What is the Default Temperature for the Earth?

Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

The Earth’s atmosphere does not act like a greenhouse. The analogy was partially developed to help students understand the apparent disparity between energy coming in from the sun and leaving the Earth to space. However, its greater value was in creating the global warming deception because it automatically triggered thoughts of increasing artificial heat. The reality is the default temperature for the earth is cold, but the greenhouse analogy has put all the attention on the heat. Partial proof is in the fact that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) addresses only the negative impacts of warming. Climate history shows that for flora and fauna (yes, us) there are many more positive effects for warming than negative effects for cooling.

The eclipse is a good opportunity to re-examine the thinking at the basis of this situation. How much did the temperature drop along the line of totality during the eclipse? NASA says,

Typically, how big a temperature drop do you get during a total solar eclipse?

It would probably be equal to the typical daytime minus nighttime temperature difference at that time of year and location on the Earth. It would be modified a bit by the fact that it only lasts a few minutes, which means the environment would not have had much time to thermally respond to its lowest temperature, so it would probably only be 3/4 or 1/2 the maximum day-night temperature difference. Because the patch of the shadow travels faster than the speed of sound, weather systems will only be affected very locally directly under the instantaneous footprint of the eclipse. The main effect is in the “radiant heating” component which goes away suddenly at the moment of eclipse and produces a very fast temperature decrease. If the wind is blowing, your body probably exaggerates, by evaporative cooling, how large the actual temperature swing actually is.”

This argues that removal of the heat source, solar radiation (insolation) results, almost instantly in a reduction of ambient air temperature. What do they mean by the “radiant heat” component? They are talking about the zone within the height of a person. Are they saying that almost instantly the sun’s radiant energy is removed the temperature drops? But isn’t classical greenhouse theory that the air temperature is created by the insolation heating the ground and the ground emitting longwave or sensible heat to raise the air temperature? How can that cause a “very fast temperature decrease”?

They say the “environment would not have much time to thermally respond,” but what does that mean? The answer is inferred with the discussion about wind making it feel cooler to you because of evaporation. In their greenhouse analogy, they ignore the fact that a real greenhouse doesn’t include those thermal responses. What are they in the atmosphere? First, is the amount of insolation used for evaporation. Second, is the transport of that energy by convection and advection as a thermal response. This makes water in all its phases the most important component in the thermal response.

Unlike CO2, H2O adds and removes heat so that the result is it lowers maximum temperatures and raises minimum temperatures. We can see this in what was traditional called continentalism, the range in temperature at the same latitude because of the proximity of water. Here are the ranges for three Canadian cities at approximately the same latitude.

Station Maximum Minimum Range

Gander, Newfoundland 35.6°C -28.8°C 64.2°C

Winnipeg 40.6°C -45°C 85.6°C

Vancouver 33.3°C -17.8°C 51°C

There are some modifying factors, for example, the minimums at Gander and Newfoundland differ because the offshore currents are, respectively, cooler and warmer. The lunar temperature range is from 123°C maximum to -153°C minimum, a range of 276°C. Earth’s temperature range is generally given from a maximum of 56.7°C to a low of -89.2°C for a range of 145.9°C.

The obsession with high temperatures means the IPCC only examined the negative impact of warmer temperatures. People don’t believe it when you tell them more people die of the cold than the warm each year. Government adaptive strategies are all designed to offset warming, yet that is an easier adaptation for most regions than cooling. The claim of increased severe weather is based on warming in the polar regions. In fact, more storms are related to cooling in those regions.

Cold air is denser and heavier than warm air so in all circumstances it determines what happens. In a mid-latitude cyclone, the advancing cold air creates the Cold front and severe weather, including tornadoes. The warm front is created by the retreat of the cold air. We are seeing this dominance of cold air now as the cold domes that sit over the polar regions expand (Figure 1). The Jet Stream increases in speed, Rossby Wave patterns intensify and weather variability increases. Of course, because of the bias only warmer temperatures are reported. Did you see reports of cold and snow (neige) in Schefferville on July 12 in mainstream media?

clip_image002

Figure 1.

The NASA quote underscores two of the most important differences between the greenhouse and the atmosphere, the transfer of heat by evaporation and wind. They are also the greatest failure of the global climate models.

“If the wind is blowing, your body probably exaggerates, by evaporative cooling, how large the actual temperature swing actually is. (sic)

Parcels of air called adiabats are created by differential heating of the surface. They take on characteristics of temperature and moisture content distinctly different from the surrounding air. They become unique bubbles of air that, under a variety of conditions that create instability, rise-up in the atmosphere. If condensation occurs the water vapor in them becomes visible as water droplets that make up the category of vertical development clouds called cumulus. Over the course of a day, some of them continue to build until they become powerful cumulonimbus clouds transporting large quantities of heat and moisture often with vertical winds that allow them to punch through the tropopause into the stratosphere. This occurs mostly in association with the heat equator and the central area of the Hadley Cell known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Willis Eschenbach has written two useful papers on the importance of this area here and here.

Cumulonimbus clouds occur everywhere, I have seen them pushing into the stratosphere in subarctic Churchill, Manitoba. It is easier here because the tropopause is much lower, but more difficult because surface heating is more difficult. Regardless of where they form and estimates say there are tens of thousands at any given time across the world, they are major cooling conduits. However, as Essex and McKitrick point out in the chapter on “Climate Theory versus Models and Metaphors” in their book “Taken by Storm,” that no computer model has a grid size small enough to include any of them. As they explain,

There has to be a cutoff of the detail that will be considered by the model.

Omission of these clouds is legitimate due to physical limitations of the models, but it completely misrepresents atmospheric mechanisms that plays to the warming bias. It is a major cooling effect in the atmosphere that does not occur in a greenhouse.

In 2006, I wrote an article titled, “Global Warming will Benefit Canada.” From which I received more hate emails from Canadians than anything I published. Most people can’t imagine specific temperature change impacts. A few years ago, at a farm conference on global warming in Saskatchewan, Elaine Wheaton told the audience that the Province would be approximately 2°C warmer in about 30 years (These are approximations of what she said.) One farmer said this meant nothing to him, could she provide a location with a similar climate now. Elaine replied South Dakota. I pointed out that South Dakota was one of the most productive and prosperous farming areas in the US. Today I would ask those farmers to visualize their community with an annual average temperature 2°C colder than now. At present Canadian agriculture and most of the population live in a 200-km strip and to the north, which is generally 2°C cooler, there are few people and virtually no agriculture.

To paraphrase Mae West’s comment about wealth that she has tried rich and poor and rich is better, historically humans have tried warm and cold climates and overall warm is better. It is a precarious balance between the two global conditions, not because of CO2, which doesn’t alter the eclipse temperatures, but because such a brief reduction in time and space can so rapidly impact the temperature. However, there is one overriding reason why cooling is a greater threat than warming. The natural feedbacks mitigate against excessive warming. An increase in global average annual temperature causes an evaporation increase; this means more H2O in the atmosphere to moderate the temperature range, as it always does. To my knowledge, there is no similar internal Earth or atmospheric system that offsets cooling; remove the heat source and the default cold situation takes over.

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74 thoughts on “What is the Default Temperature for the Earth?

      • I would say the earth’s default Temperature is -94 deg. C min and about +60 deg. C max, that would be measured surface Temperatures. Some surfaces can possible do +90 deg. C at times, but I want to be conservative.

        G

  1. Dr. Cliff Mass blogged from eastern Oregon that “eclipse-related temperature declined from 72 to 59F (13F) between 9:30 and 10:30 AM (totality started roughly at 10:20 AM and was a little less than 2 minutes long at the centerline).

    • I was in South Carolina where it went from a humid 88F to around 83F .. and back pretty quickly. Just says what a high percentage of water vapor in the air will do. BTW, the cumulus clouds, which was around 40% coverage all but disappeared by the time of totality and were back within an hour.

      • “BTW, the cumulus clouds, which was around 40% coverage all but disappeared by the time of totality and were back within an hour.”

        That seems to indicate the cloud droplets didn’t disappear, but rather dispersed.
        Why does sunlight cause clouds to form- droplets to clump together?

      • I was also in South Carolina – Clemson. We had clouds until about 2 minutes before totality, thought they would spoil the show. Then nothing. Clear skies. Our theory was that rising air (convection) was holding the clouds up. With a loss of surface heating, the clouds simply fell back toward the surface, warmed up, and evaporated. The other theory (nearly the same) was that the lack of updraft caused the droplets to fall as virga (rain that evaporates before hitting the ground).

    • Seems pretty much like the Temperature drops we get, when a cloud moves in front of the sun. Only thing is with the moon doing the occludization you have to wait about 1 1/2 second for the cold blast to hit.

      G

      • Sun’s energy still reaching the atmosphere when a cloud passes over. Not so when the moon blocks the sun’s light.

      • @JohninRedding
        The atmosphere is indirectly heated by the sun through convection and radiation by the earth.

    • I was in East Central Missouri near where totality was maximum. Didn’t notice any temp difference, cows mooing, birds chirping or any other damn thing. Did like the corona though.

    • Sorry but most of the earth’s orbit has no Temperature whatsoever, and none that we can easily measure.
      About the only part of earth’s orbit we can measure it, is the portion of the orbit that the earth occupies.

      G

  2. 50% of the sun’s radiation is infra-red radiation. ( 40% is visible light and, at the top of the atmosphere, 10% is UV radiation. ( reduced to 3% at the surface, otherwise life would not be possible.)) Our skins are good IR detectors, ( you bring your hand down to just above the surface of a frying pan to judge if it is hot enough to fry an egg.) During an eclipse your skin instantaneously detects the decrease in solar IR radiation. it has nothing to do with a drop in air temperature. When working in the garden I can feel the sun’s IR radiation on my skin and can instantaneously detect when a cloud passes in front of the sun.

    • My town is just outside the path of totality so we only experienced 99% insolation reduction. Local independent weather monitoring stations logged an average of 6 degrees drop in air temperature lagging peak eclipse point by approximately 30 minutes.

      These stations are shielded from direct sunlight. That fact, plus the time lag, means the air these stations are measuring is indeed being heated indirectly by nearby solid objects which are directly heated by sunlight.

      SR

      • I had a bimetallic strip thermometer directly in the sun that went from 76 F to 70 F during the initial course of the eclipse in southeastern Washington State. The official temperature taken in the shade went from 69 F to 67 F with a lag time of 25 minutes off of the peak eclipse which was 96.8% in our area. The relative humidity was 49% and dew point was 49 F at the time of peak eclipse: 10:25 pm.

  3. Hi Tim,

    This argues that removal of the heat source, solar radiation (insolation) results, almost instantly in a reduction of ambient air temperature.

    Walk under a big parasol during a warm summer day and you emulate the effects of an eclipse. You don’t suddenly need to start putting on extra layers of clothing. The surrounding air is still warm.

    What do they mean by the “radiant heat” component? They are talking about the zone within the height of a person.

    I would have thought they are talking about the amount of heat that is coming from direct exposure to insolation – direct exposure to sunlight (SWR).

    Are they saying that almost instantly the sun’s radiant energy is removed the temperature drops?

    Yes – at that location. Likewise, almost instantly you put an umbrella up you stop getting wet from the rain (but the rain doesn’t actually stop).

    But isn’t classical greenhouse theory that the air temperature is created by the insolation heating the ground and the ground emitting longwave or sensible heat to raise the air temperature? How can that cause a “very fast temperature decrease”?

    That’s not ‘classic greenhouse theory’ as I understand it. Most of the heat coming off the ground (or walls, etc) is convection – or ‘net’ transfer of heat from a warmer to a cooler medium, typically causing net heat to rise from the surface into the cooler air aloft.

    The fast temperature decrease caused by the eclipse is the same as the fast temperature decrease you experience by walking out of direct sunlight and under the shade of a big parasol. Nothing more.

    ‘Classic greenhouse theory’, again, as I understand it, states that a proportion of this heat energy will be absorbed by greenhouse gasses and re-emitted in all directions within the atmosphere, including ‘downwards’ (from our perspective), towards the surface.

    This should have the effect of raising the surface temperature above that which it would ordinarily be in the absence of greenhouse gases. If you add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere then obviously this effect will be enhanced.

    I don’t see anything in the NASA FAQ page that contradicts that theory.

    • Would need to be a parasol of about a 100 miles in diameter? I think the analogy doesn’t work here.

    • There is not an actual temperature difference between the shade and in the Sun (under your parasol)…it just FEELS that way. But there WAS an obvious temperature drop during the eclipse.

      http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-07-07/news/fl-shady-breezy-temps-20130706_1_much-cooler-air-conditioning-temperatures

      The moon actually BLOCKED some of the radiation from the Sun briefly, and temperatures rapidly dropped. If greenhouse gases had the ability to “trap heat” as the greenhouse GAS theory states, there should not have been any drop in temps for such a brief moment of darkness. It didn’t just “feel” colder…it was measured to be colder.

    • “The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without its atmosphere. ” wiki

      Except that we know that water vapor in our atmosphere actually PREVENTS Earth from getting as hot as it would WITHOUT an atmosphere. The moon’s temperatures on the “sunny side” are MUCH higher than Earths (and its shadow side is much colder than Earths) because it has no atmosphere to moderate it’s heating and cooling.

      Co2 in Earths atmosphere cannot make the surface hotter than the Sun does. Earth radiates more energy (to the 4th power) the warmer it gets and CO2 absorbs some of that outgoing radiation and bounces it around for a while, merely slowing down how fast the surface cools.

      1. The IR photos released by the surface are longer radiation. Long wave radiation is not energetic enough to heat land or oceans.
      2. Even if the surface could be heated by long wave photons, those photons can only be in one place at a time. They cannot be “heating” the atmosphere AND “reheating” the surface at the same time. And CO2 cannot generate energy or multiply it.

      • “””””……1. The IR photos released by the surface are longer radiation. Long wave radiation is not energetic enough to heat land or oceans. …..””””””

        Well the ” long Wavelength” radiation that is emitted by earth’s surface won’t heat didley squat. It corresponds to a Black body radiation Temperature of about +15 deg. C

        So take a chilled bottle of water or soda out of your refrigerator, and bask in its warming long wavelength rays.

        G

      • The Moon has a “day” about 15 days long, and so also a night of the same length. The temperature climbs much higher (than on Earth) so long as the lunar surface is basking in the sun, and drops much lower while the back radiation from outer space is only at 4 kelvins. This has nothing to do with the presence of an atmosphere.

      • Aphan

        You quoted Wiki:
        “The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without its atmosphere. ” wiki

        This wiki line is flawed and the most fundamental level.

        The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from the planet’s atmosphere [back radiation] warms the planet’s [lower atmosphere] above what it would be if it had an atmosphere without any GHG’s – a very different situation.

        Consider: If Wiki has it right, that the back radiation warms ‘the surface’, how then is the air temperature increased? By contact with the surface, of course! Indirectly, they admit it is the surface warming the air which is the link to higher air temperatures.

        They wrote ‘without its atmosphere’. In reality, an atmosphere without any GHG’s would be warmed by the surface through contact and convection. Earth’s surface with a GHG-free atmosphere (not even water) would not be as cold as it would be without any atmosphere at all. Do you see their confusion?

        Earth with no atmosphere = hot-cold like the moon
        Atmosphere with no GHG’s = warm-cool
        Atmosphere with GHG’s = slightly warmer or cooler depending on the GHG’s, especially the water content

        DWR54 wrote:
        “Most of the heat coming off the ground (or walls, etc) is convection – or ‘net’ transfer of heat from a warmer to a cooler medium, typically causing heat to rise from the surface into the cooler air aloft.

        True. I would have said ‘hot air’ instead of ‘heat’. It will work in a GHG-free oven or box or other enclosed space. It is called ‘mass transfer’. However it is not that there is ‘mass’ instead of energy.

        Terms:
        Radiative energy transfer = energy moving away carried in the radiation
        Mass transfer = energy moving away carried in the thermal mass of a material, in this case, gases.

        DWR is quite correct: most heat transferred to the atmosphere from the surface is by mass transfer, not radiation to receptor gases. The Wiki sentence is fundamentally wrong as it pretends (on the first round) there would be no mass transfer of heat from the surface to the air in the absence of GHG’s and that (on the second round) there is! Good grief!

        DWR
        “‘Classic greenhouse theory’, again, as I understand it, states that a proportion of this heat energy will be absorbed by greenhouse gasses and re-emitted in all directions within the atmosphere, including ‘downwards’ (from our perspective), towards the surface.”

        That is how they view it, but they have, like Wikipedia, ignored mass transfer from heated surfaces to all gases, which would happen with or without any radiative component. Such heat cannot escape into space if there were no GHG’s and the whole atmosphere would heat up continuously until it reached a point where the hot air heated the cold ground at night enough to reach energy equilibrium. Clearly, at Wiki, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. They see the wagging tail and miss the dog.

        DWR
        “This should have the effect of raising the surface temperature above that which it would ordinarily be in the absence of greenhouse gases. If you add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere then obviously this effect will be enhanced.”

        Here we differ. This would only be true if there were no mass transfer taking place, but there is. Increasing the GHG content could, under certain circumstances, increase the radiating efficiency of the atmosphere, particularly at upper levels, lowering the average temperature, like painting a hot stove black. The surface temperature will drop. When clouds and rain are involved (which they are) their ‘general theory’ of the GHG effect fails under many of all possible circumstances.

        DWR
        “I don’t see anything in the NASA FAQ page that contradicts that theory.”

        That is because they pretend, like Wikipedia, that there would be no warming of a non-GHG atmosphere by energy absorbed by the surface.

        Consider: If I fill a kiln with argon and power a well-covered heating element set on the floor, the walls will be heated. How? By convection (mass transfer). Filling the kiln with CO2 will not improve the thermal performance at all because virtually 100% of the energy transferred to the kiln contents and walls is by mass transfer. If the gas were a factor in kiln efficiency, people would use that knowledge to save money. (For fundis who want to dig into this, look up how a plasma nitriding vacuum furnace works.)

        We know Wikipedia is compromised, but this mass transfer business so bleeding obvious that it makes you wonder what NASA is up to. The ‘classic’ greenhouse theory holds that all heating inside the kiln must be by radiation because the ‘atmosphere’ has no GHG’s to absorb and re-radiate the heat. Ridiculous! It is not ‘above what it would be without an atmosphere’.

        GHG’s can only be ‘credited’ with raising the temperature of the lower atmosphere above what it would be if the atmosphere had no GHG’s. The energy path is absorption, mass transfer of some of it to the air, upwelling radiation of the rest, absorption of IR by GHG’s, re-radiation up to space and down to the surface, absorption and heating of that surface, mass transfer to the lower atmosphere, movement by convection to the thermometer. The false claim that GHG’s are entirely responsible for raising the surface temperature from a average -18C to +15C relies on first pretending that no mass transfer takes place when the initial insolation happens, then later invoking that same mechanism when the lower atmosphere is heated by the extra energy ‘radiated back’. Have cake, eat cake, keep cake.

        No wonder heat transfer genius Adrian Bejan, describer of the Constructal Law in Nature, doesn’t get involved in this discussion. He said the problem is, “so simple, it isn’t even interesting.”

        For further reading I recommend:
        Prof A Bejan
        https://books.google.kg/books/about/Heat_transfer.html?id=TgtRAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y
        http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470900377.html

    • If you had a thermometer under a parasol during the eclipse it would record a temperature drop! just as those sites under cloudy skies recorded a temperature drop. A parasol will shield you from the direct rays of the sun, but does not reduce the temperature of the air (the solar energy hitting the parasol is even radiated or conducted back into the air). During an eclipse the entire atmospere is receiving less energy from the sun, and the response to that wrt air temperature is very fast. Your parasol analogy is very flawed.

    • “A portion of the heat will be radiated…”

      Yah, well, no, fine…

      It will be radiated down whereupon it will be intercepted by another GHG molecule and half of it will be re-radiated up again, and so on, all the way to the surface.

      Discussion of the GH effect reflects the idea that there is a ‘layer’ of CO2 above, a mirror, and little to none below, like a greenhouse glass. Not true. GHG’s absorb incoming IR and send it back to space before it reaches the ground just as effectively as they do with surface emissions.

      Some incoming visible wavelengths are converted to longer wavelengths so there is more IR leaving the surface than coming in. The warmer surface heats all gases by convection, not just GHG’s. You don’t need GHG’s to have ‘weather’. GHG’s can warm the surface a little and cool the whole depth of the atmosphere more effectively by turning it into a more efficient radiator (in both directions).

      How much? I don’t know. But it is silly to claim that the atmosphere would not be warmed by the surface if there were no GHG’s. Of course it would. A pot on an electric element is not warmed by radiation. It is in thermal contact. An electric kettle warms water by conduction. GHG’s are only responsible for the temperature increase between the observed temperature and the surface-warmed temperature.

      The “-18C” claim for a no-GHG atmosphere is equally a claim that solar heated surfaces will not warm the air in contact with them. That’s ridiculous.

      There are many published claims that an atmosphere-free earth will have an average temperature of -18C with a big day-night range. Fine. A GHG-free atmosphere will not be -18C because the solar-heated surface will heat the gases that touch it and the atmosphere will not be able to cool itself at night save by touching a cold surface (at night).

      This is not complicated, but amateur physicists have managed to dupe a large number people with their misconceptions.

  4. and another effect – that is well known to livestock farmers (at least) or anyone who cuts/mows/harvests grass for any reason and especially this autumn time of year.
    I was reminded of the effect yesterday evening, cutting the roadside grass verge, that even after a warm.sunny & dry day, within minutes of the sun actually setting, the grass becomes a pig to cut. It suddenly goes from being manageable and OK to being heavy and wet somehow.
    Almost the instant the sun sets, your tractor starts ‘pulling’ and as I found, your lawn-mowing starts incessantly blocking up.
    What gives?
    I imagine its the dew starting to land, or is it that the grass stops ‘breathing’? Water that would have evaporated stays in the grass?

    • More likely, the transpiration rate drops abruptly leaving the grass water-charged. Normally, the grass moves water up the stem at a rate high enough to refrain from wilting. This is a function of the environmental temperature. But, if the grass is moving water up the stem and the exterior environment cools abruptly, the grass contains excess water as the evaporation rate drops. So for a brief period at dusk the grass is physiologically wetter than normal. This relaxes as the excess is released and the grass/atmosphere system returns to equilibrium.

  5. “Mae West’s comment about wealth that she has tried rich and poor and poor is better”….
    No, in my memory she claimed that RICH is better.

      • I can assure you the Mayor is correct.

        Here are two almost exact quotes from Mae West. After reading them I think you will find it impossible to disagree.

        ‘When I’m good I’m very good. But, when I’m bad I’m better!’

        ‘When confronted with two evils I always choose the one I haven’t tried yet!’

    • No. He doesn’t. Global Warmists tell us that the temperature is increasing and that is a bad thing. Clearly, when it gets too cold, such as in an “ice age”, that is a bad thing. The implication is that global warmists want us to remain at the “ideal” temperature, or, as Tim chooses to describe the global warmists “ideal” temperature, the “default” temperature. They want to “stop climate change” and that is wrong, because it is contrary to nature. Tim is merely calling out the global warmists. What temperature do they want? Of course, they won’t answer this perfectly reasonable question.

      • For the ideal temperature in the northern hemisphere, determine the two bands of latitude between which the most arable land exists, and then determine the temperature for that strip which will maximize agricultural output.

      • No, like you you he is making up straw men to knock down.
        It is patently obvious that neither a wild swing to hot nor a wild swing to cold will be any good for modern man and his complex, delicately balanced systems. And in case you haven’t noticed… too cold is not likely to be a problem in your lifetime.

        When you say “Global Warmists” tell us that the temperature is increasing you actually mean scientists like Spencer and Christie don’t you?

        “What temperature do they want?”
        Ignoring the supidity of the question, do you really think of it in terms of us and them? SMFH.

      • I think a ideal globe temperature is when the average temperature entire ocean is 10 C.
        Right now, entire oceans average temperature is somewhere around 3 C.
        We will not get to such an ideal global temperature within next 1000 year [and unlikely +10,000 years]

        In terms of air temperature, the earth in it past has had it’s oceans have an average temperature of 10 C.
        If the ocean average temperature was 10 C, then definitionally, Earth’s global climate would left it’s icebox climate [which characterized as cold oceans and polar caps] and Earth has been in icebox climate for millions of years. Or anytime the Earth is not in an Ice Age [also called icebox climate] it’s oceans are 10 C or warmer.
        So we have graphs showing earth temperature over very long period:

        And roughly, the whole graph period except the last 50 millions year, though it’s seems it was bit cool around 450 million years ago.

        In terms of practical goal that human civilization could aspire towards, increasing the ocean by 2 C could an improvement- that might possible within 2000 years or less.

    • Since we live in an ice age (the Pleistocene), with relatively short-duration warm periods, cold is the default. During a glacial period, we’d be about 9F colder than today, which would be around 52F. That would be the default temperature.

  6. Mae West’s comment about wealth that she has tried rich and poor and poor is better,

    Shouldn’t that be “…rich is better …”

    • Steve Case on August 26, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Mae West’s comment about wealth that she has tried rich and poor and poor is better,

      Shouldn’t that be “…rich is better 
      ………………..
      And Mayor of Venus
      ………………..

      Dr Ball’s quote:
      “To paraphrase Mae West’s comment about wealth that she has tried rich and poor and poor is better…”

      Note the word “paraphrase”

  7. What do they mean by the “radiant heat” component? They are talking about the zone within the height of a person. Are they saying that almost instantly the sun’s radiant energy is removed the temperature drops?

    We’re being a bit obtuse here. The radiant heat component is – presumably – just objects such as humans being directly warmes by the electromagnetic direct radiation from the sun, especially the IR component. Plus the surrounding air also being continually directly warmed.

  8. The temperature drop has a lot to do with a heat capacity of the ground, something that models neglect.

  9. In terms of effects on nature, climate change so far has overall been net positive, at least where I live (UK).

    Surprisingly, this is endorsed in the “State of Nature 2016” report, produced in collaboration by 50 conservation organisations – including the Botanical Society of Britain, Royal Society for the Conservation of Birds, Friends of the Earth, EarthWatch, National Biodiversity Network, Marine Conservation Society, Natural History Museum, and the WWF. This report was also signed off by Sir David Attenborough, no less*

    https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/projects/state-of-nature-reporting

    It says that climate change was net positive in the UK between 1970-2012. This report cites the following peer-reviewed paper in support of this statement:

    “Agricultural Management and Climatic Change Are the Major Drivers of Biodiversity Change in the UK”.
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0151595 (Published March 2016)

    This paper alleges that after analysing over 300 species (across 3 groups: plants, insects and vertebrates) between 1970-2012, that “Climatic change has had a wide range of impacts on species, with more species impacted positively than negatively in the short-term at least”, with climate change the “largest positive impact”. It also probably underestimates the positive greening effect of CO2 on plants, so looks quite conservative.

    Climate change: good so far…..

    *Of course it doesn’t quite come out and say that directly – virtually every mention of climate change is negative, or refers to speculative risks/threats, with demonstrated proven benefits called “mixed”. But the underlying evidence base they relied on is clear it is a net positive

  10. If, if, the “temperature of the earth” varies simply by changing the composition of the atmosphere (by CO2 or anything else), then it should quickly become apparent that there is no such thing as a default temperature. Too many people are stuck in the mindset of appealing to the concept of some imagined “equilibrium”.

    • Your If – Then logical clause fails because “simply changing” the composition of the atmosphere hasn’t happened. Multiple gasses come and go in a chaotic manner, never maintaining a steady state long enough to allow the Earth to reach equilibrium. However, we can say that CO2 cannot be a main controller because Earth’s changing temperature has NOT followed changes in atmospheric CO2 levels.

  11. The genesis of RGHE theory is the incorrect notion that the atmosphere warms the surface. Explaining the mechanism behind this erroneous notion demands RGHE theory and some truly contorted physics, thermo and heat transfer, energy out of nowhere, cold to hot w/o work, perpetual motion.

    Is space cold or hot? There are no molecules in space so our common definitions of hot/cold/heat/energy don’t apply.

    The temperatures of objects in space, e.g. the earth, moon, space station, mars, Venus, etc. are determined by the radiation flowing past them. In the case of the earth, the solar irradiance of 1,368 W/m^2 has a Stefan Boltzmann black body equivalent temperature of 394 K. That’s hot. Sort of.

    But an object’s albedo reflects away some of that energy and reduces that temperature.

    The earth’s albedo reflects away 30% of the sun’s 1,368 W/m^2 energy leaving 70% or 958 W/m^2 to “warm” the earth and at an S-B BB equivalent temperature of 361 K, 33 C cooler than the earth with no atmosphere or albedo.

    The earth’s albedo/atmosphere doesn’t keep the earth warm, it keeps the earth cool.
    https://springerplus.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/2193-1801-3-723
    ****************
    https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast21mar_1/

    “The first design consideration for thermal control is insulation — to keep
    heat in for warmth and to keep it out for cooling.”
    “Here on Earth, environmental heat is transferred in the air primarily by
    conduction (collisions between individual air molecules) and convection
    (the circulation or bulk motion of air).”

    Oops! WHAT?! Did they forget to mention RGHE “theory?” Global warming? Climate change? Bad scientists! Oh, wait. These must be engineers who actually USE science

    “This is why you can insulate your house basically using the air trapped
    inside your insulation,” said Andrew Hong, an engineer (SEE!!) and thermal
    control specialist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “Air is a poor
    conductor of heat, and the fibers of home insulation that hold the air still
    minimize convection.”
    “”In space there is no air for conduction or convection,” he added. Space
    is a radiation-dominated environment. Objects heat up by absorbing
    sunlight and they cool off by emitting infrared energy, a form of
    radiation which is invisible to the human eye.”

    Uhh, that’s in SPACE where radiation rules NOT on EARTH.

    “Without thermal controls, the temperature of the orbiting Space
    Station’s Sun-facing side would soar to 250 degrees F (121 C), while
    thermometers on the dark side would plunge to minus 250 degrees F
    (-157 C). There might be a comfortable spot somewhere in the middle of
    the Station, but searching for it wouldn’t be much fun!”

    121 C plus 273 C = 394 K Ta-dahhh!!!!!

    Shiny insulation keeps the ISS COOL!!!! Just like the earth’s albedo/atmosphere keeps the earth COOL!!! NOT hot like RGHE’s BOGUS “Theory.”

    • “The earth’s albedo/atmosphere doesn’t keep the earth warm, it keeps the earth cool.
      https://springerplus.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/2193-1801-3-723

      Albedo doesn´t keep anything. It is kept by the finite amount of energy supplied. Geometry of concentric spherical volumes in relation to the disk flux distributed on the irradiated hemisphere, is the difference to what you call “albedo”. TSI is 1360.8W/m^2 according to NASA. Absolute average surface temperature is 287.7K according to: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgrd.50359/full

      Calculating hemispherical irradiation and dissipation in two concentric volumes gives a surface temperature of: 1/2*TSI/V^2=286.7K. The outer shell reduce the power of irradiation by 1/4, 25%. From purely geometric reasons. So albedo must from only geometrical-mathematical reasons be a product of the spherical shape limiting the finite amount of heat available. Unless you want to push a theory where the earth is flat?

      • “…keeps…” Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to, BFD.

        What follows is geometry and algebra.

        Solar luminosity: 3.847 E+26 W

        Solar radius: 6.960 E+08 m

        Solar spherical area: 6.087E+18 m^2

        Solar power flux: 6.320 E+07 W/m^2

        S-B BB equivalent temperature: 5,778 K

        Earth ave. orbital radius: 1.496 E+11 m

        Earth ave. orbital spherical area: 2.812 E+23 m^2

        Plane parallel luminosity solar constant at earth ave radius: 1,368 W/m^2

        Evenly spread over ToA spherical surface which is REALLY stupid nonsense: 342 W/m^2

  12. The concept of a greenhouse effect predates the current radiative theory and was a function of atmospheric mass and density.
    A greenhouse roof inhibits upward convection and in the outside world descending air in high pressure cells (half the atmosphere at any given moment) inhibits upward convection.
    Furthermore a greenhouse roof lets solar energy in and the descending air in high pressure cells causes clouds to dissipate which lets solar radiation reach the surface.
    That old knowledge has been forgotten but is found as a residual assumptions in various locations such as the NASA work on terraforming Mars which relies on a more massive atmosphere to raise surface temperatures rather than more GHGs.

    • Not to mention that the idea that a greenhouse “traps” warm radiation was falsified in 1909, before World War 1. Robert Wood tested and falsified Arrhenius’ theory in 1909 employing an experimental protocol that controlled for infrared (“back”) radiation within the greenhouse by employing different materials for the panes of experimental green houses: one with glass and one with plates of rock salt, which is transparent to infrared unlike glass. Wood (1909) observed:

      “To test the matter I constructed two enclosures of dead black cardboard, one covered with a glass plate, the other with a plate of rock-salt of equal thickness. The bulb of a thermometer was inserted in each enclosure and the whole packed in cotton [which would eliminate convection – D], with the exception of the transparent plates which were exposed. When exposed to sunlight the temperature rose gradually to 65 oC., the enclosure covered with the salt plate keeping a little ahead of the other, owing to the fact that it transmitted the longer waves from the sun, which were stopped by the glass. In order to eliminate this action the sunlight was first passed through a glass plate.

      There was now scarcely a difference of one degree between the temperatures of the two enclosures. The maximum temperature reached was about 55 oC. From what we know about the distribution of energy in the spectrum of the radiation emitted by a body at 55 o, it is clear that the rock-salt plate is capable of transmitting practically all of it, while the glass plate stops it entirely. This shows us that the loss of temperature of the ground by radiation is very small in comparison to the loss by convection, in other words that we gain very little from the circumstance that the radiation is trapped [emph. added].”

      When you consider that Arrhenius also persisted in adhering to the luminiferous aether theory even though Michelson and Morley falsified it nearly a decade before he published his greenhouse “theory” he was wrong on first principles to begin with. Timothy Casey, returning to the original works, documents how Arrhenius either misunderstood or outright misused Fourier’s and Tyndall’s work.

      This really isn’t science we are dealing with.

  13. Ever since we discovered the law of the lever it was a simple matter to reason given a large enough lever and the right fulcrum a bloke like me could move the earth. It’s a lot like that with the invention of the thermometer and some basic maths. Just need enough thermometers and some averaging and bobsyeruncle.
    Meanwhile back here on planet earth there are constant reminders about indulging in such human hubris-
    http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/snow-cresting-like-waves-as-davis-research-station-cops-record-blizz-days/ar-AAqIH7F

  14. “To paraphrase Mae West’s comment about wealth that she has tried rich and poor and poor is better,”

    Huh? Don’t you mean “rich is better”?

  15. The local effects of the eclipse and the discussion of temperature drops are simple confirmation that it is changes in insolation that control Earth surface temperatures not the tiny changes in the output of the
    Sun. Unless of course you claim that the output of the Sun changed all along the path of totality.

  16. I’ve often pressed the warmists as to what the “correct” global temperature should be … since we’re being continually castigated about making it too hot. Not surprisingly, they have no answer. So I rephrase the question – If we took away all the nasty humans and let everything settle back down, allowing Nature to rebalance things, and assumed no major natural events did anything to disrupt things, what would be the natural equilibrium global temperature that nature would eventually settle down to?
    They react with disbelief when I show them that it’s some 15ºC higher than today. Let the ice age warm up and let things equilibrate and the system eventually returns to its “default” equilibrium temperature.

    • It was warmer back in good old days, because the ocean was warmer.
      Problem is, it takes a very long time to warm the ocean.
      And our cold ocean is about 3 C.
      So bit about allowing nature to “re-balance things” might take tens of millions of years.
      Though the Meteor of Death might warm it up quickly.
      And that’s natural.

      • “So bit about allowing nature to “re-balance things” might take tens of millions of years.”

        Yes, that’s the sorts of time scale for the planet to recover to its “natural” equilibrium temperature, or even longer. But that’s its “natural” temperature … like it or not. No polar ice caps or alpine glaciers in sight.

    • You need to define the “when” in there.

      Go look up Milankovitch cycles to see why.
      Additionally if you go back hundreds of millions of years when the sun as younger then it’s output was less.
      Then you might take into account continental configuration on ocean currents and the distribution of tropicl heat to the poles, or not

      • Milankovitch cycles are of relevance to the glacial/ interglacial cycles WITHIN an ice age, not to the ice ages themselves. Once the ice age is over and all the ice is gone, the planet returns to its equilibrium temperature of 25ºC, on the anomaly scale shown.

      • –Alan Ranger
        August 27, 2017 at 7:43 am

        Milankovitch cycles are of relevance to the glacial/ interglacial cycles WITHIN an ice age, not to the ice ages themselves. Once the ice age is over and all the ice is gone, the planet returns to its equilibrium temperature of 25ºC, on the anomaly scale shown.–

        Earth currently has equilibrium temperature of 28 C in the tropics. And tropics is 40% of surface area of Earth.
        A global temperature of 25 C indicates a global tropical climate.

        In many ways, one might say Earth, generally has global temperature of 25 because about 70% of surface is ocean area and 30% is land area. But basically land area is granite and granite is made
        so over time we could have had an increase of land area:
        “The oldest continental crust has been determined to be about 3.8 b.y. old, and it appears that the continents grew throughout geologic history. They cover nowadays about one third of the earth’s surface, but initially the proportion of the oceans may have been much larger.”
        http://www.indiana.edu/~g105lab/1425chap13.htm

        But in the 1/2 billion years we talking about, one can roughly assume it’s somewhere around 70% ocean and 30% land. But during the 1/2 billion years the land masses have changed their location – say regards to the equator or tropical zone.

        And a significant event in last 50 million years is India crashed into Asia and Antarctic continent- moved to the south pole. The antarctic continent may not have been something you would call a continent before it when south- or one could say it is a continent that was built of glacier ice- making it the continent with highest average elevation.

        In terms random arrangement of land area we currently have a lot land area near the poles.
        We vast southern ocean without much land area, and about 80% of tropics being ocean and most of land area in northern Hemisphere and it’s encircling the arctic ocean.
        Or roughly speaking if throwing dice we have something like snake eyes in terms where land area is.

  17. The default temperature is about 2.7 deg K; we’re lucky we have things like a molten core, plate tectonics, atmosphere, and a star to raise us above the default temperature.

  18. Dr. Tim Ball: “historically humans have tried warm and cold climates and overall warm is better”

    WR: Warm / moderate [and humid] is better than cold [and/or dry]. Well visible in this map of population density.

  19. What does RGHE stand for? (Why can’t posters spell out the first mention of an acronym? G.D. annoying.)

  20. Why do we still allow alarmists to get away with the construction “Climate change causes ‘X'”? Climate is the average of many individual weather components over a period of time, and it is their change (if any) over that time that causes “climate change.”

    Stating that “climate change” causes anything is like measuring the height of seedlings for a period of time after they sprout, and then claiming the weekly change in their average height is causing them to grow.

  21. Dear Dr Tim. I am in the UK. I am looking for a respectable way to get answer to your question published – how does the Earth maintain warmish Ice age/short interglacial cycle between repeatable limit temperatures, what is the heat energy budget and from what primary effect can this be created? Same back of the envelope MacKay/ Feynman approach to “How does that work?”

    I have focussed on the real energy fraud that the claim climate change = CO2 from humans supports, hence the easy money climate change protection racket of renewable energy policy = unsustainable without fossil and nuclear, in scsience fact. REal science denial for EASY money by law. (i)

    The reason, of course, is money, ours, that cimate change is used to justify taking lots of to placate the climate gods, by the priests who make the phoney laws.

    Climate change is falsely exploited to Justifying our money being spent with their lobbyists to offset a buggaboo it actually makes worse, vs better unsubsidised solutions. $Bilions pa already, wholly wasteful and regressive. it makes CO2 emissions avoidably worse in real engineering fact as the unspeakable lobbyists and therir well paid legislay tors and “experts” chase the easy money in the subsidy trough by law in preference to what works best to reduce CO2 on the physics..

    But that is well proven now, albeit the climate change protection racket goes on, by laws that deny the science facts of generation for easy money.

    So I took a practical jobbing phsyicist/engineers look at the macro “science” of climate change over extended periods, not atmospheric weather, which, in fact, rapidly revealed itself as Feynman’s pseudo science, “they follow the methods, but haven’t prove any laws”. All with their heads in the clouds, chasing IPCC and other funding to prove CO2 causes climate change through some atmospheric effect, only able to prove they both change together, w/o cause and effect, of course. We knew that. And why. Not what they claim, though.

    But I disagree with your point that there are not obvious causes that can drive the current the ice age cycle, because we know there must be. I suggest them. The current record of 1 MIllion years or so.is more like a sawtooth control model waveform that a random event, because it clearly isn’t random event, almost has two set points it cycles beetween on a clear periodicity, and is controlled by the effects of Catt’s hypothesis, probably :-). Because they are adeqaute and real, and there isn’t anything else.

    There IS a heat source and a physical reality, that requires no forcing to give it super powers as with puny CO2 the palnts gobble up as much as they can get of, in fact.And explains the stable ice age and the Milankovitch linked interglacials, and how that sawtooth between repeated and predicatble limits can be driven using known energy sources, specific heats and masses, plus simple deterministic physics, no statistical models or Piltdown Mann data set approaches. Physcs 101 . IF > THEN Real physics.

    I have this documented as a fairly detailed hypothesis, shared with some friendly reviewers for sanity checks, written to publish, which could also be short without the workings that others can check, just the main derived numbers and their sources for skeptical DIY science.

    No statistics are abused in the making of my physical/deterministic model. Is there a way I can get this properly into the public domain for skeptical debate and rebutal/acceptance? It’s far more REAL physics than atmlospheres that magically heat Oceans that control the Climate. Really? etc.

    Me? CPhys, CEng, MBA, al well used in multiple tecnological discipline. 10 years on the subject, worked with David MacKay on some of the enrgy reality stuff, so very able to join dots. Retired and teaching maths and physics, STEM volunteer, experienced International speaker, present on energy at all levels. etc.. A platform would be good…. Brian RL Catt can be googled for contact. I’m not going anywhere. brian.catt@physics.org.

  22. In 2006, I wrote an article titled, “Global Warming will Benefit Canada.” From which I received more hate emails from Canadians than anything I published.

    And that’s the bottom line. Greenarxists hate the prospect of anything that might be a benefit.

  23. Here are the big QUESTIONS ….. I hope the more informed among you can answer. (I don’t know where to get the data to make these comparisons.)

    What was the difference in temperature changes along the total eclipse line between areas of high humidity and low humidity?

    An even more interesting question, if the data was collected, would be …. what was the difference in temperature changes along the total eclipse line between areas of different CO2 concentrations with the same humidity? (Assuming that CO2 concentration varies to some extent along the line f eclipse)

    I think those two questions could go a long way towards defining the impact and interaction of the radiative properties of CO2 when assessed in the real atmosphere (as opposed to in a test tube).

  24. The “atmospheric greenhouse effect” is based in part upon application of the reification fallacy. Under this fallacy an “abstract” object is treated as if it were a set of “concrete” objects aka “statistical population” through abstraction (removal) of the description of the abstract object from features of the corresponding concrete objects. Dr Ball points out that among these features are strato-cumulus clouds.

  25. For fun, I am going to go all religion on you guys.
    The reason you have all these Lefties [the atheist- of a perverted and demented religion] inflicting their evilness upon everyone, is because you all have sinned.
    And your sin is not wanting to go to Heaven.
    Heaven of course is above your heads.
    Used in a sentence, the Moon is in the Heavens.
    If you went to Heaven, you probably understand by now, why Venus is hot.
    And the mystery of why Venus is hot, is the reason, you all confused about the blessed Earth’s
    atmosphere.

  26. “H2O adds and removes heat so that the result is it lowers maximum temperatures and raises minimum temperatures.”

    Bingo!

    Any increase in WV, a GH gas, reduces extremes while raising the average temperature. GH gasses improve living conditions on earth.

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