Unified Theory of Climate

Note: This was a poster, and adopted into a blog post by the author, Ned Nikolov, specifically for WUWT. My thanks to him for the extra effort in converting the poster to a more blog friendly format. – Anthony

Expanding the Concept of Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Using Thermodynamic Principles: Implications for Predicting Future Climate Change

Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. & Karl Zeller, Ph.D.

USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins CO, USA

Emails: ntconsulting@comcast.net kzeller@colostate.edu

Poster presented at the Open Science Conference of the World Climate Research Program,

24 October 2011, Denver CO, USA

http://www.wcrp-climate.org/conference2011/posters/C7/C7_Nikolov_M15A.pdf

Abstract

We present results from a new critical review of the atmospheric Greenhouse (GH) concept. Three main problems are identified with the current GH theory. It is demonstrated that thermodynamic principles based on the Gas Law need be invoked to fully explain the Natural Greenhouse Effect. We show via a novel analysis of planetary climates in the solar system that the physical nature of the so-called GH effect is a Pressure-induced Thermal Enhancement (PTE), which is independent of the atmospheric chemical composition. This finding leads to a new and very different paradigm of climate controls. Results from our research are combined with those from other studies to propose a new Unified Theory of Climate, which explains a number of phenomena that the current theory fails to explain. Implications of the new paradigm for predicting future climate trends are briefly discussed.

1. Introduction

Recent studies revealed that Global Climate Models (GCMs) have significantly overestimated the Planet’s warming since 1979 failing to predict the observed halt of global temperature rise over the past 13 years. (e.g. McKitrick et al. 2010). No consensus currently exists as to why the warming trend ceased in 1998 despite a continued increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Moreover, the CO2-temperature relationship shows large inconsistencies across time scales. In addition, GCM projections heavily depend on positive feedbacks, while satellite observations indicate that the climate system is likely governed by strong negative feedbacks (Lindzen & Choi 2009; Spencer & Braswell 2010). At the same time, there is a mounting political pressure for Cap-and-Trade legislation and a global carbon tax, while scientists and entrepreneurs propose geo-engineering solutions to cool the Planet that involve large-scale physical manipulation of the upper atmosphere. This unsettling situation calls for a thorough reexamination of the present climate-change paradigm; hence the reason for this study.

2.  The Greenhouse Effect: Reexamining the Basics

image

Figure 1. The Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect as taught at universities around the World (diagram from the website of the Penn State University Department of Meteorology).

According to the current theory, the Greenhouse Effect (GHE) is a radiative phenomenon caused by heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere such as CO2 and water vapor that are assumed to reduce the rate of surface infrared cooling to Space by absorbing the outgoing long-wave (LW) emission and re-radiating part of it back, thus increasing the total energy flux toward the surface. This is thought to boost the Earth’s temperature by 18K – 33K compared to a gray body with no absorbent atmosphere such as the Moon; hence making our Planet habitable. Figure 1 illustrates this concept using a simple two-layer system known as the Idealized Greenhouse Model (IGM). In this popular example, S is the top-of-the atmosphere (TOA) solar irradiance (W m-2), A is the Earth shortwave albedo, Ts is the surface temperature (K), Te is the Earth’s effective emission temperature (K) often equated with the mean temperature of middle troposphere, ϵ is emissivity, and σ is the Stefan-Boltzmann (S-B) constant.

2.1. Main Issues with the Current GHE Concept:

A) Magnitude of the Natural Greenhouse Effect. GHE is often quantified as a difference between the actual mean global surface temperature (Ts = 287.6K) and the planet’s average gray-body (no-atmosphere) temperature (Tgb), i.e. GHE = Ts Tgb. In the current theory, Tgb is equated with the effective emission temperature (Te) calculated straight from the S-B Law using Eq. (1):

image

where αp is the planetary albedo of Earth (≈0.3). However, this is conceptually incorrect! Due to Hölder’s inequality between non-linear integrals (Kuptsov 2001), Te is not physically compatible with a measurable true mean temperature of an airless planet. To be correct, Tgb must be computed via proper spherical integration of the planetary temperature field. This means calculating the temperature at every point on the Earth sphere first by taking the 4th root from the S-B relationship and then averaging the resulting temperature field across the planet surface, i.e.

image

where αgb is the Earth’s albedo without atmosphere (≈0.125), μ is the cosine of incident solar angle at any point, and cs= 13.25e-5 is a small constant ensuring that Tgb = 2.72K (the temperature of deep Space) when So = 0. Equation (2) assumes a spatially constant albedo (αgb), which is a reasonable approximation when trying to estimate an average planetary temperature.

Since in accordance with Hölder’s inequality TgbTe (Tgb =154.3K ), GHE becomes much larger than presently estimated.

According to Eq. (2), 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.

B) Role of Convection. The conceptual model in Fig. 1 can be mathematically described by the following simultaneous Equations (3),

image

where νa is the atmospheric fraction of the total shortwave radiation absorption. Figure 2 depicts the solution to Eq. (3) for temperatures over a range of atmospheric emissivities (ϵ) assuming So = 1366 W m-2 and νa =0.326 (Trenberth et al. 2009). An increase in atmospheric emissivity does indeed cause a warming at the surface as stated by the current theory. However, Eq. (3) is physically incomplete, because it does not account for convection, which occurs simultaneously with radiative transfer. Adding a convective term to Eq. (3) (such as a sensible heat flux) yields the system:

image

where gbH is the aerodynamic conductance to turbulent heat exchange. Equation (4) dramatically alters the solution to Eq. (3) by collapsing the difference between Ts, Ta and Te and virtually erasing the GHE (Fig. 3). This is because convective cooling is many orders of magnitude more efficient that radiative cooling. These results do not change when using multi-layer models. In radiative transfer models, Ts increases with ϵ not as a result of heat trapping by greenhouse gases, but due to the lack of convective cooling, thus requiring a larger thermal gradient to export the necessary amount of heat. Modern GCMs do not solve simultaneously radiative transfer and convection. 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!

image

Figure 2. Solution to the two-layer model in Eq. (3) for Ts and Ta as a function of atmospheric emissivity assuming a non-convective atmosphere. Also shown is the predicted down-welling LW flux(Ld). Note that Ld ≤ 239 W m-2.

image

Figure 3. Solution to the two-layer model in Eq. (4) for Ts and Ta as a function of atmospheric emissivity assuming a convective atmosphere (gbH = 0.075 m/s). Also shown is the predicted down-welling LW flux (Ld). Note that Ld ≤ 239 W m-2.

image

Figure 4. According to observations, the Earth-Atmosphere System absorbs on average a net solar flux of 239 W m-2, while the lower troposphere alone emits 343 W m-2 thermal radiation toward the surface.

C) Extra Kinetic Energy in the Troposphere.

Observations show that the lower troposphere emits 44% more radiation toward the surface than the total solar flux absorbed by the entire Earth-Atmosphere System (Pavlakis et al. 2003) (Fig. 4). Radiative transfer alone cannot explain this effect (e.g. Figs. 2 & 3) given the negligible heat storage capacity of air, no matter how detailed the model is. Thus, empirical evidence indicates that the lower atmosphere contains more kinetic energy than provided by the Sun. Understanding the origin of this extra energy is a key to the GHE.

3. The Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement

Previous studies have noted that the term Greenhouse Effect is a misnomer when applied to the atmosphere, since real greenhouses retain heat through an entirely different mechanism compared to the free atmosphere, i.e. by physically trapping air mass and restricting convective heat exchange. Hence, we propose a new term instead, Near-surface Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE) defined as a non-dimensional ratio (NTE) of the 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. This new definition emphasizes the essence of GHE, which is the temperature boost at the surface due to the presence of an atmosphere. We employ Eq. (2) to estimate Tgb assuming an albedo αgb = 0.12 and a surface emissivity ϵ = 0.955 for the SPGB based on data for Moon, Mercury, and the Earth surface. Using So = 1362 W m-2 (Kopp & Lean 2011) in Eq. (2) yields Tgb = 154.3K and NTE = 287.6/154.3 = 1.863 for Earth. This prompts the question: What mechanism enables our atmosphere to boost the planet surface temperature some 86% above that of a SPGB? To answer it we turn on to the classical Thermodynamics.

3.1. Climate Implications of the Ideal Gas Law

The average thermodynamic state of a planet’s atmosphere can be accurately described by the Ideal Gas Law (IGL):

PV = nRT (5)

where P is pressure (Pa), V is the gas volume (m3), n is the gas amount (mole), R = 8.314 J K-1 mol-1is the universal gas constant, and T is the gas temperature (K). Equation (5) has three features that are chiefly important to our discussion: a) the product P×V defines the internal kinetic energy of a gas (measured in Jules) that produces its temperature; b) the linear relationship in Eq. (5) guarantees that a mean global temperature can be accurately estimated from planetary averages of surface pressure and air volume (or density). This is in stark contrast to the non-linear relationship between temperature and radiant fluxes (Eq. 1) governed by Hölder’s inequality of integrals; c) on a planetary scale, pressure in the lower troposphere is effectively independent of other variables in Eq. (5) and is only a function of gravity (g), total atmospheric mass (Mat), and the planet surface area (As), i.e. Ps = g Mat/As. Hence, the near-surface atmospheric dynamics can safely be assumed to be governed (over non-geological time scales) by nearly isobaric processes on average, i.e. operating under constant pressure. This isobaric nature of tropospheric thermodynamics implies that the average atmospheric volume varies in a fixed proportion to changes in the mean surface air temperature following the Charles/Gay-Lussac Law, i.e. Ts/V = const. This can be written in terms of the average air density ρ (kg m-3) as

ρTs = const. = Ps M / R (6)

where Ps is the mean surface air pressure (Pa) and M is the molecular mass of air (kg mol-1). Eq. (6) reveals an important characteristic of the average thermodynamic process at the surface, namely that a variation of global pressure due to either increase or decrease of total atmospheric mass will alter both temperature and atmospheric density. What is presently unknown is the differential effect of a global pressure change on each variable. We offer a solution to this in & 3.3. Equations (5) and (6) imply that pressure directly controls the kinetic energy and temperature of the atmosphere. Under equal solar insolation, a higher surface pressure (due to a larger atmospheric mass) would produce a warmer troposphere, while a lower pressure would result in a cooler troposphere. At the limit, a zero pressure (due to the complete absence of an atmosphere) would yield the planet’s gray-body temperature.

The thermal effect of pressure is vividly demonstrated on a cosmic scale by the process of star formation, where gravity-induced rise of gas pressure boosts the temperature of an interstellar cloud to the threshold of nuclear fusion. At a planetary level, the effect is manifest in Chinook winds, where adiabatically heated downslope airflow raises the local temperature by 20C-30C in a matter of hours. This leads to a logical question: Could air pressure be responsible for the observed thermal enhancement at the Earth surface presently known as a ‘Natural Greenhouse Effect’? To answer this we must analyze the relationship between NTEfactor and key atmospheric variables including pressure over a wide range of planetary climates. Fortunately, our solar system offers a suitable spectrum of celestial bodies for such analysis.

3.2. Interplanetary Data Set

We based our selection of celestial bodies for the ATE analysis on three criteria: 1) presence of a solid planetary surface with at least traces of atmosphere; 2) availability of reliable data on surface temperature, total pressure, atmospheric composition etc. preferably from direct measurements; and 3) representation of a wide range of atmospheric masses and compositions. This approach resulted in choosing of four planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, and four natural satellites – Moon of Earth, Europa of Jupiter, Titan of Saturn, and Triton of Neptune. Each celestial body was described by 14 parameters listed in Table 1.

For planets with tangible atmospheres, i.e. Venus, Earth and Mars, the temperatures calculated from IGL agreed rather well with observations. Note that, for extremely low pressures such as on Mercury and Moon, the Gas Law produces Ts ≈ 0.0. The SPGB temperatures for each celestial body were estimated from Eq. (2) using published data on solar irradiance and assuming αgb = 0.12 and ϵ = 0.955. For Mars, global means of surface temperature and air pressure were calculated from remote sensing data retrieved via the method of radio occultation by the Radio Science Team (RST) at Stanford University using observations by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft from 1999 to 2005. Since the MGS RST analysis has a wide spatial coverage, the new means represent current average conditions on the Red Planet much more accurately than older data based on Viking’s spot observations from 1970s.

Table 1. Planetary data used to analyze the physical nature of the Atmospheric Near-Surface Thermal Enhancement (NTE). Information was gathered from multiple sources using cross-referencing. The bottom three rows of data were estimated in this study using equations discussed in the text.

3.3. Physical Nature of ATE / GHE

Our analysis of interplanetary data in Table 1 found no meaningful relationships between ATE (NTE) and variables such as total absorbed solar radiation by planets or the amount of greenhouse gases in their atmospheres. However, we discovered that NTE was strongly related to total surface pressure through a nearly perfect regression fit via the following nonlinear function:

image

where Ps is in Pa. Figure 5 displays Eq. (7) graphically. The tight relationship signals a causal effect of pressure on NTE, which is theoretically supported by the IGL (see & 3.1). Also, the PsNTE curve in Fig. 5 strikingly resembles the response of the temperature/potential temp. (T/θ) ratio to altitudinal changes of pressure described by the well-known Poisson formula derived from IGL (Fig. 6). Such a similarity in responses suggests that both NTE and θ embody the effect of pressure-controlled adiabatic heating on air, even though the two mechanisms are not identical. This leads to a fundamental conclusion that the ‘Natural Greenhouse Effect’ is in fact a Pressure-induced Thermal Enhancement (PTE) in nature.

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. Thus, Earth and Titan have similar NTE values, yet their absolute surface temperatures are very different due to vastly dissimilar solar insolation. While pressure (P) controls the magnitude of the enhancement factor, solar heating determines the average atmospheric volume (V), and the product P×V defines the total kinetic energy and temperature of the atmosphere. Therefore, for particular solar insolation, the NTE factor gives rise to extra kinetic energy in the lower atmosphere beyond the amount supplied by the Sun. This additional energy is responsible for keeping the Earth surface 133K warmer than it would be in the absence of atmosphere, and is the source for the observed 44% extra down-welling LW flux in the lower troposphere (see &2.1 C). Hence, 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!

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, i.e.

image

image

Figure 5. Atmospheric near-surface Thermal Enhancement (NTE) as a function of mean total surface pressure (Ps) for 8 celestial bodies listed in Table 1. See Eq. (7) for the exact mathematical formula.

image

Figure 6. Temperature/potential temperature ratio as a function of atmospheric pressure according to the Poisson formula based on the Gas Law (Po = 100 kPa.). Note the striking similarity in shape with the curve in Fig. 5.

where NTE(Ps) is defined by Eq. (7). Equation (8) almost completely explains the variation of Ts among analyzed celestial bodies, thus providing a needed function to parse the effect of a global pressure change on the dependent variables ρ and Tsin Eq. (6). Together Equations (6) and (8) imply that the chemical composition of an atmosphere affects average air density through the molecular mass of air, but has no impact on the mean surface temperature.

4. Implications of the new ATE Concept

The implications of the above findings are numerous and paradigm-altering. These are but a few examples:

image

Figure 7. Dynamics of global temperature and 12-month forward shifted cloud cover types from satellite observations. Cloud changes precede temperature variations by 6 to 24 months and appear to have been controlling the latter during the past 30 years (Nikolov & Zeller, manuscript).

A) Global surface temperature is independent of the down-welling LW flux known as greenhouse or back radiation, because both quantities derive from the same pool of atmospheric kinetic energy maintained by solar heating and air pressure. Variations in the downward LW flux (caused by an increase of tropospheric emissivity, for example) are completely counterbalanced (offset) by changes in the rate of surface convective cooling, for this is how the system conserves its internal energy.

B) Modifying chemical composition of the atmosphere cannot alter the system’s total kinetic energy, hence the size of ATE (GHE). This is supported by IGL and the fact that planets of vastly different atmospheric composition follow the same PsNTE relationship in Fig. 5. The lack of impact by the atmospheric composition on surface temperature is explained via the compensating effect of convective cooling on back-radiation discussed above.

C) Equation (8) suggests that the planet’s albedo is largely a product of climate rather than a driver of it. This is because the bulk of the albedo is a function of the kinetic energy supplied by the Sun and the atmospheric pressure. However, independent small changes in albedo are possible and do occur owning to 1%-3% secular variations in cloud cover, which are most likely driven by solar magnetic activity. These cloud-cover changes cause ±0.7C semi-periodic fluctuations in global temperature on a decadal to centennial time scale as indicated by recent satellite observations (see Fig. 7) and climate reconstructions for the past 10,000 years.

image

Figure 8. Dynamics of global surface temperature during the Cenozoic Era reconstructed from 18O proxies in marine sediments (Hansen et al. 2008).

image

Figure 9. Dynamics of mean surface atmospheric pressure during the Cenozoic Era reconstructed from the temperature record in Fig. 8 by inverting Eq. (8).

D) Large climatic shifts evident in the paleo-record such as the 16C directional cooling of the Globe during the past 51 million years (Fig. 8) can now be explained via changes in atmospheric mass and surface pressure caused by geologic variations in Earth’s tectonic activity. Thus, we hypothesize that the observed mega-cooling of Earth since the early Eocene was due to a 53% net loss of atmosphere to Space brought about by a reduction in mantle degasing as a result of a slowdown in continental drifts and ocean floor spreading. Figure 9 depicts reconstructed dynamics of the mean surface pressure for the past 65.5M years based on Eq. (8) and the temperature record in Fig. 8.

5. Unified Theory of Climate

The above findings can help rectify physical inconsistencies in the current GH concept and assist in the development of a Unified Theory of Climate (UTC) based on a deeper and more robust understanding of various climate forcings and the time scales of their operation. Figure 10 outlines a hierarchy of climate forcings as part of a proposed UTC that is consistent with results from our research as well as other studies published over the past 15 years. A proposed key new driver of climate is the variation of total atmospheric mass and surface pressure over geological time scales (i.e. tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of years). According to our new theory, the climate change over the past 100-300 years is due to variations of global cloud albedo that are not related to GHE/ATE. This is principally different from the present GH concept, which attempts to explain climate changes over a broad range of time scales (i.e. from decades to tens of millions of years) with the same forcing attributed to variations in atmospheric CO2 and other heat-absorbing trace gases (e.g. Lacis et al. 2010).

Earth’s climate is currently in one of the warmest periods of the Holocene (past 10K years). It is unlikely that the Planet will become any warmer over the next 100 years, because the cloud cover appears to have reached a minimum for the present levels of solar irradiance and atmospheric pressure, and the solar magnetic activity began declining, which may lead to more clouds and a higher planetary albedo. At this point, only a sizable increase of the total atmospheric mass can bring about a significant and sustained warming. However, human-induced gaseous emissions are extremely unlikely to produce such a mass increase.

image

Figure 10. Global climate forcings and their time scales of operation according to the hereto proposed Unified Theory of Climate (UTC). Arrows indicate process interactions.

6. References

Kopp, G. and J. L. Lean (2011). A new, lower value of total solar irradiance: Evidence and climate significance, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L01706, doi:10.1029/2010GL045777.

Kuptsov, L. P. (2001) Hölder inequality, in Hazewinkel, Michiel, Encyclopedia of Mathematics, Springer, ISBN 978-1556080104.

Lacis, A. A., G. A. Schmidt, D. Rind, and R. A. Ruedy (2010). Atmospheric CO2: Principal control knob governing earth’s temperature. Science 330:356-359.

Lindzen, R. S. and Y.-S. Choi (2009). On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L16705, doi:10.1029/2009GL039628.

McKitrick, R. R. et al. (2010). Panel and Multivariate Methods for Tests of Trend Equivalence in Climate Data Series. Atmospheric Science Letters, Vol. 11, Issue 4, pages 270–277.

Nikolov, N and K. F. Zeller (manuscript). Observational evidence for the role of planetary cloud-cover dynamics as the dominant forcing of global temperature changes since 1982.

Pavlakis, K. G., D. Hatzidimitriou, C. Matsoukas, E. Drakakis, N. Hatzianastassiou, and I. Vardavas (2003). Ten-year global distribution of down-welling long-wave radiation. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 3, 5099-5137.

Spencer, R. W. and W. D. Braswell (2010). On the diagnosis of radiative feedback in the presence of unknown radiative forcing, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D16109, doi:10.1029/2009JD013371

Trenberth, K.E., J.T. Fasullo, and J. Kiehl (2009). Earth’s global energy budget. BAMS, March:311-323

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This post is also available as a PDF document here:

Unified_Theory_Of_Climate_Poster_Nikolov_Zeller

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

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Editor
December 29, 2011 1:14 am

An excellent submission for peer 2 peer review….. i’ll be digesting this one for a while…

December 29, 2011 1:19 am

Magnificent.
“only a sizable increase of total atmospheric mass can bring about a significant and sustained warming. However, human-induced gaseous emissions are extremely unlikely to produce such a mass increase. Hence, there is no anthropogenic forcing to global climate.”
Into the dumpster with Warmism and Luke-Warmism!

December 29, 2011 1:31 am

Absolutely fabulous. I take my hat off to you Sir.

David Jones
December 29, 2011 1:42 am

I like the touch of including the graph from Pen State University Department of Meteorology as Figure 1.
Shows chutzpah!

kim
December 29, 2011 1:49 am

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

Fitzcarraldo
December 29, 2011 1:58 am

[snip .. OT . . kbmod]

John Marshall
December 29, 2011 2:07 am

At Last!
I think that I have said all this several times, without all the complicated double integral math.
Its the pressure wot does it.

Petter Tuvnes
December 29, 2011 2:18 am

Very convincing, and in agreement with recent observations by Dr. R. W. Spencer (global temperatures and clouds relationship) and Dr. Svensgard (cosmic rays, the sun and clouds relationship).

December 29, 2011 2:19 am

They write,”Equation (8) suggests that the planet’s albedo is largely a product of climate rather than a driver of it.”
Could this be the key feature of the stablity of Earth’s climate? The warmists claim that climate is subject to unstable equilibrium, with a “tipping point” just around the corner. This UTC asserts that we are instead subject to stable equilibrium; negative feedback.
The warmists’ case can be demolished if their twin fallacies – positive feedback and high CO2 sensitivity – are shown to be hogwash. Nikolov and Mockton seem to have ’em in a pincer movement!

December 29, 2011 2:25 am

Uh-oh.. physics at last. Congratulations.

Oscar Bajner
December 29, 2011 2:31 am

I think I hear bells tolling, or death knelling,
or perhaps it’s the sound of Warmista colliding with reality,
or being slapped with a wet fish.
Anyway, The little Dog laughed to see such sport…

Stephen Wilde
December 29, 2011 2:38 am

“According to our new theory, the climate change over the past 100-300 years is due to variations of global cloud albedo that are not related to GHE/ATE”
Been there, done that:
http://climaterealists.com/attachments/ftp/TheUnifyingTheoryofEarthsClimate.pdf
as regards the title and some of the conclusions
and
http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6645
“How The Sun Coul;d Control Earth’s Temperature”
as regards the effect of cloudiness changes.
and
“The fundamental point is that the total atmospheric warming arising as a result of the density of the atmosphere is a once and for all netting out of all the truly astronomic number of radiant energy/molecule encounters throughout the atmosphere. The only things that can change that resultant point of temperature equilibrium are changes in solar radiance coming in or changes in overall atmospheric density which affect the radiant energy going out. In the real world the most obvious and most common reason for a change in atmospheric density occurs naturally when the oceans are in warming mode and solar irradiation is high as during the period 1975 to 1998. The increased warmth allows the atmosphere to hold more water vapour so that total atmospheric density increases and the atmospheric greenhouse effect strengthens. This effect is far greater than any CO2 effect. When the atmosphere cools again water vapour content declines and the atmospheric greenhouse effect weakens. CO2 and other trace gases are far too small a proportion of the atmosphere to have any significant effect in comparison to the water vapour effect. Even the water vapour effect has never provoked any tipping point in the face of the primary solar/oceanic driver so CO2 could never do so.”
from here:
http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1562&linkbox=true&position=7
“Greenhouse Confusion Resoived”.
as regards the density issue.

H.R.
December 29, 2011 2:39 am

So the total mass of the atmosphere is more important than its composition? Pressure controls climate and albedo? The current models don’t work and here’s why?
That’s a lot to chew on.

December 29, 2011 2:41 am

Anthony,
What a wonderful end-of-year present. Dr Nikolov has neatly and convincingly explained what others (e.g. ‘The Slayers’) have been broadly asserting for some time but without, in my opinion, providing an intelligible or convincing argument.
Unfortunately, too many climate skeptics have hitherto been uncomfortable with the idea that a body (a layer of the atmosphere in this case) that is forced by the laws of physics (gravity in this case) to have (on average, of course) a fixed volume and pressure must, according to the gas laws, attain a fixed temperature. All that is required is a flow of energy (radiant, convective or conductive) through that body that is at least sufficient to replace the energy loss from it. This rate of flow is amply provided by the solar energy flux irrespective of gas composition or planetary albedo.
Yes, it looks like game, set and match for strong climate skepticism.
What a wonderful way to begin the New Year.

kim2ooo
December 29, 2011 2:49 am

This is gonna tic off some…:)
I applaud the efforts to help rectify physical inconsistencies in the current GH concept.

Mike McMillan
December 29, 2011 2:53 am

A number of years ago here at WUWT I used the adiabatic lapse rates of air and CO2 to back-of-the-envelope calculate that rising in the Venusian atmosphere to 1 bar (Earth surface) pressure, the temperature would be within 10 degrees of the Earth’s, despite Venus being so much closer to the Sun. I reasoned then only that there was no “runaway” greenhouse tipping point and Dr Hansen was full of baloney.
I didn’t make Nikolov’s connection that the pressure itself was responsible for the effect, tho that seems seems to be what I found. Missing the obvious.
As I recall, adiabatically increasing our air atmosphere to Venus’ 90 bar brought the Earth temperature slightly higher than Venus’, tho I’m not that certain I did the calculation right.

December 29, 2011 2:53 am

If this is right then indeed it is paradigm-altering. It needs to be reviewed — proper peer review that aims to break it — and then we can see whether it fits the observed facts more closely than other theories. For example, can it explain the temperature record of the last 50 years? Or is the proposition that recent change is random? Whatever, it’s good to see some real innovative thinking brought to the subject, with the prospect of radically changing our understanding. Thank you!

Philip Mulholland
December 29, 2011 2:53 am

Comparative Planetology at its best!
Well Done.

Mydogsgotnonose
December 29, 2011 2:56 am

These people have independently invented lapse rate heating! When will modern scientists learn the basics before committing themselves to research and publication.
The good thing is that they show the IPCC climate models are bunkum. However, that is because ‘back radiation which they accept is really Prevost Exchange Energy so cannot do any thermodynamic work.
3/10 for effort.

Stephen Wilde
December 29, 2011 2:57 am

“Global surface temperature is independent of the down-welling LW flux known as greenhouse or back radiation, because both quantities derive from the same pool of atmospheric kinetic energy maintained by solar heating and air pressure. Variations in the downward LW flux (caused by an increase of tropospheric emissivity, for example) are completely counterbalanced (offset) by changes in the rate of surface convective cooling, for this is how the system conserves its internal energy.”
Quite so:
http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=7798
“The Setting And Maintaining of Earth’s Equilibrium Temperature”
“ANYTHING that adds energy to or takes energy from the air just above the ocean
surface merely adds to or subtracts from the rate of evaporation (not affecting the background
energy flow from water to air at all) and is converted to or from latent heat in the air in the
process. Of course conduction from water to air and upward radiation are also involved but
the energy taken up by them simply reduces the energy available for evaporation.
The equilibrium temperature of the oceans is in fact determined by the combination of
atmospheric pressure and the physical properties of the molecular bonds between liquid water
molecules and water vapour molecules. Critically it is dependent on the energy cost or gain of
the switch between liquid to vapour and back again. I need to explain that in some detail.”

Bruce
December 29, 2011 2:58 am

Nice update to the science debate. An additional (very small ~ 60 milliwatts per square meter Earth avg) correction to the Standard Planetary Grey Body surface temperature could be made taking into account the heat from internal radioactive decay of isotopes like K-40 and U and Th isotopes. I believe the general conclusions won’t be changed. I was pleased to see the comment comparing prior computer models and the core idea of the poster ” … Modern GCMs do not solve simultaneously radiative transfer and convection. 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 CO -driven global temperature change is a model artifact! “

Paul Maynard
December 29, 2011 3:14 am

Interesting.
Although I am not clever enough to agree or disagreee with the the maths/physics some observations.
1 This analysis shows that convection is the key which is the real reason behind the so called greenhouse effect – the stopping of convection.
2 Although I’ve not read Monckton’s second post yet, I’ve always assumed that his main goal was to use the IPCC’s theories and calculations to show that they were damned by their own work but were able to gloss over the essential weakenesses by bluster, assertion and the gullibility of the MSM and politicians needing to “save the planet”.
3 The famous Trenberth diagram seemed to be based upon the absence of the continued convection of heat away from the equator by the sea and by wind
Can’t wait for the WUWT audience response.
Cheers Paul

Allanj
December 29, 2011 3:15 am

Very interesting. It reminds me of an engineer I used to work with that, from time to time, would say, “This is an N dimension problem with N being a very large number.”
It seems that climate is an N dimension problem and scientists not part of the IPCC are increasingly identifying and examining new dimensions.
Exciting times to live in and WUWT is in the lead in providing a sounding board for alternative ideas. Congratulations.

Mike McMillan
December 29, 2011 3:16 am

My recall was a few degrees off. Here’s the post.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/06/hyperventilating-on-venus/#comment-384746

Tony McGough
December 29, 2011 3:19 am

This will reward serious study. How refreshing to see basic Physics (Gas Laws, Black Body Radiation) along with common sense (greenhouses work by reducing convection) ; and then astronomical data brought in to study cases where there are no man-made effects.
I must try to follow this in detail, if my ageing brain can manage it. At least I am assured, from a first reading, that there are no “sunshine from cucumbers” fairy tales to swallow along the way. (But the integrations may be beyond my limited mathematics).
Did you, like me, not always feel that the effect of humans on the planet is puny? Feelings are not science, of course, but …

openside50
December 29, 2011 3:21 am

I look forward to the BBC’s Richard Black pushing this bigtime, after all when it comes to ‘climate change’ no story is too big or too small for it to escape him

Roger Clague
December 29, 2011 3:23 am

Increase of pressure causes increase of temperature of a gas, without increase in energy. Published over 200 years ago by Joseph Gay-Lussac. and descibed 100 years before that.
Thermodynamics of an ideal gas. The greenhouse effect is INDEPENDENT of the chemical composition of the atmosphere.
Great.

Martin Mason
December 29, 2011 3:29 am

Very good and understandable reasoning. How to get this where it will be seen though?

R. de Haan
December 29, 2011 3:34 am

This is what I call a “killer” publication.
As the “Unified Theory of Climate” provides us with a great explanation how atmosphhic pressure determines our climate the principal AGW doctrine is completely destroyed by these conclusions:
“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.”
“In radiative transfer models, Ts increases with ϵ not as a result of heat trapping by greenhouse gases, but due to the lack of convective cooling, thus requiring a larger thermal gradient to export the necessary amount of heat. Modern GCMs do not solve simultaneously radiative transfer and convection. 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!”
This is a really, really great publication.

December 29, 2011 3:37 am

“….However, human-induced gaseous emissions are extremely unlikely to produce such a mass increase……”
Heretics!!, burn them, burn them all!!

December 29, 2011 3:38 am

Looks both complete and elegant. I’ll be rereading this for a while, but it’s so well-written that it will reward repeated reads.
Of course you don’t really need satellite observations to know that negative feedback is in full control; the fact that life has flourished for a billion years, through huge fluctuations of all the ‘forcing’ elements, is sufficient. If positive feedback had been significant, the whole mess would have gone critical in one direction or the other a long time ago.
Possibly the model doesn’t give enough credit to the dynamics of living things as part of the biosphere?

R Barker
December 29, 2011 3:44 am

Very interesting. Are there geologic or paleo evidence that confirm the atmospheric mass variations shown in fighure 9?

Brian Johnson uk
December 29, 2011 3:48 am

A breath of pure, fresh scientific observation that cannot be swept under the Warmist carpet [now threadbare] and I expect the unbiased Richard Black [BBC] to give this Unified Theory of Climate the full exposure it deserves [and climate realists expect].

Sparks
December 29, 2011 3:49 am

I’ve read it twice, It’s actually not bad.

Bill Illis
December 29, 2011 3:50 am

I’ve been waiting for someone to solve the gas law temperature equations – Perfect fit.
I think the paleo-climate temperatures used by the authors are over-stated. The Eocene Thermal Maximum temperatures should be reduced to about +6.0C rather than +16.0C (they might be using a version of Zachos 2005 which was built around polar temperatures rather than global temperatures and then someone else exaggerated it even further).

Keith Gordon
December 29, 2011 3:54 am

Could this be Game Set and Match?.
This is the most sensible theory I have heard to explain how the total atmosphere works. The laws of nature work the same throughout the Solar System only subject to different parameters, If it works for Mars Venus etc. why not the Earth. I shall look forward to reading further comments from our illustrious contributors.
Happy New Year to Anthony and all, keep up the enquiring process, the truth will out.
Keith Gordon

simpleseekeraftertruth
December 29, 2011 4:00 am

If this pans out then Nobel Prizes (at least) are in order.

Peter Miller
December 29, 2011 4:00 am

Yet another inconvenient paper which will not be considered for inclusion in the next IPCC fantasy report.

Chuck L
December 29, 2011 4:08 am

Although much of the math is beyond me, this looks to me like an entirely new climate paradigm and is a major game-changer!

Stephen Richards
December 29, 2011 4:09 am

Ok, it’s been many years since I did 3 dimensional intergration ( Debye’s theorem of specific heat) and differential calculus so I haven’t checked the maths but the premise is something that has been proposed for many years the changes on mars for example) and on which futher research may have been blocked by the team and NGO sources. I like immensely the thought processes behind the work and the way in which they have used ‘publicy available data’. From the basics the maths look ok and the equations fit the words. So, overall, a good piece of work and, indeed, groundbreaking. Now let’s see if any other ‘scientists’ come out from under their ‘comfort blanquets’ to confirm / deny this work through a correctly managed scientific process.
Well done the authors and by the way, it’s worth noting, that if not for WUWT this work may never have been made available to the general public. So well to Anthony and the crew.

Rob L
December 29, 2011 4:25 am

Interesting. How does this explain ice ages then?
Ice ages have global temps about 6°C below current which by this theory would require something like the bottom 600m of atmosphere to disappear (about 70-80kg/m²) and then reappear at the end of the ice age. Is air sufficiently soluble in cold water or in ice caps for that to happen? Seems very unlikely. Also what then is the mechanism for falling into or coming out of an Ice Age?
I think that planetary albedo must be the primary effect and this is driven principally by clouds, and snow/ice cover though I do like your theory of atmospheric mass loss to describe the gradual drop in temp over hundreds of millions of years.

Bloke down the pub
December 29, 2011 4:29 am

If only James Hansen had studied the atmosphere of the other planets. Oh, er…
I know that if I knew what I didn’t know back then, what I now know that I don’t know now, I would have tried to understand maths a bit more when I was at school.

December 29, 2011 4:29 am

Many things wrong with this paper. I’ll pick out just one – Fig 8 on surface temperature history, for which the source is given as Hansen 2008. But that’s not in the list of references. So I did some searching, and the only paper that seems to qualify is this one.
Well, it has two graphs which indeed seem to wiggle match. The problem is what they mean, and scaling. Fig 3 is indeed a temperature, but it is global deep ocean temperature. And the scale is different – less total range. The other is Fig 4, where both the number scale and wiggles match reasonably. However, the quantity plotted is total forcing, and the units are W/m2. It matches Fig 3 because it was inferred from the deep ocean temperature.
I cannot see how such an extraordinary surface temperature history could be derived from that paper.

Hoser
December 29, 2011 4:33 am

First principles and experimental evidence (solar system planetary body comparisons) lead to some very interesting conclusions. Ha! They say, “the science is settled.” Not exactly. Let the squealing begin.

Curiousgeorge
December 29, 2011 4:36 am

It’s a very pretty poster. Visually balanced between the left and right sides, and colors are well thought out.

wayne
December 29, 2011 4:42 am

It’s all in the per-point absorption of the incoming radiation on a sphere as so eloquently put in this paper. Everyone here has looked at agw climate ‘science’ and particularly Trenberth-Kiehl diagrams of a flat disk type of absorption of averaged radiation and have all come to the same conclusion… this all seems so physically wrong!! Wrong, wrong, wrong!!
There being a world of difference between the energy found 1 cm below the surface and 1 cm above the surface at every various time and location on this globe and finally someone has tackled this fourth power non-linear aspect across a sphere in respect to Earth’s state temperatures. I’m elated (and finally relieved)!!
Thank you Drs Nikolov & Zeller for this real science. Well done.

AusieDan
December 29, 2011 4:46 am

At first read, this is what I have been looking for.
I’ll read it again and again until I completely understand it.
I will be particuarly interested in the reactions of serious minded luke warmers.
Jeff Id, Steve Mosher and Professor Judith Curry for starters.
This may well be the game changer.

December 29, 2011 4:50 am

I’d like to see more about the effect of ocean temperature on atmospheric volume.

December 29, 2011 4:52 am

atmospheric mass, not atmospheric mix ? who’d have thunk it

Espen
December 29, 2011 4:54 am

Very intriguing paper. If this is correct, it could be really paradigm-changing.
I’m way too much of a layman to judge the quality of this paper, but one thing which immediately occurred to me as a “test question” is if mantle degassing during mega volcanic events like the deccan or siberian traps eruptions really was substantial enough to generate a significant change in atmospheric pressure? “AGW-friendly” geological theories suggest that the (obviously huge) CO2 emissions during these events caused the rise in temperatures.

John-X
December 29, 2011 5:05 am

Great. So now all that’s left to figure out is how big a tax increase we need to combat this Antrhopogenic Excess Pressure.
And we can reincarnate the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) as the Chicago Air Pressure Exchange (CAPE).
I will start selling Pressure Offsets. You send me $10,000, and I will fill up a scuba tank and bury it in the ground.
We’ll get people we know and trust as editors at the journals and in the media, and condemn deniers of Man-made Pressure Increase.
The IPCC will function just as it always has – keeping the money flowing to those on The Team.
The annual party in Doha in November will go on just as scheduled.
Everything is going to be just fine.

Andre
December 29, 2011 5:06 am

Nick says “Many things wrong with this paper. I’ll pick out just one”
Well to substantiate the many things, you should pick out many things. So far I only see the omission of one reference.
Anyway Hansen et al’s paleotemperature reconstruction depends on a lot of suppostions, for instance that the isotope ratios of Benthic Foraminifera adequately represent the local sea water isotope ratios. However, the chemical composition and pH play an important role. Moreover different species have different reactions and species die out and new appear all the time.
Then there is the problem of remagnetising of minerals that basically calls the whole reconstruction of plate tectonics into question. Paleo-north is not north anymore and the reconstruction of the earth temperature may simply be only a reconstruction of how much land mass was passing poles in the tectonic plate movements

Darkinbad the Brightdayler
December 29, 2011 5:09 am

No disrespect intended but it should be titled: “Towards a unified theory of climate”.
You have yet to demonstrate completeness or internal consistency across all factors.

December 29, 2011 5:12 am

Given our planet’s surface is mostly water, this seems so intuitively obvious.

December 29, 2011 5:16 am

I fully appreciate the fact you properly capture the geometry of the radiative inbound flux to be absorbed (something Lord Monckton has not addressed). The solar flux to be absorbed is much smaller than most people understand given the fact there is only a small surface that is being radiated full-on at any point in time.
When you include the incident of radiation angle on the surface to absorb, you find the watts/meter will go way down (from the maximum point of radiative flux the amount of radiation drops as you move towards the Day-Night terminator, where it reaches zero).
This means at any instance the emission surface area (the full global surface at your preferred emissions altitude) is much larger than the area absorbing energy from the Sun.
But on these global scales these are massive differences and have an effect – as you note.
Now to the other large effects.
(1) The Earth’s Oceans are also an absorber and transport mechanism – a massive heat sink. Energy can be captured and retained for decades. To my mind this is the great energy balancing mechanism – not the atmosphere. The atmosphere is a transport layer between space and the mass of water. A proper model would probably look more like that, where the atmosphere attenuates absorption and emission.
(2) Emissivity is a function of wavelength and the matter emitting and the matter’s temperature. If the ocean is the true absorber and emitter, its emissivity is the driver. This means it is not constant (because of the temperature factor). Add in the cloud/atmosphere attenuation (which returns emitted/transported heat back to the ocean and land) you have a very complex model. What you require is some reasonable factor averaged over lat and long that represents the attenuation in both directions.
(3) Core heat: the Earth is not warmed solely by the Sun. We have a hot ball of molten iron at the core which has estimated temperature and heat transport flow. Much of the difference between a warm and cold planet is the molten core. Look at the Moon Io versus Mars. Io is much farther distant, gets much less solar radiation, yet is much warmer than Mars (whose molten core cooled off long ago). Our atmosphere remains in place due to the molten core and subsequent magnetic field that acts like a protective shield. Without that you can forget about any Green House effect. We do not know if our planet experiences changes in gravitational forces over millennium as our solar system travels through the galaxy. Increased overall gravitational forces may increase the temperature of our core – who knows. Definitely not the tree ring folks.
(4) Solar radiation spectrum: We get lots of radiation in different forms. Some come right through and others are stopped, deflected or attenuated (e.g., magnetic field). The solar flux coming in is also a function of wave length.
Anyway, You definitely have addressed the correct geometry, so are much closer. I would suggest you add in the hot core as steady heat source that will probably close your gap with Monckton a bit.
Cheers, AJStrata

Myrrh
December 29, 2011 5:16 am

We’ve always had a unified theory of climate. The general figure as given as I’ve seen it is that the whole of the atmosphere is Earth’s greenhouse and therefore all the gases in it are greenhouse gases, predominantly nitrogen, oxygen and water.
Without the atmosphere the Earth would be -18°C, but, it only gets the +33°C warming to 15°C via the dynamics of all the greenhouse gases –
without any atmosphere -18%deg;C
with atmosphere but minus the Water Cycle – 67°C
The water cycle cools the Earth by 52°C
– to bring it down to the 15°C from the 67%deg;C it would be with the main greenhouse gaseous ocean of nitrogen and oxygen above us, pressing down on us a ton/square foot.
Carbon Dioxide is utterly insignificant in that. Heavier than air anyway it will always sink displacing air without any work being done on it, and anyway spontaneously joining with water vapour in the atmosphere to form carbonic acid, all pure rainwater is carbonic acid, as is dew, fog, and so on, so is part and parcel of the ‘greenhouse gas’ cooling as water vapour releases its heat higher in the atmosphere and condenses out as water, falls to Earth.
What needs to re-written is the AGWScience Ficition physics written out.
As here:
Re your Figure 4: whatever happened to the direct from the Sun thermal infrared radiation reaching Earth?
Some of us remember being taught that the heat reaching Earth direct from the Sun is the invisible thermal infrared and that visible light is not thermal energy, it can’t heat land and oceans. Water is transparent to visible light, therefore, visible light does not heat the oceans, for example.
Who originally created this ‘energy budget’? Why are you all paid scientists taking it seriously at all since this ‘basic physics’ is of a fantasy world?

Richard111
December 29, 2011 5:17 am

I think I see a tipping point here. If only I could follow the math more easily. I think Tallbloke had this on his blog first. 🙂

December 29, 2011 5:19 am

Update to last post:
Ugh. Forgot one item. On any given day or season, the height of the atmosphere changes. Warmer periods it expands, cooler periods it contracts. So much so we have to adjust the models for satellite orbits that are in the Low Earth Orbits (LEOs). In addition, you have the radiation belts – by definition these are acting like another attenuation layer as does the atmosphere. There composition also changes over time and would seem to be a second radiative surface and absorption point. Much higher up – much larger surface, much lower density of matter and mostly plasma. But another layer all the same.
Cheers, AJStrata

Barefoot boy from Brooklyn
December 29, 2011 5:24 am

Well, I don’t completely get it. Nor would one expect me to, given my ignorance of the math involved. Nikolev & Zeller say that the total mass of the atmosphere conditions the response of surface T to insolation and other active factors. But over the medium term, say the past 500-2,000 years, if the mass of the atmosphere is constant, this still leaves open the question of atmospheric sensitivity to other presumed “forcings,” such as GHG. I’m wondering that even if the thermodynamics of this thesis prove to be sound, the concept is vulnerable to warmist attacks on the sensitivity assumptions. At least, they still seem like assumptions to me. Just asking so as to learn.

ShrNfr
December 29, 2011 5:25 am

Oddly, all these papers seem to ignore the contribution to the surface temperature from the nuclear reactions in the earth’s core. I grant it is probably not large and if somebody could point me at a paper that guesstimates it, I would be most obliged. There is a reason that the core and mantle are a bit molten after 4 billion years and it is not CO2.

December 29, 2011 5:25 am

Andre says: December 29, 2011 at 5:06 am
“So far I only see the omission of one reference.”

I don’t mind (much) having to look for the reference. But a lot is deduced from Fig 8, and if it is from that paper, it looks like they have just plotted something that isn’t global surface temperature anomaly.
As to other things, we could start with the 133K greenhouse effect. That is based on an airless planet where the temperature goes to absolute zero at the poles. That’s not what the 33K GH effect calc is based on. And then they say

“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.”

The figure is their own invention. But thermodynamics does not tell us that it is not possible.

commieBob
December 29, 2011 5:26 am

According to Eq. (2), our atmosphere boosts Earth’s surface temperature not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K!

That’s a big discrepancy. Is there evidence to support it? What evidence is there to say what the Earth’s temperature would be without an atmosphere? We could ask about the temperature of the moon.

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/)

That gives a difference in average temperature between the Earth and Moon of about 95 deg. C. (or K if you prefer) That gives some reason to believe the 133 degree figure.

chuck nolan
December 29, 2011 5:29 am

David Jones says:
December 29, 2011 at 1:42 am
I like the touch of including the graph from Pen State University Department of Meteorology as Figure 1.
Shows chutzpah!
———————————————————
I concur plus using Hansen for Figure 8. Dynamics of global surface temperature during the Cenozoic Era reconstructed from 18O proxies in marine sediments (Hansen et al. 2008).
Using their data Nikolov & Zeller show there is a better answer than CO2.
Are you listening Lisa?

cal
December 29, 2011 5:40 am

I think there are a lot of interesting points made but I am not convinced that the overall case is made. For example if the downwelling radiation is not dependent on GHGs why is the fequency of this radiation characteristic of water vapour and carbon dioxide. If these molecules were not there where would the radiation at these frequencies come from? There would be no downwelling radiation if the atmosphere was just oxygen and nitrogen.
The reason I do not find the logic completely convincing is as follows.
The downwelling radiation is dependent on the number of molecules capable of radiating ( and thus absorbing ) infrared photons. These photons must be within an energy band characteristically emitted by a body at a temperature of about 300C because this is where the energy originally comes from. The number of those molecules is dependent on the percentage of those molecules in the atmosphere and the total number of molecules in a given volume of the atmosphere which, at a given temperature is proportional to pressure. So unless the atmosphere contains no greenhouse gases of any sort the greenhouse effect will always be proportional to total pressure. Furthermore, as the pressure increases, the effective concentration of greenhouse gases needed before the effect saturates will drop to a few parts per billion in the case of Venus.
So I cannot see how the correlations presented disprove the GHG effect. I do not believe that GHGs are responsible for the CHANGES in our climate because I think the effect is near saturation and now too small to be significant, but it would take more than this to convince me that they do not contribute to the steady state system.

tallbloke
December 29, 2011 5:44 am

Great to see this getting the mighty WUWT megaphone after we scooped it at the Talkshop yesterday:
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/unified-theory-of-climate-nikolov-and-zeller/
I’ll be following this discussion intently and collating salient comments on our post for additional consideration.

JPeden
December 29, 2011 5:55 am

It’s nice to see Gravity finally brought back into atmospheric science.

wayne
December 29, 2011 5:58 am

NK2011: “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.”
True, this is not the same discussion as if it was pressure in a tire. The air in a tire does not have radiation passing through it. The air in our atmosphere does.
Also, there is another aspect I have always had with agw climate ‘science’. This is so radiative logic, so to speak. As the pressure increases as you descend into our atmosphere the molecules get closer and closer together per the increase in density, mass per volume. Now interplay that with a factor termed “mass extinction coefficient” that increases markedly and non-linearly the deeper and deeper toward the surface you go and is solely dependant on the mass (density). The same effect work in reverse for outgoing LW radiation. In essence this supplies the energy (P•V in joules) needed to physically support the atmospheric mass above each point at various altitudes. Otherwise the atmosphere would simply collapse.
This seems to mean that the often ignored ~78 wm-2 absorbed incoming SW and the net ~23 wm-2 of LW outgoing radiation (that is 396-333=63-40=23 per K-T) plays as one of the largest factors throttling the mean temperatures at a given latitude and altitude. Cold increases the density, pressure does not necessarily change, from the surface upwards placing more absorption lower. The opposite for increase temperatures, force these absorptions higher in the atmosphere and it all depends only on the mass this radiation is passing through.
Forget the bicycle tire analogies.

richard verney
December 29, 2011 5:58 am

I remember as a young boy back in the 60s/70s when there was great interest in space that my Dad told me that the reason why Venus was hot was due to the pressure of its atmosphere and he iullustrated it with a bicycle pump. I guess that different science was being taught back in that day and age.

MattE
December 29, 2011 6:00 am

That is the most compelling introduction I have ever read. Trillions of dollars at stake and lots of reasons to think the ‘consensus’ hasn’t got it right.

December 29, 2011 6:04 am

“Hence, 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.”
It cannot be overemphasized that ALL of the energy comes from the Sun, contrary to what the authors seem to be saying in that quote. The governing hydrostatic vertical pressure distribution only determines the vertical temperature distribution, not the actual temperatures, because the atmosphere’s ability to hold heat energy from the Sun increases with the pressure. Filling the atmosphere with heat energy is like filling a glass with water, and the glass is wider, and so can hold more water, the farther down you go, that’s all. The actual temperature at any given pressure is basically fixed by the incident solar energy, with local and/or transient modifications by clouds or other particulates, and weather phenomena in general. I would offer two warnings about this article: 1) As in their claiming that the atmosphere is a source of extra energy, they are loose in their statements of physical cause and effect, to the point of being fundamentally misleading about the real physics; and 2) Their relationship (Eq. 7 and Fig. 5) basically shows the ATE does not explain the surface temperatures of the bodies with very thin atmospheres at all, and quickly becomes relatively insensitive to changes in surface pressure beyond the “knee” in the curve. Only Earth and Titan fall in the sensitive range of the equation, and the Earth data point is slightly above the mathematical prediction line while Titan is slightly below it. My detailed Venus/Earth temperature comparison, at pressures over the range of Earth tropospheric pressures, shows there is no albedo effect upon the Venus/Earth temperature ratio, though Venus reflects 70% of the solar radiation while Earth reflects only 30%. I look upon this article as an attempt to harmonize the radiation transfer theory with the real thermodynamics of the atmosphere, basically through application of the ideal gas law, but from my Venus/Earth findings (that the atmospheres are warmed by direct absorption of solar infrared radiation, and that there is neither the consensus-defined greenhouse effect nor an albedo effect) I know this is in the end a vain attempt. This article is just a demonstration of the predominance of a governing hydrostatic vertical temperature lapse rate in sufficiently massive planetary atmospheres, in my opinion. That is something my Venus/Earth comparison already well indicates, and it boils down, in climate science, to saying “The Standard Atmosphere model of Earth’s atmosphere is THE equilibrium state of the atmosphere, and any and all deviations from it constitute the weather as we know it.”

December 29, 2011 6:08 am

Very interesting. Ned and Karl, you gave me enough material to study and think about for the next days!

D. W. Schnare
December 29, 2011 6:11 am

I would like to see the predictive power of this theory, both through backcasting and forecasting over a thirty year period. Can this theory predict temperature (pressure) variations observed from 1980 thru 2010?

Leonard Weinstein
December 29, 2011 6:14 am

The analysis is elegant and has many good points. Unfortunately, It is not quite fully correct. If an atmosphere had only gases with no long wave IR absorption, there would be no radiation absorption up and no back radiation at all. An atmosphere of say Argon (with no water present) is such an example. For that case, surface albedo and solar insolation would be mainly important. There would be an atmospheric effect, to transport some of the conducted and convected energy from lower latitudes to higher latitudes, where the atmosphere could conduct some energy to the local ground (there still would be heating from the surface to the gas and back), and the integrated area 4th power radiation out would be modified compared to no convection. However, if the gas did not transport much of the surface energy compared to the direct radiation out, the pressure and volume of the gas would not affect the average surface temperature. There has to be radiation absorbing gases (or aerosols) for a greenhouse effect. There would still be an adiabatic temperature profile as long as mixing from convection were strong enough, but the profile would be locked to match the surface value. With a greenhouse gas (or aerosols), the profile is locked to the temperature at the location of average outgoing radiation, and the adiabatic effect results in the atmosphere below this height warming. For Venus, the outgoing radiation comes from near the top of the atmosphere, so the adiabatic effect is dominate to determine surface temperature.
In the case of all real planets, there is always present greenhouse gases (CO2, water vapor, methane, etc.) and solid or liquid aerosols (dust, water drops, etc.). However, the present writeup is correct that the pressure and volume of the atmosphere determine the surface temperature. It is how the volume is determined. It is changes in pressure and volume due to greenhouse gases that was not considered. Much of the mass change for Earth’s atmosphere (and thus pressure) is controlled by water vapor content. However, the increased CO2, while not changing mass much, does change the temperature slightly by absorbing outgoing radiation (as does water vapor), and the slightly higher temperature does change the volume slightly. The whole concept of back radiation is misplaced. It is not back radiation that causes the extra heating, it is the movement of the average location of the outgoing radiation due to absorption. Feedback is another issue, and I agree there seems to be negative feedback for CO2 due to change in albedo (due to dominance of water vapor). That is a separate issue.

wayne
December 29, 2011 6:17 am

Barefoot boy from Brooklyn says:
December 29, 2011 at 5:24 am
… But over the medium term, say the past 500-2,000 years, if the mass of the atmosphere is constant, this still leaves open the question of atmospheric sensitivity to other presumed “forcings,” such as GHG.
>>>
Read within the text again. Not variations in any trace GHGs but short living variations in the albedo… variations in the anount of cloud cover, plant life cover and color, differences in the color of the oceans (plankton), ice/snow cover, aerosols, even solar insolation itself, etc.

Jimmy Haigh
December 29, 2011 6:17 am

Phil Jones will be checking all these formulae out on Excel right now I should imagine.

Chris B
December 29, 2011 6:18 am

Mike McMillan says:
December 29, 2011 at 3:16 am
My recall was a few degrees off. Here’s the post.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/06/hyperventilating-on-venus/#comment-384746
__________________________________________
I remember the post, and thinking that pressure was a better explanation for Venus’s high atmospheric temperature than CO2 content.
Your mid 2010 post also got me thinking that there must be a calculable increase in Earth’s atmospheric temperature due to the small increase in atmospheric volume/pressure due to the burning of fossil fuels ( basically converting them from an upper crust liquid/solid to an atmospheric gas ), and simply due to the release of heat in the combustion process. Both increases are probably relatively small but most likely contribute to an increase rather than a decrease in atmospheric temperature, notwithstanding possible negative feedbacks.
Perhaps someone has already done the back of an envelope calculation.

December 29, 2011 6:20 am

Harry Dale Huffman says:
December 29, 2011 at 6:04 am
Extremely well put Harry, thank you.

Jeff L
December 29, 2011 6:31 am

I know a lot of readers would love to jump on this bandwagon & call the hypothesis good at this point, but this is a radical departure from current thinking & as it has been said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof “. I think this paper is a good start by using the lines of evidence presented, but I would call it a start , not a completion
I see the general merits of this hypothesis, but would like to see many more studies of specifics , both by these authors & by other independent authors supporting this idea before I buy off on it. At this point, I would like some one to cleverly & independently develop an estimate of Earth’s atmospheric mass with time, calculate the associated surface pressures & compare it figure 9 – that would be a good start.
I see the need for a much more extensive investigation of implication 4c (albedo & cloud cover), as that is critical to explaining short period variations, such as the lack of warming over the last decade or so. The authors state this is a result of their equation 8. There probably needs to be multiple papers using modern datasets to further test this hypothesis & equation 8.
The one red flag I see is the long term predicted pressure profile in figure 8. Eocene pressures max out at ~ 185 kPa – that’s approaching double today’s standard pressure of ~ 101 kPa !! I would think at those kind of pressures there would be some biological effects which might be manifested in the fossil record – how life adapted to such high pressures.
The authors suggest mantle outgassing rates as a source of atmospheric mass variation. That would only be on the “input” side of the equation. What about the “output” side of the equation – ie mass being taken out of the atmosphere (if all we did is add to the atmosphere, the it would get continually heavier / hotter with time, only the rate of increase would change). So, the big factor there is taking CO2 out of the atmosphere via carbonate rock production. As such, there ought to be some sort of correlation of temps to carbonate rock production (ie in periods of increased carbonate rock production, we ought to see falling temps, all else being equal).
Similarly, we are all familiar with the Vostok ice core – temp data offset & correlation :
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/30/co2-temperatures-and-ice-ages/
So, it would be good to see what these changes in CO2 translate to in terms of changes in atm pressure & see what the implied temp change would be – another good way to investigate the hypothesis.
Sp, nice start – I will be interested to see where the research goes from here.

December 29, 2011 6:33 am

Why the theory of man-made climate change is fishier than a carp’s armpit. In one page. Brilliant.

Kelvin Vaughan
December 29, 2011 6:33 am

Bloke down the pub says:
December 29, 2011 at 4:29 am
If only James Hansen had studied the atmosphere of the other planets. Oh, er…
I know that if I knew what I didn’t know back then, what I now know that I don’t know now, I would have tried to understand maths a bit more when I was at school.
It’s never too late to learn. just harder work when your older!

Pamela Gray
December 29, 2011 6:34 am

Very interesting. And it seems, could be modeled rather quickly and tested against observations. I know this will cause a collective groan but I think this deserves further serious work and funds.

richard verney
December 29, 2011 6:36 am

commieBob says:
December 29, 2011 at 5:26 am
////////////////////////////////////////////
This is not the sort of paper that you can glance at. It demands to be read slowly and pondering on propositions as you go. I have not yet had the time to properly read it.
As regards the comparision with the Moon’s temperature aren’t the authors calculating that both the Moon and the no atmospheric Earth have the same temperature of 154.3K? Is this not what the SPBG Mean Surface Temperature calculation suggests?
Having calculated the SPBG Mean Surface Temperature of 154.3K they use this assessment to then assert that GHE is 133K (ie., about 287.3K).
Thus perhaps your question goes to the assessment of the APBG Mean Surface Temperature and whether the principles applied to that assessment are correct.

Chris B
December 29, 2011 6:37 am

Martin Mason says:
December 29, 2011 at 3:29 am
Very good and understandable reasoning. How to get this where it will be seen though?
_____________________________________
Maybe a title change to something more acceptable to the CAGW sympathizers. You know, pull them in with the title to get them to read it. It would be interesting to see how far into it they got before saying, “Hey, wait a minute.”
How about: Unified theory of Climate Change saves Polar Bears.

James of the West
December 29, 2011 6:42 am

Rob L – glacation requires lots of water – if some of that water came from the atmosphere due to falling atmospheric temperature unable to hold the H2O as a gas could it result in pressure changes of that magnitude? What % of the atmosphere by mass is H2O and if we lowered the average temp of the troposphere by 10 degrees how much of that water would condense out as precipitation (snow and ice) over land?

Keith
December 29, 2011 6:49 am

Will and Harry:
How would you modify their equations?

Jimmy Haigh
December 29, 2011 6:52 am

Does this mean that “mountain top removal” mining will reduce the global average temperature?…

December 29, 2011 6:53 am

guys, I’m thinking this paper is a bit slick, maybe a knee-jerk reaction, totally a gut thing on my part.
I am reminded yet again of the utility of science, the subservience to greater ‘gods’ i.e. bosses, status quo, et al.
there’s a book, ‘the sleepwalkers’. (our discoveries were accidental and unseen) there might be unseen discoveries in this paper.
pressure is a ‘new’ view to me, and seems to fit in with theories of critical mass, and the fate of astronomical bodies, to be a neutrino or a black hole.
the real deal, from my point of view, is litigating against IPCC contributers for fraud, and IPCC benefactors for lack of due diligence.
a great blog, the best in my world !

richard verney
December 29, 2011 6:55 am

wayne says:
December 29, 2011 at 5:58 am
,,,,,,Forget the bicycle tire analogies.
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Wayne
I do not think that the bicycle tyre analogy is a bad analogy. What people tend to overlook is that side wall flexing of a tyre will maintain the air temperature within the tyre. This is well known in motor racing and why it is necessary to run a racing car at speed if good mechanical grip is to be maintained and why if a car is stationary for any period tyres lose heat and pressure leading to a loss of grip.
Earth has the equivalent of this side wall flexing, it is called the diurnal/atmosheric bulge. I would suggest that the constant flexing of this bulge is an important factor in maintaining the heat in the atmosphere which heat in the first instance is derived by the pressure of the atmoshere (gravitational forces compressing the atmosphere). This atmosheric bulge is driven by the rotation of the Earth, the Sun/Earth gravity interaction and no doubt also by solar irradiance heating the atmosphere/surface as Earth spins on its axis and presents an ever changing face to the sun.
As the authors of this paper note, one needs only the amount of energy required to replace the heat loss for the atmosphere to sustain a broadly stable temperature.

Pamela Gray
December 29, 2011 6:55 am

For those of us who have been around here for awhile the thought of atmospheric pressure came up frequently when discussing the seemingly different responses to CO2 concentrations among the planets. Those different temperature responses seemed to be explained by atmospheric pressure differences. So well in fact that CO2 could be ignored. Any kind of gas mix would work if pressure were great enough. And that changes in pressure was the direct cause of temperature changes on such a scale.
Fertile ground for examination it would seem.

ScuzzaMan
December 29, 2011 7:04 am

That seems to make sense …
What **really** bugs me about the whole “precautionary-principle-climate-change-will-kill-us-all” crowd, is why the precautionary principle **doesn’t** apply to the single most demonstrably savage and widespread cause of calamity known to human history: giving more power to fewer people?
Things that make you go ‘Hmmmmm….’ …

DirkH
December 29, 2011 7:12 am

Oh look. O2 has some emission/absorption lines in the IR range. Paywalled, 1970. I’ve only read the abstract, I don’t have access.
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?uri=ao-9-6-1419
(I was wondering how, in the theoretical absence of the usual GHG’s, CO2 and H2O, the atmosphere could radiate to space. These emission lines would provide a means to that, and given the high partial pressure of O2, an efficient one. FUNNY how the IPCC scientists have never mentioned this. At least I don’t remember.)

Mydogsgotnonose
December 29, 2011 7:16 am

Having seen the comments pile up, it’s worth remembering a few important facts about this paper.
1. They re-invent lapse rate heating. Why didn’t they read up about the subject?
2. The real present GHG warming of the Earth is ~9 K; the IPCC’s claim of 33K is a not very clever deception..
3, The authors fall into the trap of imagining that ‘back radiation’ can do thermodynamic work. Asahenius was wrong as any professional engineer experienced in modelling and designing heat transfer will confirm,
4. It’s nicely presented but seriously flawed because of 3. However, it if destabilises the IPCC fraud, there may be some good out of it!

DirkH
December 29, 2011 7:16 am

DirkH says:
December 29, 2011 at 7:12 am
“Oh look. O2 has some emission/absorption lines in the IR range.”
Oh sorry – they don’t mention O2 but OI so that probably means oxygen ions (?), not molecular oxygen.

Pamela Gray
December 29, 2011 7:18 am

I agree with others in that this is a theory ripe with many testable hypothesises. The beauty of the theory is that gas mixes appear not to matter. Therefor planetary studies outside of Earth could be used to determine the robustness of this theory. If it is just a special case here on Earth, I give it less reliability as well as validity. A paradigm shift by nature must prove to be robust across varying conditions.

Bob
December 29, 2011 7:21 am

My scalp tingled as I read this. I still have to go back and read it more closely, but this should become a a better fundamental physical description of the dynamics of global temperature.

December 29, 2011 7:22 am

After appearing on Fox a couple of times on this matter, it is gratifying to see that the very things got a polemic launched against me by leftist environmentalists are being brought up here.
I opined that the amount of co2 launched into the atmosphere could have no effect on the earths energy budget, and so there could be no true change in temperature, as energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Co2 being natural to the system, could therefore not have an effect on the system that could remain permanent. Of course that got people saying that I did not understand the GHE, which to me is a misnomer anyway as the “trapping blanket” so to speak is not a greenhouse pane, but more or less something that is not even a blanket but something you might find in Victorias Secret, thin, flimsy etc. ( that is supposed to be a joke to make my point, okay) So this statement jumped out at me:
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.
I believe my quote on FOX referred to it as a trace gas needed for life on the planet that could have no effect on the energy budget of the earth, but in the same mode
Also gratifying to read:
B) Modifying chemical composition of the atmosphere cannot alter the system’s total kinetic energy, hence the size of ATE (GHE).
The other part was simply reducing the matter to La Chateliers principle, which simply put states that systems in distress fight to return toward normalcy
“Any change in status quo prompts an opposing reaction in the responding system.”
It is my belief that while research into the complex may reveal that there is more to all this than the simplistic views that I have become convinced rule the day ( one of them being the big natural drivers and basic principles far outweigh the effects of a gas natural to the system), it is highly unlikely that it will produce anything beyond people that wish to shackle the progress of society because of their desire for a) control b) worship ( they are looked upon as smart) or c) to make money off the whole thing. In the private sector, one is paid for the results of the research, ie I study the weather ( not paid) make a forecast and am paid if I am correct enough for the client to find value. The whole AGW industry is based on research and non verifiable results, leading to the idea that any result verifies the research. This is a God send for anyone who does not wish to be judged on actual results or being forced to compete!
One more thing… While I have my simplistic sectarian reasons listed above for what I believe, and I am gratified to see some of the ideas at least show up here in what looks to be a an exhaustive, well researched and as the authors will soon find, a paper to be attacked and ridiculed, it may all come down to what I have concluded after watching the majesty of the creation all these years:
Eccl 1:9
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
That really gets them mad!

Viv Evans
December 29, 2011 7:23 am

Very interesting paper – I definitely must read this agin, very s-l-o-w-l-y!
And I’m looking forward to the excellent comments here, from which I hope to learn even more.

John Wilkes Booth
December 29, 2011 7:25 am

“a) the product P×V defines the internal kinetic energy of a gas (measured in Jules) that produces its temperature; ”
This is wrong and anyone with an air compressor can prove it. Pressurize a tank of air. It will initially be warmer according to the idea gas law. But wait a few days. Its temperature will equalize with the ambient air outside the tank. Yet the pressure and volume of the compressed has not changed.
What the authors propose would in effect be a power source for a perpetual motion machine.
FAIL
Big time. FAIL

John G
December 29, 2011 7:27 am

I can’t judge the math or the physics but assuming this holds up we’re in for a paradigm shift that will blow the current crop of climate alarmists (for whom an implicit argument has always been “there isn’t any other explanation than enhanced greenhouse effect”) out of the water. A theory of climate that depends on planetary mechanics, atmospheric mechanics, planetary motions, solar insolation and cosmic radiation is far more satisfying than one that depends solely on the amount of a trace gas in the atmosphere. In fact when you put it like that one wonders how serious scientists ever came to that conclusion.

GabrielHBay
December 29, 2011 7:28 am

Before reading any of the comments above, and while my maths is far too rusty to follow the detail, the clear and concise and comprehensive verbal explanation is the first that I have seen from climate science (in this context) that hits (for me) that warm spot that says: “YES!” Must confess that I have been, from day one, part of that really BAD group of extreme sceptics who do not accept at all the concept of a nett greenhouse effect in a real, ‘live’, atmosphere… and this paper makes perfect sense to me. What a rush.. Now to wade through all the other comments…. there goes my evening 🙂

John Wilkes Booth
December 29, 2011 7:32 am

“3, The authors fall into the trap of imagining that ‘back radiation’ can do thermodynamic work. Asahenius was wrong as any professional engineer experienced in modelling and designing heat transfer will confirm,”
Asahenius did not imagine that back radiation could accomplish any work any more than wearing an overcoat accomplishes any work. What Asahenius imagined is the greenhouse gases can act as insulation. Back radiation is simply the mechanism by which the insulation works and it does indeed work as insulation.

December 29, 2011 7:32 am

So what is the expected heating effect of the mass of CO2 we have added and will add over time? I would like to see that added as a “Summary For Policymakers.”

JustaMom
December 29, 2011 7:33 am

Could someone please translate this for those of us who have say a BA?….and, unfortunately for me, even that is not in math, physics or engineering.

Stephen Wilde
December 29, 2011 7:43 am

“This is wrong and anyone with an air compressor can prove it. Pressurize a tank of air. It will initially be warmer according to the idea gas law. But wait a few days. Its temperature will equalize with the ambient air outside the tank”
Not a good analogy because the continuing insolation reaching Earth is more akin to continuing pressurisation of a leaky tank of air. Obviously, if insolation stopped then the analogy would fit and the temperature of Earth would equalise with that of space but it does not as long as insolation continues.

December 29, 2011 7:47 am

Makes a lot of sense to me. I think this is a more sensible approach then the nonsense we have all been attacking for all these years. We will still have the better part of a decade ahead listening to “but the model, but the model” to put up with.

Pamela Gray
December 29, 2011 7:49 am

Mr.ReallyBadChoiceInScreenName, please read the PDF. Pressure is always changing on Earth. There is no waiting. So stand by that tire and adjust the pressure up and down during those few days. Under that condition, you never give the temp a chance to equalize now do you.

wayne
December 29, 2011 7:54 am

@ richard verney:
December 29, 2011 at 6:55 am
Hi Richard. I see and have considered your point.
But look at the physics units. Pressure is mass × acceleration per area. That is why you can calculate the mean surface pressure with just the mass of the atmosphere, gravitational acceleration, and, the area of this world, and it only depends on those parameters.
The mean pressure at the surface will not change just because temperature rises, if evenly everywhere, not causing any local effects. It is the drop in density, mass per volume, that fluffs up the atmosphere to higher altitudes in the daytime and collapses at night, pressure does not change. My only point was it is not strictly pressure but the ratio of pressure to density that needs to be brought into focus.
Another way of putting it is that you seems to be viewing the atmosphere’s pressure going up and down with the temperature each day. That is not strictly correct. Just temperature will increase pressure if tightly constrained, as in a bottle and constant volume, but in the gravity held atmosphere the volume, as seen in a higher top of the atmosphere, will increase to compensate so the pressure does not actually increase, volume goes up, density goes down.
I see this interplay between density, pressure and temperature as one of the most impressive points within this N-K paper ruling all atmospheres. I’ve been waiting for such a paper for literally years now.

John Wilkes Booth
December 29, 2011 7:56 am

JustaMom says:
December 29, 2011 at 7:33 am
“Could someone please translate this for those of us who have say a BA?….and, unfortunately for me, even that is not in math, physics or engineering.”
The physics are flawed. This wouldn’t pass peer review in any reputable journal which is why it appears here instead of there.

Mark K
December 29, 2011 7:56 am

“John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 7:25 am
“a) the product P×V defines the internal kinetic energy of a gas (measured in Jules) that produces its temperature; ”
This is wrong and anyone with an air compressor can prove it. Pressurize a tank of air. It will initially be warmer according to the idea gas law. But wait a few days. Its temperature will equalize with the ambient air outside the tank. Yet the pressure and volume of the compressed has not changed.
What the authors propose would in effect be a power source for a perpetual motion machine.
FAIL
Big time. FAIL”
From what I remember of physics, the pressure in your tank will decrease as the temperature decreases – just like what happens to the air pressure in your tires during winter.

Mydogsgotnonose
December 29, 2011 8:00 am

John Wiles booth: Sorry about the wrong spelling of Aarhenius [new pair of glasses].
Aarhenius’ mistake was to imagine that the S-B equation for a single body predicts the net radiated energy. This is not true as any professional engineer or scientist should know. At constant temperature there is no net energy interchange, the oldest of the Radiation laws,
Climate science fondly imagines that the signal measured by a radiometer pointing upwards is real. It’s not. That signal in the absence of the radiometer is offset exactly by upward radiation. A Dutch student proved this experimentally recently by shinning up an 800 foot radio mast and measuring the up-down signal at night: it fell exponentially to zero, Beer-Lambert.
So ‘back radiation’ is a myth as is cloud albedo effect cooling supposed to offset it. The latter is because the aerosol optical physics in the models used to predict it is plain wrong. In 2004 NASA claimed that small droplets reflected more sunlight: wrong – it’s a large droplet effect as can be seen with any rain cloud.
Because of the many elementary [to professional physicists but clearly not to climate science] mistakes, the IPCC version is plain wrong. Even Spencer and Curry have got it wrong in places and are being re-educated via their blogs. God help the students taught incorrect physics, e.g that IR energy is thermalised in an insulating layer as you claim What really happens is that there is an increase of optical path length by scattering of IR with thermalisation at second phases, especially cloud droplets which have gettered local CO2..
Until climate science admits its serious scientific errors, there can be no credence to the subject or the models.

Austin
December 29, 2011 8:00 am

Finally, a treatment using gas and thermodynamic fundamentals.
I suffered through to epiphany in two engineering thermo classes and two grad thermo classes and what has always bothered me is that I never saw a treatment on the topic based on what I learned in those classes.
This is the treatment. I enjoyed reading it. I predict this paper will become a classic and will be in most thermo textbooks and will show up on a lot of finals. And will open up a new field of study for exoplanets. And find its way into terraforming studies.
Excellent work gentlemen.

December 29, 2011 8:01 am

The problem I have is the lack of quantitative consideration of the hydrological cycle. This cycle explains the atmospheric energy transfer.
http://www.miltonconservative.blogspot.com/2011/02/simple-chemistry-and-real-greenhouse.html

michael hart
December 29, 2011 8:03 am

It’s good to see the [area-weighted] fourth-power of absolute temperature getting some more attention. It almost always just seems to be “temperature anomalies”. Perhaps this is already addressed in the models, but I rarely see it discussed. It might have saved us all a lot of time if the issue was addressed more directly, more often.
That, and the question how can a change in the height of the radiative-surface [the “top of the atmosphere”?], by an increment in a GHG, further raise the temperature underneath the radiative surface [which is itself already quoted as being above the black-body “effective temperature”] with respective to the net radiative flux of the earth?
Apologies for the long sentences.
Thank you mydogsgotnonose, I find your short posts [Prevost Exchange Energy] illuminating.

Stephen Richards
December 29, 2011 8:03 am

Will says:
December 29, 2011 at 7:24 am
Pamela Gray says:
December 29, 2011 at 6:55 am
“And that changes in pressure was the direct cause of temperature changes on such a scale.”
Why do so many seem to confuse cause and effect.
More energy = more pressure which manifest as an increase in temperature.
Learn the basic cause and effect relationships and rid yourself of ignorance and confusion.
Will, Sorry, but you have failed the test. Pam is actually as correct as you. The problem you perceive stems from not starting at the ‘source’. Start with a sealed container of gaseous material. Input some energy. Energy causes the gas moles to move quicker and impinge more frequently on the inside of the container and pressure is perceived to rise. So Pam is also correct as you. Well done to you both.

pochas
December 29, 2011 8:04 am

This would constitute a paradigm shift, a rational basis for climate science. The proposition that there has been a major variation in atmospheric mass over geologic time is a stunner! IMHO equivalent to plate tectonics in import. We need to see direct evidence for this. Something for the now-disenfranchised AGW syncophants to work on, but the rock hounds will probably get into the action first.

Warren in Minnesota
December 29, 2011 8:06 am

I agree with @Espen regarding the degassing.
Also I remember that the earth’s atmosphere continues to lose mass to space which would mean that the earth will continue to cool as we lose mass and diminish our atmospheric pressure.
But I also don’t agree (or disagree) with Figure 7 statement that the temperature “…appear(s) to have been controlling” the clouds. That conclusion from the graph doesn’t jump out at me.

JDN
December 29, 2011 8:07 am

@Ned: I have a problem with the “kinetic energy” argument for lower troposphere anomalous warming. The heat capacity of air may be small, but the heat capacity of water vapor or clouds in air is large. You made a hand-waving argument. I suspect that if you flesh out your argument you’ll find that the conversion of kinetic energy to thermal energy for the anomalous warming would require ridiculous amounts of kinetic energy.

michael hart
December 29, 2011 8:07 am

In my last post I should have said more specifically that the “surface” temperature seems to be quoted as being above the black-body “effective temperature”

John Wilkes Booth
December 29, 2011 8:10 am

FYI
Ned Nikolov’s PhD is in “Forest Ecology”. I’m unsure of what all that entails but it most certainly doesn’t require understanding the ideal gas law.
http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/analytics/staff/nikolov.html
Karl Zeller’s excuse is less clear:
PhD, Colorado State University, Fluid Mechanics & Wind Engineering (micrometeorological emphasis) 1990
http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/analytics/staff/zeller.html
Colorado State University has some explaining to do since they graduated both of these guys without imparting a basic understanding of the relationship between temperature, pressure, and volume of an ideal gas. Of course they both ARE federal government employees like James Hansen and that in itself is a usally a good indicator of merit (or lack thereof).
REPLY: Nice try Dave Springer aka “John Wilkes Booth”, note our policy page prohibits switching handles – Anthony

Stephen Wilde
December 29, 2011 8:12 am

A major point of this paper is the observation that the warmth at the surface is a thermodynamic effect and not a radiative effect.
It fits nicely with the description that I published back in May 2008
“The fundamental point is that the total atmospheric warming arising as a result of the density of the atmosphere is a once and for all netting out of all the truly astronomic number of radiant energy/molecule encounters throughout the atmosphere. The only things that can change that resultant temperature equilibrium are changes in solar radiance coming in or changes in overall atmospheric density which affect the radiant energy going out”
from here:
http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1562&linkbox=true&position=7
” Greenhouse Confusion Resolved”
Obviously the final outcome of the thermodynamic process is radiative but the process itself is not radiative.
The denser an atmosphere the more tightly packed the molecules of whatever gas it is comprised of. The tighter the packing the more resistance there is to the transmission of radiative energy because the individual molecules are more easily able to pass kinetic energy between themselves multiple times before it is finally released back to space in radiative form.
It doesn’t matter whether the constituents of the atmosphere are generally transparent to light or not. The fact is that whatever the radiative characteristics of individual molecules they all act together thermodynamically when under pressure.
To illustrate that we can all see that the Oxygen and Nitrogen molecules near the surface are at much the same temperature as the GHG molecules near the surface DESPITE their different thermal characteristics in terms of radiative ability.
Thus the effect of atmospheric density and pressure is to dictate the surface temperature regardless of composition.
This paper neatly deals with the ‘problem’ of explaining why composition is less important than density and validates the assertions I made in my article back in 2009.
That said, GHGs do have a thermal effect but it is not one that increases the system energy content as a whole as I have explained elsewhere. Instead all they achieve on our watery world is to provke a negative system response that precisely cancels out their warming effect in exchange for a miniscule adjustment in the speed of the water cycle and a miniscule adjustment in the surface air pressure distribution.
The authors clearly agree with me on that point too because they say:
“Variations in the downward LW flux (caused by an increase of tropospheric emissivity, for example) are completely counterbalanced (offset) by changes in the rate of surface convective cooling, for this is how the system conserves its internal energy.”
That accords with my contention that although GHGs slow down the rate of energy loss to space the redistribution of surface air pressure acting via a faster water cycle cancels it out again for a zero net effect on total system energy content.
My work then goes on to link all that to solar activity from above and oceanic variability from below for a more complete Unified Theory than that presented here (IMHO).
In particular I don’t think it is magnetic variability that achieves the observed effects but rather wavelength changes acting on ozone differentially at different levels in the atmospheric column.

December 29, 2011 8:13 am

John Wilkes Booth, have a closer look at that pressure gauge as the temperature drops.

ferd berple
December 29, 2011 8:14 am

Different authors have different interpretations on this theme, but the underlying point held in common is this:
If earth’s moon had a thick N2 atmosphere, would the surface temperature of the moon change?
The radiative transfer model (AGW) says that since N2 is not a GHG, the surface temperature of the moon would not be changed by a dense N2 atmosphere.
The alternative models of a gravity bound atmosphere say otherwise. That even an N2 atmosphere will warm the surface as compared to a planet with no atmosphere.
It would seem that at present the way forward to resolve this is to compare planets based on atmospheric density and GHG concentrations, to see which theory is correct. Generating artificial gravity in a lab to test this does not appear to be a practical alternative.
Computer models alone cannot provide this answer, because the earth is only a single point of reference. An infinite number of trend lines will satisfy. By adding data from other planets and moons, this limits the trend-lines that will fit the data, revealing which theory is more accurate at predicting surface temperatures.

December 29, 2011 8:17 am

Wonderful job! Drs Nikolov and Zeller are to be commended for such a great effort. WUWT has come a long way. Pamela Gray is right, (as usual), the application of the Ideal Gas Law has been brought up here a few times in the past. The reception to it then wasn’t as nearly pleasant.
Rather than getting into a debate with some of the critics here, I’m going to digest what these guys are stating. I would implore Drs. Nikolov and Zeller to respond and perhaps modify this work in response to some of the criticism.
My thoughts are they pretty much nailed it. However, it needs cleaned up. I don’t believe figures 8 and 9 are required. The reconstructions that far in the past are controversial. And, I don’t believe 65 million years ago is relevant to discussions of today. I would leave that part out. In my mind it is sufficient to simply state, “things were different back then.” Make the posit as simple as possible. Leave the distracting stuff out.

Chris B
December 29, 2011 8:25 am

Harry Dale Huffman says:
December 29, 2011 at 6:04 am
“Hence, 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.”
It cannot be overemphasized that ALL of the energy comes from the Sun, contrary to what the authors seem to be saying in that quote.
__________________________________
Actually some of the energy comes from the core of the earth which is hot due to gravitational pressure and radioactive decay of the ancient “stardust” that made up our planet. Even Al Gore agrees, although the eath is only a few thousands of degrees in temperature on the underside of the crust, not millions of degrees.
The earth’s surface would probably be a lot colder if not for this “stored” heat, that continues to slowly cool as our solar system ages.

commieBob
December 29, 2011 8:26 am

Reply to Richard Verney:
I was taken by the 133 number. It is dramatically different than the figure that we were used to seeing.
What I was doing was a kind of back-of-the-envelope calculation to see if the number was close to reasonable. I suspect that it is.

December 29, 2011 8:27 am

Asahenius = Arrhenius

ferd berple
December 29, 2011 8:29 am

If it can be shown that the earth’s atmosphere is not as dense as previous, and that there has been a corresponding change in surface temperature, that would give us a second data point to confirm the gravity bound atmospheric model.

richard verney
December 29, 2011 8:29 am

John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 7:25 am
//////////////////////////////
I have not read this paper properly yet, but I believe that you misunderstand their point when you consider the paper fails as a matter of principle for the reason stated by you.
As you note, there is a relationship between pressure and temperature. As you further note, when ever there are temperature differences, heat will flow from warm to cool so that a warm body will lose heat and thereby tend to assimulate the temperature of its cooler environs. Ie., there is heat loss.
My understanding of what the authors are suggesting is that if there is a source of energy that is sufficient to replenish the daly heat loss, then the heat brought about by the pressure is effectively forever maintained (within broad limits).
The authors are suggesting that solar irradiance is in itself sufficient to replenish the heat loss and therefore the atmoshperic heat brought about by the pressure of the atmospher does not (within broad limits) cool down. It is not irrevocably lost since the heat loss is being constantly replaced.
An analogy would be to consider placing a pot of cold water on a stove. You may need X joules of energy to raise the temperature from 15 degC to 50 deg C. However, if at 50 degC the heat loss to the environs is B joules then you only need to apply B joules of energy to maintain the the 50 deg C heat indefinitely.

richcar1225
December 29, 2011 8:30 am

As I sit in my livingroom in Denver Colorao I am experiencing the heat released from the down flowing sixty mile an hour Chinook winds. Temperatures wil be in the sixties today with clear skies and low relative humidity. Albedo will decrease. There will be little downwelling infrared. Kinectic energy rules.

mkelly
December 29, 2011 8:36 am

John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 7:32 am
“…What A[r]ahenius imagined is the greenhouse gases can act as insulation. Back radiation is simply the mechanism by which the insulation works and it does indeed work as insulation.”
Please let me and others know the R-factor of back radiation.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 8:37 am

I have to agree first with Will says:
December 29, 2011 at 2:43 am
that the disparity between the temperature of the moon and this calculation jumps right out at a person. However, a few days ago I suggested that one can achieve equilibrium with a variety of temperature distributions, and these will lead to various average temperatures, making mean surface temperature not useful for much of anything…oh, I suppose it is useful as a sort of box-score entry for whether or not the Earth is warming, but not for identifying cause. So, here I agree with Messrs Nikolov and Zeller. The calculation of a mean surface temperature through the Stefan-Boltzmann law is not informative.
However, there are a slug of problems with this paper.
John Wilkes Booth rightly points out that PV is not internal kinetic energy. Engineers refer to this term as work-flow and it is a part of enthalpy of a fluid. He also identifies the fallacy that A[r]ahenius did not imagine that back radiation could accomplish any work any more than wearing an overcoat accomplishes any work. This is my nomination for quote of the week!
Mike McMillan once again emphasizes that the high surface temperature on Venus is not related to CO2 per se, but to adiabatic work. See: Mike McMillan says:
December 29, 2011 at 3:16 am
My recall was a few degrees off. Here’s the post.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/06/hyperventilating-on-venus/#comment-384746
. At the time of this post I recall calculating the lapse rate on Venus and comparing it to the observed temperature versus height graph. Nearly perfect; and most unlike what one would achieve at radiative equilibrium. In effect, radiation is absorbed high in the atmosphere, raising the temperature there, and the high surface temperature results from work done on parcels of atmosphere through convection down to the surface. Again Messrs Nikolov and Zeller point to something important, though the details look wrong to me.
I think the misunderstanding of the gas law, that temperature is not determined by pressure, is this contribution’s glaring flaw. Equality of energy loss and gain is what determines temperature ultimately. Pressure results from gas at some level having to support the weight of overlying gas. Density then becomes the dependent variable. You’ll note that Nikolov and Zeller leave out any discussion of gravity at all. So Figure 5 is meaningless, and the whole discussion surrounding it is a mess.

Jimmy Haigh
December 29, 2011 8:38 am

John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:10 am
What are your credentials? Who are you to criticise this work? I would look you up but somehow I don’t think it’s your real name…

December 29, 2011 8:38 am

To R Barker:
Indirect evidence points to much higher gas concentrations in the past with giant fossil dragonflys that could not live in today’s thinner atmosphere. Since insects breath through their surface rather than with lungs.
It would be interesting to see some reconstructions combined with insect size in the fossil record as a possible proxy of atmospheric pressure and thus temps.
There may be detail problems with what this paper says, but the overall thrust that agw as currently theorized is very well crushed in so many ways. A green house effect in a convective atmosphere? That’s always been a core problem.
Going to be fun to see this adjusted and corrected though peer review. Looks like they are looking at cloud variance as the main driver combined with air pressure which means really a simple solar connection but with a complete picture of the system to show why this is so.
Very interesting stuff.

DirkH
December 29, 2011 8:39 am

John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 7:25 am
““a) the product P×V defines the internal kinetic energy of a gas (measured in Jules) that produces its temperature; ”
This is wrong and anyone with an air compressor can prove it. Pressurize a tank of air. It will initially be warmer according to the idea gas law. But wait a few days. Its temperature will equalize with the ambient air outside the tank. Yet the pressure and volume of the compressed has not changed.
What the authors propose would in effect be a power source for a perpetual motion machine.
FAIL”
John, the Ideal Gas Law assumes that the volume of the container holding the gas is infinitely larger than the volume taken up by the gas molecules themselves, so a compressor might not be the right device to test the Ideal Gas Law.

iya
December 29, 2011 8:43 am

Is the “observed mean surface temperature”, in the table, observed or calculated? In the pdf it also says the last 3 rows are calculated, but it has an additional row.
Especially the moon temperature of 154.3K = -119 °C and mercury seem to cold.

commieBob
December 29, 2011 8:45 am

John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 7:25 am
“a) the product P×V defines the internal kinetic energy of a gas (measured in Jules) that produces its temperature; ”
This is wrong and anyone with an air compressor can prove it. Pressurize a tank of air. It will initially be warmer according to the idea gas law. But wait a few days. Its temperature will equalize with the ambient air outside the tank. Yet the pressure and volume of the compressed has not changed.

You should pay better attention to your air compressor. It works this way:
1 – I use some air and decrease the tank pressure below the switch lower limit.
2 – The motor runs the compressor.
3 – The pressure rises above the switch upper limit.
4 – The motor turns off.
5 – The tank gives off some heat.
6 – If the pressure drops below the switch lower limit, the motor comes on again.
7 – The process repeats until the pressure stays above the switch lower limit.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 8:45 am

John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:10 am
FYI …
Karl Zeller’s excuse is less clear:
PhD, Colorado State University, Fluid Mechanics & Wind Engineering (micrometeorological emphasis) 1990 …

Booth, it is the wind engineering that identifies the problem here. As a specialty it is not rigorous enough to give someone a solid foundation in anything like thermodynamics. You and I agree that the discussion and application of the gas law in this contribution is a mess.

December 29, 2011 8:47 am

Jeff L says:
December 29, 2011 at 6:31 am

The one red flag I see is the long term predicted pressure profile in figure 8. Eocene pressures max out at ~ 185 kPa – that’s approaching double today’s standard pressure of ~ 101 kPa !! I would think at those kind of pressures there would be some biological effects which might be manifested in the fossil record – how life adapted to such high pressures.

That barely scratches the surface:
http://levenspiel.com/octave/dinosaurs.htm
and
http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/archive/ci/30/i12/html/12learn.html
Thicker air allowed >100lb. pteranodons to fly. They couldn’t in a 1 bar atmosphere.

Tilo Reber
December 29, 2011 8:49 am

Very impressive work gentlemen. The math is a little over my head; but the physical explanations definitely make sense. Plus, your theory explains the observations much better than current GHG theory. I’m bookmarking this one. You’ve done the work, now it’s up to the rest of us to make sure that these findings are not ignored.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 8:52 am

Jimmy Haigh says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:38 am
John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:10 am
What are your credentials? Who are you to criticise this work? I would look you up but somehow I don’t think it’s your real name…

Real name or not, credentials or none, Booth is dead right with regard to this paper. The application of the gas law here is horrid. The authors seem to not realize that the only proper application of the gas law in this context is that density is the dependent variable–temperature and pressure obtain from other considerations. Nikolov and Zeller point to the issue right here
The thermal effect of pressure is vividly demonstrated on a cosmic scale by the process of star formation, where gravity-induced rise of gas pressure boosts the temperature of an interstellar cloud to the threshold of nuclear fusion.
It isn’t the gravity induced rise of gas pressure, but rather the work done by gravity versus heat lost to radiation that increases temperature in star formation.

Joel Shore
December 29, 2011 8:53 am

This leads to a logical question: Could air pressure be responsible for the observed thermal enhancement at the Earth surface presently known as a ‘Natural Greenhouse Effect’?

Logical answer: No, not unless you want to repeal Conservation of Energy, a bedrock principle of physics. The Earth’s surface is emitting 390 W/m^2 whereas the entire Earth system is receiving 240 W/m^2 from the sun. If this entire 390 W/m^2 were escaping to space, then the Earth would RAPIDLY cool down. However, as seen from space, the Earth is actually only emitting 240 W/m^2, i.e. (within about a W/m^2) exactly what it is absorbing from the sun.
The only way that this can be explained is by the fact that the Earth’s atmosphere is not transparent to the radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface…i.e., there are elements in the atmosphere that absorb that radiation (and subsequently emit it…but at a lesser intensity). This is what we call “the greenhouse effect” and it doesn’t magically disappear if you correctly understand the implications of the ideal gas law and the lapse rate.
In summary, this post is completely nonsense. And the praise that it is receiving from many commenters is evidence of how easy it is to fool people who want to believe something.

Joe
December 29, 2011 8:54 am

Magnificent little paper by Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. & Karl Zeller, Ph.D.
If this holds up to testing, and so far it looks really good, this could be the Climate Sciences version of E=MC^2, or the discovery of DNA. A brilliant, elegant and easily digested explanation that truly furthers the science, rather than an agenda.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 8:54 am

Cripes! Blockquote gets me again. The last paprgraph in my last posting is mine not Nikolov’s and Zeller’s. The authors seem unaware of this fact about temperature in their contribution.

REPLY:
Fixed, Anthony

GeologyJim
December 29, 2011 8:54 am

This. Could. Change. Everything. (in your best Howard Cosell voice)
The statement is made that directional cooling over the last 55 million years is due (in large part) to decline in mantle degassing, which should be a function of sea-floor spreading rates. This needs to be tested against the geologic record
Numerous geologists have tried to explain climatic events by attributing warming to CO2 production from vast basalt fields (Deccan traps at K-T time, for example). Nikolov and Zeller’s idea would explain similar correlations, but attribute the thermal effect to increased atmospheric density.
Question: If atmospheric-mass loss to space is due to solar wind and cosmic-ray flux, that brings the Nir Shaviv ideas of Earth’s path through the Milky Way density field into play as well
Question: How has Venus managed to hold its thick atmosphere against the solar-wind flux? Is it just the greater molecular weight of CO2 compared to N2, O2, and such?
Verrrrry interrrresting.

December 29, 2011 8:54 am

Peter Ward says:
December 29, 2011 at 2:53 am
If this is right then indeed it is paradigm-altering. It needs to be reviewed — proper peer review that aims to break it — and then we can see whether it fits the observed facts more closely than other theories. For example, can it explain the temperature record of the last 50 years? Or is the proposition that recent change is random? Whatever, it’s good to see some real innovative thinking brought to the subject, with the prospect of radically changing our understanding. Thank you!

Over at Tallbloke’s The Talkshop, there is the additional comment:
There is more on the way. “This write-up is only a summary of our research results detailed in 4 papers which we are currently preparing for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.”

ChE
December 29, 2011 8:56 am

Sorry, I’d really like to buy some of this, but there’s way too much handwavium. For example, you learn in undergrad thermo that for a diatomic gas like air, P1V1^1.3 = P2V2^1.3. The fact that this wasn’t mentioned suggests a weakness in thermo.
Conceptually, they may have gotten some things right, such as convection dominating in the troposphere. But let’s see some real serious thermo, ok?

Frumious Bandersnatch
December 29, 2011 9:00 am

>John Wilkes Booth says:
>December 29, 2011 at 7:32 am
>
>“a) the product P×V defines the internal kinetic energy of a gas (measured in Jules) that >produces its temperature; ”
>
>This is wrong and anyone with an air compressor can prove it. Pressurize a tank of air. It will >initially be warmer according to the idea gas law. But wait a few days. Its temperature will >equalize with the ambient air outside the tank. Yet the pressure and volume of the compressed >has not changed.
>
>What the authors propose would in effect be a power source for a perpetual motion machine.
>
>FAIL
>
>Big time. FAIL
I don’t claim to be an expert, by any means, but it seems to me that you are confusing kinetic energy with temperature. Apples and oranges. The author explicitly says several times that pressure, by itself, does *NOT* raise temperature. Rather he claims that it magnifies the temperature change caused by an outside source (such as solar radiation).
Since the author obviously agrees with your point, I don’t see where he failed in this instance…

December 29, 2011 9:01 am

Stephen Richards commented on Unified Theory of Climate.

it’s worth noting, that if not for WUWT this work may never have been made available to the general public. So well to Anthony and the crew.

Be fair. It was Tallbloke’s “scoop”, see link above.

RockyRoad
December 29, 2011 9:03 am

This goes along with a paper in Forbes entitled “Even the Warmists Don’t Believe in Global Warming”:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2011/12/28/even-the-warmists-dont-believe-in-global-warming/
And now we know why.

James Reid
December 29, 2011 9:03 am

Do I hear deathly silence from the Lazy Teenager and R Gates?

Stephen Wilde
December 29, 2011 9:04 am

Joel Shore said:
“The only way that this can be explained is by the fact that the Earth’s atmosphere is not transparent to the radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface…i.e., there are elements in the atmosphere that absorb that radiation (and subsequently emit it…but at a lesser intensity).”
But that is what they do say and what I said back in May 2008.
The density of the atmosphere results in exchanges of kinetic energy beteween ALL molecules of the atmosphere which delays the exit of radiative energy to space.
The radiative characteristics of the molecules are irrelevant because they ALL share in the kinetic activity and the level of that kinetic activity is density/ pressure dependent NOT composition dependent.

GabrielHBay
December 29, 2011 9:05 am

From Mark K.
“John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 7:25 am
“a) the product P×V defines the internal kinetic energy of a gas (measured in Jules) that produces its temperature; ”
This is wrong and anyone with an air compressor can prove it. Pressurize a tank of air. It will initially be warmer according to the idea gas law. But wait a few days. Its temperature will equalize with the ambient air outside the tank. Yet the pressure and volume of the compressed has not changed.
———————————————————————————-
As I understand it, you are leaving out the fact that that in the atmosphere, the energy load is continuously replenished by the sun, balancing (with the help of other mechanisms) the energy loss with energy gain. Thus the formula works. In your example you have only nett loss to the cooler ambient environment. To summarise in my own simplistic way: The energy load of the atmosphere per molecule determines the potential for temperature. The actual temperature achieved is then, for a given energy load, dependant on the pressure (hence compression) experienced by the atmosphere, bringing the molecules closer together. The higher rate of impingement of molecules on each other due to the closer proximity registers as temperature.
Ok, all you very smart persons out there… do have that right in laymans’ terms? 🙂 Makes perfect sense to me. but what do I know.. (TIC)

DR
December 29, 2011 9:06 am

http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/09/shattering-greenhouse-effect.html
Where JAE states

The “backradiation” does TRY to keep the atmosphere warmer, but convection spoils it all. Just like opening the windows in a real greenhouse.
Otherwise, it would not be hotter in a desert than it is in a humid area at the same elevation and latitude (both day AND night), since the GHG concentration in the humid area is about 3 times higher than in the desert. (I wonder how many times I’ve offered this comment and received no logical response….).

That too has also been a thorn in my side concerning the ‘GHE’ explanation. After giving convection, conduction and gravity more thought, the idea of ‘back radiation’ being the dominant feature just doesn’t make much sense. Surely convection is not properly accounted for.

Joe
December 29, 2011 9:06 am

DirkH says:
John, the Ideal Gas Law assumes that the volume of the container holding the gas is infinitely larger than the volume taken up by the gas molecules themselves, so a compressor might not be the right device to test the Ideal Gas Law.

Exactly. John’s example assumes that the Earth’s atmosphere operates like a compressor which is laughable. This is no different than the now debunked “simple experiment” in which a jar with CO2 is shown to warm faster than a jar of air… it only works that way if you limit the expansion of the gas (like John’s compressor). When you take the lid off the jars and allow the gas to expand then the jar with CO2 warms at the same rate as the jar of air.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 9:07 am

Nikolov and Zeller point here to several issues that are important and either ignored completely or examined insufficiently. Specifically these are: 1) the importance of actual temperature distribution on radiative equilibrium and mean surface temperature; and 2) the impact of convection on radiative equilibrium. Unfortunately the glaring errors in application of the gas law will detract from their work, and people will miss the value of the several good suggestions they make.
This will be a busy thread today I predict.

Michael D Smith
December 29, 2011 9:08 am

I was right! You’ve just captured what I’ve been working on. I’m a former lukewarmer, but I’ve been pretty convinced lately that GHG’s do nothing more than change the behavior and timing of convective events, nothing more. Net effect of GHG’s to temperature is zero, zip, nada, zilch.
Brilliant work. I thought I was alone on this one. Groundbreaking stuff. Thanks.
Now let’s try to tear it apart… gently.

TexUte
December 29, 2011 9:10 am

@John Wilkes Booth: Your statement about pressure in a gas cylinder being independent of temperature is just wrong. The mechanical work of compressing a gas transfers heat, so a newly filled cylinder will cool over time if the ambient temperature is lower than the T of the gas. Pressure will also drop in proportion to the change in T, since the volume is fixed. Heating the cylinder will increase the pressure; relieving the pressure will cool the cylinder. This is all very well understood and easily demonstrated.

DirkH
December 29, 2011 9:11 am

ChE says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:56 am
“Sorry, I’d really like to buy some of this, but there’s way too much handwavium. For example, you learn in undergrad thermo that for a diatomic gas like air, ”
Air is a diatomic gas?

Bill Illis
December 29, 2011 9:11 am

We also have the Faint Young Sun paradox to resolve – solar irradiance was as much as 27% lower when the Earth formed (increasing in close to a straight line in the time since).
The Earth should have been a frozen snowball until about 500 million years. It was actually very cold once Oxygen became prevalent about 2.4 billion years ago to about 580 million years ago, but the earlier periods seem to have been warm enough. Perhaps Oxygen thinned out the early atmosphere. Perhaps the early water vapour content (the oceans formed as water vapour rained out of the atmosphere) provides another part of the picture.

Tilo Reber
December 29, 2011 9:11 am

John Wilkes Booth:
“This is wrong and anyone with an air compressor can prove it. Pressurize a tank of air. It will initially be warmer according to the idea gas law. But wait a few days. Its temperature will equalize with the ambient air outside the tank. Yet the pressure and volume of the compressed has not changed.”
First, I submit that in your experiment the pressure will in fact have lowered after you have waited those few days. Second, your experiment does not include the inflow of external energy that Nickolov & Zeller discuss below. And your comment suggests that you do not understand that they are already aware of your objection.
Nickolov & Zeller: “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.”

Alex
December 29, 2011 9:12 am

come on people when you pump a tire it gets hot from the work not the preasure, I don’t buy this.

G. Karst
December 29, 2011 9:17 am

Great, but who… besides shunned skeptics, will read this paper, and give it appropriate consideration?! The IPCC will certainly ignore it, and MSM will minimize it, if acknowledged. No amount of logic and physical science seems capable of piercing the agendized armor of the AGW industry and politics. The gatekeeper team have not fallen asleep. Unlikely academic revolution, would be required. GK

mkelly
December 29, 2011 9:21 am

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:37 am
“I think the misunderstanding of the gas law, that temperature is not determined by pressure, is this contribution’s glaring flaw.”
quote from Ned and Karl excellent (adventure) post: “The thermal effect of pressure is vividly demonstrated on a cosmic scale by the process of star formation, where gravity-induced rise of gas pressure boosts the temperature of an interstellar cloud to the threshold of nuclear fusion.”
So according to you stars get hot, then the pressure increases. HMMMM. Weary interesting. By the way would you please call the folks at Cummins Diesel and let them know how wrong they are.
Further, comparing a solid (overcoat) to a gas I don’t think qualifies as a quote of the weak.

Pamela Gray
December 29, 2011 9:21 am

Great discussion. BadChoiceOfScreenName is the one who deserves the epic fail for bringing up credentials. State your case for or against the content of the poster. Your comment about “credentials” is utter nonsense unless we are discussing research on the relationship between credentials and scientific discovery. If that were our focus here, you would fail on your position thoroughly.

Theo Goodwin
December 29, 2011 9:22 am

Refreshing! Bracing! This theory schematic might very well lead to the well confirmed physical hypotheses that climate science needs to break out of its infancy. This account contains many interesting new ideas, especially its treatment of convection, and gives proper place to natural processes that make up our atmosphere. By contrast, Warmists accounts use a radiation only model that studiously ignores all contributions from natural processes other than radiation and leaves us with all kinds of puzzles, especially the grand one as to how back radiation actually increases temperatures at the surface. Well done.

Don Monfort
December 29, 2011 9:22 am

Slow down. Read Leornard Weinstein’s post. Jeff L, and even Joel Shore. The celebration is premature, again.

Tilo Reber
December 29, 2011 9:27 am

Alex: “come on people when you pump a tire it gets hot from the work not the preasure, I don’t buy this.”
What part of the N&Z explanation don’t you understand:
“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. “

APACHEWHOKNOWS
December 29, 2011 9:29 am

Try pumping a tire out here in West Texas or Eastern New Mexico in August and see who gets warm fastest. Ya and it last until you jump in the first water tank at the first wind mill.

December 29, 2011 9:29 am

Alex:
Adiabatic compression….pressure goes up and so does temperature.
Sorry, basic thermo..
Suggest this…
http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/109N/more_stuff/flashlets/carnot.htm

December 29, 2011 9:30 am

lol @ the people wishing to refute the Idea Gas Law. People, there is a reason why this is called a law and not a theory or postulate. Look up the difference. There are plenty of things to pick at about this submission. The IGL isn’t one of them. You can assign reasoning and factors which go into it, but you’re not going to be able to get around, PV = nRT. ………. goobers.

Joel Shore
December 29, 2011 9:30 am

Just to comment on a few other things:

Figure 1. The Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect as taught at universities around the World (diagram from the website of the Penn State University Department of Meteorology).

Yes…This is taught throughout the world, but not as the most complete understanding of the greenhouse effect but rather as the simplest picture of the greenhouse effect. Hence, to criticize it as incomplete is silly…Everyone knows that it is incomplete. It is not meant to be the most complete or quantitatively-correct model. It is meant to be the simplest picture illustrating the basic effect.

Since in accordance with Hölder’s inequality Tgb ≪ Te (Tgb =154.3K ), GHE becomes much larger than presently estimated.

Hölder’s inequality only has a significant effect if the temperature range on the planet is very large on an absolute temperature scale. For the Earth, the temperature range is moderate enough on an absolute scale that the difference between averaging the temperature and taking the fourth root of the average of T^4 is quite small.

However, Eq. (3) is physically incomplete, because it does not account for convection, which occurs simultaneously with radiative transfer.

What convection does is to basically cause the atmosphere to be unstable when the lapse rate is greater than the appropriate (dry or saturated) adiabatic lapse rate. I.e., convection causes any temperature profile steeper than the adiabatic lapse rate to go back to the adiabatic lapse rate. It is correct that the inclusion of convection reduces the greenhouse effect over what it calculated in the absence of convection; however, it does not reduce it to the extent that these authors claim (because the authors incorrectly assume convection try to relax the atmosphere to a completely isothermal temperature profile with altitude)… And, of course, all quantitative calculations of the greenhouse effect are made using models that include such convection.

Theo Goodwin
December 29, 2011 9:30 am

Andre says:
December 29, 2011 at 5:06 am
“Anyway Hansen et al’s paleotemperature reconstruction depends on a lot of suppostions, for instance that the isotope ratios of Benthic Foraminifera adequately represent the local sea water isotope ratios. However, the chemical composition and pH play an important role. Moreover different species have different reactions and species die out and new appear all the time.”
Very well said. Consider doing a post on this topic.

December 29, 2011 9:30 am

What always seems to get lost is the idea that Earth is in a steady-state condition: energy is always coming in, energy is always going out. Such systems tend toward stability.
There are minor variations, of course. Solar activity has a marked effect on incident cosmic rays; cosmic rays, in turn, have a marked effect on cloud formation, thus on albedo. And the Sun is a variable star, on a bunch of different cycles. And the orbit of Earth changes over time as well.
What has long bothered me has been the question of latency: suppose carbon dioxide stored outgoing radiation. How long would that energy be held? It seems to me that, regardless of the latency time (milliseconds or centuries) that stored heat energy would be released, and thus the long-term stability of the atmospheric PVT would not change.
Besides, without a good understanding of the carbon dioxide budget (absorption/release from the oceans, absorption/release from plants, absorption/release from animal life), all of these strongly dependent on temperature, we have little to go on as yet.
Combine our ignorance of the details of the whole C02 budget with the enormous bugger factors used in producing the false hockey stick, and you get exactly what we have now: bogus science.
My money is on Nikolov and Zeller. There have never been SUV’s on Titan or Triton.

December 29, 2011 9:31 am

Bravo – this will put paid to the alarmists
I thought as much some time ago, but not so elegantly – see http://climate-facts.com

Joel Shore
December 29, 2011 9:33 am

G. Karst says:

Great, but who… besides shunned skeptics, will read this paper, and give it appropriate consideration?! The IPCC will certainly ignore it, and MSM will minimize it, if acknowledged. No amount of logic and physical science seems capable of piercing the agendized armor of the AGW industry and politics.

This paper will be ignored because it is pseudoscientific nonsense that would never pass peer review in the scientific community. Its only purpose is to fool those who do not have the scientific background to recognize its glaring errors.

Archonix
December 29, 2011 9:34 am

To counter Booth and Kilty’s simplistic views I offer my own simplistic reply: The part of the paper that has apparently been missed by these two was not that the pressure itself maintains the temperature, but that the pressure reduces the amount of energy required to maintain that temperature.
They also neglect surface area. A small cylinder filled with high pressure gas has an enormous surface area compared to the globe and is taking in very little energy.
It would also, I’d expect, be a lot easier to keep a pressurised container at a specific temperature with an external heater (surely if a gas bottle is the same as the earth, a two bar electric fire is the same as the sun?) than an equivalently sized empty container; the pressurised container would store a lot more heat within a given volume and would radiate for a much longer period.

Gary Pearse
December 29, 2011 9:44 am

Nick Stokes on Hansen’s paper and the graph.
I can see some exasperation re missing reference, but look, the derivative graph is done accepting the temperatures (they are not theirs and they may even be wrongly composed) but the point here is that they can do this calculation – somebody else’s graph would just give different wiggles but the calculation based on it could be made just the same. I’d rather you show us why we should reject the IGL as a pre-eminent explanation. Explain, for example, that their calculations, although almost exactly equal to the observed temps using IGL are wrong because …… Boy if IPCC contributors could calculate the temps on Mars, Venus, and even Earth using CO2 concentrations that came halfway close to IGL results, I would have been sold long ago. If you want to shoot these guys down, you are going to have to do it with the IGL. Figures used in the prevalent GHG theory haven’t yet been so convincing.

Theo Goodwin
December 29, 2011 9:45 am

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:45 am
“John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:10 am
FYI …
Karl Zeller’s excuse is less clear:
PhD, Colorado State University, Fluid Mechanics & Wind Engineering (micrometeorological emphasis) 1990 …”
Gawd! Are you people dependent on authority? Stop with the fallacious arguments from authority and ad hominems.

December 29, 2011 9:45 am

Extremely interesting paper, which certainly appears to hold up on first reading!
It will be very interesting to follow the reaction of those who have hung their hat on other mechanisms for heating.
Thinking for a moment about the implications of this approach, and how they relate to significant global temperature shifts such as ice ages.
Can enough CO2 and other gases be absorbed in a cold sea to materially change the planetary atmospheric mass? Could an ice age be triggered simply by a periodic shutdown of volcanic out gassing, or perhaps by some external mechanism that strips off significant atmospheric mass such as changes in solar wind, UV ionization changing the size (volume) of the atmosphere and decomposing water vapor into oxygen and hydrogen with eventual loss of hydrogen to space.
Would a major asteroid or cometary impactor, “blow off” enough atmosphere to temporarily cool the earth by changing the atmospheric mass to a new lower value until volcanic activity had time (100,000 years or so) to replenish the blown off atmosphere?
Would the atmospheric mass periodically vary due to local changes in the interstellar environment as the earth moves through the galactic disk? Perhaps as it enters or leaves areas where higher or lower flux of small dust and micrometeorites changes the constant external contribution to atmospheric gasses as these particles vaporize as they enter the atmosphere?
All of the above?
Lots of secondary questions generated by this new approach.
Larry

Joel Shore
December 29, 2011 9:48 am

[SNIP: Joel, that comment is not helpful. You can do better. -REP]

Theo Goodwin
December 29, 2011 9:49 am

Joel Shore says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:30 am
“Just to comment on a few other things:
Figure 1. The Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect as taught at universities around the World (diagram from the website of the Penn State University Department of Meteorology).
Yes…This is taught throughout the world, but not as the most complete understanding of the greenhouse effect but rather as the simplest picture of the greenhouse effect. Hence, to criticize it as incomplete is silly…Everyone knows that it is incomplete. It is not meant to be the most complete or quantitatively-correct model. It is meant to be the simplest picture illustrating the basic effect.”
Ah, yet another who does not understand the differences between theories and models. I will give you the very basic difference: Theories describe reality but models reproduce reality. Are you talking about theories or models?

ChE
December 29, 2011 9:50 am

Air is a diatomic gas?

For thermodynamic purposes, yes. What’s it made out of?

Richard M
December 29, 2011 9:51 am

I’ll mention once again that the “cooling effect” of GHGs continually gets ignored. It was ignored by Monckton as well in the previous article. About 1/3 of the energy in our atmosphere gets there by means other than surface radiation. For that energy the GHGs are the only means to radiate it to space. More CO2 will only enhance the “cooling effect”.
In addition, it works spatially in 3 dimensions rather than the 2 dimensions for radiation. It could very well be that this “cooling effect” completely cancels the “warming effect” known more commonly as the GHE. It must reduce it to some degree.
Add in convection, albedo, etc and I think we can get a better picture of the entire process.

Chris B
December 29, 2011 9:51 am

For those interested in what temperature is here’s a primer from Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature
Pretty good for Wiki.

Theo Goodwin
December 29, 2011 9:59 am

For those who are complaining that this article could not be published in a peer reviewed journal, your claim is trivially true. What this article contains is a brief introduction to a new theory. No journal publishes brief introductions to a new theory.

Tilo Reber
December 29, 2011 10:03 am

Joel Shore: “Yes…This is taught throughout the world, but not as the most complete understanding of the greenhouse effect but rather as the simplest picture of the greenhouse effect.”
This is a nonsense objection on your part. N&Z are not critizising it’s simplicity. They are critizising the fact that it is wrong because what is left out is more important than what is included.
“It is correct that the inclusion of convection reduces the greenhouse effect over what it calculated in the absence of convection; however, it does not reduce it to the extent that these authors claim (because the authors incorrectly assume convection try to relax the atmosphere to a completely isothermal temperature profile with altitude)…”
This is dumb. Go out and feel the wind on your face. And look at the strength of the jet stream. Convection is highly active all the time. And then remember that a doubling of CO2 in a test tube only produced 1C with zero convection.

Theo Goodwin
December 29, 2011 10:09 am

Don Monfort says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:22 am
“Slow down. Read Leornard Weinstein’s post. Jeff L, and even Joel Shore. The celebration is premature, again.”
Yeah. It is a bit early to declare the article “true” and a bit early to declare it “false.” What might be more interesting and useful at this point is a look at its new approach to the problem. Drawing out differences between this approach and the “radiation only” approach of the Warmists could be very useful. The approach in this article describes some natural processes in the atmosphere other than processes of radiation. Warmists studiously ignore all such natural processes by treating them as epiphenomena of radiation changes. (By the way, any article on climate that studiously ignores all natural processes other than radiation changes should never have been published in a peer reviewed journal of science. And all of them should be withdrawn at this time.)

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 10:10 am

Theo Goodwin says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:45 am
Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:45 am
“John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:10 am
FYI …
Karl Zeller’s excuse is less clear:
PhD, Colorado State University, Fluid Mechanics & Wind Engineering (micrometeorological emphasis) 1990 …”
Gawd! Are you people dependent on authority? Stop with the fallacious arguments from authority and ad hominems.

Theo, you mis-understand the point JWB and I were making. In fact we are arguing against the authority of credentials, just as you suggest we should. The fact that Zeller and Nikolov both have Ph.D.s should have no bearing on how anyone should view this paper, but it should have imparted them with some caution about this publication. That they made a mess of their application of the gas law stands on its own. I have a number of advanced degrees, but I rarely weigh in on most subjects because I don’t know enough to make a reasonable contribution. I know well, from decades of university teaching, that engineering students can wiggle through to a Ph.D. being very deficient in understanding some fundamental subjects. As long as they remain in a very narrow discipline this deficiency causes no trouble and isn’t even visible. Wind Engineering is a pretty narrow specialty. Take as an example a Ph.D. in Transportation. It is a civil engineering degree, but it focusses narrowly and doesn’t put much if any emphasis on thermodynamics, or fluids, or any of a range of other engineering and scientific topics, even at the introductory level. The letters behind a person’s name have meaning only when you look at specialty, research background, specific education, informal education, and a lot of other information. Neither JWB nor I were making any fallacious argument–please point out specifics if you disagree.

Albert Einstein
December 29, 2011 10:13 am

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:52 am
Jimmy Haigh says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:38 am
John Wilkes Booth says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:10 am
What are your credentials? Who are you to criticise this work? I would look you up but somehow I don’t think it’s your real name…
“Real name or not, credentials or none, Booth is dead right with regard to this paper. The application of the gas law here is horrid.”
Booth got sent back to his grave but now I know why I was spinning in mine.
You don’t have to be theoetical physicist like me to understand the ideal gas law but evidently you have to be more than a US federal government forestry scientist. LOL

Jose Mayo
December 29, 2011 10:14 am

Perdón, pero…
Cómo puede variar la “densidad” de la atmósfera, y la “presión”, si no hay variación en la gravedad?
[TRANSLATION: How can you change the “density” of the atmosphere, and “pressure” if there is no variation in gravity? -REP]

DirkH
December 29, 2011 10:15 am

ChE says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:50 am
“[DirkH:]Air is a diatomic gas?
For thermodynamic purposes, yes. What’s it made out of?”
Up to 4 % water?

Gary Pearse
December 29, 2011 10:19 am

Joel Shore says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:30 am
Just to comment on a few other things: simplistic Penn State graph, Holders inequality, affect of convection… pulling a few barnacles off a humpback whale doesn’t hurt the whale that much. How about chopping up the blubber of the calculations based on IGL for the planetary bodies and their comparison with the measured temps? When something like this work comes along, you can sure tell who have serious dogs in the fight (those with the biggest dogs didn’t show up). Nick Stokes also attacked a few bumps on the beast, too.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 10:20 am

Theo Goodwin says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:59 am
For those who are complaining that this article could not be published in a peer reviewed journal, your claim is trivially true. What this article contains is a brief introduction to a new theory. No journal publishes brief introductions to a new theory.

Please go back up this thread and read the detailed objections, along with a few compliments, that I made regarding this contribution. It could not be published in the peer-reviewed literature because of the serious mistakes it makes. Now, could these authors publish this in book form on their own? Of course they could, and then their work would have to stand the test of time. My guess is it would be a short test.

Phil's Dad
December 29, 2011 10:24 am

So far, 130 odd comments in (putting aside JWB’s pointless ad hominems and those who say it is wrong without explaining why), the criticisms of this paper appear to be two.
One person is in a flap because he can not find the source of a graph referred to (granted the reference should be there) and then sets up the classic red-herring that it does not appear to match a graph that depicts something different from some another paper. So far, so trivial.
The second criticism is one I would very much like to hear the authors’ remarks on. There has been some concern expressed in these comments over the -133°K atmospheric boost shown by Eq. (2) in this presentation. As far as I can tell this is entirely reasonable given the difference between Earth and Moon surface temperatures if you also consider the cooling effect of the Earthly water cycle. How would the authors address the concerns expressed?
PS just to put in my penny’s worth – if we are looking for a Unified Theory I am prompted to wonder about the effect of adiabatic magnetism.

ChE
December 29, 2011 10:26 am

Up to 4 % water?

Which leaves 96+% made out of what?

Dan in Nevada
December 29, 2011 10:28 am

This is really fascinating to me as it appears to make a lot of sense, if the author’s claims can be verified. I haven’t retained enough of the math I used to somewhat understand to know if the authors’ equations make any sense and would love for some of the more knowledgeable WUWT readers to verify the math.
Assuming (I know) that the math is correct, I don’t understand some of the objections raised here. Nick Stokes claims that a lot is deduced from figure 8. As far as I can tell, the only thing deduced is figure 9 where I believe they are saying that their theory says that historical temperatures would imply specific pressures and proceed to give an example. Objecting to the inputs doesn’t change anything.
Also, a lot of grumbling about whether the GHE adds 33 or 133 degrees C. The authors claim that their way of looking at GB temperatures (I’m looking at their Table 1) would give both the earth and moon a mean surface temperature of 154.3 degrees, which makes sense given the same location relative to the sun. They also say that the airless moon has a measured temperature of 154.3 degrees. If this is all true (which I don’t claim to know), then that’s seems to say their equations are pretty good. It also means that the earth’s measured temperature is 133 degrees higher than their claimed GB temperature and that they can account for that. They then proceed to do just that.
This is really one of the few things I’ve seen that actually makes sense. That doesn’t mean it’s correct, of course. Any insights are welcome.

beng
December 29, 2011 10:30 am

****
GeologyJim says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:54 am
Question: How has Venus managed to hold its thick atmosphere against the solar-wind flux? Is it just the greater molecular weight of CO2 compared to N2, O2, and such?
****
Not sure, but that would be my guess. H2O is easy to dissociate by UV (& then lost to space) compared to CO2, so water is lost first. O2 & N2 are next easiest, so Venus (& Mars), without magnetic fields, end up w/mostly CO2, which is heavier & relatively resistant to dissociation & loss to space. A planetary scientist (or Leif Sv) would know.
AFA this post is concerned, I’m reading & thinking. Time must pass to properly grok. Some flaws are obvious. Certainly Joel Shore is agitated.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 10:32 am

mkelly says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:21 am
Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:37 am
“I think the misunderstanding of the gas law, that temperature is not determined by pressure, is this contribution’s glaring flaw.”
quote from Ned and Karl excellent (adventure) post: “The thermal effect of pressure is vividly demonstrated on a cosmic scale by the process of star formation, where gravity-induced rise of gas pressure boosts the temperature of an interstellar cloud to the threshold of nuclear fusion.”
So according to you stars get hot, then the pressure increases. HMMMM. Weary interesting. By the way would you please call the folks at Cummins Diesel and let them know how wrong they are.
Further, comparing a solid (overcoat) to a gas I don’t think qualifies as a quote of the weak.

You are arguing exactly the reverse of what I said. Please read back up this thread to where I state that pressure results from gas at some level having to support the weight of gas above. It is basic statics, mkelly. Thus temperature has no bearing on pressure in the case of a star or on a planetary atmosphere–gravity is the principal agent. The temperature rise is from gravitational work. Once that work stops; once the star or atmosphere reaches an equilibrium size, then the temperature is determined entirely by energy in versus out. It is basic thermodynamics, mkelly. In the case of the Cummins diesel, the work done on the cylinder charge by the piston is what increases pressure and temperature–work is the causative agent. I never stated that temperature increases then pressure increases. Those are your words, do not try to put them in my mouth.

Arfur Bryant
December 29, 2011 10:38 am

What I welcome most about this paper, notwithstanding that it may or may not be proved to be correct, is the fact that, at last, Science is attempting to go back to Square One and take a refreshing look at the ‘Greenhouse Effect’, its cause and its internal workings.
Refreshing and welcome indeed.
ps, Does this mean that the science is more or less settled? 🙂

edbarbar
December 29, 2011 10:42 am

Why not do the following test. Put a satellite with a big surface with IR sensors in orbit. Create a tight beam of IR, shoot it at the IR sensor, and measure how the IR is affected.
Wait for C02 content to increase in the earth, and measure it again. Keep the satellite in low earth orbit so you can test lots of different locations, with different conditions.

DirkH
December 29, 2011 10:44 am

ChE says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:26 am
“Up to 4 % water?
Which leaves 96+% made out of what?”
So you’re saying 4% more or less is of no interest to you, fine.

John Tyndall
December 29, 2011 10:48 am

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:32 am
Frustrating, isn’t it?

DirkH
December 29, 2011 10:51 am

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:32 am
“The temperature rise is from gravitational work. Once that work stops; once the star or atmosphere reaches an equilibrium size, then the temperature is determined entirely by energy in versus out.”
So far so good, and when the temperature then rises due to more energy input, what does the pressure do? It rises. In fact, temperature and pressure must rise synchronously when the Ideal Gas Law holds. So, you are saying, the energy makes the temperature rise and that makes the pressure rise? Are you sure it’s not the energy making the pressure rise, which in turn makes the temperature rise?
Ah, how can we solve that? Maybe we can ask Booth, and he can then deride one of us?

Martin Mason
December 29, 2011 10:53 am

I’ve read before that the density of the atmosphere was once much higher than today’s and that this was why there were so many large flying dinosaurs.

AnonyMoose
December 29, 2011 10:56 am

In addition to the recalculation of the surface temperature, the viewpoint that it’s the number of gas atoms which is more significant than the types of atoms is an interesting contribution.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 10:58 am

James Sexton says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:30 am
lol @ the people wishing to refute the Idea Gas Law. People, there is a reason why this is called a law and not a theory or postulate. Look up the difference. There are plenty of things to pick at about this submission. The IGL isn’t one of them. You can assign reasoning and factors which go into it, but you’re not going to be able to get around, PV = nRT. ………. goobers.

No one is trying to refute the ideal gas law, but its application here is a mess. Pressure does not determine temperature in this instance. Gravity in effect determines pressure, energy balance determines temperature, then once those two variables are set all that the ideal gas law can possibly do is determine density.
People on this thread are citing air compressors, diesel engines, and all sorts of other contraptions to defend N&Z here, but the one thing no one has bothered with, including N&Z, is gravity, which is the most important factor determining pressure in a star or a planetary atmosphere. Gravity has no impact at all on pressure in compressors or diesel engines–it has everything to do with pressure and lapse rate in atmospheres.
Folks, I love the ideal gas law as much as the next person, but you cannot misapply it. Period.

crosspatch
December 29, 2011 10:58 am

I absolutely agree that it is likely the loss of atmospheric pressure over time that has caused this reduction in temperature over time. We have direct physical evidence of that fact.
http://levenspiel.com/octave/dinosaurs.htm
http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/archive/ci/30/i12/html/12learn.html
It is estimated that Earth probably has about 125 to 250 million years left for sustaining life. At that point its atmosphere will be too void of CO2 to support plant life as we know it. The CO2 will have been scrubbed from the atmosphere to such a low level that it can no longer support plants which will then result in the loss of all the animal life. Going forward as the planet continues to cool and plate tectonics cease, even the oceans will outgas into space leaving a rather mars-like planet devoid of even water. It is plate tectonics that replenishes our atmosphere. That process is slowing. And we even have crazy people calling for extraction of geothermal heat on a global industrial scale which will slow that process even faster. Most of Earth’s U-235 has decayed. There is about 3% of it in the Earth as there was when Earth first formed. We’re doomed but it isn’t from anthropogenic climate change, it is due to geological climate change.

George Castanza
December 29, 2011 10:59 am

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:32 am
Frustrating, isn’t it?

December 29, 2011 11:02 am

“The application of the gas law here is horrid.”
==============================================
What part of law do you not understand? It’s a LAW!!!! It always applies. lol, I’m wondering how many argued against the law of gravity when considering flight. It’s like saying “it doesn’t count because that’s not the way I’m thinking about it!”

DR
December 29, 2011 11:03 am

Earth Energy Budgets without ‘Greenhouse Gases’ or ‘Back Radiation’
It is a bit amusing how the missing hot spot has evolved into “it doesn’t matter” by AGW proponents. The topic is avoided like the plague.

Scott Covert
December 29, 2011 11:05 am

This paper looks testable and falsifiable. IT’S NOT “Climate Science”. /sarc
How about correlating radiometer readings for cloudless days vs barometric pressure? There should be loads of data available in the public domain. Possibly the expansion and compression of the atmosphere due to winds and turbulance could mask the effect but with enough data a signal might emerge. Expansion and compression might just cause overshoot in the temperature, downwelling radiation might oscillate in synch with pressure.
Worth looking at I think.

DR
December 29, 2011 11:07 am

Climate Models Without a ‘Greenhouse Effect’
Nick Stokes said such propositions are “pseudoscience” and would never be accepted in peer review journals.
Tell us then Nick Stokes, how did so many hockey stick papers get published?

DaveS
December 29, 2011 11:08 am

Joel Shore says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:30 am
“Just to comment on a few other things:
Figure 1. The Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect as taught at universities around the World (diagram from the website of the Penn State University Department of Meteorology).
Yes…This is taught throughout the world, but not as the most complete understanding of the greenhouse effect but rather as the simplest picture of the greenhouse effect. Hence, to criticize it as incomplete is silly…Everyone knows that it is incomplete. It is not meant to be the most complete or quantitatively-correct model. It is meant to be the simplest picture illustrating the basic effect.”
——————————————
I’ve not had time to read beyond the first couple of paragraphs. But that’s sufficient to see that the authors state “Figure 1 illustrates this concept using a simple two-layer system known as the Idealized Greenhouse Model (IGM).” Where do you get the idea from that the authors regard that illustration any differently to you?
On your second point I entirely agree that if the difference between the two methods of calculation isn’t quantified in the text, it should have been. We could then see more easily how the claimed difference between 133K and 18-33K is actually derived. But you haven’t quantified it either – ‘quite small’ is a meaningless phrase – so it’s impossible to judge.

Bengt Abelsson
December 29, 2011 11:12 am

JWBs home compressor tank is probably following the gas laws, a 15 K drop in temperature gives a 5 % drop in pressure that You won´t notice. (and a very very small drop in volume).
JWB should really know that.
DirkH, air is mostly N2 and O2 -hence diatomic. But the basic (ideal) gas laws applies also for the monoatomic gasas He and Ar

Pamela Gray
December 29, 2011 11:13 am

Funny Joel. I have read something similar about other paradigm shifts. To bad you have no idea who these paradigm smashing scientitsts were or else you would steer clear of such broad strokes in your paint over of this poster. At least this poster doesn’t lament about missing heat. The explanation for that missing heat is also missing in your settled science. Go complain about that on a warmist web site.

George Castanza
December 29, 2011 11:22 am

crosspatch says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:58 am
“It is estimated that Earth probably has about 125 to 250 million years left for sustaining life.”
Life as we know it, perhaps, but there are plenty of extremophiles that will live on.
But perhaps the way it works out is that intelligent technological species like ourselves come along and instead of being helpless in the face of geological changes they do some proactive terraforming to keep the status quo alive. In the last gasp however the sun is going to turn into a red giant and no amount of terraforming will save the planet. At that point it’s up to the technological species to pack up samples of the biosphere and rocket off to more hospitable location. You ever wonder why humans waste so much time and money on telescopes and space exploration? It’s probably an important long term survival instinct crafted by a long history of planet hopping…

Theo Goodwin
December 29, 2011 11:22 am

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:20 am
Your specific criticisms of the article will be judged on their merits. I made no mention of them. You said that the article could not be published in a peer reviewed journal. Why did you say that? Wasn’t it a cheap shot. The article was clearly not designed to be published in a peer reviewed journal. Let’s not confuse the people who have no experience with peer reviewed journals.

ChE
December 29, 2011 11:24 am

So you’re saying 4% more or less is of no interest to you, fine.

I’m saying that it won’t affect the exponent. Which is all that changes when you go from monatomic to diatomic to polyatomic. It’ll be 1.3 within the accuracy of the equation.

George Castanza
December 29, 2011 11:28 am

Bengt Abelsson says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:12 am
“JWBs home compressor tank is probably following the gas laws, a 15 K drop in temperature gives a 5 % drop in pressure that You won´t notice.”
Yes, he probably wouldn’t notice. But I bet someone would notice a 5% drop in atmospheric pressure when the temperature goes down 15K. I’m pretty sure my ears would be popping like mofo when a cold front blows through if that was the case.
Pressure DOES NOT maintain temperature. As a banned poster here use to say… Write that down!

Pamela Gray
December 29, 2011 11:32 am

Kevin, are u saying that Earth’s pressure is thus in equilibrium and that any temp anomaly must be driven by some other mechanism? I question whether or not our gravity controlled pressure is in equilibrium. All the time? Please enlighten me on your thinking related to this point.

Ed_B
December 29, 2011 11:34 am

Kevin Kilty
Here is what the authors state:
“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..”
I have no problem with this at all. It fits my understanding of the ideal gas law. I don’t understand what your complaint is. The effects of gravity are directly evidenced in the form of pressure (and density)

December 29, 2011 11:36 am

Finally, a writing that puts the whole picture together with the math/physics to back it up. We all had bits and pieces of this floating about our cranium; now they come together.
Finally, a redefinition of our open non-greenhouse atmosphere: Near-surface Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE)
I will be emailing this to many others who do not take the time to investigate on their own.
Thanks for a complete and fine work!

Chris B
December 29, 2011 11:43 am

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:58 am
………….People on this thread are citing air compressors, diesel engines, and all sorts of other contraptions to defend N&Z here, but the one thing no one has bothered with, including N&Z, is gravity, which is the most important factor determining pressure in a star or a planetary atmosphere. Gravity has no impact at all on pressure in compressors or diesel engines–it has everything to do with pressure and lapse rate in atmospheres.
Folks, I love the ideal gas law as much as the next person, but you cannot misapply it. Period.
___________________________________-
Ya, I did, here……….
Chris B says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:25 am
Harry Dale Huffman says:
December 29, 2011 at 6:04 am
“Hence, 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.”
It cannot be overemphasized that ALL of the energy comes from the Sun, contrary to what the authors seem to be saying in that quote.
__________________________________
Actually some of the energy comes from the core of the earth which is hot due to gravitational pressure and radioactive decay of the ancient “stardust” that made up our planet. Even Al Gore agrees, although the eath is only a few thousands of degrees in temperature on the underside of the crust, not millions of degrees.
The earth’s surface would probably be a lot colder if not for this “stored” heat, that continues to slowly cool as our solar system ages.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 11:43 am

DirkH says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:51 am
Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:32 am
“The temperature rise is from gravitational work. Once that work stops; once the star or atmosphere reaches an equilibrium size, then the temperature is determined entirely by energy in versus out.”
So far so good, and when the temperature then rises due to more energy input, what does the pressure do? It rises. In fact, temperature and pressure must rise synchronously when the Ideal Gas Law holds. So, you are saying, the energy makes the temperature rise and that makes the pressure rise? Are you sure it’s not the energy making the pressure rise, which in turn makes the temperature rise?
Ah, how can we solve that? Maybe we can ask Booth, and he can then deride one of us?

First, let’s leave JWB out of this. He’s been banished, but being unpopular or even rude, doesn’t make someone wrong.
Second, you ask “… when the temperature then rises due to more energy input, what does the pressure do? It rises….” No it does not. What occurs is that the atmosphere expands. in fact, let’s look at what happens on Earth. In summer, when the temperature goes up because of increased energy input, the atmosphere in the summer hemisphere expands, surfaces of equal pressure rise in height, and some of its mass goes into the winter hemisphere. Pressure then at some elevations actually goes down, while at others it goes up. You see, blind application of the ideal gas law leads to wrong conclusions. In a large system gravity has an impact that is not apparent in a small system and the ideal gas law includes no explicit provision for gravity.
Third, and last, you say “…So, you are saying, the energy makes the temperature rise and that makes the pressure rise? Are you sure it’s not the energy making the pressure rise, which in turn makes the temperature rise? ” In compressors and engines, where work is adiabatic (i.e. work without heat transfer) it is work that makes pressure and temperature rise together (in all cases though the ideal gas law pertains). But when heat transfer dominates the situation, as it always does in slow processes, or in the long run, then balance of energy determines temperature. Static mechanical equilibrium is what determines pressure (even in a compressor receiver tank this is so). If pressure and temperature are set by other considerations, the ideal gas law then simply specifies one state variable that is left — specific volume or its inverse, density.

Bengt Abelsson
December 29, 2011 11:54 am

G Castanza – the volume is not constant in your example.

Philip Bradley
December 29, 2011 11:54 am

I wouldn’t assume cloud variation is due to GCRs. Some proportion (and perhaps a large proportion) is due to variations in anthropogenic and natural aerosols (which seed clouds).
This affect will be exaggerated by surface temperatures being predominantly measured around urban areas where the anthropogenic aerosol effect is largest.
A study measuring cloud changes over urban areas versus non-urban areas would be interesting.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 11:57 am

Pamela Gray says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:32 am
Kevin, are u saying that Earth’s pressure is thus in equilibrium and that any temp anomaly must be driven by some other mechanism? I question whether or not our gravity controlled pressure is in equilibrium. All the time? Please enlighten me on your thinking related to this point.

Basically that is what I am saying. The predominant effect on pressure is gravity. If you measure the actual air pressure up here in Wyoming it is 200mb lower than sea level on average simply because of “hydrostatic” equilibrium. There are small departures from this equilibrium pressure, and this leads to wind of course, but these are small departures. A few mb of difference results in the winds of a mid-latitude cyclone but a few mb is also the difference you experience going up in elevation by a few tens of meters.
At any rate, saying that atmospheric pressure determines temperature is wrong, just as saying that temperature declines with elevation because of pressure drop is wrong. Temperature declines with elevation because of a change in energy balance, and this balance also includes the mechanical work done when air is raised or lowered in elevation. The ideal gas law applies to all of this only indirectly.
Did I clarify my thinking?

Urederra
December 29, 2011 12:02 pm

Ugh. From wiki and “Mercury Fact Sheet”. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. November 30, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-28.

The mean surface temperature of Mercury is 442.5 K,[3]

In Table 1 it says that the “observed” mean temperature is 248.2 K. I could not find why the authors are using 248.2 instead of 442.5 K as NASA Goddard Space Flight Center suggests. http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/mercuryfact.html

mkelly
December 29, 2011 12:10 pm

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:32 am
mkelly says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:21 am
Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:37 am
KKilty says: “…, that temperature is not determined by pressure, ….”
Thus temperature has no bearing on pressure in the case of a star or on a planetary atmosphere–gravity is the principal agent. The temperature rise is from gravitational work.
Sir, you change the discussion from pressure/temperature to work. In a star the gravitional force increases the pressure while the volume is shrinking thus T must rise. In regard PV =nRT if P is increased and V held steady then T must rise. If you ascribe the rise in P to work done by gravity I agree. Also with the diesel work. But we were just talking about the gas law and not about work.

wayne
December 29, 2011 12:14 pm

Many commenters here are already getting pressure and density miss applied within their words resulting in non-science dribble. Don’t give the local agw zombies a hammer. Once more time…. pressure has only to do with mass (the mass of the atmosphere), acceleration (gravitational acceleration), and area (the area of Earth’s surface). That’s all. Look at the units:
Density: mass/volume = kg/m3
Pressure: Pa = force/area = N/m2 = kg (m/s2) / m2 = (finally, true but no meaning) kg/m/s2.
kg = mass of atmosphere
m/s2 = gravitational acceleration
m2 = area of Earth’s surface
In a mostly stable gravitationally held atmosphere:
Changes in pressure (the cause) reflects in changes in temperature (the effect), constant volume but an atmosphere is not constant volume.
Changes in temperature (the cause) reflects in changes in density (the effect), constant pressure, an atmosphere has a constant mean pressure.
Temperature cannot cause first order changes in pressure in atmospheres but it does change density.
Density cannot cause first order changes in either temperature or pressure, it is an end effect. But density does affect radiation passing through that mass.
Everyone seems to have P•V=n•R•T burned in their mind but in relation to a gravitation held atmospheres these equivalents are much more relevant and helpful:
P•V•M = m•R•T and
P•M = ρ•R•T or P/ ρ = T•R/M
M being molar mass, m being mass, ρ being density
Rearrange as needed.
Seemed to be needed here. Hope that might help some here and hopfully no mistakes.

December 29, 2011 12:16 pm

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:58 am
you’re not going to be able to get around, PV = nRT. ………. goobers.
“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““
No one is trying to refute the ideal gas law, but its application here is a mess. Pressure does not determine temperature in this instance. Gravity in effect determines pressure, energy balance determines temperature, then once those two variables are set all that the ideal gas law can possibly do is determine density.
……….. Gravity has no impact at all on pressure in compressors or diesel engines–it has everything to do with pressure and lapse rate in atmospheres.
Folks, I love the ideal gas law as much as the next person, but you cannot misapply it. Period.
=================================================
And, yet, PV still equals nRT . So, instead of focusing on the pressure part of the equation, I’d look elsewhere. Of course, we should also note, our pressure isn’t constant, and the delta in temps that we’re talking about is about 0.5 Kelvin. (55° to 56° for instance)
I think what most people are getting hung up on is scale and sensitivity. Everyone likes to think our temp change has been dramatic. It hasn’t been. Everyone is used to seeing the temp graphs with the accelerating increase. But, if one scales it properly and puts it on a Kelvin scale…. it wouldn’t even be a noticeable bump on the line.

J Martin
December 29, 2011 12:19 pm

@ GeologyJim says “Question: How has Venus managed to hold its thick atmosphere against the solar-wind flux? Is it just the greater molecular weight of CO2 compared to N2, O2, and such?”
Perhaps it hasn’t and it was once even greater than it is now. Or / and as Venus is that much nearer the sun it’s innards must be subject to far greater tidal churn and so is or has been much more volcanically active than earth.
Dale Huffman should be feeling happy that this paper vindicates him;
http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/venus-no-greenhouse-effect.html
@ Stephen Wilde, you said “It fits nicely with the description that I published back in May 2008”
you also said “My work then goes on to link all that to solar activity from above and oceanic variability from below for a more complete Unified Theory than that presented here (IMHO).”
Please post a link for this or better still ask Anthony to put it on WUWT as an article / paper, it sounds more than interesting enough and I like the idea of extending it to solar and sst.

JPeden
December 29, 2011 12:20 pm

So I guess the CO2 molecules are to blame for about 0.0392% of that “unprecedented” “catastrophic” warming we are suffering under now?

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 12:23 pm

Ed_B says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:34 am
Kevin Kilty
Here is what the authors state:
“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..”
I have no problem with this at all. It fits my understanding of the ideal gas law. I don’t understand what your complaint is. The effects of gravity are directly evidenced in the form of pressure (and density)

Here is my complaint. My engineering students constantly misapply the ideal gas law by confusing the relationship it suggests among P, V, n, and T with causation. P, V, and n do not cause temperature, and that is what the authors either do maintain or are implying here. Temperature in the long run is always the result of energy balance. So, I have no problem with N&Z saying that irrandiance at TOA is an important factor–it is. Period. However, to the extent that pressure has anything to do with this, it is just acting as a proxy for the true important factors. On earth you could think of pressure as a proxy for optical depth which is important; but it is only a proxy.
Let’s take Venus as an example. We know the surface temperature is very high. We also know the surface pressure is very high. But the surface pressure does not cause the high temperature. The surface temperature results from 1) irradiance that is absorbed predominantly high in the atmosphere leading to a high temperature there, and 2) then a lot of work input by gravity as convection takes parcels from up high to the surface. There is also a little irradiance absorbed at the surface which is what drives the convection. The high surface temperature results from the lapse rate, and we know the lapse rate depends on specific heat at constant pressure and the gravitational constant–pressure does not enter the problem explicitly.
Now you could object by saying, well the atmosphere absorbs irradiance so high because there is so much mass in Venus’ atmosphere and pressure is related to the mass in the atmosphere, and you could also say that the work involved in taking parcels of atmosphere to the surface is just pressure-volume work, and so involves pressure. But really irradiance and gravity are the factors, and pressure is but a proxy for the latter. Think of a planet like Venus, but with an argon atmosphere, that is far more transparent (less optical depth), yet has the same surface pressure. The difference in transparency would lead to a very different surface temperature, yet irradiance TOA and surface pressure would be the same.
I hope I am making myself clear.

Bengt Abelsson
December 29, 2011 12:23 pm

Urederra
Yes, but Wikipedia says that the range is 90 – 700 K. It takes a bit of math to estimate the equivalent blackbody temperature from that.
Some explanation should be nice.

Pamela Gray
December 29, 2011 12:26 pm

I get the colder planet equation. It makes sense and allows a global temperature comparison with a global temperature mechanism with and without an atmosphere. Otherwise u are only measuring a point on the Earth against a global average. This poster looks at the gray body as a sphere on an axis and explains the temp of the gray body at all points, those facing the sun and its angles, as well as those points facing away from the Sun. The authors then went looking for a mechanism with enough energy to get us to room temperature so to speak.
So, if the first equation holds true, greenhouse effects cannot alone explain why we are as warm as we are. So warmists, what are your thoughts on the temperature equation without an atmosphere?

December 29, 2011 12:26 pm

Kevin, are you saying that high altitude areas are colder than low altitude areas because of differences in radiative balance, not the difference in pressure?

Phil's Dad
December 29, 2011 12:28 pm

@ Mr Kilty
I am not sure that you are arguing the same case. As far as I can tell what the authors are saying is that for a given gravity and a given energy balance if you increase the total amount of gas present the pressure at the surface will increase. Given (as stated) the unchanged energy balance, the surface temperature will increase. How is this a miss-application of the law?

J Martin
December 29, 2011 12:32 pm

Oops, I missed the fact that Dale Huffman had commented above on this paper. Having scanned through Dale’s comment, I remain of the view that the two papers are in fundamental agreement.

Urederra
December 29, 2011 12:32 pm

@Gengt
It is not only wikipedia, but also the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center that says that the average temperature on Mercury is 440 K

Mercury Atmosphere (Exosphere)
Surface pressure: ~10-15 bar (0.001 picobar)
Average temperature: 440 K (167 C) (590-725 K, sunward side)

http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/mercuryfact.html

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 12:33 pm

mkelly says:
December 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm
Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 10:32 am
mkelly says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:21 am
Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:37 am
KKilty says: “…, that temperature is not determined by pressure, ….”
Thus temperature has no bearing on pressure in the case of a star or on a planetary atmosphere–gravity is the principal agent. The temperature rise is from gravitational work.
Sir, you change the discussion from pressure/temperature to work. In a star the gravitional force increases the pressure while the volume is shrinking thus T must rise. In regard PV =nRT if P is increased and V held steady then T must rise. If you ascribe the rise in P to work done by gravity I agree. Also with the diesel work. But we were just talking about the gas law and not about work.

Mkelly, I’m going to try to explain this better. The original temperature rise that got the star going in the first place was from gravitational work. Once that work is done, however, the star temperature results from energy balance, not from pressure. Oh, you do have to maintain a pretty high temperature and pressure to keep the nuclear reactions going, but pressure does not cause temperature.
I am not changing the topic from one thing to another. They are interrelated.
The ideal gas law is just an equation of state that relates one state variable (T say) to others (P,V, and n). Thermodynamics is the application of energy concepts to the system these state variables describe. I bring work into all of this because work+heat is the essence of energy balance. You cannot explain what goes on in an atmosphere or a diesel engine without considering heat+work. I am not changing the topic, I’m simply adding what has to be added to make sense.

crosspatch
December 29, 2011 12:34 pm

“Life as we know it, perhaps, but there are plenty of extremophiles that will live on.”
For a while, but then even those will die. The point being that the planet Earth will be uninhabitable for human beings long before the Sun gets too hot because our atmosphere will blow away in the solar wind and volcanism will drop below the level required to sustain it.

December 29, 2011 12:44 pm

Kevin, when Carl Sagan first estimated the surface temperature of Venus, he based it on radar depth to the surface, the known cloud top altitude and temperature, and two guesses at the atmosphereic composition, one entirely nitrogen and one CO2. His estimate for a nitrogen atmosphere was hotter than for a CO2 atmophere, purely due to the different lapse rates between N2 and CO2.
I think what the authors are arguing (or should be) is that the lapse rate determines the delta T’s, and then some aspect of the atmosphere system or planet will set the radiative equilibrium with the external environment, putting absolute temperatures to all the points in the system. The radiative equilibrium could be set at the surface (if the atmosphere was completely transparent to radiation), in which case the surface temperature would the same as with no atmosphere at all (and the atmosphere itself would of course get colder and colder than that temperature as you go up). Or the radiative equilibrium could be set much higher up, such as the cloud tops of Venus, in which case the atmosphere at deeper levels will remain much hotter than the cloud tops.
Let me try an analogy somewhat better than a diesel engine and switch us to a Brayton Cycle, using a multi-stage axial flow compressor followed by an expansion turbine. As air moves vertically through an atmosphere, the pressure changes result in temperature changes, just as the air gets hotter through each compressor stage and cooler through each expansion turbine stage. As long as the engine runs (and gravity runs forever), the high pressure air will be hotter than the low pressure air. If we connect the high pressure air to a heatsink at room temperature, it will equilibrate to room temperature and the low pressure air will be very cold. If we hook the low pressure air to our heatsink then the high pressure air will stay very hot. So the planetary question is what level of the atmosphere is locked in thermal equilibrium with the external environment.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 12:45 pm

George Turner says:
December 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm
Kevin, are you saying that high altitude areas are colder than low altitude areas because of differences in radiative balance, not the difference in pressure?

Partially, let me elaborate a bit. High altitude areas are colder because the energy balance is different, and radiation is only a part of the energy balance. Work is a big factor. As air moves upward to higher elevation, either because of convection or general flow of the air, it has to do work against gravity and this leads to a cooling of about 6F per thousand feet or almost 10C per kilometer. That is a lot of cooling to be made up with only radiation. Also, while the surface heats well at high elevation from solar irradiance, the atmosphere is much more transparent to IR radiation loss back to space. So the result is that a difference in energy balance leads to lower air temperature at high elevation. Pressure is not the cause.

Bengt Abelsson
December 29, 2011 12:46 pm

Uerderra
I agree that average temp is stated as 440 K.
My point is that arithmetic mean (T1 + T2)/2 may give a wrong answer to the question of the equivalent black (grey ?) body which depend on T^4.

Stephen Wilde
December 29, 2011 12:48 pm

J Martin says:
December 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm
“Please post a link for this or better still ask Anthony to put it on WUWT as an article / paper, it sounds more than interesting enough and I like the idea of extending it to solar and sst.”
I’ve posted it several times before but no real takers. However the Nikolov findings add relevance so here goes again:
For the top down solar influence see here:
http://climaterealists.com/attachments/ftp/How%20The%20Sun%20Could%20Control%20Earths%20Temperature.pdf
For the bottom up oceanic effect see here:
http://climaterealists.com/attachments/ftp/TheSettingAndMaintainingOfEarth.pdf
And the Unifying system response see here:
http://climaterealists.com/attachments/ftp/TheUnifyingTheoryofEarthsClimate.pdf
As far as I can see at present all is consistent with the Nikolov paper and with observations but inconsistent with established climate theory.
I see Nikolov as adding quantitative science to my qualitative description.

J Martin
December 29, 2011 12:50 pm

crosspatch said “…because our atmosphere will blow away in the solar wind and volcanism will drop below the level required to sustain it.”
If mankind faces extinction, then I imagine that future generations will not go down without a fight. Including trying to open up or create volcanos. Or import atmosphere from other planets. Use fusion somehow, pity there’s no nitrogen in H2o, but maybe we can liberate nitrogen from somewhere.
A fight for survival we thankfully won’t have to face.

Phil's Dad
December 29, 2011 12:50 pm

@ Will (says: December 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm )
This is one of those cases where you must take more than a single factor into account. You are right that if we had no atmosphere (and thus no water cycle) the temperature would be similar to that of the Moon. However, in order to isolate the atmospheric effect on temperature on an Earth which has both atmosphere and a water cycle, you must also eliminate the water cycle as a factor – which is currently keeping us cooler than we would otherwise be. (There will be other factors too). Factoring in the knowns, the figure of 133K is entirely reasonable and need not detract from the rest of the paper.

LazyTeenager
December 29, 2011 12:52 pm

richard verney says:
December 29, 2011 at 5:58 am
I remember as a young boy back in the 60s/70s when there was great interest in space that my Dad told me that the reason why Venus was hot was due to the pressure of its atmosphere and he iullustrated it with a bicycle pump. I guess that different science was being taught back in that day and age.
——-
Nup. Same science then as now.
The whole idea is a common misconception. It results from confusing the process of compressing the gas with the state of being compressed.
The heating of the gas in the bicycle pump arises because the pressure is being CHANGED.
The heating does not arise because the gas is at a higher pressure.
A simple counter-example to your idea is a cylinder of compressed gas. That gas might be at 2000bar pressure. But you won’t burn your hand if you touch it. It will be at room temperature.
The atmospheric pressure on Venus is not changing so there is no pressure heating. Instead it’s temperature is maintained by solar heating.

Kevin Kilty
December 29, 2011 12:55 pm

Phil’s Dad says:
December 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm
@ Mr Kilty

You know, I have now typed so much on this topic, with a 2 year-old and a baby distracting me, that my memory of exactly what the authors said is getting foggy in my mind, and perhaps I should go back and re-read. But there is a pervasive that the ideal gas law is causative, in that a given P, V, and n will cause a particular temperature. You can see this in the comments here, and I find it to be common among my second and third year engineering students. I sensed it to be part of what the authors were implying. That is the idea I am trying to squash. Temperature results from energy balance. Pressure and density then follow according to the ideal gas law and the total material (n) in a system.

Joe
December 29, 2011 12:59 pm

“Gravity in effect determines pressure, energy balance determines temperature”
Ummmm.. what?
Second, you ask “… when the temperature then rises due to more energy input, what does the pressure do? It rises….” No it does not. What occurs is that the atmosphere expands. in fact, let’s look at what happens on Earth.
As you say, let’s actually look at what happens on Earth. When energy is introduced to the atmosphere the atmosphere expands, true… but to say it only expands is to ignore gravity. Since Earth actually has a gravitational field, that gravity creates pressure and denies fully free expansion of the gas, so that added energy will in part expand the atmosphere, and it part heat the atmosphere. As such, the gravitational pressure that heat.

David, UK
December 29, 2011 1:03 pm

James Reid says:
December 29, 2011 at 9:03 am
Do I hear deathly silence from the Lazy Teenager and R Gates?

Haha! You read my mind!

Theo Goodwin
December 29, 2011 1:07 pm

The word ‘energy’ is ambiguous in multiple ways. For the purposes of this discussion, an important use of the word ‘energy’ has to do with the Earth-Sun system of radiation exchange so familiar from Warmist models. With regard to that system, Earth does not create energy.
But there are other uses of the word ‘energy’. Windmills are created to transform the energy of the winds into electricity. In that use of the word ‘energy’, the reference is not to the Earth-Sun system and the statement is perfectly meaningful.
Because the article under discussion departs from the “radiation only” model of the Earth-Sun system used by the Warmists, when the authors write or imply that energy is being created they are referring to a set of physical hypotheses that is independent of the Earth-Sun system. Give them a chance. Try to understand their use of the word ‘energy’ by reference to the physical hypotheses that they are attempting to elucidate.

Joe
December 29, 2011 1:14 pm

There was a video distributed here earlier (in the debunking of Al Gore’s “24 hours of realism” video) that touched on this theory as well. It took a slightly different tack in proving it’s point by arguing that, when you account for the difference is solar irradiance, Venusian atmosphere is actually roughly the same temperature as Earth’s atmosphere at equal atmospheric pressure.
I think that video “Greenhouse in a Bottle, Reconsidered” has been taken down now, but it espouses the same theory. It would be nice if someone had a copy of it and could post it. I can’t seem to find it.

Chad Jessup
December 29, 2011 1:14 pm

Stephen Wilde – thank you for your continuing climate educational efforts.

mkelly
December 29, 2011 1:19 pm

Kevin Kilty says:
December 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Sir, I don’t disagree with what you say. As I said last time I agree. I was being more narrowly focused as to what the equation says. However, work is seldom mentioned (which is a shame) in discussions of climate.

Martin Mason
December 29, 2011 1:23 pm

Surely the average temperature of the earth without an atmosphere wouldn’t be the same as the moon because the rate of rotation is different?

Stephen Richards
December 29, 2011 1:24 pm

Joe says:
December 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm
“Gravity in effect determines pressure, energy balance determines temperature”
Ummmm.. what?
Second, you ask “… when the temperature then rises due to more energy input, what does the pressure do? It rises….” No it does not. What occurs is that the atmosphere expands. in fact, let’s look at what happens on Earth.
As you say, let’s actually look at what happens on Earth. When energy is introduced to the atmosphere the atmosphere expands, true… but to say it only expands is to ignore gravity. Since Earth actually has a gravitational field, that gravity creates pressure and denies fully free expansion of the gas, so that added energy will in part expand the atmosphere, and it part heat the atmosphere. As such, the gravitational pressure that heat.
The closest (simple) analogy to the atmosphere as Joe describes would be a balloon. As the air heats the pressure inside increases and the outside expands. If you think of gravity as the skin of the balloon then you will see that the pressure inside the balloon increases but not at the rate one would expect if the balloon was rigid. It’s far more complex than I have explained here but I hope you get the gist.
So , “Gravity in effect determines pressure, energy balance determines temperature” If you look deeply into this phrase you will note that the author might have a point but may not have expressed in a way that makes it easy to understand what he/she actually meant to say.

Nullius in Verba
December 29, 2011 1:28 pm

I’m not going to bother rehashing the greenhouse effect physics. I gave an explanation of why pressure is indeed more important than backradiation here: http://judithcurry.com/2010/12/02/best-of-the-greenhouse/ Professor Curry splits my explanation into two sections, so scroll down.
However, it’s not true to say that it is purely due to pressure, or that greenhouse warming would occur with a totally transparent atmosphere.
Somebody asked for a more extensive list of issues with the paper. Here are just a few I picked out going through.
“According to the current theory,…”
While this theory is commonly found in explanations to the general public, it is not in fact the one used by climate scientists for actual calculations. Those calculations take convection and pressure effects fully into account.
“To be correct, Tgb must be computed via proper spherical integration of the planetary temperature field…”
It’s still not correct. The actual temperature with an atmosphere will also involve horizontal heat transfer via convection cycles, and the loss of heat from the surface is not just by radiation but also latent and sensible heat. Heat storage, and surface thermal conductivity also have an effect because of the day/night cycle. The temperature is proportional to the fourth power of the heat radiated, so to get the ‘radiative average’ temperature, you have to take the fourth root of temperature to get power, average, and then raise to the fourth power again to get a single equivalent temperature. The difference is not so large.
“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?”
Yes. If it wasn’t for convection, the average surface temperature on Earth would be about 65-70 C. And CO2 is not the only GHG – water vapour constitutes more than 0.5%.
“Modern GCMs do not solve simultaneously radiative transfer and convection.”
As I understand it, they do – although they sometimes fudge the details somewhat.
“the term Greenhouse Effect is a misnomer”
True, but I think that’s well-accepted, even by advocates.
“…guarantees that a mean global temperature can be accurately estimated from planetary averages of surface pressure and air volume…”
No, because it also depends on their vertical distribution, and because the volume is a function of the temperature distribution (which in turn is due to radiation/convection effects), not vice versa. Cause and effect are reversed.
“…related to total surface pressure through a nearly perfect regression fit…”
You have a number of planets with no atmosphere, to which the regression is insensitive, and only three planets are used to define the curve. Since you have four free parameters, a perfect fit is not surprising. It’s not significant.

P Walker
December 29, 2011 1:30 pm

Folks ,
Somewhere in the midst of this melee , one of the authors ( I forget which and don’t hace the time to look ) commented that this was just a preview of what are to become four papers that they will submit for peer reviewed publication . No point in getting too worked up over this . BTW the harshest critics here are probably doing the authors a tremendous service , whether they mean to or not .

Editor
December 29, 2011 1:30 pm

Brian H says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

Jeff L says:
December 29, 2011 at 6:31 am

The one red flag I see is the long term predicted pressure profile in figure 8. Eocene pressures max out at ~ 185 kPa – that’s approaching double today’s standard pressure of ~ 101 kPa !! I would think at those kind of pressures there would be some biological effects which might be manifested in the fossil record – how life adapted to such high pressures.
That barely scratches the surface:
http://levenspiel.com/octave/dinosaurs.htm
and
http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/archive/ci/30/i12/html/12learn.html
Thicker air allowed >100lb. pteranodons to fly. They couldn’t in a 1 bar atmosphere.

Hmm. I don’t know beans about air pressure differences in the geologic past. I’ll call my geologist brother to fill me in.
Brian’s links are far more fascinating than the vitriol over gas laws. I thought we settled some of that stuff in the Venus threads. Everyone, climb a mountain and chill out from the adiabtic expansion! Then read those links. BTW, they argue that big flying things needed “at least 3.7–5.0 bar” when they were around 100-65 Mya. That’s a lot more than the 1.6 bar from figure 9 at 65 Mya.
I really, really like to see multiple lines of research support some outrageous claim. Clearly more study is needed.
I think the dinosaur blood pumping question is not nearly so good. The real question is what was the venous blood pressure, and what kept the veins from collapsing or developing a vacuum.
GeologyJim says:
December 29, 2011 at 8:54 am

Question: How has Venus managed to hold its thick atmosphere against the solar-wind flux? Is it just the greater molecular weight of CO2 compared to N2, O2, and such?

A claim in the second link is that the Earth’s carbonates hold the equivalent of 55 bar of CO2. So the answer may be that Earth did not lose its CO2, but by keeping its H2O, pathways opened to take CO2 out of the atmosphere and put it underfoot.

crosspatch