thorium, a little uranium and other radioactive elements. The age of Jupiter is the same as the solar system, 4.6 Ba. Big Bang, thought to have started everything, was (roughly) 13.6Ba ago. Our sun is a second generation star, thank goodness, which will extend its age from that of short lived first generation stars. Unless you know differently.
    I still hold that adiabatic compressive heating is the source of much of the atmospheric heat not the GHG theory. Your explanation that a ”little” of the downwelling radiation is from the sun, the rest from re-radiated LIR completely discounts the trillions of molecule/molecule radiative transfers that must happen as photons travel the short distance through the atmosphere to the surface, all of which will contribute to the LIR and microwave packet of energy reaching the surface assumed to be from re-radiation. Measurement of this is impossible and any claim that these energy consuming reactions are not important is a complete leap of PC GHG theory faith. Adiabatic compressive heating also explains atmospheric lapse rate which is measured daily using radiosonde/dropsonde data to calculate cloud layer heights dew point etc through the atmosphere. Non have revealed the predicted troposphere heat anomaly, Kevin T’s travesty.
    So we are back where we started.

  88. John Marshall: You are correct when you say “…The age of Jupiter is the same as the solar system, 4.6 Ba. Big Bang, thought to have started everything, was (roughly) 13.6Ba ago.”. I was wrong to conflate the age of the Earth and Jupiter with the original Big Bang. Thank you for setting me straight.

    An internet search indicates that internal radioactive decay within the Earth’s core is a larger heat source than I thought it was, but it seems absoutely true that the warmth of the core of both the Earth and Jupiter is due to internal sources, and not external. These include heat left over from the original formation of the planets plus radioactive decay. The internal core temperatures of the Earth (5,700 K) and Jupiter (36,000 K) would rule out, IMHO, any significant contribution from “adiabatic compressive heating” in the Earth’s Atmosphere or Jupiter’s gaseous envelope.

    As for your last point, regarding the contribution of longwave IR due to the Sun’s rays heating the Atmosphere on its way down, I would like to see what sources you may have. For example, a comparison of day vs night measurements of downwelling radiation.

    Finally, please read the defense of the Atmospheric “greenhouse effect” by an actual Climate Scientist who is well known at WUWT as Skeptic-friendly, Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. (Warning for sensitive Disbelievers, he actually uses the term “back radiation” as part of his explanation. :^)

    Ira Glickstein

  89. I do not have such data but inbound radiation must affect all. An internet search does display a diagram of the various adsorbed and emitted frequencies. Of the, so called, GHG’s the bulk is water vapour which has similar adsorption/emission spectra to othe GHG’s like CO2. One photon’s route will impinge on more than one GHG molecule, by the law of averages the number must number in the trillions increasing towards the surface by increasing atmospheric pressure guaranteeing more collisions. Each collision will loose energy reducing the inbound frequency, increasing the wavelength, of that energy. SIR-LIR-MW. How a simple measurement at the surface measuring this bundle of frequencies can dictate that most is from the re-rediated since the surface radiated energy is within the same energy bracket.
    Looking at a garden greenhouse, with its IR opaque glass, it is the visible light that heats the interior producing IR which cannot radiate through the glass so increasing internal temperature. The stucture also reduces mixing with exterior cooler air. So in the atmosphere. Visible light will heat the atmosphere, produce more IR. but in the atmosphere there is an open top, far bigger in area than the surface so easier for heat to radiate away. Due to all the atmospheric energy reactions an atmosphere reduces the heat at the surface. See my moon example a couple of blogs above. Temperature extremes on the moon are far higher than on earth, with the same insolation.

  90. John Marshall wrote, in part: “Looking at a garden greenhouse, with its IR opaque glass, it is the visible light that heats the interior producing IR which cannot radiate through the glass so increasing internal temperature. The stucture also reduces mixing with exterior cooler air. “

    That explanation of a physical greenhouse is the one I learned in grade school, but it turns out not to be completely true. Yes, the glass roof of a greenhouse does pass most visual light (shortwave) and is mostly opaque to longwave radiation, but the major reason any greenhouse works is that the Sunlight is absorbed by and warms the stone and earth which warm the air by conduction and convection and the walls and roof keep the warmed air from escaping and cooler outside air from entering. This explanation has been proven by the success of greenhouses made with IR-transparent plastic roofs and walls.

    As for the Moon, the high temperature on the sunlit side is, as you say, much higher than that on Earth, but the low temperature on the dark side is much, much lower, so the average surface temperature of the Moon is quite a bit cooler, by tens of degrees, than that on Earth. Therefore, your claim that “Due to all the atmospheric energy reactions an atmosphere reduces the heat at the surface.” is totally wrong. Extreme high and low temperatues on the Moon both exceed high and low temperatues on Earth, but the average Earth temperature is some 33⁰C warmer than that of the Moon, thanks to our GHG-laden Atmosphere.

    Ira Glickstein

  91. Ira,

    I see that the phoenix arises…

    You say to John Marshall:
    As for your last point, regarding the contribution of longwave IR due to the Sun’s rays heating the Atmosphere on its way down, I would like to see what sources you may have.

    How about the following:

    The yellow area to the right of the ~700nm dotted line represents the Watts per sq. metre of infrared radiation absorbed in the atmosphere, whilst the sum of the red areas to the right of the 700nm dotted line represent the Watts per sq. metre of infrared radiation that does reach the surface.

  92. David Socrates and John Marshall:

    See http://bouman.chem.georgetown.edu/S02/lect23/budget.jpg for a Sunlight budget diagram from the same source as David’s link, which provides the information John and I were seeking.

    Note that 30% of the Sunlight is reflected back to space by clouds and other light-colored materials in the Atmosphere and on the Earth surface and therefore does not contribute any energy to the Atmosphere or the Earth surface at all. When we say the albedo of the Earth is about 0.3, that comes from 1 (total Sunlight) – 0.7 (absorbed) = 0.3 (reflected = albedo).

    About 19% is absorbed by the Atmosphere and clouds, and 51% is absorbed by the Earth surface. So, if we count only the Sunlight that is actually absorbed by the Atmosphere and Earth surface, most of the Sunlight (about 73%) is absorbed by the Earth surface (and later emitted as longwave IR into the Bottom of the Atmosphere) while the remaining Sunlight (about 27%) is absorbed directly into the Atmosphere (including clouds).

    I do not understand the point David is making when he adds:

    The yellow area to the right of the ~700nm dotted line represents the Watts per sq. metre of infrared radiation absorbed in the atmosphere, whilst the sum of the red areas to the right of the 700nm dotted line represent the Watts per sq. metre of infrared radiation that does reach the surface.

    There is nothing magic about the area to the right of the ~700nm vertical dotted line. Energy is energy as noted by the Y axis label that says “W[atts]/m[eter]^2/nm[nanometer]“. Watts are watts, whether we call them “visible light” or “untraviolet light” or “near-infrared light” or “mid-infrared heat” or “far infrared heat”.

    We distinguish between them only because the human sensory system “sees” (with our eyes) what we quite naturally call the “visible light” spectrum as LIGHT and feels (with our skin) what we naturally call the mid- and far-infrared region as HEAT. Even though we cannot see ultraviolet or near-infrared with our eyes, we call that radiation “light” because it is near the visible band. The point is, no matter the wavelength of the radiation, short, medium, or long, when it is absorbed by some material substance, it is energy, and, as such, it warms that material.

    Thus, the yellow area to both the LEFT and RIGHT of the ~700nm dotted line represents the Watts per sq. meter of total Sunlight radiation absorbed in the Atmosphere, while the sum of the red areas to the LEFT and RIGHT of the 700nm dotted line represent the Watts per sq. meter of total Sunlight radiation that does reach the Earth surface and is absorbed.

    Ira Glickstein

  93. The Wood experiments in the 1920′s demonstrated that visible light does a lot of warming. Using IR opaque and transparent materials on two enclosed boxes showed very little temperature difference when exposed to sunlight. My GH explanation may not have been as clear as I would have wished. The visible light heats the internal surfaces which emit IR which is trapped by the IR opaque glass. As this process continues the internal heat increases but to the point of equilibrium when conducted heat through the glass and framework loose heat to the atmosphere through convection and radiation.
    I agree that the ”average” temperature on the moon is lower than earth by your calculations but are they? The maximum temperature on earth is +50C, the minimum -80C giving an ”average” of -15C somewhat different to the calculated temperature of +15. I am only doing the same as you using the same assumptions of max/min. According to Essex, Mckitrick and Andressen in the paper ‘Does a Global Temperature Exist’ published in the Journal of Equilibrium Thermodynamics June 2006 no such average temperature is actually correct. To try to get such an average ignores the physical ever changing aspect facing the only source of heat, the sun. Whilst average heating will be a given amount the rotation and tilt of the planet changes everything to the extent that an average is meaningless. The temperature difference between max/min on earth is 130C(K) far less than the difference between max/min on the moon and that is down to having an atmosphere. Max. temperatures are lower because of the energy loss in the atmosphere. Min. temperature is higher but there are many energy transfers throughout the atmosphere and many, many inputs, negative and positive, that affect the minimum temperature.
    My assertion that the GHG theory violates the 2nd Law is laid out in a paper by Joseph Reynen, Atmospheric Adsorption by IR Sensitive Molecules (2011) which may be of interest.

    • John Marshall:

      The controversy over the “back radiation” results from widespread misuse of the term “heat” by climatologists.In his paper.Occuring as it does in the midst of a heat transfer problem, this is a serious error! In his paper, Mr. Reynen adds to the muddying with a terminological misuse that confuses a scalar with a vector.

      At a space point in a field of electromagnetic radiation, the “heat flux” is a vector that is the vector sum of the various Poynting vectors at the same space point. The radiative heat flux vector may be decomposed into a pair of vectors. One of these vectors is the vector sum of those Poynting vectors that are incident on a surface that contains the space point; this vector is called the “vector irradiance. The other vector is the vector sum of those Poynting vectors that are transmitted through the surface or are reflected by this surface; this vector is called the “vector radiosity.” The intensity of the vector irradiance is called the “irradiance.” The intensity of the vector radiosity is called the “radiosity.” The radiative heat flux is the vector difference between the vector radiosity and vector irradiance. Reynen calls the intensity of the radiative heat flux the “heat flux” but this usage confuses a scalar with the associated vector. The term “back radiation” is also incorrect; it should be called the “vector irradiance in the IR band, or something similar. As the vector irradiance in the IR band is not a heat flux, it is not bound by the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

      In climatological arguments, a common source of error is to imply that the absolute value of the intensity of the radiative heat flux is the absolute value of the difference between the radiosity and the irradiance but this is true only under the condition that the two vectors are co-linear, as they are in the case of parallel plates radiating against each other. At Earth’s surface, the two vectors are generally not co-linear.

  94. In my previous post, please correct the first sentence to read “The controversy over the ‘back radiation’ results from widespread misuse of the term “heat” by climatologists. Occuring as it does in the midst of a heat transfer problem, this is a serious error!”

  95. OK but climatologists insist on using temperature as a metric for heat. It is, partially, but no account is made in the models for specific heat content. Water saturated air contains far more heat than dry air and it is heat that drives the system not temperature.
    2nd law violations are present in the GHG theory and claims that this basic law can be broken ”in parts but be good overall” is completely false. It must apply to every small part of the total or it will not apply at all. Since PPM’s are impossible we must assume that the 2nd law must apply at all times to every small part of a system.

Comments are closed.