# Notes on the February Global Temperature Anomaly

Guest post by John Kehr

With two completed months of the year there is starting to be discussion of how 2013 is shaping up for the annual anomaly.  Several comments around the web have caught my attention as they demonstrate a basic misunderstanding of how the Earth’s climate is behaving.  This is one of those articles that may seem OCD, but this one misunderstanding is what allows warmists to get away with as much as they do when it comes to climate.

I am going to pick on Anthony Watts and Roy Spencer for this one.  The article in question was the one where Roy Spencer provided an update of the UAH anomaly.  Here is a screen shot of the article.

From March 4th, 2013

The title states that there was a big drop in surface temperature in the month of February from ~ 0.5 to 0.2 °C.  This is correct for the anomaly, but it has nothing to do with the Earth’s temperature.  The reality is the Earth warmed up, but the anomaly dropped.

Let me explain.  January is the coldest month of the year for the planet as a whole.  Depending on the source, the average temperature is between 12.0 and 12.5 °C for the month.  February is on average 0.18 °C warmer than January, also source dependent.  Here is what the basic generic behavior of the Earth is on an annual basis.

Illustration 1: Annual Temperature of the Earth and the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The average temperature of the Earth is different for each month of the year.

This is based on the average from the 1900-1990 data and I have used this extensively as the baseline behavior for the Earth today.  Anomaly has no place on this chart because this shows the actual temperature of the Earth and each hemisphere.  How the seasons affect the global average is readily apparent.  To me it also shows how many factors can influence the global anomaly.  January and February are perfect examples of this.

If I switch to Weatherbell I can show some cool graphics that they produce.

Here is January and February of 2013 from their site.

Notice that the Earth is  about 0.25 °C warmer in February, but since it was closer to average the anomaly was much less.  Climate scientists hate it when people show real temperature because it is impossible to see much warming when you look at the seasonal changes in the actual temperature.

Now for something interesting.  In January the anomaly in the Arctic was well above average.  By simple physics that meant the Arctic was losing energy to space at a much higher rate than average.  Normally the Arctic is losing energy at a rate of 163 W/m^2.  In January of 2013 it was losing energy at a rate of 173 W/m^2.  That 6% increase in rate of energy loss meant that the Arctic ended up with a negative anomaly in February.  The dramatic change in Arctic anomaly played a big role in the drop of the global anomaly in February.

The rate of energy loss is a self-correcting mechanism.  Physics don’t allow it to operate in any other way.  As a whole the Earth lost ~ 4 W/m^2 more than average over the entire surface in the month of January.  Data for February is not yet available, but it will be close to average because the anomaly was closer to average.  The higher rate of energy loss in January resulted in a more average February.  That is how the climate operates.

Finally I have to get a dig in at CO2.  In January of 2013 it was 395 ppm and in 1985 it was 50 points lower at 345 ppm.  So despite the fact that CO2 was higher, the Earth was losing energy at a higher rate to space.  CO2 was not blocking the energy from escaping despite all the claims that increased CO2 prevents heat from escaping the Earth.  The Earth 30 years later was losing a significantly larger amount of energy to space than it was in the past.

## 268 thoughts on “Notes on the February Global Temperature Anomaly”

1. Normally the Arctic is losing energy at a rate of 163 W/m^2. In January of 2013 it was losing energy at a rate of 173 W/m^2.
Because the Earth is closest to the Sun in January it receives more energy from the Sun, so it is understandable that it must also lose more…

2. pottereaton says:

“Physics don’t allow it to operate in any other way.”

Ahem. Correct me if I’m wrong, but “physics” as plural?

3. I think most of the people who have been following this for a while understood that it was a drop in the anomaly, not the absolute temperature. But it is probably good to point that out for people who might not understand that. I remember a few years back when Steve McIntyre noticed an anomaly in temperatures in Russia (I think, it’s been a while and I have been to sleep since then.) They reported the previous month’s results again. I believe it was September results being reported in October. The result was a “hot spot” showing up in the gridded GISS data. It was mentioned at the time that had this happened in the middle of summer or middle of winter, it might not be noticed but it happened at a time and in a place where temperatures from one month to the next were dramatically different and the difference stood out.

4. Martin C says:

Very Nice John !

I have visited your website (the Inconvenient Sceptic) only a few times in the past, but I sure may do it more often. The above info is very good – look at the actual temperatures, along with the anomaly. It gives a better picture.
And your last paragraph is really something. So why would the earth be losing more heat now (in January) than 30 years ago ( I also assume it was January)? Maybe clouds? Maybe atmospheric flows that might be affected, by maybe, say – a change in solar activity? ( . . calllng Leif now . . ! ) , that although total irradiance may not change much, does the spectrum change ?( . .I recall seeing that UV changes quite a bit . . .). And what might those effects be?

Not saying that is the ‘final answer’ – but shouldn’t that be looked into more . . ?

5. First water vapor and now temperature. WHEN is the lame stream media going to take note of these DATA based findings and start asking the Michael Mann’s and Jimbo Hansen’s of the world the tough questions?

[snip]

6. John Manville says:

CO2 is not a “green house” gas. No gas is a green house gas. Its time to stop the charade. Stop using the term Green House in place of a more correct term Glass House. This simple shift in terminology will help disconnect the popular phraseology linking green house (warm) and a warming atmosphere; by linking the two to CO2 and warming with green house gas.
Until there exists a proven reproducable experiment demonstrating that CO2 acts as a warming agent and thus defys normal science. It is time to drop this nonsense of a fictitious Glass House gas. It is the subliminal linkage of the commonly used, but inaccurate term “Green House” that makes Green House gas “SOUND” RIGHT AND THUS WIDELY ACCEPTED. However, it remain a fictitious construct, it is not reality.

7. Jim S says:

Truly not trying to be snarky, but you lost me at:

“Depending on the source, the average temperature is between 12.0 and 12.5 °C for the month.”

Was it really? We know this as a fact?

8. “CO2 was not blocking the energy from escaping despite all the claims that increased CO2 prevents heat from escaping the Earth. The Earth 30 years later was losing a significantly larger amount of energy to space than it was in the past.”

Yes, NOAA outgoing longwave radiation data shows an increase of ~1.3 Wm-2 from 1975-2012 despite a steady increase of CO2 levels. In contrast, the IPCC formula predicts that OLR should have decreased .93 Wm-2 since 1975, and MODTRAN likewise predicts OLR should have decreased .83 Wm-2 since 1975.

9. Thanks Mr. Kehr,
“Depending on the source, the average temperature…” Please provide links to the sources. This is the closest I’ve seen to real temperatures.

Also, my eyeball estimate of April on the left is 13.8 °C, but April on the right appears to be closer to 13.6 °C. Something missing? I also expect about ±1.5 °C. I know measurement can be better, but that is a good normal nominal precision. So, it could just be in the error.

10. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
John Kehr posting at WUWT includes a graph of the month-to-month global temperature rather than the more commonly reported departure from average.

11. Theo Goodwin says:

Yep, use of anomalies causes confusion. That is reason enough to get rid of them. But there is another important reason. Use of anomalies hides the actual data – thermometer readings. Taking a thermometer reading is an act of reaching into the environment and withdrawing a fact from it. To convert a thermometer reading to an anomaly you have to compare the thermometer reading to an average reading – you have to hide the fact behind a human contrivance. So much for empirical science.

12. NZ Willy says:

To enhance Leif’s point, since the Earth is closest to the Sun in January and apogee (farthest away) is in July, it can’t be right that the Earth is coolest in January, regardless of the temperature record. This is a model anyone can understand.
Secondly, I quite agree that the Earth is radiating heat away into space as well as it ever did, and all can test this hypothesis using your old automobile. Just leave it parked out on the street on a night when the temperature goes some degrees below zero. In the morning you will find that the windshield has frozen over, but the side windows still have only liquid water. This is because the ground is heating the side windows with infrared (IR) radiation, but the windshield is pointing to the sky and does not receive IR, either from the ground nor from the so-called “forcing” in the sky. It radiates its heat into sky & space and freezes. There is no useful “forcing”. So the Earth is radiating its heat into space just the same as it ever did. After the 200th such lesson, I keep my car under cover overnight now.

13. I’m a big fan of anomaly myself. It does the interpretation for you. It’s like ‘seasonally adjusted’ economic data. It removes the cyclic info that is not relevant to the question (climate/economic performance). It tends not to mislead the uninformed.

14. John, good to see you here on WUWT. Thanks for the interesting post.

15. Werner Brozek says:

The title states that there was a big drop in surface temperature in the month of February from ~ 0.5 to 0.2 °C.  This is correct for the anomaly, but it has nothing to do with the Earth’s temperature.  The reality is the Earth warmed up, but the anomaly dropped.

February is on average 0.18 °C warmer than January

Notice that the Earth is  about 0.25 °C warmer in February

You lost me. Is February on the average 0.18 warmer or 0.25 warmer than January? And note that the anomaly dropped by about 0.3. So according to my math, February was either 0.12 colder or 0.05 colder than January, yet you say: “ The reality is the Earth warmed up”. What am I missing?

16. hmmm, I am of a slightly different opinion. I can see why posting both is good, but am not sure why there is so much criticism of the anomaly. It seems quite useful actually. If the world is naturally warmer during the North American summer (can’t remember if that is true, so consider this a hypothetical) then what is important is the anomaly is it not?

17. NZ Willy says:

…And to gild the lily on the topic of Earth’s heat budget, it will be lowest at the orbital equinox in October and highest at the opposite equinox in April, *regardless of the atmospheric heat latency*. We see the equivalent effect with the tilt-dependent Arctic ice caps which max out in March, not the December solstice — the orbital perehilion-apehelion schedule happens to follow one month after the Arctic ice caps — maximum heat budget 1 month after the max Arctic ice (without causal link). Until the comprehensive planetary temperature record shows that heat budget, it will be incomplete.

18. Steven Mosher says:

” CO2 was not blocking the energy from escaping despite all the claims that increased CO2 prevents heat from escaping the Earth. The Earth 30 years later was losing a significantly larger amount of energy to space than it was in the past.”

Don’t be confused by the “popularization” or “dumbing down” of the GW theory.

1. C02 does not prevent heat from escape the earth.
2. C02 along with other gases ( including water vapor) SLOW the rate at which the earth loses
energy to space.

How does that work?
1. C02 and other gases are relatively, not completely, opaque to LW radiation. We know this from measurements.
2. Because of this earth radiates energy to space from a point in the atmosphere known as the ERL.
3. Add more GHGs to the atmosphere and you raise the ERL
4. When the ERL is raised, earth radiates from a higher colder place.
5. Radiating from a colder height means the loss rate is lower.

heat is not blocked from escaping. It escapes. But with more GHGs this escape happens from a higher colder location, and consequently it happens less rapidliy than it would otherwise.
Slowing the cooling, is referred to as warming.
The silver lining of a thermos does not warm the coffee. By reflecting radiation it slows the rate of cooling and keeps your coffe warmer than it would have been otherwise.
Think of C02 and other greenhouse gases as a leaky radiation screen. eventually the radiation escapes, but at a slower rate than it would otherwise.

Finally, the temperature data you are showing is the pretty color maps….. That’s a model output.
Just for your information. And Oh, the model used to create those temperatures?
That model agrees with me. It’s physics says c02 causes warming. So, rather funnily you used model temperature data ( NCEP) and the models used to create that data, agree that c02 causes warming.

19. michael hart says:

Probably worth mentioning again that temperature is not the same thing as heat. (Which is no easier to model or measure, otherwise Kevin and Phil wouldn’t have lost so much of it).

20. 1) The earth is cooler on average when it’s closest to the sun, because the southern hemisphere gets tilted towards the sun then, and the side of the world that gets most of the sun is mostly water. Water is harder to heat up due to heat of vaporization.

2) It makes sense that since the planet is slightly warmer now than it was in 1985, the atmosphere would be losing more heat into space because the delta T is larger… the warmer it gets, the more heat goes into space… otherwise, we’d boil ;)

21. dp says:

Does not a warmer Earth lose heat at a greater rate than a cooler Earth, all other factors being equal? Well, yes – it does. But energy is lost only by the atmosphere. Nothing here tells us if we had a net accumulation of energy or a net loss of energy to the Earth system. It really annoys me that we don’t speak of global climate in terms of energy balance, but of atmospheric temperature. But that does not tell us if other features of the planet are accumulating or shedding energy.

If you are an alarmist you should be happy to know that warm air is a good thing because that heat heads to space. Double good if that heat has come from the ocean. negative balance of energy. Yet we can expect endless complaints of a warming planet. N0 – that is a cooling planet! Hot air – radiant energy to space. Good! It cannot ping pong around the atmosphere for ever. It has to leave. It cannot be helped. If you have a nuclear reactor on a space craft that needs to shed excess heat the fastest way to do that without adding area/weight is to allow the radiators to get very hot.

22. Geoff Sherrington says:

Here are 2 maps from the Australian BoM for early Jan 2013 (summer) when there were several days in succession setting records at many sites for hot.

Up higher, Leif notes “Because the Earth is closest to the Sun in January it receives more energy from the Sun, so it is understandable that it must also lose more…”

Scenario. After the first really hot day in the vast inland, it cools at night, Next day, it gets very hot again. Energy is coming into the system. Should it not follow as per Leif that it must also lose more? How does it become so much hotter than historical?
Is the answer that the daily cycle is a fast dynamic compared to the global energy exchange rate? If you were able to constrain the hot air in the centre with a propertyless barrier, how long would it take to cool and how cool would it get?

23. Ian Hoder says:

I’m lost on this one too. If the average temp in January is 12.5 C and the anomaly is +0.5 C that brings it to 13 degrees C for the month. If February is 0.18 C warmer on average than January then the average is 12.68.C Add in the anomaly of 0.18 C and you get an average of 12.88 C. I understand that the anomaly is above the average but it seems to me the Earth actually cooled down from January.

24. Richard111 says:

There are three temperatures mentioned above. The NH temperature and the SH temperature which together derive the GLOBAL temperature. All explained in more detail in John’s book “The Inconvenient Skeptic” available on Kindle. Easy read for the average layman.

25. Leslie says:

I’m probably missing the point so correct me if I’m wrong. In the simplest case, let’s say all temperature anomalies for all of dates on the chart are zero. Can I not conclude that the chart shows a “steady” surface temperature with no warming and cooling? Or do I have to caution that there is seasonal warming and cooling not reflected on the chart?

26. stacyglen says:

The expectation with absolute readings is that the past is static. Anomalys can be re-calcuated with less objection to lowering the past.

27. Rob JM says:

The earth would not be radiating extra energy at the top of the atmosphere if GHG were the cause of the warming. This can only be caused by an increase in shortwave reaching the surface or by the loss of heat from the oceans. Strangely the 5% decrease in cloud cover in the mid 90s was responsible for most of the observed change in temp, which is why the OLR went up. Considering there are only 4 main factors in the energy dynamics of the earth ( energy source, absorption, storage and loss) its amazing the obvious changes in cloud cover have been completely ignored by so called climate scientist.

28. Separate the months so you end up with 12 different plots.
Or look at the 13 month smoothed data line, which takes care of the different monthly global temperatures.

29. A Crooks says:

To my eye if you look at this data you can see the monthly data bounces around by up to 0.8 degrees C so it is pretty near pointless looking at monthly data expecting to see some sort of significant “trend” to develop from one month to the next. Similarly if you look at the moving 13 month average, even that is bouncing around by 0.4 to 0.6 degrees C. There is a regular 3.75 year cycle (doubled up to a 7.5 year cycle) but a 3.75 year cycle isn’t telling you anything about any long term trend, until you actual remove that short term effect. Looking at the whole data set you can see that its flat for the first half since 1979 and then jumps up at 1998 and is flat since then. (I prefer to see that as a 60 year sine wave with the bottom of the wave in about 1980 and top in about 2010, but whatever). The best thing you can say about this is that there is a long term rise of less than 0.1 degrees C per decade and this rather makes the IPCC’s predictions look silly, but maybe the 1998 step is a better way of looking at it.
The main thing is that I don’t think this is a long enough data set to make any real predictions about what happens next. I think its about time you guys grafted the best 150 year data to this instead of pretending that this is all the data that exists and that short section is somehow relevant at picking long term trends.

30. Joe Public says:

“This is based on the average from the 1900-1990 data and I have used this extensively as the baseline behavior for the Earth today. ”

As we are now in 2013, why use Baseline Data of 22/23 years ago?

31. Gareth Phillips says:

Stephen Mosher, thank you for the useful explanation on how CO2 influences heat loss in the atmosphere, it was, clear straightforward and easily understood. And thanks for posting on WUWT.

32. Michel says:

Something like an average temperature of the Earth does not exist!

Temperature is an intensive property. It is therefore meaningless to average absolute temperatures among various locations.
Take a bucket of ice cold water and one at boiling: is the average temperature of the system 50 °C? What happens with such average if one bucket has a volume of one litre and the other 100 litre?

It’s possible to calculate averages of so-called temperature anomalies over a great number of measuring stations because each individual measurement is relative to others made in different years at the same location at the same calendar day. Such time series analysis can make sense. What interpretations are done with it is another question.

33. OT Historic town walls crumbling ‘because of climate change’
Colin Richards, head of conservation and archaeology for Shropshire, said: “It’s amazing that they have stood for 800 years and the climate change that has affected them over the last couple of years has wreaked so much damage.”
In places, water had leeched through the bedrock of the ground, turning to frost.
“The frost has eroded the stone and so we’ve got areas of wall which are just hanging there at the moment.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/9907054/Historic-town-walls-crumbling-because-of-climate-change.html

34. Patrick says:

“Steven Mosher says:

March 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm”

Yes, however alarmists claim that it is just the ~3% of ~390ppm/v that *is* DRIVING the warming and CAUSING the climate to change in a bad way. So far there is no evidence to support this claim.

35. Hmmmmmm says:

If Steve Mosher gets wrong how a thermos flask works. -note the silver has nothing to do with anything…… it works by a vacume and insulation, and can keep drinks cold and hot…….

Which is physics at its most basic, everything else he wrote in that paragraph becomes meaningless.

36. wilt says:

Stephen Mosher, thanks for your clear explanation of the effect of greenhouse gases. But as you indicate, it is not just CO2 that can have this effect, water vapour does the same. Wouldn’t you agree that changes in water vapour (and/ or cloudiness) could better explain the temperature curve of the last decades (going up steeply, then remaining flat) than CO2?

37. MikeB says:

When I get to the bit that says “Anomaly has no place on this chart because this shows the actual temperature of the Earth and each hemisphere” I am forewarned that what follows is not going to be very scientific. There are good reasons for using anomalies. The author seems unaware of them.

“Climate scientists hate it when people show real temperature because it is impossible to see much warming…”.

Do they and is it? No one knows the actual temperature of the Earth , but here we have a graph (provenance unknown) purporting to show it? Where did those absolute measurements come from?

So despite the fact that CO2 was higher, the Earth was losing energy at a higher rate to space. CO2 was not blocking the energy from escaping despite all the claims that increased CO2 prevents heat from escaping the Earth

Oh dear, that is really bad. CO2 does not block energy escaping to space. In fact, at higher altitudes CO2 provides a mechanism for radiation to escape to space. There is good correlation between those who don’t believe in the greenhouse effect and those who don’t understand it.

38. Martin Mason says:

Stephen

You appear to be quoting theory as fact. Can you provide observed data that proves this is happening? There are posters above who state that measurements show no reduction in radiation rate.

39. Eric H. says:

Can we measure the ERL and has it increased in altitude with an increase in CO2?
Has the rate of OLWR been calculated and does it show a decrease?
With a higher and colder ERL shouldn’t there be a coresponding decrease in OLWR?
Looking for some brass tacks…

40. JJB MKI says:

“1. C02 does not prevent heat from escape the earth.
2. C02 along with other gases ( including water vapor) SLOW the rate at which the earth loses
energy to space.” etc. etc.

Everybody knows this. I didn’t see anywhere in John Kehr’s article, especially the part you quoted, any suggestion that CO2 completely prevents escape of heat (or Long Wave Infrared Radiation) from earth. Kehr instead suggests that the rate of energy loss in the ‘modern warming period’ has increased, where the greenhouse hypothesis says it should decrease. Another commenter points out that this is confirmed by NOAA measurements. As far as I can gather, Kehr was using the anomaly maps to illustrate the degree to which useful information can be lost by presenting temperatures as deviation from an average, even if it can be useful in removing seasonal noise. At no point does he criticise the use of modelling in creating these maps – this is a separate issue. As usual with warmists (and this continually serves to fuel my scepticism) there is a gulf of disconnect between the points you make and your conclusions. You can’t assume that people said things that you wanted them to say just because it fuels your feeling of intellectual superiority, it just makes you look confused.

41. JJB MKI says:

Oops, previous comment was addressed to Steven Mosher.

42. Richard LH says:

The basic problem with anomalies is that it makes one, very big, assumption. That the ‘common’ portion of the long term signal is based on a mathematically pure cyclic waveform and, therefore, can just be subracted from the instantaneous value. This will only be true for nearly sin(x) type waveforms but not for quasi periodic ones that chaotic systems tend to produce. Anomalies will also only show magnitude variations in the signal, not any phase variations (at least not clearly).

43. Leo G says:

“Use of anomalies hides the actual data – thermometer readings” – Theo Goodwin (March 6 at 8:58 pm)

Am I correct in assuming that the global monthly temperature anomaly is still determined according to the method developed in the early 1990s by Phil Jones at East Anglia Climate Research Unit?
According to that method, groups of measuring stations are selected (not randomly) for each element of a 5° x 5° global geographic grid. The surface air temperature (SAT) anomaly for each measuring station is the difference between the monthly mean of daily mean SATs for a calendar month from an historical mean calculated for the same calendar months over a 30-year designated period at that measuring station. The calculated monthly mean is a mean of the selected calendar month means for the designated period. Measuring stations have at least 20 years of base period values or estimates of those values (based on nearby sites).
Station temperature anomaly values are then averaged over all stations within each 5° x 5° grid element and larger scale (and global) anomaly estimates are calculated as a weighted average (the cosine of the grid element latitude) of all grid elements with available data.

If so, then the SAT anomaly is more artifact than statistic.

44. johnmarshall says:

All assuming that there is a ”normal temperature. Since climates change all the time the measured temperature at a particular time would be ”normal” for that climate type. Temperature anomalies confuse the issue though calm the alarmists.
There is a correlation between high atmospheric CO2 content and past ice ages. but correlation is no proof of causation.
CO2, as a reactor to IR, will transport heat away from the surface, cool it, but never cause warming, this being impossible anyway. Presently the CO2 content is rising but temperature falling but solar input is also falling and solar influences are far more important than any other.

45. Nylo says:

Werner Brozek, I think you are spot on. If the drop in the anomaly is 0,3C when the real temperature should rise 0,18 on average, then we have a drop in real temperature. Earth tends to warm in February from January, but it didn’t do so this time. It went slightly colder.

46. The use of anomalies is not hidden or a trick, but a useful means of identifying trends. Gosh, and the temperature changes with the seasons too! Thanks for the information. There’s another insidious misconception in there that I’m not sure the author is aware that he holds.

That 6% increase in rate of energy loss meant that the Arctic ended up with a negative anomaly in February.”

There’s a hidden implication in that quote above that there is a trajectory, even an inertia to an energy transfer. Most people believe in this cartoon conception in heat transfers, but it has no basis in reality. The instant the difference in temperatures is removed, the energy transfer ceases. The instant the difference reverses from higher to lower, the energy transfer reverses. It doesn’t keep going till it overshoots and therefore, in the case above, cools February below normal as a consequence of Flux that existed in January.

47. Hmmmmm says:

I still can’t get over the lecture from Steve Mosher on physics, only for him to get how the silver lining on a simple Thermos flask works wrong.

P.S. Thermos flasks work due to them being a bottle within a bottle. There is a vacuum between the inner and outer layer as heat can’t travel though a vacuum. This is what keeps the liquid at a constant temperature, cold….. or warm. The silver lining is just additional really to this. Its not what keeps the liquid warm at all.

God help us all if this is the level of physics that’s in climate science.

48. Man Bearpig says:

Steve Mosher Says ..

‘Slowing the cooling, is referred to as warming.”

what about the flat line temperature trend for the last xteen years ?
Currently the warming has gone, how does that fit in with this statement ?

‘Currently the warming has gone is referred to as warming’ ?

Would that be it ?

49. wayne Job says:

In the middle of Australia in march it can be 40C in the water bag, Then the sun goes down, a flat horizon for ever with no clouds. The sun switches off like a light, then the temperature plummets close to zero within the hour. The long hot day becomes bloody cold this heat does not find refuge in the oceans, it does what all hot air does it goes up and the cold air comes down. In the desert one welcomes the sun in the morning until about midday, then you curse it. In the desert averages and anomalies are about as useful as an empty water bottle.

50. Steven Mosher
5. Radiating from a colder height means the loss rate is lower.

granted the level is higher and colder — but — as we are higher the surface area to .radiate from is now a lot, lot wider.[possibly cubic surface area to the extra radius?]. Hence though it is colder and the energy per square metre is a lot less the actual energy emitted back at the higher, colder level from the wider but equivalent surface area must be exactly the same as the energy at the lower, warmer level . We have not created any new energy and the earth must radiate out the same amount of energy that came in whether from the surface, from 2 metres, a thousand metres or 20 kilometres n’est ce pas.
The heating up of the atmosphere is due to slowing of the escape of the heat to the final radiative point.

51. A C Osborn says:

Anomalies should only be used if they are based on the whole dataset. Choosing Periods of the dataset is only used to Bias the Anomaly. Which is why the Warmists use the Coldest Recent Period to show plus anomalies, which are much more frightening.

52. MikeB says:

Now here’s a question. If the silvering on a vacuum flask has no effect at all why do all manufacturers worldwide bother to go through this rather costly and unnecessary silvering process?
Hmmmmm I wonder.

Heat escapes from the flask by three means; conduction, convection and radiation. The vacuum stops conduction, putting a stopper on the flask prevents convection and the silvering limits radiation losses. That’s why we do it like that!

53. DennisA says:

Choosing the right baseline period for anomalies is important:
CRU uses the period 1961-90 as a baseline normal and in an e-mail to Dr Phil Jones and others in 2005, Dr David Parker of the Met Office Hadley Centre explained the preference for the period.

“There is a preference in the atmospheric observations chapter of IPCC AR4 to stay with the 1961-1990 normals. This is partly because a change of normals confuses users, e.g. anomalies will seem less positive than before if we change to newer normals, so the impression of global warming will be muted.

54. aaron says:

When he wrote about 173 January 2013 rate, I assumed 163 was the normal rate for January. Clarification is welcomed.

55. commieBob says:

Hmmmmm says:
March 7, 2013 at 2:32 am

I still can’t get over the lecture from Steve Mosher on physics, only for him to get how the silver lining on a simple Thermos flask works wrong.

P.S. Thermos flasks work due to them being a bottle within a bottle. There is a vacuum between the inner and outer layer as heat can’t travel though a vacuum. This is what keeps the liquid at a constant temperature, cold….. or warm. The silver lining is just additional really to this. Its not what keeps the liquid warm at all.

God help us all if this is the level of physics that’s in climate science.

The silver lining prevents heat loss by radiation. This is basic engineering. The difference between engineering and science is that engineering is not at all speculative. When you run the equations for a system’s energy balance, they work and you can confirm that they work. Generally, arguing with basic engineering principles is a losing proposition.

56. John Finn says:

Hockey Schtick says:
March 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm

“CO2 was not blocking the energy from escaping despite all the claims that increased CO2 prevents heat from escaping the Earth. The Earth 30 years later was losing a significantly larger amount of energy to space than it was in the past.”

Yes, NOAA outgoing longwave radiation data shows an increase of ~1.3 Wm-2 from 1975-2012 despite a steady increase of CO2 levels. In contrast, the IPCC formula predicts that OLR should have decreased .93 Wm-2 since 1975, and MODTRAN likewise predicts OLR should have decreased .83 Wm-2 since 1975.

Hmmm – not sure if your statement is quite correct or relevant here.

Someone might correct me on this but I think the IPCC and MODTRAN calculations use an ‘instantaneous’ CO2 increase with no change in temperature to calculate the energy imbalance. So if the 1975 CO2 concentrations were suddenly increased to the 2012 levels then, using your MODTRAN figures, OLR would be reduced by 0.83 w/m2. BUT, there has been a temperature change. In fact a temperature change must take place so that the incoming/outgoing energy balance can be re-established.

The earth’s surface receives an average of about 235 w/m2 from the sun. In order to maintain a broadly stable temperature it needs to get rid of 235 w/m2 via OLR. If OLR falls (while incoming solar energy remains constant) the earth and it’s atmosphere must heat up. This will drive an increase in OLR (S-B Law). It should increase until outgoing energy balances incoming energy. Note there is always some variation in solar/LW energy so some rebalancing is constantly taking place so energy balance refers to the long term average.

57. Tom in Florida says:

Steven Mosher says:
March 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm
“Slowing the cooling, is referred to as warming.”

That is akin to politicians saying that reducing a budget increase is a spending cut.

58. JPS says:

@the author
oh my. these are the kind of posts that give skeptics a bad name. CO2 and other greenhouse gases are most certainly “blocking” energy from radiating into space. i believe your error is that you have lumped all radiation from Earth to space into a single, homogeneous wavelength. i am not saying that is the *cause* of the warming we have seen over recent history but to argue that it doesnt happen at some scale, as you point out, you should ignore at oyur own peril. how ironic.

59. JPS says:

@ Hmmmmm

you are incorrect. the insulation you speak of blocks CONDUCTIVE heat transfer, which, admittedly is a majority of the heat transfer in the case of a thermos. the silver lining blocks RADIATION heat transfer, which is the relevant mode in the case of the Earth to space, hence his comparison.

60. JPS says:

@ Hmmmmmm

if “heat cant travel in a vacuum”, how does the suns energy reach Earth?

61. John Finn says:

John Finn says:
March 7, 2013 at 4:58 am

Further to my earlier post. While a ‘lack of falling OLR’ doesn’t invalidate the CO2 effect, it might raise questions about the claimed lag in temperature rise.

Basically this could provide a reasonable argument for low(er) climate sensitivity.

62. aaron says:

hmmmmm. The thermos function only limits conduction and convection at exterior. Silver would help reduce radiation.

63. Wayne2 says:

@Steven Mosher: “Think of C02 and other greenhouse gases as a leaky radiation screen. eventually the radiation escapes, but at a slower rate than it would otherwise.” The keyword here is “otherwise”. Another way of putting it is, “all other things being equal”.

The complicating factor here is that in a highly dynamic system, “all other things being equal” simply doesn’t happen. The fact that all other things are not equal doesn’t prove or guarantee that the other things that change will cancel out effects of increased CO2. But the naive assumption that because CO2 has a certain property means that introducing it into a complex system will result in that exact effect on the entire system.

You can obviously duck the issue by asking me to prove what else changes and how it might counteract CO2’s more-heat-in-a-box effect. Obviously I cannot prove it. Climate Scientists have left enormous areas of effect (sun, clouds, soot) barely touched after decades of infatuation with CO2, so how exactly could I possibly step into cash-and-attention-starved areas of Climate Science and do what the establishment with its enormous resources has not done?

That, of course, doesn’t prove my point. You can’t duck my point by throwing the burden on me, but neither can I duck the issue by insisting that because things are unknown or because things are not equal, the results I prefer must be true. But the bottom line is this “More CO2 means heat retained longer than otherwise” needs to acknowledge that the “otherwise” is a huge assumption that’s obviously risky when speaking of an entire planet.

64. Dr. Lurtz says:

The Ozone layer has openings both in the Arctic and Antarctic even though it is reported as a “uniform number”. What about CO2? Is it “uniform” between the Equator and the Poles?? Does it have “openings” at the Poles??

This could have a substantial effect on the “LW heat release/trapping”.

65. rgbatduke says:

To enhance Leif’s point, since the Earth is closest to the Sun in January and apogee (farthest away) is in July, it can’t be right that the Earth is coolest in January, regardless of the temperature record. This is a model anyone can understand.

Can’t be right? So all of the instruments we use to measure this are wrong, because your mental model trumps a mere thing like data?

Perhaps — and I’m just throwing this out there, understand — it matters which hemisphere is pointing towards the Sun when perihelion occurs. Perhaps global atmospheric circulation patterns matter. Possibly the state of ocean currents in the world’s oceans have some effect. It’s conceivable that the patterns of humidity and cloud formation and the albedo of the particular surfaces facing the sun and turned away from the Sun in January and their mean height above the ground and what’s going on in deserts vs tropical rain forests vs the central pacific all make a difference. Perhaps even seasonal variations in things like aerosols, particulates, greenhouse gases, and what’s going on in farmers’ fields and surface ocean water as far as plankton and algae blooms have some effect. Perhaps there are non-Markovian lags of 3 to six months built into the system, so that heat absorbed by the ocean during winter’s solar maximum (which thereby fails to heat the surface and LTT atmosphere) tends to be released when it upwells six months later

But no, no, it’s just perihelion and aphelion, where the annual variation in insolation. Granted that they are substantial, causing insolation to vary by as much as 7% maximum to minimum (on a base of 1367 W/m^2 TOA). Granted that because they are substantial — a whopping 50 W/m^2 at TOA from the average, an overall six month variation of 100 W/m^2, an easy two orders of magnitude larger than variation in GHG forcing — and yet the annual average coldest temperature occurs when the direct solar forcing is the highest, it suggests that the nonlinearities and co-factors sketched out above are actually more important than “just” the solar not-so-constant in determining global average temperature.

Secondly, I quite agree that the Earth is radiating heat away into space as well as it ever did, and all can test this hypothesis using your old automobile. Just leave it parked out on the street on a night when the temperature goes some degrees below zero. In the morning you will find that the windshield has frozen over, but the side windows still have only liquid water. This is because the ground is heating the side windows with infrared (IR) radiation, but the windshield is pointing to the sky and does not receive IR, either from the ground nor from the so-called “forcing” in the sky. It radiates its heat into sky & space and freezes. There is no useful “forcing”. So the Earth is radiating its heat into space just the same as it ever did. After the 200th such lesson, I keep my car under cover overnight now.

Clearly your car is a sensitive instrument, sir. I wonder why we even bother making actual measurements all over the world. Think of the money we would save if we just examined cars and metal barbecue grills in people’s back yards to conclude that there is no average variation in the Poynting vector near the surface or at TOA that can, or cannot, be attributed to GHGs. I’m certain that you have never observed that on cloudy nights the likelihood of frost on your car is substantially reduced. Somehow there is so-called “forcing” from those (literally) ice-cold clouds far overhead that affects the cooling rate way down at the level of the nice warm ground. And all without violating any of the laws of thermodynamics!

With all that said, also bear in mind that I am a skeptic, and at this point am largely convinced that the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypotheses are probably incorrect. That does not mean that the GHE is not real — it can be directly measured in TOA and BOA spectroscopy so it can hardly not be real — but it means that it is saturated and at this point that nonlinearities in the system feedbacks are much more important determinants of mean temperature, the same nonlinearities that happily make perihelion the coldest month of the year in spite of the Earth in general receiving almost 100 W/m^2 more radiation in January than it does in July. Either way, lacking any convincing theory that can explain the details of the climate record from the last (say) million years in a quantitative and predictive way, we are stuck empirically resolving a signal (if any) from a non-intuitive annual counteroscillation driven by forcing variations two orders of magnitude larger than the supposed atmospheric composition variation at baseline, which is itself somewhat dubious as it is functional on things like stratospheric water vapor content, soot/particulate content, aerosol content, and possibly even subtle variations induced by other solar factors distinct from “just” instantaneous insolation.

The Earth’s climate system is empirically incredibly stable, except where it is not. Where it is not, its instability is as irresistible as an angry rhinoceros — get out of the way because you aren’t going to stop its charge. Where it is, the effects of human activity are light as a feather compared to other factors driving the system. We somehow pretend that we understand the nonlinear system well enough to predict its specific course of the climate in the absence of that feather, to know where the rhino would go if its ass was not being tickled. I respectfully doubt this. The best we can say about the rhino is not where it is going but where it has been, the range over which it has wandered over the last million years.

During that time, it has spent some 80 to 90% of its time as a wooly rhino, an ice rhino, trampling down biological activity all over the globe between a thick layer of ice and killing cold, maintaining global average temperatures some 6 to 10 K lower than they are today, restricting the temperate zone in which life thrives to a comparatively narrow band near the equator. It has spent perhaps 10% of its time as a laid back tropical rhino, basking in the sun of a temperate interglacial Earth with temperatures close to what they are now — in some interglacials a bit warmer, in some a bit cooler. A few percent of the time it has spent relatively rapidly shedding its wooly fur and donning its summer skin bouncing wildly among the temperatures in between these extremes, first up to end the Wisconsin glaciation, then down into the Younger Dryas, then back up into the Holocene proper. Over the last 12,000 years, its has spent some 8000 of them as warm or warmer than it is right now, and actually hit the coldest spot in the entire stretch some three hundred and fifty years ago, when global temperatures fell so much that for a while it looked like the rhino might be growing wooly fur once again.

It has spent zero time as Hansen’s imaginary Fire Rhino, the rhino that strips the globe of its icecaps altogether, boils the oceans, extends the temperate zone to the poles, whatever other wild-eyed claims are made for a rhino that hasn’t been observed since the continents shifted some five million years to kick the Earth into a sustained Ice Age. Because, note well, we are probably near the end of the friendly, laid back tropical rhino, sipping its planter’s punch on the veranda of porches open to air as gentle and warm as a mother’s kiss. We don’t know how to predict even in the most general of terms the day the rhino will start once again to grow fur and trample the world’s breadbaskets beneath its icy feet, any more than we can explain any aspect of why it almost grew fur 400 years ago, and then shed it again.

The climate rhino, you see, is a whimsical, contrary beast. When driven by an extra 100 W/m^2, it responds by getting colder. When insolation drops, it decides to warm things up. When we expect the stratosphere to get wetter, it dries it out. It resists being driven by the elliptical orbit club, but turns towards the gentle touch of the polar reversals of the Sun. It confounds us wherever we look, spooking at the batting of the wings of the fabled Brazilian Butterfly while turning a cynical eye on the pernicious effects of global atmospheric oscillations.

Climate scientists today pretend that we can steer this rhino with a feather, and predict where he will go. Humans who should know better — who should know better on the basis of mere common sense and a glance at the past data — “confidently” predict that the world’s oceans will be five meters higher by the year 2100 as the rhino has become the dreaded and so-far completely mythical Fire Rhino. They do this even as the actual rise in the oceans as the rhino splashes around swimming in the tropical surf are almost two orders of magnitude less, sustained for over 130 years, almost perfectly paralleling the post-LIA rise in temperature over that time. They do it even though at the same time the rhino’s buttocks are tickled with a GHG feather, his nose is being tickled by soot and his eyes are being irritated by aerosols and his skin is being pushed around by global winds and his legs being tugged by ocean currents and somewhere in the rhino’s mechanical mind there is a memory of how warm or cold it was last century, ready at any time to surface to the forefront of whatever it is that makes a climate rhino tick, to make it once again grow wooly fur or breathe fire or maybe, just maybe, continue to loll in the nice comfortable lagoon he now lives in, sipping his Mai Tai and permitting the balmy breezes of not-too-hot and not-too-cold to continue to blow across the planet for a few centuries, or decades, or even just years more.

Do not presume to claim to know the Rhino. He does as he pleases, and laughs at the tickling of a feather just as his thick skin ignores being counterbeaten by a club.

Until the day he doesn’t.

rgb

66. Latitude says:

Mosh said:
3. Add more GHGs to the atmosphere and you raise the ERL
4. When the ERL is raised, earth radiates from a higher colder place.
5. Radiating from a colder height means the loss rate is lower.
=====
…seems if you take water vapor with you up there – higher – the loss rate at the boundary would be faster

67. aaron says:

Is this a pretty typical phenomon? Does heat build in certain areas and the ocean during most of the year, move to the arctic in winter and vent quickly in a month or two?

Does this become common in different ocean and atmosphereic circulation regimes (like when the PDO and AMO are both in negative phases)? I can imaging that heat could build to the point where it’s transered to KE in oceans and atmospher (and things like UV can change patterns in the atmosphere as temperature differences transfer heat and windspeed causes evaptoration) allowing heat to be changed to KE and then transfer from ocean to atmosphere in both sensible and latent heat. Condensation and the outward movement of the heat allows it to escape to space.

68. beng says:

****
commieBob says:
March 7, 2013 at 4:44 am

The silver lining prevents heat loss by radiation. This is basic engineering.
****

Exactly. Heat loss in the thermos is both by convection/conduction and radiation. The vacuum to reduce the first, and the aluminum lining to reduce the second.

69. @ Mosher Carbon Cult

The “silver lining” in the thermos is thousands of molecules thick and the mass of that layer inhibits IR penetration or transfer. A free roaming three atom gas molecule has no such support network. The OLR absorption lasts for a vibrational billionth of a second per CO2 molecule….is transfered to the adjoining N2O2 gas molecules, which each vibrate for 4 billionths of a second. This converted IR is then KE and travels vertically away from the planet as convective waves. The absorbed OLR photon is emitted as a longer wave length, lower energy IR photon that is incapable of “warming” the still warmer Earth surface, as this energy flow obeys the Laws of Thermodynamics. The “silver lining” to science on this planet is that Truth is self evident….and ignorance is self destructive. Carbon Dioxide molecules merely vibrate as the OLR passes at 186,000 mps. A tuning fork in a concert hall will vibrate to the music….but it does not AMPLIFY the music.

• JPS says:

“ignorance is self destructive”? indeed. you are certainly exhibiting on your supposed understanding of electromagnetic radiation.

consider this: how does all of the energy from the sun get to the Earth? by convective waves through outer space? please.

70. NK says:

Stop picking on warmists for failing to provide empirical data to prove the ‘physics’ of CO2 causing catastrophic AGW and ‘climate change’. There is no such data. There is only theory, so they recite the theory… over… and over.. and over again. Like a medieval monk reciting the Apostolic Creed.

71. Jim Cripwell says:

Steven Mosher writes “It’s physics says co2 causes warming.”

Steven is completely predictable. He writes this sort of stuff, rountinely, and is, of course, absolutely correct. But he ALWAYS fails to make the crucially correct statement, which logic dictates must follow his conlusions. We have absolutely no idea HOW MUCH adding more warming is caused by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. And he will NEVER admit that no-one has, as yet, MEASURED the rise in global temperatures caused by adding CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels

72. John Endicott says:

Steven Mosher says:
March 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm
“Slowing the cooling, is referred to as warming.”

What non-scientfic nonsense. “Slowing the cooling” and “warming” are two entirely different things. In Science precise language it used, such an inprecise conflation of two different concepts is the hallmark of politics, not science. Right up there with “reducing the projected increase in the budget” being described as a “cut in spending”

73. Robertv says:

Climate is the accumulation of energy in the oceans in summer . If a hemisphere loses more energy in winter than it is capable of absorbing in summer temperatures will go down.The Northern Hemisphere has less ocean than the Southern Hemisphere so it has less capacity to store energy. If the Sun is the main energy source less Solar irradiance will have a much faster effect on the N H. The question is how long it takes to empty the ocean battery.If I want to know the climate future I have to know the oceans energy input , output balance. At the moment it looks like the input is less than the output on a moment that the sun is closer to the Earth.

74. dr. lumpus spookytooth, phd says:

@john kehr

Mr. Kehr, I find it interesting you said that climate scientists hate when real temperature values are posted. I have frequently asked Lucia to post GAT and post CAT (current average temperature) so we can compare. I’ve also asked her to post the running average of atmospheric co2 versus the current average. She will not do either of these things and in fact deletes the comments. The obvious reason she will not post it, nor will any other warmists is because it destroys the narrative. Earth is well below GAT and well below average atmospheric co2 and frankly I think it amounts to lying by refusing to post it.

75. tommoriarty says:

The month to month change in the temperature anomally is nearly a random variate.
For a random variate higher anomalies tend to be followed by lower anomalies, and vice versa. This is called “Reversion to the mean.” See…

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/ReversiontotheMean.html

In the case of global temperature anomalies this *nearly* applies to month to month variations because month to month variations tend to be much greater than long term trends expressed over the same short term. By long term trends I mean El Nino/ La Nina cycles etc.

76. Luther Wu says:

Gareth Phillips says:
March 7, 2013 at 12:04 am

Stephen Mosher, thank you for the useful explanation on how CO2 influences heat loss in the atmosphere, it was, clear straightforward and easily understood. And thanks for posting on WUWT.
________________
Mr. Phillips,
Fairy tales are also easy to understand.

77. Wayne Delbeke says:
March 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm

http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2011/12/15/measuring-the-wrong-things-has-the-scientific-method-been-compromised-by-careerism/

===============
so, it is worse than we thought:
In September, Bayer published a study describing how it had halted nearly two-thirds of its early drug target projects because in-house experiments failed to match claims made in the literature. The German pharmaceutical company says that none of the claims it attempted to validate were in papers that had been retracted or were suspected of being flawed. Yet, even the data in the most prestigious journals couldn’t be confirmed.

78. rgbatduke says:

God help us all if this is the level of physics that’s in climate science.

The silver lining prevents heat loss by radiation. This is basic engineering. The difference between engineering and science is that engineering is not at all speculative. When you run the equations for a system’s energy balance, they work and you can confirm that they work. Generally, arguing with basic engineering principles is a losing proposition.

Well said, Commie Bob! And the GHE is similarly basic engineering. Trying to claim that it does not exist is just plain silly and ignorant, especially when anyone who wishes can invest in e.g. Grant Petty’s A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation and learn both the physics itself and look at a variety of spectrographs that are for all practical purposes direct experimental evidence of the GHE in action. Or one can do enormously simple thermodynamic computations that show precisely how interposing an intermediary blackbody radiator between a heated body and a cold reservoir raises the temperature of the heated reservoir, how placing such an intermediary between a warm reservoir and a cold reservoir slows the rate of heat transfer between the two completely independent of the heat capacity of the intermediary layer, effectively making it a non-conductor non-convector and restricting the effects to radiation only.

All people do when they claim “there is no GHE” or “the GHE violates the second law of thermodynamics” or “there is no experimental evidence for the GHE” is expose their own near-complete ignorance of radiation physics, the laws of thermodynamics, and how to read a spectrograph. This, in turn, makes it too easy for climate alarmists to point the finger at skeptics and indulge in a few — sadly highly effective — logical fallacies by noting that because some skeptics are this ignorant, everybody who is skeptical must be wrong. No wonder that Steve McIntyre cuts off such discussions rather instantly when they occur out of context on his blog (and thereby increases its overall credibility). Anthony is (probably correctly) more tolerant because the cost of even this much censorship is quite high (ask people who try to post skeptical arguments on RealClimate) but that doesn’t mean that asserting that there is no GHE because the sun is made of iron, because the Earth is heated by thermonuclear fusion occurring in the Earth’s core, because it is “impossible for a colder gas to heat a warmer gas” is anything but junk science.

rgb

• JPS says:

Amen rgb. But with that said, why did Watts post this article which is obviously going to feed that ignorance?

79. John Kehr writes:

“Normally the Arctic is losing energy at a rate of 163 W/m^2. In January of 2013 it was losing energy at a rate of 173 W/m^2.”

Dr. Svalgarrd writes in reply to the above:

“Because the Earth is closest to the Sun in January it receives more energy from the Sun, so it is understandable that it must also lose more…”

The Arctic is in darkness in January thus it is getting little to zero energy from the sun.

80. Here is an interesting quote from the same article:

Modern management science tells us that if you want more of something, all you have to do is measure it. . . . The measurement alone – even if you do nothing else such as attach consequences to the values produced by the measurement – helps to massively improve the value of the output. . . . We aren’t measuring is the REPLICATION rate of scientific work by scientists. We aren’t measuring it, nor are we publishing it widely. In other words, we tell the scientific community that we ignore their poor efforts and wasted research dollars. . . . This is because we are not measuring it. And management science tells us that if you don’t measure, you are going to waste a whole lot of money.

81. rgbatduke says:

The “silver lining” in the thermos is thousands of molecules thick and the mass of that layer inhibits IR penetration or transfer. A free roaming three atom gas molecule has no such support network. The OLR absorption lasts for a vibrational billionth of a second per CO2 molecule….is transfered to the adjoining N2O2 gas molecules, which each vibrate for 4 billionths of a second. This converted IR is then KE and travels vertically away from the planet as convective waves. The absorbed OLR photon is emitted as a longer wave length, lower energy IR photon that is incapable of “warming” the still warmer Earth surface, as this energy flow obeys the Laws of Thermodynamics. The “silver lining” to science on this planet is that Truth is self evident….and ignorance is self destructive. Carbon Dioxide molecules merely vibrate as the OLR passes at 186,000 mps. A tuning fork in a concert hall will vibrate to the music….but it does not AMPLIFY the music.

Or, you could actually do the arithmetic based on the actual physics. Well, you could if you knew how. Neither the reflective silver lining nor the GHE have anything to do with the mass of the layer — they have everything to do with the optical cross-section of the layer and its optical thickness.

Your analogy concerning tuning forks is especially illuminating. A tuning fork in a concert hall will indeed absorb energy from outgoing sound and re-radiate it. And in fact it re-radiates it more or less isotropically. Which means that some fraction of the energy is de facto reflected back towards the source. Which means that a microphone near the source will register a slightly higher sound intensity than it would if there were no tuning forks, no sources of reflection.

Sometime you might go to your favorite neighborhood music store, as many of them have a special “sound room” for people to use to test instruments. Those rooms often have walls that are lined with soft carpet or special sound-absorbing panels, the moral equivalent of a 3 K blackbody sky. Sounds are all hushed in such a room because sound energy is given off by a source, goes to the wall, and disappears. Contrast this with the same instrument played in the same room but with normal walls, or even with less absorptive walls. A simple microphone will register a higher sound level in a room with non-absorptive boundary conditions than in a room with a partially reflective environment.

CO_2 molecules are no different than those tuning forks. They absorb IR photons incident on them in a highly directional manner and re-radiate the energy in all directions. Some of the energy they absorb is thus directed back towards the source. This increases the energy density of the source volume. One can measure this for light just as one can for sound. But you don’t really care if your own arguments actually make sense, I suspect, and I know from past experience that you are beyond any sort of correction.

In the meantime, though, meditate upon the fact that your own ears — not just a microphone, ears are more than sensitive enough — can detect the difference in local sound intensity when one creates resonance between a pair of tuning forks compared to the intensity observed with just one. And thus I don’t even have to refute you, you refute yourself.

rgb

82. Theo Goodwin says:

jeez says:
March 7, 2013 at 2:26 am
“The use of anomalies is not hidden or a trick, but a useful means of identifying trends.”

Use of anomalies encourages those who have no interest in the facts and who care about the trends only. A trend is a human construct that should be judged on how well it represents the facts. With the use of anomalies, you have already said bye-bye to the facts and cannot use them to criticize the misuse of trends.

Could we all please stop confusing the world and our descriptions of the world? A temperature measurement is a fact in the world. A trend exists in our minds and not in the world. Or maybe we just all want to be modelers who make careers of confusing the world with their models.

83. Mosher says:
“1. C02 does not prevent heat from escape the earth.
2. C02 along with other gases ( including water vapor) SLOW the rate at which the earth loses
energy to space.

How does that work?
1. C02 and other gases are relatively, not completely, opaque to LW radiation. We know this from measurements.
2. Because of this earth radiates energy to space from a point in the atmosphere known as the ERL.
3. Add more GHGs to the atmosphere and you raise the ERL
4. When the ERL is raised, earth radiates from a higher colder place.
5. Radiating from a colder height means the loss rate is lower.

heat is not blocked from escaping. It escapes. But with more GHGs this escape happens from a higher colder location, and consequently it happens less rapidliy than it would otherwise.
Slowing the cooling, is referred to as warming.
The silver lining of a thermos does not warm the coffee. By reflecting radiation it slows the rate of cooling and keeps your coffe warmer than it would have been otherwise.
Think of C02 and other greenhouse gases as a leaky radiation screen. eventually the radiation escapes, but at a slower rate than it would otherwise.

Finally, the temperature data you are showing is the pretty color maps….. That’s a model output.
Just for your information. And Oh, the model used to create those temperatures?
That model agrees with me. It’s physics says c02 causes warming. So, rather funnily you used model temperature data ( NCEP) and the models used to create that data, agree that c02 causes warming.”

1 & 2 seem to be nothing more than semantics in my book. If you are slowing the heat loss, that means you are preventing SOME of the heat loss, so what’s your point? Slowing is somehow different than preventing? Ok…who cares? Would the statement “Stopped 10% of heat from escaping” be inaccurate?

Your description of how the thermos keeps hot things hot is entertaining.
Could you please explain how it keeps cold things cold? I’m still confused on how it knows which is which.

Jim

84. Phobos says:

NK says: “Stop picking on warmists for failing to provide empirical data to prove the ‘physics’ of CO2 causing catastrophic AGW and ‘climate change’.”

Here is some of the evidence:

“Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997,” J.E. Harries et al, Nature 410, 355-357 (15 March 2001).

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

“Comparison of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave data between 1970 and present,” J.A. Griggs et al, Proc SPIE 164, 5543 (2004). http://spiedigitallibrary.org/proceedings/resource/2/psisdg/5543/1/164_1

“Spectral signatures of climate change in the Earth’s infrared spectrum between 1970 and 2006,” Chen et al, (2007) http://www.eumetsat.int/Home/Main/Publications/Conference_and_Workshop_Proceedings/groups/cps/documents/document/pdf_conf_p50_s9_01_harries_v.pdf

“Radiative forcing – measured at Earth’s surface – corroborate the increasing greenhouse effect,” R. Phillipona et al, Geo Res Letters, v31 L03202 (2004)

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2003GL018765/abstract

“Measurements of the Radiative Surface Forcing of Climate,” W.F.J. Evans, Jan 2006

https://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_100737.htm

More papers on this subject are listed here:

http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/papers-on-changes-in-olr-due-to-ghgs/

85. John Manville says:
March 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm
CO2 is not a “green house” gas. No gas is a green house gas. Its time to stop the charade. Stop using the term Green House in place of a more correct term Glass House.
=============
Agreed. Greenhouses warm by limiting convection. They do not warm by blocking outgoing IR.

Adding GHG to the atmosphere increases the radiation of energy from the atmosphere to space, reducing the temperature of the atmosphere, increasing convection. Without GHG the atmosphere would be warmer than it is, because it would have no way to radiate energy to space. Instead, all energy loss from the atmosphere could only occur via convection with the surface.

Without GHG only the surface could radiate energy to space and the atmosphere would be isothermal with minimal convection. There would be no lapse rate as can be readily demonstrated by the kinetic theory of gas. Instead, the hotter air molecules would rise higher in the atmosphere because the less dense molecules above favor energetic molecules “re-bounding” upwards slightly more than downwards. The less energetic molecule sink with gravity, as does the entire air mass except for the collisions with other molecules.

This statistical advantage balances the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy as the molecules fall under the influence of gravity. It is only after you add GHG that a lapse rate is seen, which is limited by the force of gravity. No matter how much GHG you add, air cannot fall faster than the rate established by gravity. Energy carried upwards by convection reduces the lapse rate. Adding GHG allows more of this energy to radiated to space without a reduction in the lapse rate, proving increased convection and increased cooling of the surface.

86. Vince Causey says:

Michel,
“Temperature is an intensive property. It is therefore meaningless to average absolute temperatures among various locations.
Take a bucket of ice cold water and one at boiling: is the average temperature of the system 50 °C?”
It is not necessarily meaningless. It depends what you are trying to determine. If heat content is your thing, then taking an average temperature of 50c will give the correct heat content, the same as taking each bucket separately.

I do take your point about equal quantities though. Quantities and specific heat capacities must be the same for the mean temperature to have any real meaning.

87. Vince Causey says:

Rgb,

Your rhino analysis is very perceptive and puts climate science into perspective. We can’t change the rhino, but we would like to know what makes him tick.

88. Box of Rocks says:

lsvalgaard says:
March 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm
Normally the Arctic is losing energy at a rate of 163 W/m^2. In January of 2013 it was losing energy at a rate of 173 W/m^2.
Because the Earth is closest to the Sun in January it receives more energy from the Sun, so it is understandable that it must also lose more…

Oh, are you sure?

What does the distance matter if the arctic is getting no sunlight?

89. rgbatduke says:

Amen rgb. But with that said, why did Watts post this article which is obviously going to feed that ignorance?

Obviously? It wasn’t and still isn’t obvious to me that it feeds ignorance. It points out, correctly, that the Earth is basically at least locally stable as far as climate is concerned, so an extremely warm month loses more heat than an extremely cool month, tending to cause regression to some sort of mean. The mean itself we do not understand particularly well because it wanders all over the place, often in a highly counterintuitive manner, to the point where our ability to predict that mean with GCMs really sucks, as evidenced by the increasing divergence between observed global temperatures and the predicted mean behavior according to various feedback and forcing scenarios (all of which lead to a lot more warming than has been observed). I agree that making any sort of deep well out of the 0.3C drop in the anomaly is just as silly as making a mountain out of the similar rise in the anomaly the previous month, and that even pretending that trends in the N-month smoothed values in temperature is committing the same error on a different scale when we do not understand the dynamics and feedbacks that set the supposed “equilibrium” to which these extremes are regressing, the supposed “climate signal” buried inside the climate noise.

Discussing this hardly feeds ignorance, quite the opposite.

The fact that it causes dragonslayers to come out of their burrow and spout fire is all by itself a way of combating ignorance, as it permits their arguments to be systematically demolished (again). That may have no effect on the individuals in question, any more than you are going to convince a devout Biblical literalist that there never was a world-spanning flood through which all the world’s species were preserved inside a wooden boat the size of a Wal Mart by mere arithmetic and rational argument, but it does lay out the arguments in stark contrast that may well help individuals listening in to decide for themselves, which is hardly feeding ignorance. It is feeding ignorance only if the dragonslayers spout nonsense and nobody replies.

Personally, I’d rather have a discussion with the ignorant than censorship and the exclusion of the ignorant from all civil discourse. The physics students who have the most to learn are the ones who know the least, whose misconceptions are the greatest. If you can reach them — and often they can, at least when their ignorance is not grounded in one of the many sorts of “religious” faith that infects the human species and compromises our ability to think rationally about our Universe — then they can learn more, faster, than a student who is already acing the material. And sometimes students who are merely listening in are helped much more as you explain things so simply that you have a chance of reaching the most ignorant than they might be by a higher level discussion that largely went over their heads.

So hats off to Anthony for minimally censoring the blog, primarily for the civility of the discourse rather than its content. I have left at least one other climate blog because I got tired of the blog owner from stepping in and censoring or commenting on my contributions. I can be wrong as easily as the next person, and have been corrected on THIS blog by a number of people a number of times, but I’d much rather learn from my own mistakes in a public, civil discussion than have them cut off or corrected by the harsh hand of a censor who (in fact) might not know as much as I know, and who in fact might be perpetuating errors themselves by their actions.

The whole point of science is that sound scientific knowledge is the remnants that can least be doubted when we try very hard to doubt all that we can, the parts that — in open and free discussion and consideration of by data and prior knowledge — we end up agreeing are likely to be true given. Scientific consensus does not equal truth, it equals some sort of “best belief, given what we know and can see, so far”, and is (or should be) highly responsive to new data, new arguments, alternative hypotheses, and is (or should be) highly cynical about claims of unquestionable knowledge on the part of any scientist.

So when Lief corrects me concerning solar dynamics, I listen. I don’t take it for granted that he is always right, but he for damn sure has forgotten over the course of a long career more than I ever learned or am learning about the way the sun works. He’s also (refreshingly) usually fairly candid about the probable limits of his own knowledge, the places where his own beliefs are educated guesses that he has some confidence in but that are hardly vox dei truth. When Steven Mosher makes assertions that I’ve made arithmetic errors, well, I do suck at arithmetic, and my back of the envelope computations aren’t always correct as a consequence. But they are correctable. Hell, yesterday I dropped a factor of r while solving a difficult problem that I wrote! with a student, ending up with the wrong units in my own answer, and had to stare at the page for four or five minutes to find the place where I dropped it. In turn, however, when I point out that there is a pretty serious disparity in the claims for “settled science” certainty in the “projections” (not predictions) in climate science and the actual data, well, that’s something that should be taken just as seriously in debate that is just as uncensored and open.

rgb

• JPS says:

@rgb

I was speaking of the ignorance that is used by warmists vis-a-vis your prior post. I have no problem with the ignorance of the commenter’s, as you have correctly observed (IMO) that it is an opportunity for teaching, which is usually a good thing. I do not think comments should be censored simply due to difference of opinion or lack of validity. With that said, the article itself is posted with some authority (although he didnt write it, by Watts himself). In that the article is so full of half truths and, in my view, concludes that CO2 is NOT “blocking” energy from leaving the Earth, which is patently false, as you have also pointed out. Take the last paragraph:
“Finally I have to get a dig in at CO2. In January of 2013 it was 395 ppm and in 1985 it was 50 points lower at 345 ppm. So despite the fact that CO2 was higher, the Earth was losing energy at a higher rate to space. CO2 was not blocking the energy from escaping despite all the claims that increased CO2 prevents heat from escaping the Earth. The Earth 30 years later was losing a significantly larger amount of energy to space than it was in the past.”
–“So despite the fact that CO2 was higher, the Earth was losing energy at a higher rate to space.” If that were the case, the Earth would be cooling. Now this may or may not have been happening over the past 20 years but surely not the past 100! The author has completely missed the idea that what I will call the “effective emmisivity” of the Earth has changed over that time period, and is exactly what all the climate scientists are trying to get to the bottom of (with varying success). I completely agree with you ( I think, but I don’t want to put words in your mouth) that our relative understanding of factors influencing this coefficient is in its infancy, and therefore the hype over catastrophic AGW is unwarranted. However, publishing half truths and downright misunderstanding of heat transfer at a highly visible outlet such as WUWT is counter productive.

90. This graph, showing that there is no atmospheric hotspot to match climate models is proof that GHG cools the surface rather than warms it, by increasing the radiation of energy from the atmosphere to space, which enhances convection – the exact opposite of how a greenhouse warms.

The atmospheric cold spot show in this graph on the left is the smoking gun that shows the cooling effect of GHG at work in the atmosphere. It is time to re-examine the assumption that GHG warms the surface by limiting outgoing IR. Without GHG in the atmosphere there would be no outgoing IR from the atmosphere and no convection. Without convection the surface would be hotter than it is now, which is how a greenhouse warms.

91. Box of Rocks says:

NZ Willy says:
March 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm
To enhance Leif’s point, since the Earth is closest to the Sun in January and apogee (farthest away) is in July, it can’t be right that the Earth is coolest in January, regardless of the temperature record. This is a model anyone can understand.
Secondly, I quite agree that the Earth is radiating heat away into space as well as it ever did, and all can test this hypothesis using your old automobile. Just leave it parked out on the street on a night when the temperature goes some degrees below zero. In the morning you will find that the windshield has frozen over, but the side windows still have only liquid water. This is because the ground is heating the side windows with infrared (IR) radiation, but the windshield is pointing to the sky and does not receive IR, either from the ground nor from the so-called “forcing” in the sky. It radiates its heat into sky & space and freezes. There is no useful “forcing”. So the Earth is radiating its heat into space just the same as it ever did. After the 200th such lesson, I keep my car under cover overnight now.

Actually the front windshield is pointed to both the ground and the sky….

Side windshields are pointed horizontally thus perpendicular to the ground and sky save the sliver that give the side windshields depth.

I have yet to experience side windows being liquid whilst the front is frozen. On the Great Plains it is all or none and the state is the same.

92. Theo Goodwin says:

I apologize for raining on Mosher’s parade once again. Apparently, he has become WUWT’s resident troll. He certainly hijacked this thread. He replaced the important topic of anomalies with his musings on radiation theory.

Since we are not going to engage in a critical discussion of the use of anomalies, permit me to sum my opinion of them with a quotation from the movie “Aladdin.” Explaining the life of genies, the genie says that it is “Cosmic Power in an itty bitty living space (meaning the lamp).” The same can be said for climate theory. It is Cosmic Theory on an itty bitty factual basis. There is no better example of that division between cosmic theory and factual basis than the use of anomalies. In genuine science, the facts are like a tight shoe that requires a shoe horn; that is, theory has to accommodate the facts but the facts do not have to accommodate the theory. Just look at the one reason given for liking anomalies. That reason is that anomalies are “preconfigured” for work with trends. There are some who believe that trends are real and actually constitute the facts of climate science. Until those very influential folks are disabused of that most fundamental error, climate science will remain in the realm of Cosmic Theory.

By the way, I am not trying to champion temperature readings as the factual basis of climate science. Some other characteristic of the real world might be much better. But that is another discussion.

93. BobW in NC says:

Steve Mosher, rgb, et al:

CO2… this trace gas comprises ~395 ppm or 0.0395% of the atmosphere, and human activity is responsible for an estimated 3% to 4% (IPCC AR4 data I was directed to was 2.9%; don’t have that link, sorry) , or a total of ~12 ppm or 0.00012%. So, 96% to 97% of CO2 entering the atmosphere we have no control over. If CO2 is going to cause cataclysmic changes, we are out of luck, because natural sources (ocean degassing, biosphere, volcanos, etc) will overwhelm our efforts at control.

Water vapor: WUWT has published from time to time a chart showing IR absorption spectra of varioius “green house” gasses. Water vapor was shown to be more efficient at being energized at more LIR wavelengths than CO2. So, if CO2 is a concern, so is water vapor but intrinsically more so. Further, water vapor concentration in the atmosphere has typically varied between 1% and 4% (i.e., 25 to 100 times the concentration of CO2), before being recently shown here at WUWT to be diminishing.

Bottom line: Human activity causes “global warming” and consequences from this result (e.g, “Climate Change”) from OUR contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere? Doen’t make sense.

94. rgbatduke says:

What non-scientfic nonsense. “Slowing the cooling” and “warming” are two entirely different things. In Science precise language it used, such an inprecise conflation of two different concepts is the hallmark of politics, not science. Right up there with “reducing the projected increase in the budget” being described as a “cut in spending”

The Earth is not a closed system, it is an open system. Energy flows in constantly from Mr. Sun (plus tiny slivers from other sources). It is partially absorbed, hangs out as enthalpy distributed all over the damn place for a while, and eventually makes its way to outer space on a one-way journey to infinity and beyond. On average if the entire Earth has a certain enthalpy content today, and a year from now on a given day it has the same enthalpy content, the net energy in precisely balances the net energy out, but since it is an open system with the equivalent of mad dwarves opening and closing windows and umbrellas regulating the flow both in and out, one any given day the Earth absorbs a bit more than it loses (warming) or loses more than it absorbs (cooling).

Given an actively heated reservoir in purely radiative thermal contact with a 3 K near-perfect absorber cold reservoir, it is absolutely trivial to show that slowing the radiative cooling via the interpolation of an absorptive, reradiative layer leads to warming of the actively heated reservoir by slowing its cooling (that is, inhibiting the outgoing radiative flow). Putting any sort of absorptive, reradiative layer in between will do the trick, working in any frequency.

To get a net gain in temperature, one does need to modulate the rate at which energy is delivered into the system differently (and less) than one modulates the outgoing flow, but because the Earth is heated by a Sun at 6000 K through a relatively transparent window in the atmosphere and cooled at a few hundred K where there happens to be a number of strongly absorptive and reradiative (opaque) bands, this condition is satisfied in the specific case of the Earth’s atmosphere, at least.

To the extent that the term “warming” or “cooling” refers to a measurable increase or decrease in surface temperature, one expects modulation of GHG concentratiosn in the atmosphere to modulate surface temperature, that is, lead to warming or cooling. How much warming or cooling is very much open to discussion, because the Earth is anything but an ideal, approximately linear, system that is empirically perfectly capable of not only behaving in a counterintuitive (linearized) way, it is capable of stable, long term operation in antiintuitive ways, ways that directly contradict any naive linear response hypothesis. More CO_2 in the atmosphere “should” lead to modest warming, but could lead to anything from extreme warming to actual cooling — the system is that complex and nonlinear. Furthermore, what it will actually lead to can itself vary in time because in no sense is the Earth’s climate system stationary, even without modulation of e.g. CO_2 concentrations.

So it is not, actually, “political” to argue that slowing cooling leads to warming, any more than putting on a jacket, which slows the cooling of your body, also warms your body (literally raises its surface temperature) because your body constantly generates heat and you are interfering with the rate at which it loses heat. Like the Earth, your body will react in various ways to try to avoid overheating, and may entirely change its mode of cooling from radiation to evaporation in response to the additional jacket to attempt to maintain homeostasis, and once the jacket is soaked with sweat it may well be that you get damn cold as its ability to function as a slower of cooling is compromised. It’s just an attempt to explain the physics to numb-nuts who try to argue that modulating an interpolant absorptive layer cannot cause the co-modulation of the temperature of an actively heated body radiating to a perfect absorber.

rgb

95. rgbatduke on March 7, 2013 at 5:55 am

[ . . . ]

The Earth’s climate system is empirically incredibly stable, except where it is not. Where it is not, its instability is as irresistible as an angry rhinoceros — get out of the way because you aren’t going to stop its charge. Where it is, the effects of human activity are light as a feather compared to other factors driving the system. We somehow pretend that we understand the nonlinear system well enough to predict its specific course of the climate in the absence of that feather, to know where the rhino would go if its ass was not being tickled. I respectfully doubt this. The best we can say about the rhino is not where it is going but where it has been, the range over which it has wandered over the last million years.

[ . . . ]

– – – – – – – –

rgbatduke,

I am calling your wonderful post ‘Ode to Rhino Earth’ with a subtitle ‘Tickling the Rhino with a CO2 Feather Just Makes it Giggle’.

Thanks for the post. I vote for making it a main article.

It has become my view that it is reasonable, from a physics of the atmosphere perspective, that the behavior of the Total Earth-Atmospheric System (TEAS) has either relatively minor or no discernible reaction to CO2.

NOTE: Shouldn’t we be giving the effect of our atmosphere on surface temps the name Planetary Atmosphere Effect (PAE) and not the misleading GHE? The CO2 is just one of numerous components of the PAE and CO2 reasonably appears to be a lower order of magnitude component.

John

96. rgbatduke says:

I do take your point about equal quantities though. Quantities and specific heat capacities must be the same for the mean temperature to have any real meaning.

Or, to put it differently, at the end of the day “heat” is a meaningless term that refers to energy that is no longer available for doing work in the specific context of the first law of thermodynamics that balances enthalpy, work, and heat or the second law that describes “becomes unavailable” in more precise statistical mechanical terms. Enthalpy, OTOH, is a valid concept, an actual measurable property of any collection of matter. Temperature is microscopically defined — note well, defined — as an average quantity in terms of enthalpy, at least local thermal equilibrium, and the equipartition theorem.

So even just water is complex, because it isn’t just liquid water in a linearized regime that participates in global enthalpy/temperature estimation. Water vapor has latent heat of vaporization in addition to a heat capacity. Solid water has latent heat of fusion. Water as a gas may have different degrees of freedom that contribute to equipartition based temperatures at any given temperature compared to water as a solid. Nonlinearities abound, and indeed enthalpy is only locally linear in temperature or vice versa.

Now compound this problem in an atmosphere with rapidly and widely varying enthalphy associated with just its water content. Throw in the fact that water in different states has a wildly varying albedo and transparency all across a relevant part of the spectrum, and that 2/3 of the Earth’s surface is covered with the damn stuff in all sorts of different forms, with different admixtures of things like salt and particulate matter, moving at different rates, mixing or not mixing with deeper colder water underneath, being transported up into the stratosphere (or not) to modulate a whole bunch of stuff up there.

Is it any real wonder that we (as far as – I know, from having read a number of recent papers) have no idea why the stratosphere has dried out by some 10% over the last decade? Or why it was comparatively wet before that? Or what its water content might have been over the last several hundred years? Or how, specifically, that might effect climate?

Our ignorance vastly outweight our knowledge in climate science, however much we might claim to know the local physics that supposedly — eventually — nonlinearly — drives the climate.

97. OldWeirdHarold says:

I don’t find this result surprising, given that there’s essentially none of the major GHG – H2O – at the poles.

98. Professor Bob Ryan says:

rgbatduke…….exactly. I might disagree with Stephen Mosher on attribution and feedback but his description of the GHE is spot on. Arguing about the science at this level is counter-productive and plays into the hands of those who abuse the science for their own ends.

99. Rich H says:

Steven Mosher says:
“…Slowing the cooling, is referred to as warming.”

I disagree. reversing the cooling is warming. Slowing the cooling merely causes the cooling to keep happening at a slower rate.

If you take a warm object into your air-conditioned home from outside, the object will cool until its temperature matches the environment of your house. The rate of cooling is constantly slowing as delta T trends to zero. But it will never warm as long as the environmental temperature remains constant.

100. CO2 doesn’t create heat, and it only holds heat (i.e. traps heat) as per its thermal capacity. Just like any other substance known to the universe, it can’t increase its own temperature with internal redistribution of its own energy. Also, in terms of radiation, temperature is a function of the frequency distribution of the radiation, i.e., the heating potential of radiation is a function of its frequency distribution. CO2 in the atmosphere does *not* cause a shift to higher frequencies of the radiation spectrum, which would be an increase in temperature.
Sunshine at TOA at the zenith is 1370 W/m^2 or +121C. The functional and actually-existent distribution of sunshine is the cosine function with 0 degrees the zenith, and 90 degrees the terminator. The average of this function is the integrated-average value, i.e., integral(cos(theta)) / (B-A) with the limits of integration, B & A, of pi/2 and 0 radians, respectively;
so then (sin(B) – sin(A))/ (B – A) = (1 – 0) / (pi/2 – 0) = 2/pi = 0.6366.
So, 0.6366 is the integrated functional average projection factor of sunlight on the hemisphere where it actually causes heating: 0.6366 * 1370 W/m^2 * (1 – 0.3) = 610 W/m^2 = 322K = 49C.
So, in actuality, as sunshine actually comes in on a hemisphere, in real time, its actual functional average heating input corrected for albedo is +49C. There’s no such thing as an average heating potential where the heating doesn’t actually occur, and also if it ignores the geometry of the physical system. The geometry and hence the boundary conditions and the thermodynamic limits of the system are such that sunlight causes active heating where it actually occurs, and as per its geometric projection function. So 610 W/m^2 or +49C. The question is how the system distributes this heat *which causes cooling* overnight and at the poles, in the ocean, land, and atmosphere, in order to establish the blackbody expectation of 240 W/m^2 global average output. That is obviously through the weather, circulation, etc etc, and, CO2 would be a part of that energy distribution cooling process.

101. MartinGAtkins says:

JPS says:
March 7, 2013 at 5:16 am

@ Hmmmmmm

if “heat cant travel in a vacuum”, how does the suns energy reach Earth?

The suns energy is carried as radiation and has no aspect of heat but it does have intensity. For anything to have heat/temperature it must have mass and motion. Motion can be called velocity.

Molecules have mass and if they have velocity they posses kinetic energy and it is kinetic energy that we experience as heat.

Radiation has velocity but no mass it is therefore not hot. When the radiations path is blocked by by something that has mass the mass may reflect or absorb the energy. If it absorbs the energy it will vibrate whilst it is re-radiating the energy away. At that point it has internal velocity that can be dispersed by collision with any other gas molecule and this propagates kinetic energy throughout the earths gas envelope.

102. John Endicott says:

@rgbatduke you spent a lot of words to excuse nonsense. And you did it by spouting nonsense of your own. In your example, the jacket does not create warmth. The warmth is caused by the continual input of heat from a heat source (your body). Put the Jacket on a fresh killed corpse (I.E.one that hasn’t cooled to room tempurature yet) and the corpse will not get any warmer, and in fact will eventually reach room tempurature. Because cooling no matter how slow is *NOT* warming, it’s the exact opposite of warming. For the cause of warming you need to look to the source of the warmth. The two words have precise meanings and they are not synonomus. Hate to break it to you (and Mosh) but “slowing the cooling” does not mean the same thing as “warming”, You might want to pick up a dictionary to find out why that is so.

103. BobW in NC says:

Great discussions from everyone, and as far as understanding the sun’s role in providing energy to the earth, they are excellent.

But the critical point for CO2 is—the anthropogenic component emitted each year (~3%) is negligible compared to the natural component (~97%). If CO2 is the problem, we have no way of controlling the outcome. And that still doesn’t address the 25 to 100 times greater role that water vapor might have. Again, human activity cannot affect the global climate from the production of anthropogenic CO2.

Bottom line: Attributing global warming to anthropogenic CO2 does not make sense.

104. Box of Rocks says:

rgbatduke says:
March 7, 2013 at 7:46 am

..

Did not know that a couple of ppm of CO2 was akin to putting on a heavy down jacket.

I thought it was akin to putting on a tank top with a lot of holes.

105. Matthew R Marler says:

Stephen Mosher: heat is not blocked from escaping. It escapes. But with more GHGs this escape happens from a higher colder location, and consequently it happens less rapidliy than it would otherwise.

Are you disputing the author’s assertion that energy is now leaving the Earth at a higher rate than before?

Hockey Schtick says this: Yes, NOAA outgoing longwave radiation data shows an increase of ~1.3 Wm-2 from 1975-2012 despite a steady increase of CO2 levels. In contrast, the IPCC formula predicts that OLR should have decreased .93 Wm-2 since 1975, and MODTRAN likewise predicts OLR should have decreased .83 Wm-2 since 1975.

The source cited by Hockey Schtick (figure legend at that site) is: NOAA global outgoing longwave radiation [OLR] from annualized monthly means, via the KNMI Climate Explorer, entry point but not exact page here: http://climexp.knmi.nl/start.cgi?id=someone@somewhere.

to Hockey Schtick, it would be nice if you would post the exact page at KNMI displaying the data that you used (we could find it, but might find a different page somehow without knowing it.)

106. CO2 was not blocking the energy from escaping despite all the claims that increased CO2 prevents heat from escaping the Earth.

I only got part way down, till I saw Mosher’s post.

2. C02 along with other gases ( including water vapor) SLOW the rate at which the earth loses energy to space.

I don’t disagree, but it’s not the limit to nightly cooling either.

I’ve been looking at nightly cooling, and it’s an almost exact match to day time warming, graphs here.
About your daily temp trend, I’ve been subtracting tonight’s drop, from today’s rise, here’s the average difference across stations North of 23 Lat that have 240 or more day/night records for at least 60 years. I’ve been looking at the rate of difference changing spring to fall, and fall to spring for each of these years, and I’m finding that the rate is changing on a 30 year cycle (10 year running average), we’re just about through the current peak, and the last peak corresponded to the temp minimum of the late 70’s.

107. aaron says:

Phobos, you’re misunderstanding the discussion. Water vapor and other factors far overwhelm the GHG spectra specific changes at the surface.

108. Matthew R Marler says:

Mario Lento: 2) It makes sense that since the planet is slightly warmer now than it was in 1985, the atmosphere would be losing more heat into space because the delta T is larger… the warmer it gets, the more heat goes into space… otherwise, we’d boil ;)

It also “makes sense” that since the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased since 1985, the net outward radiation would be less than in 1985. Which of these two sensible assertions is actually the more accurate is what the debate is mostly about. Also of interest are where the temperature has changed (i.e., surface and lower troposphere where most life is vs upper troposphere); where the CO2 is distributed; where the water rises, condenses and falls; and many others. But the most fundamental unknown the balance of inward radiation and outward radiation.

109. RE: Mosher: 10:05 pm

Mosher’s CO2 -> ERL -> colder height -> lower loss rate -> silver thermos bottle explanation doesn’t sit with me well. Little errors compound into a big misconception. Let me detail my objections.

1. C02 and other gases are relatively, not completely, opaque to LW radiation. We know this from measurements. So far so good.

2. Because of this earth radiates energy to space from a point in the atmosphere known as the ERL.
The ERL is at best a simplified contrivance. It isn’t a point. CO2 radiates to space from diffuse band of the atmosphere without definable edges (except the surface of the earth) with a probability density that CO2 LW (or other GHG) photon escapes to space. This diffuse band is at lots of temperatures depending upon altitude, latitude, and time of day among other variables.

A center of gravity is a point contrived to make mathematics easier for problems where it can safely be used. A cube and a sphere both have a center of gravity. That doesn’t mean you assume the gravitational field of the cube is the same as a sphere. We cannot always treat the cube as a point source.

Neither can we assume CO2 radiation comes from a point source ERL. Even its name is a give away: ERL = “Effective Radiation Level”

3. Add more GHGs to the atmosphere and you raise the ERL
That is not at all clear when more than one gas is involved. But let’s assume for CO2 it holds. ERL is not a point source. It is a shape, a diffuse band. How does it change it’s shape? How does the temperature profile change and probability density change?

4. When the ERL is raised, earth radiates from a higher colder place.
Why is this important? Are you about to treat the CO2 of the ERL as a blackbody?

5. Radiating from a colder height means the loss rate is lower.
You ARE treating the ERL as a blackbody. The ERL is not a blackbody. It is not a “point”- the ERL is not a real thing.

heat is not blocked from escaping. It escapes. But with more GHGs this escape happens from a higher colder location, and consequently it happens less rapidliy than it would otherwise.
The Errors have fully compounded. The “temperature” of the atmosphere at the ERL means squat to a cloud of excited CO2 molecules radiating LW photons in a narrow spectral band.

Slowing the cooling, is referred to as warming.
John Endicott is right. This is horribly sloppy language.
My answer to that is in the R.W.Woods post, Feb 07 11:36am

Wrapping P in shell S, does not cause the temperature of P to rise, only allow P to cool more slowly.

The silver lining of a thermos does not warm the coffee.
Oh, good. Back to reality.

By reflecting radiation it slows the rate of cooling and keeps your coffe warmer than it would have been otherwise. Think of C02 and other greenhouse gases as a leaky radiation screen. eventually the radiation escapes, but at a slower rate than it would otherwise.
Yes, but what has this to do with the Earth? With a thermos you are not adding heat to the coffee. The “slower rate” is very temporary. The errors in 4 and 5 make it seem permanent.

Let’s take your coffee thermos. We stick a 1 watt heat source in it (electric or radioactive, you choose). We wait. Eventually, the coffee will be warmer than the surroundings of the thermos to the point where the heat transfer through the thermos, silver lining and all, will be 1 watt. Equilibrium.

Now, we add a layer of silver molecules to the lining. Let us assume that adds, not detracts from the thermos insulation. That 1 watt heater continues. Momentarily, the heat flow through the thermos will be at a slower rate —- UNTIL the temperature of the coffee rises so that the heat flow through the thermos reaches 1 watt again.

Adding a pulse of CO2 to the atmosphere does not change the equilibrium heat loss rate through the atmosphere. It might change equilibrium the temperature profile of the atmosphere. It might temporarily change the heat flow rate, but that same equilibrium rate will be returned. In a planet with a day and night, I think it would be returned very quickly.

But the heat flow rate is not permanently reduced by an ERL radiating from a higher, colder altitude.

110. Richard LH says:

It would seem that some people do not understand that land/ocean ratios matter in Global temperature terms, as well as distance from the Sun.

The Northern hemisphere is about 60.7% water and 39.3% land.

The Southern hemisphere is about 80.9% water and 19.1% land.

That appears to be the reason for Jan being colder than July Globally.

111. from Matthew R Marler:
“Hockey Schtick says this: Yes, NOAA outgoing longwave radiation data shows an increase of ~1.3 Wm-2 from 1975-2012 despite a steady increase of CO2 levels. In contrast, the IPCC formula predicts that OLR should have decreased .93 Wm-2 since 1975, and MODTRAN likewise predicts OLR should have decreased .83 Wm-2 since 1975.”

This is an indication of how ridiculously backwards and inverted climate science is. ANY warming object would be associated with an increase of OLR. That’s what a warmer object does, is emit more OLR. OLR is a function of temperature T to the fourth power, so, an increase in temperature means an increase of OLR (or shorter wavelength radiative energy depending on how high T gets).

But in climate science, a warming object emits LESS radiation! The Earth is supposed to get hotter the less energy it emits. The Stefan-Boltzmann LAW is *thrown* out the window. It’s fairyland science. All inverted and backwards in order to fabricate blame on CO2. Can we do this with stellar atmosphere – with stars? That a star becomes hotter the less intense energy it emits? So, if the Earth emitted zero radiation, would it have infinite temperature? That is actually what their equations show. Interesting that an object that emits zero radiation is either 0 Kelvin, or infinite Kelvin.

So, this is how they set it up. They set up their models with the assumptions they wanted, in the form of invented physics, built in, to produce what they assumed. That trapping radiation causes an increase in temperature and thus CO2 is bad and must be taxed. What has the real-world shown? It has shown the Stefan-Boltzmann Law – that a warmer object emits more radiation, and hence all of the assumptions which went into the models, all the invented physics, and finally all the models, are bunk. We already know the models failed to predict the last 15 years…and this is why. Because they’re wrong…they’re political junk. They’re more than 200% wrong (-.83 modelled vs. +1.3 actual). They violate the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. They say that something colder emits more energy, and that something warmer emits less. Fairyland pseudoscience.

112. JPS says:
March 7, 2013 at 7:54 am

in my view, concludes that CO2 is NOT “blocking” energy from leaving the Earth, which is patently false, as you have also pointed out.

While it is blocking energy leaving Earth, it is not altering surface temperature one bit. Which means something else is controlling surface temps, not Co2.

If you want proof from observations, my post above links to a series of graphs based on NCDC data, it shows no trends in the loss of nightly cooling since the 50’s. Some years it’s positive, some it’s negative.

• JPS says:

@ micro

“While it is blocking energy leaving Earth, it is not altering surface temperature one bit.”

simple physics says this cannot be true- i promise you an atmosphere without greenhouse gases would be cold indeed. now, the RELATIVE effect of changes in CO2 as it relates to climate are clearly up for debate, but to suggest there is not “one bit” of influence is just plain wrong.

113. Matthew R Marler says:

rgbatduke: Perhaps — and I’m just throwing this out there, understand — it matters which hemisphere is pointing towards the Sun when perihelion occurs. Perhaps global atmospheric circulation patterns matter. Possibly the state of ocean currents in the world’s oceans have some effect.

“Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps” — there’s a song in that.

114. from Richard LH:
“It would seem that some people do not understand that land/ocean ratios matter in Global temperature terms, as well as distance from the Sun.

The Northern hemisphere is about 60.7% water and 39.3% land.

The Southern hemisphere is about 80.9% water and 19.1% land.

That appears to be the reason for Jan being colder than July Globally.”

Yes great point. This obviously contributes to the Milankovic cycles, because the ocean has a far lower albedo than land surface and so the phase relationship (which changes smoothly) between aphelion/perihelion distance and the precession of the equinox has very long term effects. Also, If Antarctica wasn’t where it is now, we would just have water flowing through the south pole and therefore not so low of temperatures as currently experienced on land there, which would probably support a warmer global environment.

115. Matthew R Marler says:

rgbatduke: Either way, lacking any convincing theory that can explain the details of the climate record from the last (say) million years in a quantitative and predictive way, we are stuck empirically resolving a signal (if any) from a non-intuitive annual counteroscillation driven by forcing variations two orders of magnitude larger than the supposed atmospheric composition variation at baseline, which is itself somewhat dubious as it is functional on things like stratospheric water vapor content, soot/particulate content, aerosol content, and possibly even subtle variations induced by other solar factors distinct from “just” instantaneous insolation.

That’s a pretty good sentence.

116. SCheesman says:

rgb: The Climate Rhino — I love it! It deserves its own posting, I think.

117. JPS says:

@ martingatkins

not sure what you are talking about. heat transfer can definitely occur in a vacuum without mass. its called “radiation heat transfer”. granted there needs to be a physical object around for us to measure its effects but even in absence of an object the heat transfer is still occuring.

118. Matthew R Marler says:

Joseph E. Postma: So, this is how they set it up. They set up their models with the assumptions they wanted, in the form of invented physics, built in, to produce what they assumed.

The absorption/emission spectra of the GHGs were discovered by empirical research, not “invented” in any pejorative sense. The models are based on the best available empirical results and modern computational methods. I think the models are inadequate and imprecise, but there is no good reason to dismiss totally the idea that increased CO2 concentrations might result in a warmer Earth surface and lower troposphere.

119. mwhite says:

“Climate scientists hate it when people show real temperature because it is impossible to see much warming when you look at the seasonal changes in the actual temperature.”

http://junksciencearchive.com/MSU_Temps/NCDCabs1880.html

Dangerous global warming since 1880 courtesy of the NCDC.

120. Promises about physics don’t really count for much. An atmosphere without GHG’s will still be warmest at the bottom, and warmer than the blackbody averrage, and that’s not a promise.

121. Matthew R Marler: “The absorption/emission spectra of the GHGs were discovered by empirical research, not “invented” in any pejorative sense. The models are based on the best available empirical results and modern computational methods. I think the models are inadequate and imprecise, but there is no good reason to dismiss totally the idea that increased CO2 concentrations might result in a warmer Earth surface and lower troposphere.”

Note that I did not say that absorption and emission spectra were invented by models, so, the opening in the above statement is insensible and lacks credibility in its intent. The invented and arbitrary part is in saying that trapping radiation causes an increase in temperature, which is inconsistent with the actual physics of both the Stefan-Boltzmann Law and Planck’s Law. One good reason to dismiss the idea that increased CO2 causes a warmer surface is because 1) it has never been observed in the historical record 2) it hasn’t been observed in the last 15 years 3) it is only a correlated interpretation with no known causative basis, other than the invention which was used to subsequently justify it, of a relatively minor span of data from the 20’th century, and in which all other possible causes were purposely dismissed without exploration.

122. JPS says:
March 7, 2013 at 10:25 am

@ micro

“While it is blocking energy leaving Earth, it is not altering surface temperature one bit.”

simple physics says this cannot be true- i promise you an atmosphere without greenhouse gases would be cold indeed. now, the RELATIVE effect of changes in CO2 as it relates to climate are clearly up for debate, but to suggest there is not “one bit” of influence is just plain wrong.

Let me rephrase this, the change in Co2 since 1950 has not changed surface temps one bit.

Now, as for the temp of the sky, on a clear 35F day, it’s ~-41F.

123. Latitude says:

Stephen Rasey says:
But the heat flow rate is not permanently reduced by an ERL radiating from a higher, colder altitude.
=====
even imagining it’s a band..

It seems if you increase CO2/GHG, that expands the ERL…which would greatly increase surface area
If increasing temps and CO2/GHGs gives it a much greater surface area, exposing it to colder temps (greater difference in temps), etc, which should lose the less cooling faster….

expand ERL, increase surface area, greater difference in temps between the two, etc

Is it possible it’s regulating temps?

124. mib8 says:

So, were the February temperatures more anomalous or less anomalous than what?
Show us the actual aggregate temperature graphs.
Then, if you insist, show us a little graph of the oh so precious anomalies, carefully notated as to what they’re anomalies from.

Now, go on and play nice, children… er, uh, honored scientists.

125. Bart says:

Steven Mosher says:
March 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm

“2. C02 along with other gases ( including water vapor) SLOW the rate at which the earth loses
energy to space.”

Not precisely. You have to be careful how you characterize this, because it is a non-equilibrium system and dynamically evolving. But, insight can be gained by considering a system which is in equilibrium, and then undergoes a change of state. Hypothetically, if the system is in equilibrium with a particular concentration of CO2, and you add an additional amount then, under certain constraints, the rate of energy loss decreases. But, only temporarily before a new equilibrium is established. For an equilibrium to exist, rate-in must equal rate-out, and any net slowing can only be temporary.

“5. Radiating from a colder height means the loss rate is lower.”

This makes no sense. A photon of energy emitted from a CO2 molecule is a photon of energy emitted from a CO2 molecule – it has the same energy regardless of where it is released. You can attempt to argue that the blackbody radiation from the mass of CO2 is reduced, but that is at best 2nd order. The 1st order dynamic is radiation coming from the surface being absorbed and re-radiated. And, since the height of the surface does not change, the amount of radiation being absorbed and re-radiated does not change on this basis alone.

If the amount of CO2 increases then, up to a certain point, there are more interceptions of outbound surface photons and, at first glance, this should act to increase the equilibrium temperature of the Earth (more on how that happens in a moment). But, there are countervailing effects as well.

For example, beyond a particular optical depth, there is a point of diminishing returns and, indeed, a point of reversal at which the effect of an increase in the depth of the bulk CO2 layer must necessarily lead to cooling. If the mean altitude of the layer does not change more than the original depth of the layer, then there will be a smaller ratio of surface area radiating back to the planet to surface area radiating to space, and this can result in relative cooling. I realized this while commenting on Willis Eschenbach’s “Steel Greenhouse” thought experiment here.

Whether we are near a particular such point of diminshing returns or not, I do not know. But, I do know that the increase in CO2 over the past century has not produced any divergence in the pre-existing trend + ~60 year cycle evident in the temperature data. So, I do know that countervailing effects necessarily exist which are essentially canceling out the expected warming from added CO2.

“1. C02 does not prevent heat from escape the earth.”

That is, in fact, the greenhouse theory in a nutshell. CO2 prevents escape within particular bands, so the temperature of the surface has to increase until radiation in other bands reestablishes equilibrium with incoming solar radiation.

That is to say, OLR should decrease, while radiation in other bands increases so that equilibrium can be reestablished with a higher surface temperature.

126. rgbatduke on March 7, 2013 at 7:46 am said

{note: all bold is my emphasis not rgb’s}

[ . . . ]

To the extent that the term “warming” or “cooling” refers to a measurable increase or decrease in surface temperature, one expects modulation of GHG concentratiosn in the atmosphere to modulate surface temperature, that is, lead to warming or cooling. How much warming or cooling is very much open to discussion, because the Earth is anything but an ideal, approximately linear, system that is empirically perfectly capable of not only behaving in a counterintuitive (linearized) way, it is capable of stable, long term operation in antiintuitive ways, ways that directly contradict any naive linear response hypothesis. More CO_2 in the atmosphere “should” lead to modest warming, but could lead to anything from extreme warming to actual cooling — the system is that complex and nonlinear. Furthermore, what it will actually lead to can itself vary in time because in no sense is the Earth’s climate system stationary, even without modulation of e.g. CO_2 concentrations.

[ . . . ]

– – – – – – –

rgbatduke,

Your posts, for me, have not only an excellent learning potential. They also provide a guide for integrating the bits and pieces of climate science into a working adaptive context. Please continue participation in Anthony’s open and well moderated venue.

You have provided some food for those who argue that more CO2 can only cause increased surface temps. They are, perhaps, making the error of assuming a simplistic change in a single phenomena (CO2 conc) must only have a given simplistic net effect in a highly complex, non-linear and continuously dynamically agitated system (Total Earth-Atmospheric System).

With your comment I mix in that Lindzen has noted a problematic inconsistency between tropospheric temp data, global average surface data and the observed absence of GHE theory’s surface temperature amplification prediction. That is known as the CO2 Hotspot Paradox. So I suggest the idea of an alarming AGW from CO2 does not warrant even a rather moderate scientific weight wrt certainty.

John

127. Doug Proctor says:

I’d like to hear more about the energy loss rate to space, and more on by-hemisphere basis.

Can you graph a loss-rate/year?

And an explanation, again…..

128. Roy Spencer says:

Oh, great idea. Let’s stop removing the average annual cycle from the data. That way, those who believe in global warming can point to the 6 months of the year when temperatures are usually rising. And those who don’t believe in global warming can point to the other 6 months when temperatures are usually falling. Everyone will be happy…during their half a year anyway.

If only we climate scientists knew about annual cycles before this was just explained to us.

129. John Finn says:

BobW in NC says:
March 7, 2013 at 7:42 am

Steve Mosher, rgb, et al:

CO2… this trace gas comprises ~395 ppm or 0.0395% of the atmosphere, and human activity is responsible for an estimated 3% to 4% (IPCC AR4 data I was directed to was 2.9%; don’t have that link, sorry) , or a total of ~12 ppm or 0.00012%. So, 96% to 97% of CO2 entering the atmosphere we have no control over.

I think we look a bit closer at your numbers we’ll find a flaw with your logic. If it’s true that only about 3% of atmospheric CO2 is human on origin then it must be because the rest has been re-absorbed by the biosphere as part of the carbon cycle. Thus a greater proportion of the ‘ natural’ CO2 remains resident in the atmosphere. It doesn’t really matter what the source of the CO2 is. The fact remains that adding ~7 Gt of carbon to the atmosphere each year by fossil fuel burning is resulting in a net increase of atmospheric CO2.

130. Austin says:

Temperature and Energy are two different things. I do not see how you can say there was greater heat loss just by looking at temperatures. The reason I say this is because the heat in water vapor dwarfs that in the dry air column. And we can have a tremendous dump of energy to space due to pacific storms hitting the west coast, but this usually means very mild weather for the plains, due to lee high pressure, driving the US temp anomaly up.

131. Energy loss rate to space is equal to what it is coming in. It can only not be equal when the planet is either heating up, or cooling down – and cooling down would imply that it was previously heated by some additional input of energy relative to what it currently had, because that is the only way to actually get a higher temperature – you need to absorb more energy (and CO2 doesn’t change that). Actual temperature oscillations on the Earth, heating up and cooling down, are caused by changes in the amount of energy being absorbed. Internal redistribution of energy can never cause a global temperature increase…for any substance in the universe.
So then with the bi-hemispherical reality of night and day, you have day heating up (emitting less energy than absorbed) and night cooling down (emitting more energy than absorbed). These balance out to equal the total energy absorbed over 24 hours, in terms of energy, which is a fundamental physical unit, but not in terms of kinetic temperature because the kinetic temperature is measured locally and so any kinetic temperature measurement is completely arbitrary and meaningless, in terms of global energy balance. The radiative energy output is equal to the radiative energy input and indicates an equivalent blackbody temperature of -18C, and this is what exists and is all fine and well. Kinetic temperature measurements will never correspond to that number because there is “no place” that a radiative -18C blackbody equivalent should correspond to and nor could that “place” be predicted — the entire ensemble of ocean surface + land surface (over two distinct hemispheres vertically and horizontally) plus the 3rd dimension of atmospheric altitude with its natural variation in kinetic temperature make the determination of an average kinetic temperature a physically meaningless concept. Kinetic temperature is a local measurement, not a global one. The global average kinetic temperature near the surface is arbitrary and physically non-existent in real-time – only sometimes might the local temperature pass through the average, and, in any case, the average temperature “near the ground” is an arbitrary location “place” to measure temperature and in no way should it be expected to equate to the blackbody temperature. The only valid global “temperature” is that indicated by the total output radiative energy, which as we know, is equal to the incoming energy, with an equivalent radiative temperature of -18C. There is no such thing as a global average kinetic temperature, *unless* that temperature IS known to be equal in all locations of an object; this obviously isn’t true for the Earth.

132. Austin says:

This is the best text I have on weather, energy, and climate. Recommend it highly. If you do not have it, you are missing out.

Surface and lower atmosphere cool by infrared radiation to space from upper troposphere (ERL=effective radiating level) such that total CO2 above is fixed)
Increased concentration of atmospheric CO2 raises ERL, reducing outgoing IR, until troposphere has warmed to compensate.

— A Simple Model —
Infrared radiation leaves earth for space from upper troposphere (ERL). Amount increases with temperature at ERL (immediate). Height of ERL is such that total CO2 above it is constant.
Additional CO2 mixes rapidly in troposphere (weeks). ERL rises to where temperature is lower, less outgoing radiation
Earth surface + troposphere warms till outgoing radiation from ERL balances incoming (years to centuries)
but Slide 21 says:
“How long to achieve balance?:
Land Surface and Atmosphere about 1 month.
Deep Ocean – millenia

My points here are that this SIMPLE model assumes the CO2 represented by the a point ERL model is at one uniform temperature. If you “raise the ERL”, you effectively raise the CO2 cloud represented by that level, cooling part of it, and warming other parts. Most of the mass of the radiating portion is in the Stratosphere which doesn’t decrease in temperature and parts increase in temperature. So, again, looking at the miles-thick CO2 radiating portion of the atmosphere, simplified by a ERL point “centroid”, how much of that cloud drops in temp, how much remains constant, how much rises in temp? (See slide 13).

How much are you really raising the ERL? In feet per 10 ppm CO2? What is the average temperature change of that CO2 cloud across miles of upper troposphere and Stratosphere into space?

Not to get lost in the detail. My main point is that the heat flow at the ERL is not permanently reduced by new CO2.
“Earth surface + troposphere warms untill outgoing radiation from ERL balances incoming”
It is temporary, and if we look at the Land Surface + atmosphere estimate, the balance is restored quickly indeed. Night and Day plus seasons will swamp Ocean issues.

134. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to join the discussion earlier. I can’t respond to everything, but some general themes I can.

The temperature of the Earth determines the rate of energy loss to space as I have discussed here:

Temperature Dependence of the Earth’s Outgoing Energy

OLR data is once again available

I have lots of hemispheric analysis I have not posted, but I could do that in the future.

The Greenhouse Effect is discussed more here. It is not the GHE itself that is problematic, just the cause of the GHE that I argue about.

Seasonal Variation of the Greenhouse Effect

The book has far, far more on the cause of the GHE.

For more discussion on the difference between global temperature and anomaly, read here:

2011 Global Temperature and Anomaly

If you have other questions, I have lots of articles over at my site which is of course:

The Inconvenient Skeptic

135. Doug Proctor says:
March 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

I’d like to hear more about the energy loss rate to space, and more on by-hemisphere basis.

Can you graph a loss-rate/year?

While it’s based on temp, that is no different that what AGW is based on, and you can turn that into blackbody radiation.

136. Kelvin Vaughan says:

I know there isn’t enough data to be sure but I notice from Dr Spencer’s graph that after solar maximum years there is a 2,5 year rise in temperatures.
1979 +0.4ºC over 2 years. (Could have been more over 2.5 years.)
1989 +0.7ºC over next 2.5 years
2000 +0.65ºC over next 2.5 years
2011 +0.45ºC so far

137. Matthew R Marler says:

Joseph E. Posma: Note that I did not say that absorption and emission spectra were invented by models,

Indeed, you did not specify what parts of the model were “invented”.

138. Bart says:

John Finn says:
March 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm

“The fact remains that adding ~7 Gt of carbon to the atmosphere each year by fossil fuel burning is resulting in a net increase of atmospheric CO2.”

This is specious reasoning – a throwback to the “mass balance” argument which has been extensively debunked. You are not thinking of this properly as a continuous flow problem with dynamic feedback. CO2 is constantly coming in, and being removed. But, the rate at which it comes in and that at which is goes out are not necessarily the same, and the differential is temperature dependent.

That leads to a model of CO2 in the atmosphere as an affine function of temperature modulating the rate of change, the dynamics of which are captured in the differential equation

dCO2/dt = k*(T – To)

And, lo and behold, when we look at the data, this is exactly the relationship we see.

There is no room for significant human forcing in this relationship – it would excessively skew the observed curvature in the CO2 measurements. Conclusion: human inputs are a small part of gross flows, have little overall effect, and are rapidly sequestered. You do not even have to incorporate them into the model to get a high fidelity estimate of atmospheric CO2 in the last 55 years – all you need is the starting concentration, and the temperature record.

139. rgbatduke says:

NOTE: Shouldn’t we be giving the effect of our atmosphere on surface temps the name Planetary Atmosphere Effect (PAE) and not the misleading GHE? The CO2 is just one of numerous components of the PAE and CO2 reasonably appears to be a lower order of magnitude component.

John Nielsen-Gammon says so, and I agree. The point is that atmospheric chemistry is complex and multidimensional. Its not even particularly clear that one should stop at “atmosphere” in the case of the Earth, because I somehow suspect that the 70% of the Earth’s surface that is ocean has more than a little effect on its global climate compared to, say, Venus or Mars or Jupiter. Water is really pretty amazing stuff and our atmosphere without ocean underneath would have a completely, totally, incalculably different mean temperature.

rgb

140. rgbatduke says:

@rgbatduke you spent a lot of words to excuse nonsense. And you did it by spouting nonsense of your own. In your example, the greenhouse gas layer does not create warmth. The warmth is caused by the continual input of heat from a heat source (the sun).

There, fixed that for ya.

I repeat — it is an absolutely trivial exercise in elementary thermodynamics to show that in an open system receiving radiant or otherwise energy from some source and radiating it away to a remote cold reservoir, the interpolation of any sort of radiatively coupled layer will raise that temperature of the system. When you heat a system at a more or less fixed rate, and then slow its cooling, the system warms. If you reduce the rate of heating while keeping the rate/mechanism of cooling the same, you cool it.

The point you seem stubbornly determined to miss is that the Earth receives heat from the Sun (just as the body is heated by burning e.g. sugars). The Earth cools by radiating energy away to a 3 K blackbody “almost perfect absorber”, outer space. If you interrupt the radiative heat flow by any mechanism you like between the constantly warmed body and its cooling cold reservoir, you effectively shift the baseline temperature wherein the input heat is balanced by the outflow to warmer. I won’t even bother with the usual trivial everyday examples like insulating an attic or installing heat-reflective glass windows, because if you use the word “nonsense” in your reply above, you are already obviously incapable of differentiating the similarities and differences between various forms of heat transport between a heated reservoir and a cold reservoir.

Personally, of course, I plan to keep wearing jackets when it is cold outside, because given my baseline metabolism and the outside temperature, slowing heat flow between my skin and the great outdoors maintains my skin at a much more comfortable, warmer temperature. Nor does it matter if the slowing is performed by interrupting convection, conduction, or radiation. All three convey heat from the hot reservoir to the cold one, and slowing rates in any of the three will raise the temperature in the hot reservoir relative to the cold one when the hot reservoir receives a more or less steady inflow of heat.

rgb

141. rgbatduke says:

If you take a warm object into your air-conditioned home from outside, the object will cool until its temperature matches the environment of your house. The rate of cooling is constantly slowing as delta T trends to zero. But it will never warm as long as the environmental temperature remains constant.

For about the umptieth time, this is an utterly false analogy. You are not taking the Earth as a passive entity from one place to another. The Earth is actively and regularly heated by the Sun. It cools at a rate that is monotonically related to its mean temperture so that — given some resistance to the flow of heat it warms until a dynamical equilibrium is established, with heat in equaling heat out.

If you change the resistance of the flow of heat between the system and the cold reservoir, the system must warm or cool (for increases or decreases in that resistance, respectively) until dynamic equilibrium is once again established.

Please, then, do not confound modulation of the rate of energy flow in an open system (leading to heating or cooling of that system) with false analogies drawn from passive cooling of unheated objects.

rgb

142. philincalifornia says:

rgbatduke says:
March 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm
Nor does it matter if the slowing is performed by interrupting convection, conduction, or radiation. All three convey heat from the hot reservoir to the cold one, and slowing rates in any of the three will raise the temperature in the hot reservoir relative to the cold one when the hot reservoir receives a more or less steady inflow of heat.
————————————————————
How ironic it would be if wind turbines caused warming by interrupting convection !!

143. MartinGAtkins says:

JPS says:
March 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

@ martingatkins

not sure what you are talking about. heat transfer can definitely occur in a vacuum without mass. its called “radiation heat transfer”. granted there needs to be a physical object around for us to measure its effects but even in absence of an object the heat transfer is still occuring

Bodies that have kinetic energy also radiate in LWR and it is the LWR that carries the energy. Remember I said when a molecule absorbs radiation it tries to almost immediately re-emit that wave length away, In doing so it vibrates or flexes and it is at that moment its component parts have velocity. If it connects with another gas molecule it will lose some of its radiative energy because it has lost it in the collision. So what is happening in the flasks vacuum is the wave is carrying some energy away from the core. It is not heat but it is energy. It only converts to heat when it hits the outer skin of the flask and excites the molecules that make up the outer wall.

144. Phil. says:

Bart says:
March 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm
John Finn says:
March 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm

“The fact remains that adding ~7 Gt of carbon to the atmosphere each year by fossil fuel burning is resulting in a net increase of atmospheric CO2.”

This is specious reasoning – a throwback to the “mass balance” argument which has been extensively debunked.

Actually it hasn’t, you keep putting up a bogus model which has no resemblance to reality, that is not debunking.

145. Bart says:

philincalifornia says:
March 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Are you referring to this?

146. james griffin says:

Interesting..sometimes entertaining and easy for a packaging salesman to lose the plot…except one thing…
They still cannot find the Troposphere hotspot.

147. Richard deSousa says:

I believe the AO and the AMO are turning negative. That means the temperatures are going to plummet around the world which will bring another Maunder or Dalton Minimum if were lucky because the Maunder Minimum will be very nasty for the northern hemisphere.

148. Latitude says:

John Finn says:
March 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm
The fact remains that adding ~7 Gt of carbon to the atmosphere each year by fossil fuel burning is resulting in a net increase of atmospheric CO2
================
When you look at all the reservoirs for carbon, I seriously doubt it…
…just plants (land and aquatic) would swamp that in a heart beat
bacteria would make it all look silly

149. Brian Macker says:

John Manville, Please be quiet. I think you are troll out to make other skeptics look like complete morons. Of course CO2 and water vapor are green house gases. Anthony has run several articles explaining it.

REPLY: Hey Joe, there’s this newfangled invention, called PARAGRAPHS. You might want to try them out sometime, I hear they make unreadable compressed prose like yours much more readable. It doesn’t help with your flawed premise though. – Anthony

151. John Finn says:

Bart says:
March 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

John Finn says:
March 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Bart

We’ve been over this before – give it a rest.

152. The behavior of radiation trapped inside a cavity is not MY premise – it is the foundation of quantum mechanics. Radiation trapped inside a cavity does not increase its own temperature spectrum and nor, commensurately, can it increase the vibration spectrum and hence temperature of the material source. Trapped radiation combines in superposition in constructive and destructive interference and it was in solving this problem that led to the blackbody spectrum and quantum mechanics via Planck. Radiation trapped inside a cavity simply doesn’t change its own temperature/radiation spectrum nor does it induce higher temperature than the temperature spectrum that it is, and that is a premise which underlies quantum mechanics.

153. John Finn says:

Latitude says:
March 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm

John Finn says:
March 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm
The fact remains that adding ~7 Gt of carbon to the atmosphere each year by fossil fuel burning is resulting in a net increase of atmospheric CO2
================
When you look at all the reservoirs for carbon, I seriously doubt it…
…just plants (land and aquatic) would swamp that in a heart beat
bacteria would make it all look silly

Then why are CO2 concentrations increasing in the atmosphere? And why is the overall increase roughly proportional to human emissions for every year since 1958 at least.

154. Bart says:

Phil. says:
March 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm

“Actually it hasn’t, you keep putting up a bogus model which has no resemblance to reality, that is not debunking.”

Actually, it has, and an empty assertion that the model is bogus carries no weight.

Are you denying that the data show a relationship of the form given?

dCO2/dt = k*(T – To)

Because I do not think any sentient person could deny it. Here is an even better correlation with satellite data, though it is less long-term.

If you accept the equation, then the rest necessarily follows. So, please explain where you think the argument turns “bogus”.

155. Bart says:

John Finn says:
March 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Then why are CO2 concentrations increasing in the atmosphere?”

This is post hoc ergo propter hoc, a classic logical fallacy. There is no reason to assume they would not have increased absent human inputs.

“And why is the overall increase roughly proportional to human emissions for every year since 1958 at least.”

“Roughly” is the key word here. Some years ago, a lady in Tennesee found a spot of mold in her kitchen which “roughly” looked like Euro-centric depictions of Jesus, and pilgrims came from all around to view it. Was it truly formed by divine intervention?

The happenstance of two slightly quadratic time series being scale similar is not at all an unusual or unlikely occurrence. In fact, it’s just about guaranteed.

But, the two series look nothing like one another on the fine scale of differentials. They do not share anything close to this level of correlation.

156. Latitude says:

John Finn says:
March 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm
=====
The atmosphere holds a little more than 800 Gt…….supposedly we add 7-8 Gt
I seriously doubt if plants, bacteria, etc would not use a 1% increase in fertilizer…
..and I seriously doubt that our planet is so sensitive, or that CO2 is that powerful

Why CO2 levels are increasing is a bigger question

157. philincalifornia says:

Bart says:
March 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm
philincalifornia says:
March 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Are you referring to this?
———————————————

Thanks Bart. I somehow missed that, which is strange as I read WUWT daily. Must’ve been on a long plane ride and then some.

It was an independent thought. Realists do have those, as opposed to the “scientists” who can only go “baah baah baah”.

158. Arno Arrak says:

Steven Mosher March 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm says:

“…heat is not blocked from escaping. It escapes. But with more GHGs this escape happens from a higher colder location, and consequently it happens less rapidliy than it would otherwise.
Slowing the cooling, is referred to as warming.”

Oh, I forgot those pretty pictures. I have never understood why people make them. The fact that your computer can produce them is not enough to justify their existence. Two of them is not too bad but when people throw pages of them at you like Hansen does I really get annoyed.

159. Arno Arrak says:

…atmospheric water vapor [not carbon dioxide!] should decrease…

160. Arno Arrak commented on Notes on the February Global Temperature Anomaly.
in response to Anthony Watts:

Miskolczi theory, on the other hand, explains everything. According to him, in an atmosphere where several greenhouse gases are present they cooperate by establishing an optimum transmittance value in the IR. When the amount of one gas, say carbon dioxide, is changed that also changes the amount of IR it absorbs. This causes the other gases to shift their concentrations until the optimum transmittance in the IR is restored. In the case of the earth atmosphere the only gas whose concentration can do this is water vapor. When carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere it starts to absorb immediately. Water vapor concentration diminishes in response to it, its share of absorption is reduced, and the optimum transmittance is restored. This amounts to negative water vapor feedback, the exact opposite of what the IPCC uses.

Arno,
The data I’ve extracted from NCDC station measurements show exactly this, from 1950 to 2010, the amount temps go up during the day are almost exactly matched by the amount they will drop that night. Some years there’s slightly more cooling, others slightly more warming when averaged for the whole year.
I start with 1950, because the coverage by stations gets pretty poor prior to then, and I stopped working on the data after I finished downloading the compete 2010 data set.

161. The title states that there was a big drop in surface temperature in the month of February from ~ 0.5 to 0.2 °C. This is correct for the anomaly, but it has nothing to do with the Earth’s temperature. The reality is the Earth warmed up, but the anomaly dropped.

Let me explain. January is the coldest month of the year for the planet as a whole. Depending on the source, the average temperature is between 12.0 and 12.5 °C for the month. February is on average 0.18 °C warmer than January, also source dependent.

So let’s get this straight:

If July (average 15.9) has an anomaly of -3.5, that doesn’t matter because that 12.4 is still warmer than January’s average of 12.0?

Where does this guy learn his science? From the back of corn flake boxes?

And let us see what he says next year when January is a +3.5. Will he argue that THAT doesn’t matter because it is still less than July’s 15.9?

“Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”. . . . . Clunk!

162. If you think k is really constant in this equation as it pertains to real life (other than a cherry picked curve fit) , you don’t understand real life.

163. cba says:

It should be obvious from the data just because the Earth is receiving significantly more solar radiation in January than July and yet the overall T is cooler in January that things are indeed a bit more complex than simple radiative examples. The reason has been covered above is due to the unequal distribution of land mass and ocean. And, again one has the problem that oceans have substantially lower albedo than land so simplistically, Earth should be absorbing more of the incoming solar which is more abundant in January, yet the mean temperature is lower than July. Of course it does make sense when considering evaporative cooling and cloud formation but not before.

Mosh’s malarky about Effective Radiating Level is pure BS, hansen style. First off, they treat the lapse rate as some sort of magical absolute (depending upon h2o vapor content). It is nothing more than conservation of energy in operation, very importantly including convection as well as radiation. What’s more, no level is where all radiation comes from. Much of it leaves the surface and escapes to space. Whereever there is spectral absorption, there is mostly very short path lengths. As one goes up in altitude, the dropping pressure sharpens the peaks – a be assured that there is perfect correlation between the spectral absorption and emissions (as the temperature of the gas approaches that of the original blackbody source- but it cannot due to the fact it is radiating both outward and inward). (note that the spectral emission amount when the level is colder has a net absorption and when warmer, it would have a net emission).

Another factor missed by the Mosh (hansen) explanation is that with trace ghgs, especially when resorting to Stefan’s law, is that if one adds ghgs to increase absorption, then there is an increase in emissivity that increases the amount of radiation originating from that layer and beyond even at the same T for that layer. The only place one can say has an actual BB emission continuum at a given level in the atmosphere is where opaque clouds are present. Also, in reality, the emissivity would be wavelength dependent and very complex, not merely a single number as used in Stefan’s law – an engineering approximation.

Basically, they are creating a total fiction based upon simplifications which are not even physical and then trying to claim that these accurately describe nature. Anyone can see from the first of my post that such simplifications would lead to drastically wrong conclusions about the Jan/Jul temperature differences.

164. JP says:

John,
I think most of us understand temperature anomalies versus actual temps. As a matter of fact, we could play all kinds of games just by changing the baseline interval (1950-1980 versus 1960-1990 versus 1930-1960). I could take a warm period (1975-2005) and plot my anomalies against that period, and bingo! we have Global Cooling! That is why I don’t get too excited with these monthly anomaly reports. Many organizations use diferent yard sticks that in the end just confuse things. Climate Science, as it is done today heavily depends upon statistics. And the art of analytics has become more important than the science.

165. Bart says:

Mario Lento says:
March 8, 2013 at 2:53 am

“If you think k is really constant…”

I assume that is addressed to me. I never said it was a constant. It almost surely is not. But, over finite timelines, it can be approximated as a constant. It holds up pretty well as a single value in the interval 1958-present.

This is elementary, Taylor series based linearization. High school students learn it in their first course in calculus.

166. Bart says:

Bart says:
March 8, 2013 at 10:21 am

The funny thing about that comment is that I usually get criticized from the other side. People claim that the relationship does not hold in earlier periods, based on very inferior measurements of CO2 inferred from ice cores. While not conceding the accuracy of those measurements, I point out that the relationship can change over time, and they then accuse me of slight of hand for suggesting a linearized relationship may need updating from time to time.

I can’t win with people who are bound and determined to find an excuse to ignore the obvious. But, it is all rigorous, well-established mathematics, and the linearized relationship with constant affine parameters holds incredibly well in the period 1958-present, the period in which we have the best, most modern, most accurate, and most up-to-date measurements. And, in that interval, we can say unequivocally that temperatures have determined CO2 concentration, and not human inputs.

167. Bart says:

Bart says:
March 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

“And, in that interval, we can say unequivocally that temperatures have determined CO2 concentration, and not human inputs.”

Furthermore, we can conclude with equal assurance that CO2 concentration has not influenced globally averaged temperature to any significant degree.

168. rgbatduke says:

The behavior of radiation trapped inside a cavity is not MY premise – it is the foundation of quantum mechanics. Radiation trapped inside a cavity does not increase its own temperature spectrum and nor, commensurately, can it increase the vibration spectrum and hence temperature of the material source. Trapped radiation combines in superposition in constructive and destructive interference and it was in solving this problem that led to the blackbody spectrum and quantum mechanics via Planck. Radiation trapped inside a cavity simply doesn’t change its own temperature/radiation spectrum nor does it induce higher temperature than the temperature spectrum that it is, and that is a premise which underlies quantum mechanics.

Fortunately, since the “cavity” the Earth is trapped in is really large and is almost entirely at 3 K as far as radiation is concerned, we’re sitting right next (in astronomical terms) to this big thing called “the Sun”. And when one takes into account the fact that the Earth’s surface is not a passive blackbody cooling because it is radiating all of its energy into an enormous near-perfect radiation absorber, but is rather an active part of an open system that receives energy from the sun predominantly through one mostly-unblocked frequency band through the atmosphere but radiates it back to space through a significantly blocked frequency band through the atmosphere (where the atmosphere itself radiates energy back to space at temperatures that are much lower than the surface) one can easily show that the dynamic surface of the Earth is warmer in dynamical equilibrium with the greenhouse blocking than it would be without it.

The Earth does not change its own temperature — the Sun does that — but the temperature the Earth’s surface oscillates around in dynamical equilibrium absolutely depends on whether or not outgoing radiation from that surface is absorbed and partially reflected back to the surface by colder gases surrounding it.

The day you actually learn some thermodynamics and stop misapplying things that apply to passive thermal reservoirs to even the simplest possible dynamical model for an Earth in thermal balance between a very hot, nearby Sun and a very cold rest of the Universe, you will stop sounding rather silly. And the same is true of Latour. It is so very easy to show that interpolating a cooler blackbody absorber layer between a continuously warmed reservoir and a perfect absorber results in the warmed reservoir getting warmer than it would without the interpolant layer, in dynamical equilibrium. And no laws of thermodynamics are harmed in the least by the result.

rgb

169. Radiation doesn’t cause itself to heat itself up when it interacts with itself or its own source. QED. Welcome to blackbodies and quantum mechanics. Read up on Planck. Trapping radiation inside a cavity with an active source is *exactly* how blackbodies are created, and it doesn’t heat itself up to infinity, or at all.

170. rgbatduke says:

Radiation doesn’t cause itself to heat itself up when it interacts with itself or its own source. QED. Welcome to blackbodies and quantum mechanics. Read up on Planck. Trapping radiation inside a cavity with an active source is *exactly* how blackbodies are created, and it doesn’t heat itself up to infinity, or at all.

I teach graduate electrodynamics and quantum mechanics. I have a published paper in QED. I actually understand BB radiation reasonably well, and in my checkered past have derived Stefan-Boltzmann. None of which has the slightest bearing on what I said up above. I repeat: The day you actually learn…” and will add a suggestion to learn some of the rest of physics too, not just thermodynamics, in particular the proper description of open (non-equilibrium) systems.

rgb

171. John Finn says:

JP says:
March 8, 2013 at 6:05 am

John,
I think most of us understand temperature anomalies versus actual temps. As a matter of fact, we could play all kinds of games just by changing the baseline interval (1950-1980 versus 1960-1990 versus 1930-1960). I could take a warm period (1975-2005) and plot my anomalies against that period, and bingo! we have Global Cooling!

Uhh! It doesn’t matter what base period you choose it won’t change the trend. The actual anomalies might be lower in absolute terms but that won’t affect how they relate to previous periods.

Some time ago UAH changed their baseline from 1979-1998 to 1981-2010. While this changed the actual anomaly numbers it had no affect on the warming trend which remained exactly the same at ~0.13 deg per decade.

172. “I teach graduate electrodynamics and quantum mechanics. I have a published paper in QED.”

Then why are you so confused as to the behavior of radiation trapped inside a cavity? You should brush up on your history of those developments and what they lead to, and then correct your cognitive dissonance. Radiation interacting with itself doesn’t change its temperature spectrum or the temperature it can induce in matter. Thermo 101 and first year quantum. Enjoy.

173. JP says:

“Some time ago UAH changed their baseline from 1979-1998 to 1981-2010. While this changed the actual anomaly numbers it had no affect on the warming trend which remained exactly the same at ~0.13 deg per decade.”

True for UAH. But I wonder about HadCrut? ( Don’t get me wrong, I prefer satellite soundings versus thermometers).And while the trend would be positive (warming) the magnitude in the rise would be less. And if we saw global temperatures stay neutral to slight cooling for a short interval (say 7 months), people would thing we are cooling, when in fact we could still be warming if we used the period 1950-1980 as a baseline. I am not saying we haven’t warmed since 1970. But I long tired of this issue. I think it is interesting, but I tend to take a very, very long view of climate (centennial versus decadal). But, I get your perspective; I could have overstated my point.

174. Hi Bart: I was rude in my comment the way I hastily commented. Noted.

However, you wrote “Actually, it has, and an empty assertion that the model is bogus carries no weight.”

The model is useless for predicting anything as a function of CO2. The only function it serves is that with some “mysterious” k value one can fit a curve of temperature proportion to CO2 for some period of time. At other periods, another different k value will be needed to fit the temperature curve. Thus, CO2 has no bearing. If k varies for different time series, then we can presume that CO2 cools temperatures… right?

175. Lars P. says:

lsvalgaard says:
March 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm
Normally the Arctic is losing energy at a rate of 163 W/m^2. In January of 2013 it was losing energy at a rate of 173 W/m^2.
Because the Earth is closest to the Sun in January it receives more energy from the Sun, so it is understandable that it must also lose more…

Leif you either negate the global temperature average, and thus all the temperature calculation of the modern climatology in one sentence (wow cool!) or you have looked too much at anomalies and not to real temperature graph?

Irrelevant to the fact that the Earth is closer to the Sun and receives more energy in January, the Earth radiates energy in line with the absolute temperature it has, not in line with the anomaly or with the energy received.
The years to year variation of “global temperature” is of about 3.5°C – look at the absolute temperature global:

The absolute minimum is exactly January when the Earth is closest to the sun, which means that at that time the Earth is radiating the less.
Now there might be different explanations for this, but these should come from those who calculate the global average temperature and support this concept.
The anomalies are only yearly deviations from this average line.

176. Lars P. says:

Guest post by John Kehr
Now for something interesting. In January the anomaly in the Arctic was well above average. By simple physics that meant the Arctic was losing energy to space at a much higher rate than average. Normally the Arctic is losing energy at a rate of 163 W/m^2. In January of 2013 it was losing energy at a rate of 173 W/m^2. That 6% increase in rate of energy loss meant that the Arctic ended up with a negative anomaly in February. The dramatic change in Arctic anomaly played a big role in the drop of the global anomaly in February.

The rate of energy loss is a self-correcting mechanism. Physics don’t allow it to operate in any other way. As a whole the Earth lost ~ 4 W/m^2 more than average over the entire surface in the month of January. Data for February is not yet available, but it will be close to average because the anomaly was closer to average. The higher rate of energy loss in January resulted in a more average February. That is how the climate operates.

Finally I have to get a dig in at CO2. In January of 2013 it was 395 ppm and in 1985 it was 50 points lower at 345 ppm.

Thank you John for the post!
Very good points in it. Of course there are people who try to distract from analysing the message, as this is another nail in the CAGW coffin.
The models with positive feedback assume greater increase of the temperatures in the lower atmosphere to allow for the radiation of the energy, and in contrary the Earth is losing fast more energy for any temperature increase without fulfilling the prophecy of the Thermaggedon in the lower atmosphere.
The discrepancy between real data and incremental model prophecy widens as the years pass by.

177. Lars P. says:

Steven Mosher says:
March 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm
Finally, the temperature data you are showing is the pretty color maps….. That’s a model output.
Just for your information. And Oh, the model used to create those temperatures?
That model agrees with me. It’s physics says c02 causes warming. So, rather funnily you used model temperature data ( NCEP) and the models used to create that data, agree that c02 causes warming.

Models are only tools. Improper use of tools does not disable the tool itself, but shows the incapacity of the tool user to use the tool.
A tool may be biased in a direction or another but still give good approximation from one step to the next.
Using that tool in incremental analysis over longer steps (periods or time frame) shows the incapacity of the user to understand that small systematic errors, can cause big differences over longer periods.

178. Bart says:

Mario Lento says:
March 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Hi Mario. I appreciate the polite response.

It is useful for predicting CO2 given the temperature record. If you give me the temperature record, and don’t tell me the CO2, then ask me what CO2 will be at the end of the record, I can give you a very good estimate of it. And, I do not need to know human inputs over that time interval to get that very good estimate.

Yes, you can argue that, that is not a useful prediction, since you had to tell me the temperatures. I would respond that the prediction of CO2 is fine, you just first have to formulate a useful predictor of temperatures. That predictor of temperatures can be formulated essentially uncoupled from CO2, so you can neglect that in coming up with it. How do I know this? Because this regression shows that the temperature series for the past century+ has been essentially a constant rate trend plus an approximately 60 year cyclic phenomenon, and it has not deviated from that pattern even as CO2 levels have increased markedly. In fact, you can use that trend + ~60 year cycle as a simple model to predict temperatures in the years ahead. I am willing to wager big bucks (to someone I know well and trust, so please do not apply, any strangers reading this) that it will do a fairly good job of doing so.

The k parameter can vary, but the data show it has been fairly stable, fairly constant, for the last 55 years. Yes, it could suddenly shift. So can the Earth’s magnetic field, yet we still use it to navigate, knowing that it is unlikely to shift significantly enough to throw the indicated direction off too far for it to be of use in the near term. Independently of temperature (i.e., not considering large changes in temperature), variation in the k and To parameters depend most obviously on the CO2 concentration in ocean waters currently upwelling, and the state of the biosphere. So, the rate at which they can change is tied to the rate at which those variables change. However, k is constrained to be positive, and significantly greater than zero, because CO2 generating processes are very sensitive to temperature.

“If k varies for different time series, then we can presume that CO2 cools temperatures… right?”

The relationship indicates the direction of causality, as it would be absurd to argue that temperatures depend on the rate of change of CO2, and not its absolute level. Thus, the relationship indicates that temperature drives CO2, and not the other way around.

179. On 7th March Joe Postma said that ” .. temperature is a function of the frequency distribution of the radiation .. “.

I was led to believe that it was the other way around, i.e. the frequency distribution of e/m radiation from a body is a function of the body’s temperature but i must be wrong. How can a “Slayer” and “Senior Fellow” of blogging group Principia Scientific International possibluy be mistaken? (see Section 3.12 of “Spotlight On Principia Scientific International” http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/spotlighton-principia-scientific.html).

Best regards, Pete Ridley

180. Pete Ridley has apparently never heard of a blackbody spectrum. Or algebra. How can an old man not know algebra? Because he spends his time following people he’s obsessed with.

181. rgbatduke says:

On 7th March Joe Postma said that ” .. temperature is a function of the frequency distribution of the radiation .. “.

I was led to believe that it was the other way around, i.e. the frequency distribution of e/m radiation from a body is a function of the body’s temperature…

Versus:

On 11 March Joe Postma said that “Pete Ridley has apparently never heard of a blackbody spectrum. Or algebra. How can an old man not know algebra? Because he spends his time following people he’s obsessed with.”

Now, let’s see — sarcasm aside — who is right, Pete Ridley or Joe Postma.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck%27s_law

To quote from the article:

“Planck’s Law can be written:

$B_\nu(T) = \frac{2h\nu^3}{c^2} \frac{1}{e^{h\nu/k_B T} - 1}$

Now it is a simple matter of fact that this is the equation that describes blackbody radiation. It is also a simple matter of fact that this relation is indeed the frequency distribution of electromagnetic radiation as a function of temperature.

It would appear that Pete Ridley is not only precisely correct in his assertion that Joe Postma has the nature of a blackbody spectrum precisely backwards, where the frequency distribution is indeed a function of the temperature and where all we learn from any other observed frequency distribution is that its sources are not strictly thermal blackbody sources, but that there is some justification in his continuing sarcastic commentary on the dragonslayers, an organization whose sole purpose appears to be making honest scientific skeptics look like idiots by association.

If Joe ever actually learns how to read a graph (such as this one:

which sadly presents spectral intensity as a function of wavelength, not frequency, for Mr. Sun, Joe will learn that the Earth is an open system poised between a hot, large blackbody object (Mr. Sun) and an even larger near-perfect blackbody absorber (outer space at 3K). Joe might then consider not using stupid thermodynamic arguments based on unheated thermal reservoirs to make egregious conclusions about the behavior of a heated, open reservoir like the Earth when its radiative behavior is modulated away from that of a black body by the presence of an interpolant layer of gas that absorbs and re-emits radiation in certain broad bands that lie more or less in the middle of the Earth’s thermal spectrum.

He might then take a glance at Petty’s A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation, look at the measurements top of atmosphere and bottom of atmosphere spectra, and then go away and never, ever make any of the absurd and incorrect assertions about CO_2, water vapor, and other greenhouse gases being incapable of modulating the surface temperature of the heated Earth.

But he won’t do any of these things. He won’t even acknowledge that he was wrong in the conflict up above, in spite of my taking the time to actually laboriously type in the actual equation Planck derived (and yes, that I derived myself when I first took Modern Physics some 40 years ago) that proves him categorically incorrect and guilty himself of all of the ignorance that he ascribes to anyone who disagrees with his absurd contention that “cold gas can never cause a warmed surface, cooled only by radiation, to become warmer”.

rgb

182. rgbatduke says:

Damn, my previous reply was just scroogled by a dropped wireless connection. I will summarize with a single equation:

$B_\nu(T) = \frac{2h\nu}{c^2} \frac{1}{e^{h\nu/k_BT} - 1}$

is Planck’s Law:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck%27s_law

Hence Pete Ridley is correct in all respects, including his generally disrespectful dismissal of the crackpots of “Principia Scientifica”, and Joe Postma does indeed have the relationship between spectrum and temperature precisely backwards in his post of March 7.

We are tempted to wonder: Has Joe ever heard of a blackbody spectrum? Or algebra? Or Planck’s Law? If so, it is difficult to see how he could have conflated the causal relationship that temperature determines the spectrum, not the spectrum the temperature in the case of blackbody radiation. We are surrounded by cases of non-thermal spectra — lasers, fluorescent lights — and it is only when we see a spectrum like this one:

(for Mr. Sun) that we can reasonably believe that the radiating object is at a nearly uniform radiative temperature and is behaving approximately like a blackbody.

However, in spite of being just about as wrong as it is possible to be, I very much doubt that Joe will admit any such thing. If Joe ever took the trouble to understand this stuff, perhaps by investing a small sum in Grant Petty’s A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation and working through it, in particular looking at and trying to understand the TOA and BOA spectrographs and their relation to blackbody curves at different temperatures in different parts of the spectrum, Joe would be forced to acknowledge that he has been quite wrong to assert that there is no such thing as the GHE, and then Principia Scientifica would take away his “fellowship” and then where would he be?

No longer a crank, I suppose.

rgb

183. You guys have no clue what you’re talking about.

You take an off-hand remark that has clear meaning in the context of the paragraph, and then single it out to reinterpret it in under another context.

This is what you’re reduced to. It’s called sophistry.

Radiation trapped inside a cavity does not heat up its own source or increase is frequency spectrum and hence its temperature. To deny this is to deny the derivation of quantum mechanics, let alone thermodynamics. Read up on the development of Planck’s Law. Copying it from Wikipedia and writing it here counts for squat.

184. rgbatduke says:

Or, maybe it didn’t get scroogled. Sigh.

Either way, the conclusion is the same. Before asserting that others don’t understand the blackbody curve, Joe should invest some time learning to understand it himself.

rgb

• Planck’s Law is not the GHE. If you have the frequency spectrum you can get the temperature; if you have the temperature you can get the frequency spectrum. No need to deny algebra.

185. rgbatduke says:

Radiation trapped inside a cavity does not heat up its own source or increase is frequency spectrum and hence its temperature. To deny this is to deny the derivation of quantum mechanics, let alone thermodynamics. Read up on the development of Planck’s Law. Copying it from Wikipedia and writing it here counts for squat.

Why do you keep repeating this? What is the relevance of this statement to the consideration of the Earth, poised between the hot Sun and the 3 K perfect absorber sky? Can you say “straw man”?

Instead of yammering (incorrectly) about blackbody radiation from a cavity, how about considering the radiative cooling of a heated body suspended INSIDE an effectively infinite, near-zero-temperature cavity that absorbs for all practical purposes 100% of the radiation emitted into it? How about considering the Stefan-Boltzmann law and pyrometry as an empirical practice based quite accurately on Stefan-Boltzmann and Planck’s Law? Then how about thinking about interpreting actual spectrographs?

But no, straw men are so much easier to win an argument with. For one thing, you don’t actually have to work through the non-equilibrium dynamics of an open system, you can just spout irrelevancies from equilibrium thermodynamics.

rgb

186. RGB you’re not even talking about anything relevant now. Changing goal posts? A spectrum is not evidence of the GHE. Partial return of radiation would be an approximation to 100% return, the best case scenario, which just creates a blackbody spectrum, and doesn’t heat itself up. Planck’s Law and the Stefan-Boltzmann Law which results from it aren’t the GHE. No need to get upset.

187. rgbatduke says:

Which is warmer, a heated body in a cavity with perfectly absorptive walls at 3 K (no return) or a heated body in a cavity with walls maintained at any intermediary temperatures? No need to get upset, but there is a wee bit of a need to not propose irrelevant models. The Earth’s surface isn’t in a 100% return cavity, in the absence of an atmosphere it would be in a (nearly) 0% return cavity. The atmosphere acts like a partial return cavity at a finite, much warmer temperature, in certain bands of frequencies. This raises the temperature compared to what it would be in the 3K cavity of outer space alone.

This is, once again, so bone simple I am truly amazed that anybody could actually argue about it. Putting any matter whatsoever in between the sun-warmed Earth’s surface and outer space would raise the surface’s mean temperature compared to exposure directly to the 3 K outer space. Putting an opaque absorber gas that returns a fair bit of the outgoing radiation in at least certain bands that are right in the middle of the blackbody curve associated with the radiating surface temperature raises it a nontrivial amount.

But then, you don’t appreciate the tuning fork argument you yourself raised, even though you can hear the difference in sound intensity at the source when a fraction of the outgoing radiation is returned. You don’t seem to be able to comprehend simple energy conservation.

rgb

188. Joe, rgb
Maybe this will help the discussion (or maybe not, we’ll see).
I’ve been studying nightly cooling (you can follow the link in my name, or the links I’ve posted in a number of my replies). The temperature record shows that it cools with a close approximation the same amount temperatures go up the preceding day.
This led me to getting an IR thermometer and measuring the temp of the zenith in IR. I believe the physics of Co2 GHG’s, but I also know that it doesn’t show up in the nightly cooling record.
What I found is that on a clear sky 35F day, the zenith measured ~-41F. At 35F, there is minimal water vapor, and from searching the web many such ir zenith measurements are within 10-20 degrees of air temp. I suspect that water vapor is the reason it’s so much warmer. Based on the nightly cooling records, this makes me think temperatures are self regulated by water vapor, and while a doubling of Co2 might raise temps by ~1.1C, it would be the zenith temp changing, not air temps.

I think this provides a reasonable explanation of measurements with the physics of GHG. And proves there is no dangerous AGW.

189. RGB you’re still getting upset. Radiation trapped inside a cavity doesn’t increase its own frequency spectrum or increase the temperature of its source. It creates a blackbody spectrum. Read up on Planck and the origin of quantum mechanics. No one ever got warm by standing in front of a mirror.

• Joseph,
When reflective materials are used for insulation, it surely helps keep them warm.

190. rgbatduke says:

RGB you’re still getting upset. Radiation trapped inside a cavity doesn’t increase its own frequency spectrum or increase the temperature of its source. It creates a blackbody spectrum. Read up on Planck and the origin of quantum mechanics. No one ever got warm by standing in front of a mirror.

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

Or, perhaps they did, and do all the time. In fact, if you hold a sheet of aluminum foil up in front of your face, you can feel the reflected radiation as it causes your skin temperature to slightly increase.

You might want to think about the Poynting vector and conservation of energy and power flow and all that before making silly statements.

But let me be precise and clear.

a) Given a spherical object $O$ with a steady input of power $P$.

b) Inside a perfect absorber cavity (one that does not return any radiation at all, where outer space is a damn good approximation at black sky with a 3K blackbody temperature).

c) It will achieve thermal equilibrium when the total power flux of thermal/blackbody radiation balances $P$. We can compute this from the Stefan-Boltzmann equation:

$P = \epsilon \sigma T_e^4 A$

where $A$ is the surface area of the spherical object $O$.

d) Putting any matter whatsoever at any higher temperature between the object $O$ and the perfect absorber cavity will cause its temperature to rise relative to the thermal equilibrium $T_e$ established in c). Putting a perfect optical reflector in between it would reflect 100% of the energy being radiated by $O$ and would cause its temperature to increase without bound as this effectively puts it into an adiabatic state with a finite power input.

Again, simple energy conservation. Given $P$ and emissivity $\epsilon$, finding $T_e$ is a one line exercise in algebra. Obstructing/reflecting any of the radiation outflow from $O$ relative to a surrounding 3 K blackbody cavity, which is where true equilibrium lies will cause the temperature of $O$ to rise. This includes the case where the interpolated material heats up BECAUSE of the radiation it absorbs en route to the surrounding perfect radiative absorber — the specific case of the GHE.

The problem with your harping on blackbody cavities is that they are adiabatically isolated systems in thermal equilibrium. They have no power source. The Earth is not a blackbody cavity — it has multiple power sources (the sun, tides, internal nuclear heating). Nor is it in thermal equilibrium — it is inside a Universe-sized “blackbody cavity” with equilibrium radiation at three degrees Kelvin, the temperature the Earth would eventually have without heating.

rgb

191. Hi Bart: You wrote:

“That predictor of temperatures can be formulated essentially uncoupled from CO2, so you can neglect that in coming up with it. How do I know this? Because this regression shows that the temperature series for the past century+ has been essentially a constant rate trend plus an approximately 60 year cyclic phenomenon, and it has not deviated from that pattern even as CO2 levels have increased markedly. In fact, you can use that trend + ~60 year cycle as a simple model to predict temperatures in the years ahead. I am willing to wager big bucks (to someone I know well and trust, so please do not apply, any strangers reading this) that it will do a fairly good job of doing so.”

So you are saying that the equation predicted flat temperatures for the past 15 years? In other words, CO2 drove the temperatures flat from 1998, but upwards before that period?

192. Hi Robert (rgb),

I realised many months ago that trying to reason with Joe Postma is as fruitful as trying to reason with a drunk. His superiority complex prohibits acceptance that he is wrong.

Dr. David Weston Allen and you too have had similar experiences trying to debate with Joe and his fellow “Slayers” at PSI. It’s like talking to a wall.

Keep up the good work.

Best regards, Pete Ridley

193. rgbatduke says:

So you are saying that the equation predicted flat temperatures for the past 15 years? In other words, CO2 drove the temperatures flat from 1998, but upwards before that period?

And downward before that. And upward before that. Hell, you can go back over the last million years and CO_2 is solely responsible for all of the ups and downs.

Isn’t it?

rgb

194. Micro: “When reflective materials are used for insulation, it surely helps keep them warm.”

Keeping them warm is not the GHE. A space blanket doesn’t heat you when you stand beside it, only when you’re wrapped in it. It does the same thing as a blanket but even better because it is impermeable.

195. RBG, The radiation from an ice cube does not warm you up or make you hotter. Please stop denying the origin of quantum theory, and thinking that just because something has a spectrum, it must be heating you up. Stand in front of a mirror and watch nothing happen to your skin temperature. Radiation trapped inside a cavity or returned from the source does not heat the source up some more. Stating the S-B Equation doesn’t change that – Planck’s Law and the S-B Law which comes from it do not say that trapped radiation causes an increase in its own frequency distribution and temperature.

196. RBG: “you can go back over the last million years and CO_2 is solely responsible for all of the ups and downs”

Complete fraud. The up and down of CO2 was caused BY the up and down of temperature. Everyone knows that CO2 lags temperature and therefore isn’t a cause to temperature. Read Bart’s recent posts. There are still people who believe Al Gore? Amazing.

197. RGB: “you can go back over the last million years and CO_2 is solely responsible for all of the ups and downs.”

There are still people who believe Al Gore? It was *temperature* that was responsible for the ups and downs of CO2. Read Bart’s recent posts up the line. Everyone knows that CO2 lagged temperature for those last million years and therefore CO2 wasn’t cause of anything.

198. @Joseph E Postma says:
March 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm
“RBG, The radiation from an ice cube does not warm you up or make you hotter. ”

I would have to agree… otherwise, one could trap a photon of light in a mirrored room and the room would heat up with all that reflected energy… then we could harness all that free energy from time to time.

I think what entices the mindset is that a relatively warm object next to a mass warmer than absolute zero but cooler than the relatively warm object would cool less than if the relatively warm object were near a mass at absolute zero. This is true if all else were equal. Some people see that cooler object as an energy source, when in fact it is not.

• @Mario
“I think what entices the mindset is that a relatively warm object next to a mass warmer than absolute zero but cooler than the relatively warm object would cool less than if the relatively warm object were near a mass at absolute zero.”

This is fact.

“Some people see that cooler object as an energy source, when in fact it is not.”

This is wrong. SB is calculated based on degrees K, because everything above 0K gives off energy.

199. rgbatduke says:

Dr. David Weston Allen and you too have had similar experiences trying to debate with Joe and his fellow “Slayers” at PSI. It’s like talking to a wall.

Ahhh, Joe is relatively benign. He actually knows some physics, he just doesn’t know it very well and isn’t thinking things like detailed balance in energy flow through, and he sadly accepts the word of some other slayers that the asserted GHE is somehow heat flowing from a cold equilibrium reservoir to warm a hot equilibrium reservoir (not true — the “hot reservoir” is being actively heated, and cold materials are perfectly capable of impeding the flow of heat in any version of the heat equation or analysis of energy flow).

No, if you want the true Horror, the Horror, have a conversation with or visit the website of FauxScienceSlayer above. A.K.A. Joseph A. Olson. There you will learn, oh, so many things. He seems to have laid off his assertion that thermonuclear fusion in the Earth’s crust is powering AGW, and is instead back onto fission. Oh, wait, no he hasn’t:

“What force causes these huge climate change cycles ? There is an apparent correlation with alignments of Jupiter and Neptune. At certain points in their orbits, these planets are closest to Earth when the gravity is attractive and then suddenly at passing, the gravity pulls the crust in the opposite direction. This additional shock wave tumbles the Uranium nodules setting off spontaneous natural nuclear explosions (see Oklo). Occasionally there is also a large deposit of Lithium to create a fission-fusion explosion like our 1952 Hydrogen bomb (see Teller-Ulam).”

Someday Olson should actually amuse himself by computing just how much the awesome gravitation of Jupiter and Neptune “suddenly, at passing” pulls the crust in the opposite direction. For a value of suddenly that, well, isn’t. But how can one even begin to educate such a complete ass? Point out that the Earth is in free fall with respect to all of the gravitational influences at its location in space, and that they act more or less identically on the whole object? Point out that the direct gravitational force of attraction of Jupiter alone is tiny indeed, and that the only thing that exerts a differential force is Jupiter’s tide, which is tiny over another power of the distance in between? Point out that Neptune is really, really far away in addition to not being all that big, so that its direct gravitational force is really, really tiny, and its tidal differential so tiny that I doubt we could measure it (or, frankly, Jupiter’s tidal differential) with our most sensitive instrumentation?

So fixing his knowledge of physics or the ability to do simple arithmetic isn’t going to happen, and pointing out summary articles such as:

isn’t good enough for him. If you read other items on his website, where he speaks freely about “the Godel metric” and the supposed “shadow government” that really runs things, and keeps the truth about the possibility of time travel (no, I’m not making this up) from the rest of us all to cover up the real reason for the red shift, which (in case you weren’t aware of it) is not the Big Bang — it’s all part of a huge government conspiracy, the same one that backs climate science and pretty much any other commonly accepted scientific knowledge that he doesn’t “like”. So when you read a table of things like the concentration of radioactives inside the Earth and their energy production per kilogram (order of a trillionth of a watt), when you read that 44 TW is being transported from the interior to the surface every day (which is just under 0.1 W/m^2, BTW, a piece of arithmetic JAO seems to get wrong elsewhere in the piece I’m quoting, and as such 0.03% of the roughly 300 watts/m^2 associated with insolation), this is all wildly wrong! What he fails to appreciate is that even if it were low by a factor of 3 (which it’s suspect it is not) it would still be only 0.3 W/m^2 compared to 300, a whole 0.1%, and that this number is not meaningfully variable as the heat equation itself smooths out any variations caused by — ahem — tidal interactions with Jupiter and Neptune that make Uranium nodules tumble together to set off thermonuclear explosions of Lithium inside of the Earth.

No, the sad thing is that Joe is actually too smart to hang out with that crowd — they seem to be rather a bunch of odd bedfellows where it is OK to stand up next to a complete crank as long as it is in a good, religious cause. I expect that one day he will wake up, read through all of Olson’s website, actually get a (dare I say it) book or two on radiative physics, ideally including Petty, remind himself about the Poynting vector and the heat equation, smack himself in the forehead and say “what WAS I THINKING” and move on. Another person I feel sorry for — a bit — is Pierre Latour, who also manages to completely ignore Mr. Sun and Mr. Night Sky when reproducing figures from elementary thermo texts involving passive thermal reservoirs to try to prove the CO_2 cannot cause the surface of the Earth to warm simply by impeding the output flow of heat to 3 K outer space that was originally received from a far, far, hotter source — the Sun. No laws of thermodynamics are harmed by this process, I promise.

But you know all that — I think you’re on that damn list that Roger Taguchi set up (and that I VERY briefly participated in, before realizing that that way lies madness). Judith Curry’s remark seems most apropos:

“If you’ve followed the Skydragon threads, you can imagine the obtuseness, false accusations, deliberate misrepresentations, sophistry etc. that dominated these emails.”

I don’t think Joe is dishonest, merely (badly) mistaken. But I can’t figure out WHAT Olson is (or rather, I can but it’s rude to say it), and I’ve had spectacular offline discussions with other slayers as well. No crank theory is too cranky to be adulated as long as it opposes the GHE, no argument however cogent in support of the GHE is ever listened to and taken seriously.

This is the great tragedy of climate science. It has become the primary battlefield of a modern religious war, one that (like the great religious wars of the past) is being used primarily to extort wealth and power from a populace literally incapable of actually following and working through the many arguments themselves. I’m a mathematician, physicist, statistician and computer modeler and work pretty hard on this stuff as one of my primary hobbies, as it were, and I find it difficult (in part because even the sources of data are now corrupt, where they are openly available at all, and because it seems as though everybody who works in climate science got there somehow without ever taking a course in even elementary statistics and who have never heard of error bars). Pity the poor politician or person in the street whose idea of difficult math was high school algebra and who has, therefore, no idea how difficult the physics problem the GCMs are attempting to solve is. Pity the poor person who has never heard of confirmation bias, data dredging, or all of the myriad other ways to lie with numbers and graphs and statements drawn only from selected parts of the big picture.

Periodically I vow not to get drawn back into a pointless discussion, because it is precisely as fruitless as trying to discuss Noah’s Ark with a Biblically Inerrant Conservative Christian — no little thing like mathematics or common sense is going to get in the way of religious belief. But hell, I’m a wild-eyed optimist, and think that if only I explain things just right

rgb

200. rgbatduke says:

Complete fraud. The up and down of CO2 was caused BY the up and down of temperature. Everyone knows that CO2 lags temperature and therefore isn’t a cause to temperature. Read Bart’s recent posts. There are still people who believe Al Gore? Amazing.

Obviously I needed to put a tag in front of my comment. Let me remind you that I’m a skeptic. This was a sarcastic joke.

But by all means, take it seriously.

Sheesh.

rgb

201. rgbatduke says:

RBG, The radiation from an ice cube does not warm you up or make you hotter. Please stop denying the origin of quantum theory, and thinking that just because something has a spectrum, it must be heating you up. Stand in front of a mirror and watch nothing happen to your skin temperature. Radiation trapped inside a cavity or returned from the source does not heat the source up some more. Stating the S-B Equation doesn’t change that – Planck’s Law and the S-B Law which comes from it do not say that trapped radiation causes an increase in its own frequency distribution and temperature.

Are you completely insane? Let me try one more time.

It is not radiation trapped in a cavity — it is radiation trapped in a cavity WITH A SOURCE THAT KEEPS ADDING MORE ENERGY.

Sheesh again, is this really so difficult to grasp? Which one is hotter? A 100 watt light bulb sitting in outer space where 100% of its outgoing radiation simply departs, or a 100 watt light bulb inside a partially reflective cavity that only lets 1/2 of the radiation incident on it escape?

In both cases, precisely 100 watts of power must be radiated away to keep the system in detailed balance, not net heating or cooling. In the latter, however, the integrated power of the radiation inside the cavity incident on the inside surface of the partial reflector has to be 200 watts for 100 watts to escape. The light bulb will absolutely be hotter in temperature at the same power in order to sustain the increased energy density inside the cavity.

As for the mirror: When I was a kid, growing up in India, we had these nifty radiant space heaters that were basically a coil with a parabolic reflector behind it. Curiously, they were a lot hotter in front of the reflector than behind them.

Or here’s a really nifty experiment — take two ordinary incandescent 100 watt light bulbs. Place a suitable thermometer on the surface of both. Cover one tightly with aluminum foil. Turn them both on. See which one sets your house on fire (I wouldn’t recommend doing this one unattended). Note well that the foil has excellent conductivity — better than the glass — so obstructing heat conduction isn’t a major factor, and both bulbs have the same shape before and after so neither is variation of convection.

rgb

202. RACookPE1978 says:

rgbatduke says:
March 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm (and)
MiCro says:
March 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Let me distract both of you from what I know is a frustrating effort, and – instead! – ask a more difficult question about radiation heat losses. Radiation heat absorption from nearby cooler objects will be completely ignored for a bit …. Except not really. 8<)

1. Assume you have a one square meter of 4 C water radiating into a cloudy sky at night; air temperature = -10 C.
2. Same water temperature, but now a clear sky also at -10 C air temp at 2 meters.

Water temperature is 4 degrees C, or 277 K, right? Emissivity of water = e= 0.97. S-B would tell us it is radiating at = e * S-B*(T^4).

Except the water is not radiating into "space at 3 degrees K, but into air at -10 C, 263 K. Emissivity air = .62, according several papers. But what is the "shape factor" between the two "objects? One a dome at – what? 2 km up? One a flat "object" at sea level.

Or are we supposed to use the 2 km air temperature if that is how far the water's IR radiation goes to into the air? Or does the air's IR wavelength (its initial energy) determine ITS wavelength frequency and wavelength distance, thus its penetration ability, and thus the temperature of the air that is radiating? After all, the further that the air's IR radiation must come from, the higher the air level that is on average is radiating, and the lower that air's temperature. On the other hand, the higher the air mass, the colder the air, the lower the frequency of the IR emitted from that air, and the shorter its effective range.

On any calm clear night, the temperature of the air on ground level by morning is much colder than on cloudy nights that start at the same point. I've stood too, too many night shifts not to recognize radiation cooling! But what is the equation "proving" that a pond or a car window will freeze over on a clear night, compared to a cloudy night?

• RACookPE1978 says:
March 11, 2013 at 9:07 pm
I got my initiation standing outside setting up my telescope, logging temps and seeing pretty large drops as the Sun went down.

I went and bought a IR thermometer (which I have returned, I’m going to build one that has a usb port so I can data log it), clear sky 35F day, the zenith was ~-41F, 75F colder. Clouds were warmer, overcast even warmer, but that wasn’t my interest so I can only remember seeing 0 to -20F temps or so. It was also fixed at .95 e, so I think .63 would mean the temp was even lower.
At 10C, there’s going to be more water vapor it will be so it won’t as cold either, but I never measured temps that warm. But it won’t be as cold as at 1.6C is.
I also logged air and ground temps one night, while the air dropped into the 20’s, we had frost on the grass, the dirt between the bricks in my patio were still about 34-35F.
Lastly, shape factor, I don’t know, but for the equations I’m working on I’m using a half hemisphere which I think is the default 2 body shape.

203. @Micro: This is fact.
“Some people see that cooler object as an energy source, when in fact it is not.”

I stand corrected… I should have written “that the cooler object as an energy source that heats the warmer object.” But then again, if it slows the heat transfer from the warmer object, the rate of cooling of the warmer object can be seen as mitigated by the energy of the cooler object. So mathematically, it would work as a relative energy source, which it is. Got it.

204. Joseph E Postma says:
March 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Keeping them warm is not the GHE. A space blanket doesn’t heat you when you stand beside it, only when you’re wrapped in it. It does the same thing as a blanket but even better because it is impermeable.

Sure it does, it does so by reflecting some of the ir your body is radiating back to you, reducing your heat loss. Blankets work more like Co2 does, the blanket itself warms some, re-radiating some of your heat back at you.

205. rgbatduke says:
March 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Hell, you can go back over the last million years and CO_2 is solely responsible for all of the ups and downs.

I have a modification to this. At temps above say freezing, water vapor controls temps, below that is the domain of gaseous Co2. So on an ice ball earth, Co2 will build up in the atm (since the oceans are froze over and can’t sink Co2) from volcano’s. At some point the ice starts melting Co2 sinks into the oceans, water vapor collects in the atm, increasing temps. As it gets warmer, we start getting precipitation regulating the max temp water vapor will support.

206. RGB: Radiation trapped inside a cavity *with a source* is the only way to trap radiation inside a cavity. That is how it is done. And this is exactly what produces a blackbody spectrum and Planck’s Law. Standing in front of a mirror doesn’t warm you up. You’re assuming your result in your argument and then concluding that the assumed result must be true. Alas, radiation trapped inside a cavity with a source only produces a blackbody spectrum – it doesn’t heat itself up indefinitely, by a factor 2, 10%, or at all.

207. RGB: “I’m a skeptic. This was a sarcastic joke.”

My mistake. Easy to make given that you hysterically support the basis of climate alarm.

208. I am glad RGB and PR have found each other. It is interesting watching these relationships develop as revolving around ad-hom antagonisms toward a skeptical scientist.

209. “Solid” tin foil wrapped around a lightbulb has nothing to do with the atmospheric and “GHE”.

Three analogous laws of physics:
a = 1/m * (F2 – F1)
I = 1/R * (V2 – V1)
q = k (T2 – T1)

The presence of a force differential doesn’t cause the stronger force to increase; the presence of a voltage differential doesn’t cause the stronger voltage to increase; the presence of a temperature differential doesn’t cause the warmer temperature to increase – whether conductively or radiatively. Planck’s Law isn’t the GHE; the S-B Law isn’t the GHE. Radiation from a source trapped inside a cavity produces a blackbody spectrum, not a GHE.

210. Mircro: “Sure it does, it does so by reflecting some of the ir your body is radiating back to you, reducing your heat loss. Blankets work more like Co2 does, the blanket itself warms some, re-radiating some of your heat back at you.”

Hold a thermometer between you and the blanket, or you and the mirror, and see if it raises in temperature. It doesn’t. It only does if you’re wrapped in it, which means that it is the reduction of convective loss which makes the air warm up. A wool blanket works this way too. It is similar to an actual real greenhouse. Open air and CO2 can’t physically trap itself. The analogy to radiative trapping is *just* an analogy, and it is false, because that process actually just creates a blackbody spectrum and forms the basis of quantum theory.

211. Joseph E Postma says:
March 12, 2013 at 7:03 am

“Hold a thermometer between you and the blanket, or you and the mirror, and see if it raises in temperature.”

If you point a IR thermometer at your reflection in an ir reflecting surface, it will read your surface temperature. Space heaters have a reflector behind the heat source, which reflects the heat out of the heater, reducing the parasitic heating of the heater itself. Astronauts helmet face plates are flashed in gold, because gold is the best ir reflector (better than silver/aluminum reflectors). IR mirrors are gold. Some Spacecraft thermal blankets are gold foil.
A thermometer is not a sensitive measurement device, your 98 degree temp in a 70 degree room isn’t a large source of IR, but it is a source.
An ice cube is a ir heat source, it’s much much warmer than 0K. It is however colder than you are.

If you don’t believe this, go to your local Lowes, or Home Depot, buy an IR thermometer and take some measurements. When you’re done, return it if you want. Only cost you the gas there and back.

212. Hi Robert (rgb),

On 11th March 11 at 8:20 p.m. you made reference to “Slayer”/PSI founding member FauxScienceSlayer Joseph A. Olson (see Section 3.4 of http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/spotlighton-principia-scientific.html). I have had the “pleasure” of numerous exchanges with Joe since 2010 and it is my humble opinion that he is the relatively “silent partner” in the PSI background. I believe that it was Joe who encouraged PSI “CEO and Legal Consultant” John O’Sullivan to pursue his “vision” of setting up PSI as a private company purporting to have charitable objectives.

There is that saying “Charity begins at home” which in my opinion is what remains the prime motivator for those founding members in trying to “ .. recruit the thousands of paid up members necessary to turn noble words into actions .. ” (http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/psi-due-diligence-20102011-selected-e.html).

I am drafting an update to “SpotlightOn – Principia Scientific International .. Section 7.0 “Financial Aspects” pulling together all of the information that I have relating to this aspect of PSI founding member motivation. Until I have completed the update anyone interested can find most of it already distributed within that article and the associated E-mail exchanges, etc.

Your comment that “ .. I’ve had spectacular offline discussions with other slayers as well. No argument however cogent in support of the GHE is ever listened to and taken seriously .. “ has relevant significance. I do not agree that in the case of the PSI founding members “ .. It has become the primary battlefield of a modern religious war .. ”. In my opinion for several of them it is a much more base (adjective definition 7 at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/base) motivation than that. There is another relevant saying “Follow the money” – or perhaps in their case the lack thereof.

As for you comment on 11th March at 8:22 pm that “ .. This was a sarcastic joke .. ” I doubt that anyone so arrogant and consumed with self-importance understands satire.

I’ve just spotted Joe Postma’s comment “ .. voltage differential doesn’t cause the stronger voltage to increase .. ”. What on the surface totally escapes him (but more likely he is being his usual sophistic self) is that in an electrical circuit the addition of another EMF that OPPOSES the larger original EMF does indeed REDUCE the current flowing through the circuit, just as back-radiation reduces the energy radiating from the Earth’s surface to space.

No doubt Joe will provide some sophistic response to that.

BTW, I hope that you are prepared to contribute to the exchanges that I copied you on today about the extent of that “greenhouse effect” which Joe Postma and associates at PSI deny the existence of. Contrary to what the power-hungry, the UN, the politicnas, the environmental activists and th erenewable energy industry would have us believe, the science is far from settled and the debate is far from over.

Best regards, Pete Ridley (http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.co.uk)

213. rgbatduke says:

I would have to agree… otherwise, one could trap a photon of light in a mirrored room and the room would heat up with all that reflected energy… then we could harness all that free energy from time to time.

Except that this is a completely false analogy and not what I described. The Earth is not a passively cooling object. It is actively being heated by the Sun. Put an energy source inside a perfectly mirrored room inside a vacuum and yes, the source will heat up from all of that reflected energy considerably more than it would if the photons it emitted all went away in a single pass.

In fact, you can easily take the description I gave in the previous post and compute how much a given heat source will have to warm in order to be in equilibrium if you do nothing but surround it with a perfectly absorbing thin layer of matter, e.g. a piece of foil painted black on both sides. The foil has to heat until its temperature permits it to radiate energy away at an integrated power P. It radiates a roughly equal amount of radiation back into the cavity at this temperature — it doesn’t know which is the “inside” and which is the “outside”, only that it is made of matter and is hot. The radiative energy density inside the cavity is, in fact, then strictly larger than it would be without the foil, and the temperature of the heated object in the middle increases in order to balance both the continuously delivered external power and the extra heat it absorbs from the radiation in the cavity.

That’s enough for you to take a spherical heated object of radius R and with power input P, assume unit emissivity (why not?) and compute its dynamical equilibrium temperature in a perfect vacuum at 0 K (so that radiation it emits goes directly away). Now imagine that a thin shell of unit emissivity material surrounds it at 2R. The same formula will give you the equilibrium temperature of that shell, and will tell you that the this shell is radiating a total power P back into the cavity. Some of this power will fall on the central heated object and constitutes additional power from radiative feedback. It now has to lose both P (its continuing input) and the additional energy radiated back onto it by the surrounding passive black body. Its temperature therefore has to increase until detailed balance is again achieved.

A mirror, of course, is a lot worse. A mirror has high albedo and reflects all of the power incident on it (assuming a perfect mirror in all frequencies, a bit of a stretch I admit but doable in a wide range of optically relevant frequences down into the IR). A mirror instantly boosts the energy density in the cavity WAY up because it only loses energy on the outside when it heats enough from its inefficiency so that it radiates P on the outside in thermal radiation (and still, on the inside too) plus all of the directly reflected energy. The temperature of a heat source inside a reflective cavity builds up rapidly. Building fire codes, electrical wiring codes, and more, all reflect (so to speak) this simple fact, but you can demonstrate it by burning out a bulb with a simple radiative feedback reflector whenever you like.

rgb

214. rgbatduke says:

Radiation from a source trapped inside a cavity produces a blackbody spectrum, not a GHE.

The temperature of a constant power source inside a cavity depends on two things. One is the temperature of the walls of the cavity. The other is the specific electromagnetic character of those walls, their albedo if you like.

Put the power source inside a zero albedo zero temperature cavity (e..g outer space) and it will equilibrate at one temperature.

Put it inside a zero albedo nonzero temperature cavity and it will be strictly warmer than it is in the zero temperature case, and its temperature will monotonically increase with the temperature of the cavity wall.

Put it inside a zero temperature nonzero albedo cavity and its temperature will be strictly higher than it is in the zero temperature zero albedo case, because even a very cold mirror can reflect broadband light and return it to the source.

All of these statements respect the laws of thermodynamics. There is no heat transfer from colder to warmer, only variation of the temperature of the dynamical equilibrium of the heated reservoir with the temperature of its surroundings or with the elastic (non-thermal) return of some of its emitted energy in the latter case.

But the case of interest in the GHE is the second one. Interpolating a perfect absorber between a heated source and outer space effectively places the source inside a warmer cavity than outer space alone. You persist in ignoring the heat source, because not even Planck computes a result for a heat source inside an adiabatic cavity with a hole drilled in it — the whole point of drilling only a hole was to make the energy loss of the cavity interior through the hole negligible compared to its otherwise constant enthalpy content.

Put a nontrivial heat source into the cavity and it will heat up until the energy loss through the hole balances the energy production in the cavity, always, unless you are fond of violations of the first law of thermodynamics. Make the hole bigger (for a constant power source) and the equilibrium temperature will decrease. Make it smaller and it will increase. Remove the hole, and the temperature in the cavity will diverge as its enthalpy content increases without bound.

rgb

215. Bart says:

Mario Lento says:
March 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

“So you are saying that the equation predicted flat temperatures for the past 15 years? In other words, CO2 drove the temperatures flat from 1998, but upwards before that period?”

Hmm, what? No! CO2 isn’t affecting temperatures at all (or, at least, hardly at all, not to a significant degree). Something is driving temperatures, producing a trend plus ~60 year cycle, and temperatures are driving CO2.

Joseph E Postma says:
March 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Oooh, I didn’t want to get dragged into this particular fracas. So far, I have to agree with rgbatduke – there appears to be a sound basis to expect that a so-called greenhouse gas (GHG) will impede the transfer of heat from the heated body, and all things being equal, that should produce an increase in temperature on the surface.

I have, however, made the observation that there appears to be no effect on surface temperatures over the last century despite a significant increase in CO2 concentration. Therefore, it behooves us to determine precisely where that seemingly compelling argument fails to reflect observational reality.

There are two particular weaknesses which I see in the GHE argument:

1) A general statement that a GHG causes retention of more heat than otherwise would be the case without it does not imply or require in any way that the function be monotonic, i.e., it can have local dips and curves. Indeed, if you consider the bounding cases where the GHG is not present, and where it is so dense that it is in direct, conductive contact with the surface, then there is no greenhouse effect (GHE) at the boundaries. It follows that the function much achieve its maximum somewhere between the two boundaries, and that there are regions where the partial derivative of temperature relative to increase in the GHG will be negative, i.e., in which additions to the GHG will provide cooling.

In a previous thread on Willis Eschenbach’s “Steel Greenhouse”, I showed one way in which such local reversal of the heating tendency could occur. If the GHG could be considered to be a solid, efficiently heat conducting shell surrounding the planet, then increasing its depth would produce cooling. This effect comes about because increasing the thickness of the shell decreases the surface area radiating back to the planet and increases the surface area radiating to cold space.

2) The statement “all things being equal” is a significant qualifier. In general, all things are not equal, and feedback effects can sharply attenuate, or even nullify, the initial impetus to warming.

I thought it possible that Joe had some specific quantum mechanical effect in mind, but if so, he hasn’t really explicated it that I have seen.

• Well, the QM effect is the creation of a blackbody spectrum – that is specifically a QM effect and only exists due to quantum mechanics. The shell just comes to the same temperature as the source, and then the shell emits the energy of the source. It doesn’t require the source getting hotter.

216. “Remove the hole, and the temperature in the cavity will diverge as its enthalpy content increases without bound”

If this occurred, we could smelt steel with a 100W light bulb. It doesn’t occur.

217. Kelvin Vaughan says:

Construct a pie chart with all the consituents of the atmosphere. Now find the CO2. Cant find it?
If you can’t find it what is the chance of radiation finding it on it’s way out of the atmosphere?

218. Bart says:

Joseph E Postma says:
March 12, 2013 at 10:47 am

“The shell just comes to the same temperature as the source, and then the shell emits the energy of the source. It doesn’t require the source getting hotter.”

I think that would not be an equilibrium condition, because the shell has greater than twice the surface area of the planet, as it has an inside, and an outside. If we assume the shell is transparent to incoming radiation, and opaque to outgoing radiation, then we can effectively move the energy source inside the planet without changing the result, and the problem becomes analogous to Willis’ “Steel Greenhouse”. I wrote up the math for equilibrium conditions here.

T_planet_with_shell = T_planet_without_shell * ( 1 + (R_inner/R_outer)^2)^0.25

where the “T” variables are surface temperatures and R_inner and R_outer are the inner and outer radius of the shell. In equilibrium, the temperature of the shell is less than the temperature of the planet, and net energy is flowing outward, so there is no contradiction of the laws of thermodynamics. But, there was a very interesting thing about this formula…

Let

R0 = f*R_inner + (1-f)*R_outer

where f is a number between 0 and 1. Then, if the depth “d” is d = R_outer – R_inner,

T_planet_with_shell = T_planet_without_shell * ( 1 + ((R0-(1-f)*d)/(R0+f*d))^2)^0.25

The partial derivative of this with respect to d is negative, i.e., locally, the surface temperature decreases as the thickness of the shell increases, and this holds for any R0 defined by the relationship above, i.e., for any situation in which there is a constant radius which remains inside the shell as it expands.

This is very simplistic, of course, but it illustrates one of the ways in which a counter-intuitive result, local surface cooling the in face of increasing GHG, can come about. It does not contradict the GHE – the surface temperature is always greater than it would be without the GHG – but, there can be conditions in which incremental increase in concentration can produce cooling.

My advice is: assault the weak points in the fortification. If you mass your forces where the walls are thickest, you are going to suffer heavy losses, and probably fail to take the castle. Assaulting the basic so-called “greenhouse” effect is sort of like carrying pictures of Chairman Mao – you ain’t gonna’ make it with anyone anyhow. At least until you have solid evidence to back up the claim that it does not exist at all.

219. Joseph E Postma says:

The shell and planet would just come to the same temperature. Between the shell and planet would be a blackbody radiation spectrum of whatever the source was – the planet. As the shell emits to outerspace, this energy gets replaced by the source. No heat is transferred from the shell to the planet – the shell is either cooler or at the same temperature, and therefore doesn’t transfer heat to the planet. Remember, the presence of a temperature differential does not mean that the hotter side has to warm up – neither in conduction or radiation. It just means that the cooler side warms up, and if very close to the source, to the same temperature as the source. The shell just becomes the new planetary surface, and like the surface before it, doesn’t require a hotter source. Alarmism will exist as long as the GHE does, and I criticize the GHE because it is wrong, not because it is convenient. The quantum effect of the radiation trapped between the planet and shell is to produce a blackbody spectrum. In order to cause an increase in temperature, reflected/reabsorbed light would have to shift to higher frequencies, but this isn’t what happens. Planck figured out what happens and birthed quantum mechanics with his discovery.

220. Bart says:

Joseph E Postma says:
March 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

My comments are disappearing, too. Must be something with the site. I just wait, though, and they eventually appear.

I think Dr. Brown’s earlier analogy was very effective. When you put on a coat in cold weather, the coat doesn’t heat you up, your internal heat mechanisms do. All the coat does is inhibit the convective loss of that heat. Similarly, here, the shell does not warm the planet, it just inhibits the radiative loss of heat.

I don’t know if it can be made any simpler than that. If you still disagree, we will just have to agree to disagree.

221. Yes but a coat and the physical blockage of convective cooling is not what the atmospheric GHE is – it is what a real greenhouse does, but a real greenhouse is not the atmospheric GHE. The analogy of this to trapping radiation is only an *analogy*, but it isn’t correct, because radiation trapped inside a cavity (with its source) produces a blackbody spectrum, not heat itself up. To get higher temperature the photons need to shift to higher frequency; but, photons interacting with themselves don’t change their frequency, and photons which come back to their source only interact with matter vibration frequencies which produced them in the first place, and this can’t cause a shift to higher frequencies either.
Someone named Bryan wrote this to me:
Consider the planet to have a high metal expansion coefficient, and the sphere a small one. There is a small distance between them. When the planet heats up to 470, it will expand and touch the shell. Now the shell will heat up to 470. Whereas before we couldn’t, say, create steam to drive a generator turbine, now we can (using the relevant values). You get the idea I hope. The system might cool and stop touching but then it would just heat up again and touch again. With an intrinsic source that couldn’t create steam in the first place, with a system of shells the system can now do more work than it could have in the first place, if the input energy was just used directly. Just by using a passive shell. Obviously that has problems of the thermodynamics type.

222. rgbatduke says:

I do not agree that in the case of the PSI founding members “ .. It has become the primary battlefield of a modern religious war .. ”.

Even in the case of founding members, I’d probably exclude Tim Ball from this list. I actually find a lot of his writing on this issue to be well informed and quite compelling, in general agreement with my own opinions. But Dr. Ball doesn’t deny the existence of the GHE at all, he merely argues — correctly IMO — that we cannot naively claim that we understand all of the nonlinear and nontrivial feedbacks associated with the climate system well enough to assert that a change in CO_2 concentration will lead to any particular change in global average temperature or heat distribution. In my own opinion the null hypothesis here is the roughly 1-1.5 C expected from e.g. doubling CO_2 alone without any feedback at all, and the honest truth is that we have no real idea (yet) of the feedbacks sufficient to even give us a certain prediction of their sign. The last fifteen years of increasing divergence between UAH or even GISS from the rising CO_2 levels is not strong evidence for large positive feedback, to say the least.

BTW, I hope that you are prepared to contribute to the exchanges that I copied you on today about the extent of that “greenhouse effect” which Joe Postma and associates at PSI deny the existence of. Contrary to what the power-hungry, the UN, the politicnas, the environmental activists and th erenewable energy industry would have us believe, the science is far from settled and the debate is far from over.

To a limited extent, sure. As I commented in reply to the email, I’m already “on” the list of exchanges within this group, although I’m still not convinced that there is any real point to it all. IIRC Grant Petty tried to push the boulder over that hill for quite some time and finally gave up. Where the guru cannot succeed, how can then the chela? I can’t even get Joe Postma — who as I said is I think both honest and moderately educated — to understand the difference between a classical passive black body cavity at a fixed, fully equilibrated temperature with a tiny hole and an isolated actively heated spherical body in dynamical equilibrium with a “black body” perfect absorber Universe. Nor can I get him to buy or work through Petty’s book on his own, although the physics in it is pretty straightforward.

The problem is that I’m not a believer in grand conspiracies. Never explain by a grand conspiracy what is adequately explained by sheer human greed and incompetence — a contemporary version of Ockham’s razor. In the end, though, science does not care about belief, greed, or even incompetence. If Hansen himself is right, and we’re going to experience 5 meter SLR over the next 80 years and 3-5 C of temperature increase, my beliefs about this will not change the facts. If Hansen is wrong and temperatures go up only 1 C, or remain about the same, or go down some, well, neither his beliefs nor mine will change that.

In the meantime, it seems pretty harmless to let the null hypothesis stand, at least compared to the enormous cost of taking the wrong action at this time. SLR is an order of magnitude shy of the rate needed for Hansen’s publicly stated belief to be correct. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong, only that there isn’t any believable evidence that he’s right, yet. The pattern of global temperature change — even allowing for what a cynic might call deliberate thumbs on the scales — is not one that can easily be explained by the anthropogenic CO_2 hypothesis, where paradoxically there has been no warming at all since slightly before the 2001 events that led to Mann’s elevation from unheard of nobody to the prophet of the age, because he finally gave them the desired MWP-free prophecy where perhaps more honest scientists could not or would not or at the very least did not. The last 15 or 16 years are not disproof of the CAGW hypothesis, but they are not strong evidence in favor of it, either. The good news, then, is that there is no reason to panic, no reason to spend order of a trillion dollars on measures that even the proponents of those measures agree will not make a whit of difference in the outcome as things stand. We can afford to wait and see, and in the meantime think up some sort of measures that might actually work — such as building nuclear power plants wholesale, developing LFTR, and so on — in the event that SLR suddenly does jump up to the inch plus per year necessary to fuel Hansen’s “overheated” doomsday scenario.

And if this never happens? Perhaps we can use some of the trillions of dollars saved to fix the economic, social and education problems of the poorest people in the world and usher in a era of peace and globe-spanning civilization. Right now, we don’t have to wait for 2100 for a catastrophe. By diverting hundreds of billions of elective dollars towards measures that even on paper are totally inadequate to prevent a highly uncertain disaster, we are guaranteeing a catastrophe right now whose price will be paid, as usual, by the poorest people in the world.

Energy is civilization. By energy standards, well over half the people of the world are essentially uncivilized, still living in 18th or 19th century levels of poverty and misery. This is the missing half of the political dialogue. The countries that are being played for suckers are the countries that can least afford it, countries where people already go to be every night with the sun because they have no electrical lights, where they wash clothes by hand as they lack washing machines, where they cook on animal dung as they lack the energy resources and economy that might enable them to cook on an electrical or natural gas stove instead. People are starving and dying every day because there is no medicine, no refrigeration for medicine or food, no electricity, no energy-based transportation that can carry the simplest necessities of civilization from the industrial nations where these things are all abundant and cheap (because energy is abundant and cheap) to where they are infinitely expensive by the only standard that matters — a complete dearth, at any price anyone can afford.

In the meantime, nobody alive seems to have learned anything from the story of Chicken Little, or any of the other cautionary folk tales that once constituted a fund of simple wisdom for our species. The flames of religious passion that once might have been devoted to Jesus, or Allah, or Krishna, are now diverted towards Saving the Environment, always in capital letters, where the unwritten extreme of saving the environment is nothing less than the extinction of (most of) humanity, because otherwise we live in it and leave our mark. In defense of the Gods, no lie, no misstatement, no overstatement of the certainty of our knowledge is too much because the cause itself is pure, because the ends justify any means, especially if we can arrange for the 3/4 of humanity we wish to slate for extinction to be the other 3/4, the one that doesn’t include ourselves, our friends, our children, our loved ones. O Lord, inflict on the world a universal plague to save the world from us only — Lord, would you really mind inflicting the plague on everybody else?

In the teeth of this sort of passion — or the equally religious passion of the Other Side, the side that is certain that it is impossible for catastrophic warming to occur no matter what we do, that the environment can recover from any shock humans inflict on it and if it doesn’t, screw it, it is our environment to screw up as we like — where can mere common sense reside? The “Show Me” sort of mind that doesn’t listen to one-sided presentations of the evidence, that remains dubious that asserting that a “super storm” is caused by climate change means that that storm was in any way whatsoever connected to climate change, or that climate change (to the extent that the climate is always changing!) is necessarily connected to human activity — this sort of mind is somewhat rare today. There is too much to know, it is too difficult to form a considered, well-informed judgment about things like the climate, so if Hansen speaketh, who will gainsay him? Especially if he partners with many who would profit from he prophecy… because there is, indeed, a sucker born every minute, and two to take him.

rgb

223. Bart says:

Joseph E Postma says:
March 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm

“To get higher temperature the photons need to shift to higher frequency…”

Or, you can simply absorb more of them, can’t you? There are more coming in every second from the original heat source. If they are delayed from exiting, are they not going to start piling up?

• “Or, you can simply absorb more of them, can’t you? There are more coming in every second from the original heat source. If they are delayed from exiting, are they not going to start piling up?”

Yes but photons are bosons – they don’t “pile up”, they pass right through each other. Absorption of a photon can’t induce higher temperature, i.e., material vibration frequencies, than the photon actually is. That’s not sensical or possible, by definition. Photons don’t induce or create higher temperatures than they are in the first place, because they don’t have the energy or frequency components to do so. When they come back to their own source, they only encounter matter which is vibrating at the same frequencies which produced them. These frequencies then resonate, not increase in frequency. When two photons of the same wavelength interact, they *do not* change each other’s frequency, which would correspond to a temperature increase. Likewise, if a reflected photon spectrum comes back to its source, it only encounters a material vibration frequency spectrum of the same character. These photons, being of the same vibration frequencies of the material, can not induce a higher temperature in the material because this requires a higher frequency component inputs. This is how and why radiation obeys the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and why radiation inside a cavity doesn’t heat itself up, but produces a blackbody spectrum, as Planck proved along ago in his discovery of quantum mechanics. It all works perfectly together to create a sane world.

Consider “Bryan’s” comment to me which I had in one of my last posts, and understand that the system of shells being theorized here then obviously violates thermodynamics & etc. I will repeat it here:
Consider the planet to have a high metal expansion coefficient, and the shell a small one. There is a small distance between them. When the planet heats up to 470, it will expand and touch the shell. Now the shell will heat up to 470. Whereas before we couldn’t, say, create steam to drive a generator turbine, now we can (using the relevant values). You get the idea I hope. The system might cool and stop touching but then it would just heat up again and touch again. With an intrinsic source that couldn’t have create steam in the first place, with this system of shells the system can now do more work than it could have in the first place, than if the input energy was just used directly. Just by using a passive shell. Obviously that has problems of the thermodynamics type.

• Joseph E Postma says:
March 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Yes but photons are bosons – they don’t “pile up”, they pass right through each other. Absorption of a photon can’t induce higher temperature.

Technically correct, but most things are not at their internal temperature because they constantly radiate heat away, measure the temp on the back of you hand and see what it is. Wouldn’t reducing it’s cooling rate cause it to become warmer?
What’s the difference in the temp of your hands on a bitterly cold day with and without gloves? Are they not warmer with gloves?

224. rgbatduke says:

The shell and planet would just come to the same temperature.

Now we are getting somewhere, as this is simply incorrect. The shell is just a shell. It radiates blackbody radiation both inside and outside, as it has no idea what is the inside and what is the outside — those are human assignments. Its radiation can be measured. In dynamic equilibrium, it has a larger surface area than the planet. It must lose the power P in the outward direction only. The expression for dynamical thermal equilibrium for a closed spherical surface is:

$P = \epsilon \sigma T_e^4 (4 \pi R^2)$

(or do you disagree with the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, in which case you have rejected basic physics and you are right, we’ll have to agree to disagree). A blackbody shell with unit emissivity being uniformly heated at a rate $P$ placed in empty space so that energy radiated outwards is lost at integrated rate $P$ when the shell is in equilibrium well be at temperature:

$T_e = (\frac{P}{\sigma 4 \pi R^2})^{1/4}$

Period. Otherwise it won’t be in detailed balance. Surely you agree?

But the planet inside the shell will not be at this temperature. First of all, its equilibrium temperature in the absence of the shell would be higher than the temperature of the shell, as it has to lose the same power but through a smaller surface. Before, it was surrounded by a perfect absorber at 3 K, so basically every outgoing photon was lost to infinity. Now, however, it is surrounded by a shell of matter only a bit cooler than it would have been without it. This shell radiates just as much power back into the cavity containing the central sphere as it radiates outward, in the limit of a very thin shell. After all, its temperature is the same (it is thin) and the inner and outer surface areas are the same.

The inner sphere is now a complete distinct problem in heat flow. Now you have a sphere of radius $R_0$ (say) being heated at a constant rate $P$ surrounded by a perfect blackbody shell at radius (say) $R_1 > R_0$ which is in turn surrounded by outer space, effectively a 3 K perfect absorber, a photonic roach motel where photons check in but don’t check out, one way ticket.

Photons on the inside do not have a one way ticket. They are emitted by the central sphere, absorbed by the shell, and have roughly an even chance of being reradiated back inside the cavity as outside (and lost). Of the photons that are reradiated back into the cavity, some of them miss the central sphere and are absorbed again by some other part of the shell, others hit the central sphere and constitute an additional source of backradiated power that has to be lost by that sphere in equilibrium.

The rate at which the inner sphere loses energy is completely independent of whether or not it is in a cavity. It depends only on Stefan-Boltzman and hence $\epsilon$, $\sigma$, its area and its temperature. With unit emissivity it absorbs all photons incident on it, and they add to the net power it must reject to remain in dynamical equilibrium. Its temperature therefore rises, because $P$ has gone up, but everything else is unchanged.

You actually understand this perfectly well now. If you beamed a laser at the central sphere to deliver the power $P$ to it in the first place (and the sphere were a good conductor so it remained at a reasonably uniform surface temperature) it wouldn’t change $T_e$ from S-B above. If you increased the laser power to $1.4P$, all that would do is increases $T_e$ — the sphere doesn’t know anything about the spectrum or origin of photons incident on its surface, it just absorbs 100% of them because its emissivity is one (it is dead, flat black). Similarly it doesn’t know or care if some of the photons delivering power to it are energy it gave off before that was absorbed by the shell and partially reradiated back to fall on the sphere once again. All it knows is that the total power it has to reject in equilibrium is now larger.

There are a number of other ways of working through the logic and the heat flow, and absolutely all of them will yield the same result — the inner, uniformly heated sphere will get warmer when it is surrounded by ANY sphere at ANY radius that is warmer than 3 K, compared to its temperature when surrounded by a 3 K perfect absorber at “infinity”.

This must be so — if you think about it — so that the second law of thermodynamics can be satisfied. The net rate of radiative heat flow between two reservoirs has to be a function of the temperature difference, all other things being equal. In particular, it has to vanish when the two reservoirs are at the same temperature, and go from hotter to cooler where either reservoir could be the hotter or cooler one. Clearly to at least a first approximation, the rate of heat flow has to be proportional to the temperature difference between the two reservoirs and has to be directed from hotter to colder.

However, both reservoirs radiate like blackbodies. There is always radiation going in both directions. The net transfer above is a question of detailed balance between the two. Neither reservoir knows what the other one is doing, it just receives the radiation it gives off and uses it as part of its dynamical heat budget, warming and cooling until the net radiation rate matches the input power and detailed balance is achieved.

Hence we can conclude that — just as is the case for the basic heat equation and heat conductivity — interpolating matter of any sort at (necessarily) intermediate temperatures between two reservoirs alters the relative rates of heat flow. You acknowledge that wrapping a coat around a heat source interpolated between that heat source and a surrounding cold reservoir warms the inside of the coat and causes the dynamic equilibrium temperature of the heat source to go up (which is why we insulate our houses and our bodies). Wrapping any sort of barrier around a heat source being cooled only via radiation to a colder reservoir causes that barrier to attain an intermediate temperature and causes the heat source’s temperature to go up to maintain the requisite level of net heat transfer.

rgb

225. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
March 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

“Of the photons that are reradiated back into the cavity, some of them miss the central sphere and are absorbed again by some other part of the shell….”

Are they? I mean, significantly on average? Huygens’ Construction appears to argue that the wavefront would collapse toward the center, like the implosion of an atom bomb, which suggests that the photon distribution would converge essentially to a spherically collapsing wavefront. I think you can probably make a first order approximation that, in steady state, it is effectively all going back to the central sphere.

226. Mario Lento says:

@Bart says:
March 12, 2013 at 10:18 am
Mario Lento says:
March 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm
+++++++
I can see that I misunderstood… that’s what I get for reading too fast.

227. RGB: Heat doesn’t flow from cold to hot, so, the shell never sends heat to the planet, and so it never warms up the planet. The shell just will come to the same temperature as the source, the planet. Then the shell effectively becomes the new surface of the planet, and this doesn’t require the planet to become hotter. There’s no need to invent that. The presence of a temperature differential does not mean that the hotter side of the differential gets hotter – it means that the cooler side warms up until equilibrium is established with the hotter side. This does not require the hotter side to get hotter.

228. Micro: Hands warmed inside gloves is a sense-perception result of reduced convective air cooling. Put your hand inside a mirror, say, a shell with a mirrored interior, and the hand will not warm up. Put it next to a mirror and the side facing the mirror will not heat up.
Temperature and radiation is all about frequency. Hotter matter vibrates at higher frequency, producing higher frequency radiation. Commensurately, higher frequency radiation falling onto matter with lower frequency vibration components will induce higher frequency vibration in the material, thus heating it up. Because higher frequencies are being introduced. You need higher frequency radiation to induce higher temperature. This is how and why radiation obeys the laws of thermodynamics, so that radiation of a particular frequency spectrum (temperature) can not induce higher frequency vibration (temperature) in matter it falls on, including its own source as a pertinent example. This is exactly the same thing as how two objects of the same temperature can not induce higher temperature in each other via conduction.

229. Bart says:

Joseph E Postma says:
March 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

“Absorption of a photon can’t induce higher temperature, i.e., material vibration frequencies, than the photon actually is.”

OK, now the quantum nature of what you are trying to get across is coming into view. It’s not entirely true, but I believe substantially so.

It appears to me you are suggesting that the surface IR class energy levels are all, or at least substantially, occupied, so that a back-radiated photon is basically just going to hit the surface and get reflected back up with no transfer of energy. Is that right?

If so, supposing you could make that argument on the day side of the planet, what about the night side?

230. Bart says:

Joseph E Postma says:
March 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm

My previous post hasn’t appear yet, but the issue I raised was:

“It appears to me you are suggesting that the surface IR class energy levels are all, or at least substantially, occupied, so that a back-radiated photon is basically just going to hit the surface and get reflected back up with no transfer of energy.”

I will assume this is what Joe is suggesting until he informs me otherwise. Surely there is a way to get a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the available energy levels, and how full they get due to the continuous application of sunlight. I’m just coming to grips with what I think Joe is saying, and feeling my way around here. I appears to me that this could be a limiting factor on how much effect the GHE might have, at least on the daylight side of the planet, but how close the limit is, is not something I instantaneously have a handle on.

But, I do believe no stone should be left unturned, and every suggestion should be carefully considered, because the GHE of CO2 on surface temperatures is just plain MIA. There is no indication of any deviation from the underlying pattern which has been extant for over a century. Some thing or some things about the currently accepted reasoning is/are wrong, so we need to unhinge our minds a little from the orthodoxy in order to gain better understanding.

231. Bart says:
March 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm

because the GHE of CO2 on surface temperatures is just plain MIA. There is no indication of any deviation from the underlying pattern which has been extant for over a century. Some thing or some things about the currently accepted reasoning is/are wrong,

Here’s my opinion, and an area I’m going to do more research on.
The temp of the DLR is far less than the surface temp(Using SB to convert temp to w/m2 and back as required). The temp of the DLR represents what the surface radiates to. As I’ve mentioned, on a clear sky 35F day, it was ~-41F. A doubling of Co2 will raise this temp by ~1.2C (~1.8w/m2 increase). So instead of the surface radiating heat to say -41.2C, it will after doubling radiate to -40C.
All of the GCM results are referencing changes to that temp, not surface temps.
The second part of this is that I have read (and intend to start taking actual measurements) that in warm weather the temp of the DLR is only 10-20C colder than the surface. The difference between the 40C some degrees I’ve measured and the 10-20C referenced is the addition of water vapor at warmer temps.
Since surface records show no loss of nightly cooling, any change in the DLR from Co2, must be compensated for by slight reductions in water vapor.

232. Well everything I’ve written above should be enough to provide the physical explanation and description of what occurs at the “quantum” level. Your (Bart) summary is essentially correct, but my description is more complete.

I totally agree with your last comment, and think it is perfect:

“the GHE of CO2 on surface temperatures is just plain MIA. There is no indication of any deviation from the underlying pattern which has been extant for over a century. Some thing or some things about the currently accepted reasoning is/are wrong, so we need to unhinge our minds a little from the orthodoxy in order to gain better understanding.”

Also recall that, and in reference to this “shell game” explanation, there is always the assumption of 235 W/m^2 (-18C) solar input. This is the primary, originating error from which all (many) other errors follow, and from which other things have needed to be invented. The Sun does *not* input 235 W/m^2 (-18C); it inputs on a hemisphere, with an integrated average equivalent temperature value of +49C, which has a maximum of +90C around the solar zenith.

233. rgbatduke says:

Are they? I mean, significantly on average? Huygens’ Construction appears to argue that the wavefront would collapse toward the center, like the implosion of an atom bomb, which suggests that the photon distribution would converge essentially to a spherically collapsing wavefront. I think you can probably make a first order approximation that, in steady state, it is effectively all going back to the central sphere.

Hi Bart,

When I first built this toy model as specific proof that the assertion of Pierre Latour — that an increase in temperature of a steadily heated body by interpolating a cooler layer of opaque mass (but warmer than 3K) between that body and the 3 K “reservoir” of outer space minus the sun violated the second law of thermodynamics — is false, I assumed that in dynamical equilibrium there would be 2P coming out of the central body (P from external heat, P from back radiation), 2P going into the interpolated shell from the central mass, and 2P coming out of the interpolated shell (P in and P out). Net outflow is P, matching the net external inflow, but the central mass has to lose twice as much energy per unit time and hence has to be $2^{1/4}$ times warmer. Nice, neat, simple to compute.

Sadly, then I thought about it some more. Blackbody radiation coming out of a small/differential plane surface probably isn’t isotropic, but it isn’t directional. It is also pure thermal radiation, and hence very nearly maximally incoherent. Huygens presumes monochromatic coherent light. If I had to guess, the radiation pattern might perhaps be $\cos^2(\theta)$ with $\theta$ the polar angle (away from normal), but it could be purely Lambertian emission, uniform into the half space. I somewhat doubt that because the emission isn’t actually from a perfect surface but from some frequency dependent skin depth near the surface and there should be some interference from traversing longer paths through the material out towards the sides. What it won’t be is purely directionally inward, however pretty it makes the models. (I looked in Petty to see if he had this worked out already, but he doesn’t. He does allude in a few places to assumptions made about the directional character of outgoing radiation in the context of e.g. multiple scattering near the tropopause where the atmosphere starts to become transparent to IR.)

This doesn’t really make any difference at all to the two points of the model — that the GHE does not violate any laws of thermodynamics, and that a colder (but warmer than 3 K) opaque absorber layer surrounding any more or less continuously heated object in space will cause that object’s mean temperature to rise so that there is nothing in principle nonphysical about an atmospheric GHE associated with the seriously saturated, opaque, CO_2 in the atmosphere. This mostly is an argument aimed directly at Latour himself (who promised to go away and think about it when I communicated it to him, but I never heard from him again so I guess he didn’t like these particular thoughts) or anyone else incapable of looking at TOA and BOA IR spectrographs and going yup, there’s a GHE all right, end of story. The “violates the second law” argument is beyond bad, it is just plain terrible physics.

The notion that “a trace gas” can’t cause the effect is equally bogus, given the rather short mean free path of an IR photon in any of the CO_2 coupled bands — the reason the GHE varies so little with additional CO_2 is that it is already saturated, and as somebody (perhaps it was Petty himself in his book, can’t remember exactly) pointed out, once you’ve painted a window so that it is almost completely opaque, it doesn’t become a lot opaquer if you add another layer of paint.

One can easily “fix” the geometry problem, of course. In particular, if the radius of the sphere is $R_e \approx 6.4 \times 10^6$ meters, and the radius of the interpolated absorber layer is $R_a = 1.001 \times R_e$ — the rough length scales relevant to Earth and atmosphere — the geometric factor is irrelevant and one is back to a “plane” approximation where one has $P$ up and down. But then life is so very much more complicated in a real atmosphere, because the heating is diurnal from a $\sim 6000$ K near-point source that hits the Earth on a spherical, rotating surface that is 70% covered with salt water, a highly variable 30% or so covered at any given time with high albedo clouds, a few percent covered with high albedo ice and snow, where the axis of rotation is tipped relative to the ecliptic and the orbit itself is moderately eccentric, enough to cause an annual variation of almost 100 W/m^2 difference in TOA normal insolation all by itself. Then there is the complexity of atmospheric transport of heat, oceanic transport and trapping and mixing of heat, the enormously complex spectral complexity of all of the optically active molecules in the atmosphere (where all of the molecules IN the atmosphere are optically active somewhere in the relevant SW through LW bands).

Different GHGs are differently opaque at different heights in different windows and become (partially, increasingly) transparent at different heights as well so radiation to space on the far side of the opaque lower layers occurs in depth, not at anything like a nice sharp surface. Heat both diffuses up in the form of radiation and is actively transported up and down in the form of warm or cold air masses and in the form of latent heat in e.g. water vapour or liquid, is carried here and there across the surface by vagrant but large scale air movements so that one day we are chilled by arctic winds, the next warmed by moist gulf breezes, and neither one represents what’s going on with insolation and radiative loss here and now, but at some time in the past and some place far from here, where what happened there was similarly influenced by something even farther in the past and from yet another place.

In the end, while I fully believe that there is a hell of a lot of atmospheric radiation physics, fully coupled to not one but two coupled Navier-Stokes fluid systems, strongly constrained by geography, whipped around by coriolis forces, confounded by all of the feedbacks and latent heats associated with water, and sure, tweaked here and there by human contributions to the overall composition and chemistry, I very seriously doubt our ability to meaningfully solve the problem of long term climate forecasting in anything like a predictive way. Getting one thing wrong in the model is enough to make all your predictions totally incorrect, not wrong by “a little” as one might expect for simple, nearly linear systems but radically wrong in the way only chaotic nonlinear systems can be when you aren’t dead on the money, so wrong that you might as well consider the answer you get to be output from a very large, very complex random number generator with a seed consisting of your initial conditions and assumptions. What I find difficult to understand is why it is so difficult for climate scientists to openly acknowledge this uncertainty, given that they can’t start their OWN models with neighboring but distinct initial conditions and end up with anything like the same answers two times in a row, when the GCMs themselves significantly disagree depending on how they are written and initialized.

I don’t think that they appreciate the risk they have taken with their credibility, because nothing is going to change the way the climate really does evolve in the near future, not their models or their beliefs or for that matter, mine. It’s one thing to make a computer-educated, modeled guess, and openly acknowledge that your guess has anybody’s guess chance of being right; it’s quite another to assert that it is almost certain to be correct and we can safely bet the present and future prosperity of the entire planet on the predictions — oops, they’re not predictions, are they, only “projections”, that these not-really-predictions of catastrophe were maybe possibly 95% certain yesterday, could be 80% certain today, who knows how certain they will be tomorrow…

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234. rgbatduke says:

Heat doesn’t flow from cold to hot, so, the shell never sends heat to the planet, and so it never warms up the planet.

Net heat doesn’t flow from cold to hot. And I have to say, your assertion that the molecules of some material at any temperature are smart enough to refuse to radiate in a certain direction because somewhere over there there might be a warmer body is laughably absurd. Or is this some sort of complex joke?

As you yourself put it — the shell is at a finite temperature. It is made up of charged matter. Ergo, it radiates. It radiates in, it radiates out. It does not care what is inside of it or what is outside of it, it radiates. It’s what charged particles do when they are bouncing around with thermal energy. This radiation is utterly non-directional.

You have now crossed the boundary from being halfway sensible to being senseless. I’ve already walked you step by step through the actual entropy computation to show that entropy safely increases in the Universe as heat flows in to the system, moves through the shell, and ends up at infinity at 3 K. Indeed, as long as the shell is in dynamic equilibrium, its entropy does not change at all — its heat content and temperature are constant.

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235. That two spectrums exist, one from a cooler body and one from a warmer, and that there is a temperature differential, does not mean that the hotter side of the differential warms up. That’s backwards. Skin can detect temperature changes on the order of what, 1/10th, 1/2 of a degree K? If backradiation could warm you up, you should be able to instantly feel it on your skin when you stand in front of a mirror. Backradiation is supposed to produce 50%, doublings, etc., of temperature increases. Talking 10’s of degrees K, hundreds of degrees K even. But it can’t actually even be detected at the skin sensitivity level of less than 1K. That is because the concept is physically impossible, given the explanation of frequency components and heat transfer etc.

• Joseph,
” That two spectrums exist, one from a cooler body and one from a warmer, and that there is a temperature differential, does not mean that the hotter side of the differential warms up. That’s backwards. Skin can detect temperature changes on the order of what, 1/10th, 1/2 of a degree K? If backradiation could warm you up, you should be able to instantly feel it on your skin when you stand in front of a mirror. Backradiation is supposed to produce 50%, doublings, etc., of temperature increases. Talking 10′s of degrees K, hundreds of degrees K even. But it can’t actually even be detected at the skin sensitivity level of less than 1K. That is because the concept is physically impossible, given the explanation of frequency components and heat transfer etc.”

Science is both theoretical, and experimental, and some times a few simple measurements will guide you better than months of writing out equations will ever do. I don’t feel the ir from my hand in a mirror, is it because my hand isn’t sensitive enough, or that there’s a layer of glass between my hand and the actual reflector, i don’t know, but I know for a fact the ir is there, and it would be read with an ir thermometer.
You can protest all you want that there’s no ir reflected(in a proper ir reflector), but you’re wrong.

• Micro: “You can protest all you want that there’s no ir reflected(in a proper ir reflector), but you’re wrong.”

My statements had nothing to do with saying that there is no IR reflection, so this objection is moot, sorry. There is IR reflection and emission from cold sources, certainly, but the nature of this radiative energy can not cause heating on its own source or a hotter source, for the reasons I’ve physically described several times. Radiation obeys the laws of thermodynamics too – not just the first one, but all of them.

• Joseph E Postma says:
March 13, 2013 at 6:58 am

My statements had nothing to do with saying that there is no IR reflection, so this objection is moot, sorry.

Then I suggest you try to be more careful in your statements, as every time this was mentioned you claimed it wasn’t true.

There is IR reflection and emission from cold sources, certainly, but the nature of this radiative energy can not cause heating on its own source or a hotter source, for the reasons I’ve physically described several times.

This is wrong, there is an exchange of energy, but the increase is compensated for by an equal amount of radiation. Nicely balances out to at the macroscopic level to equate to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd laws.

Radiation obeys the laws of thermodynamics too – not just the first one, but all of them.

Yes it does, all of them. They’re the same thing, TD is the macroscopic view, SB is the quantum view of the same effect.

• Well, simply please don’t read in to my statements and “create words in my mouth” which are obviously wrong strawmen.
You said:
“JP “There is IR reflection and emission from cold sources, certainly, but the nature of this radiative energy can not cause heating on its own source or a hotter source, for the reasons I’ve physically described several times.”

Micro: This is wrong, there is an exchange of energy, but the increase is compensated for by an equal amount of radiation. Nicely balances out to at the macroscopic level to equate to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd laws.”

Note, once again, that I did not say that there is no exchange of radiation. I said there is, right in the first sentence. Of course, without the frequency components required to do so, radiation can not induce higher temperature in material than the frequency components that the radiation actually is. This is why and how radiation obeys the set of thermodynamics laws.

236. The presence of a temperature differential doesn’t mean that the hotter side of the differential gets hotter. That’s backwards. 100% backwards. It is not about directionality – radiation goes everywhere. It is about what the radiation is capable of doing, which is a function of its spectrum. It can’t do more than its spectrum says it can. It can’t create higher temperature than the temperature it is. This is how and why radiation obeys the laws of thermodynamics, particularly the 2nd, given that directionality is not known. Directionality might not be known, but it doesn’t need to be. What is known, what becomes known, are the frequency components when the photon and matter interact. If the radiation is of the same or cooler spectrum than the matter, it can’t induce any higher frequency components and therefore higher temperature in the matter.

237. rgbatduke says:

I will assume this is what Joe is suggesting until he informs me otherwise. Surely there is a way to get a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the available energy levels, and how full they get due to the continuous application of sunlight. I’m just coming to grips with what I think Joe is saying, and feeling my way around here. I appears to me that this could be a limiting factor on how much effect the GHE might have, at least on the daylight side of the planet, but how close the limit is, is not something I instantaneously have a handle on.

So why not invest a few bucks in a copy of Petty’s A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation and actually learn something? As for CO_2 being “MIA” — why would you say this? Nearly all of the warming produced by CO_2 is a done deal. We’re dealing with small variations because it is already saturated, additional CO_2 is just making nearly completely opaque nearly completely opaquer, but there isn’t a lot of ROOM on the way to the goal line there. Bear in mind that the Ordovician-Silurian ice age occurred with CO_2 levels between 4000 and 7000 ppm, nearly 20 times what they’ve been over the last fifty years at peak. At best, CO_2 is around 5% of the total GHE and we’re talking tiny variations of that 5% even from doubling of the concentration.

IMO the real difficulty with the CO_2 linked GHE isn’t that it isn’t real, it certainly doesn’t violate the second law, it absolutely is responsible for some fraction of the surface warming we observe relative to a hypothetical greybody with the approximately correct albedo and emissivity, and if you doubt these things, buy Petty’s book and work your way through the BOA and TOA spectrographs as they are direct photographic evidence that this is all true. The real difficulty is that in a highly complex nonlinear system that is stabilized, if anything, primarily by WATER both liquid and vapor and cloud and ice, the “direct” marginal action of increasing CO_2 could be anything from enhanced to completely canceled by water alone. The data isn’t inconsistent with roughly 0.1 C/decade warming that might, in fact, be associated with CO_2 increases. Or might not. It is too early to tell. We’ve only had halfway decent measurements of SOME of the most relevant parameters for at MOST 50 years, and in many cases (e.g. LTT or ocean temperatures) for a bit more than 30 years. We’re still learning a LOT about the Sun — most of what we thought we knew about e.g. historical solar activity levels a few decades ago appears to be largely in error.

There is plenty of room for CO_2 to be harmless — or not — without resorting to absurdity. On either side of the debate. Asserting that there is “no” CO_2 linked GHE when TOA spectrographs directly prove otherwise is absurd. Arguing that the atmosphere doesn’t radiate IR downwards because it is “cooler than the surface” — when there are spectrographs in abundance that are direct experimental observations to the contrary — is absurd. Let’s try to keep the skeptical side of the debate from turning to the absurd in order to reinforce doubt. It doesn’t work very well, not in the long run.

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238. A spectrograph of a cold source does mean that cold radiation can warm up something warmer. This does not mean that radiation doesn’t emit in all directions, it means that cold can not heat hot. We can get spectrograph readings from ice cubes too; this does not mean that ice cubes heat up hot water with their radiation. Radiation obeys thermodynamics too – a source can not heat itself with its own radiation and cold can not induce higher temperatures in something warmer.

239. D.B. Stealey says:

Joseph E Postma says:
March 12, 2013 at 8:52 pm…

Excellent comment in just a few words. Agree completely.

240. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
March 12, 2013 at 7:43 pm

“Huygens presumes monochromatic coherent light.”

If I recall my Fourier Optics correctly (it has been a while), these are not actually required for a reasonable approximation. Indeed, Huygens principle was first used to predict diffraction of sunlight through a pinhole. This does tend to make the transmitted light nominally coherent, but obviously not monochromatic. Incoherent light can be treated statistically, but things do get smudged out…

A Lambertian point distribution would be very dependent on surface roughness and wavelength…

Oh well, have to give it more thought. But, common sense (which, admittedly, sometimes can lead us astray) says that the intensity is going to increase dramatically the closer you get to the planet surface. And, of course, as the separation of the shell from the surface becomes small, the planet fills the entire field of view from any given point on the interior of the shell.

“The “violates the second law” argument is beyond bad, it is just plain terrible physics.”

Definitely agree. Net heat transfer is still always from warm to cold. Mostly, the misapprehension seems to stem from a confusion between Watts and Joules. Heat isn’t actually moving from a cooler place to a warmer place, it is simply being briefly prevented from leaving the warmer place. There is no 2nd law violation. However, that just says the GHE is not wrong on this basis, not that it is right.

“I don’t think that they appreciate the risk they have taken with their credibility…”

It is mind boggling. But, what really bothers me is, it isn’t just their credibility they have wagered, it is that of all scientifically oriented endeavors, of which I am a participant. In effect, they embezzled capital from my account, and yours and others posting here, and bet it all on not just one, but many rolls of the dice (such as you describe nicely in the preceding), gambling it all that they wouldn’t come up snake eyes on any throw.

rgbatduke says:
March 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm

“So why not invest a few bucks in a copy of Petty’s A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation and actually learn something?”

Does he address this specific question? If so, it would be more helpful to give a page reference than strike a tone. Look, I’ve already gone on record saying I have no problem with the GHE as stated. But, I want to be sure I understand precisely Joe’s objection, and can either agree with or dismiss it. I cannot say off the top of my head whether IR absorbers on the surface would generally be near saturation or not during daylight, so I feel I would need to nail that down before moving forward. I can make an assumption, based on what I feel is probable, but I prefer to be certain of my conclusions.

“As for CO_2 being “MIA” — why would you say this?”

OK, delta-CO2, if you prefer. I thought that was obvious in context. The predicted effect of increased CO2 concentration over the 20th century and up to the present day on globally averaged temperature is MIA.

“…the “direct” marginal action of increasing CO_2 could be anything from…”

This is what I have been arguing, that the sensitivity function is not monotonic, and it is not a given that adding more CO2 will automatically enhance the GHE.

“…when TOA spectrographs directly prove otherwise is absurd…”

That is pretty compelling. Can we think of any other explanation for the gaps in TOA radiation? Offhand, I cannot, but I will keep on considering it until the mystery is cleared up.

Look, I’m not kidding. Something is seriously wrong with expectations. Temperatures haven’t budged from pre-existing patterns while CO2 went up markedly in the 20th century. Is it because, as you say, the window is already opaque? And, if so, why did the Climate Change Mafia miss such an elementary consideration?

241. Max™ says:

I don’t think he was saying there is no IR reflected… that is absurd.

I think he was saying reflected IR (as well as re-radiated IR) is subtracted from the energy leaving the source, not added to it.

Stefan-Boltzmann Law

If the hot object is radiating energy to its cooler surroundings at temperature Tc, the net radiation loss rate takes the form:
P = ε σ A (T_hot⁴ – T_cold⁴)

Here’s an interactive demonstration: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/StefanBoltzmannLaw/

• Max™ says:
March 12, 2013 at 11:44 pm

I don’t think he was saying there is no IR reflected… that is absurd.

Exactly!

I think he was saying reflected IR (as well as re-radiated IR) is subtracted from the energy leaving the source, not added to it.

For the net heat flow it is subtraction, 2 identical objects each at the same temp has no transfer of heat, but they both radiate the exact same number of watts at each other, and nothing stops the item from absorbing the radiation falling on it heating the object. But at the same time the increased heat causes it to radiate more, so it all balances out.
Think of 2 10 gal aquariums with 2 pumps that transfers 1 gal /hour, each pumping water from one to the other. even though they both stay at 10 gal’s, there is a flow from each to the other. It’s exchanging water between tanks.
The heat exchanged by radiation works the same way.
Now imagine a third pump (call it Sun) adding water to one of the tanks(call it tank earth), and the other two pumps output based on the volume of water in the tank it’s pumping from. Finally add a pump (call this one Space) to the tank we’ll call sky pumping water out down the drain at the same rate as the third pump adding water to tank earth. In this example you’d have stable water levels, but water would be getting exchanged in and out of both tanks.

But image Pump Sun is a high volume pump that runs only 50% of the time, and the other 3 pumps all run based on the water level in the two tanks. That’d probably make a great visual experiment showing the flow of heat in the Earth, Sun, Space system.

242. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
March 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm

“…the BOA and TOA spectrographs as they are direct photographic evidence that this is all true…”

Let’s get a little more detail on these spectrographs. Were they taken during daylight or nighttime? Winter, Spring, Summer and/or Fall? Over the tropics? Over the poles? Are they an average of samples? Over how long an interval? Years apart? How many? How often?

The answers to these questions might reveal more about the character of the effect, when and where it is occurring, and what, precisely, the evidence establishes, as well as what it does not.

Way too much has been taken for granted by the protagonists in the debate, and they are on the cusp of reaping what is sure to be a tragic and humiliating reward for their folly. If we want to get a preview of the bloodbath to come and stay on top of the game, we should attempt to fill in some of the gaps they skipped over in their headlong rush to judgment.

243. No heat energy is transferred from cold to hot or between two objects of equal temperature. Remember, we can *not* say that in a temperature differential, the hotter side has to get hotter in order to warm the cool side. Rather, the cool side just warms up. No net energy flows from the shell to the planet. The best the planet can do is heat the shell to the same temperature of the planet, and then the shell essentially becomes the new surface of the planet, emitting the 235. Between the planet and shell is a radiation field of 235, and so there’s that energy there going “back and forth” between them, but it doesn’t cause heating once equilibrium is established because it intrinsically doesn’t contain the higher energy frequency components required to do so., required to induce higher frequency material vibrations and hence higher temperature. It just can’t do it. As the shell then loses the 235 continuously to outer space, this is continuously replaced by the radiation field between the planet and shell, and the energy loss in that radiation field is replaced by the planet.

We already discovered that the “shells game” idea violates thermodynamics when considering the physical effects of the interior sphere having a high metal expansion coefficient, and the shell a low one, and what would occur when they touched.

244. Mod, not sure why, but I think my last post went into the spam (?) bucket, as it didn’t get posted as waiting for mod.

245. Max™ says:

For the net heat flow it is subtraction, 2 identical objects each at the same temp has no transfer of heat, but they both radiate the exact same number of watts at each other, and nothing stops the item from absorbing the radiation falling on it heating the object. But at the same time the increased heat causes it to radiate more, so it all balances out.” ~MiCro

>.>

Two objects at the same temperature do indeed exchange radiation, but they do not exchange heat, i.e. neither object will raise the temperature of the other object.

It’s strange though, I don’t think anyone here would disagree with me if I said the transfer of heat by conduction is greater between a hot and cold region than two regions at nearly the same temperature.

Similarly I do not think anyone would disagree if I said convection transports more heat upwards when the ground is hot and the air is cold than it does when the air has warmed up to nearly the same temperature as the ground.

Yet when someone claims radiation is more effective at transferring heat between two bodies when one is much warmer than the other and far less effective when the bodies are nearly the same temperature, for some reason it no longer seems plausible.

The cold end of a rod doesn’t back-conduct and raise the temperature of the heated end.

The cold atmosphere doesn’t down-vect and raise the temperature of the air near the surface.

Yet cold bodies emitting radiation towards warmer bodies are supposed to add to the energy supply of said warmer body and cause it to heat up, even in cases where the warmer body was responsible for raising the temperature of the colder body in the first place?

Yes, a colder surface does indeed radiate back towards the warmer surface, and yes, the warmer surface does absorb that radiation, that is indeed the case.

We take a typical example:
A cold surface@225 K radiating 145 W/m^2 back towards a warm surface@255 K radiating 239 W/m^2 towards the cold surface.

Does that mean:
a) the warm surface (which is receiving 239 W/m^2 from another source) is now receiving 384 W/m^2 and begins warming up towards 287 K (at which point it would emit 384 W/m^2)

or

b) the warm surface (again, receiving 239 W/m^2 from another source) is now only losing 94 W/m^2 and cools at an ever slower rate as the temperature differential with the cold surface shrinks, with both bodies tending towards a state in which the two bodies equilibrate with the energy input to the warmer body and the temperature of the surroundings

246. Bart says:

Joseph E Postma says:
March 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm

“Consider the planet to have a high metal expansion coefficient, and the sphere a small one. There is a small distance between them. When the planet heats up to 470, it will expand and touch the shell. Now the shell will heat up to 470. Whereas before we couldn’t, say, create steam to drive a generator turbine, now we can (using the relevant values). You get the idea I hope. The system might cool and stop touching but then it would just heat up again and touch again. With an intrinsic source that couldn’t create steam in the first place, with a system of shells the system can now do more work than it could have in the first place, if the input energy was just used directly. Just by using a passive shell. Obviously that has problems of the thermodynamics type.

The amount of work the system can do does not change in this scenario, it just has a different timeline. And, putting in a threshold to create steam is arbitrary.

If I may make an electrical analogy, let’s put an ideal current source “I” running through a resistor “R” to ground creating 0.6 V according to V = IR. There is a diode in parallel (analogous to your steam) which switches on at 0.7 V. According to your scenario, there is no way I can make the diode switch on and carry current which could drive a load. But, that is not true. If I put a capacitor in series with the resistor, the voltage will increase until the diode is activated, at which point, the voltage will be pegged to 0.7 V (or, in the real world with realizable components, engage in a limit cycle around 0.7 V). If the diode were not there, and the capacitor ideal, the voltage would increase indefinitely, but all real capacitors are actually lossy and can only hold so much charge, so there would be an ultimate limit at which the voltage would either settle out, or the capacitor would explode.

But, in any case, a load put in series with the diode could do work it could not before, but there is no violation of physical laws. The capacitor simply stores up the incoming energy until such a time as the accumulated voltage can trip the diode, and work can then be done through it.

247. Joseph E Postma says:
March 13, 2013 at 8:53 am

radiation can not induce higher temperature in material than the frequency components that the radiation actually is. This is why and how radiation obeys the set of thermodynamics laws.

You keep saying this, but that doesn’t makes it correct. SB obeys TD because SD is just the quantum view of TD.

248. Bart says:

Max™ says:
March 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

“The cold end of a rod doesn’t back-conduct and raise the temperature of the heated end.”

But, if you reduce the surface area of the cold end, the gradient in the heated end will decrease, and it will be hotter on average.

249. “putting in a threshold to create steam is arbitrary.”

No, we’re talking about an entirely different phase state of matter, a phase change, which would require a certain energy input threshold in the first place to achieve. With a lesser input than that, some form of auto-amplification occurs to achieve what couldn’t be achieved previously, and with only a passive change in the system. It is getting more with less, in energetic input/output terms, and is a violation of thermodynamic limitations.

250. “You keep saying this, but that doesn’t makes it correct. SB obeys TD because SD is just the quantum view of TD.”

A reference to the S-B Law and TD do not equate to radiation being able to increase its own frequency and temperature via interaction with itself or its own source.

• Anthony Watts says:

I’m closing this thread, mainly because it has been off-topic hijacked by the bloviations of “slayer” Joe Postma. With Climategate3 afoot, I have far better things to do that moderate his unending rants.

Joe, I’ve put you in the troll bin. Give it a rest. – Anthony