The Magnificent Climate Heat Engine

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I’ve been reflecting over the last few days about how the climate system of the earth functions as a giant natural heat engine. A “heat engine”, whether natural or man-made, is a mechanism that converts heat into mechanical energy of some kind. In the case of the climate system, the heat of the sun is converted into the mechanical energy of the ocean and the atmosphere. The seawater and atmosphere are what are called the “working fluids” of the heat engine. The movement of the air and the seawater transports an almost unimaginably large amount of heat from the tropics to the poles. Now, none of the above are new ideas, or are original with me. I simply got to wondering about what the CERES data could show regarding the poleward transport of that energy by the climate heat engine. Figure 1 gives that result:

net amount of energy exported poleward or imported

Figure 1. Exports of energy from the tropics, in W/m2, averaged over the exporting area. The figures show the net of the energy entering and leaving the TOA above each 1°x1° gridcell. It is calculated from the CERES data as solar minus upwelling radiation (longwave + shortwave). Of course, if more energy is constantly entering a TOA gridcell than is leaving it, that energy must be being exported horizontally. The average amount exported from between the two light blue bands is 44 W/m2 (amount exported / exporting area).

We can see some interesting aspects of the climate heat engine in this graph.

First, like all heat engines, the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature. It works off of a temperature difference. A heat engine needs both a hot end and a cold end. After the working fluid is heated at the hot end, and the engine has extracted work from incoming energy, the remaining heat must be rejected from the working fluid. To do this, the working fluid must be moved to some location where the temperature is lower than at the hot end of the engine. 

As a result, there is a constant flow of energy across the blue line. In part this is because at the poles, so little energy is coming from the sun. Over Antarctica and the Arctic ocean, the sun is only providing about a quarter of the radiated longwave energy, only about 40 W/m2, with the remainder being energy exported from the tropics. The energy is transported by the two working fluids, seawater and air. In total, the CERES data shows that there is a constant energy flux across those blue lines of about six petawatts (6e+15 watts) flowing northwards, and six petawatts flowing southwards for a total of twelve petawatts. And how much energy is twelve petawatts when it’s at home?

Well … at present all of humanity consumes about fifteen terawatts (15e+12) on a global average basis. This means that the amount of energy constantly flowing from the equator to the poles is about eight-hundred times the total energy utilized by humans … as I said, it’s an almost unimaginable amount of energy. Not only that, but that 12 petawatts is only 10% of the 120 petawatts of solar energy that is constantly being absorbed by the climate system.

Next, over the land, the area which is importing energy is much closer to the equator than over the sea. I assume this is because of the huge heat capacity of the ocean, and its consequent ability to transport the heat further polewards.

Next, overall the ocean is receiving more energy than it radiates, so it is exporting energy … and the land is radiating more than it receives, so it is getting energy from the ocean. In part, this is because of the difference in solar heating. Figure 2, which looks much like Figure 1, shows the net amount of solar radiation absorbed by the climate system. I do love investigating this stuff, there’s so much to learn. For example, I was unaware that the land, on average, receives about 40 W/m2 less energy from the sun than does the ocean, as is shown in Figure 2. 

(Daedalus, of course, would not let this opportunity pass without pointing out that this means we could easily control the planet’s temperature by the simple expedient of increasing the amount of land. For each square metre of land added, we get 40 W/m2 less absorbed energy over that square metre, which is about ten doublings of CO2. And the amount would be perhaps double that in tropical waters. So Daedalus calculates that if we make land by filling in shallow tropical oceans equal to say a mere 5% of the planet, it would avoid an amount of downwelling radiation equal to a doubling of CO2. The best part of Daedalus’s plan is his slogan, “We have to pave the planet to save the planet”  … but I digress).

net solar radiation downwelling minus reflectedFigure 2. Net solar energy entering the climate system, in watts per square metre (W/m2). Annual averages.

You can see the wide range in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth, from a low of 48 W/m2 at the poles to a high of 365 W/m2 in parts of the tropics.

Now, I bring up these two Figures to highlight the concept of the climate system as a huge natural heat engine. As with all heat engines, energy enters at the hot end, in this case the tropics. It is converted into mechanical motion of seawater and air, which transports the excess heat to the poles where it is radiated to space.

Now, the way that we control the output of a heat engine is by using something called a “throttle”. A throttle controls the amount of energy entering a heat engine. A throttle is what is controlled by the gas pedal in a car. As the name suggests, a throttle restricts the energy entering the system. As a result, the throttle controls the operating parameters (temperature, work produced, etc.) of the heat engine.

So the question naturally arises … in the climate heat engine, what functions as the throttle? The answer, of course, is the clouds. They restrict the amount of energy entering the system. And where is the most advantageous place to throttle the heat engine shown in Figure 2? Well, you have to do it at the hot end where the energy enters the system. And you’d want to do it near the equator, where you can choke off the most energy.

In practice, a large amount of this throttling occurs at the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). As the name suggests, this is where the two separately circulating hemispheric air masses interact. On average this is north of the equator in the Pacific and Atlantic, and south of the equator in the Indian Ocean. The ITCZ is revealed most clearly by Figure 3, which shows how much sunlight the planet is reflecting.

total reflected solar radiationFigure 3. Total reflected solar radiation. Areas of low reflection are shown in red, because the low reflection leads to increased solar heating. The average ITCZ can be seen as the yellow/green areas just above the Equator in the Atlantic and Pacific, and just below the Equator in the Indian Ocean. 

In Figure 3, we can see how the ITCZ clouds are throttling the incoming solar energy. Were it not for the clouds, the tropical oceans in that area would reflect less than 80 W/m2 (as we see in the red areas outlined above and below the ITCZ) and the oceans would be much warmer. By throttling the incoming sunshine, areas near the Equator end up much cooler than they would be otherwise.

Now … all of the above has been done with averages. But the clouds don’t form based on average conditions. They form based only and solely on current conditions. And the nature of the tropical clouds is that generally, the clouds don’t form in the mornings, when the sea surface is cool from its nocturnal overturning.

Instead, the clouds form after the ocean has warmed up to some critical temperature. Once it passes that point, and generally over a period of less than an hour, a fully-developed cumulus cloud layer emerges. The emergence is threshold based. The important thing to note about this process is that the critical threshold at which the clouds form is based on temperature and the physics of air, wind and water. The threshold is not based on CO2. It is not a function of instantaneous forcing.  The threshold is based on temperature and pressure and the physics of the immediate situation.

This means that the tropical clouds emerge earlier when the morning is warmer than usual. And when the morning is cooler, the cumulus emerge later or not at all. So if on average there is a bit more forcing, from solar cycles or changes in CO2 or excess water vapor in the air, the clouds form earlier, and the excess forcing is neatly counteracted.

Now, if my hypothesis is correct, then we should be able to find evidence for this dependence of the tropical clouds on the temperature. If the situation is in fact as I’ve stated above, where the tropical clouds act as a throttle because they increase when the temperatures go up, then evidence would be found in the correlation of surface temperature with albedo. Figure 4 shows that relationship.

correlation surface temperature and albedo annualFigure 4. Correlation of surface temperature and albedo, calculated on a 1°x1° gridcell basis. Blue and green areas are where albedo and temperature are negatively correlated. Red and orange show positive correlation, where increasing albedo is associated with increasing temperature.

Over the extratropical land, because of the association of ice and snow (high albedo) and low temperatures, the correlation between temperature and albedo is negative. However, remember that little of the suns energy is going there.

In the tropics where the majority of energy enters the system, on the other hand, warmer surface temperatures lead to more clouds, so the correlation is positive, and strongly positive in some areas.

Now, consider what happens when increasing clouds cause a reduction in temperature, and increasing temperatures cause an increase in clouds. At some point, the two lines will cross, and the temperature will oscillate around that set point. When the surface is cooler than that temperature, clouds will form later, and there will be less clouds, sun will pour in uninterrupted, and the surface will warm up.

And when the surface is warmer than that temperature, clouds will form earlier, there will be more clouds, and higher albedo, and more reflection, and the surface will cool down.

Net result? A very effective thermostat. This thermostat works in conjunction with other longer-term thermostatic phenomena to maintain the amazing thermal stability of the planet. People agonize about a change of six-tenths of a degree last century … but consider the following:

•  The climate system is only running at about 70% throttle.

•  The average temperature of the system is ~ 286K.

•  The throttle of the climate system is controlled by nothing more solid than clouds, which are changing constantly.

•  The global average surface temperature is maintained at a level significantly warmer than what would be predicted for a planet without an atmosphere containing water vapor, CO2, and other greenhouse gases.

Despite all of that, over the previous century the total variation in temperature was ≈ ± 0.3K. This is a variation of less than a tenth of one percent.

For a system as large, complex, ephemeral, and possibly unstable as the climate, I see this as clear evidence for the existence of a thermostatic system of some sort controlling the temperature. Perhaps the system doesn’t work as I have posited above … but it is clear to me that there must be some kind of system keeping the temperature variations within a tenth of a percent over a century.

Regards to all,

w.

PS—The instability of a modeled climate system without some thermostatic mechanism is well illustrated by the thousands of runs of the ClimatePredictionNet climate model:

climateprediction_bad_data

Note how many of the runs end up in unrealistically high or low temperatures, due to the lack of any thermostatic control mechanisms.

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496 thoughts on “The Magnificent Climate Heat Engine

  1. Brilliant Willis! I am thinking about how the clouds will be affected by a waning sun of the next few dozen years – if the sun continues its decline. Fewer and wealer El Ninos, an more La Ninas, but will somewhat lower supercharging.

  2. All readers are required to understand that – for all of Hansen’s fear about the Arctic ice coverage over that little bit of area between 72 north and the pole (14 M km^2), that same 14 M km^2 of surface area is only the that little bitty band between latitude 1.5 north and 1.5 south.

    The massive “red spot” above? Hundreds of times more important than the Arctic Ocean.

  3. Ryan Scott Welch says:
    December 22, 2013 at 12:02 am

    This makes sense as conditions exist today but I suppose the positions of the land mass has a huge impact on the set point around which the thermostat process operates. It appears that with a continent situated on the south pole that the set point is much lower (around 13C) than the geological record average over the last 600 million years or so of about 22C.

    True. But irrelevant. It doesn’t matter.

    Since the Antarctic continent DID separate away from India-South America-Africa, and since the Panama Isthmus DID rejoin North and South America about 30 million years ago, we must live with what we got (were given.) It ain’t gonna change.

    Much like the earlier CAGW-inspired fears and hype about the North Atlantic conveyor being disrupted by ice melt like it had when the central US-Canada 3000 foot high glaciers melted. But they aren’t at 3000 feet above Chicago and Alberta now, so THAT CAN’T HAPPEN NOW. 8<)

  4. Doubtless this very important and obvious (in hindsight) natural thermostat phenomenon is accurately included in all climate models. Sarc off/

    This phenomenon has to be there or the Earth would have fried many times in the geological past, thus putting some credence into CAGW theory. However, as the Earth has never fried (at least not in the last 600 million years), then this is another reason why CAGW theory fails.

    The Earth has been warmer and cooler than now – mostly warmer – but that is mostly a function of solar energy received, oscillations in orbit, occasional natural catastrophes and the positions of the continents.

    Also, we should never forget the geological record shows us that carbon dioxide levels always lag behind changes in global temperature, not vice versa.

  5. The red areas on Fig. 4 are pretty much the areas affected by summer monsoons- cloudy and wet summers, mild and sunny at other times. It makes sense to me Willis!

  6. RACookPE1978 says:
    December 22, 2013 at 12:08 am
    True. But irrelevant. It doesn’t matter.

    I don’t see how it is irrelevant if it is true and affects the set-point in a substantial way. I’m not saying that Antarctica is moving to the equator soon and I am not shilling for a warmist agenda. I am just wondering why the set-point is so much lower now than it was for most of the geologic record over the last 600 million years, and providing a possible explanation.

  7. The important thing about this idea is that the current GCMs cant model it because they can’t model cloud formation. They fudge it. And it’s well documented, just not well known by warning enthusiasts and those that are aware of it pass it off as unimportant.

  8. Nice, but how do you get a significant number of climate scientists to take note of this common sense approach to an issue that, when looked at another way, puts bread on the table and pays the mortgage?

  9. rob r says:
    December 22, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Nice, but how do you get a significant number of climate scientists to take note of this common sense approach to an issue that, when looked at another way, puts bread on the table and pays the mortgage?

    ‘Bout all I can do is just keep putting it out there …

    Thanks,

    w.

  10. Ryan Scott Welch

    This is indeed an interesting question since the planet is clearly in cold mode and there should be geologic reasons for this involving Willis’ heat engine paradigm. Here are a few suggestions:

    1. The Atlantic oceam and the meridionally aligned Americas funnel Atlantic equatorial ocean heat more efficiently, like the go-faster fins on a cadillac. Note the gulf stream and effective warm water transport all the way to the Arctic.

    2. Blame the Auzzies – continents like Australia and India moving towards the equator will – based on Willis’ criterion of lower albedo over land than sea – will decrease solar heat input.

    3. India pushing up the himalayas also exerts s global cooling effect.

  11. rob r:
    The problem isn’t getting climate scientists to take note or even to publish their findings – there are lots of them out there, indeed lots of them here.
    The problem is getting the MSM to cover what around half of them are saying.

  12. Great Willis, now, you have described the <> would you like to think about how (many ways) this system might be perturbed such that it’s steady state changes.

    We have said for years and years that there has to be a temperature control mechanism on this planet because our climate has remained so stable for so long remembering that ice ages are not due to huge swings in global temperature.

  13. Nice, Manfred. I use something much the same, called “MeteoEarth”, on my cell phone.

    w.
    Not NICE W. absolutely stunning.

  14. I disagree with Willis here

    Quote

    It is converted into mechanical motion of seawater and air, which transports the excess heat to the poles where it is radiated to space.

    Unquote
    The motion already exists because of the Earths rotation and the huge forces that generates. But they both water and air, transport heat. The effect or implications for the theory proposed by Willis?

  15. A restatement of Willis’s original Thermostat Hypothesis and correct as far as it goes but it is only part of the story.

    It appears that variations in solar activity alter global cloudiness by affecting the zonality / meridionality of the jet stream tracks threading between the permanent climate zones which in turn affects the amount of solar energy getting into the oceans in the first place.

    The Thermostat responds to that forcing element just as Willis says but the initial changes are caused by the sun.

    Furthermore the entire global air circulation is affected and not just cloud activity in the Tropics because the solar effect is at its maximum at the poles.

    Historical data shows that the entire global air circulation shifts latitudinally in response to any forcing elements that seek to destabilise the system.

    Even the ITCZ itself shifts its latitudinal position to and fro over time as the thermostat operates to maintain system stability.

    And in the end the limiting factor for the amount of solar energy that the oceans can retain is set by average global atmospheric pressure at the surface which sets the energy transfer values and the thermal set points for the various phase changes of water.

  16. Ryan Scott Welch says:
    December 22, 2013 at 12:02 am

    This makes sense as conditions exist today but I suppose the positions of the land mass has a huge impact on the set point around which the thermostat process operates. It appears that with a continent situated on the south pole that the set point is much lower (around 13C) than the geological record average over the last 600 million years or so of about 22C.

    There may be some bigger implications.
    1. Ocean currents like the Gulf Stream are effected by the positions of the continents.
    2. Can the start of the roughly 100,000 year ice age cycle be correlated with the separation of the continents that created the Atlantic Ocean?
    3. Did the creation of the Atlantic Ocean result in the creation of the Gulf Stream?
    4. Will the presence or absence of this and other large ocean currents affect the set point?
    5. We are currently at the high end of the 100,000 year cycle. What causes the rapid drop in temperature that initiates the colder part of the cycle?
    6. Could that be turning off of the Gulf Stream? And could that result from a reduction in the available glacial and sea ice melt water in the Arctic which may act as a pump for the Gulf Stream? (The Gulf Stream reportedly turned off for a few months a short few years ago.)

  17. Great post Willis.
    I wonder if ocean currents for part of the longer-term Earth throttle through the varying speed, turbulence and direction of ocean currents?

  18. In about a billion years time the sun will srart its slow expansion toward red giant. Those living at that time will find out what is the maximum solar heat input that the heat engine will be able to handle before it overloads; before it is no longer able to keep a lid on SSTs at 30C. One thing is certain – that excess cheat capacity is much larger than any marginal heat increase from CO2.

  19. that the land, on average, receives about 40 W/m2 less energy from the sun than does the ocean

    Looks like it might be a significant positive feedback during a continental glaciation, with hundreds of feet of falling sea level.

  20. the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature.

    “Off of” is a cacophonous new American-English grammar construct. What does it mean? Its horrible, stop it!

  21. Totally ignoring that real heat mover, convection.
    And Daedalus talks crap. Sorry to dampen your GHG fueled season.

  22. ”Next, overall the ocean is receiving more energy than it radiates, so it is exporting energy … and the land is radiating more than it receives, so it is getting energy from the ocean.”

    So as we have seen sea-level rise during the C20th , that in itself would explain any rise in global temperatures over the same period.

  23. A wonderful read, Willis. Sort of a Christmas present. Thanks, and have a Merry Christmas!

    PS Besides the obvious clouds, I’ll bet the “throttle” has other, more-subtle “governors,” such as shifting currents and varying sea ice.

  24. Willis said:

    “the critical threshold at which the clouds form is based on temperature and the physics of air, wind and water. The threshold is not based on CO2. It is not a function of instantaneous forcing. The threshold is based on temperature and pressure and the physics of the immediate situation.”

    Which I agree with.

    So why, previously, the derogatory comments directed at so called ‘pressure heads’ who previously pointed out the same thing ?

    Pressure at the surface, the decline in pressure with height and uneven heating at the surface resulting in density differentials is what drives the entire thermostatic mechanism.

    Which brings us back to the mechanical process of adiabatic cooling with uplift and adiabatic warming with descent being the real cause of ‘surplus’ warmth at the surface and not the radiative characteristics of the constituent gases.

  25. Figure 3: ‘Black lines outline areas reflecting less than eighty W/M^2′ Perhaps fifty? Fascinating post as usual.

  26. Grey Lensman writes “The motion already exists because of the Earths rotation and the huge forces that generates.”

    http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/facts/currents.html

    “Surface currents are generated largely by wind. Their patterns are determined by wind direction, Coriolis forces from the Earth’s rotation, and the position of landforms that interact with the currents. Surface wind-driven currents generate upwelling currents in conjunction with landforms, creating deepwater currents.”

  27. Interesting again.

    What could change the heat engine to something else?

    Move the continents to different positions. As in all of them locked together over the equator as in Pangea at 265 Mya (+9.0C). All of them locked together over the South Pole as in Pannotia at 635 Mya (-20C). Put shallow ocean over 35% of the land mass as in the Cretaceous at 95 Mya (+9.0C).

  28. Willis,
    Nice summary. How does this compare with what previous climate scientists have said? In particular, Dr. Spencer?

  29. Tim, so you are saying that gravity and friction effect the wind but not the Sea!

    Interesting concept

  30. Very nice. The next question is how does this change over time. It would be interesting to see a time lapse of yearly changes. It might provide some insight for a deeper understanding.

  31. Grey Lensman writes “you are saying that gravity and friction effect the wind but not the Sea!”

    I wasn’t saying anything, that was a quote. But the quote says the motion is generated by the winds and the direction is influenced by the coriolis forces not that the “motion already exists because of the Earths rotation and the huge forces that generates.”

  32. Willis,
    You might wish to imagine a somewhat different heat engine, one operating between 210K and 280K and performing work at a 240W rate. The essence of the Carnot Equation is that it describes the rate at which thermodynamic free energy is being consumed. Whether this energy takes the form of ‘useful’ work or thermal dissipation or some combination thereof is irrelevant to the engine’s internals. Direct differentiation of this equation tells us that the sensitivity of this 240W to the input temperature is going to be 6.00W/K if linear, or 2.57W/K in the non-linear limit equivalent to unrestricted positive feedback.

    In electric circuits, one is quite familiar with W=IV, valid for any steady state circuit, including gas discharge lamps with turbulent internal fluxes. The Carnot Equation is the equivalent expression for thermal circuits.
    pdq

  33. This has never been anything but a sensor covered sphere heated through illumination using light – with a frigid nitrogen/oxygen bath cooling the earth, day and night,- yes, even when the light’s out in the refrigerator, frigid atmospheric air washing things removes heat better than vacuum –

    Water acts as phase change refrigerant, evaporating, accelerating cooling far past what radiation ever could have, upon rising the water drags in more nitrogen/oxygen, the cooling,
    never,
    ever,
    stops.

    The water rises and when pressure gradients create molecular resizing, light previously resonant and entangled, flies off the water cooing it: creating contraction to ice.
    The ice falls and is melted several times usually as heat rafts upward in enormous drafts.

    The ice eventually changes phase AGAIN to water or, conversely simply falls out as ice, to evaporate, and produce the refrigeration effect again wherever the sun tracks: there is a band of refrigerating clouds, lofting up lifting water to both block more light in
    which of course is called in the real world cooling
    as the phase change refrigeration cycle goes on endlessly.

    The atmosphere never warms the earth, a rock heated through illumination in vacuum,
    can’t have ten thousand foot deep oceans of phase change refrigerant dropped onto it,
    along with a freezing nitrogen/oxygen bath constantly washing heat off,
    due to the spin of the earth –

    does somebody actually know what it says, to claim one thinks a thermally conductive cold bath makes things hotter
    than heating them in vacuum?

    It means I believe in the warming atmosphere, Greenhouse Gas claim. A sphere illuminated by a light has frigid reflective fluid denying heat and light to the surface, and sensors on it,
    and when the sun’s on the other side, the cooling takes place even faster.

    People awaken knowing the lowest temperature of the day will be right at and after dawn.

    Warm atmosphere pseudo science is why when you ask a Green House Gas believer which way a thermometer will go if you “heat through illumination, spinning, a sphere, in vacuum. You then suspend and spin that sphere into an icy fluid bath with built in phase-change refrigeration,
    refrigerant water, also serving to cool through albedo and sheer physical diffraction from earth of infrared coming in.

    There aren’t two subsequent, coherent syllables in the whole yarn of voodoo and pseudo science.

    There’s claim the water and co2 which are responsible not just for the refrigeration but the physical reflecting away of some 20% total energy that would be coming to earth surface sensors.

    Reflective media suspended between an illumination source and target sensors aren’t called ‘heaters’.

    They’re called ‘coolants’ Your reflective media suspended between your rock and fire, reflecting away a fifth of all your energy in, is called coolant.

    These thermally conductive reflective and refrigerant coolants,
    cool the earth at all times.

    Now if you don’t think so here’s a simple test for you to ask of yourself: If you, personally, took an earth sized rock, and heated it in vacuum using the sun, until stable temp T,

    and you then immersed that rock in frigid nitrogen and oxygen and you built in a phase change refrigeration system using coolant that not just changed phase but physically reflected much energy from your target sphere,

    would you, a non green house gas believer, guess sensors were going to show it getting warmer, when you washed the rock with the frigid refrigerated bath?

    Or would you fully expect to see temperatures jump up, 90F/30C?

    Well, a regular person would say “look, there’s conduction and convection that removes heat past what radiation alone could do without this atmosphere. The whole reason you use vacuum to insulate things is to keep heat from leaving or getting in. Vacuum restricts heat transfer greatly.

    Why are all these people so insistent they know of a frigid fluid bath,
    that they claim makes every heat sensor on earth, register an average of 30C higher
    than when 20% more energy arrived on those sensors,
    and when what energy did arrive, wasn’t washed off with a thermally conductive bath.

    It’s all voodoo from word one when people tell you to admit you didn’t see them reverse the algebraic polarity of heating vs cooling
    by adding a thermally conductive,
    refrigerated,
    reflective,
    fluid bath.
    Then claim it was a heater.
    The rock got hotter being washed in reflective refrigerants and other thermal conduction compounds like cold nitrogen/oxygen bath.

    Any time
    any one

    tells you he thinks the atmosphere heats the earth,
    you sit down and sort out the immediate problems he has with the simplest realities.

    You can check by simply sitting there and constructing the earth model step by step: You vacuum heat a rock then put frigid refrigerated, reflective fluid washing it,

    do you think you’re going to win money betting that adding a cold conductive fluid, refrigerated bath,
    is going to make every heat sensor on that globe,
    show it got hotter
    than when the sole way heat was removed without atmosphere, in vacuum, was to radiate?

    When it was also remember, receiving 20% more energy total to it’s surface?

    Where else do you think someone would stare you down claiming he saw a hot rock dropped into frigid gas bath get 90F/30C hotter, than when you were heating it in reduced atmosphere?

    Ask yourself.
    You don’t need someone to hold your hand through it, track the entire set of steps down not using analogy, simply describing the actual things and mechanisms involved.

    Is it any wonder people who believe in this find it necessary to simply censor anyone reminding the crowd at large, what the protagonists of this are preaching as reality based analysis?

  34. CONTINENTAL DRIFT IS WEIRDING THE WEATHER!!!!!

    Soon to be newest global warming fallback position. Sorry, popped into my head and I could not help myself.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  35. Willis, I enjoyed the post. It is just sensible. I have always maintained a mental model that Atlantic hurricanes were simple and efficient energy transfer mixing mechanisms. Because I sail south in November I am rooting for early and frequent less powerful storms to transfer the accumulated energy north and leave a more tranquil body of water. Fronts traveling East on the 500 MB line peeling off Hatteras are a battle between warm and cold mixing energized by the warm Gulf Stream. Never get into a low on the North side of the line. The greater the temperature difference the more intense the experience. Bla, Bla, Bla! Could it follow therefore that as world temperatures increase the difference in temperature may decrease, this could result in fewer or less violent storms. Perhaps larger weather regimes? Some toning down may have taken place in the North Atlantic during the medieval warming period. (Anecdotal evidence) These thoughts applied to some N Atlantic warming were consistent with the lack of hurricanes this season. While the world is a complex place your thoughts took me up a notch in my thinking and make good sense to me. Thanks.

  36. Willis,

    In some of your older stories you have talked about being at sea and watching the morning clouds form. You provided us all with that information. None of us got it.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  37. It would seem to me that this picture is already a little muted. Radiation (IR) that is being measured by CERES does not all travel vertically. It travels at all possible angles although much of it is coming from high up in the atmosphere. Not sure what this situation is doing to the picture. It may pretty much cancel out.

  38. An excellent presentation Willis. This is the kind of science one would expect to see at a convention of climate scientists. This is much better than any presentation I’ve seen from the recent AGU convention. Why not pull your cloud thermostat ideas together and give a formal presentation at the next AGU convention? I would be more than happy to hit the tip jar to offset your expenses.

  39. “(Daedalus, of course, would not let this opportunity pass without pointing out that this means we could easily control the planet’s temperature by the simple expedient of increasing the amount of land. For each square metre of land added, we get 40 W/m2 less absorbed energy over that square metre, which is about ten doublings of CO2. And the amount would be perhaps double that in tropical waters. So Daedalus calculates that if we make land by filling in shallow tropical oceans equal to say a mere 5% of the planet, it would avoid an amount of downwelling radiation equal to a doubling of CO2. ”

    And if instead we fill the tropic so all is land, how much do we cool the planet?
    It seems we might close to the -18 C in which earth suppose to be without a greenhouse effect.

    Or if wanted to design a planet with max “greenhouse effect” you have the tropics 100% ocean.
    Or if want to have cooler planet you have the tropics 100% land.
    So for instance we wanted a warmer planet, Mars, we would create an equatorial ocean.

    So Earth has about 85% ocean at the tropics.and tropics 23 to 23 north and south latitude is 40% of entire Earth surface area. Let’s move up to 38 degree latitude and have 50% of entire
    surface area. So if reduced ocean by 10% [having it land] we get 75% area ocean and cool by
    1 C. And we continue this, so reduce it to 65, 55, 45, 35, 25, 15, and Zero%.
    Reducing average global temperature by 8 C. This of course is not including any amplifying effect
    from CO2,
    And Earth covered with land in tropics is not going to have water vapor at the Tropics that Earth has- instead it’s going desert like condition regardless of temperature.

    So with Mars having ocean in half it’s world at tropics and beyond, we add 8 C plus 85% going to 100%, let 2 C. So 10 C added to Mars average temperature. Plus Mars would much higher water vapor in it’s tropics which covered with water.
    So you say since Mars has average temperature of -60 C, one would still have ice rather than liquid water at it’s equator.
    It seem that if add 10 C for water, and say with existing CO2 in atmosphere one adds another 10,
    and 10 C from water vapor, that still an average global temperature of -30 C. Since Mars has 28 times more CO2 as Earth, one might make 15 C from the CO2 [of if added pure water it would suck up a lot of CO2 atmosphere]. But in any case even add the 5 C one still has -25 C.
    BUT could the average global be -30 C and still have liquid ocean [btw even if it was frozen ice at Eaquator one still a lot water vapor at Mars tropics than Mars has now [somewhere in range of 10 to 100 times more].
    What if half Mars had average temperature of about 0 C and the other half was -60 C. So Mars has average temperature of -60 C, but the part above 38 latitude would on average be colder than -60 C. So half world covered with water, this warmer water might add +5 C to cooler part above 38 degree latitude, or bring it’s average temperature UP to -30 C.
    So Mars is like Earth in terms of it’s tilt of axis, the water, in say above 20 degree latitude in it’s winter might freeze, and thaw in spring and summer.

  40. “Next, over the land, the area which is importing energy is much closer to the equator than over the sea. I assume this is because of the huge heat capacity of the ocean, and its consequent ability to transport the heat further polewards.”

    Land cools down at night, especially so where it is drier like the Sahara, which appears to be where the blue line is nearest to the equator.

    “So the question naturally arises … in the climate heat engine, what functions as the throttle?”

    ENSO is playing a large part in the tropics too, but there is a also a “throttle” in the oceanic flow to the poles, it increases with negative AO/NAO conditions.

  41. “Over the extratropical land, because of the association of ice and snow (high albedo) and low temperatures, the correlation between temperature and albedo is negative. However, remember that little of the suns energy is going there.”
    In case no one has mentioned it previously, there is also going to be a negative correlation due to cloud cover moving from the tropics, blocking the sunlight, and lowering the local temperature.

  42. It’s quite clear to me that ocean currents drive our “climate.” Perhaps they even drive the ice house / hot house changeovers. Disruptions to, or elimination of heat pumping mechanisms caused by plate tectonics plays a huge role. In smaller shifts, on the scale of centuries, perhaps smaller changes in currents and flow of ocean water can create little ice ages and warm periods.

  43. Great post Willis.

    For the pressure folks, Atmospheric pressure differences are caused by temperature differences, ie warm and cold air masses the wind is created by the differences between the pressures, rotation of the earth and land masses deflect the wind but do not create it.

    Its interesting to watch cloud formation at different places, particularly open ocean. In the tropics its general after a set time in the morning in the mid latitudes clouds are rare at sea except for storms. I personally have never been to the poles so its hard for me to say what is going on up there.

    Finally Some Ocean currents are driven by wind but not all. The great currents are caused by the sum movement of the water from all the small currents driven by the wind which is temperature and pressure related. So Willis idea of a heat engine is absolute genius.

    v/r,
    David Riser

  44. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:37 am
    It appears that variations in solar activity alter global cloudiness by affecting the zonality / meridionality of the jet stream tracks
    There is no evidence for that, only supposition.

  45. Thanks for your typical lucid presentation. I’ve read enough of them by now that I’m starting to have a new problem: how do you explain the significant swings in the earth’s temperature that you have acknowledged? The thermostat, which I think you have proved to exist, seems to have been capable of different settings, like a building thermostat.

  46. Willis,
    Great post.

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 4:50 am
    Stephen, the adiabatic cooling with increasing altitude exists whether there is an atmospheric greenhouse effect of not. It is called the lapse rate, and is due purely to gravity and the gas specific heat. However, this lapse rate is a GRADIENT not a level of temperature. The radiative effects cause an altitude shift of location of average ourgoing energy balance, and thus set the actual temperature LEVEL.

  47. Now, if we understood all the forces effecting “climate/Weather” like the Moon’s influence, the tilt of the earth and so on, coupled with 5 or 6 hundred years of observation we may be able to “predict”
    the future (not withstanding a meteorite impact or eruption of a super volcano).

  48. James Strom says:
    December 22, 2013 at 7:10 am

    James, there are many causes of shifts. One is the moderately long term periodic shifts of ocean currents (e.g., PDO, AMO). Others include changes in solar conditions (flux, spectral balance, magnetic field). Others include variations in Earth’s tilt to the Sun, and movement of large masses of land. Each condition has it’s own set point, but that set point can change with conditions changed. Even with very large changes possible, the average temperature has held to a band of about plus or minus 4% over hundreds of millions of years.

  49. “Despite all of that, over the previous century the total variation in temperature was ≈ ± 0.3K. This is a variation of less than a tenth of one percent.

    For a system as large, complex, ephemeral, and possibly unstable as the climate, I see this as clear evidence for the existence of a thermostatic system of some sort controlling the temperature. Perhaps the system doesn’t work as I have posited above … but it is clear to me that there must be some kind of system keeping the temperature variations within a tenth of a percent over a century.”

    ######################

    lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical

  50. You are confusing local and transient effects (wind and weather) with the global mean. The regulator of Earth’s temperature is the mass of the atmosphere, and the stable hydrostatic condition of it which produces the stable tropospheric vertical temperature gradient (a.k.a. the lapse rate). Clouds have no effect upon global mean planetary temperature, even the thick cloud layer on Venus, for despite the great difference in cloud cover on Venus and the Earth, the Venus/Earth temperature ratio both above and below the cloud layer, at points of equal pressure and over the full range of Earth tropospheric pressures, is a constant that is precisely and fully explained by the ratio of the two planetary distances, nothing else. Only within the clouds themselves is the temperature lessened, by about 5K, from what it would be without the clouds–clearly due to the greater specific heat of the non-gaseous liquid drops making up the clouds. The only “heat engine” is that due to the non-uniform heating of the planetary surface, primarily latitudinally, which is a primary driver of the local and transient effects of wind and weather. The global mean is the unchanging world stage upon which the continuing but intrinsically lesser effects of wind and weather play their dynamic, ever-recurring roles. I have pointed all this out any number of times in comments here over the last 3 years–whenever the supposed effect of clouds comes up, for example–but you have no more physical insight, or plain sense for the definitive evidence–of the seminal Venus/Earth temperature comparison–than do the alarmists.

  51. Leonard Weinstein says:
    December 22, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Thanks for those ideas. As presented, the thermostat seems to be quite powerful, so it will be interesting to discover how these or other phenomena override or reset it. In other eras, for example, has the same thermostat operated at something like 8-10 degrees hotter or cooler?

  52. Willis, do you understand that that horizontal heat transport and it’s dependence on temperature-or rather temperature gradient-is why you can’t calculate local sensitivity by regressing TOA flux on local temperature? Because you have done it several times and I recall you being dismissive of the idea that horizontal heat transport could make any difference to such results.

    Your using the term “constant” a couple of times for the poleward heat flow suggests not, but hope this is just sloppy use of language.

  53. I know I am a thorn in your side Stephen, but please stop stating your Sun/Jet hypothesis sans tested mechanism. The variation in the energy available in Solar parameters needed to change something as strong as the Jets (through expansion/retraction of the absolute height/depth of the mesosphere thus relaxing/squeezing the jets north or south) would have to be many times greater than it actually is in watts per square meter. The jets are strong enough to impede or speed up the travel time of manmade jets. Your tiny changes in solar parameters just don’t have the chops to move such a powerful entity north or south of its tract. And your thesis does not include the mechanism for its amplification to the level required to move global jets.

    Your hypothesis fails at its most elementary level.

  54. Please, everybody, don’t focus exclusively on Willis’ actual hypothesis to the exclusion of the larger point, which he states at the end of the paper. That point is that it’s *negative* feedbacks we should be looking for, not positive ones. If the climate system was dominated by positive feedbacks we almost certainly would not be here to observe them. Such a planet is not suitable for the evolution of complex life.

  55. harrydhuffman
    reconcile for me your comparison of venusian clouds to earth clouds with the fact that sunlight never reaches the surface of venus, please.
    for bonus points, explain the distinction between aerosols as the working fluid in a heat pump vs a phase change liquid. (as any practical heatpump relies on phase change to move the heat)

    for willis:
    now that you’re well focussed on the physics of heat pumps, did you know what happens when you increase the heat carrying capacity of the working fluid? (as happens, albeit insignificantly, with increased co2)
    (plz note that there is no change of temp during this phase change- so your idea that heat and temperature are directly convertible is disproven. stefan bolzman does not apply to this at all.)
    for bonus points- what is the lest dense gas of any significance in our atmosphere? and does it require any convection whatsoever to move from surface to stratosphere?

  56. Hmmm, was brushing up on Gulf Stream information after seeing the comment about a shutdown, found this: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/2006/4/the-source-of-europes-mild-climate/1

    In short: the winds moving east over the Rocky Mountains end up being compressed vertically and spreading horizontally.

    There is a counter-clockwise rotation induced by the rotation of the planet (the planetary component in meteorological terms) and conservation of angular momentum leads to a reduction in said rotation as those air columns spread horizontally, which can be treated as a clockwise component to the rotation, and results in a southward deflection.

    After crossing the southeast US and reaching the open ocean these columns of air trade that clockwise component back into the planetary component as they expand vertically and accordingly are thus deflected back north to carry milder air over Europe and the British Isles.

    I made a comment some time ago in another thread on here about the vertical compression which would result from the rotating “vanes” of the Andes and Rocky ranges interacting with the diurnal bulge, and it was rather quickly shot down as being unlikely to have any significant or noticeable influence.

    To be fair I did not explore enough to account for the changes which would result in north/south deflection of air masses traveling over these ranges, but I would expect that there is no coincidence that the prevailing winds and planetary rotation components over the Rocky and Andes are adjacent to two well known oceanic heat transport phenomena: ENSO and the Gulf Stream.

  57. Steven Mosher says:
    December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am
    “Despite all of that, over the previous century the total variation in temperature was ≈ ± 0.3K. This is a variation of less than a tenth of one percent.

    For a system as large, complex, ephemeral, and possibly unstable as the climate, I see this as clear evidence for the existence of a thermostatic system of some sort controlling the temperature. Perhaps the system doesn’t work as I have posited above … but it is clear to me that there must be some kind of system keeping the temperature variations within a tenth of a percent over a century.”

    ######################

    lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical

    Let us see

    CO2?

    Ding Ding Ding

    Now give me your money!

  58. Steven Mosher says:
    December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am

    lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical

    Don’t try anything Gleick-like: you’d spot yourself immediately. :)

  59. rob r says Nice, but how do you get a significant number of climate scientists to take note of this common sense approach to an issue that, when looked at another way, puts bread on the table and pays the mortgage?
    A quote from Upton Sinclair rings the bell “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”.

  60. Steven Mosher says:
    December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am
    ….
    lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical
    ______________

    So if I’m translating correctly from Snark to English, you are asserting that inertia limited the climate response to 0.6 C last century. Let’s assume that is true.

    Now, given that response to increased CO2 is logarithmic, and that the rate of increase of CO2 is not exponential, we can conclude, then, that the response in this century will be lower than last.

    Guess there’s no worry about catastrophe then.

  61. Thanks Willis. The poles, esp. the arctic seem to be the way the planet dumps heat. I think esp. the arctic because water gets all the way north, plus open water in the arctic really dumps heat to the atmosphere. Melting the bottom of any floating ice consumes a great deal of heat too, which would be happening around Antarctica. The increasing southern ice may be indicative of a cooling planet, more reflected sun = less heating of sea water. I would think snow and ice more reflective than clouds, and it is staying around longer than clouds and growing in the south.
    Here is an overlay of the current 12/20/13 ice extents for both poles.

  62. The amount of heat entering the earth varies only a small amount but if it is increased or decreased consistently for decades the heat transport, that Willis talks about,is changed and magnified here on earth leading to climate change. The solar system after billions of years of evolution is in a state of near perfect resonance. The variation in the suns output can be show to be dependent on the movement of planets in the solar system. The climate is now entering a cooling phase because the sun is entering a prolonged quiet phase. The problem of climate change is multi-dimensional but is usually presented as a one cause and effect because that is what Al Gore did and is easy for the human mind to grasp.

  63. It probably doesn’t yield as cool a slogan, but you could just release top-reflective, ballasted inflatable plastic floats with trailing sea anchors in huge quantities into the tropical seas and get the same effects without the need to dredge all that fill….

  64. Thank you I love how you explain complex theories in a down to earth manner (I want to say that even a warmest could understand but that is just my optimism!) I believe this theory, now get a grant for us to launch a bunch of satellites and some supercomputers and we can measure it! (then we can be part of the wealth global elite too! unless they find out its true!)
    Im english, it might explain the sarcasm!

  65. This dovetails nicely with former- Alarmist James Lovelock’s idea about earth’s climate being homeostatic in nature. In addition to clouds, the oceans also appear to act as giant thermostats, keeping us from getting too warm. Unfortunately, the thermostat doesn’t seem to work well in the other direction.

  66. Are your CPUs BOINCing?

    They should be.

    Climate Prediction Dot Net (CPDN) is one of many projects that runs under the Berkely Open Interface for Networked Computing (BOINC) application. http://boinc.berkeley.edu/

    Many excellent projects worthy of your CPU support are available, even if the deficiencies of the assumptions for CPDN make that one less useful than it might be.

  67. Steve Keohane says:
    December 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Good job on that image! Thank you.

    But .. (You knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you?

    Do you have the same super-imposition of the Sept 20 Antarctic (maximum Southern extents) laid over the Sept 20 Arctic (minimum northern extents) as a contract. You will see an amazing difference between mid-Dec (BOTH at near-nominal, or near-equal) conditions – which actually occurs in late January – compared to the min-max late September comparison.

    Now, remember also that Antarctica sea ice is a combination of a “permanent” 14.0 million Km^2 ice-covered continent, a 3.5 MKm^2 permanent ice shelve around Antarctica – which NSIDC has told they do NOT include in the Antarctic sea ice totals – plus the ever-varying sea ice around the outside. Your picture shows a very clean beanie cap of all three together. Which is the correct “reflection” image.

    Arctic sea ice extents is also a beanie cap, but offset from the pole towards the north Alaska coast. In analyzing reflections, Arctic sea ice should really include Greenland as well. But never does. Outside of Greenland’s 1.83 MKm^2 ice cap, there are almost no other permanent ice up north: nothing close to antarctic fixed amounts. Notice, by the way, that Greenland’s entire ice cap is only HALF that of Antarctica’s minimum sea ice extents! (Much thicker, but reflectivity (albedo differences) ONLY depend on area and Day-of-Year: Arctic sea ice very, very dirty (low albedo) during the melt season of June-July-August-early September (See Curry’s SHEBA data, for example.) . Much lower albedo than the other 8 months of the year.

  68. In the case of the climate system, the heat of the sun is converted into the mechanical energy of the ocean and the atmosphere. The seawater and atmosphere are what are called the “working fluids” of the heat engine.

    and

    First, like all heat engines, the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature. It works off of a temperature difference.

    Something else needs to be stated more explicitly, and that is the importance of phase changes in the working fluid. The absolute temperature is important, not just the temperature difference. The climate set points emerge from the properties of water. Heat is used to evaporate water, which then gets transported elsewhere. Clouds and other weather fall out from this.

  69. Pamela Gray says:
    December 22, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Pamela, all that is necessary is for solar variations to affect lower stratosphere temperatures.

    A warmer stratosphere pushes the tropopause down and a colder stratosphere pulls it up.

    The cause is NOT variations in TSI but instead variations in the amount of ozone.

    Here is some evidence in support:

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/how-climate-models-dismiss-role-of-sun_21.html#comment-form

    “The authors find periods of low solar activity increase high-energy UV wavelengths, which would increase stratospheric ozone production. This has an inverse effect upon global temperatures, thus acting as a solar amplification mechanism.”

    The most recent evidence is going my way :)

  70. Leonard Weinstein says:

    “Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 4:50 am
    Stephen, the adiabatic cooling with increasing altitude exists whether there is an atmospheric greenhouse effect of not. It is called the lapse rate, and is due purely to gravity and the gas specific heat. However, this lapse rate is a GRADIENT not a level of temperature. The radiative effects cause an altitude shift of location of average ourgoing energy balance, and thus set the actual temperature LEVEL”

    I think the radiative effects are neutralised by the altitude shift of location of average outgoing energy balance and thus offsets any consequent change in the actual temperature level.

    The entire atmosphere expands so that the effective radiation level rises higher but remains at the previous temperature.

    AGW theory proposes that the effective radiating level rises to a cooler level but I think that is wrong.

    The effective radiating level stays the same temperature so as to continue matching energy in with energy out despite the change in height.

  71. Nice post!

    ” but it is clear to me that there must be some kind of system keeping the temperature variations within a tenth of a percent over a century.”

    I’ve always thought so myself but too few people are eager to search for it when many think they already found the culprit in CO2. Sad because they stopped looking.

  72. Leif Svalgaard says:
    December 22, 2013 at 7:09 am
    “Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:37 am
    It appears that variations in solar activity alter global cloudiness by affecting the zonality / meridionality of the jet stream tracks

    There is no evidence for that, only supposition”

    The Mediaeval Warm Period shows zonal jets as does the late 20th century Warm Period.

    The LIA shows more meridional jets.as does the period since 2000.

    The pre 2000 warm spell showed reduced cloudiness as per past posts on this very site and according to the Earthshine project cloudiness has increased since 2000.

    Plenty of evidence available for those willing to see it.

  73. The idea is that volcanic activity causes short term cooling but then there is global warming that causes long term warming but what is forgotten is that volcanic activity also causes uplift of the continents which makes the remaining oceans deeper ,the surface area of the oceans is less so less heat is lost through evaporation and from the uplifted continents ,the climate becomes more arid.There are many examples of volcanic uplift today the Himalayas the alps and the west coast of north America as well as the UK all were at the bottom of the sea and have marine sediments deposited such as limestone and chalk.

  74. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 11:11 am
    Here is some evidence in support: “The authors find periods of low solar activity increase high-energy UV wavelengths, which would increase stratospheric ozone production. This has an inverse effect upon global temperatures, thus acting as a solar amplification mechanism.”

    Unfortunately, those measurements are much in doubt, e.g.:

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/13/3945/2013/acp-13-3945-2013.html

    and are most like the result of calibration errors [of this very difficult measurement].

    The most recent evidence is going my way :)
    ANY data whatsoever [good or bad] is always going your way, it seems.

  75. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 11:26 am
    Plenty of evidence available for those willing to see it.
    Confirmation bias, as Yogi Berra said: “if I hadn’t believed it, I wouldn’t have seen it…”

  76. phlogiston says:
    December 22, 2013 at 3:46 am

    “Off of” is a cacophonous new American-English grammar construct. What does it mean? Its horrible, stop it!

    Not really that new. I am not fond of the expression myself and you made me look up its origin. A light-hearted but well documented post is right here:

    http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2009/12/is-off-of-so-awful.html

    The usage seems to go way back to 15th century. Long before American English. I am not sure it’s the case here but you may know that many features of older “upper class” English were adopted by Scottish nobility and survived in the Scots-Irish American south so long as to be considered “low class” and illiterate.

    On the other hand, there are many truly new and interesting constructs in English and other languages. Finnish “pilkunnussija” is a good specimen:

    http://betterthanenglish.com/pilkunnussija-finnish

    The Dutch and others seem to also have expressive insults for posts like yours and mine.

    Huh! I nearly forgot to mention that you failed to properly use an apostrophe in: “It’s horrible, stop it!”

    ***
    “Jake liked to joke. He didn’t like to work. I have exactly those same failings myself.” Gus McCrae, Lonesome Dove

  77. Leif said:

    “Unfortunately, those measurements are much in doubt, e.g.:

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/13/3945/2013/acp-13-3945-2013.html

    and are most like the result of calibration errors [of this very difficult measurement].”

    Maybe so, but to get increased jetstream zonality at a time of active sun one has to have a higher tropopause above the poles relative to the height of the tropopause above the equator and that requires less ozone above the poles with reduced stratosphere temperatures which is exactly what we did observe during the late 20th century warming spell.

    That was what all the panic about the ozone hole was about was it not?

    And it isn’t just one paper that points out an inverse relationship between stratospheric ozone and surface temperatures as that link points out.

    On that basis I judge that the more recent measurements are likely to be correct and not simply a result of calibration errors.

    As for your ‘confirmation bias’ jibe that cuts both ways.

    Some time ago I challenged you with a list of events that could cast doubt on my hypothesis. Thus far none have occurred so you may as well change the record.

  78. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 11:50 am
    Some time ago I challenged you with a list of events that could cast doubt on my hypothesis. Thus far none have occurred so you may as well change the record.

    The very first one on the list suffices:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 16, 2013 at 12:29 am
    I’m awaiting falsification but it hasn’t happened yet.
    The types of observations that would falsify it have been set out by me several times before.
    i) Cooling stratosphere with a quiet sun or warming stratosphere with an active sun.

    Since solar activity has been decreasing in recent decades and the stratosphere has been cooling, it would seem that even your first example of falsification has been met…

  79. Willis – It strikes me that you overlook one very important factor here, and that is the nocturnal behaviour of tropical maritime convective cloud.

    The peak activity for convection is between midnight and 6am – therefore there are peak cloud amounts during that time.
    And therefore peak back-radiative effect. (there can be no reflection of SW from cloud tops nocturnally).

    From: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/TCF/TRAINING_DOC/BOM/pngdiurnal_text.shtml

    “Another study compared the diurnal variations in tropical cloudiness determined from IR brightness temperature with the estimated precipitation intensity differences between morning and evening observations from microwave satellite data. Both observations indicate maximum convective activity in the predawn hours over the tropical oceans “
    and
    “The study showed that the raining area and rain rate between midnight and 0600 local time are dominated by the stratiform component, confirming that nocturnal convection consists of extensive stratiform clouds. The maximum area rain rate of the convective type near 0300 local time makes a significant contribution to the nocturnal rain rate maximum. In addition to the nocturnal signal, the area rain rate of the convective type shows a secondary peak in the late afternoon.”

    Note “Stratiform” clouds, indicating a spreading out of convective cloud (to be expected at night) – again reinforcing a “warming” signal at the surface

    Now, I don’t pretend to know any figures, but would not the above negate the cooling effect by daytime convection?
    This study indicates that overall the two forcings cancel each other:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442(2001)014%3C4495%3ATCATEB%3E2.0.CO%3B2

  80. Leif said:

    “i) Cooling stratosphere with a quiet sun or warming stratosphere with an active sun.

    Since solar activity has been decreasing in recent decades and the stratosphere has been cooling, it would seem that even your first example of falsification has been met…”

    Perhaps you would also like to post my response to your earlier such assertion so as not to mislead readers ?

    Stratosphere temperatures have been cooling since at least 1958 due to a series of active cycles and the rate of such cooling declined during relatively low cycle 20. The rate of cooling stopped altogether with the arrival of weak cycle 24 and on some measures shows signs of recovery.

  81. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm
    Perhaps you would also like to post my response to your earlier such assertion so as not to mislead readers ?
    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 16, 2013 at 11:27 am
    Short term ups and downs do not count.
    From your link:
    “From 1979 to 1996, satellite and radiosonde measurements show that temperatures in the lower stratosphere declined, although that trend was interrupted by episodes of warming due to the El Chichón and Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruptions. For most of the last two decades, there has been little trend, but no sign of a reversal. “

  82. But Stephen, you just falsified your own thesis. The noisy temperature data juxtopositioned across your stratospheric anomaly indicates to me there is very little correlation. You have focused, it seems to me, on a very weak source. This shows your inability to voice a cogent mechanism that has a measurable affect on our weather patterns.

  83. Leif and Pamela,

    This link is clear enough:

    http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/2012-state-climate-temperature-lower-stratosphere

    “no sign of a reversal. ”

    Not yet, which I conceded but it does depend on which interpretation one adopts.

    However, to falsify my hypothesis one needs a resumption of cooling to match the pre 1994 rate and there s no sign of that.

    For example, the purple line does show signs of a reversal.as does the blue line to a lesser extent.

    Perhaps we can now move on and not derail Willis’s thread ?

  84. Excellent Willis. I love the mapping of regions of positive and negative temp-albedo correlation. As forcing decreases, say by a decrease in solar forcing (both direct through TSI and indirect through whatever amplification processes may be at work), the northern negative correlation will at some point overwhelm the tropical thermostat and the planet will descend into another 100,000 yr long glacial period.

    I wonder if the kind of regional correlation mapping you are doing, if it could be refined by starting temperature and other initial conditions, would be able to identify the glaciation tipping point/points. That would be quite a prize, to know how close we are to the coming disaster.

  85. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm
    For example, the purple line does show signs of a reversal.as does the blue line to a lesser extent.
    Stephen Wilde says:
    December 16, 2013 at 11:27 am
    “Short term ups and downs do not count.”

    Except when they behave as desired, apparently.

    Perhaps we can now move on and not derail Willis’s thread ?
    The derailing started with your falsified claim…

  86. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm
    “The derailing started with your falsified claim…”
    Wishful thinking on your part:

    And you continue the derailing…

  87. Alec Rawls said:

    “As forcing decreases, say by a decrease in solar forcing (both direct through TSI and indirect through whatever amplification processes may be at work), the northern negative correlation will at some point overwhelm the tropical thermostat”

    The northern negative (cooling) correlation (arising from lower solar activity) is itself associated with more meridional jets, more global cloudiness and less solar energy getting into the oceans which itself turns down the activity of the tropical thermostat.

    La Nina comes to dominate over El Nino.

    If an increased portion of top of atmosphere solar energy fails to get into the oceans at all then it is lost to the system forever and cooling must ensue.

    Which is the current situation and which was the situation during the Maunder and Dalton Minima et al.

    The tropical thermostat fixes the maximum temperature that can be achieved at any given combination of solar input and surface atmospheric pressure.

    Reduce either and cooling will ensue but as we know the average surface atmospheric pressure is fixed on time scales relevant to humanity.

    That just leaves solar induced cloudiness changes as the primary climate driver but modulated by internal ocean cycles and GHGs of not much relevance at all.

  88. Pamela Gray says:
    December 22, 2013 at 8:37 am
    The variation in the energy available in Solar parameters needed to change something as strong as the Jets (through expansion/retraction of the absolute height/depth of the mesosphere thus relaxing/squeezing the jets north or south) would have to be many times greater than it actually is in watts per square meter.

    Here

    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=0.00,90.00,400

    you can see a nice Rossby (planetary) wave, working its way around the planet. However it gets occasionally thrown of course. If you take a good look you can see it breaks up just south of Kamchatka and further on it reforms into its classical shape. Kamchatka peninsula has 3 or 4 active volcanoes continuously pumping warm gases which push upwards the tropo-pause, but no eruptions at the moment.
    When eruption happens for prolong period (few weeks) then the effect is much stronger, the warm tropospheric air dome rises into stratosphere, the result is sudden stratospheric warming SSW.
    Here you can see there is no SSW this December,

    while the last one it was on its way. To find what was going on in Kamchatka last D-J you could start here:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NH.htm

    if inclined to pursue source of power needed to break up jet-stream.

  89. TB,
    Read your link again…. the big maximum is at midafternoon with a secondary peak (not THE maximum) in the predawn.
    v/r,
    David Riser

  90. As with all heat engines, energy enters at the hot end, in this case the tropics. It is converted into mechanical motion of seawater and air, which transports the excess heat to the poles where it is radiated to space.

    Or the heat radiates directly back to space as it would in regions of hot surface and dry overlying air, or it radiates to space at the tops of convective storms. It is a complicated heat engine with cold reservoirs at a variety of temperatures.

    With regard to the “throttle” of the climate system one could generalize to say that all irreversibilities act to throttle this system. For example, mixing of dry and wet air is an important irreversibility, and precipitation falling through air is another such irreversibilty acting as it does through drag. Without precipitation, even at the sort of efficiencies one finds for the climate system, we would observe wind speeds of hundreds of miles per hour routinely.

  91. Stephen Richards says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:03 am

    Nice, Manfred. I use something much the same, called “MeteoEarth”, on my cell phone.

    w.

    Not NICE W. absolutely stunning.

    Check out MeteoEarth, it’s like Stephen’s resource … but in color.

    w.

  92. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm
    Here is some up to date data associating low solar activity with a warmer stratosphere
    From your link:
    “All of that said, if we continue to see the current sunspot numbers stay at unusually low values (circled in blue), the stratosphere should continue to warm”

    Except that we did not continue to see low solar activity, on the contrary, solar activity is now at its ‘second peak’ with recent values above 100…

  93. “Except that we did not continue to see low solar activity, on the contrary, solar activity is now at its ‘second peak’ with recent values above 100…”

    What did the stratosphere do?

    Mind you, I think the short term variations can be misleading and I prefer to regard as significant the longer term lack of stratospheric cooling from 1994 to date as the sun became less active. As my previous link shows there is some sign of warming from the 1994 low in at least two of the data sets.

    The next few years should clarify the issue.

  94. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm
    Mind you, I think the short term variations can be misleading
    Yet you link to a report of such when convenient…

  95. “Yet you link to a report of such when convenient…”

    Just following your example.

    I gave you a link to the 1958 to 2012 record which is clear enough to all but you.

  96. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm
    “Yet you link to a report of such when convenient…”
    Just following your example.

    Lame excuse for bad behavior.

    I gave you a link to the 1958 to 2012 record which is clear enough to all but you.
    As your link says: “For most of the last two decades, there has been little trend, but no sign of a reversal.

  97. phlogiston says:
    December 22, 2013 at 3:46 am

    the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature.

    “Off of” is a cacophonous new American-English grammar construct. What does it mean? Its horrible, stop it!

    A new construct? American-English? Sorry, neither one.

    off of, Informal. off: Take your feet off of the table!

    Usage note
    The phrasal preposition off of is old in English, going back to the 16th century. Although usage guides reject it as redundant, recommending off without of, the phrase is widespread in speech, including that of the educated: Let’s watch as the presidential candidates come off of the rostrum and down into the audience. Off of is rare in edited writing except to give the flavor of speech.

    So “off of” is common English as it is actually spoken, not as the grammar nazis would have it spoken … sorry, phlogiston. Not buying it. I use English as it is used.

    In this case, however, I would actively defend the usage for clarity, because “works off” means something different than “works off of”. “Works off” is a phrase that has a specific meaning. It means to remove something by work, like say to work off a debt, or to work off excess poundage. Consider the statement:

    Extreme exertion works off the extra fat stored in your body.

    That has a specific meaning, which is that exertion can help you lose (“work off”) weight. On the other hand we have this statement:

    Extreme exertion works off of the extra fat stored in your body.

    This means something very different. It is a description of how extreme exertion is fueled by (works off of) the energy stored in your fat.

    Since I meant the latter sense (“is fueled or driven by”, rather than “loses or removes”), I used “off of” rather than “off”.

    Gotta admit … grammar nazis are bad enough, but folks like you, unclear on both the etymology and the meaning? Makes me glad the sun is shining and the air is warm.

    Finally, I cannot find any examples of anyone using a hyphen in “American-English” as you do above, nor do I think that there is any justification for its use. In this case, “American” is just an adjective describing what kind of English you’re talking about, no hyphens need apply.

    However, I’m not complaining in the slightest. I’m just role-modeling a grammar nazi for you. Me, I don’t care if you use a hyphen or not. Your meaning was perfectly clear, with or without a hyphen, which is all that I ask for in any language.

    Best regards,

    w.

  98. David Riser says:
    December 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm
    TB,
    Read your link again…. the big maximum is at midafternoon with a secondary peak (not THE maximum) in the predawn.
    v/r,
    David Riser
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    David, there is a second max but it seems the nocturnal one is involved with the most areal cloud and heaviest rainfall (meteorological explanation is via radiative cooling of cloud tops and consequent build of cloud depth).
    And I read the paper differently to you – I don’t read anything about the big max in the pm. The contrary actually….

    “Maximum enhancement of deep convection over the western Pacific occurs between 0600 and 0900 local time.”
    “Throughout the equatorial Pacific region, the early morning maximum is typically deep convection whereas the afternoon maximum is generally mesoscale cirrus-anvil clouds.”
    “Both observations indicate maximum convective activity in the predawn hours over the tropical oceans….”
    “The variation is dominated by heavier rain during the night from 2200 to 0600 Local Time, and lighter rain in the remaining part of the day.”
    “Cumulus convection in the morning and afternoon consists of shallower convective elements, and the nocturnal convective system consists of deeper convective cells and larger areas of stratiform clouds.”

  99. johnmarshall says:
    December 22, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Totally ignoring that real heat mover, convection.

    Say what? Deep convection, fueled by thunderstorms at the ITCZ, is what drives the motion of the atmosphere and the polewards transport of the heat that I describe in the post. I didn’t ignore convection in the slightest.

    And Daedalus talks crap.

    Miss the point much? Take a deep breath, and look up the link to Daedalus. It’s humor, old son.

    Sorry to dampen your GHG fueled season.

    Fortunately, I never let random internet popups who miss the point dampen anything of mine … if I did, I’d be wet all the time.

    In any case, if your “GHG fueled season” (whatever that might mean ) is dampened, I hope this dries it out.

    w.

  100. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Willis said:

    “the critical threshold at which the clouds form is based on temperature and the physics of air, wind and water. The threshold is not based on CO2. It is not a function of instantaneous forcing. The threshold is based on temperature and pressure and the physics of the immediate situation.”

    Which I agree with.

    So why, previously, the derogatory comments directed at so called ‘pressure heads’ who previously pointed out the same thing ?

    Seems there’s been a misunderstanding, Stephen. The people I call “pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere, that pressure alone can raise the temperature of the surface.

    But if that were true, then the surface would be constantly radiating more energy than it is receiving. Since that is not possible, we can be sure that pressure alone cannot raise the surface temperature.

    That’s what I mean by “pressure-heads”.

    w.

  101. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm
    The people I call “pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere, that pressure alone can raise the temperature of the surface.
    All astronomers are then ‘pressure heads’ as it is generally accepted that pressure alone heated the Sun, as it formed out of a contracting cloud of interstellar gas, until it became so hot that nuclear fusion was initiated…

  102. hunter says:
    December 22, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Willis,
    Nice summary. How does this compare with what previous climate scientists have said? In particular, Dr. Spencer?

    There have been analyses of the climate as a heat engine before. As I said at the top, that is not my idea. One of the best of those analyses is here.

    However, the idea that the temperature-determined time of onset of tropical clouds and thunderstorms is a main regulator of the temperature of the globe is my own, as far as I know. I think the same is true for the idea that the PDO regulates the temperature by either impeding or encouraging polewards heat flow. Finally, I think that the idea that the El Nino / La Nina alteration functions to regulate the temperature by pumping warm tropical water to the poles when the tropics start to overheat is my own idea as well.

    However, the origin of the ideas is not as important as the ideas. I differ from the majority of current climate scientists by saying that the climate is not the linear slave of the forcing. I say it is a regulated system, where the temperature is kept within bounds by a variety of interlocking and overlapping thermoregulatory phenomena.

    w.

  103. lsvalgaard says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    The people I call “pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere, that pressure alone can raise the temperature of the surface.

    All astronomers are then ‘pressure heads’ as it is generally accepted that pressure alone heated the Sun, as it formed out of a contracting cloud of interstellar gas, until it became so hot that nuclear fusion was initiated…

    Thanks, Leif. Those of us who are not astronomers generally don’t think much about the insides of stars and other exotic locations. As a result, I forgot to specify boundary conditions.

    So let me say that I was not talking about pressures large enough to create fusion … nor about gravities strong enough to create black holes. Just, you know … planets and planetary atmospheres.

    w.

  104. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm
    Just, you know … planets and planetary atmospheres.
    Like Jupiter… “The temperature and pressure inside Jupiter increase steadily toward the core. At the phase transition region where hydrogen—heated beyond its critical point—becomes metallic, it is believed the temperature is 10,000 K”…

  105. phlogiston says:
    “Off of” is a cacophonous new American-English grammar construct. What does it mean? Its horrible, stop it!

    “Construct” is a verb. Construction is the noun. Abuse of verbs as nouns is a horrible American-English habit, stop it! Grammar is a noun , grammatical is the adjective. Abusing nouns as adjectives is a horrible American-English habit, stop it!

    Use of the correct parts of language is a good habit. May I suggest “grammatical construction”.

    I trust you use a spelling checker rather than a ‘spell check’.

  106. Pressure heads – what like Boyle. You once made some good posts with a novel – even if sometimes naive (by others judgement not mine) – interpretation. But what is the point of this piece – no mention of equilibrium nor even entropy, which even if only theoretical (given scale or complexity of the system) is important to the discussion.

    Can I suggest you spend some time consulting climate modellers before your next post – I’m not suggesting that this is the subject of this post but somehow I think it will be the subject of your next.

  107. Position of the ITCZ is probably what causes the “mysterious” polar see-saw. Varying proportions of heat engine throughput get directed north and south.

  108. Thank god for the tropics, otherwise we would freeze our privates off here in Canada. Oh, wait a minute.

  109. lsvalgaard says: “Except that we did not continue to see low solar activity, on the contrary, solar activity is now at its ‘second peak’ with recent values above 100…”

    Which is still low , as you predicted.

    The way the second peak is looking it seems like 24 will have dominant N peak like cycle 20 and will probably die a fair bit quicker than the current functional curve is predicting.

    That would leave overall peak closer to your 2008 timing. Curious the way “smoothed monthly values” SSN curve manages to show a peak at the month having the lowest SSN count in about the last three years

  110. It’s been a pleasure checking this article out Willis. If the clouds are a throttle, where is the engine? And what is the fuel? A throttle that acts as a thermostat is very interesting.

    If Svensmark’s cosmic ray (which are protons, right?) cloud cover climate theory is right, then doesn’t it make sense that geoeffective solar proton/electron events would cause sudden increases in cloud cover and precipitation, driving extreme weather events? There is plenty of evidence for this in the satellite solar wind data history.

    What happens during a sudden stratospheric warming event and where does the driving power come from in the first place? Are SSW’s predictable? Where does blocking high pressure come from? What really creates a low pressure system? Does anyone know?

    Piers Corbyn knows. He not only knows, he predicts US and UK/Ireland weather 30 days ahead very well within what I consider to be a reasonable margin of error considering the chaos in the system. Here it is Dec 22 and the Weather Channel’s named storm Gemini is moving eastward off into the Atlantic. Looking at Piers’ forecast period for the last few days shows three weeks ahead of time his prediction for the exact frontal, temperature, and precipitation structure and movement as we have seen with winter storm Gemini. Was he lucky or does he know what’s he’s talking about? He predicted a very dangerous cold and snowy December for the US – right on track – including the mild times and areas.

    The sun is the engine. Water along with photons, protons, and electrons are fuel – solar rain bringing earth rain/snow.

  111. Stephen Wilde says:

    AGW theory proposes that the effective radiating level rises to a cooler level but I think that is wrong.

    The effective radiating level stays the same temperature so as to continue matching energy in with energy out despite the change in height.

    This shows that you understand neither the scientific theory that you are critiquing nor the implications of your own statement.

    What AGW theory says is that when you add GHGs, you increase the altitude of the effective radiating level (initially at 255 K). Since the troposphere has a lapse rate, this will indeed mean that the new higher altitude is cooler and hence the radiation leaving the Earth will be less than it receives. However, as a result of this, the atmosphere will warm over time until the altitude of the effective radiating level is again 255 K.

    To calculate the surface temperature, you have to extrapolate the temperature to the surface using the environmental lapse rate. For an environmental lapse rate of 6.5 K per km and an effective radiating level of 5 km, the surface temperature would be 255 K + (6.5 K/km)*(5 km) = 287.5 K. If the increase in greenhouse gases were to increase the level to 6 km then the new surface temperature would be 255 K + (6.5 K/km)*(6 km) = 294 K.

    [This, of course, assumes the environmental lapse rate doesn't change, which is a good first approximation. In reality, the environmental lapse rate in the tropics is expected to decrease a little bit because the moist adiabatic lapse rate is a decrease function of temperature...and so this produces a negative feedback, i.e., causes the surface temperature to increase somewhat less than the above considerations predict.]

  112. Leif says:

    All astronomers are then ‘pressure heads’ as it is generally accepted that pressure alone heated the Sun, as it formed out of a contracting cloud of interstellar gas, until it became so hot that nuclear fusion was initiated…

    Gravitational collapse can indeed convert gravitational potential energy into other forms of energy (like thermal energy). However, the Earth’s atmosphere is not undergoing gravitational collapse and, hence, the energy that it emits back out into space must be approximately equal to the energy that it receives from the sun (if it is not rapidly heating or cooling). And, in fact, satellite data confirms that to a good approximation, the Earth is emitting back out into space the amount of energy it absorbs from the sun.

    The larger point that Willis is making is that magical incantations about pressure that people like Stephen Wilde make do not get him around having to conserve energy and thus make his various conjectures nothing but pseudoscientific nonsense.

  113. Steven Mosher says:
    December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am

    “Despite all of that, over the previous century the total variation in temperature was ≈ ± 0.3K. This is a variation of less than a tenth of one percent.

    For a system as large, complex, ephemeral, and possibly unstable as the climate, I see this as clear evidence for the existence of a thermostatic system of some sort controlling the temperature. Perhaps the system doesn’t work as I have posited above … but it is clear to me that there must be some kind of system keeping the temperature variations within a tenth of a percent over a century.”

    ######################

    lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical

    Inertia? A “magical thermostat”? A “clunky analogy”?

    Steven, I hate to admit that I grow weary of your cryptic postings. I see it as a tragedy, because you are a very smart guy. But as is far too often the case, the brevity of your offering totally prevents understanding. What you’ve provided here is just mud-slinging.

    If you have something to say, then I invite you to stand up and say it. Otherwise, let me request that you quit bothering me with your one-line hand-waving nonsense like this comment. It just makes you look stupid, and I know that’s not the case.

    I have explained the actions of various parts of what I see as the earth’s thermal regulatory system in great detail. I have provided a host of observational evidence for its existence. If you have objections to my evidence or my logic, then bring it on … you see, talking about “inertia” or just calling it “magical” doesn’t even begin to engage the questions.

    Because if you want to falsify my hypothesis, you have to actually falsify it, not just spout snarky one-word unsupported claims about “inertia” and “magical” and “clunky”.

    w.

  114. timetochooseagain says:
    December 22, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Willis, do you understand that that horizontal heat transport and it’s dependence on temperature-or rather temperature gradient-is why you can’t calculate local sensitivity by regressing TOA flux on local temperature? Because you have done it several times and I recall you being dismissive of the idea that horizontal heat transport could make any difference to such results.

    I dislike it when people try to convince me of something by saying “do you understand that …”.

    The issue it, it assumes that the problem is my lack of understanding … which may be the case, but it is certainly not a given.

    If you want to state your idea as your own claim, and provide evidence for it, we’ll talk. But I won’t start by you assuming there’s something that you understand and I don’t.

    That’s the question to be determined, not the starting point.

    Regards,

    w.

  115. gnomish says:
    December 22, 2013 at 8:46 am

    for willis:
    now that you’re well focussed on the physics of heat pumps, did you know what happens when you increase the heat carrying capacity of the working fluid? (as happens, albeit insignificantly, with increased co2)

    Not enough information to answer that. What kind of system? What else is changed? What phase change is involved? Closed system, or open system?

    In general, the greater the latent heat of the phase change OR the greater the specific heat of the working fluid, the more energy it will transport … but of course, the devil is in the details. For example, in the natural world, the difference in heat carrying capacity between the atmosphere and the seawater is huge … but the atmosphere moves the heat far faster than the ocean.

    As a result, your question is ill-posed, and can’t be answered as asked.

    (plz note that there is no change of temp during this phase change- so your idea that heat and temperature are directly convertible is disproven. stefan bolzman does not apply to this at all.)

    As I have requested many times, if you disagree with something I’ve said, please QUOTE MY EXACT WORDS that you disagree with. Then tell me exactly where you think I went wrong.

    That way we can all be clear just a) what you object to, and b) exactly what your objection is. For example, I have no idea what you mean by my “idea that heat and temperature are directly convertible”. In fact, I don’t think that heat and temperature are directly convertible. In fact, they are entirely different things. Heat is a net flow of energy. Temperature is a measurement of an energetic state. So I have no idea what you mean.

    for bonus points- what is the lest dense gas of any significance in our atmosphere? and does it require any convection whatsoever to move from surface to stratosphere?

    Socrates sucks. In any case, it depends on what you call “significance”. Significant to what? To life? To humans? Or do you mean a gas with a significantly large concentration?

    Why not just impress us with your wisdom, rather than testing us? I’d tell you where to put your bonus points, but it’s anatomically improbable …

    w.

  116. Toto says:
    December 22, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Something else needs to be stated more explicitly, and that is the importance of phase changes in the working fluid. The absolute temperature is important, not just the temperature difference. The climate set points emerge from the properties of water. Heat is used to evaporate water, which then gets transported elsewhere. Clouds and other weather fall out from this.

    Absolutely, and well put. The evaporation of water in the tropics, and its subsequent condensation at altitude, and then return to the surface, set the operating points of the system.

    The other thing which bears constant restating is that the system can speed up without heating up, by increasing the throughput of the working fluid. This move more energy polewards, without much increase in surface temperature.

    Which of course is one more mechanism whereby an increase in forcing may not lead to an increase in temperature.

    w.

  117. “the critical threshold at which the clouds form is based on temperature and the physics of air, wind and water. The threshold is not based on CO2. It is not a function of instantaneous forcing. The threshold is based on temperature and pressure and the physics of the immediate situation.”

    Then how do we bring these back into general education?

    The thick fluid blanket of the gas air which is our atmosphere is around 14lbs/sq inch and it’s in this most of our weather happens, and that is due to the properties and processes of the mainly nitrogen and oxygen gas molecules, which act to keep the Earth heat from escaping too quickly , and water which cools the Earth from the great temperature it would be without it.

    Unfortunately for the discussions about this confusion arises because there are two conflicting paradigms in play here, between those who associate the “minus 18°C” with ‘Earth without greenhouse gases’ and those who associate it with ‘Earth without any atmosphere whatsoever’, the latter which is the standard teaching still in physics and the comparison is with the Moon, without an atmosphere*.

    Standard teaching is as follows:

    Earth with atmosphere: 15°C
    Earth without atmosphere: -18°C
    Moon without atmosphere: -23°C
    Earth with atmosphere but without water: 67°C

    By standard teaching then, it the main gases nitrogen and oxygen and water which are the real greenhouse gases which regulate the Earth’s temperature.

    *For example, seen as the norm by this question in a standard physics discussion:

    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=172646

    “Earth’s surface temp without atmosphere vs moon’s
    “Without an atmosphere, the earth’s average surface temperature would be -18 C.
    “The moon’s surface temperature averages -23 C. Is this 5 degree C difference due to heat from the earth’s core?”

    and, used as the norm in other standard physics pages:

    http://www.kowoma.de/en/gps/additional/atmosphere.htm

    “◦Makes possible a mean temperature on Earth’s surface of +15 °C instead of -18 °C as would be without atmosphere”

    The AGW attributed ’33°C rise to greenhouse gases’ meaning ‘ir imbibing’ and making carbon dioxide a key player while ignoring the great roles our atmosphere of nitrogen/oxygen and the water cycle within that play in temperature regulation, is a sleight of hand change to standard physics.

  118. Willis said:
    “Finally, I think that the idea that the El Nino / La Nina alteration functions to regulate the temperature by pumping warm tropical water to the poles when the tropics start to overheat is my own idea as well.”

    But warmer water usually gets transported to the poles at the same time as when the warmer water in the tropics is going nowhere. Northerly transport of water increases with negative AO/NAO conditions, which occur more during El Nino episodes/conditions. It’s not until a La Nina that the warmer tropical warmer is going anywhere far, by which time less is going to poles as there will be more positive AO/NAO episodes.
    The largest supply to the Arctic is from the Atlantic, I would expect that atmospheric circulation in the mid latitudes determines the transport of warmer water into the Arctic, though it would be interesting to see what effects of the occasional Benguela Niño episodes may have. The big deal is what is actually moving the “throttle” from Nino with negative AO, to Nina with positive AO.

  119. sorry, willis – not to invite quibbles but you once explicitly stated that temperature and heat were directly convertible by the stefan bolzmann equation – which, you supported by stating that an infrared thermometer could not otherwise work. then you cited the formula for the conversion.
    you were in a mood, though, as sometimes happens to any of us, so i withdrew and left you taunting me, saying i would not withdraw because i could not resist your attention. i do not want a rerun of this because, as you point out to mr mosher, i know you are better than that.

    the lightest gas of any significance refers to the percentage of it in our atmosphere.
    water gas is that gas – hydrogen and helium are not significantly present in our atmosphere.
    that means that it rises with or without convection – which i consider an important fact that never receives mention.

    any additional heat carrying capacity of a working fluid INCREASES THE EFFICIENCY of the heat transfer. therefore additional capacity from CO2 or any other component IMPROVES THE EFFICIENCY OF THE COOLING. this is another fact i consider neglected if not contradicted by conventional treatment of the topic of climate change vis a vis CO2.

    if you prefer to be rude and hypocritical – then once again i will withdraw – for you have no talent at it and i unsocratically assert that hypocrisy sucks, snarky sucks and feigning ignorance sucks.
    you’re no nucciteli. why try to compete? you can’t win anything.

  120. gnomish said:
    “did you know what happens when you increase the heat carrying capacity of the working fluid? (as happens, albeit insignificantly, with increased co2)”

    CO2 has less heat capacity than dry air, an increase will reduce the heat capacity, albeit insignificantly.

  121. TB says:
    December 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Now, I don’t pretend to know any figures, but would not the above negate the cooling effect by daytime convection?
    This study indicates that overall the two forcings cancel each other:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442(2001)014%3C4495%3ATCATEB%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    Many thanks, TB. I probably should write a full post on this … but your citation says:

    Among the interesting results of the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) were estimates of top-of-atmosphere cloud radiative forcing indicating a remarkable equality between strong reductions in outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and strong reductions in absorbed solar radiation associated with tropical cloud systems. Each of these radiative forcings is on the order of 100 W m−2, but they are of opposite sign and so their effects on the planetary energy budget strongly cancel.

    I don’t find that at all. Here’s the net cloud radiative effect per the CERES dataset. They do NOT cancel.

    Note that nowhere in the Pacific is the effect of clouds equal in the shortwave and the longwave. Everywhere, the clouds have a cooling effect (negative).

    In addition, the ITCZ area of deep convection just above the equator is even more negative. It reflects up to 40 W/m2 MORE than the the areas just north and south of the ITCZ.

    w.

  122. sorry- you are quite right, mr lyons.
    thank you for the correction.
    i guess that cures one of my deficiencies.

  123. Great article, Willis. Ot, but can I ask you whether you have thought about the fact that water (i.e. clouds) is a polar molecule, and therefore subject to attraction / repulsion by electrostatic charge? As you know, high electrostatic charges build up in the atmosphere, so there must be an opportunity for the charges to affect clouds.
    Cheers from oz

  124. John gardner says:
    December 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Great article, Willis. Ot, but can I ask you whether you have thought about the fact that water (i.e. clouds) is a polar molecule, and therefore subject to attraction / repulsion by electrostatic charge? As you know, high electrostatic charges build up in the atmosphere, so there must be an opportunity for the charges to affect clouds.
    Cheers from oz

    The role of electromagnetism in both weather and climate phenomena remains woefully unexplored. In part this is because of the difficulty of studying e.g. how lightning is manufactured in the heart of a thunderstorm …

    However, we’re not without information. It is known, for example, that thunderstorm electromagnetic fields pick up all kinds of small particles (including, curiously, microbes of various kinds) and hoisting them miles up into the atmosphere.

    And we’ve started studying sprites and jets, the phenomena that couple the tallest thunderstorms to the ionized regions of the upper atmosphere.

    But yes, lots not known about that.

    w.

  125. Willis, it was looking so good –

    “First, like all heat engines, the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature. It works off of a temperature difference. A heat engine needs both a hot end and a cold end. After the working fluid is heated at the hot end, and the engine has extracted work from incoming energy, the remaining heat must be rejected from the working fluid. To do this, the working fluid must be moved to some location where the temperature is lower than at the hot end of the engine.”

    And then you went and did this –

    “As with all heat engines, energy enters at the hot end, in this case the tropics. It is converted into mechanical motion of seawater and air, which transports the excess heat to the poles where it is radiated to space”

    Yes, there is a poleward flow of energy from the tropics to the poles, but the primary heat engine is expressed as energy flow from the surface to space driving tropospheric convective circulation. Planetary rotation and Coriolis forces split this into the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar tropospheric convection cells. Energy is being radiated to space allowing the subsidence of air masses from the upper half of each of these circulation cells, not just at the poles.

    Willis, previously I believed you were getting so close. You described the formation of tropical cloud as emergent phenomena, and showed that increased interception of surface IR would simply decrease the time from dawn to cloud formation. It should have been only a small step to considering that this applies to all convective circulation in the atmosphere. Adding radiative gases to the atmosphere simply decreases the time to air mass break away (reduction of Raleigh number) after dawn.

    I claim that AGW is a physical impossibility, and that radiative gases act to cool our atmosphere at all concentrations above 0.0ppm. The reason is the critical role radiative gases play in driving non-radiative energy transports in our atmosphere. Prior to 1990 the “basic physics” of the “settled science” was essentially two shell radiation only models, very much like your “steel greenhouse” (I have an experiment you can build that demonstrates that the radiative physics of two shell models works just fine). The problem with these types of two shell radiative models is that they simply parametrise non-radiative transports and the lapse rate these circulations pneumatically generate. The reality is that the speed of tropospheric convective circulation is dependant on radiative gas concentration. Radiative gases are the only “cold end” of the tropospheric circulation “heat engine”.

    After the political battle to keep the 1990 IPCC report inconclusive, there was a frantic attempt to save global warming by changing radiative only models to radiative-convective models, introducing claims of “strongly positive water vapour feedback” and erasing the medieval warm period record that disproved these claims.

    Here is a typical pre AGW description of the “heat engine” of tropospheric convective circulation and the role radiative gases play in allowing the subsidence of air masses –

    http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~dib2/climate/tropics.html

    And here is one of the more ridiculous post 1990 attempts to negate the role of radiative gases in driving tropospheric convective circulation-

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0442%282003%29016%3C3706%3ASPAETA%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    This paper dealing with poleward energy flow claims that most of LWIR emitted from convective circulation cells is a “feedback” of circulation, not a driver.

    Willis, your post seems to be drifting in the direction of the second paper. Might I suggest you check the authors of the second paper? (please don’t do this while drinking beverages near expensive computer equipment).

  126. THE “OFF OF” CONTROVERSY

    “the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature. It works off of a temperature difference.”

    I think you are misplacing your attention — talking about “of” when you should be examining “off”. The word “off” has a number of meanings, some fallen out of usage. The intended meaning of “off” determines whether or not “of” is used. Therefore it is sometimes right to say “off of” and sometimes right to say just “off”.

    Surprisingly, “off” has no specific meaning that allows it to be used in a sensible fashion in the above example. The word “off” does not really convey the meaning that the author is hoping to convey.

    But in English we make words say what we want them to mean — and if enough people do it then it gets added to the dictionary.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  127. joeldshore says:
    December 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm
    Gravitational collapse can indeed convert gravitational potential energy into other forms of energy (like thermal energy). However, the Earth’s atmosphere is not undergoing gravitational collapse
    Neither is Jupiter nor Venus [for that matter]. These bodies are not contracting, their atmospheres are just obeying the usual gas law: PV = nRT

  128. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Stratosphere temperatures have been cooling since at least 1958 due to a series of active cycles and the rate of such cooling declined during relatively low cycle 20. The rate of cooling stopped altogether with the arrival of weak cycle 24 and on some measures shows signs of recovery.

    lsvalgaard says:
    December 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm
    From your link:

    “From 1979 to 1996, satellite and radiosonde measurements show that temperatures in the lower stratosphere declined, although that trend was interrupted by episodes of warming due to the El Chichón and Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruptions. For most of the last two decades, there has been little trend, but no sign of a reversal. “

    FWIW …

    w.

  129. lsvalgaard says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Just, you know … planets and planetary atmospheres.

    Like Jupiter… “The temperature and pressure inside Jupiter increase steadily toward the core. At the phase transition region where hydrogen—heated beyond its critical point—becomes metallic, it is believed the temperature is 10,000 K”…

    OK, not gas giants either …. any other exceptions you’d care to note? My point still stands. Pressure per se is not heating the surface of the Earth on a constant basis, which is what the pressure-heads claim..

    w.

  130. cd says:
    December 22, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Pressure heads – what like Boyle. You once made some good posts with a novel – even if sometimes naive (by others judgement not mine) – interpretation.

    Another person who doesn’t quote what they are referring to, rendering their opinion impenetrable for lack of an agreed upon subject.

    Folks, do yourselves a favor. If you’re going to disagree with someone, QUOTE THEIR WORDS. Then spell out your objections in detail.

    Otherwise, you risk ending up like cd here, babbling about something that he obviously thinks is important, but unfortunately neither I nor anyone else knows exactly what he’s on about …

    w.

  131. Bob Weber says:
    December 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    … Does anyone know?

    Piers Corbyn knows. He not only knows, he predicts US and UK/Ireland weather 30 days ahead very well within what I consider to be a reasonable margin of error considering the chaos in the system.

    Oh, my goodness, not this nonsense again. We’ve been over and over Piers’ bogus forecasts. He once said there was a 50% chance of a typhoon, and claimed success when there was no typhoon. See here and here for the details.

    I offered to bet with Piers regarding his forecast for the Olympic opening. He refused. Here’s a comment on the outcome:

    Martin Gordon says:
    July 28, 2012 at 12:14 am
    Another great example today of Piers version of verification. After another apocalyptic forecast of deluges, thunderflashes and hail disrupting the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games he is (predictably) declaring a triumph after a brief shower fell before the start of the ceremony.

    The mendacity is compounded by declaring that the Met Office had “forecast NO rain 12 hours ahead”

    The Met Office forecast issued 12 hours ahead ( http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2012/opening-ceremony-forecast ) stated:

    “Although there will be showers through the day, these are likely to clear away through the evening. This will leave a mainly fine end to the day with just a low risk of a shower passing directly over the Stadium during the ceremony.”

    I feel Piers has lost any credibility that he may have had. Very disappointing.

    Couldn’t say it better.

    w.

  132. gnomish says:
    December 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    sorry, willis – not to invite quibbles but you once explicitly stated that temperature and heat were directly convertible by the stefan bolzmann equation – which, you supported by stating that an infrared thermometer could not otherwise work. then you cited the formula for the conversion.
    you were in a mood, though, as sometimes happens to any of us, so i withdrew and left you taunting me, saying i would not withdraw because i could not resist your attention. i do not want a rerun of this because, as you point out to mr mosher, i know you are better than that.

    What part of QUOTE MY WORDS EXACTLY if you disagree with them are you failing to understand?

    I’m more than happy to defend my own words. I cannot defend your fantasies about my words. I have no idea when or where I’m supposed to have made the claim. Quote it, or go away.

    w.

  133. Konrad says:
    December 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Willis, it was looking so good –

    And then you went and did this –

    “As with all heat engines, energy enters at the hot end, in this case the tropics. It is converted into mechanical motion of seawater and air, which transports the excess heat to the poles where it is radiated to space”

    Yes, there is a poleward flow of energy from the tropics to the poles, but the primary heat engine is expressed as energy flow from the surface to space driving tropospheric convective circulation.

    I fear I don’t understand that. “Energy flowing from the surface to space” doesn’t drive tropospheric convective circulation. The circulation is driven by the massed thunderstorms of the ITCZ. These create the deep convection that make the whole thing go ’round …

    w.

  134. Willis,
    I’m glad you gave Steve Mosher yet another thrashing. I was tempted to, but he’s, as you say, such a waste of time. Yes, he seemed smart at one time, but something happened over time which seems to have made him unable to be either objective or humble. I realize that’s somewhat the definition of a tr*ll, but I don’t think he’d accept that appellation. So what is he?

  135. The foibles of the thermostat on the downside are far more nervous-making than are those on the upside. There are no historical or paleohistorical instances of harm from upside changes (droughts being cold dry air phenomena), but many of downside swings. Another (of a superfluity) fatal flaw of CAGW.

  136. lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical

    Steven Mosher,

    You should go to Engineering School to learn how awful a mistake this is. There is no Inertia, nor whatever intertia is, in the climate. Inertia is momentum, M x V, a simple scalar quantity. Heat and energy and power and flux, the last being what “Climate Scientists” think is a “forcing,” no inertia to be found anywhere, nor “intertia.”

    Willis makes a strong point that increasing temperature, wherever, could and may be already causing an increase in clouds, which would be a true “regulator.” Without this sort of regulator the planet’s climate would have run away, in either direction, long ago.

    I am not sold on either the posited “Snowball Earth,” nor Hansen’s “Fire = Venus” planet. Willis makes a strong point that either extreme would have happened long ago without some sort of regulator in the system. IPCC freely admit that they cannot model clouds.

    Engineers are hired because any sort of energy costs money, and wasting money is offensive to the people who actually have to pay. Mosher, whatever it is you do for a living, it is not engineering.

  137. Willis said:

    “The other thing which bears constant restating is that the system can speed up without heating up, by increasing the throughput of the working fluid. This moves more energy polewards, without much increase in surface temperature.
    Which of course is one more mechanism whereby an increase in forcing may not lead to an increase in temperature.”

    Which has been exactly my point for years.

    GHGs may initially act to slow down energy throughput but that is negated by a circulation change that speeds up throughput again to keep the system stable.

    The change in speed of throughput is manifested by circulation shifts that we see as ‘climate change’.

    The natural changes in throughput speed from oceanic and solar variability being many magnitudes greater than from changes in GHG amounts.

  138. “The larger point that Willis is making is that magical incantations about pressure that people like Stephen Wilde make do not get him around having to conserve energy and thus make his various conjectures nothing but pseudoscientific nonsense.”

    Nothing magical.

    Work against gravity in uplift (cooling) is matched by work with gravity (warming) on descent.

    Energy is conserved.

    Nothing to do with gravitational collapse.

  139. joeldshore said:

    [This, of course, assumes the environmental lapse rate doesn't change, which is a good first approximation. In reality, the environmental lapse rate in the tropics is expected to decrease a little bit because the moist adiabatic lapse rate is a decrease function of temperature...and so this produces a negative feedback, i.e., causes the surface temperature to increase somewhat less than the above considerations predict.]

    GHGs do change the environmental lapse rate and in the case of water vapour it is a lot. Check the difference between the dry and moist lapse rates.

    Ozone actually reverses the environmental lapse rate above the tropopause.

    The effects are then negated for the system as a whole by speed of throughput changes (circulation shifts) as Willis correctly observes.

  140. re the graph of lower stratospheric temp Willis posted in comment-1510262

    Despite the obsession of everyone to look for (linear) trends, this graph anything but linear and those incapable of thinking in anything but Excel fitted straight lines will miss the point.

    Both events resulted in a drop in temperature (by eye about 0.3 and 0.6K respectively).
    The initial disruption of the weaker, earlier event lasted about 2.5 years, for Mt.P it lasted about 4 years. (I think Willis’ grey lines are a short, though that’s subjective without a formal criterion).

    There was an essentially flat period between the two, although one could suggest a slight rebound. Similarly after Mt.P there is clear rebound bump, though post 97 is essentially flat.

    So the information shown here would suggest that despite the initial warming spike the decadal scale effect of both eruptions was permanent drop in stratospheric temperature.

    We have the advantage here of seeing a clear signal of both events relatively unperturbed by the sort of large scale variability that confounds clear identification in the surface records.

    As I understand the explanation of the warming spike it is due to blocking of incoming solar due to changes in the composition of the stratosphere. The same argument then leads to the conclusion the persistent drop in LST after each event indicates less blocking of solar (this has been discussed elsewhere in detail).

    This means that the net effect of these major eruptions is an ADDITIONAL radiative input to the lower climate system, not the exaggerated cooling “forcing” that is used counter balance the speculative amplification CO2 effects.

    How much of the late 20th c. warming was caused the climate’s response to those events that is witnessed in the stratosphere data?

  141. Willis said:

    “Seems there’s been a misunderstanding, Stephen. The people I call “pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere, that pressure alone can raise the temperature of the surface”

    Noted and thanks but I think you may find that even a nearly radiatively inert argon atmosphere will have a warmer surface than S-B predicts due to uneven surface heating and the consequent convective circulation.

    It isn’t the pressure alone that does it but rather the time delay in energy throughput resulting from the conversion of kinetic energy at the surface to gravitational potential energy higher up during uplift and then reconversion back to kinetic energy during descent.

    That is how your thermostat really works.

    The clouds and thunderstorms are a consequence of the rising air being rich in water vapour and are thus a side effect rather than a driving force.

  142. Greg on December 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    phlogiston says:“Off of” is a cacophonous new American-English grammar construct. What does it mean? Its horrible, stop it!“

    Construct” is a verb. Construction is the noun. Abuse of verbs as nouns is a horrible American-English habit, stop it! Grammar is a noun , grammatical is the adjective. Abusing nouns as adjectives is a horrible American-English habit, stop it!

    Use of nouns as adjectives and verbs as nouns is becoming a reality in vernacular english. OK its not high english but it pales into insignificance next to “off of”.

  143. Folks (now I’m using US vernacular) are reading too much into this article and criticising it unfairly. Willis did not – I’m sure – intend it as a new climate model of everything. He just points out the fact, beyond dispute, that the climate system is a heat engine, which follows from the equally uncontroversial assertion that the equator is closer to the sun than the poles (and sunlight has a shorter path).

    Two terms are very conspicuous by their absence from this debate: they are “dissipative” and “far from equilibrium”. These descriptors strongly characterise the climate heat engine and they are also the major pre-requisites of a system to enter dynamical chaos and exhibit nonlinear pattern formation.

    Important insights into the climate heat engine would flow from this understanding, but they are not doing so. It is sad to see that half a century after the discoveries of Lorenz, Feigenbaum, Mandelbrot, Prigogine and many others, mainstream science still turns a blind eye toward chaotic and nonlinear dynamics and pattern. A valid scientific revolution is being extinguished by predjudice.

  144. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 22, 2013 at 9:23 pm
    —————————————————-
    “I fear I don’t understand that. “Energy flowing from the surface to space” doesn’t drive tropospheric convective circulation. The circulation is driven by the massed thunderstorms of the ITCZ. These create the deep convection that make the whole thing go ’round …”

    Perhaps I should have written energy flowing from the surface to space via both radiative and non-radiative transports.

    I would have to disagree that thunderstorms make the “whole thing go ’round”?

    Previously you stated that “A heat engine needs both a hot end and a cold end.”

    Moist convective uplift and release of latent heat in Hadley circulation is the “hot end”.

    Radiative energy loss to space at altitude is the “cold end”.

    Comments from Dr. Spencer in 2009 indicated that he believed almost all tropospheric circulation would cease in the absence of radiative gases (except for a very thin near surface layer), and such a static atmosphere would trend isothermal through gas conduction.

    (I found Dr. Spencer’s 2009 comments after conducting simple empirical experiments after 2011 on relative heights of energy entry and exit from tall gas columns and its effect on Raleigh-Bernard circulation and average temperature. I was backtracking to find out who else knew.)

    While Dr. Spencer’s claim may seem dramatic, it is completely in line with the results of my gas column experiments.

    Willis, I’m going to have to ask for clarification. Do you believe strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude?

  145. Willis said:
    “The other thing which bears constant restating is that the system can speed up without heating up, by increasing the throughput of the working fluid. This move more energy polewards, without much increase in surface temperature.”

    Why and when would it speed up without heating up? And surely if there is an upper limit on tropical surface temperature, moving more energy polewards will increase the total surface temperature.

    I would reckon that the poleward transport of energy is differential between the ocean and atmosphere. More atmospheric energy is transported poleward when the jet streams are more poleward, and more warmer ocean is transported poleward when the jet streams move towards the equator.

  146. Steven Mosher says: @ December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am

    “Despite all of that, over the previous century the total variation in temperature was ≈ ± 0.3K. This is a variation of less than a tenth of one percent….
    ######################

    lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Or a specific set of conditions, continent configurations that have kept the Holocene temperature unusually stable GRAPH

    And these graphs GRAPH 1 and GRAPH 2 showing overall cooling.

  147. “conducting simple empirical experiments after 2011 on relative heights of energy entry and exit from tall gas columns ”

    You could get an isothermal structure from a tall glass column with a perfectly flat base, vertical sides and evenly illuminated at the base.

    Not so for a rough surfaced, rotating sphere illuminated from a point source of light. In that case you would always get cooling with altitude because of the density variations arising throughout the volume occupied by the gases and the consequent circulation.

  148. - Bob Weber says:
    December 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    It’s been a pleasure checking this article out Willis. If the clouds are a throttle, where is the engine? And what is the fuel? A throttle that acts as a thermostat is very interesting. –

    Engine is ocean. Fuel is sunlight.
    Fuel is source of energy. Throttle controls how much fuel/energy gets to engine.

    But also need brakes. Ocean is engine and brakes [:) jake brake??].
    And Ocean is also a flywheel.
    But the land surface is also a engine, it’s just not the main engine.
    Land not a main engine because it’s low percentage of total surface area- particularly in tropics
    where most sunlight reaches Earth. And Ocean is more of engine per square km of area.
    So ocean area of same area as land is a more powerful engine.
    So oceans dominate Earth global climate and weather. And it’s mostly the tropical ocean.
    Which is all well known. Or everyone knows El Niño and .La Niña have large effect upon weather and global climate. Everyone knows Europe is warmer due to the Gulf Stream.
    Everyone know coastal regions have more milder weather- doesn’t get as cold nor get as hot- but mostly doesn’t get as cold when in night and winter.
    Land has higher temperatures, but not higher average temperature. Land warms the air during the day, but doesn’t warm air much during night.
    And the atmosphere is also an engine. It’s whole focus of “greenhouse efect” but it’s a minor
    engine, and also minor flywheel. Or instead flywheel it’s like the mass or load of vehicle.
    And we ocean evaporating and condensation- more flywheel/battery/load/governor/regenerative braking.
    So land is only place you get high surface and air temperatures. But high surface [skin] temperature and high air temperature has little to do with increasing global aveage temperature- or the Moon would have a high average temperature. High global average temperature is all about retaining heat, and ocean retains heat for centuries of time.
    So the main factor of why our world has what might seem a high average temperature is largely or nearly exclusively about the Earth’s oceans. Or put a deep global ocean of water on the Moon and Moon will have a much higher average temperature.

  149. Ulric Lyons asked

    “Why and when would it speed up without heating up?”

    Because the additional energy is in the form of gravitational potential energy and not kinetic energy.

    The change in size or speed of the convective heat engine changes the ratio of kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy within the atmospheric gases so as to keep radiation out to space equal to radiation in from space. That also involves keeping the surface temperature stable despite forcing elements that try to destabilise it.

    The phase changes of water are an additional ‘lubricant’ which increases the efficiency of the engine so that less violent circulation changes are needed to maintain stability.

    If cloudiness changes occur then that alters the proportion of top of atmosphere incoming radiation that enters the oceans and so mimics a change in top of atmosphere insolation and will change the surface temperature.

    Even then the system will maintain stability by adjusting the speed of energy throughput via circulation adjustments.

  150. gbaikie said:

    “So the main factor of why our world has what might seem a high average temperature is largely or nearly exclusively about the Earth’s oceans.”

    Yes.

    Been saying that for years. See The Hot Water Bottle Effect.

    For energy retention purposes the oceans must be regarded as part of Earth’s atmosphere.

    As someone else said “The atmosphere is the continuation of the oceans by other means”.

  151. It would be interesting to calculate the thermodynamic efficiency of this global heat engine and compare it with the best man made heat engines. For instance the boiler turbine condenser cycle of a modern power plant operating near the critical point is at best around 50%.

  152. Leif writes “Neither is Jupiter nor Venus [for that matter]. These bodies are not contracting”

    Jupiter is thought to be contracting. Thats where it gets its extra energy from.

  153. Leif also wrote “These bodies are not contracting, their atmospheres are just obeying the usual gas law: PV = nRT”

    But the atmosphere of Venus is CO2 as a supercritical fluid which doesn’t behave like an ideal gas.

  154. TimTheToolMan says:
    December 23, 2013 at 5:02 am
    Jupiter is thought to be contracting. Thats where it gets its extra energy from.
    That contraction is of minor importance and certainly not in the outer layers. Most of Jupiter’s energy is simply left over from its formation.

    TimTheToolMan says:
    December 23, 2013 at 5:37 am
    But the atmosphere of Venus is CO2 as a supercritical fluid which doesn’t behave like an ideal gas.
    No, only the lowest part near the surface is. Most of the atmosphere is not and is still hot and under high pressure.

  155. cagwsceptic says:
    December 23, 2013 at 4:16 am
    It would be interesting to calculate the thermodynamic efficiency of this global heat engine and compare it with the best man made heat engines.
    ================
    I posted just such a back of the envelope calculation awhile back. The efficiency was about 20%.

  156. -TimTheToolMan says:
    December 23, 2013 at 5:37 am
    But the atmosphere of Venus is CO2 as a supercritical fluid which doesn’t behave like an ideal gas.
    No, only the lowest part near the surface is. Most of the atmosphere is not and is still hot and under high pressure.-

    Yes. But increased earth atmosphere by 20 times, this would be the supercritical part, and add 70 times more of the Earth’s 1 atm atmosphere that would the part not supercritical.
    Or:
    … “above the critical point for carbon dioxide, it can adopt properties midway between a gas and a liquid. More specifically, it behaves as a supercritical fluid above its critical temperature (304.25 K) and critical pressure (72.9 atm” ….

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

    Or it’s supercritical for about first 4 km of elevation above surface.
    Disfused sunlight reaching Venus surface, and it seems it would be less disfused at 4 km elevation. But I suppose it’s mostly significant in terms of having better transfer of heat, so I suppose allows better global uniformity of temperature [or less wind is required to transfer heat].

    I have wondered if supercritical CO2 has anything to do with explaining Venus high temperature,
    but mostly I think it’s large atmosphere and the clouds [droplets of H2SO4] which heated by sunlight. And sulfuric acid rain which occurs at a much higher elevation in the Venus atmosphere which could explain mostly why Venus is hot.

    Though it possible also could have something with Venus planetary interior heat being so well insulated by the dense atmosphere.

  157. Willis, I see now your difficulties in being truly scientific stem from stubbornness and arrogance that closely looks like the global warmists behaviour. For one thing, what Piers Corbyn does and says is not nonsense. Is your answer then “he was lucky”? and if so what do you base that judgment on? You whined in responses above about how you were mistreated in snarky comments, etc. wow Willis I didn’t know. I didn’t realize that having a double standard was your way. You have done to Piers Corbyn exactly what the warmists have been doing to skeptics for years, you attack the man and ignore the facts, just like a politician.

    I read your dismissive article on Piers Corbyn last year. Clearly you don’t understand what he does, and further, your bias precludes you from taking a serious look at the true cause-effect relationship between solar activity and terrestrial weather. Clearly you don’t pay attention long enough to understand his forecasts, nor do you appear to follow solar activity sufficiently to “see it coming” like others can and do. Its your choice to wallow with the warmists and continue to believe solar forcing is insufficient to drive the oceans and the atmosphere and the weather and climate.

  158. Two points:
    1) So volcanic eruptions at the equators would have a far more significant impact on global temperatures compared to those that occur further North or South. Which could explain why the year without a summer was so dramatic due to the Mount Tambora eruption. Not just because it was a massive eruption but also because of its location where it would have had an instant effect on albedo.
    2) I wonder how much heat engine activity occurs in the biosphere? Can it be measured?

  159. ***
    lsvalgaard says:
    December 23, 2013 at 5:54 am

    TimTheToolMan says:
    December 23, 2013 at 5:02 am
    Jupiter is thought to be contracting. Thats where it gets its extra energy from.
    That contraction is of minor importance and certainly not in the outer layers. Most of Jupiter’s energy is simply left over from its formation.

    ***

    Right. The “contraction” phase occurred long ago, during formation. Equilibrium has long since been established. Jupiter maintains its inner heat ’cause it’s BIG & well insulated — look at the cold upper atmosphere as evidence of the insulating effect.

  160. Bob, I understand Corbyn’s forecasts quite well. And I am just an armchair climate nerd less than that of this thread author. Most peer-vetted climate scientists on both sides of the debate do not speak well of Corbyn’s thesis. Corbyn’s use of prediction statistics is a very good example of allowing poorly understood and applied statistical machinations to make unsupported and unverifiable projections and claims of victory. Inappropriate and slight of hand statistics can be the equivalent of a Jeff Dunham. If you are good at presentations, someone like Corbyn can make statistics do the equivalent of stand-up comedy with a talking stick.

    If you believe Corbyn’s claims of victory are substantial evidence that he is right about what drives climate and weather pattern variations, you must also believe that Peanut and Jalapeno are real.

  161. Leif: Real humans, not puppets that Jeff so creatively uses in his comedy act. I am a big fan. Ranks with the funniest.

  162. Pamela thank you for that statement. I wonder what kind of predictions you, Willis, the establishment solar scientist, the peer-vetted climate warmists and others have made that panned out recently and are they worth talking about.

    Either Piers is right and you and a whole lot of others are wrong, or not, right? I repeat my question from above: was he lucky or does he know what he’s talking about? If he’s wrong as you say, then he must just be lucky, as you appear to insinuate. Is that what you’re saying? Are you saying there is no scientific evidence in support of Corbyn’s premises and methods?

    Are you saying 110% for sure that Piers’ claim that solar particles and magnetic linkages control atmospheric circulation and other metrics especially during periods of higher solar activity is wrong? and they do nothing in relationship to weather and climate? and that isn’t predictable? I want an affirmative statement from you and Dr. Svalgaard on those questions, and if that’s too far outside the box for you, explain why.

    I am convinced that there are too many scientists out there who don’t follow the scientific method. It is not hard to drop $30 on a three month forecast of Piers, and then follow it along as it happens, including his predictions for increased solar activity levels and the subsequent influences on our weather, and then see how close he is, as I have done. You don’t have to be a PhD to understand cause and effect relationships. I think a Phd sometimes has difficulties seeing the obvious.

    Pamela, are you saying that I made up some BS story about there being evidence for solar-lunar weather/climate action on both long-term and short-term scales? Are you saying there is no evidence in the satellite solar wind data and earthly weather/climate history that supports Corbyn’s premises and methods?

    The following statement you made to me is totally inapplicable in this discussion:

    “Inappropriate and slight of hand statistics can be the equivalent of a Jeff Dunham. If you are good at presentations, someone like Corbyn can make statistics do the equivalent of stand-up comedy with a talking stick.

    If you believe Corbyn’s claims of victory are substantial evidence that he is right about what drives climate and weather pattern variations, you must also believe that Peanut and Jalapeno are real.”

    What are you talking about? I am declaring claims of victory for him, as do so many of his customers on both sides of the Atlantic. Do you even know what his forecasts were for the last three months and have you specifically falsified them or the premises he uses to make them?

  163. Not only do the clouds block incoming radiation, but in extremis (e.g. CuNim) they are nature’s tower heat sinks, conveying heat directly to outer space.

    Passing thought. Some other planet’s heat engine could be the secret to interstellar travel. The biggest stumbling block for interstellar travel is the immense energy required to propel a ship to near c. Near c the mass approaches a singularity and therefore the energy requirements are nearly unthinkable. Perhaps by harnessing a planetary heat engine in some manner a ship could reach 0.1c or some reasonably high velocity. Of course this action would probably render the planet uninhabitable, so the planet would need to be carefully selected (imagine that EIR!).

  164. Bob, your response clearly demonstrates you have little to no understanding of inappropriate application of statistical prediction methods.

    Let me give you an example. If you say that there is a greater than 50% chance of widespread torrential rain in your regional area of forecast and it does indeed rain hard in one spot, you cannot say that your prediction was right. This is a slight of hand trick often used by Corbyn.

    Another example. If you list all the parameters you think cause weather patterns to happen in your prediction and indeed your predicted weather pattern happens, you cannot say your parameters were the driver. That is very poor scientific methodology (paraphrase: if you list enough variables you can make an elephant wriggle its trunk) and would not be publishable or believable by anyone except the yourself and the easily led.

  165. lsvalgaard says:
    December 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    OK, not gas giants either …. any other exceptions you’d care to note?

    Venus comes to mind…

    Thanks, Leif. I don’t understand this. Are you saying that pressure alone raises the surface temperature on Venus?

    w.

  166. http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=750

    To check what I suggested earlier, I got the UHA data did a 365d filter on the real temps rather than anomalies. As I suspected each of the two major eruptions resulted in permanent drop in TLS. ( I was wrong in so far as they were pretty much equal in magnitude. So much for ‘anomalies’).

    Now if the TLS takes a permanent hit that is a strong indication that more incoming solar is getting into the troposphere.

    Does this indicate eruptions cause a positive forcing?

  167. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 23, 2013 at 9:57 am
    Thanks, Leif. I don’t understand this. Are you saying that pressure alone raises the surface temperature on Venus?
    CO2 helps too…
    If you increase the pressure, you do work on the molecules and their temperature rises. If you reduce the pressure, the air parcel expands, and the temperature falls [cause of temperature decreasing with altitude].

  168. One related consideration to Willis’s discussion here is that both of the working fluids in his heat engine analogy under go phase change with significant changes in energy content and no change in temperature due to water’s physical properties.

    Temperature is really an awful way to try and capture energy transport. We really need to look at specific heat of the working fluids and total energy including energy held isothermal as phase change. In the case of air you have phase changes of liquid water to vapor (humidity) then as the moist air is transported to cooler regions that moisture is “squeezed out” of the air flow as rain or snow. Releasing huge amounts of heat as those phase changes occur but with trivial changes in temperature. The specific heat capacity of a hot moist tropical air mass is significantly higher than a slightly cooler dry air mass. This is one of the forms of “hidden heat” that confounds the models. Likewise in the ocean currents you have the phase change to solid ice in the arctic/antarctic regions, which also release enormous amounts of heat with little temperature change.

    The earths heat engine is much like two parallel heat pipes one moving a condesable vapor (warm moist air) and the other moving a phase change liquid (water ice mixture). A mass of chilled ocean water full of slush ice has a much different heat content than a mass of all liquid water with no slush content at the same temperature.
    By using the inflow out flow of energy, Willis has neatly side stepped this weakness of the models who focus on the temperature rather than the heat content.

    At the time Willis was first considering his thermostat concept, we were having discussions here on WUWT regarding this same issue in thunderstorms and their vertical convection. As the warm moist air rose in the cell and first condensed out the water. It first transitioned to liquid water drops and then into ice crystals, releasing latent heat of condensation and freezing liberating huge amounts of energy at high altitude with relatively small changes in temperature. This like in a heat pipe, transported the heat as latent heat of phase change not temperature to the thermopause where it could be easily radiated to space above most of the IR blocking gasses in the atmosphere (water vapor and CO2)

    Large scale vertical convection with phase change short circuits the entire IR process below the thermopause completely bypassing the IR absorption and re-radiation of the green house gases. Then to add insult to injury it creates a marvelous high albedo sun shade that strongly reduces solar heating at ground level, and directly reflecting the suns energy at high altitude outside much of the green house gas envelope of our atmosphere. At high altitude water vapor content changes (concentration and physical form) are by far the dominant “optical throttle” to radiant heating and heat loss not CO2.

  169. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 23, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Willis said:

    “Seems there’s been a misunderstanding, Stephen. The people I call “pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere, that pressure alone can raise the temperature of the surface”

    Noted and thanks but I think you may find that even a nearly radiatively inert argon atmosphere will have a warmer surface than S-B predicts due to uneven surface heating and the consequent convective circulation.

    Steven, suppose we have a superconducting planet with no atmosphere. Alternatively, we could use a regular planet warmed evenly by a thousand suns spaced around it.

    Since the planet is at equilibrium, it is radiating the exact amount of energy it is receiving. The temperature is the same at all points, and is the amount predicted by the S-B equation.

    Stephen, IF an inert atmosphere could raise the temperature above that point, THE PLANET WOULD BE RADIATING MORE THAN IT RECEIVES. Since this is impossible, we can conclude that there is NO mechanism by which an inert atmosphere can warm the surface of a planet.

    Note that this proof does not simply apply to pressure-based mechanisms. It shows that there is no mechanism by which an inert atmosphere can raise the temperature beyond the S-B limit.

    w.

    PS—Yes, I know that if we added an atmosphere to the moon, it would warm somewhat, because the temperature extremes would be smoothed out. This is the effect you refer to above, of convective circulation.

    However, what that won’t do is “have a warmer surface than S-B predicts” as you incorrectly claim above …

  170. Leif said:

    “If you increase the pressure, you do work on the molecules and their temperature rises. If you reduce the pressure, the air parcel expands, and the temperature falls [cause of temperature decreasing with altitude].”

    Which is clearly correct but don’t forget warming with descent and that air warms at the dry adiabatic lapse rate on descent which is faster than cooling at the moist adiabatic lapse rate during uplift of more humid air.

    I have encountered a misunderstanding over the compression aspect. Some say that the warming effect of simple compression is too small and so it is if height stays the same because the compression is only working against the weak intermolecular force.

    However, if one changes altitude then work is being done with or against the gravitational force and that is what causes the observed lapse rate rather than simple compression. Obviously the stronger the gravitational field or the more atmospheric mass involved the more work needs to be done and the more heat will be generated.

    So, provided one has a circulation within a radiatively inert atmosphere there will always be cooling with height and an isothermal atmospheric structure will not develop.

    There will always be a circulation within any sort of atmosphere around a rotating sphere with a rough surface and illuminated from a point source of energy.

    Note that the ‘surplus’ heat at the surface is being used to hold the atmosphere off the surface at the observed height and thus that heat is not available for radiation to space (unless the atmosphere were to collapse to the ground).

    So one does have a warmer surface without GHGs provided a circulation can be maintained.

    All the examples of isothermal scenarios involve suppression of circulation and are therefore unrealistic.

  171. Pamela you assume more than one thing that isn’t so, including my understanding. I notice you don’t want to answer my questions. I’m not trying to hurt your feelings or talk down to you or anyone else here but I believe many here have some of the same blind spots as do the warmists.

    There exists a long list of peer-reviewed papers that provides evidences for the premises Piers Corbyn uses and for the statements he makes. For the last six years I’ve seen all kinds of papers that discuss cycles within cycles and observed solar weather impacts on earth, some of it here covered here at WUWT. You seem to be arguing the man not the science. I don’t remember ever seeing a forecast period by Piers with a 50% confidence rating. Your statistical argument is a straw dog and that dog doesn’t hunt. Piers is respected all around the world yet you treat him this way. Do you really understand what he does?

  172. I don’t know if it’s exactly the same, but it kind of reminds me of the weather where I live in the Los Angeles area, a few miles from the water. Although the news reports periodically predict a “heat wave” or a “cold snap”, the temperatures at my house don’t change much. As it gets hotter inland, the heat rises and the cool air off the ocean gets pulled in to my house, cooling things off. As it gets colder inland, the moisture gets wrung out of the atmosphere, the sunshine gets more intense and it gets warmer. So no matter what happens, the general effect is that the temperature doesn’t change much.

  173. Willis said:

    “IF an inert atmosphere could raise the temperature above that point, THE PLANET WOULD BE RADIATING MORE THAN IT RECEIVES”

    Your example refers to a superconducting planet with no atmosphere.

    Now think about conduction which fuels convection whether or not the gases are radiatively active.

    In order to radiate to space the amount of energy received from space AND conduct to the atmosphere the surface MUST be warmer than S-B predicts.

    It is true that ‘surplus’ energy is coming back from the air to the surface but that returning energy cannot be lost to space because it is constantly needed to refuel continuing uplift.

    If that returning energy were to be diverted from the conductive exchange to radiation out then the atmosphere would contract and eventually fall to the surface.

    The surface temperature supports two processes in parallel:

    I) A constant conductive exchange with the air above which is net zero as you pointed out in another thread some time ago and:

    ii) A constant radiative exchange at top of atmosphere with the external energy source which is also net zero.

    If anything attempts to distort the balance between those two processes then the circulation must change and the atmosphere expand or contract to regain balance.

    That is your thermostat and in a water vapour rich atmosphere clouds and rain are a side effect.

  174. Bob Weber says:
    December 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Pamela thank you for that statement. I wonder what kind of predictions you, Willis, the establishment solar scientist, the peer-vetted climate warmists and others have made that panned out recently and are they worth talking about.

    Either Piers is right and you and a whole lot of others are wrong, or not, right? I repeat my question from above: was he lucky or does he know what he’s talking about? If he’s wrong as you say, then he must just be lucky, as you appear to insinuate. Is that what you’re saying? Are you saying there is no scientific evidence in support of Corbyn’s premises and methods?

    Piers is not lucky. He simply claims that his predictions are successful, even if they are not. Here’s an example

    Martin Gordon says:
    July 14, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Looking again at the ‘audit’ this is the sort of thing I find disturbing:

    Forecast:
    “Around 28-30 July
    (action but NOT named storms)
    Pacific active Tropical depressions likely
    but only 50% risk of developing into Typhoons”

    This was then confirmed and the forecast outcome labelled as a success.

    “Confirmed – No named typhoons or
    TS formed in this window”

    However there was a 50% risk stated of typhoon development, so presumably if a typhoon had formed that too would have been a ‘success’.

    So yes, Bob, that Piers is a genius. He predicts 50% chance of typhoons, and then claims success when there is NO TYPHOON.

    If you choose to believe those kinds of childish exaggerations, Bob, there’s not much I can do to help you. Piers flat out refused to bet me regarding the Olympics. That should tell you something.

    Piers will predict forest fires in Colorado, and claim success if there is a forest fire in New Mexico. Heck, my guess is that he will predict forest fires in Alaska and claim success if someone lights a candle in Ontario. Here was my comment at the time:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    July 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm
    I’d like to point out something. People have looked at the forecast and gone yes, he sure got the forest fire thing correct, Colorado is about burned to the ground. And Piers shows a picture and gives a link to the extensive Colorado fires in his claim that he is correct. What’s not to like?

    If you are one of the people who said that, go back and look at his forecast … he NEVER FORECAST FOREST FIRES IN COLORADO. According to his forecast, Colorado was just supposed to be “sunny”, and the fires were supposed to be in Arizona and New Mexico … like I said, Nostradamus would be proud.

    w.

    So no, Bob, I fear that Piers is neither lucky nor good. He just claims success no matter what. Close is good enough for him, and “close” can be hundreds of miles away. He forecast hail in the Great Lakes and claimed success because it hailed in Oregon, it’s in the links I gave above.

    So please, take your hero-worship elsewhere. Most of us here see right through Piers, even if you don’t. Your sycophantic ramblings are not appreciated, and your own reputation as an accurate observer of the world is plummeting with each successive post. Read the links I gave you (here and here), start to finish, and think about what you are reading.

    w.

  175. Piers Corbyn talks like an cockney barra’ boy. Sadly his sales pitch is about on the same level.

    I probably has positive prejudice to the kind of techniques he claims to use, I like the idea, but having looked at some of his claimed successes (which obviously avoids shining a light on the failures) I have to be unconvinced.

    REPLY: Greg sums up exactly why I don’t give any credence to Corbyn. At one time it looked like he had something of value. Now, I see his Jeane Dixon astrology style over generalized prognostics for what they actually are. – Anthony

  176. Bob Weber says:
    December 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Do you even know what [Piers'] forecasts were for the last three months and have you specifically falsified them or the premises he uses to make them?

    I have no clue what his forecasts were for the last three months. They are only rarely made public, even after the fact. And that is telling regarding the man and his claims.

    Now, if he were as successful as he says he is, he’d be sure to release past forecasts to show that his methods work. However, he has flatly and continually refused to do that, to release say a year’s worth of his past forecasts so they can be graded using the normal methods applicable to forecasts. My own bozo theory is that when a man hides something, it’s because he’s got something to hide. What’s your theory?

    Instead, every once in a while Piers releases a “successful” forecast, blows his own horn as hard as he can, and then goes away.

    And as to whether we know the “premises he uses to make” the forecasts, only a few of his intimate associates know that. He has released only vague clues. He says this is because the methods are business secrets, which is fair enough as far as that goes. It is a legitimate reason to hide his methods, I have no problem with that, nor do I ask for his methods to be made public … but the fact that he’s running a business is absolutely not a reason to hide his past forecasts. If they were as good as you seem to think, he’d be mad not to publicize them once they were past their use-by dates … but he doesn’t do that, then or ever.

    The problem is, not making either the methods or the forecasts public makes it very difficult to assess his work. We only know about some of his bogus claims because he acceded to Anthony’s urging and released a month’s worth of forecasts … few of which came even close, and most of which were so vague as to be unfalsifiable. READ THE LINKS I GAVE!

    However, we do have some clues. On my planet, a man who predicts forest fires in Arizona, and says it will be “sunny” in Colorado, and then claims success when there are forest fires in Colorado is a charlatan. A man who predicts a 50% chance of typhoons and then claims success when there are no typhoons is a charlatan.

    And we know for a fact that Piers has done both of those, and more.

    So believe what you want to believe, Bob. I put my money where my mouth was, and offered to bet him on his forecast for the Olympic opening. Here was his prediction, quoted by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London:

    “We’re very confident that there will be a lot of rain – a deluge, really – during the entire Olympic period, and we are 80 per cent sure that the Opening Ceremony itself will feature heavy rain, including hail and thunder.”

    Piers chickened out. He wouldn’t bet me. The gory details are here.

    Then, having forecast torrential downpours, he claimed success when there was a little sprinkle of rain that didn’t disrupt the Olympic proceedings.

    Like I said, Bob, you’re not doing your own reputation any good here. I’d either give it up or take it where people are more credulous …

    w.

  177. lsvalgaard says:
    December 23, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 23, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Thanks, Leif. I don’t understand this. Are you saying that pressure alone raises the surface temperature on Venus?

    CO2 helps too…
    If you increase the pressure, you do work on the molecules and their temperature rises. If you reduce the pressure, the air parcel expands, and the temperature falls [cause of temperature decreasing with altitude].

    Not responsive to the question. Can pressure alone increase the surface temperature on an on-going basis? I say, no. Note that I’m not talking about fusion, or the heat caused by gravitational collapse. I’m talking about pure pressure alone.

    In its simplest form, the question is as follows:

    Is a superconducting earth-sized planet (room temperature super-conduction, obviously) with an argon atmosphere going to be warmer than a superconducting planet with no atmosphere?

    I say absolutely not, it would be a violation of the Second Law.

    What say you?

    w.

  178. lsvalgaard says: “If you increase the pressure, you do work on the molecules and their temperature rises. If you reduce the pressure, the air parcel expands, and the temperature falls ”

    obviously, that’s just conservation of energy. I don’t see anyone having a problem with that. This does not answer the key question of whether it will _maintain_ a higher surface temperature.

    To maintain a higher temp, there either has to be a constant conversion of gravitational potential (continued collapse) or the same TOA energy balance has to be maintained despite the higher surface temp.

    Maybe I’ve missed a trick , but I don’t see the slightest indication in the “pressure head” hypothesis that explain how an increased temp can be maintained without further input or conversion of energy. That seems to be Willis’ point too.

  179. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Willis said:

    “IF an inert atmosphere could raise the temperature above that point, THE PLANET WOULD BE RADIATING MORE THAN IT RECEIVES”

    Your example refers to a superconducting planet with no atmosphere.

    Now think about conduction which fuels convection whether or not the gases are radiatively active.

    In order to radiate to space the amount of energy received from space AND conduct to the atmosphere the surface MUST be warmer than S-B predicts.

    Since the atmosphere cannot radiate away the heat once equilibrium is established, there can be no continuous net loss of energy (what you refer to as “conduction”) to the atmosphere, or the atmosphere would end up red-hot. This means that over time, the total conduction of energy to the atmosphere must be zero … so there is no need (and indeed no way) for the the surface to be warmer than the S-B calculations.

    w.

  180. Willis said:

    “over time, the total conduction of energy to the atmosphere must be zero ”

    Agreed that it must be net zero but there is still conduction to the air causing uplift and conduction back to the surface upon descent.

    That energy exchange is locked into the system for as long as there is any sort of gaseous atmosphere and it is over and above (and isolated from) the radiative exchange between surface and space and so requires a higher surface temperature than S-B.

    That is the true greenhouse effect and it has its effect by causing a delay in the throughput of part of the solar energy passing through the system.That part of the incoming solar energy is diverted to the slower conductive exchange between surface and air and so causes a surface temperature rise without destabilising top of atmosphere radiative balance.

  181. Willis Eschenbach stated in commentary:

    Now, if my hypothesis is correct, then we should be able to find evidence for this dependence of the tropical clouds on the temperature.
    ————

    Mr. Willis E, ….. great science based commentary and my opinion is, …. your hypothesis is absolutely correct.

    And I say absolutely correct because the context of your following two (2) paragraphs also apply, …. on a minor scale, …. to various land masses around the globe during their “hot days” of summertime.

    Thus said, if one changes the “bold-faced” words in the following paragraphs, the 1st one to “terrestrial clouds” and the other 3 to “land”, ……. the “facts-of-the-matter” don’t change. To wit:
    ————–

    But the clouds don’t form based on average conditions. They form based only and solely on current conditions. And the nature of the tropical clouds is that generally, the clouds don’t form in the mornings, when the sea surface is cool from its nocturnal overturning.

    Instead, the clouds form after the ocean has warmed up to some critical temperature. Once it passes that point, and generally over a period of less than an hour, a fully-developed cumulus cloud layer emerges. The emergence is threshold based. The important thing to note about this process is that the critical threshold at which the clouds form is based on temperature and the physics of air, wind and water.
    ———–

    When conditions warrant it, local weather reporters are always “warning” their listeners to … “watch out for thunder storms popping up unexpectedly”.

  182. Stephen 11:51am: “..(adiabatic descent) is what warms the surface.”

    No, not spatially and temporally avg.d globally. Your link and you write the global ascend and descend process is ideally adiabatic! No net warming – of any mass can result. Not even a parcel. The diabatic process “warms the surface”.

    To warm any mass requires using up an energy reservoir resource (my furnace warms my house mass by using up nat. gas reservoirs). Only the sun significantly “warms the surface” by using up hydrogen. DWIR is simply part of the 1st law modern text book (as yet unread by Stephen) surface energy balance of the earth, atm., & sun global thermo. system.

  183. Trick says:
    December 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm
    Stephen 11:51am: “..(adiabatic descent) is what warms the surface.”

    No, not spatially and temporally avg.d globally. Your link and you write the global ascend and descend process is ideally adiabatic! No net warming – of any mass can result. Not even a parcel. The diabatic process “warms the surface”.

    To warm any mass requires using up an energy reservoir resource (my furnace warms my house mass by using up nat. gas reservoirs). Only the sun significantly “warms the surface” by using up hydrogen. DWIR is simply part of the 1st law modern text book (as yet unread by Stephen) surface energy balance of the earth, atm., & sun global thermo. system.
    +++++++++++++
    I could be wrong here. I believe the intent was to describe the transport process, not describe the source of energy. The energy source is primarily the sun. Everything else transports the energy, sometimes holding on to it, sometimes letting it go.

  184. CO2 helps too…If you increase the pressure, you do work on the molecules and their temperature rises. If you reduce the pressure, the air parcel expands, and the temperature falls [cause of temperature decreasing with altitude].

    This is contradictory. The AGW camp attribute cooling at high altitude to radiative gas. Needless to say this is false – high altitude cooling is indeed adiabatic due to reduced pressure. CO2 does not “help” or contribute in any significant way to atmospheric heat.

  185. Think of a bicycle tyre – you pump it up: it gets hot. Leave it as it is (in atmospheric case – at equilibrium). It cools. That is what would happen if on some magically, newly constructed planet with an atmosphere, it’s gravity had suddenly been switched on. The atmosphere would collapse and heat, forming a LR. But as this happens just once – it would cool and become isothermal. But would it? As a spinning differentially heated planet with a non-smooth surface would have instabilities – primarily due geopotential height differential and the causation of thermal winds which in turn would be vectored by Coriolis into jet-streams. There would be turbulence/friction/convection from the surface and quite soon an Earth-like circulation would appear. This would happen as well even if the atmosphere consisted of just N2 and O2 (non-radiative).
    BTW: Venus’ temp, in the same way is not generated by atmospheric mass either.
    Yes, gravity is continually acting, so yes, there is still a “pump” at work. But it’s not compressing any further (akin air in a bike tyre held at same pressure by the tyre walls). Therefore that heat energy would have been lost to space once Solar absorbed equalises with LWIR emitted. A new LR would develop purely by cooling/warming due to compression/rarefaction of vertically moving air keeping it in check. + radiational effects affecting the ELR.

    Oh BTW – my take on Corbyn:
    I actually met the guy once (at the UK MetSoc) in London. Didn’t speak to him though.
    He is a laughing stock in UK Met professional ranks. It may make business sense to hide his methods – but it is certainly not the scientific method. Ergo he is not a scientist, whatever his qualifications.
    He does nothing more than big-up his own work and constantly denigrate others, especially the UKMO.
    How does he do it? Tea-leaves? A £100m supercomputer and access to all the best climate and solar data + the best models available? Or use stats and sleight of language?
    The Sun allegedly is how he does it, via sunspots. Right, I’m going to predict the REGIONAL (not general) weather mind-you for the UK from that in 30 days time (Britain is a small country).
    I remember seeing charts in the 80’s when he used to give them to customers and he’d partitioned the UK into (many) zones – with mutually exclusive weather in neighbouring ones.
    He’s a hand-waving charlatan. He gets away with it because no one properly checks what he produces and like the pine-cone/sea-weed viewing old codgers of old it only takes one success and their always right. Whereas with the professionals – it only takes one miss and their always wrong.
    Worse, actually, if he’s wrong and it’s been splashed over the media then it’s win/win for him. Cos the professionals get the blame.
    Smoke, mirrors, and con.

  186. I will simply say that anyone can be wrong including Piers, in the line of work they do, especially forecasting. I have seen Piers be on the 15% side of his confidence rating. I don’t recall anyone here calling Dr. David Hathaway from NASA any disrepectful names because of the fact that his many forecasts for the first peak of SC24 were wrong. NOAA made specific predictions for an active hurricane season this year which did not happen. Who did however predict this winter we’re having now? Piers did.

    We are seeing a winter here in N. Michigan that has started out looking like the bodacious winter of ’78. So far Piers has called it to a tee. Do you know that 18 days ahead of time Piers predicted a high solar activity day for Nov 17, where he predicted tornadoes in the US and volcanic activity (non-specific location), and it happened? Tornadoes happened in the US & volcanoes erupted in the Pacific ring of fire that day. It was a full moon – there’s your lunar action. Was he lucky?

    What happened? What preceded these extreme earthly events? Higher SSNs and SOLAR FLARES. Photons, protons, & electrons. The solar wind impacted the earth causing this stuff to happen, and SC23&24 history is replete with such examples, including Typhoon Haiyan.

    A few weeks ago I saw an ACE chart, I lined it up with a SSN chart, and tornado and hurricane activity charts for 2013, and wow, what do you know, it sure looked to me like solar activity has a lot to do with causing specific extreme weather events (which is what Piers Corbyn says). Today Paul Pierett responds on WUWT today with his own study of 2008-09 activity and comes to the same conclusions I did. Where does that ACE energy accumulate from? The Solar Wind. The sunspot number on Nov 17 was the highest I’ve seen in very long time at 282.

    So, do I have a reason to believe Piers? Yes I do. He nailed every major storm so far for the US in December.

    Piers says on his blog today that when the sun’s active region 1934 reaches geoeffective position Dec 29-Jan2, during a new moon, we will have R4 and R5+ conditions leading to some serious weather. Stay tuned that and for reputation-changing paradigm-shifting attitude adjustments worldwide in 2014.

  187. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 23, 2013 at 11:09 am
    Is a superconducting earth-sized planet (room temperature super-conduction, obviously) with an argon atmosphere going to be warmer than a superconducting planet with no atmosphere?
    Why is it important that the planet be superconducting [of electricity, I presume]? And what is the heat source for the planet? A star? internal heat? radioactivity? something else? And where do you measure the temperature? At the surface, presumably. Average over planet?. Is the planet rotating? Is the Argon important? How about CO2 or CH4? I say the problem is poorly put.

  188. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 23, 2013 at 11:09 am
    Is a superconducting earth-sized planet (room temperature super-conduction, obviously) with an argon atmosphere going to be warmer than a superconducting planet with no atmosphere?
    I’ll generalize your question a bit. I assume that the atmosphere can absorb light from the star around which the planet orbits, and from the surface as well. Then with the atmosphere, the surface gets radiation from two sources: the star and the atmosphere so will be warmer than with only one source. The amount of atmosphere [i.e. the pressure] will determine how much warmer. At some level in the atmosphere the temperature will have decreased to the value that corresponds to the energy from the star and there the temperature will be as S-B dictates. This is grossly oversimplified, but should roughly match my thoughts on this.

  189. lsvalgaard said:

    “The amount of atmosphere [i.e. the pressure] will determine how much warmer.”

    Yes, exactly.

    And the amount of atmosphere is mass not radiative characteristics.

    If the atmosphere is non radiative you still have energy transferring to and fro between surface and atmosphere (and atmosphere to surface) via conduction and that makes the surface warmer just as radiation from the atmosphere would.

    But since the vast bulk of energy transfer between surface and atmosphere is due to atmospheric mass leading to conduction and convection (both uplift and descent in equal amounts) the trivial contribution from radiative characteristics matters hardly at all and our contribution even less.

    and he said:

    “At some level in the atmosphere the temperature will have decreased to the value that corresponds to the energy from the star and there the temperature will be as S-B dictates”

    Also correct and the effect of radiative gases is to change that height by expanding or contracting the entire atmosphere thereby altering the global air circulation by a miniscule amount depending on their net thermal effect (which is still disputed by many).

    That change in height and the associated circulation change is INSTEAD OF most if not all of any surface temperature change that might otherwise occur.

    Willis is on the right track by referring to changes in the speed of energy throughput but needs to think through the logical implications of that concept.

    The idea that the change in radiating height is to a colder location must be wrong. Instead, the temperature of the radiating height must stay the same but at a new height.

    In the end the thermostat is that constantly varying height as the power and vigour of the convective circulation ebbs and flows in response to internal system forcing elements.

  190. Mario Lento said:

    “I could be wrong here. I believe the intent was to describe the transport process, not describe the source of energy. The energy source is primarily the sun. Everything else transports the energy, sometimes holding on to it, sometimes letting it go.”

    Absolutely correct.

    Only mass and gravity determine the proportion of insolation retained.

    Everything else only affects the transport mechanisms and in order to maintain stability any change in one transport mechanism is offset by an equal and opposite change in another.

    Thus GHGs might or might not slow down energy throughput but whatever they do is negated by a change in the adiabatic / conductive / convective transport mechanism (assisted by the phase changes of water) but such GHG induced changes are not measurable compared to oceanic and solar induced variations.

    The key is to realise that the adiabatic cycle returns energy back to the surface just as much as it takes energy away from the surface and so changes in its size or speed can easily adjust the system whenever the surface tries to become too warm or cool for radiative equilibrium at the radiating height as described by Leif.

    Those changes in size and speed accord with Willis’s diagnosis about throughput variations and I thereby reconcile what Leif says with what Willis says.

  191. Leif says:

    Neither is Jupiter nor Venus [for that matter]. These bodies are not contracting, their atmospheres are just obeying the usual gas law: PV = nRT

    Well, this is much closer to your area of expertise than mine, but it was my impression that Jupiter was undergoing slow gravitational collapse and that this was a reason why it is emitting somewhat more energy than it absorbs from the sun. (For what it’s worth, here is a website that mentions the gravitational collapse part: http://www.astrophysicsspectator.com/topics/planets/Jupiter.html )

    Venus is not, but Venus is not emitting more radiation to space than it is absorbing from the sun. It’s surface temperature is high because most of the radiation that it emits to space is absorbed by its atmosphere, i.e., it has a very strong radiative greenhouse effect.

    At this point, I am not sure what point you are trying to make. Perhaps it would be better if you just come right out and make it, rather than just saying what you don’t like about what Willis said and then what I said?

  192. Bob Weber says:
    December 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Of course he does Bob and all by some miraculous, magical method that none knows. Akin to clairvoyance.
    Pity, if he published his methods he’d be in receipt of a Nobel. And no doubt fabulous riches.
    Bound to – it’s world shattering (secret) science.

    PS: forgive my sarcasm.
    I have decades long (professional) reasons to do so.

  193. Stephen Wilde says:

    Willis, you and others are missing the surface warming effect of adiabatic descent.

    http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter6/adiab_warm.html

    Taken globally that is what warms the surface above S-B and not DWIR.

    And, this is the “magical” pseudoscientific nonsense that I am talking about. It is strange after all this time that you are unable even to understand the basic point that your answer doesn’t even answer the right question. The point is that the surface can’t possibly be as warm as it is unless the atmosphere is absorbing some of the radiation emitted by the surface. If this were not the case, the Earth would be radiating away far more energy than it is receiving from the sun and would cool.

    The only answer you have to this is to deny basic laws of radiative physics and to make up your own physical laws. That is why I call it pseudoscientific nonsense.

  194. Stephen Wilde says:

    In order to radiate to space the amount of energy received from space AND conduct to the atmosphere the surface MUST be warmer than S-B predicts.

    This sounds good only if you don’t understand the laws of physics. The actual laws of physics say that the surface radiates according to its temperature. END OF STORY. There is no law that says that if it conducts more away, it radiates less …

    Or, to put it another way: Yes, convection & evaporation reduce the amount of energy that the Earth’s surface radiates. However, they do this by causing the Earth’s surface to be at a lower temperature than it would be without these processes (&, by the S-B Equation, if the Earth’s surface is cooler, it radiates less). They don’t do this by causing the Earth to radiate less at a given temperature.

    Stephen, if you don’t understand, and are hence unconstrained by, the laws of physics then you can come up with all sorts of ways to make the atmosphere work the way you really, really want it to work.

    However, the way it actually works is the way that obeys the laws of physics.

  195. Mario 12:44pm: “the intent was to describe the transport process, not describe the source of energy.”

    Willis’ intent is to discuss the magnificent atm. heat engine which requires an energy source (sun fusion) AND transport (i.e radiative, conductive and convective source energy transfer). It is the energy source diabatic process science that “warms the surface” by using up H not the adiabatic transport process science as claimed incorrectly by Stephen (cite modern text books for the correct science) since the adiabatic transport process uses up no energy reservoir that “warms the surface” mass.

  196. joeldshore says:
    December 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm
    Well, this is much closer to your area of expertise than mine, but it was my impression that Jupiter was undergoing slow gravitational collapse and that this was a reason why it is emitting somewhat more energy than it absorbs from the sun.
    Most of the energy is primordial stemming from gravitational contraction very early on. There may still be some gravitational settling with heavier elements sinking. This even happens in the Earth’s core, but that amount of energy is small and is not relevant for the rapid increase of temperature in the outer layers.

    Venus is not, but Venus is not emitting more radiation to space than it is absorbing from the sun. It’s surface temperature is high because most of the radiation that it emits to space is absorbed by its atmosphere, i.e., it has a very strong radiative greenhouse effect.
    And the more atmosphere [i.e. pressure], the more radiation is absorbed and the higher the temperature.

    At this point, I am not sure what point you are trying to make.
    Simply to point out that high pressure [i.e. more atmosphere] helps to raise the temperature near the surface.

  197. Leif says:

    And the more atmosphere [i.e. pressure], the more radiation is absorbed and the higher the temperature.

    Simply to point out that high pressure [i.e. more atmosphere] helps to raise the temperature near the surface.

    Yes, I agree that higher pressure will tend to be associated with more radiation absorbed, i.e., a larger greenhouse effect both because, higher pressure means more greenhouse gases if some fraction of the atmosphere is greenhouse gases AND higher pressure also means more pressure-broadening of the absorption lines of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    But, these scientific points are very different from Stephen WIlde’s nonsense about higher pressure leading to higher temperatures INDEPENDENT OF the radiative greenhouse effect.

  198. lsvalgaard says:
    December 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm
    … Then with the atmosphere, the surface gets radiation from two sources: the star and the atmosphere so will be warmer than with only one source. The amount of atmosphere [i.e. the pressure] will determine how much warmer. At some level in the atmosphere the temperature will have decreased to the value that corresponds to the energy from the star and there the temperature will be as S-B dictates. This is grossly oversimplified, but should roughly match my thoughts on this.
    +++++++++++
    I’ve heard lots of argument both ways based on temperature of planets due to an atmosphere vs the same planet without one, so would like to comment here.

    1) Is not the temperature a function of how much the planet receives? If there is no atmosphere, the surface gets all the energy (that’s not reflected back into space). In a simple sense, adding heat to the atmosphere would be a zero sums game, if this is true –which it might not be. That is, what warmth the atmosphere receives is not received by the surface.

    2) However, the atmospheric lapse rate then complicates all of this such that the sum of the energy absorbed in the atmosphere plus the surface is more than either one alone?

  199. Bob Weber says:
    December 23, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Willis I know those past forecasts are free to the public. I will check right now… hold on. Here they are at http://www.weatheraction.com/pages/pv.asp?p=wact46 (Forecasts Archive)

    Ok Willis, what do you say now after having said what you just said?

    What do I say? I say that is a brand new thing, and a good start.

    However, that is only a start because that is only a tiny fraction of the forecasts he has made, and knowing how Piers operates, I would lay long odds that they are only the ones that are closest to correct. For example, out of the 12 months in 2010, he has only posted three months worth of forecasts. You might think that’s just a coincidence. Others of us know Piers better than that.

    I also say that his forecasts are usually far too vague to be falsified. Consider this one:

    OCTOBER 2013 – Essential Weather
    Normal Rain, Overall Mild. A major stormy period.

     First 3 weeks mild / very mild
     Major damaging storm(s) in 4th week with thunder-floods and damaging hail probably including South
     Much colder from ~22nd onwards

    Notice something? Other than the numbers of the weeks, there’s not a single number in his forecast. How mild is mild? We don’t know … but you can rest assured that Piers will claim victory unless the pavements are cracking from the heat.

    Then … what is a “major damaging storm”? How is it different from a minor damaging storm? What is “damaging” hail? Since all hail causes some damage, Piers will claim a smashing success if there is one hailstone falling in all of the UK. And at what point do a few lightning strikes become a “thunder-flood”?

    Finally, how much is “much colder” in Piers’ forecast, and much colder than what? The previous storms? Colder than the mild weather before that? And is he referring to minimum temperatures, or average temperatures?

    You see the problem? Just like Nostradamus, Piers’ forecasts are so vague that (as detailed above) he can claim success if a typhoon occurs … and he can also claim success if a typhoon doesn’t occur.

    See if you can find us one of Pier’s forecasts that is falsifiable, Bob. To do that, consider the question: would place a bet on this forecast, and expect the outcome to be indisputable?

    You can’t bet on whether there will be a “major damaging storm” without a clear definition of what constitutes such a storm. You can’t bet on whether it will be “much colder” unless you specify how much colder than what, and measured where.

    For example, here’s a bogus Piers “forecast”:

     Much colder from ~22nd onwards

    It’s a bogus forecast because there is no way to falsify it. A real forecast would say something like

    From the 22nd to the end of the month, minimum temperatures in England as measured by the Met Office in Hartford, Herreford, and Hampshire over the period will average at least 5°C colder than the historical average for that period.

    That one you could bet on, because you know what you are measuring (minimum temps), and where it is being measured (Hartford, Herreford, and Hampshire), when it is to be measured (22nd to end of month), who’s keeping score (the Met Office) and what the prediction is for that measurement (5°C colder than the historical average for the same area). We can tell definitively whether that forecast has come true or not.

    But predicting somewhere will be “much colder”?

    That’s not a forecast, that’s just handwaving.

    Finally, Piers thinks that any successful forecast means something. The part he ignores is the underlying odds of a forecast coming true based on historical data. Suppose I forecast that in August Los Angeles will be dry … well, since that happens every year, that’s not only no big deal. It would be embarrassing if I couldn’t forecast it.

    Except to Piers, who thinks that forecasting storms in winter and fires in summer means he’s found the secret of the ancients … it’s like his (failed) forecast of a big storm in August in London around the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Rain falls in London (from memory) about half the days in August. And since Piers counts anything within a week or so either side of his forecast as a success, in August forecasting rain in London with a week’s leeway either side is about as tough as forecasting a dry August in LA … and about as meaningful.

    w.

  200. Leif says:

    Most of the energy is primordial stemming from gravitational contraction very early on. There may still be some gravitational settling with heavier elements sinking. This even happens in the Earth’s core, but that amount of energy is small and is not relevant for the rapid increase of temperature in the outer layers.

    But, the point is that Jupiter is emitting significantly more energy than it receives from the sun…This source http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=65 says it receives 10 W/m^2 and emits 16 W/m^2…and, this is said to be due to the gravitational collapse (“Kelvin Helmholtz gravitational energy release process”).

  201. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 23, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Willis, you and others are missing the surface warming effect of adiabatic descent.

    http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter6/adiab_warm.html

    Taken globally that is what warms the surface above S-B and not DWIR.

    Since what comes down must perforce go up, any adiabatic warming in location A must be equalled by adiabatic cooling in location B. So at a global level this cannot warm either the atmosphere or the surface.

    w.

  202. lsvalgaard says:
    December 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 23, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Is a superconducting earth-sized planet (room temperature super-conduction, obviously) with an argon atmosphere going to be warmer than a superconducting planet with no atmosphere?

    To clarify, heated by a sun, and superconducting of heat. Or, as I said above, a planet heated evenly by a thousand suns spaced evenly around it. Earthlike wrt temperature and rotation.

    I’ll generalize your question a bit. I assume that the atmosphere can absorb light from the star around which the planet orbits, and from the surface as well.

    It’s argon. Doesn’t absorb or radiate much light or longwave at all. So you can’t assume that the atmosphere absorbs light from anywhere.

    w.

  203. joeldshore says:
    December 23, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Leif says:

    And the more atmosphere [i.e. pressure], the more radiation is absorbed and the higher the temperature.

    Simply to point out that high pressure [i.e. more atmosphere] helps to raise the temperature near the surface.

    Yes, I agree that higher pressure will tend to be associated with more radiation absorbed, i.e., a larger greenhouse effect both because, higher pressure means more greenhouse gases if some fraction of the atmosphere is greenhouse gases AND higher pressure also means more pressure-broadening of the absorption lines of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

    But, these scientific points are very different from Stephen WIlde’s nonsense about higher pressure leading to higher temperatures INDEPENDENT OF the radiative greenhouse effect.

    And as you point out, Joel, these effects only occur when greenhouse gases are involved. But in my specific question to Leif, there are no GHGs. My point remains. In a a non-ghg containing atmosphere, pressure by itself cannot heat the surface by a fraction of a degree, no matter what the pressure-heads might think.

    I went over all of this in detail in a previous post, called “A Matter of Some Gravity“, and people are invited to see the full discussion there.

    w.

  204. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 23, 2013 at 10:18 am ”
    “Steven, suppose we have a superconducting planet with no atmosphere. Alternatively, we could use a regular planet warmed evenly by a thousand suns spaced around it.

    Since the planet is at equilibrium, it is radiating the exact amount of energy it is receiving. The temperature is the same at all points, and is the amount predicted by the S-B equation.”

    So our with our superconducting planet [say surface is made out Vzwp Plastek ].
    And remove chunk of it from surface [meter square sheet of it] and by removing made it so it wouldn’t be conductive. And we insulated one side of it. Then faced towards the sun, and it radiated 1360 watts per square meter, and it’s temperature being over 120 C. So we are at earth sun distance from a star like our Sun.
    If we than exclude any reflective nature of this unknown substance when it’s at low angle to the sun, the energy received by the disk area of the planet will divided by surface area to sphere.
    So, 1360 watts divided by 4. So surface radiates 340 watts per square meter.
    Which assumes side facing towards ground is insulated- and having it have equal temperature
    would insulate any heat flowing towards interior.
    And with the thousand sun, if remove chunk from the surface, the energy of sunlight from the suns would warm, the Vzwp Plastek or something like Vzwp Plastek which was not superconducting material so it radiated 340 watts per square meter or was about 5 C.

    It should be noted that Earth isn’t like a world covered with Vzwp Plastek,
    but could more similar to a world like Earth with half such an “Earth” is covered with Vzwp Plastek. If divide this world in half by making a band of Vzwp Plastek extending north and south
    to 38 degree latitude. So divided world with two poleward section equaling the surface area
    of the middle section [the mostly tropical zone of the planet]. So instead divided by 4, one divides by 2. So the Vzwp Plastek isn’t being a superconductor to region north or south of
    38 degree latitude. So instead of 340 watts per square meter it’s 680 watts per square meter.
    Or it’s temperature is 56 C.
    And other two parts of the planet since in vacuum they could much cooler and since receiving less than 10% of sunlight may be far beyond freezing, though once add atmosphere and other means of conducting heat they would become warmer, thereby more resembling Earth.
    As Earth is imbalanced in terms the energy it receives from the sun and the tropics are much warmer than the two temperate and arctic zone.
    Of course our tropics don’t have an average temperature near 56 C, the water of ocean is simply unable to reach 56 C due to it evaporation, and there are such things as an atmosphere reflecting sunlight, and etc. But point is it more resembles Earth, then Earth which receives a uniform amount of energy from the Sun.
    It’s a better model to start with.

    “Stephen, IF an inert atmosphere could raise the temperature above that point, THE PLANET WOULD BE RADIATING MORE THAN IT RECEIVES. Since this is impossible, we can conclude that there is NO mechanism by which an inert atmosphere can warm the surface of a planet.”

    But an inert atmosphere can retain heat. And an inert atmosphere does not radiate heat. For an inert atmosphere to lose heat it must heat something which can radiate heat- such a surface or droplet or particles in the inert atmosphere.

    “Note that this proof does not simply apply to pressure-based mechanisms. It shows that there is no mechanism by which an inert atmosphere can raise the temperature beyond the S-B limit.”

    If Earth was dominated by being heated by air temperature- and one could say this, but one would say with Venus this more the case than with Earth- then if dug a very deep hole on Earth,
    1000 meters down that hole the air temperature would warmer. Due to lapse rate. So per 1000 meters it about 6.5 C warmer.
    And Venus has similar lapse rate, and Venus is much larger atmosphere than Earth. One needs to go about 50 km in elevation on Venus to get the same atmosphere pressure as on Earth [and at such elevation and pressure temperature is close to hottest it gets on Earth].

  205. stephen wilde says:
    December 23, 2013 at 3:33 am
    Ulric Lyons asked Willis
    “Why and when would it speed up without heating up?”
    Because the additional energy is in the form of gravitational potential energy and not kinetic energy.
    The change in size or speed of the convective heat engine changes the ratio of kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy within the atmospheric gases so as to keep radiation out to space equal to radiation in from space. That also involves keeping the surface temperature stable despite forcing elements that try to destabilise it.
    =======================================

    OK that would mean that convection doesn’t actually do any cooling, and does nothing to answer my question to Willis.

  206. Willis 3:54pm: “…argon. Doesn’t absorb or radiate much light or longwave at all. So you can’t assume that the atmosphere absorbs light from anywhere.”

    Minor but important point – that’s text book radiative physics in 1st sentence clipped. To be consistent in your last sentence consider this inserted ^ works better: “So you can’t assume that the atmosphere absorbs ^much^ light from anywhere.”

    Meaning even mass of argon atm. would feebly absorb and emit IR, having that feeble affect on the surface energy balance.

  207. joeldshore says:
    December 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm
    this is said to be due to the gravitational collapse (“Kelvin Helmholtz gravitational energy release process”).<i?
    Which mostly happened 4 billion years ago. We are just seeing that primordial heat still there, slowly leaking out.

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm
    It’s argon. Doesn’t absorb or radiate much light or longwave at all.
    If you have a completely transparent atmosphere that doesn’t absorb anything, you might as well not have any atmosphere at all. I was under the false assumption that we were somehow talking about real planets with H2O, CO2, CH4, NH3, O3, etc…

  208. joeldshore says:
    December 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm
    this is said to be due to the gravitational collapse (“Kelvin Helmholtz gravitational energy release process”).
    Which mostly happened 4 billion years ago. We are just seeing that primordial heat still there, slowly leaking out.

  209. Willis, I saw for myself the effects of solar activity over the years since ’98, and formed my own hypothesis regarding weather-climate, as does everyone here I suppose. My thinking involves earthly responses from solar activity with some influence by the moon, based on years of observing solar activity levels as they relate to earth weather. It just so happens that I found Piers along the way in my search for answers, and as he is the primary source of long-range weather forecasting based on these premises, I refer to him. However the evidence for what I’m talking about is independent of what Piers says or does.

    I don’t need everything spelled out from him in the detail you apparently expect, and while your interpretation of what he offers borders on slander, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt too. If you know of a longer-range weather forecaster that is more successful than Piers, tell me who that is, and I’ll be glad to give that person the same fair shake Piers gets from me.

    If a POWERFUL high-speed coronal hole stream, or a CME, solar flare, or filament eruption takes off from the Sun and travels along the Parker spiral and engages our magnetosphere with protons and electrons AND DOESN’T cause any weather effects, I’ll be the first to admit I’m wrong. I guarantee you no matter what we say, the Sun is going to create extreme weather events here, where the real deadliest space weather really happens, and there’s nothing anyone here can do about it except understand it and watch it happen.

    Why is your opinion better than his or mine? All I’ve seen is people here playing it safe. So far today no one here has answered a single honest earnest question I asked regarding solar weather – all I’ve gotten is vitriol because you don’t like Piers. I like Piers because he’s not afraid to tell the warmists how it is. Are you in agreement with the warmists? Are you a warmist? A true believer of CAGW? Do you believe downwelling LWR from CO2 is the reason for extreme weather events?

    Can we at least agree that the weather doesn’t cause weather, and that climate change doesn’t cause climate change? Can we agree that understanding the global atmospheric electric circuit is a very important part of understanding weather changes? Can we agree that powerful solar emissions can impact the global atmospheric electric circuit? If so, how? We need to find out. We are at the beginning stages of understanding here, we are on a learning curve. So is Piers. He continually works on improving his methods and his customers have no fear in telling him when he misses, but we don’t abuse him for it. We understand that he’s not perfect. Are you perfect Willis?

  210. Leif says:

    Which mostly happened 4 billion years ago. We are just seeing that primordial heat still there, slowly leaking out.

    Well, like I said, you are much more of an expert in this stuff than me…but I am a bit skeptical. When I see descriptions of the Kelvin-Helmholtz Effect applied to Jupiter, I don’t see them explaining that this as something that occurred in the past and what we have now is just the primordial heat leaking out; I see them describing it as if it is still going on and generating heat.

    I’m not saying that you are incorrect (and it all has zero impact on any of the discussion here), but could you at least provide some reference that supports this notion?

  211. Leif writes “There may still be some gravitational settling with heavier elements sinking.”

    and then “Which mostly happened 4 billion years ago. We are just seeing that primordial heat still there, slowly leaking out.”

    I sense an opportunity for Leif to learn something new here if he would just take the time to do some research ;-)

  212. Willis, I note that you have not answered my simple question –

    “I’m going to have to ask for clarification. Do you believe strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude?”

    I have been collecting yes or no answers from climate bloggers for the following question –
    “Without radiative gases, would strong vertical tropospheric convective circulation cease with the bulk of the resultant stagnant atmosphere trending isothermal through gas conduction?”

    So far my results are –

    Dr. Roy Spencer (sceptic) “Yes”
    Konrad (sceptic) “Yes”

    Nick Stokes (AGW believer) “No”
    Tim Folkerts (AGW believer) “No”
    Joel Shore (AGW believer) “No”
    “Trick” (AGW believer) “No”
    Doug Cotton (Slayer) “No”
    Davidmhoffer (lukewarmer) “No”
    “TB” (AGW believer?) “No”
    Stephen Wilde (Sceptic) “No”

    Willis Eschenbach (sceptic) “unknown”

    Willis, do you believe continued vertical circulation across the pressure gradient of the troposphere, strong enough to overcome gas conduction and pneumatically generate the observed lapse rate, would cease in the absence of radiative gases?

  213. Bob Weber says:
    “Are you saying there is no scientific evidence in support of Corbyn’s premises and methods?”

    The problem is a lack of science in the methods. Theoretical Solar-Lunar cycles don’t work out any better than chance for predicting weekly-monthly temperature deviations from average because they are not actually predicting the short term solar signal that is forcing the teleconnections.

  214. -“I’m going to have to ask for clarification. Do you believe strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude?”

    I have been collecting yes or no answers from climate bloggers for the following question –
    “Without radiative gases, would strong vertical tropospheric convective circulation cease with the bulk of the resultant stagnant atmosphere trending isothermal through gas conduction?”

    So far my results are –
    Dr. Roy Spencer (sceptic) “Yes”
    Konrad (sceptic) “Yes”
    …. –
    There can’t be strong radiative cooling at altitude, because at altitude it is very cold.
    And very cold things do not radiate much of their heat energy. They don’t have a lot
    to give.
    Though it does not matter how warm a gas is in terms how much it can re-radiate- you make nitrogen glow by exposing it to certain wavelengths, and it doesn’t have any relation to the temperature of the nitrogen gas. Or doesn’t have anything to do with the kinetic energy of the gas.
    Rockets would be really easy if it did.
    So convective is related to kinetic energy transfer of gases.
    The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by
    the sunlight. Though seems that water droplets, which one confuse with water vapor, are related to convection.

    So I believe: “strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude”.

    So, Yes

  215. Well Ulric, Piers doesn’t predict temperatures per se. So technically you’re right, but what about someone like me who needs to know whether its going to rain or snow at any temperature so I can get my outside work done in time? It seems like there’s an implied perfection standard applied to Piers, and whenever something doesn’t pan out exactly as he says everyone piles on, conversely, when he’s right he’s only lucky – I mean that is the central message I’m getting from a few people here today, right? You don’t want to give him credit for when he is right, and he’s right a lot.

    The method problem can be improved with sufficient magnetic and electric field measurements in three dimensions globally. A fine net to “see” what those teleconnections are doing, how they form, how long they last, the power they convey, and their immediate to long-term influences. We have a long way to go before solar particle and magnetic weather effects are fully understood, yet we can’t afford to ignore space and earth weather connections because of misunderstandings.

    I have to say again so many don’t understand Piers’ forecasting method, and are quick to call everything he says “vague” when indeed he is specific about a great many things.

    So much focus on temperature is taking away from understanding when and where severe weather will occur, in what time frame, and for how long. Piers excels at that. I think most people know the difference between “very cold” “cold” “warm and humid” and the other qualitative temperature descriptors for weather up to 30 days out that he uses. The Weather Channel doesn’t give precise long-range temperature forecasts either. Their long-term seasonal outlooks are fairly non-specific.

    The attention minor temperature anamolies get is really overdone. Who can even sense a difference of 1 degree F or C? People don’t usually die from small changes in temperature, but those extreme weather events are killers. Piers Corbyn simply tries to help people prepare for bad weather, and he rails against governments hell bent on wasting time and money on looney tune carbon dioxide climate theories instead of helping people avoid freezing to death in what he calls Mini Ice Age conditions he says (among others) we’re entering. His heart is in the right place.

    Ulric your last point needs clarification. He does forecast specific solar activity levels like the space weather prediction center. Its not hard to plot the motion of an active region as the sun rotates. When active region 1934 reaches geoeffective position on the right-hand side of the solar disk, expect something to happen here if the solar wind from that region builds up with protons and electrons during Dec29-Jan2.

  216. gbaikie 7:46pm: “The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by the sunlight.”

    Under normal earth conditions in the wild, any fluid in a gravity field will convect if increase its temperature from below. Doesn’t matter whether it has IR active gas well mixed in or not. The way to stop the fluid in a gravity field from normal convecting is increase its temperature from above. Like in Earth’s stratosphere. Zero lapse to +T with +z up there.

  217. gbaikie says:
    December 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm
    —————————————————–
    If you believe – “strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude”.
    – that would put you in the “No” column.

    Although there are a few point you may wish to reconsider…

    You have stated –
    “There can’t be strong radiative cooling at altitude, because at altitude it is very cold.
    And very cold things do not radiate much of their heat energy.”

    While it is correct that energy loss by radiation does vary with temperature, it appears you are falling into the ERL or effective radiating level trap. The ERL hand-waving used to patch broken two shell radiative models back together is invalidated by a moving atmosphere. Air masses involved in tropospheric convective circulation are not just radiating at the top of their circulation, but on accent and decent as well. Rising air masses are warmer than the air at the altitude they are rising through.

    Currently radiative gases in our atmosphere are radiating more than TWICE the energy to space as LWIR than they are absorbing through Net IR flux from the surface and intercepted solar radiation combined. This is because radiative gases are also radiating to space all the energy the atmosphere aquired via surface conduction and the release of latent heat. The atmosphere has no effective cooling mechanism without radiative gases. For a gas atmosphere in a gravity field, the surface is ineffective at conductively cooling the atmosphere.

    You also stated –
    “The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by
    the sunlight.”

    There is a far simpler way. Convection can be stopped by the gases above the surface level being at the same temperature as gases warmed by the surface. This could be achieved by removing radiative gases from the atmosphere. This would stop radiative cooling and subsidence of air masses and stall tropospheric convective circulation. If air masses cannot radiativly cool and subside, then air masses rising from below with a similar starting temperature cannot over turn them. Layering then starts to occur. The bulk of the atmosphere would then trend isothermal through gas conduction. It is important to remember that the observed lapse rate is a product of continued vertical circulation across a pressure gradient.

  218. Trick says:
    December 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm
    ———————————————
    “The way to stop the fluid in a gravity field from normal convecting is increase its temperature from above.”

    Trick, you are giving me the sudden urge to buy a lottery ticket and get pig shields installed on the windows ;-)

    What’s next? Radiative energy loss to space allowing the subsidence of air masses…

  219. ” Trick says:
    December 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    gbaikie 7:46pm: “The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by the sunlight.”

    Under normal earth conditions in the wild, any fluid in a gravity field will convect if increase its temperature from below. Doesn’t matter whether it has IR active gas well mixed in or not. The way to stop the fluid in a gravity field from normal convecting is increase its temperature from above. Like in Earth’s stratosphere. Zero lapse to +T with +z up there.”

    Well. Just trying keep it simple.
    Gases or liquids if warmer are are generally lighter and therefore rise due to buoyancy.
    So with a solar pond due density gradient of salt water one could cancel a warmer saltier water being less dense, thereby stop convect of the hotter salt water rising in fresher water.

    Part what I meant not having sunlight is assumption of having rotating planet which warmes and cools during the night. A uniform heat source such from planetary source would tend limit turburent type convection. Or a lapse rate is expression of uniformity of heat dependent on density of air in a gravity field. So if the lapse rate is 6.5 C per 1000 meters. If it’s 6.5 C cooler 1000 meter above ground it is balenced or one does not have difference of density with same gas 6.5 C warmer at the surface [0 meter elevation].
    So if not warming surface [from sunlight] the heat from the surface will not have air rising, mixing, and warming the cooler upper atmosphere.

    But as for Earth’s stratosphere, I think there are factors involved rather than just lapse reversing- I don’t think it’s matter of inhibting stratosphere convection as such, as much as reaching limit of heat involved. Or if add enough heat or enough density of cloud and conditions of stratosphere
    are pushed to higher elevation.
    Or mechanism air packet is distrupted by different regime of of stratosphere. Stratosphere region has more to do with distance travelled by an “average air molecule”. Or gas molecules in stratosphere act more as individuals and not like realm of tropsphere of collisions in fractions of a nanosecond. Of course you still have bouyancy at and above the stratosphere- in terms balloons, but less cohesion of air packets.

  220. Konrad says:
    December 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm
    gbaikie says:
    December 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm
    —————————————————–
    If you believe – “strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude”.
    – that would put you in the “No” column.
    Ok. Your rules. But I am bad company I suppose:)
    Which ok, I love it, I found something to agree with them about.

    -Although there are a few point you may wish to reconsider…
    You have stated –
    “There can’t be strong radiative cooling at altitude, because at altitude it is very cold.
    And very cold things do not radiate much of their heat energy.”-

    “While it is correct that energy loss by radiation does vary with temperature, it appears you are falling into the ERL or effective radiating level trap. The ERL hand-waving used to patch broken two shell radiative models back together is invalidated by a moving atmosphere. Air masses involved in tropospheric convective circulation are not just radiating at the top of their circulation, but on accent and decent as well. Rising air masses are warmer than the air at the altitude they are rising through.”
    Not sure what you saying, but:
    Yes rising gases are tend to more energetic than surrounding air, though as it rise they tend mix and become light dense [expand] as they rise. Or they had higher “energy density” before rising- though say sort of substituted/transformed into potential energy. Or not saying energy is “lost”.

    “Currently radiative gases in our atmosphere are radiating more than TWICE the energy to space as LWIR than they are absorbing through Net IR flux from the surface and intercepted solar radiation combined. This is because radiative gases are also radiating to space all the energy the atmosphere acquired via surface conduction and the release of latent heat. The atmosphere has no effective cooling mechanism without radiative gases. For a gas atmosphere in a gravity field, the surface is ineffective at conductively cooling the atmosphere.”

    Yeah, well not much fan of idea of any gases radiating much of any energy. I would be say gases are having radiant energy passing thru them.
    But trying make easier argument, that there simply is less total energy up there- though the thin atmosphere does have faster moving molecules. And because higher, potential energy.
    So each molecule can be said to more energetic, but cubic km of that air if stay up there is
    has less energy.
    So rather argue with these strange idea everyone seems to have that gas cooling [slowing down] by radiating energy, I put in simpler bin that all it’s energy is insignificant and can not radiate types levels energy involve with heated planet. Or quite simply whatever going on in the stratosphere has little to do with Earth’s temperature or weather [unless it happens to be jet stream].

    -You also stated –
    “The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by
    the sunlight.”

    There is a far simpler way. Convection can be stopped by the gases above the surface level being at the same temperature as gases warmed by the surface. This could be achieved by removing radiative gases from the atmosphere. This would stop radiative cooling and subsidence of air masses and stall tropospheric convective circulation. If air masses cannot radiativly cool and subside, then air masses rising from below with a similar starting temperature cannot over turn them. Layering then starts to occur. The bulk of the atmosphere would then trend isothermal through gas conduction. It is important to remember that the observed lapse rate is a product of continued vertical circulation across a pressure gradient.-

    Again one assuming CO2 or other gases are cooling by radiating.
    So with all the CO2 of Venus, it should be cold.

    I would say atmosphere cools by falling at night.
    Or at night the surface air cools, and the entire atmosphere cools.
    Or the lapse rate doesn’t change in the night.

  221. So, question.
    Suppose one were to flash freeze Venus. So no atmosphere and hundreds of feet of frozen CO2
    on the surface.
    How long does it take to warm the planet to earth like temperature, and then back to Venus temperature within 50 C of current global temperature?
    Or a year? century? million years? Or never [without something other than sunlight warming it]
    or not in a billion years.

  222. Gbaikie

    I’m curious about your comment that an atmosphere cannot lose heat except by radiative gasses at high altitude.

    As it happens we have interesting discussions about the sun and Jupiter going on here, both of which it turns out emit more heat than they receive. Much of the sun’s energy comes from fusion and “primordial” energy at the core. Leif Svalgaard tells us that it takes around 200, 000 years, if I remember rightly, for a photon bearing fusion or primordial energy from the core to be emitted at the sun’s surface.

    But how is this possible? The sun cant radiate any heat from its surface without the aid of radiative gasses, which in the current academic climate can only mean CO2. Thus I have stumbled upon a momentous discovery -the sun only radiates heat with the help of CO2! We know from terrestrial atmospheric science that it does not matter how insignificant the concentration of CO2 is, it still dominates all thermal dynamics in the atmosphere.

    The same must be true of the sun, surely? Its CO2 wot dunnit again!

  223. Konrad says, December 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm:

    “Convection can be stopped by the gases above the surface level being at the same temperature as gases warmed by the surface. This could be achieved by removing radiative gases from the atmosphere. This would stop radiative cooling and subsidence of air masses and stall tropospheric convective circulation.”

    I’m not sure you’re right in the special case of the atmosphere, Konrad. This is how I see it:

    Convection on a global scale is not stopped that easily. If the gases above the surface level were at the same temperature as the gases warmed by the surface, then the gases warmed by the surface would simply have to get … even warmer. And they can. The surface still continuously absorbs energy from the Sun and most of this energy will normally be transferred conductively to the air in direct contact with the surface. If that is no longer possible because of a missing temperature gradient, then, well, energy will start piling up. Because then the surface is no longer able to rid itself of energy as fast as it’s coming in. Hence, the surface will start warming from rising internal energy until the gradient is restored. And this cycle would just go on until …

    This is exactly what happens in a greenhouse or in any glass-lid box experiment. Somehow stall or in any way perturb free convection away from a heated surface and you’ll get warming.

    Only, our atmosphere has no lid. It is free to expand upward. The air being lifted convectively cools adiabatically as it ascends. It is colder aloft than further down. Because of the greater distance from the heat source (surface) and the gradually lower density/pressure away from the centre of the Earth. You can’t make such an air column isothermal just like that.

    Rather, the surface would just get hotter and hotter and hotter while the troposphere would correspondingly steadily expand, maintaing the lapse rate, only ‘forever’ stretching the temperature profile (well, at some point it would probably start dissipating into space). The energy constantly being transferred from the surface but unable to escape the atmosphere radiatively would thus continue to accumulate, but would not make the atmosphere isothermal.

    And the Earth system would still only give off the same amount of energy per unit of time to space as it absorbs from the Sun. It doesn’t matter what the system temperature is. It matters only how much energy comes in.

    “It is important to remember that the observed lapse rate is a product of continued vertical circulation across a pressure gradient.”

    By ‘observed lapse rate’ I take it you mean the environmental lapse rate. The adiabatic lapse rate after all is not a product of anything but the specific heat capacity of the atmosphere and the gravitational acceleration of the Earth (and of the H2O release of latent heat in the atmospheric column). The continued vertical circulation starts and ends with surface warming by the Sun. And since the atmosphere is not contained within a closed box and does have a well-defined pressure/density gradient, it won’t be isothermal so easily.

    Well, that’s my take anyway …

    But this whole hypothetical issue of an Earth atmosphere without radiatively active gases in it is a pretty hard one to argue about, simply because it’s so … completely hypothetical.

    I agree with you that the prime task of the so-called GHGs is to cool the atmosphere (and hence, the Earth system) to space. I’m simply not so sure how essential to atmospheric circulation they are …

  224. gbaikie says:
    December 23, 2013 at 11:48 pm
    —————————————
    Both myself (a sceptic who claims radiative gases cool the atmosphere) and Trick, (an AGW believer who claims radiative gases warm the atmosphere) took issue with your post. There may be something in that.

    Having conducted a number of experiments related to radiative gases, I can assure you that radiative physics (including radiative gases) is fine, it’s just that climate “scientists” are giving it a bad name.

    I could take you through “Tyndall for beginners” with a postage tube, two rubber bands, some cling wrap, a CO2 bike tyre inflater, your TV remote and a cell phone camera. However I am not sure this is the appropriate thread ;-)

  225. Willis said:

    “But, these scientific points are very different from Stephen WIlde’s nonsense about higher pressure leading to higher temperatures INDEPENDENT OF the radiative greenhouse effect.”

    I told you that it isn’t higher pressure per se that does it.

    Whatever the pressure ANY gaseous atmosphere whether radiative or not around a rough surfaced rotating sphere illuminated from a point source of energy will have convective overturning.

    That convective overturning is a result of conduction between surface and air on the uplift and between air and surface on the descent.

    Although it is a net zero energy exchange at equilibrium it introduces a time delay in the transmission of solar energy through the system and that time delay results in a higher surface temperature than for the instant in / out radiative exchange predicated by S-B.

    The more mass that is available to exchange energy with the surface or the stronger the gravitational field the more work is needed to move that mass within the atmosphere and the higher the surface temperature will get.

    Pressure is just a side effect of mass and gravity, a mere proxy for the combined effect of mass and gravity.

    That higher temperature than S-B is what keeps the atmospheric gases off the ground. If the conductive exchange could leak out into the radiative exchange then over time the system would cool until the atmosphere freezes to the ground.

    Where there is a gaseous atmosphere of ANY composition then one must have a higher surface temperature to hold it off the ground AND achieve radiative balance higher up.

    The S-B prediction is then satisfied at some different height off the ground as Leif said.

  226. Willis Eschenbach says, December 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm:

    “My point remains. In a a non-ghg containing atmosphere, pressure by itself cannot heat the surface by a fraction of a degree, no matter what the pressure-heads might think.”

    That’s because you don’t understand or don’t want to understand what ‘the pressure-heads’ are actually saying.

    It is not the pressure itself, Willis. It is that which the atmospheric pressure is an expression of – the atmospheric weight.

    The atmospheric weight simply acts like a resistance to energy transport away from the solar-heated surface. It makes it less than ideal. The surface heat needs to perform work on the atmosphere on top of it in order to be able to escape, by moving it, pushing it up and away against gravity. Convection naturally and spontaneously moves a fluid from hot to cold, from high pressure/density to low pressure/density. So why isn’t this happening spontaneously on Earth from the surface up? Because of gravity. The surface air would stay put even when always inherently being denser, under higher pressure and warmer than the air above it. It’s held in place by the sheer weight of air pressing down on it from above. Until you heat the surface air above the balance point and make it less dense than the air above it. Buoyancy vs. atmospheric weight. Upward force vs. downward force.

    If the upward acceleration of surface-heated air isn’t large/fast enough, if it cannot match the absorption rate of incoming energy from the Sun, then the incoming energy from the Sun will start piling up and the surface warms until we find balance.

  227. Kristian says, December 24, 2013 at 12:58 am:

    “Rather, the surface would just get hotter and hotter and hotter while the troposphere would correspondingly steadily expand, maintaing the lapse rate, only ‘forever’ stretching the temperature profile (…)”

    Sorry, that should rather read “only ‘forever’ extending the temperature profile”.

  228. Kristian says:
    December 24, 2013 at 12:58 am
    ——————————————-
    I suspect you may be closer to understanding than most.

    “I agree with you that the prime task of the so-called GHGs is to cool the atmosphere (and hence, the Earth system) to space. I’m simply not so sure how essential to atmospheric circulation they are …”

    They are essential as they allow energy loss, buoyancy loss and subsidence for air masses at altitude. Without this full tropospheric convective circulation would stall in the Hadley, Ferrel and polar cells. Rising air masses can no longer over turn previously risen air masses.

    If convective circulation stalls and the atmosphere trends isothermal, bad things would happen. As you point out there is no upper limit to how far the atmosphere can expand. Imagine an atmosphere with a temperature of just 15C at 15 Km. Much of our atmosphere would expand past the protection of the geomagnetic field and be swept away into space by solar wind. Breathing privileges would be revoked.

    Some want to keep pushing the AGW inanity to save their own hides, but all the good little boys and girls in Africa are hoping for coal in their stocking this Christmas.

  229. -Gbaikie

    I’m curious about your comment that an atmosphere cannot lose heat except by radiative gasses at high altitude.-

    I intended to say the opposite.
    I would say not much heat is radiated from all gases in Earth’s atmosphere.
    Or say it this way, Earth atmosphere has mass of 5.1 x 10^18 kg.
    If one assume each kg has average velocity of about 300 m/s
    In terms joules of energy it is 1/2 mass time velocity squared. Or
    2.295 x 10^23 joules of energy. Of such energy a small percent is
    converted in thermal energy each day, and even much smaller percentage
    is radiated directly into space.
    So radiant energy from the sun does not directly heat gases in atmosphere in any significant amount. What heating of gases which is mainly done is sun heating the surface and ocean
    which in turn heats the gases in atmosphere, nor does the gases heated indirectly from the Sun directly radiant any significant amount of energy into space

    Of course all of sunlight energy which reaches earth surface by passing thru the Earth’s atmosphere.And 360 watts per square meter of the 1360 watts per square meter, in clear skies does not directly reach the surface.
    And it commonly known that portions UV spectrum is stopped from directly reaching the surface. And so this related to “scare” of disappearing ozone.
    And H20 stops a lot of the spectrum from directly reaching the surface. And some of the “missing” 360 watts missing at noon on clear day is reflected- btw more is reflected before reaching surface when sun is lower towards horizon.

    So Ozone as far as I know is absorbing the UV rather than merely re-radiating the UV.
    And one also has chemical bonds of various compounds absorbing sunlight- O2 needs energy to become O3, etc. But I am not saying this is significant amount energy involved.
    But anyhow the sunlight splits O2 to get of reactive two O’s which bind to O2 to make Ozone- which constantly being created and destroyed.
    So the Ozone absorbs some of spectrum of UV- which considered harmful to humans- and related to increase in skin Cancer. And this Ozone is considered a greenhouse gases.
    And come to think of it- don’t know why it is actually called a greenhouse gas.
    So anyways, wiki:

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

    But despite Ozone absorbing a very energetic radiant energy, I would say the Ozone gas is not becoming warmer- or this gas molecule is not caused to increase it’s velocity.
    And even if this somehow could happen, it would be traveling in random direction and any considered possible addition to it’s vector, does not mean it’s speed is increased- if anything, chances favor a decrease in it’s speed.
    And also it seems to me a huge source of loss of energy in this universe.
    Or doesn’t make any sense, as we are here.

    -As it happens we have interesting discussions about the sun and Jupiter going on here, both of which it turns out emit more heat than they receive. Much of the sun’s energy comes from fusion and “primordial” energy at the core. Leif Svalgaard tells us that it takes around 200, 000 years, if I remember rightly, for a photon bearing fusion or primordial energy from the core to be emitted at the sun’s surface.-
    Of course the Sun generates energy by fusing hydrogen, and other elements. The physics
    to prove the sun receives more than makes [in terms of a significant amount] is way beyond my understanding of being able to confirm or argue.

    But Jupiter seems more obvious.
    Earth is still cooling from it’s formation. The geothermal energy from the Earth is due to radioactive decay, the tidal energy of the Moon and Sun [I suppose], and original heat from
    Earth formation. I don’t know if we know enough to say how about [with any certainty] of Earth geothermal is from the energy of it’s formation. But main point, I doubt anyone claim this number is zero. I what say that if this number could be known with any precision, one could confirm or disprove theory of our Moon being formed from large impact. cf:

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

    So It safe to say some to Earth geothermal energy is it’s formation.
    One can also say very minor mass compared to Earth [or Jupiter]
    is Earth oceans and it’s known that earth ocean retain heat on scale of thousands
    of years.
    Which leads to comparison of Earth mass vs Jupiter:

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/

    Earth mass is 5.97 x 10^24kg
    Jupiter mass is 1.898 x 10^27kg
    So Jupiter is 317 times more massive.
    So could just generally assume Jupiter will take 300 times longer to cool
    as compared to Earth, even if it didn’t have a vast atmosphere.
    I guess after Universe ends, Jupiter is still cooling from it’s formation.
    Though by that time, Jupiter core could be cooler than Earth’s core- maybe.
    “The core temperature may be about 24,000 degrees Celsius (43,000 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s hotter than the surface of the sun!”

    http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/what-is-jupiter-58_prt.htm

    Yes hotter- 4 times hotter. But Earth core is also hotter than surface of Sun:
    “A team of scientists has measured the melting point of iron at high precision in a laboratory, and then drew from that result to calculate the temperature at the boundary of Earth’s inner and outer core — now estimated at 6,000 C (about 10,800 F). That’s as hot as the surface of the sun.”

    http://www.livescience.com/29054-earth-core-hotter.html

  230. Bob Weber says:
    “Piers doesn’t predict temperatures per se. So technically you’re right, but what about someone like me who needs to know whether its going to rain or snow at any temperature so I can get my outside work done in time?”

    He does forecast temperatures relative to normals for the UK, page 5: http://www.weatheraction.com/resource/data/wact1/docs/BI%201303MARCH%2030d%20FullDetail%20SLAT8c%20prod25Feb.pdf
    and as you can see he failed on the desperately cold weather in the second half of March 2013. His Nov 2011 to March 2012 forecasts were a disaster, months of cold were forecast when it was mild, and then he missed the late Jan to mid Feb severe cold blast altogether. His video forecast for very cold Nov/Dec 2011 has since be taken down. For Jan to Nov this year, leaving aside absolute temperature and just looking at whether it was above or below normals for the UK daily, I would say 5 out of the 11 months forecast could be said to be useful. July was forecast to be cool and wet. It’s no better than chance, and failed to capture the largest temperature anomalies.

    “Ulric your last point needs clarification. He does forecast specific solar activity levels like the space weather prediction center. Its not hard to plot the motion of an active region as the sun rotates. When active region 1934 reaches geoeffective position on the right-hand side of the solar disk, expect something to happen here if the solar wind from that region builds up with protons and electrons during Dec29-Jan2.”

    He may well associate that with weather events, but has little to do with temperature forecasts, and if the temperature forecast is wrong, the weather effects often will be too. 1934 is a sunspot region not a coronal hole, *if* it gave a CME there would be a blast of solar wind, but would be more effective Earth facing than on the right-hand side.

  231. Konrad said:

    “They (GHGs) are essential as they allow energy loss, buoyancy loss and subsidence for air masses at altitude. Without this full tropospheric convective circulation would stall in the Hadley, Ferrel and polar cells. Rising air masses can no longer over turn previously risen air masses.”

    All that is needed to provoke and sustain a circulation is:

    i) Uneven surface heating resulting in uneven conduction to the mass of the atmosphere so that some parcels of air in contact with the surface are warmer, less dense and more buoyant than others and:

    ii) A reducing temperature with height which is a consequence of the lapse rate. The lapse rate is a result of increasing distance from the heat source which is the solar irradiated surface.Since the lapse rate exists with or without GHGs it must follow that GHGs are not necessary for cooling with height.

    GHGs are not essential for a full convective circulation.

  232. joeldshore said:

    “Or, to put it another way: Yes, convection & evaporation reduce the amount of energy that the Earth’s surface radiates. However, they do this by causing the Earth’s surface to be at a lower temperature than it would be without these processes (&, by the S-B Equation, if the Earth’s surface is cooler, it radiates less). They don’t do this by causing the Earth to radiate less at a given temperature.”

    Right.

    The surface clearly conducts upward and evaporation takes energy upward so on your account why is the surface not COOLER than as predicted by S-B.?

    You have a logical impasse.

    The truth is that one cannot apply S-B at a surface beneath the mass of an atmosphere because that mass conducts and if water is present it evaporates and that upsets the S-B prediction which only applies in the absence of an atmosphere with mass.

    Instead, one must define the ‘surface’ for S-B purposes as Leif did. One looks at the point higher up in the atmosphere where the temperature is as it should be to satisfy the S-B prediction.

    The mass of an atmosphere pushes the point of radiative equilibrium up and away from the solid surface and the more mass there is the higher that point goes for a given strength of gravitational field.

    Radiative characteristics interfere with the lapse rate but the system adjusts for that by changing the circulation pattern and adjusting the heights accordingly.

    Applying purely radiative physics to a surface beneath an atmosphere is wrong because it takes no account of the ability of the mass of the atmosphere to acquire energy by conduction and store it for as long as the sun shines, constantly recycling that energy between surface and air (convective uplift) and air and surface (convective descent)

  233. Ulric please see spaceweather.com today if you have the time. Their opening paragraph below depicts where AR1928, on the western limb, is well-connected to Earth:

    CHANCE OF FLARES: Big sunspot AR1928 is crackling with M-class solar flares. Magnetic fields spiraling away from the sunspot’s location on the sun’s western limb are well-connected to Earth, raising the possibility of a radiation storm around our planet if the flares intensify. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of M-class flares and a 10% chance of X-class flares on Dec. 23rd.

    Is everyone here going to start abusing NOAA now if they end up on the 40% of their M-class forecast or on the 90% side of the their X-class forecast? Please note I didn’t call AR1934 a coronal hole.

  234. ” Konrad says:
    December 24, 2013 at 1:10 am

    gbaikie says:
    December 23, 2013 at 11:48 pm
    —————————————
    Both myself (a sceptic who claims radiative gases cool the atmosphere) and Trick, (an AGW believer who claims radiative gases warm the atmosphere) took issue with your post. There may be something in that.”

    Could be something.
    You both seems to think that CO2 which is a very low concentration can have some significant effect.

    To try summarize, I suppose Trick thinks the doubling of .04% of the atmosphere would add about 1 C or more to global temperatures. And as guess, Trick thinks such warming increase another greenhouse gas, namely, water vapor, which might cause addition 1 or more degrees to global temperature. Or at least that seem to be general concept that AGWers believe.

    Konrad on other hand, thinks CO2 cool the atmosphere.
    But I could not begin to guess how much you think the atmosphere is cooled by the CO2.

    Personally I don’t think there is much difference if you replaced Mars atmosphere of CO2
    with the same amount of Nitrogen.
    And there is a lot CO2 on Mars as compared to amount of C02 in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Mars is quite a small planet and has about 25 trillion tonnes in it’s atmosphere, compared
    Earth having couple trillion.

    So anyhow I don’t understand what Konrad thinks the result of CO2 cooling the atmosphere has.

    And gets me wondering does major greenhouse gas, water vapor, also cause atmosphere to cool. Obviously, I must then ask is there runaway cooling affect from the these greenhouse gases?

  235. On the issue of the radiative cooling or heating of GHG’s a simple physical example shows what they do. It is exactly the same process you see in selective coatings in solar heating panels, heat sinks and other objects (skin of SR-71).
    The primary reason the SR-71 was painted black was to lower the skin surface temperature due to its higher emissivity at operating temperature.

    Place a black metal object and a bright shinny chrome plated object in direct sunlight (picture a black chrome plated wrench, and a shiny bright chrome plated wrench).

    The black chrome wrench will heat up much quicker than the bright chrome plated wrench, but the final equilibrium temperature of the bright chrome plated wrench will end up being higher, because it cannot as effectively loose thermal energy by emission.

    This is why they have spent tons of money researching selective coatings for solar heating panels, to maximize absorption of energy at the visible light frequencies where the most energy exists in the solar spectrum and minimizing the radiant heat loss at the IR frequencies from the hot panel.

    CO2 and water vapor would act in exactly the same way. They facilitate loss of energy from the earth atmospheric system by IR radiation to space near the top of the atmosphere and absorb IR from the surface near the ground, where they help heat up the air, causing it to rise by convection to high altitude.

    Think of IR absorbing/emitting GHG’s as buckets in a bucket brigade, moving water from a lake to a burning building. The more buckets you have in the bucket brigade the faster you can transport the water, and the faster you will drain the lake.

    It really is no more complicated than that.

    Even if you had some magical mythical atmospheric gas that absolutely could not radiate any energy in the IR band you would still lose energy to space eventually as it would eventually heat up enough to radiate in the visible wave bands or radio wave bands or simply boil off into space as its thermal kinetic energy exceeded the binding force of gravity. To paraphrase Prof. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) from Jurassic park, nature will find a way to lose that energy it absorbs from the central star no matter what atmosphere you put around the planet.

    Likewise you can’t have your cake and eat it too, the only way convective overturning can operate continuously is like all heat engines you must have a heat sink for it to operate. If you raise the heat sink of a sterling engine to the same temperature as the hot side, the engine will stop — period. The convective column must lose energy at the top to space in order for it to cool, contract and increase density and then fall back to earth regaining gravitational potential energy, and warming and compressing (creating the lapse rate).

    Without loss of energy at the top of the convective column it would gradually stall just like the sterling engine does. In order for work to be performed you must move energy, whether it is an electrical current in a motor or heat the principle is the same. When the voltage on the output side of a circuit reaches the same as the voltage on the input side, current stops and so does all electrical work that circuit can perform. Apply 12v to both terminals of an automotive light bulb and see how much light it gives off, or how much heat it generates.

    The same thing would happen to our magical mystical atmosphere. It would gradually heat up through out its height, reaching a uniform temperature (or very nearly uniform since it is still gaining heat by conduction from the ground), and eventually either the ground would get hot enough to become incandescent or the gas would and it would start to lose energy in some other frequency than the prohibited IR.

    On the question of Jupiter, it is still the largest gravitational vacuum cleaner in the solar system outside the sun, it gains a lot of energy every day due to infalling dust, micrometeors and trace gasses it sweeps up as it orbits the sun. Does anyone include that energy gain into those calculations? The sun is not its only source of energy. I imagine the rocky contents of comment Shoemaker–Levy 9 are still falling toward the center of Jupiter through the lighter gasses of its outer shell. It input a huge amount of energy on impact but still has energy to release as it’s constituent atoms fall through the thick atmosphere of the gas giant atmosphere.

  236. Bob Weber says:
    “CHANCE OF FLARES: Big sunspot AR1928 is crackling with M-class solar flares. Magnetic fields spiraling away from the sunspot’s location on the sun’s western limb are well-connected to Earth..”

    It doesn’t look like it’s connected: http://gong.nso.edu/data/magmap/mod7_movie.html

    Bob Weber says:
    “Piers says on his blog today that when the sun’s active region 1934 reaches geoeffective position Dec 29-Jan2, during a new moon, we will have R4 and R5+ conditions leading to some serious weather.”

    He actually said: “Extra active region 1934 (and nearby ones) will be ~Earth-Facing in WeatherAction R4 and R5+ periods 29Dec-Jan2.”.
    I think by then then it will have gone further on, here it is on the 23rd:

    http://www.spaceweather.com/images2013/23dec13/hmi3796.gif?PHPSESSID=4kulmnu5quea89diuhvvq36f54

    And I don’t see the validity of connecting a weather impact period with any solar correlation on the same day, whether that’s Piers’ Earth facing sunspot, or your flares on the west limb, as the weather systems take a number of days to develop and travel. I mean what exactly happened to his “Trafalgar Storm” that didn’t happen on the 21-32 October when all those X-flares suddenly kicked off? http://www.weatheraction.com/resource/data/wact1/docs/BI%201310OCT%2030d_as45d_relOct1.pdf

  237. Larry Ledwick said:

    “The convective column must lose energy at the top to space in order for it to cool, contract and increase density and then fall back to earth regaining gravitational potential energy, and warming and compressing (creating the lapse rate).”

    That is a variant of the proposition that cooling can only occur with height if radiative gases are present.

    In fact cooling with height occurs because the higher one goes the further away from the surface heat source are atmospheric molecules. The further one travels from any heat source the cooler one will become.

    As height increases kinetic energy (registering on thermometers as heat) becomes gravitational potential energy (which does not register as heat) and so temperature does decline with height without any need for radiative gases.

    As I tried to explain the conductive energy exchange between surface and air which causes convective uplift is reversed at the surface during convective descent for a net zero effect (as Willis has accepted) and so there is no loss of energy within the convective adiabatic cycle. Indeed there can be no net gain or loss over time if an atmosphere is to be retained.

    The cooling with height involves no loss of energy. Instead it involves an exchange of kinetic energy for gravitational potential energy.

    That gives cooling with height for a radiatively inert atmosphere and no need for radiation to space from the top of the atmospheric column.

    Radiation to space effectively occurs at whatever height within the column that the temperature is right for outgoing radiation to match incoming radiation, as Leif pointed out.

    As long as one has uneven surface heating and cooling with height a convective overturning circulation cannot be prevented.

    GHGs not needed.

  238. This needs some clarification:

    “Radiation to space effectively occurs at whatever height within the column that the temperature is right for outgoing radiation to match incoming radiation, as Leif pointed out.”

    Since there are no gases that are completely radiatively inert the height is that at which interference to the radiative flux from conduction / convection upward is balanced by conduction / convection downward.

    More radiative gases simply increase the effective radiating height but the temperature at that height remains what it needs to be to satisfy S-B.

    It is not a ‘colder height’ as proposed by AGW theory.

    If an atmosphere were to be completely radiatively inert then all energy in and out would have to be dealt with at the surface itself, no energy would be left over for the conduction / convection process and the atmosphere could not lift off the ground in the first place.

    One would simply be dealing with a planet without an atmosphere.

    Since ALL mass has SOME radiative capability that never happens. Once an atmosphere of any composition forms then energy is lost from the radiative flux to the conductive / convection process, the surface becomes warmer than the S-B prediction and the effective radiating height lifts off the surface with the atmospheric gases.

    It appears that radiative capability is needed after all.

    So, to that extent I amend my assertion that radiative capability is not needed. Instead I assert that the enhanced radiative capabilities of GHGs are not needed because even the limited radiative capability of Argon, Oxygen and Nitrogen is enough to get the conduction / convection process started so as to create an atmosphere and lift the effective radiating height off the surface.

    Does that now square the circle ?

  239. My previous post might appear to some to suggest that having accepted that some radiative capability of gases is needed to get the atmosphere off the surface in the first place then the radiative greenhouse theory must also be correct.

    However, although it might only require a miniscule radiative capability to cause the initial uplift the fact is that once uplift has started it is the amount of mass that lifts off the surface that determines how much conduction and convection can then occur.

    Therefore once uplift has begun any thermal effect from additional radiative capability fades into insignificance compared to the amount of energy that gets tied up in conduction and convection.

    Furthermore the conduction / convection heat engine is infinitely variable and can easily adjust the effective radiating height to ensure system stability even in the face of increased radiative capability.

    The radiative greenhouse effect is like a pilot light and the heat engine of conduction and convection takes over after ignition leaving the mass related greenhouse effect in absolute control.

    Adding more radiative gases to our atmosphere is no more significant than increasing the power of the starter motor to a Saturn 5 rocket engine.

  240. Ulric Lyons says:
    December 23, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Willis said:
    “The other thing which bears constant restating is that the system can speed up without heating up, by increasing the throughput of the working fluid. This move more energy polewards, without much increase in surface temperature.”

    Why and when would it speed up without heating up?

    Thanks, Ulric, for a good question. It would speed up when it has more incoming energy and the losses equal the inputs. This appears to be the case, for example, over the “Pacific Warm Pool”, which never gets over about 30°C or so. The excess energy at that point doesn’t warm the surface at all, but goes instead to increased horizontal transport.

    Also, consider what happens in the tropics on a daily basis. Once the cumulus clouds set in, the temperature can even drop, despite a continuing increase in incoming energy, because of the increases in reflection and the horizontal transport of energy.

    w.

  241. Stephen Wilde, you are incorrect. Unless energy is radiated away at altitude there is no loss of energy. Yes, the air will be cooler, but (and this is key) it will not become more dense. It is the density differences that drive the convection, not the temperature differences. I think this is where you are getting confused.

    However, on a rotating planet other forces will come into play. First, there will be *some* radiation of any atmosphere above absolute zero. Second, there are coriolis forces that move any atmosphere. Finally, the difference in energy between the day and night sides of the planet will create winds. The last is most important. Due to surface radiation on the night side the air above it will cool due to conduction. This air will become more dense and start moving towards the day side creating convection. The end result should be something like a continual flow shifted by the coriolis effect. I suspect this could be modeled fairly easily.

    Given this flow of energy a certain delay in outgoing energy should occur and we should see some kind of lapse rate. I have no idea just how much this would affect the average temperature of the surface.

  242. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 24, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Ulric Lyons says:
    December 23, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Willis said:

    “The other thing which bears constant restating is that the system can speed up without heating up, by increasing the throughput of the working fluid. This move more energy polewards, without much increase in surface temperature.”

    Why and when would it speed up without heating up?

    It also can speed up without heating up for the same reason that when you turn up the stove under boiling water, it speeds up without heating up. This is because the situation in both cases is strongly constrained by the phase changes of water … and as boiling water shows, during phase changes, things can easily speed up without heating up.

    w.

  243. Konrad says, December 24, 2013 at 4:16 am:

    “They [the so-called GHGs] are essential as they allow energy loss, buoyancy loss and subsidence for air masses at altitude.”

    I think you misunderstand the basic adiabatic process here, Konrad. A rising parcel of air does not lose its buoyancy from radiating its energy to space. That is not a prerequisite. It loses its buoyancy from transferring its conductively absorbed energy from the surface to the rest of the atmosphere by doing work on it, expanding into it. When all the excess energy picked up from the surface is thusly tranferred, the parcel of air stops rising. But heated and less dense air continuously comes up from below, ‘forever’ warmer and warmer, less and less dense, so because of this the first air parcel will be pushed up and to the sides and eventually it will descend. Circulation persists.

    You can only make an air column with a natural, gravity-induced pressure/density/temperature gradient isothermal that is not free to expand.

  244. Richard M says, December 24, 2013 at 11:47 am:

    “Unless energy is radiated away at altitude there is no loss of energy.”

    A rising parcel of air loses its energy by doing work on the surrounding air masses.

    “Yes, the air will be cooler, but (and this is key) it will not become more dense. It is the density differences that drive the convection, not the temperature differences. I think this is where you are getting confused.”

    Richard, it is denser than the next heated air coming up from below. That’s all that matters.

  245. Bob Weber says:
    December 23, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Willis, I see now your difficulties in being truly scientific stem from stubbornness and arrogance that closely looks like the global warmists behaviour.

    Ah, well, another random individual who thinks that personal insults will win the day for him … but then, Bob thinks Piers Corbin is actually making falsifiable forecasts, so given his level of willful blindness I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Bob, the problem with Piers’ “forecasts”, as I’ve pointed out many times, is that they are so vague as to be unfalsifiable. As a result, he claims success at every turn. I’ve shown how he claimed success on a fifty/fifty forecast of a typhoon when the typhoon DIDN’T occur …

    Most of us here are not impressed by that kind of false claims of success in the slightest. For us, if you forecast “sunny” in Colorado and forest fires in Arizona, then you can’t claim success if there is a forest fire in Colorado and none in Arizona.

    But Piers Corbyn made both of those egregious claims of success, and others. He forecast damaging hailstorms around the Great Lakes, and then claimed success from a hailstorm in Oregon, for goodness sakes. He forecast all kinds of dire weather for the Olympics, thunderstorms and hail and flooding … and then he claimed success because there was a brief sprinkle of rain.

    Now, it seems that those kinds of claims of success impress you mightily … and that’s fine.

    However, I doubt you’ll get much traction trying to sell that kind of wide-eyed adulation of Piers’ so-called “forecasts” around here. We require our forecasts to be falsifiable, and our claims of success to be both verifiable and verified.

    So … let me request that you let this topic go, or take it elsewhere to a Piers Corbyn thread. Look, I don’t think that Piers is a bad guy. He’s just practiced claiming success for so long that he believes it himself. I’ve just investigated too many of his claims of success and found them, not only groundless, but hilariously false. Forecast a 50% chance of typhoons, and then claim success when there is no typhoon? If you don’t see the humor in Piers doing that, Bob, you’ve lost your funny bone …

    w.

  246. James at 48 says:
    December 23, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Not only do the clouds block incoming radiation, but in extremis (e.g. CuNim) they are nature’s tower heat sinks, conveying heat directly to outer space.

    Indeed they are. And not only that, they are what might be called “intelligent” heat sinks, in that they only form as and when they are needed to remove excess heat from the surface, and vanish when the job is done.

    Computer engineers would pay big bucks if they could have this kind of “on the fly, lasts only as needed, forms only over the local hot spots” kind of cooling for their circuit boards … see my post called “The Details Are In The Devil” for more on this question.

    w.

  247. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 23, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Willis said:

    “over time, the total conduction of energy to the atmosphere must be zero ”

    Agreed that it must be net zero but there is still conduction to the air causing uplift and conduction back to the surface upon descent.

    Since the planet is superconducting to heat (or heated evenly by a million suns) there is no day-night swing in temperature.

    As a result, the atmosphere will be isothermal, and there will be no uplift. The atmosphere will take up the surface temperature throughout, and after that … nothing. No conduction to the air, no uplift, no descent.

    As has been pointed out, IF there are GHGs, then the atmosphere cools from aloft, by radiation. THEN, because the atmosphere would be heated from the bottom and cooled from the top, you get uplift and descent and the like, and you are in a whole different situation.

    But with an argon atmosphere, it doesn’t radiate or absorb, so it doesn’t cool from the top, so it becomes isothermal, and there is neither uplift, descent, nor thermal exchange with the surface.

    The key is that with an argon atmosphere, the only thing radiating is the surface. Period. On earth, the surface can radiate more than the system receives from the sun, because some of the radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere. Thus, the surface radiation is more than the TOA upwelling radiation.

    But with an argon atmosphere, the surface radiation IS the TOA radiation. Nothing stands in its way

    As a result, with a non-GHG atmosphere there is no atmospheric process that can warm the surface. Why not? Because if the surface is warmed by any such process, then it will be EMITTING MORE ENERGY TO SPACE THAN IT IS RECEIVING. And that would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Again, let me recommend you to my post “A Matter of Some Gravity” where I discuss this in more detail.

    w.

  248. Ulric the first quote you attributed to me above was from Spaceweather.com Dec23. Their words.

    I agree, it takes time for solar particles to reach earth, and they don’t always “connect”, and when a teleconnection is made it still takes time for earth weather to develop. Also, an active region can either increase or decrease in intensity as the sun rotates, and it is hard to tell FOR SURE what the sun is going to do. I think we’re on the same page for that.

    A good recent example of a likely “successful” teleconnection: there was significant solar activity in the last week of October; protons elevated on Oct 28, spiking later, which was the buildup to Typhoon Haiyan, which ran from Nov 3-11, peaking Nov 7. Just a coincidence eh? We’ll see.

    Did you break out laughing yet? Don’t think for one minute I would say something like this without good reason or backup.

    There are so many examples of this solar action driven delayed earth weather phenomenon that I’m not going to spend time here today on that, because I’m currently preparing something for early Jan that should at least open some minds a crack. If I am right could you acknowledge that, and if I am proven wrong I’ll admit it.

    If you have questions of Piers call him, write him a note. Be nice about it. If you want older forecasts based on his older methods ask for them. He has moved on with new learnings and improved his methods as always. If a particular claim doesn’t work out, I know he can explain why he was wrong if you give him a chance.

    Despite asking, I still haven’t been given a name by anyone here of a better long-range weather forecaster. Is there a problem with finding a brave enough soul who has the skill to make good 30-45 day forecasts? I don’t mean “Caleb Weatherbee” either, even though whoever that is has made a similar winter outlook for 2013/14 as did Piers.

    Piers’ forecasts generally work out for the purposes I and his other customers need them for, and I know no one is going to be right all the time when it comes to these issues because of the chaos in the system and of course timing. Expecting perfection from anyone in forecasting is totally completely unreasonable. Back to your regularly scheduled program…

    Merry Christmas all.

  249. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm
    lsvalgaard said:

    “The amount of atmosphere [i.e. the pressure] will determine how much warmer.”

    Yes, exactly.

    And the amount of atmosphere is mass not radiative characteristics.

    If the atmosphere is non radiative you still have energy transferring to and fro between surface and atmosphere (and atmosphere to surface) via conduction and that makes the surface warmer just as radiation from the atmosphere would.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Stephen: I seem to differ from both you and Leif. Though (I think) I agree with you more.
    Agreed – movement would still occur exactly as it does on present earth.
    The mass of an atmosphere does not heat it. Or more correctly it doesn’t retain the heat as the compression is a one time process, once done it compresses no further and the heat produced will eventually reach equilibrium with the radiation budget.

    “But since the vast bulk of energy transfer between surface and atmosphere is due to atmospheric mass leading to conduction and convection (both uplift and descent in equal amounts) the trivial contribution from radiative characteristics matters hardly at all and our contribution even less.”

    Are you not missing the back-radiation further caused by this convection/conduction transport?and the back-radiation absorbed by GHG’s from SW? The whole atmosphere warms due GHG’s and acts to shift the LR equilibrium point (at which the temp is –18C or ~7km at present) – to a higher level. Meaning the whole atmosphere warms at (more/less) the same amount surface to Tropopause.

    “and he said:
    “At some level in the atmosphere the temperature will have decreased to the value that corresponds to the energy from the star and there the temperature will be as S-B dictates”

    Correct and the effect of radiative gases is to change that height by expanding or contracting the entire atmosphere thereby altering the global air circulation by a miniscule amount depending on their net thermal effect (which is still disputed by many).”

    True, but the effect is not equal around the globe. So we do end up with significant changes. There is more warming at the NP (I won’t bring in Antarctica – that is special) and so atmospheric thicknesses are higher (reduced thermal winds), so reducing jet strength and latitudinal stability (greater meridional extension to Rossby waves). This is altering the climate by taking Polar air further south and tropical air further north.

    “That change in height and the associated circulation change is INSTEAD OF most if not all of any surface temperature change that might otherwise occur.
    Willis is on the right track by referring to changes in the speed of energy throughput but needs to think through the logical implications of that concept.”

    I think not. The LR shifts to a warmer slope all the way through the depth of the atmosphere – so a surface temp change is mirrored right to the Trop.

    “The idea that the change in radiating height is to a colder location must be wrong. Instead, the temperature of the radiating height must stay the same but at a new height.”

    This I believe is correct.

    “In the end the thermostat is that constantly varying height as the power and vigour of the convective circulation ebbs and flows in response to internal system forcing elements.”

    There can be no “thermostat” (unless you want to invoke albedo in another epoch) other than radiative ones and the effective radiating height (at BB temp of –18C) cannot be altered (on an averaged global scale) by mechanical motion. It is a fundamental of the GHG content of the atmosphere, which does not alter by mechanical movement of air : It’s well mixed – but has more effect at the poles and over desert areas (where little convection).
    AND:
    “If an atmosphere were to be completely radiatively inert then all energy in and out would have to be dealt with at the surface itself, no energy would be left over for the conduction / convection process and the atmosphere could not lift off the ground in the first place.”
    I don’t agree with this Stephen:
    A COMPLETELY inert atmosphere would have fixed surface temp of the planet (say –18C), by vibrational contact and must lapse to 3K from there. Therefore there would be convection. There would still be differential surface heating and spin so the rest of the planets motion would follow.

    “Therefore once uplift has begun any thermal effect from additional radiative capability fades into insignificance compared to the amount of energy that gets tied up in conduction and convection.”

    I’m sorry, no, heat moved by mechanical means still has to radiate to space – it is not subtracted from the radiative balance. Radiative loss comes from both direct emission and transmission from moving air. It will all leave via TOA which is where the balance point needs to be calculated from.

    “Furthermore the conduction / convection heat engine is infinitely variable and can easily adjust the effective radiating height to ensure system stability even in the face of increased radiative capability.”

    I don’t see why you connect the two. We have established that a non-radiative atmosphere will develop atmospheric motion and therefore move heat mechanically. All GHG’s do is to cause the whole atmosphere to heat – the LR is the same just shifted to the warmer. So convection is unaffected. The radiating height reaches equilibrium at around 7km (height of -18C isotherm) but the point at which GHG’s cause cooling is in the Stratosphere.

    “The radiative greenhouse effect is like a pilot light and the heat engine of conduction and convection takes over after ignition leaving the mass related greenhouse effect in absolute control.
    Adding more radiative gases to our atmosphere is no more significant than increasing the power of the starter motor to a Saturn 5 rocket engine.”

    You seem to think, by talking of the “heat engine” that it is “weather” that drives long-term climate. Do you?

    Adding more GHG’s further shifts the LR to the warm and adds to the warming of earth, whilst leaving most of it’s physical mechanics unaltered.

  250. @Stephen Wilde
    The cooling with height involves no loss of energy. Instead it involves an exchange of kinetic energy for gravitational potential energy.

    That gives cooling with height for a radiatively inert atmosphere and no need for radiation to space from the top of the atmospheric column.

    Yes you are correct that decompressional cooling due to the increase in altitude trades temperature/pressure for gravitational potential energy. Thus the rising parcel of air will cool as it rises, but its total energy will remain constant!.

    It will continue to rise only as long as the air parcel is less dense that other parcels at that altitude. This is the basis for the initiation of vertical convection. However if you cap off that rising column of air so that it cannot continue to rise (thermopause) and it also cannot radiate away excess energy, you create the same thing as an inversion, where vertical convection ceases and the entire layer below that cap begins to stabilize at a near uniform temperature and the driving force for the convection disappears. The lower parcels of air are at essentially the same temperature but higher pressure (more dense) than the parcels above them they are no longer buoyant and simply hang there only mixing and moving due to random turbulence and any other forced disturbance. Take away a momentary disturbance and they return to their original altitude because that is where they are neutrally buoyant.

    I agree with you regarding the trade of gravitational potential energy for thermal and pressure energy that is required by conservation of energy laws. You cannot get work (raising the altitude of a parcel) without inputting some energy to drive that motion. The only way to get that heat flow to maintain persistent convection like you have in a long lived thunderstorm, is to have both a constant source of heat at the bottom of the convection column and a constant loss of “heat energy” (note I did not say temperature!) at the top. This creates a heat engine which converts heat energy to kinetic energy of convection.
    At the top of the convection column where buoyancy no longer drives vertical motion the kinetic energy of motion is converted back to heat increasing the total thermal, pressure and gravitational potential energy of the parcel. If it cannot cool it will never fall down to lower altitudes because it will always be warmer than the below it. It is briefly pushed up above its equilibrium altitude by inertia but then falls back to its neutral buoyancy altitude. (over shooting top on a thunder storm) Only when it cools through radiant heat loss to space will it get dense enough to fall back down to lower altitudes. Without radiant heat loss to space that rising air would turn into the stopper in a bottle and block all vertical convection below.

    As a storm chaser you see this every day when following thunder storm development. If the towering cumulus is capped off ( for example a pilius cloud) that breaks the chain and blocks buoyant rise of the air column and the storm immediately dies. It cannot rise because it is no longer less dense than the air just above it in the pilius cap and it cannot effectively radiate energy away to space because the pilius cap (heated by latent heat of freezing) is warmer than it is. It still has heat input at the bottom from warm moist air, but it loses its heat sink as soon as the cap form. That turns off the convective motion like flipping a switch and a cloud that moments before was rising at 100 mph suddenly goes dormant, fuzzes out and falls apart.

    Likewise if the incoming energy at the bottom is cut off the storm dies. This typically happens when cold outflow from another storm or the flanking down draft cuts under the bottom of the storm and cuts off the flow of energy from the warm moist air.

    Convention cannot occur with out heat flow! When the column of air becomes isothermal for its altitude and neutrally buoyant, convection stops and so does heat flow.

    Cooling due to adiabatic decompression is a function of the gravity field and the trade off of gravitational potential energy for temperature/pressure potential energy. The sum of those two must always be equal at all altitudes to avoid problems with conservation of energy for a stationary parcel of air. Once convection begins you add a third term for kinetic energy of motion. Again the sum of those 3 must be constant or you are either creating or dissipating energy. The only way you can dissipate energy at high altitude is radiation to space once kinetic energy from motion goes to zero.

    It is a dirt simple conservation of energy problem.
    If you believe in the laws of gravity and the ideal gas law, ( PV=nRT ), and conservation of energy laws you absolutely must have a pressure gradient and temperature lapse rate in a column of gas in a gravity field, to preserve conservation of energy as a parcel of air rises and falls in the gravity field. A pressure gradient with altitude and a temperature gradient with altitude which freely trade potential energy to maintain conservation of kinetic and potential energy.

  251. lsvalgaard says:
    December 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm
    It’s argon. Doesn’t absorb or radiate much light or longwave at all.
    If you have a completely transparent atmosphere that doesn’t absorb anything, you might as well not have any atmosphere at all. I was under the false assumption that we were somehow talking about real planets with H2O, CO2, CH4, NH3, O3, etc…

    From the start I specified a planet with an argon atmosphere. I also specified there were no GHGs. Here’s my opening salvo:

    The people I call “pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere, that pressure alone can raise the temperature of the surface.

    Thanks, Leif. How you got from me saying “a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere” to you saying you thought “we were somehow talking about real planets with H2O, CO2, CH4, NH3, O3, etc” is not entirely clear, but heck, life isn’t all that clear even on a good day.

    However, now that you do know that my thought experiment regards a planet with an argon atmosphere, which has an emissivity in the relevant shortwave and longwave bands ≈ 0 … how say you? Can pressure alone raise the surface temperature of such a planet above its calculated S-B temperature? I say no. A few folks say yes. I call them “pressure-heads”, but I probably shouldn’t.

    However, ever since the time that claim that pressure alone can cause a persistent temperature differential was so ably deconstructed by Dr. Robert Brown in his post here on WUWT, and I had offered my own less impressive efforts in my post Perpetuum Mobile, it seems to me that not seeing the light has got to be willful blindness on some level.

    But “pressure-heads” is likely too harsh, I have to learn to be more Canadian, Steven McIntyre is my guru in these matters, so I now abjure and forever foreswear the use of the term, and I will call them something else. Maybe perpetual emotioneers, I don’t know …

    Because if pressure alone could cause a temperature increase, all we’d have to do is build tall, extremely well-insulated hollow cylinders filled with air. According to the perpetual emotioneers’ theory, the pressure alone would make the air inside the bottom of the cylinder warmer than the air at the top. If so, we could use that temperature difference to drive a heat engine, and get work out of it forever … perpetual motion, in other words.

    My best regards to you, Leif, and my thanks for your many contributions to this site. I’m always glad to see you show up, particularly after someone comments something like “waiting for Leif in 5 … 4 … 3 …” on some solar related thread. Always welcome.

    w.

  252. Bob Weber says:
    December 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm
    Despite asking, I still haven’t been given a name by anyone here of a better long-range weather forecaster. Is there a problem with finding a brave enough soul who has the skill to make good 30-45 day forecasts? I don’t mean “Caleb Weatherbee” either, even though whoever that is has made a similar winter outlook for 2013/14 as did Piers.

    Piers’ forecasts generally work out for the purposes I and his other customers need them for, and I know no one is going to be right all the time when it comes to these issues because of the chaos in the system and of course timing. Expecting perfection from anyone in forecasting is totally completely unreasonable. Back to your regularly scheduled program…

    Merry Christmas all.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    And you Bob…
    The reason you haven’t received the name of a “better” long-range forecaster is …… Because long range forecasting CANNOT be done. Just CANNOT be done ….. other than in the broadest of statistical terms.

    This is my (well one) problem with Corbyn – he makes people think we can. Just not possible my friend.

    Look, just think critically think about it. HOW is it possible for someone (note NOT a supercomputer as used in complex NWP forecasts) to produce detailed regional forecasts. Really?
    Anyone who knows enough about weather knows full well it is just NOT possible. Full stop, and most probably never will be. Weather is highly chaotic and therefore unpredictable (beyond around 7 days at best).

    How could he do it. Does his sunspot number/distribution equate to predictable detail 30 days or whatever away.
    As I say, if he has a working method he should put aside his business model and revert to a scientific model – and donate it to mankind and receive the plaudits.

    The only known weather effects of solar variation in the sunspot cycle, is that at low amplitude where (it’s theorised) a weak solar wind allows galactic cosmic rays to impinge on the Stratosphere. In winter this has the effect of destroying O3 within the stratospheric vortex. This causes warming and as a result weakens/disrupts the vortex. With time this propagates downward to the tropospheric vortex causing it to weaken, and reflect at the surface by forming high pressure. This is what lies behind colder winters regionally as Arctic air is diverged away from the Arctic (normally we have the opposite – with Low pressure dominating the Arctic and that is a convergent flow tending to keep the coldest air “locked-up”).
    Aside from that – and the effect can take ~3 weeks to propagate to a surface effect – Solar variation does not have a noticeable affect on “weather”.

  253. Barack Obama 20xx: ““If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.”

    Willis 12:34pm: “The key is that with an argon atmosphere, the only thing radiating is the surface. Period.”

    Always investigate further in the case of: “..something stated. Period.”

    An argon atm. would feebly absorb/emit IR both from/toward TOA space AND from/toward the surface. Because argon has mass. It would also convect where a layer is heated from below.

    *****

    Willis 1:22pm: “..an argon atmosphere, which has an emissivity in the relevant shortwave and longwave bands ≈ 0”

    That’s better. No “Period.” Argon having mass feebly absorbs/emits both BOA and TOA emissivity ~0 and not 0.0.

  254. I agree with Kristian above who points out that, for a circulation to be established, a higher cooler parcel of air only needs to be denser than the warmer parcel coming up behind. It does not need to radiate to space in order for it to be pushed to one side, find itself denser than the air
    below it and start to descend.

    As regards Willis’s comments I agree with Paul who had the last word over at:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/13/a-matter-of-some-gravity/

    That deals with the remaining points of substance regarding my earlier posts.

    These issues being at the heart of AGW theory I expect further engagements in the future.

    With that I will withdraw from this thread and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  255. Because if pressure alone could cause a temperature increase, all we’d have to do is build tall, extremely well-insulated hollow cylinders filled with air. According to the perpetual emotioneers’ theory, the pressure alone would make the air inside the bottom of the cylinder warmer than the air at the top.

    No that is not what we are saying.

    As stated above you have a conservation of energy equality which is unavoidable. To use your own analogy, if you build a very tall perfectly insulated silo and filled it with a gas in a gravity field you would have by definition (yours) a column with no temperature gradient (remember it is a perfectly insulating container which does not allow heat loss by either conduction or radiation. ) so that the sum of gravitational, kinetic, thermal and pressure potential energy was constant at all levels of the column. The gravitational potential energy must by definition increase as you go from bottom to top. If the gas is quiet and not in motion, but isothermal the only other form of potential energy available to sum out to zero the gravitational potential energy gradient is pressure (in your hypothetical case).

    Under the conditions you imposed there is one and only one outcome, maximum possible pressure gradient and zero temperature gradient. Sum of pressure potential energy and gravitational potential energy is uniform at all levels in the silo, kinetic energy of mass motion (convection) is zero and temperature is isothermal.

    The problem is in the real world you don’t have a perfectly insulating column and you have an air column that loses heat at the top due to radiant heat loss. Since all real materials must radiate electromagnetic energy at some frequency (IR, microwave, florescence in the visible and UV spectrum and all other manner of energy loss). You lose or gain heat at various points in the column depending on the net heat gain or loss at each point in the gas column.

    It in a real world has a continuous heat gain from the bottom due to heating at the ground surface and through out the column due to sun light absorbed by the gases in the column. This forces a temperature gradient in combination with the pressure gradient. The pressure gradient drops and the temperature gradient increases from your ideal perfectly insulated zero heat gain heat loss example.

    In a real column with heat gain and loss you get both a pressure gradient and a temperature gradient. Since outer space has a background radiant temperature of 2.7 K you are far far away from your perfectly insulated ideal case.

    If you could figure out a way to make the column of air have a uniform pressure from top to bottom you would find you had a huge temperature gradient and no pressure gradient. (it would be very hot at the top and very cold at the bottom to make this happen)

    These temperature pressure gradients are absolutely required by the physical laws we all agree on:
    ….. conservation of energy
    ….. interchangeability of different types of potential energy
    ….. ideal gas law
    ….. Law of gravity (and how gravitational potential energy varies with altitude above a massive object)

    A column of air in a gravity field that has heat flow from the low gravitational potential end to the high gravitational potential end, absolutely positively Must have an equal and opposite energy gradient (usually temperature) or it violates the conservation of energy equality.

  256. Konrad says:
    December 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Willis, I note that you have not answered my simple question –

    “I’m going to have to ask for clarification. Do you believe strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude?”

    Thanks for that, Konrad. It’s a thick and long thread, and I don’t always catch everything. A polite reminder is never out of line.

    See my answer above about what happens in a GHG-free atmosphere. Short answer is no, without radiative cooling the planetary circulation would mostly stop. I say “mostly” because of the uneven heating of the planet. I suspect that there would still be a slow equator to pole circulation and return, even without radiative cooling of the atmosphere.

    In a way, however, it’s a trick question. The Hadley, Ferrel, and Polar cells are mostly powered by the massed thunderstorms at the ITCZ. These thunderstorms are powered by solar heat, and require water as their working fluid.

    But if there is water, there is radiative cooling at altitude. So by specifying no radiative cooling, you have not only ruled out the circulation due to radiative cooling and the resulting lapse rate,

    You have also ruled out the circulation due to the ITCZ thunderstorms, which can’t exist without water.

    Regards,

    w.

  257. Larry Ledwick says, December 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm:

    “Yes you are correct that decompressional cooling due to the increase in altitude trades temperature/pressure for gravitational potential energy. Thus the rising parcel of air will cool as it rises, but its total energy will remain constant!”

    No. It cools because it loses energy. It transfers its gained energy (from surface heating) to the atmosphere at large (the air masses surrounding it, into which it expands), warming it, by doing work on it.

    This is how the atmosphere is warmed by convection. If the rising air just took the heat from the surface and brought it ‘up on high’ to hide it away as potential energy, then the atmosphere would never heat from convection, it could never get warmer this way.

    Read up on how the adiabatic process works:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adiabatic_process#Adiabatic_heating_and_cooling

  258. Willis Eschenbach says:
    “Thanks, Ulric, for a good question. It would speed up when it has more incoming energy and the losses equal the inputs. This appears to be the case, for example, over the “Pacific Warm Pool”, which never gets over about 30°C or so.”

    I do follow what are saying about an upper limit to tropical surface temp’s, but my point was if there is more energy shifted polewards, total average temp’ should go up, unless the tropics drop at the same time of course. Though what I am seeing from a solar forcing perspective is that when energy input is less, is when there is more poleward transport of energy, and El Nino conditions in the Pacific. Which sums up what I think is controlling the throttle, and in which direction it functions.

  259. @ Kristian says:
    December 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I am very familiar with how adiabatic compression works you are mixing apples and oranges.

    The adiabatic process (by itself) results in no heat energy gain or loss only in conversion of pressure energy (from the gravity gradient) to thermal energy. The sum of pressure, gravity and temperature (in the absence of conduction, advection and radiation) is constant there is no heat gain or heat loss.

    Sustained convection like you see in a thunder storm is only possible in an unstable atmosphere where as the air parcel rises it is heated by energy released by the latent heat of water vapor and freezing of water crystals. This is what drives sustained convection.

    At the ground surface where you have a stable atmosphere, the heated air rises and mixes with the adjacent air transferring energy by conduction and advection as you describe but that is not an adiabatic process.

    The very definition of adiabatic is “without heat loss or gain”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adiabatic_process
    An adiabatic process (/ˌædiəˈbætɪk/; from the Greek privative “a” + “diavaton”) is a process that occurs without the transfer of heat or matter between a system and its surroundings.

  260. Bob Weber says:
    “A good recent example of a likely “successful” teleconnection: there was significant solar activity in the last week of October; protons elevated on Oct 28, spiking later, which was the buildup to Typhoon Haiyan, which ran from Nov 3-11, peaking Nov 7. Just a coincidence eh? We’ll see.
    Did you break out laughing yet?”

    Well actually yes because these are the teleconnections:

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/teleconnections.shtml

    “Despite asking, I still haven’t been given a name by anyone here of a better long-range weather forecaster. Is there a problem with finding a brave enough soul who has the skill to make good 30-45 day forecasts? I don’t mean “Caleb Weatherbee” either, even though whoever that is has made a similar winter outlook for 2013/14 as did Piers.”

    I was thrashing the pants off him with temperature forecasts all the time I was working with him and since, he was very reluctant to give me credit for it though, while nonetheless highly interested in knowing how I was doing it and what I was going to forecast.
    Merry Christmas.

  261. I’ll have to come back on a couple of points.

    Kristian said:

    “If the rising air just took the heat from the surface and brought it ‘up on high’ to hide it away as potential energy, then the atmosphere would never heat from convection”

    The atmosphere doesn’t heat from convection.It heats via conduction from the surface which leads to convection and the convective overturning converts kinetic to potential and back again. The work that is done to lift against the force of gravity cools the air by creating potential energy from kinetic energy and the work done on descent with the force of gravity warms the air by creating kinetic energy from potential energy.

    Here is something for Willis to think about:

    The S-B equation applies ONLY where there is zero interference with the in / out radiative flux from any sort of atmosphere.

    Argon does not have zero interference. It will interfere with the radiative flux but admittedly only by a tiny fraction above zero.

    The thing is that ANY interference with the radiative flux will cause uplift off the surface and once uplift occurs the amount of energy absorbed by conduction is related to MASS and NOT radiative capability.

    Thus even an Argon atmosphere will lift off the surface and thereafter acquire energy via conduction the quantity of which will be related to its mass. Obviously, the amount of energy acquired by conduction will be way out of proportion to its radiative capability.

    Uneven surface heating and the inevitable decline in temperature with height will do the rest and a fully convective circulation cannot be prevented.

    Meanwhile the S-B equation will still be satisfied but as Leif points out that will be at some point above the surface and that point will be determined primarily by the amount of energy that the mass of the Argon acquires via conduction.

  262. Sorry, should have said:

    that point (where S-B is satisfied) will be determined by the amount of energy that the mass of the Argon acquires via its radiative capability.

    i’e. not far off the surface due to its low radiative capability.

    Meanwhile the overall height of the atmosphere will be determined by the amount of energy that the Argon acquires via conduction.

  263. Ulric I’d sure like to know where I can get your USA monthly forecasts if you have them available to the public. Thank you for the teleconnections info. I am talking about the buildup in the near-earth space environment of protons and electrons following earth-directed solar storms, and the pretty regular coincidence of extreme earth weather events that occur shortly after satellites measure these solar particle flows. That’s all for now.

  264. Trick says:
    December 24, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Barack Obama 20xx: ““If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.”

    Willis 12:34pm: “The key is that with an argon atmosphere, the only thing radiating is the surface. Period.”

    Always investigate further in the case of: “..something stated. Period.”

    You are accusing me of lying like Obama? And for what?

    For all practical purposes, the emissivity of argon in both short- and longwave is ZERO at earth’s temperatures. So you’re gonna get all nasty and accuse me of being like the Liar-In-Chief because the emissivity of argon is 0.000000001 instead of zero? A difference that makes absolutely no difference?

    Egads, sire, you are an unpleasant little man.

    Trick, your credibility with me just went to zero, and your odds of getting any future response are dropping fast. You’re willing to try to slime me and call me a liar because of a difference too small to be measured. Not good in any social arena, my friend.

    A gentleman would apologize for that unwarranted and untrue accusation. I await your answer.

    w.

  265. Willis 3:39pm! As you often write – if you quote my words exactly then use their meaning exactly. Not write your own words for what I write & ask my apology for your meaning.

    Argon cannot have both 0.0 emissivity as you write and the correct non-zero emissivity also as you write. One of your meanings has to be incorrect. I point out the 0.0 Ar emissivity is your incorrect statement. A little humor was intended. Very little it turns out.

    Obama was incorrect initially. He corrected himself subsequently when fact checking pointed that out to him; so I chose a positive example. Your turn. The magnificent climate heat engine can be a positive learning experience in discussion, a very broad, tough subject to fact check. Broad, tough as healthcare.

  266. Larry Ledwick says, December 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm:

    “I am very familiar with how adiabatic compression works you are mixing apples and oranges.

    The adiabatic process (by itself) results in no heat energy gain or loss only in conversion of pressure energy (from the gravity gradient) to thermal energy. The sum of pressure, gravity and temperature (in the absence of conduction, advection and radiation) is constant there is no heat gain or heat loss.”

    Sorry, Larry, but you seem to be the confused one here. The air parcel expanding actually has its internal energy (U) reduced by the process … that’s why it cools.

    No energy is transferred out of the air parcel as HEAT (Q), that is correct. However, energy is transferred out of the air parcel as WORK (W). (ΔU = Q – W.)

    That’s what adiabatic cooling is all about.

  267. Remember, this is your original statement, Larry, the one I’m reacting to:

    “Yes you are correct that decompressional cooling due to the increase in altitude trades temperature/pressure for gravitational potential energy. Thus the rising parcel of air will cool as it rises, but its total energy will remain constant!” (My emphasis.)

  268. Mass- Kristian says:
    December 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Larry Ledwick says, December 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm:

    “Yes you are correct that decompressional cooling due to the increase in altitude trades temperature/pressure for gravitational potential energy. Thus the rising parcel of air will cool as it rises, but its total energy will remain constant!”

    No. It cools because it loses energy. It transfers its gained energy (from surface heating) to the atmosphere at large (the air masses surrounding it, into which it expands), warming it, by doing work on it.-

    No. Larry Ledwick explains it well.

    In terms of the troposphere region one should consider rising air as parcel of air, rather than individual molecules.
    Or another way to say this is a single molecule of gas has zero buoyancy.
    But parcel of air can have buoyancy.
    So you put your hand over flame, and it’s hot a foot above such flame. If you only consider molecules as individuals, this does not work- you can’t explain why the hot air goes up, rather than sideways or down.

    Second you never actually ever lose energy. It’s always transfer into different forms of energy.
    So if “cools because it loses energy”, the question where and how do you “lose energy”- where does the energy go?
    And I think Larry Ledwick explains well.

    All surface heating of atmosphere is stored in the atmosphere. It has a lifetime.
    I would say it depends how define lifetime terms how long it’s stored.
    You can’t follow the energy by single molecule, because air molecules transfer energy
    in less than nanosecond and distances nanometers. Therefore one follow energy a
    group of molecules which retain most of the energy you might want to follow- hence a parcel
    of air.
    Your hand over a flame shows the direction of such parcel of air
    If you just want follow the energy in term net bank accounts, than one could say roughly
    the lifetime is less than a day or hours. If want try to follow your specific chunk of energy
    in sea of energize atmosphere, pick your number- centuries if you like.
    Depending how do accounting. In other words, you take the total amount heated air in say
    24 hour period, globally, and divide that into the total energy of the atmosphere:
    Toal mass of atmosphere divided by 2 in which you times “averaged” velocity of entire atmosphere in meter per second. Giving Total Joules of energy in an atmosphere.
    And divide Total Joules by amount of joules of heating of gas per your 24 hour. And get some number like centuries of time, or decades or whatever it is.
    And matters where some parcel of air is heated- one could make this vastly complicated.
    But general the air heated when in sunlight and cools when sun goes down. And if in a Temperate Zone one gets large seasonal changes- or the warmed air parcel has longer lifetime in the summer.

  269. Stephen Wilde says, December 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm:

    “Kristian said:

    “If the rising air just took the heat from the surface and brought it ‘up on high’ to hide it away as potential energy, then the atmosphere would never heat from convection”

    The atmosphere doesn’t heat from convection. It heats via conduction from the surface which leads to convection and the convective overturning converts kinetic to potential and back again.”

    Not according to your description, Stephen. There the surface air warms from receiving heat conductively from the surface, but then convection brings it aloft, where the air cools back again without passing any energy on – the heat is just gone! The energy is apparently there, just not the temperature. With radiative loss to space then included, the atmospheric temperature would start dropping.

    “The work that is done to lift against the force of gravity cools the air by creating potential energy from kinetic energy (…).”

    The lifting air does work on its surrounding air masses by expanding into them, thus cooling while the atmosphere at large warms ever so slightly. The lifting air loses internal energy. This energy is passed on to the rest of the atmosphere. That’s what happens.

    Conduction is what heats the surface air parcel. Convection is what brings that energy into the atmosphere, making it a little bit warmer in total than what it was before the surface heat entered the surface air parcel (disregarding the concurrent radiation loss to space).

  270. Stephen 3:00pm: “The S-B equation applies ONLY where there is zero interference with the in / out radiative flux from any sort of atmosphere.”

    Zero interference? What does that mean exactly? Where is this in the real S-B derivation?

    Your physics must be the Stephen-B equation. In the real S-B, the brightness of the light emitted by BB is given by Planck’s law, which is so good that it has 3 natural constants in it. Not many laws can boast of that. A real S-B limitation is that the body emitting be convex which a globe is good at being. This comes from the limitation in the derivation that a real S-B body does not emit to itself, follows cosine law.

  271. Willis Eschenbach says, December 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm:

    “For all practical purposes, the emissivity of argon in both short- and longwave is ZERO at earth’s temperatures. So you’re gonna get all nasty and accuse me of being like the Liar-In-Chief because the emissivity of argon is 0.000000001 instead of zero? A difference that makes absolutely no difference?”

    But apparently a specific gas layer 5 kilometres up from the global surface, in the middle of the convective troposphere, holding a mean temperature of 255K and containing on average less than 0.5% of so-called GHGs (and more than 99.5% of N2, O2 and Ar) all of a sudden attains an emissivity of 1 to emit the entire Earth flux to space of 239 W/m^2. Impressive!

  272. Stephen 3:00pm: “Thus even an Argon atmosphere will lift off the surface and thereafter acquire energy via conduction the quantity of which will be related to its mass.”

    Each isolated atm. layer transfers energy mainly by convective (mass motion unlike solids), then by conductive and radiative energy transfer. Lord Kelvin figured out, in an atm., convection was dominant energy transfer in an 1862 paper, you remain behind in your reading assignments.

    ******

    Kristian 5:06pm, Larry 2:44pm: Ascending parcels expand (cool) and descending parcels compress (warm). Gas parcel enthalpy is the conserved quantity for the parcel control volume.

    ******

    Larry 2:03pm et. al.:

    Unforced mixing increases the entropy up to a max. (unless externally forced down). Only in the absence of gravity would the equilibrium temperature be isothermal.

  273. -Here is something for Willis to think about:

    The S-B equation applies ONLY where there is zero interference with the in / out radiative flux from any sort of atmosphere.-

    I would say S-B equation applies, only as rough guess.
    And the way it’s averaged really messes it up.

    Or to restate what you saying S-B equation only applies when dealing energy exchanges
    occurring near the speed of light. When involves trapping energy or storing energy and you have problem with S-B equation.

    I would say that to assume the only way to trap or store energy is with greenhouse gases is
    quite mad.
    And to assume greenhouse gas store most of energy of the sun is wrong.

  274. Trick says, December 24, 2013 at 5:43 pm:

    “In the real S-B, the brightness of the light emitted by BB is given by Planck’s law, which is so good that it has 3 natural constants in it. Not many laws can boast of that.”

    Both Stefan-Boltzmann and Planck deal specifically with radiation and only that. Whenever conduction/convection/evaporation enter the stage, their results are no longer valid. Because the situation is no longer a BB in a vacuum situation. Energy no longer escapes solely through radiation.

    That’s why the S-B equation isn’t applicable for the surface of the Earth, or for any specific atmospheric layer above it. On Earth, it would only give ‘correct’ results for an object much, much warmer than its surroundings (more than 3 times in absolute temperature), because then we could disregard convective heat loss and consider the object a pure/ideal emitter to space.

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/cootime.html

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/stefan.html

    For Earth’s surface? No. Any layers within the atmosphere? No.

  275. gbaikie says, December 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm:

    “Second you never actually ever lose energy. It’s always transfer into different forms of energy.
    So if “cools because it loses energy”, the question where and how do you “lose energy”- where does the energy go?
    And I think Larry Ledwick explains well.”

    Did you even read what I wrote?

    The energy disappears from the expanding air parcel. It goes to the air masses surrounding it. It doesn’t disappear from the atmosphere as a whole. Until it’s radiated away to space.

    Adiabatic cooling specifically happens because of energy loss, only not through any transfer of HEAT (Q), but through WORK (W) performed.

  276. Kristian 6:24pm: “Both Stefan-Boltzmann and Planck deal specifically with radiation and only that. ”

    Yes, of course.

    “Whenever conduction/convection/evaporation enter the stage, their results are no longer valid. Because the situation is no longer a BB in a vacuum situation.”

    A vacuum situation is not an assumption in the Planck or S-B derivation, only that the system be in thermal equilibrium, convex which is the usual reasonable assumption for sun, earth, atm. system over eons.

    This BB necess. emitting to vacuum seems to be a popular misconception, the source of which I have not been able to track down. Neither of your links notes a vacuum requirement or any link I can find and it is not mentioned as a requirement in Planck 1914, Brehm 1989 or Bohren 2006.

    Perhaps you have a cite for your assertion I can fact check. Dependencies include chemical composition, physical structure, condensed matter (solid, liquid, gas, plasma), cosine law, wavelength et. al. but not a vacuum that I can find.

  277. - Larry Ledwick says:
    December 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    @Stephen Wilde
    The cooling with height involves no loss of energy. Instead it involves an exchange of kinetic energy for gravitational potential energy.

    That gives cooling with height for a radiatively inert atmosphere and no need for radiation to space from the top of the atmospheric column.

    Yes you are correct that decompressional cooling due to the increase in altitude trades temperature/pressure for gravitational potential energy. Thus the rising parcel of air will cool as it rises, but its total energy will remain constant!.-

    Ok. Next:

    –It will continue to rise only as long as the air parcel is less dense that other parcels at that altitude. This is the basis for the initiation of vertical convection. However if you cap off that rising column of air so that it cannot continue to rise (thermopause) and it also cannot radiate away excess energy, you create the same thing as an inversion, where vertical convection ceases and the entire layer below that cap begins to stabilize at a near uniform temperature and the driving force for the convection disappears. ….–

    Don’t get what mean by “(thermopause)”. Tropopause would make more sense to me.

    I would say one “caps off” and are “capping off” convection at tropopause.
    But seems one could also say where the tropopause is located depending amount energy of the atmosphere [in troposhere] in a particular region [I suppose also, if want to talk about it globally].

    But anyhow, the term thermopause refers to a zone which is much higher up, then I would associate with convection: “The thermopause is the atmospheric boundary of Earth’s energy system, located at the top of the thermosphere.”
    And assume you using this term with different meaning.

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

    And so see what you wrote next as definitional of tropopause:
    -The lower parcels of air are at essentially the same temperature but higher pressure (more dense) than the parcels above them they are no longer buoyant and simply hang there only mixing and moving due to random turbulence and any other forced disturbance. Take away a momentary disturbance and they return to their original altitude because that is where they are neutrally buoyant.-

    And in terms the following. An important element water and it’s changing phase of gas to liquid
    which an element not emphasized:

    -I agree with you regarding the trade of gravitational potential energy for thermal and pressure energy that is required by conservation of energy laws. You cannot get work (raising the altitude of a parcel) without inputting some energy to drive that motion. The only way to get that heat flow to maintain persistent convection like you have in a long lived thunderstorm, is to have both a constant source of heat at the bottom of the convection column and a constant loss of “heat energy” (note I did not say temperature!) at the top. This creates a heat engine which converts heat energy to kinetic energy of convection.-

    –At the top of the convection column where buoyancy no longer drives vertical motion the kinetic energy of motion is converted back to heat increasing the total thermal, pressure and gravitational potential energy of the parcel. If it cannot cool it will never fall down to lower altitudes because it will always be warmer than the below it. It is briefly pushed up above its equilibrium altitude by inertia but then falls back to its neutral buoyancy altitude. (over shooting top on a thunder storm) Only when it cools through radiant heat loss to space will it get dense enough to fall back down to lower altitudes. Without radiant heat loss to space that rising air would turn into the stopper in a bottle and block all vertical convection below.-

    I will mention that droplets of water unlike a gas [even if gas is H20] is quite good at radiating heat into space. Or humans don’t make such “nano droplet radiators”- or they are “better” and larger radiators than we normally construct.
    Though we do things spray water or use wet material to cool air- which is somewhat related- though kind of the opposite. Both are cooling, human use evaporation, atmosphere uses condensation which then radiate heat into space.

  278. Kristian says:
    December 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says, December 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm:

    “For all practical purposes, the emissivity of argon in both short- and longwave is ZERO at earth’s temperatures. So you’re gonna get all nasty and accuse me of being like the Liar-In-Chief because the emissivity of argon is 0.000000001 instead of zero? A difference that makes absolutely no difference?”

    But apparently a specific gas layer 5 kilometres up from the global surface, in the middle of the convective troposphere, holding a mean temperature of 255K and containing on average less than 0.5% of so-called GHGs (and more than 99.5% of N2, O2 and Ar) all of a sudden attains an emissivity of 1 to emit the entire Earth flux to space of 239 W/m^2. Impressive!

    Kristian, I fear that makes absolutely no sense to me. What does that have to do with pressure and a planet with no GHGs in the atmosphere that I’m discussing?

    Sorry, but I can’t find your meaning in there.

    w.

  279. I would say that the essential characteristic of a gas molecule rather than a molecule of a surface solid is that it has sufficient radiative absorption capability to lift it off the solid surface when radiation is absorbed.

    Zero radiative absorption means no lift off, no gas and no atmosphere.

    That definition then includes Argon despite its near zero radiative absorption capability.

    Once lift off occurs then the absorption capabilities of mass via conduction take over and from that point render radiative absorption capabilities irrelevant because the amount of energy absorbed by mass via conduction is many magnitudes greater than the energy absorbed radiatively.

    On that basis the fact that Argon’s radiative capability is near zero doesn’t matter in practice and Willis’s assumption that its near zero radiative capability can be ignored is wrong.

  280. A slight change to my terminology is needed.

    It is radiative emission capability that enables a gas molecule to lift off from a solid surface rather than the radiative absorption capability because it is that emission that enables the molecules to move further apart than would otherwise be permitted by the intermolecular attractive forces.

    As we can see from the Argon example any emission capability greater than zero can be enough and all mass has an emission capability greater than zero hence the ability of all solids to vaporise at high enough temperatures.

  281. – Kristian says:
    December 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    gbaikie says, December 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm:

    “Second you never actually ever lose energy. It’s always transfer into different forms of energy.
    So if “cools because it loses energy”, the question where and how do you “lose energy”- where does the energy go?
    And I think Larry Ledwick explains well.”

    Did you even read what I wrote? —

    Yes.
    You quoted what Larry Ledwick wrote.
    Followed by a sentence of “No.”
    And went on explain what you considered a more correct way to explain it.
    In my reply I said “No”.
    Because In my opinion Larry was not corrected by your explanation.
    So I saw nothing particularly wrong in quoted statement of Larry Ledwick.

    — Did you even read what I wrote?

    The energy disappears from the expanding air parcel. It goes to the air masses surrounding it. It doesn’t disappear from the atmosphere as a whole. Until it’s radiated away to space. —

    Which is fine I suppose but I think:

    Larry Ledwick says, December 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm:

    “Yes you are correct that decompressional cooling due to the increase in altitude trades temperature/pressure for gravitational potential energy. Thus the rising parcel of air will cool as it rises, but its total energy will remain constant!”

    Is a better explanation.

    If one were to follow the air parcel as it rises with a thermometer, it would read a lowering of temperature. But the energy remains, it does not lessen.
    If “*something/somehow* stopped it” from decompressional cooling, the temperature remains constant. Or it would not cool. And it’s correct to say it’s trading “temperature/pressure for gravitational potential energy”

    [Though it should be mentioned that when one talks of "parcel of air" one does not necessarily mean the same molecules at lower level are traveling upwards. But rather they could possibly be, as with wind/updraft, but, it's the energy of the kinetic energy of gases which move upwards. Or if cooler parcel of air, it falls. And of course with air parcel compressing and heating- or "trades temperature/pressure for gravitational potential energy"]
    -

  282. joeldshore writes ” I agree that higher pressure will tend to be associated with more radiation absorbed, i.e., a larger greenhouse effect both because, higher pressure means more greenhouse gases if some fraction of the atmosphere is greenhouse gases AND higher pressure also means more pressure-broadening of the absorption lines of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

    I was beginning to worry that I was finding myself agreeing with what joeldshore was writing. But then he wrote this :-)

    Higher pressure does indeed mean more radiation absorbed but not because there must be more GHGs (your assumption). Higher pressure doesn’t mean a broadening of the absorption lines except where you have more GHGs (your assumption again) Absorption is what it is. The so called “broadening” is simply due to increasing probability it will be absorbed as it passes through the atmosphere where there are more GHGs in the way.

    After all absorption is pretty much complete within 10’s of meters in the earth’s atmosphere. Adding a couple of hundred ppm CO2 for example, doesn’t appreciably change that.

    No, the atmosphere will be warmer because emission reduces. Instead of having time to radiate, the GHGs pass off more energy towards the atmosphere (when it is thicker) through collision. The ERL depends not only on the amount of GHG above but also on the rate of emission and that increases with decreasing collision rates (ie thinner atmosphere)

  283. Stephen 12:43am – “Once lift off occurs then the absorption capabilities of mass via conduction take over and from that point render radiative absorption capabilities irrelevant..”

    Again, Lord Kelvin 1862 paper points out atm. convective energy transfer takes over, is dominate. His work is still good today. I observe some Stephen thinking progress on the magnificent climate heat engine in this thread though.

    So Stephen et. al. imagines an Ar atm. beginnings. Think about the feeble Ar DWIR, esp. at night. The UWIR, feeble emission to space from stratosphere. Think about the feeble solar absorption by the Ar atm. Consider the differences from today’s baseline radiative, convective, conductive energy transfer theory affects on near surface equilibrium Tmean, troposphere Tmean and stratosphere Tmean.

    Now consider (in Stephen’s case imagine) exchanging from Ar considerable O2, N2, CO2, CH4 and their IR active bands in the mix on all the control volume Tmeans. Especially consider (imagine) what happens to earth’s BB curve scenes looking down as observed by the earth Argonite’s satellite instrumentation as their climate changes due O2,N2,CO2 et. al. accumulation. Consider how the temporal and spatial averages change, how the theoretical effective emission level changes, how atm. layer opacity changes.

    Happy holiday thinking cap for y’all.

  284. ***
    lsvalgaard says:
    December 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    If you have a completely transparent atmosphere that doesn’t absorb anything, you might as well not have any atmosphere at all. I was under the false assumption that we were somehow talking about real planets with H2O, CO2, CH4, NH3, O3, etc…
    ***

    I’d agree — every atmosphere in our solar system has at least traces of CO2, H2O, methane, etc, including the gas giants. Doubt if “pure” non-GHG atmospheres can exist, given that the GHG gases are so ubiquitous, at least in trace amounts.

  285. TB says:
    December 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Weather is highly chaotic and therefore unpredictable (beyond around 7 days at best).
    ———–

    Believe it or not, …. but one can predict a “change” in the current weather pattern, and be right more often than not, …. if one predicts that the current “hot spell” or “cold spell” will persist until the Full Moon comes in. (or the New Moon, I forget which)

  286. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 25, 2013 at 1:15 am

    A slight change to my terminology is needed.

    It is radiative emission capability that enables a gas molecule to lift off from a solid surface rather than the radiative absorption capability because it is that emission that enables the molecules to move further apart than would otherwise be permitted by the intermolecular attractive forces.

    I challenge you to find one single authority who claims that a gas must emit and absorb infrared in order to be gaseous. You’re just making things up at this point to try to salvage your claim. In fact, because it is monatomic, argon is almost a perfect non-emitter and non-absorber of infrared, and despite that it liquifies at -309°F, and boils at -302°F.

    In other words, you’re not only grasping at straws, you are manufacturing straws to grasp at.

    w.

  287. “I challenge you to find one single authority who claims that a gas must emit and absorb infrared in order to be gaseous. ”

    Can you say what makes it gaseous then?

    If energy is transferred only by conduction then it remains a solid.

    On the face of it some sort of energy transfer other than conduction must be needed to overcome the intermolecular attractive force to make it gaseous and then keep it as gaseous.

    I’m not grasping at or making straws, I am looking for answers.

    The radiative capability of all matter, however small that radiative capability might be, seems to be the only option available.

    Since all matter has some radiative capability there is always a temperature at which any solid will vaporise.

  288. TimTheToolMan says:
    December 25, 2013 at 1:29 am

    After all absorption is pretty much complete within 10′s of meters in the earth’s atmosphere. Adding a couple of hundred ppm CO2 for example, doesn’t appreciably change that.

    Thanks, Tim. People have this mistaken idea that IR is like light, and that once it is absorbed the game is over. They say things like “It’s like piling sand on a flashlight. Once the light is covered, more sand does nothing at all.” And you are correct that after some tens of metres, almost all absorption is complete.

    But since the IR is usually absorbed and re-radiated more than once as it makes its way out of the atmosphere, adding more CO2 definitely changes the picture. This is because increasing the CO2 concentration increases the average number of times that the IR will be absorbed on its path through the atmosphere, which increases the poorly named “greenhouse effect”.

    In other words, the idea that once the radiation is absorbed the game is over is only true for visible light. For IR, it’s not true in the slightest.

    w.

  289. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 25, 2013 at 9:18 am

    “I challenge you to find one single authority who claims that a gas must emit and absorb infrared in order to be gaseous. ”

    Can you say what makes it gaseous then?

    If energy is transferred only by conduction then it remains a solid.

    Thanks, Steven. I’ll take that to mean that you don’t have any authorities to back up your claim.

    What makes things gaseous is that their temperature is increased (in whatever manner) until the thermal energy is enough to shake the atoms loose from the forces that bind them into either a liquid or a solid. The amount of energy required differs depending on the binding forces. Since argon is an inert monatomic gas, the forces binding it as a liquid are quite weak, and so it doesn’t take much energy to convert it from a liquid to a gas. As a result, it gasifies at a very low temperature, -302F.

    Turning from a liquid to a gas has absolutely nothing to do, however, with IR radiation.

    All the best,

    w.

  290. beng says:
    December 25, 2013 at 6:23 am

    lsvalgaard says:
    December 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    If you have a completely transparent atmosphere that doesn’t absorb anything, you might as well not have any atmosphere at all. I was under the false assumption that we were somehow talking about real planets with H2O, CO2, CH4, NH3, O3, etc…

    I’d agree — every atmosphere in our solar system has at least traces of CO2, H2O, methane, etc, including the gas giants.

    Thanks, beng. I presented it as a “thought experiment”, not as an analogue of a real world. I want to make it clear why, if the atmosphere is transparent to IR (e.g. argon, which neither emits nor absorbs thermal IR), the pressure of the atmosphere alone cannot warm the planet. See my post called “A Matter of Some Gravity“.

    w.

  291. Samuel C Cogar says:
    December 25, 2013 at 8:21 am

    TB says:
    December 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    “Weather is highly chaotic and therefore unpredictable (beyond around 7 days at best).”

    Believe it or not, …. but one can predict a “change” in the current weather pattern, and be right more often than not, …. if one predicts that the current “hot spell” or “cold spell” will persist until the Full Moon comes in. (or the New Moon, I forget which)

    Sorry … I don’t believe that about the weather changing at some point in the lunar cycle. It’s not true, as far as I know, in anything but the most general sense, that of “persistence”.

    The “general sense” is that in the absence of any knowledge to help guide us, our best bet for the future is usually the past (persistence). That is to say, if you guess that tomorrow’s weather will be like today’s weather, over a year you’ll be right more than wrong. (Known as a “high lag-1 autocorrelation” for the math inclined).

    But bringing in the moon into the persistence forecast? Doubtful. The moon does have an effect on the weather, in particular through the existence of lunar tides in the atmosphere. It also affects the weather through ground-level “tidal winds”. Think about an area like Alaska, where the tide might swing 20′ (6 metres). All that air has to go somewhere, so you get tidal winds. They blow like the earth itself inhaling and exhaling, a long, slow, even breath, and they blow upriver on incoming tides, carrying the smell (and the temperature) of the ocean far inland.

    And I’ve sailed on the “moon wind”, the wind that blows across the moon’s “terminator line”. The lunar terminator line is the line between the area of the earth lit by moonlight, and the dark area of the earth where the moon is not above the horizon. The sun also has a terminator line, which we call either “sunrise” or “sunset” depending on which way we’re crossing that one line.

    And because the moonlight warms the earth, even though ever so slightly, there is a generally undetectable wind that blows across the lunar terminator line. You need very calm conditions, no wind and no waves at sea, or no wind and open land ashore, to be able to detect it. I’ve only ever seen the moon wind at moonrise, and never at moonset although it must blow then as well. I think the onset is stronger (warming from the light) at moonrise than is the cutoff (cooling from no light) when the moon is sinking, so I’d expect the moon wind to be stronger at moonrise.

    It occurs mostly in the week or so after full moon, and is easier to detect at sea. On a dead calm night at sea, after the night goes from pitch black to the increasing glow as the moon nears the underside of the horizon, the moon wind kicks up just before the upper edge of the moon first becomes visible. It lasts ten minutes or so, and then dies off again.

    Now, like most all winds, a “terminator wind” blows from the cold to the hot. So it always blows toward either the moon or the sun. In regards to the sun, these are called “dawn wind” and “dusk wind”. Dawn wind always blows toward the east, of course, and dusk wind towards the west. Naturally, the solar terminator winds blowing towards the sun are much, much stronger than the lunar terminator wind blowing towards the sun. I’ve only experienced the moon wind a few times in my life.

    So yes, predicting yesterday will be like today will win the bet more than half the time. And the moon affects the weather. But the weather doesn’t ‘turn’, whatever we might define that to mean, at a certain instant in the lunar cycle. Sadly, the world is not that simple.

    I would not be surprised, having said that, if different atmospheric conditions generally prevailed during times of high versus low atmospheric tides. I remember there was some work done on that a while back, but I haven’t heard much about it lately. Another victim of the CO2 craze … I’ll have to put that on my long, long list of things to investigate someday …

    Best regards,

    w.

  292. Trick says, December 24, 2013 at 6:57 pm:

    ““Whenever conduction/convection/evaporation enter the stage, their results are no longer valid. Because the situation is no longer a BB in a vacuum situation.”

    A vacuum situation is not an assumption in the Planck or S-B derivation, only that the system be in thermal equilibrium, convex which is the usual reasonable assumption for sun, earth, atm. system over eons.
    This BB necess. emitting to vacuum seems to be a popular misconception, the source of which I have not been able to track down. Neither of your links notes a vacuum requirement or any link I can find and it is not mentioned as a requirement in Planck 1914, Brehm 1989 or Bohren 2006.”

    OK, I’ll explain a bit closer.

    No, there is no necessity of a vacuum. But if you read what I wrote in full I said it requires EITHER a vacuum (no temperature at all) OR surroundings that are much, much colder than the object in question.

    Then read the hyperphysics pages I linked to. They’re very interesting and revealing. Why do they keep talking about hot objects and not just objects? Because in a real situation, like on Earth, the object needs to be hot to be a pure radiatior. In space it is surrounded by a vacuum (which practically does not have a temperature), so there the object does not need to be hot in order to be a pure radiator. Earth as a planet in space would be a good example.

    Now, compare the actual Stefan-Boltzmann equation: P/A = s T^4 (P/A = e s T^4 for gray bodies) with the radiative heat transfer equation: P/A = e s (T_1^4 – T_2^4).

    The former describes a BB or a GB in a vacuum or in surroundings that are much, much colder than the object in question. This way (and ONLY in these ideal situations) the radiation being emitted from the object can be deduced directly from its temperature (and emissivity).

    The latter, however, is different. There we can no longer assume that the radiation being emitted from the warm object can be directly derived from its own temperature alone. Here the temperature of the surroundings (or nearby objects) comes into play in addition. Because this temperature is close enough to the object’s temperature to make a difference. The warm object is no longer a pure radiator.

    In the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, the temperature gradient away from the object can be considered infinitely steep. In the heat transfer equation it is less so. Hence, the emitted radiative flux from the warm object (P/A) will be less than ideal, less than the maximum potential. It is no longer what the Stefan-Boltzmann equation says it CAN be.

    P/A is the radiation going from the warm object to its cooler surroundings. P/A is the radiative flux that we actually physically detect. Remember, this is what the definition of HEAT is, simply the energy transferred from hot to cold. That is the radiative flux. P/A. Power over area. W/m^2. J/s/m^2.

    T^4 is NOT a radiative flux, neither in the S-B nor in the heat transfer equation. That is just the temperature of the object raised to the fourth power. It doesn’t mean or signify anything physical on its own. It’s an abstract expression utilised only to obtain the actual radiative flux, P/A.

    For the surface of the Earth, then, if it holds a temperature of 288K, then we can’t just say that it emits a radiative flux of 390 W/m^2. Because it doesn’t. We can’t use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation in this case. Because the Earth’s surface is NOT a black or a gray body in a vacuum, neither is it a surface much, much hotter than its nearest surroundings. The temperature gradient away from the surface is far from infinitely steep. The surroundings have a temperature that matters.

    Accordingly, we have to apply the equation for radiative heat transfer instead. Doing so, we find that the REAL radiative flux from the global surface of the Earth is somewhere between 50 and 60 W/m^2, where only about 30 go to the atmosphere.

    So, the 50-60 W/m^2 of radiative flux from the surface doesn’t mean its temperature is a mere 175-180 Kelvin. It means the temperature gradient away from it is such that it doesn’t allow more to be emitted.

    As you can hopefully see, as you move from the ideal-situation Stefan-Boltzmann equation to the more real-world radiative heat transfer equation, then we also move from direct (to the fourth) dependency on the emitting object’s temperature to direct (to the fourth) dependency on the temperature difference between the emitting object and its surroundings. That is a very different proposition.

    And this is where the misconception lies. The Earth’s surface doesn’t emit 390 W/m^2 by necessity, receiving back 330-340 W/m^2 from the atmosphere. That’s not how it works. That’s simply based on a misinterpretation of the heat transfer equation, where one mistakes the T^4 elements as real fluxes that flow in the opposite direction from one another (as IF the surface and the atmosphere were separately radiating as in the S-B equation into a 0 K vacuum – they’re NOT).

    There is nothing in that equation that says anything about two opposite fluxes. It only describes ONE flow of energy, the P/A. And this always and exclusively goes from hot to cold. The HEAT.

  293. Willis,

    I see that we were at cross purposes in that I was considering he entire radiative spectrum whereas you referred to the IR bands.

    Nonetheless my point remains that once a gas molecule lifts off the surface then the conductive energy transfers involving the entire mass of those molecules are magnitudes greater than the radiative transfers, even for GHGs, so the radiative considerations fade into insignificance.

    It is the conductive exchange which keeps the surface warmer than S-B with S-B only needing to be satisfied at some point above the surface.

  294. Kristian said:

    “As you can hopefully see, as you move from the ideal-situation Stefan-Boltzmann equation to the more real-world radiative heat transfer equation, then we also move from direct (to the fourth) dependency on the emitting object’s temperature to direct (to the fourth) dependency on the temperature difference between the emitting object and its surroundings. That is a very different proposition.”

    I like the sound of that.

    A planet with an atmosphere does not and cannot have the same surface temperature as a planet without an atmosphere and the conductive / convective process does interfere with the S-B equation which applies only to a planet without an atmosphere.

    The effect of conductive / convective activity resulting far more from mass than radiative capability is to shift surface thermal behaviour away from the S-B narrative.

    In the process the location that S-B must be applied is raised off the solid surface to some point within the atmosphere.

  295. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 25, 2013 at 4:38 pm (Edit)

    Willis,

    I see that we were at cross purposes in that I was considering he entire radiative spectrum whereas you referred to the IR bands.

    Nonetheless my point remains that once a gas molecule lifts off the surface then the conductive energy transfers involving the entire mass of those molecules are magnitudes greater than the radiative transfers, even for GHGs, so the radiative considerations fade into insignificance.

    It is the conductive exchange which keeps the surface warmer than S-B with S-B only needing to be satisfied at some point above the surface.

    Thanks, Steven. First, argon neither absorbs nor emits thermal IR. So in my planet with an argon atmosphere, the only thing radiating the heat back to space is the surface.

    And this means that the surface cannot be “warmer than S-B”, because if it were warmer, it would EMIT MORE RADIATION THAN IT IS RECEIVING on a constant basis … and that is simply not possible in a universe burdened by the hugely unfair Second Law of Thermodynamics … me, I think we should hold a Constitutional Convention to repeal the Second Law, it never did us any good anyhow …

    w.

  296. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm
    ———————————————-
    Willis,
    Thank you for your response to my question.

    It was not intended as a trick question, and you are correct that water vapour would of course be dominant in the process both in driving buoyant uplift and later allowing radiative energy/buoyancy loss and subsidence of air masses. CO2 and other non condensing radiative gases play a minor role in radiative cooling, most notable in the descending limbs of tropospheric circulation cells.

    So for the question –

    “Without radiative gases, would strong vertical tropospheric convective circulation cease with the bulk of the resultant stagnant atmosphere trending isothermal through gas conduction?”

    So far my results are –

    Dr. Roy Spencer (sceptic) “Yes”
    Willis Eschenbach (sceptic) “Yes”
    Konrad (sceptic) “Yes”

    Nick Stokes (AGW believer) “No”
    Tim Folkerts (AGW believer) “No”
    Joel Shore (AGW believer) “No”
    “Trick” (AGW believer) “No”
    Doug Cotton (Slayer) “No”
    Davidmhoffer (lukewarmer) “No”
    “TB” (AGW believer) “No”
    Stephen Wilde (Sceptic) “No”

    The next question of course would be what would this mean for a non-radiative atmosphere above a desert planet. And for this the following statement is relevant –

    “For a gas column in a gravity field, the relative height of energy entry and exit from the column is critical to determining the average temperature of the gas column.” – K.

    (note – it has taken “Trick” over a year to concede that the above statement was true, which should give some indication of it’s importance.)

  297. My closure on this thread: I consider Piers Corbyn to be a pioneering experimentalist, trying to apply science in every sense, good bad and ugly. I looked over his older forecasts from previous years, and I’m aware of his making adjustments in his forecasts in response to criticisms. I see the successes in the spite of the forecast mistakes and misstatements. If you were in his shoes trying to get a new way of doing forecasting off the ground, you may be prone to some of the same issues. Many things in his forecasts are a matter of interpretation, and some plain wrong at times.

    In the last 24 hours or so I’ve seen a lot of people claim someone else here misinterpreted or mischaracterized their points in this particular blog. I’ve seen emotional reactions with a lot of bluster to these perceived slights and so on from more than person here. I think some of you aren’t being fair to each other or Piers. That’s the way it is. Never-ending personality conflicts.

    Piers is not an object of hero-worship for me or other customers. We respect his efforts in breaking new ground. Like it or not, we here are all on the same team, aren’t we? Then’s it time to pull together, leave animus behind, and rally behind what we know is true: IT’s THE SUN, not CO2 that drives the weather and climate.

    This past three months especially have been very interesting weather-wise, and in a desire to understand the solar-earth connections better myself, and to get a handle on the success of his methods, I have been documenting spaceweather and earth weather for that period, and I’m evaluating those forecasts with all the data I can muster together in a video style format, to be completed and released on my new YT channel hopefully first week in January. Time is short for us politically, and want to get my thoughts out to this free-thinking free-wheeling blog to get your thoughts, which have I valued for over six years, in the hope of making a difference just like all of you.

    I am an electrical engineer. I troubleshoot lots of things, including weather-climate issues. Looking back over the solar wind history and extreme weather event history has been very revealing. So many good examples of outside forcing of weather to talk about, I can’t wait to get it all out ASAP.

    This effort I am making is specifically about MY ideas regarding the weather and climate, and they are not dependent on Piers’ successes or failures. Trying to smear him to smear me is narcissistic behaviour. That’s what warmists do. DON’T BEHAVE LIKE THEM! Until or unless some one provides me with a name of someone who is objectively better, Piers is it.

  298. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    A planet with an atmosphere does not and cannot have the same surface temperature as a planet without an atmosphere and the conductive / convective process does interfere with the S-B equation which applies only to a planet without an atmosphere.

    1. Yes, a superconducting planet (or one heated by a thousand evenly spaced suns) with an argon atmosphere will have the same surface temperature as if it had no atmosphere at all. This is because the atmosphere plays no part in the heat loss, which is only from the surface, and because the atmosphere and surface don’t exchange any energy.

    2. Where on earth did you get the idea that the S-B equation is only valid in a vacuum? As far as I can find, that’s not true in the slightest. A citation to your source would be useful

    w.

    PS—You are correct that for example, if we added an argon atmosphere to the moon, it would end up warmer than it is now.

    This is for a curious reason. Adding an argon atmosphere to the moon won’t change its radiation properties, or push it above the S-B calcs. But the atmosphere will circulate, driven by the pressure differential that creates terminator winds.

    This circulating argon atmosphere will transfer energy by conduction/convection from the equator to the poles, cooling the equator and warming the poles by the same amount of energy.

    Here’s the curious part. During the day, the moon’s surface gets up to about 90°C, and at night it goes down to -180°C. So we’d say that the temperature average is about -45°C, dang cold.

    But the moon gets the same solar radiation as the earth, about 340 W/m2, with an equivalent blackbody temperature of about 5°C. So why isn’t the moon at 5°C? It’s because the radiation varies as the temperature to the fourth power. Because of that, any variation in the surface temperature will lead to a lower overall average temperature.

    Now, 90°C ( ≈ 360K) gives a blackbody radiation of about a thousand watts per square meter (W/m2) … and -180°C ( ≈ 90K) gives off a whopping 4 W/m2. Since the temperatures vary by a factor of 4 (90K to 360K), the radiation varies by a factor of 16.

    And as a result of that, anything that reduces either the day/night or the equator/poles temperature difference will raise the average temperature. In particular, if we transfer a packet of energy X from the equator to the poles, despite the fact that the total energy content of the system is totally unchanged, it will increase the average temperature …

    What a planet.

  299. Willis writes “Yes, a superconducting planet (or one heated by a thousand evenly spaced suns) with an argon atmosphere will have the same surface temperature as if it had no atmosphere at all.”

    And just above Steven wrote “It is the conductive exchange which keeps the surface warmer than S-B with S-B only needing to be satisfied at some point above the surface.”

    Its pretty clear the Argon will warm via conduction and although it will play no part in radiative effects, when the sun is on the other side of the planet, the warmer Argon atmosphere will be conducting its energy back to the planet which Willis has said is [thermally] superconducting and so that will indeed contribute to the surface temperature on the other side.

    If you’re going to put forward a thought experiment, you may as well explore it fully ;-)

  300. I think it is interesting discussing atm. science in context of the atm. magnificent heat engine based on the text books and published papers. Here’s what caught my interest since last post. I like to give a clip of a post not the whole text b/c the whole text is right there to ref. in the thread.

    Kristian 3:45pm: “But if you read what I wrote in full…”

    I did. I commented on an interesting part of it. There is no requirement in derivation and application of Planck’s law or S-B for either a vacuum or surroundings much, much colder than the object in question that I can find in the text books I mentioned. So your long post fails to agree with even Planck himself in his own writings. It is too long to parse.

    Specifically Planck, Brehm, Bohren formulas all calculate the avg. global surface of the earth at Tmean around 288K emits around 396 W/m^2 give or take not 50-60 W/m^2 so I don’t buy your arguments.

    Earth surface instrumentation looking down measures every day in the range of 396 UWIR nowhere near constantly 50-60. So ~396 comes from theory and experiment & adds up across many authors & experimentalists in the field where 50-60 does not.

    ******

    Willis 5:41pm: “..despite the fact that the total energy content of the system is totally unchanged, it will increase the average temperature …”

    This obviously fails 1st law. Are you just creating energy from nothing to raise the Tmean or what in the world do you really mean?

    “But the moon gets the same solar radiation as the earth, about 340 W/m2 with an equivalent blackbody temperature of about 5°C. So why isn’t the moon at 5°C?”

    The moon BB temperature is –2.45C (270.7K) based on the bond albedo of 11 and the 340 W/m^2. Believe they ~confirm this from Diviner mission measuring soil surface and in situ a few cm down in the soil where the surface T swings are largely eliminated.

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/moonfact.html

    Willis 5:02pm: “First, argon neither absorbs nor emits thermal IR.”

    All matter .GT. 0K emits and absorbs IR. Argon is matter. In natural systems .GT. 0K, argon absorbs and emits IR but rather feebly.

    This is why they can’t get to 0K experimentally; pumping down to only a few nanoKs above 0K is currently possible.

    “…me, I think we should hold a Constitutional Convention to repeal the Second Law, it never did us any good anyhow …”

    The 1st law is ok with with unforced macro energy flow cold to hot as long as energy is conserved. The 2nd law is needed to stop that nonsense. 2nd law can’t be repealed for that reason.

    If you read the history of the 2nd law, Sadie Carnot almost had it developing his cycles, all he needed to do was write it down. Then all the post-Carnot thermo. theorists in 1800s became more and more concerned the 1st law was ok with macro cold to hot and invented the 2nd law to eliminate their concern. Clausius wrote it down as you know.

    “Entropy is a virus that has escaped from the laboratory and infected many people who are not scientists, especially people with a literary bent.” – Bohren 1998 p. 135. I recommend reading the whole passage.

    “…students rarely find energy so formidable as entropy.” No kidding. However entropy is a very elegant concept in science, not so much in literary applications.

    ******

    Stephen 4:46pm: “…the S-B equation which applies only to a planet without an atmosphere.”

    You are backsliding on me. There is no such constraint found in modern text books. Or even ancient ones after invention of S-B.

    Stephen 9:18am: “..I am looking for answers.”

    Please Stephen, do as I have long recommended, conquer the pre-req.s, read the basic atm. thermo. and atm. radiation modern text books and find your answers. Take a few long winters nights. It just can’t hurt a dang thing to do so. Get them for free from the library. I continue to be astonished that you don’t.

  301. Actually I’m going to reverse my previous decision on this and suggest that Willis is correct.

    In my clarifying thought experiment I simply got rid of the suns. They were distracting. And instead I considered an internally powered thermally superconducting planet whose non-changing power output was such that the plant attained a temperature of say 300K.

    Then add the cool argon atmosphere and the surface temperature will drop until conduction has warmed the atmosphere to also be 300K and thereafter conduction down will equal conduction up with no resulting change in overall temperature.

    It doesn’t matter how thick the atmosphere is, once both atmosphere and planet reach the same temperature, net conduction is zero and can have no impact on the planet’s overall temperature.

  302. Trick says:
    December 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm (replying to)

    Kristian says:
    December 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm (replying to)

    Trick says, December 24, 2013 at 6:57 pm:

    ““Whenever conduction/convection/evaporation enter the stage, their results are no longer valid. Because the situation is no longer a BB in a vacuum situation.”

    ….

    Then read the hyperphysics pages I linked to. They’re very interesting and revealing. Why do they keep talking about hot objects and not just objects? Because in a real situation, like on Earth, the object needs to be hot to be a pure [radiator]. In space it is surrounded by a vacuum (which practically does not have a temperature), so there the object does not need to be hot in order to be a pure radiator. Earth as a planet in space would be a good example.

    Now, compare the actual Stefan-Boltzmann equation: P/A = s T^4 (P/A = e s T^4 for gray bodies) with the radiative heat transfer equation: P/A = e s (T_1^4 – T_2^4).

    OK. So, real world situation, real world matter, real world atmosphere – that “is” what we must deal with, right? That “is” what we are measuring, right?

    So, at today’s 400 ppm Co2 levels, today’s atmosphere, in the Arctic.

    If clouds are present at 3,000 meters, 20,000 meters and thinner, wispy ones above that level, , what temperature is the real-world ice radiating “into” if the ice surface is at -25 C? Gray bodies all, real-world emissivity on all, real world conditions at noon at latitude 85 north on the solstice at Dec 22?

    What are the actual radiation heat transfer constants to be used in what equation? (Yes, it would be dark: I’m requesting you get out of argon-filled Einstein thought-experiments and do the real engineering to produce real results.)

    Now, same latitude, a few nights later. “Perfectly clear” star-filled night with no wind, no haze, no clouds. Open ocean surface at +2 degrees C, black night air at -35 degrees (or is it “space” at 0 K ?) . How much energy is radiated into “what” temperature?

  303. Trick says, December 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm:

    “There is no requirement in derivation and application of Planck’s law or S-B for either a vacuum or surroundings much, much colder than the object in question that I can find in the text books I mentioned. So your long post fails to agree with even Planck himself in his own writings. It is too long to parse.”

    Hehe, well if you had parsed it, you would’ve discovered that I explain why the S-B equation requires a vacuum or surroundings much, much colder than the warm object. Again, did you read the hyperphysics links? It seems you didn’t. Much more convenient then to just say there are too many words, so I can’t be bothered to even consider what you’re writing.

    “Specifically Planck, Brehm, Bohren formulas all calculate the avg. global surface of the earth at Tmean around 288K emits around 396 W/m^2 give or take not 50-60 W/m^2 so I don’t buy your arguments.”

    Ah, so their formulas calculate a flux of 396 W/m^2. Yes, impressive circular reasoning.

    “Earth surface instrumentation looking down measures every day in the range of 396 UWIR nowhere near constantly 50-60. So ~396 comes from theory and experiment & adds up across many authors & experimentalists in the field where 50-60 does not.”

    Sigh, do we have to go through that whole pyrgeometer thing AGAIN? THEY DO NOT MEASURE IN THE MEANING DETECT A FLUX OF 396 W/m^2, TRICK! It is purely internally calculated, specifically based on the misconception I described in my last post. What is detected is the HEAT, the P/A, the energy actually transferred from the higher-temperature surface towards the lower-temperature atmosphere as a result of the temperature difference. And then knowing the surface temperature, it’s pretty easy to derive an assumed downward and upward component of the actual flux up. But these are still only assumed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrgeometer#Measurement_of_long_wave_downward_radiation

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/pyrgeometers-untangled/

  304. TimTheToolMan says, December 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm:

    “It doesn’t matter how thick the atmosphere is, once both atmosphere and planet reach the same temperature, net conduction is zero and can have no impact on the planet’s overall temperature.”

    Read my two replies to Konrad on this thread:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/21/the-magnificent-climate-heat-engine/#comment-1511573

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/21/the-magnificent-climate-heat-engine/#comment-1512113

    You cannot make an atmosphere around a planet isothermal just like that.

    The only thing that matters in addition to the solar input, is the atmospheric weight on the surface. That is what in the end will determine the surface temperature.

  305. Kristian 8:37pm:

    Again, did you read the hyperphysics links? It seems you didn’t.

    Find “vacuum”. Find “much”. No matches found.

    Yes, I did read them. Nothing about vacuum or surroundings much, much colder in either. What was too long was your text and eqn.s. Therein is a disagreement with the text books I ref. You wrote it, way easier for you to find where the disagreement resides. And let us know.

    “THEY DO NOT MEASURE IN THE MEANING DETECT A FLUX OF 396 W/m^2, TRICK!”

    Shouting won’t help me. Thermometers “do not measure in the meaning detect a” temperature of 288K either. So Kristian must really be lost. Thermometer’s readers usually observe the response of a pool of mercury which is calibrated exactly in the manner of a pyrgeometer. Sometimes thermometers use a coiled spring also calibrated to move a pointer exactly in the manner of a mercury thermometer.

    I am hard-pressed to think of any instrument where “THEY DO MEASURE IN THE MEANING DETECT (insert physical item)”. A bathroom scale is calibrated to measure weight on earth. Apparently Kristian doesn’t believe any instrumentation. Yet a car engine starts, warms up, drives. They blast off rockets with payloads past Pluto close enough. My computer works, doesn’t fry the processor. My bathroom scale is close enough. Where is the secret Kristian instrumentation w/o misconception they used to design & then build such energy flow stuff that measures w/o any calibration?

    Come to think of it, Boeing builds and flies the 1st airplane S/N 0001. Pilots must believe the instrument calibrations are good enough & without misconceptions.

  306. RACookPE1978 says, December 25, 2013 at 8:15 pm:

    “If clouds are present at 3,000 meters, 20,000 meters and thinner, wispy ones above that level, , what temperature is the real-world ice radiating “into” if the ice surface is at -25 C? Gray bodies all, real-world emissivity on all, real world conditions at noon at latitude 85 north on the solstice at Dec 22?”

    Precisely. We cannot know the atmospheric temperature towards which the surface is radiating. We can’t measure the average. So we only know and detect the flux actually going out, the HEAT. And the surface temperature. From this we can then calculate the assumed flux radiated down from the ‘average’ atmosphere to the surface. According to the misused S-B equation, then, the global atmosphere is radiating down to the surface from an average emission temperature of around 278K (5C). What kind of mean temperature is that? It is 10 degrees cooler than the global surface of the Earth. So it can’t be the nearest air layer. But it’s 23 degrees warmer than the postulated ‘effective radiating level’ 5 kilometres up. Let’s say the air layer just above the surface is on average 2-3 degrees cooler than the actual surface. Then the estimated atmospheric radiating level down to the surface from above would be situated 1-1.2 km up.

    In reality, the surface radiates upward along a temperature gradient rather than an absolute difference in temperature between two specific layers. This is the reason why the surface radiates less in humid than in arid conditions, or when clouds cover the sky. Because the temperature gradient from the surface up through the air column above is reduced.

    On a global scale, though, the temperature gradient away from the surface is set by the adiabatic lapse rate. Which is a product only of 1) the atmosphere’s specific heat capacity, 2) Earth’s gravitational acceleration, and 3) the H2O release of latent heat in the air column. The observed global environmental lapse rate (-6.5K/km) is maintained at or around the quasi-moist adiabatic lapse rate through the constant interplay between the direct coupling of solar surface heating and convection. Best seen in the tropical oceans.

    This will not change easily.

  307. Kristian 8:47pm: “The only thing that matters in addition to the solar input, is the atmospheric weight on the surface. That is what in the end will determine the surface temperature.”

    Here, knock yourself out Kristian, with g=9.8m/sec/sec:

    Earth Solar irradiance 1367.6 W/m^2 current epoch
    Atm. mass = 5.15×10^18 kg

    Determine the surface temperature.

  308. Kristian writes “You cannot make an atmosphere around a planet isothermal just like that.”

    Not a “normal” atmosphere, no. But this is an all Argon atmosphere over a thermally superconducting planet. Its a thought experiment and initially a temperature inversion will occur as the warmer Argon moves to the top of the atmosphere but eventually when all the Argon has attained the 300K (from my example) then it will be isothermal.

    Specifically what process in this thought experiment atmosphere do you believe will change that?

  309. Brian H writes “Even your ideal argon atmosphere will leak heat from the top by boiling off mass. ”

    Of course. And it will still radiate some too. Reality has no place in Willis’ though experiments, though. His point was to explore a no-GHG, thick atmosphere ;-)

  310. Trick says:
    December 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Willis 5:41pm: “..despite the fact that the total energy content of the system is totally unchanged, it will increase the average temperature …”

    This obviously fails 1st law. Are you just creating energy from nothing to raise the Tmean or what in the world do you really mean?

    Since energy is neither created nor destroyed, the energy content of the system is unchanged, and the First Law is upheld. The First Law says nothing about what the resulting temperature might be.

    This apparent anomaly occurs because temperature is not conserved, but energy is conserved.

    In addition, the energy varies as temperature to the fourth power. As a result, different arrangements of the same amount of energy flux will have different resultant average temperatures.

    I go over all of this in “The Moon Is A Cold Mistress“, you might enjoy a romp through it.

    Best regards,

    w.

  311. ” TimTheToolMan says:
    December 25, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Kristian writes “You cannot make an atmosphere around a planet isothermal just like that.”

    Not a “normal” atmosphere, no. But this is an all Argon atmosphere over a thermally superconducting planet. Its a thought experiment and initially a temperature inversion will occur as the warmer Argon moves to the top of the atmosphere but eventually when all the Argon has attained the 300K (from my example) then it will be isothermal.

    Specifically what process in this thought experiment atmosphere do you believe will change that?”

    If you have differnce of elevation of say 10,000 meters, do imagine the temperature will be the same at 10,000 meter elevation as compare to 2 meter elevation.
    Or are saying there will be an adiabatic lapse rate?

  312. Trick says, December 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm:

    “Here, knock yourself out Kristian, with g=9.8m/sec/sec:
    Earth Solar irradiance 1367.6 W/m^2 current epoch
    Atm. mass = 5.15×10^18 kg
    Determine the surface temperature.”

    Trick. This is why discussing anything with you is a waste of time.

    TSI: 1362 W/m^2. Atmospheric content of so-called GHGs: >0.5%.

    Determine the surface temperature. Have a ball.

    Trick, there is no ‘surface temperature formula’.

  313. Trick says, December 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm:

    “Find “vacuum”. Find “much”. No matches found.”

    Right.

  314. TimTheToolMan says, December 25, 2013 at 10:43 pm:

    “Not a “normal” atmosphere, no. But this is an all Argon atmosphere over a thermally superconducting planet. Its a thought experiment and initially a temperature inversion will occur as the warmer Argon moves to the top of the atmosphere but eventually when all the Argon has attained the 300K (from my example) then it will be isothermal.

    Specifically what process in this thought experiment atmosphere do you believe will change that?”

    In other words, you didn’t read my replies to Konrad which I linked to.

  315. gbaikie says “Or are saying there will be an adiabatic lapse rate?”

    Why do you think there needs to be an adiabatic lapse rate (at equilibrium in the Willis’ thought experiment atmosphere)? It is possible to have a gas at say 300K, at all ranges of pressure. At equilibrium the gas wont be moving so there are no parcels rising, dropping pressure and cooling.

    The key is that once energy gets into the thought experiment atmosphere, it stays there. In real life, of course, the atmosphere is cooling and this makes all the difference.

  316. Trick says:
    “I am hard-pressed to think of any instrument where “THEY DO MEASURE IN THE MEANING DETECT (insert physical item)”. A bathroom scale is calibrated to measure weight on earth. Apparently Kristian doesn’t believe any instrumentation. Yet a car engine starts, warms up, drives. They blast off rockets with payloads past Pluto close enough. My computer works, doesn’t fry the processor. My bathroom scale is close enough. Where is the secret Kristian instrumentation w/o misconception they used to design & then build such energy flow stuff that measures w/o any calibration?”

    So when you simply calculate something based on an assumed concept, then this something is all of a sudden physically detected in your world. It’s real. It’s as real as the phenomena actually being detected and which is the basis for the calculation. Good luck with that.

    You truly are a strange one.

    Please read again how pyrgeometers DETECT the heat (the actual, physical flow of energy) and CALCULATE the ASSUMED upward and downward components of this actual upward energy flow – I provided you with a couple of links.

    That you seem unable to see the difference speaks volumes.

  317. Kristian wrote “In other words, you didn’t read my replies to Konrad which I linked to.”

    I did actually. Your points are all valid until equilibrium is reached OR the atmosphere is cooling. But this thought experiment is where equilibrium has been reached (and the atmosphere is isothermal) and does not cool.

  318. Brian H says:
    December 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Willis;
    90^4 = 65,610,000 and 360^4 = 16,796,160,000. 1679616/6561 = 256, not 16. Or 4^4 = 256.

    Yeah, I thought of that today. You’re right, I was moving too fast. The radiation varies by a factor of 256, no 16, as I’d said.

    w.

  319. How can energy at a solid surface be used for two purposes simultaneously ?

    Energy radiated is not available for conduction and energy used for conduction is not available for radiation.

    To assert otherwise as Willis and AGW proponents do is to breach the law of conservation of energy, surely?

    I think the only solution is to separate the effective radiating height from the height at which the temperature is such that S-B is satisfied.

    As far as I can tell everyone has been treating them as one and the same.

    Thus for a completely radiatively inert atmosphere the effective radiating height must always be the surface but nonetheless because heat is still being conducted upward and there is still a decline in temperature with height, up to and beyond the height at which S-B is satisfied, that S-B height is then off the ground.

    What the addition of radiative gases then achieves must be to also lift the effective radiating level off he ground to bring the effective radiating level closer in height to the height at which S-B is satisfied.

    If ALL energy transfers were radiative with no conduction at all then both the effective radiating height and the S-B height would be together at the surface.There could be no atmosphere with any mass capable of absorbing via conduction.

    The more conduction there is the wider the two heights separate as the S-B level rises independently of the effective radiating level.

    The more radiative gases there are the more the two heights move back together as the effective radiation level also lifts off the surface towards the higher S-B level.

    The outcome of the shifting balance between the two heights is shifting air circulation patterns (via density variations induced by uneven conduction) and thus climate changes but any climate changes arising from radiation variations are infinitesimal because the main driver of the so called greenhouse effect is atmospheric mass absorbing energy by conduction and the radiative component is trivial in comparison.

  320. The logical summation must be that at any height below the effective radiating level the radiation emanating from the surface ‘leaks’ away into conduction to the mass of the atmosphere (from the surface) such that by the time one reaches the S-B level the maximum conducting capability of atmospheric mass has been achieved leaving the remaining outward radiative flux equal to the incoming radiative flux.

    Mods, was it my use of capitals in my 2.16am post that put it into the moderation queue?

  321. ” Trick says:
    December 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Kristian 8:47pm: “The only thing that matters in addition to the solar input, is the atmospheric weight on the surface. That is what in the end will determine the surface temperature.”

    Here, knock yourself out Kristian, with g=9.8m/sec/sec:

    Earth Solar irradiance 1367.6 W/m^2 current epoch
    Atm. mass = 5.15×10^18 kg

    Determine the surface temperature.”

    With Earth oceans the average depth is 4000 meter. If instead Earth was exactly the same
    except the oceans 2000 meters lower [about 1/2 ocean were removed]. This would effectively rise the elevation of land by 2000 meters. And therefore land temperature would cool on average by about 12 C or more. Whereas Ocean temperatures would change little. The only significant effect upon oceans and how they affect global temperature is there slightly less Ocean surface area and land area would increase. This higher percentage land vs Ocean area would decrease average temperature by 1 to 5 C. But without the decrease ratio of ocean vs land, the 12 C cooling of land would not have much affect upon average global temperature as land would a small percent of total global surface area. Or including the lower ratio ocean to land and including the lowering of land area temperature by about 12 C, global average would be lower by about 5 C. Increasing the ocean deep by doubling current depth, increase average temperature by more than 5 C as one would have less land area. And also what land remained would be warmer [not that this matters] and all polar ice caps would cease to exist. And polar caps could not form.
    So there variation unrelated to amount atmosphere. Or average global temperature would 10 degrees variation depended amount water.
    Or variations could be highest land surface skin temperature of land varying by within 75 to 85 C.
    Varying levels or amount of ocean and effect on land elevation would affect skin max skin temperature by a few degrees. Types gases in atmosphere might also effect max land surface temperature by couple of degree. But such changes would not affect global temperature or
    have much effect on various local conditions. The type of land also could affect highest skin temperature. But all these factors would probably fall within the range of max land surface temperature being within 75 to 85 C. Though quite exotic changes in material of the land could get highest skin temperature outside these ranges, particularly in regards possible lower to cooler part of range.
    In terms of variation in ocean temperature. I don’t know of anything which would make ocean temperatures much warmer. Solar ponds have been reported to get a temperature above 90 C.
    And I don’t how you improve that. If made ocean less crystal clear that lower their ability to absorb sunlight- and majority of our oceans are crystal clear. I think they work better than solar ponds. One could easily increase their surface temperature. Cover them with tar, but that lower global temperature in long term, but on temporary basis [say less than 10 years] one make the ocean skin temperature equal land surface temperature. And therefore short term
    drive global air temperature up tens of C. But without such temporary fixes one is confined to surface ocean reaching a maximum temperature of about 40 C- which quite a bit warmer then
    our current oceans. Therefore in terms of average air temperature one could get a range of 10 to 30 C assuming one has ocean similar to Earth. Without ocean, it depends of material of the surface in terms of how cold it could get- easily below 0 C. Though can’t get as cold as Moon unless you have a vacuum.
    Which reminds, one might colder or warmer 1/2 or twice a much atmosphere. But it seems twice or half as much gravity would be bigger effect.
    But generally including not have oceans, it’s has range of 0 C to 30 C in terms of average global temperature. So that includes adding any mix of gases you like, including massive amounts of Methane.

    Or at Earth distance, Venus given time [millions of years] and since Venus doesn’t have much water, Venus could becomes cooler than Earth. It’s CO2 cools and become liquid and frozen CO2.
    If replace the amount of CO2 of Venus with say nitrogen, it remains a gas, it would still would quite cold.
    Maybe something like lots of nitrogen and lots of sulfuric clouds like Venus could make planet at earth distance somewhat warm. Or darker clouds than sulfuric clouds- could help warm it up. But such things don’t help much unless one has massive atmosphere.

  322. Konrad says:
    December 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm
    ———————————————-
    Willis,
    Thank you for your response to my question.

    It was not intended as a trick question, and you are correct that water vapour would of course be dominant in the process both in driving buoyant uplift and later allowing radiative energy/buoyancy loss and subsidence of air masses. CO2 and other non condensing radiative gases play a minor role in radiative cooling, most notable in the descending limbs of tropospheric circulation cells.

    So for the question –

    “Without radiative gases, would strong vertical tropospheric convective circulation cease with the bulk of the resultant stagnant atmosphere trending isothermal through gas conduction?”

    So far my results are –

    Dr. Roy Spencer (sceptic) “Yes”
    Willis Eschenbach (sceptic) “Yes”
    Konrad (sceptic) “Yes”

    Mmmm … not exactly. I said that it would end deep tropical convection. However, I also said that the atmosphere would not go stagnant, but would continue to circulate thermally from the equator to the poles.

    Now, without the radiative gases as you specified, there will be no latent heat transport from the surface to the atmosphere. And the large-scale transport of energy from the equator to the tropics will slow greatly without the deep convection to drive it.

    But what that means is that the equator will warm significantly, since it can neither evaporate away heat nor is it being removed by vertical transport of thunderstorms.

    And that will increase the heat difference from the equator to the poles. Remember that we get about seven times the insolation at the equator as at the poles.

    And when the equator warms up, that, in turn, will increase the thermal circulation from the equator to the poles.

    Finally, I assume you are meaning a rotating, earthlike planet. The lack of GHGs plus the lack of evaporation will make the dayside hotter, and the nightside cooler, than it would be otherwise. This, of course, would increase the terminator wind.

    So while deep tropical overturning will stop, no, I don’t think that the atmosphere will trend isothermal. I think it will still be heated at the equator, expand, travel to the poles, and along the way it will be cooled by the surface, condense, and make its way back to the equator. And I think the terminator winds will blow from the cold to the hot. Your basic thermosyphon will still be operating in both cases, ascending on the hot side and descending on the cold side … and the hot side will be hotter and the cold side will be colder than with the GHGs, so those effects will be stronger than they are today.

    All the best,

    w.

  323. -TimTheToolMan says:
    December 26, 2013 at 1:50 am

    gbaikie says “Or are saying there will be an adiabatic lapse rate?”

    Why do you think there needs to be an adiabatic lapse rate (at equilibrium in the Willis’ thought experiment atmosphere)? It is possible to have a gas at say 300K, at all ranges of pressure. At equilibrium the gas wont be moving so there are no parcels rising, dropping pressure and cooling.

    The key is that once energy gets into the thought experiment atmosphere, it stays there. In real life, of course, the atmosphere is cooling and this makes all the difference.-

    Well I think there would a adiabatic lapse rate on Saturn’s moon, Titan.
    I don’t actually know there is. Maybe I know at some kind of subconscious level
    as read a lot this kind of stuff. But I can’t remember at the moment exactly if there
    is or not. It makes want to look it up, but I ‘ll wait until after I post
    I would expect the adiabatic lapse rate to on low end due to Titan lower gravity.
    And of course it’s frigging far away it receives little sunlight. Etc.

    I now how I would stop or inhibit a adiabatic lapse rate- put it in pressurized
    container, but generally planet’s atmospheres are not in containers.
    Or if a planet has very little atmosphere like Mars, then I would expect much
    of adiabatic lapse rates. I happen to know there steep difference of temperature
    difference in first few meters of elevation on Mars. I remember that.
    Of course Venus has adiabatic lapse rate. If in Venus atmosphere and
    at Earth atmosphere pressure, it’s about + 30 C, but go up to Mt Everest
    elevation pressure it’s 10 C or cooler. And Venus has greater adiabatic
    lapse rate than Earth, because Earth has a lot water in it’s air, or wet adiabatic
    lapse rate is lower on earth. And Venus is close to earth’s dry adiabatic lapse rate.

    And w know Argon is ideal gas unlike water vapor.

  324. Gee, I think saw this before:

    http://pds-atmospheres.nmsu.edu/education_and_outreach/encyclopedia/adiabatic_lapse_rate.htm

    It seems familiar. Anyhow Titan has fairly low adiabatic lapse rate of:
    1.301 K/Km. So apparently it cools 1.301 C per 1000 meter of elevation.
    Which low, but it’s atmosphere is Methane and it’s not an ideal gas at
    those temperatures. Plus the low gravity I expect, affects it.
    Mars has more than I thought:
    Mars: 4.500 K/Km
    It’s lower gravity and CO2 condense on Mars [see Mars frost],
    So CO2 not ideal gas in Mars all of it’s temperature ranges.
    Though don’t have much confidence in these numbers as it says
    Earth has: 9.760 K/Km
    And generally in troposphere it’s 6.5 K/Km, so not sure
    how they determining their numbers.
    And that’s what reminded I had seen before:)

  325. gbaikie writes “Well I think there would a adiabatic lapse rate on Saturn’s moon, Titan.” etc

    I expect all real planets with real atmospheres have adiabatic lapse rates because they all have GHGs which absorb energy radiated by the planet and radiate it away from higher up. But this is a thought experiment designed to show that its not the pressure alone that sets the surface temperature.

    Of course once you add GHGs everything changes and IMO the pressure does impact on the surface temperature because the heat capacity is greater with increasing pressure and that’s a major factor on the other side of the planet away from the sun for a rotating planet.

  326. I wrote “the heat capacity is greater with increasing pressure and that’s a major factor on the other side of the planet away from the sun for a rotating planet.”

    I should add that “major factor” pales in comparison to the heat capacity of the earth’s oceans which continue to warm the atmosphere at night.

  327. ” TimTheToolMan says:
    December 26, 2013 at 3:47 am

    gbaikie writes “Well I think there would a adiabatic lapse rate on Saturn’s moon, Titan.” etc

    I expect all real planets with real atmospheres have adiabatic lapse rates because they all have GHGs which absorb energy radiated by the planet and radiate it away from higher up. But this is a thought experiment designed to show that its not the pressure alone that sets the surface temperature. ”

    Well, it’s well known that water vapor affect lapse rate by reducing it.
    And requires no thought experiment to know that it’s not only about pressure.

    Though it more to do with density difference than pressure- though they are
    related.
    I believe it’s mostly to do with water not being a ideal gas which mostly
    related to adiabatic lapse rates. Of course water vapor is less dense
    than air.
    But in any case, Wet vs dry adiabatic lapse rates is:
    Saturated adiabatic lapse rate: “A typical value is around 5 °C/km”
    Dry adiabatic lapse rate: “The rate of temperature decrease is 9.8 °C/km”

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

    Varies due to moist and temperature. But it’s also rather
    consistent, if you know temperature at lower elevation is cooler
    and it’s raining one could know at higher elevation it’s probably snowing.
    So this “greenhouse gas” apparently reduces lapse rater, or “make it” warmer
    at higher elevation.
    But it not about it’s radiant properties, but rather because it condenses
    and evaporates at temperatures found in earth’s atmosphere.

    “Of course once you add GHGs everything changes and IMO the pressure does impact on the surface temperature because the heat capacity is greater with increasing pressure and that’s a major factor on the other side of the planet away from the sun for a rotating planet.”

    Well, in trace amounts water gas can change it. And if CO2 could condense- or it was cold enough it too would condense and have some affect on lapse rate. But other than H20, tiny amounts GHG don’t affect earth’s lapse rates.
    Nor does warming or cooling from night and day affect lapse rate in significant degree- though night and day warming do affect amount moisture content of air, and as said moisture content has a significant affect.

  328. Since when has it been mandatory for a planet’s atmosphere to have ‘greenhouse gases’ before it can have an adiabatic lapse rate? All that is needed is gravity and enough heat on the surface to prevent the atmosphere freezing out.

  329. gbaikie writes “But it not about it’s radiant properties, but rather because it condenses
    and evaporates at temperatures found in earth’s atmosphere.”

    There are many processes that effect energy transport in the atmosphere and I agree that the energy transported by latent heat is a very important one.

  330. Richard111 says “Since when has it been mandatory for a planet’s atmosphere to have ‘greenhouse gases’ before it can have an adiabatic lapse rate?”

    In this thought experiment, the atmosphere cant lose energy because it cant radiate. It can only gain it via conduction until the whole atmosphere is isothermal and the same temperature as the planet’s surface (which is also the same temperature all over in this thought experiment). At that point it will neither gain nor lose energy.

    At that point, how can it have an adiabatic lapse rate?

  331. How can energy at a solid surface be used for two purposes simultaneously ?

    Energy radiated is not available for conduction and energy used for conduction is not available for radiation.

    To assert otherwise as Willis and AGW proponents do is to breach the law of conservation of energy, surely?

    I think the only solution is to separate the effective radiating height from the height at which the temperature is such that S-B is satisfied.

    As far as I can tell everyone has been treating them as one and the same.

    Thus for a completely radiatively inert atmosphere the effective radiating height must always be the surface but nonetheless, if mass in gaseous form is present then heat will be conducted upward and there will still be a decline in temperature with height, up to and beyond the height at which S-B is satisfied, That S-B height is then off the ground even though the effective radiating height remains on the ground.

    What the addition of radiative gases then achieves must be to also lift the effective radiating level off he ground to bring the effective radiating level closer in height to the height at which S-B is satisfied.

    If all energy transfers were radiative with no conduction at all then both the effective radiating height and the S-B height would be together at the surface.There could be no atmosphere present with any mass capable of absorbing via conduction.

    The more conduction there is the wider the two heights separate as the S-B level rises independently of the effective radiating level.

    The more radiative gases there are the more the two heights move back together as the effective radiation level also lifts off the surface towards the higher S-B level.

    The outcome of the shifting balance between the two heights is shifting air circulation patterns (via density variations induced by uneven conduction) and thus climate changes but any climate changes arising from radiation variations are infinitesimal because the main driver of the so called greenhouse effect is atmospheric mass absorbing energy by conduction and the radiative component is trivial in comparison.

    Those shifting air circulation patterns transport energy to and fro as necessary between the
    S-B height and the effective radiating height to ensure that the latter always has the right amount of energy to match energy in with energy out.

    The logical summation must be that at any height below the effective radiating level the radiation emanating from the surface ‘leaks’ away into conduction to the mass of the atmosphere (from the surface)

    Between the effective radiating height and the S-B level energy is still filtering upward via conduction but in that region no additional energy is leaking away from the radiative exchange. so that by the time one reaches the S-B level the maximum conducting capability of atmospheric mass has been achieved leaving the remaining outward radiative flux from the lower effective radiating level equal to the incoming radiative flux.

  332. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 26, 2013 at 3:07 am
    “And that will increase the heat difference from the equator to the poles. Remember that we get about seven times the insolation at the equator as at the poles.”

    Seven times?
    I am interested how this is arrived it.
    Is this pointing at the sun? Or level to the ground?

    It seems if pointing at sun and in cloudy coastal region at equator, you could possibly do
    better than 1/7th in polar region particular in the half of year one has sunlight, but the
    average surface area would seem to me to get less than 1/7th.

  333. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 25, 2013 at 9:58 am

    But since the IR is usually absorbed and re-radiated more than once as it makes its way out of the atmosphere, adding more CO2 definitely changes the picture. This is because increasing the CO2 concentration increases the average number of times that the IR will be absorbed on its path through the atmosphere, which increases the poorly named “greenhouse effect”.
    —————-

    But, , adding more CO2, even doubling it to 800 ppm, definitely doesn’t change the picture that much …… simply because at 800 ppm there is still plenty of space between each CO2 molecule to permit a majority of the IR to pass thru without being absorbed, …… right?

    And the IR that is absorbed by a CO2 molecule is absorbed from a “point” source and re-emitted in all directions thus very little of it is transmitted directly back toward the earth’s surface, ….. right?

    And increasing the IR absorbing H2O vapor from say 12,000 ppm to say 24,000 ppm will definitely change the picture more so than will 800 ppm of CO2 because there is almost 30 times more H2O vapor molecules than there are CO2 molecules, …… right?

    And based on the Specific Heat Capacity of the two different molecules, increasing the H2O vapor content by 400 ppm will cause a greater “greenhouse effect” than will the increasing of the CO2 content by 400 ppm, ……. right?

  334. Willis 11:34pm: Thanks, I read thru your linked post. Your “Mistress” graph correctly shows: S-B Avg. Lunar Temperature -2.5C in agreement with the NASA page.

    In this thread you write 5:41pm: “But the moon gets the same solar radiation as the earth, about 340 W/m2 with an equivalent blackbody temperature of about 5°C.”

    My post in effect was pointing out you were correct in the chart of earlier “Mistress” post. Can you explain the difference (-2.5C vs. 5C) shown in this thread? Your conclusion clipped here in “Mistress” post seems ok with Diviner papers and within the limited in situ temperature experiments to date:

    “So there is no contradiction at all between the lunar temperature and the S-B calculation.”

  335. Kristian 1:35am: “Trick, there is no ‘surface temperature formula’.”

    Kindly refer to Bohren 2006 p. 33 for a basic, simple “surface temperature formula” determining the global surface Tmean=288K from measurements each of solar irradiance, albedo, surface and atm. emissivity globally temporally and spatially avg.d.

    You should get a hint from this that there are more factors than just weight of atm. and solar irradiance determining near surface Tmean. Similar texts show the same.

    ******

    1:37am: “Right”

    Ok, so the links you posted do not show “vacuum” or “much, much” as a restriction to S-B. In fact, no text book does either.

    ******

    1:52am: “…upward and downward components of this actual upward energy flow..”

    Kristian gets it right according to modern text books. UWIR and DWIR. Find both from Planck Law based radiation theory and both from in field calibrated radiometers on satellites, surface instrumentation and exoplanet/solar observing instruments.

  336. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 25, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Sorry … I don’t believe that about the weather changing at some point in the lunar cycle. It’s not true, as far as I know, in anything but the most general sense, that of “persistence”.
    —————-

    Willis, I had never heard of the “moon wind” before now and thus enjoyed reading your commentary on it.

    And I don’t blame you a bit for not believing the “moon change” prediction …………. because I didn’t either the first time I was told about it. As a matter of fact, I “badmouthed” my best friend when he made the “prediction” in my presence.

    It was many years ago when I was living in upstate New York and my best friend and I was outside loading up “cut” firewood to haul in for our wood burning stoves. And “boy o’ boy” was it cold that day, like 10 degrees F below 0 (zero) …. and had been like that for the past week. Anyway, I was getting cold, tired, frustrated and PO’ed …. and looked at my friend and said, ”I wish to hell it would warm up”. He looked back at me and said, … “Not until the moon changes”.

    Well now, in a few short words I told him what I thought about his prediction. But then “Mercy me”, those below ZERO temps persisted for another 6 days or so, …. the Moon changed, …. and “BINGO”, ….. the temperature the next day rose up into the upper 20’s. Just like Carl had predicted.

    But that really didn’t make me a “believer” cause I figured it was a lucky guess. But after many years and me making the same prediction, and being correct far more often than not, I have to believe there is a science based explanation for it. But I don’t have a clue what it might be.

    Maybe I’ve been extremely lucky …. or maybe that “moon wind” triggers it, …. who knows?

  337. ***
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Thanks, beng. I presented it as a “thought experiment”, not as an analogue of a real world. I want to make it clear why, if the atmosphere is transparent to IR (e.g. argon, which neither emits nor absorbs thermal IR), the pressure of the atmosphere alone cannot warm the planet. See my post called “A Matter of Some Gravity“.
    ***

    Thanks for responding. I’ve read & agreed with about everything you’ve ever posted, so I knew you were simply setting up a thought experiment. Others refuse to “get” it, tho.

    Your images at the top are worth thousands of words, and saved in my “library”.

  338. Pressure on its own does nothing.

    What warms the surface above S-B is the amount of atmospheric mass available to absorb energy from the surface by conduction and the amount of work required to hold that mass off the surface against the force of gravity.

  339. RACookPE1978 says:
    December 25, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    So, at today’s 400 ppm Co2 levels, today’s atmosphere, in the Arctic.

    If clouds are present at 3,000 meters, 20,000 meters and thinner, wispy ones above that level, , what temperature is the real-world ice radiating “into” if the ice surface is at -25 C? Gray bodies all, real-world emissivity on all, real world conditions at noon at latitude 85 north on the solstice at Dec 22?

    What are the actual radiation heat transfer constants to be used in what equation? (Yes, it would be dark: I’m requesting you get out of argon-filled Einstein thought-experiments and do the real engineering to produce real results.)

    Now, same latitude, a few nights later. “Perfectly clear” star-filled night with no wind, no haze, no clouds. Open ocean surface at +2 degrees C, black night air at -35 degrees (or is it “space” at 0 K ?) . How much energy is radiated into “what” temperature?

    The effective radiant temperature of the sky as seen from the surface is directly related to the local dew point.

    The following study uses real world measurements (gasp!) to calculate actual effective radiant temperatures of the sky to calculate the heat loss by radiant energy flux of solar heating ponds (ocean analog anyone?)

    The formulas are on pages 3 and 4 of the paper.

    http://www.ceen.unomaha.edu/solar/documents/sol_29.pdf

    ——–
    Inverting that view, looking down on the earth from outer space, it is also reasonable to presume the that the same relationship holds for the effective radiant energy loss to space from the atmosphere. It most likely being directly related to the dew point and moisture in the atmosphere and its maximum altitude of significant mixing of surface moisture would dominate our heat loss in the IR window that water vapor absorbs and emits in.

    The effective emitting surface of the atmosphere based on that assumption would be the cloud tops and the effective upper surface of the moist tropospheric atmosphere. I have seen references that place the average radiant surface height at about 14,000 ft elevation which is a reasonable approximation of the top of the warm moist surface air excluding the cloud tops.

    I think some investigation would be appropriate looking measurement of the effective radiant surface to space correlated with balloon soundings and the atmospheres moisture/dew point profile with height. I suspect such an experiment would find that the surface is not some specific altitude but a “moisture surface” at the top of the warm moist surface air mass.

  340. Willis 11:34pm “As a result, different arrangements of the same amount of energy flux will have different resultant average temperatures.”

    Magnificent climate heat engine nature has to arrive at a single temperature though. How does nature pick that “one.” There is a very elegant concept of how science can proceed to find the single temperature. I would be very interested & excited to discuss the details but maybe different thread needed. That discussion will hijack this one if not already. Teaser follows to see if raise interest.

    ******

    Willis will find the answer in the Hamiltonian concept. The control volume (CV) system path from a to b will be chosen by nature based on minimizing the total energy finding that one path; only one path can have “the” min. energy among many possible paths. Mathematically the task is to set up to formalize the total energy and minimize it to find nature’s chosen path, way beyond this simple atm. site.

    For Willis’ imagined “Moon Mistress” + argon atm. control volume wherein the total energy (TE) is constant. Consider the total energy:

    TE = H (the hamiltonian construct) = measure of the total energy in a thermo. system.

    Restrict to conservative, isotropic, homogenous system (and others like scleronomic, holonomic) like the real moon but with imagined argon atm.

    H = enthalpy = Internal energy (U) +/- external work done to/from system CV (W) (= U + pV for a parcel).

    TE of a single molecule = PE + KE translational + KE rotational + KE vibrational + PE vibrational + E electronic plus ….even more like Van der Waals, electrostatic… go for the complete list to a text book (this will drop out Stephen – like when a recipe calls for taking a clean dish, it drops me out).

    The KE translational is the one related to temperature as Willis points out: KE & temperature are not conserved only enthalpy (system TE) is conserved. As T increases, KE increases. But Willis holds TE constant. Some other energy must be used up, in this case PE say.

    KE up, PE down, TE constant. This CAN happen Willis, it is called Kelvin-Helmholtz contraction to increase average temperature. But I don’t think this is what Willis is talking about.

    I don’t actually see what Willis means so will defer until any other discussion interest is shown from this teaser.

  341. TimTheToolMan says, December 26, 2013 at 1:50 am:

    “Why do you think there needs to be an adiabatic lapse rate (at equilibrium in the Willis’ thought experiment atmosphere)? It is possible to have a gas at say 300K, at all ranges of pressure. At equilibrium the gas wont be moving so there are no parcels rising, dropping pressure and cooling.
    The key is that once energy gets into the thought experiment atmosphere, it stays there. In real life, of course, the atmosphere is cooling and this makes all the difference.”

    Do you get the concept of cooling by expansion, Tim? The atmosphere has no lid.

    Is it really possible to have an isothermal gas which is heated from below and expands upward and which goes from 1000mb at the constant heat source to 150mb 12-13 km away from it.

    How would that work?

    It’s easy to get tangled up in these hypothetical scenarios …

  342. Actually the atmosphere is already ‘isoenergetic’ (is there a better word ?).

    Molecules at the surface have the same energy content as those at the top of the atmosphere but as one goes up kinetic energy (heat) is replaced by gravitational potential energy (not heat).

    That gives a neat reason as to why an isothermal atmosphere (same temperature all the way up) is not physically possible.

    If it were possible then there would be the bizarre scenario of the energy content of individual molecules increasing with height.

    The topmost molecules would be the same temperature as surface molecules but would additionally carry a full allowance of gravitational potential energy too.

    Such energy rich molecules high up would be rapidly lost to space because the gravitational field could not constrain them.

  343. TimTheToolMan says, December 26, 2013 at 1:53 am:

    “I did actually. Your points are all valid until equilibrium is reached OR the atmosphere is cooling. But this thought experiment is where equilibrium has been reached (and the atmosphere is isothermal) and does not cool.”

    There will be no isothermal equilibrium in an air column with a gravity induced pressure/density gradient, which is heated from one end and which is free to expand. The temperature profile will simply lift from an ever hottter ground until the atmosphere gradually starts getting whisked off into space.

  344. Stephen 8:21am: “Pressure on its own does nothing.”

    Pressure does set up atm. hydrostatic equilibrium for large CVs, a condition for further study of stuff like lapse rate, energy balance and theory of column entropy maximization thru energy minimization.

    “What warms the surface above S-B…”

    The surface isn’t any warmer than S-B; surface on avg. radiates at exactly S-B except for transients as S-B requires a thermo. system in equilibrium.

    But I think I know what Stephen means, he is writing about Teff=255K and Tmean=288K. These two temperatures can be calculated from measured inputs by same “surface temperature formula” I cited for Kristian at 6:24am.

  345. Konrad says, December 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm:

    ““For a gas column in a gravity field, the relative height of energy entry and exit from the column is critical to determining the average temperature of the gas column.” – K.

    (note – it has taken “Trick” over a year to concede that the above statement was true, which should give some indication of it’s importance.)”

    I can see why. Because it isn’t true. This is just the ever perpetuated nonsense about the ‘effective radiating level’.

    Why would there be a direct connection between the total radiative flux that a planet emits to space and the physical temperature of some specific layer within that planet’s atmosphere? The final amount of energy being shed to space by a planet over a certain period of time simply needs to match the amount of energy that same planet absorbs from its star within an equal period of time. The actual temperature of the planet or any layer within it is inconsequential to this amount.

    Try to work out the ‘average temperatures’ of the gas columns (in effect, the tropospheres) of Venus and Mars and compare these to the planets’ estimated BB emission fluxes to space. There is no connection.

  346. Stephen Wilde says, December 26, 2013 at 8:21 am:

    “Pressure on its own does nothing.

    What warms the surface above S-B is the amount of atmospheric mass available to absorb energy from the surface by conduction and the amount of work required to hold that mass off the surface against the force of gravity.”

    I think we’re moving towards a general understanding, Stephen.

  347. Steven writes “The topmost molecules would be the same temperature as surface molecules but would additionally carry a full allowance of gravitational potential energy too.”

    An interesting thought. Energy density is probably the same throughout the column though when you add the potential energy and I suspect entropy to be at a maximum. What other configuration is at a higher entropy?

    Still your suggestion is worthy of further research to get a better understanding…

  348. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Actually the atmosphere is already ‘isoenergetic’ (is there a better word ?).

    Molecules at the surface have the same energy content as those at the top of the atmosphere but as one goes up kinetic energy (heat) is replaced by gravitational potential energy (not heat).

    That gives a neat reason as to why an isothermal atmosphere (same temperature all the way up) is not physically possible.

    If it were possible then there would be the bizarre scenario of the energy content of individual molecules increasing with height.

    The topmost molecules would be the same temperature as surface molecules but would additionally carry a full allowance of gravitational potential energy too.

    Such energy rich molecules high up would be rapidly lost to space because the gravitational field could not constrain them.

    No that hypothetical was discussed in my post above regarding Willis’s scenario of a super insulating silo full of gas. If it was infact isothermal you would have a pressure gradient (maximum at bottom and minimum at top), and a gravitational potential energy gradient (maximum at top and minimum at bottom).

    Once you remove the isothermal constraint then you also get an temperature gradient driven by the ideal gas law. Maximum temperature at the bottom and minimum temperature at the top, where you give up pressure potential energy for thermal potential energy.

    The real question is what are the bounds or conditions which specify where that partition of energy between pressure and temperature divide up the potential energy.

    I suspect the “set point” for the temperature gradient is the temperature span that at the effective radiating surface to the 2.7K temperature of space, (top of radiating atmosphere) equals the SB temperature based on the power in power out from the sun and geological heat inputs at the bottom.

    So you have (if my suspension is correct) three key values:

    Atmospheric mass and gravitational field strength of the planet atmosphere system.
    This defines the pressure at the bottom of the column in the isothermal case, and the gradient of gravitational and pressure potential energy through out its length.

    Then you define some point in the middle of the column (probably the effective upper surface of the dominant GHG which is water vapor in our case) where the temperature would have to be equal to the SB value based on energy flows. Once that pressure/altitude/temperature triplet is defined the entire partition of pressure and temperature through out the column in the non-isothemal case becomes defined.

    In a mixed gas atmosphere with multiple active GHG’s you would have an effective altitude for radiation to space from each constituent gas. There should be only one temperature gradient which would satisfy all those effective radiating surfaces. Thermal radiation would force the thermal profile to that one solution and pressure would follow according to the ideal gas law.

    Once that equilibrium was established you have defined how much warmer the surface will be than an ideal black body in order to achieve the proper energy density of radiation to space at the altitude of the atmospheres effective radiation surface defined by all the GHG components in the atmosphere.

    Your variable should be:
    mass and radius of planet (defines gravitational constant)
    mass of atmosphere (defines limiting surface level pressure for an iso thermal column)
    partition of GHG’s in the atmosphere and their effective radiating altitude which will satisfy the SB energy balance of outgoing radiation to space for power in vs power out from all sources.

    This defines some unique point in the column and its required temperature to satisfy SB.
    Once that value is defined the ideal gas law will define how the potential energy of pressure is converted to temperature through out the length of the column (exclusive of local heating effects like ozone heating of the stratosphere).

    You should be able to find all of those values either discretely or using an iterative process to find the temperature profile mandated by the GHG mixtures and their effective radiating surface in the atmosphere to satisfy SB and the power in power out equality.

    This would be the lapse rate and temperature profile of the atmosphere in question less any energy present as kinetic energy of mass motion (updrafts, lateral winds, jetstream winds etc.)

  349. Trick says, December 26, 2013 at 6:24 am:

    “Kindly refer to Bohren 2006 p. 33 for a basic, simple “surface temperature formula” determining the global surface Tmean=288K from measurements each of solar irradiance, albedo, surface and atm. emissivity globally temporally and spatially avg.d.”

    Starting with the known answer and then go backwards, pretending to be showing how to arrive at it, isn’t very impressive. But I guess you find Trenberth & Kiehl’s energy budget diagram for Earth most convincing …

    So go to a planet where we do not already know the surface temperature, only its solar input and the content of radiatively active gases in its atmosphere. Then work out its surface temperature from this. This should work for all planets with such an atmosphere, shouldn’t it? You wanted me to find the temperature from just the TSI and atmospheric weight, implying that if I can’t provide an equation, my argument would be invalidated.

    “You should get a hint from this that there are more factors than just weight of atm. and solar irradiance determining near surface Tmean. Similar texts show the same.”

    Stop putting words in my mouth, Trick. I’ve never said that ‘solar irradiance’ is what should be used. You did. I said ‘solar input’. That’s after albedo and atmospheric absorption is taken into account. The solar energy actually being absorbed by the global surface.

  350. Larry writes “Maximum temperature at the bottom and minimum temperature at the top, where you give up pressure potential energy for thermal potential energy.”

    This still describes an intermediate point and not equilibrium. Warm gas from below can (and will) still rise and conduction upwards can also happen. Expansion cannot continue forever and is bound by the energy defined by the temperature.

  351. I think my suggestion about separate (and independently variable) heights for the effective radiating level and the S-B level has considerable merit and deserves some more thought.

    The radiative characteristics of constituent gases determine the effective radiation height.

    The conductive capability of atmospheric mass determines the S-B height.

    The air circulation (especially the size and speed of the convective overturning) reconfigures as necessary to ensure that the correct amount of energy is delivered from the S-B height to the effective radiating height thereby maintaining balance between radiation in and radiation out.

    The idea of the effective radiating height moving towards the S-B height when radiative capability increases fits with my past suggestion that more radiative capability means that the circulation has to work less hard to move energy from the S-B level to the effective radiating level.

    I think I am now very close to a definitive description.

  352. Steven writes “I think my suggestion about separate (and independently variable) heights for the effective radiating level and the S-B level has considerable merit and deserves some more thought.”

    The factors affecting the atmosphere that includes GHGs and the ERL is a separate conversation to the Willis thought experiment of course…

  353. There is one other possibility that should also be examined.

    What if the SB effective radiating surface always ends up at some specific fraction of the atmospheric column regardless of the gas mixture?

    It would be reasonable at first blush, to consider possibilities like the effective radiating surface of an atmosphere is always at the point where half the mass of the atmosphere is below the surface and half the mass is above the surface. If such a median surface (or some other fraction of the atmospheric column) is always the same point where effective radiation occurs, regardless of the gas mixture then the specific concentration of GHG’s would be irrelevant.

    It would take a bit of detailed dissection of atmospheric pressure curves on various planets (info we really do not have at this time in great precision, except earth and a very small sample of pressure profiles from venus, and mars. Then compare that to the altitude at which their actual temperature coincides with the temperature required by SB.

    If the radiation behavior of a mixed gas atmosphere always self organizes in some similar manner then the specific concentration of CO2 or any other GHG would be pretty much irrelevant and we drop back to the lapse rate and surface warming being simply defined by the gravity and atmospheric mass and you could ignore the specific gas mixtures.

    We also need to keep in mind that the planet and its atmosphere do not necessarily need to lose energy at IR frequencies. Some gasses radiate in the microwave band, planets with weather radiate a good deal of energy at radio frequencies, and some gases give up energy at visible frequencies due to florescence. Even in a thought experiment involving an IR in active gas, you would have to also eliminate all these other modes of emission to totally eliminate energy loss.

    Only time will tell if those who are willing to actually investigate the pressure/gravity warming theory rather than just dismissing it out of hand will eventually either dig out the specific evidence to support the theory or actually falsify it after making a good faith effort to examine reasonable possibilities implicit in the concept required by conservation of energy considerations.

  354. - Stephen Wilde says:
    December 26, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Pressure on its own does nothing.

    What warms the surface above S-B is the amount of atmospheric mass available to absorb energy from the surface by conduction and the amount of work required to hold that mass off the surface against the force of gravity.-

    Amount gravity determine how much work is done, it’s also related to how how quickly atmosphere
    can transfer it’s kinetic energy [making warmth]. So gravity is related to how much and how fast atmosphere can gain energy and then transfer that energy back into heat.
    The amount of atmosphere relates to size of battery- it quantity of kinetic energy which could be stored. It’s more about how long atmosphere stores energy.
    So Earth duration is in terms “full discharge” is days, and Venus atmosphere is centuries.

    So size of atmosphere is related to length of time it takes to cool at night or winter, but not much related to voltage. It makes it warmer by not having night cool as much.
    And gravity is more related to how fast it charges and discharges.

    Of course more atmosphere is also related to amount of insulation is put on the house. It’s possible to put so much insulation that it’s helping much. But all gases are good insulation- including CO2 or H2O gas. H20 water droplet is not as good in terms of insulation, but droplet
    have a high specific heat- twice it’s gas per kg. So water in terms of insulation is like a brick house. A foot of brick wall will prevent a house heating or cooling quickly due daily weather warming and cooler. It has thermal inertia. Or having a thick stone roof works in deserts because keeps house cool in day and warmer at colder desert nights. Can be *better* than fiberglass despite fiberglass’s better insulative properties…

  355. - Stephen Wilde says:
    December 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Actually the atmosphere is already ‘isoenergetic’ (is there a better word ?).

    Molecules at the surface have the same energy content as those at the top of the atmosphere but as one goes up kinetic energy (heat) is replaced by gravitational potential energy (not heat).-

    If talking about troposphere, I agree with this. Or if one is talking about most of the mass of atmosphere.
    And do think one can mostly ignore the rest of it. It’s details of entire model. It seems, it could be needed for weather, less needed for global climate.
    For instance the thermosphere has very energetic molecules but they are few in number and would be related to a rather insignificant details. In sum their energy is staggeringly impressive to the human scale, but to entire atmosphere, not really particularly important.

    -That gives a neat reason as to why an isothermal atmosphere (same temperature all the way up) is not physically possible.

    If it were possible then there would be the bizarre scenario of the energy content of individual molecules increasing with height.-
    Yes, AGWers tend make many these impossible machines.

    -The topmost molecules would be the same temperature as surface molecules but would additionally carry a full allowance of gravitational potential energy too.-

    Which actually the case in regard to thermosphere.

    -Such energy rich molecules high up would be rapidly lost to space because the gravitational field could not constrain them.-

    Nope. Air molecule of troposphere do not travel anywhere near orbital or escape speed.
    But ISS is flying thru Earth’s atmosphere- just a really, really thin atmosphere. Or Earth’s atmosphere extends to indefinite height, but people tend to put it at 800 km high, which twice
    ISS orbital height. Or there is “air” up there that travels at very high speeds.

    The Wake shield. Which was deployed by Shuttle which orbited around same orbital as ISS:
    “Wake Shield Facility is an experimental science platform that was placed in low Earth orbit by the Space Shuttle. It is a 3.7 meter (12 ft) diameter, free-flying stainless steel disk.

    The WSF was deployed in the wake of the Space Shuttle at an orbital altitude of over 300 kilometers (186 mi), within the thermosphere, where the atmosphere is exceedingly tenuous. The forward edge of the WSF disk redirected atmospheric and other particles around the sides, leaving an “ultra-vacuum” in its wake. The resulting vacuum was used to study epitaxial film growth.”

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

    So it was making a better vacuum in what most people are happy to call a vacuum. The Moon has better vacuum than what the Wake shield could create. But anyhow gas is travel at velocity
    of around 7000 m/s or near or over orbital speed which is about 7.8 km/second at LEO.
    They have move fast or they fall. Or one have to be going somewhere north of 20 km/sec
    to get anything you could call “buoyancy”. Though since solar wind particles are in region over 300 km/sec perhaps they could be seen as being “buoyant”.

  356. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says, December 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm:

    “It would be reasonable at first blush, to consider possibilities like the effective radiating surface of an atmosphere is always at the point where half the mass of the atmosphere is below the surface and half the mass is above the surface. If such a median surface (or some other fraction of the atmospheric column) is always the same point where effective radiation occurs, regardless of the gas mixture then the specific concentration of GHG’s would be irrelevant.

    It would take a bit of detailed dissection of atmospheric pressure curves on various planets (info we really do not have at this time in great precision, except earth and a very small sample of pressure profiles from venus, and mars. Then compare that to the altitude at which their actual temperature coincides with the temperature required by SB.”

    It’s actually quite simple. The ‘effective radiating level’ of any planet is no more than a conjured-up illusion. The very notion is illogical, nonsensical and goes against all that we know about the real world. When you observe a planet from space, all you ‘see’ is radiation. But this radiation doesn’t originate from some specific layer with some specific temperature. It comes from the planetary system as a whole. It is a total, a final, a cumulative emission flux of energy, energy radiated out all the way from the surface to the ToA. At all times. The Earth may look as if it only has one surface. In reality, in radiative terms, it has a million, a billion surfaces, all emitting radiation to space. At all kinds of strange temperatures.

    The heavier the atmosphere, the higher up would be the physical temperature that would coincide with the estimated BB emission temp to space of a planet. Because the heavier the atmosphere, the warmer the surface (given equal energy input from the star). (It also naturally depends on the specific planetary lapse rate.)

    So with Venus, that layer would be at a temperature of -89C (184K). Such temperatures you would find nearly at tropopause level, above cirka 80% of the total mass of the atmosphere. On Earth, the temperature would be -18C (255K) at around 5 km up in the troposphere, above cirka 50% of the total mass of the atmosphere. On Mars, however, the estimated BB emission temperature would be -63C (210K). And you cannot find such an average temperature in its atmosphere at all. It is simply too cold. So any ‘effective radiating level’ (ERL) on Mars would be, based on the many real-time surface measurements made at different locations around the planet, and also based on satelitte measurements, either on the actual ground or, more likely, below it! Below 100% (and ‘more’) of the atmospheric mass! And that’s even with a 95% CO2 atmosphere! So all that CO2 does NOTHING to lift the ERL off the ground. It seemingly rather lowers it. Go figure …

  357. -Kristian says:
    December 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Konrad says, December 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm:

    ““For a gas column in a gravity field, the relative height of energy entry and exit from the column is critical to determining the average temperature of the gas column.” – K.

    (note – it has taken “Trick” over a year to concede that the above statement was true, which should give some indication of it’s importance.)”

    I can see why. Because it isn’t true. This is just the ever perpetuated nonsense about the ‘effective radiating level’.-

    I suppose what means is a kg of air, has more energy higher in atmosphere.
    So with lapse of 6.5 C per 1000 meters. A kg of air at 20 C at 0 elevation
    at 2000 meter elevation a kg of air at 7 C has same energy.
    If cool to 7 C air by 2 C is same cooling 20 C air at 0 elevation by 2 C.
    Or 5 C at 2000 meter same energy as 18 C at 2000 meters.
    Now if cool the 2000 meter air by 2 C, it drops 307.69 meters.
    Whereas one could have the 18 C air at surface be able to drop or “regain
    or replace it’s energy”.
    And I would say this assuming significant heat is radiate in atmosphere or surface doesn’t
    cool quickier than atmosphere.
    [[I do think atmosphere can radiate significant amount of energy, I just don't think any kind of gases are radiating much energy. I think H20 gases are condensing, which has a lot latent heat involved and particles and droplets radiate a significant amount of heat. A gas like CO2 are re-radiating IR, it can absorb from surface radiating and other CO2 molecules re-radiating or from H20 gas re-radiating or droplets radiating. Only surface or particles are cooling rather than merely re-radiating and these can can warmed by kinetic energy of gases being converted into heat energy]]

    -Why would there be a direct connection between the total radiative flux that a planet emits to space and the physical temperature of some specific layer within that planet’s atmosphere? The final amount of energy being shed to space by a planet over a certain period of time simply needs to match the amount of energy that same planet absorbs from its star within an equal period of time. The actual temperature of the planet or any layer within it is inconsequential to this amount.-

    I think I agree. Or to paraphrase or corrupt a movie quote, does it matter it cools, next day it just warms back up again.

    -Try to work out the ‘average temperatures’ of the gas columns (in effect, the tropospheres) of Venus and Mars and compare these to the planets’ estimated BB emission fluxes to space. There is no connection.-

    Hmm. I would it matter in terms of how long it takes for the night to cool it.

  358. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 26, 2013 at 3:07 am
    ——————————————
    So clearly I can’t put you in the “yes” column. Yet.

    I would agree that some equator to pole circulation would exist for a non-radiative atmosphere, however this would be far more limited due to surface friction than the tropospheric convection cells that would occur with radiative cooling at altitude. The second issue with this proposed flow is that the surface is far better at conductively heating a moving gas atmosphere than it is at conductively cooling it. (it is notable that the simply physics behind this, while known to meteorology, is not included in most AGW calculations). The surface temperature differential would not be directly reflected in the temperature of a non-radiative atmosphere.

    The main issue here is the speed of vertical circulation across the atmospheric pressure gradient compared to the speed of gas conduction. At present it is fast enough to over come gas conduction and pneumatically produce the observed lapse rate. Slow the vertical circulation down to speeds that would result from the limited pole wise flows you mention and the lapse rate will weaken and the bulk of the atmosphere would trend to isothermal.

    I would urge you to read Dr. Spencer’s 2009 comments on the importance of radiative gases in convective circulation –

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/12/what-if-there-was-no-greenhouse-effect/

    Dr. Spencer indicates a largely isothermal atmosphere with only a very thin near surface layer experiencing advection winds at dawn and dusk and shallow convective circulation.

    I maintain that Dr. Spencer has two critical errors in his analysis.

    But first, ignoring those errors, if Dr. Spencer was right and the bulk of a non-radiative atmosphere trended isothermal with it’s temperature set by surface Tav, then that would mean that the bulk of the atmosphere would already be at a far higher temperature than a radiative atmosphere, even taking into account the claimed reduction in surface Tav under a non-radiative atmosphere.

    However there are two errors in Dr. Spencer’s analysis, both in the same place – “surface Tav”.

    The first is that surface Tav would not be as low as claimed under a non radiative atmosphere. DWLWIR from the atmosphere does slow the cooling of the land exactly as claimed, however it has negligible effect over water that is free to evaporatively cool. The “basic physics” of the “settled science” treat the land and ocean as just “surface” with absorption calculated on emissivity. This works fine for most materials, however the gas liquid interface at the surface of liquid water is a special condition. The empirical experiment to demonstrate this is simple to build and run.

    The second error is in even using surface Tav to set the resultant isothermal temperature of a non-radiative atmosphere. For a moving gas atmosphere the isothermal temperature would instead be driven by surface Tmax. Again the empirical experiment for this is simple to build and run.

    Look again at the “basic physics” of the “settled science”, it’s just two shell radiative models. There is no acknowledgement that radiative gases play a critical role in tropospheric convective circulation. The speed of non-radiative transport and lapse rate are assumed and parametrised. They should have been simultaneously adjusted for varying concentrations of radiative gases. The effect of incident LWIR at the surface should have been empirically verified. While a lot of post 1990 band-aids have been applied, AGW remains a failed hypothesis.

  359. gbaikie says:
    December 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm
    ————————————————————-
    “I can see why. Because it isn’t true. This is just the ever perpetuated nonsense about the ‘effective radiating level’.”

    Nope, you are nowhere close ;-)
    The method of energy entry and exit has nothing to do with it. Not a radiation problem. This is the physics of fluid conduction and fluid dynamics. Totally ignored of course in the “basic physics” of the “settled science”.

    BTW, I am one of those sceptics on record as claiming that the ERL argument is tripe because the gases in our atmosphere move. In fact I have stated as much on this very thread.

  360. Brian H says:
    December 25, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Even your ideal argon atmosphere will leak heat from the top by boiling off mass. Uh-oh.

    To elaborate a bit, that will steadily thin the atmosphere, and cool and condense the top layer enough to sink it, producing circulation.

  361. Konrad says, December 26, 2013 at 8:50 pm:

    “Nope, you are nowhere close ;-)
    The method of energy entry and exit has nothing to do with it. Not a radiation problem. This is the physics of fluid conduction and fluid dynamics. Totally ignored of course in the “basic physics” of the “settled science”.

    BTW, I am one of those sceptics on record as claiming that the ERL argument is tripe because the gases in our atmosphere move. In fact I have stated as much on this very thread.”

    OK, fair enough. I might have misinterpreted what you were actually trying to convey there. My apologies. And believe me, I know full well that you are one of the few around who actually think that CO2 is incapable of warming the Earth system. I’m another one. You put forward some very sane arguments about the moving atmosphere which I (almost) fully agree with (not so sure about the atmosphere going isothermal without so-called GHGs, after all).

    But, and to me this is a big ‘but’, you still seem to be on the ‘downwelling radiation from the atmosphere makes the surface warmer’ bandwagon. It would be very fruitful, I think, if we could all once and for all just drop that silly nonsense and move on to what’s really going on.

    You do not slow the cooling of an emitting surface by feeding it with more incoming energy. That’s an absurd idea. You slow the cooling of an emitting surface by making it emit less energy going out. And you do that by making the temperature gradient away from the emitting surface less steep.

    If you feed a surface with more energy and this positive transfer ends up making the surface warmer than what it was before the transfer, well, then you’ve transferred HEAT. The internal energy of that surface has increased. That’s the definition of a heat transfer. And you cannot transfer heat from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface.

    Think temperature gradients. That’s what matters.

  362. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 26, 2013 at 2:16 am

    How can energy at a solid surface be used for two purposes simultaneously ?

    Energy radiated is not available for conduction and energy used for conduction is not available for radiation.

    To assert otherwise as Willis and AGW proponents do is to breach the law of conservation of energy, surely?

    Stephen, please quote my words that you disagree with. You know, my words that make you you claim I said “assert otherwise”. I can defend my own words. I cannot defend your vague fantasies about something you think I said.

    As far as I know, I’ve never ever said that energy that is radiated is also available for evaporation. As you point out, that’s not possible.

    So if you think I have said that, then QUOTE MY WORDS. I’m tired of your vague, unsubstantiated accusations accusing me of things that I never have said. When you don’t quote what I said, you leave us all in the dark. I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about, and neither does anyone else.

    Thanks,

    w.

  363. Noted Willis but it’s not always easy to find specific quotes in a long thread or across multiple threads so paraphrasing is a useful time saver and it is always open to you to correct any misapprehension by restating your case rather than simply complaining about being misquoted.

    I think it is implied in your previous words that all of the heat (temperature) at a surface is utilised in radiation to space and that there is no deduction for conduction.

    If that interpretation of your words is wrong please could you set out a formulation that you do accept.

    Even joeldshore accepted that energy used for conduction had to be deducted from the energy available for radiation to space.

    On the face of it one can have a higher surface temperature than S-B if part of the surface temperature is diverted to a conductive exchange rather than radiation.

    I think your previous answer was that energy coming back from the air via conduction is equal to energy leaving from surface to air via conduction so the two cancel out leaving the full radiative package still available for radiation to space.

    My answer would be that although the conduction from air to surface is immediately taken away via conduction from surface to air it still increases surface temperature and is still locked into the conductive exchange and not available for radiation to space.

    It’s basic accounting principles really.

    In fact, if one acknowledges the increasing temperature of descending air (50% of the entire atmosphere is descending at any given time) and its ability to keep the surface warm then one no longer needs DWIR at all and the error in the global energy budget that the concept of DWIR was supposed to rectify just goes away.

    Every global energy budget I have ever seen completely omits the warming of descending air and the consequent effect on surface temperature.

    Everyone has been treating convection as a one way route for outgoing energy.

    It isn’t.

    Convective overturning takes heat up and brings heat down in equal amounts and that is what makes surfaces beneath atmospheres warmer than S-B.

    And it is a mechanical process related to the amount of mass and the strength of the gravitational field.

    IR is simply a by product of mechanical processes involving mass interfering with the direct transmission of solar shortwave and altering the wavelength in the process because it creates a delay in the rate of energy transmission.

    That is the true greenhouse effect.

    Many of your contributions here show that you nearly understand all that.

    The only way your thermostat can work is for the mechanical processes to be variable in scale and speed in order to offset variations in the radiative throughput caused by internal system forcing elements such as changes in the amount of GHGs thereby keeping the system stable.

  364. I can be more specific about the fundamental flaw in all the radiative energy budgets.

    As they stand, all the budgets show radiation in equalling radiation out and that is fine at equilibrium but it misses out the thermal effect on the surface of the continuing zero sum conductive exchange between surface and air and air and surface.

    That is important because as I point out above that energy locked into that zero sum ongoing conductive energy exchange warms the surface and yet the energy locked into that exchange is not available for radiation out.

    That mechanical energy exchange was created from the moment the atmosphere first lifted off the ground, has remained there ever since and will remain there as long as there is a gaseous atmosphere warmed by radiation from outside the system.

    Obviously the discrepancy was noted and the concept of DWIR was created to deal with it but that was a fundamental error because it constitutes double counting once one adds back in the effect on surface temperature of the ongoing conductive exchange.

    The result is that the radiative theory of climate is in breach of the law of conservation of energy because it has failed to account for a mechanical energy exchange which is capable of adding to surface temperature without changing radiation in or radiation out.

  365. Stephen Wilde says, December 27, 2013 at 12:49 am:

    “Convective overturning takes heat up and brings heat down in equal amounts and that is what makes surfaces beneath atmospheres warmer than S-B.”

    Mmm, this I cannot agree with, Stephen. The atmosphere is just as physically precluded from transferring energy down as heat against a temperature gradient (that is, from cooler to warmer) conductively/convectively as it is precluded from doing so radiatively.

  366. Konrad says:
    December 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 26, 2013 at 3:07 am
    ——————————————
    So clearly I can’t put you in the “yes” column. Yet.

    I would agree that some equator to pole circulation would exist for a non-radiative atmosphere, however this would be far more limited due to surface friction than the tropospheric convection cells that would occur with radiative cooling at altitude.

    Mmmm … yes, initially the equator to pole circulation would be lower. But there are two things that would increase the equatorial SAT.

    The first is the very slowness of the equator to pole circulation. If that circulation slows, then two things will happen—the tropics will warm and the poles will cool. And of course, this will increase the equator to pole circulation.

    The second thing to increase the equatorial SAT is that we wouldn’t have evaporation. Globally, this loss is about 80 W/m2. However, in the tropics at the high temperature end of the swings, evaporation is much, much higher, at least double. So we have to add in perhaps 150 W/m2 to the surface temperature at the equator.

    The combination of these two will greatly increase the tropics-to-poles temperature differential … and that will make the thermal circulation all that much stronger.

    This equator-to-pole circulation will be add to by the solar terminator wind. Remember that at the poles, the terminator wind always blows towards the tropics.

    Net result? I suspect that we would see a reasonable amount of equator-to-pole circulation, and it will penetrate the full depth of the troposphere. Why would it not, when the entire column of atmosphere would be heated from the bottom?

    The second issue with this proposed flow is that the surface is far better at conductively heating a moving gas atmosphere than it is at conductively cooling it. (it is notable that the simply physics behind this, while known to meteorology, is not included in most AGW calculations). The surface temperature differential would not be directly reflected in the temperature of a non-radiative atmosphere.

    Mmm … I’ll have to think about this one. Certainly, in a situation where the atmosphere overturns during the day and stratifies at night, your statement is true.

    However, the main circulation in the non-GHG atmosphere would be the relatively continuous slow but steady equator-to-poles and return circulation. And with that kind of circulation, I don’t think the difference would be anywhere near as lopsided as when there is alternate stratification

    The main issue here is the speed of vertical circulation across the atmospheric pressure gradient compared to the speed of gas conduction. At present it is fast enough to over come gas conduction and pneumatically produce the observed lapse rate. Slow the vertical circulation down to speeds that would result from the limited pole wise flows you mention and the lapse rate will weaken and the bulk of the atmosphere would trend to isothermal.

    The lapse rate would indeed weaken. However, since the equator to pole difference in temperatures, both atmospheric and surface, will be even larger than at present, calling that “isothermal” stretches the word.

    I would urge you to read Dr. Spencer’s 2009 comments on the importance of radiative gases in convective circulation –

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/12/what-if-there-was-no-greenhouse-effect/

    Dr. Spencer indicates a largely isothermal atmosphere with only a very thin near surface layer experiencing advection winds at dawn and dusk and shallow convective circulation.

    Thanks, I’d read that. Upon re-reading, it seems good except he underestimates the equator-to-poles difference and thus the thermal circulation.

    Best regards, and I’m sorry I can’t give you a yes/no answer, but the situation is complex.

    w.

  367. Kristian, many people share that view.

    One has to consider energy not heat.

    Convective overturning obeys the law of conservation of energy.

    A molecule at the surface has the same total energy as a molecule higher up.

    All energy taken up is returned to the surface but its nature changes in the process.

    As the energy in rising air gains height the kinetic variety (heat) becomes gravitational potential energy (not heat) and on the descent the opposite happens.

    Meanwhile, the temperature gradient is unaffected since that is set by mass and gravity reducing density with height.

    There is no energy or heat flowing anywhere in the process of convective overturning. Merely conversion to PE during uplift and reconversion to KE during descent.

    It is a purely mechanical process driven by uneven surface heating creating density differentials which then lead to convective overturning within the atmosphere.

    The amount of heat at the surface in excess of S-B is determined by the amount of mass (in terms of density) available to absorb conductively and the work required to lift the available mass against the gravitational field.

    The S-B level rises off he solid surface according to the amount of mass and the strength of the gravitational field.

    Note that I learned the basic principles at school some 50 years ago but it all seems to have disappeared from the climate textbooks.

  368. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 27, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Noted Willis but it’s not always easy to find specific quotes in a long thread or across multiple threads so paraphrasing is a useful time saver and it is always open to you to correct any misapprehension by restating your case rather than simply complaining about being misquoted.

    Oooh, so it’s too hard to do your homework and provide quotes when you attack someones ideas? You poor guy, that must be tough …

    You want me to “correct any misapprehension”? Fine. Here it is, clear as I can make it.

    Man up and provide the quotes to back up your claims, and quit your half-baked misrepresentations and fantasies about my ideas. Your misapprehension is that your slipshod work and inattention to detail is somehow acceptable, and that it is up to me to correct you. That is your job, not mine.

    I hope that clears up the misapprehension. Quote my words if you disagree with them. It’s not just for me. It’s so that everyone can understand what you are talking about. And no, Steven, I can’t clear that up or “correct your misapprehensions” because I DON’T HAVE A FREAKING CLUE WHAT YOU ARE ON ABOUT!

    That’s why I need you to provide the context—because no one can provide it but you.

    w.

  369. Actually, Willis it isn’t much use providing your past quotes because anyone’s quotes can be interpreted multiple ways.

    Much better to try and reach understanding by paraphrasing each other during a mutually respectful exchange in order to tease out differences in approach or means of expression.

    If my paraphrasing of what you have previously said or implied in multiple past comments is wrong then it is for you to clarify what you really think.

    I often find myself having to repeat or reformulate because people have misunderstood some aspect of things that I have said and you should expect to have to do the same.

    I am at a loss as to why you think I have launched any sort of ‘attack’.

    I have always been very supportive of your thermostat hypothesis and merely sought to make it more comprehensive, fit it into a wider global scenario and refine a description of some of the mechanisms that must underpin it.

  370. Kristian says:
    December 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says, December 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm:

    “It would be reasonable at first blush, to consider possibilities like the effective radiating surface of an atmosphere is always at the point where half the mass of the atmosphere is below the surface and half the mass is above the surface. If such a median surface (or some other fraction of the atmospheric column) is always the same point where effective radiation occurs, regardless of the gas mixture then the specific concentration of GHG’s would be irrelevant.

    It would take a bit of detailed dissection of atmospheric pressure curves on various planets (info we really do not have at this time in great precision, except earth and a very small sample of pressure profiles from venus, and mars. Then compare that to the altitude at which their actual temperature coincides with the temperature required by SB.”

    It’s actually quite simple. The ‘effective radiating level’ of any planet is no more than a conjured-up illusion. The very notion is illogical, nonsensical and goes against all that we know about the real world. When you observe a planet from space, all you ‘see’ is radiation. But this radiation doesn’t originate from some specific layer with some specific temperature. It comes from the planetary system as a whole. It is a total, a final, a cumulative emission flux of energy, energy radiated out all the way from the surface to the ToA. At all times. The Earth may look as if it only has one surface. In reality, in radiative terms, it has a million, a billion surfaces, all emitting radiation to space. At all kinds of strange temperatures.

    I agree entirely but there are logical constructs used in science that have no physical existance but are useful concepts or “handles” on a problem to facilitate discussion or calculations.

    The concept of a “point mass” or a “point in geometry” are two examples. Neither exist in reality, ie I can’t put either of them in display case and show them off, but they greatly simplify discussions and calculations.

    The effective radiation surface is the same sort of concept. Instead of going into a pages long discussion of how a million billion layers in the atmosphere radiate, we can usefully say that “as a limit” they approximate a single surface at some definable temperature which we call the Effective Radiation surface. For another example radioactive half life, is another useful approximation. Statistically 50% of a radioactive material undergoes decay in a certain period of time, and for practical purposes we can say the radioactive material is gone after 7 half lives have expired, since after 7 half lives only 0.7% of the original radioactive emissions remain.

    I am not trying to communicate with you, since you already understand the concept, I am trying to build a logical construct that is intuitively obvious (or at least understandable and worth consideration) for those who are currently stuck in the classic green house gas world view and dismiss the idea of conservation of energy and potential energy gradients being the better explanation of surface warming of a planet with an atmosphere. All you need to explain the entire temperature profile in the atmospheric column under the pressure modulated heating construct is to define one point in the atmospheric column which has a defined and unique temperature. Then potential energy calculations allow the temperature and pressure at all other levels of the atmosphere to be calculated.

    I realized last night that there might be a better “set point” rather than the ERL which concerns you so much. That would be the approximate equality of the temperature at the top of the atmosphere to the temperature of deep space.

    Going back to our logical construct of an isothermal column of gas inside a super insulating silo, extending from the surface to what ever we define as the top of the atmosphere. Simple potential energy calculations define what its gravitational potential energy would be at all altitudes in the silo, and all pressure levels in the silo. Then you remove the super insulating top and bottom cover of the silo and allow heat flow to occur. The bottom of the silo would be at some temperature Xp the surface temperature of the planet. The top would over time equalize to approximate the radiant temperature of deep space 2.7 k or Xds.
    Once you fix the top of the column at approximately 3 K, the ideal gas laws define the entire temperature profile all the way to the bottom based on conservation of energy laws and the rules of adiabatic heating and PV=nRT

    I think that is a more useful and perhaps more easily understandable way of looking at the problem then some construct like the ERL.

    Then under Occam’s razor, this becomes least complex explanation of planetary atmospheric temperature profiles, which is founded on only two widely accepted laws, conservation of energy, and the ideal gas law. Radiation physics become irrelevant as they only describe the method used to reach the limit defined by these two laws, but they are not the cause of the temperature profile.

  371. Minor addition you also need the law of gravity and the radius of the planet and the estimated atmospheric mass to define the gravitational potential energy and the pressure potential energy, along with the radiant temperature of deep space at the beginning of the calculation, so I guess it should be based on:
    3 laws and 3 physical constants to define the entire pressure, temperature profile of any arbitrary planet.

  372. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 27, 2013 at 2:33 am

    Actually, Willis it isn’t much use providing your past quotes because anyone’s quotes can be interpreted multiple ways.

    Much better to try and reach understanding by paraphrasing each other during a mutually respectful exchange in order to tease out differences in approach or means of expression.

    Gosh, that sounds like fun. Let me start the paraphrasing.

    Stephen Wilde once wrote that he particularly enjoys sex with farm animals. I know that’s a paraphrase of what he said, and I can’t remember where he said it. But that’s one of the multiple ways that I interpreted the text that he wrote.

    And I believe that is the correct interpretation, and in addition, I think that is why he is always surrounded by the faint odor of sulfur, which he complained about in a previous comment on another blog some time previously. Or perhaps it was the odor of sugar, but in any case, that’s likely the reason he said it.

    However, if he asks me in a respectful way, I’ll be more than happy to tease out the differences, and he can clarify exactly what he meant by “sex”, and what kind of animals he was referring to.

    The problem is not the different interpretations of the text, Stephen.

    The problem is, when you start with your “Willis said this” or “Willis claimed that” fantasies without quoting what I actually said, I DON’T HAVE A CLUE WHAT TEXT YOU ARE INTERPRETING. And as a result, I can’t defend or discuss it, respectfully or any other way.

    I’m more than happy to discuss the manifold interpretations of my ideas about something.

    But I can only do that if you specify exactly what I said about that thing. NOT your misinterpretation of what I said. NOT your paraphrase of what I said. NOT your faulty memory of the post last year when I said it. We can get to that, but only if we first know which text you are babbling about …

    Because I’ll be damned if I’ll try to defend your exegesis on some unspecified thing that you fantasize I might have said somewhere two years ago. If you’re too lazy to look up where I might have said it or what I actually said, piss off. I’m not interested.

    On the other hand, if you want to join into the scientific conversation, then I encourage you to put on your big-boy pants and start taking the trouble to find out what I actually did say on a given subject.

    Then, after you’ve quoted what I said, you can tell me exactly where you think I went off the rails, and we can have a conversation because we have a text upon which we can comment. That way, I and everyone else get to look at my claim exactly as I made it, and your objection to that claim, exactly as you’ve specified it.

    Then, we can have a discussion, because we have something to discuss, and you and I and everyone knows exactly what you and I have said about it.

    Or not. Your choice,

    w.

  373. Willis, the issue at hand is very simple.

    You pointed out that the surface has a temperature that under the S-B law should radiate out to space more radiation than is received from space.

    Tell us all whether or not you accept that the apparent ‘surplus’ of energy at the surface could be going into the conductive exchange of energy with the atmosphere.

  374. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 27, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Willis, the issue at hand is very simple.

    You pointed out that the surface has a temperature that under the S-B law should radiate out to space more radiation than is received from space.

    Tell us all whether or not you accept that the apparent ‘surplus’ of energy at the surface could be going into the conductive exchange of energy with the atmosphere.

    Stephen, what part of please quote my exact words so we know WTH you’re talking about was less than clear to you? Once again, your paraphrase is useless. Where did I say whatever has you so exercised, and exactly what did I say?

    Sheesh … you’d think a simple request to quote my words would suffice …

    w.

  375. Kristian 12:47pm: …go to a planet where we do not already know the surface temperature, only its solar input and the content of radiatively active gases in its atmosphere. Then work out its surface temperature from this. This should work for all planets with such an atmosphere, shouldn’t it?”

    Yes Kristian. The construct already has been applied successfully to a planet where the surface temperature was unknown. Venus. The Soviet Venera program built the 1st thermometer in the early ’60s with a T range up to the low 700Ks using this basic science then they went to the planet and confirmed in situ.

    The construct will work just as well for exoplanets once the eqn.’s inputs are reasonably known.

    “I said ‘solar input’. That’s after albedo.”

    Now we get a definition. Fine.

    Use solar irradiance after albedo & mass of atm. which should be good enough to compute global surface Tmean since your hypothesis is these alone set surface temperature.

  376. Konrad 5:27pm, Kristian 12:08pm: “… it has taken “Trick” over a year to concede..”

    I haven’t conceded. The discussion long ago was for an adiabatic column. Konrad’s recent construct leaves out the word “adiabatic”.

    Plug in a trick solar powered heater orbiting at say just below thermopause and plug in same model at the surface; I concur the relative height will be critical to determining the avg. temperature of the gas column.

  377. Kristian 10:53pm: “I know full well that you (Konrad) are one of the few around who actually think that CO2 is incapable of warming the Earth system. I’m another one.”

    Count me in. I’m another one.

    Added IR active gas ppm has a logarithmic decreasing mechanism to increase surface atm. constituents KE (Tmean) while identical decrease of KE (Tmean) at great height occurs so added CO2 is incapable of warming the Earth system. Warming the Earth system takes a source energy reservoir to be used up, as the sun is using up hydrogen.

    “And you cannot transfer heat from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface.”

    Concur.

    Can transfer energy though in such a real unforced process as long as entropy increases in the system control volume which it does for the real earth & atm. 345.6 +/- 9 W/m^2 avg. DWIR increases the entropy of the dirt&water surface.

    Konrad implies the entropy from DWIR is unchanged over water so that hypothesis cannot be real.

  378. . Stephen Wilde says:
    “…the surface has a temperature that under the S-B law should radiate out to space more radiation than is received from space.”

    So say, Venus has surface temperature that according to S-B law should radiate out to space more radiation than is received from space.
    I am not sure what this means.
    Planet because of their internal heat do radiate slightly more energy than they receive- but this is not related to S-B law.
    Let start with wiki statement of S-B law:
    “The Stefan–Boltzmann law, also known as Stefan’s law, describes the power radiated from a black body in terms of its temperature. Specifically, the Stefan–Boltzmann law states that the total energy radiated per unit surface area of a black body across all wavelengths per unit time (also known as the black-body radiant exitance or emissive power), is directly proportional to the fourth power of the black body’s thermodynamic temperature”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan%E2%80%93Boltzmann_law

    So roughly power of flux [watts per sq meter] is proportional to the fourth power temperature.
    And so if measure flux, you can convert it into temperature [Kelvin]. So if at the surface
    one has flux of X, one determine temperature K. Or if one measure temperature one determine
    amount watts per per square meter.
    This does assume something is radiating into a vacuum. Not only does a blackbody have radiate into vacuum, but this blackbody is ideal body [something that doesn't exist].
    So all known real universe matter does not include such a blackbody, but select material could considered to be close to a blackbody for some purpose. So by making some material resemble a blackbody, and if you in a vacuum you use Stefan–Boltzmann law to measure the temperature of the Sun. Or you can measure the temperature of the Sun from Earth surface and use adjustments or models to get an estimate of Sun’s temperature.

    So when we say the Solar flux above Earth atmosphere is 1360 watts per square meter we saying what Sun’s temperature would be if Sun were blackbody in accordance inverse square law per square meter of it’s surface. If is flat panel and pointed at sun, it would same temperature of the sun at Earth distance, so ideal blackbody in which only radiated energy towards the sun.
    instead of flat surface radiating 1360 watts per square meter it would radiate 1/4 of these watts per square meter of it’s surface were spherical and ideal blackbody in vacuum

    Or the Moon should radiate in total of about average of 340 watts per square meter.
    All it’s reflected light, and all it’s IR radiation should equal to around 340 watts per square meter entire lunar surface area.
    Or if the Moon were a ideal blackbody. Which means such moon would be invisible to human eyes, because only spectrum leaving such a moon is not in spectrum humans can see. It’s *uniform* temperature should about 278 K [5 C].
    And contrary to what seems accepted practice in the pseudoscience, uniform temperature is not the same as average temperature. Or median average amount is not same as uniform amount.
    One would think these socialist would understand the difference.
    Socialist claim they want a uniform income for all people- this is their “equality”. Achieving median average is not something to achieve as one already has it in past, present, future have had and will have a median average income.
    A reasonable person might think increasing the median average in income could be generally a good idea- something broadly in right direction for a society. So two billionaires are better than one billionaire, and 1000 is better than 2. But according to the theory having rich neighbors is the source most of evil in the world.
    So an astonishingly stupid perversion of the issue of problems related to sin of envy. Though certainly involves a issue related to an explanation of The Terror which spawned the modern Left. If one imagine the The Terror as “good idea” or right direction, then it is in accordance with this “direction”. It’s true to this faith.

    In terms global temperature, the Earth [or the Moon] is not uniformly warmed.
    An design feature of ideal blackbody was to suppose it was uniformly warm a spherically body.

    The fact of the earth is spinning and on an axis tilted 23 degrees is element which gives our world and more uniform temperature. But the stipulated design of blackbody does not *require*
    any spin in order to have completely uniform temperature.
    Another element of Earth which makes more towards an uniform temperature is the heat retaining ability of it’s ocean, land, and atmosphere.
    A ideal blackbody has no stated attribute of storing heat- it’s irrelevant to the model.
    So a spinning body and body retains heat are not important to the ideal blackbody,
    but there certainly important real body in space in terms of a body having more uniform temperature. But for real body in space, neither make a significant difference in terms amount total energy striking the surface and a total energy leaving the surface. Obviously a planet doesn’t reflected or re-radiate more or less of the energy of the Sun. Nor does planet absorb more or less energy then it radiates. Broadly speaking, not factors such as geothermal energy of planet, or plant life absorbing more energy and is emitted burning this chemical energy, etc. So broadly speaking and so not including such relativity geological speaking short duration variations. So, it’s nothing more than restating that energy is generally, conserved.

    Why I mention the above, is because the pseudoscience educated appear to think retaining of heat or spinning and axis tilt of world have nothing to do with global average temperature.

    An interesting assumption about Venus is the idea, that it must have started out like Earth.
    And we got same assumption with Mars.
    Whether Venus or Mars had some water at some point in past billion years, is not the point I mean.
    It’s the idea of these planets starting like Earth.
    The idea that Mercury or our Moon started like
    Earth is less common assumption, or it isn’t given much thought.
    One could say we grew out of the idea that there could beings living on the Moon, but in mythology remained longer of hope of alien beings living on Mars and Venus.
    Another part of it, is not that it started out as Earth of +4 billion years ago, but starting
    out as essentially modern Earth.

    What did Venus look like 4 billion year ago?
    People can have to go on, but they can assume things which is based no evidence.
    That was possibly even more of inferno from large impactors slamming into it at very high velocity, could be considered part of an educated guess.
    One could make many stipulation about Venus it’s early history but why should it resemble anything like Earth of last 3 billion years to present?

  379. it –Kristian 10:53pm: “I know full well that you (Konrad) are one of the few around who actually think that CO2 is incapable of warming the Earth system. I’m another one.”

    Count me in. I’m another one.–

    I am not certain. I think that doubling of CO2 has 0 C +/- .5.
    And I think it’s a good chance we might get as much as 1 C to global average
    temperature by 2100.
    Whereas .5 C increase from being of 21 century to 2050 seems unlikely.
    And so I think a .6 C increase from 2050 to 2100 is possibly or around
    50% chance. So a 1.25 C more increase by 2100 I view as unlikely.
    Of course I don’t think CO2 would why we get such increase or it’s
    only a small part of why we could get such an increase.
    Or I don’t think we will have 800 ppm CO2 by 2100- but nor is anyone
    seriously suggesting that this is likely.
    So I think we get less than .4 C of increase in global temperature by year
    2100. And less than .3 C from CO2 by 2050.
    This due to my guess that we will see the highest levels increase of CO2
    emission by human before 2050, and highest driver of this increase will
    be from China [just as it is has recently and to the present time].
    The only one remotely capable of matching China emissions are Russia
    and US, and it seems unreasonable to expect this from either of these
    countries. China is burning 4 billion tons of coal.
    “China – already the top consumer – will drive two-thirds of the growth in global coal use this decade. Half of China’s power generation capacity to be built between 2012 and 2020 will be coal-fired, said Woodmac.”
    ttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/14/world-coal-consumption-oil_n_4095221.html
    And China eventually conceivable doubles it to 8 billion tonnes per year. It’s doubled
    it in last decade, but unlike it will double it again within next decade, though
    maybe within 2 decades. But it China will reach “peak Coal” some time within next
    couple or perhaps 3 decades. If China gets to 8 billion tonnes it will have highest
    will probably highest emission per capita in world. It seems more likely China will
    peak at about 6 billion tonnes, though it’s seems possible reaching 8.
    So seems that fracking would possibly have biggest effect on how much CO2
    china emits. And there other elements which also lower global CO2. Beyond decade
    one could have methane hydrate and/or Nuclear energy. But because both require
    time develop, one will not see these having much effect within a decade.
    So sems a given fracking will continue to grow and could become far more significant
    within 10 years, global. And if China did [and it will not soon] it switch from coal to Methane,
    it halves it’s emissions. And I would guess China only choice beyond 2050 is nuclear and/or methane.
    And seems quite possible before 2050 global CO2 yearly emision could decline and leveling or decline of global CO2 level before 2100. And therefore global CO2 around 500 to 600 ppm.
    And so we could be bit over 450 ppm be 2050. And if over 500 ppm by 2050, China would face political presure to do something drastic- despite whatever global temperature are, even if they lower than current global temperatures.

  380. Willis, you once said this:

    “I hold it can be proven that there is no possible mechanism involving gravity and the atmosphere that can raise the temperature of a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere above the theoretical S-B temperature.”

    So I ask you whether you agree that even for a GHG free atmosphere there would still be ‘surplus’ energy constantly recycling conductively between the surface and the mass of the atmosphere which would give a higher surface temperature than S-B predicts without affecting the net radiative balance at all.

    The reason being that the S-B equation simply cannot be applied to a solid surface which is overlain by a gaseous atmosphere..

    That gaseous atmosphere by virtue of its mass alone interferes with the free flow of radiative energy through the planet’s atmosphere because all mass has some radiative absorption capability in some part of the radiative spectrum.

    It doesn’t have to be capable of absorption only in the IR wavelengths. It is sufficient for the mass of the atmosphere to absorb in any part of the spectrum for the mass induced greenhouse effect to occur. Whatever part of the spectrum is absorbed it is all converted to IR by the mass it encounters.

    It matters not at all that a varying portion of the atmospheric mass tends to prefer to absorb in the IR bands because the mass induced greenhouse effect is not a result of that preference.

    Rather it is the result of the interaction of atmospheric mass with every part of the incoming spectrum combined because that is what primarily slows down the transmission of solar energy through the atmosphere.

    If there is a preference on the part of certain gases to absorb in the IR bands then that just affects the volume of the atmosphere and not the total length of the delay in transmission of solar energy through the system.

    The only resistance to atmospheric expansion being gravity and gravity remaining constant any ‘extra’ IR can only go to expansion and not heating.

    One cannot apply S-B to any surface unless there is no atmospheric mass at all above it.

    It is conduction which invalidates the S-B equation and the conductive exchange which heats the surface further without altering the radiative balance between surface and space.

    The cause of the so called greenhouse effect is the mechanical process of conduction and not radiation at all.

  381. Actually it is even simpler so one can ignore my comments in my previous post about radiative capability except in so far as more such capability can only expand and not heat an atmosphere due to the lack of any constraint on expansion.

    The warmer than S-B surface is all about conduction and mass resulting in convective overturning.

  382. Nice enough presentation. Lots of people have been studying the heat flows through the system, and calling it a “heat engine” adds little. As a high-dimensional non-linear dissipative system with radiative output appx proportional to T^4, the climate does not need a throttle to stay within a range of temperatures. Complex dynamics (waves, vortices, etc) arise even in lower dimensional systems with uniform input on flat uniform surfaces, so in a system with 3 spatial dimensions complex flows of all kinds are to be expected — documenting those present in the Earth climate system is informative.

    Whether the clouds do act as a throttle is an important question, but a throttle (or a thermostat) is not required to keep temperatures within bounds.

  383. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 28, 2013 at 1:18 am

    It matters not at all that a varying portion of the atmospheric mass tends to prefer to absorb in the IR bands because the mass induced greenhouse effect is not a result of that preference.
    —————

    Now I can agree in principal with the above, …. but not with the following, to wit:

    Rather it is the result of the interaction of atmospheric mass with every part of the incoming spectrum combined because that is what primarily slows down the transmission of solar energy through the atmosphere.
    —————

    And that is because the mass induced “greenhouse effect” is primarily the result of the interaction of atmospheric mass with the heated surface.

  384. I changed my mind about the usefulness of the appellation “heat engine” — it might direct more people’s attention away from the fixation on “equilibrium”..

  385. Stephen Wilde: Noted Willis but it’s not always easy to find specific quotes in a long thread or across multiple threads so paraphrasing is a useful time saver and it is always open to you to correct any misapprehension by restating your case rather than simply complaining about being misquoted.

    I think it is implied in your previous words that all of the heat (temperature) at a surface is utilised in radiation to space and that there is no deduction for conduction.

    Quote first then paraphrase. That way the rest of us can follow you as well.

  386. Samuel C Cogar said:

    “And that is because the mass induced “greenhouse effect” is primarily the result of the interaction of atmospheric mass with the heated surface.”

    Agreed, hence my short follow up post at 2.01am

    Matthew R Marler said:

    “Quote first then paraphrase. That way the rest of us can follow you as well.”

    Good suggestion but in the meantime I found a suitable quote and dealt with it at 1.18am thus:

    “Willis, you once said this:

    “I hold it can be proven that there is no possible mechanism involving gravity and the atmosphere that can raise the temperature of a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere above the theoretical S-B temperature.”

    So I ask you whether you agree that even for a GHG free atmosphere there would still be ‘surplus’ energy constantly recycling conductively between the surface and the mass of the atmosphere which would give a higher surface temperature than S-B predicts without affecting the net radiative balance at all”

  387. Willis Eschenbach: Indeed they are. And not only that, they are what might be called “intelligent” heat sinks, in that they only form as and when they are needed to remove excess heat from the surface, and vanish when the job is done.

    Indeed they might be called “intelligent”, as long as we remember the quotes in “intelligent”. No more insight is gained by calling them “intelligent” than is gained in calling the eyes of the eagles “intelligently designed”. We living creatures are lucky that the Earth has the qualities that it has, but the climate system is “self organized”. Other examples of “intelligent”: the Sun has been “intelligently” designed to maintain the Earth temperatures within a range; and the Earth orbit has been “intelligently” placed at just the right distance from the Sun.

    For more desctiptions of some energy flows, peruse the book “Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate” by Marcel Leroux.

    Have a happy and prosperous New Year. I hope you make time to provide more of these enlightening posts to the rest of us. You do a lot of good work.

  388. Stephen Wilde: Good suggestion but in the meantime I found a suitable quote and dealt with it at 1.18am thus:

    Thank you. I saw that. I hope you appreciate that it helps the rest of us to know what it is you are talking about.

  389. The “pressure heads” are confusing pressure (static) with compression (dynamic process with energy transfer).

    When I hand-pump the tire of my bike the pump becomes pretty hot as I am constantly compressing air – the increased pressure and temp are the result of the applied force that does the job.

    Higher pressure by itself doesn’t imply higher temperature. For example, there are these pressure-cans or bottles at home, say for paint spraying, beer, champagne, in which the pressure is higher than the surrounding air but the temp is the same.

    If you would prefer an astronomical counter example, black holes – can you imagine more pressure? yet they are very very cold see e.g. here.

  390. If you would prefer an astronomical counter example, black holes – can you imagine more pressure? yet they are very very cold see e.g. here.
    +++++++++++
    I’m not sure the temperature of a black hole is very very cold. However, the radiation energy is not released due to immense gravity which pulls the radiation into the black hole. At least, that’s the way I see it.

  391. lsvalgaard says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm
    The people I call “pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere, that pressure alone can raise the temperature of the surface.
    All astronomers are then ‘pressure heads’ as it is generally accepted that pressure alone heated the Sun, as it formed out of a contracting cloud of interstellar gas, until it became so hot that nuclear fusion was initiated…
    ++++++++++++++++
    I’m just enjoying reading through this post and I have a nit to pick.

    Leif: I need to ask the following. Is pressure what now causes the sun to be hot? The answer is no, I think. The pressure was a temporary thing that happened as you say when the contracting cloud of gas occurred presumably due to gravity. Once the pressure is stabilized, the heat energy is no longer concentrated. I’m think of a can of soda, or Argon Dewar. The heat that was created during pressurization eventually goes away. The Dewar or can of soda is not an ongoing “source” of heat energy. The source of energy from the sun is from ongoing fusion processes, not from pressure.

    I think what Willis is saying (correctly) [and these are my words] is that pressure does not cause the heating so much as it changes the temperature. However, that change in temperature is not new energy being created –rather its energy from somewhere else being concentrated such as to raise the temperature where there is more pressure. Then we have that wonderful latent heat of state changes which act as thermostats.

    This stuff is so cool… uhm hot… uhm –OK I digress

  392. A sphere in vacuum with ideal blackbody at Sun’s distance.
    Has uniform temperature of 5 C. Or uniform temperature about 278 K.
    And such sphere can spinning or not. Let’s say it’s tidal locked with sun so
    same side is always facing the sun.
    On Earth we call the equator as being perpendicular to the axis of spin.
    This world spins at rate of one revolution per year [365 earth days].
    So this sphere year about is 365 earth days long, and this sphere’s day
    is forever.
    This sphere could have any amount gravity and it still has uniform temperature
    of 5 C. We will pick a gravity of 1 earth gravity.
    So the one gravity sphere can be any size and this has little effect upon it’s uniform
    temperature. But we say it’s same size as Earth.
    Unlike earth not only does it not have changing day and night, since it doesn’t
    have tilt it doesn’t have seasons- Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, anywhere on the
    sphere..
    The sphere does have equator it’s perpendicular to the axis of spin, and the permanent
    noon at equator, always has the sun directly over head.
    If you are on the sphere and have card table not made same material has this crazy
    ideal blackbody. So any normal or typical card table. So have card table at noon equator
    and put some of this crazy ideal blackbody material over the card table. Then the stuff
    on card table will be about 123 C. And the ideal blackbody material on the ground will
    5 C.
    You have a fast vehicle. You travel west for one hour at 1000 miles per hour. So you at
    about 11 am. Set up card table put ideal blackbody material on card table. And it’s about
    123 C and ground is 5 C. And sun is 75 degree above horizon or 15 degree off zenith.
    Get in vehicle and travel another hour. Sun is 60 degree above horizon. Table is still about
    123 C. And it’s 10 am.
    Get vehicle travel hour. it’s 9 am. Sun at 45 degrees. Could be bit cooler
    than 123 C.
    Get in vehicle. Travel another hour. 8 am. Sun at 30 degree angle. And it cast a shadow twice
    your length. If you see such a shadow on this crazy material that looks like you be looking into a dark cave.
    Now the blackbody material on card is not 123 C
    It’s about 50 C. If tilt the table by 15 degree or more. Then it warm up to 123 C.
    Ground of course, is still 5 C.
    Get in vehicle and go to 7 am. Sun now 15 degree above horizon.
    Now ideal black mater on table is about temperature of ground or colder.
    It getting energy just not enough to warm it up much.
    Then go to 6 am. Or go back to spot where sun’s disk is fully above horizon.
    Now stuff on table really cold. But tilt the table to facing the sun and it’s 123 C.
    So threw flour on this ground surface it would fairly bright, but surface does get much
    of any of sun’s energy. But of course, it’s 5 C.
    And same applies if go east. As does going north and south.
    So Sun is lighting these entire hemisphere but unequally heating the entire hemisphere.
    And of course night side is never lit.
    So this why a black surface at noon is not 123 C, but instead is 5 C. You have small percentage of sphere being heated,

    Now, to the point.
    Suppose instead covering entire sphere with ideal blackbody material. You do the tropics.
    Or 2 hours drive north or south from equator. So you from 9 am to 3 pm- both west to east and north to south. In square you getting more of less full energy of sun on every square meter.
    Though exact corners it might diminish a bit,
    So length at equator of 6 hours is still 1/4 of circumference. Or 1/2 of 12 hours day. Or 1/4 of 24 hours. But on either end of 6 hour area of full sun, I have hour period where getting the table top at about 50 C, and next hour is about 5 C. We could the other 6 hours of sunlight keep that group warm. And full slight square heats 12 hours of permanent night.
    So instead of 1/4, I divide by 1/3.
    So roughly this gives half world at about 15 C. Other half some region at near absolute freezing
    and parts of sunlit size which above 2 hour mark north south which if sand would as hot as 120 C and which diminish well below freezing as go poleward.
    Now to this we add Mars like atmosphere. So add 40 to 50 trillion tonnes of Nitrogen.
    Such thin atmosphere will have little affect upon amount sunlight reaching the ideal blackbody material, nor will the relative cool surface warm the gas much, but areas above the 2 hour mark will heat the gas quite a bit. And this warmed gas would easily raise the area which are at absolute freezing at by at least 100 K. Or we assume that no nitrogen freezes out anywhere on the surface.
    With this tiny atmosphere, which because it 1 gee world would not be the large atmosphere
    height of Mars, but still very much be a vacuum or nothing human breath in without a pressure or space suit. With this tiny atmosphere, sunlight bend a bit over the horizon.
    So morning 6 am and dawn 6 pm would get a tiny bit more direct sunlight reaching the surface.
    So, somewhere around say 10 K of warming.
    With such atmosphere there is going to be wind, so avoid dust, cover all area which don’t ideal blackbody material with pebbles larger than a pea. Therefore should not get dust, nor dunes.

    Now, what kind of weather do we get.
    So on sunlit side above and below the 2 hour away from equator, we vast but somewhat narrow desert which has a blazing hot surface, but with practically non-existent atmosphere.
    So I think would similar to Mars. On Mars the warmed surface air stays near the surface.
    So you might air the in the first foot being 100 C, and lower by 10 or 20 C every foot in elevation. In other words an inversion layer. but I think it would trap atmospheric gases and
    could be complicated.
    Let up the atmosphere to 1/3 of earth atmosphere. With this much atmosphere despite having no water, it seems to me one would get something resembling Earth troposphere.
    And returning to warm area, one gets convection of air. One could still heat inversions, but it seems the warmed air would go to much higher height
    And it seems we talk about average air temperature rather than surface skin temperature.
    So half world’s air temperature would be 15 C or warmer [“tropical band” at equator”.
    On sunlit side between 30 and 45 degrees latitude, we would have very hot desert. Just above
    30 degree being hottest and cooling to 50 C at 45 degree latitude.
    With increased amount atmosphere the hotter regions tend transfer their heat more laterally,
    so the warmer air seep into the “tropics” and tend go poleward by some degree. So though the air could cool the night side tropics it also seem day side tropics would warmed somewhat by warmer air. So it seems probably coldest air temperature could somewhere around 200 K.
    So what’s 200 K fairly dense air look like. Well, 200 k is -73 C, so resembles high elevation Antarctic air during winter.
    Now this sphere is spinning very slowly. So it does about 40,000 km a year, or 109.59 km a day
    or 4.5 kph [2.8 mph- at the equator]. Does not seem like much. So seems one will get large north and south pools of cold air on night side.
    If one large pools of hots averaging about 75 and as large pools of large cold air at about -75 C. So 1/2 world at 15 and other averaged half at 0 C. So maybe 7.5 instead of 5 C.
    It’s unlikely it could much cooler than 5 C. Due most sunlight is being absorbed by ideal blackbody. So unless supposes a blackbody will significantly loses the energy it would gain from sunlight with merely due to 1/3 of Earth atmosphere.
    So assuming the average global temperature is 5 C, what happen if rotate this sphere?
    Well it has zero affect in regard to ideal blackbody along the tropical band.
    But it going warm the cold regions and cool the warm regions.
    So if rotation is like earth, how much would the hot regions cool during the nite?
    Let try something. Say having instantaneous change. So second it’s under blazing sun and next second it’s darkness. And one second in in darkness and next second it’s in blazing sunlight. So how fast does the hot cool and how fast does cold warm.
    So actually have clue about this due to LRO’s diviner instrument, which recorded Lunar surface during an eclipse:

    http://www.diviner.ucla.edu/blog/?p=610

    Which a surface cooling and warming by about 100 K in about 2 hours.
    So roughly surface could warm or cool quick though cooling and warming the air could require more time.
    So far, we appear to be not getting warmer than global 5 C average.
    But I would say it appears this way because we ignore that air would take longer to cool and warm than surface.
    We seem to accept that greenhouse is trapping heat, and what what can be replaced by word “trap” is delay. What greenhouse gas are suppose to do is delay cooling. Rather increase heat the skin surface temperature. We don’t measure the skin surface temperature, instead we measure the air temperature to determine average temperature.

    So rather than does surface warm quicker or cool quicker, we ask does the air warm quickier.
    So if air warms quicker and surface warms and cooler at about same rate, does this increase
    air temperature?
    Or if average surface surface temperature remains constant, and the air warms faster than it cools, does this increase the average air temperature?
    And if true, then does a higher air temperature cause a higher surface temperature [or even care because we aren't even measuring surface skin temperature]?

    So it seems to me, that since there is gravity the air would warm faster than it cools- or heat energy is stored and accumulates in the atmosphere.

    Now, I think far more energy is stored in Earth oceans than in Earth’s sky. And so I would say the ocean is major “greenhouse effect”. Or Earth’s ocean is why average temperature would increase by more than 5 C.
    But earth ocean is also why Earth average temperature can not rise much higher- Earth can not be like Venus. And if ocean warms, world become more tropical than one could say become “hotter”. Or one gets less of Earth surface area where it freezes at night.

  393. Mario Lento says:
    December 28, 2013 at 6:47 pm
    Leif: I need to ask the following. Is pressure what now causes the sun to be hot? The answer is no, I think. The pressure was a temporary thing that happened as you say when the contracting cloud of gas occurred presumably due to gravity. Once the pressure is stabilized, the heat energy is no longer concentrated
    But the heat is still present and won’t leak away for billions of years. If you turned off the fusion, the contraction will resume. The thing with the pressure is that it is a measure of the number of atoms in the atmosphere. Unless the atmosphere is perfectly transparent [which no atmosphere is] the overlying atoms will prevent some of the energy from escaping to space so the atmosphere at the surface will be warmer.

  394. Leif said:

    “Unless the atmosphere is perfectly transparent [which no atmosphere is] the overlying atoms will prevent some of the energy from escaping to space so the atmosphere at the surface will be warmer.”

    Just so, and if he atmosphere is radiatively inert then conduction of energy between surface and air plus convective overturning will do the job. Furthermore, in reality one can never suppress convective overturning to produce an isothermal atmosphere.

    gbaike said:

    “We seem to accept that greenhouse is trapping heat, and what can be replaced by word “trap” is delay.”

    Just so.

    Conduction plus convective overturning takes time so there we have a gravity and mass induced delay without involving radiation directly.

    The length of delay being related to the entire atmospheric mass the effect is magnitudes greater than any effect from radiative characteristics, Furthermore, changes in atmospheric radiative characteristics are partly or wholly offset by atmospheric expansion which reduces mass density at the surface which is a cooling effect since it reduces conduction.

    Willis’s thermostat mechanism is simply the variable interplay between conduction and radiation as both work against one another by varying air parcel densities and consequent speeds of uplift and descent in order to maintain top of atmosphere radiative balance. Water vapour is just along for the ride but provides a useful ‘lubricant’ for the working fluid of air.

    gbaike said:

    “Now, I think far more energy is stored in Earth oceans than in Earth’s sky. And so I would say the ocean is major “greenhouse effect”.”

    Just so.

    See my “Hot Water Bottle Effect.”

    Jurgen said:

    “The “pressure heads” are confusing pressure (static) with compression (dynamic process with energy transfer).”

    Nearly right.

    In fact it is the warmists who are confusing those like me who point out the dynamic heat transfers involved in conduction and convective overturning with those who say or imply that pressure alone changes temperature. What changes temperature is work done against gravity during convective uplift (cooling) and work done with gravity on convective descent (warming).
    The associated delay in the transmission of solar energy through the system warms the surface above S-B and lifts the height at which S-B is satisfied off the ground.

    In a radiatively inert atmosphere convective overturning works to return kinetic energy back to the surface (which is then the effective radiating level) for radiation to space at the right speed to maintain system balance.

    In a radiatively active atmosphere the effective radiating level also lifts off the surface towards the S-B height so that convective overturning has less work to do in returning kinetic energy to the effective radiating level.for radiation to space.

    That last point is why I say that GHGs like water vapour and also the various non condensing GHGs such as CO2 act as a system lubricant in the troposphere.

    Ozone in the stratosphere is a slightly different scenario because ozone interacts directly with solar shortwave radiation.

  395. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 28, 2013 at 1:18 am (Edit)

    Willis, you once said this:

    “I hold it can be proven that there is no possible mechanism involving gravity and the atmosphere that can raise the temperature of a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere above the theoretical S-B temperature.”

    So I ask you whether you agree that even for a GHG free atmosphere there would still be ‘surplus’ energy constantly recycling conductively between the surface and the mass of the atmosphere which would give a higher surface temperature than S-B predicts without affecting the net radiative balance at all.

    Thanks, Stephen. It’s so much easier when I know what you are referring to. So let me start by giving a fuller quote, so we have a bit of context:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Now, in this situation there is no variation in the surface temperature, because the planet is evenly heated. As a result, there is no “‘surplus’ energy constantly recycling conductively between the surface and the mass of the atmosphere” as you suppose.

    Please follow the logic in the quote above, and you’ll see why adding a transparent GHG-free atmosphere to the planet in the thought experiment does not, and can not, exceed the S-B temperature no matter what the mechanism might be. If it could raise the temperature even one degree, the surface would be radiating on a continuous basis more than it is receiving … which is impossible.

    All the best,

    w.

  396. Willis 9:36 …”a transparent GHG-free atmosphere…”

    Transparent which cannot exist in nature because all mass >0K emits IR. So by your reverse logic method adding any natural atmosphere to a planet increases surface Tmean over vacuum S-B. Same concept as lsvalgaard writes 7:37pm.

  397. Trick says:
    December 28, 2013 at 9:57 pm (Edit)

    Willis 9:36 …”a transparent GHG-free atmosphere…”

    Transparent which cannot exist in nature because all mass >0K emits IR.

    This claim, that everything emits and absorbs IR, is widely believed but is absolutely untrue. Monatomic gases such as argon neither emit nor absorb thermal IR.

    w.

  398. Willis 10:07pm: That would change many things. In particular experimentalists could then obtain 0.0K but they cannot as yet. Cite for your assertion?

  399. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm
    Monatomic gases such as argon neither emit nor absorb thermal IR.
    But they emit and absorb other wavelengths so if the temperature of your planet is high enough [some thousand degrees] they will emit and absorb. Here you can see the colors of some of the spectral lines they emit and absorb: http://www.leif.org/research/Helium.pdf

  400. lsvalgaard says:
    December 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm (Edit)

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Monatomic gases such as argon neither emit nor absorb thermal IR.

    But they emit and absorb other wavelengths so if the temperature of your planet is high enough [some thousand degrees] they will emit and absorb. Here you can see the colors of some of the spectral lines they emit and absorb: http://www.leif.org/research/Helium.pdf

    Thanks, Leif. You are correct that argon will absorb and emit visible light at very high temperatures, as your link shows. However, for earth-like temperatures, they neither absorb nor emit IR.

    w.

  401. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 28, 2013 at 10:32 pm
    argon will absorb and emit visible light at very high temperatures, as your link shows. However, for earth-like temperatures, they neither absorb nor emit IR.
    How many suns were surrounding your planet? Thousands AFAIR. They will heat it to a ‘very high temperature’, no?

  402. Willis 10:32pm: You are up against Max Planck here so be careful. Be very, very careful.

    “However, for earth-like temperatures, they neither absorb nor emit IR.”

    No. In this earth-like example, Planck’s law shows MOST of the argon atm. emission will be IR. Even at lower temperatures the law shows most of the emission in IR. This is true all the way down to nan0Ks. Every mass spontaneously and continuously emits radiation over the entire spectrum as described by Planck’s Law, you know the one with 3 fundamental constants in it. Cite Bohren 2006 and 1998 (p. 39) texts.

    If you want to think about absolute zero, think of entropy. To get rid of all the residual entropy in a system takes an infinite number of process steps. So as far as we know 0.0K (no IR) is not possible but experimentalists have come close at great expense. This is a 2nd Law view of absolute zero.

    Hence even adding very cold Ar atm.s will increase the surface Tmean above S-B deep space vacuum. Miniscule amounts above vacuum S-B but non-zero amounts.

    Although no gas is strictly ideal, earth gaseous atm. can be taken to be good approx. to ideal. I have not come across a terrestrial atm. phenomenon that is a consequence of the departure of atm. gases from ideality. Would be delighted to learn of such a phenomenon.

  403. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm
    Please follow the logic in the quote above, and you’ll see why adding a transparent GHG-free atmosphere to the planet in the thought experiment does not, and can not, exceed the S-B temperature no matter what the mechanism might be. If it could raise the temperature even one degree, the surface would be radiating on a continuous basis more than it is receiving … which is impossible.

    All the best,

    w.

    Willis:
    The one problem with thought experiments is you have to be very very careful about their limitations and definitions. You also have to avoid projecting their results beyond fair comparisons. You have explained a situation that should be impossible as you define the problem, but you have also defined the conditions so that they explicitly violate the conditions that N&Z specified in their theory, and are physically impossible in the real world.

    They also carefully specify that the common use of the S-B as applied to planets is flawed and they point out why. Using their calculation method their formula results in almost perfect correspondence with measured conditions on real planets.

    They are talking about gray bodies not black bodies, using real measured emissivities of real planets in their calculations.

    They explicitly limit the application to planets with “effective atmospheres”. As posted in their original discussions and some of the follow up discussions, the atmosphere must be dense enough to behave as a gas envelope constrained by gravity. Your totally IR transparent atmosphere is functionally identical to a planet with no meaningful atmosphere and is therefore a condition that they specifically exclude.

    They also specify that their Nte can be (Nte ≥ 1.0). So a condition of no enhancement ie Nte=1.0 is perfectly legitimate value under their theory, and would be the obvious case for an atmosphere that was specifically defined to not conform to any real world gasses.

    All real gasses radiate energy in some part of the electromagnetic spectrum at all pressures and temperatures above absolute zero. As a result any real world atmosphere will set up heat flow from surface to outer space through leakage of energy at some electromagnetic frequency. As a result there will always be a lapse rate in any real atmosphere. Therefore your test conditions are not possible in the real world. Your specified conditions are a violation of the theory that they propose.
    It is like setting up a proof that involves dividing by zero. You simply cannot get there from here.

    They specifically point out the problems with the “effective radiation surface model” and instead actually in passing support your theory in that they confirm that a large fraction of our planetary albedo is due to clouds and their reflectance, but then go on to say that working from the albedo to get to the effective temperature is flawed and the proper method is to derive the correct surface albedo of the planet and the real temperature of the surface not a monochromatic albedo value for the IR spectrum.

    They point out that the Green house theory is demonstrated and calculate based on IR flux (computed against a black body) which is demonstrating its existence by its supposed cause, and propose the proper method is to measure physical mean temperature to calculate the enhancement effect.

    Unified Theory of Climate:
    Reply to Comments Part 1: Magnitude of the Natural‘ Greenhouse’ Effect
    January 17, 2012

    “In other words, the current theory uses radiative flux units instead of temperature units to quantify ATE [atmospheric thermal enhancement]. This approach is based on the preconceived notion that GE works by reducing the rate of surface infrared cooling to space. However, measuring a phenomenon with its presumed cause instead by its manifest effect can be a source of major confusion and error as demonstrated in our study. Hence, we claim that the proper assessment of ATE depends on an accurate estimate of the mean surface temperature of an equivalent PGB (Tgb). ”

    Just to be sure in case there is any misconception I am not in any way trying to diminish your thermostat effect theory. In fact I have strongly supported your theory from the very beginning. I have actively advocated the same concept for years as a result of my storm chasing and you have done a very good job of encapsulating what I always thought was bloody obvious once you go out and observe thunderstorms and cloud formations or a regular basis as storm chasers and sailor are inclined to do.

  404. Trick says:
    December 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Willis 10:07pm: That would change many things. In particular experimentalists could then obtain 0.0K but they cannot as yet.

    I don’t understand that. Why would argon not absorbing/emitting thermal IR allow the experimentalists to obtain 0.0K?

    Cite for your assertion?

    Well, you could start by looking at how atoms capture (absorb) IR. They absorb the energy mechanically, in the form of either stretching or bending or twisting of the molecular bonds, or rotation of the entire molecule. But argon, as a monatomic gas, has nothing to stretch or bend or vibrate. As a result, it cannot either absorb or emit IR. And it is symmetrical so there is no way to absorb energy by rotation.

    There’s a reasonable discussion of this here, and more information here.

    The main issue is the number of degrees of freedom of the gas molecule. Thermal IR doesn’t have enough energy to push electrons to higher orbits. It can only impart motion to the whole molecule. How much energy it can impart depends on the number and kind of degrees of freedom that the molecule has.

    Now, if there are three atoms in the molecule, like CO2 or H2O, there are lots of ways that it can increase its energy. This is because such a molecule has a number of degrees of freedom. It can absorb energy because it is free to be rotated, or vibrated, or stretched, or any combination of these. It can absorb energy in all of those modes.

    But argon is a symmetrical monatomic gas. It has only the basic three translational degrees of freedom, those of 3-D motion. It has no way to gain energy by vibration or rotation or stretching, simply because it cannot do a single one of those things.

    You said earlier that everything emits and absorbs thermal IR, which is not true. However, it is true for any normal room-temperature solid, which is likely why it is so widely believed. And because it is true of solids, we can see solid things by observing their thermal infrared with “night vision” goggles.

    And it is also true that many gases both absorb and emit thermal IR. Depending on their molecular geometry, so-called “greenhouse” gases can absorb IR by transforming it into rotation, or scissoring, or twisting, or a variety of energetic modes involving the molecular bonds as described in the citations above.

    But argon simply cannot do that. It can’t stretch, scissor, or twist its molecular bonds, because it has no molecular bonds at all—it’s monatomic. And because it is symmetrical, it does not have rotational freedom. So it can’t absorb IR and transform it into rotation.

    And as a result, argon is physically unable to absorb or emit thermal IR in the range of earth-like temperatures (below about 320K or so). Note that I am not saying that argon is a poor emitter/absorber of thermal IR at earth-like temperatures.

    I am saying that argon simply has no physical mechanism by which it can absorb or emit thermal IR at those temperatures, so its IR emissivity in the relevant wavelengths is zero.

    Best regards to you,

    w.

    PS—As Leif notes above, at high temperatures visible light can be absorbed and emitted by argon. This is because at high temperatures, visible light has enough energy to knock an argon electron into a different orbit, and it emits light when it drops back to its original orbit.

    However, the energy in thermal IR at earth-like temperatures is a couple of orders of magnitude too weak to move an electron to a different orbit. Low-temperature thermal IR can only be absorbed as mechanical motion of some kind … and argon has no physical way to mechanically absorb or emit such thermal IR.

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

    I don’t believe I have ever disputed that.

    I have simply pointed out that it cannot happen and there will always be uneven heating on a rotating, rough surfaced sphere illuminated from a point source. Even a surrounding sphere of exactly duplicated mini suns would have irregularities from the small spaces between them.

    You seem to concede that uneven surface heating invalidates your assumptions so kindly answer my question.

    Uneven heating must occur, air parcels at the surface must achieve varying densities as a result, gravity induces a decline in temperature and pressure with height, A convective circulation must ensue.

    On that basis my contentions must be so, surely ?

    A non radiative atmosphere both acquires thermal energy conductively from the surface on uplift and gives back thermal energy to the surface on descent.

    Surface temperature rises but the radiative balance with space is not affected.

  406. Willis: “Next, overall the ocean is receiving more energy than it radiates, so it is exporting energy … and the land is radiating more than it receives, so it is getting energy from the ocean”
    I think this is a very important point that does not get enough analysis. I would say this sentence does invalidate Trenberth et al Earth energy diagram.

    To my understanding the oceans do control much of the “Earth warming effect” that is attributed to greenhouse gases.

    Attributing all the delta temperature to greenhouse gases and ignoring the oceans is the first in the CAGW list of errors=bad science.
    The CAGW meme – the oceans would be frozen without greenhouse gases is stupid. The Earth is getting about 1000 W/m2 at the equator. No ocean would be frozen with that.
    Furthermore the oceans are covered with many millions of sq kilometers of ice there where there is no sun, not losing heat through radiation or evaporation in those areas.
    So the oceans are the first and most important climatic factor. Then come clouds.
    Greenhouse gases come only after these.

  407. Willis said:

    ” thermal IR can only be absorbed as mechanical motion of some kind … and argon has no physical way to mechanically absorb or emit such thermal IR.”

    Work is done against gravity on uplift (cooling) and with gravity on descent (warmiing).

    Thermal IR is indeed converted via work done to a higher surface temperature even beneath an Argon atmosphere.

    The energy value of the conductive exchange may be net zero but the surface still warms, the S-B height rises and the radiative exchange with space is unaffected.

  408. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm
    Please follow the logic in the quote above, and you’ll see why adding a transparent GHG-free atmosphere to the planet in the thought experiment does not, and can not, exceed the S-B temperature no matter what the mechanism might be. If it could raise the temperature even one degree, the surface would be radiating on a continuous basis more than it is receiving … which is impossible.
    An ocean with a frozen part may radiate in average the S-B temperature, however the average would be covering the frozen part – where the ocean does not radiate almost any + the unfrozen part.
    So the unfrozen part will be radiating above the S-B temperature to compensate for the low thermal radiation that passes through ice.

  409. Willis Eschenbach says, December 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm:

    “Please follow the logic in the quote above, and you’ll see why adding a transparent GHG-free atmosphere to the planet in the thought experiment does not, and can not, exceed the S-B temperature no matter what the mechanism might be. If it could raise the temperature even one degree, the surface would be radiating on a continuous basis more than it is receiving … which is impossible.”

    Of course it can. And it does. That’s how the Earth’s global surface attains its balmy temperature, way above the calculated S-B temperature. An atmosphere with no means of passing on its continuosly received energy (heat) to space would just make the surface hotter and hotter, until the point where the planet could no longer hold on to it and it would start gradually to be swept away.

    Stephen has got this part completely wrong. The atmosphere wouldn’t or couldn’t in any isotropically heated scenario transfer any heat (energy) back to the surface, neither conductively nor radiatively. Heat only ever goes from hot to cold and the surface would forever remain warmer than the atmosphere, the former forever being the heat source of the latter.

    A greater atmospheric weight on the surface simply makes it harder for an equal amount of energy per unit of time to move into the atmosphere through convection (and evaporation). And so, energy from the Sun absorbed by the surface would pile up and the temperature would correspondingly rise. The S-B equation has no bearing on this. It’s irrelevant. This is a real-world situation. With an atmosphere. And with a temperature gradient established from the surface out. It’s all about the system’s heat capacity. How much energy will accumulate? The more energy piled up over a certain period of time, the warmer the surface will be … It’s all about the asymmetry between IN and OUT.

    A heavy atmospere requires a higher mean surface temperature to maintain balance between the rates of energy absorbed and energy shed than a lighter atmosphere. Because it affects the rate of air movement up along the set temperature gradient. And how many molecules will escape the surface per unit of time through evaporation.

  410. Kristian said:

    “Stephen has got this part completely wrong. The atmosphere wouldn’t or couldn’t in any isotropically heated scenario transfer any heat (energy) back to the surface, neither conductively nor radiatively. Heat only ever goes from hot to cold and the surface would forever remain warmer than the atmosphere, the former forever being the heat source of the latter.”

    Noted and agreed. I corrected that in a response to Konrad in another thread as follows:

    “It is not necessary for conduction by air to a colder surface to achieve net warming of that surface

    All that is necessary is:

    i) A surplus of incoming radiation over outgoing radiation where illumination is full on. The disparity being caused by conduction to the air.

    ii) A reduction in the rate of outgoing radiation elsewhere to a level lower than would have been the case for a surface with no atmosphere. The disparity being caused by the insulating effect of adiabaically warmed descending air.

    The energy engaged does not have to be large because the bulk of energy passing through is undisturbed.

    All that is necessary is that there be SOME diversion of energy throughput via conduction to convective overturning and whatever the amount of that diversion the average global surface temperature will rise proportionately.

    On Earth that is about 33 C.

    That proportion is determined by mass and not radiative capability.”

  411. Kristian said:

    “Heat only ever goes from hot to cold and the surface would forever remain warmer than the atmosphere, the former forever being the heat source of the latter.”

    Where there is reduced illumination the surface is generally colder than the air.

    If the air is calm then an inversion layer will develop but mostly there is enough wind to prevent that in which case the air remains warmer than the ground and the adiabatically warmed air reduces the cooling rate of the ground.

    Evaporation is a lubricant for the system and best left out at this stage.

  412. Mario Lento says:
    December 28, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I’m just enjoying reading through this post and I have a nit to pick.
    ———————–

    But you picked the wrong nit ….. when you chose that one, …. didn’t you?

    Because Willis said: ““pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere,

    Which you referenced as an excuse for what you posted, to wit: “All astronomers are then ‘pressure heads’ as it is generally accepted that pressure alone heated the Sun,

    There is no “are then” relationship because your comment defined a new “subject”, the Sun. Thus an “out-of-context” response, me thinks.

  413. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Agreed, hence my short follow up post at 2.01am
    ———————–

    I seen that but posted anyway ….. because my posting provides me a “direct link” back to that “point” in the discussion to begin reading “new postings” that were added following my post.

    Anyway, the following statement is an important fact which discredits and/or negates the claims associated with the so called “greenhouse effect” of CAGW, to wit:

    the mass induced increase in near-surface air temperatures is primarily the result of the interaction of atmospheric mass with the heated surface

    The above statement explains the extremely quick increase/decrease in near-surface air temperatures in desert areas (Sahara, Gobi, US Southwest) of extremely low H2O vapor ppm (humidity) ….. or, …. explains the lack of any residual air temperatures associated with the so called “greenhouse effect” of CAGW in said desert areas due to the presence of 398+- ppm of atmospheric CO2.

    Thus, the above said proves that the current quantity (398+- ppm) of atmospheric CO2 has no measurable effect on the temperature of the near-surface atmosphere at any locale on the earth’s surface. IMHO, atmospheric CO2 would have increase to more than 10,000 ppm before there was a measurable affect on near-surface temperatures.

  414. Willis 11:39pm: Thanks, interesting write-up, my congrat.s to the writer.

    However, there are some issues and questions to look into. The write-up doesn’t provide a cite. So I will try to look further into the assertions. I will try to keep it short. I won’t succeed in complete shortness other than to state the 11:39pm write-up fails text book Planck’s law & IGL.

    “I don’t understand that. Why would argon not absorbing/emitting thermal IR allow the experimentalists to obtain 0.0K?”

    They would just use Ar as the working fluid and if it were true no emission or absorption were physical for Ar then they could get to 0.0K since no emission or absorption would be occurring but as all “mass spontaneously and continuously emits radiation over the entire spectrum as described by Planck’s Law.. 0.0K is impossible as they cannot get to 0 entropy. Ever.

    2) Willis writes: Well, you could start by looking at how atoms capture (absorb) IR. They absorb the energy mechanically, in the form of either stretching or bending or twisting of the molecular bonds…”

    In this statement Willis confuses atoms and molecules. I suppose meaning is “…start by looking into how molecules capture (absorb) IR.” All well and good. Concur.

    3)The writer: “You said earlier that everything emits and absorbs thermal IR, which is not true.

    This IS true for all mass including gases as I wrote including Ar in text books, see Planck’s Law discussions in texts and in particular p. 118 in Bohren 1998.

    Then the writer: “And it is also true that many gases both absorb and emit thermal IR.”

    These 2 statements by the writer are extrapolated to a collision at 0.0K. Both cannot be true.

    I also cite Bohren 2006 for a wonderful discussion right up front. Apply this warning label though: This is true to the extent classical mechanics is true. Using theorems, physical laws, and suchlike outside the intended range may be dangerous to your mental health.

    Why is this always “on” emission & absorption true for all gas and in particular an ideal gas?

    Short story answer: As written Ar IS monatomic gas, an Ar atom can be considered as a point mass with avg. KE of a gas atom 3*k*T/2. As T tends to 0.0K implies motion stops (meaning avg. v^2 tends to 0.0). This implies through ideal gas law (IGL) that the volume of an ideal gas would vanish at very low temperatures, but such volume cannot go to 0.0. See Bohren 1998 p. 52. (k=Boltzmann’s constant.)

    Conclusion: In context of the magnificent climate heat engine, true classical mechanics means even a cold Ar retained gaseous atmosphere added to a rock in space would absorb & emit IR raising the surface Tmean of rock above that of vacuum S-B.

    Just as lsvalgaard writes 7:37pm this thread.

  415. Stephen 4:07am: “On Earth that is about 33 C. That proportion is determined by mass and not radiative capability.”

    Both, drop the “not”. Correct conclusion + wrong physics = bad science.

    As I’ve been suggesting to you quite awhile, consult a good atm. radiation text for why “mass and radiative capability” are linked by Planck’s law. The one built on no less than 3 fundamental constants of nature. Einstein showed us mass is linked to energy by speed of light which is radiation. If there is mass in the control volume of interest greater than 0K and all real CVs with mass are Tmean greater than 0K, there is radiation emission and absorption according to corpus of Max Planck’s work.

    Get cracking on that reading assignment. Nose in text book. Do it now. Reading the science basics is good for you. It is not necessary to know differential calculus, Bohren 1998 avoids it well enough, to extent possible using just discussion.

  416. Samuel C Cogar says:
    December 29, 2013 at 5:14 am
    Mario Lento says:
    December 28, 2013 at 6:47 pm
    “But you picked the wrong nit ….. when you chose that one, …. didn’t you?

    Because Willis said: ““pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere,”

    Which you referenced as an excuse for what you posted, to wit: “All astronomers are then ‘pressure heads’ as it is generally accepted that pressure alone heated the Sun,”

    There is no “are then” relationship because your comment defined a new “subject”, the Sun. Thus an “out-of-context” response, me thinks.
    ++++++++++++++
    A nit that I picked was stated here and was not responding to anything else. That’s why I called it picking a nit –picking a specific piece of an argument make by Leif. I wrote:
    “I think what Willis is saying (correctly) [and these are my words] is that pressure does not cause the heating so much as it changes the temperature. However, that change in temperature is not new energy being created –rather its energy from somewhere else being concentrated such as to raise the temperature where there is more pressure.”

    That nit is all I was asking about, and that nit is valid although I could be incorrect. I don’t like calling names, so was not speaking of pressure heads per se.

  417. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 29, 2013 at 3:13 am

    … Surface temperature rises but the radiative balance with space is not affected.

    Sorry, but that’s not possible with a transparent argon atmosphere. If the surface temperature rises, the radiation to space will also rise.

    Regards,

    w.

  418. Kristian says:
    December 29, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Willis Eschenbach says, December 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm:

    “Please follow the logic in the quote above, and you’ll see why adding a transparent GHG-free atmosphere to the planet in the thought experiment does not, and can not, exceed the S-B temperature no matter what the mechanism might be. If it could raise the temperature even one degree, the surface would be radiating on a continuous basis more than it is receiving … which is impossible.”

    Of course it can. And it does. That’s how the Earth’s global surface attains its balmy temperature, way above the calculated S-B temperature.

    On the Earth, you are right when you say “of course it can”. This is because the GHGs can absorb some of the radiation.

    But in my thought experiment, with a transparent argon atmosphere … well, no, it can’t.

    w.

  419. Willis: Doesn’t Argon have heat capacity? Is so, it would require some energy to be at some temperature above 0K. But if it can have heat, it must absorb heat, and that also makes it able to lose or share heat. Is it all convective, and as such picks up no heat due to radiant energy?
    Mario/AKA fanboy (stated only to aggravate the very few degenerates)

  420. Mario Lento says:
    December 30, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Willis: Doesn’t Argon have heat capacity? Is so, it would require some energy to be at some temperature above 0K. But if it can have heat, it must absorb heat, and that also makes it able to lose or share heat. Is it all convective, and as such picks up no heat due to radiant energy?

    Thanks, Mario. Certainly argon can pick up and lose heat, by conduction and convection. However, what it is not physically capable of doing is either absorbing or emitting thermal IR.

    w.

  421. Willis said:

    “That’s not possible with a transparent argon atmosphere. If the surface temperature rises, the radiation to space will also rise.”

    How does one account for the energy required for the conductive exchange between surface and air ?

    Note that the mass of the air doesn’t need to actively conduct back to the surface, all it needs to do is slow down cooling of the surface by bringing adiabatically warmed air back down to the surface.

    The Argon atmosphere is held off the ground by conduction and the consequent convective overturning.

    The heat at the surface has to account for both radiative balance with incoming energy AND a continuing exchange of energy with the mass of the air.

    As long as an atmosphere is being held off the ground the surface must be warmer than S-B if both functions are to be performed.

    The mass of an atmosphere simply raises the S-B height off the ground.

    If radiative capability within the atmosphere is introduced then the effective radiating height rises off the ground.

    Two entirely separate processes, one mechanical and the other radiative.

  422. @Willis and Stephen:
    December 31, 2013 at 1:41 am
    +++++++++++
    Please bear with me.

    In TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding, the arc is typically an Argon plasma and is more specifically referred to as GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding) when Argon is the inert gas, Argon certainly radiates heat at those temperatures. But assuming that it is not able to radiate heat or be heated by radiation as weak as that which reaches our planet, I go through the following thought process with that assumption (fact?).

    On a mythical planet 92 millions miles from a sun like ours:
    If it is true that Argon cannot gain energy through irradiation, then an Argon atmosphere will do nothing to the energy budget of the planet –maybe. It’s atmospherica mass will certainly share in the energy stored on the planet (because it warms through conduction and spreads through convection) but the net energy of the planet will be the same with or without the Argon –maybe. So if the Argon mass were gone, and replaced by more of the surface with the exact same albedo, there would be no difference in overall energy retained by the planet –again I say maybe.

    That said, since the Argon mass receives conductive and convective energy from the surface that does collect heat through irradiance, the heat distribution will be different than there being no Argon atmosphere. Some of that energy will be floating around at some significant thin layer around the planet not radiating anything.

    I think the surface “temperature” of a planet with an Argon atmosphere would be different than the surface temperature of an otherwise similar planet with no atmosphere at all. At least because some of the convected energy is stored in the Argon atmosphere and not on the surface.

    The question might be asked; Can an Argon atmosphere lose energy to space since it cannot exchange energy through radiation? It cannot, from what I think is true about Argon on a mythical planet 92 million miles away from our sun. Only the surface will radiate heat into space, passing straight through the Argon as if it were not there.

    Finally here’s my question. If only the surface can radiate energy to space, passing through the Argon atmosphere, wouldn’t there be less heat radiated into space because of a lower surface temperature?

    Perhaps I got a whole lot of facts wrong, because now I am confused.

  423. Mario,

    That is a helpful summary and serves to show how easily confusion can arise.

    It may help if I summarise what I think happens in the real world:

    i) As soon as an atmosphere starts to form its mass lifts off the surface taking conducted energy with it. Obviously, that conducted energy is initially derived from absorbed radiation at the surface.

    ii) The surface temperature drops whilst the atmosphere is forming but, because incoming radiation stays the same, equilibrium is soon restored by virtue of the fact that, during the process of forming the atmosphere, energy out is less than energy in due to the (temporarily) lower surface temperature.

    iii) At that point we have the surface at the same temperature as before with overall radiative equilibrium but at the same time there is then an additional store of energy in the atmosphere.

    iv) That energy in the atmosphere is then adiabatically recycled between the bottom and top of the atmosphere (mostly the troposphere for Earth) so as to provide the energy needed to maintain the height of the atmosphere.

    v) The net radiative effect of the adiabatic exchange is zero because all kinetic energy leaving the surface by conduction and convection via uplift is matched by kinetic energy returned to the surface by the subsequent descent.

    vi) However, at all times at the surface, that additional conducted energy is present in the temperature of the air just above the surface which has an insulating effect.that must raise the average surface temperature above S-B.

    vii) The height at which S-B is satisfied must rise off the surface purely as a result of the conductive / convective process which is caused by mass held within a gravitational field and not by radiative capability.

    One has to get the correct sequence of events and then it becomes clear to me but, apparently, not to others.

    Radiative gases are not necessary for any part of that purely mechanical process.

  424. Finally here’s my question. If only the surface can radiate energy to space, passing through the Argon atmosphere, wouldn’t there be less heat radiated into space because of a lower surface temperature?

    Uh “No”, …. the lower surface temperature is the result of the heat (IR) not being re-radiated back toward the surface.

    A real life example of said is a desert environment of extremely low humidity (H2O vapor) when the daytime near-surface air temperatures quickly cool down as soon as the Sun starts to “set” below the horizon.

    The temperature can be 110F or greater at noon time and quickly drop to 32F or below at night time because there is not enough ppm of either H2O vapor or CO2 in the air to absorb the IR from the surface and re-radiate a small part of it back toward the surface to maintain the warmer temperatures for very long.

    It abides by the … Law of Diminishing IR Returns. :) :) The less the ppm the less the IR returns. 

  425. Willis 10:56 pm: “This is because the GHGs can absorb some of the radiation. But in my thought experiment, with a transparent argon atmosphere … well, no, it can’t.”

    An argon atmosphere isn’t transparent. Here’s why I can write that simply and no simpler:

    Two argon atoms traveling in earth’s atm., one behind the other from POV of an incoming IR photon from sun. The photon slams into the nearest atom and suffers annihilation, the Ar atom still exists. The photon behind is in the “shade” of this process.

    The atom that annihilated the photon now has added momentum of that photon, the one behind has no change in momentum from the photon. Earth’s atm. certainly was not transparent to that poor IR photon annihilated by the Ar atom.

    It continues astonish me that posters won’t check the basic text books when challenged on a physical process. Here I will cite the online Caballero text book sec. 5.8 “Extinction and Optical Path” p. 115.

    Willis IS correct with text books (as I concurred) in that the Ar atom had no vibrational IR absorption/emission capability as does its polyatomic molecular gas atm. constituents.

  426. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 31, 2013 at 1:41 am

    Willis said:

    “That’s not possible with a transparent argon atmosphere. If the surface temperature rises, the radiation to space will also rise.”

    How does one account for the energy required for the conductive exchange between surface and air ?

    Stephen, my question involves a thought experiment. One reason for doing thought experiments is to clarify a complex situation by simplification.

    So I have simplified the day/night, equator to poles temperature imbalances by positing a world warmed equally and everywhere by a million suns. This was specifically so we didn’t have to deal with complexities like energy being exchanged between surface and air.

    Now, AS I SAID BEFORE, once such a world reaches equilibrium, there is NO CONDUCTIVE EXCHANGE BETWEEN SURFACE AND AIR, because there is no temperature fluctuation to drive such an exchange.

    My question was, in such a world, can pressure alone increase the temperature? I hold the answer is no.

    You, on the other hand, wish to confuse and complexify, not simplify. As a result, you keep insisting that there will be some mythical reason that atmosphere and surface will be swapping energy back and forth … and then you claim the real question is where the energy to power your imaginary energy swapping will come from.

    I can’t answer your question, Stephen, because in a constant-temperature world, the air is always and ever at the same temperature as the surface, and there is no such energy transference as you claim.

    w.

  427. Trick says:
    December 31, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Willis 10:56 pm: “This is because the GHGs can absorb some of the radiation. But in my thought experiment, with a transparent argon atmosphere … well, no, it can’t.”

    An argon atmosphere isn’t transparent. Here’s why I can write that simply and no simpler:

    Two argon atoms traveling in earth’s atm., one behind the other from POV of an incoming IR photon from sun. The photon slams into the nearest atom and suffers annihilation, the Ar atom still exists. The photon behind is in the “shade” of this process.

    Mario, for that to happen, the energy of the photon has to be transformed into something else. The photon doesn’t just “vaporize” as you put it.

    And to make that transformation into another kind of energy, the energy has to be able to “grab onto” something. It has to be able to vibrate some mechanical bonds between atoms, make the molecule shake and dance. The energy needs to be absorbed by the atom in some physical manner, stretching or whatever. But there’s nothing in an argon atom to grab on to, nothing to stretch or vibrate. As a result, for thermal IR arising from earthlike temperatures, the transmissivity of argon is 1.0. The argon atoms and the thermal IR have no physical way to interact, so they simply don’t.

    Here’s a way that you might be able to see what I mean. It’s no different from parts of the spectrum for water vapor or CO2. I think that you would agree that there are frequencies where both water vapor and CO2 do not absorb any IR at all. None. Why? Because the IR is the wrong frequency to be able to shake or bend the water or CO2 molecule, so there’s no way for the two to interact. As a result, although GHGs absorb thermal IR at certain characteristic frequencies, at certain other frequencies the emissivity of either water or CO2 is zero. Here’s a look at some of the frequencies.

    See all of those white areas? Those are frequencies at which the gases are physically unable to absorb thermal radiation. Ozone and oxygen, for example, only have a few narrow bands where they can absorb IR. At all frequencies other than those narrow bands their emissivity is zero. Not small. Zero. They are transparent to IR at those frequencies, because they are physically incapable of interacting with it in the slightest.

    The same is true for argon … but instead of being true for most frequencies like with say ozone, argon is incapable of absorbing any frequencies of thermal IR, all the way up to visible light. Just as CO2 or H2O or ozone neither emit nor absorb thermal IR at certain frequencies, argon at all frequencies below visible light has an emittance of zero.

    w.

  428. @Stephen Wilde says:
    December 31, 2013 at 4:12 am
    Mario,

    That is a helpful summary and serves to show how easily confusion can arise.

    It may help if I summarise what I think happens in the real world:

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    [My comments in brackets]
    i) As soon as an atmosphere starts to form its mass lifts off the surface taking conducted energy with it. Obviously, that conducted energy is initially derived from absorbed radiation at the surface.
    [agreed --and the conducted energy mixes and convection spreads the heat around.]

    ii) The surface temperature drops whilst the atmosphere is forming but, because incoming radiation stays the same, equilibrium is soon restored by virtue of the fact that, during the process of forming the atmosphere, energy out is less than energy in due to the (temporarily) lower surface temperature.
    [Here's where my understanding diverges from what you explain. I am not saying you're wrong, but to me this is a crucial fork in the road for how I see the problem. We both agree that the surface temperature drops because it conducts heat to the Argon (as long as the Argon is colder than the surface). AND most the most important difference in my line of logic is that the Argon does not leave the planet. It's still part of the planet, but in gaseous form so it's energy balance, plus the energy balance of the solid surface remains unchanged.) The argon does not go into space with its energy, nor does it radiate. If the argon condenses, the energy will be return to the planet to warm and possibly radiate the energy]

    iii) At that point we have the surface at the same temperature as before with overall radiative equilibrium but at the same time there is then an additional store of energy in the atmosphere.
    [ I cannot get past this point. Until I find out if this line of thinking is correct or not. I think the Argon acts like a buffer. It takes some of the heat away from the surface through conduction until it delta T approaches zero, likewise, it will cool the surface until the surface warms (assuming diurnal changes. There will be lags and leads in the system. At night, or as sunlight wanes, while the surface cooling lags (because the argon is losing heat to warm the surface, then then the surface will be warmer for longer and be able to radiate more heat to space. Likewise if the surface warming lags, then surface will radiate less heat into space. I am not sure if there is hysteresis or if it's symmetrical.]

    iv) That energy in the atmosphere is then adiabatically recycled between the bottom and top of the atmosphere (mostly the troposphere for Earth) so as to provide the energy needed to maintain the height of the atmosphere.
    [Agreed]

    v) The net radiative effect of the adiabatic exchange is zero because all kinetic energy leaving the surface by conduction and convection via uplift is matched by kinetic energy returned to the surface by the subsequent descent.
    [Agreed]

    vi) However, at all times at the surface, that additional conducted energy is present in the temperature of the air just above the surface…
    [Agreed]
    …which has an insulating effect.that must raise the average surface temperature above S-B.
    [This is where I do not follow. The energy in the atmosphere was removed from the surface, which lowered the surface temperature by some non-zero amount. I think I use buffer, where you use insulate. A buffer has heat capacity, and insulator does not, I think]

    vii) The height at which S-B is satisfied must rise off the surface purely as a result of the conductive / convective process which is caused by mass held within a gravitational field and not by radiative capability.

    One has to get the correct sequence of events and then it becomes clear to me but, apparently, not to others.

    Radiative gases are not necessary for any part of that purely mechanical process.

  429. Mario said:

    “This is where I do not follow. The energy in the atmosphere was removed from the surface, which lowered the surface temperature by some non-zero amount”

    You didn’t notice that the lower surface temperature was only temporary because, while the temperature was lower, radiative energy in exceeded radiative energy out until the surface was back to the original temperature.

    Meanwhile that ‘extra’ stored energy is still in the atmosphere and being recycled up and down adiabatically.

    So the surface is then receiving the full package of incoming radiation and has returned to the original equilibrium temperature.

    BUT at the same time it is receiving energy from and passing energy to the atmosphere to support the continuing conductive exchange.

    The surface temperature must become warmer than S-B to provide the energy to simultaneously support radiation out AND the conductive exchange.

  430. Willis Eschenbach says:
    December 31, 2013 at 10:15 am
    Trick says:
    December 31, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Willis 10:56 pm: “This is because the GHGs can absorb some of the radiation. But in my thought experiment, with a transparent argon atmosphere … well, no, it can’t.”

    An argon atmosphere isn’t transparent. Here’s why I can write that simply and no simpler:

    Two argon atoms traveling in earth’s atm., one behind the other from POV of an incoming IR photon from sun. The photon slams into the nearest atom and suffers annihilation, the Ar atom still exists. The photon behind is in the “shade” of this process.

    Mario, for that to happen, the energy of the photon has to be transformed into something else. The photon doesn’t just “vaporize” as you put it.
    +++++++++++++
    Hi Willis: It was late when you wrote the response, which I agree with completely due to your explanation. However, I believe you meant to respond to Trick, not me :) Even if the Argon did evidently vaporize in the physical sense, there would be latent energy soaked into the “vaporized” state of the argon and the energy balance would be satisfied. Trick’s response is wrong on so many levels.

  431. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 31, 2013 at 10:41 am
    Well Willis, if you want to ignore the simple fact that there is no such thing as even heating on any planet in the universe then I cannot help you.
    ++++++++
    I think you’re not getting what Willis said by paraphrasing the way you did. I think Willis was helping you on the point he made. His point was straightforward. He was pointing to that nugget of truth that shows where the problem is.

  432. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 31, 2013 at 10:39 am
    Mario said:

    “This is where I do not follow. The energy in the atmosphere was removed from the surface, which lowered the surface temperature by some non-zero amount”

    [My responses below in brackets]
    You didn’t notice that the lower surface temperature was only temporary because, while the temperature was lower, radiative energy in exceeded radiative energy out until the surface was back to the original temperature.
    [I get that during irradiation, the surface temperature is lower than it would be without an atmosphere because it conducts to the atmosphere until delta-t approach zero. The time is affected by conduction and convection which affect the rate of change of the process. But, still this does not change the amount of total energy.]

    [However, that said, I see what you mean, I think. Are you saying that if the atmosphere is warming (that which I called an energy buffer) it would lower the net outgoing radiation because the Argon soaks up energy, but does not radiate energy? Said another way, with regard to radiation, the energy (conducted from the surface to the Argon) is essentially hiding in the Argon atmosphere.]

    [This energy accumulation condition would, to me, occur only until the buffer fills. The buffer would no longer fill once it equals the surface temperature. Whereas incoming and outgoing radiation continue for essentially infinity. Using calculus to integrate that energy over time, the buffer energy approaches zero relative to the ongoing radiation source.]

    Meanwhile that ‘extra’ stored energy is still in the atmosphere and being recycled up and down adiabatically.

    So the surface is then receiving the full package of incoming radiation and has returned to the original equilibrium temperature.

    [YES, original equilibrium temperature]

    BUT at the same time it is receiving energy from and passing energy to the atmosphere to support the continuing conductive exchange.

    [If it is at equilibrium, there us not transfer of energy. It's limited to the heat capacity of the Argon.]

    The surface temperature must become warmer than S-B to provide the energy to simultaneously support radiation out AND the conductive exchange.

  433. Willis 9:41am: Pour yourself a Beer for NYE. I recommend one of the Lambert flavor.

    “Mario (sic), for that to happen, the energy of the photon has to be transformed into something else. The photon doesn’t just “vaporize” as you put it.”

    Willis – as you require for other posters, use my written words exactly. I didn’t put it “vaporize”. I wrote 8:28am “annihilated”. The IR photon that collides head on with the Ar atom is annihilated (same as extinction) transferring the photon’s momentum to the atom creating “shade” for the atom behind.

    If they are off angle then read up on Ar atmosphere attenuation by scattering (Ar mass scattering coefficient).

    Obviously you have not read the cite I gave. Please do so and then show me where the basic physics is wrong and the argon atmosphere is really transparent as you incorrectly write. Failing to do so, the argon atmosphere being not transparent will stand – as in all the basic atm. radiation text books.

    Caballero: “…the total amount of extinction (i.e. the difference in intensity between outgoing and incoming beams) turns out to be proportional to the amount of matter …. and to the intensity…”

    Argon gas is matter, IR has a radiant intensity. Argon lasers work by emitting and absorbing radiation and are used in medical applications. You really need to do your own research to learn this basic stuff.

    “..argon is incapable of absorbing any frequencies of thermal IR..”

    Quote my words, I didn’t write “absorbing”. Please read & learn the sec 5.8 citation and its ref.s, it is fairly short.

    http://people.su.se/~rcaba/teaching/PhysMetLectNotes.pdf

  434. Stephen 4:12am: ”Obviously, that conducted energy is initially derived from absorbed radiation at the surface.”….Radiative gases are not necessary for any part of that purely mechanical process.

    Stephen needs to explain radiation being part of a step but then at same time being not any part of the steps.

    Mario 10:55am: “Trick’s response is wrong on so many levels.”

    Please explain exactly; best for me is use the cite I gave. Or a modern text book cite of your own.

  435. Trick: I was responding to this:

    Two argon atoms traveling in earth’s atm., one behind the other from POV of an incoming IR photon from sun. The photon slams into the nearest atom and suffers annihilation, the Ar atom still exists. The photon behind is in the “shade” of this process.
    +++++++
    I apologize. I thought you used vaporized, my bad for not reading what you wrote carefully.
    So I though you were talking about latent heat of vaporization.

    But your comment also sounds like you are talking about smashing atoms with photons to release atomic energy. It’s hard to tell what you’re trying to say that proves Argon is not invisible in the sense used in this post. So, are you positing that Argon is in fact not invisible to radiant energy 93 million miles away from the sun, and/or that its lack of invisibility to radiant energy causes it to warm directly from the sun?
    Mario

  436. Mario 4:33pm: “So, are you positing that Argon is in fact not invisible to radiant energy 93 million miles away from the sun, and/or that its lack of invisibility to radiant energy causes it to warm directly from the sun?”

    Yes, basic text book radiative science, no difference if photon is from sun or is terrestrial.

    “..sounds like you are talking about smashing atoms with photons to release atomic energy.”

    The photon is annihilated not the Ar atom. Same as a photon when it slams into surface dirt – photon is annihilated and its energy transformed into the dirt. Both Ar gas and dirt are matter, have mass.

  437. Stephen Wilde says:
    December 31, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Well Willis, if you want to ignore the simple fact that there is no such thing as even heating on any planet in the universe then I cannot help you.

    Dear heavens, it’s called a “thought experiment” for a reason, Stephen. Einstein used them a lot, “gedanken” experiments, like imagining an elevator in space. And while everyone else was learning something from the thought experiment, you’d be the guy turning your nose up and saying “but there are no elevators in space, Mr. Einstein, so I cannot help you” …

    w.

  438. Mario 4:33pm: “So, are you positing that Argon is in fact not invisible to radiant energy 93 million miles away from the sun, and/or that its lack of invisibility to radiant energy causes it to warm directly from the sun?”

    Yes, basic text book radiative science, no difference if photon is from sun or is terrestrial.
    ++++++++++++
    So we’re back to Argon, because it has mass, will abosrb radiant energy. And this is in text books? I’ve never seen anywhere that dipole atoms can attain energy from IR radiation, which is what we are talking about right? Could you help by pointing to a source?

  439. Since a planet can never be evenly heated so as to satisfy Willis’s thought experiment it must follow that conduction will lead to convection even for an Argon atmosphere around a real planet.

    Thus,inevitably, kinetic energy is converted to gravitational potential energy as air rises and is converted back again as air descends.

  440. Mario 2:31am: “Could you help by pointing to a source?”

    It is ok to use the on-line source I posted for Willis; click on the link in 1:58pm post. Everyone welcome. See Sec. 5.8 p. 115 “Extinction and Optical path” for your help.

    ”Consider a beam of photons all having the same wavelength and direction. Imagine we point the beam perpendicularly at a slab of atmosphere. As the beam passes through the slab, some of the photons will be absorbed and some scattered away from their initial direction. Thus the intensity of the beam will diminish…total amount of extinction (i.e. the difference in intensity between outgoing and incoming beams) turns out to be proportional to the amount of matter in the slab and to the intensity itself.”

    All that is needed is mass and intensity for the attenuation of the beam. More basically, all matter radiates in the IR. Doesn’t matter if monatomic like Ar or polyatomic like CO2 though polyatomic molecules have added vibrational, rotational absorption modes as Willis points out, repeatedly.

    Willis chose Ar as a thought experiment, not me. Still, it is a good one to learn, there is like 23x as much Ar as CO2 for Earth.

  441. Trick says:
    January 1, 2014 at 5:54 am:

    I see the lecture notes, and thank you for saving me the time by clipping the text of the lecture notes.

    I was asking if there was a source to a text book, since you said this was basic text book knowledge. Since this is obviously a point of contention, I cannot let a lecture note solve my curiosity of what is correct. I never remember in any textbook where it stated that all gases are greenhouse gases. I’ve seen elsewhere that Ar is not like Greenhouse gases.

    Are you saying all gases are Greenhouse gases now?

  442. Mario 1:52pm: “I’ve seen elsewhere that Ar is not like Greenhouse gases. Are you saying all gases are Greenhouse gases now?”

    As Willis writes and graphs above, the polyatomic gas molecules (e.g. CO2, CH4) are more infrared band active than monatomic gas like Ar since polyatomics have added vibrational, rotational absorption modes in IR range.

    Greenhouse gas is an ill-defined term – better to use IR active gas; it is good science to write the monatomic gases like Ar are not as active in IR bands as IR active polyatomic gases. Every object that has mass radiates in IR. Mario can confirm this rummaging around in any radiation text book.

    Quote from text book on Atm. Thermo. by Dr. Bohren 1998 p. 356: “All objects at all temperatures at all times radiate (emit) electromagnetic energy and absorb electromagnetic energy from their surroundings.”

    You will be able to solve curiosity & find basic Caballero note’s work out on extinction and optical path in any modern text book on the subject at hand as a building block to further atm. science study.

  443. Trick says:
    January 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm
    Mario 1:52pm: “I’ve seen elsewhere that Ar is not like Greenhouse gases. Are you saying all gases are Greenhouse gases now?”

    As Willis writes and graphs above, the polyatomic gas molecules (e.g. CO2, CH4) are more infrared band active than monatomic gas like Ar since polyatomics have added vibrational, rotational absorption modes in IR range.

    Greenhouse gas is an ill-defined term – better to use IR active gas; it is good science to write the monatomic gases like Ar are not as active in IR bands as IR active polyatomic gases. Every object that has mass radiates in IR. Mario can confirm this rummaging around in any radiation text book.

    Quote from text book on Atm. Thermo. by Dr. Bohren 1998 p. 356: “All objects at all temperatures at all times radiate (emit) electromagnetic energy and absorb electromagnetic energy from their surroundings.”

    You will be able to solve curiosity & find basic Caballero note’s work out on extinction and optical path in any modern text book on the subject at hand as a building block to further atm. science study.
    ++++++++++++++
    Cogent response, makes sense.

  444. Trick says:
    January 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Quote from text book on Atm. Thermo. by Dr. Bohren 1998 p. 356: “All objects at all temperatures at all times radiate (emit) electromagnetic energy and absorb electromagnetic energy from their surroundings.”

    True for all objects … but not for all gases.

    w.

  445. I don’t understand. You guys agree that say oxygen, over most of the IR spectrum, doesn’t absorb any IR at all. It absorbs exactly zero in those frequencies. Why not?

    Because it’s the wrong frequencies to resonate with their physical configuration. At those frequencies, oxygen is totally transparent to thermal IR. It’s only in a couple of narrow frequencies bands that thermal IR can affect the simple bond of the diatomic oxygen molecule, and can thus convert its energy to mechanical energy. All other thermal IR frequencies are neither absorbed nor emitted by oxygen. It has only a narrow band because it is the simplest kind of molecule, just two identical atoms. So only the frequency that can stretch the bonds can affect oxygen.

    CO2 and H2O, on the other hand, have a whole host of ways to interact with IR—stretching, twisting, scissoring, flexing … and as a result, there are a whole host of IR frequencies absorbed by those molecules.

    But argon doesn’t have even the single bond of oxygen, it’s monoatomic … so it’s just like the oxygen only more so. Oxygen neither absorbs nor radiates thermal IR over maybe 97% of the IR spectrum shown above. You all seem to accept that.

    And yet, you can’t seem to accept that argon neither absorbs nor radiates thermal IR over 100% of the spectrum. You fight endlessly against the fact that argon is even simpler than oxygen, and so is even less affected by thermal IR than is oxygen. Argon is a single spherical molecule, and there’s nothing for the IR to shake or stretch or vibrate, so the IR can’t interact with the argon at all.

    Puzzling …

    w.

    PS—As someone pointed out above, all solid objects radiate and absorb thermal IR. This is because they have an entire forest of different kinds of bonds between their atoms for the IR to interact with. As a result, solid objects can generally not just absorb and radiate thermal IR, but do so at a host of frequencies.

    Gases are different, because they only have certain specified bonds between their atoms. In general, the more atoms that make up the gas molecule, the more effective it is at absorbing thermal IR.This is because there are more modes of flexing, twisting, scissoring, and combinations of the above, so it can absorb more frequencies of IR.

    In part, that’s why methane (CH4) is a stronger GHG than either H2O or CO2. It’s also one reason why the chlorofluorocarbons are strong GHGs.

    And going the other way, the simpler the molecule the fewer thermal IR frequencies it can absorb. O2 and N2 only absorb in very narrow IR frequency bands.

    And at the end of the scale, the simplest gases, monoatomic gases like argon, have no bonds to stretch, shake, scissor, flex, or bend. So they don’t absorb in any thermal IR frequency, not even the narrow bands that are the only frequencies absobed by O2 and N2.

  446. Willis 11:06pm: “True for all objects … but not for all gases.”

    The Queen’s English defines gas is an object. All objects attenuate photon beams at any freq. as all objects have mass (are tangible) and therefore will always annihilate, scatter and/or absorb photons in a beam thus physically attenuate that beam. This is basic physics – available for your study in the text book cites I provided and many others.

    Willis 11:31pm: “I don’t understand.”

    I made an attempt to make it simple and no simpler for you to understand at 12/31 8:28am. You have not provided counterargument that I find except for polyatomic case. The links you posted 12/28 11:39pm cover just the polyatomic case.

    Again, those charts you posted do not go to exactly 0.0 at any freq. upon expanding their scale. A photon beam of any freq. has a probability of its constituent photons being annihilated or scattered in any gas – even in a monatomic gas (meaning the beam is always attenuated) – depending on the gas’ experimentally determined non-zero mass scattering coefficient proportional to the probability that a photon will be scattered when meeting a particle. The angle of photon scattering and effect on particle KE is the phase function in classical electromagnetism.

    This monatomic gas treatment is in text book physics Willis, available for your study simply by looking it up. I entirely agree with your discussion & links for polyatomic molecules with added vibration/rotational absorption modes.

    Your assertion “..monoatomic gases like argon,…don’t absorb in any thermal IR frequency” meaning physically no (i.e. 0.0) IR photon beam attenuation is just not supported in any classical electromagnetism text I can find.

    If I have missed the classical electromagnetism physics, please provide a monatomic gas applicable text book cite.

  447. Willis Eschenbach says, December 30, 2013 at 10:56 pm:

    On the Earth, you are right when you say “of course it can”. This is because the GHGs can absorb some of the radiation.
    But in my thought experiment, with a transparent argon atmosphere … well, no, it can’t.”

    Yes, Willis. Also with an argon atmosphere. This is not about radiation. This is about conduction/convection.

    Read and address the entire comment, Willis. Not just your carefully extracted quote. You’re doing here exactly what you’re accusing other people of doing with your words. You cherry-pick a small and convenient section out of an argumentative context and in answering that pretend to have addressed the argument as a whole. Quite a transparent evasion tactic.

  448. Willis’s thought experiment has another defect.

    We all accept (I think) that if one can suppress convective overturning completely then the only way that energy can move upward is via conduction from one stationary molecule to another and then one could achieve an isothermal atmosphere with the temperature from top to bottom equalling that at the surface below. Normally to achieve that one would need a solid medium and not a mobile gaseous medium.

    To get to that point for a mobile gaseous medium Willis suggests a perfectly smooth surface, perfectly evenly illuminated by an infinite number of suns all around the circumference.

    Then he introduces a perfectly non radiative atmosphere so that the effective radiating height must remain at the surface.

    His problem then is that the planet in nearly all cases is still rotating.

    If there is ANY rotation, however small, then since rotation is in only one plane the friction between solid surface and gaseous atmosphere will be greater at the equator than at the poles.

    Those friction irregularities will introduce pressure variations which will lead to density variations at the surface and convection will start.

    The Coriolis force will spread the density variations latitudinally and climate zones will develop with a similar pattern of circulation as for a GHG atmosphere.

    In reality that thought experiment adds nothing to the debate because it can never happen.

    The basic facts are:

    i) Conduction to and fro between a surface and the mass of a gaseous atmosphere warms the surface and lifts the S-B height off the surface proportionately to the mass of the atmosphere.

    ii) Radiative capability within the mass of an atmosphere raises the effective radiating height off the surface.

    iii) Due to the above two heights being different, density variations occur which results in convection and that convection shuttles energy to and fro between the two heights to ensure that enough energy is available at the effective radiating height to maintain radiative balance with space.

    To illustrate the principle consider this:

    i) For no atmosphere both the S-B height and the effective radiation height are together at the surface.and with no atmosphere there would be no circulation.

    ii) For an atmosphere with 100% radiative capability the S-B height and the effective radiating height would be together at the top of the atmosphere with no circulation despite there being an atmosphere. The atmosphere would be behaving as if it were a solid with the radiating surface at the top.

    Only if the two heights are separated will circulation begin and the sole purpose of that circulation is to prevent the separate heights from destabilising the system.

    The two heights are separated by the inevitable movement that occurs within a gaseous medium as a result of uneven surface heating leading to density variations at the surface followed by a convective circulation and the decline in temperature with height that then results from the work done moving mass against gravity.

    Convection both up and down in variable proportions is the physical process whereby the system adjusts the internal energy flows to negate the thermal effect of those two heights differing for whatever reason.

    Conduction from a solid surface to the gaseous atmosphere and the ability of a gaseous medium to move internally both with and against the force of gravity is what causes the two heights to separate.

  449. Willis, careful not to sound like myrrh about water not absorbing light, at all… Trick is giving you the proper viewpoint, maybe listen. All matter absorbs and emits infrared, even all gases, at all frequencies under the pertinent Planck curve, it is only a matter of how stronly it is absorbed/emitted and how much mass it passes through. Maybe think of looking unprotected at the sun near the horizon and why all frequencies are attenuated irregarless of just rotation and vibration lines, IR is similar. Our atmosphere’s maximum transmittance is only about 90% when zenith and that is only between 3 and 4 μm and looking at a transmittance plot the vast majority (including in the window at 8-14 μm) is only about 80%. This is the underlying gray body absorption and emission from collision induced and temporary dipole moments mainly from the nitrogen and oxygen due to the high concentrations and only extremely rarified gases show little of this gray body effect for then the collisions are so rare, but not at our troposphere pressures. The vibrational and rotational spectrums you normally see seem to be just that, of rarified samples, short path lengths, to basically zero out the gray body from the gas and the equipment itself I suppose. All of that is my current understanding after digging into this subject.

    Maybe look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric.transmittance.IR.jpg for a few minutes and ask why this data look as it does. (from: Transmittance page, orig. source http:/ewhdbks.mugu.navy.mil/transmit.gif)

    You are correct that the rotational and vibrational modes, if present, are magnitudes stronger in certain lines and bands driving the transmittance to near zero but you cannot say because of this that an argon, or nitrogen, or hydrogen atmosphere does not absorb and emit isotropically if the atmosphere is thick. Over a couple of years ago I too was almost led astray by the likes of Phil. and Shores that there was zero interaction but found it is they that are incorrect, probably by design and selling their AGW story line. But in saying what you are saying all of those highest readings should be at 100% transmittance and not vary even down to the horizon where the attenuation is about 34 times that of zenith and all of that is not actual.

  450. Stephen 3:55am: “The basic facts are:…”

    You need to include basic fact of albedo so net sun proportionally warms surface and atm. And…

    i) There is no S-B height off the surface. The solid/water surface radiates always at the surface, need to modify rest of your narrative by eliminating any ref. “S-B height” to line up with text books. On Earth, the sun warms the surface not the mass of gaseous atm. (as in atm. contracting in the gas giants).

    ii) Ok, better to start here with your narrative (i.e. w/atm. radiation), eliminate “S-B height” implication above surface in the rest.

  451. Stephen 3:55am: “The basic facts are:…” (Little help mod.s with tag)

    You need to include basic facts of albedo so net sun proportionally warms surface and atm. And…

    i) There is no S-B height off the surface. The solid/water surface radiates always at the surface, need to modify rest of your narrative by eliminating any ref. “S-B height” to line up with text books. On Earth, the sun warms the surface not the mass of gaseous atm. (as in atm. contracting in the gas giants).

    ii) Ok, start here with your narrative (i.e. w/atm. radiation), eliminate “S-B height” implication above surface in the rest.

  452. Ah,

    I see where my narrative needs correction.

    The S-B height as normally defined must be the same as the effective radiating height since the S-B equation is a radiative only equation.

    However, conduction causes a temperature gradient from the surface up to a higher point in the atmosphere such that above and below that point the actual temperature differs from that predicted by the S-B equation.

    I have been using the term ‘S-B height’ to refer to that height.

    The point in the atmosphere where temperature again becomes ‘right’ for the S-B equation still becomes detached from the effective radiating height but we need a new name for it.

    Has anyone ever given it a name ?

  453. Alternatively, we can say that conduction as a non radiative process seeks to separate the actual temperature profile of the atmosphere from the effective radiating height but that convection then ramps up or down to prevent any such divergence.

    That seems a bit neater.

    If, at any time, convection fails to match up the net thermal effect of radiative and conductive processes combined then it is during the subsequent equilibriation process that system temperatures can rise or fall and the atmosphere expand or contract.

    Ultimately, though, the system energy content (and therefore temperature) always returns to that set by mass and gravity.

  454. wayne says:
    January 4, 2014 at 4:13 am

    Willis, careful not to sound like myrrh about water not absorbing light, at all… Trick is giving you the proper viewpoint, maybe listen. All matter absorbs and emits infrared, even all gases, at all frequencies under the pertinent Planck curve, it is only a matter of how stronly it is absorbed/emitted and how much mass it passes through.

    Hogwash. Take a look at the graph again:

    Now, you claim that “all matter absorbs and emits infrared … at all frequencies”. But LOOK AT THE DAMN DIAGRAM. For many of the gases shown, they definitely do NOT absorb “at all frequencies”. See those white areas? In those areas, the gases absorb and emit ZERO. Not “a little bit”. Zero. Why? Because they can’t physicall absorb or emit energy at that frequency. Oxygen cannot absorb even the smallest amount of energy at a wavelength of 2µm. It has no physical way to do so. Because oxygen is a diatomic gas, it can only absorb/emit in a few very narrow frequency bands.

    As I said before, the graph makes it obvious that many gases only absorb/emit at only a few specific narrow thermal IR frequency bands … and you guys seem to believe that.

    So why is it so hard to understand that there are gases that are just slightly worse absorbers/emitters than oxygen, gases like argon that don’t absorb/emit at any thermal IR frequencies?

    Look, in school I too was told that all matter emits and absorbs at all frequencies as you claim above … but it simply isn’t true. It’s true of all solid matter, which is how the meme persists … but a quick look at the graph above should disabuse you of your claim that all matter absorbs and emits at all frequencies.

    w.

  455. Willis 9:30am: “But LOOK AT THE DAMN DIAGRAM.”

    Please do so yourself, ver-r-ry damn closely. The top one does not go to zero anywhere as wayne and I describe for you. There is never 0% absorption (100% transmission) and in some cases there is 100% absorption (0% transmission).

    The trouble with the lower 6 is graphic only, they are built with a displaced zero since they really never go to zero either if one expands the y-axis enough to read 0.0 appropriately. No photon beam of any freq. can get 100% through a mass (solid, liquid, gas, plasma) without some non-zero attenuation. Text book basic physics shows why.

    NB: they can measure attenuation of exoplanets atm. not knowing the composition.