Dust In My Eyes

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I was thinking about “dust devils”, the little whirlwinds of dust that you see on a hot day, and they reminded me that we get dulled by familiarity with the wonders of our planet. Suppose, for example, you that “back in the olden days” your family lived for generations in a village on a tiny island where there were no clouds. None at all. Ever.

Now, imagine the consternation that would occur if one day, after centuries without a single cloud, a big fluffy white cumulus cloud suddenly popped into existence one afternoon right over the village, hung around for six hours, and then disappeared in the evening. If it happened once, it would pass into legend as the giant white boulder in the sky that threatened to crush the village, and only disappeared after the priests did their most powerful chants …

Next, imagine that over time the appearance of the clouds became more common, but the priests always successfully chased them off … until one day, a plain old white fluffy cloud suddenly started growing straight towards the sky, and it turned black, and miracle of miracles, pure water started pouring out of the cloud! The cloud turned into a fountain! Who knew? If it happened once, it would be spoken of for years.

Next, imagine that over time, the appearance of rain clouds became more common, and the priests tried to make them stick around … until one day the priests were out doing their rain dance in the pouring rain, when without warning, there was a blinding flash of light and a tremendous sound, and all of the priests were knocked dead by some strange, unknown power … imagine the consternation and wonder that would cause, and what kind of legends that would engender …

emergent cloud over island

I bring all this up to highlight the nature of something called an “emergent phenomenon”. The cumulus cloud is an example of an emergent phenomenon. The rainstorms are a second, different emergent phenomenon. Finally, the lightning is a third example of an emergent phenomenon.

So … what are the characteristics of such a creature? How can we tell an emergent phenomenon from all the other inhabitants of the zoo? The following is not an exhaustive list, and some don’t have every characteristic, but here are the things that set an emergent phenomenon apart from its cousins.

• It has a “lifespan”—it is called “emergent” because it emerges from the background conditions at a certain time, lasts for a certain span of time, and then dies out.

• It emerges spontaneously whenever conditions are favorable, and never emerges otherwise. Often this is associated with the passing of some threshold, with emergence not happening at all below the threshold, and increasing quickly once the threshold is passed.

• It has “edges” that make it clearly distiguishable from its surrounding background.

• It must constantly change and adapt to current conditions in order to persist in time.

• It may split into two or more independent copies of itself.

• It can move independently through its surroundings.

• It can do work on its surroundings.

• Once it emerges, it can persist through conditions below the threshold for emergence.

• It is unexpected in the sense that it is not intuitively predictable from the previous conditions. For example, there is nothing about a clear blue sky that says “here come fluffy white clouds”. There is nothing about white fluffy clouds that screams “Close your car windows.” And there is certainly nothing about a warm summer rain that warns “Don’t stand out in a field or a million volts of electricity might pass directly through your corpus delecti …”.

What does this have to do with climate? Well, emergent phenomena are the missing link in the climate models. They are what keep the planet from overheating.

See, the planet is in a funny position. We’re only running at about 70% throttle. About 30% of the sunlight hitting the planet never makes it into the climate system. So never mind CO2, there’s enough energy from the sun to fry us all to a crisp … but that’s never happened.

The reason it hasn’t happened is that there are a host of emergent phenomena that stand in the way of overheating … which brings me back to the dust devils. Here’s a photo I took of some dust devils at night, cooling the surface of the desert from the effects of the huge fire at the left of the picture … dust devils don’t care about the source of the heat.

burn 13 dust devilsNow, dust devils have all the characteristics of typical emergent phenomena—they have a lifespan, the do work on their surroundings, they move independently, they change and adapt, they are not intuitively predictable from calm air. In this photo they were emerging next to the fire, then spinning off to the right into conditions where the surface is too cool for them to emerge. So they fulfill all the requirements, they are emergent phenomena … and given that the dust devils do work, then what is the dust devil’s day job? That is to say, what work is a dust devil doing on the surroundings?

The answer is, it is cooling the surface in a several ways. First, it is taking warm surface air and spiraling it up rapidly to altitude,  physically removing the heated air from the surface. Next, the increased speed of the wind increases evaporation, further cooling the surface. Next, wind on the earth’s surface increases the “wind chill factor”, which is the increased conduction of heat from surface to atmosphere via surface turbulence.

So a dust devil is a natural cooling machine, a fantastic piece of hardware that is very effective at reducing the surface temperature. And while that is amazing in itself, that’s not the beauty part …

The beauty part is that dust devils only emerge where and when they are needed, at the hot spots. If you’re looking a chunk of real estate, the spot where the dust devil emerges is where the heat is located. This makes it incredibly efficient. Consider how much energy it would take to cool the whole chunk of real estate, and how much less energy it takes to focus the cooling energy exactly where it is needed.

The same is true of the tropical clouds. You don’t want clouds in the tropics all the time, they would reflect all the sunshine, and the planet would cool way down. You only want clouds when it gets hot … which of course is exactly what happens on your average tropical day. In the cool of the tropical morning, it is clear. But when the surface warms, the clouds emerge, and if the warming continues, then the thunderstorms emerge as well.

So to complete the thought, the beauty part of emergent phenomena is that their thresholds are temperature-dependent. As a result, they are independent of both total forcing and total losses. This is a critical point. They are temperature-dependent, not forcing-dependent.

For example, clouds don’t emerge in the tropics when the sun is hot (forcing-dependent). Instead, they only emerge when the surface is hot (temperature-dependent).

And this is why changes in the forcings don’t have much effect on temperatures, particularly on the hot side of the range where the various phenomena emerge in untold numbers. Increases in forcing, whether from CO2, from volcanoes, or from the 5% increase in solar strength over the last half-billion years, don’t affect the temperature much because they don’t affect the emergence thresholds of clouds and dust-devils and thunderstorms. Instead, the emergence of these and other temperature-regulating phenomena is controlled by thresholds related to surface temperature and insensitive to forcing. As a result, the cooling phenomena emerge exactly as, when, and where they are needed, and their emergence is not a function of the forcing in any but the most indirect manner.

Finally, as I mentioned, we’re dulled by exposure to the radical, unusual nature of the emergent phenomena. As a result, for example, the numbers of dust devils could double, and nobody would be the wiser. We hardly notice them, yet they remove huge amounts of energy from the surface in the worlds’ hottest areas. Or, clouds could emerge fifteen minutes earlier in the tropics. Nobody would even remark on it. But either of those shifts would have a profound and lasting effect on the surface temperature …

And that’s why the climate models don’t explain much. They don’t have any of the many emergent mechanisms that preferentially cool the hot spots. No thunderstorms. No dust devils. No waterspouts. No cyclones … and without those temperature-sensitive heat-seeking surface-cooling mechanisms, the models don’t have a chance of reflecting reality.

Regards to all,

w.

NB: Please quote what you disagree with. I can defend my own words, and I am happy to do so. I can’t defend your interpretation of my words. Quote what you disagree with.

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97 thoughts on “Dust In My Eyes

  1. Wow, I never knew this about dust devils! See them all the time in the summer – different sizes and heights and all. Thanks for the explanation, Willis.

  2. I grew up in the Sahara Desert. Saw dust devils all the time. It was fun to chase them and try to stay “inside” one. Never realized until now, that I never saw them in the morning.

  3. so what you are saying is that the science isn’t actually settled? And that mankind isn’t totally in charge? Hmmm….

  4. I have seen “dust devils”. (Short ones in height.) Odd little mini-tornadoes. Today at work I saw my first “snow devil”. Snow wasn’t falling and it was sunny. No wind to speak of but what wind there was just swirled up what was loose above the frozen crust. It was about 20-30 feet tall.

  5. Gunga Din says:
    February 13, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    I have seen “dust devils”. (Short ones in height.) Odd little mini-tornadoes. Today at work I saw my first “snow devil”. Snow wasn’t falling and it was sunny. No wind to speak of but what wind there was just swirled up what was loose above the frozen crust. It was about 20-30 feet tall.

    Exactly the same principle for snow devils. All you need is for the surface to be significantly warmer than the overlying air. Usually that’s in the heat of the summer, but it can happen any time of year.

    One place you see a lot of them are the “ash-devils” that occur in the summer in an area recently burned over by a forest fire. The entire ground is painted charcoal black … perfect conditions for dust devils.

    w.

  6. Willis you are right at heart of the matter. Often someone will come up in finance with a great model that historically when back tested on sample and out of sample data performs great. But start trading that model with good size in real stock or futures market and performance is not so great. Why ? One reason is the act of trading creates negative feedback known as slippage which dampens the profits.

  7. When working on a movie at the edge of the Sahara, we learnt to get equipment protected by 3pm as the dust devil’s always started to form then.

    However the issue with emergent phenomenon is far larger than just clouds or dust devils. Tropospheric convective circulation is not a constant flow. Due to the diurnal cycle, the breakaway of airmasses from the surface boundry layer stutters. Each dawn the Reyligh number for airmasses must be exceeded before they rise.

    All that doubling CO2 can do is cause breakaway to occur a few seconds earlier in the day and slightly speed up tropospheric convective circulation and the non-radiative transport of energy from the surface.

    Increased radiative gases will also cause more powerful subsidence of airmasses from altitude due to increased OLR to space.

    When their critical role in tropospheric convective circulation is taken into account it can be seen that radiative gases net effect is cooling at all concentrations above 0.0ppm.

  8. Willis, I’ve read your essays about heat transport as a governor of climate with great interest. Recently, we’ve experienced unusual amounts of cold air from the Arctic moving south. I suppose the cold air from the arctic must be replaced by warmer air from the lower lattitudes. This would seem to me to be a heat transport that serves to increase the cooling of the Earth. In any case, if thunderstorms and dust devils are climate governors, then will more of them occur if the external forcings are greater? That is, does global warming cause more storms?

  9. “……. that radiative gases net effect is cooling at all concentrations above 0.0ppm.”
    ————–

    AH so, then “greenhouse” gasses were intentionally misnamed ……

    because they are actually …. “refrigerant” gasses

  10. If ocean warms the monsoons off ocean carry more water. With warming some say the monsoon winds are stronger. Those winds head to the himalayas, which act as ramp carrying heat upwards. The mountains are outside side of ac unit. Water dripping out as rain and heat going up towards space. More warming simply turns up power on ac unit.

  11. I just had a flashback to my younger days flying gliders in New Mexico. Those dust devils can go quite high though you might not see them they don’t always carry the dirt all that high. But it’s those dust-devils, pilots call ‘em thermals, that keep the gliders up (altitudes above 20k MSL aren’t at all unheard of).

    Large, paved areas or big, dark-colored buildings could kick off thermals in pulses. The water treatment plant near the gliderport I flew from (aka “the officers’ swimming pool” ) was also known to kick off thermals.

    They’re also visible with an infrared camera, or so I’d read (from an account of an attack-helicopter pilot who also flew gliders when not deployed somewhere in the middle east).

  12. Konrad says:
    February 13, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    …… it can be seen that radiative gases net effect is cooling at all concentrations above 0.0ppm.
    ——————

    Ah so, then “greenhouse” gases were actually misnamed ……

    Because they are in actuality “refrigerant” gases.

    Now why didn’t I think of that, …… it’s so obvious its embarrassing.

  13. This is going to sound like nit picking but this story makes far more sense if you avoid using temperature and start referring to energy. Dust devils move energy from one place to another. That may also change temperature here and there, depending on what happens next to that energy. You used the phrase “For example, clouds don’t emerge in the tropics when the sun is hot…”. Sunlight has no heat so I don’t know exactly what you mean by that, and the sun is always hot from self-heating. For example, if you have a thermal imager and point it 90º to the direction sunlight is moving you will record only the near 0K temperature of deep space. It is only when that light strikes an object that what we call heat is created and that happens because that object is absorbing sunlight which causes the energy level of the object to increase. A dust devil can reverse that.

    Emergent phenomena can transport energy or by reflection, prevent the energy from modifying the energy state of blocked objects. It does this because the albedo of the emergent phenomena is often higher than the objects it shields.

    I consider Hadley, Ferrel, and polar cells to be emergent phenomena but they may not pass your test. Either way they are amazing energy transporters. So are rivers.

    Here is my problem with discussing heat vs discussing energy – you can lose a lot of energy in the oceans without any detectable change in temperature. Our instruments cannot deal with heat at such levels of dilution. But we can precisely say a petawatt of energy was absorbed and dispersed throughout the oceans over a period of time. It is of no consequence that we cannot measure a change in ocean temperature as a result. What matters is that we have no means to verify that energy movement into the seas and it is a travesty we do not.

    We should focus like a laser beam on what the long term energy state of the Earth is and not be distracted by unimportant things like temperature. That is why TSI, TOA radiation, and energy storage are so important to understand. Temperature is proving to be a poor proxy for representing that energy state and I don’t think we’ll ever solve the modeling problem if the objective is to compare temperatures over time.

  14. This discussion is interesting, Willis. Thanks.
    From what you say, in the tropics clouds come out at mid-day and limit the warming effect. Here in the temperate zone, we often have clouds that stay all night long, and they tend to keep the air warmer. You can see this in thermal IR images of a night sky with scattered clouds – the clouds are clearly warmer than outer space behind them, and they are radiating back toward us. Plus at night they are not reflecting any sunlight away from us. Do you think there is a night-time reverse thermostatic effect as well? I.e. do clouds tend to come on cold nights to insulate the Earth and prevent global cooling?

  15. And this is why changes in the forcings don’t have much effect on temperatures, particularly on the hot side of the range where the various phenomena emerge in untold numbers. Increases in forcing, whether from CO2, from volcanoes, or from the 5% increase in solar strength over the last half-billion years, don’t affect the temperature much because they don’t affect the emergence thresholds of clouds and dust-devils and thunderstorms.

    This got me wondering, might climate optima be considered emergent phenomena against the background of ice ages? Sorry, your mention of half-billion years sent my thoughts off on a tangent.

  16. dp says:
    February 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    This is going to sound like nit picking but this story makes far more sense if you avoid using temperature and start referring to energy. Dust devils move energy from one place to another.

    The problem with that is the dust devils are not driven by differences in energy. They are driven by differences in temperature.

    Consider equal amounts of energy falling on a lake and a nearby desert. Assume they absorb the same amount of energy … which one will get warmer? Where will the dust devils forrm?

    So we can’t do what you suggest, we need both temperature and energy to understand the dust devils and how they work.

    w./

  17. Video of multiple dust devils following a pyroclastic flow out of Sinabung some days to weeks ago:

    http://strangesounds.org/2014/02/volcanic-eruption-creates-tornadoes-at-sinabung-volcano-video-february-2014.html

    The active rovers on Mars have seen and been visited by multiple dust devils. Good news as one cleaned dust off solar arrays of one rover some years ago and improved its power levels during the day. Tracks are visible from the orbiters. Cheers -

    http://science1.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2005/14jul_dustdevils/

  18. I confirm the high altitudes reached. I have seen and flown through them – towering above the plane, the dust concentration making them visible 000′s of ft above us. It was on the way to Mthatha from JHB. It was so violent the pilot threw up! As did most of the passengers. They can certainly punch through 40,000 ft of atmosphere.

  19. The problem with that is the dust devils are not driven by differences in energy. They are driven by differences in temperature.

    This is going to be harder than I thought.

  20. Now I know what I was looking at for all the years I lived in the desert. I seldom saw them over the planted fields, but they would be in abundance in a freshly plowed section with the darker dirt exposed, and of course all over the desert in the summer.
    L.

  21. You call dust devils an “emergent phenomenon” but I am inclined to think of them as a “spontaneous symmetry breaking” phenomenon. The air above a large hot flat plain all wants to go up as fast as possible. The air has symmetry with respect to horizontal translation – no one spot is more desirous of going up than any other – but the whole air mass cannot go up together because that would create a vacuum. A dust devil spontaneously breaks that symmetry at a random (and non-stationary) location, thus permitting the mixing of near-ground hot air with upper cooler air.

  22. Luke Warmist says:
    February 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Now I know what I was looking at for all the years I lived in the desert. I seldom saw them over the planted fields, but they would be in abundance in a freshly plowed section with the darker dirt exposed, and of course all over the desert in the summer.
    L.

    Thanks, Luke. You and I and others who commented above are perfect examples of what I was saying, that we are dulled by the repetition of exposure to the amazing climate phenomena that surround us. We say “It’s just a dust devil” and stop thinking about it.

    Best regards,

    w.

  23. dp says:
    February 13, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    The problem with that is the dust devils are not driven by differences in energy. They are driven by differences in temperature.

    This is going to be harder than I thought.

    That’s totally unclear … what’s going to be harder? Convincing me that delta T is not a cause of a whole host of climate phenomena will definitely be hard if that’s what you mean … but that may not be what you mean at all.

    w.

  24. Willis and dp said “we need both temperature and energy to understand the dust devils and how they work.”

    The immediate driving physical attribute, surely, is density? The air at ground level heats up and expands (increases in volume, thus decreases in density) according to the ideal gas law PV=nRT, creating a density inversion.

  25. Would a large sandstorm be the rush of air toward a very large low pressure area of rising air – a grand daddy dust devil?

  26. I’m beginning to believe that the CAGW folks just don’t want to believe that the Earth has such a very elegant and efficient means of controlling the Global temperature and as such almost appear as if some “Intelligent Design” might have had a hand in it’s creation.

    Not that there’s any proof of that particular fork but it is particularly amazing how the system seems to work. Of course we know that it’s all based on the physics involved and no master craftsman had any hand in it’s evolving.

    Don’t we?

    Yet many seem quite comfortable believing that man in less than a hundred years can upset the apple cart that’s been toiling away for millions.

    Who’s believing in fairy tales now?

  27. “the models don’t have a chance of reflecting reality”

    Pan evaporation data collected for decades from thousands of sites worldwide shows climate models also incorrectly assume evaporation is just a function of temperature, and
    evaporation will increase as temperatures rise, but in reality measurements reveal that evaporation has been dropping off worldwide since the 1950s, that evaporation is controlled by surface solar radiation and wind speeds, not temperature.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/02/evaporation-research-reveals-another.html

    If the models don’t even have the fundamental assumptions of the hydrological cycle correct, how can they possibly model the trivial CO2 effect or assume amplification by water vapor?

    They don’t.

  28. I used to see this at work back in the days of yore when we would burn a stubble paddock and then proceed to plough it.
    This would be in the Autumn and in southern Australia at this time the ravens would congregate in large numbers and follow the tractor getting the bugs and worms (and mice) that the plough unearthed. Come afternoon the thermals would develope over the blackened earth and occasionally in a strong one the ravens would all take to the wing and use it to go to great height with minimal effort before peeling off and ‘rocketing ‘ back to the ground. There seemed to be no reason for this behaviour other than the fun of the decent.
    These days we use minimum till/direct drill which is better for soil health and profits, but I miss that smell of freshly turned soil.

  29. Samuel C Cogar says:
    February 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm
    “Now why didn’t I think of that, …… it’s so obvious its embarrassing.”
    —————————————————————————————-

    I suspect you are being facetious. This is ill advised. You would need to be better at empirical experiment than me to challenge. And I am better than Dr. Spencer at this.

    Bottom line – the sun heats our oceans, the atmosphere cools our oceans and radiative gases cool our atmosphere. AGW is a physical impossibility.

  30. Years ago in a plowed field in eastern Washington, I saw something I had a hard time believing: perhaps 50 to 100 dust devils, each independently rotating, revolving together in a giant ring. Spooky…

  31. Willis – heat is a perception. Energy is the capacity of an object to do work. We feel heat because our brain converts an elevated surface energy state to a feeling of warmth. In fact what we feel is the direction of energy flow through our skin layers. Incoming energy feels warm, outgoing energy feels cold. We are very aware of the rate of heat movement in and out of our skin and our perceptions of it range from reflexive contraction (burn) to shivering (cold). At some state we tend to be unaware of our energy state and we call that our comfort point – we eliminate energy at approximately the same rate we produce convert it biologically.

    Incoming energy increases the energy state of the earth’s surface. Air that comes in contact with it the surface expands that air asymmetrically causing some to rise. Other factors cause it to spin as it rises. The result is a dust devil. The dust devil does not care where the energy comes from as your night time fire shows. All this happens because energy is a fundamental property of physical objects. Heat is perceived energy.

    And my point is because we hand wring over temperature here and temperature there we’re not paying attention to the balance of energy of the planet. We cannot perceive what we cannot measure. It is equivalent trying to measure our electrical power consumption by measuring the temperature of the wires, grounding pads and the ground current heat of the Pacific DC Intertie.

  32. Lee from WA says:
    February 13, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Years ago in a plowed field in eastern Washington, I saw something I had a hard time believing: perhaps 50 to 100 dust devils, each independently rotating, revolving together in a giant ring. Spooky…

    Thanks, Lee. One of the amazing things about emergent phenomena is that their behavior is so varied. Dust devils dancing in a ring … who knew?

    w.

  33. Hi Willis, what about forcings which adjust the threshold of the emergent phenomena? Such as Svensmark’s GCR (assuming his theory is correct)? Surely this would have a more direct influence than heating / cooling forcings?

  34. kenw says:
    February 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    so what you are saying is that the science isn’t actually settled? And that mankind isn’t totally in charge? Hmmm….

    I think what Willis is implying is not that the “science isn’t settled” but that overly simple models are not necessarily science, merely because they invoke some laws of physics. If you consider the old dictum of Occam’s Razor, the injunction is to avoid unnecessary addition of explanatory elements (overly complex explanatory systems). Essentially the razor is an ancient framing if the KISS principle. The alternative way to say effectively the same thing is that no explanation (model) should be less complicated than is necessary to deal with the system being studied. Occam’s approach is elegant because it indicates when to stop work and have a beer; that is, stop when your explanation accounts for the known systematic variability in a system.

    Emergent phenomena are abundant in nature, and some phenomena like vortices (eddies, dust devils, tornadoes, storms, hurricanes and typhoons) are vital elements in the operation of the planetary thermal regime that are ignored at the model framer’s peril. Yet, probably because emergent systems are very difficult to model, they are not well handled in climate models.

  35. dp says:
    February 13, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Willis – heat is a perception.

    Thanks for the reply, dp. You’re mixing up the common usage of the term with the scientific usage. In science (e.g. here on WUWT) “heat” has the thermodynamic meaning-it is the net flow of energy from a warmer to a cooler object. Note that in terms of radiation, heat is quite different from the individual flows of radiation from body A to body B, and from B to A. Heat is the NET of those two flows.

    I fear I didn’t read the rest of your comment, because when you start with “heat is a perception”, there’s no point—if you start there, you’re not voyaging in the world of science, which is where I sail …

    w.

  36. Konrad says:
    February 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    … I suspect you are being facetious. This is ill advised. You would need to be better at empirical experiment than me to challenge. And I am better than Dr. Spencer at this.

    Bottom line – the sun heats our oceans, the atmosphere cools our oceans and radiative gases cool our atmosphere. AGW is a physical impossibility.

    Bottom line – whatever the subject of the thread might be, Konrad will appear and not say a word about what everyone else is discussing. Instead, he will talk endlessly and painfully about a) his experiment, and b) his theory.

    Doesn’t matter what the focus of the discussion might be. Doesn’t matter if people tell him they wish he’d go flog his theory elsewhere. Doesn’t matter that he exists in what appears from the outside to be a completely logic-free zone. Like the proverbial bad penny, you can depend on Konrad to turn up, and to be hard to get rid of …

    w.

    PS—I did love Konrad’s new threat, though, where he says something like “Don’t mess with me, I’m badder than Roy Spencer” … dang, Dr. Roy, you’re now the standard of excellence, how cool is that?

  37. Eric Worrall says:
    February 13, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Hi Willis, what about forcings which adjust the threshold of the emergent phenomena? Such as Svensmark’s GCR (assuming his theory is correct)? Surely this would have a more direct influence than heating / cooling forcings?

    Good question, Eric. I discussed this in some length in my very first post on the subject of emergent phenomena, The Thermostat Hypothesis. See the section entitled “Gradual Equilibrium Variation and Drift”.

    Regards,

    w.

  38. “See, the planet is in a funny position. We’re only running at about 70% throttle. About 30% of the sunlight hitting the planet never makes it into the climate system. So never mind CO2, there’s enough energy from the sun to fry us all to a crisp … but that’s never happened.”

    I don’t think there enough energy from the sun to fry us to a crisp.
    A clear sky at noon has about 1000 watts per square meter.
    So the 1000 watts can warm a surface to about 80 C. And you don’t want to walk on a 80 C surface with tender feet or without shoes [it you didn't wear shoes, you wouldn't have tender feet]. But point is 80 C is about as hot as the sun gets going thru our atmosphere.
    The Moon lacking atmosphere can warm the surface to 120 C.
    Anyhow, we have atmosphere and this prevents it for getting hotter than 80 C, and highest air
    temperatures being about 56 C.
    So nothing in the greenhouse theory nor “full throttle” can cause the sun to warm earth surface more than 80 C

    Then of course it’s not always around noon. A sun at 4 pm, is not going to heat a surface up to 80 C, because sun at such low angle will not be 1000 watts per square meter. Or 75% of the time sunlight is less than 1000 watts per square. And regions of earth [higher latitude] never get as much as 1000 watts per meter.
    All greenhouse theory can do and all “full throttle” could do is increase night time temperatures.
    Or warm up areas which would otherwise be cooler.
    And also the most significant thing “full throttle” or greenhouse effect could do- what in theory it has most change it could bring about is warm the ocean or melt ice caps. Because both are quite cold. So ocean with average temperature of 3 C could in theory warm significantly- meaning it’s allow as possible according to it’s model.
    But most greenhouse theory and full throttle can do simply in terms energy available from the sun is warm the ocean by 1 or 2 C in thousand years.
    If given forever the tropic surface temperature could same temperature as water at depth- but this doesn’t fry us.
    So most allowable is globally hot tropical world- more regions matching tropical hot condition that already exist and far more region warm tropical conditions- or eliminating temperate and arctic type temperature- fullest throttle and vast amount super greenhouse gases.

    So there is not enough energy from present sun at current distance and with current 1 atm of atmosphere “to fry us all to a crisp”.

  39. You did not mention the most important process
    Water Evapouration Using Latent Heat.
    Latent heat removes emormous amounts of heat which is lost to space when clouds form.
    The heat required to evapourate 1liter of water at temperature 100C is 7.6 times that needed to raise that same water’s temperature from 0C to 100C.

  40. Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 13, 2014 at 11:10 pm
    —————————————-
    Bad penny was it?

    I say the net effect of radiative gases in our atmosphere is cooling, you say warming.

    Your position is noted.

    Were you laughing at me? You’re smart Willis, but not smart enough.

  41. gbalkie:

    When I did the back-of-the-envelope calculation, I got the average surface temperature going from 61 deg. F to 109 deg. F.: 289 K * (100 / 70) ^ (1/4) = 315 K.

  42. Back in the day I worked on a farm operating an open air tractor, driving through very huge manifestations of these was suffocationg. Thank god for cabs.

  43. Nice discussion, Mr. Eschenbach.

    An interesting coda, which some of this site’s regular visitors may be able to supply, would be the computational expense of numerically solving the three-dimensional compressible-flow Navier-Stokes equations at the spatial and temporal resolution required to capture dust devils; there are some problems, I’m told, that can be shown to be beyond the capability of mankind’s entire computing power, even if we were given all the time since the Big Bang. I believe I’ve understood Dr. Brown to say that the GCMs’ resolutions are orders of magnitude too coarse to capture thunderheads.

  44. I remember well in my childhood, in the hot summers of the 1960s, seeing these “dust devils” as I now know they are called. At the time I used to see them in the late afternoon, in tarmacadamed car parks. They swept long plumes of ash and debris, some ten feet or more into the air.

    As children we did not query their existence, nor link them to CO2 or anything else really. We just accepted them as a natural phenomena, and played the game of chasing them and throwing paper airplanes into them and watch them swirl high into the sky.

    Thanks for the explanation of this phenomena, which has puzzled me for many long years,

  45. Before I play “catch up” I would like to say …. “Thank you, Willis, for such a great commentary”. I really enjoyed it, learned a few new thing and plan on reading it again.

    Now to do my catching up ….
    —————

    dp says:
    February 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    and I don’t think we’ll ever solve the modeling problem if the objective is to compare temperatures over time.
    ——————

    I am absolutely sure they will never solve the modeling problem if the objective is to compare temperatures over time …… because their “hindsight” modeling results will serve no practical purpose for determining future climatic conditions.

    I really don’t think anyone is silly enough to compare “team-sport’s scores” over time to determine how each of the sport teams is going to perform in future years. The performance of a sports team is also subject to multiple “emergent phenomenon”, ….. are they not?

    Computer modeling only works for “closed” systems, They don’t work for “open” systems, …… especially “open” systems with multiple “emergent phenomenon”.

  46. Michael D says:
    February 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Do you think there is a night-time reverse thermostatic effect as well? I.e. do clouds tend to come on cold nights to insulate the Earth and prevent global cooling?
    ———————

    If the humidity is high enough …. then fogs and mists come on cold nights to insulate the Earth and prevent global cooling

  47. Konrad says:
    February 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    [quoting: Samuel C Cogar] “Now why didn’t I think of that, …… it’s so obvious its embarrassing
    ……….

    I suspect you are being facetious. This is ill advised. You would need to be better at empirical experiment than me to challenge. And I am better than Dr. Spencer at this.
    ———————

    Absolutely NOT. I was as serious as a heart attack.

    One very important thing I learned many years ago in my career as a Logical Designer (Design Engineer) was that one had to ask them self just as many “No” questions as they did ”Yes” questions if they had any hope at all of creating a great design that actually worked without having to re-design part of it during “testing”. ……. But me forgettum dat. CRS

    I have asked myself the “Yes” (positive) question of: “Will greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere” ….. but I forgot to ask myself the “No” (negative) question of: “Will greenhouse gases cool the atmosphere”.

    TA DAH, …. the “No” question, …….. absolutely, that is the primary function they provide.

    Even the non-GHG gases do likewise via their contact (conduction) with the earth’s surface. Cause, …. being the primary “players”, ……. they also “heat up” and quickly rise into the atmosphere resulting in thermals and “dust devils”.

    Cheers

  48. Mr. Eschenbach,

    While you are entirely correct, I think the focus should be on the actual surface, where the emergent events are triggered.

    My understanding is that the models estimate evaporation, convection and sensible energy flux effects smoothly by averaging them together. While in reality as you have demonstrated they are step functions with a hard upper limit, where net cooling reverses and negates any temperature or energy increase. I believe the upper limit (over the ocean) is somewhere in the 22˚ to 30˚C temperature range, much like the boiling point of water is 100˚C.

    The direct cooling effect is evaporation which accounts for at least 51% of the cooling and it rapidly increases as the temperature increases (the upper limit).

  49. Just wanted to say that I loved this essay, the writing was beautiful and the content excellent. Hope to read more of your writing.

  50. rwnj says: @ February 13, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    …. That is, does global warming cause more storms?

    stevek says: @ February 13, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    If ocean warms the monsoons off ocean carry more water. With warming some say the monsoon winds are stronger….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    There are papers answering those questions (see below) and it would seem that the answer is, it depends on what location you are talking about. As some have mentioned less of a temperature differential between the equator and poles means less storminess. A shifting of the rain bands can mean drought or flooding depending on the location.

    I think what Willis is discussing is the thermostat that acts to limit the upper temperature range especially where there is abundant moisture (thunderstorms) in the tropics and subtropics. Without water the ‘Thermotat’ is not as efficient at dumping heat.

    Decreasing Asian summer monsoon intensity after 1860 AD in the global warming epoch
    (DOT)springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00382-012-1378-0

    The trend of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) intensity…. In this study we reconstructed the ISM intensity during the past 270 years… A notable feature of the reconstructed ISM intensity is the gradually decreasing trend from about 1860 to the present, which is inversely related to the increasing temperature trend contemporaneously. Such “decreasing ISM intensity–increasing temperature” tendency can also be supported by ice core records and meteorological records over a wide geographic extension. The decrease in sea surface temperature gradient between tropical and north Indian Ocean, and the decrease in land-sea thermal contrast between tropical Indian Ocean and “Indian sub-continent–western Himalaya” are possibly responsible for the observed decreasing ISM trend.

    The impact of North Atlantic storminess on western European coasts: A review

    …There is evidence of periods of increased storminess during the Little Ice Age (LIA) (AD 1570–1990)…
    connection(DOT)ebscohost.com/c/articles/80000825/north-atlantic-storms-medieval-warm-period-vs-little-ice-age

    The impact of North Atlantic storminess on western European coasts: A review
    CO2Science: (wwwDOT)co2science.org/articles/V15/N36/C3.php

    This discussion is very much worth the read because it uses several different methods to shows storminess ” is high during the LIA with a marked transition from reduced levels during the MCA [hereafter MWP]

    New Insights into North European and North Atlantic Surface Pressure Variability, Storminess, and Related Climatic Change since 1830
    connection(DOT)ebscohost.com/c/articles/36003438/new-insights-north-european-north-atlantic-surface-pressure-variability-storminess-related-climatic-change-since-1830

    The results show periods of relatively high dp(abs)24 and enhanced storminess around 1900 and the early to mid-1990s, and a relatively quiescent period from about 1930 to the early 1960s… there is no sign of a sustained enhanced storminess signal associated with global warming…..

    Aeolian sand movement and relative sea-level rise in Ho Bugt, western Denmark, during the `Little Ice Age’
    hol(DOT)sagepub.com/content/18/6/951.abstract

    ….OSL analyses date the sand sheet to between AD 1460 ± 40 and AD 1550 ± 30 (490 ± 40 and 400 ± 30 cal. yr BP), consistent with a period of increased storminess, coastal dune building, saltmarsh formation and increased relative sea-level rise during the early part of the LIA…

    MONSOONS

    The Holocene Asian Monsoon: Links to Solar Changes and North Atlantic Climate (Links to more articles)

    A 5-year-resolution absolute-dated oxygen isotope record from Dongge Cave, southern China, provides a continuous history of the Asian monsoon over the past 9000 years. Although the record broadly follows summer insolation, it is punctuated by eight weak monsoon events lasting ∼1 to 5 centuries. One correlates with the “8200-year” event, another with the collapse of the Chinese Neolithic culture, and most with North Atlantic ice-rafting events. Cross-correlation of the decadal- to centennial-scale monsoon record with the atmospheric carbon-14 record shows that some, but not all, of the monsoon variability at these frequencies results from changes in solar output.

    Paleotemperature variability in central China during the last 13 ka recorded by a novel microbial lipid proxy in the Dajiuhu peat deposit
    hol(DOT)sagepub.com/content/23/8/1123.abstract

    The Asian summer monsoon is a very important climatic component affecting the land ecosystem on the eastern Asian continent…. Fluctuations in the continuous 13 ka BNA15-derived record of relative temperature change from the Dajiuhu peat core imply that solar activity is the dominant cause for most cold events at multicentennial to submillennial timescales.

    Atlantic Forcing of Persistent Drought in West Africa
    (wwwDOT)sciencemag.org/content/324/5925/377.abstract

    ….We combined geomorphic, isotopic, and geochemical evidence from the sediments of Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana, to reconstruct natural variability in the African monsoon over the past three millennia. We find that intervals of severe drought lasting for periods ranging from decades to centuries are characteristic of the monsoon and are linked to natural variations in Atlantic temperatures…..

    Multidecadal to multicentury scale collapses of Northern Hemisphere monsoons over the past millennium
    (wwwDOT)pnas.org/content/110/24/9651.abstract

    …Late Holocene climate in western North America was punctuated by periods of extended aridity called megadroughts. These droughts have been linked to cool eastern tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs)…Several megadroughts are evident, including a multicentury one, AD 1350–1650, herein referred to as Super Drought, which corresponds to the coldest period of the Little Ice Age. Synchronicity between southwestern North American, Chinese, and West African monsoon precipitation suggests the megadroughts were hemispheric in scale. Northern Hemisphere monsoon strength over the last millennium is positively correlated with Northern Hemisphere temperature and North Atlantic SST. The megadroughts are associated with cooler than average SST and Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Furthermore, the megadroughts, including the Super Drought, coincide with solar insolation minima, suggesting that solar forcing of sea surface and atmospheric temperatures may generate variations in the strength of Northern Hemisphere monsoons. Our findings seem to suggest stronger (wetter) Northern Hemisphere monsoons with increased warming.

    A 2,300-year-long annually resolved record of the South American summer monsoon from the Peruvian Andes
    (wwwDOT)pnas.org/content/108/21/8583.abstract

    Decadal and centennial mean state changes in South American summer monsoon (SASM) precipitation during the last 2,300 years are detailed using an annually resolved authigenic calcite record of precipitation δ18O from a varved lake in the Central Peruvian Andes. ….shows that δ18O peaked during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) from A.D. 900 to 1100, providing evidence that the SASM weakened considerably during this period. Minimum δ18O values occurred during the Little Ice Age (LIA) between A.D. 1400 and 1820, reflecting a prolonged intensification of the SASM that was regionally synchronous. After the LIA, δ18O increased rapidly, particularly during the current warm period (CWP; A.D. 1900 to present), indicating a return to reduced SASM precipitation that was more abrupt and sustained than the onset of the MCA. Diminished SASM precipitation during the MCA and CWP tracks reconstructed Northern Hemisphere and North Atlantic warming and a northward displacement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) over the Atlantic, and likely the Pacific. Intensified SASM precipitation during the LIA follows reconstructed Northern Hemisphere and North Atlantic cooling, El Niño-like warming in the Pacific, and a southward displacement of the ITCZ over both oceans. These results suggest that SASM mean state changes are sensitive to ITCZ variability as mediated by Western Hemisphere tropical sea surface temperatures, particularly in the Atlantic.

  51. Samuel C Cogar says:
    “I really don’t think anyone is silly enough to compare “team-sport’s scores” over time to determine how each of the sport teams is going to perform in future years. The performance of a sports team is also subject to multiple “emergent phenomenon”, ….. are they not?”

    I try not comment as I suffer from self dellusions, but this caught my eye because American football has begun to do just this, though on a shorter scale. Just watch a week of analysts before any big game (like the recent Super Bowl) and there are statistics and past performances out the wazoo. “So and so is this good in the post season”, “this team has the best point differential”, “on paper this is an even game”, and so on. Yet each game is a different game and so many factors apply, to even rate it off one player is silly. Anyway, just goes to show that we humans love speculation and it can override commen sense if we aren’t careful.
    Love the post Mr. Eschenbach, your combination of experience and education is fully evident and makes your articles fascinating. Makes me wonder at how these phenomena were set in place to begin with.

  52. gbaikie says: @ February 14, 2014 at 2:22 am

    “See, the planet is in a funny position. We’re only running at about 70% throttle. About 30% of the sunlight hitting the planet never makes it into the climate system. So never mind CO2, there’s enough energy from the sun to fry us all to a crisp … but that’s never happened.”

    I don’t think there enough energy from the sun to fry us to a crisp.
    A clear sky at noon has about 1000 watts per square meter.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    This is another one of those peas under the thimbles that Steve McIntyre cautions us to watch.

    The earth is NOT the surface. At Top of Atmosphere you get the full 1,368 W/m2. At this point the sun’s energy interacts with the atmosphere. See: NASA: Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite: A Program to Study Global Ozone Change (Full of Man destroys the atmosphere garbage but has some of the chemistry.) and Solar Storm Dumps Gigawatts into Earth’s Upper Atmosphere

    Other NASA articles state “Clouds, aerosols, water vapor, and ozone directly absorb 23 percent of incoming solar energy.” On November 5, 2013 there was X-class solar flare, the ionosphere absorbed it. “The burst of energy triggered electric currents in the ionosphere, which in turn generated a magnetic field. The quick burst of energy caused a surge of electric currents in the ionosphere. All electric currents generate magnetic fields, and the fast surge caused by the flare creates a magnetic field strong enough to be measured from the ground.”

    Unfortunately there is no incentive to actually connect changes in the upper atmosphere to climate unless you can hang the blame on Mankind so changes in ozone are the most studied upper atmosphere phenomenon.

    That does not mean we at WUWT should let the paid propagandists sweep what is happening to the upper atmosphere as the sun changes over the current and next cycle under the rug. The sun ma ybe constant as a rock and therefore completely out of the picture as far as climate goes but that does not mean we should ignore the possibilities Cycle 24 and 25 may uncover.

  53. The position Green House Gas Belief Religion is in isn’t all that funny.
    The post is about ”emergent phenomena.”

    Without any atmosphere, there can’t be any
    ”emergent phenomena”

    There can’t be conductive cooling

    There can’t be convective cooling

    There can’t be 30% energy never arriving.

    A cold atmosphere can’t heat an object
    otherwise heated in vacuum.

    Emergent phenomena called reflection and convection and conduction arise.

    This post is a perfect example of why those who believe the atmosphere can warm the planet are never going to be found to be correct. Your observation that 30% of the sun’s energy never even arrives at the earth because of the atmosphere seals that off never to end-run the inescapable fact that less energy in must by definition mean less energy in.
    +++++++
    Willis Eisenbach says

    “See, the planet is in a funny position. We’re only running at about 70% throttle.

    About 30% of the sunlight hitting the planet never makes it into the climate system.

    So never mind CO2, there’s enough energy from the sun to fry us all to a crisp … but that’s never happened.

    The reason it hasn’t happened

    is that there are a host of emergent phenomena

    that stand in the way of overheating …”

  54. I think that if people who believed the atmosphere can warm the earth would read what Mr Eisenbach says

    they would realize all these effects stemming from the atmosphere couldn’t exist,
    if there were no atmosphere at all.

    There would be no 30% of the energy giving the earth it’s temperature, never arriving.

    I saw on youtube many videos of people who were making water boil at room temperature.

    The bubbles from the water form about an inch or two down into several inches of water.

    When the pressure is lowered over the top of the water, it begins to lose water not just from the surface but also from deeper within the column.

    This lends credence to the concept that the presence of more and more atmospheric mass, retards water within that column from evaporating.

    But there is no question at all that if there were some object down inside any of those flasks, which had a thermocouple attached to them the object if being heated from without that flask,
    was a whole lot cooler, distributing the heat it picked up throughout the bath, than just if the bath were not there at all.

    I was thinking about this when I came across Mr. Eisenbach’s post on the reason that dust devils appear: they appear because an atmosphere provides additional ways for heat that is building up in something to be removed from it.

  55. Thanks to the author of the post for another writing of interest.
    Sometimes, i feel like an ‘emergent phenomena’.
    I know about something called a ‘thermal low’, warmer air rising and cooler air moving in to replace it. Might it be that when air masses of different heat or density colide, alot of times, they start revolving ? Warmer air/substance is more ‘active’ so it tries to equalize with the cooler air. Open air having low resistance to movement , then it spins ? So, the ‘dust devils’ emerge when you have that bonfire going (massive up lift) and when cooler air rushes in some gets isolated/grouped(?) and causes local spining updrafts, that disappear when the temp. equalizes.
    So. does that not happen globaly?
    Warmer air/water rising (near equator) cooler air subsiding (near poles)
    spinning off storms like the ‘dust devils’ around that fire…..
    Maybe i’m not ‘getting it’? or my style is just beyond redemption.Whatever…
    If we are running about 70% throttle then i wonder what turning up the throttle would do?
    Maybe this real life anecdote might apply:
    When grilling in below freezing temps. with a compressed gas at ambient air temp.to start with, as i rapidly expand (burn) it, the container of compressed gas forms ice on the outside.
    So, either way we burn the fuel(from out of the ground) or we have expansion of compressed gas(if the poles ever warm up to release all that stuff on the bottom of the ocean) and then ice forms and pushes everything out into the sea.
    Sorry for the ‘alarmism’ with that last part but i couldn’t resist. ;-)
    Thanks for the interesting articles and comments.

  56. Konrad says:
    February 14, 2014 at 4:02 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 13, 2014 at 11:10 pm
    —————————————-
    Bad penny was it?

    I say the net effect of radiative gases in our atmosphere is cooling, you say warming.

    Your position is noted.

    Were you laughing at me? You’re smart Willis, but not smart enough.

    Konrad, before you declare victory, please locate a quote where I ever said that the net effect of radiative gases in the atmosphere warms the atmosphere. I don’t recall ever saying it, I don’t believe it, and in fact I hold that the greenhouse gases both cool the atmosphere and warm the surface. Here’s why:

    The atmospheric cooling occurs because without the greenhouse gases, the only way the atmosphere can lose heat is through conduction to the surface. The GHGs allow the atmosphere to radiate to space, which (as you point out) allows the atmosphere to cool much more rapidly than it would without the GHGs.

    But that’s only half the story, because only half of the radiation goes to space. The other half goes back downwards, making the surface warmer than it would be in the absence of the GHGs.

    So as usual, you are very passionate about your claim, which is a good thing … but as occurs far too often with you, that claim is 100% wrong … you are attacking me for a position I don’t hold, and never have held.

    And also as usual, you’ve picked a thread which has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR IDÉE FIXE … so here’s a polite request, Konrad.

    Could you please discuss the thermal effect of GHGs on the atmosphere elsewhere, and restrict your comments here to 1) emergent phenomena, and 2) dust devils?

    TIA,

    w.

  57. Joe Born says:
    February 14, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Nice discussion, Mr. Eschenbach.

    An interesting coda, which some of this site’s regular visitors may be able to supply, would be the computational expense of numerically solving the three-dimensional compressible-flow Navier-Stokes equations at the spatial and temporal resolution required to capture dust devils; there are some problems, I’m told, that can be shown to be beyond the capability of mankind’s entire computing power, even if we were given all the time since the Big Bang. I believe I’ve understood Dr. Brown to say that the GCMs’ resolutions are orders of magnitude too coarse to capture thunderheads.

    Good to hear from you as always, Joe.

    The problem I’ve read about is not the lack of computational power, although that may be the case as well. It is that the solution of the Navier-Stokes equation in the models has never been shown to converge to the correct result, and that reducing the gridcell size makes the problem worse rather than better.

    In any case, the gridcell size in the climate models tend to be on the order of 100 km on a side or so, far to large to even begin to show (not calculate, but display) anything but the largest of cyclones … and as for dust devils, fugeddaboutit …

    But as many people here have testified, the dust devils are a regular and very active feature of the warmer landscapes. Not only that, but they extract the heat just from the warmest spots, so they are very efficient. And not a bit of that shows up in the climate models.

    Regards,

    w.

    PS—surface area of the planet = 5.11e14 sq metres. A square 100 km on a side covers 1×10^10 sq metres. This means there are about 5e4, or 50,000 gridcells at that size. Note that these are replicated on (typically) a dozen or more atmosphere levels, and perhaps half that number of oceanic levels. If we assume say 50k gridcells on 15 levels, that’s 750,000 gridcells. For each of these, we need to calculate a dozen variables or so—pressure, temperature, velocity in the x, y, and z directions, vorticity, vertical lapse rate, water content, cloud cover and the like.

    So that means that at present, the models are handling on the order of call it 10 million variables … and the number of variables goes up as the square of the grid size. So if we wanted say a 25-km grid size (still way too small to catch the emergent phenomena), we’d need to keep track of sixteen times that number of variables, 160 million variables …

    So yes, I’d agree that the computational power needed for even that small increase in resolution is prohibitive, and thus getting down to the level of emergent phenomena ain’t gonna happen any time soon …

  58. mbur says:
    February 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Thanks to the author of the post for another writing of interest.
    Sometimes, i feel like an ‘emergent phenomena’.

    That’s an excellent insight, because In fact, life is the prototypical emergent phenomenon—living things tend to have most or all of the various characteristics I listed above for emergent phenomena … they have a lifespan, they emerge when conditions are favorable, they can do work on their surroundings, they create copies of themselves, they move about the landscape, and so on.

    w.

  59. When I was looking at the people making water boil at room temperature it also occurred to me that I saw a film clip where some people made a bicycle pump into a vacuum pump

    by reversing the internal flap-valve; and they stuck a tire valve, in a drilled out Mason jar lid.

    They put a thermometer of some kind, I think it was one of the miniature key ring ones encased in resin, into the jar.

    They then proceeded to pump air out and show the thermometer climb several degrees as more air was removed.

    There can not be any ”Emergent Phenomena” arise to remove heat when there isn’t any heat handling medium for the phenomena to emerge.

    This is also born out by another educational film I remember: the one where the air is pumped out of a vessel and an object is blown with a fan. The thermocouple is shown, at one temperature, inside a vacuum chamber, through a port, and the temperature is shown.

    The fan is started, the temperature goes down in spite of the fan’s motor adding heat to the equation, because the distribution in air of the vessel creates better thermal, conductive cooling, to the outside.

    The test is started over, and the temperature is shown to rise when the air is pumped out.

    Then, when the fan is started, the temperature hardly moves at all. The narrator noted the fan had to be turned off because in the chamber with much less air, there was very little cooling without the conduction capacity presence of air provided, and it would burn out.

    They weren’t on youtube, and weren’t done by the same people.
    The one with the jar was just a simple one in someone’s home work shop.

    The one I saw with the fan and thermocouple were in some sort of scientific environment, they were patched together as part of a tutorial on the effects, of not having an atmosphere.

    The effect they were demonstrating is the one causing astronauts and space equipment
    to need to be insulated with light reflective insulation:

    In space, you can’t just fan off the heat.

    There isn’t anything to fan the heat off, with: the blades of a fan will spin,
    in vacuum conditions, but no cooling happens. Not even enough for a fan to cool itself.

    The earth is in the identical situation as Mr. Eisenbach notes:

    “The earth can never reach full throttle,”

    there is an atmosphere keeping the temperature lower

    by: keeping 30% from ever arriving,

    by the scrubbing effect that’s creating the dust devils,

    by the storm system that constantly washes the world in cold water

    All of these being the ”Emergent Phenomena” that having an atmosphere creates.

  60. I did not read this part before I’m sorry.

    You are of the opinion that after green house gases are responsible for at least some of the sunlight never making it to the earth, and the cooling done by water,

    that the earth is warmer because of them? That seems very counter intuitive.

    Willis Eisenbach says: “But that’s only half the story, because only half of the radiation goes to space. The other half goes back downwards, making the surface warmer than it would be in the absence of the GHGs.”

  61. Willis, I am troubled by the use of the term “emergent phenomena”. Isn’t that term simply renaming individual phenomena associated with how heat engines behave & “organize” according to the laws of thermodynamics and entropic tendencies ? I am not very good at physics, but why “rebrand” something for which a system & terminology already exists ?

  62. BioBob says:
    February 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Willis, I am troubled by the use of the term “emergent phenomena”. Isn’t that term simply renaming individual phenomena associated with how heat engines behave & “organize” according to the laws of thermodynamics and entropic tendencies ? I am not very good at physics, but why “rebrand” something for which a system & terminology already exists ?

    Good question, Bob. Identifying which phenomena are “emergent” is important because we need different types of analysis for systems which contain emergent phenomena.

    Also, bear in mind that while the category of emergent phenomena includes heat engines, it is by no means restricted to them. Consider the emergent phenomenon of Rayleign-Benard circulation, for example …

    Analyzing e.g. heat flow a system which is subject to the emergence of Rayleigh-Benard circulation is very different from analyzing heat flow in a system without that circulation.

    In terms of climate the distinction is critical because in climate, the temperature control system is composed of emergent phenomena. These include tornadoes, snowstorms, El Nino/La Nina, tropical cumulonimbus, the PDO, dust devils, and more. In the realm of climate, emergent phenomena are not just some kind of sideshow—they are the means by which the temperature is regulated and constrained to a ±0.3°C variation over an entire century …

    And finally, the entire global climate system, the natural heat engine composed of the Hadley, Ferrell, and Polar cells that is fired by the sun and fueled by the thunderstorms of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone is itself an emergent phenomenon.

    So that’s why I single emergent phenomena out for discussion. From the smallest dust devil to the global heat engine, they are part and parcel of the system we call climate.

    w.

  63. Matthew Benefiel says:
    February 14, 2014 at 8:53 am

    but this caught my eye because American football has begun to do just this, though on a shorter scale.
    —————-

    I thank you for your response, Matthew, ….. and “yes”, I know about football statistics “modeling”.

    As a matter of fact, it t’was back in the early 70’s when I wrote/coded an “NFL Modeling Program” for a friend of mine where we both worked. He told me what “input parameters” he wanted to “model” and the program produced a “weekly report” on all the NFL teams as well a “match-up” comparison for all of “next week’s games” based on the schedule.

    But only one (1) week in advance and/or ….. until the next games were played.
    NO PROJECTIONS past the next scheduled game.

  64. Genghis says:
    February 14, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Mr. Eschenbach,

    While you are entirely correct, I think the focus should be on the actual surface, where the emergent events are triggered.

    My understanding is that the models estimate evaporation, convection and sensible energy flux effects smoothly by averaging them together. While in reality as you have demonstrated they are step functions with a hard upper limit, where net cooling reverses and negates any temperature or energy increase.

    People have many wrong assumptions about the models, including how they calculate things. They definitely do not simply take the various phenomena and average them. Instead, they keep track of the individual “fluxes”, which include the flows of sensible energy, latent energy, radiative energy, and water vapor. They are tracked and accounted for separately.

    What the models don’t have is any representation of emergent processes.

    I believe the upper limit (over the ocean) is somewhere in the 22˚ to 30˚C temperature range, much like the boiling point of water is 100˚C.

    The limit is just above 30°C. See Argo and the Ocean Temperature Maximum.

    The direct cooling effect is evaporation which accounts for at least 51% of the cooling and it rapidly increases as the temperature increases (the upper limit).

    The planet’s surface, on a 24/7 average, receives about half a kilowatt of energy per square metre. Of course, it loses the same amount, otherwise we’d either boil or freeze.

    Of the half kilowatt per square metre that is lost by the surface, about 400 W/m2 (80%) is lost as radiation, about 20 W/m2 (4%) is lost in the form of sensible heat (conduction/convection), and about 80 W/m2 (16%) is lost as latent heat (evaporation/transpiration). You are correct that as the temperature increases, so does evaporation. However, radiative and sensible heat losses increase with temperature as well, so the gain is not as large as might seem at first look.

    Regards,

    w.

  65. ” Gail Combs says:
    February 14, 2014 at 9:21 am

    gbaikie says: @ February 14, 2014 at 2:22 am

    “See, the planet is in a funny position. We’re only running at about 70% throttle. About 30% of the sunlight hitting the planet never makes it into the climate system. So never mind CO2, there’s enough energy from the sun to fry us all to a crisp … but that’s never happened.”

    I don’t think there enough energy from the sun to fry us to a crisp.
    A clear sky at noon has about 1000 watts per square meter.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    This is another one of those peas under the thimbles that Steve McIntyre cautions us to watch.
    The earth is NOT the surface. At Top of Atmosphere you get the full 1,368 W/m2. At this point the sun’s energy interacts with the atmosphere. ”

    Well, I believe this pointing at how Venus gets as how as it does. But unless you structures at around the top Earth troposphere and have sun heat them, I don’t think it could work with Earth.

    So at 10 km up, one has lapse rate difference of 6.5 C times 10, or 65 C difference. If you could warm enough air [and this is a big if] this could cause surface of earth exceed 80 C. So surface would heat by the air rather than sunlight heating our normal surface.
    I didn’t include this because it’s unrelated to greenhouse theory and unrelated to Willis Eschenbach’s 100% throttle.thingy.

    Now greenhouse believer does go on about idea of heating upper troposphere- they talking about greenhouse gases doing this. Plus we have looked, and we aren’t getting a “hotspot” from CO2. Most would thought this alone was enough to disprove the greenhouse theory, but I digress.

    But with surface [or case of Venus droplets] which could be warm to 80 C or hotter and thereby heating the air above it, such heated air could possibly generate higher the 80 C.
    But I tend to think one needs a much larger atmosphere than 1 atm.
    As also suspect that Venus at Earth distance work stop working nor do if think we had the enormous droplets of sulfuric acid clouds of Venus that this would warm Earth- though Earth the water planet could not have such clouds- but assuming we could, I don’t think they would work as far adding heat. Whereas parking lots at 10 km might have better chance of doing this.
    Perhaps it could work if had asphalt top surface facing sun and underneath it had material reflective of IR.

  66. gbaikie says: @ February 14, 2014 at 6:42 pm
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I was pointing out that when it is useful to them the Alarmists conveniently forget the earth doesn’t start at the troposphere. At this point there is not much on the effects of variation in sunlight (not variation in TSI) on the higher atmosphere and what effect that has on the weather systems below, cloud cover, movement of the jet stream position…

  67. @Willis Eschenbach-It’s interesting you should mention Rayleigh–Bénard convection, Willis.I recall that in 2006, Lindzen spoke at a symposium in memorial of Jim Holton. He mentioned that they were in the Harvard Class of 1960 together and that, at the time, he (Lindzen) had been working on Rayleigh–Bénard convection, when Holton described to him a talk he had attended by Ooyama on the parameterization of cumulus convection, and Lindzen described being struck by how profound the differences between the two sorts of convection were. Sadly he didn’t really elaborate much, but it’s kind of interesting. I do sort of wonder what he meant by that.

    Here’s the talk, which is kind of interesting in it’s own right:

    https://ams.confex.com/ams/Annual2006/techprogram/paper_99813.htm

  68. I’ll try again to explain why talking about heat is not very helpful. Heat is a perception to a great many people who bother to think about it. They don’t think of it as energy state because we’re over exposed to the term in it’s other meaning. I understand that heat transfer and energy transfer are finally the same thing, but “heat” is an overloaded term. Using your dust devils example, how many heat units are needed to create a dust devil of some specific dimension, say dust devil units. How many heat units are relocated by your emergent phenomena? It actually isn’t possible to know even if we restrict the conversation to joules but that’s another issue. Best we can do is hope to detect the sign.

    When you say that heat is moved to the poles or that emergent phenomena counters the heat from a “hot sun”, what are the units? Saying heat leaves the earth system is logically correct but useless in a quantified sense. (you’ve never shown, BTW, that emergent phenomena causes energy to leave the system, or that it prevents energy from entering the system.) We can’t use a thermometer yet that is the first thing people think of when heat is mentioned because of the overloaded nature of and common usage of the term. We can’t say 3º of heat got absorbed by a pond on a sunny day without also describing the initial temperature, nature of the pond and the chemical makeup of the water and any possible phase changes. We’re not going to do that so “heat” becomes meaningless. We can say with perfect clarity that n joules were absorbed by the pond, or that no more than n joules can have been absorbed by the pond to be more perfect. It doesn’t matter what the resulting temperature is.

    Many people don’t even believe that radiant heat absolutely flows from a low temperature object to a high temperature object. Because they don’t believe that they can’t understand net flow. We see this argument all the time (If this were not true we could not directly see the Earth lit surface of a waning Moon).

    We know how many joules are transferred to the earth system per unit of time. We can’t guarantee what the resulting temperature will be else we’d all be at some other interesting blog. But we can discuss exactly how many of those joules are converted forever to biomass and chemical energy, are reflected back to space immediately, are transferred to space eventually, and what our balance of incoming vs outgoing joules is. We can say that we are or are not accumulating energy and whether or not that results in detectable changes in temperature doesn’t matter. The temperature argument is then properly nullified. We don’t care what the temperature is – it will be what it will be. We can have a warming land surface and still have a negative balance of real energy because ours is a world of fluids and gases and energy concentrations and voids are guaranteed when energy is free to move about.

    What I see in discussing joules in terms of heat is the conversation gets hung up on regional temperatures (meaningless), polar ice coverage (pointless), hidden heat where we have no technology to verify it, etc. Knowing that the poles are warming up does not tell us anything about our balance of energy.

    The term Global Warming is misguided because it is so easily misused. It immediately requires clarification. What do we mean by that? But if we say the sign of incoming minus outgoing joules is negative even the New York Times climate staff will understand it (and mis-report it, surely).

    Anyway – it’s my peeve and I’ll live with it.

  69. dp says:
    February 14, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I’ll try again to explain why talking about heat is not very helpful. Heat is a perception to a great many people who bother to think about it. They don’t think of it as energy state because we’re over exposed to the term in it’s other meaning.

    As you point out, a great number of people are in mystery about the scientific definition of heat. And in the US, one person in four doesn’t believe the Earth circles the sun … so what in either case? Are you seriously proposing that I should base my actions on what the US public doesn’t know?

    I understand that heat transfer and energy transfer are finally the same thing, but “heat” is an overloaded term.

    Again, so what? I use it in a clear and unambiguous manner.

    Using your dust devils example, how many heat units are needed to create a dust devil of some specific dimension, say dust devil units.

    No clue … which is one of the problems with focusing on forcings and ignoring emergent phenomena. We end up without sufficient measurements of things like dust devils …

    How many heat units are relocated by your emergent phenomena? It actually isn’t possible to know even if we restrict the conversation to joules but that’s another issue. Best we can do is hope to detect the sign.

    When you say that heat is moved to the poles or that emergent phenomena counters the heat from a “hot sun”, what are the units?

    Well, in first off, it’s energy that is moved to the poles, not heat. Second, in my analysis I’ve used petawatts for the flux of heat to the poles, but you can use other units if you wish …

    And your claim that it isn’t possible to know how much energy is moved to the poles? Sorry, it’s been measured, and to good precision, by the CERES satellites.

    w.

  70. Using your dust devils example, how many heat units are needed to create a dust devil of some specific dimension, say dust devil units.
    —————

    I’m sure the NSF would give big Grant monies to someone for figuring out those DD heat units …. but it would be worthless information because no one has a clue as to how many dust devils “emerge” in any given time period or their size, scope and duration.

    And ‘fogs’ are in the same “emergent phenomenon” pea-pod …. along with the ‘dust devils’.

  71. Willis correctly points out that emergent phenomena keep Earth’s temperature remarkably stable despite GHG forcing.

    He correctly points out that the vigour and timing of such phenomena can vary as necessary to achieve the thermostatic effect.

    In reality all emergent phenomena from dust devils to Hadley cells are mere by products of a single phenomenon – the movement of air. No movement of air, no emergent phenomena.

    If emergent phenomena prevent changes in temperature from GHGs then it cannot be GHGs that determine surface temperature so what is it ?

    Willis says that emergent phenomena involve work being done and so they do by virtue of the fact that they are simple by products of atmospheric movement.

    That work being done is being done against the weight of the atmosphere.

    The cause of such work occurring in the first place is uneven surface heating which creates air parcels of different densities next to one another in the horizontal plane so that the lighter parcel is forced to rise above the denser parcel.

    Everything follows from that.

    The greater the weight of the atmosphere the more work needs to be done for the atmosphere to reach a given height at a given level of insolation and the hotter the surface must become to maintain that atmospheric height.

    In practice the external energy source is fixed by the power of the local sun so the height that the atmosphere can attain is then determined by the weight of the atmosphere.

    If GHGs seek to disturb that height by slowing energy loss to space then the emergent phenomena become more vigorous or alter their timing just as Willis says and the effect is to accelerate energy through the system faster thereby offsetting the effect of the GHGs.

  72. Embedded Heat Sink Design

    http://www.hectronic.se/website1/embedded/forstasidesbilder/bild-6.php

    “The temperature can only be kept within the limits by extracting heat through conduction, convection or radiation.

    Plate fin sinks extract heat by natural convection.

    Heat spreading is essentially area enlarging.

    The larger the area the more energy can be removed at the same temperature difference.”

    “The Microelectronic Heat Transfer Laboratory of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo has simulations to do various calculations on plate fin heat sinks.”
    =======
    I built and installed heatsinks on equipment.

    Radiation wasn’t then, and is not now taken into consideration when figuring out how to cool an object in atmospheric air.
    And the earth itself is nothing more
    than the minerals and other composite compounds
    that the heat fins are made of -
    raw material doesn’t have some special relationship to atmospheric air.

    It’s not taken into consideration on black cooling fins, on copper cooling fins, aluminum cooling fins, on grey painted cooling fins, on forest green painted objects in rural areas outdoors.

    and it’s not taken into consideration whether the installation is indoor, enclosed, outdoor.

    It’s not an included factor in cooling any of those:

    to the point where radiation is even included in calculations for it.

    They face each other and are aligned to allow cooling from anything but radiation. Radiation emitters don’t face each other in rows of fins.

    90% of the energy that leaves something outside, doesn’t leave it, through radiation. Cooling fins are not mounted in shade, with the fins facing the north or south sky, so at night, they can ”radiate 80% of their heat.”

    They are mounted, with the fin running vertically, so convection, the by far, most effective method of heat removal – can do it’s work.

    When someone designs natural, passive cooling into something they place the fins vertically utilizing convection. Even when they sit big transformers outside, with their painted surfaces being a composite of various substances that resist rust, and water, and abrasion,

    surfaces dissipating heat, use convection design built in. Not radiation cooling design.

    They are designed completely ignoring radiation

    by placing the fins facing.

    Not arrayed to emit energy away from each other and the transformer itself. The whole idea is an absurdity that things designed to use primary passive method of cooling use radiation to lose 80%

    If the case were that 80% heat lost was due to radiation heat fins wouldn’t be built,

    with absolute denial built in, radiation losses hardly even matter.

    You have the situation fully reversed.

    Heat Sink Convection with Fins Calculator – Engineers Edge

    http://www.engineersedge.com/calculators/heat_sink_convection_with_fins_calculator_10048.htm

    Again here: radiative losses are so minimal they aren’t even a consideration.

    I worked in thermal dissipation and I know what the book says is wrong. The earth itself in raw material in a rock next to a painted transformer don’t have any significant differences in how heat leaves them.

    =======
    Mr. Eisenbach says:
    “Of the half kilowatt per square metre that is lost by the surface,

    about 400 W/m2 (80%) is lost as radiation,
    about 20 W/m2 (4%) is lost in the form of sensible heat (conduction/convection),
    and about 80 W/m2 (16%) is lost as latent heat (evaporation/transpiration)”.
    =======

  73. Your information is seen to be very much like this information:

    Earth Heat Losses
    Long-wave radiation to the atmosphere………..75.5%
    Long-wave radiation to space……………….. 4.1%
    Evaporation from oceans/lakes/land…………..15.6%
    Convection and conduction to atmosphere……… 4.8%

    That information comes from a book by a man who writes books about

    ”Extreme Weather” quoting the IPCC a lot and showing people ”what the models say.”

    He works at a place called “Modesto Jr College”

    and is anxiously engaged in teaching everyone CAGW is real.

    Extreme Weather and Climate – C. Donald Ahrens, Perry Samson – Google Books

    http://tinyurl.com/ExtremeWeatherAndClimate

    ——-
    The story of convection/conduction and radiant heat loss being reversed can be found here in his book:

    “These values derived from graphs and charts from the textbook “Meterorology Today,” (4th Ed.) by C. Donald Ahrens.”

    Earth Heat Gains
    short-wave radiation from the sun……………34.7%
    long-wave radiation from the atmosphere………65.3%

    Earth Heat Losses
    Long-wave radiation to the atmosphere………..75.5%
    Long-wave radiation to space……………….. 4.1%

    Evaporation from oceans/lakes/land…………..15.6%

    Convection and conduction to atmosphere……… 4.8%

    Atmospheric Heat Gains
    Short-wave radiation from the sun……………11.9%
    Heat to atmosphere from condensation…………14.4%
    Heat to atmosphere from convection/conduction… 4.4%
    Long-wave radiation from earth………………69.4%

    Atmospheric Heat Losses
    Long-wave radiation Radiated to Space………..40.0%
    Long-wave radiation radiated to earth………..60.0%
    ——-

    “Of the half kilowatt per square metre that is lost by the surface,

    about 400 W/m2 (80%) is lost as radiation,
    about 20 W/m2 (4%) is lost in the form of sensible heat (conduction/convection),
    and about 80 W/m2 (16%) is lost as latent heat (evaporation/transpiration)”.
    =======

  74. This makes it hard for anyone to understand even approximately how much energy there is to make a dust devil

    if the handling of energy between radiant and conductive/convective loss

    are exactly reversed

    and the convective handling causing the “Emergent Phenomena” like Dust Devils

    is entered as insignificant,

    simultaneously calculating and theorizing

    the radiant loss

    which is so small it is not calculated into, heat loss design

    is believed and thought of as doing 80% of the work.

  75. Peter LeBorde says:
    February 15, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    ….. surfaces dissipating heat, use convection design built in. Not radiation cooling design.

    They are designed completely ignoring radiation by placing the fins facing.
    ————————-

    Actually, it is “conduction design built in”, ….. is it not?

    And convection is relied upon to transport the heat away. And “forced” convection is the most efficient method, ……. right?.

  76. Willis, as usual you’ve ignited quite as conversation here with many cogent points made by both yourself and by many other commenters – won’t try to single them out. But unless I’m wrong, I perceive a huge stake being driven into the heart of AGW, by the enormous number and magnitude of phenomena the AGW theory doesn’t account for, the computational problems, the simplistic, even teleological assumptions AGW makes, and all the related issues you and the other folks here have raised. Good show, people, a great read.

  77. The concept emergent phenomena tells that the behavior of the phenomena is complex. Simple course and effect relationships cannot explain it. Statistical analysis does not give meaningful results.

    Typical rules governing an emergent phenomena contain non-linear relationships, feedbacks and time lags. Simple linear extrapolation does not work.

    Think, for example, a kettle of water on a stove and the relationship of the input power and the temperature of the air just above the water level. Nothing happens, when you put the power on. After a while the temperature starts to rise but this rise ends though the power is still on.

    If you put a cover on the kettle, the rise ends earlier but the final temperature remains the same.

    Models are the way to understand the behaviour of emergent phenomenon. To create and validate a model you need to have accurate and relevant data. When you run the model all of the variables of the model must match the observations all the time. If not, you need to correct the model.

  78. Peter LeBorde says:
    February 15, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    … I built and installed heatsinks on equipment.

    Radiation wasn’t then, and is not now taken into consideration when figuring out how to cool an object in atmospheric air.
    And the earth itself is nothing more
    than the minerals and other composite compounds
    that the heat fins are made of -
    raw material doesn’t have some special relationship to atmospheric air.

    Peter, it seems that your claim here is that for the earth, there is little or no heat loss through radiation.

    Bad news. There are lots and lots and lots of observations and measurements that disagree with you … among them are a host of records, made in many places, from land, from satellites, from ocean buoys, from airplanes, of direct measurements of the upwelling radiation that is given off by the surface.

    The measurements all agree that contrary to your claim that radiation is immaterial, the opposite is true— radiation is the single largest means of heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere… sorry, but that’s what the observations say. It’s been measured.

    Certainly, you are correct that if you have thin vertical fins of some highly conductive metal with appropriate spacing between them, your major heat loss will be through conduction/convection … but the ocean has no such fins. Nor does the land, nor the ice, or does any part of the natural landscape have thin fins of highly thermally conductive metal. So no, the earth is not the same as a finned heat sink.

    Finally, you claim that radiation is not taken into consideration with heat sink design. However, a quick google of [ "heat sink" radiation ]finds literally hundreds of papers dealing with the analysis of the effects of radiation in heat sink design … so while I’m sure that you are correct that in your particular corner of heat sink design radiation was not an issue, google shows that there are many heat sink designers out there for whom it absolutely is an issue …

    w.

  79. An almost perfect example of a well designed “heat sink” that emits copious amounts of thermal (heat) radiation is the “ole timey” cast iron wood/coal burning heating and cooking stoves.

    Especially the oven compartment of the cooking stoves.

    And many of said stoves were intentionally designed with “raised” lettering, filigree, etc., on the outside surface of the cast iron because said thermal (heat) radiation will occur more readily off of said “extrusions” than it will off of a smooth surface.

    And that thermal radiation is powerful enough to “burn your butt” iffen you stand too close, …. too long, …. next to a “hot” cast iron wood/coal burning heating or cooking stove.

  80. All atmospheres are laded with particulates of solids which are far better absorbers and emitters than any GHGs.

    So, even if one has a radiatively inert atmosphere there will be plenty of particulates absorbing energy and passing it between themselves so that the non radiative gases can warm up or cool down by conduction from or to the particulates.

    It isn’t just a matter of conduction to and from the surface.

  81. Mr. Eisenbach the heat sink field I was in isn’t a corner.
    I was recruited by my friend who worked in it
    into regional, electrical power grid installation updating equipment.

    All around were people who have the job of managing thermal emissions outside to the atmosphere.

    The electrical field is very much about handling thermal emissions: because in matter it generates heat;
    the people responsible for the electrical field measure electricity itself in an expression of power, as heat.

    What you tell people is the men who set the giant transformers into the ground
    were and remain completely oblivious every single thing they have designed
    for convective heat removal is designed, in reverse.

    They don’t know what they are designing to have heat removed through convection
    are actually emitting 80% of their energy through radiation.

    Every heat sink mounted so the fins face each other depending on air getting properly between them
    to make them cool through convection ignores the greater energy loss path.

    Convection actually is negligible. The entire earth and everything in it,
    including every single power transformer ever set outside with fins facing
    since invention of electrical power, is designed not just wrong but reverse.

    No they are not. Every outdoor transformer you walk by and drive by
    with giant, vertical fins, facing each other in long rows,
    so they can use the predominating power of conductive convection,
    is not reverse.

    The man who told you what is in that book is reverse.

    The men who taught me did not tell me reverse.
    We talked about how the equipment we worked on was convectively cooled.
    We didn’t say, ”remember, you’ve got to remember your radiant cooling.”

    Different things I heard working in the power grid were

    ”Well, remember your radiant losses are negligible; that’s why we can put this case around it;
    as long as air comes in the bottom and goes out the top – particularly if the heatsinks are aligned with the holes -
    - the cabinet will hardly heat up at all.”

    When someone said
    ”I thought the losses were basically radiant.”

    We would say ”They are until the air moves, but as soon as the air moves,
    it pulls in another molecule and another and it immediately cools everything down.

    It immediately swamps radiative losses, to the point where if you can keep the air moving,
    you can get the thing down to almost, room temperature. Radiation matters very little.
    That’s why we can sit it so close to other things.”

    I heard things like,
    “Conductive power to move heat through the metal body to the colder fins is very powerful;
    Because it’s all mounted metal to metal, essentially, except where the insulators keep things from touching, the heat will travel to the coolest points on the thing
    and if you set it up right and let it flow over, and expose the fins to a steady stream of moving air, you’ll be surprised how cool it can keep it.
    You can feel some radiation but not much,” he would say touching something very nearby,
    “but convection is pulling that away too, here on the wall; and the wall’s flat.”

    Things like that.

    Not

    ”You’ve got to remember that 80% of the heat lost from that tranformer is through radiation alone
    but the convection is very minimal, that’s why we built every transformer we ever sat outside, with vertical fins on the hotter areas,
    so the almost non existent convection
    would take some heat away.”

    You and the man from Modesto Jr College a man associated with a long line of obviously rigged ‘research’
    specifically, in math fraud,

    say there are ”many many measurements” of “the earth losing ’80% of it’s energy to the environment through radiation.”

    Structures don’t have
    “the most modern energy efficient radiation damping and enhancement” built into their architecture Mr. Eisenbach
    to ”take maximum advantage of the 80% losses through radiation, going on around us in structures every day.”

    Energy advisors don’t tell us all ”Obviously, we need to have radiant energy loss foil
    put properly around every thing we have, so we can heighten energy efficiency
    by stopping the tremendous losses in 80% radiant energy we all waste oil on.

    We don’t all talk about how
    ”We need to start making our architectural standards address the immense 80% energy losses
    that actually come from radiation. Convection and conduction are actually almost nothing, why do we
    even talk about those? We need to approve buildings for energy efficiency according to their radiative energy profile.
    Not the barely even signficant convective/conductive energy profile!”

    What you are saying is reversal of the way the situation is Mr. Eisenbach.

    Realize what it has been meaning,
    all these years
    as you were opening equipment
    to find the fins mounted vertically
    in line with air flow,

    driving by giant transformers with their facing, vertical fins,

    driving by and walking by electrical cabinets
    with equipment inside that is cooled
    by a row of holes at the bottom,
    a row of holes at the top,
    driving the convective cooling
    that predominates wherever air flow is free

    Incidentally the fins are spaced apart because the earth doesn’t have fins Mr. Eisenbach.
    It is a convex shape which feeds convection very well.
    It is what makes those Dust Devils.

    The fins are a compromise for space saving considerations.

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Peter, it seems that your claim here is that for the earth, there is little or no heat loss through radiation.

    Bad news. There are lots and lots and lots of observations and measurements that disagree with you.”

  82. Peter LeBorde says:

    “Mr. Eisenbach…”

    Mr LeBorde, you repeatedly refer to Willis as “Mr. Eisenbach”. To be correct, it is: Willis Eschenbach.

    I only point this out because you seem to be arguing with Willis. But if your reading comprehension is such that you can’t get his name right…

    …see where I’m going with this?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Willis, kudos for another fascinating and interesting article. Too many folks rely on computer models to support their belief. No wonder they are so wrong about man made global warming.

    But since they don’t want to accept the planet’s authority [temperatures are not rising as predicted], then I doubt they will pay attention to your lucid explanation.

    Most of us here do, though, and as always, it’s a pleasure to read.

  83. Peter LeBorde says:
    February 16, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    What you tell people is the men who set the giant transformers into the ground were and remain completely oblivious every single thing they have designed for convective heat removal is designed, in reverse.

    They don’t know what they are designing to have heat removed through convection are actually emitting 80% of their energy through radiation.

    Hogwash, I said no such thing. This is a perfect example of why I ask people to QUOTE MY WORDS, as I said in the head post:

    NB: Please quote what you disagree with. I can defend my own words, and I am happy to do so. I can’t defend your interpretation of my words. Quote what you disagree with.

    Did you read where I said that in the head post and decide to ignore it, or did you just skip it, or is your reading ability that bad, or what??

    In fact, I said:

    I’m sure that you are correct that in your particular corner of heat sink design radiation was not an issue

    Can you read that, Peter?

    If so, QUOTE where I said anything about heat sink designers not knowing their business. That’s nothing but your fantasy … and since that’s the shabby, ugly quality of your fantasy, why should anyone pay the slightest attention to your fantasies?

    w.

  84. Stephen Wilde says:
    February 16, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    All atmospheres are laded with particulates of solids which are far better absorbers and emitters than any GHGs.

    Thanks, Stephen. While I agree with you in principle, numbers are your friends here. How much particulates are there, and how much effect do they have?

    So, even if one has a radiatively inert atmosphere there will be plenty of particulates absorbing energy and passing it between themselves so that the non radiative gases can warm up or cool down by conduction from or to the particulates.

    It isn’t just a matter of conduction to and from the surface.

    I never said it was “just a matter of conduction”, so I’m not clear what your point is here.

    w.

  85. Peter LeBorde says:
    February 16, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Every outdoor transformer you walk by and drive by with giant, vertical fins, facing each other in long rows, so they can use the predominating power of conductive convection
    —————-

    Peter, happy to see you are now referring to that transformer thingy as “conductive convection”.

    But anyway, Peter, … the posters on this forum that are knowledgeable in/of the Physical Sciences and especially the transfer of thermal (heat) energy via radiation, conduction and convection …… pretty much know exactly why the designers of heat sinks, electrical transformers, etc., ……. design the physical features of said “items” in the configurations that they design them. And Peter, the environment in which said “items” are to be used is also a critical factor in determining their design.

    And Peter, the “convection” part of “conductive convection” is actually referring to the “transporting” of the energy from one place to another …. and not the “transferring” of it from one (1) entity to another “entity” (not transferring it from one [1] molecule of atmospheric gas to another molecule of atmospheric gas).

  86. Samuel the act of transfer like you say of course , is conduction and the movement is advection hence the word ”convection” bud

    I’m sorry that I ignored you speaking before I have to look at this blog and others only a few minutes at a time.

    Have a good morning.

    Convective heat transfer
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    See also:
    Heat transfer and convection

    Convective heat transfer, often referred to simply as convection, is the transfer of heat from one place to another by the movement of fluids.

    Convection is usually the dominant form of heat transfer in liquids and gases.

    Although often discussed as a distinct method of heat transfer,

    convective heat transfer involves the combined processes of conduction (heat diffusion) and

    advection (heat transfer by bulk fluid flow).

    ——-
    Advection
    ——-
    Etymology Latin advectio (“act of bringing”), from advectus (past participle of advehere
    (“to carry to”), from ad- + vehere (“to convey”))

    Noun
    advection
    (earth science, chemistry) The horizontal movement of a body of atmosphere (or other fluid) along with a concurrent transport of its temperature, humidity etc.

  87. Peter LeBorde says:
    February 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Noun – advection —-(earth science, chemistry) The horizontal movement of a body of atmosphere (or other fluid) along with a concurrent transport of its temperature, humidity etc.
    ———————-

    Specifically stating the plane of movement as being “horizontal” makes the statement in error or wrong. The movement can be vertically up or down, sideways, lateral, horizontal and/or every which way.

    Uh, .. uh, ….. you can not transport temperature, it is not a physical entity.
    ——————

    The atmosphere is not a fluid, it is not a physical thingy.
    An atmosphere is only an atmosphere if it contains gas(es), the same as a community is only a community if it contains people, pllnts, animals etc.
    And I don’t care what your earth science book says.
    To wit:

    Convection is the movement of a fluid, typically in response to heat.
    Advection is the movement of some material dissolved or suspended in the fluid.

    http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/24489/what-exactly-is-the-difference-between-advection-and-convection

    End of discussion.

  88. “only half of the radiation goes to space. The other half goes back downwards, making the surface warmer than it would be in the absence of the GHGs.”? But where did this heat come from that the atmosphere is so equitably distributing? It wasn’t intercepted on its way down (DSW or DLR). It was “collected” from the surface by conduction and evaporation in the first place. That the “collection” is only net ~50% effective in transferring heat to space is not thereby make it a net warming. As long as the OLR is sufficient to balance the DLR and DSW, it is a cooling factor. Some of the OLR is ‘windowed’ directly from the surface, some comes from (let us say for convenience) the TOA. If we magically removed the GHGs establishing the TOA average radiation level, only the surface-shine-through-the-IR-window and mass loss/sputtering from the thermosphere would still be available, and they would have to crank up considerably (heat up) to do the job.

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