Some thoughts on radiative transfer and GHG's

Absorptions bands in the Earth's atmosphere cr...
Absorptions bands in the Earth’s atmosphere created by greenhouse gases and the resulting effects on transmitted radiation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest post by Reed Coray

The following example illustrates the issues I have with reasoning often used to argue that increasing the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere will increase both the Earth’s surface temperature and the Earth’s atmosphere temperature. Immediately following is a direct quote from URL

http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/heat_transfer_earth.htm

The present situation is that there has been an increase in infrared-absorbing gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Energy that would normally escape into space is absorbed by these molecules, thus heating the atmosphere and spreading through convection currents. The average temperature of the atmosphere has increased 0.25 °C since 1980, mainly attributed to an increase in infrared-absorbing gases in the atmosphere.

Although the above statement makes no direct reference to Earth surface temperature, I believe it carries the implication that greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere increase the Earth’s surface temperature.

I make two comments: the first is relevant only if the above implication is valid, the second is relevant independent of the validity of the implication. First, placing matter adjacent to a warm surface such that the matter is capable of absorbing/blocking radiation to space from the warm surface can lead to a decrease in the warm surface’s temperature. Second, increasing the amount of the absorbing/blocking matter can lower the temperature of the absorbing/blocking material.

Take for example an internal combustion engine whose metal surface is exposed to a vacuum. In addition to doing useful work, the engine produces thermal energy (heat). That thermal energy will produce a rise in the temperature of the engine’s surface such that in energy-rate equilibrium the rate energy is radiated to space from the engine’s surface is equal to the rate thermal energy is generated within the engine. By attaching radiating plates to the engine’s surface, some of the energy radiated to space from the engine’s original surface will be absorbed/blocked by the plates; but because thermal energy can be transferred from the engine to the plates via both radiation and conduction, the temperature of the engine’s original surface will be lowered. This is the principle of an air-cooled engine[1]: provide a means other than radiation of transferring heat from an engine to a large surface area from which heat can be removed via a combination of conduction, convection and radiation, and the engine’s surface temperature will be lowered.

If plates at a temperature lower than the original engine surface temperature are attached to the engine, it’s true that the temperature of the plates will increase to establish energy-rate equilibrium. Once energy-rate equilibrium is established, however, increasing the plate radiating area (adding additional matter that blocks more of the energy radiated from the original engine surface) will likely lower the plate temperature.

Thus, blocking the amount of surface radiation escaping to space does not necessarily increase the surface temperature; and increasing the amount of radiation blocking material does not necessarily increase the temperature of that material. In both cases (the Earth/Earth-atmosphere and the internal combustion engine in a vacuum), the heat eventually escapes to space–otherwise the temperature of the Earth’s surface and the engine would continue to rise indefinitely. The difference isn’t that the energy doesn’t eventually escape to space (it does in both cases), the difference is in the path the energy takes to reach space. The amount of generated thermal energy in conjunction with the path the thermal energy takes to get to space determines temperatures along the path; and adding more material may increase or decrease those temperatures. To say that “Energy that would normally escape into space is absorbed by these molecules, thus heating the atmosphere…” by itself is unwarranted; because an equivalent statement for the case of adding extra plate material to the engine would be “Energy that would normally escape to space from an engine with small attached plates is absorbed by additional plate material, thus heating the plates…” For air-cooled engines, this statement is not true—otherwise the plate surface area of air-cooled engines would be as small as possible.

It’s fairly easy to visualize why (a) adding thermally radiating plates to an air-cooled engine might decrease the engine’s surface temperature, and (b) increasing the area of the radiating plates might decrease the plate temperature. It’s not so easy to visualize, and may not be true, why (a) adding greenhouse gases to the Earth’s atmosphere decreases the Earth’s surface temperature; and (b) increasing the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases lowers the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere. I now present one possible argument. I do not claim that the argument is valid for greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, but I do claim that the argument might be valid, and can only be refuted by an analysis more detailed than simply claiming “Energy that would normally escape into space is absorbed by these molecules, thus heating the atmosphere.”

If we assume that (a) matter cannot leave the Earth/Earth-atmosphere system, and (b) non-greenhouse gases radiate negligible energy to space, then for a non-greenhouse gas atmosphere the only way thermal energy can leave the Earth/Earth-atmosphere system to space is via radiation from the surface of the Earth. The rate radiation leaves the surface is in part a function of both the area and temperature of the surface. For a greenhouse gas atmosphere, energy can leave the Earth/Earth-atmosphere system to space both via radiation from the Earth’s surface and radiation from greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Suppose it is true that the density of greenhouse gases near the Earth’s surface is such that radiation emitted from low-altitude greenhouse gases does not directly escape to space, but is in part directed towards the Earth’s surface and in part absorbed by other atmospheric greenhouse gases. As the atmospheric greenhouse gas density decreases with increasing altitude, radiation emitted from high-altitude greenhouse gases can directly escape to space.

Now it’s not impossible that since (a) in addition to radiation, heat is transferred from the Earth’s surface to greenhouse gases via conduction, and (b) convection currents (i) circulate the heated greenhouse gases to higher altitudes where energy transfer to space can take place and (ii) return cooler greenhouse gases to the Earth’s surface, that the process of heat transfer away from the Earth’s surface via greenhouse gases is more efficient than simple radiation from the Earth’s surface. Many engines are cooled using this concept. Specifically, a coolant is brought into contact with a heated surface which raises the coolant’s temperature via conduction and radiation, and the coolant is moved to a location where thermal energy transfer away from the coolant to a heat sink is more efficient than direct thermal energy transfer from the heated surface to the heat sink.

One way to realize increased thermal transfer efficiency would be to use a coolant, such as greenhouse gases, that efficiently radiates energy in the IR band (i.e., radiates energy at temperatures around 500 K). Another way would be to spread the heated coolant over a large surface area. Since surface area increases with increasing altitude, thereby providing expanded “area” (in the case of a gas, expanded volume) from which radiation to space can occur, it’s not clear to me (one way or the other) that greenhouse gases won’t act as a “coolant” reducing both the temperatures of the Earth’s atmosphere and the Earth surface.

 


[1] It’s true that for most air-cooled engines the main transfer of heat from the engine plates is via a combination of (a) conduction of heat to the air near the plates, and (b) convection that replaces the warm air near the plates with cooler air. To aid this process, a fan is often employed, or the engine is located on a moving vehicle and the vehicle’s motion through an atmosphere provides the flow of air across the plates. Although conduction/convection may be the primary means of heat dissipation from the plates, radiative cooling also dissipates heat.

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Peter Dunford
July 21, 2012 3:29 am

An interesting alternative take. And convection is certainly ignored in the “Standard Model”. However, I can’t see the likes of Trenberth even giving it a second glance, the science is “settled”.

Old England
July 21, 2012 3:40 am

Convection via thunderclouds – as Willis has noted – would fit alongside this. There is a lot of commonsense in this thinking and it deserves study. Intuitively it begins to show how part of earth’s ‘thermostat’ may function.

rogerknights
July 21, 2012 3:42 am

This ought to rattle some cages!

July 21, 2012 3:43 am

Getting close to a better theory.
Heat cannot be stored by these ‘so called’ GHG’s as 2nd law states that heat must be lost, an increase in entropy, but adsorbed SIR will increase the molecular kinetic energy, increasing the temperature, but this kinetic energy will be transferred to the other gasses not directly affected by the SIR. The GHG’s will radiate LIR but at a reduced energy level, the frequency change from short to long wave IR is the evidence that this happens. Also the 1st law dictates that it must. If it did not then we would be driving in cars using perpetual motion engines which violate both 2nd and 1st laws.
The reradiated heat is in fact a reduction of solar heat reaching the surface so it cannot raise the temperature more than that reached without the intervention of the GHG molecule. If the theory of reradiated heat were to be true then warm liquids placed into a vacuum flask, with its mirrored internal surfaces, would raise the liquid’s temperature by a considerable amount. We all know from experience that this does not happen but a vacuum flask only reduces heat loss slowing cooling. It insulates well but not perfectly.
We must also ask ourselves why the earth’s temperature is fairly even in that max. temperatures rarely exceed 50C nor do we get any lower than -85C. The moon, receiving the same solar insolation as earth but having zero atmosphere, achieves over 150C in sunlight and less than -150C in shadow. So much for an atmosphere increasing temperature by reradiation.

July 21, 2012 3:47 am

The average temperature of the atmosphere has increased 0.25 °C since 1980, mainly attributed to an increase in infrared-absorbing gases in the atmosphere.”

But has it really? If you look at the warming from 1900 to present, look particularly at the warming from about 1910 to about 1945. Temperatures then cooled until about 1975. Beginning in 1976, things began warming again but it took several years to warm back up to where temperatures were in the 1930’s and 1940’s. We can not really consider that period to really be overall “warming” in the context of recovery from the LIA, we can only consider that to be recovery from a spate of cooling after temperatures reached their peak in the late 30’s early 40’s. So we must wait until temperatures get back to that point before we consider that we would have any additional overall warming of the planet.
Whether or not we ever reached the levels of the 1940’s is a matter of some debate, but I would say that the period since 1980’s saw NO temperature rise attributed to CO2 and only a recovery of temperatures to NEAR what they were in the 1930’s and 1940’s. From my point of view, the second half of the 20th century actually saw no or very little “warming” at all in the context of additional recovery from the LIA. It only saw some natural variation where temperatures declined from the 1940’s through the 1970’s and then recovered.

DavidA
July 21, 2012 3:48 am

Took a long way getting there, but I understand it in the end. Adding greenhouse gas may be like adding blades to an air-cooled engine.
If our concern is surface temperature then perhaps the “more blades” equivalent on Earth might be adding more mountains?
In a still environment you have conduction and radiation emission. The surface temperature at night will always be coolest in a vacuum won’t it? Any atmosphere, even non-greenhouse, will cause heat to linger around the surface – the buffer – which raises the average temperature at the surface. Greenhouse gases create a thicker buffer.
Just thinking of the mountain example above. Incoming radiation is constant and if we add more surface area the radiation is spread across a greater area. Each unit area absorbs less heat and hence doesn’t radiate as fast – thermodynamics says the higher the difference the faster the loss. With that in mind perhaps a flat Earth endures greater extremes than a bumpy Earth? Perhaps that applies even where more finer details are concerned e.g. trees add to the surface area.

Dr Burns
July 21, 2012 3:49 am

Most heat transfer from the Earth’s surface is not directly to space, as is so often assumed in such models. You should consider clouds, which cover 70% of the Earth’s surface. Their temperature is set by the lapse rate.

michael hammer
July 21, 2012 3:52 am

I am extremely sceptical of CAGW but I have to strongly disagree with the above analysis. Adding cooling fins to a motor decreases its surface temperature because it increases the surafce area availabel to radiate that heat away, In the case of the earth the surface area is not increased. The point that energy can be lost to space from the surface at all thermal IR wavelengths and from the atmosphere but only at the GHG wavelengths is true in principle. However, because the GHG effect is so strong over the atmospheric column in effect the surface can only lose enegy at the non GHG wavelengths while the atmopshere can only lose energy to space at the GHG wavelengths. What increasing the GHG concentration does is to slightly increases the range of GHG wavelengths so the surface can lose energy over a slightly smaller range of wavelengths and the atmosphere over a slightly larger range of wavelengths. Sine the atmosphere is cooler than the surface it loses less energy than would the surface at the same wavelength. Thus the actio of the GHG increase is to slightly reduce the energy loss to space and to restore balance the temperature of the system must slightly increase.
However – what is at issue is how much. By how much does the temperature have to increase to compensate? A simple calculation shows doubling CO2 would lead to an increase of about 1C in the absence of feedbacks. That’s not serious so are the feedbacks positive or negative? This is the crux of the debate but its worth noting that every naturally stable system shows strong negative feedback and that means the rise will be less than 1C not more than it.
Where does the negative feedbakc come from here? Higher temperatures means more evaporation which must mean more rain but rain comes from low clouds so it must mean more low cloud either in density or in coverage. Both increase Earth’s albedo and reduce temperatures.

MikeB
July 21, 2012 3:52 am

This is a very baffling post Reed, it doesn’t make sense. An air cooled engine does not cool by blocking radiation. It cools by conducting heat away from the engine into the fins and, because they provide a larger surface area, more heat is subsequently radiated away (or convected away). You have to be very careful with analogies, and this one is too contrived to be useful. The atmosphere, clearly, doesn’t work like this.
.

Richard111
July 21, 2012 4:01 am

As an ex-motorcyclist, first hand experience leads me to agree with much of what Reed Coray writes. As a layman in the sciences I must rely on educational web sites that explain heat transfere and IR radiation and such like. I am led to believe that gases in the atmosphere can absorb OR radiate specific radiation bands dependant on the local temperature. It cannot do both at the same time. Wein’s Law will give the peak temperature at any specific IR wavelength. Using Wein’s Law to look at CO2 I find that the 2.7 micron band peaks at ~800C, the 4.3 micron band at ~400C and the 25 micron band at about -80C!! I understand only limited areas of the Earth’s surface might radiate at up to 50C so the 2.7 and 4.3 micron bands will NEVER be exited enough to absorb any energy from the surface. They might absorb a very little from the sunlight but that is working as a coolant. The so called standard surface temperature of the Earth is said to be 15C, well above the the -80C temperature level of the 15 micron band for CO2. The problem now is most of the CO2 molecules in the atmosphere will be at a temperature comensurate with the adiabatic lapse rate starting at the surface. So assuming a drop of 10C per kilometre altitude air temperature should be down to -80C at about 9.5 kilometres altitude, almost the tropopause. Only then will the CO2 molecules be cool enough to absorb radiation at 15 microns.
BUT! There is indeed nothing to stop the CO2 radiating at 15 microns and some of that radiation reaching the surface. Now another BUT! The surface, except at possibly a small area at the south pole, is well above -80C!! Any element, black body or not, does not absorb radiative energy below its peak temperature.
A CO2 molecule IS a black body with rather specific characteristics. And so is any other gas molecule in the atmosphere.
Since I am completely unable to see any ‘greenhouse’ effect in the atmosphere I need more education. Please post links that will this layman.

ursus augustus
July 21, 2012 4:01 am

What about the additional LH of Vapourization drawn from the surface by both any direct additional evaporation due to CO2 GH effect but also the increased transpiration from plants as their metabolism increases due to more CO2 (double -ve feedback)? H2O vapour up into the atmoshpere causes some more GH effect , true (+ve feedback) but then recondenses as clouds ( albedo => -ve feedback) and releasing the LHV at altitude where convection/cnduction takes it upwards and into space ( -ve feedback). What is the net feedback effect? Who knows but there is no hot spot at altitude so it cannot be much.

papiertigre
July 21, 2012 4:01 am

Is Trenberth’s approval a hurdle this has to clear?

Richard111
July 21, 2012 4:05 am

Tcha!! Educate, educate, educate!

Sleepalot
July 21, 2012 4:05 am

Those spectral intensity curves are wrong. The formula I = kT^4 gives the area under the curves (in W/m^2) (k = Stefan-Boltzmann constant).
Temperature Area under curve
210K 110 W/m^2
260K 260 W/m^2
310K 523 W/m^2
Solar 1367 W/m^2 at top of atmosphere.

Jer0me
July 21, 2012 4:15 am

The simple fact is that convection trumps radiation every time. Just hold you hand in front of a working ‘radiator’ and then above it. (This is why radiators are very often placed below windows, in fact).
There is no proof that I am aware of that more CO2 does not in fact cool the atmosphere by convection.

Sleepalot
July 21, 2012 4:21 am

I keep looking at this: air and ground temperature recorded in the N. African desert during a solar eclipse.
http://www.shadowchaser.demon.co.uk/eclipse/2006/thermochron.gif

Sleepalot
July 21, 2012 4:27 am

Could someone please show me how to use Plank’s Law of Radiation (I use Open Office) – as shown here:
http://pveducation.org/pvcdrom/properties-of-sunlight/blackbody-radiation
As I keep getting the “ultraviolet catastrophe”.

Andre Bijkerk
July 21, 2012 4:34 am

This is inline with the real null hypothesis that I posted before.
We read all over internet that the black body temperature of the Earth would have been -18C, but the actual average temperature is +15C; consequently this 33 degrees difference is supposed to be the greenhouse effect. But is this true?
Is the blackbody situation the “null hypothesis”? I don’t think so. The black body calculation assumes a sphere with a constant flux of light energy, uniformely distributed over the surface, using the Stefan Boltzman equation to derive it’s temperature like this.
But the earth is nowhere near a blackbody and if we want to really look at the null hypothesis, we would have to look at an earth without greenhouse effect, but still with an (inert) atmosphere and still rotating in 24 hrs, with seasons and all.
Now instead of using an average steady state solar radiation, we need to realize that we have the diurnal cycle with max insolation radiation at noon and no radiation incoming when the sun is below the horizon. So during daytime the earth surface warms up and much more than the according the average radiation. Equilibrium temperature at the equator in a steady state with the sun in zenith, using the full incoming 1365 w/m2 (albedo 30%) would be 360K or 87C. This follows from applying the Stephan Boltzman equation for the spot directly under the sun, instead of a uniformely distributed radiation.
So this much higher temperature of the earth surface is transmitted via conduction to the lowermost boundary layer of the atmosphere. This heated air gets is less dense, and it becomes buoyant so it rises up; Convection, the very basics of meteorology. So at daytime the atmosphere receives thermal energy of the earth. How can it lose this energy again? Remember we are in the null hypothesis, no radiation, no greenhouse effect, so the inert atmosphere cannot lose the energy by radiation.
Now, at night time the Earth does not receive radiation energy from the sun but it radiates energy out and cools quickly, obviously much more quickly in the null hypothesis even than with the greenhouse effect, which would have directed (“reflects”) some radiation back to earth. Now the cooler earth also cools the boundary layer of the atmosphere by conduction again, however there is no negative convection as the cool air gets more dense and tends to stay put; the inversion; also very basic meteorology. So despite the cooling of the earth, the missing radiation from the atmosphere prevents it from cooling at night and the next day more conducted energy is convected into the atmosphere, that stays there again.
Obviously we have an unbalance. And equilibrium can only be reached, maybe after thousands of years, when the convection at daytime has reduced so much to balance heat loss at night time via conduction back to the surface. For that the lower level atmosphere needs to be at the same temperature / density than the boundary layer would reach due to the conduction of heat from the surface.
Conclusion, in the null hypothesis, without greenhouse effect, the average temperature of the lower atmosphere would be considerably higher than the black body temperature of the surface. How much I don’t know. But the main point is that a certain portian of the temperature difference between black body and actual atmospheric temperature is not due to greenhouse effect but to the inability of the inert atmosphere to cool down by radiation.

Stephen Wilde
July 21, 2012 4:36 am

Pretty much fits my previous contention that when molecules in the atmosphere absorb more energy then the circulation changes so as to accelerate energy to space faster.
The effect on the energy content of the system being at or near zero but the price to be paid is that circulatory change.
Then the only question is whether the circulation change from human emissions is measurable as compared to the natural changes caused by sun and oceans which gave us the MWP, LIA and current warm period.

Arthur
July 21, 2012 4:37 am

I do claim that the argument might be valid, and can only be refuted by an analysis more detailed than simply claiming “Energy that would normally escape into space is absorbed by these molecules, thus heating the atmosphere.”

You do realise that this quote you dug up is from an educational website aimed at schoolchildren, right? And that more detailed analyses have been being published in the scientific literature since Victorian times? Your argument is “not even wrong”. Presumably you don’t have any idea why the Moon is colder than the Earth.

convection is certainly ignored in the “Standard Model”

If it was, then the predicted surface temperature would be about 45&degC. It’s one thing to be ignorant of the science, most people are ignorant of the science. Believing in your own ignorance is another thing.

trccurtin
July 21, 2012 4:46 am

I think Reed Coray is on the ball.
The IPCC assertion that nitrogen and oxygen are not GHGs appears to conflict with the findings of Tyndall’s physical experiments (1861) which showed that N2 and O2 neither absorb nor radiate heat in the longwave infrared radiation (LIR) spectrum, even though they are transparent to incoming solar shortwave radiation. Modern spectroscopy reveals a total absence of N2 in the LIR, and barely any O2 relative to the atmospheric H2O and C2O, which dominate the infrared spectrum. Yet H2O and CO2 comprise only about 1% of the atmosphere, as against the 99% consisting of N2 and O2. Thus if the former are blanketing the earth, that is an achievement when they comprise so little of the atmosphere – most of us prefer blankets that are close to 100% wool.
Tyndall’s physical laboratory experiments found no evidence for any significant absorption of heat by nitrogen and oxygen in the longwave spectrum, and that meant for him they could not radiate heat to space. His experiments showed that air comprising only [H2O] and [CO2] both absorbed and radiated 15 times as much as air consisting only of N2 and O2:
“Air without [water vapour and CO2] produced an absorption of about 1.
Air direct from the laboratory, containing therefore its carbonic acid [CO2] and aqueous
vapour, produced an absorption [and radiation] of 15”.
(Lecture 1861:28).

Sleepalot
July 21, 2012 4:53 am

Comparison of the Brazilian rainforest and the N. African Desert.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barcelos,_Amazonas
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Barcelos+amazonas&num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&gs_l=img.3..0l2j0i24l8.2563.8069.0.10019.10.8.0.2.2.0.532.2460.1j2j1j0j3j1.8.0…0.0.l9hxb0L6cLs&oq=Barcelos+amazonas
http://www.wunderground.com/history/station/82113/2012/5/20/MonthlyHistory.html
http://www.climate-charts.com/Locations/b/BZ82113.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrar,_Algeria
http://www.google.co.uk/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&q=adrar+algeria&oq=Adrar&gs_l=img.1.1.0l2j0i24l8.1151020.1152708.0.1155877.5.5.0.0.0.0.462.1453.1j0j2j0j2.5.0…0.0.PUZtKMJOlKc
http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/DAUA/2012/5/20/MonthlyHistory.html
http://www.climate-charts.com/Locations/a/AL60620.php
For May 2012, Barcelos, Brazil (Lat: 1 South)
Temp: monthly min 20C, monthly max 33C, monthly average 26C
Average humidity 90%
For May 2012, Adrar, Algeria (Lat: 27 North)
Temp: monthly min 9C monthly max 44C, monthly average 30C
Average humidity around 0%

JeffC
July 21, 2012 5:15 am

GHG does not block radiation, it absorbs and then re-transmits … a better term than block would be slows …

Kristian
July 21, 2012 5:15 am

If the energy input to the Earth system (from the Sun) remained unchanged, then the fingerprint of an enhanced GHE as the culprit of tropospheric warming would be a gradual reduction in OLR at TOA. This is not what we observe. We observe the opposite. This suggests rather that the Earth system is working towards balancing an INCREASED energy input. Which is also observed. But in this case, the increased energy IN (heat gain) is clearly what causes the warming. The increased energy OUT (heat loss) is Earth’s attempt to keep pace.
Where’s the evidence of a greenhouse gas-driven warming?

David Ross
July 21, 2012 5:21 am

Very interesting post Reed, but I have my doubts (hey, it’s what we do here).
The additional CO2 added to the atmosphere does not significantly increase its volume. A thicker atmosphere would certainly have a greater greenhouse effect (see Venus).
Keeping the volume of the atmosphere constant and increasing the surface area exposed to space (i.e. a bigger earth with thinner atmosphere) would be a more appropriate comparison to adding more metal plates to an engine.
The physical properties of the atmosphere are the sum of its constituent parts. Adding CO2 changes those physical properties. Consequently, I think a better analogy might be: adding CO2 to the atmosphere is like changing the composition of the metal (i.e. an alloy) used in the engine plates. Which is a very different situation from adding more plates.

dorsai123
July 21, 2012 5:23 am

GHG does not block radiation. They absorb and re-radiates … and they must be cooler than the hot surface to do that …

July 21, 2012 5:39 am

Sorry Reed, you miss the point, but you are not alone. Eli remembers eminent analytical chemists who missed the same point in print many years ago.
What happens is that effectively GHG block radiation from reaching space across most of the IR.
This includes IR emitted from the GHGs low in most of the troposphere.
Increasing concentrations of GHGs raises the altitude that GHGs can radiate to space in the blocked regions of the spectrum
Because of the lapse rate, the higher you go in the troposphere, the lower the temperature
This slows down the rate at which the Earth emits to space because it is now radiating at higher, colder altitudes
To maintain radiative balance (sun in, IR out) the entire Earth system warms until the temperature rises enough in the mid troposphere to restore the balance.
In somewhat more detail you can read about this at RR and there are links to other, more mathematical explanations there plus Science of Doom probably beat this to death somewhere

Baa Humbug
July 21, 2012 5:57 am

@ Richard111 says:
July 21, 2012 at 4:01 am
Try this bloke at the link Richard. Only a half dozen posts including a small pdf.
let me know what you think.
http://jinancaoblog.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/physical-analysis-shows-co2-is-coolant.html
http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/JCao_N2O2GreenGases_Blog.pdf

oMan
July 21, 2012 6:02 am

Very helpful and clear. I like the focus on radiation because that is the only mechanism of interest to the warmists: they can’t account for convection and it hurts their case badly, so they ignore it. This analysis of radiation suggests that convective processes are, ultimately, like the “blades” of material on a radiator: in both cases, there is a presentation of the warmer material to as much of a cooler material as geometry or fluid transport will allow. A thunderhead is like a giant temporary radiating surface. Of course I am not giving credit to heat transport from phase changes of water in the thunderhead, but ultimately they release thermal energy through radiation to space as well. The role of water vapor in transporting heat to the upper atmosphere where it can dissipate through IR radiation is simply gigantic (see the diagram of absorption/emission spectra: CO2 and other GHGs are dwarfed by H2O).
So much of the warmists’ thinking rests on –dare I say it?– thin air.

Jeremy
July 21, 2012 6:09 am

This is a most baffling, confused post which conflates many things and adds nothing.

Sleepalot
July 21, 2012 6:10 am

Andre Bijkerk says: July 21, 2012 at 4:34 am
“We read all over internet that the black body temperature of the Earth would have been -18C, but the actual average temperature is +15C; consequently this 33 degrees difference is supposed to be the greenhouse effect. But is this true?”
No, the -18C must be ground temperature while the +15C is ait temperature: comparing apples and orangutans.
“The black body calculation assumes a sphere with a constant flux of light energy, uniformely distributed over the surface, using the Stefan Boltzman equation to derive it’s temperature like this.”
And that doesn’t work because the relationship between radiation intensity and temperature is not linear. Take a blackbody “Moon” with 1400 W/m^2
on one side and 0 W/m^2 on the other side: that give two temperatures – 400K on one side and 0K on the other: average 200K. Now cast 700 w/m^2
on both sides and you get 332K on both sides: average 166K.
So the temperature of 700 + 700 W/m^2 does not equal the temperature of 1400 + 0 W/m^2 .

Konrad
July 21, 2012 6:11 am

JeffC says: July 21, 2012 at 5:15 am
“GHG does not block radiation, it absorbs and then re-transmits … a better term than block would be slows …”
I believe JeffC to be correct. CO2 almost instantly re-radiates the outgoing IR radiation it intercepts, with around 50% of this radiated back towards the Earth’s surface. The attenuation of IR passing through CO2 does not mean the CO2 molecules have increased in temperature, but rather they have scattered the IR.
Outgoing IR radiation radiated back to the Earth’s surface could slow the radiative cooling of surface materials. However by physical experiment I have found that the effect is negligible with regard to liquid water that is free to evaporatively cool. If the grey body figure of 1.2c for radiative forcing via a doubling of atmospheric CO2 used by the IPCC is adjusted for the partial exclusion of 71% of the Earth’s surface, climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 would appear to be around 0.3c to 0.4c. However even the grey body figure of 1.2c should itself be in doubt given the ability of radiative gasses to radiate as IR any energy they have acquired conductively.

AJB
July 21, 2012 6:13 am

Arrgh! Not this again … back to basics!

Sleepalot
July 21, 2012 6:17 am

@ trcurtin Isn’t the aurora borealis oxgen and nitrogen emitting in the visible spectrum? If they can emit visible light, surely they can absorb visible light.
no?

wsbriggs
July 21, 2012 6:17 am

michael hammer says:
July 21, 2012 at 3:52 am
The “blocking” by GHGs would only exist as long as the stratification is not disturbed in any way. As soon as convection rears its, IMO, beautiful head, you get the wonderful heat pipe effect which transports heat from hotter to colder. Willis has in extensio presented, demonstrated via Argo temperature measurements, and discussed this.
Circulation, even when it’s horizontal, works much like convection, however we have the adiabatic lapse rate causing high pressure areas (descending air mass) with heating, and low pressure areas (rising air mass) with cooling. This might be what confuses some of the people saying we’ve got global warming. Low pressure areas are moving large quantities of heat upwards, particularly so if they’re humid air masses. On the other hand, the high pressure areas are low humidity and therefore reach higher air temperatures, but with lower heat content.
All of this regulates the heat content of the air. It is particularly noticeable here on the Gulf Coast. One is quickly disabused of the idea that air controls water temperature as soon as a south wind kicks in following a north wind. The temperatures rise quickly in the Winter, in the summer they drop and we get that wonderful “feels like” temperature measurement = hot anyway.

Bob Shapiro
July 21, 2012 6:23 am

A couple of points.
1. Non-GHGases DO emit radiation. Both Oxygen & Nitrogen emit in the UV range, but they do lose some energy to space through radiation.
2. We’re interested in the lower atmosperic temperature (supposed to be 6 feet off the ground for weather stations) rather than earth land/water surface temperatures. I expect this makes some difference to your analysis.

Rober Doyle
July 21, 2012 6:23 am

A novel, “out of the box” hypothesis. Good post.
Further, data may exist to test it.
My assumption is:
For AGW models and despite atmospheric mixing, there would exist
gravitational bands of concentration for CO2. Otherwise, there is no
greenhouse. This reflecting model should show, due to reflection
a temperature at the earth side of the gravitational band a temperature
labeled x.
If this convection hypothesis is correct, the atmosphere below the gravitational
band would produce a temperature labeled y.
y would be measured to be less than x due to the convection transfer
into the gravitational band. There would be less reflected energy
available.

Editor
July 21, 2012 6:24 am

I may have more to say about this later, but a couple things trouble me:
Since surface area increases with increasing altitude
Area of sphere’s surface is proportional to r^2. Convection reaches up to the tropopause, for the general limit, so for an Earth diameter of 8000 miles and a tropopause of height of 10 miles, the ratio of the increase is 8010^2/8000^2, is 1.0025. What’s the average radiation, some 400 w/m^2? That means an extra watt. Worth including, but not enough.
[1] It’s true that for most air-cooled engines
This bouncing between IC engine in a vacuum and air cooled IC engine gets confusing. The plates, err fins, of an air cooled engine provide more surface area for conduction to air. Fins don’t work as radiators – you need an unobstructed view of the cold surface to work well. That why the radiators on the Space Shuttle were just flat plates on the payload doors. The air cooled engine isn’t helpful to the discussion, the radiatively cooled engine is to far outside most peoples’ experience to be a good analogy. Besides, a lot of the heat from either engine is carried away by exhaust gases. I’d be just as happy with talking about radiation from a hot plate.

cba
July 21, 2012 6:24 am

Reed,
There are serious flaws in your analogy. You have your fins made from the same sort of material as the engine. Try thinking of the fins as being made of wood so you wind up with insulation rather than merely additional radiator area.
A parcel of gas at a given pressure and temperature will absorb a fraction of the power being transferred through it, essentially depending upon the ghg concentrations and not so much on its temperature. It will also radiate outward (and radiate inward) a given amount of power that depends upon its temperature and the concentrations of ghgs. If the gas is the same temperature as a surface, then the emission rate of the gas outward will be equal to the absorption rate of the original surface radiation continuum going through it. If the gas is hotter, then there will be emission lines superimposed upon the continuum energy and if the gas is cooler, there will be absorption lines.
If you add more ghgs to the parcel, there will be a stronger absorption from the continuum but there will also be a greater emission occurring for a given temperature. The gas temperature will adjust to balance the emitted and absorbed energy and that includes radiation, conduction, and convection energies. The same thing goes for adjacent or near by parcels of gas except they are emitting energy in a spectrum. Ultimately, it takes less of a T increase to radiate the same amount of power than it would if one does not take the added emissivity into account but the added absorption does require some T increase.
The top of the troposphere is the tropopause and this is where convection stops being an extremely important part of the heat transfer. Below this, convection is very significant.
The whole problem with looking just at this is one misses the bigger picture. around 62% of the Earth’s surface is covered by clouds and a goodly portion of this is on the sunlit side as a lot of the cloud cover tends to form because of sunlight and tends to dissipate at night. Clouds and particulates provide a continuum and it radiates at a continuum rate for the temperature of the material. Also, clouds and scattering and particulates provide about 80% of the Earth’s albedo which is the dominant factor in determining Earth’s temperature. It also impacts the outgoing radiation significantly, blocking surface radiation and substituting it’s own characteristic radiation temperature.
Ultimately, the ghg contributions as you are looking at and as explained and discussed everywhere is only for clear skies and when clouds are involved, it changes quite a bit.
Based on people like hansen who are at the bottom of this CAGW pyramid, one can see serious flaws and nonphysical ideas and concepts being peddled which lead to erroneous results. An example is the characteristic radiating altitude that supposedly changes with ghg concentrations which has nothing to do with reality and hence cannot provide conclusions for changes.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 6:32 am

Reed: Eli Rabett ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1038824 ) and Arthur ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1038782 ) hit the nail on the head. The explanation that you critique is not even the best of the non-mathematical simple explanations for the greenhouse effect. Furthermore, underlying this explanation are radiative transfer calculations that show that you are wrong and the accepted explanation is correct. (The actual surface temperature of the Earth compared to the highest surface temperature it could have in the absence of an IR-absorbing atmosphere and still obey conservation of energy is also evidence that the natural greenhouse effect warms the Earth.)
And, these radiative transfer calculations are well-verified by, among other things, the modern field of remote sensing. If you want to be consistent in your skepticism, you would also have to disbelieve all of Spencer and Christy’s work reconstructing tropospheric temperatures from satellite remote sensing along with much of the other work in remote sensing (perhaps even the weather satellites).
Jerome says:

The simple fact is that convection trumps radiation every time. Just hold you hand in front of a working ‘radiator’ and then above it. (This is why radiators are very often placed below windows, in fact).
There is no proof that I am aware of that more CO2 does not in fact cool the atmosphere by convection.

The simplest way to understand why saying the word “convection” doesn’t magically slay the greenhouse effect is to understand that convection only equalizes temperatures to a point. In particular, convection drives the lapse rate in the atmosphere down to the adiabatic lapse rate but not further. This is why convection, while reducing the natural greenhouse effect from what it would be in its absence (by close to a factor of two as I recall) , does not eliminate it. It also explains why Nikolov and Zeller in their very mistaken work ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-theory-of-climate/ ) were able to demonstrate that convection added to a simple model eliminated the greenhouse effect: They mistakenly added convection to the model in a way that drove the lapse rate to zero. It is easy to take the model, add convection in a more correct manner and show how it doesn’t eliminate the greenhouse effect.

July 21, 2012 6:41 am

Now it’s not impossible that since (a) in addition to radiation, heat is transferred from the Earth’s surface to greenhouse gases via conduction, and (b) convection currents (i) circulate the heated greenhouse gases to higher altitudes where energy transfer to space can take place and (ii) return cooler greenhouse gases to the Earth’s surface, that the process of heat transfer away from the Earth’s surface via greenhouse gases is more efficient than simple radiation from the Earth’s surface.
Not only not impossible, but true! And recognized even by the Evil Dr. Hansen in papers dating all the way back to the late 80s! It is one of the processes moderated by moisture, especially, since water vapor carries enthalpy aloft, such that the dry air adiabatic lapse rate is quite different from the moist air adiabatic lapse rate. Assuming that moist/humid air is dominant — even all the way back in Hansen’s earliest papers — leads to a much more moderate total greenhouse forcing on a doubling of CO_2.
The point is that it is really not smart to assume that climate scientists — even ones that have perhaps gotten carried away with “save the world” passion to the point where they are no longer sufficiently objective to avoid the demon of confirmation bias — are stupid, or that they don’t use the underlying physics in their models or computations. Sure, you might discover something that they’ve forgotten. And they could be wrong about what processes ARE dominant lots of ways, because nonlinear models can often “work” around multiple clusters of “reasonable” parameters describing e.g. water vapour feedback especially when we perhaps lack sufficient data to properly constrain the models. But a study of the actual physics of the greenhouse effect being used in the models will suffice to show that your idea, while correct, is hardly original, nor is it an effect being omitted altogether from the GHE-warming arguments.
Sorry,
rgb

Leonard Weinstein
July 21, 2012 6:47 am

No! Radiation absorption and re-radiation, along with convection and evapotranporation and condensation transfer the heat absorbed by the Sun to a sufficient altitude to radiate to space. If the lapse rate and albedo do not change, the only way greenhouse gases increase the temperature is by raising the average altitude of outgoing radiation to space. It increases temperature at all altitudes in the Troposphere by shifting the entire temperature profile a small amount.

Paul Linsay
July 21, 2012 6:51 am

“Now it’s not impossible that since (a) in addition to radiation, heat is transferred from the Earth’s surface to greenhouse gases via conduction, and (b) convection currents (i) circulate the heated greenhouse gases to higher altitudes where energy transfer to space can take place and (ii) return cooler greenhouse gases to the Earth’s surface, that the process of heat transfer away from the Earth’s surface via greenhouse gases is more efficient than simple radiation from the Earth’s surface. ”
Yes, someone finally gets it. A simple calculation shows that a parcel of air that is 1K warmer than its surroundings and rising at 1 m/sec, walking speed, carries energy aloft at a rate of 1kW/m^2. That energy eventually rises to the top of the atmosphere where it is radiated away by H2O and CO2. Increasing CO2 will increase the top of the atmoshpere radiative cooling ability proportionatly while its heating effects at the ground only increase logarithmicly with concentration.

Gary Palmgren
July 21, 2012 6:52 am

This is a good argument but is limited by thinking of the atmosphere as one entity. A discussion about heat transport in the atmosphere very much needs to include the very different troposphere and stratosphere.
In the troposphere heat is mostly conducted by convection and the associated water evaporation and condensation. Temperature drops with altitude so warm air will rise, carrying massive amounts of heat as long as the adiabatic cooling does not reduce the temperature below that of the surrounding air. Condensing water vapor releases heat to keep a rising bubble of air warmer than otherwise and we get thunderstorms and other weather. At the tropopause, adiabatic cooling has reduced the temperature to about -55°C. Above the tropopause is the stratosphere.
The defining characteristic of the stratosphere is that temperature rises with altitude. Vertical convection effectively ceases. This is where heat transport by radiation finally becomes dominant. The dew point is very low throughout the stratosphere as it is controlled by the dew point at the tropopause.
A discussion on the effect of IR absorbing gases such as water vapor and CO2 needs to be broken down into two parts. What is the effect on convection in the troposphere? What is the effect on radiation in the stratosphere?
At a high enough altitude (40-50 km), CO2 is effectively cooling as it can emit radiation directly into deep space. Water vapor concentration is less than CO2 when the dew point reaches -55°C. http://www.dew-point.com/equivalents.html
The effect on adding CO2 in the troposphere is going to be determined by how it interacts with water vapor and changes the convection. The shear complexity of this suggests CO2 will have no effect as the atmosphere will adapt to keep entropy generation at a maximum. More paths for energy transport will reduce the effect of a constraints on a given path so complexity ensures maximum entropy generation. The CAGW believers tell us that CO2 is a constraint on radiation transport of heat but this totally ignores the dominant convection and the likely hood that CO2 will simultaneously increase convection for no net effect.

Dave in Delaware
July 21, 2012 7:03 am

Convective heat transfer is enhanced by combined radiant + convective transfer.
For Convection, heat transfer from a surface to the air above it, the rate of heat transfer is dependent on the velocity of the air. For Natural Convection (no wind) the transfer rate is lower than for Forced Convection (windy) conditions, all other things being equal. There is a ‘boundary condition’ just above the surface where the air is barely moving, even on a windy day, and that ‘boundary’ limits the rate of convective heat transfer from the surface.
Introduce GHGs to the air above. Energy is also radiated from the surface, some photons are captured by the GHGs, and we are told, they are almost immediately ‘thermalized’, which is to say, the radiant energy is converted to thermal energy in the air. The warmer air directly above the surface now rises, increasing the Natural convection. The overall energy transfer, convection + radiant, is enhanced by the addition of GHGs. Its like the GHGs help the heat ‘jump’ the boundary layer at the surface. Rather than blocking the heat transfer, the GHGs actually would appear to speed up the rate of transfer, helping to move energy more quickly to the upper atmosphere, where it radiates out to space.

David Chamness
July 21, 2012 7:07 am

Reed, you’re post is very close to what I’ve been saying for years – but keep getting told I’m an idiot for saying it. CO2 both absorbs and radiates IR. I may be wrong, but I think it goes like this: if an unexcited molecule of CO2 is hit by a photon of the correct frequency, it will absorb the energy and move into an excited state. It will then re-release that photon in some random direction when moving back to an unexcited state.
Now, my problem is this: most of the atmosphere cannot absorb radiation from longwave IR. So as far as I can tell, it’s impossible for the re-radiated IR to heat the atmosphere directly. It can bounce around from CO2 molecule to CO2 molecule for 10 years and never “heat” the nitrogen and oxygen that makes up 98% of the air.
The question I have is this: is there another way to excite the CO2 molecule into radiating? Will conduction heat the CO2 molecule enough to cause it to radiate? If so, then would not the warm Earth impart heat to nitrogen and oxygen by conduction, which then can transfer that heat to CO2 via conduction, which will cause the CO2 molecule to fire off a photon of longwave IR on it’s own, without having absorbed one from the surface of the Earth?
Since more than 90% of the atmosphere is non-radiative in longwave infrared and does not absorb energy via radiation, most of the heat in the atmosphere is transfered there via conduction. It seems to me that a warm atmosphere will cause CO2 and H20 molecules to radiate away the atmospheric heat to space at increasingly efficient rates. The warmer the air gets, the faster those two gases radiate, regardless of what the surface of the Earth is doing, right?

David L. Hagen
July 21, 2012 7:07 am

Reed Coray
Re: “Energy that would normally escape into space is absorbed by these molecules, thus heating the atmosphere.”
That popular description would best be improved by noting that:
“Energy that would normally be radiated directly into space is BOTH absorbed AND then RERADIATED by greenhouse gas molecules IN ALL DIRECTIONS. This changes the atmospheric “lapse rate”.”
For a quantitative thermodynamically sound model of the atmospheric lapse rate see:
Robert E. Essenhigh (2006) Prediction of the Standard Atmosphere Profiles of Temperature, Pressure, and Density with Height for the Lower Atmosphere by Solution of the (S−S) Integral Equations of Transfer and Evaluation of the Potential for Profile Perturbation by Combustion Emissions.
As a “preprint” see his similar Paper No.03F-44: Western States Section Combustion Institute Meeting: Fall (October) 2003
trccurtin
Re: “Tyndall’s physical laboratory experiments found no evidence for any significant absorption of heat by nitrogen and oxygen in the longwave spectrum.”
While small, the greenhouse contributions of O2 and 2 are NOT negligible. The greenhouse effects of O2 and are quantified by Hopfner et al.(2012) The natural greenhouse effect of atmospheric oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2) Geophysical Research Letters in press 2012GL051409

We have found that on global average under clear-sky conditions the OLR is reduced due to O2 by 0.11 Wm2 and due to N2 by 0.17 Wm2. Together this amounts to 15% of the OLR-reduction caused by CH4 at present atmospheric concentrations. Over Antarctica the combined effect of O2 and N2 increases on average to about 38% of CH4 with single values reaching up to 80%.

Willie Soon discussed this fact that O2 and N2 not negligible for greenhouse gas emissions. ICCC 7, 2012 ~ 11:30 Tuesday 22 May 2012. See also other Heartland ICCC 7 presentations

sean71
July 21, 2012 7:09 am

This post is utter nonsense. Why use the analogy of an air cooled engine when an air cooled radiator works by conduction/convection and the ‘whole earth’ temperature is close to a solid sphere in a vacuum problem.
Anyone who thinks they have understood this post should realise that deductive reasoning in this style can tie you up in an ugly mess. Garbage in, garbage out.
It may well be that the classical greenhouse gas model is mostly wrong – this post is completely orthogonal to that question.

Mike McMillan
July 21, 2012 7:11 am

Not buying it.
Adding a second blanket at night increases thermal mass and thus makes me cooler?

David L. Hagen
July 21, 2012 7:23 am

David Chamness
Note that “most of the atmosphere CAN absorb radiation from longwave IR” . . “the re-radiated IR CAN heat the atmosphere directly”, resulting in the average atmosphere being in effective thermal equilibrium at a given elevation. (a href=http://altmine.mie.uc.edu/nuclear/htmfile/atmcombXC.pdf>Essenhigh (2003, 2006) shows the fourth power of the reduced temperature is proportional to the reduced pressure.

Rud Istvan
July 21, 2012 7:25 am

Logically correct for internal combustion engines. Incorrect for Earth. To a very good first approximation, heat energy arises from incoming solar radiation (absorbed shortwave radiation). It escapes as outbound infrared (outbound longwave radiation). Again to a very good first order approximation, there is no convection or conduction of heat into a vacuum (space). There is only radiation (which is how vacuum thermos flasks work). Again to a very good first order approximation, the radiative ‘surface’ of the atmosphere, it’s TOA, does not change with temperature. Therefore it is the dynamics of ASR and OLR within the atmosphere that govern thermal change. AGW occurs (the degree, not the physics, is the question of interest) because as your chart from Wikipedia shows, GHG are less ‘transparent’ to OLR than ASR. A rise in GHG creates a temporary situation where ASR > OLR until temperature rise induces more OLR to restore equilibrium. What is interesting and provably wrong about the IPCC consensus is that they have gotten both the primary indirect feedback, rising water vapor (the most potent GHG), and the secondary indirect feedback, clouds, wrong. They provably have done so through classic selection bias in the meta-analysis that is IPCC AR4. And meta-analysis selection bias is by definiton deliberate. It therefore is tangible proof of agendas. Not for Mann and ‘hide the decline’. For the entire IPCC. I devote an 80 page chapter of a forthcoming book to irrefutable documenting this.

John West
July 21, 2012 7:26 am

I think you make a good point. The distinction between fact and conjecture is sometimes blurred when the conjecture seems obvious. A case in point relayed to me by an Electrical Engineer once many years ago (yes, complete hearsay and relying on my memory from late 80’s to early 90’s). This Engineer worked for a large electronics manufacturing company in the capacitor division (60’s & 70’s). One day they (design / R&D team) were told that a customer wanted a particular capacitor model jacketed (in addition to the casing). The team of Engineers looked at each other all knowing this would increase the insulation value and potentially make the capacitor operate outside of design specifications and fail. But a customer is a customer, so they went to the lab and tried various jacket materials. Sure enough the jacketed capacitors ran hot and failed, EXCEPT ONE . They ran the experiment again and again, same results. So, they had happened upon a jacket material that wouldn’t increase the operating temperature of the capacitor. The EE told me he always wanted to go back and investigate why, but in industry answering such academic questions isn’t always (mostly not) the priority. He suspected the material increased the radiative heat loss more than it reduced the convective heat loss, but has trouble believing it considering how tiny the radiative heat loss from a capacitor is compared to the convective heat loss. The point being they all (experts in their field) thought it was a FACT that adding another layer would increase the temperature when actually it was a CONJECTURE and one that wasn’t always true.
Fact: CO2 is a GHG.
Conjecture: Adding CO2 to the atmosphere will increase the temperature.
It seems pretty obvious, but is it true? Is it always true?
The problem I have with the “standard” explanation is the equation presented for increased down welling radiation from increased CO2 concentration [F=5.35Ln(CO2f/CO2i)] has no temperature variable and yet the outgoing radiation from CO2 to space is supposedly reduced due to being “colder” due to altitude. Is temperature a variable or isn’t it? Are GHG’s more like fluorescent bulbs (non-Stefan-Boltzmann applicable) or incandescent bulbs (Stefan-Boltzmann applicable)?
According to ModTran:
280 ppm CO2 20km upward: Iout, W / m2 = 289.351
380 ppm CO2 20km upward: Iout, W / m2 = 287.53
So, a 100 ppm increase in CO2 results in a 1.821 W/m2 decrease in outgoing radiation from TOA.
280 ppm CO2 0km downward: Iout, W / m2 = 347.598
380 ppm CO2 0km downward: Iout, W / m2 = 348.226
So, a 100 ppm increase in CO2 results in a 0.628 W/m2 increase in radiation to surface.
[Leaving all other variables at default values.]
Indeed, who can forget the satellite measureing increases in outgoing IR vs. the model outputs:
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/image26.png
Perhaps this is the flaw in the slaw of post normal climate science. An obvious conjecture became a fact in their minds and perhaps it is true, perhaps just not always.
100 years ago just about every scientist would have agreed with the song lyrics: Time keeps on slipping into the future; but now most would say: well, not always.

David L. Hagen
July 21, 2012 7:38 am

David Chamness
PS The molecule’s motion transfers heat by conduction so radiation, convection (and conduction) provide heat transfer.
Reed Coray
PS for the impact of gravity versus convection within a room see:
Lucy Skywalker: Graeffs experiments and the second law of thermodynamics
Graeff (2011) demonstrated a negative temperature gradient after stopping convection an adiabatic gas by a fine glass powder that allowed gas diffusion. The consequence is “a negative gradient of T(Gr) = – 0.07 K/ m,” i.e., gas is hotter at the bottom and cooler at the top, NOT at constant temperature throughout the adiabatic chamber – even though the environment has a positive temperature gradient (hot air rises). (This appears to be the tradeoff between gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy (ie temperature) with conservation of energy.

pochas
July 21, 2012 7:45 am

Eli Rabett says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:39 am
“To maintain radiative balance (sun in, IR out) the entire Earth system warms until the temperature rises enough in the mid troposphere to restore the balance.”
Eli, always nice to have someone show up to remind us of IPCC dogma. Here’s a question for you. My house is insulated with an R value of 10. But I am a rugged individualist so I have no connection to electricity or source of fuel. I don’t even occupy the house. I Iive in a tent in the back yard. But I measure and record the temperature inside the housd every hour. At the end of the year I average all the readings. But an environmentalist has convinced me that if I remove all of the insulation the average temperature inside will go down, so I do. What do you think will happen to the average temperature?

Kelvin Vaughan
July 21, 2012 7:48 am

Would a black body radiate into air that is the same temperature as it is?

ChE
July 21, 2012 7:48 am

oMan says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:02 am
Very helpful and clear.

Jeremy says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:09 am
This is a most baffling, confused post which conflates many things and adds nothing.

Count me in with Jeremy.

kent Blaker
July 21, 2012 7:49 am

When I first got interested in “global warming”, the first question that came to mind was how much energy at the frequencies that CO2 absorbs was left to absorb, ie; how much was escaping to space. When the answer came back as , not that much I realized someone was trying to con me.

Bill Yarber
July 21, 2012 8:02 am

michael hammer said
“However, because the GHG effect is so strong over the atmospheric column in effect the surface can only lose enegy at the non GHG wavelengths while the atmopshere can only lose energy to space at the GHG wavelengths.”
This statement is false. The earth does lose energy at GHG wavelengths, it is only the transit time from surface to space which changes, not the net energy flow. GHGs absorb LIR but radiate half toward space and have back to the surface. All LIR enerrgy from the surface eventually gets to space. If your statement were true, the atmosphere would continously warm during the day as it would be trapping LIR while the sun shines. We know that the atmosphere continues to warm for only about 2 hours after peak heating from the sun and then begins to cool. Therefore, the atmosphere is radiating the energy previously received and the time lag is only due to the inherent transit time of an atmosphere.
Only a step change in GHG’s will have a transient affect on the atmospheric temperature. Eventurally, the energy transit time will be re-established and the deltaT will dissapate at a log or hyperbolic rate. GHG’s do NOT absorb LIR, they delay its transit to space. The Earth’s surface atmospheric temperature can be completely determined by the Ideal Gas Law: PV=nrT. Venus is not warmer because of more CO2 in its atmosphere, it is warmer because it is 1/3rd closer to the SUN (2.25 more watts/m2) and its atmoshpere is significantly denser than Earth’s.
GHG’s only slow the transit of enery from the surface to space, they do not prevent that transit. Half of the LIR GHGs absorb are re-radiated toward space and half back to the surface. A step change in GHG’s temporarily change the transit rate until a new equilibrium is established. Steady state GHG concentrations have no net impact on the equilibrium.
Reed, not sure how this impacts your analysis, but we do not measure the temperature of the surface of the Earth, we measure the atmospheric temperature at some nnominal distance abouve the surface. Also, for the vast majority of the energy coming from the Earth, it is just the re-emmission of the energy received from the Sun. Your analogy of an engine, where the heat is generated internally, is a bit of a stretch.
We all know that the Earth would begin to cool with 8 minutes if the Sun suddely stopped shining (forget Novas for a moment). Our atmosphere would stop us feeling it immediately, but only for a short time as all the thermal energy in the atmosphere would quickly dissipate into space. The atmoshpere does have mass so it cann store thermal energy, briefly. We would become a cold, lifeless orb in minutes, GHGs or no.
Bill

Ian W
July 21, 2012 8:06 am

JeffC says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:15 am
GHG does not block radiation, it absorbs and then re-transmits … a better term than block would be slows …

Other papers I have read use the term ‘scatter’ which is more correct.
The only way these molecules can heat the atmosphere is if they collide with a non-radiating molecule in the very short time between being hit by the IR photon and the retransmission of that photon’s energy.

KR
July 21, 2012 8:08 am

David Chamness” So as far as I can tell, it’s impossible for the re-radiated IR to heat the atmosphere directly. It can bounce around from CO2 molecule to CO2 molecule for 10 years and never “heat” the nitrogen and oxygen that makes up 98% of the air.”
That doesn’t hold up, David.
I went and looked at the numbers for this some time back. An excited CO2 molecule takes on average 10^-6 seconds (1 millisecond) to emit an IR photon. However, at sea level each molecule collides with other gas molecules (including O2 and N2, I’ll point out) one billion (10^9) times per second. Gas molecules are very friendly that way 🙂
Therefore at sea level pressure an excited CO2 molecule has ~1000 collisions before it can emit IR. What this means is that CO2 will share its energy with collisions, transferring rotational, vibrational, and translation energy with the air around it, and that the air will be at the same temperature as the CO2 mixed with it.

Unfortunately, this entire thread fails to hold up. As Eli Rabett pointed out earlier, increased CO2 raises the altitude of emission to space for GHG frequencies in the atmosphere, and the lapse rate means that the emission is from lower temperature gas – less energy leaving. And hence the entire atmosphere warms until the amount of energy leaving the atmosphere to space can balance out what comes in. I would suggest reading the following:
http://scienceofdoom.com/roadmap/atmospheric-radiation-and-the-greenhouse-effect/

rgbatduke
July 21, 2012 8:08 am

For example (to give an actual reference, so you can see that all of this was used in the very earliest papers by Hansen and other climate scientists as they embarked on what became a crusade — Hansen is actually not unreasonable in this early paper) — you can probably find:
Science 213, #4511, p 957, 1981 “Climate Impact of Increasing Carbon Dioxide” by Hansen et. al.
on the internet (I did — a scanned version). Note well that he considers a variety of models from “straight CO_2, no feedback” which leads to 1.2 C increase in temperature upon a doubling of CO_2, through models that make the warming much worse when water vapor is included in certain ways (higher clouds, for example) and when he assumes all sorts of complicated macroscopic scale albedo feedbacks, e.g. melting ice caps and glaciers or dying off vegetation. Interestingly, in this early paper, his worst-case scenario warming was only 3.5 C. It’s also interesting to compare the “predictions” of his figure 7 — starting at any reasonable point in the late 70s through the early 80s — to the actual record. I actually did this, using the UAH lower troposphere data for the record in question, as I am deeply skeptical of the GISS or Hadley surface reconstructions — see http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/uah-and-hansen81.jpg — and two things immediately pop out.
One is that Hansen horrendously, egregiously, underestimated \sigma. In fact, he probably underestimates \sigma by a factor of two, at least, just from eyeballing the UAH series. This is consistent with what others (notably Koutsoyiannis) have determined analyzing the data — climate scientists for some reason consistently underestimate the variability natural or otherwise of the climate by at least a factor of two. The other is that if one concedes the starting point (which John Nielsen-Gammon pointed out to me is somewhat “cherry picked” not by intent on my part but because the paper in 1981 was predicting the behavior of the climate from 1980 on so that’s what I used) we are fairly clearly resolved at Hansen’s two sigma level for a feedback consistent with his lowest back-of-the-envelope climate sensitivity, the “no feedback” CO_2 only result.
Of course that isn’t true if one shifts his curve down to look only at its slope, or equivalently starts it at different points. The trend in the curve could fit any of his proposed feedbacks if you start it or shift it or just compare the slopes, especially if one admits that \sigma_{true} = 2\sigma_{hansen} — there won’t even be a significant difference in \chi^2.
Once again, this is strong evidence that we are all, on both sides of this issues, looking for sheep in the clouds. One can look at this curve and “discover” whatever one wishes to discover. IMO the “best fit” with the different forcings Hansen examines, with complete freedom to shift the two curves vertically (but without doing the actual work as I lack his data and would have to construct some sort of numerical fit to get the curves themselves to compare) is almost certainly the 1.4C curve, but the three curves are narrowly resolved all the way out to 2010 with only 0.2C difference between the 5.8C and the 1.4C curve there! Compare this to a $\sigma_{real} \approx 0.2$ C! It is not possible to resolve this problem with 30 years of reliable data, I’m sorry.
Which is why I think that the only sensible thing to do is wait until it is possible to take any truly expensive measures to combat CO_2. There are reasons quite outside of this curve to think that the climate forcing is not Hansen’s extreme 5.6 C. Even the IPCC seems prepared to back off to 2.8 C (the middle curve) although again, resolving 2.8 from 1.4 from 1.2 from 1.0 is all but impossible on a 30 year (or even somewhat longer) base and allowing for the very real possibility that some unknown fraction of the warming and feedback comes from other causes than those considered in the models.
It might take fifty or sixty years of observations to resolve this issue, where we are only halfway there at best. It might take another ten, or twenty. It might take a full century of observations with modern instrumentation of the Sun and Earth to allow us to build a truly reliable model of the Earth and its climate, where by reliable I mean a model with predictive skill one whole decade in advance.
In the meantime, I personally do think that it is quite reasonable to take moderate public measures to minimize the production of CO_2. In particular, investing money to bring alternative energy technologies to maturity. This is not so much because I think that we are at horrible risk of Hansen’s 5+C catastrophe — I don’t. But even a 2+ C rise could have negative consequences that outweigh the benefits and besides, we need to try to establish a civilization that will last not just the next century but the next 10,000, or 100,000 years. A steady-state global civilization requires energy resources that don’t have to be dug, or pumped, out of the ground. The 21st century is clearly the century where we need to be working this out and transitioning entirely independent of the CO_2 issue! Fossil fuels of all sorts — including uranium and thorium — are good for at most 10ky (and arguably a lot less given exponentially increasing cost of recovery). How are we going to build a steady state civilization on that?
If we could only turn the public debate away from alarmism and panic (and the associated political grabs for money and power) to something like a genuine vision of a future global civilization, we might find that the entire “warmist” versus “denier” debate has been a smoke screen for the picking of our pockets and a diversion away from anything like a sober consideration of investments likely to have a good ROI over the next century and beyond. Some things are unavoidable — we are almost certainly going to reach 500-600 ppm CO_2 before it comes down — if the CO_2 cycle itself is being correctly modeled or described, which is open to debate, I agree, but either way the trend is boringly monotonous and upward at the moment so the default assumption is that this will continue until proven otherwise. IMO pure economics (plus advances in technology) will be the fundamental factor that eventually clips the rise. Depending on how a lot of unknown stuff works out, there will fairly likely be a warming that goes along with this. I doubt that it will be as large as the 2.8 IPCC AR5 estimate, and since AR-X estimates are on a decreasing trend, it seems likely that AR6 will more likely agree with me than with AR5.
Will a temperature increase of 1 C have no negative consequences at all? That’s sort of the boundary, isn’t it. A degree over a century is well within the Earth’s natural variability anyway. Even 2 C is within the range apparent in the proxy records, but that rapid a warming might have negative sequellae. It is the risk of greater warming that does, indeed, motivate at least cautious investments to ameliorate. Even if you think it is 99 to 1 against, the expectation value of the 1% risk is not zero, and deserves a nonzero investment to hedge the bets, especially when that investment is likely to have positive ROI anyway, to be a good idea quite aside from CO_2.
If there is one thing that has been coming out recently, it is the fact that most climate scientists or earth scientists are not extremists or unreasonable or stupid or venal. A lot of them are just as “skeptical” of catastrophic warming as you or I might be on this blog, and the most honest of them admit fully that we cannot be certain even within a full degree C what the temperature is likely to be in the year 2100 assuming a full doubling of CO_2 to 600 ppm and beyond. Many of them would even agree that the warmer estimates are rather UNlikely, but not vanishingly so.
One very interesting question — perhaps even worth asking on this very blog with its many skeptics — is: What do you think the likely warming due to a doubling of CO_2 (from the current, say, 400 ppm to a presumed 600 ppm that is the “doubling” most people refer to compared to a fairly arbitrary 300 ppm base)? Express this as a probability distribution of possible answers, not just the mean answer — the tails are important! What do you think the real risks (expectation value of the costs) of this much warming will be, especially for outcomes in the high end tail (say, only 5% or 10% likely)? What do you think are reasonable investments — things that are likely to have a positive ROI in any event, for example — that could positively impact the projected costs should we end up in this tail region?
The need to answer questions like this in terms of a probability distribution is evident if you play poker or backgammon and have learned to evaluate expectation value. Backgammon is a perfect example. In the game of backgammon (played for money, of course) one can at any point double the stake on one’s opponent. When should you accept such a doubling of the bet?
Curiously, it isn’t when you think you have an even or better chance of winning. It is when you have to 3 to 1 or less chance of losing. If you play four games and lose 3 (doubled) and win 1 (doubled) your expected loss is 4. That is exactly equal to your certain loss turning down all four doubles. If you your chance of losing is less than 3 to 1 — say, only 2 to 1, you will lose 2 out of every three games played identically from this point on — you should accept the double as you will only lose 2 stakes rather than the 3 you would lose if you always turned down doubles at this risk.
This is the sort of risk analysis that one has to mentally perform when looking at “climate futures”. What kind of certain loss now is justified in terms of lowered long term expectation value of cost? The answer cannot be “zero”, not in any sort of sane analysis of the problem. Nor is it 30 trillion dollars.
Sobriety and objectivity are key to making the best decision here. Let go of your passions, your anger, your belief that the world is being manipulated towards the latter investment (even if true). Sure, religious people will always frame religious propositions in terms of Pascal’s Wager, and this only works if Hell is Hell, not if Hell is Heck, or just damn hot, sometimes, with no real damage done. But what is a reasonable assessment of the probable risks? Given a 10% risk of even moderately serious negative consequences, what really is a reasonable strategy of investment in the present, while we wait for sufficient data to improve our estimates?
I’m feeling kinda warmist today, just to balance out my more skeptical days. I think our knowledge is strongly insufficient to resolve the probable temperature question within a whole degree, but I do think that 2+C is not rejectable on the basis of the data so far, and that this much warming over a century and a half is at the outside edge of what naturally has occurred in the climate record. It wouldn’t be surprising if it had negative consequences, possibly balanced to some extent by positive ones, but probably not perfectly balanced. What is it reasonable to assume are the negative and positive consequences of 1, or 2, or even 3 C warming? What are the relative probabilities of each?
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rgbatduke
July 21, 2012 8:16 am

No! Radiation absorption and re-radiation, along with convection and evapotranporation and condensation transfer the heat absorbed by the Sun to a sufficient altitude to radiate to space. If the lapse rate and albedo do not change, the only way greenhouse gases increase the temperature is by raising the average altitude of outgoing radiation to space. It increases temperature at all altitudes in the Troposphere by shifting the entire temperature profile a small amount.
Yeah, like this. Although the lapse rate and albedo might well change along with the water content of the atmosphere. That’s what makes the problem complex instead of just “1.2 C on a doubling of CO_2 from 300 to 600 ppm”, which is interestingly the roughly 0.1C/decade we’ve observed over the last 30 plus years, except that it should be slower than linear because it is logarithmic and hence should slow down (as David Hoffer points out) from 400 ppm to 500 ppm compared to what was observed from 300 ppm to 400 ppm.
It’s those pesky feedbacks that are the problem. Water in the atmosphere changes lapse rates and albedo both. But how? And then there are (possible) longer term feedbacks — changes in ocean temperature, icepack melting, and so on. A complex problem…
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Ian W
July 21, 2012 8:17 am

michael hammer says:
July 21, 2012 at 3:52 am
I am extremely sceptical of CAGW but I have to strongly disagree with the above analysis. Adding cooling fins to a motor decreases its surface temperature because it increases the surafce area availabel to radiate that heat away, In the case of the earth the surface area is not increased
======
MikeB says:
July 21, 2012 at 3:52 am
This is a very baffling post Reed, it doesn’t make sense. An air cooled engine does not cool by blocking radiation. It cools by conducting heat away from the engine into the fins and, because they provide a larger surface area, more heat is subsequently radiated away (or convected away).

You both appear to miss the point being made. The radiating surface area has been increased by the addition of radiating CO2 molecules that can be heated by sensible heat (conduction) both from the surface and also from N2 and O2 molecules that cannot radiate the sensible heat they have received.
This would be an extremely simple undergraduate experiment. Set up a chamber of IR transparent material with a heated base and with say 10 liters of a mixture of N2 80% and O2 20%. When the gases have been allowed to stabilize say at 80C by heating from the base release CO2 into the mixture to become 350ppm and see if there is an increase in IR radiation from the gas mixture.
An increase in radiation from the gas mixture would show that the GHG ‘increase the radiative surface’ of the Earth.

alex
July 21, 2012 8:34 am

Not good to see such kind of postings on WUWT. The guy simply does not understand how the green house effect works.
May be, WUWT should put a scientific explanation of physics behind the climate. “skeptical science” does have a list of “transparent” explanations for the basic physic – but biased. I suggest, WUWT maintains a FAQ about GHG and how greenhouse works – truly scientific, showing what is basic and where are the problems.
Concerning this particular publication, the green house effect in its basic form is trivial. The average temperature at the Earth surface is defined not so much by radiation balance, but by the adiabate: the adiabate holds through the troposphere from the surface up to the tropopause. The adiabate defines the temperature lapse about 1 Grad per 100 meters here.
The visible sun radiation heats the Earth surface. The surface radiates in IR. Most of this IR radiation cannot leave directly to the space because of the GHGs. However, at some particular hight, the atmosphere becomes transparent to the IR radiation. Balancing the incoming sun radiation and the GHG radiation at this particular hight, we can find the atmosphere temperature at that hight. Then we start the adiabate from that height and calculate the temperature at the Earth suface.
Because the atmosphere density is decaying exponentially with the height, the “radiation height” depends logarithmically on the GHG concentration and so is the Earth surface temperature a logarithmic function on the CO2 concentration – we speak about temperature increase per doubling of CO2.
The above is only valid when the “radiative height” is below the tropopause. In the tropopause – there is no temperature lapse. Thus, if the CO2 concentration is so high that the radiative height is withing the tropopause (and for some bands it is already there) – we have the “saturation effect”. A further increase of CO2 levels does not lead to temperature increase at the surface.

July 21, 2012 8:40 am

Reed…invalid and incorrect on multiple levels. It would be a waste of time to refute all the errors in a comment section, but some info for objective readers to consider. The same “Radiation Transfered by Atmosphere” graph is on page 326 of Slaying the Sky Dragon, in the chapter by Dr Charles Anderson. One should note the top graph has no scale with 5525 K solar insolation and 210-310 K OLR presented side-by-side, implying equality. Therefore the absorbed incoming IR is 20 times the available absorbed outgoing. The absorption/emission cycle is billionth of a second. As the spectral lines indicate, water vapor and CO2 share the most active ~15 micron band and even in the driest locations, H2O molecules are 400x each CO2 molecule. Correct atmospheric physics theory and experimental proofs are posted at Principia-Scientific.org and it would be in the interest of complete scientific analysis for these ‘alternate’ views to be posted. Can there be a Slayers post at WUWT in the future ?

RobertInAz
July 21, 2012 8:55 am

This is a tortured analysis. The analogy between the thought experiment and the earth breaks down because the only source of energy in the engine is internal whilst the primary source of energy for the earth is external.
Reed admits that increased greenhouse gas will absorb additional rising radiation and then emit it in a random direction. A portion of the increased rising radiation that was absorbed and emitted is now heading down and can be considered an addition to the earth’s energy budget.
Going back to the engine – consider it to be like adding an afterburner.

gymnosperm
July 21, 2012 9:05 am

Lots of fun for an old volkswagen guy. It does ignore the lapse rate effect of radiating at higher altitude and therefore at lower temperature, but who knows how this balances against adding all that surface area?

July 21, 2012 9:24 am

Tim Curtin said:
“Tyndall’s physical laboratory experiments found no evidence for any significant absorption of heat by nitrogen and oxygen in the longwave spectrum, and that meant for him they could not radiate heat to space.”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1038788
This meant they cannot *stop* LW radiation from escaping to space, anymore than a vacuum could. This has all been explained to you at Deltoid, including quotes from Tyndall himself showing you are completely misrepresenting his work. Now you pretend you don’t know Tyndall said the following:
“No doubt, therefore, can exist of the extraordinary opacity of this substance to the rays of obscure heat: and particularly such rays as are emitted by the earth after it has been warmed by the sun. It is perfectly certain that more than 10 percent of the terrestrial radiation from the soil of England is stopped within 10 feet of the surface of the soil. This one fact is sufficient to show the immense influence which this newly-discovered property of aqueous vapour must exert on the phenomena of meteorology.
This aqueous vapour is a blanket more necessary to the vegetable life of England than clothing is to man. Remove for a single summer-night the aqueous vapour from the air which overspreads this country, and you would assuredly destroy every plant capable of being destroyed by a freezing temperature. The warmth of our fields and gardens would pour itself unrequited into space, and the sun would rise upon an island held fast in the iron grip of frost. The aqueous vapour constitutes a local dam, by which the temperature at the planet’s surface is deepened: the dam, however, finally overthrown, and we give to space all that we receive from the sun.
… Its presence would check the earth’s loss; its absence, without sensibly altering the transparency of the air, would open wide a door for the escape of the earth’s heat into infinitude.”
http://books.google.com/books?id=nO8OAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA421&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
You insist that Tyndall showed N2 and O2 to be the “real GHG’s”, when he explicitly said otherwise. You also claimed on that thread that A) photons are mostly fictitious B) vacuums don’t exist c) there is no vacuum between the Earth and the Sun. Have you no shame?

KR
July 21, 2012 9:29 am

alex“The above is only valid when the “radiative height” is below the tropopause. In the tropopause – there is no temperature lapse. Thus, if the CO2 concentration is so high that the radiative height is withing the tropopause (and for some bands it is already there) – we have the “saturation effect”.”
See Santer et al 2003 (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/301/5632/479.short) among others:

Observations indicate that the height of the tropopause—the boundary between the stratosphere and troposphere—has increased by several hundred meters since 1979… This positive detection result allows us to attribute overall tropopause height changes to a combination of anthropogenic and natural external forcings, with the anthropogenic component predominating.

July 21, 2012 9:32 am

These so called “Thought-experiments” are steadily getting worse, –
“Take for example an internal combustion engine whose metal surface is exposed to a vacuum.”
I can only hope (I never suppose) you are referring to the said engine’s exterior surface.
If you are, then learn this: “All internal combustion engines are ultimately air cooled. Even a “water-cooled, say auto/car engine” gets its cooling water chilled in the radiator, or heat-exchanger, usually situated at the front end of the vehicle. Cooling by radiation even in a vacuum is impossible”
A thermos-flask cannot work if heat could radiate through a vacuum.
Why not do a proper experiment instead of one that only exists in your mind? In other words find a way of lighting an incandescent light bulb in a vacuum and then watch what happens to it.
I used a large glass container – one like the ones they use in kitchens all over the world. The jar had an opening large enough for an incandescent light bulb to be passed through (100 Watt is best – and brings a quick result) and a lid which was screwed down onto the top with a threaded metal ring. If the lid is made of glass (it usually is as mine was) then it is best to substitute that for a metal
one (plywood may be ok but I have never used wood before) because you need to drill two holes through the lid into each of which an engineering nipple (The type of nipple that has nuts and olives and is used by plumbers and on occasions by electricians) are to be fitted. Through one nipple an electrical lead is to be passed and a lamp holder can then be connected. The other nipple is to hold the pipe work necessary for a vacuum pump and ideally a vacuum gauge to be fitted. – Ok, this explanation is too short and maybe not easy to understand, but if you do thik up your own way of dangling a light-bulb in a vacuum then do so, in any case:
Put it all together and after adjusting the light bulb so that it is hanging free (not touching the sides or bottom of the jar, pump out the air so that the gauge, if fitted, shows a “slight vacuum”. Then light the bulb and observe. – If the bulb behaves normally then it is obvious that heat radiates away, if the bulb melts, then —

Richard111
July 21, 2012 9:33 am

@ Baa Humbug says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:57 am
Looks like the tech-know.eu site no longer exists. Is there and alternate
link for that pdf please?

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 9:43 am

Faux Science Slayer says:
July 21, 2012 at 8:40 am
Reed…invalid and incorrect on multiple levels. It would be a waste of time to refute all the errors in a comment section, but some info for objective readers to consider. The same “Radiation Transfered by Atmosphere” graph is on page 326 of Slaying the Sky Dragon
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
It would be a waste of time to refute this source and principia-scientific is as sketchy a source of information as the worst warmist sites. Just because it espouses a point of view that resonates with skeptics doesn’t mean it is credible.

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 9:47 am

The notion that GHG’s serve to cool the earth is absurd. The earth is far warmer than the moon, which gets the exact same amount of insolation, but has no atmosphere. Average temperatures on Venus, which has an atmosphere, are higher than even the peak temperatures on Mercury which gets much higher insolation than Venus, but has no atmosphere.

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 9:57 am

Re: Convection vs radiance
One happens at the speed of wind. The other happens at the speed of light. Yes major amounts of energy are moved around the system by convection, but the ONLY way that energy ENTERS the system is via radiance and the ONLY way that energy LEAVES the system is by radiance.
(the purists will jump up and down and shout about tidal friction and decay of radiative materials and such and while technicaly accurate, the amounts are insignificant in comparison to insolation)

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 10:01 am

Ian W;
This would be an extremely simple undergraduate experiment. Set up a chamber of IR transparent material with a heated base and with say 10 liters of a mixture of N2 80% and O2 20%. >>>>
I would refer you to a similar actual experiment by Heinz Hug:
http://www.john-daly.com/artifact.htm
Note the link to the zip file with criticisms of the experiment which is well worth reading and shows that while the experiment is of value, it doesn’t allow us to draw firm conclusions about order of magnitude effects in the atmosphere.

Reed Coray
July 21, 2012 10:03 am

Eli Rabett says: July 21, 2012 at 5:39 am
You wrote:
“Increasing concentrations of GHGs raises the altitude that GHGs can radiate to space in the blocked regions of the spectrum
Because of the lapse rate, the higher you go in the troposphere, the lower the temperature
This slows down the rate at which the Earth emits to space because it is now radiating at higher, colder altitudes”

Eli, I believe you are wrong.
First, any “slow down” in the rate the Earth emits energy to space must be transient–i.e., it can’t last forever. Otherwise, assuming an unchanged input rate of energy, a “slowed-down” energy rate implies an accumulation of thermal energy with time. At some point the outgoing rate must equal the incoming rate or all hell breaks loose. Thus, at some point the “higher/colder atmosphere” must radiate energy at the same rate as the “lower/warmer atmosphere.”
Second, If you surround an active sphere (i.e., a sphere that internally generates thermal energy at a constant rate) with a co-centered, non-touching, spherical annulus where a vacuum exists everywhere else, (a) the temperature of the active sphere will rise above what its temperature would be in isolation, (b) the altitude at which heat radiates away from the sphere/annulus system will be increased and will increase as the outer radius of the spherical annulus increases, (c) the temperature through the spherical annulus will decrease with distance from the common center (i.e., the lapse rate through the spherical annulus will have the same sign as the Earth’s atmospheric lapse rate), and (d) the increased altitude will result in a lower heat-producing-sphere temperature. As with the Earth/Earth atmosphere, Thus, it’s true that heat radiated to space from the sphere/annulus system is radiated from a higher and colder surface, but it’s also true that the surface is also larger. Depending on the thermal conduction properties of the annulus, it can be shown that if the outer radius of the annulus is larger than a threshold radius, increasing the radius of the outer annulus results in a decreasing active sphere surface temperature. The surface temperature of the active sphere won’t drop below the active sphere’s surface temperature in isolation, but as the outer radius of the spherical annulus approaches infinity, the temperature of the active sphere’s surface in the sphere/annulus system will approach the active sphere’s surface temperature in isolation.
If for the above system, you connect the active sphere and the spherical annulus with highly thermally conduction rods, not only will all of the above be true, but depending on the thermal conduction properties of the rods (and the spherical annulus), the temperature of the active sphere’s surface can be made to be lower than the active sphere’s surface temperature in isolation.
I have written a paper that I believe proves the above assertions. That paper is, however, too long (approximately 22 pages) and too mathematical for posting as a guest post. However, I’d be happy to send that paper in PDF form to Anthony (or anyone else) capable of putting the paper on the net and provide a “link” to the paper.

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 10:13 am

O H Dahlsveen;
A thermos-flask cannot work if heat could radiate through a vacuum.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Good to know. That being the case, the earth ought to reach absolute zero in short order as there is no way for the sun to heat the earth due to all that vacuum between the two.

Richard111
July 21, 2012 10:33 am

@ Baa Humbug says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:57 am
Have found this page which may be the precursor to the missing pdf.
http://jinancaoblog.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/blog-post.html
Why the scientific basis of greenhouse gas warming is incorrect

Alan D McIntire
July 21, 2012 10:37 am

“First, placing matter adjacent to a warm surface such that the matter is capable of absorbing/blocking radiation to space from the warm surface can lead to a decrease in the warm surface’s temperature.” It will always lead to an INCREASE in the surface’s temperatue..
In the case of a car radiator, and a Dimetrodon’s sail, one is in effect increasing the radiating surface area- leading to an increase in the rate of cooling. Adding greenhouse gases does NOT increase the radiating surface area of the atmosphere. The atmosphere won’t work like a radiator

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 10:48 am

gymnosperm:

It does ignore the lapse rate effect of radiating at higher altitude and therefore at lower temperature, but who knows how this balances against adding all that surface area?

That is actually not hard to estimate. The idea is to compare the fractional decrease in W/m^2 of the emission as one goes up in the atmosphere (due to the lower temperature) to the fractional increase in surface area due to the larger radius. In mathematical terms, one should compare (1/P)*(dP/dh) to (1/A)(dA/dh) where P is the intensity of emission in W/m^2, A is the surface area of a sphere, and h is the height of the emitting “surface”.
Working through the math [and using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law], one gets that (1/P)*(dP/dh) = (dT/dh)*4/T where T is the absolute temperature. (1/A)(dA/dh) is approximately 2/R_earth where R_earth is the radius of the Earth. A typical lapse rate in the atmosphere is dT/dh = -6.5 K per km and T = 255 K at the emitting level. Putting in numbers, I get that that
(1/A)(dA/dh) is about 0.00031 per km and (1/P)*(dP/dh) is about -0.10 per km, i.e., the emission per unit area decreases about 10% if the emitting level increases by 1 km while the area goes up by 0.03%.
In other words, the effect of lower temperature is about 300X as important as the effect of increasing surface area.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 10:56 am

Bill Yarber says:

GHG’s only slow the transit of enery from the surface to space, they do not prevent that transit. Half of the LIR GHGs absorb are re-radiated toward space and half back to the surface. A step change in GHG’s temporarily change the transit rate until a new equilibrium is established. Steady state GHG concentrations have no net impact on the equilibrium.

Time delays are not the correct way to think about situations that involve the continuous emission or absorption of energy at some rate. If someone turned the sun on for a few seconds and then turned it off again, you would be correct that the effect of adding GHGs would be to delay the cooling down but not the final temperature in the absence of a sun.
However, what is relevant to the case of a sun that emits energy to the Earth at a certain rate is that the Earth then has to emit energy back into space at that same rate. For a given surface temperature, GHGs reduce the rate at which energy is emitted to space (because the emission that successfully escapes to space comes from higher levels of the atmosphere where, because of the lapse rate, the temperature is colder). Thus, if you increase the levels of GHGs, the Earth will now be emitting energy at a slower rate than it is absorbing energy. This causes the Earth to warm…In fact, it warms until the radiative balance between emission and absorption is re-established.

rgbatduke
July 21, 2012 11:13 am

If the theory of reradiated heat were to be true then warm liquids placed into a vacuum flask, with its mirrored internal surfaces, would raise the liquid’s temperature by a considerable amount.
This is so, so, irrelevant. The Earth isn’t a vat of passive warm liquids. It is a vat of liquids being actively heated. I know that you know this because I have told you personally over and over.
Now take your flask. Fill it with a liquid and add a heater that turns on for 12 hours a day. Consider it with and without the mirrored surface. Which one on avergage is warmer? Uh-huh. I thought so.
The point of the two figures showing insolation peaked around the visible part of the spectrum, where the atmosphere is nearly transparent, and radiative loss down in the IR is that the Earth is precisely a vacuum flask receiving additional heat every day. Surrounding it with a mirrored “surface” in the form of GHGs that don’t block the incoming heat but do block a fraction of the outgoing het absolutely causes differential warming just exactly the same way that your vacuum flask example would without any question whatsoever be warmer with the mirrored internal surface if there is heat production inside.
rgb

cal
July 21, 2012 11:18 am

I don’t like analogies since they are hardly ever close enough to reality. They may tell you where to look but they don’t prove anything.
In this case the physics is very clear.
The earth ( by which I mean the earth and atmosphere combined) can only lose heat by radiation.
For the earth’s temperature to remain constant the energy from the sun absorbed by the earth must equal the energy radiated to space.
The energy radiated to space will depend on the temperature of the radiating element and it’s emissivity.
The energy radiated to space is spread across a range of wavelengths from about 3 micron to 70 microns.
If there were no atmosphere all wavelengths would be radiated from the earths surface.
Because of greenhouse gases, energy at wavelengths other than those within the atmospheric window (around 10 microns) are radiated from various levels in the atmosphere.
Wavelengths characteristic of water are radiated from all levels with an average temperature of around 250K whilst wavelengths between 14 and 18 micron (where CO2 absorbs) are radiated from the tropopause at a temperature of about 200K
The energy from the sun is in the UV/optical and very short IR range (less than 3 micron) so the presence of greenhouse gases does not significantly affect the energy absorbed so they do not alter the TOTAL amount of energy radiated either. The energy still has to balance.
Since an earth without greenhouse gases would radiate everything from the surface, the surface temperature would need to be such that it radiated the same as in the current scenario where the various wavelengths are emitted from molecules at temperatures ranging from about 288K (surface) to 200K (tropopause).
An estimate around 260K seems very plausible.
The global warming argument is that if you increase the level of CO2 further the altitude at which radiation in the 14 – 18 micron range takes place increases due to the reduced mean free path of the photon. Higher means colder so the radiation is less. Therefore the temperature at the surface has to increase to compensate.
However at the tropopause the temperature does not increase with altitude so this simple concept does not work. For AGW to be proven they will need to show a movement of the tropopause to greater altitude to allow for the temperature of the tropopause to reduce. I am not aware of any measurement demonstrating this.
So please stop trying to argue against the simple physics of greenhouse gases which is very sound and instead focus on the real issue of what the very very complex system of gases which makes up our atmosphere actually does in practice.
We need less discussion of simplistic analogies and more measurements.
And more Willis’s to do the analysis for us!

alex
July 21, 2012 11:21 am

KR says:
July 21, 2012 at 9:29 am
See Santer et al 2003 (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/301/5632/479.short) among others:
Observations indicate that the height of the tropopause—the boundary between the stratosphere and troposphere—has increased by several hundred meters since 1979… This positive detection result allows us to attribute overall tropopause height changes to a combination of anthropogenic and natural external forcings, with the anthropogenic component predominating.
—————
Sorry, not very plausible. One has to monitor tropopause globally.
“Observations indicate…”
Tropopause fluctuates strongly and is at different height at different places. This paper is too weak.

rgbatduke
July 21, 2012 11:31 am

Thus, if you increase the levels of GHGs, the Earth will now be emitting energy at a slower rate than it is absorbing energy. This causes the Earth to warm…In fact, it warms until the radiative balance between emission and absorption is re-established.
The problem is that it doesn’t “cause the Earth to warm”. The sun causes the Earth to warm, almost exclusively. The GHE causes the Earth to lose heat from the Sun more slowly and hence be warmer than it would have been without it.
Sorry to be picky, but half of the debate is people who do not understand that what you mean — and what a world of climate scientists mean — is not the literal meaning of the words you say. GHGs do not warm anything. They slow the cooling of something being actively warmed elsewhere, by other means, and just like the insulation in your walls makes you house warmer given a furnace inside than it otherwise would be, the Earth end up being warmer with them than it would be without them.
Clearly there are people that are confused by precisely this point. John Marshall, for example, with his “flask of warm” (but not actively warmed) liquid. Insulation doesn’t keep a house with no furnace warmer than the outside — at most it keeps at a uniform equilibrium temperature with the outside.
Yes, it gets very tedious explaining to them over and over again how the GHE works. But it isn’t made easier by claiming that it “warms” anything. It — as you do say — simply elevates the mean temperature until equilibrium is re-established between an internal source of heat delivered directly to the Earth’s surface by unblocked, non-reflected sunlight and heat loss via radiation out of an imaginary surface that contains the Earth and its atmosphere.
Space blankets “warm” humans exactly the same way. They don’t warm anything at all — no blanket does. But they do reflect back a fraction of the heat being radiated away from the human body. Since the human body continuously produces heat that has to be lost, this raises its equilibrium temperature. Insulation in the attic “warms” your house this way. It doesn’t actually warm anything — its a piece of inert spun fiberglass wool with a radiative shield — but it does slow the transmission of heat from the inside of your house to the outside, so that the inside is warmer when your furnace or other heat sources inside are turned on. It can be reduced all the way down to the heat equation itself where the mechanism of heat transmission is left completely ambiguous. If you actively heat a rod at one end, and hold the other end in a “bath” at a constant cooler temperature, then raising the thermal resistance of the pathway(s) in between by any means whatsoever — preventing any fraction of conduction, convection or radiation — will raise the temperature of the end being warmed relative to what it would have been with a better conductive pathway.
That, after all, is why we tend to cook in metal pans instead of asbestos ones. It is why a hundred watt light bulb works fine to heat an EZ-bake oven. It is why one is hotter lying around in the sun than one is in the shade, all things being equal. It isn’t rocket science, and it is utterly silly to claim that it doesn’t take place, that greenhouse gases overhead are incapable of raising the surface temperature relative to what they would have been without them, given active heating of the ground surface.
rgb

July 21, 2012 11:38 am

….has increased 0.25 °C since 1980, mainly attributed to an increase in infrared-absorbing gases in the atmosphere.”
Henry says
according to my sample it was +0.4 degrees C since 1980, and it was all due to natural causes….
http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here
hint: it has to do with sun -UV-O2-O3 cycle
we still have about 33 years of cooling left….

Juraj V.
July 21, 2012 11:55 am

“The average temperature of the atmosphere has increased 0.25 °C since 1980, mainly attributed to an increase in infrared-absorbing gases in the atmosphere.”
The average temperature between 1910 and 1945 increased by 0.7°C.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1910/to:1945
Until this, probably natural and twice as large increase has been reasonably explained by the models or orthodox climate scientists, please stop attributing the recent 0.3 °C increase to “greenhouse gases”.
Second, the average temperature decreased by 0.15°C since 2001
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2001/to:2012
I ask where are the “greenhouse gases”?

July 21, 2012 12:07 pm

davidmhoffer says on July 21, 2012 at 10:13 am:
“O H Dahlsveen;
A thermos-flask cannot work if heat could radiate through a vacuum.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Good to know. That being the case, the earth ought to reach absolute zero in short order as there is
no way for the sun to heat the earth due to all that vacuum between the two.”
=============
The Sun is radiating a form of energy that has the ability to penetrate the earth’s atmosphere. Upon hitting the top of the surface this energy interacts with the surface atom clusters or molecules. The electrons in the said atoms increase their speed resulting in increased molecular friction. A product of friction is always what we call “Heat”.
Therefore heat is a product of energy-use, it can no more be emitted as radiation than speed can.
Remember radiation cannot be seen by the human eye. Nor can it be “seen” by any modern derivative of the “Thermopile”. All that can be “seen” is the source of radiation. The heat-source can be seen as light. Radiation, at certain wave-lengths, from the Sun only turns into “Light” upon interaction with the atmosphere. – Once again read Tyndall and Fourier.
By the way, sarcasm becomes no-one.

July 21, 2012 12:15 pm

It cools by conducting heat away from the engine into the fins and, because they provide a larger surface area, more heat is subsequently radiated away (or convected away).

Convection does not occur without radiation or conduction first but it is mostly conduction. Air in direct contact with a hot surface is warmed by conduction. Once it is warm, it begins to convect which pulls cool unheated air in to replace it, which is itself warmed by conduction, convects away, pulls in more unheated air, etc. Any heat loss by radiation by the surface is tiny compared to the heat lost to conduction. Radiation does not become the primary heat loss mechanism until one gets to the top of the troposphere and the air can no longer convect upwards (because the air above is warmer). BUT, what this does is in effect increase the surface area from which radiation is occurring. Consider the surface area of a sphere the size of the surface of the Earth. Now consider the surface area of a sphere the size of the tropopause. That heat is spread over much more area from which to radiate.

July 21, 2012 12:17 pm

Henry@rgb
we had this same argument before
show me, EXACTLY, how much cooling and how much warming each GHG causes?
http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/the-greenhouse-effect-and-the-principle-of-re-radiation-11-Aug-2011
including the amount of cooling CO2 causes by taking part in photo synthesis
which I guess has been increasing explosively since the last estimate was taken in 1974

July 21, 2012 12:21 pm

Anyone who has done any work with flight qualified electronics, for example, knows that the rule of thumb is that you lose about 10% efficiency for every thousand feet of altitude for a heatsink. Over 10,000 feet, convection cooling is just about useless and the dominant heat loss becomes radiative. Air cooled engines don’t work well at altitude because the air becomes thin. But at the surface, heat lost due to radiation is much less than the heat loss due to conduction to the air and the air then transporting the heat away by convecting.

cba
July 21, 2012 12:30 pm

“Eli Rabett says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:39 am
Sorry Reed, you miss the point, but you are not alone. Eli remembers eminent analytical chemists who missed the same point in print many years ago.
What happens is that effectively GHG block radiation from reaching space across most of the IR.
This includes IR emitted from the GHGs low in most of the troposphere.
Increasing concentrations of GHGs raises the altitude that GHGs can radiate to space in the blocked regions of the spectrum
Because of the lapse rate, the higher you go in the troposphere, the lower the temperature

You’ve evidently spent too much time as a character in children’s stories.
first off, ghg blocking is not most of the IR or most of the energy and that’s water vapor. Increasing concentrations of ghgs increase the absorption but also increase the emission (to a slightly lesser extent). As one goes up in the atmosphere, the pressure, and hence the pressure broadening, decreases along with temperature. That affects the bandwidth of emission/absorption line so higher up there is always more absorption very close to the line center but further down there is a significant smearing of the energy over a broader bandwidth which is not going to be affected at the higher altitudes. The lapse rate is nothing more than conservation of energy so it will adapt based upon the power flow in and out of any altitude. That power flow is the total in and out for radiation, conduction, and convection.
What is absorbed in the clear sky is only a fraction of the surface emission and since line width (and peak intensity) depends upon pressure, there are contributions from all heights involved in an emission/absorption line. The net result for a 288.2k surface is about 279 W/m^2 of power leaving the Earth through clear skies (including emissions from the atmosphere). A doubling of co2 would reduce that by about 3.7W/m^2 down to 275 W/m^2. To refresh your memory, the average incoming solar power is 239 W/m^2 after accounting for about 0.3 average albedo which leaves a 40 W / m^2 deficit that must be dealt with by clouds, aerosols, and atmospheric scattering. Otherwise, our average T would have to be reduced to around 280 K for energy balance, reducing the average T to around 45 deg F from around 56 deg F.
As for some some sort of characteristic radiating altitude, it doesn’t exist. Most comes from the surface and, where present, the cloud tops. The lines include components throughout the atmosphere, including some from the stratosphere and beyond. What is actually emitted at some sort of ‘characteristic’ radiating alitude is actually almost nothing. First off, no component from the continuum away from the ghg spectral lines exists for clear skies. Next, the atmosphere above some parcel of air at this ‘characteristic’ altitude will be almost the same pressure and will absorb virtually all of the emissions and will reradiate almost the same amount and so forth as the pressure broadening and temperatures decrease with altitude.
When one looks at the system more as a whole, things get far worse for CAGW. What becomes apparent is that there is a strong net negative feedback at work which precludes the possibility of a positive net feedback.
If one tries to push watervapor as a strong feedback, they come up very short. If one claims that some slightly increased temperature will reduce the cloud cover and hence cause an albedo related positive feedback, one is faced with the severe problem of claiming we are at a maxima where decreased T results in less clouds and increased T results in less clouds and so could never have more than 62% cloud cover, despite examples like Venus which provides an example of 100% cloud cover – even though it’s not h2o vapor clouds. It also means that increased energy going into a more active water cycle results in fewer clouds despite the fact that there is no change in physics to reduce the clouds. This comes from an earlier hansen & lacis paper which ASSUMES the effect rather than the more commonly accepted situation of constant relative humidity as T rises and that has been magically transformed into the gospel.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 12:34 pm

rgbatduke says:

The problem is that it doesn’t “cause the Earth to warm”. The sun causes the Earth to warm, almost exclusively. The GHE causes the Earth to lose heat from the Sun more slowly and hence be warmer than it would have been without it.

I said, “This causes the Earth to warm” where the antecedent of “This” that I was referring to was the fact that “the Earth will now be emitting energy at a slower rate than it is absorbing energy”. Clearly, if the Sun isn’t there, the Earth will not be emitting energy at a slower rate than it is absorbing energy.
So, I don’t see anything wrong with my statement. Nonetheless, I do agree with you on the larger point of the sort of things that do seem to trip people like John Marshall up and thus I appreciate your re-emphasis of the fact that it is necessary for there to be input from an external (or internal) energy source like the sun in order for the addition of GHGs to lead to a situation where the Earth is warmer than before.

Ken Harvey
July 21, 2012 12:35 pm

Richard111 says:
July 21, 2012 at 4:01 am
“As an ex-motorcyclist, first hand experience leads me to agree with much of what Reed Coray writes. As a layman in the sciences I must rely on educational web sites that explain heat transfere and IR radiation and such like. I am led to believe that gases in the atmosphere can absorb OR radiate specific radiation bands dependant on the local temperature. It cannot do both at the same time. Wein’s Law will give the peak temperature at any specific IR wavelength. Using Wein’s Law to look at CO2 I find that the 2.7 micron band peaks at ~800C, the 4.3 micron band at ~400C and the 25 micron band at about -80C!! I understand only limited areas of the Earth’s surface might radiate at up to 50C so the 2.7 and 4.3 micron bands will NEVER be exited enough to absorb any energy from the surface. They might absorb a very little from the sunlight but that is working as a coolant. The so called standard surface temperature of the Earth is said to be 15C, well above the the -80C temperature level of the 15 micron band for CO2. The problem now is most of the CO2 molecules in the atmosphere will be at a temperature comensurate with the adiabatic lapse rate starting at the surface. So assuming a drop of 10C per kilometre altitude air temperature should be down to -80C at about 9.5 kilometres altitude, almost the tropopause. Only then will the CO2 molecules be cool enough to absorb radiation at 15 microns.
BUT! There is indeed nothing to stop the CO2 radiating at 15 microns and some of that radiation reaching the surface. Now another BUT! The surface, except at possibly a small area at the south pole, is well above -80C!! Any element, black body or not, does not absorb radiative energy below its peak temperature.
A CO2 molecule IS a black body with rather specific characteristics. And so is any other gas molecule in the atmosphere.
Since I am completely unable to see any ‘greenhouse’ effect in the atmosphere I need more education. Please post links that will this layman”.
Well done Richard111. As one layman to another let me say that you have a better understanding of the basic physics involved, than most climatologists. The reason why you are unable to see any “greenhouse” effect in the atmosphere is that there simply is none. The “greenhouse” effect is junk science. There can be no such effect. A zillion words have been prattled about CO2 that is based on the unquestioning acceptance of a very simple but erroneous theory. The top physicists scorn the theory – the conscientious layman has to work his way through from ground zero doing all of the tedious maths along the way.

Hoser
July 21, 2012 12:43 pm

I can’t read all the comments to see if these points were already made:
1) The conc of H20 and CO2 vary in the atmosphere; they are not homogeneously distributed.
2) The charts showing absorption clearly indicate the vast majority of the absorption is due to water vapor and not CO2.
3) In the peak of IR emission from the Earth’s surface, Water already absorbs about 2/3 of the energy where CO2 absorbes. The main CO2 band overlaps the shoulder of the main water band.
Bottom line: CO2 hardly matters. What does matter is water. And as we know, water isn’t just vapor, it’s also condensed droplets that reflect incoming radiation.
And of course, water vapor cools the surface as it evaporates. Then it rises to much higher altitude where it cools and condenses, carrying and releasing heat.
The analysis tends to be static, assumes homogeneity, is clearly incomplete, and has exceedingly poor predicitve value. Let’s just allow the Earth to do what it’s done for a few billion years without our ‘help’. You are welcome to go to the very warm place, Greenies.

Bart
July 21, 2012 12:47 pm

If you take a planet without an atmosphere and add one to it, it will impede the outflow of radiation. The surface will necessarily heat until the point at which the incoming and outgoing energy fluxes reestablish equilibrium. That much is simple.
Now, what happens with the GHG effect as temperature increases? The radiation from the surface is sure to have the form of a blackbody radiation curve. As the peak of the curve reaches the region in which the gases absorb and re-radiate, the impedance maxes out. As the temperature moves higher, the GHG effect decreases. We reach the point of maximum warming potential for that particular gas, and the temperature stabilizes there.
A good analogy is floodgates in a dam. You place a dam across a river, and the water rises until it reaches the floodgates, water starts spilling through, and the rise is checked.
Where it gets interesting is, what happens if we add gases with lower warming potential? This is akin to opening up floodgates lower down in the dam. The water recedes. It may continue to flow out of the upper floodgates, but at a reduced rate. The more we open up the lower floodgates, the more the level of the water behind the dam recedes.
In an atmosphere with two major GHG emitters, the warming potential of the shorter wavelength emitter sets the level of the upper “floodgates”, and the warming potential of the longer wavelength emitter sets the level of the lower. If we are at a point where significant “water” (i.e., energy in the analogy) is spilling through the upper floodgates, then adding more lower floodgates will reduce the level of the water behind the dam (i.e., the surface temperature in the analogy).
In the Earth’s atmosphere, we have such a situation. The upper floodgates are set by the warming potential of CH4. Significant energy is spilling out of them. What, therefore, naturally happens when we add lower warming potential CO2 which, in effect, opens up floodgates lower in the “dam”? The retained energy, and necessarily the surface temperature, goes down.

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 12:56 pm

O H Dahlsveen;
By the way, sarcasm becomes no-one
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
If Einstein was around to respond to your last diatribe he most likely would have used that classic quip “that’s not right, that’s not even wrong”. Your first statement was blatantly incorrect and got the treatment it deserved. Your subsequent response is so far divorced from reality that it hardly deserves even that.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 12:57 pm

Ken Harvey says:

The reason why you are unable to see any “greenhouse” effect in the atmosphere is that there simply is none. The “greenhouse” effect is junk science. There can be no such effect. A zillion words have been prattled about CO2 that is based on the unquestioning acceptance of a very simple but erroneous theory. The top physicists scorn the theory

I think you would be hard-pressed to find physicists who don’t accept the theory. Even among climate change “skeptics” who can be classified as physicists, like Roger Brown (commenting here as rgbatduke), Fred Singer, Will Happer, Freeman Dyson, etc., you don’t find any who reject the basic greenhouse effect theory. And, amongst the larger physics community, there is not only acceptance of the greenhouse effect but generally acceptance of the danger of AGW, as evidence by such things as the American Physical Society statement on climate change, the fact that the two textbooks that we use at RIT to teach introductory physics both discuss AGW, etc., etc.

As one layman to another let me say that you have a better understanding of the basic physics involved, than most climatologists.

As a physicist to a layman, let me say that both of you have very little understanding of the basic physics involved and that most climatologists, many of whom were trained in physics or closely allied fields, do.

July 21, 2012 1:12 pm

Juray V says
Second, the average temperature decreased by 0.15°C since 2001
Henry@Juray
True. According to my sample it was about 0.2 since 2000, globally. Not a lot: I think most thermometers used at homes will not have picked up on it, as indeed most people did not. But some places are cooling down faster, like Anchorage. I have two weather stations there that are reporting cooling of about 1.5K (=1.5 degrees C) since 2000. Unfortunately, the worst is still to come.
I suppose if you live in Alaska the writing is on the wall. I would pack my bags….We still have 33 years of cooling lying ahead of us….
http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 1:19 pm

joeldshore;
And, amongst the larger physics community, there is not only acceptance of the greenhouse effect but generally acceptance of the danger of AGW, as evidence by such things as the American Physical Society statement on climate change>>>>
1. Argument from authority
2. The statement by the APS is largely political in nature.

John West
July 21, 2012 1:30 pm

Proposing an alternative analogy.
Water makes a good analogy for all sorts of things, for example electricity. Voltage is analogous to water pressure, amperage to flow, resistance to resistance.
Imagine a lake as Earth’s energy:
Water In to the lake = Energy In to the Earth;
Water Out of the lake= Energy Out from the Earth;
Lake Level = Amount of Energy in the System which correlates to temperature of the system.
The lake’s dam is the atmosphere; it has a hole in it to allow water out analogous to IR.
The question is does adding CO2 to the atmosphere increase the energy out = increase the hole’s size thereby reducing lake level (temperature) or does it decrease the energy out = decrease the hole’s size thereby increasing lake level (temperature).
Honestly, I can see it both ways; but I look at the outgoing radiation profile with its dips that correspond to GHG frequencies and can’t help but conclude the increase in GHG decreases the outgoing radiation (makes the hole in the dam smaller). I could be wrong; the outgoing radiation may be being distributed from GHG frequencies to other frequencies in such a way as to make the others and the total higher than they would be in the absence of GHG’s.
From the beating a dead horse department: The satellite measuring increases in outgoing IR vs. the model outputs:
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/image26.png
That shows at least when temperature rises, the energy out increases, which is analogous to the lake level rising increasing the pressure at the hole in the dam thereby increasing flow out which makes sense given what we know about physics (somewhat confirming the analogy); whereas the models predict analogously that as the lake level rises the water flow out decreases, obviously wrong for the analogy and I suspect for outgoing radiation as well.

Richard Sharpe
July 21, 2012 1:31 pm

BUT, what this does is in effect increase the surface area from which radiation is occurring. Consider the surface area of a sphere the size of the surface of the Earth. Now consider the surface area of a sphere the size of the tropopause. That heat is spread over much more area from which to radiate.

However, it is radiating at a lower temperature, is it not?
Of couse, I guess there is also the work done raising that air to the tropopause. I wonder how much extra energy all this churn gets rid of.

July 21, 2012 1:37 pm

Bart says
The retained energy, and necessarily the surface temperature, goes down.
Henry says
also wrong: it is such a pity that climate scientists have decided to ‘log” average temps. and not maxima;
there is so much to learn from maxima,
as it tells us about the energy input that we get from the sun
It follows on a natural curve – on an (apparent) 50 year warming followed by a 50 year cooling.
I strongly suspect it has to do with the sun-UV-O2-O3 cycle.
Does 7 x 7 + 1 ring a bell somewhere?
http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here

Bill Taylor
July 21, 2012 1:39 pm

“the heat eventually escapes to space–otherwise the temperature of the Earth’s surface and the engine would continue to rise indefinitely.”
TY, this is a point i have made in laymans terms for a long time…..IF co2 or anything else was trapping heat, meaning NOT allowing the heat to escape into space then each day the earth would be hotter than the day before and we would have been a cinder long ago…..clearly and obviously the heat energy input from the sun 24/7 does escape back into space and the greenhouse effect simply SLOWS the movement but in no way stops it or reverses it(reversal is REQUIRED for a greenhouse gas to warm the surface it MUST reverse the natural flow of the radiation from the earth towards space).

July 21, 2012 1:42 pm

rgbatduke says on July 21, 2012 at 11:31 am:
“Yes, it gets very tedious explaining to them over and over again how the GHE works. But it isn’t made easier by claiming that it “warms” anything. It — as you do say — simply elevates the mean temperature until equilibrium is re-established between an internal source of heat delivered directly to the Earth’s surface by unblocked, non-reflected sunlight and heat loss via radiation out of an imaginary surface that contains the Earth and its atmosphere.”
=================
Have you ever considered the possibility that the idea that LWIR radiation imprisoned in GHGs will work like a blanket, may very well be totally wrong?
Yes there is a “large raft of scientist” out there who know ever so much about radiation, but can you get one of them to explain to me, and other “disbelievers”, how it is that radio-waves can penetrate a brick wall while IR and other “light-radiation” stays on the outside? – I don’t think so. – Consensus, consensus, con——.
I firmly believe that one unit of Energy Radiation (ER) from the Sun warms the surface, once and once only. The Surface’s Solar Energy Absorption Rate (SEAR) is highly variable depending on many things, color and texture being just two of them. – It is however the SEAR that gives rise to the many variations of weather and/or climate.
It only matter to perpetual motion engines, which can keep on using the same energy over and over again, how long radiation stays in the system. – Once the fuel-tank is empty, the engine stops.
The speed of convection from the surface to the top of the Troposphere is what matters to the Greenhouse Effect.
On the “Dark side of the Earth” convection only happens at and around the Urban Heat Islands (UHIs). In other words it is, in nature,non existent. On an overcast day or on the Sunny side of the Earth, convection is reduced in close relation to the amount of cloud-cover.

Sam Yates
July 21, 2012 1:42 pm

Regardless of the composition of its atmosphere, any arbitrary planet in equilibrium will emit the same amount of energy that it absorbs. If the portions of a planet’s atmosphere responsible for radiating IR out into space are at the same temperature as the planet, then the atmosphere will have no net effect on the quantity of IR radiated out into space, and the planet will be the same temperature as it would have been with no atmosphere whatsoever (or if it had an atmosphere with no IR-active gases). If these same radiating slices of the atmosphere are warmer than the surface, the planet will end up radiating out more IR than it otherwise would have, and in order for conservation of energy to be followed the surface of the planet will be colder than it would otherwise have been. And, finally, if the radiating segments of the atmosphere are colder than the surface, the planet will radiate less IR out to space than would otherwise have been the case, and the planet’s surface will be warmer than it would otherwise have been, allowing it to radiate out more energy to make up the deficit caused by the colder atmosphere.
The radiating portions of Earth’s atmosphere are colder than the surface.
Ergo, Earth’s surface is warmer than it would be without greenhouse gases.
…Mr. Watts, a question; do you look over these guest posts before throwing them up here? Because, honestly, it does not do much to improve your credibility when you gladly host things like this, which betray a massive lack of comprehension of very, very basic physics. It’s your site, of course, and yours to run as you see fit, but…If I were you, I might be a bit more picky about things like this post. Quite frankly, this is embarrassing.

Reed Coray
July 21, 2012 1:43 pm

I want to thank everyone who commented, both favorably and unfavorably, to this guest post.
To Dr. Brown (July 21, 2012 at 6:41 am). If in anyway I implied that my thoughts were original, I apologize. I’m pretty sure intelligent and knowledgeable people have looked at the issues expressed in my paper and have concluded that greenhouse gases cause global warming. At a quantitative level, the details of their reasoning are likely beyond my ability to either confirm or dispute. It would surprise me, however, to learn of the existence of an analysis that includes all non-negligible thermal transfer phenomena (conduction, radiation, convection, evaporation, etc.) over a rotating oblate spheroid with an uneven surface where the surface and atmospheric gases are heated unevenly (i.e., different rates of heat absorption as a function of location on the surface). In fact, don’t GCM models attempt to do the analysis, and aren’t they continually be adjusted to agree with new temperature measurements as they become available?
To Mike McMilllan (July 21, 2012 at 7:11 am). If the blanket you add contains tubes through which water is pumped to a radiator in the room, yes I do think the blanket adds thermal mass and will make you cooler.
To MikeB. (July 21, 2012 at 3:52 am). I don’t believe I said an air-cooled engine cools by blocking radiation. On the contrary, an air cooled engine cools despite the fact that the cooling plates absorb energy radiated from the engine’s original surface and re-radiate some of that energy back to the engine’s original surface. To me, this behavior is comparable to the claim that greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere absorb some of the surface outgoing radiation and re-radiate some of the absorbed energy back to the Earth’s surface. If the latter always produces an increase in the Earth’s surface temperature, why doesn’t the former always produce an increase in the temperature of the engine’s original surface temperature? The other issue is what happens to the temperature of the radiating plates, which corresponds to what happens to the temperature of the atmosphere. I believe that under some conditions, adding additional material to the plates will reduce the plate temperature. Thus, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that increasing the amount of greenhouse gas might reduce the atmosphere temperature.
To Arthur (July 21, 2012 at 4:37 am). I’ll stipulate that the “the quote I dug up is from an educational website aimed at schoolchildren.” And that “more detailed analyses have been [being] published in the scientific literature since Victorian times?” My questions to you are: Who exactly are the AGW alarmists trying to convince when they say greenhouse gases heat the Earth’s surface and that heating will lead to impending doom, scientists or the general public? And, if you’re trying to convince scientists in the field, why make simple arguments at all? I believe the primary goal of the AGW alarmists is to convince government officials (i.e., people in power) that the world is coming to an end and we’d better get on the ball. From what I’ve seen of politicians (e.g., Senator Barbara Boxer), I’ll take schoolchildren over politicians any day. Simple arguments, which I believe are at best incomplete, are used to convince the general public, who in turn it is hoped will then put pressure on the powers-that-be to implement the AGW alarmist solutions. Fair enough. By the same token, I get to present simple scenarios that seem to contradict the simple arguments. See, I do believe in my own ignorance. I also believe in the ignorance of the general public; and will continue to point out the potential flaws and/or contradictions of “simple arguments” used to sway the general public.
To JeffC (July 21, 2012 at 5:15 am). Under what conditions does the presence of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere quit “slowing-down outgoing radiation?” I ask this because if the outgoing radiation is “slowed down” for all time, then doesn’t thermal energy accumulate within the Earth/Earth-atmosphere system for all time? Wait you say, at some point the temperatures of the Earth/Earth-atmosphere system will rise to levels where the rate energy leaves the system is the same as the rate energy enters the system. Fine, at that point “no slow-down in the rate radiation leaves the Earth” exists. But didn’t your statement imply greenhouse gases slow down radiation? The greenhouse gases haven’t gone away; and as long as they’re present, don’t they slow-down outgoing radiation. So back to my question to you, Under what conditions does the presence of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere quit “slowing-down outgoing radiation?”
To Jeremy (July 21, 2012 at 6:09 am) who wrote: “This is a most baffling, confused post which conflates many things and adds nothing.” Ah the human condition. Some things baffle me, some things baffle you. Maybe what I wrote is baffling; but if so, I’m not sure I’d take the word of the bafflee.

Greg House
July 21, 2012 2:11 pm

Eli Rabett says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:39 am
What happens is that effectively GHG block radiation from reaching space across most of the IR.
This includes IR emitted from the GHGs low in most of the troposphere.
Increasing concentrations of GHGs raises the altitude that GHGs can radiate to space in the blocked regions of the spectrum
Because of the lapse rate, the higher you go in the troposphere, the lower the temperature
This slows down the rate at which the Earth emits to space because it is now radiating at higher, colder altitudes
To maintain radiative balance (sun in, IR out) the entire Earth system warms until the temperature rises enough in the mid troposphere to restore the balance.
=======================================================
What an absurd explanation.
The modern warmism scare is not about “the entire Earth system”, it is about the air temperatures near the surface (2m). Your “increasing concentrations of GHGs raises the altitude that GHGs can radiate to space” gives no additional energy to the surface hence the air near the surface can not get additionally warmer. This is that easy. I hope you know that that the surface warms the air by conduction and convection, so no additional warming of the surface – no additional warming of the air close to the surface. Or reduced cooling, whatever, the point is clear.

Stephen Garland
July 21, 2012 2:16 pm

I find it hard to believe that increasing CO2 will significantly increase the ‘effective’ altitude at which energy is lost to space.
CO2 is not a major component of the atmosphere, the higher the ‘altitude’ the greater the amount of CO2 needed to increase the altitude, the ‘altitude’ at which energy is lost to space would have depth and that depth would be affected by concentration gradients. (There would be reduced density at increased altitude and a subsequent increase in the effective depth at which energy is lost – i.e. energy would still be lost from lower and warmer altitudes).

Greg House
July 21, 2012 2:30 pm

Konrad says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:11 am
Outgoing IR radiation radiated back to the Earth’s surface could slow the radiative cooling of surface materials.
====================================================
Yes, this is a notion the warmists like very much, but the problem is they can not prove it. I very patently asked them to present a link to a real scientific experiment proving that notion, but they failed (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/22/a-response-to-dr-paul-bains-use-of-denier-in-scientific-literature/). Does not look well for the concept.

Robert Austin
July 21, 2012 2:31 pm

Reed Coray, I have some sympathy for you trying to come up with novel ways of looking at this subject but I still agree with what Eli Rabbet, Joel Shore and some of the other posters have said about the GHG mechanism. On the other hand, most discussions on the subject seem to ignore the elephant in the room, so to speak. That elephant being the major portion of our atmosphere being the non GHG’s, nitrogen and oxygen.
The major constituents of our atmosphere are non-GHG gases with trace GHG’s being the secret sauce added to the bulk of non-GHG’s that enables the lapse rate structure of our atmosphere. GHG’s in the lower troposphere absorb LWR and due to the atmospheric density (mean time between molecular collisions being much less than the time a GHG gas molecule remains in an excited state), the absorbed energy is thermalized. So the bulk non GHG’s which do not radiate appreciably at normal temperatures are the medium of storage and transport of the heat energy apprehended by the GHG’s, The bulk non-GHG’s are the working fluid in the great thermal engine. The thermalized energy is transported to the upper troposphere by convection, the lapse rate structure being a manifestation of convection.
In the upper troposphere, GHG’s perform a predominantly emissive function. The transition from the absorptive to emissive function occurs when the density of the bulk atmosphere (not the GHG density) is such that the GHG absorption re-emission time is less than the mean time between molecular collisions. In other words, where the GHG’s are able to freely radiate to space the energy carried by the non-GHG’s.
I bring this up to emphasize that our earth’s surface temperature is a function of the earth’s atmospheric mass with GHG’s a necessary trace constituent. So when the concentration of the trace gas CO2 increases, the increase has only a miniscule effect on the height of the tropopause since it is predominantly the bulk atmospheric density that determines at what altitude GHG’s are able to radiate to space. If CO2 is the “control knob” for temperature as certain scientists have averred, then that control knob is logarithmic and there is little temperature to be gained in cranking it up.
Note also that one observes similar lapse rate structures in the Jovian and Venusian atmospheres at altitudes where atmospheric pressures are are in the range of earth’s tropospheric pressures. Yet the Jovian and Venusian atmospheres have very different atmospheric makeup both in greenhouse and non-greenhouse gases than earth’s atmosphere. I think this is a major clue that atmospheric bulk density is the major factor in earth’s climate and temperature regime with non-condensing GHG’s playing a necessary but not controlling role.
This is why I can give some credence of up to about 1C warming for a doubling of CO2 but consider the concept of amplification by water vapour or other positive feedbacks to be bogus. CO2 is a spent forcing, there is almost no warming to be eked out no matter how much coal or oil we burn. Man has little hope of averting the next ice age, either.

July 21, 2012 2:37 pm

Thanks Anthony, a provocative post and an interesting discussion.
Arrhenius estimated that a halving of CO2 would decrease temperatures by 4-5°C and a doubling of CO2 would cause a temperature rise of 5-6°C. In his 1906 publication, Arrhenius adjusted the value downwards to 1.6°C (including water vapor feedback: 2.1°C). Recent estimates from IPCC (2007) say this value (the Climate Sensitivity) is likely to be between 2 and 4.5°C. But Sherwood Idso in 1998 calculated the Climate Sensitivity to be 0.4°C, and more recently Richard Lindzen at 0.5°C. Roy Spencer calculated 1.3°C in 2011.

TA.
July 21, 2012 2:37 pm

I will try to make a model for the mind for those steadily repeating about thermos flasks and interpretations of laws of thermodynamics, bearing in mind rgb’s: “I may be wrong”. Imagine two similar and parallel metal planes 1 and 2. Number 1 is connected to an energy source and is radiating energy, let’s say 1000 watts, but in very short pulses each second i.e., 1000 Joule per second and only in one direction, against 2 which receives all the energy. The distance between the planes is half a light second. (Just to make it simplistic clear.) Plane1 emits a pulse against 2 which immediately absorbs the energy and reradiate (or repulsing) in both directions, one straight back to 1 and one out on the other side. This means that 500 Joule goes in each direction. Plane 1 receives, absorbs and reemits this energy in the same moment as it emits its second pulse of 1000 watts, which means it literally emits 1500 watts. This is once again absorbed and emitted in both directions from plane 2, 750 watts in both directions, which leads to a third radiation of 1750 watts from plane 1. Will it add up to infinity? No. It is an infinite geometrical progression: 1 + ½ + ¼ + 1/8… ((1/2)^n) and so on, but it has 2 as a limit. So, Plane 1 will end up emitting 2000 watts because of a feedback process between 1 and 2. Number 2 will also radiate the same but halved for both sides, so 1000 watts will go out of the system. Energy in = energy out. Have energy been created? No, the redirecting process of getting the energy out of the system has just delayed the transport so to say and made plane 1 warmer.
What if we add a third plane? If energy in = energy out, the third plane also has to emit 1000 watts out of the system from its outer side. But that means 1000 watts in both directions, in (back to 2) and out. This means that it actually emits 2000 watts. And to do so it has to receive 2000. That means that plane 2, which also radiates in both directions all together must radiate 4000 watts, which it must receive from plane 1 and 3 in this feedback process. And 1 will end up radiating 4000 watts. Another geometrical progression, but now as 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 +.. (2^n) where 1 is the outer plane and, let’s say 8, is “the ground”. Not so easy to grasp. It seems to be a bit like the hen and the egg, but this actually has a locigal solution
And this last example is what happens between different layers in the atmosphere as far as I have understood. The difference is of course that just a small fraction of the outgoing longwave radiation is absorbed by the adjacent layer. But still this process is surprisingly effective, at least in theory. The US Weather Service has a presentation of an earth radiation budget where 46% of the incoming radiation is absorbed by the surface. In the transformation 7% is sensible heat transfer, 24% is latent heat transfer, and 15 % is long wave radiation. Out of the last 9% is radiated directly to space, and only 6 % is absorbed by the atmosphere. Out of let’s say 240 w/m^2 this is about 14 watts. In a feedback process this would be enough to make the famously 390 watts that creates the 15C surface temperature through 15-20 layers of atmosphere with a reasonable amount of absorption from the GHG. But if this (which it of course isn’t, there is a convection) process alone should be responsible for the temperature upwards it would drop very quickly. The radiative laps rate is very high in the start and is far from linear. But there has to be some sort of additional radiation starting from higher altitude as well because of convection and directly absorption by the atmosphere of incoming energy. But does it happen this way?
This is a layman attempt of understanding, and instead of reading the same misinterpretations over and over again I should really like to read a post here on WUWT where these problems were addressed as comprehensive as possible, based upon an atmospheric model, and not some kind of more or less good parallel. SoD has a lot convincing about radiation, but more that it exists, and less about what I have mentioned here.
This doesn’t mean that Reed Corays post here is not interesting. I think I have read somewhere that on Neptun, the GHGs have a cooling effect, but I should have liked to have a good “traditional reference” before the alternatives are launched.

Maus
July 21, 2012 2:45 pm

joeldshore: ” And, amongst the larger physics community, there is not only acceptance of the greenhouse effect but generally acceptance of the danger of AGW, as evidence by such things as the American Physical Society statement on climate change, the fact that the two textbooks that we use at RIT to teach introductory physics both discuss AGW, etc., etc.”
Well sure. If the earth is burnt to a crisp, then it would dangerous. Who wouldn’t agree with that? If the Rapture is tomorrow, then it would be dangerous not to be baptized today.
Now what’s your opinion?

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 2:56 pm

Reed Coray says:

Simple arguments, which I believe are at best incomplete, are used to convince the general public, who in turn it is hoped will then put pressure on the powers-that-be to implement the AGW alarmist solutions. Fair enough. By the same token, I get to present simple scenarios that seem to contradict the simple arguments. See, I do believe in my own ignorance. I also believe in the ignorance of the general public; and will continue to point out the potential flaws and/or contradictions of “simple arguments” used to sway the general public.

There is something important that you are missing here: The simple arguments that are presented to the public may be vast simplifications but they have underlying them much more complicated and detailed calculations that back up the basic conclusions. Your arguments on the other hand have nothing to back them up.
You seem to somehow be trying to say that because the scientists don’t present the public with thousands of lines of radiation code to explain the greenhouse effect but instead simple explanations, the simple explanations that you come up with that lead to very different conclusions are just as valid scientifically. I hope you can see the obvious flaw of such a notion.

July 21, 2012 3:14 pm

Sleepalot says:
July 21, 2012 at 4:27 am


Could someone please show me how to use Plank’s Law of Radiation (I use Open Office)

Show us what equations you are using. Or refer to my page for some ideas.
http://mc-computing.com/Science_Facts/Blackbody/Blackbody_Equations.html
Typically, most people who have problems don’t realize that the equation must be integrated!

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 3:14 pm

Greg House says:

The modern warmism scare is not about “the entire Earth system”, it is about the air temperatures near the surface (2m). Your “increasing concentrations of GHGs raises the altitude that GHGs can radiate to space” gives no additional energy to the surface hence the air near the surface can not get additionally warmer. This is that easy. I hope you know that that the surface warms the air by conduction and convection, so no additional warming of the surface – no additional warming of the air close to the surface. Or reduced cooling, whatever, the point is clear.

As Eli explained, the increasing greenhouse concentrations create a radiative imbalance that gives additional energy to the entire system. How that energy then gets distributed within the system is a function of the various processes that move energy around, with convection playing a dominant role in the troposphere as you have noted. In particular, since to a first approximation the average lapse rate in the atmosphere is expected to remain roughly constant (at some average between the dry and moist adiabatic lapse rates), if the temperature at a certain altitude rises by 1 C then the temperature at the surface will also rise by 1 C.
To a better approximation, there is expected to be a slight decrease in the lapse rate with increasing temperature because the lapse rate in the tropics tends to closely follow the moist adiabatic lapse rate which decreases [in magnitude] with temperature…iIe., the tropics are expected to warm more at altitude than at the surface. This is reflected in all of the climate models as the lapse rate feedback, a negative feedback. You seem to be proposing that things will warm at altitude without the surface temperature increasing at all, i.e., that the lapse rate will dramatically decrease in magnitude with temperature. However, there is no reason to expect this and no evidence that the warming is occurring in this way; if anything, there has been a discrepancy with the data showing LESS, not more warming, at altitude relative to the surface than is expected (the so-called missing “hot spot”), something that AGW skeptics have made much of (and with some serious misstatements of both the definitiveness of the data and the meaning of the discrepancy). So, it is interesting to now see skeptics such as yourself now apparently claiming that the data is so far wrong that in actual fact things deviate from the models strongly in the OTHER direction than the current discrepancy.
Furthermore, since much of the same physics controls the lapse rate feedback and part of the water vapor feedback in the climate models, models that have a larger (in magnitude) negative feedback from the lapse rate also tend to have a larger (in magnitude) positive feedback from water vapor, so that the uncertainty in the sum of these two feedbacks tends to be considerably smaller than the uncertainty in either individually.
So, to make a long story short, yes, it is to be expected that the surface will warm as the troposphere at higher altitudes warms.

eyesonu
July 21, 2012 3:16 pm

Sam Yates says:
July 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm
Quoted from the end of your comment:
” … Quite frankly, this is embarrassing.”
===================
The discussions on this thread have been excellent IMO. It is likely very embarrassing for any of the believers in the CO2 arguments produced by the team. I’m not sure if your embarrassment was that or of your ending comment itself.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 3:17 pm

Maus says:

Well sure. If the earth is burnt to a crisp, then it would dangerous. Who wouldn’t agree with that? If the Rapture is tomorrow, then it would be dangerous not to be baptized today.
Now what’s your opinion?

That is not what I was saying. What I was saying was that the statements by the APS and the textbooks represent the general conclusion of the physics community that the science behind the notion that temperatures will rise as a result of the anthropogenic enhancement of the greenhouse effect is solid, a conclusion that I agree with.

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 3:33 pm

I used to wonder how people could wind up believing in witchcraft, blood letting, ghosts, goblins, and other manner of superstitious nonsense that could be so easily debunked by the slightest investigation of the facts combined with a bit of logic. Reading this thread I realise people still cling to superstitious nonsense in the face of facts and logic, all that has changed is the nature of the superstitions.
Thanks to rgb and joeldshore and even Eli (despite his pompous reference to himself in the 3rd person) and others for injecting some sanity into the discussion. Hopefully some of the readership will be prompted to pick up actual text books, learn to understand the calculus and the laws of physics to the point that they can apply the formulas for themselves instead of quoting drivel from web sites that throw terms around and explain away issues that for anyone who has bothered to understand the formulas and how to apply them is nothing but superstitious nonense.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 3:34 pm

Robert Austin says:

So when the concentration of the trace gas CO2 increases, the increase has only a miniscule effect on the height of the tropopause since it is predominantly the bulk atmospheric density that determines at what altitude GHG’s are able to radiate to space. If CO2 is the “control knob” for temperature as certain scientists have averred, then that control knob is logarithmic and there is little temperature to be gained in cranking it up.

(1) I don’t think it is predominantly the bulk atmospheric density that determines this. Pressure broadening is important but the optical path length is also determined by the concentration of the greenhouse gases themselves. The effect of an increase in CO2 basically is what it is…Are you disputing the radiative calculations that have been done on this?
(2) A logarithmic dependence does not really mean that “there is little temperature to be gained in cranking it up”. It does mean that the temperature with concentration increases more slowly than linearly but it does so in a simple way already accounted for by climate scientists, e.g., it means that if the concentration has to double from 280 ppm to 560 ppm to produce a 3 C increase then it would have to double again to 1120 ppm to produce the next 3 C increase. It is why scientists talk of the sensitivity for doubling CO2 rather than the sensitivity for increasing it by, say, a constant increment of 100 ppm.

This is why I can give some credence of up to about 1C warming for a doubling of CO2 but consider the concept of amplification by water vapour or other positive feedbacks to be bogus. CO2 is a spent forcing, there is almost no warming to be eked out no matter how much coal or oil we burn. Man has little hope of averting the next ice age, either.

Frankly, Robert, I find your post here rather puzzling. You spend several paragraphs making all these statements casting doubt on the radiative effects of CO2. Then, in the end, you seem to admit that you agree with the consensus calculation of what the radiative effect of CO2 alone would do (warm things about 1 C if CO2 concentration doubles) but say that you don’t believe in the feedbacks magnifying that. Then you finish up with a final sentence that seems to go back to casting doubt about the conventional view of the forcing due to CO2.
I can’t figure out what sort of coherent argument you are even trying to make. Why don’t you try to very specifically explain to us what part of the conventional science you agree is correct and which part you don’t?

July 21, 2012 3:44 pm

davidmhoffer says on July 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm:
“O H Dahlsveen;
By the way, sarcasm becomes no-one
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
If Einstein was around to respond to your last diatribe he most likely would have used that classic quip “that’s not right, that’s not even wrong”.”
===========
You’re guessing again davidmhoffer.
But since you are mentioning Einstein, think of this; “a man is initially moving along steadily at 4 miles per hour (4 mph). He then begins to increase his speed – by the time he reaches 16 mph he has quadrupled hi speed. You may say his speed is now; 4*4 or 4² mph.
However, our Albert has given us an energy equation i.e. E=mc², where E is (=) energy, m = mass and c is supposed to represent the speed of light.
So what is Einstein who believed, and went on to prove, that nothing can travel faster than light, trying to tell us?
As far as I am concerned c² = the speed of light squared is not only not possible, just like your EM radiation idea, but it is also likewise quite useless.
– Unless, of course, Einstein was trying to tell us that we will never work out what E for energy really is. – And that is what I think he did.
Think for yourself davidmhoffer, do some experiments and tell us about your own conclusions. Some parrots can utter human words, but do they therefore think like humans?
Do the simplest experiment experiment possible davidmhoffer. Do the experiment indoors where the air is still and ambient temperature is more uniform. – Take a piece of, say plywood, paint it matt black and lay it on the floor – you now have the very best absorber of IR radiation laying down there. Invert and suspend a hotplate, one that gives off IR and not red radiation, approximately one meter(1m) above the “ideal absorber of IR” and line it up precisely with the piece of black plywood. Measure the temperature (T) of the matt black absorber. Turn the hot-plate on and watch T increase dramatically.
If matt black plywood T does not rise, then I- if I were you – would reject the back radiation from GHGs six miles up theory all together.

Greg House
July 21, 2012 3:48 pm

joeldshore says:
July 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm
As Eli explained, … … So, to make a long story short, yes, it is to be expected that the surface will warm as the troposphere at higher altitudes warms.
====================================================
He did not say that, so your long story misses the point and obfuscates the matter.
That narrative of his I referred to in my previous comment is only designed to avoid the embarrassment of the main “back radiation” concept of warmists. Like I said, no additional warming of the surface – no additional warming of the air close to the surface. This is a high school level stuff.

eyesonu
July 21, 2012 3:50 pm

joeldshore says:
July 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm
==================
If a conclusion is wrong but published in a book, then does that make it right? I guess that the use of that as a textbook was done by consensus. Specifically, by whom and when?
There is a lot more focus now on the so-called ‘science’ consensus of the past. The future’s greatest skeptics will arise from learning that the textbooks were wrong. Actually today’s greatest skeptics arose from learning that the consensus was wrong. Whether in the form of a textbook or a press release, saying it, writing it, or by consensus doesn’t make it so.

Maus
July 21, 2012 3:53 pm

TA: “And 1 will end up radiating 4000 watts. Another geometrical progression, but now as 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 +.. (2^n) where 1 is the outer plane and, let’s say 8, is “the ground”.”
Sorta. Consider a radiating plate, as you had it, and two receiving plates with no distance between them. Assume some fraction of the radiation passes the prior plate but is absorbed by the second plate. What radiation is re-emitted from the latter plate in the sandwich is largely meaningless. When a photon is dumped it will either travel generally toward or away from the prior plate in the sandwich. And if it is toward the prior plate, reaches the prior plate, and is absorbed by the prior plate, then the process repeats. Just as you have it generally.
But place a gap, in a vacuum for convenience, between the plates of the sandwich. Such that a photon generally exiting one bulk and headed toward the other bulk cannot be absorbed by anything. Then the only thing that can or does change is the lateral displacement of a photon leaving one bulk to the other. The entire system is unchanged otherwise. However it’s meaningless so long as we’re positing infinite plates. Lateral displacement is of no interest as there is no worth worrying about where it gets off to as the plates are infinite, parallel, and uniformly irradiated.
Now make it concentric spheres radiated from a external point source. Now, given the geometry, the the lateral displacement matters greatly. For if the enclosing sphere dump a photon across the gap to the enclosed sphere then it is going to get itself off to a point on the enclosed sphere that receives less radiation; by a maniacal average. Nothing fancy about it at all.
Now add a third sphere, between the previous two, and with a gap on either side of it. Any back-radiation from the uppermost sphere will laterally transfer to a point on the sphere underneath it. And should any back-radiation be emitted from that, it will laterally transfer again. Again nothing fancy. But given the geometry, gaps, width and material of the plates, and a given temperature profile for each of then across their surface and depth: Then what are the odds that a given statistical photon, of a chosen wavelength, will exit the system the t time?
It’s really two questions: What are the odds that a given statistical photon will exit its bulk towards an enclosed sphere in t time? And what are the odds that it will exist its bulk towards an enclosing sphere and/or the universe in t time?
This all matters only for reducing your ‘2 in the limit’ value. Which is interesting and perhaps important to model. But it is a purely academic exercise, a ‘toy model’, in that there are numerous heterogenous layers, that are each hetergenous but considered to be homgenously mixed. They are gaseous, have convective currents, and their are no vacuum gaps. All except the lower most sphere, or course. The absorpta spectra are not continuous and is a non-linear relationship with temperature when measured as such. And the whole thing rotates with respect to the point source.
And clouds, of course.
You’re on the right track. But even to get the toy-model off the ground we have to acknowledge that while black-bodies are useful, we do not have one. That geometry matters a great deal. And that energy exchange models via statistical photons are not synonymous with ‘temperature’ as we measure it on airport tarmacs.

Maus
July 21, 2012 3:57 pm

joeldshore: “What I was saying was that the statements by the APS and the textbooks represent …”
Apologies. So would your authority agree with the conditional: If the Rapture is tomorrow, then it would be dangerous not to be baptized today?

July 21, 2012 4:01 pm

Reed Coray,
Thanks for a very interesting article!
Robert Austin says regarding CO2:
“…that control knob is logarithmic and there is little temperature to be gained in cranking it up…. This is why I can give some credence of up to about 1C warming for a doubling of CO2 but consider the concept of amplification by water vapour or other positive feedbacks to be bogus.”
Exactly. The planet is just not acting as if CO2 is controlling anything. It may cause a small amount of [entirely beneficial] warming. But with every passing day it becomes more obvious that the CO2=CAGW conjecture is nonsense. Scientific skeptics understand this, but the alarmist contingent is still stuck on stupid; CO2 is not a problem, it is a benefit. More is better.

Lester Via
July 21, 2012 4:11 pm

I am surprised at the number of those posting comments that don’t seem to understand some of the basic physics behind the greenhouse effect. There is little argument among skeptics and alarmists who do understand the physics, concerning whether the greenhouse effect is real or not. The only big arguments I see are over the effect of doubling CO2 and how much of the recent CO2 increase is anthropogenic.
I think it would be of benefit to everyone if someone good at explaining physics to students were to submit an explanation, that Anthony can use as “The Greenhouse Effect” reference page here on “Watts Up With That”. This could be a starting point, that could be commented on and continually improved by the feedback provided by everyone else. The combined expertise of the physicists that post here, together with the questions and comments from those having trouble understanding the greenhouse effect, form a team that could do wonders toward developing a better text on the subject.

Bucky Cochrane
July 21, 2012 4:12 pm

The whole idea of GHG “absorbing heat” is erroneous. CO2 absorbs a photon, goes into the “bending” mode of molecular vibration and almost immediately radiates the photon which it absorbed. It cannot give up any fraction of this energy; there is no state between this 667 wavenumber excited state and its vibrational ground state. It cannot “warm the air” The effect of this re-radiation of 15 micron IR is to take upward directed radiation from the surface of the earth and aim one half of it back to the earth;s surface. Same for any GHG. The downward re-radiated IR then becomes part of the surface radiation budget. At the “top” of the atmosphere, all of this must equal the solar radiation absorbed by the surface (average=~238W/sq. meter). Night sky radiance shows about 20% of IR that would otherwise go directly into space is backscattered back to the surface. Let f be the fraction of surface IR absorbed by the atmosphere (~65%) and bs = the fraction backscatterd. Then radiative eq. implies
238=I(earth)*f/2+(1-bs)(1-f)*I(earth) => I(earth)=393w/sq.meter~ 15.5C
I(earth)*f.2=>temp. ay tropopause=128W/sq. meter=>-55.3C
(1962 Standard Atmosphere values for surface and tropopause are obtained by f=.645 and bs=.195)
This gives correct values! Only derivation that does that I have seen. (Yes , it is mine)
Considering the proper physical mechanism gives right answer
(Tropopause height, wet and dry adiabatic lapse rate can be similarly calculated using conservation of energy)

Baa Humbug
July 21, 2012 4:15 pm

@ Richard111 says:
July 21, 2012 at 9:33 am
I have a copy on file. Send an email to supportATjoannenovaDOTcomDOTau and ask them to forward it on to me. I’ll send you the pdf

Reed Coray
July 21, 2012 4:15 pm

Alan D McIntire says: July 21, 2012 at 10:37 am
Alan wrote (bold text below):
“First, placing matter adjacent to a warm surface such that the matter is capable of absorbing/blocking radiation to space from the warm surface can lead to a decrease in the warm surface’s temperature.” It will always lead to an INCREASE in the surface’s temperatue..

(Emphasis mine)
It will? Take a sphere of radius 1 meter, place the sphere in cold space, put a constant thermal energy source symmetrically just below the sphere’s surface, wait for thermal energy rate equilibrium, and measure the surface temperature. Now surround the sphere with material identical to the material of the sphere. Wait for energy-rate equilibrium, and measure (a) the surface temperature of the expanded sphere and (b) the temperature of the sphere at its original radius. The surface temperature of the expanded sphere will be lower than the surface temperature of the original sphere because the area of radiation has been increased. With the same rate of input thermal energy, the increased area implies a reduced surface temperature at energy rate equilibrium. Now, if the material making up the original sphere (and the added material) is highly thermally conducting, the temperature at the radius of the original sphere will be governed primarily by the thermal conduction properties of the materal and can be made to be approximately the same as the temperature of the expanded sphere’s surface. Thus, it seems to me we can placing matter capable of absorbing/blocking radiation to space adjacent to a warm surface and the temperature of the “surface” at the original radius will be lowered relative to its original temperature in isolation.
And to the objection that with the expanded material the original surface doesn’t exist, I respond by saying don’t cover the entire surface of the original sphere. Leave a small area uncovered for a small height–i.e., leave a small cavity in the added material. Put a gas in the cavity. Now (a) we have a portion of the original surface, and (b) because the gas is material that is placed next to the original surface, I believe your claim implies that the area of the original surface exposed to the gas will be warmer than the original surface in isolation. I don’t believe it. Because the sphere is highly thermally conducting, I believe the exposed surface area will be much closer to the temperature of the sphere at nearby points, which can easily be made to be lower than the original sphere’s temperature in isolation.

David
July 21, 2012 4:17 pm

Can GHGs in the atmosphere receive conducted energy from non GHGs, (I think this is how they form a LTE,local thermal equilibrium) and then radiate that energy away?
It the answer to this question is yes, then are not those CO2 molecules (the ones which receive conducted energy from non GHGs) accelerating the loss of energy to space, which, in the absence of GHGs, would not be able to leave the atmosphere?

Greg House
July 21, 2012 4:18 pm

John West says:
July 21, 2012 at 7:26 am
Fact: CO2 is a GHG.
Conjecture: Adding CO2 to the atmosphere will increase the temperature.
It seems pretty obvious, but is it true? Is it always true?
========================================================
John, it is much worse than that.
That “fact” is not a fact, it is a conjecture. And they change their narratives if necessary to obfuscate that. All what they have in the hand is the Tindall’s experiment, the rest is conjectures. They do not have any (not fake) experiment proving CO2 ability to warm the surface.

July 21, 2012 4:28 pm

Pochas asks Eli
My house is insulated with an R value of 10. But I am a rugged individualist so I have no connection to electricity or source of fuel. I don’t even occupy the house. I Iive in a tent in the back yard. But I measure and record the temperature inside the housd every hour. At the end of the year I average all the readings. But an environmentalist has convinced me that if I remove all of the insulation the average temperature inside will go down, so I do. What do you think will happen to the average temperature?
Eli responds: since this is a normal house, sunlight will enter through the windows. The insulation will slow the flow of the energy deposited by the sunlight out of the house, thus the interior will heat, as in a car. If the insulation is removed (or the house is leaky), the temperature on the inside will be lower without insulation, but still higher than the outside average. Both convection and radiation work on temperature difference.
Dave (and others) talk about re-radiation by green house gases.
Eli responds: Thee is a relatively rapid transfer of vibrational to kinetic energy in ghg molecules that absorb photons so essentially all greenhouse gas molecules that absorb photons do not re-radiate the energy (the radiation rate is five to six orders of magnitude slower, so only one in a million will reradiate promptly. OTOH there will be some ghg molecules that are excited by other collisions, the proportion being controlled by the local temperature. Some more details

July 21, 2012 4:31 pm

Reed writes
“First, any “slow down” in the rate the Earth emits energy to space must be transient–i.e., it can’t last forever.”
Damn right, and the way the Earth re-establishes equilibrium is by heating up, so that the emission from the top of the atmosphere matches the incoming.

July 21, 2012 4:35 pm

cba accuses Eli of being a character in a childrens novel and throws much detail against the wall which really does not shift the argument much. cb, if you want detail go read the science of doom articles on the greenhouse effect that KR provided. The mechanism remains what the Bunny pointed to.
http://scienceofdoom.com/roadmap/atmospheric-radiation-and-the-greenhouse-effect/

Reed Coray
July 21, 2012 4:35 pm

joeldshore says: (July 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm)
Reed Coray says:
There is something important that you are missing here: The simple arguments that are presented to the public may be vast simplifications but they have underlying them much more complicated and detailed calculations that back up the basic conclusions. Your arguments on the other hand have nothing to back them up.
You seem to somehow be trying to say that because the scientists don’t present the public with thousands of lines of radiation code to explain the greenhouse effect but instead simple explanations, the simple explanations that you come up with that lead to very different conclusions are just as valid scientifically. I hope you can see the obvious flaw of such a notion.

No, I’m not saying and didn’t say any such thing. Nor did I “seem to somehow be trying to say…”. I mentioned at least twice that greenhouse gases might warm the Earth’s atmosphere. I just don’t know. I never said that the argument that greenhouse gases cool the atmosphere was scientifically valid. What I said was, the arguments presented in the referenced article (and many other places–see Eli Rabett’s comments on this post) imply conclusions for which counter examples can be constructed. Such arguments are at best incomplete; and if used in an attempt to convince the general public that societal changes having major impacts to mankind must be immediately implemented, then I say shame on the people making those arguments.

ferdberple
July 21, 2012 4:39 pm

Here is a fairly accurate simulator you can run yourself the shows that if anything, without GHG the atmosphere would be warmer at altitude than at the surface.
ferdberple says:
July 22, 2012 at 12:28 am
New jar with updated source. Still seeing negative gradient. Which is interesting. One possible explantin is that GHG actually cools the atmosphere, not warms it. Which explains the hot thermosphere where GHG is rare.
Added time correction at boundaries and increased molecules to 2000. Made the speed and gravity controls exponential to increase their range. Decreased the low range and increased the high. Changed the grid which appears to smooth the motion.
http://www.filedropper.com/gas20120721
Also fixed a few bugs. On occasion the code was throwing NAN’s where there were lots of collisions

Greg House
July 21, 2012 4:42 pm

rgbatduke says:
July 21, 2012 at 8:08 am
I personally do think that it is quite reasonable to take moderate public measures to minimize the production of CO_2. … we need to try to establish a civilization that will last not just the next century but the next 10,000, or 100,000 years. …If we could only turn the public debate away from alarmism and panic (and the associated political grabs for money and power) to something like a…
========================================================
We need to try to establish a civilization that will last not just the next century” ??? (shock) This is the most extreme example of alarmism I have ever seen.
And then later in the same comment you said “if we could only turn the public debate away from alarmism and panic“… Your “end of civilization” IS alarmism and panic.

Gary Hladik
July 21, 2012 4:43 pm

TA. says (July 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm): [snip]
TA, your setup resembles Willis Eschenbach’s “Steel Greenhouse”, still one of my favorite articles on WUWT. If you haven’t already, check it out and see if it answers your questions:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/17/the-steel-greenhouse/
I want to thank Anthony for allowing publication of this article. Until now, I assumed that all but a very small minority of WUWT visitors accepted the physics of the basic “greenhouse effect”. The comment thread suggests the number of “doubters” is higher than I thought. 🙁

July 21, 2012 4:44 pm

Robert Austin says:
So the bulk non GHG’s which do not radiate appreciably at normal temperatures are the medium of storage and transport of the heat energy apprehended by the GHG’s,
About six percent of all CO2 at STP is vibrationally excited by the local thermodynamic equilibrium (2 fold degenerate, ~700 cm-1 vibrational energy, and 300K is ~200 cm-1), so essentially 6% is always ready to radiate, of course which molecules are excited is a constantly changing dance, but the amount of emission measured at various altitudes is in accord with this BOE,

wobble
July 21, 2012 4:55 pm

michael hammer says:
July 21, 2012 at 3:52 am
I am extremely sceptical of CAGW but I have to strongly disagree with the above analysis. Adding cooling fins to a motor decreases its surface temperature because it increases the surafce area availabel to radiate that heat away, In the case of the earth the surface area is not increased.

I’m not sure you’re right about this.
A larger sphere has more surface area than a smaller sphere.
An earth without any GHGs represents a warm sphere the size of the earth which is radiating IR into space.
Adding GHG’s to the earth creates a larger warm sphere (the earth plus its atmosphere) radiating IR into space. Hence, “the surface area available to radiate the heat away” is increased.

rgbatduke
July 21, 2012 4:55 pm

The Sun is radiating a form of energy that has the ability to penetrate the earth’s atmosphere. Upon hitting the top of the surface this energy interacts with the surface atom clusters or molecules. The electrons in the said atoms increase their speed resulting in increased molecular friction. A product of friction is always what we call “Heat”.
Therefore heat is a product of energy-use, it can no more be emitted as radiation than speed can.
Remember radiation cannot be seen by the human eye. Nor can it be “seen” by any modern derivative of the “Thermopile”. All that can be “seen” is the source of radiation. The heat-source can be seen as light. Radiation, at certain wave-lengths, from the Sun only turns into “Light” upon interaction with the atmosphere. – Once again read Tyndall and Fourier.
By the way, sarcasm becomes no-one.

Perhaps not, but Adam Sandler fans will recognize the following:
Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said … is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Radiation cannot be seen by the human eye? Sheesh. Radiation from the sun only turns into light in the atmosphere? For the love of God, man, go steal a physics book and read it — or visit the ones I’ve put on the web for free — before ever opening your mouth in a public forum discussing it again.
rgb

July 21, 2012 5:00 pm

davidmhoffer says on July 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm:
“I used to wonder how people could wind up believing in witchcraft, blood letting, ghosts, goblins, and other manner of superstitious nonsense that could be so easily debunked by the slightest investigation of the facts combined with a bit of logic. Reading this thread I realise people still cling to superstitious nonsense in the face of facts and logic, all that has changed is the nature of the superstitions.”
============
Dear davidmhoffer.
Please tell me why does CO2 absorb LWIR radiation from the ground but not from other GHGs? – You see if your nice and neat theory is correct there can be no end to warming by GHGs never mind how few they are.
I know it is fashionable to adjust the GHG theory as you go along, i.e. it’s not a greenhouse – it’s a blanket. – GHGs don’t heat the surface it just retains the heat that was here yesterday. – Or, the best and most convincing one of them all: I’m, or we are, not doubting that CO2 has a positive radiative heating effect in our atmosphere, due to LWIR re-radiation, that is well established by science.”
Well established by science? – Who’s science? – a science that turns a blind eye to “conduction” rejects convection and still clings to the theory that beauty is a thing that can be radiated across the room”
Keep your witchcraft, blood letting, ghosts and goblins in your own poxy cupboard oh righteous one.

Greg House
July 21, 2012 5:02 pm

davidmhoffer says:
July 21, 2012 at 9:47 am
The notion that GHG’s serve to cool the earth is absurd. The earth is far warmer than the moon, which gets the exact same amount of insolation, but has no atmosphere.
==========================================================
Unfortunately you have committed a logical fallacy. Even if you had made a correct comparison “with atmosphere – without atmosphere” (the other conditions being equal), you could have only conclude something on atmosphere, no more than that. You comparison however does not prove anything about any specific part of the atmosphere.

July 21, 2012 5:25 pm

rgbatduke says on July 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm:
“Perhaps not, but Adam Sandler fans will recognize the following:
Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said … is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. “
============
So, you call on Adam Sandler fans to recognize something somebody else said.
When are you warmists and Co2 fans going to say things like: “I know, because I have done the necessary experiments?” – And when are you going to stop hiding behind the “somebody else said” quotations?
You AGW lot have got no personal experience of science, no personal opinions and no personalities. STOP QUOTING OTHER PEOPLE, LET US HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE GOT TO CONTRIBUTE!
I may admit I may not always be right but sure as hell you lot do not even know the people you are quoting.

Greg House
July 21, 2012 5:27 pm

rgbatduke says:
July 21, 2012 at 11:31 am
GHGs do not warm anything. They slow the cooling of something being actively warmed elsewhere, by other means, and just like the insulation in your walls makes you house warmer given a furnace inside than it otherwise would be, the Earth end up being warmer with them than it would be without them.
=======================================================
I am very surprised, I thought the “insulation” argument was dead, but no…
Apparently your GHGs do not work like a house nor like a greenhouse. Even Wikipedia has abandoned this narrative recently.
An enclosed space stays warmer only when being heated and second because the warmer air can not escape and be replaced by colder air from the outside. If you mean it is because of “back radiation”, then you need to prove it, and you know very well that neither you nor other warmists have ever presented a real experimental proof. All what we have seen are either fakes or unrelated stuff or “thought experiments”.

dp
July 21, 2012 5:28 pm

You might get a better example than your engine block for heat transfer problems from this document. It’s a very interesting read.
http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/supplement/Presby_Engineer_Degree_Thesis.pdf

rgbatduke
July 21, 2012 5:34 pm

“We need to try to establish a civilization that will last not just the next century” ??? (shock) This is the most extreme example of alarmism I have ever seen.
And then later in the same comment you said “if we could only turn the public debate away from alarmism and panic“… Your “end of civilization” IS alarmism and panic.

Piffle. Civilization requires energy. Lots of it. In fact, a direct measure of the growth of civilization — perhaps the direct measure of the growth of civilization — is the per-capita availability of energy, its cost per capita. If energy is abundant enough, we can desalinate the oceans and make the deserts bloom. If energy is abundant enough, the standard of living of every person in the world can be increased to that of today’s wealthiest individuals and beyond, just as today’s lower-middle-class first world citizens are wealthier in all the ways that matter than the kings of the world a mere century or two ago. Energy poverty is the worst poverty of all, a kind of poverty from which there is no escape.
I’m not talking about things in my own lifetime — I’ll be dead long before any of these things matter to me or to my own children or possibly even my grandchildren (who are just now starting to be born). But fossil fuels were and are never going to be more than a stopgap, a stepping stone, a boosting point that we can use to uplift human civilization to a state where energy scarcity isn’t the fundamental scarcity, the one that dominates and limits all other scarcities. You can mine coal and oil and natural gas all you want and — assuming that you are correct and CO_2 truly isn’t any sort of risk whatsoever — you will still run into issues of scarcity and political and economic control that make them undesirable fuels to use in the very long run.
We once heated our homes with wood. Wood seemed inexhaustible — until we cut down all the trees from from measurable fractions of the surface area of the world to burn for fuel and were still hungry for more. Coal then seemed inexhaustible — and to some extent still does — if one neglects the risk and hidden costs of mining it. Oil was plentiful, but oil fields proved finite and ever more expensive to find and exploit, and our thirst for it is inexhaustible because everybody wants to drive cars — not just in the US, everybody in the world, all 7 billion of them (including the children too young to drive). Everybody wants their own car, and fuel for their car so cheap that they can go anywhere they like. There are no limits on our desire for cheap energy and our ability to put that energy to work to make our lives better.
I (as a physicist) can see precisely two energy resources capable of sustaining the human race ‘indefinitely’ — long enough that we will have recognizably evolved long before we run out. One is solar energy. The other is thermonuclear fusion. So both are thermonuclear fusion. Geothermal and hydroelectric are distant runners up — inexhaustible in reasonable time frames, but also scarce and far from ubiquitous. Indeed, solar isn’t truly ubiquitous, although we may be able to solve transport problems — to give us total control, we have to master fusion.
I’m not saying these things to institute a panic. How could they? I’m talking about things that will be necessary over centuries, that I think we should very deliberately start working on now. I might say “I think we should work on colonizing the planets” and it is hard to see how that would be causing a panic either. Or that I think it would be truly nifty if we work on computers that interface directly with the human brain and can understand speech and thought. Does that cause you to panic and run screaming that yes we should, or no we shouldn’t? No, it opens up a dialogue where people can contribute and agree or disagree.
So let me state again, in terms that are clear enough not to be misunderstood. I think — that is to say in my opinion — a worthy goal for the human race in the 21st century, that is to say, now, is to pursue two goals before all others. One is freedom from religion. The other is complete energy independence, the establishment of a steady state civilization that does not rely on a fundamentally scarce resource that more or less guarantees a kind of creeping erosion of wealth as it is slowly exhausted. I’ll go one step further and note that the only possible reasonable basis for currency that is somehow more than empty promises and an act of faith is to have a currency that is backed by energy, as the fundamental scarcity. Only such a currency is proof against inflation.
We can debate the need to be free from religion and all of its mythologies and absurdities another time, but I think that it is difficult to argue that your life doesn’t beat time to the tune of energy prices in countless ways, and price is always at some point an expression of scarcity and demand.
rgb

rgbatduke
July 21, 2012 5:41 pm

An enclosed space stays warmer only when being heated and second because the warmer air can not escape and be replaced by colder air from the outside. If you mean it is because of “back radiation”, then you need to prove it, and you know very well that neither you nor other warmists have ever presented a real experimental proof. All what we have seen are either fakes or unrelated stuff or “thought experiments”.
Ah, Greg. How exactly can one provide proof to someone who is so ignorant that the actually state that an enclosed space only stays warmer when being heated and because warmed air cannot escape? A real experimental proof is that the Earth — from which warmed air cannot escape and which is constantly being heated — doesn’t become infinitely hot. Now stop being silly.
Also stop being silly about “real experimental proofs”. Open up any physics book and you can read about conduction, convection and radiation as being ways that warmed objects cool. There are mountains of literature on radiative cooling, most of it completely disconnected from climate science. Why do you think physicists silver the inside of Dewar flasks (from the time of Dewar on)?
I mean seriously. It’s just embarrassing. Why not try to learn something before making silly — and false — statements?
Personally, I can “experimentally” observe back radiation as you like to call it just sitting out on a shaded porch next to a sunny piece of pavement, or getting into a heated car. Not that there is any difference between back radiation and the other kind, since there is no other kind, radiation is radiation.
rgb
rgb

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 5:46 pm

wobble says:

I’m not sure you’re right about this.
A larger sphere has more surface area than a smaller sphere.
An earth without any GHGs represents a warm sphere the size of the earth which is radiating IR into space.
Adding GHG’s to the earth creates a larger warm sphere (the earth plus its atmosphere) radiating IR into space. Hence, “the surface area available to radiate the heat away” is increased.

You missed this post http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1039067 where I showed that a reasonable estimate of the two effects (radiation decreases with height of emission layer because it gets colder and radiation increases with height of emission layer because surface area increases) shows that the first effect is about 300 times greater than the second.

July 21, 2012 5:54 pm

Getting very confused here …
rgbatduke: “GHGs do not warm anything. They slow the cooling of something being actively warmed elsewhere”
Ok.
Camping in the “Outback”. Nights get cold much more rapidly under clear skies than cloud cover, even allowing for “bioclimatic comfort zone”, eg evaporative cooling less, RH higher.
(Not hard to check these days – $50+ temp/RH data logger?)
O H Dahlsveen: “On the “Dark side of the Earth” convection only happens at and around the Urban Heat Islands (UHIs). ”
Don’t think so. My observation (of tropical UHI) is that convection continues to occur after dark.
With TUHI the problem is that absorbance (by concrete in particular) throughout the day can take longer to re-radiate than it takes for the sun to return. Re-radiation is of course inwards as well as outwards. 200mm exposed concrete walls at 19°S can take 7 months to cool down.
Bitumen gets much hotter but cools down faster. Cattle camp on unfenced bitumen roads early, but move off well before dawn (watch your speed approaching the brow of a hill).

Greg House
July 21, 2012 5:55 pm

rgbatduke says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm
someone who is so ignorant…stop being silly…stop being silly…embarrassing… silly…
====================================================
What a high level, I am impressed.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 5:57 pm

Reed Coray says:

I never said that the argument that greenhouse gases cool the atmosphere was scientifically valid. What I said was, the arguments presented in the referenced article (and many other places–see Eli Rabett’s comments on this post) imply conclusions for which counter examples can be constructed. Such arguments are at best incomplete; and if used in an attempt to convince the general public that societal changes having major impacts to mankind must be immediately implemented, then I say shame on the people making those arguments.

If you find the arguments incomplete, then the best solution is to search out more detailed arguments or to look at the online radiation codes or what have you. If someone in chemistry tells me of a fundamental accepted concept in chemistry and gives me simple arguments that I don’t find entirely convincing, I would not go off and write blog posts saying that I think it is wrong and presenting lots of counterarguments and examples. First, I would endeavor to understand in more detail the evidence and calculations and theoretical understanding that has gone into coming up with that conclusion. And, I would not say that the person making the argument should be ashamed of himself for not inundating me with lots of chicken-scratch chemical formulas up on the blackboard.
Besides which, in my experience dealing with those who deny the reality of the greenhouse effect, I have found that the issue is not with the quality of the arguments that are presented to them. The issue is that they have a mental block and are unable to process scientific notions that conflict so strongly with their worldview.

Konrad
July 21, 2012 6:11 pm

My very simple question for Joeldshore and Eli Rabett, can non condensing radiative gasses such as CO2 radiate as IR energy they have acquired conductively? All that is required is a simple yes or no answer. The name “Pierrehumbert” need not be invoked. Just yes or no.

Lester Via
July 21, 2012 6:13 pm

Bucky Cochrane says:
July 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm
The whole idea of GHG “absorbing heat” is erroneous. CO2 absorbs a photon, goes into the “bending” mode of molecular vibration and almost immediately radiates the photon which it absorbed. It cannot give up any fraction of this energy; there is no state between this 667 wavenumber excited state and its vibrational ground state. It cannot “warm the air”
Sorry Bucky but it does warm the air. The CO2 molecule is always vibrating from collisions with other air molecules. Due to these collisions, translational motion and vibratory motion are freely and very quickly exchanged at the gas pressures and temperatures typical of the lower atmosphere. This is precisely why gamma, the ratio of specific heats of gases comprised of triatomic molecules differ from diatomic molecules which differ yet from single atoms. The difference is due to the additional degrees of freedom to vibrate that effectively hide some heat energy from contributing to pressure and temperature. Rapidly cool the gas and, as long as there are collisions, the vibrational energy is released along with the reduction in translational energy. This process is very quick and fully reversible. There is no difference between vibration due to a collision and that due to absorbing a photon.

July 21, 2012 6:15 pm

joelshore says:
“…in my experience dealing with those who deny the reality of the greenhouse effect, I have found that the issue is not with the quality of the arguments that are presented to them. The issue is that they have a mental block and are unable to process scientific notions that conflict so strongly with their worldview.”
If it were not for psychological projection, joel shore wouldn’t have much to say.
A ‘worldview’ is not the same as real world evidence. Empirical [real world] evidence shows clearly that GHG’s have no measurable effect.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 6:20 pm

eyesonu says:

If a conclusion is wrong but published in a book, then does that make it right? I guess that the use of that as a textbook was done by consensus. Specifically, by whom and when?

I think that how the RIT Physics Department chose those particular textbooks is largely irrelevant since they are not obscure textbooks but among the top few textbooks, used by hundreds if not thousands of universities throughout the U.S. and the world. Besides which, those aren’t the only textbooks that talk about it; in fact, I know for a fact that others do. I was just using it as an example of how ubiquitous and accepted the concept of the greenhouse effect and of anthropogenic global warming is in the physics community.

There is a lot more focus now on the so-called ‘science’ consensus of the past. The future’s greatest skeptics will arise from learning that the textbooks were wrong. Actually today’s greatest skeptics arose from learning that the consensus was wrong. Whether in the form of a textbook or a press release, saying it, writing it, or by consensus doesn’t make it so.

First of all, my original response was directed at someone who claimed that “top physicists scorn the theory” [of the greenhouse effect]. You may not like argument from authority (although authorities in science are usually authorities for a reason); however, it is even worse when the person using such an argument is making false statements about what the authorities say. So, I was correcting that.
However, your views also incorporate a few fallacies. The first is that because the most famous people in science went against a consensus, that means that most of the attacks on consensus are correct and we can thus safely ignore the consensus. The actual fact is that for every Galileo or Einstein, or whoever AGW skeptics imagine themselves to be, there are probably a thousand people of various levels or seriousness or crackpot-ness that challenge the scientific consensus and are wrong.
A second point is that even when a consensus changes, it seldom sweeps away all of the past views. For example, we still teach Newton’s Laws to our students even though Einstein (and whoever you want to credit for the creation of quantum mechanics) showed that there are regimes in which these laws are no longer an accurate approximation for the behavior of objects.
A third point (closely related to the 1st and 2nd) is that although the scientific consensus might at any time be incorrect, it still represents the best way that we know of to represent the current understanding of the science that we have. If we decide that public policy should ignore science that we don’t like (because, say, it conflicts with our ideological or religious beliefs) then this is a recipe basically to no longer have science help inform public policy, a recipe that most of us scientists (and presumably many non-scientists) find quite repugnant. If you think the current scientific consensus is wrong, it is your job to change the consensus by convincing the scientists of the correctness of your views. If you instead choose instead to influence policy by making either ignorant or deceptive arguments to the public, then scientists will generally conclude that you are trying not to change the consensus but basically just to subvert the role of science in our society when the current scientific consensus disagrees with what you want it to say.

Greg House
July 21, 2012 6:22 pm

rgbatduke says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm
I can “experimentally” observe back radiation as you like to call it just sitting out on a shaded porch next to a sunny piece of pavement, or getting into a heated car. Not that there is any difference between back radiation and the other kind, since there is no other kind, radiation is radiation.
=========================================================
What you are trying to make people think you “observe” and what it really is are two different things. And if you claim they are the same you need to prove it. I know, these unproven claims can already be found in some recent “textbooks”, this is very sad.
Your notion about warming back radiation is a misunderstanding from the 19th century and it was easily debunked experimentally by professor Wood in 1909. Look, some warmists have already switched to “radiating from a higher altitude to the space”, they even do not mention back radiation. Some however still do. You guys have a really wide range of conflicting narratives.
So, radiation from a colder body directed to the warmer body is radiation, but no warmist has been able to present a real falsifiable scientific experiment proving that this sort of radiation can warm the warmer body (or slow down it’s cooling, whatever).
Now, your main narrative is that a -18C cold surface radiates IR and some portion of it gets returned by the “greenhouse gases” and warms the surface by 33C. IR cameras have no difficulties however to see through the “greenhouse gases”, hence the most IR escape the “trap”. Given that the small part produces so much warming, just turn off your freezer, open it and enjoy the heat. Be careful, if your hypothesis is correct, you can easily get burned by the freezer’s heat.
This is how ridiculous your warmist theory is. I also hope a notion of reductio ad absurdum is familiar to you.

rgbatduke
July 21, 2012 6:27 pm

LET US HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE GOT TO CONTRIBUTE!
I may admit I may not always be right but sure as hell you lot do not even know the people you are quoting.

You not only aren’t “always right” in regard to radiation theory, you are so infinitely wrong that you are, quite seriously, almost stunning in any conversation. Worse, you haven’t a clue that you are clueless, and make your vastly incorrect statements to correct somebody that actually has a clue.
Here’s what I have to contribute. Light is electromagnetic radiation. Go on, look it up. The entire electromagnetic spectrum is light. Radio waves are light. Microwaves are light. Infrared radiation is light. Visible light is a narrow band of light. Ultraviolet radiation is light. X-rays are light. Finally, gamma rays are light. The only thing that differentiates a gamma ray from a radio wave is its frequency and wavelength, and those aren’t even invariant properties — one can in principle doppler shift a radio wave into an x-ray by moving through it fast enough.
Second, the only thing the human eye can see is light. I mean good God, man, why do you think they call it turning on the lights when you enter a dark room?
Third, radiation from the sun does not, for the most part “turn into light” only when it reaches our atmosphere. Again, this is so wrong it is difficult even know how to begin. Children understand this better than that. Sunlight is emitted as light by our very hot sun. It travels as light — both visible and invisible, an entire spectrum of light — through the near-vacuum in between the Sun and the Earth. When it reaches the Earth, in very crude terms some of it is reflected at some point or another by the atmosphere without losing (much) energy, some of it is transmitted, and some of it is absorbed. How much of each depends on a host of things — clouds reflect more energy back to space than clear dry air, but clouds and water vapor also absorb more on the way to the ground than clear dry air. Of the radiation that reaches the ground, some is reflected and again passes more or less completely out of the atmosphere without significant loss, and the rest is absorbed. Of the radiation that reaches the ocean, some is reflected at or near the upper surface, and virtually all the rest is absorbed.
Fourth, if you want to understand the way electromagnetic radiation is created, transmitted, absorbed, scattered, you have to begin by learning Maxwell’s Equations. Maxwell’s equations are the classical partial differential equations that describe the electromagnetic field. They aren’t complete — they are classical and atoms and molecules are really quantum mechanical — but to even think of understanding quantum electrodynamics it helps to start with classical electrodynamics. To understand classical electrodynamics, it would really help you to take a class in introductory physics one day, assuming that your calculus background is up to the task. Even in a first year intro physics course in E&M, like the one I am teaching right now, you would learn all of the things I listed above and more besides — I generally try to teach my students that transmitted electromagnetic power is the flux of the Poynting vector through the specified surface, for example, which is entirely apropos of the current conversation.
If you cannot afford a physics textbook, feel free to use the ones I’ve written — they are available for free online here:
http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Class/intro_physics_1.php
http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Class/intro_physics_2.php
and if you want to try to tackle real graduate level electrodynamics, you can try:
http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Class/Electrodynamics.php
but be warned, it isn’t for the faint of heart and you’ll need a reasonable proficiency with partial differential equations and non-Abelian algebras and Lie groups to get through the book. A knowledge of tensors would also be very useful, but sadly few students (even physics graduate students) have much of one so the book tries to be self-contained in this regard. It is also intended to be the second semester of a two semester series, so it presumes you’ve already mastered the Poisson equation and spherical decompositions and magnetostatics and are ready to get on with Maxwell’s equations and true Electrodynamics.
Now “we lot” — by which I assume you means “warmists” used as a pejorative term — sometimes do know very, very well precisely of what we speak. I, for example, do. And I’m not a “warmist”, for that matter. That smacks of religion, and I can and do justify my opinions about almost anything all the way down to the microscopic level — or admit ignorance.
So it is from a state of very much non-ignorance that I repeat — your previous statement, criticizing the entirely correct statement of Mr. Hoffer who is also no warmist, merely a rational skeptic who doubts the alleged magnitude or importance of the GHE, not its very existence — was something that left anyone who read it very slightly dumber. I could feel my own brain cells reeling in shock from it. Radiation turning into light only when it hits the atmosphere? Eyes unable to see light? It made me feel that my entire professional career, spent teaching people far better than that, has been wasted. How is it even possible for a high school education to turn you out into the world that ignorant? I knew better in grade school.
So your statement was not only not a rebuttal of David Hoffer — it was an open insult to the entire US educational system. It was unamerican! Do you want the entire world to laugh at us?
Hence my unaccustomed vigor in striking down your contribution, which, you will note, I am continuing. I’m quite serious. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to simple honesty to crack a physics book and at least try to understand what electromagnetic radiation is before again entering a public debate on the subject and attempting to correct people that have actually studied it, or teach it.
But of course you won’t, will you? Neither will Greg House, or any of the others that make absurd statements about radiation being unable to be reflected back to a warm surface and thereby slow its cooling. It’s so startlingly ignorant a statement that it makes one want to simply throw one’s hands up in despair. Not even my suggestion to go buy a space blanket and wrap yourself in it to gain firsthand experience of “warming” by trapping your own body’s radiation — an “experiment” you can actually perform at home — will actually get you to do it. Or taking an ordinary light bulb and placing it in front of a sheet of plastic wrap, then in front of a sheet of aluminum foil, to see which one reflects more heat (and note well — reflects heat from something much cooler than the light bulb filament). I could probably think up a half dozen other table top experiments to demonstrate radiative heating and cooling — they are elementary school science fair stuff — but of course to you they can’t exist because you know radiation only turns into light when air molecules experience friction or some other long line of complete, utter, absurdities.
I do declare, with people like you “helping” the skeptical “cause”, it doesn’t need to be opposed — the real warmists of the world can just point at you and wait for people to stop laughing themselves to death. Which is a logical fallacy, of course — you can disbelieve in CAGW because a pink unicorn came to you in a dream and told you to and still be right, just as they can be supported by not entirely implausible arguments and still be wrong, and wise people look at the arguments themselves and not individuals — but it does make it all to easy for sensible skeptical arguments to be dismissed when there exist “skeptics” whose arguments are only a hair better than pink unicorns.
rgb

kuhnkat
July 21, 2012 6:30 pm

Michael Hammer,
“Adding cooling fins to a motor decreases its surface temperature because it increases the surafce area availabel to radiate that heat away,…”
You seem to be forgetting that parallel finning at a right angle to the surface being cooled irradiates themselves mostly!!! Without air flow and conduction/convection finning has limited cooling ability. Motorcycles without circulation fans are notoriously finicky about being stopped and idling in hot weather!!

wobble
July 21, 2012 6:47 pm

rgbatduke says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm
You can mine coal and oil and natural gas all you want and — assuming that you are correct and CO_2 truly isn’t any sort of risk whatsoever — you will still run into issues of scarcity . . . that make them undesirable fuels to use in the very long run.

By the time the world runs into scarcity issues the world may no longer be interested in coal, oil, and natural gas.

Coal then seemed inexhaustible — and to some extent still does

Then why did you include it in your list of energy sources which will “run into issues of scarcity” that would make it an “undesirable fuels to use”?

if one neglects the risk and hidden costs of mining it.

Oh, so the problem isn’t a scarcity issue. Your claiming that the problem is with the risk and hidden cost to mine it. Well, first, what’s the risk of mine coal. What risk are you talking about, and isn’t this risk already priced into coal? And what energy source will be risk free? Second, what’s the “hidden” cost of mining coal? Is there a cost of mining coal that we don’t know about because it’s been hidden from us?
And do the “risk” or “hidden” cost have anything to do with CO2? If so, then you’re using circular logic.

Wood seemed inexhaustible — until we cut down all the trees from from measurable fractions of the surface area of the world to burn for fuel

What?? When did this happen, and why didn’t anyone tell me that all the trees have been cut down. Wait…I just saw trees today…actually I saw lots of trees…what are you talking about??

but oil fields proved finite and ever more expensive to find and exploit

Peak oil is so last decade, Dude. Get up to speed. And if oil is so expensive, then it will price itself right out of the energy market, right?

I (as a physicist) can see precisely two energy resources capable of sustaining the human race ‘indefinitely’ — long enough that we will have recognizably evolved long before we run out. One is solar energy.

As a physicist you should know that far too little solar energy/area hits the surface of the earth for it to be broadly useful – even if conversion was 100% efficient.

The other is thermonuclear fusion. . . Geothermal and hydroelectric are distant runners up

Feel free to explain why fission doesn’t make your list – even your runner up list. Cookie cutter plants that are inexpensive to regulate and operate.

in my opinion — a worthy goal for the human race in the 21st century, that is to say, now, is to pursue two goals before all others. . . the other is complete energy independence

(Obviously, you mean independence from fossil fuels not domestic independence.)
Fine, so initiate the project, but utilize efficient project management principles. Don’t irrationally attempt to accelerate lab experiments into infrastructure builds that we all know will be inefficient and deliver an negative EROEI. That’s pure stupidity.
If fact, we shouldn’t over expend our precious resources on developing energy technologies faster than what’s efficient. Don’t enlist the services of 9 women in your attempt to produce a baby in 1 month. It’s expensive and won’t work anyway. It will still take 9 months.
You even said, that we have centuries to solve this problem. It doesn’t make sense to pretend that we only have 20 years – unless you’re worried about a CO2 tipping point – which after everything you’ve written – seems to be your obvious concern.

the establishment of a steady state civilization that does not rely on a fundamentally scarce resource that more or less guarantees a kind of creeping erosion of wealth as it is slowly exhausted.

But you already admitted that coal isn’t really scarce so this ruins your conclusion. Try again.

July 21, 2012 6:50 pm

rgb,
You have more patience than I would under the circumstances. Much appreciated.

Greg House
July 21, 2012 6:54 pm

rgbatduke says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm
Neither will Greg House, or any of the others that make absurd statements about radiation being unable to be reflected back to a warm surface and thereby slow its cooling….space blanket … trapping your own body’s radiation — an “experiment”
==================================================
Of course, it is an “experiment”, but not the experiment.
A blanket reduces or prevents convection and you feel a warmer air therefore, warmed by your own energy, this is what people knew before there was the word “physics”. Then 150 years ago the first warmists came up with the idea of “back radiation”. By the way, the father of warmism Tyndall also had an idea about “cold radiation” inducing cold. This has a potential. After the warmism is eventually dead the “climate scientists” can use it. The “physics” is very simple and obvious: just hold the hand above a frozen chicken and you will feel cold, this must be “cold radiation”! I am sorry, but this is the level the warmism functions on.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 7:08 pm

rgbatduke say:

I do declare, with people like you “helping” the skeptical “cause”, it doesn’t need to be opposed — the real warmists of the world can just point at you and wait for people to stop laughing themselves to death.

Indeed.

Which is a logical fallacy, of course — you can disbelieve in CAGW because a pink unicorn came to you in a dream and told you to and still be right, just as they can be supported by not entirely implausible arguments and still be wrong, and wise people look at the arguments themselves and not individuals

Yeah…It is a logical fallacy. But, I think it also does illustrate an important point which is that no matter how good the science is on some particular matter, you will have people not believing it simply by virtue of the fact that it goes against what they want to believe. In particular, it illustrates the fallacy in the claim that the various arguments that you see here and at other websites demonstrate that the science of AGW is clearly too unsettled (to take any policy action), or, to put it another way, it demonstrates the dubiousness of claims to the effect that “If scientists could provide sufficiently strong evidence of AGW then I would be convinced. The fact that I am not convinced demonstrates that the science is not sufficiently strong.”

Greg House
July 21, 2012 7:15 pm

Faux Science Slayer says:
July 21, 2012 at 8:40 am
Therefore the absorbed incoming IR is 20 times the available absorbed outgoing.
=================================================
Could you please elaborate on the issue of incoming IR? Because warmists have made the solar IR disappear, thus avoiding the necessity to account for, let us say, “inverted CO2 effect” of CO2 letting less solar energy arrive at the surface thus contributing to cooling.

July 21, 2012 7:22 pm

joel shore says:
“If you think the current scientific consensus is wrong, it is your job to change the consensus by convincing the scientists of the correctness of your views. If you instead choose instead to influence policy by making either ignorant or deceptive arguments to the public, then scientists will generally conclude that you are trying not to change the consensus but basically just to subvert the role of science in our society when the current scientific consensus disagrees with what you want it to say.”
Exactly. And as it happens, the scientific consensus states overwhelmingly that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere:

The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

That statement was co-signed by more than 31,400 scientists, all with degrees in the hard sciences — including more than 9,000 PhD’s.
That is the true consensus regarding the effect of CO2 on the biosphere. A small minority in the alarmist crowd pretends they represent the consensus. But clearly, they do not: numerous attempts to obtain as many signatures on their alarmist counter-petitions have ended in abject failure. The total number of signatures attempting to dispute the OISM Petition is but a very small fraction of the OISM numbers. Even if the OISM co-signers were reduced by two-thirds, they would still heavily outnumber the alarmist so-called ‘consensus’. And most of the same names appear repeatedly on the various alarmist counter petitions, so their number is smaller still.
Therefore, the real consensus regarding the effects of CO2 is heavily in favor of the OISM Petition as stated above. There is no scientific evidence showing that CO2 is harmful. In fact, at both current and projected concentrations, more CO2 is better. There is no downside.
If joel shore wants to try and convince the consensus of scientists that he is right and they are all wrong, he has an uphill battle. As shore says: “If you think the current scientific consensus is wrong, it is your job to change the consensus by convincing the scientists of the correctness of your views. If you instead choose instead to influence policy by making either ignorant or deceptive arguments to the public, then scientists will generally conclude that you are trying not to change the consensus but basically just to subvert the role of science in our society when the current scientific consensus disagrees with what you want it to say.” That all applies directly to joel shore, who constantly makes deceptive statements. The onus is on him, not on the true consensus of scientific skeptics.
joel shore is trying to subvert the role of science in our society, because the current scientific consensus disagrees with what he wishes it would say. The true consensus is heavily on the side of scientific skeptics — as is the scientific evidence, which challenges the mistaken conjecture that CO2 causes any harm. It does not, as the lack of any supporting evidence shows.

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 7:25 pm

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
Every day, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of engineers all over the world use the exact principles and equations that rgb is explaining to design everything from boilers to ovens to nuclear reactors to freezers…. the list is endless. These things work because that’s how the physcis works and if it didn’t, the designs would fail. But they don’t. Yet House et all still insist that the physics is wrong. Do they suppose that hundreds of thousands of engineers world wide are secretly using completely different physics than what is in the text books? Do they think that engineering is somehow not physics?
If so much were not at stake, this would simply be amusing. But the point is that there IS much at stake, so I find it as frustrating and aggravating as rgb (though he is much more eloquent in his expression of disgust 😉 ).
The research that has been done to arrive at the equations is public. The experiments used to verify the equations is public. The results have been summarized in text books that are used by theoretical physicists and applied physicists (engineers) are public. The products that are designed and built upon these very physics are all around us, every single day, by the tens and hundreds of millions. How much more can it take?
Unfortunately, crass and willful stupidity are also public.

wobble
July 21, 2012 7:36 pm

rgbatduke says:
July 21, 2012 at 8:08 am
what really is a reasonable strategy of investment in the present, while we wait for sufficient data to improve our estimates?

Here’s your answer: Less than what the world is spending now.
Try to remember that technological advances accelerate over time. If you believe that the equivalent of $30 trillion is a reasonable bet against probability weighted negative effects of warming and that such warming will start to negatively impact the world’s wealth within 30 years, then it’s irrational to start spending $1 trillion per year now.
Again, it’s cheaper to hire one woman and allow for 9 months to have a baby. Throwing excessive resources in an attempt to overly accelerate technological development is a waste of resources. Acceleration will occur naturally, and, more importantly, resources can be better focused at a time when they are more valuable (later in time) after more promising directions are identified.
Also, it’s strange that you framed the question of resource spend from a game “winning” perspective when it’s quite clearly more appropriate to use an insurance and/or risk management framework. Do you know anything about these?

Greg House
July 21, 2012 7:43 pm

joeldshore says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm
If you think the current scientific consensus is wrong, it is your job to change the consensus by convincing the scientists of the correctness of your views.
========================================================
The problem with the alleged “scientific consensus on climate change” is that it does not exist. This can be very easily derived from a well known study: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/30/consensus-argument-proves-climate-science-is-political/#comment-972119

Greg House
July 21, 2012 7:54 pm

davidmhoffer says:
July 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm
Yet House et all still insist that the physics is wrong… hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of engineers…The experiments used to verify the equations is public…
====================================================
Physics is just fine. Warmism is not.
“Experiments used to verify the equations is public”… What experiments? All the warmists presented was unrelated stuff like “space blanket” or fakes like the recent one from Al Gore.
Why would Al Gore resort to a fake if he could present a genuine one? The only rational answer would be: he desperately needed one but had no other choice.
Come on, do not beat around the bush with your “millions of engineers”…

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 8:10 pm

Because Mr House, Mr Gore is as incompetant as you.

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 8:14 pm

Physics is just fine. Warmism is not.
>>>>>>>
LOL
ROFLMAO

July 21, 2012 8:14 pm

Greg House inquires about a comment from Faux Science Slayer
July 21, 2012 at 8:40 am
Therefore the absorbed incoming IR is 20 times the available absorbed outgoing.
=================================================
Greg, this starts with a confusion between IRs. IR from the sun (the solar spectrum) extends from ~0.8 to 2.5 microns or so. The region between 0.8 and ~2 microns is call the near IR usually written NIR. There is very little overlap with the region where the greenhouse gases absorb, 2.5 to 20 microns, often called the fingerprint region or mid-IR. Beyond 20 microns you have the far IR (FIR, who said chemists were very original), where water vapor rotational lines are strong.
This is compounded by the usual error of comparing the solar insolation at the sun with the solar insolation at the surface or at the top of the atmosphere. When you do so, the incoming solar, less outgoing reflection (albedo), matches the outgoing IR. If the incoming NIR were really 20 x the outgoing mid/far IR, then the Earth would be hotter than Venus.

LazyTeenager
July 21, 2012 8:16 pm

Now it’s not impossible that since (a) in addition to radiation, heat is transferred from the Earth’s surface to greenhouse gases via conduction, and (b) convection currents (i) circulate the heated greenhouse gases to higher altitudes where energy transfer to space can take place and (ii) return cooler greenhouse gases to the Earth’s surface, that the process of heat transfer away from the Earth’s surface via greenhouse gases is more efficient than simple radiation from the Earth’s surface.
—————–
It is impossible, assuming I have penetrated the meaning of the obfuscating language.
The green house gases radiating heat into outer space are less efficient at radiating heat than the solid surface is. They do the best job they can but exposing the surface directly to space would be better.
It’s because the heat from the surface has to be transported aloft by convection, the gas cools in the process and so CO2 at -30C and H2O at 0C is radiating heat to space. If there were no atmospheric green house gases the surface at 20C can radiate to space and hotter means more efficient.
Try thinking about adding more matter to your engine in the form of insulation, or just restricting air flow through the engine bay, or adding more matter in the form of rust to your engine cooling system. The engine still has to get rid of the same amount of heat, but the engine core gets hotter.
The surface area argument is also not enough. The atmosphere is a very thin layer relative to the radius of the earth, so the gain in radiating area going from surface to top of atmosphere is minuscule.

Policy Guy
July 21, 2012 8:17 pm

For anyone still paying attention at the end of this blog…
The other day I put together a visual of 393 ppm CO2. This number reduces quite nicely to 4 parts per ten thousand. So I bought a plastic bottle with 10,000 bright yellow airsoft BB’s and removed its cardboard central piece to reveal an unobstructed view of all 10,000 BB’s to the viewing world. I then added 4 bright blue airsoft BB’s of the same size.
You can guess the result. Every now and then a single or partial blue will appear or can be identified as one shakes and turns the container. But it is an empty barren field overwhelmed by a sea of yellow. And the blue represents the concentration of a near inert gas. Are highly government grant paid “climate scientists” serious about this? What a joke!! Ask any other scientific discipline, unless their pay is now contingent on the success of the findings after these grants filter through the various “independent” institutions, what their thoughts are on this point.
Think of this as $4 vs $10,000. Or think of it in any equivalent way, the result is the same. How much influence does the expenditure of $4 have on $10,000?
CO2 is rising yes, in 1960 CO2 was somewhere around 300 ppm. I guess that means that in fifty years I can add one additional blue airsoft BB? Maybe it screams to 500 ppm in half that time. Do I add the single additional BB in 25 years? Lets see that would be near 2040, is that a cataclismic date for some? Check the jar. What do you see? Check the non visual models, what are you told.

July 21, 2012 8:23 pm

Konrad says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm
My very simple question for Joeldshore and Eli Rabett, can non condensing radiative gasses such as CO2 radiate as IR energy they have acquired conductively?
If you mean by conduction, T-V (translational to vibrational) energy transfer, yes.

LazyTeenager
July 21, 2012 8:24 pm

Greg House says
“Experiments used to verify the equations is public”… What experiments? All the warmists presented was unrelated stuff like “space blanket” or fakes like the recent one from Al Gore.
—————
You simply have not looked far enough. Rather than look on the Internet, which has to much crap and you will not be able to sort out what is crap or not, I suggest you go to a library.
The Al Gore experiment was rubbish. It’s more difficult to do properly than a naive view would expect. But it can be done. Why don’t you do it?

wobble
July 21, 2012 8:30 pm

Policy Guy says:
July 21, 2012 at 8:17 pm
CO2 is rising yes

I like the idea of having 7 bottles labeled 1960, 1970, . . . , 2010, and 2020. Then, each should have the appropriate number of blue BBs. This can be used as a visual display of the increasing CO2 problem.
Can you provide a link to the type of container that you purchased?

eyesonu
July 21, 2012 8:33 pm

joeldshore says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm
==============
I will give you an opportunity to carefully read and edit your comment. Seems to be somewhat of a ramble. Seems to me that you have switched roles and wrote a comment that would be more appropriately directed to the comment you wrote.

eyesonu
July 21, 2012 8:39 pm

dp says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm
You might get a better example than your engine block for heat transfer problems from this document. It’s a very interesting read.
http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/supplement/Presby_Engineer_Degree_Thesis.pdf
==============
Interesting. Lotsa deep comprehension required. The heat pipe was the limit for me at one sitting. Very interesting concept there. I’ll add the rest of the paper to my vast wealth of useless knowledge later. It’s that need to know kind of thing!

Policy Guy
July 21, 2012 8:45 pm

BTW.
Try it yourselves. Its quite revealing and a lot of fun. Start with a jar of 10,000. (I should have taken four yellows out, but I didn’t – you can). The main point of this exercise is that you will have your atmosphere jar, tuned to CO2 influence.

F. Ross
July 21, 2012 8:50 pm


@O H Dahlsveen says:
On the “Dark side of the Earth” convection only happens at and around the Urban Heat Islands (UHIs).

It is probably pointless to ask you this, but have you never observed, on a moonlit night, the growth of a beautiful cumulus cloud over a distant mountain far away from any possible urban heat island?

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 8:52 pm

I’m not certain why I am still hanging around this thread, but Policy Guy has finally posited an objection that has a certain amount of merit. If you’re prepared to be open minded Policy Guy, I will attempt to explain by extending your analogy.
Imagine for a moment that your jar is the same diameter it is now, but 50,000 feet tall. The blue bb’s are mixed in the exact same ratio as they were before. If I guess that your original jar was say 1 foot tall, that would be 200,000 blue bb’s in the jar. Still only four in ten thousand, but in this use case, scale matters.
What would the cross section be of a single bb? We know that 10,000 fill a 1 foot tall jar, so clearly the cross section of the jar would be something less than 10,000. Let’s take a wild guess and say that it takes 100 bb’s to “cover” the bottom of the jar. Clearly, in a one foot tall jar, four bb’s could don’t even come close to that. But in the 50,000 foot jar, we’ve got 200,000 blue bb’s.
Now imagine a photon going from bottom of the jar to the top in a straight line. The rule that the photon has to follow is that if it hits a yellow bb, it goes straight through. But if it hits a blue bb, it has to stop and take off again in a random direction.
Obviously, in the one foot tall jar, the chance of a photon encountering a blue bb is almost zero. But in the 50,000 foot jar, the possibility that a photon will travel in a straight line without encountering a single blue bb is about zero. The area of “coverage” of 200,000 blue bb’s exceeds the cross sectional area of the bottom of the jar by many, many, many time. By chance, perhaps they are all stacked up in a row on one side? Not likely.
So you can imagine that poor photon trying to escape. Even though Mr Photon only needs to avoid 4 in 10,000 blue bb’s, the chance that there is a straight line through 50,000 feet is pretty much nil. That photon will hit many bb’s and change direction many times before finaly escaping from the top of the jar.
Now double the number of bb’s from 4 per 10,000 to 8 per 10,000. In one foot of jar, that’s almost meaningless. In the 50,000 foot jar, the number of collisions that photon will have with blue bb’s just went way up. There will be many more collisions, and it will take longer for the photon to get out.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 8:59 pm

Police Guy says:

The other day I put together a visual of 393 ppm CO2. This number reduces quite nicely to 4 parts per ten thousand. So I bought a plastic bottle with 10,000 bright yellow airsoft BB’s and removed its cardboard central piece to reveal an unobstructed view of all 10,000 BB’s to the viewing world. I then added 4 bright blue airsoft BB’s of the same size.

You might try a similar visual to show how, say, a few parts per million of plutonium in the air would certainly not cause you any harm!
Smokey says:

That statement was co-signed by more than 31,400 scientists, all with degrees in the hard sciences — including more than 9,000 PhD’s.
That is the true consensus regarding the effect of CO2 on the biosphere…

It is amusing that you think that consensus in science is determined by designing a Soviet-style election whereby only “YES” votes are recorded. And, furthermore, when no attempt is made to determine the qualifications of the signers….Oh wow, they have some sort of degree in “the hard sciences” (rather loosely defined)…Boy is that ever impressive! I love how you guys quibble about the details of how a rigorous poll of scientists is conducted but will then believe something like this that is about as far from scientific as you can possibly get.

But clearly, they do not: numerous attempts to obtain as many signatures on their alarmist counter-petitions have ended in abject failure.

That is probably because attempts to circulate such petitions have actually involved the novel idea of only including signers that are clearly qualified to have an informed opinion on the subject…and because organizations representing many, many more than 31000 scientists have made their position on the science crystal clear.
The process of using science to inform public policy actually has defined ways of doing it, of producing consensus documents, that have served our society well. The fact that you even put the OISM petition in the same category is embarrassing.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 9:00 pm

rgbatduke says:

I do declare, with people like you “helping” the skeptical “cause”, it doesn’t need to be opposed — the real warmists of the world can just point at you and wait for people to stop laughing themselves to death.

Indeed.

Which is a logical fallacy, of course — you can disbelieve in CAGW because a pink unicorn came to you in a dream and told you to and still be right, just as they can be supported by not entirely implausible arguments and still be wrong, and wise people look at the arguments themselves and not individuals

Yeah…It is a logical fallacy. But, I think it also does illustrate an important point which is that no matter how good the science is on some particular matter, you will have people not believing it simply by virtue of the fact that it goes against what they want to believe. In particular, it illustrates the fallacy in the claim that the various arguments that you see here and at other websites demonstrate that the science of AGW is clearly too unsettled (to take any policy action), or, to put it another way, it demonstrates the dubiousness of claims to the effect that “If scientists could provide sufficiently strong evidence of AGW then I would be convinced. The fact that I am not convinced demonstrates that the science is not sufficiently strong.”

paulinuk
July 21, 2012 9:01 pm

I’ve another simple question for Joel Shore etc : If ”non- radiative” gasses such as N2 and O2, H2 can’t radiate thermal energy in the IR that they have acquired through conduction then a jet of N2 or O2 at 15c emitted by a spacecraft in a vacuum wouldn’t show up on an IR thermal camera would it (but a jet of C02 at 15c would)? The simple experiment’s been done, hasn’t it?
Couldn’t we then use O2,N2,H2 to store vast amounts of energy so long as they were in deep space and as you say they “can’t radiate” much? Just imagine, we could heat up H2 to a million degrees and hardly no heat would radiate from it.

joeldshore
July 21, 2012 9:25 pm

Smokey:
As a public service, let me give you a tip to help you evaluate the quality of your argument. Imagine the reverse situation: Let’s say that the overwhelming fraction of the peer-reviewed papers say that the human increase in CO2 levels is harmless or even beneficial. Let’s say that this opinion is also expressed in statements by the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S. and the analogous bodies in all the G8+5 nations, by the councils of the AGU, APS, AMS, etc.
However, let’s say that there are environmentalists who disagree and argue that it is just grant funding that is biasing the scientists who are then acting as gate-keepers of the journals, that the NAS and other bodies’ statements just represent a small fraction of their members, etc., etc. As evidence, they cite a petition produced by Greenpeace that bombarded the mailboxes as scientists at academic institutions (and maybe other scientific institutions) across the country (world?) with a propaganda piece arguing how the rise in CO2 is dangerous was and then asked them to sign a petition to this effect. And, let’s say 31000 of scientists did and that they supposedly all had some sort of “hard science” degree.
Can you honestly tell me that you would conclude that there is a consensus that the rise in CO2 is dangerous?
Process does matter, Smokey. It is not always about warping reality to fit your ideological worldview.

Policy Guy
July 21, 2012 9:25 pm

My it’s quiet isn’t it. It must be getting late.

Greg House
July 21, 2012 9:26 pm

davidmhoffer says:
July 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm
If I guess that your original jar was say 1 foot tall, that would be 200,000 blue bb’s in the jar. Still only four in ten thousand, but in this use case, scale matters… Now imagine a photon going from bottom of the jar to the top in a straight line…
=======================================================
Very nice calculation. Now imagine instead of “a photon” let’s say 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999…… photons. A little bit closer to reality than your “a photon”, you know.
I am looking to your scientific explanation of the destiny of these poor photons.
And please think of a freezer or a frozen chicken as a heating device (see above).

gymnosperm
July 21, 2012 9:40 pm

Joel,
Darn it, I lost your comment but the jist was, ” you seem to be arguing that at some point the atmosphere increases in temperature.”
I would agrue that.
Carbon dioxide seems to be getting into the stratosphere. I doubt anyone knows how. Ozone holes? The tops of those thunderheads that dome in? As you undoubtedly know at the tropopause the lapse rate is inverted and temperature increases with altitude, eventually reaching levels nearly as warm as the surface.
I’m going to leave the math to you, but the trouble with, “It’s not difficult to calculate”, and, “It’s simple physics”, is that the reality seems not to be easy or simple.
One could argue for Occam if the empirical evidence for warming suggested anything nearly proportional to CO2 emissions…

Policy Guy
July 21, 2012 9:45 pm

David,
First, I am very open minded about your response. I’m not sure that I agree, but I am glad that you posted.
By doing so, you have opened the door for different responses from a whole host of many. I am very interested in how to best interpret my small attempt to represent current data as experimental hands on observations.
OK you want to talk about a 100,000 foot jar vs my 1 foot jar, the concentration will be the same. Why is that different from a warming viewpoint?
Again, I am trying to come up with a visual presentation of the current, past and future concentrations of atmospheric CO2. How can I make this attempt better?
Thank you

Gary Hladik
July 21, 2012 9:50 pm

davidmhoffer says (July 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm): “I’m not certain why I am still hanging around this thread…”
For what it’s worth, those of us still reading (yes, both of us) appreciate the efforts of both you and RGB. 🙂

Policy Guy
July 21, 2012 10:17 pm

davidmhoffer says:
July 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm
Is there a way we could talk some more? Can this site facilitate a connection if you agree?

Gary Hladik
July 21, 2012 10:46 pm

Policy Guy says (July 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm): “OK you want to talk about a 100,000 foot jar vs my 1 foot jar, the concentration will be the same. Why is that different from a warming viewpoint?”
davidmhoffer was illustrating that a short column of the earth’s atmosphere may transmit most of the IR radiation passing through it, but a column the height of the atmosphere may be essentially opaque. The real life situation is illlustrated in the diagram accompanying Reed’s article, which shows 100% of the earth’s outgoing thermal radiation absorbed by the atmosphere at certain wavelengths (mostly by water vapor and carbon dioxide).

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 10:55 pm

Policy Guy;
OK you want to talk about a 100,000 foot jar vs my 1 foot jar, the concentration will be the same. Why is that different from a warming viewpoint?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Imagine that the yellow bb’s are instead invisible. Look at the jar from the side. You’d see a spec of blue here and there, but you’d have to really look closely to find them. Now look at the jar from the top looking straight down. You would see solid blue.
By doubling the number of blue bb’s from 4 in 10k to 8 in 10k, that blue would become thicker. Photons coming up from the bottom, each carrying a tiny parcel of energy, would spend a lot more time working their way up to escape, and some of them would actually wind up going back down and hitting the bottom of the jar, raising itz temperature higher than it otherwise would have been. So, looking at the blue bb’s from the side makes them look insignificant. Looking at them distributed randomly in a vertical column 50,000 feet tall makes them suddenly look pretty thick, and doubling the number from 4 in 10k to 8 in 10k should obviously make a difference to how long it takes any given photon on average to escape, and also raises the chances that any given photon might bounce around to the point that it gets all the way back down, raising the temperature of the surface.
I think it gets tricky to use this analogy beyond that. By doubling the number of blue bb’s, the math regarding how many times any given photon does what get’s tricky. The point here is that if one starts with 4 and adds 4 to make 8, one would get an effect of X. Will adding 4 more for a total of 12 make it 2X? NO! To get 2X we’d need to add 8 for a total of 16. This is why the IPCC refers to 1 degree of warming per doubling of CO2. They explain in detail that pre industrial concentrations were 280 ppm, and so doubling that would raise the temperature one degree. What they gloss over is that it has been more than a century since we were at 280 ppm. The concentration today is close to 400 ppm. So, to get one more degree out of CO2 from where we are TODAY, we ‘d need to add another 400 ppm which at current rates will take about 2 more centuries. To get 2 degrees, we need to get to 1600 ppm which would take a rather long time.
How to represent that with blue and yellow bb’s, I’m not sure. My original point was to show that scale matters, and makes even a trace gas significant when you consider the entire path from surface to top of atmosphere. To extend the analogy further, we’d want to add red bb’s, about 400 of them per 10,000 yellows, to represent water vapour, because water vapour also absorbs (though not as well) in the same spectrum as CO2. To make matters more complicated still, we’d want to vary the concentration of red bb’s from 400 at the bottom, to a decreasing number of almost zero at the top, because as we rise in altitude, temperature declines, and the amount of water vapour that the atmosphere can hold declines with temperature.
Then, we’d want some way to add still more red bb’s in some ratio over time, because in theory, as the temperature rises, the holding capacity of atmosphere for water vapour also increases, so adding blue bb’s means a bit layer in time we’d have to add some more red ones as well.
Where things seem to fall apart for the warmist side is that the red bb’s aren’t increasing in concentration with temperature as expected. So even though warmer air CAN hold more water vapour, it doesn’t mean that it will, and the latest NASA data seems to show that it is holding LESS not more. I could introduce other aspects of the photons path to space that we could explain with the bb analogy, but as you can see it is getting pretty complicated already and we’ve only scratched the surface in regard to all the factors at play.
My contention is that the real achiles heel of the warmist meme is threefold.
1. The logarithmic nature of CO2 (1 degree of warming per doubling of CO2) means that, based on CURRENT concentrations, we’d have to burn stupid amounts of fossil fuel for centuries to get just a couple of degrees of warming.
2. The IPCC assumes feedbacks from increased water vapour and other factors that give a 3:1 boost to the effects of CO2. We’re certainly not seeing anything close to that, and in fact there is growing evidence that the feedbacks may in fact be negative.
3. All the historical and geological records point to the biosphere being most productive at temperatures warmer than we have today, and human civilization thriving in those temperatures and suffering greatly at lower ones. We can’t eat ice! I’m not afraid of a warmer earth, I embrace it. Unortunately I don’t think we’re capable warming it up enough to matter with CO2 even if we were doing it on purpose.

Gary Hladik
July 21, 2012 10:55 pm

joeldshore says (July 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm): “However, let’s say that there are environmentalists who disagree and argue that it is just grant funding that is biasing the scientists…”
Um, Joel, there’s no “grant funding” for saying everything is fine, nothing to see, move along… Of course, that hasn’t stopped some “environmentalists” from saying there is. Anthony, how big was this month’s check from Big Coal? 🙂

davidmhoffer
July 21, 2012 10:59 pm

Policy Guy says:
July 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm
davidmhoffer says:
July 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm
Is there a way we could talk some more? Can this site facilitate a connection if you agree?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
mods, please feel free to pass my email address to Policy Guy.

Michael Tremblay
July 21, 2012 11:03 pm

davidmhoffer says:
July 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm
Every day, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of engineers all over the world use the exact principles and equations that rgb is explaining to design everything from boilers to ovens to nuclear reactors to freezers…. the list is endless. These things work because that’s how the physcis works and if it didn’t, the designs would fail.
—–
Ironically this is one of the reasons why I do not believe the GHG radiative warming effect exists (or if it does exist it only very marginal). If the physics is there why hasn’t an engineer designed an engine to take advantage of the effect?
I challenge anyone – create an experiment which will create a ‘Runaway Greenhouse Effect’ using a synthetic atmosphere which will take advantage of the GHG radiative warming effect. Create any experiment which will take advantage of GHG’s to create an engine which will run on radiative energy alone.

July 21, 2012 11:09 pm

Eli Rabbit writes “This slows down the rate at which the Earth emits to space because it is now radiating at higher, colder altitudes”
Easy to say but harder to prove. At that increased altitude it is still the CO2 molecules that radiate according to a probability they have sufficient energy to do so. If you have more of them (as is the assumption that the atmosphere is well mixed) then you have more of them radiating.
Eli writes at his blog “Decreasing temperature slows down the rate at which each molecule can emit while decreasing density means there are fewer greenhouse gas molecules available to absorb or radiate the energy.”
Fewer than down lower thats true, but still more than there were previously at that altitude. so whilst they may be radiating less often, you cant escape the fact there are more of them doing so and its not at all intuitive what the net result is.

David
July 21, 2012 11:15 pm

Dear RGB, please excuse my poorly articulated (Layman terminolgy) questions in the last paragraph of this post. Please follow the few posts to understand the questions in the last post, and, if you please, provide an answer, or answers if possible.
Can GHGs in the atmosphere receive conducted energy from non GHGs, (I think this is how they form a LTE; local thermal equilibrium) and then radiate that energy away?
If the answer to this question is yes, then are not those CO2 molecules (the ones which receive conducted energy from non GHGs) accelerating the loss of energy to space, which, in the absence of GHGs, would not be able to leave the atmosphere?
====================================================
Eli responds: Thee is a relatively rapid transfer of vibrational to kinetic energy in ghg molecules that absorb photons so essentially all greenhouse gas molecules that absorb photons do not re-radiate the energy (the radiation rate is five to six orders of magnitude slower, so only one in a million will reradiate promptly. OTOH there will be some ghg molecules that are excited by other collisions, the proportion being controlled by the local temperature.
=================================
Robert Austin says:
So the bulk non GHG’s which do not radiate appreciably at normal temperatures are the medium of storage and transport of the heat energy apprehended by the GHG’s,
About six percent of all CO2 at STP is vibrationally excited by the local thermodynamic equilibrium (2 fold degenerate, ~700 cm-1 vibrational energy, and 300K is ~200 cm-1), so essentially 6% is always ready to radiate, of course which molecules are excited is a constantly changing dance, but the amount of emission measured at various altitudes is in accord with this BOE,
===============================
Eli Rabett says:
July 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm
Konrad says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm
My very simple question for Joeldshore and Eli Rabett, can non condensing radiative gasses such as CO2 radiate as IR energy they have acquired conductively?
If you mean by conduction, T-V (translational to vibrational) energy transfer, yes
======================================
So, RGB the answer appears to be yes, but poorly quantified….”About six percent of all CO2 at STP is vibrationally excited by the local thermodynamic equilibrium (2 fold degenerate, ~700 cm-1 vibrational energy, and 300K is ~200 cm-1), so essentially 6% is always ready to radiate…”, OR…”so only one in a million will reradiate promptly. OTOH there will be some ghg molecules that are excited by other collisions, the proportion being controlled by the local temperature.”
So my questions are as follows. How much of the non GHG energy is radiated to space via collision with GHG molecues? If the GHG molecues were not present, how much longer would this energy stay within the atmosphere if it could only be conducted and convected about, but not radiated to space. And, as additional GHG molecues speed the escape of conducted Non GHG energy, would not this reduced residence time of conducted non GHG energy have to be subtracted from the increased residence time of IR energy raqdiating from the surface, and backradiating from the GHG molecues? TSI incoming is a consistent flow, so the energy gained or lost by either radiating conducted non ghg energy out, or keeping surface energy within the atmosphere is porportional to the residence time of the energies affected.

TimTheToolMan
July 21, 2012 11:22 pm

Konrad writes “CO2 almost instantly re-radiates the outgoing IR radiation it intercepts, with around 50% of this radiated back towards the Earth’s surface.”
Not so. At sea level, the CO2 almost instantly gives up its absorbed energy to the rest of the atmosphere due to a collision. Collisions happen on the order of every 10^-7 seconds whereas it takes on average 10^-3 seconds to radiate. CO2 at sea level is a warming agent for the atmosphere and it occurrs right at ground level within tens of meters.
Ref : Pierrehumbert’s “Infrared radiation and planetary temperature”
http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/PhysTodayRT2011.pdf
Much further up in the atmosphere where collisions are less frequent this changes and is a fundamental property of the atmosphere that is not mentioned when it comes to the average altitude of radiation to space. It should be though.

JPeden
July 21, 2012 11:27 pm

Eli Rabett says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:39 am
“To maintain radiative balance (sun in, IR out) the entire Earth system warms until the temperature rises enough in the mid troposphere to restore the balance.”
But since Mainstream Climate Science’s predicted Tropical Tropospheric “Hot Spot” has not eventuated, then according to “the physics” of Mainstream Climate Science’s CO2 = GW hypothesis: there has been no “entire earth system” GW and in particular, no Global Mean Temperature increase.

July 22, 2012 12:54 am

David says
Now imagine a photon going from bottom of the jar to the top in a straight line. The rule that the photon has to follow is that if it hits a yellow bb, it goes straight through….
Henry says
Well, this where you all go wrong. Carefully look at the picture that this post starts with. Ozone re-radiates more sunlight then earthshine. Water vapor re-radiates strongly in the IR coming from the sun, as does CO2.
Greg is right. You have to make a balancesheet and show us how much warming and how much cooling is caused by each GHG.
Look at water vapor and CO2 around 2 um and see how that makes a dent in the incoming solar radiation. Notice that the ozone shields us from ca. 15-20% of all sunlight by absorbing and re-radiating in the UV region. In fact, if you really grasp what you are seeing in this graph/ representation (from a cloudless day), you would realize that without the ozone and CO2 and H2O and other GHG’s you will get a lot more radiation on your head. In fact, you would probably fry.
For comprehensive proof that CO2 is (also) cooling the atmosphere by re-radiating sunshine, see here:
http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/0004-637X/644/1/551/64090.web.pdf?request-id=76e1a830-4451-4c80-aa58-4728c1d646ec
They measured this re-radiation from CO2 as it bounced back to earth from the moon. So the direction was sun-earth (day)-moon(unlit by sun) -earth (night). Follow the green line in fig. 6, bottom. Note that it already starts at 1.2 um, then one peak at 1.4 um, then various peaks at 1.6 um and 3 big peaks at 2 um. You can see that it all comes back to us via the moon in fig. 6 top & fig. 7. Note that even methane cools the atmosphere by re-radiating in the 2.2 to 2.4 um range.
This paper here shows that there is absorption of CO2 at between 0.21 and 0.19 um (close to 202 nm):
http://www.nat.vu.nl/en/sec/atom/Publications/pdf/DUV-CO2.pdf
There are other papers that I can look for again that will show that there are also absorptions of CO2 at between 0.18 and 0.135 um and between 0.125 and 0.12 um.
We already know from the normal IR spectra that CO2 has big absorption between 4 and 5 um.
So, to sum it up, we know that CO2 has absorption in the 14-16 um range causing some warming (by re-radiating earthshine) but as shown and proved above it also has a number of absorptions in the 0-5 um range causing cooling (by re-radiating sunshine). This cooling happens at all levels where the sunshine hits on the carbon dioxide same as the earthshine. The way from the bottom to the top is the same as from top to the bottom. So, my question is: how much cooling and how much warming is caused by the CO2? How was the experiment done to determine this and where are the test results? (I am afraid that simple heat retention testing might not work here, we have to use real sunshine and real earthshine to determine the effect in W/m3 / [0.03%- 0.06%]CO2/m2/24hours).
I am doubtful of the analysis of the spectral data. I have not seen any work that convinces me. In the case of CO2, I think the actual heat caused by the sun’s IR at 4-5 could be underestimated, i.e. the radiation of the sun between 4 and 5 may be only 1% of its total energy output, but how many Watts per m2 does it cause on earth? Here in Africa you cannot stand in the sun for longer than 10 minutes, just because of the heat (infra-red) of the sun on your skin.
In all of this we are still looking at pure gases. The discussion on clouds and the deflection of incoming radiation by clouds is still a completely different subject.
CO2 also causes cooling by taking part in the life cycle. Plants and trees need warmth and CO2 to grow – which is why you don’t see trees at high latitudes and – altitudes. It appears no one has any figures on how much this cooling effect might be. There is clear evidence that there has been a big increase in greenery on earth in the past 4 decades. Therefore, there is a good chance that the total net effect of more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be close to zero. But unless we come up with the right test methods and measurements, we will never know for sure. For more on why it is considered highly unlikely that CO2 is a contributory cause to global warming, see here:
http://www.letterdash.com/henryp/global-cooling-is-here.
Hint: plot the development of the speed of warming (maxima).
which now stands at
+ 0.036 K per annum from 1974 (38 years)
+ 0.029 K per annum from 1980 (32 years)
+0.014 K per annum from 1990 (22 years)
-0.016 K per annum from 2000 (12 years)

David
July 22, 2012 3:38 am

Henry, your post appears correct. Any solar spectrum chart shows that about 98% of that energy lies between about 250 nm in the UV and 4.0 microns; with the remaining as 1% left over at each end. Such graphs often have superimposed on them the actual ground level (air Mass once) spectrum; that shows the amounts of that energy taken out by primarily O2, O3, and H2O, in the case of H2O which absorbs in the visible and near IR perhaps 20% of the total solar energy is capture by water VAPOR (clear sky) clouds are an additional loss over and above that. So as WV increases there is a corresponding reduction in TSI reaching the surface, and therefore a reduction in LWIR leaving the surface.
However, certainly all this is quantified in the climate models? I know that Steve McIntyre has been requesting an engineer style describtion of the GHE for some time. regarding my question here, (David says: July 21, 2012 at 11:15 pm) do you have any thoughts on how much non GHG energy is conducted to GHGs and leaves (radiates to space) the earth atmosphere system faster then it would if their was less GHG?

Konrad
July 22, 2012 3:39 am

TimTheToolMan says: July 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm
———————————————————————
I have seen two basic theories of the greenhouse effect;
A- CO2 scatters 50% of outgoing LWIR it intercepts back to the surface slowing its rate of cooling.
B- CO2 directly heats the air molecules around it on intercepting outgoing LWIR.
I have found through empirical experiment that incident LWIR can slow the cooling rate of some materials, but not liquid water that is free to evaporatively cool. This rules out option A as a mechanism for CAGW.
You have chosen option B, stating “Not so. At sea level, the CO2 almost instantly gives up its absorbed energy to the rest of the atmosphere due to a collision. Collisions happen on the order of every 10^-7 seconds whereas it takes on average 10^-3 seconds to radiate”
If this rate of molecular collision directly equated to the speed of equalisation of energy states between molecules in air this would make air highly conductive and entirely unsuitable for use in double glazing.
Of course either option A or B as the primary CAGW mechanism matters little to the central question raised by Reed Coray’s post. No matter how CO2 is supposed to cause global warming, its ability to warm will be an inverse logarithmic function of its concentration in the atmosphere. However its ability to radiate to space energy it has acquired from conductive contact with Earth’s surface or atmosphere is a linear function of its concentration in the atmosphere.

QuantumPhysicistPhil
July 22, 2012 3:47 am

The real problem lies within the physics themselves, it is the application of the Stefan Boltzmann planetary temperature to Earth (AKA -18C incident to 240W/m^2 insolation avged/spread globally), you’re pretending the Earth has no thermal capacity and behaves in accordance to a blackbody surface recieving 240W/m^2 insolation, or something close to the above behavior. In reality you have a ROTATING SPHERE, recieving 480W/m^2 insolation over 1/2 the spherical area when applying Holder’s inequality…the energy recieved via the Sun is mostly retained at ‘night’ by the Ocean/Atmosphere system..the oceans feature NO Diurnal Cycle and are for all intents and purposes a greenhouse fluid retaining heat with an enormous capacity.. and conduct heavily to an atmosphere composed of 99.8% non-emitting Oxygen/Nitrogen molecules (Though O2 absorbs heavily in the UV Spectrum).
Most of the 33C warming over the planetary Stefan Boltzmann temperature is via retention..in fact it is H2O-laden convection (AKA cloud albedo)that reduces the retention-driven planetary warming..it should be clear that retention is the issue as the high-temp of the “day” never occurs at noon rather you’ll see it occur around 3PM…same goes for the seasons at the poles, only the lag is 8 weeks.
The concept of equilibrium between the surface and atmosphere above the surface is also nonsense. GHGes which compose an avg of 0.2% of the atmosphere have no discernable impact on temperature..if anything the effect is negative given the enhancing of the water cycle/general convection.
Third and most important..if the Greybody temperature is 255K (and this mythical emission height exists at 14kft), then in that case the stratopause should not avg -55C or the conservation of energy is violated..this is, however, for another time.

TimTheToolMan
July 22, 2012 4:52 am

Konrad writes “If this rate of molecular collision directly equated to the speed of equalisation of energy states between molecules in air this would make air highly conductive and entirely unsuitable for use in double glazing. ”
I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at there. The energy states of molecules in the atmosphere varies as per the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. There will always be some molecules at the energy state that CO2 needs to radiate but they wont all be CO2 molecules(!) and individually they wont stay there for long either.
That doesn’t make air a good conductor…

July 22, 2012 5:15 am

David says
However, certainly all this is quantified in the climate models?
Henry says
You are joking?
The so-called climate experts haven’t even figured out yet that there is a natural 50 year warming cycle followed by a 50 year cooling period –
Israel apparently knew about it (7×7 + 1 jubilee year) and I suspect Moses picked it up from the Egyptians, the pyramid builders, who were experts on everything that happened on the sun.
Did you do the plot and did you find the roots of the binominal (parabolic ) plot?
I am reasonably convinced that this cycle is caused by the sun-UV-O2-O3 cycle. The scare about the ozone falling was the greatest in the nineties when ozone was at its lowest, and it picked up since 1995, as can be expected by my theory….

Bucky Cochrane
July 22, 2012 6:07 am

Lester Via says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm
Bucky Cochrane says:
July 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm
The whole idea of GHG “absorbing heat” is erroneous. CO2 absorbs a photon, goes into the “bending” mode of molecular vibration and almost immediately radiates the photon which it absorbed. It cannot give up any fraction of this energy; there is no state between this 667 wavenumber excited state and its vibrational ground state. It cannot “warm the air”
Sorry Bucky but it does warm the air. The CO2 molecule is always vibrating from collisions with other air molecules. Due to these collisions, translational motion and vibratory motion are freely and very quickly exchanged at the gas pressures and temperatures typical of the lower atmosphere
Sorry, Lester, it does not warm the air. Explain yourself specifically without quoting specific heat ratios. etc. and vigorously waving your hands. The 010 state is a radiative decay state; look at CO2 laser diagrams. It would give over 1000C kinetic energy to a molecule if the 010 state were entirely converted to translational KE. How can all of the vibrational energy of CO2 molecules with atoms vibrating in opposite directions be converted to unidirectional KE? How is momentum conserved in such an interaction? PLUS, my model yields correct calculation of earth surface temperature. Remember, this ~.08 ev must be released in ONE interaction; there are no intermediate states. (Rotational states are in the micro wave region and will warm the gas, but we are not talking about microwave radiation) I am interested in your explanation if it is not a bunch of PY 101 platitudes.

joeldshore
July 22, 2012 6:30 am

JPeden says:

But since Mainstream Climate Science’s predicted Tropical Tropospheric “Hot Spot” has not eventuated, then according to “the physics” of Mainstream Climate Science’s CO2 = GW hypothesis: there has been no “entire earth system” GW and in particular, no Global Mean Temperature increase.

Your statement is very confused. Even if we assume you are correct about the data not showing the “hot spot”, that does not mean that things have not warmed. It just means that the places at altitude in the tropics that were expected to warm more rapidly than the surface have not warmed more rapidly than the surface. The most direct consequence of such a fact would be that the lapse rate feedback, a negative feedback in the climate models, shouldn’t be there and thus that the models may be UNDERESTIMATING the climate sensitivity a little bit.
However, the reality of the situation is that the data for the multidecadal trends in the tropics is not really good enough to conclude definitively whether the “hot spot” is missing or not. It is also noteworthy that the expected amplification of temperature variations with altitude does occur for temperature fluctuations over monthly to yearly time scales, severely constraining any explanations of how the models could be wrong in the basic prediction.

joeldshore
July 22, 2012 6:43 am

gymnosperm says (in reference to my comment here http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1039067 ):

Carbon dioxide seems to be getting into the stratosphere. I doubt anyone knows how. Ozone holes? The tops of those thunderheads that dome in? As you undoubtedly know at the tropopause the lapse rate is inverted and temperature increases with altitude, eventually reaching levels nearly as warm as the surface.
I’m going to leave the math to you, but the trouble with, “It’s not difficult to calculate”, and, “It’s simple physics”, is that the reality seems not to be easy or simple.

Yes, CO2 gets into the stratosphere; I don’t think there is any argument about that. However, the mean emitting level of the Earth, i.e., the level at which most of the radiation emitted can successfully escape to space is still well within the troposphere. So, the vast majority of the emission to space occurs from the troposphere. Hence, one is justified in assuming the lapse rate that I assumed. Any corrections to that by doing the calculation more rigorously might change things a little bit…but even if my original calculation was off by a factor of 3 (which seems unlikely), we are still talking about the cooling with the decreasing emitting layer temperature effect being 100 times as important as the increasing emitting layer area effect.

cba
July 22, 2012 7:11 am


Eli Rabett says:
July 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm
cba accuses Eli of being a character in a childrens novel and throws much detail against the wall which really does not shift the argument much. cb, if you want detail go read the science of doom articles on the greenhouse effect that KR provided. The mechanism remains what the Bunny pointed to.
http://scienceofdoom.com/roadmap/atmospheric-radiation-and-the-greenhouse-effect/

*************************
Perhaps you should try harder to make sense of it. The argument doesn’t have to shift much at all. A change of only from 3-5 deg C warming per co2 doubling down to around 1 deg C rise per co2 doubling changes things from CAGW to AGW or CGW to GW.
I didn’t have time to go completely over your reference – whose political affiliations are prominantly contained in the name of the website. I did notice that all the graphs were done using /cm instead of wavelength which tends to be more like speaking in ebonics rather than in english – quite understandable to a small fraction of the populace but almost meaningless to the majority. Since the graph shapes up differently with power per unit /cm versus per unit wavelength, it does help the graph look scarier and allows for much smaller bandwidths to be displayed, thus making the apparent effect of ghgs look more significant. I also didn’t see any mention of A. Eddington in the presentation of the radiative xfer approximations – but then maybe I was just scanning over it too rapidly.
As RGB has pointed out, CAGW extremists have been known to actually use legitimate physics in preparation of their hysterical claims. Of course it doesn’t take a long time to find that some, like hansen, sometimes quickly depart from that and invent new things like ‘characteristic’ radiating altitude – where in reality nothing of any significance is actually radiating into space from that altitude because its either radiating through there from the ground at wavelengths unaffected by any ghg molecules or its being absorbed by higher layers except for the slight decrease in line width due to a reduction in pressure – which also increases the peak’s ability to absorb/emit.
Radiative transfer can get a rather good estimate of how much power is absorbed or transferred through clear skies – but not through clouds. It cannot tell you the sensitivity of Earth’s temperature to a change in the amount of power transferred / absorbed. The vast majority of measurements intended to determine this have ignored albedo variation which can be several times that of the change in co2 power absorption. Simple averages, mostly of real numbers can give you a real average sensitivity and that is a far cry from the usual estimates, being less than than straight stefan’s law estimates which means there’s net negative feedback present. It also shows just how far off you people are when it comes to the dellusions of massive amounts of positive feedback that have some sort of tiny relative stability. Also, your big h2o vapor feedback bugaboo is simply BS. Even a 5 deg C shift in T for surface and atmospheric column at constant RH would net you scarcely 30% and h2o is every bit a log function just like co2 and is roughly linear over almost a dozen halvings just like co2. Hint, even a 30% increase in absolute humidity for h2o provides less additional power absorption than a co2 doubling at the tropopause.

eyesonu
July 22, 2012 7:28 am

Thanks to all that have seriously participated in the discussions on this thread. I has been very interesting. There is certainly no consensus here. To some it may appear that no progress has been made. To me it appears that a lot has been made as ideas are debated, yet far from any settled consensus. This has been real peer review.
Some have argued for a specific point (possibly correctly in that right) against another supporting the same point but with the inclusion of a related concept which led to arguments of minute details where they were basically in agreement. Seemed a little chaotic at times. But the entire discussion of climate is actually a chaotic discussion of a complex and chaotic system. There are just too many variables effecting every little piece of the many interrelated variables involved to ever come close to any settled conclusions with regards to the overall concept of understanding climate. Simply put, chaos can’t be fully explained. It is just that, chaos. But it is a real intellectual challenge to try to learn as much about the chaos as possible. That’s why most of us are here. Then there is always the token trolls and those with an agenda.
Again, thanks to all.

July 22, 2012 7:30 am

Joel says
your statement is very confused
Henry says
it is you who is confused
a) you have no proof that the net effect of more CO2 is warming rather than cooling, as I requested you to give to me in previous postings
b) you have no tests or measurements that you have collected yourself, so you rely on others
c) JPeden asked about the temperature drop that we note since the beginning of the new milennium, to which you obviously have no reasonable explanation – seeing that CO2 is still rising.
You are most certainly not the (truthful) prophet Joel from the bible to whom you were named after.
http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

cba
July 22, 2012 7:42 am


joeldshore says:
July 22, 2012 at 6:43 am
gymnosperm says (in reference to my comment here http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/21/some-thoughts-on-radiative-transfer-and-ghgs/#comment-1039067 ):
Carbon dioxide seems to be getting into the stratosphere. I doubt anyone knows how. Ozone holes? The tops of those thunderheads that dome in? As you undoubtedly know at the tropopause the lapse rate is inverted and temperature increases with altitude, eventually reaching levels nearly as warm as the surface.
I’m going to leave the math to you, but the trouble with, “It’s not difficult to calculate”, and, “It’s simple physics”, is that the reality seems not to be easy or simple.
Yes, CO2 gets into the stratosphere; I don’t think there is any argument about that. However, the mean emitting level of the Earth, i.e., the level at which most of the radiation emitted can successfully escape to space is still well within the troposphere. So, the vast majority of the emission to space occurs from the troposphere. Hence, one is justified in assuming the lapse rate that I assumed. Any corrections to that by doing the calculation more rigorously might change things a little bit…but even if my original calculation was off by a factor of 3 (which seems unlikely), we are still talking about the cooling with the decreasing emitting layer temperature effect being 100 times as important as the increasing emitting layer area effect.

*********************************
It’s nonphysical. There is no level where most of the radiation emitted can successfully escape. 70% of the radiation from the surface under clear skies makes it through the atmosphere, some of it after being absorbed and reradiated numerous times. No layer absorbs or emits significant amounts of power. You are dealing with hansen’s dellusions based on the amount of power radiated from a blackbody or greybody at a given temperature and that doesn’t exist above the surface under clear sky conditions.
The actual result is that your emitting altitude factor is no more important than your area increase effect. One is very small but meaningful, the other is meaningless because it doesn’t exist. Each layer has contributions to emission and absorption but it takes a 1 dimensional model to determine it as it is a function of pressure as well as temperature that affects the line shape.

beng
July 22, 2012 7:47 am

****
Eli Rabett says:
July 21, 2012 at 5:39 am
Increasing concentrations of GHGs raises the altitude that GHGs can radiate to space in the blocked regions of the spectrum
Because of the lapse rate, the higher you go in the troposphere, the lower the temperature
This slows down the rate at which the Earth emits to space because it is now radiating at higher, colder altitudes.

****
Why does the altitude that radiation escapes get higher? I don’t see it. As GHGs increase in concentration, their absorption/emission-bands widen, and so more of the earth’s total IR emission comes from the tropopause relative to warmer, lower altitudes. So the surface IR “window” (that gets past GHGs) must increase its emission (surface gets warmer) to get back to ~equilibrium. Fine. But I still don’t see why the emission height must change. At the tropopause the lapse-rate has gone to zero due to increasing absorption of UV by ozone. Raising the emission height there won’t have any effect from altitude change. If the emission height got even higher, it would get into warmer, stratospheric air, which would be an anti-greenhouse effect.

David
July 22, 2012 7:55 am

joeldshore says:
July 22, 2012 at 6:30 am
==========================
Curious post. Joel Shore appears to be saying that the missing hot spot is either “A” an indication that the lack of overall atmospheric heat is an indication that it is : worse the we think”, or “B” the measurements are wrong. When this is your only two possible answers I think the potential for confirmation bias is greatly enhanced.
Joel, perhaps you could put the models numbers on these questions…
Any solar spectrum chart shows that about 98% of that energy lies between about 250 nm in the UV and 4.0 microns; with the remaining as 1% left over at each end. Such graphs often have superimposed on them the actual ground level (air Mass once) spectrum; that shows the amounts of that energy taken out by primarily O2, O3, and H2O, in the case of H2O which absorbs in the visible and near IR perhaps 20% of the total solar energy is capture by water VAPOR (clear sky) clouds are an additional loss over and above that. So as WV increases there is a corresponding reduction in TSI reaching the surface, and therefore a reduction in LWIR leaving the surface.
However, certainly all this is quantified in the climate models? I know that Steve McIntyre has been requesting an engineer style describtion of the GHE for some time. Regarding my questionS here, (David says: July 21, 2012 at 11:15 pm) do you have any thoughts on how much non GHG energy is conducted to GHGs and leaves (radiates to space) the earth atmosphere system faster then it would if their was less GHG?
This is complicated. Tim the tool man states …At sea level, the CO2 almost instantly gives up its absorbed energy to the rest of the atmosphere due to a collision. Collisions happen on the order of every 10^-7 seconds whereas it takes on average 10^-3 seconds to radiate. CO2 at sea level is a warming agent for the atmosphere and it occurrs right at ground level within tens of meters. so several question come to mind. How much of the energy in CO2 which it is “giving up” via conduction to non GHGs, came from conducting cooling, non GHG molecues? In which case it is neither warming or cooling, just acting as if it was another non GHG molecue. However, it does still radiate at times? How often? If it radiates towards space is it not potentially radiating conducted “non GHG energy” away from the planet faster then that energy would leave if it only encountered non radiating non GHGs.? How much more energy is moved via convection if the intial affect is primarily warming? How much energy is absorbed via an acceleration of the hydrological cycle? How do these ratios change at diaparate elevations, as the higher up in the atmosphere one goes, the more time is required between conduction via collisions, and a higher percentage of energy is radiated?, Numbers numbers numbers.?????

eyesonu
July 22, 2012 8:22 am

David says:
July 22, 2012 at 7:55 am
==========
😉

Don Monfort
July 22, 2012 8:49 am

This is really dopey:
“So, radiation from a colder body directed to the warmer body is radiation, but no warmist has been able to present a real falsifiable scientific experiment proving that this sort of radiation can warm the warmer body (or slow down it’s cooling, whatever).”
Does this clown think that the warmer body is transparent to the radiation from the colder body? Does it pass through without any effect? Or it detours around the warmer body? Bounces off?
Suspend a heating element in a vacuum chamber and heat it to a constant temperature of 500 F. Suspend another element near the first and heat it to 300 F. Work on that.

July 22, 2012 8:53 am

Henry@David
Just to clarify: I am watching with some amusement a lot of scholar discussions on the green house effect as I realised again that the people that I encounter on most scientific blogs don’t understand the chemistry principle of absorption and subsequent re-radiation. In fact very few people do understand it because if they did they would have raised the alarm bells ringing long time ago. But they all got stuck at Tyndall and Svante Arrhenius. …
They know that CO2 (carbon dioxide) “absorbs” in the 14-16 um region. Most people think that what it means is that the molecules absorbs photons here which then subsequently get transferred as heat to neighbouring molecules. Then it absorbs again, and so on, and so on…and all the absorbed light is continuously transferred to heat…
Although this may happen up to a certain saturation point as soon as the light or radiation hits on the gas, that is in fact not what is causing the heat entrapment.
I happen to be familiar with spectrophotometry. You have to understand what actually happens when we put a beam of light of certain wavelength on a sample of liquid or gas.
We have various spectrophotometers that can measure the various ranges of UV-visible -IR etc. Usually you have the option to vary the wavelength of the beam of light, either manually or automatically.
If the gas or liquid is completely transparent, we will measure 100% of the light that we put through the sample coming through on the other side. If there is “absorption” of light at that specific wavelength that we put through the sample, we only measure a certain % on the other side. The term “extinction” was originally used but later “absorption” was used to describe this phenomenon, meaning the light that we put on was somehow “absorbed”. I think this was a rather unfortunate description as it has caused a lot of confusion since. Many people think that what it means is that the light of that wavelength is continually “absorbed” by the molecules in the sample and converted to heat. If that were true, you would not be able to stop the meter at a certain wavelength without over-heating the sample, and eventually it should explode, if the sample is contained in a sealed container. Of the many measurements that I performed, this has never ever happened. Note that in the case of CO2, when measuring concentrations, we leave the wavelength always at 4.26 um. Because the “absorption” is so strong here, we can use it to compare and evaluate concentrations of CO2.
The best way to experience re-radiation for yourself is to stand in a dark forest just before dawn on a cloudless night. Humidity must be high. Note that water vapour also absorbs in the visible region of the spectrum. So as the first light of sun hits on the water vapour you can see the light coming from every direction. Left, right, bottom up, top down. You can see this for yourself until of course the sun’s light becomes too bright in the darkness for you to observe the re-radiated light from the water vapour. This is also the reason why you will quickly grab for your sun glasses when humidity is high, because even with the sun shining for you from your back and driving in your car, you can feel on your eyes that the light from the sun is re-radiated by the water vapor in the atmosphere.
A third way to experience how re-radiation works is to measure the humidity in the air and the temperature on a certain exposed plate, again on a cloudless day, at a certain time of day for a certain amount of time. Note that as the humidity goes up, and all else is being kept equal, the temperature effected by the sun on the plate is lower. This is because, like carbon dioxide, water vapour has absorption in the infra red part of the spectrum.
We can conclude from all these experiments that what actually happens is this:
in the wavelength areas where absorption takes place, the molecule starts acting like a little spherical mirror, the strength of which depends on the amount of absorption taking place inside the molecule. We may assume that at least 50% of a certain amount of radiation is sent back in a radius of 180 degrees in the direction where it came from. (However, because the molecule is very small and therefore might behave more or less like a sphere, it could be up to ca. 62,5% ). This re-radiation in the sun’s spectrum and in the earth’s spectrum is the cooling effect, or warming effect, respectively, of a gas that is hit by radiation. An effect that is very similar to this, is also observed when car lights are put on bright in humid, moist and misty conditions: your light is returned to you!!
Unfortunately, in their time, Tyndall and Arrhenius could not see the whole picture of the spectrum of a gas which is why they got stuck on seeing only the warming properties of a gas (i.e. the closed box experiments).
If people would understand this principle, they would not singularly identify green house gases (GHG’s) by pointing at the areas in the 5-20 um region (where earth emits pre-dominantly) but they would also look in the area 0-5 um (where the sun emits pre-dominantly) for possible cooling effects. If you really want to understand what happens in the atmosphere, this rough graph / representation (on a cloudless day) is very important:
http://albums.24.com/DisplayImage.aspx?id=cb274da9-f8a1-44cf-bb0e-4ae906f3fd9d&t=o
….now carry on at to my previous post to davidmhoffer……sorry about the confusionswith the two Davids…

gymnosperm
July 22, 2012 9:11 am

Joel,
What of density? If your construct of “mean radiating altitude” has any physical basis it would be the density of radiating molecules, yet ultimately more radiating molecules means more photons escaping to space.

Shawnhet
July 22, 2012 9:27 am

Joel Shore:”Your statement is very confused. Even if we assume you are correct about the data not showing the “hot spot”, that does not mean that things have not warmed. It just means that the places at altitude in the tropics that were expected to warm more rapidly than the surface have not warmed more rapidly than the surface. The most direct consequence of such a fact would be that the lapse rate feedback, a negative feedback in the climate models, shouldn’t be there and thus that the models may be UNDERESTIMATING the climate sensitivity a little bit.
However, the reality of the situation is that the data for the multidecadal trends in the tropics is not really good enough to conclude definitively whether the “hot spot” is missing or not. It is also noteworthy that the expected amplification of temperature variations with altitude does occur for temperature fluctuations over monthly to yearly time scales, severely constraining any explanations of how the models could be wrong in the basic prediction.”
At the risk of pulling this thread off-topic, I have heard you make this statement before and I can’t see how it could be true. You seem to be arguing that the only way that the hotspot to be missing is for there to be no more condensation of WV on average than when the air was drier. It seems to me much more likely that the models are wrong about how efficiently those levels of the atmosphere radiate heat to space(for whatever reasons). If those levels are much more efficient in this regard than the models assume, then it is possible for the hotspot to be missing and the lapse rate feedback to be present. Further, since it seems to be highly unlikely that there is no lapse rate feedback, I would say that this second alternative is much more likely to be taking place (assuming there is no hotspot).
Cheers, 🙂

beng
July 22, 2012 9:52 am

****
Sam Yates says:
July 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm
…Mr. Watts, a question; do you look over these guest posts before throwing them up here? Because, honestly, it does not do much to improve your credibility when you gladly host things like this, which betray a massive lack of comprehension of very, very basic physics. It’s your site, of course, and yours to run as you see fit, but…If I were you, I might be a bit more picky about things like this post. Quite frankly, this is embarrassing.
****
So far, I’ve increased my understanding from some of the replies in this thread (however incrementally). So it certainly isn’t “embarrassing” to me in any way, and I’d wager most others, too. Jeesh….

beng
July 22, 2012 10:21 am

OK, to answer some of my own questions, I looked at an atmospheric rad-spectrum, and the large CO2 “chunk” out of it centered at 667 cm-1 is at around -50C (~-60F). The altitude where the majority of the CO2 GHE is therefore where the atmos temp is -50C. Looking at various atmos temp profiles, -50C is close to, but not quite at the tropopause. OK, if the radiation height of the CO2 increases, there’s still alittle room for it to get colder, but not much. And the zero lapse-rate height would be a “limit” to how much it could rise to increase the insulation effect by that means.
But my question remains: Why would the altitude increase?

July 22, 2012 11:13 am

Beng says: “So far, I’ve increased my understanding from some of the replies in this thread (however incrementally). So it certainly isn’t “embarrassing” to me in any way, and I’d wager most others, too. Jeesh….”
But why should you have to wade thru a poor top post and hundreds of poor (and/or off-topic) replies in order to find the few replies that actually produced “incremental” increases in understanding. A well-written, on-topic top post would have provided more learning for more people with less effort and less possibility for continued misunderstanding of basic physics.
It’s cool that so many people are so passionate about science, but it is disappointing that so many of them are rather clueless (yet still feel they are expert enough to teach others). I’m sure a few people learn well by being told lots of wrong things and a few right things, but not most people.

KR
July 22, 2012 11:25 am

beng“…my question remains: Why would the [tropopause] altitude increase?”
Because the height of the troposphere, the altitude of the tropopause, is set by the top layer of convection. Maximum tropopause altitude (west equatorial Pacific for example, ~17.5km) is where there are high surface temps and lots of convection, low tropopause where there is less convection (Antarctica for example, ~8km, where tropospheric mixing is mostly due to frontal system uplift).
And as the atmosphere heats up, there’s more convection, and the tropopause gains in altitude. There’s no hard “limit” to tropospheric altitude.

davidmhoffer
July 22, 2012 11:40 am

beng;
But my question remains: Why would the altitude increase?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>
part of the reason is simply the math regarding the % chance that any given photon radiated in an upward direction will escape directly to space. The denser the CO2 the higher up that photon has to have even a chance of seeing a free path to space.
the other part of the reason has to do with water vapour which has absorption bands overlapping co2 (see chart in article above). At sea level in the tropics, water vapour is at 40,000 ppm, and completely overwhelms the effects of CO2. Going from 400 ppm to 800 ppm at sea level is as a consequence nearly meaningless. But at higher altitudes, colder temperatures reduce the amount of water vapour to very low amounts, so suddenly CO2 effects are much more pronounced compared to what would have happened otherwise.

davidmhoffer
July 22, 2012 11:44 am

Michael Tremblay;
Create any experiment which will take advantage of GHG’s to create an engine which will run on radiative energy alone.
>>>>>>>>>>>>
Given the number of times in this thread alone that it has been specified that the physics being explained is reliant upon an external energy source, one can only wonder if people like you even bother to read the explanations.

joeldshore
July 22, 2012 11:57 am

Shawnhet says:

You seem to be arguing that the only way that the hotspot to be missing is for there to be no more condensation of WV on average than when the air was drier. It seems to me much more likely that the models are wrong about how efficiently those levels of the atmosphere radiate heat to space(for whatever reasons).

Are you saying that they are somehow radiating more heat than one would expect given their temperature? Furthermore, the thermal structure of the tropical atmosphere is dominated by convection. The radiative transfer is already such as to maintain a larger lapse rate than exists but convection occurs and reduces the lapse rate approximately to the moist adiabatic lapse rate.

If those levels are much more efficient in this regard than the models assume, then it is possible for the hotspot to be missing and the lapse rate feedback to be present.

Sure, if the laws of radiative physics break down and they somehow emit more than allowed for by the laws of radiative physics, I suppose that is possible but seems rather unlikely (and calling it the “lapse rate feedback” would be a misnomer…probably want to call it the “magical emission feedback”). However, if we assume, as per the laws of radiative physics, that there is the expected dependence of emission on temperature then if you don’t have higher temperature at altitude then you won’t have the necessary emission to have the lapse rate feedback. [What the lapse rate feedback say, essentially, for those who don’t know is that if the atmosphere at altitude warms faster than at the surface, the surface doesn’t have to warm up as much in response to a radiative imbalance (due to, say, increasing greenhouse gases) as would otherwise be the case in order for the emission to increase enough to re-establish radiative balance.

joeldshore
July 22, 2012 12:04 pm

cba says:

It’s nonphysical. There is no level where most of the radiation emitted can successfully escape. 70% of the radiation from the surface under clear skies makes it through the atmosphere, some of it after being absorbed and reradiated numerous times. No layer absorbs or emits significant amounts of power…

You are just picking nits. We know that the concept of a single emitting layer is an approximation. But doing the calculation more precisely is not going to change the factor of 300 down to anything remotely close to 1.
gymnosperm says:

What of density? If your construct of “mean radiating altitude” has any physical basis it would be the density of radiating molecules, yet ultimately more radiating molecules means more photons escaping to space.

No…That is not how it works with radiative transfer in gases. It is complicated but a simplified way to think about it is to imagine that you have a solid surface at some altitude that emits according to the Planck function. In the real system, density will have effects in terms of the exact distribution of emission with altitude but you are not going to magically get more emission than you would by imagining a spherical surface of emissivity 1.

joeldshore
July 22, 2012 12:10 pm

eyesonu:

Thanks to all that have seriously participated in the discussions on this thread. I has been very interesting. There is certainly no consensus here. To some it may appear that no progress has been made. To me it appears that a lot has been made as ideas are debated, yet far from any settled consensus. This has been real peer review.

And, here we have the requisite comment expressing the logical fallacy that because one can find people willing to argue anything on the web, that means the science isn’t settled. In fact, as I noted, what this thread really demonstrates (at least to those who actually know the greenhouse effect is real) is how there are some people who will refuse to accept the scientific evidence no matter how strong when it leads to conclusions that conflict with what they want to believe for other reasons, a fact we already really knew from the evolution – creation debates.
It is a cautionary tale from which much can be learned.

JPeden
July 22, 2012 12:19 pm

joeldshore says:
July 22, 2012 at 6:30 am
JPeden says:
But since Mainstream Climate Science’s predicted Tropical Tropospheric “Hot Spot” has not eventuated, then according to “the physics” of Mainstream Climate Science’s CO2 = GW hypothesis: there has been no “entire earth system” GW and in particular, no Global Mean Temperature increase.
Joel replies:
“Your statement is very confused. Even if we assume you are correct about the data not showing the “hot spot”, that does not mean that things have not warmed.”
Exactly: according to “Mainstream Climate Science’s” own predictions, the subsequent empirical data effectively reduces to absurdity “the physics” contained within the GCMs – involving the specific hypothesis that [increasing] CO2 = GW, and likewise predicting the empirical existence of a tropical tropospheric “hot spot”.
To begin with, Mainstream Climate Science’s own GCM “physics” did not manage to produce a distinct measurable empirical effect as advertised from increasing CO2 concentrations, while GMT did in fact increase over the period of ~1975-1998.
Likewise, there has been no empirical effect produced or detected from “the physics” of CO2 = GW during the subsequent ~15 yr., as manifestd by the failure of GMT to increase over this period as per “the physics” of continued increases in CO2 concentrations, a failure to warm which was specifically predicted by GCMs to not occur under the CO2 = GW hypothesis – unless of course CO2 concentrations did not increase.
“It just means that the places at altitude in the tropics that were expected to warm more rapidly than the surface have not warmed more rapidly than the surface.”
Yes and finally, the empirical data shows that the CO2 = GW hypothesis failed according to its own [lapse rate + water vapor abetted] predictions from its own “physics” – according to which there also shouldn’t have even been any GW from any cause, because the now claimed to be ‘nonspecific’ sign of any GW “hot spot” simply did not occur as predicted by the mainstream GCM “physics”!
Bottom line in these two cases, Joel: Mainstream Climate Science “physics” hasn’t been able to provide or detect any empirical warming from “the physics” of its CO2 = GW hypothesis.

July 22, 2012 12:27 pm

Henry at Tim
I did not encounter too many experts here, but I am glad you are here! Perhaps you can help me. In the graphic that this post starts off with, we see the spectrum of CO2, but obviously the presentation of the graph looks as if the CO2 causes almost all the absorption at 14-16 in the atmosphere. In reality this cannot be true. The concentration of water vapor alone is ca. 15x greater than CO2, so at the very most, the CO2 cuts off only a little corner of that area of radiation from earth not covered by the absorption by water vapor.. Apart from that, if you look very closely, you can see that there is also absorption of oxygen and ozone in the 14-16. Now I have been posting that it is the variation in ozone that seems to be the cause of global warming and its increase is now the cause of global cooling. The observed global warming and subsequent global cooling all follows on nice parabolic curves, as proven from my results, as reported in my earlier posts here. The question I have is this: is the (weak) absorption by oxygen/ozone at 14-16 caused by the ozone or by the oxygen?

Gail Combs
July 22, 2012 12:48 pm

Konrad says:
July 21, 2012 at 6:11 am
JeffC says: July 21, 2012 at 5:15 am
“GHG does not block radiation, it absorbs and then re-transmits … a better term than block would be slows …”
I believe JeffC to be correct. CO2 almost instantly re-radiates the outgoing IR radiation it intercepts, with around 50% of this radiated back towards the Earth’s surface….
______________