'Correcting' Trenberth et al.

(See the note below before taking this post seriously – Anthony)

Guest essay by Steven Wilde

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Here we see the classic energy budget analysis supporting the hypothesis that the surface of the Earth is warmer than the S-B equation would predict due to 324 Wm2 of ‘Back Radiation’ from the atmosphere to the surface.

It is proposed that it is Back Radiation that lifts the surface temperature from 255K, as predicted by S-B, to the 288K actually observed because the 324 Back Radiation exceeds the surface radiation to the air of 222 Wm2 ( 390 Wm2 less 168 Wm2) by 102 Wm2. It is suggested that there is a net radiative flow from atmosphere to surface of 102 Wm2.

I now discuss an alternative possibility.

The portions I wish to focus on are:

i) 390 Wm2 Surface Radiation to atmosphere

ii) 78 Wm2 Evapo-transpiration surface to atmosphere

iii) 24 Thermals surface to atmosphere

iv) 324 Back Radiation atmosphere to surface

The budget needs to be amended as follows:

The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.

Therefore neither ii) nor iii) should be included in the radiative budget at all. They involve purely non radiative means of energy transfer and have no place in the radiative budget since, being net zero, they do not cool the surface. AGW theory and the Trenberth diagram incorrectly include them as a net surface cooling influence.

Furthermore, they cannot reduce Earth’s surface temperature below 255K because both conduction and convection are slower methods of energy transmission than radiation. To reduce the surface temperature below 255K they would have to work faster than radiation which is obviously not so.

They can only raise a surface temperature above the S-B expectation and for Earth that is 33K.

Once the first convective overturning cycle has been completed neither Thermals nor Evapo-transpiration can have any additional warming effect at the surface provided mass, gravity and insolation remain constant.

As regards iv) the correct figure for the radiative flux from atmosphere to surface should be 222 Wm2 because items ii) and iii) should not have been included.

That also leaves the surface to atmosphere radiative flux at 222 Wm2 which taken with the 168 Wm2 absorbed directly by the surface comes to the 390 Wm2 required for radiation from the surface.

The rest of the energy budget diagram appears to be correct.

So, how to decide whether my interpretation is accurate?

I think it is generally accepted that the lapse rate slope marks the points in the atmosphere where there is energy balance within molecules that are at the correct height for their temperature.

Since the lapse rate slope intersects with the surface it follows that DWIR equals UWIR for a zero net radiative balance if a molecule at the surface is at the correct temperature for its height. If it is not at the correct surface temperature it will simply move towards the correct height by virtue of density variations in the horizontal plane (convection).

Thus, 222 UWIR at the surface should equal 222 DWIR at the surface AND 222 plus 168 should add up to 390 and, of course, it does.

AGW theory erroneously assumes that Thermals and Evapo-transpiration have a net cooling effect on the surface and so they have to uplift the radiative exchange at the surface from 222 Wm2 to 324 Wm2 and additionally they assume that the extra 102 Wm2 is attributable to a net radiative flux towards the surface from the atmosphere.

The truth is that there is no net flow of radiation in any direction at the surface once the air at the surface is at its correct temperature for its height, which is 288K and not 255K. The lapse rate intersecting at the surface tells us that there can be no net radiative flux at the surface when surface temperature is at 288K.

A rise in surface temperature above the S-B prediction is inevitable for an atmosphere capable of conducting and convection because those two processes introduce a delay in the transmission of radiative energy through the system. Conduction and convection are a function of mass held within a gravity field.

Energy being used to hold up the weight of an atmosphere via conduction and convection is no longer available for radiation to space since energy cannot be in two places at once.

The greenhouse effect is therefore a product of atmospheric mass rather than radiative characteristics of constituent molecules as is clearly seen when the Trenberth diagram is corrected and the lapse rate considered.

Since one can never have more than 390 Wm2 at the surface without increasing conduction and convection via changes in mass, gravity or insolation a change in the quantity of GHGs cannot make any difference. All they can do is redistribute energy within the atmosphere.

There is a climate effect from the air circulation changes but, due to the tiny proportion of Earth’s atmospheric mass comprised of GHGs, too small to measure compared to natural variability.

What Happens When Radiative Gases Increase Or Decrease?

Applying the above correction to the Trenberth figures we can now see that 222 Wm2 radiation from the surface to the atmosphere is simply balanced by 222 Wm2 radiation from the atmosphere to the surface. That is the energy being constantly expended by the surface via conduction and convection to keep the weight of the atmosphere off the surface. We must ignore it for the purpose of energy transmission to space since the same energy cannot be in two places at once.

We then have 168 Wm2 left over at the surface which represents energy absorbed by the surface after 30 Wm2 has been reflected from the surface , 77 Wm2 has been reflected by the atmosphere and 67 Wm2 has been absorbed by the atmosphere before it reaches the surface.

That 168 Wm2 is then transferred to the atmosphere by conduction and convection leaving a total of 235 Wm2 in the atmosphere (168 plus 67).

It is that 235 Wm2 that must escape to space if radiative balance is to be maintained.

Now, remember that the lapse rate slope represents the positions in the atmosphere where molecules are at their correct temperature for their height.

At any given moment convection arranges that half the mass of the atmosphere is too warm for its height and half the mass is too cold for its height.

The reason for that is that the convective process runs out of energy to lift the atmosphere any higher against gravity when the two halves equalise.

It must follow that at any given time half of the GHGs must be too warm for their height and the other half too cold for their height.

That results in density differentials that cause the warm molecules to rise and the cold molecules to fall.

If a GHG molecule is too warm for its height then DWIR back to the surface dominates but the molecule rises away from the surface and cools until DWIR again equals UWIR.

If a GHG molecule is too cold for its height then UWIR to space dominates but the molecule then falls until DWIR again equals UWIR.

The net effect is that any potential for GHGs to warm or cool the surface is negated by the height changes relative to the slope of the adiabatic lapse rate.

Let’s now look at how that outgoing 235 Wm2 is dealt with if radiative gas concentrations change.

It is recognised that radiative gases tend to reduce the size of the Atmospheric Window (40 Wm2) so we will assume a reduction from 40 Wm2 to 35 Wm2 by way of example.

If that happens then DWIR for molecules that are too warm for their height will increase but the subsequent rise in height will cause the molecule to rise above its correct position along the lapse rate slope with UWIR to space increasing at the expense of DWIR back to the surface and rising will only stop when DWIR again equals UWIR.

Since UWIR to space increases to compensate for the shrinking of the atmospheric window (from 40 Wm2 to 35 Wm2) the figure for radiative emission from the atmosphere will increase from 165 to 170 which keeps the system in balance with 235 Wm2 still outgoing.

If the atmosphere had no radiative capability at all then radiative emission from the atmosphere would be zero but the Atmospheric Window would release 235 Wm2 from the surface.

If the atmosphere were 100% radiative then the Atmospheric Window from the surface would be zero and the atmosphere would radiate the entire 235 Wm2.

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

Note: I’m glad to see a number of people pointing out how flawed the argument is. Every once in awhile we need to take a look at the ‘Slayer’ mentality of thinking about radiative balance, just to keep sharp on the topic. At first I thought this should go straight into the hopper, and then I thought it might make some good target practice, so I published it without any caveat.

Readers did not disappoint.

Now you can watch the fun as they react over at PSI.  – Anthony

P.S. Readers might also enjoy my experiment on debunking the PSI light bulb experiment, and note the reactions in comments, entirely opposite to this one. New WUWT-TV segment: Slaying the ‘slayers’ with Watts

Update: Let me add that the author assuredly should have included a link to the underlying document, Earth’s Global Energy Budget by Kiehl and Trenberth …

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Dave Worley
April 8, 2014 4:44 am

Convection carries water vapor above the densest layer of Greenhouse gases, where it is more likely to radiate into space. Hadley cells circulate a large percentage of the entire atmosphere in an up and down cycle.

Edim
April 8, 2014 4:47 am

This is not correct. Evaporation and convection are the main surface cooling fluxes. Most of the energy radiated to space by the atmosphere, got there by non-radiative means.

Nylo
April 8, 2014 4:50 am

Convection does have a cooling effect in the lower levels of the atmosphere which needs to be accounted for. Convection causes a mass of hot air near the surface to be replaced by a mass of cold air. This increases the loss of heat of the surface due to conduction to the air immediately on top. If the air didn’t move, loss due to this conduction would be lower (conduction losses depend on diference of temperature). It is true that, while descending later, the air gains as much energy as it lost while ascending. However, between the two moments, the air has lost additional energy due to radiation that took place while it was in the upper layers of the atmosphere. So the air returns colder than it left. What convection does is increase the temperature of the upper layers of the atmosphere with heat coming from lower layers. This both reduces the temperature of the lower layers and increases the outward radiation of the upper levels which means that it is a way to radiate the same but with a lower temperature in the lower levels. Which means it does cool the lower levels.

johnmarshall
April 8, 2014 4:58 am

There is so much wrong with Trenberth’s idea but let us start with his flat earth idea with 24/7 sunshine. Hardly realistic. He spreads solar energy over the whole planet’s surface but reality spreads it over half the ROTATING planet.
Evapouration is far too low. Every cloud formed includes latent heat so every cloud is evidence of heat being LOST from the surface as well as increasing albedo on formation.
Reality has 960W/m2 on the subsun point decreasing to 0 at the poles. The average is 480W/m2 which relates to a temperature of 33C not the -49C from Trenberth’s 167W/m2.
If you want a realistic model see Postma’s paper ”A Discussion on the Absence of a Measurable Greenhouse Effect. His model is realistic and simple to understand

JPS
April 8, 2014 5:02 am

Sorry but this post is nearly completely incorrect and extremely confused.

Nick Stokes
April 8, 2014 5:11 am

“Therefore neither ii) nor iii) should be included in the radiative budget at all.”
Who said it’s a radiative budget? The article you have taken it from (if it’s T&F2008) is titled “Earth’s Global Energy Budget”. Above the diagram, in big red letters there it says: Global Energy Flows Wm-2.
But the 78 W/m2 latent heat flow is hard to argue with. It is simply calculated from precipitation. The water that condensed left that amount of heat behind in the atmosphere.
The thermals flux is a nett upward flux. It is heat transport.
“I think it is generally accepted that the lapse rate slope marks the points in the atmosphere where there is energy balance within molecules that are at the correct height for their temperature.”
Reference?

hunter
April 8, 2014 5:13 am

Interesting conjecture. Do you have the calculations and the physics to support it?

Box of Rocks
April 8, 2014 5:14 am

This post is a start.
Thanks for starting a conversation on the diagram.
I have a sens that the original idea from Trenberth is incorrect, I at this point in time can’t put my finger on it.
The whole idea of 324 watts/m^2 of back radiation needs a good look. Just because it exist does not mean it does any work to warm the atmosphere.

April 8, 2014 5:17 am

trenberth’s, wilde’s, posma’s….which of the theoretical models contrasts better with empirical data or measurements…or is it we have not yet enough data to assess them, as prof. Freeman Dysson explained …

MikeB
April 8, 2014 5:25 am

Here we see the classic energy budget analysis supporting the hypothesis that the surface of the Earth is warmer than the S-B equation would predict.

This diagram is not intended to support any hypothesis whatsoever. It is a simple attempt to allocate numbers to various heat transport mechanisms. It is no more than that.

Neither ii) nor iii) should be included in the radiative budget at all?

The diagram doesn’t purport to be a radiative budget…it’s an energy budget….back to the drawing board for you
The S-B expectation for Earth is 33K? What does that mean?
Convection doesn’t cool the surface? Isn’t that obviously wong?
Evaporation doesn’t cool the surface either?
And finally, the surface of the Earth is not warmer than the S-B equation would predict. The amount of radiation from the surface precisely accords with the temperature of that surface as determined by S-B. It can do no other. You need to clarify that what you mean is when ‘seen from space’ the Earth system appears to be at 255K (and we know that the surface is much warmer).
Sorry, couldn’t read the rest.

Chris @NJSnowFan
April 8, 2014 5:30 am

If a normal everday person looked at this they would be lost.
I even find it confusing.

Editor
April 8, 2014 5:32 am

> the surface of the Earth is warmer than the S-B equation would predict due to 324 Wm2 of ‘Back Radiation’ from the atmosphere to the surface.
I’d be more inclined to say it “retards surface cooling” rather than imply it warms the surface. You really don’t want to wake up the Slayers….
Though it’s probably too late.

Martin A
April 8, 2014 5:37 am

If you work out what happens, starting with a cold planet and allowing its temperature to rise until there is equilibrium between incoming energy (primarily in the visible wavelengths) and outgoing energy (in the long infra red), you find that all the warming is done by the incoming sunlight. Back radiation is there, but all the warming was caused by the incoming light. So no need to cause confusion by talking about back radiation warming things

RobertInAz
April 8, 2014 5:40 am

Agree with the prior comments – the analysis needs a lot of work. It appears to me the 24 + 78 are “absorbed” by the atmosphere to be returned as part of the 324 back radiation or last as part of the 165 emitted. So, looking at the atmosphere we have
67+24+78 + 350 – 165 – 324 – 30 = 0.

Editor
April 8, 2014 5:41 am

The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

Like other commenters have noted, IR radiation is more efficient at altitude than lower thanks to the bypassing a lot of the greenhouse effect. I don’t have a good sense for the difference between the radiation that escapes from the warm ground vs. the cold gas higher up. Also, in wet adiabatic conditions there are clouds and IR radiation from the ground is reflected and reradiated from the cloud base.
Thanks to latent heat release, wet adiabatic convection, think thunderstorms, gets a lot of IR radiating material higher in the atmosphere so it radiates better than dry convection. Also, rainfall cools the surface as it undergoes no adiabatic compression on the way down.

Crashex
April 8, 2014 5:41 am

As a long time reader and fan of WUWT, I just want to note that this has to rank as one of the worst posts ever. It is wrong on so many levels. This is the type of post that will be ridiculed by many for its lack of understanding of fundamental science in an effort to discredit everything else this site has ever posted.
To claim that evapotranspiration cooling should be omitted from an assessment of the heat transfer budget at the surface because it operates at a lower rate than radiation is ridiculous.
REPLY: I don’t disagree, but see my note below about the real reason I published this. +1 for your comment – Anthony

DirkH
April 8, 2014 5:46 am

“If a GHG molecule is too warm for its height then DWIR back to the surface dominates but the molecule rises away from the surface and cools until DWIR again equals UWIR.
If a GHG molecule is too cold for its height then UWIR to space dominates but the molecule then falls until DWIR again equals UWIR.”
Why? Let’s say mean free path length for an IR photon at 15 micrometer, in the CO2 absorption / re emission band is 25 m at 1 atmosphere. Meaning it gets emitted and re absorbed and re emitted multiple times on its way until it reaches either surface or open space (or a water droplet in the atmosphere, which acts as a blackbody). Each re-emission happening in a random direction.
In all cases this should result in the atmosphere being an opaque fog on this frequency , “shining” roughly the same amounts of IR on this frequency back to Earth and the other half to outer space.
I am assuming Local thermodynamic equilibrium, allowing for the application of Kirchhoff’s Law. As a GHG molecule travels in a parcel of air with the same temperature (to find its correct height), this should hold most of the time.
The climate modelers seem to think that GHG molecules swallow IR photons, not re-emitting them, leading them to call them “heat-trapping gases” and modelling a tropospheric hotspot that has not been observed in reality. At least I think that’s one of their mistakes.

NotAGolfer
April 8, 2014 5:47 am

They’re making it more complicated than it needs to be. The Beer-Lambert equation is used to determine the amount of heat absorbed by various levels of CO2 at various lengths. You need to integrate across the changing pressure profile and gas-mixtures as they change with altitude, which makes it complicated, but it is still much more straight forward than trying to determine what the actual temperature of the earth is, was and should be. Those are a fool’s game.
The Beer-Lambert can be used to accurately predict the expected change in temperature with any change in concentration, whereas the Steffan-Boltzman requires estimating emissivity and such. Using SB is like trying to determine the amount of solids suspended in a tank of water by using 2 different pressure transducers at top and bottom of the tank, then hoping they are calibrated, then subtracting… When you could just insert one end of one transducer into the bottom of the tank and the other end of the same transducer into the top to read the difference directly. Well, actually, using the Steffan-Boltzmann is much more complicating than this example shows.

Doubting Rich
April 8, 2014 5:47 am

“The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.”
I am afraid you are not correct here. This does have a net transfer of energy, as in thermal circulation the air warms to be warmer than the surrounding air then rises. The cooling in rising is adiabatic, so there is no energy transfer, as is the warming during sinking. So the warm air rising is taking energy it has absorbed from the ground. Once aloft it moves towards the cooler air column (which has lower pressure at altitude) and cool, thus sinking again.

Doubting Rich
April 8, 2014 5:53 am

How can the back radiation to the Earth from the atmosphere be approximately double the outward radiation from the atmosphere? Surely radiation is not directional, and while the atmospheric density and temperature fall with altitude so the lowest levels will radiate most, the upper levels allow much of that through and add their own, and the lower levels also absorb some of the downwelling radiation from higher parts of the atmosphere. Overall these should roughly balance out.
What am I missing here?

Doubting Rich
April 8, 2014 5:55 am

Just realised that al I needed for the last comment was “what DirkH says”.

Leonard Weinstein
April 8, 2014 5:55 am

This post shows the author does not understand the actual processes of the so called atmospheric greenhouse effect. While Trenberth may be wrong in some of his levels, his basic model is correct. The back radiation does not HEAT the surface, it is effectively a net radiation resistance, reducing the net surface radiation up to well below black body level. The numbers to consider are the 390 up minus 324 back radiation for a net radiation up of only 66 w/m2. The difference of absorbed radiation of 168 minus this 66 net radiation up gives an excess of 102 w/m2. This 102 is then carried up by the conduction, convection and evapo-transporation processes. Increasing back radiation by adding more greenhouse gases would result in the NET radiation up from the surface decreasing, and other processes increasing to keep the balance. this also would further increase the altitude of outgoing radiation and increase the surface temperature. It is the raising of the average altitude of radiation to space (by radiating up from the clouds and greenhouse gases) that results in the net average surface temperature increase. The lapse rate is a critical part of this process, since the average temperature is lower at the higher altitude where radiation to space occurs.

Roy Spencer
April 8, 2014 5:57 am

Sigh. 🙁

tty
April 8, 2014 5:57 am

“The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.”
This is nonsensical. The reason the dry adiabatic lapse rate is steeper is because dry air has a smaller heat capacity than dry air, so it will heat more for a given amount of energy. The 78 W/m is simply due to water condensing and precipitating, and leaving the heat of evaphoation behind.
“The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.”
If that was true it couldn’t get back down. It can do that only because it has lost energy at altitude.

Truthseeker
April 8, 2014 5:59 am

I know, let’s start by not having a flat Earth and have a spherical one, then we can add … I know, I know … a day/night cycle with planetary rotation … yes and then we could have … maybe just maybe … a Sun that actually provides 1370 W/m2 of energy to the top of atmosphere on the day side of the planet. Let’s try that and see how we go.
This is a cartoon, not a diagram and Trenberth’s most important piece of equipment seems to have been crayons. It does not matter what you do to it, you are still not going to end up anywhere useful.
Try this for a realistic diagram:
http://tinypic.com/usermedia.php?uo=fNkd6hpTbcMU7xs0vRLosYh4l5k2TGxc#.U0PyR156PRo

April 8, 2014 6:06 am

Trying to calculate the greenhouse effect of atmospheric CO2 with any simple global model of energy balance is not likely to give you an accurate answer. Since radiation is “fast as light and speed of light”, you should be able to do your calculations from daily swings in temperature and dew point (with clear sky) at any point on earth. Since days are a year long at the poles, and water vapor is the least, the relative effect of CO2 should be most observable at these locations.

RobertInAz
April 8, 2014 6:06 am

What I would love to see is the error bars around each of the energy budget terms. After all, apparently 3.3 W/M2 is going to bring civilization as we know it to an end. /sarc

Steve Case
April 8, 2014 6:09 am

First off, Steven Wilde uses an old version of Trenberth’s iconic heat budget.
Trenbeth’s “Global Energy Budget” was updated March 2009 to show an imbalance of 0.9w/M²
I wonder how that came about, might have gone something like this:
Once upon a time on a bright sunny morning a few years back, Dr. James Hansen was looking at Kevin Trenberth’s iconic “World Energy Budget”
http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/images/fig1-2.gif
when he choked on his morning coffee because he realized that the darn thing balanced. That’s right, energy in equaled energy out. You see, he’s been saying for some time now that heat energy is slowly building up in Earth’s climate system and that’s not going to happen if the energy budget is balanced.
So he did some fast calculations, snatched up his cell phone and punched in Trenberth’s number.
“Hi Kev, Hansen here, how’s it goin’ with you? Got a minute?”
“Sure Doc, what’s up?”
“Glad you asked. I’ve been looking at your energy budget and it balances, can you fix that?”
“What do you mean fix it, it’s supposed to balance?”
“Kev, listen carefully now, if it balances, heat will never build up in the system do you see where I’m going?”
“Uh I’m not sure, can you tell me a little more?”
“Come on Kev don’t you get it? I need heat to build up in the system. My papers say that heat is in the pipeline, there’s a slow feedback, there’s an imbalance between radiation in and radiation out. Your Energy Budget diagram says it balances. Do you understand now?”
“Gotcha Doc, I’ll get right on it” [starts to hang up the phone]
“WAIT! I need an imbalance of point nine Watts per square meter [0.9 Wm²] for everything to work out right.”
“Uh Doc, what if it doesn’t come out to that?”
“Jeez Kev! Just stick it in there. Run up some of the numbers for back-radiation so it looks like an update, glitz up the graphics a little and come up with some gobbledygook of why you re-did the chart you know how to do that sort of thing don’t you?”
“Sure do Doc, consider it done” [click]
And so:
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2634.1
And here’s the new chart:
http://www.nar.ucar.edu/2008/ESSL/catalog/cgd/images/trenberth9.jpg
I’ve run the numbers, and 0.9 Wm² will warm the ocean 600 meters deep about 1/2°C in a little over 40 years. Truly amazing stuff. The noon-day sun puts out nearly 1370 wm² and these guys are claiming they’ve added up all the chaotic movements of heat over the entire planet and have determined an imbalance of 0.9 Wm². That’s an accuracy to five places. No plus or minus error bars or anything.
What it means is, all of the components
Reflected by clouds
Reflected by aerosols
Reflected by atmospheric gases
Reflected by surface
Absorbed by the surface
Absorbed by the atmosphere
Thermals
Evaporation
Transpiration
Latent heat
Emitted by clouds
Emitted by atmosphere
Atmospheric Window
AND
Back radiation
need to have an accuracy to those five places or better for the 0.9 Wm² to be true.
Perhaps Hansen didn’t ring up Trenberth and bully him into changing his chart but, Trenberth did change it to show an imbalance and I bet he did so because he realized that if it balanced like his 1997 version, heat wouldn’t build up.
And we all are supposed to sit still for this sort of thing.
**************************************
Ok, I just needed an excuse to post that (-:

April 8, 2014 6:09 am

You can assume away about anything you like and maintain a “net” radiation budget, but the actual errors in the Trenberth and others Earth Energy Budgets are a bit more subtle. One that is often overlooked is the Atmospheric Window of 40 Wm-2. That is closer to 20 Wm-2 and depends on what “surface” you are using. There is a big difference between a sea level “surface” and a 2 meter “surface”. Stephens et al. did a good job of showing what a more realistic Earth Energy Budget should look like.
What is interesting about the “window” error is that it is primarily due to mixed phase clouds. That is both energy and mass that has an impact on the which ever “surface” budget you choose. Water vapor that converts to ice then gets stored at the poles or high altitudes produces a budget deficit and if the energy of fusion is released closer to the poles than source of evaporation is more easily transferred to space. Mass transfer in the stratosphere (water vapor and ozone) accounts for roughly 8 Wm-2 of the Stephens et al. estimated +/- 17 Wm-2 of “surface” uncertainty.

Slartibartfast
April 8, 2014 6:11 am

I’d be happier if “Back radiation” or “Backradiation” were erased from the GW lexicon. It’s just radiation. There isn’t anything special about it that merits a new name.
Except it’s been “used”, maybe. But radiation doesn’t care who had it next to last.
REPLY: That’s a good idea, really the only thing that is happening is retarding the escape of energy to space – Anthony

mathman
April 8, 2014 6:12 am

Ah, energy. Where does it come from? The Sun. Where does it go? in all directions.
What happens to the Earth? It is rather like what happens when you put your hand out in the sunlight. Your hand gets warm and the space behind your hand (the shadow) gets cold. Does your blood boil? No. All kinds of stuff happens, your hand gets a little warmer, and the energy absorbed gets released in various ways.
Thus the Sun shines on the Earth, the Earth gets a little warmer, and that heat is then radiated away (in all directions). The problem is that the system has to balance: over time the energy in equals the energy out (remember: energy cannot be created or destroyed). Earth gets a little warmer–more energy released. Earth gets a little colder–less energy released. All kinds of negative feedback here. Guess what? The single most important factor is the slight variability of Solar Flux (all wavelengths). Proof: the Maunder minimum.
Were there any positive feedback, the Greenland ice cores would show much larger swings. But they don’t.
Sorry, AGW fanatics. This has been going on for a LONG time. And the flux predates humanity by some billions of years. We didn’t do it, we are not doing it, we can’t do it.
I doubt that we are even minor actors in the drama.
You can’t escape the laws of thermodynamics. You just can’t. Entropy always wins. Better go look again at the energy budgets for Mercury, Venus, the Moon, and Mars. Everything out there balances. So do we.

John West
April 8, 2014 6:15 am

”It is proposed that it is Back Radiation that lifts the surface temperature from 255K, as predicted by S-B, to the 288K actually observed because the 324 Back Radiation exceeds the surface radiation to the air of 222 Wm2 ( 390 Wm2 less 168 Wm2) by 102 Wm2. It is suggested that there is a net radiative flow from atmosphere to surface of 102 Wm2.”
The 168 you’re subtracting from the 390 is not from the atmosphere. The NET energy transfer is from the surface to the atmosphere (350 – 324 = 26 W/m^2).
Here is a “corrected” (showing net flows) version:
http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/FT08-Blocked1.png
Here is an overview of calculations involving the effect of clouds and humidity on the GHE:
http://www.asterism.org/tutorials/tut37%20Radiative%20Cooling.pdf

John Eggert
April 8, 2014 6:18 am

I have to agree with Dr. Spencer. Very sad to see this here.

Ian
April 8, 2014 6:21 am

Anthony,
Seriously? You missed April 1st by a week!
I see that Dr. Spencer restrained himself.

Jim
April 8, 2014 6:26 am

Its nonsensical. Even with my understanding of movement and momentum, I am supposed to see no involvement of Brownian movement. I understand the radiation input, powering the system, and the radiation of molar body, by to lay a flat assumption that the molecule goes up? Illogical. Simplistic, yes. Reality no.

Editor
April 8, 2014 6:26 am

Steve Case says:
April 8, 2014 at 6:09 am
> Ok, I just needed an excuse to post that (-:
A fine rant. Feel better now?

MikeUK
April 8, 2014 6:29 am

Just to throw something else into the melting pot, infrared photons can do different things:
A: IR-photon + CO2 –> IR-photon + CO2
B: IR-photon + CO2 + (N2 or O2) –> CO2 + (N2 or O2)
Type A interaction could be said to provide back-radiation (some of the IR-photons return to Earth).
Type B interactions provide a direct heating effect on the atmosphere, no back-radiation.
We’ve probably already had most of the heating from Type A. It is Type B that is still growing, from the “wings” of the CO2 absorption bands, mostly due to pressure-broadening, but how big is this new heating? My gut feeling says not very big at all, but quite tricky to calculate …

Mike M
April 8, 2014 6:31 am

“Therefore neither ii) nor iii) should be included in the radiative budget at all. They involve purely non radiative means of energy transfer and have no place in the radiative budget since, being net zero, they do not cool the surface. ”
Yes latent heat (ii) should be included because even though it is not initially radiative, the latent heat is transported from the ground, separate from the adiabatic cooling of the water vapor, to then radiate from a higher altitude than from the ground upon condensation. It’s as though heat was pumped up from sea level to heat a 10k’-30K’ mountain top.

April 8, 2014 6:37 am

Note that rising air cannot lose energy with altitude other than by radiation to space.
Instead, KE at the surface is converted to PE off the surface and PE does not register as heat. The air loses heat but not energy as it rises adiabatically and gains heat but not energy as it falls adiabatically.
The adiabatic component of convection returns heat to the surface on descent by converting PE back to KE. That heat is not radiated back to the surface so including it as an addition to the underlying back radiation of 222 to make that back radiation 324 is wrong.
The non adiabatic (diabatic) portion is then dealt with in overall atmospheric emission of 165 from the atmosphere and 30 from clouds.
The accuracy of the individual components doesn’t matter for current purposes. The Trenberth diagram successfully shows how the system achieves overall balance by juggling the components.
The point I am making is that his treatment of some of the components is incorrect and if one takes proper account of the return of energy to the surface on adiabatic descent then the back radiation figure need be no higher than the figure for radiation from the surface.
If both figures are equal then there can be no surface warming from back radiation. All the action goes on off the surface.
For a balanced system the amount of energy stored and the rate at which energy is shed depend on mass, gravity and insolation but the method of shedding is shared between surface and atmosphere in variable proportions depending on the radiative characteristics of the atmosphere.
If the atmosphere had no radiative capability at all then radiative emission from the atmosphere would be zero but the Atmospheric Window would release 235 Wm2 from the surface.
If the atmosphere were 100% radiative then the Atmospheric Window from the surface would be zero and the atmosphere would radiate the entire 235 Wm2.
The difference between the two scenarios would be in the rate of convective overturning. Fast for a non radiative atmosphere and slow or near zero for a 100% radiative atmosphere.
One cannot prevent convection in a non radiative atmosphere due to uneven surface heating and the decline in temperature with height caused by the conversion of KE to PE with height.

Ron C.
April 8, 2014 6:45 am

Leonard Weinstein says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:55 am
What you say makes sense. But extensive analysis of radiosonde data shows little effect from CO2 upon the temperature profile in the atmosphere up to mid Stratosphere.
“The fits for the barometric temperature profiles did not require any consideration of the composition of atmospheric trace gases, such as carbon dioxide, oxone or methane. This contradicts the predictions of current atmospheric models, which assume the temperature profiles are strongly influenced by greenhouse gas concentrations.”
http://oprj.net/articles/atmospheric-science/19

Ashby
April 8, 2014 6:46 am

Eliminating convection from the energy budget??? I think some correction to Trenberth’s energy budget may be in order, but I don’t think this post is helpful.

April 8, 2014 6:47 am

Chris: “If a normal everday person looked at this they would be lost. I even find it confusing.”
This is true about most physics, which is why Newton is still highly regarded.

David Reeve
April 8, 2014 7:15 am

Kudos to Anthony for running this……. but sigh. Maybe we can have the interpretive dance next?

MikeB
April 8, 2014 7:18 am

DirkH says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:46 am
The mean free path length for an IR photon at 15 micron is much shorter than 25m. At sea level you could expect 95% of such radiation to be absorbed within 1 metre. As you say, the atmosphere is a thick fog at this wavelength.
When the CO2 molecule absorbs the photon it is elevated to an ‘excited’ state. Left to its own devices it would re-emit this photon within a few milliseconds and revert to its ‘ground’ state. But, at low altitudes, it is rarely left to its own devices. The chances are that it will collide with another air molecule before it can emit a photon. When it does so, it transfers energy to the colliding molecule (and can no longer emit a photon). This has the effect of warming the surrounding air which is mostly nitrogen and oxygen. These gases cannot absorb radiation directly but they are nevertheless warmed by collision with the excited CO2 which has. In this way the CO2 could be called ‘heat trapping’, but I don’t like that term myself.
What’s more, the process is reversible. CO2 molecules can acquire energy from collisions and become ‘excited’. They can then emit radiation at 15 micron. The proportion of CO2 molecules in the excited state at any one time is roughly constant, depending on the local temperature (the equipartition principle). This fact allows us to determine the temperature of the air at various altitudes according to how much radiation we detect at 15 microns.

ferd berple
April 8, 2014 7:21 am

if GHG is radiating 324 inwards, it must be radiating 324+ outwards. Yet, total radiation to space from the atmosphere is only 235. Trenberth’s diagram cannot be right.
GHG theoretically warms the surface at the expense of cooling the atmosphere. The lapse rate gravitationally limits the temperature difference between the two. Since we are already at the gravitational limit for lapse rate, further increases in GHG will simply increase the rate of convection, cooling the surface in an amount equal to any increase in back radiation.

April 8, 2014 7:22 am

“Eliminating convection from the energy budget??? I think some correction to Trenberth’s energy budget may be in order, but I don’t think this post is helpful.”
Adiabatic convection hasn’t been eliminated. It is simply a zero net effect at the surface after the end of the first convective cycle.
It is still accounted for within all the other numbers which is why the numbers still balance on my interpretation.

April 8, 2014 7:23 am

ferd berple has it right.

Leonard Weinstein
April 8, 2014 7:24 am

Ron C. says:
April 8, 2014 at 6:45 am
The lapse rate (on average) depends only on the specific heat of the atmosphere, the gravity, and the added effect of water condensation (the wet lapse rate). Changing composition results in a VERY small change in specific heat for actual CO2 and water vapor changes, so the lapse rate (a gradient) does not change for these effects noticeably. It is the absolute level of temperature, not gradient, that is the issue, and it is about 33 C warmer every where due to water vapor, CO2, and clouds, among other effects (such as aerosols). The question, whether feedback has limited rather than enhanced the effect of any CO2 increase, is the major issue between skeptics and supporters of the strong effect. It appears that weak positive feedback, or even negative feedback, along with larger natural variation dominated the measured variation, contradicting the CAGW position. All the radiosonde data does is support a weak water vapor feedback (and water vapor content also affects clouds, resulting in negative feedback), which is not in disagreement with anything I stated.

HankHenry
April 8, 2014 7:25 am

288K is not the surface temperature. It is the surface AIR temperature. There’s a substantial difference and it matters in these global scale budgetary considerations.

Arfur Bryant
April 8, 2014 7:28 am

Oh Dear.
For your delectation, please listen to this. In particular the second half. While you listen, have a think about Trenberth’s “…324 W/m^2 absorbed by the surface.”

Trenberth’s cartoon (any version) is a joke – without the funny bit.
Have a nice day.

hunter
April 8, 2014 7:30 am

The more I look at this post, the less there is to like.
This is the third post in about a week that hurts the reputation of this blog and skeptics in general.
Skeptics are winning by sticking to the facts and questioning the consensus.
We do not need people using narrative to explain away physics.
We do not need conspiracies about governments buying up Australian farms.

April 8, 2014 7:31 am

“I have to agree with Dr. Spencer. Very sad to see this here.”
Roy thinks that a non radiative atmosphere would tend towards isothermal and that convection would cease.
I think he is wrong in that because one cannot suppress convection where the surface is unevenly heated and KE converts to PE with height leading to a temperature decline with height without needing radiative losses from height.
With no radiative losses from within the atmosphere there would still be convection and it would be more vigorous in order to maintain top of atmosphere energy loss from the surface alone.
Trenberth is right to distinguish between the 165 emitted from the atmosphere and the 40 emitted through the atmospheric window from the surface but fails to realise that if one increases then the other decreases to maintain the same TOA energy loss.

Neil
April 8, 2014 7:34 am

This might show up my ignorance, but shouldn’t there be two energy budget diagrams, one for daytime/sunnyside and one for night time? The dynamics of each must be so different as to make it impossible to combine the two. The transfer mechanisms change, obviously, there’s nothing coming in on the dark side, but there’s still stuff going out…

April 8, 2014 7:41 am

Missing in Wilde’s essay (and for years) in Trenberth’s diagram too, is the fact that the 30 Wm² reflected from the surface is a VARIABLE and is surface albedo dependent. Under conditions of wide area snowcover, the reflectivity at short wavelengths (SWs) almost completely pierces the GHGs, as they cannot intercept and re-direct the SW back down or sideways. So the 107 Wm² outflow is in reality a larger number with the net effect of recent snowcover and cloud increases. How do we know???
Evidence is the slowing rate of oceanic warming increase, and the 17 – now going on 18 year atmospheric temperature flatline. Result = Lower planetary energy retention. It is not “mostly hidden in the deep ocean,” but off the planet and not returning!!!

Nylo
April 8, 2014 7:49 am

The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.
Wrong. It doesn’t. It may gain as much energy in the process of going down as it lost when going up, but it does not warm back to the same temperature, the temperature is lower because in the middle, between going up and coming down, it lost energy radiating it to space. So before the process begins we have surface air at some temperature, and after the process we have surface air at a lower temperature. In my planet, that’s called surface cooling.

April 8, 2014 7:55 am

Nylo said:
“It may gain as much energy in the process of going down as it lost when going up, but it does not warm back to the same temperature”
It does, because new solar energy continues to flow in to replace the portion lost by leakage from atmospheric emissivity and clouds.
It is all in the timing and once the first convective cycle has completed there is no surface cooling from the adiabatic portion (most of it) of convective overturning.

Brian
April 8, 2014 8:09 am

What?

Ron C.
April 8, 2014 8:11 am

Leonard Weinstein says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:24 am
Thanks for responding. But it is not about water, and not about the gradient. It is about the actual temperatures at each altitude where water vapor is absent.
“It can be seen from the infra-red cooling model of Figure 19 that the greenhouse effect theory predicts a strong influence from the greenhouse gases on the barometric temperature profile. Moreover, the modelled net effect of the greenhouse gases on infra-red cooling varies substantially over the entire atmospheric profile.
However, when we analysed the barometric temperature profiles of the radiosondes in this paper, we were unable to detect any influence from greenhouse gases. Instead, the profiles were very well described by the thermodynamic properties of the main atmospheric gases, i.e., N 2 and O 2 , in a gravitational field.”
From Pg. 18 of referenced research paper

schmidtyfi
April 8, 2014 8:12 am

I cannot believe people are taking this for anything other than the hilarious satire that it is.
FWIW, Mr. Wilde, I think you should add a conclusion that this shows 97% statistically significant agreement with CAGW, but that more funding is needed. Then, take your pick of publishing offers, professorships, and conference keynotes.

Nylo
April 8, 2014 8:19 am

Stephen said:
It does, because new solar energy continues to flow in to replace the portion lost by leakage from atmospheric emissivity and clouds.
Solar energy comes mostly in the visible spectre and the air we are talking about is transparent to it. We have already accounted for the solar energy in its entirety in other terms of Spencer’s model for the energy balance as entering the surface layer. You cannot add it twice at different heights. If you want to add it in the higher layer (good luck with the demosntration), then substract it from the lower layer.

Ron C.
April 8, 2014 8:20 am

Also the effect of water vapor is not what has been assumed.
“While water vapour is a greenhouse gas, the effects of water vapour on the temperature profile did not appear to be related to its radiative properties, but rather its different molecular structure and the latent heat released/gained by water in its gas/liquid/solid phase changes.
For this reason, our results suggest that the magnitude of the greenhouse effect is very small, perhaps negligible. At any rate, its magnitude appears to be too small to be detected from the archived radiosonde data.”
Open Peer Rev. J., 2014; 19 (Atm. Sci.), Ver. 0.1. http://oprj.net/articles/atmospheric-science/19 page 18 of 28

HankHenry
April 8, 2014 8:24 am

Neil, you could make two diagrams, but if you’re simplifying things, one budget works. The Boltzmann equation deals with the simplest kind of model of all. I do often wonder if the earth rotated faster if it would affect the average surface temperature. I think the only thing speeding up rotation would do is even out the temperatures somewhat. This could mean very slightly lower temperatures because Newton’s law of cooling says that things at a higher temperature cool faster. Hence, the higher daytime temps might lead to greater overall cooling.

April 8, 2014 8:31 am

Nylo said:
“If you want to add it in the higher layer (good luck with the demosntration), then substract it from the lower layer.”
Adding it at the surface is just fine. It soon gets conducted and convected to the air to replace what is lost by the air so no double counting.

April 8, 2014 8:40 am

Why Anthony?
Group A
Anthony, Willis, Tisdale, Monckton
group B
Goddard, Archibald, Tallbloke, Wilde, Skydragons,
Group A: sometimes right, sometimes wrong.
group B: not even wrong.
Other difference. You will note over time that group A is actually open to changing their minds.
group B? I only say “triple point” and those who know the history will get it

REPLY:
the journey to a right or wrong answer is just as important. This was good practice in seeing how well people can sort out the answer. -A

Nylo
April 8, 2014 8:50 am

Stephen Wilde said:
It soon gets conducted and convected to the air to replace what is lost by the air
If you are saying that the air at altitude receives energy by means of conduction and convection, please explain how that very same process of conduction and convection does not substract heat from the surface. How can you add energy to one layer without removing it from the layer the energy comes from?
You had previously indicated that conduction and convection did not matter or had a balance of 0W/m2 (Thermals surface to atmosphere). You said that Trenberth’s 24W/m2 were gained back at the surface when the air came down. But now you are saying that this energy is lost to space, or is used to “replace what is lost by the air”. If it is lost, it is lost. Like you 🙂

Neil
April 8, 2014 8:51 am

@ henryhank
thanks for response
I suppose what I’m thinking is that the complex nature of this energy budget will not be served by this simplification, as different scenarios, day and night will have differnet variable changes attributable to different phenomena/causes in each. If one is trying to distinguish the changes and attribute them to, say CO2, water vapour, whatever, then the fundamental conditions must be considered. The simplified single energy budget diagram will hide this, or at least obscure it. (I am convinced that inc temp result in inc CO2 anyhow). So to try and attribute cause and effect in the simplified diagram, is, like trying to work with an average of two numbers and say what one of them is from that – but in a much more complex and chaotic system – just not possible.
Not sure I put the analogy very well, but

April 8, 2014 8:58 am

I think it would be of great interest for people who wants to understand all the debate about the “science of global warming” if someone could explain WHY , from sound physical science, changes in CO2 in the atmosphere of the magnitude involve here, CANNOT DRIVE CHANGES IN GLOBAL CLIMATE; and the explanation would rather avoid mathematical models and childish quarrels between advocates of different theories….
or perhaps I am wrong and changes in CO2 CAN BRING ABOUT CHANGES IN GLOBAL CLIMATE …

Leo Morgan
April 8, 2014 8:58 am

[snip – I think you wrote this before I let everyone in on the fun, see the comment and the update, and you are welcome to resubmit – Anthony]

dp
April 8, 2014 9:05 am

This post comes 7 days too late. It is a joke, right?
REPLY: yep, just some fun target practice – Anthony

April 8, 2014 9:09 am

Nylo,
Your reading of my words is confused.
Anthony,
All posts here are good target practice for someone.
If you thought it was only good for the hopper then I would have preferred you had said so and not bothered to use it.
As things stand so far the objections are either sweeping generalisations without substance or appear to result from misreading.
An established fact is that air does warm as a result of the non-radiative adiabatic processe as it descends, some have accepted as much. That causes problems for radiative theory.
REPLY: My opinion on the backradiation and lapse rate silliness is well known, you should have known better than to submit it. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Hopefully you’ll learn something from the comments. – Anthony

April 8, 2014 9:11 am

Oh finally, i can see the greenhouse ‘glass’ in the upper troposphere, creating the non-existent greenhouse which would of course entail no life on this planet. Thanks Trenberth et al. Your grade 8 science studies are proceeding nicely !

sun Spot
April 8, 2014 9:24 am

There is nothing special about new label’s for radiation! “cAGW” past present and future will not change what radiative physics has always been. Here are with 17 years of no warming while the Slayers obfuscate by making up back radiation to be a new boogie man. How many angels can dance on radiations pin head?

Slartibartfast
April 8, 2014 9:38 am

That’s a good idea, really the only thing that is happening is retarding the escape of energy to space – Anthony

So, you’re saying that the distinction represented by “backradiation” is retarded?
Harsh, but I can go with that. 😉

Amatør1
April 8, 2014 9:44 am

Box of Rocks says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:14 am
I have a sens that the original idea from Trenberth is incorrect, I at this point in time can’t put my finger on it.

Consider the idea that ‘backradiation’ is twice as bright as the Sun as a candidate.

John West
April 8, 2014 9:45 am

To those who keep bringing up the lapse rate:
The characteristics of the tropospheric lapse rate are a function of being heated from below not that gravity causes the lapse rate. Notice that the stratospheric lapse rate and (if you’ll pardon the expression) the oceanic lapse rate are the opposite of the tropospheric lapse rate. Does gravity flip flop its temperature inducing features at will? Note that with each of these fluids the temperature is warmest where its closest to its primary heat source and coldest where its farthest away from its primary heat source. The temperature of all of these fluids (troposphere, stratosphere, and ocean) could be described and calculated with height or depth as the only variable, but this does not mean gravity causes the temperature to be what it is.

April 8, 2014 9:48 am

“If a GHG molecule is too warm for its height then DWIR back to the surface dominates but the molecule rises away from the surface and cools until DWIR again equals UWIR.
If a GHG molecule is too cold for its height then UWIR to space dominates but the molecule then falls until DWIR again equals UWIR.”
More of the intelligent radiator theory. It’s amazing that individual molecules have the intellectual capacity to know which direction to throw off a photon. Or even what its current altitude is, or its thermal relationship to its surroundings, or its orientation. Do you suppose that all GHGs have GPS AND thermal sensing equipment too, WITH gyroscopes?. And where do they get their signals with which to compare and correct? And what material is used for the thrusters? Now, if you put enough of these smart molecules together, there is no telling what sort of ingenious things they could make. Do you suppose they could gang up with one another and make a climate model that works?

Ron C.
April 8, 2014 9:48 am

Steven Mosher says:
April 8, 2014 at 8:40 am
Please resist the impulse to organize “teams,” even though that worked for the hockeystick team until recently. I have learned from all the people you listed, along with some hockeystickers. I don’t belong to a team, not much of a joiner I guess.
Another of my foibles is that when data disagrees with a theory, I tend to suspend belief in that theory until positive proof appears. That’s where I am with greenhouse gas theory.
You subscribe to the notion that CO2 raises the effective emission level, resulting in surface warming. Fine. But when the radiosonde data cannot detect that effect, I become skeptical. WUWT?

Editor
April 8, 2014 9:50 am

The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

Adiabatic lapse rates by definition do not involve energy flows. They result from a change in the FORM of energy from potential to kinetic as altitude changes.
Surely there are some second order effects of the rain cycle that transport energy from atmosphere to surface but the first order effect, the dominant energy transfer, is that heat is being removed from the surface by evaporation and released in the upper atmosphere by condensation. That energy transport cannot be ignored just because it is not via radiation!

Duster
April 8, 2014 9:59 am

DirkH says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:46 am
***
Why? Let’s say mean free path length for an IR photon at 15 micrometer, in the CO2 absorption / re emission band is 25 m at 1 atmosphere. Meaning it gets emitted and re absorbed and re emitted multiple times on its way until it reaches either surface or open space (or a water droplet in the atmosphere, which acts as a blackbody). Each re-emission happening in a random direction.
***

I like the comment with one caveat. The length of the mean free path is directly dependent upon the direction the photon is emitted, because of the way in which mean atmospheric density varies.. Spacing between gas molecules increases as a function of altitude. The path on average is thus longest in a direction away from the planet and shortest on the path directly inward. At any elevation above the immediate surface the potential outward paths are more numerous than inward ones and the length of outward paths increases as a function of altitude. Inward paths are limited by the cone of potential paths occluded by the planet. Consequently the inward or down-welling LIR is never 50% of the reradiated IR, except locally, on dry land, where in a valley the there might be more than a 50% chance of inward movement. Therefore, with each re-emission, statistically, the photon is more likely to move way from the surface rather than toward it. With each increase in altitude that probability of an inward move diminishes. Again, the number of potential inward paths is never 50% except at the immediate surface.

Duster
April 8, 2014 10:01 am

“… never 50% except at the immediate surface. ” Well, not unless the earth is flat.

Amatør1
April 8, 2014 10:01 am

Anthony Watts says:
April 8, 2014 at 8:50 am
Every once in awhile we need to take a look at the ‘Slayer’ mentality of thinking about radiative balance, just to keep sharp on the topic.

Isn’t there sufficient supply of climopathology from Australia? Why ‘mentality’? What is wrong with discussing the scientific arguments? Let the chips fall where they may.

Slartibartfast
April 8, 2014 10:03 am

Don’t forget the epic Part 2 of Slaying the Slayers, Anthony.

Editor
April 8, 2014 10:09 am

Anthony Watts says:
April 8, 2014 at 8:50 am

I’m glad to see a number of people pointing out how flawed the argument is. Every once in awhile we need to take a look at the ‘Slayer’ mentality of thinking about radiative balance, just to keep sharp on the topic. At first I thought this should go straight into the hopper, and then I thought it might make some good target practice, so I published it without any caveat.
Readers did not disappoint.

Indeed, the comments are mostly to the point.
I wanted to add my three cents worth (inflation, y’know). There were a number of sins of commission and sins of omission in the head post, but this one was particularly egregious:

The budget needs to be amended as follows:
The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.
The 24 Wm2 for thermals needs to be corrected to zero because dry air that rises in thermals then warms back up to the original temperature on descent.

One difficulty with these claims is that the author is looking at a different thing than Kiehl/Trenberth were looking at. The K/T budget is looking at the heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere. Steven Wilde, on the other hand, seems to be looking at heat transfer within the atmosphere.
For example, when the surface is warmer than the atmosphere, it is constantly losing energy to the atmosphere through conduction/convection. This is not affected in the slightest by the fact that Steven mentions, which is that air warms when it descends. So what? The surface will still be losing heat to the atmosphere as long as it is warmed by the sun.
The same is true about evaporation. When water on the surface evaporates, it cools the surface. Period. It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law.
I find it quite bizarre that Steven Wilde claims that the earth’s surface doesn’t lose heat by either conduction/convection or evaporation, but purely by radiation. That flies in the face of all common sense as well as physics. That’s like claiming that humans aren’t cooled when our sweat evaporates, because of adiabatic lapse rate mumble mumble mumble …
The adiabatic lapse rate is a separate issue—the obvious reality is that both humans and the planetary surface are cooled by evaporation no matter what the lapse rate does. To claim otherwise reveals a serious, profound misunderstanding of the processes involved.
There are a host of other issues with his presentation, such as the fact that when thunderstorms move heat from the surface directly to the upper troposphere, where it is far above the majority of the greenhouse gases … but I digress …
w.

April 8, 2014 10:16 am

Alec Rawls said:
“the dominant energy transfer, is that heat is being removed from the surface by evaporation and released in the upper atmosphere by condensation. That energy transport cannot be ignored just because it is not via radiation!”
That is part of the adiabatic process and is covered by the radiative losses from atmosphere to space at 165 and clouds at 30. Therefore it is not being ignored.
That ‘leakage’ from within the atmosphere is constantly being replaced by incoming shortwave heating of the surface which then warms the air by conduction.
The adiabatic part comes back to KE at the surface again on descent. and it is that adiabatic part which is net zero but AGW theory has that in as a net cooling effect as well as the diabatic part.

April 8, 2014 10:25 am

Willis said:
“It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law”
It doesn’t return energy to the surface. It reconverts PE to KE as it approaches the surface. No violation.
It does matter that the dry rate is greater than the moist rate because there is then more warming on the descent than there was cooling on the ascent for the same distance of travel.
In the hydro cycle it is primarily radiation from condensate that reaches space and not radiation from the bulk air mass.
“I find it quite bizarre that Steven Wilde claims that the earth’s surface doesn’t lose heat by either conduction/convection or evaporation, but purely by radiation. That flies in the face of all common sense as well as physics.”
The surface both loses and regains heat from conduction / convection. That is the point that has been missed.
First KE is taken up and converted to PE and then it is brought down and converted back to KE. The adiabatic portion is net zero because no new energy enters or leaves. There is a diabatic portion too but that is replaced by new incoming solar energy.

April 8, 2014 10:30 am

Duster says:
… the inward or down-welling LIR is never 50% of the reradiated IR…
That has been my understanding for a long time now. Greenhouse gases radiate in all directions, therefore a CO2 molecule at, for example, a 20 km altitude would re-radiate an IR photon that it absorbed from the surface in all directions, therefore far less than 50% of the re-radiated photons would return to heat the earth. Most would proceed into outer space. It is only at the surface that a photon has a 50% chance of warming the planet. The rest of the photons radiate into space, cooling the planet.
That is just one of several arguments falsifying the greenhouse gas conjecture.

April 8, 2014 10:31 am

“The K/T budget is looking at the heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere. Steven Wilde, on the other hand, seems to be looking at heat transfer within the atmosphere.”
K/T and I are addressing both those AND between atmosphere and space.
K/T isn’t all wrong. The division up of the different processes to attain balance is neat but the net effect of adiabatic convection is mischaracterised as a net surface cooling effect which is why you then need an extra 102 coming from back radiation to balance the books.
The diabatic part of convection is already dealt with in the outgoing 165 for atmospheric emissions and 30 for clouds so anyone referring to condensation or radiation from the atmosphere is missing the point.

April 8, 2014 10:38 am

Michael D Smith said:
“More of the intelligent radiator theory. It’s amazing that individual molecules have the intellectual capacity to know which direction to throw off a photon. Or even what its current altitude is, or its thermal relationship to its surroundings, or its orientation.”
Density differentials in the horizontal plane do it just fine.
Do you think the molecules in a thermal uplift make a conscious decision ?
If they are too warm for their height relative to the lapse rate slope they will rise and vice versa. Do you think radiative molecules ‘know’ when to resist ?

commieBob
April 8, 2014 10:43 am

None of the numbers in the diagram are direct measurements. They are all based on calculations. The budget, as illustrated, is a hypotheses.
For sure, the atmosphere smooths out the extremes of temperature we would see without it. How much does it actually warm the planet? We could compare the Earth to the Moon. They are the same distance from the Sun. The Earth has an atmosphere, the Moon doesn’t.
If we dig* a few feet into the Moon at the equator, we find that it is a comfortable 23°C
<a href="http://www.lunarpedia.org/index.php?title=Lunar_Temperature"lunarpedia, mind you, at the pole that would drop to -110°C. That’s surprisingly in line with the temperature in Antarctica! record low in Antarctica (*Why dig? It creates a pretty good low pass filter and therefore a reliable average temperature.)
Based on a comparison with our nearest neighbor, I don’t think the standard 33° C greenhouse effect is a slam dunk. I do think that neither side understands the science nearly as well as they think they do. (Let me hasten to add that I don’t understand it either, I’m just expressing my skepticism about the current state of the science.)

James Rollins Jr
April 8, 2014 10:45 am

[ http://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Sky-Dragon-Greenhouse-Theory-ebook/dp/B004DNWJN6 ]
I looked, and I don’t see any association of the Slaying the Sky Dragon book with the author of the post, who is being falsely asserted to be associated with it.
I see Tim Ball and Alan Siddon’s names associated with the book – and they’re some of the most respected people in Climate debate, having been responsible for several prominent global warmers’ decided undoings.
Kiehl-Trenberth isn’t a scientific document and is fatally flawed from several directions: no mention anywhere of the mandatory 324 W/sq/meter up inherent to all consensus climate belief is first.
This omission alone means it isn’t legitimate scientific dialog, nor is it real documentation of science.
No matter how many scientifically failed, richly, and thoroughly humiliated wannabes, point to it as the flag they prefer to be laughed out of history’s serious scientific discussions flying.

James Rollins Jr
April 8, 2014 11:00 am

The people who brought you the Kiehl-Trenberth fiasco are also the ones who brought you an era of modeling the climate not having the atmosphere’s energy handling conform to ideal gas law,
modeling the climate as an ”infrared warming model” instead of an ”infrared cooling model,”
setting the all time low for standards in professional character assassination in place of legitimate scientific inquiry quantified by instrumental verification of hopes,
being found systematically squeezing media coverage such that it consistently resounded that
“the basic science is sound.”
If the basic science was sound it wouldn’t have left out 324 critical W/sq/m.

Editor
April 8, 2014 11:08 am

dbstealey says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:30 am

Duster says:

… the inward or down-welling LIR is never 50% of the reradiated IR…

That has been my understanding for a long time now. Greenhouse gases radiate in all directions, therefore a CO2 molecule at, for example, a 20 km altitude would re-radiate an IR photon that it absorbed from the surface in all directions, therefore far less than 50% of the re-radiated photons would return to heat the earth. Most would proceed into outer space. It is only at the surface that a photon has a 50% chance of warming the planet. The rest of the photons radiate into space, cooling the planet.
That is just one of several arguments falsifying the greenhouse gas conjecture.

While this effect surely exists, you are greatly exaggerating the effects. The world is a huge place. The dip of the horizon in radians is sqrt(2h/r) where h is the height of the eye and r is the radius of the earth. At a height of 20 km, the extreme case, this is a dip of 4.5°. In other words, at that altitude the horizon is at 4.5° below true horizontal.
Of course, at lower altitudes this is less and less. What is called the “effective radiation level”, the average height of emission, is only a couple of kilometres above the surface … and at that altitude the dip of the horizon is only 1.4° …
Finally, most of the radiation doesn’t have the binary option of hitting the planet or escaping to outer space. Most of the radiation is reabsorbed by the atmosphere, whether at a higher or a lower level. As a result, much of the time the angle of the planet/space horizon doesn’t even enter into the equation.
So as I said, while you are correct, it is a difference that doesn’t make much of a difference. At average radiation height it’s less than two degrees, and most radiation will be reabsorbed by the atmosphere rather than going to either the planet or to space … so in most analyses it is (properly in my opinion) neglected as a third order effect.
w.

AlecM
April 8, 2014 11:09 am

Sorry, but you cannot offset SW input with LW output. The two are completely separate. The reality is 168 SW input is thermalised at the surface. Part goes out as convection and evapo-transpiration and part as net IR.
The net IR is 390 – 324 = 66 of which 26 is absorbed by non self-absorbed GHG bands and 40 goes directly to Space via the atmospheric window. The ‘324 back radiation’ and 390 ‘surface emission’ are Radiation Fields; only the vector sum can do thermodynamic work.
Only the 168 heats the atmosphere. The IPCC models are fake because they assume ~3 times this is absorbed in the lower atmosphere and of this about half is offset by a cooling of the upper atmosphere via the ‘two stream approximation’ from assuming Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation applies at ToA. The latter is impossible for a semi-transparent emitter/absorber.
The net ~40% increase in energy, a perpetual motion machine of the 2nd kind is absorbed by increasing the imaginary part of the 3x GHE from wrongly assuming it is ‘lapse rate’, hence the imaginary ‘positive feedback’. The final cheat is to offset the residual excess by using ~2x low level cloud optical depth in hind-casting, about 25% extra albedo.
This is a clever fraud.

April 8, 2014 11:11 am

James Rollins says
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/08/correcting-trenberth-et-al/#comment-1608409
Henry says
Agreed.
I miss any measurements / results/ etc in this post
OTOH the figures from K/T were also never explained properly
@Stephen Wilde
it is good to see that you are still thinking about things
Unfortunately, there is just too much that was never explained
e.g.
Trenberth gives a figure for back radiation by ozone
but he simply forgot about the peroxides and the nitrogenous oxides
I am disturbed to see Anthony standing on the side of those laughing not giving any reasoned opinion himself.
This subject is not my specialty,
but I would still caution those laughing to understand why we are globally cooling
http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/

Editor
April 8, 2014 11:18 am

commieBob says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

None of the numbers in the diagram are direct measurements. They are all based on calculations. The budget, as illustrated, is a hypotheses.

Oh, not true in the slightest. The origin of each of the numbers is different. Their basis is described in the underlying document, Earth’s Global Energy Budget. People commenting without having read that are just guessing …
w.

Bart
April 8, 2014 11:37 am

I disagree with Stephen’s analysis, but I don’t see the snarky comments, without any attempt to bring clarity to the issue, as being particularly helpful, or reflecting any particular understanding from those who make them.
Nylo @ April 8, 2014 at 4:50 am hits the flaw that I see, though I think there is a nuance which he has not pointed out. Photon emission can increase, as well as decrease, the translational kinetic energy of radiating atmospheric particles, so the net change in translational energy amongst all those particles returning to the surface should be effectively nil. However, they now have unexcited degrees of freedom which will then get filled, due to equipartition, resulting in a net cooling effect.
The problem with Trenberth’s diagram, as with so many of the half-baked analyses relating to this problem, is that it is static. If you increase the “back-radiation”, there is no opposite reaction from Thermals and Evapo-transpiration, or from Clouds.
The casual GHE effect is explained in purely radiative terms. However, convection provides another path for heat to flow to radiating elements in the upper atmosphere, which can short circuit the radiative transfer effect. That convection increases with increasing temperature, too, providing a negative feedback.
I have previously made analogy to an automobile’s cooling system. The radiator actually blocks air flow and radiative transfer from the engine. If you look at the radiation alone, you would conclude that the radiator actually heats the engine above what it would otherwise be.
However, that misses completely the overwhelming advection of coolant from the engine to the fins of the radiator, which cools the engine.
The so-called GHGs in the atmosphere are radiators. They are the major cooling outlets for the atmosphere. If you pipe heat to them, in whatever form, they will eliminate it to space. They are like the fins of the radiator in an automobile. If you add to them, it is like making the fins of the automobile radiator larger.
Yes, they will block more direct radiation from the engine. But, they will more efficiently eliminate heat transferred to them by other means. The net effect can easily be zero. And that, indeed, is that the data are telling us. There is no discernible surface temperature sensitivity to rising CO2. The global temperature record shows a steady rise since the LIA, established well before rising CO2 could have had an effect, overlaid with a ~60 year cyclical component. There is no identifiable secular component which correlates to atmospheric CO2 concentration.

AlecM
April 8, 2014 11:38 am

The Energy Budget mixes up Radiation Fields with real energy fluxes so it all goes horribly wrong. They then invoke Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation at ToA and imaginary extra cloud albedo as a fitting parameter.
There is no ‘back radiation, no ‘positive feedback’. The real GHE is 1/3 rd the claimed 33 K; you get this by calculating the mean surface temperature for 341 W/m^ SW energy input (no clouds or ice in the GHG-free hypothetical atmosphere). It’s between 4 and 5 deg C.
At the last glacial maximum the GHE was ~2 K. It is now ~11 K. The difference is entirely from lower cloud albedo via biofeedback (more aerosols – Sagan got the aerosol optical physics wrong so reverse the sign of the AIE).
CO2-AGW is near zero through an atmospheric control mechanism involving a bit of simple new physics, now being proved experimentally !
It’s time this appalling waste of money was shut down and research re-started under professional physicists from good schools so Atmospheric Physics and the Climate stuff can be purged of imaginary ‘back radiation’. Include engineers who do experiments.

SkepticGoneWild
April 8, 2014 11:41 am

Wow! 342 w/m-2 incoming solar radiation gets magnified to 492 w/m-2 at the surface. That’s a cool thermodynamic trick!

Alan McIntire
April 8, 2014 11:46 am

“The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.”
If evapo-transpiraton didn’t have any cooling effect, that would make a dog’s panting and our human evaporation system pointless and an evolutionary waste of energy.

April 8, 2014 11:51 am

I note the term “back radiation” can also be confusing
It is used both for radiation back to space (mostly by the ozone, peroxides and the nitrogenous oxides) and radiation back to earth (Water, CO2 and ozone and others)
I am not sure how this can be differentiated

george e. smith
April 8, 2014 11:51 am

I read the first few sentences/paragraphs, and decided, I couldn’t follow the detail narrative, closely enough to track the argument. But some comments come to mind.
evidently, some folks think that “latent heat” is some source of energy that is available to “heat” (aka ‘raise the temperature of’) the atmosphere.
NO !! Latent heat is energy that must BE LOST BY a vapor, TO A COLDER SINK, BEFORE it can change phase to a liquid or solid. It raises the temperature of nothing, so any moisture/solid precipitating out, does not bring a host of heat energy back to earth with it.
Secondly Trenberth’s ENERGY BUDGET, which has been mischaracterized (including by me mistakenly) as a RADIATION budget, is in fact NOT an energy budget at all.
It is a POWER budget, or more strictly a POWER DENSITY (area) budget.
POWER; P = dE / dt is an instantaneous differential quantity, it is a RATE of energy flow / change / conversion /usage/ arrival / whatever.
An ENERGY budget for a climate consideration, would be given in Petajoules or some larger unit involved in perhaps some 30 year climate relative time frame; an INTEGRAL OF THE POWER BUDGET.
Why this is important, is because the real universe does not average anything, it responds instantly to any and all happenstances, as they happen, without any delays to compute some average.
As a result, the actual rate of radiant energy loss from the earth, is substantially greater than Trenberth’s numbers, because the major energy losses, occur from the earths HIGHEST TEMPERATURE zones, and NOT from the earth’s COLDEST TEMPERATURE zones.
Ice and snow at the poles INHIBIT the cooling of the earth; they DO NOT ENHANCE the earth’s cooling rate.
Urban heat islands are wonderful for radiating large quantities of energy back into space during the heat of the day.
In any case, I don’t see where Stephen is going with this.
Trenberth, is a bit confused, in that he includes in his ersatz “energy” budget, completely internal to the earth system fluxes of “heat energy” that cannot cross the earth / space boundary line. Yet he then goes on to completely ignore, totally astronomical amounts of other earth internal “heat energy” fluxes that are going on in the earth’s oceans and ocean currents, from tropics to poles. And once transported to the poles, these energies become trapped, by the abysmally low thermal radiative power available at polar temperatures.
Kevin, if you want to know why you can’t account for the “missing heat”, maybe it’s because you totally ignore the ocean “heat energy” fluxes, in your “earth energy budget.”
Nature does not average power.
TSI is 1362 or 1366 W/m^2 all over the sunlit half of the earth’s intercept circle, and it has that value for each and every atto-second of time, give or take some noise, and solar goings on, that Leif can educate us on; plus of course some well understood orbital ellipticity change during a year.
I defy anyone in a normally inhabited zone to go out on a clear sunny day, near noon, and point a radiometer towards the sun, and get within 10%, maybe even 25 % of 342 W/m^2 or maybe it’s 250 W/m^2 Trenberth thinks you will read. You won’t; you’ll get a number closer to 1,000 W/m^2.
Which is why earth is hotter than Trenberth thinks it should be.

Ian
April 8, 2014 11:52 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 8, 2014 at 11:18 am
“Their basis is described in the underlying document, Earth’s Global Energy Budget. People commenting without having read that are just guessing …”
Willis,
I tried your link but it seems to have been disconnected.
I think I found the paper here http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/387h/PAPERS/kiehl.pdf
Is that correct?
[Try here … w.]

Slartibartfast
April 8, 2014 11:53 am

Trenberth’s papers are no longer as linked.
Try, instead, http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/staff/trenbert/trenberth.papers/KiehlTrenbBAMS97.pdf

Alan McIntire
April 8, 2014 11:53 am

The “Skydragons” have a point that Trenberth’s figures are oversimplified, not showing a day/night difference. To take care of that, check “Newton Cooling” out at wiki,
and take into consideration that the earth is NOT asymptotically cooling to 0 K at night, but to the higher temperatue of the atmosphere.
I did a rough calculation of daily cooling of the atmosphere.
mass atmosphere = 5* 10^18 kg=5*10^21gm
temp atmosphere 255K (effective radiating temp to space- underestimates heat content)
specific heat 1.01 joules/gm C
5* 10^21*1.01*255= 1.288 * 10^24 joules
radius earth = 6400km= 6.4*10^6 meters.
area earth = 4 pi r^2 =514,718,540,364,021.76
240 watts/sq meter = 240 joules/sec per square meter
60 sec/min*60 min/hr*24hr/day=86,400 secs per day
5.147* 10^14 sq meters*240 joules/sec/sq meter *8.64*10^4 secs/day= 1.067*10^22 joules per day radiated away
1.067*10^22/1.288*10^24 = 0.83%
So the atmosphere as a whole cools by less than 1% over the course of a day. That figure makes sense when you figure that the earth’s surface temperature my change by 10 C or more overnight far more than average changes over a week, but weather patterns persist for several days, and that’s why meteorologists can predict daily highs out a week or so. That cooling is obviously mostly from the
earth’s surface and air near the surface ,leaving most of the atmosphere unchanged.

Brad
April 8, 2014 11:55 am

Anthony,
Thanks for coming “clean” on this article. I am a layman at best, still trying to learn from my betters here.
On my first read, thought I had one of those new “smell-phones”, either that or my dog farted. His logic process and lack of references were big clues…

MikeB
April 8, 2014 12:05 pm

The problem when you introduce nonsense like this is that other weirdoes chip in with their own brand of competing nonsense. AlecM for instance with his own nonsensical brand of physics that only he pretends to understand.
Willis Eschenbach April 8, 2014 at 11:18 am
I can’t follow your link. I get object not found. Is this problem at my end or is the link incorrect? Would like to see it, thanks.

April 8, 2014 12:09 pm

since the IR wave leaves the earth headed towards the colder body(space) i have yet to see anyone explain how co2 could possibly REVERSE that flow of the wave? no force is required to push it away from the earth that is its natural movement and some force would be required to reverse that movement and send it back to earth, co2 has no such power…….sorta like insulation on a house, it does slow heat loss but it does NOT REVERSE the flow and send heat back into the house.

Duster
April 8, 2014 12:09 pm

dbstealey says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:30 am
Duster says:
… the inward or down-welling LIR is never 50% of the reradiated IR…
That has been my understanding for a long time now. Greenhouse gases radiate in all directions, therefore a CO2 molecule at, for example, a 20 km altitude would re-radiate an IR photon that it absorbed from the surface in all directions, therefore far less than 50% of the re-radiated photons would return to heat the earth. Most would proceed into outer space. It is only at the surface that a photon has a 50% chance of warming the planet. The rest of the photons radiate into space, cooling the planet.
That is just one of several arguments falsifying the greenhouse gas conjecture.

I don’t think it falsifies the greenhouse conjecture. The interaction between GHGs and LIR is a laboratory fact. I do think that there are a great many folks who are thinking about the same problem in such profoundly different terms that they don’t understand each other and, instead a “come again” and a “please explain your first-principles assumptions more clearly,” there is a great deal of “no, no, you’re wrong.” A lot of the argument hinges upon the semantics of the words “greenhouse effect,” which has been admitted to be a misnomer for years.
Off hand I would far rather hear a “slayer’s” opinion than that of a believer in CAGW, if only because the CAGW believer has divorced him- or herself from empirical reality and demonstrable geological history in favour of computer games (-ah computer models, models, I meant models) and scary numbers. The CAGW faithful are in their own minds heroically defending the planet from the rest of us – drama, not science.

April 8, 2014 12:25 pm
AlecM
April 8, 2014 12:26 pm

MikeB: prove to the other readers using standard physics that anything i have written here is wrong. You won’t be able to. I measured coupled convection and radiation in plants and lab for decades and made optical pyrometers from scratch. The literature is immense, as is the experimental data; the theory is still being developed but it’s tough.Then along comes Climate Alchemy and claims a Radiation Field (aka Irradiance) is a real energy flux rather than the potential energy flux of that emitter to a sink at absolute zero. This is a basic failure of what to me was 1st year degree physics.
Engineers are taught to calculate the two S-B equations and the difference of RF is the predicted real IR flux. Trenberth adds the DOWN RF to the net real IR flux and gets the UP RF, claiming it’s a real rather than a potential energy flow. This was and is an appalling scientific mistake and the fudges are worse. All process engineers I have spoken too, agree this Energy Budget is wrong.
When ‘back radiation’ aka ‘IR Forcing’ increases, net surface IR emission decreases. To get the net heat transfer, surface temperature must increase to increase the other heat transfer modes. There can be no creation of energy. You can prove this by MODTRAN, written by professionals. it sets real total heat transfer from surface to lower atmosphere for 15 deg C surface temperature consistent with the right OLR as between 100 and 170 W/m^2 or so if you do some simple runs.
What climate Alchemy does is to force extra imaginary heat into the base and cools the top, apparently to prove the imaginary extended GHE exists when it can’t.

commieBob
April 8, 2014 12:35 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
April 8, 2014 at 11:18 am
commieBob says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:43 am
None of the numbers in the diagram are direct measurements. They are all based on calculations. The budget, as illustrated, is a hypotheses.
Oh, not true in the slightest. The origin of each of the numbers is different. Their basis is described in the underlying document, Earth’s Global Energy Budget. People commenting without having read that are just guessing …

There is no instrument that will directly give any of the numbers in the illustration. They are ALL based on some kind of calculation. All the calculations are based on assumptions and all the measurements on which they are based have tolerances.
As an example, I give you one of the less problematic measurements: upwelling infrared. The instrument is in a satellite. It sees a small portion of the planet’s surface. The global number is based on integrating all the measurements taken as the satellite orbits the planet. So, we have a bunch of measurements taken at varying times. Even assuming that the instrument is perfect (it isn’t) we still have a mess of assumptions to sort out. We integrate the data over what period … a day, a week, a year, a decade? I guarantee that each will produce a different result, different enough that three significant digits is not warranted.

SkepticGoneWild
April 8, 2014 12:53 pm

Trenberth, besides being caught in lies about hurricanes and global warming (Climategate), is a science goof. He calls the diagram, “The global annual mean Earth’s energy budget”, when all the “flows” are in terms of power, not energy. The First Law of Thermodynamics relates to the conservation of “energy”, not power.

Alf
April 8, 2014 12:59 pm

So does Stephen Wilde need to be humiliated? The lack of humility was the first thing that made me suspicious of CAGWing blogs.

JohnG
April 8, 2014 1:00 pm

Steven Wilde is not a Slayer and his “physics” doesn’t follow what the Slayers criticize about the K&T Model. The problem is an ontological one: taking solar flux which impinges only in real time and over a hemisphere as a cosine distribution, but averaging it linearly over the entire Earth instead, produces a numerical value of temperature forcing (-18C) which wouldn’t even be able to melt ice, and is hence not physically meaningful. Hence the K&T style diagram isn’t physically meaningful nor is any physics it purports to demonstrate, or invent, physically meaningful. It is not ontological. The light bulb test is a really good one though, but you have to be careful about interpreting the results, scientifically.

Richard G
April 8, 2014 1:03 pm

Oh, that’s not right.
http://youtu.be/pXnJELh78qs

April 8, 2014 1:07 pm

Duster says:
I don’t think it falsifies the greenhouse conjecture.
Sorry for not making my post clearer. I was referring to the claim that a rise in CO2 would lead to runaway global warming.
Yes, CO2 causes some warming. But it is so minuscule that it cannot be measured — and the net result may well be global cooling. Really, how could it not be, based on your argument? Most re-emitted photons [‘back radiation’] escaped from the earth and troposphere, where they came from in the first place. They take their LWIR energy with them.
At current and projected concentrations, CO2 has no measurable effect. Any warming from human CO2 emissions is simply too small to measure, as this chart shows. Any minor warming from CO2 is swamped by other forcings, which is why every alarmist prediction has failed.

Max™
April 8, 2014 1:25 pm

Seems to me that the Earth is a mechanism for reducing the power of sunlight by turning it into longwave IR.
As the planet is blocking the sunlight that would normally pass through a given region of space, there is an imbalance, the energy can’t just fly straight through like neutrinos do, so it has to be absorbed and then emitted again at lower power.
As the planet is a sphere, at most it can emit half of what one hemisphere receives from each hemisphere (otherwise there would be no energy available for the shaded hemisphere to emit while the lit one was absorbing) and it does so in a less than perfectly efficient fashion.
What happens when you have a section of machinery or circuitry with lower efficiency than other parts?
Yup, it gets warmer.
It’s not as complicated as it is presented, as long as you remember everything flows downhill you can get the right answer eventually.

Lawrence13
April 8, 2014 1:53 pm

Have to say there’s a very nasty attitude by some here to Stephen Wilde who has been the virtue of patience and has courteously countered the arguments against him without once getting as bitchy as the clique that runs this website. I have to say the arrogance and sneering condescension shown has put be right off this blog. It shows up people here as no different to the level that the Cookes and Nutchellis grope for. There though at least they are in a bitter contest with sworn enemies , here though Steven is a sceptic with a theory and this is how he gets treated with scorn and all those that don’t even grasp the science involved (I don’t but I’m not a bully) crawl out of the wood work to give the man a kicking to ingratiate themselves with their leaders. It pathetic and a sorry day for the blog. Roy in particular shows a very poor attitude sometimes for a so called Christian with the same vitriol that the Dawkins bandwagon uses.
Poor show all round.

Frank
April 8, 2014 1:55 pm

Andy: I think articles like these provide credibility to critics who claim that WUTW is “anti-science”. Steve Wilde’s gross mistakes in this article are his responsibility, but to some extent they become WUTW’s when you host them. Gross mistake = not understanding the difference between the energy flux provided by convection (100 W/m2) and the radiative energy flux provided by convection (0 W/m2).
If you feel it is appropriate to expose your readers to radical ideas like these, perhaps you should sponsor a debate between Steve Wilde and some other contributor, or include a rebuttal from some other contributor. Posts like this give knowledgable skeptics a bad name.

Lawrence13
April 8, 2014 2:12 pm

Alf says:
“So does Stephen Wilde need to be humiliated? The lack of humility was the first thing that made me suspicious of CAGWing blogs”
Its almost like a set up, a slaughter , he must have felt pleased to his essay featured not knowing it was to have a feeding frenzy with all the so called ‘ Sunday scientist’ chomping on the leftovers
Absolutely, Alf, it’s disgusting and has made me very wary and sceptical of sceptics

gbaikie
April 8, 2014 2:12 pm

–One difficulty with these claims is that the author is looking at a different thing than Kiehl/Trenberth were looking at. The K/T budget is looking at the heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere. Steven Wilde, on the other hand, seems to be looking at heat transfer within the atmosphere.—
Yes it seems no one is being clear about it.
–For example, when the surface is warmer than the atmosphere, it is constantly losing energy to the atmosphere through conduction/convection. This is not affected in the slightest by the fact that Steven mentions, which is that air warms when it descends. So what? The surface will still be losing heat to the atmosphere as long as it is warmed by the sun.–
But does diagram show this?
You could arrows going down in same location as the arrows going up. Wilde’s point is they balance out to zero. Regionally they cool but not globally. Or they are negative in tropics and positive elsewhere.
–The same is true about evaporation. When water on the surface evaporates, it cools the surface. Period. It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law.–
What do mean? Of course it returns energy to surface.
I would say the formation of water droplets does allow heat to be radiated it space. Though such droplet aren’t selective in terms radiating to space. So they radiate and they absorbs energy. But terms of gas until such time as returns to returns to liquid state, the latent heat is stored.
–I find it quite bizarre that Steven Wilde claims that the earth’s surface doesn’t lose heat by either conduction/convection or evaporation, but purely by radiation. That flies in the face of all common sense as well as physics. That’s like claiming that humans aren’t cooled when our sweat evaporates, because of adiabatic lapse rate mumble mumble mumble …-
Ultimately for for energy to leave Earth it must be radiated. And H20 Gas converts it’s energy as gas when becomes a liquid. Though as H20 gas it transfers it’s kinetic energy to other gas molecules. And it absorb and re-radiate IR radiation as gas molecule.
What find bizarre is idea that light can increase the kinetic velocity of gas molecules in any way one could call significant- and it is increasing or decreasing the kinetic energy of gas is warming or cooling gases.
—The adiabatic lapse rate is a separate issue—the obvious reality is that both humans and the planetary surface are cooled by evaporation no matter what the lapse rate does. To claim otherwise reveals a serious, profound misunderstanding of the processes involved.–
Lapse rate is altered significantly because H20 as it is not as ideal gas at Earth temperature and pressure- as H20 has transitions between gas and liquid phases. H20 is sticky molecule.

Lawrence13
April 8, 2014 2:16 pm

One last comment:
Anthony when you remarked to Stephen ‘if you can’t stand the heat’ did you tell him initially when I assumed he was informed that his essay would be featured that it wasn’t so much come into the kitchen for a coffee and a chat that the chief chefs were going to throw scalding fay over his head.
Was he aware or did you lure him in?
REPLY: He offered this essay as-is with no solicitation on my part of any kind, if he can’t stand behind his own words after they are ridiculed, then he’s got nothing.
All you hand-wringers out there should walk a mile in my shoes. I’m ridiculed whether I publish this junk or not. The slayers lambast me for not allowing this sort of stuff, others lambast me for allowing it to be pointed out as dreck.
And, if I hadn’t published it and allowed it to be exposed to some very critical review, it would likely show up somewhere else where it gets a pass.
-Anthony

WestHighlander
April 8, 2014 2:19 pm

I thought for a while this was for April 1
Trenberth’s diagram is KRAPP because it ignores the reality of a rotating sphere with both water, earth, ice, etc. in 3D. Trenberth tries to model something which is inherently dynamic with a static model. The climate of the earth would be unrecognizable in the absence of the constantly moving terminator between sun and darkness which moves both daily and annually and gives us a habitable planet. Take the average of light and dark and you don’t have anything meaningful.
However, the criticism of the model is full of ad hoc assertions about molecules not being at their proper height — sounded pre-Maxwellian

Frank
April 8, 2014 2:29 pm

Commie Bob: The amount of heat convected upwards is one of the simplest energy fluxes to measure. Simply take the amount of rain that falls on the earth in a year and calculate how much energy is released into the atmosphere when water vapor condensed to produce that rain. The only instrument you need is a meter stick to measure rainfall and the heat of vaporization of water that has been determined through numerous well-controlled laboratory experiments (not difficult, uncontrolled, non-transparent measurements in the atmosphere). It turns out that average precipitation is very close to 1 m per year. (Deserts get almost nothing, tropical rainforests 2+ m; so the mean must lie somewhere near 1 m). The power need to vaporize 1 cubic meter of water in one year is roughly 80 J/s (W), which is how Trenberth’s value was calculated. (The actual number is higher, because some precipitation falls as frozen water, which releases about 10% more heat than rain.)
There are thousands of independent measurements of radiative fluxes made with a variety of instruments. Sensible heat WAS not measured by Trenberth – it was chosen to produce an energy imbalance of about 1 W/m2 a guesstimate from how fast the planet is warming. In later work, he had to reduce the imbalance, because ARGO showed less heat flowing into the ocean than previously estimated. Trenberth claimed his value was in line with estimates from reanalysis, but he doesn’t use those number directly. Sensible heat is basically a fudge factors that doesn’t appear unreasonable.

Editor
April 8, 2014 2:34 pm

Steven Mosher says: “Group A
“Anthony, Willis, Tisdale, Monckton…”
“Group A: sometimes right, sometimes wrong…”
“Other difference. You will note over time that group A is actually open to changing their minds.”
Another difference. Group A is known also for correcting their mistakes, and moving on.

gbaikie
April 8, 2014 2:38 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:25 am
Willis said:
“It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law”
It doesn’t return energy to the surface. It reconverts PE to KE as it approaches the surface. No violation.”
That interesting part of it.
How much?
I mean is largely to do with nighttime temperature and does it add a degree or 2 to night time temperatures [globally]?
-It does matter that the dry rate is greater than the moist rate because there is then more warming on the descent than there was cooling on the ascent for the same distance of travel.-
So, it’s more significant in drier regions??
-In the hydro cycle it is primarily radiation from condensate that reaches space and not radiation from the bulk air mass.-
“I find it quite bizarre that Steven Wilde claims that the earth’s surface doesn’t lose heat by either conduction/convection or evaporation, but purely by radiation. That flies in the face of all common sense as well as physics.”
-The surface both loses and regains heat from conduction / convection. That is the point that has been missed.
First KE is taken up and converted to PE and then it is brought down and converted back to KE. The adiabatic portion is net zero because no new energy enters or leaves. There is a diabatic portion too but that is replaced by new incoming solar energy.-
So could say it this way, tropics with higher troposphere- this height matters?

climatereason
Editor
April 8, 2014 2:51 pm

I am very uncomfortable with Stephen being humiliated in this way. If his article was not up to scratch it might have been better to have told him why, and not run the item.
tonyb

DirkH
April 8, 2014 2:58 pm

MikeB says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:18 am
“When the CO2 molecule absorbs the photon it is elevated to an ‘excited’ state. Left to its own devices it would re-emit this photon within a few milliseconds and revert to its ‘ground’ state.”
“What’s more, the process is reversible”
That’s why I mentioned Kirchhoff’s law. It state that in local thermodynamic equilibrium thermalization and dethermalization *MUST* happen to equal amounts. Therefore; absorption is followed by re-emission even if thermalization happens.

gbaikie
April 8, 2014 3:01 pm

–While this effect surely exists, you are greatly exaggerating the effects. The world is a huge place. The dip of the horizon in radians is sqrt(2h/r) where h is the height of the eye and r is the radius of the earth. At a height of 20 km, the extreme case, this is a dip of 4.5°. In other words, at that altitude the horizon is at 4.5° below true horizontal.–
There is more area involved in first 4.5°, as compared to second 4.5° -and as one continues up.
In terms of sphere.
Like sphere of earth. So if equator is horizon, 4.5° above equator has more earth surface than 4.5° to 9° and as continues up. So 23 degree latitude north and south is about 40% of surface area of Earth.
So just saying in terms radiating into sphere, a few degrees above horizon may be more than it might seem.
And I think this aspect is significant in terms of ocean and it’s radiant properties and it’s low reflective quality in regard to a low horizon.

DirkH
April 8, 2014 3:06 pm

Duster says:
April 8, 2014 at 9:59 am
“Therefore, with each re-emission, statistically, the photon is more likely to move way from the surface rather than toward it. With each increase in altitude that probability of an inward move diminishes. Again, the number of potential inward paths is never 50% except at the immediate surface.”
You’re right.

Tonyb
April 8, 2014 3:15 pm

Anthony
I think you will have succeeded in dissuading the submission of unsuitable articles and demonstrated that scepticism is alive and well at wuwt
Tonyb

Box of Rocks
April 8, 2014 3:40 pm

So, who can cut the snark and come up with a better diagram?
” Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The ‘energy budget’ . Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point the earth is accumulating energy. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o thermodynamics cs. “Voodoo” thermodynamics.
So after everyone gets their panties unbunched, a few of all y’all will produce a better diagram, right. Not only will it be better, you will willing accept criticism no matter how bad.
As for sad smiley faces, build a better diagram. Your ‘aw shit’ tarnished your reputation.

Bart
April 8, 2014 4:31 pm

Many here appear to worry that speculations like this harm the reputation of skeptics with the warmist brigades.
That is like worrying that fan dancing will harm your reputation with streetwalkers. Those clowns have led the world on a multi-trillion dollar wild goose chase with pie-eyed conjectures which have failed utterly to pan out.
Which is worse? A fellow grasping for understanding of what went wrong with the above prognostications? Or, a coterie of Black Knights from a Monty Python skit who insist, after all their limbs have been lopped off at the stump, that it’s only a flesh wound?

John West
April 8, 2014 4:32 pm

Box of Rocks, there are better ones:
Showing uncertainty:

Showing more than one atmospheric layers:

Showing net heat flows:

[Thanks, John. I’ve brought the images inline. The middle of the three is mine, with two layers. It is the simplest model which can be energy-balanced (output at each atmospheric layer equals input, with half going up and half going down). -w]

joeldshore
April 8, 2014 4:43 pm

ferd berple says:

if GHG is radiating 324 inwards, it must be radiating 324+ outwards.

This is the sort of argument that sounds reasonable but is false. For an infinitesimally-thin layer so that there is never more than one absorption event, it would be true. However, when there are multiple absorptions and re-emissions, it is false.
It is easy enough to simulate this with a simple 1-dimensional random walk: Start off at point x = 0 and move to x = 1. From that point on, flip a coin and go up by 1 if it’s heads and go down by 1 if it’s tails. Stop when you reach either the top of the atmosphere (say, x = 10) or hit the surface again (x = 0). Your logic would say that we are as likely to end up at the top of the atmosphere (say, x = 10) than down at the surface (say x = 0). However, if you perform the experiment, you will find out this is not the case. In fact, you have something like nine times the chance of ending back at the surface than at the top of the atmosphere. [If I remember correctly, the escape probability is 1/(N-1) where N is the value of x that we call the top of the atmosphere.]

GHG theoretically warms the surface at the expense of cooling the atmosphere. The lapse rate gravitationally limits the temperature difference between the two. Since we are already at the gravitational limit for lapse rate, further increases in GHG will simply increase the rate of convection, cooling the surface in an amount equal to any increase in back radiation.

The process by which increasing GHGs increases the surface temperature is not by increasing the lapse rate. It is by raising the effective radiating level (i.e., roughly speaking, the level in the atmosphere at which a photon has a better than even chance to escape to space without being absorbed). That effective radiating level sets the altitude at which the temperature must be ~255 K and then the actual surface temperature is obtained by extrapolating down from that altitude to the surface using the observed environmental lapse rate (which is generally some compromise of the moist and dry adiabatic lapse rates). When that level increases, the surface temperature will increase.
It is kind of amazing that you (and Stephen who says “ferd berple has it right”) don’t seem to understand the most basic concepts of the theory that you are supposedly challenging.

Eric Barnes
April 8, 2014 4:56 pm

“Bart says:
April 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm
Many here appear to worry that speculations like this harm the reputation of skeptics with the warmist brigades.
That is like worrying that fan dancing will harm your reputation with streetwalkers. Those clowns have led the world on a multi-trillion dollar wild goose chase with pie-eyed conjectures which have failed utterly to pan out.
Which is worse? A fellow grasping for understanding of what went wrong with the above prognostications? Or, a coterie of Black Knights from a Monty Python skit who insist, after all their limbs have been lopped off at the stump, that it’s only a flesh wound?

Well put Bart. And thanks for the article Stephen. As for most of the comments I’ll take my mother’s advice.

Kano
April 8, 2014 5:15 pm

I have a stupid question not all the energy we receive is reflected as heat, some goes into mass, isn’t it true that 25 kwh of energy will increase an objects mass by 1 microgram, what about energy stored as fossil fuels (photosynthesis)

April 8, 2014 5:18 pm

I don’t trust analyses that examine lots of details. It’s too easy to overlook something critical. (Cutting to the essentials omits detail that might be useful in modelling dynamic changes with time, but it is less prone to error and gives good steady-state insights.) For example, there is one error in this paper that seems to be critical:

… if a molecule at the surface is at the correct temperature for its height. If it is not at the correct surface temperature it will simply move towards the correct height by virtue of density variations in the horizontal plane (convection).

This is incorrect. The temperature gradient determined by the adiabatic lapse rate represents a maximum gradient. Molecules on the ground level that are hotter than the lapse rate wrt the layer above will convect upwards, but colder molecules will sit there just fine, unless conduction or radiation intervene. Think of it like a pile of sand: too steep, sand grains roll downhill, but too shallow? It doesn’t heap itself up.
Does this mistake invalidate the whole paper? I don’t know, but it isn’t my job to find out. The author should fix this mistake and all the others people suggest and put up a revised version. That’s a tall order given the many details involved, but it is to the author’s credit for making the attempt, and to Anthony’s that he posted it despite his personal misgivings.

Ron C.
April 8, 2014 5:19 pm

joeldshore says:
April 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm
“The process by which increasing GHGs increases the surface temperature is not by increasing the lapse rate. It is by raising the effective radiating level (i.e., roughly speaking, the level in the atmosphere at which a photon has a better than even chance to escape to space without being absorbed).”
You and others keep saying this, yet radiosonde data contradicts this notion. What is true: your theory or the data?

george e. smith
April 8, 2014 5:19 pm

“””””…..joeldshore says:
April 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm
ferd berple says:
if GHG is radiating 324 inwards, it must be radiating 324+ outwards.
This is the sort of argument that sounds reasonable but is false. For an infinitesimally-thin layer so that there is never more than one absorption event, it would be true. However, when there are multiple absorptions and re-emissions, it is false. ……”””””””
Joel, while I generally agree with your statement, I don’t think you have presented it very well.
For any arbitrary atmospheric layer, that is radiating, however you want to explain how that happens, the radiation spectrum, depends on say the H2O or CO2 line frequencies, and the effects of density and Doppler broadening due to local Temperature. That radiation is isotropic, so half goes up, and half goes down.
The upward proceeding LWIR radiation, encounters a less dense atmosphere, and a colder one, so the GHG absorption spectrum lines are less broadened.
The downward proceeding radiation, encounters a denser warmer atmosphere which has broader GHG absorption lines, so the downward radiation is more likely to be re-absorbed, than is the upward, which continues to get a less blocked passage to freedom as it proceeds towards space.
So yes; multiple re-absorption / re-emission does occur, but the atmospheric gradients favor the escape route, over the return to surface route.

April 8, 2014 5:22 pm

Anthony, keep up the good work. Nothing is wrong with publishing a submission like Stephen’s. It was a good test for skeptics.

JustAnotherPoster
April 8, 2014 5:32 pm

Can I ask a really dumb global warming theory question ? The earth is about 4 billion years old. The suns been warming the planet for all this time ‘green house gases’ have existed in our atmosphere for millions of years. Why isn’t the planet much hotter?
If the mechanism presented for the theory is correct. Greenhouse Gases have been present in our atmosphere for millions of years.
Why haven’t we already overheated ?

gbaikie
April 8, 2014 5:49 pm

“Can I ask a really dumb global warming theory question ? The earth is about 4 billion years old. The suns been warming the planet for all this time ‘green house gases’ have existed in our atmosphere for millions of years. Why isn’t the planet much hotter?”
Earth was warmer roughly 10 million years ago, and warmer than this 50 million years ago. And has been coolest in last hundred million years in the last 2 to 3 million years.
We are in an ice box climate. Which has cold oceans and polar ice caps, and such condition are not “normal” in terms of Earth history for last 500 million years.
Here:
http://joannenova.com.au/2010/02/the-big-picture-65-million-years-of-temperature-swings/
http://geology.utah.gov/surveynotes/gladasked/gladice_ages.htm
4.5 Billion Years of the Earth’s Temperature:
http://muchadoaboutclimate.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/4-5-billion-years-of-the-earths-temperature/

joeldshore
April 8, 2014 6:03 pm

Ron C. says:

“The process by which increasing GHGs increases the surface temperature is not by increasing the lapse rate. It is by raising the effective radiating level (i.e., roughly speaking, the level in the atmosphere at which a photon has a better than even chance to escape to space without being absorbed).”
You and others keep saying this, yet radiosonde data contradicts this notion. What is true: your theory or the data?

How does radiosonde data contradict this? Hint: If you are thinking about the lack of a so-called “hot spot” in the troposphere, that has absolutely nothing to do with what I am talking about.

gbaikie
April 8, 2014 6:09 pm

– Kano says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm
I have a stupid question not all the energy we receive is reflected as heat, some goes into mass, isn’t it true that 25 kwh of energy will increase an objects mass by 1 microgram, what about energy stored as fossil fuels (photosynthesis)-
Hmm. Well, a lot of energy of sunlight is stored in Earth oceans.
Energy is also stored in the ground of your yard. One actually harvest energy from your yard-
geothermal energy:
http://firstgeothermalenergy.com/geothermal_faq.html
Also one buries water pipe at some depth under ground so that cold weather doesn’t freeze the water in the pipes.

joeldshore
April 8, 2014 6:09 pm

JustAnotherPoster says:

Can I ask a really dumb global warming theory question ? The earth is about 4 billion years old. The suns been warming the planet for all this time ‘green house gases’ have existed in our atmosphere for millions of years. Why isn’t the planet much hotter?

Because as the planet heats up, it emits more energy back into space.
In other words, the question to be asked is: “How warm will does the temperature of the Earth have to be in order that it emits back into space the same amount of energy as it receives from the sun?” (So that it neither warms nor cools globally.) And, the answer is that how warm it has to be depends on various factors, including the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Earth has to be about 33 deg C warmer because of the effects of greenhouse gases than it would be without those effects (assuming all else, including albedo, remain the same).

Editor
April 8, 2014 6:11 pm

I’m as much on the outside of this whole post as anyone. By that I mean I didn’t discuss this with Anthony in any sense, and in general I know nothing about what’s going on with the blog, what gets published and doesn’t … actually, Anthony and I don’t communicate much, and (fortunately) when we do our emails are usually about boats and boating.
However, for those of you who think that Anthony somehow “set Steven up”, nothing could be further from the truth. What happened is that Steven Wilde sent a proposed post to Anthony, and Anthony published it without changing one word and without comment.
I’m sorry, but there is absolutely nothing in there that anyone can fault Anthony for doing. Are you guys busting him for not editing the piece? Are you busting him for not commenting on the piece? Are you busting him for not warning Steven that the reception would be hostile? Everything here gets a hostile reception, it’s called science. Think about what Anthony actually did.
Now … did Anthony expect that Steven’s most unusual claims would get much uncomplimentary attention? Of course he did, because Steven’s claims are, in Steven Mosher’s words, “not even wrong”. They rest on profound misunderstandings of what has been established science for over two centuries.
However, I’m sure that Steven Wilde himself knew that he was in for a rough ride with lots of heavyweight opposition. He’d be a fool not to know that, and although he’s got some zany substitutes for physics in his universe, I’ve never thought him a fool.
So the fact that Anthony knew it would receive harsh attacks and did not say anything to Steven is absolutely no reason to attack Anthony, because Steven Wilde knew that going in.
In short, Anthony just published the piece, and did nothing else. He did nothing blameworthy at all … and in any case, blaming the publisher when a newly launched scientific post goes hard aground on a reef of ugly facts is merely an attempt to divert attention from the wreck.
w.

KevinK
April 8, 2014 6:22 pm

Slartibartfast says:
“I’d be happier if “Back radiation” or “Backradiation” were erased from the GW lexicon. It’s just radiation. There isn’t anything special about it that merits a new name.
Except it’s been “used”, maybe. But radiation doesn’t care who had it next to last.”
“REPLY: That’s a good idea, really the only thing that is happening is retarding the escape of energy to space – Anthony”
With respect,
“retarding” is a very poor word choice.
A
better choice might be: “Slowing the velocity of the energy escaping to space”. However that is clearly incorrect since the energy (LWIR in this case) is speeding away from the surface at close to the speed of light in a vacuum, and accelerating as the atmosphere diminishes and transitions into a vacuum. While doing so the surface is left bereft of the energy that just left.
Then of course some (less than 50%) of that packet of energy returns for another try at warming the surface. This time its velocity decreases as the atmosphere becomes denser. And it again heats the surface which then cools. This effect (GHE/Backradiation, whatever you want to name it) simply delays the flow of energy through the Sun/Earth/Atmosphere/Universe system by causing some of the energy to make multiple passes through the system. It alternates as thermal energy (when absorbed by water/rocks/gases) and light when propagating between absorptions.
This creates a simple hybrid optical/thermal delay line. A similar effect happens inside an optical integrating sphere. It should be noted that when the energy input is “steady state” like sunshine this effect cannot be observed with the tools (FLIR/Radiometers, etc.) currently available.
This “delay line” effect only amounts to a few tens of milliseconds of delay to the energy flowing through the system. This is an important distinction from an effect that slows the velocity of (i.e. retards) energy flowing through a system like common thermal insulators (fiberglass, etc) do.
This slowing of velocity can (under the right circumstances; i.e. every other velocity in the system is faster) result in a higher retention of energy (i.e. a higher temperature).
So please go ahead and educate me about radiation flowing through a system, I’d love to hear your ideas.
Oh, and the light bulb experiment is both a poor theoretical example (the surface of the earth is not like a light bulb for purposes of energy flow considerations) and poorly executed by many folks. A light bulb is only a portion of an illumination system and it does interact with all other portions of the system (power supply AC/DC, reflectors, ambient temperatures, gases, the material used in the envelope, etc. etc.). It’s easy to set one up and measure it, it is quite another thing to properly understand what the measurements are telling you.
The missing heat is currently traveling away from the Earth as a spherical LWIR wavefront that is “X + d” light years away. In this equation X is the elapsed time since the energy arrived (100 years for sunlight from 1914) and “d” represents the slight delay from the “GHE”. This delay is of course a statistical distribution since some photons will bounce many times (Earth/Atmosphere/Earth/Atmosphere/Earth/Universe) and others will directly exit with no delay. “d” likely averages 5 milliseconds.
There, allow the comment if you wish, I’ll take my lumps.
Cheers, Kevin.

Ron C.
April 8, 2014 6:23 pm

joeldshore says:
April 8, 2014 at 6:03 pm
I provided references up thread, not about the missing hotspot. Please check it out before dismissing.

gbaikie
April 8, 2014 6:46 pm

I think it’s commendable that Anthony publishes articles that he doesn’t agree with- but one could
say this is what this site does all the time. So if warmist or slayers it’s all grist.
But I don’t think the Earth surface absorbs any heat from back radiation. Nor do I think anyone can make something which can harvest this magical source of constant energy. It would wonderful solution to global energy if it were possible. 300 watts per square meter 24 hours a day at 20% efficiency would be great. Or if could get a portion of 300 watts times 24 hours: 7.2 kilowatts per day it would be an impressive compared to solar energy. When consider solar capital of world, Germany, which only gets average of 2 kilowatts per day of total flux of sunlight.
So question is, does average surface of Earth absorb 324 watts per square meter, or are areas of earth which get this much or more energy.
And if not an average of 324 watts per square meter, what is the more correct answer?

April 8, 2014 6:50 pm

I accept that Anthony was within his rights in dealing with my submission in the way he did.
I confirm that I knew I was in for a rough ride in any event but since Anthony made no adverse comment to me I assumed that he saw something of merit and so I did not expect him to take a position.
I have had no less severe reactions elsewhere when, in the past, I proposed that ocean oscillations and jet stream behaviour were primary drivers of climate variability such as to swamp any human influence yet both those aspects have recently come much more to the fore.
The reality can be neatly summarised as follows:
I) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.
ii) he adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.
iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.
The effect of radiative capability is therefore only to redistribute energy so that 168 absorbed by the surface becomes 40 emitted by the surface and 67 absorbed by the atmosphere becomes 195 emitted by the atmosphere (165 + 30).
Transparency to incoming shortwave and opacity to outgoing longwave simply re-apportions the share of the same amount of energy emitted to space between emissions from surface and atmosphere.
One can test the logic of that by considering the position as it would be for a radiatively inert atmosphere ( 235 absorbed by surface and 235 emitted by surface) and a 100% radiative atmosphere ( 235 absorbed by the atmosphere and 235 emitted by the atmosphere).
The logic and the physics are sound.
The system temperature does not change. Only convection and the global air circulation change.

Trick
April 8, 2014 7:12 pm

Stephen 6:50pm: “…balance at 222 Wm2. The logic and the physics are sound.”
Not sound logic. If your logic were sound then sun would not be able drive gliders & certain birds to be able to soar as they do with the 24 flux and the sun would not be able to drive the hydrological cycle as it does with the 78 flux. Both effects are observed and needed in the energy flux balances per the scientific method. Meaning 24 and 78 cannot be zeroed out by sound logic in nature.
The circulation changes commensurate with surface Tmean changes as observed.

gbaikie
April 8, 2014 7:14 pm

-One can test the logic of that by considering the position as it would be for a radiatively inert atmosphere ( 235 absorbed by surface and 235 emitted by surface) and a 100% radiative atmosphere ( 235 absorbed by the atmosphere and 235 emitted by the atmosphere).
The logic and the physics are sound.-
I say in within context of certain rules of the game, it’s logic is sound. One removing the reflection of 107 watts. 235 + 107 is 342.
And it follows if you were to have less reflection, there would be a warmer world??
A warmer world at Earth distance which gets 1360 watts square meter [divided by 4] of sunlight.

James Rollins Jr
April 8, 2014 7:18 pm

Watching the amateurs circle the drain of the scientific discourse they invaded and sought to hand over to scientific piracy is just one of those things that has to happen.

joeldshore
April 8, 2014 7:33 pm

Ron C. says:

I provided references up thread, not about the missing hotspot. Please check it out before dismissing.

Okay. I see what you are referring to now (and what your username likely stands for, given the paper to which you extensively refer).
I’ll just point out that in your false dichotomy “What is true: your theory or the data?” there is a 3rd more likely explanation: It is your interpretation of the data which is wrong, which is why your interpretation can most generously and euphemistically be called “completely novel” (as can your claim to have discovered a completely new method of energy transmission in the atmosphere.

April 8, 2014 7:36 pm

gbaike said:
“And it follows if you were to have less reflection, there would be a warmer world??”
Yes, which is why I consider the effect of solar variability on tropopause height, the length of the lines of air mass mixing along the jet stream tracks, global cl;oudiness and consequent variations in the amount of solar energy able to enter the oceans as important for climate changes. Alter global albedo and you effectively alter insolation which, along with more mass or stronger gravity can affect system energy content.
Trick said:
“If your logic were sound then sun would not be able drive gliders & certain birds to be able to soar as they do with the 24 flux and the sun would not be able to drive the hydrological cycle as it does with the 78 flux. Both effects are observed and needed in the energy flux balances per the scientific method. Meaning 24 and 78 cannot be zeroed out by sound logic in nature.”
Gliders don’t rise under a descending air column and birds need to be selective as to where they soar. Solar heat at the surface drives the hydrological cycle but what goes up must come down. No solar heating, no convection.
The 24 and 78 only represent the adiabatic reversible component of the convective cycle. Due to the separate diabatic component ( increased when the atmosphere has radiative capability) and the fact that water vapour is lighter than air the strength of convection (both ascent and descent) is stronger than one would expect from those numbers alone.
Note that I do not necessarily subscribe to the K & T raw numbers. I just appreciate the neat way they have divided up the elements of the system for illustrative purposes.
That said, I have explained how it should be made better and why.

Box of Rocks
April 8, 2014 7:41 pm

So, James Rollins Jr, when did Micheal Mann et al. get flushed down the drain?
Did I miss something?
Thanks for cartoons. We have a long row to hoe. Sometimes the responses to the article are more informative than the original article.
Far better to debate an issue without solving it than to solve an issue without debating it.

James Rollins Jr
April 8, 2014 7:58 pm

Mann was first flushed when McIntyre got his hands on his faked data.
He’s circled and circled, avoiding total flush.
He is being kept from leaving it right now by Dr. Timothy Ball, one of the authors of the book Slaying the Sky Dragon as well as the other man he messed up and tried to ruin.

gbaikie
April 8, 2014 8:18 pm

— Stephen Wilde says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:36 pm
gbaike said:
“And it follows if you were to have less reflection, there would be a warmer world??”
Yes,….–
Ok, next:
Now your model [nor for that matter does the Trenberth et al model] doesn’t really explain why the world is warm.
Or let me say it this way, Venus reflects more sunlight than Earth.
Do you disagree? Or you wish at point to explain it otherwise?
Or I would say you are *merely* the correcting the Trenberth et al model.
And I would say generally any reduction of back radiation is in the correct direction:)

Max™
April 8, 2014 8:22 pm

[Slayer sophist, whatever – you’ve been told you aren’t welcome here when you link to such things (link removed) Feel free to be as upset as you wish. – Anthony]

Editor
April 8, 2014 10:27 pm

Stephen quotes my critique and answers:

“the dominant energy transfer, is that heat is being removed from the surface by evaporation and released in the upper atmosphere by condensation. That energy transport cannot be ignored just because it is not via radiation!”
That is part of the adiabatic process and is covered by the radiative losses from atmosphere to space at 165 and clouds at 30. Therefore it is not being ignored.

Before the energy absorbed from the surface by evaporation and transpiration can be radiated out into space by the mid-atmosphere and by clouds it has to first be released in the middle of the atmosphere by condensation. Thus this leg of the energy flow journey should not, it seems to me, show an energy flow of zero, as Stephen is claiming.
This is where I’m finding Stephen’s argument confusing. I’m intrigued by the idea that Trenberth might be counting adiabatic processes as constituting energy flows when by definition they are not, but the idea that there is no energy flow via evapotranspiration from the surface to the atmosphere seems clearly wrong so I have to be skeptical for now that Stephen has this right.
I haven’t read all the comments though, so may this has already been straightened out?

Editor
April 8, 2014 10:51 pm

Alec Rawls says:
April 8, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Stephen quotes my critique and answers:

“the dominant energy transfer, is that heat is being removed from the surface by evaporation and released in the upper atmosphere by condensation. That energy transport cannot be ignored just because it is not via radiation!”

That is part of the adiabatic process and is covered by the radiative losses from atmosphere to space at 165 and clouds at 30. Therefore it is not being ignored.

Before the energy absorbed from the surface by evaporation and transpiration can be radiated out into space by the mid-atmosphere and by clouds it has to first be released in the middle of the atmosphere by condensation. Thus this leg of the energy flow journey should not, it seems to me, show an energy flow of zero, as Stephen is claiming.
This is where I’m finding Stephen’s argument confusing. I’m intrigued by the idea that Trenberth might be counting adiabatic processes as constituting energy flows when by definition they are not, but the idea that there is no energy flow via evapotranspiration from the surface to the atmosphere seems clearly wrong so I have to be skeptical for now that Stephen has this right.
I haven’t read all the comments though, so may this has already been straightened out?

Alec, I agree with you completely. The “hydrological cycle” involves evaporation at the surface and condensation at altitude. This moves energy from the surface to the atmosphere. Steven Wilde’s claim is as follows:

The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

Both in this quote and in Steven’s quote in your email, he doesn’t mention the energy leaving the surface at all. But that’s where the arrow in the K/T diagram originates … how can you not include that?
Steven is right that in general the warming and cooling of ascending and descending air parcels is basically a wash, with no net energy transfer … but that’s not true about the energy removed from the surface by evaporation and released when the water vapor condenses at elevation. That energy is a true transfer of energy from the surface to the atmosphere. It is independent of the “radiative losses from atmosphere to space” that Steven mentions, and it is definitely NOT zero as Steven claims.
w.

Editor
April 8, 2014 11:07 pm

Steven, I got to thinking about the following statement from the head post (emphasis mine):

The 78 Wm2 needs to be corrected to zero because the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate on adiabatic descent which ensures that after the first convective cycle there is as much energy back at the surface as before Evapo-transpiration began.

Now, that doesn’t even work in theory, that the energy would leave the surface, circle around in the atmosphere, and return to the surface … but when I thought about it I realized there’s a further problem. Let me illustrate by example.
Consider a tropical thunderstorm. Underneath the thunderstorm, the wind blows hard. Evaporation increases linearly with wind, so the air becomes moisture-laden. This air rises up into the thunderstorm.
Now … what is the lapse rate of the ascending air under the thunderstorm? Well, it’s a complex question, no clear answer, but one thing we know for sure.
It’s NOT the wet adiabatic lapse rate, as you seem to think. That is the lapse rate for ascending air which is condensing … but that’s what’s happening inside the thunderstorm, not in the ascending air under the clouds.
So the claim that the difference between the wet and dry adiabatic lapse rates somehow offset each other doesn’t make sense, because everything outside the cloud itself is not at the wet adiabatic lapse rate.
Not that the underlying argument of energy somehow returning to the surface made sense, but it makes even less sense.
The main issue is you are not acknowledging the actual energy transfer, which is the cooling of the surface by evaporation and the transfer of that energy to the atmosphere.
w.

Kristian Fredriksson
April 8, 2014 11:57 pm

I don´t understand why there is only one energy balance? As I see it there should be one for the tropics where the troposphere is two times as thick as in the polar regions and contains a lot more water because of this and the higher temperature.
Also a lot of heat transport from the tropics to the polar regions must be crucial to this model. Especially the Gulf stream and the north Atlantic drift. My guess is that the Arctic region serves as the most important thermostat when it comes to get rid of the extra heat to the space. The Tropics should be pretty constant, but 5k higher temperature in the arctic area would give away much more energy to space than it get from the sun. Especially in winter time.
Also, the Sun can only heat half the earth at a time but the heat radiation to the atmosphere and the space you have all the time. To me it seems to be a more dynamic system all together than this simple model they present here.
Also the amount of heat transportation north and south of the hemispheres should have a pattern that vary over the years. Right now a lot of the heat travels up north and less south. Maybe we will see the opposite in a couple of years. There should be an oscillation with a period over several decades as i see it.
I suggest a more complex model with different geographical areas and also a timescale over the year and day. To me is seems obvious that we don’t have any spots that give away more energy than they get from the sun and also that the tropics would receive more sun energy than it gives away because of the heat transportation to the north and south..
I am not a scientist so I need some help here.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Johannesburg
April 9, 2014 1:01 am

Crashex I agree with the principled objection though I would not have expressed it as strongly. There is a dearth of understanding among the general public of the principles of energy transfer. Many of the responses have similar problems.
It okay! No one gets hurt by thinking out loud.
Keep discussing and thinking about it. There are problems in the budgets presented but it is difficult to grasp all the implications involved in the full picture. You can’t learn thermodynamics by looking at a cartoon of the atmosphere.

April 9, 2014 1:27 am

Willis and Alec.
Your questions are reasonable so I’ll try and clarify. I didn’t want the original post to become even more detailed, I just wanted to start with the broad brush approach.
Energy certainly leaves the surface during uplift whether that be induced by heating of dry air at the surface or by creation of water vapour that is lighter than air at the same temperature.
Until the air returns to the surface on the descent half of the convective cycle there is a cooling of the surface to a temperature lower than it would have been otherwise (but not lower than 255K).
When it does return to the surface then the cooling stops and the temperature rises to 288K because the energy being taken up is matched by the energy being brought down.
That does not involve back radiation to the surface so if one has also added back radiation of the same amount (as Kiehl and Trenberth did) then there is double counting.
In the middle there is radiative loss to space from GHGs and particulates including condensation and that reduces the energy available to be converted back to KE on the subsequent descent. However, new solar energy is still flowing to the surface to replace that by first heating the surface and then conducting to the air so the air above the surface remains at 288K.
That loss is already in the diagram in the numbers 165 and 30 going out to space so the other figures of 24 and 78 can only be the adiabatic element that stays in the system and returns to the surface. An adiabatic process with no new energy added or energy lost is fully reversible.
Latent heat of evaporation, when released by condensation, is absorbed by the bulk of atmospheric mass when it is released and that bulk mass is largely non radiative so it cannot be radiated to space from height. Instead it goes to accelerated uplift and turns to PE which is later recovered as KE on the descent.
Since the uplift is accelerated the air has further to fall subsequently and that extra distance of fall recovers the additional PE created by the previously released latent heat.
In any event the only losses are the radiative ones covered by 165 and 30.The rest returns to the surface as KE recovered from PE.
Note that all this has to be averaged globally. The situation locally is chaotic, especially within individual convective cells, as Willis correctly notes.
Nonetheless it works as I say and this would not have been so new or radical 50 years ago.
Here is a link to information on adiabatic warming:
http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter6/adiab_warm.html
You can readily see that air with a temperature of 10C at 700 mb warms to 25C at 1000 mb with no energy added or removed. It is all done from reconversion of PE to KE.
It is important to realise that the descending warmed air need not heat the surface or reduce the rate of surface cooling.
All it has to do is offset the cooling that would otherwise have occurred from continuing uplift elsewhere.
That is why the surface is at 288K and not 255K

jonesingforozone
April 9, 2014 1:44 am

Has anyone actually proved a GHG increase from radiosonde proxies, for example?

johnmarshall
April 9, 2014 2:23 am

Further to my last crit.. The transfers on the right of the diagram, the GHG interactions(?), seem to have no negative feedback control. All systems have negative feedbacks to stop criticality running amoke. Here there are none so how are the GHG interactions controlled? What is to stop the feedbacks, as shown, not running to uncontrolled increasing warming?
Why, in light of past ice ages with very high CO2 atmospheric content, did the ice ages actually start?
And why are dry deserts HOTTER than very humid tropical rainforests? This theory claims the opposite.

April 9, 2014 3:40 am

Strange that so much abuse should be heaped on someone who just points out that the well established physics of adiabatic heating on descent might make the assumption of net DWIR at the surface inappropriate.
Strange, too, that it should come from fellow sceptics.
That is really all that lies at the heart of this thread.

Ron C.
April 9, 2014 3:42 am

joeldshore says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm
Nice try to tar me with the brush used on some commenter who is banned here. That is not me, and you can’t save your theory that way. Try instead to play the ball, not the man.
You and others have asserted that IR active gases raise the effective emission level and cause tropospheric warming. I pointed you to rigorous research that attempted to measure the claimed effect.
Measurements from radiosonde balloons show that the temperature profile in the actual atmosphere is entirely consistent with the thermodynamic properties of the bulk air gases, O2 and N2. No effect from IR active gases was detected.
Your theory is unproven without empirical data: you require observations from the real world, not models and not textbooks.

Box of Rocks
April 9, 2014 4:40 am

John West says:
April 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm
So, in the three diagrams provide, the piece of the puzzle left out is the descending air.
Consider what has happened this last winter with the ‘polar vortex’.
Large amounts of warm moist air entered the atmosphere from the equatorial regions. The air then cooled and released energy. Upon reaching the polar regions it then sank from height and thus warmed. This was evident by the large above average temperature associated with a high pressure located in the area of Alaska.
Thus one can say that regions were no a result of AGW.
How is that process of energy transfer accounted for in the 4 diagrams presented other than the first part of the process being lumped into the evapotranspiration bucket?

Richard M
April 9, 2014 5:29 am

I think there might be a way for Anthony to avoid the problems with publishing both skeptical nonsense and peer reviewed nonsense. He does both. Put a boilerplate heading on these types of articles saying something alone the line of …. “For your review, no support for the content implied”. That should help.

Richard M
April 9, 2014 5:37 am

I think all the attacks on the various energy diagrams is misplaced. They are simply generalizations to give people an idea of the processes involved. They helped me a lot when I was first trying to understand the issues. The real question is how do they change when you double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. That is the key.
Has anyone ever seen an “after doubling” diagram? That would be the one that needs attention. I suspect the alarmists would show increases in the radiation parts with a slight increase in evapotranspiration. This is where they get it wrong. It should show a larger increase in latent heat and an additional increase in reflected solar (more clouds). This would almost entirely balance out the increases in down welling LWIR. Notice that the budget would still balance but there would be no need for any major increase in the surface radiation (due to temperature increase).

Eric Barnes
April 9, 2014 5:43 am

“Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 3:40 am
Strange that so much abuse should be heaped on someone who just points out that the well established physics of adiabatic heating on descent might make the assumption of net DWIR at the surface inappropriate.
Strange, too, that it should come from fellow sceptics.”
It would seem the A team has a wart that it would rather not discuss.

gbaikie
April 9, 2014 6:05 am

— Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 3:40 am
Strange that so much abuse should be heaped on someone who just points out that the well established physics of adiabatic heating on descent might make the assumption of net DWIR at the surface inappropriate.
Strange, too, that it should come from fellow sceptics.–
We tend to have our pet theories:)
And we are skeptical of stuff.
For instance I believe that Earth’s ocean is large factor which determines
Earth’s average temperature.
And these energy budget’s don’t say anything about ocean and land. And
also think the tropics gets most of sunlight and the tropics warms the rest of planet.
Which again, such averaged global energy budget don’t address.
But in terms Venus, I think it is mostly this adiabatic heating on descent that explains why it’s so hot.
But I had not considered this same mechanism on Earth as a factor which causes warming.
But rather, more of a factor that reduces cooling. So rather than causal factor or “forcing”, in regard to Earth it would be a more of a result or consequence of warming. So during the night time one has such “adiabatic heating on descent” being one element involved.
And seeing it as mostly related to the amount atmosphere over your head- which is about 10 tonnes per square meter. So I would have regarded such tonnage as making a significant difference in terms of how cool the night could get.
Whereas If one different world where there was only 5 tonnes per square meter over your head, I would assume the nights would cool faster as the result of such less mass. And 20 tonnes would have less cooling at night.
But not really related to how warm it caused the planet to be.
Or contrary to it of being cooler average temperature, I would think the 5 ton atmosphere would causee earth like world to be warmer, as one simply gets solar energy warming the surface. Which I would guess is a larger factor when it’s balanced against the more rapid cooling at night.
Now, in terms causing the planet to warm, I assume having world 70% ocean surface, would cause higher amount of this forcing as compared to a world no oceans. Or at least by having lots of moist air, increase this warming effect?
Or would planet Dune have more of this or same as compared to Earth?

Leonard Weinstein
April 9, 2014 6:22 am

gbaikie says:
April 9, 2014 at 6:05 am
You are making the same error as Wilde. The adiabatic heating is a fact for suitable mixed atmospheres, but the adiabatic variation is a GRADIENT, not temperature level. The temperature level is set by the location of the effective average altitude of net outgoing radiation to space that balances the net absorbed solar radiation (absorbed on the ground and in the atmosphere). Without an absorbing gas or aerosols, the radiation to space occurs from the ground level, and this sets the ground temperature. The temperature then drops below that level with increasing altitude due to the adiabatic expansion of dropping pressure. If there are absorbing gases and clouds and aerosols, this effective average location of radiation to space occurs at higher altitude, and adiabatic heating below that altitude assures the ground will be hotter than without the absorbing atmosphere, as on Venus and Earth.

Ron C.
April 9, 2014 6:42 am

Leonard Weinstein says:
April 9, 2014 at 6:22 am
About that higher altitude for radiation to space:
“It can be seen from the infra-red cooling model of Figure 19 that the greenhouse effect theory predicts a strong influence from the greenhouse gases on the barometric temperature profile. Moreover, the modelled net effect of the greenhouse gases on infra-red cooling varies substantially over the entire atmospheric profile.
However, when we analysed the barometric temperature profiles of the radiosondes in this paper, we were unable to detect any influence from greenhouse gases. Instead, the profiles were very well described by the thermodynamic properties of the main atmospheric gases, i.e., N 2 and O 2 , in a gravitational field.”
“While water vapour is a greenhouse gas, the effects of water vapour on the temperature profile did not appear to be related to its radiative properties, but rather its different molecular structure and the latent heat released/gained by water in its gas/liquid/solid phase changes.
For this reason, our results suggest that the magnitude of the greenhouse effect is very small, perhaps negligible. At any rate, its magnitude appears to be too small to be detected from the archived radiosonde data.”
Open Peer Rev. J., 2014; 19 (Atm. Sci.), Ver. 0.1. http://oprj.net/articles/atmospheric-science/19 page 18 of 28

April 9, 2014 6:56 am

Leonard Weinstein said:
“If there are absorbing gases and clouds and aerosols, this effective average location of radiation to space occurs at higher altitude, and adiabatic heating below that altitude assures the ground will be hotter than without the absorbing atmosphere, as on Venus and Earth.”
It is that assumption that the surface would be hotter in the presence of absorbing gases and clouds which is the issue.
With no radiative gases the effective radiating height would be the ground and with 100% effective radiation the effective radiating height would be at the top of the atmosphere so it is true to assert that absorbing gases and clouds raise the effective radiating height.
But does it follow that the surface is any hotter ?
Only if one sticks slavishly to the lapse rate slope as it would be with no absorbing gases or clouds.
If they change the slope then changed height need not change surface temperature.
I would say that, because the system is not being supplied with any additional energy from outside, the rise in height is INSTEAD OF a rise in surface temperature because with absorbing gases and clouds more of the energy absorbed and emitted can be dealt with by the atmosphere without involving the surface.
What would happen in practice is that for dry air the lapse rate slope would change away from the ideal slope on the ascent part of the convective cycle and change the opposite way on the descent part of the cycle so each would cancel out.
We can see from the vertical thermal profile of Earth’s atmosphere that radiative gases do distort the lapse rate slopes. The reversed slope in the stratosphere is a prime example which is due entirely to the powerful radiative presence of ozone.
Convection would change so as to net out the changed slopes on both the ascent and the descent and in doing so would regulate the rate of energy flow through the system so as to offset the thermal effect of the absorbing gases and clouds.
We can see with water vapour that the slope on the ascent and the slope on the descent need not be the same.
Convection would juggle the proportions of energy flowing to space from the atmosphere itself and through the Atmospheric window from the surface which is something I pointed out above.
But this is going way beyond the point of my essay which was to draw attention to the fact that adiabatic warming on descent should be shown as an offset to Thermals and Evapo-transpiration in the K & T diagram which means that the extra 102 Wm2 of DWIR constitutes double counting.
The aversion here to considering adiabatic warming on descent as an offset to cooling on ascent will be seen as a major error in due course.

Eric Barnes
April 9, 2014 7:12 am

Thanks for the link Ron.
Under Acknowledgements …
“No funding was received for this research.”
You had to know it would be that way. 🙂

Trick
April 9, 2014 8:32 am

Stephen 7:36pm: ”Gliders don’t rise under a descending air column…what goes up must come down. No solar heating, no convection.”
Good; then you accept the notion top post cartoon is correct after all since the 24 and 78 flow observed go up for gliding and hydrological as shown in the cartoon then 24 and 78 observed come down as shown in the cartoon. No correction to zero for 24 and 78 flow needed after all. In non-adiabatic reality also need to comply with entropy consideration.

Slartibartfast
April 9, 2014 8:38 am

This effect (GHE/Backradiation, whatever you want to name it) simply delays the flow of energy through the Sun/Earth/Atmosphere/Universe system by causing some of the energy to make multiple passes through the system.

So please go ahead and educate me about radiation flowing through a system, I’d love to hear your ideas.

Unless you have some notions about cooler objects not being able to radiate to warmer ones, I don’t think we have any important areas of disagreement.
That’s my issue with “backradiation” as a distinction. It’s not that matter doesn’t radiate; it is (instead) that it does. Always. In all directions. Without regard to the thermal mass that it’s radiating toward.
If you don’t understand why this would even be a question, go take a peek at the “Slaying the Slayers, Part II” thread that I linked to upthread here. It was a truly bizarre conversation.

Ron C.
April 9, 2014 8:38 am

Eric Barnes says:
April 9, 2014 at 7:12 am
So true Eric. I am struck by the general lack of curiosity here about this line of research. These papers, to which I have no connection, appear to be serious and rigorous research. Their only flaw seems to be they present evidence that casts doubt on a piece of conventional climate theory.
It’s an open peer review website, and I have found the authors to be engaging and knowledgeable about their work. People with stronger backgrounds should post their assessments there, and we would all be wiser for it.

pochas
April 9, 2014 8:53 am

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 6:56 am
“The aversion here to considering adiabatic warming on descent as an offset to cooling on ascent will be seen as a major error in due course.”
You can’t accept the fact that a parcel of air that has arrived at 15000 feet and cooled by radiation from T1 to T2 will still retain the difference T1 – T2 on the way down?

April 9, 2014 9:01 am

pochas
You can’t accept that air warms on the way down ?
Here is a link to information on adiabatic warming:
http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter6/adiab_warm.html
You can readily see that air with a temperature of 10C at 700 mb warms to 25C at 1000 mb with no energy added or removed. It is all done from reconversion of PE to KE.
It doesn’t retain the energy lost by radiation but that gets replaced by new solar energy arriving at the surface.
Most of the conducted energy is in the adiabatic exchange as PE and the higher you go the more is in PE form which does not radiate so only a portion leaks out to space via radiation.

April 9, 2014 9:58 am

Trick,
The diagram shows 24 and 78 leaving the surface with 24 and 78 arriving higher up in the atmosphere.
It does not show a balanced two way process otherwise no one in this thread would be arguing with me when I say it should be a two way process.
The arrows go up and do not come down.

Leonard Weinstein
April 9, 2014 10:09 am

Stephen, you still don’t get it. The convection due to buoyancy and turbulent mixing maintain the adiabatic lapse rate (as modified by condensing moisture, i.e., wet adiabatic lapse rate) even with the shift in location in radiation to space. As pointed out, this radiation actually occurs over the entire altitude, but there is an effective average location for simplicity of calculation sake. You would not expect a change in this GRADIENT, only a shift in level due to so called greenhouse gas effects. The missing so called hot spot is a different issue and depends on assumptions of strong non-equilibrium.

Trick
April 9, 2014 10:10 am

Stephen 9:58am: “The arrows go up and do not come down.”
They do come down in the cartoon just as you write they must – not broken out of the bath total, have to read the narrative. The 24 and 78 come down as components of the down arrow last one on the right, toward surface sign convention positive:
24+78+67+155=324

pochas
April 9, 2014 10:11 am

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 9:01 am
“You can readily see that air with a temperature of 10C at 700 mb warms to 25C at 1000 mb with no energy added or removed.”
Wrong, Stephen. Warming air from 10C to 25C is not an adiabatic process. Look up the heat capacity for air, Cp at 1 atm, and multiply by the temperature difference. That’s the energy added. Crack a textbook, look up the Carnot cycle, study it and work the problems. When you get the answers right (requires prior understanding of enthalpy, entropy, heat capacity, the gamma function) consider the analogy between convection and a Carnot cycle with perfect efficiency.

pochas
April 9, 2014 10:38 am

Ok, Stephen, I apologize. You were pointing out correctly that a gas after an adiabatic expansion will have the same energy content as before, and with that I agree. It’s what happens at the surface before the expansion (energy gain), and in the radiating zone after the expansion (energy loss) that counts, and an energy balance at any intermediate altitude will show this quantity as a net energy flow upward.

Editor
April 9, 2014 10:59 am

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 9:58 am

Trick,
The diagram shows 24 and 78 leaving the surface with 24 and 78 arriving higher up in the atmosphere.
It does not show a balanced two way process otherwise no one in this thread would be arguing with me when I say it should be a two way process.
The arrows go up and do not come down.

Gadzooks, I get the opposite of this complaint all the time—people claiming that the radiation arrows in the diagram should show the NET flows, not individual flows up and down … and of course, you can show net flows, and many examples of global budgets do show that. Either one is fine. It’s like the difference between me giving you a hundred dollars and you giving me back seventy-five, and me giving you twenty-five dollars. Which ever way you do it is correct.

But now we get the other complaint from you, that the sensible and latent heat show the net flows, where they should show the individual flows. Wish folks would make up their minds.
In any case, Steven, the arrows do not need to go up and come down in order to show the net flows. That’s why they’re called net flows and not individual flows, because the one arrow shows the net of the two processes. If you have a problem with a single arrow showing the net of the processes, then I fear I can’t help you.
And in any case, whether we show net flows or individual flows is immaterial, as long as the flows are measured correctly.
w.

April 9, 2014 11:10 am

Trick said:
“The 24 and 78 come down as components of the down arrow last one on the right, toward surface sign convention positive:24+78+67+155=324.”
That is back radiation but the adiabatic process is not radiative.
Which is pretty much my point. The back radiation should be reduced by 102 Wm2 and a down arrow put in the non radiative section then the revised figures that I put forward apply with the surface warming due to mass and not radiative capability.
pochas said:
“It’s what happens at the surface before the expansion (energy gain), and in the radiating zone after the expansion (energy loss) that counts, and an energy balance at any intermediate altitude will show this quantity as a net energy flow upward.”
Not quite, there is no energy loss or gain within the adiabatic process, merely conversion of KE to PE (heat loss) and back again (heat gain).
If the atmosphere has radiative capability then radiative energy loss will occur from within the adiabatic process but will be replaced by more conduction from the surface to keep the temperature at 288K.
If the atmosphere lacks radiative capability then all the energy loss to space is via radiation directly from the surface at 288K. It can’t drop back to 255K because the mass of the atmosphere will still conduct and convect though I accept that even luminaries such as Roy Spencer and Anthony still think that the atmosphere would trend isothermal and convection would fade away.
That cannot happen where the surface is unevenly heated and temperature still declines with height due to conversion of KE to PE with height. That still happens even without GHGs.
Either way, the surface temperature is unaffected by the adiabatic portion of the convective energy exchange once the first convective cycle has completed (whereupon the surface temperature settles at 288K). The back radiation figure must then be reduced from 324 to 222 (otherwise it is double counting) which then balances with radiation of 222 from surface to atmosphere thus no surface warming from back radiation.
The frustrating thing for me is that I can see just what points Anthony and the naysayers are failing to grasp but I cannot get it across to a mindset that is focused on radiative balances alone.

April 9, 2014 11:19 am

Willis said:
“That’s why they’re called net flows and not individual flows, because the one arrow shows the net of the two processes”
You can’t have a net flow within a reversible adiabatic process. The ascent and the descent involve no addition or removal of energy.
You could say that there is a net radiative upward flow incorporated within the adiabatic exchange but those arrows cannot be that because K & T already have the outgoing 165 from the atmosphere and 30 from clouds to space as a separate pair of numbers higher up in the diagram.
Having allocated the 165 and 30 to the radiative flow out to space the 24 and 78 must be the adiabatic portion which must always be net zero. You said yourself that the adiabatic process is ‘a wash’.
And so it is.

Editor
April 9, 2014 11:25 am

Stephen writes:

That loss [radiation to space of heat released in the mid-atmosphere by condensation] is already in the diagram in the numbers 165 and 30 going out to space so the other figures of 24 and 78 can only be the adiabatic element that stays in the system and returns to the surface. An adiabatic process with no new energy added or energy lost is fully reversible.

That is not how I read Trenberth’s diagram. The 24 and 78 numbers are clearly marked as energy transfers from the surface to “absorbed by atmosphere.” From there part of this warmth from convection and condensation gets released to space as part of the 165 and 30 numbers. The diagram shows two legs to the energy flow from surface to space. I think Stephen is just misinterpreting when he says that the numbers on the bottom leg stay in the system and return to the surface. Some returns to the surface through, as Trenberth models it, “back-radiation,” and some radiates out into space.
I see no reason to think from the diagram that Trenberth is misinterpreting adiabatic warming and cooling as movements of energy. Does he actually say this? Stephen seems to be saying that this is implied: “so the other figures of 24 and 78 can only be the adiabatic element that stays in the system and returns to the surface” (emphasis added). But no, they can also be (and are clearly marked in the diagram to be) just the first leg of the journey from surface to atmosphere to space, with some not making it out into space but coming back to the surface via “back-radiation” (which doesn’t make the surface warmer than it was but rather slows down its rate of heat loss, making it warmer than it otherwise would be).
Whether this criticism is right or wrong, there is no scorn in it. We love Stephen! It just looks to me like he made a goof up this time out that he should have caught, something we all have to worry about, and naturally have great sympathy for.

JustAnotherPoster
April 9, 2014 11:27 am

Again no one seems to have actually answered the dumb question I asked a while ago…….
Greenhouse gases have existed for millions of years in our atmpsphere. The processes of ‘back radiation’ therefore must have been occurring for millions of years, as posed by the diagram, if that’s the theory on how our atmpsphere works…
Why isn’t our atmosphere already hot and or Venus like ?
All things being equal adding more C02 or other gases into the atmosphere should increase the temperature by the process of ‘back radiation’ according to the GHG theory.
But the problem is…. This should have been occurring for millions of years a these gases and the sun have been running these processes for millions of years.
Why isn’t the planet much much hotter now ?

April 9, 2014 11:28 am

[snip Venus is off-topic -mod]

Trick
April 9, 2014 11:28 am

Willis 10:59am: “Which ever way you do it is correct.” As result but not as a process in either accounting nature or physical nature.
Your CPA will record both $revenue and $expense to calculate the net flow = $pre-tax profit. Both flows are real. Flows may be cash or non-cash but are real and have a sign convention. I would argue if show just the net then material information is lost like checks in the mail – just what was that revenue anyway – didja’ hide some cash income on the side?
Likewise in nature all matter radiates ceaselessly at all frequencies, there is no exception ever found. Even at absolute zero? Absolute zero is unattainable. So your top picture shows the real story in nature when applied to radiation fields & accounting. In physics, the space in between is a photon bath of radiation. This is material, if just show net some photons disappear from universe energy supply for a short time.

Editor
April 9, 2014 11:31 am

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:19 am

Willis said:

“That’s why they’re called net flows and not individual flows, because the one arrow shows the net of the two processes”

You can’t have a net flow within a reversible adiabatic process. The ascent and the descent involve no addition or removal of energy.

So what if the ascent and descent of the air itself don’t move energy? The movement of latent heat from the surface to the atmosphere most definitely involves a removal of energy from the surface to the atmosphere. You seem to think all of that energy is returned to the surface … but how, for example, is the energy removed by evaporation returned to the surface?
It certainly is not returned by the “ascent and the descent” of the air. You are correct that other things being equal, the ascent and descent of the air doesn’t move energy.
But the evaporation and condensation of the water most definitely move energy.
Steven, what you are saying is that EVAPORATION DOESN’T COOL THE SURFACE. That is truly industrial-strength foolishness. How could it be that evaporation cools humans, and cools my coffee, and cools a lake of water, but doesn’t cool the planetary surface? That’s absolute nonsense.
Like I said above, you have some zany substitutes for physics on your planet … but here on this planet, evaporation cools the surface. So you’d better set about modifying your theory to accept that fact, or you will continue to be laughed at for the remainder of your scientific career as the fool who thinks that evaporation doesn’t cool the surface because the heat lost is magically somehow returned to the surface …
w.

April 9, 2014 11:43 am

Leonard Weinstein said:
“The convection due to buoyancy and turbulent mixing maintain the adiabatic lapse rate (as modified by condensing moisture, i.e., wet adiabatic lapse rate) even with the shift in location in radiation to space”
If you recall, I did say that the convection due to buoyancy and turbulent mixing alter the vertical temperature profile to negate the effects of GHGs.
In doing so, the adiabatic lapse rate overall is indeed maintained as you say but that does not mean that you can automatically back calculate the surface temperature from any new effective emission height using the adiabatic lapse rate.
The slope of the adiabatic lapse rate from surface to space may be maintained overall but you will still get variations in the slopes on the way up through all the various atmospheric layers.
The Earth’s slope is in the form of a large ‘W’ laying on its side which gives lots of scope for layer to layer variability and counterbalancing.
So GHGs can still distort the ambient lapse rate slope and raise the effective emission height where they are present but yet leave surface temperature unaffected because adjustments to the slopes elsewhere in the atmosphere maintain the ‘ideal’ adiabatic slope in the background.
Furthermore they can distort the slope in equal and opposite directions even within their own layer and if that happens you wouldn’t even get a change in the emission height because the distortion on the ascent would be offset by the distortion on the descent.
Warm molecules rising push the effective emission height upwards but cold molecules falling push the effective emission height downwards and that can happen at different locations within a single layer.
You must realise that the atmosphere is a dynamic energy balancing machine of considerable complexity but simple fundamentals using a combination of radiative and non radiative processes which each adjust for variations in the other.
How else could Willis come to perceive that there is a thermostatic mechanism ?
It isn’t just about tropical thunderstorms 🙂

Editor
April 9, 2014 11:53 am

Trick says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

Willis 10:59am: “Which ever way you do it is correct.” As result but not as a process in either accounting nature or physical nature.
Your CPA will record both $revenue and $expense to calculate the net flow = $pre-tax profit. Both flows are real. Flows may be cash or non-cash but are real and have a sign convention. I would argue if show just the net then material information is lost like checks in the mail – just what was that revenue anyway – didja’ hide some cash income on the side?

So we are in agreement that the result is correct either way. As you point out, to do the calculations to get the correct answer we need to look at individual flows. But if all we care about is the net, we can look at either one. Steven Wilde above says that the net latent heat loss from the surface is zero … so since he’s talking about the net, the K/T diagram is adequate, since it shows the net loss.
Trick, do you think that evaporation DOESN’T cool the surface? Because that’s Steven’s claim, whether we talk about net flows or individual flows.

Likewise in nature all matter radiates ceaselessly at all frequencies, there is no exception ever found.

Neither of those claims is true. Not all matter radiates, and when it does, it doesn’t do so at all frequencies.
First, all matter doesn’t radiate ceaselessly. Most does, to be sure, but there are exceptions. Take for example argon gas. It doesn’t radiate at all in the thermal range. Simply put, it is not a “greenhouse gas” at earth-like temperatures—it doesn’t absorb longwave, and it doesn’t radiate longwave. Why not? Because it is a monatomic noble gas, a single symmetrical atom. As a result, there’s nothing to bend or flex or vibrate to absorb energy. Molecules absorb energy in those ways—the inter-atomic bonds stretch or twist or flex or vibrate. But there is no physical way that argon can do any of that—it doesn’t have inter-atomic bonds. As a result, it is physically incapable of either absorbing or radiating thermal infrared radiation like most materials can.
Second, those materials that do radiate absolutely do NOT “radiate … at all frequencies”. They radiate at certain, very specific frequencies related to both their absorption bands and their temperature.
Look, Trick. You get to have your own opinions. You don’t get to have your own physics. Before you start trying to school someone on these matters, you need to go to school yourself. Your claims are simply not true. While most matter radiates, not all matter radiates, and the matter that does radiate does so at certain frequencies, not at “all frequencies” … this is basic stuff.
w.

April 9, 2014 11:58 am

Alec Rawls said:
“I see no reason to think from the diagram that Trenberth is misinterpreting adiabatic warming and cooling as movements of energy. Does he actually say this? ”
Can you make the numbers balance on the basis that the 24 and 78 are just a part of the 165 and 30 ?
On that basis where does the extra 102 Wm2 come from for the DWIR figure of 342 ?
It should have radiated out shouldn’t it ?
Since there is no downward arrow for the 24 and 78 and K&T increase DWIR by exactly the same amount I guess they are saying that the 102 taken up by thermals and Evapo-transpiration is all coming back as DWIR.
But what about adiabatic warming on descent ?
That is a non radiatve process so it cannot be coming back as DWIR but they seem to say it is.
The simplest scenario is this:
i) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.
ii) The adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.
iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere from space ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere to space (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.
The effect of radiative capability is therefore only to redistribute energy so that 168 absorbed by the surface becomes 40 emitted by the surface and 67 absorbed by the atmosphere becomes 195 emitted by the atmosphere (165 + 30).
Transparency to incoming shortwave and opacity to outgoing longwave simply re-apportions the share of the same amount of energy emitted to space between emissions from surface and atmosphere
What is wrong with that ?

April 9, 2014 12:09 pm

Willis said:
“Trick, do you think that evaporation DOESN’T cool the surface? Because that’s Steven’s claim, whether we talk about net flows or individual flows.”
Evaporation does cool the surface because it creates condensate which then radiates out to space. .K & T give that a figure of only 30
Latent heat does not radiate and when it is released by condensation at height most of it causes accelerated uplift when it is conducted to the mainly non radiative bulk atmosphere so it goes to more PE which does not radiate.
After the first convective cycle, latent heat is returning within descending air in the form of PE converted back to KE as fast as it is moved upward again.
I think many here are firing off without thought and jumbling the terminology.
It might be best if I just let things lie whilst those still interested try to absorb what has already been said.

Bart
April 9, 2014 12:29 pm

JustAnotherPoster says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:27 am
You are correct that there is a positive feedback loop in there. More back-radiation produces higher temperature, produces more back-radiation, produces higher temperature, and so on. However, the process peters out because the higher temperature also produces more radiation in frequency bands which are not back-radiated. The process reaches equilibrium when the total energy flux in = total energy flux out.
Willis Eschenbach says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:31 am
Yes, walk past a golf course or a large cemetary at night, and you will feel the distinct cooling effect of evaporation from all that watered lawn. That heat gets transported up through atmosphere, where it can be radiated away.
That is precisely the point I was making above. There are more paths to the planet’s atmospheric radiators than mere surface radiation, and that fact means that the cartoon greenhouse effect is a vast oversimplification.

Editor
April 9, 2014 12:50 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:58 am

Alec Rawls said:

“I see no reason to think from the diagram that Trenberth is misinterpreting adiabatic warming and cooling as movements of energy. Does he actually say this? ”

Can you make the numbers balance on the basis that the 24 and 78 are just a part of the 165 and 30 ?
On that basis where does the extra 102 Wm2 come from for the DWIR figure of 342 ?
It should have radiated out shouldn’t it ?
Since there is no downward arrow for the 24 and 78 and K&T increase DWIR by exactly the same amount I guess they are saying that the 102 taken up by thermals and Evapo-transpiration is all coming back as DWIR.

I’m not sure what you mean by “make the numbers balance”. The problem with the K/T diagram is that it is oversimplified to the point where processes are omitted and glossed over … and as a result, the K/T diagram doesn’t balance in the sense that different amounts are radiated upwards and downwards from the single atmospheric layer in their model.
However, it does balance in the sense that 519 W/m2 is absorbed by the atmosphere, and 519 W/m2 is radiated by the atmosphere … so what does “make the numbers balance” mean to you?
The simplest energy budget diagram I know of that actually balances at all levels is my own, viz:
As you will note, to model the planet requires a minimum of a 2-atmospheric layer model. The problem is that a single layer planetary “greenhouse” doesn’t concentrate enough energy at the surface to allow for the known surface losses. However, a two layer model will do so, as I show above.
Note that my global energy budget duplicates the main flows of the K/T diagram, but it balances at all three layers (surface and two atmospheric layers). For each of them:
• the incoming energy is equal to the outgoing energy, and
• equal amounts of energy are radiated upwards and downwards.
This is NOT true of the K/T diagram, which has to show different amounts going upwards and downwards from the atmosphere in order to force the balance.
It was this inconsistency in the K/T diagram that first impelled me to develop a model that actually did balance at all levels.
So … I agree with you that you can’t make the K/T numbers balance, if by “balance” you mean equal amounts radiated up and down. But it is not for the reason that you claim. It is because you cannot make a model with a single atmospheric layer balance given the known energy flows within the climate system.
Finally … my diagram shows both the latent and sensible heat flows with the same values as in the K/T budget. So to answer your question of “can you make the numbers balance” with those flows, yes, my budget does indeed balance.
w.

Richard G
April 9, 2014 12:52 pm

John West says:April 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm And W.
” there are better ones:
Showing uncertainty:
Showing more than one atmospheric layers:
Showing net heat flows:”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Thanks for the graphics.
There is one large nit to pick: These still ignore the fact that the system is locked in dynamic equilibrium as it hunts between 342 W/m2 (to pick one estimated value) and 0 W/m2 incoming radiation 24Hr/365.25D/Yr. Equilibrium happens at a variable point somewhere in the upper atmosphere, advection and the night time regime seem to be ignored.
Quite the restless Giant, Earth
.

Trick
April 9, 2014 12:57 pm

Willis 11:53am: “Neither of those claims is true. Not all matter radiates, and when it does, it doesn’t do so at all frequencies.It doesn’t radiate at all in the thermal range….Your claims are simply not true. While most matter radiates, not all matter radiates, and the matter that does radiate does so at certain frequencies, not at “all frequencies” … this is basic stuff.”
Yes basic. Argon does radiate in the thermal range. Max Planck taught us all matter radiates all the time, at all frequencies, there are no exceptions. Willis I am a poor teacher obviously. Don’t just listen to me. Please get out a text book on radiation – if you find something different please advise. We talked about this before. I will try better. These are not my opinions, this is basic science.
All matter radiates all the time – some so small as to be undetectable with today’s instruments (tomorrow’s, who knows?). Here is the energy distribution function (or spectral distribution) given by the Planck distribution function, you should find it too – containing speed of light, Boltzmann constant B, Planck’s constant h – these are all as fundamental as you can get in nature:
Pe(ω) =hω^3/4π^2c^2 * 1/(exp (ω/kBT ) − 1)
This is never 0 if it copied ok, don’t trust – look it up. The integral of this function over any frequency interval is the total radiant energy in that interval crossing unit area in unit time, called the irradiance. You should find this in the beginning of any text on radiation probably in 1st couple sections. Check it out, read thoroughly. Never zero at any freq. interval at any time, means all matter radiates all the time at all frequencies. No exceptions, never means NEVER! and absolute zero is unattainable.
Max Planck is the guy figured this out and it was a long arduous road to do so which is why you still hear of him & I’m just a humble hockey fan. Far as I’m concerned onerous GHGs are only found in farmer’s greenhouses from cats with digestive problems. In Max Planck’s nature there are IR active gases like CO2 and IR inactive gases such as Ar.

MikeB
April 9, 2014 1:11 pm

Trick,
Just passing through but your equation is for a blackbody only. It does not apply to matter which has varying emmisivity at different wavelengths (like thin gases).

Editor
April 9, 2014 1:14 pm

Stephen says:

After the first convective cycle, latent heat is returning within descending air in the form of PE converted back to KE as fast as it is moved upward again.

I wonder if Stephen might be confused about the definition of latent heat. It refers not to the potential energy of higher altitude air but to the energy stored in the phase change from liquid to vapor. This phase change does not reverse after the water vapor has precipitated out at altitude and the now dry air descends back towards the surface. The water is gone. For the latent heat to return as the parcel of air descends it would have to take in water vapor from outside, making it no longer the same parcel of air, whereas adiabatic lapse refers to the exchange between PE and KE within a given parcel of air as its altitude changes.
Does raise an interesting question: what about the heat that gets carried from the atmosphere to the surface in the form of precipitation? Trenberth’s diagram shows a “latent heat” release at the top of its evapo-transpiration column where it shows some rain precipitating out of a cloud but it does not have any number for the amount of heat carried back to the surface by that precipitation. Presumably the evapo-transpiration number is a net number. Might be interesting to see it broken down into component energy movements.

joeldshore
April 9, 2014 1:15 pm

JustAnotherPoster says:

Again no one seems to have actually answered the dumb question I asked a while ago…….

Wrong…I did: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/08/correcting-trenberth-et-al/#comment-1608682

Frank
April 9, 2014 1:16 pm

Steve Wilde: The latent heat carried aloft by convection can be calculated from the heat of vaporization of the precipitation that falls. 1 m^3 of precipitation falls on the average 1 m^2 of the planet in a year. That’s an average of about 80 W/m2.
Once you subtract the contribution from latent heat, one can begin to understand the convection of sensible heat. Radiative cooling high in the atmosphere is more rapid that near the surface. Convection of warmer parcels of air to the upper atmosphere to cool and replacing them with already cooler parcels of air cools the earth. Unfortunately work is done on a parcel of gas as it changes altitude, so we can’t simply measure energy flux by the change in temperature. I believe the conserved quantity in adiabatic transfers of parcels of air to different altitudes is potential temperature.
θ = T.(p0/p)k
where T = (real) temperature, p = pressure, p0 = reference pressure (usually at 1000 mbar) and k = R/cp = 2/7 for our atmosphere
When you combine latent heat with potential temperature, you get “moist potential temperature” or “equivalent potential temperature”. The Hadley circulation takes warm moist air from near the equator to the top of the troposphere, drying it and cooling it without changing its moist potential temperature. It moves poleward while cooling before it descends. Then it warms upon descending – more quickly than it cooled upon rising because the local lapse rate decreases with humidity and this air is now very dry. However, the moist potential temperature doesn’t change upon descent. The air that descends around 25 degN/S has a LOWER moist potential temperature than the air that rose near the equator. If you follow moist potential temperature, through any convective cycle, you can determine the flux of sensible heat.
My source for this information is: http://scienceofdoom.com/2012/02/12/potential-temperature/
http://scienceofdoom.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/moist-potential-temperature-mp2008.png

April 9, 2014 1:28 pm

joelshore’s link above gives a very good explanation of how natural climate variability works.

Richard G
April 9, 2014 1:35 pm

Steven Wilde:
Your adiabatic/convective model seems inadequate.
Consider your model to be a bicycle tire. As you roll along the energy state (ignoring friction) remains stable through the rotation. When you roll through a puddle suddenly the tire is picking up water and depositing it all over your torso, doing work. you must put work into the pedals to maintain velocity.
Happy pedaling.

Curt
April 9, 2014 1:36 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
April 9, 2014 at 11:19 am
“You can’t have a net flow within a reversible adiabatic process. The ascent and the descent involve no addition or removal of energy.”
Come on Stephen, you can do better than that! The process is not remotely adiabatic. The higher the water vapor, or its condensate, get, the more it can radiate energy to space. By the time it starts its downward journey it has lost a lot of energy.
The process is analogous to an engineered air conditioning system. Inside your house, the warm air evaporates the coolant, thereby transferring energy to it. The evaporated coolant is sent outside the house, where it is condensed and it transfers energy to the ambient before it is sent back inside. Without the step of transferring energy to ambient, it could not provide a net cooling of the inside. But with this step, it can and does. (In the case of an air conditioner, the transfer to ambient is predominantly through conductive/convective means; in the case of the atmosphere to space, it can only be through radiative means.)
By your logic, an air conditioner could not cool a house.
A lot of Slayers have the opposite problem, thinking that a transparent (radiatively inactive) atmosphere can cool the surface on an ongoing basis. They miss that, for this to be true, the atmosphere itself needs a sink to pass on the energy absorbed from the surface. And this can only happen by radiation.

Trick
April 9, 2014 1:46 pm

MikeB 1:11pm: How threads wander. From the ’97 cartoon in top post back 125 years or so now. The eqn. I posted has been well known that long and we all should be in awe of it or name one other eqn. also has three constants of nature c, h, B.
“..your equation is for a blackbody only.”
No. Planck formula is derived for ALL matter put in the box. So the matter, any matter solid/liquid/gas, put in there receives photons from the inside of the box held at fixed T of all wavelengths all the time from all directions. Willis will find this construct Planck used long ago when he takes time to look it up – I like Bohren 2006 for plain language but any text on radiation will do, though some are more obtuse than others.
They then drilled a hole in it theoretically and empirically to let some radiation out and the BB concept of Kirchhoff sprang into use from there as all real objects reflect some incident energy. At equilibrium, the radiation field is isotropic, the photons in the container, like gas molecules, do not all have the same energy (equivalently, frequency) but are distributed about a most probable value.

richardscourtney
April 9, 2014 2:00 pm

JustAnotherPoster:
At April 9, 2014 at 11:27 am you ask

Again no one seems to have actually answered the dumb question I asked a while ago…….
Greenhouse gases have existed for millions of years in our atmpsphere. The processes of ‘back radiation’ therefore must have been occurring for millions of years, as posed by the diagram, if that’s the theory on how our atmpsphere works…
Why isn’t our atmosphere already hot and or Venus like ?
All things being equal adding more C02 or other gases into the atmosphere should increase the temperature by the process of ‘back radiation’ according to the GHG theory.
But the problem is…. This should have been occurring for millions of years a these gases and the sun have been running these processes for millions of years.
Why isn’t the planet much much hotter now ?

Three reasons.
Firstly, an amount of CO2 in the atmosphere raises surface temperature by an amount: it does NOT induce global warming over an infinite period.
Secondly, the additional effect of additional increment to CO2 in the air reduces logarithmically: this is explained here
Thirdly, there was much, much more CO2 in the air in the past. Indeed, burning fossil fuels returns some CO2 to the air.
Richard

Trick
April 9, 2014 2:02 pm

Willis 11:53: “Trick, do you think that evaporation DOESN’T cool the surface? Because that’s Steven’s claim, whether we talk about net flows or individual flows.”
Willis’ diagram didn’t post up 12:50pm but I liked it before, so just use cartoon at top. Be very careful what Willis means by the control volume being cooled. Here the control volume of interest is the near surface atm. where thermometers hang and it is observed in rough steady state equilibrium cooling or heating a bit every month anomaly comes out.
The control volume “surface” being cooled in the top cartoon along the bottom by evaporation terrestrial 74 up arrow gets just as much down terrestrial 74 in the arrow on the right. So, no, evaporation doesn’t cool or warm the surface since has no net effect on the surface control volume (adiabatic!). As Stephen so often says, adiabatic means what goes up must come down because no evaporation or lH release (rain) removes energy to space – only radiation does that from the bath of radiation below TOA. Here positive is down:
Terrestrial up is -24-78-390 net of solar down 168 = – 324 up
Terrestrial down 24+78+67+155 = + 324 down
Net zero, balanced give or take each month somewhere, somehow.
Since surface control volume energy flow balances up and down, means Tmean is nearly constant; this total irradiance energy flow is the Planck function I just posted integrated over the whole freq. spectrum in unit time unit area.

MikeB
April 9, 2014 3:26 pm

Trick,
Planck’s law describes the electromagnetic radiation emitted by a black body in thermal equilibrium at a definite temperature. (Wikipedia)
Now look it up and then write it down.
It’s rather like discussing with DirkH, I say something right, he and you say something wrong.
Goodnight.

Trick
April 9, 2014 5:12 pm

MikeB 3:26pm: You do sometimes find textbook treatments of blackbody radiation in which it is stated (or implied) that the walls of the cavity must be black. This is not true. All that is required for a cavity to be filled with blackbody radiation is that the cavity be opaque and have a nonzero emissivity (and hence absorptivity) at all wavelengths which is true for all real material.
A cavity with walls that are not black nevertheless fills with blackbody radiation because of emission and multiple reflections. Thus if we fashion a cavity from a material that is neither black nor 100% reflecting at any wavelength, the radiation contained therein is still blackbody radiation.
To learn how that can be in detail urge you (& Willis) to ref. Bohren 2006 sec. 1.4.1, the third ref. listed by wiki. Wiki top post is good starting point but always suspect as it is not the original author, need to read the cites.

Editor
April 9, 2014 5:28 pm

Trick says:
April 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Willis 11:53am:

“Neither of those claims is true. Not all matter radiates, and when it does, it doesn’t do so at all frequencies.It doesn’t radiate at all in the thermal range….Your claims are simply not true. While most matter radiates, not all matter radiates, and the matter that does radiate does so at certain frequencies, not at “all frequencies” … this is basic stuff.”

Yes basic. Argon does radiate in the thermal range. Max Planck taught us all matter radiates all the time, at all frequencies, there are no exceptions. Willis I am a poor teacher obviously. Don’t just listen to me. Please get out a text book on radiation – if you find something different please advise. We talked about this before. I will try better. These are not my opinions, this is basic science.
All matter radiates all the time – some so small as to be undetectable with today’s instruments (tomorrow’s, who knows?). Here is the energy distribution function (or spectral distribution) given by the Planck distribution function, you should find it too – containing speed of light, Boltzmann constant B, Planck’s constant h – these are all as fundamental as you can get in nature:
Pe(ω) =hω^3/4π^2c^2 * 1/(exp (ω/kBT ) − 1)
This is never 0 if it copied ok, don’t trust – look it up.

Trick, I think I see the problem. You started by making statements about objects in the real world. I responded by talking about objects in the real world.
But now, you are talking about Planck’s perfect theoretical black-body. You are correct that a theoretical blackbody radiates at all frequencies at all times … but that’s not what you said.
You said real-world objects do the same, which is totally untrue. GHG’s like water vapor and CO2, for example, have an emissivity which is frequency-dependent and confined to narrow absorption bands. And some gases, like argon, don’t even have those narrow absorption bands.
Here’s the short answer. In order to absorb thermal energy, a molecule has to have bonds that can shake and twist and flex and vibrate. When the photon of energy strikes the molecule it “rings” in a sense, that is to say it twists or flexes or vibrates, meaning that the energy has been absorbed and converted into the mechanical motion of twisting etc.
So whether or not a gas absorbs and emits thermal longwave depends on the kind of bonds it has between the molecules. O2, for example, hardly absorbs longwave. It only has one possible vibrational mode. This is the mode where the two atoms move closer and further from each other. It can’t twist, it’s symmetrical. And it can’t flex or scissor, because there’s only one bond. So the absorption bands are very narrow. And the same, of course, is true of N2 and H2 and every other diatomic gas. All of them only have one way to absorb thermal longwave radiation, so they don’t absorb much thermal IR, and that only within narrow bands.
Note that if the entire atmosphere were O2 and N2, there would be no greenhouse effect worth mentioning.
Fortunately for life, water vapor (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2 are much better able to absorb longwave. There are many more vibrational modes available—scissoring, twisting, flexing, and combinations of the above. And as a result, their absorption bands are wider, and there are more of them, than with any diatomic molecule. It’s simple physics, you have to have three atoms to be able to “scissor”, for example.
And more complex molecules like chlorofluorocarbons have many, many vibrational modes, so they absorb a lot over a very broad range.
But argon is an oddball. It’s kind of like the theoretical “anti-blackbody”. We’ve seen that gases absorb thermal longwave based on the number of atoms and thus the number of bonds between them. We see that as gas molecules get simpler and simpler with fewer and fewer atoms, they absorb less and less thermal longwave radiation, in narrower and narrower absorption bands. This is a consequence of the reducing number of vibrational modes available to absorb the energy … but argon has no bonds at all. And as a result, it has no possible vibrational modes of any kind, no physical way to absorb the impinging longwave energy …
And this means that instead of the narrow absorption bands of O2 and N2, argon has no thermal longwave absorption bands at all.
Now, many folks were taught (as was I) that everything radiates … and with the exception of monatomic gases that’s true. Of course, when we were taught it generally it was in the context of discussing solids … and there aren’t many monatomic solids. So rather than this oddball exception being noted, we were given the simplified version.
Not only that, but all solids have basically infinite numbers of molecules and bonds, which means all possible vibrational modes, and so yes, as we were taught and as you say they emit at virtually all frequencies at all times. The mass of their emissions will follow a Planck curve and be centered around some frequency, and (quantum effects aside) as you point out it won’t go to zero anywhere.
But it’s not true for monatomic gases, or for gases in general. Most gases are very simple molecules, and instead of following the Planck curve they only can absorb (and by Kirchoff’s Law, emit) in discrete narrow absorption frequency bands … or in the case of monatomic gases, they have no absorption bands at all for themal longwave.
Best regards,
w.
PS—note that higher temperatures contain enough energy to knock electrons to different orbits. This mode of energy absorption is not available at typical surface temperatures on Earth, not enough energy.
So indeed there are absorption lines in the spectrum for argon … but they’re at temperatures of hundreds and hundreds of degrees, not anywhere near the earth-like temperatures of the thermal radiation we are discussing.

Trick
April 9, 2014 5:52 pm

Willis 5:28pm: “But now, you are talking about Planck’s perfect theoretical black-body.”
No I am not. A black body (of Kirchhoff actually) does not exist in nature, all bodies that exist in nature reflect some incident radiation unlike a true theoretical black body which absorbs 100%. I am talking about all real matter – gaseous, liquid, or solid – at all temperatures emit radiation of allfrequencies at all times, although in varying amounts. There is no exception. Urge you to consult a basic text on radiation.
Argon exists in nature so it emits & absorbs & reflects. Ar is not 100% transparent; Ar will attenuate a photon beam whether an instrument can measure the attenuation or not. No exceptions.

Robert Clemenzi
April 9, 2014 6:02 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
April 8, 2014 at 7:31 am

Roy thinks that a non radiative atmosphere would tend towards isothermal and that convection would cease.
I think he is wrong in that because one cannot suppress convection where the surface is unevenly heated and KE converts to PE with height leading to a temperature decline with height without needing radiative losses from height.
With no radiative losses from within the atmosphere there would still be convection and it would be more vigorous in order to maintain top of atmosphere energy loss from the surface alone.

Please explain, if heat continues to enter the atmosphere, and there are no radiative loses, what would the temperature profile be?

Bart
April 9, 2014 6:22 pm

Trick says:
April 9, 2014 at 5:52 pm
And, you are wrong. I urge you to consult a basic text on quantum mechanics.

Curt
April 9, 2014 6:22 pm

Trick: You really must learn how to present a coherent argument. You cite an equation for the ideal blackbody radiation to back up your argument that “all real matter at all temperatures emit radiation of all frequencies at all times”. When you are called on this, you say that you weren’t talking about blackbodies.
In the context of this post, which is talking about the amounts of different energy transfers, the distinction between whether the argon in the atmosphere absorbs 0.000% or 0.001% of the thermal infrared from the surface is absolutely irrelevant.

Trick
April 9, 2014 6:35 pm

Curt 6:22pm: – The 0.000% is not possible in nature, but true, whatever the absorption is for earth it is negligible. Willis had made up a thought experiment of an argon atm. in which case absorption is not negligible. True, I’m not the best teacher and badly need an editor, urge consult a good text that benefits from having both.
Bart 6:22pm: – An atom has mass, can spin, a photon has angular momentum, urge you to look into the quantum of spin rates conserving the angular momentum when spontaneous absorption/emission occurs.

gbaikie
April 9, 2014 6:50 pm

-Here’s the short answer. In order to absorb thermal energy, a molecule has to have bonds that can shake and twist and flex and vibrate. When the photon of energy strikes the molecule it “rings” in a sense, that is to say it twists or flexes or vibrates, meaning that the energy has been absorbed and converted into the mechanical motion of twisting etc.-
All matter has bonds which are affected by energies. Solids and liquid are a state of matter which have more variety of bonds which can shake and twist and flex and vibrate.
Molecules of gas are matter in which molecules which are moving, analogous to bullets. Bullets without friction, and in Earth’s atmosphere the molecules of nitrogen are traveling [or have average velocity] a bit faster than bullets.
And molecule of gas not moving has the temperature of absolute zero.
So if given enough energy [heat] a brick’s molecules will go from more or less staying in one spot, to flying apart- becoming gas.
But like race cars in traffic jam, gas molecules in our troposphere don’t not zoom around in terms going any distance, instead they are frictionlessly crashing into each other in factions of nanoseconds.
So in analogous traffic jam, it’s times billions and billions of cars and one has a 3-d traffic jam.
If count up the number of nitrogen molecules which equal mass of fired bullet, this amount of nitrogen gas has more kinetic energy than the bullet- as it’s going at around 400 m/s [892 mph]. And nitrogen gas is molecules of two: N2. Two atoms of nitrogen which are bond together. Though if it one adds enough heat/energy they will fly apart- becoming the 4th state of matter, called plasma.
So difference between solid brick and gas, is if you put brick in vacuum it stays where you put it, whereas N2 gas flies apart at about 400 m/s. And how fast the gas goes is how warm the gas is and speed of brick or bits of brick do not have anything to do with how warm the solid brick is.

Dr. Strangelove
April 9, 2014 7:03 pm

Steven Wilde
I don’t have time to read all the comments so I don’t know if my points here have already been raised.
Trenberth’s diagram is basically correct. Thermals and Evapo-transpiration are not included in the TOA energy balance nor in the calculation of the 33 K greenhouse effect. Note these two energy flows do not reach TOA. The energy at TOA is balanced at 342 W/m^2 without thermals and evapo-transpiration.
You said:
“Conduction and convection are a function of mass held within a gravity field.”
No. Conduction and convection are a function of temperature differential between surface and atmosphere. Air pressure is a function of atmospheric mass and gravitational field. But pressure alone does not determine the temperature of gases. In the ideal gas law, density is a function of pressure and temperature. This is the proper way of looking at cause and effect. Gas density changes is an effect of changes in pressure and temperature. Not the other way around. (This is the common mistake of Dragon Slayers)
You said:
“The greenhouse effect is therefore a product of atmospheric mass rather than radiative characteristics of constituent molecules…”
This is equivalent to the statement “temperature of gas is solely dependent on its pressure. As mentioned above, it is wrong. The ideal gas law has three variables: pressure, temperature and volume (density). Any one of them is a function of two variables, not just one. A gas at 1 bar pressure can have different temperatures corresponding to different densities at that pressure.

gbaikie
April 9, 2014 7:33 pm

-So whether or not a gas absorbs and emits thermal longwave depends on the kind of bonds it has between the molecules. O2, for example, hardly absorbs longwave. It only has one possible vibrational mode. This is the mode where the two atoms move closer and further from each other. It can’t twist, it’s symmetrical. And it can’t flex or scissor, because there’s only one bond. So the absorption bands are very narrow. And the same, of course, is true of N2 and H2 and every other diatomic gas. All of them only have one way to absorb thermal longwave radiation, so they don’t absorb much thermal IR, and that only within narrow bands.-
So like most gases [including CO2] N2 and H2 are transparent to visible light. And all gases interact with various parts of spectrum.
With using telescope to see the rest of universe in various spectrum, H20 is biggest problem.
And reduce the problem with H20 molecule, astronomers build telescopes at high and dry locations. But also having telescopes look thru less atmosphere reduces other atmospheric distortion unrelated to spectrum atmospheric gases can block. And if want to see X-ray and gamma, one get out of the atmosphere.
-Note that if the entire atmosphere were O2 and N2, there would be no greenhouse effect worth mentioning.-
According greenhouse theory. But seems even some strong believers will say Mars would warmer even one added O2 and N2 to Mars.
So take the opportunity to see if more believe this.
Mars has very thin atmosphere with a lot CO2 in it- may times more CO2 than Earth’s atmosphere.
One say this way if removed N2 and O2 from Earth, and left argon, than Earth would have thicker atmosphere than Mars. But if removed the argon, Earth would have less atmosphere than Mars.
Mars has 2.5 x 10^16 kg of largely CO2. So about 25 trillion tonnes of CO2.
So question is if no added, say 100 trillion tonnes of N2 and O2 to Mars, would it make Mars have a higher average temperature?
If add 4 times more atmosphere, Mars still is weak atmosphere. You still need pressure or spacesuit in order to breath. But question is does CO2 of Mars “work” better, if add a significant amount of “inert gases” or non-greenhouse gases.
And think it does, can explain why Mars which has lot of solar energy reaching surface.
600 divide by 4 is 150 watts per square meter vs Earth’s Trenberth et al of 168 watts per square meter, is so cold.

April 9, 2014 11:34 pm

Lots of words overnight from many heavyweight contributors but I respectfully submit that the point is still not getting across so I’ll try once again to reduce it to the simplest possible form.
We all accept that 102 Wm2 leaves the surface in Thermals and Evapotranspiration.
K&T and the rest of you appear to think that it heats the atmosphere so that we get more DWIR to compensate and that is supposed to balance the energy budget. That is why the DWIR figure is increased by the same amount of 102 Wm2.
The trouble is that as that 102 Wm2 rises it converts to gravitational potential energy which is not heat and does not radiate and so you can’t send a corresponding amount of DWIR back down.
Latent heat of evaporation converts to extra gravitational potential energy the instant it is released on condensation since it immediately enhances uplift.
So, you cant have all that PE radiating down as DWIR. It cannot raise surface temperature whilst it is in PE form.
It appears that the energy budget is unbalanced and indeed it is but only until the descent phase of the first convective cycle completes.
At that point balance is restored because the KE returning to the surface on descent matches the KE leaving the surface on ascent.
Thermal balance is restored but at a higher surface temperature because you then have solar energy still coming in at the same rate as before AND you have the extra 102 Wm2 stuck at the surface providing the energy needed for continued uplift and descent.
The original radiative exchange is unaffected with solar shortwave in of 235 and longwave out of 235.
The simplest scenario is this:
i) The radiative exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 222 Wm2.
ii) The adiabatic exchange between surface and atmosphere is in balance at 102 Wm2.
iii) Energy absorbed by surface and atmosphere from space ( 67 + 168) is in balance with energy emitted by surface and atmosphere to space (165 + 30 + 40) which is 235 in each case.
The effect of radiative capability is therefore only to redistribute energy so that 168 absorbed by the surface becomes 40 emitted by the surface and 67 absorbed by the atmosphere becomes 195 emitted by the atmosphere (165 + 30).
It all boils down to the simple facts that one cannot get DWIR from gravitational potential energy and the latent heat of evaporation goes straight to PE on release by condensation.
Once can argue that there is still radiative leakage to space, that the adiabatic exchange is imperfect etc. etc. but the system balances at equilibrium when newly arriving solar energy balances the radiative leakage and at that point the atmosphere reaches its ‘correct’ height for the energy flowing through it.
If people still don’t get I can do no more.

Frank
April 10, 2014 12:18 am

Steve Wilde wrote: The trouble is that as that 102 Wm2 rises it converts to gravitational potential energy which is not heat and does not radiate and so you can’t send a corresponding amount of DWIR back down.
Wrong. During convection, an equal amount of air is coming down and going up, so the net change in gravitational potential energy is ZERO. The 102 W/m2 is not converted to gravitational potential energy.

April 10, 2014 1:05 am

Frank.
Of course the net change in GPE is zero but only after the first convective cycle completes. During the first cycle the net change is most certainly not zero.
It is only after the first convective cycle completes that the energy exchange at the surface settles to net zero.
But forever after you still have 102 Wm2 of energy stuck at the surface holding the weight of the atmosphere off the ground and failing to escape to space.
Which is why surface temperature rises from 255K to 288K.

Dr. Strangelove
April 10, 2014 2:11 am

Stephen
“It all boils down to the simple facts that one cannot get DWIR from gravitational potential energy and the latent heat of evaporation goes straight to PE on release by condensation.”
Sorry but wrong. Latent heat is not the cause of increase in potential energy (rising air mass). The cause is sensible heat. First, you need to increase the temperature of the air mass before its volume decreases (lower density) than surrounding air. This is Charles’s law in the ideal gas laws. The rising air is due to buoyant force or the density differential between warm air mass and surrounding cooler air.
At high altitude, the air mass cools and water vapor condenses releasing the latent heat. This becomes sensible heat because it warms the surrounding air. And when air temperature increases, you get more DWIR. So yes Trenberth got it right.

April 10, 2014 2:32 am

Dr Strangelove said:
“This becomes sensible heat because it warms the surrounding air. And when air temperature increases, you get more DWIR”
The warmed air immediately becomes warmer than the surroundings and rises higher thereby creating more PE.
The bulk of that warmed air is comprised of non radiative gases such as O2 andN2 so you can’t send much of that heat anywhere via radiation. Nearly all of it goes straight to uplift of the bulk gases and creation of more PE.
To the extent that radiative gases, clouds or aerosols are present then you can have some leakage but that is already included in the 165 if going to space or the 222 to the ground if it goes downward.
There is no basis for increasing DWIR above 222 Wm2 to the ground. That figure already takes account of radiative effects from clouds, aerosols, radiative gases and the hydrological cycle.
There is certainly no basis for increasing DWIR to 324 as though zero PE were being created by the increased uplift.

joeldshore
April 10, 2014 6:37 am

Stephen Wilde says:

But forever after you still have 102 Wm2 of energy stuck at the surface holding the weight of the atmosphere off the ground and failing to escape to space.

Not only do you not understand atmospheric physics as well as the scientists, like Trenberth, that you criticize. You don’t even understand it well enough to pass a first year physics course. This sentence is an illustration of that.

Mervyn
April 10, 2014 7:00 am

‘Back Radiation’? This IPCC term is a myth. The cooler air cannot add heat to the warmer ground. It is impossible.
Please remember, you cannot create more heat out of that which exists unless work is applied (First Law of Thermodynamics), and a cooler substance cannot pass its heat to a warmer substance (Second of Law of Thermodynamics). The Second Law is an absolute law.
This is basic laws of physics.
‘Back Radiation’ is not a law, it is not a valid theory, and it is not even a valid hypothesis. It is simply an IPCC supposition to justify its positive water vapour feedback mechanism.

Editor
April 10, 2014 8:46 am

Stephen writes (emphasis added):

The trouble is that as that 102 Wm2 rises it converts to gravitational potential energy which is not heat and does not radiate and so you can’t send a corresponding amount of DWIR back down.
Latent heat of evaporation converts to extra gravitational potential energy the instant it is released on condensation since it immediately enhances uplift.
So, you cant have all that PE radiating down as DWIR. It cannot raise surface temperature whilst it is in PE form.

The only way to increase the gravitational potential energy of a parcel of air is to raise its height in the gravitational well. Phase change just happens when the conditions are right at a given altitude. If there is an altitude change subsequent to the phase change then THAT would convert KE to PE according to the lapse rate, but the the release of latent heat via condensation does not itself involve any conversion of KE to PE.

It all boils down to the simple facts that one cannot get DWIR from gravitational potential energy and the latent heat of evaporation goes straight to PE on release by condensation.

If the nub of the issue is the idea that “the latent heat of evaporation goes straight to PE on release by condensation,” it would seem to require some discussion and justification! Can this claim be defended?

Editor
April 10, 2014 8:57 am

Stephen has given a bit of an explanation for his claim that latent heat immediately converts to PE upon condensation:

The warmed air immediately becomes warmer than the surroundings and rises higher thereby creating more PE.

But the heat has already been released, warming the mid-atmosphere. Any subsequent movements of the air are just movements. The released heat gets mixed around a bit up there. This does not alter the fact that heat has been released, making the mid-atmosphere warmer than it would have been and hence increasing its infrared radiation.

joeldshore
April 10, 2014 9:40 am

Mervyn says:

Please remember, you cannot create more heat out of that which exists unless work is applied (First Law of Thermodynamics)

Where are we creating more heat than exists? How much energy does the sun deliver to the Earth each second?

and a cooler substance cannot pass its heat to a warmer substance (Second of Law of Thermodynamics). The Second Law is an absolute law.

Since you are such an expert on the Second Law, please define for us precisely what is meant by “heat”. Then show us how the positing the existence of back-radiation means you are saying that heat passes from a cooler substance to a warmer substance.

This is basic laws of physics.
‘Back Radiation’ is not a law, it is not a valid theory, and it is not even a valid hypothesis. It is simply an IPCC supposition to justify its positive water vapour feedback mechanism.

And yet, you would be hard-pressed to find a physicist who agrees with you, whether they are a “warmest” (like me) or a “skeptic” (like Robert Brown, Judith Curry, or Fred Singer). Why do you suppose that is?

phi
April 10, 2014 10:41 am

joeldshore,
The concept of backradiation does not have more relevance than that of backconduction. Better not use it.

April 10, 2014 10:44 am

Alec Rawls said:
“making the mid-atmosphere warmer than it would have been and hence increasing its infrared radiation.”
Except that the bulk gases, mainly 02 and N2, are supposed to have virtually no radiative capability so how are they going to radiate their energy anywhere ?
They acquire energy from the latent heat release via conduction but cannot radiate it out so they have to rise higher instead. The rise higher cancels the warming by converting KE to PE.

joeldshore
April 10, 2014 10:46 am

Stephen Wilde say:

The warmed air immediately becomes warmer than the surroundings and rises higher thereby creating more PE.

There is certainly no basis for increasing DWIR to 324 as though zero PE were being created by the increased uplift.

As has been explained to you many times (but which you fail to comprehend because you are unteachable), to compute the work done in raising a parcel of the atmosphere from one altitude to another, you have to include all forces…not just the gravitational force. You cannot ignore the buoyant force, i.e., the force of the surrounding atmosphere on that parcel. There is more to the world than just kinetic and potential energies when you have non-conservative forces acting.
The “derivation” of the adiabatic lapse rate by Hans Jelbring is not correct since he does not understand how to apply conservation of energy correctly, i.e., he ignores the work done by the buoyant force and he also ignores the work done by the parcel of gas on its surroundings when it adiabatically expands. The fact that he almost gets the right answer (“almost” meaning if you ignore the difference between specific heat at constant volume and specific heat at constant pressure, as I recall) is due to these two (partially) compensating errors.
Until you understand the difference between correct application of the laws of physics and erroneous application of the laws of physics, there is little that can be gleaned in any discussion with you except confirmation of the fact that you don’t understand physics.

joeldshore
April 10, 2014 10:48 am

phi says:

joeldshore,
The concept of backradiation does not have more relevance than that of backconduction. Better not use it.

Well, I think the terminology is a bit unfortunate too. However, arguing about what terminology to use is different than whether you have the physics correct or incorrect. Mervyn has the physics wrong, no matter what terminology you use.

April 10, 2014 10:51 am

joeldshore said:
“You don’t even understand it well enough to pass a first year physics course.”
Please specify the piece of first year physics that invalidates what I said.
Why can there not be 102 Wm2 of KE situated at a surface beneath an adiabatic, convective atmospheric circulation and unable to depart to space as radiation ?
After all, if it could leave to space as radiation then the atmosphere would fall to the ground would it not ?

SkepticGoneWild
April 10, 2014 11:18 am

Joel,
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states:
Heat can never pass from a colder to a warmer body without some other change, connected therewith, occurring at the same time
This law has not changed. It’s the same law I learned in my physics classes at university.
If you need a definition of heat, please refer to any university level physics text.
The sun is the only energy source which heats the earth. Backradiation will have no effect. That energy has already been accounted for. Reflected energy will not and cannot cause a body to increase in temperature. That would be a violation of the First Law as well.
As far as your last statement is concerned, arguments from popularity don’t cut it in the field of science. This new version of the Second Law seems to be popular in the field of climatology. If scientists want to create an alternate version of the Second Law, there is a well established protocol known as the scientific method, whereby the new proposed law could be validated.

Kristian
April 10, 2014 11:45 am

Willis Eschenbach says, April 8, 2014 at 10:09 am:
“For example, when the surface is warmer than the atmosphere, it is constantly losing energy to the atmosphere through conduction/convection. This is not affected in the slightest by the fact that Steven mentions, which is that air warms when it descends. So what? The surface will still be losing heat to the atmosphere as long as it is warmed by the sun.
The same is true about evaporation. When water on the surface evaporates, it cools the surface. Period. It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law.”
(My bold.)
True dat!

Kristian
April 10, 2014 11:48 am

Stephen,
You are WRONG on this issue!

Frank
April 10, 2014 11:49 am

Trick: Do a Google image search for infrared spectrum atmospheric gases. You will find hundreds of graphs showing that atmospheric gases do not absorb like a blackbody. The emission spectrum is exactly the same as the absorption spectrum – gases only emit at the wavelengths they absorb. (Emission is simply absorption with time running backwards.)
The spectra you do see are mostly low resolution spectra that allow you to see the broad absorption bands, but not the fine structure of the multitude of lines produced when many possible changes in rotational energy states are combined with one change in vibration. At high pressures and temperatures, these line broaden (by collisions and Doppler shift) and eventually merge into a single band. You can see what the 15 um CO2 band looks like at:
http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=4597
http://scienceofdoom.com/2011/03/12/understanding-atmospheric-radiation-and-the-“greenhouse”-effect-–-part-nine/

Kristian
April 10, 2014 11:52 am

I do agree with ‘climatereason’ (tonyb), though when saying (April 8, 2014 at 2:51 pm):
“I am very uncomfortable with Stephen being humiliated in this way. If his article was not up to scratch it might have been better to have told him why, and not run the item.”

MikeB
April 10, 2014 12:00 pm

After all, if it could leave to space as radiation then the atmosphere would fall to the ground would it not ?

Steve, give up. I think you are probably a nice guy but with all respect learn some basic physics of heat transfer first. Could I suggest starting with how heat passes through a planar wall.
http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/09/12/heat-transfer-basics-part-zero/
And skepticGoneWild, maybe you would like to read it too. And then both progress to see how a 30,000 watt heat source can ‘create energy ‘ to generate 1,824,900 watts.
http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/07/26/do-trenberth-and-kiehl-understand-the-first-law-of-thermodynamics/
When you understand that, move to the next square.
If you don’t understand it, find some other hobby./

April 10, 2014 12:26 pm

Kristian said:
“It doesn’t matter that “the moist adiabatic lapse rate during ascent is less than the dry lapse rate”. That’s true … but it doesn’t return energy to the surface, that would be a violation of the Second Law.”
I know it doesn’t return ENERGY to the surface. It does return HEAT to the surface as PE is converted back to KE so no violation of the Second Law.
PE is not heat and does not radiate until it becomes KE again.
MikeB said:
“Could I suggest starting with how heat passes through a planar wall.”
I don’t see anything there about convection and the conversion of KE to PE with height. It is that process that removes energy from the radiation budget at one time and returns it at a later time.

MikeB
April 10, 2014 12:40 pm

Come on Steve, you didn’t have time to read it never mind understand it. But you would be right, there is nothing there about convection (that’s for the big boys). But you have to learn the basics first. Then you can progress. You seem to have an auto-block on learning and so you stay on the dragon slayer rung. To learn, you have to be willing to learn – right?

Trick
April 10, 2014 12:40 pm

Frank 11:49am: “You will find hundreds of graphs showing that atmospheric gases do not absorb like a blackbody.”
Correct; the graphs show real bodies reflect some of the incident photonic energy unlike a theoretical black body which doesn’t reflect at all. Planck function posted above 4/9 12:57pm is never 0.0, so radiation is emitted by all bodies regardless of temperature, although to varying degrees at different frequencies.
The part of the incident photonic energy not reflected is absorbed/emitted in a hemisphere of directions is occurring in nature by Planck function at all frequencies all the time at all equilibrium temperatures for solid/liquid/gas – no hedging here “all” means ALL – no exceptions, the integral of which across the spectrum is the irradiance.

Frank
April 10, 2014 12:46 pm

Steve wrote: “Of course the net change in GPE is zero but only after the first convective cycle completes. During the first cycle the net change is most certainly not zero. It is only after the first convective cycle completes that the energy exchange at the surface settles to net zero. But forever after you still have 102 Wm2 of energy stuck at the surface holding the weight of the atmosphere off the ground and failing to escape to space.”
Think of convection like a Ferris wheel with every passenger weighing the same. Lifting the passengers on one side doesn’t require work because the descending passengers on the other side are mechanically linked to each other. Convective cycles don’t occur in steps. Ascending air doesn’t leave a vacuum behind; descending air fills its spot immediately. It’s a continuous flow, not a discrete steps. The PE of individual parcels of air and the PE of individual passengers on a Ferris Wheel change, but no energy is consumed because the net change in PE is zero. In both cases, power is needed only to overcome friction.
A better analog: Fill a bath tub with water and place pot or bucket at the bottom of the tub full of water. It is easy to lift the pot as long as it remains totally under water. You are lifting only the weight of the pot because water is flowing underneath the pot as you lift. As the pot emerges from the water, it feels heavier and heavier because some of the water you are lifting is no longer being replaced from underneath by an equal weight of water. Now consider the empty bath tube and lifting a bucket of air. There is 14.6 psi of atmosphere pressing down on that bucket, but you never notice it because 14.6 psi of air flows underneath and to replace it. Needless to say, I’m talking about buoyancy. In water, lifting a plastic bucket of water takes no energy except to overcome friction (the plastic bucket being about as dense as water). The same is true for lifting air in air.
The work done when the gas expands or contracts or water vapor condenses complicates the analysis, but potential temperature and moist potential temperature keep track of the internal energy more clearly than temperature alone.
By definition, when water evaporates, it has left the surface and become part of the atmosphere. Collisions between gas molecules and surface molecules also conduct heat between the surface and the atmosphere. Wind sheer turbulence transports simple and latent heat within the planetary boundary layer (roughly the lowest kilometer of the atmosphere) until organized convection carries that warm air and water vapor high enough to condense. Turbulence prevents the energy from being TRAPPED at the interface between the surface and the atmosphere.

Trick
April 10, 2014 12:56 pm

Stephen 12:26pm: “I know it doesn’t return ENERGY to the surface. It does return HEAT to the surface..”
Oh my. Stephen – can’t help but post a hint. You will want to rephrase this if you can see the issue. If not, then don’t bother.

Editor
April 10, 2014 1:13 pm

The rise higher cancels the warming by converting KE to PE.

So then it is a higher level of the atmosphere that becomes warmer than it otherwise would have been, and if the warmed gases are not themselves emissive they will transfer their heat by conduction to parts of the atmosphere that are.

Lawrence13
April 10, 2014 1:19 pm

Willis Eschenbach says
“In short, Anthony just published the piece, and did nothing else. He did nothing blameworthy at all … and in any case, blaming the publisher when a newly launched scientific post goes hard aground on a reef of ugly facts is merely an attempt to divert attention from the wreck.”
I don’t agree with that at all. If Anthony had said I’ll feature your article but be warned I myself will call it a load of ld B0^&ocks for starters and I’m sure other replies will be less forgiving; then if Stephen still went ahead well he couldn’t complain.
Anyway Willis are you and Roy Spencer talking again and that was only one persons criticism and you were seemingly mortally wounded.
No it could have been handled far better . This thread is now about two issues the scientific argument and the dreadful behaviour on many now trying to look like scientist-well 3% of scientist.
Sorry Anthony and Willis but I found this disturbingly cruel

Curt
April 10, 2014 1:51 pm

Stephen: You keep referring to the up-and-down cycle of parts of the atmosphere, with or without evaporation/condensation, as being an adiabatic process, even though multiple people have pointed out to you that this is not remotely true. To recap, the radiatively active gases in the atmosphere transfer energy to space, and do so more effectively at higher altitudes. This means that the cycle, by definition, is not adiabatic.
The implication is that less energy is returned to the surface in the downward/condensation part of the cycle than is transferred to the atmosphere in the upward/evaporation part of the cycle, so there is a net upward transfer of energy.

SkepticGoneWild
April 10, 2014 2:17 pm

MikeB,
It’s hard to take someone seriously who believes in “energy creation”. But by all means, please provide reference to the experiment whereby a “30,000 watt heat source can ‘create energy ‘ to generate 1,824,900 watts”. I hope that device is patented, because the owner will be wealthy beyond all measure since he will hold the key to solving the world’s energy crisis..
I don’t recognize Science of Doom as a reference source for physics.

joeldshore
April 10, 2014 2:19 pm

SkepticGoneWild says:

This law has not changed. It’s the same law I learned in my physics classes at university.

Well, the problem is that you didn’t learn it very well.

If you need a definition of heat, please refer to any university level physics text.

The point is that “heat” is the MACROSCOPIC, NET flow of energy due to a temperature difference. “Back radiation” is not heat. The combination of the “forward” and “back radiation” is what heat is. Hence, the statement that the heat flow is from the warmer to the colder means that the forward radiation is larger than the back radiation and that the net of the two is heat.

Backradiation will have no effect. That energy has already been accounted for. Reflected energy will not and cannot cause a body to increase in temperature. That would be a violation of the First Law as well.

Nonsense…The only way that back radiation can have no effect is by violating the First Law. If we accept the First Law, then all flows of energy must be accounted for.

As far as your last statement is concerned, arguments from popularity don’t cut it in the field of science.

Only people who are both arrogant and foolish would assume that he, having had maybe one course in physics, knows the Second Law better than those of us who have gotten PhD’s in physics and written papers in the most prestigious physics journals in the world in the field of statistical physics, which is the underlying basis of thermodynamics.

This new version of the Second Law seems to be popular in the field of climatology.

It is popular in all fields of science that are based on the correct understand of physics, rather than the blatant distortion of physics.

If scientists want to create an alternate version of the Second Law, there is a well established protocol known as the scientific method, whereby the new proposed law could be validated.

There is no alternate version. There are just people who don’t even understand what the term “thermodynamics” means. Try looking up the term “thermodynamic limit”. Thermodynamics is a theory that describes macroscopic phenomena. For God’s sake, the formulation of the Second Law came many decades before we even knew about microscopic things like electrons and photons. If you actually understood the modern (by which I mean the last century or so) understanding of thermodynamics in terms of the underlying statistical mechanics, you would realize how utterly ridiculous it is to claim that there is no “back-radation” or that such radiation can magically be discounted! Since you don’t have any such understanding, you are blissfully ignorant of the ridiculousness of your assertions.