Earth's entire thermal infrared spectrum observed

From AGU highlights, interesting, but readers should note that this is one point on Earth in Chile, not a summation of the  atmospheric absorption, emission, and transmission of infrared radiation for the entire globe.

For first time, entire thermal infrared spectrum observed

The driving mechanism of the greenhouse effect, and the underpinning of modern anthropogenic warming, is the absorption, emission, and transmission of infrared radiation by atmospheric gases. The heat-trapping ability of a gas depends on its chemical composition, and each type of gas absorbs infrared radiation of different energies. The amount of infrared radiation that escapes into space depends on the net effect of the myriad gases in the atmosphere, with water vapor being the primary gaseous absorber of infrared radiation.

Water vapor absorbs a wide range of infrared radiation, masking the effects of other gases. In fact, in many spectral regions (or infrared radiation energy bands), water vapor is so strongly absorbing that it makes testing the accuracy of infrared radiation absorption parameterizations used in general circulation models difficult.

To surmount this obstacle, Turner et al. headed to a 5.3-kilometer (3.3 miles) altitude site in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, where the air is extremely dry. Using a broad suite of spectroscopic equipment, they produce the first ground-based measurement of the entire atmospheric infrared radiation absorption spectrum—from 3.3 to 1000 micrometers—including spectral regions that are usually obscured by strong water vapor absorption and emission. Though the data collected will likely be valuable for a broad range of uses, the authors use their measurements to verify the water vapor absorption parameterizations used in the current generation of climate models.

Source:

Geophysical Research Letters,doi:10.1029/2012GL051542, 2012

Title:

“Ground-based high spectral resolution observations of the entire terrestrial spectrum under extremely dry conditions”

Abtsract:

A field experiment was conducted in northern Chile at an altitude of 5.3 km to evaluate the accuracy of line-by-line radiative transfer models in regions of the spectrum that are typically opaque at sea level due to strong water vapor absorption. A suite of spectrally resolved radiance instruments collected simultaneous observations that, for the first time ever, spanned the entire terrestrial thermal spectrum (i.e., from 10 to 3000 cm−1, or 1000 to 3.3 μm). These radiance observations, together with collocated water vapor and temperature profiles, are used to provide an initial evaluation of the accuracy of water vapor absorption in the far-infrared of two line-by-line radiative transfer models. These initial results suggest that the more recent of the two models is more accurate in the strongly absorbing water vapor pure rotation band. This result supports the validity of the Turner et al. (2012) study that demonstrated that the use of the more recent water vapor absorption model in climate simulations resulted in significant radiative and dynamical changes in the simulation relative to the older water vapor model.

UPDATE: The full paper is here (thanks to Leif Svalgaard)

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PaulR

Has there not been a space-based observation of the entire infrared emission spectrum of at least a portion of the Earth?

Models models models models models models models models models models models models models models models models models models models models. Enough already.

Anopheles

So, they have been telling us they knew these numbers for forty years, and nobody measured them before?

wayne

Some higher resolution charts and additional description can be found here (click on the small charts at the right to display the larger versions):
http://www.arm.gov/science/highlights/RNDE2/view

Robert Clemenzi

Please explain the difference is between plots A and B. The following is based on figure 1 from the paper.
For A (31 Aug), 0.805 mm precipitable water vapor
For B (19 Sep), 0.283 mm precipitable water vapor
At that altitude, the absorption bands are much narrower than at the surface because of both the temperature and the pressure differences. This is useful for calibrating models, but it means that the plots are of limited value when comparing them to those in other papers.
On the other hand, the differences in the plots clearly show that water vapor is still a big factor at that altitude.
To bad they don’t bother to say in the abstract what direction the radiometers were pointing.

I think it’s sad that man’s activities are so powerful that Mother Nature is stymied. She wants the Earth to shed heat energy, but CO2 traps it. Absorbs it. Blocks it. Stores it. Holds it. How long? Well, for a long, long time which increases the Earth’s surface temperature by an average of 33C.

Paul Westhaver

Why are the curves scratchy?
Is this due to the wavelength precision of quantum mechanics?

Bill Illis

The water vapour levels here are 1% and 3% of average Earth conditions so these are extremely dry conditions.

ChE

Don’t tell Mosher.

Why are the curves scratchy?
Is this due to the wavelength precision of quantum mechanics?

Yes. Although you aren’t saying it quite right. There are absorption lines where there is a molecule in the atmosphere that strongly interacts (in “resonance”) with a given frequency/wavelength. For many of the molecules, there are so many resonances that they form “bands” and absorb over a broad range, not at a sharp line. There are also line broadening dynamics in place, notably thermal/doppler broadening (where the doppler shift of a given molecule “tunes” it to an outgoing photon that wasn’t strictly resonant with it). However the edges of the broadened bands are still quite sharp, so you’re seeing quantum structure.
rgb

Ill Tempered Klavier

It should be noted in connection with kencoffman’s rather trollish comment that these observations tend to support the theory that water vapor is so dominant as an infrared absorber that the effect of carbon dioxide is extremely limited if it can be identified at all.

davidmhoffer

“Water vapor absorbs a wide range of infrared radiation, masking the effects of other gases. In fact, in many spectral regions (or infrared radiation energy bands), water vapor is so strongly absorbing that it makes testing the accuracy of infrared radiation absorption parameterizations used in general circulation models difficult.”
So…. except for some very dry regions of earth, which are so uncommon that this team had to go to great lengths just to find a suitable test site, water vapour so completely dominates the effects of all other GHG’s, that they are insignificant to the point of being nearly impossible to measure.
What a gem! Own goal! Own goal!

OTOH, doing it in the Chilean desert, which is the driest place on earth (that;s why they put IR telescopes up there) eliminates much of the water vapor continuum, which is probably the biggest remaining uncertainty (everything else is nailed down really strongly, there is a bit more uncertainty wrt the water vapor continuum which is intrinsically hard to model.
The post title would better be put as “Earth’s entire thermal infrared spectrum observed under extremely dry conditions”, which is the novelty here. Doing so allowed the authors a very precise test of radiation codes. FWIW, Antarctica is also high and dry, at least in the atmosphere, but it is also cold, so the amount of IR emission from the greenhouse gases is low. The entire spectrum has been measured many places, just not many places so dry.
NOTE: Eli Rabett is actually Joshua Halpern of Howard University

michael hart

“..the use of the more recent water vapor absorption model in climate simulations resulted in significant radiative and dynamical changes in the simulation relative to the older water vapor model”
Without the pay-walled paper, I’m a bit confused by what the authors mean by that. Are they saying that the science wasn’t as “settled” as we were so often told?
Or that the models were not “settled”?
Or both?
Without wanting to insult the authors, these days I have trouble even taking the word “observed” in the abstract at face value, until I can see the whole paper.

theOtherJohninCalif

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:
June 15, 2012 at 11:55 am
“Models models models models…” There is nothing wrong with using models – as long as the models represent something with some degree of accuracy. Engineers (like me) use models for everything. However, they have to represent the characteristic we’re studying, or they’re useless at best, and result in devastating lawsuits and deaths at worst. Engineers in the private sector require proven models (at least match history) before we can use them. That is why you see people like Burt Rutan laugh at the noise climate science puts out. They don’t match real world results, which to an engineer means they’re useless. That is why I have a hard time seeing MSM climate researchers (I don’t know how else to describe them) as scientists – they’re willing to accept poorly correlating results. No hard scientist or engineer would do so – at least for something on which his career depends on.

AndyG55

“The water vapour levels here are 1% and 3% of average Earth conditions so these are extremely dry conditions.”
hmmm.. So the modern models treat water vapour somewhere near correctly when there is basically no water vapour.. is that what they are saying ?
OK.. and so ?????? 😉

Reg Nelson

To paraphrase:
Water vapor absorbs a wide range of infrared radiation, masking the effects of other gases. So we choose to ignore it.

Paul Westhaver

Thanks Robert Brown,
I am not an expert on the sensing and plotting equipment nor am I an expert of the bandwidth of each absorption wavelength…
Here is why I wanted clarification:
With a black body absorber there are no notches or scratchiness…correct? In determining the atmospheres relative relative energy absorption ratio compared with a black body, we would have to know how wide the scratches are and how wide the notches are? right? It is an integral of the absorption spectrum.
Are the scratches effectively smoothed out due to real world allowances like Doppler and natural variability in the absorption quantas.
Ie a molecule of water (H2(16) O) absorbs 3657.1 cm-1 +/- how much?
How close to 3657.1 cm-1 does a photon have to be to be absorbed?
Is it fair to smooth the absorption lines to null the scratches?

George E. Smith;

Well the last time I checked, the human eye stopped responding to electromagnetic waves, and converting that energy into the mental machinations in the eye and the human brain to produce the sensory effect that we call “LIGHT”; which therefore by definition IS visible, around an upper limit of 800 nm, and a lower limit of 400 nm. The brain response is so poor at the extreme ends, that humans are only aware of its existence at these extremes under highly controlled laboratory condition. so most humans go through life having never “seen” 800 nm light, so for most practicalpurposes, the “visible” is considered eded, at 700 or 750 nm,
So that means that the Infra-red spectrum begins at 700-800 nm; not 3.3 microns. And between 750 nm and 3.3 microns, common GHGs suchas H2O and CO2 have very significant absorption lines and bands between 750 nm and 3.3 microns.
So please don’t insult us by claiming you made a COMPLETE earth infra-red spectrum, that only goes from 3.3 microns to 100,000 microns.
And I would hardly call these spectra THERMAL spectra. A thermal spectrum does not contain discrete spectral lines, which are characterised by atomic, and molecular resonances, related to atomic or molecular structure.
Thermal spectra are a consequence of Temperature only, and are unrelated to any atomic or molecular electron energy transitions; they are continuum spectra; not closely spaced line spectra. There are no gaps anywhere in a thermal spectrum;no matter how high a wavelength or frequency resolution spectrometer you use, you can never resolve a thermal spectrum into discrete line frequency components; there are no frequencies absent from a thermal spectrum.
And notice that they plot their spectra on a wavenumber or ersatz frequency axis, instead of a wavelength axis. This of course has the effect of shifting the spectral peak to a different wavelength, closer to the CO2 molecular LINE/BAND absorption wavelengths, rather than peaking at around 10.1 microns, which is where a 288 Kelvin Thermal spectrum peaks.
This wave number approach, perpetuates the myth, that Thermal spectra contain only discrete spectral lines, and result in photons with only certain energies.
In a Thermal spectrum ; between any two photon energies, no matter how close in energy, there exist an infinite number of intermediate photon energies. This is not true of a line spectrum, such as make up the absorption band spectra of common GHG moleculees.

Paul Westhaver

Water water everywhere and all the boards did shrink,
Water water everywhere nor any drop to drink.
Water water everywhere absorbs the sun galore,
Water water everywhere the climate wonks ignore.

George E. Smith;

I see I gave them too much credit; their COMPLETE EARTH THERMAL EMISSION SPECTRUM only goes from 3.3 microns, to 1,000 microns; not 750 nm to 100,000 microns; maybe its 100,000 nm I meant to say.
And I should emphasize that it is a common misconception, that a black body radiation spectrum, which is a true Thermal spectrum (albeit theoretical), consists of millions of extremely closely spaced spectral lines, so that only certain values of PHOTON ENERGY can be found.
That isn’t the case. The Planck derivation of the correct Black Body Radiation spectrum, is a product of CLASSICAL PHYSICS; it is not quantum mechanics. Any value of photon energy (and frequency) is present in the black body radiation continuum. NO photon energies or frequencies, are absent from the black body radiation spectrum.
It is certainly true that the photon energies and frequencies are related by the Planck/Einstein relation, E = h (nu); but every value of E and (nu) is allowed, and present in black body radiation, or ANY thermal spectrum. That constraint simply requires that there must always be an INTEGER number of photons, at any grequency; you can’t have k\fractional photons; buty they can have ANY energy value whatsoever.

John S

“Water vapor absorbs a wide range of infrared radiation, masking the effects of other gases.”
Masking the effects of other gasses, or absorbing the infrared that those other gasses (*cough*CO2*cough*) would have otherwise absorbed, making the increase in such secondary gases moot because H2O already absorbed the infrared in that spectrum?

DirkH

kencoffman (@kencoffman) says:
June 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm
“I think it’s sad that man’s activities are so powerful that Mother Nature is stymied. She wants the Earth to shed heat energy, but CO2 traps it. Absorbs it. Blocks it. Stores it. Holds it. How long? Well, for a long, long time which increases the Earth’s surface temperature by an average of 33C.”
Is that sarcasm or do you just not know about Local Thermal Equilibrium and Kirchhoff’s Law? In that case, this might help you:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/05/co2-heats-the-atmosphere-a-counter-view/
Short form: CO2 absorbs and re-emits IR to equal amounts. Resulting in scattering and of course emission to space, not “trapping” as warmist scientists so frequently write in editorials. You can count the “trapping heat” meme as a lie.

George E. Smith;

“””””……Eli Rabett says:
June 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm
OTOH, doing it in the Chilean desert, which is the driest place on earth (that;s why they put IR telescopes up there) eliminates much of the water vapor continuum, which is probably the biggest remaining uncertainty (everything else is nailed down really strongly, there is a bit more uncertainty wrt the water vapor continuum which is intrinsically hard to model.
The post title would better be put as “Earth’s entire thermal infrared spectrum observed under extremely dry conditions”, which is the novelty here. Doing so allowed the authors a very precise test of radiation codes. FWIW, Antarctica is also high and dry, at least in the atmosphere, but it is also cold, so the amount of IR emission from the greenhouse gases is low. The entire spectrum has been measured many places, just not many places so dry……”””””
Well The Atacama, and Antarctica vie for the distinction of having the dryest atmospheres; but I’m happy to accept the Atacama; it’s an interesting place too.
But as to it being an “extremely dry” location; just what does that mean in real terms ?
Let me put it this way; what is the molecular abundance of H2O in the Atacama atmosphere; and is it higher or lower, than the Atacama atmospheric CO2 molecular abundance ?
Surely, that would be a metric as to whether Atacama is truly dry; or not.

ChE

Hats off to Rabbett for pointing out that this underestimates the masking effect water vapor has on other GHGs.

George E. Smith;

“””””…..DirkH says:
June 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm
kencoffman (@kencoffman) says:
June 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm
“I think it’s sad that man’s activities are so powerful that Mother Nature is stymied. She wants the Earth to shed heat energy, but CO2 traps it. Absorbs it. Blocks it. Stores it. Holds it. How long? Well, for a long, long time which increases the Earth’s surface temperature by an average of 33C.”
Is that sarcasm or do you just not know about Local Thermal Equilibrium and Kirchhoff’s Law? In that case, this might help you:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/05/co2-heats-the-atmosphere-a-counter-view/…..”””””
Well there’s a fundamental problem with Tom’s thesis.
Kirchoff’s law regarding equality of spectral emittance, and spectral absorptance; requires a closed system where the materials present are in thermal equilibrium, at a single fixed Temperature , with the ambient EM radiation field present in that enclosure. So first off it requires thermal equilibrium; not LTE, and moreover it also relates ONLY to thermal spectra that are a consequence of the Temperature ONLY; so it does not apply to atomic or molecular line or band spectra.
There are many examples of photon absortion leading to an excited state, where the converse transition is prohibited, and therefore cannot occur; many laser systems depend on that simple fact.
Well the common Helium/Neon gas laser is such a system.
People need to stop traipsing out Kirchoff’s law as the explanation for every climate modelling problem; it simply doesn’t apply.

ColdinOz

TheOtherJohninCalifornia says
…” There is nothing wrong with using models – as long as the models represent something with some degree of accuracy. Engineers (like me) use models for everything.”
And you’re right John because your models include all appropriate parameters, the values of which have been empically determined. Most unlike “climate science models”.

AndyG55

@ColdinOz,
Yep, and us Engineers are always testing the validity of the models we use.
If the model doesn’t fit the data, we don’t go adjusting the data until the model does fit.
Imagine that, doing a deflection test on a bridge.. ooo look, there is more deflection than the model says there should be.. lets just modify the deflection test !!!

AndyG55

Or.. “we compacted that clay core in the dam according to the consensus, but the test says its not compact enough yet”…… “oh, we better go with the consensus” !!

therealnormanrogers

What I don’t get … is where the energy is supposed to go AFTER it’s been absorbed by an atmospheric molecule. Where’s the heat sink? The gas becomes warmer — then what happens? Surely it’s transferred by convection to other molecules or re-radiated. How is it “trapped”???
If it’s re-radiated, it’s not going to warm the earth (or our oceans) because that would violate the first law of thermodynamics (the earth is warmer — else it wouldn’t be radiating in the first place). Any re-radiated energy is either going to be absorbed by colder gases or go off into space.
Seems to me that only convection applies and then only when warmer air moves over cooler land or water.
But CO2 has a much lower specific heat than water vapor (like by two and half) so it’s not going to hold a lot of energy compared to H2O– and there aren’t a whole lot of CO2 molecules (vs H2O molecules) in the atmosphere anyway (like twenty five times less — .039% vs. 1% on average). And water vapor captures a much broader spectrum of IR than CO2.
So, how is this “global warming” supposed to work? How can CO2 make any difference?
I’m just asking.

wayne

What I don’t get … is where the energy is supposed to go AFTER it’s been absorbed by an atmospheric molecule. Where’s the heat sink? The gas becomes warmer — then what happens? Surely it’s transferred by convection [and conduction (collisions)] to other molecules or re-radiated. How is it “trapped”???

You’ve pretty much answered your own questions. Through equipartition if there are any other ir active molecules nearby their temperature will also go up momentarily and they will radiate more than before at all lines they could possibly radiate at. There is also the much smaller radiation of the atmosphere itself through collisions with various other molecular species (inter-electron interactions).
You cannot “trap” heat in a real atmosphere to any meaningful degree at a macro level. Heat will pass through the system according to the macro temperature differences any way you look at it, except at very small atomic scales. It all has to do with the scale you are looking at. If absorption in one layer makes it warmer but you are looking at the difference across many levels then that one layers increase is meaningless overall, the same energy will pass through layer one and layer ‘n’ no mater what the temperature of n/2 is (Stefan-Boltzmann). However, if you are looking at only one, two or three layers then you can play some real “tricks” with this limited viewpoint. AGW proponents absolutely *love* to speak in small layer number examples! The smaller the better to eat you up my dear.

Thank you, Wayne.
So why is their “universal” agreement that the nearly meaningless contribution to atmospheric CO2 by mankind’s burning hydrocarbons (compared to natural sources of atmospheric CO2) contributes even slightly to the earth’s ambient temperatures? Surely if the sun went dark we’d quickly freeze, right? How is the earth supposed to retain more heat (by virtue of its having a trace more atmospheric CO2)?? I don’t see a heat sink.
Moreover, no one is creating Carbon. All’s we can do is return to the atmosphere, from which all those lovely green plants will take it. And the more CO2, the faster green plants will grow. And plant growth requires energy — which comes from the sun — which leaves less energy to be radiated from the earth.
I really, really don’t understand how more CO2 is supposed to make any difference in the ambient temperatures.

LazyTeenager

Anopheles on June 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm said:
So, they have been telling us they knew these numbers for forty years, and nobody measured them before?
———-
No, it means they are applying additional checks to previous measurements and calculations.

LazyTeenager

Ill Tempered Klavier on June 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm said:
It should be noted in connection with kencoffman’s rather trollish comment that these observations tend to support the theory that water vapor is so dominant as an infrared absorber that the effect of carbon dioxide is extremely limited if it can be identified at all.
———–
You missed an important takeaway and that is the importance of water vapour diminishes with altitude.

LazyTeenager

davidmhoffer says
So…. except for some very dry regions of earth, which are so uncommon that this team had to go to great lengths just to find a suitable test site, water vapour so completely dominates the effects of all other GHG’s, that they are insignificant to the point of being nearly impossible to measure.
————
It’s real easy to find areas of the world which are extremely dry David. Just go outside and look straight up.
At 10km high where the jumbos fly the temperature is -60C. Since water freezes at 0C there is no water vapour to speak if there.
The desert was dry not just because it is in a rain shadow but because of the altitude.
And it’s easier to deploy the spectrometers at ground level than it is from a jumbo.

JohnB

therealnormanrogers says:
June 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm
What I don’t get … is where the energy is supposed to go AFTER it’s been absorbed by an atmospheric molecule.

So, how is this “global warming” supposed to work? How can CO2 make any difference?
I’m just asking.
—–
It works, roughly, like this – and it’s a good job it does, or the earth would be a darn cold place…
GHGs absorb IR emitted from the surface and then re-emit it. They re-emit it in all directions, so some of what they re-emit goes back to the surface and causes it to warm more (or, if you prefer, cool less) than it would have done otherwise. GHGs don’t absorb direct sunlight much because the Sun, being so much hotter than the Earth, emits much more in the visible and UV part of the spectrum that GHGs do not absorb.
The first law is not violated, since it applies only to a closed system (and in the case of the Earth, there is energy input from the Sun). Another way to think of it is that GHGs act like little mirrors, and no one would argue that mirrors are incapable of reflecting because they are cooler than the Sun.
CO2 makes a difference because it is non-condensing. Water vapour OTOH condenses, as rain, so cannot build up the way CO2 can.
(Nothing in the above that can’t be found in standard text books, where it will be explained much better than I can)
HTH, John

Hi JohnB,
My undergraduate education was in Physics (waaay before grade inflation) and I did take a course in Thermodynamics — and it doesn’t work as you suggest.
The first law (of thermodynamics) is that heat always travels in one direction — from hot to cold(er). It’s not like gas pressure or a chemical reaction which can (and does) go in both directions (unless there’s a precipitate). You can’t make a surface warmer by “reflecting” back heat that it’s radiating.
Hence my questions.

On a per molecule basis, the CO2 absorption/emission event lasts for a billionth of a second and the ’emitted’ photon is at a longer wave length and lower energy, which is then INVISIBLE to an additional CO2 absorption. This causes overlap of the OLR bands and the ‘saw-toothed’ graphs. This now excited CO2 molecule then transfers this kinetic energy to surrounding N2O2 molecules, in a several billionth of a second process, and a convective wave is sent into space. Latent heat of condensation and latent heat of solidification of water vapor at altitude also releases convective energy, which has NO IR SIGNATURE. This convective heat is lost to space by Altitude Attenuation. The convective heat wave rises into thinner and thinner atmopshere until there are no adjoining molecules to share energy with. Thus, massive amount of energy are lost to space with no IR involvement. The “Radiative Balance” is another false metric. See “Magic Realm of Umbrellaman”….and for the ‘real’ level of moisture in the ‘driest place on Earth’ see…
http://www.myweather2.com/City-Town/Chile/San-Pedro-De-Atacama/climate-profile.aspx

LazyTeenager

George E. Smith says
So please don’t insult us by claiming you made a COMPLETE earth infra-red spectrum, that only goes from 3.3 microns to 100,000 microns.
———–
George, They don’t have to insult you, you insult yourself.
The IR spectral region is broad. So they explicitly narrow it by referring to the thermal IR spectrum. That means the frequency range defined by the black body radiation of the earth. The green house gases are excited by thermal energy so their emissions are restricted to the blackbody radiation band.
The rest of what of what you say George is also a confused mishmash of wrongness.

LazyTeenager

DirkH says
Resulting in scattering and of course emission to space, not “trapping” as warmist scientists so frequently write in editorials. You can count the “trapping heat” meme as a lie.
———-
Your description of the physics is correct. But the trapping thing is not a lie its a metaphor, signifying that the atmosphere has some resistance to the outgoing passage of energy.

JohnB :the Sun, being so much hotter than the Earth, emits much more in the visible and UV part of the spectrum that GHGs do not absorb.”
“The energy distribution within the solar spectrum is approximately 2 percent UV light, 47 percent visible light and 51 percent IR light ”
http://www.viracon.com/index.php?Itemid=197&id=96&option=com_content&view=article

LazyTeenager

George E. Smith says
There are many examples of photon absortion leading to an excited state, where the converse transition is prohibited, and therefore cannot occur; many laser systems depend on that simple fact.
———–
Wrong again. Lasers depend of establishing a population inversion. The excited state population for HeNe lasers is not established by an absorption from the ground state. Your claim that emission and absorption on a particular transition can be one way is totally false.
The rest of what you said is confused nonsense. DirkH is correct.

LazyTeenager

ColdInOz says
And you’re right John because your models include all appropriate parameters, the values of which have been empically determined. Most unlike “climate science models”.
————
The models referred to in the article are radiative transfer models or radiation absorption models. They are not GCMs aka global climate models.

LazyTeenager

Faux Science Slayer says
This convective heat is lost to space by Altitude Attenuation. The convective heat wave rises into thinner and thinner atmopshere until there are no adjoining molecules to share energy with.
———–
My Poe detector is beeping softly.
Faux are you taking the micky on these good WUWT folks?

JohnB

@sunshinehours1
But the IR emitted by the Sun is mainly short wave IR, which is not absorbed by GHGs.
Again, it’s all in the textbooks

JohnB, this paper disagrees.
“In most climate models, the solar spectrum comprises wavelengths less than 4 μm with all incoming solar energy deposited in that range. In reality, however, the solar spectrum extends into the infrared, with about 12 W m−2 in the 4–1000-μm range”
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010JAS3282.1

Marc77

CO2 is not only weakened by other overlapping GHGs, it is also weakened by its own broadening. The broadening from the Doppler effect has a tendency to create a flow of energy from the highly saturated center of the band toward its edge where the energy will move out of the atmosphere more easily.

Billy Liar

LazyTeenager says:
June 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm
At 10km high where the jumbos fly the temperature is -60C. Since water freezes at 0C there is no water vapour to speak if there.
As you know so much, perhaps you could confirm that all jumbos make contrails above 10km in all circumstances. If they don’t, where does the water in their jet efflux go?

Greg House

JohnB says:
June 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm
But the IR emitted by the Sun is mainly short wave IR, which is not absorbed by GHGs.
Again, it’s all in the textbooks
=======================================================
I was going to say “they are lying to you, John”, but then I took a cold shower and noticed the word “MAINLY”. Yes, they have taken care of an alibi, of course, this is how the things have been done in climate science in recent times.
The Sun does not skip the GHGs absorption bands: http://www.windows2universe.org/sun/spectrum/multispectral_sun_overview.html

davidmhoffer

LazyTeenager;
It’s real easy to find areas of the world which are extremely dry David. Just go outside and look straight up.
At 10km high where the jumbos fly the temperature is -60C. Since water freezes at 0C there is no water vapour to speak if there.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
3/4 of the earth surface is covered by water. The water vapour immediately above is thousands of ppm. By their own admission, for the vast bulk of the earth surface, co2 concentrations are so overwhelmed by water vapour, that they can hardly be measured.
As for up, way up, think it through LazyTeenager-who-works-so-hard-to-misdirect
At 10km up, there is very little water vapour as you suggest. And what happens to any LW that gets absorbed and re-radiated? Why it runs into that wall of water vapour at lower altitudes.

davidmhoffer

therealnormanrogers says:
June 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm
Hi JohnB,
My undergraduate education was in Physics (waaay before grade inflation) and I did take a course in Thermodynamics — and it doesn’t work as you suggest.
The first law (of thermodynamics) is that heat always travels in one direction — from hot to cold(er). >>>
The NET heat flow is from hot to cold. Take a look at the SB Law formula. There is no term in the formula for the temperature of the surroundings. A body radiates based on itz temperature. Not on the object next to it being hotter or colder.
If the flow of energy between two bodies was strictly one way, then I could shut off the lights of an on coming car by turning mine on bright. But I cannot. Energy flows are always in ALL directions, and the 1st law refers to the NET between two surfaces.

DavidA

This is real science and I’ve often wondered why we don’t see more of it. There’s an area near my city where most of our coal powered electricity stations are and I reckon when the air is still you might find higher concentrations of CO2 than usual in that region. Imagine if similar spectral readings were taken during a high CO2 period and again when CO2 was at lower levels, then compared. Perhaps the answer would be too revealing.