Radiating the Ocean

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Once again, the crazy idea that downwelling longwave radiation (DLR, also called infra-red or IR, or “greenhouse radiation”) can’t heat the ocean has raised its ugly head on one of my threads.

Figure 1. The question in question.

There are lots of good arguments against the AGW consensus, but this one is just silly. Here are four entirely separate and distinct lines of reasoning showing that DLR does in fact heat the oceans.

Argument 1. People claim that because the DLR is absorbed in the first mm of water, it can’t heat the mass of the ocean. But the same is true of the land. DLR is absorbed in the first mm of rock or soil. Yet the same people who claim that DLR can’t heat the ocean (because it’s absorbed in the first mm) still believe that DLR can heat the land (despite the fact that it’s absorbed in the first mm).

And this is in spite of the fact that the ocean can circulate the heat downwards through turbulence, while there is no such circulation in the land … but still people claim the ocean can’t heat from DLR but the land can. Logical contradiction, no cookies.

Argument 2. If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going? It can’t be heating the air, because the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass. If DLR were heating the air we’d all be on fire.

Nor can it be going to evaporation as many claim, because the numbers are way too large. Evaporation is known to be on the order of 70 w/m2, while average downwelling longwave radiation is more than four times that amount … and some of the evaporation is surely coming from the heating from the visible light.

So if the DLR is not heating the ocean, and we know that a maximum of less than a quarter of the energy of the DLR might be going into evaporation, and the DLR is not heating the air … then where is it going?

Rumor has it that energy can’t be created or destroyed, so where is the energy from the DLR going after it is absorbed by the ocean, and what is it heating?

Argument 3. The claim is often made that warming the top millimetre can’t affect the heat of the bulk ocean. But in addition to the wind-driven turbulence of the topmost layer mixing the DLR energy downwards into lower layers, heating the surface affects the entire upper bulk temperature of the ocean every night when the ocean is overturning. At night the top layer of the ocean naturally overturns, driven by the temperature differences between surface and deeper waters (see the diagrams here). DLR heating of the top mm of the ocean reduces those differences and thus delays the onset of that oceanic overturning by slowing the night-time cooling of the topmost layer, and it also slows the speed of the overturning once it is established. This reduces the heat flow from the body of the upper ocean, and leaves the entire mass warmer than it would have been had the DLR not slowed the overturning.

Argument 4. Without the heating from the DLR, there’s not enough heating to explain the current liquid state of the ocean. The DLR is about two-thirds of the total downwelling radiation (solar plus DLR). Given the known heat losses of the ocean, it would be an ice-cube if it weren’t being warmed by the DLR. We know the radiative losses of the ocean, which depend only on its temperature, and are about 390 w/m2. In addition there are losses of sensible heat (~ 30 w/m2) and evaporative losses (~ 70 w/m2). That’s a total loss of 390 + 30 + 70 = 490 w/m2.

But the average solar input to the surface is only about 170 watts/square metre.

So if the DLR isn’t heating the ocean, with heat gains of only the solar 170 w/m2 and losses of 390 w/m2 … then why isn’t the ocean an ice-cube?

Note that each of these arguments against the idea that DLR can’t warm the ocean stands on its own. None of them depends on any of the others to be valid. So if you still think DLR can’t warm the ocean, you have to refute not one, but all four of those arguments.

Look, folks, there’s lot’s of good, valid scientific objections against the AGW claims, but the idea that DLR can’t heat the ocean is nonsense. Go buy an infrared lamp, put it over a pan of water, and see what happens. It only hurts the general skeptical arguments when people believe and espouse impossible things …

w.

4 1 vote
Article Rating
908 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bystander
August 15, 2011 12:53 pm

So the physical properties of say, rock, and water are identical?

jungle
August 15, 2011 1:02 pm

Wouldn’t DLR be absorbed deeper than a mm in water due to the difference between a solid and a liquid?

Theo Goodwin
August 15, 2011 1:06 pm

Great work again, Willis. Would you please take a moment and tell us how Warmista models treat the heat phenomena that you have described as a thermostatic system? With specific regard to infrared radiation, where does your account differ from the Warmista in the way it treats heat and where is there overlap? How do the Warmista models handle what you say about warming from sunlight, if they handle it at all?

David
August 15, 2011 1:08 pm

I think that the arguement is a question of degree and residence time, not a question of does it heat, but how much? “But the average solar input to the surface is only about 170 watts/square metre.” I am not certain average is what is moat important here. SWR at the tropics and even subtropics is far greater, and because it penetrates far deeper it likely has a much greater residence time. Thus any change in SWR flux may accumulate far more energy over time then a similar W/M2 change in SWR caused by a GHG. Yet I have seen none of this quantified.

gnomish
August 15, 2011 1:08 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_pond
if i had back issues of mother earth news i could show that this has been in the green literature almost as much as how to raise goats in your basement.

August 15, 2011 1:11 pm

Bystander said:
“So the physical properties of say, rock, and water are identical?”
And I say . . . Huh? Is there a point to your statement? The physical properties of rock (lets say basalt) and rock (lets say limestone) are not identical, so I would suspect that rock and water do indeed differ. What has that got to do with the article?

Doug Jones
August 15, 2011 1:11 pm

Bystander, no, but they both absorb longwave IR in the 5-15 micron wavelength range in about a millimeter or less. Strawman argument, no cookie.

Gary wilson
August 15, 2011 1:13 pm

Although the end result is the same it is incorrect to state that DLR heats the surface. DLR is radiation that has already left the surface and been absorbed and re-radiated. It is the sun that does the heating. All the DLR does is slow down the heat loss from the surface. Without a heat source such as the sun the surface would gradually cool as the surface flux and DLR decline. So saying DLR heats the surface is not strictly accurate.

Paul Westhaver
August 15, 2011 1:17 pm

In examining surface temperature of night-time compared with day time it can be seen to what portion of the temperature is due to direct IR or remitted IR after absorption.
Imaging if there is a single night with 36 hours rather than 12. The heat loss would be tripled and the temp drop would likely be in the 30 degrees range where I Iive… look at this daily plot:
http://www.cita.utoronto.ca/~rjh/halifax/halifax-weather-ll.html
If night to day has such a huge effect on surface temp…..then why are we torturing ourselves about fractions of a degree? Seems to me the earth has quite a huge capacity to loose heat. We see the effect every night.
I doubt that the earth has chronic heat gain…. heat emission is a forth power of temperature.

1DandyTroll
August 15, 2011 1:22 pm

So a IR lamp directed at a one square meter tub of water of say one meter in depth to radiate the surface at 170W wouldn’t warm that body of water if it was circulating?
If it only heats the first mm why then are several inches usually warm when going swimming? Or is that an odd question?
170W per square meter, a few billion years . . . it hasn’t done all that much though, except around the equator, has it, I mean the north atlantic, the arctic sea and the antarctic sea is cold as bloody hell year around, but where there’s lots and lots of sun the sea is pretty darn cozy all year around.

Theo Goodwin
August 15, 2011 1:29 pm

gnomish says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm
Did you get the one where Barry Commoner explained how to heat a 12 story residential building using a V-8 engine in the basement?

Climate Weenie
August 15, 2011 1:31 pm

Dunno about the rest of the notions, but
Evaporation is known to be on the order of 70 w/m2, while average downwelling longwave radiation is more than four times that amount …
is not apt.
it is not the downwelling LWR that is significant, but the net of LW and SW, (the imbalance) that is either met by another process (convection), or results in a temperature change.
Net longwave and shortwave, in the average, is not more than four times 70 W/m^2.

philincalifornia
August 15, 2011 1:31 pm

David says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm
I think that the arguement is a question of degree and residence time, not a question of does it heat, but how much? “But the average solar input to the surface is only about 170 watts/square metre.” I am not certain average is what is moat important here. SWR at the tropics and even subtropics is far greater, and because it penetrates far deeper it likely has a much greater residence time. Thus any change in SWR flux may accumulate far more energy over time then a similar W/M2 change in SWR caused by a GHG. Yet I have seen none of this quantified.
============================
Yeah, I keep trying to get an answer to this question too (I think it’s part of the same question). What is the change in DLR over the tropical water vapor-containing atmosphere with 390 ppm of CO2, versus the tropical water vapor-containing atmosphere with 280 ppm of CO2, including Doppler Shift effects on the water vapor absorption, of course.

Merrick
August 15, 2011 1:39 pm

And, hate to bring up a long gone painful debate, but if DLR can heat one fluid (water) then it ABSOLUTELY CAN heat another fluid (air) and in EXACTLY the same way. Local thermodynamic equilibrium arguments notwithstanding.

Mac the Knife
August 15, 2011 1:40 pm

Anybody who swims or snorkels the sun warmed ‘top layer’ in a lake and has felt the distinct thermoclines at colder layers beneath, has already confirmed that the surface water absorbs long wave radiation. After a day or two of moderate to brisk winds, the top layer is cooled, confirming cooling from evaporation and turbulent mixing with even cooler water below the nearest thermocline.
Spouting baseless theories and touting irrational models will never refute the simple and direct confirmation that a few days of open water swimming or near surface water temperature measurements will provide.

FerdinandAkin
August 15, 2011 1:43 pm

DLR cannot be absorbed by the first mm of water because it is clear therefore it must be absorbed by the second mm of water.
DLR cannot be absorbed by the second mm of water because it is clear therefore it must be absorbed by the third mm of water.
Actually DLR cannot be absorbed by any of the water because it is mm all the way down.
/sarc

August 15, 2011 1:44 pm

Glad to see someone else take the flak for this for a change. Thanks, Willis. 😉
-Roy

tallbloke
August 15, 2011 1:46 pm

Hi Willis,
Argument one asks what the difference is between rock and water. Warm water molecules rise to the top. Warm rock molecules conduct heat to their neighbours, which can’t go anywhere.
Argument two asks where the energy goes. The answer is:
space.
Argument three is not an argument that DLR can warm the ocean, it’s an argument that it can slow its rate of cooling.
Argument four is a numerical misunderstanding. The ocean surface very efficiently absorbs 95% of DLR, and promptly re-emits half of that (the other 5% being reflected). The other half makes it another couple of molecules deeper and then the molecules it warms become more buoyant than their neighbours and rise to the top, losing another half upwards. Now we’re down to ~72W/m^2. Lets remember the net flux is 66W/m^2 upwards at this point. So your ice cube argument fails. The ocean absorbs and re-emits the long wave radiation coming downwards from the atmosphere, the sums balance. In fact it emits 66W/m^2 more long wave radiation than it absorbs. It always has, and the oceans don’t freeze, because solar shortwave warms them to really significant depths of 100 metres and more as internal tides and currents mix its energy downwards. Some of that solar short wave energy is re-emitted as long wave from the surface along with some of the long wave which came from the atmosphere. The rest causes evaporation and thermals or is conducted upwards. The difference is, the solar derived energy can remain deep in the ocean for a long time, controlling it’s bulk temperature.
The question is, do DLR heated water molecules make it downwards far enough for long enough to warm the ocean bulk. I think the answer is no, because warmer water molecules are naturally buoyant, and because the vortices which mix solar energy so efficiently are below the wave troughs, several thousands of times deeper down than the depth DLR penetrates water to. For experimental evidence on this matter I’ve tried putting small soaked pieces of loo paper just under the surface out in the rolling waves away from the shore where they break. They don’t get sucked downwards. So that’s turbulent convection gone, what’s left? Conduction is a non-starter, because water thermally stratifies and anyway is a relatively poor heat conductor unless the heat source is underneath rather than above.
But this isn’t about absolutes. I’m sure the increased DLR warmed the ocean a little bit, or at least slowed its rate of cooling a little bit. I think the increased insolation due to (empirically measured) reduced cloud cover in the tropics 1980-1998 did a lot more to increase ocean heat content. To turn your question back to you, where else could that energy have gone?
Cheers
TB

DirkH
August 15, 2011 1:48 pm

Merrick says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm
“And, hate to bring up a long gone painful debate, but if DLR can heat one fluid (water) then it ABSOLUTELY CAN heat another fluid (air) and in EXACTLY the same way. ”
Air is mostly occuring in the gaseous phase.

Fred from Canuckistan
August 15, 2011 1:49 pm

You would think that the average ninth grade science student could design an experiment to measure what happens when IR hits water in a tank . . . a great Science Fair experiment.
But if a ninth grader could do it, it will be beyond the tall forehead types who walk posts on the IPCC ramparts.

jimmi_the_dalek
August 15, 2011 1:52 pm

Indeed, the idea that DLR cannot heat the ocean is one of the spurious arguments that should not be used. There are plenty of others. Far too many comments here claim that the Greenhouse Effect cannot be real “because it is not like a real greenhouse”. Or that it contradicts the first or second laws of thermodynamics. Stick to objecting to the infidelities of computer modelling – there is plenty of uncertainty there – the basic physics is much more secure than some people are willing to concede.

Paul Westhaver
August 15, 2011 2:04 pm

The time lag between local apparent noon and max surface temperature is no more than 4 hours. The time constant for the surface heating an cooling rate is VERY short. If every night the surface on the planet cools 2-5 degrees…or more, then what is the big deal about 0.1 degree of warming…notwithstanding the fact that the thermometer sensitivity (globally) is incapable of reporting that level of precision… as Lord Monckton has frequently said.

crosspatch
August 15, 2011 2:04 pm

DLR is radiation that has already left the surface and been absorbed and re-radiated. It is the sun that does the heating. All the DLR does is slow down the heat loss from the surface.

And I believe that is one of the most misunderstood things about greenhouse warming. Greenhouse warming doesn’t have its maximum impact when the sun is shining, it is at night. When the dominant heat flow is, at night, from Earth to space, the DLR would reduce the rate of cooling and it would moderate low temperatures. Greenhouse warming shouldn’t increase daytime highs, it should increase nighttime lows. Daytime high temperatures will be moderated by things like evaporation and clouds but the nighttime temperatures are moderated only by the blanket that lies between the surface and space.
In the daytime, the same greenhouse gasses also absorb IR from the sun and radiate half of that back into space. Roughly half the energy of solar radiation is IR. Greenhouse gasses act to moderate the amount of IR reaching the surface during the day and moderate the amount leaving the atmosphere during the night.
It is quite possible that one might get with increasing greenhouse efficiency is lower high temperatures and higher low temperatures for a reduction in diurnal range and possibly no change at all in average in the tropics. The greatest impact should be seen at the poles in winter where any enhanced “insulation” should be most easily observed.

Robert M
August 15, 2011 2:06 pm

Hmmmm,
So far I have to think that Tallbloke gets the cookie! Sigh! It’s not a chocolate chip cookie is it?
One more thing… What idiot proposed that LR does not heat water?
Well, two more things… Somebody give Bystander a penny so he can buy himself a clue. 🙂

Crispin in Waterloo
August 15, 2011 2:07 pm

The choice of an infrared lamp as a heat is not the best experiment – too much visible light. Put a just-red-hot heating element over the pan of water. The point is to try to heat without visible radiation.
The heater will send out LWR and it will not get nearly as far as 1mm into the water because it is very effective at stopping it penetrating at most IR frequencies. The water will get very much hotter at the surface than a few inches below, unless it is stirred (which of course happens in a real ocean). Water stratifies very well when it is hotter on top. It of course tends to evaporate more even when calm, and when stirred, much more so t here are several considerations.
The 4 arguments seem to mix all frequencies and LWR in together, or shall I say, perhaps do not separate them well enough. Tropical ocean water is definitely heated by the 1 kW/m^2 of incident solar radiation. The question is how much more is it heated by additional LWR (only, not additional sunlight). Well it certainly is not heated deeply by LWR unless there is significant overturning, which in many cases exists, yes?
So, if we are going to live in a real world (and ocean) then we have to consider that there is a great deal of water vapour immediately above the water’s surface absorbing the IR like crazy, remaining heated and not condensing to return, condensed, to the surface. Over a real ocean, the humidity is very high near the surface. How much of the additional LWR reaches the water’s surface, if any? If it does, it will be absorbed in the very top of its surface and promote immediate evaporation in the zone there there is a continuous exchange between the surface and the very bottom of the atmosphere. Any additional LWR that reaches the top of the water will shift the balance to produce slightly more (IR absorbing) water vapour immediately above it. Rapidly too. That thin air-water exchange layer just above the surface is basically in a constant state of saturation or supersaturation and is a really good IR shield.
Please convince me that any of the downwelling IR reaches the surface of the water. I am quite prepared to be convinced and it is essential to the argument that additional downwelling IR can heat the ocean. How much IR hits the water, in Watts? Does this heat flux depend on the local temperature and wind conditions?

Steve from Rockwood
August 15, 2011 2:16 pm

Is the top part of that 1 mm heated up to the same temperature as the bottom part or is there a temperature gradient over that 1 mm?

George
August 15, 2011 2:19 pm

Really? There are people that believe that? How do they have time to post because they must spend all their time rewatching Loose Change.
Without DLR heating the water, there would be no point to Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer. Next.

david
August 15, 2011 2:20 pm

Yes, back in Sweden when I grew up, that first millimeter didn’t absorbed it all summer long, so it was always solide ice year round….. /sarc
In fact with little tidal change ( 1 foot on average), on a good summer (not too many), the first ten feet would be warm. You could see the thermal layer below if you snorkled.
Heat conduction, most likely?
Wave action, not so likely, it would mix out the thin thermal layer?
Heat radiating down that far? I don’t know, can infrared penetrate that far?
Lastly doesn’t heat radiate in all directions? So, that millimeter would radiate up and down right? So the millimeter below would get some heat that way too, and so on?

August 15, 2011 2:26 pm

For those who doubt the greenhouse effect, here is a standard thermodynamics question.
If you know how to solve this, you know why Willis is correct.
Here is the problem (mechanical engineering profs should feel free to include this on the next thermodynamics exam).
1: A continuously heated, flat plate at 15 C is on one side, a parallel, continuously cooled plate at -273C is 20 meters away. What energy flux is required to maintain the heated plate at 15C under the following conditions:
The atmosphere in between is 10% CO2, 72% N2, 18% O2, 1 bar pressure.
The atmosphere in between is 20% CO2, 64% N2, 16% O2, 1 bar pressure.
2: Solve again, assuming that the energy input to the plate is constant, and determine the temperature of the plate at the higher level of CO2 if the temperature at the lower level is 15C and the second plate remains at -273C.
Now comes the part that seems to be missed by our friends in the climate field:
3: At what level of CO2 does the increase in CO2 no longer result in an increase in temperature of the first plate.
If you studied heat transfer at the university level, you may have seen a question like this. If you did, you would know that the plate would be warmer in the second instance (I am procrastinating at work right now, so will leave it as a blog post later to fully answer) and the level of CO2 would be 25%.
Cheers
JE

Rosco
August 15, 2011 2:31 pm

But surely the myth about DLR is that it is the tiny fraction of the atmosphere responsible – the less than 1% of the atmosphere that absorbs infrered is not responsible for more than a fraction of DLR. This is the deception that, like a magician diverting your attention – don’t look at that look at thislook at this -from reality to sell you on their theory
Surely the whole of the atmosphere warms and cools predominantly by conduction and convection ? And surely, like everything else in the Universe, the Nitrogen and Oxygen, being at more than absolute zero, constitute the vast bulk of the DLR – ~98% of it ? It must be impossible to seperately detect the tiny amount from GHGs ?
And surely the latent heat of evaporation of water, being some 2500 times the specific heat capacity of CO2, plays a far more important role in energy distribution on earth than DLR ?
Also surely DLR is a small component of the total radiation in the atmosphere with random emission in any direction but surely mostly upwelling following the rising thermal currents ?
So surely on earth radiation plays a minor role in energy distribution ? Else why do common objects such as a car’s “radiator” really rely on conduction and convection ? Why do they put the fan in the oven if radiation is so effective ?
And why can I sit very close to a radiative heater for long periods (not above it though) but when I touch it I’m immediately off to the emergency room ?
The answer must be that radiation, while it may be the only energy transport mechanism through space, is only a minor player on earth ? Sure it is the only escape but there are well known mechanisms for getting the energy up to the upper levels of the atmosphere and radiation is only a small part of that.

August 15, 2011 2:37 pm

As someone else noted it is the term warming. If DWLR doesn’t reverse the direction of net flux it is not warming. There is also the legitimate question of is conductive heat transfer at the surface more significant than radiative heat transfer. Since the radiative situation is liquid water shooting photons at water vapor which shoots back etc., the average 0.8 degree temperature difference between the water and the air seems pretty reliable. With more CO2 that average may become 0.78 degrees.

R. Gates
August 15, 2011 2:37 pm

Willis,
I’m beginning to see that you are a heretic, and I love it. Yes, this falsehood that DLR can’t heat the oceans has been one of the most absurd things that skeptics have said, this, and the notion that human activity has not been the principal driving cause behind the growth of atmosphere CO2 over the past several centuries.
I realize you are not a “warmist” as I am, though some people insist on lumping all “warmist” thought into the C-AGW category. Regardless, you and I might see eye to eye on more things than might first seem apparent.

John Vetterling
August 15, 2011 2:38 pm

The problem seems to be a lot of folks who just don’t understand thermodynamics.
Light is energy. If the water absorbs light it absorbs that energy, hence its heat increases. It oes not matter how thick the absorbing layer is.
Radiant heat transfer is not the same as conductive heat transfer. Conduction depends on the ratio of the temperatures. Radiance depends only on the temperature of the radiating body not the temperature of any sink.
Convection in the air is much different than convention in the seas. The lowest layers of air are heated then rise as they expand. In the seas it is the upper layers that heat and expand, but there is nowhere to rise because they are already above cooler denser layers.
An awful lot of Zeno’s paradox going on as well.
The basic physics of GW is relatively sound. The weaknesses lie in the guestimates of sensitivity/forcings.

Jeff L
August 15, 2011 2:43 pm

Nice post . You would never see the flip side of a post like this on a AGW blog ( being critical of a AGW principle ). The true believers would not put up with it. Good science requires that weak hypotheses be appropriately dissected, which this post does.
Of course, the real question is how that energy is then distributed / mixed into the ocean,

Stephen Wilde
August 15, 2011 2:52 pm

There is no doubt that some warming takes place somewhere but the issue is whether that warming does in fact get transmitted downwards and/or whether it does in fact slow down the ‘normal’ rate of energy loss from the oceans.
As far as I can tell the DLR warming just affects individual water molecules at the very surface merely microns deep. Other wavelengths get in deeper however.
DLR having warmed those individual molecules there is an increase in all of convection conduction radiation and evaporation. Effectively all that happens is that the moment of evaporation for all the water molecules affected is brought forward by whatever energy is left over after conduction radiation and convection have taken their portions.and of course evaporation is a net cooling process as we all know.
Willis has previously told me that the increase in evaporation alone is not sufficient to deal with ALL the DLR but suppose the increased evaporation only has to mop up what is left over AFTER increased upward radiation convection and conduction. The figures are then much more believable.
Looking for some evidence one way or the other I read about that 1mm deep layer at the top of the oceans that is always (averaged globally) about 0.3C colder than the ocean bulk below.
The thing is that that layer is still there day and night so it isn’t even overcome by the coming and going of sunlight so I don’t see how DLR would make a difference.
That layer represents the net cooling effect of all surface cooling processes.It is on average globally negative.Energy is always leaving the surface layer faster than it is arriving at the surface and is replaced from below by solar shortwave that penetrated deeper. If the energy hitting the surface from DLR were penetrating downward significantly then that layer would become shallower or warmer or dissipate but on average overall it doesn’t.
So to accept what Willis says I need that point addressing. Why does that cooler layer not seem to get warmer, shallower or dissipate (except locally and temporarily) under the influence of more DLR or even under the influence of solar insolation ?
Could it be that it is a permanent feature of the ocean surfaces set by pressure and density differentials such that it provides a buffer between energy arriving in the topmost molecules and that leaving the ocean bulk for a zero effect on both energy into and out of the ocean bulk ?
I like the analogy of a tributary joining a river. The volume of flow downstream of the junction increases but the rate of flow from upstream is not changed. There may be a small area of buffering (akin to that cool layer on the oceans) where there is a slowdown in the rate of flow but nonetheless the rate of flow from higher upsatream is unaffected.
I suspect that that happens at the ocean surface too.

Ian W
August 15, 2011 2:54 pm

1DandyTroll says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm
So a IR lamp directed at a one square meter tub of water of say one meter in depth to radiate the surface at 170W wouldn’t warm that body of water if it was circulating?
If it only heats the first mm why then are several inches usually warm when going swimming? Or is that an odd question?
170W per square meter, a few billion years . . . it hasn’t done all that much though, except around the equator, has it, I mean the north atlantic, the arctic sea and the antarctic sea is cold as bloody hell year around, but where there’s lots and lots of sun the sea is pretty darn cozy all year around.

Its not an odd question its a rather unthinking question.
the LR in DLR is Longwave Radiation. This does not penetrate far at all into water a millimeter or less. However, you may notice you can see in sunlight. This is because sunlight is largely made up of visible and ultraviolet radiation and this spectrum will penetrate really deeply into the ocean provided that it is at the correct incidence (angle of insolation) and is why the light under water looks greeny blue. If the light is at any angle less than about 40 degrees then most of the light reflects from the surface (see Willis’ last post). This reflection of sunlight at low angles of insolation is another reason that the sunlight on the oceans near the poles does not warm the water much (as you pointed out).
So as you say where there is lots of sun the sea tends to stay warm – but even there – the sea surface water will be considerably cooler by dawn having both radiated and evaporated a lot of the previous day’s heat away.

Rosco
August 15, 2011 2:59 pm

I have just read your steel greenhouse post.
Surely the myth that the earth receives only 235 W/sq m insolation and thus the earth would only be ~minus 18 or 19 C is the big lie of GHG theory.
To model the earth as a disk illuminated by only one quarter of the solar constant is nonsense and we ought to say so. At noon at the equator the insolation is probably at least double the 235 W/sq m (perhaps nearly triple) so often quoted while at one of the poles it is probably close to zero.
The only thing maintaining the poles at the modest temperaturesthey are at compared to absolute zero is the energy transmission of atmospheric and oceanic currents.
I do not believe that at a place like Death Valley or central Australia DLR is responsible for the increase in energy from 235 W/sq m to the ~617 W/sq m necessary to explain a temperature of 50 C as has been observed or the 544 W/sq m required to explain the 40 C temperatures regularly recorded less than 50 km from where I live.
Clearly that energy comes from the sun so why perpetuate this “average” 235 W/sq m myth that the AGW use to distort truth and science ?

Bystander
August 15, 2011 3:03 pm

Hey – I’m not the one with the cartoon and those examples that suggest the behavior is identical.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 3:03 pm


“The question is, do DLR heated water molecules make it downwards far enough for long enough to warm the ocean bulk. I think the answer is no, because warmer water molecules are naturally buoyant”
BINGO!
Give the man a cigar.

Chuckarama
August 15, 2011 3:04 pm

Now that I think of it, I have observed sunspots that are shaped much the same as our oceans, like a map cutout, blocking those oceans from being served up as much energy. That would explain why a rock on the beach at the equator is hotter than the ocean waves on that beach, when I touch them. I don’t know how to explain the rabbit and dragon shaped sunspots though…

stevo
August 15, 2011 3:05 pm

No matter how patiently you explain things to some people, they won’t get it. Some people will, no matter how hard you try, still believe that radiation from the atmosphere somehow doesn’t heat the ocean. And yet the physics has been understood for hundreds of years, and tested so thoroughly that to doubt it is simply unreasonable.
Are these people unable to understand? Or are they unwilling? That’s the next interesting question.

MannBitesDog
August 15, 2011 3:11 pm

I notice when I microwave my pasta that the outer layer may become overheated before the center gets warm, that’s why I sometimes use a lower power setting. Sometimes with soup too! Crazy huh?
How did we ever get to the moon?
I wonder how long until “you know who” shows up to comment here?!?

Swift
August 15, 2011 3:17 pm

The Science of Doom has the first of a very good multi post series on DLR and the ocean here http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/10/06/does-back-radiation-heat-the-ocean-part-one/
Most of the questions that have been asked and will be asked are answered there.

Konrad
August 15, 2011 3:18 pm

Willis,
I note with some interest that none of your four arguments match that of the Team. Their offering is that the backscattered LWIR absorbed in the top 1mm cool skin layer of the oceans reduces the thermal gradient across this 1mm, reducing radiative, conductive and evaporative heat losses. Sadly neither their argument or yours appear to have supporting empirical studies.
To much of the AGW doctrine is based on chalk on blackboards and computer models. One thing that many WUWT readers will be aware of is the paucity of empirical testing of the AGW hypothesis. Your suggestion of putting an infra red source over a pan of water was I believe the most sensible part of your post.
This infra red source would need to be emitting only around the 15 micron frequency. The water would need to be salt water at an initial average ocean temperature. An artificial breeze would also be required across the surface of the tank, using air of the appropriate temperature and humidity. A coastal testing location may be appropriate.
I have yet to read a study based on such a test. If you have a link to such a paper Willis, I would greatly appreciate it.

Robin Hewitt
August 15, 2011 3:21 pm

What does it matter? It’s been happening for billions of years without problems, no way is it anthropogenic. Isn’t this a complete red herring in the AGW debate?

August 15, 2011 3:23 pm

Bystander:
In terms of absorbance of radiant energy, the state property of interest is emissivity. Liquid water has an emissivity of about 0.9. Sandstone is closer to 0.7, Basalt 0.7, granite 0.95. So, some land will absorb more radiant energy, including DLR and some will absorb less. Some will indeed be exactly equivalent to water.

August 15, 2011 3:24 pm

Hands – show of hands –
Who HAS swam in Lk Michigan and encountered warm currents on a sunny day?
From whence did they come I wonder?
Anyone – Bueller – Bueller?
.

TimTheToolMan
August 15, 2011 3:25 pm

Get thee back to school Willis 😛
DLR heats the top 10um and the top millimeter has a negative temperature gradient. The very top of the ocean is colder than it is about 1mm down. Think that through and then rephrase your arguments.
Its true the DLR “heats” the ocean but not in the manner you or most others believe. The “heating” is almost entirely related to a reduced rate of cooling. That makes a big difference to how ocean heating should be viewed.

Alexander Duranko
August 15, 2011 3:28 pm

DLR doesn’t exist. It’s the artifact of a mathematical mistake by Sir Arthur Milne in 1922 when he used an infinite atmosphere boundary condition to solve the PDE for IR absorption.
‘Climate science’ made another mistake when it believed the radiometer pointed upwards measured DLR. That signal is real, but exactly counterbalanced at equilibrium by IR in the opposite direction.
Grizzled engineers like me know this because it’s the first law of Radiation – Prevost’s theory of Exchanges [1840].
So the question you pose is irrelevant.

G. Karst
August 15, 2011 3:35 pm

There are a lot of strange and wonderful thing happening in the first mm of water! GK

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 3:38 pm

Here’s an experiment. Let me know how it turns out.
At normal room temperature fill two identical styrofoam cups with water at 98.6F. Hold your hand about a foot over the top of one of them. Your hand will be providing extra downwelling radiation to that cup. After a few hours measure the temperature in both cups. Let me know how much warmer the cup is that had the extra downwelling longwave radiation. Thanks in advance for actually performing an experiment instead of bloviating about physics you don’t understand, Willis.
.
.

cal
August 15, 2011 3:44 pm

Thanks Willis
I have made the point several times before that people who deny the basic physics undermine the efforts of scientists who challenge the AGW theory. If the theory of DLR and its dependence on CO2 was really as flakey as some would suggest the sceptics would have won the argument 20 years ago. The issue is only about the magnitude of the effect not its existence. The trouble is that climate scientists can point to these silly pseudo scientific arguments as justification for ignoring all the sceptics arguments.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 3:48 pm

“Your suggestion of putting an infra red source over a pan of water was I believe the most sensible part of your post.”
Yes, it is. The infrared source should be approximately the same temperature as the water because that’s how it is over the ocean where the air temperature is very near the sea surface temperature. I know what the result will be. Willis is in for a big surprise.

Philip Bradley
August 15, 2011 3:51 pm

The warming of the surface layer of a lake/ocean isn’t evidence that LWR is absorbed. Solar radiation is clearly the primary source of this heating.
In calm tropical oceans, an hour of cloud versus an hour of sunlight has a noticeable effect on how warm the surface layer of water is.
Otherwise, the important question is,
Does the increase in Downwelling LWR (from increased GHGs) cause ocean warming and if so, by how much?
The answer is almost certainly yes it does, but by (much?) less than the climate models predict (and require for their claim of accurately modeling the climate to stand up).

George E. Smith
August 15, 2011 4:03 pm

“”””” Look, folks, there’s lot’s of good, valid scientific objections against the AGW claims, but the idea that DLR can’t heat the ocean is nonsense. Go buy an infrared lamp, put it over a pan of water, and see what happens. It only hurts the general skeptical arguments when people believe and espouse impossible things … “””””
Well first off, an “infrared lamp” has a temperature in the range of about 1000 K and is not too bad an imitator of a black body radiator, being incandescent. That said it emits near infra red radiation that peaks at about 1.0 microns wavelength and also at about 4.0 megaWatts per square metre. Compare that to the average atmosphere which has a Temperature around 288 K, and is emitting wavelengths more in the 10 micron range and about 400 W/m^2.
So your heat lamp is 10,000 times the radiance of the atmosphere, and is spectrally peaked where H2O is an extremely good absorber, in fact at 3.0 microns, H2O has its maximum absorption coefficient of around 10^4 cm^-1..
Why not use an ordinary bottle of water at about 15 deg C (288K) as a source to demonstrate how “downwelling” LWIR radiation heats the ocean.
And that 10-15 micron radiation from the atmosphere is absorbed in more like the top 50 microns (99%) of the surface, not the top mm.
On the other hand, the solar energy can go 100s of metres deep in the oceans before full absorption.
So we are being asked to accept that a thermal energy source at a mean Temperature of about 288K (some say it is only 255K) can thermally excite GHG molecules (CO2), causing them to emit LWIR radiation at a wavelength around 15 microns, and that radiation (well maybe half of it) gets absorbed in the ocean which has a much higher specific heat, and will be absorbed in no more than 50 microns of sea water, most of which is already at a much higher temperature than the 255 or even 288 atmospheric source.
Temperature. The Temperature gradient would seem to be in the wrong direction at the surface, to cause much conduction of that surface “heating” into the depths.. I’ve spent enough time out in the deep oceans to believe that most of the time, the deep oceans are rather calm, and deep mixing due to turbulence is far from the norm.
But as to whether “downwelling” LWIR from GHGs can heat the ocean; I don’t know; I’d like to see the results of some actual measurements that demonstrate the phenomenon.

DR
August 15, 2011 4:05 pm

http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=87
Per Doug Hoyt:

In the laboratory, you can point a 10.6 micron laser at a body of water. Its intensity will be millions of times greater than the intensity increase due to a doubling of carbon dioxide. A thermometer placed just a few centimeters deep in the water will not rise in temperature. It is clear that infrared radiation cannot do bulk heating of water with any efficiency.
At best an increased amount of infrared radiation will slow down any cooling that is occurring. It will not cause a bulk heating.

August 15, 2011 4:07 pm

“You are right. To be accurate, DLR means that the surface is warmer than if the DLR weren’t there. So you are technically correct, but in common parlance we don’t usually say “It slows the cooling so it ends up warmer than it would otherwise”. We just say “it warms it”.”
you know willis I think is one of the major miscommunication problems in radiative physics.
One way to think about it is this.
The shiny surface on a thermos does not warm the coffee inside.
The shiny surface retards the heat loss via radiation.
I sit outside on a freezing winter night with a space blanket.
The blanket doesnt warm me. The blanket slows the heat loss via radiation.
Now go have fun with tallblokes toilet paper experiment

LazyTeenager
August 15, 2011 4:11 pm

I could not have said it any better myself Willis.
But it won’t go away because the desire to believe is stronger than any rational argument. There are even university professors who should know better pushing this particular piece of nonsense.
And if commenters disagree go do the experiment as Willis says.

Stephen Wilde
August 15, 2011 4:18 pm

Of course if that extra downward DLR DOES get into the oceans then we have thousands of years before the ocean temperature would change enough for us to notice any climate effect. The same energy cannot be in two places at once and the heat capacity of the oceans is magnitudes greater than that of air.
Willis, what proportion of DLR do you contend gets into the oceans ?
No, the truth is that it does not warm the oceans but it DOES add to the energy content of the system from those affected molecules upwards through the atmosphere to space.
Thus there IS a climate effect but it is manifested by a change in the surface pressure distribution from more radiation convection conduction and evaporation.
The problem for AGW then is that such changes are miniscule compared to the natural forcings of solar and internal oceanic variability.
Full analysis here:
http://www.irishweatheronline.com/news/environment/wilde-weather/setting-and-maintaining-of-earth%e2%80%99s-equilibrium-temperature/18931.html
This issue is not comparable to denial of the existence of a greenhouse effect. I am here accepting the warming capability of GHGs but simply advancing the description as to how they influence the system and in doing that it is not possible to have such a tiny effect warming up both vast oceans and the atmosphere to a significant degree simultaneously (or even separately) because all they do is accelerate the energy flow through the system to offset that warming effect.
Radiative processes alone need to warm up an entire system to a higher equilibrium temperature in order to regain balance. That is true and the essence of AGW.
In this case radiative processes are not acting alone. Other processes are speeding up the energy flow out to space which reduces the need (or possibly eliminates the need) for any rise in equilibrium temperature for the system as a whole.

DR
August 15, 2011 4:26 pm

It should be very easy to test this per Doug Hoyt’s example.
Sorry, I’m not buying that 100 ppm increase in CO2 can have any measurable effect on ocean temperature.
Water has a shiny surface……

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 4:29 pm

Swift says:
August 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm
“The Science of Doom has the first of a very good multi post series on DLR and the ocean here http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/10/06/does-back-radiation-heat-the-ocean-part-one/
Most of the questions that have been asked and will be asked are answered there.”
The science of doom article has a huge glaring flaw in part two. It uses a simple application of the Stephen-Boltzman law on perfect black bodies to show the temperature of the ocean with and without DLR and concludes DLR must heat the ocean because otherwise it would be -15C instead of plus 15C.
The flaws are twofold. First of all, unlike the surface of a black body, the ocean is a greenhouse unto itself. Shortwave radiation easily penetrates to a depth of some 100 meters depending on clarity. This is absorbed and warms the water. Water is just about totally opaque to long wave radiation so none of that solar heated water below the surface can cool radiatively until it is somehow mechanically transported to the surface. These are the exact same properties that CO2 has – transparency to visible light, opacity to infrared. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If CO2 is a greenhouse gas then the ocean is a greenhouse fluid.
The greenhouse properties of liquid water is what raises its temperature far above what it would be if it were a passive black body surface.
The second flaw in the science of doom black body graph is that black bodies don’t give up heat by evaporation. The ocean does. In fact that’s the primary cooling mechanism. 70% of the solar heat in the ocean escapes by evaporation, 20% via radiation, and 10% via conduction. Moreover the ocean retains a lot solar heat absorbed in the summer and releases it in the winter when the air is dryer and evaporation rate is faster. That’s why there’s a much smaller seasonal temperature change in the ocean versus land. The much greater seasonal temperature variation over land is called continentality.
Willis might have learned a lot about the ocean by sailing, surfing, and diving but he evidently needs to learn more about land by doing some driving and digging. The notion that land and water are equivalent in the way they heat and cool is demonstrates utter ignorance of both.

Myrrh
August 15, 2011 4:31 pm

Firstly, who uses “DLR”? Do you mean downwelling thermal infrared? And what do you mean argument against warmistas that it can’t?? The warmistas claim it can’t!
What an odd distortion. The AGWScience argument is that it is “Solar” energy of Visible Light and the two shortwaves either side of UV and Near Infrared which heat land and oceans. They say that longwave infrared, thermal infrared, doesn’t play any part in heating the land and oceans. That’s the picture they give of the Earth as a ‘greenhouse’, that shortwave visible gets through the ‘glass’ of the atmosphere and heats the ground, land and oceans, and thermal long wave infrared doesn’t get through ‘the glass atmosphere’, but then radiates out from the ground and gets trapped by the ‘glass/atmosphere’.
This is ‘standard’ teaching on it, the AGWScience fiction meme gone viral in the general education system – ‘everyone’ takes it so much for granted because it has been so successfully brainwashed.
“When the outer atmosphere or the ozone layer does not trap short wave radiation from the sun, it penetrates the surface of the Earth. This energy is then re-radiated back as energy of a longer wavelength (infrared). This leads to a warming of the Earth’s surface and the lower atmosphere.” http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/ess/Units/Unit2/U2L5A.html
Light waves, the short electromagnetic of Visible, and the two shortwaves either side are not capable of heating land or oceans. The AGWScience meme is junk science. It claims that blue visible light heats water!!
How???
It’s an argument I’ve been having for quite a while with folks here, those ‘educated’ into believing it, I’m so glad you brought it up.
Just to get this straight. The AGWScience fiction claim is that shortwave converts to heat land and oceans and longwave thermal is radiated out – downwelling SHORTWAVE, Light, upwelling LONGWAVE, heat. By “Solar” they mean these shortwaves and not longwave thermal infrared. See the Kiel/Trenberth 1997 for the AGWScience fiction Basic Energy Balance on which all the has been built. They’ve been denying that longwave thermal infrared heats the Earth!
It’s been the same claim for rather a long time, so long in fact, that even ‘skeptics’ think it is real physics. It’s gobbledegook. Here’s an example: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/07/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-light-and-heat
“Solar “light” radiation in = Earth “heat” radiation to Space out! That’s old news to those of us who understand all energy is fungible (may be converted to different forms of energy)”
Forget about the watts in/watts out and all the aguments about ‘backradiation’ – it’s the basic physics that is unadulterated d cr*p here…
This perverse physics which has given thermal ability to light, shortwave, and denied that longwave thermal infrared heats the Earth has been systematically taken out of references whenever it can be. AGWScience fiction plays around with properties and processes. The example I found earlier of a NASA page for children which taught the real physics that thermal infrared is the heat we feel from the Sun has been dropped – and this nonsense that thermal infrared doesn’t even reach the Earth’s surface has been put in its place – here’s the post:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/28/spencer-and-braswell-on-slashdot/#comment-711886
Thanks for trying with the secure connection Anthony, but you go away for the day and it’s back to the same old interference.. It was good while it lasted.

August 15, 2011 4:31 pm

Willis, Gary Wilson, crosspatch, Climate Weenie etc …
I am not sure what the main thrust of this post is (or is ssupposed to be).
The existence of IR radiation downwards is not disputed AFAIK. But as already pointed out, the IR-exchange between to bodies depends on mainly their respective temperatures, and for gases also the spectral properties of the radiating molecules.
And since noone disputes that the net heat flux from the earth’s and ocean surfaces is outgoing, everybody is aware of that in- and outgoing IR-radiation mustbe there at the same time. They are counterparts of each other. The net heating of the surface is by sunlight short wave radiation, making it all the way to the surface. (There is also a part of the sun’s IR being absorbed in the atmosphere and there reradiated in all directions, so that part of the ‘downwelling’ IR also originates from the sun, and only the remainder can be attributed to the ‘greenhouse effect’, but thats a minor detail).
The ‘greenhouse effect’ slowers the IR-radiating cooling mechanism (which would be zero if one had a perfect 100% IR-mirror holding it just above the surface). The net received heat must however be cooled away (in steady state) and the other available cooling mechanisms are mechanical transfer of heat through: Thermal convection and transport of phase-transitioned water vapor, both being heat transported uppwards from the surface.
I don’t think you’ve got this wrong, but I object to the notion that there are ~170 W/m2 (SW-sun)) plus ~330 W/m2 (atmospheric DLR), adding upp to a ~500 W/m2 total. Because the the DLR part is an ongoing inner process, which is only ~half of an ongoing exchange, which by necessity has and must have flows in both directions. between two adjacent bodies each with a temperature. The outgoing counterpart being somewhat larger, ~390 W/m2.
There are only a total of ~342 W/m2 of heating available, and all of that is from the sunlight. Inner processes are going on inside the atmosphere, that’s true. But saying that ~500 W/m2 heats the earth’s surfaces is awkward.

Mark.R
August 15, 2011 4:41 pm

Here in Christchurch N.Z i take ground temperatures at one metre deep.
The ground temp ranges between 8.9c(record, recorded in the last 3 weeks) to a high of 16.8c in summer. What iv noticed when we get a warm sunny day (say 26c) and even if the next 2 days are only 18-20c( cloudy or sunny ) i get a 0.2c increase in the ground temp 3 days after the warm day.The same happens when we get a cold day too 3 days latter a drop in the ground temp of 0.2c.
If we have a prolonged cloudy period say 2weeks temps at one metre underground only change about 0.3c over that period(usually down).If the skys are clearer over the same period the temp can go up or down by up to 1c.
My conclusion is then that DLR even gos deeper into the ground than what most think.

August 15, 2011 4:43 pm

In a discussion elsewhere on this topic, I made a mechanical analogy (for the case of perfect IR-radiation insulation, ie 100% greenhouse effect):

Another highschool example: A balancing scale has a weight of its own, say 2kg. Its function depends on that at zero (external) load the 1kg on either side perfectly balance/cancel each other out, ie equilibrium (mechanical here, thermal with a perfect insulator). Adding 40g on the tray alters that, making the scale tip towards one side.
[Warmist troll] now says: a) You cannot account for the tipping without the 1kg already on that side (true), b) the 1kg contributes much more than these tiny 40g, and c) you are ignoring the 1kg already there!
[Jonas replies: a)moot, b) nonsensical and c) wrong]

The analogy is undefirmed mechanical equlibrium, corresponds to thermal equlibrium (all temperatures being equal), and that deformed state, due to external load (or heat source) correspond to thermal steady state, with net deformation and/or net heat flow, determined uniquely by the the external load, and where it is applied.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 4:46 pm

Yet another general misconception is that all the water molecules in any arbitrarily thin layer are at the same temperature. That isn’t how it works. Some of those molecules are boiling hot and some are ice cold. The average of many of them is the temperature. Evaporation occurs because at any one time some water molecules get bumped, literally, over the edge of latent heat of vaporization. If they are surrounded by other water molecules they don’t get to stay vaporized because they are surrounded by cooler molecules which they bump into and give up the heat. However, if they are on the surface, they have a free path to leave as a molecule of water vapor.
Downwelling IR, because it can’t penetrate more than a few microns, is continually bumping surface molecules over the edge of latent heat of fusion and they fly away. For those molecules that don’t get enough of a bump they don’t mix downwards because wave and winds causing mixing well below the surface not actually on the surface and second because warmer water rises above cooler water. At the end of the day downwelling IR does not cause any significant heating (or, for pedants, lowered rate of cooling). All it does is raise the evaporation rate and the energy is carried aloft as latent heat of vaporization and doesn’t get released to the environment as sensible heat until it condenses. The release generally happens at the cloud deck when adiabatic cooling reduces the water vapor temperature below the dewpoint. Downwelling IR warms the cloud deck and has no direct effect on surface temperature. All it does is lowers the temperature gradient of the atmosphere between surface and clouds and raises the temperature gradient between clouds and outer space.

Red Jeff
August 15, 2011 4:57 pm

For what it’s worth, here is a paper that may add to this discussion ‘Induced Emission and Heat Stored by Air, Water and Dry Clay Soil.’ Nasif Nahle http://www.biocab.org/Induced_Emission.html
“Abstract: In this paper, I have resorted to basic formulas obtained from experimentation and observation by several scientists for calculating the heat stored by any substance and the subsequent change of temperature caused on a determined system. I demonstrate that the climate of Earth is driven by the oceans, the ground surface and the subsurface materials of the ground. I explain also how the photon streams from oceans, ground and subsurface materials of ground overwhelm the emission of photons from the atmosphere to the ground during both daytime and nighttime…. Concluding, atmospheric gases do not cause any warming of the surface given that induced emission prevails over spontaneous emission. During daytime, solar irradiance induces air molecules to emit photons towards the surface; however, the load of Short Wave Radiation (SWR) absorbed by molecules in the atmosphere is exceptionally low, while the load of Long Wave Radiation (LWR) emitted from the surface and absorbed by the atmosphere is high and so leads to an upwelling induced emission of photons which follows the outgoing trajectory of the photon stream, from lower atmospheric layers to higher atmospheric layers, and finally towards outer space. The warming effect (misnamed “the greenhouse effect”) of Earth is due to the oceans, the ground surface and subsurface materials. Atmospheric gases act only as conveyors of heat.”

August 15, 2011 5:00 pm

In peril of sounding like a Warmista, which I’m not, what else could possibly heat the oceans but long wave IR? Reminds me of if not CO2 then what else could it be…. Nothing that I can think of. Well, maybe not the oceans but the near shore waters have another possible explanation.
Back in the 80’s I had a boat and often went to Egmont Key, an island on the mouth of Tampa Bay – beautiful pristine clear waters. One time, and against my better judgement, we went out on Labor Day. Along a 1-mile beachfront I found only one spot where I could back up an 8-foot beam boat onto the beach. While there I did some back of the napkin calculations on the amount of beer consumed by the hundreds of people there, and the resulting urine going into the water at 98-degrees or so. Story short, the waters close to the beach were a lot warmer :). And I stayed out of it!
Best,
J.

Sun Spot
August 15, 2011 5:05 pm

re: Alexander Duranko says: August 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm
Anyone ???, I’m hearing crickets on this item.

Anything is possible
August 15, 2011 5:07 pm

What is the primary source of DLR over the tropical oceans?
Any chance It would happen to be water vapor?

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 5:15 pm

steven mosher says:
August 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm

One way to think about it is this.
The shiny surface on a thermos does not warm the coffee inside.
The shiny surface retards the heat loss via radiation.

The reflective surface is not the primary mode of insulation. “Thermos” is a brand name that became attached to all of what were orginally known as “vacuum flasks”. The primary means of insulation is the vacuum between the inner vessel and outer walls which stops almost all conductive heat transfer. Most the remaining heat loss is blocked by the reflective coating. That’s why laying tin foil over non-reflective attic insulation doesn’t help a whole lot but does help some.

August 15, 2011 5:20 pm

Addition to the 1:st of my posts just above: The net heat flux (in thermal steady state) in and out from any surface is of cause zero:
I was referring to the net of the IR-radiation. The non-short-wave-radiations from the sun, hitting the earth’s surface of course equals the net heat loss from the very same surface. Due to the three different cooling mechanisms: IR exchange with adjacent bodies, qater evaporation and thermal convections (conduction too, but negligable here)

Rosco
August 15, 2011 5:21 pm

You lost me when you quoted that insolation is reduced to 170 W/sq m at the surface while DLR is more than 4 times the 70 W/sq m you say is accounted for by evaporation – ie ~280 W/sq m.
I guess reality is dead.
How can DLR exceed insolation ? That is impossible !

Bebben
August 15, 2011 5:22 pm

“If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going? It can’t be heating the air, because the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass.”
This beats me. The big ocean with its enourmous heat capacity warms the small atmosphere with its little heat capacity and then the big ocean is heated by the small atmosphere with its little heat capacity, again and again. Like if I should be pounding with my own straight lefts on Mike Tyson.
I kinda sniff that something is seriously wrong here…
Or maybe, if you take the radiation approach, you always have to consider radiation in two directions, like Kiehl and Trenberth. Isn’t this correct? Then the net radiation is outgoing (sum of two vectors) and the DLR is negative so it doesn’t heat the ocean.
Simple as that. From a layman’s perspective, that is.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 5:24 pm

Sun Spot says:
August 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm
re: Alexander Duranko says: August 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm
“Anyone ???, I’m hearing crickets on this item.”
It’s so wrong it’s not worth a response would be my guess. That’s certainly why I didn’t bother. A cheap remote IR thermometer aimed upward on a clear night with air temperature exactly the same with the only difference being humidity will register a higher temperature on the more humid night. A rather expensive gadget costing in the five figure range can measure DLR day or night under any conditions. It’s called a pyrgeometer. Doesn’t every grizzled old engineer have one of those puppies on his bench sitting between his ohmmeter and oscilloscope? /sarc

August 15, 2011 5:34 pm

Judith Curry posts another round of Slaying the Greenhouse Dragon: Part IV by Vaughan Pratt at Climate Etc.
(Willis is clearer)

August 15, 2011 5:36 pm

As we all know, heat is transferred by conduction, convection and radiation. If the top 50 micrometers of the ocean is warmed by IR, wouldn’t those molecules slough off their extra energy almost instantly via conduction, warming the adjacent molecules? And so on, transferring the heat deeper into the ocean. Am I missing something?

Latitude
August 15, 2011 5:43 pm

Smokey says:
August 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm
=============================================
Me too Smokey…..I know I’m missing something
We don’t plant tomatoes until we can dig down a good foot and a half and the soil has warmed up…

Rosco
August 15, 2011 5:51 pm

I cannot see why it is considered valid to reduce the insolation to Earth by a factor of 3/4 because half the earth is in darkness at any one time and a disk has half the area of a hemisphere.
Almost nowhere on earth therefore receives the 234 W/sq m used to calculate the fictional minus 18/19 C.
Surely the whole of the tropics is subjected to an insolation 2-3 times more than this figure during a significant portion of any day and then it commences cooling at night.
The mean is meaningless and ought not be used. I refuse to believe DLR heats the earth more than the sun – it defies logic.
The real question we ought to consider is given space is ~3 K why is it Earth isn’t even colder ?
Perhaps then we may perform better analyses than being done at present.
Even IPCC documents quote higher insolation figures than the oft quoted 235 W/sq m but they trickily often lead with the Kiehl & Trenberth diagram which defies logic or science.
You can’t argue with someone who is trying to deceive you and using a model which in no way reflects reality is deception.

Rosco
August 15, 2011 5:54 pm

How do they calculate the work of the earth’s climate system or is radiation the only game in town ?

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 6:02 pm

gnomish says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm
“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_pond”
Solar ponds are shallow, need a dark bottom, and have to be shielded from turbulence so that saline stratification can occur. The mode of operation is that visible light from the sun is absorbed by the dark bottom and that conductively heats the water from the bottom up. The high salinity of the bottom water changes the temperature/density relationship such that the hot brine can’t rise off the bottom and mix with the low salinity layer on the top.
The ocean is nothing like that. It is effectively bottomless with regard to light from the sun and no signifcant saline stratification occurs in the mixed surface layer which absorbs the solar radiation.
.

August 15, 2011 6:13 pm

First, should it not be an extremely simple task (for a scientist) to measure how much DLR there is? That way it can be determined how much it heats. Say for instance, you cover the ground in a substance that can measure the DLR to some precision out in the open air. Then you move a DLR reflective surface on top and ULR absorbing surface on the bottom over top of the measuring substance, and measure it again without most of the atmosphere shooting the DLR downward.
I hear all the thermodynamics arguments of whether radiative energy can warm an item, but is that really the question we are looking for? I just have not seen any evidence that much radiation ever returns to the surface, if it really increases based on the amount of greenhouse gas present, even with the experiment being done in a laboratory where you can limit the number of contributing factors to come out with a realistic starting point.

gnomish
August 15, 2011 6:14 pm

Dave Springer says:
” Most the remaining heat loss is blocked by the reflective coating. That’s why laying tin foil over non-reflective attic insulation doesn’t help a whole lot but does help some.”
on the floor, where little heat is lost by conduction and absolutely none by convection, a layer of foil, shiny side up, will provide quite excellent insulation – that floor will be the warmest one in the house. next time you tile a floor, try it. it works great.
if you consider co2 functioning as a mirror for IR, then it’s obvious that it is preventing heating from above exactly as much as it is preventing cooling below – except at night, of course.
now, if you could bring that agw ocean.in.a.bottle out of the virtual world inhabited by alarmist witch doctors, the computer models might apply. but not in real life.
no real ocean is anything like that. there is a constant flow of water gas from surface to stratosphere (and back). any co2 gets swept along in a refigeration cycle by the hadley heat pump. it does not sit like a reflective shield over the sea.
you can add all the shiny crap you want to the freon in your air conditioner – it will not alter the efficiency of the refrigeration cycle through radiation physics.
similarly, the heat pump of the hadley cell- IR radiation exchange within the flux has zero effect on the transfer efficiency.
adding heat capacity, however (and co2 is a bit more dense than elemental gasses) improves the efficiency, not the opposite as claimed by the fetishist rent seekers.

DocMartyn
August 15, 2011 6:15 pm

Phytoplankton are packed with chlorophyll and other chromophores. The IR spectrum of different chlorophylls is well known,
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC540707/pdf/plntphys00384-0069.pdf
Plants are only green because we can’t see very far into the red.
The classical way to cool a white light source, for doing photolysis, is to place a round bottomed flask full of water in the beam. This stops sample heating.

richard verney
August 15, 2011 6:18 pm

Willis
First of all and importantly, we are not talking about mm but rather microns. Due to the wavelength, DWLWIR cannot penetrate more than a few microns into water. The problem is that nearly always these first few microns of the ocean are divorced from the ocean being in reality wind swept spume and spray. These few microns are therefore, in the limit, not connected with the ocean and thus even if there was sme physical process (which no one on the warmist side has yet sought to explain) whereby heat can in effect be conducted downwards, it beggars belief that there can be any transport of the warmer micron layer into the bulk ocean. The most likely scenario is that the DWLWIR absorbed by these first few microns are heated and evaporate thereby causing cooling not warming. As you know, the ocean is constantly evaporating and in your earlier article, you discuss the cloud formation which is the result of this evaporation. The DWLWIR cannot overcome the evaporative and convectional forces that are at play (which forces have principally been driven by solar energy). If you like the DWLWIR cannot swim against the tide.
Your dismissal of the first argument is with respect complete and utter rubbish. The DWLWIR absored by the first few microns of the ocean is burnt off and evaporates thereby preventing any transport of heat into the deeper ocean. There is no equivalent process with respect to the land. Rocks or sand or tarmac or whatever does not get burnt off and evaporate away. Further, I suspect that there is a large number of people who consider that backradiation cannot heat the land. Whilst the warmists struggle to describe the basics of their conjecture, many armist acept that backradiation does not heat but rather it acts in some way akin to a blanket and reduces the rate of heat loss, ie., because of backradiation the land cools slower than would be the case if there were no backradiation.
As regards the second argument. DWLWIR is not heat. We all know that the DWLWIR cannot effectively heat anything and cannot do sensible work. That is why no one is seeking to utilise the alleged 333 mw per sqm of backradiation and use this to cure the world’s energy needs. After all, according to Trenberth, the backradiation is nearly twice the solar energy and if it was truly a source of heat or if it could truly do work, man would exploit this valuable resource.
As regards argument 3, I dealt with that at the outset. We are taliking about the first few microns which is wind swept spume and spray and which if anything is evaporated (eventually giving rise to the clouds in your earlier post) and never mixes with the bulk of the ocean.
As regards argument 4, I believe that I have had that argument with you before. One of the biggest problems in the AGW debate is that climate scientists seek to deal with averages. However, this hides what is going on. The reality is that huge amounts of solar energy are being input into the tropical oceans such that these oceans would never freeze. The heat being absorbed by these oceans is then transported towards the poles with the ocean current conveyor belt acting as a huge heat pump distributing the heat absorbed by the tropical oceans. Of course, by late summer/winter there is not quite enough energy being absorbed by the tropical oceans to offset the reduced solar energy being received by say the Artic ocean such that that ocean begins to freeze over.
I had enjoyed your previous recent articles but this latest one is very light weight and nothing more than conjecture.
If you want to suggest that the oceans would be frozen but for the absorption of backradiation, you need to do 2 things. First, prove that DWLWIR is absorbed to a significnt degree by the oceans. Second, you need to carry out a calculation for each kilometre square of ocean based upoj the amount of solar energy received by the ocean at that point and ignoring DWLWIR and detailing at what point in time that part of the ocean would freeze.
Presently, I am extremely sceptical of the points that you raise and consider that they fall well short of discharging the burden of proof that lies on someone claiming that DWLWIR heats the oceans and prevents them from freezing. .

August 15, 2011 6:19 pm

Merrick says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm
Small issue of heat capacity notwithstanding.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 6:29 pm

1DandyTroll says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm
“So a IR lamp directed at a one square meter tub of water of say one meter in depth to radiate the surface at 170W wouldn’t warm that body of water if it was circulating?”
Not if it’s longwave infrared. An “IR” lamp emits shortwave infrared and a significant amount of visible red light which will penetrate and heat both the water and the walls of the vessel. The infrared coming from the air above the ocean is emitted by a source that’s about the same temperature as the water. DLR cannot possibly warm the water warmer than the air from which the DLR comes from. The argument is over whether it can slow down the rate of cooling. So the experiment to try would be taking two vessels of warm water, say 100F, and suspending a third vessel with water at the same temperature over one of them. The third vessel is your “heat lamp”. If the DLR from the third vessel is capable of slowing down the cooling rate then as all the vessels cool down to room temperature the one without the LWIR “lamp” over it will cool more slowly and you should be able to see this with a therometer in each of the test vessels after some period of time.
Actually duplicating what happens over the ocean makes it sound a lot less likely to the lay person that the “lamp” hung in the air over one of the vessels is going to make any difference in the cooling rate of the vessel beneath it once they realize that the “lamp” is an object the same temperature as the water. Otherwise they imagine the kind of heat lamp commonly used for home heating purposes which has a heated element hot enough to glow cherry red.
“If it only heats the first mm why then are several inches usually warm when going swimming? Or is that an odd question?”
Visible sunlight is heating it far deeper than 1mm with decreasing effectiveness over increasing depth so more heat is added nearer the surface. Without significant turbulence a warm surface layer develops. This discussion isn’t about visible light. It’s about longwave infrared light. There’s very little LWIR in sunlight. Virtually all the LWIR that shines on the surface is LWIR emitted from the surface where a portion of it is reflected back downwards from the atmosphere above it. More or less is reflected back down depending on the exact composition of the gases.

George E. Smith
August 15, 2011 6:31 pm

“”””” Dave Springer says:
August 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm
Yet another general misconception is that all the water molecules in any arbitrarily thin layer are at the same temperature. That isn’t how it works. Some of those molecules are boiling hot and some are ice cold. The average of many of them is the temperature. “””””
Do you want to take a Mulligan on that one Dave ?
At any given Temperature, the average kinetic energy per molecule has some specific value, but the individual molecules have energies which plot as some Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, which puts the most probable velocity at some value, and tends to cluster the velocities at the low energy side of the peak, giving a long tail on the high energy side; but theoretically having no upper bound on the maximum energy.
For any sample that is at some fixed Temperature, this distribution of velocities (energies) is constant. But any individual molecule can at any time adopt any possible value of energy, as a result of collisions with its neighbors. The thermodynamic Temperature is defined in terms of that distribution and the mean energy per molecule.
I have argued that since the M-B distribution is always fully populated, and any molecule can at any time be anywhere in that distribution, that for any individual molecule, the time averaged distribution of energies , must be the same M-B distribution of the whole population, so one can argue that any individual molecule, has a Temperature that is the same time averaged distribution of kinetic energies as the population as a whole has.
It is not true that near by molecules can have greatly different Temperatures, simply because they have greatly different instantaneous energies.
For example, there is absolutely no tendency for an individual molecule that currently has a high KE (velocity) to seek out and target a neighboring molecule, that has a much lower energy and velocity. The directions of two such molecules are entirely random; and whereas heat would tend to flow in the direction of the highest Temperature gradient; that is only true over time, and nothing would stop the slowest molecule in the bunch from colliding with the fastest; but that is just a random event; not a directed result.

Keith Minto
August 15, 2011 7:01 pm

I have expressed this before, I consider that at least some of the water vapour released from the ocean skin is condensed well before it drifts magically upwards in a pristine state to condense only at a certain altitude.
If the air at the ocean surface is humid that means it has already condensed and released its heat; there are plenty of nuclei available, salt, DMS, dust particles near land.
This could be a source of DLR.

richard verney
August 15, 2011 7:03 pm

When considering the point raised by Willis, it is important to bear in mind that due to the wavelength of solar light, solar light can penetrate well to a 10 a depth of metre or even more ( indeed, it can penetrate to a limiyed extent as far as about 100m). If you can see the bottom of the sea bed, you can see how far solar light can penetrate.
However, the DWLWIR being re-radiated by the GHGs is of a wavelength that can penetrate no more than a few microns into water. Crispin in Waterloo (August 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm) gives a good explanation of the physical processes that are going on and details why the DWLWIR does not make its way to any significant extent into the ocean.
Accordingly, when one goes diving or snorkelling one can feel warm layers of water (sometimes due to currents) and one can feel the warmth of the sunlight. It is solar energy that is absorbed and which heats the water.
The so called greenhouse effect works differently over land than over water. There is a significant diurnal temperature range over land, but very little diurnal range over the deep oceans. It may be that over land, DWLWIR helps the keeping of night tme temperatures up, by reducing the rate of heat loss from the land. However, over the oceans, night time temperatures do not drop off because in the limit (by which I mean for the period of darkness), the ocean itself is an all but limitless heat source having the ability to constantly replenished the air temperature above it. Further, over oceans there is high humidity such that the effects of CO2 if any are substantially dwarfed.by the effects of water vapour and the water vapour being evaporated from the ocean beneath it acts so as to impede DWLWIR coming from the atmosphere high above.

richard verney
August 15, 2011 7:12 pm

@Willis Eschenbach says: August 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm
“…You are right. To be accurate, DLR means that the surface is warmer than if the DLR weren’t there. So you are technically correct, but in common parlance we don’t usually say “It slows the cooling so it ends up warmer than it would otherwise”. We just say “it warms it”.
///////////////////////////////
It is only in climate science that such a statement could be made!!!
It is akin to a bioligist claiming that he has created life by not killing a laboratory rat. Sure, by not killing the rat, the net effect is that you have a living rat, but not killing something is not the same as giving life to something. Likewise slowing the rate of cooling is not the same as warming. They are quite different processes. No wonder climate science is so off the rails.
One obvious reason why Trenberth cannot find his missing heat in the oceans is that it never made its way into the oceans because DWLWIR does not heat the oceans.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 7:28 pm

@Willis
Point by point flaws:
“Argument 1. People claim that because the DLR is absorbed in the first mm of water, it can’t heat the mass of the ocean. But the same is true of the land.”
No, it isn’t. Land doesn’t evaporate. Neither does land allow sunlight to warm it uniformly down to any significant depth. That’s why the surface of a lake doesn’t get as hot during the day as a blacktop parking lot and why the lake won’t get as cold at night as parking lot. The solar heating of the parking lot is concentrated on the surface. It gets far hotter during the day and gives up the heat far quicker at night.
“Argument 2. If the DLR isn’t heating the water, where is it going? It can’t be heating the air, because the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass. If DLR were heating the air we’d all be on fire.”
The energy is going into latent heat of vaporization. That is the very large amount of energy that water absorbs going from liquid phase to vapor phase with no change in temperature. No change in temperature is why it’s called “latent” heat. The energy needed to turn a pound of water into a pound of water vapor at the same temperature is about 1000 times as much as it takes to raise the temperature of a pound of water by 1F. Water vapor of course rises until adiabatic cooling lowers its temperature below the dewpoint but I’m presuming you already knew how clouds form even if you didn’t know how much energy is transported in the form of latent heat from surface to cloud.
“Argument 3. The claim is often made that warming the top millimetre can’t affect the heat of the bulk ocean. But in addition to the wind-driven turbulence of the topmost layer mixing the DLR energy downwards into lower layers, heating the surface affects the entire upper bulk temperature of the ocean every night when the ocean is overturning.”
Wrong and wrong. Wind driven turbulence doesn’t mix down the top 10 micrometers. That’s a film thinner than the wall of a bubble where viscous forces overwhelm other forces. There’s very little diurnal turning in deep bodies of water and again viscosity is the overwhelming force in the top few micrometers preventing it from mixing deeper. Major turning of deep bodies of water is seasonal not diurnal. If you had much experience with deep freshwater lakes year round (I live on the shore of one) you’d know that from experience – you can smell it when it overturns in the springtime. The ocean is no different in that respect which also explains why so much summer heating is retained and released in the winter causing far less seasonal temperature variation than that of land surfaces at the same latitude.
“Argument 4. Without the heating from the DLR, there’s not enough heating to explain the current liquid state of the ocean. ”
Wrong again. Liquid water has the same properties as water vapor when it comes to being transparent to visible light and opaque to infrared. The same properties that make water vapor a greenhouse gas make liquid water a greenhouse fluid. The difference is that liquid water is like water vapor on steroids since there’s more water in the first meter of the ocean than there is water vapor in the column of air above it and sunlight penetrates far beyond the first meter.
You have really failed to think through any of these arguments. You experience sailing and surfing and diving isn’t serving you well at all in understanding the physics of water.

Bob_FJ
August 15, 2011 7:35 pm

Tallbloke @ August 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm seems to have kicked off the concept that DLR is absorbed in what is a nano-skin of the water from where it is rapidly reemitted.

“…Argument four is a numerical misunderstanding. The ocean surface very efficiently absorbs 95% of DLR, and promptly re-emits half of that (the other 5% being reflected). The other half makes it another couple of molecules deeper and then the molecules it warms become more buoyant than their neighbours and rise to the top, losing another half upwards…”

Others have added supportive arguments, to which I’d like to add a point:
I think an important aspect of this concept is that it is an inconceivably rapid process, so fast that wave action and water turn-over etc is not a consideration. Since it all happens so fast in a very thin skin, those naughty photons and evaporating molecules radiate hemispherically back into the air where their free path lengths are very much longer and things are more complicated.

August 15, 2011 7:37 pm

Dave Springer,
Since the ocean doesn’t glow in the infrared, it seems to me that when a water molecule receives an IR photon, it immediately sloughs off the extra energy through conduction to adjacent water molecules. Some of the energy is probably contributing to vaporization, but the air even right above the ocean surface is usually not 100% R.H., so there’s not a lot of vaporization going on. And of course, something is warming the oceans.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 7:38 pm

Trenberth et al are looking in the wrong direction for the “missing heat”. After making a quick pitstop in the cloud deck the missing heat from the last 50 years is now unformally distributed radiation in a sphere surrounding the earth with a radius of 50 light years. They aren’t going to find the missing heat looking down into the ocean. It just ain’t there.

Kevin Kilty
August 15, 2011 7:42 pm

Often I find these threads when all others are long since gone, but this one looked like beating up a straw man to me, so I am now glad to have missed it. I have always assumed that when people say “LW does not warm the ocean”, they mean LW does not propagate in the bulk ocean. To have LW warm the bulk ocean requires absorption at the surface and transfer to depth by other means. It does not behave like SW, which I think is the idea most people are trying to convey.
One is not going to illustrate much about heat transfer in a fluid like water using arguments that exclude some modes of heat transfer.

August 15, 2011 7:45 pm

Anyone who has a pool knows full well that the top few inches gets warm first. That goes down quite deep, even in a pool where there is little turbulence (ie not being used) by the end of the day.
If the pool is being used, that warm water is spread pretty much all through.
I would imagine the sea would behave in the same way, and my experience when out surfing makes me believe it is.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 7:49 pm

Smokey says:
August 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm
“Dave Springer,
Since the ocean doesn’t glow in the infrared,”
The ocean certainly does glow in the infrared. All matter with a temperature above absolute zero glows in some portion of the spectrum. Discounting glow from rarified ionized gases the glow is pretty much a continuous blackbody spectrum with a center frequency set by its temperature. The difference between land and ocean is that it glows a lot less than land does because most of the energy leaving travels as latent heat of vaporization. The dearth of infrared energy leaving the ocean is made up for by an increase of infrared energy coming out of the cloud deck where that latent heat is being transported to and released.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 7:57 pm

Keith Minto says:
August 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm
“If the air at the ocean surface is humid that means it has already condensed and released its heat;”
Wrong. You can see it if it condenses. If it condenses near the surface we call it fog. If it condenses farther up we call it clouds. In either case you can see it after it condenses. If you can’t see it then it hasn’t condensed.

Anonymoose
August 15, 2011 7:58 pm

“believe that DLR can heat the land”
If DLR doesn’t heat the land, the borehole temperature measurements don’t make sense. If heat can penetrate ground without convection, it can penetrate water.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 8:05 pm

richard verney says:
August 15, 2011 at 7:12 pm

@Willis Eschenbach says: August 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm
“…You are right. To be accurate, DLR means that the surface is warmer than if the DLR weren’t there. So you are technically correct, but in common parlance we don’t usually say “It slows the cooling so it ends up warmer than it would otherwise”. We just say “it warms it”.
///////////////////////////////
It is only in climate science that such a statement could be made!!!
It is akin to a bioligist claiming that he has created life by not killing a laboratory rat.

I think it’s more like when I told my wife that I earned an extra $20,000 by purchasing a new Corvette instead of a used Ferrari.
The government pulls that one on the taxpayers all the time. They “reduce spending” by increasing it less than they planned. I don’t know who that’s supposed to fool but it won’t work on me and it certainly didn’t fool my wife when I tried it on her.

August 15, 2011 8:22 pm

Smokey says: “Since the ocean doesn’t glow in the infrared, …”
What would lead you to this bizarre conclusion???
For $39 you can buy this “infrared glow meter” from LL Bean to observe water http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/50247?pi=865287&subrnd=0&qs=3021021_pmd_nextag
If you have a little more money, you can buy a weather satellite and use the “infrared glow meter” to determine global SST. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_surface_temperature

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 8:29 pm

@George Smith
“For example, there is absolutely no tendency for an individual molecule that currently has a high KE (velocity) to seek out and target a neighboring molecule, that has a much lower energy and velocity.”
Well sure, it’s not going to seek out slower moving molecules, per se. But it has a greater chance of hitting slower moving targets since they bunch together more.

August 15, 2011 8:38 pm

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/
Complete with experimental evidence. As Willis notes there are much better skeptical arguments. As long as skeptics remain UNSKEPTICAL of bogus skeptical arguments the perception will be that skeptics would not accept the truth if it hit them in the face.
GHGs warm the planet. They do not cool it.
Man’s activities increase GHGs, they do not lower them.
Some general truths that are fully consistent with a skeptical position about catastrophic warming.
When you accept these two facts, then you get to join the science debate. That debate is about
1. How much do GHGs warm the planet
2. Can we and should we do anything about increased GHGs.
But when you try to toss out or deny those basic two facts, you dont get to join the debate.
pretty simple. You wanna know why Willis gets to join the debate? Why spenser gets to join the debate, Lindzen? heck even Monckton.. Because they accept the first two.
If you believe those first two, do a little experiment next time you are on a warmist blog. Announce that you accept those two facts.

August 15, 2011 8:38 pm

Smokey says on August 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm
Dave Springer,
Since the ocean doesn’t glow in the infrared,

Excuse me!? (Smokey or Dave – it’s late an I’m not sure which one wrote the comment)
What do you think you’re seeing on GOES (8–15 µm wavelength) IR satellite image?
I ASSURE YOU lakes/bodies of water *do* show up … and imagery color/shading appears to be proportional to temperature …
Maybe another point is being argued, in which case ‘never mind’ … otherwise take a look for yourselves; pick a region with a body of water for display (like the GREAT LAKES. Remember ground obscured by clouds will read cloud top temperature):
http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/satellite/
.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 8:40 pm

astonerii says:
August 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm
“First, should it not be an extremely simple task (for a scientist) to measure how much DLR there is?”
Absolutely. It’s called pyregeometer. Wanna buy one?
http://www.meteorologyshop.eu/Pyrgeometer/ENG_276_EUR_264_1173__.html
A bargain at a mere 5000 euros but if you want to pinch some pence you can wait for the after-Christmas sale in January when they deeply discount the last year’s models to make shelf space for the newer models. /sarc

August 15, 2011 8:45 pm

astonerii . yes there is experimental evidence.
“However, some have insisted that there is a paradox here – how can a forcing driven by longwave absorption and emission impact the ocean below since the infrared radiation does not penetrate more than a few micrometers into the ocean? Resolution of this conundrum is to be found in the recognition that the skin layer temperature gradient not only exists as a result of the ocean-atmosphere temperature difference, but also helps to control the ocean-atmosphere heat flux. (The ‘skin layer‘ is the very thin – up to 1 mm – layer at the top of ocean that is in direct contact with the atmosphere). Reducing the size of the temperature gradient through the skin layer reduces the flux. Thus, if the absorption of the infrared emission from atmospheric greenhouse gases reduces the gradient through the skin layer, the flow of heat from the ocean beneath will be reduced, leaving more of the heat introduced into the bulk of the upper oceanic layer by the absorption of sunlight to remain there to increase water temperature. Experimental evidence for this mechanism can be seen in at-sea measurements of the ocean skin and bulk temperatures.”

August 15, 2011 8:48 pm

“Since the ocean doesn’t glow in the infrared, it seems to me that when a water molecule receives an IR photon, it immediately sloughs off the extra energy through conduction to adjacent water molecules. ”
What? How do you think SST is measured?

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 8:57 pm

_Jim says:
August 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm
“Dave Springer,
Since the ocean doesn’t glow in the infrared,
Excuse me!? (Smokey or Dave – it’s late an I’m not sure which one wrote the comment)
What do you think you’re seeing on GOES (8–15 µm wavelength) IR satellite image?”
Smokey said it, not me. I quickly corrected him.
What are we seeing on GOES? That depends. You have be looking through some pretty narrow IR windows to see the temperature of the ocean. When viewing a spectrograph from above there are a great many step changes across the spectrum. The tops of each step follow a blackbody curve for a different temperature. The highest steps follow the curve of the ocean temperature. Clear sky only of course. You can’t see through clouds.

anna v
August 15, 2011 8:57 pm

Dave Springer says:
August 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm
The difference between land and ocean is that it glows a lot less than land does because most of the energy leaving travels as latent heat of vaporization.
The ocean starts from a much lower temperature than the land, in sunlight. One can cook eggs on a rock at noon, when the sea is barely 25C in my region of Greece.
The whole package of energy balance as treated by climatology is a mess, in my opinion. They take two meter temperatures when the ground can be up to 60 and 70C and the two meter 36C, the sea 25C. It is not the air that looses energy to space according to T^4. And all this down welling and up welling confusion is like magicians tricks. There is perfectly adequate thermodynamics to describe all thermal situations accurately. The reason they do this sleight of hand is, in my opinion, that if they take the beaten thermodynamic track, the small increase in the heat capacity of the atmosphere due to the anthropogenic CO2 cannot be beaten up into a bogey through bogus feedback arguments that lead to the energy oven .

August 15, 2011 8:58 pm

Dave Springer says on August 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Wrong again. Liquid water has the same properties as water vapor when it comes to being transparent to visible light and opaque to infrared.

The gaseous state has some different properties, where molecule resonances/vibration modes are more pronounced in gas state molecules like water vapor vs liquid.
An intro (for some perhaps) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_spectroscopy
Note section on “vibrational modes”; this establishes where WV either absorbs or emits energy in certain bands/wavelengths.
WV atmospheric effects as well as liquid water characteristics on the same webpage:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_absorption_by_water#Atmospheric_effects
Of note: “The spectral absorption features of liquid water are shifted to longer wavelengths with respect to the vapor features by approximately 60 nm”
It’s late – maybe I missed something in the discussion prior …
.

Ninderthana
August 15, 2011 9:00 pm

David Springer,
Finally, a victory for solid scientific argument!
On average, the Earth’s surface (both ocean and land) receives 492 W m^-2, 168 W m^-2 from direct sunlight (mostly visible) and 324 W m^-2 from back radiation (mostly infra-red) from the atmosphere. The problem with Will’s argument is that assumes that soil/rock and vegetation act in a similar manner to sea-water.
Both the land and sea are efficient at absorbing visible light, all be it by different mechanisms, however the land is heated far more efficiently by infra-red light than the ocean surface.
On average the Earth surface (both ocean and land) looses 492 W m^-2, 24 W m^-2 by upward convective transport, 78 W m^-2 by evapo-transportation, and 390 W m^-2 by surface radiation.
Most of the 102 W m^-2 that is lost by upward convective transport and evapo-transportation is lost over the oceans and not the land (even if you allow for their differences in area). Will mistakenly compares this 102 W m^-2 with the 324 W m^-2 atmospheric back radiation, when he
should be comparing it to the net infra-red radiation exchange between the ground and the atmosphere/space i.e. 390 W m^-2 (infra-red radiation from the Earth’s surface) – 324 W m^-2 (infra-red back radiation from the atmosphere) = 66 W m^-2.
It is not hard to see that over the oceans the 102 W m^-2 upward infra-red radiation more than over-powers the net 66 W m^-2 downward infra-red radiation. This is where the energy goes!
Sorry, the infra-red back-radiation may warm the oceans by a small amount but it pales in comparison with the far greater warming that occurs by teh absorption of direct visible radiation
that takes place mostly at the tropics.

August 15, 2011 9:01 pm

Some people seem to be under the mistaken impression that the top few microns will be warmer than the bulk water, but in fact that is wrong. The surface, which acts like a black body for IR light will emit IR very efficiently, thereby cooling the surface.
The “DLR” would keep the surface layer from getting quite so cold, but it is mainly limiting the cooling by radiation that would be occurring. This would keep the top microns of water water than before, but still cooler than the without the DLR.
There also seem to be a misconception that since the visible light can penetrate ~ 100 meters, the heating is occurring ~ 100 m down. IN fact, sunlight will heat the top meter the best, the 2nd meter almost as well. By the time we are to the 100th meter, there will be almost no heating. The top meter will be the warmest (ignoring other details like mixing, other materials in the water, etc). .

Ninderthana
August 15, 2011 9:02 pm

Sorry, the second last paragraph should have read:
It is not hard to see that over the oceans the 102 W m^-2 upward energy loss more than over-powers the net 66 W m^-2 downward infra-red radiation. This is where the energy goes!

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 9:05 pm

@_Jim
Further on spectrograph looking from above. Given the tops of the steps follow a curve for a certain blackbody temperature and given we can see through to the ocean surface we can calculate the temperature difference between the ocean surface and any of the lower steps. Given we also know which gases are causing the lowered steps and given we know the adiabatic lapse rate we can determine the effective emission altitude for any of those gases. Pretty neat, huh? I made a comment in another thread where I did the calculation for CO2 and found it has an effective emission altitude at 15um of about 2000 meters above the surface IIRC.

August 15, 2011 9:07 pm

“jimmi_the_dalek says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm
Indeed, the idea that DLR cannot heat the ocean is one of the spurious arguments that should not be used. There are plenty of others. Far too many comments here claim that the Greenhouse Effect cannot be real “because it is not like a real greenhouse”. Or that it contradicts the first or second laws of thermodynamics. Stick to objecting to the infidelities of computer modelling – there is plenty of uncertainty there – the basic physics is much more secure than some people are willing to concede.

——————————————————————————–
I think this is something to argue. Why is it that the computer models never match reality? The only true answer is that they use incorrect physics or some mistake somewhere. If they correctly modeled the physics of our planet, they should theoritically spit out a good synopsis of weather patterns but alas, they do not. They in fact never agree with each other on local conditions, and globally, well the IPCC itself split the difference and stated 1.5-4.5C. Why is it that they require such large fudge factors in the first place?
The true scientist would have figured this out and realized that the physics was wrong. Go back to the drawing board, find the mistake and plug in over again. No, instead they fudged it. This is important. The part of science and physics is important. The part of getting this correct so that in the future we do not make the same mistakes. The same mistakes applies to a political and/or ideological movement that looks to make energy scarse and drive our economies into the ground. This movement is nothing but an inquisition all over again.
But alas, the physics might be right if the Earth was actually a black body. But we are a water planet. Water is our dominant feature from the oceans to the atmosphere. Since this is the case and the models like I said have never matched reality, we KNOW there is at LEAST one mistake in their physics calculations. I don’t think closing the book on any part of the physics is the greatest idea in the world. Keep an open mind and realize that yes, there is at least one mistake, and I would guess more since greater minds have attempted this issue. I would point most people towards the lapse rate in general (type does not matter…just look at the changes in pressure and how this effects the atmosphere.)
DLR might have a mistake in it, but I am willing to bet that if it does, its a small one. Focus on where the physics is likely wrong (where Dr. Sagen and Hansen got it wrong on Venus for instance) and explore from there. That is where the mistakes are going to be found.
Falsify the physics, and you falsify every GCM out there. Sure, the theory is still supposedly possible, but I think that blow would be enough to settle the science the other way.

August 15, 2011 9:09 pm

Willis, when did you start taking acid again???
“We know the radiative losses of the ocean, which depend only on its temperature, and are about 390 w/m2. In addition there are losses of sensible heat (~ 30 w/m2) and evaporative losses (~ 70 w/m2). That’s a total loss of 390 + 30 + 70 = 490 w/m2.”
A man of your intelligence and learning should NOT be throwing BS like this around. The ocean is NOT losing 390 w/m2. It is losing 390-~320w/m2=~60w/m2 which is far less than the 170w/m2 that it is absorbing. Where that heat comes from for the 30+70 is then quite obvious.
This is the kind of BS that you get involved in when you start ignoring real physics. Now, where is the fabled BACKRADIATION in that equation??
You also mention the air has no thermal mass. The air has enough thermal mass that there would be pretty much no convection if the GHG’s did not transfer their energy to it. It may not hold a candle to water or even the earth, but, it is much more substantial than the thermal mass of the lightweight CO2!!!
So, the answer is equivocal, the LW does NOT heat the ocean, the SW does and the GHG’s spread the heat through the atmosphere or cool the atmosphere depending on the balance at that moment!!! Basically all the DLR goes UP one way or another!!!

August 15, 2011 9:10 pm

Subscribe.

August 15, 2011 9:12 pm

Dave Springer says:
“The ocean certainly does glow in the infrared.”
Yes, of course you’re right. And you’re right that land emits much more IR than the oceans. That was really the comparison I was trying to make. I should not have said the ocean doesn’t emit IR. Most everything does, above absolute zero.

Ninderthana
August 15, 2011 9:18 pm

Just in case some people misunderstand, I had better clarify an important point.
The argument that I have used above involves averages that include both sea and land.
Of course, both the ocean surface and land surface are exposed to ~ 324 W m^-2 infra-red back radiation. The land surfaces absorb virtually all of the 324 W m^-2 and redistributes a large part
to heat subsurface and atmosphere above. Much of this is then re-radiated back to the atmosphere as infra-red light.
The sea surface also absorbs much of the 324 W m^-2 as well. The difference is that this absorption takes place in the top mm or so which is the part of the ocean that is being actively evaporated and transported back into the atmosphere. So little of this absorbed energy actually goes into heating the deeper ocean.

Myrrh
August 15, 2011 9:22 pm

I don’t know where Willis has got the idea that it is the Warmista’s teaching that longwave infrared, (thermal infrared), heats the oceans.. For the last couple of decades it has been the AGWScience fiction meme that only the shortwave Visible (Light) UV & NR, heat the oceans and Thermal Infrared (Heat) doesn’t get through the atmosphere to heat the Earth, it is being taught in schools. It is so viral now that anyone not knowing the real difference between these energies takes it on trust.
“Basic mechanism
The Earth receives energy from the Sun in the form UV, visible, and near IR radiation, most of which passes through the atmosphere without being absorbed. Of the total amount of energy available at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), about 50% is absorbed at the Earth’s surface. Because it is warm, the surface radiates far IR thermal radiation that consists of wavelengths that are predominantly much longer than the wavelengths that were absorbed.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greenhouse_Effect.svg
THIS is the Warmista’s claim. That “Solar” is only Visible and UV and Nr Infrared (which isn’t thermal) and it is only this which heats the land and oceans.
“Solar” in, Thermal IR out.
Willis is spouting bull, don’t know where he got it from, but: You’re arguing against a strawman set up here…
Wakey, wakey.
It’s the sceptics who point out that this is junk science and that it’s Thermal Infrared (Heat), which heats the Earth’s land and oceans, and us.
Here’s some of the post I linked above, which is when it came to light that NASA is not only making it difficult for real physics to be taught to children, but it is deliberately teaching this AGWScience meme that downwelling thermal infrared doesn’t reach the surface.
“..thankyou for posting that link to the NASA site which shows clearly that it has now stopped teaching traditional well-known and understood differences between Light and Heat energies from the Sun and replacing it with AGWScience fiction memes. This corruption of basic science is deliberate and systematic – dumbing down science education for the masses.
I think this agenda should be brought into the spotlight and a comparison of the NASA pages pre and post corruption is an excellent example as it easily conveys the extent this manipulation has reached. NASA’s reputation is being used to promoted science fiction. I am greatly saddened by it.

I’ll pull a few more quotes into what I posted above, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/28/spencer-and-braswell-on-slashdot/#comment-711614 for a better look at the difference.
NASA original page teaching previously traditional real world physics to children: http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/infrared.html

From this NASA page:
“Near infrared” light is closest in wavelength to visible light and “far infrared” is closer to the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The longer, far infrared wavelengths are about the size of a pin head and the shorter, near infrared ones are the size of cells, or are microscopic.
Far infrared waves are thermal. In other words, we experience this type of infrared radiation every day in the form of heat! The heat that we feel from sunlight, a fire, a radiator or a warm sidewalk is infrared.
Shorter, near infrared waves are not hot at all – in fact you cannot even feel them. These shorter wavelengths are the ones used by your TV’s remote control.
Infrared light is even used to heat food sometimes – special lamps that emit thermal infrared waves are often used in fast food restaurants!

compare with:
NASA page now teaching that thermal infrared doesn’t even reach us!: http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/know_l1/emspectrum.html

Electromagnetic radiation from space is unable to reach the surface of the Earth except at a very few wavelengths, such as the visible spectrum, radio frequencies, and some ultraviolet wavelengths. Astronomers can get above enough of the Earth’s atmosphere to observe at some infrared wavelengths from mountain tops or by flying their telescopes in an aircraft.
http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/Images/introduction/emsurface.gif [Graphic showing downwelling infrared from the Sun stopping short of Earth’s surface, not even reaching mountain tops.]
http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/dict_ei.html#em_waves [link from em spectrum page]:
infrared
Electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths longer than the red end of visible light and shorter than microwaves (roughly between 1 and 100 microns). Almost none of the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum can reach the surface of the Earth, although some portions can be observed by high-altitude aircraft (such as the Kuiper Observatory) or telescopes on high mountaintops (such as the peak of Mauna Kea in Hawaii).

From teaching real physics that the heat we all feel from the Sun is thermal infrared, to the new science fiction paradigm from NASA that no infrared even reaches the mountain tops.. This is one step further than the AGWScience fiction KT97 claim, which says near infrared, (the shortwave not thermal in real physics, not hot), is included in their “Solar” downwelling reaching Earth’s surface, (Visible with the two shortwave either side of UV and Nr IR).
KT97 = Kiehl/Trenberth 1997

To put into science terms, if a new idea contradicting well known and understood and tried and tested real physics as taught traditionally is being promoted, then the promoters must provide proof that the traditional teaching is wrong and the new idea right. Eliminating the traditional teaching from the education system does not constitute proof…
Thank you Willis for bringing it to greater attention.

August 15, 2011 9:30 pm

Since we have not yet quantified exact change in numbers of all “GH” molecules in time, namely hundreds of water vapor molecules, in the atmosphere, it is nonsense to quarrel how much surface warming is caused by one (bad) molecule of CO2 per 10,000 other molecules, which was added to three (good) molecules of CO2 since 1780. How much has changed the cloud cover? Are there 97 or 103 H2O molecules per the bad CO2 molecule on average? These are much more important questions to be answered before.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 9:37 pm

_Jim says:
August 15, 2011 at 8:58 pm
“The gaseous state has some different properties, where molecule resonances/vibration modes are more pronounced in gas state molecules like water vapor vs liquid.”
Yes indeed it does. Most significantly there are a number of LWIR infrared windows in the vapor. There are no LWIR windows in the liquid.
“WV atmospheric effects as well as liquid water characteristics on the same webpage:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_absorption_by_water#Atmospheric_effects
One of the poorer technical articles on wickedpedia for sure. Ferinstance:

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere, responsible for 70% of the known absorption of incoming sunlight, particularly in the infrared region

Say what? First of all most of the energy in sunlight is in the shortwave region and this passes through water vapor pretty much unattenuated just like it passes through pure water pretty much unattenuated. “Particularly in the infrared” is quite the understatement. It’s virtually all in the infrared there’s precious little infrared energy in sunlight to begin with. This sentence was probably one of the nocturnal emissions of William Connolley
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Connolley
AGW POV warrior extraordinaire who was finally canned as an editor on wikipedia for bias and disinformation and general obnoxiousness so profound that even the librat powers that be at wikipedia couldn’t tolerate it any longer.
“Of note: “The spectral absorption featu
res of liquid water are shifted to longer wavelengths with respect to the vapor features by approximately 60 nm””
Also of note: a shift of 60nm is a 3 degree fahrenheit change in blackbody temperature
Might be worth considering in some of the finer details but given the context here it doesn’t make a bit of difference since liquid water absorbs fully and continuously across the LWIR spectrum. The only way it would be meaningful is if there were some LWIR windows in liquid water where a change in temperature of 3 degrees might move it into or out of a window. No windows, no effect.

Owen
August 15, 2011 9:42 pm

Three great articles from Willis in two days. My head is going to explode !!

ferd berple
August 15, 2011 9:44 pm

Posted on August 15, 2011 by Willis Eschenbach
“So if the DLR isn’t heating the ocean, with heat gains of only the solar 170 w/m2 and losses of 390 w/m2 … then why isn’t the ocean an ice-cube?”
Willis, no amount of theory can contradict observations. A more difficult question is this: Why are the poles a block of ice if DLR is so high?
If average DLR is so much higher that average solar radiation, then why is there so much of a temperature difference between the equator and the poles? Why is summer in the polar regions with 24 hours of (very weak) sunlight (angle of incidence) so much warmer than the polar winter with 0 hours of sunlight? If solar energy is such a small part of the total energy, then DLR should keep the poles very much the same temperature year round, regardless of the (very weak) amount of sunlight.
If DLR is so high as compared to solar radiation, then the polar winter should be much closer to the polar summer in temperature. Observation contradicts theory, especially in Antarctica, where the moderating effects of water are minimal..

August 15, 2011 9:51 pm

Willis says,
” DLR heating of the surface slows that overturning.”
Umm, exactly where do all those GHG’s get the energy to radiate all night? Do they have their own tiny personal cold fusion generators?? Me thinks this statement is also very misleading!!!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Lemme see, the ocean has a huge thermal mass and radiates all night providing energy to the GHG’s, if they didn’t the rest of the atmosphere would be driving the GHG’s radiation, although at MUCH reduced levels!!

Noelene
August 15, 2011 10:01 pm

Dumb question
How does rivers figure in all this?Rivers are always cold are they not?Is that because of their depth?

Brian W
August 15, 2011 10:02 pm

Dave Springer, steven mosher, Jim, smokey
Neither clouds, nor water, fellows DO NOT glow in IR. Since IR is by definition non visible radiation, YOU CANNOT SEE IT. Get it. GOES colors its pictures so you can see something which is incapable of exciting vision. So enough of the crap.

Martin Clauss
August 15, 2011 10:03 pm

Willis,
I look at the semantics of ‘warming’ vs. ‘reducing the rate of cooling’ in this way:
if the ocean is radiating 400 watts/square meter, and there were no CO2 or H2O above radiating back to the ocean (the DLR), it will cool at a certain rate – obviously faster than with CO2/H2O above it, radiating back, say, 300 watts/ square meter. But in both cases, the result is a cooling ocean.
Now if the CO2/H2O were radiating 400 watts/sq meter, then the ocean is neither heating nor cooling, it is staying the same – might one say the two are in equilibrium with each other?
Further, if the CO2/H2O were radiating MORE than 400 watts/sq meter, then that is when I would say the DLR is ‘warming’ the ocean.
That’s just how I look at. One object is warming another when the object doing the warming raises the temperature of the other object ABOVE the temperature state the other object is in.
Now even that could be argued semantically, because if I were out in the cold air, my hands were cold, and I put a pair of gloves on, my hands would become warmer. I might say, ‘my gloves are warming my hands – though I could also say, ” . . my hands are warming AS A RESULT of the gloves” (prevent them from losing heat in the cold air ). . .
So obviously this discussion over ‘warming’ vs’ reduced rate of cooling won’t end, but I still prefer ‘reduced rate of cooling.
I should mention that even with this discussion and my perspective, I agree with your arguments.

August 15, 2011 10:08 pm

Dave Springer,
“Absolutely. It’s called pyregeometer. Wanna buy one?”
And that is exactly the problem with Climate Science and the way the problem is stated. Stefan Boltzman does not compute 390 w/m2 from the AVERAGE surface of the earth unless it is to a vacum. What would happen to the surface of the ocean if we were able to remove the atmospheric pressure and radiation from above it?? I would love to see a video!!!
These things should be built in pairs to only measure up and down at the same time so Climate Scientists can’t play games!!! Even then we dont’t get the other directions!! 8>)

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 10:18 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm
“I have referred to generally accepted estimates of radiative loss from the surface (usually taken as ~ 390 w/m2), evaporative loss (~ 80 w/m2), convective loss (~ 20 w/m2) and sun hitting the surface (usually taken as 170 w/m2). ”
The same people who generally accept a 3C rise in global average temperature per CO2 doubling. Let’s look at an actual study of ocean heat budget (which I’ve posted before and you either ignored or forgot):
http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~carton/pdfs/foltzetal03.pdf

JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 108, NO. C5, 3146, doi:10.1029/2002JC001584, 2003
Seasonal mixed layer heat budget of the tropical Atlantic Ocean
Gregory R. Foltz, Semyon A. Grodsky, and James A. Carton
Department of Meteorology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
Net surface heat flux is a combination of latent and
sensible heat loss, shortwave radiation absorption, and net
longwave emission. Sensible heat loss is insignificant (<10
W m2) due to small air-sea temperature differences, while
net emission of longwave radiation is a relatively constant
50 W m2 [da Silva et al., 1994].

The math ain’t difficult Willis. The tropical Atlantic absorbs about 200Wm from the sun. What goes in must come out. 10Wm it loses by conduction. 50Wm it loses by radiation. The rest, 140Wm, is lost through latent heat of vaporization.
10/200 = 5% lost by conduction
50/200 = 25% lost by radiation
140/200 = 70% lost by evaporation
What part of that do you and Trenberth and the rest of the bandwagon science brigade not understand?

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 10:33 pm

@Willis
Can you or someone please explain to me how an ocean that receives only 200Wm of incoming energy can possibly emit more than that? The figure of 390Wm lost by radiative transfer is physically impossible. That would require it be absorbing at least 390Wm which it absolutely does not do. Have you people never heard of the law of conservation of energy? Maybe it’s the thorium dissolved in the ocean that producing all the extra heat, huh? The sun gets focused into a laser beam by water amplification which heats the thorium which causes it to condense and give off more heat than it absorbs through some mechanism that left unexplained except to say it definitely isn’t fission.
God almighty the pseudoscience nonsense pecked out by pikers around here sure gets frustrating at times. It’s so thick in the OP you can cut it with a knife.

John Brookes
August 15, 2011 10:41 pm

Good on you, Willis, for trying to do a little education here. You have great patience.

David Falkner
August 15, 2011 10:56 pm

What happens to the DLR if the ocean doesn’t absorb it? Does it power Santa’s sled back to the North Pole? Go back to space? Why haven’t satellites definitively proved this? Quit wasting your time on BS folks. Willis, you have better things to do, right? I can understand, by the way, the reason for using gross over net. I wouldn’t say acceptable, I would say preferable.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 10:58 pm

Brian W says:
August 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm
“Dave Springer, steven mosher, Jim, smokey
Neither clouds, nor water, fellows DO NOT glow in IR. Since IR is by definition non visible radiation, YOU CANNOT SEE IT. Get it. GOES colors its pictures so you can see something which is incapable of exciting vision. So enough of the crap.”
http://www.amazon.com/Sightmark-Night-Raider-2-5×50-Vision/dp/B003UCC68E
I never leave home without my passive night-vision gun scope which brings everything you survey into glowing contrast. It makes you glow with confidence that nothing will escape your notice in even the darkest of dangerous dark alleys.
Seriously, that’s a pretty lame nit to pick especially since we defined the glow as an infrared glow which by definition cannot be seen by the naked eye.

DR
August 15, 2011 11:00 pm

No mention of the Coriolis effect?
How does a rain drop freeze? Did someone figure that out yet?
If this is an exercise in determining if ~100 ppm of CO2 can account for the OHC increases seen for the last ~50 years, I beg the question to be asked what is the heat capacity of CO2 that allows for it to warm the oceans more so than the sun itself.
Just wondering.

Richard111
August 15, 2011 11:06 pm

Having got used to the idea that temperature varies to the fourth power, and recently learning that photon flux varies to the third power, I was hoping I might learn how this fits in the above discussion.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 11:08 pm

Brian W says:
August 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm
“Neither clouds, nor water, fellows DO NOT glow in IR. Since IR is by definition non visible radiation, YOU CANNOT SEE IT.”
Yeah, but some animals can. I hope you aren’t some kind of species bigot who thinks human eyeballs are some kind of universal standard for what glows and what doesn’t?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_sensing_in_snakes

The ability to sense infrared thermal radiation evolved independently in several different families of snakes. Essentially, it allows these animals to “see” radiant heat at wavelengths between 5 and 30 μm to a degree of accuracy such that a blind rattlesnake can target vulnerable body parts of the prey at which it strikes. It was previously thought that the organs evolved primarily as prey detectors, but recent evidence suggests that it may also be used in thermoregulation and predator detection, making it a more general-purpose sensory organ than was supposed.

Alexander Duranko
August 15, 2011 11:08 pm

Various people above have claimed that DLR is real because you measure it with a radiometer AND it increases when relative humidity increases. Well folks, you really do need a basic course in engineering heat transfer starting with Prevost’s Law then Hoyt C Hottell’s 1954 paper on calculating the emissivity and absorptivity of gases, then moving onto Kirchhoff’s radiation Law, a corollary of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.
Prevost’s Law of Exchanges [1840] states that at radiative equilibrium, any body above absolute zero emits radiation and receives exactly the same radiation from the opposite direction. In the case of hot gases, it’s spherical emission and absorption. If there’s an excess in a particular direction, there is no equilibrium. So when you point a radiometer upwards to measure ‘DLR’, you then have to reverse it to measure ‘ULR’ and the difference is what causes heating or cooling.
Hottell showed how you calculate emissivity as a function of pressure and concentration. Increase the concentration of a greenhouse gas and you increase emissivity. So DLR only apparently increases; in reality, the radiative flux in the opposite direction also has to increase.
This is why clouds appear warmer; emissivity tends to unity compared with c. 0.1 for moist air at ambient pressure. This leads onto Kirchhoff’s Law which is that at radiative equilibrium, emissivity = absorptivity.
I find it amazing that any physical scientist should not know these basic scientific facts. Go away until you do know them because this DLR fantasy has to stop.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 11:11 pm

@Willis
“Please stop the condescending snarkiness, it just makes you look ugly.”
Then please stop parroting Trenberth, it just makes you look stupid.

TimTheToolMan
August 15, 2011 11:12 pm

The fact is Willis that you’re rightly a stickler for precision. Precision in thinking leads to precision in analysis and thinking the DLR warms the ocean is sloppy and going to lead you astray.
Ooh look clouds overhead, the DLR has increased by 100W/m2, thats got to really be heating the ocean now!
DSR warms the ocean. DLR slows the rate of cooling.

Dave Springer
August 15, 2011 11:30 pm

Hey Willis,
If I sell you a beat up surfboard for $390 and give you an instant rebate of $340 what’s your actual cost for the surfboard?
You and Trenberth sure have some interesting methods of accounting. Maybe you should both be in congress. You’d fit right in. You could collect $390 billion in carbon taxes, refund $340 billion of it in carbon credits, then add to your stump speech that you increased government revenue by $390 billion.
I’m sorry for mocking this but some things just plain deserve mockery.

tallbloke
August 15, 2011 11:33 pm

steven mosher says:
August 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm
I sit outside on a freezing winter night with a space blanket.
The blanket doesnt warm me. The blanket slows the heat loss via radiation.

Actually Mosh, the silvering on the space blanket does very very little. A piece of clear plastic will be very nearly as effective. This is because nearly all of the effectiveness of a space blanket is in reducing convection, and thus, wind-chill. The radiative component is tiny by comparison. Tests have been done on this in the climbing and backpacking magazines years ago. Maybe you can find the info online too.

tallbloke
August 15, 2011 11:36 pm

Smokey says:
August 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm
As we all know, heat is transferred by conduction, convection and radiation. If the top 50 micrometers of the ocean is warmed by IR, wouldn’t those molecules slough off their extra energy almost instantly via conduction, warming the adjacent molecules? And so on, transferring the heat deeper into the ocean. Am I missing something?

Yes, you’re missing the fact that warmed water molecules become more buoyant than their neighbors and head upwards. Rock particles don’t do that.
Smokey says:
August 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm
And of course, something is warming the oceans.

Yep, it’s called the Sun.

August 15, 2011 11:37 pm

Willis,
you want serious? OK, dead serious, here is the problem with individual energy flows.
IF there was no atmosphere and no GHG’s above the ocean the instant temperature and energy emissions would have no relation to 390 w/m2. Computing this number is an abortion. My understanding of this from people who understand how to derive the equation is that it simply is not real.
The fact that there IS atmosphere and GHG’s above the ocean means that there has been a relative equilibrium reached where you CAN measure these fluxes, BUT, they are not meaningful without the opposing flux. Saying there is 390 w/m2 is only meaningful if there is ALSO 320 w/m2 down to go back up to create that much energy in the first place. The IR down is the IR up, time shifted by a tiny amount of time, minus the losses that went on out and were transferred to the atmosphere and a few other miscellaneous things. Talking about heating the ocean is poor semantics as the flux is into the ocean with the SW and out of the ocean with IR. IF you wanted to get really picky we would have to include the gravitational energy and electrical energy that disrupts the ocean and atmosphere adding to the wind from the convection. Just like the conduction between dissimilar objects, at a very low level there may be occasional flows against the gradient, but, generally it is all warmer to cooler. I would stick with the SLOWS COOLING and forget the abortion of 390 w/m2 as it only allows people to get confused. If you say 390 you must say 320… (or whatever the correct numbers of the situation are)
“I can hand you a hundred dollar bill, and at the same time you hand me four twenties. That’s one way to describe the transaction, the way I described it above, listing the individual flows. ”
You could also give me a hundred dollar bill without me giving you back anything. The ocean cannot give the atmosphere 390 w/m2 without first getting the 320!!!! At least not with our current set up.
I apologise for misquoting you. Your statment was: “It can’t be heating the air, because the atmosphere has far too little thermal mass.” But some of it is heating the air.
The best idea is to ignore the manner in which Climate Scientists talk about it dividing the fluxes that cannot exist without each other and speak about the net flow. This may make no one happy, but, is most realistic. The surface regime emits about 60 w/m2. The instant fluxes making up this amount are ~390 up and ~320 down. The ocean absorbs plenty of SW to create this balance.
PS: I was addicted to cocaine twice so, if you want to make fun of me for it I deserve it!!! As an absolute and not just because of this. Reading your bio didn’t give me the feeling you had been an addict so I apologize if this was a low blow.

August 15, 2011 11:52 pm

Tallbloke,
I would add the space blanket also retains the moisture which carries the most energy!! My first experience with a space blanket was one that belonged to a friend. I had a cheap bedroll and we were sleeping on the ground outside a Yosemite campground to save a few bucks. There was a drizzle so my friend loaned me his space blanket. I ended up wetter than if I hadn’t used it!!! All my body moisture condensed in the cheap bedroll soaking me. Of course I didn’t get that cold until I got out of it in the morning in wet clothes. DANG!!!

August 16, 2011 12:08 am

Tallbloke,
That reminds me of a Greenhouse test with IR treated and NON-IR treated plastic covers of the same material and thickness to prove IR effectiveness. The actual numbers were close to 5 degrees difference between the IR treated cover and the non-IR cover. I was shocked. I then reread the specs and found the IR treated cover ALSO had a treatment to minimize condensation collecting on it. The reduced moisture condensing on the cover made most of the difference I believe!! None of the other Greenhouse covers treated for IR were that effective with the same thickness and type material!!

intrepid_wanders
August 16, 2011 12:12 am

Eschenbach-sensai.
Moderation leads to generosity,
Mercy leads to courage,
Humility leads to leadership.
Please do not take offense with the deriding tones of various “unpleasantries”. As mentioned before, there are issues with working with the discrete and jumping back to the bulk. I see things discussed here very similar to the counter-intuitive concepts of gravity that Galileo discovered with the balls on a ramp. To some, they may be be clear, but to others, the details cloud the picture.
The two concepts that Mosher-sensai mention are not inconceivable, but the discrete level does cause issues. Unless the atmospheric energy transfer model can be conveyed to why the anticyclonic (Red Spot, and the additional coalition of white spots) event on Jupiter has persisted for possibly hundreds of years, there will be questions.
Thank you for contribution to at least my knowledge.
POST SCRIPT (TO ALL THAT ARE DEBATING DLR):
This issue is NOT the the NET Daytime Radiation. The ISSUE is the NIGHTTIME BLANKET EFFECT. When the SUN is out, it will ALWAYS dominate the “energy budget”. Obviously it is the FIREPLACE that warms our world. When the IR saturated H2O, CO2 and other vibrational molecules fall back to sea level at night, some are not ABSORBING new energy. Nighttime tempertures will be “slightly warmer”, which will allow the oceans to retain more heat from the DLR. Vector algebra still works, only in the dark ;).
I believe a successful model of Jupiter would be a huge step in modelling, that is if there are no solids to screw up the equations 😉

Dave Springer
August 16, 2011 12:13 am

Once again, the crazy idea that downwelling longwave radiation (DLR, also called infra-red or IR, or “greenhouse radiation”) can’t heat the ocean has raised its ugly head on one of my threads.
There are lots of good arguments against the AGW consensus, but this one is just silly.
Look, folks, there’s lot’s of good, valid scientific objections against the AGW claims, but the idea that DLR can’t heat the ocean is nonsense. Go buy an infrared lamp, put it over a pan of water, and see what happens. It only hurts the general skeptical arguments when people believe and espouse impossible things …
The craziest, ugliest, silliest, nonsensical impossible thing (you set the tone, Willis, not me) is that an ocean which receives a net input of 200Wm can emit more than that and sustain the loss indefinitely. Conservation of energy is a bitch that isn’t going to budge.
This is ground control to Major Tom.
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you….

Dave Springer
August 16, 2011 12:23 am

@Willis
“Stop acting like I’m an idiot and like Trenberth is making stupid assumptions, Dave, it’s a foolish error in both cases. We know what we’re talking about. Here’s the part that you seem not to understand:
You (and the cited paper) are talking about net radiation flows. Trenberth and I are talking about individual radiation flows.”
Glad to oblige. Stop acting like an idiot and I’ll treating you like one. The net flow is all that matters. Get that through your thick skull.

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 12:38 am


“The question is, do DLR heated water molecules make it downwards far enough for long enough to warm the ocean bulk. I think the answer is no, because warmer water molecules are naturally buoyant”
Again we are in the realm of semantics, but the energy flow is clear. Since the slowly overturning ocean is warmer than it would be in the absence of nighttime DLR, we say DLR warms the bulk ocean. How? By preventing the bulk ocean from cooling.

I don’t know if Willis is going to respond to my comment directly, so for now I’ll have to pick through the thread to see where he has answered other people by addressing my arguments.
The energy flow is indeed clear. The net effect of long wave radiation at the ocean-air interface is to cool the ocean by some 66W/m^2. Talking about downward flow of long wave radiation without considering upward (and sideways!) flow at the same time doesn’t make sense to me. It’s a flux.
.The bulk ocean is actually warmer because of the DLR … but not because the “DLR heated water molecules make it downwards” as Tallbloke suggests
Willis has this the wrong way round. He said in argument one:
“the ocean can circulate the heat downwards through turbulence”
and I said:
“.do DLR heated water molecules make it downwards far enough for long enough to warm the ocean bulk. I think the answer is no, because warmer water molecules are naturally buoyant, and because the vortices which mix solar energy so efficiently are below the wave troughs, several thousands of times deeper down than the depth DLR penetrates water to.”
But anyway, I’m glad Willis has abandoned argument one.
Willis Eschenbach says:
August 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm
The claim seems to be (e.g. Tallbloke)
Warm water molecules rise to the top. Warm rock molecules conduct heat to their neighbours, which can’t go anywhere.
IR heats the top molecule. It passes some reduced amount of that heat to the molecule below. But what tallbloke forgets is that the top molecule can’t make the second molecule warmer than the top molecule, heat doesn’t flow from cooler to warmer.

Radiative transfer is a quantum operation according to theory, a water molecule can’t pass part of a photon. If a water molecule emits a photon to it’s neighbor below and drops to a lower vibrational state it becomes ‘cooler’ that the molecule below, which will rise to displace it. It’s worth noting at this point that the ocean surface is nearly always warmer than the air above it, and cooler than the water below it, so conduction isn’t going to work to get energy downwards either, as the second law of thermodynamics has to be observed. Any conduction taking place will be from the ocean into the air, because as Willis correctly states:
“heat doesn’t flow from cooler to warmer.”
I haven’t had time to read all the comments. so if I’ve missed another of WIllis’ references to my comment then I hope someone will flag it up. I’d be particularly interested to know if he has addressed my concluding point:
“But this isn’t about absolutes. I’m sure the increased DLR warmed the ocean a little bit, or at least slowed its rate of cooling a little bit. I think the increased insolation due to (empirically measured) reduced cloud cover in the tropics 1980-1998 did a lot more to increase ocean heat content. To turn your question back to you, where else could that energy have gone?”

cal
August 16, 2011 12:49 am

For those who insist that DLR reduces the cooling and does not warm the surface consider the following analogy. Consider two groups of people are facing each other. A machine throws huge rocks over the heads of group A towards group B. Some of the rocks richochet and are lost the rest break into pieces. The people from group B pick up the pieces and throw them back. Some of these pieces fly past group A but others are picked up by group A who throw them back to group B. Now we know that all the rocks originally came from the machine but how do we describe the bombardment of group B? Do we say that they are bombarded by big and small rocks? Or do we say that they are bombarded by big rocks and the presence of group A reduces the number of small rocks that group B throws? I do not think the latter describes reality. One can say that the presence of group A reduces the rate at which small rocks are lost from around the feet of group B but this is not analogeous to warming or reduced cooling it is analogeous to heat accumulation. To recognise the difference one only has to consider the melting of ice which involves heat accumulation but no warming. It would be like group B collecting rocks in piles and waiting before throwing them back.

Dave Springer
August 16, 2011 12:54 am

Another bottom line. Trenberth (and Willis by association) are the ones who can’t find the missing heat from the last 50 years. I told y’all where it is. It’s distributed more or less uniformally in a spherical volume of space 100 light years in diameter surrounding the earth.
Keep spinning your wheels looking downward into the deep ocean if you must. I can lead a horse to water but I can’t make him drink. All I really ask is that you don’t reach into my wallet to cover the cost of your wild goose chase, K?

Mark.R
August 16, 2011 12:55 am

This here is a oiece from a paper by NIWA.
Decadal temperature changes in the Tasman Sea(There was a warming of the Tasman Sea deep to 800 mtre.)
Quote
“The first possible forcing mechanism to consideris air-sea flux. This mechanism is unlikely given the depth penetration of the warming signal, as surfacewarming would increase stratification rather than warm the deep ocean. Air-sea flux can also be eliminated as a possibility by examining European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts(ECMWF) and National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) heat flux data. The ECMWF andNCEP products indicate that the annually-smoothedheat flux varies between c. 10 W/m2 and c. 40 W/m2 with a mean of c. 25 W/m2. However, the heatflux is always from the ocean to the atmosphere, i.e.,the ocean is losing heat to the atmosphere rather than gaining it”.
publications-journals-nzjm-2005-107-lo.pdf (261.68K)
publications-journals-nzjm-2005-107-lo.pdf

TimTheToolMan
August 16, 2011 1:22 am

“Since the second molecule is not as warm as the top molecule, in contradiction to tallbloke’s claim, it doesn’t rise to the top. And the same for the layers further down. The heat is transmitted down and down, but each layer can’t heat the lower layer more than itself, heat won’t flow uphill. So the water, though warming, doesn’t “rise to the top” as claimed.”
Nice thought but you’re ignoring the fact that the ocean is radiating upwards more than the atmosphere radiates towards it. The energy flow is upwards not downwards. Therefore the molecules at the top are on average losing more energy than they are gaining and so there is no downwards movement of heat as you suggest.
Its my view that the energy the DLR imparts on the topmost ocean surface molecules is very quickly re-radiated back up, so you can think of radiation at the surface of the ocean as bouncing between the atmosphere (CO2 and water vapour) and the water itself. Minus that which is used for evaporation. This is a simplistic explanation so dont bother attacking it on lack of detail. A more detailed explanation was made over at the Science of Doom.

August 16, 2011 1:52 am

Hmm Tallbloke. Rather than trust a magazine about how reflective insulation works or does not work I think I trust the stuff I built for DOD. And I’ll use my thermos to keep my coffee from cooling faster than it would. And If I have to go near a wacking hot fire i’ll also wear a reflective suit
here have some fun. there’s plenty more
http://www.insul.net/howto.php
And yes, if you use a space blanket too long you get hoarfrost in the inside.. cause its working. but eventually get to the fire

eco-geek
August 16, 2011 2:00 am

testing testing the comments under obesity and AGW are not working

August 16, 2011 2:02 am

You note that nobody (except willis) wants to look at the empirical evidence. I posted it up there boys..
Perhaps the D word should be allowed for this topic

Bob_FJ
August 16, 2011 2:04 am

Willis Eschenbach @ August 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm

“…And I still haven’t heard you [TimTheToolMan] or anyone else explain why the ocean is liquid, what mysterious energy source you claim keeps the ocean from freezing soltd. Losing 400 w/m2 as upwelling longwave, gaining only 170 w/m2 from the sun, here comes the ice age …”

Willis, I’m shocked! Putting aside just where you get your numbers from, they are somewhat similar to those in the Trenberth et al 2009 cartoon of energy balance. Do you NOT understand that EMR (radiation) IS A DIFFERENT FORM OF ENERGY TO HEAT? Radiation whizzes around in ALL directions but it is not HEAT. The net global average HEAT loss via radiation from the surface according to Trenberth is a mere 66, not 400 W/m^2, and the incoming averaged solar is 181 W/m^2. But, of course the annual global diurnal/ seasonal/ regional averages etc on that cartoon are a nonsense anyway, if you would like to proceed to a more complicated discussion

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 16, 2011 2:52 am

From tallbloke on August 16, 2011 at 12:38 am:

Radiative transfer is a quantum operation according to theory, a water molecule can’t pass part of a photon. If a water molecule emits a photon to it’s neighbor below and drops to a lower vibrational state it becomes ‘cooler’ that the molecule below, which will rise to displace it.

Dang it, tallbloke, I thought you were smarter than that. Guess you’re just not living up to your billing.
You’re examining two individual molecules. The top one passes a photon to the lower one, making the lower one “warmer.” Then what? Why would the lower one rise higher than the other? They are both affected by the same gravity, they have the same mass. Arguably, by acquiring that photon’s worth of energy and thus that much virtual mass, the lower one is infinitesimally more massive. So why would it rise?
Warmer water rises above cooler water because it’s less dense, there is less mass per unit volume. Density is an aggregate quality, takes more than one identical molecule each for two equal volumes to say one is more dense than another.
And why is warmer water less dense that cooler water (assuming both are above 4°C for fresh water and equal pressure)? Collisions. The warmer water has molecules that are more energetic, knocking the fellow molecules they impact farther away, leading to greater spacing than with cooler water. When thermal energy is transferred by collisions that’s known as heat conduction. The possibilities for conductive transfer of energy far outweigh those for radiative transfer in a liquid medium. If one molecule would gain energy by a radiative transfer, chances are excellent it will soon lose that energy to a cooler molecule by conductive transfer.
You’re looking at an unlikely form of energy transfer that effects a highly temporary energy increase, while arguing a molecule will rise above another identical molecule when acted on by gravity. I think you need some more thought about that mechanism you’ve proposed that “disproves” what Willis has said.

Jessie
August 16, 2011 2:59 am

Not quoting any of your words Willis on this post
but after reading ALL of http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/14/its-not-about-feedback/
and visiting the website on buoys data I would suggest speaking with the pilots & or HQ of Mission Aviation Fellowship.
I am sure they would have much experience and comment for your current thesis.
PS the reason for suggesting this is that I flew as a passenger with them over 30 years and they know their industry and environment.

Curious Bystander
August 16, 2011 3:16 am

I’m with Bob_FJ.
I must say thogh I don’t ‘get’ the argument that a blanket around a human body simply slows cooling. That would be so if the body was set at an initial temperature and no longer warmed. But the body generates heat which it loses to the environment. A blanket will help prevent that loss true, but the air it traps and the blanket’s interior surface will be heated by the heat of the body. If the external temperature is ‘cold’ then the interior temperature will be warmer. That is warming, not slowing cooling.

Kelvin Vaughan
August 16, 2011 3:26 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm
Still unclear on how a so-called “greenhouse” actually works?
The glass stops the hot air rising! Remove a pane from the roof and most of the heat escapes.

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 3:29 am

steven mosher says:
August 16, 2011 at 1:52 am
Hmm Tallbloke. Rather than trust a magazine about how reflective insulation works or does not work I think I trust the stuff I built for DOD. And I’ll use my thermos to keep my coffee from cooling faster than it would. And If I have to go near a wacking hot fire i’ll also wear a reflective suit

Hi Mosh. It’s all about relative scale of effects. Reflectivity becomes useful when the temperature differential between the two surfaces is high, like in the fire situation you mention. In the case of a cragfast climber at 37.5C whose outer layering is radiating at 10C into an ambient temperature of 3C, the benefit the space blanket gives in terms of preventing convective loss is far greater than the benefit of it reflectiing the emitted long wave from a 10C jacket with a 0.7 emissivity back onto the jacket. This is doubly true when the wind is blowing.

JJB MKI
August 16, 2011 3:39 am

@mosher,
Thank you for the thermos analogy, I’d always assumed they worked by ‘trapping heat’ ;). Would a more suitable analogy for greenhouse gasses with regard to reflected DLR and the oceans not be a flask covered with a thin layer of soggy toilet paper? Sure, it would slow down heat loss through IR reflection, but to any remotely significant degree? Not making a point, just askin’. It would be nice to see Tallbloke’s points addressed with something other than snark too..

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 3:42 am

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
August 16, 2011 at 2:52 am
From tallbloke on August 16, 2011 at 12:38 am:
Radiative transfer is a quantum operation according to theory, a water molecule can’t pass part of a photon. If a water molecule emits a photon to it’s neighbor below and drops to a lower vibrational state it becomes ‘cooler’ that the molecule below, which will rise to displace it.
You’re examining two individual molecules. The top one passes a photon to the lower one, making the lower one “warmer.” Then what? Why would the lower one rise higher than the other?

It’s true I oversimplified the argument, but in the end I think we agree. Groups of molecules which have warmed each other up by collisions after having radiative energy imparted to them will be less dense per unit volume, and that’s why they are more buoyant against gravity than surrounding groups of cooler molecules and will rise.
The possibilities for conductive transfer of energy far outweigh those for radiative transfer in a liquid medium.
Your conductivity argument shows how ineffective conduction is in heating the ocean bulk, since the ocean surface is cooler than the water below. 2nd law and all that… So if conduction is more likely than radiative transfer, and conduction is limited by the fact that the surface is cooler than the subsurface, I think the general thrust of what I’m saying stands, despite the oversimplification you correctly pointed out.
Thanks for the response.

Konrad
August 16, 2011 3:58 am

Willis your reply to my post was a question relating to chalk on blackboards. I had actually asked if you had any links to empirical evidence of IR radiation around the 15 micron band heating oceans. Sadly I must conclude from the nature of your reply that you do not have links to any such evidence.
After reading over 170 comments I am starting to believe that for all the money spent on AGW promotion, no one has actually done the simple experiment required.
A tank of sea water at a known temperature.
Air at a known temperature, humidity and wind speed.
IR source emitting only between 10 and 20 microns with a spectral peek around 15 microns.
A few accurate thermometers.
Who cares about chalk on blackboards? Has no one done this very simple empirical test?
(And no, Mr. Mosher the RC link is no where close to what is required. Scattered data points from a ship at sea. Measured emission not just backscattering of clouds and only looked at ocean skin temperature. And as to isolated testing of the 15 micron frequency totally useless.)

Spector
August 16, 2011 4:04 am

Note that radiation and absorption are reciprocal. If it cannot absorb, it cannot cool by emission. If you run your recording backwards, most of the basic laws of physics work exactly the same–emission becomes equivalent to absorption. As the concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere near the surface is quite high when compared to that of CO2, I expect that most of the local greenhouse effect near the surface is due to photons emitted from the water vapor in the air. This is often referred to as ‘back-radiation.’ I believe the argument being made is that this radiation is being rejected (perhaps reflected) while the normal LWIR radiation emitted from surface is being allowed to pass. I don’t think nature is that selective.
Yes, something is warming the oceans–sunlight. As far as I could tell; that was not the issue; it was the misconception that LWIR from local greenhouse gas molecules could not return heat to the ocean even though these same molecules had been heated by similar LWIR photons emitted from the surface of the ocean.

Richard S Courtney
August 16, 2011 4:18 am

Willis:
I do not dispute your argument, but I write to point out what I think to be a significant omission from your article: i.e. consideration of how the back radiation inhibits loss of heat from depths of the ocean surface layer. However, some of your responses in the thread suggest to me that you are aware of the point.
I write to explicitly state the point.
The backradiation is IR so only heats the upper ~1 mm thickness of the ocean surface layer. Little of this heat can be moved to lower depths because it adds so much heat to so small a volume that most of the absorbed IR energy is removed by increased evapouration from the surface.
However, solar energy in visible wavelengths penetrates to many meters below the ocean surface and is absorbed at those depths. This heat from visible wavelengths can move up and down. That which reaches the surface will increase evapouration from the surface and, thus, not be available to add heat to lower depths of the ocean.
The heating of the surface layer by back radiation inhibits the heat from visible wavelengths reaching the surface and being removed by evapouration.
In effect, the heating of the ~1 mm surface layer by back radiation acts as an insulator which inhibits heat from below that thin layer reaching the surface. And this ‘insulant’ effect results in more heat absorbed from visible wavelengths being available to add to ocean heat content.
I cannot quantify this ‘insulant’ effect, but I suspect it is greater than the direct ocean heating from the back radiation.
Richard

Alexander Vissers
August 16, 2011 4:27 am

I cannot really see why this has anything to do with climate change. The top mm of the ocean considering the opacity for short wave radiation is relavant for both absorbtion and emission. The temperature of the atmosphere – of which both the weather and climate are attributes – is determined by the ocean absorbtion, emission and evaporation, so whatever happens to the top layer is what determines weather and climate. .

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 4:33 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 15, 2011 at 11:46 pm
So the lower molecules, although warmed by the upper molecules, will be cooler than the upper molecules. As a result, despite the fact that they are warming, they won’t “head upwards” as you claim.

Hi Willis,
What I’m saying is generally true. It may get a bit more complex in the ‘skin layer’, see my reply to KD Knoebel above.
These basic points stand.
1) The ocean surface is cooler than the water below. So if your heat conducted from the surface where the water can be excited by back radiation leaves the surface warmer, it doesn’t stay that way for long. Moreover, within a very few iterations of your mechanism, representing only a short distance, the amount of energy available for more downward propagation will be negligible anyway.
2) The second law of thermodynamics says that heat won’t flow from cooler to hotter: So conduction is not going to work to heat the ocean bulk. It will work to cool it though, as heat flows from the warmer subsurface to the cooler surface.
3) The overall radiative flux cools the ocean at a rate of ~66W/m^2
The core point you’re claiming seems to be this:
The additional co2 in the atmosphere causes an increase in the downward component of the radiative flux, therefore the ocean will cool slighty slower than before, thus getting warmer because it can’t get rid of solar energy as fast as before.
Please let me know if you feel I’ve mischaracterised this from your point of view.
I haven’t done the calcs yet, but I’d like to know by how much you believe the downward component of the radiative flux will have theoretically increased from when co2 was at 270ppm.
If the ocean surface is 0.5C warmer than when co2 was at 270ppm, then we also need to know how much the upward component of the flux has increased due to the ocean surface radiating at a higher temperature. We can apply the Stefan- Boltzmann Equation to obtain that.
We need to know this because the key figure is the net figure obtained by subtracting the downward component from the upward component of LW radiation.
Once we have this change in net flux, we can compare that to the estimated forcing caused by the reduction in tropical cloud cover allowing greater insolation to the surface of the ocean 1980-1998 to see which is more likely to have caused most of the warming in the late C20th.
Agreed?

richard verney
August 16, 2011 4:36 am

Willis
Regarding your comment@Willis Eschenbach says:August 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm
commenting upon my comment richard verney says:August 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm
/////////////////////
I have more than 40 years sailing experience. I am well acquainted with the sea first hand.
I have reviewed many thousands of ships logs covering deep ocean voyages, and leaving aside passages through the doldrums,, I can assure you that the times when a ship on a deep ocean voyage experiences weather conditions of BF4 or less is probably less than 10%. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see just a few days of BF4 or less on a deep ocean voyage. The number of days when a ship experiences BF2 or less is probably 2 or 3% (or even less). Of course, this is just an average and I accept that every voyage will be different, and the same voyage will experience different weather conditions from month to month (depending when the voyage takes place) and even if the same voyage is performed in the same month, there will be differences from year to year according to the then prevailing weather.
You have to bear in mind that we are dealing with microns. Even at BF 2, these few microns are wind swept.
When we see spray (white horses), we are observing visible effects. This is much more than the top few microns of the ocean. We are seeing millimetres if not centimetres of turbulence.
Unfortunately, the human eye does not have the resolution to see microns of turbulence. If it did have that resolution, it would see that the top few microns is wind swept even at BF2.
I do not dispute that what goes up, at some stage goes down. Most of this wind swept spray evaporates and eventually leads to the cloud formation of your earlier post and in turn some of the evaporated water is returned to the ocean or over land as rain. I accept that some part of the wind swept spray may not be fully evaporated and may re-marry the ocean. However, by the time that it has remarried, it has probably already re-radiated the photon received from the DWR such that it is no longer in an excited state.
Even if you get through that ‘barrier’ you still have the problem that the top mm of the ocean is cooler than the layer immediately below it and whilst the turning of the ocean may be effective to mix heat contained in the top 1/2m or metre of the ocean but it is difficult to see how it can effectively turn over the top few microns. To what extent do ‘eddy’ currents overlap the top few microns of the medium and drag those few microns downwards.
I would like to see your scientific explanation of the processes involved on a micron level.

Tom in Florida
August 16, 2011 4:44 am

Any warming by DLWR must be extremely miniscule. There are two beaches near my home both with different types of sand. The sand at Nokomis Beach is cool even at midday in summer. I assume the properties of the sand reflect almost all SWR (the sand looks white) so it does not heat up. The sand a few miles away at Manasota Beach is extremely hot at midday in summer. I assume that the properties of the sand absorb most of the SWR (the sand is grey). This sand gets so hot you can actually burn your feet. However, as soon as the Sun gets lower in the sky, the sand cools off rapidly so that you can walk comfortably on it even before sunset. My point is that if DLWR had any effect the sand at Manasota Beach would not cool so fast. Even if there was a small change in the rate of heat loss due to DLWR it has no discernible effect and is overwhelmed by the changes in other radiations.

August 16, 2011 4:47 am

John Eggert says:
August 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm
“1: A continuously heated, flat plate at 15 C is on one side, a parallel, continuously cooled plate at -273C is 20 meters away.”
If you told us the capacitance in farads we could work out the size of the plates, which in turn would give us an idea of the magnitude of the radiation window.

DocMartyn
August 16, 2011 4:57 am

Here is a paper with the absorbtion vs temperature spectrum of water
http://www.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/research/borl/homepages/veronica/thesis/chapter5.pdf

Alexander Duranko
August 16, 2011 5:11 am

‘Back radiation’ [‘DLR’] is Prevost Exchange Energy’: it can do no work because at equilibrium, it’s exactly offset by radiation from the opposite direction. That it appears to be higher under clouds is simply the result of higher emissivity. This, the oldest of the Radiation Laws, appears not to have been considered by IPCC researchers, nor have they apparently estimated gas emissivity from Hottel Charts, something I used to do when planning industrial heat treatment processes.
This and other major errors [‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling is really heating for thicker clouds, palaeo-data show warming of the ocean deeps started 2100 years before CO2 rose at the end of the last ice age, no check on thermochemical data for CO2-O2 mixtures which would have shown much lower CO2 ‘climate sensitivity’ ] should also have been picked up.
Miskolczi was forced to leave NASA in 2004 when he showed ‘back radiation’ is the artefact of a 1922 mathematical mistake. After commissioning work to find why ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling wasn’t provable experimentally, NASA published a ‘surface reflection’ justification to claim it’s a small droplet effect. There’s no such physics.
A pattern is emerging. The latest claims, extra heat accumulation in the ocean deeps, double imaginary ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling, appear to me to be a last ditch attempt to protect the high feedback CO2-AGW hypothesis for which there’s absolutely no experimental evidence.
Reportedly the UK Met. Office trying 50% solar, 50% CO2 in its weather forecasting for the UK; a straw in the wind?

John W.
August 16, 2011 5:19 am

Two words: heat conduction.
As Willis suggests, leave all the silly stuff to the other side.

Dave in Delaware
August 16, 2011 5:33 am

Lets be mindful of our definitions and look carefully at what is happening at different wavelengths of radiant energy. The phrase “Downwelling Longwave Radiation (DLR)” is often used in the context and implied as ‘backradiation from CO2 as a GHG’. The two are NOT identical.
Hence the opening statement – ‘downwelling longwave radiation (DLR also called infra-red or IR, or ‘greenhouse radiation’) – lumps together things which should be considered separately.
First – Does inbound sunlight warm the ocean? Well of course. And that Inbound solar radiant energy includes a mix of UV (very short), visible, and longer wave IR. Yes, inbound sunshine contains IR, but there is virtually NO overlap of those IR wavelengths with the ‘greenhouse radiation’ wavelengths. You can’t just lump them together, which is why one must be careful of ‘heat lamp’ experiments that could include wavelengths other than GHG ‘backradiation from CO2’.
Next – In their paper, Kiehl and Trenberth 1997, the authors include the famous figure with 390 W m-2 upward Surface Radiation, and 324 Wm-2 Back Radiation. That gives (390 UP minus 324 Down), for a NET of 390 – 324 = 66 W m-2 UPward. Very difficult to heat a surface, either land or ocean, with a net upward loss of heat toward space. (we lose a little on every sale, but we make up for it on volume ::chuckle::)
CLOUDS – How did K&T 1997 get to 324 W m-2 backradiation”? From their abstract – “We find that for the clear sky case the contribution due to water vapor to the total longwave radiative forcing is 75 W·m-2, while for carbon dioxide it is 32 W·m-2. Clouds alter these values, and the effects of clouds on both the longwave and shortwave budget are addressed.” The backradiation from CO2 is only 32 W·m-2, or roughly 10% of the 324 total backradiation cited by K&T. The lion’s share of the 324 backradiation is from liquid H2O in the clouds. Once again we see that “Downwelling Longwave Radiation (DLR)” is NOT equivalent to ‘backradiation from CO2 as a GHG’. We must be careful of the wavelengths.
Finally, what about some real measurement data? Measured results cited in Evans and Puckring 2005, show CO2 backradiation of 31 to 35 W m-2 for clear sky winter time results (Ontario, Canada), which is a pretty good match for the K&T value. However at that same location, in summer with higher air temperatures and higher humidity, the H2O values went up, but the CO2 backradiation value DROPS to 10.5 W m-2. If the overlap of H2O and CO2 absorption/emission in air caused the CO2 value to drop with summertime humidity in Canada, I can only surmise that the CO2 backradiation over the ocean must be 10 or lower due to the high humidity. Similar backradiation tests in the very low humidity Antarctic showed that CO2 backradiation results there were always 2 to 2 1/2 times LOWER than H2O.
In conclusion – If the H2O as vapor (humidity) in the air is enough to absorb significantly in the CO2 wavelengths, the liquid surface must be an even better absorber, which makes it easy to believe that absorption of the CO2 wavelengths happens in a ‘thin layer’ at the surface.
If the backradiation of CO2 is on the order of 10 W m-2 to the Ocean, it would be difficult to conclude that CO2 as a GHG is doing much to heat the Oceans. And even more difficult to believe that the man-made part of that 10 W m-2 is doing much of anything significant to change the ocean energy balance.
respectfully,
Dave

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 16, 2011 5:39 am

From tallbloke on August 16, 2011 at 4:33 am:

The core point you’re claiming seems to be this:
The additional co2 in the atmosphere causes an increase in the downward component of the radiative flux, therefore the ocean will cool slighty slower than before, thus getting warmer because it can’t get rid of solar energy as fast as before.
Please let me know if you feel I’ve mischaracterised this from your point of view.

Before Willis gets worked up into an even stronger “quote my words” rage, I’ll point out a glaring one right now. I’ve checked the original post and every reply Willis has made at this post. CO2 is mentioned nowhere by Willis. Why are you tagging him with that? The DLR comes from the greenhouse gases, of which water vapor is overwhelmingly the predominant one, which Willis is well aware of. Why muddle up an otherwise reasonable discussion by attributing a CO2 statement to Willis?
The nighttime overturning is driven by the temperature difference between the surface and lower levels, once the surface undergoes its normal nocturnal cooling resulting in cooler water over warmer water. With more DLR the surface doesn’t cool as much, the difference is less, thus less overturning, thus less warmth from deeper down is circulated to the surface. For that much of what was stated, the source of the DLR doesn’t need mentioning. Adding in the conjecture that increased CO2 causes the increased DLR, especially when Willis has said no such thing here, isn’t called for and isn’t helpful.

TimTheToolMan
August 16, 2011 5:46 am

Mosh writes “You note that nobody (except willis) wants to look at the empirical evidence. I posted it up there boys..”
The reference to the Minnett experiment isn’t empirical evidence of anything other than the SST warms relative to the depth of 5cm when the clouds come over. When the DSR induced temperature profile disappears (when the clouds come over) but convection keeps the war water rising for a time what do you think will happen to the SST vs the 5cm depth?
That experiment is far from supporting the argument that temperature gradient determines heat loss and therefore supports ocean warming. AFAIK its not even an actual paper let alone a peer reviewed paper.
Empirical evidence? FAIL.

Bystander
August 16, 2011 5:57 am

Willis says “Please stop the condescending snarkiness, it just makes you look ugly.”
Ah – so condescending snarkiness is only OK when attacking real scientists then….

richard verney
August 16, 2011 5:58 am

Willis
regarding: @Willis Eschenbach says:August 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm commenting on my comment
richard verney says:August 15, 2011 at 7:12 pm
////////////////////////////////////////////
I understand why to a layman one may give a superficial explanation which concentrates on the overall effect rather than the minute detail of the processes involved.
However, when discussing scientific principles with an audience of scientists, precision is paramount. This is a scientific blog and at least those posting what purport to be scientific articles or discussion of scientific effects, should strive themselves to be accurate.
You dismiss this as a question of semantics, it is not. It is a matter of fundamental (or first) principle going to one of the root issues at the foundation of the AGW theory/conjecture.
One of the reasons why it is so fundamental is that CO2 is not the dominant (so called) green house gas. It is well accepted that water vapour is the dominant greenhouse gas. This is material since over the oceans there is on average much more water vapour in the atmosphere when compared with the atmoshere over land. Any increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere above the oceans is completely dwarfed by the naturally occuring high levels of water vapour immediately above the oceans. This is a significant point which is overlooked and is a significant point which is masked when dealing with average conditions. The warmists tend to concentrate on notional average conditions, and when this is done, one fails to see the proper picture since one is not looking at what ia actually occuring in non average conditions. Materially, at times it is the non average condition which leads the way and is the dominamnt factor which needs to be closely and carefully examined.
It is clear from the above that if DWLWIR does not heat the oceans, the reduction in the rate of cooling is predominatly being controlled by the high levels of water vapour above the oceans not by any increase in concentration of CO2 AND the high levels of water vapour are natural (ie., naturally occuring) being the result of solar energy being received by the oceans, ie the effects of sunlight warming the oceans.
It follows from this that the overwhelming probability as to why the oceans have been warming these lasts 30 or 40 years is due to an increase in solar energy received by the oceans very probably due to a reduction in cloudiness (in passing, it appears that the oceans have not been warming these past 8 years or so).
Whilst I am very sceptical of the entire GHG theory/conjecture, I can envisage that changes in CO2 concentrations may have some modest effect over land, however, over the oceans it has all but no effect, simply because the oceans (unlike the land), as a by product of the solar energy they receive, create their own ‘greenhouse gas’ atmosphere immediately above them (ie. WATER VAPOUR) and this water vapour completely dwarfs the effect that might overwise be observed as the result of a 100ppm rise in CO2 levels.
I will revert seperately on the point you raise in the final paragraph. .

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 6:03 am

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
August 16, 2011 at 5:39 am
Before Willis gets worked up into an even stronger “quote my words” rage, I’ll point out a glaring one right now. I’ve checked the original post and every reply Willis has made at this post. CO2 is mentioned nowhere by Willis. Why are you tagging him with that? The DLR comes from the greenhouse gases, of which water vapor is overwhelmingly the predominant one, which Willis is well aware of. Why muddle up an otherwise reasonable discussion by attributing a CO2 statement to Willis?

It’s true Willis doesn’t say anything about co2, but the implication is pretty obvious IMO. There is no trend in precipitation so far as anyone knows, so a warming ocean seems to be down to the increase in co2 according to the arguments Willis presented.
I think he’s wrong and that the decrease in tropical cloud cover from 1980-1998 has a lot more to do with the increase in ocean heat content (and thus SST) than increased ‘DLR’ from the atmosphere, whether by co2 or by co2 plus a water vapour feedback.
Anyhow, I’ve invited him to set me straight if he feels I’m mischaracterising the core of the argument, and no doubt he will, in his inimitable style.

Myrrh
August 16, 2011 6:14 am

Dave in Delaware says:
August 16, 2011 at 5:33 am
Lets be mindful of our definitions and look carefully at what is happening at different wavelengths of radiant energy. The phrase “Downwelling Longwave Radiation (DLR)” is often used in the context and implied as ‘backradiation from CO2 as a GHG’. The two are NOT identical.
Hence the opening statement – ‘downwelling longwave radiation (DLR also called infra-red or IR, or ‘greenhouse radiation’) – lumps together things which should be considered separately.

Ah thank you – another apparent sleight of hand meme which has confused many here. Downwelling should only refer to thermal infrared direct from the Sun, and uwelling direct from the Earth, seems a move to sidestep the arguments about ‘backradiation’, of which there are many and already proved nonsense.
AGWScience fiction meme now widespread in the education system has always claimed there is no or no signifcant downwell infrared direct from the Sun, as in KT97.
Which NASA is now promoting contrary to its previous real science fact teaching that the heat we feel from the Sun is thermal infrared. Therefore it must be reaching the surface…
As some mention has already been made by others here, Visible light is transmitted through water – it does not heat it. The KT97 is therefore actually saying that the Sun isn’t heating our Earth at all! Visible, Light, can’t and Thermal IR (Heat) they claim doesn’t reach us..
So what’s the energy budget all about?

richard verney
August 16, 2011 6:25 am

@Dave in Delaware says:August 16, 2011 at 5:33 am
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
ABSOLUTELY
I had not seen your comment (which was no doubt in the pipe;ine) when I posted my above comment (addrssed to Willis).
The warmists need to carefully examine each area and not some conglomerate average.
It is obvious that over the oceans, the role of CO2 is greatly diminished because of the high concentrations of water vapour which dwarf its effect.
Further, the more solar energy received, the more water vapour produced. Now if this increase in water vapour caused the ocean temperature to rise, one would get even more of an increase in water vapour possibly leading to a run away effect. There therefore needs to be some negative feed back in all of this or otherwise the oceans would have evaporated long ago.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 16, 2011 6:34 am

From tallbloke on August 16, 2011 at 6:03 am:

It’s true Willis doesn’t say anything about co2, but the implication is pretty obvious IMO. There is no trend in precipitation so far as anyone knows, so a warming ocean seems to be down to the increase in co2 according to the arguments Willis presented.

Same mistake, different part. On this one, I’m a bit guilty as well. Willis has stuck consistently to how he worded it in Argument 3:

DLR heating of the top mm of the ocean reduces those differences and thus delays the onset of that oceanic overturning by slowing the night-time cooling of the topmost layer, and it also slows the speed of the overturning once it is established. This reduces the heat flow from the body of the upper ocean, and leaves the entire mass warmer than it would have been had the DLR not slowed the overturning.

The DLR effect is discussed as with or without, on or off. Increases are not mentioned. Actually I see nothing mentioning global warming, anthropogenic or otherwise. The closest he’s come to talking about a “warming ocean” is the ocean is warmer with heating from DLR than if there was no heating from DLR.
So no increasing, no “warming ocean,” no call for invoking CO2 increases.

Matt G
August 16, 2011 6:34 am

Tom in Florida says:
August 16, 2011 at 4:44 am
Exactly, it is extremely small and shows the same result with a volume of water. It is easy to show that DLR can’t warm a volume of water during a day and relies only on solar energy. DLR occurs all the time during day and night so to distinguish this between solar energy, one only has to place identical volumes of water in the sun and in the shade. The shade volume must be outside exposed to the atmosphere and not in the sun so only the DLR is still reaching it. The result which anyone can easily demonstrate (but some at least choose to ignore this observation) shows the water in the shade during one day doesn’t warm, yet the volume in the sun warms greatly. Therefore this experiment provides the scientific evidence that solar energy warms a volume of water and not DLR. The other experiment that also backs this up are based on solar ponds.
http://www.solarponds.com/
All the DLR is mostly (if not all – look later into why) the emissions from solar energy as they escape the Earth’s atmosphere. Thus the 170w/m2 inward and 390w/m2 outward are not really different entities, but from the same source. Both are values measured from the atmosphere only and therefore can’t be compared with a much higher specific heat capacity of water. The water is warmed differently depending on the source of radiation.
Solar energy at 170w/m2 warms the ocean much greater than DLR despite the observed atmospheric value over 2 times greater because it reaches downwards up to 100m. (the experiments above back this with scientific evidence) The warming caused by this is orders greater than DLR just reaching the skin surface. The reason why the oceans don’t freeze is because despite the atmospsheric observed outflux, the energy in the ocean is orders time greater warmed by the sun. If the solar energy 170w/m2 only reached ths skin surface like DLR, then the oceans would freeze.

August 16, 2011 6:36 am

One difference between Dr. Pratt’s post on Climate Etc. and Wilis’ is that at the surface Dr. Pratt emphasizes the conduction plays a larger role than radiation at the skin layer. The change in conduction is still due to reduction in the net radiation flux, but the mechanism limiting the rate of cooling at the surface is primarily the change in conduction due to the increase in air temperature.
In the tropical ocean some one listed the percentage of heat loss was 5% for conduction, 25% for radiation and 70% for evaporation. In a colder ocean the percentages would be closer to 10% conduction, 25% radiation and 65% evaporation. You could find more accurate numbers, but the radiative heat loss would be fairly constant with conduction and evaporation responding more to the temperature difference than radiation.
So the take away is that an increase in DWLR decreases the radiation flux, increasing the air temperature, reducing conductive heat loss. It makes perfectly good sense, since the CO2 and water vapor respond to the DWLR just as they would to the OLR.
It may seem to be picking nits, but Dr. Pratt’s position is more realistic while not violating any laws of physics. Surface warming is a response to a warming atmosphere caused by a reduction in net radiative cooling flux.

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 6:58 am

TimTheToolMan says:
August 16, 2011 at 5:46 am
Mosh writes “You note that nobody (except willis) wants to look at the empirical evidence. I posted it up there boys..”
The reference to the Minnett experiment isn’t empirical evidence of anything other than the SST warms relative to the depth of 5cm when the clouds come over. When the DSR induced temperature profile disappears (when the clouds come over) but convection keeps the war water rising for a time what do you think will happen to the SST vs the 5cm depth?
That experiment is far from supporting the argument that temperature gradient determines heat loss and therefore supports ocean warming. AFAIK its not even an actual paper let alone a peer reviewed paper.
Empirical evidence? FAIL.

Quite so. It was a symposium presentation which never made it into the peer reviewed litereature.

Leonard Weinstein
August 16, 2011 7:11 am

Willis,
I did not read all the comments so this may repeat some of what has been said. The DLR can heat water (or the ground) if the water is cooler than the air, and this sometimes occurs (especially at night or in higher latitudes), however on the average, the air temperature drops with increasing altitude in the atmosphere (the lapse rate), and thus, on the average, the DLR does not heat the water or ground. While energy flows down in the DLR, energy is also flowing up (ULR), and heat only flows from warmer to colder. Thus it is the difference in up and down energy flows that cause heating. The fact that DLR can, under special conditions do some heating is not important on the average and is misleading of the cause of the heating due to greenhouse gases. The increase in ground and water temperature and the DLR are a result, not cause, of the atmospheric greenhouse gas warming effect.
Your argument about where does the extra energy go is bases on misunderstanding the insulation effect. Any type of insulation effect over a heat source raises the temperature of the surface. Consider a blanket over a person (internally heated). It is not the blanket that warms, and if the body were for a dead person, the skin would be cool, even under the blanket. Also consider an insulating layer over an electrically heated resistor. The insulator is not doing the heating, but raises the temperature of the resistor.
In the case of Earth, the source of the net heating is absorbed shorter wave Solar energy (and a small amount of radiation decay heating). However, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are different from passive insulation layers. The air is free to rise from convection so no trapping occurs even though the gases absorb ULR. It is the added feature of the lapse rate that causes the temperature increase, since the temperature at a higher altitude has been raised from the movement up of the location of radiation to space, but the lapse rate is independent of temperature (it only depends on Cp and gravity). The effect of the greenhouse gases is to raise the average altitude of outgoing radiation to space, and it is the lapse rate (due to gravity) that raises the temperature going down from this average location, and thus is the source of the extra heating.
The result is that both the higher surface temperature and significant DLR are the result of, not cause of the surface being warmer.

Richard M
August 16, 2011 7:14 am

The main disagreement here appears to be between net energy flow and gross energy flow. Willis points out the gross radiation flows and others point out that is really meaningless.
OK, if gross flows are important than why hasn’t anyone computed the gross energy flows of kinetic energy? There are trillions and trillions of molecular interactions between the surface and the atmosphere where energy is transferred one way or the other. We always see this discussed by looking ONLY at the net energy flow which is not all that high. So, why isn’t what’s good for the goose also good for the gander? Why don’t we discuss the gross energy flows of conduction? Could it be because the gross flow really isn’t important? So, why would anyone think the gross flows are important for the case of radiation? Maybe Willis or someone can explain to me the difference.

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 7:16 am

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
August 16, 2011 at 6:34 am
The closest he’s come to talking about a “warming ocean” is the ocean is warmer with heating from DLR than if there was no heating from DLR. So no increasing, no “warming ocean,” no call for invoking CO2 increases.

Point taken. He’s still wrong though, because the long wave radiative flux cools the ocean rather than warming it, and the DLR component is solar derived energy emitted from the ocean as ULR in the first place. So if there were no DLR, there would be no ULR either, and the ocean would be up in the atmosphere having been boiled by solar shortwave it couldn’t get rid of other than by evaporation.
Warming the ocean is the Sun’s job. Cooling it and losing the heat to space is the atmosphere’s job.

August 16, 2011 7:23 am

Some random thoughts and comments after reading most of the above.
My washing on the line drys much much quicker when there is a breeze; however gentle. No white horses necessary.
Average atmosphere temperature is 14-15DegC. Average ocean temperature is 3DegC.
It’s been well over 10,000 years since the last ice age ended. If the atmosphere could warm the oceans, the oceans should be closer to the 14-15DegC level. 10,000 years not enough?
Regards semantics, if we are saying GHGs “reduce rate of cooling” rather than actually “warming”, then the ocean had to be warmer in the first place for it’s rate of cooling to be reduced. What warmed it in the first place then?
Oceans warm in 3 dimensions but cool in 2 dimensions. So I have my doubts about the figures quoted, i.e. 170Wm2 solar input in 3 dimensions, but 390Wm2 radiant heat loss in 2 dimensions. this doesn’t make sense to me.
According to the AGW theory, the sun warms the surface first, the surface then warms the atmosphere, which in turn further warms the surface.
But if the solar input is only 170Wm2, then that’s the maximum the ocean can radiate back up. The atmosphere cannot ‘back-radiate’ any more than the 170Wm2 it receives from the surface for a total of 340Wm2. Where did the 390Wm2 come from? And I haven’t even allowed for the atmospheric window nor the sunlight that reaches down to about 100 metres, the energy from which doesnt make it back up to the top straight away.
The well mixed portion of the oceans are the top few hundred metres. But the oceans are 4-5 kilometres deep. How does warm water mix “down” thousands of metres? physically impossible I would have thought.
The strongest GHG effect, hence the most DWLWIR happens at the tropics. How come the deep even at the tropics is around 2-3DegC only? Why is the deep much the same temperature at the tropics as it is at the poles?
The “bulk” of the ocean is the deep. The temperature of the tropical deep tells me that GHGs cannot warm the deep.
[Reply] Check your figures, ocean avg surface temp is ~17C, warmer than the atmosphere at sea level. TB-mod

Alexander Duranko
August 16, 2011 7:32 am

Some interesting analysis of ocean heating recently.. Regarding CO2 and H2O specific ‘DLR’, you must realise that because Kirchhoff’s Law requires that emissivity and absorptivity are the same at equilibrium, any change in the ratio of the two partial emissivities/absorptivities simply reflects what is happening on the ground [assuming the radiometer is at ground level].
So, if there’s dew, the H20 emission from the ground will increase and this will lead to more ‘DLR’ from the sky in that wavelength interval. Over the ocean, it’s temperature that counts.
So, as ‘DLR’ isn’t real energy, just a sort of standing wave, and the nearly half the solar energy that is IR is absorbed in the atmosphere, what really heats the oceans and how did it change from the ’80s to the early 00s?
The answer is obvious: Asian industrialisation poured increasing aerosols into the atmosphere and this decreased cloud albedo, particularly in the short wavelengths which penetrate deeply into the sea, possibly up to 150 feet. This was probably the main AGW and because it’s self limiting switched off when aerosol concentration became high [the ‘Asian Brown Cloud’]
Of course, I could be wrong, but at least I hope to have dispelled some of the false assumptions that have driven ‘climate science’ in the wrong direction. Those working in it really do need to readup about Hottel, e.g: 203.158.253.140/media/e-Book/Engineer/…/DK2834_13.pdf
PS cloud IR emission is from the water but it has gettered CO2 so is also a strong CO2 IR emitter because the CO2 is concentrated.

mkelly
August 16, 2011 7:43 am

From memory the equation for 2 plates (infinite or very large ) radiating at each other.
q/A = (SB(T1^4-T2^4))/ ((1-e1) + (1-e2) -1)
Let T1 be ocean surface and T2 be atmosphere. What emissivity should be used for e2 of a CO2 & H2O atmosphere at 1 atm?

August 16, 2011 7:47 am

@ TB-mod
I beg to differ. Ocean average T is nowhere near that.
oceans

August 16, 2011 7:48 am

hmmm image thingy didn’t work.
Here is the URL
http://www.john-daly.com/deep-sea.gif

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 8:06 am

Baa Humbug says:
August 16, 2011 at 7:47 am
@ TB-mod
I beg to differ. Ocean average T is nowhere near that.

Baa, you’re right. I was thinking average SST, since that’s where the radiative interface is. I’ll correct my note on your comment.

Richard111
August 16, 2011 8:19 am

Baa Humbug says:
August 16, 2011 at 7:48 am
“hmmm image thingy didn’t work.
Here is the URL
http://www.john-daly.com/deep-sea.gif

Many thanks for that link. Never knew sea bottom could get that cold and how shallow is the warm layer is. Learn something new every day! 🙂

DR
August 16, 2011 8:19 am

Thanks Leonard Weinstein.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 16, 2011 8:32 am

From tallbloke on August 16, 2011 at 7:16 am:

Point taken. He’s still wrong though, because the long wave radiative flux cools the ocean rather than warming it, and the DLR component is solar derived energy emitted from the ocean as ULR in the first place. (…)

The net effect may be cooling, but he’s still looking at individual energy flows. When it’s all added up without DLR, there’s a deficit that indicates severe cooling. So either the DLR effect is there, or the upwelling LR figure is very wrong. Nothing else but DLR is in the range where it can cover that deficit.

(…) So if there were no DLR, there would be no ULR either, and the ocean would be up in the atmosphere having been boiled by solar shortwave it couldn’t get rid of other than by evaporation.

That part fails the logic test right at the start. There’s a black surface in vacuum. Sunlight falls on it, the surface warms, the surface emits longwave radiation. No atmosphere, no greenhouse effect, none of that emitted LR goes back to the surface. Thus there can be ULR without DLR. Likewise if there is atmosphere but it lacks GHG’s thus is transparent to LR.

Costard
August 16, 2011 8:56 am

I think I get Willis’ point. Net flow (~390-~320) only matters if you accept that the two are equal currencies and that downwelling LR warms the ocean as much as upwelling LR cools it. And the mechanism for this is a warming of the skin layer, a more even temperature gradient between this layer and the one below it, and less convective cooling.
But this would also suggest a steeper temperature gradient between the (warmer) ocean surface and air, and more heat loss through evaporation and conduction. In the absence of hard numbers, the question becomes like so many, to what extent is this forcing mitigated by the natural processes of the environment?

August 16, 2011 9:30 am

Kadaka,
“Thus there can be ULR without DLR. Likewise if there is atmosphere but it lacks GHG’s thus is transparent to LR.” That is an interesting thought. With a pure nitrogen atmosphere there would be no absorption of ULR of significance so a nitrogen filled double pane glass window with a 100% reflective coating would be a perfect insulator of conductive, convective and radiant heat transfer. We know that is not true, it is a much better insulator, but not perfect. A vacuum with a reflective surface is better. Nitrogen molecules collide so there is some conductive heat transfer.
Generally speaking, the conductive heat transfer is small and can be neglected. There is a point where it is significant enough that it should be considered. Earth with a pure nitrogen atmosphere would be warmer than an Earth with no atmosphere. Earth with a 99.97% nitrogen and .03% CO2 would be warmer than an Earth with no CO2. So how significant would conduction of surface thermal energy to the atmosphere be with respect to radiative retention of the 0.03% CO2?

August 16, 2011 9:33 am

Konrad.
I suppose If I write up the experimental notes like the “famous” “Woods” experiment ( with a green house) that explains I have done the exact experiment you describe that you and everyone else here will accept it with the same eagerness that you accept Woods paragraph.
The point is that no amount of theory, physics, experiment, will convince some people because they do not want to be convinced. We have a word for that. It starts with D

richard verney
August 16, 2011 9:37 am

Willis
Further to my earlier post, I revert on the comment you make in the final paragraph of your post Willis Eschenbach says: August 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm which comments upon my post richard verney says:August 15, 2011 at 7:12 pm
Your final paragraphs reads: “What I don’t understand is what slightest difference this makes. If the ocean is losing 400 w/m2, and it is gaining 170 w/m2, I don’t care in the slightest what you call that. What I want to know is, if DLR isn’t heating the ocean, what makes up the missing energy? Gamma rays? So enough with the semantics, and answer the question—what’s keeping the oceans liquid, call it what you want, if it’s not DLR?”
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
I have had this debate with you before, and I consider the attitude that you adopt to be somewhat out of character, as a self proclaimed heretic. It is you who make a bald statement that without DLR, the oceans would freeze. I say, I don’t accept this bald statement, and ask you to prove it. Instead of proving it, you seek to reverse the burden of proof and suggest that I must prove that the oceans wouldn’t freeze but for DLR. You have things topsy turvy in the scientific world (albeit this may not be that unusual in climate science where it would appear that climate scientistist do not like dealing with complex issues and seek to parry by passing the akward parcel back to the other side).
I have previously asked you to detail the energy budget for the ocean at 62 N 8 deg 45 E, and at 62N 19 deg 04 42 E. Both of these are at the same latitude (62 deg N) and I envisage that as a consequence, the atmosphere comprises a similar mix of GHGs and they have broadly similar solar and DWLWIR budgets. The ocean at one of these locations freezes each winter, the ocean at the other location does not. I have asked you to explain (with your energy budgets) why that is the case. You have consistently failed/declined to answer. Perhaps this time, ou will not evade/ignore the question and will instead provide the answer.
As I see it, the answer is simple and it lies in the tropics. The fact is that the tropical ocean is a huge heat reservoir. Over the course of a year, the tropical ocean absorbs enormous quanities of solar radiation/energy and in the process it heats up. Some of this heat is distributed/pumped around the globe but not in the same measure in all places. The fact is that the ocean at 62 N 8 deg 45 E receives a greater quantity of the heat absorbed by the tropical ocean and this is sufficient to prevent the ocean at 62 N 8 deg 45 E freezing.
I therefore say to you, that YOU need to do an energy budget for the ocean at the tropics on a daily basis and see whether the ocean at that spot freezes. If it does not (as I am confident is the case), you need to perform successive energy budget calculations (on a daily basis) working your way outwards further north and south until you ascertain the latitude at which the ocean would begin to freeze (based upon the solar/DLR budgets). Once that has been ascertained, you need to introduce the effect of the heat transport/conveyor belt system of the ocean into the equastion. The location where you calculate would first freeze would not in practice freeze due to warm currents being transported by the conveyor belt. Accordingly, you need to carry on with successive energy budget calculations gradually working your way further and further northwards and southwards. You will gradually be working your way to higher latitudes. By the time you get to the Artic you will find that it will freeze over and melt etc with the seasons.
Turning now to your figures, you use Alice in Wonderland figures because you are using those employed in an Alice and Wonderland cartoon (suggested by Trenberth and others). In your comment at 15th August 11:39pm (commenting on a comment by Dave Springer), you state “You (and the cited paper) are talking about net radiation flows. Trenberth and I are talking about individual radiation flows.”
We all know that you can add any figure that you like to both sides of an equation and provided that this is the same figure, it will not alter the result. Hence, if 170 + 60 + 20 is 40 more than 160 + 35 +80 -65, I could add 390 to each of these equations and I would still be left with the result that the first equation is 40 greater than the second. I could subtract 99 from each equation and I would still be left with the fact that the first equation totals 40 more than the second equation. The adding (or the subtraction) of such numbers is of no import since what one is looking at is the net flux between the two equations.
IF WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS TRUE, IT SHOULD FOLLOW THAT THE OCEANS ARE UNAFFECTED BY THE DIFFERENCE IN CALCULATION WHEN PERFORMED UPON A NET RADIATION FLOW BASIS AND ON A GROSS RADIATION FLOW BASIS. This follows from the fact that whatever additional input they receive from DLR, they give up a corresponding equal and opposite output amount. We are therefore really considering the net flux out.
The problem is that the 390 mw per sqm of DWLWIR can only have come into existence because of and as a factor of the 170 mw per sqm of solar ebergy received. Unless one can truly get something for nothing, this is flase. There is a failure of double accounting.
The reason why all of this is wrong is well explained by Alexander Daranko in his comment of 15 August at 11:08pm and by Kuhnkat in his comment at Aug 15th 11:37pm. It may be that you did not have the benefit of reading those comments before you posted your response of 15th August 11:39pm. There is no such thing in life as a free lunch, and we all know that the 390 mw per sqm of so called back radiation exists as a signal only, and has no energy/ability to do real work because it is cancelled out by equal and oppositite radiative flux in the opposite direction.
If the 390 mw per sqm of so called backradiation had the ability to do work or had the ability to heat up an object which is warmer than it, this would end the worlds energy problems. Rather than wasting time and effort in the pursuit of exploiting solar radiation which is only 170 mw per sqm (on your figures), we would be exploiting the 390 mw per sqm of DLR (on your figures) which is a constant 24/7 energy source come rain, cloud or shine. We are not seeking to exploit this since this ‘imagined’ energy is not sensible energy capable of real work. It is one side of account on which those that propogate this conjecture convienently forget to take into account the opposite cancelling out budget.
The oceans are not radiating away about 490 mw per sq m. This figure is an artificail figure and fails to properly address the net flux out of the oceans. When the net fluxes are properly considered, the oceans do not freeze.
Underpinning this problem is an incorrect assumption that the earth can be considered as if it were a blackbody. It is not. Such an approach is completely unacceptable for a water world which has the ability to absorb and store significant quantities of energy and to release that stored energy not instantaneously but rather at a later date and the position is yet further complicated by the phase changes of water itself.
I consider myself to be a sceptic which means that I do not have absolute views either way and I am open to be persuaded as to the correctness of the AGW conjecture. However, save for a few elements, I am unpersuaded by most of the pillars upon which it is based and I consider it has particular problems with the oceans. Given the heat capacity of the oceans, the oceans and how these behave will determine whether there is any milage in the AGW conjecture.
Finally, I point out the obvious, one explanation as to why there may be less sensitivity to CO2 than the IPCC would have one believe may be due to ocean temperature being less effected by DWLWIR than the warmist would have one believe. This would also explain why Trenberth is having so much trouble finding his missing heat.
I look forward to hearing from you with your detailed calculations expalining why the ocean at 62N 19 deg 04 42 E freezes but not at 62 N 8 deg 45 E.

George
August 16, 2011 9:40 am

Artic vs Tropical and duration (from somewhere above)… The refractive index of ‘water’ is 1.33 yielding a critical angle of 48+ degrees (48.6?) RI = 1/Sin(theta). That assumes that RI of ‘water’ and sea water are equal. With sun angles at lower than 48 degrees, the surface should become, as a sum, reflective. It would bear out if the water temp curve and the air temp curve followed different step functions. The water temp curve would not match the air temp curve increase until the sun angle was above 49 degrees. You could then probably model conductive vs direct heating of the water on the difference using the Critical Angle as the location of the significant phase change.

jae
August 16, 2011 9:42 am

I guess it’s time for me to ask the same question I have asked for years and still have not gotten a decent answer:
A greenhouse made of IR-transparent plastic will get no hotter at noon in
Guam than it gets in Phoenix, despite the much greater DWR in Guam.
Why?

anna
August 16, 2011 9:53 am

In my opinion I think that semantics is a really big and important issue not to be ignored. Much of the confusion and misunderstandings probably arise because of the various interpretations of warming and people waste time arguing things on which they in fact agree upon just because they interpret words differently. For most people warming probably means increasing the temperature rather than “preventing cooling”. Many of the critics to the claim that GHGs can’t warm the planet probably uses this definition of the word warming. To describe the action of GHGs as warming the planet sounds scary because it gives you the impression that even at night, when the heat source (the Sun) is turned off the GHGs will keep on warming the Earth so that when we wake up in the morning the temp has increased from evening +20C to maybe +25C and then when the Sun is turned on again the temp increase will continue and soon the planet boils. So why not try to be scientific and avoid talking about warming? GHG molecules can not create energy, thus they can’t warm, but they can continuously absorb and reemit energy already present and prevent it from dissipating into outer space as quickly as it would otherwise.

August 16, 2011 10:22 am

Matt G says:
August 16, 2011 at 6:34 am

Exactly, it is extremely small and shows the same result with a volume of water. It is easy to show that DLR can’t warm a volume of water during a day and relies only on solar energy. DLR occurs all the time during day and night so to distinguish this between solar energy, one only has to place identical volumes of water in the sun and in the shade. The shade volume must be outside exposed to the atmosphere and not in the sun so only the DLR is still reaching it. The result which anyone can easily demonstrate (but some at least choose to ignore this observation) shows the water in the shade during one day doesn’t warm, yet the volume in the sun warms greatly. Therefore this experiment provides the scientific evidence that solar energy warms a volume of water and not DLR.

Matt, you have missed 1/2 the experiment. Now try allowing ONLY sunlight in, but removing (or at least significantly reducing) the incoming IR. The details would be a bit of a challenge, since you would have to maintain the air temperature over the water, but otherwise have the top of the tank surrounded by something very cold. The surface of the water will still be radiating ~ 400 W/m^2, but the incoming sunlight will only be providing ~ 170 W/m^2. This will ALSO cause the water to cool.
The obvious conclusion is that the SUM of the energy coming in affects the water temperature (along with the sum of the energy out). You can’t logically say that only one source of energy is keeping the water warm.
Come to think of it, a related experiment is performed all the time. On clear nights, the air (and ground and the surface of bodies of water) cool rather effectively. On cloudy nights, every thing stays warmer. The difference is that the clouds are very good emitters of thermal IR across the entire thermal IR spectrum, sending copious amounts of DLR to the surface where it gets absorbed. On clear nights, only GHG’s emit DLR — they only emit in particular bands of the spectrum, so they cannot radiate as much IR downward as the clouds do, so they cannot slow the cooing as effectively.
So the DLR is clearly responsible for slowing the rate of cooling at night. During the day, they ALSO slow the rate of cooling, which is clear if you think about it a little.

August 16, 2011 10:28 am

Bystander,
“Willis says “Please stop the condescending snarkiness, it just makes you look ugly.”
Ah – so condescending snarkiness is only OK when attacking real scientists then….”
In this case Willis was attempting to point a certain a[***]ole to a better way of interacting. Please do not throw this at him.
[Language. Robt]

Frank
August 16, 2011 10:31 am

Willis: Thanks for increasing the credibility of the skeptical community by taking on this issue.
Many people instinctively assume that when about 330 W/m2 of DLR is deposited in the top 1 mm of the ocean, that massive amount of energy can’t fit in thin layer of water and must be somehow be returned to the atmosphere (possibly by evaporation). After all, that energy can’t penetrate the ocean by convection or conduction. Unfortunately, some of these people don’t recognize that the upward 390 W/m2 of upward LWR emitted by the ocean originates in exactly the same top 1 mm of the ocean that absorbs DLR. Since most DLR originates at altitudes that are colder than the surface of the ocean, the net flux of long wavelength energy must be from the ocean to the atmosphere. Evaporation also removes about 80 W/m2 of energy from the top 1 mm. Only about 80% of solar radiation (SWR), penetrates the top 1 mm of the ocean. Therefore the top 1 mm of the ocean is running an energy deficit despite the large amount of energy that is deposited there by DLR. And measurements show that the top 1 mm is usually colder than the water immediately below.
In the tropics at noon on a sunny day, solar radiation might reach 500-1000 W/m2. If 20% of that much radiation were absorbed by the top 1 mm, the temperature of the top 1 mm might rise – thereby increasing upward radiation and evaporation without “warming” the bulk of the ocean. However, this situation persists for only a small fraction of each day.
One might say that the bulk of the ocean is warmed by the >80% of SWR that penetrates the top 1 mm of the ocean; not the DLR that is absorbed in the top 1 mm. Neither LWR nor evaporation cool the water below the top 1 mm. The surplus energy from SWR that is deposited below the top 1 mm is eventually returned to the cooler top 1 mm by convection and conduction. From the top 1 mm, that energy is eventually returned to the atmosphere and space.

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 10:33 am

Kadaka, point taken again.
richard verney says:
August 16, 2011 at 9:37 am
[…]

Good comment. The LW radiation comprises a flux which isn’t separable into individual ‘up’ and ‘down’ components in any meaningful way. This is what I was trying to get at with the badly thought out and badly worded comment Kadaka rightly criticised.
By the way Richard, this paper looks like good reading in the context of your ocean freezing question to Willis:
http://www.fisica.edu.uy/~barreiro/papers/BarreiroCherchiMasina2011.pdf
It’s under discussion here:
http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/16/climate-sensitivity-to-ocean-heat-transport/

Spector
August 16, 2011 10:38 am

I think a systems approach needs to be taken with respect to the ocean.
From the point of the greenhouse effect it does not matter if a solar photon is absorbed 30ft down and LWIR photons are being absorbed or emitted in the top millimeter. One might say it is the ocean’s business how it arranges its own temperature structure. All that really matters is that heat *energy* is being lost or gained by the ocean as a whole.
Evaporation-condensation is another energy exchange process altogether. At any one moment in time, energy is being exchanged but the temperature is constant. This sort of harkens back to the discussion of Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE) some months back.

August 16, 2011 10:45 am

“OK, if gross flows are important than why hasn’t anyone computed the gross energy flows of kinetic energy? …. So, why would anyone think the gross flows are important for the case of radiation? Maybe Willis or someone can explain to me the difference.”
Because for radiation, the flow in one direction is due to the object on one side. If I know the temperature and emissivity of one object (such as the surface of the ocean), then I can say how much IR energy it is emitting, INDEPENDENT of the temperature or emissivity or other objects around. So it makes perfect sense to discuss the energy being radiated, not simply the net radiation. (Of course, in the end it is the NET energy that determines the change in temperature, so eventually you need to know about the other objects around).
For conduction you need to know the temperature of BOTH objects and the conditions in between them. This means that knowing the conditions of he ocean surface will not suffice to know the conduction. So in a sense you are already looking at the net flow of energy, and the details about how much goes each direction is not important.
(But such details are indeed considered when looking at microscopic details of the kinetic theory of gas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_theory or details of phonons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonon)

August 16, 2011 10:53 am

George says:
August 16, 2011 at 9:40 am

Artic vs Tropical and duration (from somewhere above)… The refractive index of ‘water’ is 1.33 yielding a critical angle of 48+ degrees (48.6?) RI = 1/Sin(theta). That assumes that RI of ‘water’ and sea water are equal. With sun angles at lower than 48 degrees, the surface should become, as a sum, reflective. …

You got that backwards, George. The critical angle would apply to light heading UP to the surface at a 48 degree angle and then reflecting back down into the water.
There is, however, a different effect that does come into play for water, making it more reflective as the light hits at a more glancing angle. Look toward the bottom of this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflectivity

BenAW
August 16, 2011 10:55 am

How come everybody is talking about AVERAGE radiation levels resulting in AVERAGE temps using the Stefan-Boltzmann formula when there is a fourth power in this formula?
Earth has ONE sun, that radiates on half the earth. Average radiation on this half is 1364/2 = 682 W/m^2 resulting in an average temp of 303K after deduction for albedo.. Directly under the sun the temps could be much higher. These possible temps aren’t seen because the heat is taken up by the oceans and continents. Taking these high temps to the nightside of our earth makes it possible to start talking about reduced cooling by “greenhouse” gasses.http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?comment_status=all#comments-form
All we need to do is calculate a temperature budget for earth to see if we’re loosing or gaining 😉
Hasn’t been done afaik

George E. Smith
August 16, 2011 12:17 pm

“”””” Alexander Duranko says:
August 16, 2011 at 7:32 am
Some interesting analysis of ocean heating recently.. Regarding CO2 and H2O specific ‘DLR’, you must realise that because Kirchhoff’s Law requires that emissivity and absorptivity are the same at equilibrium, ….. “””””
Too bad your statement needs those two words “at equilibrium” in order to be correct.
The Earth’s atmosphere is never in (thermal) equilibrium; not even vaguely, so forget Kirchoff’s Law.
While we are considering the validity of “Eschenbach’s Axiom” (Willis to us); that “Downwelling Long Wave Radiation (DLWR) can’t not heat the deep ocean”; we should not forget that fundamental Axiom of Climatism; “Gases cannot radiate thermal (continuum) EM radiation” so therefore Earth’s atmosphere cannot radiate a thermal (Planckian) EM radiation spectrum. And the reason for this fundamental truth, is simply that gases (well at least mono-atomic and homo-diatomic) gases can’t because they have a zero electric dipole moment; and Maxwell’s equations tell us we can’t radiate EM waves without an antenna, so in order to radiate an EM thermal spectrum, based on Temperature of the radiating substance, the atoms/molecules have to have an electric dipole moment that is not zero.
So the molecules must be assymmetrical like H2O for example; they can’t be symmetrical like CO2 or CH4 for example; neither of which has a non-zero electric dipole moment, at any ordinary Temperature. In particular N2, O2, and Ar, the principle gases of earth’s atmosphere all have zero electric dipole moments, at ordinary Temperatures, so they cannot radiate a thermal continuum EM spectrum.
Well that’s the belief anyhow; just like Eschenbach’s Axiom.

richard verney
August 16, 2011 12:37 pm

tallbloke says:
August 16, 2011 at 10:33 am
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Thanks for the heads up. When I have a little time, later this week, I shall consider the paper and the post about it on Claimate etc. Looks interesting.

Matt G
August 16, 2011 12:52 pm

Tim Folkerts says:
August 16, 2011 at 10:22 am
It would be better to complete this using only solar sources and no DLW, but would also have to be done outside to keep the same solar radiation 170w/m2 input sources. Changing the percentage radiation source will also change how much penetrates the water. The variable outside atmospheric day temperatures makes very little difference to the volume of water, so leaving it outside would be more accurate. Don’t know how this would cause it to cool compared with a 20c rise in one day, way above the highest atmospheric temperature that day. Also demonstrated with solar ponds, the water can warm much more via the sun, it is latent heat and convection that keeps the ocean surface stable.
“The obvious conclusion is that the SUM of the energy coming in affects the water temperature (along with the sum of the energy out). You can’t logically say that only one source of energy is keeping the water warm.”
I can when this is only demonstrated to do so, but remember this was only for one day. My main point it that for just one day the difference is huge and for over a period a massive change has to occur for this to be even noticeable from the solar source.
On clear nights the atmospheric temperatures can cool quickly, but the ocean SST’s hardly change at all. Only the top 1mm is shown to be a little cooler at night over the ocean, but it makes no difference to SST’s over one full day. Clouds do have an affect on atmospheric temperatures and warm during night and cool during the day. Simply because the clouds cool during the day shows that the suns affect on atmospheric temperatures is greater than any DLR. (despite the 170 and 390 values shown) I agree the DLR is clearly responsible for slowing energy through the atmosphere, but for ocean the changes are very small or make no difference because it always has a high concentration of water vapour above it’s immediate surface.

August 16, 2011 1:14 pm

Tom Folkert,
“The difference is that the clouds are very good emitters of thermal IR across the entire thermal IR spectrum, sending copious amounts of DLR to the surface where it gets absorbed.”
And where does the energy come from for the clouds to emit energy all night Tom? The amount of thermal mass in them simply is not enough. You have to give up this idea of components of a system functioning the same in isolation.

Stanb999
August 16, 2011 1:31 pm

steven mosher says:
August 16, 2011 at 1:52 am
Hmm Tallbloke. Rather than trust a magazine about how reflective insulation works or does not work I think I trust the stuff I built for DOD. And I’ll use my thermos to keep my coffee from cooling faster than it would. And If I have to go near a wacking hot fire i’ll also wear a reflective suit
here have some fun. there’s plenty more
http://www.insul.net/howto.php
And yes, if you use a space blanket too long you get hoarfrost in the inside.. cause its working. but eventually get to the fire
—————————————————————-
Steven,
Does adding more of this highly reflective aluminium increase the thermal reflectivity?
For instance would you prefer to be in an armour suit like in the days of other dreamy notions of how the world worked… Would it’s greater concentration of molecules even tho reflective of IR enable heat transfer. Or is the real key to not transferring a lot of heat the tiny mass of the aluminium actually being heated. So would adding more co2 make the layer more dense and transfer heat faster?
This post has nothing to do with how the world works…

Martin Lewitt
August 16, 2011 1:35 pm

How did this thread get so long so fast? I haven’t had time to read them all, so hopefully this isn’t repetitive. Willis, do you know what you are talking about? Infrared doesn’t penetrate a whole millimeter, but mere microns. The point is not that it cannot heat the ocean, it can, but the point is it is coupled to the ocean quite differently from solar, while models generally couple them both to the whole mixing layer as if they were equivalent. Solar can penetrate 10s of meters, there has even been Kelp forests at 100 meters depth.
Radiation that penetrates mere microns is more likely to be involved in surface latent heat effects, is more likely to be reradiated quickly and more likely to be less coupled to the ocean by foam or spray or surface biofilms, etc. Your argument amounts to “A watt is a watt”. In a complex nonlinear system a watt isn’t just a watt. It does matter where that watt is. Vertical and horizontal distribution make a difference. The albedo of the ocean is likely to be different in the IR range than in the visible range, just as it is different for snow and other surfaces. You wouldn’t claim a watt absorbed in the desert where it is far more likely to be radiated that night is the same as a watt deposited in a humid climate where it will stick around for longer. What makes you think in a complex nonlinear system you are entitled to the assumption that a watt in the first microns of the ocean surface is the same as one 50 meters down? That is the assumption the modelers are making.

Stanb999
August 16, 2011 1:42 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm
Folks, and particularly Tallbloke, you are arguing that radiatively heating a liquid from above the surface causes overturning.
Heating a liquid from above the surface causes stratification, not overturning. You can experience this in the ocean or a lake on a calm sunny day. This is because the heating decreases with depth, no matter what the type of radiation is. As a result, the warmest layers are always on top. In that condition, heat is transferred downwards by conduction.
The air doesn’t heat the water. Period. It doesn’t contain enough energy to do so. Period. Never happens. As you said a cold body never warms a warm one… So the atmosphere except the last few hundred meters are colder than the ocean surface. The top 33 feet of the ocean contains the same mass as the entire atmosphere above it. Being that the last few feet are in actual contact. That is all that can affect change.
If your going with the insulation model…
1. You have diminishing returns with every layer added. So adding more co2 only adds a small portion of actual “benefit”. It’s non-linear and dilative.
2. What gives you the idea that adding heat next to the surface wouldn’t cause other mechanisms to operate faster… IE a higher flame boils water faster. Do you suggest water can only evaporate in a static fashion linearly?

August 16, 2011 1:47 pm

Richard Verney says:

The problem is that the 390 mw per sqm of DWLWIR can only have come into existence because of and as a factor of the 170 mw per sqm of solar ebergy received. Unless one can truly get something for nothing, this is flase. There is a failure of double accounting.

There is no double accounting. If my household receives $170/day and spends $170/day, there is absolutely nothing that prevents my wife and me from handing thousands of dollars back and forth each day. This does not violate and “conservation of money” nor does it require any double accounting to make the budget balance. Same for the earth’s energy budget.
I would challenge you to find any part of the system where the energy in is not equal to the energy out.
A better way to think about this is from one day to the next. At the moment, a column of air 1 m^2 from the ground to the top of the atmosphere has a total thermal energy of about
1000 J/kg*K * 10,000 kg * 250 K = 2.5 billion J.
(These are all only a rough estimate, but it makes the point.) This is energy the atmosphere already has — not energy it needs to get every second from the sun or some place else. This column of atmosphere can easily loose ~ 325 J each second to the earth and 200 J each second to outer space for quite some time without cooling too much. During the day, that column of air will absorb ~ 2*70 = 140 J each second from the sun and a little over 350 + 24 + 78 J from the ground (since evaporation and radiation and convection will be greater during the day then during the night) for a net gain of ~ 75 J each second during the day (ie the atmosphere warms up during the day). At night, it will not get any energy from the sun, but it will still get energy from the ground (via radiation convection and conduction), for a net loss of ~ 75 J each second (ie the atmosphere cools at night). Over the course of a day, the net change is ~ 0.
No double accounting. No violation of conservation of energy. No violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
The details of loses and gains at specific locations and specific times and specific seasons obviously would require much more work, but the “back of the envelope” calculation shows everything is in accordance with the laws of physics.

Mike Rossander
August 16, 2011 1:49 pm

This post is clearly a rebuttal. Less clear is a rebuttal to what?
For those of us who are less well connected to the debate, could we get a little context next time, please? Who believes this and where are they saying it? Then tear into why they’re wrong. Just a little context would go a long way. Thanks.

August 16, 2011 1:59 pm

kuhnkat askes:
August 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm
“And where does the energy come from for the clouds to emit energy all night Tom? The amount of thermal mass in them simply is not enough. ”
See the previous post. There is a surprising amount of thermal mass in the atmosphere.
Besides, the clouds are also ABSORBING energy from the ground very effectively, which means that most of the energy is simply going back and forth continuously. One second, a square meter of cloud emits ~ 325 W thermal IR downward that the ground absorbs. That same second, a square meter of ground emits ~ 390 W thermal IR upward that the clouds absorb ( the exact numbers are not important; I am simply taking representative numbers where the clouds are cooler than the surface). The clouds are actually GAINING energy in the exchange, which would tend to warm them (although there are also many other energy exchanges that will affect the overall energy and temperature of the clouds).

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 2:12 pm

Mike Rossander says:
August 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm
This post is clearly a rebuttal. Less clear is a rebuttal to what?
For those of us who are less well connected to the debate, could we get a little context next time, please? Who believes this and where are they saying it? Then tear into why they’re wrong. Just a little context would go a long way. Thanks.

Hi Mike,
take a look at this post I wrote and Willis’ contributions to it.
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/tallbloke-back-radiation-oceans-and-energy-exchange/

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 2:16 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm
As a result I wrote the arguments list above, and tallbloke and the folks who think DLR can’t warm the ocean started answering (although none have explained why, if the DLR isn’t warming the ocean, it hasn’t frozen yet.

tallbloke says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm
Hi Willis,
Argument one asks what the difference is between rock and water. Warm water molecules rise to the top. Warm rock molecules conduct heat to their neighbours, which can’t go anywhere.
Argument two asks where the energy goes. The answer is:
space.
Argument three is not an argument that DLR can warm the ocean, it’s an argument that it can slow its rate of cooling.
Argument four is a numerical misunderstanding. The ocean surface very efficiently absorbs 95% of DLR, and promptly re-emits half of that (the other 5% being reflected). The other half makes it another couple of molecules deeper and then the molecules it warms become more buoyant than their neighbours and rise to the top, losing another half upwards. Now we’re down to ~72W/m^2. Lets remember the net flux is 66W/m^2 upwards at this point. So your ice cube argument fails. The ocean absorbs and re-emits the long wave radiation coming downwards from the atmosphere, the sums balance. In fact it emits 66W/m^2 more long wave radiation than it absorbs. It always has, and the oceans don’t freeze, because solar shortwave warms them to really significant depths of 100 metres and more as internal tides and currents mix its energy downwards. Some of that solar short wave energy is re-emitted as long wave from the surface along with some of the long wave which came from the atmosphere. The rest causes evaporation and thermals or is conducted upwards. The difference is, the solar derived energy can remain deep in the ocean for a long time, controlling it’s bulk temperature.
The question is, do DLR heated water molecules make it downwards far enough for long enough to warm the ocean bulk. I think the answer is no, because warmer water molecules are naturally buoyant, and because the vortices which mix solar energy so efficiently are below the wave troughs, several thousands of times deeper down than the depth DLR penetrates water to. For experimental evidence on this matter I’ve tried putting small soaked pieces of loo paper just under the surface out in the rolling waves away from the shore where they break. They don’t get sucked downwards. So that’s turbulent convection gone, what’s left? Conduction is a non-starter, because water thermally stratifies and anyway is a relatively poor heat conductor unless the heat source is underneath rather than above.
But this isn’t about absolutes. I’m sure the increased DLR warmed the ocean a little bit, or at least slowed its rate of cooling a little bit. I think the increased insolation due to (empirically measured) reduced cloud cover in the tropics 1980-1998 did a lot more to increase ocean heat content. To turn your question back to you, where else could that energy have gone?
Cheers
TB

richard verney
August 16, 2011 2:26 pm

Tim Folkerts says:
August 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm
///////////////////////////////////////////
If the income that you receive from your employer is $170 per day, as you say there is nothing preventing you and your wife handling 1000s of dollar notes per day but this does not mean that your income is any more than $170 per day.
I accept that you can receive $170 and give your wife $165 she then gives you back $164 and you then give her back $163 and she then gives you back $162 etc etc but the fact that so much money is passing through your hands does not mean that your daily income is anyting more than $170 and you could not obatin a mortgage on the basis that you were in receipt of $1000s per day. You are simply counting the same notes more than once.
The 390 w per sqm is a factor of the 170 w per sqm received from the sun. It is created by the solar energy received by the earth. If the sun had never fired up, the 390 w per sq m would not exist. You cannot create something from nothing and whatever is downwelling from the atmosphere it cannot be more than we have received from the sun.
Going back to Trenberth, of course I could go around adding amounts to both sides of the equation without disturbing the balance. But to do so is false. It is net flux that we need to consider when addressing the issues raised by Willis.

tallbloke
August 16, 2011 2:56 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm
This means that information has been thrown away to get to the “net flow” number, and I prefer not to throw away information when I don’t have to.

Let’s be super-generous to ourselves and have all the numbers on the table
Downwelling solar absorbed by the ocean ≈ 170 W/m2
Downwelling ‘back radiation’ ≈ 320 W/m^2
Total = 490 W/m^2
Ocean Heat Loss:
Radiation originating from energy very near surface of the ocean ~220 W/m^2
Radiation originating from solar energy in the next 4km depth of ocean ~170 W/m2
Sensible (convection) 30 W/m2
Latent (evaporation) 70 W/m2
Total = 490 W/m^2
Net radiative loss from ocean to atmosphere ~70W/m^2

Stilgar
August 16, 2011 3:07 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm
You are right. To be accurate, DLR means that the surface is warmer than if the DLR weren’t there. So you are technically correct, but in common parlance we don’t usually say “It slows the cooling so it ends up warmer than it would otherwise”. We just say “it warms it”.

No, you actually say “it HEATS it”. Which is where it seems most people are getting confused.
Something I have a problem with in any scientific debate is that more often that not, a person arguing a simple idea will use “common parlance” which is actually not as common as as the person assumes.
Stop for a second and think about what you wrote with the non-common parlance in that “it heats it” means that it will increase the temperature above what it currently is (not that is slows cooling but it actually makes it warmer).
If I did not know the common parlance you use, I could refute all of your arguments based on that simple fact alone. Which is what a lot of commenters are trying to do.
If you really want to educate people (instead of generating a mass of comments that simply misunderstand what you are saying), assume they dont know ANY common parlance and acutally say “it slows down the cooling”.

August 16, 2011 3:08 pm

richard verney says:
“I accept that you can receive $170 and give your wife $165 she then gives you back $164 and you then give her back $163 and she then gives you back $162 etc etc …”
Richard, you missed my point, I think. I’m not talking about handing the same bills back and forth, whereby I could only give a maximum of $170 at a time. Suppose I already have $1,000 in my wallet and she has $2,000 in her purse. My boss pays me $170 and I add it to my wallet. I pay my wife $400 for cleaning the house. She pays me $230 for mowing the lawn. Then she goes out and spends $170. We can hand back and forth large sums of money independent of getting $170 per day of new money and spending $170. While the true income is only $170, that does not stop me from giving my wife more than that each day. At the end of the day we both have what we started with.
Similarly, even though one square meter of surface receives only 170 W/m^2 of “new energy” from the sun, that does prevent the surface from “giving away” 390 W/m^2 of IR energy. Even though the atmosphere only receives ~ 70 W/m^2 of “new energy” from the sun, that does not prevent the atmosphere from emitting 325 toward the ground and 200 toward outer space. Looking at the total energy balance shows that the atmosphere gains as much as it looses. The surface gains as much as it looses. Everything stays in balance.

Dave Springer