That CO2 is powerful stuff, now causes satellites to be threatened in orbit due to lingering space debris

From the “CO2 is there anything it can’t do department” comes this ridiculous piece of research making the rounds in the MSM that worries about something that has not been observed to happen…oh, wait.

Temporal variation of carbon at pressure levelZ[thinsp]=[thinsp]-6(altitude [sim] 101[thinsp]km) from the NCAR global mean model simulation.

Shown are VMRs of CO (red), CO2 (blue) and COx = CO+CO2 (green). The data are plotted according to the colour-coordinated y axes. The bottom panel shows the 10.7 cm solar radio flux (F10.7), a proxy for solar ultraviolet irradiance.

From Nature Geoscience, note the text I made red, because the paper is based on a premise that has not been observed yet. They only measured up to 35 km, but at the graph at right from the paper, interpolated to 101 km. My guess is that  next we’ll have proxies for satellites with some high altitude aircraft measurements. /sarc Note the correlation with 10.7 cm radio flux. One wonders how this would look different if the sun was not so quiet right now.

Observations of increasing carbon dioxide concentration in Earth’s thermosphere

J. T. Emmert, M. H. Stevens, P. F. Bernath, D. P. Drob & C. D. Boone

Carbon dioxide occurs naturally throughout Earth’s atmosphere. In the thermosphere, CO2 is the primary radiative cooling agent and fundamentally affects the energy balance and temperature of this high-altitude atmospheric layer1, 2. Anthropogenic CO2 increases are expected to propagate upward throughout the entire atmosphere, which should result in a cooler, more contracted thermosphere3, 4, 5. This contraction, in turn, will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites and may have adverse consequences for the orbital debris environment that is already unstable6, 7.

However, observed thermospheric mass density trends derived from satellite orbits are generally stronger than model predictions8, 9, indicating that our quantitative understanding of these changes is incomplete. So far, CO2 trends have been measured only up to 35 km altitude10, 11, 12. Here, we present direct evidence that CO2 concentrations in the upper atmosphere—probably the primary driver of long-term thermospheric trends—are increasing. We analyse eight years of CO2 and carbon monoxide mixing ratios derived from satellite-based solar occultation spectra. After correcting for seasonal–latitudinal and solar influences, we obtain an estimated global increase in COx (CO2 and CO, combined) concentrations of 23.5±6.3 ppm per decade at an altitude of 101 km, about 10 ppm per decade faster than predicted by an upper atmospheric model. We suggest that this discrepancy may explain why the thermospheric density decrease is stronger than expected.

Paper (paywalled) available here.

Here’s a press release from one of the co-authors:

Bernath Research Shows Manmade Pollution in Upper AtmosphereA team of scientists including Peter Bernath, the chair of Old Dominion University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has reported the first direct evidence that emissions of carbon dioxide caused by human activity are propagating upward to the highest regions of the atmosphere.The observed CO2 increase is expected to gradually result in a cooler, more contracted upper atmosphere and a consequent reduction in the atmospheric drag experienced by satellites. The team’s findings were published this week by the journal Nature Geoscience.The team of John Emmert, Michael Stevens and Douglas Drob from U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Space Science Division; Bernath; and Chris Boone from the University of Waterloo in Canada studied eight years of CO2 measurements made by the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE), a scientific satellite mission funded primarily by the Canadian Space Agency. ACE determines vertical profiles of CO2 and many other atmospheric gases by measuring how the atmosphere absorbs sunlight at different wavelengths as the sun rises and sets relative to the spacecraft.Carbon dioxide adds to the greenhouse effect in the Earth’s lower atmosphere, driving up temperatures. But when this gas – a significant portion of which today is the result of human activities – rises above 30 miles into the mesosphere (about 30-50 miles high) and even higher into the thermosphere (about 50-500 miles high), it causes temperatures there to drop.

The researchers report evidence that CO₂ levels are increasing faster than expected in the upper atmosphere, which seems to be cooling and contracting at a pace that current models have not predicted. Reduction in atmospheric drag brought on by the resulting decrease in density could keep space junk in orbit longer, creating more congestion by orbital debris.

“CO₂ increases close to the Earth’s surface cause temperatures to rise but, surprisingly, CO₂ higher up results in just the opposite,” Bernath said. In the upper atmosphere, the density of CO₂ is too low to maintain greenhouse warming. Instead, the gas absorbs heat from its surroundings and radiates much of it away from Earth.”

Bernath’s work with the team of researchers derives from his role as mission scientist for the ACE satellite project, which has been collecting important information about ozone chemistry, climate change and air pollution since 2004.

Before joining ODU in 2011 as the chemistry chair, Bernath was a faculty member with the University of York in England and, earlier, with the University of Waterloo in Canada. While at Waterloo, he proposed the Canadian satellite project and assembled a scientific team to analyze data that the satellite instruments recorded and dispatched back to Earth.

During the past four decades Bernath has been credited with seminal discoveries in molecular spectroscopy and atmospheric chemistry, resulting in his election as Fellow of the Optical Society of America. He was granted a Ph.D. from MIT in 1981 and received the 2009 Alouette Award of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute and the 2004 Excellence in Research Award from the University of Waterloo. Earlier this year, he was given the Faculty of Science Distinguished Alumni Award of the University of Waterloo.

The primary instrument on the ACE satellite, which is in orbit about 400 miles above the Earth, is a Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) that analyzes the types and quantities of gases in the atmosphere. From the absorption of sunlight during sunrise and sunset, ACE is able to determine the composition of the atmosphere at various heights.

Data from the ACE-FTS has set the standard for measurements of the concentrations of constituents in the Earth’s middle atmosphere. This instrument routinely measures approximately 35 gas species in the atmosphere; some of these are in the parts-per-billion range in concentration.

When the project team led by Emmert checked measurements from 2004-12 by ACE-FTS at altitudes of about 60 miles, it found CO₂ concentrations that were surprisingly high. “To date, CO₂ trends have been measured only up to 35 kilometers (22 miles). Here, we present the first direct evidence that upper atmospheric CO₂ concentrations – the likely primary driver of long-term thermospheric trends – are increasing,” the researchers report.

The eight years of satellite-based solar occultation spectra they studied showed a trend of 23.5 parts per million increase of CO₂ per decade. “This rate is 10 ppm/decade faster than predicted by an upper atmospheric model, which may explain the stronger than expected thermospheric density decrease,” according to the article in Nature Geoscience.

Several possible explanations for this trend are considered by the authors, such as swings in solar activity. They even estimate the amount of CO₂ that may have been deposited in the upper atmosphere by the exhaust of orbital launch vehicles, but the total of 2,700 metric tons above 50 miles high cannot explain the overall trends they found.

If the thermosphere becomes more clogged with space junk, this would present a hazard for active launch vehicles and satellites. Although, some scientists have pointed out that cooling of this outer layer of the atmosphere could be good news for satellites such as the International Space Station, which should be able to stay in orbit longer without firing booster rockets.

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145 thoughts on “That CO2 is powerful stuff, now causes satellites to be threatened in orbit due to lingering space debris

  1. I used to read the cartoons in the newspaper.
    Now, I read reports in WUWT.
    The warming propagandists keep me in stitches.

  2. How could he be surprised? Good radiative absorbers are good radiative coolers as well. Surely, CO2 is contributing to the efficiency of radiative cooling at much lower altitudes as well.

  3. The wonders of ubiquitous CO2 just keep coming.
    As rather an old crumbly, I am whimsically put in mind of the old Flanders & Swann song about the Wompom. Google for the full lyrics

    You can do such a lot with a wompom.
    You can use every part of it, too.
    For work or for pleasure, it’s a triumph and a treasure.
    Oh, there’s nothing that a wompom cannot do.
    ……

    So we make what we like from the wompom,
    And it proves very useful indeed.
    From streets full of houses, to the buttons on your trousers,
    With the wompom, you have every thing you need.

    etc etc.

  4. “Instead, the gas absorbs heat from its surroundings and radiates much of it away from Earth.” Professor Wang who taught me Transport of Heat is ROFL. This statement is sense-free. Radiation heats or cools by “FLUX!” Heat cannot be transferred from a cool thing to a hot thing, no way no how. All gases, liquids and solids radiate all the time unless at Absolute Zero. CO2 doesn’t do anything different than the rest of the atmosphere. It absorbs some infrared radiated in the 15 micron band, which corresponds to -4 F, and heats up a little from this. It absorbs and emits photons exactly like the rest of the atmosphere.
    This guy has a PhD???

  5. “CO2 increases close to the Earth’s surface cause temperatures to rise but, surprisingly, CO2 higher up results in just the opposite,” Bernath said. In the upper atmosphere, the density of CO2 is too low to maintain greenhouse warming. Instead, the gas absorbs heat from its surroundings and radiates much of it away from Earth.

    It seems rather odd that high up, there is too little CO2 to cause warming however there is enough to cause cooling.

    The eight years of satellite-based solar occultation spectra they studied showed a trend of 23.5 parts per million increase of CO2 per decade. “This rate is 10 ppm/decade faster than predicted by an upper atmospheric model, which may explain the stronger than expected thermospheric density decrease,” according to the article in Nature Geoscience.

    If we take the trend for CO2 for the last 8 years, we get a 1.9 ppm/year increase, or 19 ppm/decade. So the 23.5 is just a bit higher. Why would they expect only 13.5 ppm? After all, gases diffuse in all directions. Furthermore, gases dissolve in water so at lower levels, CO2 may get dissolved in falling rain. However there is very little water to absorb CO2 higher up.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:2005/plot/esrl-co2/from:2005/trend

    P.S. They only measured up to 35 km, but at the graph at right from the paper, interpolated to 101 km. It should be “extrapolated” since they went beyond known data.

  6. So CO2 in the outer atmosphere is not dense enough to cause greenhouse warming, it causes
    cooling. Human activity is placing more CO2 in the outer atmosphere, increasing the CO2 density, which will cause more cooling. This will cause the outer atmosphere to cool and contract, making it denser, which will reduce orbital drag, because denser equals less friction.

    Did I get it right?

  7. Michael Moon – ah, but CO2 transcends the mere Laws of Thermodynamics dontcha know …

    It is indeed the wonderous Wompom of Flanders and Swann fame. It heats, it cools, it can save satellites and sabotage them, it makes plants grow, it kills corals …

  8. From the Wikipedia article on “thermosphere”:

    “Neutral gas constituents: Turbulence causes the air within the lower atmospheric regions below the turbopause at about 110 km to be a mixture of gases that does not change its composition. Its mean molecular weight is 29 g/mol with molecular oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2) as the two dominant constituents. Above the turbopause, however, diffusive separation of the various constituents is significant, so that each constituent follows its own barometric height structure with a scale height inversely proportional to its molecular weight. The lighter constituents atomic oxygen (O), helium (He), and hydrogen (H) successively dominate above about 200 km altitude and vary with geographic location, time, and solar activity. The ratio N2/O which is a measure of the electron density at the ionospheric F region is highly affected by these variations. These changes follow from the diffusion of the minor constituents through the major gas component during dynamic processes.”

    In other words, by the time that CO2 rises high enough to be relevant…it is irrelevant.

  9. This contraction, in turn, will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites
    ————
    This conclusion from the paper is in direct contradiction to the headline.

  10. Anthropogenic CO2 increases are expected to propagate upward throughout the entire atmosphere, which should result in a cooler, more contracted thermosphere

    Sounds to me like they expect cooling in the upper atmosphere and are using dubious science to connect CO2 to it.

    Like Myron Mesecke posted earlier, NASA blamed the sun for a contracted thermosphere a few years ago. Now it’s CO2? Give me a break…

    These people will do and say anything to push their agenda.

  11. “the gas absorbs heat from its surroundings and radiates much of it away from Earth.”

    So, they’re saying in contrast to the reduction in radiant energy from higher cooler position meme that is incorporated into the catastrophic climate models the actual result from increased CO2 is an increase in radiant heat loss just like Lindzen and Choi observed?

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

    PS: I’m trying to just ignore the CO2 density remark it’s not clear from the absence of a quotation mark whether it’s actually quoted from the authors of the paper or the author of the press release..

  12. That must be why satellites are falling faster from orbit than expected. Oh wait, that isn’t happening. There are satellites in a sun synchronous orbit which have been orbiting for close to and in some cases more than 10 years. GeoEye for example has one. They’ve expected it’s orbit to degrade to the point of unusable for several years now but it keeps on doing it’s job.
    Are we sure atmospheric drag has really increased?

  13. Michael Moon says:
    ”It absorbs some infrared radiated in the 15 micron band, which corresponds to -4 F, and heats up a little from this.”

    The temperature of a gas is a measure of the translational motion not vibrational motion.

    Therefore:
    It absorbs some infrared radiation that increases its internal energy a little.

  14. Can’t get at the actual paper, but the press release states they are using satellite measurements from 400 miles up. So their 101 km (60 miles) data is in fact a measurement, not an extrapolation. The reference to 35 km is ambiguous; I think they are saying that previous studies only went that high, but their own extends the range.

  15. “When the project team led by Emmert checked measurements from 2004-12 by ACE-FTS at altitudes of about 60 miles, it found CO₂ concentrations that were surprisingly high. “To date, CO₂ trends have been measured only up to 35 kilometers (22 miles). ”

    NOTE: they do not say that CO2 was not found at these heights before, simply that it was not measured before. Though, if you word it right, it sounds like OMG, it never got _this_ high before.

    “Here, we present the first direct evidence that upper atmospheric CO₂ concentrations – the likely primary driver of long-term thermospheric trends – are increasing,” the researchers report.”

    Cool , direct evidence rears its ugly head again. And what does it say? It says global cooling.

    “The researchers report evidence that CO₂ levels are increasing faster than expected in the upper atmosphere, …”

    Expected by what ? Oh, the models were wrong about that as well. How “unexpected”.

    “…which seems to be cooling and contracting at a pace that current models have not predicted. ”

    OMG, so the cooling of the thermosphere is “worse than we thought” as well.

    Good , bad or indifferent, it’s always unexpected , unprecedented and worse than we thought.

    So having got the genuflections to Nature editorial staff out of the way, what if anything does this show?

    Most obvious in the figure shown is an a.most perfect correlation between CO concentration and solar flux. Interesting.

    Second, apart from the upwards, linear trend the CO2 curve looks like a pretty perfect anti-correlation. Interesting.

    Thirdly, the CO levels are an order smaller than CO2 , so the COx metric seems rather pointless other than telling us the CO2 “trend”.

    Now I have not researched atmospheric chemistry but at a wild guess I’d say UV is converting CO2 and O2 into O3 and CO. Solar driven upper climate change.

    So over the relatively short period of data available we see CO2 apparently filtering up from lower atmosphere and helping evacuate heat out into space. a.k.a. negative climate feedback.

    As often seems the case these days, good science is being done but wrapped up in the usual AGW language in order to get published.

  16. Shouldn’t the headline be: “That CO2 is powerful stuff, now causes orbital debris to stay in orbit longer.”
    “…some scientists have pointed out that cooling of this outer layer of the atmosphere could be good news for satellites such as the International Space Station, which should be able to stay in orbit longer without firing booster rockets”

  17. A few years ago they were telling me that having the atmosphere expand was bad because it made satellites fall to earth too early.
    Now I’m being told that not having the atmosphere expand because space junk won’t fall to earth.

  18. Anthropogenic CO2 increases are expected to propagate upward throughout the entire atmosphere, which should result in a cooler, more contracted thermosphere.

    An astonishing prediction, considering the thermosphere already collapsed.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/15/earths-thermosphere-collapses-film-at-11/

    “This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years,” says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19th issue of the Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). “It’s a Space Age record.”

    The collapse happened during the deep solar minimum of 2008-2009—a fact which comes as little surprise to researchers. The thermosphere always cools and contracts when solar activity is low. In this case, however, the magnitude of the collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.

    “Something is going on that we do not understand,” says Emmert.

    Could this be what they didn’t understand, that the dreaded Anthropogenic CO₂ amplified the collapse?

    Oh well. Science (eventually?) moves forward, explains more.

    Maybe someday it’ll explain why Anthropogenic CO₂ molecules are propagating upwards differently than the ordinary CO₂ released by ocean outgassing and other natural processes. Are they somehow heavier and slower so it takes them longer to get up there?

  19. The authors attribute this dire fate to anthropogenic carbon. Does naturally derived carbon not do this? How do I separate anthropogenic and natural carbon? Heck, how do you distinguish between the two? Things were a lot simpler when I was doing research in organic chemistry, mass spec, carbon magnetic resonance and x-ray crystallography. But all that was before this new type of carbon was discovered.

  20. “Here, we present direct evidence that CO2 concentrations in the upper atmosphere—probably the primary driver of long-term thermospheric trends—are increasing.”
    All these years I have been under the mistaken assumption that Sun activity had a major effect on long term, short trend and cyclic thermospheric expansion and contraction. It must have been CO2 that brought Skylab down before its time. I guess I did not know how important CO2 was at that time to thermospheric trends and how irrelevant the Sun was to long trends, short trends and cycles.
    /sarc/

  21. John West,

    When the CO2 molecule absorbs a photon it vibrates. Then it would bump into another molecule and increase the translational energy of both, thus heating the atmosphere a little. This is how a microwave oven works. I have read so much about “re-radiation” and cannot make head nor tails of it, as I was taught young about flux. These seem contradictory, but I know and love the Second Law, so this is how I see it. If I am missing something please help me out.

  22. Hang on a minute; the extra CO2 causes cooling up there they say. But when something gets cooler it gets thicker, causing more drag on things going through it, doesn’t it? (Well, apart from water below 4C.) Yet they say that a decrease in temperature causes a decrease in density.
    I need another drink.

  23. The green line (CO + CO2) should always be about 10% higher than the blue line (CO2). Looks to me as though they added CO on the CO2 scale instead of the CO scale. WUWT?

  24. I fear we are headed back to our roots as primitive beings. When one could not explain natural events, images of gods and evil beings were conjured up to explain it all away. At its core however was the common belief what we were angering some supernatural force by our human actions. Hence we had offerings for the gods and even human sacrifices. The Shaman may have known full well that these rituals were ridiculous, but it achieved a goal – control of the people through fear.

    Today is no different. To achieve an objective, we instill irrational fear of natural forces (hurricanes, tornadoes, rain, wind, drought, etc.) and blame events on our actions. And to what end? Control of people? Instead of offerings of beads and food, we now offer tax dollars. Instead of human sacrifice, we sacrifice jobs.

  25. No, really! This CO2 is bad stuff. I am 69 years old and I notice I have aged at a consistent rate with the increase in atmospherical CO2. Please folks, we need to reverse this. I want to be 21 again. If only those damned SUVs had never been invented I would probably only be 39 today. But lets be careful if we go back too far I might not have been born. Just reduce the CO2 until I’m 21, OK?

  26. Michael Moon says:
    November 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm
    John West,

    When the CO2 molecule absorbs a photon it vibrates. Then it would bump into another molecule and increase the translational energy of both, thus heating the atmosphere a little. This is how a microwave oven works. I have read so much about “re-radiation” and cannot make head nor tails of it, as I was taught young about flux. These seem contradictory, but I know and love the Second Law, so this is how I see it. If I am missing something please help me out.

    well, half true. Re-radiation as they call it, which is longwave radiation leaves earth at on average 14C globally, differing between the poles and th eequator of course. To Wien’s displacement law, 14C is 10 microns. 15 microns is -89C (minues 89C) and this is the peak at which c02 absorbs Longwave radiation.. If you’re interested in the 2nd law of thermodynamics, then it is apt to conclude that there is no heating of the atmosphere except in areas where the atmosphere is -89C, and again, to the 2nd law, thermalisation take place where the bands of c02 re-radiation hits the bands of 0xygen, nitrogen, bands, which then re-thermalises. These thermalisations take place in a billionth of a second, and thus no extra heat content is possible with co2. It is also a contradiction of the 2nd law that thermalisation of c02 at -89C – temperatures found hiigh in the troposphere – can cause higher surface temperatures. It is impossible for matter at -89C to heat matter to 15C

  27. LazyTeenager says:
    November 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    This contraction, in turn, will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites
    ————
    This conclusion from the paper is in direct contradiction to the headline.

    Really did choose your nick well didn’t you?

    It also reduces drag on space debris leaving them in orbit longer, therefore a greater hazard. Do keep up.

    DaveE.

  28. The enhanced CO2 content at this altitude has been known about by spacecraft engineers for several decades. Earth Sensors on satellites are calibrated to the emission wavelength of CO2 at this altitude because it has a very well defined boundary that makes it ideal for use as an Earth sensor.

  29. “CO₂ increases close to the Earth’s surface cause temperatures to rise but, surprisingly, CO₂ higher up results in just the opposite,”

    Is this called an unaccounted for negative feedback mechanism? More hot down below and less hot on top, temperature differential causing less heat down below?

    Geoengineering! Let’s pump CO2 into the top of the atmosphere.

  30. woops. correction to previous post. 15 microns corresponds to -79C, or else -110F

    I am not sure where you get the figure of -4 Fahrenheit for c02 absorbtion

  31. P Wilson,

    Co2 Absorbs in the 15 micron band. I had that far warmer than you do, I will check again. Regardless, this means CO2 in the path of OLR Absorbs radiation emanating from the Earth’s surface where it is close to -4 F. “Re-radiation” in the literature seems to refer to atmospheric CO2 absorbing and re-emitting a photon, after which apparently something very important and disastrous happens, as the atmosphere re-heats the Earth’s surface. This contradicts entropy, so I don’t worry about it too much. There are those who ardently insist that this effect is real, but they can’t explain it re 2nd Law. Outgoiing Longwave Radiation is not the “re-radiation” I referred to.

  32. GoneWithTheWind says:
    November 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    “No, really! This CO2 is bad stuff. I am 69 years old and I notice I have aged at a consistent rate with the increase in atmospherical CO2. ”

    But on the other hand, you have lived longer and life expectancy is greater compared with life expectancy of people in the not to distant past, when CO2 is thought to have been lower. Not too bad looking now is it! :)

  33. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    November 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm
    Maybe someday it’ll explain why Anthropogenic CO2 molecules are propagating upwards differently than the ordinary CO2 released by ocean outgassing and other natural processes. Are they somehow heavier and slower so it takes them longer to get up there?

    No, they are hotter and hot molecules diffuse more rapidly than cold molecules. What you breathe out is at about 37 C. And what comes from cars and homes is hotter still. Hot air rises. That is why smoke from chimneys goes up, at least until the smoke has cooled to the surrounding temperature.

  34. Michael Moon,
    ”When the CO2 molecule absorbs a photon it vibrates.”

    Sure does, several degrees of freedom.

    “Then it would bump into another molecule and increase the translational energy of both, thus heating the atmosphere a little.””

    Well, it could happen that way, but it could also just radiate the energy or a bump could speed one but not the other. A collision could also impart a vibration that is then radiated thus cooling the surroundings a bit. Energy will be distributed as described by equipartition theorem:

    http://theory.phy.umist.ac.uk/~judith/stat_therm/node81.html

    “This is how a microwave oven works.”

    Actually, a microwave works by dipole rotation which is then distributed throughout the material.

  35. Now wait just a “cotton-pickin” minute…Anthropogenic CO2 is having the significant effect claimed by the authors…NOT just any ol’ CO2, but anthropogenic CO2? CO2 due to human activity?

    Can someone please tell me: How does anthropogenic CO2 differ physically from CO2 due to natural sources—ocean degassing, the biosphere, volcanos, etc — to elicit such an effect? And why will anthropogenic CO2 “…propagate upward through the atmosphere” in preference to natural CO2?

    More importantly (?), from what I recall, only — ONLY — 3%(±) of CO2 emitted yearly into the atmosphere is anthropogenic CO2. Do I have that right? And this trivial amount will cause the effects the authors postulate?

    I don’t get it. I must be missing something…

  36. The amazing and contradictory effects of carbon dioxide (especially that rascally anthropogenic CO2) remind me of the old joke about some bored kids who pooled their change and sent one of their number (let’s call hime Michael M.) into the store to get something fun they could share. Michael M. came back with a box of Tampax. After much questioning about how the Tampax would be fun he said “Look here on the box. It says you can go swimming, you can go horseback riding….”.

  37. Michael Moon;
    There are those who ardently insist that this effect is real, but they can’t explain it re 2nd Law.
    >>>>>>>>>>

    The second Law relates to the NET transfer of energy. Two surfaces both radiate energy as per Stefan-Boltzmann Law. There is no other way for the two laws to co-exist. And you need to stop thinking about it in terms of a cool surface warming a warm surface. Both the cool surface and warm surface radiate energy, as per SB Law, with the net xfer between them as per 2nd Law.

    With the above in mind, consider what happens to the warm surface, say 40 C next to a cool surface, say 0 C when we take the cool surface away and replace it with outer space, with a temperature of about -270 C. In which scenario would the warm surface cool faster?

  38. M. Moon wrote: ““Instead, the gas absorbs heat from its surroundings and radiates much of it away from Earth.” Professor Wang who taught me Transport of Heat is ROFL. This statement is sense-free. Radiation heats or cools by “FLUX!” Heat cannot be transferred from a cool thing to a hot thing, no way no how. All gases, liquids and solids radiate all the time unless at Absolute Zero. CO2 doesn’t do anything different than the rest of the atmosphere. It absorbs some infrared radiated in the 15 micron band, which corresponds to -4 F, and heats up a little from this. It absorbs and emits photons exactly like the rest of the atmosphere.
    This guy has a PhD???”
    ==========================================================
    Well, my heat pump transfers energy as heat from a cold reservoir (outside) to a warmer one (inside). What you mean is that if the two objects are thermodynamically isolated, then the Second Law demands the flow of energy in the form of heat to be from the lower temperature object to the higher temperature one. Couple that system to something else, however, and the energy flow can be driven in the opposite direction. I’m not suggesting what that might be or anything here, only making a subtle, but important corrective distinction to your comment.

    As for your latter statement, “It (CO2) absorbs and emits photons exactly like the rest of the atmosphere,” are you suggesting that the absorptive and radiative cross sections of CO2 are identical to those for O2, N2, H2O and whatever else might be floating about? The main issue is whether, at the conditions experienced, the collision frequency for vibrationally excited CO2 molecules (having absorbed the IR photon) is sufficiently low to allow for relatively long-time IR re-radiative processes to occur in lieu of the much more prevalent (at ordinary densities) collisionally mediated V-T (vibration to translational) relaxation process.

  39. Camburn says:
    November 12, 2012 at 11:52 am
    “The cow is almost to the moon. Gosh, who would have thought that CO2 would allow a cow to get so far.”

    Sorry, that MUST be the methane! /sarc (I think!)

  40. Actually, a CO2 molecule has a dipole moment such as water and many polymers which can be heated in a microwave. I am asking for help from someone who knows more than I do about this. “Equipartition,” ok, checking. Tampax? Really? Nolo, you can go back to sleep now…

  41. Nolo Contendere says:
    November 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm
    very funny – reminds me of another joke. A bunch of climate scientists are in a bar whooping and hollering, ordering bottles of champagne one after the other. After a while the bar tender gets curious and asks what they are celebrating. Some guy wearing a badge that says I’m the Mann, holds up a box and says… ‘ see this puzzle’? – ‘it says 8-10 years on the box’ – ‘Well buddy, we did it in three weeks……….’

  42. Lots of things can happen. Equipartition, trivial, of course every molecule has rotational, translational, and vibrational energy. If a molecule absorbs and re-emits a photon, did it make a sound? AGW “scientists” claim that CO2 heats the Earth by re-emitting photons, some of which strike the Earth. Contradicts 2nd Law, does not happen, I am out.

  43. LazyTeenager says:
    November 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    This contraction, in turn, will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites
    ————
    This conclusion from the paper is in direct contradiction to the headline.

    Aren’t you ever embarrassed by your mental laziness?

  44. thanks Doug Proctor for CO₂ increases close to the Earth’s surface cause temperatures to rise but, surprisingly, CO₂ higher up results in just the opposite,

    I knew I had read that somewhere. So CO2 up there cooling is a “bad” thing for a warmest because it will make us warmer down here? I can’t get to the paper either, so maybe that’s their point–other than saving the satellites.

  45. Bob W in NC says:
    November 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm
    That’s easy to explain Bob – the anthropogenic CO2 is much much more virulent and nasty than ordinary CO2. It worms it’s way up into the higher atmosphere and then sneaks into the thermosphere all on its ownsome, leaving the ‘natural’ CO2 sitting behind feeling all lost and lonely. Once there, it attacks defenseless spacecraft and satellites, rendering them into useless boxes of junk by clinging to their outer skins – creating a massive GHG effect – where the sunlight can keep cooking them until they bleed molten silicon……..
    /sarc (Yeah, I know, no doubt someday soon this will be a ‘paper’!)

  46. “CO2 increases close to the Earth’s surface cause temperatures to rise but, surprisingly, CO2 higher up results in just the opposite,”
    Isn’t CO2 just simply amazing! It warms and it cools the atmosphere.

  47. Bob W in NC says:
    November 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm
    Now wait just a “cotton-pickin” minute…Anthropogenic CO2 is having the significant effect claimed by the authors…NOT just any ol’ CO2, but anthropogenic CO2? CO2 due to human activity?

    ========================================================================
    A CO2 molecule is kind of like a dog. The ones Man has made all have “dog tags”. The ones without a “dog tag” are feral and therefore harmless. Just Ma Gaia doing her thing. The ones with a “dog tag” have been trained to do as much damage to their owners as possible. The Fossil Fuel Agenda people did the training.
    Hansen has trained others to spot the tiny tags. They get get a bonus for each tag they spot.

  48. The amazing and contradictory effects of carbon dioxide

    Just remember that epicycles explained planetary motion at one time. The math was right on the money, the reality, not so much…

  49. There appears to be a strong correlation between increasing CO2 levels and stupid “scientific” papers. ;-))

  50. Bob W in NC says:
    ” I must be missing something…”

    Yes, you are missing that belief in man being a scourge on the planet and a willingness to believe anything uncritically that supports that paradigm.

    (Also in NC and about to see if WRAL is going to join the bandwagon.)

  51. A minor point in the scheme of things, I know, but who apart from these so-called scientists regards CO2 as pollution?

    My garden finds it essential to its lifestyle….

  52. Credibility of the mechanism described I leave to others. If the upper cooling occurs, what is the net effect? If less sun tothe surface, what is the net near earth effective change in temperature over time? (GCMs assume a quantum of reflected energy. Are the assumptions based on data or just calculated and thus perhaps wrong due to no proper understanding of upper atmosphere?) ?

  53. Michael Moon;
    AGW “scientists” claim that CO2 heats the Earth by re-emitting photons, some of which strike the Earth. Contradicts 2nd Law, does not happen, I am out.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Venus has far higher average temperatures than does Mercury, despite the fact that Mercury is closer to the Sun. Earth has higher temperatures than the moon despite getting nearly identical insolation. In the cases of both Earth and Venus, they have atmospheres, and in the case of both, the atmospheres are colder than the planet surface.

    Explain away how colder atmospheres don’t warm planetary surfaces. Use any Laws of physics you wish.

  54. “Actually, a CO2 molecule has a dipole moment ”

    No: or, more precisely, CO2 has no NET dipole moment. Two of the vibrational modes (an antisymmetric stretch and a doubly degenerate bend), however, do effect a CHANGE in the dipole moment during the vibrational oscillation and, thereby, satisfy one of the requirements for absorption/emission of EM radiation (in first order).

  55. Michael Moon
    “Contradicts 2nd Law, does not happen, I am out.”

    Does not contradict the 2nd Law, you probably know from experience that a cloudy winter night stays warmer than a clear winter night. That’s the GHE in action, clouds being orders of magnitude more effective than CO2 and I hope you stay.

  56. davidmhoffer says:
    November 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    “Explain away how colder atmospheres don’t warm planetary surfaces. Use any Laws of physics you wish.”

    Bad choice for that since you can claim molten core.

  57. “CO₂ increases close to the Earth’s surface cause temperatures to rise but, surprisingly, CO₂ higher up results in just the opposite,” I doubt Bernath could have been surprised, since this is what is expected from radiative physics. I suspect Bernath knew the writer of the press release would be surprised. The thermosphere expands and contracts impacting the drag on satellites and debris with changes in solar activity also. I don’t see any reason to mock or be dismissive of the paper, other than the usual mention of a negative effect in the abstract and the leaving of any positive effect or disclaimer until the full text.

  58. This is only to expected. Using petrol engiines to power sattelites was bound to clog the upper atmosphere with exhaust fumes. They should be fitted with solar panels or some sort of tiny nuclear power plant.

  59. temp says:
    November 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm
    davidmhoffer says:
    November 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm
    “Explain away how colder atmospheres don’t warm planetary surfaces. Use any Laws of physics you wish.”
    Bad choice for that since you can claim molten core.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I thought so once too, but then I did the research to understand how many w/m2 actually get to earth surface from the molten core and discovered it was negligible. Same for wave energy from the tides, same for radioactive decay, same for all the energy released by all the human activity on earth. Same for all of them combined. Just a rounding error compared to insolation and just a tiny fraction of what would be required to account for the difference in surface temps.

  60. fretslider says:
    November 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    A minor point in the scheme of things, I know, but who apart from these so-called scientists regards CO2 as pollution?
    _________________________________
    The Corporate CEOs cashing in on taxpayer money all over the world. It is the biggest reverse ‘Robinhood’ since Fractional Reserve Banking was invented.

    Too bad the Occupy Wall Street who finally figured out Fractional Reserve Banking haven’t figured out CAGW is the same thing, a money making scheme.

  61. davidmhoffer says:
    November 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    “actually get to earth surface from the molten core and discovered it was negligible. ”

    I agree however was speaking in general not so much earth or even venus.

    Gail Combs says:
    November 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    fretslider says:
    November 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    A minor point in the scheme of things, I know, but who apart from these so-called scientists regards CO2 as pollution?
    _________________________________
    “The Corporate CEOs cashing in on taxpayer money all over the world. It is the biggest reverse ‘Robinhood’ since Fractional Reserve Banking was invented. ”

    Yup “big oil” huge supporter of global warming. However occupy is horrible in understanding both. The fix for the “evil banks” is the same for the “evil big oil”… nationalize them. For some reason when the government does it… its somehow not wrong. Realistically both “big banks” and “big oil” are almost completely controlled by the government now. The problem has been and will always be the government.

  62. From Werner Brozek on November 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm:

    No, they are hotter and hot molecules diffuse more rapidly than cold molecules. What you breathe out is at about 37 C. And what comes from cars and homes is hotter still. Hot air rises. That is why smoke from chimneys goes up, at least until the smoke has cooled to the surrounding temperature.

    Forest and prairie fires yield “natural” CO₂ much hotter than what comes from my chimney or exhaust pipe. Shouldn’t that be the type propagating higher faster than the notably different Anthropogenic CO₂ molecules?

  63. Stephen Brown says:
    November 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm
    “CO2 increases close to the Earth’s surface cause temperatures to rise but, surprisingly, CO2 higher up results in just the opposite,”
    Isn’t CO2 just simply amazing! It warms and it cools the atmosphere.
    ===

    So which is greater, the warming near the Earth’s surface or the cooling in the upper atmosphere? Is there enough cooling to cancel out the warming? At what density does CO2 magically switch from warming to cooling? There sure seem to be a lot of unanswered questions. Is that always the case with “settled science”?

  64. I’ve always been about the right to work, but it’s obviously way past time for massive lay-offs in the science field.

    They’ve created a non-existent, yet omnipotent, ‘monster under the bed’, which can be used to justify employment.

    They should have no trouble developing new clientele as palm readers.

  65. Wait. The main constituents of the atmosphere are nitrogen (N2) & oxygen (O2). The CO2 molecule is heavier than either, so its concentration will necessarily drop off faster with height than either. So even in a well-mixed atmosphere–e.g., with winds–how the blazes does it get out to the thermosphere?

    Color me confused.

  66. Space debris can only threaten satellites which orbit at the same altitude.

    Drag on space debris is also drag on satellites.

    If they’re right it just means there’s an altitudinal adjustment to drag coefficients, but the problem remains – no worse no better. You want to launch lower so your space debris falls sooner then you’re going to have to deal with a faster decay in the orbit of your primary payload.

    It’s silly of them to focus so much on one side only (a brief mention at the end, “some scientists point out…”, why don’t THEY point it out? It’s so bloody obvious Joe Average can point it out!)

  67. Again, it is difficult to create a critique on a article based on a synopsis and press release, but my first reaction is “How can they make such an absurd claim based on their reported observations?”

    I am not doubting that they have recorded increases in the CO2 and CO concentrations in the thermosphere over the past 8 years, that evidence is recorded with recognized methods, but to then conclude that that results in a per decade increase is ludicrous at best. The sample size is too small to come to an annual conclusion, let alone a decadal conclusion – this same sort of analysis was applied to the economy before, and during, the housing bubble much to our misfortune.

    This piece of garbage is not science, it is speculation based on inadequate evidence.

  68. Marvel Comics needs to come out with a new character, CO2 man – able to do anything and everything and even opposite things at once.

  69. Kev-in-Uk says:
    Nature Geoscience? – shouldn’t that become Nature Neoscience?

    Or maybe Nature Pseudoscience?

  70. Chris R. says:
    November 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Wait. The main constituents of the atmosphere are nitrogen (N2) & oxygen (O2). The CO2 molecule is heavier than either, so its concentration will necessarily drop off faster with height than either. So even in a well-mixed atmosphere–e.g., with winds–how the blazes does it get out to the thermosphere?

    Color me confused.
    Diffusion. All gases are miscible. Gravitational fractionation does not occur in the atmosphere until you get to the top (the thermosphere), where the translational velocity of the lighter gas molecules/atoms reach escape velocity easier relative to the heavier ones, but eventually all of them escape somewhat. At the surface, if you restrict convection or advection (say with a greenhouse or a silo) you can get displacement effects from a local flux and/or chemical reaction.

  71. IIR correctly NASA noted that satellites had excessive drag due to an expanded atmosphere some 3-4 years ago, since then they reported that it stop being a problem as the upper atmosphere had shrunk back again. Can’t find the links though (I’m trying to recover data from a PC fail).

  72. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    November 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm
    Forest and prairie fires yield “natural” CO2 much hotter than what comes from my chimney or exhaust pipe. Shouldn’t that be the type propagating higher faster than the notably different Anthropogenic CO2 molecules?

    Good point! I was debating whether to put a sarc by my last reply, however your comment about “ocean outgassing” was on my mind and I thought there was some truth to what I said.

    However I still do not understand the cooling aspect. Does it block some of the sun’s light from reaching Earth in the first place? And if so, does it do so to a larger degree with 390 ppm than with 280 ppm?

  73. The sentence in red seems to say that more CO2 in the thermosphere has a cooling effect, no?

    That seems interesting.

  74. Gunga Din said:
    November 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    A CO2 molecule is kind of like a dog. The ones Man has made all have “dog tags”. The ones without a “dog tag” are feral and therefore harmless.
    ——————————————
    Feral molecules? Ah! Free range CO2

  75. DaveA has it – ALL orbiting bodies would be affected. We know from satellite data that CO2 in the upper atmosphere radiates only in CO2-specific bands, energy which was contained internally (bond flexing and stretching) and absorbed from longwave IR, in identical bands from other CO2 molecules in the upper atmosphere and lower – NOT from molecular collisions with other gas molecules. More modifying the physics to meet the “projection” and to fit the meme.

  76. “This contraction, in turn, will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites and may have adverse consequences for the orbital debris environment that is already unstable”

    And that’s a problem allowing satellites to stay up longer with less fuel burn and less supervision.
    More Co2 would have allowed Iridium to keep going.
    The debris are mostly tiny pieces (doesn’t make them any less destructive) hardly affected by the atmosphere.

  77. These bozos are so used to quoting out output of CO2 as a mass, rather than a proportion of total production, they are blinded by the numbers.
    WE produce 3-4% of the total not 97%. Idiots.

  78. The graph at the top of this post is NOT the data , it’s the NCAR model output.

    The headline graphic from the paper is this:

    Less impressive. (But interesting none the less).

  79. Moon, you appear to be incorrect, and not carefully reading responses that would clarify.
    Listen then talk.

  80. When I read the following an alarm bell started ringing somewhere:
    ” After correcting for seasonal–latitudinal and solar influences, we obtain an estimated global increase in COx …”

  81. “Explain away how colder atmospheres don’t warm planetary surfaces. Use any Laws of physics you wish.” Cold things cannot warm up warm things, the heat transfer goes the other way. If you don’t already know this I invite you to sit back down, keep quiet, and learn something.

    The Atmosphere is one thing. It is largely composed of N2 and O2, which have no dipole moments, hence cannot absorb outgoing Infrared radiation. CO2 does have a dipole moment as the learned Poor Yorek has confirmed in his obfuscating way. This means that Co2 can absorb IR in its 15 micron band. This means that where 15 micron IR is emitted it can warm the CO2, CO2 is 390 ppm right now. That means that 999,610 ppm of the atmosphere is NOT CO2.

    The re-radiaton claim is that this tiny fraction of CO2, instead of merely warming up a little itself, “Re-Radiates” a photon, which is light, both a particle and a wave, and this light heats the Earth’s surface. If this happened there would be a positive feedback which is the same thing as a perpetual motion machine, completely impossible, from where comes this new energy?

    We mechanical engineers have to study these things in school. I happened to go to the Number 3 ME school in the US, the glorious U of Michigan. My Heat Transport final was traumatic. Had to pass to graduate and go to work, if I failed 4 more months of school. The lab was 10% of the grade, but Professor Wang threw out the midterm for poor grading by his TA. So, the final was 90% of the grade. Two hour test, one problem, 180 kids in there, NO ONE finished it. I was never so happy with a B+ in my life, thought I had been in a train wreck. My point is, if you have not studied this, your questions alone are perfectly capable of making you sound foolish, so beware Nolo and the rest of you liberal-arts types.

  82. Michael Moon:

    At November 13, 2012 at 6:14 am you ask

    If this happened there would be a positive feedback which is the same thing as a perpetual motion machine, completely impossible, from where comes this new energy?

    I answer: the “new energy” comes from the Sun.

    I am surprised that you – being a mechanical engineer – think this would require a perpetual motion machine because several devices operate in similar fashion; e.g. water pumps which use the downward flow of water to raise some of the flowing water to an elevation greater than the source of the water, heat pumps which use some of a heat energy flow to move heat from a cooler material (e.g. the ground) to a hotter region (e.g. inside a building), etc..

    Richard

  83. Oh come on. Do you not know what “positive feedback” means? I only entered this thread to comment on the absurd nature of the original story. “Re-radiation” is a warmist meme, and I wondered if anyone could back it up. I am not going to lecture on physics here, any more anyway. One last time, cool things cannot warm warmer things, it requires positive feedback, which is the same as perpetual motion machines. You people need to read some books.

  84. Micheal Moon says: My Heat Transport final was traumatic.

    I’m not surprised since you don’t even understand the basics of thermodynamics. Go and join Cotton , you could publish paper together and change the world of physics.

    A photon does not have passport with a stamp in it saying what the temperature of the emitting body was , neither does the target body have a means of choosing whether you think it is allowed to absorb a photon which hits it. Neither does the emitting body have a check around before deciding which direction to let fly its photons.

    In the same way, there is no reason why a molecule of a cold body cannot transfer some energy to a molecule of a hot body in a collision. The laws of thermodynamics are statistical results applied to entire systems.

    If I put a wood burner in the middle of an empty room and let things settle to equilibrium, it will attain a stable temperature. If I then surround it by a thick cylinder of matt black cast iron at 1 deg C less than the temperature of the surface of the wood burner, the burner temp. will start to rise instantly.

    How can this be ?!!! Is this “colder” body defying the 2nd law? Is this perpetual motion ??

    No, there is now an almost identical IR flux in both directions whereas before the burner was radiating significant energy to its surroundings.

    If you ever get to design a bridge make sure you get your name clearly marked at the toll booths at each end, that way we’ll know to do a U-turn.

  85. Michael Moon,

    I went to Engineering School too. Remember calculating the heat loss from a cooling pond when there was little to no wind (convection minimized)? Did you not have to account for the GHE by either subtracting the “apparent sky temperature” from the ponds temperature in the Stefan-Boltzman equation or by estimating the downwelling radiation based on environmental conditions?

    A good explanation of what I’m talking about is here:

    http://www.asterism.org/tutorials/tut37%20Radiative%20Cooling.pdf

    Explain two things without radiant heat loss being slowed by downwelling radiation:

    1) Why does a cloudy winter night stay warmer than a clear winter night?

    2) Why is there greater difference in day time to night time temperatures in the desert compared to areas with higher humidity? (ie: Why does it get so cold in the desert at night?)

  86. I am an EE. I took a thermo course too. P Solars explanation is sufficient. The argument that atmospheric gasses can’t raise surface temperature because the surface is warmer than the atmosphere is a fail.

    The scientific argument is against the ‘C’, not the ‘AGW’.

  87. To cdquarles:

    You cite diffusion as the mechanism. You then make the interesting comment that ” Gravitational fractionation does not occur in the atmosphere until you get to the top (the thermosphere)…”. That, I don’t buy. I have seen a chart giving the concentration with altitude of various atmospheric components, including CO2, and its concentration drops off much faster than lighter molecules. The doggone gas has to be present in some noticeable quantity to diffuse due to collisions with other gas molecules! At the boundary of the thermosphere, the concentration must be mind-bogglingly small.

  88. So the models predicted CO2 is wrong for the upper atmosphere. Throw the model out its wrong what more needs to be said.

  89. P. Solar:

    re your post at November 13, 2012 at 7:37 am.

    Thankyou. That is clear, straightforward and irrefutable.

    False claims about radiative physics add difficulty to rational refutation of the AGW-scare. Your post provides a ‘text book demonstration’ of how to demolish the false claims.

    Richard

  90. KevinM says:
    “The scientific argument is against the ‘C’, not the ‘AGW’.”

    I don’t know, I think there’s still plenty of scientific argument for “aGW” as opposed to “AGW”.

    My back-of-the-envelope estimation from heat transfer principles of worse case (assuming no work, no heat transfer to sub-surface, radiant balance instead of enery balance, etc.) surface warming sensitivity is about 1.8 K per 10 W/m^2 or 0.67 K per 2XCO2 taking into account “where we are” on the Stefan-Boltzmann curve on average.

    Admittedly, I massively oversimplified the problem just to get some sort of answer and I’m sure climate sensitivity does not exactly equal surface warming sensitivity (Yes, I just made that term up.). One thing is for sure: it’s not a simple problem.

  91. Atmospheric drag at 250 km has been measured for the last 3 years and is much less than was thought. It was measured by the GOCE satellite, by its ion engine working in tandem with the gradiometer. You can go to the ESA website to see.

    I know this because I worked on the engine control and it had to be able to throttle from 1 to 20mN to accommodate drag, or according to the “expected” drag. In flight it’s doing about 2 to 3 mN. It’s so low that they have extended the mission.

    Principal cause was always stated to be solar activity. In fact it formed part of the mission requirements.

  92. Chris R says: That, I don’t buy. I have seen a chart giving the concentration with altitude of various atmospheric components, including CO2, and its concentration drops off much faster than lighter molecules.

    OK you’ve “seen a chart”. Maybe that chart was written by the same “experts” that wrote the NCAR model that has just been shown by empirical evidence to be significantly in error.

    The other possibility is that is was written by someone who was not such an expert.

  93. Please, please! Don’t do this again! It took me ten minutes to collect myself from under the table.

  94. P. Solar and John West,

    Let’s keep this impersonal. Heat transfer is only meaningful as a flux, which means net power per unit area. Any other aspects of it are trivial. Secondly, I entered this discussion to inquire if anyone could clear up the warmist meme of “reradiation.” I seem to have been misconstrued as denying the very poorly named “greenhouse effect.” I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that water could freeze at 59 F ambient on a clear night, so where are you going with this John?

    Any more personal comments will be met with disdainful silence.

  95. What was that about a stove? You got three different modes of transfer there. Convection, conduction, radiation, all doing their own thing. If you stop convection you no longer have a steady state, so I don’t see your point. Thermo and Heat Transport are very different. I repeat, heat transfer other than as a “net” flux is trivial. Who cares what one photon does or does not do?

    I am really only intererested in the “reradiation” meme, not quizzes from people outside their areas. This thread doesn’t need any more “what if’s” or so-called analogies. Argue against the 2nd Law to your heart’s content, good luck with that….

  96. Michael Moon wrote: “CO2 does have a dipole moment as the learned Poor Yorek has confirmed in his obfuscating way. ”

    No, I ‘confirmed’ nothing of the sort: to the contrary, I clarified (12 Nov @1511) that CO2 does NOT have a permanent dipole moment to correct your previous error. What matters (amongst other issues) for EM absorption or emission (in first order) is a CHANGE in dipole moment (e.g. from zero to something finite) during the vibrational motion. Any standard physical chemistry text will illustrate these ideas in its molecular spectroscopy chapter(s). I’m sorry that you find stating fundamental principles of physics and chemistry and clarifying error to be “obfuscating” ([i]et lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non conprehenderunt: Jn 1.5 [/i]). Oh, and please give poor Prof. Wang a break from associating him with your opinions.

  97. Werner Brozek said on November 12, 2012 at 9:30 pm:

    However I still do not understand the cooling aspect. Does it block some of the sun’s light from reaching Earth in the first place? And if so, does it do so to a larger degree with 390 ppm than with 280 ppm?

    I doubt they’re going into that Sky Dragon Slaying nonsense. Offhand I think it’s a relative effect.

    We know from the Ira Glickstein “Visualizing the ‘Greenhouse Effect'” series how the GHE works for CO₂ and H₂0. CO₂ absorbs the longwave infrared in two wavelength bands and re-radiates it, by geometry about half the time towards space and the other half towards the surface, while letting through the LWIR in the “atmospheric window” wavelength band that CO₂ is insensitive to.

    Here at the bottom of the atmosphere, with the CO₂ GHE saturated, we get the maximum “warming” effect. Visualizing layers, first CO₂ layer returns half of those two bands, next layer returns half of that, with first layer then allowing half of that through to the surface while sending half back to that next layer, which lets through half of that, etc. Here’s the first piece with those graphics:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/20/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-a-physical-analogy/

    So down here CO₂ is doing everything possible to hold in as much LWIR possible, called a “warming” effect although a slowing of the rate of cooling we’d have without greenhouse gases.

    But up near the top, CO₂ isn’t acting like a mylar space blanket. All you’re getting is half/half on 2 of 3 bands, and the next layer down throws half of what was returned back out towards space, etc. From space, you see all this LWIR that is being emitted by CO₂ heading out towards space. Thus CO₂ looks like a “radiative cooling agent” from that side of the atmosphere.

    Why they call it “the primary radiative cooling agent” is a mystery. Water vapor, the more important GHG, also has that apparent effect. Is there some reason the lighter H₂O molecules aren’t as high up in the atmosphere as CO₂? Or is this yet another example of post-reality (C)AGW science not acknowledging this un-regulatable GHG?

  98. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    November 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm
    From space, you see all this LWIR that is being emitted by CO2 heading out towards space.

    True, but if instead of 390 ppm up there, if we could somehow just get rid of all CO2 above a certain height, then the upward radiation from the CO2 below that height would just go straight up without being absorbed first. So I do not see what real difference it makes to the cooling if the thermosphere had 390 ppm or 0 ppm.

    Is there some reason the lighter H2O molecules aren’t as high up in the atmosphere as CO2?

    Yes, they condense out as it gets colder so the concentration of H2O gas is extremely low at cold temperatures. So while the thermosphere may be hot, the H2O gas does not get there in large amounts as it must pass through cold air first.

  99. I couldn’t even get past the first paragraph.

    “Anthropogenic CO2 increases are expected to propagate upward throughout the entire atmosphere…”

    Don’t these scienticians know that CO2 is heavier than air? And not by a little bit either – by over 60%! Please explain the mechanism by which a heavier molecule propagates upward. Perhaps they need to go to Engineering school to get a dose of reality.

  100. You are incorrect in asserting that data above 35 km is “interpolated”. (By the way interpolation is filling in between observed data points. Going beyond observed data is extrapolation)

    Have not read the pay walled paper but the press release you display states that the data is from various altitudes measured by a satellite at 400 km. The statement that “so far” measurements have been made to 35 km refers to earlier studies, not the current one being reported.

  101. Giveitupguys, hopefully your Engineering school taught about turbulent mixing which is the primary mechanism by which the lower atmosphere is kept well mixed as opposed to the atmosphere above the turbopause where the composition is influenced by diffusion. That’s the reality which the scientists who wrote this paper are well aware of.

  102. As to Anthony’s rhetorical question if the sun were more active the CO would be higher and the CO2 lower as indicated by the graph shown above.

  103. Latin??? Latin. That is a first. And not obfuscating in any way. What is this now, “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” Not a quiz show kids, we are not displaying our large IQ props, we are seeking after truth about IR and exactly how it does or does not heat the planet. The Internet is useful sometimes, and other times not……………………………………..

  104. Give it up guys says:
    November 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm
    Don’t these scienticians know that CO2 is heavier than air? And not by a little bit either – by over 60%! Please explain the mechanism by which a heavier molecule propagates upward. Perhaps they need to go to Engineering school to get a dose of reality.

    Buoyancy is a concept that applies to objects in water, but not to individual gas molecules. If it did, you would never see chlorofluorocarbons high up in the stratosphere. As well, ozone, having a mass of 48, would sink quickly. However when discussing water, we have to keep in mind that while its molecular mass is 18 versus an average of 29 for air, the individual water molecules condense to the liquid form and form clouds. The density of liquid water is about 1000 times that of air. However if the droplets in the clouds are small enough, Brownian motion can keep clouds up there for a long time. Water in the liquid phase does not generally go straight into the atmosphere unless you have severe weather such as a hurricane over water.

    (P.S. I do have an engineering degree.)

  105. Michael Moon, Perhaps you can see how a cool blanket makes a human warmer. A dead human at ambient temperature won’t be made warmer by the blank, but a living human generating heat internally will be made warmer, even assuming the human’s heat generation constant. That is because heat loss is slowed, and the surface from which heat is lost is the other side of the blanket.

    In the case of CO2, the sun warms the earth every day. Of course the warming earth is radiating IR during the day as well, but lets just look at the night. Without GHGs, the surface warmed by the sun can radiate the IR directly to space, cooling directly. With GHGs the loss of heat is slowed because some of the IR is absorbed and re-radiated back to the warm surface, and some of the absorbed IR warms other molecules in the air. IR must be absorbed and re-radiated multiple times to get to the top of the atmosphere, where GHGs actually make that part of the atmosphere more efficient at radiating heat to space. So GHGs are like a blanket, slowing the loss of heat, not technically heating the surface, but come morning when the sun rises, the surface has not cooled as much as it would have been if the sky had been transparent to the IR frequencies. Having started the day, warmer, high daytime temperatures might actually be achieved also, although with GHG “warming” more of the warming is in higher lows rather than higher highs.

  106. Chris R. says: Hi P. Solar:No need to be nasty. Besides, I wasn’t talking to you.

    Hi Chris , that was in no way intended to be “nasty”. I was simply pointing out whatever chart you recall seeing was very likely wrong even if it was from a scholarly source (and without knowing its source it is as reliable bar room chat since you don’t seem to have the slightest recollection of the source and there is an awful lot of crap flying around).

    Assuming those making the models are applying the best level of understanding currently available and that this paper has just shown the thermosphere rise in CO2 to be about 26+/-6 ppm/decade ,( that is just about identical to the changes in well mixed tropo CO2. ) then the chart you saw was almost certainly based on the same incorrect guesses that have just been shown to be wrong by observation.

    That suggests you should put the chart into question rather than saying “I don’t buy it”.

    ” I wasn’t talking to you.” These are public discussions.

    Please don’t take offence. Sorry if the last post was a bit terse.

  107. M.Moon says: If you stop convection you no longer have a steady state, so I don’t see your point.

    You don’t see my point because you deliberate refuse to. You claim to be a qualified engineer so you are quite capable of extending the though experiment to a more controlled environment with no air and considering just the radiation. You should even be able to write the equations and verify the result.

    The fact that you start knit-picking secondary issues and ignoring the main argument shows you are not even considering the radiation which is what you wanted to discuss.

    This is not a case of a cold body heating a warm body, it is a cold body SLOWING the cooling of the hot body. This is exactly what the badly named green house effect is about.

    If you think that violates the 2nd law, I’m not surprised you struggled with your exams. It in fact rather worrying that someone can get a degree in Mech Eng without having grasped the basics. I guess you just hit lucky with the questions.

  108. Michael Moon:

    If you don’t get the point by now with a number of good explanations handed to you, this might not help. But, I can always try.

    Think of a land mass with an atmosphere above it, containing greenhouse gasses. Let’s also assume that it’s night, for simplicity, although this works during the day too. Assume that the land is warmer than the atmosphere.

    The land will receive heat radiated to it as IR, from the atmosphere. But, all else being equal, the atmosphere will not “heat” the land, in the sense of increasing its temperature (warming it). The atmosphere with its GHGs will merely slow the rate at which the land mass cools, by sending some of its escaping energy back. Similarly, the land will not “cool” the atmosphere by stealing radiation from it, since it radiates back to the atmosphere. If the atmosphere cools, it’s because it radiates upwards. (Some radiation may pass through the atmosphere; that’s not so much stealing as failing to repay a debt.) Strong absorption bands in the atmosphere may complicate the picture, but if some part of the atmosphere were to reaches the same temperature as the land, it would radiate energy just as fast as it receives it, so it won’t go beyond this point, and in practice, cannot actually reach it. You cannot, by this process, bring either the atmosphere or the land to a steady state where it becomes hotter than the other and radiates more energy than it receives. If the land is hotter, that’s because the sun was shining on it (and this is not a steady state).

    So: nowhere do you require that a colder body actually increase the temperature of a hotter body by a passive process. The second law is happy.

  109. So we have more RADIATIVE CO2 showing up high in the air, dumping more heat to space, and this is bad how?

    I also note that this clearly shows a swapping of CO for CO2 via a UV driver. Any chance that could explain our planet cycling with the solar UV changes? I’d expect CO2 and CO to have very different radiative performance. Having direct conversion between them based on large solar UV modulation looks like an easy path to “sun did it” after all…

  110. M. Moon,
    I had no intention of offending you, but you’ve certainly confused me.
    Perhaps if you asked a more specific question, I’m not sure I know what the “warmist meme of “reradiation”” is other than the indeed poorly named greenhouse effect.

    The point I was making about the clear night sky is that there is less downwelling radiation and therefore faster cooling (under similar convection conditions). Even though the sky on a cloudy night is cooler than the surface it still slows the cooling due to a reduction in NET radiant heat flux to space.

  111. Hi P. Solar:

    As you stated, I was working on memory with respect to the chart showing decreasing levels of CO2 and other gases, including CFCs, with increasing altitude in the atmosphere. I am somewhat bothered that I cannot lay hands on this chart. I will continue trying to cudgel my brain to find this chart.

  112. E.M.Smith says:
    November 14, 2012 at 4:48 am
    So we have more RADIATIVE CO2 showing up high in the air, dumping more heat to space, and this is bad how?

    I also note that this clearly shows a swapping of CO for CO2 via a UV driver. Any chance that could explain our planet cycling with the solar UV changes? I’d expect CO2 and CO to have very different radiative performance. Having direct conversion between them based on large solar UV modulation looks like an easy path to “sun did it” after all…

    It’s in the thermosphere where concentrations are extremely low, also the CO has strong emission bands at ~2.5 and ~5μm between CO2 bands.

  113. to quote one eminent Climatalalalalujist, “thuH MAGiC GAS, th..uH mAGIc gAiS, ThuH MAGIC MELTIN
    MANNIAN
    MOONBAT
    MONEY
    MILKIN
    MECHANISM
    with a THING
    for BEIN’ TOO MAGIC..UL tuH
    MAYZhUR!
    GaSSss, manNN…”

    ……” Thank you for that scintillating expose on ‘the Magic Gas, too Magical to Measure,’ ProFESSOR BOREhole, Back to you, Bob.”

    —————-

    ..”Thanks, Bill, in OTHER news, scientists released their warning that yes, magical mystery infrared has taken all the OTHER light spectra hostage, and is HIDING, under their BURKAs, in preparation apparently for, -to quote the PAPER, “AMBUSH YA’LL an’ YAW GOIn tuh HAYLe fer CARBUN SINN! yaW GON’nUh jus BURNUP & DIE witch yawz HEETN & COOKIN, & s%!+! Yaw’z uH BUNCHA RABBLE YeAYuH dAS RAIT CHAW’s uh BUNCHA NO BUhLEEvIn hOLuHCAWST duh NY’in INDore’ LIvIn ‘ppliUnce yewsurz. YaYUh DAS WAT I sed!”

    Over to you, Ted.

  114. John West says:
    November 14, 2012 at 6:51 am

    M. Moon,
    I had no intention of offending you, but you’ve certainly confused me.
    Perhaps if you asked a more specific question, I’m not sure I know what the “warmist meme of “reradiation”” is…”

    The warmist meme of reradiation is a fantasy in which carbon dioxide’s presence in the atmospheric gas mix means a certain narrow spectra of infrared are always emitted exactly 50% down and 50% up and that in addition to that magical element, these re-radiations – collisions and deflections that already have a name in radiation I just went blank lol – because the hillbillies at Magic Melting/Magic Gas/Magic Infrared said that now, the typical deflection of magic light by magic gas, creates, magic melting.

    The magic light is magic because it is the only light not visible to instruments of any kind,
    the magic gas is magic because it is the only gas that rejects more sun coming in than it does going out, yet it’s a ‘warming’ blanket, and because it always spits the photons at a precise 50% up/down ratio, with ‘down’ being defined several different ways, but with the magical 50% ratio never far from the werewolf eyes and the ghost of newts.
    And of course the magic melting is magic because it’s melting whether it’s freezing, at 49 below zero F
    or melting.
    Also there are magic trees, the boreholes of which reveal the temperature within a few years give or take, in complete violation of the laws of physics, whereby the
    “water/canopy
    water/roots,
    LIGHT/canopy
    light/roots
    geometric space for canopy to grow as in not under a tree being deprived of light and more importantly for this concern having it’s photosynthetic leaves rubbed off by being whipped about by another tree or PROTECTED by said tree’s canopy from winds etc,
    also space for roots to grow,
    15 different elements IN PROPORTION, in SOIL, on roots,
    and in contact with what PROPORTION of the roots,
    parasites/canopy
    parasites/roots
    pollutants/canopy
    pollutants/roots
    incidental temporary fertilization/canopy
    incidental temporary fertilization/roots
    thing
    magically vanishes and a magic treemomitur appears,

    and these magical boreholes can only be looked into properly by people who thought useless scrawls that yield hockey sticks from calibration data can be used to look into the magic bore holes and see that we have to shut down using regular oil, like Al Gore’s competitors sell, and start using alternative energy and oil, instead of coal, and other people’s oil.

    Congratulations. You’re now a climatologist.

  115. Sorry for the poor grammar first paragraph there I was trying to convey there’s a ‘re-radiation meme’ simply because some people SAY there is. There isn’t a real effect, they’re bullshooting from the go when they start trying to hijack the name of the kind of classical collision re-radiation all gases participate in.

  116. “This contraction, in turn, will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites”

    colder = contraction = more dense = MORE drag ?

  117. Click here to see a net energy budget diagram which is on page 2 of my first website. Note that conduction is shown as 7% of incoming solar radiation, latent heat as 23% and the total from the surface is 51%. So this diagram implies (7+23)/51 or about 59% of energy from the surface is by other than radiation. I say 60% to 70% in fact because I believe, from other reading, that the diagram understates conduction and evaporation.

    Either way, it is clear that a lot of energy is not radiated from the surface but, instead, finds its way into the atmosphere via oxygen, nitrogen and water vapor molecules, not by photon capture in carbon dioxide molecules.

    Non-radiating molecules, mostly oxygen and nitrogen, thus act like an insulating blanket. Carbon dioxide does the opposite..

    When CO2 molecules do capture, they are more likely to then radiate that energy away, or transfer it by diffusion to cooler oxygen or nitrogen molecules. It can then diffuse to water vapor and be radiated away. Without radiating molecules (the holes in the blanket) things would get very hot up there. I assure you.

    DC

  118. AndyG55 says:
    November 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm
    “This contraction, in turn, will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites”

    colder = contraction = more dense = MORE drag ?

    Contraction = less dense higher up = Less drag.

  119. Bob says:

    The authors attribute this dire fate to anthropogenic carbon. Does naturally derived carbon not do this? How do I separate anthropogenic and natural carbon? Heck, how do you distinguish between the two?

    Especially given that “fossil fuels” can oxidize without any human involvement. How could you tell the difference between carbon dioxide from Mount Wingen and that from an Australian coal fired power station?

  120. “Gases also absorb infrared light, but there are some strict rules from quantum mechanics. First, gases have to be able to vibrate, i.e., they have to be molecular. Any monatomic gas like helium is not IR active. Second, when they vibrate there has to be an oscillating electrical charge distribution (we call it a dipole moment), so that a coupling will occur between the oscillating charge and the electric field component of IR light. So gases like O2 and N2 vibrate, but there is no change in charge distribution when they do. They are not IR active. They do absorb heat, but only through molecular collisions. CO2, on the hand, has vibrational modes that are IR active, so when a CO2 molecule absorbs IR light, the molecule is excited to higher vibrational states. Now, here’s the tricky part. The molecule has at least two choices. It could simply de-activate sending the IR photon out (emission). If it does that, there is no thermal consequence. Or, it can collide with gas molecules around it and transfer the vibrational energy to, say, O2 or N2 around them as translational KE, causing them to warm. Of course, this is the greenhouse gas effect. Note that in the greenhouse gas effect it is mainly the air around the CO2 that warms. The CO2 will warm, but at 0.04%, they do not contribute much to the warming.”

    Fine, I found it myself. “Re-radiate,” indeed…..

  121. You were going well, Michael, up to your strange conclusion “Of course, this is the greenhouse gas effect.” What you said prior to that is pretty much what I have already written in my article about to be published. You gave an accurate description of what happens when radiation from the surface strikes carbon dioxide molecules. You also confirmed that oxygen and nitrogen molecules absorb heat through collisions. This in fact is how at least two-thirds of the thermal energy in the surface gets into the atmosphere, warming the normal air molecules that collide with the surface and then rise by convection. As you will learn from my article, not all that radiation from the surface is actually transferring energy from the surface to the atmosphere: most of it is re-radiating the energy that it acquired temporarily from all that backradiation – electro-magnetic energy that never became thermal energy in the surface, because Clausius said it couldn’t do so.

    So, let me say: Of course, the fact that oxygen and nitrogen cannot radiate energy is the reason why they form a blanket keeping the Earth nice and warm – well keeping the surface 33 degrees warmer than it would have been without an atmosphere comprising, of course, mostly those oxygen and nitrogen molecules..

    Water vapor and the radiating gases are of course the holes in the blanket. Once that air gets warm in the vicinity of carbon dioxide molecules its molecules are of course free to move up by convection and eventually collide with radiating molecules (mostly water vapor) but also cooler carbon dioxide ones. Of course the air would remain much warmer if there were no holes in the blanket.

  122. Well Michael maybe you need to listen to some other “physics experts” who have far more convincing and detailed arguments which display a somewhat better comprehension of atmospheric physics and computational blackbody radiation, like Prof Claes Johnson perhaps. But if you like to put your “physics expert” in contact with me, or have him respond to my posts above, I would more than welcome the opportunity to answer anything he throws at me.

  123. Not convincing? It convinced me! It convinced me that the warmist meme of “Re-radiation” is a crock, designed to confuse non-technically educated audiences into believing that CO2 is dangerous. What is your point? And he is not “my” physics expert, he is his own. I think it was someone called Dr. Jim, and I will try to find it again. You guys can duke it out privately, but somehow I think he probably has better ways to spend his time, as do I.

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