# Ideal Gases

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Over at the Notrickszone, there’s much buzz over a new paper entitled Molar Mass Version of the Ideal Gas Law Points to a Very Low Climate Sensitivity, by Robert Holmes. The Notrickszone article is headlined with the following quotation from the paper:

“In particular, formula 5 (and 6) as presented here, totally rules out any possibility that a 33°C greenhouse effect of the type proposed by the IPCC in their reports can exist in the real atmosphere.”

– Holmes, 2017

And here’s the abstract:

Abstract: It has always been complicated mathematically, to calculate the average near surface atmospheric temperature on planetary bodies with a thick atmosphere. Usually, the Stefan Boltzmann (S-B) black body law is used to provide the effective temperature, then debate arises about the size or relevance of additional factors, including the ‘greenhouse effect’. Presented here is a simple and reliable method of accurately calculating the average near surface atmospheric temperature on planetary bodies which possess a surface atmospheric pressure of over 10kPa.

This method requires a gas constant and the knowledge of only three gas parameters; the average near-surface atmospheric pressure, the average near surface atmospheric density and the average mean molar mass of the near-surface atmosphere. The formula used is the molar version of the ideal gas law. It is here demonstrated that the information contained in just these three gas parameters alone is an extremely accurate predictor of atmospheric temperatures on planets with atmospheres >10kPa. This indicates that all information on the effective plus the residual near-surface atmospheric temperature on planetary bodies with thick atmospheres, is automatically ‘baked-in’ to the three mentioned gas parameters.

Given this, it is shown that no one gas has an anomalous effect on atmospheric temperatures that is significantly more than any other gas. In short; there can be no 33°C ‘greenhouse effect’ on Earth, or any significant ‘greenhouse effect’ on any other planetary body with an atmosphere of >10kPa.

Instead, it is a postulate of this hypothesis that the residual temperature difference of 33°C between the S-B effective temperature and the measured near-surface temperature is actually caused by adiabatic auto-compression.

Dang … “adiabatic auto-compression” as a permanent energy source. Is it patented yet?

Please forgive my sarcasm, I just get tired of endless claims of endless energy … onwards. Here is a look at the various planetary atmospheres:

And finally, here is his math that leads to his mystery formula. From the paper:

Molar Mass Version of Ideal Gas Law Calculates

Planetary Surface Temperatures

The ideal gas law may be used to more accurately determine surface temperatures of planets with thick atmospheres than the S-B black body law [4], if a density term is added; and if kg/m³ is used for density instead of gms/m³, the volume term V may be dropped. This formula then may be known as the molar mass version of the ideal gas law. The ideal gas law is;

P V = n R T (1)

Convert to molar mass;

P V = m/M R T (2)

Convert to density;

PM / RT = m / V = ρ (3)

Drop the volume, find for density;

ρ = P / (R T / M) (4)

Find for temperature;

T = P / (R ρ/M) (5)

[VARIABLES]
V = volume
m = mass
n = number of moles
T = near-surface atmospheric temperature in Kelvin
P = near-surface atmospheric pressure in kPa
R = gas constant (m³, kPa, kelvin⁻¹, mol⁻¹) = 8.314
ρ = near-surface atmospheric density in kg/m³
M = near-surface atmospheric mean molar mass gm/mol⁻¹

Now, I agree with all of that. Well, other than the strange form of the last equation, Equation 5. I’d simplify it to

T =P M / (ρ R) (5)

But that’s just mathematical nitpicking. The underlying math is correct. That’s not the problem. The problem is where it goes from there. The author makes the following claim:

In short, the hypothesis being put forward here, is that in the case of Earth, solar insolation provides the ‘first’ 255 Kelvin – in accordance with the black body law [11]. Then adiabatic auto-compression provides the ‘other’ 33 Kelvin, to arrive at the known and measured average global temperature of 288 Kelvin. The ‘other’ 33 Kelvin cannot be provided by the greenhouse effect, because if it was, the molar mass version of the ideal gas law could not then work to accurately calculate planetary temperatures, as it clearly does here.

I’m sorry, but the author has not demonstrated what he claims.

All that Robert Holmes has shown is that the atmospheres of various planets obey, to a good approximation, the Ideal Gas Law.

… So what?

I mean that quite seriously. So what? In fact, it would be a huge shock if planetary atmospheres did NOT generally obey the Ideal Gas Law. After all, they’re gases, and it’s not just a good idea. It’s a Law …

But that says exactly NOTHING about the trajectory or the inputs that got those planetary atmospheres to their final condition. Whether the planet is warmed by the sun or by internal radioactivity or whether the warming is increased by GHGs is NOT determinable from the fact that the atmospheres obey the Ideal Gas Law. They will ALWAYS generally obey the Ideal Gas Law, no matter how they are heated.

And more to the point, this does NOT show that greenhouse gases don’t do anything, as he incorrectly claims in the above quote.

Look, we could start up ten million nuclear reactors and vent all their heat to the atmosphere. The planet would assuredly get warmer … but the atmosphere wouldn’t stop obeying the Ideal Gas Law. The variables of density and temperature and mean near-surface atmospheric molar mass would simply readjust to the new reality and the Ideal Gas Law would still be satisfied. You could still use his Equation 5 version of the Ideal Gas Law to calculate the temperature from the other variables, regardless of whether or not the atmosphere is heated by nuclear reactors.

So I’m sorry, but the underlying premise of this paper is wrong. Yes, planetary atmospheres generally obey the Ideal Gas Law, duh, why wouldn’t they … and no, that doesn’t mean that you can diagnose or rule out heating processes simply because the atmosphere obeys the Ideal Gas Law. They will always obey the law regardless of how they are heated, so you can’t rule out anything.

Best of another sunny day to everyone,

w.

MY USUAL POLITE REQUEST: When you comment, please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT so we can all understand what you have an issue with.

## 1,075 thoughts on “Ideal Gases”

1. Another version of a sky dragon argument using the bicycle pump analogy. The ideal gas law PV=nrT does say that if you raise P you will raise T. Which will then cool, and all bicycle and bike pump owners know. But pumping to raise P in the fixed tire V requires work (energy input). “Adiabatic auto-compression” from gravity ‘work’ happened exactly once, as earth formed and contracted out of the solar accretion disk. Earth has had ~4.5 billion years to cool since. The paper conclusion is completely bogus.

• peterg says:

I would have thought that the evaporation and precipitation of water effectively powers an atmospheric cycle in the troposphere which provides the work of auto-compression since the formation of the earth.

• Sorry, late back—been quite a day. Phase state changes of water do indeed indirectly power climate. They provide convection and precipitation and regulate the water vapor feedback.
But they have nothing to do with BS “adiabatic autocompression” of the atmosphere by gravity.

• michael hammer says:

Sorry Peterg but I cant quite agree with your comment. The atmosphere is in effect the working fluid of a heat engine converting thermal energy into mechanical work (wind, elevating water to levels above sea level etc). The main feature of a heat engine is that it cannot be 100% efficient (second law of thermodynamics – entropy always increases). This means that in addition to energy injection at the hot junction there must be energy dissipated at the cold junction which in this case is the tropopause or lower stratosphere. No energy loss at the cold junction – no heat engine and no work output which in this case means no wind and no water elevated to higher altitude by evaporation and rainfall. The only way the atmosphere can lose energy at this altitude is by radiation to space but the only components of the atmosphere that can radiate energy at these temperatures (thermal infrared) are the greenhouse gases. That is after all exactly the definition of a greenhouse gas – one which can radiate energy in the thermal infrared range of wavelengths (or if you prefer a gas with an emissivity significantly greater than zero at these wavelengths). Without GHG’s the upper atmosphere could not cool and convection would cease. The atmospheric cycle is driven by energy input at the surface (from sunlight absorbed by Earths surface and from there coupled to the atmosphere) plus energy loss at the tropopause to space by green house gases. Without those nasty GHG’s there would be no weather, no lapse rate, no on going water evaporation, no clouds. Just a clear blue static sky all at uniform temperature. Oh and by the way, without clouds, earth’s albedo would be very low so the surface would not be absorbing 240 watts/sqM but more like 340 watts/sqM which would give it an SB temperature of about +5C (278K)

• Philip Mulholland says:

there must be energy dissipated at the cold junction which in this case is the tropopause or lower stratosphere.

Michael Hammer
I agree, except there is clearly more than one cold junction in the Earth’s planetary atmosphere.
We know from the studies of thermal radiation that there is an atmospheric thermal emission window in the infrared spectrum.
It is this window that allows for the unimpeded thermal emission from the solid ground directly out to space. We see this process working most obviously at night when in winter, on still air cloudless nights, ground frost forms first while the air above remains warmer than 0C and a thermal inversion layer is created.

It is this same process of night time direct cooling of the ground that leads to the formation of the coastal land breeze, the night time flow of radiatively cooled air from the land to the sea.

It is also this process of direct cooling of the ice surface in winter that leads to the flow of radiatively cooled air from polar continental ice caps down to the ocean as the katabatic wind, the cold air drainage from the ice cap of the ultimate land breeze.

While we can discuss whether the radiative cooling to space of air lifted to the tropopause governs the structure of the Hadley Cell, in particular its latitudinal reach (it does not, the latitudinal reach of the Hadley Cell is determined by the rotational speed of a planet) it is the process of direct thermal emission ground surface cooling that determines the structure of the Polar Cell, particularly if the polar cell is built around a high elevation ice cap, such as Antarctica.

• Michael H,
I agree with a lot of that. But it isn’t true that without GHGs the atmosphere would be still. As Donald K notes below, and Philip M above too, there are still horizontal temperature gradients that can power a heat engine. And energy from that heat engine also powers the heat pump (described here) that creates and maintains the lapse rate.

• Don132 says:

Michael Hammer: “Without those nasty GHG’s there would be no weather, no lapse rate, no on going water evaporation, no clouds. Just a clear blue static sky all at uniform temperature.”

Stephen Wilde, 2/7 @ 4:06: “If one starts with a GHG free atmosphere in hydrostatic equilibrium then the downward force of gravity is on average exactly offset by the upward pressure gradient force caused by surface heating via conduction and convection. That balance must apply at every height for an atmosphere to be retained.”

Earths’s surface pressure =14.7 pounds/ square inch = 2117 pounds/ square foot = about 19,000 pounds/square yard.

It would be impossible for the sky to have uniform temperature without greenhouse gases, as MH says. It simply makes no sense. It would mean that the pressure at each level of the atmosphere makes no difference whatsoever, so that the surface temp under 19,000 pounds/square yard, receiving energy from the sun as well as from the surface heating, would be exactly the same as the temp under 500 pounds/square yard pressure much higher up. Please explain how this can be.

• Don132 says:

Michael Hammer: Without GHGs, “Just a clear blue static sky all at uniform temperature.”

How does that work? If we have a molecule of, say, O2 at the surface pressure of 14.7 pounds/square inch and it has a temp of 255K (we’ll say for the sake of argument) then when it gets at the top of the atmosphere where the pressure is much, much less (we all agree on the pressure gradient, at least) and it therefore becomes a relatively lonely molecule, by what mechanism does this molecule maintain its 255K within the surrounding space that is much, much colder?

• RWturner says:

The only way the atmosphere can lose energy at this altitude is by radiation to space but the only components of the atmosphere that can radiate energy at these temperatures (thermal infrared) are the greenhouse gases.

It’s time to squanch that ludicrous idea that has somehow started to circulate. All things radiate, including non greenhouse gases. I think the people that so desperately want to dismiss adiabatic auto compression as something that doesn’t exist have done a swell job so far in demonstrating that nature can’t work without it.

• michael hammer says:

Wow its hard to follow the timeline of comments in wordpress. Everything seems to get jumbled up together however to comment on the replies to my comment.

A number of people consider the absence of a lapse rate unacceptable, as far as I can tell because thre ascending air would be expanding and thus cooling. That would be true if the air was ascending but without convection it would not be. It would be static. The pressure gradient would simply be a reflection of the weight of the air column above any point within the atmosphere. Once the air reaches the same temperature as the surface there is no net heat transfer from surface to air so we have a static atmosphere with no heat transfer in or our. No heating of the air near the surface so no increase in temperature driving convection. The lapse rate arises because of convection and cooling from above but if there is no cooling from above and no convection then the lapse rate does not need to occur.

Someone commented that my argument is wrong because all things emit infrared energy. I am sorry your experiences mislead you. Virtually all solids do have a significant emissivity in the infrared but the gases oxygen and nitrogen do not. If you want to argue pedantically that the emissivity is not exactly 0.000 fine, maybe it’s 0.001 but from a practical point of view that might as well be zero. Nitrogen and oxygen neither absorb nor emit thermal infrared energy to any significant extent.

Nick Stokes and at least one other (Sailboard?) comment that the earth’s surface could be both the hot junction and the cold junction either separated temporally (day vs night) or spatially (equator vs poles). Yes that would be possible but there is a practical problem in terms of that driving a heat engine. Cold air is denser than hot air so the cold air would form an insulating layer over the surface (ie: it would form a temperature inversion). Since air is a very poor conductor of heat the amount of cooling of the air above would be minimal and the air above would not descend since by definition it would have to be hotter than the air below if it was to cool – pass energy to the surface). Technically the argument is valid but practically I suspect the impact would be trivial.

Consider the stratosphere, this is a large layer of static atmosphere where there is no convection. The temperature gradient is positive (rising with altitude) simply because it is heated from above due to absorption of UV energy from the sun by oxygen and ozone. In fact that would still occur because oxygen DOES have a significant absorptivity for UV energy. As some have stated in the comments what would happen would the stratosphere would extend down more or less to the surface with a positive temperature gradient all the way (temperature rising with altitude) . There would not be clouds because for clouds to form the water vapour has to condense and this releases large amounts of energy. There is nowhere for that energy to go it would heat the surrounding air which would make it too hot for the water vapour to condense in the first place .

• Philip Mulholland says:

That would be true if the air was ascending but without convection it would not be. It would be static. The pressure gradient would simply be a reflection of the weight of the air column above any point within the atmosphere. Once the air reaches the same temperature as the surface there is no net heat transfer from surface to air so we have a static atmosphere with no heat transfer in or our (?out).

Michael
Atmospheric convection by surface heating is not the only mechanism by which air can be made to move. Surface cooling by direct thermal radiation to space is just as important as this surface radiative cooling also maintains a thermal lapse rate in the atmosphere above.
Have a look at Fig 1. in this paper by Pan, W et al. 2002 The temperature structure of the winter atmosphere at South Pole it demonstrates the presence of a winter tropopause at an elevation of 8km at the South Pole. The vertical temperature profile in May and June clearly shows that, above the surface inversion layer associated with the radiative cooling of the ice surface, there is a fall in temperature as height increases, a standard feature of a troposphere, namely a vertical lapse rate.

Even more interesting are the profiles for deep winter when the fall in temperature with height extends right up through the stratosphere.
Let us suppose we fired a rocket vertically into space from the South Pole. At what height above the icecap would the rocket pass from the night shadow of the Earth and out into sunlight?
This question can be solved using simple Pythagoras right angle triangle geometry:-
South Pole Icecap Elevation 2.835 Km
Antarctic Circle Degrees 66°33′47.0″ South
Antarctic Circle (Decimal) 66.563056 South
Sine of Antarctic Circle 0.9175
Sine Angle = Opposite/Hypotenuse
Hypotenuse = Sine Antarctic Circle/Polar Radius = 6928.352 Km
Height of Shadow Zone = Hypotenuse – (Polar Radius + South Pole Elevation) = 568 Km

The answer is that the rocket would have to climb to an elevation of 568 km above Antarctica before it became sunlit. The formal definition for the edge of Earth’s atmosphere is the Kármán line and this is at a vertical height of 100 km, so it is clear that in mid-winter no part of the atmosphere above the South Pole can be lit by the sun. So we can be absolutely certain that the atmosphere at the South Pole in mid-winter is in a state of continuous darkness.

Clearly the idea that the temperature profile in the Earth’s troposphere is maintained by direct solar thermal radiation is in trouble when we look at the temperature profile data for the South Pole in mid-winter as the atmospheric profile has a vertical lapse rate.
So what is going on? Well descending air heats by adiabatic auto-compression and so, as the stratospheric air descends in the polar vortex over the South Pole driven by the surface pressure reduction caused by the mechanism of direct to space ground surface radiative cooling of the ice and the associated lateral down slope advection (export) of this cold air via the density current drainage of the katabatic wind, a vigorous circulating mass transport of surface wind is created across the ice cap of Antarctica, from which wind energy can clearly be extracted.

• Philip Mulholland says:

Opps! Typo here:-
Hypotenuse = Sine Antarctic Circle/Polar Radius
Hypotenuse = Polar Radius/Sine of Antarctic Circle
but the km number I used is correct …
(no wonder I failed A level maths :-0 )

• RPT says:

I am personally extremely thankfull for the Sky Dragon guys!

I read the Nikolov et al paper several years ago, they had me fooled for about 3.7 seconds, then I concluded that it was really true that the “Climate Deniers” were all nuts, but soon, after having mostly been doing economics for a very long time, it led me back to my books from university on heat transfer, fluid mechanics and atmospheric physics to the point that I really appreciated and understood in a broader context my graduate thesis using Navier Stokes to investigate the Zeldovich equation for the reaction kinetics of nitrogen oxide.
And I found sources like Antony Watts’ and Judith Currie’s internet sites that amply proves that critics of the current political truths of global warming are all but nuts!

• Grant says:

Political truth’s. Doesn’t exist.

• RWturner says:

Ever heard of gravity?

• RWturner says:

Ah so once air is convected into the upper atmosphere it has no gravitational potential energy. Interesting version of “physics.”

• MarkW says:

AIr that is moving up cools, air that is falling heats.
Net affect? None.

• RWturner says:

Yeah, if the source of the energy is the air itself. It’s not, the source of the energy IS the sun. Adiabatic auto compression is merely retention of this energy in the atmosphere. What percent of the energy is fed back to the surface from the solar lifted air? That’s probably something being worked on and would probably already be figured out if the GHG fixation weren’t in place.

• “AIr that is moving up cools, air that is falling heats.
Net affect? None.”

No. Suppose you move the same air, first up then down. Going up it cools, is denser, and you have to do work to raise it. But in rising and on arrival, it is absorbing heat from the environment.

When it goes down, it warms. That means that you have to do work to force it down. And as it gets there, it gives heat to the environment.

Nett result – a heat pump. You have done work and forced heat downward against a gradient.

That is assuming the temperature gradient is below the DALR. Otherwise, air rising cools, but ambient cools faster. The air accelerates, etc. The pump becomes an engine. That is why the DALR is a stability limit.

And the fact that the heat pump pumps heat downward forces the gradient up toward the DALR limit. That’s why we have a lapse rate.

• Tsk Tsk says:

“Going up it cools, is denser, and you have to do work to raise it. But in rising and on arrival, it is absorbing heat from the environment.

And the fact that the heat pump pumps heat downward forces the gradient up toward the DALR limit. That’s why we have a lapse rate.”

This is funny. Remind me what the ‘A’ stands for in DALR again… Now reconcile that with “…it is absorbing heat from the environment.”

As the packet rises (due to lower density) it performs PV work on the surrounding atmosphere. Since this is an adiabatic process there is no heat transfer, so the only source of energy for that work is the internal energy of the parcel of air. Lowering U lowers its state variable T leading to a cooler packet of air. The opposite happens as the now denser packet falls. PV work is done on the packet increasing it’s internal energy/temperature. And since this whole process is adiabatic the trip itself does nothing to the energy balance of the atmosphere. It’s purely the inputs/outputs that change that and not some mythical heat pump pumping energy from space down to the ground.

• “And since this whole process is adiabatic”
It actually isn’t. Adiabatic is a useful approximation for rapid rise. It isn’t an edict about the facts. But there is no way that the air can rise and just stay there at the same temperature. It does come to the temperature of ambient.

It’s actually similar to the reversible/irreversible components of the Carnot engine. That is a thought experiment, and you can separate the phases cleanly. In the real world you can’t, but heat engines still work.

• Gerald Machnee says:

RE Nick
**“And since this whole process is adiabatic”
It actually isn’t. Adiabatic is a useful approximation for rapid rise. It isn’t an edict about the facts. But there is no way that the air can rise and just stay there at the same temperature. It does come to the temperature of ambient.**
A parcel of air does not stay at the same temperature. Only the energy content is the same. That is why the temperature rises as it descends into higher pressure and gets compressed. When the parcel rises it expands in lower pressure and cools but the energy in that parcel remains the same if it is dry. Adiabatic is more than a useful approximation. Other than forced lift air rises and falls due to differences in density. There is no loss or gain in energy in a DRY parcel going up or down. In the real atmosphere mixing with surrounding air causes changes in the parcel. In moist air evaporation and condensation cause changes.

• michael hammer says:

Nick Stokes and other, please see my comment above in reply to PeterG.

• Gilgamesh611 says:

I think a perfect example of rising and falling air in the real climate can be felt and witnessed with perfect clarity on the island of Hawaii. High rain fall on the Hilo side from high moisture wind driven air, dry arid windy conditions on the Kona side after the volcanoes help squeeze all the moisture out.
Perhaps my observations are crap…I’ve only visited the island once.

• Tsk Tsk says:

“It’s actually similar to the reversible/irreversible components of the Carnot engine. That is a thought experiment, and you can separate the phases cleanly. In the real world you can’t, but heat engines still work.”

Heat engines do indeed work (and the real world is closer to adiabatic transitions than isentropic as in the ideal Carnot cycle), but your explanation was simply wrong. Somehow you seem to think that something other than buoyancy driven by density changes is driving this process, i.e. the parcel must overshoot its equilibrium location in the column and remain there so it can be colder than the surrounding air and steal heat. I can’t help you with that mistake. Thermal conduction to the surrounding column is poor and the location of the parcel in the column is dictated by its density which in turn is dictated by its temperature just like all of the surrounding air. Adiabatic is a very good approximation. Claiming that it’s not highly non-adiabatic (or a close approximation) while using the name is just bizarre.

• Tsk Tsk says:

Correction: Claiming that it IS highly non-adiabatic while calling it adiabatic is bizarre.

• “Claiming that it IS highly non-adiabatic while calling it adiabatic is bizarre.”
Who did that? I didn’t even call it adiabatic. You introduced the term, drawing attention to the A in adiabatic. The fact that there is a theoretical DALR is not a claim that any particular flow is adiabatic.

In fact, it is just a function of time and length scales, as expressed by the Rayleigh number. In a large mass of air rising rapidly, PV work is happening a lot faster than heat can move in or out. When the rate of rise slows, or the air parcel breaks up (reducing the length scale), the balance changes, and any heat gained by compression or expansion is mixed into the environment.

It’s like that bike pump that gets talked about. If you pump vigorously it gets warm, as does the air in the tyre. Adiabatic heating. But it doesn’t stay warm forever.

• usurbrain says:

@Nick Stokes
“Going up it cools, is denser, and you have to do work to raise it. ”
However the column of air starting at one square meter will be significantly greater at 50 KM, 100 KM, 200 KM etc. Fifty years since I got my degree in math and don’t even want to try to figure the difference in the number of molecules of “atmosphere” at each level.

• David L. Hagen says:
• The government maintains a fairly large committee on “the Standard Atmosphere”. The Essenhigh papers confirm the dry atmosphere standard atmosphere model, and extends it to include water vapor. Both use the gas law and molar mass in the equations and confirm that the atmosphere’s temperature, pressure, and density are primarily governed by the basic physics. Essenhigh confirms that the effects of radiative gases, CO2 at 20% of the radiative effects and H2O 80%. CO2 has small effect on the atmospheric temperature, but the model is sufficiently accurate to make calculations of the effects due to additional CO2.

But, as Eschenbach and others have shown, water vapor has huge effects on atmospheric circulation and acts as a regulator of the temperature.

• ….. and H2O 80%. CO2 has small effect on the atmospheric temperature, but the model is sufficiently accurate to make calculations of the effects due to additional CO2.
But, as Eschenbach and others have shown, water vapor has huge effects on atmospheric circulation and acts as a regulator of the temperature.

What people have a hard time understanding is that 80% is the regulated amount, not the limit of what it is able to regulate. This is how it counters the increase in CO2, the WV curves, are all defined by pressure and air temp of dry air, and the effect that slows cooling only happens after it’s cooled significantly, not before. So what happens when the dry air is a little warmer in the afternoon from co2, it just cools longer before the PV curve for that amount of water vapor has to increase the % of the WV cloud water molecules condense, even if they absorb a photon, and re-evaporate, that photon was lighting up the water vapor cloud in these wavelengths, and over laps co2, like shining a red flashlight on something red in the dark. This energy supplements losses from the surface which are driving lower temperatures, driving WV to condense, it’s just more energy is released that it takes to cool that molecule that same amount if it didn’t have to condense to cool.

• joelobryan says:

Philo,

The 80/20 WV/CO2 ratio (4) is off by a factor of about 3. The ratio is more like WV/CO2 at 12-15.

• Philip Mulholland says:

What people have a hard time understanding is that 80% is the regulated amount, not the limit of what it is able to regulate. This is how it counters the increase in CO2,

Isn’t that the point Ferenc Miskolczi was making in his paper when he states that Earth has a controlled greenhouse effect?

Figure 13 shows that the Earth has a controlled greenhouse effect with a stable global average. As long as the F0 + P0 flux term is constant and the system is in radiative balance with a global average radiative equilibrium source function profile, global warming looks impossible. The system is locked to the optical depth because of the energy minimum principle prefers the radiative equilibrium configuration. The problem for example with the highly publicized simple ‘bucket analogy’ of greenhouse effect is the ignorance of the energy minimum principle.

Miskolczi, F. M. 2007 Greenhouse effect in semi-transparent planetary atmospheres IDŐJÁRÁS Quarterly Journal of the Hungarian Meteorological Service Vol. 111, No. 1, January–March 2007, pp. 1–40.

• I haven’t read this, but will.
But I have found other suggest such a mechanism simular to what I found.
I in general presume they are likely talking about the same effect.

• HotScot says:

ristvan

In other scientific words, what you’re saying is, on yer bike mate.

Brit term for ‘get stuffed’. 🤣

• Yup. You got it. Gives skeptics the abonimable color of deniers.
Regards from the other side of the pond.

• 9.8m/s²

Not once, 9.8m per second worth of force. Or 9.8Newton per meter each second.
96N/m², or 96Pa

• Alan D McIntire says:

You got that right! I remember years ago reading a paleontology article stating that the x% warmer Carboniferous Period was brought about by an atmosphere 10% more dense than our current atmosphere. I immediately wanted to check what percentage in warming was brought about by a y % increase in atmospheric pressure. I got the PV = nrT formula, and realized that the problem was insoluble because I had one equation with two unknowns.

Years ago, a sky dragon posted on this site- I asked the question in all seriousness, “given an atmospheric density 20% greater than Earth at the distance of Mars- what temperature do you get?” , and naturally didn’t get a straight answer.

• gbaikie says:

–Years ago, a sky dragon posted on this site- I asked the question in all seriousness, “given an atmospheric density 20% greater than Earth at the distance of Mars- what temperature do you get?” , and naturally didn’t get a straight answer.–

Well, Earth at Mars distance, would probably have 20% greater density then Earth at Earth distance from the sun
Or sea level air should be colder, and therefore more dense.
Or air mass of air is about 1.2 kg per cubic meters at about 20 C.
120% of 1.2 is 1.44 kg per cubic meter.
Chart for air density at temperature, hmm. Here:
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-properties-d_156.html
looks like 1.5 kg per cubic meter is about -50 C
Oh, here:
at 70 F air at 1 atm pressure: 1.199 kg per cubic meter
and at -20 F at 1 atm: 1.445 kg per cubic meters
[-50 F at atm: 1.551 kg per cubic meter and 0 F is 1.382 kg per cubic meter]
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-density-specific-weight-d_600.html

So depending on temperature, here at earth distance from the Sun, we have higher density
when it’s colder, though average air temperature is about 15 C [59 F]. And chart says 60 F
is 1.222 kg per cubic meter – 20% increase of that is 1.4664 kg per cubic meter.
So Earth would have to have an average temperature of about -20 C or less to have average air density 20% greater than Earth at Earth distance from the sun.

Now if Earth was at mars distance, would obviously would be colder than at earth distance.
And it seems to me, it would have average temperature of less than -20 F [-28.89 C].

Roughly I would say the tropics could be fairly warm. Or currently our tropics have average temperature of about 26 C. And at Mars distance, our tropics might be near 0 C in terms of average temperature.
Earth’s average ocean surface temperature is presently at about 17 C. And at Mars distance most of Earth’s oceans would be frozen and have average temperature well below freezing.

We currently have an average land surface air temperature of 10 C, and it’s being warmed by having the higher ocean temperature. At mars distance the Earth’s ocean would not doing much to warm the land surfaces. Nor would fairly cold tropical ocean be doing much to warm the rest of the world. Roughly it seems quite possible that Earth’s polar region might colder than Planet Mars polar region. And seems possible that in addition to freezing water, in polar regions, one could CO2 could freeze out of the atmosphere.
Or if believe CO2 causes warming, one might get less CO2 in the atmosphere, but I don’t think much would freeze out, nor that CO2 causes much warming.

• gbaikie says:

Btw, I think if Earth had 20% more atmosphere, I think Earth would have a more uniform temperature. Earth’s average land surface would be become warmer than 10 C. And though not much warmer, and one would have a higher air density at sea level.

• Alan D McIntire says:

Mars is 1.524 au from the sun. Temperature is inversely proportional to distance ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL- which it isn’t. SQRT of 1.1.524 is 0.81 times earth temperature, but that assumes the same amount of cloud cover as at earth, which wouldn’t happen unless it had the same temperature as an earth 1 au away.

We get an average of 324 watts from the sun now, about 30% of which is reflected away by clouds. Adding in latent heat, our current atmosphere increases that surface wattage by a factor of about 1.51 to 490 watts at the surface. That would give us a temperature of (490/390.7)^0.25 *288 K =304.8 K if it all went into sensible heat. For Mars, multiply by 0.81 to get 246.9 K.

About 30% of the 324 watts we get from the sun is reflected away. Multiply that 246.9 K by (1/.7))^.25 and I get close to 270 K. Our current atmosphere has a net magnifying effect of 490/324 watts =1.51 after factoring that negative cloud feedback. What additional effect would a 1.2 atmosphere have? If it was
1.2 times that current 1.51, we’d get an additional 1.2^0.25 times 270 K= 282 K, warm enough for liquid oceans. Of course, in my comps, no heat was going into evaporation or convection, so the actual planet would be somewhat cooler than that, and have a lot drier climate than earth.

• It’s probably higher than 30%, I don’t think enough credit is given to glare off water, water near the terminators lines will be reflectors, and the surface will be radiating to a very cold sky as well.

• ” “Adiabatic auto-compression” from gravity ‘work’ happened exactly once, as earth formed and contracted out of the solar accretion disk.”

Seriously? One-off gravity? Nah, gravity still works, and is still doing the “work” of accelerating the massive sub atomic particles that make up the molecules in the air towards the center of the earth; thereby compressing them.

Gravity is not you and your bicycle pump. It does not quit to allow the molecules to separate and cool.

Radiative and adiabatic effects are BOTH real, and they are integrated through pressure broadening. Atmospheres follow both the Boltzmann curve AND the ideal gas law. The information is so entangled that you can stand back and say the properties of atmospheres can be accounted for by pressure alone or radiation alone; but you are really just describing the combined effects of both.

• @ristvan,

What you describe with your bicycle tire is the heat death of the planet. Entropy complete, equilibrium complete, no further work can be extracted; cold, smooth.

We don’t live on that planet. We are lumpy, warm, work can still be extracted from many disequilibria, and entropy is nowhere near done with us.

• angiosperm says:

“The information is so entangled that you can stand back and say the properties of atmospheres can be accounted for by pressure alone or radiation alone; but you are really just describing the combined effects of both.”

In the sentiment of the never to be forgotten post from a Real Climate groupie many years ago.
gymnosperm, I love you, can I have your babies?

• Latitude says:

What??….don’t tell me you have a Tesla heading right at your house??

• RPT says:

Rerouted from space!

• Bryan A says:

I thought that was Musks new preferred delivery method

• schitzree says:

Hopefully his landing method for delivery is improving

• joelobryan says:

The core Falcon 9 of the FH stack was by far the more expensive piece of hardware than the 2 boosters. Looks like high winds were outside limits and forced the stabilization system beyond controllability limits. Good thing it was a drone ship.

• Interesting. The Falcon 9, in spite of the subsequent failure, looked like it might have made a successful landing on a larger landing target. It appeared to have the correct vertical landing attitude. It is hard to judge the downward velocity at platform level but it did seem to hover there a bit. Dunno.

• Gordon Dressler says:

This video dispels a lot of false information previously circulating on the Internet and even “reliable” news sources about the failure of the F9-H center core landing . . . many had stated that the core had a “failure to ignite” of one or more main engines intended to provide deceleration thrust and that the core stage hit the water at 300 mph. Obviously, false.

• The video is from 2015. Not of the recent center core Falcon 9 crash.

• Don132 says:

Thanks for allowing the debate– I presume without censorship of civilized comments that disagree with what here appears to be the consensus view?

Before we start saying how all those people who disagree with Willis don’t understand physics, remember that that is EXACTLY what the alarmists say about the skeptics.

• David A Smith says:

The only remaining option is to take the higher ground and disagree with everyone.

• jorgekafkazar says:

“The only remaining option is to take the higher ground and disagree with everyone.”–David

OK, David, I disagree. :)

/sarc

• I though the Great Sky Dragon had been banned from these precincts?

In any case, I shall let others take up their shield and their sword to slay it today. Too much to do, too little time to post a basic physics lesson.

2. Adding a greenhouse gas to an atmosphere raises the tropopause. The height of the tropopause is determined by the radiation equilibrium surface temperature, the radiation equilibrium temperature at the radiation-effective top of the atmosphere, and the lapse rate.

Dr. Roy Spencer, a skeptic of catastrophic man-made global warming, says the greenhouse effect exists and causes the lapse rate. Without greenhouse gases, there would be no weather.

Without greenhouse gases, the tropopause would be vanishingly low and the troposphere would be vanishingly thin, and essentially all of the atmosphere would be a stratosphere of uniform temperature.

• A. Scott says:

Without greenhouse gases and the effects thereof … there would not be us … life …

• joelobryan says:

But water vapor in the troposphere is the dominant GHG providing the GHE. Not CO2 at variable trace quantities.

And it is water vapor across the vast majority of the globe that minimizes diurnal temperature swings and moderates the air temps. At the South Pole surface, at an altitude of 10,000 MSL on the very cold icepack, the GHE of pCO2 reverses sign.

How increasing CO2 leads to an increased negative greenhouse effect in Antarctica
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL066749/full

• Don132 says:

What if the greenhouse effect of water vapor is real, and the pressure effect of the atmosphere is also real?

• Gabro says:

Don,

IMO that is the case.

Temperature is basically set by air pressure, but water vapor and clouds can and do retard loss of heat from the surface.

• Adding a greenhouse gas to an atmosphere raises the tropopause.

Maybe, but don’t forget only part of the spectrum is even affected, and some of the other parts are clear or have nothing but water lines, so when it’s not real humid those by pass co2 entirely to space.

• MarkW says:

How much exactly does 0.04% of the atmosphere raise the troposphere?

• It varies over the world, as ratio of CO2 to H2O varies, as clouds vary, and with latitude and season because incoming radiation varies. I have yet to see a good one-size-fits-all or global average figure for how much of the greenhouse gas effect is from CO2.

For a better answer, I can say how much the tropopause height will increase from a doubling of CO2, with assumption of 3.7 W/m^2 per 2xCO2 (which includes increase both from increase of CO2, and from the altitude range that emits downwelling radiation getting warmer from more CO2 but no other feedbacks), and the climate sensitivity being the zero-feedback (other than the positive one I mentioned) figure of .3 degree C per W/m^2, for 1.1 degrees C of warming. And I will assume the stratosphere’s temperature does not change (It has actually cooled during MSU/AMSU satellite observations). The tropospheric lapse rate generally averages about 6.5 degrees C per kilometer. If my assumptions are good, this means doubling CO2 and the 1.1 degree C surface temperature increase from that will raise the tropopause about 170 meters.

• gbaikie says:

” If my assumptions are good, this means doubling CO2 and the 1.1 degree C surface temperature increase from that will raise the tropopause about 170 meters.”

Hmm, and how much does the 3-4% of water vapor [30.000 to 40,000 ppm] in the tropics raise the tropopause?

And another question does night cause troposphere to fall- or 10 C drop in temperature due to night also cause falling.
I seems that the 10 tons per square meter of sky falling could cause some heat.
Also when water vapor disappears when it condenses into a cloud, it is also similar to the sky falling..

• How far does the top of the troposphere drop at night?
At least a few hundred feet.
And what I’m explaining doesn’t have any clouds, I’m doing astrophotography, that’s why I noticed it not cooling while it was still clear, and feels a lot colder than air temp did.

Lot of energy just there.

• gbaikie says:

–How far does the top of the troposphere drop at night?
At least a few hundred feet.–
170 meters could be said to be at least a few hundred feet
And at night, it can cool a few degrees at least

–And what I’m explaining doesn’t have any clouds, I’m doing astrophotography, that’s why I noticed it not cooling while it was still clear, and feels a lot colder than air temp did.–
What? What do you mean, “…not cooling while it was still clear,”
?
It’s clear here [about 48 F] and probably get close to freezing- later on, say maybe around
1 degree lower per hour.

–Lot of energy just there.–
Yes. Even very cold air has lots energy in miles of colder air above it.

• You need to measure it, might average 1°/hr, probably not a constant rate.

• gbaikie says:

So…
I would say it is due to latent heat [of water vapor].
Or with dry air, one wouldn’t have it as much.

• peterg says:

If the atmosphere was transparent to both shortwave and longwave radiation, and the surface of the earth had the same reflectivity to short-wave radiation as it currently does with clouds and all, then the surface of the earth would be somewhere at the current temperature of the upper troposphere. However even though the atmosphere would be quite stable, its temperature lapse rate would still be the dry adiabatic lapse rate because of the movement of molecules due to temperature causing compression as they wander down and expansion as they wander up.

• Air molecules changing temperature as they wander upward or downward into altitudes that have different pressure? Where is a downward-diffusing air molecule going to get its increase of energy from for that temperature increase?

Also, if an object such as a mass of air can become non-uniform in temperature from mere thermal agitation, this means thermal agitation causing a source of usable energy (a temperature difference), and I don’t buy that. And if an air mass of uniform temperature should become non-uniform in temperature without a net gain or loss of kinetic energy of its molecules, then its entropy would decrease. Again, I don’t buy that.

• Without greenhouse gases, there would be no weather.”

Thats almost funny, it is so wrong.

• gbaikie says:

If water was not becoming water vapor (then becoming liquid [or ice]) there would less weather,
and no rainy or snowy weather.

• Richard M says:

I agree with your description except for one thing. The atmosphere would not be a uniform temperature. There would still be a lapse rate. Essentially you would have uniform energy which would include potential energy. The kinetic energy would be higher near the surface.

• Without convection, heat conduction will make the temperature of the atmosphere uniform more than molecules gaining/losing potential energy as a result of losing/gaining altitude will make the lower atmosphere warmer and the upper atmosphere colder. Consider that the stratosphere, which has about or a little over 25% of the mass of Earth’s atmosphere, has a general lack of a trend of getting colder with increasing altitude.

If molecule motion alone (or in combination with nothing else except gravity) can cause a temperature gradient, then one can make a perpetual motion machine powered by a thermocouple. If this can be built, even on paper, then what would lose energy on a continuous basis from this being built?

• tty says:

Actually there would be some convection even without GHG. Some heat would be transferred from the ground by conduction, and N2 isn’t quite transparent to LWIR. But yes, it would be weak.

But then it is very unlikely that any planet could have an appreciable atmosphere without GHG.

• How would the ground transfer heat to the atmosphere if the ground is not warmer than the atmosphere? Without greenhouse gases and convection, the atmosphere’s temperature and the ground’s temperature would be the same.

Actually, I have thought about this, and there is a way for there to be convection and a lapse rate without greenhouse gases, and that’s convection forced by a horizontal temperature gradient. On a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, its atmosphere will be warmed by the surface at the planet’s equator and cooled by the surface at the planet’s poles. In that situation, I envision a thin troposphere layer flowing equatorward along the surface from the poles to the equator, and above that a stratosphere whose polar regions are cooled by conduction to the surface and which descend while being cooled, and once that air starts going equatorward because it can’t descend any more, it changes from being part of the stratosphere to part of the troposphere. And at the equator, rising tropospheric air is cooled as it rises, but has to get heat by heat conduction from below as it rises, and once it starts going poleward instead of rising more, it becomes stratosphere. I expect a lapse rate in such a troposphere, but I also expect the tropopause on such a GHG-free planet to be low, as well as lower towards the poles than towards the equator. And maybe the tropopause being split in the tropics, between a lower tropopause between the equatorward-moving (lowest) and poleward-moving layers of the atmosphere, and an upper tropopause above where rising air over the equator starts moving poleward, although only a fraction as high above the ground as the Earth has now if Earth were instead a dry rocky planet whose atmosphere lacked GHGs.

• Donald L Klipstein said:
” On a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, its atmosphere will be warmed by the surface at the planet’s equator and cooled by the surface at the planet’s poles. In that situation, I envision a thin troposphere layer flowing equatorward along the surface from the poles to the equator”

Your description is exactly why Dr Spencer as someone quoted above is so wrong. To someone standing on that planet, there would be huge winds, of a varying nature as the planet goes from night to day, and random changes driven by dust clouds. That person would say that there is “weather” on the planet,

• Ian W says:

The ‘tropo’ ‘pause’ is where movement (tropo) caused by convection stops (pause). Convection in the earth’s atmosphere is largely driven by the hydrologic cycle. Water vapor molecules (lighter than Nitrogen and Oxygen molecules) and warm from the water heated by short wave solar energy, evaporates from the Earth’s surface rises convectively removing latent heat of evaporation from the surface and then ‘releasing’ the energy at height on condensation and again on freezing. The cold rain returning to the surface to cool it further [really WIllis should remember this he revisited it not too many posts ago!]. CO2 as a ‘well mixed gas’ will not drive convection, does not carry latent heat and therefore has little or no effect on convective currents (the tropo) in the lower atmosphere – the tropo sphere. Indeed, if it is claimed that CO2 by absorbing infrared photons and then giving the energy to Nitrogen and Oxygen molecules in collisions heats the atmosphere then CO2 will actually reduce convection lowering the tropopause.

• Gabro says:

Correct. At the temperatures of earth’s air, CO2 is not a condensing gas.

• joelobryan says:

The suggestion that the average Convection frequently busts through the Tropopause and into the stratosphere. Cumulonimbus storm cloud tops can routinely exceed 35,000 feet to almost 50’000 in the big ones.

Thus, the tropopuase is not define by convection, but by a temperature profile.

• RW says:

I’m trying to follow you here. Wouldn’t anything that warms air in the troposphere cause that air to rise and isn’t that literally convection and wouldn’t that, therefore, raise the tropopause because any warmer than usual blob of air by definition should climb higher than usual?

• Ian W: Greenhouse gases heat the N2 and O2 where greenhouse gases absorb more radiation than they emit (such as in the lower and middle troposphere). Greenhouse gases cool N2 and O2 where greenhouse gases emit more radiation than they absorb (such as around the tropopause). This is true of both CO2 and water vapor, and independent of the fact that one of these greenhouse gases carries latent heat and the other does not.

• Ian W says:

@Joeljoelobryan February 6, 2018 at 8:04 pm
“The suggestion that the average Convection frequently busts through the Tropopause and into the stratosphere. Cumulonimbus storm cloud tops can routinely exceed 35,000 feet to almost 50’000 in the big ones.”
Storms in the ITCZ often reach 70,000ft. You are suffering the mathematicians problem of seeing the tropopause as a totally flat surface, it is not. The large convective storms will by sheer momentum penetrate past the ‘lapse rate’ limit and by carrying warmer air higher they by definition have raised the tropopause. It is like a sea surface and can have waves and disturbances – it is not a mathematically flat plane.

@RW February 6, 2018 at 8:08 pm
I’m trying to follow you here. Wouldn’t anything that warms air in the troposphere cause that air to rise and isn’t that literally convection and wouldn’t that, therefore, raise the tropopause because any warmer than usual blob of air by definition should climb higher than usual?
The convection due to the small (very small) amount of ‘heat’ from an IR photon being ‘absorbed’ then that energy passed as kinetic energy to nitrogen and oxygen molecules is unlikely to cause those larger gas molecules to convect in a way sufficient to measurably ‘raise the tropopause’ in the way that the storms formed by th powerful hydrologic cycle do.

• Don132 says:

Donald Klipstein says: “Greenhouse gases heat the N2 and O2 where greenhouse gases absorb more radiation than they emit (such as in the lower and middle troposphere). Greenhouse gases cool N2 and O2 where greenhouse gases emit more radiation than they absorb (such as around the tropopause).”

Michael Hammer says, way above: “Nitrogen and oxygen neither absorb nor emit thermal infrared energy to any significant extent.”

So to clarify this, what’s going on? I’m not sure I understand what MH is saying, and it seems to me this contradicts what DK is saying.

I’m not trying to be difficult, I’m trying to sort things out so that maybe we can come to some conclusion about this discussion over pressure and the GHE that makes sense.

• So probably the first thing to remember gases, like a pane of glass can be clear for some wavelengths and opaque for others, some astrophotography filters have very sharp edges between clear and blocked.
Gases interact with light wavelength by wavelength, N2 and O2 are clear in visible light, and iirc most IR wavelengths at Earth surface temps.
But air is a good conduction insulator, as long as you limit convection. That why most home insulation is air gaps trapped to limit it.
But it still warms and hold a lot of energy ~28 kJ/m^3 in those deserts for just dry air. And it dropped an average of almost 16kJ/m^3 over night.
Tropics average 73kJ/m^3 max and drop only 11.5kJ/m^3

• William Astley says:

An increase in CO2 reduces the lapse rate which offsets the greenhouse effect.

Planetary temperature for the majority of the paleo record does not correlate to the atmospheric CO2 level.

• An increase in CO2 reduces the lapse rate which offsets the greenhouse effect

As far as I know, this could be the proper name for the effect I found, where late at night under clear skies, the cooling rate slows, but as a minimum there is still nearly as large differential as when it’s dropping 3-4F/hr earlier that same evening. But because this effect is a temperature effect, and the energy barrier of all that stored latent heat that has to be radiated to cool.
That’s what this shows

• William Astley: Planetary temperature and CO2 do correlate. The usual argument against CO2 change causing temperature change is that CO2 change usually lags temperature change. But, there is a reason why this was what usually happened before the past one or two hundred years: When atmospheric CO2 changed as a result of temperature change, that was because CO2 shifted between the atmosphere and the oceans as a result of temperature change affecting the solubility of CO2 in water, and this reinforced temperature changes that were started by something else. What’s different now: The sum of atmospheric and hydrospheric (and biospheric) CO2 and other carbon-cycle carbon being increased by transfering carbon from the lithosphere to the sum of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.

• Micro6500: Regarding your graph: I will find to cite where I hashed this out before. The marked slowdown of temperature drop is not caused by water in vapor form, whose concentration does not increase in the wee hours even though the relative humidity approaches 100%. The cause is an emergent phenomenon releasing latent heat – condensation of water vapor into dew on the ground. Note how net outflow of heat decreases as the night goes on after sunset because the ground is getting cooler, but becomes steadier at a notably slowed rate in the wee hours once formation of dew starts replacing some of the heat being lost by outgoing radiation.

• Donald, it slows down hours after there’s dew on the ground, that can’t be it.
But there is a massive column of air full of water most the planet that has to cool and condense more and more of the water in it as it gets cold.
I think you’re wrong on this.
Regardless of our last discussion.

• Donald L Klipstein:
:What’s different now::
Nothing is different now. It is just your belief system causing you to thin k that our added CO2 makes a significant change. The ice core records already have proven that high CO2 does not slow the rate of temperature decline. Just look at those slopes downward again. If CO2 was so powerful, the rate of temperature decline would be flatter.

In any case, the author has pointed out that the anthro CO2 warming effect is so tiny that we are obsessing over nothing. We need to forget this religious argument and enjoy the fruits of CO2 greening of the earth.

• michael hammer says:

Yes Donald I completely agree with Dr Roy Spencer. Without GHG’s there would be no wind, no weather, no clouds, no rainfall and no lapse rate. The reason is quite simple and outlined in my comment above in reply to PeterG (second comment from the top at 1:41 pm).

• Hilariously wrong. Surface conduction will heat the atmosphere and set up thermals. Wind is the result. Dust gets picked up. As you stand in the sand storm will you still insist on your point?

• Larry D says:

“Without greenhouse gases, the tropopause would be vanishingly low and the troposphere would be vanishingly thin, and essentially all of the atmosphere would be a stratosphere of uniform temperature.”

I believe there are some worlds in the outer solar system whose atmospheres contain no GHGs, due to the cryogenic temperatures of their atmospheres being below the freezing point of GHGs. Do we have enough observations to confirm or refute this hypotheses?

• I think we’re still looking for a planet or a not-quite-a-planet that has an atmosphere that lacks GHGs. One issue in the outer solar system is atmospheres tending to have methane, which is a greenhouse gas. And there are other gases whose molecules have three or more atoms that are not all of the same element, and most of those are greenhouse gases. Although now, I see a need to look up whether this is the case with ammonia.

• Cassio says:

Donald L. Klipstein, February 6, 2018 at 1:25 pm:

Dr. Roy Spencer, a skeptic of catastrophic man-made global warming, says the greenhouse effect exists and causes the lapse rate. Without greenhouse gases, there would be no weather.

I don’t know whether that is an accurate rendition of what Dr Spencer said, but in any case I don’t think it is correct. As I understand it, there is a basic lapse rate that is caused simply by gravity. This can be modified by various factors, such as convection and the presence water vapour. Greenhouse gases may modify it too, but they cannot and do not cause it.

Gravity causes the basic lapse rate by distributing the energies of the molecules that make up the atmosphere in such a way that the faster-moving molecules will tend to be located towards the bottom and the slower-moving ones will tend to be located towards the top. Since temperature corresponds with average kinetic energy, this implies that a temperature-gradient corresponding with altitude, or a “lapse rate” in other words, is created in the atmosphere. This is created independently of greenhouse gases and other modifying factors and would still exist without them.

• Don132 says:

Cassio: “Gravity causes the basic lapse rate by distributing the energies of the molecules that make up the atmosphere in such a way that the faster-moving molecules will tend to be located towards the bottom and the slower-moving ones will tend to be located towards the top. ”

Sorry, that makes too much sense.

• Robert Holmes says:

Casio
Yes, I agree.
That statement; “…the greenhouse effect exists and causes the lapse rate. Without greenhouse gases, there would be no weather.”
Whoever made it, is one the oddest claims I have ever heard in the climate debate.
Its no wonder that Judith Curry get out of the field because of what she said was ‘climate craziness’.

3. joelobryan says:

“the underlying premise of this paper is wrong.”

Is his math wrong? Are his formulae wrong? Not seeing it.

• joelobryan says:

And showing a Pressure x Temp graph of the various planets and Titan that doesn’t account for received solar energy…. so it is useless to the argument either way without that.

• “Is his math wrong?”
His logic is wrong. Willis is absolutely right. Holmes is just putting in the data needed to verify the IGL. It doesn’t show that the IGL is determining temperature. You have to put in both pressure and molar density. Pressure is determined by mass (and g); temperature is determined by heat flux balance, and that then determines the molar density.

The results look surprisingly accurate; that is because it is very likely that the density is simply calculated by someone using the IGL.

• RWturner says:

So you don’t believe in gravity?

• schitzree says:

He’s written a very nice equation that proves the cart is pushing the horse at it’s current velocity.

>¿<

• MarkW says:

All the potential energy was gained when the atmosphere fell from space to the earth billions of years ago.
Since then, every time one molecule moves up, another molecule moves down, so gravitational potential can’t change. If it can’t change there is no energy to be derived from it.

• Bryan A says:

That’s because the horse is on it’s Union contracted coffee break

• John harmsworth says:

I disagree with MarkW, though it greaves me sorely. The gravitational potential of the atmosphere doesn’t change, ON AVERAGE” ( sorry, no italics). That doesn’t mean that smaller pieces of the atmosphere don’t circulate up and down, transporting heat aloft and compressing air at bottom to generate higher temperatures.
The fall in temperature we know as the lapse rate is the decompression effect. The reverse is equally true. The gravitational potential is a constant process of compression and expansion based around the average temperature of the atmosphere.

• MarkW says:

John, didn’t I say that?

• Michael S. Kelly says:

It’s much simpler than that. Ideal or not, it takes only two variables to completely describe the thermodynamic state of a gas. Holmes says that if you know the pressure and molar density, then temperature is accurately “modeled” by the ideal gas law. If you know the pressure and molar density, the temperature is specified whether the gas is ideal or not. At earth conditions, the ideal gas law is a very accurate equation of state. But even if we had some weird atmosphere nearer the critical point of its constituents, another of the many equations of state (Van der Waals, Redlich-Kwong, Peng-Robinson, etc.) would still allow one to calculate the temperature from pressure and density.

Look it up in any first year thermodynamics text. This is freshman material masquerading as advanced science.

• RWturner: “So you don’t believe in gravity?”

What is wrong with this RWTurner guy, with this repeated nonsense post throughout? If he thinks someone is posting something that somehow contradicts the existence of gravity, let him say exactly how, otherwise leave the discussion to the adults.

• Hugs says:

He’s written a very nice equation that proves the cart is pushing the horse at it’s current velocity.

That’s prettily described what’s been done. +1

• joelobryan says:

And furthermore, it boils down to an Occam’s Razor argument.

“Occam’s razor is a problem-solving principle that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions.”

GHE Theory – with all the complications of absorption bands (and wings) of radiatively active gasses, counting watts and energy fluxes. Trying to define an ERL and how it changes by latitude, by water vapor content, by other GHG content.

Adiabatic autocompression Hypothesis – 3 gas law parameters with the IGL and the S-B equation.

If both can explain all the observed physical behaviors of the system, then the simpler explanation is preferred.
The problem is of course, the Big If.

But that’s Science. And dogma, personal belief, consensus are all part of post-normal science. Not actual science.

• MarkW says:

However when the simpler explanation is demonstrably wrong, it shouldn’t be choosen.

• joelobryan says:

Has that been demonstrated?
It has certainly been asserted.

• joelobryan says:

By the beginning of the 17th Century, there were quite numerous long-term observations of Jupiter with the newly invented telescope. Those observations showed Jupiter clearly had 4 large moons orbiting it. The motions of all the other known planets though could be adequately described by Ptolemaic deferents, epicycles, and an equant. They made reasonably accurate (for the time) predictions of the planets’ motions.

However the Jupiter moons were a crisis. This was a complete inability for Geo-centric orbital theory of Ptemolomaic mathematicians to describe their motion, and a failure of their underlying model that everything in the heavens revolved around the Earth.
Their Solution: They ignored it the Jupiter moons problem presented.
Along came Kepler with his insights of an ellipse and heliocentrism, then geocentrism proceeded to crumble.
Kepler and heliocentrism won the day based on simplicity and agreement with observation.

There is this observation and GHE theory based explanation described in this paper:
“How increasing CO2 leads to an increased negative greenhouse effect in Antarctica”
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL066749/full

The authors’ observations are “explained” by the authors by asserting that at the South Pole surface, at an altitude of 10,000 MSL on the very cold icepack, the GHE of pCO2 reverses sign in this situation.

That should really be a Wow!!! statement for the Consensus to accept for GHE theory. That should be a crisis for GHE theory if one considers the implications that this reversal effect only applies to the high South Polar regions.

So the challenge to Robert Holmes and his Adiabatic auto-compression hypothesis is to explain the South Pole observations without having to invert the basis of your argument as GHE theory apparently must.

• joelobryan
The problem people have, including Nick Stokes, is that they think it is a circular argument. I did too, at the start. I decided to derive the maths myself and to try to understand the argument being made. It took a while, then I realized that it was not a circular argument. The initial surface warming is calculated for a no atmosphere planet. The key variables are distance from the sun, etc., as listed. The calculation of the “greenhouse” effect is then done. It is not circular reasoning.

• Philip Mulholland says:

joelobryan

So the challenge to Robert Holmes and his Adiabatic auto-compression hypothesis is to explain the South Pole observations without having to invert the basis of your argument as GHE theory apparently must.

Let me introduce here the concept of concavetion.
There is no upward vertical convection of air in winter over the vast bulk of East Antarctica, there is instead a continuous downward vertical movement of air towards the ice surface, namely the polar vortex.

I assume that you are familiar with the weather phenomena of the daytime Sea Breeze and its night time counterpart the Land Breeze?
The sea breeze arises because of the enhanced rate of daytime heating of the land surface by sunlight compared to the sea. The land breeze arises because of the differential rate of night time cooling of the solid land surface by infrared radiation to space compared to that of the liquid seawater that has a much higher heat capacity and is able to replenish by fluid overturn during surface cooling.

Convection is a process by which air rises vertically upward, specifically for this case air that has been warmed by contact with an illuminated surface that is converting solar energy to heat. Obviously this insolation driven process takes place during the daytime, but what happens at night when the corresponding land breeze forms? In this case air cooled by contact with a solid ground surface that is radiating heat to space, increases in density and flows down slope, off the land and out to sea. This land breeze caused by the differential cooling of the land, is not associated with the vertical upward convection of warmed air, rather it is associated with the down slope lateral advection of cooled air; but what is the name of the night time process that generates this flow of dense air from the land to the sea?

A digression:-
The root convect in convection is derived from the Latin word convectus to carry from one place to another i.e to convey. The word convect is loosely related to the term convex which is used in optics to describe the shape of a bulging lens that is thickest in the middle. Convection in Meteorology can therefore also relate in concept to the upward bulging of the atmosphere that we observe in the formation of cumulus clouds, we see a similar process of upward vertical bulging in a lava lamp. In optics the opposite of convex is concave; a lens that is thinnest in the middle. Cave, cavity & cavitation are all related examples of words used to describe an enclosed space, a hollow, or a gap from which material has been removed.

Consider Antarctica, we have there the world’s largest and most isolated island continent. In winter the central high ice plateau of East Antarctica, south of 80S, experiences a night that lasts for months. As a consequence of the geography of Antarctica the ice surface in winter cools so intensely that the strongest night breeze in the world is created, the katabatic wind. What we observe on the ice plateau of east Antarctica in winter is a vigorous process of thermal cooling of the ice surface by radiative heat loss to space through the transparent infrared atmospheric window. This cooling demonstrates that solid surfaces are the most efficient thermal emitters, because solids can transmit flexural shear waves, whereas fluids and gases cannot. Solid surfaces are therefore more efficient thermal radiators than gases because it is the process of flexure that determines if a gas molecule can intercept and emit infrared radiation, something that only polyatomic molecules can achieve.
The cooling of the air at ground level in East Antarctica creates a dense air mass that is then advected down slope off the ice plateau as a vigorous katabatic wind. Consider a stack of cards from which the lowest card is continuously been removed, the stack will fall into the cavity generated at its base. I want to introduce here a term I have adopted to describe this phenomena of cold dense air being generated by night time radiative cooling of a solid surface, the word is concavetion. Concavetion is the process that permits the vertical descent of air into the “cavity” created both by the radiative cooling at the ground surface and the associated lateral advection that exports the cold dense basal layer to the side as a ground hugging katabatic wind. Concavetion is therefore the opposite of convection and is a process driven by night time ground surface cooling rather than day time ground surface heating.

A few years ago during 2008 there was a live data stream from the automatic weather station (AWS) based on Dome Argus in Antarctica. The AWS located there measured temperature both above and below ground (the ice surface) in a continuous daily record. Three sensors measuring air temperature were placed at elevations of +4 m, +2m & +1m while four more sensors, placed at sub-surface depths of 0.1m, 1 m, 3m & 10m, measured the ice temperature in the ground.
The location of the Dome Argus AWS at latitude: 80 22′ 02″S, longitude: 77 32′ 21″E and with a surface elevation of 4,084m provided a unique insight into the climate of East Antarctica. During the austral winter of 2008 Dome A was in darkness for 24 hours a day from sunset on 16th April 2008 at 0725 UTC until sunrise on 26th August 2008 at 0556 UTC. During this period of 142 days Dome Argus receives no direct sunlight and the air temperature sensors of the AWS recorded the night time cooling and the formation of an intense thermal inversion layer at the ground as the high level ice surface radiated heat to space through the thin dry winter air.

Because of its unique winter location we can be sure of the following features of the weather at Dome Argus.
1. No direct solar heating by sunlight can possibly have occurred at this time during the depths of winter.
2. The crestal elevation of the site means that all advected surface air that reaches here has to climb up the dome to reach the plateau and therefore must be cooled by adiabatic lift.
3. The residual summer heat in the ground ice cannot be heating the descending air above 4m because of the thermal inversion caused by radiative cooling at the surface of the ice prevents direct thermal contact.
4. So the only source of energy that can maintain the higher air temperatures at 4m and above is the heating of descending air from aloft by tropospheric adiabatic auto compression.

Let’s have another look at Fig 1 in Pan, W. et al. 2002. The temperature structure of the winter atmosphere at South Pole this figure records the presence of a winter tropopause at an elevation of 8km at the South Pole. The vertical temperature profile in May and June clearly shows that, above the surface inversion layer associated with the radiative cooling of the ice surface, there is a fall in temperature as height increases, a standard feature of a troposphere, namely a vertical lapse rate.

But there is no insolation at the South Pole in winter and so no radiant energy to heat the ice surface and cause buoyancy driven atmospheric convection. So how is this lapse rate maintained? What we observe on the ice plateau of East Antarctica is the winter night time process of concavetion, which results in the downward vertical motion of air in the polar vortex falling under gravity towards the ice surface. This fall causes the descending upper air to loose potential energy and to thereby gain heat by adiabatic auto compression so maintaining the observed lapse rate in the tropospheric winter air above the South Pole.

• Hugs says:

Ideal gas law does give T out if put among others, density and pressure in. But density is affected by the greenhouse effect as well.

• Hugs says:

No seriously who could think rho M just defines T even when there’s a mathematical dependency binding them together?

4. ripshin says:

It’s difficult for me to understand the gravity compression argument in the atmosphere. The displacement of one molcule going up by another molecule coming down (or moving sideways or whatever) means no net work is being done by gravity. Right? Am I missing something here? Have I misunderstood the argument?

rip

• beng135 says:

Well, there is compressional heating of falling air-masses like the Chinook winds. But for a fixed-volume atmosphere like Earth it has to be balanced somewhere by an equal mass of air cooling by rising.

• Jer0me says:

This is exactly my thought on this. It seems insane to me to think energy is ‘created’ somehow by gravity. Sure, it can ‘generate’ potential energy for something (in this case air), but that’s only turned into kinetic energy by falling toward it. If energy is then used to get further away, that’s the kinetic energy returned to potential energy, rinse & repeat.

• MarkW says:

And that expansion cools off some of the warming that was otherwise input into the system.
When the heating stops, the atmosphere cools and contracts, and the compresion could heat the system. However once equilibrium is again reached, the system becomes static.

• Gabro says:

When the volume of the atmosphere expands at the height of the solar cycle, satellites in low orbits are threatened by it.

• Jer0me you are confusing heat with temperature; heat is energy, temperature is the effect heat has on a mass under specific conditions.

• Jer0me says:

Paul,

I don’t think I am. If the energy remains the same, merely switching from potential to kinetic and back, how can that affect the temperature? The only way is to add more energy (the sun) or retard cooling (theoretically by ghg).

• beng135 says:

OK, the MASS of Earth’s atmosphere is fixed. Jeesh.

• Don132 says:

Rob Bradley: “Should the entire atmosphere heat up, it expands, as there is nothing at the top to contain its expansion.” So then as our atmosphere heated up in the geologic past, it would have dissipated to space? Doesn’t gravity constrain/”contain” the expansion?

• gbaikie says:

but rising air cools because as rises it becomes less dense and if that cool air falls, it increases in temperature because becoming more dense. Or Chinook wind could be wind that force up, say 1000 meters, and becomes cooler and then if falls 2000 meters and it gets warmer then where it started because the air fell further than it rose.

But most of convectional heating of air, doesn’t involve air masses rising- the average velocity of air molecules increase, and the kinetic energy rises [rather than the molecules going up]. and also goes the other way when surface cools.

• Philip Mulholland says:

If the energy remains the same, merely switching from potential to kinetic and back, how can that affect the temperature?

Jer0me,
Potential Energy (PE) is the energy of position of a mass in a gravitational field. Its formula is m*g*h (mass times gravity times height).
The potential energy of a mass does not have a temperature, the mass only has energy by virtue of its place (height above a datum).
So if we have two solids of equal mass held at the same height above the surface of the Earth, even if one mass is cold and one mass is hot, they both have the same potential energy. On being released and allowed to fall both solid masses (hot and cold) will achieve the same increase in velocity (kinetics) as their potential energy is converted into motion due to the acceleration of gravity v = a*t (velocity equals acceleration multiplied by the time elapsed) but of course the temperature difference between the two masses will remain the same.

Kinetic energy is energy of motion (velocity). Its formula is 1/2 * m * V^2 (mass times velocity squared all divided by 2).
Any mass rising vertically upwards in a gravitational field is slowed down by the force of gravity, the mass loses kinetics but it gains potential energy as it rises.
Temperature is motion. Potential energy is not motion. If it helps consider this: – a mass at absolute zero resting on the ground still exerts a force on the resisting surface by virtue of its mass. The mass produces a pressure on the ground even though the mass is at absolute zero and has no motion (temperature).

Any mass of air on the ground can only rise if it is lifted by a force, which can be due to buoyancy difference caused by thermal heating of the air by sunlight or the displacement upwards by a colder more dense air mass coming in from the side (the advection of a cold arctic air mass) that forms the katabatic lifting potential of a cold weather front.

• Philip Mulholland says:

Don132 February 7, 2018 at 4:19 am

So then as our atmosphere heated up in the geologic past, it would have dissipated to space? Doesn’t gravity constrain/”contain” the expansion?

Don, The simple answer to your question is No, gravity does not constrain the expansion, indeed the fact that gravity does not stop the escape of gases to space is relevant to our understanding of how some planets retain an atmosphere and what the molecular constituents of that atmosphere are, while other planets do not have an atmosphere with any significant mass.

Planet Earth has an atmosphere containing the gases Nitrogen, Oxygen, Argon and Carbon Dioxide, but no Helium; our Moon does not have any significant atmosphere. Because both the Earth and the Moon circle the Sun as a co-orbiting pair of twin planets, both bodies experience the same intensity of sunlight throughout the year. Gravitational strength is the key difference between the Earth and the Moon that allows the Earth to retain an atmosphere at our orbital distance from the Sun. The strength of the surface gravity on the Moon at 1.625 m/s/s is much lower than the Earth’s gravity of 9.81 m/s/s and so the Moon is unable to retain a low molecular weight atmosphere at this distance from the Sun. It is the strength of a planetary body’s gravity that determines the Escape Velocity, from its surface and it is the value of the escape velocity (determined by the planet’s mass) that allows a given planet to retain low molecular weight gases within its atmosphere under a particular intensity of solar heating.

If we start with a mixture of two gases, one of which is light, for example Helium, with a low molecular weight of 4 g/Mole and one which is heavy, such as Carbon Dioxide, with a higher value molecular weight of 44 g/Mole then, even though both gases within the mixture will have the same kinetic energy (1/2 * m * V^2), the average velocity of the particles for each gas in the mixture will be significantly different. The Carbon Dioxide molecules will move much more slowly that the Helium atoms do because their greater mass means that the kinetic energy of motion for the CO2 molecule is carried by a particle with 11 times the mass of the Helium atom. The implication of this difference in particle velocity for the two gas species is profound. For a low mass and therefore low escape velocity planet orbiting close to the heat source of sun, the lighter molecular weight atmospheric gas will more easily achieve escape velocity, even when the heavier atmospheric gas will not and so will be retained. In effect Helium gas escapes from the Earth because the temperatures found in the Earth’s upper atmosphere are too high for the mass of our planet to retain this low molecular weight (and therefore high average velocity) gas.

Some notes on Escape Velocity
Escape velocity is the instantaneous velocity an object needs to achieve in order to completely escape from the gravitational field of a massive body (a planet for example).
Some things to remember: –
1. For these calculations we assume that no energy loss occurs due to friction with the atmosphere.
2. As the body rises away from the surface it will slow down and lose velocity as its distance away from the planet increases and therefore its potential energy increases.
3. The escape velocity has the same value (but opposite direction) to the maximum impact velocity – the velocity an object that was initially stationary with respect to the planet would achieve if it fell onto its surface starting from an infinite distance away and falling solely under the influence of the planet’s gravity.

Escape velocity of Earth = 11.186 km/s
Maximum temperature of the Earth’s Exosphere is 1350 Kelvin
Let us assume that the Moon has an Exosphere with a temperature of 1350 Kelvin (the same as the Earth’s).
Helium μrms @ 1350 Kelvin = 2.9 km/s
The Escape Velocity of the Moon is 2.376 km/s, this value is too low for the Moon to be able to retain any Helium gas.

• Don132 says:

Philip Mulholland February 15, 2018 at 3:57 am
Quite an explanation!
Thanks.

• RWturner says:

You are completely missing the energy source that started the process. Solar energy provides the energy to lift the air in the first place. The “molecule coming down” didn’t magically get there, it was essentially lifted by solar energy. When that molecule falls, that gravitational potential energy is converted back into kinetic energy.

• MarkW says:

When the molecule rises, it gives up the heat that sun put into the system.
There are no free lunches.

• RWturner says:

” it gives up the heat that sun put into the system”\

Yeah, to potential gravitational energy.

• MarkW says:

When one molecule rises, another falls. The energy given to the one is lost by the second.

• RW says:

Isn’t the potential gravitational energy a function of proximity to the source, especially for the distances being discussed here? Surely there is less gravitational potential energy for molecules in the stratosphere than there is for molecules in the troposphere or at the surface.

• Cassio says:

RW February 6, 2018 at 8:31 pm:

Surely there is less gravitational potential energy for molecules in the stratosphere than there is for molecules in the troposphere or at the surface.

It’s actually the other way around, RW: the higher the molecule is above the planet’s surface, the greater is its gravitational potential energy.

For locations inside a planet’s atmosphere, a molecule’s gravitational potential energy can be calculated as the simple product of the molecule’s mass (m), the acceleration due to gravity (g) and its altitude or “height” (h) above a baseline referent (normally sea level); i.e. mgh.

• Okay, one molecule goes up, and one molecule goes down, but all the molecules are still around the planet — none have gone from the planet, and the reason is that gravity is still holding them ALL near the surface in a density gradient that gets bigger, moving from top of atmosphere to bottom. The weight of the entire atmosphere is still mushing the molecules together, isn’t it? Gravity is still doing work on the whole atmosphere, isnt’t it, even with the continuous displacements of molecules between the different densities? It all (the whole atmosphere) still gets worked on, or else those up molecules would be flying off into space, and, eventually, all molecules would fly off into space — with no atmosphere left to argue about.

I am having trouble seeing that gravity does not do any net work, when it is working all the time to hold the ENTIRE mass of air to the globe.

I’m just getting started with my confusion, so forgive me — this might continue for a while, if the mods allow.

I do not see CO2 as an evil dragon, nor do I see the evil-dragon slayers as enemies. I see CO2 as a friendly dragon, and I tend to be drifting towards a friendly dragon/non-CO2-greenhouse-effect-believer.

The pressure route might be rough, but I need to work out how it is so totally wrong, and, as yet, I do not.

• Germinio says:

Robert,
the definition of work is force times distance. Gravity is constantly applying a force but
if the average distance is unchanged then there is no work done and no energy gain or loss. More formally gravity is a conservative force and so you can easily prove that there is no change in energy for any closed loop.

The paper is nonsense for all the reasons that Willis and others have pointed out. And if you don’t believe them think of what would happen if the sun stopped shinning. If this paper was correct then the temperature of the earth would remain at 33K since that is apparently what the ideal gas law would predict. Which is clearly nonsense. The reason being that both the pressure and density of the atmosphere would adjust themselves to give a temperature equal to about 2.7 K (the temperature of the cosmic microwave background).

• Gabro says:

Germinio,

But in that case, there would no longer be an atmosphere. The gases would freeze and condense on the surface of the planet (unless earth’s internal heat produced enough energy to keep them liquid).

The ideal gas law requires gases to work. Thanks to the sun, we have a gaseous atmosphere.

• Germinio,

I think that I am not seeing the premise of the paper as you are. I think that the sun IS a consideration, and to think that gravity ALONE is somehow causing the air to heat the planet is ridiculous, of course. I’m thinking that gravity is doing something to the air mass in such a way that the Sun’s energy is used a certain way.

Molecules that are closer together at greater density (density caused by gravitational compression at the surface) can heat up more than molecules higher up in the atmosphere (at less density/less gravitational compression).

If the paper is making the claim you say about gravity alone without the sun, then it’s trash. But I’ll have to go read it in depth, I guess, to assess its claims better.

This, of course, is not a new idea. It’s a rehashing of an idea that has been trashed, reborn, and trashed again, as I see it. There’s some appeal to it, because it resurfaces from time to time to get a fresh look.

I’m actually amazed that Anthony allowed it.

• Germinio says:

Robert,
the paper is nonsense. And has nothing to do with gravity which is another question entirely. The paper would appear to claim that the ideal gas law PV=nrT can be used
to predict the temperature of the atmosphere. Which of course it can but only if you already know the pressure and volume. But equally well you could use the temperature given by the predictions of the standard greenhouse gas theory to predict the pressure
and so use the ideal gas law to “prove” that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. With the ideal gas law there are 3 unknowns, Pressure, Volume (or density) and Temperature and so there
is usually a way to alter one of those to ensure that the ideal gas law is satisfied.

• MarkW says:

Compression only heats while it is being compressed. Once the compression stops increasing, the heating stops.

• gbaikie says:

— Germinio
February 6, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Robert,
the definition of work is force times distance. Gravity is constantly applying a force but
if the average distance is unchanged then there is no work done and no energy gain or loss. More formally gravity is a conservative force and so you can easily prove that there is no change in energy for any closed loop. —

With air molecule distance traveled is nanometers, and as air warms the distance traveled before colliding and changing direction, is shorten. Or assuming average velocity of air molecules remains the same and if a shorter distance is traveled by average molecules- then the air is warmer.Or if more molecule are in given volume and average velocity is same, they travel shorter distance and the air is warmer.

• hanelyp says:

A molecule rises, trading kinetic energy for gravitational potential.
The molecule collides with other molecules at the higher altitude, exchanging energy.
Molecule falls, trading gravitational potential for kinetic energy.
collision and energy exchange again.
repeat.

Result: potential field driven kinetic energy gradient.

• joelobryan says:

Energy is constantly being pumped into the lowest levels and into the ocean by short-wave solar radiation during the day time. At night water vapor in the boundary layer slows radiative EM energy escape. CO2 is a very minor bit player in that as wv absorption saturates the CO2 absorption bands. The only place CO2 GHG theory can reasonably be invoked are in very dry deserts and similarly arid regions.

Clouds of course alter all that. Clouds and precip are the bugaboo factor the models cannot model, so the modellers enter those clouds and precip-evap effects through parameters. The amount of energy they are tuning can make the climate models do whatever they want. Cargo cult science.

• A C Osborn says:

Joel, you stated “The only place CO2 GHG theory can reasonably be invoked are in very dry deserts and similarly arid regions.”

And what do those regions show, massive diurnal temperature swings, ie CO2 is doing practically nothing, whereasby comparison in the presence of H2O those swings are attenuated.

5. Paul Maxit says:

LOL. Has someone been explaining here that if it gets cooler when you climb, it is actually because of less CO2 traces trapping heat ?

• RWturner says:

Maybe Stanley should replace the vacuum with CO2 in there thermoses. Since conduction and emissivity aren’t important at all. /s

6. Robert of Texas says:

Well, its a hypothesis first of all, not a theory. So I guess I would expect him to now demonstrate his hypothesis using data (and NOT models).

If I read this correctly, he claims that one can predict, within some range of error (and I didn’t see that), the average near surface temperature without knowing the exact gasses involved, but just their mass. This would seem to me to be an important finding, if he could verify it. It would mean the structure and behavior of the gas molecules is not as important as just their mass. CO2 would have no real relevancy due to its absorption behavior or energy.

“adiabatic auto-compression” – no clue to how this explained something. I think I understood the claim, but not the mechanism in the hypothesis.

Your thought experiment of adding a bunch of nuclear reactors to create heat doesn’t really address the same claim (at least as I understand it) – yes the gases would be hotter, and yes they would adjust to still be a nearly ideal gas, but having greenhouse gases or not would make no difference to the eventual equilibrium.

I am not supporting the idea, just trying to understand it.

• schitzree says:

As I understand the theory and Willis’ argument, the Ideal gas law would be upheld REGARDLESS of whether or not Green House Gas heating is real, because if it is happening the warmer atmosphere expands and rebalances the equation. It doesn’t matter where the extra 33 degrees comes from, GHG, radioactivity, farting unicorns, whatever. The atmosphere will adjust to that temperature by changing it’s volume and density, and the ideal gas law equation will balance.

~¿~

• RWturner says:

Solar radiation warms a solid surface. Gas surrounding this surface collides with the surface and heat is converted into kinetic energy in the gas. This causes convection. Since the planet has gravity, this rising air is merely converting kinetic energy into gravitational potential energy. When the air falls back to the surface, this gravitational potential energy is converted back to kinetic energy. Simple, elegant, and unequivocally true despite the persistent d-nyeal just because they didn’t think of it.

• MarkW says:

Simple, elegant and true, and not having any impact on the temperature of the gas.

• RWturner says:

So you’re saying that if the atmosphere of Earth were only 10% of what it is now it would be just as warm on the surface? SMH

• tty says:

However the heat is mostly transferred from the surface to the gas by radiation (and evaporation for latent heat). Gases are very poor heat conductors so heat transfer by conduction is slight.

• RWturner says:

@tty – That’s not true at all. If most of the heat were transfer within the atmosphere were to take place via radiation and the timescales of heat transfer were too short for conduction to be the primary mechanism for heat distribution, you’d have a clear energy difference between infrared active gases and non active gases. Instead, we have Brownian Motion and the Kinetic Theory of Gases to explain heat transfer in the atmosphere.

• John harmsworth says:

Has anyone taken into account the fact that moist, rising air columns must also entrain CO2 to altitude? There is a fantastic amount of this air. Or does the “magic molecule” refuse to give up its heat until it is close enough to warm a Mann?

• gbaikie says:

“If I read this correctly, he claims that one can predict, within some range of error (and I didn’t see that), the average near surface temperature without knowing the exact gasses involved, but just their mass. This would seem to me to be an important finding, if he could verify it. It would mean the structure and behavior of the gas molecules is not as important as just their mass. CO2 would have no real relevancy due to its absorption behavior or energy.”

I don’t know this theory, but if put some gas in greenhouse on the Moon- if gas is low density- near vacuum like the Moon. The gas will not have a temperature- it won’t warm a thermometer.
But if gas is at 1 atm pressure it will warm up to be over 100 C. And if air is half density at Earth sea level pressure, it will be cooler.
And doesn’t matter what the gas is.

7. Don132 says:

I think this will be a useful discussion. I tend to side with those who believe that pressure causes the greenhouse effect, but at this point I’m open-minded and would like to hear a good, civilized discussion that doesn’t get too much in the weeds with the math.

For starters, exactly why is the bottom of the Grand Canyon warmer than the rim? Because the sun warms the surface and it cools from there? But I’ll bet this is true even on cloudy days. What if there were a week of completely overcast days– would the rim then be warmer than the bottom since cold air sinks? Phantom Ranch, on the bottom, is consistently warmer than the rim. http://www.grandcanyontreks.org/preciptemps.htm

• Gabro says:

There is snow atop Mauna Loa and balmy tropical beaches below the mountain, but air at both locales is believed to have about 400 ppm of CO2. The air is less dense (at lower pressure) at 13,679 feet than at sea level, hence cooler. There are relatively fewer air molecules per unit volume at the volcano-top Keeling Curve observvatory, but allegedly the same ratio of CO2 to other atmospheric gases.

Advocates of an important CO2 greenhouse effect have trouble explaining this fact.

All explanations for the working of the atmosphere on Earth MUST be tested by reference to known observations such as the Grand Canyon. In addition (as explained by Nikolov & Zeller) we expect the physics to be the same on all rocky planets with significant atmospheres. Therefore we should test the explanations against the known data from these other planets as well.

Explanations which fit everything are much much more likely to be nearer the truth of the matter than those which only fit some things or sometimes.

This is so basic and fundamental I wonder why I had to say it here? (Doh!)

• tty says:

“For starters, exactly why is the bottom of the Grand Canyon warmer than the rim? ”

Because it is lower in the atmosphere. Normally the temperature conforms closely to the local lapse rate since this is the equilibrum state. However there are local and temporary deviations, e. g. when there is an inversion in winter.

• Don132 says:

The theory is that the sun warms the ground and that this heat convects upwards according to the lapse rate, which is ultimately driven by greenhouse gases. However, the problem I see is that I assume that the Grand Canyon is warmer than the rim even on cloudy days, and even while cold air sinks.

So I’m not sure that the Grand Canyon shows anything one way or another. But another conundrum is that mines deep in the earth are typically hotter than the surface. How do we explain that? Are they that much closer to the earth’s core?

OK, and this: if it really is true that the molten core is heating the mines, then what does that say about how this same core might be affecting surface temperatures?

The pressure of the atmosphere on the earth’s surface is 2117 pounds/ square feet; nothing to sneeze at.

Maybe random thoughts but I suspect the problem is not so simple as: “it’s greenhouse gases, stupid.”

• paqyfelyc says:

@don132
“The theory is that the sun warms the ground and that this heat convects upwards according to the lapse rate, which is ultimately driven by greenhouse gases.”
Lapse rate do NOT depends on GHG, or the sun, or the clouds. It was part of my cursus, as an exercise, to calculate dry lapse rate (just like it appears in wikipedia, just check), and it just depends on gravity and specific heat. Moist lapse rate is somewhat more sophisticated, but still do not depend on GHG.
Dry laps rate is close to 1K/100 m, and the Grand Canyon is up to a mile deep in some place, no wonder it gets hotter down.

“So I’m not sure that the Grand Canyon shows anything one way or another.”
Indeed. It is just the lapse rate all the way down. You are right, won’t show nothing.

“But another conundrum is that mines deep in the earth are typically hotter than the surface. How do we explain that? Are they that much closer to the earth’s core?”
Down when drilling, temperature increase ~4K/100m, and even more where volcanic heat exist. Becasue of Earth’s core heat.

“what does that say about how this same core might be affecting surface temperatures?”
Don’t mistake heat and temperature. Temperature build up down there because heat from the core has hard time leaking away (4 billion years later, and it is still hot deep down … while permafrost exist). Geothermal heat is small at the surface, only a fraction of a W/m², 5 magnitude order lower than the sun.

• gbaikie says:

–“But another conundrum is that mines deep in the earth are typically hotter than the surface. How do we explain that? Are they that much closer to the earth’s core?”
Down when drilling, temperature increase ~4K/100m, and even more where volcanic heat exist. Becasue of Earth’s core heat.

“what does that say about how this same core might be affecting surface temperatures?”
Don’t mistake heat and temperature. Temperature build up down there because heat from the core has hard time leaking away (4 billion years later, and it is still hot deep down … while permafrost exist). Geothermal heat is small at the surface, only a fraction of a W/m², 5 magnitude order lower than the sun.–

Wiki: “Geothermal gradient is the rate of increasing temperature with respect to increasing depth in the Earth’s interior. Away from tectonic plate boundaries, it is about 25–30 °C/km (28–34 °F/mi) of depth near the surface in most of the world.”
So 2.5 to 3 C per 100 meters.
And unless mine placed in vacuum, the air will be denser at lower depth.

With Messinian salinity crisis, the Mediterranean Sea became dry and due to the lower elevation
the air temperature was warmer in bottom of the deep basin- though it’s thought to have been a bit less than lapse rate of 6.5 C per 1000 meters

• Robert Holmes says:

You forgot atmospheric auto-compression, which is +10C per km of depth.

• mellyrn says:

Death Valley is farther from the equator than Mount Everest but is typically significantly warmer nonetheless.

Imagine the hottest afternoon you’ve ever known at home. Imagine hopping a ride on a super weather balloon up to, say, 35000′ — same latitude, same time. A lot colder up there.

I figure the bottom of an atmosphere has a higher temperature than the rest of it because there are more molecules (all of them, being hotter than absolute zero, bounding about with some energy) for my thermometer to interact with, i.e. to experience some energy transfer from.

I further imagine that, all else being equal (planet size, gravity, local sun, &c), the temperature at the bottom of a thicker atmosphere will be higher than that at the bottom of a thinner atmosphere, regardless of the mix.

I’m no authority, though.

8. Paul Maxit says:

Total rebuttal of the now famous “33 Kelvin greenhouse effect” is here : https://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.1161.pdf

Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics
Gerhard Gerlich, Ralf D. Tscheuschner
Chapters 3.7.3, 3.7.4 and 3.7.5.

• paqyfelyc says:

This is good for people who understand physics. Won’t help “climate scientists”, and even less warmunist or Gaia cultists.

9. Astrocyte says:

As it is std procedure for the “cult” to attack messenger instead of content, better to anticipate…
So what is the crendential of Robert Ian Holmes? It would be prudent to know a little about the guy before parroting his study in all directions. He may simply be a student.

• Gabro says:

I think Holmes is a student, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters in science is whether your conclusions are supported by observations of nature or controlled experiment confirming predictions made thereupon.

• Astrocyte says:

“All that matters in science is whether your conclusions are supported by observations of nature or controlled experiment confirming predictions made thereupon.”

In theory yes, but in practice in the real world science and everything else does not work like that. The very existence of the warming/change meme is proof that science is based on PR/marketting and infested with politics. It all boil down to credibility and trust. For the vast majority of the voting public, first impression is all that matter.

• Sunsettommy says:

“Kenneth,

I address the ‘circular’ argument (i.e. for Titan) in my paper.

Not sure what he is claiming here; is he asserting that the molar mass version of the Ideal Gas Law is wrong?

A law through which one can arrive at the temperature by the measurement of just three gas parameters, pressure, density and molar mass, for diverse places such as Venus, Earth (anywhere in the troposphere). Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, (anywhere in their atmospheres) Titan – and it even works for the center of the Sun?

What I have presented is a hypothesis. So, Sebastian, let’s test the hypothesis; start anywhere on the surface of the Earth and measure these three parameters, calculate the temperature by use of this formula;
T=P/((R x ρ/M))

Still not convinced? Let’s try another planet – anywhere >10kPa in its atmosphere, (which is where the effects of the GHE supposedly are).Even quicker, post here a link to a peer-reviewed published paper which quantifies any warming effect from the CO2 in our atmosphere.

Actually, I think there will be a very long wait for this one.”

http://notrickszone.com/2018/02/05/shock-paper-cites-formula-that-precisely-calculates-planetary-temps-without-greenhouse-effect-co2/#comment-1250805

• Gabro says:

CACA will eventually go the way of eugenics, its early 20th century equivalent. No amount of PR can permanently offset the scientific method.

But lots of highly credentialled, renowned scientists, living and dead, agree with the lad.

• Sunsettommy February 6, 2018 at 3:20 pm
“A law through which one can arrive at the temperature by the measurement of just three gas parameters, pressure, density and molar mass, for diverse places such as Venus, Earth (anywhere in the troposphere). Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, (anywhere in their atmospheres) Titan – and it even works for the center of the Sun?

What I have presented is a hypothesis. So, Sebastian, let’s test the hypothesis; start anywhere on the surface of the Earth and measure these three parameters, calculate the temperature by use of this formula;
T=P/((R x ρ/M))

Still not convinced? Let’s try another planet – anywhere >10kPa in its atmosphere, (which is where the effects of the GHE supposedly are)

Ok Venus, it doesn’t work, the CO2 at the surface is supercritical and the Ideal Gas Law equation of state doesn’t apply.

Yes, we know he is a student. Today I was a student under my wife’s supervision of the baking of a delicious cake and that turned out fine (2nd cake baked by me in 62 years!). Anyway if you cannot still remember Richard Feynman talking about “it doesn’t matter who said it” you need to do some basic revision (about the principles of science). So if Robert has a PhD or is simply the toilet cleaner at the local school is IRRELEVANT. What we need to look at is the paper and what it says .

So lets have a look. Looks like the formulae are correct. Some of the conclusions and arguments look logical, but are ALL of them logically robust ? It is very easy to let your preconceived ideas sway you one way or the other. This must be resisted.

I only started looking at this paper yesterday and it is a very novel approach to the subject.To go through it carefully is something that might take a while, I expect Robert himself took weeks working on it. IF I find something SPECIFIC that is wrong I will be sure to let you know (and the author himself).

Finally if there is still some doubt can we apply our minds to devising either a laboratory experiment or a field experiment to test something relevant.

• Nigel S says:

‘In a new peer-reviewed scientific paper published in the journal Earth Sciences last December (2017), a Federation University (Australia) Science and Engineering student named Robert Holmes …’ is how the NoTricksZone post starts.

• Astrocyte says:

Thanks, it clear it up.

• George McFly......I'm your density says:

He has the only qualification required to study science: an open and enquiring mind

10. Comments from Ned Nikolov via Twitter where there was an earlier discussion:

Yes, I’ve seen the paper by Holmes (2017): http://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.earth.20170606.18.pdf

It has a serious methodological flaw. The author uses the Ideal Gas Law to “predict” T of planets assuming that the atmos. density ρ is INDEPENDENTLY measured, which it’s NOT. So, his method is circular!

Holmes (2017) did not realize that the near-surface atmospheric densities of planets reported in the literature have actually been calculated using the Gas Law. So, by using density to “predict” planetary temperatures, he basically gets into what’s called a CIRCULAR ARGUMENT.

So, Holmes’ analysis did not “disprove” the GH theory, because it’s based on an elementary methodological error. I wonder how a paper with such flawed logic had passed peer review? I noted that it was under review for just 10 days before acceptance. Something isn’t right here!

• Sunsettommy says:

Ned,
“..air density is a function of pressure & temperature. This is demonstrated by the fact that air density is lower at the equator and higher near the poles for nearly the same surface pressure.”

My paper shows that air density at the South Pole is 1.06kg/m3 in other words, only slightly below the global average – yet the pressure is a very low 68kPa. It’s the low pressure which mainly results in the low average temperature of -49C.

“One cannot use the Gas Law to conclusively prove the lack of a radiative GE.”

I realize that, and I did not even try to do this! The radiative GHE certainly exists in our atmosphere; the forcing from it has even been measured and quantified. However, that does NOT mean that there is any net atmospheric warming arising from it!

On Earth, temperature is determined by the interplay of pressure and density, with some influence from molar mass via;
T=PM/Rρ

Pressure, density and molar mass are mainly determined by insolation and auto-compression.

I think that we are in broad agreement.”

http://notrickszone.com/2018/02/05/shock-paper-cites-formula-that-precisely-calculates-planetary-temps-without-greenhouse-effect-co2/#comment-1250866

• Ned Nikolov says:

Dear Robert,

Please, allow me to clarify a few points:

1. On Earth and any other planet, the average atmospheric pressure at the surface (P, Pa) is determined by the mass of gas above a unit area (Ma/Ap) and gravitational acceleration (g,, m s-2), i.e. P = (Ma/Ap)*g, where Ma is total atmospheric mass (kg) and Ap is planet’s surface area (m^2). This definition implies: (a) the average surface atmospheric pressure is INDEPENDENT of temperature and air density; (b) the thermodynamic processes at the surface are ISOBARIC in nature meaning that they occur under nearly constant pressure for a given elevation.

2. It follows from the above that a differential heating of a planetary surface by the Sun will cause variation in air density due to a differential expansion of the atmosphere. This is clearly observed in the different heights of the tropopause between equatorial and polar regions. At the Equator, the troposphere extends to about 17 km altitude, while at the Poles its depth is only 8-9 km. Yet, the pressure measured at equivalent altitudes is nearly the same between Equator and the Poles. Therefore, on a planetary scale, air density is a DEPENDENT variable governed by pressure & temperature, not a determinant of temperature as assumed in your Eq. 5. Hence, your assertion that “… temperature is determined by the interplay of pressure and density, with some influence from molar mass” is physically INCORRECT. My point is further supported by the fact that your model (which is basically an inverted form of the Gas Law equation) contains NO solar radiation. Where is the solar heating in your equation? In other words, what controls the air density in your model? In the real atmosphere, gas volume (thus density) is controlled by pressure and solar heating.

3. Since, on a planetary scale, pressure only depends on atmospheric mass & gravity, the Gas Law essentially represents a single equation with 2 unknowns – temperature and air density. You need a second independent equation in order to objectively solve for the 2 unknowns. Otherwise, the system is undefined! In the absence of a second equation, you’ve simply decided to use density as a determinant of air temperature in contradiction to observed atmospheric dynamics. This makes your choice arbitrary and devoid of physical meaning. Your model becomes, therefore, circular, because you use air density as a predictor of temperature while, in ISOBARIC systems, density in fact depends on temperature!

3. Please take a look at this paper, which demonstrates, how to properly predict average planetary temperatures using two truly INDEPENDENT drivers – solar radiation and surface atmospheric pressure:

Nikolov N, Zeller K (2017) New Insights on the Physical Nature of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Deduced from an Empirical Planetary Temperature Model. Environ. Pollut. Climate Change 1:112. doi:10.4172/2573-458X.1000112
URL: https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/New-Insights-on-the-Physical-Nature-of-the-Atmospheric-Greenhouse-Effect-Deduced-from-an-Empirical-Planetary-Temperature-Model.pdf

• Philip Mulholland says:

Holmes (2017) did not realize that the near-surface atmospheric densities of planets reported in the literature have actually been calculated using the Gas Law.

While that may be true for the other planets let us consider which measurements we can make on Earth.
Holmes needs to make following measurements:-
P the near-surface atmospheric pressure in kPa – We can measure that.
M the near-surface atmospheric mean molar mass – We can measure that.
R the gas constant (m³, kPa, kelvin⁻¹, mol⁻¹) – We can measure that.
and finally ρ the near-surface atmospheric density – We can measure that too.
Let me introduce you to the Dasymeter invented in 1650 by Otto von Guericke and used to measure the mass-density of a gas
So for the Earth all 4 elements of the equation can be independently verified and the equation the produces T the near-surface atmospheric temperature in Kelvin.

• Ned Nikolov says:

Phillip,
The question is not about the validity of the Gas Law. Nobody questions that! The issues is about the correct physical causality as I’ve explained in my replay above. On a planetary scale, because of the ISOBARIC nature of near-surface thermodynamic processes, air density is a PRODUCT of pressure & temperature, not a determinant of temperature as assumed by R. Holmes in his Eq. 5!

11. “and no, that doesn’t mean that you can diagnose or rule out heating processes simply because the atmosphere obeys the Ideal Gas Law.”

CO2 is not a heating process. CO2 acts to help distribute heat, but it does not create heat. It does not matter if water vapor or CO2 splits the heat distribution process 80/20 or 78/22 or 70/30.

At some height in the troposphere heat in = heat out.

From that height, say 10 km, down to the surface, the temperature rises according to the ideal gas law, giving us the “greenhouse effect”.

Changing the CO2 concentration does next to nothing, as the author points out. There simply is a slight shift in how the troposphere moves energy to the poles, to the other side of the world, to heights into the stratosphere, and the exact timing of heat movement every day, maybe by a minute or two.

I agree with the author, we will never measure the CO2 warming effect separate from natural variation.

On earth, water rules, and the trivial addition of CO2 does next to nothing.

The radiative cartoon of Hansen is interesting, but meaningless for earth. It earns him big money though, obsessing over it our added CO2.

• MarkW says:

Nobody has ever claimed that CO2 creates heat. It slows down the rate at which heat that is being added by the sun can escape.

• Nigel S says:

MarkW: Until you open the vents in the greenhouse (to stick with the GHC theme) surely? That’s to say, “what about convection”? Doesn’t that and the effects of water vapour overwhelm any CO2 effect?

• Nigil, Water vapor regulates how how cold the surface gets late at night by converting WV to water and using the stored energy to supplement about 35W/m^2 at this site in Aus.

You can see the roll off in net radiation in the middle of clear skies.
What I found looking in the optical window is Zenith temps still have nearly the same delta temps,as when it’s cooling at high speed at sunset, and then it changes speed there’s a 35W/m^2 reduction of outgoing energy, down from 55W/m^2 to about 20W/m^2

When there isn’t a lot of WV, dew point falls faster, and it cools a little more.
But at the surface, sea level enthalpy in the tropics is about 73kJ/m^3, and drop about 9kJ/m^3. US SW Deserts has a average peak of about 36kJ/m^3, and dropped 16kJ/m^3, nearly half.
In the tropics, the water vapor level at the surface has far more stored energy in latent heat of evaporation, than the deserts do, why they cool so much at night, this effect is enabled by air temps nearing dew point, and desert dew points are so low, and then when it gets there there isn’t a lot of wv available to condense, in the tropics, it’s never ending.

Hang on a minute.. I thought the back radiation downwards from the CO2 molecules was trillions of little ping pong ball like photons and that these photons carried energy and when they pinged into the surface of the earth that energy was given up and the molecules of the earth were heated up. THAT was what all the talk about “back radiation” was, transfer of heat energy TO the surface of the EARTH , FROM the CO2 molecules. why I have even seen diagrams with W/m^2 downward radiative flux which ADDS WATTS into the surface. How could I have been so stupid?

Obviously there is no heat from CO2, it’s just slowing down heat going out.

MarkW have you got a link please as to when the IPCC, Trenberth and all the others actually did abandon talk of “BACK RADIATION” please as for the life of me I cannot find it .I checked the IPCC reports and couldn’t find a “correction”, or indeed any kind of “apology” ?

• zazove says:

Better to think of it in terms of photons your grace. Cold things do absorb AND emit them, in all directions including earthward – just fewer. Thickening up the layer of GHGs above, eg adding H2O, means there is just a few more earthward photons. Still many more coming up from below, but because the NET number has diminished slightly the surface temperature increases slightly. Calling them watts just confuses things.

• MarkW says:

Water vapor and convection mitigate the affect of CO2, they don’t eliminate it.
The atmosphere has to warm first before it can rise.
The water has to warm before evaporation can increase.

• paqyfelyc says:

@zazove
“Thickening up the layer of GHGs above, eg adding H2O, means there is just a few more earthward photons. ”
indeed, but the keyword is FEW
This is no different from multi-layer insulation, which leaks heat in ~1/N (N number of layer), meaning the marginal new layer efficiency is in 1/N².
On Earth, only ~10% of ground emissions get through the GHG insulator to space already. N is huge. The effect of new layer is smaller than noise.

• Nigel S says:

Thank you, an excellent summary of what I took from the NoTricksZone post.

• Nigel S says:

12. RWturner says:

Real science strikes again! Cue the gravity d-nyers.

• MarkW says:

You must believe that repeating nonsense will render it sensical.

• schitzree says:

Repeat a lie often enough and people will start to believe it. Get enough people shouting it and no one can be heard who can point out it’s a lie.

‘Four legs good. Two legs BETTER! Four legs good. Two legs BETTER!’

~¿~

• Brett Keane says:

13. John harmsworth says:

Why wouldn’t this be testable by experiment? A long, tall box ( dimensions to be determined) with a heat sink maintained on top. An atmosphere in miniature and full solar spectrum light shone down into it. Add, subtract CO2, water, whatever. I don’t see why it can’t be demonstrated in miniature as many other things can. Less compression for sure but an 8 or 10 story tower should provide enough to demonstrate any effect at play. No?

• Nigel S says:

It’s suggested in the paper that the Grand Canyon provides a good example with fixed temperature differences between the north and south sides and the bottom.

Sometimes people dig themselves into a hole. Which is interesting because if they were to literally dig a hole and have a thermometer about their person…..

• John harmsworth says:

Fixing temperatures is the role of governmental authorities! Scram! Here come the Klimate Kops!

• D. J. Hawkins says:

I would suggest that it is possible that the bottom is warmer because reflection from the canyon walls tends to heat the bottom, not necessarily because of any gravity gradient. This might be tested by sampling the temperature along the canyon bottom and noting the local separation of the canyon walls to see if there is a correlation.

• Don132 says:

DJ Hawkins: “… the bottom is warmer because reflection from the canyon walls tends to heat the bottom, not necessarily because of any gravity gradient.” My suspicion is that in the early morning, when the heat from the canyon walls has dissipated and the sun has not yet risen and cold air has sunk, the bottom is still warmer than the rim.

“In general, temperature [at the Grand Canyon] increases 5.5°F with each 1,000 feet loss in elevation.” https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/nature/weather.htm This corresponds to the lapse rate, which suggests that the heating of canyon walls doesn’t play a significant role in the temperature difference between the rim and the bottom.

So the traditional view of the GHE is that GHGs raise the emissions height, and the distance between the heating of the ground by the sun and the emissions height gives rise to the lapse rate, since the heat convects upward from the warm ground at 5.5F for each 1000 feet. But I fail to see why just nitrogen and oxygen wouldn’t do much the same thing? Deserts can get very hot during the day and even with almost no water vapor there’s still a lapse rate; yes, the ground is continually heating but would not the ground be continually heating even if the atmosphere were pure N2 and O2? Does it make sense to say that without GHGs there would be no lapse rate, and that our planet would be radiating from the surface at 255K even though there are 2117 pounds/square foot of atmospheric pressure (or 19,053 pounds/ square yard) bearing down on N2 and O2 at the surface while these two gases are heated by the sun and by the surface as well? Sorry, but 19,000 pounds/square yard seems like a lot of compression to me. It’s doing nothing to the temperature? It’s not affecting how the volumes of gas closest to the surface can hold heat? It can be discarded while we only consider the radiative effects of the GHGs?

None of this is to say that GHGs don’t affect the lapse rate, but I’m wondering if we can really say that they cause it?

Yes, John. This is exactly the kind of thinking we should be doing. I note that Robert does reference the work of R. Graeff (2007). A scaled up version of Graeff’s apparatus would give, according to the hypothesis, a larger temperature difference. For example a 10m high column of Argon is postulated to produce a 3K top-bottom difference due to gravity. 3K being highly significant and easily measured.

10m is easily manageable for a good laboratory and you can construct 2 identical apparatus sets , one horizonal and the other vertical to look at this. A mere \$1 Million will produces masses of useful data here.
Rather a good return if you get a confirmation result as you will have just bought yourself a lottery ticket for the Nobel. And if you get a negative result you can shut all the dragon slayers, Nikolov and Zeller, D**G C****N, etc up for good.

What’s not to like for both the “Catholics” and the “Protestants”. I reckon both sides should get together and crowd fund it. In fact let both sides do their own IDENTICAL EXPERIMENTS. Then if they don’t agree we will (eventually) find out who are the lying B’stards.

• hanelyp says:

The column doesn’t even need to be straight. But it would need to be well insulated to exclude outside influences. There are universities where a 10m tall column could be installed in a stairwell without obstructing the normal flow of traffic.

• A C Osborn says:

It has already been done in Germany a few years ago and confirms what you suggest it should confirm, a Gravity induced gradient.

• The Reverend Badger (and others including Robert Holmes and Den Volokin), there is a very clear and elegant proof that Robert Holmes, N&Z, and other gravity-makes-it-warmer theorists are wrong. This is the proof by Dr. Robert Brown of Duke University. It is entitled “Refutation of Stable Thermal Equilibrium Lapse Rates”. Let me gently suggest that you read it and try to find any errors in it. Please report back any flaws you might find in it.

In addition, there is another proof, perhaps less clear and elegant but just as strong, that not only gravity but no process can heat the surface of a planet with a non-GHG atmosphere above the corresponding S-B temperature. Again I invite you to point out any flaws in that proof and report them back here.

On the other hand, if you join the long, long list of people who cannot find flaws in both proofs, will you then join John Maynard Keynes in saying “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”

My best to you, I look forward to hearing what you think are the flaws in each proof … and since both proofs reach the same conclusion, you need to invalidate both proofs, not just one.

w.

• I told you in another thread why both ‘proofs’ are wrong.
Neither of them accounts for the potential energy created when gas molecules move apart in ascent or closer together in descent along a declining density gradient with height. Both involve columns with vertical sides which does not reflect a true density gradient around a sphere open to space.
The issue is not just simple gravitational potential energy created when a molecule is lifted up against gravity but rather the potential energy created when molecules move further apart. That is the mechanism behind the gas laws and the quantity of the latter is vastly greater than simple gravitational potential energy.
All that potential energy returns as kinetic energy (heat) when air descends and recompresses along the density gradient.
At any given moment half the atmosphere is in descent mode and that is where the additional surface heating above S-B is coming from, not DWIR.
To the extent that DWIR exists (and it does) there can be no surface thermal effect because convection then slows down to neutralise such radiative imbalances.
Convection will always run at a rate that ensures the surface is at the required temperature to both radiate to space at the same rate as radiation comes in from space AND leaves enough additional surface kinetic energy (heat) to keep the atmosphere suspended in hydrostatic equilibrium against the downward force of gravity.
More GHGs providing more DWIR to the surface simply makes the lapse rate slope less steep and thereby reduces the rate of convective overturning for a net zero thermal outcome at the surface. A steeper slope speeds convection and a less steep slope slows down convection.
With a completely non GHG atmosphere the lapse rate slope is at maximum steepness and convective overturning runs at its fastest to ensure that enough heat gets back to the surface via downward conduction in time to match energy in from space with energy out to space whilst keeping the atmosphere in hydrostatic equilibrium.
Thus the lapse rate structure already has the effect of DWIR baked in and more or less DWIR just causes a suitable convective adjustment with zero surface temperature change.

• Don132 says:

Willis: “no process can heat the surface of a planet with a non-GHG atmosphere above the corresponding S-B temperature. ”

I think Stephen WIlde has already given an elegant explanation for why this is wrong: “If one starts with a GHG free atmosphere in hydrostatic equilibrium then the downward force of gravity is on average exactly offset by the upward pressure gradient force caused by surface heating via conduction and convection. That balance must apply at every height for an atmosphere to be retained.”

It seems to me that if you have a lapse rate, then bingo, you’ve got a temperature gradient at the surface that’s warmer than 255K. At the surface we have the sun heating not only the surface, but also a layer of atmosphere under significant pressure that receives heat from both the surface and the sun.

It seems that the whole problem with greenhouse theory is that it trips up by giving too much emphasis to radiative effects, as if that’s the whole story.

• Ben Wouters says:

Willis Eschenbach February 7, 2018 at 12:32 pm

This is the proof by Dr. Robert Brown of Duke University. It is entitled “Refutation of Stable Thermal Equilibrium Lapse Rates”.

It should be clear that the atmosphere does not INCREASE the temperature of the surface by whatever mechanism. It merely reduces the energy loss to space. (so yes, without atmosphere it would be colder)
What is the relevance of Dr. Brown’s text for our atmosphere? The atmosphere is anything but adiabatic.
Simplified: solar energy is thermalized in the surface (mostly water). This warmed surface transfers energy to the atmosphere that releases this energy eventually to space. So energy loss to space is by radiation from the surface (atmospheric window) and the atmosphere.
The atmosphere exists because it is in Hydrostatic Equilibrium (HE) against gravity.
HE is in the end the driving force for all large scale phenomena in the atmosphere like the Global Circulation cells (Hadley, Ferrel and Polar), jet streams etc.etc.

14. RWturner says:

All that Robert Holmes has shown is that the atmospheres of various planets obey, to a good approximation, the Ideal Gas Law.

… So what?

So,

Given this, it is shown that no one gas has an anomalous effect on atmospheric temperatures that is significantly more than any other gas.

• John harmsworth says:

Nice condensation! Pretty succinct and I find no flaw in your connection of these two statements or the statements themselves.. I predict those who don’t like it will try to complicate it, not refute your message.

• schitzree says:

Well, let’s try to make an argument that is nice and simple.

The atmospheres of Planets follow the ideal gas law. They will do this if GHG’s have no effect. They will ALSO do this if GHG’s increase global temperature by slowing the rate of energy (heat) release.

The theory doesn’t prove one way or the other whether GHG’s cause warming, because the temperature of the atmosphere sets the volume and density. The Ideal Gas Law is upheld regardless of where the heat comes from.

OK, John harmsworth is on one side and schitzree on the other. Lets have a look.

Consider 2 rocky planets with thick atmospheres orbiting at the same distance from , just for fun,our very own sun. And lets be really silly and have them in earth orbit as well. And even more ridiculously one has an atmosphere identical to the earth. Let this planet be E1.
Spec: E1 in earth orbit, same atmosphere as earth.
Now the other planet is E2 (how did you guess!). surprise surprise this is going to be identical to E1 EXCEPT for the composition of the atmosphere. The atmosphere of E2 will contain NO GHGs. It will be a nice mixture of various gases with exactly the same pressure, density and molar mass as E1. Just NO GHGs.

Clearly the existing greenhouse gas theory for Earth predicts that E1 will have a much higher (33K?) surface temperature than E2 Because of GHGs.

The alternative theory/hypothesis of Robert predicts they will have identical temperatures. But interestingly the figure is the same as the other theory. Coincidence? Maybe.

How would you eliminate the possibility that a simple formulae with no reference to the percentage of GHGs in an atmosphere accurately predicts the temperature of a planet with a very specific (todays) percentage of GHGs.Well have a look at other planets, some with huge GHG percentage (Venus). Obviously a simple formulae with no reference to GHGs would be expected to not fit 8 planets. And yet it does.

The ONLY way that is possible IF the GHG theory is correct is that changes in GHG percentage in an atmosphere must alter the pressure/density/molar mass to make Robert’s formulae fit. But you could change the pressure/density/molar mass in EXACTLY the same way numerically using non GHGs to get the same result.Therefore the GHG theory MUST be incorrect.

Robert knows it is a simple logical argument and he mentions it simply in a couple of sentences in his paper. Unfortunately it’s not immediately obvious or simple to everyone. My work around is a bit long winded but I hope it helps.

It was based on a long discussion I had in one of the Stack Exchange forums with my 2 hypothetical rocky planet examples, even with PhDs over there it was a real struggle to make headway. Those science based forums are one of the least useful places for serious discussion, 50% of the contributors are simply consensus gatekeepers. Thankfully WUWT is much better.

(47.376%)

Just my little joke, Anthony. Seriously good idea to have this posted.Can we do it again next year?

• schitzree says:

RB, me and John are not on opposite sides of the argument. I’m not saying GHG’S effect the temperature. I’m saying it DOESN’T MATTER if they do or not, the equation will still work.

Imagine if a rouge planetoid smashed into Mercury and created a massive dust cloud between the Earth and the Sun, blocking out 20% of the Sun’s light. The Earths temperature would clearly drop to a new lower level. At that temperature the Earths atmosphere would decrease in volume and increase in density. This is basic physics, it’s what matter does. And the Ideal Gas Law equations would still balance out. Because it’s a scientific Law. That’s why we call it a law.

Volume, Density, and Temperature are all linked. If you change one, the others MUST change. It doesn’t matter WHY one of them changed, they will always balance out. So the fact that they balance doesn’t prove one way or the other whether GHG’s can warm a planet.

• Toneb says:

“The ONLY way that is possible IF the GHG theory is correct is that changes in GHG percentage in an atmosphere must alter the pressure/density/molar mass to make Robert’s formulae fit. But you could change the pressure/density/molar mass in EXACTLY the same way numerically using non GHGs to get the same result.Therefore the GHG theory MUST be incorrect.”

No you couldn’t as we know what is coming in via Solar absorbed, and what temperature that should give (255K).
It does – as seen from space.
So the two (as they should do) balance.
The GHE is slowing LWIR to space.
It is energy that has arrived but it is “backed-up” a tad whilst MORE SW energy is absorbed – that is the extra 150 W/m^2 of the GHE.
It is not “free” energy magically created by gravity, as this *theory* proposes.

• The GHE is slowing LWIR to space.
It is energy that has arrived but it is “backed-up” a tad whilst MORE SW energy is absorbed – that is the extra 150 W/m^2 of the GHE.
It is not “free” energy magically created by gravity, as this *theory* proposes.

total nonsense tone.
Let me say thus one more time, there’s an optical window that is open to space, that lets energy out with not restrictions. Other side bands being blocked, doesn’t alter this at any time.

• Toneb says:

“Let me say thus one more time, there’s an optical window that is open to space, that lets energy out with not restrictions. Other side bands being blocked, doesn’t alter this at any time.”

No they are not.

Yes yes all physicists are wrong and you are correct.
Stands to reason.
They have also cooked Modtran to show a GHE that doesn’t exist too?

• “Let me say thus one more time, there’s an optical window that is open to space, that lets energy out with not restrictions. Other side bands being blocked, doesn’t alter this at any time.”
No they are not.

Yes yes all physicists are wrong and you are correct.
Stands to reason.
They have also cooked Modtran to show a GHE that doesn’t exist too?

BWhahahaha
What that shows is the middle has very little interference from any gases. Low low spot at 10u, means it’s beaming to space from the surface, where the other 2 peaks are radiating from those gases.

That’s the window! You can see through it. Some houses have them where they are clear to visible light, and they are opaque to UV and IR, isn’t that special they can tune materials by wavelength.

• eyesonu says:

Rev Badger, (February 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm)

“Clearly the existing greenhouse gas theory for Earth predicts that E1 will have a much higher (33K?) surface temperature than E2 Because of GHGs.

The alternative theory/hypothesis of Robert predicts they will have identical temperatures. But interestingly the figure is the same as the other theory. Coincidence? Maybe.”
========================

Perhaps you should include another option for the temps of E1 and E2; that E1 could be cooler than E2 due to GHG allowing absorbed solar energy to be radiated to space whereas E2 would not have that ability.

What is the (47.376%)?

• RWturner says:

Let me summarize the debate in another way. Imagine a literal greenhouse. How does it work?

If you were to measure the optical window from above the greenhouse, you’d find that the greenhouse roof is opaque to infrared radiation, so you could surmise that the greenhouse is warmer than the outside air because the glass absorbs infrared and then the air inside the greenhouse is warmed by back radiation — the Toneb hypothesis.

Alternatively, you could surmise that solid surfaces inside the greenhouse are warmed by solar radiation, these solid objects warm the air due to molecular collisions (oh boy look gas IS conductive), and this air then rises and is replaced by cooler air. But what happens to the rising warm air, it’s convection is blocked by the roof, much like convection in the troposphere is blocked by gravity. This process retains heat within the greenhouse.

Here’s the kicker, both processes undoubtedly contribute to why the air inside the greenhouse is warmer, but what is their relative importance? Do you really think that the radiation being emitted by the glass is the more of a contributing factor to the warmth inside the greenhouse than the blocked convection? Would replacing the roof with an infrared transparent material cool the greenhouse more than allowing the convected air to escape? This is literally what the adherents to the GHG climate hypothesis are claiming.

Well, that failed hypothesis’ days are numbered and there is a major case of foot in mouth disease going around that I hope will soon be cured.

And what would happen if you were to believe that auto compression is not a real and important phenomenon? You’d be forced to compensate for the additional heat in the atmosphere by conjuring up ridiculous GHG sensitivity hypotheses, you’d create climate models using these hypotheses, and then you’d project temperature projections based on this changing variable. And then what would you do if these models using these hypotheses all grossly overestimated the warming? You could, a) conclude that the hypotheses are wrong and adjust your model, or b) adjust data ex post facto, claim the heat is where you can’t measure it, and claim the heating just hasn’t happened yet for some unknown reason.

• RWturner says:

Lastly, this effect shouldn’t be imagined as a local weather phenomenon like chinooks or pressure at the bottom of the grand canyon. It’s represented on the large scale atmospheric circulation patterns. Regions of the planet where there is a net upward movement of air show lower amounts of outgoing LWIR, regions of the planet where there is a net downward movement of air show higher amounts of outgoing LWIR, especially when looked at as a residual from the trend.

• Nigel S says:

RWturner February 7, 2018 at 8:58 am: Thanks again, everyone knows how to cool a greenhouse or conservatory, open the windows(!) but few seem to make the connection. Polytunnels work but polythene is transparent to IR. Special grades of polythene are available that absorb IR to prevent scorching of delicate plants by incoming IR. A useful piece of trivia for winding up GHG warmistas if one is in the mood.

• Robert Holmes says:

Nigel
Correct.
Open the windows and the ‘greenhouse’ will soon be the same temperature as ‘outside’, – even though SW radiation is still streaming through the glass and hitting objects which then emit LW radiation.
The atmosphere is open.

15. Nigel S says:

From a comment on the NoTricksZone post. ‘Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell proposed in his 1871 book “Theory of Heat” that the temperature of a planet depends only on gravity, mass of the atmosphere, and heat capacity of the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases have nothing to do with it. Many publications since, have expounded on Maxwell’s theory and have shown that it applies to all planets in the Solar System.’

Would anybody care to comment on that and prove Maxwell wrong?

• John harmsworth says:

Who is this James Clerk Maxwell that questions the Great Mann?

• “Would anybody care to comment on that and prove Maxwell wrong?”
How about quoting what Maxwell actually said?

• Nigel S says:

Yes, sorry, I can’t find anything better than the comment from ‘NoTricksZone’ which is why I asked for help from the ‘grate branes’ of WUWT.

• Gabro says:

Nowhere in “Theory of Heat” is there a passage precisely reproducing that alleged quotation:

https://www3.nd.edu/~powers/ame.20231/maxwell1872.pdf

Nor does Maxwell even use the words “planet” or “planetary”.

He does however mention “atmosphere” 52 times and “gravity” 59.

• Nigel S says:

Gabro: Thanks for the link, looking through it now. Meanwhile thanks to RWturner: February 6, 2018 at 2:49 pm above for this. Physics lessons are in order…

‘Feynman explains how gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy convert to create the gravito-thermal greenhouse effect, without greenhouse gases

Excerpts from The Feynman Lectures, Chapter 40, The Principles of Statistical Mechanics, which prove the Maxwell/Clausius/Carnot gravito-thermal greenhouse effect is correct, and would occur in a pure atmosphere containing only the non-greenhouse gases N2 & O2 (99.94% of our atmosphere)’

• Nigel S says:

Nick Stokes February 6, 2018 at 2:39 pm: How about quoting what Maxwell actually said?

Too long to post here but page 300 – 302 of the third edition, 1872, seems to cover it.

Maxwell starts by saying (page 300, para. 2) that vertical columns of gas in thermal equlibrium have equal temperature throughout but then states (p 300, para. 5) ‘This result is by no means applicable to the case of our atmosphere. Setting aside the enormous direct effect of the sun’s radiation in disturbing thermal equilibrium, the effect of winds in carrying large masses of air from one height to another tends to produce a distribution of temperature of a quite different kind, …’

I think the original comment at NoTricks Zone was reaching a bit but this seems to be what it was about.

• Nigel S,
That’s a good find on p 300. The link is given by Gabro above. I think it is worth reproducing. I’ve merged parts of p 300 and 301, with a bit of coloring. The red shows what he thinks of these gravity theories. The blue relates to what I was describing here. Winds drive air up and down, doing work and driving a heat pump. That is what maintains the lapse rate.

• Nigel S,
That’s a good find on p 300. The link is given by Gabro above. I think it is worth reproducing. I’ve merged parts of p 300 and 301, with a bit of coloring. The red shows what he thinks of these gravity theories. The blue relates to what I was describing here. Winds drive air up and down, doing work and driving a heat pump. That is what maintains the lapse rate.

• Brett Keane says:

Nick, I have downloaded the Theory of Heat myself. You could profit from reading it. He links the Poisson Relationship (the Gas Laws) to both experiments and the real atmosphere. A great physicist and a great experimenter. Hartmann and Berthold Klein have reproven his work in modern times.

• Nigel S says:

Nick Stokes: Yes, thank goodness for ‘The extreme slowness of the conduction of heat in air’ otherwise all these layers of clothing I’m wearing would be less effective.

• Smart Rock says:

the temperature of a planet depends ONLY on gravity, mass of the atmosphere, and heat capacity of the atmosphere

(My capitals and bold) What that says is that if our earth was further from the sun, say just outside the orbit of Neptune, that our surface temperatures would be the same as they are here and now. Or even out in intergalactic space. Or beside Mercury even.

OK Nigel, that’s settled then, the sun plays no role in determining our surface temperature right? Of course, that’s why our global temperatures are the same in summer and winter! Now I get it! The thermometer in my window that says -35°C is just an optical illusion!

OK /sarc off

Are you really sure he wasn’t misquoting Maxwell? Who was one of the founders of modern physics, not to mention being a scot.

I think that this whole discussion is moving from the ridiculous to the mindless.

I’m sure Holmes is wrong but I’m too busy lazy to work out the logic. Plus it’s so long since I learned physics, I’d probably get the argument wrong anyway.

• Nigel S says:

“No I’m not saying that at all!” (to quote the learned Prof. Peterson)

I quoted a comment (not mine of course) and asked for comments from the ‘grate branes’ here because despite being a fellow alumnus with Newton and Maxwell I’m not close to the same leauge but some here evidently are.

• Nigel S says:

Spelling being yet another issue …

• Brett Keane says:

SR, the insolation when compared to ours here is usually and necessarily computed by using for instance the decimal fraction of our distance from the sun (AU). That is how we do it for both planets and aired moons. Because of the need for one optical depth minimum for full effectiveness, atmospheres of more than 0.1bar are prefered.

Insolation is a required part of the calculations for obvious reasons but it may have been neglected above.

16. Dang … “adiabatic auto-compression” as a permanent energy source. Is it patented yet?

Please forgive my sarcasm, I just get tired of endless claims of endless energy … onwards.

This is the problem with using averages for somethings, remember in this case, we get a much larger burst of energy for part of the day, and then it decays. As well as there’s a lot of range in the daily temperature range which redistributes heat from one place to another as air and WV. That graph I keep showing has 18F (~10C) of additional warming from water vapor, as compared to if water didn’t condense.

I’m still agnostic on whether the pressure hypothesis is right or not, but I don’t think it has to conjure energy up to get close, I found about half already.

• RWturner says:

The perpetual energy argument makes absolutely no sense and is only evidence that they are simply dismissing this unequivocal truth out of hand. It’s not perpetual energy, it is energy retention, a positive feedback into the energy budget of all atmospheres. When your energy budget models have a glaring omission of a major positive feedback, you tend to overcompensate others to make up the difference and if that specific variable you’ve over estimated changes (CO2) you might just overestimate the influence that change will have.

17. Gary Pearse says:

We must have picked up a lot of atmospheric mass since the Little Ice Age. It does make sense if we consider the Younger Dryas was caused by sorcerers who withdrew air from the atmosphere and froze everyones a55e5 off.

And don’t get me going on the Glacial maximums! In both Greenland and Antarctica, when they hit the pre 15000 ybp layer there was a huge sucking sound as the ice reclaimed its lost atmospheric gases from those frigid days. I tell ya someone could have been killed.

• John harmsworth says:

The atmosphere is a mix of gases and temperatures trending toward lower at altitude and poleward. The adiabatic effect is the concentration of heat (higher temperatures) at lower altitudes. The average temperature of the atmosphere is a function of the heat input (sun) and the speed of heat transport to altitude and escape. His theory just describes the relationship between heat input and surface temperature. He doesn’t say that input never varies. He does say that speed of transport is basically constant regardless of the constituency of the atmosphere.
I am inclined to think he is right. it is important to remember that heat content and temperature are not one and the same. Gases compress and heat. As they heat they re-expand and seek to rise. This process absolutely transports heat to altitude. Condensing gases (water) multiply this transport greatly as they carry far more heat (latent heat).

• RWturner says:

Yes, it’s basically just a model to test whether the composition of the atmosphere determines the temperature at the surface.

18. ren says:

Abstract
A minimum atmospheric temperature, or tropopause, occurs at a pressure of around 0.1 bar in the atmospheres of Earth1, Titan2, Jupiter3, Saturn4, Uranus and Neptune4, despite great differences in atmospheric composition, gravity, internal heat and sunlight. In all of these bodies, the tropopause separates a stratosphere with a temperature profile that is controlled by the absorption of short-wave solar radiation, from a region below characterized by convection, weather and clouds5,6. However, it is not obvious why the tropopause occurs at the specific pressure near 0.1 bar. Here we use a simple, physically based model7 to demonstrate that, at atmospheric pressures lower than 0.1 bar, transparency to thermal radiation allows short-wave heating to dominate, creating a stratosphere. At higher pressures, atmospheres become opaque to thermal radiation, causing temperatures to increase with depth and convection to ensue. A common dependence of infrared opacity on pressure, arising from the shared physics of molecular absorption, sets the 0.1 bar tropopause. We reason that a tropopause at a pressure of approximately 0.1 bar is characteristic of many thick atmospheres, including exoplanets and exomoons in our galaxy and beyond. Judicious use of this rule could help constrain the atmospheric structure, and thus the surface environments and habitability, of exoplanets.
https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo2020?WT.feed_name=subjects_giant-planets&foxtrotcallback=true

19. So is a car “radiator” a radiator or a conductor, similarly is the daytime earth surface cooled by radiation or by conduction to whole atmosphere which includes tracss of CO2

• RWturner says:

If you were to replace the vacuum tube inside a thermos with three gases (CO2, H2O, N2) which one would cause the thermos to lose heat fastest at temperatures where none of the gases would condense? The non conductive and non infrared active gas or one of the infrared active but conductive gases? My money would be on H2O, the most conductive gas.

• Brett Keane says:

GT, it is both, but mostly a conductor enhanced by forced airflow and speed of travel together. Original engine radiators used zero pressure evaporative cooling. Even done in the massive Schneider Trophy winners of Mitchell, which foreshadowed the Spitfire. Water needed replenishment, easy in stationary engines once used on most farms, or just enough, to save weight, in racing planes

20. ren says:

The NCEP GDAS and CPC temperature and height analyses are used to monitor processes in the Stratosphere and Troposphere. In the table below are zonal mean time series of Temperature.

21. ren says:

The basic question is: what determines the vertical temperature gradient in the troposphere on planets with dense atmosphere?

• The ease with which conduction can occur between surface and air molecules is what determines the vertical temperature gradient.
Denser air conducts more readily so the temperature can rise higher.
The lapse rate slope follows the density gradient with height so one can regard the lapse rate slope as a product of the rate at which the efficiency of conduction declines with height
Where an atmosphere has radiative capability (as they all do) one can also regard the vertical temperature gradient as representing the changing balance between radiation and conduction as one moves up the vertical density gradient.
Conduction is greatest at the surface relative to radiation and least at top of atmosphere relative to radiation.
Conduction drives the surface temperature above that predicted from radiation alone. The more conduction the greater the divergence. Thus the surface temperature enhancement is a product of conductive capability and not radiative capability.

22. ren says:

“The troposphere on Venus contains 99% of the atmosphere by mass. Ninety percent of the atmosphere of Venus is within 28 km of the surface; by comparison, 90% of the atmosphere of Earth is within 10 km of the surface. At a height of 50 km the atmospheric pressure is approximately equal to that at the surface of Earth.[20] On the night side of Venus clouds can still be found at 80 km above the surface.[21]

The altitude of the troposphere most similar to Earth is near the tropopause—the boundary between troposphere and mesosphere. It is located slightly above 50 km.[17] According to measurements by the Magellan and Venus Express probes, the altitude from 52.5 to 54 km has a temperature between 293 K (20 °C) and 310 K (37 °C), and the altitude at 49.5 km above the surface is where the pressure becomes the same as Earth at sea level.[17][22] As manned ships sent to Venus would be able to compensate for differences in temperature to a certain extent, anywhere from about 50 to 54 km or so above the surface would be the easiest altitude in which to base an exploration or colony, where the temperature would be in the crucial “liquid water” range of 273 K (0 °C) to 323 K (50 °C) and the air pressure the same as habitable regions of Earth.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Venus

23. John harmsworth says:

He seems to have nailed 8 out of 8 planets. My only question would be, do the planetary temperatures coincide with their distance from the sun?

• mellyrn says:

Hmm. Does this maybe imply that Neptune has some internal heat source, as from maybe a radioactive core?

• Gabro says:

Mel,

Neptune does appear to have an internal heat source, like Jupiter and Saturn, but not as yet supported for Uranus.

http://www.solstation.com/stars/neptune.htm

But it is otherwise similar to Uranus.

• Brett Keane says:

jh – yes.

24. JohnWho says:

OK, gravity pulls the heavier, cool air down and that cooler air displaces the warmer air effectively pushing it up.

The driver here isn’t the Sun, it is the area where the air is being cooled enough to be heavier and pulled down, is it not?

In other words, if up to the Sun, all the air would eventually become the same temperature, but the heat is “lost in space” so down comes the cooler air.

Further, the energy supposedly gained by the falling air is lost as that air pushes the air it displaces up, is it not?

So, ask Schroedinger’s cat: is the system always in equilibrium or never in equilibrium?

• Toneb says:

“OK, gravity pulls the heavier, cool air down and that cooler air displaces the warmer air effectively pushing it up.”

No.
It is buoyancy.
Same as a hot air balloon, it rises because it has less mass/weight than the air it displaces and vicky verky.

It is Archimedes’ Principle, which states that the buoyant force on a submerged object is equal to the weight of the fluid that is displaced by the object.

https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/WindTunnel/Activities/buoy_Archimedes.html

Gravity has done it’s work on the atmisphere and the “heat” that process causes dissipated eons ago.
Work done on the atmosphere is caused by the solar input and by Earth’s rotation.
Air is constantly in motion (thermals, baroclinic uplift, turbulence over ground, subsidence from regions of convergence aloft etc). When air moves up/down other air has to move down/up. It is this (as Nick Stokes says) that produces the “heat pump” that maintains the LR, this modified by LH release and the GHE but always tending towards -g/cp.

• Phoenix44 says:

And why does mass matter? Gravity.

Try floating a boat in water on the ISS.

• Toneb says:

“And why does mass matter? Gravity.”

It does matter.
As I said, it sets the LR by virtue of compression.
Greatest compression at the bottom – molecules closer together – more collisions – higher temp.
The atmosphere is then in static balance (in the absence of ALL other effects).
What then moves depends on local temp changes ….. density changes > buoyancy.
Not gravity.
Air moves independent of the gravity field BUT within it.
Against it even.
Whilst it does that an equal volume of air moves down. Zero sum BUT with the maintenance of the LR.
Extrapolating it to space just illustrates your misunderstanding.
As the (hypothetical) balloon on ISS has the same weight whatever it’s temp and it would displace an equal amount of capsule air of the same weight so therefore is a zero sum.

• Brett Keane says:

tonyb, buoyancy only exists in gravity. Hence it is a pseudo-force in physics. Same for gravity, IIRC, though let’s not go there for now (grin).

25. charles nelson says:

Rushes to the cupboard, takes out the bottle of compressed CO2 for the soda stream….it’s like at 20 bars or something…it should be like RED HOT!!!!
Measures its temperature……..DAMN!

• Jer0me says:

Exactly.

Anyone who says it heats up wgen you compress it should just be told that it cools when you let it expand, so the net effect is zero, just like a fridge.

• Don132 says:

But our atmosphere is not exactly like a bottle of compressed gas, is it? So I suspect your analogy is an attempt to simplify something that might be more subtle and complex than many believe.

• D. J. Hawkins says:

More importantly, the gas law relationship really only works for true adiabatic processes when you are talking about compression/expansion cycles. As soon as heat can move out of or into your “system”, all bets are off.

• Brett Keane says:

Jerome, because insolation is integral to the existence of an atmosphere, as opposed to a layer of N-O etc. ice. Keep pumping if you want to copy the real effect.

26. zazove says:

Of renowned climate experts there would exist an overwhelming consensus in agreement with Mr Eschenbach, for reasons he and others have expressed. Why is it still a thing? Why doesn’t a pile of books radiate heat?

• zazove February 6, 2018 at 2:58 pm

Why doesn’t a pile of books radiate heat?

Because heat is net energy flow.

Piles of books radiate energy, however. You can verify that yourself with a stand-off thermometer …

w.

• zazove says:

Yes of course but I meant ‘extra heat’ that comes from some gravitational pressure. Ie hotter than their surroundings somehow.

• Brett Keane says:

zazove you are strawmanning again. Now where are my matches…….grin

27. ren says:

Another question: why only changes in atmospheric humidity affect changes in the vertical temperature gradient?

• Toneb says:

“Another question: why only changes in atmospheric humidity affect changes in the vertical temperature gradient?”

It doesn’t.
See mine and Nick Stokes’ comments on here.

• It doesn’t.
See mine and Nick Stokes’ comments on here.

Lol, all it will take to prove that wrong is to measure zenith temps with an IR thermometer over days with different absolute humidity.
In fact there’s a NASA paper explaining how to calibrate your IR thermometer to measure TPW.

• Toneb says:

micro:
By concentrating on experiments in your back-yard concerning atmospheric humidity and it’s known GHE does not mean that CO2 does not act as a GHG, and your “findings” are neither surprising nor applicable to the planetary atmospheric mass, where CO2 has a more dominant CO2 role.
It’s a massive fail, as I’ve tried patiently to explain to you in several posts over several Blogs.
There is a reason why we call your type a sky-dragon slayer, there are no sky-dragons and they don’t need slaying.
But please do carry on, you are harmless enough.

• By concentrating on experiments in your back-yard concerning atmospheric humidity and it’s known GHE does not mean that CO2 does not act as a GHG, and your “findings” are neither surprising nor applicable to the planetary atmospheric mass, where CO2 has a more dominant CO2 role.

Tone, Co2 is as well mixed in my backyard as it is in Australia where I’m getting my net radiation data from (this paper http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2003GL019137/pdf ).
You ever do any kinds of circuit analysis? Clear sky radiative properties as simple enough to figure out. It’s a lot like characterizing antenna on an antenna field, or transmission line characterization of striplines, and circuit boards, it’s just the radiative properties, the dialectic properties, stuff like that. It works the same on that level, it just follows SB statistics instead of Ohm’s law, but even simple transformers are just em wave generators magnetically coupled to an identical receiver. Same as 2 co2 molecules coupling a photon from one to another.

I did this professionally for 20 years, where I had to teach others how to use these tools, as well as being licensed by the FCC at 17 to operate Broadcast stations, big photon generators, designed to send photons to liked sized wavelength specific antennas.

• Earthnull is showing that. I took notice of a puzzle recently when looking at the CO2 filter which shows that the colder areas are those with the higher CO2 concentrations. That shows the insignificance of CO2 versus wv.. Wv streams into an area, and temps raise 10s of degrees F. When the wv moves on or snows out, then temps drop once again, and that seems to concentrate CO2 in the colder areas, …https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=total_precipitable_water/orthographic=-258.75,66.32,672/loc=89.997,62.527

One of my neighbours lives in an old converted water mill. The mill wheel still works and he has coupled a small electrical generator to it. Now as I know the stream never stops flowing and the generator output is real energy this looks like free perpetual energy (practically). Where does it come form. Well obviously we know it is the potential energy of the water at the top of the wheel. So gravity drives it. Is gravity the source of the energy?

I say there is more to it. Gravity is the means by which the potential energy can be extracted. You wouldn’t be able to extract anything with gravity unless there was a mass there that could fall. So it’s not perpetual as the mass will fall and be gone. But then there’s more. The stream keeps flowing.

Why does the stream keep flowing and the mass which can fall never run out? Because it is continually replaced. By what? By the mass (water) that has fallen. But to get it back into the stream you have to do work on it. Where does that happen, where does the energy to get the water back up the top come from?

KER- CHING !!

The source of the energy is the SUN. The heat energy from the sun is converted into the potential energy of mass when it goes up, rises by e.g. water molecules in rising air. Gravity provides the means by which energy can be extracted from the higher mass.

So in the case of the water mill we are using gravity to extract energy from, ultimately, the Sun. It’s not that we are extracting energy from gravity.

Now you understand the water mill try extending the argument to the atmosphere and consider how the surface of the earth gets hotter when there is an atmosphere compared to the hypothetical no atmosphere rocky earth2. Remember gravity does nothing without mass but its a one way process (DOWN!). Gravity doesn’t do UP.

• zazove says:

“Remember gravity does nothing without mass but its a one way process (DOWN!). Gravity doesn’t do UP.”

I think this is where you are going wrong with this your grace. Gravity is not a one way process. Seesaws go in both directions. Net energy zero minus friction. Energy in from space versus energy back out, net zero after billions of years of equilibrium. Lots of seesaws but no power.
Rudi

Rudi, thanks so much. I am about half way through writing a book and still had not really come up with a catchy title. Would you mind very much if I used it? I will give you a proper mention in the “thanks” and append your full name and (if applicable) all the letters you have after your name.

“Gravity is not a one way process. Seesaws go in both directions”

\$19.95 at Amazon (est)

• zazove says:

You have my blessing.

29. Yogi Bear says:

• Ian W says:

I was hoping someone would point this out. They can start by stating what exactly they think they are measuring when they measure the ‘temperature of a volume of gas’.

Then they can describe what happens if you squeeze more molecules to that volume of gas all with the same average kinetic energy because that volume is at sea level rather than above sea level.

The problem with mathematicians is that they don’t really understand the logic of the gas laws. Or the importance of Avogadro’s hypothesis to Charles’s Law.

30. Steven Mosher says:

see what happens when skeptics try to change modes from doubting science to actually doing it?

you get sky dragons

doubt is not enough

• JohnWho says:

Are you saying you agree with the Sky Dragon science?

• Jer0me says:

This is beyond even your usual level of inanity, Mosher.

• SkepticGoneWild says:

Oh the hilarity. English and psychology majors lecturing us on science.

• Phoenix44 says:

Yes every real scientist who has ever done real science has always been right.

Are you aware that science constantly proves science wrong and that is the whole point?

• Gary Pearse says:

Steven, get a grip. Are you saying that to be sceptical of a scientific theory shows something crazy about the doubter? I know you don’t believe that – you demonstrated intelligence and insightfulness once but since BEST you have become a security guard protecting virtually any and all turf, yes, event the stuff of your side’s equivalent of skydragons. I’m sure you also know that the dangerous warming proponents have a phalanx of empty-headed supporters, just as there are “non believers” who mindlessly dismiss the AGW propositon out of hand.

You know that there is, however, a highly intelligent group with scientific and mathematical proficiency and specialized knowledge that are the strength of this site. Anthony lets anyone have a say, so, yes there is always chaff which sometimes overwhelms the threads – but less so than in dangerous warming supportive sites which, these days, which put out much more snark than science from the supposedly scientifically “literate” core. I know that inside your mind you recognize that the thoughtful contingent here has had a very large beneficial effect on the actual science (it goes unsung, but thats not why such thinkers come here, anyway)

31. Doug MacKenzie says:

A lot of posters here need to study up on tephigrams, versions of which have been used by meteorologists for decades. This would help them understand the ideal and not-so-ideal laws of thermodynamics that control the atmospheric temperature in the convective troposphere up to radiative dominant altitudes, and help them understand where ‘lapse rate’ comes from. And it’s not OK to redefine well understood atmospheric convective thermodynamic effects with pseodo-scientific terms such as ‘auto-compression’….

• Ian W says:

+1

• Gabro says:

“Auto-compression” is a valid scientific term, most often encountered in mine ventilation literature.

• Robert Holmes says:

Correct; ‘Auto-Compression’ is a widely used term in mine ventilation. We ventilation engineers calculate how hot the mine will get for the mine-workers by including this well-known effect in our calculations. Auto-compression starts at the tropopause and extends down to below surface.

• Gabro says:

Robert,

I thought you might be a mining engineer, given your use of that term.

• DMacKenzie says:

My apologies to you mining engineers, it’s a term I have never heard despite decades of compression related engineering work.

• Toneb says:

“Auto-compression starts at the tropopause and extends down to below surface.”

Yes it does, which is why the Earth’s non GHE temp of 255K is fixed at around 8km presently and the -g/Cp relation extends down to the surface to realise 288K.
If you dig a big hole it would extend down that as well.
Why do you find that needs sky-dragon slaying physics to explain?
However the atmosphere doesn’t go extending the depth of the atmosphere whilst containing it’s volume, as we do in a mine shaft. The atmosphere is free to expand and contract, which is why we cannot apply Charles’ Law to it.

• Ian W says:

So “auto-compression” is a synonym for the “lapse rate”?

• DMacKenzie says:

Yes Toneb, conceptually the same. And reviewing tephigrams and the thermo behind them is rewarding for those trying to understand atmospheric phenomenon.

• Don132 says:

You mean, just as it’s not OK to redefine radiative physics with the pseudo-science that the skeptics use?

It’s easy to lob bombs from our side of our favored paradigm, but maybe that other paradigm has some validity, too. Isn’t that exactly the problem with the alarmists– they stick to their favored paradigm come hell or rapidly-rising seas?

Maybe we should chill on the paradigms and try to understand what the other side is saying. They may be the dense ones, yes, or one the other hand and God forbid, we may be a little dense, too.

• Pretty pictures on internet hype DO NOT make it so (ok, a former Army guy quoting a Navy bridge command myth, except the McCain did NOT make it so).

I thought this cute picture of the solar system, with its title, was a joke but now I see it is the ultimate truth of the matter. It’s a shame we have not yet reconstructed the temperature dial on the antikythera though. Quite important for interplanetary travel, I always thought it was odd that on Star Trek they never took an overcoat, hat and scarf with them into the transporter. Obviously they KNEW that if it had a breathable atmosphere at reasonably close to earth pressure it MUST be near earth temperature. Simples!

32. A comment about Pierre Gosslin’s NoTricksZone. Always an interesting read, but I find one has to be quite careful with the ‘sciency’ stuff. He and Kenneth Richards will post anything that is ‘skeptical’ irrespective of its quality. This post is an example of when that lake of basic climate science QC goes awry.

• Since you have not provided any evidence, you are just blowing smoke. I have asked multiple times for you to provide the error in their maths, and you have not done it.

• As willis said, there is no error in the math. The error is thinking that the math shows anything other than the ideal gas law appears universal.

• Steve Ta says:

… and it has been pointed out many times that their ‘maths’ is not being questioned – just the conclusions they erroneously draw from it.

33. Steve Zell says:

As a chemical engineer, I use the ideal-gas law very frequently, but it alone cannot be used to demonstrate anything about whether gases in the atmosphere can trap heat.

To illustrate this point, let’s compare a point on land on the equator of the Earth during one of the equinoxes with a point on the equator of the Moon. If the weather is clear, the point on the Earth’s equator would receive about the same average radiation power from the sun during one Earth day as the point on the Moon would receive during one lunar day. If the point on Earth is in a desert area, the surface temperature might vary from about 280 K at night to about 320 K at the hottest part of the day. The surface temperature on the Moon varies over a much wider range, with a much lower night-time minimum and a much higher daytime maximum.

The reason for this is that the Moon has no atmosphere, and acts like a Stefan-Boltzmann blackbody, radiating away heat according to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, and receiving radiation from the sun with no filtering from the atmosphere.

The Earth’s atmosphere, during daylight hours, absorbs much of the radiation from the sun, particularly in the high-energy ultraviolet part of the spectrum, so that the point on the Earth’s equator does not heat up as much as the point on the Moon’s equator. At night, some of the IR radiation from the Earth is absorbed by the atmosphere (particularly water vapor), but some of the heat is transferred to the atmosphere by conduction and convection, and the atmosphere’s specific heat prevents it from being cooled too much at night.

Also, since the Earth’s surface is about 70% covered by liquid water, there is always some evaporation of water into the atmosphere during sunlit hours (which cools the surface). If some of this water vapor condenses into clouds, this transfers heat to the atmosphere. Even on clear nights, once the temperature of the atmosphere reaches the water dew point, the condensing of water vapor into dew or frost heats the atmosphere, and the surface air temperature cannot decrease below the dew point.

The question that Holmes should consider is WHY do planets have the atmospheres that they do? This depends on the gravitational acceleration on the planet’s surface (which increases with the diameter of the planet) and the amount of radiation received from the sun.

Mercury has a weak gravitational field and receives much more solar radiation than the Earth, so any gas molecules on Mercury quickly reach their escape velocity (due to Brownian motion) and escape into space.

Venus has a gravitational acceleration similar to that of Earth, but receives twice the solar radiation as the Earth. Venus is too hot for water to exist as a liquid, and it would escape Venus’ gravity as a vapor, as would nitrogen and oxygen, but CO2 molecules are heavier and slower, and cannot escape Venus’ gravity despite the high temperature.

The Earth’s distance from the sun enables water to exist as a liquid, while its gravitational pull is strong enough to hold nitrogen and oxygen in its atmosphere. It should be noted that the noble gases helium and neon, which have lower molecular weights than nitrogen, are rare in the Earth’s atmosphere, while argon (whose molecular weight is higher than that of oxygen) is plentiful at about 1%. The presence of liquid water on the Earth’s surface is its main temperature regulator, due to the cooling effect of evaporation during sunlit hours, and condensation as dew or frost during nighttime hours.

The Moon’s gravity is only about 1/6 of that of the Earth, so even though it receives about the same amount of solar radiation as the Earth, any gases quickly escape its gravity, and it has no atmosphere.

The gravity on Mars is much weaker than on Earth, but Mars receives less than half the solar radiation as Earth. Mars is too cold to form liquid water, but its gravity is strong enough to hold a thin carbon-dioxide atmosphere, whose pressure is too low to absorb much IR radiation.

The outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) have much stronger gravity than on Earth, but receive much less solar radiation. They have thick atmospheres of mostly methane (which can remain in the vapor phase at temperatures down to -250 F), but do not receive enough solar radiation for IR absorption to warm their surfaces very much.

• joelobryan says:

And yet after all that, climate scientists are claiming an existential threat from 1 to 2 additional molecules of CO2 per 10,000 molecules. Ludicrous in the extreme. History will eventually laugh a hearty belly-laugh at the likes of Hansen, Mann, Trenberth, Santer, and all the other CO2 alarmist hucksters.

• Toneb says:

“Ludicrous in the extreme.”

Appeal to incredulity again.
Not a valid scientific argument.
The maxim “they know than you” is true.

• “The surface temperature on the Moon varies over a much wider range, with a much lower night-time minimum and a much higher daytime maximum. The reason for this is that the Moon has no atmosphere.”

An dense atmosphere contains more heat, ie, it takes the same energy transfer longer to warm it up. The reverse at night. So of course the temperature swings are higher on the moon.

• Ben Wouters says:

Steve Zell February 6, 2018 at 4:37 pm

The reason for this is that the Moon has no atmosphere, and acts like a Stefan-Boltzmann blackbody, radiating away heat according to the Stefan-Boltzmann law, and receiving radiation from the sun with no filtering from the atmosphere.

Most of what you write makes sense, but not the above.
Although the atmosphere does play a role, the main reason is the surface material.
The lunar regolith has a low heat capacity and is a very poor conductor, so the surface warms up quickly during daytime. Day temperatures are close to radiative balance temperatures. Night temperatures not so. They are way above radiative balance temperatures. Should be ~3K, actually ~70-100K.
On Earth ~70% of the surface is water with a high heat capacity.
A full day of solar energy in the tropics is just capable of warming 10m water ~0,5K.
This is the main reason for the small difference between day and night temperatures on earth.

What amazes me in the discussion above is that the Hydrostatic Equlibrium our atmosphere is in isn’t mentioned at all afaik.

34. I have a question for those who can do the math.
We have ocean currents on this planet that distribute heat from the equator to the poles.
My understanding of the black body 255K calculation is that it likely does not take this into account, and that the 255K is the average for the entirety of the earth surface temperature.
If we remove evaporation from the ocean and the atmosphere completely, but we use the information about convection of the oceans from the hot tropics to the cold arctics, what would the average temperature of the Earth be?
My though on this is that radiation follows temperature to the 4th power. If the Tropics cool significantly and the rest of the Earth Warms modestly, wouldn’t the equations come to a different value than the 255K calculation presents?

• A, I can do the math. But as AR3 said, doing the math of a nonlinear dynamic climste system (Earth) is a fools errand. I dont like fools.

• Brett Keane says:

rud, now, now, none of that here!

• gbaikie says:

“If we remove evaporation from the ocean and the atmosphere completely, but we use the information about convection of the oceans from the hot tropics to the cold arctics, what would the average temperature of the Earth be?”

Cover the ocean with black plastic and Earth’s average temperature would lower.

Currently ocean average air surface temperature is 17 C and land air surface is 10 C, and tropical ocean warms the rest of world- due to ocean currents and evaporation.
Ocean is warms by sunlight passing thru a transparent ocean and absorbing the energy of sunlight. Black plastic would prevent this and water is poor conductor of heat.
The plastic on tropical ocean would get hot and radiate more energy into space and cause the ocean to absorb less energy. And tropical ocean wouldn’t warm the rest of the world very much.

Currently ocean area warms land area, with plastic it wouldn’t, so land area would have lower average temperature than 10 C.
I would guess the average global temperature would be about 5 C, rather than 15 C.

35. Mike McMIllan says:

Gravity makes the lapse rate.

Air moving upward against gravity trades kinetic energy (speed) for potential energy. Air moving downward trades potential energy for kinetic energy. No change in overall energy.

Temperature is a measure only of kinetic energy. You change that, you change temperature. That’s the lapse rate. Whatever heat you have, gravity will try to shuffle it downward.

• joelobryan says:

Gravity don’t care about energy. (at least outside blackholes).
Buoyancy in a gravity field is a topic you should explore Mike.

• Mike McMIllan says:

And you were doing so well in some of your other replies.

36. Yogi Bear says:

So from temperature dependent qualities of the near surface atmosphere, the near surface temperature can be calculated. Gordon Bennett!

37. Robert Holmes says:

Wills
You said;
“And more to the point, this does NOT show that greenhouse gases don’t do anything, as he incorrectly claims in the above quote.”
.
I do not rely entirely on the Ideal Gas Law in coming to this conclusion.

There are ten reasons as to why I state that more CO2 does not cause any measurable net warming in the troposphere; the gas law is only the final nail in the coffin, for example;
1) because every planetary body with a thick atmosphere has a clear thermal gradient, which always starts at 10kPa – regardless of the presence or not of GHG
2) recent papers show that convection dominates over radiative transfers in all atmospheres >10kPa – meaning that on Earth radiative energy transfers take a back seat in the troposphere
3) my knowledge of the physics of star-formation led me to believe that this aspect of gas thermodynamics had been neglected in our atmosphere.
4) growing evidence that the alleged ratio of forcing since 1750 (anthropogenic vs natural) was wrong
5) growing evidence that the climate sensitivity to CO2 after feed-backs was low, or even zero
6) growing evidence that factors other than CO2 drive climate change (clouds, climate cycles).
7) growing evidence that Venus was not hot because of the greenhouse effect of CO2
8) there is no empirical evidence, quantified in a published paper, that more CO2 causes any warming anywhere in the atmosphere
9) my knowledge of auto-compression indicated what the real reason for the residual temperature effect on planetary bodies was
10) Lastly, that a small input change of one gas (i.e. +0.03% of CO2) into the molar mass version of the ideal gas law could not possibly change the three gas parameters enough to increase global temperatures by 3C, as alleged by the IPCC.

• Robert Holmes February 6, 2018 at 6:46 pm

Wills
You said;

“And more to the point, this does NOT show that greenhouse gases don’t do anything, as he incorrectly claims in the above quote.”

.
I do not rely entirely on the Ideal Gas Law in coming to this conclusion.

Indeed you do. You say that formula 5 (and 6), by itself, TOTALLY RULES OUT the possiblity that GHGs do something, viz:

“In particular, formula 5 (and 6) as presented here, totally rules out any possibility that a 33°C greenhouse effect of the type proposed by the IPCC in their reports can exist in the real atmosphere.”

Now, if you want to make an argument based on all your other considerations, fine … but that is NOT what you said in your paper.

Thank you for your willingness to fight for your ideas. However, your claim, that because atmospheres follow the Ideal Gas Law that THEREFORE the effect of CO2 is vanishingly small doesn’t pass the laugh test. And that is exactly what you’ve claimed.

w.

• Robert Holmes says:

Wills;
I stated; ‘formula 5 (and 6) as presented here, totally rules out any possibility that a 33°C greenhouse effect of the type proposed by the IPCC in their reports’.
.
I stand by this statement 100%. This is in effect the null hypothesis – that natural factors such as cloud changes, atmospheric changes, albedo changes, solar changes and natural climate cycles still dominate the climate today.

What the IPCC claim is essentially your position; that man has taken over 97% of all the drivers which cause climate change, and consequently we are now living in the ‘Anthropocene’.
If you really believe this, then scientific evidence is needed; produce here a peer-reviewed published paper which quantifies any warming in the troposphere caused by our CO2.

• Toneb says:

“If you really believe this, then scientific evidence is needed; produce here a peer-reviewed published paper which quantifies any warming in the troposphere caused by our CO2.”

No you do the opposite. On that disproves it.
The science is empirical going back to Tyndall, Arrhenius and others ~150 years ago.
I somehow think you haven’t either (sarc).

• Toneb,
Complete bs. The science does not go back 150 years. You are just repeating the typical propaganda espoused by Weart and his revisionist history of global warming.

• Toneb says:

“Complete bs. The science does not go back 150 years. You are just repeating the typical propaganda espoused by Weart and his revisionist history of global warming.”

If by “bs” you mean what it often means here – the real world, then yes it is.
However most of us (thankfully) live in the above ground.
Certainly scientists do – as they have, as I said, observed/measured and theorised it for indeed ~150 years.
That you don’t want it to be true doesn’t make it so.

https://history.aip.org/climate/co2.htm

• SkepticGoneWild says:

That you want it to be true does not make is so, either. Just as I said, the article you posted was by Spencer Weart giving a revisionist history of global warming, with a huge dash of fantasy.

• joelobryan says:

11) the majority of GCMs (or most) predict (an emergent phenomenon of their equations and tuning) a troposphere hot spot in the tropic at mid troposphere levels, based on a strong CO2 GHE formulation. None is observed in 37 years of satellite troposphere temperature monitoring while CO2 increased 23% since 1979. (332 to 408ppm).

• “None is observed in 37 years of satellite troposphere temperature monitoring while CO2 increased 23% since 1979. (332 to 408ppm).”

How true it is. Yet Willis and Toneb carry on as if their pet hypothesis is true.

At this point in history, truly amazing.

Yet, being clever people, one day the realization will hit and we can all move on to accept that a tiny bit of warming, which we will never be able to measure, is nothing worth spending time and money on.

• Toneb says:

“Yet Willis and Toneb carry on as if their pet hypothesis is true.

At this point in history, truly amazing.

Yet, being clever people, one day the realization will hit and we can all move on to accept that a tiny bit of warming, which we will never be able to measure, is nothing worth spending time and money on.”

It’s not a “pet” hypothesis.
You have obviously not noticed that it is empirical science.
IOW no one has observed the (physics actually) to be wrong.
And by “no one” I mean people who are a damn sight cleverer than you, me and Mr Nikolov.
Shouting up out of your rabbit-hole a denial of it does not make it so.

What is “truly amazing” is the rampant D-K syndrome on display in this thread, all whilst trying vainly to slay non-existent sky-dragons.

• joelobryan February 6, 2018 at 8:16 pm

11) the majority of GCMs (or most) predict (an emergent phenomenon of their equations and tuning) a troposphere hot spot in the tropic at mid troposphere levels, based on a strong CO2 GHE formulation. None is observed in 37 years of satellite troposphere temperature monitoring while CO2 increased 23% since 1979. (332 to 408ppm).

sailboarder February 7, 2018 at 5:21 am Edit

“None is observed in 37 years of satellite troposphere temperature monitoring while CO2 increased 23% since 1979. (332 to 408ppm).”

How true it is. Yet Willis and Toneb carry on as if their pet hypothesis is true.

sailboarder, if you weren’t so lazy you’d have looked to see what my “pet hypothesis” about the troposperic hot spot might be. I wrote an entire post on the lack of the “tropospheric hot spot” …

This in part is why I ask people to QUOTE MY EXACT WORDS. In this case, because you refused my polite request to quote my words and you didn’t do your homework, you end up looking like a total fool. READ MY WORK BEFORE YOU MAKE ASININE STUPID COMMENTS ON WHAT YOU IMAGINE IT TO BE!!!

Sheesh … why is this so complex for some folks?

My post on the subject of the LACK OF a tropospheric hot spot is here

w.

38. hanelyp says:

Willis acts like he sees the “sky dragons” as a threat to his pet cloud formation. How about this twist: The “sky dragons” are not only compatible, they help explain the cloud formation Willis has observed. When the temperature gradient gets high enough, convection picks up suddenly. Near the equator at sea level I’m guessing this gradient tends to be associated with a narrow temperature range. Convection driven winds kick up waves, thus evaporation, thus cloud formation. The evaporation and cloud formation amplifies the lapse rate threshold on surface temperature.

• hanelyp
Yes but it is nothing to do with the sky dragon approach.
I’ve tried to tell Willis many times that the conduction/convection explanation for the surface temperature enhancement is entirely consistent with his observations and that his observations are themselves a product of the effect of atmospheric pressure on the ocean surface due to the way that surface pressure affects the amount of energy taken up by the phase change from liquid to vapour in evaporation. Changing pressure alters the amount of energy needed to break the bond between water molecules.

39. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so here goes:

Dang … “adiabatic auto-compression” as a permanent energy source. Is it patented yet?

Yep, it was patented shortly after the “CO2-slowed-cooling-that-makes-air-hotter-than-it-would-otherwise-be” … permanent energy source.

Please forgive my sarcasm, I just get tired of endless claims of endless energy … onwards.

You’re forgiven (^_^), and interesting, since the greenhouse theory, as I first saw it, did precisely this, with the claim of back-radiated heating, … until the claim conveniently changed to “slowed cooling”, … which amounts to roughly the same thing, when I considered it more closely.

In short, the hypothesis being put forward here, is that in the case of Earth, solar insolation provides the ‘first’ 255 Kelvin – in accordance with the black body law [11]. Then adiabatic auto-compression provides the ‘other’ 33 Kelvin, to arrive at the known and measured average global temperature of 288 Kelvin. The ‘other’ 33 Kelvin cannot be provided by the greenhouse effect, because if it was, the molar mass version of the ideal gas law could not then work to accurately calculate planetary temperatures, as it clearly does here.

I’m sorry, but the author has not demonstrated what he claims.

I actually tend to agree that the author has not demonstrated what he claims here. In fact, I have an even bigger problem that might cause you (and others, I’m sure) even greater disagreement with me — namely that the two temperatures traditionally used to calculate that 33-degree difference are NOT comparable in the way that they are ordinarily compared. I do NOT see average near-surface air temperature as being the same “species” as black-body planetary temperature — these are incomparable — the subtracting of one from the other seems like a bogus stunt — similar to subtracting two oranges from three apples to get one apple. In my view, that number, derived THAT way, should not even be in the discussion. It’s a hoax. All it is … is a temperature difference. “So what?”, as you might ask — “it says nothing of the trajectory, etc., etc.” It says nothing about CO2 being an underlying cause.

Look, we could start up ten million nuclear reactors and vent all their heat to the atmosphere. The planet would assuredly get warmer … but the atmosphere wouldn’t stop obeying the Ideal Gas Law. The variables of density and temperature and mean near-surface atmospheric molar mass would simply readjust to the new reality and the Ideal Gas Law would still be satisfied. You could still use his Equation 5 version of the Ideal Gas Law to calculate the temperature from the other variables, regardless of whether or not the atmosphere is heated by nuclear reactors.

… an interesting thought experiment that makes me ask questions like, “How would ten million nuclear reactors of vented heat change density and mean near-surface atmospheric molar mass?” — I don’t know, but I wonder. If you know, then thanks for enlightening me.

They [planetary atmospheres] will always obey the law regardless of how they are heated, so you can’t rule out anything.

Yes, but will the SYSTEM of planets always obey the ORDER we see in different values of the law derived for individual atmospheres in the whole system? Why do we see the order in the different values that we see? It’s not just a law determining one value, then another. It’s a law determining an ORDERLY SEQUENCE of values in the system.

I’m supposing that if entirely different mechanisms were determining different planetary temperatures, then we would not see this ORDER that we seem to see.

• Gabro says:

Every one of Willis’ statements is wrong, but the nuclear reactor line is the most laughable.

Temporarily heating the atmosphere artificially in this way does not respond to Holmes’ argument. After such an infusion of heat dissipated, Earth’s climate system would revert to the natural status quo ante.

[“every one of Willis statements is wrong” – yet you offer not a single thing to say why or how. In my opinion: PUT UP OR SHUT UP -Anthony]

• Gabro says:

• Gabro says:

Anthony,

I provided copious examples.

His totally ignorant claim that “auto-compression” doesn’t exist, for instance. Simply another example of his ignorance of the most elementary physics. No surprise, since he had never studied physics.

Why you let such a scientific ignoramus pollute your site, I don’ t know.

[You’re right, there’s an easy solution to “pollution” in the form of ad hom attacks too. Goodbye- Anthony]

• Gabro says:

It’s not ad hom to point out that Willis’ nuclear reactor argument is idiotic, just as most of the posuer’s drivel is.

[Saying the IDEA is idiotic, no that’s not ad hom, but saying this is: “Why you let such a scientific ignoramus pollute your site, I don’ t know.” Being an anonymous coward with nothing more than a handle while calling somebody names from the comfort of anonymity (translation: chicken) is also not in your favor. You aren’t arguing the issue, you are arguing the person, and offering nothing but insults as rebuttal. You’ve been on moderation for bad behavior here, and now with this, extended to “straight to the bit bucket” privileges. Feel free to be as upset as you wish – Anthony]

40. Alasdair says:

Willis is right: “ The underlying premise of the paper is wrong”

However gravity does very much determine the lower surface temperature; for at 14.7 Lbs./sq.in. the vapour pressure of water is 0.2563 Lbs/sq.in at 15.56 C (288 K)..
Since evaporation takes place when the Partial Pressure of water falls below this; this determines the amount of water that is contained in the atmosphere and the cooling effect of the atmospheric Rankine Cycle. The Hydro Cycle.

Should the surface temperature rise due to the greenhouse effect or for any other reason; then this Rankine Cycle accelerates in exactly the same way your kettle does when you turn up the heat and so maintains a constant temperature, give or take the leads and lags.
(100 C for your kettle and 15.56 C for the earth.)

Simple really.

• Richard M says:

Does this mean all the proxies that show a global temperature up to 22 C are wrong? Or does it mean the atmosphere must have been different back then?

41. Richard M says:

First of all I agree that no energy is created through “adiabatic auto-compression”. While I haven’t read the paper, I’m not aware of any known planetary atmosphere that doesn’t have some kind of GHG. This makes any claim of no greenhouse effect difficult to demonstrate.

But do we really need a greenhouse effect to determine the temperature of an atmosphere? One thing that GHGs do is absorb surface radiation and transfer that energy to the atmosphere as kinetic energy. This allows the atmosphere to contain more energy than an atmosphere without GHGs. This will expand the atmosphere. Since more energy will be absorbed at lower altitudes due to higher density, this will create a lapse rate.

That’s it. Notice I never mentioned back radiation. The lapse rate is all that is required to make the surface warmer than the S-B computation. There is also no need for any gravitational compression. The gravity produces the density of gases that leads to a lapse rate just by its existence.

The next question would then be whether back radiation makes it even warmer. I think the answer is yes for several reasons. However, you don’t need back radiation to create a warmer planet and you certainly don’t need “adiabatic auto-compression”.

• Could the reason for there not existing (if that is so) any known planetary atmosphere without some kind of GHGs be that without those GHGs atmosphere has less ability to cool and has thus slowly warmed and expanded away to space? And for the same reason would it not be that an atmosphere without GHGs is capable to accumulate/contain more energy than an atmosphere with GHGs and thus better ability to get rid of accumulated energy/heat?

Richard M – if you have a nice word with the mice they will design a planet for you of any size, pop it into any orbit and surround it with whatever mixture you like of gases with NO GHGs. It wont be necessary for you to tell them what lapse rate you want. You can just measure it OR work it out from universal physical laws and equations already known.
Try it in your head as a thought experiment first (the mice do charge a lot for planets).Pencil and paper are cheaper.

42. mike says:

I’m no physicist so please forgive my stupid questions, but does greater atmospheric density due solely to pressure hold greater amounts of heat? It seems to me that the closer you move toward a solid from a gas the greater the capacity for absorbing and retaining heat as long as there is continual input of energy from some external source. If that’s the case, is the greenhouse effect enhanced with increasing atmospheric pressure? Can this explain the high temperatures on Venus for example without going into the actual volume or percentages of the gases? In other words if you have 2 bodies with the same volume of GHGs but vastly different pressures due to stronger gravity, does it affect the GHE?

• joelobryan says:

the high surface temp of Venus can and is fully explained by its pressure without resorting to a GHE of CO2. Note: Venus also has no H2O in its atmosphere or surface. Such high temps long ago caused the dissociation of the H2O molecules into their diatomic atomic constituents and H2 escaped to space. O2 combined with minerals or formed stable CO2.

• Robert Holmes says:

joelobryan
Folk need to rid themselves of the Jim Hansen idea that Venus is hot because of the GHE of CO2; even NASA still say its hot because of the GHE.

Venus – very hot but it’s not the greenhouse effect causing it. A little thought will bring even the non-expert to agree that Venus is not hot because of the GHE.
The greenhouse effect supposedly works by short-wave radiation hitting the surface and then being re-radiated as longwave, which is then trapped by the GHG.

First, very little of the sun’s direct radiation even reaches the surface of Venus due to its opaque atmosphere – papers say less than 20W/m2;
Jelbring, H. (2003). The “Greenhouse Effect” as a Function of Atmospheric Mass. Energy & Environment, 14(2), 351-356.
Moroz, V., Ekonomov, A., Moshkin, B., Revercomb, H., Sromovsky, L., Schofield, J., . . . Tomasko, M. G. (1985). Solar and thermal radiation in the Venus atmosphere. Advances in Space Research, 5(11), 197-232.
.
Second, Venus has a long ‘day’ of 117 of our days, meaning the night lasts 58 Earth days. Yet there is no real difference in temperature between the day and the night.
How can the GHE ‘trap heat’ and work for 58 days without any sun?
Third, the critical pressure of CO2 is 7,380 kPa. The critical temperature is 30 C. In those super-critical fluid conditions, it’s hard to say whether Venus has an atmosphere or an ocean.

My calculations suggest that the ‘bottom’ 4km of the Venusian atmosphere is not even a gas – it’s a super-critical fluid. How can you have the ‘greenhouse effect’ without any gas?
Fourth, the specific heat of air is higher than CO2, so replacing the 90.9atm pressure atmosphere with a O2 & N2 mixture of the same surface pressure would see the temperature rise, not fall.

• Toneb says:

“How can the GHE ‘trap heat’ and work for 58 days without any sun?”

Appeal to incredulity.
Why shouldn’t it?
Do you not get to be hotter for longer if your house has better insulation?

Put enough CO2 molecules in the way of OLWIR then a lot doesn’t get out.
Meanwhile SW solar arrives at the surface on the sunlit side.

• “The greenhouse effect supposedly works by short-wave radiation hitting the surface and then being re-radiated as longwave, which is then trapped by the GHG.”
It doesn’t have to hit the surface. All that is required is that the SW penetrates to some depth before it is thermalized (absorption). The heat has to get out, from whatever level.

“How can the GHE ‘trap heat’ and work for 58 days without any sun?”
The GHE doesn’t need sunlight to work. It just blocks heat radiated by a hot body. And Venus does stay hot during the night.

“How can you have the ‘greenhouse effect’ without any gas?”
You probably can, but it isn’t the issue. The question is whether GHGs impede the pathway for the heat to escape. Most of that pathway is clearly gas.

The specific heat is totally irrelevant.

The basic issue is, the surface of Venus is very hot, mean 737K. That surface radiates 16000 W/m2. That’s about 100 x the sunlight received. If nothing is blocking that radiation, how can it be sustained? And why doesn’t Venus look red hot?

• Toneb says:

“the high surface temp of Venus can and is fully explained by its pressure without resorting to a GHE of CO2.”

Then why does the temp of Venus as seen from space not correspond to it’s actual surface temp, but instead to it’s solar constant minus it’s albedo?
Why would the heat (from as you say) compression not be visible as viewed from space.
(given that you deny that LWIR is not *blocked* by CO2)
And then you would have the situation where more heat is coming out than went in.
Free energy!

So your bike tyre remains permanently hot after you pump it up.
After the work required to do it stops?
Work meaning pushing the atmosphere’s molecules together.
NOT the act of keeping them together.
The heat dissipates thereafter.
Try to conceive of the -g/Cp relation at work to make a LR.
On the other hand why are we not utilising *you* perpetual free energy, that is apparently available in presence of a gravity field?

• It’s the density that matters, so no need for CO2, argon suffices.

“Classroom experiments that purport to demonstrate the role of carbon dioxide’s far-infrared absorption in global climate change are more subtle than is commonly appreciated. We show, using both experimental results and theoretical analysis, that one such experiment demonstrates an entirely different phenomenon: The greater density of carbon dioxide compared to air reduces heat transfer by suppressing convective mixing with the ambient air. Other related experiments are subject to similar concerns. Argon, which has a density close to that of carbon dioxide but no infrared absorption, provides a valuable experimental control for separating radiative from convective effects. A simple analytical model for estimating the magnitude of the radiative greenhouse effect is presented, and the effect is shown to be very small for most tabletop experiments.”

https://goo.gl/Pq6FDG

• The demonstration described in the paper I linked above shows also that CO2, even being slightly denser than argon, is able to shed away excess heat more efficiently.

• JasG says:

“On the other hand why are we not utilising *you* perpetual free energy, that is apparently available in presence of a gravity field?”

Surely we are: As hydro-electricity! Also wind, solar and geothermal ‘free’ energy are also exploited.

• Brett Keane says:

Joel, there is the sulphuric acid formation and disassociation band , but that ends up net zero energy flux of course.

• Sandy In Limousin says:

By converting gaseous Oxygen and solid Carbon (coal) into gaseous CO2 humans have added mass to the atmosphere. This will raise the temperature increasing the H2O content further increasing the mass of the atmosphere. We’re all doomed but not in the way we thought!!

• JimG says:

If that were true it would be a tiny increase in mass and hence tiny effect on temperature. We’re also taking out O2 in all the rusting metal we’ve made, N2 in all the ammonia we make, etc. If you’re worried, just keep on eye on the air pressure, a measure of the mass of the atmosphere in a way, and if it hits new highs and continues to grow relentlessly, then you would have your proof.

• Toneb says:

“Surely we are: As hydro-electricity! Also wind, solar and geothermal ‘free’ energy are also exploited.”

True, but that is not “free” in the sense that we just tap into a gravity field and hey presto, free energy flows at every point, which is what this sky-dragon slaying concept does – that of constant work being done on the atmosphere under gravity, and so constantly heating it.

43. Toneb says:

“My calculations suggest that the ‘bottom’ 4km of the Venusian atmosphere is not even a gas – it’s a super-critical fluid. How can you have the ‘greenhouse effect’ without any gas?”

Oh OK ……

http://mentallandscape.com/C_CatalogVenus.htm

• richard verney says:

The classic view of the radiative GHE for planet Earth is that Earth’s atmosphere is largely transparent to the wavelength of incoming solar irradiance, whereas it is significantly opaque to the wavelength of outgoing LWIR.

That process cannot happen on Venus, because the Venusian atmosphere is not largely transparent to the wavelength of incoming solar irradiance. Despite Venus being much nearer the sun and hence having far more solar irradiance at TOA, at the surface there is only about 4 W/m2.

So we know that incoming solar is not directly heating the surface of the planet Venus, as it does on planet Earth, because there is less solar irradiance reaching the equatorial surface of Venus than reaches the surface of Antartica here on planet Earth, by a large margin.

Further, there is all but no diurnal range, ie., there is all but no temperature difference between the temperatures of the Venusian day, and those of the Venusian night, notwithstanding that the night on Venus lasts some 117 Earth days (about 4 months). We see a difference in planet Earth in the Arctic and the Antarctic when there is no sun for a few months.

And what about Mars? Mars in its atmosphere has about the same number of molecules of GHGs as does planet Earth. It has more than an order of magnitude more CO2 molecules, but of course less water vapour molecules. Despite having more molecules of GHGs, and despite these molecules being closer together, Mars has no measurable GHE.

In fact, if you were to stand at the equator of Mars, the temperature is around 20 degC at your feet, but 0 degC at your head. all those molecules of CO2 are not doing very much. Why is Mars so cold and why does the temperature drop so quickly in just 2 metres. According to NASA, it is because Mars has a thin atmosphere.

The Martian atmosphere is remarkably like that of planet Earth, except for non GHGs. The real difference between the two atmospheres, is that on planet Earth we have vast quantities of Nitrogen, Oxygen and other non GHGS leading to a massive atmosphere with thermal capacity and thermal inertia/lag. If one were to strip Earth’s atmosphere of all the non GHGs, one would have an atmosphere very similar to Mars with about the same weight, density and pressure.

• richard verney says:

NASA says (https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mars/in-depth/):

The temperature on Mars can be as high as 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) or as low as about -225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius). And because the atmosphere is so thin, heat from the Sun easily escapes this planet. If you were to stand on the surface of Mars on the equator at noon, it would feel like spring at your feet (75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius) and winter at your head (32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius). (my emphasis)

The heat easily escapes because the atmosphere lacks thermal mass, and thermal inertia. All those molecules of CO2 are doing nothing to impede the loss of heat. All these molecules of CO2 are nt acting like a blanket reducing the heat loss, and there is a drop of temperature of 24degC in just 2 meteres (24degC at your feet, 0 degC at your head).

If one reads the geo-engineering papers on Mars, they discuss making the atmosphere more massive so as to increase the temperature on the surface, they do not discuss the need for more GHGs.

44. Just because there are greenhouse gases. i.e. gases which can radiate energy in the thermal infrared range of wavelengths, and which are necessary to cool the earth, it doesn’t mean that the supposed greenhouse effect of 33degC is real – far from it.

• That’s why even Gavin Schmidt admiitted the GHE was more of a thought experiment than an observable state.

45. I’ve been working on this for years and have explained it in detail on several occasions to Willis who failed to follow the logic.

Latest version here (though there are subsequent versions incorporated into the comments sections of several of Willis’s previous ) posts:

https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/stephen-wilde-how-conduction-and-convection-cause-a-greenhouse-effect-arising-from-atmospheric-mass/

The fact is that maintaining convective overturning within an atmosphere suspended off the surface against gravity requires energy, that energy cannot be radiated to space if convection is to continue and that energy causes a surface temperature rise above that predicted by the S-B equation.

No GHGs needed. If GHGs are present then convective changes automatically neutralise the thermal effect of any radiative imbalances.

Otherwise no atmosphere could remain suspended off the surface.

• Stephen Wilde February 7, 2018 at 2:00 am

I’ve been working on this for years and have explained it in detail on several occasions to Willis who failed to follow the logic.

And we have another winner who is too good to follow a simple request to QUOTE MY WORDS. This allows him to spread falsehoods about what I have said and done.

Stephen, if you want to accuse me of something, then grow a pair and quote what I said. Hiding behind handwaving accusations merely damages your reputation, not mine.

w.

• It isn’t an accusation, merely a reporting of facts that you are free to rebut as you wish.
You know my detailed proposition so if you still do not accept any component you can set out your remaining objections here and I will tackle them again.
To the best of my recollection without spending hours trawling through old posts the sticking point was your contention that the energy needed to lift an atmosphere off the ground was able to be dissipated without the atmosphere falling to the ground.
If that is an inaccurate representation of your position then please put me right.

• Stephen Wilde February 7, 2018 at 10:22 am

It isn’t an accusation, merely a reporting of facts that you are free to rebut as you wish.

If you had quoted something I said, THEN it would be a “reporting of facts”. But nooo, you’re too elevated a personality to deal with actual facts.

I can rebut facts, Stephen. But I cannot “rebut” your handwaving substance-free accusations.

Are you really that stupid, or is it merely stubborn recalcitrance? What do you not understand in the request that you need to QUOTE WHAT IT IS THAT YOU OBJECT TO?

w.

• It is my proposition that you object to so it is you that needs to specify what I said that you think is wrong.

It was reasonable for you to expect to be quoted verbatim in the early days but now that your output is so voluminous it is no longer reasonable.

You should be prepared to restate your position as necessary and correct those who get it wrong.

Anyway, my post narrowed it down to a specific issue for you so let’s hear what you say.

• Let me recap the bidding. You accused me of not being able to follow your logic, viz:

Stephen Wilde February 7, 2018 at 2:00 am

I’ve been working on this for years and have explained it in detail on several occasions to Willis who failed to follow the logic.

In response, I asked you to point to wherever it was that I had “failed to follow the logic”. A simple request. All you had to do was to point out the location where I did whatever you are accusing me of doing, so we can all get the facts.

In response, you’ve done everything except back up your unpleasant accusation with facts. You even go so far as to say:

Stephen Wilde February 7, 2018 at 11:04 am

It is my proposition that you object to so it is you that needs to specify what I said that you think is wrong.

Say what?

I have no clue where I might have “failed to follow your logic” as you have accused me of doing. And now I have to specify things? That’s insane. I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT YOU ARE ACCUSING ME OF, how on earth can I possibly “specify” anything?

Time to either put up or shut up, Stephen. Either point out where I “failed to follow your logic” so we can judge for ourselves, or I’m through with this nonsense.

w.

• The sticking point we arrived at was that you asserted that the energy absorbed by an atmosphere could be dissipated away without the atmosphere falling to the ground.
Please address that issue. Did you intend to assert that or not?

• SW, lets make it real simple. You lose.

• The loser is the one who blocks progress by refusing to address an issue.
Once Willis accepts that the energy absorbed by an atmosphere during its formation remains present forever or until the atmosphere falls back to the ground he is in checkmate.

46. The ideal gas law does not say that if you raise p, you will raise T (at V = const) – it depends on the change in the amount of the gas (n or m) or density. The temperature rise is not a consequence of ideal gas law, but from the compression work and the pumping process not being slow enough to be isothermal. When the tire (and the air inside) cools to ambient temperature after the pumping, p will decrease too, according to ideal gas law p1/p2=n1/n2=ρ1/ρ2
Ideal gas law is just an equation of state, which links the three state variables: temperature, pressure and density. If any two of them are known, the third is given (fixed) by the gas law.

• This was a reply to the first comment by ristvan.

47. My post at Feb 7th 2.00 am seems to have hit the spam filter for some reason. Hope it gets through shortly.

48. JimG says:

You have to look at the atmosphere as a system of molecules bouncing around. The 33K greenhouse effect is only at the surface, the average temp of the whole atmosphere is still only the black body temp, when measured at the center of mass of the atmosphere, where the air pressure is 1/2 the surface pressure. On Earth with it’s weak amount of CO2 and on Venus with it’s overwhelming amount of CO2, that’s the case, and shows that gh gases aren’t a major factor. If gh gases are a major factor then why is Venus’ average atmospheric temp over the whole volume only the black body temp?

• Venus has a much denser atm than Earth.

49. Willis said:

“Whether the planet is warmed by the sun or by internal radioactivity or whether the warming is increased by GHGs is NOT determinable from the fact that the atmospheres obey the Ideal Gas Law. They will ALWAYS generally obey the Ideal Gas Law, no matter how they are heated.
And more to the point, this does NOT show that greenhouse gases don’t do anything, as he incorrectly claims in the above quote.”

Which is correct on the face of it BUT the point is that if GHGs were able to alter surface temperature or atmospheric density without altering gravity or atmospheric mass then the atmosphere would go out of hydrostatic equilibrium and be lost either by falling to the surface or by drifting off into space.

For example:

If one starts with a GHG free atmosphere in hydrostatic equilibrium then the downward force of gravity is on average exactly offset by the upward pressure gradient force caused by surface heating via conduction and convection. That balance must apply at every height for an atmosphere to be retained.

If one then adds GHGs so as to raise surface temperature and thereby reduce surface density then the consequent expansion of the atmosphere would create a topmost layer where the upward force exceeds the downward force and that layer would be lost to space.

Losing the topmost layer would reduce total atmospheric mass so that the same surface temperature would push the reduced weight of the atmosphere a little higher again to replace the lost layer and again the renewed topmost layer would have the upward force exceeding the downward force and it would be lost in turn.

And so on until there is no atmosphere.

So, by applying basic physics it is implicit that GHGs don’t do anything to surface temperature.

• Don132 says:

SW says: “If one starts with a GHG free atmosphere in hydrostatic equilibrium then the downward force of gravity is on average exactly offset by the upward pressure gradient force caused by surface heating via conduction and convection. That balance must apply at every height for an atmosphere to be retained.”

That, I think, is the gist of it.

My basic conclusion (so far) is that the compression caused by gravity must affect the heat capacity of parcels of air nearest the surface, since those parcels are under about 19,000 pounds/ square yards of pressure. Expressing the pressure in square yards I think makes it clearer how much pressure really is bearing down on us, even now. This dynamic between gravity and convection/conduction seems to be a logical and elegant way to express the lapse rate, so I don’t see that the GHGs add much of anything to this basic mechanism.

If we had no GHGs, would the mechanism that Wilde described still hold? Yes. Why would it not? If we don’t need GHGs to describe the lapse rate, why would we need them to describe why the surface isn’t radiating away at 255K?

• Trick says:

Don asks: ”If we had no GHGs, would the mechanism that Wilde described still hold?”

The mechanism described by Stephen doesn’t hold with or without GHGs. That mechanism is but Stephen’s imagination at work. To lose an atm. in real life, escape velocity for the atm. constituents must be exceeded & is a fact Stephen doesn’t mention. H2 at Earthian temperatures is light enough to reach escape velocity so that part of the atm. HAS escaped & there is very little original H2 left. Same for a lot of the original helium.

”If we don’t need GHGs to describe the lapse rate, why would we need them to describe why the surface isn’t radiating away at 255K?”

Because the adiabatic lapse derivation assumes temperature changes slow enough with increasing z height so calculations work out only g and total Cp needed in the calculation. Since O2,N2 make up almost all the air Cp, the rest don’t make much difference.

Where GHGs matter is the z=0 value for temperature to start lapsing from. The standard atm. for the midlatitude tropics shows this start temperature inclusive of all the natural GHG effects at the time standard lapse was developed. Reduce the GHGs and you reduce the temperature at z=0 but do not affect the adiabatic lapse since g and Cp don’t change (much) as GHGs change.

Conversely, increase the GHGs and you increase the start z=0 temperature but do not affect the adiabatic lapse since g and Cp don’t change (much). As long as the increased temperature doesn’t change much with increasing z.

• Don132 says:

Trick says: “Where GHGs matter is the z=0 value for temperature to start lapsing from.”

Yes that’s the theory, isn’t it? But then you agree that what raises the earth’s surface temp from 255K to 288K is gravity and pressure and atmospheric density, without any need to consider GHGs? Because you say, “the adiabatic lapse derivation assumes temperature changes slow enough with increasing z height so calculations work out only g and total Cp needed in the calculation. Since O2,N2 make up almost all the air Cp, the rest don’t make much difference.”

Has this z value movement, caused by GHG, been measured? Is it real or theoretical?

You say, “Reduce the GHGs and you reduce the temperature at z=0 but do not affect the adiabatic lapse since g and Cp don’t change (much) as GHGs change.” But I believe this confuses what you said earlier; it isn’t that the temperature at z changes, it’s that z itself, the emissions height, changes, while the temperature stays the same and the lapse rate proceeds from there. But, I don’t buy that GHGs affect the lapse rate nearly as much as the theory holds.

I don’t think anyone has effectively refuted the very simple logic that Wilde has laid out: “If one starts with a GHG free atmosphere in hydrostatic equilibrium then the downward force of gravity is on average exactly offset by the upward pressure gradient force caused by surface heating via conduction and convection. That balance must apply at every height for an atmosphere to be retained.” I believe people need to think about this more instead of immediately pondering ways to refute it. He has described the lapse rate elegantly, and with no need for GHGs. If it seems not to make sense, then maybe thinking about the actual pressure bearing down on the surface atmosphere will help it make sense; this pressure is not trivial.

• Trick says:

”But then you agree that what raises the earth’s surface temp from 255K to 288K is gravity and pressure and atmospheric density, without any need to consider GHGs?”

Do not agree. The sun raises the avg. near surface T from 255K to 288K as GHG parameters alone are increased from zero to natural amounts by formally tested basic atm. physics.

Once you know avg. density(0) and avg. P(0) either at avg. 255K or 288K then the associated avg. T can be ideally computed from IGL. The problem is measuring the avg. P and avg. density to begin with. The other approach, energy balance, also works fine to get avg. T but you need planetary measurements also.

Today it seems easy, but before the NASA probes there were only estimates for the other planets avg. T, some were remarkably close others not so much. Earth already had measured surface avg. T, avg. P so could ~calculate Earth avg. density.

As far as refuting Wilde, nothing he writes gets the atm. constituents up to escape velocity, the temperatures aren’t high enough for heavy N2, O2 et. al. molecules. If below escape velocity, molecules and atm. are retained. Pretty sure Wilde can not even compute escape velocity for a certain molecule, never have seen him write a formula for that, for anything btw.

• Robert Holmes says:

“If we had no GHGs, would the mechanism that Wilde described still hold? Yes. Why would it not? If we don’t need GHGs to describe the lapse rate, why would we need them to describe why the surface isn’t radiating away at 255K?”
.
Good points here Don.
We certainly don’t need GHG to describe the lapse rate (or auto-compression as I call it) why would we?

50. Kelvin Vaughan says:

All the 6 surfaces in my room are emitting 390 Watts. What is the temperature in the centre?
(6 x 390)/6.

It says above he sun is providing 255 Watts and we have to find a further 33 Watts to get 288 Watts.. So (255 +X)/2 = 288.
x = 576 – 255 or x =321 Watts. To get 288 Watts you need a second source of 321 Watts in addition to Suns 255 Watts.

Am I doing something wrong?.

• Kelvin Vaughan says:

Just realised it’s 288K

51. Robert Holmes says:

Yours is the most concise and elegant explanation I have seen in support of the conclusions in my paper. Well Done!

• Robert Holmes says:

Stephen
Your material makes perfect sense to me.
I think the key point is this;
.
“So is it atmospheric mass returning kinetic energy to the surface (retrieved from potential energy in descent) or is it DWIR that causes the greenhouse effect. It cannot be both.”
.
Indeed it cannot be both, and I am pretty sure that it is the former.

Robert – you are too kind. I grasp the logic sort of intuitively then try to check it myself bit by bit. My thought experiment of 2 planets one with GHG and one without is one I have had for years. Trying it out on some of the physics PhDs and one NASA scientist in the Stack-Exchange forum sort of confirmed the BS of CAGW as they never answered even the simplest of questions, just danced around it, posted dozens of graphs and told me I was asking the wrong question. When the moderators actually warned me I might be asked to leave as my posts were “unpopular” it really hit home.

There has been a fair bit of “dancing around” in this thread. The culprits know who they are – enough said!

If someone asks me a question about atmospheric physics and what I think I will try to answer it honestly provided they do it politely and accord me the same respect. Those who are rude,evasive and unhelpful here on WUWT are not furthering the cause of increasing our understanding of this subject.

Your paper is, I suspect, not the whole story but is sufficient to entirely refute the GHG theory. It adds some insight into how the atmosphere really works but the end answer will possibly incorporate something from Stephen Wilde, Nikolov and Zeller and D**g C****n (Ask Anthony about the *** if you don’t know). All of you guys should be working together ideally but for now make sure you all read one another’s work in great detail and with careful consideration. The truth will gradually coalesce.

• Rev B,

My description is simple and complete and needs nothing more from others.

52. hunter says:

Good job.

53. “Dang … “adiabatic auto-compression” as a permanent energy source. Is it patented yet?
Please forgive my sarcasm, I just get tired of endless claims of endless energy … onwards. Here is a look at the various planetary atmospheres:”

So called adiabatic auto compression is not a permanent energy source but it is an energy store.
It is a closed loop of (originally solar) energy captured via conduction by the system of convective overturning which developed within the atmosphere during the period of time that the atmosphere first formed.
It can never be radiated to space until the sun is switched off whereupon the gases in the atmosphere will fall to the ground as frozen solids.

54. Gravity “traps” solar energy on this planet and every other planetary body with an atmosphere, not greenhouse gasses, which make little or no contribution to the temperature at the surface. This is the atmospheric thermal effect described by https://twitter.com/NikolovScience.

55. Might have been a bad idea for Anthony to put this under the ‘bad science’ section :)

Mi casa su casa.

• Robert Holmes says:

This is under the ‘bad science’ section!
You are kidding – right?

• Robert Holmes says:

HAHAHA I am in with the ‘shrinking beetles’, the ‘conceptual penis’ and other ‘crackpots’ like Svensmark and Shaviv!!!
That is so funny!

• One has to laugh.

Anthony pulled a similar one on me when I wrote a post pointing out that the Trenberth diagram was wrong because it omitted energy returning to KE from PE beneath descending columns of air but I put up with some mockery because at least he had the courage to publish it.

Your work amongst that of others is proving me to have been right.

• And he has the old Climate Realists site where I first contributed listed under the ‘Transcendent Rant and Way Out There theory’ section.

Maybe he should reconsider?

• Robert Holmes says:

We live in a world where an accurate and provable description of reality, is called ‘Bad Science’ or ‘Way Out There Theory’ – not on mainstream sites (which would be bad enough), but on skeptical sites!
I am honestly still laughing!!
You have 100% made my day mate!

56. Martin Mason says:

If the lapse rate is created by the greenhouse effect why can it be calculated with reference only to physical properties and no reference to radiant properties at any point? If the surface temperature is dependent on downwelling LW radiation why can the spot temperature at any point be calculated with no reference to the LW radiation only incoming SW radiation? If DWLR in excess of the incoming energy from the sun really can raise the temperature of the earth’s surface then why can’t we measure that ability to do so or recover that energy if it is real?

• Extrapolate out the 2 slopes to see where they intersect the rapid increase that was sunrise, that’s just the change to stay above dew point temp.
A 35W/m^2 drop in net outgoing, oh, it has to add 35W/m^2 up too!

• You are looking at internal eddies in the system. The issue is how to compute the mean temperature of a planet with an atmosphere which — sky dragon-denier insults aside — can be done without reference to the composition of that atmosphere. All things being equal a planet with a higher atmospheric pressure will have a higher mean temperature at the surface. That is irrespective of the composition of that atmosphere. It’s gravity wot done it.

• No it’s not an eddy, it’s energy getting bled off as needed because the state change has more energy than an equal drop in temp without the state change.
That’s how they make voltage regulators, and switching supplies come in a pulse at a time, and there’s storage to bleed energy from to maintain the output voltage.
The atm has multiple independent agents operating. Tone doesn’t understand what that means apparently

57. icisil says:

I have a question for those who believe that CO2 warms (not merely slows cooling of) the atmosphere. Would you be saying the same things if CO2 increases warming by 10%, or if it increased warming by 0.000000001%?

58. KTM says:

Sky Dragons aside, i think the important point made by this thought experiment is that temperature is only one of several possible changes that could occur in the atmosphere in response to some new forcing.

Sure, if all the other variables stay constant, temperature should go up. But what if instead the volume or density or molar mass of the atmosphere adjusted slightly? When you’re talking about a fraction of a degree Kelvin increase over decades, that’s a pretty small fractional change.

Are we even looking for these tiny fractional changes in the total volume of the atmosphere, or total density, or total pressure?

If not, then we could easily be over estimating the temperature change in the model assumptions.

59. Brett Keane says:

We may be progressing. Note that the sun provides the energy, no one claims otherwise. Atmospheres provide mass of a gaseous kind, obeying those Laws. Gravity acting on mass
causes pressure and lapse rates arise from gas physics.

• @NikolovScience “Our P-T empirical relationship reveals the LONG-TERM steady-state controllers of climate. Solar irradiance & pressure determine the ENERGY ENVELOPE, within which other atmospheric processes operate such as IR radiative transfer & cloud dynamics.”

60. HankHenry says:

Didn’t someone in Australia patent a gigantic field of glass panels surrounding a chimney with the idea that the heated air under the glass would rush up the chimney and drive fans to generate electric power?

61. AndyH-ce says:

Why are there questions here about whether gravitation compression creates energy or not? There is no argument that greenhouse gases create any amount of energy. The energy comes from outside the earth, from the sun. Both processes store energy from the sun for a short time, the exact time apparently being uncertain for GHGs.

I have seen green house effect calculations purporting to prove that delay is as short as two milliseconds between initial radiation from a solar heated surface and radiating out of the atmosphere versus contentions that the delay is, on average, some number of hours. Regardless, that energy must eventually be lost again, radiated away, but in the meantime the solar energy does many things here within the earth-atmosphere system. One of the things input solar does is provide heat that causes air to raise and expand, taking the temperature causing energy with it. This storage can be for some considerable time.

As the air raises it expands, cooling without losing energy. Jim Steele’s recent article here on last year’s Napa California grass fires explains how seasonal cooling in the Arizona high plateau brings colder, thus denser, air down the gravity well into California, heating it by as much as 50 degrees C as it compresses. This increases local temperatures greatly. This force feeds any fires that get started. Similar forced fires burned considerable acreage in Southern California a bit later in the year. When there are no fires, the local temperatures are simply many degrees warmer than they would be otherwise.

Input solar energy is obviously stored in many other ways. Plants use it to convert matter to a higher energy form, some of which can be retained for very long periods. Solar energy penetrates into water where some of it can be retained, apparently for centuries and longer.

There seems to be no controversy about these other activities. With adiabatic heating, no energy is created to heat the falling air and thus the country into which it flows; it is just energy from the sun that was stored in that air earlier in the season. Likewise, the arguments about GHG heating do not involve any new energy, just energy stored in molecular bonds. Arguments about adiabatic cooling/heating and whether any energy is created seem simply to be distractions, straw man arguments, that avoid any real questions.

• “There is no argument that greenhouse gases create any amount of energy.”

Well, if you look at the Kiehl-Trenberth energy balance diagram, you will see 341 Wm-2 of incoming solar radiation at the TOA, but then we see 517 Wm-2 of energy striking the earth’s surface. If that is not energy creation, I don’t know what is.

62. ripatheism says:

I think you miss the whole idea of the paper, if the average temperature of all planets that we have these variables for, can be calculated with this formula to a very precise degree, without the need to look at the composition of the atmosphere, it says a hell of a lot about what can and cannot regulate natural variation. If c02 was a large driver, then the two planets closest to us, Venus and Mars, both mostly c02, should deviate quite a bit from these calculations, due to the so-called downwelling of c02. I am not so sure what is so hard to understand – he is not concluding the temp stays perfectly constant, he is concluding that if you can use these variables, which are not dependent on ‘greenhouse gases”, and predict the average heat of planets, then of course greenhouse gases are NOT the main drivers of a baseline temp. Like it our not we have an atmosphere due to gravity (and possibly our magnetic field helps maintain it). Venus is hot DUE TO SO MUCH MATERIAL IN THE ATMOSPHERE, not because it is mostly c02. Mars is frigid, but the percent of its atmosphere that is c02 is almost the same as venus, but its atmospheric pressure is very small compared to earth, and almost insignificant compared to venus. The idea that Venus at some point had a runaway greenhouse effect is backwards logic. Venus has high pressure because the density of its atmosphere, no matter the composition of that atmosphere. I am not discounting heat from the sun – but venus is covered in cloud and receives very little warning from the sun, and its six month long day is about the same temp as its 6 month long night. Why? Because atmospheric pressure dominates. YES the earths weather patterns are much more complex than either planet, but it will always seek equilibrium based on these very real gas laws.

63. Jim Masterson says:

Mr. Eschenbach knows how to “poke the bear.”

So you replace terms in the Ideal Gas Law with equivalent values and the lower atmosphere still seems to obey the IGL. Big Deal!

It’s like a magician during a card trick who forces someone to take the two of diamonds and then tells everyone it’s the two of diamonds. There’s nothing amazing here. The real surprise is when the magician thinks he’s actually done magic.

Jim

64. NZ Willy says:

The author is right and Willis is wrong because the author states:

“Then adiabatic auto-compression provides the ‘other’ 33 Kelvin, to arrive at the known and measured average global temperature of 288 Kelvin. The ‘other’ 33 Kelvin cannot be provided by the greenhouse effect, because if it was, the molar mass version of the ideal gas law could not then work to accurately calculate planetary temperatures, as it clearly does here.”

Note that the author specifically excludes the “greenhouse effect”, i.e., CO2. Willis then disputes this with his “ten million nuclear reactors” example, but the author didn’t exclude that, he excluded only the CO2 greenhouse effect. So Willis’ rebuttal was off-topic. The author’s model of solar insolation + adiabatic gravity-induced compression is quite compelling if it indeed matches the surface temperatures across the Solar system.

65. A Teacher of Thermo says:

The adiabatic heating prediction by Holmes is correct to the extent of the accuracy of the ideal gas law to model the states of atmospheric air. As noted by many commenters, an alternative equation of state could be selected to improve accuracy.

However, the use of an equation of state to calcuate a temperature of a given air volume at a known state (ground-level) is an improper use of the thermodynamic equations. Even if one accepts the dubious assumption of abiabatic heating, the use of an equation of state in the form of change in Pressure/Volume (expressed in the form of molar density as you please) results in a predition of change in temperature between State 1 and State 2 consistent with the assumptions embraced (adiabatic and constant mass in this instance).

In short, the proffered calculation is a prediction of what engineers call PV-work expressed as a temperature change from some (in this article) unstated reference condtiion wherein the PV work would be zero m&#179-kPa. What the number is not is a prediction of the actual temperature of the final state. Many who have enjoyed the North American winter will attest that ground-level air temperature can vary quite widely despite realtively small changes in barometric pressure.

The PV work equation could be as easily used with an adiabatic and isothermal (constant temperature) assumption which would predict exactly zero temperature change (well, duh) and a change in molar density. The equation is useful to calcuate a change of energetic condition between two given states; it is not useful to a priori calculate the temperature of a single, given state.

• Robert Holmes says:

“Many who have enjoyed the North American winter will attest that ground-level air temperature can vary quite widely despite realtively small changes in barometric pressure.”
.
Low pressure is what is making the South Pole so cold. It is not pressure change which is making the US so cold, this is caused by an increase in density. A 10% increase in density causes a 28C fall in temperatures.

[?? .mod]

• Trick says:

“A 10% increase in density causes a 28C fall in temperatures.”

At constant volume. And pressure moves in the same direction as temperature only at constant density. If Robert would look at any weather station’s history over say a week, it will be obvious that at some times pressure and temperature are moving in opposite directions.

• Robert Holmes says:

“At constant volume. And pressure moves in the same direction as temperature only at constant density. If Robert would look at any weather station’s history over say a week, it will be obvious that at some times pressure and temperature are moving in opposite directions.”
.
Volume is not a parameter I use.
Sure, pressure and temperature can move in opposite directions; who said they couldn’t?
A glance at current Canadian temperatures show a higher pressure than average – but a lower temperature than average; again, this is due to a much higher density than average.

• “At constant volume.”
Well, at constant pressure, which it pretty much is. The error is the assumption of causation. As said often elsewhere, you have two thermo variables to define a state, and the equation of state, here IGL, fixes the third. In this case, pressure is determined by mass of air, and temperature is determined by polar vortices etc. That then fixes the density, by IGL.

The contrary causation makes no sense. What would make the density change, if not temperature?

• Trick says:

“Well, at constant pressure”

Yes, thanks Nick. P=density*R*T.

• Trick says:

”Sure, pressure and temperature can move in opposite directions; who said they couldn’t?”

Robert Holmes said they couldn’t in the abstract:

“It is here demonstrated that the information contained in just these three gas parameters alone is an extremely accurate predictor of atmospheric temperatures”

Inspection of any weather station data shows there is no obvious relation between pressure and temperature in Earth atm. Sometimes temperature goes up and pressure goes down. Sometimes temperature goes down and pressure goes up. The IGL is not a good predictor of anything unless it can be supplemented by a constraint: Air density goes up as temperature goes down provided that pressure is constant.

• Robert Holmes says:

Robert Holmes; ”Sure, pressure and temperature can move in opposite directions; who said they couldn’t?”
.
Trick; “Robert Holmes said they couldn’t in the abstract”
.
Robert Holmes (from the abstract); “It is here demonstrated that the information contained in just these three gas parameters alone is an extremely accurate predictor of atmospheric temperatures”
.
I have no idea how you translated the latter sentence into me saying that pressure and temperature always go in the same direction!
It is obvious from the formula that this is only true if both the density and the molar mass do not change at the same time.

Let me clarify in a sentence or two for those of you who seem to be totally confusing themselves as Trick is.

Example; Earth’s global average near-surface air temperature.
The formula is as clear as day; it reveals that on short time-scales, air temperature is completely determined by a singular battle between air density and air pressure.
(Why the stipulation of ‘short time-scales’? Because on longer time-scales there will also be some input from molar weight, due to changing atmospheric constituents)

• Robert, yes air temperature is completely determined by pressure and density (and M or Rspec). There is nothing surprising about it.

• Trick says:

”I have no idea how you translated the latter sentence into me saying that pressure and temperature always go in the same direction!”

Because that is what you wrote: “these three gas parameters alone is an extremely accurate predictor of atmospheric temperatures”.

How many times have you been told cold air is denser than warm air? This is true only if qualified by other factors asserted being held constant like pressure. In weather station data by inspection there is no obvious relation between pressure and temperature as you assert. Other parameters are NOT held constant.

Any weather station data shows these three gas parameters alone are nowhere close to an extremely accurate predictor of atmospheric temperatures. If you think there is an obvious IGL relation, then actually pull down some data from any weather station of your choosing over a week. You will not be able to confirm your assertion from the data.

PS: Humorously, there are other factors affecting weather station temperature according to Anthony like the odd BBQ pit, tennis court, airport runway and jet exhaust!

66. usurbrain says:

And exactly what happens to the heat of evaporation trapped in the water vapor ( a GAS ) as it rises in this atmosphere and suddenly collides with a dust particle and turns back into water (Liquid). I see massive amounts of energy transported high into the atmosphere above thew so called CO2 “IR TRAP,” CAP, Insulator, whatever but never hear anyone talk about it. WHY?

• Ben Wouters says:

usurbrain February 7, 2018 at 1:23 pm

And exactly what happens to the heat of evaporation trapped in the water vapor ( a GAS ) as it rises in this atmosphere and suddenly collides with a dust particle and turns back into water (Liquid).

The rising air normally cools according to the DALR (Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate).
When condensation occurs within the rising air it is warmed by the released latent heat and thus cools more slowly, now according the MALR (Moist (or Wet) Adiabatic Lapse Rate).
This all assumes the air surrounding the rising (or sinking) air in is Hydrostatic Equilibrium and the process is adiabatic
This is basic meteorology, so perhaps talk to a meteorologist ;-).

• Brett Keane says:

usur, it is because they wilfully pursue a falsehood. Similar to claiming drugs expand conciousness, often same people. Curious, that.

Earthflux 20%plus by windows; convective: WV 80%, other gases radiating 20% approx..

67. Geoff Sherrington says:

Does it clarify to note that the ideal gas law applies to a closed system? Geoff.

68. Frank says:

Willis wrote: “In fact, it would be a huge shock if planetary atmospheres did NOT generally obey the Ideal Gas Law. After all, they’re gases, and it’s not just a good idea. It’s a Law ”

Unfortunately, it is difficult to apply the Ideal Gas Law to the atmosphere, because it doesn’t have a fixed volume. Temperature is not a function of pressure because volume is allowed to change.

The atmosphere isn’t a sealed system with a fixed volume, it is like a cylinder with a movable piston. The force hold the piston in place is the weight of the gas lying above the piston. That weight diminishes with altitude.

Those who believe that the 33 K GHE is due to pressure usually start by assuming that the atmosphere has a fixed volume and go wrong from there,

• Don132 says:

Frank: “Those who believe that the 33 K GHE is due to pressure usually start by assuming that the atmosphere has a fixed volume and go wrong from there.”

No, that’s not what’s assumed. What’s assumed is that 19,000 pounds per square foot, roughly, of atmospheric pressure at earth’s surface must impact the atmosphere’s capacity to hold heat, and as the pressure decreases with altitude, that must also affect the atmosphere’s capacity to hold heat.

Those who assume that it’s all about radiative physics are, in my opinion, stuck on the paradigm that says radiative physics takes top billing. Others of us think that the paradigm that says that pressure plays a important– even dominant– role in atmospheric physics, makes sense. So far it seems to me that those who want to defend the dominance of radiative physics are too intent on defending a paradigm that they’ve looked through for so long, rather than looking at the evidence.

• Surface pressure is dominant simply because greater density increases the effectiveness of conduction.
The closer packed are the molecules at the surface the more energy they will draw from the irradiated surface and the higher the temperature can rise.
The declining density gradient with height marks the declining efficiency of conduction as density falls.
As density falls radiation increases relative to conduction until at top of atmosphere all is radiation to and from space.
The lapse rate slope describes the changing balance between conduction and radiation as one travels up along the decreasing density gradient.

• Don132 says:

SW: “The closer packed are the molecules at the surface the more energy they will draw from the irradiated surface and the higher the temperature can rise. The declining density gradient with height marks the declining efficiency of conduction as density falls.”

OK, good. So, to move the argument along and actually address specific issues, michael hammer says that without GHGs: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/02/06/ideal-gases/comment-page-1/#comment-2737619 “Once the air reaches the same temperature as the surface there is no net heat transfer from surface to air so we have a static atmosphere with no heat transfer in or our. No heating of the air near the surface so no increase in temperature driving convection. The lapse rate arises because of convection and cooling from above but if there is no cooling from above and no convection then the lapse rate does not need to occur. … Nitrogen and oxygen neither absorb nor emit thermal infrared energy to any significant extent.”

My question to MH would be, what would the temperature of GHG-free atmosphere be, then, if the earth is at 255K (for the sake of argument)? And to SW, what is your response to MH?

• My reply to MH is that you cannot suppress convection for a sphere lit by a point source of light.
There will always be density differentials in the horizontal plane so the scenario he proposes is impossible.
Once convection begins there is a steady flow of energy from surface to air at the base of rising columns and an equal flow of energy from air to surface at the base of descending columns.
There will be a lapse rate reflecting the decline in density with height even without GHGs and there is no requirement for any energy to depart to space from the top of the atmosphere.
The cooling with height is instead created by the conversion of kinetic energy to potential energy as air moves upward along the lapse rate slope.

• Frank says:

So I eventually stepped back from prejudice against radiative forcing and recognized radiation’s predominant role. Perhaps you can too, but it was really difficult for me to abandon the justifiable skepticism that politicized climate science had produced in me.

Later I realized that the rate at which radiation leaves the upper atmosphere for space in the long run limits the rate at which heat leaves the surface by convection. If heat leaves from the surface any faster, the upper atmosphere warms, the lapse rate falls and convection shuts down. For example, if the rate of evaporation follows the C-C equation, the flux of latent heat increases 7%/K or 5.6 W/m2/K. However, if radiative cooling to space from the upper atmosphere doesn’t increase at a rate of 5.6 W/m2/K (K rise in Ts), then the lapse rate will become more stable, convection will slow, and humidity near the surface will increase. The planet’s climate feedback parameter (-3.2 W/m2/K for just Planck feedback) is the rate at which radiative cooling to space (and reflection of SWR) changes with Ts. On a planet without feedbacks, evaporation/precipitation couldn’t increase with warming at 7%/K = 5.6 W/m2/K, because a gray body at 288 K with emissivity 0.61 won’t permit it. Fortunately, the earth isn’t a simple gray body. Climate sensitivity (K/(W/m2)) is the reciprocal of the climate feedback parameter (W/m2/K)

Anytime one attempts to connect the temperature and pressure of our atmosphere using the ideal gas law confront an unsolvable problem: the volume isn’t fixed.

Don132 wrote: “What’s assumed is that 19,000 pounds per square foot, roughly, of atmospheric pressure at earth’s surface must impact the atmosphere’s capacity to hold heat.”

“Heat capacity” originates with conservation of energy. If more energy enters an object that leaves, then conservation of energy demands that the difference becomes “internal energy” (translation, rotation and vibration of molecules) aka higher temperature. Heat capacity is the factor that converts excess an energy imbalance (J) into a rise in temperature (K). If one pushes a piston on an isolated cylinder of gas the PdV work done on the gas will raise the temperature of the gas. However, if you wait long enough, the imperfect insulation on any isolated cylinder will allow heat to escape and the temperature return to the temperature of the cylinder’s surroundings.

For pressure to change the temperature of a gas, PdV work must be done. Pressure (Force/Area) alone doesn’t do any work or change internal energy. Work (energy) is force*distance. For a gas, that is Force/Area times distance*Area (volume). The distance (dx) a piston moves becomes a change in volume (dV). When a parcel of air in the atmosphere descends, it contracts under higher pressure (and warms). However, elsewhere in the atmosphere another parcel of air must be rising and cooling, and no NET work is done. To some extent, the atmosphere is like a scuba diver in the ocean with a weight belt to produce neutral buoyancy: No work is done moving upward vertically, because an equal weight of water moves down as you move up. And the vast pressure at the bottom of the ocean doesn’t make it warmer.

I took a long journey through climate science. Good luck with yours.

• Frank,
Net work was done during the formation of the atmosphere and during the first convective overturning cycle. The thermal consequence of that net work remains until the atmosphere falls to the ground again.
It is no use trying to dismiss the thermal effect of conduction and convection by simply saying that all SUBSEQUENT convective cycles net out to zero.

• Robert Holmes says:

Frank
“Unfortunately, it is difficult to apply the Ideal Gas Law to the atmosphere, because it doesn’t have a fixed volume. Temperature is not a function of pressure because volume is allowed to change.”
.
In my formula, which I call the molar mass version of the ideal gas law, I got rid of the volume so it’s not a problem. This formula works perfectly in the atmospheres of any planet with an atmosphere.
Temperature is completely decided by three gas parameters; pressure, density and molar mass.

• Trick says:

”Temperature is completely decided by three gas parameters; pressure, density and molar mass.”

Actually only 2 parameters, pressure and density. One only needs to measure avg. pressure(z), avg. density(z) to get the avg. temperature(z) to instrument accuracy.

For Venus, NASA measured the atm. density(z) and already knew pressure(z). Once NASA had measured the atm. density(z), researchers really did use IGL to get Venus’ atm. temperature(z) curve. However they were only able to measure density(z) down to a certain altitude and extrapolated in troposphere to get their resultant atm. temperature(0) at Venus’ surface.

• Robert Holmes says:

Trick
“Actually only 2 parameters, pressure and density. One only needs to measure avg. pressure(z), avg. density(z) to get the avg. temperature(z) to instrument accuracy. ”
.
On Earth we need molar mass as well. This is because of water vapour, which because of its much lower molecular mass than the atmospheric average must be taken into account. A 1% fall in molar mass reduces temperature by 2.8C.

• “A 1% fall in molar mass reduces temperature by 2.8C.”
You have strange ideas on cause. Strictly, the IGL is an equation of state for a material, and if you change the composition, you have a different equation of state, even if it is just a different M. But that aside, it is always the case that if there is a change, the degrees of freedom, 3 in this case, will adjust somehow to accommodate. The IGL just defines one constraint. It doesn’t say that there will be a change in temperature.

If some water evaporates, the temperature may change if there is heat taken from the air in evap. The surface pressure can’t change much, else pressure gradient and acceleration. So the main response will be a change in density. That in turn will lead to convective instability, but that is not a matter for the IGL.

• Of course it is !!!
The IGL describes the real world response to density variations.

• George McFly......I'm your density says:

Robert, congratulations on your paper. It is a clear and concise explanation of the Gravito-thermal theory and furthermore, it works!

Don’t pay too much attention to the criticisms here. Everyone has a theory.

• Robert Holmes says:

George, that appears to be the case; everyone has a theory – even my taxi driver today!

• Trick says:

“A 1% fall in molar mass reduces temperature by 2.8C.”

With other parameters held constant. The other parameters are not constant in earth atm. as any weather station’s data will show on daily, weekly (etc.) time frames.

• Frank says:

Robert wrote: “In my formula, which I call the molar mass version of the ideal gas law, I got rid of the volume so it’s not a problem.”

I beg to disagree. In your derivation (copied below), temperature is a function of both pressure (P) and density (ρ). The mass and number of moles of gas is a conserved quantity, but their density changes with the volume they occupy. As I said, above:

“Those who believe that the 33 K GHE is due to pressure usually start by assuming that the atmosphere has a fixed volume and go wrong from there.”

P V = n R T (1)

Convert to molar mass;

P V = m/M R T (2)

Convert to density;

PM / RT = m / V = ρ (3)

Drop the volume, find for density;

ρ = P / (R T / M) (4)

Find for temperature;

T = P / (R ρ/M) (5)

ρ = near-surface atmospheric density in kg/m³
M = near-surface atmospheric mean molar mass gm/mol⁻¹

• Brett Keane says:

Frank, a common misconception, putting the cart before the horse.

• Brett Keane says:

Frank, indeed, IGL is tainted by containers. Not so in the unconfined atmosphere, nor is it when using the mylar balloon of the Berthold Klein experiment. Which warmista fear so much they cannot say its name…..

• Frank says:

Brett wrote: “indeed, IGL is tainted by containers.”

You might look at this from a different perspective: A cylinder of gas with a piston that can move or not move. The IGL applies to both. The cylinder contains a fixed number of molecules. If the piston is locked in place, then volume and density are fixed. If not, they can change, like an atmosphere.

The other variable is whether or not the cylinder is so well insulated that the gas stays hot when compressed or is gradually returns to the temperature of its surroundings. We call the former “adiabatic”. Any atmosphere that contains GHGs emits and absorbs thermal infrared. But the rate at which the temperature is changed by thermal infrared can be slow enough that the expansion and contraction of air associated with vertical convection is essentially adiabatic.

However, despite what Steve Wilde says, the heat given off when the atmosphere formed (potential energy converted to kinetic energy as gas fell onto the surface 4.5 billion years ago) has long since been radiated to space.

• That heat is constantly replenished by ongoing convective turnover. It is still present and will be present until the atmosphere falls to the ground.

• Volume changes but mass does not so the pressure is the same at the surface regardless of volume.
Therefore the IGL works perfectly in the atmosphere even though it is comprised of non ideal gases. The variation caused by the non ideal nature of real world gases is too small to matter for all practical purposes.

Since pressure at the surface remains the same on average even if the atmosphere expands and since pressure determines density any increase in volume is self limiting in thermal consequences because expansion leads to less density at the surface so that conduction declines, the gases cool and the atmosphere shrinks back again.

So, temperature is not a consequence of pressure per se but rather a consequence of mass and gravity at any given level of irradiation and those three elements work as described by the IGL with variable pressure from place to place leading to consequent local or regional variations in the efficiency of conduction being merely a by product of that interaction.

• Trick says:

“Therefore the IGL works perfectly in the atmosphere even though it is comprised of non ideal gases.”

Another unfounded assertion without actually looking at, and confirming from, weather station data. A better point would be departure from gas ideality doesn’t cause any known terrestrIal atmosphere phenomenon.

• Frank says:

WIlde wrote: “So, temperature is not a consequence of pressure per se but rather a consequence of mass and gravity at any given level of irradiation and those three elements work as described by the IGL with variable pressure from place to place leading to consequent local or regional variations in the efficiency of conduction being merely a by product of that interaction.”

Now move the Earth to an orbit of 10 AU where incoming SWR is 1/100 the current value. Keep the same clouds for simplicity or let them change. Surface pressure is UNCHANGED because the same mass of atmosphere lies above. The volume shrinks (and the density increases) as the temperature falls. Or do you think that the temperature of our planet at 10 AU will be the same as 1 AU? How can the temperature remain the same if we radiate 240 W/m2 from the TOA at today’s temperature, but will receive only 2.4 W/m2. Use your common sense.

• Since insolation is one of the three variable parameters (the others being mass and gravity) you have to adjust for distance from the sun so the temperatures will not be the same.

• Trick says:

Frank, Stephen asserting: “temperature is not a consequence of pressure per se but rather a consequence of mass and gravity at any given level of irradiation” is just in his imagination. His past defense has been that he found this idea in a text in the 1960s but can’t cite the text, nor find it.

I’ve challenged Stephen many times if what he writes is true then he ought to be able to calculate earth global mean surface temperature from just mass, insolation and gravity for which I’ve given him the data. That stumps him so far, he can’t do so. Because his thesis is wrong.

A modern beginning meteorology text easily computes earth global mean surface temperature 288K from radiative 1LOT energy balance from measured input data (insolation, albedo, atm. emissivity, sigma). Stephen is not a student of atm. radiation as it is difficult involving calculus which is beyond even Stephen’s robust imagination.

• Frank says:

Trick wrote: “A modern beginning meteorology text easily computes earth global mean surface temperature 288K from radiative 1LOT energy balance from measured input data (insolation, albedo, atm. emissivity, sigma). Stephen is not a student of atm. radiation as it is difficult involving calculus which is beyond even Stephen’s robust imagination.”

I understand where insolation, albedo, and sigma come from, but temperature depends on emissivity and emissivity is usually calculated from temperature. However, emissivity can be calculated by using the Schwarzschild eqn to calculate the change in outward flux as radiation passes through our atmosphere.

Steve Wilde gets fixated on certain thought patterns that have fundamental flaws he refused to recognize or forgets. We all tend to have this problem and need to listen to those who make sense or recognize contradictions we can’t resolve. I’m mostly writing for the benefit of others who might be confused by Steve or who are open minded enough to want to hear alternative positions. That isn’t always very productive.

• Trick says:

Frank 9:26pm:

…brightness temperature depends on emissivity

….emissivity is usually calculated from thermometer temperature

• Don132 says:

@ Frank February 10, 2018 at 9:26 pm
and @ Willis

What strikes me is that those who hold the gravitational position aren’t stepping up to the plate and helping me as I stumble along. I’ve even provided helpful pathways to reason this through, such as suggesting that even though argon doesn’t radiate IR, it does radiate in other spectra, and as such it’s possible for it to lose energy as it moves away from the surface (irrespective of what pressure is doing) and if this is so then the atoms would lose velocity and the gas cool. Not getting much help on that one!

So I have to conclude that Willis is right regarding the isothermal GHG-free atmosphere because I see no other way out. Stephen says that any perturbations in the surface will set up convective turning; I don’t buy it, and even so, so what? The atoms are all isothermal (ultimately) and they can participate in convection all they want, they’re only moving from a region of one temperature to another region of the same temperature. If that heat can’t be convected away or radiated away or conducted away at the TOA, then it can only radiate away from the surface. Do the argon atoms emit in other frequencies and thereby lose velocity and thereby lose heat? No one seems to think so.

So T =pM/Rd in a GHG-free atmosphere doesn’t seem to say anything about how that atmosphere loses heat.

Willis has been patient overall; a big thanks for that! I really wasn’t trying to prove you wrong in the first place even though yes, I was quite sure you were wrong. I was trying to figure it out.

• Don,

You are missing that Ke becomes Pe during ascent and Pe becomes Ke in descent.

That is why convective overturning matters.

All the molecules in an atmosphere have the same total energy (Ke + Pe) but Pe which does not register as heat increases with height and Ke declines with height so for a convecting atmosphere there must be a temperature decline with height even in a non radiative atmosphere.

i) How to get an isothermal, static atmosphere with no convection when it is impossible to arrange perfectly even surface heating. Even the slightest unevenness will allow less dense molecules to rise above more dense molecules. A declining density gradient ensures that once convection starts it will involve the full height of a non radiative atmosphere because a rising parcel of air only expands as fast as the density of the surroundings declines so that the density differential continues all the way to the top.

ii) How to avoid losing the atmosphere when the upward pressure gradient force in the top half of an isothermal atmosphere will exceed the downward pressure from the weight of the less dense molecules above. In that situation hydrostatic equilibrium cannot be achieved.

Until those issues are properly addressed the radiative hypothesis as applied to a non GHG atmosphere is simply a waste of all our time. All the thermal characteristics of a non GHG atmosphere are non radiative and so the radiative hypothesis cannot apply.

• Trick says:

“Do the argon atoms emit in other frequencies and thereby lose velocity and thereby lose heat?”

Yes, Ar gas emits/absorbs at all frequencies, all temperatures, all the time as the bulk of the emission testing shows.

“No one seems to think so.”

Prof. Planck did. After his work was published around 1900-1914, Ar and other noble gas emission became a research topic in the 1920s and 1930s as the paper you linked demonstrates several papers in the ref.s. You found one paper testing for Ar emission in the 1.2-1.7 micron bandwidth (just see the title). Many other specialist authors published experimental noble gas data covering other bandwidths. Reading/citing the bulk of this work gets you to the top triangle of Willis’ pyramid.

• Don132 says:

Trick February 11, 2018 at 6:45 am: “Yes, Ar gas emits/absorbs at all frequencies, all temperatures, all the time as the bulk of the emission testing shows.”

But the issue is would it net absorb at the surface (because of the relatively high energy there) and net emit at TOA. If so, then at TOA argon would lose energy, atoms would slow down, gas would cool. I have no idea so I’m asking; I’m not stating.

• Trick says:

“But the issue is would it net absorb…”

Net of what?

• Don132 February 11, 2018 at 3:41 am
@ Frank February 10, 2018 at 9:26 pm
and @ Willis

What strikes me is that those who hold the gravitational position aren’t stepping up to the plate and helping me as I stumble along. I’ve even provided helpful pathways to reason this through, such as suggesting that even though argon doesn’t radiate IR, it does radiate in other spectra, and as such it’s possible for it to lose energy as it moves away from the surface (irrespective of what pressure is doing) and if this is so then the atoms would lose velocity and the gas cool. Not getting much help on that one!

Argon can only radiate in any part of the spectrum if it’s in an excited electronic state, that requires it to have been excited by EUV below ~108microns. In a pure Ar atmosphere the upper layer would absorb the small amount of the EUV like the thermosphere, however below that there would be no excitation so a GHG free troposphere.

• To help Don, rising air doesn’t lose any energy as it cools. It converts heat in the form of KE to PE which is not heat and the process is fully reversible in descent. Total energy KE + PE stays the same for all atmospheric molecules once the atmosphere achieves hydrostatic equilibrium.

• Frank says:

Don132, Trick, and others: Don wrote: “So I have to conclude that Willis is right regarding the isothermal GHG-free atmosphere because I see no other way out.”

Asking whether a GHG-free atmosphere will be isothermal isn’t a very profitable question. The answer may depend on how you believe a planet with such an atmosphere will behave. If the polar regions receive less sunlight than the equatorial regions, then convection is going to move heat from hot to cold and turbulently mix the atmosphere. If you imagine a planet in interstellar space with a surface evenly heated by radioactive isotopes in the ground, you get a different answer. To complicate things, quantum mechanic says that all transitions are possible, but some are extremely rare. If I understand correctly, Ar, N2 and O2 can emit thermal infrared, but their emission is negligible compared to CO2, CH4, N2O, and even man-made CFCs. But even a pure Argon atmosphere would have some emission and absorption. So I try to avoid answering questions about atmospheres with no GHGs.

I also avoid answering the question of the Earth’s temperature without GHGs. That depends on how albedo changes. The moon doesn’t have any GHGs and its surface temperature hard to calculate correctly (it varies with latitude) and requires assumptions about the effective heat capacity of the surface. It rotates once a month, and so is very hot during the “day” and cold at “night”. For me, the GHE is 150 W/m2, the difference between average surface emission and average TOA emission.

The best answer I have heard: If an isolated column of gas (or liquid) in a gravitation field spontaneously developed a temperature gradient, a heat engine or thermocouples could be used to extract work from that gradient. That would create a perpetual motion machine. Feynman makes this argument in Volume 1 of his lectures. Isothermal is what you expect from thermal diffusion (molecular collisions).

• Nothing in nature is perfectly uniform so even that planet floating in space would have convection.
Since you cannot have an isothermal atmosphere with convection it is critical to the surface temperature enhancement to consider whether or not a non radiative atmosphere could become isothermal with no convection.
If it cannot then the gravito thermal effect is correct and the radiative effect is wrong.
Quite simply one cannot prevent convection on a sphere lit by a point source of light because surface heating is bound to be uneven and that is all you need for convection.
Thus Willis’s ‘proof’ is dead in the water.

• Roger Clague says:

Frank February 7, 2018 at 3:13 pm
Unfortunately, it is difficult to apply the Ideal Gas Law to the atmosphere, because it doesn’t have a fixed volume.

Holmes has removed volume from the equation and applies the gas law at the surface only

• Frank says:

Roger: See my reply to Holmes. The change in volume become a change in density. Think a little.

• Ben Wouters says:

Frank February 7, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Unfortunately, it is difficult to apply the Ideal Gas Law to the atmosphere, because it doesn’t have a fixed volume.

The IGL does not apply to the atmosphere as a whole.
It should be valid however for limited volumes, where the local pressure and temperature should result in a certain density.

• Frank says:

Ben Wouters wrote: “The IGL does not apply to the atmosphere as a whole. It should be valid however for limited volumes, where the local pressure and temperature should result in a certain density.”

You are correct, the Ideal gas law applies locally. However, a parcel of gas at a given altitude (which determines the local pressure can have ANY TEMPERATURE, because that parcel can occupy ANY VOLUME. Temperature is proportional to the mean kinetic energy and determined by how much energy (radiation) enters and leaves the parcel. IF more energy enters than leaves, the temperature will rise and the volume will increase. Some of the excess incoming energy will be consumed by the PdV work that is done when the gas expands.

PV = nRT
n/V = P/RT

The local pressure is determined by altitude. The local temperature depends on incoming and outgoing radiation. The local density varies with the local temperature. This is how the IGL is applied to systems where the volume can change. Only in closed systems with a fixed volume is pressure a function of only temperature or temperature only a function of pressure.

The stratosphere at 20 mb is warmer than the troposphere at 200 mb due to absorption of UV. The volume occupied by a mole of gas at 20 mb is more than 10X bigger than a 200 mb. If the temperatures were 250 and 200 K respectively, the volume occupied by one mole would be 12.5 X larger.

• Ben Wouters says:

Frank February 10, 2018 at 1:39 pm

However, a parcel of gas at a given altitude (which determines the local pressure can have ANY TEMPERATURE, because that parcel can occupy ANY VOLUME.

Perhaps ANY temperature is stretching it a bit, but this is imo correct.
To determine density we have to consider a given volume, irrelevant whether we use cm^3, dm^3 or m^3, as long as we use the same volume when comparing different parcels.

69. So, we can use equations derived for ideal black bodies on bodies that are NOT ideal black bodies, and we can use equations derived for ideal gases on gases that are NOT ideal gases.

I sense problems in the details of both. There’s got to be a better way.

I’m still having issues with something as basic as thinking we can correctly compare planetary effective temperature and average near-surface air temperature. … or choosing 6000K as the effective temperature of the sun, and where this layer of effective temperature supposedly is in the gradient of temperatures of the sun, and comparing this with where the layer of effective temperature of Earth is supposedly located with respect to its other layers, and how the layers of sun and earth effective temperatures can be considered to represent equivalent concepts and called the same layers of the same ideal, non-ideal black bodies.

There appears to be lots of room for confusion and/or sculpting of arguments to give priority to any number of insights.

70. I asked Stephen Wilde to point out the flaws in two separate proofs that gravity cannot warm a planetary surface on an ongoing basis. The proofs are here and here.

In response Stephen said:

Stephen Wilde February 7, 2018 at 1:59 pm

I told you in another thread why both ‘proofs’ are wrong.
Neither of them accounts for the potential energy created when gas molecules move apart in ascent or closer together in descent along a declining density gradient with height. Both involve columns with vertical sides which does not reflect a true density gradient around a sphere open to space. … etc. …

Several things.

First, Stephen, you told us “in another thread”? WHAT THREAD WHERE? In a galaxy far, far away … I am so tired of your endless unsubstantiated claims. You don’t seem to get it. Your handwaving goes nowhere with me.

Next, my proof doesn’t involve columns with vertical sides. My proof says nothing about columns, whether vertical or not. In fact, the word “column” doesn’t appear even once anywhere in my proof.

Which of course means you are attacking a straw man based on your imperfect memory … which is why I insist on people quoting what they are objecting to.

Next, you seem unclear regarding the process for refutation of a claim or a proof. Let me see if I can explain it. Over at “Digging in the Clay” Verity Jones has an excellent graphic showing the hierarchy of disagreement. The graphic deserves wider circulation. The types of disagreement range in a spectrum from the strongest, refuting the author’s central point, all the way down to the weakest, name-calling. Here’s the graphic:

The graphic is based on How to Disagree by Paul Graham, which is well worth reading.

One thing I’d like to highlight is that in the linked article the author says (emphasis mine):

DH5. Refutation.

The most convincing form of disagreement is refutation. It’s also the rarest, because it’s the most work. Indeed, the disagreement hierarchy forms a kind of pyramid, in the sense that the higher you go the fewer instances you find.

To refute someone you probably have to quote them. You have to find a “smoking gun,” a passage in whatever you disagree with that you feel is mistaken, and then explain why it’s mistaken. If you can’t find an actual quote to disagree with, you may be arguing with a straw man.

Now Stephen, you have not even begun the process of refuting either proof. To my knowledge, no one has ever refuted either proof. To do so, as Graham says, you have to quote what you think is wrong — “You have to find a “smoking gun,” a passage in whatever you disagree with that you feel is mistaken, and then explain why it’s mistaken.”

I’d put your most recent comment at the level of “Contradiction — States the opposing case with little or no supporting evidence”.

How would you rate your comment?

Regards,

w.

PS—Note how I linked to your “most recent comment” above? That way people will know exactly what I am referring to, and there won’t be confusion or misunderstanding … please do us all the same courtesy.

• Robert Holmes says:

Willis stated;
“I’m sorry, but the author has not demonstrated what he claims.
All that Robert Holmes has shown is that the atmospheres of planet obey, to a good approximation, the Ideal Gas Law.”
.
Willis is wrong. I could do no better than to quote a simple thought experiment, written by “The Reverend Badger” I present it here;

“Consider 2 rocky planets with thick atmospheres orbiting at the same distance from, just for fun, our very own sun. And let’s be really silly and have them in earth orbit as well. And even more ridiculously one has an atmosphere identical to the earth. Let this planet be E1.
Spec: E1 in earth orbit, same atmosphere as earth.
Now the other planet is E2 (how did you guess!). surprise surprise this is going to be identical to E1 EXCEPT for the composition of the atmosphere. The atmosphere of E2 will contain NO GHGs. It will be a nice mixture of various gases with exactly the same pressure, density and molar mass as E1. Just NO GHGs.
Clearly the existing greenhouse gas theory for Earth predicts that E1 should have a much higher (33K?) surface temperature than E2 Because of it’s GHGs.

The alternative theory/hypothesis of Robert predicts they will have identical temperatures. But interestingly the figure is the same as the other theory! Coincidence? Maybe.
How would you eliminate the possibility that a simple formulae with no reference to the percentage of GHGs in an atmosphere accurately predicts the temperature of a planet with a very specific (todays) percentage of GHGs. Well, have a look at other planets, some with huge GHG percentage (Venus). Obviously, a simple formula with no reference to GHGs would not be expected to fit 8 planets.
And yet it does.
The ONLY way that is possible IF the GHG theory is correct is that changes in GHG percentage in an atmosphere must alter the pressure/density/molar mass to make Robert’s formulae fit. But you could change the pressure/density/molar mass in EXACTLY the same way numerically using non GHGs to get the same result.
Therefore the GHG theory MUST be incorrect.”

My input;
The Molar Mass Version of the Ideal Gas Law says that since these two planets have the same density, pressure and molar mass, they MUST have the same temperature. Yet one of them contains GHG and the other does not.
In this way it is seen that either the Molar Mass Version of the Ideal Gas Law is correct or the (33C or whatever is claimed) greenhouse effect is correct – both cannot possibly be correct.

• Trick says:

”In this way it is seen that either the Molar Mass Version of the Ideal Gas Law is correct or the (33C or whatever is claimed) greenhouse effect is correct – both cannot possibly be correct.”

Both IGL and GHG effect are correct, tested science Robert. To explicitly refute the central point (Willis’ pyramid top) of The Reverend Badger: you can’t get identical Earth’s at the same avg. density(0) as in the thought experiment you clip, one with natural GHGs and one without.

The problem I find in your paper is that NASA measured density(z) for Venus and, with p(z), used IGL to calculate temperature(z) which is the forward process. You can’t now use that knowledge of Venus temperature(z) to reverse engineer the IGL and claim anything new. Your paper simply rewrites the Venus research papers in reverse. I find nothing new in your paper.

Same deal for the other NASA measured planets. Ask if you need a ref. for the original NASA paper(s). They are easy to find for yourself.

• Robert Holmes says:

Trick
If you quote someone, then quote them in context, otherwise you may be accused of putting up a straw man.
.
“Both IGL and GHG effect are correct, tested science Robert. ”
.
You claim here that the GHG effect is ‘correct and tested science’. I assume that in part, you refer to the GHG CO2. If this science is so correct and tested, then why isn’t there a published paper which quantifies / measures the supposed warming from ‘extra’ CO2 in our troposphere?

• Trick.. Your comment is interesting:
“The problem I find in your paper is that NASA measured density(z) for Venus and, with p(z), used IGL to calculate temperature(z) which is the forward process.”

Can you confirm that the Venus probe did not measure both temperature and pressure on its decent to the surface? Can you confirm that the composition of the atmosphere was not known is some way through measurement?

• Jim Masterson says:

The ideal gas law is p*V = n*R*T. R is a constant. I can pick any variable as the dependent variable and the other three can be anything (as long as I keep the gas relatively ideal). If I pick pressure then pressure is function of the other three values, p(n,T,V). If I pick volume then V(n,T,p). If I pick temperature then T(n,p,V). If I pick number of moles then n(p,V,T).

If I read Willis correctly, your equation is simply p*M = ρ*R*T. You’ve replaced V with M and n with ρ. Essentially I can still do the same with your equation. If I pick pressure, then p(T,M,ρ). If I pick molar mass, then M(T,p,ρ). If I pick density, then ρ(T,M,P). And finally, if I pick temperature, then T(p,M,ρ).

What you and “The Reverend Badger” don’t seem to understand, is that the values of M and ρ will adjust to the new temperature and pressure of planet E2 or any other planet.

Jim

• Trick says:

sailboarder, NASA measured Venus atm density(z) by radio signal occultation experiments as their probe transmitted through Venus atm. The density modulated the carrier wave signal a measurable amount in a way that allowed atm. density(z) to be determined. I’d recommend pulling the original Venus papers for exact answers on how that works & what and how they knew of p(z), R. Very interesting application of IGL.

Essentially same process used for other planets & moons with atm.

• Trick.. thanks. The Russians had their probe in the upper, earth like, region:

“The VEGA balloons were 3.5 – meter diameter super -pressure helium balloons. (An engineering model of the balloon is shown in figure 2) A 7 – kg instrumented payload package (figure 2, inset) was carried at the end of a 13 -meter tether. The payload was powered by primary batteries, with instruments to measure temperature, pressure, wind speed, light intensity, and aerosol density, as well as a low – power radio transmitter and system control
electronics”

So what you are saying is that from that altitude the IGLs are used to calculate the surface conditions. Is that not empirical ? How can one then assert circular reasoning? I could post the atmospheric composition in the Venus paper I read, but that is not necessary with the direct measurement of density. The circular reasoning assertion is in my opinion not correct.

• Trick says:

”Is that not empirical ?”

NASA’s T(0) for Venus is indeed empirical using the experimentally verified theory of the IGL from their measured density(z) and obtaining p(z).

”How can one then assert circular reasoning?”

A search shows I didn’t assert the term circular. Btw the Russians also had the Venera series landers.

• Trick says:

Robert 7:15pm: ”If you quote someone, then quote them in context, otherwise you may be accused of putting up a straw man.”

A straw man changes the proposition; my direct quote did not do so and the context is easily found in the directly above comment. Your practice of long quotes is laborious. I prefer the style of more focused quotes.

The papers you seek are too numerous to cite; I’d recommend anyone start by pulling the papers you mention in your article & then pulling their ref.s, and supplement with a basic atm. thermo. text as some of the paper terms and discussions are specialist in nature. I did so for a few you listed and found where the IGL parameters you mention were actually initially sourced to form a view nothing was new or novel in your paper.

• Trick
“NASA’s T(0) for Venus is indeed empirical using the experimentally verified theory of the IGL from their measured density(z) and obtaining p(z).”

These NASA scientists thus ignored radiative effects and used PV=nRT? Does that mean they do not accept Hansen’s approach? That is totally a paradox. Do they fight internally I wonder, or do they just celebrate how many billions Hansen brings in to launch rockets and satellites?

Can’t be, can it?

• Trick says:

sailboarder 6:09am: “These NASA scientists thus ignored radiative effects and used PV=nRT?”

No, researchers used IGL in form of P(z)=density(z)*R*T(z)

All the radiative, orbital, weather effects so forth are already naturally in the Venus atm. density(z) that NASA measured. IGL reduced to one eqn. one unknown: T(z). Pull the original papers, you can trace them back through the ref.s in the top post paper.

• Trick
OK, that is a different form of the same equation, which I derived myself. The odd thing was that the units required a depth, to get the V. I used 1 meter, ie, the earths surface, and derived the 287K.
Again, imo the radiative effects are just one of the internal means for the troposphere to move heat around and cool the planet. Agree? Yes? No?

• Willis..

” The EEJ assertion, that the dry adiabatic lapse rate alone explains the bulk of so-called “greenhouse warming” of the atmosphere as a stable feature of a bulk equilibrium gas, is incorrect.”

Stable feature, no. There is constant churning in the atmosphere to disgorge the insolation.

“They say that somehow a combination of gravity and a transparent, GHG-free atmosphere can conspire to push the temperature of a planet well above the theoretical S-B temperature, to a condition similar to that of the Earth.”

In your refutation, what insolation do you use for earth and your reference non GHG earth planet? Clearly, they are not the same, so the surface temperatures would be different. That’s not similar to start with.

• sailboarder February 7, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Willis..

” The EEJ assertion, that the dry adiabatic lapse rate alone explains the bulk of so-called “greenhouse warming” of the atmosphere as a stable feature of a bulk equilibrium gas, is incorrect.”

sailboarder, I have no idea who said that or where. A bit of context would be useful.

Thanks,

w.

• W
The text is in the conclusions section of your link reference 1, which you submitted to Steven above in your pyramid post.

• sailboarder February 7, 2018 at 7:39 pm

W
The text is in the conclusions section of your link reference 1, which you submitted to Steven above in your pyramid post.

Thanks for the clarification. That’s Robert Brown’s proof, not mine.

w.

• Willis..
I admit o going down rabbit holes with debating the “greenhouse” effect of CO2. For example, was the IGL used along with the Russian probe to calculate the surface temperature of Venus? If so, they did what this author did. They clearly did not invoke radiative theory since the IGL does not include such a calculation. Call me mystified.

I think the important question is what is the surface delta T (sensitivity), associated with the higher levels of CO2. The author uses molar density changes to calculate a tiny number. So far I agree.

So what could be a test? How about using minimum night temperatures in the lowest humidity level areas of the world. The central Antarctic would be a candidate would it not? How about the Sahara desert in the driest part of the year? Clearly, if there is going to be a sensitivity due to CO2 it should show up there first, by progressively warmer nights.

• Here’s the day too day change in both min and max temp for the SW US deserts

• micro6500
Your day to day changes I assume are averages over each year. In any case, I cannot see a trend. That is suggestive of no heat trapping effect of higher CO2 levels. Agree?

• Brett Keane says:

Trick – JPL vs GISS

• I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there seems to be something off about the “proof” cited here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/24/refutation-of-stable-thermal-equilibrium-lapse-rates/

Unfortunately, the link to the paper that this proof is trying to refute no longer leads to the paper being refuted, but I found it anyway in a Google search, skimmed it quickly, and noted that it was a very idealized thought-experiment set-up, where the picture of the model in my mind did not match the picture of the column of gas in the supposed “proof” against it.

I envisioned a spherical-shell diagram, but the supposed “proof” shows a rectangular representation of what I assume is a long cylinder with a thin tube (wire) connecting the bottom to the top, which seems like a different set up that has the system going outside itself, so it may route back inside itself to violate the adiabatic set up, which seems like a trick, rather than an explanation of a fault, hence, maybe even a straw man. It’s very confusing, and I think it looks more like an argument against how a thought experiment was set up, with possibly some confusion between the two authors on terminology.

I’ll try to wade through it all again with greater focus, but that’s gonna take some time. Maybe I will resolve my bad feeling about it, … or maybe not.

• Refutation of Stable Thermal Equilibrium Lapse Rates by Robert G. Brown,
Duke University Physics Department, … in the WUWT article here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/24/refutation-of-stable-thermal-equilibrium-lapse-rates/

… claimed to refute

The “Greenhouse Effect” As A Function Of Atmospheric Mass by Hans Jelbring, Energy & Environment, Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, 2003, .. located here:

Well, as I hinted earlier, I had a funky feeling [so scientific, I know] about this supposed proof, and given other comments that I have read elsewhere (from years back), I’m still not ready to dismiss the gravitational approach. See, for example, the comment here:
https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/hans-jelbring-the-greenhouse-effect-as-a-function-of-atmospheric-mass/#comment-14237

The story seems so much more complex than “nails-in-the-coffin” posturing might first lead one to believe.

Needless to say, I am not ready to bury this approach yet.

• Roger Clague says:

Robert Kernodle February 7, 2018 at 9:22 pm

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there seems to be something off about the “proof” cited here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/24/refutation-of-stable-thermal-equilibrium-lapse-rates/

I agree. Consider this quote:
“If we assume a constant temperature in the adiabatically isolated container,…”

But the atmosphere temperature varies with height.
So the model used and thus the refutation are not valid.

• Frank says:

Bob and Roger: You are correct: Brown is assuming what he wants to prove.

Consider a plane in an isolated cylinder of gas in the absence of gravitational field. If the cylinder is in EQUILIBRIUM, the same number of gas molecules must be traveling upward through the plane as downward through the plane. Now turn on the gravity and wait for equilibrium to be restored. The pressure and density of the gas just above the plane are slightly lower than below, but we don’t know if there is a temperature gradient across that plane. If there is no temperature gradient the average molecular speed will be the same above and below the plane. There will be more molecules traveling upward than downward. Those deriving thermo-gravity ignore this density difference. Between collisions, there the downward moving molecules crossing the plane will accelerate slightly from gravity and the upward moving molecules will decelerate slightly. That will compensate for the difference in density if the column is isothermal.

However the temperature gradient in our atmosphere isn’t determined by such molecular motions (even though they are a thought experiment with an isolated cylinder in a gravitational field. In the real atmosphere, heat is transferred vertically by four mechanisms: convection, radiation, molecular collisions, and finally gross molecular motion. The mechanism that transfers heat the fastest will be the one that controls the lapse rate. Convection produces a lapse rate of -g/Cp and bulk motion means molecules will not fractionate by molecule weight. Thermal equilibrium produced by radiation alone produces a curved lapse rate. With molecular collisions, the upward moving molecules have slightly less kinetic energy, but this difference in our gravitational field is many orders of magnitude less than the amount of kinetic energy that will be randomly exchanged by the collision. Finally, gross molecular motion converts kinetic energy / temperature into potential energy – producing thermogravity and a -g/Cp lapse rate with fractionation of molecules by molecular weight.

In the troposphere, we observed a lapse rate of -g/Cp AND no fractionation by molecular weight. Our lapse is therefore caused by convection.

Above about 100 km, the atmosphere becomes enriched with lighter gas molecule because of fractionation by molecular weight. This is because molecular collisions are rare at this altitude and molecules can interconvert a significant amount of kinetic and potential energy between collisions. This is where thermogravity could operate. However, temperature isn’t defined in a thermodynamic sense when molecule are not colliding frequently.

• Ben Wouters says:

Frank February 9, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Most of what you write makes sense. Have to disagree with this though:

Convection produces a lapse rate of -g/Cp

Convection does not produce a lapse rate. The -g/Cp (Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate) only gives the temperature change of a (limited) volume of air rising (or sinking) within an atmosphere that is in Hydrostatic Equilibrium.
(and no condensation takes place, otherwise the MALR applies)
Since the process is assumed to be adiabatic there is no influence on the surrounding air.

In the troposphere, we observed a lapse rate of -g/Cp AND no fractionation by molecular weight. Our lapse is therefore caused by convection.

Convection is mostly limited to the lower 1-2 kilometers of the atmosphere. Exceptions eg the large cumulonimbus clouds that may reach into the tropopauze. Often no convection is happening at all (eg during the night).
Average temperature profile for mid latitudes is ~6,5 K/km for the tropsphere. DALR is ~9,8K/km.

• A lapse rate develops wherever there is convection of gases within a declining density gradient though there are inversion layers within the system especially at the tropopause.
There is convection in the stratosphere within the Brewer Dobson circulation and there will also be convection higher up but the air is so thin that we have never been able to observe it.
Gravity creates the density gradient in the first place.

• Frank says:

Ben Wouters wrote: “Most of what you write makes sense. Have to disagree with this though: Convection produces a lapse rate of -g/Cp” Convection does not produce a lapse rate.

Thanks for the kind reply. You are correct that I made errors when oversimplifying .

Does convection produce a lapse rate? I think so. The atmosphere becomes unstable towards “buoyancy-driven” convection when the lapse rate exceeds a critical value. Above that value, a rising air parcel expands and cools, but is still less dense than the air above. So, the parcel continues to rise. When buoyancy-driven convection has transferred enough heat vertically (raising the temperature higher in the atmosphere), rising air expands and cools, but is now as dense as (or more dense than) the surrounding air. The air no longer rises spontaneously. The shut down of spontaneous buoyancy-driven vertical convection leaves a MALR – on the average. (The MALR is the DALR, -g/Cp, modified to account for the heat released by condensation.) Individual radiosonde soundings, however, are highly irregular due to the chaotic motion of air masses, and inversions produced at night. Unstable lapse rates (CAPE, Convective Available Potential Energy) are not instantly discharged.

The internal energy in temperature can be combined with the energy in PdV work to produce a concept called “potential temperature”. When latent heat is added, it becomes “moist potential temperature”. In the link below, you can see the regions of our atmosphere with the same moist potential temperature produced by buoyancy-driven vertical convection halting at the MALR. (These are annual average temperatures.) Where moist potential temperature increasing altitude, stable lapse rates (no convection) generally exist and radiative equilibrium is controlling the atmosphere’s temperature.

The combination of these two processes is called radiative-convective equilibrium. Where radiative cooling fails to remove heat from the surface fast enough and an unstable lapse rate develops, convection supplements radiative cooling, leaving a MALR behind.

In most of the troposphere, we observed a MALR AND no fractionation by molecular weight. In these regions, the lapse rate is caused by convection. In others, it is the result of radiative equilibrium.

Fractionation by molecular weight occurs above 100 km, the “turbopause”. (See wikipedia.) Above there, turbulent mixing no longer carries heavier molecules as high as lighter ones. Thermo-gravity is derived from the princple that the sum of kinetic and potential energy is conserved. Clearly this concept doesn’t work in the troposphere, where heavier CO2 molecules have 52% more potential energy at any given altitude, but have the same temperature (which is proportional to kinetic energy).

• Frank says:

Steve Wild wrote: A lapse rate develops wherever there is convection of gases within a declining density gradient though there are inversion layers within the system especially at the tropopause.

No, a lapse rate CAN BE produced by ANY PROCESS that transfers heat vertically in the atmosphere: convection, radiation, conduction (molecular collisions) and molecular diffusion. That lapse rate can be zero. Thermo-gravity is derived applying the principle of conservation of energy to molecular diffusion: The altitude/potential energy of gas molecules determines their kinetic energy and therefore their temperature. If not other processes resulted in vertical transfer of heat, thermo-gravity would determine our lapse rate. However, convection, radiation and even conduction of heat (by collisions) are all much faster than molecular diffusion.

The stratosphere is warmer than the upper troposphere because solar UV is absorbed there. Here the temperature is determined by radiative equilibrium, because it transfers energy the fastest. By acknowledging the reality of the tropopause, Steve Wilde is admitting that molecular diffusion transfers heat more slowly than radiation.

The molar ratios of gases in both the stratosphere and the troposphere don’t vary with molecular weight. The potential energy of gas molecules does vary with molecular weight. We therefore know that the principle of conservation of PE+KE doesn’t determine temperature in these regions – because energy is also being moved by latent heat, PdV work, and latent heat. Above the trubopause at 100 km, the atmosphere is enriched with lighter molecules

The potential energy (mgh) of an expanding gas in a cylinder with a piston doesn’t change, if the piston moves horizontally. According to the principles used to derive thermogravity, the temperature of the gas has no reason to change upon expansion. If the piston moved vertically, the temperature would change. Why Don’t adiabatic expansion problems specify whether the piston moves vertically? The PdV work many order of magnitude greater than the potential energy gain.

The change in potential energy of gas molecules between collisions is many orders of magnitude smaller than the average amount of kinetic energy transferred by a collision. Even in the absence of radiation and convection, an isolated column of gas will be isothermal when molecules are colliding frequently.

• Ben Wouters says:

Frank February 10, 2018 at 12:37 pm

The atmosphere becomes unstable towards “buoyancy-driven” convection when the lapse rate exceeds a critical value. Above that value, a rising air parcel expands and cools, but is still less dense than the air above. So, the parcel continues to rise. When buoyancy-driven convection has transferred enough heat vertically (raising the temperature higher in the atmosphere), rising air expands and cools, but is now as dense as (or more dense than) the surrounding air.

Not sure if we have the same ideas about convection.
Lets start with a static atmosphere with a 6,5K/km lapse rate all the way to the tropopauze.
Somehow a parcel (bubble) of air becomes heated at the surface, and leaves the surface when its temperature is 3,3K warmer than the surrounding air. This parcel will rise to 1 km where it has cooled 9,8K.
Static atmosphere is here 6,5K colder. So the rising stops here, unless condensation kicks in before the parcel reaches 1km. Somewhere near air from above will sink to the surface to replace the rising air.
I don’t see any heating of the the air at 1km due to convection.

Potential temperatures are calculated values, no real process involved.

The following links give a lot of info about how understand theses various processes:
https://www.atmos.illinois.edu/~snesbitt/ATMS505/stuff/09%20Convective%20forecasting.pdf
and

• Best to keep it simple and exclude the wide variety of environmental processes that can interfere with the raw numbers.

A parcel gets warmed by uneven surface heating to a temperature 3.3k warmer than the surroundings.

If the parcel warmed by the surface rises It will cool at the dry rate of 6.5K/km and so at the tropopause it will still be 3.3k warmer than the surroundings.

At the tropopause it hits an inversion layer caused by direct UV heating of a layer of ozone molecules.

It is pushed to one side by warmer air continuing to come up from below and then starts to sink back to the surface.

It warms all the way back to the surface at the dry rate of 6.5km and returns to the surface at the ORIGINAL temperature.

What has happened is that the surface was cooled by 3.3K when uplift occurred and warmed by 3.3K after descent for a net zero thermal effect.

BUT during the formation of the atmosphere the process was NOT net zero during that formation . During the formation the surface was cooled below S-B during the ascent but the energy removed was then returned to the surface at the end of the first convective overturning cycle and then has to be ADDED to continuing insolation to give the surface thermal enhancement above S-B.

And that happens even with a completely non radiative atmosphere.

• “Lets start with a static atmosphere with a 6,5K/km lapse rate all the way to the tropopauze.
Somehow a parcel (bubble) of air becomes heated at the surface, and leaves the surface when its temperature is 3,3K warmer than the surrounding air. This parcel will rise to 1 km where it has cooled 9,8K.
Static atmosphere is here 6,5K colder. ”
.
My question is; why would the parcel cool 9.8K when the surrounding air is cooling at only 6.5K.
The rise would be adiabatic and so why would the parcel cool more than the surrounding air?
Seems to me the parcel would retain the 3.3K of energy picked up at the surface until it reaches the tropopause.

• Trick says:

”Somewhere near air from above will sink to the surface to replace the rising air.
I don’t see any heating of the the air at 1km due to convection.”

Ben 7:06am, the upper air does not sink to the surface as in Stephen Wilde’s imaginary descending column. Nature is much messier. If you go to youtube and search on convection, then find there are experiments showing what really does happen in convecting nature.

Rising columns are reasonably evident but not descending columns. Some of the same temperature surface fluid is pulled in from the sides at z=0 as the locally warmed fluid rises and the warmer fluid stays at height dispersing its higher than surroundings kinetic energy until it equilibrates. This is how you can see warming of the higher-level fluid due to convection.

• Every high pressure cell contains air spiralling downwards and outwards. Such cells comprise half the atmosphere.

• Trick says:

Ok, Stephen now instead of imaginary descending columns you imagine air “spiraling” downwards (and outwards). Please point this out actually occuring in nature in one of the youtube convection videos.

• Basic meteorology. Air spirals up and inwards towards low pressure and down and outwards from high pressure. Read about isobar maps and you will find that air flows at an angle across lines of equal pressure from high to low.

• Ben Wouters says:

Trick February 11, 2018 at 7:50 am

Rising columns are reasonably evident but not descending columns. Some of the same temperature surface fluid is pulled in from the sides at z=0 as the locally warmed fluid rises and the warmer fluid stays at height dispersing its higher than surroundings kinetic energy until it equilibrates. This is how you can see warming of the higher-level fluid due to convection.

Wasn’t thinking about descending columns. A rising thermal is often surrounded by sinking air. Well known effect for (para)gliders.
I think the net effect of a rising thermal is a redistribution of the extra energy it accumulated at the surface, This energy does not show up as a higher temperature at the height where the thermal stops rising, since the thermal stops rising when its density (~temperature) is equal to that of the surrounding air.

• Trick says:

”Basic meteorology.”

Basically Stephen’s imagination & straw man. The youtube videos demonstrate convection physics in a fluid warmed from below in a gravity field. The fluid acts as shown.

Geostrophic winds parallel to isobars is changing the proposition.

—-

Ben, the youtube convection videos to a very small extent support your contention that a rising thermal is often surrounded by sinking air. The fluid tends just to rise more slowly as it spreads out. After rising and warming the ambient fluid, the convecting fluid tends to spread laterally way more than sink. A test of this sort is about as high on Willlis’ pyramid as possible.

• Frank says:

Ben wrote: “Lets start with a static atmosphere with a 6,5K/km lapse rate all the way to the tropopauze.
Somehow a parcel (bubble) of air becomes heated at the surface, and leaves the surface when its temperature is 3,3K warmer than the surrounding air. This parcel will rise to 1 km where it has cooled 9,8K.

Why did the parcel rise? Surface pressure is (roughly) the same everywhere. So warmer means less dense. Less dense means that as more dense (cooler) fill flow under the parcel as it rises. Thus my term “buoyancy-driven convection” (as opposed to air motion driven by wind, say up the slope of a mountain).

Why does it cool? At 1 km, the pressure will be about 0.9 atm. So the volume of the gas will expand 11%, doing PdV work. Assuming the expansion is adiabatic, the energy needed to perform that work will be taken from the internal energy of the gas. That produces a temperature change of -9.8 K for a rise of 1 km. Unless moisture in the air condenses and releases latent heat. Then the change can be as modest -4.9 K/km for the most humid regions on the planet. In practice, rising parcels of air follow the DALR until the lifting condensation level (LCL) and the SALR (saturated ALR) above. On the average, the lapse rate apparently is above 6.5 K/km because dry descending air chaotically mixes with moist ascending air, but real soundings are highly irregular.

Anyone citing links to skew T/log P plots probably understands some of this better than I do. (I haven’t studied any meteorology.) If you read the link about potential temperature, it simply is the temperature of a parcel at any altitude would have if it were subjected to surface pressure. Moist potential temperature is the temperature the parcel would have if it were subjected to surface pressure and the water vapor present at the surface below released its latent heat into the parcel.

In Ben’s earlier comment, he said: “Convection is mostly limited to the lower 1-2 kilometers of the atmosphere. Exceptions eg the large cumulonimbus clouds that may reach into the tropopauze. Often no convection is happening at all (eg during the night)”

I showed you the plot of moist potential energy to show you the regions of the atmosphere where convection, adiabatic expansion and latent heat determine the temperature. The same moist potential temperature is found as far vertically as convection is needed (and radiative cooling isn’t enough to remove all the heat provided by SWR). (Because these are annual average, the difference in convection between summer and winter is missing).

Hopefully, there are no areas of disagreement left.

• Frank
“a 6,5K/km lapse rate all the way to the tropopauze…This parcel will rise to 1 km where it has cooled 9,8K. ”
.
Why would it cool 9.8K if the lapse rate is 6.5K? It would cool 6.5K.
.
“Why does it cool? At 1 km, the pressure will be about 0.9 atm. So the volume of the gas will expand 11%, doing PdV work. Assuming the expansion is adiabatic, the energy needed to perform that work will be taken from the internal energy of the gas. ”
.
Why would it be doing any work to expand as it rises? The entire atmosphere is less dense as the parcel moves upwards. It would only be doing work if it stayed at the same volume.
.
“Convection is mostly limited to the lower 1-2 kilometers of the atmosphere. ”
.
That is a new one. The height of convection depends on the latitude. From 45 deg N to 45 deg S the convection averages 15-17km. Above 45 deg latitude the convection averages 10km.
A sudden vertical displacement in the tropopause occurs where these regions meet.

• Frank says:

Frolly: I admire you persistence in trying to get answers from a long thread like this one. Hope what follows helps:

Ben wrote: “a 6,5K/km lapse rate all the way to the tropopauze…This parcel will rise to 1 km where it has cooled 9,8K. ”
.
Frolly asks: Why would it cool 9.8K if the lapse rate is 6.5K? It would cool 6.5K.

Frank replies: Rising and falling air parcels don’t exchange heat via radiation very fast (or physically mix), so we calculate the temperature change associated with vertical convection as if the parcels were completely isolated from their surroundings. The technical term for this is “adiabatic”.
.
Frank replied to Ben: “Why does it cool? At 1 km, the pressure will be about 0.9 atm. So the volume of the gas will expand 11%, doing PdV work. Assuming the expansion is adiabatic, the energy needed to perform that work will be taken from the internal energy of the gas. ”
.
Frolly asks: “Why would it be doing any work to expand as it rises? The entire atmosphere is less dense as the parcel moves upwards. It would only be doing work if it stayed at the same volume.”

Work is force times distance change (dx). For a gas in a cylinder with a piston of area A, that is F/A times
A*dx which is P*dV where dV is the change in volume. Because the air rose, it expanded and did work and cooled. Somewhere else, air subsided and had work done on it and warmed. Stationary air remains at the same temperature (which on the average is 6.5 K/km colder at higher altitudes).

As the parcel of gas rises, the weight of the gas above decreases slightly, meaning the pressure on that parcel decreases slightly. If temperature remained the same, the volume would increase (dV), meaning that PdV work had been done against the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere. If nothing else supplied the energy for this work, the law of conservation of energy means it comes from the internal energy of the gas – meaning it cools. Since the temperature has dropped, the gas doesn’t expand as much as it would have if a heat source kept the gas at a constant temperature.
.
Ben wrote: “Convection is mostly limited to the lower 1-2 kilometers of the atmosphere. ”
.
Frolly commented: That is a new one. The height of convection depends on the latitude. From 45 deg N to 45 deg S the convection averages 15-17km. Above 45 deg latitude the convection averages 10km.
A sudden vertical displacement in the tropopause occurs where these regions meet.

Frank replies: Convection occurs because thermal infrared can’t transfer energy through our fairly IR-opaque atmosphere as fast as SWR delivers it. A lot of the opacity is due to water vapor and it drops of rapidly with temperature. When the lower atmosphere gets too warm, the atmosphere beomes unstable toward convection. Convection results in a linear lapse rate. Most climate scientists define the tropopause as the altitude where the lapse rate fall below 2 K/km (too low to be due to convection), but others say 0 K/km. In the tropics, there is a sharp change in lapse rate at about 17 km, but this change is more gradual and begins much lower in the extra-tropics, 9-13 km depending on the season, outside the tropics. However, at high latitudes, the lapse rates lower than 6.5 K/km can be due to radiative equilibrium, so the tropopause may not coincide with the upper limit of convection, as it does in the tropics. I would GUESS Ben’s value of 1-2 km for the upper limit of convection is too low, but opacity to thermal decreases rapidly once water vapor decreases rapidly in the first 1-2 km.

• Willis,

As a precursor to your ‘proof’ you approved and thus adopted Robert’s flawed model so any criticism of that is equally a criticism of your ‘proof’. You always refer to both works together.
Unless you deal with the difference between Robert’s model and the real world your ‘proof’ is just meaningless waffle.

71. Jim Masterson says:

>>
M = near-surface atmospheric mean molar mass gm/mol⁻¹
<<

The unit isn’t right. It’s either gm/mol or gm-mol⁻¹. Sorry, I like to nit-pick units.

Jim

72. Robert Holmes February 7, 2018 at 5:08 pm

Willis stated;

“I’m sorry, but the author has not demonstrated what he claims.
All that Robert Holmes has shown is that the atmospheres of planet obey, to a good approximation, the Ideal Gas Law.”

.

Willis is wrong. I could do no better than to quote a simple thought experiment, written by “The Reverend Badger” I present it here; … etc. …

Robert, I believe you can do much better than that. It appears that you don’t understand my objection. I’ll try again.

PV = nRT.

Or in your equally valid derivation for atmospheres:

PM = ρRT

Now, this law will be satisfied regardless of trajectory, by which I mean the variations in the three variables P, V, and T that led to the current condition. Or in your formulation, P, M, and T.

In terms of your equation 5, it makes no difference whether we add GHGs to an atmosphere or not. It makes no difference if the amount of incoming sunshine varies or not. It is immaterial whether the heating is coming from volcanoes or nuclear reactors. Here’s why.

Once the dust has settled from whatever the heating might be, we will still find that

PM = ρRT

Does this mean, as you claim, that temperature can be calculated from just knowing pressure and molar mass? Sure.

It also means that pressure can be calculated from just knowing temperature and molar mass.

And finally, it means that molar mass can be calculated from just knowing temperature and pressure.

So what? As I asked above, all that means is that gases generally obey the Ideal Gas Law.

But Equation 5 CANNOT tell us how much of the temperature is due to volcanoes and how much is due to nuclear reactors. It can’t tell us the source of any of the heat that got the atmosphere to that temperature.

That’s the problem, and it has nothing to do with CO2. You’ve shown that in an equation with 3 unknowns (pressure, temperature, and molar mass), if you know two of them you can calculate the third, say temperature.

But that doesn’t allow you to conclude ANYTHING about how the planet got to that temperature. Nothing. You can’t say it is or isn’t from volcanoes, nuclear reactors, or GHGs. The Ideal Gas Law will always be satisfied.

I hope this clarifies my objection to your theory.

w.

• I had the same objection, but then my reasoning is that we do know that the sun gives an average insolation, and the SB equation functions not at the surface but the effective radiation height(ERH), where(I assume) energy in = energy out. From this height, where the SB temperature exists, the IGL will function to describe downwards the earths surface conditions, and the “greenhouse” warming.

Conversely, the SB equation with that same average insolation and no atmosphere will provide the average global surface temperature(emissivity etc being equal). The authors use of existing P,V, density, will of course give the surface temperature as you say. I agree.. The net temperature difference with the ERH is the “greenhouse warming”.

So far, it works for me. I am not a climate scientist, just a retired Mech Eng.

• Brett Keane says:

Willis, what we are saying is that when the when the solar distance variable is factored in, there is little wriggle room for other inputs. Which is how it is in real life. Neptune may be a bit self-powered, IIRC.

• Willis,

The point is that if GHGs could successfully heat the surface by creating radiative imbalances then the IGL would NOT be complied with and the atmosphere would be lost.

Planets always observe the IGL because radiative imbalances are successfully neutralised by convective adjustments.

It works for radiative imbalances from material released by volcanoes, it would work for any such imbalances caused by nuclear reactors and it works also for GHGs and any other radiative materials in the atmosphere.

The fact that the IGL is a LAW is itself the demonstration of the truth.

You are on the cusp of realising that with your thunderstorm observations (which were well known to ancient mariners) but you fail to follow the logic through to conclusion.

• richard verney says:

I do not disagree, if one were to look at one discreet example. Anyone example in itself does not demonstrate where the temperature comes from.

But if temperature had something to do with GHGs, then one would expect to see a difference between atmospheres with high quantities of GHGs (eg Mars that has on a molecular basis more GHGs than Earth’s atmosphere) and those with low quantities of GHGs.

If GHGs were really doing something (whether warming or reducing the rate of heat lost from the surface) it is difficult to understand Mars.

from the NASA website:

The temperature on Mars can be as high as 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) or as low as about -225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius). And because the atmosphere is so thin, heat from the Sun easily escapes this planet. If you were to stand on the surface of Mars on the equator at noon, it would feel like spring at your feet (75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius) and winter at your head (32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius). (my emphasis)

A thick dense atmosphere has thermal mass and thermal inertia. One that simply has a lot of GHGs but little mass/density does nothing at all (or nothing measurable)

• Roger Clague says:

1.
Willis Eschenbach

February 7, 2018 at 5:56 pm says:

But Equation 5 CANNOT tell us how much of the temperature is due to volcanoes and how much is due to nuclear reactors. It can’t tell us the source of any of the heat that got the atmosphere to that temperature.

The heat is needed to maintain a gas atmosphere from freezing solid.

T = pM/Rd

T = surface temperatures
p = surface pressure
M = molar mass of gas molecules
d = density of atmosphere
R = gas constant

p is caused by mass of planet
M is mass of gas molecules
d is caused by mass of atmosphere
R is constant

T is caused by mass. The main property of mass is gravity.
T is caused by gravity only
T is not caused by the radiative properties of the gases.

• Willis
“PM = ρRT

Does this mean, as you claim, that temperature can be calculated from just knowing pressure and molar mass? Sure.
It also means that pressure can be calculated from just knowing temperature and molar mass.
And finally, it means that molar mass can be calculated from just knowing temperature and pressure.
So what? As I asked above, all that means is that gases generally obey the Ideal Gas Law.
That’s the problem, and it has nothing to do with CO2. You’ve shown that in an equation with 3 unknowns (pressure, temperature, and molar mass), if you know two of them you can calculate the third, say temperature.
But that doesn’t allow you to conclude ANYTHING about how the planet got to that temperature. Nothing. You can’t say it is or isn’t from volcanoes, nuclear reactors, or GHGs. The Ideal Gas Law will always be satisfied.”
.
First you appear to be mixed up. That is not the equation I used, and one cannot find temperature from just pressure and molar mass one need density as well. Are you sure you read my paper?
The formula is; T = P / (R. ρ /M)
You say all it only means is that gases obey the IGL, and I cannot conclude from all this whether GHG caused any warming to a planetary atmosphere or not. I say that any significant warming from the greenhouse gases can be ruled out from this information.

Time for a thought experiment involving two planets!!
Consider; two very Earth-like rocky planets with Earth-like atmospheres orbiting at the same distance (1AU) from the Sun. We provide one with an atmosphere identical in every way to the present Earth’s; let this planet be E1. Now the other planet E2, is going to be identical in every way to E1 except for the composition of the atmosphere. The atmosphere of E2 will be very similar to E1’s atmosphere but will contain no greenhouse gases. It will be an almost identical mixture of the same gases as E1, but these non-greenhouse gases will be designed and mixed in such a way, that E2’s atmosphere possesses exactly the same measured atmospheric pressure, density and molar mass on the near-surface as E1 does.

Clearly the existing greenhouse gas hypothesis for Earth predicts that E1 should have a much higher (33K?) surface temperature than E2 because of its greenhouse gases. The hypothesis presented here, using formula 5, predicts that both planets will have identical temperatures. Notably, the predicted temperature figure for both planets, calculated from formula 5, is the same temperature as that predicted by the greenhouse gas hypothesis for the planet with the greenhouse gases, E1.

How could the possibility be eliminated, that a simple formula such as formula 5, (which contains no reference to the percentage of greenhouse gases in an atmosphere) accurately predicts the temperature of a planet with a very specific percentage of greenhouse gases, such as planet E1? Perhaps it would be informative to have a look at the atmospheres of other planetary bodies, some with up to 96% greenhouse gases in their atmospheres (Venus), and some others with none (Jupiter, Saturn). A simple formula with no reference to greenhouse gases could not be expected to predict the atmospheric temperature of eight such widely differing planetary atmospheres, by the measurement of just three gas parameters. And yet it does.

The only way that is possible, if the greenhouse gas hypothesis is correct, is that changes in the greenhouse gases’ percentage in an atmosphere must alter the pressure/density/molar mass in such a way as to make formulae 5 fit. Yet, it would be theoretically possible to change the pressure/density/molar mass in exactly the same way numerically – by using non-greenhouse gases to reach the same parameter result – and the same predicted temperature.
Therefore, the greenhouse gas hypothesis must be incorrect.

The molar mass version of the ideal gas law is clear in that since these two planets have the same density, pressure and molar mass, they must also have the same temperature. Yet one of them contains greenhouse gases and the other does not. To conclude, either the molar mass version of the ideal gas law is correct (and both planets are the same temperature), or significant net warming from greenhouse gases is correct (and the planet with GHG is warmer) – both cannot be correct.

• Don132 says:

frolly February 11, 2018 at 10:48 pm:
“We provide one with an atmosphere identical in every way to the present Earth’s; let this planet be E1. Now the other planet E2, is going to be identical in every way to E1 except for the composition of the atmosphere … [and so on].”

That’s a good argument. Now I’m swinging back to agreeing with the gravitationists!

Regarding Stephen Wilde’s argument that an argon atmosphere would convect: here, it seems, is the crux of the confusion, and naturally someone will correct me if I’m wrong. It doesn’t matter if the atoms of argon are isothermal; the atmosphere will not be. The atoms can have the same temperature but the parcel of gas within which they reside, which are less dense as they rise in altitude, are steadily cooling according to the IGL. So they atmospheric layers cannot be isothermal, even though the argon atoms are.

Are we really just getting confused about heat and temperature? The thermosphere is very hot, but it’s also very cold!! The molecules are travelling very fast; there’s also vast distances between them.

• Don,

The confusion is over the definition of internal energy. I have indeed seen sources that refer to internal energy as only kinetic energy but that usage is misleading for present purposes.
For the present discussion internal energy is best described as KE + PE and they are interchangeable in rising or falling gases.
Total internal energy stays the same but the temperature changes as convection up or down switches internal energy between KE and PE during uplift and descent.
So, Argon (or any other gas) cools with expansion during uplift with KE converting to PE.
Argon warms with contraction during descent with PE converting to KE.
The radiative theorists ignore convection altogether because they think it will come to a stop but it never can because uneven surface heating is inevitable and that is all one needs.

• Don132 says:

Frolly, your argument is simple and elegant and irrefutable. It’s a thing of beauty. It was worth it for me to stick with this entire long-winded, sidetracked, and generally confusing discussion just to hear that.

• frolly February 11, 2018 at 10:48 pm

Time for a thought experiment involving two planets!!
Consider; two very Earth-like rocky planets with Earth-like atmospheres orbiting at the same distance (1AU) from the Sun. We provide one with an atmosphere identical in every way to the present Earth’s; let this planet be E1. Now the other planet E2, is going to be identical in every way to E1 except for the composition of the atmosphere. The atmosphere of E2 will be very similar to E1’s atmosphere but will contain no greenhouse gases. It will be an almost identical mixture of the same gases as E1, but these non-greenhouse gases will be designed and mixed in such a way, that E2’s atmosphere possesses exactly the same measured atmospheric pressure, density and molar mass on the near-surface as E1 does.

Clearly the existing greenhouse gas hypothesis for Earth predicts that E1 should have a much higher (33K?) surface temperature than E2 because of its greenhouse gases. The hypothesis presented here, using formula 5, predicts that both planets will have identical temperatures.

So far, so good.

Notably, the predicted temperature figure for both planets, calculated from formula 5, is the same temperature as that predicted by the greenhouse gas hypothesis for the planet with the greenhouse gases, E1.

NO!

Planet E1 will get additional warmth from the downwelling IR from the atmosphere, which planet E2 will not get from its GHG-free atmosphere.

This will perforce leave the surface of planet E2 warmer than the surface of the planet E1. Of course, this additional warmth will also warm the atmosphere.

As a result, the characteristics (pressure, molar mass, and density) of the atmosphere of planet E2 will NOT be the same as that of planet E1. Why on earth would they be the same? It is a very different experimental setup, with different energy flows in different locations moving different amounts of energy, so there is absolutely no reason to assume that the pressure, molar mass, and density would be unchanged.

The underlying Ideal Gas Law equation still works, of course, because it works no matter what. But it will NOT give the same temperature as the result of the equation.

w.

PS—Please note the mechanics of the refutation. You identify the key faulty assumption AND YOU QUOTE IT. Then you show why you believe it to be incorrect. Look at the pyramid. I’m right at the top, refutation of the central point:

• Well, Willis, I think you need to direct attention to a planet where that actually happens.
What example can you produce where the amount of GHGs makes a measurable difference to the surface temperature predicted from the other variables?
The fact is that the temperature of any atmosphere at the same pressure is much the same after adjusting for distance from the sun regardless of composition.

• Willis,

I don’t understand what GHGs could do to alter the calculation according to the gas laws so that E2 becomes warmer.

Please specify what changes to pressure could be caused by DWIR from GHGs for planet E2.

The problem you have is that, regardless of density or volume, pressure is the same at the surface because the same atmospheric weight is still bearing down on the surface however the atmosphere expands or contracts.

Thus, you cannot change pressure without also altering atmospheric mass or the strength of the gravitational field.

According to the ideal gas law only pressure, mass and gravity are needed to calculate temperature and GHGs cannot change any of them.

• Also, I think you mixed up E1 and E2 but no matter. My comment assumes E2 as the one with GHGs and DWIR.

• Robert Holmes says:

“The atmosphere of E2 will be very similar to E1’s atmosphere but will contain no greenhouse gases. It will be an almost identical mixture of the same gases as E1, but these non-greenhouse gases will be designed and mixed in such a way, that E2’s atmosphere possesses exactly the same measured atmospheric pressure, density and molar mass on the near-surface as E1 does.
Clearly the existing greenhouse gas hypothesis for Earth predicts that E1 should have a much higher (33K?) surface temperature than E2 because of its (E1’s) greenhouse gases. The hypothesis presented here, using formula 5, predicts that both planets will have identical temperatures.
Notably, the predicted temperature figure for both planets, calculated from formula 5, is the same temperature as that predicted by the greenhouse gas hypothesis for the planet with the greenhouse gases, E1.”

Willis said;
“NO!”
.
But it must be; YES!
The GHG hypothesis predicts 288K for Earth with the current mix of gases (obviously) – which have the current pressure, density and molar mass associated with them.
Planet E2 has had its non-GHG atmosphere designed so that it has the SAME pressure, density and molar mass as planet E1.
Now – If both planets have the same pressure, density and molar mass then they MUST be predicted to have the same temperature – the ONLY alternative to that is that the molar mass version of the ideal gas law is wrong.
If planet E1 is warmer than E2, then the GHE is correct – but the molar mass version of the IGL has to be wrong.
In this way it is seen that it cannot be possible that both the GHE is correct and the MMV of the IGL is correct. ONLY ONE CAN BE CORRECT!

• Don132 says:

Willis Eschenbach February 12, 2018 at 9:43 am:

“NO!

“Planet E1 will get additional warmth from the downwelling IR from the atmosphere, which planet E2 will not get from its GHG-free atmosphere.”

OK, let’s grant that argument. So how do we find the temperature of planet E1 according to Frolly’s formula? We take the pressure, molar mass, and density of E1 that has warmed more than E2 because of GHG, plug them into the formula, and we get a temperature. Not a problem; we now have temperature of planet E1 that is, according to Willis, greater than planet E2.

So now we take out all the GHG from planet E2 but we leave pressure, molar mass, and density exactly the same as E1. We can do that, no? We use Frolly’s formula and what to we get? We get the temperature of planet E1.

What’s the problem with the reasoning you presented to us? The problem is that we can’t assume that which we want to prove and then “prove” what we want to prove: we can’t ASSUME that GHGs warm the atmosphere and then use that to prove that GHGs warm the atmosphere. Classic circular reasoning.

Here’s another problem:
When we say an isothermal atmosphere can’t convect, we’re confusing heat with temperature. As a parcel of isothermic gas rises, that parcel MUST cool with decreasing pressure, even though the atoms within the parcel stay the same temperature. Yes or no?

• Don,

This is better:

“When we say an isothermal atmosphere can’t convect, we’re confusing energy (KE + PE) with temperature (KE alone). As a parcel of isothermic gas rises, that parcel MUST cool with decreasing pressure, even though the atoms within the parcel retain the same energy. Yes or no?

• Don132 says:

Stephen: it’s clearer to keep the arguments as simple as possible and focus on the underlying logic, but yes.

• Frank says:

Frolly says: “The molar mass version of the ideal gas law is clear in that since these two planets have the same density, pressure and molar mass, they must also have the same temperature.”

If two planets share the same density, pressure and molar mass, they will have the same temperature. Correct. However, the planet with the GHGs will have a lower density because the gas molecules will occupy a larger volume due to its higher temperature.

Frolly says: “[E2] will be an almost identical mixture of the same gases as E1, but these non-greenhouse gases will be designed and mixed in such a way, that E2’s atmosphere possesses exactly the same measured atmospheric pressure, density and molar mass on the near-surface as E1 does.”

Frolly is assuming what he is trying to prove. To see this more clearly, lets put 1 mole of the gases from planets E1 and E2 in a cylinder with a piston. The same pressure is applied to each piston. The density of both gases required to be the same, therefore the volume occupied by both gases must be the same. When P, V and n are the same T must be the same.

Defining the volume of an atmosphere is difficult, because there is no well-defined top. You can characterize the volume of the atmosphere by the altitude of the average molecule.

73. I thought Anthony disallowed to even discuss the GHE here?!

Then I can not fully agree, neither to Holmes nor Eschenbach on this. You can not completely deny, that the named approach gives quite good approximations, while it is not fully right.
It is all about the definition of “surface”. The solid surface of Venus is certainly not a surface whos temperature could be determined by the Stefan Boltzmann law. I guess only 2.5% or so of solar radiation makes onto this surface. Also only a tiny fraction of its intense surface radiation can go into space.
The question is not so much WHAT heats the atmosphere (the sun obviously), but WHERE. Where is the place, or rather the zone or radial exchange? The Stefan Boltzmann approach will be valid for this region, and this region only.
It should be quite obvious if you think of a gas giant, where the term surface needs to be defined.
Below and above that zone, the adiabatic lapse rate will largely determine atmospheric temperatures, depending on its opaqueness. So the “ideal gas law” approach is essentially not wrong, but very incomplete.

The GHE is a fallacy nontheless, and there are a couple of reasons.
1. The formula is wrong, as it does not take emissivity into account, but only absorptivity, which is completely one-sided and makes things only worse. This error will always indicate a GHE.
2. Consequently we see GHEs thoughout the solar system, on moons and planets which not even hold atmospheres.
3. On the other hand only correcting that main source of error, already gives you much better approximations of surface temperatures of zero atmosphere celestial bodys. That is by assuming absorptivity = emissivty.
4. That approach works even better, if you allow for a) logarithmic averaging of observed surface temperatures (especially with slow rotating, sun-near objects like the moon) and b) conidering, that the surface will be larger by a few percent than that of a perfectly smooth sphere. That factor will reduce oberserved temperatues by a few degrees as compared to the theoretic figures.
5. The GHE on Earth is all about absorptivity = 0.69 while emissivity = 1. A result that can only be achieved by wrongly accounting clouds. The consensus model contradicts itself on that, and that is not just a mistake. It is vital to the claim of a GHE.

In fact there two versions of clouds role within Earths climate system, and they are both “consensus” That chart may illustrate the basic problem.

The left side illustrates the role of clouds in the total GH-model, the right side illustrates the specific CF to derive their net effect. Note how their reflection of terrestrial IR is denied, how emissions suddenly flip flop, and how the albedo effects shrinks to fit a modest negative CF.

• I was with you until your little chart. What is CF? What are the blue and red arrows? What is the left side..right side?

• CF = cloud forcing

left side.. “The Earth-Atmosphere Energy Balance” as presented here for instance.

https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/energy

right side..
“Clouds increase the global reflection of solar radiation from 15% to 30%, reducing the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the Earth by about 44 W/m². This cooling is offset somewhat by the greenhouse effect of clouds which reduces the outgoing longwave radiation by about 31 W/m². Thus the net cloud forcing of the radiation budget is a loss of about 13 W/m²”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_forcing with reference to the 1990 IPCC report
https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/far/wg_I/ipcc_far_wg_I_full_report.pdf (page 79)

And the whole story is here..

• What this doesn’t show is that the amount that is emitted by the atm varies by night, trying to balance the Gas Eq as the temps fall, and since the WV was balanced at a higher temp during the day, it radiates as required to balance the surface if it can.

• Thanks Leitwolf
I must admit that I find that energy chart very suspect, as the short term day/night, clouds/no clouds, functions to limit insolation, and to spread out the cooling, but so what? That is what every troposphere does. That chart says nothing about the time of action of cooling activities. It thus says nothing about heat, only average thermal fluxes.

It says nothing about the NET change (sensitivity) of the entire system to the doubling of CO2. Spread out the cooling more? Limit some extremes?

So what?

The author of this paper calculates a tiny number. He imo is correct. We will never know, unless some rapid 3 to 5 C warming happens soon. So far, there is no evidence outside of natural variation.

1860 – 1880 0.16 C a 20 year warm burst rate per decade
1910 – 1940 0.15 C a 30 year warm burst, includes the dirty ’30’s
1975 – 1998 0.16 C a 20 year warm burst, which we have just experienced.

Trends source: Interview by the BBC with Phil Jones of the Hadley Center for Climate Change at East Anglia University, which puts out probably the most trusted world wide temperature reconstruction called HadCRUT.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm

74. This is the cross-section of temperature in the troposphere and the stratosphere in winter.

75. Willis, about your nitpicking, here am I nitpicking. In the paper, Holmes presents equation 6;

“Alternatively, the molar mass version of the ideal gas law
can be written thus;

T = PM/Rρ”

Holmes forgot the parenthesis though, so yours equation:

T =P M / (ρ R)

is mathematically correct and equal to T = P / (R * p / M).

• To prevent further nitpicking the last equation above should be;

T = P / (R * ρ / M)

• Robert Holmes says:

Yes, that is my preferred equation;
T = P / (R * ρ / M)

76. Don132 says:

So to summarize the extended and not-very-well-organized or moderated argument so far (not a criticism of moderators, but a statement that so far this has been a free-for-all with no attempt to summarize and focus the positions, as if anyone has time to do that) Willis says he’s right and so do those who say that gravity is a source of energy.

But … those who say that gravity is a source of energy don’t say that, do they? I hear a lot of mocking about “‘adiabatic auto-compression’ as a permanent energy source” — Willis’ words– but I don’t believe that anyone has actually claimed that, except those who are opposed to the position that pressure, not GHGs, instigates the lapse rate and is the primary source of the GHE. If so: quote, please?

The source of energy is the sun. Both sides agree on that. When the sun hits the surface of the earth and heats it, that heat is conducted to the atmosphere immediately above it because the atmosphere at that point is under a significant pressure of about 19,000 pounds/square yard/second (someone can surely state this more clearly.) This heat then convects/conducts upward, and as it does so the pressure decreases; as the pressure decreases, the atmosphere is necessarily expanding and cooling. Have I got that right? Correct me or restate this if not. So far I haven’t mentioned anything about gravity being an energy source, and my suspicion is that this is close to a straw man argument– if not exactly one.

Can we confirm this position, please? And then move on from there? Because otherwise we’re not going to be able to collectively think this through, and I’m assuming that rather than start a fight, that’s what Willis intended in the first place.

• That is correct as far as it goes.
Next step is to consider the transformation of KE to PE in ascending columns and the opposite in descending columns.

https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/stephen-wilde-how-conduction-and-convection-cause-a-greenhouse-effect-arising-from-atmospheric-mass/

Many have noted the general principle of atmospheric mass causing a surface temperature enhancement but the above is the only step by step narrative that I know of.

• Don132 says:

Not so fast! Do those who oppose the “gravitational theory” (GT?) agree with that basic statement, above, and as far as it goes, of what the GT people are asserting? If not, with exactly what do they take issue?

I’ve heard it said here that the atmospheric temp must be invariant without GHGs; is someone going to assert that again and give some logic behind it? Is someone going to take issue with the apparent fact that an atmosphere under significant pressure must conduct surface heat, regardless of the composition of that atmosphere? If this is true, then is anyone going to take issue with the apparent fact that as surface pressure decreases with altitude, the atmospheric temperature must also decrease, all else being equal, and according to laws associated with the properties of gases? Is anyone going to say that the heating of the atmosphere closest to the surface will not convect?

Is anyone who holds the GT theory willing to elaborate on its application to the above statement of the theory insofar as it goes at this point, and just sticking to the simple scheme of sun-heating-surface-conducting-to-atmosphere-under-pressure?

My suggestion is that we stick with the simple explanation of the theory that I laid out at 11:40 and knock it around just a bit before moving on to the next steps, as SW suggested.

Thank you, SW.

• Ben Wouters says:

Don132 February 8, 2018 at 11:40 am

When the sun hits the surface of the earth and heats it, that heat is conducted to the atmosphere immediately above it because the atmosphere at that point is under a significant pressure of about 19,000 pounds/square yard/second (someone can surely state this more clearly.) This heat then convects/conducts upward, and as it does so the pressure decreases; as the pressure decreases, the atmosphere is necessarily expanding and cooling.

Solar energy increases the temperature of the surface. The surface loses energy by radiation, conduction and evaporation. Part of the radiation is directly to space (atmospheric window), the rest of the energy transfer is to the atmosphere.
In a non-convecting situation (static atmosphere) the pressure and density decrease with altitude. The atmosphere is NOT expanding/cooling with altitude. This does happen when air is rising. Now the rising volume of air (parcel) is expanding and cooling with the temperature decreasing according the Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate or the Moist Adiabatic Lapse Rate when condensation occurs within the rising air.

• Don132 says:

Thank you, BW.

Is not the atmosphere getting thinner as altitude increases? And this is because gravitational attraction decreases? Or are you claiming that gravity has nothing to do with it? So I’m not sure how/why you say “The atmosphere is NOT expanding/cooling with altitude. This does happen when air is rising.” I should have said that the atmosphere was thinning, not expanding; my bad. The point was that the distance between molecules is increasing as we climb in altitude.

In a desert, with no water vapor, what roles do evaporation and radiation play at the surface? If there is no water vapor, and if N2 and O2 don’t absorb or emit any thermal energy to speak of?

I think what we want to figure out is the origins of the lapse rate so would rather not invoke it just yet but instead just try to reason out what’s going on with the atmosphere mostly nearer the surface. It seems to me to be circular reasoning if we say that air is cooling because of the lapse rate, and the reason for this is the lapse rate. But maybe I misinterpret.

• Don132 says:

BW: I take it back: the atmosphere IS expanding with altitude, and the proof of this is that the circumference of a circle increase as the circle gets bigger.

• Ben Wouters says:

Don132 February 8, 2018 at 3:04 pm

Is not the atmosphere getting thinner as altitude increases? And this is because gravitational attraction decreases? Or are you claiming that gravity has nothing to do with it?

Pressure and density do decrease with increasing altitude. Gravitational attraction can be considered constant for at least the troposphere.
Obviously gravity is the reason for the pressure, density and the average temperature profile of the troposphere. This is called the Hydrostatic Equilibrium (HE) against gravity our atmosphere is in.
Seems a lot of posters here are unaware of this very fundamental mechanism.
As long as posters claim that eg the Sea breeze, or even the worse the entire Hadley circulation is driven by convection, we can be sure they do not understand the HE.

In a desert, with no water vapor, what roles do evaporation and radiation play at the surface? If there is no water vapor, and if N2 and O2 don’t absorb or emit any thermal energy to speak of?

.A desert on a hot day can have as much WV per m^3 as on a cold foggy day in London.
It is the RELATIVE humidity that is low in hot desert..

• Ben Wouters says:

Don132 February 8, 2018 at 3:11 pm

BW: I take it back: the atmosphere IS expanding with altitude, and the proof of this is that the circumference of a circle increase as the circle gets bigger.

This simple fact was equally true a couple of billion years ago when the atmosphere formed.
Expansion is a dynamic PROCES. Decreasing density vs altitude is a static STATE.

• Don132 says:

Ben Wouters Feb 9, 2018 @ 4:37 pm:
“Pressure and density do decrease with increasing altitude. Gravitational attraction can be considered constant for at least the troposphere.”
You are right and I’m wrong regarding the effect of gravity; the pressure at the surface is due to the weight of the atmosphere, and the pressure decreases as we go up mostly because there’s less atmosphere above, as gravity decreases only very slightly.
Thanks for clearing that up.

• Yes, the pressure and density at the surface isn’t just down to a greater force of gravity at the lower height but rather to the weight of the molecules above.
The more relevant relationship is between the downward force of gravity which gives weight to individual molecules and the intermolecular forces which try to keep the molecules apart against the weight from above. At every height those two forces are in balance as long as the atmosphere is at hydrostatic equilibrium.
That is a side issue for present purposes.
Willis has admitted that his ‘proof’ ignores convection and I have shown that that is a non physical scenario so his ‘proof’ is worthless chaff.

• Ben Wouters says:

Don132 February 9, 2018 at 5:35 am

the pressure at the surface is due to the weight of the atmosphere, and the pressure decreases as we go up mostly because there’s less atmosphere above, as gravity decreases only very slightly.

Good. Once you realize that the surface pressure is “contained” by the weight of the atmosphere above, it should also be clear that the surface pressure is independent of the temperature of the air.
Eg at the North pole surface pressure 1030 hPa and temperature -40 C or in a desert with the same surface pressure and temperature +40 C are both possible. Big difference will be the density of the two columns and thus how far they are expanded against gravity.

• Don132 says:

Ben Wouters Feb 9 , 2018 5:35 am:

“Once you realize that the surface pressure is “contained” by the weight of the atmosphere above, it should also be clear that the surface pressure is independent of the temperature of the air.
Eg at the North pole surface pressure 1030 hPa and temperature -40 C or in a desert with the same surface pressure and temperature +40 C are both possible.”

If you increase the pressure at the North Pole, say to 2060 hPa, then that does nothing to the temperature?

If you decrease the pressure in a desert to 515 hPa, then that does nothing to the temperature?

PV=nRT; T= PV/nR. That looks like a relationship. W

• Insolation varies with latitude as does advection of air from other latitudes.

For the planet as a whole the only three relevant parameters are atmospheric mass, the strength of the gravitational field and top of atmosphere insolation but within a real atmosphere there are multiple potential variations from region to region around the average temperature set by the three parameters.

• Ben Wouters says:

Don132 February 9, 2018 at 9:11 am

If you increase the pressure at the North Pole, say to 2060 hPa, then that does nothing to the temperature?

To double the surface pressure you have to double the atmospheric mass or double the gravity or a combination of both. How do you propose to do that?
But given a double surface pressure you can still have (almost) any temperature.

PV=nRT; T= PV/nR. That looks like a relationship. W

Will still be valid, as long as the gasses behave as ideal gasses.

77. It would be nice to see a version of that first graph (planets K vs pressure) with an adjustment of distance from sun (source of heat size). Oh Well.

I generally agree with your critique. The premise is not proved. Then again, there’s lots missing. IMHO the Ideal gas Laws (molar or otherwise) must hold. (Modulo any not-quite-ideal issues) so “Global Warming” also doesn’t explain things.

78. wildeco2014 says:

Agreed.
Let’s hear a proper rationale from those who object to elements of the gravitational hypothesis.

• Robert Holmes says:

Is it listed under ‘Bad Science’?

• Don132 says:

Willis,
First of all, I think that the elevator speech you requested in that previous essay had been given, in the first place by Stephen Singer:
“1. Planet with mass and GHG free atmosphere.
2. Planets gravity pulls down on the gas compressing it causing heat near the surface.
3. Convection sets in and gas rises. cools then back to step 2.”
There’s no response to that, from anyone, and although step 2 can be stated more clearly, that’s basically it. I’ve noticed other attempts–without wading through all comments there– but these were for the most part ignored.

Secondly, you gave an example of proof by contradiction:
Willis: “The proof is by contradiction. This is a proof where you assume that the theorem is right, and then show that if it is right it leads to an impossible situation, so it cannot possibly be right.

So let us assume that we have the airless perfectly evenly heated blackbody planet that I spoke of above, evenly surrounded by a sphere of mini-suns. The temperature of this theoretical planet is, of course, the theoretical S-B temperature.

Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.[ Won’t the temperature also rise with GHGs?]

But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.

And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.”

You assume you are correct and then go on to prove you’re correct– sorry, but this is incorrect. Specifically, you assume that since the atmosphere is transparent (to infrared) that means that it’s radiating more energy than it receives. But there’s another explanation that you ignore, and that is that the planet is radiating exactly as much energy as it receives, as is the earth is, but that the mechanism for this involves a lapse rate set up by gravitational pressure, and not by GHGs.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would calmly point out my errors and not call me an ignoramus or any other such names; I’ll return the common courtesy.

Beyond that, let’s stick with the basic proposition that I laid out at 11:40, and maybe call this “statement 1” so we all understand. What are your specific objections to that? If there are none, maybe we can proceed. If there are, we can still proceed. And, thank you.

• Don132 February 8, 2018 at 5:29 pm

… you gave an example of proof by contradiction:
Willis:

“The proof is by contradiction. This is a proof where you assume that the theorem is right, and then show that if it is right it leads to an impossible situation, so it cannot possibly be right.

So let us assume that we have the airless perfectly evenly heated blackbody planet that I spoke of above, evenly surrounded by a sphere of mini-suns. The temperature of this theoretical planet is, of course, the theoretical S-B temperature.

Now suppose we add an atmosphere to the planet, a transparent GHG-free atmosphere. If the theories of N&K and Jelbring are correct, the temperature of the planet will rise.[ Won’t the temperature also rise with GHGs?]

But when the temperature of a perfect blackbody planet rises … the surface radiation of that planet must rise as well.

And because the atmosphere is transparent, this means that the planet is radiating to space more energy than it receives. This is an obvious violation of conservation of energy, so any theories proposing such a warming must be incorrect.”

You assume you are correct and then go on to prove you’re correct– sorry, but this is incorrect. Specifically, you assume that since the atmosphere is transparent (to infrared) that means that it’s radiating more energy than it receives.

I’m sorry, I guess my words weren’t clear. There are no GHGs in the atmosphere. As a result, the atmosphere is NOT “radiating more energy than it receives”, because it cannot radiate.

There is only one thing in the system which can radiate. That is the surface. If the surface is heated by gravity or by any such means above the S-B temperature, the surface will constantly emit more radiation than it is receiving … which is not possible.

Why is it possible on earth? Because the atmosphere absorbs some of the outgoing radiation, and radiates its energy with about half going out to space and about half going back down to earth. So the earth ends up only radiating to space the amount of energy that it receives, despite the surface being well above the S-B temperature.

But there’s another explanation that you ignore, and that is that the planet is radiating exactly as much energy as it receives, as is the earth is, but that the mechanism for this involves a lapse rate set up by gravitational pressure, and not by GHGs.

This is totally unclear. But in any case, if it works as you describe it will leave the surface warmer than the S-B temperature, which will leave it radiating more than it is receiving … not possible.

I hope this makes it clearer. If not, ask again.

w.

• wildeco2014 says:

Willis, a surface at 288k does not radiate to space at 288k if it is simultaneously passing energy to the atmosphere via conduction. Otherwise there is a breach of the first law since energy cannot be in two places at once.
Due to the circular nature of convective overturning the process of conduction from surface to air never stops so that the surface at 288k can never radiate to space at 288k unless convective overturning stops and at that point the atmosphere falls to the ground.
Have you ever read my step by step description of the entire process?

• gbaikie says:

“I hold that with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere, neither the hypothetical “N&Z effect” nor the “Jelbring effect” can possibly raise the planetary temperature above the theoretical S-B temperature. But I also make a much more general claim. I hold it can be proven that there is no possible mechanism involving gravity and the atmosphere that can raise the temperature of a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere above the theoretical S-B temperature.”

So this this bit: “But I also make a much more general claim. I hold it can be proven that there is no possible mechanism involving gravity and the atmosphere that can raise the temperature of a planet with a transparent GHG-free atmosphere above the theoretical S-B temperature.”

Well I would say ozone is not really a greenhouse gas.
I don’t plan on making the case that ozone does warm earth- but it seems things which aren’t greenhouse gases and things which aren’t even gases can be called greenhouse gases or greenhouse effect. If I bother to prove dust can cause warming- are we going to call solid particles
“greenhouse gases”. And clouds aren’t aren’t gases- whether they are droplets of water in earth’s
atmosphere or clouds of droplet of sulfuric acid in Venus atmosphere- which some call “greenhouse gases”: Ie:
“On the global scale, Venus’s climate is strongly driven by the most powerful greenhouse effect found in the Solar System. The greenhouse agents sustaining it are water vapour, carbon dioxide and sulphuric acid aerosols.”
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Venus_Express/Greenhouse_effect_clouds_and_winds

So does “a transparent GHG-free atmosphere” allow “sulphuric acid aerosols”?

Next let’s go over “above the theoretical S-B temperature”.
One could mean the theoretical S-B temperature means temperature of lunar surface, which is
about 120 C in noon sunlight. Or referring to ideal thermal conductive blackbody sphere which has uniform temperature of about 5 C. Or could referring to Greenhouse effect theory of about -18 C for average temperature of Earth.

At equilibrium temperature non blackbody surface at Earth distance from the Sun can be warmer than 120 C..

And spherical body in a vacuum can have higher average temperature than 5 C.

And planet at earth distance with 1 atm atmosphere without water, or “greenhouse gases” can be have average temperature warmer than -18 C

Pick one which you disagree with?

• Willis, in your essay you say “If the total surface radiation remains the same (as it must with a transparent atmosphere)”

It does not.

First, your planet surrounded by suns is a fiction. Infinite suns would gradually heat the planet into a sun.

A one sun planet’s SB temperature is based on 1/4 the insolation. The no atmosphere planet has average temperature T1. The surface temperature is very hot during day, and very cold during night.

A non GHG planet’s atmosphere is warmed by conduction during the day, and cooled by conduction, at night.(mostly) The greater the atmosphre’s density, the greater its heat capacity, the greater the conduction.

During the day, this planet’s OLR, which is a product of T^4, is much less, thus dramatically slowing the planets cooling.

Thus a non GHG planet’s average surface temperature is now above T1, say T2, because the maximum day temperature is less. The greater the atmospheric density, the less is going to be the hottest day temperature, thus increasing T2.

There is your “greenhouse” warming with a non GHG atmosphere. The actual T2 temperature is dependent upon the atmospheric molar density.

• wildeco2014 says:

Sailboarder
The planets OLR will only drop during the first convective overturning cycle.
Once KE starts to return to the surface when that first cycle completes OLR returns to S-B but the entire surface is left higher than S-B.

• sailboarder February 8, 2018 at 6:53 pm Edit

Willis, in your essay you say

“If the total surface radiation remains the same (as it must with a transparent atmosphere)”

It does not.

First, your planet surrounded by suns is a fiction.

Yes, and it’s a special kind of fiction called a “thought experiment”. Work with it.

Infinite suns would gradually heat the planet into a sun.

I’m sorry, sailboarder, but I will not play your game. This is exactly why I ask people to QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS THAT YOU ARE REFERRING TO.

In fact, what I said was:

We might imagine that there are thousands of mini-suns in a sphere around the planet, so the surface heating is perfectly even.

In your mind, you think I’ve said something about “infinite suns”. BUT I SAID NOTHING OF THE SORT! You’ve made up a line of total BS, and you are pretending that I said it.

I will not stand for that, nor will I discuss matters with someone trying to stuff words and ideas into my mouth.

I can defend my own words.

I cannot defend your idiosyncratic misunderstandings of my own words.

You segue from your fantasy about “infinite suns” into a meaningless discussion of night and day, viz:

The surface temperature is very hot during day, and very cold during night.

Day? Night? READ THE THOUGHT EXPERIMENT. See the part where it says “the surface heating is perfectly even”? That means even. No day. No night.

Grrrr … c’mon, folks, up your game! Take a look at the pyramid above, and decide where on that pyramid your proposed comment would fit. If you wish to refute my proof, you can’t do it with handwaving and science by assertion.

w.

• wildeco2014 February 8, 2018 at 11:24 pm

Willis, a surface at 288k does not radiate to space at 288k if it is simultaneously passing energy to the atmosphere via conduction. Otherwise there is a breach of the first law since energy cannot be in two places at once.

Assuming that you are talking about my proof, the atmosphere is at steady-state, with no energy passing between the surface and the atmosphere. This occurs because the atmosphere cannot radiate heat. When the atmosphere can radiate heat, the upper atmosphere can radiatively cool and become cold enough to create the overturning that you describe.

But without GHGs, that cannot happen. The atmosphere stabilizes with the lowest layer at the surface temperature. With no temperature difference between the surface and the atmosphere, there is no conduction.

Due to the circular nature of convective overturning the process of conduction from surface to air never stops so that the surface at 288k can never radiate to space at 288k unless convective overturning stops and at that point the atmosphere falls to the ground.

In my proof, of course there is no convective overturning. The surface is at a constant temperature. The atmosphere is at a constant temperature. There is no convection.

Have you ever read my step by step description of the entire process?

No … but it clearly has nothing to do with my proof, where there is no convection.

Thanks,

w.

• Willis: OK, I will tackle your mind game, for what it is worth. (I noticed that you ignored my very correct elevator speech about the IGL working for earth. Too bad)

“We might imagine that there are thousands of mini-suns in a sphere around the planet, so the surface heating is perfectly even”

Incoming heat = 1000’s X ONE SB sun. Outgoing heat required = 1000’s X one SB sun.

Atmospheric temperature is such as to take the molar density below where the IGL functions, but the more like a plasma.

Experimental failure!

• Willis..
Your 100’s of suns is bogus as a planet cannot be in orbit around 1000’s of suns.
To be true, you are describing a big rock in our universe, where there are millions of suns.
The temperature is near 0 degrees K
There is no atmosphere.
Experimental failure!
Try again please, or try my planet description above where I have shown how a real planet has a higher average temperature due to a non GHG atmosphere.

• Don132 says:

Willis @Feb 8, 11:45 pm
Willis answered the question I asked further down and I didn’t see this. Apologies.

Willis:
“Assuming that you are talking about my proof, the atmosphere is at steady-state, with no energy passing between the surface and the atmosphere. This occurs because the atmosphere cannot radiate heat. When the atmosphere can radiate heat, the upper atmosphere can radiatively cool and become cold enough to create the overturning that you describe.

“But without GHGs, that cannot happen. The atmosphere stabilizes with the lowest layer at the surface temperature. With no temperature difference between the surface and the atmosphere, there is no conduction.”

But, you do agree that at the top of atmosphere the atmosphere is necessarily much thinner? It is, because gravity is much weaker. At some point there would be a great deal of space between the molecules at the very top of the atmosphere, which you claim is isothermal. By what law do the topmost molecules retain their heat whilst they’re surrounded by much colder space?

• Don132 says:

I said the atmosphere is thinner at the top because gravity is weaker at the top. Obviously this is wrong; the reason is that the pressure is less.

• Willis Eschenbach February 8, 2018 at 11:45 pm
wildeco2014 February 8, 2018 at 11:24 pm

“Willis, a surface at 288k does not radiate to space at 288k if it is simultaneously passing energy to the atmosphere via conduction. Otherwise there is a breach of the first law since energy cannot be in two places at once.”

If the surface is at 288K it will radiate to space as a 288K source, if an atmosphere is added which is warmed by conduction the surface will temporarily cool down. However the GHG free atmosphere can not lose heat to space so conduction must eventually cease so eventually radiation balance at the surface is achieved as Willis points out.

• Since convection cannot be prevented it follows that conduction never ceases.
Instead there is constant conduction from surface to air under rising air and constant conduction from falling air to surface.
Willis appears to be stumped by my request that he explain how he proposes to prevent convection.
Once one has ongoing convective overturning there will be a surface temperature enhancement without the need for GHGs.

79. Don132 says:

Wills: “There is only one thing in the system which can radiate. That is the surface. If the surface is heated by gravity or by any such means above the S-B temperature, the surface will constantly emit more radiation than it is receiving … which is not possible.

“Why is it possible on earth? Because the atmosphere absorbs some of the outgoing radiation, and radiates its energy with about half going out to space and about half going back down to earth. So the earth ends up only radiating to space the amount of energy that it receives, despite the surface being well above the S-B temperature.”

That makes sense to me– so far. But, in a GHG-free atmosphere, you’re saying that N2 and O2, for example, wouldn’t radiate at all, in any frequency?

And, if I may use a colloquialism, what a cotton-pickin’ minute: (W) “If the surface is heated by gravity or by any such means above the S-B temperature, the surface will constantly emit more radiation than it is receiving … which is not possible.” If a surface is receiving (“more”) energy, then what would constrain it from emitting that energy? More importantly, I don’t think that anyone has claimed that gravity is heating the surface– if so, hands up, please, and explain this. Unless I misunderstand, gravity is not heating the surface: the surface is heating the atmosphere immediately above it, primarily by conduction, and it’s doing so because of the very significant (gravitational) pressure that is pressing that atmosphere hard up against the surface. If the surface heating of the atmosphere is in turn heating the surface a bit more, then it must be doing exactly the same thing even if the atmosphere has GHGs.

It might be helpful for some of those who are experts in GT to clarify this. Does anyone contend that gravity is heating the surface?

Warning: major crash of paradigms ahead, each of which proves the other wrong! I almost don’t want to look.

Again, thank you.

• wildeco2014 says:

Don, as you point out it could be one process or the other but not both, as my full description points out.
The clincher though is that the gravitational solution must work with or without ghgs so if ghgs then doubled the effect the atmosphere would lose hydrostatic equilibrium and be blown off into space.
As I just pointed out to Willis above such duplication would also breach the first law because the same unit of energy could not be in two places at once.
KE at a surface can either conduct or radiate not do both at the same time.

• Don132 says:

wildeco2014, what you propose is too radical and punches the radiative paradigm straight in the gut and leaves it lying on the canvas for the 10-count.. I propose to slow it down and take baby steps, and see when and how it all gets tripped up. I would like people to think it through rather than jump to defending paradigms.

• wildeco2014 says:

I know.
Fun isn’t it 👍

• Don132 says:

Willis at 12:04: “It doesn’t matter if the claim is that gravity is heating the surface, or if the claim is that it is from, what was it … hang on … oh, yes, “adiabatic auto-compression”. Whatever mechanism is claimed, the only energy entering the system is the energy from the suns.

“And if the surface is warmed by whatever theory, with a transparent atmosphere it will perforce be radiating more energy than it is receiving … which is a contradiction.”

Agreed, only energy entering system is from sun.

So Willis is saying, I believe, that a GHG-free atmosphere can’t warm. I don’t see a quote anywhere to that effect, but it seems to be an assumption. Or have I misinterpreted?

We should back up a bit to my “statement 1”: “When the sun hits the surface of [a planet] and heats it, that heat is conducted to the atmosphere immediately above it because the atmosphere at that point is under a significant pressure of about 19,000 pounds/square yard/second …. This heat then convects/conducts upward, and as it does so the pressure decreases; as the pressure decreases, the atmosphere is necessarily expanding and cooling.”

On your hypothetical planet, with a presumed very high surface temperature, what would be the temperature of, say, the one meter of atmosphere directly above the surface? Can we assume the pressure is the same as earth’s? Can we even assume that the atmosphere is made up of argon? If the atmosphere can’t hold any heat, does that mean that the argon is at 0 degrees? What laws would you invoke to support whatever you say the temperature of the atmosphere adjacent to the surface must be? Would those laws be consistent with gas laws?

This is a sticking point so will be important to think it through and not jump to defending paradigms.

• Don132 February 8, 2018 at 11:25 pm

Wills:

“There is only one thing in the system which can radiate. That is the surface. If the surface is heated by gravity or by any such means above the S-B temperature, the surface will constantly emit more radiation than it is receiving … which is not possible.

“Why is it possible on earth? Because the atmosphere absorbs some of the outgoing radiation, and radiates its energy with about half going out to space and about half going back down to earth. So the earth ends up only radiating to space the amount of energy that it receives, despite the surface being well above the S-B temperature.”

That makes sense to me– so far. But, in a GHG-free atmosphere, you’re saying that N2 and O2, for example, wouldn’t radiate at all, in any frequency?

If they radiate then they are GHGs, albeit weak ones. I meant GHG-free, as for example an argon atmosphere.

And, if I may use a colloquialism, what a cotton-pickin’ minute: (W)

“If the surface is heated by gravity or by any such means above the S-B temperature, the surface will constantly emit more radiation than it is receiving … which is not possible.”

If a surface is receiving (“more”) energy, then what would constrain it from emitting that energy?

But it’s not receiving more energy. It is receiving the energy from the surrounding mini-suns. Period.

More importantly, I don’t think that anyone has claimed that gravity is heating the surface– if so, hands up, please, and explain this. Unless I misunderstand, gravity is not heating the surface: the surface is heating the atmosphere immediately above it, primarily by conduction, and it’s doing so because of the very significant (gravitational) pressure that is pressing that atmosphere hard up against the surface. If the surface heating of the atmosphere is in turn heating the surface a bit more, then it must be doing exactly the same thing even if the atmosphere has GHGs.

It might be helpful for some of those who are experts in GT to clarify this. Does anyone contend that gravity is heating the surface?

The answer is yes, lots of folks are claiming that gravity is doing it, either directly or in some indirect manner such as you propose. Here’s the thing. IT DOESN’T MATTER! It doesn’t matter if the claim is that gravity is heating the surface, or if the claim is that it is from, what was it … hang on … oh, yes, “adiabatic auto-compression”. Whatever mechanism is claimed, the only energy entering the system is the energy from the suns.

And if the surface is warmed by whatever theory, with a transparent atmosphere it will perforce be radiating more energy than it is receiving … which is a contradiction.

Warning: major crash of paradigms ahead, each of which proves the other wrong! I almost don’t want to look.

Again, thank you.

My pleasure,

w.

• Don132 says:

[Apologies, this comment is posted twice as the first time I wrongly put it before Willis’ comment.]

Willis at 12:04: “It doesn’t matter if the claim is that gravity is heating the surface, or if the claim is that it is from, what was it … hang on … oh, yes, “adiabatic auto-compression”. Whatever mechanism is claimed, the only energy entering the system is the energy from the suns.

“And if the surface is warmed by whatever theory, with a transparent atmosphere it will perforce be radiating more energy than it is receiving … which is a contradiction.”

Agreed, only energy entering system is from sun.

So Willis is saying, I believe, that a GHG-free atmosphere can’t warm. I don’t see a quote anywhere to that effect, but it seems to be an assumption. Or have I misinterpreted?

We should back up a bit to my “statement 1”: “When the sun hits the surface of [a planet] and heats it, that heat is conducted to the atmosphere immediately above it because the atmosphere at that point is under a significant pressure of about 19,000 pounds/square yard/second …. This heat then convects/conducts upward, and as it does so the pressure decreases; as the pressure decreases, the atmosphere is necessarily expanding and cooling.”

On your hypothetical planet, with a presumed very high surface temperature, what would be the temperature of, say, the one meter of atmosphere directly above the surface? Can we assume the pressure is the same as earth’s? Can we even assume that the atmosphere is made up of argon? If the atmosphere can’t hold any heat, does that mean that the argon is at 0 degrees? What laws would you invoke to support whatever you say the temperature of the atmosphere adjacent to the surface must be? Would those laws be consistent with gas laws?

This is a sticking point so will be important to think it through and not jump to defending paradigms.

• Don132 says:

So far Willis has asserted that a planet without GHGs would have an isothermal atmosphere: “But without GHGs, that cannot happen. The atmosphere stabilizes with the lowest layer at the surface temperature. With no temperature difference between the surface and the atmosphere, there is no conduction. … The surface is at a constant temperature. The atmosphere is at a constant temperature. There is no convection.” (Feb 8, 2018, 11:45 pm)

But, this is impossible. With increasing altitude we have decreasing pressure and we must of necessity have decreasing temperature as the atmosphere expands (the circumference of the atmosphere increases at each hypothetical rise in altitude) until at the very top the atmosphere is so thin that the atmospheric molecules are very far apart. How do those molecules higher up, which Willis maintains are at the same temperature as the surface (unless I grossly misunderstand!) maintain the heat which they acquired at the surface?

It seems to me that we have a temperature gradient; we have a lapse rate; we have convection. It also seems to me that it’s impossible to have an isothermal atmosphere.

What am I missing? Someone will have to explain, in plain English, please, how we can have an isothermal atmosphere.

Once again, please don’t jump ahead and defend any paradigms. Just work with what we have so far.

• Don132 says:

Don132 February 9, 2018 at 9:57 am:

“How do those molecules higher up, which Willis maintains are at the same temperature as the surface (unless I grossly misunderstand!) maintain the heat which they acquired at the surface?”

I’ll answer my own question, and I’m surprised that no one has stated it simply and distinctly: the atoms of argon (or any non-ghg) have no way of convecting or conducting or radiating energy away.

The only option I see is if the argon has absorbed energy (not IR) from the surface and then emits that energy higher up, and that energy loss is a drop in kinetic energy and hence a drop in temperature. But does that happen? When argon collides with other molecules in conduction, does that collision transfer just some kinetic energy or does it involve absorption of frequencies of, say, UV? I haven’t yet been able to find an answer for that. What if the heated molecules on the surface of the planet radiate in the same frequencies as argon can absorb?

I can look all day and find something I can’t quite understand, or someone can say something according to Descartes (that is, clearly and distinctly) that makes sense of it. Or, someone can point me to a reference that isn’t filled with math. Or, I can look all day.

• Don,

You are missing that Ke becomes Pe during ascent and Pe becomes Ke in descent.

That is why convective overturning matters.

All the molecules in an atmosphere have the same total energy (Ke + Pe) but Pe which does not register as heat increases with height and Ke declines with height so for a convecting atmosphere there must be a temperature decline with height even in a non radiative atmosphere.

i) How to get an isothermal, static atmosphere with no convection when it is impossible to arrange perfectly even surface heating. Even the slightest unevenness will allow less dense molecules to rise above more dense molecules. A declining density gradient ensures that once convection starts it will involve the full height of a non radiative atmosphere because a rising parcel of air only expands as fast as the density of the surroundings declines so that the density differential continues all the way to the top.

ii) How to avoid losing the atmosphere when the upward pressure gradient force in the top half of an isothermal atmosphere will exceed the downward pressure from the weight of the less dense molecules above. In that situation hydrostatic equilibrium cannot be achieved.

Until those issues are properly addressed the radiative hypothesis as applied to a non GHG atmosphere is simply a waste of all our time. All the thermal characteristics of a non GHG atmosphere are non radiative and so the radiative hypothesis cannot apply.

• All objects emit thermal radiation proportional to fourth power of temperature.

So if the earth had an atmosphere of purely argon, the amosphere would eventually through conduction and convection warm to ~255 degK, earth’s effective temperature.

At that temperature our imagined atmosphere would radiate ~240 W/m2, same as our current, real, atmosphere with all the GHGs does. Lo and behold, it would also backradiate.

• Dang… Stefan–Boltzmann law is for blackbodies and argon is a poor absorber/emitter of thermal radiation. Must try harder.

• Because of uneven latitudinal solar irradiance our imagined atmosphere of argon would perhaps not be isothermal and temperature gradients, horizontal/vertical, would form.

The question is, would our imagined atmosphere of argon, being not only a poor emitter, but also a poor conductor of thermal energy evolve to be any sort of thermal barrier, insulator? Would tropopause in it form at a much lower altitude as in our current atmosphere and therefore leave temperatures at the earth’s surface lower than we have now, even with adiabatic autocompression.

It’s hard, this speculation.

• Something, -one, eats my comments?

(You keep falling into the Trash bin, rescued one) MOD

80. Willis,

One cannot suppress convection within an atmosphere around a sphere lit by a single sun because there will always be uneven surface heating causing density differentials in the horizontal plane which is all that is needed to cause convective overturning.

You obviously know that because you tried to avoid the issue by proposing multiple suns in order to arrange perfectly even surface heating. Since that scenario does not exist in nature your ‘isothermal’ description is screwed.

• Stephen Wilde February 9, 2018 at 12:16 am

You obviously know that because you tried to avoid the issue by proposing multiple suns in order to arrange perfectly even surface heating. Since that scenario does not exist in nature your ‘isothermal’ description is screwed.

My friend, you clearly do not understand the concept of a “thought experiment”. Here’s one of the most famous ones:

Imagine you’re chasing a beam of a light.
Imagine you’re chasing a beam of a light.

This is something Einstein started thinking about when he was just 16 years old. What would happen if you chased a beam of light as it moved through space?

If you could somehow catch up to the light, Einstein reasoned, you would be able to observe the light frozen in space. But light can’t be frozen in space, otherwise it would cease to be light.

Eventually Einstein realized that light cannot be slowed down and must always be moving away from him at the speed of light. Therefore something else had to change. Einstein eventually realized that time itself had to change, which laid the groundwork for his special theory of relativity.

Now, that scenario of chasing a beam of light “does not exist in nature” as you say … but it was still an extremely valuable thought experiment.

In fact, the reason we have thought experiments is that they allow us to understand things when we cannot do real experiments.

w.

PS—And no, I am NOT comparing myself to Einstein. I’m discussing thought experiments, and he’s famous for them.

• Unfortunately, your thought experiment does not allow us to understand things when we cannot do real experiments.
Instead, you sought to distract from real world observable evidence of what happens when a surface beneath an atmosphere is inevitably heated unevenly.
Try adapting your ‘proof’ to take account of the unavoidable reality of an unevenly heated surface so that convection ensues.

81. Strange, I’ve tried to answer Willis three times now but it is not appearing. Maybe they will all turn up at once?

82. gbaikie says:

–In fact, what I said was:

We might imagine that there are thousands of mini-suns in a sphere around the planet, so the surface heating is perfectly even.-

If you have 1 thousand suns in sphere around a planet, How could not have more than one sun in the sky at any given time.
And if you have more than 1 sun in sky, then going act as if you have magnified the sunlight.
Or going like using multiple mirror reflecting sunlight from one sun onto one area [which magnifies the sunlight and making that one area hotter- as with a solar tower].
It would work if the light from the suns couldn’t be magnified- or you didn’t have direct sunlight.

83. Willis, your original top post said this:

“The problem is where it goes from there. The author makes the following claim:
In short, the hypothesis being put forward here, is that in the case of Earth, solar insolation provides the ‘first’ 255 Kelvin – in accordance with the black body law [11]. Then adiabatic auto-compression provides the ‘other’ 33 Kelvin, to arrive at the known and measured average global temperature of 288 Kelvin. The ‘other’ 33 Kelvin cannot be provided by the greenhouse effect, because if it was, the molar mass version of the ideal gas law could not then work to accurately calculate planetary temperatures, as it clearly does here.

I’m sorry, but the author has not demonstrated what he claims.”

OK, I agree, the author did not provide an elevator speech on how it happens, so here again is mine:

A (one sun) planet’s SB temperature is based on 1/4 the insolation. The no atmosphere planet has average temperature T1. The surface temperature is very hot during day, and very cold during night.

A non GHG planet’s atmosphere is warmed by conduction during the day, and cooled by conduction, at night. The atmosphere acts as a heat charge, discharge capacitor.

The greater the atmosphere’s molar density, the greater its heat capacity.

During the day, this planet’s OLR, which is a product of T^4, is much less, thus dramatically slowing the planets cooling.

Thus a non GHG planet’s average surface temperature is higher(T2 > T1), as a function of atmospheric molar density, ie, obeying the IGL.

There is your “greenhouse” warming with a non GHG atmosphere.

• Sailboarder

Nearly there but lose the day/night aspect because rotation jumbles up the thermal characteristics of the day and night sides.
Better to refer to the OLR being reduced below rising columns of air and the OLR being commensurately raised beneath descending columns of air.
Then you get OLR out still matching solar energy in but the energy tied up in convective overturning is still locked in all around the sphere which raises the average surface temperature from T1 to T2.
BUT you can only get to that new stable scenario after the atmosphere has formed and the first convective overturning cycle has closed its first energy loop.
During the first convective overturning cycle the temperature of the surface viewed from space will appear to be less than T1 for a while because some of the surface energy is being diverted to conduction and convection instead of leaving to space.
Have you read my detailed description yet?

• You are over complicating it. I presented an elevator speech. Please refute it at that level. Others use their own approach: Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. & Karl Zeller, Ph.D.

• Ok but you could delete this bit:

“During the day, this planet’s OLR, which is a product of T^4, is much less, thus dramatically slowing the planets cooling.”

which is not needed and which provoked my ‘clarification’ because it isn’t quite right. In reality the reduction in cooling is only during the first convection cycle and not a daily event because after that energy in equals energy out once more.

• Sorry Steven, but the atmosphere cools during the night, so it gets heated again during the day, ie, like a capacitor.

• Yes but you referred to the planet’s OLR and the planet’s cooling not the atmosphere’s.
You could leave that out and the rest still looks good to me.

• Steven
The elevator speech is about a non GHG atmosphere, and it can only cool by conduction. The OLR allies only to the surface. I have described how the surface is heated(T2 > T1) by reduced OLR due to conduction.

• I know, but the wording doesn’t look right to me as it stands but it is your elevator speech so go with it if you are happy :)

• gbaikie says:

— Stephen Wilde
February 9, 2018 at 6:03 am

Sailboarder

Nearly there but lose the day/night aspect because rotation jumbles up the thermal characteristics of the day and night sides.–
How about a slow rotation is more like this 1/4 of sun, but with Earth rotational speed, the night time is too short to lose all the energy absorbed by sunlight- if planet has enough heat capacity.
And with ocean and atmosphere the surface has very high heat capacity.
A Earth desert mostly just has the 10 ton per square meter of atmosphere with sunlight warming few inches of soil, whereas Earth has 70% ocean which has meters of water at surface which can warm per day of sunlight- or water has about 4 times heat capacity per ton as compare to air- 10 tons of air equals 2.5 meters of ocean.
Whereas the Moon has very low heat capacity and in long daylight hours only absorbs about 1/2 meter depth of soil depth and only few inches get very hot from sunlight and loses this high temperature before late afternoon. And it’s long night allows very low temperatures to reached..

• gbaike

The weight of the atmosphere on the surface of the oceans also controls how much solar energy the oceans can hold on to by affecting the energy value of the latent heat of evaporation.

Consequently, the oceans cannot affect the long term planetary average surface temperature set by gravity, atmospheric mass and insolation but since the oceans do have that large thermal capacity with a lot of thermal inertia they can cause a lot of short term variability around the average,

• That was a good explaination, but

A non GHG planet’s atmosphere is warmed by conduction during the day, and cooled by conduction, at night. The atmosphere acts as a heat charge, discharge capacitor.

The surface will radiate to space at surface temp 24 hr’s a day. And with no GHG’s it’ll swing between min and max temp daily.

Adding non-condensing GHG’s are like adding color filters, it impacts just that band.
That would cause an increased surface temp based on the increased forcing.

Adding a massive amount of condensing GHG that has a significant Heat of evaporation that is tied to surface air P & T , makes a regulator.

• ” And with no GHG’s it’ll swing between min and max temp daily.”

No, conduction will reduce the swing.

“Adding non-condensing GHG’s are like adding color filters, it impacts just that band.
That would cause an increased surface temp based on the increased forcing. Adding a massive amount of condensing GHG that has a significant Heat of evaporation that is tied to surface air P & T , makes a regulator.”

No disagreement, but the elevator speech is about non GHG for the moment.

• The range will reduce. Dry air is such a good insulator, but it will still swing between min and max :)

84. The falsification of Willis’s explanations, and indeed the GHE itself, comes from the discovery that the temperature at the surface of any planetary body can be described without reference to the composition of its atmosphere. Two planets one with N2 and the other CO2 but equal molar masses will have the same average temperature at the surface, if gravity, insolation and albedo are held constant. Likewise, controlling for albedo and insolation, two planets with differing atmospheric masses will have the same average temperature at the same pressure level ,eg. Venus and Earth. Closer to home, the only reason it is hotter at the bottom of the Grand Canyon than the top is the pressure differential due to gravity. The GHE effect is unphysical as commonly understood because IR absorbed by supposed GHGs is immediately re-radiated and because all planets have open convective atmospheres making the whole heat trapping theory false. See: https://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/new-insights-on-the-physical-nature-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect-deduced-from-an-empirical-planetary-temperature-model.pdf Holmes doesn’t have it quite right, the basic concept is there. Don’t be a gravity denier. :)

• Indeed, and Willis agree that the IGL works. So what, as he says, how does a non GHG warm the earth? I explained it in an elevator speech above. There is no need to talk about gravity, as it is embedded in Molar mass density. The term “gravity denier” is a non informative slur.

85. Roger Clague says:

1.
Willis Eschenbach

February 7, 2018 at 5:56 pm says:

But Equation 5 CANNOT tell us how much of the temperature is due to volcanoes and how much is due to nuclear reactors. It can’t tell us the source of any of the heat that got the atmosphere to that temperature.

The heat is needed to maintain a gas atmosphere from freezing solid. It doesn’t matter how much or where it comes from , sun or from below.

T = pM/Rd

T = surface temperatures
p = surface pressure
M = molar mass of gas molecules
d = density of atmosphere
R = gas constant

p is caused by mass of planet
M is caused mass of gas molecules
d is caused by mass of atmosphere
R is constant

T is caused by mass. The main property of mass is gravity.
T is caused by gravity only
T is not caused by the radiative properties of the gases.

86. sailboarder February 9, 2018 at 4:49 am

Willis..
Your 100’s of suns is bogus as a planet cannot be in orbit around 1000’s of suns.

I give up. Your literalism is mind-boggling, as is your refusal to quote my words. And once again you are trying your slimy trick of putting words in my mouth.

I said NOTHING about a planet being in orbit around anything. The word “orbit” DOES NOT OCCUR IN MY PROOF POST. You are LYING about what I said. What I said was:

Let me call the “theoretical S-B temperature” the temperature that an evenly heated blackbody planet in outer space would have for a given level of incoming radiation in W/m2. It is “theoretical”, because a real, revolving airless planet getting heated by a sun with the same average radiation will be cooler than that theoretical S-B temperature. We might imagine that there are thousands of mini-suns in a sphere around the planet, so the surface heating is perfectly even.

You’re done with me, sailboarder. Take your sailboard somewhere else. I have asked you before to stop trying to put your misguided fantasies into my mouth. I have asked you to quote my words to avoid such misrepresentation.

You have done neither. Instead, you’ve continued to distort my claims and pretend I said things that I never mentioned once.

Go away. Don’t go away mad. Just go away. You’ve used up all of your free passes. Go away.

w.

• The concept of an evenly heated blackbody planet in outer space is a misguided fantasy is it not?

The S-B equation itself recognises and takes account of that fact.

Willis only tries to use the impossible concept of even surface heating to get to his misguided fantasy of a non-convecting, isothermal atmosphere.

When dealing with Willis one needs to keep one’s eyes on the pea but his emotional ranting and personal insults do make that difficult.

The essence of sailboarder’s main contention is correct but a minor bit of verbal or conceptual confusion gives Willis the chance to go off on one to distract from the weakness of his own position.

• Stephen Wilde February 9, 2018 at 11:24 am

The concept of an evenly heated blackbody planet in outer space is a misguided fantasy is it not?

No, it’s a part of a “thought experiment”.

Gedankenexperiment, (German: “thought experiment”) term used by German-born physicist Albert Einstein to describe his unique approach of using conceptual rather than actual experiments in creating the theory of relativity.

Good enough for Einstein, good enough for a fool like me …

Willis only tries to use the impossible concept of even surface heating to get to his misguided fantasy of a non-convecting, isothermal atmosphere.

It. Is. A. Thought. Experiment. All kinds of “impossible” things happen in thought experiments.

When dealing with Willis one needs to keep one’s eyes on the pea but his emotional ranting and personal insults do make that difficult.

Wonderful. A man complaining of “personal insults” accuses me of “emotional ranting”. Ouroboros smiles in approval.

The essence of sailboarder’s main contention is correct but a minor bit of verbal or conceptual confusion gives Willis the chance to go off on one to distract from the weakness of his own position.

Folks, here is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Without attempting to quote it or define it, Stephen talks about how “sailboarder’s main contention” is correct. None of us know what that “main contention” might be, likely as many answers as commenters.

Having declared (without quotes, definition, or evidence) that some unknown idea he calls “sailboarder’s main contention” is correct, he uses that to berate me for asking for quotations and evidence.

Stephen, you and sailboarder need to up your game. You’re barely mading it up to the second level of the pyramid …

Regards to all,

w.

• Willis, you impune my motives, and I had no ill motives. Why do you assume that I did? I used the planet concept because the word “planet” six times in the article up top.

• sailboarder February 10, 2018 at 9:28 am

Willis, you impune [sic] my motives, and I had no ill motives. Why do you assume that I did?

Once again you haven’t quoted whatever I said that you claim “impunes” your motives, so I cannot respond. Get with the picture.

w.

• This: “And once again you are trying your slimy trick of putting words in my mouth.” I think it is fair to say that you imply a deliberate nefarious act on my part. I think you owe me an apology.

• sailboarder February 11, 2018 at 12:19 am

This:

“And once again you are trying your slimy trick of putting words in my mouth.”

I think it is fair to say that you imply a deliberate nefarious act on my part. I think you owe me an apology.

After being repeatedly asked to quote what you were referring to, you twice tried to convince people that I had said something I hadn’t said, a.k.a. putting words in my mouth.

And yes, trying to stuff words in my mouth is a slimy trick, and yes, you obviously did it deliberately, since I’d asked you twice not to do it. I don’t “imply” you did it deliberately. I accuse you to your face. You don’t ignore two clear requests accidentally, which means that your actions were deliberate.

So I stand by what I said, it is a slimy trick. And if any apologies are owed, you owe me an apology for not complying with a polite request designed to keep you from making both a fool and a pest of yourself by misrepresenting my words.

w.

• Steve McIntyre often said something like “Do not assume ill intent when more simple explanations are available” or something like that. I was responding the way I did because I am suspicious of thought models in general as first they must be validated for unphysical assumptions. Hidden unphysical assumptions can lead to erroneous conclusions. I used the expression rabbit hole to describe this effect.

My own test model makes sense to me, and now the issue is will Argon at an identical molar mass density result in the earths temperature. The author said Reverend Badgers explanation was as good as it gets to describe this equality.

I like my model, as I have the heat charge/discharge capacity of the atmosphere to explain the “greenhouse” effect, by its averaging out the temperature. Maybe the author can chime in. Perhaps he is only one more paper away from proving his case. What he needs to do is calculate the stored heat in the two cases(Argon vs GHG atmospheres) for planet earth, and assume that Entropy will be maximized in either case.

• sailboarder February 11, 2018 at 5:23 am

Steve McIntyre often said something like “Do not assume ill intent when more simple explanations are available” or something like that.

And I agree totally. Which is why, if you re-read my comments, you’ll find that they are about your ACTIONS and not about your MOTIVES. I don’t object to your motives. I object to you trying to put words in my mouth. I object to you not quoting what I said.

As to why you do that strange stuff, I fear you’ll have to answer that one. My own motives are often opaque to me, and the motives of others are generally a total mystery.

w.

87. Don132 February 9, 2018 at 5:13 am

Willis @Feb 8, 11:45 pm
Willis answered the question I asked further down and I didn’t see this. Apologies.

No problem, that happens to us all.

Willis:

“Assuming that you are talking about my proof, the atmosphere is at steady-state, with no energy passing between the surface and the atmosphere. This occurs because the atmosphere cannot radiate heat. When the atmosphere can radiate heat, the upper atmosphere can radiatively cool and become cold enough to create the overturning that you describe.

“But without GHGs, that cannot happen. The atmosphere stabilizes with the lowest layer at the surface temperature. With no temperature difference between the surface and the atmosphere, there is no conduction.”

But, you do agree that at the top of atmosphere the atmosphere is necessarily much thinner? It is, because gravity is much weaker. At some point there would be a great deal of space between the molecules at the very top of the atmosphere, which you claim is isothermal. By what law do the topmost molecules retain their heat whilst they’re surrounded by much colder space?

Interesting question. Actually, every atom making up the atmosphere is surrounded by empty space, not just the atoms up at the top of the atmosphere. However, contrary to your assertion, that space is not “much colder”. Space has no temperature at all. Temperature is a measure of the average velocity of atoms and molecules … but if there are neither atoms nor molecules, there is no temperature.

Now, if there are GHGs in the atmosphere the density matters because density affects the odds of a given thermal IR photon striking a GHG molecule before escaping to space.

But without GHGs, the atmosphere by definition CANNOT lose energy to space, because it is not radiating.

Thanks,

w.

• Density matters even if there are no GHGs because greater density allows more effective conduction.

We see from the widely separated hot molecules in the thermosphere that have been directly heated by the sun that high temperatures can be reached high up and those molecules are often lost to space because their heat plus their potential energy puts them out of hydrostatic equilibrium. However density at that height is so low that their loss does not affect atmospheric mass much at all.

This is another example of Willis seizing on a badly expressed peripheral point in order to distract from the weakness of his basic position.

Keep your eyes on the pea, chaps.

• Stephen Wilde February 9, 2018 at 11:31 am

This is another example of Willis seizing on a badly expressed peripheral point in order to distract from the weakness of his basic position.

Another charming gentleman who doesn’t have the cubes to quote what I said when he is accusing me of bad faith …

Stephen, you are destroying your reputation with your insistence on making unsubstantiated, uncited, unsupported, and unpleasant accusations. You barely make it up to the second level on the pyramid. Pathetic.

w.

• gbaikie says:

“Temperature is a measure of the average velocity of atoms and molecules … but if there are neither atoms nor molecules, there is no temperature.”

There is also no temperature when there is less atoms and molecule. There is something like 100 atoms per cubic cm on the Moon, and in Earth’s thermosphere there is more atoms per cubic cm. as compared to the Moon.
And thermosphere, wiki:
“Thermospheric temperatures increase with altitude due to absorption of highly energetic solar radiation. Temperatures are highly dependent on solar activity, and can rise to 2,000 °C (3,630 °F).” and:
“The highly diluted gas in this layer can reach 2,500 °C (4,530 °F) during the day. Even though the temperature is so high, one would not feel warm in the thermosphere, because it is so near vacuum that there is not enough contact with the few atoms of gas to transfer much heat.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermosphere

So space has no temperature and boundaries of atmosphere where there is fewer atmospheric gas molecules, also have no temperature- though velocities of molecules can be quite high and we say it has it has high temperature- or it radiates at such temperature, but it doesn’t warm or cool things like the dense atmosphere of “room temperature”.

And one could ask,at what air density does the air warm or cool?
With Mars and it’s 25 trillion tons of atmosphere, at it’s surface, it’s said there is an air temperature. Roughly Mars pressure is 1/100th of Earth and Earth’s air density is about 60 times
more than Mars- or about .02 kg per cubic meter.

88. gbaikie says:

“Day? Night? READ THE THOUGHT EXPERIMENT. See the part where it says “the surface heating is perfectly even”? That means even. No day. No night.

Grrrr … c’mon, folks, up your game! ”

Obviously the Earth, Moon, Mars and other bodies or planets have higher average temperature at region nearer the equator.
But play the game of having uniform heating of sunlight and have gravity cause warming without
any greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
Elevator speak is
Planet has checker board of two elevations, the white squares are 4000 meters lower than black squares.
And we will call the white squares sea level elevation- though no water, because it’s becomes a greenhouse gas. But temperature is suppose to be -18 C and water at -18 C is ice.
So let’s put 1 meter of water in white square- which become transparent ice- , just for fun.
And size of checker squares is 100 km square.

And the question is will there be a difference of surface air temperature between white squares and black square?

• gbaike,

You don’t need such convolutions as a checkerboard.

You just need rising columns of air and falling columns of air and refuse to accept Willis’s bizarre fantasy of an evenly heated surface.

• gbaikie says:

A checkerboard is quite simple- can’t you solve the puzzle?

• gbaikie says:

The checker board with varying elevation could lower, increase, or have no affect on air temperature as compared to checker board without this varying elevation.

One start with something which should be true, the higher elevation black square will be cooler than the lower white squares. Which the same as saying white squares would be warmer than black square.
But if there wasn’t elevation difference would black square be cooler being at higher elevation as compared to black square being at same elevation?
It seems the higher black square would be cooler.
So if make level checker board have a temperature of -18 C, with elevation difference black square is less than -18 C.
With level checkerboard, one would have 1 atm pressure at surface. And density of air depends
on temperature and with the temperature of minus 18 C, it’s somewhere around 1.4 kg per cubic meter. There was chart I saw recently: -20 F = 1.445 and 0 F = 1.382
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-density-specific-weight-d_600.html
-20 F = -28.8889 C and 0 F= -17.7778 C
So for 1 atm at -18 C it’s about 1.38 kg per cubic meter
So with checkerboard of varying elevation what is air density of black square, and/or what is
the pressure?
Since one square went up and other when down, 1 atm pressure mid way between the white and black squares. And you could call that “sea level”. So black square is 2000 meters above “sea level” and white square is 2000 meter below “sea level”.
Roughly you could say this, but it depends upon or varies a bit depending on air temperature at “sea level”- but let’s call it close enough.
And if we ignore the 1 meter of ice on white square, the air should be very dry and have lapse rate
of about 10 C per 1000 meter elevation difference.
And we could wildly jump to idea that sea level air was about -18 C and black square was about -38 C and white square was about 2 C, but we aren’t going to do that and instead get back determining by guess what would be the air density of the black square. Which is suppose to colder that black square without elevation difference.
Now if at “sea level” density is about 1.38 kg per cubic meter, what is density 2000 meters higher?
One could also ask at what elevation is half the mass of atmosphere?
Let’s make it more simple, and go back to level checker board, so air temperature is -18 C
air density is 1.38 kg per cubic meter, lapse rate about 10 C per 1000 meter, and have 10 tons of air per square meter at surface and at what elevation is it 5 tons of air above it?
5000 kg / divided by 1.38 kg is 3623 meters and density must lower with elevation so has to be higher 3623 meters, so say around 4000 meters.
Or 2500 kg divided by 1.38 is 1811 meters and has to be higher to have 3/4 of atmosphere above.
Back checker board of different elevations. At sea level, density will increase as go lower, and decrease as go higher. And could average it so that 1000 meter up balances 1000 meter down or
2000 meter up and 2000 meter down as average density of 1.38 [with assumption the sea level air temperate is -18 C]. But 1/2 of this volume is filled with all the black square- hmm- that alters my assumption of where sea level is- it’s not in middle but a bit higher.
Or checkerboard half goes 2000 meter up and half goes down, and more air mass goes down than the air which is displaced by black square going up, though with air being warmer at lower elevation, it lessen this difference.
Anyhow, what’s density at black square- it’s less than 1.38 and probably more than 1.2 kg per cubic meter. Or it’s similar to sea level air density on Earth with it’s average temperature of 15 C.
Or black square which viewed as high [and huge] mountains on earth has air density similar to sea level Earth. Not sure if anyone knows how significant that is.

89. Eric Barnes says:

Really enjoying the debate. Thanks Anthony, Willis and Stephen W.

90. Don132 February 9, 2018 at 9:57 am

So far Willis has asserted that a planet without GHGs would have an isothermal atmosphere:

“But without GHGs, that cannot happen. The atmosphere stabilizes with the lowest layer at the surface temperature. With no temperature difference between the surface and the atmosphere, there is no conduction. … The surface is at a constant temperature. The atmosphere is at a constant temperature. There is no convection.”

(Feb 8, 2018, 11:45 pm)

But, this is impossible. With increasing altitude we have decreasing pressure and we must of necessity have decreasing temperature as the atmosphere expands (the circumference of the atmosphere increases at each hypothetical rise in altitude) until at the very top the atmosphere is so thin that the atmospheric molecules are very far apart. How do those molecules higher up, which Willis maintains are at the same temperature as the surface (unless I grossly misunderstand!) maintain the heat which they acquired at the surface?

It seems to me that we have a temperature gradient; we have a lapse rate; we have convection. It also seems to me that it’s impossible to have an isothermal atmosphere.

What am I missing? Someone will have to explain, in plain English, please, how we can have an isothermal atmosphere.

Let me give it a shot.

Suppose we have a non-GHG atmosphere above an evenly heated surface. Remember that this means that the only way the atmosphere can gain or lose energy is by conduction through the surface. The atmosphere cannot radiate energy, either out to space or back to the earth.

And let us further support your idea that the steady-state condition is with temperature decreasing with altitude as you describe. We’ll use that as a starting point.

Now, an atmosphere that is cooler as it goes up as you describe is thermally stable. So your atmosphere won’t overturn. It will be thermally stratified.

HOWEVER:

Air conducts heat, just like any other substance. Oh, it’s slower to conduct heat than say steel or silver or water, but it conducts heat.

AND:

The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that if there is a thermal path between two objects at different temperatures, that heat will flow spontaneously from warm to cold.

THEREFORE:

Heat will flow from the warmer air at the surface to the cooler air above. At the surface, this will set up a surface-atmosphere temperature difference, which means that heat will also flow from the surface to the atmosphere.

Since the flow is spontaneous, and since the atmosphere CANNOT lose heat by radiation, heat will only spontaneously flow until the atmosphere is isothermal from the surface to the top.

And at that point, no further heat will flow either to or from the atmosphere.

Let me recommend once again “Refutation of Stable Thermal Equilibrium Lapse Rates” …

Regards,

w.

• That only works if the surface is perfectly evenly heated.
Any infinitesimal degree of unevenness results in density variations in the horizontal plane, regions of less dense gas rising above regions of more dense gas and there you have convective overturning at which point your proposition fails.

• Trick says:

“The atmosphere cannot radiate energy, either out to space or back to the earth.”

Then Willis’ atmosphere has no mass with no radiation. No Cp. No weight. No surface pressure. No defined temperature. No convection. No conduction. And…if Willis’ defined atmosphere can not radiate, any sun or other star can not radiate.

Possibly Willis’ really means to debate with the experimental physics of a 77% N2, 23% O2 atm. with terrestrial surface pressure et. al. At least that would be meaningful physics.

• gbaikie says:

Well, atmosphere on earth doesn’t radiate much.
Ozone radiates a bit, and so do clouds.
If you compare amount which is radiated, which radiates more: Earth’s clouds or Earth ozone layer?

• Trick says:

gbaikie, which one can melt snow on earth surface? Answering that ought to get you close.

• Trick February 9, 2018 at 1:19 pm Edit

“The atmosphere cannot radiate energy, either out to space or back to the earth.”

Then Willis’ atmosphere has no mass with no radiation. No Cp. No weight. No surface pressure. No defined temperature. No convection. No conduction. And…if Willis’ defined atmosphere can not radiate, any sun or other star can not radiate.

Huh? None of the monatomic noble gases, e.g. argon, either radiate or absorb in the thermal IR range. And yes, we’ve been through this question before on WUWT. All SOLIDS absorb and radiate thermal IR over a broad range of frequencies. GASES, on the other hand, either absorb/radiate only in specific often narrow bands, or don’t absorb or radiate at all in the thermal IR range. Monatomic noble gases are the ones that neither absorb nor radiate.

And if you think e.g. argon does absorb thermal IR, please provide a graph showing the frequencies at which it is absorbing/radiating. I ask because this argument is done to death. I don’t care what you learned in physics class about how everything radiates thermal IR. It only applied to SOLIDS.

Possibly Willis’ really means to debate with the experimental physics of a 77% N2, 23% O2 atm. with terrestrial surface pressure et. al. At least that would be meaningful physics.

The physics of a non-GHG atmosphere are very meaningful. They make the question clear.

w.

• gbaikie says:

” Trick
February 9, 2018 at 2:11 pm

gbaikie, which one can melt snow on earth surface? Answering that ought to get you close.”

Rain can melt a lot of snow. If you have heavy snowfall and you then get a lot rain- expect flooding.

• Trick says:

“None of the monatomic noble gases, e.g. argon, either radiate or absorb in the thermal IR range.”

Theses gases all radiate in the thermal IR range Willis as distant past testing for their emissivity has shown. Plug in a temperature and a wavelength and you will get a nonzero radiance from the Planck curve and find each gas emissivity from testing as all mass radiates since the atoms all vibrate (oscillate) in an EM field. You will learn more about real atm.s from discussing N2,O2 as then you have testing to rely upon. Trying to build an argument from non-radiating matter is useless. All matter radiates.

• Trick says:

”And if you think e.g. argon does absorb thermal IR, please provide a graph showing the frequencies at which it is absorbing/radiating.”

Ar is absorbing/emitting at all frequencies, all the time, at all temperatures. The radiance graph resembles the Planck curve. Just search out the journals where the emission testing from Ar et. al. was reported long ago. I did this in a discussion around here, it wasn’t very hard. I had to actually visit a college library. And went 2 or 3 ancient journals deep, the results are there for those that expend the effort.

• Trick says:

“The physics of a non-GHG atmosphere are very meaningful. They make the question clear.”

The physics of N2,O2 atm. are even more clear & readily available. Increasing GHG mixing ratios can then be understood. The Ar atm. isn’t clear until the interested commenter has spent the 7-10