Thanks and Apologies

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I have no use for people who censor and ban those who don’t agree with their scientific ideas. I’ve had my simple, on-topic, scientific comments censored over at RealClimate. And I’m banned at Tamino’s “Closed Mind” blog for asking one too many unwanted questions. I really, really didn’t like either experience at all.

Given that, what was up with my snipping opposing views on my thread called “A Matter of Some Gravity“? I did two things in that thread. I offered up a proof that no possible mechanism involving a transparent, GHG-free atmosphere could raise the temperature of a planet above its theoretical Stefan-Boltzmann temperature. I also put out a call for “elevator speeches” explaining the “gravito-thermal” theories of Nikolov and Zeller (N&Z) and Hans Jelbring. An “elevator speech” is a very condensed, very boiled-down description of how something works. It is how you would explain something if you only had the length of an elevator ride to do so.

A closeup of the fabled “Secateurs of Sorrow”, allegedly used during the 2012 “Night of the Long Scissors”.  PHOTO SOURCE

Well, actually I did three things in that thread, not two. I snipped out a whole bunch of comments. Oh, it was no surprise, although people acted like it was, because I had announced in the head post that I would do exactly that. But why would I snip comments, when I’m so opposed to censorship?

Therein lies a tale …

This all got started when Roger “Tallbloke” Tattersall, the proprietor of a skeptical climate blog called “Tallbloke’s Talkshop”, banned Joel Shore from posting at the Talkshop. Why? I’ll let Roger the Tallbloke tell it:

… you’re not posting here unless and until you apologise to Nikolov and Zeller for spreading misinformation about conservation of energy in their theory all over the blogosphere and failing to correct it.

OK, Joel Shore was banned for spreading misinformation that N&Z violated conservation of energy. Now, this was a double blow to me. First, it was a blow because the Talkshop is a skeptical site, and for a skeptical site to ban someone for “heretical” scientific beliefs, that doesn’t help things at all.

Second, I had also been going around the blogosphere and saying that the N&Z hypothesis violated conservation of energy. I had done exactly what Joel had done.

Don’t get me wrong here. Joel is not a friend of mine, nor an enemy of any kind. He and I disagree on many things, because he’s an AGW supporter and I’m a climate heretic. In addition, he doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and he can be obstinate about what he considers to be basic science. So I understand that he’s not the best houseguest, although I’m hardly one to talk. But we agree on this particular scientific question.

So, I posted a comment on the “Suggestions” thread over at the Talkshop asking Roger to rescind his fatwa on Joel. I pointed out that I had done the same thing as Joel, and thus in good conscience I would have to leave as well. I said that Joel is a physicist and as such is one of the few anthropogenic global warming (AGW) supporting scientists willing to engage on the skeptical blogs to defend the AGW position. From memory (I can’t go back to check) I said I enjoy it when Joel comments on my posts, because his science-fu is generally good. Yes, I disagree with him a lot, and yes, he can be a jerk (quite unlike myself), but he shows up on skeptical sites and will take the time to defend his science. Not many AGW scientists you can say that about.

Regardless of my importunings, Roger remained unmoved. So (at his very reasonable suggestion) he and I took it offline to an email discussion. I continued to plead my case and to ask him to recant the Orwellian Heresy. I enjoy visiting the Talkshop, Roger is a good guy, I didn’t want to have to leave.

In our discussion, I said that I doubted greatly if he could even give me a clear, concise, meaty scientific summary of N&Z’s theory, an “elevator speech” on the subject sufficient to see if it did violate conservation of energy. He refused to have anything to do with the idea, I believe partly because in his lexicon an “elevator speech” was a sales tool. I assured him that no, no sale necessary, I meant something different. All I wanted was for him to boil down his own thoughts and understandings to a clear precise few sentences explaining the theory, so we could see if N&Z did violate conservation of energy.

He refused. I could see he was unshakeable.

Hmmm … I was left with a bit of a koan. I wanted to see if I could fomally show that N&Z violated conservation of energy. I wanted to see if there was anyone out there who actually understood either the Jelbring or N&Z hypotheses and could explain them to me. And finally, I wanted to keep the issue of censorship alive, not just on WUWT, but at the Talkshop as well … and how could do I do that when I can’t comment at the Talkshop? I wanted it kept alive because banning someone when they say your pet idea violates scientific laws is a Very Bad Idea™—bad for the skeptics, bad for science, bad for progress, bad for everyone.

So I fear I set a trap for Tallbloke. Yeah, I know, I probably shouldn’t have done that, and I’ve likely blown my chance for eternal salvation, although there are those who would deny I ever had one, but I gotta confess, that’s what I did, and there you have it.

First, I thought up and I wrote up and posted a formal proof that the N&Z theory violates conservation of energy. I think it’s actually quite a clever proof.

Then I made a call for either elevator speeches, or for falsifications of my proof. I said didn’t want anything else but those two things, and I said that I would snip off-topic responses, because I wanted to keep the thread on track and on topic. I wanted to see if anyone could falsify my proof, and I wanted elevator speeches, and I wasn’t interested in diversions or declarations or anything but those two things.

So that was the background and the scenery for the trap. What did I put out as bait in my hunting of the snark?

Right at the end of the post, as kind of a throwaway bit, I mentioned that since I’d said N&Z violated conservation of energy, and Joel Shore was banned for doing the same thing, I considered myself banned at Tallbloke’s as well. And I do consider myself banned until he rescinds it. I knew he would react to that.

What else? Oh, yeah, the final touch, I was particularly proud of this one. I posted a link to the N&Z paper  and a subsequent discussion paper on WUWT. And then I talked about the Jelbring paper, but I didn’t link to it. I knew that Tallbloke had a copy of it posted up at the Talkshop, and I was hoping he would provide the link.

Then I sat back and waited and tended my fishing lines. True to form, people wanted to make all kinds of random comments. I snipped them. People wanted to post their own pet theories. I snipped them, I’d specified no pet theories. People wanted to school me on some meaningless point. I snipped them. People wanted to complain about being snipped. I snipped their complaints. Off-topic, sorry. People wanted to re-post some off-topic thing I’d snipped. I snipped it again.

Very few of the responses were what I had asked for. Shocking, I know, but getting WUWT folks to follow a request is like herding cats. Make that herding feral cats. On third thought, make that herding feral cats on PCP.

And I’d counted on that. I merrily snipped anything that was not an elevator speech or a falsification of my proof, and watched my fishing lines.

Predictably, when Roger showed up at the party, he was not a happy man. He posted a comment containing a whole mix of stuff, little of which had anything to do with either an elevator speech or a falsification of my proof, although there was a bit of science in the mix.

I happily snipped it, science and all. I believe he has it posted over at the Talkshop to prove my perfidy. In any case, at this point it’s been restored on the thread for all to read.

Of course, Roger reasonably and strongly protested the censorship. I said repost the science if you think I snipped serious stuff. He reposted the science, minus the various off-topic things he’d included before, and we discussed it.

Then, as I was hoping against hope, he noticed that there was no link to the poor Jelbring paper. I’d left Hans out in the cold. So as I had hoped, Tallbloke posted a link to where the Jelbring paper is posted at the Talkshop.

I snipped that as well, explaining that there was no way he was going to use my thread to send traffic to the Talkshop …

Well, that seriously frosted his banana. He hadn’t even thought of driving traffic to his site, he just wanted to give people a link to the paper. To be falsely accused like that put his knickers in a right twist.

So I snipped for a bit longer to keep up the charade, didn’t want to stop immediately and give away the game, then I went to bed … in the morning I stopped snipping, and let the thread go on its merry way, diversions and pet theories and all the rest.

The response was beyond my wildest hopes. Tallbloke set up a whole blog page at the Talkshop where he is faithfully chronicling my evil misdeeds of snippage. I haven’t read it ’cause I won’t go there until Joel is unbanned, but I can hardly wait to hear the description of carnage and bloodletting, starring yours truly as Willis the Merciless, ruthlessly wielding my mighty Fiskars of Doom …

In any case, I was overjoyed to hear that, it was better than I could have expected. Instead of being discussed somewhere like the “Suggestions” thread at Tallblokes Talkshop, I had a whole thread wherein people can abuse censorship in its myriad forms. Oh, they’ll be abusing me too, but as long as they are also abusing censorship I figure that is a small price to pay.

Overall? I’d rate the whole thing as pretty successful. I probably should have stopped snipping a bit earlier than I did, I underestimated the effect, so likely I overcooked the loaf a bit, but that’s better than leaving it raw. And I did manage to keep the issue alive at the Talkshop. I figured that if the Talkshop got filled with people abusing me for censorship, that the issue of censorship would be alive and well there. And not only would the issue be alive, but people at the Talkshop would be cursing censorship … whereas if the censorship issue were alive but the topic was Tallbloke’s banning of Joel Shore, people at the Talkshop would be saying that Tallbloke did the right thing to ban him. I hoped to achieve that, but I never thought I’d get my own thread. I count that as a huge win, to get people at the Talkshop to curse and discuss censorship without my going there at all.

As I’ve said before, people who think I am so overcome by my passions that I start madly snipping, or that I get so angry that I go off wildly ranting about something or someone, mistake me entirely. I am a complex and subtle man, and I’m generally playing a long game. Folks who see me as someone who unpredictably erupts in a rant underestimate me to their cost. My rants are all very carefully chosen and calculated, I have a clear, defined, and usually different purpose for each one, and my aim is to weigh and ponder each word and each tone and shading and to consider what they will do and what people will do in response. People who go ‘we’re all offended, how can you say those things, how can you snip people’ miss the point. I say and I do those things to get people interested, to rile them into telling the truth, to get them to state their own ideas, to push them to be upset and passionate about what they believe in, to give them the space and permission to be outraged themselves, and to get them to reveal to the world either the fragility or the strength of their understanding.

I don’t mind being over-the-top because my position shelters people who take other, less extreme positions. Compared to me, they look very reasonable … and folks haven’t figured out yet that those more moderate positions are quite acceptable to me and in many cases were what I was hoping for. I don’t mind being the lightning rod to make a point. I have no problem pushing and steering hard to one side, with the clear internal goal of attaining a position in the middle. I have no difficulty staking out a radical position. It allows others to take much less radical positions than I took, positions that they might not have otherwise expressed. Yes, I’m extreme, and that is deliberate.

I don’t mean that my upset or my anger are fake. They are never fake, or I could not write as I do—my passion would not be believed if it were false or contrived. I mean that I choose the time and the method of expressing that upset and anger so that I can harness it to achieve a chosen purpose or outcome.

So, I’m willing to call people out. I say hey, if you can’t explain it in an elevator speech, it you don’t understand it. I know that’s unpopular, but I take that position as a conscious choice. I’m tired of people nodding their heads about absolute scientific nonsense and saying “looks good to me”. So I insist and I nag them to take a hard look at what they are espousing.

For example, Tallbloke banned Joel Shore (and myself by extension) because Joel had the temerity to say what I say, that the N&Z theory violates conservation of energy. In response I asked TB (a number of times by now, first in private and then on my thread) to give me his elevator speech outlining the Nikolov/Zeller theory. He has not done so. I say that is evidence that he doesn’t understand the N&Z theory he is espousing. If he understood the theory and the theory was scientifically solid, he’d squash me like a bug. I’m way out on a limb here, if Tallbloke could saw the limb off he would. And I wouldn’t blame him, he’s not happy with me right now, and with reason. Since he hasn’t sawed the limb off by giving me the crushing elevator speech, he doesn’t understand the theory.

But if he doesn’t understand the N&Z theory … why is he banning Joel (and myself by extension) for saying the theory violates conservation of energy?

Like all of my actions in my posts, the pushing of people to explain their views in an elevator speech, even to the extent of snipping their posts when they didn’t do so, is a position and an action that I have taken with forethought and contemplation. And no, it doesn’t make me popular. But I’m steering to one side in order to attain the middle. I don’t expect others to call for someone to give an elevator speech, but that’s not my goal. I figure if I can reinforce the value of judging people’s understanding of a topic by whether they can explain the theory in a clear, concise manner … then who cares if I’m popular? I’m tired of vague handwaving. Boil it down to the elevator speech, then boil it again to half that size, and give us the simplest, clearest explanation possible.

In any case, the beat goes on. I’m still waiting for someone, anyone, to give us a clear, concise, scientific explanation of either the N&Z or the Jelbring hypothesis. I’m also still waiting for anyone to falsify my proof. You’re welcome to do it in this thread.

While I’m waiting, I’ve given up my persona of evil snippage, I’ve sworn off my temporary assumption of wicked ways. I’ve climbed down from the saddle and hung up my scissors with their embossed leather holster beside the gunrack near the wood stove. I’ve made my point, I won’t need them until danger threatens again. Sorry, Tallbloke, but your blow-by-blow account of how I feloniously threatened and terrified the neighborhood with my dreaded Scissors of Destiny will have to come to a premature end … they’ve served their purpose, and been put out to pasture.

To close this tangled tale, what about the thread title, thanks and apologies? Well, first my apologies to Roger “Tallbloke” Tattersall for my having played such a shabby trick on him. He is a good, honest, and decent man whose problem is that his mouth wrote a check that his science can’t cover. Roger, you have my apology, seriously meant. I just couldn’t think of another better way to keep the question alive. Please do rescind your ban on Joel.

Next, my apologies to Anthony. He and I don’t correspond a whole lot, and I didn’t warn him because I didn’t expect the amount of blowback. So I fear he got an email instalanche of people saying I’d lost my mind. Didn’t think about that, missed that one entirely, didn’t I? Mea culpa, Anthony, my bad. Folks, in the future, as I implied above, if the options are a) Willis has lost the plot totally, email Anthony immediately, or b) Willis has a plan I don’t see yet, wait a while … the answer is likely “b”. Give poor Anthony a break.

To all of the folks who screamed about being snipped, my thanks and my apologies. I did it for a couple reasons. One was to emphasize that I was serious about people giving an elevator speech. I tried to snip only what I had said I would—off-topic stuff that was neither an elevator speech nor falsification of my post. If they wanted to stand up and be counted they had to put their beliefs down clear and solid. I pushed it very hard, probably too hard for my own good, to see if anyone out there actually understood either the Jelbring or the N&Z theory. Turns out no one does, or if they do, they’re hiding their light under a bushel.

Heck, even Hans Jelbring showed up. He refused to give us a clear, concise statement of his theory, claiming that there was no way to state his theory in less than pages and pages of close-spaced text. Riiiight … if you can’t explain it clearly you don’t understand it.

The other reason I snipped was to emphasize the importance of the freedom to post that we take for granted here at WUWT. One of the issues I wanted to keep afloat was that of censorship. I wanted that fact not to be lost in the discussion, I wanted it to be one of the subjects of the thread as well … yeah, I might’ve overdone it, you’re right, but at least I dun it …

Next, my thanks. First, my thanks to people like Steven Mosher, who said he didn’t see any problems with my proof, and commented that it seemed hard for people to follow simple directions on what to post. For those like Steven who did follow my requests on what to post, to those who took a shot at falsification or elevator speeches, my thanks.

Also, for those that didn’t follow directions, you were necessary to set the scene, so thank you for playing your part.

Anthony, once again, my thanks for your magnificent blog, and for the freedom that you give me to post here without let, hindrance, or forewarning of disaster.

Finally, Roger Tallbloke, my thanks again to you. I was not my intention to harm you, but to keep alive both on this site and on your site the question of the ethics of your ban.

… and at the end, the curtain falls, the crowd departs. Ushers clean the seats, roadies pack up the trusses and the amps as the auditorium closes down, and all that is left is a proof that the N&Z theory violates conservation of energy, and a huge lack of people who understand either the Jelbring or the Nikolov and Zeller hypotheses. It’s a lovely cold, clear night here, and me and my beloved, my ex-fiancee of thirty plus years now, are going for a walk. I wish everyone the joy of living in this miraculous, marvel-filled eternity, with my thanks and my apologies.


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January 17, 2012 12:29 am

So you were trolling, over a matter that is nowhere near as clear-cut as you’ve decided it is, and you epect to get away with it with a “just kidding folks!” and carry on as if nothing was wrong?
Correct me if I’m wrong but, Shore was offered the opportunity to guest-post at tallbloke’s site was he not? His comments were not removed, he was prevented from making more in order to avoid taking things off topic, so giving him a guest post where he could define the topic and letting him go at that seems like a fair solution, does it not? That is not censorship.
You’ve tried to demonstrate something by constructing a strawman. AGAIN.

January 17, 2012 12:31 am

You show a photo of the ‘Fabled Secateurs of Sorrows .’
They look brand new to me-were they bought with Big oil money? We need to know.
However, an even bigger scandal is emerging. They are completely UNUSED. These are obviously NOT the fabled secateurs of sorrows at all as they would be completely blunt by now. Your public needs to know why you are deceiving them. Are you testing our scepticism?

January 17, 2012 12:36 am


January 17, 2012 12:38 am

1. In matters such as religion you’re not complex nor subtle
3. renouncing one’s principles for a greater good is what briffa et al did. You’ve been keeping their company way too long

January 17, 2012 12:43 am

So, a trick. Nothing wrong with a trick if the objective is the clear exposition of the science when such an exposition has not been forthcoming.
At the same time, to be a bit tribal, Tallbloke is one of the good guys. He plays at a high level and tends to be very fair indeed. So fair he gets his gear nicked by the cops.
One of the more attractive aspects of the heretic position is that there is no “heretic” orthodoxy. We hack and chop at the science and the policy and, from time to time, disagree. Annoying representatives of orthodoxy come by to challenge from time to time and sometime they are right. Banning them does, to use a Mannism, “the cause” no good at all. Tallbloke should acknowledge that. And still feel entirely free to say, and more importantly, demonstrate that he is right and you are wrong.
My suggestion: take a week or two off the gravity topic. The theory may very well violate the laws of physics; but it will still violate them in a couple of weeks if it does now. At the moment the “trick” and the back and forth are generating more heat than light.

Peter Plail
January 17, 2012 12:51 am

Scary bloke, that Willis Eschenbach, but a brilliant communicator. Many thanks for all your insights.

January 17, 2012 12:53 am

Wow. Nefarious Plot! Dastardly Cunning! Hidden Agendas and Vested Interests!
FWIW, the only reason I would ban anybody in a blog like this is if they cannot maintain the minimum level of fuckin’ civility and get to where the ad hominem noise outweighs the possibly constructive signal by a decibel or three. I don’t even advocate banning people who are utterly incompetent in science, math, or simple reason — even though they can be annoying. How can anyone learn if they can’t be mistaken — even obnoxiously mistaken?
As for somebody like Joel — physicists are dangerous people to ignore or ban. Joel might make mistakes. I certainly do. But I imagine that both of us keep other people from making far worse mistakes, a lot more often by calling them on elementary errors and/or teaching them stuff they don’t know but should, to understand something. I don’t even think one can label a good scientist as “a warmist” any more than you can label them “a denier”, and all good scientists are skeptical, at least where being skeptical is called for.
If disagreeing with Jelbring or N&Z is a sin justifying banishment, well, banish me. I just don’t understand N&Z, and when I started to read Jelbring it certainly looked like his assertions violated the laws of thermodynamics on something like the second or third page. When Willis does something like that in a blog, there is an opportunity to discuss it and for the assertion to be clarified (or for one or the other of us to learn of our conceptual or algebraic mistake). When it is there at the very beginning of a paper (and violates things proven as exercises in elementary textbooks in thermo) it makes me doubtful. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding something — I’m happy to acknowledge that I could be wrong about almost anything, or that I could be misreading something that is actually right — but in some sense the onus is on the author of a paper to state the basic physics clearly enough to be both understood and checked or agreed upon.
N&Z are in the same boat. Anybody who asserts that an atmosphere in static thermal equilibrium has a temperature gradient and that gravity “heats” the atmosphere is going to have their work cut out for them trying to convince me that they understand thermodynamics, because “thermal equilibrium” means the opposite of “has a temperature gradient”, and a homogeneous gravitational field does not heat in the specific sense that it is not a source of entropy. It’s a macroscopically, globally conservative interaction.
I actually think that Willis’ idea of needing an elevator speech version of this sort of effect is a very good one. Or to put it more “scientifically”, an abstract. A summary. An energy flow diagram. Lots and lots of mistakes in thermo can be avoided with an energy flow diagram. You can prove lots of nifty things (like the equivalence of various statements of the second law) with nothing but an equally nifty energy flow diagram. I’d still be perfectly happy for someone to provide a believable version of this for either J or N&Z.

January 17, 2012 12:57 am

Wait… herding feral cats that are on PCP, or herding feral cats while on PCP? It’s a minor quibble, I know, but… being a long-time cat owner, I’m curious. Besides, after the famous cat-herding Superbowl ad, I really have a vivid mind-picture of the process…

January 17, 2012 12:57 am

Well done Willis. Not my favourite topic, so I didn’t comment on Jelbring or N&Z, simply because I have only a brief understanding of the theoretical background. But I know, sometimes one need to stirr up the hornest’s nest to keep rational thinking alive, as I have done with the origin of the CO2 increase, as too many still believe that it isn’t humans which cause that…

January 17, 2012 12:59 am

I say hey, if you can’t explain it in an elevator speech, you don’t understand it.
Very true, I agree wholly with this.

January 17, 2012 1:03 am

Let’s hope that temperatures rise still further as the physics of climate science is discussed.
This is because the IPCC version was based on four fundamental scientific errors in the deceptive security of the assumption that CO2 drove the World out of ice ages. However from 1997 when it was shown that CO2 followed T and CO2 climate sensitivity had to be calibrated against modern warming, the subject degenerated into systemic fraud with false hockey sticks and ‘no MWP’.
The only way to recover is to rebuild climate science from the ground upwards with correct physics [the GCMs are fine, it’s the heating terms that are fundamentally wrong].
This even goes to the basics of thermalisation of absorbed IR energy to the N2/O2 carrier: there is no physical mechanism for that. There is also ‘back radiation’ which is to confuse ‘Prevost Exchange Energy’ for the ability to do thermodynamic work. As for N&Z paper, they reinvent lapse rate hearing: there is much more to consider.
More fighting, less control by the fraudsters.

January 17, 2012 1:06 am

You’re a very, very clever man, Willis. Sadly, and your intellect notwithstanding, I don’t think I’ll ever believe another word you say or write.

January 17, 2012 1:07 am

You’re certainly a mensch, Mr Willis … this takes cahunas!
I’ve been following these events in my non-scientist understanding (though I am educated to Masters level ) trying to grasp the ‘elevator’ explanation … many people like me need to have these explanations in order to get a wider understanding of the whole science of climate.
All the name calling and this, “Continuing the theme of discussing issues censored and banned at WUWT, here’s an article kindly submitted by Gerry Pease on the subject of solar-barycentric motion [ … ]” at Mr Tallblokes place is really unnecessary. I enjoy both WUWT and Talkshop equally and especially when the ‘sharp minds’ slay the dragon, but really cringe at the immature language whether it be here or at Talkshop.
None the less, love your work!

January 17, 2012 1:07 am

There are so many mis-statements of fact in this post I don’t know where to start, so I won’t bother.
I’m seriously thinking of posting the email conversation Willis and I had offline as an easy and time saving rebuttal to the narrative he has woven here, though I won’t act in haste, or without thinking the consequences through first, an approach Willis would be wise to consider in future in my opinion.
In that email chain, there are at least two ‘elevator speeches’ that I offered to Willis (neither of them satisfactory so I didn’t try on his last thread), a simple rebuttal of his ‘proof’ (Which he deleted twice before finally half-answering), some explanation of my problem with Joel plus a lot of pretty unpleasant retorts from Willis.

January 17, 2012 1:15 am

ad vivum

Rick Bradford
January 17, 2012 1:16 am

If all this senseless bickering is going to continue, we might just as well hand the keys of the shop over to James Hansen, and tell him to do what he wants with the world economy.
Come on, guys, really.

Disko Troop
January 17, 2012 1:18 am


January 17, 2012 1:19 am

GabrielHBay says:
January 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm
On the wisdom or otherwise of an “elevator speech”:
Ok, I refreshed my memory. From the foreword of Aldous Huxley’s Brave new world: This is what was lurking in my mind:
“The soul of wit may become the very body of untruth. However elegant and memorable, brevity can never, in the nature of things, do justice to all the facts of a complex situation. On such a theme one can be brief only by omission and simplification. Omission and sim­plification help us to understand — but help us, in many cases, to understand the wrong thing; for our compre­hension may be only of the abbreviator’s neatly formu­lated notions, not of the vast, ramifying reality from which these notions have been so arbitrarily abstracted.”
Gabriel van den Bergh

Phillip Bratby
January 17, 2012 1:19 am

I really recommend you go and read Tallbloke’s latest post “The Gravity of some Matter”.

Gareth Phillips
January 17, 2012 1:20 am

Is not responding with insults and jibes a form of censorship to discourage difficult posts? Or labelling something that is an opposing view “Troll posting” or off topic? There are many ways to control what is said besides just snipping.

January 17, 2012 1:21 am

Well you didn’t fool me, and I can now say that I suspected it all along, which is why I didn’t post on that thread as I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.
Of course there is one thing I would have done differently Willis, I would have typed up this post in advance (sans observed results naturally) and emailed it to Anthony as a proof, because you know some people are going to be (or perhaps act) skeptical, pardon the pun.
Personally I am less enthralled by Joel Shore than you, I don’t think he is that bright a person to begin with. He is a true believer. He trolls a lot, sometimes incessantly and has a knack for verbalizing some very idiotic views. I remember one time he was spouting off how we should all accept the extraordinary expenditures on AGW mitigation as a kind of fire insurance. Never mind the fact that fire is a bonafide real danger here and now, and is killing someone right this very moment somewhere on our planet. That is the kind of lunacy that drives me mad, their intentional association of the dreamed up danger of a degree or two of ~average~ temperature warming, with the horrific killer of fire which has been destroying lives, materials, and lost knowledge for Millennia. If Tallbloke had banned him for being plain stoopid I wouldn’t have blinked an eye.
This bit about violating 1st law is ridiculous for a whole different reason anyway. To presuppose that any model or real observations can capture the energy budget of a non-dead planet like the Earth is insane. I can assure everyone that if you have missing heat or surplus heat, you have simply made a mistake somewhere. More energy exiting the planet than coming in simply proves deficient observing skills and a lack of imagination. And a chunk of arrogance.
Earth is generating its own heat by way of radioactive decay. We exist on the microscopic thin cool crust of a molten (use your Dr. Evil voice here) liquid hot magma ball. That hellacious inferno is not locked up in a neat impervious container. If it was, given geologic timescales, we would be sitting on a plasma timebomb that Algore could correctly call millions of degrees. But it’s not, the thermal buildup vents all over the place in the thousands (probably millions) of volcanoes mostly underwater. And certainly some of the heat is wicked away through the ground itself and ultimately heatsinked away in the atmosphere. Earth has both internal and external inputs to the ‘energy budget’, and the sun, while the major external input, is not the only one. Matter == Energy, and Earth is collecting matter over Geologic time.
There is no 1st law violation, and there is no sane reason to entertain a discussion about it. So, those theories that seem to violate basic thermodynamics, and those folks that critique those theories, are just sparring over nothing in the same way two ancient Mesopotamians might have been arguing over the meaning of an eclipse or a shooting star.

January 17, 2012 1:23 am

Hi Willis,
agree and thanks.
I did some years in heat current models of metal fluids:
and 38 years in physics:

Joe Born
January 17, 2012 1:28 am

I have rather stubbornly resisted Jelbring’s theory on tallbloke’s site, yet he has been quite polite and patient with the pontifications of this layman, and he certainly didn’t ban me. It’s disingenuous for Eschenbach to imply that it was merely Shore’s opinon that drove tallbloke to segregate his output.

Alan the Brit
January 17, 2012 1:31 am

What a great post, Willis! I agree with a lot of what you say, & some things I would challenge or question its wisdom! Isn’t freedom & democracy wonderful? Let’s hope we don’t need to suspend it for a few years to get this AGW crap under control! 🙂

January 17, 2012 1:31 am

The whole thing has been and interesting exercise in ‘high speed scientific debate’. And the severe pruning early in the piece I thought was a fine way to enforce ‘laser like’ focus on the topic at hand. I thought for a moment there Willis and Anthony had succeeded in dragging theoretical debate kicking and screaming into the ‘instant communications era’.
I could see eternal fame for these pioneers, with this moment to be remembered and discussed through centuries to come.
But in the end it was apparently as much about personalities and clashes thereof….
The interesting debate of Willis’ ‘proof’ however, may yet elevate the whole thing.

nano pope
January 17, 2012 1:38 am

Well, this cat on PCP thinks you’re a jerk no matter what you say. Joel was offered his own thread on the talkshop which I do believe is quite the opposite of censorship. Your crusade was misguided, mean spirited and beneath the otherwise cordial atmosphere of this blog. You have done damage to Anthony Watts, and proved nothing while doing so. You should be ashamed.

January 17, 2012 1:38 am

tallbloke says:

I’m seriously thinking of posting the email conversation Willis and I had offline

This is none of my business but I love the both of ya. Don’t do it unless Willis agrees Tally.

January 17, 2012 1:45 am

I am reminded of the saying of my Auntie Ruth, who, whenever I thought I had said something particularly clever in an argument, used to say : ” Jack, you are so sharp you will cut yourself.”
Bit of a sorry tale all round, it seems to me.

John Brookes
January 17, 2012 1:45 am

Oh Willis, you are so wicked! You are going straight to hell!
Congrats on a cool stunt. I wonder if any of my fellow warmists would be up for something like that….

James Alison
January 17, 2012 1:48 am

Gee Willis you really do think yourself a unusually clever man by luring TB into your trap eh? Your science writing makes for great reading – we would all be better off if you stay on task.

Mike (One of the Many)
January 17, 2012 1:53 am

Willis may or may not be right about many things, but I definitely like the way his mind works – Censorship turns us into them and I for one don’t want to be them!!

jim hogg
January 17, 2012 1:58 am

Self snipped . . .

January 17, 2012 2:02 am

Wow Willis. Never has so little been said in so many repetitious words and phrases in such a long post and the point was? And exactly how does all this help to derail the CO2 driven CAGW scam? A sad little episode best forgotten for me and others who have admired many of your contributions as well as those of Tall Bloke. Let all of us not lose sigt of the end game!

January 17, 2012 2:03 am

Willis Eschenbach is, unfortunately, full of his own self importance. With luck and a following wind, “Tallbloke” will dismantle any structural changes on Talkshop that pander to Mr (Dr?) Eschenbach and will neutralise his incessant self promotion. I don’t know Mr (Dr?) Eschenbach’s scientific provenance but I can recognise a blatantly self serving article such as this. It is disappointing that WUWT has seen fit to give it any sort of recognition. Fortunately, the response from Tallbloke has effectively neutralised Mr (Dr?) Eschenbach’s attempts at bolstering his public persona at the expense of others

January 17, 2012 2:09 am

Amazing stuff! Willis for World President and Roger for running-mate!

January 17, 2012 2:11 am

“if you can’t explain it clearly you don’t understand it.”
Or, maybe the audience dosnt understand it?
Its not always easy to explain something so complex in a manner that thickos like me can get a handle on. 😉
As for censorship, better to let whomever wants to spout off do so, after all better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Only other thing id mention is that its hardly sporting to play tricks on people like politicians do, thats a poor show.

wayne Job
January 17, 2012 2:19 am

Hi Willis,
Hypothetical mind games and bear baiting in debate belong in universities for the debating teams. It achieves nothing and makes enemies in the real world.
Some while back you pretty much nailed the equatorial thermostat that gives us an almost unvarying heat input regardless of variables.
I was hoping you would continue down this path and give a similar explanation to our north and south radiators.
The temperate zone is the medium that gives us climate by modulating input and the output in divers ways, that you may have a little trouble figuring out, but I wish you would try, for free thinkers are rare.

January 17, 2012 2:21 am

I tried to discuss science on Tallbloke’s blog.
He accused me of dishonesty – claiming on his blog that people posting comments on Science of Doom: “..may find your posts being edited without explanation after you submit them...”
This is inaccurate. And, of course, insulting.
So as a result of this insult I no longer post comments (or read) Tallbloke’s blog. I assume this was the intention of Tallbloke’s false claim.
When he later posted comment on my blog I asked: “..I wonder why tallbloke is commenting on this blog, after accusing me of dishonesty..“.
I didn’t get a response, an apology, or a proof of his claim about said dishonesty.
So it doesn’t surprise me to read Willis’ story.

January 17, 2012 2:26 am

I hope you won’t be offended, but you seem to enjoy talking about yourself rather too much IMHO. Such arrogance, combined with a tendency to play with your readers, will alienate your audience eventually and reduce the impact of what you have to say..

January 17, 2012 2:34 am

I am reminded of Richard Feynman’s story. He and other Caltech physics professors were arguing over some esoteric point of subatomic physics and Feynman said something like “Let me go and work it up as a lecture even an undergraduate can follow.”. A couple of weeks later he came back and said “I tried but I couldn’t do it. That means we don’t understand it.”

January 17, 2012 2:36 am

Sceptics have many enemies without the need to make more from withun our own community. Can I seriously suggest you wait 12 hours before you post anything substantive here as that will give you time for reflection.
Can I also respectfully suggest that you should rise above this whole unedifying episode by welcomg back both Joel and by implication Willis to your blog. Both have their many foibles but I believe both are passionate, which perhaps sometimes clouds their better judgement when pursuing their respective beliefs.

January 17, 2012 2:37 am

Willis, I read most of that previous thread, and found througout that your treatment of commenters was rude, arrogant, tendatious, overbearing, and, well, quite frankly, I loved every minute of it!
However, whatever your real motive for the post, it was quite extraordinary how the same misconceptions were endlessly repeated by some individuals, and no amount of logic or reason or appeal to basic physics could dent their ignorance.

January 17, 2012 2:42 am

I am sure both of you feel safe, in the cocoons of your righteousness, To me the juvenility is palpable — a la– mine is bigger than yours.

January 17, 2012 2:43 am

Hi Willis,
I think you are over-reacting. You should consider running a blog of your own, because this is ranting and not debating or deliberating. This is not what imho WUWT stands for.
I hope you understand what I mean, because I mean it well. I enjoy reading your articles, but this is getting nasty. Keep up the good spirit and shake virtual hands with Tallbloke! He’s not the enemy.
Unite, don’t divide!
Kind regards,

January 17, 2012 2:45 am

This has all been a pathetic waste of time. I think we have way too much influence from guest authors on WUWT and would be happier with less content. There seems to be a subtle background push to elevate AGW type views in my opinion, which would appear to go against the original concept of this fine site.

January 17, 2012 2:47 am

Nice Willis.
when I saw the first snip It was easy to see what you were up to.
doubtless some will be offended at being schooled by a crystal clear object lesson.

Colin Porter
January 17, 2012 2:47 am

I have long respected you for your intelligent discussion wit and original thought that you bring to the sometimes dower subject of climate science. However on this present topic and dispute, I think you have handled it entirely wrongly.
You may be right to challenge Tallbloke on his decision to ban Joel Shore, but the way you have gone about it does nothing but harm to you, to Tallbloke and to the sceptical climate science movement.
Reading your text above is like reading the plot of a fantastical whodunit novel where reality is suspended and the author takes liberties with our beliefs as to what is both possible and probable in his attempts to direct the rather poorly thought out plot to emerge with a blockbuster ending. This is what I think of your version of events here. I just don’t believe them. They are fantastical. Only in a novel could this over complicated plot that you espouse possibly hope to achieve its planned outcome. I think what has really happened is that in your annoyance, you have gone off half cocked and produced your own post with all kinds of restrictions in it, which has then backfired. In your attempts to salvage the post, you have then concocted this fantastic plot, saying this is what was intended all the time.
Whichever version of events is the truth, I think you come out of it very badly. If your account is truthful to what actually happened, that makes you a schemer of extraordinary proportions, making your actions no better than those of the ultimate schemer, as evidenced by the Climategate emails, Michael Mann. If my version is correct, that means that you have told something of a whopper, in which case your actions are no better than ultimate fantasy story teller, Michael Mann. Which ever it is, your conduct is unacceptable and is what I would expect of the alarmist faction. There is no place for manipulation and deceit on the sceptical side. It is not necessary, because when you have truth on your side, there is no need to manipulate or to lie. And there is certainly no need to air our dirty washing in public over what is a very minor dispute.
The alarmist blogs will be having a field day.

January 17, 2012 2:48 am

All in all, I don´t like what Willis did.
The explanation is no understable; it doesn’t makes sense.
Censorship is bad and regrettable, always, and by no means it can be uses to attain something supposedly better, because that is the usual excuse.
WUWT didn´t deserve something like this, even when it is above it. But WUWT should take it as a bad precedent.
Shame on you, Willis.

January 17, 2012 2:48 am

You and Joel have been wrong in the past. You both insisted that LWIR re-emitted by CO2 has an equal effect over water and land. A simple empirical experiment showed this to be incorrect.
You and Joel both insist that Nicolov and Zeller are wrong. I conducted an initial experiment that showed that in two identical containers with internal black target surfaces which were exposed to identical amounts of sunlight, the container with the higher air pressure heated to a greater temperature. Further to this I posted a clear description of a more thorough experiment that could be conducted cheaply. Anthony, the owner of this blogsite took the time to replicate an experiment shown by Al Gore and prove it false. You however, appear only interested “thought experiments” based physics that only apply to spherical chickens in a vacuum.
I have no idea what the purpose of this thread is but if it is intended to recover some respect I would suggest two options.
1. A proper apology for your behaviour (not the venal, revisionist tripe you typed above)
2. Conduct an actual empirical experiment (maybe ask Stephen Wilde for some pointers)

January 17, 2012 2:51 am

Willis, I agree that banning people for arguing science is a no-no. However you are creating an atmosphere here of hostility which is no good either.
If all this scheming and baiting was supposed to produce scientific debate, you have failed.

January 17, 2012 2:52 am

Willis: We don’t have so many high-rises here in the UK so our ‘elevator speeches’ become ‘lift chats’ – even shorter!
So my alternative is to do a ‘Coverdale’ (from an eponymous project management course) and ask: ‘Why^7’. It tends to strip out the crap.

January 17, 2012 2:52 am

And on the topic of Nikolov and Zeller, their paper is very bad.
It contains assertions like:
..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..
While I realize that many reading this blog might agree with their concepts about what radiatively-active gases can and cannot do, there is an unsubstantiated claim here. Thermodynamics does not tell us “this is not possible”. If it did, they should provide a reference.
In fact “this”, is where Nikolov and Zeller have demonstrated that the same average radiative flux from the surface of a planet can result in very different average temperatures – (see, for example, Kramm & Dlugi On Dodging the “Greenhouse” Bullet ) so it isn’t even about a disparity in in heat flux from the surface of the planet vs from the climate system to space. Instead it is an empty claim. You can’t find a thermodynamics textbook or paper backing up “this is not possible”.
Then they go on to say:
..This is because convective cooling is many orders of magnitude more efficient that radiative cooling. These results do not change if 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..
(They have been using an extremely simple teaching model up to this point). Their first sentence is correct. Possible their second sentence depending on what exactly they claim. Subsequent statements are incorrect. The simple but much more complex 1d radiative-convective models do correctly calculate the heat transfer from the surface and from the climate system to space. They provide flux and spectral calculations that match measurements – see Theory and Experiment – Atmospheric Radiation. GCMs do solve radiative transfer and convection, but by using a parameterized version of convection.
More incorrect and unsubstantiated claims follow.
They have written a paper. Not a blog article. It is customary for people writing papers to provide evidence and it’s really wonderful if the writers of the paper are at least slightly familiar with the preceding decades of research in their chosen field.
Nikolov and Zeller show no knowledge of textbook atmospheric physics or any papers on their chosen subject.
And they don’t understand the basics of heat transfer. Willis is more than capable of explaining why.
Pump up a tire and it gets hot due to the pumping (work done), but after a while the temperature returns to where it was, even though the pressure is still high. Does high pressure by itself cause high temperature? No. Energy in and energy out of the system determine the temperature.
More on this topic in Convection, Venus, Thought Experiments and Tall Rooms Full of Gas – A Discussion.

Barry Sheridan
January 17, 2012 3:01 am

Gents, its a pity to see two individuals who put time and effort into shining a little light into the murky areas of modern science wasting energy like this. As a English reader I agree with Willis on this TB, banning a commentator unless he is abusive only imitates those in science, the media and elsewhere who endeavour to control the message. This stance degrades the standing of your blog, a position earnt by decent content and the chance to air contrasting, as well as supporting opinion.
Unfortunately I lack the intellect to intercede in the technicalities. Indeed I do not even know if you can condense some of these complex arguments along the lines Willis is suggesting. Perhaps, perhaps not, but what is clear is that falling out over what cannot be easily defined suggests a degree of uncertainty on all sides. I implore you both to find a common solution so you can continue to serve the greater cause, that of truth, something routinely excluded by certain areas of science, much of the MSM and pretty well all politicians. Those of us with less talent rely on your contributions, something that will be all the poorer if you are going to squabble and censor.

January 17, 2012 3:03 am

Willis, dang, you could do the proverbial selling fridges to Eskimos.
I think I can falsify your “elevator speech”. I think others have already done so, that I read and took on but it seems you did not. Namely, that non-gh gases can still catch heat by conduction and radiate that, to keep the laws of physics. Only difference with gh gases is that gh gases can absorb energy in TWO ways: conduction and absorption of radiation.
However, I could be wrong. And I still suspect that ghg effects are there in the mix. Witness the strange “W” shape of our atmospheric temperature profile with increasing height. That middle range, to me, is likely to be where ghg effects overcome lapse rate effects.
Trouble is, there are now about ten recent posts all about this, Jellbring, Nikolov & Zeller, Monckton, Glickstein, Brown, Coray, here and at Tallbloke’s, your last one here being nearly a thousand comments long and still rising. I’ve tried to go through them methodically but fell asleep even worse than usual at the keyboard. I shall continue to try. And Anthony says he’s had about enough of “this” (?subject ?for the moment ?heated conversations).
All this underscores more and more what I see as a sore need to develop a form of climate skeptics’ wiki that can handle the actual science, development thereof, alternative theories, and all in language that a reasonably intelligent but not necessarily science-educated layman can understand. And of course, firing intelligent interest but basically keeping courtesy… and keeping room for the latecomers & newcomers, who may be slowest to articulate their love and truth, like Cordelia in Shakespeare’s King Lear, but may still be the most honest, the deepest, the best scientists.
What to do with trolls and folk like Joel Shore is a serious issue. I really don’t think there is a simple answer. Therefore it will need a lot of open exploring as to the ethics of what to do.
I’m working on an article for Tallbloke to take this further.
but dang, you keep interrupting, Willis! fast shot cowboy, certainly! Unfamiliar to us Brits who need time to think. Yes, that goes for me too. That’s why I said nothing on the Night of the Scissors.

Allan Kiik
January 17, 2012 3:17 am

“• In turn, some of that absorbed energy is radiated by the atmosphere back to the surface.”
Why do you think that air can can heat the ground only through GHG radiation?
If conduction can do the same with no need for GHG-s then we are done what you asked, right ?

January 17, 2012 3:20 am

Whilst i see some reasoning here ( outside of the personal observations on a paper) I can’t quite see why this pett argument has grown. I respect Willis and Tallbloke immensely for their services to science. However I’d ban the lot of you from any blog I had just for being childish. I expect better.

Lew Skannen
January 17, 2012 3:26 am

A bit naughty but I do agree that an elevator speech should be able to be produced. The only flaw I think I found was the idea that non-GHG gases cannot radiate heat.

January 17, 2012 3:29 am

Has this incoherent rant not been taken down yet?
I enjoy your posts here Mr. Eschenbach, but this florid treatise is information-free and of interest only to those named in it. Private email is the venue for this sort of self-indulgent trivia where such a boring, baroque tirade would be deleted unread.
You’ve wasted five minutes of thousands of people’s lives. World-class trolling. Kudos.

January 17, 2012 3:30 am

Well, I got out of the elevator at floor 145 to write my first response, but it looks like it goes all the way to Mars. Good stuff, it’s a planet which is in need of hot air. Willis should pull his smartphone out before he passes the stratosphere and check out the ‘loschmidt’ thread and ‘the gravity of some matter’ thread where he can see some proper debate happening between scientists, engineers and other people and may learn somethiing about why it is that statistical mechanics might not be the right tool for the job in assessing tha ability of non-radiating atmospheres to organise themselves adiabatically as classical mechanics predicts they will. It’s a fascinating and unfinished debate which will be getting some further input in guest posts at the Talkshop from Nikolov and Zeller tonight, and a UEA physicist next week.
Hope he took a warm coat because if Loschmidt, Jelbring Nikolov and Zeller are right, it’s going to get cold up there as he whizzes past floor 154,236 whilst still reading his diatribe out. In fact the words might solidify and drop like so many little poops all over the face of fair scientific debate.
Is there an apology in there?
Oh wait, I think I found it:
“He is a good, honest, and decent man whose problem is that his mouth wrote a check that his science can’t cover.”
So far, Willis has been under a self ban from the Talkshop. Now I’m telling him to stay away.

January 17, 2012 3:37 am

A very childish episode! Just my opinion so snip away! Now, can we get back to what the site des best?

January 17, 2012 3:37 am

Elevator speech why the GHE doesn’t exist.
– GHE theory states that the averaged incoming solar radiation can only heat a blackbody from 0K to 255K
– to arrive at our current 288K the atmosphere has to warm the surface 33K by backradiation, reduced cooling etc.
– earth isn’t a blackbody, but a “wetbody” with a base temperature of ~275K for the deep oceans (>70% of earths area).
– all the sun has to do is warm a small top layer of the oceans to the current ~290K surface temp., a difference of only 15K
– oeans heat atmosphere from below, no GHE needed

Colin Porter
January 17, 2012 3:53 am

I did not call you a liar. I gave you the choice. Only you know what is the truth of your actions, but whichever scenario is the correct one, neither are becoming of you. Like others who have commented here, your own self importance now seems to be transcending the objective of this site, which is to advance the cause of climate scepticism in an unerringly honest and objective way.

Luther Wu
January 17, 2012 3:55 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 17, 2012 at 2:42 am
Thanks, wayne. I discussed the north/south radiators a bit here. The world is indeed a complex place.
Radiators link (the word here) doesn’t work.

January 17, 2012 3:58 am

The warmists will be laughing at this pointless and childish bickering between two people who are basically on the same side.

Paul Coppin
January 17, 2012 4:01 am

I didn’t bother to read the comments. If I were Anthony, you’d be gone too. This is not your blog. If you want to troll-bait, set up your own up. The nature of blogs are such that many parallel discussions occur, inherently. Get over it, and get over yourself. I find Joel Shore arrogantly annoying (even if he is correct); you’re getting to be a close second. I, and many others here don’t have time to watch supposed adults massage their egos. Maybe its time for the whole lot of you to take a timeout.

January 17, 2012 4:06 am

scienceofdoom says:
January 17, 2012 at 2:21 am
I tried to discuss science on Tallbloke’s blog.
He accused me of dishonesty – claiming on his blog that people posting comments on Science of Doom: “..may find your posts being edited without explanation after you submit them…”
This is inaccurate. And, of course, insulting.
So as a result of this insult I no longer post comments (or read) Tallbloke’s blog. I assume this was the intention of Tallbloke’s false claim.
When he later posted comment on my blog I asked: “..I wonder why tallbloke is commenting on this blog, after accusing me of dishonesty..“.
I didn’t get a response, an apology, or a proof of his claim about said dishonesty.
So it doesn’t surprise me to read Willis’ story.

More dishonesty. As anybody who cares enough to do a trawl on SoD’s site will find, I posted a comment asking why my earlier comment had been post edited to remove the emphasis of the point I was making about the Keihl Trenberth energy budget cartoon.
It may have been snipped or removed, I don’t know.

Roger Carr
January 17, 2012 4:14 am

Bruce says: (January 17, 2012 at 1:06 am) “You’re a very, very clever man, Willis. Sadly, and your intellect notwithstanding, I don’t think I’ll ever believe another word you say or write.”

Agreed, Bruce; Willis has played a dangerous game, and whilst I am a huge admirer of the cowboy I think he may yet come to regret spooking the mob.
He has let me (at least) down, and I feel regretful that he has. He could have done this another way, and lost no respect at all — and probably gained his goal.

Viv Evans
January 17, 2012 4:19 am

Censorship in science is certainly to be condemned.
A blog owner not allowing someone to post is something else entirely. Blog owner’s rules and all that, no?
The person not allowed to post has, after all, lots of other venues where to post, he’s not being gagged and disallowed to ever raise his voice anywhere.
It would be good if the one – censorship – were differentiated from the other.
As for this and the previous thread – well, good for all those who recognised that as a set-up.
A lot of us non-physicists were actually hoping to learn something, but a thread environment where the unsuspecting must have felt like being back in primary school, being whacked for not being clever enough to get what teacher wanted, is not conducive to learning.
Finally, this whole thing reminds me powerfully of the behaviour of certain dogs, where the one sniffs and marks, the other sniffs and marks on top of that immediately, and the first dog going back straightaway to sniff and mark over the second dog’s marks. Ad infinitum if the owner doesn’t put his foot down.
IAW – get a grip and move on!

Jim Carson
January 17, 2012 4:23 am

Willis, you’ve asserted, repeatedly and stridently, that “if you can’t explain it in an elevator speech, you don’t understand it.”
Please justify this arbitrary assertion in iambic pentameter, because after all, if you can’t justify it in iambic pentameter, it isn’t valid.
Can we agree that it’s not what is taught that matters, but rather what is learned? I fear that much of what was learned here is that Willis is a bit of a prick. Sorry.

John Marshall
January 17, 2012 4:29 am

I think that the N&Z paper was a sly introduction to adiabatic compressive heating which is as real as this planet, and a theory that I find more understandable than the GHG one. It cannot violate the 1st law of thermodynamics or the 2nd which I think the GHG theory does.
Perhaps you are now calm enough to answer why Jupiter and Saturn both radiate more heat than they receive from the sun? Neither has any GHG’s in their atmospheres. The simplest answer is adiabatic compression.

Ian H
January 17, 2012 4:30 am

You asked for elevator explanations. I gave a rather good one. You responded by pretending to take offense in order to contrive an excuse to ignore what I said. I see no point in repeating myself to someone with his fingers stuffed in his ears. The thread was dominated by yammering idiots at that point anyway. Now you tell us the whole thing was merely some kind of ploy to provoke a reaction at another blog. I am … unimpressed.

January 17, 2012 4:34 am

The whole thing seems a bit petty and childish. Let people post what they want and let people decide for themselves.

Stephen Wilde
January 17, 2012 4:36 am

Well I took a lot of unnecessary abuse but mostly didn’t rise to it because I want to establish the truth rather than participate in emotional grandstanding.
In the process I formed the view that Willis wouldn’t recognise a valid elevator speech in favour of N & Z if he was hit over the head with it.
I’m pretty sure I got pretty darn close in a step by step process but in my view he blinked at the last minute and refused to entertain the idea that even in a non GHG world the conductive energy exchange at the surface/atmosphere interface would be dynamic and not static so if one allocates numbers to that conductive energy exchange then one can see a warmer surface than that anticipated from the usual radiation only equations.
Only if the conductive surface/atmosphere energy exchange is static does Willis’s own proposition hold. I cannot believe that it is static due to the energy already stored in the atmosphere and on the surface with plenty of the resultant kinetic energy bouncing around.
The odd thing is that this whole kerfuffle seems bizarre to me because I have a clear recollection from my schooldays that planets with atmospheres have to be treated differently to those without. The S – B numbers are fine for a planet with no atmosphere but they fail to apply as soon as an atmosphere with any mass is present because it interferes with the radiative energy flows by interpolating non radiative means of energy transfer.
Even in Willis’s own thread someone made the point that an atmosphere decouples the surface from space.
Well of course it does and it makes the S – B equations invalid in the process.

January 17, 2012 4:36 am

Noble cause self entertainment, or justification per se, or just yawn.

Graham Green
January 17, 2012 4:42 am

Some many years ago before BBC science reporting was subverted and world government was just something the Rothschild’s talked about over the port there was a BBC radio programme featuring Richard Feynman.
At some point the BBC presenter attempted (with some skill) to provoke Feynman in to giving an ‘elevataria’ explaining quantum electro dynamics for the benefit of the Radio 4 listeners.
As I recall Feynman did actually apologise (a first perhaps) but he said that he wouldn’t lie to us and the only way that he could explain things was by using mathematics and that it would take some time. He said that there was no easy way to explain these things without lying and if we wanted some cute analogy we could go elsewhere.
The point that he rammed home was that QED was such a successful theory because it had been tested in so many ways and still gave correct predictions – the theory didn’t stop working when you looked at it closely.
So Mr Watts, if the bongo man had just declined to post a QED elevator speech on this blog would he get the same snide opprobrium that you offered Mr Jelbring?
All the Best

Allan Kiik
January 17, 2012 4:45 am

“I did not say, as far as I know, that air can only heat the ground through radiation.”
Good, then we can agree that even without back-radiation we can have back-heating from IR transparent atmosphere and also ground temp above S-B, exactly the same way as with back-radiation.

January 17, 2012 4:47 am

Your replies to many comments have been extremely arrogant, cocky, childish and rude. Unfortunately your recent posts and especially the way you have moderated/answered many comments is taking the quality of WUWT down.
Anyway, it is my own choice whether to read your posts or not. After this episode I do not have to bother with your’s anymore. This last post of yours must be the worst of any posts I have read here.

Gareth Phillips
January 17, 2012 4:48 am

What is being debates here is not the scientific principles under discussion. It is the behaviour and attitude of individuals. This in itself is not a major problem, as long as individuals have insight, are prepared to see the effect of their behaviours on others, and to move on having learned lessons. However if an individual will not or cannot recognise the processes going on in themselves, or deliberately override their insight mechanisms things will only go from bad to worse. And the only ones to benefits will be the Taliban of climate science. This applies to anyone and everyone.

January 17, 2012 4:48 am

Although I am a sceptic, I realise that Joel Shore is one of the most knowledgeable contributors to this site. Tallbloke on the other had favours what I consider to be pseudo-science – such as Claes Johnson, Nicolov and Teller, Sky Dragon nonsense etc. Maybe this is because Tallbloke lacks scientific understanding and is thus swayed by those works which are appeal to the scientific illiterate. I have no doubt that this is why Tallbloke refuses to present his ‘elevator’ speech. To do so would expose his lack of understanding.
The problem is that this sort of nonsense does not help the sceptic cause. On the contrary, it simply reinforces the impression that sceptics range from the scientifically uninformed to the barking mad.
As Richard Lindzen says, there are some things that all scientists will agree on. For example, they all agree that the greenhouse effect is real, whether they are sceptics or not. If someone has a new theory to disprove that, then the onus is on them to offer cogent evidence to support it, not just a rambling rant of disinformation and misunderstandings.
The experience of the ‘ A Mater of Some Gravity’ postings was not good. The overwhelming comments on that post were what I class as uninformed. No matter how many times that Willis re-iterated that non-radiative gases in the atmosphere don’t radiate someone, without any evidence, would say that they did. Lucy Skywalker says the same thing here today. How can people learn and advance if they cannot distinguish between information and disinformation and the disinformation swamps the true information? I understand Willis’s frustration but – Willis – what you did was not right. It smacks of Tamino , Real Climate and even Tallbloke.
Best of luck in the future Willis.

January 17, 2012 4:50 am

Willis, you’re acting like a Congressman. And that ain’t good.

son of mulder
January 17, 2012 4:51 am

I’m not going to let any of you play with my ball ever again, so there!

January 17, 2012 4:52 am

Good grief Tallbloke, you can’t possibly be contemplating posting out here in the open a private e-mail discussion between two scientists. How unethical is that! Go with what the others here have said, don’t post.
[reply] You know how it is louise, FOIA and all that. 😉 TB.

January 17, 2012 4:59 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 17, 2012 at 3:43 am
“ It reminded me of the maoist terminology, like “running dog venal capitalist revisionists” …:
I believe the old Pravda approved phrases would be “lick-spittle lackeys of the capitalist running dogs” or “back-sliding revisionists who will be purged”
Sadly RT (Russia Today) is no substitute for Pravda. So someone has to keep the language alive. Try where you will read that Laika the space dog has been beaming signals into into liberal tinfoil hats since 1957…
Or try the experiment….

Graham Green
January 17, 2012 5:00 am

Duh! Please read ‘Eschenbach’ for ‘Watts’. Apology.

January 17, 2012 5:04 am

Tallbloke, I agree that Willis can take a hike and we will all be better for it. He plays games and disturbs the ether with them as opposed to being someone who helps science move forward. So Willis , goodbye on your own doing. Play games with your buddy and spare us your comments. Your game is up, for all to see, you are not worthy to be a commenter at wuwt or Tallblokes site. Bill

January 17, 2012 5:10 am

Way to ruin a site with one, pathetic episode.

January 17, 2012 5:10 am

Willis sez:
Seems you missed the first part. And the last part:
Well, first my apologies to Roger “Tallbloke” Tattersall for my having played such a shabby trick on him. He is a good, honest, and decent man whose problem is that his mouth wrote a check that his science can’t cover. Roger, you have my apology, seriously meant.

Candy coating round the outside of the bitter pill doesn’t do it for me. As I said on your last thread,
“you’re all circumference and no central point.”
You reponded that I’m “all hat and no cattle.”
I’ll add that you’re “all mouth and no trousers.”
Maybe when we’ve exhausted the insults we’ll get over it.

January 17, 2012 5:14 am

Since Willis likes fishing and Tallbloke quotes Huxley see,
about the middle.
You are still fishing Willis.

January 17, 2012 5:18 am

Wow. How petty….

Tom in Florida
January 17, 2012 5:23 am


January 17, 2012 5:29 am

My elevator speech is pretty basic, and covers Willis’ proof and my assertion:
– First, Willis proof of the breaking of thermodynamic law isn’t compelling as he had to invent a fictitious atmosphere to achieve broken law. I could likewise prove refrigerators don’t exist by imagining a perfect insulator.
– Second, on the N&Z theory: We know that CO2 in a closed system heats faster than CO2 in an open system… many debunks of the Al Gore video exist. Gravity “warms” the planet assuming two things: 1) there is an energy input and 2) There is an atmosphere. In a planetary system the gravitational warming happens when gravity acts as an elastic container against which the atmosphere expands.
This doesn’t violate any laws of thermodynamics as the planet, devoid of solar input, would cool, and the N&Z proof does not show more energy in the system than is put into the system originally.

John Mason
January 17, 2012 5:29 am

You could both just say “Ni” to one another instead.
It would save lots of bandwidth 😉
(with apologies to those who haven’t watched Monty Python & the Holy Grail!)

January 17, 2012 5:29 am

Who is the proprietor of this blog? Anthony! Have you nothing to say? Perhaps at some stage you might attempt to but this family row to bed?

John Peter
January 17, 2012 5:33 am

While this discussion on the theories of Nikolov and Zeller (N&Z) and Hans Jelbring goes on and on nobody at WUWT seem to have noticed that global sea ice is now more or less spot on the global sea ice mean from 1979 to 2006
Missing the occasional blog on Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent.
Current arctic sea ice anomaly -0.444
Current Antarctic sea ice anomaly +0.424
What is going on here? How does that fit in with the continued “stand still” of global atmospheric temperatures? Regardless of theories being bandied about promoting AGW it would seem that at least atmospheric temperatures and sea ice are not playing ball.

January 17, 2012 5:42 am

tallbloke says:
January 17, 2012 at 1:07 am
In that email chain, there are at least two ‘elevator speeches’ that I offered to Willis (neither of them satisfactory so I didn’t try on his last thread), …

Good grief man – why didn’t you “cut & paste” one or both of them in the thread?
At least it would have given the rest of us a bit of an understanding regarding your understanding.
Plus, I’m sure many would then no longer accept Willis’ “TB won’t give us this because he can’t” rant.
The worst case might be that you would get disagreement over your position – but isn’t that the whole idea behind being a “skeptical” person?
Note: I’ve been either an Administrator or Moderator on a handful of forums over the years and one thing is clear: no matter how one moderates a board/forum, someone will not be happy. Therefore, I recommend that one tell ’em how you will moderate, moderate that way, and tell ’em that is the way you moderated. While I didn’t particularly enjoy Willis’ sniping manner in the thread, it appears to me he followed this concept.

Rob Findlay
January 17, 2012 5:44 am

If a non-GHG atmosphere helps to smooth a planet’s temperature through convection, wind, etc, then the radiative-balance average temperature will surely be higher (under the fourth power law) than if there are high-radiating hotspots?

January 17, 2012 5:48 am

(Psst – in case it wasn’t obvious, my post about herding cats that are on PCP vs herding cats while on PCP was a demonstration of the point at which I lost interest. And it wasn’t just interest that I lost, there was also a measure of respect.)

January 17, 2012 5:48 am

This “Thanks and Apologies” post is content free and only detracts from the site.
Who cares that a couple of posters got into a big snit and someone banned someone somewhere.

January 17, 2012 5:50 am

Dear Willis,
One read of your constraints and naturally fictitious hypothetical planet setup in your last post was all it took for me to know that fish had a hook in it, a troll. An ill advised one it now seems, and at the time fraught full with potentially sad and unintended consequences, as these things usually tend to be.
I started my comment in said post with this:
“I have no dog in this fight, I’m just a bystander. But you obviously do, and it seems so in a bad way. I don’t know or care who bit you on the ass, but by the timbre of your responses they struck a nerve…….”
I attempted to shine a discrete light on your mirror by asking that you snip my post and treat it as a personal message, to which you responded with a rationalization of your self-perceived character flaws. Yes, we all have them, but flaws are still flaws, not virtues. Striving to eliminate and overcome them is noble and good. Rationalizing them is not.
I’m afraid that the unintended consequences of taking your personal vendetta out in the open were the public lambasting and humiliation of a lot of good, well intended people innocent of your machinations, and the lowering of the bar by which others will treat you in the future. High standards are now irretrievably out the window. Onwards your megaphone might also fall on more deaf ears than you’d like. I for one certainly hope this is not the case, but Karma is a female dog.
Worst of all in my view, you also damaged the reputation of your humble host Anthony’s site.
All the best,

January 17, 2012 5:50 am

“…why would I snip comments, when I’m so opposed to censorship?”
Because you’re just smarter and better than those lowly denier masses.
When you have 25 minutes invested in your “work,” why should you leave it open to commenters, when their objective is to try to find something wrong with it?
You’re terribly impressed with yourself, aren’t you, willis? You fantasize that your opinions are something more than opinions. Other, lesser people have opinions. You have divine revelations, don’t you?
“…I say hey, if you can’t explain it in an elevator speech, it you don’t understand it.”
he says, while droning on and on and on for umpteen pathetic paragraphs.
Willis, we’re just not that into you. You’re not an important figure, your biggest contributions are always to your own ego. You’re a boring and annoying person. There’s ONE person you need to censor. Can you figure out who it is?

John Hewitt
January 17, 2012 5:57 am

Unfortunately Willis you have form. I well remember your reaction to Judith Curry coming on to a sceptic blog seeking dialogue. Your reaction was extreme. Not only did you rant, you screamed insults at her. You do the sceptic cause no good at all. I rarely read any comments you make and from now on I will read absolutely none.
All sceptics should try to be dispassionate, avoid ad homs and maintain a professional manner despite provocation. No, it’s not easy to do when you read something utterly outrageous on a blog. But please remember these blogs – particularly sceptic blogs- are read by people who matter i.e. those who will eventually stop the AGW bandwagon, by changes in policy or simply stopping the money. Lurkers far exceed contributors.
They will not comment ever, but they are looking at the weight of evidence and will conclude that at best AGW has been grossly exaggerated. At worst lies and possibly crimes have been committed. Keeping our cool will hasten that day. The antics of WE will then be irrelevant.

January 17, 2012 6:00 am

At first, dust-ups like this generate additional traffic.
Later on, people start leaving in hoards, because the site is not as clean as it used to be.
WUWT was a place where people with common sense could have a gulp of fresh air, in the poisonous, suffocating world of ignorance, corruption, and self-justification.
With Mr. Eschehbach’s arrival, this rare feeling is gone.

Tony Hansen
January 17, 2012 6:03 am

steven mosher says:
Nice Willis.
when I saw the first snip It was easy to see what you were up to.
doubtless some will be offended at being schooled by a crystal clear object lesson.
Or, maybe, some will be offended at being schooled about censorship by someone who holds the power to snip.
If Willis only wanted an elevator speech on the point in question , well that is fine.
But… he also chose to bring in the point of censorship…why?
If Willis only wanted discussion on his science then I would have no worries.
He did not do that.
Willis chose to bring the point of censorship into a post he fully intended to censor.
And it would seem he did censor (rather strongly?)
If you dont want comments to be about your censorship…then either don’t censor comments…or don’t whinge about censorship in your posting.
Is this nothing more than a ‘crystal clear object lesson’ on the value of censorship?

steve fitzpatrick
January 17, 2012 6:05 am

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
A. Einstein
Yup. Showing that a proposed mechanism violates conservation of energy is about as simple as it gets. It falls into the category of ‘no doubt about it’. I am a bit surprised that Willis’s rather cleaver observation, which proves a non-absorbing atmosphere can’t raise the temperature of a planetary surface, is so resisted by some.

Will Gray
January 17, 2012 6:12 am

Well about that experiment of Konrads- well can we do it?
And can we add ongoing input as to day night tempatures? Also volcanic outgassing.
Konrad says:
in two identical containers with internal black target surfaces which were exposed to identical amounts of sunlight, the container with the higher air pressure heated to a greater temperature.
Scienceofdoom says:
Pump up a tire and it gets hot due to the pumping (work done), but after a while the temperature returns to where it was, even though the pressure is still high. Does high pressure by itself cause high temperature? No. Energy in and energy out of the system determine the temperature.
Waiting waiting waiting waiting.

January 17, 2012 6:13 am

Willis, someday somebody is going to make you drink the hemlock. I sometimes wish your words were more gracious, but then the surgeon’s knife is not gracious, is it? Perhaps your graciousness is more private than public…and this apology only sets the stage for reconciliation.

January 17, 2012 6:14 am

Willis and Tallbloke,
Two weeks from now no one will be able to give an “elevator speech” on what you two are bickering about, much less will anyone remember any details. All anyone will know is that two prominent skeptics are mudwrestling over what to most of are petty ego issues and pedantic gobledeygook. You’re embarrasing us, really. No more “but, but, he…”; get your butts up off the ground, shake hands and use your mega-noggins to resolve this somehow; it ain’t rocket science, as they say.

January 17, 2012 6:17 am

How childish this all is.

A. C. Osborn
January 17, 2012 6:17 am

Typical of Mr Eschenbach to attack konrad and not answer the question on his experiment which appears to PROVE what N& Z’s paper shows.
They are not the only ones saying this of course, the latest being Dr. Pierre R Latour of NASA fame.

January 17, 2012 6:25 am

I enjoy getting banned from alarmist blogs. It reminds me that I’m on the right track.
It also demonstrates that alarmist skin is rather thin.

P Wilson
January 17, 2012 6:25 am

I’ve often tried to correct some of the more extreme fallacies that Joel supports, although it must be stated that these are common mistakes that are accepted in equal measure by some parts of the side that reach a different hypothesis on “global warming” and radiative physics generally.
It seems that the method is galling, put-down, and persuasion as opposed to scientific argument, whether that be induction or formal proposition (given the existence of A and B, one infers the hitherto unsuspected existence of C)
I don’t think there is much veracity from the consensus, who don’t attempt to provide the necessary calculations for the hypothesis of AGW (Such vital calculation of all relevant factors are even missing from the IPCC AR4). I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say that when crucial details of thermal properties (including the mathematics) of aerial gases are questioned in detail, the consensus employs these reactive methods of gall and browbeating, though the pointers go in that direction.

A. C. Osborn
January 17, 2012 6:28 am

Bomber_the_Cat says:
January 17, 2012 at 4:48 am
I suggest you go over to tallblokes forum and read some of the past threads posted there
They are doing real cutting edge invetsigative science over there, not just regurgitating IPCC pseudoscience.

January 17, 2012 6:30 am

So, essentially, I won on sentence length and about it being about density and therefor ought to get a gold star so I can truly shine for fifteen minutes. :p

Pamela Gray
January 17, 2012 6:31 am

Playing games with “people”, and I put it in quotes for a reason, is a god-complex. Stop it. It only made you look as foolish as the Greek gods, described in the those wonderful books of antiquity. The “people” came out smelling like a rose, while the gods just came out smelling.

Rick Bradford
January 17, 2012 6:33 am

This thread reads like something over at Deltoid, full of immature and thin-skinned people claiming “he did it to me first” “didn’t-did-didn’t-did….” and whining about their “rights”.
It is the most unedifying thread I have seen on a skeptic site for several years, But no doubt Willis will turn up tomorrow and claim it was another of his fabled practical jokes; in which case, it is a colossal failure.
Nul points.

James of the West
January 17, 2012 6:33 am

I like people who are honest and upfront in regards to science arguments even if I dont agree with them.
People should avoid playing mind games. It really isn’t in anybodys interest . I do disagree with Tallbloke banning a commenter if they were honestly arguing their (perhaps misguided) point of view. Having said that, I think its sad that moderation on this blog was deliberately used in a mean spirited way towards Roger of all people. I would be equally disappointed if it was used in this way againt anyone including warmists I might add. Lets just stick to the science discussion and leave the mind games and emotional baggage where it belongs.

Fred Souder
January 17, 2012 6:34 am

Maybe I missed a follow up, or maybe it got snipped 😉
I thought you disproved your own proof in the thread. First you say that there is no way that a transparent gas can warm the surface past the S-B temp. Then you claim that lapse rate is equal to -g/Cp, then you note that the potential energy of gas at the top of the atmosphere is equal the the kinetic energy of the gas at the bottom (owtte).
Engineers like to take things to their limits to see if they break down. As you keep doubling the mass of the atmosphere, in order to keep the temperature of the surface constant, the upper atmosphere quickly must cool to degrees below zero kelvin. Note that as we gain in altitude, Cp also drops (it should be Cm). This makes the proof break down even faster as we add mass. Several people pointed this out, but I never saw your reply.

Tim Folkerts
January 17, 2012 6:37 am

I would amend the challenge to read “I say hey, if you can’t explain it in an elevator speech to someone with a similar level of understanding, it you don’t understand it.”
An accountant could give an elevator speech to a CFO that would make perfect sense, but it would mean little to me. A football player could give a elevator speech to a coach, but it would sound like gibberish to me. That accountant might need an hour to get me up to speed on the topic he explained to an expert in 30 seconds.
A PhD in physics will give a different elevator speech than a undergraduate physics major than a chemical engineer than a climate scientist.

January 17, 2012 6:41 am

I am getting fed up with this crap!
I hardly post in this blog.I also skim the blog entries here.To see if there is a shift away from the increasigly boring arguments over measly energy increase changes.That CO2 is alleged to have imposed on the vast dynamic climate system that the planet has.
Partly because the divergent opinions are that.Divergent.They are full of noise and in the end.The skeptic herd are as confused as ever.The endless nitpicking is driving me nuts.You are now going in circles with the same crap over and over.
The public babbling going on between Willis and Tallbloke is self defeating.You have been reduced to petty carping over how to run a blog.If you want to stop visiting Tallblokes place.Fine! But to devise a whole blog in the attempt to “stab him in the back”. I am unhappy about it.
I Find that any post by Bob Tisdale to be so much more relevant.Than what we have been getting elsewhere.Why? BECAUSE HE FOCUSES ON THE REAL WORLD.As opposed to the nail biting blackboard arguments we have been subjected to these days.I am wondering if the skeptic community is losing sight on what is important and relevant?
To show EMPIRICALLY that the AGW conjecture is unsupported and a failure.That is the primary mission in my opinion.To educate the layman public on the basics of our skepticism.To help them see beyond the misleading media commentary and the deliberate lies they inject.To expose the blatant attempt to the FAUX science they peddle.The Hockey Stick is a primary example..AGW believers have a habit of making them.Because the real world does NOT agree with them.Since they have a cause to support.They are going to publish the pseudoscience crap.As part of herding the layman to believing that we are doomed unless………………..
Meanwhile a whole climate cycle is being profoundly neglected by just about everybody.The one that is most fatal to the AGW hypothesis.I am gobsmacked that none of you are aware of it.
Well I am going to have to make a choice on how much I have to tolerate.Before I stop visiting places like this.The backstabbing.The pettiness over small details.The cries of censorship.It is all so useless to the public at large.The layman who are being fed a steady dies of distortion and lies.The barrage of half truths of the daily weather events that goes on around us.
I try in my small way to help the layman in my forum.They are the ones we should be helping.To counter the barrage of baloney.The media and environmentalist groups spew out.The deliberate attempt to con the confused public into supporting legislation.That is so helpful to the few and useless to the many.
I wish you people would stop this infighting and get back on track.To inform the public about what is really happening.That I believe is what is most important.
To help the layman with clear presentations.The comments we post.Clarifying what needs to be considered.To help them keep their cool in the face of unending media cries of doom over weather events.

Leonard Weinstein
January 17, 2012 6:49 am

This is a response to those that still think the adiabatic lapse rate would result in a warmer surface even without greenhouse gases present. The adiabatic lapse rate of an atmosphere is due to a sufficiently well mixed atmosphere in the presence of gravity. It has an ideal value of -g/Cp, which does not require a greenhouse gas. However, it is a GRADIENT not temperature level. There still has to be some cause of the actual level of temperature. If no greenhouse gas is present, the surface radiation in and out sets the temperature AT THE SURFACE, and conduction and convection transmit that temperature into the atmosphere. However, once the atmosphere is brought to equilibrium, it does not absorb any more heat. If it is not well enough mixed (by wind and turbulence) it will tent to isothermal. Without greenhouse effect the atmosphere will not radiate to space (radiation at thermal temperatures is the definition of greenhouse gases, and N2 and O2 are not greenhouse gases). With sufficient wind mixing (due to day/night variation in heating, and latitude differences in heating) the lapse rate may still be the adiabatic lapse rate, but that is not the issue. In no case can the surface be warmer that the no atmosphere case without greenhouse gases. The whole point of the presence of greenhouse gases is to raise the location of outgoing radiation to space up into the atmosphere, and then the adiabatic lapse rate times the average elevation of out going radiation to space is added to the temperature at the balance location of in and out radiation.

January 17, 2012 6:49 am

I have found this whole debacle to be depressing. This is the kind of behaviour I have come to expect of Warmists, not skeptical scientists.
My read of the exchange is that Willis has concocted a “clever” explanation of his behaviour after the fact in order to justify his bad behaviour. My guess is that he had no such intent in mind when he started all this.

January 17, 2012 6:52 am

Ok Willis, let me take a shot at the elevator.
Sun warms the earth’s surface, energy transfers by conduction to the gas, gas heats and radiates a percentage back to the earth which heats (same argument as used for GHG), heat transfers by conduction to the gas. Amount of heat transfer will be affected by the density of the gas. Denser gas, higher conduction.
If this is invalid then it would seem that GHG arguments would be invalid. The only difference is that they operate by radiation instead of conduction.

January 17, 2012 6:53 am

“Maybe when we’ve exausted the insults, we’ll get over it”
Sounds good to me.
I am neither a scientist nor an academic but what what it is worth, I am upset to read that the relationship between these two gentlemen has deteriorated to the extent that it appears to have.
I think that all that can be achieved, has been achieved and that now might be a good time to move on so as not to put WUWT in a difficult (catch 22) position.

January 17, 2012 6:54 am

you said this:
“My rants are all very carefully chosen and calculated, I have a clear, defined, and usually different purpose for each one, and my aim is to weigh and ponder each word and each tone and shading and to consider what they will do and what people will do in response.”
and you said this:
“In other words you’ve been acting like an arrogant dickwad since you opened your mouth on the subject …”
“You are an irritating jerkwagon..”
You are one sick puppy, bro’, much sicker than we can help you with here.”
“I think you are a royal prat”
“Either way, you look like an idiot.”
“Listen, you unpleasant person”.
I think you really “weigh and ponder each word and each tone and shading” nicely.
Anthony, before people start leaving in hoards, please get rid of this “irritating, arrogant, sick, idiot, unpleasant jerkwagon-dickwad-puppy-person”

January 17, 2012 6:56 am

As they say tl;dr
Sometimes you guys really need to take a holiday and lighten up a bit. There is nothing worse than taking yourself too seriously.

January 17, 2012 7:02 am

My response to this is on my blog:
“An Inevitable, Unavoidable Learning Moment”

ferd berple
January 17, 2012 7:05 am

The shorter the apology, the more likely it is truly an apology. An apology that comes with a long drawn out explanation is called an excuse, not an apology.

Leonard Weinstein
January 17, 2012 7:10 am

This is in response to the comment about Jupiter and Saturn being warmer than they should be due to lack of greenhouse gases. Sorry but both have small but significant amounts of Ammonia and Methane, both of which are very strong greenhouse gases. There are also cloud layers of ice, and other compounds. However, the excess radiation out over input is a combination of gravitational collapse energy left over from formation and radioactive decay of the solid core (the core is rock and metal, and even though it is a small core compared to the overall diameter, it is thought to be 10 to 20 Earth masses). The planets temperatures are low enough so that energy loss is slow enough so that initial collapse energy will take many billions of years to dissipate.

January 17, 2012 7:11 am

James of the West says:
January 17, 2012 at 6:33 am
I do disagree with Tallbloke banning a commenter if they were honestly arguing their (perhaps misguided) point of view.

I have not censored anything said by Joel at my blog. All his backstage words are posted for all to see. I never Gave Joel admittance to my home on the net in the first place. He has too much previous with telling me what my motivation is on other sites for me to be prepared to entertain him, respond to him, and moderate him fairly at the same time. So I told him he couldn’t come in, and by way of compensation, offered him a guest post on the issue he had a beef about. He declined. Said he didn’t have time, and carried on posting his stuff non-stop here at WUWT.
Anthony Watts described the N&Z threads he had to close as:
“Shore worn”
‘Nuff said I think.
Bye everyone.

January 17, 2012 7:13 am

Here is an alternate theory which would be darned hard to prove or disprove. The heating of Earth is due to a slight change in amount of fission reverses nuclear decay in the Earth’s core- it would produce such a slight change of surface temperature that it would be near unmeasureable (very few actual land measurements and most are imprecise petroleum well- they don’t care about that precision and it difficult for anyone measure high temperature with that precision) yet it would it would add massive energy to biosphere- a uniform increase of 0.1C of all land (above and below the oceans). No breach of the Energy Conservation Law as it conserves mass-energy. There would be slight variation of exotic subatomic particles but they would be blocked by hundred of kilometres of rock and molten fluid and simply extremely diffuse.

Don Monfort
January 17, 2012 7:13 am

Childish ego trip. Take your blog back Anthony.

Rick Bradford
January 17, 2012 7:14 am

As Ray Bradbury said: “”The one important thing I have learnt over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking oneself seriously. The first is imperative and the second disastrous.”

Claude Harvey
January 17, 2012 7:16 am

Meltdowns like this episode tarnish credibility and risk driving some world-class contributors away from the site. I suspect this one may constitute “a bell that cannot easily un-rung”.

Stephen Wilde
January 17, 2012 7:21 am

S – B applies to a body in a vacuum.
A body with an atmosphere is not in a vacuum.
S – B does not apply.
End of.
Who the heck decided that S – B was applicable to a body with an atmosphere but no GHGs.
If that were correct then the presence or absence of GHGs would have been in the definition and not the presence or absence of a vacuum.
The Greenhouse Effect is and always has been primarily a consequence of mass hence the vacuum requirement for the S – B equations.If there is ANY mass in the atmosphere then there is no vaccuum.
We’ve all been had.

January 17, 2012 7:24 am

Recently, Anthony gave us a detailed post regarding the censorship and self-serving snipping that occurs at warmist sites such as SkS. Anthony stressed that he would not allow such behavior to occur at WUWT. I believe that you have overstepped your obligations as a guess author and have broken Anthony’s pledge. (At least this is how it appears to me.)
I understand that you feel that your opinions at Tallbloke’s site has been stifled. I know that must irk you. (I do not like it when others with opinions similar to mine are muzzled.) However, if we want to have any chance to persuade others, we keep the conversation going and we must learn to express our disagreements without being disagreeable.
BTW, I am a skeptic and have not completely made up my mind regarding the work of Jelbring or N&Z. As an aerospace engineer, I understand that the adiabatic atmospheric lapse rate is a real phenomenon. However, I do not know if it: (1) is caused directly as a result of the gravity field or (2) is a result of convective forces self-organizing due to differences in buoyancy due to relative heat content. I suspect the later might be a more correct statement of the situation.
Best regards,

John Mason
January 17, 2012 7:27 am

“To show EMPIRICALLY that the AGW conjecture is unsupported and a failure.That is the primary mission in my opinion.To educate the layman public on the basics of our skepticism.To help them see beyond the misleading media commentary and the deliberate lies they inject.To expose the blatant attempt to the FAUX science they peddle.The Hockey Stick is a primary example..AGW believers have a habit of making them.Because the real world does NOT agree with them.Since they have a cause to support.They are going to publish the pseudoscience crap.As part of herding the layman to believing that we are doomed unless………………..”
It shouldn’t be about “missions”. It should be about following the evidence. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that many leading commentators on “your side” accept that the Greenhouse Effect, regardless of how accurate or otherwise that singular term may be, is real. Monckton said so just a couple of days back on these very pages. The key argument has shifted ground in recent years to how disruptive said effect is likely to be, which is where I may say I am at odds with Monckton for various reasons.
I came to the climate debate purely through listening to someone I respected saying some very strange stuff about petitions, making small numbers look even smaller and so on in order to make the point that burning the fossil fuels is a completely harmless business, which indeed I thought it was. But something felt wrong, politically-motivated rather than to do with science. I felt I was not getting the full picture. So I went and followed the evidence. I’d never up until this point heard of the likes of Fourier, Tyndall, Arrhenius etc all those many tens of years ago. Now I learned about these gentlemen. I looked further in and saw the efforts of the American Petroleum Institute and the background of the Oregon Petition and other such announcements. I downloaded and read what open-source PDFs of climatology papers were available and went on to hassle climate scientists for reprints of those that were not until my hard drive was groaning under the megabytage.
That was no “mission” to broadcast a political objective: it was my inherent curiosity to learn.
The stuff these guys – Rog and Willis – are arguing quite bitterly over is on another plane altogether. The argument is getting so convoluted that it is getting difficult to see the wood for the trees. It’s a pity because there are all sorts of interesting things going on in climate science right now. And a lot of them have little or nothing to do with Michael Mann but with observation-based science, which happens to be my favourite type, but then in the real world I study ore-deposits, so that type of science is dear to me.
The big question of our time is how excessive greenhouse gas emissions, manmade or natural, whether via feedback or purely natural processes, may affect all of our futures and those of our future generations. If a “mission” is required, then it surely needs to be to figure out better what might be in store for Mankind in the coming few centuries, and to do that the very best information is surely required. For that to be possible and for all of us to talk about this rationally, the politics needs to go, period.

January 17, 2012 7:33 am

BarryW (6:52 am) – sorry, wrong again.
“gas heats and radiates a percentage back to the earth which heats (same argument as used for GHG)”
No it doesn’t – a GHG can radiate, a non-GHG cannot – by definition. That’s the difference between GHG and non-GHG at Earth-like temperatures.

DeWitt Payne
January 17, 2012 7:33 am

Roger Tallbloke,
As long as you continue to post nonsense like (he doesn’t. See John Eggert’s comments in the thread to see why), I will avoid your site like the plague. That sort of thing doesn’t help the true skeptic cause. It harms it.

January 17, 2012 7:35 am

All of the “anti-censorship” comments would have a lot more meaning if Willis had not stated up front he was going to censor. At a slight modification to the original text, RTFA! Quit jumping to conclusions, READ!
Shouting at Willis for doing what he said he was going to do doesn’t make sense. I for one am sorry that any Sceptical site has resorted to censorship. WE DON’T NEED CENSORSHIP! Snipping off topic rants, snipping ad hominum attacks, snipping rude behavior, isn’t censorship, it doesn’t impinge on the central argument. If someone thinks it does, then they need to take an elementary course in logic. As far as Willis’ snipping of science, then apologies are in order, the rest of it gets a pass in my book.

January 17, 2012 7:35 am

Pathetic nonsense, Willis.
Your apologies are smug, sanctimoniuos, self-serving garbage.
You have done untold damage to WUWT.
I’ll be sticking to MacIntire and Curry in the future

January 17, 2012 7:37 am

Fryingham says:
“My read of the exchange is that Willis has concocted a “clever” explanation of his behaviour after the fact in order to justify his bad behaviour. My guess is that he had no such intent in mind when he started all this.”
Well, you can interpret all you want, and naysayers can swing from trees, but one clear fact that can not be avoided is that the issue with conservation of energy and this paper has been thrust into the cold hard light of day.
I am a strong believer in equal treatment of equal behavior. Rules should not be relative at all. I have to admit that due to this exchange I am less supportive of Tallbloke, like my support really means anything. But I have learned a lot from reading Willis’ previous posts, so for me it’s a wash.
Sometimes you have to take a circuitous route to get past the obstinate and make your point.

January 17, 2012 7:37 am

So, new person who is a bit sceptical wanders into WUWT to learn more. First thing they read is this utter car crash about intellectual traps and bans.
Then they read backslaps from the enlightened (I have a book out don’t you know) about how they saw the trap before it was sprung.
Sickening. Weakens everyone, not just the ego’s involved.
Anthony, get a grip.

January 17, 2012 7:38 am

Stephen Wilde (7:21 am) says “S – B applies to a body in a vacuum”.
Really? Where did vacuum come into this?
The word doesn’t even appear here:

Victor Barney
January 17, 2012 7:39 am

[snip. Site Policy bars religious topics. ~dbs, mod.]

Sean Peake
January 17, 2012 7:40 am

Just as a point of definition, as one who works in the industry that invented the elevator pitch, the goal is not to explain everything quickly or succinctly as possible; it is to a pitch an idea in order to get a meeting where we can explain it in full at a later time. It is a teaser—you never give your idea away for free. Now, after reading your post I have to wonder just how tall that building is in which your elevators rides because if you have to explain a joke or make an apology in 3,500+ words, it wasn’t a joke or a heartfelt apology. It was a long, long, look at your watch, justification of petulance.

Michael Alexis
January 17, 2012 7:49 am

Willis, it’s rare that reading a blog post on the vastness of the internet makes me wish that I knew the author personally. Your mind works in admirable ways. As I say to my wife, who also “plays the long game”, I’m glad you use your powers for Good.

January 17, 2012 7:53 am

I don’t have dog in this fight but Willis, but you were NOT banned by Tallbloke.
You chose that yourself.
Adults are allowed to be a juvenile as they choose, but I am very disappointed that this is here on the best climate science website.
Poor behavior and decisions and actions Willis.

January 17, 2012 7:59 am

I read the original post, read your directions and decided that I had no time to read the papers and write an informed opinion. not trouble whatsoever following your instructions.
I figger that thread should have been almost empty.
I don’t have a complaint and don’t understand the rest of the complaints.

Joulse Verne
January 17, 2012 8:02 am

Konrad says:
January 17, 2012 at 2:48 am
“You both insisted that LWIR re-emitted by CO2 has an equal effect over water and land. A simple empirical experiment showed this to be incorrect.”
“I conducted an initial experiment that showed that in two identical containers with internal black target surfaces which were exposed to identical amounts of sunlight, the container with the higher air pressure heated to a greater temperature.”
You’re batting 500. The first is correct. The second led you to an erroneous conclusion.
The higher temperature in the second experiment is due to the heat causing the gas to expand and because you have a fixed volume container the volume cannot increase hence the temperature must increase instead. This does not happen in gravitational confinement as the container volume is not fixed. The higher starting pressure of the gas in one container means you have better conductive coupling to the black target which can be considered a heating element. The better conductive coupling allows the denser gas to absorb more energy energy from the heating element and thus generate a greater pressure increase which in turn raises the gas temperature. In a planetary atmosphere this better coupling still happens but instead of the temperature of the gas going up from increased pressure the atmosphere simply expands in volume and the temperature does not increase.

January 17, 2012 8:02 am

I say better to have a car crash than see junk science repeatedly dished up as anti-alarmist fodder. How do visiting fence sitters react to that?

Paul Marko
January 17, 2012 8:12 am

You are boring and anoying. You sound like an adolescent attempting to get even for being rejected. You need to grow up.

François GM
January 17, 2012 8:14 am

Don Monfort writes: “Childish ego trip. Take your blog back Anthony.“

January 17, 2012 8:14 am

Thanks for your posting, however it was so repetitive and verbose in your constant references to an “the elevator” speech that I feel a bit dumber having read the whole screed. You could have probably got your point across in about 15% of the space and been much clearer as a result.
Please refer to a paperback copy of Dale Carnegie’s “How to win Friends and Influence People” to get some understanding of how “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”. There is not going to be a “winner” in the argument between yourself and Tallbloke, therefore I look at the way you both are behaving as childish.
Please take there types of exercises to your own personal blog as it it my personal preference that WUWT not be cluttered up with these type of sophist exercises.

slow to follow
January 17, 2012 8:18 am

IMO one of the best things about blog discussion is that there are often many new and thought provoking contributions which can come in from left field. On the gravity thread there were a few such which I noted to return to yet they were gone – a shame and a loss.

Stephen Wilde
January 17, 2012 8:22 am

Stephen Wilde (7:21 am) says “S – B applies to a body in a vacuum”.
Really? Where did vacuum come into this?
I’ve asked my source for clarification on that but in the mean time your link does define c as the speed of light in a vacuum and that is an integral part of the equation.

January 17, 2012 8:24 am

@Will[snip] [snip]enbach
Our team is contacting your publisher to have you fired. Damn this editorial control.
Actually, I like the idea of a directed discussion. Some people don’t want to follow directions (or can’t). So, this is what happens. I think the consequences should be that you set up a special category of directed discussion post where snipping is encouraged. If anyone has a beef, they can post to a different directed discussion. Many of the replies on WUWT have become “me too’s” and produce a long list of comments without adding anything, or possibly subtracting from things.
Tallbloke is still waiting for Rossi’s cold fusion to warm up. I suspect he has a weakness in calculating energy balance equations. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Tallbloke’s stuff too. I think it would be nice to get a clean discussion every once in a while. So why not have a curated top-level discussion and push the snipped comments somewhere else so that they can still be viewed by people who disagree with the curation. It’s not like Anthony won’t give someone their fair shot on a different thread.
As for the N&Z theory…. has anyone bothered to contact the people who design satellites? They have to do these heat loading calculations all the time. Don’t they have a working knowledge of exactly what people here are discussing? It’s not really real until you bring in some empriicism. I highly recommend it.

January 17, 2012 8:25 am

What a long winded blathering piece of self promotion and faux justification for aberrant behavior. This is precisely why I don’t bother reading your madness. You had my curiosity piqued with the title. I almost made it 1/2 way through……. egos are bad enough, unjustified egos are something else.
What’s worse, is you brought your petty self-invented squabble to WUWT.
I haven’t bothered to read the comments above, and, I’m not going to. But, here’s a news flash. Most people don’t give a damn about how you feel about how Joel is treated by Roger. Here’s another news flash, that’s TB’s blog. He can damn well do as he pleases with it.
Find somewhere else to play out your juvenile and petty squabbles.
Willis, you don’t even know how to apologize properly. What’s wrong with you? Your mother over-protect?

January 17, 2012 8:26 am

You laid a trap for a fellow skeptic … nuf said … censorship is not the issue since as we all know if you want to say something on the internet, you can, for no cost and nobody else can remove it …
I’m sure your father said “my house, my rules” more than once, obviously that never sank in … being banned from a site is not censorship …
You should consider getting your own site, in fact I hope that Anthony suggests you do so since I doubt you cleared this sting with him in advance and you have tarnished WUWT with this stunt …
You just dulled a very sharp blade (your mind) by hammering away at a rock that didn’t need breaking …

Bob Johnston
January 17, 2012 8:26 am

I didn’t pay much attention to the first post because generally the science behind AGW is a bit of a bore because I can’t always follow it and it really all comes down to whether you believe that positive feedback to CO2 will occur, despite it never having happened before in the history of the earth.
But what I do understand quite well are biases and I really enjoy sparking them while hopefully staying above the fray. As a social experiment AGW is quite thrilling so I follow the goings on quite closely. In life I believe they are few things more difficult than allowing someone with a different opinion/belief to express himself and in the AGW debate it’s pretty apparent that the skeptical side have taken the proper tack in allowing anyone and everyone to express their views, regardless of how difficult it is to do so.
I deal with this same issue nearly every day on my facebook page when I post AGW stuff on my facebook page. It’s damn hard to not take offense at some of the things that are said and it’s difficult to not get angry and start blocking people but at the end of the day it’s worth it when people who are just following the thread will say privately that “Person X is a real jerk and obviously doesn’t know what they’re talking about”.
My point here is that I understand I’ll never convince those that are swayed by emotional arguments but my opponents’ tactics will persuade those that can see through the name-calling and ad hominem arguments and those are the people I’m really trying to convince. And that’s why I will never censor people or comments from my posts. The irrational AGW types do a better job of persuading those on the sidelines against their position than I can do myself.
So I think people who are angry about Willis’ tactics are missing the point. In my eyes censorship of any kind is more detrimental to the skeptical side than proving or disproving some hypothesis that will probably be forgotten by next year. What’s important is that we always must play fair and censorship in any form detracts from that and is ultimately more detrimental than beneficial. So did Willis play a mind game here? Sure he did. Did he make his point about censorship? Well to me he did but unfortunately I fear I’m in the minority on this.

Joulse Verne
January 17, 2012 8:27 am

@Konrad (con’t)
I’ve admired your willingness to experiment since I read of what you did to determine whether LWIR can or cannot heat water.
There’s a fix for your experiment about gas pressure. You’ll need to monitor the pressure inside the test chamber and increase the volume of the container so that pressure remains constant when temperature measurements are recorded. This will better simulate real atmosphere. If I’m correct you should find that there’s no difference in temperature between the gases at different starting pressures so long as the starting pressures are maintained by volume increases throughout the experiment.

January 17, 2012 8:30 am

Willis wrote on Gravity thread: “[SNIP: please, no philosophical speculations on gravity. It’s a field. To move against it takes energy. To move with it gives you energy. No one knows why. w.]”
I thought this was a very good elevator explanation of N&Z. (I did not read the other). They just gussied it up a bit. If gravity “gives you energy” they are just posting a theory of how that energy might manifest itself. You seem to at least agree with part of the theory.

Chris B
January 17, 2012 8:33 am

From Tallbloke’s blog:
There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding around the issue of the gravito-thermal effect as it appears in the work of scientists such as Hans Jelbring, and Nikolov & Zeller. Without trying to recapitulate their theories in detail, I thought it might be worth going through a few basics in order to dispel some of the fog some people seem to be surrounded by. I’ve thought about a few different ways of doing this, and settled on the style of a Platonic dialogue to give it some continuity, rather than a set of disconnected facts, like you might get in a Q&A, or FAQ. Some people might think I’ve got some stuff oversimplified or just plain wrong. Feel free to offer alternatives in comments below.
So these guys think most or all of the extra warmth there is at the surface of planets with atmospheres compared to those without is due to gravity? Are they serious?
Deadly serious. This is a real scientific theory.
But how can gravity cause heating of anything? It just pulls stuff together – right?
Right, but it’s what happens to the stuff that gets pulled due to other physical laws which come into play that causes the heating, not gravity itself.
But that means work has to be done by gravity to get anything else to happen doesn’t it? Otherwise it’s a perpetual motion machine.
In classical mechanics terms, gravity is not a type of energy, but a force. It is constantly applied by masses on other masses. It is an intrinsic property of mass, not an energy state which can ‘get used up’. In terms of relativity theory, it is a property that mass has which causes the warping of space-time around the mass, which causes other masses to fall towards its ‘gravity well’.
Ok, but how does ‘force’ make things like heating happen? Heating needs energy doesn’t it?
At the microscopic level, heat arises because all matter which is at a temperature above absolute zero vibrates and moves around, knocking into other bits of matter. The energy of collisions makes the atoms and molecules vibrate and the rate they vibrate at determines their temperature. The gravitational force can cause matter to fall, gather momentum and bash into something else. As the mass falls towards another mass it is gravitationally attracted to, the gravitational potential energy it has by virtue of its altitude from the other mass diminishes, and the momentum, which is a product of its mass and velocity increases. When it hits another mass on the way down, some of that energy of momentum gets turned into heat because the collision makes the molecules vibrate more.
But you said gravity isn’t energy. Now you are saying the mass turns gravitational potential energy into heat. What’s going on?
Although gravity itself isn’t an energy, by virtue of its action as a force, it causes mass which is not at rest at the centre of gravity to have the potential to accelerate towards that centre of mass. That’s why we talk about mass having ‘gravitational potential energy’. The higher above the centre of gravity a mass is, the more of its total energy is locked up as gravitational potential energy. This means less of the total energy is available to be thermalised as heat in collisions.
So is that why its cold at high altitude and warm near the surface? Ira Glickstein said it only works once, when the air is first pulled down and compresses, then the heat dissipates back to being the same temperature everywhere again.
That’s one way of looking at it, from the point of view of the classical mechanics of the microscopic scale. Ira is right in one sense, but wrong in another. Although initial heating caused by sudden compression dissipates, the ongoing action of gravity as a force keeps the air compressed more near the surface. This means air is denser at low altitudes, and that means more molecules are having collisions more often, thermalising energy.
But energy must be conserved to satisfy the first law of thermodynamics mustn’t it? Where does the extra energy come from?
There is no extra energy, it is equally spread through the troposphere. If the whole of the troposphere was the same temperature as the surface it wouldn’t make it warmer. But gravity causes there to be a temperature gradient from cold high up, because more of the total energy is locked away as gravitational potential energy compared to warm at the bottom where the near surface air is hotter than the average because less of the total energy is locked away. Again, total energy remains equally distributed throughout the troposphere, as the second law of thermodynamics demands, but because of the difference in gravitational potential energy between molecules at the bottom and top, there is a thermal gradient.
But that’s just the classical mechanics way of looking at it. What’s really happening physically? There’s convection to consider too.
Yes, the throughput of solar energy coming in, being absorbed and turned into other kinds of energy and causing processes like convection complicates the picture. All of our ways of looking at things are just our conceptions of reality, not reality itself. Whether our conceptions are right or not is tested by making predictions and seeing if reality does what we expect it to according to theory. A good start is to see if the ideas all fit together logically and without internal contradictions or paradoxes. If that test is passed, it’s experiment time.
OK, but how do we perform an experiment on the whole troposphere? It’s a messy place with all sorts of different energies and processes like convection going on in it.
Good point, that’s why the science isn’t settled. But we can perform gedanken experiments to see if they can shed any light on how stuff really works. That’s a kind of thought experiment where we simplify things and test our ideas in a framework which limits the complexity of the real world. A relevant example here is the ‘model planet’ used in the theory written by Hans Jelbring. That one is properly defined and conceived in such a way as the result can be accurately computed. Rather than looking at the microscopic level that theory deals with bigger ensembles of molecules of a billion or so. That way, it can consider other processes like convection which happen in the real troposphere.
But that theory doesn’t have any Sun and it doesn’t permit radiation to space. How can that be any use for understanding reality? And why do they talk about pressure?
It doesn’t need those in order to reach a conclusion regarding the way gravity affects the surface temperature of any planet, whether or not it’s close to a sun. The pressure in the troposphere varies being lower at the top and higher at the bottom because of all the extra weight of the rest of the atmosphere being piled on top of it, being pulled down by gravity. That means the air is denser at the bottom too, so there are more collisions happening and more energy is thermalised as heat. Stick around, and if we’re lucky, Hans himself will take up the challenge of explaining his theory and how it relates to the real world in terms anyone can understand.

January 17, 2012 8:35 am

I regret the breakdown in “civility”. I think everyone should give “it” a rest. Unpardonable for Willis to use Anthony’s blog for a ruse. (Fine to use it to further a scientific discussion, but if you think “everything” can be explained in elevator terms, I think you are mistaken). If you make a stipulation in a post, then it is fair game to snip when you believe your standards are not being followed. It is not fair game to enagage in pissing contests.
I read — and feel from the vehemence and sniping partisanship of many comments, unfortunately — that passionate dislike of proponents of one “scientific” (yes, don’t all scientists have a value judgement on what is “scientific”) theory is being fobbed off on us as science. Oh, woe, this catfight is appearing too much like the Republican primary, or perhaps denominational break-ups of protestant religion. Wherever indiviualism and freedom is valued, we seem to come to this point. Everyone that I value here because you educate me about science — and you bedevil me because you disagree so vehemently on what is seems should be “basic” — please go to your corners for a rest. Then resume vigorous scientific debates.
Willis, use your own blog for nefarious purposes, please. Keep after “your science”, however. Blogs have personal signatures. This is a most, most, most important axiom for the preservation and development of freedom.

January 17, 2012 8:42 am

Willis and Tallbloke though I am an unimportant person in the scheme of things I feel I have a small insight here. To Tallbloke RE the banning of Joel Shore yes in my opinion Joel is an arrogant egomaniac with delusions of grandeur. he regularly says many things that expose him as being a high-priest of the church of AGW and therefore blind to the simple truth that others can see instinctively but he has made statements that sounded so stupid that I had to investigate them and when I did I learned far more on the subject than he could because I went in looking to learn in short his stupid statements caused me to learn more so I think you are doing those readers of yours a disservice by banning him as he is the best argument for finding out for yourself about scientific ideas so I would consider reinstating him not because of what Willis has done but because he can be an excellent foil to teach the truth to others with.
To Willis I respect you although admittedly somewhat less than a week ago, you handled this very poorly this could have been done in other ways, none as easy maybe but certainly less damaging to you and Tallbloke and Anthony. On your proof that makes MY head hurt, your proof doesn’t feel right in my head, yes I am uneducated in things scientific but I have read a lot and when something feels right I have found that it is generally right, now there may be some small error or something but it will generally be right, that is one of the reasons I can’t buy into AGW because it feels wrong not because I can prove the numbers wrong although after reading this sight for a very long time I get some of the numbers. it is wrong to my conscious and sub-conscious mind and that is the feeling I get with your proof I am sorry if I lack the education needed to break it down and really see where it is wrong but I have learned to trust that feeling when something is wrong it has given me insight and on more than one occasion it has stopped me from doing or saying something stupid. I hope you and Tallbloke can get past this because you two can do much more on the same side without the petty things getting in the way, and as a learned bard once said “don’t sweat the petty things…….and don’t pet the sweaty things” George Carlin.

January 17, 2012 8:43 am

Congratulations. You got discussions of censorship going at Tallbloke’s Talkshop.
Now see if you can get the same discussions going at RealClimate, OpenMind, SkS, RabbitRun – pick one.
Heck, I’d be happy to see any one of them seriously discuss the failings of a Team Paper. They can go into great detail about errors in any non-team paper – just think how much they could find inside one of their own.

January 17, 2012 8:47 am says:
January 17, 2012 at 7:37 am
You are right, wash:
We are getting ready for an election where the most important issue, commandeering of the world’s economy by AGW cult science, is front and center. Poor would get poorer and starve, and the elitists would prosper. One of the Republican candidates is a closet greenie who would sink us with his big-government energy solutions. And he is surging right behind the reasonable front-runner. Sitting on the love-seat with Nancy he said was a mistake. Huh? Someone pulled him into a room and said, “Newt, sit down here for a minute” and tricked him into speaking? Hardly…read his books past and current. His real knowledge is a paper-thin veneer.
We have to get our act together to pull behind someone who can take down the socialistic eco-fascists now in power in the U.S.A.. This is serious, folks. Let’s focus down this home stretch and get Mitt or Ron as our candidate and put down these eco-maniacs as the curs they are.
No more esoteric theory to banter and waste our time, please. Let’s get back to basics, please, as the average Joe does not get the fact that climate changes and man has little to do with it.

D. W. Schnare
January 17, 2012 8:52 am

In an attempt to help the WUWT junkies from wasting any more time on this thread, I’m involking Godwins law. I hereby categorically state that the discussion has reached a point where all further comments are of no more value than ranting Nazis.
There. Now we can go on to the next WUWT article as no comment after this one can, by Godwins law, be worth reading.

Jeremy Thomas
January 17, 2012 8:56 am

Willis, Tallbloke
At the risk of sounding like everybody’s mother…You’re both wrong.
Willis: whether your views on N&Z are right or wrong, you’re hurting WUWT by using it in this fight. Anthony has painfully built its reputation by sticking to the facts, avoiding personal attacks, and treating opposing views with civility. You’re devaluing that brand by using it in this way.
Tallbloke: If you ban people like Joel Shore from commenting on your blog, isn’t it fair to have a ‘banned list’ on your home page so that readers can judge the breadth of the debate you host?
No personal criticism of either party is intended here – Tallbloke has been under a lot of pressure of late and that makes people scratchy, and Wills has done great work here and maybe has similar pressures.
But please, cool it, both of you.

January 17, 2012 8:57 am

Elevator speech (“pitch” actually) to support GHG ‘back radiation’ et al which supports in a working demonstration that GHGs work to maintain that an elevated earth surface temperature is due to ‘stored flux’ (i.e., literally: “flux in transit”, nominally LWIR energy) between a source of energy (the sun), an absorbing and radiating surface (the earth) and space (a sink) due to a meta-material (the atmosphere with LWIR-active elements) surrounding the surface (or sphere in the case of the earth):
Code up a simulation on Ansoft HFSS, a 3-D EM (Electro-Magnetic) simulation package using Finite Element Analysis techniques to investigate all things ‘EM’, and using a ‘meta-material’ (semi-reflective in its operational nature) defined ‘dielectric’ (atmosphere) embedded with CO2 and WV type ‘elements’ (EM resonant structures) and visually demonstrate the energy flux flow between a ‘source’ and a defined ‘target’ (which can also have defined albedo properties). The demonstration will show, with a meta material (e.g. an earth atmosphere) vs a vacuum an ‘increased’ amount of flux with an ‘atmosphere’ present (the meta material), and a higher flux on and near the surface surrounded by the meta material (the ‘atmosphere’).
A better proposition, I think than the closed circuit S-Parameter (S11 reflection and S21 transmission) based analogy I think I have used in the past (surely have we EM/RF & microwave types posting on WUWT?)
Lucy Skywalker: For all you do, please respect that you would seem to have much to learn about molecule composition and how this affects/spells out how a particular molecule interacts with, and its ability to absorb and radiate EM energy (like LWIR) on account of a molecule’s ‘electrically polarized’ and naturally vibrational nature.
Places to start?
Infrared spectroscopy –
Infrared Spectroscopy –
Microwave spectroscopy –

January 17, 2012 9:02 am

I’ve grown weary of the Republican debates because they have become unseemly and unnecessary displays of wallowing in mud. And now appearing on WUWT – it’s the Willis and Roger debates.

January 17, 2012 9:05 am

We know where the beef is…or do we?

Joules Verne
January 17, 2012 9:05 am

steveta_uk says:
January 17, 2012 at 7:38 am
“Stephen Wilde (7:21 am) says “S – B applies to a body in a vacuum”.
“Really? Where did vacuum come into this? The word doesn’t even appear here:
It is at least implied in the definition of an ideal blackbody which is a 2D surface and where the S-B temperature is given precisely on that 2D surface.

Mark Bowlin
January 17, 2012 9:06 am

Let me put your very long post into an “Elevator Speech” for you:
“I hosed a like-minded friend, and wasted a lot of people’s time over a trivial issue. Sure, censorship is bad, but I did it primarily because TallBloke disagreed with me, and wouldn’t give me the satisfaction of telling me I was right (it’s not really about Joel after all). Who is he to run his blog as he sees fit? I mean, it’s okay that I offended Tallbloke and wasted those folks’ time and all, because I said I was sorry…kind of….I mean, well, sure, I’m sorry. And all those people who claim I hurt Anthony’s blog and the reputation of WUWT? Nitwits all. I have another equally clever trap laid for them….”
You could have said that between the lobby and the second floor.
Willis, I like your posts, and I enjoy your writing. Didn’t care much for this at all. Raise the bar, don’t lower it, and next time you don’t get your way, move on. It’s the same advice I give my ten year old.

January 17, 2012 9:06 am

Wow. I’m not sure whether to express abject terror, or awe. 🙂 If I ever meet you and have the opportunity, I hope to play a game chess or GO with you. I have a feeling I’d learn a lot from getting whomped! Just out of curiosity, are Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”, and Musashi’s “Go Rin No Sho” in your library? I would be amazed if they aren’t, but if not please don’t read them. I don’t want to be responsible for enhancing the effectiveness of what is apparently a Weapon of Mass Skepticism in human form. 🙂
I’ve tried to herd several cats after they got into a large bag of catnip. I’m assuming he did mean the cats were on PCP.

David L.
January 17, 2012 9:08 am

jlc says:
January 17, 2012 at 7:35 am
Pathetic nonsense, Willis.
Your apologies are smug, sanctimoniuos, self-serving garbage.
You have done untold damage to WUWT.
I’ll be sticking to MacIntire and Curry in the future
I don’t know. maybe, maybe not. Sometimes I think there’s a time and place to play “hardball”

Bill Parsons
January 17, 2012 9:09 am

I say hey, if you can’t explain it in an elevator speech, you don’t understand it.
Some people seem to live in the penthouse of very tall buildings.

Eric Anderson
January 17, 2012 9:10 am

Willis, the other thing you need to apologize for is writing such long posts.

David Porter
January 17, 2012 9:10 am

Went too far didn’t we Willis. And your ego trip has probably lost you a lot of friends and put a serious dent in your credibility. In trying to cover up the error in your first post you concoct a Sherlock Holmes type story line to give the impression that you are some kind of great chess player. You may be good but not that good.
Today Willis you dug a big hole and you know what they say about holes… when you find yourselve in one stop digging. Otherwise you will lose a lot more friends and damage the reputation of WUWT. Massage your ego somewhere else.

Andrejs Vanags
January 17, 2012 9:11 am

Argh, this post and thread is just childish. I wish you all could stop the ‘sniping’, banning each other, calling each other dishonest etc, and get back to discussing science.
I enjoy coming to these type of sites (WUWT, science of doom, Roy spencer, Air Vent, solarcycle24, and even masochistically: to educate myself and try to learn. About the only good thing that comes out of this thread is a link to yet another site I can go check out, tallbloke’s site (I didnt know he had one)

January 17, 2012 9:11 am

Compare the “hissy fit” between Willis and Tallbloke…which is up front and out in the open, subject to all the “tut tuts” …with the sort of behavior the Climategate e-mails expose…the behind the back stabbings and attempts to cause harm to career and person (i.e., Ben Santer in an alley). Interesting how the Team behavior has been so easily dismissed/excused by the whitewashers as just so much “boys will be boys” par for the course., and, no doubt, by some of the very same commenters who’ve gotten all huffy here or at the Talkshop, picking sides.
Anyway, what with the tangled web I’m thinking the world’ll be better with both of you in the clear. We need you.

Ben Blankenship
January 17, 2012 9:11 am

Welcome, author, to the banned-critic club, of which I am a proud member, having been banned two years ago from further commentary on Huffington Post pieces. It’s truly a badge of honor. There are hundreds of other outlets for our opinions, thank goodness. And if you notice that HuffPo’s reactors are mostly pro-author, there is a reason. Contrary views are squelched. Surprised?

January 17, 2012 9:16 am

Willis, – some of us, are not born writers of either long or short stories and “Concise Writing” is – or may not be – amongst our strongest points. In my case I tend to start writing – and the comment grows, and grows –and grows until the comment is longer than the posting I am commenting on in the first place.
I started off commenting on your last article posing 4 questions whilst in an elevator, but then – I soon found myself starting to explain each point, or question – in detail – and before I could stop myself I was out of the elevator (or lift if we were in the UK) and was dragging myself slowly up the stairs.
Whilst “proof-reading” my effort I became aware of the enormous length of it all and I thought of your promise – “snip, snip and snip again” and – in the end I posted nothing.
This time however you are not intent on snipping, so in return I shall try to keep it brief:
You said N&Z violated conservation of energy – and if you said so I can only agree as I am not familiar with N&Z. – Why pick on them though, as I am sure you are familiar with “Kiehl & Trenberth’s Energy Flow Chart” (1997) – Those guys tell us that 168 W/m² of energy are entering the surface and that 24 + 78 + 390 W/m² are leaving – and that does not seem to me to be much like energy- conservation as I doubt very much that the “Atmosphere and the Surface” had a conference where the air promised the earth – to return the energy as soon as possible.
You call yourself a “Heretic” when it comes to this man made warming and climate stuff. – Well, I get to be called a “Disbeliever” (Ira Glickstein) and I realize that I have never told anyone, whilst in an elevator, why I am such a disbelieving individual. So now I will;
1) There is no “Empirical Proof” that CO2 is a GHG
2) Joseph Fourier is reputed to be “The father of The Greenhouse theory” – Nothing could be further from the truth as he was researching the behaviour of the heat content of the ground at various depths. He did suspect the Earth to be warmer than it otherwise would be without an atmosphere enriched with water vapour and clouds. – If you Google in Fourier 1824 as translated by Burgess 1837 you can read all about it.
3) John Tyndall is said to be the one who proved CO2 to be a GHG through his 1859 experiment on irradiative heat absorption by gases. As far as Tyndall’s experiment goes, it may just as well have proved that CO2 was blocking the path of, or perhaps even reflecting, the signal from the (the experiment’s) right hand heat source. – Remember Tyndall did not know radiation to be an “Electro-magnetic” signal. – His kind of light-radiation from the Sun moved through a space that was filled with a mass-less constituency called “The Æther” which supported the vibrating waves or radiation and – as for non luminous radiation from molecules here on Earth, – who knows – maybe he thought air would do well as a substitute for ”The Æther”.
4) Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism, published in 1865, which predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves moving at the speed of light, and – that light itself was indeed such a wave was later verified by Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894). – Who knows the exact date of confirmation?
Tyndall’s experiments on “Heat-absorption by various gases” however took place in the late 1850s and was written up, or published, – as we can read it today – in 1861 —- when Herr Hertz was only 4 years old.

Die Zauberflotist
January 17, 2012 9:19 am

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.

The root of this squabble should be obvious to all. Willis is miffed that Roger got to be the first skeptic hauled in on suspicion of the big climategate email hack and go on the telly.

January 17, 2012 9:26 am

Oh for heaven’s sake.
Yes, perhaps he went to far. He stated he did. For every person on here who is freaking out, getting all snide, condescending, mad, pissed off, and holier than thou, GET OVER IT. He apologized. Now, if you are willing in other posts to accept his science, his logic, his reasoning, and rationale for things as being sincere, perhaps you might want to accept his apology as sincere. If there is a single person here who posts often (or even occasionally), and has never posted or started threads on this or other sites that they later regretted, I’d like to meet you and shake your hand, because you must be the perfect blogger.
For those looking for an apology, you got one. Perhaps it wasn’t worded in the way you want, or wasn’t sniveling and grovelling the way you feel it should have been, or didn’t address where you personally feel offended, but deal with it. At least he had the cojones to say, this is what I did, this is why I did it, and this is the part I’m apologizing for, and as for the rest of it, I’m glad I did it.
I’d far rather have that than a fake apology simply to appease people who had their sensibilities offended by something he said or did.

January 17, 2012 9:26 am

That was not all as brief as promised and maybe even a bit “off topic” but then I would rather reserve my critical points for “catastrophical warmists” than sceptics who may or may not upset me. – By the way, nobody in this GW discussion has, so far, upset me – not yet.

January 17, 2012 9:26 am

Here are a few sentences that could be part of an elevator speech.
1- If the Earth was half as dense, would its surface be cooler or the same? I think the adiabatic lapse rate would be halved, but the atmosphere would go twice has high. So the temperature would be the same at its surface.
2- If the Earth lost all of its heat at a specific altitude, its gray body temperature would be defined at this altitude and the adiabatic lapse rate would define its temperature at the ground.
3- A planet cannot be cooler than if it radiated all of its heat at the ground. It cannot be warmer than if it radiated all of its heat from the top of its atmosphere.
4- If we choose a particular frequency of emission of heat. We can divide the “heat thickness” of the atmosphere in 3 cases(by “heat thickness”, I mean absorption of photons to heat):
4a- The atmosphere is nearly transparent to this frequency. Most of the emission at this frequency comes from the ground. Doubling the optical thickness would not change the average height of emission. If 99.9% of emissions come from the ground, a doubling of thickness would lead to 99.8% of emissions from the ground. This is nearly the same and the change of temperature would be small.
4b- The atmosphere absorbs about 50% of emission at this frequency. In a simple atmosphere, half of emissions come from the ground, and half come in average from the middle of the atmosphere. Doubling the thickness would mean only 25% of emissions come from the ground and 75% come from the middle of the atmosphere. This is a considerable change in the height of emissions and it would lead to a change of temperature.
4c- The atmosphere absorbs nearly all of emissions at this frequency. This “heat thickness” is certainly responsible for a warmer temperature at the surface. But, doubling the thickness would move the height of emissions from nearly the top of the atmosphere to even more to the top. In the end the average height of emissions would not change by a lot and temperature at the surface would not change either.
5- We often read that the temperature of the surface is proportional to the log of the concentration of a greenhouse gas. It cannot be totally true because the real function is floored by the ground and roofed by the top of the atmosphere.
6- The most dangerous gases to monitor would be gases that participate to an absorption of around 50% of the heat emitted by the ground.
7- Water vapor probably participates to a 50% absorption at least at some latitudes.
8- Ozone might participates to a 50% absorption but it is not well mixed vertically.
Conclusion- In simple words, the Earth and its atmosphere have to be warm enough to glow as much energy as it receives. If the atmosphere absorbs a lot of heat, emissions at a lower altitude will simply heat the higher altitude. And the higher altitude will need to get warmer to glow enough heat to space.

Joules Verne
January 17, 2012 9:27 am

Chris B says:
January 17, 2012 at 8:33 am
“This means air is denser at low altitudes, and that means more molecules are having collisions more often, thermalising energy.”
The diatribe goes off the rails with the above statement. Temperature is a mode of motion. Density is not. In fact the title of the seminal work in this area of theoretical and experimental physics is John Tyndall’s 1859 work “Heat: A Mode of Motion”. It’s free on google books in its entirety. No one here will be harmed by reading it and a great many would benefit.

tim in vermont
January 17, 2012 9:30 am

I knew I didn’t want to read anymore after the “thereby hangs a tale.” bit. I should have trusted my instincts.

January 17, 2012 9:32 am

Bomber_the_Cat, I think this comment from anna v answers you. However, I do concede it’s possible this effect is too small magnitude to counter Willis’ argument totally.
Still, I am now taking the gravity-heat theses more and more seriously, as I find confirmation in the behaviour of other gas planets that also don’t follow S-B, as well as observations under my nose like Jericho several degrees warmer than Jerusalem.
Sadly, too much length, sharpshooting and belittling here is exhausting – like WP. I now strongly suspect Willis’ science to be mistaken, for all that it may be orthodox. But I would rather sharpen my understanding amongst more like-minded folk for a bit, and simply dip back here to ensure I grasp the key challenges that need answers. I also await the responses of Jellbring and N&Z.
However, Willis, I still love your thesis of the climate governor in the tropical thunderstorm scenario.

January 17, 2012 9:35 am

If . . .
it takes 3,500 words to explain a “trap”
and . . .
Einstein is correct that “If you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough.”
does it follow . . .
that Willis doesn’t truly understand his “trap” and might have trapped himself?

Brandon C
January 17, 2012 9:36 am

I have been a follower of Tall bloke for a while, and I would say I generally read more of him than Willis. But I agree with Willis that he has stepped over the line in deciding to ban someone based on their ideas. Sorry Roger but there is no real defense. All you are doing now is showing intolerence. Your making it worse.
Perhaps you missed the fact the the skeptical community is sick to death of people declaring the correct answer and trying to stop people who disagree from commenting. I think you missed the point entirely. Let them have their say, your not the gatekeeper of the “correct” any more than Mann. We can all see you over-reacted and just don’t want to admit it. But how far will you go to avoid admitting the obvious?
If you won’t prove your the better man in the fight……then your not.

Luther Wu
January 17, 2012 9:36 am

We are still ‘being had’, but not as you may think. This is a long game.
WUWT is a science blog, seeking truth, come what may.
When an article of belief has been portrayed as science and then serially proven wrong, yet remains as ‘the truth’ to many, the question becomes: why do the belief and dogma persist?
Might we need to know more of ourselves in order to break through to the truth/whole truth of the matter?
Facts are not truth. Facts are mere facets of the shining diamond of truth.
Game on.

John Mason
January 17, 2012 9:38 am

I have to say I am losing track completely now. There are posts pro-Willis and post pro-Rog; there are posts that challenge the very Greenhouse Effect itself, this despite Monckton clearing it up for you all just the other day. Who am I to believe any more on here? It seems like a random mosh-pit, a scattergun mess. I think I’ll just go and listen to Motorhead instead! That usually does the job!

January 17, 2012 9:38 am

Re: Lucy Skywalker 1/17 3:03 am on the need for a wiki.
There will be occasional posts on WUWT where the issue put forth requires commenters to be focused and brief. In those posts, the moderators will have to wield the scissors mercilessly. These types of posts do have value in that they can have higher value than others in the archive. They are more distilled and refined than the average thread.
When blogs find the need for such a focused topic, then to relieve the heat and pressure, blogs should create a parallel post for wider discussion that is much less moderated where comments unpruned and side-bar issues have a home.
Take Lucy’s suggestion of a wiki. The moderation workload of that endevor makes me shudder. The ability for one commenter to edit the work of another will cause a “Mater of Gravity” dust-up to go nuclear. But let’s learn from the wiki model… there is the “article”, heavily edited and moderated, and there is the “discussion” which is less moderated and allows elaboration and minority opinions.
So I suggest WUWT make it a policy that if the author of a post states that the comment thread will be closely moderated to stay on topic, then there should be a companion post to act as a safety-valve for parallel (if not off-track) discussions.

January 17, 2012 9:38 am

O H Dahlsveen says on January 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

1) There is no “Empirical Proof” that CO2 is a GHG

Irrespective of … what? Physical laws our your choosing?
Like certain gas-molecule interaction with LWIR (an EM wave I might add) sourced at the earf’s surface?
Ever heard of “Infrared Spectroscopy”?
See links –

January 17, 2012 9:39 am

So, will I get an elevator speech (for a biologist) about where sits that N&Z error?

Joules Verne
January 17, 2012 9:43 am

O H Dahlsveen says:
January 17, 2012 at 9:16 am
Actually Tyndall was well aware that what he was studying was electromagnetic radiation. They just didn’t call it short and long wave EMR back then they called it luminous and calorific waves respectively. EMR’s wave-particle duality was yet to be discovered at that time which I believe came along when Einstein explained the photoelectric effect shortly after the turn of the century.

See - owe to Rich
January 17, 2012 9:45 am

A plea to Willis and Anthony – please can we have another new thread which summarizes the progress made so far in the first two?
I read Willis’s first article and the early comments, especially on conduction and convection, but have not read the rest, so what I write below may already have been covered. I am dismayed about the snippage which occurred, except to say there over 600 comments there when I read it. The reason for my dismay is that I fear Willis may have thrown out some babies with the bathwater, and lost some useful scientific reasoning – I have no way of telling.
So my position is that I do not know the details of the N&Z or Jelbring papers, so I cannot provide an exact “elevator speech”, but I do have some ideas on the physics which I believe are pertinent. It has to do with what is wrong about Willis’s:

NOTE 1: Here’s the thing about a planet with a transparent atmosphere. There is only one object that can radiate to space, the surface. As a result, it is constrained to emit the exact amount of radiation it absorbs. So there are no gravity/atmospheric phenomena that can change that.

When you say “transparent”, you mean that the type of atmospheric molecules let the vast majority of black body spectrum wavelengths pass through. Fair enough.
But now consider conduction (ignore convection for the moment). The atmosphere will heat up by conduction at the ground layer. And it would carry on heating up if it could not get rid of some of that heat. Even though the gas is assumed not to radiate at standard IR wavelengths, it must radiate at some other wavelengths. (Perhaps someone can tell me what they would be for nitrogen for example.) Now, when it is radiating thus, it is a greenhouse gas against its own emissions!
So some of its radiation gets trapped and bounced around, which reduces the atmoshpere’s overall radiation effectiveness, so it will heat up.
That’s my “elevator speech” against your NOTE 1.
There is the question of which level of the atmosphere will be the hottest. It should be at an intermediate level. The molecules very high up can radiate with small probability of interception by higher ones, and the molecules close to the ground can radiate to the ground which can then re-radiate transparently through the atmosphere. In the middle layers export of heat is harder.
Therefore there will be an inversion layer, and below that layer presumably there will be relatively little convection (above it is a different matter). I’m still not sure whether the ground temperature will actually differ from the lowest level air temperature.
Willis, when you’ve digested that, another “Apology and Thanks” will be dandy…

January 17, 2012 9:46 am

willis has a beautiful mind. it was part of his plan. just ask parcher.
diagnostic stuff, willis.
what terrifying impotence provokes desperately deluded fantasies of being puppet master?
i’m leaving this behind with a sneer, there being no tenderness in my heart for the psychotic.

January 17, 2012 9:48 am

It’s not clear what was the point of this ‘game’, but surely it was not Science advancement.
Just one comment on “if you can’t explain it in an elevator speech, you don’t understand it”: even if you understand it and you are able to present it concisely, that does not render it magically true. Formal/numerical proofs usually take a lot more than 3 lines of text.

January 17, 2012 9:48 am

I prescribe 20 Hail Marys and 20 Our Fathers for Willis to avoid smoking a turd in purgatory over this one.

Brandon C
January 17, 2012 9:53 am

If you wanted to ban Shore because he is a jerk, then say that, don’t demand something about his views on a scientific paper.
Second, people like shore and lazyteenager are better selling points for your science views than anything else. The blind devotion they show is educational to the masses, and underscores the religious nature of the AGW.
To clarify, there is nothing wrong with banning someone because they constantly attack you with personal slurs, but to demand they change their views on a scientific paper before you will allow them to post again is just fundamentally wrong. Period.
I agree with tallbloke that your appology was pretty week when wrapped in a another attack. You should do better than that. You could have wrote this story without being nearly as rude to tallbloke.

Alan S. Blue
January 17, 2012 9:54 am

The entire ‘gravito-thermal’ thing can be rephrased as being pressure-driven as opposed to gravity-driven. Gravity does, of course, drive pressure. But it makes the entire argument seem more coherent IMNSHO.

P Wilson
January 17, 2012 9:55 am

“Stephen Wilde says:
January 17, 2012 at 8:22 am
Stephen Wilde (7:21 am) says “S – B applies to a body in a vacuum”.
Really? Where did vacuum come into this?
I’ve asked my source for clarification on that but in the mean time your link does define c as the speed of light in a vacuum and that is an integral part of the equation.”
I am somewhat sceptical about a vacuum. If a vacuum exists then it is devoid of matter, therefore devoid of energy, and therefore has to be absolute zero……

Crispin in Waterloo
January 17, 2012 9:58 am

Bomber_the_Cat and Stevea_UK
Name a gas that does not radiate. Picking an example from a post above which mentioned N2 and O2, imagine a planet and atmosphere consisting entirely of Oxygen. Heat it with a sun at some arbitrary distance for long enough for it to be in thermal equibrium. Is the temperature going to infinite? Sunlight arrive at all sorts of frequencies; some will be ignored. The atmosphere will get hot and it will radiate energy. It will not increase in temperature until it reaches the temperature of the sun, will it? On the contrary, it will stabilise at some lower temperature.
If you accept the argument that Oxygen cannot give off radiation until the temperature is so high that theradiating surface of Willis’ planet will overcome the insulating effect of the atmosphere, then you have also accepted that a non-GHG atmosphere warms the surface. The empirical test of two spheres with different pressures of non-GHG gas around them shows an increase in temperature with increasing pressure. Did I understand that experiment correctly?
Stevea_UK bothered to look up some information on absorption and radiation and is now asking good questions. Bomber_the_Cat you can do the same.
Many contributors are getting the main points about this exercise: The S-B number helps you calculate the radiative component of heat transfer. If there is a vacuum, it is all the heat transfer. If there is an atmosphere of any kind, not all heat is transferred from the surface at the bottom of the atmosphere by IR radiation because all gases radiate, even it they do not absorb IR which is only a portion (an effective one) of total transfer energy.
Oxygen was given as an example of a non-GHG. Yet O2 absorbs IR at 1270 nm:
“The data clearly show that the photooxygenation of the traps is a result of their reaction with singlet oxygen [O2] that is formed due to [IR] laser excitation of oxygen molecules.”
Huh. A non-GHG absorbing sunlight. And in the IR band too. I wonder what frequencies Oxygen can radiate at…
“New emission spectra have been observed from chemically produced excited oxygen. Evidence that the observed visible emission is due to oxygen dimer transitions is presented. Experimental results suggest that the observed oxygen dimer is stable O4 molecule rather than the usually observed Van der Waals-type dimolecular complex. The present system is discussed from the viewpoint of a new laser operating in the visible. The possibility of a similar oxygen-dimer laser operating in the near-infrared is also discussed.”
Huh. An Oxygen laser that emits IR. I presume everyone has heard of Harvard.
I have not yet seen described a way to construct a no-GHG non-radiating atmosphere. Thus my question. What gas does not radiate at all at any wavelength or temperature? After we find one we can think about elevator talks.

January 17, 2012 10:09 am

Who made this long winded excuse monger king of unneeded confessions.

M. Jeff
January 17, 2012 10:11 am

Stubborn disorders not off topic?
Deep brain stimulation, from:
WSJ: JANUARY 17, 2012. Wiring the Brain, Literally, to Treat Stubborn Disorders
“The procedure starts with a surgeon drilling two holes in the patient’s skull.”
“After two years of DBS, 92% reported significant relief from their major depression or bipolar disorder and more than half were in remission, with no manic side effects.”
[I’ve always suspected that. ~dbs, mod.☺]

G. Karst
January 17, 2012 10:13 am

Personally, the problem I found with your gravity thread, was that by the time I reached the end of the thread of comments, it was no longer clear what the starting conditions were (a common problem with me). It is easy to lose track of the thread’s purpose, and well… it is ONLY a conversation! The playing of mind games, was not helpful, nor demonstrative, in my opinion. Some loss of trust cannot be recovered completely. I abandoned the thread as I realized it was becoming non-productive.
Giving your “experiment” some sort of morality, does not justify it. Several of our best contributors now have a degree of animosity towards each other and this thread may not normalize it. The end does not justify the means, in this case. I may be wrong and we all really needed a good shaking. Who knows? GK

jim hogg
January 17, 2012 10:13 am

Korwyn – I suspect you’re much too easily impressed.

January 17, 2012 10:19 am

scientific beliefs ??
gravity is not a belief
give it a try

Dave Worley
January 17, 2012 10:22 am

Strike one..Pseudonyms.
Strike two..Gravity.
This post is a whiff.

Joel Shore
January 17, 2012 10:35 am

Paul Coppin says:

I find Joel Shore arrogantly annoying (even if he is correct)…

PaulID says:

in my opinion Joel is an arrogant egomaniac with delusions of grandeur…

I have always found the statements of people on WUWT that I am arrogant to be oddly ironic. What we have here are many (certainly not all) people who don’t have the strong physics / mathematics background necessary to evaluate the scientific arguments. Furthermore, almost all of the people here have never read a textbook on climate science and many have not even read many scientific papers in the field. Nonetheless, they seem to think that they understand climate science better than the scientists in the field.
So, what such people are in essence saying is: “I am so freakin’ brilliant that, despite my lack of background, I am able to understand this field much better than the scientists working in the field and am able to critically evaluate their work.”
On the other hand, you have me who does have the strong physics /mathematics background. However, I have still not assumed that this automatically qualifies me to make pronouncements on climate science but rather have gone well beyond that by reading textbooks and many papers in the field. Furthermore, most of what I say are not statements of why scientists in the field are wrong but in fact just explaining what they have concluded and why I think they are right.
So, I am essentially saying: “Although I have a strong physics / mathematics background, I still need to do additional hard work to understand this particular field…and, for the most part, I still think that the scientists in the field understand climate science better than I do.”
In what sort of bizarro-world is my attitude arrogant and the other attitude not arrogant!?!

January 17, 2012 10:39 am

I thought you were banning and snipping based on lack of cooperation in the discussions you were having, not scientific belief. Isn’t that really what’s going on?

George E. Smith;
January 17, 2012 10:46 am

Well I read through your entire post above Willis, all umpteen pages of it. In fact I lost track of how many pages I had to read through.
So I must conclude that if your elevator thesis is correct, then you just don’t understand it.
A perpetually recurring problem at WUWT (no fault of Anthony’s) is people writing stuff or citing stuff; wiki for example, and then NOT citing the complete message, that they pointed to or excerpted form, so they then go on and misuse that wiki or whatever reference and try to explain something when they clearly didn’t understand what they cited, since they “edited” it in ways to make it nonsensical.
A brief statement is fine, so long as it is complete.
Was it not Einstein who said:- “Scientific theories should be as simple as possible; but no simpler.”
That is the problem with your “elevator speech” Willis; it is often “simpler” than necessary per Einstein’s dictum.

January 17, 2012 10:48 am

Eschenbach & tallbloke,
Get a room.

January 17, 2012 10:49 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 17, 2012 at 10:15 am
Jay Currie says:
January 17, 2012 at 12:43 am
So, a trick. Nothing wrong with a trick if the objective is the clear exposition of the science when such an exposition has not been forthcoming.
At the same time, to be a bit tribal, Tallbloke is one of the good guys.
That’s what I thought too. …….
So, let me get this straight. TB does something on his own blog which you don’t agree with. Then you take the disagreement to another blog and use deception to try to make a point. Now, you further your self-promotion with being the arbiter of “good and bad” because Roger won’t conform to your sense of good or bad? On his own blog!
Freaking delusional idiot. Other than generally pissing people off, being very divisive, ostracizing friends, and exposing your boorish megalomania, what did you hope to accomplish by all of this?

Luther Wu
January 17, 2012 10:49 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 17, 2012 at 10:15 am
“That’s what I thought too. But it turns out he’s quite willing to ban people for their scientific beliefs. I, like you, was fooled.
That is an incorrect assessment, in my view.
According to TB, ‘people’ were banned for their actions, not for their scientific beliefs, or expressions of same.
I will not take my toys and go home. Others have taken a different tack.

Stephen Wilde
January 17, 2012 10:50 am

“The entire ‘gravito-thermal’ thing can be rephrased as being pressure-driven as opposed to gravity-driven. Gravity does, of course, drive pressure. But it makes the entire argument seem more coherent IMNSHO.”
Similarly I’m coming to the view that calling it the gravitational greenhouse effect is not appropriate because gravity is only an indirect cause in that it simply redistributes mass so that other processes then step in to create the warmer surface.
I currently favour the phrase ‘conductive greenhouse effect’ because it arises from surface conduction into the denser air of the lower atmosphere.
Once in the form of kinetic energy in the atmosphere it stays around longer than if it were radiated straight out to space again by the surface and so equilibrium temperature rises depending on density at the surface.
There is still a parallel radiative greenhouse effect but since the conductive version involves all mass in the atmosphere it would be vastly more powerful.

January 17, 2012 10:51 am

Speaking as someone who has been around the block a few times on the internet. I’ve blogged, I’ve moderated major message boards (in the earlier days), I’ve moderated IRC chats with game developers, I’ve done quite a bit. I know what it’s like to have your own space and the power to police that space.
Let me stop right here and say that I tend to like Tallbloke. I think his site is valuable. I think he’s right more often than he’s wrong, but that is not to say that he is never wrong.
It is very easy, almost imperceptibly easy, for someone with their own space, and power to control the message in that space, to fail to separate their own bias from their moderation power. It happens to everyone, it happened to me once when I didn’t even have a dog in the fight.
To anyone bashing Willis’ actions, you need to stop. You need to stop and think hard. Willis was doing what the other side of this blogosphere refuses to do, he was policing his own.

Doug Fix
January 17, 2012 11:06 am

From the several posts and related threads I conclude that:
a) Many wished, for whatever reason, that what they were reading something different
b) Many wanted to discuss something other than the specified topic
c) A few were convinced that they had refuted the proposition but were being ignored
d) There has been no concise statement of N&Z or J
e) The proposition stands

January 17, 2012 11:07 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 17, 2012 at 11:02 am
Let me stop you there. AFAIK, N&Z’s theory (for which I am assuming you are making the elevator speech) says it works without GHGs in the atmosphere, and as a result, it can’t radiate.

I don’t buy this. This is the one part of your argument that doesn’t make sense to me Willis.
1) Yes, any gas can transfer energy via conduction. It does not have to be a GHG to do this.
2) Yes, any gas, being matter, having received energy via conduction, will emit in IR as ALL MATTER EMITS IR (as you stated).
Hence, a non-GHG, once warmed by conduction, can and should emit IR.

Luther Wu
January 17, 2012 11:14 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 17, 2012 at 10:49 am
“no way for the atmosphere to get warmer than the surface. As a result, the atmosphere cannot “back-heat” the surface at all.
Now you’re down with citing 2nd laws and such… shameless.

Wm T Sherman
January 17, 2012 11:20 am

“I am a complex and subtle man”
Anybody who would write something like that has got a problem. How could you not know any better?

January 17, 2012 11:21 am

To Joel Shore if you are NOT arrogant show me one place on this blog where you have admitted error simply with an I was wrong sorry and no further defense of your position if you can then I will revise my opinion to mostly arrogant. I have never seen you admit an error ever, now admittedly I don’t go to other places on the web looking for your name (I simply find you far too annoying to do that plus that would be far too creepy for me to do) but on this blog I don’t recall you ever having done that, again if you point out any instance of this the I will revise but I am not in the slightest bit worried about this.

J Martin
January 17, 2012 11:25 am

you said; ” I’d still be perfectly happy for someone to provide a believable version of this for either J or N&Z.”
I don’t know enough about physics but I have a question;
Why should conservation of energy necessarily be violated by this hypothesis / theory ?
The lower half warms, the upper half cools, total energy remains unchanged.
Duke is a well funded University, why not carry out a larger scale version of the Loschmidt experiment in the Duke physics department.

January 17, 2012 11:28 am

I’m not equipped to argue with anyone’s serious science but I try to understand the tough stuff if I can. I come here to touch base and to learn more about the facts and fantasies of the climate debate. But it seems to me that in-fighting of this type is, as we’d call it in the UK, corridor culture, odium academicum, just like university departments’ internal feuds and arguments and power struggles, awfully like reading some of the emails from FOIA. And it’s also an elaborate troll, well-meant perhaps, I’m no judge, but a troll nevertheless.
Have we won then? Is AGW and all it implies in political, social and economic terms, resoundingly thrashed and discredited? Will we all now get our cheques from Big Oil (I’ve been waiting a long time)? Sorry, but it seems there’s a danger of becoming too inturned and complacent about the real threats.

January 17, 2012 11:32 am

Let’s not do this again, eh?

Craig Moore
January 17, 2012 11:35 am

I believe your “victory” here will neither be worth the personal costs nor produce the results you were attempting to achieve. Not everyone is even 1/100 as brilliant as you in these matter, but many were doing their best to sort it out between the competing theories. The question that will be in my mind the next time, “Is he jerking us around again?”

Peter S
January 17, 2012 11:41 am

I am afraid the whole thing has pretty much put me off coming back to this site, which is a pity, because it has been one of my favourites for the last couple of years, and I have huge respect for Anthony Watts and what he has made this site as a whole.
Willis- you may be right, but your methods are obnoxious, and, to be quite frank, I think that your approach has done nothing positive (apart from seemingly to have made you feel incredibly smug).
I am sure that, with a different approach, things could have been resolved, even if it was only a matter of formally agreeing to disagree, and remaining friendly and respectful to one another.
As it is, you have just manufactured what is an ugly and scrap over a minor side issue, that is likely to distract from the main point, and spawned a general nastiness of which Joe Romm would be proud (In fact, if he is aware of this, I am sure he and his cronies are taking great delight in this- something you, and any others would do well to ponder before posting and inflaming things further).
A couple of quotes spring to mind- one an old Chinese proverb – “If you fight evil with evil, then evil will always triumph.”
The other is from an old TV series “Kessler” (it was a spin off from “Secret Army” a drama that was spoofed in “Allo, Allo”). Kessler at the end tried to justify his actions in the SS, saying that “The end justified the means” to which the other person replied “no, the end is the means.”
What actually has been achieved? Does it make things better or worse?

David Porter
January 17, 2012 11:52 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 17, 2012 at 11:16 am
David Porter says:
January 17, 2012 at 9:10 am
Went too far didn’t we Willis.
I didn’t. Did you?
(When someone patronizingly says “didn’t we” when there is no “we”, you can be damn sure that they are not on your side, and thus the “we” is a lie …
Sad Willis, but “we” were on the same side untill your massive ego got in the way. By the end of this post you just might, hopefully, see the flaw that is Willis Eschenbach.

kbray in california
January 17, 2012 11:53 am

If you can be looked at by the number of comments you attract…
you are doing something very right… very impressive.
Keep on postin’.

January 17, 2012 11:53 am

I call this as a pyrrhic victory for W.Eschenbach…