“The Greenhouse Effect – Part II”

Guest post by Ben Herman and Roger Pielke Sr.

File:Phases of the Moon.png

We have received a further question on our post:“The Greenhouse Effect” by Ben Herman and Roger Pielke Sr.

The question is summarized by the following text

Anyway my question refers to the common example of taking away the atmosphere and observing a cold surface. But as I understand it, the mean daytime surface temperature on the moon is over 100 C, with no  greenhouse effect. The mean nighttime temp drops to -150 C. http://www.solarviews.com/eng/moon.htm

This is important to note, because encouraging a popular picture in which the presence of the atmosphere only warms the surface takes all the convection and fluid dynamics out of the discussion, and that’s where all the important complexities are.

Isn’t it more the case that the atmosphere both warms and cools the surface, depending on circumstances? The IR absorption of H2O and other GHG’s warms the surface relative to what it would otherwise be, but as the lunar case shows, convection and turbulent mixing cools the surface relative to what would happen without an atmosphere. Take away the atmosphere and you take away both warming and cooling mechanisms.

We have reproduced the substance of our follow up answer below.

Predicting the surface temperature indeed involves the interaction of the atmospheric and ocean turbulent sensible and latent fluxes, long- and short- wave radiative fluxes and interfacial fluxes between the surface and the atmosphere. I have been urging for years to move away from the surface temperature to characterize global warming and cooling (and replace with ocean heat content changes in Joules) because the surface temperature is such a limited sample of the heat content changes of the climate system as well as involving these complicated feedbacks.

On the Moon, there is, of course, no atmosphere, so its surface temperature results from the difference between the surface long wave radiative emissions, the amount of solar radiation absorbed and reflected, and the conduction of heat into and out of the surface. The effect of the atmosphere on Earth is to mute the diurnal (and seasonal) temperature range as a result of the turbulent fluxes, and other effects (such as clouds and precipitation). These atmospheric effects, for example, result in lower daytime and higher nighttime temperatures from what they otherwise would be. I presume this is the cooling and warming effects that you refer to. However, even with these effects, the surface is clearly warmer than it would be without the CO2 and water vapor IR absorption bands.

But the reasons are that the atmosphere scatters back to space some sunlight, and takes up some of the surface heating through conduction, and mixes it it by convection and turbulence. Also, the relatively rapid rotation of the earth on its axis  does not permit the daytime side to reach equilibrium before it starts nighttime cooling. As a result, daytime temperatures on earth are cooler than they would be with no atmosphere, and warmer at night than with no atmosphere.

Of course, the Moon, with no atmosphere, still  has to have basically the same effective radiating temperature as does the Earth. This should be

[sigma *Tmd**4 + sigma* Tmn**4]/2 = sigma*Te**4  where Tmd is the daytime temperature of of the Moon, Tmn is the night time temperature of the Moon, and Te is the effective radiating temperature of the Earth.

The fact that the daytime time temperature is warmer than the Earth’s temp is simply a result of the fact that the Moon is not in an equilibrium state – it warms up during the daytime and cools down at night, just as does the Earth. However the warming during day and cooling at night must balance each other or the Moon ( and the Earth) would be steadily heating up or cooling down over time.  The daytime warming occurs because the outgoing IR cannot balance the absorbed solar during the day. The nighttime cooling occurs because the outgoing IR is greater than the non-existing solar at night. The existence of a partially absorbing atmosphere does, as you stated, keep days cooler and nights warmer.

Also, the length of a day on the Moon is 29.5 earth days, almost a full Earth month. Therefore the daylight side of the Moon heats due to solar radiation, for half a month. Then when it’s night, it cools for another half month. Thus the daytime and nighttime temperatures are much more extreme. There is no greenhouse effect on the Moon, of course, and if the Moon’s day was the same 24 hours as an Earth day, its day and night temperatures would not vary  as much but its  radiative equilibrium temperature would be the same.

Update #2 John Nielsen-Gamon has alerted us to more information on the Moon’s radiative temperature. John e-mailed

I read your blog post on Greenhouse Part 2.  I also recently came across the Science of Doom web site; it seems to be of very high quality.  You might want to link to http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/06/03/lunar-madness-and-physics-basics/ [on] your post to direct the reader to further details on the radiative temperature of the Moon.

Update – corrected text (underlined) h/t to Gerald E. Quindry

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112 thoughts on ““The Greenhouse Effect – Part II”

  1. How delightful somebody is distinguishing between heat and temperature.
    Now the right question about energy budget can be asked:
    Watt’s up with that?

  2. To my understanding, one of the reasons why the temperature of Moon fluctuates with much larger amplitude compared with earth is the existence of water: that is, its phase transition (between ice and liquid, as well as between liquid and gas) and its global transportation. The short rotation time (compared with Moon) and water largerly equalize the temperature of the earth surface. If water existed at Moon the temperature fluctuation would be much decreased. The GHG effect of water and other gases is another story.

  3. [sigma *Tmd**4 + sigma* Tmn**4]/2 = sigma*Te**4
    Cor, I’m seeing stars!
    how about (sigma.Tmd^4 + sigma.Tmn^4)/2 = sigma.Te^4
    Does this show as sigma? σ

  4. Would the 116.8 terrestrial day rotation rate of Venus have anything to do with why it is so hot?

  5. Isn’t the atmosphere acting more like an insulator? The water and land absorb most of the heat and the atmosphere is there to slow down the release of that heat to space during night-time and slow down the heating during day-time. Change the characteristics of that insulator and the rates of heating/cooling change. That said, it is expected that the atmosphere is not homogeneous and quite different from day-time to night-time… so the rates of absorption and emission are variable.

  6. Moon’s average temp as recorded by two different Apollo missions is negative 23C or close enough to not be worth arguing about at mid latitudes. Thermocouples were placed on the surface and at intervals up to 3 meters deep in the regolith in the one they could bore that deep. Data was returned over a period several years. At a depth of around 1 meter IIRC (raw data is buried but accessible somewhere on Nasa web site as I found it and read it several months ago) temperature reading became constant over days and seasons.
    To sum up, whatever is keeping the earth warmer appears to be keeping it a lot more than 33c warmer to offset the big difference in albedo betwixt the earth and moon.
    Moon albedo is 0.12 vs. earth 0.30. Moon and earth are made out of the same stuff and would have similar albedos if earth had no atmosphere. Moon rocks are darker than one might guess by looking at it from here.
    Earth atmosphere allows all three phases of water to exist on the surface and in the atmosphere. Snow, clouds, and ocean double the albedo. With an extra 18% insolation being reflected by the earth vs. the moon we might guess it would be a lot colder here than moon’s average temp.
    Earth’s surface temp averaged over a period of time ecompassing a full glacial/interglacial cycle should be (by proxy) about what the average ocean temperature is as 120,000 years out to be more than enough for just conduction alone to mix it up pretty good.
    Average ocean temp is about 4C for an indicated temp difference provided by -some- manner of warming mechanism(s) of 27c compliments of an atmosphere, even if the atmosphere’s only role is make surface water possible. Probably a lot more than that because with such a higher albedo, which is going to be higher still on average because glacials are about 10 times longer than interglacials, the moon gets a good deal more insolation on the surface.
    I tend to think Miskolczi got it right that (at least in the interglacial) greenhouse warming is running in stable self-maintained saturation i.e. this is about as warm as it gets. I don’t really agree it’s stable in the long term because it has tipped so many times into glacial periods (at least over the most recent tens of millions of years) so for the nonce glacial periods are the more stable state.

  7. LOL. And for the last 26 years, since NASA and Hansen went nuts, I thought the sun had no effect on temperature. What a revelation this is. Takes me back to my first science fair project in 7th grade with Ms Savage. Yes. That was her name.

  8. How about the convective effects of both the atmosphere and the oceans carrying and distributing heat?

  9. Not impressed by Herman & Pielke. For a serious discussion of the issue may I recommend “Science of Doom” where the resident gurus do not call you names, even when you ask dumb questions as I often do:
    http://scienceofdoom.com/

  10. Sleepalot says:
    July 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    [sigma *Tmd**4 + sigma* Tmn**4]/2 = sigma*Te**4
    Cor, I’m seeing stars!
    how about (sigma.Tmd^4 + sigma.Tmn^4)/2 = sigma.Te^4
    Does this show as sigma? σ

    (σ.Tmd^4 + σ.Tmn^4)/2 = σ.Te^4
    Works great.

  11. Of course, the Moon, with no atmosphere, still has to have basically the same effective radiating temperature as does the Earth. This should be
    The moon has a tenuous atmosphere composed of helium, argon, sodium and potassium.

  12. Is it not possible to park properly equipped satellites at Earth’s L4 and L5 points and allow them to scan the morning and evening periods of Earth’s day, and trend the data over time? It can’t possibly be more complicated than Hansen’s tortured number crunching.

  13. Gino says:
    July 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm (Edit)
    How about the convective effects of both the atmosphere and the oceans carrying and distributing heat?

    Plus the multi-decadal variation in cloud albedo (ISCCP, Earthshine Project) altering the insolation at the surface where it really matters in terms of the amount of solar energy absorbed by the ocean.
    But hush now Gino, we don’t want to confuse the issue by introducing empirically measured factors which cause energy variations an order of magnitude bigger than theoretical co2 radiative forcing.
    People might start to think the science is not settled.

  14. tallbloke says:
    July 28, 2010 at 11:32 pm
    ” we don’t want to confuse the issue by introducing empirically measured factors which cause energy variations an order of magnitude bigger than theoretical co2 radiative forcing.
    People might start to think the science is not settled. ”
    AGW’s missing heat never was in the oceans, it couldn’t get in there in the first place.
    BUT.
    A lot of heat sure does come from the oceans though, in fits and spurts after the sun puts it in there in the first place.
    This obviously happens on a daily (constant) basis and varies over longer time scales with oceanic currents / phases we do not understand (to any degree) as of yet (ie, Wilde’s Hot water bottle hypothesis).
    Dilley’s lunar cycles / influences would also greatly help in this respect.
    The atmosphere is a refrigerant between the planet’s surface and space.
    GHG’s do actually cool the atmosphere, O2 and N2 “insulate” the atmosphere.
    There is plenty of “settled science” physics that is actually theoretical physics,
    but don’t question that yet, it just ain’t done (or openly admitted as theoretical).
    So, “we” had better be quiet whilst the “settled science” rules the roost.
    CO2 is king, not heat retension / release YET.
    Time, though, is beginnng to tell.

  15. Dear all,
    Sorry, moderator… I couldn’t resist after reading Tallbloke’s post:
    http://www.biocab.org/Convection_Surface_Atmosphere.jpg
    The graph was plotted from real measurements during the period indicated in the horizontal axis. Sharp decreases happened in cloudy days. The day with negative Φq was a rainy day.
    Location Coordinates: 25° 48’ North-lat- and 100° 19’ West-long. Altitude 513 m ASL
    I cannot see empirically the “weakness” of the heat transfer by conduction-convection at the boundary layer. It is satisfactory for maintaining the atmosphere warm and for avoiding the “scorching” of the Earth.

  16. Wonder how much Global Moon warming or Earth Global warming would occur if the SUN stopped shining.

  17. Somebody should tell wikipedia that their graph of the moon phases above seems to indicate that the Earth moon system is headed straight for the sun…
    The true positions of the lunar light phases should be full where they show first quarter, if the shading of the color scheme, indicates the sun below the foreground, all though they do show the shift of the COM of the Earth, as the moon revolves around it the proportion is off. It is drawn as if the two masses were equal, the real barycenter is below the surface of the Earth about 1400Km.
    Since the supposed view is from above, the North / South declinational component is not shown. There still needs to be some more work done to make this graphic right.

  18. “Predicting the surface temperature indeed involves the interaction of the atmospheric and ocean turbulent sensible and latent fluxes, long- and short- wave radiative fluxes and interfacial fluxes between the surface and the atmosphere”
    How about interactions between different layers of the atmosphere ?
    There are a couple of large temperature inversions on the way up and layers with very different compositions and densities.
    It is clear that not all the layers warm or cool at the same rate which introduces the probability of differential warming or cooling at different levels and thus disruption of the upward energy flux over time.
    Such disruptions especially in the stratosphere would have an effect on the pressure distribution in the troposphere.
    Then there is the issue as to whether variations in solar activity could provoke such variations in the upward energy flux by affecting the layers differentially.
    To my mind the evidence of a cooling stratosphere when the sun was more active and now a slightly warming stratosphere with the sun less active suggests something of that nature going on.
    To resolve climate observations we do need some mechanism working from above because the effect of variable energy fluxes from the ocean does not always correlate well with changes in the troposphere. During a period of active sun the El Ninos send the jets more poleward than the same strength El Nino seems to achieve when the sun is less active.
    The relevance to the greenhouse issue being that those other effects are so much more powerful in causing natural climate variability via adjustments to the speed of the hydrological cycle that the significance of greenhouse gases disappears in comparison even without the system’s self adjusting process shown by Miskolczi.
    Indeed such adjustments to the speed of the hydro cycle appear to be the mechanism whereby the situation revealed by his findings is achieved.

  19. ## The post by Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr.: “For those that might still question this conclusion, consider taking away the atmosphere from the Earth, but change nothing else, i.e., keep the solar albedo the same (the lack of clouds would of course change this), and calculate the equilibrium temperature of the Earth’s surface.”
    That would mean a loss of only about 0.001 percent of the total Earth’s water volume, the remaining 99,999% are still available in the ocean and supply about 90% of the evaporated water to the atmosphere every 10 days, or 35 times a year. Atmospheric vapor represents the earthly greenhouse. The moon has CO2, but no water.
    Herman and Pielke Sr. would have not missed this point if CLIMATE would be understood: as the continuation of the oceans by other means, particularly water and heat. Discussed at: http://www.whatisclimate.com/

  20. Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr: Just in case you missed the Ocean Heat Content comment on the earlier greenhouse gas thread, I’ll repeat it here. Regards.
    ###########
    NODC Ocean heat content (OHC) data shows no sign of the effects from a rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Tropical and southern hemisphere OHC show flat to declining trends that are occassionally shifted up by multiyear La Nina events. See:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html
    North Pacific OHC declined until the late 1980s, then shifted upwards with a change in the NPI. Refer to:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/north-pacific-ocean-heat-content-shift.html
    And North Atlantic OHC is impacted by AMO/AMOC, sea level pressure and ENSO. See:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/10/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700.html

  21. Many factors influence temperature fluctuations on this planet.
    What confuses scientists is that the planet is 3 dimensional, yet rotation is 2 dimensional. You weigh less at the equator due to centrifugal force, yet this is not included in the study of the sun. The energy at the equator of the sun is stronger and deminishes as you move towards the axis. PLANETARY DRIFT is the planet moving horizontally at an slow angle through the equator of the sun and cooling when it moves towards the poles of the sun and coming back through the hottest trail in a pattern.
    The suns strong magnetic field on this hunk of iron tries to keep the planet in place by exerting it’s influence.
    The speed of rotation generates the LIVE magnetic field and centrifugal force, which generates atmospheric pressure that trap gases and ALL the magnificent processes for evaporation and heat transfer, atmospheric levels, gas and moisture molecule interactions, that generates life.

  22. This answers the question. It should be at the front, not the back.
    “Also, the length of a day on the Moon is 29.5 earth days, almost a full Earth month. Therefore the daylight side of the Moon heats due to solar radiation, for half a month. Then when it’s night, it cools for another half month. Thus the daytime and nighttime temperatures are much more extreme”

  23. It sounds like –
    Determining the “Temperature ” of the Earth (or Moon, or etc.) is like determining the exact “Location” of an Electron in Space and Time, it ain’t easy. Currently, we can determine the temperature of points and must then interpolate (SWAG) the temperature of the whole. Guessing what the temperature reading on the thermometer will be in the future is a little more difficult and takes more guts. Guessing what the temperature reading is for an area not covered with thermometers is so much more difficult; the farther afield one goes, the more guts one needs. Another way of looking at the issue: currently we don’t have what we need, to do what we want to do, and we’re not that comfortable with all the guesswork.

  24. I started thinking about this after reading “Kiminori Itoh’s” comment: “If water existed on the Moon the temperature fluctuation would be much decreased. The GHG effect of water and other gases is another story.”
    My thoughts are if water exsisted on the Moon wouldn’t that give the Moon an atmosphere? (I’m creating a fictional planet and I’m looking at what actually gives Earth an atmosphere. And the thing that most sticks out to me is the amount of water on Earth.)
    With water you would have the creation of clouds and the two gases of Hydrogen and Oxygen, I know you also need to add in Nitrogen and Carbon to produce plant life, but water would definitely be a big facter to start the process of creating life on any given planet or Moon.

  25. Citing Joe Lalonde:
    “What confuses scientists is that the planet is 3 dimensional, yet rotation is 2 dimensional.”
    Are you serious?

  26. >> Dave Springer says:
    July 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm
    Moon’s average temp as recorded by two different Apollo missions is negative 23C or close enough to not be worth arguing about at mid latitudes. Thermocouples were placed on the surface and at intervals up to 3 meters deep in the regolith in the one they could bore that deep. Data was returned over a period several years. At a depth of around 1 meter IIRC (raw data is buried but accessible somewhere on Nasa web site as I found it and read it several months ago) temperature reading became constant over days and seasons.
    To sum up, whatever is keeping the earth warmer appears to be keeping it a lot more than 33c warmer to offset the big difference in albedo betwixt the earth and moon.
    <<
    This makes sense. The moon radiates a lot faster than the mean temperature would imply because the 'T to the fourth power' relation means that the daytime radiative cooling dominates the moon's energy balance.

  27. I had another thought cross my mind due to the comment about the Moon taking 29.5 days to rotate on it’s axis causing half of it to be in the sunlight for a month and half of it to be out of the sunlight for a month which causes the extremes in temperatures. (Again the Moon doesn’t have an atmosphere to help protect it from these extremes.) But we have places on Earth that experience either six months of daylight or six months of night and they don’t have major extremes of temperature fluctuations, since both humans and animal life actually live in these areas. So wouldn’t an actual atmosphere help the Moon regulate it’s temperature a bit more so it wouldn’t experience such large extremes?

  28. Okay, dumb question. I thought the same face of the moon faced the Sun at all times, so what the hell is “day and night” on the moon? There’s a light side and a dark side, right? I’m happy to be corrected.

  29. “Okay, dumb question. I thought the same face of the moon faced the Sun at all times, so what the hell is “day and night” on the moon? There’s a light side and a dark side, right? I’m happy to be corrected.”
    Montjoie, The same side of the moon faces the Earth all the time. I used to think that mysterious fact (the Moon rotates exactly once in one circuit of the Earth) and the fact it was the same size as the sun (To us here) meant alien’s must have put it there 😉 The real reason is that the moon and Earth are tidally locked. The creation of tides on the Earth has caused enough ‘friction’ to force the moon into sync with the Earths rotation.

  30. asdfsadf says:
    July 29, 2010 at 5:27 am
    This answers the question. It should be at the front, not the back.
    “Also, the length of a day on the Moon is 29.5 earth days, almost a full Earth month. Therefore the daylight side of the Moon heats due to solar radiation, for half a month. Then when it’s night, it cools for another half month. Thus the daytime and nighttime temperatures are much more extreme”

    The earth north and south poles get 6 months of day and 6 months of night, at the pole where solar insolation is very weak.
    Even then it still doesn’t get near as cold at our poles as the moon does at its equator.
    The main reason the earth doesn’t experience such huge temperature swing isn’t the earth’s atmosphere, although that helps.
    The key is the conductive and convective thermal properties of the surface along with heat capacity.
    Lunar regolith is poor conductor of heat. The top few centimeters see extreme day/night temperature changes but dig down a meter and it stays a constant negative minus 23C. It doesn’t have a particularly high capacity either.
    Land surface of the earth is in the same thermal properties ballpark as lunar regolith.
    But 70% of the earth is covered by water averaging 4000 meters deep with a bit better thermal conductivity but has two key properties that make it very much different than land or regolith. First of all it has a much higher heat capacity both latent and sensible. Secondly, it is convective, not just conductive and in shorter time frames the convective property swamps the conductive in how fast thermal energy moves around.
    Ice isn’t a great thermal conductor but it’s a lot better than regolith and has a much greater heat capacity, both sensible and latent.
    The atmosphere is a poor thermal conductor, pretty good at convective, and compared to water, ice, and rocks has almost no heat capacity. It’s a pretty good thermal insulator but convection cancels out a lot of that. If it weren’t for the thermal properties of the oceans though the earth wouldn’t be habitable. It would experience extreme seasonal and daily temperature extremes – not as extreme as the moon but extreme enough.

  31. In other words what happens on the moon is the surface heats up really fast during the first few hours of daylight. Then because it’s such a good insulator, has no convection, can’t radiate downwards, and has only moderate heat capacity, the surface quickly reaches a state where the regolith is dumping heat by radiative transfer as fast as it’s getting from the sun. The opposite happens at night. It cools very quickly and then reaches a very cold equilibrium state.
    The earth, with all its oceans, will keep on happily sucking up all the heat the sun can provide, buffering and diffusing it down fairly deep compared to land or regolith, and then is very miserly in giving up that heat at night.

  32. Water in all its phases is the key to the climate on this planet. CO2 plays little if any role at all in climate control. It’s plant food and little else. Indeed, the entire atmosphere’s most important role in climate control is the simple fact that it has enough pressure at ground level to keep the boiling point of water high enough that we can have liquid water on the surface.

  33. Just for a moment, imagine a planet like the Earth except that the trace gases in the atmosphere were just the opposite of greenhouse gases, ‘ice-locker’ gases if you will. These hypothetical gases would absorb the short wavelengths from the sun, but allow the infra-red ‘planetshine’ radiation from the surface to pass freely into space.
    I believe this would create a permanent monster temperature inversion with very cold surface temperatures and an atmosphere progressively warming with altitude. There would be no convective activity on such a planet except, perhaps, at the top of the solar absorption zone. Life, as we know it, would be impossible.

  34. Ben Herman and Roger Pielke Sr.,
    First, thanks for the GHE Part II post. The GHE theory topic is at the crucial center of the climate debate and your posts add to the learning process.
    Comment:
    – Given that you have adequately shown in your first GHE post here at WUWT that basic conservation laws of physics and laws of thermodynamics are not violated by your stated GHE theory of the earth’s atmosphere.
    – Given that you have adequately shown in your GHE Part II post the effects of earth’s atmosphere on muting daytime and nighttime temps as compared to the moon daytime and night temperature which has virtually no atmosphere. Also, you still hold that the GHE theory is operative in earth’s atmosphere during your GHE Part II discussion.
    – Still, have you shown that there is a consistent/significant net warming effect on the lower atmosphere and surface temperatures when the GHE theory is added to the actual mix of time variation of many other processes here in earth’s system? From your posts, I cannot see that you have. I think that is at the heart of the debate on GHE. Namely, the issue I still see at hand is that even considering GHE theory is real does not translate to consistent/significant effect on lower atmosphere and surface temps when all other factors of earth’s system are considered.
    – Therefore, I sincerely hope that you will please proceed to GHE Part III (and IV, etc) with a view to mixing the GHE theory you have described with the time and spatial variation of many other processes here in the earth’s total system and show that the GHE theory can cause a consistent/significant net warming effect on the lower atmosphere and surface temperatures.
    I , for one, sincerely would like to see a continued series of GHE postings that evolve more toward an understandin of GHE theory in the mix of all other factors and to gage their relative magnitude and significance.
    Anthony and team, thanks for hosting these open dialogs.
    John

  35. I am a bit perplexed about some of this. The equation given states that the average of the daytime emissions and the nighttime emissions on the moon should equal the same for the earth if one uses an “effective” radiating temperature for the latter.
    The two sides of the moon have radiation power losses relating to bodies at roughly 380K and 120K (as stated in the text).These losses are in the ratio of about 90 to 1. In other words the cold side can be ignored as far as losses are concerned. Therefore the earth’s effective temperature is 380K divided by the four root of 2. This gives an effective temperature of about 320K which is more than the surface temperature of the earth. So on this basis the earth is indeed cooler than it should be.
    I know that there are lots of explanations like the reflection of incident radiation by the earth’s clouds and the earth having a higher surface albedo but the equation was presumeably given to make a point. I just do not see what that point is. Have I missed something?

  36. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090917191609.htm
    Data accumulated by the lunar orbiter Diviner indicate that equatorial and mid-latitude daytime temperatures are 224 degrees Fahrenheit, and then decrease sharply poleward of 70 degrees north latitude. Equatorial and mid-latitude nighttime temperatures are -298 degrees Fahrenheit, and then decrease poleward of 80 degrees north latitude. At low and mid-latitudes, there are isolated warmer regions with nighttime temperatures of -208 degrees Fahrenheit.
    The interpretation of this by David Paige, UCLA professor of planetary science, is –
    “These correspond to the locations of larger, fresh impact craters that have excavated rocky material that remains significantly warmer than the surrounding lunar soil throughout the long lunar night,” Paige said.
    My interpretation of this is that not only are atmosphere and ocean key ingredients in calculating planetary temps but also the surface and subsurface materials, and on earth surface conditions are complicated because soils can be either wet or dry at different times.
    The happenstances of weather will move the averages of climate.

  37. Spector says:
    July 29, 2010 at 11:49 am
    Just for a moment, imagine a planet like the Earth except that the trace gases in the atmosphere were just the opposite of greenhouse gases, ‘ice-locker’ gases if you will. These hypothetical gases would absorb the short wavelengths from the sun, but allow the infra-red ‘planetshine’ radiation from the surface to pass freely into space.
    I believe this would create a permanent monster temperature inversion with very cold surface temperatures and an atmosphere progressively warming with altitude. There would be no convective activity on such a planet except, perhaps, at the top of the solar absorption zone. Life, as we know it, would be impossible.

    It’s called the stratosphere, the gas is oxygen.

  38. cal: I don’t think you can think of the moon as an object having half of its surface at ~380 K and the other half at ~120 K. Rather, the surface temperature ranges from 120 K (approximately) directly opposite to the sun and 380 K (approximately) directly under the sun, with other places taking on values in-between these two extremes. So, in fact, the equation that Herman and Pielke wrote down is probably too simplistic (in addition to neglecting albedo).

  39. In an excellent post, John Whitman writes:
    “I think that is at the heart of the debate on GHE. Namely, the issue I still see at hand is that even considering GHE theory is real does not translate to consistent/significant effect on lower atmosphere and surface temps when all other factors of earth’s system are considered.”
    Amen, Amen, Amen. What we have been doing so far is discussing the characteristics of the CO2 molecule. We now know our catechism: CO2 captures radiation, there is back radiation, and it can heat Earth (or cause Earth to cool more slowly) to some unknown degree. In the meantime, we have excommunicated those evil “Laws of Thermodynamics” people, except maybe for the quantum theorists. OK, I got it. Can we now get to the Achilles Hill of AGW proponents, namely, that they have no physical hypotheses which could explain the warming that they proclaim? To the very best of our knowledge, there is no set of physical hypotheses which could explain the actual behavior of CO2 as a source of heat (or slowed cooling) that changes observable patterns in climate or weather. Because there are no hypotheses, there are no predictions of changes in climate or weather that come from the work of AGW proponents. Because there are no predictions, there is no science of AGW. (And please don’t say “Well, it’s all so complicated.” If you want to see complicated, we can invite Anna the quantum lady to write an essay. )

  40. The moon does not have a magnetosphere or a plasmasphere either.
    That (possibly) finely tuned relationship between solar activity, geomagnetic field strength, and weather patterns are still worth looking into. I do not mean temperature, I mean the powerful electrical events we know as weather.

  41. Would someone be kind of enough to answer a question or two for me? 1. Where is the CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate scientists assume that it is distributed randomly throughout the atmosphere. In practical terms, that means that they can simply ignore the question I just asked. However, if CO2 is distributed randomly, it is the only thing that is. Just take anything that has interested mankind and you will find that it is not distributed randomly. Take oxygen, for example. If you ascend Mt. Everest, you learn that oxygen concentration decreases all the way up. Why does CO2 distribution matter? Well, if it tends to collect in the first ten feet above sea level then a third of Earth is not affected by its radiative properties. 2. Why do folks assume that Earth must radiate into space everything that it receives from the sun daily? I thought the sun’s energy was converted into biomass and that it might contribute to various processes on Earth. Is Al Gore right that the Gulf Stream is driven by the millions of degrees of heat just beneath Earth’s crust?

  42. If that thick white curve is supposed to represent the orbit of the earth around the sun, then from the position of the lighted side of the earth and moon they are both heading directly toward the sun, soon to be incinerated!

  43. Joel Shaw commented my argument does not hold because the model used is too simplistic. I would point out that it the model they chose to use although I accept that they used average temperatures which were not stated. I did consider your point before I wrote my piece but decided (right or wrong) that it was not significant. My understanding is that the termal capacity of the moon is very low. As a consequence my expectation would be that the temperature of the surface would fall dramatically within one earth day. After all the temperature on earth can drop 60K in only half that time and we have a thick atmosphere to slow the cooling down. So my guess is that the dark side of the moon really is very cold for most of the time and heats up very rapidly as soon as it comes into the sun although obliquity will be a factor that will slow the rise.

  44. Further to my previous post I thought it might be helpful to exploit the idea of the earth’s effective temperature to discuss the greenhouse hypothesis.
    The effective temperature is not defined but my assumption is that it is the temperature of a body the same size and albedo as the earth (but without any atmosphere) that would radiate the same energy as the earth. If this is the case then I would expect it to be the fourth root of the sum of the fourth powers of all the radiating elements which contribute to the earth’s losses (where these are normalised to add up to 1 in terms of total power radiated).
    The main radiating elements (as far as I can see) are as follows:
    1)Direct radiation into space from the earths surface particularly at wavelengths around 10micron where the atmosphere is near transparent.
    2)Losses from water vapour which will be at various heights depending on wavelength. At absortion peaks the probability of a photon escaping to space will be small unless the atmosphere is thin i.e. high altitude and therefore low temperature. The temperatures will therefore range from 230K to 300K
    3) Losses from CO2. This is the prime radiator at 13 to 18 micron and accounts for 18% of the energy radiated from the earth according to the Elsasser paper of 1942 that Max Hugoson gave a link to on Tuesday. The temperature of this element is about 230K.
    So the effective temperature should be somewhere between all of these. The lower the effective temperature is the less the radiation losses are and the higher the surface temperature will be.
    Accordingly the more radiation is absorbed and remitted by CO2 and water vapour the higher the surface temperature. This is the (badly named) greenhouse effect.
    However, as I have already posted on another unrelated thread (which may have got lost), there is a question relating to CO2 which I have not yet been able to get an answer to.
    The normal explanation of higher CO2 leading to higher temperatures is that as the concentration goes up the height at which the radiation is emitted goes up and therefore the temperature goes down. This leads to a higher surface temperature as per the argument above. However there is a problem as I see it. The height at which CO2 emits is already close to the tropopause which is the lowest temperature in the atmosphere. I have seen arguments which suggest that the absorbtion by CO2 will reduce the energy reaching the tropopause and therefore the tropopause will cool but I have seen to proof of this happening. In the absence of this effect I am at a loss to see how the radiation from CO2 can be any lower than it is now. Indeed as the concentration of CO2 increases I see a much stronger argument for suggesting that this will increase the cooling from the tropopause and above and have a net cooling effect on the atmosphere as a whole. So whilst I am happy with the theory that says that the presence of CO2 and water vapour makes the world warmer than it would be I am not happy with the idea that further increases will mean further warming. Indeed the relationhship between temperature and CO2 concentrations over the last 6 ice ages are explained far more easily if one postulates a negative feedback since cooling periods have always occurred while CO2 concentrations have been high and rapid warming has always occured when CO2 has been low. This is not what the AGWs say but go and have a look at the graphs for yourself. Ignore the peaks. Just look at periods with rapid temperature rises and those with rapid falls and compare these with CO2 levels at the time. You will be surprised.

  45. peakbear, tides on earth don’t really matter do they? same side of moon facing earth has to do with moon not being completely solid object. roll a ping pong ball on the floor full of sand and it stops. same w/ moon ‘rolling’ around earth.

  46. Theo:
    Its mixing ratio (grams per kilogram of air) is constant throughout the atmosphere, except when you get beyond the stratosphere where that goes to hell. Hence why it is a “well-mixed gas”.
    cal:
    Simple way to think about it: increase CO2, increase the effective radiating level’s altitude. To remain in equilibrium, air at that altitude increases in temperature so it emits at the effective temperature. Assuming the lapse rate remains constant in this scenario, the surface will warm by the same amount. This is not really realistic, as the lapse rate will change, its sign depending upon how things like static stability and the water vapor feedback play out.
    Also, it’s worth noting that whether you define tropopause via the WMO description or via the height of maximum eddy kinetic energy, there has been an increase in the height of the tropopause.

  47. Nick writes:
    “Its mixing ratio (grams per kilogram of air) is constant throughout the atmosphere, except when you get beyond the stratosphere where that goes to hell. Hence why it is a “well-mixed gas”.”
    Does the fact that it is well-mixed mean that it is distributed randomly up through the stratosphere? Let me explain my larger concern. Climategaters seem to view the Earth statically, but clearly that is a mistake. Their own claims reveal the error. They claim that CO2 is randomly distributed but also claim that the oceans absorb huge amounts of CO2. Are they talking about CO2 that is created in the ocean? If not then the CO2 travels to the ocean, which is what one would expect of manmade CO2. If it travels to the ocean then the CO2 in the atmosphere is moving. If it is moving to the oceans then it is not randomly distributed.

  48. RE: Nick says:
    July 29, 2010 at 3:21 pm
    Theo:
    Its mixing ratio (grams per kilogram of air) is constant throughout the atmosphere, except when you get beyond the stratosphere where that goes to hell. Hence why it is a “well-mixed gas”.
    _____
    Nick mat be very wrong. There is a detailed paper by the U.S.A.F. dated about the late 60’s that has measured the CO2 concentration vertically and it is not at a constant p.p.m.. As altitude increases the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere decreases. I originally had expected CO2 to have settled mostly out soon after the top-of-troposphere but the decrease is not that marked, however, it is there and a great amount has settled due to CO2’s molar mass compared to the other components. I’ll try again to relocated that study and if successful will post it here. If I remember correctly, that paper showed a drop of something like 30-50 p.p.m. at that date up to about 80 km but that is just by memory and is not to be trusted 🙂 .
    Maybe Nick will post his source paper of the data that he bases that conjecture on so we can compare results and sources.

  49. RE: cal: (July 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm) “The height at which CO2 emits is already close to the tropopause which is the lowest temperature in the atmosphere.”
    In the tropics, I believe, the tropopause is above about 90 percent of the atmosphere. I believe this must represent the altitude at which there is insufficient remaining clear-air dissolved water vapor [I make this unusual distinction because there are many people who mistakenly think the term ‘water vapor’ means fog] and CO2 in the upper atmosphere to prevent the escape of most the outward radiation emitted from these trace gases to outer space. As gaseous water is the primary earthshine spectrum-blocking/emitting agent in our atmosphere, I think the net mass of this component remaining in the upper atmosphere is most important factor determining the level of the tropopause.
    Each gas has its own set of unique molecular vibration frequencies at which it will absorb or emit radiation. Thus any gas is the best blocker of its own radiation.
    I note that Venus has two cold regions in its upper atmosphere. Perhaps the first of these is like the tropopause of the Earth where trace gases become too thin to block their own radiation going out and the second level, much higher, is where CO2, the primary gas, finally thins out to the point where its own unique radiation can escape to outer-space.
    It may be that the lower tropopause levels of the Earth and Venus both indicate the altitude above which the trace gases become insignificantly thin and atmospheric heating is dominated by the absorption/emission spectra of the primary components of the atmosphere.

  50. Theo Goodwin:
    Can’t seem to relocate that ~1970 paper on CO2 concentration with altitude yet but here are some very interesting papers from about a decade ago.
    This one is in detail of co2 cooling and chemistry in upper atmosphere specifically in relation to solar sun spot cycle position (minimum or maximum) as the energy flux is sizeable and CO2’s role in the cooling and flexes greatly on the sun’s activity at the moment in shifting. Very deep analysis. Relies much on some of Jean Lean’s work. Will take some time to absorb.
    Response of Ionosphere and Thermosphere to Extreme Solar Conditions
    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA425778
    http://uap-www.nrl.navy.mil/uap/7641/publications/2001%20GRL%20Discovery.pdf
    Still searching.

  51. Theo Goodwin:
    This is getting close, but this was Australia’s RAAF measurements in the early 70’s for nine years, not U.S.A.F. or possibly it was the Navy. The U.S. paper had a very similar table by altitude vs. CO2 ppm but in thousands of feet, not kilometers.
    ATMOSPHERIC CO2 CONCENTRATIONS – THE CSIRO (AUSTRALIA)
    MONITORING PROGRAM FROM AIRCRAFT FOR 1972-1981
    at http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/ndp007/, see .DOC and .PDF, data in .DAT
    However, these measurements were all made within the convection mixing lower troposphere where you would expect the air to be well mixed. In the U.S. study it was the 40-60 thousand feet, maybe even 80,000 feet, were the readings showed the drop I mentioned. Anyone else good at digging through the search engines? It fell in my lap six month’s ago and now it’s in hiding, doesn’t that always happen! I give.

  52. Nick Stokes writes
    Simple way to think about it: increase CO2, increase the effective radiating level’s altitude. To remain in equilibrium, air at that altitude increases in temperature so it emits at the effective temperature. Assuming the lapse rate remains constant in this scenario, the surface will warm by the same amount. This is not really realistic, as the lapse rate will change, its sign depending upon how things like static stability and the water vapor feedback play out.
    I think you have your physics wrong. If the temperature at that level increases the amount of energy radiated will increase. In order to maintain the earth’s energy balance the surface will have to cool. I also do not understand the basis for the assertion of your second sentence. To remain in equilibium with what? If the level where the tropopause starts is increasing as you say (my understanding is that the changes are small and disputed) the only way this can happen is for the temperature to continue to fall beyond the current circa 230K where it stops fallling before increasing – eventually to several thousand degrees in the thermosphere. Is there evidence of this? I would also be interested in your sources for what you state in your last sentence which, I have to admit, I do not understand.

  53. The math for the lunar temperatures in a 29.5 day is rather simple. The lunar day at 29 1/2 days is about 708 hours.
    At dawn, the moon is still cooling. Even though it may below 165 Kelvin, sunlight at a 90 degree angle gives effectively zero energy. It continues to cool for another 3 hours past dawn. It then warms continuously for the next 12 days, 6 hours, or until 5 days past noon. Peak heating in degrees Kelvin happens more than halfway through the morning, about 4 days 15 hours from dawn. I should heat up at slightly more than one degree Kelvin for about 78 consecutive hours, even though the peak heating should be only about 1.06 Kelvin per hour. After the peak, it cools through sunset and all night, or 17 days, 6 hours.
    On Earth, high-low differences are typically 5-20 degrees Kelvin, with the higher numbers in mountains and deserts. Figuring 8-10 hours heating and 14-16 hours cooling, and saying 10 degrees Kelvin in 10 hours, Earth and Moon heat and cool at about the same rate when the Moon is close to the Earth’s temperature.
    Thus, simple math indicates the hypothesis that the Moon heats faster than the Earth is incorrect. The Earth’s near-surface air can and does heat up faster when placed in a greenhouse, and about the same (factor of half to a factor of two) in typical weather.
    Of course, ocean temperatures fluctuate less, due to specific heat, convection, clouds, evaporation and the fact that sunlight usually penetrates several meters in water.

  54. Oh, and as it turns out, it is much more difficult to come up with a simple model for Earth’s daily temperature variations than I expected. The most common problem I had was getting the temperature at +24 hours to be equal to temperature at 0 hours, with actual temperatures and actual temperature ranges and using math and physics to calculate the changes. Most of my simple models predict less day-night difference than actually occurs, and that is without evaporation and infrared blocking. My hats off to the weather computation guys.

  55. The temperature distribution on the lunar equator follows a Lambertian profile [ cos^1/4(x)] where x is the angle wrt local noon. Based on the Clementine mission (max ~380K, min ~200K).
    BRIGHTNESS TEMPERATURES OF THE LUNAR SURFACE: THE CLEMENTINE LONG-WAVE INFRARED GLOBAL DATA SET. S. L. Lawson and B. M. Jakosky, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space
    Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0392 (lawson@argyre.colorado.edu).

  56. A simple way of looking at the effect of the atmosphere, I believe, is to first picture the heating signal produced by the sun as something like a half-wave rectified AC signal — a positive half sine-waves. The Moon or the Earth without an atmosphere would respond to this signal with minimal filtering similar to a simple resistor-capacitor filter.
    Adding the atmosphere to the Earth greatly increases the low-pass filtering, increases reflectivity, and provides a randomly acting, pulsed convective temperature-regulation system. That temperature regulation system, I believe, is dependent on the trace Earthshine absorbing/emitting (aka greenhouse) gases in the atmosphere with gaseous water being the most important of these.

  57. Thomas L says:
    July 30, 2010 at 1:53 am
    The math for the lunar temperatures in a 29.5 day is rather simple. The lunar day at 29 1/2 days is about 708 hours.
    At dawn, the moon is still cooling. Even though it may below 165 Kelvin, sunlight at a 90 degree angle gives effectively zero energy. It continues to cool for another 3 hours past dawn. It then warms continuously for the next 12 days, 6 hours, or until 5 days past noon. Peak heating in degrees Kelvin happens more than halfway through the morning, about 4 days 15 hours from dawn. I should heat up at slightly more than one degree Kelvin for about 78 consecutive hours, even though the peak heating should be only about 1.06 Kelvin per hour. After the peak, it cools through sunset and all night, or 17 days, 6 hours.

    That’s accurate but misleading. The day/night temparture swing is about 300K. The first 200K of heating and cooling happens very quickly – an almost vertical rise from shortly after sunrise and vertical fall shortly after sunset.
    You can see it graphed here:
    http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/pdf/Greenhouse_Effect_on_the_Moon.pdf

  58. Re discussion of CO2 distribution, etc
    1) Don’t have link but a recent satellite poduct shows considerable variation in concentration around the globe.
    2) With a dispersed gas (molecule per 2600 atmo molecules) surely the targets for IR to ‘hit’ a CO2 m are comparatively few.
    3) Of those that hit, half gets reradiated out to space anyway.
    4) 3/4 of the radiation back boumces off the ocean and heads back up again to run the gauntlet back toward space.
    5) If the CO2 is not uniformly distr. Then log relation between concentration and absorption would diminish the GHG effect per unit in areas of higher conc and greatly reduce it in areas of lean conc (by the inverse log effect).
    I’d be happy to be corrected in my thinking.

  59. Theo Goodwin says:

    However, if CO2 is distributed randomly, it is the only thing that is. Just take anything that has interested mankind and you will find that it is not distributed randomly. Take oxygen, for example. If you ascend Mt. Everest, you learn that oxygen concentration decreases all the way up.

    You are confused by what is meant by the statement that CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere. What it means is not that the concentration is (approximately) the same in terms of, say, number of molecules per unit volume as you go up but rather that the concentration is the same in term of the fraction of the air molecules that are CO2 molecules.
    In fact, oxygen is well-mixed in the atmosphere also. The reason that the concentration (in O2 molecules per unit volume) decreases as you go up is that the pressure decreases…i.e., the density of the air itself is decreasing; however, the proportion of air molecules that are O2 molecules stays about the same. [I just recently flew from Cusco, which is at 11000 feet, to Lima, which is close to sea level, and the empty plastic water bottle that I had was quite dramatically crushed by the change in pressure / density between those 2 altitudes.]
    What generally determines whether a gas is well-mixed in the atmosphere or not is the rate at which it added or removed from the atmosphere due to sources and sinks relative to its total concentration (and, also to some degree, how uniformly those sources and sinks are distributed). While it is true that the oceans absorb and emit quite a bit of CO2, it is also true that there is quite a bit of CO2 in the atmosphere (in comparison to some other trace gases…I know 400 out of every million may not seem like that much). It is also true that the sources and sinks of CO2 are not too non-uniformly distributed. And, there are some detectable variations in CO2 concentrations across the globe (and presumably altitude-wise) too although they are relatively small…i.e., on the order of only a percent or two.

  60. Gary Pearse says:
    July 30, 2010 at 10:19 am
    Re discussion of CO2 distribution, etc
    1) Don’t have link but a recent satellite poduct shows considerable variation in concentration around the globe.
    2) With a dispersed gas (molecule per 2600 atmo molecules) surely the targets for IR to ‘hit’ a CO2 m are comparatively few.
    3) Of those that hit, half gets reradiated out to space anyway.
    4) 3/4 of the radiation back boumces off the ocean and heads back up again to run the gauntlet back toward space.
    5) If the CO2 is not uniformly distr. Then log relation between concentration and absorption would diminish the GHG effect per unit in areas of higher conc and greatly reduce it in areas of lean conc (by the inverse log effect).
    I’d be happy to be corrected in my thinking.

    Just as well, you’re wrong on all five points!

  61. wayne says:
    July 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm
    Dave Springer says:
    July 30, 2010 at 7:02 am
    http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/pdf/Greenhouse_Effect_on_the_Moon.pdf
    ____
    That’s a good amount of information in that paper, especially in the list of references at the bottom (and they are all live and easy to access links). Thanks.

    Indeed. To all who understand it it becomes apparent what role the atmosphere plays on the earth. It’s overwhelmingly important effect is giving us 14psi of pressure at the surface which raises the boiling point of water enough so that liquid water can exist on the surface.
    The oceans cover 70% of the surface with an average depth of 4000 meters. This is far, far beyond the optical depth of the ocean and water has a tremendously high heat capacity in both sensible and latent form.
    Tallbloke in another thread stated the consequence beautifully in the fewest words I’ve seen:
    “The sun heats the oceans, the oceans heat the atmosphere, the atmosphere radiates it away into the deep cold of space.”
    The atmosphere has almost inconsequential heat capacity compared to the ocean. It is a mere one thousandth of the heat capacity of the oceans.
    Everything else is pretty much just minor details compared to the big picture summarized so well by tallbloke.

  62. Gary Pearse says:
    July 30, 2010 at 10:19 am
    Re discussion of CO2 distribution, etc
    1) Don’t have link but a recent satellite product shows considerable variation in concentration around the globe…..
    _____________________________________________
    The uniform CO2 distribution and the long (100 yr) residence time for CO2 in the atmosphere are two key points in the warming theory and therefore will be defended at all costs.
    I find this experimental information interesting….
    WHEAT: “The CO2 concentration at 2 m above the crop was found to be fairly constant during the daylight hours on single days or from day-to-day throughout the growing season ranging from about 310 to 320 p.p.m. Nocturnal values were more variable and were between 10 and 200 p.p.m. higher than the daytime values….”
    “Plant photosynthetic activity can reduce the Co2 within the plant canopy to between 200 and 250 ppm… I observed a 50 ppm drop within a tomato plant canopy just a few minutes after direct sunlight at dawn entered a green house (Harper et al 1979)”
    And then there is how the CO2 is measured at Mauna Loa… Talk about cherry picking!
    “4. In keeping with the requirement that CO2 in background air should be steady, we apply a general “outlier rejection” step, in which we fit a curve to the preliminary daily means for each day calculated from the hours surviving step 1 and 2, and not including times with upslope winds. All hourly averages that are further than two standard deviations, calculated for every day, away from the fitted curve (“outliers”) are rejected. This step is iterated until no more rejections occur.”
    If you want the other side of the story so you can weigh both sides check out this web site run by a couple of scientists. http://www.co2web.info/
    clicking on the points will bring you to their well written scientific papers.
    This particular pdf looking at the dogma and politics behind the 70 years of CO2 measurement as well as the science. It is a very interesting read. http://www.co2web.info/ESEF3VO2.pdf

  63. “I know 400 [ppm CO2] out of every million may not seem like that much”
    It actually isn’t that much. The major gases of the atmosphere are nitrogen, oxygen, and argon at 78%, 21% and 1% respectively. The exact numbers fall just a hair short of 100% for those three gases. What remains are trace gases.
    One of the trace gases has to be the largest. It happens to be carbon dioxide at 0.04%.
    While some of the trace gases have great biological impacts their macroeffects in climate regulation are as minimal as they seem to be.

  64. Speaking of atmosphere composition the above are for completely dry air which just never happens in the troposphere. In the troposphere water vapor is not a trace gast and handily exceeds argon by a factor of three – about 100 times more of it than carbon dioxide.
    It also has much wider long wave infrared absorption bands as compared to CO2.
    A big fallacy I see repeated over and over by CO2 warmists is that when CO2 absorbs LWIR energy in its absorption bands it emits it in it absorption bands.
    This is not how it works in a cold dense gas. When CO2 absorbs energy it its absorption bands it causes nearly instantaneous collision with another molecule, the vast majority of which are nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor. The kinetic energy in the collisions is radiated in continous blackbody spectrum with the peak frequency determined by the sensible temperature of the gases.
    Thus what happens as the ocean radiates in long wave infrared at night approximately 8% of the energy is absorbed by CO2. This absorption takes place very near the surface as the optical depth of CO2 to radiation in its absorption bands is a matter of hundreds of feet. If you look down at earth from space at night you won’t see any CO2 spectral (emissive) lines. You will see CO2 absorption lines.
    The real travesty with anthropogenic CO2 warming is that more CO2 only increases the optical depth without adding any significant insulating effect. Because the optical depth is so short (hundreds of feet) the change makes little difference because convection effectively mixes air quite well over that short of a distance.
    So while one can make a case that the first 100ppm in the atmosphere might raise the average temperature a degree or two (water vapor doing the lion’s share of the insulating work because there’s 100 times as much of it near the surface with similarly short optical depth, and much broader absorption bands that, adding insult to injury, overlap CO2’s absorption bands significantly) one cannot make a case that adding more changes the situation much. Except of course for biological imperatives… plant growth ceases between 100 and 150ppm CO2.

  65. RE: Dave Springer says: (July 31, 2010 at 9:00 am) “One of the trace gases has to be the largest. It happens to be carbon dioxide at 0.04%”
    I believe the concentration of invisible gaseous water (water ‘vapor’) usually clocks in somewhere from 3% to 4%. (Source: DOE, NETL FAQ.) This trace gas, I believe, is the primary Earthshine absorbing and emitting (greenhouse) gas in the atmosphere.

  66. Dave Springer says:

    The atmosphere has almost inconsequential heat capacity compared to the ocean. It is a mere one thousandth of the heat capacity of the oceans.
    Everything else is pretty much just minor details compared to the big picture summarized so well by tallbloke.

    There is more to the issues than just heat capacity. The atmosphere…or more precisely the infrared-active gases that make up only a small portion of the atmosphere…regulate the amount of radiation from the earth’s surface that escapes into space and thus play a very important role in climate.

    The real travesty with anthropogenic CO2 warming is that more CO2 only increases the optical depth without adding any significant insulating effect. Because the optical depth is so short (hundreds of feet) the change makes little difference because convection effectively mixes air quite well over that short of a distance.

    The importance of increasing CO2 stems from its raising the effective radiating level. And, it is the wings of the absorption band that are less saturated that play the most important role.
    Look, the amount of radiative forcing caused by an increase in CO2 is not controversial. It is around 3.8 W/m^2 (plus or minus maybe 10% at most). Roy Spencer agrees with this; Richard Lindzen agrees with this; I presume that Roger Pielke Sr. does too.
    All your non-quantitative arguments here are just noise that does nothing to change that fact.

  67. Dave Springer says:
    July 31, 2010 at 9:28 am
    Speaking of atmosphere composition the above are for completely dry air which just never happens in the troposphere. In the troposphere water vapor is not a trace gast and handily exceeds argon by a factor of three – about 100 times more of it than carbon dioxide.

    There are plenty of places in the troposphere where this is not true.
    It also has much wider long wave infrared absorption bands as compared to CO2.
    Actually it doesn’t, it has a much sparser spectrum with larger gaps between the lines than in the case of CO2 (the cartoon spectra you often see on line don’t show this).
    A big fallacy I see repeated over and over by CO2 warmists is that when CO2 absorbs LWIR energy in its absorption bands it emits it in it absorption bands.
    This is not a fallacy it’s the way gas phase spectra are.
    This is not how it works in a cold dense gas. When CO2 absorbs energy it its absorption bands it causes nearly instantaneous collision with another molecule, the vast majority of which are nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor. The kinetic energy in the collisions is radiated in continous blackbody spectrum with the peak frequency determined by the sensible temperature of the gases.
    The collision part is true but nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor do not radiate as blackbody spectra.
    Thus what happens as the ocean radiates in long wave infrared at night approximately 8% of the energy is absorbed by CO2. This absorption takes place very near the surface as the optical depth of CO2 to radiation in its absorption bands is a matter of hundreds of feet. If you look down at earth from space at night you won’t see any CO2 spectral (emissive) lines. You will see CO2 absorption lines.
    Where on earth did you get this from, it’s also untrue.
    The real travesty with anthropogenic CO2 warming is that more CO2 only increases the optical depth without adding any significant insulating effect. Because the optical depth is so short (hundreds of feet) the change makes little difference because convection effectively mixes air quite well over that short of a distance.
    So while one can make a case that the first 100ppm in the atmosphere might raise the average temperature a degree or two (water vapor doing the lion’s share of the insulating work because there’s 100 times as much of it near the surface with similarly short optical depth, and much broader absorption bands that, adding insult to injury, overlap CO2′s absorption bands significantly) one cannot make a case that adding more changes the situation much. Except of course for biological imperatives… plant growth ceases between 100 and 150ppm CO2.

    More errors, apart from the first sentence which was partially true the whole post was wrong.

  68. Joel Shore writes:
    “You are confused by what is meant by the statement that CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere. What it means is not that the concentration is (approximately) the same in terms of, say, number of molecules per unit volume as you go up but rather that the concentration is the same in term of the fraction of the air molecules that are CO2 molecules.”
    Thanks for a clear, concise answer that is right to the point. Could you please write an introduction to AGW and post it here? 🙂
    So, why do folks talk about it being “well mixed?” For me, “well mixed” is a Red Herring. What should interest climate scientists is where it is and at what concentration. If we are to know its effects, we have to know where it is. Something tells me that climate scientists have not been really keen on the empirical part of this work.

  69. David Springer said “If you look down at earth from space at night you won’t see any CO2 spectral (emissive) lines. You will see CO2 absorption lines. ”
    The behavior is symmetric. If you look down from space you see CO2 absorption lines against a warm background. If you look up from the surface, you see CO2 emission lines against a cold background. It all depends on the CO2 temperature relative to the background.

  70. Water vapor concentration.
    With H2O you have to be careful about numbers as it varies so much. Near the surface it can reach 3-4% in warm air. The atmospheric average is more like 0.4% (4000 ppm), because so much of the atmosphere is quite cold.

  71. I’m a little astounded here. I’m at the end of this thread, and it appears that both sides are on board that the same side of the moon faces the earth. This is beyond ludicrous!
    The same side of the moon always faces the Sun! A la “DARK Side of the Moon”. Anybody ever heard of a penumbra or Earthshine? How did we map the dark side before the space age? I think there’s a lot of CO2-worry goin’ on in both camps! WUWT?! Let’s get this correct.

  72. Phil. says:
    July 31, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Dave Springer says:
    “This is not how it works in a cold dense gas. When CO2 absorbs energy it its absorption bands it causes nearly instantaneous collision with another molecule, the vast majority of which are nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor. The kinetic energy in the collisions is radiated in continous blackbody spectrum with the peak frequency determined by the sensible temperature of the gases.”

    Phil: The collision part is true but nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor do not radiate as blackbody spectra.
    Just finished my Sunday chores and came to this thread.
    Phil, you have to take this back. I am sure it is reflex reaction to saying no whatever Dave is sayin.
    Every type of molecular ensemble radiates according to a modified for that type ” black” body temperature . It is elementary statistical mechanics from which, temperature comes out as a statistical adjunct of the kinetic energy of each molecule, and from which the black body formula was guessed at.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_mechanics
    Your statement would mean that O2 and N2 are at 0 Kelvin, which is the classical limit of temperature when there is no kinetic energy. If there is kinetic energy, there is temperature and there is gray body radiation.

  73. tallbloke says:
    July 29, 2010 at 3:25 am
    you are misspelling your contributor’s name:It seems he writes it Eggert, NOT Eggart.
    It is an interesting analysis. He should submit it to an engineering journal and get it peer reviewed by engineers.

  74. Joel Shore says:
    July 31, 2010 at 11:56 am
    The atmosphere…or more precisely the infrared-active gases that make up only a small portion of the atmosphere…regulate the amount of radiation from the earth’s surface that escapes into space and thus play a very important role in climate.

    BZZZZZZZZZZZZZT! Wrong.
    Greenhouse gases don’t regulate how much heat escapes. They slow down the rate of escape. This results in an increase in temperature on the warmer side of the insulating layer of gas. The increased temperture differential raises the rate of thermal transfer.
    All thermal energy at the earth’s surface escapes out into space. Every last iota of it.
    Write that down.

  75. @JimD
    No, you don’t see emission lines in the clear night sky looking upward. You see absorption lines. The following article discusses it in detail and if you ever took Astronomy 101 in college (I did) it is taught there as well.
    http://www.gemini.edu/sciops/telescopes-and-sites/observing-condition-constraints/ir-background-spectra?q=node/10789
    There are lovely graphs of infrared spectrum covering 15 micrometers and longer. You will note there is no energy near 15um. A portion of the spectrum is absent. That is an absorption line not an emission line.
    What part of that don’t you understand?

  76. Ben Herman and Dr. Pielke, Sr., address the following question:
    “Anyway my question refers to the common example of taking away the atmosphere and observing a cold surface. But as I understand it, the mean daytime surface temperature on the moon is over 100 C, with no greenhouse effect. The mean nighttime temp drops to -150 C. http://www.solarviews.com/eng/moon.htm
    This is important to note, because encouraging a popular picture in which the presence of the atmosphere only warms the surface takes all the convection and fluid dynamics out of the discussion, and that’s where all the important complexities are.”
    What they [Herman and Pielke] do in addressing the question is reassert the primacy of the assumption that Earth, the Moon, and all bodies should be treated as black bodies. This assertion is plain as day in the following from Herman and Pielke.
    “However the warming during day and cooling at night must balance each other or the Moon ( and the Earth) would be steadily heating up or cooling down over time. The daytime warming occurs because the outgoing IR cannot balance the absorbed solar during the day. The nighttime cooling occurs because the outgoing IR is greater than the non-existing solar at night.”
    Then Herman and Pielke refer us to a website that does the same thing in Spades. The reference is in the following:
    “[One of their correspondents says:] You might want to link to http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/06/03/lunar-madness-and-physics-basics/ [on] your post to direct the reader to further details on the radiative temperature of the Moon.”
    The conclusion of the article that they reference is the following:
    “Conclusion
    So the reason that the moon – with a surface with a real heat capacity – appears to have a warmer climate “than predicted” is just a mathematical error. A trap for the unwary.
    The right way to calculate a planet’s average radiation is to calculate it for each and every location and average the results. The wrong way is to calculate the average temperature and then convert that to a radiation. In the case of the earth’s surface, it’s not such a noticeable problem.
    In the case of the moon, because of the wide variation in temperature, the incorrect method produces a large error.
    So there’s no “lunar explanation” for the inappropriately-named “greenhouse” effect.”
    In case it is not obvious from this “Conclusion,” what the author has done is construct an argument that is a perfect circle. Before revealing the circle, let me set the stage. He is responding to “A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon?” by Martin Hertzberg, Hans Schreuder, and Alan Siddons. It is published at http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=5770. The thesis of that paper is that the black body assumption is highly problematic in climate science. They, Hertzberg and other, use a method that does not make the black body assumption, a method that they say NASA used, and they arrive at the result that there is an Greenhouse Effect on the moon even though there is no atmosphere. The criticism of their argument takes their calculations, shows that those calculations differ from the ordinary calculations used with black bodies, reformulates those calculations as black body calculations, and reveals that their error is a simple failure to understand the math involved. This argument is a perfect circle. The argument is no less circular than the argument that the Bible is the revealed word of God because the Bible says that it is the revealed word of God.
    Hertzberg, Schreuder, and Siddons wrote their article as a criticism of the assumption that the Moon could be treated as a black body. To respond to that argument by showing that its calculations differ from the black body calculations is perfectly circular. It simply says that you are not permitted to criticize the black body assumption.
    This attitude seems common to the vast majority of climate scientists. They are going to stick to the black body calculations regardless. Yet that is to cleave to a system of mathematics that might be inadequate to the task at hand and whose use might discourage a closer look at physical processes. If scientists are going to retreat, yes defensively, to their mathematics anytime someone wants to look at actual physical processes then their mathematics has become the number one roadblock to progress.
    Now I think I understand why no one will answer my question: “Why do we assume that Earth must radiate into space all the radiation that it receives from the sun?” The answer is that our mathematics, embodied in the black body assumption, demands that we do so. Yet if we follow that assumption, we will never understand actual physical processes on Earth. We will not understand them because we will insist that they conform to the black body assumption, yet they cannot do so. Earth is a dynamic creature that is moving and changing all the time. It needs huge amounts of energy to do this. Part of that energy comes from solar radiation and that part of solar radiation is not radiated to space. My solar panel heats my water in Spring, Summer, and Fall but not in winter. However, at all times it is taking radiation from the sun and not returning it.
    Is time for scientists to step back from their work and look for another system to replace the math of the black body. Some have suggested that quantum theory can do the job, but quantum math is pretty complicated. My preferred approach is to focus on the physical processes and develop the math that is needed to describe each of them. La Nina would be a good start. Develop a good description of the natural regularities that make up the La Nina phenomenon. Do not subjugate that description to black body assumptions. It seems to me that doing the contrary will inevitably lead to agreement with AGW proponents. Why? Because as long as we stick with the black body we are discussing nothing but the characteristics of the CO2 molecule, in abstraction from physical processes, and a mathematical version of Earth that is far too idealized to accommodate actual physical processes.

  77. Joel Shore says:
    August 1, 2010 at 4:41 am
    Thanks Joel. I needed that. Drinkin’ without thinkin’ and then dinkin’makes one ripe for plinkin’. I am living proof. My dad kept telling me life is twice as difficult when you’re half-witted. I just have to try twice as hard to compensate.

  78. David Springer,
    It is very different for astronomers who need to know how what wavelengths are transmitted when looking at spectra from stars or background IR signals. At wavelengths like 14 microns where the transmission goes to zero, what do you think you see? You see the atmospheric CO2 emission at its temperature, which completely replaces the transmitted astronomical signal, and makes that wavelength useless for astronomy. What you don’t see is zero flux at that wavelength.

  79. Theo Goodwin says:
    August 1, 2010 at 12:53 pm
    Now I think I understand why no one will answer my question: “Why do we assume that Earth must radiate into space all the radiation that it receives from the sun?” The answer is that our mathematics, embodied in the black body assumption, demands that we do so.
    That the earth within a year or so must radiate back into space all the radiation it receives has nothing to do with black body radiation. It has everything to do with simple arithmetic and energy conservation, two statements you would find hard to contradict.
    If the earth on average did not radiate away what it received, energy conservation implies that it will be getting hotter and hotter and hotter, and when time=infinity, i.e. very very long, it would reach the temperature of the sun. It would not go higher because it would then violate the second law of thermodynamics.
    This is the same old argument, hand waving but effective, of why the universe as observed is not infinite. If it were infinite, it would have an infinite number of stars. The radiation from that infinity of stars would be so great that every body in the universe would have the temperature of the stars, planets included. Since planets do not have the temperature of the stars, the universe is not infinite.
    The black body radiation formula is a useful tool for predicting the radiation from a body and is not taken as is by engineers, but is modified for each substance as the “gray body formula”. That climatologists misuse it is another story.
    I have to laugh at the quote:
    The right way to calculate a planet’s average radiation is to calculate it for each and every location and average the results. The wrong way is to calculate the average temperature and then convert that to a radiation. In the case of the earth’s surface, it’s not such a noticeable problem.
    In the case of the moon, because of the wide variation in temperature, the incorrect method produces a large error.

    The earth, being a much more complex system than the moon, and having a large variety of emissivities (gray body constant) and enormous changes of temperature too, day, night and seasonal and latitudinal , has not problem with the way the radiation is calculated!! and presumably the errors are small !!!!
    To compound the hubris, the 2m air temperature is taken as the radiating body temperature, when it is well known that it is the ground and oceans that radiate the bulk of energy, that radiation goes as T^4, and the ground can be sizzling or freezing while the air temperature is temperate. One can cook eggs on rock and sand in the summer and the arctic gets 15C anomalies in the winter while the ice is at -40K, and they talk of small errors for earth!!!

  80. Continued:
    Is time for scientists to step back from their work and look for another system to replace the math of the black body. Some have suggested that quantum theory can do the job, but quantum math is pretty complicated.
    Black body comes out of quantum statistical mechanics, and actually it is one of the reasons quanta were considered a necessity.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck%27s_law
    Ultimately, Planck’s assumption of energy quantization and Einstein’s photon hypothesis became the fundamental basis for the development of quantum mechanics.
    It is not the lack of theoretical tools but their misuse that is the problem in climatology.

  81. anna v says:
    July 31, 2010 at 11:36 pm
    Phil. says:
    July 31, 2010 at 11:56 am
    Dave Springer says:
    “This is not how it works in a cold dense gas. When CO2 absorbs energy it its absorption bands it causes nearly instantaneous collision with another molecule, the vast majority of which are nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor. The kinetic energy in the collisions is radiated in continous blackbody spectrum with the peak frequency determined by the sensible temperature of the gases.”
    Phil: The collision part is true but nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor do not radiate as blackbody spectra.
    Just finished my Sunday chores and came to this thread.
    Phil, you have to take this back. I am sure it is reflex reaction to saying no whatever Dave is sayin.
    Every type of molecular ensemble radiates according to a modified for that type ” black” body temperature . It is elementary statistical mechanics from which, temperature comes out as a statistical adjunct of the kinetic energy of each molecule, and from which the black body formula was guessed at.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_mechanics
    Your statement would mean that O2 and N2 are at 0 Kelvin, which is the classical limit of temperature when there is no kinetic energy. If there is kinetic energy, there is temperature and there is gray body radiation.

    Anna it’s time to revisit your Physics of Gases textbook, gas molecules do not radiate as blackbody spectra, they radiate at certain lines characteristic of transitions between various molecular motions, for the IR region typically between vibrational and rotational modes. The quantity emitted at any frequency cannot exceed the quantity emitted by a backbody at the same temperature. Oxygen and Nitrogen molecules possess no radiatively active vibrational or rotational modes and so do not radiate. You are attempting to apply the physics of solids to gases and in this case it doesn’t work.

  82. Phil. says:
    August 2, 2010 at 7:34 am
    Every matter radiates according to its temperature in a gray body formula, i.e. emissivity and spectrum changes from black body.
    Phil , you cannot but be wrong that O2 N2 and H2O do not have thermal properties that will lead to a gray body radiation . They are gasses with kinetic energy independent of the vibrational and rotational modes, and in collision even if symmetric, will be deformed and radiate in the appropriate thermal frequencies. Otherwise they should have 0 kinetic energy which means 0K Temperature, classically.

  83. Anna V. writes:
    “That the earth within a year or so must radiate back into space all the radiation it receives has nothing to do with black body radiation. It has everything to do with simple arithmetic and energy conservation, two statements you would find hard to contradict.”
    This I agree with. I agree because of the phrase “within a year or so.” See, that permits me to ask my question, though I guess I reformulated it incorrectly in the original. My reformulated question, adding the word “daily” reads as follows:
    Now I think I understand why no one will answer my question: “Why do we assume that Earth must radiate into space all the radiation that it receives from the sun DAILY?” The answer is that our mathematics, embodied in the black body assumption, demands that we do so.
    If we could make the simple assumption that Earth sends out whatever it receives from the sun DAILY, then the AGW folks have a simple calculation to make when they are calculating the heating caused by CO2 in the atmosphere. Take away the regular period, the DAILY, and what period do you work with? So, I ask you: What is the period that the calculation is based on? If there is no regular period, such as daily, then how is the calculation based? It has to become process based. It has to be based on physcial hypotheses about the way the radiation passes through the myriad winding paths of Earth. If you are going to make those kinds of calculations, I do not see why they would assume the mathematics of black bodies. That system of mathematics is just too simple. On the other hand, perhaps a definite period is not actually needed for black body calculations. If so, why do all these articles assume some definite period?
    The work of Siddons and others that I quoted was suggesting a calculation based on treating the Moon as a three dimensional object. You might find their attempt laughable, most new ideas are. I took them to be suggesting an alternative to the standard mathematics. To respond by saying that they have naive ideas about the standard calculations is irrelevant, isn’t it?

  84. anna v, I just read up on this and it turns out that symmetric molecules like O2 and N2 are radiatively inactive because they have no dipole moment, so they can’t emit or absorb photons to change vibration states. This is different from H2O and CO2 that are “IR active” due to their electric field asymmetries. Therefore collisions of O2 and N2 can only change their translational and rotational kinetic energy and vibration states with no photons involved, and mostly they remain in the ground state for vibration leaving five energy modes to share (“equipartition”) their kinetic energy (three translational and two rotational). These gases therefore have no absorption or emission spectra.

  85. Theo Goodwin and anna v,
    The balance between incoming and outgoing radiation is the long-term limit. Even annual averages don’t balance out exactly. Note that adding greenhouse gases changes the net balance at the top of the atmosphere by reducing the outgoing part. This balance can be restored by atmospheric warming to a new equilibrium, or, as some would have it, more cloud cover or aerosols which may come from natural processes or man-made. Obviously the debate is on which of these will dominate in the restoration of equilibrium, and I don’t need to say what the consensus is.

  86. anna v says:
    August 2, 2010 at 11:34 am
    Phil. says:
    August 2, 2010 at 7:34 am
    Every matter radiates according to its temperature in a gray body formula, i.e. emissivity and spectrum changes from black body.
    Phil , you cannot but be wrong that O2 N2 and H2O do not have thermal properties that will lead to a gray body radiation .

    But I’m right, I thought you were a physicist, as I said before go back and read some physics of gases!

  87. Jim D says:
    August 2, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    anna v, I just read up on this and it turns out that symmetric molecules like O2 and N2 are radiatively inactive because they have no dipole moment, so they can’t emit or absorb photons to change vibration states. This is different from H2O and CO2 that are “IR active” due to their electric field asymmetries. Therefore collisions of O2 and N2 can only change their translational and rotational kinetic energy and vibration states with no photons involved, and mostly they remain in the ground state for vibration leaving five energy modes to share (“equipartition”) their kinetic energy (three translational and two rotational). These gases therefore have no absorption or emission spectra.

    This is a given. But a much greater given is that gases to first order follow classical statistical mechanics and therefore thermodynamics. Classical statistical mechanics does not know about vibrational and rotational levels. It knows about the kinetic energy carried by each and every molecule and gives its statistical distribution which defines temperature entering as a constant in the formula of the statistical distribution. Every molecular ensemble that has a temperature, i.e. its molecules are not frozen at 0K radiates according to the black body radiation, which classically needed the correction that Planck introduced to fit the data.
    Now how, when one looks at the microstate does a symmetric molecule radiate? A neutral symmetric molecule when hit by another neutral symmetric molecule gets deformed and higher moments ( quadruple, octuple) appear and it radiates away, so as not to destroy the smooth transition from classical to quantum statistical mechanics, and thus thermodynamics :). It is the kinetic energy that is transformed into radiation, the average kinetic energy falls, and the gas cools.
    This is elementary statistical mechanics and quantum statistical mechanics.
    Think a bit. If symmetrical molecules would not cool or heat with collisions, they would not only be the perfect insulator but considering that more than 90 percent of our atmosphere is N2 and O2 we would be either cooking or freezing. Collisions at the microstate level mean absorption and emission of soft photons turned into and out of the kinetic energy of the total molecule.

  88. Theo Goodwin says:
    August 2, 2010 at 5:51 pm
    My reformulated question, adding the word “daily” reads as follows:
    Now I think I understand why no one will answer my question: “Why do we assume that Earth must radiate into space all the radiation that it receives from the sun DAILY?” The answer is that our mathematics, embodied in the black body assumption, demands that we do so.

    Well, without entering into the discussion of whether an average global whatever exists, ( temperature humidity heat capacity etc) the numbers given are given as an average over the globe over the year. From the evident heat capacity of the earth it is clear that this is not an instantaneous or a daily or a weekly sum. Actually if we look at the PDO, the ENSO, the AO and all those acronyms that have long periods it is evident that yearly is too short also. So no, our mathematics does not demand that we balance the budget in a specific time interval as tight as daily. Energy conservation does give constraints but certainly not daily ones.

  89. Phil. says:
    August 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    anna v says:
    August 2, 2010 at 11:34 am
    Phil. says:
    August 2, 2010 at 7:34 am
    Every matter radiates according to its temperature in a gray body formula, i.e. emissivity and spectrum changes from black body.
    Phil , you cannot but be wrong that O2 N2 and H2O do not have thermal properties that will lead to a gray body radiation .
    But I’m right, I thought you were a physicist, as I said before go back and read some physics of gases!

    The physics of gases is much broader than the obsessively focused upon quantum mechanical radiation levels by climatology. It so happens that nature has also a continuum spectrum that has no need of absorption and emission levels which climatologists seem to ignore.
    Yes, I am a physicist and I have a physicists pov and knowledge in enough depth to know that you really do not know what you are talking about but are parroting the mantras on emission and absorption of radiation necessary for the famous greenhouse model.
    Gases do not cool by emitting and absorbing radiation in limited lines only. There is also direct transformation of kinetic energy into radiation from the fields that the molecules have and their distortions in collisional interactions.
    Think the following experiment:
    Take a ball of O2 at room temperature and leave it in the vacuum of space in the dark. It would need no container as it would keep its shape by gravity. What do you think will happen? Will it keep its temperature or will it cool to the background microwave temperatures?

  90. anna v says:
    August 3, 2010 at 12:49 am
    Phil. says:
    August 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm
    anna v says:
    August 2, 2010 at 11:34 am
    Phil. says:
    August 2, 2010 at 7:34 am
    Every matter radiates according to its temperature in a gray body formula, i.e. emissivity and spectrum changes from black body.
    Phil , you cannot but be wrong that O2 N2 and H2O do not have thermal properties that will lead to a gray body radiation .
    But I’m right, I thought you were a physicist, as I said before go back and read some physics of gases!
    The physics of gases is much broader than the obsessively focused upon quantum mechanical radiation levels by climatology. It so happens that nature has also a continuum spectrum that has no need of absorption and emission levels which climatologists seem to ignore.
    Yes, I am a physicist and I have a physicists pov and knowledge in enough depth to know that you really do not know what you are talking about but are parroting the mantras on emission and absorption of radiation necessary for the famous greenhouse model.

    Regrettably you don’t, until you educate yourself further it’s a complete waste of time talking to you.

  91. anna v,
    I see Phil has lost patience. Anyway, I will try it a different way. Does a perfect gas radiate and cool or does it maintain its temperature when left alone? Statistical mechanics is about perfect gases that do not lose energy except through collisions with cooler gases or with moving cylinders, etc. Nowhere in statistical mechanics is there anything about the perfect gas radiating energy. Gases are not perfect, but very close to it, otherwise it would be useless to learn about perfect gases which explain hydrostatic pressure, expansion by cooling, heat capacities, and all kinds of basic phenomena and conservation rules. O2 and N2 are for all intents and purposes perfect gases.
    The other part of my answer is about temperature. The mean molecular kinetic energy defines the temperature according to a simple proportionality rule. Collisions transfer kinetic energy and hence temperature leading to thermal equilibrium when the kinetic energy is distributed evenly among the molecules in the atmosphere.

  92. Jim D says:
    August 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm
    I have lost patience with Phil also, and believe that a person who can spout what he does and asks for others to be educated is not worth the effort.
    Consider this:
    How does isolated in space matter lose energy?
    Only by radiation.
    There is no other way.
    The black body radiation formula started as the classic formula of explaining radiation and classically nothing is known about emission and absorption lines and symmetric or asymmetric molecules. Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_body to see that in statistical mechanics there are no exceptions to the black body loss of heat by radiation. Check and see that there is no word “line” in the whole article.
    This statement is wrong then:
    Nowhere in statistical mechanics is there anything about the perfect gas radiating energy.
    All matter radiates and absorbs energy. An ideal gas is matter.
    To say that matter composed of molecules that in isolation each have no dipole moment and therefore even in the aggregate when collisions happen continuously and energy is transferred between the molecules are still symmetric and cannot radiate ignores basic physics. Which I am sorry to say is the habit of people playing with explaining climate.

  93. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/diph2o.html
    I simplifies how a dipole moment can appear , and also that H2O has a dipole , in contrast to what Phil wrote some posts above.
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html
    the following explains why classical statitistical mechanics was not enough to describe black body radiation:
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html
    Note that at low frequencies, i.e. infrared, classical and quantum mechanical (Planck) forms coincide.

  94. anna v says:
    August 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/diph2o.html
    I simplifies how a dipole moment can appear , and also that H2O has a dipole , in contrast to what Phil wrote some posts above.

    It appears in addition to your ignorance of the physics that you can’t read! I did not say that H2O doesn’t have a dipole I said that “nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor do not radiate as blackbody spectra”. Which is of course true, your protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

  95. anna v,
    You seem to think gases are black bodies, when actually they are far from it. They cannot radiate at unpermitted wavelengths, and are only seen by their lines where they can radiate. Gases in space likewise are only visible by lines if they have them. Isolated matter that does not radiate easily (like O2 molecules) carry their kinetic energy until they collide with something. If they are in a dense enough gas, this can reach thermal equilibrium by collisions (when gas laws apply). Maybe O2 has some exotic quadrupole behavior, but these lines must be millions of times weaker than the vibrational bands of CO2 etc., since we don’t see these in a normal atmosphere.

  96. Phil and Εd
    You need to study a bit of physics, particularly thermodynamics, classical electromagnetism and statistical mechanics.
    The physics you know is propaganda tools for AGW. The world we see and touch and measure is not just quantum mechanical. Quantum mechanics smooths over to classical theories for the distances we see and measure everyday. Hbar is a very small number and that is why quantum mechanics took so long to be established, it is so esoteric.
    Every matter radiates and the black body formula is an approximation of the spectrum. It is true that gases have gray body constants and spectrum variations, but still they radiate heat away in a continuum of soft radiation that comes from what really “collisions” mean. Collisions are electric and magnetic fields bumping into each other. Read a bit on Maxwell’s equations. When that happens radiation comes out.
    Stop parroting mantras you do not really understand and trying to correct people who do know their physics.

  97. RE:Phil: (July 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm) [‘ice-locker’ gas atmosphere] “It’s called the stratosphere, the gas is oxygen.”
    You are quite right. I thought it might be useful to visualize a hypothetical atmosphere that blocked nearly 100 percent of the incoming short-wavelength, solar-radiation, but still allowed the ground to radiate infra-red directly to outer space. It would take a *very* special cocktail of gases to do that.
    Of course, convection is possible as long as a significant amount of solar heating can take place at the surface.

  98. anna v,
    O2 and N2 gas molecules have elastic collisions, and a well-defined temperature by virtue of their kinetic energy alone (thermometers work by collisions, not radiation). Their collisions conserve momentum, energy, and their rotational counterparts (in mechanics as also in quantum mechanics). Quantum mechanics predicts very low probabilities for emitting photons, and that is why their emission lines are negligible compared to CO2 and H2O that are “IR active” (a term in spectroscopy that distinguishes these molecular behaviors for good reason). A gas made of O2 and N2 would have no greenhouse effect. Your argument is suggesting it should, and by that logic we would be toast by now regardless of CO2 and H2O. Is that really what you want to say? Think it through.

  99. Jim D says:
    August 4, 2010 at 10:10 pm
    O2 and N2 gas molecules have elastic collisions, and a well-defined temperature by virtue of their kinetic energy alone (thermometers work by collisions, not radiation). Their collisions conserve momentum, energy, and their rotational counterparts (in mechanics as also in quantum mechanics). Quantum mechanics predicts very low probabilities for emitting photons, and that is why their emission lines are negligible compared to CO2 and H2O that are “IR active” (a term in spectroscopy that distinguishes these molecular behaviors for good reason). A gas made of O2 and N2 would have no greenhouse effect. Your argument is suggesting it should, and by that logic we would be toast by now regardless of CO2 and H2O. Is that really what you want to say? Think it through.

    Please Jim, you have to think through. Read a bit of thermodynamics and classical electromagnetism and statisctical mechanics. Quantum mechanics too.
    There are elastic collisions and continuum inelastic collisions that have nothing to do with the fine lines of the excited spectra of the atoms and the excited rotational and vibrational spectra.
    There exists a continuum of radiation in the infrared to microwaves also in quantum mechanics, though it is cumbersome to carry all the paraphernalia of state functions to show that. Classical electrodynamics is sufficient.
    An inelastic collision between molecules could transfer energy to vibrational and rotational modes and also radiate a photon in the asymmetric distorted fields coming from the collision.
    It is as simple as that and you do not know the basics of what we are discussing.It has to be like that because all matter composed of molecules radiates away in some sort of black/gray body formula.
    Parroting “quantum mechanics says” is really not very meaningful. Quantum mechanics says there is very high probability of emitting soft photons if two molecules collide.

  100. anna v,
    I see we disagree, and I can’t do much about that except to say look for observations of oxygen lines, or even a continuum due to it, in the atmospheric spectrum. In the end observations count to prove and disprove theories. Having seen these spectra, I am sure you won’t find O2 doing much of anything to them. O3 does, but not O2. When you have found such spectra, which are routinely measured, get back to me because there is no point in this discussion without the observations, much as I like the physics theory part.

  101. If there is a flaw in the Greenhouse Effect theory, and from what I can dig up, there are quite a few, I suspect that the most important flaws are the simple ones. The ones that you can see by stepping back and looking at the really big picture. That’s when specialized scientists who rarely consider the big picture, and lay people can agree.
    Theo, good questions. About CO2 concentrations in the ‘atmosphere’. I asked this too a while ago. Helium is lighter than ‘air’, it rises. CO2 is heavier than ‘air’ it generally sinks. When in high concentrations in certain water wells or low lying vallies around volcanoes and the like, it lingers there apparently – which is a known health hazzard. CO2 obviously has a choice to rise up like helium, or sink. The fact that it mostly stays at ground level is quite convenient for the greenery that feeds on it. If it rose we’d have trouble living on the planet. Where the heck this greenhouse effect is supposed to occur, I don’t know, because at ground level heat rises.

  102. Dave Springer says:
    July 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm
    Moon’s average temp as recorded by two different Apollo missions is negative 23C or close enough to not be worth arguing about at mid latitudes. Thermocouples were placed on the surface and at intervals up to 3 meters deep in the regolith in the one they could bore that deep. Data was returned over a period several years. At a depth of around 1 meter IIRC (raw data is buried but accessible somewhere on Nasa web site as I found it and read it several months ago) temperature reading became constant over days and seasons.
    To sum up, whatever is keeping the earth warmer appears to be keeping it a lot more than 33c warmer to offset the big difference in albedo betwixt the earth and moon.
    ~
    I think AnnaV touched on this above at 9:17, Aug 1st. But, (correct me if I’m wrong) do we measure the Earth temperature on the ground and at 3m depths when coming to the conclusion that average Earth (air) temperature is 15 degrees C?
    Is the assumption above made by Dave Springer that if the Earth had no atmosphere it’s temperature would be roughly -23 degrees C, hence a 38 degree greenhouse effect that we really must be ‘experiencing’… a correct assumption?
    Our atmosphere is obviously an insulator that shields us from extreme solar radiation during the day. The phenomena of a warmer Earth night than the Moon night is consistent with an atmosphere acting as an insulator. The question then for me is: is it also an insulator that adds ‘greenhouse’ heat energy at the same time? Can insulators ever really ‘add’ energy?

  103. LaymanAlert says:
    August 28, 2010 at 9:58 pm
    ” Can insulators ever really ‘add’ energy? ”
    Definately not, but they sure can absorb energy / heat and then
    release it (mostly) back at varying rates over varying timescales..
    In a cycle upon cycle sort of way, that may appear to the casual glance as sometimes adding more or less (back).
    For example, PDOs, AMOs, and loads more (on numerous timescales – some not repeating) we don’t know about yet.
    Something I been trying to get across for several years now….
    ie,
    http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g43/DerekJohn_photos/stuff/Dailywaterjacketsized.jpg

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