‘Correcting’ Trenberth et al.

(See the note below before taking this post seriously – Anthony)

Guest essay by Steven Wilde

Here we see the classic energy budget analysis supporting the hypothesis that the surface of the Earth is warmer than the S-B equation would predict due to 324 Wm2 of ‘Back Radiation’ from the atmosphere to the surface.

It is proposed that it is Back Radiation that lifts the surface temperature from 255K, as predicted by S-B, to the 288K actually observed because the 324 Back Radiation exceeds the surface radiation to the air of 222 Wm2 ( 390 Wm2 less 168 Wm2) by 102 Wm2. It is suggested that there is a net radiative flow from atmosphere to surface of 102 Wm2.

I now discuss an alternative possibility.

The portions I wish to focus on are:

i) 390 Wm2 Surface Radiation to atmosphere

ii) 78 Wm2 Evapo-transpiration surface to atmosphere

iii) 24 Thermals surface to atmosphere

iv) 324 Back Radiation atmosphere to surface

The budget needs to be amended as follows:

The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.

Therefore neither ii) nor iii) should be included in the radiative budget at all. They involve purely non radiative means of energy transfer and have no place in the radiative budget since, being net zero, they do not cool the surface. AGW theory and the Trenberth diagram incorrectly include them as a net surface cooling influence.

Furthermore, they cannot reduce Earth’s surface temperature below 255K because both conduction and convection are slower methods of energy transmission than radiation. To reduce the surface temperature below 255K they would have to work faster than radiation which is obviously not so.

They can only raise a surface temperature above the S-B expectation and for Earth that is 33K.

Once the first convective overturning cycle has been completed neither Thermals nor Evapo-transpiration can have any additional warming effect at the surface provided mass, gravity and insolation remain constant.

As regards iv) the correct figure for the radiative flux from atmosphere to surface should be 222 Wm2 because items ii) and iii) should not have been included.

That also leaves the surface to atmosphere radiative flux at 222 Wm2 which taken with the 168 Wm2 absorbed directly by the surface comes to the 390 Wm2 required for radiation from the surface.

The rest of the energy budget diagram appears to be correct.

So, how to decide whether my interpretation is accurate?

I think it is generally accepted that the lapse rate slope marks the points in the atmosphere where there is energy balance within molecules that are at the correct height for their temperature.

Since the lapse rate slope intersects with the surface it follows that DWIR equals UWIR for a zero net radiative balance if a molecule at the surface is at the correct temperature for its height. If it is not at the correct surface temperature it will simply move towards the correct height by virtue of density variations in the horizontal plane (convection).

Thus, 222 UWIR at the surface should equal 222 DWIR at the surface AND 222 plus 168 should add up to 390 and, of course, it does.

AGW theory erroneously assumes that Thermals and Evapo-transpiration have a net cooling effect on the surface and so they have to uplift the radiative exchange at the surface from 222 Wm2 to 324 Wm2 and additionally they assume that the extra 102 Wm2 is attributable to a net radiative flux towards the surface from the atmosphere.

The truth is that there is no net flow of radiation in any direction at the surface once the air at the surface is at its correct temperature for its height, which is 288K and not 255K. The lapse rate intersecting at the surface tells us that there can be no net radiative flux at the surface when surface temperature is at 288K.

A rise in surface temperature above the S-B prediction is inevitable for an atmosphere capable of conducting and convection because those two processes introduce a delay in the transmission of radiative energy through the system. Conduction and convection are a function of mass held within a gravity field.

Energy being used to hold up the weight of an atmosphere via conduction and convection is no longer available for radiation to space since energy cannot be in two places at once.

The greenhouse effect is therefore a product of atmospheric mass rather than radiative characteristics of constituent molecules as is clearly seen when the Trenberth diagram is corrected and the lapse rate considered.

Since one can never have more than 390 Wm2 at the surface without increasing conduction and convection via changes in mass, gravity or insolation a change in the quantity of GHGs cannot make any difference. All they can do is redistribute energy within the atmosphere.

There is a climate effect from the air circulation changes but, due to the tiny proportion of Earth’s atmospheric mass comprised of GHGs, too small to measure compared to natural variability.

What Happens When Radiative Gases Increase Or Decrease?

Applying the above correction to the Trenberth figures we can now see that 222 Wm2 radiation from the surface to the atmosphere is simply balanced by 222 Wm2 radiation from the atmosphere to the surface. That is the energy being constantly expended by the surface via conduction and convection to keep the weight of the atmosphere off the surface. We must ignore it for the purpose of energy transmission to space since the same energy cannot be in two places at once.

We then have 168 Wm2 left over at the surface which represents energy absorbed by the surface after 30 Wm2 has been reflected from the surface , 77 Wm2 has been reflected by the atmosphere and 67 Wm2 has been absorbed by the atmosphere before it reaches the surface.

That 168 Wm2 is then transferred to the atmosphere by conduction and convection leaving a total of 235 Wm2 in the atmosphere (168 plus 67).

It is that 235 Wm2 that must escape to space if radiative balance is to be maintained.

Now, remember that the lapse rate slope represents the positions in the atmosphere where molecules are at their correct temperature for their height.

At any given moment convection arranges that half the mass of the atmosphere is too warm for its height and half the mass is too cold for its height.

The reason for that is that the convective process runs out of energy to lift the atmosphere any higher against gravity when the two halves equalise.

It must follow that at any given time half of the GHGs must be too warm for their height and the other half too cold for their height.

That results in density differentials that cause the warm molecules to rise and the cold molecules to fall.

If a GHG molecule is too warm for its height then DWIR back to the surface dominates but the molecule rises away from the surface and cools until DWIR again equals UWIR.

If a GHG molecule is too cold for its height then UWIR to space dominates but the molecule then falls until DWIR again equals UWIR.

The net effect is that any potential for GHGs to warm or cool the surface is negated by the height changes relative to the slope of the adiabatic lapse rate.

Let’s now look at how that outgoing 235 Wm2 is dealt with if radiative gas concentrations change.

It is recognised that radiative gases tend to reduce the size of the Atmospheric Window (40 Wm2) so we will assume a reduction from 40 Wm2 to 35 Wm2 by way of example.

If that happens then DWIR for molecules that are too warm for their height will increase but the subsequent rise in height will cause the molecule to rise above its correct position along the lapse rate slope with UWIR to space increasing at the expense of DWIR back to the surface and rising will only stop when DWIR again equals UWIR.

Since UWIR to space increases to compensate for the shrinking of the atmospheric window (from 40 Wm2 to 35 Wm2) the figure for radiative emission from the atmosphere will increase from 165 to 170 which keeps the system in balance with 235 Wm2 still outgoing.

If the atmosphere had no radiative capability at all then radiative emission from the atmosphere would be zero but the Atmospheric Window would release 235 Wm2 from the surface.

If the atmosphere were 100% radiative then the Atmospheric Window from the surface would be zero and the atmosphere would radiate the entire 235 Wm2.

==============================================================

Note: I’m glad to see a number of people pointing out how flawed the argument is. Every once in awhile we need to take a look at the ‘Slayer’ mentality of thinking about radiative balance, just to keep sharp on the topic. At first I thought this should go straight into the hopper, and then I thought it might make some good target practice, so I published it without any caveat.

Now you can watch the fun as they react over at PSI.  – Anthony

P.S. Readers might also enjoy my experiment on debunking the PSI light bulb experiment, and note the reactions in comments, entirely opposite to this one. New WUWT-TV segment: Slaying the ‘slayers’ with Watts

Update: Let me add that the author assuredly should have included a link to the underlying document, Earth’s Global Energy Budget by Kiehl and Trenberth …

417 thoughts on “‘Correcting’ Trenberth et al.”

1. Dave Worley says:

Convection carries water vapor above the densest layer of Greenhouse gases, where it is more likely to radiate into space. Hadley cells circulate a large percentage of the entire atmosphere in an up and down cycle.

2. Edim says:

This is not correct. Evaporation and convection are the main surface cooling fluxes. Most of the energy radiated to space by the atmosphere, got there by non-radiative means.

3. Nylo says:

Convection does have a cooling effect in the lower levels of the atmosphere which needs to be accounted for. Convection causes a mass of hot air near the surface to be replaced by a mass of cold air. This increases the loss of heat of the surface due to conduction to the air immediately on top. If the air didn’t move, loss due to this conduction would be lower (conduction losses depend on diference of temperature). It is true that, while descending later, the air gains as much energy as it lost while ascending. However, between the two moments, the air has lost additional energy due to radiation that took place while it was in the upper layers of the atmosphere. So the air returns colder than it left. What convection does is increase the temperature of the upper layers of the atmosphere with heat coming from lower layers. This both reduces the temperature of the lower layers and increases the outward radiation of the upper levels which means that it is a way to radiate the same but with a lower temperature in the lower levels. Which means it does cool the lower levels.

4. johnmarshall says:

There is so much wrong with Trenberth’s idea but let us start with his flat earth idea with 24/7 sunshine. Hardly realistic. He spreads solar energy over the whole planet’s surface but reality spreads it over half the ROTATING planet.
Evapouration is far too low. Every cloud formed includes latent heat so every cloud is evidence of heat being LOST from the surface as well as increasing albedo on formation.
Reality has 960W/m2 on the subsun point decreasing to 0 at the poles. The average is 480W/m2 which relates to a temperature of 33C not the -49C from Trenberth’s 167W/m2.
If you want a realistic model see Postma’s paper ”A Discussion on the Absence of a Measurable Greenhouse Effect. His model is realistic and simple to understand

5. JPS says:

Sorry but this post is nearly completely incorrect and extremely confused.

6. “Therefore neither ii) nor iii) should be included in the radiative budget at all.”

Who said it’s a radiative budget? The article you have taken it from (if it’s T&F2008) is titled “Earth’s Global Energy Budget”. Above the diagram, in big red letters there it says: Global Energy Flows Wm-2.

But the 78 W/m2 latent heat flow is hard to argue with. It is simply calculated from precipitation. The water that condensed left that amount of heat behind in the atmosphere.

The thermals flux is a nett upward flux. It is heat transport.

“I think it is generally accepted that the lapse rate slope marks the points in the atmosphere where there is energy balance within molecules that are at the correct height for their temperature.”
Reference?

7. hunter says:

Interesting conjecture. Do you have the calculations and the physics to support it?

8. Box of Rocks says:

This post is a start.

Thanks for starting a conversation on the diagram.

I have a sens that the original idea from Trenberth is incorrect, I at this point in time can’t put my finger on it.

The whole idea of 324 watts/m^2 of back radiation needs a good look. Just because it exist does not mean it does any work to warm the atmosphere.

9. trenberth’s, wilde’s, posma’s….which of the theoretical models contrasts better with empirical data or measurements…or is it we have not yet enough data to assess them, as prof. Freeman Dysson explained …

10. MikeB says:

Here we see the classic energy budget analysis supporting the hypothesis that the surface of the Earth is warmer than the S-B equation would predict.

This diagram is not intended to support any hypothesis whatsoever. It is a simple attempt to allocate numbers to various heat transport mechanisms. It is no more than that.

Neither ii) nor iii) should be included in the radiative budget at all?

The diagram doesn’t purport to be a radiative budget…it’s an energy budget….back to the drawing board for you

The S-B expectation for Earth is 33K? What does that mean?
Convection doesn’t cool the surface? Isn’t that obviously wong?
Evaporation doesn’t cool the surface either?

And finally, the surface of the Earth is not warmer than the S-B equation would predict. The amount of radiation from the surface precisely accords with the temperature of that surface as determined by S-B. It can do no other. You need to clarify that what you mean is when ‘seen from space’ the Earth system appears to be at 255K (and we know that the surface is much warmer).

11. Chris @NJSnowFan says:

If a normal everday person looked at this they would be lost.

I even find it confusing.

12. > the surface of the Earth is warmer than the S-B equation would predict due to 324 Wm2 of ‘Back Radiation’ from the atmosphere to the surface.

I’d be more inclined to say it “retards surface cooling” rather than imply it warms the surface. You really don’t want to wake up the Slayers….

Though it’s probably too late.

13. Martin A says:

If you work out what happens, starting with a cold planet and allowing its temperature to rise until there is equilibrium between incoming energy (primarily in the visible wavelengths) and outgoing energy (in the long infra red), you find that all the warming is done by the incoming sunlight. Back radiation is there, but all the warming was caused by the incoming light. So no need to cause confusion by talking about back radiation warming things

14. RobertInAz says:

Agree with the prior comments – the analysis needs a lot of work. It appears to me the 24 + 78 are “absorbed” by the atmosphere to be returned as part of the 324 back radiation or last as part of the 165 emitted. So, looking at the atmosphere we have
67+24+78 + 350 – 165 – 324 – 30 = 0.

15. The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

Like other commenters have noted, IR radiation is more efficient at altitude than lower thanks to the bypassing a lot of the greenhouse effect. I don’t have a good sense for the difference between the radiation that escapes from the warm ground vs. the cold gas higher up. Also, in wet adiabatic conditions there are clouds and IR radiation from the ground is reflected and reradiated from the cloud base.

Thanks to latent heat release, wet adiabatic convection, think thunderstorms, gets a lot of IR radiating material higher in the atmosphere so it radiates better than dry convection. Also, rainfall cools the surface as it undergoes no adiabatic compression on the way down.

16. Crashex says:

As a long time reader and fan of WUWT, I just want to note that this has to rank as one of the worst posts ever. It is wrong on so many levels. This is the type of post that will be ridiculed by many for its lack of understanding of fundamental science in an effort to discredit everything else this site has ever posted.

To claim that evapotranspiration cooling should be omitted from an assessment of the heat transfer budget at the surface because it operates at a lower rate than radiation is ridiculous.

REPLY: I don’t disagree, but see my note below about the real reason I published this. +1 for your comment – Anthony

17. DirkH says:

“If a GHG molecule is too warm for its height then DWIR back to the surface dominates but the molecule rises away from the surface and cools until DWIR again equals UWIR.
If a GHG molecule is too cold for its height then UWIR to space dominates but the molecule then falls until DWIR again equals UWIR.”

Why? Let’s say mean free path length for an IR photon at 15 micrometer, in the CO2 absorption / re emission band is 25 m at 1 atmosphere. Meaning it gets emitted and re absorbed and re emitted multiple times on its way until it reaches either surface or open space (or a water droplet in the atmosphere, which acts as a blackbody). Each re-emission happening in a random direction.

In all cases this should result in the atmosphere being an opaque fog on this frequency , “shining” roughly the same amounts of IR on this frequency back to Earth and the other half to outer space.

I am assuming Local thermodynamic equilibrium, allowing for the application of Kirchhoff’s Law. As a GHG molecule travels in a parcel of air with the same temperature (to find its correct height), this should hold most of the time.

The climate modelers seem to think that GHG molecules swallow IR photons, not re-emitting them, leading them to call them “heat-trapping gases” and modelling a tropospheric hotspot that has not been observed in reality. At least I think that’s one of their mistakes.

18. NotAGolfer says:

They’re making it more complicated than it needs to be. The Beer-Lambert equation is used to determine the amount of heat absorbed by various levels of CO2 at various lengths. You need to integrate across the changing pressure profile and gas-mixtures as they change with altitude, which makes it complicated, but it is still much more straight forward than trying to determine what the actual temperature of the earth is, was and should be. Those are a fool’s game.

The Beer-Lambert can be used to accurately predict the expected change in temperature with any change in concentration, whereas the Steffan-Boltzman requires estimating emissivity and such. Using SB is like trying to determine the amount of solids suspended in a tank of water by using 2 different pressure transducers at top and bottom of the tank, then hoping they are calibrated, then subtracting… When you could just insert one end of one transducer into the bottom of the tank and the other end of the same transducer into the top to read the difference directly. Well, actually, using the Steffan-Boltzmann is much more complicating than this example shows.

19. Doubting Rich says:

“The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.”

I am afraid you are not correct here. This does have a net transfer of energy, as in thermal circulation the air warms to be warmer than the surrounding air then rises. The cooling in rising is adiabatic, so there is no energy transfer, as is the warming during sinking. So the warm air rising is taking energy it has absorbed from the ground. Once aloft it moves towards the cooler air column (which has lower pressure at altitude) and cool, thus sinking again.

20. Doubting Rich says:

How can the back radiation to the Earth from the atmosphere be approximately double the outward radiation from the atmosphere? Surely radiation is not directional, and while the atmospheric density and temperature fall with altitude so the lowest levels will radiate most, the upper levels allow much of that through and add their own, and the lower levels also absorb some of the downwelling radiation from higher parts of the atmosphere. Overall these should roughly balance out.

What am I missing here?

21. Doubting Rich says:

Just realised that al I needed for the last comment was “what DirkH says”.

22. Leonard Weinstein says:

23. Roy Spencer says:

Sigh. :-(

24. tty says:

“The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.”

This is nonsensical. The reason the dry adiabatic lapse rate is steeper is because dry air has a smaller heat capacity than dry air, so it will heat more for a given amount of energy. The 78 W/m is simply due to water condensing and precipitating, and leaving the heat of evaphoation behind.

“The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.”

If that was true it couldn’t get back down. It can do that only because it has lost energy at altitude.

25. Truthseeker says:

I know, let’s start by not having a flat Earth and have a spherical one, then we can add … I know, I know … a day/night cycle with planetary rotation … yes and then we could have … maybe just maybe … a Sun that actually provides 1370 W/m2 of energy to the top of atmosphere on the day side of the planet. Let’s try that and see how we go.

This is a cartoon, not a diagram and Trenberth’s most important piece of equipment seems to have been crayons. It does not matter what you do to it, you are still not going to end up anywhere useful.

Try this for a realistic diagram:

http://tinypic.com/usermedia.php?uo=fNkd6hpTbcMU7xs0vRLosYh4l5k2TGxc#.U0PyR156PRo

26. Trying to calculate the greenhouse effect of atmospheric CO2 with any simple global model of energy balance is not likely to give you an accurate answer. Since radiation is “fast as light and speed of light”, you should be able to do your calculations from daily swings in temperature and dew point (with clear sky) at any point on earth. Since days are a year long at the poles, and water vapor is the least, the relative effect of CO2 should be most observable at these locations.

27. RobertInAz says:

What I would love to see is the error bars around each of the energy budget terms. After all, apparently 3.3 W/M2 is going to bring civilization as we know it to an end. /sarc

28. Steve Case says:

First off, Steven Wilde uses an old version of Trenberth’s iconic heat budget.

Trenbeth’s “Global Energy Budget” was updated March 2009 to show an imbalance of 0.9w/M²
I wonder how that came about, might have gone something like this:

Once upon a time on a bright sunny morning a few years back, Dr. James Hansen was looking at Kevin Trenberth’s iconic “World Energy Budget”

when he choked on his morning coffee because he realized that the darn thing balanced. That’s right, energy in equaled energy out. You see, he’s been saying for some time now that heat energy is slowly building up in Earth’s climate system and that’s not going to happen if the energy budget is balanced.

So he did some fast calculations, snatched up his cell phone and punched in Trenberth’s number.

“Hi Kev, Hansen here, how’s it goin’ with you? Got a minute?”

“Sure Doc, what’s up?”

“Glad you asked. I’ve been looking at your energy budget and it balances, can you fix that?”

“What do you mean fix it, it’s supposed to balance?”

“Kev, listen carefully now, if it balances, heat will never build up in the system do you see where I’m going?”

“Uh I’m not sure, can you tell me a little more?”

“Come on Kev don’t you get it? I need heat to build up in the system. My papers say that heat is in the pipeline, there’s a slow feedback, there’s an imbalance between radiation in and radiation out. Your Energy Budget diagram says it balances. Do you understand now?”

“Gotcha Doc, I’ll get right on it” [starts to hang up the phone]

“WAIT! I need an imbalance of point nine Watts per square meter [0.9 Wm²] for everything to work out right.”

“Uh Doc, what if it doesn’t come out to that?”

“Jeez Kev! Just stick it in there. Run up some of the numbers for back-radiation so it looks like an update, glitz up the graphics a little and come up with some gobbledygook of why you re-did the chart you know how to do that sort of thing don’t you?”

“Sure do Doc, consider it done” [click]

And here’s the new chart:

I’ve run the numbers, and 0.9 Wm² will warm the ocean 600 meters deep about 1/2°C in a little over 40 years. Truly amazing stuff. The noon-day sun puts out nearly 1370 wm² and these guys are claiming they’ve added up all the chaotic movements of heat over the entire planet and have determined an imbalance of 0.9 Wm². That’s an accuracy to five places. No plus or minus error bars or anything.

What it means is, all of the components
Reflected by clouds
Reflected by aerosols
Reflected by atmospheric gases
Reflected by surface
Absorbed by the surface
Absorbed by the atmosphere
Thermals
Evaporation
Transpiration
Latent heat
Emitted by clouds
Emitted by atmosphere
Atmospheric Window
AND
need to have an accuracy to those five places or better for the 0.9 Wm² to be true.

Perhaps Hansen didn’t ring up Trenberth and bully him into changing his chart but, Trenberth did change it to show an imbalance and I bet he did so because he realized that if it balanced like his 1997 version, heat wouldn’t build up.

And we all are supposed to sit still for this sort of thing.
**************************************
Ok, I just needed an excuse to post that (-:

29. You can assume away about anything you like and maintain a “net” radiation budget, but the actual errors in the Trenberth and others Earth Energy Budgets are a bit more subtle. One that is often overlooked is the Atmospheric Window of 40 Wm-2. That is closer to 20 Wm-2 and depends on what “surface” you are using. There is a big difference between a sea level “surface” and a 2 meter “surface”. Stephens et al. did a good job of showing what a more realistic Earth Energy Budget should look like.

What is interesting about the “window” error is that it is primarily due to mixed phase clouds. That is both energy and mass that has an impact on the which ever “surface” budget you choose. Water vapor that converts to ice then gets stored at the poles or high altitudes produces a budget deficit and if the energy of fusion is released closer to the poles than source of evaporation is more easily transferred to space. Mass transfer in the stratosphere (water vapor and ozone) accounts for roughly 8 Wm-2 of the Stephens et al. estimated +/- 17 Wm-2 of “surface” uncertainty.

30. Slartibartfast says:

I’d be happier if “Back radiation” or “Backradiation” were erased from the GW lexicon. It’s just radiation. There isn’t anything special about it that merits a new name.

Except it’s been “used”, maybe. But radiation doesn’t care who had it next to last.

REPLY: That’s a good idea, really the only thing that is happening is retarding the escape of energy to space – Anthony

31. mathman says:

Ah, energy. Where does it come from? The Sun. Where does it go? in all directions.
What happens to the Earth? It is rather like what happens when you put your hand out in the sunlight. Your hand gets warm and the space behind your hand (the shadow) gets cold. Does your blood boil? No. All kinds of stuff happens, your hand gets a little warmer, and the energy absorbed gets released in various ways.
Thus the Sun shines on the Earth, the Earth gets a little warmer, and that heat is then radiated away (in all directions). The problem is that the system has to balance: over time the energy in equals the energy out (remember: energy cannot be created or destroyed). Earth gets a little warmer–more energy released. Earth gets a little colder–less energy released. All kinds of negative feedback here. Guess what? The single most important factor is the slight variability of Solar Flux (all wavelengths). Proof: the Maunder minimum.
Were there any positive feedback, the Greenland ice cores would show much larger swings. But they don’t.
Sorry, AGW fanatics. This has been going on for a LONG time. And the flux predates humanity by some billions of years. We didn’t do it, we are not doing it, we can’t do it.
I doubt that we are even minor actors in the drama.
You can’t escape the laws of thermodynamics. You just can’t. Entropy always wins. Better go look again at the energy budgets for Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars. Everything out there balances. So do we.

32. John West says:

”It is proposed that it is Back Radiation that lifts the surface temperature from 255K, as predicted by S-B, to the 288K actually observed because the 324 Back Radiation exceeds the surface radiation to the air of 222 Wm2 ( 390 Wm2 less 168 Wm2) by 102 Wm2. It is suggested that there is a net radiative flow from atmosphere to surface of 102 Wm2.”

The 168 you’re subtracting from the 390 is not from the atmosphere. The NET energy transfer is from the surface to the atmosphere (350 – 324 = 26 W/m^2).

Here is a “corrected” (showing net flows) version:

Here is an overview of calculations involving the effect of clouds and humidity on the GHE:

33. John Eggert says:

I have to agree with Dr. Spencer. Very sad to see this here.

34. Ian says:

Anthony,
Seriously? You missed April 1st by a week!
I see that Dr. Spencer restrained himself.

35. Jim says:

Its nonsensical. Even with my understanding of movement and momentum, I am supposed to see no involvement of Brownian movement. I understand the radiation input, powering the system, and the radiation of molar body, by to lay a flat assumption that the molecule goes up? Illogical. Simplistic, yes. Reality no.

36. Steve Case says:
April 8, 2014 at 6:09 am

> Ok, I just needed an excuse to post that (-:

A fine rant. Feel better now?

37. MikeUK says:

Just to throw something else into the melting pot, infrared photons can do different things:
A: IR-photon + CO2 –> IR-photon + CO2
B: IR-photon + CO2 + (N2 or O2) –> CO2 + (N2 or O2)
Type B interactions provide a direct heating effect on the atmosphere, no back-radiation.

We’ve probably already had most of the heating from Type A. It is Type B that is still growing, from the “wings” of the CO2 absorption bands, mostly due to pressure-broadening, but how big is this new heating? My gut feeling says not very big at all, but quite tricky to calculate …

38. Mike M says:

“Therefore neither ii) nor iii) should be included in the radiative budget at all. They involve purely non radiative means of energy transfer and have no place in the radiative budget since, being net zero, they do not cool the surface. ”

Yes latent heat (ii) should be included because even though it is not initially radiative, the latent heat is transported from the ground, separate from the adiabatic cooling of the water vapor, to then radiate from a higher altitude than from the ground upon condensation. It’s as though heat was pumped up from sea level to heat a 10k’-30K’ mountain top.

39. Note that rising air cannot lose energy with altitude other than by radiation to space.
Instead, KE at the surface is converted to PE off the surface and PE does not register as heat. The air loses heat but not energy as it rises adiabatically and gains heat but not energy as it falls adiabatically.

The adiabatic component of convection returns heat to the surface on descent by converting PE back to KE. That heat is not radiated back to the surface so including it as an addition to the underlying back radiation of 222 to make that back radiation 324 is wrong.

The non adiabatic (diabatic) portion is then dealt with in overall atmospheric emission of 165 from the atmosphere and 30 from clouds.

The accuracy of the individual components doesn’t matter for current purposes. The Trenberth diagram successfully shows how the system achieves overall balance by juggling the components.

The point I am making is that his treatment of some of the components is incorrect and if one takes proper account of the return of energy to the surface on adiabatic descent then the back radiation figure need be no higher than the figure for radiation from the surface.

If both figures are equal then there can be no surface warming from back radiation. All the action goes on off the surface.

For a balanced system the amount of energy stored and the rate at which energy is shed depend on mass, gravity and insolation but the method of shedding is shared between surface and atmosphere in variable proportions depending on the radiative characteristics of the atmosphere.

If the atmosphere had no radiative capability at all then radiative emission from the atmosphere would be zero but the Atmospheric Window would release 235 Wm2 from the surface.

If the atmosphere were 100% radiative then the Atmospheric Window from the surface would be zero and the atmosphere would radiate the entire 235 Wm2.

The difference between the two scenarios would be in the rate of convective overturning. Fast for a non radiative atmosphere and slow or near zero for a 100% radiative atmosphere.

One cannot prevent convection in a non radiative atmosphere due to uneven surface heating and the decline in temperature with height caused by the conversion of KE to PE with height.

40. Ron C. says:

Leonard Weinstein says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:55 am

What you say makes sense. But extensive analysis of radiosonde data shows little effect from CO2 upon the temperature profile in the atmosphere up to mid Stratosphere.

“The fits for the barometric temperature profiles did not require any consideration of the composition of atmospheric trace gases, such as carbon dioxide, oxone or methane. This contradicts the predictions of current atmospheric models, which assume the temperature profiles are strongly influenced by greenhouse gas concentrations.”
http://oprj.net/articles/atmospheric-science/19

41. Ashby says:

Eliminating convection from the energy budget??? I think some correction to Trenberth’s energy budget may be in order, but I don’t think this post is helpful.

42. Chris: “If a normal everday person looked at this they would be lost. I even find it confusing.”

This is true about most physics, which is why Newton is still highly regarded.

43. David Reeve says:

Kudos to Anthony for running this……. but sigh. Maybe we can have the interpretive dance next?

44. MikeB says:

DirkH says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:46 am

The mean free path length for an IR photon at 15 micron is much shorter than 25m. At sea level you could expect 95% of such radiation to be absorbed within 1 metre. As you say, the atmosphere is a thick fog at this wavelength.
When the CO2 molecule absorbs the photon it is elevated to an ‘excited’ state. Left to its own devices it would re-emit this photon within a few milliseconds and revert to its ‘ground’ state. But, at low altitudes, it is rarely left to its own devices. The chances are that it will collide with another air molecule before it can emit a photon. When it does so, it transfers energy to the colliding molecule (and can no longer emit a photon). This has the effect of warming the surrounding air which is mostly nitrogen and oxygen. These gases cannot absorb radiation directly but they are nevertheless warmed by collision with the excited CO2 which has. In this way the CO2 could be called ‘heat trapping’, but I don’t like that term myself.
What’s more, the process is reversible. CO2 molecules can acquire energy from collisions and become ‘excited’. They can then emit radiation at 15 micron. The proportion of CO2 molecules in the excited state at any one time is roughly constant, depending on the local temperature (the equipartition principle). This fact allows us to determine the temperature of the air at various altitudes according to how much radiation we detect at 15 microns.

45. ferd berple says:

if GHG is radiating 324 inwards, it must be radiating 324+ outwards. Yet, total radiation to space from the atmosphere is only 235. Trenberth’s diagram cannot be right.

GHG theoretically warms the surface at the expense of cooling the atmosphere. The lapse rate gravitationally limits the temperature difference between the two. Since we are already at the gravitational limit for lapse rate, further increases in GHG will simply increase the rate of convection, cooling the surface in an amount equal to any increase in back radiation.

46. “Eliminating convection from the energy budget??? I think some correction to Trenberth’s energy budget may be in order, but I don’t think this post is helpful.”

Adiabatic convection hasn’t been eliminated. It is simply a zero net effect at the surface after the end of the first convective cycle.

It is still accounted for within all the other numbers which is why the numbers still balance on my interpretation.

47. Leonard Weinstein says:

Ron C. says:
April 8, 2014 at 6:45 am
The lapse rate (on average) depends only on the specific heat of the atmosphere, the gravity, and the added effect of water condensation (the wet lapse rate). Changing composition results in a VERY small change in specific heat for actual CO2 and water vapor changes, so the lapse rate (a gradient) does not change for these effects noticeably. It is the absolute level of temperature, not gradient, that is the issue, and it is about 33 C warmer every where due to water vapor, CO2, and clouds, among other effects (such as aerosols). The question, whether feedback has limited rather than enhanced the effect of any CO2 increase, is the major issue between skeptics and supporters of the strong effect. It appears that weak positive feedback, or even negative feedback, along with larger natural variation dominated the measured variation, contradicting the CAGW position. All the radiosonde data does is support a weak water vapor feedback (and water vapor content also affects clouds, resulting in negative feedback), which is not in disagreement with anything I stated.

48. HankHenry says:

288K is not the surface temperature. It is the surface AIR temperature. There’s a substantial difference and it matters in these global scale budgetary considerations.

49. Arfur Bryant says:

Oh Dear.

For your delectation, please listen to this. In particular the second half. While you listen, have a think about Trenberth’s “…324 W/m^2 absorbed by the surface.”

Trenberth’s cartoon (any version) is a joke – without the funny bit.

Have a nice day.

50. hunter says:

The more I look at this post, the less there is to like.
This is the third post in about a week that hurts the reputation of this blog and skeptics in general.
Skeptics are winning by sticking to the facts and questioning the consensus.
We do not need people using narrative to explain away physics.

51. “I have to agree with Dr. Spencer. Very sad to see this here.”

Roy thinks that a non radiative atmosphere would tend towards isothermal and that convection would cease.

I think he is wrong in that because one cannot suppress convection where the surface is unevenly heated and KE converts to PE with height leading to a temperature decline with height without needing radiative losses from height.

With no radiative losses from within the atmosphere there would still be convection and it would be more vigorous in order to maintain top of atmosphere energy loss from the surface alone.

Trenberth is right to distinguish between the 165 emitted from the atmosphere and the 40 emitted through the atmospheric window from the surface but fails to realise that if one increases then the other decreases to maintain the same TOA energy loss.

52. Neil says:

This might show up my ignorance, but shouldn’t there be two energy budget diagrams, one for daytime/sunnyside and one for night time? The dynamics of each must be so different as to make it impossible to combine the two. The transfer mechanisms change, obviously, there’s nothing coming in on the dark side, but there’s still stuff going out…

53. Missing in Wilde’s essay (and for years) in Trenberth’s diagram too, is the fact that the 30 Wm² reflected from the surface is a VARIABLE and is surface albedo dependent. Under conditions of wide area snowcover, the reflectivity at short wavelengths (SWs) almost completely pierces the GHGs, as they cannot intercept and re-direct the SW back down or sideways. So the 107 Wm² outflow is in reality a larger number with the net effect of recent snowcover and cloud increases. How do we know???

Evidence is the slowing rate of oceanic warming increase, and the 17 – now going on 18 year atmospheric temperature flatline. Result = Lower planetary energy retention. It is not “mostly hidden in the deep ocean,” but off the planet and not returning!!!

54. Nylo says:

The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.

Wrong. It doesn’t. It may gain as much energy in the process of going down as it lost when going up, but it does not warm back to the same temperature, the temperature is lower because in the middle, between going up and coming down, it lost energy radiating it to space. So before the process begins we have surface air at some temperature, and after the process we have surface air at a lower temperature. In my planet, that’s called surface cooling.

55. Nylo said:

“It may gain as much energy in the process of going down as it lost when going up, but it does not warm back to the same temperature”

It does, because new solar energy continues to flow in to replace the portion lost by leakage from atmospheric emissivity and clouds.

It is all in the timing and once the first convective cycle has completed there is no surface cooling from the adiabatic portion (most of it) of convective overturning.

56. Brian says:

What?

57. Ron C. says:

Leonard Weinstein says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:24 am

Thanks for responding. But it is not about water, and not about the gradient. It is about the actual temperatures at each altitude where water vapor is absent.

“It can be seen from the infra-red cooling model of Figure 19 that the greenhouse effect theory predicts a strong influence from the greenhouse gases on the barometric temperature profile. Moreover, the modelled net effect of the greenhouse gases on infra-red cooling varies substantially over the entire atmospheric profile.

However, when we analysed the barometric temperature profiles of the radiosondes in this paper, we were unable to detect any influence from greenhouse gases. Instead, the profiles were very well described by the thermodynamic properties of the main atmospheric gases, i.e., N 2 and O 2 , in a gravitational field.”

From Pg. 18 of referenced research paper

58. schmidtyfi says:

I cannot believe people are taking this for anything other than the hilarious satire that it is.

FWIW, Mr. Wilde, I think you should add a conclusion that this shows 97% statistically significant agreement with CAGW, but that more funding is needed. Then, take your pick of publishing offers, professorships, and conference keynotes.

59. Nylo says:

Stephen said:

It does, because new solar energy continues to flow in to replace the portion lost by leakage from atmospheric emissivity and clouds.
Solar energy comes mostly in the visible spectre and the air we are talking about is transparent to it. We have already accounted for the solar energy in its entirety in other terms of Spencer’s model for the energy balance as entering the surface layer. You cannot add it twice at different heights. If you want to add it in the higher layer (good luck with the demosntration), then substract it from the lower layer.

60. Ron C. says:

Also the effect of water vapor is not what has been assumed.

“While water vapour is a greenhouse gas, the effects of water vapour on the temperature profile did not appear to be related to its radiative properties, but rather its different molecular structure and the latent heat released/gained by water in its gas/liquid/solid phase changes.

For this reason, our results suggest that the magnitude of the greenhouse effect is very small, perhaps negligible. At any rate, its magnitude appears to be too small to be detected from the archived radiosonde data.”

Open Peer Rev. J., 2014; 19 (Atm. Sci.), Ver. 0.1. http://oprj.net/articles/atmospheric-science/19 page 18 of 28

61. HankHenry says:

Neil, you could make two diagrams, but if you’re simplifying things, one budget works. The Boltzmann equation deals with the simplest kind of model of all. I do often wonder if the earth rotated faster if it would affect the average surface temperature. I think the only thing speeding up rotation would do is even out the temperatures somewhat. This could mean very slightly lower temperatures because Newton’s law of cooling says that things at a higher temperature cool faster. Hence, the higher daytime temps might lead to greater overall cooling.

62. Nylo said:

“If you want to add it in the higher layer (good luck with the demosntration), then substract it from the lower layer.”

Adding it at the surface is just fine. It soon gets conducted and convected to the air to replace what is lost by the air so no double counting.

63. Steven Mosher says:

Why Anthony?

Group A
Anthony, Willis, Tisdale, Monckton

group B
Goddard, Archibald, Tallbloke, Wilde, Skydragons,

Group A: sometimes right, sometimes wrong.
group B: not even wrong.

Other difference. You will note over time that group A is actually open to changing their minds.
group B? I only say “triple point” and those who know the history will get it

the journey to a right or wrong answer is just as important. This was good practice in seeing how well people can sort out the answer. -A

64. Nylo says:

Stephen Wilde said:
It soon gets conducted and convected to the air to replace what is lost by the air
If you are saying that the air at altitude receives energy by means of conduction and convection, please explain how that very same process of conduction and convection does not substract heat from the surface. How can you add energy to one layer without removing it from the layer the energy comes from?

You had previously indicated that conduction and convection did not matter or had a balance of 0W/m2 (Thermals surface to atmosphere). You said that Trenberth’s 24W/m2 were gained back at the surface when the air came down. But now you are saying that this energy is lost to space, or is used to “replace what is lost by the air”. If it is lost, it is lost. Like you :)

65. Anthony Watts says:

I’m glad to see a number of people pointing out how flawed the argument is. Every once in awhile we need to take a look at the ‘Slayer’ mentality of thinking about radiative balance, just to keep sharp on the topic. At first I thought this should go straight into the hopper, and then I thought it might make some good target practice, so I published it without any caveat.

Now you can watch the fun as they react over at PSI.

66. Neil says:

@ henryhank
thanks for response
I suppose what I’m thinking is that the complex nature of this energy budget will not be served by this simplification, as different scenarios, day and night will have differnet variable changes attributable to different phenomena/causes in each. If one is trying to distinguish the changes and attribute them to, say CO2, water vapour, whatever, then the fundamental conditions must be considered. The simplified single energy budget diagram will hide this, or at least obscure it. (I am convinced that inc temp result in inc CO2 anyhow). So to try and attribute cause and effect in the simplified diagram, is, like trying to work with an average of two numbers and say what one of them is from that – but in a much more complex and chaotic system – just not possible.
Not sure I put the analogy very well, but

67. I think it would be of great interest for people who wants to understand all the debate about the “science of global warming” if someone could explain WHY , from sound physical science, changes in CO2 in the atmosphere of the magnitude involve here, CANNOT DRIVE CHANGES IN GLOBAL CLIMATE; and the explanation would rather avoid mathematical models and childish quarrels between advocates of different theories….

or perhaps I am wrong and changes in CO2 CAN BRING ABOUT CHANGES IN GLOBAL CLIMATE …

68. Leo Morgan says:

[snip – I think you wrote this before I let everyone in on the fun, see the comment and the update, and you are welcome to resubmit – Anthony]

69. dp says:

This post comes 7 days too late. It is a joke, right?

REPLY: yep, just some fun target practice – Anthony

70. Nylo,

Anthony,

All posts here are good target practice for someone.

If you thought it was only good for the hopper then I would have preferred you had said so and not bothered to use it.

As things stand so far the objections are either sweeping generalisations without substance or appear to result from misreading.

An established fact is that air does warm as a result of the non-radiative adiabatic processe as it descends, some have accepted as much. That causes problems for radiative theory.

REPLY: My opinion on the backradiation and lapse rate silliness is well known, you should have known better than to submit it. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Hopefully you’ll learn something from the comments. – Anthony

71. Oh finally, i can see the greenhouse ‘glass’ in the upper troposphere, creating the non-existent greenhouse which would of course entail no life on this planet. Thanks Trenberth et al. Your grade 8 science studies are proceeding nicely !

72. sun Spot says:

There is nothing special about new label’s for radiation! “cAGW” past present and future will not change what radiative physics has always been. Here are with 17 years of no warming while the Slayers obfuscate by making up back radiation to be a new boogie man. How many angels can dance on radiations pin head?

73. Slartibartfast says:

That’s a good idea, really the only thing that is happening is retarding the escape of energy to space – Anthony

So, you’re saying that the distinction represented by “backradiation” is retarded?

Harsh, but I can go with that. ;)

74. Amatør1 says:

Box of Rocks says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:14 am
I have a sens that the original idea from Trenberth is incorrect, I at this point in time can’t put my finger on it.

Consider the idea that ‘backradiation’ is twice as bright as the Sun as a candidate.

75. John West says:

To those who keep bringing up the lapse rate:

The characteristics of the tropospheric lapse rate are a function of being heated from below not that gravity causes the lapse rate. Notice that the stratospheric lapse rate and (if you’ll pardon the expression) the oceanic lapse rate are the opposite of the tropospheric lapse rate. Does gravity flip flop its temperature inducing features at will? Note that with each of these fluids the temperature is warmest where its closest to its primary heat source and coldest where its farthest away from its primary heat source. The temperature of all of these fluids (troposphere, stratosphere, and ocean) could be described and calculated with height or depth as the only variable, but this does not mean gravity causes the temperature to be what it is.

76. “If a GHG molecule is too warm for its height then DWIR back to the surface dominates but the molecule rises away from the surface and cools until DWIR again equals UWIR.

If a GHG molecule is too cold for its height then UWIR to space dominates but the molecule then falls until DWIR again equals UWIR.”

More of the intelligent radiator theory. It’s amazing that individual molecules have the intellectual capacity to know which direction to throw off a photon. Or even what its current altitude is, or its thermal relationship to its surroundings, or its orientation. Do you suppose that all GHGs have GPS AND thermal sensing equipment too, WITH gyroscopes?. And where do they get their signals with which to compare and correct? And what material is used for the thrusters? Now, if you put enough of these smart molecules together, there is no telling what sort of ingenious things they could make. Do you suppose they could gang up with one another and make a climate model that works?

77. Ron C. says:

Steven Mosher says:
April 8, 2014 at 8:40 am

Please resist the impulse to organize “teams,” even though that worked for the hockeystick team until recently. I have learned from all the people you listed, along with some hockeystickers. I don’t belong to a team, not much of a joiner I guess.

Another of my foibles is that when data disagrees with a theory, I tend to suspend belief in that theory until positive proof appears. That’s where I am with greenhouse gas theory.

You subscribe to the notion that CO2 raises the effective emission level, resulting in surface warming. Fine. But when the radiosonde data cannot detect that effect, I become skeptical. WUWT?

78. Alec Rawls says:

The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

Adiabatic lapse rates by definition do not involve energy flows. They result from a change in the FORM of energy from potential to kinetic as altitude changes.

Surely there are some second order effects of the rain cycle that transport energy from atmosphere to surface but the first order effect, the dominant energy transfer, is that heat is being removed from the surface by evaporation and released in the upper atmosphere by condensation. That energy transport cannot be ignored just because it is not via radiation!

79. Duster says:

DirkH says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:46 am

***
Why? Let’s say mean free path length for an IR photon at 15 micrometer, in the CO2 absorption / re emission band is 25 m at 1 atmosphere. Meaning it gets emitted and re absorbed and re emitted multiple times on its way until it reaches either surface or open space (or a water droplet in the atmosphere, which acts as a blackbody). Each re-emission happening in a random direction.
***

I like the comment with one caveat. The length of the mean free path is directly dependent upon the direction the photon is emitted, because of the way in which mean atmospheric density varies.. Spacing between gas molecules increases as a function of altitude. The path on average is thus longest in a direction away from the planet and shortest on the path directly inward. At any elevation above the immediate surface the potential outward paths are more numerous than inward ones and the length of outward paths increases as a function of altitude. Inward paths are limited by the cone of potential paths occluded by the planet. Consequently the inward or down-welling LIR is never 50% of the reradiated IR, except locally, on dry land, where in a valley the there might be more than a 50% chance of inward movement. Therefore, with each re-emission, statistically, the photon is more likely to move way from the surface rather than toward it. With each increase in altitude that probability of an inward move diminishes. Again, the number of potential inward paths is never 50% except at the immediate surface.

80. Duster says:

“… never 50% except at the immediate surface. ” Well, not unless the earth is flat.

81. Amatør1 says:

Anthony Watts says:
April 8, 2014 at 8:50 am
Every once in awhile we need to take a look at the ‘Slayer’ mentality of thinking about radiative balance, just to keep sharp on the topic.

Isn’t there sufficient supply of climopathology from Australia? Why ‘mentality’? What is wrong with discussing the scientific arguments? Let the chips fall where they may.

82. Slartibartfast says:

Don’t forget the epic Part 2 of Slaying the Slayers, Anthony.

83. Willis Eschenbach says:

Anthony Watts says:
April 8, 2014 at 8:50 am

I’m glad to see a number of people pointing out how flawed the argument is. Every once in awhile we need to take a look at the ‘Slayer’ mentality of thinking about radiative balance, just to keep sharp on the topic. At first I thought this should go straight into the hopper, and then I thought it might make some good target practice, so I published it without any caveat.

Indeed, the comments are mostly to the point.

I wanted to add my three cents worth (inflation, y’know). There were a number of sins of commission and sins of omission in the head post, but this one was particularly egregious:

The budget needs to be amended as follows:
The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.

One difficulty with these claims is that the author is looking at a different thing than Kiehl/Trenberth were looking at. The K/T budget is looking at the heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere. Steven Wilde, on the other hand, seems to be looking at heat transfer within the atmosphere.

For example, when the surface is warmer than the atmosphere, it is constantly losing energy to the atmosphere through conduction/convection. This is not affected in the slightest by the fact that Steven mentions, which is that air warms when it descends. So what? The surface will still be losing heat to the atmosphere as long as it is warmed by the sun.

The same is true about evaporation. When water on the surface evaporates, it cools the surface. Period. It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law.

I find it quite bizarre that Steven Wilde claims that the earth’s surface doesn’t lose heat by either conduction/convection or evaporation, but purely by radiation. That flies in the face of all common sense as well as physics. That’s like claiming that humans aren’t cooled when our sweat evaporates, because of adiabatic lapse rate mumble mumble mumble …

The adiabatic lapse rate is a separate issue—the obvious reality is that both humans and the planetary surface are cooled by evaporation no matter what the lapse rate does. To claim otherwise reveals a serious, profound misunderstanding of the processes involved.

There are a host of other issues with his presentation, such as the fact that when thunderstorms move heat from the surface directly to the upper troposphere, where it is far above the majority of the greenhouse gases … but I digress …

w.

84. Alec Rawls said:

“the dominant energy transfer, is that heat is being removed from the surface by evaporation and released in the upper atmosphere by condensation. That energy transport cannot be ignored just because it is not via radiation!”

That is part of the adiabatic process and is covered by the radiative losses from atmosphere to space at 165 and clouds at 30. Therefore it is not being ignored.

That ‘leakage’ from within the atmosphere is constantly being replaced by incoming shortwave heating of the surface which then warms the air by conduction.

The adiabatic part comes back to KE at the surface again on descent. and it is that adiabatic part which is net zero but AGW theory has that in as a net cooling effect as well as the diabatic part.

85. Willis said:

“It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law”

It doesn’t return energy to the surface. It reconverts PE to KE as it approaches the surface. No violation.

It does matter that the dry rate is greater than the moist rate because there is then more warming on the descent than there was cooling on the ascent for the same distance of travel.

In the hydro cycle it is primarily radiation from condensate that reaches space and not radiation from the bulk air mass.

“I find it quite bizarre that Steven Wilde claims that the earth’s surface doesn’t lose heat by either conduction/convection or evaporation, but purely by radiation. That flies in the face of all common sense as well as physics.”

The surface both loses and regains heat from conduction / convection. That is the point that has been missed.

First KE is taken up and converted to PE and then it is brought down and converted back to KE. The adiabatic portion is net zero because no new energy enters or leaves. There is a diabatic portion too but that is replaced by new incoming solar energy.

86. Duster says:

… the inward or down-welling LIR is never 50% of the reradiated IR…

That has been my understanding for a long time now. Greenhouse gases radiate in all directions, therefore a CO2 molecule at, for example, a 20 km altitude would re-radiate an IR photon that it absorbed from the surface in all directions, therefore far less than 50% of the re-radiated photons would return to heat the earth. Most would proceed into outer space. It is only at the surface that a photon has a 50% chance of warming the planet. The rest of the photons radiate into space, cooling the planet.

That is just one of several arguments falsifying the greenhouse gas conjecture.

87. “The K/T budget is looking at the heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere. Steven Wilde, on the other hand, seems to be looking at heat transfer within the atmosphere.”

K/T and I are addressing both those AND between atmosphere and space.

K/T isn’t all wrong. The division up of the different processes to attain balance is neat but the net effect of adiabatic convection is mischaracterised as a net surface cooling effect which is why you then need an extra 102 coming from back radiation to balance the books.

The diabatic part of convection is already dealt with in the outgoing 165 for atmospheric emissions and 30 for clouds so anyone referring to condensation or radiation from the atmosphere is missing the point.

88. Michael D Smith said:

“More of the intelligent radiator theory. It’s amazing that individual molecules have the intellectual capacity to know which direction to throw off a photon. Or even what its current altitude is, or its thermal relationship to its surroundings, or its orientation.”

Density differentials in the horizontal plane do it just fine.

Do you think the molecules in a thermal uplift make a conscious decision ?

If they are too warm for their height relative to the lapse rate slope they will rise and vice versa. Do you think radiative molecules ‘know’ when to resist ?

89. commieBob says:

None of the numbers in the diagram are direct measurements. They are all based on calculations. The budget, as illustrated, is a hypotheses.

For sure, the atmosphere smooths out the extremes of temperature we would see without it. How much does it actually warm the planet? We could compare the Earth to the Moon. They are the same distance from the Sun. The Earth has an atmosphere, the Moon doesn’t.

If we dig* a few feet into the Moon at the equator, we find that it is a comfortable 23°C
<a href="http://www.lunarpedia.org/index.php?title=Lunar_Temperature"lunarpedia, mind you, at the pole that would drop to -110°C. That’s surprisingly in line with the temperature in Antarctica! record low in Antarctica (*Why dig? It creates a pretty good low pass filter and therefore a reliable average temperature.)

Based on a comparison with our nearest neighbor, I don’t think the standard 33° C greenhouse effect is a slam dunk. I do think that neither side understands the science nearly as well as they think they do. (Let me hasten to add that I don’t understand it either, I’m just expressing my skepticism about the current state of the science.)

90. James Rollins Jr says:

I looked, and I don’t see any association of the Slaying the Sky Dragon book with the author of the post, who is being falsely asserted to be associated with it.

I see Tim Ball and Alan Siddon’s names associated with the book – and they’re some of the most respected people in Climate debate, having been responsible for several prominent global warmers’ decided undoings.

Kiehl-Trenberth isn’t a scientific document and is fatally flawed from several directions: no mention anywhere of the mandatory 324 W/sq/meter up inherent to all consensus climate belief is first.

This omission alone means it isn’t legitimate scientific dialog, nor is it real documentation of science.
No matter how many scientifically failed, richly, and thoroughly humiliated wannabes, point to it as the flag they prefer to be laughed out of history’s serious scientific discussions flying.

91. James Rollins Jr says:

The people who brought you the Kiehl-Trenberth fiasco are also the ones who brought you an era of modeling the climate not having the atmosphere’s energy handling conform to ideal gas law,

modeling the climate as an ”infrared warming model” instead of an ”infrared cooling model,”

setting the all time low for standards in professional character assassination in place of legitimate scientific inquiry quantified by instrumental verification of hopes,

being found systematically squeezing media coverage such that it consistently resounded that

“the basic science is sound.”

If the basic science was sound it wouldn’t have left out 324 critical W/sq/m.

92. Willis Eschenbach says:

dbstealey says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:30 am

Duster says:

… the inward or down-welling LIR is never 50% of the reradiated IR…

That has been my understanding for a long time now. Greenhouse gases radiate in all directions, therefore a CO2 molecule at, for example, a 20 km altitude would re-radiate an IR photon that it absorbed from the surface in all directions, therefore far less than 50% of the re-radiated photons would return to heat the earth. Most would proceed into outer space. It is only at the surface that a photon has a 50% chance of warming the planet. The rest of the photons radiate into space, cooling the planet.

That is just one of several arguments falsifying the greenhouse gas conjecture.

While this effect surely exists, you are greatly exaggerating the effects. The world is a huge place. The dip of the horizon in radians is sqrt(2h/r) where h is the height of the eye and r is the radius of the earth. At a height of 20 km, the extreme case, this is a dip of 4.5°. In other words, at that altitude the horizon is at 4.5° below true horizontal.

Of course, at lower altitudes this is less and less. What is called the “effective radiation level”, the average height of emission, is only a couple of kilometres above the surface … and at that altitude the dip of the horizon is only 1.4° …

Finally, most of the radiation doesn’t have the binary option of hitting the planet or escaping to outer space. Most of the radiation is reabsorbed by the atmosphere, whether at a higher or a lower level. As a result, much of the time the angle of the planet/space horizon doesn’t even enter into the equation.

So as I said, while you are correct, it is a difference that doesn’t make much of a difference. At average radiation height it’s less than two degrees, and most radiation will be reabsorbed by the atmosphere rather than going to either the planet or to space … so in most analyses it is (properly in my opinion) neglected as a third order effect.

w.

93. AlecM says:

Sorry, but you cannot offset SW input with LW output. The two are completely separate. The reality is 168 SW input is thermalised at the surface. Part goes out as convection and evapo-transpiration and part as net IR.

The net IR is 390 – 324 = 66 of which 26 is absorbed by non self-absorbed GHG bands and 40 goes directly to Space via the atmospheric window. The ‘324 back radiation’ and 390 ‘surface emission’ are Radiation Fields; only the vector sum can do thermodynamic work.

Only the 168 heats the atmosphere. The IPCC models are fake because they assume ~3 times this is absorbed in the lower atmosphere and of this about half is offset by a cooling of the upper atmosphere via the ‘two stream approximation’ from assuming Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation applies at ToA. The latter is impossible for a semi-transparent emitter/absorber.

The net ~40% increase in energy, a perpetual motion machine of the 2nd kind is absorbed by increasing the imaginary part of the 3x GHE from wrongly assuming it is ‘lapse rate’, hence the imaginary ‘positive feedback’. The final cheat is to offset the residual excess by using ~2x low level cloud optical depth in hind-casting, about 25% extra albedo.

This is a clever fraud.

94. James Rollins says
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/08/correcting-trenberth-et-al/#comment-1608409
Henry says
Agreed.
I miss any measurements / results/ etc in this post
OTOH the figures from K/T were also never explained properly
@Stephen Wilde
it is good to see that you are still thinking about things
Unfortunately, there is just too much that was never explained
e.g.
Trenberth gives a figure for back radiation by ozone
but he simply forgot about the peroxides and the nitrogenous oxides

I am disturbed to see Anthony standing on the side of those laughing not giving any reasoned opinion himself.
This subject is not my specialty,
but I would still caution those laughing to understand why we are globally cooling
http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/

95. Willis Eschenbach says:

commieBob says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

None of the numbers in the diagram are direct measurements. They are all based on calculations. The budget, as illustrated, is a hypotheses.

Oh, not true in the slightest. The origin of each of the numbers is different. Their basis is described in the underlying document, Earth’s Global Energy Budget. People commenting without having read that are just guessing …

w.

96. Bart says:

I disagree with Stephen’s analysis, but I don’t see the snarky comments, without any attempt to bring clarity to the issue, as being particularly helpful, or reflecting any particular understanding from those who make them.

Nylo @ April 8, 2014 at 4:50 am hits the flaw that I see, though I think there is a nuance which he has not pointed out. Photon emission can increase, as well as decrease, the translational kinetic energy of radiating atmospheric particles, so the net change in translational energy amongst all those particles returning to the surface should be effectively nil. However, they now have unexcited degrees of freedom which will then get filled, due to equipartition, resulting in a net cooling effect.

The problem with Trenberth’s diagram, as with so many of the half-baked analyses relating to this problem, is that it is static. If you increase the “back-radiation”, there is no opposite reaction from Thermals and Evapo-transpiration, or from Clouds.

The casual GHE effect is explained in purely radiative terms. However, convection provides another path for heat to flow to radiating elements in the upper atmosphere, which can short circuit the radiative transfer effect. That convection increases with increasing temperature, too, providing a negative feedback.

I have previously made analogy to an automobile’s cooling system. The radiator actually blocks air flow and radiative transfer from the engine. If you look at the radiation alone, you would conclude that the radiator actually heats the engine above what it would otherwise be.

However, that misses completely the overwhelming advection of coolant from the engine to the fins of the radiator, which cools the engine.

The so-called GHGs in the atmosphere are radiators. They are the major cooling outlets for the atmosphere. If you pipe heat to them, in whatever form, they will eliminate it to space. They are like the fins of the radiator in an automobile. If you add to them, it is like making the fins of the automobile radiator larger.

Yes, they will block more direct radiation from the engine. But, they will more efficiently eliminate heat transferred to them by other means. The net effect can easily be zero. And that, indeed, is that the data are telling us. There is no discernible surface temperature sensitivity to rising CO2. The global temperature record shows a steady rise since the LIA, established well before rising CO2 could have had an effect, overlaid with a ~60 year cyclical component. There is no identifiable secular component which correlates to atmospheric CO2 concentration.

97. AlecM says:

The Energy Budget mixes up Radiation Fields with real energy fluxes so it all goes horribly wrong. They then invoke Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation at ToA and imaginary extra cloud albedo as a fitting parameter.

There is no ‘back radiation, no ‘positive feedback’. The real GHE is 1/3 rd the claimed 33 K; you get this by calculating the mean surface temperature for 341 W/m^ SW energy input (no clouds or ice in the GHG-free hypothetical atmosphere). It’s between 4 and 5 deg C.

At the last glacial maximum the GHE was ~2 K. It is now ~11 K. The difference is entirely from lower cloud albedo via biofeedback (more aerosols – Sagan got the aerosol optical physics wrong so reverse the sign of the AIE).

CO2-AGW is near zero through an atmospheric control mechanism involving a bit of simple new physics, now being proved experimentally !

It’s time this appalling waste of money was shut down and research re-started under professional physicists from good schools so Atmospheric Physics and the Climate stuff can be purged of imaginary ‘back radiation’. Include engineers who do experiments.

98. SkepticGoneWild says:

Wow! 342 w/m-2 incoming solar radiation gets magnified to 492 w/m-2 at the surface. That’s a cool thermodynamic trick!

99. Alan McIntire says:

“The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.”

If evapo-transpiraton didn’t have any cooling effect, that would make a dog’s panting and our human evaporation system pointless and an evolutionary waste of energy.

100. I note the term “back radiation” can also be confusing
It is used both for radiation back to space (mostly by the ozone, peroxides and the nitrogenous oxides) and radiation back to earth (Water, CO2 and ozone and others)
I am not sure how this can be differentiated

101. george e. smith says:

I read the first few sentences/paragraphs, and decided, I couldn’t follow the detail narrative, closely enough to track the argument. But some comments come to mind.

evidently, some folks think that “latent heat” is some source of energy that is available to “heat” (aka ‘raise the temperature of’) the atmosphere.

NO !! Latent heat is energy that must BE LOST BY a vapor, TO A COLDER SINK, BEFORE it can change phase to a liquid or solid. It raises the temperature of nothing, so any moisture/solid precipitating out, does not bring a host of heat energy back to earth with it.

Secondly Trenberth’s ENERGY BUDGET, which has been mischaracterized (including by me mistakenly) as a RADIATION budget, is in fact NOT an energy budget at all.

It is a POWER budget, or more strictly a POWER DENSITY (area) budget.

POWER; P = dE / dt is an instantaneous differential quantity, it is a RATE of energy flow / change / conversion /usage/ arrival / whatever.

An ENERGY budget for a climate consideration, would be given in Petajoules or some larger unit involved in perhaps some 30 year climate relative time frame; an INTEGRAL OF THE POWER BUDGET.

Why this is important, is because the real universe does not average anything, it responds instantly to any and all happenstances, as they happen, without any delays to compute some average.

As a result, the actual rate of radiant energy loss from the earth, is substantially greater than Trenberth’s numbers, because the major energy losses, occur from the earths HIGHEST TEMPERATURE zones, and NOT from the earth’s COLDEST TEMPERATURE zones.

Ice and snow at the poles INHIBIT the cooling of the earth; they DO NOT ENHANCE the earth’s cooling rate.

Urban heat islands are wonderful for radiating large quantities of energy back into space during the heat of the day.

In any case, I don’t see where Stephen is going with this.

Trenberth, is a bit confused, in that he includes in his ersatz “energy” budget, completely internal to the earth system fluxes of “heat energy” that cannot cross the earth / space boundary line. Yet he then goes on to completely ignore, totally astronomical amounts of other earth internal “heat energy” fluxes that are going on in the earth’s oceans and ocean currents, from tropics to poles. And once transported to the poles, these energies become trapped, by the abysmally low thermal radiative power available at polar temperatures.

Kevin, if you want to know why you can’t account for the “missing heat”, maybe it’s because you totally ignore the ocean “heat energy” fluxes, in your “earth energy budget.”

Nature does not average power.

TSI is 1362 or 1366 W/m^2 all over the sunlit half of the earth’s intercept circle, and it has that value for each and every atto-second of time, give or take some noise, and solar goings on, that Leif can educate us on; plus of course some well understood orbital ellipticity change during a year.

I defy anyone in a normally inhabited zone to go out on a clear sunny day, near noon, and point a radiometer towards the sun, and get within 10%, maybe even 25 % of 342 W/m^2 or maybe it’s 250 W/m^2 Trenberth thinks you will read. You won’t; you’ll get a number closer to 1,000 W/m^2.

Which is why earth is hotter than Trenberth thinks it should be.

102. Ian says:

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 8, 2014 at 11:18 am
“Their basis is described in the underlying document, Earth’s Global Energy Budget. People commenting without having read that are just guessing …”

Willis,
I think I found the paper here http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/387h/PAPERS/kiehl.pdf
Is that correct?

[Try here … w.]

103. Slartibartfast says:

Trenberth’s papers are no longer as linked.

104. Alan McIntire says:

The “Skydragons” have a point that Trenberth’s figures are oversimplified, not showing a day/night difference. To take care of that, check “Newton Cooling” out at wiki,
and take into consideration that the earth is NOT asymptotically cooling to 0 K at night, but to the higher temperatue of the atmosphere.

I did a rough calculation of daily cooling of the atmosphere.

mass atmosphere = 5* 10^18 kg=5*10^21gm
temp atmosphere 255K (effective radiating temp to space- underestimates heat content)
specific heat 1.01 joules/gm C
5* 10^21*1.01*255= 1.288 * 10^24 joules

radius earth = 6400km= 6.4*10^6 meters.
area earth = 4 pi r^2 =514,718,540,364,021.76
240 watts/sq meter = 240 joules/sec per square meter
60 sec/min*60 min/hr*24hr/day=86,400 secs per day

5.147* 10^14 sq meters*240 joules/sec/sq meter *8.64*10^4 secs/day= 1.067*10^22 joules per day radiated away
1.067*10^22/1.288*10^24 = 0.83%

So the atmosphere as a whole cools by less than 1% over the course of a day. That figure makes sense when you figure that the earth’s surface temperature my change by 10 C or more overnight far more than average changes over a week, but weather patterns persist for several days, and that’s why meteorologists can predict daily highs out a week or so. That cooling is obviously mostly from the
earth’s surface and air near the surface ,leaving most of the atmosphere unchanged.

Anthony,
Thanks for coming “clean” on this article. I am a layman at best, still trying to learn from my betters here.
On my first read, thought I had one of those new “smell-phones”, either that or my dog farted. His logic process and lack of references were big clues…

106. MikeB says:

The problem when you introduce nonsense like this is that other weirdoes chip in with their own brand of competing nonsense. AlecM for instance with his own nonsensical brand of physics that only he pretends to understand.

Willis Eschenbach April 8, 2014 at 11:18 am

107. since the IR wave leaves the earth headed towards the colder body(space) i have yet to see anyone explain how co2 could possibly REVERSE that flow of the wave? no force is required to push it away from the earth that is its natural movement and some force would be required to reverse that movement and send it back to earth, co2 has no such power…….sorta like insulation on a house, it does slow heat loss but it does NOT REVERSE the flow and send heat back into the house.

108. Duster says:

dbstealey says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:30 am

Duster says:

… the inward or down-welling LIR is never 50% of the reradiated IR…

That has been my understanding for a long time now. Greenhouse gases radiate in all directions, therefore a CO2 molecule at, for example, a 20 km altitude would re-radiate an IR photon that it absorbed from the surface in all directions, therefore far less than 50% of the re-radiated photons would return to heat the earth. Most would proceed into outer space. It is only at the surface that a photon has a 50% chance of warming the planet. The rest of the photons radiate into space, cooling the planet.

That is just one of several arguments falsifying the greenhouse gas conjecture.

I don’t think it falsifies the greenhouse conjecture. The interaction between GHGs and LIR is a laboratory fact. I do think that there are a great many folks who are thinking about the same problem in such profoundly different terms that they don’t understand each other and, instead a “come again” and a “please explain your first-principles assumptions more clearly,” there is a great deal of “no, no, you’re wrong.” A lot of the argument hinges upon the semantics of the words “greenhouse effect,” which has been admitted to be a misnomer for years.

Off hand I would far rather hear a “slayer’s” opinion than that of a believer in CAGW, if only because the CAGW believer has divorced him- or herself from empirical reality and demonstrable geological history in favour of computer games (-ah computer models, models, I meant models) and scary numbers. The CAGW faithful are in their own minds heroically defending the planet from the rest of us – drama, not science.

109. AlecM says:

MikeB: prove to the other readers using standard physics that anything i have written here is wrong. You won’t be able to. I measured coupled convection and radiation in plants and lab for decades and made optical pyrometers from scratch. The literature is immense, as is the experimental data; the theory is still being developed but it’s tough.Then along comes Climate Alchemy and claims a Radiation Field (aka Irradiance) is a real energy flux rather than the potential energy flux of that emitter to a sink at absolute zero. This is a basic failure of what to me was 1st year degree physics.

Engineers are taught to calculate the two S-B equations and the difference of RF is the predicted real IR flux. Trenberth adds the DOWN RF to the net real IR flux and gets the UP RF, claiming it’s a real rather than a potential energy flow. This was and is an appalling scientific mistake and the fudges are worse. All process engineers I have spoken too, agree this Energy Budget is wrong.

When ‘back radiation’ aka ‘IR Forcing’ increases, net surface IR emission decreases. To get the net heat transfer, surface temperature must increase to increase the other heat transfer modes. There can be no creation of energy. You can prove this by MODTRAN, written by professionals. it sets real total heat transfer from surface to lower atmosphere for 15 deg C surface temperature consistent with the right OLR as between 100 and 170 W/m^2 or so if you do some simple runs.

What climate Alchemy does is to force extra imaginary heat into the base and cools the top, apparently to prove the imaginary extended GHE exists when it can’t.

110. commieBob says:

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 8, 2014 at 11:18 am
commieBob says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

None of the numbers in the diagram are direct measurements. They are all based on calculations. The budget, as illustrated, is a hypotheses.

Oh, not true in the slightest. The origin of each of the numbers is different. Their basis is described in the underlying document, Earth’s Global Energy Budget. People commenting without having read that are just guessing …

There is no instrument that will directly give any of the numbers in the illustration. They are ALL based on some kind of calculation. All the calculations are based on assumptions and all the measurements on which they are based have tolerances.

As an example, I give you one of the less problematic measurements: upwelling infrared. The instrument is in a satellite. It sees a small portion of the planet’s surface. The global number is based on integrating all the measurements taken as the satellite orbits the planet. So, we have a bunch of measurements taken at varying times. Even assuming that the instrument is perfect (it isn’t) we still have a mess of assumptions to sort out. We integrate the data over what period … a day, a week, a year, a decade? I guarantee that each will produce a different result, different enough that three significant digits is not warranted.

111. SkepticGoneWild says:

Trenberth, besides being caught in lies about hurricanes and global warming (Climategate), is a science goof. He calls the diagram, “The global annual mean Earth’s energy budget”, when all the “flows” are in terms of power, not energy. The First Law of Thermodynamics relates to the conservation of “energy”, not power.

112. Alf says:

So does Stephen Wilde need to be humiliated? The lack of humility was the first thing that made me suspicious of CAGWing blogs.

113. JohnG says:

Steven Wilde is not a Slayer and his “physics” doesn’t follow what the Slayers criticize about the K&T Model. The problem is an ontological one: taking solar flux which impinges only in real time and over a hemisphere as a cosine distribution, but averaging it linearly over the entire Earth instead, produces a numerical value of temperature forcing (-18C) which wouldn’t even be able to melt ice, and is hence not physically meaningful. Hence the K&T style diagram isn’t physically meaningful nor is any physics it purports to demonstrate, or invent, physically meaningful. It is not ontological. The light bulb test is a really good one though, but you have to be careful about interpreting the results, scientifically.

114. Richard G says:

Oh, that’s not right.

115. Duster says:

I don’t think it falsifies the greenhouse conjecture.

Sorry for not making my post clearer. I was referring to the claim that a rise in CO2 would lead to runaway global warming.

Yes, CO2 causes some warming. But it is so minuscule that it cannot be measured — and the net result may well be global cooling. Really, how could it not be, based on your argument? Most re-emitted photons [‘back radiation’] escaped from the earth and troposphere, where they came from in the first place. They take their LWIR energy with them.

At current and projected concentrations, CO2 has no measurable effect. Any warming from human CO2 emissions is simply too small to measure, as this chart shows. Any minor warming from CO2 is swamped by other forcings, which is why every alarmist prediction has failed.

116. Max™ says:

Seems to me that the Earth is a mechanism for reducing the power of sunlight by turning it into longwave IR.

As the planet is blocking the sunlight that would normally pass through a given region of space, there is an imbalance, the energy can’t just fly straight through like neutrinos do, so it has to be absorbed and then emitted again at lower power.

As the planet is a sphere, at most it can emit half of what one hemisphere receives from each hemisphere (otherwise there would be no energy available for the shaded hemisphere to emit while the lit one was absorbing) and it does so in a less than perfectly efficient fashion.

What happens when you have a section of machinery or circuitry with lower efficiency than other parts?

Yup, it gets warmer.

It’s not as complicated as it is presented, as long as you remember everything flows downhill you can get the right answer eventually.

117. Lawrence13 says:

Have to say there’s a very nasty attitude by some here to Stephen Wilde who has been the virtue of patience and has courteously countered the arguments against him without once getting as bitchy as the clique that runs this website. I have to say the arrogance and sneering condescension shown has put be right off this blog. It shows up people here as no different to the level that the Cookes and Nutchellis grope for. There though at least they are in a bitter contest with sworn enemies , here though Steven is a sceptic with a theory and this is how he gets treated with scorn and all those that don’t even grasp the science involved (I don’t but I’m not a bully) crawl out of the wood work to give the man a kicking to ingratiate themselves with their leaders. It pathetic and a sorry day for the blog. Roy in particular shows a very poor attitude sometimes for a so called Christian with the same vitriol that the Dawkins bandwagon uses.

Poor show all round.

118. Frank says:

Andy: I think articles like these provide credibility to critics who claim that WUTW is “anti-science”. Steve Wilde’s gross mistakes in this article are his responsibility, but to some extent they become WUTW’s when you host them. Gross mistake = not understanding the difference between the energy flux provided by convection (100 W/m2) and the radiative energy flux provided by convection (0 W/m2).

If you feel it is appropriate to expose your readers to radical ideas like these, perhaps you should sponsor a debate between Steve Wilde and some other contributor, or include a rebuttal from some other contributor. Posts like this give knowledgable skeptics a bad name.

119. Lawrence13 says:

Alf says:

“So does Stephen Wilde need to be humiliated? The lack of humility was the first thing that made me suspicious of CAGWing blogs”

Its almost like a set up, a slaughter , he must have felt pleased to his essay featured not knowing it was to have a feeding frenzy with all the so called ‘ Sunday scientist’ chomping on the leftovers

Absolutely, Alf, it’s disgusting and has made me very wary and sceptical of sceptics

120. gbaikie says:

–One difficulty with these claims is that the author is looking at a different thing than Kiehl/Trenberth were looking at. The K/T budget is looking at the heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere. Steven Wilde, on the other hand, seems to be looking at heat transfer within the atmosphere.—
Yes it seems no one is being clear about it.

–For example, when the surface is warmer than the atmosphere, it is constantly losing energy to the atmosphere through conduction/convection. This is not affected in the slightest by the fact that Steven mentions, which is that air warms when it descends. So what? The surface will still be losing heat to the atmosphere as long as it is warmed by the sun.–
But does diagram show this?
You could arrows going down in same location as the arrows going up. Wilde’s point is they balance out to zero. Regionally they cool but not globally. Or they are negative in tropics and positive elsewhere.

–The same is true about evaporation. When water on the surface evaporates, it cools the surface. Period. It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law.–
What do mean? Of course it returns energy to surface.
I would say the formation of water droplets does allow heat to be radiated it space. Though such droplet aren’t selective in terms radiating to space. So they radiate and they absorbs energy. But terms of gas until such time as returns to returns to liquid state, the latent heat is stored.

–I find it quite bizarre that Steven Wilde claims that the earth’s surface doesn’t lose heat by either conduction/convection or evaporation, but purely by radiation. That flies in the face of all common sense as well as physics. That’s like claiming that humans aren’t cooled when our sweat evaporates, because of adiabatic lapse rate mumble mumble mumble …-
Ultimately for for energy to leave Earth it must be radiated. And H20 Gas converts it’s energy as gas when becomes a liquid. Though as H20 gas it transfers it’s kinetic energy to other gas molecules. And it absorb and re-radiate IR radiation as gas molecule.
What find bizarre is idea that light can increase the kinetic velocity of gas molecules in any way one could call significant- and it is increasing or decreasing the kinetic energy of gas is warming or cooling gases.

—The adiabatic lapse rate is a separate issue—the obvious reality is that both humans and the planetary surface are cooled by evaporation no matter what the lapse rate does. To claim otherwise reveals a serious, profound misunderstanding of the processes involved.–

Lapse rate is altered significantly because H20 as it is not as ideal gas at Earth temperature and pressure- as H20 has transitions between gas and liquid phases. H20 is sticky molecule.

121. Lawrence13 says:

One last comment:

Anthony when you remarked to Stephen ‘if you can’t stand the heat’ did you tell him initially when I assumed he was informed that his essay would be featured that it wasn’t so much come into the kitchen for a coffee and a chat that the chief chefs were going to throw scalding fay over his head.

Was he aware or did you lure him in?

REPLY: He offered this essay as-is with no solicitation on my part of any kind, if he can’t stand behind his own words after they are ridiculed, then he’s got nothing.

All you hand-wringers out there should walk a mile in my shoes. I’m ridiculed whether I publish this junk or not. The slayers lambast me for not allowing this sort of stuff, others lambast me for allowing it to be pointed out as dreck.

And, if I hadn’t published it and allowed it to be exposed to some very critical review, it would likely show up somewhere else where it gets a pass.

-Anthony

122. WestHighlander says:

I thought for a while this was for April 1

Trenberth’s diagram is KRAPP because it ignores the reality of a rotating sphere with both water, earth, ice, etc. in 3D. Trenberth tries to model something which is inherently dynamic with a static model. The climate of the earth would be unrecognizable in the absence of the constantly moving terminator between sun and darkness which moves both daily and annually and gives us a habitable planet. Take the average of light and dark and you don’t have anything meaningful.

However, the criticism of the model is full of ad hoc assertions about molecules not being at their proper height — sounded pre-Maxwellian

123. Frank says:

Commie Bob: The amount of heat convected upwards is one of the simplest energy fluxes to measure. Simply take the amount of rain that falls on the earth in a year and calculate how much energy is released into the atmosphere when water vapor condensed to produce that rain. The only instrument you need is a meter stick to measure rainfall and the heat of vaporization of water that has been determined through numerous well-controlled laboratory experiments (not difficult, uncontrolled, non-transparent measurements in the atmosphere). It turns out that average precipitation is very close to 1 m per year. (Deserts get almost nothing, tropical rainforests 2+ m; so the mean must lie somewhere near 1 m). The power need to vaporize 1 cubic meter of water in one year is roughly 80 J/s (W), which is how Trenberth’s value was calculated. (The actual number is higher, because some precipitation falls as frozen water, which releases about 10% more heat than rain.)

There are thousands of independent measurements of radiative fluxes made with a variety of instruments. Sensible heat WAS not measured by Trenberth – it was chosen to produce an energy imbalance of about 1 W/m2 a guesstimate from how fast the planet is warming. In later work, he had to reduce the imbalance, because ARGO showed less heat flowing into the ocean than previously estimated. Trenberth claimed his value was in line with estimates from reanalysis, but he doesn’t use those number directly. Sensible heat is basically a fudge factors that doesn’t appear unreasonable.

124. Steven Mosher says: “Group A
“Anthony, Willis, Tisdale, Monckton…”
“Group A: sometimes right, sometimes wrong…”
“Other difference. You will note over time that group A is actually open to changing their minds.”

Another difference. Group A is known also for correcting their mistakes, and moving on.

125. gbaikie says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:25 am

Willis said:

“It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law”

It doesn’t return energy to the surface. It reconverts PE to KE as it approaches the surface. No violation.”
That interesting part of it.
How much?
I mean is largely to do with nighttime temperature and does it add a degree or 2 to night time temperatures [globally]?

-It does matter that the dry rate is greater than the moist rate because there is then more warming on the descent than there was cooling on the ascent for the same distance of travel.-

So, it’s more significant in drier regions??

-In the hydro cycle it is primarily radiation from condensate that reaches space and not radiation from the bulk air mass.-

“I find it quite bizarre that Steven Wilde claims that the earth’s surface doesn’t lose heat by either conduction/convection or evaporation, but purely by radiation. That flies in the face of all common sense as well as physics.”

-The surface both loses and regains heat from conduction / convection. That is the point that has been missed.

First KE is taken up and converted to PE and then it is brought down and converted back to KE. The adiabatic portion is net zero because no new energy enters or leaves. There is a diabatic portion too but that is replaced by new incoming solar energy.-

So could say it this way, tropics with higher troposphere- this height matters?

126. I am very uncomfortable with Stephen being humiliated in this way. If his article was not up to scratch it might have been better to have told him why, and not run the item.

tonyb

• Anthony Watts says:

Tony B I get ridiculous manuscripts sent to me every week from the Slayers and others that look at the radiation and other items as something not real . I’ve just had my fill of these things and I hope that this will discourage others from sending these sorts of manuscripts. I’ve made my position on back radiation and the radiation budget clear for some time now . The only debate is how much the greenhouse effect makes as a sensitivity on the atmosphere .

P.S. We should be doubly hard on people who are climate skeptics that make wholesale errors like this one. I’ve taken my lumps, others can too.

127. DirkH says:

MikeB says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:18 am
“When the CO2 molecule absorbs the photon it is elevated to an ‘excited’ state. Left to its own devices it would re-emit this photon within a few milliseconds and revert to its ‘ground’ state.”
“What’s more, the process is reversible”

That’s why I mentioned Kirchhoff’s law. It state that in local thermodynamic equilibrium thermalization and dethermalization *MUST* happen to equal amounts. Therefore; absorption is followed by re-emission even if thermalization happens.

128. gbaikie says:

–While this effect surely exists, you are greatly exaggerating the effects. The world is a huge place. The dip of the horizon in radians is sqrt(2h/r) where h is the height of the eye and r is the radius of the earth. At a height of 20 km, the extreme case, this is a dip of 4.5°. In other words, at that altitude the horizon is at 4.5° below true horizontal.–

There is more area involved in first 4.5°, as compared to second 4.5° -and as one continues up.
In terms of sphere.
Like sphere of earth. So if equator is horizon, 4.5° above equator has more earth surface than 4.5° to 9° and as continues up. So 23 degree latitude north and south is about 40% of surface area of Earth.
So just saying in terms radiating into sphere, a few degrees above horizon may be more than it might seem.
And I think this aspect is significant in terms of ocean and it’s radiant properties and it’s low reflective quality in regard to a low horizon.

129. DirkH says:

Duster says:
April 8, 2014 at 9:59 am
“Therefore, with each re-emission, statistically, the photon is more likely to move way from the surface rather than toward it. With each increase in altitude that probability of an inward move diminishes. Again, the number of potential inward paths is never 50% except at the immediate surface.”

You’re right.

130. Tonyb says:

Anthony

I think you will have succeeded in dissuading the submission of unsuitable articles and demonstrated that scepticism is alive and well at wuwt

Tonyb

131. Box of Rocks says:

So, who can cut the snark and come up with a better diagram?

” Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The ‘energy budget’ . Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point the earth is accumulating energy. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o thermodynamics cs. “Voodoo” thermodynamics.

So after everyone gets their panties unbunched, a few of all y’all will produce a better diagram, right. Not only will it be better, you will willing accept criticism no matter how bad.

• Anthony Watts says:

Dear box of rocks instead of lecturing to us why don’t you do it

132. Bart says:

Many here appear to worry that speculations like this harm the reputation of skeptics with the warmist brigades.

That is like worrying that fan dancing will harm your reputation with streetwalkers. Those clowns have led the world on a multi-trillion dollar wild goose chase with pie-eyed conjectures which have failed utterly to pan out.

Which is worse? A fellow grasping for understanding of what went wrong with the above prognostications? Or, a coterie of Black Knights from a Monty Python skit who insist, after all their limbs have been lopped off at the stump, that it’s only a flesh wound?

133. John West says:

Box of Rocks, there are better ones:

Showing uncertainty:

Showing more than one atmospheric layers:

Showing net heat flows:

[Thanks, John. I’ve brought the images inline. The middle of the three is mine, with two layers. It is the simplest model which can be energy-balanced (output at each atmospheric layer equals input, with half going up and half going down). -w]

134. joeldshore says:

ferd berple says:

if GHG is radiating 324 inwards, it must be radiating 324+ outwards.

This is the sort of argument that sounds reasonable but is false. For an infinitesimally-thin layer so that there is never more than one absorption event, it would be true. However, when there are multiple absorptions and re-emissions, it is false.

It is easy enough to simulate this with a simple 1-dimensional random walk: Start off at point x = 0 and move to x = 1. From that point on, flip a coin and go up by 1 if it’s heads and go down by 1 if it’s tails. Stop when you reach either the top of the atmosphere (say, x = 10) or hit the surface again (x = 0). Your logic would say that we are as likely to end up at the top of the atmosphere (say, x = 10) than down at the surface (say x = 0). However, if you perform the experiment, you will find out this is not the case. In fact, you have something like nine times the chance of ending back at the surface than at the top of the atmosphere. [If I remember correctly, the escape probability is 1/(N-1) where N is the value of x that we call the top of the atmosphere.]

GHG theoretically warms the surface at the expense of cooling the atmosphere. The lapse rate gravitationally limits the temperature difference between the two. Since we are already at the gravitational limit for lapse rate, further increases in GHG will simply increase the rate of convection, cooling the surface in an amount equal to any increase in back radiation.

The process by which increasing GHGs increases the surface temperature is not by increasing the lapse rate. It is by raising the effective radiating level (i.e., roughly speaking, the level in the atmosphere at which a photon has a better than even chance to escape to space without being absorbed). That effective radiating level sets the altitude at which the temperature must be ~255 K and then the actual surface temperature is obtained by extrapolating down from that altitude to the surface using the observed environmental lapse rate (which is generally some compromise of the moist and dry adiabatic lapse rates). When that level increases, the surface temperature will increase.

It is kind of amazing that you (and Stephen who says “ferd berple has it right”) don’t seem to understand the most basic concepts of the theory that you are supposedly challenging.

135. Eric Barnes says:

“Bart says:
April 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm
Many here appear to worry that speculations like this harm the reputation of skeptics with the warmist brigades.

That is like worrying that fan dancing will harm your reputation with streetwalkers. Those clowns have led the world on a multi-trillion dollar wild goose chase with pie-eyed conjectures which have failed utterly to pan out.

Which is worse? A fellow grasping for understanding of what went wrong with the above prognostications? Or, a coterie of Black Knights from a Monty Python skit who insist, after all their limbs have been lopped off at the stump, that it’s only a flesh wound?

Well put Bart. And thanks for the article Stephen. As for most of the comments I’ll take my mother’s advice.

136. Kano says:

I have a stupid question not all the energy we receive is reflected as heat, some goes into mass, isn’t it true that 25 kwh of energy will increase an objects mass by 1 microgram, what about energy stored as fossil fuels (photosynthesis)

137. I don’t trust analyses that examine lots of details. It’s too easy to overlook something critical. (Cutting to the essentials omits detail that might be useful in modelling dynamic changes with time, but it is less prone to error and gives good steady-state insights.) For example, there is one error in this paper that seems to be critical:

… if a molecule at the surface is at the correct temperature for its height. If it is not at the correct surface temperature it will simply move towards the correct height by virtue of density variations in the horizontal plane (convection).

This is incorrect. The temperature gradient determined by the adiabatic lapse rate represents a maximum gradient. Molecules on the ground level that are hotter than the lapse rate wrt the layer above will convect upwards, but colder molecules will sit there just fine, unless conduction or radiation intervene. Think of it like a pile of sand: too steep, sand grains roll downhill, but too shallow? It doesn’t heap itself up.

Does this mistake invalidate the whole paper? I don’t know, but it isn’t my job to find out. The author should fix this mistake and all the others people suggest and put up a revised version. That’s a tall order given the many details involved, but it is to the author’s credit for making the attempt, and to Anthony’s that he posted it despite his personal misgivings.

138. Ron C. says:

joeldshore says:
April 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm

“The process by which increasing GHGs increases the surface temperature is not by increasing the lapse rate. It is by raising the effective radiating level (i.e., roughly speaking, the level in the atmosphere at which a photon has a better than even chance to escape to space without being absorbed).”

You and others keep saying this, yet radiosonde data contradicts this notion. What is true: your theory or the data?

139. george e. smith says:

“””””…..joeldshore says:

April 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm

ferd berple says:

if GHG is radiating 324 inwards, it must be radiating 324+ outwards.

This is the sort of argument that sounds reasonable but is false. For an infinitesimally-thin layer so that there is never more than one absorption event, it would be true. However, when there are multiple absorptions and re-emissions, it is false. ……”””””””

Joel, while I generally agree with your statement, I don’t think you have presented it very well.

For any arbitrary atmospheric layer, that is radiating, however you want to explain how that happens, the radiation spectrum, depends on say the H2O or CO2 line frequencies, and the effects of density and Doppler broadening due to local Temperature. That radiation is isotropic, so half goes up, and half goes down.

The upward proceeding LWIR radiation, encounters a less dense atmosphere, and a colder one, so the GHG absorption spectrum lines are less broadened.

The downward proceeding radiation, encounters a denser warmer atmosphere which has broader GHG absorption lines, so the downward radiation is more likely to be re-absorbed, than is the upward, which continues to get a less blocked passage to freedom as it proceeds towards space.

So yes; multiple re-absorption / re-emission does occur, but the atmospheric gradients favor the escape route, over the return to surface route.

140. Anthony, keep up the good work. Nothing is wrong with publishing a submission like Stephen’s. It was a good test for skeptics.

141. JustAnotherPoster says:

Can I ask a really dumb global warming theory question ? The earth is about 4 billion years old. The suns been warming the planet for all this time ‘green house gases’ have existed in our atmosphere for millions of years. Why isn’t the planet much hotter?

If the mechanism presented for the theory is correct. Greenhouse Gases have been present in our atmosphere for millions of years.

Why haven’t we already overheated ?

142. gbaikie says:

“Can I ask a really dumb global warming theory question ? The earth is about 4 billion years old. The suns been warming the planet for all this time ‘green house gases’ have existed in our atmosphere for millions of years. Why isn’t the planet much hotter?”

Earth was warmer roughly 10 million years ago, and warmer than this 50 million years ago. And has been coolest in last hundred million years in the last 2 to 3 million years.
We are in an ice box climate. Which has cold oceans and polar ice caps, and such condition are not “normal” in terms of Earth history for last 500 million years.
Here:
http://joannenova.com.au/2010/02/the-big-picture-65-million-years-of-temperature-swings/
4.5 Billion Years of the Earth’s Temperature:

143. joeldshore says:

Ron C. says:

“The process by which increasing GHGs increases the surface temperature is not by increasing the lapse rate. It is by raising the effective radiating level (i.e., roughly speaking, the level in the atmosphere at which a photon has a better than even chance to escape to space without being absorbed).”

You and others keep saying this, yet radiosonde data contradicts this notion. What is true: your theory or the data?

How does radiosonde data contradict this? Hint: If you are thinking about the lack of a so-called “hot spot” in the troposphere, that has absolutely nothing to do with what I am talking about.

144. gbaikie says:

– Kano says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I have a stupid question not all the energy we receive is reflected as heat, some goes into mass, isn’t it true that 25 kwh of energy will increase an objects mass by 1 microgram, what about energy stored as fossil fuels (photosynthesis)-

Hmm. Well, a lot of energy of sunlight is stored in Earth oceans.
Energy is also stored in the ground of your yard. One actually harvest energy from your yard-
geothermal energy:
http://firstgeothermalenergy.com/geothermal_faq.html
Also one buries water pipe at some depth under ground so that cold weather doesn’t freeze the water in the pipes.

145. joeldshore says:

JustAnotherPoster says:

Can I ask a really dumb global warming theory question ? The earth is about 4 billion years old. The suns been warming the planet for all this time ‘green house gases’ have existed in our atmosphere for millions of years. Why isn’t the planet much hotter?

Because as the planet heats up, it emits more energy back into space.

In other words, the question to be asked is: “How warm will does the temperature of the Earth have to be in order that it emits back into space the same amount of energy as it receives from the sun?” (So that it neither warms nor cools globally.) And, the answer is that how warm it has to be depends on various factors, including the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Earth has to be about 33 deg C warmer because of the effects of greenhouse gases than it would be without those effects (assuming all else, including albedo, remain the same).

146. Willis Eschenbach says:

I’m as much on the outside of this whole post as anyone. By that I mean I didn’t discuss this with Anthony in any sense, and in general I know nothing about what’s going on with the blog, what gets published and doesn’t … actually, Anthony and I don’t communicate much, and (fortunately) when we do our emails are usually about boats and boating.

However, for those of you who think that Anthony somehow “set Steven up”, nothing could be further from the truth. What happened is that Steven Wilde sent a proposed post to Anthony, and Anthony published it without changing one word and without comment.

I’m sorry, but there is absolutely nothing in there that anyone can fault Anthony for doing. Are you guys busting him for not editing the piece? Are you busting him for not commenting on the piece? Are you busting him for not warning Steven that the reception would be hostile? Everything here gets a hostile reception, it’s called science. Think about what Anthony actually did.

Now … did Anthony expect that Steven’s most unusual claims would get much uncomplimentary attention? Of course he did, because Steven’s claims are, in Steven Mosher’s words, “not even wrong”. They rest on profound misunderstandings of what has been established science for over two centuries.

However, I’m sure that Steven Wilde himself knew that he was in for a rough ride with lots of heavyweight opposition. He’d be a fool not to know that, and although he’s got some zany substitutes for physics in his universe, I’ve never thought him a fool.

So the fact that Anthony knew it would receive harsh attacks and did not say anything to Steven is absolutely no reason to attack Anthony, because Steven Wilde knew that going in.

In short, Anthony just published the piece, and did nothing else. He did nothing blameworthy at all … and in any case, blaming the publisher when a newly launched scientific post goes hard aground on a reef of ugly facts is merely an attempt to divert attention from the wreck.

w.

147. KevinK says:

Slartibartfast says:

“I’d be happier if “Back radiation” or “Backradiation” were erased from the GW lexicon. It’s just radiation. There isn’t anything special about it that merits a new name.

Except it’s been “used”, maybe. But radiation doesn’t care who had it next to last.”

“REPLY: That’s a good idea, really the only thing that is happening is retarding the escape of energy to space – Anthony”

With respect,

“retarding” is a very poor word choice.
A
better choice might be: “Slowing the velocity of the energy escaping to space”. However that is clearly incorrect since the energy (LWIR in this case) is speeding away from the surface at close to the speed of light in a vacuum, and accelerating as the atmosphere diminishes and transitions into a vacuum. While doing so the surface is left bereft of the energy that just left.

Then of course some (less than 50%) of that packet of energy returns for another try at warming the surface. This time its velocity decreases as the atmosphere becomes denser. And it again heats the surface which then cools. This effect (GHE/Backradiation, whatever you want to name it) simply delays the flow of energy through the Sun/Earth/Atmosphere/Universe system by causing some of the energy to make multiple passes through the system. It alternates as thermal energy (when absorbed by water/rocks/gases) and light when propagating between absorptions.

This creates a simple hybrid optical/thermal delay line. A similar effect happens inside an optical integrating sphere. It should be noted that when the energy input is “steady state” like sunshine this effect cannot be observed with the tools (FLIR/Radiometers, etc.) currently available.

This “delay line” effect only amounts to a few tens of milliseconds of delay to the energy flowing through the system. This is an important distinction from an effect that slows the velocity of (i.e. retards) energy flowing through a system like common thermal insulators (fiberglass, etc) do.

This slowing of velocity can (under the right circumstances; i.e. every other velocity in the system is faster) result in a higher retention of energy (i.e. a higher temperature).

Oh, and the light bulb experiment is both a poor theoretical example (the surface of the earth is not like a light bulb for purposes of energy flow considerations) and poorly executed by many folks. A light bulb is only a portion of an illumination system and it does interact with all other portions of the system (power supply AC/DC, reflectors, ambient temperatures, gases, the material used in the envelope, etc. etc.). It’s easy to set one up and measure it, it is quite another thing to properly understand what the measurements are telling you.

The missing heat is currently traveling away from the Earth as a spherical LWIR wavefront that is “X + d” light years away. In this equation X is the elapsed time since the energy arrived (100 years for sunlight from 1914) and “d” represents the slight delay from the “GHE”. This delay is of course a statistical distribution since some photons will bounce many times (Earth/Atmosphere/Earth/Atmosphere/Earth/Universe) and others will directly exit with no delay. “d” likely averages 5 milliseconds.

There, allow the comment if you wish, I’ll take my lumps.

Cheers, Kevin.

148. Ron C. says:

joeldshore says:
April 8, 2014 at 6:03 pm

149. gbaikie says:

I think it’s commendable that Anthony publishes articles that he doesn’t agree with- but one could
say this is what this site does all the time. So if warmist or slayers it’s all grist.

But I don’t think the Earth surface absorbs any heat from back radiation. Nor do I think anyone can make something which can harvest this magical source of constant energy. It would wonderful solution to global energy if it were possible. 300 watts per square meter 24 hours a day at 20% efficiency would be great. Or if could get a portion of 300 watts times 24 hours: 7.2 kilowatts per day it would be an impressive compared to solar energy. When consider solar capital of world, Germany, which only gets average of 2 kilowatts per day of total flux of sunlight.

So question is, does average surface of Earth absorb 324 watts per square meter, or are areas of earth which get this much or more energy.
And if not an average of 324 watts per square meter, what is the more correct answer?

150. I accept that Anthony was within his rights in dealing with my submission in the way he did.

I confirm that I knew I was in for a rough ride in any event but since Anthony made no adverse comment to me I assumed that he saw something of merit and so I did not expect him to take a position.

I have had no less severe reactions elsewhere when, in the past, I proposed that ocean oscillations and jet stream behaviour were primary drivers of climate variability such as to swamp any human influence yet both those aspects have recently come much more to the fore.

The reality can be neatly summarised as follows:

I) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.

ii) he adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.

iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.

The effect of radiative capability is therefore only to redistribute energy so that 168 absorbed by the surface becomes 40 emitted by the surface and 67 absorbed by the atmosphere becomes 195 emitted by the atmosphere (165 + 30).

Transparency to incoming shortwave and opacity to outgoing longwave simply re-apportions the share of the same amount of energy emitted to space between emissions from surface and atmosphere.

One can test the logic of that by considering the position as it would be for a radiatively inert atmosphere ( 235 absorbed by surface and 235 emitted by surface) and a 100% radiative atmosphere ( 235 absorbed by the atmosphere and 235 emitted by the atmosphere).

The logic and the physics are sound.

The system temperature does not change. Only convection and the global air circulation change.

151. Trick says:

Stephen 6:50pm: “…balance at 222 Wm2. The logic and the physics are sound.”

Not sound logic. If your logic were sound then sun would not be able drive gliders & certain birds to be able to soar as they do with the 24 flux and the sun would not be able to drive the hydrological cycle as it does with the 78 flux. Both effects are observed and needed in the energy flux balances per the scientific method. Meaning 24 and 78 cannot be zeroed out by sound logic in nature.

The circulation changes commensurate with surface Tmean changes as observed.

152. gbaikie says:

-One can test the logic of that by considering the position as it would be for a radiatively inert atmosphere ( 235 absorbed by surface and 235 emitted by surface) and a 100% radiative atmosphere ( 235 absorbed by the atmosphere and 235 emitted by the atmosphere).

The logic and the physics are sound.-

I say in within context of certain rules of the game, it’s logic is sound. One removing the reflection of 107 watts. 235 + 107 is 342.
And it follows if you were to have less reflection, there would be a warmer world??

A warmer world at Earth distance which gets 1360 watts square meter [divided by 4] of sunlight.

153. James Rollins Jr says:

Watching the amateurs circle the drain of the scientific discourse they invaded and sought to hand over to scientific piracy is just one of those things that has to happen.

154. joeldshore says:

Ron C. says:

Okay. I see what you are referring to now (and what your username likely stands for, given the paper to which you extensively refer).

I’ll just point out that in your false dichotomy “What is true: your theory or the data?” there is a 3rd more likely explanation: It is your interpretation of the data which is wrong, which is why your interpretation can most generously and euphemistically be called “completely novel” (as can your claim to have discovered a completely new method of energy transmission in the atmosphere.

155. gbaike said:

“And it follows if you were to have less reflection, there would be a warmer world??”

Yes, which is why I consider the effect of solar variability on tropopause height, the length of the lines of air mass mixing along the jet stream tracks, global cl;oudiness and consequent variations in the amount of solar energy able to enter the oceans as important for climate changes. Alter global albedo and you effectively alter insolation which, along with more mass or stronger gravity can affect system energy content.

Trick said:

“If your logic were sound then sun would not be able drive gliders & certain birds to be able to soar as they do with the 24 flux and the sun would not be able to drive the hydrological cycle as it does with the 78 flux. Both effects are observed and needed in the energy flux balances per the scientific method. Meaning 24 and 78 cannot be zeroed out by sound logic in nature.”

Gliders don’t rise under a descending air column and birds need to be selective as to where they soar. Solar heat at the surface drives the hydrological cycle but what goes up must come down. No solar heating, no convection.

The 24 and 78 only represent the adiabatic reversible component of the convective cycle. Due to the separate diabatic component ( increased when the atmosphere has radiative capability) and the fact that water vapour is lighter than air the strength of convection (both ascent and descent) is stronger than one would expect from those numbers alone.

Note that I do not necessarily subscribe to the K & T raw numbers. I just appreciate the neat way they have divided up the elements of the system for illustrative purposes.

That said, I have explained how it should be made better and why.

156. Box of Rocks says:

So, James Rollins Jr, when did Micheal Mann et al. get flushed down the drain?

Did I miss something?

Thanks for cartoons. We have a long row to hoe. Sometimes the responses to the article are more informative than the original article.

Far better to debate an issue without solving it than to solve an issue without debating it.

157. James Rollins Jr says:

Mann was first flushed when McIntyre got his hands on his faked data.

He’s circled and circled, avoiding total flush.

He is being kept from leaving it right now by Dr. Timothy Ball, one of the authors of the book Slaying the Sky Dragon as well as the other man he messed up and tried to ruin.

158. gbaikie says:

— Stephen Wilde says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:36 pm

gbaike said:

“And it follows if you were to have less reflection, there would be a warmer world??”

Yes,….–

Ok, next:
Now your model [nor for that matter does the Trenberth et al model] doesn’t really explain why the world is warm.

Or let me say it this way, Venus reflects more sunlight than Earth.

Do you disagree? Or you wish at point to explain it otherwise?

Or I would say you are *merely* the correcting the Trenberth et al model.

And I would say generally any reduction of back radiation is in the correct direction:)

159. Max™ says:

[Slayer sophist, whatever – you’ve been told you aren’t welcome here when you link to such things (link removed) Feel free to be as upset as you wish. – Anthony]

160. Alec Rawls says:

Stephen quotes my critique and answers:

“the dominant energy transfer, is that heat is being removed from the surface by evaporation and released in the upper atmosphere by condensation. That energy transport cannot be ignored just because it is not via radiation!”

That is part of the adiabatic process and is covered by the radiative losses from atmosphere to space at 165 and clouds at 30. Therefore it is not being ignored.

Before the energy absorbed from the surface by evaporation and transpiration can be radiated out into space by the mid-atmosphere and by clouds it has to first be released in the middle of the atmosphere by condensation. Thus this leg of the energy flow journey should not, it seems to me, show an energy flow of zero, as Stephen is claiming.

This is where I’m finding Stephen’s argument confusing. I’m intrigued by the idea that Trenberth might be counting adiabatic processes as constituting energy flows when by definition they are not, but the idea that there is no energy flow via evapotranspiration from the surface to the atmosphere seems clearly wrong so I have to be skeptical for now that Stephen has this right.

161. Willis Eschenbach says:

Alec Rawls says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Stephen quotes my critique and answers:

“the dominant energy transfer, is that heat is being removed from the surface by evaporation and released in the upper atmosphere by condensation. That energy transport cannot be ignored just because it is not via radiation!”

That is part of the adiabatic process and is covered by the radiative losses from atmosphere to space at 165 and clouds at 30. Therefore it is not being ignored.

Before the energy absorbed from the surface by evaporation and transpiration can be radiated out into space by the mid-atmosphere and by clouds it has to first be released in the middle of the atmosphere by condensation. Thus this leg of the energy flow journey should not, it seems to me, show an energy flow of zero, as Stephen is claiming.

This is where I’m finding Stephen’s argument confusing. I’m intrigued by the idea that Trenberth might be counting adiabatic processes as constituting energy flows when by definition they are not, but the idea that there is no energy flow via evapotranspiration from the surface to the atmosphere seems clearly wrong so I have to be skeptical for now that Stephen has this right.

Alec, I agree with you completely. The “hydrological cycle” involves evaporation at the surface and condensation at altitude. This moves energy from the surface to the atmosphere. Steven Wilde’s claim is as follows:

The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

Both in this quote and in Steven’s quote in your email, he doesn’t mention the energy leaving the surface at all. But that’s where the arrow in the K/T diagram originates … how can you not include that?

Steven is right that in general the warming and cooling of ascending and descending air parcels is basically a wash, with no net energy transfer … but that’s not true about the energy removed from the surface by evaporation and released when the water vapor condenses at elevation. That energy is a true transfer of energy from the surface to the atmosphere. It is independent of the “radiative losses from atmosphere to space” that Steven mentions, and it is definitely NOT zero as Steven claims.

w.

162. Willis Eschenbach says:

Steven, I got to thinking about the following statement from the head post (emphasis mine):

The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

Now, that doesn’t even work in theory, that the energy would leave the surface, circle around in the atmosphere, and return to the surface … but when I thought about it I realized there’s a further problem. Let me illustrate by example.

Consider a tropical thunderstorm. Underneath the thunderstorm, the wind blows hard. Evaporation increases linearly with wind, so the air becomes moisture-laden. This air rises up into the thunderstorm.

Now … what is the lapse rate of the ascending air under the thunderstorm? Well, it’s a complex question, no clear answer, but one thing we know for sure.

It’s NOT the wet adiabatic lapse rate, as you seem to think. That is the lapse rate for ascending air which is condensing … but that’s what’s happening inside the thunderstorm, not in the ascending air under the clouds.

So the claim that the difference between the wet and dry adiabatic lapse rates somehow offset each other doesn’t make sense, because everything outside the cloud itself is not at the wet adiabatic lapse rate.

Not that the underlying argument of energy somehow returning to the surface made sense, but it makes even less sense.

The main issue is you are not acknowledging the actual energy transfer, which is the cooling of the surface by evaporation and the transfer of that energy to the atmosphere.

w.

163. Kristian Fredriksson says:

I don´t understand why there is only one energy balance? As I see it there should be one for the tropics where the troposphere is two times as thick as in the polar regions and contains a lot more water because of this and the higher temperature.

Also a lot of heat transport from the tropics to the polar regions must be crucial to this model. Especially the Gulf stream and the north Atlantic drift. My guess is that the Arctic region serves as the most important thermostat when it comes to get rid of the extra heat to the space. The Tropics should be pretty constant, but 5k higher temperature in the arctic area would give away much more energy to space than it get from the sun. Especially in winter time.

Also, the Sun can only heat half the earth at a time but the heat radiation to the atmosphere and the space you have all the time. To me it seems to be a more dynamic system all together than this simple model they present here.

Also the amount of heat transportation north and south of the hemispheres should have a pattern that vary over the years. Right now a lot of the heat travels up north and less south. Maybe we will see the opposite in a couple of years. There should be an oscillation with a period over several decades as i see it.

I suggest a more complex model with different geographical areas and also a timescale over the year and day. To me is seems obvious that we don’t have any spots that give away more energy than they get from the sun and also that the tropics would receive more sun energy than it gives away because of the heat transportation to the north and south..

I am not a scientist so I need some help here.

164. Crispin in Waterloo but really in Johannesburg says:

Crashex I agree with the principled objection though I would not have expressed it as strongly. There is a dearth of understanding among the general public of the principles of energy transfer. Many of the responses have similar problems.

It okay! No one gets hurt by thinking out loud.

Keep discussing and thinking about it. There are problems in the budgets presented but it is difficult to grasp all the implications involved in the full picture. You can’t learn thermodynamics by looking at a cartoon of the atmosphere.

165. Willis and Alec.

Your questions are reasonable so I’ll try and clarify. I didn’t want the original post to become even more detailed, I just wanted to start with the broad brush approach.

Energy certainly leaves the surface during uplift whether that be induced by heating of dry air at the surface or by creation of water vapour that is lighter than air at the same temperature.

Until the air returns to the surface on the descent half of the convective cycle there is a cooling of the surface to a temperature lower than it would have been otherwise (but not lower than 255K).

When it does return to the surface then the cooling stops and the temperature rises to 288K because the energy being taken up is matched by the energy being brought down.

That does not involve back radiation to the surface so if one has also added back radiation of the same amount (as Kiehl and Trenberth did) then there is double counting.

In the middle there is radiative loss to space from GHGs and particulates including condensation and that reduces the energy available to be converted back to KE on the subsequent descent. However, new solar energy is still flowing to the surface to replace that by first heating the surface and then conducting to the air so the air above the surface remains at 288K.

That loss is already in the diagram in the numbers 165 and 30 going out to space so the other figures of 24 and 78 can only be the adiabatic element that stays in the system and returns to the surface. An adiabatic process with no new energy added or energy lost is fully reversible.

Latent heat of evaporation, when released by condensation, is absorbed by the bulk of atmospheric mass when it is released and that bulk mass is largely non radiative so it cannot be radiated to space from height. Instead it goes to accelerated uplift and turns to PE which is later recovered as KE on the descent.

Since the uplift is accelerated the air has further to fall subsequently and that extra distance of fall recovers the additional PE created by the previously released latent heat.

In any event the only losses are the radiative ones covered by 165 and 30.The rest returns to the surface as KE recovered from PE.

Note that all this has to be averaged globally. The situation locally is chaotic, especially within individual convective cells, as Willis correctly notes.

Nonetheless it works as I say and this would not have been so new or radical 50 years ago.

You can readily see that air with a temperature of 10C at 700 mb warms to 25C at 1000 mb with no energy added or removed. It is all done from reconversion of PE to KE.

It is important to realise that the descending warmed air need not heat the surface or reduce the rate of surface cooling.

All it has to do is offset the cooling that would otherwise have occurred from continuing uplift elsewhere.

That is why the surface is at 288K and not 255K

166. jonesingforozone says:

Has anyone actually proved a GHG increase from radiosonde proxies, for example?

167. johnmarshall says:

Further to my last crit.. The transfers on the right of the diagram, the GHG interactions(?), seem to have no negative feedback control. All systems have negative feedbacks to stop criticality running amoke. Here there are none so how are the GHG interactions controlled? What is to stop the feedbacks, as shown, not running to uncontrolled increasing warming?
Why, in light of past ice ages with very high CO2 atmospheric content, did the ice ages actually start?
And why are dry deserts HOTTER than very humid tropical rainforests? This theory claims the opposite.

168. Strange that so much abuse should be heaped on someone who just points out that the well established physics of adiabatic heating on descent might make the assumption of net DWIR at the surface inappropriate.

Strange, too, that it should come from fellow sceptics.

That is really all that lies at the heart of this thread.

169. Ron C. says:

joeldshore says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Nice try to tar me with the brush used on some commenter who is banned here. That is not me, and you can’t save your theory that way. Try instead to play the ball, not the man.

You and others have asserted that IR active gases raise the effective emission level and cause tropospheric warming. I pointed you to rigorous research that attempted to measure the claimed effect.

Measurements from radiosonde balloons show that the temperature profile in the actual atmosphere is entirely consistent with the thermodynamic properties of the bulk air gases, O2 and N2. No effect from IR active gases was detected.

Your theory is unproven without empirical data: you require observations from the real world, not models and not textbooks.

170. Box of Rocks says:

John West says:
April 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm

So, in the three diagrams provide, the piece of the puzzle left out is the descending air.

Consider what has happened this last winter with the ‘polar vortex’.

Large amounts of warm moist air entered the atmosphere from the equatorial regions. The air then cooled and released energy. Upon reaching the polar regions it then sank from height and thus warmed. This was evident by the large above average temperature associated with a high pressure located in the area of Alaska.

Thus one can say that regions were no a result of AGW.

How is that process of energy transfer accounted for in the 4 diagrams presented other than the first part of the process being lumped into the evapotranspiration bucket?

171. Richard M says:

I think there might be a way for Anthony to avoid the problems with publishing both skeptical nonsense and peer reviewed nonsense. He does both. Put a boilerplate heading on these types of articles saying something alone the line of …. “For your review, no support for the content implied”. That should help.

172. Richard M says:

I think all the attacks on the various energy diagrams is misplaced. They are simply generalizations to give people an idea of the processes involved. They helped me a lot when I was first trying to understand the issues. The real question is how do they change when you double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. That is the key.

Has anyone ever seen an “after doubling” diagram? That would be the one that needs attention. I suspect the alarmists would show increases in the radiation parts with a slight increase in evapotranspiration. This is where they get it wrong. It should show a larger increase in latent heat and an additional increase in reflected solar (more clouds). This would almost entirely balance out the increases in down welling LWIR. Notice that the budget would still balance but there would be no need for any major increase in the surface radiation (due to temperature increase).

173. Eric Barnes says:

“Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 3:40 am
Strange that so much abuse should be heaped on someone who just points out that the well established physics of adiabatic heating on descent might make the assumption of net DWIR at the surface inappropriate.

Strange, too, that it should come from fellow sceptics.”
It would seem the A team has a wart that it would rather not discuss.

174. gbaikie says:

— Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 3:40 am

Strange that so much abuse should be heaped on someone who just points out that the well established physics of adiabatic heating on descent might make the assumption of net DWIR at the surface inappropriate.

Strange, too, that it should come from fellow sceptics.–

We tend to have our pet theories:)
And we are skeptical of stuff.

For instance I believe that Earth’s ocean is large factor which determines
Earth’s average temperature.
And these energy budget’s don’t say anything about ocean and land. And
also think the tropics gets most of sunlight and the tropics warms the rest of planet.
Which again, such averaged global energy budget don’t address.

But in terms Venus, I think it is mostly this adiabatic heating on descent that explains why it’s so hot.

But I had not considered this same mechanism on Earth as a factor which causes warming.
But rather, more of a factor that reduces cooling. So rather than causal factor or “forcing”, in regard to Earth it would be a more of a result or consequence of warming. So during the night time one has such “adiabatic heating on descent” being one element involved.

And seeing it as mostly related to the amount atmosphere over your head- which is about 10 tonnes per square meter. So I would have regarded such tonnage as making a significant difference in terms of how cool the night could get.

Whereas If one different world where there was only 5 tonnes per square meter over your head, I would assume the nights would cool faster as the result of such less mass. And 20 tonnes would have less cooling at night.

But not really related to how warm it caused the planet to be.
Or contrary to it of being cooler average temperature, I would think the 5 ton atmosphere would causee earth like world to be warmer, as one simply gets solar energy warming the surface. Which I would guess is a larger factor when it’s balanced against the more rapid cooling at night.

Now, in terms causing the planet to warm, I assume having world 70% ocean surface, would cause higher amount of this forcing as compared to a world no oceans. Or at least by having lots of moist air, increase this warming effect?
Or would planet Dune have more of this or same as compared to Earth?

175. Leonard Weinstein says:

gbaikie says:
April 9, 2014 at 6:05 am
You are making the same error as Wilde. The adiabatic heating is a fact for suitable mixed atmospheres, but the adiabatic variation is a GRADIENT, not temperature level. The temperature level is set by the location of the effective average altitude of net outgoing radiation to space that balances the net absorbed solar radiation (absorbed on the ground and in the atmosphere). Without an absorbing gas or aerosols, the radiation to space occurs from the ground level, and this sets the ground temperature. The temperature then drops below that level with increasing altitude due to the adiabatic expansion of dropping pressure. If there are absorbing gases and clouds and aerosols, this effective average location of radiation to space occurs at higher altitude, and adiabatic heating below that altitude assures the ground will be hotter than without the absorbing atmosphere, as on Venus and Earth.

176. Ron C. says:

Leonard Weinstein says:
April 9, 2014 at 6:22 am

“It can be seen from the infra-red cooling model of Figure 19 that the greenhouse effect theory predicts a strong influence from the greenhouse gases on the barometric temperature profile. Moreover, the modelled net effect of the greenhouse gases on infra-red cooling varies substantially over the entire atmospheric profile.

However, when we analysed the barometric temperature profiles of the radiosondes in this paper, we were unable to detect any influence from greenhouse gases. Instead, the profiles were very well described by the thermodynamic properties of the main atmospheric gases, i.e., N 2 and O 2 , in a gravitational field.”

“While water vapour is a greenhouse gas, the effects of water vapour on the temperature profile did not appear to be related to its radiative properties, but rather its different molecular structure and the latent heat released/gained by water in its gas/liquid/solid phase changes.

For this reason, our results suggest that the magnitude of the greenhouse effect is very small, perhaps negligible. At any rate, its magnitude appears to be too small to be detected from the archived radiosonde data.”

Open Peer Rev. J., 2014; 19 (Atm. Sci.), Ver. 0.1. http://oprj.net/articles/atmospheric-science/19 page 18 of 28

177. Leonard Weinstein said:

“If there are absorbing gases and clouds and aerosols, this effective average location of radiation to space occurs at higher altitude, and adiabatic heating below that altitude assures the ground will be hotter than without the absorbing atmosphere, as on Venus and Earth.”

It is that assumption that the surface would be hotter in the presence of absorbing gases and clouds which is the issue.

With no radiative gases the effective radiating height would be the ground and with 100% effective radiation the effective radiating height would be at the top of the atmosphere so it is true to assert that absorbing gases and clouds raise the effective radiating height.

But does it follow that the surface is any hotter ?

Only if one sticks slavishly to the lapse rate slope as it would be with no absorbing gases or clouds.
If they change the slope then changed height need not change surface temperature.

I would say that, because the system is not being supplied with any additional energy from outside, the rise in height is INSTEAD OF a rise in surface temperature because with absorbing gases and clouds more of the energy absorbed and emitted can be dealt with by the atmosphere without involving the surface.

What would happen in practice is that for dry air the lapse rate slope would change away from the ideal slope on the ascent part of the convective cycle and change the opposite way on the descent part of the cycle so each would cancel out.

We can see from the vertical thermal profile of Earth’s atmosphere that radiative gases do distort the lapse rate slopes. The reversed slope in the stratosphere is a prime example which is due entirely to the powerful radiative presence of ozone.

Convection would change so as to net out the changed slopes on both the ascent and the descent and in doing so would regulate the rate of energy flow through the system so as to offset the thermal effect of the absorbing gases and clouds.

We can see with water vapour that the slope on the ascent and the slope on the descent need not be the same.

Convection would juggle the proportions of energy flowing to space from the atmosphere itself and through the Atmospheric window from the surface which is something I pointed out above.

But this is going way beyond the point of my essay which was to draw attention to the fact that adiabatic warming on descent should be shown as an offset to Thermals and Evapo-transpiration in the K & T diagram which means that the extra 102 Wm2 of DWIR constitutes double counting.

The aversion here to considering adiabatic warming on descent as an offset to cooling on ascent will be seen as a major error in due course.

178. Eric Barnes says:

Under Acknowledgements …
“No funding was received for this research.”

You had to know it would be that way. :)

179. Trick says:

Stephen 7:36pm: ”Gliders don’t rise under a descending air column…what goes up must come down. No solar heating, no convection.”

Good; then you accept the notion top post cartoon is correct after all since the 24 and 78 flow observed go up for gliding and hydrological as shown in the cartoon then 24 and 78 observed come down as shown in the cartoon. No correction to zero for 24 and 78 flow needed after all. In non-adiabatic reality also need to comply with entropy consideration.

180. Slartibartfast says:

This effect (GHE/Backradiation, whatever you want to name it) simply delays the flow of energy through the Sun/Earth/Atmosphere/Universe system by causing some of the energy to make multiple passes through the system.

Unless you have some notions about cooler objects not being able to radiate to warmer ones, I don’t think we have any important areas of disagreement.

That’s my issue with “backradiation” as a distinction. It’s not that matter doesn’t radiate; it is (instead) that it does. Always. In all directions. Without regard to the thermal mass that it’s radiating toward.

If you don’t understand why this would even be a question, go take a peek at the “Slaying the Slayers, Part II” thread that I linked to upthread here. It was a truly bizarre conversation.

181. Ron C. says:

Eric Barnes says:
April 9, 2014 at 7:12 am

So true Eric. I am struck by the general lack of curiosity here about this line of research. These papers, to which I have no connection, appear to be serious and rigorous research. Their only flaw seems to be they present evidence that casts doubt on a piece of conventional climate theory.

It’s an open peer review website, and I have found the authors to be engaging and knowledgeable about their work. People with stronger backgrounds should post their assessments there, and we would all be wiser for it.

182. pochas says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 6:56 am

“The aversion here to considering adiabatic warming on descent as an offset to cooling on ascent will be seen as a major error in due course.”

You can’t accept the fact that a parcel of air that has arrived at 15000 feet and cooled by radiation from T1 to T2 will still retain the difference T1 – T2 on the way down?

183. pochas

You can’t accept that air warms on the way down ?

You can readily see that air with a temperature of 10C at 700 mb warms to 25C at 1000 mb with no energy added or removed. It is all done from reconversion of PE to KE.

It doesn’t retain the energy lost by radiation but that gets replaced by new solar energy arriving at the surface.

Most of the conducted energy is in the adiabatic exchange as PE and the higher you go the more is in PE form which does not radiate so only a portion leaks out to space via radiation.

184. Trick,

The diagram shows 24 and 78 leaving the surface with 24 and 78 arriving higher up in the atmosphere.

It does not show a balanced two way process otherwise no one in this thread would be arguing with me when I say it should be a two way process.

The arrows go up and do not come down.

185. Leonard Weinstein says:

Stephen, you still don’t get it. The convection due to buoyancy and turbulent mixing maintain the adiabatic lapse rate (as modified by condensing moisture, i.e., wet adiabatic lapse rate) even with the shift in location in radiation to space. As pointed out, this radiation actually occurs over the entire altitude, but there is an effective average location for simplicity of calculation sake. You would not expect a change in this GRADIENT, only a shift in level due to so called greenhouse gas effects. The missing so called hot spot is a different issue and depends on assumptions of strong non-equilibrium.

186. Trick says:

Stephen 9:58am: “The arrows go up and do not come down.”

They do come down in the cartoon just as you write they must – not broken out of the bath total, have to read the narrative. The 24 and 78 come down as components of the down arrow last one on the right, toward surface sign convention positive:

24+78+67+155=324

187. pochas says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

“You can readily see that air with a temperature of 10C at 700 mb warms to 25C at 1000 mb with no energy added or removed.”

Wrong, Stephen. Warming air from 10C to 25C is not an adiabatic process. Look up the heat capacity for air, Cp at 1 atm, and multiply by the temperature difference. That’s the energy added. Crack a textbook, look up the Carnot cycle, study it and work the problems. When you get the answers right (requires prior understanding of enthalpy, entropy, heat capacity, the gamma function) consider the analogy between convection and a Carnot cycle with perfect efficiency.

188. pochas says:

Ok, Stephen, I apologize. You were pointing out correctly that a gas after an adiabatic expansion will have the same energy content as before, and with that I agree. It’s what happens at the surface before the expansion (energy gain), and in the radiating zone after the expansion (energy loss) that counts, and an energy balance at any intermediate altitude will show this quantity as a net energy flow upward.

189. Willis Eschenbach says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 9:58 am

Trick,

The diagram shows 24 and 78 leaving the surface with 24 and 78 arriving higher up in the atmosphere.

It does not show a balanced two way process otherwise no one in this thread would be arguing with me when I say it should be a two way process.

The arrows go up and do not come down.

Gadzooks, I get the opposite of this complaint all the time—people claiming that the radiation arrows in the diagram should show the NET flows, not individual flows up and down … and of course, you can show net flows, and many examples of global budgets do show that. Either one is fine. It’s like the difference between me giving you a hundred dollars and you giving me back seventy-five, and me giving you twenty-five dollars. Which ever way you do it is correct.

But now we get the other complaint from you, that the sensible and latent heat show the net flows, where they should show the individual flows. Wish folks would make up their minds.

In any case, Steven, the arrows do not need to go up and come down in order to show the net flows. That’s why they’re called net flows and not individual flows, because the one arrow shows the net of the two processes. If you have a problem with a single arrow showing the net of the processes, then I fear I can’t help you.

And in any case, whether we show net flows or individual flows is immaterial, as long as the flows are measured correctly.

w.

190. Trick said:

“The 24 and 78 come down as components of the down arrow last one on the right, toward surface sign convention positive:24+78+67+155=324.”

Which is pretty much my point. The back radiation should be reduced by 102 Wm2 and a down arrow put in the non radiative section then the revised figures that I put forward apply with the surface warming due to mass and not radiative capability.

pochas said:

“It’s what happens at the surface before the expansion (energy gain), and in the radiating zone after the expansion (energy loss) that counts, and an energy balance at any intermediate altitude will show this quantity as a net energy flow upward.”

Not quite, there is no energy loss or gain within the adiabatic process, merely conversion of KE to PE (heat loss) and back again (heat gain).

If the atmosphere has radiative capability then radiative energy loss will occur from within the adiabatic process but will be replaced by more conduction from the surface to keep the temperature at 288K.

If the atmosphere lacks radiative capability then all the energy loss to space is via radiation directly from the surface at 288K. It can’t drop back to 255K because the mass of the atmosphere will still conduct and convect though I accept that even luminaries such as Roy Spencer and Anthony still think that the atmosphere would trend isothermal and convection would fade away.

That cannot happen where the surface is unevenly heated and temperature still declines with height due to conversion of KE to PE with height. That still happens even without GHGs.

Either way, the surface temperature is unaffected by the adiabatic portion of the convective energy exchange once the first convective cycle has completed (whereupon the surface temperature settles at 288K). The back radiation figure must then be reduced from 324 to 222 (otherwise it is double counting) which then balances with radiation of 222 from surface to atmosphere thus no surface warming from back radiation.

The frustrating thing for me is that I can see just what points Anthony and the naysayers are failing to grasp but I cannot get it across to a mindset that is focused on radiative balances alone.

191. Willis said:

“That’s why they’re called net flows and not individual flows, because the one arrow shows the net of the two processes”

You can’t have a net flow within a reversible adiabatic process. The ascent and the descent involve no addition or removal of energy.

You could say that there is a net radiative upward flow incorporated within the adiabatic exchange but those arrows cannot be that because K & T already have the outgoing 165 from the atmosphere and 30 from clouds to space as a separate pair of numbers higher up in the diagram.

Having allocated the 165 and 30 to the radiative flow out to space the 24 and 78 must be the adiabatic portion which must always be net zero. You said yourself that the adiabatic process is ‘a wash’.

And so it is.

192. Alec Rawls says:

Stephen writes:

That loss [radiation to space of heat released in the mid-atmosphere by condensation] is already in the diagram in the numbers 165 and 30 going out to space so the other figures of 24 and 78 can only be the adiabatic element that stays in the system and returns to the surface. An adiabatic process with no new energy added or energy lost is fully reversible.

That is not how I read Trenberth’s diagram. The 24 and 78 numbers are clearly marked as energy transfers from the surface to “absorbed by atmosphere.” From there part of this warmth from convection and condensation gets released to space as part of the 165 and 30 numbers. The diagram shows two legs to the energy flow from surface to space. I think Stephen is just misinterpreting when he says that the numbers on the bottom leg stay in the system and return to the surface. Some returns to the surface through, as Trenberth models it, “back-radiation,” and some radiates out into space.

I see no reason to think from the diagram that Trenberth is misinterpreting adiabatic warming and cooling as movements of energy. Does he actually say this? Stephen seems to be saying that this is implied: “so the other figures of 24 and 78 can only be the adiabatic element that stays in the system and returns to the surface” (emphasis added). But no, they can also be (and are clearly marked in the diagram to be) just the first leg of the journey from surface to atmosphere to space, with some not making it out into space but coming back to the surface via “back-radiation” (which doesn’t make the surface warmer than it was but rather slows down its rate of heat loss, making it warmer than it otherwise would be).

Whether this criticism is right or wrong, there is no scorn in it. We love Stephen! It just looks to me like he made a goof up this time out that he should have caught, something we all have to worry about, and naturally have great sympathy for.

193. JustAnotherPoster says:

Again no one seems to have actually answered the dumb question I asked a while ago…….

Greenhouse gases have existed for millions of years in our atmpsphere. The processes of ‘back radiation’ therefore must have been occurring for millions of years, as posed by the diagram, if that’s the theory on how our atmpsphere works…

Why isn’t our atmosphere already hot and or Venus like ?

All things being equal adding more C02 or other gases into the atmosphere should increase the temperature by the process of ‘back radiation’ according to the GHG theory.

But the problem is…. This should have been occurring for millions of years a these gases and the sun have been running these processes for millions of years.

Why isn’t the planet much much hotter now ?

194. [snip Venus is off-topic -mod]

195. Trick says:

Willis 10:59am: “Which ever way you do it is correct.” As result but not as a process in either accounting nature or physical nature.

Your CPA will record both \$revenue and \$expense to calculate the net flow = \$pre-tax profit. Both flows are real. Flows may be cash or non-cash but are real and have a sign convention. I would argue if show just the net then material information is lost like checks in the mail – just what was that revenue anyway – didja’ hide some cash income on the side?

Likewise in nature all matter radiates ceaselessly at all frequencies, there is no exception ever found. Even at absolute zero? Absolute zero is unattainable. So your top picture shows the real story in nature when applied to radiation fields & accounting. In physics, the space in between is a photon bath of radiation. This is material, if just show net some photons disappear from universe energy supply for a short time.

196. Willis Eschenbach says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:19 am

Willis said:

“That’s why they’re called net flows and not individual flows, because the one arrow shows the net of the two processes”

You can’t have a net flow within a reversible adiabatic process. The ascent and the descent involve no addition or removal of energy.

So what if the ascent and descent of the air itself don’t move energy? The movement of latent heat from the surface to the atmosphere most definitely involves a removal of energy from the surface to the atmosphere. You seem to think all of that energy is returned to the surface … but how, for example, is the energy removed by evaporation returned to the surface?

It certainly is not returned by the “ascent and the descent” of the air. You are correct that other things being equal, the ascent and descent of the air doesn’t move energy.

But the evaporation and condensation of the water most definitely move energy.

Steven, what you are saying is that EVAPORATION DOESN’T COOL THE SURFACE. That is truly industrial-strength foolishness. How could it be that evaporation cools humans, and cools my coffee, and cools a lake of water, but doesn’t cool the planetary surface? That’s absolute nonsense.

Like I said above, you have some zany substitutes for physics on your planet … but here on this planet, evaporation cools the surface. So you’d better set about modifying your theory to accept that fact, or you will continue to be laughed at for the remainder of your scientific career as the fool who thinks that evaporation doesn’t cool the surface because the heat lost is magically somehow returned to the surface …

w.

197. Leonard Weinstein said:

“The convection due to buoyancy and turbulent mixing maintain the adiabatic lapse rate (as modified by condensing moisture, i.e., wet adiabatic lapse rate) even with the shift in location in radiation to space”

If you recall, I did say that the convection due to buoyancy and turbulent mixing alter the vertical temperature profile to negate the effects of GHGs.

In doing so, the adiabatic lapse rate overall is indeed maintained as you say but that does not mean that you can automatically back calculate the surface temperature from any new effective emission height using the adiabatic lapse rate.

The slope of the adiabatic lapse rate from surface to space may be maintained overall but you will still get variations in the slopes on the way up through all the various atmospheric layers.

The Earth’s slope is in the form of a large ‘W’ laying on its side which gives lots of scope for layer to layer variability and counterbalancing.

So GHGs can still distort the ambient lapse rate slope and raise the effective emission height where they are present but yet leave surface temperature unaffected because adjustments to the slopes elsewhere in the atmosphere maintain the ‘ideal’ adiabatic slope in the background.

Furthermore they can distort the slope in equal and opposite directions even within their own layer and if that happens you wouldn’t even get a change in the emission height because the distortion on the ascent would be offset by the distortion on the descent.

Warm molecules rising push the effective emission height upwards but cold molecules falling push the effective emission height downwards and that can happen at different locations within a single layer.

You must realise that the atmosphere is a dynamic energy balancing machine of considerable complexity but simple fundamentals using a combination of radiative and non radiative processes which each adjust for variations in the other.

How else could Willis come to perceive that there is a thermostatic mechanism ?

It isn’t just about tropical thunderstorms :)

198. Willis Eschenbach says:

Trick says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

Willis 10:59am: “Which ever way you do it is correct.” As result but not as a process in either accounting nature or physical nature.

Your CPA will record both \$revenue and \$expense to calculate the net flow = \$pre-tax profit. Both flows are real. Flows may be cash or non-cash but are real and have a sign convention. I would argue if show just the net then material information is lost like checks in the mail – just what was that revenue anyway – didja’ hide some cash income on the side?

So we are in agreement that the result is correct either way. As you point out, to do the calculations to get the correct answer we need to look at individual flows. But if all we care about is the net, we can look at either one. Steven Wilde above says that the net latent heat loss from the surface is zero … so since he’s talking about the net, the K/T diagram is adequate, since it shows the net loss.

Trick, do you think that evaporation DOESN’T cool the surface? Because that’s Steven’s claim, whether we talk about net flows or individual flows.

Likewise in nature all matter radiates ceaselessly at all frequencies, there is no exception ever found.

Neither of those claims is true. Not all matter radiates, and when it does, it doesn’t do so at all frequencies.

First, all matter doesn’t radiate ceaselessly. Most does, to be sure, but there are exceptions. Take for example argon gas. It doesn’t radiate at all in the thermal range. Simply put, it is not a “greenhouse gas” at earth-like temperatures—it doesn’t absorb longwave, and it doesn’t radiate longwave. Why not? Because it is a monatomic noble gas, a single symmetrical atom. As a result, there’s nothing to bend or flex or vibrate to absorb energy. Molecules absorb energy in those ways—the inter-atomic bonds stretch or twist or flex or vibrate. But there is no physical way that argon can do any of that—it doesn’t have inter-atomic bonds. As a result, it is physically incapable of either absorbing or radiating thermal infrared radiation like most materials can.

Second, those materials that do radiate absolutely do NOT “radiate … at all frequencies”. They radiate at certain, very specific frequencies related to both their absorption bands and their temperature.

Look, Trick. You get to have your own opinions. You don’t get to have your own physics. Before you start trying to school someone on these matters, you need to go to school yourself. Your claims are simply not true. While most matter radiates, not all matter radiates, and the matter that does radiate does so at certain frequencies, not at “all frequencies” … this is basic stuff.

w.

199. Alec Rawls said:

“I see no reason to think from the diagram that Trenberth is misinterpreting adiabatic warming and cooling as movements of energy. Does he actually say this? ”

Can you make the numbers balance on the basis that the 24 and 78 are just a part of the 165 and 30 ?

On that basis where does the extra 102 Wm2 come from for the DWIR figure of 342 ?

It should have radiated out shouldn’t it ?

Since there is no downward arrow for the 24 and 78 and K&T increase DWIR by exactly the same amount I guess they are saying that the 102 taken up by thermals and Evapo-transpiration is all coming back as DWIR.

That is a non radiatve process so it cannot be coming back as DWIR but they seem to say it is.

The simplest scenario is this:

i) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.

ii) The adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.

iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere from space ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere to space (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.

The effect of radiative capability is therefore only to redistribute energy so that 168 absorbed by the surface becomes 40 emitted by the surface and 67 absorbed by the atmosphere becomes 195 emitted by the atmosphere (165 + 30).

Transparency to incoming shortwave and opacity to outgoing longwave simply re-apportions the share of the same amount of energy emitted to space between emissions from surface and atmosphere

What is wrong with that ?

200. Willis said:

“Trick, do you think that evaporation DOESN’T cool the surface? Because that’s Steven’s claim, whether we talk about net flows or individual flows.”

Evaporation does cool the surface because it creates condensate which then radiates out to space. .K & T give that a figure of only 30

Latent heat does not radiate and when it is released by condensation at height most of it causes accelerated uplift when it is conducted to the mainly non radiative bulk atmosphere so it goes to more PE which does not radiate.

After the first convective cycle, latent heat is returning within descending air in the form of PE converted back to KE as fast as it is moved upward again.

I think many here are firing off without thought and jumbling the terminology.

It might be best if I just let things lie whilst those still interested try to absorb what has already been said.

201. Bart says:

JustAnotherPoster says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:27 am

You are correct that there is a positive feedback loop in there. More back-radiation produces higher temperature, produces more back-radiation, produces higher temperature, and so on. However, the process peters out because the higher temperature also produces more radiation in frequency bands which are not back-radiated. The process reaches equilibrium when the total energy flux in = total energy flux out.

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:31 am

Yes, walk past a golf course or a large cemetary at night, and you will feel the distinct cooling effect of evaporation from all that watered lawn. That heat gets transported up through atmosphere, where it can be radiated away.

That is precisely the point I was making above. There are more paths to the planet’s atmospheric radiators than mere surface radiation, and that fact means that the cartoon greenhouse effect is a vast oversimplification.

202. Willis Eschenbach says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:58 am

Alec Rawls said:

“I see no reason to think from the diagram that Trenberth is misinterpreting adiabatic warming and cooling as movements of energy. Does he actually say this? ”

Can you make the numbers balance on the basis that the 24 and 78 are just a part of the 165 and 30 ?

On that basis where does the extra 102 Wm2 come from for the DWIR figure of 342 ?

It should have radiated out shouldn’t it ?

Since there is no downward arrow for the 24 and 78 and K&T increase DWIR by exactly the same amount I guess they are saying that the 102 taken up by thermals and Evapo-transpiration is all coming back as DWIR.

I’m not sure what you mean by “make the numbers balance”. The problem with the K/T diagram is that it is oversimplified to the point where processes are omitted and glossed over … and as a result, the K/T diagram doesn’t balance in the sense that different amounts are radiated upwards and downwards from the single atmospheric layer in their model.

However, it does balance in the sense that 519 W/m2 is absorbed by the atmosphere, and 519 W/m2 is radiated by the atmosphere … so what does “make the numbers balance” mean to you?

The simplest energy budget diagram I know of that actually balances at all levels is my own, viz:

As you will note, to model the planet requires a minimum of a 2-atmospheric layer model. The problem is that a single layer planetary “greenhouse” doesn’t concentrate enough energy at the surface to allow for the known surface losses. However, a two layer model will do so, as I show above.

Note that my global energy budget duplicates the main flows of the K/T diagram, but it balances at all three layers (surface and two atmospheric layers). For each of them:

• the incoming energy is equal to the outgoing energy, and

• equal amounts of energy are radiated upwards and downwards.

This is NOT true of the K/T diagram, which has to show different amounts going upwards and downwards from the atmosphere in order to force the balance.

It was this inconsistency in the K/T diagram that first impelled me to develop a model that actually did balance at all levels.

So … I agree with you that you can’t make the K/T numbers balance, if by “balance” you mean equal amounts radiated up and down. But it is not for the reason that you claim. It is because you cannot make a model with a single atmospheric layer balance given the known energy flows within the climate system.

Finally … my diagram shows both the latent and sensible heat flows with the same values as in the K/T budget. So to answer your question of “can you make the numbers balance” with those flows, yes, my budget does indeed balance.

w.

203. Richard G says:

John West says:April 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm And W.
” there are better ones:
Showing uncertainty:
Showing more than one atmospheric layers:
Showing net heat flows:”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Thanks for the graphics.
There is one large nit to pick: These still ignore the fact that the system is locked in dynamic equilibrium as it hunts between 342 W/m2 (to pick one estimated value) and 0 W/m2 incoming radiation 24Hr/365.25D/Yr. Equilibrium happens at a variable point somewhere in the upper atmosphere, advection and the night time regime seem to be ignored.
Quite the restless Giant, Earth
.

204. Trick says:

Willis 11:53am: “Neither of those claims is true. Not all matter radiates, and when it does, it doesn’t do so at all frequencies.It doesn’t radiate at all in the thermal range….Your claims are simply not true. While most matter radiates, not all matter radiates, and the matter that does radiate does so at certain frequencies, not at “all frequencies” … this is basic stuff.”

Yes basic. Argon does radiate in the thermal range. Max Planck taught us all matter radiates all the time, at all frequencies, there are no exceptions. Willis I am a poor teacher obviously. Don’t just listen to me. Please get out a text book on radiation – if you find something different please advise. We talked about this before. I will try better. These are not my opinions, this is basic science.

All matter radiates all the time – some so small as to be undetectable with today’s instruments (tomorrow’s, who knows?). Here is the energy distribution function (or spectral distribution) given by the Planck distribution function, you should find it too – containing speed of light, Boltzmann constant B, Planck’s constant h – these are all as fundamental as you can get in nature:

Pe(ω) =hω^3/4π^2c^2 * 1/(exp (ω/kBT ) − 1)

This is never 0 if it copied ok, don’t trust – look it up. The integral of this function over any frequency interval is the total radiant energy in that interval crossing unit area in unit time, called the irradiance. You should find this in the beginning of any text on radiation probably in 1st couple sections. Check it out, read thoroughly. Never zero at any freq. interval at any time, means all matter radiates all the time at all frequencies. No exceptions, never means NEVER! and absolute zero is unattainable.

Max Planck is the guy figured this out and it was a long arduous road to do so which is why you still hear of him & I’m just a humble hockey fan. Far as I’m concerned onerous GHGs are only found in farmer’s greenhouses from cats with digestive problems. In Max Planck’s nature there are IR active gases like CO2 and IR inactive gases such as Ar.

205. MikeB says:

Trick,
Just passing through but your equation is for a blackbody only. It does not apply to matter which has varying emmisivity at different wavelengths (like thin gases).

206. Alec Rawls says:

Stephen says:

After the first convective cycle, latent heat is returning within descending air in the form of PE converted back to KE as fast as it is moved upward again.

I wonder if Stephen might be confused about the definition of latent heat. It refers not to the potential energy of higher altitude air but to the energy stored in the phase change from liquid to vapor. This phase change does not reverse after the water vapor has precipitated out at altitude and the now dry air descends back towards the surface. The water is gone. For the latent heat to return as the parcel of air descends it would have to take in water vapor from outside, making it no longer the same parcel of air, whereas adiabatic lapse refers to the exchange between PE and KE within a given parcel of air as its altitude changes.

Does raise an interesting question: what about the heat that gets carried from the atmosphere to the surface in the form of precipitation? Trenberth’s diagram shows a “latent heat” release at the top of its evapo-transpiration column where it shows some rain precipitating out of a cloud but it does not have any number for the amount of heat carried back to the surface by that precipitation. Presumably the evapo-transpiration number is a net number. Might be interesting to see it broken down into component energy movements.

207. joeldshore says:

JustAnotherPoster says:

Again no one seems to have actually answered the dumb question I asked a while ago…….

208. Frank says:

Steve Wilde: The latent heat carried aloft by convection can be calculated from the heat of vaporization of the precipitation that falls. 1 m^3 of precipitation falls on the average 1 m^2 of the planet in a year. That’s an average of about 80 W/m2.

Once you subtract the contribution from latent heat, one can begin to understand the convection of sensible heat. Radiative cooling high in the atmosphere is more rapid that near the surface. Convection of warmer parcels of air to the upper atmosphere to cool and replacing them with already cooler parcels of air cools the earth. Unfortunately work is done on a parcel of gas as it changes altitude, so we can’t simply measure energy flux by the change in temperature. I believe the conserved quantity in adiabatic transfers of parcels of air to different altitudes is potential temperature.

θ = T.(p0/p)k

where T = (real) temperature, p = pressure, p0 = reference pressure (usually at 1000 mbar) and k = R/cp = 2/7 for our atmosphere

When you combine latent heat with potential temperature, you get “moist potential temperature” or “equivalent potential temperature”. The Hadley circulation takes warm moist air from near the equator to the top of the troposphere, drying it and cooling it without changing its moist potential temperature. It moves poleward while cooling before it descends. Then it warms upon descending – more quickly than it cooled upon rising because the local lapse rate decreases with humidity and this air is now very dry. However, the moist potential temperature doesn’t change upon descent. The air that descends around 25 degN/S has a LOWER moist potential temperature than the air that rose near the equator. If you follow moist potential temperature, through any convective cycle, you can determine the flux of sensible heat.

My source for this information is: http://scienceofdoom.com/2012/02/12/potential-temperature/

209. joelshore’s link above gives a very good explanation of how natural climate variability works.

210. Richard G says:

Steven Wilde:
Consider your model to be a bicycle tire. As you roll along the energy state (ignoring friction) remains stable through the rotation. When you roll through a puddle suddenly the tire is picking up water and depositing it all over your torso, doing work. you must put work into the pedals to maintain velocity.
Happy pedaling.

211. Curt says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:19 am

“You can’t have a net flow within a reversible adiabatic process. The ascent and the descent involve no addition or removal of energy.”

Come on Stephen, you can do better than that! The process is not remotely adiabatic. The higher the water vapor, or its condensate, get, the more it can radiate energy to space. By the time it starts its downward journey it has lost a lot of energy.

The process is analogous to an engineered air conditioning system. Inside your house, the warm air evaporates the coolant, thereby transferring energy to it. The evaporated coolant is sent outside the house, where it is condensed and it transfers energy to the ambient before it is sent back inside. Without the step of transferring energy to ambient, it could not provide a net cooling of the inside. But with this step, it can and does. (In the case of an air conditioner, the transfer to ambient is predominantly through conductive/convective means; in the case of the atmosphere to space, it can only be through radiative means.)

By your logic, an air conditioner could not cool a house.

A lot of Slayers have the opposite problem, thinking that a transparent (radiatively inactive) atmosphere can cool the surface on an ongoing basis. They miss that, for this to be true, the atmosphere itself needs a sink to pass on the energy absorbed from the surface. And this can only happen by radiation.

212. Trick says:

MikeB 1:11pm: How threads wander. From the ’97 cartoon in top post back 125 years or so now. The eqn. I posted has been well known that long and we all should be in awe of it or name one other eqn. also has three constants of nature c, h, B.

“..your equation is for a blackbody only.”

No. Planck formula is derived for ALL matter put in the box. So the matter, any matter solid/liquid/gas, put in there receives photons from the inside of the box held at fixed T of all wavelengths all the time from all directions. Willis will find this construct Planck used long ago when he takes time to look it up – I like Bohren 2006 for plain language but any text on radiation will do, though some are more obtuse than others.

They then drilled a hole in it theoretically and empirically to let some radiation out and the BB concept of Kirchhoff sprang into use from there as all real objects reflect some incident energy. At equilibrium, the radiation field is isotropic, the photons in the container, like gas molecules, do not all have the same energy (equivalently, frequency) but are distributed about a most probable value.

213. richardscourtney says:

JustAnotherPoster:

At April 9, 2014 at 11:27 am you ask

Again no one seems to have actually answered the dumb question I asked a while ago…….

Greenhouse gases have existed for millions of years in our atmpsphere. The processes of ‘back radiation’ therefore must have been occurring for millions of years, as posed by the diagram, if that’s the theory on how our atmpsphere works…

Why isn’t our atmosphere already hot and or Venus like ?

All things being equal adding more C02 or other gases into the atmosphere should increase the temperature by the process of ‘back radiation’ according to the GHG theory.

But the problem is…. This should have been occurring for millions of years a these gases and the sun have been running these processes for millions of years.

Why isn’t the planet much much hotter now ?

Three reasons.

Firstly, an amount of CO2 in the atmosphere raises surface temperature by an amount: it does NOT induce global warming over an infinite period.

Secondly, the additional effect of additional increment to CO2 in the air reduces logarithmically: this is explained here

Thirdly, there was much, much more CO2 in the air in the past. Indeed, burning fossil fuels returns some CO2 to the air.

Richard

214. Trick says:

Willis 11:53: “Trick, do you think that evaporation DOESN’T cool the surface? Because that’s Steven’s claim, whether we talk about net flows or individual flows.”

Willis’ diagram didn’t post up 12:50pm but I liked it before, so just use cartoon at top. Be very careful what Willis means by the control volume being cooled. Here the control volume of interest is the near surface atm. where thermometers hang and it is observed in rough steady state equilibrium cooling or heating a bit every month anomaly comes out.

The control volume “surface” being cooled in the top cartoon along the bottom by evaporation terrestrial 74 up arrow gets just as much down terrestrial 74 in the arrow on the right. So, no, evaporation doesn’t cool or warm the surface since has no net effect on the surface control volume (adiabatic!). As Stephen so often says, adiabatic means what goes up must come down because no evaporation or lH release (rain) removes energy to space – only radiation does that from the bath of radiation below TOA. Here positive is down:

Terrestrial up is -24-78-390 net of solar down 168 = – 324 up
Terrestrial down 24+78+67+155 = + 324 down
Net zero, balanced give or take each month somewhere, somehow.

Since surface control volume energy flow balances up and down, means Tmean is nearly constant; this total irradiance energy flow is the Planck function I just posted integrated over the whole freq. spectrum in unit time unit area.

215. MikeB says:

Trick,
Planck’s law describes the electromagnetic radiation emitted by a black body in thermal equilibrium at a definite temperature. (Wikipedia)
Now look it up and then write it down.

It’s rather like discussing with DirkH, I say something right, he and you say something wrong.
Goodnight.

216. Trick says:

MikeB 3:26pm: You do sometimes find textbook treatments of blackbody radiation in which it is stated (or implied) that the walls of the cavity must be black. This is not true. All that is required for a cavity to be filled with blackbody radiation is that the cavity be opaque and have a nonzero emissivity (and hence absorptivity) at all wavelengths which is true for all real material.

A cavity with walls that are not black nevertheless fills with blackbody radiation because of emission and multiple reflections. Thus if we fashion a cavity from a material that is neither black nor 100% reflecting at any wavelength, the radiation contained therein is still blackbody radiation.

To learn how that can be in detail urge you (& Willis) to ref. Bohren 2006 sec. 1.4.1, the third ref. listed by wiki. Wiki top post is good starting point but always suspect as it is not the original author, need to read the cites.

217. Willis Eschenbach says:

Trick says:
April 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Willis 11:53am:

“Neither of those claims is true. Not all matter radiates, and when it does, it doesn’t do so at all frequencies.It doesn’t radiate at all in the thermal range….Your claims are simply not true. While most matter radiates, not all matter radiates, and the matter that does radiate does so at certain frequencies, not at “all frequencies” … this is basic stuff.”

Yes basic. Argon does radiate in the thermal range. Max Planck taught us all matter radiates all the time, at all frequencies, there are no exceptions. Willis I am a poor teacher obviously. Don’t just listen to me. Please get out a text book on radiation – if you find something different please advise. We talked about this before. I will try better. These are not my opinions, this is basic science.

All matter radiates all the time – some so small as to be undetectable with today’s instruments (tomorrow’s, who knows?). Here is the energy distribution function (or spectral distribution) given by the Planck distribution function, you should find it too – containing speed of light, Boltzmann constant B, Planck’s constant h – these are all as fundamental as you can get in nature:

Pe(ω) =hω^3/4π^2c^2 * 1/(exp (ω/kBT ) − 1)

This is never 0 if it copied ok, don’t trust – look it up.

Trick, I think I see the problem. You started by making statements about objects in the real world. I responded by talking about objects in the real world.

But now, you are talking about Planck’s perfect theoretical black-body. You are correct that a theoretical blackbody radiates at all frequencies at all times … but that’s not what you said.

You said real-world objects do the same, which is totally untrue. GHG’s like water vapor and CO2, for example, have an emissivity which is frequency-dependent and confined to narrow absorption bands. And some gases, like argon, don’t even have those narrow absorption bands.

Here’s the short answer. In order to absorb thermal energy, a molecule has to have bonds that can shake and twist and flex and vibrate. When the photon of energy strikes the molecule it “rings” in a sense, that is to say it twists or flexes or vibrates, meaning that the energy has been absorbed and converted into the mechanical motion of twisting etc.

So whether or not a gas absorbs and emits thermal longwave depends on the kind of bonds it has between the molecules. O2, for example, hardly absorbs longwave. It only has one possible vibrational mode. This is the mode where the two atoms move closer and further from each other. It can’t twist, it’s symmetrical. And it can’t flex or scissor, because there’s only one bond. So the absorption bands are very narrow. And the same, of course, is true of N2 and H2 and every other diatomic gas. All of them only have one way to absorb thermal longwave radiation, so they don’t absorb much thermal IR, and that only within narrow bands.

Note that if the entire atmosphere were O2 and N2, there would be no greenhouse effect worth mentioning.

Fortunately for life, water vapor (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2 are much better able to absorb longwave. There are many more vibrational modes available—scissoring, twisting, flexing, and combinations of the above. And as a result, their absorption bands are wider, and there are more of them, than with any diatomic molecule. It’s simple physics, you have to have three atoms to be able to “scissor”, for example.

And more complex molecules like chlorofluorocarbons have many, many vibrational modes, so they absorb a lot over a very broad range.

But argon is an oddball. It’s kind of like the theoretical “anti-blackbody”. We’ve seen that gases absorb thermal longwave based on the number of atoms and thus the number of bonds between them. We see that as gas molecules get simpler and simpler with fewer and fewer atoms, they absorb less and less thermal longwave radiation, in narrower and narrower absorption bands. This is a consequence of the reducing number of vibrational modes available to absorb the energy … but argon has no bonds at all. And as a result, it has no possible vibrational modes of any kind, no physical way to absorb the impinging longwave energy …

And this means that instead of the narrow absorption bands of O2 and N2, argon has no thermal longwave absorption bands at all.

Now, many folks were taught (as was I) that everything radiates … and with the exception of monatomic gases that’s true. Of course, when we were taught it generally it was in the context of discussing solids … and there aren’t many monatomic solids. So rather than this oddball exception being noted, we were given the simplified version.

Not only that, but all solids have basically infinite numbers of molecules and bonds, which means all possible vibrational modes, and so yes, as we were taught and as you say they emit at virtually all frequencies at all times. The mass of their emissions will follow a Planck curve and be centered around some frequency, and (quantum effects aside) as you point out it won’t go to zero anywhere.

But it’s not true for monatomic gases, or for gases in general. Most gases are very simple molecules, and instead of following the Planck curve they only can absorb (and by Kirchoff’s Law, emit) in discrete narrow absorption frequency bands … or in the case of monatomic gases, they have no absorption bands at all for themal longwave.

Best regards,

w.

PS—note that higher temperatures contain enough energy to knock electrons to different orbits. This mode of energy absorption is not available at typical surface temperatures on Earth, not enough energy.

So indeed there are absorption lines in the spectrum for argon … but they’re at temperatures of hundreds and hundreds of degrees, not anywhere near the earth-like temperatures of the thermal radiation we are discussing.

218. Trick says:

Willis 5:28pm: “But now, you are talking about Planck’s perfect theoretical black-body.”

No I am not. A black body (of Kirchhoff actually) does not exist in nature, all bodies that exist in nature reflect some incident radiation unlike a true theoretical black body which absorbs 100%. I am talking about all real matter – gaseous, liquid, or solid – at all temperatures emit radiation of allfrequencies at all times, although in varying amounts. There is no exception. Urge you to consult a basic text on radiation.

Argon exists in nature so it emits & absorbs & reflects. Ar is not 100% transparent; Ar will attenuate a photon beam whether an instrument can measure the attenuation or not. No exceptions.

219. Robert Clemenzi says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:31 am

Roy thinks that a non radiative atmosphere would tend towards isothermal and that convection would cease.

I think he is wrong in that because one cannot suppress convection where the surface is unevenly heated and KE converts to PE with height leading to a temperature decline with height without needing radiative losses from height.

With no radiative losses from within the atmosphere there would still be convection and it would be more vigorous in order to maintain top of atmosphere energy loss from the surface alone.

Please explain, if heat continues to enter the atmosphere, and there are no radiative loses, what would the temperature profile be?

220. Bart says:

Trick says:
April 9, 2014 at 5:52 pm

And, you are wrong. I urge you to consult a basic text on quantum mechanics.

221. Curt says:

Trick: You really must learn how to present a coherent argument. You cite an equation for the ideal blackbody radiation to back up your argument that “all real matter at all temperatures emit radiation of all frequencies at all times”. When you are called on this, you say that you weren’t talking about blackbodies.

In the context of this post, which is talking about the amounts of different energy transfers, the distinction between whether the argon in the atmosphere absorbs 0.000% or 0.001% of the thermal infrared from the surface is absolutely irrelevant.

222. Trick says:

Curt 6:22pm: – The 0.000% is not possible in nature, but true, whatever the absorption is for earth it is negligible. Willis had made up a thought experiment of an argon atm. in which case absorption is not negligible. True, I’m not the best teacher and badly need an editor, urge consult a good text that benefits from having both.

Bart 6:22pm: – An atom has mass, can spin, a photon has angular momentum, urge you to look into the quantum of spin rates conserving the angular momentum when spontaneous absorption/emission occurs.

223. gbaikie says:

-Here’s the short answer. In order to absorb thermal energy, a molecule has to have bonds that can shake and twist and flex and vibrate. When the photon of energy strikes the molecule it “rings” in a sense, that is to say it twists or flexes or vibrates, meaning that the energy has been absorbed and converted into the mechanical motion of twisting etc.-

All matter has bonds which are affected by energies. Solids and liquid are a state of matter which have more variety of bonds which can shake and twist and flex and vibrate.

Molecules of gas are matter in which molecules which are moving, analogous to bullets. Bullets without friction, and in Earth’s atmosphere the molecules of nitrogen are traveling [or have average velocity] a bit faster than bullets.
And molecule of gas not moving has the temperature of absolute zero.

So if given enough energy [heat] a brick’s molecules will go from more or less staying in one spot, to flying apart- becoming gas.
But like race cars in traffic jam, gas molecules in our troposphere don’t not zoom around in terms going any distance, instead they are frictionlessly crashing into each other in factions of nanoseconds.
So in analogous traffic jam, it’s times billions and billions of cars and one has a 3-d traffic jam.

If count up the number of nitrogen molecules which equal mass of fired bullet, this amount of nitrogen gas has more kinetic energy than the bullet- as it’s going at around 400 m/s [892 mph]. And nitrogen gas is molecules of two: N2. Two atoms of nitrogen which are bond together. Though if it one adds enough heat/energy they will fly apart- becoming the 4th state of matter, called plasma.
So difference between solid brick and gas, is if you put brick in vacuum it stays where you put it, whereas N2 gas flies apart at about 400 m/s. And how fast the gas goes is how warm the gas is and speed of brick or bits of brick do not have anything to do with how warm the solid brick is.

224. Dr. Strangelove says:

Steven Wilde

I don’t have time to read all the comments so I don’t know if my points here have already been raised.

Trenberth’s diagram is basically correct. Thermals and Evapo-transpiration are not included in the TOA energy balance nor in the calculation of the 33 K greenhouse effect. Note these two energy flows do not reach TOA. The energy at TOA is balanced at 342 W/m^2 without thermals and evapo-transpiration.

You said:
“Conduction and convection are a function of mass held within a gravity field.”

No. Conduction and convection are a function of temperature differential between surface and atmosphere. Air pressure is a function of atmospheric mass and gravitational field. But pressure alone does not determine the temperature of gases. In the ideal gas law, density is a function of pressure and temperature. This is the proper way of looking at cause and effect. Gas density changes is an effect of changes in pressure and temperature. Not the other way around. (This is the common mistake of Dragon Slayers)

You said:
“The greenhouse effect is therefore a product of atmospheric mass rather than radiative characteristics of constituent molecules…”

This is equivalent to the statement “temperature of gas is solely dependent on its pressure. As mentioned above, it is wrong. The ideal gas law has three variables: pressure, temperature and volume (density). Any one of them is a function of two variables, not just one. A gas at 1 bar pressure can have different temperatures corresponding to different densities at that pressure.

225. gbaikie says:

-So whether or not a gas absorbs and emits thermal longwave depends on the kind of bonds it has between the molecules. O2, for example, hardly absorbs longwave. It only has one possible vibrational mode. This is the mode where the two atoms move closer and further from each other. It can’t twist, it’s symmetrical. And it can’t flex or scissor, because there’s only one bond. So the absorption bands are very narrow. And the same, of course, is true of N2 and H2 and every other diatomic gas. All of them only have one way to absorb thermal longwave radiation, so they don’t absorb much thermal IR, and that only within narrow bands.-

So like most gases [including CO2] N2 and H2 are transparent to visible light. And all gases interact with various parts of spectrum.
With using telescope to see the rest of universe in various spectrum, H20 is biggest problem.
And reduce the problem with H20 molecule, astronomers build telescopes at high and dry locations. But also having telescopes look thru less atmosphere reduces other atmospheric distortion unrelated to spectrum atmospheric gases can block. And if want to see X-ray and gamma, one get out of the atmosphere.

-Note that if the entire atmosphere were O2 and N2, there would be no greenhouse effect worth mentioning.-
According greenhouse theory. But seems even some strong believers will say Mars would warmer even one added O2 and N2 to Mars.
So take the opportunity to see if more believe this.
Mars has very thin atmosphere with a lot CO2 in it- may times more CO2 than Earth’s atmosphere.
One say this way if removed N2 and O2 from Earth, and left argon, than Earth would have thicker atmosphere than Mars. But if removed the argon, Earth would have less atmosphere than Mars.
Mars has 2.5 x 10^16 kg of largely CO2. So about 25 trillion tonnes of CO2.
So question is if no added, say 100 trillion tonnes of N2 and O2 to Mars, would it make Mars have a higher average temperature?
If add 4 times more atmosphere, Mars still is weak atmosphere. You still need pressure or spacesuit in order to breath. But question is does CO2 of Mars “work” better, if add a significant amount of “inert gases” or non-greenhouse gases.
And think it does, can explain why Mars which has lot of solar energy reaching surface.
600 divide by 4 is 150 watts per square meter vs Earth’s Trenberth et al of 168 watts per square meter, is so cold.

226. Lots of words overnight from many heavyweight contributors but I respectfully submit that the point is still not getting across so I’ll try once again to reduce it to the simplest possible form.

We all accept that 102 Wm2 leaves the surface in Thermals and Evapotranspiration.

K&T and the rest of you appear to think that it heats the atmosphere so that we get more DWIR to compensate and that is supposed to balance the energy budget. That is why the DWIR figure is increased by the same amount of 102 Wm2.

The trouble is that as that 102 Wm2 rises it converts to gravitational potential energy which is not heat and does not radiate and so you can’t send a corresponding amount of DWIR back down.

Latent heat of evaporation converts to extra gravitational potential energy the instant it is released on condensation since it immediately enhances uplift.

So, you cant have all that PE radiating down as DWIR. It cannot raise surface temperature whilst it is in PE form.

It appears that the energy budget is unbalanced and indeed it is but only until the descent phase of the first convective cycle completes.

At that point balance is restored because the KE returning to the surface on descent matches the KE leaving the surface on ascent.

Thermal balance is restored but at a higher surface temperature because you then have solar energy still coming in at the same rate as before AND you have the extra 102 Wm2 stuck at the surface providing the energy needed for continued uplift and descent.

The original radiative exchange is unaffected with solar shortwave in of 235 and longwave out of 235.

The simplest scenario is this:

i) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.

ii) The adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.

iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere from space ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere to space (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.

The effect of radiative capability is therefore only to redistribute energy so that 168 absorbed by the surface becomes 40 emitted by the surface and 67 absorbed by the atmosphere becomes 195 emitted by the atmosphere (165 + 30).

It all boils down to the simple facts that one cannot get DWIR from gravitational potential energy and the latent heat of evaporation goes straight to PE on release by condensation.

Once can argue that there is still radiative leakage to space, that the adiabatic exchange is imperfect etc. etc. but the system balances at equilibrium when newly arriving solar energy balances the radiative leakage and at that point the atmosphere reaches its ‘correct’ height for the energy flowing through it.

If people still don’t get I can do no more.

227. Frank says:

Steve Wilde wrote: The trouble is that as that 102 Wm2 rises it converts to gravitational potential energy which is not heat and does not radiate and so you can’t send a corresponding amount of DWIR back down.

Wrong. During convection, an equal amount of air is coming down and going up, so the net change in gravitational potential energy is ZERO. The 102 W/m2 is not converted to gravitational potential energy.

228. Frank.

Of course the net change in GPE is zero but only after the first convective cycle completes. During the first cycle the net change is most certainly not zero.

It is only after the first convective cycle completes that the energy exchange at the surface settles to net zero.

But forever after you still have 102 Wm2 of energy stuck at the surface holding the weight of the atmosphere off the ground and failing to escape to space.

Which is why surface temperature rises from 255K to 288K.

229. Dr. Strangelove says:

Stephen
“It all boils down to the simple facts that one cannot get DWIR from gravitational potential energy and the latent heat of evaporation goes straight to PE on release by condensation.”

Sorry but wrong. Latent heat is not the cause of increase in potential energy (rising air mass). The cause is sensible heat. First, you need to increase the temperature of the air mass before its volume decreases (lower density) than surrounding air. This is Charles’s law in the ideal gas laws. The rising air is due to buoyant force or the density differential between warm air mass and surrounding cooler air.

At high altitude, the air mass cools and water vapor condenses releasing the latent heat. This becomes sensible heat because it warms the surrounding air. And when air temperature increases, you get more DWIR. So yes Trenberth got it right.

230. Dr Strangelove said:

“This becomes sensible heat because it warms the surrounding air. And when air temperature increases, you get more DWIR”

The warmed air immediately becomes warmer than the surroundings and rises higher thereby creating more PE.

The bulk of that warmed air is comprised of non radiative gases such as O2 andN2 so you can’t send much of that heat anywhere via radiation. Nearly all of it goes straight to uplift of the bulk gases and creation of more PE.

To the extent that radiative gases, clouds or aerosols are present then you can have some leakage but that is already included in the 165 if going to space or the 222 to the ground if it goes downward.

There is no basis for increasing DWIR above 222 Wm2 to the ground. That figure already takes account of radiative effects from clouds, aerosols, radiative gases and the hydrological cycle.

There is certainly no basis for increasing DWIR to 324 as though zero PE were being created by the increased uplift.

231. joeldshore says:

Stephen Wilde says:

But forever after you still have 102 Wm2 of energy stuck at the surface holding the weight of the atmosphere off the ground and failing to escape to space.

Not only do you not understand atmospheric physics as well as the scientists, like Trenberth, that you criticize. You don’t even understand it well enough to pass a first year physics course. This sentence is an illustration of that.

232. Mervyn says:

‘Back Radiation’? This IPCC term is a myth. The cooler air cannot add heat to the warmer ground. It is impossible.

Please remember, you cannot create more heat out of that which exists unless work is applied (First Law of Thermodynamics), and a cooler substance cannot pass its heat to a warmer substance (Second of Law of Thermodynamics). The Second Law is an absolute law.

This is basic laws of physics.

‘Back Radiation’ is not a law, it is not a valid theory, and it is not even a valid hypothesis. It is simply an IPCC supposition to justify its positive water vapour feedback mechanism.

233. Alec Rawls says:

The trouble is that as that 102 Wm2 rises it converts to gravitational potential energy which is not heat and does not radiate and so you can’t send a corresponding amount of DWIR back down.

Latent heat of evaporation converts to extra gravitational potential energy the instant it is released on condensation since it immediately enhances uplift.

So, you cant have all that PE radiating down as DWIR. It cannot raise surface temperature whilst it is in PE form.

The only way to increase the gravitational potential energy of a parcel of air is to raise its height in the gravitational well. Phase change just happens when the conditions are right at a given altitude. If there is an altitude change subsequent to the phase change then THAT would convert KE to PE according to the lapse rate, but the the release of latent heat via condensation does not itself involve any conversion of KE to PE.

It all boils down to the simple facts that one cannot get DWIR from gravitational potential energy and the latent heat of evaporation goes straight to PE on release by condensation.

If the nub of the issue is the idea that “the latent heat of evaporation goes straight to PE on release by condensation,” it would seem to require some discussion and justification! Can this claim be defended?

234. Alec Rawls says:

Stephen has given a bit of an explanation for his claim that latent heat immediately converts to PE upon condensation:

The warmed air immediately becomes warmer than the surroundings and rises higher thereby creating more PE.

But the heat has already been released, warming the mid-atmosphere. Any subsequent movements of the air are just movements. The released heat gets mixed around a bit up there. This does not alter the fact that heat has been released, making the mid-atmosphere warmer than it would have been and hence increasing its infrared radiation.

235. joeldshore says:

Mervyn says:

Please remember, you cannot create more heat out of that which exists unless work is applied (First Law of Thermodynamics)

Where are we creating more heat than exists? How much energy does the sun deliver to the Earth each second?

and a cooler substance cannot pass its heat to a warmer substance (Second of Law of Thermodynamics). The Second Law is an absolute law.

Since you are such an expert on the Second Law, please define for us precisely what is meant by “heat”. Then show us how the positing the existence of back-radiation means you are saying that heat passes from a cooler substance to a warmer substance.

This is basic laws of physics.

‘Back Radiation’ is not a law, it is not a valid theory, and it is not even a valid hypothesis. It is simply an IPCC supposition to justify its positive water vapour feedback mechanism.

And yet, you would be hard-pressed to find a physicist who agrees with you, whether they are a “warmest” (like me) or a “skeptic” (like Robert Brown, Judith Curry, or Fred Singer). Why do you suppose that is?

236. phi says:

joeldshore,
The concept of backradiation does not have more relevance than that of backconduction. Better not use it.

237. Alec Rawls said:

“making the mid-atmosphere warmer than it would have been and hence increasing its infrared radiation.”

Except that the bulk gases, mainly 02 and N2, are supposed to have virtually no radiative capability so how are they going to radiate their energy anywhere ?

They acquire energy from the latent heat release via conduction but cannot radiate it out so they have to rise higher instead. The rise higher cancels the warming by converting KE to PE.

238. joeldshore says:

Stephen Wilde say:

The warmed air immediately becomes warmer than the surroundings and rises higher thereby creating more PE.

There is certainly no basis for increasing DWIR to 324 as though zero PE were being created by the increased uplift.

As has been explained to you many times (but which you fail to comprehend because you are unteachable), to compute the work done in raising a parcel of the atmosphere from one altitude to another, you have to include all forces…not just the gravitational force. You cannot ignore the buoyant force, i.e., the force of the surrounding atmosphere on that parcel. There is more to the world than just kinetic and potential energies when you have non-conservative forces acting.

The “derivation” of the adiabatic lapse rate by Hans Jelbring is not correct since he does not understand how to apply conservation of energy correctly, i.e., he ignores the work done by the buoyant force and he also ignores the work done by the parcel of gas on its surroundings when it adiabatically expands. The fact that he almost gets the right answer (“almost” meaning if you ignore the difference between specific heat at constant volume and specific heat at constant pressure, as I recall) is due to these two (partially) compensating errors.

Until you understand the difference between correct application of the laws of physics and erroneous application of the laws of physics, there is little that can be gleaned in any discussion with you except confirmation of the fact that you don’t understand physics.

239. joeldshore says:

phi says:

joeldshore,
The concept of backradiation does not have more relevance than that of backconduction. Better not use it.

Well, I think the terminology is a bit unfortunate too. However, arguing about what terminology to use is different than whether you have the physics correct or incorrect. Mervyn has the physics wrong, no matter what terminology you use.

240. joeldshore said:

“You don’t even understand it well enough to pass a first year physics course.”

Please specify the piece of first year physics that invalidates what I said.

Why can there not be 102 Wm2 of KE situated at a surface beneath an adiabatic, convective atmospheric circulation and unable to depart to space as radiation ?

After all, if it could leave to space as radiation then the atmosphere would fall to the ground would it not ?

241. SkepticGoneWild says:

Joel,

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states:

Heat can never pass from a colder to a warmer body without some other change, connected therewith, occurring at the same time

This law has not changed. It’s the same law I learned in my physics classes at university.

If you need a definition of heat, please refer to any university level physics text.

The sun is the only energy source which heats the earth. Backradiation will have no effect. That energy has already been accounted for. Reflected energy will not and cannot cause a body to increase in temperature. That would be a violation of the First Law as well.

As far as your last statement is concerned, arguments from popularity don’t cut it in the field of science. This new version of the Second Law seems to be popular in the field of climatology. If scientists want to create an alternate version of the Second Law, there is a well established protocol known as the scientific method, whereby the new proposed law could be validated.

242. Kristian says:

Willis Eschenbach says, April 8, 2014 at 10:09 am:

“For example, when the surface is warmer than the atmosphere, it is constantly losing energy to the atmosphere through conduction/convection. This is not affected in the slightest by the fact that Steven mentions, which is that air warms when it descends. So what? The surface will still be losing heat to the atmosphere as long as it is warmed by the sun.

The same is true about evaporation. When water on the surface evaporates, it cools the surface. Period. It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law.” (My bold.)

True dat!

243. Kristian says:

Stephen,

You are WRONG on this issue!

244. Frank says:

Trick: Do a Google image search for infrared spectrum atmospheric gases. You will find hundreds of graphs showing that atmospheric gases do not absorb like a blackbody. The emission spectrum is exactly the same as the absorption spectrum – gases only emit at the wavelengths they absorb. (Emission is simply absorption with time running backwards.)

The spectra you do see are mostly low resolution spectra that allow you to see the broad absorption bands, but not the fine structure of the multitude of lines produced when many possible changes in rotational energy states are combined with one change in vibration. At high pressures and temperatures, these line broaden (by collisions and Doppler shift) and eventually merge into a single band. You can see what the 15 um CO2 band looks like at:

245. Kristian says:

I do agree with ‘climatereason’ (tonyb), though when saying (April 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm):

“I am very uncomfortable with Stephen being humiliated in this way. If his article was not up to scratch it might have been better to have told him why, and not run the item.”

246. MikeB says:

After all, if it could leave to space as radiation then the atmosphere would fall to the ground would it not ?

Steve, give up. I think you are probably a nice guy but with all respect learn some basic physics of heat transfer first. Could I suggest starting with how heat passes through a planar wall.
http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/09/12/heat-transfer-basics-part-zero/

And skepticGoneWild, maybe you would like to read it too. And then both progress to see how a 30,000 watt heat source can ‘create energy ‘ to generate 1,824,900 watts.
http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/07/26/do-trenberth-and-kiehl-understand-the-first-law-of-thermodynamics/

When you understand that, move to the next square.
If you don’t understand it, find some other hobby./

247. Kristian said:

“It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law.”

I know it doesn’t return ENERGY to the surface. It does return HEAT to the surface as PE is converted back to KE so no violation of the Second Law.

PE is not heat and does not radiate until it becomes KE again.

MikeB said:

“Could I suggest starting with how heat passes through a planar wall.”

I don’t see anything there about convection and the conversion of KE to PE with height. It is that process that removes energy from the radiation budget at one time and returns it at a later time.

248. MikeB says:

Come on Steve, you didn’t have time to read it never mind understand it. But you would be right, there is nothing there about convection (that’s for the big boys). But you have to learn the basics first. Then you can progress. You seem to have an auto-block on learning and so you stay on the dragon slayer rung. To learn, you have to be willing to learn – right?

249. Trick says:

Frank 11:49am: “You will find hundreds of graphs showing that atmospheric gases do not absorb like a blackbody.”

Correct; the graphs show real bodies reflect some of the incident photonic energy unlike a theoretical black body which doesn’t reflect at all. Planck function posted above 4/9 12:57pm is never 0.0, so radiation is emitted by all bodies regardless of temperature, although to varying degrees at different frequencies.

The part of the incident photonic energy not reflected is absorbed/emitted in a hemisphere of directions is occurring in nature by Planck function at all frequencies all the time at all equilibrium temperatures for solid/liquid/gas – no hedging here “all” means ALL – no exceptions, the integral of which across the spectrum is the irradiance.

250. Frank says:

Steve wrote: “Of course the net change in GPE is zero but only after the first convective cycle completes. During the first cycle the net change is most certainly not zero. It is only after the first convective cycle completes that the energy exchange at the surface settles to net zero. But forever after you still have 102 Wm2 of energy stuck at the surface holding the weight of the atmosphere off the ground and failing to escape to space.”

Think of convection like a Ferris wheel with every passenger weighing the same. Lifting the passengers on one side doesn’t require work because the descending passengers on the other side are mechanically linked to each other. Convective cycles don’t occur in steps. Ascending air doesn’t leave a vacuum behind; descending air fills its spot immediately. It’s a continuous flow, not a discrete steps. The PE of individual parcels of air and the PE of individual passengers on a Ferris Wheel change, but no energy is consumed because the net change in PE is zero. In both cases, power is needed only to overcome friction.

A better analog: Fill a bath tub with water and place pot or bucket at the bottom of the tub full of water. It is easy to lift the pot as long as it remains totally under water. You are lifting only the weight of the pot because water is flowing underneath the pot as you lift. As the pot emerges from the water, it feels heavier and heavier because some of the water you are lifting is no longer being replaced from underneath by an equal weight of water. Now consider the empty bath tube and lifting a bucket of air. There is 14.6 psi of atmosphere pressing down on that bucket, but you never notice it because 14.6 psi of air flows underneath and to replace it. Needless to say, I’m talking about buoyancy. In water, lifting a plastic bucket of water takes no energy except to overcome friction (the plastic bucket being about as dense as water). The same is true for lifting air in air.

The work done when the gas expands or contracts or water vapor condenses complicates the analysis, but potential temperature and moist potential temperature keep track of the internal energy more clearly than temperature alone.

By definition, when water evaporates, it has left the surface and become part of the atmosphere. Collisions between gas molecules and surface molecules also conduct heat between the surface and the atmosphere. Wind sheer turbulence transports simple and latent heat within the planetary boundary layer (roughly the lowest kilometer of the atmosphere) until organized convection carries that warm air and water vapor high enough to condense. Turbulence prevents the energy from being TRAPPED at the interface between the surface and the atmosphere.

251. Trick says:

Stephen 12:26pm: “I know it doesn’t return ENERGY to the surface. It does return HEAT to the surface..”

Oh my. Stephen – can’t help but post a hint. You will want to rephrase this if you can see the issue. If not, then don’t bother.

252. Alec Rawls says:

The rise higher cancels the warming by converting KE to PE.

So then it is a higher level of the atmosphere that becomes warmer than it otherwise would have been, and if the warmed gases are not themselves emissive they will transfer their heat by conduction to parts of the atmosphere that are.

253. Lawrence13 says:

Willis Eschenbach says

“In short, Anthony just published the piece, and did nothing else. He did nothing blameworthy at all … and in any case, blaming the publisher when a newly launched scientific post goes hard aground on a reef of ugly facts is merely an attempt to divert attention from the wreck.”

I don’t agree with that at all. If Anthony had said I’ll feature your article but be warned I myself will call it a load of ld B0^&ocks for starters and I’m sure other replies will be less forgiving; then if Stephen still went ahead well he couldn’t complain.

Anyway Willis are you and Roy Spencer talking again and that was only one persons criticism and you were seemingly mortally wounded.

No it could have been handled far better . This thread is now about two issues the scientific argument and the dreadful behaviour on many now trying to look like scientist-well 3% of scientist.

Sorry Anthony and Willis but I found this disturbingly cruel

254. Curt says:

Stephen: You keep referring to the up-and-down cycle of parts of the atmosphere, with or without evaporation/condensation, as being an adiabatic process, even though multiple people have pointed out to you that this is not remotely true. To recap, the radiatively active gases in the atmosphere transfer energy to space, and do so more effectively at higher altitudes. This means that the cycle, by definition, is not adiabatic.

The implication is that less energy is returned to the surface in the downward/condensation part of the cycle than is transferred to the atmosphere in the upward/evaporation part of the cycle, so there is a net upward transfer of energy.

255. SkepticGoneWild says:

MikeB,

It’s hard to take someone seriously who believes in “energy creation”. But by all means, please provide reference to the experiment whereby a “30,000 watt heat source can ‘create energy ‘ to generate 1,824,900 watts”. I hope that device is patented, because the owner will be wealthy beyond all measure since he will hold the key to solving the world’s energy crisis..

I don’t recognize Science of Doom as a reference source for physics.

256. joeldshore says:

SkepticGoneWild says:

This law has not changed. It’s the same law I learned in my physics classes at university.

Well, the problem is that you didn’t learn it very well.

If you need a definition of heat, please refer to any university level physics text.

The point is that “heat” is the MACROSCOPIC, NET flow of energy due to a temperature difference. “Back radiation” is not heat. The combination of the “forward” and “back radiation” is what heat is. Hence, the statement that the heat flow is from the warmer to the colder means that the forward radiation is larger than the back radiation and that the net of the two is heat.

Backradiation will have no effect. That energy has already been accounted for. Reflected energy will not and cannot cause a body to increase in temperature. That would be a violation of the First Law as well.

Nonsense…The only way that back radiation can have no effect is by violating the First Law. If we accept the First Law, then all flows of energy must be accounted for.

As far as your last statement is concerned, arguments from popularity don’t cut it in the field of science.

Only people who are both arrogant and foolish would assume that he, having had maybe one course in physics, knows the Second Law better than those of us who have gotten PhD’s in physics and written papers in the most prestigious physics journals in the world in the field of statistical physics, which is the underlying basis of thermodynamics.

This new version of the Second Law seems to be popular in the field of climatology.

It is popular in all fields of science that are based on the correct understand of physics, rather than the blatant distortion of physics.

If scientists want to create an alternate version of the Second Law, there is a well established protocol known as the scientific method, whereby the new proposed law could be validated.

There is no alternate version. There are just people who don’t even understand what the term “thermodynamics” means. Try looking up the term “thermodynamic limit”. Thermodynamics is a theory that describes macroscopic phenomena. For God’s sake, the formulation of the Second Law came many decades before we even knew about microscopic things like electrons and photons. If you actually understood the modern (by which I mean the last century or so) understanding of thermodynamics in terms of the underlying statistical mechanics, you would realize how utterly ridiculous it is to claim that there is no “back-radation” or that such radiation can magically be discounted! Since you don’t have any such understanding, you are blissfully ignorant of the ridiculousness of your assertions.

257. joeldshore says:

Stephen Wilde says:

“You don’t even understand it well enough to pass a first year physics course.”

Please specify the piece of first year physics that invalidates what I said.

But forever after you still have 102 Wm2 of energy stuck at the surface holding the weight of the atmosphere off the ground and failing to escape to space.

This implies that energy must be input to hold the atmosphere up. In fact, as you would learn in a first-semester physics course, no work is done if there is no displacement. It does not take energy to NOT move something. [This may seem counter intuitive on a physiological level, e.g., if you imagine holding a bar bell above your head, but that is merely because our muscles do move (stretch and contract) in such a situation and hence we expend energy. If you put the bar bell on a table, it does not take any work by the table to hold the bar bell up.]

258. Frank said:

“Turbulence prevents the energy from being TRAPPED at the interface between the surface and the atmosphere.”

and Curt said:

“The implication is that less energy is returned to the surface in the downward/condensation part of the cycle than is transferred to the atmosphere in the upward/evaporation part of the cycle, so there is a net upward transfer of energy.”

Which are both expressions of the same objection, namely that a net upward flow somehow prevents the adiabatic nature of the convective exchange.

It is not denied by me that there is a net upward flow nor do I say that a static parcel of energy is in some way trapped.

There is still 102 Wm2 leaving the surface in adiabatic uplift and 102 Wm2 returning to the surface in adiabatic descent.

It may be comprised of ever changing parcels of energy as energy flows through and it may be incorporated within the general upward flow but it is still there and it raises surface temperature from 255K to 288K.

Whilst Anthony was within his rights I did place trust in his judgment and sense of fair play. Others can judge whether or not I was unwise.

There clearly has been an attempt to humiliate me but I do not feel humiliated because no one has yet addressed the basic point.

How does one get 102 Wm2 of DWIR from a non-radiative block of PE distributed through the atmosphere ?

If someone now tells me how that can be done then I am still not humiliated because thus far no one else here appears to know the answer.

If there were a simple answer then I could have been told at the outset or even by Anthony when he reviewed my submission.

I am currently inclined to the view that the attempt at humiliation is due to the lack of an answer.

Apart from that I have proposed a perfectly clear and reasonable alternative to the K & T diagram namely:

i) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.

ii) The adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.

iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere from space ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere to space (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.

For the third time I ask, what is wrong with that ?

Is the reason for the abuse that such a scenario provides no net radiative flux to the surface but instead replaces it with the adiabatic return of KE to the surface so that atmospheric mass becomes the sole arbiter of the surface temperature enhancement ?

If that were so then the entire warmist and lukewarmist edifice would be demolished because GHGs are such a minute portion of atmospheric mass.

So, guys, bite the bullet and tell me how one gets DWIR of 102 Wm2 from gravitational potential energy which does not register on thermometers and does not radiate.

If you want me to go away then there is your chance.

260. MikeB says:

SkepticGoneWild says:
April 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I am really at a loss on how to deal with people with closed minds. If you by chance found some mistake in the referenced article then that would be impressive but the appeal to ignorance that you make “ I don’t accept Science of Doom” but am unable to find anything wrong with it is beyond belief. There really is no hope for you and your kind. However, if you don’t accept Science of Doom out of your own predudice or stupidity then here is another, from WattsUpWithThat, which makes the same point and shows how ‘energy is apparently created’
ttp://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/17/the-steel-greenhouse/

I bet you won’t read that one either (certainly won’t understand it). Or don’t you accept WattsUpWithThat?

261. MikeB says:
262. joeldshore said

“This implies that energy must be input to hold the atmosphere up. In fact, as you would learn in a first-semester physics course, no work is done if there is no displacement. It does not take energy to NOT move something”

That is fine if there is no internal movement within the mass being held up.

The difference for gases held in a gravity field above an unevenly heated surface is that you constantly get density differentials in the horizontal plane.

Those density differentials lead to weight differences so that parcels rise and fall relative to one another.

That internal movement does require work and it is true that the amount of work going up is the same as the amount of work going down but of opposite sign so it nets out to zero BUT for the process to be on going you need a fund of energy devoted to the process because you have to constantly resupply the work done on the ascent from work done on the descent.

Energy locked into that cycle cannot be taken for radiation to space or you break the chain of energy flow and the atmosphere falls to the ground.

263. david(swuk) says:

Curt says:
April 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm
“……..The implication is that less energy is returned to the surface in the downward/condensation part of the cycle than is transferred to the atmosphere in the upward/evaporation part of the cycle, so there is a net upward transfer of energy.”

Obviously – might say The Plumber – but – HEAT is the word and you can only have it ONCE!
And so, depending on where that 198Watts of IT might land, up goes a parcel of 102W (from whatever average base) as warm air and vapour which then raises the temperature of the ~40oC air somewhere above (1m3 @ 25oC say divided by maybe 1000m3 @ -40oC = abaht, er, next to-er, nuffink!) and so makes it sing and dance `The Light Fantastic`NOT but instead suffer condensation and gravity which combine to deluge the donor Earth beneath with further COOLING precipitation and not fanciful NON-heat and more than a basin full of air a lot colder than that which left and which will continue to do so while the Sun doth shine (at the prescribed intensity).
So, no DWIR is an overall no-no even if a go-go in Polar Regions perhaps due to much of it being warmer up there than dah n `ere. OK.
And no double-billing either the slices of UV/SIR syphoned off by those active gases on its way dahn and which, at 67W, if you say (but I wouldn`t) pings off at mebbe 20W up & dahn with the other 27 helping keep the daytime sky warmer than the night (or is it pseudo twilight?) but eventually radiating back to Space along with best part of the thermals and 66 (your figure 390-324 again sir) radiated by the surface plus that which is said to be reflected (without any loss)…………….
…………..and all of which comes out to abaht a £rand squire (less, of course, 100% for prompt payment, as accords with much of the logic written above).

264. gbaikie says:

– Stephen Wilde says:
April 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Whilst Anthony was within his rights I did place trust in his judgment and sense of fair play. Others can judge whether or not I was unwise.

There clearly has been an attempt to humiliate me but I do not feel humiliated because no one has yet addressed the basic point.

How does one get 102 Wm2 of DWIR from a non-radiative block of PE distributed through the atmosphere ?

If someone now tells me how that can be done then I am still not humiliated because thus far no one else here appears to know the answer.-

Well, an answer could be the water droplets of a cloud radiate IR to the surface. So droplets get bigger from condensation, and warm from the condensation, and radiate heat to surface.
So in the way the latent heat is being radiated..
But such warmed droplets will also warm air around them [air must cool for such condensation to occur] and if warmed is warmed, the air it rises as packet of air.

So that I believe is a possible answer.
But I would say clouds are a volume and in terms quantity and where condensation occur, one should more condensation in the cloud vs on edge of cloud, thereby a percentage of the radiant warmth will not escape the cloud. And generally speaking it’s complicated.
But one could point to occurrence of clouds and warmer nights and assume/guess this related to a net amount of radiant energy from clouds.

265. SkepticGoneWild says:

MikeB,

Words are cheap. There are many stupid thought experiments out there.. Show me the experiment for your “energy creation”. The scientific method is what separates the wheat from the chaff. Otherwise you are blowing hot air.

266. Eric Barnes says:

“Stephen Wilde says:
April 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm

How does one get 102 Wm2 of DWIR from a non-radiative block of PE distributed through the atmosphere ?”

I’m with you Stephen. Humiliation is something for the vain to worry about. IMO, there hasn’t been an adequate response to your question.

267. gbaikie says:

As said before, I don’t think Earth’s energy budget tells one why Earth is warm.
Or 100 or 1000 watts in and 100 or 1000 watts out does not tell your how warm it is.
So one starts with two factors, total amount 1360 square meter [divided by 4] and
how much is reflected.
And if how much is reflected is known, one knows how much energy there is left
to be radiates as non reflected light.
So if we imagine something like earth which doesn’t reflect light, and it get 1360 watts, we
know it radiates 1360 divided by 4. 340 watts per square meter.
And a ideal blackbody which radiates 340 watts is the same as saying it’s 5 C.
And a whiter body which radiate 340 watts is warmer than 5 C.
As white body reflect more energy, and hence must get higher amount input in order
to radiate the same amount energy as blackbody.
Or a blackbody radiates more energy at 5 C than a whiter body would at 5 C.

So the Trenberth et al model indicates earth is reflecting 107 watts per square meter.
So if you had a planet will a surface which was not similar to ideal blackbody and reflected 107 watts per square, it radiates 340 -107 watts per square meter or 233 watts. And it could be about 5 C.
Since it’s not a blackbody and doesn’t radiate at 1.
So absorbs less energy and it radiates less energy. But if such a white body radiated like blackbody is would be much cooler than 5 C.

So if you put a mirrored sphere in space and at Earth distance from sun.
And say it reflects 99.9 % of sunlight, how warm is it?

So side facing sunlight reflects 99.9 % of sunlight.
So using manner of earth heat budget, if sunlight is 1360 watts per square meter, 1358.64 watts per square meter of it is reflected, it leaves 1.26 watts absorbed.
Divide it by 4 gives .34 watts per square meter radiating from it.
If reflective sphere radiated as blackbody, .34 watts per square meter would be a very cold object.

But it doesn’t radiate as ideal blackbody.
And one would need more details before one would try to determine how warm it actually was.

Now if you had a planet with reflective surface [like a mirror] and it had an earth like atmosphere,
could a planet be 99.9 % reflective?
It’s does not seem possible because this much atmosphere is not very transparent.
But for such world one have energy budget of about 349 watts square meter reflected and
1 watt absorbed and emitted back in space, and so assuming this was the determined values, How could you determine how warm would such a planet would be?

268. Curt says:

David: You think you’re being clever and colorful, but you’re really just being incoherent. I don’t think you have the capability to discuss these matters in careful and precise terms. Underneath the bluster, you aren’t even addressing my arguments.

BTW, I know plenty of very bright British scientists and engineers who can let loose linguistically in the pub at night, but discuss technical subjects very coherently when it is required. You’re obviously not one of them.

269. Dr. Strangelove says:

Stephen
“The warmed air immediately becomes warmer than the surroundings and rises higher thereby creating more PE.”

That is correct. What you missed is the source of that energy is sensible heat, not latent heat. Sensible heat is converted to increase in potential energy. You don’t see that in Trenberth’s diagram precisely because as you pointed out it should not be included. And Trenberth did not include it in the diagram, What you see in the diagram is latent heat. This should be included because it becomes sensible heat when water vapor condenses in high altitude.

270. SkepticGoneWild says:

Joel,

So now it’s arguments from authority? “Us” who have PhD’s? “Arrogance”? OMG. You are the one who brought up the subject of your “PhD” and publishing papers. You then to proceeded to call me “arrogant”, “foolish”, “ridiculous” and “ignorant. Please discuss the topic at hand without resorting to ad hominem trash talk. I am a professional civil engineer. I’ve had multiple courses in physics, including a specific course in thermodynamics. But that is besides the point. The scientific method does not concerns itself with letters behind one’s name or published papers.

The Second Law mentions nothing about “net”.

This is what happens when people take liberties with the established laws of thermodynamics. Remember the Willis post last year on the R.W. Wood experiment, and the steel shells? Willis believes your version of the Second Law, and followed it to its logical conclusion when he stated:

“Radiative energy doesn’t care where it is coming from or going go, or what the temperature is on either end. If I light a candle on the earth during the day, the sun ends up warmer than it would be if I didn’t light the candle. Of course the reverse is true as well, the candle ends up warmer than if there were no sun. Since NET heat flow is from the sun to the candle, no thermodynamic laws are broken … but that doesn’t mean that the light from the candle is not absorbed by the sun. It is definitely absorbed, and the sun ends up warmer because of that radiation.”

Tim Folkerts in the same post agreed, as did many others. Would you agree as well? So logically not only is CO2 causing the earth to warm, it is causing the sun to warm.

271. joeldshore says:

SkepticGoneWild:

If you refuse to entertain the notion that other people in the world who has studied stuff in WAY more detail than you ever have might actually have a better understanding of it than you do, then you will remain in your state of ignorance. That’s your choice to make.

I won’t choose to say anything too prejudicial about engineers, whom I do teach, and whose abilities I have great respect for in some areas. But, frankly, you guys generally don’t learn physics in all that much depth. And, I’ll just say that if you’d agree to not pretend you understand more about the 2nd law of thermodynamics and the underpinnings of it from statistical physics, I’ll agree to not pretend that I understand more than you about designing bridges…And believe me, you probably don’t want me designing bridges.

The Second Law mentions nothing about “net”.

The Second Law talks about “heat”. Since you don’t seem to know what that word means, you misinterpret what it says.

Willis believes your version of the Second Law, and followed it to its logical conclusion when he stated: …

Tim Folkerts in the same post agreed, as did many others.

Yes.

So logically not only is CO2 causing the earth to warm, it is causing the sun to warm.

Actually, I don’t really see how this follows logically from what was said above. In the case of the candle, there is more emission of energy toward the sun when it is lit compared to when it is not. In the case of increased CO2, the Earth’s surface may be warmer…but as seen from space, it will still be emitting the same amount of energy as it was before (once radiative balance has been restored…In fact, if you consider the time period when CO2 is rising and the Earth has not yet come into radiative balance, it will actually be emitting LESS energy than before).

272. Curt says:

Stephen: You say at 3:04pm:

“There clearly has been an attempt to humiliate me but I do not feel humiliated because no one has yet addressed the basic point. How does one get 102 Wm2 of DWIR from a non-radiative block of PE distributed through the atmosphere ?”

The question is so nonsensical that it is impossible to answer. Potential energy does not radiate, substances radiate.

And substances radiate as a function of their temperature and their emissivity at that temperature. Period. Earth’s atmosphere has radiatively active gases that do radiate significantly in all directions at their temperatures.

I’m afraid that your question shows that you don’t remotely have the conceptual background even to begin to discuss these issues intelligently.

At 3:14pm, you say, “Energy locked into that cycle cannot be taken for radiation to space or you break the chain of energy flow and the atmosphere falls to the ground.”

When I read this, my first thought was that someone else posting under your name said that to discredit you. I actually still hope that is true, because it is beyond ludicrous. (Hint: the atmosphere has already fallen to the ground.)

273. gbaikie says:

” Would you agree as well? So logically not only is CO2 causing the earth to warm, it is causing the sun to warm.”
If your Sun’s twin were it at Earth orbital distance, it would not warm the Sun.

But it would affect the weather on Jupiter’s Moons- having slighter larger weather effect than any CO2 levels have ever had on Earth’s weather.

274. The replies relating to clouds and water vapour and droplets don’t work for two reasons:

i) Their effect is already in the radiative figures as 30 to space and included in the 222 radiation to the surface.

ii) Latent heat is a form of potential energy just like PE so neither register on thermometers nor radiate. When latent heat is released it goes to the non radiative bulk atmosphere via conduction and cannot be released as radiation by non radative molecules so it goes quickly to PE. It can only be ‘recovered’ as heat energy on the next descent.

Curt said:

“(Hint: the atmosphere has already fallen to the ground.)”

Try telling that to every molecule that floats above the surface :)

275. Curt said:

“The question is so nonsensical that it is impossible to answer. Potential energy does not radiate, substances radiate.”

So you agree with me ?

“And substances radiate as a function of their temperature and their emissivity at that temperature. Period. Earth’s atmosphere has radiatively active gases that do radiate significantly in all directions at their temperatures.”

Lifting a gaseous substance to height via an internal circulation requires work to be done as does moving it back down again. The energy required for that adiabatic process takes the form of gravitational potential energy and as I explained to Joel it cannot participate in the radiative exchange whilst in potential form.

K&T and the rest of the objectors here have worked the calculations on the basis that potential energy can participate in the radiative exchange.

How does the K&T diagram deal with the fund of non radiative gravitational potential energy within the atmosphere?

It shows it as sending down 102 W m2 as extra DWIR magically produced from nowhere.

Checkmate ?

Eric Barnes gets it and by now I imagine that lots of other non contributors do as well.

276. John of Kent says:

Stephen Wilde is not as has never been a “Slayer”, more greenhouse propaganda from WUWT!

277. david(swuk) says:

Curt says:
April 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm

“coherent discussion”

……or peering into the darkness your adopted postures so permit more like……might one opine.

….and, as interesting as it might be poking around in that other World, what K-T et al is using to spin the Warmist Tale just gets chivvied around instead of being soundly challenged as a total load of Established Law-breaking tosh.
The bootlace-free twin-Sun postulation somewhere not far above surely debunks the candle and flame etc. fancifications and with it much of K-T interchanges of radiative energy which may well excite their brethren, including water vapour, until enough of it has found its way to Space to maintain the balance but not terra firma where it has warmer potential (or, perhaps, equal as with the twin Suns).
Otherwise I would surely expect to see clouds as diffusers (H.S?) of sunlight and not simple reflectors as they can be seen from below and can only but guess the Tren`s 67 represents the Solar IR absorbed thereby whilst the other ~half of it either bounces off the oceans surface or cuts through to warm the Core as 168 doesn`t seem enough to drive the climate to me.
But The World does need its boffins at levels below the eclectic as well and so the shakers and makers do have to see that they don`t go bumping into things that might hurt too bad as they burrow deep into the relevant Sciences and be ever ready to do a Rule of Thumb over their product before making any bid or spending money.- because, like lawyers, they seldom agree on exactly what is right.

278. Note: I’m glad to see a number of people pointing out how flawed the argument is. Every once in awhile we need to take a look at the ‘Slayer’ mentality of thinking about radiative balance, just to keep sharp on the topic. At first I thought this should go straight into the hopper, and then I thought it might make some good target practice, so I published it without any caveat.

Now you can watch the fun as they react over at PSI. – Anthony

Uh, small question, since when is Stephen a Slayer?

He’s a talkshop regular, they don’t like Slayer stuff over there much either.

279. david(swuk) says:

david(swuk) says:
April 11, 2014 at 3:38 am
Curt says:
April 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm

“coherent discussion”

Oh – and I think I made it clear that I too was of the opinion that the Thermal issues resulted in carrying HEAT (not just wafty energy) to the higher atmosphere from where it can be self ejected into Space….it seems to me too that near Solar IR needs better attention.

280. Frank says:

Steve wrote: “There is still 102 Wm2 leaving the surface in adiabatic uplift and 102 Wm2 returning to the surface in adiabatic descent.”

When water evaporates from the surface and later condenses in the atmosphere, the heat of evaporation has been lost from the surface and gained by the atmosphere. The energy gained by the atmosphere makes it warmer. It doesn’t return only by adiabatic descent. The warmer air radiates in all directions (more than it would if it were cooler). Some of the radiated photons reach the surface as DLR, some escape to space, and some are absorbed. Being warmer, it will expand and possibly rise higher. ALL of these processes are represented on Trenberth’s diagram – it shows the energy balance for the surface AND the energy balance for the atmosphere. All fluxes are accounted for – you want to count some of them twice.

We can monitor the upwards and downwards radiation fluxes and identify their sources by wavelength: SWR, OLR, and DLR. Trenberth’s diagram shows all three of these separately. Sensible heat in the descending branch of the Hadley and Ferrell cells warms the subtropics and poles, while sensible heat is lost through their ascending branches. We can’t monitor sensible heat fluxes accurately, so Trenberth shows us only the NET FLUX produced by these upward and downward flows. It’s the same as combining surface upward radiation and DLR to produce a net upward LWR flux of 66 W/m2. The NET flux of sensible heat shown was chosen so that the surface is in equilibrium with the atmosphere – except for a tiny difference (less than 1 W/m2) that is warming the surface (mostly the ocean). In his latest diagram, the difference was chosen to agree with the increase in ocean heat content measure by Argo. If you like, replace Trenberth’s single arrow for upward flux of sensible heat with two arrows, one downward and one upward. We don’t have a good idea of how big either of those arrows are, but we know that the difference is about 24 W/m2. If it weren’t, the earth would be warming or cooling much more rapidly than it is. If future research showed that mean global DLR were 314 or 334 W/m2 instead of 324 W/m2, the value for NET sensible heat flux presumably would be changed to 34 or 14 W/m2.

Steve also wrote: “It may be comprised of ever changing parcels of energy as energy flows through and it may be incorporated within the general upward flow but it is still there and it raises surface temperature from 255K to 288K.”

Since about 90% of the photons escaping to space are emitted by the atmosphere, the atmosphere needs to be warm enough to emit OLR amounting to 90% of the SWR (239 W/m2) that is absorbed below the tropopause. Since 70% of incoming SWR reaches the surface, there needs to be a large flux of energy from the surface to the atmosphere. 288 degK happens to be the surface temperature where the NET upward flux of heat from the surface to the atmosphere (by a combination of radiation and convection) that keeps that atmosphere at the appropriate temperature (and provides 10% of OLR). The earth’s blackbody equivalent temperature (255 degK) ignores that the emissivity of the atmosphere is less than 1, the temperature gradient in the troposphere, and a number of other awkward problems. IMO, the 33 degK difference isn’t a sensible way to quantify of the greenhouse effect.

281. Kristian says:

Frank says, April 11, 2014 at 11:24 am:

“When water evaporates from the surface and later condenses in the atmosphere, the heat of evaporation has been lost from the surface and gained by the atmosphere. The energy gained by the atmosphere makes it warmer. It doesn’t return only by adiabatic descent.”

What Stephen doesn’t seem to understand is the route the solar heat takes through the earth system (well, the devout believers in the ‘atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect’ doesn’t seem to get it either).

It is first (mostly) absorbed by the surface, warming it. From there it is released into the atmosphere (mostly) through convective processes (conduction/convection/evaporation), brought up towards the tropopause, warming the troposphere on its way. On the way (and mostly from the cloud/convection top) it is then released back out to space through radiation. It is trivial to follow this route in the available observational data from the real world: First surface temps change, then tropospheric temps, then OLR from ToA.

NO heat is globally radiated or convected/conducted back to the surface! It is simply IN and OUT. From hot to cold all the way. The atmosphere CANNOT make the surface (its heat source) warmer than what the sun makes it by transferring back (recycling) energy already emitted from it as thermal loss! This would violate both the 1st and the 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics.

How people don’t see this is a mystery to me …

282. Kristian says:

I’ve already pointed out how Willis Eschenbach on this thread states the following:

“… but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law.”

He’s quite correct, of course. It’s a trivial point. Yet, when it comes to radiation, he’s perfectly willing to let energy previously emitted from the surface as thermal loss return from the atmosphere to warm it a second time. THEN it’s somehow ok. THEN it somehow doesn’t violate the 2nd (and the 1st) Law of Thermodynamic.

Go figure.

283. Curt says:

Stephen, you say: “So you agree with me ?”

Absolutely not! You don’t even understand the arguments or even the terminology. No one is claiming that “potential energy radiates”, whatever that nonsense would possibly mean. That strawman is a product of your profound confusion.

I repeat what I said before: “Substances radiate as a function of their temperature and their emissivity at that temperature. Period. Earth’s atmosphere has radiatively active gases that do radiate significantly in all directions at their temperatures.”

Now, as gases rise, their temperature gets lower, and that affects how much they radiate, but how much they radiate is a function of the resultant temperature at any point and the emissivity of that temperature. It is simply not true that “K&T and the rest of the objectors here have worked the calculations on the basis that potential energy can participate in the radiative exchange.”

You also say, “Lifting a gaseous substance to height via an internal circulation requires work to be done as does moving it back down again. The energy required for that adiabatic process takes the form of gravitational potential energy and as I explained to Joel it cannot participate in the radiative exchange whilst in potential form.”

Now in this nonsensical statement, what I think you may be trying to say is that as the gas rises, some of the kinetic energy of the molecules is converted to gravitational potential energy, and therefore its temperature decreases, and that as the temperature decreases, it radiates less. No one is arguing otherwise (and certainly no one is arguing that “potential energy radiates” – that is a figment of your fevered imagination). But what you are missing is that the higher the gas is, the more of the energy is radiated to space, where it is lost to the cycle, instead of the nearby atmosphere, where it is not.

You continue to call the process adiabatic, no matter how many times people point out to you that it is not. Do you even understand what “adiabatic” means?

You ask, “How does the K&T diagram deal with the fund of non radiative gravitational potential energy within the atmosphere? It shows it as sending down 102 W m2 as extra DWIR magically produced from nowhere.”

The “fund” of gravitational potential energy in the atmosphere is fundamentally constant. Some parcels of air move up, some move down, but it all has to balance out. By the 102 W/m2 that you are asserting is “magically produced”, I believe you are referring to the net (78+42) upward of thermals and evapo-transpiration in the diagram, that you believe is unbalanced. But as has been explained to you multiple times, because of the radiatively active gases, energy is lost on the way up (past what is converted to gravitational potential energy), so that on the return down, it does not transfer as much energy back to the surface, so there is a net upward transfer from surface to atmosphere due to these mechanisms.

You ask, “Checkmate ?” Only in the sense that Charlie Sheen yells “Winner!”

284. Frank says:

Trick said (April 10, 2014 at 12:40 pm)

“Correct; the graphs show real bodies reflect some of the incident photonic energy unlike a theoretical black body which doesn’t reflect at all. Planck function posted above 4/9 12:57pm is never 0.0, so radiation is emitted by all bodies regardless of temperature, although to varying degrees at different frequencies.
The part of the incident photonic energy not reflected is absorbed/emitted in a hemisphere of directions is occurring in nature by Planck function at all frequencies all the time at all equilibrium temperatures for solid/liquid/gas – no hedging here “all” means ALL – no exceptions, the integral of which across the spectrum is the irradiance.”

Trick, the physics you cite isn’t adequate for describing all of the interactions between radiation and matter, including gases. You need to go deeper into the real physics, not just apply laws work to special situations. Unfortunately, the complete physics isn’t taught in many courses.

For solid objects, we usually assess the radiation they absorb by measuring the radiation they reflect/scatter. For visible wavelengths, it is easy to measure what solids scatter; just take a color picture. If you are interested in infrared wavelengths, it is a non-trivial task to discriminate between the infrared radiation emitted by the solid object itself, the equipment being used to detect radiation and the rest of the surroundings. (Night vision glasses detect the increase in radiation with temperature and work best identifying warm people against a cold sky.) It is even more difficult to study the infrared emission from gases.

However, we can learn about the radiation EMITTED by a gas by studying the radiation ABSORBED by a gas. A single absorption “cross-section” or coefficient (for each wavelength) determines how much radiation is absorbed AND emitted (at that wavelength). Unlike solids, it is trivial to study absorption by shining infrared radiation through a gas. By using an infrared light source with a 4000 degK filament, we can overwhelm the much weaker radiation emitted by the gas and its surroundings in the lab, and measure absorption without interference from emission. So infrared spectra of gases are a convenient way to learn about their emission spectra. The absorption spectra of gases are INCOMPATIBLE with the idea they always emit blackbody radiation.

A more complete picture: The following equations refer to radiation at a single wavelength, so I don’t have to type a subscript lamba on every term. To obtain total intensity, you need to integrate these eqns over all wavelengths. Written in differential form the radiation ABSORBED (lost) by a gas (dI_a) as it passes an incremental distance (ds) through a gas is given by:

dI_a/ds = n*o*I_0

where n is the density of absorbing molecules in the path, o is the absorption cross-section or absorption coefficient for that wavelength, and I_0 is the intensity of the incoming light. Integrating this equation gives Beers Law for the intensity of light (I) passing through a distance s. I/I_0 = exp(-nos)

The radiation EMITED by the gas molecules (dI_e) along an incremental distance (ds) is given by:

dI_e/ds = n*o*B(T)

where B(T) is the Planck function for that temperature and wavelength, and the same o is used for both absorption and emission. B(T) sometimes refers to light emitted in all directions (per unit solid angle), but it can be converted to intensity normal to a plane and moving in both directions. We use the flux perpendicular to a surface for simple problems. If you combine these two equations, you get the Schwarzschild eqn, which describes how radiation changes (dI) upon passing an incremental distance (ds) through a gas:

dI/ds = dI_e/ds – dI_a/ds = n*o*{ B(T) – I_0 }

When radiation passes though a homogenous gas FAR ENOUGH so that emission and absorption have come into equilibrium, then dI/ds = 0 and I_0 = B(T). The intensity of the light will be that of a Blackbody at temperature T – IF the absorption coefficient is NOT ZERO. If the absorption coefficient is zero, the gas is TRANSPARENT at that wavelength, doesn’t change the intensity of the radiation passing through it, and certainly doesn’t emit at that wavelength. The absorption cross-section o tells you how rapidly with distance the intensity of radiation approaches blackbody intensity for a given density of absorbing/emitting molecules (GHG’s). The more absorbing/emitting molecules there are and the bigger their cross-section, the more likely it will be that the radiation leaving a gas will be nearly blackbody. At transparent wavelengths, however, any light coming out of the gas must have originated from BEHIND the gas (the surface of the earth, empty space = afterglow from the big bang, the sun, etc). Note that the Planck function (B(lamba,T)) is built into the Schwarzschild equation, so that blackbody radiation will be produced whenever emission and absorption have come into equilibrium. In the absence of equilibrium, the radiation will not exhibit blackbody intensity. Black boxes with a tiny pinhole in them were first used to study blackbody radiation – neat devices for emitting radiation with absorption and emission in equilibrium.

If you accept that radiation travels through solids and liquids and obeys the Schwarzschild eqn, then solids and liquids emit blackbody radiation for exactly the same reasons that a gas does – emission and absorbing have come into equilibrium by the time the radiation leaves the surface. Being much denser than gases, solids and liquids don’t have to be very thick for their internal radiation to reach equilibrium before exiting the surface, but thin films of solids and liquids do not emit blackbody radiation! (The thin coatings on low emissivity glass work because they don’t emit blackbody radiation.) Just like gases, solids and liquids are transparent at wavelengths they don’t absorb. Transparent objects don’t emit blackbody radiation – that is why they aren’t black. When radiation exiting a solid is scattered or reflected back into the solid by the surface, then that surface has an emissivity less than 1. Radiation traveling into a solid or liquid can also be scattered/reflected; producing absorptivity less than 1. Absorptivity = emissivity.

Planck’s Law and the S-B law are special cases that can be derived from the Schwarzschild eqn assuming that the absorption and emission have reached equilibrium before radiation leaves

When scientists want to know how radiation changes as it passes through the atmosphere (which changes composition, density and temperature with altitude), they numerically integrate the Schwarzschild equation over distance and wavelength, and that process radiation transfer (equations). When the B(T) term – emitted in all directions is converted to a flux perpendicular to the earth’s surface, surface upward radiation acquires two components, OLR and DLR, from emission.

285. Frank says:

Kristian: Individual molecules and photons appear “violate” the 2LoT all of the time through collisions, absorption and emission. Individual molecules and photons have kinetic energy (or E = hv), but they don’t have a temperature – a mean kinetic energy. Temperature is a concept that applies to large groups of frequently-colliding molecules. Statistical mechanics has shown that heat will always flow from the hotter group to the colder group even though some slower-moving molecules collide and transfer kinetic energy to faster-moving molecules. Warmer gases emit more photons that cooler gases, but some photons go from cold to hot. Only the NET flux is from hot to cold.

286. Max says:

Small correction, Stephen Wilde is not a Slayer, he posts over at the talkshop and they aren’t big on Slayer type stuff either.

Nor are the Connollys associated with them.

287. Kristian says:

Frank says, April 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm:

But Frank, this is not the issue. The whole ‘heating by back radiation’ concept rests upon HEAT moving ALSO from cold to hot. Only HEAT (and work) can directly raise the temperature of (increase the internal energy of) a system. It is by ADDING ‘extra’ energy (energy that was previously emitted from hot to cold as thermal loss) that earth’s surface temperature allegedly rises, NOT by obstructing energy from leaving (being emitted from) the surface. This is per definition direct heating, whatever you choose to CALL it.

288. joeldshore says:

Kristian says:

But Frank, this is not the issue. The whole ‘heating by back radiation’ concept rests upon HEAT moving ALSO from cold to hot.

No, it doesn’t. It rests on the concept that the steady-state temperature of an object is determined by the balance between what it absorbs and what it emits, something that is only controversial among the scientifically-ignorant.

289. Trick says:

Frank 3:16pm: “Trick, the physics you cite isn’t adequate for describing all of the interactions between radiation and matter, including gases.”

Concur, I will expand little more w/o try teaching or editor (per Curt); a whole text book can be written on the interactions of radiation & matter. Nice work though Frank, fun talking some actual text book physics for once – usually if go in too deep lose many readers like Stephen who won’t consult a text just consults his imagination. Thanks for not using the word “heat” in confusion like Kristian does.

Emission is the birth of a photon, absorption is photon death and reflection/scattering is the life of a photon. Scattering is not a transformation of radiant energy into other forms but rather into different directions; radiant energy is always conserved as it is absorbed into the L&O earth surface from whatever indistinguishable source (atm., sun, bird, cabbage).

Here is a short list of what Stephen misses in these processes per Bohren 2006:

“What once was, and perhaps still is, the standard treatise on atomic spectra, by Condon and Shortley, fills 432 pages of text. Herzberg’s treatises fill 581 pages for diatomic molecules, 538 pages for polyatomic molecules, and 670 pages for the electronic spectra of polyatomic molecules. Townes and Schawlow devote 648 pages to microwave spectroscopy. And the physical strain of just lifting these nearly 3000 pages is as nothing compared to the mental strain of absorbing them”… as Stephen often writes he hasn’t read a one since the early ’60s.

Think it was R.Feynman said something like “Nobody understands all that”.

Real matter continuously emits & absorbs radiation. All wavelengths, all the time, at all temperatures as entropy can not remain constant in nature. I often see around here that bodies are “heated” – about “heat” radiation (no such thing) or “heat rises”, just drop “heat” as a noun (as Frank does) and reduce confusion. Maxwell would have been more clear with the “Theory of Energy” and Planck with “Theory of Radiation”. Cold bodies radiate too, even when bodies are cooled they radiate. Blackbody radiation existence does not hinge on the existence of a blackbody. Real bodies (large compared with the wavelength) are characterized by (dimensionless) absorptivities less than or equal to 1.

“In general, the absorptivity (and hence emissivity) of a body depends on the direction and state of polarization of the incident radiation as well as its frequency, caveats often omitted. We would not have to worry about this if all bodies were always illuminated by blackbody radiation (unpolarized and isotropic). But alas, this is not true, and real bodies when removed from cavities are illuminated by radiation that usually is not the same in all directions and may be partially polarized.”

“Just like gases, solids and liquids are transparent at wavelengths they don’t absorb.”

Here Frank in part confuses real objects with ideal black or ideal transparent bodies:

No real object is transparent (absorptivity=0.0) at any wavelength at any time at any temperature – only ideal objects can be transparent in theory (entropy constant) since all real processes increase entropy, again: “All matter – gaseous, liquid, or solid – at all temperatures emits radiation of all frequencies at all times, although in varying amounts, possibly so small at some frequencies, for some materials, and at some temperatures as to be undetectable with today’s instruments (tomorrow’s, who knows?).” Bohren 2006 p. 4 right up front.

”…Planck’s Law and the S-B law are special cases that can be derived from the Schwarzschild eqn.”

No. Planck’s distribution function is fundamental, it is contained IN the Schwarzschild eqn. for the transmission of radiation of a particular frequency through an absorbing medium.

”…we usually assess the radiation they absorb by measuring the radiation they reflect/scatter.”

A mirror illuminated by an incident beam gives rise to a reflected beam. Is this reflected beam redirected incident photons? Alas, we cannot do an experiment to answer this question. To determine if reflected photons are measured the same as incident photons would require us to be able to identify them. But photons are indistinguishable. We cannot tell one from another. We cannot tag a photon with GPS and follow its life line progress like a bird.

Thus if you want to believe that you measure reflected photons being the same as incident photons, you may do so. No one can prove you wrong. But you cannot prove you are right. When faced with an un-decidable proposition, you may believe whatever you wish just like Stephen top post & Kristian 4:45pm: “The whole ‘heating by back radiation’ concept rests upon HEAT moving…” No. How can anyone identify a heat photon was over there to know the photon moved over here? Can’t. So Kristian can believe what he wishes.

Note that in the wave language we would not likely even ask if the reflected wave is the same as the incident wave. Kristian should learn to write his thoughts w/o using the “heat” word to reduce & in some cases eliminate confusion as Frank does.

290. joeldshore says:

Curt says:

Now in this nonsensical statement, what I think you may be trying to say is that as the gas rises, some of the kinetic energy of the molecules is converted to gravitational potential energy, and therefore its temperature decreases, and that as the temperature decreases, it radiates less. No one is arguing otherwise

Actually, I would argue otherwise. There are serious problems with this viewpoint:

(1) It ignores the fact that the buoyant force is doing positive work on the gas as it rises. So, for example, if the parcel of gas is neutrally buoyant, then no, there won’t be any loss of the kinetic energy of the molecules because of an increase in gravitational potential energy, i.e., the negative work that the gravitational force does on the parcel will be exactly offset by the positive work that the buoyant force does on the parcel.

(2) The reasons parcels cool when they rise in the atmosphere (even on timescales where we can see the process is adiabatic, i.e., ignoring any loses of heat to radiation) is that the gas expands as it rises and this means the gas parcel is doing work on its surroundings.

This distinction might seem nitpicky, but I think it is actually quite important. Stephen’s misunderstanding leads to a lot of nonsense, such as the incorrect notion that the equilibrium state of a gas in a gravitational field is not isothermal and to an idea that the adiabatic lapse rate is some sort of natural state of the system, rather than the truth which is that it is a stability limit.

I.e., much of the atmosphere ends up with a lapse rate close to the adiabatic lapse rate because the solution to the problem of purely radiative equilibrium would lead to even larger lapse rates, which are unstable to convection and it is convection that drives the environmental lapse rate down to the appropriate (dry or saturated) adiabatic lapse rate. And, of course, it does so by transporting energy up in the atmosphere.

291. Kristian says:

joeldshore says, April 11, 2014 at 5:50 pm:

“No, it doesn’t. It rests on the concept that the steady-state temperature of an object is determined by the balance between what it absorbs and what it emits, something that is only controversial among the scientifically-ignorant.”

No, Joel. The steady-state temperature of a real-world object is determined by how much energy has been accumulated at/below its surface upon balance between incoming and outgoing energy. The instantaneous fluxes themselves do not set the steady-state temperature. The steady-state internal energy of the object does.

Atmospheric IR is not incoming energy for the surface. It is not an extra input of energy. An input of energy to a system (like the surface) would come from its heat reservoir (like the sun), not its cold sink (like the atmosphere). The atmospheric energy came from the surface in the first place (an input), warming the atmosphere. It has only one way to go from there: towards colder, ultimately to space.

If you want to return (recycle) this previously thermally ejected energy to the surface ejecting it, the heat source of the atmosphere, to raise its temperature a second time, then you are relying on a concept where HEAT is also going separately/independently from cold to hot, an impossible situation in nature. I know you would never admit to this, because you know it violates all thermodynamic laws. But that is what you’re in fact doing.

292. Trick says:

Kristian 6:36am: “Atmospheric IR is not incoming energy for the surface.”

In your view, what happens (in basic science terms) to the incoming energy at the incoming terrestrial photon’s death upon being annihilated at the surface?

293. joeldshore says:

As Kristian has well demonstrated, if you just rewrite the laws of physics to suit your prejudices, then you can believe anything you want to and remain safely behind your own self-imposed veil of ignorance.

294. Kristian says:

joeldshore says, April 12, 2014 at 7:14 am:

“As Kristian has well demonstrated, if you just rewrite the laws of physics to suit your prejudices, then you can believe anything you want to and remain safely behind your own self-imposed veil of ignorance.”

Yes, that’s a good summary of how you and your kind operate, Joel. Rewriting the laws of physics, that’s what you do best, after all. As I’ve demonstrated.

295. Kristian says:

Trick says, April 12, 2014 at 6:52 am:

“In your view, what happens (in basic science terms) to the incoming energy at the incoming terrestrial photon’s death upon being annihilated at the surface?”

What ‘incoming’ energy? The incoming energy comes from the sun. This energy then goes OUT from the surface to the atmosphere as thermal loss, because of the former (hot reservoir) being warmer than the latter (cold reservoir). As described by the radiative heat transfer equation. There is no extra energy input from the cooler atmosphere to the warmer surface. You’re double counting the energy.

296. Frank says:

Thanks for the reply, Trick. We are now mostly in agreement. In the real world, o may always be slightly greater than zero. Lines are broadened by collisions and the Doppler effect. However, from a practical point of view, n*o can be effectively zero. You might need a spectrophotometer with a path length of a hundred meters to measure effectively zero absorption (say by pure nitrogen gas) accurately enough to be sure that nitrogen absorption/emission is low enough at a particular wavelength to not be changed significantly passing through our atmosphere. However, one paper I read used an experimental set up that reflect the beam enough times to produce a 193 m path length through a gas at low pressure to create conditions similar to the stratosphere. It think the spectral data we have is accurate enough to do a decent job modeling radiation passing through our atmosphere, but there may be some controversy about line shape distant from the center of very strong bands.

What happens when molten glass is heated hot enough to emit visible light? Does it emit light of blackbody intensity or not emit at all because it is transparent? Sodium glass emits a bright yellow light that requires glass blowers to wear special goggle that filter out the yellow. That doesn’t sound like blackbody radiation. Hot borosilicate glass doesn’t emit that yellow light. In the ideal world, I’d find a picture of borosilicate glass emitting very little light being held by a pair of tongs that were glowing red hot; “proof” that visibly transparent materials don’t emit blackbody radiation at several thousand degrees. In reality, most pictures show hot glass being dull red. When a glass begins to melt, some of the covalent bonds are breaking, thereby changing the optical properties of the material.

People keep making mistakes about the emission from gases because they think Planck and S-B are fundamental laws that applies to everything. Even when corrected for emissivity, they provide the correct answer for radiation leaving an object ONLY when absorption and emission have come into equilibrium. The Schwarzschild eqn is correct for all situations and Planck’s law can be derived from it. The Planck function B(T) is essential to both.

297. Bart says:

Kristian says:
April 12, 2014 at 9:34 am

“There is no extra energy input from the cooler atmosphere to the warmer surface.”

This is such an elementary mischaracterization which causes so much unwarrented confusion. It is not your fault, but the fault of those who use such sloppy language.

The atmosphere does not produce “energy”. Energy is an absolute quantity which can be neither created nor destroyed, merely converted from one form to another. What we are talking about here is flows of energy per unit of time, which is power.

The GHGs in the atmosphere do not heat the surface. The Sun does that. Every second it shines upon the Earth, it is heating it. How hot the Earth’s surface gets depends on how efficiently it can rid itself of one batch of solar powered heat before the next batch of solar radiation comes in.

The GHGs impede the outward transport of that heat through radiation. Enough that, all things being equal, the surface temperature would rise until it reached a level to overcome the impedance of the GHGs.

It is analogous to putting a dam across a stream. The dam does not create water. It simply impedes the flow so that the water pools up behind it until it can flow over the top. Increase the height of the dam, and the depth of the water behind it increases, until it can spill over the top again.

At least, that would be the case if there were no other means of transferring heat to the GHGs than radiation.

But, that is not the case. Atmospheric convection also transfers heat to the GHGs, so that it can be radiated away into space. It is like having a spillway beside the dam which prevents the water from overflowing the top of the dam in the first place. You can build the dam higher, but the spillway is still going to keep the flow going just as it was before, and the extra height of the dam has no effect.

That is the point I have made in preceding comments on this page. I believe it is why we currently observe essentially no surface temperature to CO2 concentration sensitivity at all.

298. Willis Eschenbach says:

Lawrence13 says:
April 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Willis Eschenbach says

“In short, Anthony just published the piece, and did nothing else. He did nothing blameworthy at all … and in any case, blaming the publisher when a newly launched scientific post goes hard aground on a reef of ugly facts is merely an attempt to divert attention from the wreck.”

I don’t agree with that at all. If Anthony had said I’ll feature your article but be warned I myself will call it a load of ld B0^&ocks for starters and I’m sure other replies will be less forgiving; then if Stephen still went ahead well he couldn’t complain.

If Stephen didn’t know what Anthony would think about his piece, he’s an idiot … and whatever Stephen is, he is far from an idiot.

It seems that what you are proposing is that before Anthony publishes any piece, he should warn the author in advance as to what he (Anthony) might say about the piece … he doesn’t do that with me, why should he do that with anyone?

Anthony in the past has disagreed very strongly with my position. Did he tell me that before he published my piece? Heck, no. THAT’S NOT HIS JOB. This is science. He just posts up pieces, and then sometimes comments on them himself. So what?

Anyway Willis are you and Roy Spencer talking again and that was only one persons criticism and you were seemingly mortally wounded.

I was not “mortally wounded”. I was falsely accused of plagiarism. Roy and I are still friends. What does that have to do with this situation?

No it could have been handled far better . This thread is now about two issues the scientific argument and the dreadful behaviour on many now trying to look like scientist-well 3% of scientist.

My goodness, we’re back to the “97% consensus”? Really? And in fact, only a few of the comments have been about how this was handled. Most of the discussion has been about the science, or more accurately, Stephan Wilde’s lack thereof …

Sorry Anthony and Willis but I found this disturbingly cruel

Look, Laurence13, you’re just an anonymous “concern troll”. I never believe someone like you who is bitching and moaning on behalf of someone who is perfectly capable of defending themself. Stephen responded to me above. He said he would have preferred if Anthony warned him that he (Anthony) was going to disagree … and heck, I’d prefer it too but THAT’S NOT HIS JOB.

The sad truth is that science is a blood sport. You put your heart-felt truths and your research out on the table, hand around the sledgehammers, and see if someone can destroy it. Stephen seems to understand that perfectly, as does anyone involved in science. It’s not a game for wimps, people are trying to cut up and destroy someone else’s precious scientific work.

So you clutching your pearls and complaining that it looks like an abattoir around here doesn’t bring tears of compassion to my eyes for poor Stephen. He’s a grown man, he doesn’t need you to whimper on his behalf.

w.

299. joeldshore says:

Bart says:

But, that is not the case. Atmospheric convection also transfers heat to the GHGs, so that it can be radiated away into space. It is like having a spillway beside the dam which prevents the water from overflowing the top of the dam in the first place. You can build the dam higher, but the spillway is still going to keep the flow going just as it was before, and the extra height of the dam has no effect.

That is the point I have made in preceding comments on this page. I believe it is why we currently observe essentially no surface temperature to CO2 concentration sensitivity at all.

The only problem with your hypothesis is that it has no theoretical or empirical support. The modern theory of radiative-convective equilibrium makes it clear essentially why it does not work this way: The atmosphere is only unstable to convection when the lapse rate exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate.

Empirical support for your hypothesis would involve observing a much larger tropical tropospheric amplification (“hot spot”) than the models predict. In fact, while the data has various problems, the actual argument is about whether the amplification is LESS than the models predict or whether it is compatible within the substantial error bars.

300. Trick says:

Kristian 9:34am: “What ‘incoming’ energy?”

The emission of of terrestrial photons toward the surface by atm. mass. In your view, the atm. does NOT radiate any photons toward the surface then?

If so, what happens to these photons in your view? If not, how does the atm. manage to emit photons toward space but not emit photons toward the surface?

301. gbaikie says:

— Trick says:
April 12, 2014 at 6:52 am

Kristian 6:36am: “Atmospheric IR is not incoming energy for the surface.”

In your view, what happens (in basic science terms) to the incoming energy at the incoming terrestrial photon’s death upon being annihilated at the surface?–

Energy [and matter is conserved] photon only converts to heat, when it can heat something.

302. Trick says:

Frank 9:54am: “…they provide the correct answer for radiation leaving an object ONLY when absorption and emission have come into equilibrium.”

Yes. The basic understanding all comes from radiation in equilibrium with matter. All of thermodynamics tells us little about the time to come to equilibrium.

“The Schwarzschild eqn is correct for all situations and Planck’s law can be derived from it. The Planck function B(T) is essential to both.”

Does not compute. Planck distribution (or Planck function) and Planck law mean the same thing AFAIK & is for all wavelengths across the spectrum;,S-B is its integral over an interval. There are whole text books on atm. radiation without even mentioning Schwarzschild eqn. (unless has another name) which as far as I can tell is for only one wavelength & no scattering which is far from fundamental. Maybe you have an online or text cite for what you really mean.

303. Trick says:

gbaikie 2:57pm: “Energy [and matter is conserved] photon only converts to heat, when it can heat something.”

In your view then, what happens to any atm. emitted photon’s energy when that photon is annihilated at the surface?

304. gbaikie says:

-Trick says:
April 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm

gbaikie 2:57pm: “Energy [and matter is conserved] photon only converts to heat, when it can heat something.”

In your view then, what happens to any atm. emitted photon’s energy when that photon is annihilated at the surface?-
Photons and other energy and matter is not annihilated. Matter can converted into energy, but not annihilated. Energy in theory can be converted into matter, but not annihilated.

Anything which can create significant amount of heat, can be made into an energy source, and photon emitted from atmosphere has not been used as energy source, so it would seem there is not hundreds of watts per square meter of energy which can heat something. .

305. Trick says:

gbaikie 8:05pm: “Photons…is not annihilated.”

95-98% of the photons aimed at the L&O surface are not reflected by direct measurement . What happened to that huge majority of photons? The earth L&O surface is certainly not transparent.

306. gbaikie says:

-Trick says:
April 12, 2014 at 8:13 pm

gbaikie 8:05pm: “Photons…is not annihilated.”

95-98% of the photons aimed at the L&O surface are not reflected by direct measurement . What happened to that huge majority of photons? The earth L&O surface is certainly not transparent.-

How is it determined the photons are aimed at the surface?
I would say it seems a characteristic of such photons is they are not aimed in any sense of the word- as go in random directions
Whereas in comparison, sunlight is directed light.
Plus one has consider the element of time. One have a blinking directed light being different
then
And this IR may be random and blinking light.
So are watts measured, being accurately measured in terms of watts of power- certain amount of energy occurring in interval of time.

307. david(swuk) says:

“In your view then, what happens to any atm. emitted photon’s energy when that photon is annihilated at the surface?”

the plumber says that it merely returns that itty-bit of energy back to source and which, with most of it being beyond the IR, means it happens mainly above the Polar Regions.
Next?

308. joeldshore said:

“Stephen’s misunderstanding leads to a lot of nonsense, such as the incorrect notion that the equilibrium state of a gas in a gravitational field is not isothermal and to an idea that the adiabatic lapse rate is some sort of natural state of the system, rather than the truth which is that it is a stability limit.

I.e., much of the atmosphere ends up with a lapse rate close to the adiabatic lapse rate because the solution to the problem of purely radiative equilibrium would lead to even larger lapse rates, which are unstable to convection and it is convection that drives the environmental lapse rate down to the appropriate (dry or saturated) adiabatic lapse rate. And, of course, it does so by transporting energy up in the atmosphere.”

I agree with a lot of that but there are a couple of ‘errors’.

If a gas could reach equilibrium within a gravitational field then by definition it would be isothermal..

The trouble is that a gas in a gravity field subjected to uneven surface heating from below can never achieve equilibrium and so will never become isothermal.

The reason is that density differentials in the horizontal plane will be constantly renewed by continuing uneven surface heating.

In other words, the atmosphere will always show a temperature decline with height, will never become isothermal and convective overturning could never be prevented.

Of course, energy is transported up into the atmosphere but it becomes gravitational potential energy (GPE) which is not heat and does not radiate. It is because gravitational potential energy is not heat that the temperature declines with height.

Curt’s distinction between gravitational potential energy (which does not radiate) and a substance (which does radiate) is not appropriate.

Gravitational potential energy can only exist within a substance and the more of it that the substance carries the less the substance will radiate.

So, we have all that substance (mass) within an atmosphere, every particle of which carries a load of gravitational potential energy proportional to its weight and height but none of that energy can radiate down to the ground.

Yet K&T and many others here insist that it can radiate down to the ground which is why they add 102 Wm2 to the DWIR figure which should only be 222 Wm2.

Instead, that gravitational potential energy gets moved back towards the ground in the descent phase of the adiabatic cycle and in the process it returns to KE which can be radiated from any aerosols or GHGs carried within the air mass.

Note that even if there were no GHGs there would be plenty of aerosols kicked up from the surface by winds to allow radiation to space of the KE newly reconverted from GPE on the descent.

I see that it is still being asserted that there is no true adiabatic cycle due to leakage of energy to space from the adiabatic cycle.

I have said several times that any such leakage is replaced by newly arriving solar energy so that the convective overturning of the atmosphere remains wholly adiabatic.

The correct way to deal with GPE is to recognise that it returns to KE on the descent phase and that there is therefore no need to propose that extra 102 Wm2 of DWIR.

Indeed, if one does increase DWIR above 222 Wm2 then there is double counting.

i) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.

ii) The adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.

iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere from space ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere to space (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.

For the fourth time I ask, what is wrong with that ?

309. joeldshore said:

“Stephen’s misunderstanding leads to a lot of nonsense, such as the incorrect notion that the equilibrium state of a gas in a gravitational field is not isothermal and to an idea that the adiabatic lapse rate is some sort of natural state of the system, rather than the truth which is that it is a stability limit.

I.e., much of the atmosphere ends up with a lapse rate close to the adiabatic lapse rate because the solution to the problem of purely radiative equilibrium would lead to even larger lapse rates, which are unstable to convection and it is convection that drives the environmental lapse rate down to the appropriate (dry or saturated) adiabatic lapse rate. And, of course, it does so by transporting energy up in the atmosphere.”

I agree with a lot of that but there are a couple of ‘errors’.

If a gas could reach equilibrium within a gravitational field then by definition it would be isothermal..

The trouble is that a gas in a gravity field subjected to uneven surface heating from below can never achieve equilibrium and so will never become isothermal.

The reason is that density differentials in the horizontal plane will be constantly renewed by continuing uneven surface heating.

In other words, the atmosphere will always show a temperature decline with height, will never become isothermal and convective overturning could never be prevented.

Of course, energy is transported up into the atmosphere but it becomes gravitational potential energy (GPE) which is not heat and does not radiate. It is because gravitational potential energy is not heat that the temperature declines with height.

Curt’s distinction between gravitational potential energy (which does not radiate) and a substance (which does radiate) is not appropriate.

Gravitational potential energy can only exist within a substance and the more of it that the substance carries the less the substance will radiate.

So, we have all that substance (mass) within an atmosphere, every particle of which carries a load of gravitational potential energy proportional to its weight and height but none of that energy can radiate down to the ground.

Yet K&T and many others here insist that it can radiate down to the ground which is why they add 102 Wm2 to the DWIR figure which should only be 222 Wm2.

Instead, that gravitational potential energy gets moved back towards the ground in the descent phase of the adiabatic cycle and in the process it returns to KE which can be radiated from any aerosols or GHGs carried within the air mass.

Note that even if there were no GHGs there would be plenty of aerosols kicked up from the surface by winds to allow radiation to space of the KE newly reconverted from GPE on the descent.

I see that it is still being asserted that there is no true adiabatic cycle due to leakage of energy to space from the adiabatic cycle.

I have said several times that any such leakage is replaced by newly arriving solar energy so that the convective overturning of the atmosphere remains wholly adiabatic.

The correct way to deal with GPE is to recognise that it returns to KE on the descent phase and that there is therefore no need to propose that extra 102 Wm2 of DWIR.

Indeed, if one does increase DWIR above 222 Wm2 then there is double counting.

i) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.

ii) The adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.

iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere from space ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere to space (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.

For the fourth time I ask, what is wrong with that ?

310. Trick says:

gbaikie 12:57am: “I would say it seems a characteristic of such photons is they are not aimed in any sense of the word- as go in random directions.”

I would too. So in gbaikie view what happens to the un-reflected terrestrial photons randomly striking the earth L&O surface if not annihilated as gbaikie writes above?

******

Dave 2:25am: “..itty-bit of energy..” Lives on to fight another day. Next battle?

311. Bart says:

joeldshore says:
April 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm

“The only problem with your hypothesis is that it has no theoretical or empirical support.”

Actually, there is strong empirical support. The global temperature metric is almost completely specified as a steady trend since the LIA, with a ~60 year cycle superimposed. There is no evidence of any secular component induced by increasing CO2 at all.

There is, moreover, theoretical support of essentially nil surface-temperature-to-CO2-concentration sensitivity. CO2 is observed to obey a relationship of the form

dCO2/dt = k*(T – To)

Coupling these dynamics with a positive temperature sensitivity produces an unstable system, which would have rendered us Venus-like eons ago.

“Empirical support for your hypothesis would involve observing a much larger tropical tropospheric amplification (“hot spot”) than the models predict.”

Just the opposite. The radiators in the troposhpere are the point at which heat is released. That would be the point of minimal sensitivity.

312. Bart says:

Think of the radiator in your car. Your temperature gauge from there always reads 212 degF, no matter how hot the engine actually is. I won’t even bother to explain why, as I’m sure you are well aware of the reason.

313. gbaikie says:

— Trick says:
April 13, 2014 at 6:48 am

gbaikie 12:57am: “I would say it seems a characteristic of such photons is they are not aimed in any sense of the word- as go in random directions.”

I would too. So in gbaikie view what happens to the un-reflected terrestrial photons randomly striking the earth L&O surface if not annihilated as gbaikie writes above?–

Whatever is not reflected, scattered or re-radiated, then the energy of such photons is transferred to surface- total vibrational energy mass is increased and is maintained until such time as it’s convected, conducted or radiated into space. Or it warms the surface- delays the surface cooling.

314. gbaikie says:

The greenhouse effect theory is an idea that only greenhouse gases cause a planet to retain heat. This is obviously wrong. The greenhouse effect theory is not significantly connected to an actual greenhouse or car park in the sun with windows rolled up. A greeenhouse can increase the day time air temperature in a greenhouse by preventing the convection of heated atmospheric gases. Have windows rolled down in a car and the air in the car does not become warmer than air outside the car.
Due to the power of sunlight the surface temperature [skin temperature] on Earth is limited. The skin temperature highest temperature is dependent type material of the surface. The highest land surfaces become is about 70 C [158 F]. Surfaces which become about 65 C or 150 F are common place during summer when the sun is near zenith and max strength of sun strikes the surface. If you can prevent the convection heat loss the surface can reach about 80 C- but one have better prevent convection heat loss than normal greenhouse or car with it’s windows rolled up.
And best way I know of to prevent such convection losses is with a solar pond- where temperature of 80 C or higher have been reported. And I would say that Earth is far more like a solar pond than something like a greenhouse.
Because water evaporate, ocean surfaces rarely get above 35 C. But solar pond surface also does exceed 35 C. Solar ponds work in terms of getting high temperature because they are fairly shallow water and they need to be saltwater- as the saltwater when warmed forms saline gradient which inhibits convention. So need saltwater and shallow water- ocean are missing the element of having shallow water, though there are shallow saltwater lakes which function like a solar pond- get higher temperature below the surface of the water.
So a solar pond is example of heat *not* rising. As guess, I would say it’s possible heat falls.
Though no doubt heat can’t get up, and saltier water is denser than fresher and less dense water above it.

315. Having reviewed this entire thread I find that all the objections to my essay boil down to a simple refusal to accept that the adiabatic portion of convective overturning requires an energy source at the surface to maintain it.

For Earth, that energy source is 33K and that additional energy is not available for radiation to space because it is immediately taken up by adiabatic ascent as soon as it is supplied by adiabatic descent.

It is a product of atmospheric mass acquiring energy by conduction and it is entirely separate from atmospheric radiative capability.

The idea that one can maintain such a process without a surface temperature enhancement above that expected from the S-B equation is wholly unphysical and amounts to denial of the most basic principles of thermodynamics.

This is the truth of the matter:

i) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.

ii) The adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.

iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere from space ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere to space (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.

For the fourth time I ask, what is wrong with that ?

I have seen no coherent response to that proposition.

316. I thought I’d lost my post of 4.58 since it took many hours to show up. Nor did I get the usual warning of a duplicated post when I tried again so there must have been a glitch of some sort in the system.

317. Frank says:

Trick wrote: “Planck distribution (or Planck function) and Planck law mean the same thing AFAIK & is for all wavelengths across the spectrum;,S-B is its integral over an interval. There are whole text books on atm. radiation without even mentioning Schwarzschild eqn. (unless has another name) which as far as I can tell is for only one wavelength & no scattering which is far from fundamental. Maybe you have an online or text cite for what you really mean.”

The Schwarzschild eqn, like the Planck eqn, refers to a specific wavelength, but both can be numerically integrated over all wavelengths to produce a total flux. The Planck eqn has a definite integral, the S-B eqn; but we know that it doesn’t apply to general situations, which is why we have to introduce an emissivity term, usually after integration. Under normal circumstances, the emissivity <1 arises from scattering (which may be explicitly included in the Schwarzschild eqn), but I wonder if it also arises from wavelengths where n*o is effectively zero for the material in question. However, we usually don't apply "blackbody" or "greybody" concepts to objects which are transparent (which is what n*o = 0 implies), except for the atmosphere. When we do apply blackbody ideas to optically thick or thin slabs of atmosphere, I think we get very misleading models.

p205 of Grant Petty's "A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation" says: "The Schwarzschild eqn is the most fundamental description of radiative transfer in a non-scattering medium." Isn't blackbody radiation "radiation transfer" from one medium to another? The equation is often supplemented by terms that describe scattering into and away from the direction of interest (as Petty does on p322). I can't state definitively whether the "Schwarzschild eqn" encompasses or excludes such terms when needed (interfaces between two different media including small particles suspended in a medium), but it seems obvious that such terms should automatically be included when needed.

Basic physics textbooks present Coulomb's law for force between two charged particles and may defer mentioning or never mention that Coulomb's Law applies only to situations where the charges are not moving. Coulomb's Law follows from Maxwell's Equations under the condition that the charges are not moving, so many people eventually learn that Maxwell's equations are more fundamental. In his Lectures on Physics, Feynman chose to present Maxwell's eqns first, so that his audience would never forget which "laws" were fundamental and which are derived for and only applied to special circumstances. In Vol 1 Chapter 41, however, Feynman derives the Planck function for an "oscillator in thermal equilibrium" and never mentions what to do with a system that is not in equilibrium. "Schwarzschild" isn't found in the index to the Feynman Lectures and a google search for Schwarzschild and feynmanlectures.info (the Lectures now online) suggests the Schwarzschild equation isn't cited by name anywhere. Have I spotted a major flaw in how physics is taught? Unlike Steve WIlde, my conceit doesn't extend that far. I will say, however, that the first moment I saw the Schwarzschild equation, all MY confusion about how to blend absorption (heat trapping) and emission (radiative cooling) into a coherent picture disappeared, my understanding of why most solids and liquids emit blackbody radiation changed, and so did my understanding of emissivity and absorptivity. MY personal education was flawed because I didn't realize all derivations of Planck's Law assume equilibrium between media and radiation (which isn't generally true in our atmosphere) and because the Schwarzschild eqn IS rarely mentioned. Perhaps rgbatduke or some other professional physicist might be willing to comment.

318. david(swuk) says:

“For the fourth time I ask, what is wrong with that ?”

It puts too many Bod`s out of Biz.

319. phi says:

joeldshore (April 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm),

“The atmosphere is only unstable to convection when the lapse rate exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate.”

Yes but the phenomenon is not adiabatic, there are radiative losses throughout the entire column. Adding GHG tends to decrease these losses; the structure is changed.

“Empirical support for your hypothesis would involve observing a much larger tropical tropospheric amplification (“hot spot”) than the models predict.”

This may be the case: http://www.climatedialogue.org/the-missing-tropical-hot-spot/#comment-791

320. david(swuk) says:

“Next battle?”
next ?!

321. Trick says:

Stephen 9:11pm: “For the fourth time I ask, what is wrong with (222) ? I have seen no coherent response to that proposition.”

As already coherently pointed out, 222 Wm2 doesn’t allow for the observed processes of gliders and rain. Once those independent energy flux are added find 24+78+67+155 = 324 is correct energy flux for 1997 surface balance as all processes are measured & observed in top post cartoon not 324-24-78=222.

322. Trick says:

Frank 11:23pm: “..but we know that (Planck distribution) doesn’t apply to general situations.”

What general situation does Planck distribution not apply to?

The Schwarzschild Equation (SE) for the transmission of radiation of a particular frequency through an absorbing medium is built upon the Planck distribution foundation and Beer-Lambert law of light absorption, so Schwarzschild Equation is not fundamental law in and of itself. SE is just an equation.

SE needs constants which must be experimentally known – for the Earth from the HITRAN database. SE also suffers from having the atm. density as a constant which for the ever dwindling atm. is not fundamental – along with the ever changing atm. T(z). MODTRAN was developed to ~accurately solve SE w/all this atm. opacity input for the Earth system.

In contrast, the Planck distribution contains 3 fundamental (believed to be) unchanging constants of nature c, h, Kb for any general situation. Planck distribution is far more fundamental than SE developed solutions with constants just apply on Earth.

323. joeldshore says:

Bart says:

Actually, there is strong empirical support. The global temperature metric is almost completely specified as a steady trend since the LIA, with a ~60 year cycle superimposed. There is no evidence of any secular component induced by increasing CO2 at all.

Yes, Bart. We can fit the motion of the planets extremely well with epicycles too, but that doesn’t mean we should do this…and just replace a theoretical understanding by some empirical mumbo-jumbo about “recovery from the LIA” and “60 year cycles” that doesn’t tell us anything.

There is, moreover, theoretical support of essentially nil surface-temperature-to-CO2-concentration sensitivity. CO2 is observed to obey a relationship of the form

dCO2/dt = k*(T – To)

Coupling these dynamics with a positive temperature sensitivity produces an unstable system, which would have rendered us Venus-like eons ago.

No it doesn’t. And, even in the article that you wrote that you link to, you admit it although you desperately try to dismiss it: “There are other negative feedbacks, e.g., the T^4 radiation of heat. But, to maintain stability, these would have to be dominant, in which case the overall effect of CO2 on temperature would be negligible anyway.”

Of course, the T^4 radiative feedback is dominant. If it wasn’t, then we would indeed be in the Venus situation. The T^4 radiative feedback is so dominant that usually it is not even considered as a feedback, but as a zeroth-order effect, i.e., they calculate what the change in steady-state temperature would be including this effect but neglecting any other feedbacks and that is the ~1.1 K per CO2 doubling.

And, no, it being dominant does not make CO2 negligible anyway. It is not a binary, “Either it’s Venus or negligible” situation. It can and does mean that we expect a significant temperature change due to the significant changes in atmosphericCO2 concentration that we are producing.

“Empirical support for your hypothesis would involve observing a much larger tropical tropospheric amplification (“hot spot”) than the models predict.”

Just the opposite. The radiators in the troposhpere are the point at which heat is released. That would be the point of minimal sensitivity.

Think of the radiator in your car. Your temperature gauge from there always reads 212 degF, no matter how hot the engine actually is. I won’t even bother to explain why, as I’m sure you are well aware of the reason.

Bart: Do you understand that the only significant flow of energy at the top of the atmosphere (i.e., into or out of the atmosphere) is via radiation and that the amount of radiation emitted depends monotononically on the temperature? If you believe that convection is magically moving energy up to a height where it can escape to space, bypassing the greenhouse gases, then the evidence for this would be a significantly larger warming up there so that the amount the Earth system radiates could increase without the surface temperature significantly increasing.

324. “222 Wm2 doesn’t allow for the observed processes of gliders and rain.”

It doesn’t need to since both those factors involve adiabatic processes. The adiabatic non -radiative portion of convective overturning must be considered as a separate energy exchange between surface and atmosphere for the reasons I have already given.

What goes up must come down whether it be the updraft lifting gliders in thermals or the uplift of water vapour leading to rain.

The descent in both cases involves adiabatic warming which is not included in the K & T diagram. Instead, you and K & T add it to DWIR which is double counting.

222 for the purely radiative exchange with 102 for a separate adiabatic exchange is the better solution.

325. joeldshore says:

phi says:

“The atmosphere is only unstable to convection when the lapse rate exceeds the adiabatic lapse rate.”

Yes but the phenomenon is not adiabatic, there are radiative losses throughout the entire column. Adding GHG tends to decrease these losses; the structure is changed.

The structure in the troposphere is dominated by convection, not the exact distribution of GHGs in the column. Time scales associated with convection tend to be much faster than those associated with radiation (and, needless to say, conduction), which is why the “adiabatic” approximation is often a good one.

“Empirical support for your hypothesis would involve observing a much larger tropical tropospheric amplification (“hot spot”) than the models predict.”

This may be the case: http://www.climatedialogue.org/the-missing-tropical-hot-spot/#comment-791

Color me skeptical. At any rate, it is sort of impossible to defend a theory simultaneously against arguments that it overestimates the hot spot and that it underestimates the hotspot. You guys often like to complain about a non-falsifiable theory. Well, you theory the CO2 is not a major player is non-falsiable if you are willing to claim either that the data disagrees in one direction with the models or in the other direction with the models, depending on your whims at the moment!

326. Trick says:

Stephen 6:25am: “It doesn’t need to since both those factors involve adiabatic processes.”
Yes. Balance does need them. What goes up for gliders and rain must come down as you agreed above. No up; no down in measured amounts. Gliders need the independent up thermal energy to stay aloft, which cools and descends, they do not operate on radiation.

327. joeldshore says:

Stephen Wilde says:

For Earth, that energy source is 33K and that additional energy is not available for radiation to space because it is immediately taken up by adiabatic ascent as soon as it is supplied by adiabatic descent.

It is a product of atmospheric mass acquiring energy by conduction and it is entirely separate from atmospheric radiative capability.

The idea that one can maintain such a process without a surface temperature enhancement above that expected from the S-B equation is wholly unphysical and amounts to denial of the most basic principles of thermodynamics.

What a bunch of utter nonsense. There is really nothing else to say about this. Since you have no ability to understand how to apply the laws of physics, you are just making stuff up.

For the fourth time I ask, what is wrong with that ?

I have seen no coherent response to that proposition.

This is because you have no capabilities to distinguish between coherent science, backed up by equations and calculations and a working coherent theory, and the nonsense that you write.

328. Balance does not need an enhancement to DWIR beyond 222 though.

The adiabatic process with the decline in temperature with height determines that the radiative flux within the adiabatic process is balanced at every point along the lapse rate slope for molecules that are at the correct temperature for their height.

So, for air at the surface with a temperature of 288K, DWIR equals UWIR with no net radiative flux.

If you insist on a purely radiative solution then one can deal with it by splitting the radiative fluxes into four components thus:

i) For the diabatic processes 222 from surface to air and 222 from air to surface.

ii) For the adiabatic processes 102 from surface to air and 102 from air to surface.

The point to note is that the 102 in the adiabatic portion is removed by ascent (it becomes gravitational potential energy which does not radiate) and returned by descent (it becomes kinetic energy which does radiate) so it is wrong to add that 102 released on the descent to the radiative flux in the diabatic exchange.

To do so constitutes double counting.

By your account (and that of K & T) there would be 102 returning to the surface via adiabatic descent PLUS 102 returning to the surface from enhanced DWIR.

You can’t have both, not least because that 102 is tied up as gravitational potential energy and therefore unable to radiate downwards whilst in that form.

329. Trick says:

Stephen 7:49am: “Balance does not need an enhancement to DWIR beyond 222 though.”

Yes still balances; that is because you are ignoring 24+78 up and 24+78 down which doesn’t find enough energy flux to account for gliders & rain which are observed working fine. The cartoon in top post does account for them and the science/observations reasons it does is in the body of the 1997 paper. You can find your answers there.

330. Trick said:

“24+78 up and 24+78 down which doesn’t find enough energy flux to account for gliders & rain ”

It is supplemented by the diabatic energy throughput. The 102 (24 + 78) is just the adiabatic component that returns to the surface on descent.

Joel said:

” you have no ability to understand how to apply the laws of physics, you are just making stuff up.”

Wasn’t it you who was caught suggesting that the Laws of Thermodynamics were the same for lifting a solid object as for lifting gases with an internal circulation ?

331. Joel said :

“Time scales associated with convection tend to be much faster than those associated with radiation (and, needless to say, conduction).

?????

Radiation is as fast as you can get. Convection and conduction are way slower.

332. Bart says:

joeldshore says:
April 14, 2014 at 6:21 am

“No it doesn’t.”

Yes, it does. The system

dT/dt = -a*T^4 + b*CO2
dCO2/dt = k*(T – To)

is unstable for b and k both greater than zero. T^4 radiation does not stabilize it. No matter how large it gets, there is always an unstable mode. To see this, note that the only equilibrium point is T = To, CO2 = (a/b)*To^4. The perturbation dynamics are then

d(deltaT)/dt = -(4*aTo^3)*deltaT + b*deltaCO2
d(deltaCO2)/dt = k*deltaT

The characteristic equation is

s^2+(4*aTo^3)*s – b*k = 0

which always has a zero in the right half plane. Hence, the equilibrium is unstable and, since it is the only one, the system is unstable.

” If you believe that convection is magically moving energy up to a height where it can escape to space, bypassing the greenhouse gases…”

No, not “bypassing them”. Carrying it to them. They are the radiators. Read comment above.

Adding CO2 to the atmosphere is just like making the radiator fins for an automobile larger. It shields more direct loss of heat via radiation from the engine, but it much more significantly aids the dissipation of heat due to the advection of heat from the engine via the coolant flow. Increasing the fin size would not make the radiator run hotter, but cooler.

The so-called GHGs are the radiator fins for this system. They are the means by which energy transits out of the system.

333. phi says:

joeldshore,

“…which is why the “adiabatic” approximation is often a good one.”

Yes, this approximation is often sufficient. But not to estimate the effect of GHG increase on surface temperature. In this case, we are precisely in the order of magnitude of the simplification.

There is no doubt that a GHG increase causes a decrease of the radiative part of the up flows. This transfer to convection reduces the lapse rate (see eg Manabe 1964).

That weather balloons appear to confirm this well-established theory seems rather pleasing.

334. Bart says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

“Radiation is as fast as you can get. Convection and conduction are way slower.”

No. Radiation is a weak means of heat dissipation. It does not matter how fast the photons are moving, it matters how many of them there are, and how often they are released.

This is why we heat and cool our homes and offices via convection. Much more efficient.

335. Trick says:

Stephen 9:29am: ”It is supplemented by the diabatic energy throughput. The 102 (24 + 78) is just the adiabatic component that returns to the surface on descent.”

Yep, just like shown in the cartoon in top post and ignored in your 222 balance. Gliders do their thing on thermals and rain does its thing after evaporating just like the balance in the top post shows them doing. Your 222 balance is not enough energy flux to allow them to do what they do so well. Maybe you could improve the cartoon showing a little glider on top of the thermals next to where the rain is shown.

336. Willis Eschenbach says:

joeldshore says:
April 14, 2014 at 6:21 am

… Bart: Do you understand that the only significant flow of energy at the top of the atmosphere (i.e., into or out of the atmosphere) is via radiation and that the amount of radiation emitted depends monotononically on the temperature?

Joel, as always I read and enjoy your posts, and it is quite rare that I find a point of disagreement. Your discussions with Bart are as fruitless as mine, he is quite immovable. However, in the section quoted above, I have to disagree with you.

In that statement, you’ve done what most AGW adherents do. You’ve overlooked the most important variable regarding the amount of radiation leaving the atmosphere, and that is the clouds. A small change in clouds leads to a huge change in TOA radiation, and can occur with a very minimal change in temperature. This means that, contrary to your statement, the amount of radiation emitted does NOT depend monotononically on the temperature.

And in fact, over the main heat input area of the planetary heat engine, the tropics, clouds act in opposition to the temperature. That is to say, the hotter that the system gets, the less energy they allow into the system.

So while I agree with all of the rest of your claims in that comment, I have to take exception to your final statement.

w.

337. Bart says:

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 14, 2014 at 10:25 am

“…he is quite immovable.”

The mote in mine eye.

Am I? Or, are you? Who gets to be the judge? Will you invoke consensus, without any irony?

338. joeldshore says:

phi says:

There is no doubt that a GHG increase causes a decrease of the radiative part of the up flows. This transfer to convection reduces the lapse rate (see eg Manabe 1964).

That weather balloons appear to confirm this well-established theory seems rather pleasing.

I’m not sure what you are arguing at this point. If you are saying there is a negative feedback due to a decreasing lapse rate in the tropics as the surface warms, then yes, I agree with you that there is…and, of course, it is present in all the climate models. However, I don’t think there is any good evidence that it is bigger in reality than simulated in the models…In fact, most AGW skeptics have been trying to argue the opposite.

And, I don’t think this feedback has to do with the process that causes the warming; it would be the same independent of what was causing the warming.

339. joeldshore says:

Willis,

I don’t disagree with anything that you said. I was ignoring cloud feedbacks in the discussion.

Of course, I have problems with your “thermostat hypothesis”…but I agree with you in principle that a change in cloudiness can act as a feedback to either magnify or reduce the warming you get in response to an increase in GHGs.

340. Willis Eschenbach says:

Bart says:
April 14, 2014 at 10:42 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 14, 2014 at 10:25 am

“…he is quite immovable.”

The mote in mine eye.

Am I? Or, are you? Who gets to be the judge? Will you invoke consensus, without any irony?

OK, if so, then point me to somewhere that you admitted it when you were wrong.

I admit it when I’m wrong … but you just keep on insisting you are right. See here for the latest example. That’s what I mean by “immovable”.

Best regards,

w.

341. Bart said:

“No. Radiation is a weak means of heat dissipation. It does not matter how fast the photons are moving, it matters how many of them there are, and how often they are released.
This is why we heat and cool our homes and offices via convection. Much more efficient”

Speed does matter.

The temperature rise as a result of radiation encountering matter in space is a consequence of the matter slowing down the speed of transmission by interposing conduction and convection in place of radiation.

Convection within a closed small area is a different scenario. There, the transfer of energy from the heated element is by both radiation and conduction to the surrounding air which warms very quickly and is then circulated around the confined area.

Try using a convection heater in the open on a windy day..

If you stand near a bonfire on a cold night most of the warming effect is from radiation reaching your body.

Bart also said:

“The so-called GHGs are the radiator fins for this system. They are the means by which energy transits out of the system.”

You can see an illustration of just that in the K & T diagram.

On the way in the atmosphere absorbs only 67 but on the way out it emits 165. The more GHGs that are present the more of the 235 outgoing will be by way of radiation from the atmosphere.

The surface transfers its energy to the air via conduction and GHGs help it to flow out by radiative means rather than requiring it to be returned to the surface first.

GHGs simply alter the balance between the share of outgoing from the surface and the share of outgoing from the atmosphere. If you raise atmospheric outgoing by 5 then the atmospheric window from the surface reduces by 5 to maintain 235 out just as I pointed out in my essay.

If the atmosphere were of 100% radiative efficiency then the atmospheric window from the surface would be zero and the atmospheric emissions would show a corresponding rise.

If the atmosphere were completely transparent radiatively then the size of the atmospheric window from the surface would increase accordingly.

The figure of 30 for clouds is a renegade variable because as Willis says it has the capacity to vary independently of GHG content and in my view is driven primarily by oceans and sun.

342. Bart says:

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 14, 2014 at 11:07 am

“OK, if so, then point me to somewhere that you admitted it when you were wrong.”

I have not been wrong. I am certainly not wrong in the place you cite. You are an amateur, trying to tell me phenomena I have personally analyzed and measured in the lab are wrong.

343. Bart says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 14, 2014 at 11:10 am

“You can see an illustration of just that in the K & T diagram.”

Yes. The problem there is that it is a static quantity, which does not change in response to greater heating. But, that is not a correct viewpoint. Convection increases with heat. This provides a negative feedback which can effectively cancel any radiative heating from the additional GHG.

344. phi says:

joeldshore,

No, it is not a matter of feedback, this concerns the initial effect. The increase in GHG decreases the efficiency of radiative cooling of the surface and thus changes the relationship between radiative and convective flows.

This particular effect is not taken into account in the models because they make the simplification that you suggested on the adiabatic.

All this is very strange since this phenomenon is perfectly logical, it is of the order of magnitude of the initial effect and we can say it was already identified by Manabe in the 1960s.

345. Bart said:

“Convection increases with heat. This provides a negative feedback which can effectively cancel any radiative heating from the additional GHG.”

Yes, exactly.

And note that the additional heat can be anywhere in the vertical column which is why it can change convective overturning without changing surface temperature.

Instead of heating the surface, convection moves different amounts of mass above or below the adiabatic lapse rate slope so as to maintain balance between the radiative and conductive fluxes by varying the adiabatic overturning involved in convection up and down.

phi said:

“The increase in GHG decreases the efficiency of radiative cooling of the surface and thus changes the relationship between radiative and convective flows.”

Yes, exactly.

The convective flows change to rebalance outgoing radiation from the atmosphere and outgoing radiation from the surface.

Convection holds the balance between radiation and conduction so that total outgoing energy remains stable.

Some are starting to see it.

346. joeldshore says:

Bart says:

The so-called GHGs are the radiator fins for this system. They are the means by which energy transits out of the system.

What you are missing from this picture is the fact that as long as temperature is lower at altitude than at the surface then the effect of absorption of terrestrial radiation by greenhouse gases and its subsequent re-emission will always lead to less radiation escaping from the Earth system (earth + atmosphere) because of the decrease of emission with temperature.

This is why a spectral plot of emissions as seen from space looks the way it does http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/gw-petty-6-6.jpg with less emission at wavelengths where there is stronger absorption and emission by greenhouse gases.

347. Bart says:

joeldshore says:
April 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm

No. The reason the spectral plot of emissions is missing a chunk of red is that the oceans are blue. And, they are blue whether you are looking at the blue marble from space, or from the edge of a dock.

What you need to show to establish what you are trying to establish is the spectrum of the difference between radiation at the surface and TOA. That would tell you the atmospheric transmission. This does not.

348. “less emission at wavelengths where there is stronger absorption and emission by greenhouse gases.”

Not so simple:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/

Since energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere always matches energy lost to space by surface and atmosphere the fact is that changes in convection alter the structure of the atmosphere as necessary to negate the effects of GHGs and other internal system forcing elements.

Convection changes take effect throughout the vertical column and so do not need to affect surface temperature because the amount of energy held by atmospheric molecules in the form of gravitational potential energy is free to vary with height changes as they move up and down relative to the adiabatic lapse rate slope.

As long as convection maintains the lapse rate slope set by mass and gravity (bynetting out all the changes from internal forcing elements such as GHGs) the surface temperature does not need to change

Otherwise no thermostatic mechanism could exist yet many here, including Willis, are convinced that there is such a thing.

349. Frank says:

Trick wrote: “What general situation does the Planck distribution not apply to?”

Upon further reflection, I’m willing to admit that the Planck function may be fundamental, because it can be derived from more basic principles of physics. Schwarzschild’s eqn can not. HOWEVER, the first step in the derivation of Planck’s Law is the ASSUMPTION that radiation is in EQUILIBRIUM with the medium it is passing through. ANYTIME EQUILIBRIUM DOESN’T EXIST, Planck’s Law can’t be used. Then one needs to consult the Schwarzschild eqn to determine how quickly (with distance traveled though the medium) the radiation will approach the equilibrium situation specified by Planck Law. The rate of equilibration depends on the density of absorbing/emitting molecules and their absorption cross-section (parameters that aren’t found in the Planck’s law). In our atmosphere, the assumption that equilibrium exists is incorrect at many wavelengths. Those who create optically-thick, isothermal “slab” models of the atmosphere (which should emit blackbody radiation) are using models that have little to do with our real atmosphere.

For solids and liquids of decent size, the assumption that their internal radiation is in equilibrium with the medium is reasonable; and they emit something close to blackbody radiation. Even here, the Schwarzschild eqn with scattering terms has sometime important to contribute – an explanation for emissivity and absorptivity. Are there modified derivations of Planck’s Law that explain the existence of emissivity less than one? If not, Planck’s Law is “wrong” for them.

Furthermore, if the solid or liquid of interest is a “thin film” too small to permits equilibrium between the molecules of the film and radiation, the predictions of Planck’s Law are also wrong. Low-e coatings are placed on glass so that the composite can violate Planck’s Law!

Let me turn your question around: When DOES Planck’s Law apply? Answer: Only for blackbodies, objects that rarely exist outside the laboratory. Planck’s Law does comes close to predicting the intensity and frequency of the radiation many solid, liquids and stars emit.

When does the Schwarzschild eqn not apply? Answer: I’m not aware of any situations it doesn’t apply.

350. joeldshore says:

Bart says:

No. The reason the spectral plot of emissions is missing a chunk of red is that the oceans are blue. And, they are blue whether you are looking at the blue marble from space, or from the edge of a dock.

(1) This spectrum is primarily in the mid and far-infrared, so your comments are not even correct.

(2) These photos are taken all over the place, including over deserts and the spectrum can be almost perfectly matched by calculations of radiative transfer in the atmosphere. You are now denying not only a lot of science but a lot of technology (i.e., entire parts of the remote sensing technology).

351. Trick says:

Frank 2:14pm: The basics do all refer to radiation in equilibrium with matter. I was unable to find a quick ref. on where any breakdown non-equilibrium begins perhaps you have one.

“…if the solid or liquid of interest is a “thin film”…”

A big caveat is macro sized bodies relative to wavelength, right there on page two of Planck’s ‘Theory of Heat Radiation’: “Throughout the following discussion it will be assumed that the linear dimensions of all parts of space considered, as well as the radii of curvature of all surfaces under consideration, are large compared with the wave lengths of the rays considered.”

”..blackbodies, objects that rarely exist outside the laboratory…”

BBs don’t exist in lab.s either, all real objects reflect esp. glancing rays. Here is how to get around the issue of no blackbodies existing although black radiation bath does commonly exist.

Suppose have an instrument that can measure radiant power over some range of frequencies anywhere in the electromagnetic spectrum. If were to point the instrument in a particular direction at a source of radiation, a measurably emitting real body, the instrument would dutifully measure a radiant power. Now can ask, what temperature must a theoretical non-existent blackbody have in order for the instrument reading to be the same?

This temperature is called the brightness temperature of the source, not to be confused with the ordinary (or thermodynamic) temperature of that source. Even if the radiation measured is mostly or entirely emitted (as opposed to reflected) by a real body, its brightness temperature is not the same as its temperature unless happen to choose a frequency range over which the emissivity of the body is almost 1. A brightness temperature always exists.

Whatever the instrument reads, can always find one and only one brightness temperature – keep in mind that this temperature depends on the frequency interval and possibly the direction (unless the source is isotropic). And if the instrument is equipped with a polarizing filter, and we were to rotate it, the brightness temperature might change (unless the source is un-polarized.)

For Earth L&O surface with measured emissivity/absorption of ~.95-.98 thus reflecting 2%to5% of incident radiation, the brightness temperature is very near to the real thermodynamic temperature and many authors just forget the preceding. Especially many posters.

“..Planck’s Law can’t be used. Then one needs to consult the Schwarzschild eqn. (SE)”

If Planck’s distribution can’t be used then neither can SE because SE contains Planck distribution as a component. So if you haven’t had trouble found applying SE then Planck distribution must be equally useful. I have not in memory run across a problem applying Planck distribution steady state because the brightness temperature is always useful. Perhaps you have one. I’m not really interested enough spend time in pursuing that line of inquiry.

352. joeldshore says:

Stephen Wilde says:

As long as convection maintains the lapse rate slope set by mass and gravity (bynetting out all the changes from internal forcing elements such as GHGs) the surface temperature does not need to change

More nonsense. The reason why more GHGs increase the surface temperature is not be changing the lapse rate but by changing the effective radiating level.

And, the reason why convection cannot cancel out the changing of forcing elements such as GHGs is exactly because the atmosphere is unstable to convection only so long as the lapse rate is greater than the adiabatic lapse rate and so it can’t drive the temperature profile with altitude to be more equal than adiabatic lapse rate. Nikolov & Zeller showed this in their silly exercise where they put in convection into the simplest greenhouse model (e.g., Willis’s Steel Greenhouse) in such a way that they did drive the atmosphere to an isothermal state and then made a big deal about the fact that the radiative greenhouse effect disappeared (apparently because they were completely ignorant of what they had done and the literature that would have told them what to expect before they ever tried it).

Stephen, You keep talking nonsense and we will keep talking correct atmospheric physics.

353. joeldshore says:

phi says:

All this is very strange since this phenomenon is perfectly logical, it is of the order of magnitude of the initial effect and we can say it was already identified by Manabe in the 1960s.

Why don’t you give us an exact specific reference to that paper and the part you are talking about, so we can evaluate what you are claimng in that context?

bart says:

Yes. The problem there is that it is a static quantity, which does not change in response to greater heating. But, that is not a correct viewpoint. Convection increases with heat. This provides a negative feedback which can effectively cancel any radiative heating from the additional GHG.

Another person who has failed to learn from the elementary errors of Nikolov and Zeller. Please read my post to Stephen above about why you are not correct (about the convection being able to “effectively cancel” the radiating heating).

354. joeldshore says:

bart says:

Yes, it does. The system

dT/dt = -a*T^4 + b*CO2
dCO2/dt = k*(T – To)

is unstable for b and k both greater than zero.

Now that I’ve worked through this, I’ll say, “Fair enough”, but your 2nd equation assumes that if you increase the temperature above some equilibrium temperature, the CO2 concentration will just increase forever. That doesn’t seem very realistic and it is the source of the problem because, of course, of CO2 concentration increases forever than, sure, the temperature has to keep increasing too.

A more realistic set of equations would lead to a higher CO2 concentration giving a higher equilibrium temperature…where then both the CO2 and the temperature are in equilibrium.

I.e., you have essentially designed your model to get the desired result of a divergence because your model only has one temperature and one CO2 concentration at which CO2 and temperature can both be in equilibrium!

Off the top of my head, I imagine that adding something a term like -c*CO2 to the 2nd equation might give something more realistic.

355. joeldshore says:

Okay…Going back, I understand where your 2nd equation comes from, which is essentially based on believing that the long term (multidecadal) as well as short term trends of CO2 concentration can be ascribed to temperature changes. Since nobody but you (not even the Greening Earth Society) believes that the CO2 increases over these multidecadal periods are attributable to temperature changes rather than human emissions, you’ve basically concluded that the climate system must be unstable if these positive feedbacks exist and if something else…which nobody else believes but you…is also true. [Even then, I am not sure you couldn’t fit the data just as well with a c value small enough that it would prevent instability…but that’s kind of irrelevant when you are doing a fit to the data that includes a component that everybody else but you knows to be due to something you’ve left out of your model.]

356. joelshore says:

Okay…Going back, I understand where your 2nd equation comes from, which is essentially based on believing that the long term (multidecadal) as well as short term trends of CO2 concentration can be ascribed to temperature changes. Since nobody but you (not even the Greening Earth Society) believes that the CO2 increases over these multidecadal periods are attributable to temperature changes rather than human emissions…

In fact, ∆CO2 is caused by ∆T. In other words, changes in temperature are the cause of changes in atmospheric CO2.

That causation has been shown on all time scales, from months to hundreds of millennia. And that fact destroys the false presumption that changes in CO2 will cause changes in global temperature, since that has never been observed.

The alarmist clique started out with a flat wrong premise — that ∆CO2 is the cause of ∆T. It isn’t, in any measurable way. Any CO2-induced warming is so insignificant that it can be completely disregarded. It is just too small to measure, at current and projected concentrations. Almost all the warming happened in the first 20 – 40 ppmv. Now we are at ≈400 ppmv, and the effect is simply too small to measure.

So the alarmists’ wrong premise has led directly to their wrong conclusion: that a rise in CO2 will cause runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. It won’t. Thus, the “carbon” scare is debunked.

The real world disagrees with the alarmist clique, and for that reason their numbers are dwindling fast. Joelshore’s last sentence above shows him to be fatally ignorant about the most basic cause-and-effect between temperature and CO2. He has it backwards, so no wonder his conclusions are nonsensical. And no wonder that crowd has never gotten any prediction right.

There has never been a ‘fingerprint of AGW’ identified anywhere. It does not exist, in any scientifically measurable and testable manner. It is a complete figment of the swivel-eyed lunatics’ imaginations, where they still dream that their runaway global warming is right around the corner. Right. As if.

Hm-m-mm. So who to believe? joelshore? Or Planet Earth?

Because they cannot both be right.

357. Bart says:

joeldshore says:
April 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Thank you for this input. I was obviously hasty, and need to think this through some more.

joeldshore says:
April 14, 2014 at 6:14 pm

You appear to be speaking in terms of absolute quantities, rather than perturbations. I, at least, am not saying by any means that the GHE does not exist. However, that does not mean that the effect is monotonic. It is a nonlinear system, and the sensitivity is not necessarily positive for all conditions. I do not have to invert the entire temperature profile with altitude to negate an incremental increase. I only have to oppose the increment.

In the present climate state, it appears that the sensitivity is effectively nil. That is an empirical fact. The global temperature metric is essentially a trend and a ~60 year quasi-cycle, and these components have been active since well before rising CO2 could have produced them.

At some point, the climate community is going to have to face reality. The baseline GHE theory is not working.

joeldshore says:
April 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm

“…but your 2nd equation assumes that if you increase the temperature above some equilibrium temperature, the CO2 concentration will just increase forever.”

This is the system which has been observed for the past 56 years. There may be some other limiting feedback terms which are not, in fact, yet observable. However, within this time period, if the sensitivity of surface temperature to CO2 concentration were significantly positive, enough to have been driving the increase in temperature over that interval, then there should have been a distinct exponentially increasing character to both CO2 and temperature.

To the contrary, temperatures have leveled out, and the rate of change of CO2 has leveled out.

Here is an interesting consideration, relevant to the previous discussion: If b is less than zero, then the system is stable.

“A more realistic set of equations would lead to a higher CO2 concentration giving a higher equilibrium temperature…where then both the CO2 and the temperature are in equilibrium.”

How would that be “more realistic”, when it is not what is observed?

“I.e., you have essentially designed your model to get the desired result of a divergence because your model only has one temperature and one CO2 concentration at which CO2 and temperature can both be in equilibrium!”

I did not design it that way. It is an empirical observation. See link above.

“Off the top of my head, I imagine that adding something a term like -c*CO2 to the 2nd equation might give something more realistic.”

Obviously, not more realistic, because this is the reality. You’ve got to match the observations. Otherwise, you are just making things up as you go along.

358. Bart says:

joeldshore says:
April 14, 2014 at 6:55 pm

“Since nobody but you (not even the Greening Earth Society) believes that the CO2 increases over these multidecadal periods are attributable to temperature changes rather than human emissions, you’ve basically concluded that the climate system must be unstable if these positive feedbacks exist and if something else…which nobody else believes but you…is also true.”

It isn’t a matter of belief. This is the reality.

“Even then, I am not sure you couldn’t fit the data just as well with a c value small enough that it would prevent instability…”

It does not matter. If it is small enough to be unobservable in the last 56 years, then it is small enough not to affect the results over the last 56 years. And, the dynamics should have played out very differently than they have.

359. Bart says:

joeldshore says:
April 14, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Maybe you are thinking that some other set of dynamics could fit the data, and not lead to the same conclusion?

Sorry, no. The uniqueness of the solutions of differential equations means that, anything else you might come up with has to be essentially equivalent.

360. Frank says:

Trick wrote: “If Planck’s distribution can’t be used then neither can [the Schwarzschild eqn] because SE contains Planck distribution as a component.”

The Schwarzschild eqn gives the “correct” answer because the equilibrium predicted by the Planck function B(lamba,T) is modified by other terms which describe scattering (the source of emissivity and absorptivity) and the rate at which equilibrium is approached (which is proportional to n*o.

If one imagines a weight hanging from a spring in a gravitational field, the height (z) of the weight could be calculated from Hookes Law: mg = -k(z-z_0). In doing so, I assumed the system was at equilibrium. If I set up the problem correctly: F = m*z”(t) = -k(z(t)-z(0) – mg – friction damping (proportional to z'(t)?). The differential eqn has a family of time-dependent solutions that depend on initial conditions. Likewise the Schwarzschild equation covers a range of distance-dependent solutions that depend on initial conditions and the medium.

361. joeldshore says:

Bart says:

“A more realistic set of equations would lead to a higher CO2 concentration giving a higher equilibrium temperature…where then both the CO2 and the temperature are in equilibrium.”

How would that be “more realistic”, when it is not what is observed?

Well, it is the sort of behavior that has been observed over longer time scales. Given the significant temperature changes that have occurred in the past, your model would have led to runaways of the CO2 levels.

It isn’t a matter of belief. This is the reality.

I think you are too enamored with an empirical fit you have done that lacks any realistic physical mechanism. It is not such a surprise that you can fit the data reasonably well:

(1) You are fitting the shorter-time behavior reasonably well because over short times, it is realistic that a rise in temperature leads to a release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

(2) The fit of the multidecadal trend is not too difficult. The SLOPE of the CO2 concentration vs time curve has been increasing approximately linearly because that’s how emissions have been increasing. The temperature has also been increasing roughly linearly. So, it is not surprising that your model can approximately fit that.

The only coincidence that makes it possible is that it seems that the coefficients for the short time and long time fit are close enough that you can get a reasonable fit using one coefficient.

dbstealey says:

In fact, ∆CO2 is caused by ∆T. In other words, changes in temperature are the cause of changes in atmospheric CO2.

So, you believe Bart’s claim that the current rise in CO2 is not due mainly to our emissions but rather is just a result of the temperature increase?

362. Bart says:

Bart says:
April 14, 2014 at 8:21 pm

joeldshore says:
April 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Still, the question is not answered: How much of that gap is due to transmission losses, and how much is due to the initial surface distribution? How is the initial surface spectrum measured for confirmation?

363. Bart says:

joeldshore says:
April 15, 2014 at 7:32 am

“Well, it is the sort of behavior that has been observed over longer time scales.”

Actually, it isn’t. Historically, the temperature change always leads the CO2. Dr. Murry Salby has demonstrated how that “history” has been corrupted.

“Given the significant temperature changes that have occurred in the past, your model would have led to runaways of the CO2 levels.”

All I can tell you for certain is what the data say for the past 56 years. It is mathematically local, not global. It says nothing about long term stability.

And, again, it is stable if surface temperature sensitivity is actually negative, and this is consistent with the “pause” we are currently observing.

“I think you are too enamored with an empirical fit you have done that lacks any realistic physical mechanism.”

Data is primary, theory is secondary. As the Feynman quote goes, if your theory does not match experiment, you are wrong.

“You are fitting the shorter-time behavior reasonably well because over short times, it is realistic that a rise in temperature leads to a release of CO2 into the atmosphere.”

It’s a positive feedback regardless. And, there is no countervailing negative feedback over the time period in question which can oppose it, if the temperature sensitivity is net positive.

“The temperature has also been increasing roughly linearly. So, it is not surprising that your model can approximately fit that. “

This is bass-ackwards. The SLOPE of the CO2 concentration vs time curve has been increasing approximately linearly because that’s how temperatures have been increasing. The emissions has also been increasing roughly linearly. So, it is not surprising that your model can approximately fit that.

“The only coincidence that makes it possible is that it seems that the coefficients for the short time and long time fit are close enough that you can get a reasonable fit using one coefficient.”

It is moot. Over this timeline, the model fits. If the temperature sensitivity over this timeline is significantly positive, then we should see dynamics which appear to increase exponentially over that timeline. We don’t. Ergo, temperature sensitivity is at best essentially nil. QED.

“So, you believe Bart’s claim that the current rise in CO2 is not due mainly to our emissions but rather is just a result of the temperature increase?”

This is a misinterpretation. The CO2 rate of change is not merely a result of the temperature increase. It is the result of some process which is temperature dependent. Something like, perhaps, an elevated level of CO2 in the waters currently upwelling. I discuss that potential mechanism here.

Human inputs are not temperature dependent. Hence, they are ruled out as the main driver.

364. Trick says:

Frank 11:22pm: “The Schwarzschild eqn gives the “correct” answer..” ~Yes, for Earth once its constants are measured & input (or obtained from HITRAN & input to MODTRAN). Planck distribution will work fine e.g. on Mars straight away b/c it uses fundamental constants of nature; SE won’t work on Mars until its constants are calculated, measured, looked up…

365. joelshore says:

CO2… …is the sort of behavior that has been observed over longer time scales… So, you believe Bart’s claim that the current rise in CO2 is not due mainly to our emissions but rather is just a result of the temperature increase?

Annual CO2 emissions are on the order of about 3% of the total, so annual fluctuations are mainly caused by ocean absorption and outgasing, which is caused by ∆T.

But the cumulative effect of human-emitted CO2 is large. That is entirely a good thing, because CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. We are starved of CO2, therefore more CO2 is better, at both current and projected concentrations. That is what the real world clearly tells us. The false alarm created by the ‘carbon’ scare is all politics, with no credible science supporting it. It is simply a scam. It appears that the public agrees with that assessment.

Next, js says:

I think you are too enamored with an empirical fit you have done that lacks any realistic physical mechanism.

This is what happens when one’s understanding becomes clouded by Belief. The ‘realistic physical principle’ is the fact that the oceans take in and emit CO2. Most people here understand that basic principle, which has been observed not only on yearly/decadal time frames, but out to hundereds of millennia. CO2 always follows temperature. It is beyond me how anyone could disagree with empirical observations. But religious belief will do that.

366. Frank says:

Frank wrote: ““The Schwarzschild eqn gives the “correct” answer..”

Trick replied: “Yes, for Earth once its constants are measured & input (or obtained from HITRAN & input to MODTRAN). Planck distribution will work fine e.g. on Mars straight away b/c it uses fundamental constants of nature; SE won’t work on Mars until its constants are calculated, measured, looked up…”

Franks responds: The absorption cross-sections for GHG’s, of course, don’t change from planet to planet. The density of GHGs and temperature in different places on the planet do change. One clearly can’t apply the Schwarzschild eqn without real or hypothetical GHG and temperature data. However, what can you learn about Mars from Planck/S-B? With knowledge of the planetary albedo, you can calculate a blackbody equivalent temperature (usually assuming emissivity is 1). The earth’s blackbody equivalent temperature is 255 degK. That’s the temperature about 5 km above the surface and emissivity isn’t 1 for the gases up there since they don’t emit at many thermal wavelengths and they aren’t in equilibrium with the radiation passing through them. The blackbody equivalent temperature on Venus is 184 degK (according to a Nasa website), but that is the temperature about 70 km above the surface. WIth a very thin atmosphere, the blackbody equivalent temperature for Mars, 210 degK, may be close to the surface temperature. In all three cases, the blackbody equivalent temperature is an “average” of roughly the fourth power of the temperature for all of the molecules emitting photons to space weighted by the number of photons that do reach space.

One can make useful first approximations about some things using Planck and S-B. One can make serious mistakes interpreting the results and applying them to systems that aren’t in equilibrium.

367. joeldshore says:

Bart says:

Still, the question is not answered: How much of that gap is due to transmission losses, and how much is due to the initial surface distribution? How is the initial surface spectrum measured for confirmation?

You can read about the details in many places. The measurements have been done over a variety of different surfaces and detailed fits have been done comparing the radiative transfer theory to what is observed.

You show amazing amounts of skepticism when the data and analysis show you something you don’t want to believe and amazingly little when your modeling of the data tells you what you would like to believe!

368. joeldshore says:

…I’ll just add that, with few exceptions, I think the initial surface distributions (i.e., the surface emissivities) for most terrestrial surfaces (certainly the oceans) are pretty boring in that part of the IR.

369. Bart says:

joeldshore says:
April 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm

“You show amazing amounts of skepticism when the data and analysis show you something you don’t want to believe and amazingly little when your modeling of the data tells you what you would like to believe!”

Because the modeling of data is largely under my control, and I can see directly what multiple consistent sources are telling me, without being filtered through the perspective of those with unknown motivation or skill. ClimateGate showed us that there are many scientists more dedicated to “the cause” than they are to science, and that they are able and willing to bully others into hewing their line.

There actually is a reasonable resolution of this issue, and with your other criticisms, which I alluded to above. Basically, what we are talking about is local (in a mathematical sense) behavior. Overall, the GHE acts to heat the surface above what it would otherwise be. But, total forcing is a nonlinear relationship and, for some given range of climate variables, a maximum is reached, where the sensitivity levels off. Beyond that point, you might even get net cooling as a result of increasing GHG.

It would be like the difference between a secant line and a tangent line. The overall forcing could be a globally (in a mathematical sense) positive function, but not necessarily locally increscent for every climate state.

So, you would need to show more than just a gap in the surface to TOA transmission to establish that the GHE is producing greater incremental forcing with added CO2. You would need to demonstrate, via a time elapse succession of such plots, that increasing CO2 correlates with an increasing gap for the current climate state.

I do not question the basic radiative GHE. Only someone who does not understand radiative physics would. But, I can see with my own eyes that it isn’t working out according to that basic formulation. If you are honest with yourself, you should at least have some level of concern or doubt by this time. The pause simply cannot be reconciled with any significant CO2 to surface temperature sensitivity when CO2 concentration has risen 30% more above pre-industrial levels during that time.

370. Trick says:

Frank 11:19am: “However, what can you learn about Mars from Planck/S-B?”

The global climate. The global Tmean. The EEH. Gives a reality check on basic theory. Helps understand the T fields and ranges to be encountered on landers. Venus surface temperature est. was determined using basic Planck/S-B close enough to allow the very 1st atm. entry to have a temperature instrument constructed to range up to ~700K.

“That’s the temperature about 5 km above the surface and emissivity isn’t 1 for the gases up there since they don’t emit at many thermal wavelengths and they aren’t in equilibrium with the radiation passing through them.”

The atm. gas emissivity looking up from surface is what counts for calculating the surface control volume Tmean in basic theory. Atm. gas is measured at most about 0.95 in humid tropics down to about 0.7 in dry polar regions; global mean ~0.8.

I would argue the equilibrium being long term steady state is appropriate for judicious application of Planck distribution, S-B and SE on planetary scale based on their successful predictions. Sure, conditions in a tornado not exactly in steady state long enough allow their judicious use. Birds & planes avoid ‘em too. Trailer parks not so much.

For exoplanets, Planck distribution, S-B will be decent planet wide tools also. Their constants are fundamental in nature.

371. To summarise:

That 102 Wm2 contained in thermals and evapotranspiration moves by conduction from the mass or the surface to the mass of the atmosphere.

Once in the atmosphere it is in the form of gravitational potential energy which is not heat and which does not radiate.

Accordingly it cannot return to the surface by downward radiation and so K & T were wrong to add 102 Wm2 to DWIR.

Instead, it returns to the surface by adiabatic warming of descending air.

That means that the surface temperature enhancement is a result of conduction to atmospheric mass and not radiation from GHGs to the surface.

At all times the radiative exchange between surface and air is in balance, the adiabatic exchange between surface and air is in balance and the radiative exchange between energy into the surface and atmosphere from space and from the surface and atmosphere out to space is in balance.

The simplest scenario is this:

i) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.

ii) The adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.

iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere from space ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere to space (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.

The effect of radiative capability is therefore only to redistribute energy so that 168 absorbed by the surface becomes 40 emitted by the surface and 67 absorbed by the atmosphere becomes 195 emitted by the atmosphere (165 + 30).

Transparency to incoming shortwave and opacity to outgoing longwave simply re-apportions the share of the same amount of energy emitted to space between emissions from surface and atmosphere

372. gbaikie says:

So if you accept Trenberth et al as corrected, does this energy budget provide any clues as to why Earth has gone through periods of warming and cooling?
Would it indicate other an increase solar energy, the only factor which could cause earth to warm would be increase absorption of the solar energy of the Earth’s ocean?

373. gbaike,

I agree that the baseline equilibrium temperature (assuming constant gravity and atmospheric mass) could only be affected by a change in TSI from the sun or the proportion of that TSI getting past atmospheric mass.

In the absence of changes in TSI then albedo becomes the critical factor since that affects the proportion of available TSI able to enter the oceans in order to drive the hydrological cycle (effectively Earth’s climate).

It appears that solar variability does affect global cloudiness in ways that I have described separately.

So:

i) On long time scales the various periods of warming and cooling would be driven by the Milankovitch cycles which affect TSI.

ii) On shorter time scales there would be periods of less intense warming and cooling caused by solar changes altering Earth’s cloudiness and albedo and those solar changes would be modulated by ocean cycles which would sometimes supplement and sometimes offset solar variations.

I see no need for any other explanation.

374. I should also mention that the power of the phase changes of water also seems to be able to maintain stability despite changes in TSI as per the so called faint sun hypothesis.

As Willis so often tells us there must be a thermostatic mechanism limiting the maximum surface temperature of the tropical oceans and I agree with that but aver that it is caused by the pressure of atmospheric mass on the ocean surface determining the rate of evaporation and the energy cost of the phase change from liquid to vapour, but that is another story.

There would be a climate effect in the form of shifting climate zones but very little change in average surface temperature.

Even the Milankovich cycles might only cause a redistribution of energy with little effect on average surface temperature, just a larger temperature differential between polar and equatorial air masses and a shift of the permanent climate zones towards the equator like the LIA but much more intense.

375. Trick says:

Stephen 11:31pm: “Accordingly it cannot return to the surface by downward radiation and so K & T were wrong to add 102 Wm2 to DWIR.”

No. K&T97 balance is more correct for that era as gliders were observed along with rain. In Stephen’s balance these processes do not have enough surface energy flux (global 24+78 up & down) to operate so gliders and rain can not exist in Stephen’s world but they do in K & T.

376. Trick.

Thermals to lift gliders and evapotranspiration to produce rain exist in both my scenario and that of K&T

The sole issue is whether the energy taken up returns to the surface as DWIR or in adiabatic warming on descent.

Whilst that 102 Wm2 is off the surface it is in the form of gravitational potential energy which is not heat and does not radiate.

Therefore it cannot come back to the surface as DWIR.

That 102 Wm2 represents only the adiabatic portion of convection (the portion that comes back on descent) but in the real world of gliders and rain there is also the diabatic portion of convection (the portion that leaks out to space by radiation from GHGs and aerosols) so there is sufficient energy to meet observations in both scenarios.

377. Trick says:

Stephen – “Thermals to lift gliders and evapotranspiration to produce rain exist in both my scenario and that of K&T.” You write this but these fluxes do not exist in your 222 balance. Proof: 222+78+24=324. Your balance is 222+0+0. QED.

“Therefore it cannot come back to the surface as DWIR.” They don’t have to, energy can come back to surface control volume as downdrafts (gliders avoid these) and hydrologic cycle components (river flows to ocean sink) in the 324 lumped in for the cartoon but discussed separately in the paper. You cannot or do not read the bulk of the paper discussing LH and SH components in the 324, only the 155 is DWIR from the bulk of the atm. gas and 67 from solar.

24+78+67+155 = 324. Downdrafts + hydrologic cycle + solar + DWIR bulk of atm. = 324.

Cannot be this which balances (24+78-24-78=0) but is not the correct balance observed in the top post cartoon which could be improved by a little glider & separate flows shown in the 324:

0+0+67+155= 222. Doesn’t work as observed: 0 for gliders, 0 for hydrologic cycle.

378. Frank says:

Trick wrote: “Venus surface temperature est. was determined using basic Planck/S-B close enough to allow the very 1st atm. entry to have a temperature instrument constructed to range up to ~700K… Atm. gas [emissivity] is measured at most about 0.95 in humid tropics down to about 0.7 in dry polar regions; global mean ~0.8… I would argue the equilibrium being long term steady state is appropriate for judicious application of Planck distribution, S-B and SE on planetary scale based on their successful predictions.”

I was hoping that you’d recognize that the similar blackbody emission temperatures of Venus, Earth and Mars IN ISOLATION don’t predicted much about their different surface temperatures. As best I can tell, the surface temperature of Venus is determined by the radiative equilibrium that exists where the upper atmosphere is near the blackbody equivalent temperature and by the lapse rate (Cp/g) from that altitude to the surface. Any method that estimated surface temperature using only radiation was useful only by chance. If convection didn’t exist on earth, the surface temperature would rise to about 350 degK (without feedbacks) before incoming and outgoing radiation would be in equilibrium. The emissivity of the earth’s atmosphere at various locations isn’t derived from the fundamental physics of Planck and S-B; emissivity is a factor needed to correct the inaccurate predictions of those laws. These correction factors can be calculated by Schwarzschild’s eqn or determined by observations (but only here on earth).

I’m annoyed that we even apply the term emissivity to both gases and condensed media. For condensed media, emissivity is a constant; for gases it varies with the amount of the gas and its absorption coefficient. This causes endless confusion. When a correction factor is a constant in some situations and variable in other situations, the basic physics isn’t being properly represented by the theory.

Your discussion helped me realize that we collect lots of extremely useful data from IR sensors and imagery from space that are converted by S-B to a brightness temperature. However, brightness temperature is not the temperature at a particular location. UAH reports the temperature of the upper troposphere, but some of that signal comes from the stratosphere, complicating its use in detecting the “hot-spot”. We think we see extremely cold “cloud tops” in satellite images, but we are seeing the average temperature of the LAYER of cloud that emits the photons that reach the satellite’s sensor. That layer in cirrus clouds (and boundary layer clouds?) isn’t thick enough to be seen. When looking into the emission of hot glass, I came across IR probes with different wavelengths to report the [average] temperature at different depths from the surface into the glass.

Too many people believe that S-B tells us about the radiation emitted by a SURFACE. MOLECULES emit radiation, and it is never just the monolayer of molecules on the surface that do the emitting. Molecules only emit at wavelengths corresponding to the difference between two internal energy states! The heterogenous nature of the molecules in many condensed media may smear out these internal energy states and produce broad bands in some, but not all, cases. After years of seeing broad UV-Vis spectra from molecules in solution, I was shocked when Pchem lab had me take a spectrum of iodine vapor. From the perspective of the Schwarzschild eqn, surfaces are not involved – radiation is always coming from somewhere (the Big Bang, if nowhere else) and being modified by the medium through which it passes.

The idiots (hopefully this doesn’t include you) who believe that DLR doesn’t heat the ocean (because it’s all absorbed by the top 1 mm and immediately returned to the atmosphere) don’t realized that upward LWR emitted by the ocean surface originates in exactly the same top 1 mm. The Schwarzschild eqn describes this situation beautifully. When some nebulous “surface” emits radiation, the energy loss isn’t assigned to any particular layer of the ocean.

I know my view of this subject is non-conventional and I’m beginning to realize that you have more practical experience with it than I do. So I’ll leave you the last word, if you want it.

379. Frank says:

Steve wrote: “Whilst that 102 Wm2 is off the surface it is in the form of gravitational potential energy which is not heat and does not radiate.”

Whenever a parcel of air rises in the atmosphere another parcel descends, so there is no change in gravitational potential energy. Even if there were, you are confusing energy with power, energy per unit time. W/m2 is power per unit area. Every year (a unit of time), about 1 m of water evaporates from the surface = 1 m3 of water/m2 of ocean. That’s 1000 kg/m2/yr. Show us how to convert 1000 kg/m2/yr of water into gravitational potential energy over a year and get an answer close to 100 W/m2. (Hint: The correct answer uses the heat of vaporization of water, the heat released when water vapor condenses a few kilometers above the surface it left cooler when it evaporated.)

380. Max says:

Venus was discovered to have a brightness temperature around 600 K using microwave observations, theoretical predictions prior to that point in no way remotely approached the actual conditions at the surface.

Sagan said that the planet should have a temperature around 250 K, given the color and distance from the Sun.

He said with various conditions for circulation and convection that he could explain values between 300 K and 350 K, but 600 K was a whole other ball game.

Prior to discovering the mass of the atmosphere it was assumed a massive (radiative) greenhouse effect must be in place, this assumption has remained for some reason.

381. gbaikie says:

— Stephen Wilde says:
April 16, 2014 at 2:32 am

gbaike,

I agree that the baseline equilibrium temperature (assuming constant gravity and atmospheric mass) could only be affected by a change in TSI from the sun or the proportion of that TSI getting past atmospheric mass.

In the absence of changes in TSI then albedo becomes the critical factor since that affects the proportion of available TSI able to enter the oceans in order to drive the hydrological cycle (effectively Earth’s climate).

It appears that solar variability does affect global cloudiness in ways that I have described separately.–

Let’s begin at beginning, I don’t accept the theory of Greenhouse effect.
I don’t dispute that ideal spherical blackbody at Earth distance would have uniform
temperature of around 5 C.
I also don’t dispute that a atmosphere causes a higher average temperature- of course
the main thing about average temperature is the average includes night time temperatures.
Or it’s very obvious that an atmosphere [all atmospheres] do not increase day time high
temperatures, or even day time average temperatures.
But it seems to me that in science, a theory is rejected based upon what is wrong about it
rather some things which are right. Another aspect to cause rejection is unnecessary complication
and the inability to predict- so it is not useful. If a theory predicts where cannon ball will land better
than some other theory, this other theory is rejected. Science is tool which allows one to better predict the future and the past. So, having one thing wrong, is basis of rejection of a theory.

Anyhow, I believe there number areas in Greenhouse Effect theory which are wrong, and the theory gets furthest off track in regards to Earth’s albedo.
So starts with uniform blackbody of 5 C and applies albedo or bond albedo factor and gets -17 to -18 C.
There so many things wrong with this, it’s hard decide where to begin.
And from this state of madness, it leaps to idea that only greenhouse gas can add 33 C [or K] to bring the temperature back to where it is now- which is regarded to be about 15 C.
And only greenhouse gases could cause this 33 C.
So Earth is suppose to have average temperature of around 15 C. It should noted that no one imagines or assumes earth has uniform temperature of 15 C.
One might ask, if the journey begins with uniform idea blackbody of about 5 C, what is present
Earth’s uniform temperature?
It would depend upon how one answers it. But we know if you mixed the Earth ocean, the surface of the ocean would get much colder- or entire ocean has average temperature around 3 C.
So as guess one can say because of Earth’s average ocean temperature, Earth’s uniform temperature is closer to 5 C, than it is to 15 C.

Or if lower the land or raise the ocean mix all the water and land and the sky and polar caps, so that everything is same temperature, I would say that you have world with uniform temperature of less than 5 C.
So currently Earth is colder than uniform temperature of 5 C, but it’s thought that Earth in the past
has had higher uniform temperature of 5 C. Or Earth has had average ocean temperature of higher than 10 C and had no polar ice caps.

So anyways, I would say generally, the albedo or bond albedo is mostly about how quickly heat is absorbed. Or If want a solar water heater, then paint it black. A white panel will not be able to transfer as much energy to the water. And since black absorb more energy and has same air convection loss- a black painted car in sunlight will be a bit warmer than white car.
But in the greenhouse theory how quickly heat is absorbed is ignored- there nothing about heat conduction or heat capacity.
What is mentioned a lot in general discussion by believers of the theory is the trapping heat. Trapping or storing heat are same.

And so far in this discussion the element of time is not been addressed in terms of latent heat and thermal uplift.
We have 102 watts going up and 102 watts going down, but the time needed is not mentioned or assumed to occur without any time involved.
And it is the time involved which what is meant by trapping or storing heat.

But I would say in general a Earth energy budget, does not [and should not] involve time
and therefore doesn’t really indicate factors of warming or cooling. Only that it might give some clues, which help arrive at where to look.

382. joeldshore says:

Max says:

Prior to discovering the mass of the atmosphere it was assumed a massive (radiative) greenhouse effect must be in place, this assumption has remained for some reason.

Because scientists understand that “mass” alone doesn’t magically produce a certain surface temperature.

383. gbaikie says:

-I was hoping that you’d recognize that the similar blackbody emission temperatures of Venus, Earth and Mars IN ISOLATION don’t predicted much about their different surface temperatures. As best I can tell, the surface temperature of Venus is determined by the radiative equilibrium that exists where the upper atmosphere is near the blackbody equivalent temperature and by the lapse rate (Cp/g) from that altitude to the surface. Any method that estimated surface temperature using only radiation was useful only by chance. If convection didn’t exist on earth, the surface temperature would rise to about 350 degK (without feedbacks) before incoming and outgoing radiation would be in equilibrium.-

Though it’s similarly difficult to think of planet with atmosphere not to have convection- similar to that someone who says if Earth didn’t radiate energy it would be 200,000 degree [or something like that]- which btw might be close true, but Earth not be warmed from the sun to such temperature- but rather it’s nuclear decay and other heat which cause a earth which didn’t radiate heat to become hot. Or the entire mass of Earth is very hot, and it’s very hot because it does not radiate much of it’s internal heat.
But anyhow you say without convection Earth would about 350 K.
So the Moon has zero convection, and daytime temperature is 120 C [400 K].
So if meant the daytime temperature of earth would reach 350 K [76.85 C] you would be
close. The hottest surface air temperature on Earth ever recorded is:
“56.7 °C (134.1 °F) Death Valley, California, U.S.A. 10 July 1913”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extremes_on_Earth
But surface temperature can get much higher than air temperature:
“70.6 °C (159.1 °F) Dasht-e Lut, Iran”
As measured from orbit.
So in terms of hottest the surface ever gets, it could be around 350 K.
But we generally measure air temperature and land surface reaching say 340 K
are common with our world with air convection. And this not night time or winter
surface temperatures, and the ocean which covers most of Earth doesn’t lose much
temperature from convection, but rather evaporation prevents surface temperature
from ever getting much warmer than 35 C [308 K].

384. Trick says:

Max 11:59am: :..using microwave observations..” Which is radiation. There was Chapman&Cowling available since 50s and Goody&Yung came out in 1964 which a thorough reading could convince Venera 4 designers enough to include 2 thermometers ranges of 210-730° K with remote sensing input. Launch was 6/12/1967. Some notes:

In 1956, American astronomers C. Mayer et al. from the Naval Research Laboratory, had measured 3.15 cm microwave emissions that suggested a surprisingly high 600° K source temperature. Carl Sagan championed the hot-surface model, suggesting in his 1960 doctoral dissertation that heat was trapped by the greenhouse effect.

By 1967, many astrophysicists in America and Russia believed that Venus was extremely hot, but one MIT paper that year suggested the planet could be experiencing an Ice Age! Not exactly the settled climate science of Earth today, lol.

The Venera 4 telemetry rate was 1 bit per second, respectable at that time. The readings were widely spaced in time as instruments made a reading, code it, and insert into data stream so they got only 23 readings from 300K to 550K over about 2 hour long slow descent. The last temperature of 544° K (271° C) was only slightly cooler than the 600° K predicted by the planet’s microwave brightness. From:

http://mentallandscape.com/V_Lavochkin1.htm

385. gbaike said:

“We have 102 watts going up and 102 watts going down, but the time needed is not mentioned or assumed to occur without any time involved.
And it is the time involved which what is meant by trapping or storing heat.”

I have mentioned time.

Conduction and convection is slower than radiation so the more there is the higher the surface temperature will rise.

The size of the temperature rise will be related to the length of time and the amount of energy tied up as gravitational potential energy in the convective overturning cycle.

Whilst energy is in that form it cannot radiate down to the surface. It can only be returned to the surface as KE during adiabatic descent.

The same principle applies to every planetary atmosphere but if ever the composition changes (radiatively or conductively) to upset long term balance then the circulation changes rather than the surface temperature changing.

Other planetary atmospheres can vary in a multitude of ways and we do not currently understand their detailed atmospheric processes but the mass induced greenhouse effect is present in all of them together with the circulation adjustments that maintain long term stability.

The observation that temperatures are very similar for every planet at the same pressure subject only to adjusting for the distance from the sun is an important indicator that the greenhouse effect is mass induced.

386. Frank said:

“Whenever a parcel of air rises in the atmosphere another parcel descends, so there is no change in gravitational potential energy.”

That is right. The amount of GPE stays stable but can change if the atmosphere expands or contracts. Either way that energy locked into the atmosphere cannot radiate downwards.

It can however maintain surface warmth by constantly recycling that GPE between surface and atmosphere in the form of KE.

As fast as KE leaves the surface it is returned to the surface so the surface must become warmer than S-B predicts but it does so not as a result of additional DWIR from GHGs but instead because that extra KE is held at the surface by the delay inherent in the adiabatic exchange.

387. gbaikie says:

— Stephen Wilde says:
April 17, 2014 at 1:16 am

gbaike said:

“We have 102 watts going up and 102 watts going down, but the time needed is not mentioned or assumed to occur without any time involved.
And it is the time involved which what is meant by trapping or storing heat.”

I have mentioned time.

Conduction and convection is slower than radiation so the more there is the higher the surface temperature will rise.–

Or at at least the more energy trapped.
It would seem the higher the atmosphere [and higher the gravity] would be more related to a higher temperatures.

388. david(swuk) says:

Gbaikie said – “Conduction and convection is slower than radiation so the more there is the higher the surface temperature will rise.–”

surely conduction and convection is caused by heat and not a cause of same………………

389. “surely conduction and convection is caused by heat and not a cause of same………………”

Conduction and convection is a result of radiation interacting with mass.

The S-B equation predicts the temperature of the mass if all the energy transfers are radiative.

If conduction and convection occur then the temperature can only rise above the S-B prediction because energy transfer by conduction and convection is slower than by radiation.

The result of the slower energy transfer is a higher surface temperature because the energy flows back up at the surface until the temperature rise is enough to both maintain radiative throughput AND maintain the ongoing convective exchange.

The surface temperature rise above S-B is thus a consequence of mass causing a delay in the throughput of energy by replacing a portion of the radiation passing through with the slower processes of conduction and convection.

That was the standard explanation of the greenhouse effect a few decades ago.

390. “It would seem the higher the atmosphere [and higher the gravity] would be more related to a higher temperatures”

The stronger the gravitational field the lower will be the atmosphere for a given amount of atmospheric mass.

The more atmospheric mass the denser will be the atmosphere for a given strength of gravitational field.

The stronger the irradiation from outside the higher the atmosphere and the higher the surface temperature for a given mass and strength of gravitational field.

Apply the Gas Laws. They determine surface temperatures for a given mass, strength of gravitational field and level of irradiation. They contain no term for the radiative capabilities of atmospheric composition. That gets dealt with by changes in convection and global air circulation.

There is a climate effect from GHGs but it is regional with no change in average surface temperature and miniscule compared to solar and oceanic influences.

391. david(swuk) says:

Stephen Wilde says:
April 17, 2014 at 3:54 am
“surely conduction and convection is caused by heat and not a cause of same………………”

“Conduction and convection is a result of radiation interacting with mass…………………………”

Yes ok, but that is a BB mass where radiation alone cannot rid it of heat – as I understand it (and which is why the Sun is turbulent because of zero C&C) but here we have a tapestry of continuously/intermittently SR heated surfaces of various absorbency/reflective/radiative qualities inter-acting with atmosphere of varying temperatures which, together, defy the K-T “averaging” because of the multitude of absorption frequencies that affect the progress of radiative energy but, of which, relatively very little is with the HEAT SPECTRUM in debate –
does the sand get hotter on the Moon than it does on Earth under a mid-day Sun OR NOT?
would Venus be hotter or colder than Earth if it shared the same orbit?
I would liken the K-T cartoon to the size of the “average” family as quoted by statisticians at Mr & Mrs + 2.3 children.
But at least they don`t then go on to tell them how to live a good life based on the inadequacies of poor 0.3 Johnie!

392. gbaikie says:

—“It would seem the higher the atmosphere [and higher the gravity] would be more related to a higher temperatures”

The stronger the gravitational field the lower will be the atmosphere for a given amount of atmospheric mass.–
Yes. And higher pressure.
And denser air- near surface, more molecules per cubic meter. Higher kinetic energy- 1/2 mass * velocity square . So warmer air.

And in terms of energy and distance [height]. distance = 1/2 gravity * Time squared.
Earth gravity: 9.8 m/s/s . So 9.8 * Time is velocity achieved or PE of the height of molecule.
A earth gravity: 10,000 meters = 4.9 times 45 second is 441 m/s velocity
achieved falling 10 km.
2 gees: 10,000 meters times 9.8 times 31.9 seconds is 625 m/s
2 gees: 5000 meters times 9.8 times 22.5 second is 442 m/s

–The more atmospheric mass the denser will be the atmosphere for a given strength of gravitational field.–
And higher pressure. And higher height of atmosphere.

So like with Venus at height on Earth where where density and pressure is near a vacuum [49000 meters on Earth- and has less air than Mars surface] and 49 km above Venus surface it is around Earth pressure and density [and near temperature of Earth- earth at sea level can have air temperature of 50 C and at 49.5 km on Venus it’s 66 C and 1 atm pressure. And if we had twice the solar energy as does Venus, we also would air temperature as high as 66 C – and sidewalks which might get hot enough to boil water- in summer and around noon and on clear day. So we normally get surface temperature, currently, as warm as 70 C- not really hot enough to cook an egg on sidewalk.]

–The stronger the irradiation from outside the higher the atmosphere and the higher the surface temperature for a given mass and strength of gravitational field.–

Yes. As is Venus is above. Venus Atmosphere:
http://www.datasync.com/~rsf1/vel/1918vpt.htm

–Apply the Gas Laws. They determine surface temperatures for a given mass, strength of gravitational field and level of irradiation. They contain no term for the radiative capabilities of atmospheric composition. That gets dealt with by changes in convection and global air circulation.

There is a climate effect from GHGs but it is regional with no change in average surface temperature and miniscule compared to solar and oceanic influences.–

Well, tropics has higher troposphere and as far as convection and latent heat AND most energy from the Sun it’s mostly occuring in tropics and within troposphere

393. Frank says:

Gbaikai asked why consensus science believes the earth would be about 350 degK without convection. Right now, the surface is about 290 degK and emits about 390 W/m2 upward. Most (90%) of that radiant energy is absorbed by GHG’s (mostly water vapor and CO2) in the atmosphere. The GHGs in the atmosphere also emit thermal infrared radiation, but equally in all directions. This slows down the rate at which power escapes to space. Unless many different instruments measuring the downward infrared flux from the atmosphere to the surface are wrong, the NET upward flux of thermal IR is only about 60 W/m2. If 100 W/m2 doesn’t leave by convection, the surface will have to warm enough so that another NET 100 W/m2 can escape the surface. IF the current composition (esp water vapor) in the atmosphere is held constant, the Net LWR flux will equal SWR reaching the surface (160 W/m2) when the surface reaches about 350 degK. If my calcs are correct, the surface would emit about 850 W/m2 and DLR from the atmosphere would be 690. Water vapor and other feedbacks would change this somewhat artificial answer, but it gives us a ballpark idea of how important convection is. Some people, of course, don’t believe DLR exists, but I don’t want to debate that issue.

Since the moon rotates so slowly, much bigger temperature differences between night and day exist on the moon than the earth, making the moon a bad model for the earth. At noon in the tropics on a clear day, the earth can receive up to 1000 W/m2 for a few hours. No wonder the moon gets very hot when 1/24 a rotation (an earth-hour) lasts more than an earth day.

394. david(swuk) says:

No room here I don`t think Frank for the hypERthetical as K-T has inspired more than enough myopic dreaming already – might a man of more practical science again interject.
As you go on to say the Tropics receive ~1000Watts/m2/hr around mid-day and of which most are extinguished by low-level being near super-heated and then fast rising air all the way up to the Stratosphere I would think to cool, eject LWR (equally you say) before then descending several thousand miles North and South for a similar but less vigorous repeat performance whilst, beneath all that, a similar smaller domestic-scale operations of delivering warm moist air to the mid/upper Troposphere occur everywhere all the way up to the Polar Regions which also receive a draft of Tropical which over-shoots the intervening Hadley Cell under which most of the developed World reside with enjoying the conditions therein brought by more moderate Sunshine delivering perhaps only half of that which scorches the Tropics – and which you and near et all slavishly accept as being fairly represented by a 102W/m2/hr global average because the Wizards of The Id want you to believe in massive DWLW caused by (TOXIC) Carbon and Water.
Were it a building of the past that had to be cooled down to a tolerable ambient I would have been shining very bright lights in the eyes of any AC boff who sized the kit to deal with 200 average even let alone peak! Or at least adding my consideration to the costings.
So give it over pal – Willis too, as he still hasn`t yet recanted his claim that the atmosphere is transparent to the Sunlight we receive on the surface – when it is clear that a lot of Solar IR (+?) still reaches ground and so skewing all the measurements of atmospheric DW you guys are welded to!

395. phi says:

Frank,
In this regard, figure 4 of Manabe and Strickler 1964 is very interesting. It shows the effect of convection on the temperature profile. The profile with 6.5 ° C / km is empirical and corresponds to present equilibrium. Increased GHG decreases the part of radiative cooling and then straightens the curve. This behavior is incompatible with the notion of GHG forcing which involves a fixed gradient.

396. Frank says:

david(swuk) says: April 19, 2014 at 1:51 am: “K-T has inspired more than enough myopic dreaming”.

Measurement, not dreaming, inspires the much-derided K-T diagram. Those measurements may contain some errors, but the big picture is roughly correct. Miskolczi has published slightly different values, as discussed by Roy Spenser.

Unless you believe GHGs in the atmosphere do NOT emit LWR radiation towards the surface that can be detected, we can identify the source (sun or atmosphere) of downward photons with a high degree of accuracy. Any wavelength shorter than 4 um probably (about 98% likelihood) was emitted by the sun and any wavelength longer was emitted by GHGs in the atmosphere. See: http://scienceofdoom.com/2012/01/05/kramm-dlugi-on-dodging-the-greenhouse-bullet/
http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/07/25/the-sun-and-max-planck-agree-part-two/
The former has a figure from a textbook on atmospheric radiation, the latter has supporting calculations that address some questions.

Again assuming you believe scientists know how to properly measure DLR with wavelengths greater than 4 um, scientists have accumulated lots of measurements of DLR from a variety of locations on the planet. They have also been monitoring incoming SWR from the sun, SWR reflected by clouds and the surface, and outgoing LWR.

You can calculate for yourself (and I have done so) annual flux of heat from the surface to the atmosphere when 1 m of rain (the planetary average for precipitation) condenses to produce rain or ice in the upper atmosphere.

I think this covers the most important aspects of the K-T diagram. Trenberth does arbitrarily chose the flux of simple heat by thermals, but claims his number is reasonably consistent with limited observations. Trenberth arbitrarily chose the radiative imbalance based on how fast the planet (mostly the ocean) is warming. He lowered this estimate after Argo showed his imbalance was too high.

If you believe measurements of DLR, OLR or SWR are wrong, then it is hard to have a sensible discussion, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion. We can agree the CO2 shouldn’t be referred to as carbon pollution. And we can agree with Trenberth that some of incoming SWR is reflected and some is absorbed by the troposphere, leaving only about 1/2 to reach the surface.

(I mentions 1000 W/m2 (incoming SWR under clear skies in the tropics for a few hours around noon) because it was relevant to what the moon receives for several days and the moon’s daytime surface temperature was raised by another comment. K-T is about the average over day and night over the whole planet.)

397. phi says:

Frank,

“Measurement, not dreaming, inspires the much-derided K-T diagram.”

Measurement, yes. Measurement but also confusion inspire this diagram. There are no justification for the distinction of two opposite radiative fluxes, it’s even a thermodynamic nonsense.

Why not highlight back convection in the same time ?

This weakness is not anecdotal, it lies at the center of the official theory. This is because climatologists consider back radiation as an independent source of energy that they fail miserably in the forecast of the current climate evolution.

398. phi said:

“Why not highlight back convection in the same time ?
This weakness is not anecdotal, it lies at the center of the official theory”

Precisely the point.

If one does highlight back convection in the form of the adiabatic warming of descending air then the extra 102 WM2 of DWIR becomes double counting.

399. Frank said:

“Unless you believe GHGs in the atmosphere do NOT emit LWR radiation towards the surface that can be detected, we can identify the source (sun or atmosphere) of downward photons with a high degree of accuracy. Any wavelength shorter than 4 um probably (about 98% likelihood) was emitted by the sun and any wavelength longer was emitted by GHGs in the atmosphere.”

GHGs and aerosols must emit downward but that should be limited to 222 WM2 at equilibrium to match surface to atmosphere of 222 Wm2.

The other 102 Wm2 comes from adiabatically warmed molecules of GHGs and aerosols that are in close enough contact with the surface to participate in the conductive exchange between surface and atmosphere. The conductive exchange is also in balance at 102 Wm2 each way on average. That conductive exchange contributes to the IR ‘haze’ at any given height according to the lapse rate slope. The further one moves GHGs and aerosols up from the surface the less is the proportionate contribution of the conductive component to total IR.

The point is that GHGs and aerosols receive their energy for radiation from BOTH radiation and conduction and it is the conduction element that is ignored by the K & T diagram and AGW theory generally.

Note that the actual numbers are for illustrative purposes only since in the real world they are in constant change as the system varies about the mean.

When an infra red sensor at the surface points upward it measures both the 222 Wm2 coming down radiatively AND the 102 Wm2 of the IR haze generated by the conductive exchange at the height where it is situated.

400. david(swuk) says:

Thanks for the response Frank but, in referring but briefly to the S.o.D.com CON! I would aim you at but one item therein,
” First citing Lacis et al:
The difference between the nominal global mean surface temperature (TS = 288 K) and the global mean effective temperature (TE = 255 K) is a common measure of the terrestrial greenhouse effect (GT = TS – TE = 33 K).”
which clearly installs in the minds of the quick-flick believer the notion of GHGs being responsible for ALL THAT difference.
Another would be the comparative BB radiation spectra of Sun v Earth which are shown to be of equal magnitude because Energy In must not exceed Energy Out when it is patently clear that it must.

401. Frank says:

I disagree with Lacis about the utility of the 33 degK number; there are too many over-simplifications. No GHG’s – no clouds – reduced albedo. No rotation. Not spherical. 255 degK is the appropriate temperature for a disk facing the sun receiving 1366 W/m2 divided by 4 times 70% (albedo) – a disk with that loses no energy though the side not facing the sun. By the time one considers all of the caveats, the 33 degK difference has lost all meaning FOR ME. (others may disagree.)

402. david(swuk) says:

Frank says:
April 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm
I disagree with Lacis

so why not then condemn K-T which builds from it?

403. joeldshore says:

Frank,
In this regard, figure 4 of Manabe and Strickler 1964 is very interesting. It shows the effect of convection on the temperature profile. The profile with 6.5 ° C / km is empirical and corresponds to present equilibrium. Increased GHG decreases the part of radiative cooling and then straightens the curve. This behavior is incompatible with the notion of GHG forcing which involves a fixed gradient.

I have no clue how you get from that diagram by Manabe and Stricter to your incoherent ramblings that leads you to conclude “this behavior is incompatible with the notion of GHG forcing which involves a fixed gradient.”. There is nothing in that diagram that even addresses what happens as GHGs are increased.

Measurement, yes. Measurement but also confusion inspire this diagram. There are no justification for the distinction of two opposite radiative fluxes, it’s even a thermodynamic nonsense.

Not nonsense at all. It is perfectly reasonable, and in fact, perfectly measurable.

This weakness is not anecdotal, it lies at the center of the official theory. This is because climatologists consider back radiation as an independent source of energy that they fail miserably in the forecast of the current climate evolution.

This is utter nonsense (and hence it is not surprising that Stephen Wilde endorses it). Whether or not you consider things in terms of forward and back-radiation, or the net result, you draw the same correct comclusions that climatologists have drawn and you have failed to understand.

404. joeldshore says:

Frank says:

By the time one considers all of the caveats, the 33 degK difference has lost all meaning FOR ME. (others may disagree.)

I would disagree somewhat. I think it is useful to sometimes separate different physical effects and I think it is reasonable to say that the physical effect of the greenhouse effect in the present atmosphere is to make the Earth’s temperature 33 K warmer at the surface than it ought to be given its albedo and hence how much solar energy is absorbed by the Earth / atmosphere system.

But, I do agree that it is hard to describe a realistic “experiment” for measuring it, since for example, taking water vapor out of the atmosphere does a lot more than just affect the greenhouse effect.

405. phi says:

joeldshore,
This backradiations issue is rather funny, it disturbs greatly those who are interested.

The graph of Manabe shows very well the difference between temperature profiles. We go from the one corresponding to a purely radiative model to the empirical case by increasing the ratio convective / radiative heat flow. This is exactly what happens when GHG increases. I grant you that it may seem somewhat paradoxical.

“Not nonsense at all. It is perfectly reasonable, and in fact, perfectly measurable.”

Backradiations are measurable but they have no independent thermodynamic existence. This is exactly the same problem with backconduction. Try to build an effective theory based on independent backconduction !

“This is utter nonsense (and hence it is not surprising that Stephen Wilde endorses it).”

Stephen Wilde noted this : “Why not highlight back convection in the same time ?”

In my opinion, he only extends the error of Trenberth (and yours). As you enter independent backradiations in a thermodynamic system, it could makes sense to continue with backconvection and backconduction.

“Whether or not you consider things in terms of forward and back-radiation, or the net result, you draw the same correct comclusions that climatologists have drawn and you have failed to understand.”

No, this is not the same thing and that’s what I try to explain. Independent backradiations allow the concept of GHG forcing, postulate that there is no change in the ratio convection / radiation, that there is no change in gradient. All things contrary to sound thermodynamic which teaches that there is no independence between emission and absorption, that a reduction of a flow changes the flows ratios, that a structural modification of a body (increase of GHG) not equate a power source (forcing), that a change of fluxes ratio corresponds to a change in the gradient.

406. david(swuk) says:

So it is clear from what JLDS continues to pronounce that they the Warmists no longer give a proverbial about K-T valuing SIR brought downwards radiation as “Bach Radiation” (eh “still transparent” Willis)
as it only adds beef to their balls about what is largely inconsequential LW reflection let alone try to accurately value the full effects of the convection and conduction that would still reign strong in the absence of GHG`s but, despite that absence, still not prevent the temperature rising rather more than the 33degC for which The Warmists cite them responsible.

407. The sole issue is as to how energy is retained at the surface so as to increase surface temperature above that predicted by the S-B equation.

The S-B equation is based solely on radiation arriving at and departing from a sold surface.

If there is a gaseous atmosphere above that solid surface then the S-B equation is not applicable.

Instead, one must apply the Gas Laws.

In the presence of a gaseous atmosphere conduction results in convection and convection converts kinetic energy (which radiates IR) to gravitational potential energy (which does not radiate IR).

As long as energy is in the form of gravitational potential energy it cannot contribute to the radiation exchange between surface and atmosphere or surface and space.

Only when that energy returns to kinetic energy can it once again contribute to the energy exchange between surface and atmosphere and surface and space

The surface temperature rise above the S-B prediction is determined by how much of the available energy is converted to gravitational potential energy (a matter of atmospheric mass) and how long it is converted to gravitational potential energy ( a matter of the strength of the gravitational field).

That is all there is to it.

For Earth, the mass of the atmosphere and the strength of the gravitational field means that the delay in throughput of solar energy requires a surface temperature enhancement of 33k.

GHGs only affect the global atmospheric circulation and not the surface temperature because any delay in energy transmission caused by their radiative capability is immediately offset by a change in the convective circulation of the atmosphere as a whole.

408. joeldshore says:

phi says:

The graph of Manabe shows very well the difference between temperature profiles. We go from the one corresponding to a purely radiative model to the empirical case by increasing the ratio convective / radiative heat flow. This is exactly what happens when GHG increases. I grant you that it may seem somewhat paradoxical.

The purely radiative model is a singular case. As long as you allow some convection (and perhaps are not in some weird limit of an extremely tenuous gas), then the steep lapse rate shown in that case will be unstable to convection and driven down to some compromise of the saturated and dry adiabatic lapse rates.

To a not-unreasonable approximation, the environmental lapse rate will remain about the same with increasing GHGs. To a better approximation, it will decrease a little bit because the lapse rate is close to the saturated adiabatic lapse rate in the tropics and that lapse rate decreases (in magnitude) wth increasing surface temperature.

Independent backradiations allow the concept of GHG forcing, postulate that there is no change in the ratio convection / radiation, that there is no change in gradient.

No…They postulate that there is a negative lapse rate feedback, i.e., a slight decrease in the gradient.

Your use of Manabe to try to dispute that is very far off the mark.

409. phi says:

joeldshore,

“The purely radiative model is a singular case.”

The term limit case seems to me more appropriate.

“…be unstable to convection and driven down to some compromise of the saturated and dry adiabatic lapse rates.”

We find again the simplification which is not admissible in this case. The phenomenon is not adiabatic and the result is actually “some compromise” of the saturated and dry lapse rates.

“No…They postulate that there is a negative lapse rate feedback, i.e., a slight decrease in the gradient.”

This effect, which is taken into account, highlight the inconsistency of the quantitive theory. Profile modification fundamentally affects the value of the so called forcing, so of the initial effect in W/m2.

410. gbaikie says:

–That is all there is to it.

For Earth, the mass of the atmosphere and the strength of the gravitational field means that the delay in throughput of solar energy requires a surface temperature enhancement of 33k.–

I think you only talking about one way to store the energy of sunlight converted into heat.
And more significant means of storing the energy is the Earth’s oceans.
Or atmosphere is days and ocean is decades. GHG are seconds,
And land also stores heat from sunlight.

Now the keep a greenhouse warmer at night you put water containers of water in the greenhouse.
It’s the same thing with planet Earth, which has vast oceans covering 70% of the planet.

Or the 168 watts of diagram above has to have a high percentage of this absorbed energy being absorbed by ocean. Simply because ocean is most of Earth surface- and somewhere around 80%
of tropical region of Earth. But next is question which absorbs more energy per square meter or square km- ocean or land. And related to this question is where does ocean or land absorb most amount of the Sun energy. By where i mean in first 1 cm? Or 2 cm to 10 cm. Or 11 cm to 1 meter
Or 1 to 100 meters. So during one day of sunlight where is most of sun’s 168 watts of energy being converted to heat?
Does a square meter of land or ocean absorb more. And where does it store it.
So a difference between land and water, is warm water rises. And dirt or rock doesn’t convect heat- it conducts it. But my question of where is when it’s first absorbed by sunlight and converted into heat. After this one one get to part of heat being conducted and/or convected away from such locations.

411. “I think you only talking about one way to store the energy of sunlight converted into heat.
A more significant means of storing the energy is the Earth’s oceans.”

I agree but energy stored in the oceans eventually gets transferred to the atmosphere by conduction and convection.

The Earth’s oceans should be treated as part of the ‘atmosphere’ but in the end their temperature is limited by the weight of the mass of the atmosphere on the surface which affects evaporation rates and the value of the latent heat of vaporisation.

412. gbaikie says:

— Stephen Wilde says:
April 22, 2014 at 1:08 am

“I think you only talking about one way to store the energy of sunlight converted into heat.
A more significant means of storing the energy is the Earth’s oceans.”

I agree but energy stored in the oceans eventually gets transferred to the atmosphere by conduction and convection.–

The Moon is much hotter than Earth. But Moon’s average temperature is much colder than Earth.
Or the Moon has very little of what you call “greenhouse effect”. Though since it’s atmosphere is basically non-existent, some would say no “greenhouse effect”.
If you had different moon cooler in day by 5 C, but warmer at night, by say 50 C, then that moon is warmer- it has warmer average temperature. One might called a greenhouse effect or something similar to greenhouse effect or whatever, but it is warmer as Earth is warmer than the Moon. So not higher temperature or hotter but higher average temperature.
So retaining heat is all the warming we talking about in terms of greenhouse the supportive +33 C
than Earth should be without GHE.

It matter how long the heat is stored and it matter where the heat goes. So everyone knows Europe is warmer because ocean currents bring tropical heat up to Europe.
Though of course the heat does not hide until it gets to Europe, so one should keep in mind the Gulf Stream is not just limited to warming the dinky place called Europe. And other oceanic warming occurring in the world. But if we just focus on Europe, obviously without the warm ocean is not warming that a part of the world and which without such heat, it would be cooler, and therefore the average global temperature would be somewhat colder. Europe freezing their butts off would have some effect upon global average temperature. So this only occurs because the heat is stored and moved.

To my question, most of heat absorbed by Earth, is being absorbed 1 to 100 meters under the surface of the ocean. Or if 1000 watts per square meter is shining on the ocean in clear sky at noon, more than 900 watts sunlight is travel beyond 1 meter in depth. And you have a choice, this energy is being absorbed, or the 168 watts number is wrong.
So with ocean most of the sunlight is not being absorbed by the surface, whereas with sandy desert, all of it being absorb in first 1 cm.
With a tropical ocean one has fairly consistent temperature, and every 1 cm of the 1 meter to 100 meter depth will only absorb small amount of heat and water has high heat capacity.
So 1 cm by 1 meter by 1 meter is 10,000 cubic centimeter water which is 10 kg of water.
And it takes 4183 joule seconds or watts to warm 1 kg of water by 1 C. So times this by 10.
and it takes 41830 watts seconds to heat by 1 C and say it’s getting 1 watt a second of the + 900 watts per second. So that’s 41830 seconds [or 11.6 hours to warm by 1 C]. So in one day it does not warm by much, and since it does get very warm is does convect much heat, and water is lousy at conducting heat.

413. david(swuk) says:

gbaikie says:
April 22, 2014 at 3:54 am
“……………So 1 cm by 1 meter by 1 meter is 10,000 cubic centimeter water which is 10 kg of water.
And it takes 4183 joule seconds or watts to warm 1 kg of water by 1 C. So times this by 10.
and it takes 41830 watts seconds to heat by 1 C and say it’s getting 1 watt a second of the + 900 watts per second. So that’s 41830 seconds [or 11.6 hours to warm by 1 C]. So in one day it does not warm by much, and since it does get very warm is does convect much heat, and water is lousy at conducting heat.”

Water (like air) is only near transparent to Solar Radiationin the visible spectrum and much of our Ocean is both turbid and roughened by wind and so far more absorbent of Solar energy than you calculate I would think. UV and IR account for near half of the solar energy received at the surface and so Tropical Waters could heat by 1degC in far less than half the time you calculate but more superficially through turbidity and absorbtion.