The 1% Solution

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

When I’m analyzing a system, I divide the variables into three categories—first-, second-, and third-order variables.

First-order variables are those variables that can change the system by more than 10%. Obviously, these must be included in any analysis of the system.

Second-order are those that can change the system by 1% to 10%. These are smaller, but still too large to overlook.

Finally, third-order variables are those than can change the system by less than 1%. These are small enough that they can be ignored in all but the most detailed analyses. To give you an idea of why we can neglect the third order variables, here’s how those three forcings would look on a graph, for an imaginary signal of say 500 W/m2.

Figure 1. Showing the relative sizes of first-, second-, and third-order variables.

Note that the series containing the third-order variable is almost invisibly different from the series where the third-order variable is left out, which is why third-order variables can be safely ignored except when you need extreme precision. So … what does this have to do with climate science?

Let’s do the same kind of analysis on the forcings of the climate system. At the TOA, the “top of atmosphere”, there is downwelling radiation from two sources: the sun, and the longwave “greenhouse” radiation from clouds and “greenhouse” gases (GHGs). The globally-averaged amount of downwelling solar radiation at the earth’s TOA (which is total incoming solar radiation less a small amount absorbed in the stratosphere) is on the order of 330 watts per square metre (W/m2). The amount of downwelling longwave radiation at the TOA, on the other hand, is about 150 W/m2.

Finally, if CO2 doubles it is supposed to change the downwelling radiation at the TOA by 3.7 W/m2 … here’s how that works out:

Figure 2. Sources of downwelling radiation at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), defined as the tropopause by the IPCC.

By that measure, CO2 doubling is clearly a third order forcing, one that we could safely ignore while we figure out what actually makes the climate run.

Or we could look at it another way. How much of the earth’s temperature is due to the sun, and how much is due to the earth’s atmosphere?

If there were no atmosphere and the earth had its current albedo (about 30%), the surface temperature would be about 33°C cooler than it currently is (see here for the calculations). Obviously, downwelling longwave radiation from the greenhouse gases is responsible for some of that warming, with DLR from clouds responsible for the rest. Cloud DLR globally averages about 30 W/m2 (see here for a discussion). So the 150 W/m2 forcing from the GHGs is responsible for on the order of 80% of the 33° temperature rise, or about 25°C.

But if 150 W/m2 of GHG forcing only warms the surface by 25°C, then the so-called “climate sensitivity” is only about 25°C warming for 150 W/m2 of TOA forcing, or a maximum about six tenths of a degree per doubling of CO2, or about 0.2% of the earth’s temperature … again, it is a third order forcing.

Now, if someone wants to claim that a change in the forcings of less than 1% is going to cause catastrophes, I have to ask … why hasn’t it done so in the past? Surely no-one thinks that the forcings have been stable to within 1% in the past hundred years … so where are the catastrophes?

Finally, most of the measurements that we can make of the climate system are imprecise, with uncertainties of up to 10% being common. Given that … how successful are we likely to be at this point in history in looking for a third-order signal that is less than 1% of the total?

w.

PS – In any natural heat engine of this type, which is running as fast as the circumstances permit, losses rise faster than the temperature. So in fact, the analyses above underestimate how small the CO2 effect really is. This is because at equilibrium, losses eat up much of any increase in forcing. So the effect of the CO2 at general climate equilibrium is less than the effect it would have at colder planetary temperatures. In other words, climate sensitivity is an inverse function of temperature.

PPS – Please don’t point out that my numbers are approximations. I know that, and they may be off a bit … but they’re not off enough to turn CO2 into a second-order forcing, much less a first-order forcing.

PPPS – What is a first-order climate variable? Clouds, clouds, clouds …

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October 4, 2011 2:25 pm

Serious question. Why is CO2 considered more important than water and sunlight when it comes to considering future temperature trends, is it a political or a scientific thing?

John Trigge
October 4, 2011 2:34 pm

Para 3: These are smaller, but still to small to overlook
I suggest this should be ‘large’.
(From Oz)
.

Richard Lawson
October 4, 2011 2:35 pm

Brilliant and very, very succinct.
Thank you Willis.

Truthseeker
October 4, 2011 2:40 pm

zac – It is purely a political thing. CO2 has no significant effect on temperature as shown above.

Baa Humbug
October 4, 2011 2:42 pm

Yet another 1st order post by Willis.
I’m sure there’ll be some 1st order and 2nd order comments and questions.
However 3rd order commentors should forget it as Willis doesn’t respond to those.

richard telford
October 4, 2011 2:43 pm

Too often folk here get over excited by possibly third-order effects – there was one last week on atmospheric CO2 concentrations not being perfectly mixed. But there is a difference between a third-order effect that varies rapidly and one that steadily increases. Ignoring the first type leaves a small amount of noise in any analysis, ignoring the second type results in an ever increasing amount of bias. Anthropogenic greenhouse gases belong to the second type.

RHS
October 4, 2011 2:44 pm

Politically speaking, CO2 is seen as within mankind’s domain to control, depending on the doctrine being followed.

Bryan A
October 4, 2011 2:45 pm

This is likely because it is about the only input into the system that we have any control over.
We can’t control the Solar input
We can’t control the water vapor feedback
We can only control the amount of G-H-G(s) we add to the system. (but not the total G-H-G input)

TimTheToolMan
October 4, 2011 2:46 pm

Hi Willis, I think you have the legend wrong in figure 1.

percy
October 4, 2011 2:49 pm

ok…so now is perhaps the moment to start engaging with the feedback analysis of folks such as Bart over at Climate audit. I hope so because the debates over there on this esoteric subject have been enthralling and also way over my head. But they worry the orthodoxy.

Anything is possible
October 4, 2011 2:49 pm

If there were no atmosphere and the earth had its current albedo (about 30%), the surface temperature would be about 33°C cooler than it currently is (see here for the calculations). Obviously, downwelling longwave radiation from the greenhouse gases is responsible for some of that warming, with DLR from clouds responsible for the rest. Cloud DLR globally averages about 30 W/m2 (see here for a discussion). So the 150 W/m2 forcing from the GHGs is responsible for on the order of 80% of the 33° temperature rise, or about 25°C.
_____________________________________________________________________________
Every time I see this line of reasoning, it troubles me because it misses out a step. So here’s a serious question for you Willis….
What would the Earth’s surface temperature be if you removed the greenhouse gases, but retained all the nitrogen, oxygen and argon which comprises 99+% of its thickness? Surely that would have to be your GHG “starting point”.
What you are assuming, in effect, is that an Earth with an atmosphere comprised exclusively of nitrogen, oxygen and argon would have an identical surface temperature as an Earth with no atmosphere at all, and that doesn’t pass my “smell test”.

TimTheToolMan
October 4, 2011 2:52 pm

Hi again Willis, actually you dont have the legend wrong, its just that the colours ougth to be reversed of the +secornd order vs +secord+third order variables (IMO) to make your point better.

Falx
October 4, 2011 2:54 pm

Because CO2 is a perfect Bogey man that can be measured, taxed, restricted etc. But almost all high tech & heavy industry produce copious amounts of so the potential revenue stream is enormous. Thus the perfect wealth redistribution from 1st world economies to qangos, ngos, & other rent seekers. Via the sticky hands of the high priests.
Every real or confected disaster can be blamed on CO2. No matter how much humanity does or does not produce.

Paul Westhaver
October 4, 2011 2:55 pm

Willis,
Do you mean this?
“Second-order are those that can change the system by 1% to 10%. These are smaller, but still to small to overlook.”
Is this a typo? should it not read:
Second-order are those that can change the system by 1% to 10%. These are smaller, but still to LARGE to overlook.
Regards…

DirkH
October 4, 2011 2:57 pm

“PPPS – What is a first-order climate variable? Clouds, clouds, clouds …”
And you talked only about radiation; CO2 doubling becomes even less important when heat transport via convection and conduction is taken into account.

Cal65
October 4, 2011 2:57 pm

CO2 is important because it can be painted as a pollutant and as a pollutant, it’s important for political purposes. Water and sunlight are obviously important to life and aren’t derived from a substance the EPA can deign to control. Early in the argument, water was not included in a listing of greenhouse gasses, partly, I believe, because it’s percentage would overwhelm that of CO2. And besides, we still cannot decide whether warming feedback from water is either plus or minus, much less the quantative impact on the MODELS.

Ralph Woods
October 4, 2011 3:00 pm

Plain, simple, brilliant

Paul Westhaver
October 4, 2011 3:02 pm

Another point… and I am certain Lord Monckton would also agree that at < 1% the signal to noise ratios may swamp the ability to perceive response to 3rd order artifact.
This is what the Michael Manns and the rest of climate liars continually fail to point out as Lord Monckton has done so on a number of occasions.
What is the precision of the you ability to characterize the system, what is the uncertainty?
How can anyone assess a 0.01C change in climate? or a 0.1C change for that matter. particularly with all the system noise. It is BS on its face.

Gary
October 4, 2011 3:04 pm

Zac, because CO2 can be regulated very easily. Water and Sunlight can’t. It’s a political thing.

Matt
October 4, 2011 3:08 pm

Ok….First and foremost: The terms “first, second, and third order” are purely fictional constructs in the sense that you are using them. In real science these labels refer to the terms in a power series expansion (the linear, quadratic, and cubic terms). Your definitions are subjective and shed no new light on the underlying physics.
What you are essentially saying is that the effect of doubling CO2 is small when compared with the warming due to the sun and to the nominal effects of GHGs (minus the human contribution). *No one* would debate this point. On an absolute scale, the effects of a doubling of CO2 are small (even the IPCC predicts a change of a few degrees, compared with a baseline of somewhere around 88 degrees K…a few percent effect).
But your so-called “second-” or “third-order” effects make a HUGE difference to life on the surface of the earth. The difference between the worst ice ages and the hottest periods in our planet’s climate history is just a few percent change in heat content. By your definitions, these changes would qualify as being on the low end of “second order”. Tell that to the dinosaurs.
There are many cases in the world where small effects make a big difference. Drunkenness is due to a change in blood-alcohol that you would call “third-order”. A dangerous fever is only a few percent effect above nominal human body-temperature. In short, the effect of a small change in a physical parameter on a system can vary widely from case-to-case. You can’t simply say 1% is small…Small compared to what?
Which brings me to my question: What is your point in making these “first-“, “second-“, and “third-order” distinctions?

kim
October 4, 2011 3:21 pm

I think I’ve never heard so loud
The quiet message in a cloud.
=======================

Richard M
October 4, 2011 3:31 pm

Anything is possible says:
Every time I see this line of reasoning, it troubles me because it misses out a step. So here’s a serious question for you Willis….
What would the Earth’s surface temperature be if you removed the greenhouse gases, but retained all the nitrogen, oxygen and argon which comprises 99+% of its thickness? Surely that would have to be your GHG “starting point”.
What you are assuming, in effect, is that an Earth with an atmosphere comprised exclusively of nitrogen, oxygen and argon would have an identical surface temperature as an Earth with no atmosphere at all, and that doesn’t pass my “smell test”.

In fact, I believe the temperature would be warmer. How would the atmosphere get cooled without the radiating properties of GHGs? The surface heat would mostly radiate to space, but the small amount that was conducted to the air would continue to build over time.
It would be real interesting to hear the arguments of alarmists as to how this scenario would play out.

FredT
October 4, 2011 3:43 pm

This is completely wrong. At the TOA – which is the *TOP* of the atmosphere, there is *no* downwelling LW radiation. There is only upwelling LW radiation of about the same order of magnitude as the absorbed solar. Think about it!

RoyFOMR
October 4, 2011 3:44 pm

Along with millions of others, I’ve seen “Close Encounters of the third kind” and I know that the bigger the number the more important it is!
Climate changes because it is variable and can be summarised thus;
Solar is a first-order variable, Natural Greenhouse gases are second-order but (mainly) man-made CO2 is a THIRD order variable. Wow!
Extending Hynek’s scale to even higher order variables make it even worse than we first thought.
Methane eructations, cheap energy, oceanic acidification, ozone depletion and the insidious spread of Global capitalism just to mention a few may, perhaps, be even higher orders than fossil-fuelled atmospheric pollution.
We must ban everything that irritates Gaia and the sooner the better.
PS – is it sarc with a forward or a backward slash?

More Soylent Green!
October 4, 2011 3:45 pm

TOO small, not to small. Or possibly TOO large.

steveta_uk
October 4, 2011 3:58 pm

This is because at equilibrium, losses eat up much of any increase in forcing.

When designing a discrete heat engine, this may be true, but when analysing the earth climate system as a whole you cannot ignore losses – there’s nowhere for the energy to be lost to.

October 4, 2011 4:00 pm

DIrkH Says:
And you talked only about radiation; CO2 doubling becomes even less important when heat transport via convection and conduction is taken into account
Dirk:
In performing heat balances, the effects of each separate mechanism are cumulative. That is, the net heat tranfer is the sum of convective, conductive and radiative. The climate model energy balances account for this.
Willis:
I believe the argument is that the feedbacks cause the net effect to go from less than 1% (2.87C), hence moving the impact from your ‘third order’ to what you describe as ‘second order’.
In researching this post, I’ve gained further understanding of low pressure radiative transfer. If someone asks you about my little paper on “the path length approximation”, I’ve found the error in my calculations.

Enneagram
October 4, 2011 4:07 pm

“Among the favorite subjects of such essays were anecdotes taken from the lives or correspondence of famous men and women. They bore such titles as “Friedrich Nietzsche and Women’s Fashions of 1870,” or “The Composer Rossini’s Favorite Dishes,” or “The Role of the
Lapdog in the Lives of Great Courtesans,” and so on. Another popular type of article was the historical background piece on what was currently being talked about among the well-to-do, such as “The Dream of Creating Gold Through the Centuries,” or “Physico-chemical Experiments in Influencing the Weather,” and hundreds of similar subjects.”

Hesse, Hermann: “Magister Ludi or the glass bead game”

Hoser
October 4, 2011 4:08 pm

CO2 is the only parameter in the models that allow them to fit past data. It’s too hard to model clouds accurately. If they give up CO2, they give up the whole thing. It isn’t science, it’s power. Money and prestige go to the scientists providing results that please their masters, and the “science” justifies government control over us. It lets those pulling the strings of government pick winners and losers. There is no free market; the game is rigged. And big corporations also in league with government seemingly win because they enjoy protected regulatory markets. In reality, they just become weak and uncompetitive. We are so screwed.
People know something is wrong. They are typically misinformed about what is behind the problems we face.
Young people are told to blame capitalism. Unless we get back control over education, the young people will be manipulated to support the revolution thinking they have nothing to lose. The world is not fair, they are told. Lambs to the slaughter.
Minorities are told to blame the rich (white) racists, and remember only progressive government is “on your side”. Minorities are told they can’t make it without help. Obviously, without equal outcome, the system is clearly biased in favor of others. This flawed logic justifies legal “remedies” like affirmative action. Anything is justified in some well-intentioned (they claim) attempt to create a more “fair” outcome. Divide and conquer.
We are all in this together. Every person, every country. We are made weak, slowly whittled down, and eventually culled. What is the goal? A world population of 1 billion? It is completely unnecessary. The world could support a population of over 10 billion people, if we provide the energy we need to maintain civilization. We can do that without much trouble. Feeding us all may require a change in the way we live, and where we live. We can avoid a very bad future, but never using Green methods.
For Greens to succeed, all principles and independent thought must be eliminated. No one can be allowed to think or act independently. The state must be free to do whatever is necessary.
Green politics is genocide. Green energy is poverty, disease, and death. Green is the new Red.
We should never give up trying to help people become more aware.

Tim Folkerts
October 4, 2011 4:16 pm

I have to agree with several of the comments…
As FredT says, the downwelling LW at the TOA will be small. At the VERY TOA, it will be zero. Even at 11 km, the value is ~ 25 W/m^2 (using MODTRAN). Downwelling solar radiation is ~ 340 W/m^2 at the very top, and will be a little less at the tropopause, so it is LW is ~ 10% at this level, not ~ 30%.
As Matt says, even small (a few percent changes) are important in the climate balance, so CO2 changes cannot be ignored simply because they are ~ 1 %. The big question, of course, is the feedback — will 0.8% change from doubling CO2 lead to positive feedback (in which case it could easily be a 2% change that is quite significant to the climate) or will it lead to negative feedback (in which case it could easily be ~ 0.1 % and totally insignificant)?

joe
October 4, 2011 4:36 pm

Matt,
One problem with your alcohol analogy, CO2 is one of many sources of radiation while alcohol is the only source of drunkenness. Were alcohol one of many factors contributing to our inebriation and its effect was .8% of said drunkenness then we could say it was third order. However since it causes 100% of the inebriation it is a first order.

Edward Bancroft
October 4, 2011 4:37 pm

FredT: “At the TOA – which is the *TOP* of the atmosphere, there is *no* downwelling LW radiation. There is only upwelling LW radiation….. ”
Yes, this is the net daily effect of the sun’s emissions on the atmosphere.
To that, I would add that we also need an analysis of IR outwelling at night when the atmosphere is cooled by IR emissions to space, by the presence of IR-active (‘greenhouse’) gases. The more ‘greenhouse’ gases in the atmosphere, the more the cooling effect at night balancing the extra heating effect by day?

RoyFOMR
October 4, 2011 4:47 pm

“As Matt says, even small (a few percent changes) are important in the climate balance, so CO2 changes cannot be ignored simply because they are ~ 1 %”
Yes, third-order changes may lead to first order perturbations but do we really want to base our futures on the possibility that a mouse, in Tokyo on a Tuesday in June, may and just perhaps (‘cos it’s not impossible mate) swing its tail and create a Tsunami in Cornwall?
As pure conjecture I can go along with that but when the defence against it happening threatens my future, my childrens future and the way of life that millions have fought for do you wonder why I reject that whimsy?
If you don’t then we clearly have severe differences when interpreting Occam.

October 4, 2011 4:58 pm

I’m wondering what kind of variable extreme ultra violet is. EUV varies greatly during the solar cycle, and heats the atmosphere to a greater or lesser extent…
“NASA-supported researchers say that solar flares have been keeping a secret. The new finding, reported in the Astrophysical Journal, suggests that explosions on the sun could affect Earth even more than previously thought.”
From http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/19sep_secretlives/

Legatus
October 4, 2011 4:58 pm

Anything is possible says:
October 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm
What would the Earth’s surface temperature be if you removed the greenhouse gases, but retained all the nitrogen, oxygen and argon which comprises 99+% of its thickness? Surely that would have to be your GHG “starting point”.
The reason CO2 can increase temperature due to absorbing and re-emitting longwave radiation, while these above gasses do not, is because the above gasses are transparent to such wavelengths. They can be heated by convection, by direct contacted with other heated stuff, like the ground, water vapor, even CO2, but cannot themselves be directly heated by infrared radiation. Therefore if the atmosphere contained no “greenhouse gasses” at all, the surface would radiate longwave radiation directly out into space, with no interference at all. This happens, to some extant, in deserts at night, no clouds and little humidity means less “greenhouse” gasses between the surface and space, so more and faster radiation, and it gets cool fast, despite the fact that it may have been extremely hot in the daytime.

Peter S
October 4, 2011 5:00 pm

Tim Folkerts – ‘As Matt says, even small (a few percent changes) are important in the climate balance, so CO2 changes cannot be ignored simply because they are ~ 1 %. The big question, of course, is the feedback — will 0.8% change from doubling CO2 lead to positive feedback (in which case it could easily be a 2% change that is quite significant to the climate) or will it lead to negative feedback (in which case it could easily be ~ 0.1 % and totally insignificant)?’
Wilis looked at one important part of the equation, which is what would things be like without the atmosphere and greenhouse gasses. But I think there is another equally important one that has not been looked at enough, this would, to my untrained eye, seem to make a bit of a mockery of the whole positive feedback argument.
The question is what was the atmosphere like (how high a concentration of C02), and how hot were the temperatures before plants started dragging C02 from the atmosphere?
All the black carbon that we are releasing into the atmosphere as C02. Where did it come from?
You see, the term “fossil fuel” suggests to me that the world’s supply of coal, oil, natural gas, and the biomass of our forests and plants previously existed in some other form of carbon.
Not only that, but that it was converted to it’s current form by living organisms.
If that is the case, then that would suggest that the source of that was atmospheric CO2.
So, what was the atmospheric C02 concentration at the stage where life apparently began? How acidic were the oceans? Was there runaway global warming, and, if so, how did life forms manage to evolve in what AGW proponents argue should have been extremely hostile conditions?
One of the problems I have with AGW is that as far as I am aware, the c02 we are releasing now from burning fossil fuels and the like must have existed in the atmosphere previously (and in far greater concentrations than it does now).
So how hot was it then?
Surely we need those figures to work out an upper end benchmark and levels of significance?

TerryS
October 4, 2011 5:01 pm

Re: Matt says:

Ok….First and foremost: The terms “first, second, and third order” are purely fictional constructs in the sense that you are using them.

Nope they are not. The idea of second order effect being a fraction of a first order effect and a third order effect being a fraction of a second order is well understood and well used. If you want some examples then search google for “first order effect” and you will get many hits from many different fields including (but not limited to) economics, probability, oceanography, chemistry, earth sciences etc.

Mark T
October 4, 2011 5:30 pm

Look up the phrase “third order intercept.”. The magnitude of higher-order effects is a function of the non-linearity of the system. As your system approaches regions of highly non-linear behavior, higher-order effects dominate.
Mark

October 4, 2011 5:32 pm

Willis Eschenbasch said in the article:
” Cloud DLR globally averages about 30 W/m2 (see here for a discussion). So the 150 W/m2 forcing from the GHGs is responsible for on the order of 80% of the 33° temperature rise, or about 25°C.
But if 150 W/m2 of GHG forcing only warms the surface by 25°C, then the so-called “climate sensitivity” is only about 25°C warming for 150 W/m2 of TOA forcing”
I would like to comment on the calculation of low climate sensitivity. Our present atmosphere in comparison to no atmosphere and same albedo caused a 33 degree C temperature rise, with adding of 180 W/m^2. However, there are 76 W/m^2 of water evaporative cooling and 22 W/m^2 of heat removal by convection. So, the atmosphere warms the world by 33 degrees C with a net gain of 82 W/m^2. This translates to a “feedback parameter” of 2.48 W/m^2-K. (And negative.)
A doubling of CO2 at this rate would cause 1.49 degree C temperature rise.
The usual figure for feedback parameter with zero feedbacks from albedo change, water
vapor effect change, lapse rate change, etc. is negative 3.3 W/m^2/K. Using that, a doubling of CO2 would cause a 1.12 degree C temperature rise.

RoHa
October 4, 2011 5:34 pm

@Baa Humbug
“However 3rd order commentors should forget it as Willis doesn’t respond to those.”

October 4, 2011 5:35 pm

Anything is possible says:
October 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm
What would the Earth’s surface temperature be if you removed the greenhouse gases, but retained all the nitrogen, oxygen and argon which comprises 99+% of its thickness?
==================================================
See the ideal gas law, I believe that would give you the answer. As to the GHGs, I haven’t found an answer to a question I posited. Perhaps someone here will know.
What is the energy distribution towards the various frequencies of IR? For instance, does 10.5 microns put the same energy as 3.0 microns? If so, how do we know this? How does the various redundant absorption effect the energy moving towards the earth?
Given the orbital shape of the earth, and the muti-directional re-emission of the molecules, more energy would be emitted past the earth than back towards the earth………. the ratio away from the earth increasing as the elevation of the molecule increases.

Septic Matthew
October 4, 2011 5:35 pm

Willis wrote: Finally, most of the measurements that we can make of the climate system are imprecise, with uncertainties of up to 10% being common. Given that … how successful are we likely to be at this point in history in looking for a third-order signal that is less than 1% of the total?
You have, I suggest, confounded two issues (1) whether a third-order effect can be detected from a short time series; and (2) whether a third-order effect might have an important consequence if it persists. AGW proponents claim a doubling of CO2 will increase Earth equilibrium temperature by 2K – 4.5K, or about 1% from what it is now. A 0.8% increase in net forcing is the right order of magnitude to produce that effect, should it persist.
Clouds, clouds, clouds — doesn’t almost everyone agree that the changes in clouds are the most important known unknowns? If the clouds increase even a little bit, then the CO2 increase will not warm the Earth surface. They might increase, or they might not. So what we can say with the precision we have available, is that AGW can not now be known to be true, and it can not now known to be false. That, I would claim, in the proper skeptical position, with knowledge as it is.
At RealClimate I emphasize one hand; here I emphasize the other hand.
The best evidence that AGW might be false comes from your analysis of the TAO/TRITON data, and the discovery of the negative correlation between early day and late day temperatures. If something like that could be discovered over large enough areas of Earth surface, it would show that temperature can not increase 4K without an enormous increase in the forcing lasting a long time.

Septic Matthew
October 4, 2011 5:41 pm

Anything possible says: What would the Earth’s surface temperature be if you removed the greenhouse gases, but retained all the nitrogen, oxygen and argon which comprises 99+% of its thickness? Surely that would have to be your GHG “starting point”.
That is an irrelevant consideration for thinking of AGW and policy. The question is: Given Earth’s composition as it is now, what will a gradual doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere over 50+ years produce? If another 0.5K increase in temperature produces so much cloud cover that downward radiation of all frequencies is reduced enough in daytime, then increases in CO2 will produce no additional increase in temperature. It is possible that further study of clouds will show that already the warming since LIA has produced sufficient cloud cover that there will be no new warming of the lower troposphere.

Joel Shore
October 4, 2011 5:53 pm

(1) We happen to be in the unusual situation where the largest input (solar radiation) is also exceedingly constant…at least the the output from the sun is…over the timescales of interest. (And, there is very little evidence at this point to support the notion that clouds spontaneously vary enough to make much difference.)
(2) I have always been fuzzy on where your 150 W/m^2 number comes from. If it is just from taking the difference between the surface radiation of ~390 W/m^2 and the ~240 W/m^2 at the top-of-the-atmosphere, I see some problems with that, the most important being that it represents only the contribution due to CO2 alone, not feedbacks such as the water vapor feedback (because the 3.7 W/m^2 is just the forcing due to CO2 alone). [Why it is gives a result somewhat lower than the accepted no-feedback value is something I am not completely clear on…although part of it may be that it may implicitly include the one major feedback that is negative, the lapse rate feedback.]

October 4, 2011 6:01 pm

Septic,
AGW probably has a small effect, which can be disregarded for all practical purposes. But it certainly doesn’t control temperature, as we can clearly see here.
And if you study this chart for even one minute, you will be hard pressed to find any problem with the current rise in this essential trace gas. The biosphere is starved of it. More is better. And there is no evidence that the rise in CO2 has caused any global harm.
Go back to realclimate and tell them that. I would do it myself, but they have never allowed any of my posts out of moderation. Censoring bastards.

Joel Shore
October 4, 2011 6:03 pm

Willis says,

That is indeed the argument, John, but it’s wrong. For example, the second calculation includes each and every one of the feedbacks. The GHGs raised the temperature raised by 33° including the feedbacks.

No…What you don’t understand is that in order to calculate the expression with feedbacks, you have to include the feedbacks AS FEEDBACKS. In using the 150 W/m^2 value, you are including the effect of water vapor as a forcing, i.e., it is part of that 150 W/m^2. So, no, you are not calculating the value of the climate sensitivity with the feedbacks.
You always have to be careful about these sorts of things. As Hansen has noted, when people calculate the temperature change between the LGM and now, they call the change in albedo due to the changes in ice a forcing. This means that they may be underestimating what will happen in the current situation where any changes in ice are considered as a feedback, not a forcing. [In fact, Hansen argued that this about doubles the climate sensitivity from ~3 to 6 C per CO2 doubling, although others have argued that this is probably not the case for temperature increases from our current largely deglaciated state and I think Hansen has, in his latest paper, backed off on this somewhat.]
If you aren’t consistent in what you consider to be a forcing and what you consider to be a feedback, you can arrive at all sorts of incorrect conclusions.

Dave Worley
October 4, 2011 6:06 pm

It’s difficult to discern what are first and second order variables where there are so very many third order variables, Unless you simply assume that all of the third order variables average out. The idea may work on paper, but I expect not in the real world.
Consider for example that economics may drive farmers to switch crops each year (and to different crops in different regions) with resultant changes in albedo, transpiration, cloud formation, and so on. Just one example of many.

Austin
October 4, 2011 6:06 pm

Isn’t CO2 about the same everywhere?
Then how can it effect some places differently than others?

Dave Worley
October 4, 2011 6:07 pm

To clarify, if third order variables make up 90% (an extreme example), then there are no first order variables.

October 4, 2011 6:08 pm

Willis, I understand your basic point, but “first, second, and third order effect” has a technical meaning, and that ain’t it.

charles nelson
October 4, 2011 6:10 pm

Could one refer to the likes of Mann, Briffa, Hansen etc as scientists of the ‘third order’ ?

October 4, 2011 6:14 pm

Joel Shore says:
“…Hansen argued that this about doubles the climate sensitivity from ~3 to 6 C per CO2 doubling…”
Hansen’s alarmism has been discredited by the planet itself, so which one are you gonna believe? And what do you expect from a self-serving scaremonger who pockets loot he is not entitled to receive as a government employee? The more fearmongering Hansen emits, the more payola he pockets. It’s not rocket science.

October 4, 2011 6:17 pm

Thank you Willis for your posting, I agree with anyone who says you should collect all your postings here on WUWT , correlate them into one, – or more – books for publication and you will no doubt have best seller(s).
However, think of this one, – what we are discussing is called the “Greenhouse Effect”. Anyone who think the name Greenhouse Effect is a “misnomer” has not considered the language used in dept.
To understand what I am getting at you must consider the fact that a pot of water on the stove, a pot which has a lid on (or more extreme, a pressure cooker) will need less heat/ energy input from the stove, in order to boil, than does a pot without a lid.. (Likewise it is an observed fact that a greenhouse works because it restricts (warm) air convection.)
The “Misnomer” Greenhouse Effect” however is kept in place because the chances are that the “explanation tags” convection and radiation will be confused, or “interchanged”
– It has by now become a “norm” to talk about “Downwelling Radiation” – which, is another “misnomer” helping us to imagine that warm “air-sinks” are forms of radiation. (I am half expecting that Foehn (Chinook) winds are soon to be classed as downwelling radiation.)
Radiation is, as you should very well know, a form of energy transport
– Which whithin our discussion encompasses: Short Wave Infra Red radiation, (SWIR) which is describing a transfer of energy from a point (call it A, or the Sun) to another point (call it B or the Earth’s surface). – Or Long Wave Infra Red (LWIR) radiation which in the same way must be from B to C (C being CO2 and other “Climate Gases”), – if not – then LWIR is not radiation. – But the point is – and please take note – If IR energy is removed/ transported from B in order to subsequently be absorbed by C, then it is unlikely that B is going to experience an increased temperature even if all or 100% of B’s emitted energy is returned by C. – If B’s temperature increases, then new/extra energy must have been created as energy provided by A is considered constant. (Energy Creation and Moonshine Production are forbidden by Law).
There is, as far as I know, no evidence to prove that CO2 has ever produced extra energy which is a physical requirement for temperature increase.
If you do not agree with the physical logic that says that “an increase in temperature must be proportional to an increase in energy” then let me know the reasons why so I can consider what to do next.
If however you believe that CO2, in ever increasing density can incur an ever decreasing convection, then I must admit that maybe I shall have to think again.

Jeff
October 4, 2011 6:17 pm

I appreciate posts like these. When i was young math came easy, now not so much 🙂 I guess I don’t really look at things normal. There is a deafening scream that there is to much CO2 but just recently on scientist state that we are in a CO2 famine. I have seen more charts,graphs, models of CO2 then i really wanted to. But I have yet to see what is considered normal.
What is normal for CO2?
Is it possible to say what normal is with what we know?
With natural selection at play over the history of the Earth would looking at what average level of CO2 plants / algae thrive at be out of the question for establishing a baseline?
Ironically this week I have been writing code for a multi node temperature controller. The decision engine doesn’t stray to far from Willis’s variables graph.

October 4, 2011 6:21 pm

Smokey says:
October 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm
Go back to realclimate and tell them that. I would do it myself, but they have never allowed any of my posts out of moderation. Censoring bastards.
=======================================================
lol, That’s ’cause in their eyes you are a blasphemer!!!!! ………….. Showing how CO2 doesn’t really correlate to temps and all……… lol!

ferd berple
October 4, 2011 6:34 pm

Anything is possible says:
October 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm
What you are assuming, in effect, is that an Earth with an atmosphere comprised exclusively of nitrogen, oxygen and argon would have an identical surface temperature as an Earth with no atmosphere at all, and that doesn’t pass my “smell test”.
This question can be answered by looking at other planets and seeing if surface temperature varies as the density of the atmosphere or the composition of the atmosphere. From what I’ve seen there is a much stronger correlation between density and temperature than there is between composition and temperature. It can be argued that this process continues past the surface of the earth to the core.

October 4, 2011 6:43 pm

Smokey says on October 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Go back to realclimate and tell them that. I would do it myself, but they have never allowed any of my posts out of moderation. Censoring bastards.

Wow!
The cloistered, self-important, inbred cadre of climate-scientists and world-dominating wannabes scored a whopping 3.8% of the vote!
Wow!
Inbreeding as a success-path would seem to indicate some promise!
.

ferd berple
October 4, 2011 6:45 pm

So, if solar is 68% of the radiation, and GHG is 31%, why can we not simply make reflectors that are 3x bigger than solar reflectors and generate steam from the down-welling GHG radiation at night?
This is a fair question and one that shows the fallacy of the GHG theory. We know that glass reflects IR, so if there are these many watts/m2 raining down on the earth from GHG, then we should be able to create large glass reflectors to focus this IR at night and heat our houses or produce steam for electricity.
The problem for climate science is that if GHG is warming the earth with down-welling IR as proposed, then this same IR would solve the fossil fuel problem and provide 7×24 power, something that solar power cannot do. This sort of reliability would make the capital cost practical.
So, the million dollar question. Why can this down-welling IR from GHG not do work the way that down-welling IR from the sun can? If IR from the sun can do work and IR from GHG cannot, then the IR from GHG cannot be equivalent to IR from the sun. It is as simple as that.
Thus, any treatment of IR from the sun and GHG cannot treat them simply as watts/m2, unless and until you can show that they both can do work. So far, it has not been shown.

BigWaveDave
October 4, 2011 6:48 pm

Wouldn’t a doubling of CO2 be 0.08%? But then, how would even a twenty fold increase in CO2, to 0.8%, cause any climate problems?

chrism
October 4, 2011 7:00 pm

Great stuff, very engineering back-of-envelope stuff. This might be a little off this topic but can you estimate the loss of photonic energy to photosynthesis on a planetary scale ? I looked at the climate models,and didn’t see it (perhaps I’m looking without seeing). I note much space is given to plankton turnover of CO2, but nowhere could I see calculations about the energy supplied being used to make green stuff entering the calculations. Is this a fourth (or fifth) order thing-o?

Joel Shore
October 4, 2011 7:11 pm

Willis says:

Thanks, Joel, good to hear from you. Suppose there were no feedbacks. If that were the case, we wouldn’t warm up 33°, we’d warm up 35° or 30°.
So when I use the number 33°, that includes all possible feedbacks.

Willis, good to talk to you as always. I don’t understand this 35° or 30° statement. What do those numbers refer to?

So how am I not including the feedbacks? My number is the number including the feedbacks. You’ll have to explain to me what I’m missing.

Willis, I suggest you read what I wrote very carefully, several times if necessary. The point is that an effect can be included as either a feedback or a forcing and you are including it as a forcing. If it is included as a forcing, then it is not part of the feedbacks; it’s part of the forcings.
Look at it this way: If the earth’s surface temperature increases by 3 C, then simply using the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation tells us that the radiation from the surface will increase by about 16.5 W/m^2. (You might be able to argue this down a little bit depending on the distribution of the temperature increases on the earth’s surface, but not by much.) Since the radiation from the TOA will still be 240 W/m^2 (at least once the earth is back in…or close to…radiative equilibrium), that means your 150 W/m^2 number will have increased to 166 W/m^2.) That is a lot larger increase than 3.7 W/m^2. So, that raises two possibilities:
(1) Your method of computing the climate sensitivity is wrong.
(2) Climate scientists, even skeptical ones like Roy Spencer or Richard Lindzen are not able to do basic math, since they haven’t made this obvious point that, if this were really all there is to it, would fatally undermine AGW.

KevinK
October 4, 2011 7:11 pm

Willis wrote;
“First-order variables are those variables that can change the system by more than 10%. Obviously, these must be included in any analysis of the system.
Second-order are those that can change the system by 1% to 10%. These are smaller, but still too large to overlook.”
With respect a better terminology is more along the lines of;
A system variable that produces a system response greater than 10% of the overall system response is termed a variable with an effect within the “first order of magnitude”.
A system variable that produces a system response greater than 1% , and less than 10% of the overall system response is termed a variable with an effect within the “second order of magnitude”.
Etc.
This is easily confused with the “orders” of a polynomial equation where the “first order” is an f(x), the “second order” is an f(x*x), “third order” is an f(x*x*x) etc.
Yes indeed in the beginning of any analysis those variables that produce a “cause and effect” within the first order of magnitude are studied first. This is then followed by examination of the second order effects, etc.
However when a polynomial is involved all orders must be examined carefully since things that are squared or taken to the third power can have a huge effect. For example the effect of air drag on an automobile is a function of the third power of the speed (I could be wrong it might be a second power effect). So at 1 mph the air drag is indeed an effect of the fourth or fifth order of magnitude. But at 100 mph it becomes a first or second order of magnitude effect.
Otherwise your post is relevant to understanding the possible magnitude of the alleged warming from the “greenhouse gas effect”
Unfortunately, the “GHE” only changes the speed at which energy (variously taking the form of visible light/heat/infrared light) flows though the Sun/Earth/Atmosphere/Universe system.
UNLESS this change in the speed of energy flow amounts to a significant portion of the periodic nature of the incoming energy (i.e. sunrise/sunset) no “higher equilibrium” temperature results. That portion of the energy that flows through the system via the “GHE” only takes a few more milliseconds (estimates vary but it may be as few as 5 or maybe a few thousand) to travel through the system. Since there are about 86 million milliseconds in a day the “GHE” has no affect whatsoever on the “average” temperature of the surface of the Earth.
Increases in “Greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere of the Earth are displaced by reductions in “Non-Greenhouse” gases. Energy flows through the “Non-Greenhouse” gases at the speed of heat (aka Thermal Diffusivity). Energy flows through the “Greenhouse” gases at a speed approaching the speed of light (after accounting for multiple absorptions/re-emissions). The speed of light is quite a bit faster than the speed of heat.
Therefore increases in “Greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere only cause the gases to change temperature more quickly after changes in the energy input to the system. These changes would include; sunrise (gases heat up faster), sunset (gases cool down faster), accumulation of clouds (gases cool down faster), and the dissipation of clouds (gases warm up faster).
This effect is so small that we probably cannot afford to measure it. The historical temperature databases do not contain the necessary data.
Cheers, Kevin.

Septic Matthew
October 4, 2011 7:14 pm

Willis wrote: The car speeds up until it can’t go any faster, wind and rolling resistance are equal to the power put out by the engine.
About climate, that is an untested assumption: that the Earth surface and lower troposphere can not warm up any more. I think that your TAO/TRITON analyses show it’s a good bet, but they are not conclusive.
In fact, the climate is more so, because nature generally runs at the edge of turbulence. This makes any increases very costly energetically, due to the rapidly increasing turbulence.
That’s empty phraseology. Quit it.

Tim Folkerts
October 4, 2011 7:16 pm

Actually, Willis, what I was trying to say is more like
“A 1% change in radiation would be ~ 0.8 C change in temperature, based simply on radiation balance.”
or
“changes of a few percent in axial tilt or semi-major axis are thought to be drivers of climate changes (Milankovitch cycles)”
Either of these would have noticeable impacts on the earth. Certainly some claims are blown out of proportion, but you don’t have to look too far to see where small changes make noticeable differences.

ferd berple
October 4, 2011 7:18 pm

Smokey says:
October 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm
“Go back to realclimate and tell them that. I would do it myself, but they have never allowed any of my posts out of moderation. Censoring bastards.”
Same here and I (like many) have a degree in science to boot and the RC web-site says they are discussing real science with real scientists. Obviously RC is not really discussing science, they are lecturing (preaching), and only if you don’t ask any hard questions that might show they don’t really know what they are talking about.
RC. Just like any other Cult, you may not question the leader. Doctrine is supreme and above question.

gbaikie
October 4, 2011 7:23 pm

“Every time I see this line of reasoning, it troubles me because it misses out a step. So here’s a serious question for you Willis….
What would the Earth’s surface temperature be if you removed the greenhouse gases, but retained all the nitrogen, oxygen and argon which comprises 99+% of its thickness? Surely that would have to be your GHG “starting point”.”
Why not remove all the liquid water instead of vapor and gas states of water.
If you did that, a “second order affect” would be it’s very windy.

Tony
October 4, 2011 7:23 pm

The question should be, “how much water vapour would there be without CO2 or methane?” This seems to be the elephant in the room with these discussions.

RoyFOMR
October 4, 2011 7:23 pm

The more time that I spend at this site makes me love it more than before. And yet I despair inversely proportionally to my enjoyment.
Apart from a few hundreds (thousands) who actually cares? It’s a tiny minority in global terms.
Ok, a few Africans and some others got wiped out thanks to political aspirations inspired by globally-powered greed but is that an issue worthy of the gaze from our elected representatives?
I guess not but that is not an issue that can be held against them. Yup, they are greedy, selfish and self-seeking individuals but we voted for them. You can’t blame the scorpion for sinking the fangs in but you should hold a bit of respect back from the frog that ticked the ballot paper to put them into power!
Too many scorpions is bad but, far worse are the icky-little frogs that gave them the power to choose whom and when to sink the killer-bites into.
Forget science. ignore truth, shun honesty and come to terms with this. The scorpions have won.

Joel Shore
October 4, 2011 7:25 pm

Willis says:

I take it from two places. The first is the simplest possible model of an energetically balanced greenhouse, where absorbed equals emitted at all levels. This has to be represented as two separate, thermally separated atmospheric “shells”, since a single shell model does not concentrate enough energy to allow for the known losses. Here is that diagram:

So, which number on that diagram are you claiming corresponds to your 150 W/m^2 value? Is it the back radiation between the lowest stratosphere and the troposphere, (and the 147 W/m^2 emitted out of the lower stratosphere up into space) or is it something else?

The second is the temperature of the tropopause, which runs at about -40 to -50°C or so, or a corresponding blackbody temperature of somewhere around 150 W/m2. Since the TOA is defined by the IPCC as the tropopause, that must be the TOA radiation.

I would not really say that the IPCC defines the tropopause as the TOA, plus I am not sure how this temperature is then relevant. To my mind, “top of the atmosphere” means you are considering the radiative balance across that boundary because you know that the only communication across that boundary is via radiation. I know that the IPCC does talk about allowing the stratosphere to adjust and thus using the tropopause instead, but I don’t think that means that the temperature at that particular point is some very important temperature, as that is not the point where most of the radiation that escapes to space is originating from.
By the way, since the last part of my previous post (i.e., where I calculated how your 150 W/m^2 number would change if the earth’s surface temperature rose by 3 C) was predicated on the notion that you were defining that 150 W/m^2 as the difference between the radiation from the surface and the radiation of the earth as seen from space (i.e., as an effective 255 K blackbody), I will withdraw my statement about knowing how your 150 W/m^2 will change until I better understand how you are deriving it. But, I still stand by my point that it is including all of the greenhouse gases (in particular, water vapor) as forcings, and hence not feedbacks.

ferd berple
October 4, 2011 7:25 pm

Mann oh mann.
321 watts per square meter back radiation according to the diagraph above. So, lets all get out our glass reflectors and focus that energy just like we can with energy from the sun. It must be possible, as they are both measured in watts per square meter, and solar energy at the surface is only half as much, only 169 watts per square meter, and even a small solar reflector can burn holes through objects.
So, lets hear what happens when you place a large glass reflector out at night to try and actually use that 321 watts per square meter down-welling IR to try and heat something. Watts that you say?? It doesn’t work?? Why not, they are both watts per square meter?? Watt is it that climate science is missing??.

October 4, 2011 7:26 pm

Septic says:
“That’s empty phraseology. Quit it.”
It seems pretty clear to me. Changes occur at the margins.

Tim Folkerts
October 4, 2011 7:34 pm

Willis,
I really like the two-layer diagram as a “first order” correction to the original. Where did you get it?
I do have one particular question. MODTRAN suggests that looking up from the tropopause (11 km) you would only see ~ 25 W/m^2 LWIR coming down, but this diagram suggests around 150 W/m^2. Perhaps the two layers should more properly be called “lower troposphere” and “upper troposphere & stratosphere”?

October 4, 2011 7:36 pm

James Sexton says:
October 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm
What is the energy distribution towards the various frequencies of IR? For instance, does 10.5 microns put the same energy as 3.0 microns? If so, how do we know this? How does the various redundant absorption effect the energy moving towards the earth?
=====================================================================
Sigh, ok, gotta do everything myself. I love going over pre-trodden ground……..
Equation: f * λ = c
Equation: E = hc/λ
where:
f = frequency in Hertz (Hz = 1/sec)
λ = wavelength in meters (m)
c = the speed of light (299792458 m/s)
E = energy in electron Volts (eV)
h = Plank’s constant (6.626068 × 10-34 m2kg/s)
Apply this to the general CAGW discussion. Anyone care to take it from there? Look, I’m a beer drinker, and I don’t have time to focus on the minutia. Reckon this with the IGL as I mentioned earlier, and we’ll have a formula………. and it will explain why this…..http://www.theresilientearth.com/files/images/Greenhouse_Gas_Absorption-dlh-500.png , may be correct.

October 4, 2011 7:44 pm

It is interesting that a 1% change is so dramatic. The Charney sensitivity is off by at least 33% since it is the average of two estimates, 2 and 4. DLR measurements are off by +/- 7 W/m-2 +/- 50% of the range of predicted change. Then from another perspective, a 0,1% change is 2nd order with respect to a 1% change. A couple of 3rd order changes to the system are first order PITAs for the 1% solution.

Tim Folkerts
October 4, 2011 7:56 pm

ferd berple says:
October 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm
“So, lets all get out our glass reflectors and focus that energy just like we can with energy from the sun. It must be possible …
Your statement here gives the hint as to why it will not work, if you stop to think about it. The sun’s energy comes from a very specific direction, so it can indeed be “focused”. You can reflect light and get 2 times (or 10 time or 100 times) as much energy into a small spot by cleverly placing mirrors.
On the other hand, the LWIR is diffuse. Trying to reflect in IR light from the sky will block IR from other parts of the sky, making the exercise a wash.
Or if you prefer, you can consider the 2nd law of thermodynamics: “No process is possible whose sole result is the transfer of heat from a body of lower temperature to a body of higher temperature. (Wikipedia)” If we believe the 2nd law, then the process of focusing IR energy from the LWIR cannot warm the object above the temperature of the radiating object (ie the temperature of the atmosphere/clouds), ie the IR cannot transfer heat to a warmer object (Similarly, it is impossible to focus sunlight to warm an object above ~ 5800 K).
If you think ” it must be possible” to warm something with 300 W/m^s of IR from a ~ 300 K object the same way you can warm something with 300 W/m^2 of sunlight from a ~ 5800 K sun, then you think the 2nd law does not hold.

gbaikie
October 4, 2011 8:02 pm

“What you are essentially saying is that the effect of doubling CO2 is small when compared with the warming due to the sun and to the nominal effects of GHGs (minus the human contribution). *No one* would debate this point. On an absolute scale, the effects of a doubling of CO2 are small (even the IPCC predicts a change of a few degrees, compared with a baseline of somewhere around 88 degrees K…a few percent effect).”
That is true. Even the increase of temperature given by IPCC is insignificant.
The temperature increase would also be to nighttime and winter temperature. And the temperature increases would have to be in the temperate or arctic regions.
One problem is that tropical region are major element defining global temperature- remove the tropics and Earth is quite cold. Therefore to actually increase global temperature, one has to significantly increase average temperature in temperate and arctic regions. And so temperature regions would need similar to average tropical temperature.
And there is no sign of this occurring- orange trees aren’t being grown in Oregon
“But your so-called “second-” or “third-order” effects make a HUGE difference to life on the surface of the earth. The difference between the worst ice ages and the hottest periods in our planet’s climate history is just a few percent change in heat content. By your definitions, these changes would qualify as being on the low end of “second order”. Tell that to the dinosaurs.”
Dinosaurs were probably killed by a space rock- and that affect from this space rock is far more than first order affects being discussed. It far larger affect than setting off all nuclear weapons in all human stockpile- by at least a factor 10. An example is it would cause serious earthquake on the opposite side of the planet it hit.
“There are many cases in the world where small effects make a big difference. Drunkenness is due to a change in blood-alcohol that you would call “third-order”. A dangerous fever is only a few percent effect above nominal human body-temperature. In short, the effect of a small change in a physical parameter on a system can vary widely from case-to-case. You can’t simply say 1% is small…Small compared to what?”
Or any posion can kill you. You are itty bitty creature, the planet isn’t. The planet has major events which have happened, it’s billions of years old. Yellowstone eruption:
“The last full-scale eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano, the Lava Creek eruption which happened nearly 640,000 years ago, ejected approximately 240 cubic miles (1,000 km3) of rock and dust into the sky”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_Caldera
That is Earth getting a buzz.
Here a hiccup:
Krakatoa:
“The 1883 eruption ejected approximately 21 km3 (5.0 cu mi) of rock, ash, and pumice.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krakatoa#The_1883_eruption

chris y
October 4, 2011 8:13 pm

Manabe and Strickler, Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a convective adjustment, J Atmos Sc. Vol 21, July 1964, pp 361 – 385, has some early modeling results. They started with an Earth with no clouds, a surface albedo of 0.1 and a standard atmosphere with H2O and CO2 similar to 35N latitude in April.
A greybody calculation with no atmosphere gives an average surface T = 271 K.
With pure radiative cooling, they calculated a surface T = 332 K.
Thus, typical levels of CO2 and H2O provide greenhouse surface delta T of about 61 C. About 50 C of this is due to H2O.
With convection added, but no clouds yet, the lapse rate drops from 10 to 6.5 K/km, and the surface temperature drops to T = 300 K.
Convection provides a strong negative feedback for surface T.
Manabe also calculated surface T with a moist adiabatic lapse rate of 6.5 K/km, and found that increasing CO2 from 1 ppm to 350 ppm resulted in about 10 C of surface T increase. This gives approximately 1 C per CO2 doubling.
It was abundantly clear by 1964 that weather provides a strong negative feedback, makes the planet’s surface habitably cool, and that small changes (undetectable in existing datasets) in weather intensity (spatial coverage, frequency or duration) will have a large impact on global surface temperatures.

RACookPE1978
Editor
October 4, 2011 8:37 pm

gbaikie says:
October 4, 2011 at 7:23 pm
“Every time I see this line of reasoning, it troubles me because it misses out a step. So here’s a serious question for you Willis….
What would the Earth’s surface temperature be if you removed the greenhouse gases, but retained all the nitrogen, oxygen and argon which comprises 99+% of its thickness? Surely that would have to be your GHG “starting point”.”
Why not remove all the liquid water instead of vapor and gas states of water.
If you did that, a “second order affect” would be it’s very windy.

And just below this comment …
Tony says:
October 4, 2011 at 7:23 pm

The question should be, “how much water vapour would there be without CO2 or methane?” This seems to be the elephant in the room with these discussions.

My response to both ..
Removing water vapor from the atmosphere, or the equally common CAGW “argument requirement” to discuss CO2 influence on the earth’s climate “from 0,0” conditions, is irrelevant.
We HAVE BOTH CO2 and water in the atmosphere.
We CANNOT remove either and make an analysis of any sort starting from those conditions.
We have an axial tilt of the earth, and that axial tilt will not change in the next 100, 500, nor 1000 years.
Solar radiation at top-of-atmosphere changes from month to month over the span of a year – a fact “approximated” in the models.
The earth rotates – a fact also not loaded in the models.
Yes, the elite physicists who want to study their ideal high-priced models in their nice air-conditioned physics classrooms for their profits and their prizes and their peer-recognition and write their peer-reviewed magazines for their friendly editors and gatekeepers can remove CO2 or remove water vapor from their approximations (er, labs) and pretend some other condition may occur in some universe.
But neither condition (no CO2 or no water vapor) will matter. Our earth has both. At best, one can only change CO2 (or methane) levels from the initial percent. And, by the way, a “sudden jump” simulated by a sudden doubling or tripling of CO2 or methane isn’t a valid analysis either.
——
By the way, if 23 different global computer models can begin with 23 different assumptions (initial conditions) and 23 different variable assignments at 23 different sites – and yet all 23 can – at best – only run hundreds of simulations to yield one average result ….. Then is that by itself not condemning the accuracy of the models?
After all, ONLY ONE initial condition (life on a tilted, rotating earth with seasons and currents and jet streams and El Nino’s and La Ninas and PDO’s and AMO’s and NAO’s) is valid. If 23 different models give one (average) result after (averaging) thousands of different computer runs, which ONE model and ONE set assumptions and ONE set of equations and ONE set of factors is correct?
When a valid finite element analysis is run on a valid computerized approximation of the real world – such as a stress strain model using boundary condition, or a neutron fluz simulation or a electro-magnetic simulation of a generator coil or a magnetic “bottle” simulation, the model doesn’t need thousands of runs – each yielding different results that have to be averaged together – to present a useable result. Each run of a valid model of a physical relationship that is correctly approximated using valid assumptions and valid “boxes” for each element yields the same results each run.
If the modeled results differ each time you run a stress-strain model, your model is wrong.
Your equations and assumptions are wrong.
(You are wrong in trying to use a FEA approximation of your process …..)

F. Ross
October 4, 2011 8:39 pm

Willis … I always enjoy your posts especially when the commenters go at it “tooth and nail”.
………..
Not wishing to pick a nit, but it seems to me too that the legend on Fig. 1 has an error(?).

TimTheToolMan says:
October 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm
Hi Willis, I think you have the legend wrong in figure 1.

It appears to me that the colors for First and Second Order and First, Second, and Third graphs are reversed. [Green & Purple reversed?]

R. Gates
October 4, 2011 9:00 pm

Another very interesting post Willis. And yet, of course, this little “3rd order” variable, this tiny trace gas, a mere tiny fraction of our Earth’s atmosphere, is absolutely critical in preventing the Earth from becoming a snow ball planet. Amazing little molecule that CO2…

gbaikie
October 4, 2011 9:22 pm

“Great stuff, very engineering back-of-envelope stuff. This might be a little off this topic but can you estimate the loss of photonic energy to photosynthesis on a planetary scale ? I looked at the climate models,and didn’t see it (perhaps I’m looking without seeing). I note much space is given to plankton turnover of CO2, but nowhere could I see calculations about the energy supplied being used to make green stuff entering the calculations. Is this a fourth (or fifth) order thing-o?”
Well a recent estimate of CO2 absorbed global per year is 150 to 175 petagrams or
10^15 grams or 150 to 175 gigatonnes. Humans emit about 30 petagrams or gigatonnes.
If converting energy you have losses, if split water with electricity, and use the H2 and O2 to make electricity you lose energy.
BUT for rough idea the amount energy you get from burning fossil fuels to that created 150 to 175 petagrams CO2 is roughly the amount energy taken from the sun by plants per year.
It gives you rough idea- and 150 to 175 petagrams is also only a rough idea.

ferd berple
October 4, 2011 9:23 pm

“Tim Folkerts says:
October 4, 2011 at 7:56 pm
On the other hand, the LWIR is diffuse. Trying to reflect in IR light from the sky will block IR from other parts of the sky, making the exercise a wash.”
No, you can make a reflector that is not sensitive to direction. It is not perhaps not as efficient as point source, but it can be done.
The question remains: If watts per square meter is the measure of down welling GHG IR, then you should be able to get work from the IR, regardless of source.
As such, my original point stands. The watt is a unit of work. So, if GHG does in fact radiate watts of energy it MUST be capable of work.
We know we can get work from the watts radiated from the sun. So, where it the demonstration that you can get work from down-welling GHG IR? If it can’t do work, then it is nonsense to measure it in watts.
This is really fundamental to the problem. Where is the demonstration that GHG is capable of doing work? If it can’t do work, then why are we insisting it is somehow equivalent to watts from the sun which can do work? We might as well be talking about zero point vacuum energy heating the earth.

Layne Blanchard
October 4, 2011 9:37 pm

Anything is possible says:
October 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm
I agree with “Anything’s” point. Didn’t read all comments here, but why don’t discussions such as this examine the heat transmitted by non GHG’s? If we care about the temperature of objects near the surface, What about all the warmth from conduction via non GHG’s? It seems intuitive that this could be even the majority of the reported 33C difference on Earth vs, say, the Moon.

October 4, 2011 9:38 pm

What would the temperature be if the earths atmosphere was 50% Co2?

Brian H
October 4, 2011 9:39 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
October 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm

To affect such a system, you need changes, not in the radiative forcings, but in the surface and cloud albedo.

Now you’re talkin’. That’s a very clear top-down explanation, much appreciated.
but —
Edit Note: that should be “effect”. “Affect” as a verb is pretty much equivalent to “originate”, not “alter”.

Brian H
October 4, 2011 9:41 pm

Brian H says:
October 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Edit Note: that should be “effect”. “Affect” as a verb is pretty much equivalent to “originate”, not “alter”.

Apologies. I got it bass-ackwards. You’re right. “effect” it is.

Layne Blanchard
October 4, 2011 9:42 pm

Isn’t doubled CO2 .08% rather than .8%?

Brian H
October 4, 2011 9:43 pm

October 4, 2011 at 9:41 pm
Brian H says:
October 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Edit Note: that should be “effect”. “Affect” as a verb is pretty much equivalent to “originate”, not “alter”.
Apologies. I got it bass-ackwards. You’re right. “effect” it is.

Jeez Louise, my typo-spewing machine is running at the borderline of turbulence.
“affect” is correct.

anna v
October 4, 2011 9:58 pm

R. Gates says:
October 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm
“Amazing little molecule that CO2” The amazing is not the little CO2 molecule, but the brain construction of people who find the hypothesis of such a small contribution wagging the dog .
The only way that a tiny contribution can be built up over time is through resonance. There is absolutely no way that a chaotic system with the hundreds if not thousands parameters and functions entering the problem will be in a resonant state receptive to tiny changes. imo of course.

October 4, 2011 10:18 pm

Zac, good question and goes to the heart of the AGW scam. In scientific (and engineering) equations a general principle of algebra is used to reduce the number of variables by eliminating those that don’t (seem) to change. E.g. yx^3 + vx^2 + zx = 2qx In this simple example the variable x appears many times, in algebra we simplify this equation to yx^2 + vx + z = 2q (I just did a minor one step simplification for demonstration purposes, you could manipulate the equation more for simplification)
What the AGW hoaxers are claiming regarding water vapor in the atmosphere is that it doesn’t change from year to year and therefore any changes in water vapor levels is induced by changing the amount of CO2. This is of course circular reasoning, if water vapor doesn’t change from year to year, then CO2 can’t change the amount of water vapor, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. This is one of the many slights of hand played by con artists leading a rube to believe something that is not true by glossing over the details and if you don’t look too closely you are easily misled.
However, any examination of the humidity levels from month to month quickly dispells the notion that water vapor is a constant as AGW hoaxers claim. They then talk around this inconsistency to claim it doesn’t change from year to year, thus it averages out just like thermometer errors. Again, this is a falsehood, water vapor amouts in the atmosphere does change from year to year. If it didn’t then how could you have droughts? Excess rain events? I.e. Increasing precipitation? They then talk around that inconsistency by claiming once again, claiming it’s a regional phenom IF you consider the entire planet as a whole ON AVERAGE there is no change. Yet, they claim both increasing floods and droughts as a consequence of AGW.
BTW- this is the exact same slight of hand played with the GAT (Global Average Temp), The Southern Hemisphere has shown ZERO increase in temperature for well over 30 years. They combine measurements of both Hemispheres together to create the GAT which then showed an increase from what 1980 or 79 to 2005? Aren’t averages wonderful? It is a convenient means to hide a tree in the midst of a forest. If there is no warming in the Southern Hemisphere, then logic says it can’t be global warming but Northern Hemispheric Warming. What’s their answer, water vapor in the ocean dominated Southern Hemisphere is concealing the temperature rise!!!

Robert Lucas
October 4, 2011 10:47 pm

Policyguy:
Matt says:
October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm
Excuse me, as mentioned in a number a posts after yours, your logic seems to have a number of serious flaws. You may want to reconsider your theoretical response to the paper. Is this peer review? Does this editor need to consider resignation??? Please guide us.
Also,
R. Gates says:
October 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Another very interesting post Willis. And yet, of course, this little “3rd order” variable, this tiny trace gas, a mere tiny fraction of our Earth’s atmosphere, is absolutely critical in preventing the Earth from becoming a snow ball planet. Amazing little molecule that CO2…
—–
What a ridiculous, unsupported, untrue statement, out of the blue. What are you inhaling? Try to find 4 blue (purple, red, scary orange) BB’s in a sea of 10,000 white ones. Have fun explaining the significance when you get there. Of course you could try to find 40 in a sea of 100,000 white ones, or you could really go after the big one – the 400 in a sea of 1 Million white BB’s and really understand the terror of that experience.
What a joke. Peddle it elsewhere, please.

JPeden
October 4, 2011 11:13 pm

R. Gates says:
October 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Another very interesting post Willis. And yet, of course, this little “3rd order” variable, this tiny trace gas, a mere tiny fraction of our Earth’s atmosphere, is absolutely critical in preventing the Earth from becoming a snow ball planet.
Right, Gates, so let’s do as much as we can to keep CO2 concentrations as low as they’ve ever been over the last 600 million years or so. Hey, maybe we can get the plants to starve and get rid of the teeming hoardes to boot! Conveniently leaving the chosen to graze as “tundra trash”?
And not that I agree with your phobic snowball earth scarecrow to begin with, but it would be nice to at least be able to ward off the next glaciation, right?

Septic Matthew
October 5, 2011 12:12 am

Willis: it is a mathematically derivable result from the Constructal Law. You should know by now that I don’t do “empty” very much.
“At the edge of turbulence” is like “almost equilibrium”.
It’s easier to believe AGW than it is to believe the “Constructal Law”. Unless the result of the derivation has been severely tested, as this has not, then it is likely that the approximations made in the assumptions are not accurate enough to substantiate the accuracy of the result.

Joe V.
October 5, 2011 12:25 am

What I love about this piece. Here’s a guy who can put things in perspective. Perspective’s what it’s all about and for all our education our losing touch with the natural world is making us easy prey to Alarmists . Alarmism thrives on getting things out of perspective. Observers who can bring back perspective ( or should I say significance) are a most valuable asset.

October 5, 2011 1:04 am

Willis said:
If there were no atmosphere and the earth had its current albedo (about 30%), the surface temperature would be about 33°C cooler than it currently is (see here for the calculations).
Problem with that is that most of that 30% is due to clouds, which would necessarily be absent with no atmosphere. The correct calculation would be with an atmosphere but no greenhouse effect, and due to the different surface temperature, different cloud cover, and therefore overall albedo.

Peter Sørensen
October 5, 2011 1:25 am

A water cooled engine is cooled with a flow of 600 liters/minute. The inlet temperature is 318 K and the outlet is 320.5 K Now this is a delta T of only 2.5 C and since this is only 2.5/318 K times 100 %= 0.8 % of the inlet temperature this is a 3. order forcing. So the engine is not realy cooled at all and we can turn of the cooling system and nothing will happen………. Well a closer look shows that the heat removed from the engine is 105 kW and if the cooling system is stoped the engine will fail within a very short time.

Cementafriend
October 5, 2011 1:28 am

Willis, Trenberth has the IR “window” wrong (40 instead of the actual 66 w/m2) and knows it see slide 26 of the following http://climategate.nl/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/KNMI_voordracht_VanAndel.pdf. One has to ask is he committing scientific fraud by not correcting or withdrawing his papers? As I said on another bloke I believe that he has no understanding of heat and mass transfer (which is a chemical engineering discipline based on empirical evidence, measurements and engineering research). Trenberth can find no reasonable explanation so he continues his fantasy of being a leader of the “team”. His cartoon of global heat balance is just that a cartoon serious people should laugh at. Your B_ll__it nose has failed you.

Mariwarcwm
October 5, 2011 1:33 am

Everyone gone. Never mind – you are all so clever I dare not say anything in prime time.
gbaike says that the dinasaurs were probably killed by a space rock. When I looked at the very clear chart provided by Smokey on the level of CO2 over the past 500 million years, (at 6.01pm) I noticed that the dinosaurs flourished when CO2 was between 1,200 and 2,000 parts per million.
Perhaps they died because CO2 fell below the high levels required to grow the huge plants that dinosaurs lived on? Perhaps they starved to death, as we will if CO2 levels were to drop. Thank heavens they have risen. Perhaps my grandchildren will live to hear the cry ‘Burn fossil fuels! Burn fossil fuels to increase CO2 levels!!’ They will think that our generation was nuts. Apart from WUWT and friends of course.

October 5, 2011 1:34 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
October 4, 2011 at 11:51 pm
Downwelling DLR, however, is at about 320 W/m2, which equates to a blackbody temperature of about freezing (0°C). So to get work out of it, you’ll need to have a still lower temperature sink to which to reject the heat … what do you plan to use for that?
DLR shows an emission spectrum for all the GHGs – it’s very “spiky” and thus very far from a smooth Planck curve. Any such temperature calculation is thus invalid. An examination of the Planck “envelope” (upper bound of the spiky spectrum) indicates a much higher temperature than 0°C.
A similar error is frequently made when considering outgoing radiation to space. An “effective” blackbody temperature can be calculated, and has some use, but has no real physical meaning – OLR comprises GHG emission bands, and surface radiation transmitted through the atmospheric “windows”, again not a smooth Planck curve, and with radiation from two main sources at different temperatures.
BTW, DLR is considered to come from a height of around 5 km. OLR is considered to come from TOA, which is logical, as 90-odd percent of the atmosphere is below TOA.

John Marshall
October 5, 2011 2:10 am

If incoming solar is 500w/m2 and CO2 adsorbs, say, 100w/m2 then the ongoing solar is 400w/m2. So called greenhouse gasses cannot add to the incoming since law 2 must apply.

John Marshall
October 5, 2011 2:13 am

It is assumed that the LWIR is that reradiated by GHG’s. It is more possibly incoming SWIR that has lost energy and changed frequency due to this energy loss.

Gail Combs
October 5, 2011 2:27 am

richard telford says:
October 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm
Too often folk here get over excited by possibly third-order effects – there was one last week on atmospheric CO2 concentrations not being perfectly mixed. But there is a difference between a third-order effect that varies rapidly and one that steadily increases…..
_________________________________________________________________________
What I get upset about is cherry picking the data. The fallacy of CO2 being mixed is the excuse used to throw out truckloads of data that does not fit the predetermined curve and an excuse for using only a small portion of the actual data. The general public and most scientists are not even aware of the “other data” and if it is mentioned by a scientist, he is mobbed and buried like a rugby player who has the ball.
The actual wet chemistry data shows that CO2 is NOT well mixed and varies from 250 to over 550ppm. Studies of CO2 in ice cores carried out BEFORE CAGW (that is before 1985) show values up to 2450ppm and generally above the data now being taken at Mauna Loa. Neftal et al (1982) in 150 year old ice shows a DECREASING trend and a range of 300ppm to 2350ppm.
The well mixed crap is an artifact of selective evidence and nothing more!
“Callendar (1940, 1958) selected atmospheric CO2 data from the 19th and 20th centuries. Fonselius et al. (1956) showed that the raw data ranged randomly between about 250 and 550 ppmv (parts per million by volume) during this time period, but by selecting the data carefully Callendar was able to present a steadily rising trend from about 290 ppmv for the period 1866 – 1900, to 325 ppmv in 1956.
Callendar was strongly criticized by Slocum (1955), who pointed out a strong bias in Callendar’s data selection method. Slocum pointed out that it was statistically impossible to find a trend in the raw data set, and that the total data set showed a constant average of about 335 ppmv over this period from the 19th to the 20th century. Bray (1959) also criticized the selection method of Callendar, who rejected values 10% or more different from the “general average”, and even more so when Callendar’s “general average” was neither defined nor given.
……North-European stations measured atmospheric CO2 over a 5 year period from 1955 to 1959. Measuring with a wet-chemical technique the atmospheric CO2 level was found to vary between approximately 270 and 380 ppmv, with annual means of 315 – 331 ppmv, and there was no tendency of rising or falling atmospheric CO2 level at any of the 19 stations during this 5 year period (Bischof, 1960). The data are particularly important because they are unselected and therefore free of potential biases from selection procedures, unlike the CO2 measurements based on the procedures at Mauna Loa…… At the Mauna Loa Observatory the measurements were taken with a new infra-red (IR) absorbing instrumental method, never validated versus the accurate wet chemical techniques. Critique has also been directed to the analytical methodology and sampling error problems (Jaworowski et al., 1992 a; and Segalstad, 1996, for further references), and the fact that the results of the measurements were “edited” (Bacastow et al., 1985); large portions of raw data were rejected, leaving just a small fraction of the raw data subjected to averaging techniques (Pales & Keeling, 1965)
…..the CO2 content of air inclusions in cores from ice sheets should reveal paleoatmospheric CO2 levels. Jaworowski et al. (1992 b) compiled all such CO2 data available, finding that CO2 levels ranged from 140 to 7,400 ppmv. However, such paleoatmospheric CO2 levels published after 1985 were never reported to be higher than 330 ppmv. Analyses reported in 1982 (Neftel at al., 1982) from the more than 2,000 m deep Byrd ice core (Antarctica), showing unsystematic values from about 190 to 420 ppmv, were falsely “filtered” when the alleged same data showed a rising trend from about 190 ppmv at 35,000 years ago to about 290 ppmv (Callendar’s pre-industrial baseline) at 4,000 years ago when re-reported in 1988 (Neftel et al., 1988); shown by Jaworowski et al. (1992 b) in their Fig. 5……
http://www.co2web.info/stoten92.pdf
Technical analysis of CO2 data: http://www.co2web.info/np-m-119.pdf
“To capture the public imagination … we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have” – Stephen Schneider a man who calls himself a climatologist
With statements like that from the gate keepers of the data, it becomes obvious that CAGW is all about politics and propaganda and has nothing to do with science.

DirkH
October 5, 2011 2:35 am

John Eggert says:
October 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm
“In performing heat balances, the effects of each separate mechanism are cumulative. That is, the net heat tranfer is the sum of convective, conductive and radiative. The climate model energy balances account for this. ”
I was referring to Willis’ pie chart, not to some climate model. And it is titled “Downwelling radiation…”
Also, show me a climate model that correctly simulates convective fronts. I guess you will have to get one from the future, as none exists today.

Syl
October 5, 2011 2:45 am

First of all, Willis, brilliant piece. It’s the simplicity that will shake the known suspects to the core.Joel Shore said: “(2) Climate scientists, even skeptical ones like Roy Spencer or Richard
Lindzen are not able to do basic math, since they haven’t made this obvious point that, if this were really all there is to it, would fatally undermine AGW.”
Preoccupation? The fact is there is a hidden number that nobody talks about therefore nobody considers using it in a similar way that Willis did his figures. Perhaps from a desire to make things more complex than necessary? Perhaps to keep the funding flowing and the alarmism high? Nah. I’d say the concentration of focus on CO2 and CO2 alone has caused eyes to look in one direction only and missing what is standing ‘over there’. We don’t even have to look at those silly watts per square meter. That’s just to make us regular folks’ eyes glaze over and make work for thousands of others. (I’m joking. The watts stuff is fun.)
Perhaps nobody has looked up what the actual PPM of water vapor is. It took me a while since my google fu is next to non-existent but I did track down the number a while back. Then off and on I hunted for a number that Willis actually provided in his brilliant little piece here.
So if we take those two magic numbers we can use the back of a really tiny little envelope and discover that doubling CO2 may only add, minimum, 0.68C to our global temperature.PPM of water vapor is 14,400. Let’s start with a PPM of 300 for CO2. Just cause our envelope is so tiny and doubling it to 600 is easier on the pencil strokes.
14,400 PPM water vapor + 300 PPM of CO2 = 14,700 PPM of greenhouse goodies that delivers
33C of mercury on that non-mercury thermometer.
14,700/33 = 445 PPM per degree C
In envelope-speak that equals 450.
So adding another 300 PPM to double our CO2 will add 2/3 of a degree or 0.68C.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Like what was the exact PPM of water vapor when CO2 was exactly 300PPM, etc. And some really trace gasses missing here. Water vapor is apples and CO2 is
oranges, but they’re both fruits and what CO2 giveth H2O taketh away so they’re not as far apart as you may think in the gestalt of things. That number should go up a bit but I don’t think very far.
First note that the amount of CO2 was only 2.06% of the total greenhouse gases. Definitely in Willis Third Order category. And if you want to figure out how ‘potent’ CO2 is as a greenhouse gas compared to H2O be my guest but keep that 2.06% in mind.
Note this too: Water vapor is mixed, but not well-mixed, and certainly not even close to CO2’s territory as far as mixing is concerned. Yeah, we all know temps haven’t risen nearer the equator nearly as much (relatively speaking) as in the higher latitudes. But they haven’t been rising as much as expected there either. Now if only these brilliant AGW folks could find a way to channel all the CO2 into those gaps we see in satellite water vapor images, perhaps temps might rise a bit closer to what the models predict.
Well, that’s my 2 cents. Thanks for the inspiration, Willis.
Now, everyone scoff. I don’t mind. Find an envelope, brush up on your google fu, and have some fun.
[ps no preview. gulp. I’m heading to sleep]

Gail Combs
October 5, 2011 3:04 am

Anything is possible says:
Every time I see this line of reasoning, it troubles me because it misses out a step. So here’s a serious question for you Willis….
What would the Earth’s surface temperature be if you removed the greenhouse gases, but retained all the nitrogen, oxygen and argon which comprises 99+% of its thickness? Surely that would have to be your GHG “starting point”…..
____________________________________________________________________________
The other part of that is the 70% of the surface, the ocean, a huge heat sink that stores the sun’s energy. Clouds are important but it is water, in all three phases, solid liquid and vapor, that modifies the climate with the help of the atmospheric blanket of gas.
Everyone gets so caught up in the so called “Green house gases” that they forget the oceans and ice. They also forget that nitrogen, oxygen and helium absorb in the visible range so they are not exactly “unaffected” by sunlight (see http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quantum/atspect.html and http://astro.u-strasbg.fr/~koppen/discharge/oxygen.html)
Even in the desert, where water vapor is not present in large amounts, the earth does not cool to the temperature of the moon. The atmosphere is what keeps the earth from re-radiating all of the heat captured during the day. This allows the earth itself to acted as a heat sink.

October 5, 2011 3:12 am

>>
KevinK says:
October 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm
This is easily confused with the “orders” of a polynomial equation where the “first order” is an f(x), the “second order” is an f(x*x), “third order” is an f(x*x*x) etc.
<<
I guess I’m confused. When I learned math terms many years ago, the highest power in a polynomial was its degree. Order was a term reserved for differential equations. You could have a third-order, second-degree differential equation which would probably be a doozie to solve. A third degree polynomial or cubic wouldn’t be nearly as difficult.
Jim

Gail Combs
October 5, 2011 4:00 am

charles nelson says:
October 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm
Could one refer to the likes of Mann, Briffa, Hansen etc as scientists of the ‘third order’ ?
___________________________________________________________________
I LOVE it.
However I think a better title is propagandists, since I doubt they have even an inkling of what true science is.

Gail Combs
October 5, 2011 4:33 am

Jeff says:
October 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm
I appreciate posts like these. When i was young math came easy, now not so much 🙂 I guess I don’t really look at things normal. There is a deafening scream that there is to much CO2 but just recently on scientist state that we are in a CO2 famine. I have seen more charts,graphs, models of CO2 then i really wanted to. But I have yet to see what is considered normal…..
___________________________________________________________________________
Jeff check out the pdfs at http://www.co2web.info/ it gives the other side of the CO2 story. A real eye opener.
I also agree we are in a CO2 famine. One of those pdfs mentions 250 ppm as the lower limit for some types of plants, I have also seen 220 ppm and 200 ppm mentioned. This is why the “cherry picked ” ice core data with values at or below 180ppm of CO2 “smell real funny”
From farmers/biologists about CO2 in green houses:
“…….Below 200 PPM, plants do not have enough CO2 to carry on the photosynthesis process and essentially stop growing. Because 300 PPM is the atmospheric CO content, this amount is chosen as the 100% growth point. You can see from the chart that increased CO can double or more the growth rate on most normal plants. Above 2,000 PPM, CO2 starts to become toxic to plants and above 4,000 PPM it becomes toxic to people…..” http://www.hydrofarm.com/articles/co2_enrichment.php
One scientist saw “… the depletion occurs rapidly within a few hours after aylight. I was surprised when I observed a rapid 50 ppm drop in CO2 content within a tomato plant canopy just a few minutes after direct sunlight at dawn entered a greenhouse (Harper et al., 1979)” Tomato Plant Culture: In the Field, Greenhouse, and Home Garden By J. Benton Jones

Greg Holmes
October 5, 2011 5:55 am

I agree, this makes perfect sense, however sense does not appear to be the rationale behind what is happening to us poor humans who are being strongarmed into paying for totally inefficent mades of energy production.
Such mathematics are INSANE (sarc) you cannot TAX them.
keep up the good work, I find that figures are very had to argue against, look at the state of the economies.
Perhaps they seer the writing on the wall, anyone heard of the FAT tax? “Gawd save us from fools”.

Gail Combs
October 5, 2011 5:59 am

R. Gates says:
October 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Another very interesting post Willis. And yet, of course, this little “3rd order” variable, this tiny trace gas, a mere tiny fraction of our Earth’s atmosphere, is absolutely critical in preventing the Earth from becoming a snow ball planet…..
_______________________________________________________________
JPeden says:
October 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm
Right, Gates, so let’s do as much as we can to keep CO2 concentrations as low as they’ve ever been over the last 600 million years or so…..
_______________________________________________________________
How come no one ever mentions adding or subtracting a mere tiny fraction of water from our Earth’s atmosphere to adjust for the amount of CO2 that is released. After all water is a much more powerful GHG. Or better yet how about draining all those methane producing swamps???
As another commenter stated take a look at this graph: http://www.theresilientearth.com/files/images/Greenhouse_Gas_Absorption-dlh-500.png Additional CO2 is really a non starter as “the monster under the bed” compared to the highly variable amount of water vapor in our Earth’s atmosphere.

Leonard Weinstein
October 5, 2011 5:59 am

Willis,
I am a skeptic on the bad effects of AGW, and agree the effect on CO2 on temperature will be small. However your analysis here is misleading for several reasons. A quick analogy is that a small amount of many things can have a large effect (e.g., poisons, toxic gases, etc.), so just showing something is small is not enough. Also note a raise of 3 C is only 1% of the absolute temperature, and an increase of 3 C could have a significant effect (but I do not expect an increase of 3 C). Also the back radiation is not the direct cause of the temperature rise. If there were a much better optical absorber at sea level (something that filled the so called direct window to space for CO2 and water vapor), back radiation would nearly equal upward radiation, but the surface energy would still be lifted up to the TOA by evapotranspiration, convection and conduction. The only factors that set the surface temperature are the effective average location of the outgoing radiation and the lapse rate, and the lapse rate is only a function of the Cp of the air (as modified by water condensation effects). Thus it is the raising of altitude of outgoing radiation, not back radiation, that is the cause of the “greenhouse gas effect”. Back radiation is the result, not cause.

paulhan
October 5, 2011 6:27 am

@Willis
“Climate sensitivity is an inverse function of temperature”
This point needs to be emphasised. Apologies if you have used this analogy before, but I would liken it to a coiled spring with the bottom coil bolted to the floor and the top coil attached to the temperature line.
As the temperature goes up, the spring expands and increases resistance, to a point where temps have stretched it to its limit. At this point, a very slight “coldening effect” (Milankovich cycles?) is enough to release the tension and the temps go down quickly, similar to what we see when an interglacial comes to an end. It carries on like that for a while, to the point where the climate sensitivity spring is compressed, and temps shoot up at the slightest perturbation, like when we come to the start of an interglacial.
At the points in between, both remain more or less in balance, but hard up against one another. So a warmening influence such as El Nino or the Ocean cycles push things in favour of the temps a bit but the climate sensitivity resists more. Eventually, the cycle turns and things come more or less back into balance at the extreme.

mkelly
October 5, 2011 6:40 am

Tim Folkerts says:
October 4, 2011 at 7:56 pm
If you think ” it must be possible” to warm something with 300 W/m^s of IR from a ~ 300 K object the same way you can warm something with 300 W/m^2 of sunlight from a ~ 5800 K sun, then you think the 2nd law does not hold.
Why not equate 300 w/m^2 IR with 300 w/m^2 from the sun when the K&T energy balance chart does just that only they say 237 W/m^2. Incoming sun outgoing IR.
Even Ira some time ago said “A watt is a watt.” If this were true the foot of a 50000 watt transmitting antenna for a radio station would be the hottest place on earth. But it is not.

Pamela Gray
October 5, 2011 6:49 am

I wonder if the 1st order variable are pressure system oscillations. Pressure systems would be the driver for clouds, would they not? Are not clouds a symptom of an oscillating driver, defined by both short and long term oscillating variable patterns?

Joel Shore
October 5, 2011 6:55 am

ferd berple says:

Smokey says:
October 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm
“Go back to realclimate and tell them that. I would do it myself, but they have never allowed any of my posts out of moderation. Censoring bastards.”
Same here and I (like many) have a degree in science to boot and the RC web-site says they are discussing real science with real scientists. Obviously RC is not really discussing science, they are lecturing (preaching), and only if you don’t ask any hard questions that might show they don’t really know what they are talking about.

Don’t humor yourself. You are not asking hard questions; you are asking silly questions and you just keep repeating the same nonsense over and over again. That is why RC sometimes (often?) does not publish your posts. They moderate the comments to try to keep the signal-to-noise ratio from descending too low. They do let through intelligent questions, even ones that challenge their points-of-view, but they have a low tolerance for excessive repetition of debunked contrarian talking-points.

ferd berple
October 5, 2011 6:57 am

The Fraud in the down-welling IR energy can clearly be seen in the chart Wilis posted above.
Take a close look at the down-welling IR from the Sun, you will see that 169 w/m2 is absorbed, and 29 w/m2 is reflected.
Now, take a close look at the down-welling IR from GHG. You will that 321 w/m2 is absorbed and 0 w/m2 is reflected. That is right 0 w/m2 reflected.
That is the difference between IR from the sun and IR from GHG. The IR from the GHG is not being reflected, which explains why you cannot use it to do work, and why it is not equivalent to the IR from the sun, and why it is meaningless to compare IR from the sun to IR from GHG in terms of w/m2.
The IR from the sun comes from a source that is hotter than the earth and can be used to do work. The IR from GHG comes from a source that is colder than the earth and cannot be used to do work by any science we know today. If you can’t do work with the energy, then it is meaningless to talk about w/m2 because watts are a measure of work.

ferd berple
October 5, 2011 7:13 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
October 4, 2011 at 11:51 pm
Downwelling DLR, however, is at about 320 W/m2, which equates to a blackbody temperature of about freezing (0°C). So to get work out of it, you’ll need to have a still lower temperature sink to which to reject the heat … what do you plan to use for that?
You are confusing heat with energy, I think. Heat only flows in one direction, from warm to cold.
No, it is your treatment that is confused. if you look at the w/m2 from the sun striking the earth, that is only 169+29 = 198 w/m2, which corresponds to a temperature significantly lower than 0 C. Therefore by your reasoning you should not be able to get work from sunlight, but we of course know you can.
This shows that the IR from GHG at 320 w/m2 if FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT than the 198 w/m2 from the sun and they cannot be compared apples to apples by simple addition and subtraction.
This is the mistake climate science has made in calculating the energy budget for the earth and it is the mistake you have repeated in your analysis. You are attempting to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics, by equating radiation from a cold source as being equivalent to radiation from a hot source, and trying to add and subtract them
We know from observation and experiment that you cannot concentrate radiation from a cold source the way you can with radiation from a hot source to actually do any heating. Therefore you cannot add and subtract energy simply based on w/m2, because there is no usable energy in the IR from GHG, while there is usable energy in the IR from the sun.
This in a nutshell is why the theory of GHG is wrong. As soon as you try and change the surface temperature of the earth you are doing work. The atmosphere does not change the surface temperature of the earth through down-welling IR because the source of the IR is colder than the earth itself.and thus cannot do work. Some other mechanism must be the reason that planets with atmospheres are warmer at the surface than planets without atmospheres.

ferd berple
October 5, 2011 7:23 am

Note to Willis. The figures of 169 + 29 = 198 w/m2 for sunlight are from your chart above.
1) down-welling IR radiation at 320 w/m2 cannot do work while sunlight at 198 w/m2 can do work. By your analysis, the black body temperature of 198 w/m2 is significantly colder than 320 w/m2 so if they are apples to apples, sunlight should never be able to warm the earth.
2) Since IR from sunlight can do work but down-welling IR from GHG cannot do work, why it is appropriate or scientifically valid to add and subtract these two numbers as though you were dealing with apples to apples.
3) Since down-welling IR from GHG cannot do work, how can it have any effect on the surface temperature of the earth? To change the surface temperature in the slightest involves work by all known physical laws.

Matt
October 5, 2011 7:26 am

Mr Eschenbach,
“But when you change the alcohol content of your blood, you are changing it from the natural blood alcohol content of about 0.03 (present in all humans from childhood on), to say 0.08, the legal limit in California. This is a huge increase of 260% in the blood alcohol level, and you are just barely legally drunk … so your claim that it s a small change doesn’t hold water. You’ve jacked your blood alcohol level by 260%, and you claim that is a tiny forcing?”
“In addition, you have not given the slightest evidence that your claim (1% changes make big differences) is true about climate”
I did provide evidence. The ice ages in the last few 100k years were triggered by Milankovich cycles where solar insolation varies by just a few percent. Yet, these “second-order” changes in insolation trigger a climate response that represents the difference between our current inter-glacial period and a world covered in ice. So, yes, small changes can have big impacts. It is not enough to off-handedly dismiss a few percent change as “small” or even “large” without answering the question “small or large compared to what?”.
Here are two references on Milankovitch cycles.
http://www.falw.vu/~peef/teaching/orbital_forcing/assets/Ruddiman_2006_QSR.pdf
http://www.mantleplumes.org/WebDocuments/Hays1976.pdf

October 5, 2011 7:46 am

I like this article but may i suggest another variation. Instead of starting from the hypothetical position of the earth without any greenhouse gases, where there is the risk that there might be a tipping point (as it moves from the stability of say snowball earth to water earth analogous to a change of phase) as GHG’s are added eg No GHG’s at all and 33 deg C colder may mean snowball earth so high albedo and <0 deg C average temperature.
Instead what happens to DLR associated with CO2 if you work backwards from current position ie slowly remove all CO2 from the current atmosphere currently 390ppm = ~???? W/M^2 ie as it must stop being logrithmic somewhere but the current total CO2 contribution must be known? You then have a water earth still with some clouds and some but I assume less water vapour providing some level of DLR but I would be surprised if the earth became a snowball from this. Obviously for albedo issues, within this same phase state, assume the same level of greenness but it provides an equilibrium atmosphere on which your analytical method above should also work but with no potential phase change. It will also put in real perspective the diminishing affect of CO2.
Put another way, what would be the equilibrium temperature if there was no CO2 in the atmosphere but albedo was fixed and watervapour and clouds were allowed to vary appropriately?

Matt Skaggs
October 5, 2011 7:53 am

Wouldn’t an ice age be a third-order change to the absolute temperature? Perhaps my difficulty here is that I cannot make any sense out of the statement “Small effects can make a big difference. Small changes in effects, not so much.” Can I propose “small changes in small effects, not so much”? But darn it, that looks like a tautology.

October 5, 2011 8:35 am

>>
Cementafriend says:
October 5, 2011 at 1:28 am
Willis, Trenberth has the IR “window” wrong (40 instead of the actual 66 w/m2) and knows it see slide 26 of the following . . . .
<<
Your paper says satellites measured the 66 W/m² value. Do you have a reference for that?
In KT 97, they make the following statement:
“The estimate of the amount leaving via the atmospheric window is somewhat ad hoc. In the clear sky case, the radiation in the window amounts to 99 W/m², while in the cloudy case the amount decreases to 80 W/m², showing that there is considerable absorption and re-emission at wavelengths in the so-called window by clouds. The value assigned in Fig. 7 of 40 W/m² is simply 38% of the clear sky case, corresponding to the observed cloudiness of about 62%.”
I’ve mentioned this several times. The term “cloudy” is ambiguous in KT 97. When they say “cloudy”, do they mean 100% cloudy, 62% cloudy, or something else?
In the above statement from KT 97, if cloudy means 62%, then the window should be 80 W/m². If cloudy means 100%, then they should interpolate between 80 W/m² and 99 W/m², which gives us about 87 W/m². What they actually are doing is interpolating between 99 W/m² and 0 W/m². That means KT 97 is claiming that 0 W/m² is the correct value for the IR window when it is 100% cloudy.
Jim

mkelly
October 5, 2011 8:45 am

ferd berple says:
October 5, 2011 at 7:23 am
Per my comment @6:40 I concur.

Stephen
October 5, 2011 8:55 am

Hi Zac,
The climate-models assume that every degree of warming from CO2 would lead to enough evaporation of water to quadruple the effect on heat-retention (or final temperature, I don’t recall). I understand that assumption has already been empirically demonstrated to be false, but others here would probably know more about that.
If it’s temperature (which varies with the fourth-root of heat-retention), they’re still only talking about ~3%, but 3% of about 300K would give a 9 degree (Centigrade or Kelvin, whichever) change and that is significant even considering annual variation. If it’s heat-retention, then we are talking about something a little under 2 degrees, which is not significant, but try teaching voters who are obsessed with politicians’ personal scandals that something can happen, be interesting, theoretically have some effect, and still be too minor to be worth noting.

Interstellar Bill
October 5, 2011 8:55 am

This analysis doesn’t say that third-order variables are unimportant,
just that they first have to alter the second- or first-order variables
before they can cause large system changes, usually against negative feedback.
It’s interesting that warmistas have to cite the ice ages
to find positive feedback amplifying a third-order variable,
their favorite bogeyman-scenario.
Ironically, the ice-age lesson is the OPPOSITE one:
When conditions are even approximately right,
positive-feedback global cooling, by glaciation,
will happen EVERY time, with literally dozens of examples,
including two Snowball Earths, lasting tens of millions of years.
With warming, however, feedbacks are obviously negative,
since 75% of the last half-billion years were much warmer than today,
with no 25-million year hyper-warming Hell analogous to Snowball Earth.
Both times there were super-continents (Rodina & Pan-Gaea), mostly desert,
why wasn’t there runaway warming, especially with that high CO2 back then?
It is plain that the Null Hypothesis is low sensitivity to warming,
but high to cooling, the opposite of the Warmista Gospel,
the devotees of which are loudly chanting
‘We are the Null, we are the Null’

October 5, 2011 9:15 am

Joel Shore says:
Realclimate “…moderate the comments to try to keep the signal-to-noise ratio from descending too low. They do let through intelligent questions, even ones that challenge their points-of-view, but they have a low tolerance for excessive repetition of debunked contrarian talking-points.”
What a bunch of horse manure. Literally scores of commenters here have complained that their sincere, polite and relevant questions and facts have been deliberately and arbitrarily censored by RC.
Joel Shore is reality-challenged. He actually seems to believe that RC is just filtering out the “noise”. Pure cognitive dissonance. Earth to Joel: Realclimate censors opposing points of view as a means of propaganda. Wise up.
There are constant shenanigans to control journals, as can be seen here:

Joel Shore
October 5, 2011 9:21 am

dscott says:

What the AGW hoaxers are claiming regarding water vapor in the atmosphere is that it doesn’t change from year to year and therefore any changes in water vapor levels is induced by changing the amount of CO2.

No…Scientists (the proper name for who you call “AGW hoaxers”) are not claiming that at all. You just made this up. It is well-understood that water vapor in the atmosphere varies with the temperature, both on timescales having to do with the temperature rise due to greenhouse gases over many decades and timescales having to do with fluctuations in global temperature such as those produced by El Nino and La Nina. In fact, it is the dependence of water vapor on temperature over these shorter timescales that gives us the most confidence that the water vapor feedback is correct. See, for example, http://www.dca.iag.usp.br/www/material/akemi/radiacao-I/Soden_2005_Science.pdf

Again, this is a falsehood, water vapor amouts in the atmosphere does change from year to year. If it didn’t then how could you have droughts? Excess rain events? I.e. Increasing precipitation? They then talk around that inconsistency by claiming once again, claiming it’s a regional phenom IF you consider the entire planet as a whole ON AVERAGE there is no change. Yet, they claim both increasing floods and droughts as a consequence of AGW.

There is no contradiction there…If there are regional changes, some places can have floods and some can have droughts. Or, the same place can have both floods and droughts in different years. In fact, a warmer atmosphere will tend to be associated with both an increase in the largest precipitation events and an increase in drying of soils due to the warmer temperature. How this plays out regionally and over time can then indeed mean both floods and droughts.

October 5, 2011 9:39 am

A fair point, but the important factor is not the absolute magnitude of each variable, it’s how widely each of your variables varies.
An analogy: Willis Eschenbach is standing on his front porch. How far is his head from the centre of the Earth?.
Variable 1: the Earth’s radius, plus however high Willis’s house is above that (~6.371 km)
Variable 2: Willis’s height (~1 – 6 feet depending on age)
Variable 3: the thickness of shoes he’s wearing on any given day (0-1 inches, perhaps?)
Now, according to Willis, the only relevant variable is number (1), since it’s so much larger than the others. That neglects the fact that it’s essentially constant! It is a variable though – it might vary as much as a millimetre or two per year, depending whether his house is prone to subsidence.
As for the other variables, the most important could be either (2) or (3), depending on whether you’re taking a decadal or a daily view. On a decadal time frame, Willis grew from a baby to an adult – all the while standing on his front porch, for the sake of argument – and that change of ~5 feet is by far the dominant factor. On a daily time frame, his height is essentially constant, and so the measured distance from the centre of the Earth will depend entirely on his choice of footwear. On a yearly time frame, both are likely irrelevant – his height’s no longer changing as he’s an adult now, and the fluctuation in shoe size will average out. The most important variable on a yearly time frame might turn out to be something like changes in hairstyle, or some such.
So – how variable is the solar downwelling flux from day to day, when averaged over a week, a year, a decade or a century? What timescale of response are we looking for in climatic terms?

Matt Skaggs
October 5, 2011 10:00 am

Interstellar Bill wrote:
“It’s interesting that warmistas have to cite the ice ages
to find positive feedback amplifying a third-order variable,
their favorite bogeyman-scenario.”
Since I mentioned the ice age, I presume you are referring to me. I am not a Warmista, I am a skeptic. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, same for both sides of any debate. The rest of your post is a “Just So” story. How do we know it will happen EVERY time? Because every time we know of, it happened!

PeterB in Indianapolis
October 5, 2011 10:13 am

Here is a copy of a GREAT comment from Revkin’s deny-o-meter map the other day. I give full credit to the author of the original comment. I believe the comment supports the thesis of today’s article by Willis.
State College, PA
October 2nd, 2011
11:04 pm
I am a mathematical physicist.
A year and a half ago I started to look for actual measured data, which I certainly can read, to find out what is really going on with the anthropogenic global warming.
It took about 50 hours of digging to find the actual data (which is one of the reasons, I suppose, for which so few people have seen it.)
It showed nothing unusual whatsoever.
In temperatures, sea level rise, ice, glaciers rate of melt.
When looked at historically.
All the unusual things were in “adjustments”,
10C warming imagined in the unmeasured Arctic, serious imagined warming of the unmeasured deep oceans (which does not translate, through dilation, into unusual sea level rise at the top.)
Trees with unreliable ring thickness in the last, measured, 60 years,
which are imagined to be perfectly reliable a thousand years ago.
Glaciers which, when measured, are melting at the same rate as 60 and 120 years ago. With earlier melting natural and current identical melting imagined to be man made.
Tornado and hurricane activity which, when counted, is weaker than 50 years ago.
The people obsessed with the extra 100 ppm of CO2 = 1/100 of 1% of the atmosphere put up by humans have never made a case. Other than in imagined models, which as far as real science goes, if they don’t agree with reality are junk.
In other words, there is nothing to deny in the first place.
Where exactly does that put me on that list?”

beng
October 5, 2011 10:39 am

****
ferd berple says:
October 4, 2011 at 9:23 pm
The question remains: If watts per square meter is the measure of down welling GHG IR, then you should be able to get work from the IR, regardless of source.
As such, my original point stands. The watt is a unit of work. So, if GHG does in fact radiate watts of energy it MUST be capable of work.
We know we can get work from the watts radiated from the sun. So, where it the demonstration that you can get work from down-welling GHG IR? If it can’t do work, then it is nonsense to measure it in watts.

****
You can do work from DLR. Just employ a colder heat-sink (3K of outer space is fine) than the characteristic temp of the IR and you can do work from the temp difference. And the final radiational heat-sink for the earth IS outer space at 3K.

October 5, 2011 11:16 am

Dear Willis, – No one puts it in perspective better than you. But there’s a misprunt in your piece: you say that the downwelling radiation at the top of the atmosphere is “330 W/m2” after deducting a bit of stratospheric interference. I think you meant “230”, calculated thus:
Total solar insolation 1368 W/m2, divided by 4 and multiplied by (1 – 0.3), where 0.3 is the albedo, gives 239.4 W/m2. Knock of a bit for the strat. and you get 230. Or are you looking at gross rather than net incoming? It would probably be fairer to the usual suspects if one worked from the net incoming. That would give CO2 a slightly larger role, but still very much a third-order effect. Splendid posting, as always – Christopher

mkelly
October 5, 2011 11:23 am

beng says:
October 5, 2011 at 10:39 am
You can do work from DLR.
Just a small point of order. The D in DLR (DWLR) stands for down. Usually outer space you mentioned is by convention normally UP.

Jiri Moudry
October 5, 2011 11:46 am

Willis – I like your idea of the first, second, and third order variables. However, AGW proponents are scaring us about a temperature rise of some 2 degrees K from a base temperature of 300 K. That in itself is a third-order effect and we can not safely ignore third-order variables supposedly causing it.

Crispin in Waterloo
October 5, 2011 12:09 pm

Peter Sørensen, you are confusing enthalpy with temperature.
DSCOTT:
I have been looking at the chats about a CO2-less atmosphere. One thing for sure, an atmosphere without CO2 would still have a great deal of water vapour in it. Think about how many times you have been told that the water vapour is a ‘feedback’ from CO2! It is like a broken record…
So it is interesting to see what the temperature would be without CO2 but still with the main greenhouse gas, water vapour. One could argue that with an increase in CO2, there will be more water vapour: RGates, argue away! He basically said we would be frozen solid without CO2, as if that was the only cause of warming available in the atmosphere. But the fact remains that water vapour appears in all bottles of gases (and is a problem) and it would similarly appear in the atmosphere of a CO2-less planet. It would provide warming, and is its own ‘forcing’ which would stabilise at some point above the black body temperature.
Willis’ point that there is only a total of 33 degrees of warming taking into consideration all feedbacks is well taken. It is not as if there is ONLY CO2 to credit for the 33 degrees. Wthout it, on a watery planet like this one, it would be plenty warm with no CO2 at all. Warmist bloggers write as if that is not the case, as if without CO2 all moisture would disappear from the atmosphere because of a cold (black body) surface. I guess they have never heard of sublimation.
If the water vapour concentration dropped, there would be fewer clouds too, so things would warm more efficiently (etc).

October 5, 2011 12:53 pm

Willis, I checked the cartoon you modified, If you want to fix it right,
http://ourhydrogeneconomy.blogspot.com/2011/10/better-cartoon.html
Enjoy

Tim Folkerts
October 5, 2011 1:11 pm

Fred,
I agree with about 1/2 of what you write. Unfortunately, being 1/2 wrong is almost worse than being all wrong, since it makes it all seem more plausible.
Let me start with the first few things you wrote in response to me:
No, you can make a reflector that is not sensitive to direction. It is not perhaps not as efficient as point source, but it can be done.
You are correct — you can focus diffuse light. For example, you can focus the light from a diffuse fluorescent light overhead to get a brighter spot on your desk with mirrors or lenses.
But the sky is “bright” in the IR in every direction. That would be like having your entire room covered ceiling to floor with the fluorescent lights. In this case, you can’t get the light any brighter on your desk than it is to start with. If you put a mirror in to reflect more of the light from above, you will necessarily be blocking just as much light from some other fluorescent bulb.
You cannot focus light from the fluorescent bulbs any brighter than the surface of the bulb. You cannot focus light from a filament any brighter than the surface of the filament. You cannot focus light from the sun any brighter than the surface of the sun. And you cannot focus light from air molecules in the atmosphere any brighter than the original temperature of the air. So a “thermal IR collector focusing light from the cool sky cannot warm anything above the temperature of the sky. (Although you can use this principle to make a “refrigerator” by focusing on the cool sky and blocking the IR from the warm ground)
The watt is a unit of work. So, if GHG does in fact radiate watts of energy it MUST be capable of work.
First, I’ll assume we are talking Joules of work, where watts wold be the rate at which the joules of energy are being transferred.
There is a “high school” definition that “energy is the ability to do work”, but the truth is that thermal energy is only capable of doing work if there is a heat engine connected to some lower temperature reservoir, and even then the work done is limited by the temperature difference. 2 kg of room temperature water might have the same total thermal energy as 1 kg of steam, but there is no question that 1 kg of steam can do work, while the more “diffuse” energy of the cooler water cannot.
There is no requirement that 1 J of IR energy (spread out over many photons) can do the same work as 1 J of solar energy, just like there is no requirement that 1 J of thermal energy in cool water (spread out over many molecules) can do the same work as 1 J of thermal energy in steam.

Jack Linard
October 5, 2011 1:58 pm

Gail Combs says:
“Jeff check out the pdfs at http://www.co2web.info/ it gives the other side of the CO2 story. A real eye opener”.
Gail – that is more than an eye opener – it jangles the eyeballs. Tell your mates to ease up on the contrasts and I might be able to go back there.

Joel Shore
October 5, 2011 2:07 pm

Matt says:

I did provide evidence. The ice ages in the last few 100k years were triggered by Milankovich cycles where solar insolation varies by just a few percent. Yet, these “second-order” changes in insolation trigger a climate response that represents the difference between our current inter-glacial period and a world covered in ice. So, yes, small changes can have big impacts. It is not enough to off-handedly dismiss a few percent change as “small” or even “large” without answering the question “small or large compared to what?”.

I agree with your basic point, although to some degree the initial changes that trigger the ice ages and interglacials are even smaller than you note. Really, the Milankovitch cycles hardly change the globally- and annually-averaged solar insolation at all. What they do is change the distribution geographically and seasonally and that is enough to trigger the growth or shrinkage of land ice and the increase or decrease in greenhouse gas concentrations that then do provide a few percent change in radiative forcing.

R. Gates
October 5, 2011 2:11 pm

I think this is an excellent example of how a something that is a small percentage from a mathematical perspective can have such a big effect. Anyone here who absolutely does not understand the essential role that CO2 plays in maintenance of our pleasant greenhouse world, simply hasn’t studied the science enough. The effect of CO2 is far greater than can be simply measured from looking at a raw percentage of the atmosphere made up of this gas, but this essential science seems to be lost on many.

R. Gates
October 5, 2011 2:19 pm

Especially important is the LW absorption of CO2 at around 15 microns. The fact that CO2 has this high absorption right at the peak where the bulk of the LW is coming from the ground and that CO2 is a non-condensing gas is key to our greenhouse world:
http://www.spectralcalc.com/spectral_browser/plots/guest911615663.png
Some of you would also be well served to read all 8 parts of the series on “CO2: An insignificant trace gas?” beginning here:

Joel Shore
October 5, 2011 2:20 pm

ferd berple says:

3) Since down-welling IR from GHG cannot do work, how can it have any effect on the surface temperature of the earth? To change the surface temperature in the slightest involves work by all known physical laws.

…except for the First Law of Thermodynamics, which says that the thermal energy of a system changes because of the absorption of exhaustion of heat OR work done on or by the system. You might try actually reading a physics textbook before spouting nonsense.

jae
October 5, 2011 2:22 pm

Willis:
First, aren’t you talking about surface temperatures, not TOA? There is no “downwelling radiation” at TOA, except for that from the Sun.
Whatever, the ACTUAL average SURFACE temperature for the Earth can be demonstrated, more or less, to be about 15 C.
The CALCULATED average temperature of the Earth, sans GHGs, (i.e., applying the SB equation to the solar radiation received by the surface, after correcting for albedo) is -18 C.
The DIFFERENCE, which is ASSUMED to be due to GHGs, is 33 C.
No arguments so far, I think. Now, what I still don’t understand is why ALL planetoids with atmospheres, no matter what gases are in those atmospheres, have surface temperatures that are much higher than the SB-derived calculated temperature. As the paper linked below concludes, “In every
case, as pressure mounts the air temperature exceeds the planet’s blackbody estimate.” There appears to be no “need” for a GHE to explain surface temperatures, regardless of what gases are in the atmosphere. It’s all heat storage.

Mat L
October 5, 2011 3:37 pm

People, people, stop and think for just one second…this is a very strange argument. Willis has successfully shown that doubling CO2 is not as important as removing our Sun?
His figures: Solar 68.2%, GHG 31% CO2 0.8%, although very rough (and arguable), give an approximation of what’s happening.
Without the sun, the earth would be -270 odd degree C. (285º difference)
Without the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, we would be at -18º C (33º difference)
With a doubling of CO2, temperature will rise say 3ºC (3º difference)
Guess what, 3º out of 285º is approximately 1%. Thanks Willis, for confirming that third order variables are important in modeling the climate.
Reference for 33º difference from GHG: http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/glossary/greenhd.htm

Tim Folkerts
October 5, 2011 4:07 pm

jae says:
“There appears to be no “need” for a GHE to explain surface temperatures, regardless of what gases are in the atmosphere. “
To a certain extent, I agree with your hypothesis. There will be a temperature gradient that drops off from the surface no matter what the atmosphere. Once you know the temperature at one altitude, you will have a pretty good idea what the temperature will be at any other altitude simply by applying a lapse rate argument (although the exact lapse rate will depend a bit on the atmospheric conditions).
The question then becomes, “what factor determines the temperature at some specific altitude”? That must be determined by radiation balance. (Actually there will be minor corrections from internal heat generation. For earth this is minimal, but for Jupiter it is quite significant). If the atmosphere doesn’t radiate, then the surface sets the temperature and the atmosphere will cool from there. If the atmosphere radiates well, then the “top of atmosphere” sets the temperature, and the surface is warmer than that. In reality, the actual conditions are typically somewhere in between.
The fact is that every planet with an atmosphere has GHG’s (CO2, H2O, CH4, NH3 … ) so the “top of atmosphere” will be at least PARTIALLY responsible for setting the temperature. So every planet will have SOME effect due to the thickness of the atmosphere. Adding more GHG’s will raise the “top of atmosphere”, resulting in a rise in the surface temperature.
So BOTH the GHG’s and the thickness of the atmosphere are important in determining the ultimate surface temperature.

Glenn Tamblyn
October 5, 2011 5:02 pm

Willis. Earlier you said:
“But changes in the other forcings? The sun has gradually gotten warmer over the last half billion years … but the Earth has not gotten gradually warmer over that time. This indicates that the setting of the planetary thermostat is not much affected by the minor forcings.”
I am far more used to climate skeptics loudly proclaiming that CO2 was higher in the past (100’s of millions of years) and that it doesn’t correlate with CO2 levels. But thet never mention the Sun being cooler in the past. Then you mention the Sun but don’t mention past CO2 levels. Interesting reverse cherry pick here.
Actually when you look at the combination of both CO2 and Sun you get quite a reasonable agreement – at least within the limits you would expect when also allowing for the movement of continents etc.
The deep paleo-climate record is actually good supporting evidence FOR the impact of CO2. CO2 has dropped in the long term as the Sun has warmed.If CO2 levels today matched levels 500 million years ago we would be baking. And if levels 500 million years ago matched today the Earth would be a snowball. The Earth does indeed have a CO2 thermostat. It is the reason that life on Earth is possible. Just don’t expect it to be something that regulates temperatures that closely on much shorter timescales.

gbaikie
October 5, 2011 5:19 pm

“Even in the desert, where water vapor is not present in large amounts, the earth does not cool to the temperature of the moon. The atmosphere is what keeps the earth from re-radiating all of the heat captured during the day. This allows the earth itself to acted as a heat sink.”
The Moon also acts as heat sink.
If the Moon had slower rotation it would have less “greenhouse affect”- it would have
lower average temperature. The high temperatures wouldn’t increase but the low temperature
would get colder.
The Moon’s day is about 28 earth days. If it rotated faster- had 24 hour day, it would have a higher average temperature- somewhere around 5- 10 C warmer average temperature- the nites won’t get as cold.
In permanent dark craters in the Moon’s polar region it’s gets around 30 K,.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17810-moon-is-coldest-known-place-in-the-solar-system.html
at nite on the moon it’s gets as cold -153°C [120 K ]
http://www.universetoday.com/19623/temperature-of-the-moon/
So if given enough time the moon can drop from 120 K to 30 K.
Or the Moon stores about 90 C of heat- that a lot of energy if you count the entire surface.

gbaikie
October 5, 2011 5:43 pm

“People, people, stop and think for just one second…this is a very strange argument. Willis has successfully shown that doubling CO2 is not as important as removing our Sun?
His figures: Solar 68.2%, GHG 31% CO2 0.8%, although very rough (and arguable), give an approximation of what’s happening.
Without the sun, the earth would be -270 odd degree C. (285º difference)
Without the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, we would be at -18º C (33º difference)
With a doubling of CO2, temperature will rise say 3ºC (3º difference)
Guess what, 3º out of 285º is approximately 1%. Thanks Willis, for confirming that third order variables are important in modeling the climate.”
“Without the sun, the earth would be -270 odd degree C. (285º difference).”
Absolute freezing is -273.15 C.
as I said above in places on the moon where there is no sunlight it’s about 30 K or -240 C
It’s not -270 C, the Moon’s internal heat is probably a factor in it not getting closer to absolute freezing. The Moon is not as geologically active as the Earth. Since the moon may add around
20-30 K, it’s likely the Earth internal heat would add more than this.
So it this third order source of heat [20-30 K] needed to also be considered?

Joel Shore
October 5, 2011 6:10 pm

jae says:

There appears to be no “need” for a GHE to explain surface temperatures, regardless of what gases are in the atmosphere. It’s all heat storage.

For those who don’t believe in (or don’t understand) the First Law of Thermodynamics (i.e., energy conservation), then, yes, I suppose that there is no need for GHE’s to explain things. Alas, for the rest of us there are.

Pamela Gray
October 5, 2011 6:50 pm

All right, Gates. Here is a challenge for you. You say there should be increasing wet and drought conditions. Blocking highs, in pressure strength and/or duration, should show a trend (blocking highs lead to droughts) commensurate with rising CO2. Do they? Low pressure systems (leading to storms) should be on the upswing in strength and/or duration commensurate with rising CO2. Are they?

ferd berple
October 5, 2011 7:04 pm

Joel Shore says:
October 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm
…except for the First Law of Thermodynamics, which says that the thermal energy of a system changes because of the absorption of exhaustion of heat OR work done on or by the system.
Nonsense, The first law says AND, not OR.
The first law tells us that heat and work are interchangeable. If IR from the sun can do work AT THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH and IR from GHG cannot, then it tells us that GHG cannot heat the surface. If IR from GHG can do work in space, then it can heat space, but to say it can heat the surface but cannot do work at the surface is utter fiction. It violates the first law.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_law_of_thermodynamics
The first explicit statement of the first law of thermodynamics, by Rudolf Clausius in 1850, referred to cyclic thermodynamic processes.
“In all cases in which work is produced by the agency of heat, a quantity of heat is consumed which is proportional to the work done; and conversely, by the expenditure of an equal quantity of work an equal quantity of heat is produced.”[1]
Clausius stated the law also in another form, this time referring to the existence of a function of state of the system called the internal energy, and expressing himself in terms of a differential equation for the increments of a thermodynamic process. This equation may be translated into words as follows:
In a thermodynamic process, the increment in the internal energy of a system is equal to the difference between the increment of heat accumulated by the system and the increment of work done by it.[2]

Pamela Gray
October 5, 2011 7:05 pm

After all Gates, climate change MUST be reflected in changing weather drivers that lead to extreme events. That would mean pressure changes. As you know, CO2 alone cannot change weather. Not enough energy to do the work of changing weather directly. It must change weather pattern drivers. Does it? That would be easy to determine. Blocking highs must increase. Low pressure storm systems must increase.

jae
October 5, 2011 7:11 pm

Joel:
“For those who don’t believe in (or don’t understand) the First Law of Thermodynamics (i.e., energy conservation), then, yes, I suppose that there is no need for GHE’s to explain things. Alas, for the rest of us there are.”
Er, nice rhetoric, NO science. A+ in propaganda, F- in Science. PLEASE show your work, sir!

Glenn Tamblyn
October 5, 2011 7:17 pm

Willis
The general thrust of your post is quite strange, sorry. There are holes in your logic big enough to drive a truck through!
Firstly – “The TOA as defined by the IPCC is the tropopause” This is a simplification. Don’t forget, much of what the IPCC includes in their reports is exactly that – reportage. In this case that is not the exact definition but a simplification. Rather the TOA is that altitude at which IR radiation is able to escape to space without being further absorbed by the atmosphere. And this varies with absorption frequency and the type of GH molecule involved in absorption at that frequency. If you look at the OLR spectrum for the planet as observed from satellites and superimpose Planck temperature curves over it, what you see is that in the water absorption frequencies the planck temperature is higher while fgor CO2 it is lower. This is because TOA for each molecule occure at quite different altitudes. The main driver of this is that water vapour levels as a % of the air drop of markedly with altitude while CO2 is well mixed all the way up. By the time you reach the stratosphere H2O is only 5-10ppm while CO2 is still 390 ppm. So what determines the TOA for H2O is its declining percentage of the atmosphere with altitude whereas as for CO2 it is the thinning of thenatmosphere at altitude that determines TOA.
Next, focussing on DLR at TOA and including incoming solar is quite misleading since solar is not Longwave-radiation, it is short wave, So the doubling of CO2 is increasing the true DLR by around 2.5% (0.8/31)
You are effectively leading your readers to infer that the proprtions you show in your pie chart are then the ratios that determine energy balance and hence temps here at the surface. Very misleading.
A far more reasonable approach is to look at the energy balance at the surface as a result of the 3.7 at TOA. A bit more complicated but far more informative
Working through the diagram in your comments from Trenberth and Co for the change in forcing. The 147 emitted upwards from TOA will reduce since the TOA altitude increases into colder air with more CO2. Also the 40 & 50 escaping to space will be smaller due to increased absorption by GH gases – the atmospheric window shrinks. This has to add up to 3.7 – I will round it to 4 for simplicity. Warming in the atmosphere and surface then has to generate enough extra radiation to overcome this change and restore thermal balance at TOA
Without detailed radiation calcs we can’t know what the split will be between the decrease in the 147 value and the decrease in the 40+50 (90) values. Lets assume 50/50. So now at TOA looking up we now have 145 and 88. This comes back down as the back radiation from Stratosphere to troposphere now at 147+4 = 151.
Now lets go to the surface. If this increased absorption results in the 40 figure dropping to 40/90 x 88 = 39.1 then this means that this increased absorption all down through the atmospheric column results in the 53 from the surface that makes it out to space will be restricted to 39.1/40 x 53 = 51.8, with the troposphere now absorbing 340.2. And the stratosphere is now absorbing 12.7. We have a surface imbalance of 1.2. This imbalance needs to be restored by warming at the surface.
If all this extra heat manifests as increased Sensible & Latent Heat (SLH) then balance is restored essentially through warming the troposphere. But this isn’t physically reasonable. Why would SLH increase without temperature increase that would also cause increase in the surface radiation component. Equally all of it manifesting as increased Surface radiation isn’t physical either since there must be some increase in SLH. So as a working assumption, lets assume that the ratio of SLH to SR remains constant as total heat up from the surface increases.
So, 98 (22 + 76) becomes 98.24. 392 becomes 392.96. Since our ratio of heat transiting through the atmospheric window to SR at our new CO2 concentration is now 51.8/392 = 0.1321. So the new value out through the window from the surface is now 392.96 * 0.1321 = 51.91. Then the stratosphere absorbs 12.7/51.8 * 51.91 = 12.73 so the final amount reaching space is 51.91-12.73=39.18 So we have restored 0.18 of the TOA imbalance of 4. 4.5% of the imbalance with just 95.5% to go. If we assume that heat percolating through from the troposphere then radiated up our previous 50 that has been reduced to 49.8 by the CO2 doubling will increase by a similar amount this takes us to restoring around 9% of the TOA imbalance.
And to achieve this we have increased surface radiation by 0.96.this gives us an increase in surface temp – assuming currently around 15C – of 0.176 C. And that is only to reverse 9% of the imbalance. will 100% of reversing our 4C imbalance raise surface temps by 1.96 C?
And this is just considering the TOA impact of CO2 doubling.
These are rough calcs since adding Water vapour would imply a surface temp change of 5-6 C. They key take home point is that restore themal balance some of the flows have to increase significantly in order to the smaller flows that make it out to space back in balance.
Imagine, I have a pump that is draining a tank to keep pace with a flow into the tank. But the outlet pipe leaks and 85% of what I pump flows back into the tank. If the leak gets worse so that 86% of the water leaks back, to keep pace my pump has to shift 7% more water just to keep up. Just a small increase in the leakage needs a many times greater resoinse from the pump.
So too the supposedly ‘small’ impact from CO2 is more than enough to have a significant impact.
Sorry Willis, but your analysis is a fail.

ferd berple
October 5, 2011 7:20 pm

Here is a challenge to climate science. Thermodynamics tells us that if GHG is heating the earth, then it must be capable of performing work equivalent to the amount of heat consumed.
Please demonstrate an experiment in which GHG can be shown to have performed work. For example, use a glass reflector to shade one container of water and reflect the down-welling IR onto another container, and show that the two containers have different temperatures.
By placing the reflector equidistant between both containers it should be possible to ensure that both receive the same amount of IR from their local environment, so any change in temperature between the containers should be due to down-welling IR (assuming the containers are sealed to prevent evaporation.
As a control place a third container also equidistant to the glass, in such a fashion that it is neither shielded nor bathed in the reflected IR.
Now, it down-welling IR is capable of doing work, the shielded container should have the lowest temperature over time, and the reflected container the highers, and the control should be in the middle. Since we are dealing with 320 w/m2 of radiation the difference in temperature should be substantial, as we would see when comparing two sealed containers of water, one left in the sun and the other in the shade.

ferd berple
October 5, 2011 7:31 pm

jae says:
October 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm
Joel:
Er, nice rhetoric, NO science. A+ in propaganda, F- in Science. PLEASE show your work, sir!
Indeed, the first law says work=heat AND heat=work. Well if GHG IR can heat the surface, then we should be able use it to power our cities. After all it is 320 w/m2 as compared to only 200w/m2 from the sun (using the chart Willis supplied above) and folks talk about using solar power for electricity all the time.
Since GHG IR is 7/24, and strongest when it is cloudy and/or at night, when solar is weakest, then GHG IR panels should be as widespread as solar panels. If not to generate electricity, certainly to heat houses. How about some black panels of water on the roof at night to collect all the down-welling IR and heat the house, just like the black panels that heat the swimming pool during the day?

jae
October 5, 2011 7:38 pm

Tim Folkerts:
“To a certain extent, I agree with your hypothesis. There will be a temperature gradient that drops off from the surface no matter what the atmosphere. Once you know the temperature at one altitude, you will have a pretty good idea what the temperature will be at any other altitude simply by applying a lapse rate argument (although the exact lapse rate will depend a bit on the atmospheric conditions).
The question then becomes, “what factor determines the temperature at some specific altitude”? That must be determined by radiation balance. (Actually there will be minor corrections from internal heat generation. For earth this is minimal, but for Jupiter it is quite significant). If the atmosphere doesn’t radiate, then the surface sets the temperature and the atmosphere will cool from there. If the atmosphere radiates well, then the “top of atmosphere” sets the temperature, and the surface is warmer than that. In reality, the actual conditions are typically somewhere in between.
The fact is that every planet with an atmosphere has GHG’s (CO2, H2O, CH4, NH3 … ) so the “top of atmosphere” will be at least PARTIALLY responsible for setting the temperature. So every planet will have SOME effect due to the thickness of the atmosphere. Adding more GHG’s will raise the “top of atmosphere”, resulting in a rise in the surface temperature.
So BOTH the GHG’s and the thickness of the atmosphere are important in determining the ultimate surface temperature.”
WOW, at least we are talking! Here is the \$64 K question/comment:
“The question then becomes, “what factor determines the temperature at some specific altitude”? That must be determined by radiation balance. ”
My response, as always, is that this is not proven empirically, so it is not yet a very scientific position…. Sorry!

KevinK
October 5, 2011 7:44 pm

Jim Masterson wrote;
“I guess I’m confused. When I learned math terms many years ago, the highest power in a polynomial was its degree. Order was a term reserved for differential equations. You could have a third-order, second-degree differential equation which would probably be a doozie to solve. A third degree polynomial or cubic wouldn’t be nearly as difficult.”
Yes indeed the terms “order”, “power” and “degree” do indeed get a bit mixed up. In fact the terms are sometimes applied in different ways between different math text books. You say tomato I say tamato seems to apply.
My point was more to clarify that what Willis was referring to was the magnitude of the effect, not the mathematical “order” of the effect.
It remains that the climate “scientists” are completely missing the effect of the speed at which energy (visible light/thermal/infrared light) travels through a complex system. If you ignore that effect you can come to any conclusion you wish.
For the electrical engineers here; can you see the difference between the climate models as a “DC circuit” analysis and the actual behavior of the climate system which is much closer to an “AC circuit” analysis?
If you ignore the “response” / “lag” / “delay” times in any complex system you can easily reach an incorrect conclusion.
After 3 decades the climate ”scientists” are still unable to reconcile the differences between their “models” and their “observations” and sadly their default position is that the “observations are wrong”.
They even have to resort to RIDICULOUS EXPLANATIONS that the heat is MISSING and maybe it’s in the deep oceans………. Even after we built an extensive array of free roaming buoys to measure the heat in the Oceans of the world. This array was built in part after the urging of the climate “scientists” (like “Dr” Hansen) so we could accurately measure the “alleged” warming of the Earth. Somehow the heat SNEAKED past this expensive array and is still HIDING.
Maybe after 30 years somebody should really start to question if the hypothesis (a proposed explanation of observed facts) is WRONG………………….
As an engineer I would be ashamed if something I designed still did not work as I expected after 30 years…………….
Cheers, Kevin.

Tim Folkerts
October 5, 2011 8:07 pm

ferd berple says:
October 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm
Indeed, the first law says work=heat AND heat=work.
No the first law says dU = δQ – δW (following a common sign convention)
* work is (force) * (distance)
* heat is the net transfer of energy due to a temperature difference.
Heat and Work have similar affects on a system, but they are NOT the same.
Well if GHG IR can heat the surface, then we should be able use it to power our cities.
While GHGs could heat the surface, the most common situation is for the surface to heat the GHGs. The average energy from surface to GHG due to radiation is ~ 350 W/m^2. The average energy from GHG to surface due to radiation is ~ 325 W/m^2. In other words, the “heat” is ~ 25 W/m^s from surface to GHG.

Glenn Tamblyn
October 5, 2011 8:18 pm

Kevin
“They even have to resort to RIDICULOUS EXPLANATIONS that the heat is MISSING and maybe it’s in the deep oceans………. Even after we built an extensive array of free roaming buoys to measure the heat in the Oceans of the world. This array was built in part after the urging of the climate “scientists” (like “Dr” Hansen) so we could accurately measure the “alleged” warming of the Earth. Somehow the heat SNEAKED past this expensive array and is still HIDING.”
Nice line in vitriol there. Why the tone of outrage?
And if you knew what you were talking about well enough you would know that the ARGO system is only designed to operate down to 2000 metres. Average depth of the ocean is more like 3800 metres with maximum depths down to 10,000 metres. So we still don’t have technology to measure all the way down with good temporal or spatial coverage. Here is a design challenge for you. Design autonomous floats that can descend to the true abyssal depths, cope with those pressures and still have their sensors work reliably without human intervention for long periods of time. Then build 1000’s of these units at a price that is not exorbitant.
However we do have technology that can report temp changes down to the depths – tethered sensor platforms lowered from oceanographic research ships. They can measure right to the bottom. But its slow & very expensive. So spatial & temporal coverage is very poor. But they have detected warming right down to the seabed. Particularly around the Antarctic margins. We know it is warming down there. We just don’t have the technology to get enough samples to quantify it well enough.
Another technology that would be great is if we had satellites to measure aerosols in the atmosphere, their quantities, types, altitude etc. But wait, We did have that. It was a satellite called GLORY. And it could have been up there years ago measuring stuff, giving us some of the missing data we need to make things add up. We could have. If Dick Cheney hadn’t ordered the program suspended and the satellite stored in a warehouse in Maryland for years. Then when the go ahead to launch it was given by the Obama administration the launcher failed. We still don’t have all the data.
Tell me Kevin, as an alectrical engineer. what would one do if you had a complex circuit and you wanted to confirm that is operating as you expect? You would get out some probes and sample various points on the circuit with a meter or scope to see if it is doing what you expect. But what if some parts of the circuit are physically inaccessible? Inside a reactor core or something. If the rest of the circuit is performing much as you expect but with a few things wrong, wouldn’t your assumption be that what is missing is happening in the inaccessible parts of your circuit. Surely you would consider that the more likely explanation than saying the entire circuit design is all wrong?
Given that the heat accumulation in the Ocean to date, what we can observe of it, is 30 times greater than the heat accumulation in the atmosphere, if our budget doesn’t quite add up at present, surely its a quite reasonable thing to expect the missing parts to be in the 30 times larger component?

Tim Folkerts
October 5, 2011 8:24 pm

JAE,
I should probably have reversed the wording to make the point clearer
“The question then becomes, “what altitude will have the temperature needed to radiate sufficient energy.”? That must be determined by radiation balance. ”
Conservation of energy requires that (change in energy of a system) = (energy in) – (energy out)
As was posted some time earlier here (I believe by willis) the change in energy of the system is pretty shall compared to the energy in & energy out. Any global warming would require a small difference, but in the terminology here, this is a second or third order effect which can mostly be ignored.
So other than a possible small correction, the energy in (ie solar energy) must equal the energy out (reflected solar energy and thermal IR). There is simply no other way to transfer energy to/from the earth as a whole.
If the atmosphere is transparent to EM radiation, then the surface will have to do all the radiating to space & the surface would have to be ~ 255 K. The atmosphere would cool according to the lapse rate to even lower temperatures.
If there was a layer of clouds completely covering the earth, then the tops of the clouds would have to be ~ 255K and the surface would be warmer depending on the lapse rate and the altitude of the clouds.
In reality, the radiation comes partly from the surface and partly from the atmosphere. The “255 K layer” is some a combination of the surface radiation well above 255 K and he atmosphere radiating well below 255 K.
Adding more GHG will raise the radiating level for the atmosphere, meaning it would radiate at a colder temperature. This would throw off the balance until the surface (and the atmosphere) warmed a little to restore the balance.

KevinK
October 5, 2011 8:47 pm

Glenn Tamblyn wrote;
“Nice line in vitriol there. Why the tone of outrage?”
BECAUSE THE CLIMATE “SCIENTISTS” HAVE WASTED TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF MY (AND OTHER’S TAX DOLLARS) ON WHAT IS IN FACT TOTAL NONSENSE……………………..
Was that clear enough????
Cheers, Kevin

KevinK
October 5, 2011 8:54 pm

By the way I am not an an “alectrical engineer”
Cheers, Kevin

Glenn Tamblyn
October 5, 2011 9:21 pm

Quite clear Kevin.
A small problems with your sense of outrage. Its NOT total nonsense. It is well based on science and data stretching back decades.
However, that some people (and I must admit as a bewildered non-American, more Americans than any other nationality) have been so willing to let their opinions be influenced by all the highly networked professional skepticism-mongers and all the massive mis-representations they create (some unwittingly perhaps but I am quite convinced that many of them are quite witting), that is TRUELY NONSENSE!
Kevin. YOU HAVE BEEN DECEIVED. Not by the climate scientists. By the Merchants of Doubt. All to willing to play to your sense of outrage. I have a simple rule in life. I NEVER TRUST PEOPLE WHO TELL ME I SHOULD BE OUTRAGED. I never trust people telling me what I should think. And the Merchants of Doubt are a full time fraternity furiously engaged in that. Where is your judgement Kevin? Can’t you see that these guys are flim-flam men, playing on the fact that most people don’t notice their deceptions. Read my earlier comments to Willis. His post is actually gobbledeegook. But it sounds good to those not in the know.
Tell me Kevin, when you look in the mirror in the morning do you ever harbour any fears, any doubts that maybe your certainty that AGW is nonsense might be misplaced? Maybe it frightens you. Is that the source of your anger? Fear is usually what anger derives from. Is the idea that AGW is real so disturbing that you need to completely reject to avoid the fear. So anyone who suggests it is true generates your anger against them for raising the spectre of the thing you are afraid of facing. There is a nmae for that. Its called Denial. ANd no I am not referring to Holocaust deniers or any such thing. I am referring to the psychological process of denial, the description of which started with Sigmund Freud. Read up on it and see if any of the ideas apply.
You might also like to read this article in Physics Today, comparing past scientific advances that generated similar patters of attck and denial – Copernicus, Einstein. The similarities to the modern day are striking. http://physicstoday.org/resource/1/phtoad/v64/i10/p39_s1?bypassSSO=1

Editor
October 5, 2011 9:50 pm

Glenn Tamblyn says: October 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm
A truly magnificent performance. If your knowledge of engineering is on a par with your psychology then I think I’ll avoid any project you’ve been involved in…. when you finally realize the extent to which your mentor, John Cook, has lied to and deceived you there will be outrage enough. We won’t have to tell you. Of course, it will be too late then: the first thing the successful revolutionaries do is turn on their own…. Lenin’s treatment of Trotsky comes to mind….. but of course, you’re not a Trotsky. Or a Lenin. Just one of the tens of thousands of Old Bolshiveks who had outlived their usefulness. Tool.

R. Gates
October 5, 2011 10:33 pm

Pamela Gray says:
October 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm
All right, Gates. Here is a challenge for you. You say there should be increasing wet and drought conditions. Blocking highs, in pressure strength and/or duration, should show a trend (blocking highs lead to droughts) commensurate with rising CO2. Do they? Low pressure systems (leading to storms) should be on the upswing in strength and/or duration commensurate with rising CO2. Are they?
______
Interesting notion, but I don’t recall making any such a statement, and am certainly not qualified to do so. I simply know that without CO2, Earth becomes an ice planet, so this little 3rd order effect trace gas is essential to preventing that. Amazing what an “insignificant trace gas” can do, eh?

Maus
October 5, 2011 10:41 pm

fred berple:
“Since GHG IR is 7/24, and strongest when it is cloudy and/or at night, when solar is weakest, then GHG IR panels should be as widespread as solar panels. If not to generate electricity, certainly to heat houses.”
You seem to be having a bit of trouble understanding things here. (And jae who’s off on a bender about impossible objects or some such.) So I’m going to walk you through Trenberth’s graph of the flows — here often maligned as a ‘cartoon’ — rather than deal with Willis’ denialist tripe above.
Now imagine a black-body comprising an infinite Euclidian plane and sheathed in an infinitely deep atmosphere of pure Carbon Dioxide. Now, by Trenberth’s numbers 168 Watts/M^2 reach the black-body directly and are then perfectly re-radiated from the surface. As you should be well aware from basic geometry this means that every ounce of radiation will be caught by the greenhouse gasses and that fully one-half will be radiated back to the surface. The other one-half will take a path away from the surface, never to return.
But here you have to remember Zeno’s arrow. One-half of our one-half will be re-radiated from our black body, caught by the atmosphere, and returned. And one-half of that still, and so on. Such that we will find a similar 168 Watts in back radiation due the atmosphere. If you note Trenberth’s note of 67 Watts being trapped by the atmosphere first then you can plainly see that 33.5 of those will be ejected forthwith, while the other 33.5 will remain as backradiation from the greenhouse effect. Or a total of 201.5 watts due GHGs.
It’s here that you have your misunderstanding over the missing 122.5 Watts of back radiation. (And some other issues arise as well, I’m sure.) But it’s this which has led you to rather farcical statements over back-radiation heaters and claiming that this is all quite impossible. Indeed it would be impossible if we lived on an infinite Euclidian plane and you would be right to object. But the numbers clear right up when you remember that we live on a concave planet.
Hope that helps.

Glenn Tamblyn
October 5, 2011 11:35 pm

Robert E Phelan
So John Cook has lied to me. Which means he has lied to all the other authors at SkS, the dozens and dozens of them. Which also means that to maintain the lie we then all have to lie to each other as well. So I lie to all of them and they all lie to me. And when discussing some new piece of science we have to carefully ‘manage’ each other so we don’t report it accurately. Whic is hard sinse SkS always refer to the science they are commenting on.
Interesting test for you. Select the 100 most recent posts at SkS and count how many different scientific papers are referenced. Then go to those and count hao many separate authors there are in total. Then do the same here at WUWT. Then consider the relationship between the two sites and how they report science. Take this post by Willis for example. The only links in his post are to some data sources. All the rest of the content comes from Willis. Even when he does use something from the scientific literature he doesn’t even credit the source. Regulars here might know where it comes from – Trenberth et al – but a newbie wouldn’t. Every thing else on this post is just Willis.
As for the references to revolutions etc!! LOL.
Hey Dude, wake up and smell the roses. Revolutions, Evil Socialism vs Freedom, Left vs Right. Have you no sense of just how dated you sound. Just how 20th Century! Left vs Right is oh so dated and meaningless. Like so many Americans (pardon my if my assumption that you are American is incorrect) all you seem interested in doing is just continually replaying the same stuck old record, endlessly revisiting the tired old narrative. The USA has a lot of problems, but you don’t solve them just reciting fromtired old scripts. If America is going to prosper into the future you need to understand that it is not enough to try and just endlessly recycle old thinking, old feuds, old ideologies, even the notion of ideology being relevent. You sound like Bill Murray in GroundHog Day. At least Bill new that he was in some sort of trap, even if he didn’d know why. Do you?

Editor
October 5, 2011 11:54 pm

No, Glenn, you are perfectly correct. I am an American. You don’t seem to like us much. Pity that. And yes, that emminent expert in climatology, the cartoonist, has been lying to you, as have your professors. You are far less interested in the science than in the political implications and that makes you a tool and no scientist. I don’t talk about left vs. right, I talk about an elite that has cp-opted business, science and government. Wake up and smell the roses dude. You have been sold a bill of goods and the freedoms and opportuinities of your children and grand children are being sold to some self-styled masters of the universe who will use them as high-tech proletarians and dispose of them as they please. Look up “false consciousness” and then go through the exercise of applying it to yourself.
Let me ask you this: just how is it this site has seen one after another of you John Cook disciples making your presence known, one after the other? You guys working to a rotation? I think there is a word for that…..

ferd berple
October 5, 2011 11:56 pm

“Tim Folkerts says:
October 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm
“The average energy from surface to GHG due to radiation is ~ 350 W/m^2. The average energy from GHG to surface due to radiation is ~ 325 W/m^2. In other words, the “heat” is ~ 25 W/m^s from surface to GHG.”
Yet the sun is only 200 w/m2. Using your method the net heat flow should be 350-200 = 150 w/m2 outwards from the earth towards the sun. We should be getting a net cooling from the sun.

ferd berple
October 6, 2011 12:00 am

Tim Folkerts says:
October 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm
No the first law says dU = δQ – δW (following a common sign convention)
at equilibrium dU = 0, therefore
0 = δQ – δW
δQ = δW
at equilibrium heat = work

Glenn Tamblyn
October 6, 2011 1:27 am

Robert. Actually I do like Anerica and Americans – people divided by a common language and all that, being a fellow colonial from the Great Southern Land. Thats why watching the slow decline of America in the last couple of decades has been truly saddening. Good decent people who don’t seem to know how to get their country out of a morass of competing identities and ideologies. Americans don’t seem to see that the answer to many of their woes is to move on from past ideas. Or more specifically the idea that past ideas are the source of certainty in life. Ideas usually have a use-by-date. If good ideas don’t evolve to fit new circumstances then they become bad ideas.
And to correct a piece of misinformation that Anthony put out in another post to which you disparagingly referred. John Cook is an academic.’Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland’. And the ajority of the SkS authors have a range of technical qualifications – Physicists, Geologists, Engineers, Environmental scientists, Statisticians etc. Not publishing authors in climate science but in a range of allied fields.
Then “You are far less interested in the science than in the political implications and that makes you a tool and no scientist.” Didn’t you read what I said and the tone of it? I couldn’t give a tinkers damn about political implications. Politics is one of the great irrelevencies in life, along with lawyers and real-estate saelemen. Its about management, not politics.
Then you talk about “an elite that has cp-opted business, science and government.” Thats one hell of a big elite Robert. 100’s of 1000’s of them going back over half a century, from countries all over the world. All applying the same physics and chemistry that has built our high-tech world. You do realise don’t you that the scientific understanding that allows you and I to communicate across the world over the Internet is exactly the same understanding that tells us what GH gases will do in the atmosphere. That the same understanding of the transmission of IR radiation through the atmosphere that lets us understand AGW also lets the US Defense Department understand why IR Heat Seeking missiles work and why their early warning satellites didn’t start WWIII because they confused a lightning storm in Siberia with a ballistic missile launch.
Here are some names, part of the elite. Gilbert Plass, missile guidance system designer. Roger Revelle, oceanographer studying the aftermath of nuclear test blasts. Also solving the riddle of the complex ‘buffered’ chemistry of sea water. Hans Suess, explored the rates of ocean uptake of CO2 using Carbon 14 studies. Ever heard of them? Add in Bert Bolin, Mannabe & Wetherald in the 1960’s. These were the fathers of the study of AGW. In the 1950’s & 60’s. By 1967 the basic understanding of AGW was in place. And Al Gore was still in Grade school, and James Hansen was in High school. And these guys are all dead. Their membership of the ‘elite’ didn’t do them much good did it
So your narrative is this “You have been sold a bill of goods and the freedoms and opportuinities of your children and grand children are being sold to some self-styled masters of the universe who will use them as high-tech proletarians and dispose of them as they please.”. Interesting for someone who says your views aren’t about left vs right views, you seem very comfortable using the language of that divide.
Here is my narrative. “The well being of my children and grandchildren is totally dependent on the capacity of the physical processes of the physical world around them to provide food, shelter, security for them. In a world where the climate and other physical resources are depleting/declining/degrading, their well being cannot be guaranteed. Add in the follow-on consequences of social decline, violence, war, etc can only make this worse. Putting the physical processes of the world under this sort of pressure is really bad for my granschildrens future.”
Key point of difference I see between your narrative and mine: You seem to have a presumption that the threats to your grandchildren’s futures don’t come from hazards to the physical systems of the planet – that presumably will just go on an on. Therefore threats are of a political/social nature: ‘freedoms’ etc. You seem to be discounting physical threats like starving to death, dying in a war over water or food.
My view is that the key threats to my grandchildren are physical. Based on reading a lot of the science. You reject/disparage such a threat and then only see a second-order threat to ‘freedoms’
So what is your reading of the science that lets you reject physical threats so you can focus on 2nd order threats. So, some questions?
What % of the heat from warming in the last 4 decades has gone into the oceans as opposed to the atmosphere?
What is your view of the recent paper by Meerl et al 2011 analysing decade long hiatuses in atmospheric warming due to circulation changes in the ocean?
How much do you think aerosol increases in the atmosphere in the last decade due to the growth of economies such as China, India etc have masked warming?
Generally, what is you basis for saying that we have been sold a ‘bill of goods’. Note I said basis, not just opinion. Because the alternative hypothesis is that you have been sold a ‘bill of goods’ but are reluctant to admit it.

Pamela Gray
October 6, 2011 2:11 am

Gates, you most certainly did make such a statement. You contend that climate change will result in increased frequency of extreme weather events. This can be directly measured. However, clouds, or lack thereof, are terribly difficult to measure. Economic proxies are fraught with corrupting variables. And I won’t consider temperature as that is not your contention here. You focused, in your statement, on extreme weather events. Don’t dismiss my challenge as being “interesting”. It is your hypothesis. Back it up.
Data taken from pressure systems should be a straight forward measurement of extreme weather events being on the upswing commensurate with increasing CO2, unless you contend that such extreme events have no correlation to atmospheric pressure indices. That would be a flip flop for you as you often refer to Arctic pressure system changes being driven by CO2 warming.

Venter
October 6, 2011 2:17 am

Aerosols, ocean heating etc. are so far baseless arm waving with no evidence. Where’s the empirical evidence for any of these? These are fanciful theories dreamt up by the AGW clique to justify the non-existent warming.
Read below post by Pat Michaels in this very forum about the holes in aerosol excuse of Kauffman et. al.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/05/pat-michaels-on-aerosols-china-coal-and-lack-of-recent-warming/
And as far as Ocean heat is concerned, nothing has been detected so far and Argo floats show now warming. So by what mechanism did the heat mysteriously bypass the first 700 metres and then lurk at the bottom?
And what is the empirical evidence form the past that warming is a physical threat? An what empirical science did you read which shows that there has been warming due to human released CO2 and that it is catastrophic with disastrous consequences?
There is no empirical evidence for any of your claims and the only physical threats seen are from Ben Santer who wanted to deck Pat Michaels.

Joel Shore
October 6, 2011 3:19 am

jae says:

Er, nice rhetoric, NO science. A+ in propaganda, F- in Science. PLEASE show your work, sir!

We’ve explained it to you a thousand times: In the absence of an IR-absorbing atmosphere, the earth’s surface cannot for long be emitting ~390 W/m^2 when the earth system (including atmosphere) is only absorbing ~240 W/m^2 from the sun. This huge imbalance between emission and absorption would lead to rapid cooling.
The gravitational force is not a source of energy for the system unless there is a constant increase of gravitational potential energy…which would be true for a system that is undergoing gravitational collapse…but alas the earth and its atmosphere ain’t doing that.

Tim Folkerts
October 6, 2011 4:43 am

Fred says:
“Yet the sun is only 200 w/m2. Using your method the net heat flow should be 350-200 = 150 w/m2 outwards from the earth towards the sun. ”
No, the sun is about (5.67E-8) * 5800^4 = ~ 6 MILLION W/m^2. Distance, geometry and cloud cover conspire to reduce that to an average of ~ 200 W/m^2 at the surface of earth. The net flow is still quite definitely from the sun to the earth if you understand the physics and geometry.

Gail Combs
October 6, 2011 5:51 am

Robert E. Phelan says:
October 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm
…….Of course, it will be too late then: the first thing the successful revolutionaries do is turn on their own…. Lenin’s treatment of Trotsky comes to mind….. but of course, you’re not a Trotsky. Or a Lenin. Just one of the tens of thousands of Old Bolshiveks who had outlived their usefulness. Tool.
_________________________________________________________________________
That is a thought that has been running through my head lately. Especially the wiping out of the Russian intelligentsia by the Bolshevik’s after the intelligentsia helped bring them to power and Stalin’s intentional starvation of about 14 million the Ukrainians farmers.
Anthony’s They had to burn the village to save it from global warming along with the wiping out of 75% of Mexico’s peasant farmer’s, 60% of Portugal’s, the death by suicide every 32 minutes of India’s farmers and every 4 days of the UK farmers while the likes of george Soros and Al Gore are buying up farm land world wide….
Those who believe in CAGW also are those who think there are too many people on Earth. They are not concerned about others as they would have us believe.

mkelly
October 6, 2011 6:52 am

Glenn Tamblyn says:
October 6, 2011 at 1:27 am
“My view is that the key threats to my grandchildren are physical. Based on reading a lot of the science. You reject/disparage such a threat and then only see a second-order threat to ‘freedoms’
Personally, Mr. Tamblyn I would want my grandchildren to be free and contend with the physical rather than be a servant of the state. Freedom lost is normally never regained.
You further say, “Americans don’t seem to see that the answer to many of their woes is to move on from past ideas.” What the hell are you talking about? Giving up freedom? Get rid of the Constitution? Forget we have borders?

higley7
October 6, 2011 7:02 am

zac siad, October 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm:
“Serious question. Why is CO2 considered more important than water and sunlight when it comes to considering future temperature trends, is it a political or a scientific thing?”
It’s totally political as we have not warmed w]since 1996 or 1998. If they cannot blame it all on CO2, then they cannot blame it on man’s activities that produce CO2.
Maurice Strong came up with this strategy decades ago, as he cast about for a crisis upon which to build a case for imposing a one-world government—his lifelong dream. He was instrumental in forming the IPCC and staffing it with people of like mind, to produce propaganda to create the crisis. They know it’s not true, but the average person really has no way of detecting slight changes in temperature in their daily lives. Even during the warming from 1978 to 1998, the changes were relatively mild and had no effect on any lifeform as biological systems are much more robust, flexible, and adaptive than they would like you to know. There is literally no aspect of the planet, physical or biological that is doing anything unusual, anywhere.
Individuals and banks have jumped on the Strong wagon, seeing opportunity for great riches from totally useless cap and trade of carbon. Environmental groups have loved being able to demonize everybody, even themselves. The powers that be know that wind and solar power are useless dead ends, only good at small scales at the end user, not in large scale (you cannot build a reliable energy supply from unreliable energy sources), but it gives them the chance to hand out huge grants to new companies through crony capitalism—they avoid established technologies, such as nuclear, as the money would go to already established companies and not good friends and campaign donors.
And then there are subsidies for all of this to make bad enterprises competitive in the real world, using taxpayer dollars to support companies that would never succeed in the real world—it’s simple theft to simply hand companies money from the taxpayers, paying them to keep doing something that is not productive—insuring them against failure with huge government, illegal support.
The prime example here is biofuels, which suck up 40-60% of our corn crop, highjack huge portions of our croplands, and raise the cost of foodstuffs, starving millions in poorer countries. The radical enviros love this, as starving to death is natural, and they think there are too many people—it’s all good in their eyes—we get to suffer higher gas prices, less mileage, and destroyed engines and people elsewhere get to starve.
Biofuels use more energy than they produce, the ethanol eats engines and lowers miles per gallon, but it’s crony capitalism again; with the recent recession, ethanol/gasoline sales were down, so demand for ethanol biofuel was down. So, what does the government do? They unilaterally raise the ethanol-% to 15%, immediately creating a demand for more ethanol to be produced by their friends—in the middle of a recession, this industry got a boost. [Above 11.2% ethanol, gasohol really begins to destroy engines.]
Global warming is all about greed, greed, power, and greed, backed by socialists and totalitarians. There’s a group of arrogant jerks in Europe who think the world should be handed over to them because they know so much better than everybody how it should be run. Sure, let’s do that! Sounds good, no problem!

beng
October 6, 2011 7:28 am

*****
Glenn Tamblyn says:
October 5, 2011 at 11:35 pm
Blah, blah, blah, then at last — “At least Bill new(sic) that he was in some sort of trap, even if he didn’d(sic) know why. Do you?”
*****
A textbook example of psychological projection.

ferd berple
October 6, 2011 7:30 am

Glenn Tamblyn says:
October 6, 2011 at 1:27 am
Or more specifically the idea that past ideas are the source of certainty in life. Ideas usually have a use-by-date. If good ideas don’t evolve to fit new circumstances then they become bad ideas.
Good point, the IPCC and models based AGW theory spectacularly failed to predict the leveling off of temperatures post 1998. Now AGW resembles epicycles, with more and more “correcting factors” added daily as it continues to fail to predict.
To have value, science must be capable of prediction. The interesting questions to be answered in science are “what” will happen, “when” will it happen, “where” will it happen and “who” will it happen to. These can all be validated.
“Why” something happens is only temporary until the next discovery, and there are an infinite number of discoveries yet to be made. Thus “why” has limited value because it can only be validated within limits.
For example, we know bacteria cause ulcers. But what causes the bacteria to infect? Could stress lead to infection? And what causes the stress. And what causes the cause of the stress? “Why” goes on to infinity.

R2D2
October 6, 2011 8:32 am

@matt October 5, 2011 at 7:26 am
I think you are missing the point. Drunkeness is 100% effect of (just) alcohol. Difference in radiation is not 100% effect of CO2 but only 0.8%

R2D2
October 6, 2011 8:38 am

If I was drunk from 3 kinds of alcohol and 1 only contributed 0.8% to my drunkeness then I wouldn’t blame that 1 for my overall drunkeness.

mkelly
October 6, 2011 9:38 am

Tim Folkerts says:
October 6, 2011 at 4:43 am
Fred says:
“The net flow is still quite definitely from the sun to the earth if you understand the physics and geometry.”
Mr. Folkerts, the K&T energy flow graphic in one of Willis’ repsonses clearly shows the following
342 W/m^2 incoming from Sun. 105 W/m^2 reflection of sunshine outbound and 237 W/m^2 of IR outbound. The balance 342 = 105+237.
This shows that K&T equate IR with sunshine. The two are not the equal in their ability to do work or heat my sun tea.
I believe this is what Ferd in talking about. And the numbers take in the physics and geometry if K&T are of value.
It further shows 321 W/m^2 of DWLR being absorbed by the surface and only 169 W/m^2 of sunshine absorbed by surface. So which really heats rocks, sand, water, you, me, etc?
Show me a radiative heat transfer equation for this using K&T numbers that show how this all works. Remember emissivity.

Tim Folkerts
October 6, 2011 2:26 pm

mkelly says: “This shows that K&T equate IR with sunshine. ”
I think I can speak for K&T when I say that they equate the two in some ways. Both are EM waves. Both carry measurable energy. Conservation of energy applies equally to both.
On the other hand, they are different in that they consist of a very different set of wavelengths. Sunlight has the energy concentrated in a small number of photons, while the thermal IR has the energy spread out over a larger number of photons. This property of the light does indeed mean they are not the same in their ability to power a heat engine, just like like energy concentrated in a few molecules of steam can power a heat engine better then the same energy spread over a larger number of cooler water molecules.
“So which really heats rocks, sand, water, you, me, etc?”
You have to be very careful with language here (although the science is rather simpler). I prefer talking about energy movement, not “heat” since “heat” has different meanings to different people. Both solar photons and DWLR photons provide energy to the surface. Both contribute to the surface temperature. Changing either the absorbed solar photons or the absorbed DWLR photons by 10 W/m^2 will have the same effect on temperature.

jae
October 6, 2011 2:30 pm

Joel:
“We’ve explained it to you a thousand times: In the absence of an IR-absorbing atmosphere, the earth’s surface cannot for long be emitting ~390 W/m^2 when the earth system (including atmosphere) is only absorbing ~240 W/m^2 from the sun. This huge imbalance between emission and absorption would lead to rapid cooling.”
The SURFACE may be emitting 390 wm-2, but the EARTH is not emitting 390 wm-2; it is emitting only what it receives–240. The rest is stored in the atmosphere (you picture it as radiation flying around in some type of radiative GHE; i picture it differently, that’s all).

Tim Folkerts
October 6, 2011 4:14 pm

JAE says:
“The SURFACE may be emitting 390 wm-2, but the EARTH is not emitting 390 wm-2; it is emitting only what it receives–240. The rest is stored in the atmosphere”
I agree with the first sentence; I disagree with the second.
By “the rest” I assume you mean 390 – 240 = 150 watts/m^2. But there is no “rest” in reality. To see how energy flows balance, you need to look at all the energy flows.
The surface loses energy at a rate of 390 + 78 + 24 and absorbs energy at a rate of 324 + 168, for a net balance of ~ 0
The atmosphere loses energy at a rate of 324 + 195 and absorbs energy at a rate of 78 + 24 + 350 +67, for a net balance of ~ 0.
(Of course, all numbers are approximate.)
It is all in balance — there is no “storage”. (Well, if there is a slight imbalance, then there could some storage and a subsequent increase in global temperature.)

Septic Matthew
October 6, 2011 4:44 pm

Glenn Tamblyn: So too the supposedly ‘small’ impact from CO2 is more than enough to have a significant impact.
Nicely written. You expanded my point well.
I do not believe AGW, but this post by Willis Eschenbach has cavities.

jae
October 6, 2011 4:55 pm

Joel:
“It is all in balance — there is no “storage”. (Well, if there is a slight imbalance, then there could some storage and a subsequent increase in global temperature.)”
I don’t get it. If I increase the temperature of 1 gram of dry air by 1 degree C, I have STORED 1 joule of energy in that gram of air. I see no way that the atmosphere is not storing a tremendous amount of energy at all times, and this has consequences via the gas laws. This Of course, there is still a balance, as you say.

Dave Springer
October 6, 2011 5:12 pm

Tim Folkerts says:
October 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm
“Both solar photons and DWLR photons provide energy to the surface.”
Yeah but DWLR photons are immediately rejected by the ocean without raising either the water or air temperature. LWIR is absorbed in the first micron of surface water and only serves to raise the evaporation rate. The energy is then contained within the water molecule as latent heat of vaporization which of course rises upwards as soon as it is liberated from the ocean.
People need to understand that radiative cooling plays a very small role in ocean heat budget which is dominated by evaporative cooling.

October 6, 2011 5:36 pm

Tim Folkerts says on October 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm:
“Changing either the absorbed solar photons or the absorbed DWLR photons by 10 W/m^2 will have the same effect on temperature.”
Just out of curiosity Tim; have you ever been present, outside in the open air at the place and time when a “Total Solar Eclipse” takes place? – If you have, then you will know that during the, fortunately, short time of total solar absence there is a considerable temperature drop. – Unfortunately, for validation of your statement, DWLR cannot be blocked in quite the same manner.
However if you have got proof, other than theoretical, to back up your statement, then I shall be more than willing to read about it.

Tim Folkerts
October 6, 2011 5:39 pm

jae says:
“I don’t get it. If I increase the temperature of 1 gram of dry air by 1 degree C, I have STORED 1 joule of energy in that gram of air. “
Actually, I was the one who made the comment you were responding to.
Of course, as the air warms during the day, it will be absorbing energy, and during the night it will be emitting energy. During the spring it will be gaining energy and during the fall it will be losing energy.
But the average for the year is (very close to) zero. There is no “rest of the energy” that is continuously being added to the atmosphere. Or perhaps I misunderstood what you meant when you said “The SURFACE may be emitting 390 wm-2, but the EARTH is not emitting 390 wm-2; it is emitting only what it receives–240. The rest is stored in the atmosphere.” What “rest” were you referring to?

Joel Shore
October 6, 2011 5:43 pm

jae says:

The SURFACE may be emitting 390 wm-2, but the EARTH is not emitting 390 wm-2; it is emitting only what it receives–240. The rest is stored in the atmosphere (you picture it as radiation flying around in some type of radiative GHE; i picture it differently, that’s all).

Okay, so where in the atmosphere is this infinite heat sink that can store energy accumulating at a rate of 150 W/m^2 ?!?!
Do you realize how ridiculous it sounds?

Tim Folkerts
October 6, 2011 6:41 pm

Just out of curiosity Tim; have you ever been present, outside in the open air at the place and time when a “Total Solar Eclipse” takes place?
Unfortunately I have only seen a partial eclipse. Even that was enough to provide noticeable cooling. An eclipse is certainly one way to block the direct sunlight, which could be close to 1000 W/m^2 at noon with the sun overhead. And this will certainly cool the earth dramatically.
Unfortunately, for validation of your statement, DWLR cannot be blocked in quite the same manner. However if you have got proof, other than theoretical, to back up your statement, then I shall be more than willing to read about it.
There are some applications that use I similar principle to provide cooling by blocking IR. For instance, google “cold mirrors” that are designed to only reflect visible light and not IR. As the name implies, this limits the heating by the beam by removing the IR. (in this case, it is mostly an effect of near IR, not thermal IR, but the principle applies.)
You could also look at the plans for this solar cooker/IR cooler http://solarcooking.org/plans/funnel.htm . By blocking IR, it allows water to freeze even with air temperatures well above freezing. This is closer to your “eclipse” example. The foil “blocks” the IR from the ground and other warm surroundings, substituting the cool IR from the sky, (much like the eclipse substitutes light from the dark side of the moon for the much warmer sunlight).
Of course, for my original statement to be wrong, then conservation of energy would have to be wrong. I suppose you could call that simply “theoretical”, but conservation of energy is one of the very best established principles, so overturning it would take some extraordinary evidence.

jae
October 6, 2011 6:44 pm

Joel:
“Okay, so where in the atmosphere is this infinite heat sink that can store energy accumulating at a rate of 150 W/m^2 ?!?!
Do you realize how ridiculous it sounds?”
??????? Is this a strawman? Did I mention an infinite heat sink? Did I say the atmosphere is ACCUMULATING energy? What the hell are you saying, fella?
What I AM saying is that the atmosphere CONTAINS a certain amount of heat energy–on average enough to maintain an “average global temperature” of 15 C. I can’t see any flaw in that statement.
I maintain that the atmosphere is also radiating to space about the same amount as the Sun is radiating to the Earth. Is there something wrong with that statement?
The atmosphere and oceans are also STORING VAST AMOUNTS OF ENERGY (HEAT) in the form of kinetic and potential energy (you guys seem to agree that the oceans can store heat, and even “hide” it somehow, but you don’t seem to acknowdge that the atmosphere stores heat, also???). I guess because it can’t “hide there?”
I still think that the stupid radiation cartoons ignore real physics. But maybe I am just a nut.

Spector
October 6, 2011 7:06 pm

Speaking of orders of magnitude, I note that the change in outgoing IR energy flow seem looking down from 99 km up, I₀, as reported by MODTRAN (unreliable as it may be) hosted by the University of Chicago, appears to show a change only on the order of a half of a percent in clear tropical air when only the CO2 concentration is changed from the supposed pre-industrial level of 280 PPM to a near modern level of 396 PPM, (a 41.4% change) or from 289.163 W/m² to 287.561 W/m² energy leaving the Earth with the same default ground temperature. I believe MODTRAN only calculates on the basis of the raw properties of the gases with no climate feedback assumed.

Tim Folkerts
October 6, 2011 7:41 pm

jae,
Perhaps you would like to clarify your statement:
“The SURFACE may be emitting 390 wm-2, but the EARTH is not emitting 390 wm-2; it is emitting only what it receives–240. The rest is stored in the atmosphere”
What specifically do you mean by “the rest” and how is is being “stored”? How is it related to the 390 wm-2 and 240 wm-2 you were referencing?

jae
October 6, 2011 7:52 pm

Tim:
“But the average for the year is (very close to) zero. There is no “rest of the energy” that is continuously being added to the atmosphere. Or perhaps I misunderstood what you meant when you said “The SURFACE may be emitting 390 wm-2, but the EARTH is not emitting 390 wm-2; it is emitting only what it receives–240. The rest is stored in the atmosphere.” What “rest” were you referring to?”
I guess I’m not being clear about the “rest.” All I am saying is that the air gains and disposes of a certain amount of energy day-to-day, season-to-season. Which is exactly what you are saying, I think. The DIFFERENCE is that there is no magic “atmospheric greenhouse effect,” only a gain and loss of energy, day-to-day.
It takes a certain amount of energy to keep the air temperature at it’s current levels. THAT IS THE “REST.” It is “heat storage.” Same with the ocean, which also stores heat (but which nobody seems to question).

jae
October 6, 2011 8:11 pm

Tim: Thanks. You say:
“Perhaps you would like to clarify your statement:
“The SURFACE may be emitting 390 wm-2, but the EARTH is not emitting 390 wm-2; it is emitting only what it receives–240. The rest is stored in the atmosphere”
What specifically do you mean by “the rest” and how is is being “stored”? How is it related to the 390 wm-2 and 240 wm-2 you were referencing?”
Tim: don’t you think it takes a certain amount of energy to maintain the atmosphere at an average of 15 C? All those molecules of air have to have some kinetic energy to make that “average thermometer” register 15 C, right? Don’t you think that means that the quadrillion, quadrillion, quadrillions of molecules in the atmosphere have to receive energy every day to maintain that temperature/molecular motion/ energy? Doesn’t that mean that those molecules are, at any given time, STORING ENERGY? Are they just passive radiation machines????
Do you think that the “radiation” makes the thermometer read 15 C? If so, you need a review of physics 101 (it’s molecular motion that makes that makes the thermometer rock).
SO, the “REST” is the amount of energy that it takes to keep the atmosphere at that magic average temperature of 15 C. .
Please let me know where that does not make sense.

ferd berple
October 6, 2011 8:12 pm

According to wikipedia, a human male has about 2 square meter of skin. That is approximately 1 sq meter per side. So, if you lie outside naked at night in the dead of winter, you will be receiving (according to Willis’ chart above) 350 watts from the earth and 325 watts from the GHG, for a total of 675 watts. That is almost 1 HP of energy from the earth and sky radiating on the human body.
For sure that amount of energy will without any problem keep you warm and toasty. Contrast this will the meager 200 watts your body receives on average from the sun, or the 150 watts the human body produces. We should replace solar panels with IR reflectors to channel the energy from the gound and the sky to power our cities, as it is apparently so much greater than solar energy.

ferd berple
October 6, 2011 8:20 pm

mkelly says:
October 6, 2011 at 9:38 am
This shows that K&T equate IR with sunshine. The two are not the equal in their ability to do work or heat my sun tea. I believe this is what Ferd in talking about.
You’ve hit the nail on the head.

ferd berple
October 6, 2011 8:43 pm

“Willis Eschenbach says:
October 4, 2011 at 11:51 pm
Downwelling DLR, however, is at about 320 W/m2, which equates to a blackbody temperature of about freezing (0°C).”
In your diagram above it shows solar energy at the surface of earth is about 200 watts/m2 on average. In other word, K&T equate the effects of the sun at the surface with a blackbody temperature of about MINUS 30 C !! I’m pretty sure that the sun does not work that way, that it is not equivalent to a blackbody at -30C, or we caould not use it to heat water or power solar panels. As such the K&T analysis that AGW rests on is bogus.

Spector
October 6, 2011 9:17 pm

RE: R. Gates: (October 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm)
“Especially important is the LW absorption of CO2 at around 15 microns. The fact that CO2 has this high absorption right at the peak where the bulk of the LW is coming from the ground and that CO2 is a non-condensing gas is key to our greenhouse world:”
Actually, while the 15 micron or 667 kayzer (cycles per centimeter or CM-1) CO2 hole is near the peak point of emission, it only blocks or reduces a fraction of the total flow. At 99 km up,(according to MODTRAN) the half-depth width of the CO2 hole is about 100 kayzers wide in a stream that has an overall half-peak-flow width of about 950 kayzers, including the CO2 band.
I believe that the non-condensing nature of CO2 is the reason that it is *less* important than H2O, where attempted condensation due to electric attraction during collisions between these sticky water molecules in the atmosphere can increase the probability that unusual, absorption-unlikely, LW photons will be generated.

Tim Folkerts
October 7, 2011 5:07 am

Fred says:
“In other word, K&T equate the effects of the sun at the surface with a blackbody temperature of about MINUS 30 C !! I’m pretty sure that the sun does not work that way, that it is not equivalent to a blackbody at -30C, or we could not use it to heat water or power solar panels. ”
Several people seem to have this strange notion that black body temperature is determined by the power arriving at an arbitrary location. The black body temperature is determined by the power LEAVING the SOURCE (*). As stated above, the sun has a BB temperature of ~ 5800 K and delivers ~ 6,000,000 W/m^2. K&T are, I am sure, fully aware that the BB temperature of the sun is indeed ~ 5800 K and are not equating the sun’s photons with any temperatures of – 30 C.
By the time the photons have reached earth, they have spread out to ~ 1370 W/m^2. This does not mean they have cooled off to ~ 395 K! They still are “5700 K photons”. By cleverly focusing the these photons, we could in principle warm an object as high as ~ 5800 K .
By the time some of the photons have been reflected by clouds and the remaining photons have been averaged over the entire surface of the earth, power is down to ~ 170 W/m^2. This does not mean the photons have cooled off to ~ 235 K! By cleverly focusing the these photons, we could still in principle warm an object as high as ~ 5800 K.
However, once the photons have been absorbed, these solar photons cease to exist. The earth will radiate its own photons. The EARTH would have the BB temperature of ~ 235 K. And you are right, THIS energy from “235 K photons” cannot be focused (because they are already coming from every direction, unlike the sunlight) to warm anything above 235 K. (If you add in the ~ 70 W/m^2 that are absorbed by the atmosphere, this gives the more typical BB temperature of ~ 255 K.)
* The one exception I know of is due to the expansion of the universe. “Hot photons” that were emitted ~ 13 billion years ago when the universe was ~ 3000 K have “cooled” to form the current 3 K microwave background radiation.

October 7, 2011 5:18 am

Thank you Tim Folkerts for your response on October 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm which I found to be, in keeping with all/most of what you write, very good, interesting and informative and I now have got some more studying to do as most of it was new to me. – Well, that is to say I have no quibbles with the “conservation of energy” bit. – I shall not trouble myself trying to disprove that one.

ferd berple
October 7, 2011 6:46 am

jae says:
October 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm
I still think that the stupid radiation cartoons ignore real physics.
It does ignore physics, because it equates sunlight with IR radiation from the sky to form an “energy budget”. Here is the reason why this is wrong:
K&T treat the earth and sky as black bodies that radiate 350 and 325 w/m2, which corresponds to the average temperatures of the surface and sky of 15C and 0C. Under K&T, 200 w/m on average from the sun is added to these figures to form an “energy budget”.
Addition is only valid if the sun, earth and sky are equivalent. Thus, the K&T treatment means we must be able to equate the sun to a black body as large as the sky and the laws of physics will still hold.
Now, 200 w/m2 is equivalent to a black-body as big as the sky with a temperature lower than 0 C, something like – 30 C according to one on-line calculator. So, if the K&T treatment is correct, then we should be able to replace the sun with a black-body the size of the sky at -30 C and the physics of the earth, the climate would be unchanged.
However, that is nonsense. If you replaced the sun with a black-body that filled the sky at – 30 C the earth would freeze. Therefore you cannot treat the energy from the sun equivalent to the black-body IR from earth and sky. Therefore the K&T energy budget for the earth is WRONG and as such much of the basis for AGW is wrong.

mkelly
October 7, 2011 7:31 am

Tim Folkerts says:
October 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm
Sunlight has the energy concentrated in a small number of photons, while the thermal IR has the energy spread out over a larger number of photons.
Have we a count of these numbers? If so what is it? Is there a ratio? Please explain this.
Mr. Folkerts a couple of questions: If I have two tourches, whose flames are a says 6000 F, and I point one torch a a plate of steel what is the max temperature the steel can attain? IF I now point the other torch at the same spot and have two 6000 F torch pointing to the same spot on the steel what is the max temperature the steel can attain? I have doubled the W/m^2 of the point on the steel. I have doubled the items providing temperature to the steel. If I now take away one torch and the W/m^2 of that torch what will happen to the max temperature that can be attained by the plate of steel?

ferd berple
October 7, 2011 8:05 am

Say for instance that the K&T treatment is correct, then if we replaced the sun with another black-body equivalent to the earth and sky, then at TOA the average radiation from the sun would be something like 1368/4 = 342 W/m2 averaged over the entire globe.
So, it K&T are correct, then we could replace the sun with a sphere of energy circling the earth at the TOA and the temperature of the earth would remain unchanged. However, 342 w/m2 correlates to a black body temperature of much less than the current surface temperature, because according to K&T, the surface radiates 392 w/m2
Thus, according to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, the sun could not warm the earth using K&T’s own figures at TOA, because as a black-body that fills the sky, the sun is already colder than the surface of the earth.
Clearly this is contrary to observation, because the sun does warm the earth. This means you CANNOT treat a hot point source of energy equivalent to a large source of energy at a lower temperature, even though they both appear to be radiating the same amount of w/m2.
Also, we know from Carnot’s theorem that efficiency depends on the temperature ratio between the cold and hot side of the engine. There is a large temperature ratio between the earth and sun, but only a small temperature ratio between the earth and sky.
This alone suggests that it is not appropriate to simply add and subtract w/m2 between energy sources at different temperatures the way K&T have, because they will have different efficiencies.

ferd berple
October 7, 2011 8:15 am

mkelly says:
October 7, 2011 at 7:31 am
If I have two tourches, whose flames are a says 6000 F, and I point one torch a a plate of steel what is the max temperature the steel can attain? IF I now point the other torch at the same spot and have two 6000 F torch pointing to the same spot on the steel what is the max temperature the steel can attain?
A very good example that shows that temperature is not determined by w/m2.

Tim Folkerts
October 7, 2011 1:07 pm

Wow. There are some fascinating questions. Fortunately, physics can still provide the fascinating answers.
mkelly asks: If I have two tourches, whose flames are a says 6000 F, and I point one torch a a plate of steel what is the max temperature the steel can attain? IF I now point the other torch at the same spot and have two 6000 F torch pointing to the same spot on the steel what is the max temperature the steel can attain?”
Since we were discussing radiation and black bodies, let me re-frame this as a 6000 F tungsten filament in an “electric torch” (ie an incandescent light bulb).
In principle a single 6000 F filament would be able to heat an object to 6000 F. Just place the 6000 F flame/filament at one focus of a perfectly reflecting ellipsoid and place the object to be heated at the other focus. The object will “see” the filament no matter which way you look, so the object “thinks” is it surrounded by a sheet of 6000 F tungsten (ie all 4 pi steradians will be sending “6000 F photons” at the object).
COROLLARY 1) no amount of refocusing will raise the temperature of the object any higher than 6000 F.
COROLLARY 2) adding a second filament in this case will not make the object any hotter.
In practice you won’t have a 100% reflective surface. You also will not have an ellipsoidal mirror completely surrounding the filament and object. You could make some difference in the heat transfer by putting a mirror behind the filament (like a flashlight uses to concentrate light toward one spot) or putting a mirror behind the object (like a solar collector).
The temperature of the object being heated depend on the W/m^2 of the heater, but the final result has to also include the solid angle of the heater.
Fred suggests: “So, if K&T are correct, then we could replace the sun with a sphere of energy circling the earth at the TOA and the temperature of the earth would remain unchanged. “
That’s a great thought experiment! Assuming that all other factors in the diagram remained the same, the nthe results would indeed be the same.
However, there are some significant “first order” differences (getting back to the language of the original post!) that would affect the diagram drastically. The surface and clouds are great absorbers of IR, so the albedo in this case would be very close to 0, rather than 0.3) — this would tend to make the surface even WARMER than now. However, the radiation going both directions would essentially be the same set of wavelengths, so the idea of “transparent to visible light” disappears. Since this is a key factor in the GHE, this would destroy most of the GHE — which would tend to make the surface COOLER.
Given two first order changes in opposite directions (and given that I can’t make a reliable “back-of-the-envelop” calculation to know which is bigger), it would be hard pressed to know if the planet would be warmer or cooler in this circumstance. The idea of a lapse rate suggests that the plant could and wold still be warmer at the surface than the ~ 255 K BB temperature of the posited uniform 255 K radiator.
Fred also suggests “According to wikipedia, a human male has about 2 square meter of skin. That is approximately 1 sq meter per side. So, if you lie outside naked at night in the dead of winter, you will be receiving (according to Willis’ chart above) 350 watts from the earth and 325 watts from the GHG, for a total of 675 watts. That is almost 1 HP of energy from the earth and sky radiating on the human body. “
But a 2 m^2 37 C person will be radiating ~ 525 W/m^2, or nearly 400 W more than they are receiving = ~ 100 cal/s = ~ 0.1 Cal/s. Rather than being “toasty warm” from the incoming radiation, you will be radiating away a net ~ 8000 Cal per day. Rather than this radiation keeping you warm and toasty without any problem, the actual net radiation would require massive food intake to keep from freezing!

ferd berple
October 7, 2011 6:17 pm

Tim Folkerts says:
October 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm
Fred suggests: “So, if K&T are correct, then we could replace the sun with a sphere of energy circling the earth at the TOA and the temperature of the earth would remain unchanged. “
That’s a great thought experiment! Assuming that all other factors in the diagram remained the same, the nthe results would indeed be the same.
Not they would not, because the sun radiates on average 342 w/m2, which equates to a black-body temperature of 279K, or 6 C. The 2nd law tells us that the temperature of the earth could not exceed 6 C if you can treat sunlight as a black body.
However, the earth is 15 C, and since there is no other heat source that could warm the earth beyond 6C, this “proof by contradiction” shows you cannot treat sunlight as equivalent to black-body.
Thus, the T&K energy budget cartoon above, which does treat sunlight as equivalent to black-body radiation is false, because it leads to a logical contradiction that violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics as demonstrated.

jae
October 7, 2011 8:04 pm

Please look to see if this is wrong, folks:
Say we have a planet way out in space with no atmosphere, no water, but a Sun. Kinda like the moon. Now, remember that we don’t have any GHE or atmosphere at all on this planet.
Now, say we ADD an atmosphere of pure NITROGEN to that planet which is equivalent in molecular composition (number of molecules) to one atmosphere on Earth. That means we would have about 14.7 psi “air” pressure at the surface. 100 pascals. 29 mm Hg.
The Ideal Gas Law says that the temperature of that planet would have to increase by 12 K:
PV = nRT;
T = PV/nR
R = 0.082 atm. L/mol.K
Hold V = 1 litre, constant amount of N2 (mol volume) and let P increase to one atmosphere.
We would thereby increase the Temp. by 1/0.082 = 12 K
So, the “GHE” has already been reduced from 33 C to 33-12 C = 21 C.
And this difference is easily explainable by considering the amount of heat storage by the oceans and the air.
No GHE required.

Spector
October 7, 2011 9:42 pm

One point to keep in mind is that the measure of power flow in watts per square meter or W/m² is a property of a surface in three-dimensional space. It may refer to the surface of a real object or a mathematically defined surface. A given value may be valid at only one point on that surface or it may be true for the whole surface. In the real world this value usually changes with position on the surface, just as temperature also changes with position.
If you were in a room having a constant, uniform temperature, you would see the same power level and thermal electromagnetic radiation level in W/m² coming from every surface you looked at. This fact was used in the Pierce Brosnan remake of the movie “The Thomas Crown Affair” to make people invisible to an IR monitor when a room was heated to human body temperature.
If you have two large walls facing each other, the power transfer per unit surface area from wall A to wall B will be the radiation level emitted by Wall A, W/m², minus the radiation level received from Wall B at the surface of Wall A, W/m². In other words, the power per unit area measured going out minus the power per unit area seen coming in at the surface of Wall A.
If you spend 300 dollars a day and earn 300 dollars a day, your bank account will remain stable. Usually, this is independent of the total cash outflow required by your boss to keep you employed.

Joel Shore
October 8, 2011 5:23 am

Willis Eschenbach says:

Joel, if you truly believe that RealClimate only censors “excessive repetition of debunked contrarian talking points”, then my respect for you just took a giant drop. That is nonsense, as even the briefest Google search will show.
RC censors a host of things because they are far too inconvenient. See my peer reviewed article here about their censorship of my reasonable, respectful, and completely scientific questions.

Willis,
I can’t say I know exactly how RC’s moderation policy works in practice because in general one doesn’t get to see the comments that do not appear. However, my point is:
(1) People like ferd perple are only humoring themselves if they think that their comments don’t appear because they are such brilliant challenges to AGW. We now have many examples in this very thread of ferd’s comments. Do you think they fall into the category of brilliant challenges to AGW or the category of nonsense and noise?
(2) Many challenging comments do get through their moderation.
This thread has actually become a “poster child” of what can happen when a thread is only lightly moderated. You posted something and some of us have raised serious objections to aspects of what you said. However, instead of the focus being on those, the comments section has been taken over by several people who are posting nonsense (and just a few people like ferd and I who are attempting to explain why the nonsense is nonsense). You yourself seem to have abandoned your own thread.

Joel Shore
October 8, 2011 5:51 am

jae says:

Please look to see if this is wrong, folks:

I honestly don’t know where to begin. If one of the students in my intro algebra-based physics class wrote that, I would say there is little hope that he could escape with higher than a D in the course. It is nonsense from start to finish. First of all, the temperature of an atmosphere that does not exist is not zero…It is undefined. Second of all, you can’t just assume values for all the other variables and determine T. If you assume values for all the other variables, then you have assumed the value of T. I could just as easily assume different values and get a different value of T.
pV = nRT does not uniquely constrain the temperature at the surface, just as the adiabatic lapse rate does not constrain the temperature at the surface. In the absence of IR-absorbing matter in the atmosphere, the temperature at the surface is constrained by energy conservation.
mkelly says:

This shows that K&T equate IR with sunshine. The two are not the equal in their ability to do work or heat my sun tea.

Energy conservation is a bedrock principle of physics. K&T are “equating” these, because they are both energies…and their diagram illustrates how energy moves around in the climate system as measured by various empirical means and in harmony with the principle of conservation of energy.
ferd perple says:

Not they would not, because the sun radiates on average 342 w/m2, which equates to a black-body temperature of 279K, or 6 C. The 2nd law tells us that the temperature of the earth could not exceed 6 C if you can treat sunlight as a black body.

Nonsense. If you treat sunlight as a blackbody, you find that the spectrum equates to a blackbody having a temperature of 5800 K. You can’t figure out the blackbody temperature of an object by looking at the amount of radiation impinging on a square meter somewhere far away from the object. The Stefan-Boltzmann Law only tells us what the rate of emission is from the surface itself.
On the other hand, given how much sunlight per square meter is absorbed by the earth system (including atmosphere), energy conservation tells us that the earth can only be emitting 240 W/m^2 back out into space (which corresponds to a blackbody at about -18 C). The fact that the earth’s surface emits ~390 W/m^2 (and is thus at a higher temperature of ~15 C) is something that is impossible to explain without invoking the fact that the atmosphere of the earth absorbs a lot of the terrestrial radiation. This is what we call “the atmospheric greenhouse effect”.

Joel Shore
October 8, 2011 5:53 am

Joel Shore said:

(and just a few people like ferd and I who are attempting to explain why the nonsense is nonsense)

Whoops…Major mistake…I meant “Tim Folkerts and I”, of course!

Joel Shore
October 8, 2011 5:58 am

jae says:

Tim: don’t you think it takes a certain amount of energy to maintain the atmosphere at an average of 15 C? All those molecules of air have to have some kinetic energy to make that “average thermometer” register 15 C, right? Don’t you think that means that the quadrillion, quadrillion, quadrillions of molecules in the atmosphere have to receive energy every day to maintain that temperature/molecular motion/ energy? Doesn’t that mean that those molecules are, at any given time, STORING ENERGY? Are they just passive radiation machines????

You seem to have a view that is akin to the old Aristotelian view that it takes a net force to keep an object moving at a constant speed. No, it does not take any net energy to maintain the thermal energy of the atmosphere. If the thermal energy remains constant (with no transfers of energy to other types), then the First Law of Thermodynamics says that the net energy flows into and out of the system are zero.
In practice, there will tend to be flows out (e.g., radiation), so there have to be flows in…But that doesn’t get you around obeying conservation of energy. It is simply another way of stating conservation of energy, which you appear to want to violate at will.

Phil.
October 8, 2011 1:20 pm

jae says:
October 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm
Please look to see if this is wrong, folks:

It is Jae, the temperature of the planet would be unchanged because N2 has no ability to absorb IR radiation, since you have fixed n/V then P will be a function of T.
P=nRT/V

Phil.
October 8, 2011 1:27 pm

Anything is possible says:
October 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm
What you are assuming, in effect, is that an Earth with an atmosphere comprised exclusively of nitrogen, oxygen and argon would have an identical surface temperature as an Earth with no atmosphere at all, and that doesn’t pass my “smell test”.

Yes he’s assuming that a planet with a transparent atmosphere would have the same temperature as one without an atmosphere which is correct, there is something wrong with your sense of smell.

Phil.
October 8, 2011 2:48 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
October 4, 2011 at 7:06 pm
The second is the temperature of the tropopause, which runs at about -40 to -50°C or so, or a corresponding blackbody temperature of somewhere around 150 W/m2.

But the atmosphere at the tropopause is not a blackbody and will therefore emit much less than 150 W/m2.

jae
October 8, 2011 6:10 pm

joel shore:
“I honestly don’t know where to begin. If one of the students in my intro algebra-based physics class wrote that, I would say there is little hope that he could escape with higher than a D in the course. It is nonsense from start to finish. First of all, the temperature of an atmosphere that does not exist is not zero…It is undefined. Second of all, you can’t just assume values for all the other variables and determine T. If you assume values for all the other variables, then you have assumed the value of T. I could just as easily assume different values and get a different value of T.”
If you don’t know where to begin, then maybe you don’t know what you are talking about. Again, (almost) pure rhetoric, with no supporting logic. Just a nasty slur.
Perhaps you have a closed mind? I doubt that you understand nearly as much as you think you do, and I think you are coming across as very arrogant, joel. A D in your “class” would not mean a thing to me.
It is a simple FACT that you cannot have an atmosphere (a gas pressurized by gravity) without the temperature automatically increasing over what it would be with no atmosphere, SIMPLY because there must be added ENERGY to keep all those molecules “afloat.” Not only kinetic energy, but also potential energy. That HAS to have a temperature component, since the temperature is simply a measure of the kinetic energy of the molecules. Try, for once, to compare the moon to Earth, without thinking about just the radiation component. Also please note that all planets with atmospheres have surface temperatures much higher than calculated from radiation.
I keep trying to find a better explanation for my ideas, and maybe someday I will. Your lame insults don’t help and just make you look arrogant and shallow, I think. I sure hope you are not that kind of tyrant in your classroom!!

Phil.
October 9, 2011 8:39 am

Jar, the nitrogen atmosphere you described would indeed have temperature, it would be the same as the surface was in the absence of the atmosphere with the appropriate lapse rate. Since you specified the density the pressure would depend on the temperature, not vv as I showed above.

Phil.
October 9, 2011 5:22 pm

Sorry Jae, I guess my fingers are too big for typing on the phone!

jae
October 9, 2011 6:14 pm

I may be all wrong, but I ask to be heard, and I appreciate the chance to be heard. But I really, really object to some amazingly arrogant know-it-all (evidently a junior educator of some kind) telling me, essentially, that if I don’t agree completely with him he would give me a D in his class! Tell me WHERE AND WHY I’M WRONG, NOT WHAT “GRADE” YOU WOULD GIVE ME IN YOUR “CLASS.”
Gawwwwd, he has to be one of the bossy liberals that are wrecking the world!

jae
October 9, 2011 7:28 pm

Phil:
“Jar, the nitrogen atmosphere you described would indeed have temperature, it would be the same as the surface was in the absence of the atmosphere with the appropriate lapse rate.”
And you MAY be correct (I readily admit to the possibility that I am wrong, but I insist on the right to be so), but I don’t think it’s so. I really think an atmosphere indicates the STORAGE of much more heat than a situation with no atmosphere, and therefore, a higher temperature, than a planet with no atmosphere. That there are morons that think only in terms of radiation, while ignoring simple heat storate, blows my mind. Don’t they think the oceans (a more dense atmosphere) are storing heat? Of course they do. But then they engage in cognitive dissonance and declare that “radiation rules!” in the atmosphere. Man, this is truly the 1984 LIB. GENERATION, where WAR is nothing but “Kinetic Military Action,” and Terrorism is “Man-Caused Disaster,” and the way to a better economy is to tax the hell out of everyone!
But I do appreciate your willingness to try to tell me what you think. Your response is much better than that from a previous poster who seems to assume that I am an idiot and will somehow be swayed/humiliated/ whatever by his supremely arrogant (“scientistific ?”) suggestion that I would get a “D” if I were a student in his obscure “algebra physics class,” where he evidently poses as some kind of “world-renowned physicist” and demands his “students” view him as a possessor of all the truth (or something, I don’t know too many details of this sagev, do you?). Actually, he sounds only like the typical liberal “educator, ” of which we have millions too many.
Whatever, you cannot “create” an atmosphere without adding a LOT of energy. AND that will be reflected in a temperature that is higher than would be without no atmosphere.
Just look at the data for other planets and moons with atmospheres.