Unified Climate Theory May Confuse Cause and Effect

Guest Post by Ira Glickstein

The Unified Theory of Climate post is exciting and could shake the world of Climate Science to its roots. I would love it if the conventional understanding of the Atmospheric “Greenhouse” Effect (GHE) presented by the Official Climate Team could be overturned, and that would be the case if the theory of Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller, both PhDs, turns out to be scientifically correct.

Sadly, it seems to me they have made some basic mistakes that, among other faults, confuse cause and effect. I appreciate that WUWT is open to new ideas, and I support the decision to publish this theory, along with both positive and negative comments by readers.

Correlation does not prove causation. For example, the more policemen directing traffic, the worse the jam is. Yes, when the police and tow trucks first respond to an accident they may slow the traffic down a bit until the disabled automobiles are removed. However, there is no doubt the original cause of the jam was the accident, and the reason police presence is generally proportional to the severity of the jam level is that more or fewer are ordered to respond. Thus, Accident >>CAUSES>> Traffic Jam >>CAUSES>> Police is the correct interpretation.

Al Gore made a similar error when, in his infamous movie An Inconvenient Truth, he made a big deal about the undoubted corrrelation in the Ice Core record between CO2 levels and Temperature without mentioning the equally apparent fact that Temperatures increase and decrease hundreds of years before CO2 levels follow suit.

While it is true that rising CO2 levels do have a positive feedback that contributes to slightly increased Temperatures, the primary direction of causation is Temperature >>CAUSES>> CO2. The proof is in the fact that, in each Glacial cycle, Temperatures begin their rapid decline precisely when CO2 levels are at their highest, and rapid Temperature increase is initiated exactly when CO2 levels are their lowest. Thus, Something Else >>CAUSES>> Temperature>>CAUSES>> CO2. Further proof may be had by placing an open can of carbonated beverage in the refigerator and another on the table, and noting that the “fizz” (CO2) outgasses more rapidly from the can at room temperature.

Moving on to Nikolov, the claim appears to be that the pressure of the Atmosphere is the main cause of temperature changes on Earth. The basic claim is PRESSURE >>CAUSES>>TEMPERATURE.

PV = nRT

Given a gas in a container, the above formula allows us to calculate the effect of changes to the following variables: Pressure (P), Volume (V), Temperature (T, in Kelvins), and Number of molecules (n). (R is a constant.)

The figure shows two cases involving a sealed, non-insulated container, with a Volume, V, of air:

(A) Store that container of air in the ambient cool Temperature Tr of a refrigerator. Then, increase the Number n of molecules in the container by pumping in more air. the Pressure (P) within the container will increase. Due to the work done to compress the air in the fixed volume container, the Temperature within the container will also increase from (Tr) to some higher value. But, please note, when we stop increasing n, both P and T in the container will stabilize. Then, as the container, warmed by the work we did compressing the air, radiates, conducts, and convects that heat to the cool interior of the refrigerator, the Temperature slowly decreases back to the original Tr.

(B) We take a similar container from the cool refrigerator at Temperature Tr and place it on a kitchen chair, where the ambient Temperature Tk is higher. The container is warmed by radiation, conduction and convection and the Temperature rises asymptotically towards Tk. The Pressure P rises slowly and stabilizes at some higher level. Please note the pressure remains high forever so long as the temperature remains elevated.

In case (A) Pressure >>CAUSES A TEMPORARY>> increase in Temperature.

In case (B) Temperature >>CAUSES A PERMANENT>> increase in Pressure.

I do not believe any reader will disagree with this highly simplified thought experiment. Of course, the Nikolov theory is far more complex, but, I believe it amounts to confusing the cause, namely radiation from the Sun and Downwelling Long-Wave Infrared (LW DWIR) from the so-called “Greenhouse” gases (GHG) in the Atmosphere with the effect, Atmospheric pressure.

Some Red Flags in the Unified Theory

1) According to Nikolov, our Atmosphere

“… boosts Earth’s surface temperature not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K!”

If, as Nikolov claims, the Atmosphere boosts the surface temperature by 133K, then, absent the Atmosphere the Earth would be 288K – 133K = 155K. This is contradicted by the fact that the Moon, which has no Atmosphere and is at the same distance from the Sun as our Earth, has an average temperature of about 250K. Yes, the albedo of the Moon is 0.12 and that of the Earth is 0.3, but that difference would make the Moon only about 8K cooler than an Atmosphere-free Earth, not 95K cooler! Impossible!

2) In the following quote from Nikolov, NTE is “Atmospheric Near-Surface Thermal Enhancement” and SPGB is a “Standard Planetary Gray Body”

NTE should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a SPGB. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating. [Emphasis added]

This, it seems to me, is an admission that the source of energy for their “Atmospheric Near-Surface Thermal Enhancement” process comes from the Sun, and, therefore, their “Enhancement” is as they admit, not “actual energy”. I would add the energy that would otherwise be lost to space (DW LWIR) to the energy from the Sun, eliminating any need for the “Thermal Enhancement” provided by Atmospheric pressure.

3) As we know when investigating financial misconduct, follow the money. Well, in Climate Science we follow the Energy. We know from actual measurements (see my Visualizing the “Greenhouse” Effect – Emission-Spectra) the radiative energy and spectra of Upwelling Long-Wave Infrared (UW LWIR), from the Surface to the so-called “greenhouse” gases (GHG) in the Atmosphere, and the Downwelling (DW LWIR) from those gases back to the Surface.

The only heed Nikolov seems to give to GHG and those measured radiative energies is that they are insufficient to raise the temperature of the Surface by 133K.

… our atmosphere boosts Earth’s surface temperature not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K! This raises the question: Can a handful of trace gases which amount to less than 0.5% of atmospheric mass trap enough radiant heat to cause such a huge thermal enhancement at the surface? Thermodynamics tells us that this not possible.

Of course not! Which is why the conventional explanation of the GHE is that the GHE raises the temperature by only about 33K (or perhaps a bit less -or more- but only a bit and definitely not 100K!).

4) Nikolov notes that, based on “interplanetary data in Table 1” (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Europe, Titan, Triton):

… we discovered that NTE was strongly related to total surface pressure through a nearly perfect regression fit…

Of course, one would expect planets and moons in our Solar system to have some similarities.

“… the atmosphere does not act as a ‘blanket’ reducing the surface infrared cooling to space as maintained by the current GH theory, but is in and of itself a source of extra energy through pressure. This makes the GH effect a thermodynamic phenomenon, not a radiative one as presently assumed!

I just cannot square this assertion with the clear measurements of UW and DW LWIR, and the fact that the wavelengths involved are exactly those of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other GHGs.

Equation (7) allows us to derive a simple yet robust formula for predicting a planet’s mean surface temperature as a function of only two variables – TOA solar irradiance and mean atmospheric surface pressure,…”

Yes, TOA solar irradiance would be expected to be important in predicting mean surface temperature, but mean atmospheric surface pressure, it seems to me, would more likely be a result than a cause of temperature. But, I could be wrong.

Conclusion

I, as much as anyone else here at WUWT, would love to see the Official Climate Team put in its proper place. I think climate (CO2) sensitivity is less than the IPCC 2ºC to 4.5ºC, and most likely below 1ºC. The Nikolov Unified Climate Theory goes in the direction of reducing climate sensitivity, apparently even making it negative, but, much as I would like to accept it, I remain unconvinced. Nevertheless, I congratulate Nikolov and Zeller for having the courage and tenacity to put this theory forward. Perhaps it will trigger some other alternative theory that will be more successful.

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

UPDATE: This thread is closed – see the newest one “A matter of some Gravity” where the discussion continues.

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December 29, 2011 9:44 pm

Ira says
The figure shows two cases involving a sealed, non-insulated container, with a Volume, V, of air:
(A) Store that container of air in the ambient cool Temperature Tr of a refrigerator. Then, increase the Number n of molecules in the container by pumping in more air. the Pressure (P) within the container will increase. Due to the work done to compress the air in the fixed volume container, the Temperature within the container will also increase from (Tr) to some higher value. But, please note, when we stop increasing n, both P and T in the container will stabilize. Then, as the container, warmed by the work we did compressing the air, radiates, conducts, and convects that heat to the cool interior of the refrigerator, the Temperature slowly decreases back to the original Tr.

Ira, the flaw of your analogy is that the atmosphere is not a sealed, closed system. “Packets” of air warmed at the surface rise, expand, and cool and then the process repeats as the “packets” descend, compress, and heat. This is a continuous, infinite process which can entirely account for the so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ on the basis of the adiabatic lapse rate alone.

OzWizard
December 29, 2011 9:55 pm

I’m glad Ira included “may” in his title. As it is, I believe Ira may be the one who is mistaken in his reading of this intriguing paper.
I read the paper to say that PRESSURE >> “Near-surface Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE) defined as a non-dimensional ratio (NTE)”.
This non-dimensional ratio is NOT Temperature, NOR is it Energy. It seems to be a ‘state variable’ or a ‘condition’ which allows calculation of the effect of incoming radiance in heating whatever atmosphere is present.
The authors state this ratio is:

“the non-dimensional ratio of planet actual mean surface air temperature (Ts, K) to the average temperature of a Standard Planetary Gray Body (SPGB) with no atmosphere (Tgb, K) receiving the same solar irradiance, i.e. NTE = Ts /Tgb”

. [My bold added.]
This is a theoretical constant for a given body, under given conditions. It allows them to calculate what the “actual mean surface air temperature” will be based on its Grey Body property and the incoming radiance.
I can’t wait for the 4 papers behind this ‘poster’ edition of the new UTC.

December 29, 2011 10:02 pm

I strongly suspect your are both correct and both miss the mark at the same time. Both are dealing with or using, admittedly, highly oversimplified models. Models that were developed and designed for static or tending toward equilibrium conditions. Make no mistake the gas laws and everything else are just models. The atmospheric density and therefore pressure plus kinetic energy is real, the IR movement in and out is real. The atmosphere is a huge fluid system. Our understanding of fluid dynamics is another one of those closed system models that work very well, only when in that constraint. I think this discussion is valuable and important if for no other reasons then it illustrates or reminds us that we know far less then any of of think we do.

FergalR
December 29, 2011 10:13 pm

I’ve thought a lot about this and it still makes my brain hurt: Jupiter gives out more energy than it receives from the Sun – surely gravity is the source of this energy?
A couple of things:
Almost 100W/m^2 is removed from earth’s surface by convection and evaporation – which obviously don’t happen on the moon. Could that explain much of the difference?
Denis Rancourt calculates from first principles that the GHE is 60K – not 33K. He lays it out here:
http://climateguy.blogspot.com/2011/12/most-downloaded-free-access-scientific.html

December 29, 2011 10:16 pm

The core assertion is that the mass of the atmosphere varies, and this results in temperature change. Add 1 bar of CO2 to the atmosphere, or 1 bar of N2, and the results therefore should be the same. According to C. Jinan’s theory, however, the CO2-rich version would be cooler, as it radiates into space more readily. What say you?

Allan MacRae
December 29, 2011 10:23 pm

Good stuff Ira. You do realize, however, that you views are climate heresy and you will be condemned. I keep saying that CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales, and I keep finding burning crosses on my front lawn.
In 2002 I co-authored this article at the request of my professional association, with Sallie Baliunas and Tim Patterson:
http://www.apegga.com/members/Publications/peggs/Web11_02/kyoto_pt.htm
Our article takes a strong position on one side of the current mainstream debate on the impact of humanmade global warming.
This rancorous global warming debate has now lasted more than a decade.
During this time, our society has squandered a trillion dollars on wasteful “energy nonsense” such as wind power and corn ethanol.
I expect that we’ll experience some global cooling in the near future that will help focus the scientific debate, but some parties are already saying that increasing humanmade CO2 is causing global cooling – apparently as well as global warming – quelle surprise!
I further expect that when natural global cooling does arrive, we’ll see a flattening or even a decline in year-to-year atmospheric CO2. I believe that atmospheric CO2 lags temperature rather than leads it, although there could be a significant human component (or not). The only relationship I could find in the (average) temperature-CO2 data was that dCO2/dt varied with atmospheric temperature, and the integral CO2 lagged temperature by about 9 months. I wrote, perhaps too conclusively, about this observation in early 2008:
http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf
My observation may be entirely true, but is high-risk, as it is outside the mainstream of the current climate debate, which focuses on the sensitivity of the climate system (aka global temperature) to increasing (humanmade) atmospheric CO2. In my opinion, this mainstream argument would require that CO2 LEADS temperature rather than LAGS it in time. The mainstream says that my observation is correct, but is really a “feedback mechanism” – I think this is essentially a religious argument that is also contrary to Occam’s Razor.
Fun science, but the odious politics is no fun at all.
Happy New Year to all!
Regards, Allan

Paul Westhaver
December 29, 2011 10:27 pm

Terrific Article.
Well well well It seems that the pseudo scientists at the IPCC are being schooled in the concept of cause and effect. At Last.
To demonstrate this I suggest a beer study.
Take 2 bottles of beer. Place one in a cold fridge and leave the other on the counter for an hour or 2.
Open the cold one. Notice it fizzes just a little bit. Only a little of the 2.75 vol/vol of CO2 comes off.
Open the warm one. Notice that it boils over onto your counter evolving much of the CO2 that used to be in solution.
(now drink both beers, waste is a tragedy)
As ocean temperatures increase, the solubility of CO2 decreases increasing the atmospheric concentration because the CO2 is coming out of the ocean. Warming causes CO2 rise. Not the other way around.
Because the so-called AGW scientists are busy out there perverting the discipline of science, we need more Ira Glicksteins to re-teach the ideal gas law (Boyle’s law), and the laws of partial pressures Dalton’s Law and Henry’s Law.
Don’t assume the advocates of AGW understand any of what Ira wrote. They are anti-science and militant social activists.

Bill H
December 29, 2011 10:34 pm

its the assumptions that make or break the issue..
if constant heat is applied to a pressurized gas the temp will remain constant… The earth however has convection… thus the heat from the sun never remains constant. the pressures are what drive the climate and the sun is what drives the pressure to change through convection.
i would agree that the trace gasses are a moot issue. they simply do not have the mass to drive that change. but the sun and water do…
Physics.. is a double edged sword…

PaulR
December 29, 2011 10:42 pm

I endorse this post and deprecate the referenced post.

stumpy
December 29, 2011 10:49 pm

I suspect the correct answer is somewhere in between, the mass of the atmosphere in itself set atmospheric pressure which adds some level of warming over planet with no atmosphere, but the GHG’s work within this framework to further raise the temperature. Also often neglected is the changing thermal emissitivty of the earth and oceans across the sun lit area of the earth, one part of the the circle is always cool from the night and absorbing energy until it reaches equilibrium (if it ever can) so it is not emitting the same amount of energy over all areas at the same rate and the calculated average is wrong as it assumes everything is in equilibrium – this is often overlooked and acts to attenuate the warmth reducing the actual peak versus that calculated which ignores this effect and leads to wrong conclusions as observed and theoretical “fit”. Its the reason is normally coolest at 5am and not around midnight and why the latter part of summer is normally warmer than the summer equinox.

R. Gates
December 29, 2011 11:04 pm

Some excellent points, and I think that this “Unified Climate Theory”, will be fairly quickly placed into the “hmmm…interesting” dustbin of quirky science sidebars. Your desire to see the so-called “Official Climate Team” put into its proper place belies the undercurrcent of thought shared of course by many skeptics, but I fear such desires shall go unfulfilled. Greenhouse gases warm the planet above a level it would otherwise be without them. The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, and the key area of uncertainty here is the full nature of feedbacks, slow and fast, and more specifically the role of clouds.

RoHa
December 29, 2011 11:10 pm

eeerr….we’re doomed?

BargHumer
December 29, 2011 11:10 pm

Yes, some good thoughts y Ira. I guess many readers mul over the basic ideas and have questions that need answers, and also comments that can be good or just red herrings. I n the “temporary” heat increase due to pressure, I wonder why Venus doesn’t seem to demonstrate the point and it’s high temperature never seems to dissipate.

gbaikie
December 29, 2011 11:22 pm

With gas, temperature is pressure.
The KE of the gas is pressure.
A molecule of gas traveling at 1/2 the speed of light has
no temperature or pressure.
Molecules of gas remaining in an area or molecules
of gas interacting and traveling relative to each other
at 1/2 the speed of light do have temperature and
pressure.
A gravity body has potential of keeping molecules
of gas in the same area and having them travel
at maximum speed related to the amount gravity
of that body.
If Earth had half the gravity that is has then earth’s
average surface temperature would lower.
And/or if Earth had 1/2 it’s atmospheric mass
it would be cooler.
Earth with it’s existing gravity could have more atmosphere
than it does [if it did it would be warmer]. Earth could also
have less atmosphere [if it did it would be cooler {it being
the air temperature at the surface measured in little white boxes].
So if Earth had 1/2 it’s atmosphere, the average air temperature
at it’s surface would cooler. But the ground would get more energy
per square meter than it currently does.
On the Moon and if you direct your solar panel at the sun, you
would receive solar constant flux for however long you pointed
the panel at the sun.
Compare to a 12 hour period on earth with solar panel pointing
at the sun. So with earth it’s clear day, and one has summer sun-
Sun directly over head at noon. On the earth you will receive
less half the solar energy as compare 12 hours of daylight every
where on the Moon. Moon receives 12 hours times 1361 watt,
whereas earth receives average of about 1000 watts times 6 hours
and maybe 500 watts for morning and evening hours- giving a total
of about 9 kW per square. Moon 12 hours: 16 kW per square meter.
So if Earth had 1/2 it’s current atmospheric mass it would get closer
to what the moon receives per square meter of solar flux. Earth would
closer to 1361 watts per meter and more the sunlight would be closer
to noon time intensity.
But despite this the air temperature on average would be cooler, because
the air pressure would be lower. There is half the number of molecules
per cubic meter. You could have slighter higher molecule velocity but the
total energy per cubic meter would be lower. Higher daytime sidewalk
temperature and lower air temperature.

johnpb
December 29, 2011 11:25 pm

Whatever the eventual merits of the Unified Theory proposed are shown to be, the figures A and B above are less than convincing criticism. Contrasting an uninsulated but leak proof container in the two senarios is bogus. it is obvious that had both been perfectly insulated as well as leak proof, the results would have been identical.

Fraizer
December 29, 2011 11:32 pm

One small quibble:
Your scenarios A and B are not really comparable.
Scenario A is really delta n >> Causes Pressure >> Causes Temperature. The temperature would indeed remain elevated if the system were adiabatic. The overall energy of the system is increased by adding molecules.
Scenario B is just a demonstration of the ideal gas law.
Regards,
F

David
December 29, 2011 11:46 pm

Humm?, you folk are way above my pay grade. Some questions and assertions. Our atmosphere has no container, like in the “B” experiment. It is the volume of matter compressed by gravity that appears to create the medium which responds to insolation. Therefore the more masss in the atmosphere, the denser the reactive volume of matter is. (Like fuel and oyegen in a car cylinder, but contained only by gravity)
A car that revs it engine increases its heat, true that, however it also increases its water and air cooling flow. Can the earth’s heat engine do the same thing? Sure some of the energy goes to heat, but some goes to a more rapid cooling through convection and evaporation, an acceleration of the hydrologic cycle. (A negative feedback if you will)

Frank White
December 29, 2011 11:50 pm

The point of your post is well made. I too found places where I felt the “unified theory” has holes, but skipped over them because the holes do not seem to be fatal and might be resolved by improved presentation.This was after all a poster presentation rather than a fully-developed exposition. One example, the statement of the theory mentions that the atmosphere has little heat capacity, which is true of dry air. However water vapor is one gas in the atmosphere that stores considerable energy as latent heat that is released on condensation. This be a presentation problem because the authors do consider clouds, which are condensed water vapor.
Your comments have two problematic aspects:
1) They do not address cooling since the Eocene, which the model does account for.
2) Your models A and B are completely open systems that are not reasonable analogies for planetary systems, in the sense that planetary atmospheres are subject to gravity which tends to enclose the systems with some degassing into space.
A model like this might consider drawing inspiration from a different analogy: planetary atmospheres as heat engines that vary in efficiency depending on the pressure gradients within the systems and the temperature differentials at the front and back ends of the engines. Such engines radiate heat from engine bodies and also move heat between front end and back ends. Power input to run the systems tends to heat the systems but heat losses to the environment tend to maintain temperatures constant.

Cherry Pick
December 29, 2011 11:51 pm

Climate is a system which has multiple positive and negative feedbacks with time lags. It is quite hard to separate causes and effects because causation might go to both directions like warming > moisture > clouds > cooling. Instead of simplified cause and effects we should have systems thinking. There are multiple simultaneous equations that work seamlessly together.
In physics we love simplicity and ignore minors factors and still get great theories to describe Nature. It would be great if we can explain the observations of the climate in our solar system by thermodynamics alone.

December 29, 2011 11:52 pm

Ira,
You say: ‘The figure shows two cases involving a sealed, non-insulated container’.
The atmosphere is not constrained in the manner that you suggest. The suggestion that density will increase in response to an increase in temperature is erroneous. In the case of a planetary body with an atmosphere that acquires more kinetic energy the density close to the surface will fall while the surface pressure remains unchanged.
If you double the number of molecules in the atmospheric column (by adding atmosphere) the surface pressure doubles, the energy from the sun that arrives on a daily basis will produce an increase in the temperature of the atmospheric medium close to the planetary surface in direct proportion to its density (via conduction and radiation). Reduce its density to non significant values and the medium can not conduct or accept radiation.So, its temperature will fall.
From the point of view of an object located within the atmospheric medium the chance of acquiring energy from the atmospheric medium is related quite simply to the density of the gaseous medium and its ability to conduct energy.

Theo Goodwin
December 29, 2011 11:59 pm

The word ‘energy’ is ambiguous. Your analysis turns on such an ambiguity. You quote Nikolov:
“NTE should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a SPGB. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating. [Emphasis added]”
Nikolov is trying to take account of the ambiguity but he does so clumsily. In comparing NTE with the energy from the Sun, he is careful to say that the former is not an actual energy while the latter is actual energy. This is correct, as I will explain.
In the Earth-Sun system of radiation balance, no energy is created on Earth. All energy comes from the Sun. This presents a problem. What is one to say when talking about energy that is created on Earth? But we do that all the time. We say that windmills create electrical energy and we know perfectly well what we mean. And we know that we are not talking about the Earth-Sun system of radiation balance. If we want to be technical we can present the equations (physical hypotheses) that explain how windmills create energy. Now our problem of ambiguity is solved. We can subscript our words and explain that ‘energy1’ takes its meaning from the physical hypotheses that explain the Earth-Sun system of radiative energy and that ‘energy2’ takes its meaning from the physical hypotheses which explain generation of electricity. Nikolov needs to do the same.
Nikolov should specify the physical hypotheses, in this case simple equations based on the Ideal Gas Law, and explain that when he claims that energy is created from atmospheric pressure he is referring to these physical hypotheses. Unfortunately, Nikolov’s set of physical hypotheses might not pan out as he had hoped, as Dr. Glickstein explained above. But someday someone just might come up with a set of physical hypotheses which explain how energy is created within Earth’s atmosphere and apart from any consideration having to do with the Earth-Sun system of radiative balance. When that happens, we must not make the error of citing the Earth-Sun system and criticizing them for misunderstanding the concept of energy.
Warmists insist that energy cannot be created on Earth. Anyone who says otherwise is criticized as misunderstanding physics. This authoritarian insistence on definitions, if taken seriously, rules out the possibility of any system of physical hypotheses which explain creation of energy in Earth’s atmosphere. Of course it also rules out creation of electrical energy on Earth, but they would be unwilling to discuss that matter.
The lesson here is that when someone asserts that energy is created in Earth’s atmosphere, and apologizes by calling it ‘energy2’, we should not be like the Warmists and jump down his throat. Instead, we should encourage him to explicate his set of physical hypotheses and ask if we find the meaning of “create energy” in those physical hypotheses. The physical hypotheses that make up a science are always the ultimate source of the meaning of terms in that science. The terms are never the source of meaning because terms are subject to ambiguity.

Hoser
December 30, 2011 12:04 am

Sorry Ira, you are still confusing people. How is a pressure change temporary, but a temperature change permanent? Doesn’t it depend on how you define the system? In other words, is the system insulated against temperature flow or not? Or, can the volume increase and allow the pressure to fall after a temperature rise? There are three variables, assuming the mass is constant, in PV=nRT. Consequently, two variables can respond to a change in one.
The part I find intriguing is the apparent correlation of temperature, pressure, insolation and so on, of different solar system bodies with and without atmosphere. The post above doesn’t address these observations in any detail. In the UCT, convection was named as the prime driver of heat flow, not radiation. We know weather is a dynamic interplay of P, V and T. There is a lot of heat capacity in the ocean, and lucky we are for that. Given how quickly the surface cools on a clear night, I’m not convinced a change in IR absorption due to a rise in atmospheric CO2 has made any difference at all. My cars still get just as frosty radiating to clear fall and winter night skies as they did 30+ years ago.
Let’s not forget the dynamics of our system. Rising moist air cools and produces clouds. Rain falls and cools the surface. Wind blows and drives masses of air of different temperatures around the planet. The sunlit side of Earth warms and the night side cools. Too many of us believe we live in a static world. It is easier to think that way. It just isn’t how living systems work, or more generally, how systems work where energy flows.
I hate to say it, but modeling might help. A first approximation is the rate of heating in the day versus the rate of cooling at night. Or, with somewhat more complexity, energy is absorbed at the surface, and its temperature rises. Subsequently, the atmosphere heats either by contact with the surface or by water vapor leaving the surface (cooling the surface, but heating the air). The dynamically balanced rates of heating and cooling between day and night lead us to think of an average temperature, but the temperature is constantly changing, as are P and V, locally. Day and night, energy from the Earth radiates to space. NZ suggest changes in IR absorption and reradiation may be a virtually insignificant component in the energy flow of our system.
The part not discussed is gravity. That force sets up the pressure gradient. Until the temperature falls sufficiently to liquefy N2 and O2, insolation, surface area, atmospheric mass, and gravity may very well establish a sort of equilibrium described by the observed curve. Other changes perturb the system like moving weights connected by springs. A centroid of motion would exist, considered the average. Changes in P, V and T deviating from the average could be called weather. If the weight masses change or the spring constants change, or the driving force changes, perhaps call that climate change. The UCT addressed the latter by suggesting atmospheric mass changes over millions of years led to sea level pressure and temperature changes.
Yes, we all need to think about these ideas further, but it seems NZ are on the right track.

jorgekafkazar
December 30, 2011 12:15 am

FergalR says: “I’ve thought a lot about this and it still makes my brain hurt: Jupiter gives out more energy than it receives from the Sun – surely gravity is the source of this energy?”
My astronomy professor said it was likely radioactivity, Fergal. There was a school of thought that Jupiter was approaching the limit of planetary mass. It hasn’t gone stellar on us yet, 2001 A Space Odyssey, notwithstanding.

December 30, 2011 12:29 am

Theo Goodwin says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Theo, your intent is laudable, but I think you get hoist on your own petard. The ‘energy2’ of which you speak is transformation from one form to another, not creation. So would be any possible future on-Earth energy source, even nuclear or fission, etc.
As for atmospheric temperature changes, I think a fair simplification per N&Z’s POV would be that whatever energy is present in a given mass of air can be concentrated (pressure and density) or diluted (expansion, rarification), resulting in temperature variations locally or globally. But the ‘master forcing variable’ is atmosphere mass.

December 30, 2011 12:30 am

typo: “nuclear (fission) or fusion”

December 30, 2011 12:33 am

other typo: rarefication (rarefaction)

gbaikie
December 30, 2011 12:55 am

“Nevertheless, I congratulate Nikolov and Zeller for having the courage and tenacity to put this theory forward. Perhaps it will trigger some other alternative theory that will be more successful.”
What theory is needed and for what?
I believe it would nice and useful if we had a theory allowing us to predict habitable zones
for any star system. I think if Nikolov, Zeller, or anyone else wants to apply their theory, I would like their input on modeling at atmosphere of dwarf planet starship:
http://w11.zetaboards.com/Sky_dragon/index/
For purpose of climate policy it seems to me we enough knowledge.
We currently in a warm period. This warm period wasn’t caused by
human activity. The amount of warming caused by humans is insignificant
globally. Human activity does cause a significant amount warming
on local or regional basis. This is loosely called Urban Heat Island affect.
Human could not cause significant global warming or cooling, if they
were trying to do this. We lack the technology and wealth to cause
global warming or cooling by say 10 C. And probably unable to change
global temperature by a mere 1 C.
Due to our apparent incompetence we see ourselves in an automobile
as passenger traveling down a road-having no able to control the car,
and this causes backseat driverism.
If we can drive this car, we would not be panicking.
Fortunately, we don’t actually need to control global temperatures, but
if we did need to do this, we wouldn’t hire the current crop clowns attempting
to do this by amateur hour soapboxing.
To summarize the human species has been existing in ice age period lasting
million of years. Some theories suggest that this cold period “explains” how we
evolved as humans. But few deny we have been in this colder period for
millions of years, or that during this period there been shorter periods of
warming and cooling, which called glacial and interglacial periods.
A significant aspect involved with this cold period and it’s cyclical cooling
and warming is explainable due to the location of land masses. The slow
movement of plate tectonic relates to the millions of years of colder climate.
The short cycles are related to orbital variation- specifically earth’s axis
procession. Those affects due to plate tectonic and procession are not
wild ideas, rather they are accepted. The amount or scale of these affects
can be quibbled about, but there general dominates is undeniable scientific
facts. And one has to start with these as one’s starting point.
A very relevant fact in regard to 20th and 21st century climate is we recovering
from cool period which was probably caused by the Sun’s activity, period
is called the Little Ice Age. The LIA is clearly marked by advancement and retreat
of glaciers around the world. And generally the present global temperatures
indicate we have or nearly have recovered globally from this period of cooler
temperatures.

Bruce Cunningham
December 30, 2011 12:57 am

As a few others have stated, your analogy with a planetary system is not valid for the ideal gas law. The atmospheres of Earth and Venus are not contained in a fixed volume container. They are open to space. If you raise the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, it merely expands upward into space. The pressure will not go up as it would in a container. This is borne out in the fact that the atmosphere is far taller at the equator than at the poles, due to the increased temperature there, even though the surface pressures are the same. Some mountain climbers know this as there is far less oxygen at 20,000 feet at the top of Mt. McKinley than at 20,000 feet in the Himalayas or Andes nearer the equator..McKinley is a tough climb. Much tougher than a climb to 20,320 feet in the Himalayas.

Stephen Wilde
December 30, 2011 1:03 am

I think that Ira has misunderstood. The cause of the heating at the surface is gravity constraining molecular kinetic energy most strongly at the bottom of the atmospheric column by creating pressure. Work is done and heat generated due to the kinetic energy fighting to overcome the gravitational and pressure constraint.
Pressure is a consequence of gravity acting on the mass of molecules and at a specific temperature the kinetic energy manages to defeat the pressure constraint and escape to space.
Adding GHGs inroduces more kinetic energy by virtue of their higher thermal capacity but if the pressure remains the same that extra kinetic energy just escapes to space faster and temperature (or rather the energy content of the mass of molecules) fails to increase.
To put that in a more general context:
i) AGW theory states that the greenhouse effect is caused by gases in the air with a high thermal capacity warming the surface by radiating energy downwards.
ii) The Nikolov paper describes the greenhouse effect in the way I have always understood it i.e. ALL the molecules near the surface (of whatever thermal capacity) jostle more tightly together under the influence of gravity (and the pressure that it induces) and share kinetic activity (provoked initially by solar irradiation but actually being a consequence of all energy transfer mechanisms combined) amongst one another until that kinetic energy can escape to space by radiative means albeit slightly delayed by all the jostling about.The delay results in a temperature rise because more energy is packed into a smaller space by the effects of gravity and the consequent pressure.
The beauty of ii) is that it decouples the greenhouse effect from the matter of composition leaving atmospheric density as the controlling factor at any given level of solar irradiation. It is the matter of composition that so distresses AGW proponents but in fact it is irrelevant. ALL molecules at or near the surface are involved whether they be GHGs or not.
There has been some confusion caused by Harry Huffman, Claes Johnson and others by virtue of their contention that there is no greenhouse effect when actually they mean that i) above is untrue whilst they accept ii) to be true (I think).
So there is a greenhouse effect but it is not significantly affected by GHGs. In so far as GHGs do have an effect it is negated by faster removal of energy to space by various means (especially evaporation on a water planet) because pressure places a limit on the amount of kinetic energy that can be retained by gases at the surface and as soon as that limit is reached the excess energy immediately leaves the system by whatever means is most readily available.
.

Roger Knights
December 30, 2011 1:10 am

However all this shakes out, we’re not dealing with “simple physics.” What an absurdity.

TBear
December 30, 2011 1:11 am

Sorry, but the suggested logic: Accident >>CAUSES>> Traffic Jam >>CAUSES>> Police is the correct interpretation, is manifestly inadequate.
Accident >> causes >> traffic Jam A, which traffic jam has theoretical life cycle of its own.
Accident >> causes >> taffic jam A, Plus Police >> causes >> traffic jam B, which traffic jam has a unique life cycle all of its own and which may be radically different (the police certainly hope so!) than traffic jam A.
Love the WUWT blog, but have to rush off for a cold beer, as it has finally warmed a little in Sydney!!
Oh, Happy New Year everyone,
The Bear

Mark.r
December 30, 2011 1:14 am

I thought warm air was lighter than cold so how dose wamer air have a higher pressure cold.
As air warms it get ligher or have i got it wrong?.

Philip Mulholland
December 30, 2011 1:24 am

Ira
You say:

In case (A) Pressure >>CAUSES A TEMPORARY>> increase in Temperature.
In case (B) Temperature >>CAUSES A PERMANENT>> increase in Pressure

I say:
In case (A) a PERMANENT increase in Pressure >>CAUSES A TEMPORARY>> increase in Temperature.
In case (B) a PERMANENT increase in Temperature >>CAUSES A PERMANENT>> increase in Pressure
Amounts to the same thing? Well of course, but what my statements emphasise is that in a gravitationally bound planetary atmosphere there is a balancing relationship between potential energy and kinetic energy. Note that potential energy (mgh) makes no mention of particle velocity (temperature) whereas kinetic energy (1/2mv^2) makes no mention of particle position.
Gravitationally bound planetary atmospheres store energy because the lower layers are compressed by the weight of the atmospheric mass bearing down on them from above.

Athelstan
December 30, 2011 1:36 am

Oh the gates are open, feedbacks, er no, clouds,water vapour – good, next you’ll be on about ‘hotspots’.

Mark.r
December 30, 2011 1:44 am

The Poles have higher airpressure than the equator.

December 30, 2011 1:48 am

Sorry, Ira, but you have constructed a straw man refutation of the Nikolov & Zeller paper by erroneously comparing a planetary atmosphere to a bounded container when it is patently not…
“…It (our atmosphere) is fully contained only at the bottom. At the top, it is partially contained by the ionosphere and then the magnetosphere. And to the sides it is partially contained by the nature of the shell.
The gas cannot escape to the side, that is, but it can more easily be deflected to the side, since only other gas is resisting it. There are no walls to the side. Unless the gas is very dense, sideways freedom is nearly infinite (as a gravitational curve). Since the atmosphere is not very dense, we may imagine that the gas is nearly unconstrained “to the side,” this “side” being a full 360 degrees no matter where in the gas you are. In this way, the atmosphere is freer to move to the side than up and down. One obvious side-effect of this is winds, which more often move laterally than up and down…”
If you want a better understanding of how atmosphere works, have a look here…
http://milesmathis.com/atmo.html

Phil
December 30, 2011 1:49 am

The most important point about the Unified Climate Theory is that it exposes an assumption in CAGW theory that may not be true: that the mass of the atmosphere is or has been constant over geologic time. The logical source of gases that would increase the mass of the atmosphere is volcanism. About 60 to 65 million years ago, there was apparently a great deal of volcanic activity, as evidenced by the Deccan Traps. If you refer to Figure 8 in the Unified Climate Theory post, the increased volcanism evidenced by the Deccan Traps appears to have happened in the period before global temperatures increased. Whether the volcanic emissions then were sufficiently large to materially increase Earth’s total atmospheric mass is a good question. Just food for thought. Also important is the loss of atmosphere in geologic time proposed in the UCT as influencing cooling in the recent geologic past. However, loss of atmosphere would probably not be relevant at century scales of time.

John Marshall
December 30, 2011 2:01 am

This ‘new’ theory, in reality a rewrite of old theories forgotten in the route to political correct policies by governments and the scientists in their pockets. It is good to see that courage to reveal what is actually happening has overcome the norm of following everyone else down the road of lies.
There is so many research papers available pointing the way for this excellent paper to be published. Let us hope that the correct people actually read and understand it to make a difference and change all the policies riding on the back of the GHG lies.

Editor
December 30, 2011 2:21 am

Man, this kind of nonsense makes my head ache. When I read things like …

Atmospheric Near-Surface Thermal Enhancement should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a Standard Planetary Gray Body. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

I defy anyone to tell me what that means. It’s not energy, just a “relative enhancement” but it “manifests itself as an actual energy in the presence of external heating”.
Say what? Do people just swallow that content-free doubletalk in one big gulp, or is it easier to keep from gagging if you down it a word at a time?
I was quite depressed to see the Nikolov claims published on WUWT, but I didn’t comment on that thread. Like I said, it makes my head hurt to read this kind of handwaving. Very bad science, no cookies.
Thanks, Ira,
w.

Mike McMillan
December 30, 2011 2:25 am

You’ve missed the point of the Nikolov and Zeller presentation.
The energy coming into a planetary atmospheric system is a combination of solar proximity and albedo, and is equal to the outgoing. What we and they are concerned with is not the transport of that energy, but the distribution of it within the atmosphere, as thermal energy at the surface, converting to potential energy as we go higher in the atmosphere. Thermometers measure the distribution, not the movement.
Nikolov and Zeller doesn’t have anything to do with “increased pressure” or “increased temperature” shown in your illustration and experiment. We aren’t increasing anything. Atmospheric temperatures and pressures are stable, arranged according to the lapse rate, or when upset, attempt to return to the lapse rate schedule.
Nikolov and Zeller have shown that an uncomplicated formula based on surface pressure and adiabatic lapse rates accurately predicts observed temperatures on four planets. Greenhouse gases aren’t needed.
To really raise temperatures, then, you would need not ghg’s, but either an increase in solar input, or a change in the lapse rate, which is determined by planetary gravity and atmospheric specific heat. Gravity isn’t changing on earth, and it would take much more CO2 than even Dr Hansen is contemplating to change the air’s specific heat to the point where it would make any difference in the lapse rate.
——————–
PV = nRT doesn’t work well with atmospheres because the gradual fade to vacuum at the top makes it impossible to define the volume, and the equation doesn’t take gravity into account. Even in a closed container, the gas pressure at the bottom of the container is higher that at the top due to the weight of the gas.

December 30, 2011 2:25 am

Ira Glickstein,
I read the “UCT” by Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller in terms of a scientific paper explaining long term climatic events not as an explanation of any sort of correlations. As temperature is of consequence incurred between the processes of pressure interactions not as cause or effect, remove the result from the process and the process will still be there, I’m not saying your interpretation is wrong, I understand what your explaining and I agree, just that any measurement (such as temperature) of an on going process does not explain the process, I’d like to see less use of “temperature” in scientific papers as a cause or effect or as part of a conclusion because it is after all just a temporary aperture from the start and end point of measurement, also temperature measurements could be then used as an indicator, but only once a process is understood, but I still believe temperature can not be used an indicator for trends in long term climatic changes as it would be like trying to count all the hairs on a persons head by plucking a random amount at a time, counting them and trending the amount of hairs.
I’m a bit rushed this morning, very interesting, lots of ideas and counter debate that I could read for hours.

Mydogsgotnonose
December 30, 2011 2:27 am

I wrote yesterday that this paper re-invents lapse rate heating.
3/10 for effort.

AusieDan
December 30, 2011 3:20 am

Dr. Glickstein – you state that the average temperature of the moon is 250 degrees absolute.
Dr. Nikolov and Dr. Zeller – you state that it is 150 degrees absolute.
Which is correct?

Edward Bancroft
December 30, 2011 3:25 am

Fraizer says:
“Your scenarios A and B are not really comparable.
Scenario A is really delta n >> Causes Pressure >> Causes Temperature. The temperature would indeed remain elevated if the system were adiabatic. The overall energy of the system is increased by adding molecules.
Scenario B is just a demonstration of the ideal gas law.”

There is also another issue with the scenario A, in the way that you increase the pressure of the container. The pressure source will be at a higher pressure than the container and if it is at the same temperature as the container gas, it will lose temperature on expansion into the container. The net result is a container with higher pressure, but lower temperature.
For the sake of your argument, it would be better if scenario A increases its pressure and temperature by reducing the volume, for example a piston in a cylinder. It would also have the advantage of also keeping ‘n’ the same for scenarios A and B.

Stephen Wilde
December 30, 2011 3:32 am

I am puzzled by the debate here about ‘creation’ of energy within the Earth system.
Surely it is obvious that when solar irradiation reacts with matter constrained within the Earth’s gravitational field there will be a conversion of some of that solar irradiation to kinetic energy (vibrational movement of the molecules) and some of that energy to heat.?
The proportions are pressure dependent.
In the absence of gravitationally induced pressure ALL the solar irradiance would get converted to kinetic energy instantly and the molecules would fly off into space.
The higher the gravitationally induced pressure the more kinetic energy is required to break the gravitational bond between the body of the Earth and the molecules of gas.Thus one observes more heat as evidenced by a higher temperature.
At Earth’s atmospheric pressure of 1 bar some goes to kinetic energy and some to heat and it is that atmospheric pressure which determines the proportions. That isn’t ‘creation’ of heat or of ‘new’ energy. It is simply an apportionment of the solar irradiation into different forms dependent on the prevailing level of gravitationally induced pressure.
That is the true greenhouse effect as I have always understood it and it is therefore pressure dependent and not composition dependent.
If the gas molecules have a higher thermal capacity then those specific molecules will accrue more kinetic energy than others and add disproportionately to the pool of kinetic energy that is available to defeat the gravitationally induced pressure which is restraining their exit to space.
However if pressure does not change then the only outcome will be more radiation to space and NOT a rise in system energy content.That increased radiation to space is achieved by energising ALL the available means of energy transfer namely conduction, convection, radiation and on a water planet the phase changes of water which greatly accelerates the efficiency of the other energy transfer mechanisms.
As Nikolov says, the effects of GHGs are thus cancelled out.
One does however observe that faster outflow of energy from the watery Earth due to GHGs in the form of a larger or faster water cycle which brings me to my broader work available elsewhere.
Nonetheless that faster outflow of energy from more GHGs is infinitesimal compared to the consequences of solar and oceanic variability as I have explained in detail previously.

thetempestspark
December 30, 2011 3:34 am

R. Gates says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm
“Greenhouse gases warm the planet above a level it would otherwise be without them. The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, and the key area of uncertainty here is the full nature of feedbacks, slow and fast, and more specifically the role of clouds.”
If you took two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, both quantities had a temperature of 1°C and mixed them both together what would the temperature be as a result of doubling one quantity of CO2 with the other?

AusieDan
December 30, 2011 3:34 am

Dr. Glickstein – when a gas is heated, it tends to rise.
Gravity exerts a counter force, trying to pull it down.
In so rising, work is done.
The temperature of the gas increases.
As the gas rises, it has more room, as each succeding layer of the atmosphere has a larger dimaeter.
An expanding gas gives up heat.
Half of this is radiated out to space, half reflected back down (to simplify).
The cooled air declines and is replaced by warmer air which in turn etc etc.
Is this not why the atmosphere is warmer nearer the surface than higher up.
The circulation is a perpetual motion maching, fuelled by the incoming radiation from the sun.
So in a laboratory, a gas that has been pressured and left, will cool down again, because the work done in compressing it is ended.
In the atmosphere the process never ends.
That is why it is hotter lower down in a real world atmosphere.

gbaikie
December 30, 2011 3:49 am

Frank White says: “One example, the statement of the theory mentions that the atmosphere has little heat capacity, which is true of dry air. However water vapor is one gas in the atmosphere that stores considerable energy as latent heat that is released on condensation. ”
The atmospheric mass of earth is 5.1 x 10^18 kg with air molecules traveling at around
500 meters per second [1000 mph- each molecule travels very short distance and time before hitting another molecule. http://www.ems.psu.edu/~bannon/moledyn.html ].
Or the heat or energy required to cause 5.1 x 10^18 kg mass traveling at 500 meters per second is 1/2 mass times velocity squared.
6.3 x 10^23 joules.
So this being roughly amount energy needed to raise that much quantity of oxygen or nitrogen gas from near absolute zero to 270 K. [from gas molecules moving slow, up to speeds they are currently moving at]
In comparison the Sun’s total energy is 174 petawatts [wiki]. Petawatt (10^15 watts) and
so 1.74 x 10^17 watts. So energy needed would be 3.6 x 10^6 seconds [1000 hrs- 41 days].
So if sun defying physic become a blackhole or simply disappears, the atmosphere without considering heat capacity of land, ocean, and water vapor, and so just the air capacity would remain somewhat warm for about week- average temperature would drop at most by 49 K. So basically you have at least week before things got really interesting- by interesting I mean winter polar region having the sky collapse and liquifying and possibility of snowfall in the tropics.

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along
December 30, 2011 4:07 am

erl happ says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm
“Reduce its density to non significant values and the medium can not conduct or accept radiation.So, its temperature will fall.”
The thermosphere has an insignificant density and it’s temperature is reaches into the thousands of degrees.
What’s up with that, Erl?
PLEASE do not make stuff up as you go along. THINK McFly!

tallbloke
December 30, 2011 4:07 am

Ah, the big guns of the lukewarmer camp are out in force today. 🙂
More work and more clarification of terms is definitely needed, but I sense value in the work of Nikolov and Zeller.
I wonder if we might find yet another mechanism amplifying solar variation lurking in this somewhere…
“Of course, one would expect planets and moons in our Solar system to have some similarities.”
Indeed, despite the large variation in their atmospheric compositions.
The observations of late C20th changes on Mars got the ‘we have to get rid of the medieval warm period’ treatment, but this shouldn’t be allowed to deter investigators. Neither should statements such as:
“Do people just swallow that content-free doubletalk in one big gulp, or is it easier to keep from gagging if you down it a word at a time?”
Content free condemnation has little value. I don’t have a problem understanding what Nikolov and Zeller are saying in the passage quoted by Willis. They are simply explaining why it is that in a gravity well supplied with external power, the more highly compressed gas near the surface will be warmer than expected by a gray body calc which doesn’t take atmospheric pressure gradients into account. Simples.

wayne
December 30, 2011 4:08 am

Ok Ira, I have noticed that you have a bit of trouble reading “between-the-lines” of another person’s written words, especially when their words gets in the area of physics. So here is what I read within their text after applying everything in context.
You read it as:

According to Nikolov, our Atmosphere
“… boosts Earth’s surface temperature not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K!”

I read it as:
According to Nikolov, the pressure of our Atmosphere at the surface

“… is the sole factor, in conjunction with limited volume by the gravitational field, that allows a higher level of stored static (constant) kinetic energy in the air at the Earth’s surface (P•V is energy as joules) and this higher static level in the stored kinetic energy also likewise manifests, by the ideal gas law, as a corresponding increase in temperature at Earth’s surface, not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K! This increase in the stored static kinetic energy is maintained by the constant radiative field flowing through this matter from both the sun and from the surface.”

Something close to that.
Maybe you should take a course in how to apply context when you read such deep material. I saw the same flaw in your understanding in radiative energy transfer within our atmosphere in your previous posts months ago.

Robert of Ottawa
December 30, 2011 4:10 am

The gas cannister example is just wrong. The “unified” theory may have holes but I’d be careful of throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along
December 30, 2011 4:14 am

Stephen Wilde says:
December 30, 2011 at 1:03 am
“I think that Ira has misunderstood. The cause of the heating at the surface is gravity constraining molecular kinetic energy most strongly at the bottom of the atmospheric column by creating pressure. Work is done and heat generated due to the kinetic energy fighting to overcome the gravitational and pressure constraint.”
I think you misunderstand what “work” is, Stephen. If work can be accomplished merely by being located within a static gravity field at a constant location we’re talking abouty a perpetual motion machine. Ding ding ding. Red flag! No free lunches. The only way to get useful energy from gravity is to move through the field towards the center of mass. It takes energy to move away from the center of mass. If you think you’ve found a way to get around that then you’re wrong and need to think again. Think again, Stephen. You’re smarter than that.

Jordan
December 30, 2011 4:19 am

I’m not too convinced by the thought experiment in the above post.
PV = nRT
After you have compressed the air in the container, n is constant. Therefore n, R and V can form a constant of proportionality, k = nR/V, and
P = kT
When you allow the container to cool in the fridge, there is an energy transfer which drops T (proxy for kinetic energy in the molecules) and therefore P will reduce. The latter point seems to be overlooked and the analogy may be misleading.
A different thought experiment is to start with n molecules of air just above the atmosphere, at a place where P and T are small, but not zero (avoid the singularity). R and n are fixed, so the constant of proportionality is K=nR, and
PV = KT
Assume the molecules are thermally insulated (no heat transfer from surrounding gas). Move the parcel of molecules down to the surface with minimum work on the molecules (there has to be work because their kinetic energy is increasing as pressure increases and volume reduces). At the surface, P = 10^5 Pa, so there is considerable energy in the parcel. T must have increased because specific volume of the parcel at the surface must be consistent with ambient pressure (the reduction in V is not enough to hold T at its starting value).
When the parcel reaches the surface, it is at the same pressure as the rest of the atmosphere, but that should also mean the same temperature, if the air is close enough to an ideal gas. Further changes in temperature or pressure as this would involve further work or heat transfer, but there is no analogy for these.
Isn’t the second thought experiment more closely aligned to the arguments in the original post?
This does not resolve why T is where it presently sits at the surface (there are different reasons for surface temperature – not limited to radiative physics). But it should be possible to postulate a relationship between P and T so that some general trend in surface T ought to br confirmed by a trend in P if surface air behaves approximately as an ideal gas.

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along
December 30, 2011 4:21 am

tallbloke says:
December 30, 2011 at 4:07 am
“Ah, the big guns of the lukewarmer camp are out in force today. :)”
Yeah, funny how that happens when cranks get published on high profile skeptic blogs. This is what gives us a bad rep.
“More work and more clarification of terms is definitely needed, but I sense value in the work of Nikolov and Zeller.”
Well isn’t that just special. Is that like sensing a disturbance in the force, Obi Wan?
Or maybe it’s like the bobbies sensed clues in your router.
For crying out loud. Just because you like the conclusion doesn’t mean you need to agree with the source. Even Willis called it the right way this time.

gbaikie
December 30, 2011 4:22 am

Man, this kind of nonsense makes my head ache. When I read things like …
Atmospheric Near-Surface Thermal Enhancement should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a Standard Planetary Gray Body. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! …
It is saying, pressure is not source of energy.
Which is obvious as is higher pressure will be higher temperature, but doesn’t add energy.
You pump up a tire [and this is different cause you are adding energy and atmosphere isn’t like a container or tire] it cools off but is under higher pressure [once cooled off]
That pressurized air will higher density but molecules will be going slower [it’s same temperature
as room temperature but in terms molecule speed it’s colder- it’s lost energy.
Higher pressure gas at room temperature is colder, it’s what makes a refrigerator able to cool.
To continue the quote:
“….Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.”
Not saying much. Another way say it differently: the higher pressure gas [it’s not like a container but is “contained” by an atmospheric gravity gradient is “amplified” due to increased density.
Or all the gases are going roughly the same velocity- one has a biggest traffic jam nearer the surface of planet. [and traffic jams don’t in any way, slow down gas molecules].

December 30, 2011 4:23 am

The article states “While it is true that rising CO2 levels do have a positive feedback that contributes to slightly increased Temperatures” – but it is not true and we have now moved beyond this. Back radiation has been proven to have no warming effect. See: http://climate-change-theory.com/RadiationAbsorption.html
Hence, since both your theory and the “Unified Climate Theory” incorporate a false concept, the remaining logical fails.
One of the best examples of the failure of carbon dioxide to have any effect can be seen in Arctic temperature records which show (a) higher temperatures in the 1930’s and early 1940’s than at present and (b) a huge rise prior to 1930. Yet carbon dioxide is supposed to have its greatest effect in the Arctic. Also Northern Ireland records from 1790 show a long term linear trend of 0.6 deg.C per century with absolutely no hint of a hockey stick. (See links and plots at http://climate-change-theory.com )
So we know that carbon dioxide is not the cause of any warming. But in addition, we now have Prof.Claes Johnson’s proof that backradiation cannot warm the surface and Prof Nasif Nahle’s experiment (soon to be plural) confirming it..
So, without any warming effect at all for any trace atmospheric gas, or water vapour (a bit of a mouthful now that we need to refrain from using the term GH) the power source is switched off and those “models” grind to a halt, while the so-called “greenhouse effect” crumbles into tiny little pieces. I never knew I was so sadistic.

commieBob
December 30, 2011 4:24 am

The average temperature of an airless Earth is a big deal. We can look at the average temperature of the Moon to get some idea of what it would be.

Temperatures on the Lunar surface vary widely on location. Although beyond the first few centimeters of the regolith the temperature is a nearly constant -35 C (at a depth of 1 meter), the surface is influenced widely by the day-night cycle. The average temperature on the surface is about 40-45 C lower than it is just below the surface. (http://www.asi.org/adb/m/03/05/average-temperatures.html)

The above quote has the average surface temperature of the moon as -75 to -80 deg. C. So, what is the average temperature of the Earth?

The average temperature of Earth according to NASA figures is 15°C. (http://www.universetoday.com/14516/temperature-of-earth/)

If we assume that the Moon is not generating its own heat, we could argue that its average temperature is -35° C. (We can’t make that assumption about Earth because it does generate its own heat.) That implies that the Earth is at least 50° C above what it would be without an atmosphere. If we look at the surface temperature, based on the above quote, the average temperature of the Moon could be 90° C below the surface of the Earth.
There is good reason to believe that the temperature increase due to the Earth’s atmosphere is greater (perhaps much greater) than the value usually given. Proving the 133° figure is probably worth a PhD thesis though. 😉

DEEBEE
December 30, 2011 4:25 am

The causation chain B makes sense, but the causation chain A seems contrived (Frazier above touched on this). Work has to be expended to add delta n moles to the cylinder. The pressure and temperature do not wait for each other as to who goes first. To shoe-horn it into a linear causation chain with ione branch is a bit much.
And Willis, please do write a response to the original post of “Unified” theory. I usually enjoy your insight. But your response here is just hit and run and does not become you.

wayne
December 30, 2011 4:25 am

They now exit the woodwork while too close fails to describe
==============================================
(how’s that kim?☺)

Stephen Wilde
December 30, 2011 4:39 am

“I think you misunderstand what “work” is, Stephen. If work can be accomplished merely by being located within a static gravity field at a constant location we’re talking abouty a perpetual motion machine.”
The molecule is not static. It is constantly in motion as it vibrates with kinetic energy. The gravitational field is constraining that energy so work is being done via the constant interaction between the two forces involved.

December 30, 2011 4:59 am

Ira, did you unplug the refrigerator in trial A and if the refrig is perfectly insulated would Tr not increase permanently to Tr+?

Steve Keohane
December 30, 2011 5:05 am

A couple of questions regarding pressure. Will a faster rotating planet have less atmospheric pressure than identical one spinning more slowly? Centrifugal vs gravitational forces. What effect does solar wind fluctuations have on atmospheric pressure?

Bill Illis
December 30, 2011 5:09 am

Let’s take the example of a lone Brown Dwarf star – a star too small to initiate hydrogen fusion – a star light-years away from the nearest fusion star – generally less than 5% of the Sun’s mass.
These lone stars/objects will still heat up so that their cores get up to 7 million Kelvin. Surface temperatures can be up to 2000K. The lone Brown dwarf will still emit 90,000 W/m2 of near-infrared light – that’s without receiving energy from a fusion Star.
Now over billions of years, the dwarf will cool off but it will never reach the cosmic background radiation temperature of 3K.
Particle physics has some unusual characteristics when it comes to mass, energy and gravity.

Paul Bahlin
December 30, 2011 5:10 am

I propose an experiment…
Go outside, place several 1 meter tall closed glass cylinders on a black surface. Start with the following contents:
Nitrogen at 1 bar
Nitrogen at 2 bars
CO2 at 1 bar
CO2 at 2 bars
Measure the gas temperatures. Refine the experiment based on what you learn. Repeat.
When you learn something, write a paper.

JeffC
December 30, 2011 5:10 am

This may be one of the poorest articles I have ever seen at WUWT. I am shocked it was posted with such obvious flaws in logic as demonstrated in figures A and B. I realize that there is not alot of editorial oversight but this article screams out for an editor.

TBear (Sydney, where it has finally warmed up, but just a bit ...)
December 30, 2011 5:25 am

OMG, sharing a blog with `Tallbloke’.
What an honour!
And nice to be able to deduce the British constabulary did not take all of his computers!
Cheers,
The Bear

Ed_B
December 30, 2011 5:28 am

Willis, I have huge respect for your “Earths Thermostat” hypothesis. It actually provided me with a clear mechanism for how the atmosphere is not static as per the GHG hypothesis, but dynamic. That alone convinced me that the enhanced warming due to CO2 would likely be so small as to not be measurable. Now the”unified” hypothesis adds classical fuild dynamics.(Boyles Law). The proof is its ability to explain temperatures on other solar planets.
Together with your hypothesis I get sweet music. Finally!
Please don’t get put off by the very confusing fluid dynamics concepts. During my university time, It was very very tricky stuff for me to grasp. You are much brighter than I am, so I expect you will make quicker work of it.
I don’t expect you to play every instrument in the orchestra, but knowing you, I suspect that you will end up doing just that.
I sure am enjoying the music!

DirkH
December 30, 2011 5:35 am

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
December 30, 2011 at 4:21 am
“Yeah, funny how that happens when cranks get published on high profile skeptic blogs. This is what gives us a bad rep.”
Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along, for all I know, you have just popped into existence – I would remember a person or thing called Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along had I encountered it before. So, Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along, you have NO reputation by now. And, may I say that, Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along, somebody who calls himself Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along goes right into the “obnoxious” bin for me.

JPS
December 30, 2011 5:37 am

“In case (A) Pressure >>CAUSES A TEMPORARY>> increase in Temperature.
In case (B) Temperature >>CAUSES A PERMANENT>> increase in Pressure.
I do not believe any reader will disagree with this highly simplified thought experiment.”
On the contrary, I would strongly disagree with it. At least the way you have set it up- In case A you are talking about the state of the gas in the cylinder (Tc, Pc) with a constant ambient temp (Ta). In case B you are talking about the pressure in the cylinder, but you are changing the ambient temperature. In other words, if you just changed the temperature in the cylinder (with a fire perhaps) but left the ambient the same the plots would look identical.

December 30, 2011 5:38 am

Ira says:
“The only heed Nikolov seems to give to GHG and those measured radiative energies is that they are insufficient to raise the temperature of the Surface by 133K.”
This is not right. They don’t deny the radiative heating of the surface due to heat trapped and re-emitted by greenhouse gases. In fact their equation (3) describes the effect for the one layer model they start with. However they claim that this radiative heating of the surface is entirely offset by convective cooling – and they give a pair of equations (4) modifying (3) to include an additional term for convective cooling. They also claim: “This decoupling of heat transports is the
core reason for the projected surface warming by GCMs in response to rising atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations. Hence, the predicted CO2-driven global temperature change is a model artifact!” That is the GCM’s solve equation 3 and then (I assume) handle convection separately instead of using their equation (4). This is actually a pretty extraordinary claim!
My own concern with this is that the extra term introduced into equation (4) is hardly explained at all. The term it looks like cp * rho * (Ts – Ta) * gbh and the value of ‘cp’ is not given and gbh=0.075m/s is not supported. Still it’s only a poster so work in progress and quite likely the interpretation is well-known!
Another thing is that the one layer model is an approximation – to overthrow the existing theory you would certaily need to work it though using a continuous thick model of the atmosphere.
I’ll study it some more because it is the first thing I have seen since Svensmark to offer a different view of long term climate change. And it is pretty accessible too. They should not call it UTC though because those letters are taken for Universal Coordinated Time!
In the Gas Law PV = nRT the ‘n’ stands for the number of moles of the gas not the number of molecules as Ira said.

gnarf
December 30, 2011 5:39 am

This integral giving 133K is wrong. If you create a spreadsheet under excel to approximate this integral, in which you cut the earth surface in parts, and calculate temperature for each part using the black body…the average is about 250K and is consistant with average temp of the moon.

JPS
December 30, 2011 5:42 am

Another way to look at it is that if you change the ambient pressure, the temperature rise in the cylinder would be permanent, similar to case B.

Jeremy
December 30, 2011 5:48 am

Glad to see Ira debunk the UTC proposed. FWIW, radiative physics as describes our atmosphere over long time periods (millions of years) is CORRECT. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the climate theory or basic models. The error is the application of these oversimplistic climate models to shorter time periods (decades) and, given such broadbrush assumptions, to a ridiculous degree of accuracy (a few degrees) and without any proper way to account for albedo changes (clouds) and the completely childish assumption that there is such a thing as a global mean temperature when the water cycle, ocean currents and winds are creating havoc with regional surface temperatures as heat is moved around continuously.
Anyone who is real scientist or a real engineer can see that the whole global climate Modelling effort to a is just childish STUPIDITY. It is akin to studying “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”, there simply is no answer…

Chris B
December 30, 2011 5:50 am

Generalizing, it sounds like in addition to cause and effect juxtaposition, the argument is between atmospheric pressure/heat generation in the UTC paper versus atmospheric density/heat retention in the Glickstein paper.
There are still so many variables and interpretations preventing “settled science” from breaking out.
In our area the ground temperature 2 or 3 meters below the surface stays at a fairly constant 10 degrees Celsius, and rises as the measurement goes deeper ( to a few thousands of degrees below the crust, not millions as Algore estimates. LOL ). This in spite of atmospheric temperatures of +35 or -15 degrees C.
Our planet still contains a vast amount of slowly decreasing internal latent heat caused by gravitational pressure/friction during planet formation, and radioactive decay. I haven’t seen an energy balance equation that accounts for the dissipation of this energy. Surely it’s not constant, and has an impact on the atmospheric and oceanic energy balance.

AnonyMoose
December 30, 2011 5:53 am

“predicting a planet’s mean surface temperature as a function of only two variables – TOA solar irradiance and mean atmospheric surface pressure”
But is the mass (and density) of the covering blanket more important than its composition? The alarmist industry is based upon a specific gas in the mix, while this formula is less sensitive to the composition of the atmosphere. However, a blanket of wool may behave differently than a blanket of aluminum with the same mass and density.

JPS
December 30, 2011 5:59 am

sorry for all of the posts but now that I look closer your case A cannot satisfy the ideal gas equation and therefore must be false- assumming n,V and R are constant, T and P simply MUST be proportional or you are not in a gaseous system. or, you have disproven the IGE which would be quite remarkable.
the exception here would be for a liquid-gas system, like in a propane tank, where the IGE does not apply.

Chris B
December 30, 2011 6:05 am

I guess I answered my own question. Latent and Radioactive heat dissipation is 1/10,000 of solar irradiation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_gradient
Heat flow
Heat flows constantly from its sources within the Earth to the surface. Total heat loss from the earth is 44.2 TW (4.42 × 1013 watts).[12] Mean heat flow is 65 mW/m2 over continental crust and 101 mW/m2 over oceanic crust.[12] This is approximately 1/10 watt/square meter on average, (about 1/10,000 of solar irradiation,) but is much more concentrated in areas where thermal energy is transported toward the crust by convection such as along mid-ocean ridges and mantle plumes.[13] The Earth’s crust effectively acts as a thick insulating blanket which must be pierced by fluid conduits (of magma, water or other) in order to release the heat underneath. More of the heat in the Earth is lost through plate tectonics, by mantle upwelling associated with mid-ocean ridges. The final major mode of heat loss is by conduction through the lithosphere, the majority of which occurs in the oceans due to the crust there being much thinner and younger than under the continents.[12][14]
The heat of the earth is replenished by radioactive decay at a rate of 30 TW.[15] The global geothermal flow rates are more than twice the rate of human energy consumption from all primary sources.

December 30, 2011 6:19 am

Excellent intro (will go back and finish reading in a bit, but had to get this thought down). “Something”>>>Temp>>>CO2. And that “Something”=Energy.
I mean duh. The problem with the green house gas theory (if you want to turn it on its head) is that GHG is similar to H20, in other words they both play temporary heat sink. The GHG does not for-all-time trap thermal energy, any more than H2O does. It holds it up for a while.
As I noted in the unified climate theory, you have to look at:
(1) the different mechanism and surface area for energy loss (and please don’t forget ‘work’)
(2) the actual total solar and core energy flux value (the solar is only coming in on a fraction of the hemisphere at full strength, the rest attenuated by the angle of incidence)
(3) the physical structures doing the absorbing and emitting in layers (beginning with oceans and land, going to atmosphere and finally dealing with the radiation and plasma belts).
All of these factors hold some solar energy from direct re-emission into space and provide a Tc baseline (temp of core) that gives us our balanced climate.
This is so obviously the case given the seasons! While all the factors on the Earth are the same (core temp, ocean volume, air mass, radiation and plasma belts) what happens is the solar flux is reduced as the angle of incidence increases in the NH winter, and increases at the same time as the solar angle of incidence increases in the SH. What drives this change in basic atmospheric. SST and land temps?
Solar flux. If there was going to be a heat trap that effected temp it would be the oceans first, by a couple billion tons. CO2 – by mass – cannot compare to the Earth’s water in terms of trapping energy. It is so obvious it is still hard to believe people have not worked it out.
Look at the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere and compare it to the mass of H2O in the atmosphere and the oceans, and then do some computations on how much stronger a heat sink CO2 would have to be to overwhelm the mass of Earth’s water. You will quickly find yourself in science fiction land.
Your relationship goes Solar Flux>>Regional Temperature>>CO2, which when integrated over many years and significant changes in the solar flux being emitted at the source (or getting through the barriers of Earth’s atmosphere) you will see global changes on long time scales.

jjthoms
December 30, 2011 6:21 am

Best laugh for ages!
The comments here and the whole of
Unified Theory of Climate
There is just too much non science to even go about debunking in a comment!
Still, it can always be turned into a learning exercise
Damn it, I even agree with Willis!!!

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along
December 30, 2011 6:27 am

I was looking for more of what Nikolov and Keller had done in the past and ran into something odd.
Google nikolov keller and check out the 3rd link from the bottom of the second page of hits.

Leonard Weinstein
December 30, 2011 6:28 am

There have been many interesting blogs and comments on this issue. However, the physics is actually fairly straightforward for the basics of the so called planetary greenhouse effect, and Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller and Ira got it part right and part wrong. The actual uncertainty in the whole issue of importance is not the basic greenhouse effect, but on the cause of the albedo variation, and on effects of storage and movement of surface energy (cosmic rays, clouds, aerosols, wind and ocean currents). Some of these may be part of a feedback to increased greenhouse gas levels, and this feedback may modify simple analysis.Those are not discussed here and so the present discussions are off base.
Lord Monckton had the basic greenhouse discussion basically correct even though he uses overly simplified models. Long wave absorbing gases and aerosols and clouds move the average location of outgoing thermal radiation to a greater altitude above the surface. The lapse rate does the rest. Increasing the altitude of average outgoing radiation with more “so called” greenhouse gases (this is a misleading term, and just refers to the absorbing gases, but it is used commonly) increases the temperature by simple virtue of setting a temperature on the lapse rate gradient at a higher altitude. Thus total atmosphere pressure (which is a measure of total mass) does affect possible temperature, in that it allows the level of outgoing radiation to be at a higher altitude due to a taller atmosphere, but the absorbing gas is necessary to move this level up. An example is Venus, where the high mass of its atmosphere AND presence of greenhouse gas and aerosols make the altitude of outgoing radiation very high (about 50 km). The lapse rate than results in the high temperature.
Please look up in google what the lapse rate is and where it comes from. It is a GRADIENT not a level of temperature. The gradient is only dependent on gravity and the specific heat of the atmospheric gas (but can be modified by a condensable gas such as water vapor to give a wet lapse rate rather than dry lapse rate). Locking any point on the gradient to a particular temperature then defines the entire temperature variation. With no absorbing gas or aerosols or clouds, the curve is locked to the ground. With absorbing gases or aerosols or clouds, it is raised up in altitude. The average level where outgoing radiation equals incoming absorbed solar radiation defines the temperature at that point. It is true that actual radiation leaves from many altitudes (including some directly from the ground), but an average level can be obtained.

December 30, 2011 6:29 am

The processes of evaporation/condensation/freezing/melting control temperature and the rate of loss of energy to space. Water vapor does not behave as a perfect gas. Think wet adiabatic laps rate. Water vapor is lighter than air and transports the energy gained in evaporation upward to condense into clouds, further transported upwards to freeze near the TOA where the energy radiates to space. Also, these processes transport CO2 up to the TOA by absorption in clouds and being released as the water freezes. Think about radiation as “line of sight and speed of light”. These other processes are slowing down the rate of energy loss.

December 30, 2011 6:30 am

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
December 30, 2011 at 4:07 am
What are you? Shy? Or have you forgotten the name that you posted under last time?
If you can’t engage in the discussion why not entertain yourself somewhere else where your magisterial pretensions might be, (hard to imagine) less of a burden.
You say: “The thermosphere has an insignificant density and it’s temperature is reaches into the thousands of degrees.”
The thermosphere is energized by very short wave radiation from the sun. The lower atmosphere is energized by long wave radiation from the Earth, contact with a warm surface or release of latent heat. Are you suggesting that long wave radiation from the Earth (or its atmosphere) is responsible for the temperature of the thermosphere?
Willis…..”your response here is just hit and run and does not become you.”
I don’t think of it as hit and run. You are avoiding the issue. Does the relationship between planetary surface temperature and atmospheric pressure hold up or not?
Is your conviction that GHG influence surface temperature just too hard to shake?
Now, where are the rest of the lukewarmers?

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along
December 30, 2011 6:38 am

Chris B says:
December 30, 2011 at 5:50 am
“Our planet still contains a vast amount of slowly decreasing internal latent heat caused by gravitational pressure/friction during planet formation, and radioactive decay. I haven’t seen an energy balance equation that accounts for the dissipation of this energy. Surely it’s not constant, and has an impact on the atmospheric and oceanic energy balance.”
Rocks are such good insulators the rate at which internal heat leaks out to the surface and the rate at which it dissipates once it reaches the surface makes it negligible for most purposes. It averages 65 milliwatts/m2 for continental crust and 100 mw/m2 for oceanic crust.
On Venus it’s a different story. The top of the rocks there are blanketed with CO2 at 1400psi surrface pressure. CO2 has a strong absorption band at 4um and the surface temperature of Venus happens to be 900F which has a peak thermal emission frequency of 4um. The high insulation coefficient of rock doesn’t end at the surface on Venus. 90 bar of CO2 with thermal emission right in its absorption sweet spot makes it a highly effective insulator. This is why the surface temperature of Venus is so high. The temperature gradient from molten core of the planet to top of the crust isn’t as steep as it is on the earth because there’s a continuing layer of very effective insulation on top of the rocks on Venus where on earth the insulation is very poor after the rocks stop.

Birdieshooter
December 30, 2011 6:40 am

Dennis Nikols said …..”I think this discussion is valuable and important if for no other reasons then it illustrates or reminds us that we know far less then any of of think we do.” And I hope that all such work in the future keeps reminding us of this fundamental point and the need for humility. I wonder what the scientists in the year 2222 will be saying about us all/

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along
December 30, 2011 6:44 am

peter2108 says:
December 30, 2011 at 5:38 am
“In the Gas Law PV = nRT the ‘n’ stands for the number of moles of the gas not the number of molecules as Ira said.”
There’s a fixed number of molecules (or atoms) in a mole called Avagadro’s Number which is something you learn in the first week of chemistry class in high school. So N actually is the number of molecules but the units are, as you said, in moles. The distinction is pedantic in nature IMO.

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along
December 30, 2011 6:47 am

[SNIP: Someone who posts under an anonymous handle and who supplies a false e-mail address has no right to belittle other commenters. Supply a valid e-mail address and maintain civility or you will not be permitted to post again. -REP]

tallbloke
December 30, 2011 6:53 am

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
December 30, 2011 at 4:21 am
Yeah, funny how that happens when cranks get published on high profile skeptic blogs. This is what gives us a bad rep.

Ah, another badmouther who doesn’t address the scientific content.
Next!

Scott Covert
December 30, 2011 6:54 am

The theory might be wrong but not for the reasons stated in the post. I think Ira misunderstood the basic logic of the paper as did about half of the commenters.
The use of the word pressure is the key to this misunderstanding. The change in mass of the atmosphere which changes the surface pressure is the effect that causes the new equilibrium temperature at the specified energy input from all sources.
It’s simple to understand this premise. A low mass atmosphere with trace pressure has no greenhouse effect. The higher the pressure (gravity vs mass) the stronger the greenhouse effect. An infinite mass atmosphere would capture 100% of the energy and never release it. Think of the entropy on the moon vs a black hole.
I’m not endorsing the paper but using fixed volume gas calculations on an open top container does not debunk this paper.

FergalR
December 30, 2011 7:02 am

jorgekafkazar,
I’ve never seen Jupiter’s excess heat being attributed to radioactivity before – there’s an awful lot of it. It’s commonly blamed on “contraction” which I assume is fuelled by gravity and the same process that gives birth to stars.

palindrom
December 30, 2011 7:04 am

Good work, Ira.
I’ve been teaching physics for 30 years, and have taught thermodynamics many times. It is just about the easiest subject to get confused about, and as I looked through the Unified Theory paper I found it hard to trace any valid argument — the authors are just deeply confused about what causes what. The authors have PhDs, but don’t have the relevant expertise to be making the arguments they are making. It actually reads like the work of cranks. You’ve been very diplomatic.

December 30, 2011 7:09 am

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
December 30, 2011 at 4:07 am
erl happ says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm
“Reduce its density to non significant values and the medium can not conduct or accept radiation.So, its temperature will fall.”
The thermosphere has an insignificant density and it’s temperature is reaches into the thousands of degrees.
What’s up with that, Erl?
PLEASE do not make stuff up as you go along. THINK McFly!
——————
Please tell the rest of the story. One would not experience temperatures at this level in the thermosphere because there is virtually no gas pressure thanks to the rarified atmosphere (presumably the medium to whih erl happ is referring). From Wikipedia (sorry)
“The highly diluted gas in this layer can reach 2,500 °C (4,530 °F) during the day. Even though the temperature is so high, one would not feel warm in the thermosphere, because it is so near vacuum that there is not enough contact with the few atoms of gas to transfer much heat. A normal thermometer would read significantly below 0 °C (32 °F), due to the energy lost by thermal radiation overtaking the energy acquired from the atmospheric gas by direct contact.”
Interesting that you would borrow a line from a famous fictional bully to end your missive.

pochas
December 30, 2011 7:12 am

PV = nRT is not the whole story. There are three different types of expansion. They are isothermal, adiabatic, and polytropic. An isothermal expansion happens when the work of compression is wasted, as when you let air out of a tire. For an ideal gas this takes place at constant temperature. At pressures less than atmospheric for most purposes air can be considered an ideal gas.
An adiabatic expansion takes place at constant entropy. That is, the ability to do work is somehow recovered (a “reversible process”). This is what happens during convection when a parcel of atmosphere rises. Because the work that is done against the surrounding atmosphere will be recovered when the parcel descends again, convection is a reversible process, and is accompanied by cooling. A polytropic expansion is an intermediate case. Work is recovered but there is some loss of ability to do work (waste heat), as in an automobile engine.
This is the equation that describes the temperature change for an adiabatic expansion, and also defines the temperature profile for a planetary atmosphere.
T2 = T1 * (P2 / P1) ^ ( ɤ – 1 / ɤ)
For details and definition of gamma, etc., please visit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adiabatic_process
Thermodynamics is a difficult subject as I can relate from my own experience. Until you understand it you are doomed to spout nonsense and you cannot be a genuine climate scientist.
Sorry for the boring tutorial, but it seems to be needed here.

December 30, 2011 7:24 am

Actually, that helps explain one of the things about the original post that confused me. I roadrace motorcycles and tire pressure is a ~very important~ performance parameter. Tire pressures are checked and adjusted religiously. Pressures are always checked both cold and hot. Setting front tire to 29psi cold (say ambient 80F) gives a tire pressure of 34.5 to 35psi hot when you first get off the track (depending on how hot you got the tire, in the 190-200F range). As the tire cools, the pressure will drop back to its originally set 29 (a way to check for leaks, which would be bad). So in my own experience, temperature effects pressure.

kim
December 30, 2011 7:24 am

Foundations tremble,
Collapsing superstructure,
Dust blows all about.
==================

dp
December 30, 2011 7:25 am

Many months ago in guest posts here Steven Goddard was pounding this atmospheric pressure drum using Venus as an example. It didn’t make a lick of sense then, either.
Tanks used for SCUBA diving become very hot as they are filled. They do not remain hot once the filling has stopped – they assume ambient temperature. If you open the valve wide open and quickly release the air the tank becomes too cold to touch. These temperature excursions are in energy balance depending and the heating/cooling depends on changing pressure, not static pressure. More specifically, it depends on the instantaneous energy state of the molecules being acted on by the creation and release of compression by energy entering and leaving the system. Energy, the compressor = cause. Heating = effect while the compressor is running.
In the atmosphere, air that is descending is warmed by compression – but the place it left is immediately replaced by displaced air that is rising and so cooling. It is in balance for pressure and energy. This is independent of the initial energy state of the affected air masses which may be, and in fact certainly are different owing to solar heating near the surface. This difference is one way the vertical movement of air happens in the first place, but that energy imbalance is caused by external radiative heating, or by mechanical transfer – convection.

Don K
December 30, 2011 7:27 am

R. Gates says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm
“The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels,”
============
An important issue to be sure, but hardly the only one. Some other questions one should probably think worthy of attention.
1. What is the complete list of factors (“forcings” in climate-speak) that affect global climate?
2. What is the approximate magnitude of each?
3. What causes glaciations?
4. What causes glaciations to end?
5. Why does the behavior of the “Offical Climate Team” more closely resemble that of a doomsday cult than that of a scientific community?
6. What will a warmer (or cooler) world actually look like?
7. Given the need later in this century to support some 9 or 10 billion humans — (hopefully in reasonable comfort), what is the optimum global temperature?

alex
December 30, 2011 7:28 am

Both Glickstein and Nikolov & Zeller seem to be amateurs.
Of course, the planet surface temperature is defined by the gas pressure.
This is trivial. We live in the TROPOSPHERE = mixed (and continously being mixed!) layer of the atmosphere. For this reason the example of a gas container of Ira is IRRELEVANT. The troposphere is always being compressed continously. That is why the temperature in the troposphere follows the adiabate ds/dz = 0, where s is the entropy density (wet adiabate!): the larger the pressure, the higher the temperature.
Of course, it is stupid to calculate the surface temperature by the “radiation balance” or “disbalance”. The earth surface is well isolated by the GHG and clouds. The RADIATING surface is much higher. It is defined either by the clouds level or by the IR transparency level – wavelength dependent.
For this reason, Venus has extremely high surface temperature: the pressure there is very high.
And Mars has low temperature, although it has 20x more CO2 than the Earth.
And Jupiter and Saturn have the same 20 degrees C at the atmospheric level of a few bars.
And if you go to a deep coal mine, the temperature rises as well> not because of the “Earth warmth”, but just because you go deeper and you have the same lapse of about 1 degree C per 100 meters.

Joe
December 30, 2011 7:33 am

Ira,
I think you have missed a bit here, or are looking at the same phenomenon in a different direction. When solar radiation introduces energy into the atmosphere, in an open system, the natural desire of the gas is to expand. If there is no other force operating on the gas then all it would do is expand, and not heat.
Gravity is, for all intense and purposes an elastic restraint on the expansion of that gas. It isn’t as final as a piston or sealed jar, it does allow some expansion, but it all restricts free expansion and forces the atmospheric pressure to rise in comparison to a free state.
The increase in temperature can indeed be categorized as temporary as you say, but that is no different than the temporary heating provided by the GHE. Absent solar radiation the Earth would cool off rather quickly. It’s Gravity, in effect, that amplifies the effect of solar radiation on climate in this Unified Theory.

Im Dating A One-Percenter
December 30, 2011 7:37 am

this is a lot of information for non-science girl like me, but appreciate the post very much!! the nerd inside me got excited to read this.

Doug Burr
December 30, 2011 7:46 am

Ira, Thank you for your enlightening post. I appreciate the thought and polite open discourse of all participants.
I know just enough science to follow the arguments, but not enough to predict. I do think the example is slightly off, where A is an open system (or more open) by allowing heat to leave the tank, and B is a closed system, even though in the example it is obviously a larger, but still a closed system because the pressure increase remains constant. Can you comment?
Thanks again and keep up the good work.

aaron
December 30, 2011 7:55 am

Peter 2108 says:
In the Gas Law PV = nRT the ‘n’ stands for the number of moles of the gas not the number of molecules as Ira said.
A mole is fixed number of molecules known as Avagadro’number which is 6.023 X 10 to the 23rd Ira is not wrong in the sense that n is in fact a finite number of molecules.

December 30, 2011 8:00 am

I tend to agree with Ira & Willis. Let me propose a few scenarios that get to the core issues and see what conclusions people reach …
1) Earth with no atmosphere (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would be ~ 255 K, as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations.
2) Earth with a pure N2 atmosphere with a surface pressure of 1 atm (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would STILL be ~ 255 K (as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations, since radiation at the surface is unchanged from Scenario 1), with the N2 above the surface cooling off at a rate of ~ 10 C/km (the dry adiabatic lapse rate).
2) Earth with a NEARLY pure N2 atmosphere but with 390 ppm CO2, with a surface pressure of 1 atm (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would be pretty close to the current average of 288 K.
(NOTE: “average surface temperature” is not a simple concept – either experimentally or theoretically, but I don’t want to get bogged down in that right now in this discussion. I’m looking at the general temperature ranges: Scenario 1 Temp ≈ Scenario 2 Temp < Scenario 3 Temp).

Barefoot boy from Brooklyn
December 30, 2011 8:04 am

I’ve never seen such a confused welter of comments, brought on by the confusing presentation by Nikolov & Zeller, but not helped very much by Glickstein, who I am sure knows his thermodynamics, but who hasn’t made his central point(s) stand out either while losing track of what may be correct in the Nikolov & Zeller article. One of their points–again, it is their bad for not making more clear what their main points ARE– may have something to do with the response of an atmosphere at density to insolation and other “forcings,” –gad, I hate that term– rather than to the forces which have put the atmosphere under pressure in the first place. Hope that it gets straightened out before the RC crowd pile on in an attempt to bury the good with the bad.

R. Gates
December 30, 2011 8:14 am

thetempestspark says:
December 30, 2011 at 3:34 am
R. Gates says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm
“Greenhouse gases warm the planet above a level it would otherwise be without them. The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, and the key area of uncertainty here is the full nature of feedbacks, slow and fast, and more specifically the role of clouds.”
If you took two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, both quantities had a temperature of 1°C and mixed them both together what would the temperature be as a result of doubling one quantity of CO2 with the other?
——-
What about the volume? Did you force one into the volume of the other? If you did, then of course work was done on “the system” by the application of a force over a distance and of course the temperature would go up. Pv=nrt, but work must be done when compressing a gas! If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.

Luther Wu
December 30, 2011 8:24 am

R. Gates says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm
Some excellent points, and I think that this “Unified Climate Theory”, will be fairly quickly placed into the “hmmm…interesting” dustbin of quirky science sidebars. Your desire to see the so-called “Official Climate Team” put into its proper place belies the undercurrcent of thought shared of course by many skeptics, but I fear such desires shall go unfulfilled. Greenhouse gases warm the planet above a level it would otherwise be without them. The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels, and the key area of uncertainty here is the full nature of feedbacks, slow and fast, and more specifically the role of clouds.
____________________________
Pardon, R. Gates, but the effects of a doubling of CO2 is not the only issue, but is merely a question on the way to the only issue.
The issue becomes: are any effects from a doubling of CO2 actually harmful and if so, what do we do about it?
In the freely- accessible dialogue and literature of the CAGW advocates, there is a continuous undercurrent of and calling for a rush to tyranny and attendant death to many millions, if not billions of human beings. Indeed, the desire to implement the loss of individual freedoms and willful depopulation of the planet is often explicitly and boldly stated, as if the rest of us should willingly acquiesce and thus relinquish our lives and freedoms to make life better for a self- aggrandizing class of elites who would (in their vision) remain untouched and without need of remorse.
Using your terms, “Your Desire” to implement dark days for mankind becomes the only issue.

Dan in Nevada
December 30, 2011 8:26 am

I think a better simple example would be a pressure cooker. They work by causing the pressure in the vessel to rise which results in a higher cooking temperature, which is essentially what Nikolov is suggesting a change in atmospheric pressure does on earth. The higher the pressure, the higher the temperature and without any change in energy input (stovetop burner remains at same setting). Once equilibrium is reached, there will be as much energy leaving the “system” as is being input. Some of that will be radiative, but most will be through the pressure relief valve in the form of steam (not sure if that qualifies as convective). Nobody would argue that the extra pressure is creating energy, but it does allow the temperature to be a lot higher than would be the case at a lower pressure. It’s not important that the pressure rise is caused by the energy input by your stove, you see the same thing cooking at various elevations.
I believe the major reason a pressure cooker works is that the higher pressure increases the boiling point of the water in your polar bear stew. What I’m wondering is whether the same thing applies to, say, air. Will air heated in a pressure cooker reach a higher temperature at higher pressures? Or does the whole effect rely on increasing the temperature at which a phase change takes place? Can any of this be related to the mechanism Nikolov is trying to describe?
Finally, I don’t think I’ve seen anybody verify/falsify Nikolov’s primary assertion that the greenhouse effect has been underestimated by about 100 degrees K. They offer their equation (2) as a better way of doing things. I know most WUWT readers drift off to sleep contemplating Hölder’s inequality between non-linear integrals, but I don’t have a clue what that means. Is there any merit to their argument?.
Thanks as always for the entertaining discussion.

December 30, 2011 8:31 am

This is just silly. Temperature and Pressure are just ways of expressing things. They are not things in and of themselves. For instance pressure is simply an expression of force over an area. It doesn’t say what the force is or what caused the force. Temperature is simply an expression of heat transfer. It doesn’t say what’s causing the transfer. Temperature is a measure of the average translational kinetic energy associated with microscopic motion of atoms and molecules. The flow of heat is from a high temperature region toward a lower temperature region. Temperature is proportional to the average kinetic energy of each atom….
The argument of pressure causing or not causing temp change is vapid. Look at the force, look at what is being transferred and look as to why. Temp and pressure is just shorthand for expressing other things.
Next up in the argument, Amps and volts! Which is more important to watts!?!

R. Gates
December 30, 2011 8:31 am

Don K says:
December 30, 2011 at 7:27 am
R. Gates says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:04 pm
“The only issue is how much warming we can exspect from a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels,”
============
An important issue to be sure, but hardly the only one. Some other questions one should probably think worthy of attention.
1. What is the complete list of factors (“forcings” in climate-speak) that affect global climate?
2. What is the approximate magnitude of each?
3. What causes glaciations?
4. What causes glaciations to end?
5. Why does the behavior of the “Offical Climate Team” more closely resemble that of a doomsday cult than that of a scientific community?
6. What will a warmer (or cooler) world actually look like?
7. Given the need later in this century to support some 9 or 10 billion humans — (hopefully in reasonable comfort), what is the optimum global temperature?
————
I don’t disagree with.the importance of some of your additions, but 1-4 are being studied every day, 5 is unimportant to the actual science, and answering 1 through 4 should answer 6 & 7.

Jim G
December 30, 2011 8:32 am

“Correlation does not prove causation.” Keep repeating this over and over.
How very true. How many times have various posts pointed this out? In addition, multivariate analyses suffer from so much multicolinearity (as in the accident, traffic jam, police example) because there are sooooo many variables impacting upon climate, and simultaneously upon one and other, that predicting climate is, at the present time, with present data and technology, pretty much a fools errand. This applies to both AGW fanatics and all of the various theories proposed here by skeptics.
The real answer is that climate is changing but the causes are presently undefined and not predictable. Time series cyclicality can be somewhat interesting but since even the dependent variable measurements are suspect, such are not extremely enlightening.
The crime is basing public policy which negatively impacts real people and the world economy upon fantasy science.

Roger Longstaff
December 30, 2011 8:36 am

The Nikolov and Zeller paper is badly writen in parts, but the basic message is that the “climate” of a planet is determined by the mass of its atmosphere, insolation, gravity, rotation and nothing else – NOT chemical composition. This hypothesis has been under consideration for several years, but “climatologists” choose to ignore it. For example, if Earth’s atmosphere was primarily composed of carbon dioxide (molecular weight = 44) rather than nitrogen (atomic weight = 14) and oxygen (atomic weight = 16) the atmosphere would be about two orders of magnitude more massive, and the surface temperature much hotter, according to the gas laws.
The bottom line is that if we doubled the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 content from 0.04% to 0.08% ppmv (for example) it would haver no measurable effect upon the Earth’s climate.

niteowl
December 30, 2011 8:41 am

@Joe Zeise December 30, 2011 at 4:59 am
That’s the first thing that hit me about Ira’s experiment as well. The inside of the refrigerator is not a system at equilibrium, as it uses external energy (probably from Evil Coal) to remove the additional heat from pressure increase and vent it to the outside. Of course the temperature is going to revert to whatever the refrigerator is set to.

APACHEWHOKNOWS
December 30, 2011 8:42 am

Is a solar wind from the north (?) of earth colder than a solar wind from the south (?) of earth, how does that affect glaciers?
Does the pressure increase from said solar winds cause the clouds to disburse water vapors faster thus causeing cooling of the earth.
(sarc)

ChE
December 30, 2011 8:44 am

Here’s the spherical cow model that I think N&Z are roughly trying to present:
1) Draw an envelope that coincides with the tropopause.
2) Greenhouse radiative physics govern above the envelope (tropopause).
3) Below the tropopause, convection governs transport, and adiabatic compression governs temperature.
In this model, you determine the tropopause temperature by greenhouse calculations, and then you determine surface temperature by adiabatic compression. So while you don’t get any heat out of raising the pressure, you do increase the temperature.
At least that’s what I think N&Z were trying to say. If so, it’s plausible, but needs more work to be sure. But the increase in temperature as you go down doesn’t require addition of heat.

December 30, 2011 8:44 am

Paraphrasing the new theory is it’s not the reflection of radiation that increases the temp at the surface but the simple partial rebound of kinetic energy at the atomic/molecular level the allows the heat energy to be higher. So the compressor analogy that IRA is posting is irrelevant. I also think of the BB gun where you compress the air in it which makes the chamber hotter which if you shoot right away the BB will go through much more of the phone book. But let the temp in the chamber go down, the amount of air is still in there and compressed but not with as much pressure and the BB won’t go through as much of the phone book.
In other words the BB gun and the compressor example IRA is using the temp rise is a one time event caused by forcing more air into a closed chamber than the surrounding air.
None of this is relevant to the new climate theory. The new climate theory is more like this: the air is transparent to much of the radiant energy but is going to delay return of that energy back to outer space. Anything that creates a delay be it the radiative feedback of classical CO2 theory or the simple delay in a return from a mostly transparent convective gas under pressure will delay the energy return increasing the temperature at the surface.
We generate heat and use a blanket to delay the rate of return so we are warmer at our surface. The surface of the earth has a blanket of air covering the surface that is being heated so it’s warmer. Anything creating a delay increases the temperature equilibrium point.
Think blanket, not bottom of a bike pump getting heated when used and you’ll see the difference between what IRA thinks they are saying and what they are actually saying.

Darkinbad the Brightdayler
December 30, 2011 8:46 am

Willis:
In a word: Synergy?

JPS
December 30, 2011 8:49 am

Ira said:
“OK, Scott Covert, consider the following. Say someone dumped a load of pure O2 and N2 into our Atmosphere, doubling its volume but not increasing the GHGs (water vapor, CO2 , CH4, etc.) I know that O2 absorbs LWIR in a small portion of the spectrum near 10μ, so remove a bit of the CO2 to compensate for that such that the effect of GHGs remains constant.
The Atmospheric pressure would approximately double, and things would get warmer for a while (as in case A of my simple thought experiments where more air is pumped into the container). After time to for steady state to settle in, and the warming from the work we did dumping the extra pure air to dissipate, I think the Atmospheric pressure would remain double, but the temperatures would return to about the same levels as before.”
THis simply isnt true- if you double V and the number of air molecules the pressure and tempeature will remain the same
PV = nRT
P 2V = 2n RT
the IDeal Gas Law is a state equation- it will be true at any time for your model assuming it applies
the problem is your model is wrong but plenty of people have already said that

Mark Hladik
December 30, 2011 8:56 am

Still working my way through the original paper. There are many good comments here.
Perhaps our focus should be a form of “peer-review” which will work to improve/correct that which is lacking, and reinforce that which is good. We have the expertise, in this blog, to accomplish this goal. Once we have thrashed it all out, the authors can present a ‘revised’ version, taking into account the comments, and making corrections to that which we find inconsistent.
Let us recall that Wegener was ridiculed for not having a mechanism for “mobile” continents, but in the end, his basic premise was found to be correct. We might be in a similar situation here; let us work together to improve, and if the original hypothesis is eventually found to be incorrect, we can discard it, and chalk it up to experience.
Best regards to all, and thanks to the mods and Anthony, and the purveyors of thoughtful comments,
Mark H.

Gary Pearse
December 30, 2011 8:58 am

‘This makes the GH effect a thermodynamic phenomenon, not a radiative one as presently assumed!’ (Nikolov)
“I just cannot square this assertion with the clear measurements of UW and DW LWIR, and…”
Ira- good experiments you did, but I like their assertion (noted by many others in other posts) that a locale heated by whatever will then rise as a convection current to upper troposphere where it will then dump more energy back into space. Also, it seems to me your experiment has a flaw. The refrigerator in the actual earth case is the surrounding air. I think this takes the container of gas out of the refrigerator to the ambient (elevated temp) of the close to earth warmth (ATE?). I believe all they are appealing to is the average density of the close to earth layer presents a higher mass (higher heat capacity).

mkelly
December 30, 2011 8:58 am

Definition: STP corresponds to 273 K (0° Celsius) and 1 atm pressure. STP is often used for measuring gas density and volume.
If you take the time and use PV=nRT with standard P (14.73psi), a V up 62 miles, figure n and plug in R you get a T of 273 K. Although Ned and Karl may or may not be correct in the figure they use there is some level of internal energy in the atmosphere caused by gravity/pressure, work. So the GHE maybe only 15 K not 33.
Ira says:”Due to the work done to compress the air in the fixed…”
“Downwelling Long-Wave Infrared (LW DWIR) from the so-called “Greenhouse” gases (GHG)..”
Ira you use the word work when talking about Ned and Kar’sl post, but have not recognized what many have said when talking of DWLWIR that it has no ability to do work. Mr. MyDog….Nose, several PE’s and myself have mentioned this before.
To me the atmosphere seems to look like a Carnot cycle.

J Martin
December 30, 2011 9:02 am

Ira, I think you’ve not addressed the central issue. You should look at Dale Huffman’s clearer, though more basic explanation of what is going on at;
http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/venus-no-greenhouse-effect.html
Comparing the known science of a sealed container of even pressure and density, to the open system of the atmosphere with gravity, higher pressure and temperature at the surface, which decline with altitude is in no way valid. Sorry.
You need to falsify / invalidate the Huffman Venus paper first, then re-address yourself to the Niklov Zeller paper.

tallbloke
December 30, 2011 9:02 am

James Sexton says:
December 30, 2011 at 8:31 am
Temp and pressure is just shorthand for expressing other things.
Next up in the argument, Amps and volts! Which is more important to watts!?!

Lol! Class – Thanks James.

davidmhoffer
December 30, 2011 9:05 am

R. Gates;
I don’t disagree with.the importance of some of your additions, but 1-4 are being studied every day, 5 is unimportant to the actual science,>>>
Unimportant? The behaviour of “the team” is unimportant to the actual science? Tell that to the researchers whose actual science never got funded because of “the team”, tell that to the editors of academic journals that lost their jobs because of “the team” and tell that to the next generation of scientists who will begin their careers based on a completely false premise.

Marc77
December 30, 2011 9:06 am

The black body temperature of a planet is not necessarily its temperature at ground level. Some planets do not have a ground. I would guess it is the temperature at the “average altitude” of emissions to space. I don’t know how the “average altitude” is calculated, but it is probably somewhere over the ground. Now, under this “average altitude”, you expect to find an adiabatic lapse rate. So the ground will automatically be warmer than the black body temperature.
Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s say we build an opaque membrane at the top of our atmosphere. The temperature of this membrane would be calculated like the temperature of a planet without an atmosphere because there is no atmosphere on top of the membrane. But you would still have an adiabatic lapse rate under the membrane. So the ground would be warmer than the membrane.
The pressure and the temperature of a given gas are in fact a single quantity. The bottom of the atmosphere is warmer just like it has a higher pressure. This higher temperature cannot be used to produce energy just like its higher pressure. In fact, the pressure/temperature by molecule(momentum) is higher at a higher altitude. It is only the sum of pressure/temperature that is higher at the bottom. If you could build a huge tower containing a gas with a different adiabatic lapse, there would be heights where the temperature inside the tower would be different than the temperature outside. So it would be possible to create energy. But this is only because the adiabatic lapse represent an insulation and you can create energy between two points that are insulated differently from a hot body. This insulation might be explained by the fact that pressure/temperature of a gas is a property of single molecules that are attracted by gravity, therefore pressure/temperature is attracted by gravity. Just like the spin of a particle is a property of that particle. So it is more probable to detected the spin of a particle near a massive object than midway to the moon.
In conclusion, it is not surprising for a planet with an atmosphere to be warmer. The exact explanation and how much warming you should expect seems to be a subject of debate to this day.

Dan in Nevada
December 30, 2011 9:07 am

JPS says:
December 30, 2011 at 8:49 am
JPS, I’m sure you are wrong here. As the number of air molecules increase, the weight (gravity’s pull on the mass of molecules) would compress them, resulting in higher pressures. To get Ira’s theoretical doubling of volume would take much more than twice the number of molecules due to this compression. Ira’s assertion that temperatures would ultimately equilibrate back to what they formerly were is the real question.
[JPS, I meant to double the WEIGHT by doubling the number of molecules. You are correct that doubling the volume would require adding more than twice the number of molecules. I am sorry that my poor choice of words caused confusion, Thanks for the correction. Ira]

R. Gates
December 30, 2011 9:13 am

Theo Godwin says:
“In the Earth-Sun system of radiation balance, no energy is created on Earth. All energy comes from the Sun.”
——–
This is simply not true. The earth’s surface radiates LW radiation that has nothing to do with energy that originated on the sun. All objects in the universe above 0 degrees Kelvin generate radiation, and certainly the earth is no different. Even if the earth were suddenly ejected from the solar system into interstellar space it would still continue to emit its own radiation, but of course at at much different wavelength than it does now.

JPS
December 30, 2011 9:16 am

Dan:
unwittingly you have rebutted your own rebuttal- I dont see a gravitation term in the IGL- the way it is being applied here is for is for a CLOSED, HOMOGENEOUS system. the atmosphere is clearly not that. Im not arguing the practical result of what he proposes, I am saying his model is wrong.

Theo Goodwin
December 30, 2011 9:16 am

Brian H says:
December 30, 2011 at 12:29 am
Theo Goodwin says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm
“Theo, your intent is laudable, but I think you get hoist on your own petard. The ‘energy2′ of which you speak is transformation from one form to another, not creation. So would be any possible future on-Earth energy source, even nuclear or fission, etc.”
All talk about energy is ultimately talk about energy transformation because energy is neither created nor destroyed. My point is that people will want to say that energy is created in our atmosphere, just as we say it is created in our windmills or when we build the right kind of battery, and that we should not slap them down with the Warmist definition.

APACHEWHOKNOWS
December 30, 2011 9:17 am

Old one on this thing of grinding down the point of needles to two or less atoms.
Visual:
Clean 8 1/2″ X 11″ blanch white paper.
100,000 grains of black pepper.
100,000 grains of house fly dung.
Sort by size and report the size distribution.

shawnhet
December 30, 2011 9:28 am

I have a thought experiment that I have been working through to see if I can understand this properly (at least in a nonquantitative manner). Let’s say that a comet hits the Earth and vaporizes in the atmosphere which raises the temperature of the atmosphere as a whole by 1C(due to increased compression of the atmosphere). By my understanding of the S-B law, the Earth still would only need to radiate the 235 w/m2 it receives from the sun, even though the *total* kinetic energy in the atmosphere is now much higher than before the comet hit. This on its face does seem to suggest that that the UCT is on to something.
However, as others have mentioned, adding mass to the atmosphere doesn’t just increase pressure it also raises the height of the atmosphere (which will tend to decrease pressure and temperature) subject to the constraints of gravity.
Finally, there is the issue of condensation. If the comet entered the atmosphere as water vapor, it would quickly condense out of the atmosphere lowering the atmospheric pressure to the pre-comet levels.
WHat do people think of this thought experiment? Am I missing any important factors? Does anyone have any idea how we would go about quantifying the relative strength of the these factors?
Cheers, 🙂

Philip Peake
December 30, 2011 9:30 am

My initial thoughts were along the same lines as Ira. Its absolutely true that pressure is not temperature. In the gas phase, they are related, but that’s all, one is driven by the other, not *caused* by the other.
Let me give my interpretation of what I think the original paper was saying:
I will start by trying to remove what I see as some red-herrings. First talk of heat when pumping up a tire, warmth from rapidly descending air masses etc. These are temporary imbalances, they are the result of work being done. Work being done implies that energy is coming from somewhere else to perform that work. On the macro scale, there is only one source of energy for the Earth (the sun), and for our purposes, I think we can regard it as constant.
The other red-herring is convection vs radiation vs conduction.
I think there has been enough discussion in the past for most to agree that at the wavelengths at which the Earth (re-)radiates, the atmosphere is opaque. Radiation from the Earth itself doesn’t make it directly into space, it is transferred from the earth, via the atmosphere, and radiated from the atmospheric gasses into space.
Effectively, the atmosphere conducts the heat away. When thinking about conduction here, there are three methods of moving the energy, one is plain old molecular conduction, excitation of a molecule being passed on to adjacent molecules. Its not a super-efficient mechanism in gasses, especially at lower pressures. Convection is much more efficient, it moves the excited molecules to an area of less excited molecules to allow the faster transfer of energy. Given the depth of the atmosphere, and the relatively small convection cells, I think we can ignore the actual mechanism (moving gas) and simply regard this as an enhancement of conduction — as a black box, (internal) convection will simply make the black box appear to conduct better. Finally, there is “radiation” (as in downwelling radiation) which actually radiates in all directions, not just down — this may actually be the same thing as conduction in a gas. For our purposes, I don’t think it matters if it is or not. The point is, in a black box containing gas, apply heat at one end, and it will be transferred at some rate to the other end.
So back to the plot …
What we have is a solid body (the Earth), with a layer of gas around it.
If there is no energy input, the gas undergoes a couple of phase changes and ends up as a crust of solid material on the surface of the planet. At the other extreme, apply enough energy, and for a planet of the size and density of the Earth, the gas will achieve enough kinetic energy to escape the gravity well and “boil off” into space.
We are interested in what happens between these two extremes.
As energy is applied, the solid gas becomes gaseous gas and forms an atmosphere.
The atmosphere will have a depth and (surface-level) pressure which is determined by the total volume of gas, the gravitational constant and the temperature of the surface of the planet. The gravitational constant and the volume of gas are fixed, so temperature alone determines the pressure of the gas.
Now, its tempting to think that we can apply PV=nRT to determine the relationship between pressure and temperature, but since the gas is not contained in a fixed volume (V) it doesn’t apply. There is also the small issue of the different gas temperatures at the outside and bottom of the atmosphere, and the fact that we have a pressure gradient, not a fixed pressure.
However, if we look at a small enough portion of the atmosphere, say the first few feet, given the weight of the atmosphere above it (think of a solid sphere contained within a spherical shell, with gas filling the space between the two), we can consider that it is approaching a fixed volume, and so its pressure will be closely related to temperature, and PV=nRT will (almost) apply.
The same principle can be applied to the next “layer” of atmosphere. In this case the “base” of the (spherical) container) is the underlying layer of atmosphere, and the “container” is all the atmosphere above. From PV=nRT, since this layer of gas is at a lower pressure, its temperature will be lower.
Continuing this process, we begin to see why there is a temperature gradient between the bottom of the atmosphere and the top.
For ANY planet with ANY gas as an atmosphere, there has to be a higher temperature at the surface than higher up in the atmosphere. You physically can’t have a uniform temperature, because the pressure is different.
The temperature/pressure is determined by the amount of energy being put into the system (sun) and the rate at which heat is conducted away away from the surface and into space.
So surface temperature is going to depend on how much gas is in the atmosphere (fixed), how much energy is put into the system (fixed — according to AGW theory) and the conductivity of the atmosphere.
Conductivity of gasses varies depending upon the gas and its density. Denser gasses tend to be better conductors.
I would argue that adding CO2 to the atmosphere improves its conductivity. It is a denser gas, and its property of absorbing radiated energy means that it will warm, and so begin convection, which will improve the conductivity (in the black box sense). Now, a denser gas will lead to higher pressure, and hence higher temperature, but this is offset by improved conductivity, which will lower temperature (and pressure).

December 30, 2011 9:35 am

Wow, I went to bed with no comments having cleared moderation and now all of this. It is great stuff too. This is all very much like the continental drift discussions in the late 50’s and early 60’s or perhaps the Hoyle-Hawking and others of about the same time. In this case we are more like the drift business but seem to be trying to make it into cosmology. Unified theories of anything are nothing more then computerizes that satisfies no one. The drift thing got more or less solved as soon as we realized how continents move. That took a discovery based on empirical measurements. The key was the age/magnetic reversal/geographic distribution of ocean crust to show the way.
In climate, I suspect we know what to measure and we know where to measure it now we need to put a lid the predictive models and focus on the geoscience relationships and making those measure. If we are diligent about it we will some day understand the relationships of all the components that make up what we all love and live with our climate.

pochas
December 30, 2011 9:49 am

“Paul Bahlin says: December 30, 2011 at 5:10 am
I propose an experiment…
Go outside, place several 1 meter tall closed glass cylinders on a black surface. Start with the following contents:”
The thing that dooms all of these Woods – type experiments is Local Thermal Equilibrium.
Whatever apparatus you assemble, it comes to LTE with its immediate surroundings. If you have a box with a plate glass cover opaque to IR, the sun heats the plate and the plate heats the inside of the box and the enclosed air. If you have a box with a salt plate cover (transparent to IR) the sun heats the inside of the box and the box heats the air inside and the air heats the plate which radiates the same as the plate glass. The experimenter becomes confused thinking that he has disproven the Greenhouse Effect. Yes, Virginia, Greenhouse Gases do radiate downward, but this is important only at night when convection ceases so that cooling rates are reduced in certain regions of the globe.

Richard M
December 30, 2011 9:53 am

Brian H says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:16 pm
The core assertion is that the mass of the atmosphere varies, and this results in temperature change. Add 1 bar of CO2 to the atmosphere, or 1 bar of N2, and the results therefore should be the same. According to C. Jinan’s theory, however, the CO2-rich version would be cooler, as it radiates into space more readily. What say you?

Very interesting. This is essentially a formalization of the concept I have putting forth for almost a year. My idea that GHGs must have a “cooling effect” has also been put forward by others. I will have to look at this closer, but I think, if valid, this paper is even a bigger dagger in the heart of AGW than the UTC. It removes the physical cause for warming that warmists are so quick to claim.
It is nice to have the UTC at this time so when warmists try to complain that something must be causing the warming and hence Coa’s paper must be wrong, we have an answer.

gnomish
December 30, 2011 10:02 am

Thanks, Ira – the venusian gasball stuff is hansen’s leftovers with sagan backwash.
temperature and pressure have this relationship: PVT = PVT
heat is nowhere in that formula mmk?
you can’t convert watts to degrees, mmk?
pressure in an enclosed space is determined by temperature. pressure without enclosure is determined by gravity.
so the venus freaks who believe in post normal reversals of cause and effect have gravity creating heat (heat isn’t created, either – it comes from somewhere it was previously).
this kind of very fundamental error in the ability to think (disregarding the temporal relationship of cause and effect – nothing more basic than that) is a property of a very broken brain – so badly broken that it can be said to be reliable – reliably insane.

Joe
December 30, 2011 10:04 am

Ok, tell me where I have this wrong, because the N&Z simplification of the system makes prefect sense:
When energy is introduced into the atmosphere the sum total of gasses in the atmosphere want to expand rather than heat up. Gravity resists expansion at a constant rate, and the atmosphere heats to the extent that it can not expand.
CO2 has a greater expansion potential than other gasses in the atmosphere, but it isn’t subjected to more gravity than other gasses are so the end result of heating CO2 in the atmosphere is the greater expansion of the CO2 compared to these other gasses, not more heat.

Stephen Wilde
December 30, 2011 10:07 am

A few , perhaps 3 or 4 contributors here have got the point. The rest are thrashing about in the dark.
I here repeat an earlier post that has got lost in the ‘noise’ I have amended it slightly for,I hope, greater clarity.
If it is flawed would someone please say why or how because the issue is integral to the entire AGW hypothesis.
“Surely it is obvious that when solar irradiation reacts with matter constrained within the Earth’s gravitational field there will be a conversion of some of that solar irradiation to kinetic energy (vibrational movement of the molecules) and some of that solar irradiation to heat.in the form of more longwave radiation passing between those molecules and the larger environment.?
The proportions are pressure dependent.
In the absence of gravitationally induced pressure ALL the solar irradiance would get converted to kinetic energy instantly and the molecules would fly off into space.
The higher the gravitationally induced pressure the more kinetic energy is required to break the gravitational bond between the body of the Earth and the molecules of gas.Thus the molecules can carry more kinetic energy in a hotter environment without flying off to space and so one observes more heat as evidenced by a higher temperature.
At Earth’s atmospheric pressure of 1 bar some goes to kinetic energy and some to heat and it is that atmospheric pressure which determines the proportions. That isn’t ‘creation’ of heat or of ‘new’ energy. It is simply an apportionment of the solar irradiation into different forms dependent on the prevailing level of gravitationally induced pressure.
That is the true greenhouse effect as I have always understood it and it is therefore pressure dependent and not composition dependent.
If some of the gas molecules have a higher thermal capacity than other molecules then those specific molecules will accrue more kinetic energy than others and add disproportionately to the pool of kinetic energy that is available to defeat the gravitationally induced pressure which is restraining the exit of the kinetic energy to space.
However, if pressure does not change then the only outcome will be more radiation to space and NOT a rise in system energy content.That increased radiation to space is achieved by energising ALL the available means of energy transfer namely conduction, convection, radiation and on a water planet the phase changes of water which greatly accelerates the efficiency of the other energy transfer mechanisms.
As Nikolov says, the effects of GHGs are thus cancelled out.
One does however observe that faster outflow of energy from the watery Earth due to GHGs in the form of a larger or faster water cycle which brings me to my broader work available elsewhere.
Nonetheless that faster outflow of energy from more GHGs is infinitesimal compared to the consequences of solar and oceanic variability as I have explained in detail previously.”

Scott Covert
December 30, 2011 10:11 am

Thanks Ira. What you said makes sense. Like I said, I don’t endorse the paper. I don’t get the connection they claim about pressure causing temperature without GHGs. And the discussion about IGL on fixed volumes is just a distraction.
The connection between equilibrium temperature, atmospheric mass, and water vapor, seems clear and must be a first order influence completely outweighing all non-condensable GHGs.
It is easy to visualize a trend in atmospheric mass causing a trend in the water cycle which is the strongest atmospheric energy transport mechanism.

Luther Wu
December 30, 2011 10:18 am

Dennis Nikols, P. Geol. says:
December 30, 2011 at 9:35 am
In climate, I suspect we know what to measure and we know where to measure it… If we are diligent about it we will some day understand the relationships of all the components that make up what we all love and live with our climate.
____________________________________
If modern climate research was directed at finding what role the various components actually play, rather than trying to reach an apparent goal of securing more funding by reaching predetermined conclusions, then your comment would be more than just wishful thinking.
Take heart! The young turks are beginning to make their presence felt.

Joe
December 30, 2011 10:19 am

As as analogy, regarding the N&Z theory, there is a sort of escape velocity in atmospheric heating that is related to the planetary gravitational pull. If the energy is insufficient to overcome gravitational force, the added energy simply raises atmospheric temperature, but at some point the pressure to expand is greater than the gravitational counterbalance and from that point on added energy results in expansion, not heat.
This is a rather elegant explanation with many examples in the physical world. If you turn the heat up on a pot of water the water will heat so long as the vapor pressure doesn’t exceed the surrounding environment. However, when the heat reaches a specific level,100° C at sea level, the water starts to release steam (expand to a gas) and the water stays at 100° C. The more energy you add to the system at that point only accelerates the rate at which the water turns to steam.
In the N&Z theory the same general process is taking place in the atmosphere, except that gravity is applying pressure on atmospheric gasses that, once overcome, result strictly in expansion, rather than heat.

December 30, 2011 10:25 am

Strewth, am i the only one that gets it. It is as they said nothing to do with energy or work.
Analogy. A lens provides neither work nor energy but use it to focus light and you raise the local temperature to cause a fire to ignite.
Second analogy, in your microwave, the power passes through the air, leaving it cool but heats the denser molecules of water in the food such that it cooks.
This is all that they are saying, a denser air at ground level causes increased temperature from the same heat radiation passing through it. Matters not it constituent gas parts.
We know from the time of the dinosaurs that it was warmer and they air must have been denser because of the huge insects and flying reptiles. Both of which needed denser air to perform.

December 30, 2011 10:29 am

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along said @ December 30, 2011 at 6:27 am
“I was looking for more of what Nikolov and Keller had done in the past and ran into something odd.
Google nikolov keller and check out the 3rd link from the bottom of the second page of hits.”
I did:
“Lazar Nikolov on Yahoo! Music
music.yahoo.com/lazar-nikolov/
Lazar Nikolov music profile on Yahoo! Music. Find lyrics, free streaming MP3s, music videos and photos of Lazar Nikolov on Yahoo! Music.”
WTF has this to do with the discussion?

R. Gates
December 30, 2011 10:29 am

davidmhoffer says:
December 30, 2011 at 9:05 am
R. Gates;
I don’t disagree with.the importance of some of your additions, but 1-4 are being studied every day, 5 is unimportant to the actual science,>>>
Unimportant? The behaviour of “the team” is unimportant to the actual science? Tell that to the researchers whose actual science never got funded because of “the team”, tell that to the editors of academic journals that lost their jobs because of “the team” and tell that to the next generation of scientists who will begin their careers based on a completely false premise.
———-
The laws of physics don’t change because of the actions of a group of scientists. Thousands of scientists are conducting research every day that have nothing to do with the behavior of the so-called “Team”. Skeptics need their demons and distractions and so they focus on the “evils” of the Team. All this does not change the science.

richard verney
December 30, 2011 10:30 am

I completely fail to understand why anyone would consider that a planetary atmosphere devoid of GHGs would have no bearing at all upon the planet’s temperature. That seems wholly illogical to me since it affects the surface area over which heat is lost and absorbed and acts as a transport medium which will distribute heat both laterally and vertically.
If we accept that pressurising a gas causes the gas to gain temperature, it seems to me that the starting point is to consider why having gained temperature is the temperature lost? The obvious answer is heat loss from the system which in turn begs the question as to how is the heat lost?
Obviously in the case of IRA’s illustration A, of the gas cylinder placed in the fridge, this is due to conduction and radiation (the metal cylinder being able to both radiate and conduct heat).
Reverting to a planetary atmosphere, if the atmosphere is composed entirely of non GHGs (ie., gases which the warmist maintain cannot radiate), how would such a planetary atmosphere lose heat? Ie., how would this planetary atmosphere lose the heat that it acquired when it was compressed by gravity?
If we were to add GHGs to such an atmosphere (and remove an equivalent mass of non GHGs) would this speed up the cooling process since the atmosphere now has limited capacity to radiate away its heat, or would it slow the heat loss since GHGs ‘trap’ heat?
Reverting to the planetary atmosphere devoid of all GHGs and assuming that the planet surface was not smooth but instead consisted of mountains and valleys of various and different gradients such that the sunlight hit the surface at many different angles and the surface was a mixture of jet matt black rock and white rock with high iridescent sheen (perhaps much like a chess board), would not the atmosphere be heated by conduction and convection? Indeed, would there not be swirling air currents which would aid the heating of the atmosphere?
Now if the daily heat loss from the atmosphere to space (however that may occur) is entirely balanced by the daily heat gain received by the atmosphere from conduction and convection of some part of the solar input being received by the planetary surface, the temperature of the atmosphere will never be lost and will at all times equal the temperature that was brought about by gravitational compression of the atmosphere. Obviously, if there is an imbalance between the heat loss and heat gain there will be a change to the temperature of the atmosphere (as inevitably would be the case).
I have issues with the N&Z paper and do not fully understand what they are saying. However my understanding is that they claim PRESSURE >>CAUSES>>TEMPERATURE such that in broad terms this sets the ‘planetary atmospheric base temperature’ (my expression) which temperature is then subject to changes from heat loss and/or heat gains. My understanding is that they claim that if the heat gains (whatever be their source) equal the heat loss from the system then the planetary atmospheric base temperature will be maintained indefinitely. On the other hand, if the heat loss is more than the heat gain then the planetary atmospheric base temperature will decrease, alternatively the planetary atmospheric base temperature will increase if the heat gains exceed the heat losses. My understanding is that they postulate that that solar energy is sufficient to make good the heat loss and that being the case the planetary atmospheric base temperature is maintained. They suggest that changes in cloud cover for example result in a change to the amount of solar irradiance received by the Earth system and this accounts (or largely accounts) for temperature variations to the planetary atmospheric base temperature seen in recent times.
In principle, I can see the merit in such an argument.
Ira I do not consider your illustration to be analogous to the planetary condition and it is missing a vital component, namely the equivalent of the sun. It has the coldness of space without the warmth of the sun. Accordingly, Ira, in your illustration A, the cylinder should in its base be fitted with a heater. The fridge represents space (which is <3K) and the warm cylinder will tend to lose heat to the fridge and cool. The heater in the base of the cylinder represents the sun. This inputs some extra heat into the system. When the heat from the sun (the heater in the base of the cylinder) equals the heat being lost from the cylinder to the fridge, the gas in the cylinder maintains its temperature (which was brought about by pressure) indefinitely.
Thereafter, slight changes to the amount of heat being inputted by the heater in the base (changes in solar irradiance for example due to changes in TSI, cloudiness or a slight temporary reduction in power due to a volcano or what have you) will cause the temperature of the gas within the cylinder to rise slightly or fall slightly.
This is certainly a planetary model that requires consideration. Whilst I have little doubt that the title to the N & Z paper overstates the case, I think that it was entirely appropriate to publish the paper on WUWT so that it can be disseminated by a wide audience who hold different views and different specialities, and so that the authors may reflect upon points raised by the readers of WUWT and incorporate changes that may appear appropriate in the light of those comments.

Joe
December 30, 2011 10:46 am


richard verney says:
December 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

I completely fail to understand why anyone would consider that a planetary atmosphere devoid of GHGs would have no bearing at all upon the planet’s temperature.

Can you explain away my example? Gravity is a constraint on the free expansion of atmospheric gasses, without gravity would the planet even have an atmosphere? Of course not.
As such, gravity, in resisting free expansion, is responsible for solar energy turning to heat, otherwise the atmosphere, absent a planet, would simply expand. This is a more elastic version of the closed jar CO2 example so misused by warmists where CO2 heats more rapidly than air simply because CO2 has a great expansion pressure when energized.
But at some point gravity is insufficient to hold back the expansion of atmospheric gasses, and at that point (like water at 100° C) added energy doesn’t contribute to heat, it contributes to expansion. As such, CO2, Nitrogen, and any other gas in existence has a set ability to be heated under normal atmospheric conditions before it breaks the surly bonds of gravity and simply expands instead.
In some way, however, there is room for AGW in this theory, but only if humanity is releasing enough CO2 (or any gas) into the atmosphere to increase to atmospheric mass in a non-negligible way.

davidmhoffer
December 30, 2011 10:54 am

R. Gates;
The laws of physics don’t change because of the actions of a group of scientists. Thousands of scientists are conducting research every day that have nothing to do with the behavior of the so-called “Team”. Skeptics need their demons and distractions and so they focus on the “evils” of the Team. All this does not change the science.>>>
But it does change the science, because the science isn’t reality. Science is the study of reality. If the science becomes corrupted, reality doesn’t change, but the science upon which our society rests does. Muzzling Galileo didn’t change the reality that the earth circles the sun, but it set science backwards by a considerable amount.

December 30, 2011 10:55 am

Ira, nice effort, but does not apply exactly nor correctly.
Not to insult your intelligence, or the others here who are brilliant thinkers, however; as a pilot with advanced degrees in aeronautics the following is partially why I disagree with your container example through simple observations.
Death Valley vs. surrounding mountains. I ask why it is warmer in the basin than the hill tops that surround. The atmosphere is thicker, deeper and more dense. Correct?
Gravity pulls atmospheric high pressure air downward, compressing it. It warms on the way down. As it descends it causes low pressure areas to form through the Coriolis effect. Cause and effect. Correct?
Thunderstorm are produced by an accelerating column of rising air that does not cool relative to the temperature of surrounding air that the rising air passes through, as that air returns to the surface, it compresses and forms a hot spot leading the storm, which helps feed the system. Correct?
Consider the SCUBA tank being filled and vented; the air heats through compression and cools when decompressed. Gravity is the atmosphere’s compressor, the sun heats the surface inconsistency causing different rates of heating. Correct?
Across the planet valleys are warmer than hill tops, across the planet high pressure areas are descending air masses that compress. The atmosphere is thicker and thus warmer at the equator adding to the warmth in that band. Correct?
Venus has a thicker atmosphere than earth: warm place. Earth has less atmosphere, cooler than Venus. Mars has even less atmosphere, much colder than both Venus and Earth. Both Venus and Mars have greater than 90% CO2 atmosphere, yet one is hot, one is cold due atmosphere density. Correct?
Jupiter has massive atmosphere, hot. In all instances, the atmospheres are warmer at lower altitudes. Correct? It might be colder way out at Neptune, but the same applies. Correct?
We are not in a closed canister. We are in a system of chaos with unforeseeable variables.

Stephen Wilde
December 30, 2011 11:00 am

richard verney says:
December 30, 2011 at 10:30 am
“I completely fail to understand why anyone would consider that a planetary atmosphere devoid of GHGs would have no bearing at all upon the planet’s temperature.”
Even without non condensing GHGs (those are the ones we are concerned about) the molecules of Oxygen and Nitrogen despite their low thermal capacity would still warm up to match the surface temperature (or close to it) not because of direct radiative heating but from gravitational compression, conduction and convection from water vapour and portions of the surface that ARE heated by insolation such as the land and the oceans. They then lose that energy to space not primarily by radiation but by conduction, convection and especially the phase changes of water.
Non condensing GHGs do not affect ocean heat content but they do affect atmosphere heat content though mostly in latent form because of the water cycle since their energy in the air causes more evaporation. However the atmospheric temperature is controlled by the oceans on Earth so a balance between sea surface and surface air temperatures must be maintained.
If the air cannot heat the oceans then it is the atmosphere that has to shift in order to maintain sea surface and surface air energy balance.
It does so by way of a shift in the surface pressure distribution involving a change to the speed of the water cycle and a shift of the permanent climate zones.
System energy content varies barely at all but the faster throughput of energy from surface to space manifests itself in a surface redistribution of energy which is perceived as regional climate change.
So non condensing GHGs have no significant bearing on the planet’s temperature (which must include the oceans) but they do have a bearing on temperatures at the surface where specific locations experience changes in the air flow across them.
But the effects from CO2 are infinitesimal compared to the natural variations caused by sun and oceans which is another story.
That is what I call a Unified Climate Theory especially when one goes on to link it to solar and oceanic variability which this paper does not do and which I have already tried to do.

Luther Wu
December 30, 2011 11:11 am

R. Gates says:
December 30, 2011 at 10:29 am
The laws of physics don’t change because of the actions of a group of scientists. Thousands of scientists are conducting research every day that have nothing to do with the behavior of the so-called “Team”. Skeptics need their demons and distractions and so they focus on the “evils” of the Team. All this does not change the science.
______________________
The ‘Laws of Physics’ have nothing to do with your post. Instead, you’ve fashioned the phrase into another of your typical red herrings. Your post is just one more of your attempts to denigrate skeptics and downplay the legitimacy of their concerns, while you try to deflect criticism of “the team”.
While you have repeate4dly demonstrated a remarkable talent as a rhetorician, the thrust of your efforts has unmasked you and revealed you as nothing more than a shill.

gbaikie
December 30, 2011 11:14 am

“1) Earth with no atmosphere (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would be ~ 255 K, as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations.”
Question suppose had a blackbody- 1 meter diameter sphere in space.
Is it warmer or cooler in average temperature than compare to say solid steel 1 meter sphere?
“2) Earth with a pure N2 atmosphere with a surface pressure of 1 atm (and consequently no clouds), somehow “painted” so that the albedo is 0.3 (emissivity = 0.7 for incoming solar radiation). I conclude the “average surface temperature” would STILL be ~ 255 K (as required by Stephan-Boltzmann calculations, since radiation at the surface is unchanged from Scenario 1), with the N2 above the surface cooling off at a rate of ~ 10 C/km (the dry adiabatic lapse rate).”
First radiation to the surface would less. Second surface would warm the air and therefore preventing surface from reaching as high of a temperature. But unless you have a surface which has a heat capacity- such as surface being a solid metal or even solid rock [which is more conductive than, say sand] and therefore in similar way is slow or never reaching hottest temperature because it’s losing energy via conduction [really isn’t actually losing but is storing heat]. So if your surface doesn’t store much heat, and since atmosphere could store weeks or months worth of heat, despite getting less energy to surface, it could have higher average temperature.
It should also to be noted that you might measuring two different things- first example there is no air to measure average air temperature [which how earth temperature is normally measured- average of 15 C is not ground temperature it’s air temperature. And if you continued to measure surface temperature in second example- the surface temperature would be higher [always] than the air temperature. It would always higher because during sunlight [with no moisture] it will be considerably warmer and at nite the surface will be same temperature as air temperature.

Erinome
December 30, 2011 11:14 am

I’m glad Ira’s response was posted, and it seems he has some solid objections. But it worries me when he writes, “I would love it if the conventional understanding of the Atmospheric “Greenhouse” Effect…could be overturned.”
What he ought to love, like everyone, is that the science be correct, regardless of its implications. Climatologists just didn’t glom onto the GH effect for the fun of it — it’s the result of nearly 200 years of scientific investigation, going back to Fourier. A LOT of very smart people have spent a LOT of time thinking about it, and it has experimental support in the observed outgoing spectrum and the changes in that radiation over time (Harries et al, Nature, 2001, and follow-ups).
Any alternative theory has to pass such standards. It was dismaying yesterday to see so many people write comments like ‘I can’t follow all the math, but it sounds right to me.’ If you can’t follow the math you don’t get an opinion on the science, period. Science doesn’t need cheerleaders, it needs people who understand it.

Editor
December 30, 2011 11:23 am

DEEBEE says:
December 30, 2011 at 4:25 am

… And Willis, please do write a response to the original post of “Unified” theory. I usually enjoy your insight. But your response here is just hit and run and does not become you.

I started out to do so, but it is all of a piece with the bit that I quoted. I can’t make enough sense of it enough to even comment. Take just this small part of what I quoted above:

Instead, [pressure] enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

So he’s saying that pressure is either enhancing or amplifying solar energy through the rate of molecular collision … and while that is indeed good to know, what does it mean? Here were my questions on reading those two sentences:
• How on earth does one either “enhance” or “amplify” energy through ‘molecular collisions”?
• Why do the “molecular collisions” only “relatively enhance” energy?
• How does “relatively enhanced” energy differ from “actually enhanced” energy, or from plain-vanilla garden variety “enhanced energy”?
• How does “relatively enhanced” energy “manifest as an actual energy”?
• Why does it only manifest itself when there is “external heating”?
• Why does anyone pay the slightest attention to this pseudo-science?
DEEBEE, that’s why I don’t review this kind of carpola. It makes my head hurt, but more to the point, IT DOESN’T MAKE A LICK OF FREAKIN’ SENSE … how can I comment sensibly on something that makes no sense at all? When a guy starts raving about “relatively enhanced energy”, I tune out and go read some actual science.
w.

thetempestspark
December 30, 2011 11:32 am

@R. Gates
thetempestspark says:
December 30, 2011 at 3:34 am
If you took two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, both quantities had a temperature of 1°C and mixed them both together what would the temperature be as a result of doubling one quantity of CO2 with the other?
——-
R. Gates says:
December 30, 2011 at 8:14 am
What about the volume? Did you force one into the volume of the other? If you did, then of course work was done on “the system” by the application of a force over a distance and of course the temperature would go up. Pv=nrt, but work must be done when compressing a gas! If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.
——-
“Did you force one into the volume of the other?”
Under earths physical condition, mix the two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, no compression of gases, just an normal atmospheric factor of displacement.
“If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.”
Is your answer that There would be no temperature rise for a doubling of CO2 of equal volume under equal conditions?
Good to hear!

Marc77
December 30, 2011 11:39 am

I don’t have a great English, so my first comment might not be very clear. I will try to make it clearer. Let’s look at the phenomenons of temperature and pressure of a gas at the molecular level. In a gas, a high temperature means that a lot of heat transfer events happen in a short time. A high pressure means that a lot of pressure transfer events happen in a short time. Your skin would not feel the heat or pressure without theses events. Nobody is surprised to find that pressure transfer events are more frequent at the bottom of a heavy atmosphere of a heavy planet. But, a lot of people are surprised to find that heat transfer events could be more frequent in the same condition. The problem is that every pressure transfer event in a gas is also a heat transfer event.
Does it mean that we can make free energy from gravity? No, it is much easier to make energy from pressure than from heat and nobody run their car from atmospheric pressure. On the other side, it is possible to make energy from nuclear fission and this form of energy is more frequent near of massive object. Does it mean that gravity enhances nuclear fission? No, not directly at least. So, even if gravity was able to indirectly increase the amount of potential energy, it would not mean that some basic law of physics is violated.
In practical terms, in an atmosphere of a planet, the temperature varies with altitude, and there’s an altitude where the temperature is equal to what the black body theory predicts. Jupiter might not have a ground, so it is not necessarily ground level. And then, everything under this altitude has to be warmer. In the piston example, the temperature of the air in the piston that is allowed to exchange heat with the material of the piston will get to the same temperature as the piston.

December 30, 2011 11:41 am

Willis, refer to an appendix that defines the terms in terms presently accepted as common to relatively enhanced vernacular amplifications, actual to external dependence with internal manifestations. 🙂

Bart
December 30, 2011 11:44 am

There is a conceptual error in scenario A. If temperature of a constant volume of gas decreases, the pressure must perforce also decrease. Or, more rigorously, if energy dissipates from the gas, then whatever that energy was maintaining must also go away. Pressure is caused by the energetic collisions of atoms or molecules with the walls of the container. Make the particles less energetic, and you get less pressure.

davidmhoffer
December 30, 2011 11:45 am

Ira Glickstein;
I agree with your article for the most part though the analogy is limited in that, as others have discussed, there’s no lid on the earth’s atmosphere. So, while the relationship between T and P is as you explained it, the earth’s atmosphere can expand and contract as it is not constrained to a finite volume which makes calculating the actual end result of any given combination of T and P rather complicated.
But two other points, first to your comment on average T vs T^4, I think this is much more significant because without proper explanation it distorts the perception the public has of the science. For example, the IPCC claims a sensivity of 2 to 4 degrees for CO2 doubling, based on 1 degree coming directly from CO2 doubling = 3.7 w/m2. To get to two degrees, they assume a minimum of an additional 3.7 w/m2 from positive feedback. What they are vague about is at what temperature they are calculating this, the average reader assuming they mean relative to earth surface. They do not. Their calculation is versus the “effective black body temperature of earth” which is about -20C. So using their numbers we can demonstrate how misleading T versus T^4 actually is by calculating the effect of an extra 7.4 w/m2 (the lower limit of their estimate) on various temperatures using SB Law:
T = -20C = 253K
+7.4 w/m2 = +1.99 degrees
T = +30C = 303K
+7.4 w/m2 = +1.17 degrees
t = -40C = 233K
+7.4 w/m2 = +2.54 degrees
In other words, sensitivity on a nice hot day is (+30) is less than half of the sensitivity on a bitterly cold day. I think that is significant.
Switching gears and going back to energy balance, there’s another way of looking at things that I’ve always advocated. If we assume that increases in CO2 affect upward bound LW radiation from earth, but that the amount of energy abosrbed by the earth system from the sun remains unchanged, then once a new equilibrium is established, the “temperature” of the earth as an “everage” remains UNCHANGED.
Suppose earth is in energy balance recieving about 235 w/m2 “on average” from the sun and radiating the same, 235 w/m2. Then CO2 doubles, throwing the energy balance out of whack temporarily. Provided that the energy being received doesn’t change as a result (which is debatable) and that pressure and volume of the atmosphere alse stay the same (even more debatable) what would be the before and after equilibrium radiance of the earth?
Before => 235 w/m2
After => 235 w/m2
Provided we assume no change in the amount of energy absorbed in the first place, no change in pressure, and no change in the over all thickness of the atmosphere, there would be (at equilibrium) a change in the “effective black body temperature of earth” of precisely zero. What WOULD change is the altitude at which the “effective black body temperature of earth” occurs (currently roughly 14,000 feet above sea level). This in turn would affect the temperature gradient from earth surface to TOA, but not the “average” temperature of earth as seen from space.
Of course, pressure DOES change, thickness of earth atmosphere DOES change and absorption of downward LW originating from the sun DOES change. But calculating those changes is a couple of degree levels above my skill set.

Bart
December 30, 2011 11:55 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 30, 2011 at 11:23 am
“• How on earth does one either “enhance” or “amplify” energy through ‘molecular collisions”?”
Coming in cold here, so I may be OT, but the answer to this specific question should be: by maintaining the energetic particles in a bounded volume. That volume will then store more energy than it would if the energetic particles were allowed to escape. It’s not creating energy, it is merely impeding its outward path to freedom.
I’m not endorsing nor dismissing the UCT – with gravity gradients, an expandable container, and diurnal forcing and mixing, it’s all a lot more complicated than PV = nRT.

Dan in Nevada
December 30, 2011 12:01 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 30, 2011 at 11:23 am
Willis, I really appreciate your analyses, but here you’re just throwing up your hands. You are probably right, but it would help folks like me to know why. I asked a while ago why a pressure cooker might not kinda sorta be a way to look at what they are talking about. It seems to me that, at least in the case of pressure cookers, pressure “enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source” (i.e. by causing the temperature to be higher, which is what I think they are saying).
This addresses all of your bullet list:
• How on earth does one either “enhance” or “amplify” energy through ‘molecular collisions”? I’m assuming they mean that at higher pressures, the higher densities retain more heat. For a given volume, this is expressed as a higher temperature. (In the case of a planetary body, the volume is somewhat constrained by gravity).
• Why do the “molecular collisions” only “relatively enhance” energy? I’m guessing (literally) that they mean a larger input will result in a larger output. The temperature gain from the higher pressure is relative to the energy being input.
• How does “relatively enhanced” energy differ from “actually enhanced” energy, or from plain-vanilla garden variety “enhanced energy”? It’s actually enhanced, but relative to the input energy?
• How does “relatively enhanced” energy “manifest as an actual energy”? I think they meant to say it manifests as a higher temperature.
• Why does it only manifest itself when there is “external heating”? With a pressure cooker, if you turn the stove off, the whole process stops and the pot cools down to ambient temperature.
• Why does anyone pay the slightest attention to this pseudo-science? Because this is fascinating and interesting to me and others, even if Erinome says we should just trust Phil, Michael, Gavin, and the rest of the team that can follow the math.

Editor
December 30, 2011 12:02 pm

Bart says:
December 30, 2011 at 11:55 am
Willis Eschenbach says:

December 30, 2011 at 11:23 am

“• How on earth does one either “enhance” or “amplify” energy through ‘molecular collisions”?”

Coming in cold here, so I may be OT, but the answer to this specific question should be: by maintaining the energetic particles in a bounded volume. That volume will then store more energy than it would if the energetic particles were allowed to escape. It’s not creating energy, it is merely impeding its outward path to freedom.

Bart, perhaps you could start by defining “enhanced” energy, and how I would recognize it if I see it. Does it have a different color or flavor from regular energy?
w.

December 30, 2011 12:06 pm

Ira says: “The warm black surface also heats the bottom of the glass cylinder by conduction.” I do not agree with this statement because I recall that glass is not much of a conductor of heat, therefore the bottom of the glass warms via the gas being in contact with it. Example: molding glass parts in laboratory work with the old gas burners along with a few burnt fingers from not remembering which end was hot. 🙂
Ira says: “Would the “Enhanced” effect due to double Atmospheric pressure cause great permanent warming? Answer: we already know that increasing the size of the atmosphere increases the surface temperature all else being equal. We have both Venus and Mars as example. We have variations in our atmospheric pressure that exhibit the change in temperature based on altitude.
Ira says: “Perhaps a “tipping point” even? I do not think so but I would like your opinions.Answer: I agree, there is not a run-away “tipping point” as suggested by AGW advocates. however an increase in atmosphere mass will cause warming, all else equal. If there was this tipping point issue, Venus would exhibit an accelerating warming, which it is not. Thus an equilibrium is presently the case, all else equal.

R. Gates
December 30, 2011 12:11 pm

thetempestspark says:
December 30, 2011 at 3:34 am
If you took two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, both quantities had a temperature of 1°C and mixed them both together what would the temperature be as a result of doubling one quantity of CO2 with the other?
——-
R. Gates says:
December 30, 2011 at 8:14 am
What about the volume? Did you force one into the volume of the other? If you did, then of course work was done on “the system” by the application of a force over a distance and of course the temperature would go up. Pv=nrt, but work must be done when compressing a gas! If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.
——-
“Did you force one into the volume of the other?”
Under earths physical condition, mix the two quantities of CO2 of equal volume, no compression of gases, just an normal atmospheric factor of displacement.
“If however, you simply open a valve between the two containers then of course nothing would happen.”
Is your answer that There would be no temperature rise for a doubling of CO2 of equal volume under equal conditions?
Good to hear!
_____
Of the course, the radiative “greenhouse” properties of CO2 in terms of warming the earth are quite separate from pressure and volume issues. The best estimate for the temperature effects from a doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm is about 3C globally, with of course more amplification of this at the polar regions.

Luther Wu
December 30, 2011 12:21 pm

R. Gates says:
December 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Of the course, the radiative “greenhouse” properties of CO2 in terms of warming the earth are quite separate from pressure and volume issues. The best estimate for the temperature effects from a doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm is about 3C globally, with of course more amplification of this at the polar regions.
________________________________
Would you care to prove that assertion (3C globe temperature rise)?

davidmhoffer
December 30, 2011 12:23 pm

R. Gates;
Of the course, the radiative “greenhouse” properties of CO2 in terms of warming the earth are quite separate from pressure and volume issues. The best estimate for the temperature effects from a doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm is about 3C globally, with of course more amplification of this at the polar regions.>>>
1. Best estimate according to who? You?
2. The temperature record combined with the CO2 records falsify this as they indicate a sensitivity well below 1 degree.
3. If you mention “amplification” at the poles, then one must also mention that the opposite (whatever the oppsite of “amplification” is) is also true in the tropics.
4. Since the direct effects of CO2 doubling is only one degree, you cannot claim an over all sensitivity estimate of 3 degrees without including feedback effects. Are you suggesting that changes in atmospheric pressure and volume are zero? Or that they should be left out of the feedback calculation?
That’s an awful lot of total bunk to wrap up in just two sentences. I’m very impressed.

December 30, 2011 12:23 pm

Oh for word parsing. If I have a light bulb cooking at some given voltage amperes (watts) and I increase the er ah I mean enhance the voltage, then does the wattage increase and it become brighter, warmer? What voltage increase, I mean, enhancement is significant? And what is significant?
I might be inclined to copy / paste to a word doc, then replace the words enhance and enhanced with increase and increased or whatever word makes us happy campers. Same with other word choices that help with understanding the writer. Best of all, it is the responsibility of the writer to take care to be clear, as Willis is making point of.

Colin in BC
December 30, 2011 12:25 pm

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
December 30, 2011 at 6:47 am
[SNIP: Someone who posts under an anonymous handle and who supplies a false e-mail address has no right to belittle other commenters. Supply a valid e-mail address and maintain civility or you will not be permitted to post again. -REP]

Thank you REP. As a layman, it’s difficult enough sifting through the concepts being presented in the original article, and the following comments. Having to deal with bomb-throwing trolls adds unneeded difficulty.

APACHEWHOKNOWS
December 30, 2011 12:26 pm

So, earth 4.5 billion years old or so, so sun shine on earth said 4.5 billion years.
So, how much sun transfered energy remains stored in/on/within said 4.5 bilion year old earth.
So, how does this amount of 4.5 billion years of stored energy get free of taxes and the earth?
This energy lust to be free for sure.

Frank White
December 30, 2011 12:35 pm

One other commentator mentioned the Carnot cycle, which I think needs to be considered for inspiration concerning the physics of the climate system.
The following web site has a lot of interesting stuff related to this discussion; http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/theta/

davidmhoffer
December 30, 2011 12:36 pm

highflight56433;
Death Valley vs. surrounding mountains. I ask why it is warmer in the basin than the hill tops that surround.>>>
There are most likely multiple factors but I would guess the big one would be lack of convection. Death Valley being encircled by steep mountains, convection is supressed. Cool air that would normally flow sideways across the ground from elsewhere and cause the hot air to rise just has no entry point like it would on a prairie or seaside landscape. “Wind” is just air moving from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone, with convection causing a low pressure zone at the bottom that ought to pull surrounding (cooler) air into it which in turn allows the hot air to rise. No source of cool air to come in at the bottom, and the low pressure zone in turn inhibits the rise of the hot air.
Less convection = less cooling = hot hot hot temps. Same effect can be observed at, for example, the Dead Sea.

Stephen Wilde
December 30, 2011 12:37 pm

Will says:
December 30, 2011 at 12
“You have repeated in almost every one of your posts that CO2 has a higher “thermal capacity” than O2 and N2. By this I assume you mean specific heat capacity. If so then I’m afraid that as usual, you have things arse about face.”
Thank you for correcting me on that bit of incorrect terminology. I seem to have picked it up from somewhere without realising.
The correct term should have been radiative forcing capability or something similar but I think that is apparent from the context and makes no difference to the scenarios set out in my posts.
I am concerned about the phrase ‘as usual’. What else do you consider to be incorrect?

December 30, 2011 12:41 pm

R. Gates says:
December 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm
“Of the course, the radiative “greenhouse” properties of CO2 in terms of warming the earth are quite separate from pressure and volume issues. The best estimate for the temperature effects from a doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm is about 3C globally, with of course more amplification of this at the polar regions.”
…and Zig Zags are doubling the CO enhancement effect, raising the global polar lunar amplification pressure gradient by a thermal factor quantifier base modifier.

Theo Goodwin
December 30, 2011 12:47 pm

I will use a simple and obvious example to explain “enhanced energy” or whatever you want to call it.
Start with the physical hypotheses that govern the Earth-Sun radiative system. Notice that the Sun cannot ignite ordinary paper. Buy yourself a good quality microscope, take it outside, and focus it on some crumpled computer paper. The focused sunlight will burn the paper.
If you tell a Warmist that you have a method for focusing sunlight that causes it to burn paper, being always in attack dog mode they will tell you that this is impossible. They might cite the physical hypotheses governing the Earth-Sun system and explain the impossibility.
You respond by pointing out that the focused sunlight has nothing to do with those hypotheses but requires introduction of an additional set of hypotheses that govern the effects of sunlight traveling through a magnifying glass. The important thing here is the reference to the additional set of hypotheses.
When Warmists tell you that ENSO cannot cause heating or cooling or that clouds cannot cause heating or cooling, they are doing the same thing as ignoring the physical hypotheses governing the magnifying glass. They are making the mistake of thinking that your additional hypotheses must substitute for part of the Earth-Sun system rather than adding to that system.
We all know that there must be additional physical hypotheses to explain how ENSO causes heating or cooling and how clouds cause heating or cooling. At this time, there are no such well confirmed physical hypotheses.
People who talk about “enhanced energy” are struggling to articulate hypotheses that will be additional to the Earth-Sun radiative system of energy but not a replacement for part of it.
None of this is to say that I agree with Nikolov’s article. However, I understand his struggle to shift the focus to additional physical hypotheses and avoid the Warmist smackdown.

Bomber_the_Cat
December 30, 2011 12:49 pm

Well, Ira, you have been much kinder to this article than I would have been. Someone on the Judith Curry site once said
“Actually, the Gerlich and Tscheuschner, Claes Johnson, and Miskolczi papers are a good test to evaluate one’s understanding of radiative transfer. If you looked through these papers and did not immediately realize that they were nonsense, then it is very likely that you are simply not up to speed ”
And I must confess, this was my reaction to this article. I lost count of the posts that say something like ” I don’t understand the maths (or I haven’t bothered to read it) but I think this is a ground-breaker (or deserves a nobel prize). It is disappointing to see that such posts vastly outnumber those that point out that the article is simple nonsense.
So, what’s wrong with it? First we get a diagram of the Idealized Greenhouse Model, which is not explained and seems to play no further part in the discussion [Maybe it is there to give a bit of scientific credibility]. Then we get to calculate the Earth temperature without an atmosphere. It is pointed out that using average insolation is not accurate (correct) and uses the rather pretentious term of Hölder’s inequality, no doubt to impress the scientifically illiterate who are lost already.Given that, it is not clear how we got from equation(1) to equation(2). An extra pi seems to have crept in without explanation and the denominator 4 has moved outside the fourth power term. There is a double integral but only one parameter Mu to integrate over, although it indicates a phi term should be included as well. So I have to unpick this myself. One integral is over the range 0 to 1, it doesn’t say what this is so I assume it to be the range of cosine values. The first integral is over 0 to 2pi. What is this? Perhaps rotation in the plane of the surface of the incident radiation? But is this valid anyway? Are all angles of incident radiation equally likely? What is the angle of incidence on the dark side of the planet? Does not the albedo vary with the angle of incidence as well – seeing that we are doing it ‘properly’? This whole section needs to be clarified, otherwise it looks likes a smoke and mirrors exercise.
Never mind, after all that we end up with the ‘wrong’ answer 133K instead of 255K. I say wrong because no other textbook on physics agrees with this. But now comes the amazing bit. Based on this wrong answer Nickalov and Teller resort to the argument of inconceivability, “Can a handful of trace gases which amount to less than 0.5% of atmospheric mass trap enough radiant heat to cause such a huge thermal enhancement at the surface? Apparently Nickolov and Teller cannot conceive this so they announce that Greenhouse Gas Theory must be wrong (although that came to the correct answer).
There may be valid objections to the theory of catastrophic run-away global warming, but this is not one of them.
So what do you think the reaction to this ground-breaking, nobel prize post will be on ‘realclimate’, for example? Do you think they will be trembling in their boots or rolling in the aisles with laughter?
I do not think the sceptic argument is in anyway advanced by proving that most of those who espouse it do not understand basic physics.

December 30, 2011 1:02 pm

Ira,
I enjoyed your comments on the “Mythical Man-Month” and on the “Nikolov & Zeller” poster too.
Some time ago I participated in a discussion on “Science of Doom”:
http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/06/12/venusian-mysteries/
Back then it seemed that the surface temperature of Venus could be explained in terms of the adiabatic lapse rate in the convective part of the atmosphere (from the cloud tops to the surface). Leonard Weinstein calculated that replacing the if the CO2 in the atmosphere with Nitrogen would have a minimal effect on the surface temperature and I came to the same conclusion using Helium.
Several other people have made similar calculations including:
Harry Dale Huffman: http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/
Steve Goddard: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/06/hyperventilating-on-venus/
Counting Cats: http://www.countingcats.com/?p=4745
Nikolov & Zeller have improved the mathematics and extended the analysis to other planets. I was pleased to find that my “back of the envelope” calculations based on adiabatic lapse rates came pretty close to N&K’s numbers.

davidmhoffer
December 30, 2011 1:07 pm

highflight56433;
Oh for word parsing. If I have a light bulb cooking at some given voltage amperes (watts) and I increase the er ah I mean enhance the voltage, then does the wattage increase and it become brighter, warmer? What voltage increase, I mean, enhancement is significant? And what is significant?>>>
Good question. You’ll hate the answer….
E (volts) = I (current in amps) * R (resistance in ohms)
P (watts) = E * I
given that E=IR
P = IR * I
P = I^2*R
If we double E, then I doubles, and if I doubles, then P increases by a factor of 4. Right? Nope.
When E doubles the insantaneous power would rise by a factor of 4, but then would fall off. As the temperature of the filament increases, R of the filament also increases, reducing I until some new equilibrium is reached. You can demonstrate this to yourself with a cheap ohm meter and an incandescent bulb. A 100 watt bulb ought to draw just under 1 amp at 120 volts giving it a resistance of a bit over 100 ohms. Measure the actual resistance of the bulb “cold” and you’ll find it is a fraction of that. When you flip on the power switch, the initial current is enormous until the filament heats up and increased resistance reduces the current. This is the reason that incandescent bulbs almost always burn out right when you turn them on. The stress on the filament of the sudden heating eventually snaps the filament.
Now, if you increase the voltage to say double, does it become brighter and warmer? Of course it does. But not as brighter and warmer as one might think. Plus, define “brighter” and “warmer”. Since all frequencies contribute to “warmer” any additional watts are by definition included in “warmer”. But is you are relying on LW to do the cooking and classing visible light (SW) as “brighter” one gets a slightly different answer. At higher temperatures, the filament would emitt in a spectrum biased more toward SW than at lower temps.

R. Gates
December 30, 2011 1:29 pm

davidmhoffer says: (to R. Gates)
“Since the direct effects of CO2 doubling is only one degree, you cannot claim an over all sensitivity estimate of 3 degrees without including feedback effects. Are you suggesting that changes in atmospheric pressure and volume are zero? Or that they should be left out of the feedback calculation?”
_____
They are likely not zero, but more likely not as important as other feedbacks effects in the overall sensitivity mix. If, as I believe, 3C is a pretty good estimate for the effects on global temperatures for a doubling of CO2, then the effects from pressure and volume are probably so small as to be a nearly non-measurable part of the 3C.

Dr Burns
December 30, 2011 1:31 pm

Ira’s opening discussing a closed system is clearly misleading. A couple of commenters have pointed out the effect of pressure on the lapse rate. Any atmosphere will warm a planet. What is not clear is the relative impact of GHGs. Nikolov’s paper suggests the impact is zero, which to me doesn’t ring true.

DanDaly
December 30, 2011 1:36 pm

I am encouraged to see that atmospheric pressure is being considered with regard to modeling climate. So, now we have two out of three factors of the ideal gas law. I do hope someone starts to think about changes in atmospheric “volume” as it is influenced by fluctuations in solar wind and gravitational influences, among others.
Keep up the good work!

Gary Pearse
December 30, 2011 1:38 pm

I’m impressed how intensive the criticism is of the central issue of Nikolov paper (people will always be complaining about peripheral aspects). Many of us are prepared to go to war over 350ppm CO2 and its affect now the Ideal Gas Law applied to our gaseous atmosphere is a heresy! Surely someone considered the Ideal Gas Law to have some relevance in climatology. Where would we stand if the equation were to predict the temperature (as accurately as is done for Mars, Venus, Triton…) of an as yet unmeasured planetary body with an atmosphere. And exactly what is wrong with the equation and the results they did get? AGW scientists are happy with R^2 of more than about 30.

SidViscous
December 30, 2011 1:44 pm

The police analogy falls apart, because when a Police officer is directing traffic and there is no accident or construction or increased traffic quantity, they still foul up the traffic.
So I think it is fair to say that a police officer makes traffic worse, that is not to say an accident doesn’t make traffic worse. Many things make traffic worse and a policemen is just one of them.

Stephen Wilde
December 30, 2011 1:47 pm

Will says:
December 30, 2011 at 12:59 pm
Hmmm. I must be getting something right to attract an ad hominem of that intensity.

davidmhoffer
December 30, 2011 1:52 pm

R. Gates;
They are likely not zero, but more likely not as important as other feedbacks effects in the overall sensitivity mix. If, as I believe, 3C is a pretty good estimate for the effects on global temperatures for a doubling of CO2, then the effects from pressure and volume are probably so small as to be a nearly non-measurable part of the 3C.>>>
As I pointed out earlier, the temperature and CO2 records falsify your belief. As to pressure and volume being insignificant, coming from someone who suggested that the globes in Al Gore’s on air experiment were “superfluous”, I am reluctant to rely on your “belief” alone. Can you justify your position on the matter with anything other than your “belief”?

gnomish
December 30, 2011 1:59 pm

The thermosphere is the biggest of all the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere directly above the mesosphere and directly below the exosphere.
The temperature of this layer can rise to 1,500 °C (2,700 °F)
the pressure of this layer is virtually zero.
hot – but no pressure…
how about the ideas of thermal conductivity and thermal mass. so what if there are no thermometers, just joules and watts? heat is heat. temperature is not.

December 30, 2011 2:00 pm

[SNIP: Once was enough, Will. Making it personal over several comments is not productive. -REP]

LazyTeenager
December 30, 2011 2:15 pm

I defy anyone to tell me what that means. It’s not energy, just a “relative enhancement” but it “manifests itself as an actual energy in the presence of external heating”.
———-
I’m with you on this Willis. This kind of hand waving sets off my crank detector.
The assertion that increased molecular collision rates allow an extenal energy source to provide an enhanced temperate is at odds with simple molecular physics and the kinetic theory of gases.
The claim that thermodynamics explains things is just put out there with no explanation.
Elementary mistakes like Jules and degrees Kelvin speak of people whose background in physics is weak.

Stephen Wilde
December 30, 2011 2:23 pm

““radiative forcing capability”. Perhaps you are unaware Stephen but this claim is still at the unproven hypothesis stage.”
I’m happy to use the term ‘alleged radiative forcing capability’.
My point was not that I necessarily accepted CO2 to be a more powerful GHG than Oxygen and Nitrogen but rather that even if it were it would have little effect on anything other than the rate of energy flow through the system for little of no effect on total system energy content.
And even that effect would be miniscule compared to natural changes in the rate of flow induced by solar and oceanic variations.
I take it, Will, that you are a member of the so called ‘Slayer’ group which does not accept the existence of a greenhouse effect at all ?

UncertaintyRunAmok
December 30, 2011 2:26 pm

Ira,
Because I work with spectrometers on a daily basis, I have to say that phrases such as the following;
“(4-CO2) The CO2 absorbs some of the LWIR, and warms.”
constantly appearing in blogs on both sides of this “debate”, not to mention the Wiki article on the “greenhouse effect”, are REALLY starting to tick me off.
So here is a little challenge for ALL of you savants. Nearly 150 years ago, the likes of Kirchhoff, Stokes, Bunsen, Maxwell, and others realized and confirmed experimentally certain characteristics of the interactions of EM waves with particles. First was that resonance lines are particle specific, for instance, CO2 CANNOT absorb the resonance line emissions of an H2O molecule. Second was the equivalence of emission/absorption resonance lines. If you identify an absorption line of a particular species of particles, you have also found an emission line. These apply to ALL ranges of the EM spectrum, INCLUDING the thermal infrared, but, to be clear, NOT to the acquisition of INTERNAL “thermal” energy by means other than radiatively. This is only about EM RADIATION.
So here is the challenge, to ANYONE. Please give the name of the person(s), the year, the specific particles, and the specific wavelengths involved, which were found to violate these principles, along with the name of the journal(s) in which this proof was published.
I won’t hold my breath.

Kevin Kilty
December 30, 2011 2:27 pm

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
December 30, 2011 at 6:38 am
Chris B says:
December 30, 2011 at 5:50 am
“Our planet still contains a vast amount of slowly decreasing internal latent heat caused by gravitational pressure/friction during planet formation, and radioactive decay. I haven’t seen an energy balance equation that accounts for the dissipation of this energy. Surely it’s not constant, and has an impact on the atmospheric and oceanic energy balance.”

Not gravitational pressure/friction (pressure is force per area, and fraction is a force–neither of which are energy), but gravitational work. This work could have left the young Earth nearly completely molten. Most of the heat remaining from this original work is probably still below the mantle because It is such a far distance from the lower mantle to the surface and heat conduction is a very slow process. However heat flow out the Earth’s surface is exceedingly small in comparison to solar irradiance.

…On Venus it’s a different story. The top of the rocks there are blanketed with CO2 at 1400psi surrface pressure. CO2 has a strong absorption band at 4um and the surface temperature of Venus happens to be 900F which has a peak thermal emission frequency of 4um. The high insulation coefficient of rock doesn’t end at the surface on Venus. 90 bar of CO2 with thermal emission right in its absorption sweet spot makes it a highly effective insulator. This is why the surface temperature of Venus is so high….

Mike McMillan and I have both commented on this point of runaway greenhouse effect on Venus. If one bothers to look at temperature versus height in the Venutian atmosphere, one will note a very long linear increase of temperature from the surface to very great height. This linear profile is not consistent with radiative exchange but is rather the hallmark of convection and lapse rate. In effect the Venutian atmosphere attains a high temperature quite high in the atmosphere, and the small irradiance that reaches the surface causes convection, and the lapse rate leads to very high surface temperature.

LazyTeenager
December 30, 2011 2:31 pm

Dr Burns says
Ira’s opening discussing a closed system is clearly misleading. A couple of commenters have pointed out the effect of pressure on the lapse rate.
———–
Ira is correct but I think there is some general confusion between two separate issues.
1. The surface temperature of the planet determined by the planet’s energy balance.
2. The temperature profile between the surface and top-of-atmosphere, determined by, as you say, the lapse rate and which in turn is determined by atmospheric convection.
I think it would be useful if people toddled over to Wikipedia and picked up the lapse rate formula, plugged it into a spread sheet and graphed the temperature profile for different surface temperatures T0 and atmospheric densities.

Stephen Wilde
December 30, 2011 2:43 pm

Lazy Teenager said:
“The claim that thermodynamics explains things is just put out there with no explanation. ”
The explanation has been supplied several times over, first in the Nikolov paper, then in perfectly acceptable paraphrasing by several other contributors and by me twice before as follows:
“Surely it is obvious that when solar irradiation reacts with matter constrained within the Earth’s gravitational field there will be a conversion of some of that solar irradiation to kinetic energy (vibrational movement of the molecules) and some of that solar irradiation to heat.in the form of more longwave radiation passing between those molecules and the larger environment.?
The proportions are pressure dependent.
In the absence of gravitationally induced pressure ALL the solar irradiance would get converted to kinetic energy instantly and the molecules would fly off into space.
The higher the gravitationally induced pressure the more kinetic energy is required to break the gravitational bond between the body of the Earth and the molecules of gas.Thus the molecules can carry more kinetic energy in a hotter environment without flying off to space and so one observes more heat as evidenced by a higher temperature.
At Earth’s atmospheric pressure of 1 bar some goes to kinetic energy and some to heat and it is that atmospheric pressure which determines the proportions. That isn’t ‘creation’ of heat or of ‘new’ energy. It is simply an apportionment of the solar irradiation into different forms dependent on the prevailing level of gravitationally induced pressure.
That is the true greenhouse effect as I have always understood it and it is therefore pressure dependent and not composition dependent.
IF some of the gas molecules have a higher radiative forcing capability than other molecules (that possibilty is disputed by some) then those specific molecules will accrue more kinetic energy than others and add disproportionately to the pool of kinetic energy that is available to defeat the gravitationally induced pressure which is restraining the exit of the kinetic energy to space.
However, if pressure does not change then the only outcome will be more radiation to space and NOT a rise in system energy content.That increased radiation to space is achieved by energising ALL the available means of energy transfer namely conduction, convection, radiation and on a water planet the phase changes of water which greatly accelerates the efficiency of the other energy transfer mechanisms.
As Nikolov says, the effects of GHGs are thus cancelled out

DirkH
December 30, 2011 2:46 pm

UncertaintyRunAmok says:
December 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm
“So here is a little challenge for ALL of you savants. Nearly 150 years ago, the likes of Kirchhoff, Stokes, Bunsen, Maxwell, and others realized and confirmed experimentally certain characteristics of the interactions of EM waves with particles. First was that resonance lines are particle specific, for instance, CO2 CANNOT absorb the resonance line emissions of an H2O molecule. Second was the equivalence of emission/absorption resonance lines.”
You are right and WUWT has addressed Kirchhoff’s Law here.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/05/co2-heats-the-atmosphere-a-counter-view/
When Ira says “CO2 absorbs some of the LWIR” he conveniently forget the near-instantaneous and COMPLETE re-emission of the energy. CO2 is not a heat-trapping gas.

Don K
December 30, 2011 2:50 pm

R. Gates says:
December 30, 2011 at 8:31 am
I don’t disagree with.the importance of some of your additions, but 1-4 are being studied every day, 5 is unimportant to the actual science, and answering 1 through 4 should answer 6 & 7.
========
OK. To sum it up, you don’t actually know anything useful about climate. Or if you do, you prefer to keep your knowledge secret. Do I have that about right?
And actually, if you think about it, answering questions 1 thru 4 will not necessarily answer question 6 — what would a warmer or cooler world look like? although it would quite likely help. Neither will it answer question 7 — optimum temperature — as that probably involves a lot of land use issues and maybe some trade offs.
But thanks for confirming that in your opinion “settled” climate science can not currently answer even very basic questions.

LazyTeenager
December 30, 2011 2:53 pm

UncertaintyRunAmok says
“(4-CO2) The CO2 absorbs some of the LWIR, and warms.”
———-
Unfortunately I don’t understand your point.
The statement about CO2 is good enough.
Your claim about resonance lines is not quite correct. It would be correct if absorption/emission lines had zero width, but they don’t. Zero width emission lines is an approximation for atomic spectra and by the time you deal with molecular species you have to deal with significant band overlap.
Given the gas kinetic collision rates and vibrational state lifetimes it’s fair to say that CO2 molecules absorb IR, transfer that energy to the air via collisions, pick up that energy again via random collissions and remit that energy again as IR. In short it’s a soup of molecules and radiation.

Konrad
December 30, 2011 3:01 pm

Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
December 30, 2011 at 7:18 am
///////////////////////////////////////////////
I believe you and Paul are correct in proposing empirical experiments. However the experiments proposed will not answer the questions raised by the Nikolov & Zeller claims. What is first needed is a clear understanding of what they were claiming. Few people on this thread or the previous one seem to understand.
Tallbloke does –
“I don’t have a problem understanding what Nikolov and Zeller are saying in the passage quoted by Willis. They are simply explaining why it is that in a gravity well supplied with external power, the more highly compressed gas near the surface will be warmer than expected by a grey body calc which doesn’t take atmospheric pressure gradients into account. Simples.”
An experiment designed to test this is not too difficult. All that is needed is to simulate a column of atmosphere.
1. A tall (2m tall x 200mm diameter) pressure cylinder internally insulated with 5mm of white EPS foam with ultra thin reflective foil covering. All surfaces insulated except on underside of matt black alloy top cap.
2. A second internal cylinder of 5mm foil coated EPS foam 1945mm long 140mm external diameter suspended inside the foam lining of the pressure cylinder 25mm away from all walls and end caps.
3. A matt black grey cast iron target disk 125mm diameter 5mm thick placed internally in the centre of the pressure cylinder base.
4. A pressure tight glass window 20mm diameter in the top cap of the pressure cylinder.
5. Peltier or cryogenic cooling for the top cap of the cylinder.
6. High intensity external light source focused through the window in the top cap to illuminate only the cast iron target disk in the base of the cylinder.
7. Valves for the input of various dry gasses
8. temperature sensors for the target disk and various points up the atmospheric column.
9. Air speed sensor for the convection loop
How it works –
1. the external light source is intermittently switched on and off to simulate the planets rotation.
2. The target disk heats up and thereby heats the gasses in contact with it and also emits LWIR.
3. Heated gasses rise up the centre of the internal cylinder, are cooled by the top cap and descend outside the internal cylinder in a convection loop.
4. The foil covered insulation also bounces LWIR until it impacts the cooling cap and is absorbed.
If a higher internal pressure of dry nitrogen yields higher internal temperatures with the same external light source then Nikolov and Zellers claims are proved correct. A further slightly expensive variation on the experiment would be to mount the cylinder on a centrifuge arm an spin it to such speed that a significant pressure gradient were created along the length of the cylinder, with the light source and cooling cap being at the low pressure end.

LazyTeenager
December 30, 2011 3:12 pm

Kevin Kilty says
This linear profile is not consistent with radiative exchange but is rather the hallmark of convection and lapse rate.
———-
I have puzzled about this myself. My provisional answer is that the IR and atmosphere are strongly coupled to each other. While the IR could in principle determine the temperature profile, it is coupled to the atmosphere and the atmosphere simply undergoes convection to remove to perturbations caused by IR absorption and emission.
This is consistent with the idea that in the lower atmosphere the air is able to transfer heat more rapidly than radiation. I should probably verify that last statement.
Currently I am at the point where I need to write some computer code with some actual physics to completely understand all of the factors and I don’t have the time.

DirkH
December 30, 2011 3:13 pm

LazyTeenager says:
December 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm
“I think it would be useful if people toddled over to Wikipedia and picked up the lapse rate formula, plugged it into a spread sheet and graphed the temperature profile for different surface temperatures T0 and atmospheric densities.”
You’re interested in the lapse rate? Joseph E. Postma:
http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/Understanding_the_Atmosphere_Effect.pdf

Editor
December 30, 2011 3:23 pm

highflight56433 says:
December 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm

… I might be inclined to copy / paste to a word doc, then replace the words enhance and enhanced with increase and increased or whatever word makes us happy campers.

Sure, you could do that, replace “enhances” with “increases”. But that just leaves you with a new problem, which is explaining what the new sentence means:

Instead, [pressure] increases (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative increase only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

It doesn’t make any more sense with your suggested replacement than it did without it. How does pressure increase solar energy? What is a “relative increase” in energy, that is not actual energy, but only manifests itself as energy when it is externally heated?
This is not science. This is nonsensical handwaving. It is no more intelligible after your replacement than it was before.
w.

Bart
December 30, 2011 3:26 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm
“Bart, perhaps you could start by defining “enhanced” energy, and how I would recognize it if I see it. Does it have a different color or flavor from regular energy?”
I agree it is sloppy terminology. Enhanced energy retention might be better. But, if you get the gist of it, you can criticize the terminology separately, without throwing the entire argument out the window.

u.k.(us)
December 30, 2011 3:32 pm

Is there a Unified Theory as to the definition of “heat” ?
Last I heard, it seemed rather unsettled ?
I must say that the comments on this thread seem to confirm its fleeting qualities 🙂
Good stuff everyone.

Erinome
December 30, 2011 3:35 pm

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along says:
Our planet still contains a vast amount of slowly decreasing internal latent heat caused by gravitational pressure/friction during planet formation, and radioactive decay. I haven’t seen an energy balance equation that accounts for the dissipation of this energy. Surely it’s not constant, and has an impact on the atmospheric and oceanic energy balance.”
The flux of this internal heat is only 80 milliW/m2 at the Earth’s surface — about 0.02% of that received from above, or only 1/5th of solar irradiance variability. It’s a negligible factor — and, in any case, does not vary (as far as I know).

Kevin Kilty
December 30, 2011 3:36 pm

LazyTeenager says:
December 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm …
Elementary mistakes like Jules and degrees Kelvin speak of people whose background in physics is weak.

You know, I still use the term “degrees Kelvin” because it was what we said way back when I was going to school. Now we are supposed to simply say Kelvins–old habits never die. And jules rather than joules might be just a typo, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into those “mistakes” meaning all that much. However, these two posts, one yesterday and one today, have set off a storm of criticism for good reason. I don’t see this as a bad thing, though, because they do cause lots of discussion and there is probably more learning that goes on than you might imagine. I, for one, got a bit of insight into how people view the ideal gas law that might help me teach thermodynamics this coming semester.

Editor
December 30, 2011 3:39 pm

Bart says:
December 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm

“Bart, perhaps you could start by defining “enhanced” energy, and how I would recognize it if I see it. Does it have a different color or flavor from regular energy?”

I agree it is sloppy terminology. Enhanced energy retention might be better. But, if you get the gist of it, you can criticize the terminology separately, without throwing the entire argument out the window.

My problem is that I don’t get the the gist of it. And I fear your suggestion doesn’t help. Suppose we do call it “enhanced energy retention”. Then his idea is as follows:

Instead, [pressure] enhances (amplifies) the retention of energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This enhanced retained energy only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

Now you have a new problem. Why does the retained energy only manifest itself as “actual energy” when it is externally heated? How can there be energy that doesn’t manifest itself as energy? How does pressure increase the unmanifested “retained energy”?
Finally, what does “… retained energy only manifests itself as actual energy …” mean? What would be an example of “unmanifested energy”
I’m not trying to be picky here, Bart. I’m pointing out the incoherency and lack of sense of his statement. Even with your changes it still makes no sense.
w.

Erinome
December 30, 2011 3:41 pm

Kevin Kilty says:
If one bothers to look at temperature versus height in the Venutian atmosphere, one will note a very long linear increase of temperature from the surface to very great height.
Uh, no:
http://www.datasync.com/~rsf1/vel/1918vpt.htm

gbaikie
December 30, 2011 3:44 pm

“If, as Nikolov claims, the Atmosphere boosts the surface temperature by 133K, then, absent the Atmosphere the Earth would be 288K – 133K = 155K. This is contradicted by the fact that the Moon, which has no Atmosphere and is at the same distance from the Sun as our Earth, has an average temperature of about 250K. Yes, the albedo of the Moon is 0.12 and that of the Earth is 0.3, but that difference would make the Moon only about 8K cooler than an Atmosphere-free Earth, not 95K cooler! Impossible!”
Maybe not correct. But you missing a few factors.
Have our airless moon same size as Earth. It will receive more solar energy than Earth,
because the Earth’s atmosphere stops sun energy from getting to Earth surface.
On airless world at earth distance from sun, you get the solar constant of 1321 Watts per square meter. The atmosphere of earth on a clear day blocks about 300 of the 1321 watts.
So the sun directly overhead on Moon and Earth with clear sky on Earth and the Moon surface gets 30% more energy than earth surface.
When the sun is at angle in the sky, there is more atmosphere from sunlight to go thru and more energy is prevented from reaching the Earth’s surface.
So our earth size Moon on the sun facing side would receive *more* than 30% more sunlight on it’s surface as compare Earth. How much more:
Earth receives it’s radius squared times pi and this spread over a hemisphere: radius squared time p times 2. So the energy is spread over twice the area, but it’s not spread over the area evenly.
Both with airless world and with world with 1 atm of atmosphere it’s not spread evenly- evenly meaning, with regards to watts of energy per square meter of surface.
So regarding this hemisphere facing the sun, the middle part receives about 1/2 of of the Sun’s
energy. This middle part east to west is 45 degrees longitude both east and west from noon. Or in terms of time 9am to 4 pm. 3 hr before noon and 3 hrs after noon would the period when you get most of solar energy for solar panels.
So at equator at noon, 45 degree longitude east it’s 9 am and 45 degrees west it’s 4 pm. And 180 degrees is half the world. So the diameter of “middle” is 1/4 of earth circumference, or about 10,000 km. And it’s circular extend 5000 km north and 5000 km south. With area of about 78 million sq km. The surface of earth’s sphere is 510 million sq million and one hemisphere would be 255 million sq km. 255 minus 78 is 177 square km.
So you 78 million sq miles in the middle receiving a nearly full portion of the sun, and remaining
177 sq km “sharing the remainder”. Or the disc is half of 255 million sq km, which 127.5 million sq km. Very roughly “the middle” gets 78 million sq miles of the 127.5 million sq km. Or easily “gets more than half”. While in daylight and the further you from the middle solar energy is spread over
more land area.
So that is true of airless world and one with atmosphere, except the one with atmosphere has more atmosphere to travel thru before it hits the surface in the “outer area”.
This additional “atmospheric loss” is less at 8:30 or 4:30 pm but progressively getting worst thereafter. So roughly 25% of total sunlight getting 50% or more in atmospheric losses.
Resulting in earth size airless moon getting around 40% more solar energy than earth.
Another factor I didn’t include is at lower angle the sunlight would also be more reflected/refracted away from earth surface.
Oh other thing is with Moon you using surface temperature and comparing to Earth which
is a air temperature in the shade temperature.

December 30, 2011 3:44 pm

Lets be 100% honest here. Who fell for this moronic argument that increased temperature causes increased pressure? Seriously? The Earths atmosphere is contained in a non flexible fixed volume container? I missed that part of my science lessons.
My science tells me that high pressure systems are generally cold air. When air cools, more particles fit in a specified space at a specified pressure. When air warms up, fewer particles fit in a specified space at a specified pressure. If it is contained in a fixed volume, it will exert more pressure, but its mass will not increase but an infinitesimally small amount from the mass of the energy to increase its temperature. So, looking at the Earth Atmosphere, what happens when something gets further from the center of the planet? If you answered that its weight is reduced, your right. What happens to the Earths Atmosphere as it warms? It expands to fill a larger volume. The only direction that the atmosphere has to expand is to increase out towards space. But since the actual mass of the atmosphere did not increase simply because of the temperature increase, the actual weight of the air (pressure) at ground level will decrease, not increase.
Now, maybe I read what I wanted to in the unified theory page, but what I got from the unified theory page is that it is not changes in pressure of the whole atmosphere that causes there to be a true black-body surface temperature of the Earth with an Atmosphere with no greenhouse gasses that is higher than the supposed 254.6k. That effect is due to the fact that the full radiating surface of the Earth includes the entirety of the volume of the atmosphere. Thus raising the true black-body surface above the surface of the Earth by 5 KM and placing that as the location where where the 254.6k black-body calculated temperature forms. Using adiabatic lapse for 5KM and increasing the 254.6K by this amount gives the no greenhouse gas black-body earth with Atmosphere surface temperature.
It all makes absolute perfect sense. The argument presented on this sheet seems to be trying to poke holes in that perfect sense by throwing straw men at the problem. They never claimed that pressure is what causes the temperature, they argued that the atmosphere all on its own with no need for greenhouse gas effect changes the location of where the black-body calculated temperature will be found.

December 30, 2011 3:58 pm

lol, still at it? Questions: Can force cause work? And, does work cause heat exchange? Even in the microscopic?

Kevin Kilty
December 30, 2011 4:01 pm

LazyTeenager says:
December 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm
Dr Burns says
Ira’s opening discussing a closed system is clearly misleading. A couple of commenters have pointed out the effect of pressure on the lapse rate.
———–
Ira is correct but I think there is some general confusion between two separate issues.
1. The surface temperature of the planet determined by the planet’s energy balance.
2. The temperature profile between the surface and top-of-atmosphere, determined by, as you say, the lapse rate and which in turn is determined by atmospheric convection.

What is this “pressure” effect on lapse rate? Lapse rate in an ideal gas atmosphere is determined by gravitational acceleration, and specific heat of gas at constant pressure…pressure does not enter directly. Proof of this that the lapse rate remains essentially constant with elevation even as pressure constantly declines.
Point number 1: Lets go a bit farther. Temperature everywhere on a planet is determined by energy balance. Pressure does not determine temperature, temperature results from considerations of energy in versus energy out.
Point number 2. The lapse rate might be principally the result of convection, but there are other influences too. Near the surface even conduction becomes important, and radiation is always present, there is absorption of some portions of solar irradiance and IR, and here and there is the release or absorption of latent heat . An interesting complication in a planetary atmosphere is that vertical convection transfers not only some heat, but does quite a lot of work as well. In the case of the adiabatic lapse rate, work explains the entire picture as “adiabatic” means no heat transfer.

UncertaintyRunAmok
December 30, 2011 4:26 pm

DirkH,
Sorry I somehow missed that thread, but the paper you linked to further down is also incorrect.
We have been using a very simple method in molecular IR spectroscopy for many decades which does exactly one of the things that the paper claims is impossible. The radiative output of molecules CAN be increased ABOVE the level of the input energy without increasing the relative concentration of the species AND without increasing the input energy. It’s not theory, it is done on a daily basis in labs all over the world.

Kevin Kilty
December 30, 2011 4:53 pm

pochas says:
December 30, 2011 at 7:12 am
PV = nRT is not the whole story. There are three different types of expansion. They are isothermal, adiabatic, and polytropic. An isothermal expansion happens when the work of compression is wasted, as when you let air out of a tire. For an ideal gas this takes place at constant temperature. At pressures less than atmospheric for most purposes air can be considered an ideal gas….
This is the equation that describes the temperature change for an adiabatic expansion, and also defines the temperature profile for a planetary atmosphere.
T2 = T1 * (P2 / P1) ^ ( ɤ – 1 / ɤ)

True what you say about the ideal gas law. I’d just want to point out that PV=nrT and T2 = T1 * (P2 / P1) ^ ( ɤ – 1 / ɤ) are very different things. The Ideal Gas Law is an equation of state. It relates the variables P,V,n, and T to one another in all instances (as long as the gas is ideal). The relationship of temperature to pressure in an adiabatic expansion that you cite is not an equation of state, but rather a path on a curve in P,T space–a path on a curve, or, if you wish, a process. An example of an adiabatic process that would obey the equation you give is the compression stroke of a diesel engine. It is important to keep in mind that a path or process and an equation of state are not at all similar things, and I think some of the confusion on this thread stems from this. For instance, temperature is the result of a process (energy balance), and at equilibrium it is also a state variable related to others through the IGL. But the ideal gas law does not describe a process.
By the way, a number of people have commented on when is a gas “ideal”. There are two things to avoid if a gas is to be ideal. One has to avoid instances where the gas condenses, which is very non-ideal behavior; so saturated water vapor is not ideal. The other is among states close to the critical point. For air the critical temperature is -140C and critical pressure is 39 atmospheres. Obviously dry air in the earth’s atmosphere is always ideal because the pressure is so much below critical.

December 30, 2011 4:53 pm

Drs Nikolov and Zeller have discovered a tight correlation from the pressure at a planetary body’s surface to this body’s Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE). Does the exisence of this correlation imply that the level of the pressure causes the level of the ATE?
In response, Dr. Glickman recites the familiar rule that correlation does not imply causation. One could recite the same rule in reference to the conjecture that the CO2 concentration causes the equilibrium global surface air temperature. There is a relation from one of the variables to the other but not necessarily a cause and effect relation.
If the correlation from the pressure to the temperature were to imply a cause and effect relationship then we would have the basis for making public policy; the appropriate policy would be to deregulate CO2 emissions. If the correlation from the CO2 level to the temperature were to imply a cause and effect relationship, then we would have the basis for making a different public policy. However as Glickman points out, correlation does not imply causation. How then can a basis be created for making public policy on CO2 emissions?
A basis can be created through recognition of the fact that each of the two relations is an example of an idea that plays a central role in logic. This idea is called an “inference.”
A scientific model (aka scientific theory) is a procedure for making inferences. On each occasion in which an inference is made, there are alteratives a, b,… for being made. Logic is the science of the rules under which the one correct inference may be discriminated from the many incorrect inferences. These rules are called “the principles of reasoning.”
Very few researchers know anything about the principles of reasoning. The ignorance of climatological researchers regarding the principles of reasoning leaves them unable to discriminate correct from incorrect inferences in the construction of their models. Thus, they are unable to provide us with a logical basis for the formation of public policy. The US$100 billion or so which the taxpayers of the world have spent on the inquiry of climatological researchers into the AGW conjecture has not provided us with such a basis. Before providing us with such a basis, climatological reseachers must learn about the principles of reasoning. It seems to me that it is high time they did so.

Bart
December 30, 2011 4:54 pm

Well, yeah Willis, that’s kind of muddled. I assume the idea is that, by confining the atmosphere into a thin shell about the Earth and inducing pressure in it, gravity induces retention of heat near the Earth, with the heat being derived from an external source. Basically, it would work in the same way GHGs are believed to heat the Earth – by impeding the outflow of energy.
That’s my interpretation, and it seems reasonable to me, at least on the surface (no pun intended).

Bill Illis
December 30, 2011 5:00 pm

The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression.
If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.
Take your pick,
– back-radiation varies by atmospheric pressure/altitude; or
– the basic weight of the atmosphere/the density varies the rate by which longwave radiation escapes from the surface.

jae
December 30, 2011 5:51 pm

Heh, Ira:
The honest commenters have said it all. Those with vested interested (including ego) are repeating their noise (trouble is, they are toast and they know it). You are again “in over your head” on this, Ira!

Joel Shore
December 30, 2011 6:13 pm

Kevin Keity says:

This linear profile is not consistent with radiative exchange but is rather the hallmark of convection and lapse rate. In effect the Venutian atmosphere attains a high temperature quite high in the atmosphere, and the small irradiance that reaches the surface causes convection, and the lapse rate leads to very high surface temperature.

Your first statement is correct and your second is wrong. In the lower part of an atmosphere that is strongly heated from below and cooled from above, the lapse rate will assume the adiabatic lapse rate. This is due to the fact that the lapse rate in the absence of convection would even be higher but a lapse rate higher than the adiabatic lapse rate is unstable to convection, which then transports heat upward until the lapse rate is brought back down to the adiabatic lapse rate.
Your second statement is wrong because the lapse rate alone does not determine the surface temperature. If I tell you that a line has a slope of m and then ask you what the value of y is at x=0, you can’t tell me: You also have to know the value of y at one particular x. This is true of temperature vs height: The fact that you know the lapse rate does not uniquely determine the surface temperature. If you know two things, such as the lapse rate and the “effective radiating height” in the atmosphere (where the temperature is equal to the ideal blackbody temperature) then you can determine the surface temperature; however, the effective radiating height is determined by the opacity of the atmosphere to radiation emitted by the Venusian surface…Or, in other words, by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

jae
December 30, 2011 6:17 pm

Fact is: heat storage by the oceans and atmosphere, plus the lapse rate, can easily explain the extant temperatures on this planet. We don’t need some silly radiation diagrams with magic back-radiation to explain anything. (BTW, Willis, et. al., I am NOT denying that the back-raidiation exists; I simply maintain that it means nothing)
IF the back-radiation from greenhouse gases actually causes some kind of “radiative greenhouse effect,” then just where is this magic effect for the last 15 years?? OCO levels are ever increasing….
Just where the hell is that warming at about 10 km in the tropical atmosphere? Where is the Artic and Antartic warming?
Oh, maybe the volcanoes are messing with the theory? soot? the Sun?
Need some explanation, Willis and all you backradiation-enhanced-blanket-insulation freaks. It looks to me like the scientists that offered an alternative explanation have WAY, WAY more evidence on their side!!

Phil's Dad
December 30, 2011 6:28 pm

In the original poster “case A” would be that the ongoing work done (by gravity) to maintain a given pressure in an open ended container (such as is the outer surface of our sphere) results in a higher temperature than would be the case at a (permanently) lower pressure for a given energy balance. “Case B”, that at an increased temperature equilibrium and a given mass of atmosphere in our open but gravitationally constrained system; pressure would temporarily rise and then fall back while volume increased to a higher “permanent level”. I see no confusion in cause and effect here. The cause, according, to the original poster, of temperature fluctuations at the surface for a given energy balance over the long term is changes in mass.
PS I still can’t see why people object to the 133k of GHG warming. It does not mean the atmosphere free world would fall to -118C. It means there are other factors (such as the water cycle and more) currently keeping our temperature as low as 15C – which factors, in the absence of atmosphere, would also disappear.

Phil's Dad
December 30, 2011 6:54 pm

Please Do Not Make Stuff Up As You Go Along (AKA Chesty Puller) says:
December 30, 2011 at 4:07 am
The thermosphere has an insignificant density and it’s temperature is(sic) reaches into the thousands of degrees.

In fact the individual molecules of the thermosphere reach into the thousands of degrees (and are in themselves relativly dense). On average the thermosphere is pretty chilly.
PS Ned Nikolov is commenting over on the original thread.

Kevin Kilty
December 30, 2011 7:25 pm

Joel Shore says:
December 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm
Kevin Keity says:
This linear profile is not consistent with radiative exchange but is rather the hallmark of convection and lapse rate. In effect the Venutian atmosphere attains a high temperature quite high in the atmosphere, and the small irradiance that reaches the surface causes convection, and the lapse rate leads to very high surface temperature.
Your first statement is correct and your second is wrong. In the lower part of an atmosphere that is strongly heated from below and cooled from above, the lapse rate will assume the adiabatic lapse rate. This is due to the fact that the lapse rate in the absence of convection would even be higher but a lapse rate higher than the adiabatic lapse rate is unstable to convection, which then transports heat upward until the lapse rate is brought back down to the adiabatic lapse rate.
Your second statement is wrong because the lapse rate alone does not determine the surface temperature. If I tell you that a line has a slope of m and then ask you what the value of y is at x=0, you can’t tell me: You also have to know the value of y at one particular x. This is true of temperature vs height: The fact that you know the lapse rate does not uniquely determine the surface temperature. If you know two things, such as the lapse rate and the “effective radiating height” in the atmosphere (where the temperature is equal to the ideal blackbody temperature) then you can determine the surface temperature; however, the effective radiating height is determined by the opacity of the atmosphere to radiation emitted by the Venusian surface…Or, in other words, by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Read your second paragraph carefully, Mr. Shore. 1) I stated that there was a small irradiance reaching the surface to run the convection. So, it is you saying that lapse rate alone determines surface temperature, not me. 2) You can determine surface temperature from the temperature high in the atmosphere plus lapse rate to the surface. One point and one slope is a straight line. 3) I didn’t say the “greenhouse” effect isn’t important on Venus, I am pointing out that it doesn’t operate as it does on Earth, and implying that there is not much danger of Earth becoming like Venus. You are so determined to make the greenhouse on Venus an analogy to that on Earth, that don’t pay attention to what I say. Your second paragraph, more or less, says exactly what I was saying.
BTW, the name is Kilty…use cntrl-C.

Bill H
December 30, 2011 7:26 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
December 30, 2011 at 10:07 am
I think it would be easier to understand if you used density of the atmosphere as and example.
IE: at 50,000 feet the density of molecules is very sparse. thus the heating (vibration) energy they transfer has long travel times and is easily lost to the coldness of space. At sea level that same mix of gases is very compacted and close together (dense) thus the same level of heating would be retained longer as adjacent molecules will react to the energy transfer.
The pressure (and thus the density) of gases at seal level will hold, retain, and reflect heat in direct proportion. As the gas pressure decreases so does the density. Thus proportionally less heat will be retained.
This is how I understand the N&K theory. The mix of gases is relatively irrelevant to the calculations as in a convecting atmosphere the weight (density) will not significantly change given dispersion. Even dumping of huge amounts of CO2 will not increase the temp as the Black Body LWIR heat escape is increased. While warming might increase initially during day time hours the loss will counter balance at night. The convection process and water transfer will simply self correct.
just a layman’s take on the problem..
Bill

ferd berple
December 30, 2011 7:32 pm

Bill Illis says:
December 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm
The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression. If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.
BINGO!!!

Erinome
December 30, 2011 7:32 pm

jae says:
IF the back-radiation from greenhouse gases actually causes some kind of “radiative greenhouse effect,” then just where is this magic effect for the last 15 years?? OCO levels are ever increasing….
And temperature is increasing too. UAH LT temperatures have a trend of 0.072 +/- 0.033 C/decade from Dec 1996 to Nov 2011.

December 30, 2011 7:32 pm

Terry Oldberg said @ December 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm
“A scientific model (aka scientific theory) is a procedure for making inferences.
….
Very few researchers know anything about the principles of reasoning.”
While I agree with the second statement, the first is clearly incorrect.
A scientific model is not a scientific theory. Consider the following statement by Stephen Hawking: “A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations.” Note the words “on the basis of a model”.
Consider the first scientific model most of us are presented with in school: a stick in the ground casting a shadow. The model of this, drawn on paper, or blackboard, shows a straight line from the end of the shadow furthest from the sun directly towards the sun and grazing the top of the stick. The various parts are labelled in order to facilitate talking about the model. To describe this drawing as a theory makes no sense whatsoever. The theory is: Just because light always travels in a straight line (a law of optics), we can calculate the height of any arbitrary vertical object by measuring the length of the shadow, the angle between the light ray and the ground using the mathematical laws of trigonometry.
This is pedantic I know, but it’s a little frustrating at times when the word “theory” is so often misused. A “model” is usually a diagram, or set of mathematical statements along with simplifying assumptions such that the “theory” can be adequately explained.

ferd berple
December 30, 2011 7:36 pm

Ira, your compressed gas cylinder fails to model the situation because of heat exchange between the walls the cylinder and the air. There is no such convective loss on a planetary scale.
To model a planet correctly, your cylinder walls need to be perfectly insulating so they do not model a situation that does not exist.
What is missing from your model is the effects of convection, which duplicates continuous pumping.

Kevin Kilty
December 30, 2011 7:36 pm

Erinome says:
December 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm
Kevin Kilty says:
If one bothers to look at temperature versus height in the Venutian atmosphere, one will note a very long linear increase of temperature from the surface to very great height.
Uh, no:….

Uh, yes. And thank you for the graph reference, it looks very linear right up to 60km above the surface.

Kevin Kilty
December 30, 2011 7:42 pm

ferd berple says:
December 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm
Bill Illis says:
December 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm
The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression. If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.
BINGO!!!

You might note that these places are in the subtropics and have sun at near zenith practically the whole year. Also, since these are the very lowest of places on the planet, the air that reaches here was hot to begin with in the neighboring land, and then has been subject to gravitational work during its descent–6F per thousand feet.

Bill H
December 30, 2011 7:47 pm

ferd berple says:
December 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm
Bill Illis says:
December 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm
The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression. If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.
____________________________________________________
they are also the coldest at night and the area has one of the highest High to Low temp ratios. the gain is lost at night… Dont you just love a self correcting planet… the mean temp remains the same….

Joel Shore
December 30, 2011 7:54 pm

Bill Illis says:

The warmest places on the planet are those below sea level, those with the highest atmospheric pressure – the Dead Sea, Death Valley, the Danakil Depression.
If atmospheric pressure is not the reason for this, then one needs to invoke a stonger response of back-radiation caused by GHGs as one goes lower.

You have created a strawman. Nobody is disputing the existence of the lapse rate. The point is, however, that the lapse rate does not uniquely determine the surface temperature. You also need the temperature at some other point in the atmosphere, such as the effective radiating level, which is, in turn, dependent on atmospheric composition…in particular, the opacity of the atmosphere to radiation emitted by the surface …i.e., the greenhouse effect.

December 30, 2011 7:55 pm

Ira,
Your comments regarding our paper contain so much misunderstanding and conceptual errors that I could not explain them all in a simple reply. You seems to have been unable to follow consistently our arguments and the logic behind it. That’s OK, because, as I commented in my reply to the other thread, this is a NEW paradigm that requires a cognitive SHIFT in order to grasp it. We are committed to do our best in helping scientists in this regard… Watch for an formal ‘reply paper’ from us sometime next week.
I’d like to make only one comment here in regard to your main premise – ‘confusing cause with effect’. Towards the end of your paper you state:
Yes, TOA solar irradiance would be expected to be important in predicting mean surface temperature, but mean atmospheric surface pressure, it seems to me, would more likely be a result than a cause of temperature. But, I could be wrong.
Unfortunately, you are wrong! On a planetary level, the mean surface pressure is completely INDEPENDENT of temperature or solar heating. It is only a function of total atmospheric mass, the planet surface area, and gravity. That is why, the average thermodynamic process at the surface is isobaric in nature (meaning it operates under nearly constant pressure) … Read carefully Section 3.1 (on p. 6) of our paper. Most of your arguments fall apart from there … This is really a high-school level physics … 🙂
Cheers!

Joel Shore
December 30, 2011 7:59 pm

Kevin Kilty says:

Your second paragraph, more or less, says exactly what I was saying.

Sorry, Kevin. I seem to have misinterpreted what you are saying as trying to make the argument of those who believe that the “greenhouse effect” is unnecessary to explain why the Earth’s average surface temperature is at 288 K rather than 255 K. If you were just saying basically what I am saying, then I misinterpreted what you said.

December 30, 2011 8:06 pm

Willis says: “This is not science. This is nonsensical handwaving. It is no more intelligible after your replacement than it was before.”
There is a great amount of nicky picky that goes on here. I just try to make it a bit lighter and simpler: As pointing out that Death Valley is warmer relative to higher altitudes because of the depth of the atmosphere, which is then picked apart by a lecture on the surrounding terrain which of course is not the point. The point is from the FACT that denser atmosphere increases the temperatures that was point out in the example of Venus compared to counterparts.
So much for poor examples on my part. 🙂
Happy New Year to all of you!

davidmhoffer
December 30, 2011 8:37 pm

highflight56433hi;
There is a great amount of nicky picky that goes on here. >>>
Welcome to WUWT!
highflight56433hi;
As pointing out that Death Valley is warmer relative to higher altitudes because of the depth of the atmosphere, which is then picked apart by a lecture on the surrounding terrain which of course is not the point.>>>
Ah, but it is! One of the things the alarmawarmists rely on is presenting only part of the story in order to support their conclusions. Should a skeptic get the answer to a highly complex matter 99.9% correct, they will be shredded on this site for their egregious error. Were the alarmawarmists held to the same standard, their arguments would wilt in the face of an encyclopaedia of refutation for every page they write. The more rigorous the standards we apply to ourselves, the stronger our collective voice becomes in presenting actual science versus their puffed up pretentious magic disguised as science.
In this case, the temps in Death Valley are in part driven by altitude, and in part by terrain. The more complete the answer, the better, else we succomb to the inverse of Arthur C Clarke’s famous statement, which would have to be reworded to say:
Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science.

Editor
December 30, 2011 8:42 pm

highflight56433hi says:
December 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Willis says:

“This is not science. This is nonsensical handwaving. It is no more intelligible after your replacement than it was before.”

There is a great amount of nicky picky that goes on here. I just try to make it a bit lighter and simpler: As pointing out that Death Valley is warmer relative to higher altitudes because of the depth of the atmosphere, which is then picked apart by a lecture on the surrounding terrain which of course is not the point. The point is from the FACT that denser atmosphere increases the temperatures that was point out in the example of Venus compared to counterparts.

Since neither you nor anyone else has been able to explain the paragraph I highlighted, it’s hardly “nicky picky”.
Regarding lower altitudes being warmer than higher altitudes … that’s always been true. It’s called the “lapse rate”. Surely you don’t think the fact that that mountains are cooler than foothills proves anything about what heats them?
w.

December 30, 2011 8:47 pm

Happy New Year Anthony, Contributors, Mods, Rockers, Trolls and Ne’er-do-wells. Remember, it’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”, or “Would you like a nice cold beer?”

Erinome
December 30, 2011 8:54 pm

Kevin Kilty says:
Uh, yes. And thank you for the graph reference, it looks very linear right up to 60km above the surface.
It’s a linear *decrease* in temperature, not an increase.

pochas
December 30, 2011 9:10 pm

Kevin Kilty says:
December 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm
“The Ideal Gas Law is an equation of state. It relates the variables P,V,n, and T to one another in all instances (as long as the gas is ideal). The relationship of temperature to pressure in an adiabatic expansion that you cite is not an equation of state, but rather a path on a curve in P,T space–a path on a curve, or, if you wish, a process.”
Good point.

Editor
December 30, 2011 9:13 pm

Ned Nikolov says:
December 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Ira,
Your comments regarding our paper contain so much misunderstanding and conceptual errors that I could not explain them all in a simple reply. You seems to have been unable to follow consistently our arguments and the logic behind it. That’s OK, because, as I commented in my reply to the other thread, this is a NEW paradigm that requires a cognitive SHIFT in order to grasp it. We are committed to do our best in helping scientists in this regard… Watch for an formal ‘reply paper’ from us sometime next week.

Dr. Nikolov, like Ira I can’t understand what you are doing. Could you give us a very, very short (a few sentences) explanation of the core idea of your work? Because as I indicated upstream, I find your descriptions totally impenetrable. What is your main point in brief?
Many thanks,
w.

December 30, 2011 9:19 pm

thepompousgit (Dec. 30, 2001 at 7:32 PM):Thanks for taking the time to reply and for giving me an opportunity to clarify! There are contexts in which it is important for one to distinguish between a theory and a model. However, logic is not one of these contexts.
In both cases, there is the need for the one inference that is correct to be distinguished from the many inferences that are incorrect. It can be shown that the principles which distinguish the correct inference from the incorrect ones are identical with respect to a theory and a model.
As it turns out, an inference has the unique measure that is called its “entropy.” The entropy of an inference is the information that is missing in it for a deductive conclusion. Its “entropy” is the missing information in this inference for a deductive conclusion.
In view of the existence and uniqueness of the measure of an inference, the correct inference can be identified by an optimization in which the correct inference minimizes the entropy or maximizes it under constraints expressing the available information. That was a briefing on a more complicated topic.

December 30, 2011 9:35 pm

Theo gets it, the rest still like watermelons not opening their eyes. Authors response sheds some more light for those that wish to see.
A column of air at one bar. heat it, the column height increase but its mass and hence pressure stays the same.
But if you mix in heavier gases, the pressure increases and for a given input of heat, the temperature rises.

davidmhoffer
December 30, 2011 9:35 pm

Willis Eschenbach;
Since neither you nor anyone else has been able to explain the paragraph I highlighted, it’s hardly “nicky picky”.>>>
The paragraph as written is meaningless.
Now…if we put aside what they said and try and figure out what they meant…
Seems to me that the gist of it is that the higher the pressure, the more temperature increase to be expected from a given energy input. Now me and gas don’t much get along, I try and avoid gas as much as possible, despite which I am frequently accused of being full of hot air. I’m also accused from time to time of being full of “it” and I surmise from the comments that “it” and “hot air” are not the same thing, but may share a similar cause…
That said, at the highest level, does what they meant (or at least what I think they meant) not make a certain amount of sense? The higher the pressure, the more densely packed the molecules are. So…for low pressure gases, a given energy input would not raise temperatures as measured by conductance because while the molecules increase their vibrational states, the number of collisions doesn’t increase much. But under high pressure, the exact same energy input to a given volume would raise the chances of collisions and therefor temperature as measured through conducatance (such as a thermometer).
The mesosphere would be a good example of a very low pressure gas. Technically, the “temperature” of the mesosphere is very high. Stick your average thermometer into it though, and you won’t get a very high temperature. There simply aren’t enough molecules colliding with the thermometer to raise the thermometer’s temperature to the average temperature of the molecules. Hence the thermometer says it is “cold” even though the individual molecules in the mesosphere are seriously hot. Double the amount of energy flowing into the low pressure mesosphere and the thermometer reading just won’t change a lot. But compress that mesosphere to the same density as air at earth surface, and then stick the thermometer into it. Ooops, melted thermometer. OK, get a new thermometer made for ugly high temps. Now double the energy input. I’d expect to see the thermometer record a rather large jump in temperature.

gnomish
December 30, 2011 9:42 pm

ah- quantum misinformation theory, eh?
wherein the atom of misinformation is discovered to be made of subinformative particles called morons… this is vital to artificial stupidity research. the supercomputer designed for the purpose has a petabye of write only memory and code runs in base 1.
it may be that if fuzzy logic can be made wooly enough it will be worth harvesting

December 30, 2011 10:17 pm

Terry Oldberg said @ December 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm
“thepompousgit (Dec. 30, 2001 at 7:32 PM):Thanks for taking the time to reply and for giving me an opportunity to clarify! There are contexts in which it is important for one to distinguish between a theory and a model. However, logic is not one of these contexts.”
Thank you Terry. I hope to respond to this as time permits (it’s New Year’s Eve here in the Land of Under). I suspect there is much to learn from you. I have preserved a link to your website.
Cheers

December 30, 2011 10:40 pm

Lord Kelvin once said

“In physical science the first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science, whatever the matter may be.”

I apply this idea to the oft quoted paragraph

NTE should not be confused with an actual energy, however, since it only defines the relative (fractional) increase of a planet’s surface temperature above that of a SPGB. Pressure by itself is not a source of energy! Instead, it enhances (amplifies) the energy supplied by an external source such as the Sun through density-dependent rates of molecular collision. This relative enhancement only manifests as an actual energy in the presence of external heating.

I like to see definitions, measurements and equations when new ideas are introduced. What equation defines, and what experiments could be performed to measure:
* NTE
* “enhancement” of the energy supplied by an external source, as a function of density, rates of molecular collisions, and external heating.