Important new study from AWI: Cooling discovered in Antarctica, enabled by Carbon Dioxide

I’m sure our alarmist friends will be ready to dismiss this…but, it looks pretty solid. Tommy Tyrberg sends in this tip. He writes:

Here is a very interesting paper from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) which seems to have very largely escaped notice.

In short the author shows convincingly that in Central Antarctica where the tropopause is very low and ill-defined, and there is often a strong ground inversion, increased CO2 actually has a net cooling effect, since it will normally result in LWIR radiation to come from a higher altitude with a higher radiation temperature. The title is extremely discreet by the way.

It would seem that this would be a very elegant explanation why Antarctica is completely failing to become warmer, so I presume the reason it has not made any waves is that it also implies that the EAIS is enormously stable with respect to higher CO2 levels. And since the cold catabatic winds from central Antarctica also largely control coastal antarctic climate and the production of Antarctic Bottom Water from coastal polynyas the results have global significance as well. 

Key part:

Hypotheses behind the thesis
The occurrence of emission maxima at TOA in the absorption bands of GHGs means, that, from a top of atmosphere perspective, the presence of GHGs causes a surplus of energy loss into space. Taking the difference between surface and TOA emission as greenhouse effect, this yields a negative GHE being observed over Antarctica. Furthermore, when considering increasing concentrations of GHGs, particularly CO2, this phenomenon should yield an increase in thermal
emission. This is opposite to what is generally known to result from increasing concentrations of GHGs.

In section 1.5 it has been demonstrated, that global warming during the last decades has not been
proven to occur over the highest elevated areas of Antarctica. There are even indications, that
parts of the continent might have experienced slight cooling. One cause of this non-warming might
be the inverted effect of GHGs on the long-wave radiative emission to space over central

Figure 2.5A: Yearly averaged greenhouse effect of CO2 in 2006, calculated from TES spectra. The All
panel comprises 545203 observed spectra from 165 global surveys. The orbit of the satellite does not allow data acquisition right at the poles. The black contour line over Antarctica denotes 0 W/m2

Here is a longer and more detailed version from the Author’s PhD dissertation: and the full PDF here

CO2 is the strongest anthropogenic forcing agent for climate change since pre-industrial times. Like other greenhouse gases, CO2 absorbs terrestrial surface radiation and causes emission from the atmosphere to space. As the surface is generally warmer than the atmosphere, the total long-wave emission to space is commonly less than the surface emission. However, this does not hold true for the high elevated areas of central Antarctica. For this region, it is shown that the greenhouse effect of CO2 is around zero or even negative. Moreover, for central Antarctica an increase in CO2 concentration leads to an increased long-wave energy loss to space, which cools the earth-atmosphere system. These unique findings for central Antarctica are in contrast to the well known general warming effect of increasing CO2 . The work contributes to explain the non-warming of central Antarctica since 1957.

Antarctic Specific Features of the Greenhouse Effect : a Radiative Analysis Using Measurements and Models | Request PDF. Available from: [accessed Jul 15 2018].

207 thoughts on “Important new study from AWI: Cooling discovered in Antarctica, enabled by Carbon Dioxide

      • Polar amplification is the phenomenon that any change in the net radiation balance (for example greenhouse intensification) tends to produce a larger change in temperature near the poles than the planetary average. link

        The current article points out that the processes at work in Antarctica are nothing like those at work in the Arctic even though it does not explicitly say so. Dave is correct to point this out. Polar Amplification is a misnomer. It should be Arctic Amplification.

        The work contributes to explain the non-warming of central Antarctica since 1957.

        The Arctic north of 80°N has warmed during the satellite era. link A similar sized area of Antarctica has not warmed. That’s not the main point the article makes, but as Dave points out, it is there nevertheless.

        p.s. During the melting season, the temperature north of 80 never moves far from the long term average. For whatever reason, it is surprisingly low right now.

        • CB, folks keep forgetting that the Arctic is ocean and Antarctica is a continent. Arctic sea ice fails to build due to winter sea conditions where SSTs and high humidity in the locally thinner troposphere are in control after oceanic heat releases. The winters just can’t get as cold, even with (whatever) help from CO2.
          Please also note that summers in the Arctic have been normal or below in temps for years, so CO2 is not warming in the summer there.

        • Temps North of 80 in the Arctic have indeed warmed some in the winter and as you have mentioned have remained at or below normal in the summer for at least 20 years. The temp is currently below normal.

          The winter warmth is due primarily to increased H20 vapor being pushed into the arctic from Highs and Lows from the temperate/tropical regions. As the oceans are currently cooling, it will be interesting to see if this continues. It doesn’t take that much of an intrusion of water vapor in air at 245K to warm it. Certainly the Arctic is much more sensitive to water vapor induced warming than the tropics.

          Additionally this causes more snow to fall and it may be the snow melt later in the season keeping summer temps down, but just a guess on my part. Snowfall in Greenland for instance has been heavy for the second year.

          • The thing is that the winter warming is pretty much irrelevant. we’re talking the difference between -35 and -30 degrees, either way, the ice won’t melt.

          • There is a relationship between ice thickness and surface temperature. The colder the surface temperature the thicker the ice. link

            Arctic sea ice starts melting from the bottom up long before the surface temperature gets to the melting point. So, yes the difference between -30 and -35 degrees does make a difference.

          • Summer temperatures north of 80 degrees north don’t change much, because they are held close to the melting point of ice. That will change when summer Arctic sea ice melts on a widespread scale north of 80 degrees north.

          • If the warming is stronger in Arctic it would be the first place to look for the cause of the warming, not assume that it is CO2 driven and magically “amplified”.

        • The phenomena reported in the article seems like a negative feedback rather than a amplification. A antarctic thermal hole or vent perhaps?
          Antarctic vent meet ozone hole?

        • Doesnt air and water circulation, Hadley Cells and all that cause amplif as per heat engine behavior. Increased hear at the equator from any agency would result in Arctic amplification.

    • It does appear that the Antarctic is almost always out of phase with the Arctic during glacial and intrglacial stages. One of the best examples is the Younger Dryas glacial interstadial. Antarctica warmed during the Younger Dryas. The Antarctic equivalent of the Younger Dryas, the Antarctic Cold Reversal, proceeded the Younger Dryas by about 1,000 years.

        • I see a reason for the Arctic to be warmer 9,000 years ago: The Milankovitch cycles favored more Arctic insolation then than now. I think the Antarctic had less, so global insolation (at least at the top of the atmosphere) stayed the same or nearly so. Note that the most common index of the Milankovitch cycles is insolation at the top of the atmosphere at 65 degrees north latitude at the time of the summer solstice. The middle and high northern latitudes have more surface albedo feedback than the rest of the world, so global temperature is affected by latitude shifts of insolation, although Arctic and near-Arctic temperature changes more than the temperature of the globe as a whole whether north-warming is a cause of global warming or global warming is a cause of north-warming (from Arctic amplification due to regional surface albedo feedback). However, I think north-specific warming in comparison to global warming is greater when north-specific warming is a cause rather than a result. So from 9,000 years ago to the height of the Holocene Thermal Optimum, I expect the Earth had its warmth more shifted towards the Arctic than any time since. I think this explains monsoon rains of the northern hemisphere summer going so far north in Africa to have turned most of the Sahara Desert into a savanna back then.

        • Hot.
          Even Mann seem to consider that the nominal upper reach of CO2 concentration could be at some 350-380ppm, far higher than the 260 estimate.

      • David
        See my comment below. The barriers that protect Antarctica increase during higher tropical evaporation, since about 1980. The Arctic is weak compared to the Antarctic, just look at the strength of the zonal wind speeds – three to one in Antarctica’s favor. Current theory on zonal winds is very weak.

        When the CAGC call was made they got lucky as it coincided with a period of increased tropical evaporation, which always makes the Arctic vulnerable because it is the weakest pole with fewer barriers to atmospheric entry. The tide has now turned and the Arctic is returning to how it was prior.

        • Every year the NH/SH polar sea ices take turns alternating areas, shrinking to around 3 E6 km^2 and then growing to around 14 E6 km^2.

          During the alternate summer shrinkings the lying fake news media shrieks of Delaware size ice shelves calving & imminent catastrophe.

          Every alternate winter when it all grows back – lying fake news media – not a peep.

      • “…Antarctic is almost always out of phase with the Arctic…”

        They are out of phase every year!

    • The IPCC clearly states that polar amplification occurs at both poles.

      6 months ago, I submitted my paper on this topic to a (hopefiully) respectable journal. It has been through review, been revised to cover every single point raised by the reviewers, and is now due for more review. I will be pd off if it doesn’t get accepted, because I will have had 6 months wasted. (Sorry, Anthony, for not sending it first to WUWT, but it needs to be in a peer-reviewed journal so that the IPCC (supposedly!) has to take it into account in their next report.).

      Anyway, that’s not relevant to the paper referred to in this WUWT article. This paper does not in my opinion deserve any serious attention. The temperature patterns of the Antarctic are quite striking and clearly have nothing to do with CO2.

    • Dave
      NH “polar amplification” is primarily cause by cooling amplification in the SH. Increased tropical evaporation causes an increase in blocking or barriers at altitude above Antarctica and cooling. This has a flow on effect to the high altitude surface and coastal area.

      The increased barriers punt a higher than normal volume of heat bearing atmosphere into the Arctic.
      The Antarctic has a significant effect on where tropical evaporation (heat) goes to, and on global temperature anomalies. Earth is dominated by cold, and there is plenty of it south of 60S.

      • Mike M.

        Look back through DMI archives and just about any curve you wish can be found including several previous examples of your linked graph.

  1. “CO2 is the strongest anthropogenic forcing agent for climate change since pre-industrial times.” is this really true, or would farming and / or urbanization actually have more of an impact?

    • Actually, the greatest anthropogenic forcing agent of recent times is Chinese industrial soot falling on Arctic ice sheets. This soot can reduce ice albedo by 0.3 units, and thus increase insolation absorption by 120 W/m2, when measured locally.

      And 120 W/m2 is a huge amount, when compared with the 2 or 3 W/m2 that CO2 may (or may not) contribute to global warming.


      • Plus one. Anecdotal arctic warming due to surface soot/dust is more likely than “radiative” forcing from increased CO2. This has already been measured, but the results do not conform to “global warming” dogma. Radiative changes in the high latitude atmosphere are much less than the “global average” claimed since the GHE itself is much lower. The original top post actually explains this, even though the AWI paper conforms to the IPCC party line.
        The “problem” of northern warming excludes any mechanism that does not conform to the “narrative” slash media/propaganda of the globalists.

        Note that the AWI paper by Holger Smithuesen differs from the AGU paper published in 2015. Both papers are interesting, and worth reading for their clarity in describing the differences between the two polar atmospheres.

        • GHE = “Green House Effect”??

          Anthony, Tommy: It seems to me the article needs to be updated to defined the acronym.

      • Ralfellis

        That is a ‘was’ statement. The common assumption that China still generates the same amount of aerosol particulates is false. Major sources remain the burning of agricultural wastes in both India and China, and clearing tropical forests in Indonesia for biofuel plantations.

      • From perihelion to aphelion the solar non-constant ranges from 1,415 W/m^2 to 1,323 W/m^2, delta 92 W/m^2. How huge is that?

        Because of the spherical shape and the oblique incidence of the solar insolation any point on ToA varies 700 W/m^2 from summer to winter. How huger is that!

        2 W/m^2 added between 1750 & 2010 and RCP 8.5 W/m^2 are not huge at all, anti-huge, in fact.

    • The answer is:

      What are the photon absorption bands of CO2?
      What are the photon absorption bands of water vapor?
      What is the overlap?
      What does it mean?

      Not possible.

  2. CO2 seems to be very versitile. Heating, cooling. moderation . Best we leave it to it’s own devices, eh? 🙂

    • It’s a magic molecule, that CO2.

      Necessary for life but named the world’s most devilish pollutant. Can cool, then heat, then cool again the atmosphere all at the same time. It contains two oxygen atoms to one carbon atom and is an invisible gas, but Greenpeace calls it carbon.

      • And both plants and animals interact with it. we breathe it out and plants take it in . I guess that is why plants love us when we talk to them.

        • Carbon dioxide, not oxygen, regulates many chemical processes in the human body. Even though we regard co2 as a waste product without it we would quickly die.

    • Ralph advises: “Best we leave it to it’s own devices, eh?”

      Best we understand exactly what CO2 does and why. When radiation and matter are in equilibrium (for every photon being absorbed, one is emitted), the intensity at every wavelength depends on temperature and is given by Planck’s. The thermal IR passing upward through our atmosphere not in equilibrium at some wavelengths.

      As non-equilibrium radiation travels through a homogeneous medium at constant temperature, its intensity approaches blackbody intensity. If the intensity is too high, there will be more absorption than emission and if the intensity is too low, there will be more emission than absorption. The absorption coefficient controls how fast (with increasing distance traveled) the radiation’s intensity approaches blackbody intensity.

      In our atmosphere, the temperature changes with altitude (and decreases in the altitudes critical for producing a GHE. For that reason, upward traveling thermal IR experiences more absorption than emission and its intensity drops from an average of 390 W/m2 to 240 W/m2 at 50 km, with most of the change occurring in the troposphere.

      In Antarctica in winter temperature INCREASE with altitude – the opposite of a GHE.

  3. “…since it will normally result in LWIR radiation to come from a higher altitude with a higher radiation temperature.”

    When unicorns fly.

    The Radiative Greenhouse Effect Theory

    Premise 1:
    The earth is 33 C warmer with an atmosphere than without. (288 K – 255 K = 33 C)
    So, just how does that work?

    Premise 2:
    There is an up/down/”back” radiative CO2/GHG LWIR energy loop between the surface and the atmosphere that “traps” and recirculates energy through QED processes warming both the atmosphere and the surface.
    And what powers that energy loop?

    Premise 3:
    The surface radiates as a 288 K black body with an emission of 390 W/m^2 (K-T 289 K & 396 W/m^2)

    Premises 1, 2 & 3 are demonstrably false.

    No 33 C warmer + No up/down/”back” radiation loop + No BB radiation = Carbon dioxide and mankind play ZERO role in the behavior of the climate.

    Premise 1:
    Premise 2:—We-don-t-need-no-stinkin-greenhouse-Warning-science-ahead-
    Premise 3:

      • Would dial it back a lot t’would someone ‘splain why/how I’m wrong.

        My 6 WB papers have collected 15,000 views – zero science based rebuttals.

        • prob not issue of wrong/right but is issue of you using another persons money to advertise for yourself.

        • Nick, I’m not going to debate right/wrong. What I’m telling you is that you are thread-bombing here, and we have a published policy against it. Either dial it back, or end up in permanent moderation. Your choice.

          • As I don’t agree with the +/- voting thing I’ve not used it – until now.

            Our host is being incredibly lenient on a policy violation. A true commitment to free speech. This should be applauded.

            And it implies that, while he is not endorsing, he isn’t accusing Nick Schroeder BSME of being as wrong as a ChemTrail fruit bat.

          • Let’ s cut to the chase:

            33 C warmer with an atmosphere is nonsense.

            LWIR up/down/”back” energy loop is thermodynamic nonsense.

            BB surface emission of 289 K & 396 W/m^2 is not possible.

            Bottom line – the greenhouse effect does not exist.

            Have a defense?

            Bring it.

          • Even in its own terms it can’t exist.

            What are the photon absorption bands of CO2?
            What are the photon absorption bands of water vapor?
            What is the overlap?
            What does it mean?

          • Nick Schroeder, BSME, wrote:
            “BB surface emission of 289 K & 396 W/m^2 is not possible.”

            Is this what you’re talking about above, Nick?

            So the integrated radiance at 288 K is only ~88.8 W/sr-m^2. In order for Premise #3 of CAGW to be true (396 W/m^2 radiance), temperature would need to be 400.33 K (260.924 F or 127.18 C).

          • This is what I am talking about.

            TFK_bams09 pg5/14

            “Although we are primarily interested in the global mean energy budget in this paper, it is desirable to assess and account for
            rectification effects. For example, in KT97, we used a single column model constrained by observations, to represent the
            average fluxes in the atmosphere. We compared results at TOA with those from the NCAR CCM3 and found good agreement,
            so that the spatial structure was accounted for.

            At the surface, the outgoing radiation was computed for blackbody
            emission at 15°C (15C=390, 16C=396) using the Stefan–Boltzmann law
            R = εσT4, (1) where the emissivity ε was set to 1.”

            The K-T diagram shows 17 W/m^2 convective & 80 W/m^2 latent & 63 W/m^2 LWIR = 160 W/m^2 leaving the surface. That closes the balance.

            The theoretical ideal BB at 289 K is 396 W/m^2. Emissivity would be 63/396 = 0.16.

            Because of the contiguous participating media, i.e. molecules, the surface cannot actually emit at 396 W/m^2.

            There is no upwelling 396, there is no downwelling perpetual looping “back” 333, there is no GHG energy loop, there is no RGHE.

            “…400.33 K (260.924 F or 127.18 C)”

            W/o atmosphere earth wold be hit by full 1,368 W/m^2 – 394 K, 121 C, 250 F.

            The atmophere’s 30% albedo cools the earth, not warms it. O.k. reduces it’s operating temperature. See Nikolov and Kramm.

      • I am defending Nick Schroeder, at least for a bit. I am still puzzling with the back-radiation story. For me that was a reason to read this article and the comments well. I noticed Nick Schroeders opinion earlier, but was not aware of all three points and I was happy being remembered again to his information. I think he did put this information on the right place, with the right article, to completize the information about the ‘role of CO2’ as highlighted by this special about ‘Antarctica and CO2’. He added value. At least for me.

    • I think what the paper implies, is that because the CO2 DLR (downwelling radiation) is emitted above the Antarctic atmospheric temperature inversion, some of that DLR warming is not reaching the surface. The temperature inversion is blocking it.

      I would also add that since nearly all of Antarctica is pristine white, that high albedo is also reflecting and rejecting any increase in DLR. In other words, it matters not how much you increase DLR (greenhouse warming radiation) over Antarctica, because nearly all of it will be reflected back into space.

      Hence Antarctica will continue to cool, no matter how many greenhouse gasses are in the atmosphere. The key to global temperatures is surface albedo (ice sheet albedo), not greenhouse warming.


        • Thanks for posting data on snow albedo into the infrared. I was wondering about it, since snow is water, and water has strong absorption bands in the infrared. This shows the effect, while there, is not overwhelming.

        • Ralfellis: When you are discussing the albedo of snow and ice, you are talking about how much visible light it absorbs and reflection. Clean snow reflects a lot of visible light; dirty snow less. Technically, we say that its absorptivity for visible light is low.

          However, snow and ice absorb almost all of thermal infrared radiation arriving at their surface. The table linked below shows that the infrared emissivity of ice and snow are essentially the same as for water 0.98. According to Kirckhoff’s Law, emissivity and absorptivity must be equal at a given wavelength.

          So essentially all of the “inbound DLR” arriving in Antarctica is absorbed.

          • Frank – the link you gave is to emissivity, not albedo. Emissivity is the outward radiation, not the reflection. The albedo of snow is given in my diagram above, where snow has an albedo of about 0.85, so 85% of the incident infared is reflected by the surface.


          • Ideal blackbodies emit B(lambda,T) at all wavelengths. At terrestrial temperatures, a negligible fraction of that emission occurs at visible wavelengths (SWR), only the sun is hot enough to put out much visible energy.

            Real objects emit somewhat less that B(lambda,T), because some internal radiation is reflected at the surface before it can escape. One can discuss a wavelength dependent emissivity in terms of an e(lambda)*B(lambda,T) applied to all wavelengths or in terms of an overall emissivity e used with the S-B equation W = eoT^4, the output integrated over all wavelengths.

            The same surface reflection effects absorption of incoming radiation. Kirckhoff’s Law says that the absorptivity of a real object at any wavelength, a(lambda) = e(lambda). For thermal infrared, thermal emissivity of OLR is equal to the absorptivity of DLR.

            Albedo is the fraction of total VISIBLE LIGHT (SWR) that that is reflected or scattered, not absorbed. When the albedo of an object is high, its absorptivity AT VISIBLE WAVELENGTHS is correspondingly low (1-alpha). Its emissivity at visible would also be low, but B(lambda,T) is already effectivity zero so multiplying by a low e(lambda) to get a total emission e(lambda)*B(lambda,T) doesn’t change anything.

            White paint does a good job of reflecting and not absorbing visible light (SWR), but it usually absorbs almost all infrared wavelengths (DLR). Glass transmits visible wavelengths but absorbs thermal IR. When discussing albedo, emissivity and absorptivity, you need to consider what wavelength radiation (or range) you are concerned about. Engineers are often concerned about the thermal emissivity of hot objects and how quickly they radiate away heat so the don’t get too hot. Objects that are glowing red hot, emit at the boundary between SWR and LWR. Albedo is typically only concerned with SWR, but you erred applying albedo to the absorption of DLR. It is a confusing subject.

      • “…CO2 DLR (downwelling radiation)…”

        Does not physically exist.

        The Instruments & Measurements

        But wait, you say, upwelling (downwelling) LWIR power flux is actually measured.

        Well, no it’s not.

        IR instruments, e.g. pyrheliometers, radiometers, etc. don’t directly measure power flux. They measure a relative temperature compared to heated/chilled/reference thermistors or thermopiles and INFER a power flux using that comparative temperature and ASSUMING an emissivity of 1.0.

        The Apogee instrument instruction book actually warns the owner/operator about this potential error noting that ground/surface ε can be less than 1.0.

        That this warning went unheeded explains why SURFRAD upwelling LWIR with an assumed and uncorrected ε of 1.0 measures TWICE as much upwelling LWIR as incoming ISR, a rather egregious breach of energy conservation.

        This also explains why USCRN data shows that the IR (SUR_TEMP) parallels the 1.5 m air temperature, (T_HR_AVG) and not the actual ground (SOIL_TEMP_5). The actual ground is warmer than the air temperature with few exceptions, contradicting the RGHE notion that the air warms the ground.

        • “the RGHE notion that the air warms the ground”.
          No such notion. GHGs just slow down the ground’s cooling. While they send some energy to the ground, air receives a greater ammount of energy from it. But you have been told this time after time and you prefer to keep ignoring it and attacking strawmen. Which is why we got tired of you.

          • “GHGs just slow down the ground’s cooling.”
            GHGs don’t do anything of the sort.

            USCRN data shows that the air and soil warm together as the sun rises. As the sun begins to set and during the night and because of its low heat capacity air cools rapidly and temperature falls below that of the soil and remains colder than the soil until the sun comes up again.

            Because of its high heat capacity the soil heats and cools slowly.

        • I’ve read all of this before, and none of it is right. Radiation flows in both directions, but the net flux (the thermodynamic concept of heat) always occurs from hot to cold.

          In an “optical Stern-Gerlach experiment”, light coming from opposing directions splits a beam of molecules into three part – those absorbing photons from the left, those absorbing photons from the right and those passing through unchanged. This proves that two-way fluxes don’t cancel. (Warning: If you do look up the experiment, the physicists who performed the experiment never dreamed that anyone reading their paper would be ignorant enough to believe radiative fluxes cancel, so they don’t bother to point out the obvious conclusion from their work. In quantum mechanics, every phenomena can be described as a wave or particle. Their experiment is described in term of quantum field theory – light as electromagnetic waves – rather than light as photons. The experiment is further complicated by interference, since the light sources are coherent. Nevertheless, you can see a beam of molecules split into three path when passing through and absorbing radiation coming from opposing directions.

          • All of this QED gesticulating, pontificating, handwavium is attempting to explain RGHE – which does not exist.

          • Nick: Nevertheless, if collisions only transferred kinetic energy from faster-moving to slower-moving molecules, then all molecules would soon be moving at the same speed. However, a Boltzmann distribution of molecular speeds exists. Either the kinetic energy of a single molecule does not make it hot or cold – endow it a temperature – or single molecules don’t obey the 2LoT. To avoid this dilemma, temperature is defined as being proportional to the MEAN kinetic energy of a group of colliding molecules. That way, the temperature of a group of molecules can be stable even though the kinetic energy of its individual members is changing 10^9 times per second.

            Once you admit that individual molecules do not have a temperature, then individual photons traveling between two molecules don’t violate the 2LoT. An individual molecule certainly has no way of sensing what the mean kinetic energy of its neighbors before somehow deciding to emit or absorb a photon – which it must do if no photons travel from a colder to hotter location (when colder or hotter are defined as the mean kinetic energy of a group).

            Our world is composed of molecules and atoms! QM describes how they behave. If you would bother to learn some statistical mechanics, you would see how MANY phenomena besides the existence of DLR arise from the behavior of LARGE GROUPS of molecules obeying the laws of QM: entropy, an explanation for the appearance of PdV and TdS appear in many thermodynamic equations. Lasers, LEDs and fluorescent lights, electron microscopes, MRI imaging, atomic clocks (needed for GPS satellites), and much more. In fact, we are communicating over an internet that SIMULTANEOUSLY sends light pulses IN BOTH DIRECTIONS through optical fibers!

            To put it crudely. rejecting the existence of DLR is like going back to an Earth-centered universe – its a RELIGIOUS BELIEF that interferes with the acceptance of valid science showing that climate sensitivity might be low. (IMO, of course.)

          • If the 396 upwelling BB from the surface does not exist the 333 loop and downwelling cannot exist.

        • Nick: If you look at the net radiative flux in the typical drawings that show the Earth’s energy fluxes, the net flux is always from hot to cold. Your incorrect theories are completely consist with their picture of how our climate system works.

        • 6 months of the year, it absorbs DLR/thermal infrared (almost completely) but there is no SWR (visible). The other six months there is incoming SWR that is mostly reflected and DLR ( which is somewhat stronger) continues to be absorbed.

          • Absorptivity at any wavelength must be equal to emissivity. (Kirckhoff’s Law.) However, nowhere on our planet is it warm enough to emit SWR; it only emits LWR. LWR absorptivity and emissivity are high.

          • Yes, our planet does have a few incandescent light bulbs with filaments that are hot enough to emit SWR. And lightening. The power emitted is negligible compared with LWR and solar SWR.

            And we have created a few special light sources that manage to emit visible light without being more than a 1000 degK. They do so by exciting molecules without using kinetic energy to do so. Unlike normal materials that emit thermal IR with a blackbody spectrum, the fraction of molecules in an excited state doesn’t depend only on the temperature and the Boltzmann distribution. In our climate system, emission depends on temperature.

    • This was pointed out to you before.

      Your web site says

      “Say the emissivity is 0.7. We can’t just stick 0.7 in for ε. Inserting any value other than 1.0 unbalances the equation.”

      This is a ridiculous statement. What you really mean is that the Stefan Boltzmann constant cannot be used for any emissivity value less than 1 because the constant was derived for blackbodies only. Therefore there is no equation for heat flux for non blackbodies.

      • Emissivity is the ratio between what a surface actually radiates and what it would radiate BB.

        A surface loses energy hot to cold at some rate, e.g. 250 W/m^2. Conduction, convection, latent heat processes by the contiguous participating media, i.e. atmospheric molecules, handle a large portion of it, LWIR handles the leftovers.

        A surface cannot radiate BB except into a non-participating media, i.e. vacuum.

        Per Trenberth/Keil/Fassulo 2009 the surface has to emit as a BB to make their heat balance work. No BB – no up/down/”back” radiation loop – no RGHE – no CAGW.

        In my experiment documented elsewhere I actually measured W/m^2 into the heating element. BB calc said the element should be 810 F. It wasn’t. The contiguous participating media moved much of the energy, reducing the operating temperature of the element, radiating emitting at a much reduced temperature. Only operated at 810 F in a vacuum.

        I have paper & Power Point & Excel to back it up. Anthony could publish it as he has done for others. It’s real & better science than reflective concentric shells and similar hocus-pocus thought experiments.

        • Nick writes: “A surface loses energy hot to cold at some rate, e.g. 250 W/m^2. Conduction, convection, latent heat processes by the contiguous participating media, i.e. atmospheric molecules, handle a large portion of it, LWIR handles the leftovers.

          How does a surface know when it is “losing energy hot to cold”, rather than vice versa. How does it know how much latent heat is being lost? How much heat is being lost by convection? Etc. How does it know whether the radiation it emits will encounter a “participating media”. How might that participating media know whether it is hotter or colder than the surface? How does LWIR know how much is “leftover” to be emitted?

          All of these concepts are absurd. MOLECULES in an excited state on (or just below) a surface emit a photon at a rate characteristic of that excited state. (Einstein coefficients. Quantum mechanics.) Unless we are dealing with specially engineered devices (lasers, LEDs, fluorescent lights, etc), the FRACTION of molecules in an excited state is determined by the local temperature (according to the Boltzmann distribution). For large groups of molecules, the net flow of heat is always from hot to cold, but individual molecules and photons do not obey the 2LoT. Individual molecules don’t have a thermodynamic temperature – a mean kinetic energy. Their kinetic energy changes every nanosecond in collisions.

          Unfortunately, one can’t have a sensible discussion with someone who thinks that individual molecules and photons obey the 2LoT and not the laws of quantum mechanics.)

          • Zazove: Some may be too invested in their position to recognize the truth, but that generality could apply to us also.

            I’m writing to alert those who are reading misleading information and help point them in the direction of conventionally-understood physics and chemistry. Everyone needs to be alert to “fake news”, particularly that which supports deeply held beliefs. In theory, scientists are supposed to avoid such confirmation bias, but that is difficult. In general, short scientifically flawed comments get the most “likes”.

            Scientific revolutions do occasionally occur, but they don’t overturn the observations made in careful experiments. A new theory may someday replace quantum mechanics for EXPLAINING how thermal IR and CO2 interact, but the laboratory experiments MEASURING the interactions between CO2 and thermal IR (in the lab and the atmosphere) are not going to change.

          • “Some may be too invested in their position to recognize the truth, but that generality could apply to us also.”

            Yes, and as someone alarmed by the rate we are changing the atmosphere’s chemistry, that is one of reasons I come here.

            “but they don’t overturn the observations made in careful experiments”

            Again, yes. But this place seems to be a lighening rod for a whole suite of whacky ideas so it is refreshing to read your dispassionate (and obviously knowledgable) comments.

          • “…alarmed by the rate we are changing the atmosphere’s chemistry,”

            Atmospheric CO2 is about 1.5% of the total global carbon balance. Its rate of change is lost in uncertainties, rounding and decimal points. On top of which – it doesn’t do anything thermal – just makes plants grow.

          • My modest experiment posted on my LinkedIn pages explained all of the above.

            Heat, energy in motion, moves from high energy/temperature to low energy/temperature per the laws of thermo.

            That bowl of hot soup (or slab of prime rib) loses energy to the surrounding kitchen air by conduction, contact with air molecules, convection, heat rising, advection, blowing on the soup, and radiation at the surface temperature of the soup.

            Btu/h leaves the soup reducing it’s bulk temprature.
            Btu/h enters the kitchen air raising its bulk temperature.

            The atmosphere is nothing more than a basic second year ME heat transfer/HVAC/thermo problem: Q=UAdT.

          • Nick: You are totally correct about the direction of macroscopic heat transfer. Engineers usually don’t need to know anything about energy transfer between molecules, so it isn’t a part of a typical engineering education.

            However, the everything is different on the scale of individual molecules. A slower-moving molecule can (and does) collide perpendicularly with a faster-moving molecule and increase the kinetic energy of the faster-moving molecule. Transfers of kinetic energy in the other direction are more common. This produces a Boltzmann distribution of molecular speeds. The thermodynamic concept of temperature only applies to the mean kinetic energy of a group of rapidly colliding molecules with such a distribution.

            A individual photon emitted by any molecule can be absorbed by any other molecule – whether the molecule is faster-moving or slower-moving or is in a group of hotter or colder molecules. (The absorbing molecule has no way of sensing the mean kinetic energy of it’s neighbors!) When you are considering a group of colliding molecules large enough to have a defined temperature (a mean kinetic energy that doesn’t change every few nanoseconds due to collisions), then the NET FLUX of radiation will always be from hot to cold, because higher temperature means a larger fraction of molecules are in an excited state capable of emitting a photon.

            Temperature and heat are concepts that only apply only to large groups of rapidly colliding molecules. Heat (flow) is the NET FLUX of energy between such groups. In the case of radiation, we can measure the fluxes in both directions – confusing the he11 out of many engineers who don’t understand that the 2LoT applies only to the NET FLUX. They claim that the instruments that measure the flux from cold to hot are improperly designed, and it is difficult to prove them wrong. However, radiation coming from two opposing directions splits a beam of molecules into three parts, those absorbing photons from the left, those absorbing photons from the right and those passing through unchanged. Two-way flux has been observed at a molecular level.

            There is a branch of physics called statistical mechanics which statistically explains why large groups of molecules obeying the laws of quantum mechanics results in the thermodynamics we observe in the macroscopic world. The idea that entropy has its origins in molecular disorder has its origins in statistical mechanics. The kinetic theory of gases and the differing heat capacities of mono-, di, and polyatomic gases are the simplest topics covered by statistical mechanics.


          • I sense all of this is an attempt to explain how the GHG up/down/”back” energy loop functions.

            W/o the impossible 396 BB upwelling the loop does not exist.

    • More garbage. The earth does not have an average temperature. The greenhouse effect is junk science.

      • Philip,
        Of course the earth has an average temperature – every object in the universe does. You just integrate the temperature over every point on the earth’s surface and divide by the area.

        • w/ atmosphere, lit side 308 K, dark side 268 K, 40 C range, average 288 K. Earth like.

          w/o atmosphere, lit side 388 K, dark side 188 K, 200 C range, average 288 K. Moon like.

          “You just integrate the temperature over every point on the earth’s surface and divide by the area.”

          And just what do you use for a data set? Poles? jungles? deserts? oceans? land?

          IPCC/WMO defines surface as 1.5 m above the ground, i.e. official weather stations that cover maybe 20% of the land and 0% of the oceans.

          • You simply need to walk across a beach in bare feet on a sunny summer day (or, even better, black pavement) to realize that surface temperature and air temperature can differ. The existence of steep temperature gradients between sunny and shady areas makes it difficult to define a meaningful temperature in any location, especially when their is no wind blowing. About 150 years ago, be learned that the most reproducible temperatures on land were those measured inside a small white (reflective) ventilated shelter (shade) now know as a Stevenson screen placed as far a possible from materials that produce temperature gradients (black surfaces, heat sources, tree shadows, large bodies of water) and new 2 meters off the ground. These devices weren’t very reliable on sailing ships where shadows from sails were constantly changing and ventilation sailing against the wind was very different from sailing with the wind. Since the ocean has a very high heat capacity and doesn’t change its temperature between day and night (as land and air over land do), it was believed to be easier to measure water temperature.

            We now know that both choices were less than perfect when we are trying to measure warming rates of averaged temperature of 0.1 to 0.3 degC/decade. However, as long as we keep the same measurement biases, the TREND will be reliable. It is changing measurement bias – not absolute bias – that produces incorrect trends: growing urbanization (UHI), moving thermometers to airports, wooden buckets to canvas bucket to plastic buckets, to engine water intake, to buoys, station moves to a new microclimate, reading high-low thermometers in the morning vs evening. These problems have prompted many efforts to “correct” for such biases, but on land the total correct amounts to an increase in only 0.2 degC.

      • There is nothing wrong with calculating a mean temperature. In fact, temperature in degK is defined as being proportional to the MEAN kinetic energy of molecules.

        The S-B law says emission is proportional to T^4. For a planet with surface temperature ranging from 200K to 310K, the ^4 is somewhat different from average , but in the error is modest. It certainly can’t account for the fact that the average flux of thermal radiation leaving the surface is 390 W/m2, while the average flux reaching space is 240 W/m2. This reduction is the greenhouse effect and it is caused by GHGs.

        The process that converts that 150 W/m2 to 33 degK requires assumptions one may think are ridiculous. However, the 150 W/m2 reduction in radiative cooling reaching space is real and requires no assumptions. It is too bad the consensus confuses us with 33 degK.

        • ” It certainly can’t account for the fact that the average flux of thermal radiation leaving the surface is 390 W/m2, while the average flux reaching space is 240 W/m2. This reduction is the greenhouse effect and it is caused by GHGs.”

          So there is a continual 150W/m^2 radiated by the surface that is stored within the Earth system? You _are_ aware of what you are saying?

          You should be very cautious about using averages and flat earths in continual sunlight.
          There is nothing mathematically incorrect about calculating a mean telephone number – but it is not a useful value.

          As any ‘downwelling’ infra-red emissions at the CO2 wavelength cool the surface of the oceans by increasing the evaporative loss of latent heat which is then carried by convection to altitude and released on condensation and freezing. The so called ‘green house effect’ cannot warm at least ~75% of the Earth’s surface it cools it.

          • Zazove – latent heat is called latent because although the heat content of the molecule increases its kinetic energy – temperature – does not increase at the same rate. You need to recalculate – or even better do a simple experiment trying to heat water with a few watts/m^2 in the CO2 emission band. All you will do is increase the humidity increasing the enthalpy of the air above the water and cooling the water surface.
            Put your envelope and pencil down and do an experiment.

          • Ian wrote: “So there is a continual 150W/m^2 radiated by the surface that is stored within the Earth system? You _are_ aware of what you are saying?”

            Excellent comment! An answer: At all altitudes, the net downward radiative flux (SWR and DLR) is equal to the net upward flux of all forms of heat (LWR, latent heat and simple heat – conduction and hot air rising coupled to colder air descending). The K-T energy balance diagram shows how this happens at the surface and the TOA, but it gradually changes with altitude. Incoming SWR weakens as it passes through the atmosphere due to absorption of near IR by water vapor and some absorption of SWR by clouds. Latent heat and sensibly heat are convected mostly near the surface and stop by the tropopause. OLR weakens by 150 W/m2 going from the surface to the TOA. For every 24 photons escaping to space, 39 are emitted by the surface, 4 escape directly from the surface to space and about 500 are emitted AND 515 absorbed by the atmosphere.

            So that 150 W/m2 does not build up in the atmosphere.

            The net result is called radiative-convective equilibrium. The local temperature is always high enough so that incoming and outgoing radiation are equal – except where GHGs block thermal IR so effectively that an unstable lapse rate develops. Then convection of latent and simple heat supplement the outward energy flux carried by radiation and produce an average lapse rate of 6.5 K/km. In theory, without convection, the surface of the planet would reach 345 degK. That figure has been reduced to 288 K by convection.

            However, GHG’s are the only mechanism by which 390 W/m2 of OLR emitted by the surface is reduced to 240 W/m2 at the TOA. So it makes sense to quantify the GHE as being 150 W/m2. It is something that can be MEASURED. (33 degC can’t be measured.)

            The Earth’s average temperature of 288 K (producing surface OLR of 390 W/m2) is produced by the complicated process of radiative-convective equilibrium and can’t be calculated from simple principle. The Earth’s temperature without GHGs depends on what one assumes its surface albedo will be, and whether there will still be clouds, and how fast it rotates, and the heat capacity of its surface. The standard assumption is that albedo doesn’t change (absurd) and that a high rotation rate and high surface heat capacity combine to produce a single average surface temperature or narrow range. Those assumptions give 33 degC. The Moon rotates slowly enough that a 200 degC difference exists between sunlight and darkness. The average of T^4 is very different from (average T)^4 on the Moon.

            When GHGs reduce radiative cooling to space by 150 W/m2, then you can be sure the GHE makes the planet warmer than it would be otherwise. When doubling CO2 reduces that by another 4 W/m2, you can be sure that it will warm. How much is a challenging question.

      • The 288 K, 15 C “average” surface temperature is little more than a wild “guesstimate” pulled out of WMO’s consensual butt.

        The 255 K is the S-B BB temperature for 240 W/m^2, OLR ToA post 30% albedo. As applied to an airless surface it would have to keep the 30% albedo.

        Not possible.

        With no atmosphere earth’s albedo would be similar to the moon’s 0.12.

        Albedo is NOT emissivity.

        288 K – 255 K = 33 C is rubbish.

        • Nick writes: “Albedo is not emissivity”.

          Never said it was, but the absorptivity of thermal infrared (DLR) must equal the emissivity of thermal infrared. Kirckhoff’s Law. The absorptivity of visible light is linked to both albedo and emissivity of visible light. Fortunately the Earth isn’t hot enough to emit visible light – except perhaps where there are pools of molten lava.

          I was replying above to people who thought the low absorption of visible light by ice and snow implied low absorption of DLR. It does not. Ice and snow absorb essentially all of the DLR arriving at their surface.

          • Kirchoff said a surface cannot emit more than it absorbed.

            The surface can emit less than it absorbed – when some of that absorbed energy is carried away by contiguous participating molecules.

            For radiation incident to a surface.
            ρ + α + τ = 1.0 (ρ aka albedo)
            ε = ρ / (ρ + α + τ)

            For a surface emitting to a contiguous participating media.
            Cond + Conv + Advec + Latent + Radiation = 1.0
            ε = Radiation / (Cond + Conv + Advec + Latent + Radiation)

            In my modest experiment using a 125 W heating element with (Cond + Conv + Advec + Latent) in operation Radiation’s share was about 0.16 = ε.

            In a vacuum (Cond + Conv + Advec + Latent) = 0 and the heating element with 100% radiation was 810 F as predicted by the S-B BB equation.

            A surface cannot emit as a BB except into a vacuum.

            Consider the energetic molecular turmoil at the ocean’s surface: conduction, convection, adcvection (wind), latent evaporation/condensation and radiation.

            There is no way the ocean surface (or land surface) has an emissivity of 0.97.

    • Nick, the outgoing, “missing” energy to the atmosphere is easily substituted by the: sun.

      “Premise 2:
      There is an up/down/”back” radiative CO2/GHG LWIR energy loop between the surface and the atmosphere that “traps” and recirculates energy through QED processes warming both the atmosphere and the surface.
      And what powers that energy loop?”

    • Nonetheless, as you state, these are “processes” and in that further entropy.

      • 95% of the people who use the term “entropy” have zero idea what it means.

      • The term “entropy” has been hijacked by pretenders wishing to impress much like fake war heroes. Computer “science,” data “science,” creation “science” fabricated the definition of complexity and order/disorder such that entropy’s change/natural flow is in the direction of disorder, i.e. less complexity. As organisms evolve they become more complex and more orderly violating the 2nd law unless there is work added or outside intervention, i.e. a creator.

        But entropy is a term and concept from thermodynamics: thermo = heat, dynamic = motion, heat is energy in motion. Entropy change is a measure of a system’s irreversible losses and inefficiencies.

        For example, as steam flows through the blade path of a steam turbine it converts thermal energy to mechanical and electrical energy. If that process were 100% efficient entropy would be constant, but with internal losses, friction, leakage, etc. entropy increases. That change in entropy from throttle to exit is used to evaluate the efficiency of the steam path.
        The blade path of a steam turbine can be as much as 90% efficient at turning the steam’s thermal and pressure energy into electricity. The big loss is condensing the exhaust steam into condensate that can then be pumped back into the boiler/reactor/HRSG.

        As organisms become more complex they become more efficient and entropy chnage decreases with no need for added work or divine intervention.

    • So if you don’t like this “up/down/”back” radiative CO2/GHG LWIR energy” thing

      simply look at atmosphere as a backradiating body.

      Unaltered in its “steady state” – because it’s altered, accommodated, steady.

    • Nick

      Premise 1:
      The earth is 33 C warmer with an atmosphere than without. (288 K – 255 K = 33 C)
      So, just how does that work?


      That is the wrong comparison. The important question is, what would the temperature be if it had an atmosphere without any CO2 or GHG’s? The answer is not 33 degrees colder. It would be warmer because the surface would continue to heat it and it would not be able to cool. As GHG’s are added, it would cool rapidly, just as continues to happen in upland Antarctica.

      It doesn’t matter what the temperature would be without any atmosphere at all. What matters is the effect of GHG’s in small concentrations.

      • Your argument is qualitatively interesting, though water (a GHG) has very complicated effects. A dry earth would not resemble ours. So I’d just shrug. Probably the dry Earth would be cold by night, hot by day, and covered by dust storms.

      • No atmosphere and no GHGs same no diff – no snow, no ice, no vegetation, no clouds, no oceans -no .3 albedo – more like 0.12 of moon. Blazing hot on the lit side, bitter cols on the dark.

        The atmosphere “cools” the earth by reflecting irradiation. Surface is warmer than ToA per Q = U A dT same as the insulated walls of a house.

    • “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”

      ― Richard Feynman

  4. The sun is the only thing which could make Antarctica warmer. Yet, because it’s all covered in snow & ice, most of the sunlight hitting it bounces off back to space. Because it’s over a pole, sunlight strikes at a narrow angle (to the surface). Making the albedo effect even greater in Antarctica. In theory, CO2 can slow down the escape of heat from the surface. It will not warm the surface. Because: LWIR originates from that surface due to S-B. There must always be much more out-going LWIR than down-welling. Because 1) earth is a sphere and the 2) density of air is less the further away from the surface [ so LWIR gets to travel further away before it’s intercepted by a GHG molecule, ‘cos fewer GHG molecules in less dense air above than below. ]

    • Because of the spherical surface the solar insolation ToA on the poles is only a couple hundred W/m^2 even in the summers compared to solar insolation – sun overhead – with the full 1,368 W/m^2 (1,415 perihelion, 1,323 aphelion) at ToA.

      Because of the 23.5 degree tilt ToA varies 700 W/m^2 summer to winter for any given point.

      Spreading 1,368 discular over spherical ToA by dividing by 4 = 342 is a really^4 stupid model that just confuses the issue.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more on this last point. People who use the 342 W/m^2 artifice are effectively saying that the entire earth is irradiated uniformly, normal to its surface, 24/7. That’s so far from physical reality that it is more than just confusing; it’s flat wrong, and can’t possibly be of use in describing the earth’s climate system.

        • I describe the popular model as a ball suspended and evenly warmed in bucket of solar poo.

        • How bad is using the 342 W/m2 average? Or the 240 W/m2 post albedo average. Well, how big is the temperature difference between night and day. In temperate zones on land, the difference is typically only 10 degC between night and day, a 3% change in degK. A little less in the tropics. In the ocean, the temperature varies less than 1 degC between night and day. No difference.

          How about the seasonal change in irradiation driven by the changing angle to the sun? In the tropics (almost half of the planet), seasonal temperature change is trivial. The ocean (70% of the surface) is often a little less than 300 degK. Only a tiny fraction of the ocean develops sea ice 273 degK. 288 degK is halfway between: +/-5%. In summer, the oceans that freeze probably don’t exceed 10 degC, a trivial change between summer and winter. On land (30% of the surface) in temperate zones (perhaps 1/3 of that 30% or 10%), seasonal change is 20-30 degK or +/-5%. In polar regions on land (a few percent of the surface) and over frozen sea ice, we have larger temperature swings.

          What about radiation emitted by such wildly different surface temperatures. Let’s image a planet with average temperature T equally divided into a warm zone (T+t) and a cool zone (T-t). How big an error do we make assuming that planet emits proportionately to T^4:

          (1/2)*(T+t)^4 + (1/2)*(T-t)^4 = T^4 +6T^2*t^2 + t^4

          Divide by T^4 to calculate the fraction error as a ratio caused by using an average T instead of the correct T+t and T-t.

          1 + 6(t/T)^2 + (t/T)^4

          Suppose t/T is 0.1 – that the warm zone is 10% warmer than average and the cool zone is 10% colder than average. This is a more radical assumption than the Earth, where oceans vary by a maximum of 5% and land usually by much less than 10%.

          1 + 6(t/T)^2 + (t/T)^4 = 1.06

          A 6% error. Trivial. The ellipticity of the planet’s orbit causes a 7% change in solar irradiation that is often ignored.

          On the moon, the difference between day and night is 200 degK. Working with averages is a real problem there. On Earth, the average is an approximation, but NOT an unreasonable approximation.

  5. Happer and van Wijngaarden have been making this point for quite a while now. I have a copy of a poster by them which explains not only this effect, but makes an argument that CO2 IR cross-sections are over estimated. They are also woking on book about atmospheric radiation.

  6. Wait.. What?
    “The occurrence of emission maxima at TOA in the absorption bands of GHGs means, that, from a top of atmosphere perspective, the presence of GHGs causes a surplus of energy loss into space. ”

    Where are they getting this heat… are we to understand TOA GHG ‘suck’ heat .. how? Vs NO absorption that would exist if they weren’t there?

    • ToA heat must come from sunlight UV absorbed by ozone and oxygen, then thermalized to rest of the atmosphere. Energy that never made it to ground level in the first place.

    • Not what they are saying, stops energy from reaching surface. Notice the words “from top of atmosphere perspective”. If changes in wind patterns ie elnino and El Nina can change the global temps in one year more then decades of global warming does why can’t wind patterns in Antarctica cool?

    • in the absorption bands of GHGs

      Now check out water vapor vs CO2. If a band is saturated adding “more” changes hardly anything. WV is the GHG that matters.

      Perhaps we can get sequestration started. ASAP.

  7. South pole is 9000 feet above sea level, troposphere is half as high (8 km) at south pole as at equator. (18 km). So the “surface” at the south pole is closer to TOA than at sea level. So no surprise CO2 acts as a coolant there.

  8. Carbon dioxide cooling at the poles seems consistent with a few other items in passing.
    The ratio of CO2 to water vapor is highest at the poles, according to a paper by Douglas Lightfoot and Orval Mamer (below), that is, 1:1. Lightfoot and Mamer found the ratio of water vapor in the tropics to be CO2 to be 97:1, with a weighted average globally of 29:1. So CO2 would seem to have a much greater effect in Antarctica.
    It also brings up a question raised in a post from last November about the consequences of the low temperature of LW radiation at CO2’s 15μm spectral line of absorption and emission. By Wien’s displacement law LW radiation at that wavelength would have a temperature of 193K, or -80°C.
    Professor Murry L. Salby alludes to this in his text “Physics of the atmosphere and climate,” at page 213:
    “For instance, minima in the observed spectrum of outgoing LW radiation … appear at 15μm and 9.6μm. They can be identified with emission by CO2 in the upper troposphere, at the top of its column of abundance. … Each corresponds to a blackbody temperature that is significantly colder than the Earth’s surface temperature. In fact, surface temperature is manifest in the spectrum of outgoing LW radiation only in the atmospheric window at 8-12μm.”
    Temperatures at the ranges 8-12μm, using the Wien formula, are from 89°C to -31.7°C.

    • And at the tropopause, water vapor is only 3 ppm, while CO2 is currently 400 ppm> The relative importance of CO2 compared with H20 as GHGs increases with latitude and especially altitude.

    • It also brings up a question raised in a post from last November about the consequences of the low temperature of LW radiation at CO2’s 15μm spectral line of absorption and emission. By Wien’s displacement law LW radiation at that wavelength would have a temperature of 193K, or -80°C.

      No what you have done is to misapply Wien’s law, which applies to Black bodies not to molecules. It says that a BB at -80ºC will emit a spectrum with its peak radiance at 15 microns. CO2 in the atmosphere will emit/absorb with a peak at 15 microns regardless of the temperature.
      That post you referred to was full of elementary errors including this one, I posted a rebuttal here:

  9. Color me skeptical on this latest hypothesis.

    Here is a summary of the bizarre “science” of the CO2 priesthood:

    CO2 is the “Miracle Molecule”.

    Increasing atmospheric CO2 causes:

    – warming where it is warming

    – and cooling where it is cooling

    – and no change where there is no change in temperature

    – and wilder weather when that happens

    – and less extreme weather when that happens

    – and no change where there is no change in weather extremes

    – and human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria…

    My formal review of this paper follows:

    “Mr. Madison, what you just said is the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone is this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”


    • Alan writes: “warming where it is warming”, and cooling where it is cooling and no change where there is no change in temperature…”

      To some extent, this is exactly what the Schwarzschild equation for radiative transfer predicts. The incremental change in radiation at a particular wavelength (spectral intensity, dI) when incoming radiation of spectral intensity I_0 passes and incremental distance dz through and absorbing and emitting medium is given by:

      dI = emission – absorption
      dI = n*o*B(lambda,T)*dz – n*o*I_0*dz
      dI = n*o*[B(lambda,T)*dz – I_0}*dz

      where n is the density of GHG/absorber/emitter, o is the absorption cross-section at that wavelength and B(lambda,T) is the Planck function for that wavelength and local temperature. When the term in [brackets] os negative, increasing GHGs (n) makes it more negative. When positive; more positive. When zero, no change.

      When zero, absorption equal emission and I_0 = B(lambda,T), it has blackbody intensity. Plank’s Law was derived assuming radiation in equilibrium with “quantized oscillators”. Changing n increases both emission and absorption equally (when equilibrium exists).

      Radiation traveling upward is usually moving for warmer to colder (except in Antarctic winter). I_0 is greater than B(lambda,T), making dI negative and reducing OLR as is passes upward through the atmosphere.

      When I_0 comes from the filament of a light bulb (several thousand degK) in a laboratory spectrometer, the emission term is negligible. The Schwarzschild eqn reduces to Beers Law.

      BTW, the authors of this paper calculated radiative transfer using the Schwarzschild eqn. (:))

    • It is important to note that these results do not contradict the key statements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) [Solomon et al., 2007; Ramaswamy et al., 2001; IPCC, 2013], namely, the well‐known warming effect that CO2 has on the Earth’s climate.

      Hence, my next comment.

  10. In addition, the evidence presented by Willis Eschenbach suggests that there has been no increase in DLR (Downwelling Longwave Radiation) since 2000. And I have found nothing to dispute that data.

    However, it is extra DLR that causes extra surface warming. CO2 and H2O are the ‘blanket’ that keeps the Earth warmer, and DLR is the ‘warmth’ coming back down from that ‘insulating’ ‘blanket’. So if DLR has remained the same since 2000, then there CANNOT have been any extra surface warming caused by greenhouse gasses. In which case, the satellite record of surface temperatures is probebly correct – and there has been no surface warming for two decades.


      • Actually, they did not find any increase in DLR, so they stuffed the data through a Radiative Transfer Model. And voilla – an increasing trend came out the other end. Sounds a bit like Mann’s instant hockey-stick generating model…!

        The paper says, quote:
        However, AERI spectral measurements and trends are sensitive to many different components of the atmospheric state. To interpret these (DLR) measurements and attribute specific signals to rising CO2 requires an accurate radiative-transfer model … We used the Line-by-Line Radiative Transfer Model (LBLRTM)18, which is continuously compared against other line-by-line models4 and observations.

        So their model compares itself with other greenhouse warming models, which is why it suddenly produces a rising trend, which was not present in the orginal data.


        • “So their model compares itself with other greenhouse warming models, “
          No. A LBL radiative transfer model is not a “global warming model”. It just enables the spectral breakdown. They weren’t using that to detect an increase in DWLWIR; they already have that:
          “The time series of this forcing at the two locations—the Southern Great Plains and the North Slope ofAlaska—are derived from Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer spectra3 together with ancillarymeasurements and thoroughly corroborated radiative transfer calculations4 . The time series both show statistically significant trends of 0.2Wm22per decade (with respective uncertainties of60.06W m22 per decade and 60.07W m22 per decade) and have seasonal ranges of 0.1–0.2W m22 .”

          The LBL was to make the specific attribution to CO2 by spectral analysis.

          • Nick, isn’t that quote from Feldman et al 2015? If so, then isn’t that just in the CO2 bandwidths. They did not find an increase across all frequencies.

            We’re talking all frequencies here which means no increase in the GHE.

          • “If so, then isn’t that just in the CO2 bandwidths.”
            I don’t think so. It’s from their abstract, and they give the fluxes without that qualification.

          • Also from their abstract:

            “Here we present observationally based evidence of clear-sky CO2 surface radiative forcing …”

            This is CO2 only. We already know from Gero/Turner 2011 that the total DLR did not increase from one of the same sites.

      • If you look at their Fig 2a, the annual trend per decade in DLR at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) is actually negative. The DLR is decreasing, not increasing. How they manipulate this into a rise in DLR is anyone’s guess.

        They appear to extracting the CO2 DLR signal from the overall DLR value, and in doing so the find that CO2 DLR is increasing. But general DLR is decreasing, so all they are doing is forcing the other DLR values (from H2O, O3 and CH4) to decrease even more. Sounds highly dubious.


        • Exactly, and this is exactly what was predicted by Dr. William Gray. The DLR due to high altitude water vapor will decrease and this is exactly what they found.

    • Why does the lapse rate not include a term for DLR? The lapse rate is why the surface is warmer than the lower atmosphere. So if DLR is the cause explain why DLR is nowhere in the equation for the lapse rate.

      • The definition of adiabatic presupposes no influences from outside, so an ideal adiabatic lapse rate would contain no radiative exchange. In practice a rising parcel of moist air will be subjected to both DLR and OLR influences. Whether that additional radiation absorption and emmission would be significant, I don’t know. Any ideas?


      • i>”So if DLR is the cause”
        DLR is not the cause of the lapse rate. That is just caused by adiabatic heating/cooling of parcels of air moving in a density gradient. The net upward flux of heat reduces the work required (from wind) to maintain the lapse rate.

    • Add to that Gero/Turner 2011 which monitored DLR at one location from 1997-2011 and also found no increase.

    • Ralellis: How much would you expect DLR to have increased during these 14 years. Assuming that the atmosphere over the equator emitted DLR like a blackbody and the lapse rate remained unchanged, DLR would increase at about 6 W/m2/K. Globally, this was the period known as the Pause. I don’t know how much warming was experienced at these sites, HadSST increased at 0.33 K/century and HadCRUT at 0.59/century. In 14 years, this would be a 0.05 K and a 0.08 K warming. The increase in DLR would be 0.3 and 0.5 W/m2. Do you think you could detect changes this small? Variability from seasonal change and ENSO are overwhelming the change in DLR you might expect to see.

      FWIW, the emissivity of the atmosphere doesn’t emit like a blackbody at the wavelengths in the “atmospheric window”, where GHGs neither emit nor absorb.

  11. Would this “negative GHE” create a “Chimney” and pull in warmth/energy from around this chimney, like the patio burn pits with the inverted funnel chimney or the fireplace common in California beach homes in the 70’s? Thus pumping energy away from the earth. Does this also happen on the north pole or is it strictly due to the high elevation?

    • A good question. The Smithuesen papers (there are two) actually discuss the unique properties of the Antarctic climate. Both radiative and convective observations from the “surface” to the TOA need to be understood to contrast with the Northern polar climates.

  12. Wow its the 70s come back, the whole basis of which was energy loss increase due to optically active gases.

    You add extra radiating gases to the TOA, and they are going to radiate more energy to space from the other 99% of the atmosphere, which was real physic’s, the effect so small they switched to warming and greenhouse effect, greenhouse gas etc, the exact opposite of reality.

    Prove even 0.1c warming is greenhouse effect empirically..

    • Co2 clearly cools the atmosphere by allowing the atmosphere to radiate energy to space. Energy that would otherwise be conducted back to the surface.

      This must result in a net cooling. Energy is energy
      DLR energy is no different than downward conduction or downward convection.

      The only difference is that conduction and convection cannot cause an energy loss to space and thus cannot cause a net cooling the way co2 can.

      • convection, conduction, radaition are very different energy transport processes. each with their own set of laws/equations.

        • Conduction, convection, latent heat transfer processes all require molecules which are gone by 32 km. Above that heat transfer is all radiation.

  13. “It would seem that this would be a very elegant explanation why Antarctica is completely failing to become warmer”

    No, it isn’t. It makes an obvious and unsurprising point. The GHE works because in the GHG-affected wavelengths, effective emission occurs from TOA rather than ground. It usually creates warming, because TOA is colder, and so emission is less. That is true only as far as the ground really is warmer, and in high central Antarctica, that may not be true.

    But the GHE is global, not linked with local climate. Recent GHG forcing is a small but persistent effect which accumulates. Atmospheric mixing is much faster, even with the peculiarities of the S Pole circulation. So this particular region may not be a net contributor to GHE warming, but it still gets the effect of global accumulation of heat.

    • But the GHE is global, not linked with local climate. Recent GHG forcing is a small but persistent effect which accumulates. Atmospheric mixing is much faster, even with the peculiarities of the S Pole circulation. So this particular region may not be a net contributor to GHE warming, but it still gets the effect of global accumulation of heat.

      Sophist, show something indisputable thats due to the imaginary effect you handwave as fact.

      • From this “important new study” as WUWT describes it:
        “These unique findings for central Antarctica are in contrast to the well known general warming effect of increasing CO2 .”

        • Nick show us how an increasing % of radiating gases at the TOA Radiate less energy absorbed from the rest of the atmosphere to space.

          How do more radiating molecules in the atmosphere radiate less energy to space than less radiating molecules in the Atmosphere causing warming..

          • So when you increase c02 theres more more radiating molecules at the top right

            So how do more molecule radiating more energy to space cause more warming.

            Give the micky mouse sophistry a rest will you.

            More radiating gases mean a faster energy remittance to space doesn’t it,

            More emitters at the TOA MUST emit more energy to space than less emitters, where does the new energy come from to make up that loss and add energy to the overall system to warm it.

            You are claiming long term increased energy loss from the TOA is causing warming of the whole earth, with no extra new energy being absorbed by the earths mass.

            How you trick yourself is sad, you real,y believe your own nonsense.

    • However central Antarctica is special. It is a permanent high pressure area. Air comes in from the north at altitude, cools down and sinks and flows out along the surface as katabatic winds. These are extremely cold as they are cooled by the also extremely cold surface. So the Central Antarctic works like a great cooling fin effectively extending into the stratosphere. And the Schmitheusen paper shows that this cooling fin will grow as CO2 increases.

    • I’m trying to follow this reasoning:

      The GHE works because in the GHG-affected wavelengths, effective emission occurs from TOA rather than ground. It usually creates warming, because TOA is colder, and so emission is less. That is true only as far as the ground really is warmer, and in high central Antarctica, that may not be true.

      But the GHE is global, not linked with local climate. Recent GHG forcing is a small but persistent effect which accumulates. Atmospheric mixing is much faster, even with the peculiarities of the S Pole circulation. So this particular region may not be a net contributor to GHE warming, but it still gets the effect of global accumulation of heat.

      Okay, effective emission occurs from Top Of Atmosphere. Effective emission temperature usually creates warming, because Top Of Atmosphere is colder. This reads as a contradiction.

      How does surface warming occur from a Top-Of-Atmosphere emission that is colder than the surface ? Emission is less, is colder, and yet it causes surface warming. It only is true if the ground is warmer than the colder upper atmosphere, and yet when the ground is equal to or colder than the upper atmosphere, it somehow makes things cooler.

      So, [warm ground/cold TOA] leads to warmer ground, while [cold ground/cold TOA] leads to colder ground. And this is why Antarctica experiences the effect that it does, BUT the rest of the globe experiences the opposite, and, somehow, Antarctica is affected by an effect that Antarctica does not experience locally but experiences globally. How does THAT work? — Greenhouse effect at a distance ? But, even then, what’s the mechanism by which a non-local effect that is opposite of the region could have an opposite of an opposite effect from afar without “touching” Antarctica directly at a regional level ?

      Forgive me, if I am not convinced.

    • Also I was unable to find a journal article–only the report put out by the Wegener Institute. Was there a peer-reviewed article stemming from this dissertation? I only searched on the title so if the title was changed I would not have found it.

      • OK I now see it was published in Geophysical Research Letters

        How increasing CO2 leads to an increased negative greenhouse effect in Antarctica. Geophys. Res. Lett. 42, 10422–10428 (2015)

  14. This discussion is occurring about 4 days after publication of an article by Sejas et al in Climate and Atmospheric Science in which the authors consider the Schmidthusen article but conclude that the effect is more due to water vapor than CO2.

    Unmasking the negative greenhouse effect over the Antarctic

    Sergio A. Sejas1, Patrick C. Taylor 1 and Ming Cai2

    A paradoxical negative greenhouse effect has been found over the Antarctic Plateau, indicating that greenhouse gases enhance
    energy loss to space. Using 13 years of NASA satellite observations, we verify the existence of the negative greenhouse effect and
    find that the magnitude and sign of the effect varies seasonally and spectrally. A previous explanation attributes this effect solely to
    stratospheric CO2; however, we surprisingly find that the negative greenhouse effect is predominantly caused by tropospheric
    water vapor. A recently developed principle-based concept is used to provide a complete account of the Antarctic Plateau’s
    negative greenhouse effect indicating that it is controlled by the vertical variation of temperature and greenhouse gas absorption.
    Our findings indicate that unique climatological conditions over the Antarctic Plateau—a strong surface-based temperature
    inversion and scarcity of free tropospheric water vapor—cause the negative greenhouse effect.
    npj Climate and Atmospheric Science (2018) 1:17 ; doi:10.1038/s41612-018-0031-y

  15. Sorta old news to those who follow things.

    This Schmithüsen 2015 research study was in GRL paper at:
    “How increasing CO2 leads to an increased negative greenhouse effect in Antarctica”
    Holger Schmithüsen, Justus Notholt, Gert König-Langlo, Peter Lemke, and Thomas Jung
    This paper has been discussed before here at WUWT in comments, but not directly as top post article.

    And Ken Haapala highlighted it on January 9, 2016 in his weekly roundup #208.

    And Judith Curry introduced this research in her July 2015 post here:

    , with several comments from knowledgeable commenters therein.

  16. The reason the Climate establishment hates this paper’s findings it when you consider what it means.
    It means that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. And where water vapor does not exist, it can be measured that CO2 actually causes surface cooling.

    So then the begged question is, “When water vapor is present, is CO2 really adding to the GHE of surface warming?” That question and the inevitable answer could crumble the very foundations of CO2-GHG paradigm.

    One of the most important posts ever to appear here at WUWT, IMO, is this one here:
    by Guest essay by Jean-Pierre Bardinet.

    It is a long, but easily readable set of debunkings for the non-climate scientist with a technical background/education.

    Number 9 is my favorite debunking of the alarmist Climate Change rhetoric. There is no observable mid-tropopsheric tropical hotspot, and thus no amplification of GHE by water vapor’s GHE in the addition of CO2 over time. This kills the alarmist position by saying that ECS is stuck at 1.2 K and maybe lower.

  17. So, does the CO2 being at .004% cool high latitudes any more than it apparently heats the tropics?

  18. CO2 causes Antarctica cooling was the topic of two previous papers reported in this blog over the past two or three years.

  19. On the risk of repeating myself:

    CO2 in the atmosphere GLOBAL has a cooling effect –

    because of aberrativ distribution of incoming energy travel direction / from the sun / in the atmosphere BY CO2.

    Yields: not all incoming energy “reaches” planet surface – some, small, amount of incoming energy goes voulet back to space.

  20. One thing I’m curious about. Considering the lowered tropopause, what effect do Polar Stratospheric Clouds have on high latitude temperatures?

  21. “…I’m sure our alarmist friends will be ready to dismiss this…”

    Maybe initially. Then they will embrace it saying this process masks global warming now but will eventually be overwhelmed by warming, so it is “worse than we thought.”

    • water vapor is real. yep. everything else is a bit player on Earth.
      A 4.5 Gya water planet. Probably quite beyond exceptional in the scheme of the galaxy.

    • The most convincing question was not mentioned in the whole discussion: How do models replicate the inverse GHG-effect in parts of the Antarctic? See Tab. 2.4 in the dissertation of Schmidthüsen: Helter scelter!

    • Mosher,

      “and the work hasnt been hiddened.
      reading is fundamental.”

      Why not

      “hasn’t been hide.”

      What’s your hiding.

  22. Carbon dioxide is formed in the atmosphere above the polar circle as a result of the action of secondary galactic radiation.

    “The highest rate of carbon-14 production takes place at altitudes of 9 to 15 km (30,000 to 49,000 ft) and at high geomagnetic latitudes.”

  23. The altitude of the tropopause is critical to the notion that net radiation from a higher altitude will take place at a lower temperature. Above the tropopause radiation takes place at a higher temperature with increasing altitude. Modtran sees the tropical tropopause at 17 kilometers, and sees CO2 radiating at 220K. 220k corresponds to an altitude of either 24 km or 12 according to the tropical lapse, and it is looking down so it sees 24 km first. This agrees with CERES data showing an increase in LW radiation to space.

    In the saturated CO2 bands (with 90% of the Boltzmann electron population), increasing concentration LOWERS the extinction altitude.

  24. CO2 causes warming? Here I thought the science was settled.
    Methinks these guys need to get their act together. So far, all they have done is to explain the past. They remind me of history professors, like Arnold Toynbee, who professed to understand the rise and fall of civilizations. They are 100% accurate in their conclusions regarding the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire, for example, but don’t ask for meaningful predictions on current affairs.

  25. So it is a refrigerant under these conditions. I would have thought the phenomenon would have turned thinking toward a bigger picture. This should assist in prolonging the glacial maximum in the northern hemisphere once you have 2-3km thickness of ice over such a large area. Perhaps the interglacials would be larger and glacial max smaller, a sine wave, although partially extended by albedo during max.

  26. So, what does this mean for the Vostok Ice Cores, and other ice cores drilled on Antarctica? Are the global average temperature reconstructions based on Antarctic ice corps the worthless for paleoclimatological purposes? Or do they indicate the OPPOSITE of what was going on, temperature-wise, in the rest of the world?

  27. “Moreover, for central Antarctica an increase in CO2 concentration leads to an increased long-wave energy loss to space, which cools the earth-atmosphere system.”

    What is the mechanism that allows an increase in CO2 to cool the Arctic? I can see how CO2 would not have much effect there, but how does it actually cool the Arctic? And how would less CO2 in the atmosphere cause less cooling in the Arctic? Does anyone understand this well enough to explain it in plain English?

    • Large amount of greenhouse gases in the lower stratosphere (O3 and 14CO2) causes the escape of water vapor to the stratosphere.

  28. Yeah, OK, it’s an unusual situation and localized, but when I saw the Nimbus IR satellite view of Antarctica w/GREATER emissions from CO2 instead of lower, I knew that CO2 was emitting MORE energy than otherwise & causing cooling. So this “new” realization should have been obvious a long time ago.

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