Top and Bottom of the Atmosphere

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Some days I learn a lot. Today was one of them. Let me start at the start. Back in 1987 in a paper entitled ‘The Role of Earth Radiation Budget Studies in Climate and General Circulation Research“, a prescient climate scientist yclept Veerabhadran Ramanathan pointed out that the poorly-named “greenhouse effect” can be measured as the amount of longwave energy radiated upwards at the surface minus the upwelling longwave radiation at the top of the atmosphere, viz: 

The greenhouse effect. The estimates of the outgoing longwave radiation also lead to quantitative inferences about the atmospheric greenhouse effect. At a globally averaged temperature of 15°C the surface emits about 390 W m -2, while according to satellites, the long-wave radiation escaping to space is only 237 W m -2. Thus the absorption and emission of long-wave radiation by the intervening atmospheric gases and clouds cause a net reduction of about 150 W m -2 in the radiation emitted to space. This trapping effect of radiation, referred to as the greenhouse effect, plays a dominant role in governing the temperature of the planet. 

And here is what Ramanathan was talking about:

Figure 1. All-sky (both cloudy and clear) greenhouse effect. In climate science, “upwelling” means headed for space, “downwelling” means headed for the surface, “forcing” means a change in downwelling radiation, “LW” is thermal longwave radiation, and “SW” is solar shortwave radiation. 

The best modern information about this question comes from the CERES Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF) dataset that I used to make Figure 1. It combines a number of satellite and other measurements into a single coherent group of individual datasets. Interestingly, Ramanathan’s estimate of the size of the greenhouse effect was “about 150 W/m2” and modern CERES data shows a number very close to that, 158 W/m2. Well done, that man!

Today, a chance comment got me thinking about top-of-atmosphere (TOA) downwelling longwave radiation versus what happens at the surface. A doubling of CO2 is supposed to lead to a 3.7 W/m2 increase in downwelling TOA longwave radiation … but what does that do to downwelling LW at the surface?

So what I did was to calculate on a monthly basis, the change in downwelling longwave radiation at the surface for each one W/m2 change in TOA greenhouse radiation. Figure 2 shows that result.

Figure 2. Change in downwelling radiation at the surface for each 1 W/m2 change in downwelling TOA radiation.

Now, this is curious. On average the change at the surface is a little less than half the TOA greenhouse effect change. So an increase of 3.7 W/m2 at the TOA from a doubling of CO2 becomes a 1.8 W/m2 increase at the surface. I would note that this value of 0.46 agrees in general with the published study of Feldman et al. in Nature magazine who found (from observations, not models) that surface forcing is 0.43 times the TOA forcing, quite near to the above figure.

Next, I got to wondering about something I’d never looked at—just how large an additional energy flux in watts per square metre of energy is needed to increase the surface temperature by 1°C. This is a simple calculation using the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, but I’d never done it for the entire globe. Figure 3 shows that result.

Figure 3. Increase in ongoing downwelling energy flux needed to increase the surface temperature by 1°C with everything else unchanged.

In Figure 3 you can see that as Stefan-Boltzmann says, it takes more energy to raise a hot surface by 1°C than to raise a cold surface by 1°C. And for the globe, the average is about 5.5 W/m2 per degree. That was a surprise to me, I didn’t expect it to be quite that large … but then as I said, I’d never calculated it.

So here’s the summary of today’s wanderings in CERESville. 

• The long-accepted value for a doubling of CO2 gives a theoretical 3.7 W/m2 increase in downwelling TOA radiation. However, because of all of the factors that affect downwelling TOA radiation (changes in clouds, temperature, water vapor, eruptions, aerosols, etc.) and the fact that the log of CO2 is essentially a straight line, it’s not possible to determine that value experimentally. Here’s the problem:

Figure 4. Ramanathan’s greenhouse radiation, along with the change in CO2 radiation over the period. The CO2 radiation change has been set to the average of the greenhouse radiation for easy comparison.

Using that accepted 3.7 W/m2 figure for a doubling of CO2, that would give an increase in downwelling surface radiation of 1.8 W/m2.

• This doubling of CO2, in turn, would warm the surface by:

                 1.8 watts per square metre CO2 surface forcing / 5.5 watts per square metre per degree C ≈ 0.3°C …

By comparison, the IPCC says that a doubling of CO2 would increase the surface temperature by 1.5°C to 4.5°C. If we take the midrange value of 3°C, this would imply that there is some mysterious feedback increasing the CO2-caused surface temperature change by a factor of about ten …

The general view seems to be that this mysterious ten-fold increase is somehow the result of feedback from water vapor and clouds. The problem with that theory is that the CERES measurements I’ve used above include all of those feedbacks. That is to say, the GHE value includes the feedback effects of clouds and water vapor, and the surface downwelling radiation also includes those feedbacks.

Answers gladly accepted. Here on the northern California coast, despite the screaming about “PERPETUAL CALIFORNIA DROUGHT! CLIMATE EMERGENCY!” … it’s raining again, the trees are happy, and the cat is not.

My best regards to all,

w.

NOTES: For those unclear on the physics behind the poorly-named “greenhouse effect”, it works because a sphere only has one surface, and a shell has two surfaces, inside and outside. See “The Steel Greenhouse“, “People Living In Glass Planets“, and “The R. W. Wood Experiment” for further discussion.

MY USUAL REQUEST: When you comment please quote the exact words you are discussing, so we can all be clear on your exact subject.

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316 thoughts on “Top and Bottom of the Atmosphere

  1. Willis,
    “A doubling of CO2 is supposed to lead to a 3.7 W/m2 increase in downwelling TOA longwave radiation”

    Is that really true? Do you have a source? Doubling is supposed to lead to a 3.7 W/m2 increase in forcing. That is, in energy flux available to result in surface warming. But I haven’t seen a claim that it would produce a measurable IR flux of that magnitude anywhere.

      • Just a comment for Figure 4. The yellow trend line has been named by “Greenhouse radiation”. It is the difference between the surface emitted radiation and the atmosphere emitted radiation. Which is normally 395 – 240 = 155 W/m2. In this trend line is the super El Nino 2015-16 included. It cannot be caused by GH effects. I think that this is a problem in using real observations. There are many – even strong impacts like ENSO – included and therefore these observations cannot be called Greenhouse effects only.

        • Ollila, all you are pointing out is that CO2 and GHGs are not the only contributors to the size of the greenhouse effect.

          Regards,

          w.

          • If one measures the temperature (thermal heat energy) of the atmosphere, they are in actuality measuring the temperature of all the gas molecules (N2, O2, H2O, CO2, etc.) that are resident in the locale that the temperature is being recorded.

            All atmospheric gas molecules can conduct thermal heat energy “to & from” all other gas molecules that they come in contact with.

            The per se “greenhouse” (radiant) gas molecules can ALSO, both radiate and absorb IR (infrared) thermal heat energy “to & from” all other “greenhouse” gas molecules, … as well as “to & from” the earth’s surface and to outer space.

            So, given the fact that both the H2O and CO2 molecules are “conducting” thermal heat energy “to & from” all other gas molecules, ….. plus radiating and absorbing IR (infrared) thermal heat energy, ….. how is it possible to accurately calculate the “role” that CO2 plays ….. “in size of the greenhouse effect”?

        • Yes, don’t wanna use real observations when doing “science” they screw up the results. Use models or made up observations they give much better graphs.

      • Willis,

        Feldman apparently was NOT able to directly measure downwelling IR in the 15 micron band. Gero tried and failed, despite the AERI instruments being designed specifically to make that type of direct measurement. These instruments are extremely sensitive and there is no reason that the signal should not be able to be detected directly.

        What Feldman did once he was brought in to evaluate why downwelling CO2 radiation could not be detected, was to create a SIMULATED signal to be combined with the actual signal received.

        Viola! The result was a detectable CO2 downwelling signal. It smacks of Mannian manipulation.
        I cannot put my finger on the walnut shell that actually has the pea under it but hopefully someone can

    • I think the downwelling longwave radiation at TOA is very close to zero. The satellites that do the readings fly at an altitude of around 700 km. Only very little “cold space” back radiation there, nothing to do with atmospheric greenhouse gases.
      For practical reasons TOA is sometimes calculated to be above the tropopause, say at 20 km altitude. The greenhouse effect is negative in the stratosphere..

      • Olof,
        “I think the downwelling longwave radiation at TOA is very close to zero.”

        Of course it is zero because, by definition, there is no “atmosphere” to be heated beyond the TOA. The satellites measure upwelling radiation, escaping from the atmosphere to space.

        Surprisingly, looking at the entire electromagnetic spectrum (“DC to daylight and beyond”) the Earth’s atmosphere is mostly opaque to EMR in general. But there are two big gaps (“windows”) in the absorption spectrum, which tend to fool us humans into believing the atmosphere is “mostly transparent”.

        http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_classroom/ir_tutorial/irwindows.html

        The first window is in the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, roughly from mediumwave to microwave, which allows radio transmissions to and from outer space.

        The second window is the visible light and infra-red spectra, which includes longwave IR. However the IR window is onlypartially transparent (but very transparent around 10μm).

        There are many satellites which observe this light through the atmosphere from above. For example, here’s a summary of the GOES-16 IR viewing “channels”.
        https://www.weather.gov/media/crp/GOES_16_Guides_FINALBIS.pdf

        • The outgoing LW radiation is 240 W/m2 and it is a sum of two fluxes: 212 W/m2 emitted by the atmosphere (around the height of 9 kilometers, because thereafter there is no much material) and the transmitting flux from the surface 28 W/m2; totally 240 W/m2.

    • Use MODTRAN to do the calculations, and you will find that doubling (375 to 750 in this instance) produces a difference of about 3.2 W/m^2 at the top (70km actually) of a tropical atmosphere. So, Willis’s value seems reasonable even without a reference to back it up.

      • Kevin,
        My question was whether the 3.7 W/m2 was an IR flux that could be observed. You can do a Modtran calculation, but it depends on your assumptions. Willis quoted below the section of AR5, which I’ll extract:

        “RF is defined, as it was in AR4, as the change in net downward radiative flux at the tropopause after allowing for stratospheric temperatures to readjust to radiative equilibrium, while holding surface and tropospheric temperatures and state variables such as water vapor and cloud cover fixed at the unperturbed values. ERF is the change in net TOA downward radiative flux after allowing for atmospheric temperatures, water vapour and clouds to adjust,but with surface temperature or a portion of surface conditions unchanged.”

        They are theoretical values with assumptions; in observation the surface temperature does not remain unchanged, but warms. In fact at equilibrium, the observed RF would be zero.

        • @Nick Stokes

          Good catch. According to Trenberth’s energy budget diagram:

          Downwelling solar: 341.3 w/m2
          Upwelling reflected: 101.9 w/m2
          Upwelling LW: 238.5 w/m2

          Net: 0.9 w/m2 downwelling

          https://scied.ucar.edu/radiation-budget-diagram-earth-atmosphere

          *******

          I see no reason a doubling of CO2 would cause this value to change much. Like you pointed out, the 3.7 w/m2 at the TOA is a hypothetical given no surface or troposphere warming, ie. no adjustment to upwelling.

          • There are plenty of studies that indicate that a doubling of CO2 calculates to less than 0.5 C, without following the math in detail, to agree with the IPCC models it would require Willis calculations to be out by a factor or 10, can anybody point to the 10????

    • I firmly believe that CAGW is a false theory but even so I feel that as a scientist I need to point out a fallacy here.

      The action of a green house gas is to absorb surface emission at the green house gas wavelengths (instead of it escaping to space) and replace it with radiation at those wavelengths escaping to space from the top of the green house gas column. Since the top of the green house gas column is typically the tropopause or more accurately the lower stratosphere which is colder than the surface overall emission to space is reduced.

      This bimodal effect happens because for most GHG’s the atmospheric column is so thick. Spectroscopists use the term absorbance to describe the impact of absorbing substances. An absorbance of 1 means the substance (in this case the atmospheric ghg column) absorbs 90% of the incident radiation. An absorbance of 2 means it absorbs 99%, an absorbance of 3 means it absorbs 99.9% and so on. So what is the absorbance of the atmospheric CO2 gas column? Answer about 3000 absorbance!!!!! Most of the surface emission is absorbed in the first few meters!

      That is WAY into saturation and begs the question, does further increase change anything? The answer is yes it does, in fact GHG’s in the atmosphere only become significant AFTER they saturate. The reason is that the absorbance profile is not a box car but rather something very close to a gaussian (actually a Lorentz profile). Gaussian profiles never go to exactly zero. One of the features of a gaussian is that convolving the spectrum with itself (equivalent to doubling the concentration) gives a new gaussian with the same mean but a greater standard deviation. Each doubling gives approximately the same increase in line width. Increasing the line width means the GHG column absorbs over a slightly greater range of wavelengths (ie: it intercepts more of the surface radiation) and this is the source of the logarithmic relationship between concentration and retained energy. Before the gas column saturates the relationship is closer to linear but the unbroadened line is so narrow that the total impact is nearly negligible. It is only when the line broadens after saturation of the line center that the impact becomes significant.

      The energy retained by doubling concentration will be the additional surface radiation blocked minus the additional top of gas column radiation. This is easily calculated using Planks law but even without any calculations it is obvious that since the additional top of gas column radiation is not zero (since the top of gas column is nowhere near absolute zero) the additional surface radiation blocked must be larger than the energy retained, not less than it. I have done the Planks law calculation and it turns out that for a 3.7 watt/sqM total change in retained energy for the planet, the incremental surface radiation blocked is around 5.5 watts/sqM which corresponds to about 1C of warming before feedbacks. This seems to agree with the claims I have seem from both warmists and skeptics. The BIG issue of course is what are the feedbacks, are they positive or negative. I have reason to believe they are negative and the experimental data Willis cites seems to again confirm this.

      • I also anticipated that the absorption line would broaden as you did. And where it is saturated it would only lower the reabsorption height for the upwelling FIR when the concentration of CO2 increases. Then it would be interesting to know what the the time delay between absorption and re-emission is and how that would compare to the mean collision time of the gas molecules, since the absorbed energy would thermalize after a collision.

        The energy imbalance in the satellite measurement could also come from this: the satellite looks at different heights in the atmosphere, depending on the absorption depth at a particular wavelength. So where CO2 is optically thick, the satellite will look at emissions at higher altitudes where the atmosphere is much colder, and where it is optically thin, it could look all the way down to the surface. On average, there should be less FIR measured than what is emitted from the surface.

        But it is ‘Planck’ not ‘Plank’.

        • Stephan, you are right Planck not Plank my apologies. As regards rising CO2 reducing the reabsorption height, where does on define saturation. From an engineering point of view a reasonable point would be where the gas column absorbs 99% of the incident radiation ie: 2 abs.
          But the total CO2 column is 3000 abs; 1500 times more than saturation. 99% of the surface emission at 14.7 micron is absorbed in the first 1/1500 of the gas column. The gas column extends up to the tropopause but the pressure is reducing with altitude. The first 1/1500th of the gas column is at an altitude of about 5 meters. Whether it is 5 meters or 5.5 meters is really quite irrelevant. Indeed 90% is absorbed in the first 2.5 meters. On the issue of relative time constants of emission vs thermalisation but are extremely fast (nano seconds) and we know from observation that the emission intensity depends on the bulk gas temperature not on the amount of energy being absorbed. That suggests the thermalisation time constant is faster than the emission time constant.

        • Ah Loydo; firstly, how much of the claimed 1C rise is due to “adjustments” of the historical data set – I suspect a very significant portion. Secondly, how much of the actual temperature rise is is due to causes other than rising CO2. By the way we have gone from 280ppm to 410 ppm which is only 0.55 doublings so the additional retained energy is only 2watts/sqM before feedbacks. Thus the direct impact before feedbacks would have been about 0.55C and if the feedbacks are negative the actual rise due to increasing CO2 would be well under half a degree centigrade.

          By the way, the theory of CAGW is that rising CO2 reduces earths energy loss to space. Since the incoming energy is constant that creates an energy imbalance, more energy in than out which causes the Earth to warm. Energy loss to space is measured as outgoing long wave radiation or OLR for short. So if the theory is right we should be seeing OLR fall as CO2 rises. Of course as Earth’s temperature rises OLR will increase since rising temperature increases emission so the net impact should be a rise due to increasing temperature (3 watts/sqM/C) minus a fall due to rising CO2 (3.7 watt/sqM/doubling) all before feedbacks. Positive feedback due to water vapour as claimed substantially increases the negative 3.7 watts/sqM/doubling.
          But if Earth is warming at an increasing rate, net OLR would have to be falling as CO2 rises.

          Trouble is NOAA has been measuring OLR since the satellite era and over that time it has risen by 3 watts/sqM. Earth’s temperature has risen by less than 1C since 1980 (even warmists only claim 1C since 1900) so a rise of 3 watts/sqM is even more than could be explained by warming, assuming zero impact from changes in CO2 or feedbacks. So where is the evidence to justify the claim that rising CO2 is heating the earth by reducing energy loss to space. Also, if OLR is rising what is the source of the energy imbalance driving the warming?

          The only answer I can see is that Earth’s energy input is rising and since the solar output is constant that means Earth’s albedo must be falling. ie: cloud cover is reducing. Well NOAA also measure albedo and cloud cover and guess what, both are indeed falling. So Earth is not warming because GHG’s are reducing OLR, it is warming because cloud cover is reducing which is exactly what Svensmark’s theory is suggesting (note, since clouds also reduce OLR reducing cloud cover will increase OLR but will increase absorbed energy even more). Guess we need to hear how rising CO2 is driving down cloud cover.

          • Carl; NOAA do publish the data but it is difficult to find in a convenient form. Other sites have republished the NOAA data as a convenient graph. They this site http://www.climate4you.com/GlobalTemperatures.htm#Outgoing%20longwave%20radiation%20global. Please note the 3 watts/sqM rise (980-2020) is more than one would expect even from the claimed global temperature rise in the absence of any impact form rising CO2 whatsoever.

            As far as a discussion, I have not seen any rationalisations that make sense to me. If you find a rational understandable explanation I would be very interested to see it. Bottom line, the claim is CO2 causes warming by depressing OLR yet the experimental data is OLR has been on average rising for the last 40 years at least. If a theory predicts one outcome yet real world data shows the opposite outcome to me that casts VERY serious doubt on the theory. At the very least one would expect massive discussion over the issue. The fact that there is not (indeed, to my way of thinking, the silence on this issue is suspicious in itself) starts to sound to me like a coverup.

  2. Very nice!

    Neatly bypasses (i) a multitude of complex calculations, each with their own inherent (&/or applied) errors & (ii) all the various “unknowns” affecting/involved in the “Forcing Formulae” and cuts straight to the chase with a very nice simple comparative approach! 🙂

    ≈ 0.3°C sounds pretty reasonable to me (unlike most of the Alarmist drivel we’re subjected to)… I reckon I can live with that… 🙂

    • My personal filtering of the science and the BS leads me to expect around 0.8 deg C, Willis’ figure is surprisingly low. Not that surprise is an argument against numbers.

      If we take the midrange value of 3°C

      That is all part of the pseudo scientific trickery. They know that most people will be unaware of mean, median and long tailed probability distributions and that they will instinctively apply the little maths they know: add and divide by two.

      That is why they keep a wide range to include the improbable high values and boost the incorrectly assumed “mid range” as being the mean. If you increase percentiles you use the lower figure does not move much but upper limit get much bigger. Plus the press always go for “may be as a much as ” figure for an exciting headline.

      Willis:

      “LW” is thermal longwave radiation, and “SW” is solar shortwave radiation.

      No, SW is part of solar, LW is also part of solar. If that caption reflects the way the calculation is actually done it will probably affect the bottom line result.

      • Greg, in climate science a distinction is made between shortwave IR and longwave IR. The former is a part of sunlight. The latter, usually called “LW”, is not part of sunlight. It is thermal IR emitted at earthlike temperatures.

        w.

        • ps LWIR may not reach the surface if it is absorbed by the Atmosphere, but it is part of Solar Radiation.

        • Is this true?
          “The upwelling LW channel produced by CERES is Surface IR which is confined to the window wavelength range of 8-12 μm, this range is unaffected by GHGs. The expectation is therefore that if the cloud concentration goes up backscatter to space of incoming SW will increase but backscatter of LW towards the surface and absorption of the surface LW by the water droplets in the cloud will also increase. This means that the presence of the clouds will reduce the upwelling LW at the same time as it increases reflected solar leading to the negative correlation. This effect has nothing to do with GHGs.”
          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/07/upwelling-solar-upwelling-longwave/#comment-1170207
          If so, Does CERES observe surface total upwelling LWIR or is it calculated from temperature?

          • So I got an answer from Kevin Kilty: It’s calculcated from surface temperature estimates.

            “The CERES surface temperatures are a skin value, derived from GEOS data. The method of producing these temperatures is complex, and involves both parameterization and maximum likelihood inverse methods. Comparison against independent temperature data, satellite and ground, suggests a precision of about 0.5°C. The amount of analysis and scientific work that goes into these efforts is well described in a series of technical documents, available online, that are well worth reading for a background in the subject.”

            Seems to be two problems here: 1) Looking for how much does radiation affect temperatures while using temperature to estimate radiation. And 2) Looking for changes in radiation and temperature smaller than the error of observation.

          • Ron, that data on Ceres is extremely interesting. It is abviously not actually measuring the things that we thought it was and is “model” based yet again.
            I was a bit concerned when I saw it’s description in the top of the post ie ” CERES Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF) dataset”.

          • I vaguely remember that CERES has an unexplained inaccuracy of about 5 W/m2. That does not render the data useless, as it still detects changes. Rather than publishing raw instrument data, they “energy balance and fill” them to the best of their abilities. Keep in mind that the EBAF is just the best available guess.

        • So Willis said LWIR “is not part of sunlight”. That’s wrong of course. He should have said, the LWIR part of “sunlight” is negligible, compared to “earthlight”.

          Sun and Earth are both blackbody radiators, with distinctive Planck curves.
          https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/climatescience/energybalance.html

          Note that the earthlight, having a lower Planck temperature (~210K), accounts for virtually all LWIR detected radiation.

          The general rule of thumb for classifying detected radiation as sunlight vs earthlight is: if the wavelength is greater than 4μm, then it is “earthlight”.

          • Thanks johanus, a useful rule of thumb. Is it also true that the longer the wavelength, the lower the elctron voltage? I read that solar full spectrum radiation emanating from the sun’s surface at 5,778 K has 48 times the eV as what CO2 emits?

          • Ron, you can see it for yourself by looking at the area under the curve that I posted.

            There have also been a couple of posts on this forum (but not this thread) that show that CO2 Energy is ineffective to produce any warming of it’s own.

          • @Ron Clutz
            “Is it also true that the longer the wavelength, the lower the el[e]ctron voltage? “
            Yes, the wavelength of a photon is inversely proportional to its _energy_ (not “voltage”), the proportion constant being the Planck h=6.62607004 × 10**-34 . So, E=h=c / λ

            [FYI, “electron-volt” is defined the kinetic energy due to acceleration of one electron, starting from rest, pushed by electrostatic potential of one volt. So it is just another unit for expressing energy, but for use at a very small scale. It is not correct to call it ‘voltage’ ]

            “I read that solar full spectrum radiation emanating from the sun’s surface at 5,778 K has 48 times the eV as what CO2 emits?”

            You are trying to compare apples and oranges. In one hand you have the Sun’s full spectrum EMR output (“solar exitance”) which is about 63 megawatts per square meter (from the Sun’s surface). What is in the other hand? CO2 exitance? But that depends on the excitation state of the molecule and the wavelength of the emission, which could range from zero upwards. So comparing the Sun’s full spectrum output to the output of an excited molecule. ??? That does not make sense.

            Perhaps you meant the ‘full spectrum output (radiant exitance) of the Earth’, which would be about 240 watts per square meter. Much smaller than solar exitance, of course, but a valid comparison.

            [BTW, the solar and terrestrial exitances were shown on the ACS black-body plots in my link above]

          • It also seems that electron volt is the proper unit of energy for photons, though I take your point that this is not voltage in the usual sense.
            “When dealing with “particles” such as photons or electrons, a commonly used unit of energy is the electron-volt (eV) rather than the joule (J). An electron volt is the energy required to raise an electron through 1 volt, thus a photon with an energy of 1 eV = 1.602 × 10-19 J.

          • Johanus, just a small nitpick to your informative comment. Your linked diagram says the area under the solar radiation curve is 63,000,000 Wm^2 compared to 250 Wm^2 for the earth radiance curve.

          • @Ron Clutz
            “It also seems that electron volt is the proper unit of energy for photons,”

            Any unit of energy, e.g. joule, BTU, horsepower, erg, is ‘proper’ for photons because they are all equivalent (up to a scale factor). But it would be proper to say that eV is convenient for photons, because of its very small scale.

        • Willis, in physical (not climate) science there is no difference between incident solar LW radiation and reflected LW radiation. “Ninety-nine percent of the solar energy is in the range 0.276 to 4.96 μm, and 99.9 percent of the the solar energy is in the range of 0.217 to 10.94 μm”. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19710021412.pdf About thermal IR radiation. Physics emphasizes the difference between infrared and thermal energy: “Infrared radiation is popularly known as “heat” or, perhaps, “heat radiation”, since many physics teachers traditionally attribute all radiant heating to infrared light. This is wrong, and is a very widespread misconception. Light or electromagnetic waves of any frequencies would heat surfaces which absorbs it”. ( Infrared Radiation. Van Nostrand Scientific Encyclopedia. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/0471743984.vse4181.pub2 )So, how physically justified is the calculation of the temperature change based on the values of the energy of infrared radiation?

  3. Hello Willis,

    I am not sure I understand some of this. Well, actually I am sure that I don’t. If the forcing at the surface is only 0.43 of the TOA forcing, where is the remaining energy going? If it doesn’t go out and it doesn’t reach the surface, then it needs to somehow stay in the middle. Warming the atmosphere itself. Some or all of its layers. And isn’t it the atmosphere’s temperature what we measure, near the surface? Can’t the atmosphere increase its temperature more than the surface itself? And can’t it do it by different means than infrared radiation? The fact that the radiation received is less doesn’t mean that it is not receiving energy in a different way, which should be accounted for. Does this make sense?

  4. The article seems to explore (or exploit) the subtle differences between modeled surface temperature and modeled and “measured “surface *air* temperature. Since these two relate to different models and calculations, it’s entirely unsure if there’s anything here at all.

    • Indeed. What Willis does in his articles is to clearly expose the stupid complexity of a non-science called ‘climatology’. By cutting out 95% of erroneous waffle, he exposes the truth; there is nothing there at all.
      That is not to say that climate change doesn’t happen. It does, it will always. It doesn’t mean humans don’t change their environment and affect some balances; 365/24/7 lifestyles in increasingly urban locations coupled with modern agricultural techniques is bound to affect local environments.
      But Willis very cogently puts silly computer-driven forecasts into true perspective. he is able to do this because he has no axe to grind, no skin in the game.

  5. I could not figure out the basis of this clause: “Using that accepted 3.7 W/m2 figure for a doubling of CO2, that would give an increase in downwelling surface radiation of 1.8 W/m2.” I think that according to the IPCC, the radiative forcing is exactly the value of 3.7 W/m2.

    How do we get the corresponding temperature? According to the IPCC, it is dT= CSP * RF. CSP (also marked by λ) is the climate sensitivity parameter. It has two values: for TCS it is 0.5 K/(W/m2) and for ECS it about 0.865 equal to the ECS value of 3.2 C, which is the average ECS value of 30 GCMs as tabulated in Appendix 9.5 in AR5. TCS value according to the equation above is 1.85 C and according to 30 GCMs in Appendix 9.5 it is 1.8 C – close enough.

    By the way, this simple equation always raises fierce protests among the Finnish IPCC supporters, when I have used it in my blog stories. They say that it is not real IPCC science, but the real IPCC calculations are based on using GCMs. Then I ask that can you name the GCM accepted by the IPCC. No answer. Anyway, this simple equation works even with RCP8.5 which is the worst case (an impossible) scenario of the IPCC.

    • Antero Ollila January 20, 2020 at 11:40 pm

      I could not figure out the basis of this clause: “Using that accepted 3.7 W/m2 figure for a doubling of CO2, that would give an increase in downwelling surface radiation of 1.8 W/m2.” I think that according to the IPCC, the radiative forcing is exactly the value of 3.7 W/m2.

      Yes, the radiative forcing is 3.7 W/m2 … but not at the surface, instead, at the top of the atmosphere or at the top of the troposphere. From the IPCC:

      Effective Radiative Forcing: Change in net downward radiative flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) after allowing for atmospheric temperatures, water vapour, clouds and land albedo to adjust, but with global mean surface temperature or ocean and sea ice conditions unchanged (calculations presented in this chapter use the fixed ocean conditions method).

      and

      8.1.1.1 Defining Radiative Forcing
      Alternative definitions of RF have been developed, each with its own advantages and limitations. The instantaneous RF refers to an instantaneous change in net (down minus up) radiative flux (shortwave plus longwave; in W m–2) due to an imposed change. This forcing is usually defined in terms of flux changes at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) or at the climatological tropopause, with the latter being a better indicator of the global mean surface temperature response in cases when they differ.

      Finally …

      Box 8.1 | Definition of Radiative Forcing and Effective Radiative Forcing
      The two most commonly used measures of radiative forcing in this chapter are the radiative forcing (RF) and the effective radiative forcing (ERF). RF is defined, as it was in AR4, as the change in net downward radiative flux at the tropopause after allowing for stratospheric temperatures to readjust to radiative equilibrium, while holding surface and tropospheric temperatures and state variables such as water vapor and cloud cover fixed at the unperturbed values. ERF is the change in net TOA downward radiative flux after allowing for atmospheric temperatures, water vapour and clouds to adjust,but with surface temperature or a portion of surface conditions unchanged. Although there are multiple methods to calculate ERF, we take ERF to mean the method in which sea surface temperatures and sea ice cover are fixed at climatological values unless otherwise specified. Land surface properties (temperature, snow and ice cover and vegetation) are allowed to adjust in this method. Hence ERF includes both the effects of the forcing agent itself and the rapid adjustments to that agent (as does RF, though stratospheric temperature is the only adjustment for the latter). In the case of aerosols, the rapid adjustments of clouds encompass effects that havebeen referred to as indirect or semi-direct forcings (see Figure 7.3 and Section 7.5), with some of these same cloud responses alsotaking place for other forcing agents (see Section 7.2). Calculation of ERF requires longer simulations with more complex models than calculation of RF, but the inclusion of the additional rapid adjustments makes ERF a better indicator of the eventual global mean temperature response, especially for aerosols. When forcing is attributed to emissions or used for calculation of emission metrics, additional responses including atmospheric chemistry and the carbon cycle are also included in both RF and ERF (see Section 8.1.2). The general term forcing is used to refer to both RF and ERF.

      SOURCE: IPCC AR5

      Note that in no case is this the actual forcing at the surface, as you are claiming. The Feldman et al. paper used observations to determine that the difference between TOA forcing and surface forcing is 0.43, and my own calculations put this ratio at 0.46.

      Best regards,

      w.

      • The definitions of RF and ERF defines in which conditions the magnitude of RF or ERF should be calculated. So far so good. But then we have only defined the driving force. We should calculate the surface temperature effect. This definition does not say anything about it. The final step in the model world is to increase the surface temperature and to find out what is the new temperature which brings the Earth back to the radiation balance, which means that the outgoing LW radiation must be the same as the incoming SW radiation. Only then we know, what we really should know – the surface temperature effect.

        For example, if the case of TCS by raising the CO2 concentration from 280 ppm to 560 ppm: According to IPCC, the outgoing LW radiation at TOA will be 3.7 W/m2 less = 240-3.7 = 236.3 W/m2. It means that the Earth’s surface is not cooling with the same amount as before even though the incoming SW radiation remains the same. The GH effect has now been involved and the atmosphere radiates 3.7 W/m2 to the surface. The total SW plus LW radiation has now increased from value 510 W/m2 to 513.7 W/m2 (165 + 345 + 3.7). According to the physical laws, the surface temperature starts to increase until a new balance has been reached. According to the IPCC, it is 1.8 C. The Earth can reach a new balance value in about a year.

  6. In Figure 3 you can see that as Stefan-Boltzmann says, it takes more energy to raise a hot surface by 1°C than to raise a cold surface by 1°C.

    Only if radiative balance would exist.
    In the tropics we see max ~1000 W/m^2 on a good sunny day. Don’t believe the SST goes to the accompanying ~364K.
    Back in the real world the sun warms the upper 5m or so directly and it takes ~21 MJ to increase the temperature of a column of 5 m^3 water 1K, pretty much regardless what the initial temperature was.
    https://www.ghrsst.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/newerSSTdef.gif

  7. How come the SB calculation for the earth works out to a 5.5 watts for a 1C rise, when say using the MODTRAN model, it is 3.7 watts? Where is the disconnect, is it because temperatures above the average take considerably more energy to raise 1 C than those below?

    If this is the case then the basic 1.2 C for the 3.5 watts, per doubling, is fundamentally wrong, and is nearer 0.8 C.

    This is a big change, huge. This is the fundamental figure everyone works with.

    • Matthew, no clue about Modtran. But we can calculate it directly. The average temperature of the planet is on the order of 14°C, which is 287.15K.

      Per Stefan-Boltzmann, this equates to radiation of 385.5 W/m2. The formula is

      W/m2 = 5.67E-8 * emissivity * K^4

      = 5.67E-8 * 1 * 287.15^4

      = 385.5 Wm2.

      If it warms by 1°C, this equates to radiation of 390.9 W/m2.

      The difference is 5.4 W/m2 … I’ve assumed an emissivity of 1, as most natural surfaces have an emissivity quite close to 1. If we use an average emissivity of 0.97 instead, the difference is 5.2 W/m2 …

      Regards,

      w.

      • Willis

        I’ll use my own terminology & very rough figures here so don’ t quote me.

        Basically we currently have a surface flux of about 390 w/m2 (average temp of ~288k).

        Because of the greenhouse effect only about 6o% is transmitted through the atmosphere to space, i.e. 235/390. Basically the 390 w/m2 surface flux drives a 235 w/m2 TOA flux.

        If ghgs reduce TOA flux by 3.7 w/m2 the surface will need to warm so that equilibrium can be restored (i.e. 235 w./m2 is radiated back to space).

        New TOA flux = 231.3 w/m2

        To restore equilibrium TOA flux needs to increase by a factor of 1.016, i.e. 235/231.3
        So surface flux needs to increase by a factor of 1.016

        390 x 1.016 = 396.2 w/m2 which represents a temperature of 289.1 k

        Therefore the surface will need to warm by 1.1 k to restore equilibrium at TOA. This is close to the 1.2 k per CO2 doubling (NO feedback) figure which is regularly cited but my figure comes from rough approximations.

        Conclusion: Forcing at surface should be about 1.6x forcing at TOA.

    • I just had a quick look at MODTRAN.
      Tropical atmosphere: 400ppm CO2,
      Upward IR Heat Flux 298.52 W/m2
      Ground Temperature 299.7K
      Increase surface by 1ºC
      Upward IR Heat Flux 302.947 W/m2
      Difference = 4.4 W/m2
      Midlatitude summer:
      Difference = 293.873-289.602 = 4.3
      Midlatitude winter:
      Difference = 3.7
      Subarctic summer:
      Difference =4.0
      These values are for a surface at 299.7 and 300.7K
      So MODTRAN lies between the 3.7 value and the value calculated by Willis.

  8. Willis, Ramanathan apparently assumed a global temperature of 15 C to get his 390 W/m2 emission rate. I recall looking on KNMI at the absolute (not anomalous) calculations, and being quite surprised that the the models disagreed in their estimate of current temperature by what seemed to me to be rather large: 12-15 C.

    What would be the emission rate associated with 12 C? Or 13.5 C, which would correspond to the model mean?

    • 12°C = 374.9 W/m2

      13.5°C = 380.2 W/m2

      15°C = 390.9 W/m2

      For the average temperature see The Elusive Absolute Surface Temperature by NASA. From that:

      For the global mean, the most trusted models produce a value of roughly 14°C, i.e. 57.2°F, but it may easily be anywhere between 56 and 58°F and regionally, let alone locally, the situation is even worse.

      w.

      • Willis
        Since the ‘forcing’ varies with temperature, and we are dealing with a 4th power, I think a better approach would be to use the average temperatures by latitude, and then determine the average forcing instead of using a single average temperature for the globe.

      • Willis,

        As always, thank you for an interesting read!

        One issue which has bugged me for some time,
        I get the impression that 2 things are mixed up when people talk about ‘surface temperature’.
        One being the temperature of the ‘ground/water surface’ used to calculate the emissions from same surface using SB. And the second being the near surface ‘air temperature’ measured some distance above the ground surface (standard 1 meter above i think). Now, as anyone who has ever walked barefoot over a non-vegetated surface (beach, road, poolside, desert etc) on a sunny day knows from direct personal observation, the difference between the two can be painfully large.

        So could it be that the actual emission from the surface is in fact very different from what a calculated value using ‘air temperature’ would suggest? and what effect would that have on the ‘greenhouse effect’?

        Best regards,
        Willem

      • Question for you brainiacs…

        Willis on surface emissions –
        “12°C = 374.9 W/m2

        13.5°C = 380.2 W/m2. Plus 5.3 W/m2

        15°C = 390.9 W/m2. Plus 10.7W/m2

        Yet if a doubling of CO2 is supposed to lead to a 3.7 W/m2 increase in downwelling TOA longwave radiation;
        then how does plus 3.7 W/m2 produce progressively larger surface emissions per doubling?

        As the surface warms would it not take progressively larger increases in downwelling LW radiation to produce the same affect?

  9. Thinking about the article, I got this idea for an experiment, to measure the effect of CO2.

    You have a shelter, with a roof of let’s say 4m^2, on four poles, let’s says of 2m high.
    You have a radiation-meter outside and one under the shelter and wait for a cloudless and calm day.
    Then you blow air with increasing amounts of CO2 over the 2 meters, from 200ppm to 800ppm, steps of +50.
    And you measure the readings of the one under the shelter and the one in the sun.
    I think you should then see a decreasing difference between the 2 readings. If CO2 has any effect.
    And if so, you could calculate that effect. Or am I totally wrong?

    • Scarface,
      I once pointed out to a fellow engineer that the increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1850, was about the same as me opening a soft drink can in my office, which didn’t cause my office to warm up. He said “… but there is a beam length issue…”. A few minutes of calculations with the Hottel charts hanging on our wall showed him to be correct….so you can actually know quite a bit about CO2 and IR, and still be very wrong in your conclusion.

  10. Willis’s story is also about the GH effect (GHE). I use real radiation values for illustrating the GHE. The first fact is the radiation fluxes must be absorbed by the Earth’s surface in order to have any temperature effect. For example, solar radiation is at TOA 340 W/m^s but only 240 is getting absorbed by the Earth and because the Earth is radiation balance, the same 240 W/m2 escapes as LW radiation into space.
    The first observation is that only 165 W/m2 of solar radiation is absorbed by the surface. Now we have a problem. According to Planck’s law, the black surface temperature of 240 W/m2 is about
    -18°C, and the measured surface temperature is about 15 C. This difference 33°C is a generally accepted measure of the GHE.

    There must be more radiation energy absorbed by the surface because its temperature is so high. And there is. The observed LW energy flux radiated by the atmosphere to the surface is 345 W/m2. The surface does not make any difference if it is SW or LW radiation if it can be absorbed. So, totally the radiation absorbed by the surface is 510 W/m2. It 213 percent more than 240 W/m2.

    The extra radiation absorbed by the surface is 510 – 240 = 270 W/m2. It is the real GHE effect and magnitude of the GHE. But this magnitude is different according to the IPCC. They define the GHE like this in AR5 / p. 126: “The longwave radiation (LWR, also referred to as infrared radiation) emitted from the Earth’s surface is largely absorbed by certain atmospheric constituents – (greenhouse gases and clouds) – which themselves emit LWR into all directions. The downward directed component of this LWR adds heat to the lower layers of the atmosphere and to the Earth’s surface (greenhouse effect).”

    By simple words, the IPCC says that the GHE effect is the difference of LW radiation emitted by the surface (395 W/m^2) and the LW radiation emitted by the TOA into space (240 W/m2) = 155 W/m^2, and what is more, this absorbed radiation is the same as emited by the atmosphere to the surface. This 155 W/m2 is the same as used by Schmidt et a. (2010). The IPCC’s definition conflicts with the reality:

    1) The IPCC says that the absorption (155 W/m2) is the same as the LW radiation to the surface (345 W/m2). It is against physical laws.
    2) Or even though the LW radiation downwards is 345 W/m2, only 155 W/m2 have real temperature impacts. The surface cannot leave the difference 345-155 without absorption; it is against physical laws.
    What is the real explanation? The downward LW radiation emitted by the atmosphere is the sum of four different energy sources: 1) solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere 75 W/m^2, LW radiation absorbed by the atmosphere 155 W/m2, the latent heating 91 W/m2, and the sensible heating 24 W/m2. These fluxes are totally 345 W/m2 and the GHE effect is 345-75 = 270 W/m2, because the solar radiation absorption by the atmosphere cannot be part of the GHE.

    What are the consequences? The contribution of CO2 is only 7.4% in the GHE responding 2.5 °C of 400 ppm CO2 concentration. According to Schmidt et al. it is 19 % and according to Kiehl & Trenberth it is 26 %. IPCC’s forcing of CO2 producing 1.8°C for 560 ppm cannot be fitted into the real GHE but the TCS value of 0.6°C can be fitted very well.

    Two links to research papers of mine:
    http://www.journalpsij.com/index.php/PSIJ/article/view/30149
    http://www.journalpsij.com/index.php/PSIJ/article/view/30127/56520

    I have published blog stories about this in Finnish blog sites. The comments of the IPCC supporters can be summarized like this: We cannot find anything wrong in your GHE definition, but the IPCC’s definition is correct because thousands of real climate scientists have evaluated IPCC´s specification and they never found any errors. My comment is that the majority of climate scientists have never read the IPCC’s GHE definition or even considered what it means. The rest of the climate scientists follow this rule: “It is better not to look a gift horse into the mouth.”

    • There must be more radiation energy absorbed by the surface because its temperature is so high. And there is. The observed LW energy flux radiated by the atmosphere to the surface is 345 W/m2. The surface does not make any difference if it is SW or LW radiation if it can be absorbed. So, totally the radiation absorbed by the surface is 510 W/m2. It 213 percent more than 240 W/m2.

      The ‘surface’ is at least 75% water. Water does not absorb IR radiation at all well, indeed it is probable that in a wind IR could cool the surface by increasing evaporation and loss of latent heat to the atmosphere. SW radiation will penetrate water and warm down to several meters, but the energy content of SW radiation is low.

      I feel treating the Earth as if it was just a rock ball with an atmosphere, introduces considerable errors.

      • Ian, Phil is right. The absorptivity of water in the LWIR range is 0.96, meaning it absorbs 96 percent of impinging LWIR.

        w.

      • Ian
        Water can evaporate in the absence of IR or even other wavelengths. Wind can supply enough energy to strip off water molecules. The key is that it takes energy to evaporate water and that energy can be of different types.

  11. I do not find a way to fix printing errors in my comment. So, I have to fix it like this:

    Original: “The surface cannot leave the difference 345-255 without absorption; it is against physical laws.”
    It should be: “The surface cannot leave the difference 345-155 without absorption; it is against physical laws.”

    • Fixed, Antero. I hate typos. There’s no way to have a comment editor function on WordPress, so I guess I’m the Comment Editor.

      w.

      • Oh, you can have comment editing in WordPress (but you have to have a .org site, not a .com, as a friend reminded me the other day).

        It only takes the appropriate widget. BUT – doing this is a fraught exercise, to say the least. (Doing almost anything not plain vanilla with WordPress is a fraught exercise, to be honest. I note that I am still commenting without a “verified” WUWT account, for instance; there was also the mini-debacle with the comment system a while back.)

        In any case, I tend to be somewhat AGAINST comment editing here. Better, like any other real science forum, publish – and then correct by publishing new content, if necessary.

      • Oh. Since my comment on comments hasn’t shown up yet… The one thing I would change about the comment system is to have a clicky-box for emailing me “replies to my comments.” The follow-up comments box all too frequently floods my email, and I still have to search for any actual replies to my input.

  12. For those saying the 3.7 W/m2 per doubling of CO2 occurs at the surface, the IPCC and Feldman et al say that it doesn’t … see above.

    But even if it did, that’s still only 3.7 W/m2 / 5.5 W/m2 per degree ≈ two thirds of a degree warming … so how will it get up to 3°C?

    w.

  13. The long-accepted value for a doubling of CO2 gives a theoretical 3.7 W/m2 increase in downwelling TOA radiation.

    The downwelling TOA radiation is pretty much the solar constant. Any increase in downwelling radiation takes place within the atmosphere.

    Nick Stokes was kind enough to provide us with this link. It shows the measured spectrum of the upwelling radiation over the arctic measured at 20 km as well as the spectrum of the downwelling radiation measured at the surface.

    It’s very important that the upwelling spectrum doesn’t show any wavelengths longer than 17 um and the downwelling spectrum doesn’t show any wavelengths longer than 25 um. They miss a lot of the energy because that’s where H2O has total absorption (and therefore radiation).

    The part of the spectrum attributed to CO2 is flat bottomed (or topped). To my mind, that indicates saturation. The other thing is that the CO2 absorption spectrum overlaps with the H2O absorption spectrum. The other thing to note is that arctic air has quite low specific humidity. In most of the rest of the globe, the absorption of long wave infrared (LWIR) by H2O will be greater.

    The important thing vis a vis the present article is that looking down from 20 km, we see around 220 mw/m^2 at 15 um and 260 mw/m^2 looking up from the surface. ie. the observed upwelling LWIR is less than the downwelling LWIR at that wavelength. (Note that the power figures are in mw. That’s because they describe the power within a narrow band of wavelengths, not the whole spectrum.)

    • Quote: “The downwelling TOA radiation is pretty much the solar constant.”

      The solar constant is about 1360 W/m2 and by dividing it by the 4, the flux value is 340 W/m^2. Because 100 W/m2 is reflected back to space, the downward SW radiation is 240 W/m^2. Basic knowledge in climate science.

    • “The part of the spectrum attributed to CO2 is flat bottomed (or topped). To my mind, that indicates saturation.”
      It indicates low optical depth. IOW, you see radiation coming from an emission layer at fairly uniform temperature. But that doesn’t mean more GHG couldn’t change that temperature. It can still raise the height of that emission layer, cooling it, which would lower the flat bottom (and so radiate less).

      • Nick writes

        It can still raise the height of that emission layer, cooling it, which would lower the flat bottom (and so radiate less).

        Standard theory but that idea has never sat well with me. Emssivity of the atmosphere has increased at that altitude so it should radiate from more of the GHG molecules more often losing energy more quickly.

        Here’s a thought experiment. Consider a ball of say O2 at say 20C out in space its magically held in a set volume so walls of any container cant play any part. The gas doesn’t radiate so you cant detect its temperature (Ok, I know even O2 can radiate a bit)

        Now add a single CO2 molecule. You can now detect its temperature by measuring the radiation from that single CO2 molecule as it acquires energy from the O2 and radiates and slowly cools the O2 and the amount of energy radiated is limited to the frequency of emissions from the CO2 molecule which is set by the temperature.

        Now add a second CO2 molecule. The temperature measured is still the same but surely the amount of energy radiated away has doubled.

  14. Interesting analysis. However, I wonder if it’s really valid to simply use an average for the earth’surface?

    Not every meter squared is created equal.

    • Not every Watt/m squared is equal either.
      Solar watts can be used to do work, LWIR can’t because it is diffuse and does not carry the electron volt energy that SW and UV carries.
      But according to the accepted science all photons are the same, regardless of what and where the come from.
      So explain how UV photons penetrate metres of water and LWIR ones don’t when the are all the same.

      • A C Osborn January 21, 2020 at 1:49 am

        Not every Watt/m squared is equal either.
        Solar watts can be used to do work, LWIR can’t because it is diffuse and does not carry the electron volt energy that SW and UV carries.

        The problem with using the ≈ 340 W/m2 downwelling IR (global average, great variation) for work is twofold. First, it’s not powerful enough to use like we use solar energy in a solar cell. To do that you have to have enough energy to kick an electron up to a higher orbit, and LWIR can’t do that.

        The other is that to use it in a heat engine you need to have somewhere to reject the heat to that is cooler than the heat running the engine … and no matter where you are, the atmosphere up where the LWIR is coming from is colder than the surface temperature.

        Having said that, there is current interest in the possibility of getting work out of LWIR by using a rectenna system … details here.

        Best regards,

        w.

        • “To do that you have to have enough energy to kick an electron up to a higher orbit, and LWIR can’t do that.”

          Thank you.

          LWIR does not have the same Energy.

          I wonder where is that “Energy” accounted for when comparing Watts/m2 of Solar v Watts/m2 of LWIR?

          Only 8% of Solar is UV and yet UV will crisp your skin and give you cancer, whereas LWIR just warms you a bit.

        • True IR doesn’t perform electronic excitation, that’s primarily UV, however it does perform ro-vibrational excitation which can then be transferred as kinetic energy to the surrounding gas molecules.

        • That is my point, we know that Solar warms the Oceans to a certain depth (metres) and that that energy is therefore Stored for some indeterminate time.
          It does not get reflected (pun intended) in the “Surface Balance Calculations” because it does not necessarily immediately go out as overnight LWIR.

          I think Trenberth was on to something when he said the heat was hiding in the Oceans.

          • A C Osborn January 21, 2020 at 7:06 am

            That is my point, we know that Solar warms the Oceans to a certain depth (metres) and that that energy is therefore Stored for some indeterminate time.

            Solar is stored for 1 season (except probably in the tropics):
            https://www.climate4you.com/images/ArgoTimeSeriesTemp59N.JPG
            It does not perpetrate below ~400m or so.

            I think Trenberth was on to something when he said the heat was hiding in the Oceans.

            He was fully correct, only it is not heat from the sun (and most certainly not from the atmosphere) but from the inside of the earth.
            Just as the continental crust is hot in spite of the small geothermal flux (~65 mW/m^2) are the oceans hot from internal heat of the Earth.

          • Ben, I am not so sure about just 1 season.
            Ensos come from somewhere.

            E M Smith said in one of his posts that the Sun & Atmosphere just keep the heat inside the earth and slow down it’s cooling.

          • A C Osborn January 21, 2020 at 10:27 am

            Ben, I am not so sure about just 1 season.
            Ensos come from somewhere.

            One of the reasons why I excluded the tropics.
            In the tropics the daily amount of solar energy varies between ~15 to 25 MJ/m^2.
            At high latitudes the swing is from ~0 MJ/m^2 to eg 18 MJ/m^2.
            In this case in winter all stored energy will be lost to space again.
            https://www.climate4you.com/images/ArgoTimeSeriesTemp59N.JPG

          • A C Osborn January 21, 2020 at 10:27 am

            E M Smith said in one of his posts that the Sun & Atmosphere just keep the heat inside the earth and slow down it’s cooling.

            To me the flux through the crust is a basic conduction situation (Fourier).
            For continental crust the flux is ~65 mW/m^2. Without sun and atmosphere, this would result in a surface temperature of ~40-50K to radiate the flux to space.
            Switch on the sun, and the crust temperature will start to rise, until the Geothermal Gradient from mantle to core matches the average surface temperature for a given position, and the flux is established again, close to the original number.
            (slightly different due to now lower temperature difference between mantle and surface).

    • Mike Smith January 21, 2020 at 1:14 am

      Interesting analysis. However, I wonder if it’s really valid to simply use an average for the earth’surface?

      Not every meter squared is created equal.

      Michael, the 5.5 W/m2 figure is an area-weighted gridcell-by-gridcell average … for exactly the reasons you put forward.

      w.

  15. This is a simple calculation using the Stefan-Boltzmann equation

    well sigma * T^4 is simple but you also need to know “effective” emissivity of all the fertile and baron land plus the sea / ice and snow and wet snow and ice, etc at the appropriate wavelengths. Values range from about 10% to 90%.

    In other words, it’s not that simple and like anything else in climate science you get the values you dictate by your assumptions.

    • I think the issue is not so much emissivity (mostly close to 1) but local back radiation. S-B gives radiation into vacuum. But if the surface warms, it warms the air above (with GHGs), and also clouds, which creates back radiation. So the net radiation going up is a lot less. It’s like the steel greenhouse, but with more transparent steel.

      • Nick, AFAIK all of that is taken into account in the various CERES datasets. By that I mean, the surface DWIR is the net of everything-solar warming of the atmosphere, radiant warming of the atmosphere, sensible and latent heat energy transfers, etc.

        And you’re right, emissivity is close to 1. From my bible, “The Climate Near The Ground” by Geiger, first published sometime around the fifties when people still measured things instead of modeling them. He gives the following figures for IR emissivity at 9 to 12 microns:

        Water, 0.96

        Fresh snow, 0.99

        Dry sand, 0.95

        Wet sand, 0.96

        Forest, deciduous, 0.95

        Forest, conifer, 0.97

        Leaves Corn, Beans, 0.94

        and so on down to things like:

        Mouse fur, 0.94

        Glass, 0.94

        You can see why the error from considering the earth as a blackbody in the IR is quite small.

        I must admit, though, that I do greatly enjoy the idea of some boffin at midnight in his laboratory measuring the emissivity of common substances when he hears the snap of the mousetrap he set earlier, and he thinks, hmmm …

        w.

        • Willis writes

          You can see why the error from considering the earth as a blackbody in the IR is quite small.

          With the T^4 term, emissivity is very important.

          For example the difference between 1m2 of a material with emissivity at 0.98 and 0.97 at 20C is 410.4 – 406.2 = 4.2 W/m2

          This is a nifty way to play with its impact https://www.omnicalculator.com/physics/stefan-boltzmann-law

          This is especially important where its changing like at the effective emission altitude for example. Is never mentioned in discussion of “the green house effect” however.

          (Rescued from spam bin) SUNMOD

      • S-B is for solid surfaces not gases.
        Water rules, not CO2, as you say real world conditions prove it.

      • Good heavens, Mr Stokes, you are agreeing with me ( probably without realising it). The only human causes of ‘warming’ are localised surface effects due to increasing urbanisation and agricultural use. This warming effects the local atmosphere , creates more clouds , and traps heat because of water vapour ( your transparent steel). Naught to do with CO2 or at least miniscule effects from that molecule.

      • Nick

        If this discussion is still focusing on the TOA/surface flux ‘discrepancy’ picked up by Willis, surely the issue ir related to the “Transmission ratio” of the atmosphere.

        i.e before CO2 enhancement TR = 235/390 = 0.6 (60%)

        After CO2 enhancement TR = 231.3/390 = 0.593

        To restore equilibrium (235 w/m2 TOA) = 235/0.593 = 396.2 w/m2 or 1.1 k (NO feedbacks).

      • Nick and Willis,
        On the question of water vapour, has there been any resolution of –
        (1) Paltridge et al 2009 showing that water vapour was negative in feedback on some readings at the tropopause.
        (2) Contra: Dessler and Davis 2010.
        In a discussion thread on Jo Nova at the time of the 2 papers, Garth Paltridge commented on and contested the 3 points that Dessler and Davis used to substantiate the “traditional view” that water vapour is a strong positive feedback.
        I appreciate your point, Willis , that the CERES material incorporates water vapour, clouds etc. but is water vapour a negative or positive feedback or unresolved?

        • ‘..but is water vapour a negative or positive feedback or unresolved?’ Think Swamp Cooler. Swamp coolers work great in Az but are less effective in Florida. Or, as someone, who pushes “Co2 causes global warming” agenda, wants you to believe to get warm on a cool day stand next to a water fall.

      • Vacuum is not the issue. S-B pertains to a cavity radiator in a strict sense because within a cavity the IR characteristics of whatever constitutes the surface doesn’t matter — withinm a cavity all materials behave like perfect blackbodies at equilibrium. Without a cavity one really should use the actual characteristics of the surface, which aren’t known to any great precision.

  16. Physics revision question for me as it’s a long time since I did physics. If the Sun were to suddenly disappear (forgetting gravity, momentum and other similar interactions), would the surface of the earth have an intrinsic temperature because of atmospheric pressure? If so what would that value be? Likewise, what would be the Venusian temperature be? Would the temperatures stabilise?

    • John January 21, 2020 at 1:48 am

      … would the surface of the earth have an intrinsic temperature because of atmospheric pressure?

      No. There’s no way that atmospheric pressure alone can lead to an ongoing increase in temperature. See my post here for a proof of that.

      w.

      • What is the reason for Venus’ high surface temperature? It has a retrograde rotation where it’s day is longer than the year, an atmospheric pressure of 90 atmospheres and is closer to the sun but with a high albedo. What would the temperature be on Earth if it swapped with Venus, no other orbital/rotational/atmospheric changes?

      • Willis proof relies on showing it leads to a falsifiable conflict, if you want the technical reason why it is called the shell theorem and read and note statement 1 and 2
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_theorem
        It was developed in classical physics but the formulation still holds in GR

        All the pressure is targeted at a single point in space being the centre of mass and so if the statement was true that would be the place all the temperature would manifest. In classical physics temperature is the kinetic vibration of particles and we are talking about a point in space so you can’t connect those two things or as we say classical physics fails. In GR you are simply applying pressure on a point in the spacetime fabric and given it can take the pressure of a neutron star or blackhole it is a bit trivial and does nothing.

    • The sun is the reason that there is an atmosphere in the first place. The atmosphere is a gaseous fraction of the planet, it is just as much a part of the planet as the soil under your feet. Without energy from the sun, the atmosphere would condense and absorb into the solid and liquid fraction of the planet.

  17. “Today, a chance comment got me thinking about top-of-atmosphere (TOA) downwelling longwave radiation…”
    WUWT? Downwelling LW at TOA? How does that work? Where does this radiation come from? Space? Sun?

    • Willis, please reply, I see other people pointed it out too. There can be no downwelling LWIR at the TOA, by definition. There is no (significant) atmosphere above TOA. If there is, it’s not TOA.

      • Based on the measurement of upwelling LWIR at ToA which will have been emitted by excited molecules from lower in the atmosphere from which region there will be an equal amount of LWIR emitted downwards.

        • But not at ToA! There can be no downwelling (atmospheric) LWIR at ToA, there is no doubt about it. Upwelling LWIR at ToA comes from the surface (window) and various heights in the atmosphere, and clouds. Downwelling LWIR at ToA is zero, by definition.

          • The point is that measurement of upwelling IR allows us to calculate what the amount of downwelling IR will be before it interacts with the atmosphere. That is why Ramanathan used it to estimate the Greenhouse effect.

          • Phil, please quote where Ramanathan mentions downwelling IR at the ToA. Yes, there is downwelling IR within the atmosphere all the way down to the surface, but at the ToA? No such thing.

        • Well, this is really frustrating.
          Willis, downwelling LWIR is measured at the ToA? There is no atmosphere above the top of the atmosphere and you say it’s not the Sun, so what emits this radiation? Can you please quote where Ramanathan mentions downwelling LWIR at the ToA? From your quote:
          “At a globally averaged temperature of 15°C the surface emits about 390 W m -2, while according to satellites, the long-wave radiation escaping to space is only 237 W m -2.”

          Fair enough, however I disagree that this reduction of about 150 W/m2 (or greenhouse effect) is caused solely by the “trapping effect of radiation”, but I digress… At this point, I just wanna know how can there be downwelling LWIR at the ToA? It’s clearly impossible.

          • Edim, what is measured at the TOA is upwelling LW. It is subtracted from surface upwelling LW. This gives us total GH radiation.

            w.

        • Edim January 21, 2020 at 1:04 pm
          Well, this is really frustrating.
          Willis, downwelling LWIR is measured at the ToA? There is no atmosphere above the top of the atmosphere and you say it’s not the Sun, so what emits this radiation?

          I’ll try to spell it out carefully.
          Any excited CO2 molecule in the vicinity of the tropopause will emit a photon in any direction with equal probability. Any of those photons heading upwards will most likely escape the atmosphere and therefore cross the ToA. Therefore when you measure the upwelling IR at the ToA there will also an equal flux of downwelling IR, that’s what we’re talking about.

  18. “there is some mysterious feedback increasing the CO2-caused surface temperature change by a factor of about ten …”
    Willis.
    The mysterious GHG feedback effect was invented by NASA Climate folks in pursuit to blame fossil fuel CO2 for naturally caused warming during the 1980s, 1992 1998 ElNino episodes. It was adopted by IPCC climate modelers.
    It’s in the archive web pages.
    Reality:
    The Earth’s standard temperature at mean sea level is still 15°C used by ICAO. All that 390 W/m2 energy on the Earth’s surface is produced by the weight of the entire atmosphere. No relation to the fictitious GHG effect.
    Most far or long wave IR reradiated from the Earth escapes to the space at the speed of light except the cloud effect and convention as per gas laws.
    The full computational model using SB heat transfer and general gas law considering the entire atmosphere is described in our forthcoming publication.
    Surface temperature of all planetary bodies such as Venus can be explained this way.

    • GHE is not fictitious. The Earth receives net energy form the Sun 240 W/m2 and the same amount is radiated back into space. This radiation corresponds to -18 C. How do you explain that the surface temperature is 15 C?

        • Adiabatic compression by the atmosphere. Arrhenius misunderstood Fourier. Now explain why the average whole Earth temp. is normally 21 degrees C over the last 3 billion year…..

          • chaswarnertoo January 21, 2020 at 6:58 am

            Adiabatic compression by the atmosphere.

            The atmosphere is not being compressed and is certainly not adiabatic.
            Actually the atmosphere needs internal pressure and thus (energy) to expand against gravity. Is called Hydrostatic Equilibrium.

        • Antero Ollila January 21, 2020 at 5:30 am

          A printing error again: not -1 but 15 degrees.

          Fixed.

          w.

      • Antero Ollila January 21, 2020 at 5:04 am

        GHE is not fictitious.

        If you accept that the atmosphere warms the surface, you implicitly also accept that the atmosphere has warmed the deep oceans, since their temperature is ~275K. THAT idea is totally fictitious.

        The Earth receives net energy form the Sun 240 W/m2 and the same amount is radiated back into space. This radiation corresponds to -18 C.

        255K (-18 C) is the RADIATIVE balance temperature for ~240 W/m^2 incoming radiation. On Earth RADIATIVE balance temperatures are not found. Only between sunrise and noon and again between noon and sunset for 2 moments the incoming radiation will be the same as the outgoing for a body emitting according SB.
        Our moon receives ~300 W/m^2 on average (albedo .11) so its temperature SHOULD be ~270K.
        Actually it is ~197K. Daytime temperatures are close to radiative balance temperatures, nighttime is much to warm (should be ~3K, actually ~80K). Otherwise the temperature would be ~150K or so.

        How do you explain that the surface temperature is ~15 C?

        Simple. Earths oceans were (close to) boiling when they came into existence.
        Currently they are colder, but the sun only increases the shallow surface layer ~13K on average.
        The solar energy that actually reaches the surface is perfectly capable to maintain that temperature during day/night and summer/winter periods.
        The atmosphere just reduces the outgoing energy to space. A body at 290K emitting according SB
        would radiate ~400 W/m^2. Actual loss at TOA ~240 W/m^2.
        => ENERGY balance due to the Atmospheric Insulation Effect.

        • GHE is insolation of the Earth if you like to call it by that name. Climate change contrarians do not win this battle by denying scientific facts.

          • Antero Ollila January 21, 2020 at 8:29 am

            Climate change contrarians do not win this battle by denying scientific facts.

            Not aware that I’m denying any scientific facts.
            Since you seem to accept that our cold, low density atmosphere is capable of warming our ~4km deep oceans, I’d like to hear how this is possible.
            Realize that warm water does not sink to the bottom of the oceans, only cold, dense water does (mostly AABW and some NADW)

  19. Isn’t some of the problem to do with considering everything based on averages rather than considering the very real differences between the equator and the poles.

    For example, apparently warming is quite modest at the equator. Wouldn’t this be because a large amount of incoming solar radiation is absorbed at the surface, what is reflected is mostly dominated by the action of the very humid atmosphere. So any extra CO2 is only operating on a very small amount of remaining energy and adding this small amount to an already large amount of energy absorbed at the surface.

    At the poles the opposite is true. Very little humidity and high albedo mean that very little energy is being absorbed at the surface and very little of the large amount of reflected energy down-welled by water vapour. In this environment, added CO2 would provide additional down-welling of this large percentage of energy which would be significant compared to the little that is directly absorbed, hence warming is larger at the poles.

  20. “Back in 1987 in a paper entitled ‘The Role of Earth Radiation Budget Studies in Climate and General Circulation Research“, Ramanathan pointed out that the “greenhouse effect” can be measured as the amount of long wave energy radiated upwards at the surface minus the upwelling long wave radiation at the top of the atmosphere, viz:

    The greenhouse effect. The estimates of the outgoing longwave radiation also lead to quantitative inferences about the atmospheric greenhouse effect. At a globally averaged temperature of 15°C the surface emits about 390 W m -2, while according to satellites, the long-wave radiation escaping to space is only 237 W m -2. Thus the absorption and emission of long-wave radiation by the intervening atmospheric gases and clouds cause a net reduction of about 150 W m -2 in the radiation emitted to space.”

    Lost me on square 1.
    Help.
    First problem
    At the top of the atmosphere – Incoming energy from the sun balanced with outgoing energy from the earth.
    Is this correct?
    If so then there cannot be any net reduction of about 150 W m -2 in the radiation emitted to space.”
    What goes in is coming out.
    How can we have extra free heat continually trapped forever by GHG. Not possible.

    Problem 2
    the surface area of the earth is 510.1 million km², radius 6371 km
    The Kármán line, at 100 km (62 mi), or 1.57% of Earth’s radius,
    gives a TOA of 526,2 million km².
    The IR radiation at the TOA is coming off a much bigger sphere surface than at the earth surface. Ramanathan is unlikely to have mad such an elementary mistake but the question remains.
    You cannot take directly to compare or subtract a surface of earth energy measure from a TOA energy measure without changing the energy to surface area amounts to the same total surface area.
    Was this done?
    Though the radius change is small the total change in energy might be much larger.
    The 390 W m -2, at the surface might attenuate to 237 [239] W m -2, at TOA to keep that perfect balance of energy in to energy out without any retained heat at all. just from emitting from a larger surface area. [may be a 4th power attenuation??
    Anyway needs working through and explaining if anyone has the knowledge I lack.


    There seems to be some confusion over retained energy, needing to be hot enough to radiate the IR outwards and actual energy transfer. [ see Knobs Willis Eschenbach / December 9, 2010″] Global Energy Flows.

    First up the surface emits about 390 W m -2, but only receives 161 W m -2 from the sun, the rest is the same recycled energy as it makes its way out. The 390 W m -2 is being double counted, none is retained, it is only 161 W m -2 of real energy to go back out.
    According to satellites, the long-wave radiation escaping to space is only 237 W m -2.
    But this is in balance, 161 from the original IR emitted by the earth, 30 W m -2 from clouds and 40 W m -2 from direct window transfer.
    Therefore there is no absorption and emission of long-wave radiation by the intervening atmospheric gases and clouds causing a net reduction of about 150 W m -2 in the radiation emitted to space.”

    This is not to deny that the surface or atmosphere has heated up but the heat needed to create the warming or cooling is not retaining new heat all the time.
    Air needs an energy budget to emit the 237 it receives back to space. Yes the surface and the air heat up but this is a minuscule amount of energy in view of the vast amounts going in and coming out each day.It does not constantly keep trapping 150 W m -2. This can be seen by the large changes in air temperature over 24 hours every day. The bulk of that energy is already in the system, ocean and land and clouds.
    The atmosphere holds only 1 /6th of the energy going through it , 40 W m -2 compared to 237 W m -2.

    As an aside you wrote
    ‘And for the globe, the average is about 5.5 W/m2 per degree. That was a surprise to me, I didn’t expect it to be quite that large … but then as I said, I’d never calculated it.”
    I found this funny equation on the net which seems to match your 5.5 figure
    “The energy emitted by the Earth can be written as:
    EO = σ * T4 (T = temperature in Kelvin, σ = 5.67 x 10-8 J/m2 sec K4)
    The Earth’s temperature reaches a balance, called a steady state, when the two equations match (EI = EO). Under those conditions we can write an equation for planetary temperature.
    T4 = [(1 – a) Ω] / 4 σ (T in Kelvin degrees)
    The solution for this equation with measured solar flux (Harte 1988, ERBE 2005, 2007) at the top of the atmosphere yields a value of 254° K (-19.2° C, -2.6° F) for average planetary temperature.”
    Not sure if it is relevant or not.

  21. I try to explain two points:
    1. “If so then there cannot be any net reduction of about 150 W m -2 in the radiation emitted to space.” The SURFACE radiates 395 W/m2 and at TOA outgoing LW flux is 240 W/m2. Difference is about 155 W/m2.
    2. “First up the surface emits about 390 W m -2, but only receives 161 W m -2 from the sun”. See my comment about the GHE, then you see all the real radiation fluxes involved. The surface receives 165 W/m2 SW radiation directly from the Sun and 345 LW radiation from the atmosphere (270 W/m2 is the GHE effect because 345 includes 75 W/m2 solar absorption).

  22. Willis,

    A very interesting post! Thank you for that. It’s highly appreciated.
    I have a view questions though which I hope I can make clear:

    1. I’ve always understood from the work of Roy Spencer that the limitations of CERES’s accuracy or any other device are still too large to make up balances in the order of single Watts/m2. What is your estimated order of magnitude error in all these analyses? And second, it would be interesting to hear Roy’s opinion on your analysis. Do you by any change have or have had correspondence with regard to the analysis of CERES data? Just curious…

    2. Assuming your analysis is correct there still is a possibility that heat transfer by convection and evaporation etc. (non-radiant heat transfer) interfered with the thermal balance by all the radiating fluxes in a different magnitude in the concerning period than in any other period. To keep it simple: the air might have been cooled a bit extra by the oceans for example.. Since you did quite extensive analyses on these aspects as well, do you think it’s possible to figure out if the 2000-2018 period had been any different from let’s say the decade before in that manner? If not, could this strengthen your conclusion?

    3. With regard to your findings, by what degree of certainty do you think we can now say that net positive feedback is demonstrated to be out of question? That would be a powerful conclusion by itself.

  23. Thread fragment;

    “Nick Stokes January 18, 2020 at 7:51 pm
    “CO₂ is 0.04% of the atmosphere and is minimally infrared active.”
    Here is an actual measured IR spectrum taken over Alaska. The big bite around 15 μm is the CO₂ absorption.

    Link; https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/www.moyhu.org/2010/05/PettyFig8-2.jpg

    Reply
    Patrick MJD January 18, 2020 at 8:35 pm
    A big bite?

    Patrick MJD January 18, 2020 at 9:07 pm
    Note the words “cloud free atmosphere”. Got one for a non-cloud free atmosphere over any part of the earth?

    Anthony Banton January 19, 2020 at 11:45 am
    “Got one for a non-cloud free atmosphere over any part of the earth?”

    That was the whole point of the experiment.
    To determine the magnitude of changes to the forcing exerted by CO2 in the atmosphere.
    So obviously (?) the experiments were conducted in cloud free skies.
    (In case it’s not obvious) because then the signal is obscured by H2O
    And yes we know that water absorbs at an overlap with CO2 near 15 micron (the Earth’s strongest emission) BUT there’s plenty of places in the Earth’s atmosphere where dry air predominates, most notably at altitude where the GHE is strongest.

    Patrick MJD January 19, 2020 at 7:53 pm
    “Anthony Banton January 19, 2020 at 11:45 am”

    What is altitude at the surface looking up? What is your definition of “dry air” because I know of two. One is theoretical.”

    So what is it?

  24. I am a little bit surprised. There are no comments about my definition of the GH effect. Not in favor or against my theory or the IPCC’s theory. You should know that this time it is really the definition of the IPCC because they do not refer to any research studies.

    The GHE is the basis of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory. If it is wrong – and very badly wrong – the science of the IPCC is based on the wrong theory.

    I do not know what to think. Do you think that the IPCC’s definition is correct? Do you think that is according to reality and according to physical laws? If it is correct, then you should show in which way my deduction and evidence are incorrect or what is incorrect in my definition.

    This time we do not need complicated theories or models. We need only to use radiation fluxes, which are commonly accepted and used in the energy balance presentations also used by the IPCC. I have not invented any energy flux figures in my presentation.

    • Antero…probably a number of WUWT faithfuls have made the mental note “….thats a very interesting way of looking at it…. now I really need to plug all these numbers into my old Trenberth diagram spreadsheet someday”. It will take a while. Your numbers are right, for whatever my opinion is worth.

    • Antero, you said above:

      The extra radiation absorbed by the surface is 510 – 240 = 270 W/m2. It is the real GHE effect and magnitude of the GHE. But this magnitude is different according to the IPCC. They define the GHE like this in AR5 / p. 126: “The longwave radiation (LWR, also referred to as infrared radiation) emitted from the Earth’s surface is largely absorbed by certain atmospheric constituents – (greenhouse gases and clouds) – which themselves emit LWR into all directions. The downward directed component of this LWR adds heat to the lower layers of the atmosphere and to the Earth’s surface (greenhouse effect).”

      By simple words, the IPCC says that the GHE effect is the difference of LW radiation emitted by the surface (395 W/m^2) and the LW radiation emitted by the TOA into space (240 W/m2) = 155 W/m^2, and what is more, this absorbed radiation is the same as emited by the atmosphere to the surface. This 155 W/m2 is the same as used by Schmidt et a. (2010). The IPCC’s definition conflicts with the reality:

      1) The IPCC says that the absorption (155 W/m2) is the same as the LW radiation to the surface (345 W/m2). It is against physical laws.

      Antero, you are conflating two things. One is the total LW to the surface. The other is the amount of upwelling radiation absorbed by the atmosphere.

      The key is to realize that the atmosphere is not heated by just Ramanathan’s ~150 W/m2. It is also heated by direct solar radiation, by sensible heat from the surface, and by latent heat from the surface. Here’s my diagram of the simplified energy budget. Unlike Trenberths similar diagram, this one actually balances, with equal amounts radiated up and down from the two atmospheric levels.

      Note that the atmosphere absorbs ~150 W/m2 of upwelling radiation (Ramanathans greenhouse effect), but because it is absorbing energy from the other sources, the total downwelling is ~ 320 W/m2.

      Best regards,

      w.

      • Willis,

        I have summarized exactly in the same as you write: “The downward LW radiation emitted by the atmosphere is the sum of four different energy sources: 1) solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere 75 W/m^2, LW radiation absorbed by the atmosphere 155 W/m2, the latent heating 91 W/m2, and the sensible heating 24 W/m2. These fluxes are totally 345 W/m2 and the GHE effect is 345-75 = 270 W/m2, because the solar radiation absorption by the atmosphere cannot be part of the GHE.”

        The differences in radiation fluxes are not the point. The contributions of GH gases are calculated by Schmidt et al and Kiehl & Trenberth from the LW absorption, which is 155 W/m^2 according to the IPCC definition. In reality the GHE is much greater 270 W/m^2. Because the absorption by CO2 is about 20 W/m^2, it makes a big difference if you calculate the contribution from the total GHE effect being 155 or 270 W/m2.

        The LW flux emitted to the surface having the real GH effect is not 155 W/m2. It is much greater. Everything would be scientifically correct if the LW radiation to the surface would be 75 + 155 = 230 W/m2 but is 345 W/m^2. If you think that there is no difference if it is 230 or 345 W/m^2, it would mean that that difference 345-230 = 115 has no warming effect. How do you explain that it has no warming effect and it has nothing to do with the GHE?

      • Yes, I recall you, W.E., posting this power flow diagram before, a few years ago wasn’t it? I do like to see the books balance like that! I remember thinking how readily one could look at this as an idealized system of just two light absorptive “smoked plates” at two different levels in the atmosphere (with the ground as such as a third absorptive/emittive “plate”, if you like). The first question, I suppose, is why climate scientist Trenberth couldn’t publish a balanced diagram in the first place. Climate scientists can’t do arithmetic, need to hire an accountant?

        Anyway, what you appear to be saying is that the difference between the 392 W/m2 surface number ‘going up’ vs the 237 W/m2 upwelling number can be viewed as a determiner for surface temperature? It looks like it could be important to know where all those numbers are going?

  25. A comment about the climate sensitivity value:
    Quote: “By comparison, the IPCC says that a doubling of CO2 would increase the surface temperature by 1.5°C to 4.5°C. If we take the midrange value of 3°C,…”

    IPCC uses both ECS (Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity) and TCS (Transient Climate Sensitivity) concepts and summarizes the differences in AR5 [48], (p. 1110): “ECS determines the eventual warming in response to stabilization of atmospheric composition on multi-century time scales, while TCR determines the warming expected at a given time following any steady increase in forcing over a 50- to 100-year time scale.” IPCC has changed the TCS to TCR (Transient Climate Response). On page 1112 of AR5 [48], IPCC states that “TCR is a more informative indicator of future climate than ECS.” According to the IPCC science for the temperature changes during this century, the right CS is TCS, which is about 1.8 C on average according to the IPCC.

  26. Quote: “So an increase of 3.7 W/m2 at the TOA from a doubling of CO2 becomes a 1.8 W/m2 increase at the surface.”.
    Still I do not find any groundings, why Willis make this reduction and is it based on the IPCC science or on something else.

  27. The K-T W/m^2 heat balance diagram and all its clones are thermodynamic garbage.

    1.) Converting 289 K to 396 W/m^2 using S-B creates energy out of thin air, plus the surface cannot radiate BB.

    2.) 333 W/m^2 continuously/perpetually looping/upwelling/downwelling/absorbing/”trapping” at 100% efficiency leaving nothing behind either place violates thermodynamics. YES IT DOES!!!

    3.) 333 W/m^2 from the cold troposphere to the warm earth without added work violates thermodynamics. YES IT DOES!!!^2

    4.) 288 K – 255 K = 33 C is rubbish. 288 K is pulled out of WMO’s butt. K-T uses 289 K. UCLA Diviner says 294 K. 255 K assumes the naked earth keeps the 0.3 albedo and that assumption is scientific if not criminal malfeasance.

    • It all reminds me of reading Karl Marx. First start with some arm waving, throw in some sophistry, mix it together to become a factoid, and then proceed with volumes and volumes of erroneous work based on that false premise.

    • Nick, have heart. It is a scientific model, used to scare the hell out of children. Also to put billions in pockets of properly connected people. It is not meant to be perfect, except for these listed purposes.

    • 1) no it doesn’t, and it doesn’t make sense that you think that.
      2) you are confusing thermodynamic heat flow from hot to cold, with electromagnetic components in the SB equation
      3) no it doesn’t, see 2)
      4) thats the number that demonstrates the radiative effect using albedo of .3 to illustrate the effect to high school students. Everybody knows it’s more complicated than that.

      • DM,

        “2) you are confusing thermodynamic heat flow from hot to cold, with electromagnetic components in the SB equation”

        Two bodies *do* exchange heat, i.e. a heat flow, via electromagnetic components. If the earth is considered to be a separate entity from the atmosphere then radiative heat flow must be considered. Please note that this heat flow *is* an exchange. The colder body does radiate toward the hotter body as well as the other way. Energy can’t be destroyed, only transformed. If no energy is left behind then where did it go?

        “3) no it doesn’t, see 2)”

        Heat flow from a hotter body to a colder body via radiation increases the kinetic energy of the colder body. How do you increase kinetic energy without performing any work?

        • “The colder body does radiate toward the hotter body as well as the other way.”
          Does not happen.
          If it did there would be refrigerators without power cords.
          I haven’t seem any.
          You?

          • This hopeless but anyway. How does the colder body know that it should not emit radiation according to Planck’s law because there is a warmer body somewhere in the vicinity. If you can give a scientific answer to this, you will win a Nobel prize.

          • He is to stupid to get that problem.

            Apparently the photon leaving the sun knows ahead of time that earth is cooler and the photon leaving earth knows ahead of time that the sun is hotter 🙂

          • Nick,
            Hotter lose KE.
            Colder loses KE.
            Colder loses KE by radiating energy until it has Virtually none left.
            All bodies not at absolute zero are radiating heat.
            That radiated heat adds to the energy load of any other bodies it encounters warming them a little or slowing their rate of heat loss.
            Not a Stokes puppet are you?
            His sort of logic.

          • Nick is busy inventing his own physics because he isn’t using any physics that the rest of us know.

            The interesting question to ask Nick would be what is the temperature of a laser beam?

          • I will have one shot at this and see if you can understand.

            A photon has no temperature it a quantum entity all it has that you would recognize is energy. A laser beam is neither hot nor cold because temperature is not a fundamental property it is a classical physics construct. Your thermal emission is just a bunch of these photons it is called “thermal emission” because of the source but it actually has no temperature.

            You have probably run across that fact when as a kid you used a magnifying glass and the sun to burn things … Concentrating the sunlight changed the apparent temperature at the focus point. What you are doing in concentrating the energy which becomes temperature in your classical world again. A photon in 10um infra-red (which is about the emission of a 300K earth) when concentrated forms the basis of CO2 metal cutting laser which reaches many thousands of degree at it’s focal point.

            That is why your statement about cold not transmitting to hot fails …. QM doesn’t know what the temperature is it just transfers energy. So yes photons from cold sources do enter and get absorbed by hot sources because QM doesn’t know what temperature is.

          • Imagine a metal plate heated to say 400oC dangling in a vacuum. It’ll lose heat via radiation, and its core temperature can be plotted over time. Call this temperature profile A. Now repeat, but this time dangle metal plates heated to 300oC either side of the first plate, and plot the core temperature of the first plate over time again, calling it profile B. Will profile B (i) be identical to profile A; or (ii) trend above profile A (demonstrating lower rate of heat loss)? If you are saying that (i) is the correct answer, where is the radiative heat emitted from the two cooler plates in the direction of the hotter plate going?

        • “Energy can’t be destroyed, only transformed.”

          How about sent back where it came from until they reach equilibrium.
          Except they never do of course, a. because the CO2 also radiates to space, thus cooling everything and b. the Sun comes up next day to do it all again.

        • Antero,

          “This hopeless but anyway. How does the colder body know that it should not emit radiation according to Planck’s law because there is a warmer body somewhere in the vicinity. If you can give a scientific answer to this, you will win a Nobel prize.”

          You nailed it. The heat transferred is dependent upon the total flow. (flow hot-to-cold) – flow cold-to-hot) determines total flow. Flow-cool -to-hot is *not* zero.

          • Wow, none of you guys get it. If there were heat, also known as energy, flowing from the cold body to the hot body, the hot body would get HOTTER. It does NOT, NEVER EVER!

          • Michael Moon January 21, 2020 at 4:26 pm

            Wow, none of you guys get it. If there were heat, also known as energy, flowing from the cold body to the hot body, the hot body would get HOTTER. It does NOT, NEVER EVER!

            Suppose you have two stars far apart, one at say 4000°C and one at 6,000°C. You move them until they’re very close to each other.

            BOTH OF THEM GET HOTTER.

            Why? Because compared to when they were separated, both of them are receiving extra energy from the other star.

            Inter alia, your problem is that you think that heat is “also known as energy”. It is not. Heat is a spontaneous flow of energy from a warm object to a cool object. Energy is just energy, and radiant energy flows both directions as in the example with the stars.

            There is a NET spontaneous flow of heat from the hotter to the cooler star … but that is comprised of two separate independent heat flows, from star A to star B, and from star B to star A. And both of them end up hotter in the process

            w.

          • Please read my explanation above … you start with the basic question how hot is a photon (which can be asked as how hot is a laser beam). You should quickly work out that a photon has no temperature it only has energy. That is why your statement quickly becomes nonsense because classical physics breaks down and you can’t apply it to the situation.

            You were taught classical physics at school and there was a emphasis on temperature but there is no such fundamental property as temperature. It is an observational construct much like a rainbow of some deeper physics.

          • Michael Moon January 21, 2020 at 4:26 pm

            “Wow, none of you guys get it. If there were heat, also known as energy, flowing from the cold body to the hot body, the hot body would get HOTTER. It does NOT, NEVER EVER!”

            You didn’t bother to think about what I wrote, did you?

            I said: “The heat transferred is dependent upon the total flow. (flow hot-to-cold) – flow cold-to-hot) determines total flow. Flow-cool -to-hot is *not* zero.”

            If the energy received by the warmer body from the cooler body is less that the energy the warmer body emits toward the cooler body then the warmer body will *not* get hotter. It will see a net loss of energy and become “cooler”.

            If the cooler body receives more energy from the warmer body than it emits toward the warmer body then the cooler body will see a net increase in energy and become “warmer”.

          • Temperature is the average kinetic ENERGY of the molecules of a substance. There are many binary stars in elliptical orbits, and the temp of the hotter one never increases as the cooler one approaches perihelion. Look it up. What you do not know fills all the textbooks about thermodynamics and heat transfer, actually basic physics. Energy is the capacity to do work. Heat is the average kinetic energy of a mass.

            Cooler things never heat warmer things, as when something is heated, its TEMP goes UP. This has nothing to do with the way things cool down and your example with a plate between a heater and a human is sense-free.

          • Michael Moon January 21, 2020 at 4:26 pm
            Wow, none of you guys get it. If there were heat, also known as energy, flowing from the cold body to the hot body, the hot body would get HOTTER. It does NOT, NEVER EVER!

            Amazing, over 50 years of experience using radiation shields around thermocouples to get more accurate flame temperatures didn’t happen!
            Detailed analysis of shielded thermocouples so old that they’re in NACA papers:
            https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930084456.pdf

          • Michael Moon January 22, 2020 at 7:14 am

            Temperature is the average kinetic ENERGY of the molecules of a substance. There are many binary stars in elliptical orbits, and the temp of the hotter one never increases as the cooler one approaches perihelion. Look it up.

            That’s true, but not for the reason you think. In such a system, when the stars are closer together, they move faster. And when they are further apart, they move slower. As a result, the total energy going in each direction (flow * time) stays the same.

            This is true for the earth as well. You’d think we’d get hotter when we’re nearer the sun. But we spend less time there, and the two effects cancel each other out.

            As you say … look it up

            w.

  28. ‘In climate science, “upwelling” means headed for space, “downwelling” means headed for the surface, “forcing” means a change in downwelling radiation, “LW” is thermal longwave radiation, and “SW” is solar shortwave radiation.’

    Is there a formal definition of the boundary between “LW” and “SW”?

    This is important because solar radiation is spectral, with units of watts per square meter per wavelength unit (um or nm). A total irradiance in W/m2 is calculated by integrating over a specific wavelength region. When total irradiance is measured with a radiometer, the instrument implicitly performs the integration (and the answer is always “colored” by its spectral transmittance).

    So stating there is “156 W/m2 of LW radiation” is nearly meaningless without also stating the wavelength bounds that LW refers to.

    Thermopile radiometers such as global pyranometers typically have uncertainties on the order of +/-5% at best.

    • The Instruments & Measurements

      But wait, you say, upwelling 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/calibration/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 emissivity can be less than 1.0.

      That this warning went unheeded explains why SURFRAD upwelling LWIR with an assumed and uncorrected emissivity 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.

      • I think that I have seen this comment before that there is no way to measure upwelling LW radiation emitted by the surface or even the LW radiation into space. These kinds of stories are part of the conspiracy stories. USA has a government that has money to invest in several satellites measuring LW radiation emitted by the Earth and the whole thing is a fairy tale.

        I have analyzed the global results of upwelling LW radiation observations originating from GEWEX project. If somebody is interested in it, he/she can find this information just by googling.

      • My (poorly expressed) point should have been this: taking arithmetic sums or differences of these total irradiances (however measured) is simplistic because of the spectral nature of the quantities, the numeric definite integrations can’t be avoided. In other words, adding and subtracting irradiance is only valid at single wavelengths.

        And I really would like to understand the spectral difference between what the climate modelers refer to as SW and LW.

        For example, is it defined by specific instruments, such as pyranometers and pyrgeometers?

        https://www.kippzonen.com/ProductGroup/3/Pyranometers
        https://www.kippzonen.com/ProductGroup/4/Pyrgeometers

        Both are thermopile instruments (with calibration constants of uV/W/m2). Their spectral bands are defined by the transmittance of the domes/windows: pyranometers typically have quartz or silica domes that have long-wavelength cutoffs of 2.5-4 um, pyrgeometer domes pass 4.5-42 um (I don’t what these materials are).

        Based on these two instruments, the division between SW and LW would be about 4 um, is this correct?

  29. And, oh, BTW,

    5.) Dividing the discular 1,368 W/m^2 ISR by 4 to get an averaged 342 W/m^2 spherical ToA ISR is simplistic and dumb and and doesn’t even remotely resemble how the earth heats and cools.

    • 6) The area of Earth used in the S-B equation for both absorption and emission is approximately 196,900,000 sq mi. This is an abstract number and not a real number that should concern scientists. In reality, the absorbing surface is much higher and the emitting surface is much much higher, because the Earth is not a polished marble but rather is covered by plants, geomorphic features, and rough surface waters.

  30. 5.5 W/m² per degree.

    And the latest Trenberth heat budget says “net absorbed 0.9 W/M²” So that’s what, a little north of 0.15 deg C of warming?

    • 5.5 w/m2 per degree C is surface warming without feedbacks. If Trenberth’s figure refers to the TOA then surface forcing will be ~1.5 w/m2

      Also, since we’ve had over 0.5 degree warming since 1980 alone perhaps the alarmists are right and there is a strong positive feedback.

  31. Feldman et al. referred to by Willis says the following:
    “The climate perturbation from this surface forcing will be larger than the observed effect, since it has been found that the water-vapour feedback enhances greenhouse gas forcing at the surface by a factor of three and will increase, largely owing to thermodynamic constraints”.

    • Thanks, Phil. The data that I’m using includes all feedbacks. The data Feldman was working with didn’t. The citation for the factor-of-three increase clearly states that the changes occur within the same month as the temperature changes, so this is included in the CERES monthly data.

      w.

      • Phil and Willis,
        Thanks.
        That answers my somewhat obtuse question in this thread about Paltridge et al (2009) as against Dessler and Davis (2010)regarding water vapour feedback.

  32. If all the comments about CO2’s ability were true then two things must happen. 1. The specific heat of dry air must be revalued. 2. An addendum to specific heat tables must be published saying something like “If IR involved in energy supplied to increase temperature of either dry air or CO2 then the forcing equation must be included.”

    As of now climate science is in conflict with thermodynamics area of specific heat. Thermodynamics says the energy can be of any form. Climate science has special case for IR and CO2. Anthony’s experiment demonstrated that increased CO2 does not cause increased temperature.

  33. I’m just wondering how everybody deals with average temperature, while in the Stefan-Boltzmann’s law the temperature is in fourth power.

    In other words if you have 1 square meter of 50 deg Celsius and 1 square meter of 0 deg. Celsius, their emission won’t be equal to 2 square meters at 25 deg Celsus, will it?

    • Luchezar Jackov January 21, 2020 at 9:28 am

      Phrase that in Kelvin and see if you get something different.

      • It’s still in the 4-th power.

        1 sq.m. of 50C = 323.15^4 = 10904773289.97600625
        1 sq.m. of 0C = 273.15^4 = 5566789756.30100625
        Total: 16471563046.2770125

        2 sq.m. of 25C = 15804081127.5270125

        Difference: 16471563046.2770125/15804081127.5270125 = 1.0422347818493162903409232289584
        i.e. 4.22% difference

        In other words, it is incorrect to calculate the outgoing radiation by averaging the temperature, be it day/night temperature or equator/pole temperature.

        • I don’t understand the focus on this question, since nowhere have I averaged temperatures. What are you all on about?

          This is why I ask people to QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS you are discussing …

          w.

          • I’d rather name my comment a food for thought. Looking at Figure 3 and the conclusion that it takes more energy to keep a hot surface one degree hotter than a cold surface provoked it.

            Let’s take the tropics for example. The energy budget there is quite different from 1362/4 W/m2. It’s close to 1362/pi W/m2 (opposed to the poles where it is much less). The land surfaces heat up to more than 50C in the day (even though the air doesn’t get that hot) and when heated, they radiate. In the night they radiate, effectively cooling probably under the air temperature. Taking the average of the air day and night temperatures and assuming this is the temperature of emitting is not correct, because of the 4-th power in Stefan-Boltzmann’s law.

            In other words the hotter surfaces of the Earth dissipate much more energy than the cooler surfaces, and averaging the temperature and then calculating the dissipation based on the average temperature is incorrect.

      • It will be different, but still not correct.

        The average of 0C, 273.15^4 and 50C, 323.15^ is 8235781523

        Whereas 25C, 298.15^4 is 7902040564

        So an error of 333740959

        Near enough for Government Climate work of course.

  34. At a globally averaged temperature of 15°C the surface emits about 390 W m -2,

    This illustrates just one of the many problems with climate science. The surface of the Earth is not a cavity radiator. Thus, the actual LWIR characteristics of surface materials matters and one cannot just use the Stefan-Boltzmann formula without some adjustment. The average emissivity of snow, vegetation, soils, water, and so forth is probably in the neighborhood of 0.97. So at 288K (i.e. about 15C). The actual emission is more like 378 W/m^2 . The difference is already nearly four times bigger than the effect of doubling CO2 in the tropics (MODTRAN calculation). The whole science is filled with big numbers multiplied by fractional quantities that are poorly known then subtracted from other large, but error riddled numbers, and so on. Given enough imprecision and inaccuracy almost anything seems possible.

    • Mr kilty, what is the difference between emissivity and reflectance, which during the winter in the NH is very high due to the angle of incidence.
      Which means that the full range of Solar Radiation gets reflected rather than LWIR getting emitted.

      • Emissivity is a material property. It is a dimensionless quantity, and one would calculate it as the ratio of the measured power emitted from a surface by virtue of its temperature divided by the power a perfect blackbody would emit at the same temperature. Since real materials always show some angular and frequency dependence to their emitted power, we can say that “emissivity” is only an approximation to the complexity of emitted power from a surface that is not within a cavity. Emissivity is based on emitted power into a hemisphere above a flat surface.

        Reflectance is the measured ratio of redirected to incident light intensity at a material interface. This definition is per the “Encyclopedia of Physics”. It is based on inteensity which is radiance energy in a pencil of radiation at some angle to a surface. You can see in this thread some disagreement over LWIR and solar radiation, and as the above definition uses the term “light” one might wonder if reflectance applies to LW radiation in the same way it does to visible or solar radiation or not. You mention that reflectance increases at low solar angle in the northern hemisphere winter, which it does, but a rough sea state probably also shows an enhanced reflectance as well.

        In the context of climate science light would likely refer to solar radiation including radiation predominantly from about 2.8 um and shorter wavelengths (an Eppley PSP for instance uses this definition); while LWIR is 4 um and longer (the definition as per an Eppley PIR), leaving a no-man’s land of radiation between the two for people to fight over.

        As I explained in a blog some months ago, total power travelling away from a surface is a combination of reflected and emitted power which is known as radiosity.

      • A C Osborn January 21, 2020 at 10:35 am

        Mr kilty, what is the difference between emissivity and reflectance, which during the winter in the NH is very high due to the angle of incidence.
        Which means that the full range of Solar Radiation gets reflected rather than LWIR getting emitted.

        Emissivity refers to the absorption/emission of thermal infrared. By Kirschoff’s law, emissivity = absorptivity. Emissivity of fresh snow is about 0.986. This means that about 1.4% of impinging longwave is reflected, and 98.6% of impinging longwave is absorbed by snow.

        Reflectance is also called “albedo” when referring to visible light. It generally refers to the amount of impinging radiation reflected from an object. There is no corresponding “emissivity” for visible light, objects in general don’t emit light. The albedo of fresh snow is about 0.95, meaning that about 95% of impinging sunlight is reflected, and 5% of impinging sunlight is absorbed by snow.

        Note that the numbers are nearly reversed for visible and LW infrared … almost all visible is reflected by snow, and at the same time, almost all LWIR is absorbed by snow.

        Go figure …

        Also … what Kevin said.

        w.

    • Kevin kilty…
      The whole science is filled with big numbers multiplied by fractional quantities that are poorly known then subtracted from other large, but error riddled numbers, and so on. Given enough imprecision and inaccuracy almost anything seems possible.

      My favorite is from the IPCC’s AR4 Chapter 5 Executive summary page 387 where they say:

      Over the period 1961 to 2003, global ocean temperature has risen by 0.10°C from the surface to a depth of 700 m.

      Of course Trenberth’s Heat Budget is right in there:

      The noon-day sun puts out nearly 1370 wm² and these guys are claiming they’ve added up all the chaotic movements of heat over the entire planet and have determined an imbalance of 0.9 Wm². That’s an accuracy to five places. No plus or minus error bars or anything.

      What it means is, all of the components

      Reflected by clouds
      Reflected by aerosols
      Reflected by atmospheric gases
      Reflected by surface
      Absorbed by the surface
      Absorbed by the atmosphere
      Thermals
      Evaporation
      Transpiration
      Latent heat
      Emitted by clouds
      Emitted by atmosphere
      Atmospheric Window
      AND
      Back radiation

      need to have an accuracy to those five places or better for the 0.9 Wm² to be true.

    • Kevin, you’re correct. But in general, it’s a difference that makes no difference. This is because we’re usually looking at differences in temperature and differences in radiation.

      Let’s say a surface warms by 1°C, from 15°C to 16°C

      Using an emissivity of 1, that’s a change of 5.45 W/m2.

      Using an emissivity of 0.97, that’s a change of 5.29 W/m2, a difference of a bit more than a tenth of a W/m2.

      As a result, using emissivity =1 is the common practice.

      w.

      • I understand your point, Willis, but my complaint is that the idea of radiation balance involves some numbers that make use of an effective emissivity, which we can’t possibly know better than \pm 0.01 and others make use of an albedo which we surely don’t know better than \pm 0.01
        and then we mix them numerically. I understand that we can juggle the numbers to obtain a balance, and then work with differences from there, but even so, how well do we know the resulting balance, or its trend? I am always skeptical of just-so arguments.

        As an ocean science sort of fellow you can appreciate an analogy that drove me bonkers for years. The oceanography textbooks, and many articles (in the old Scientific American for instance) would always explain anomalously large tides, like at Truro, as a resonance phenomena; and then they would use a rectangular basin of water to explain the resonance — they would fudge the dimensions of this basin to get the answer they wanted. But any place having anomalously large tides is never on the shore of a rectangular basin. They are always an inlet in a channel or estuary having dimensions that diminish toward the port. The criteria for resonance in such an instance isn’t anything like the fudged rectangular dimensions; and the anomalously large tides are not a resonance, but are what a person would expect from jamming water into a restricted region.

        Resonance requires a very fine set of dimensions balanced against a tight specification of driving frequency. It would occur in fact almost nowhere by coincidence, but by fudging dimensions the authors of textbooks and articles would have it happen everywhere. Fudge small differences all over and get an impossible result that looks reasonable.

        Well anyway, as usual, you provoke a lot of thought.

        • Kevin kilty January 21, 2020 at 1:39 pm

          I understand your point, Willis, but my complaint is that the idea of radiation balance involves some numbers that make use of an effective emissivity, which we can’t possibly know better than ± 0.01 and others make use of an albedo which we surely don’t know better than ± pm 0.01 and then we mix them numerically.

          Thanks, Kevin. Sorry, can’t deal with the theoretical. If you’d provide an exact quote and a link to someone actually doing what you’re describing that would be helpful.

          Regards,

          w.

  35. A most interesting post, and as or more interesting comments following it–all indicating that this science is far from settled. But here’s one more monkey-wrench:

    This planet is not 15C; far less than 1% of it is 15C. The average temperature is closer to 3,000C, and debating a few watts per square meter controlled by 400 ppm CO2 in the air at the surface of a 3,000 degree molten ball sure is a puzzling pursuit to a geologist. It seems like me trying to do careful calculations to explain the effect of CO2 on the surface temperature of my wood stove while ignoring that there’s a fire burning inside it. This planet is molten, and only barely skinned over.

    And we have as yet no idea how much internal heat is moved to the surface; black smokers were only discovered in the 70’s, explosive eruptions were impossible at Arctic Ocean depths until they were detected from a research vessel a couple of years ago, and we still have no idea how much submarine volcanism exists. We also don’t know how episodic that volcanism is; observations of volcanoes that we can see suggests that such heat delivery is not constant.

    Doing detailed calculations of what a few ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere are or are not doing to temperatures at the earth’s surface seems quite premature–but I fully admit to having the biases of an earth scientist, not an atmospheric scientist. I guess only time and more research will reveal who was more down to earth.

    • I have not calculated this but other scientists have that the Earth’s surface receives 99.97 % of its energy from the Sun. On the other hand, other scientists say that below our feet is the core of the Earth having about the same temperature as the Sun – close to 6000 C. But who cares, if the deep sea has a temperature of 4 C. If that temperature would be about 15 C, then we should think otherwise.

      • Antero Ollila January 21, 2020 at 11:09 am

        On the other hand, other scientists say that below our feet is the core of the Earth having about the same temperature as the Sun – close to 6000 C. But who cares, if the deep sea has a temperature of 4 C.

        4 C is ~277K, some 22K ABOVE the infamous 255K, the maximum temperature the sun is supposedly able to provide.
        How did these oceans get so hot? From the enormous amounts of heat inside the Earth, of from the downwelling LW from the atmosphere?

      • You can measure them
        Heat flows of continental crust is 0.071 Watts per square meter
        Heat flow of oceanic crusts is 0.105 Watts per square meter
        The average is 0.090 Watts per square meter adjusted for land/sea ratio

        So yeah 99.97 looks about right I didn’t do the maths.

      • Antero Ollila January 21, 2020 at 11:09 am
        No answer to a simple question?

        How did these oceans get so hot? From the enormous amounts of heat inside the Earth, of from the downwelling LW from the atmosphere?

    • Len Werner January 21, 2020 at 10:11 am

      A most interesting post, and as or more interesting comments following it–all indicating that this science is far from settled. But here’s one more monkey-wrench:

      This planet is not 15C; far less than 1% of it is 15C. The average temperature is closer to 3,000C …

      Yes, the core of the earth is hot … but nobody has claimed different. We’re talking about the SURFACE TEMPERATURE.

      Next, yes, there are underwater black smokers (hot springs) and there are underwater volcanoes. And there are abovewater hot springs and volcanoes.

      So when you say “And we have as yet no idea how much internal heat is moved to the surface”, that’s absolutely not true. We know it is very small. If it wasn’t, snow would never stay on the ground. Wherever it has been measured over any large area, it’s less than a tenth of a watt/m2.

      There’s an interesting scientific study of underwater heat flux here here. And a Google Scholar search for “geothermal heat flux” reveals some 126,000 scientific pages on the subject … your claim that we have “no idea” about it doesn’t pass the laugh test.

      w.

    • Len Werner January 21, 2020 at 10:11 am

      I guess only time and more research will reveal who was more down to earth.

      You’ll find that a lot of people believe that our cold, low density atmosphere is able to warm just about anything.
      The Geothermal Flux through continental crust is on average just ~65 mW/m^2 and can supposedly be neglected.
      https://i1.wp.com/www.mpoweruk.com/images/geo_temperature.jpg
      Difficult to envision how the atmosphere can cause the increasing temperatures when moving deeper into the Earth.

      • Thanks for all the responses to the suggestion that our molted earth may have different thermodynamics than present climate science suggests; I also do know the numbers quoted. I spent a good part of a career in geothermal exploration so am conversant with crustal heat flows–that we know about. Please appreciate that having measured temperatures in a lot of drill holes, that I may have a different perspective on geothermal energy than someone who has not. When you tell me what the crustal heat-flow values are–I measured a lot of them.

        However, most of that career pointed out how much we don’t know. Many of these numbers I feel are subject to revision as we learn more. For example, continental crustal heat flow is certainly insignificant compared to what is being delivered to the base of oceans. From ocean bottom it convects away, so ocean bottom temperatures may not be indicative of how much heat is delivered. We don’t have a saturation of sampling of ocean bottom temperatures; if we did we would know how much volcanic activity is down there. We are only beginning that discovery. That snow doesn’t melt immediately when it falls on land is irrelevant for the majority of the planet’s surface.

        Willis, with all due respect I don’t think that today’s understanding of planetary and atmospheric thermodynamics is at all complete; in 2100, when all the present postulated climate catastrophes are to have happened and will be in the rear-view mirror I’m betting we will have a far different picture of how these systems work, and the exponential increase in knowledge will have led us in as different directions as we are now thinking compared to a century ago. I don’t laugh at you, and it may be unwise to subject me to a laugh test. After all, Michael Mann thinks he knows all there is to know too, and we don’t agree. The discussion should be kept civil.

        • Len Werner January 21, 2020 at 7:50 pm

          I spent a good part of a career in geothermal exploration

          Len, a question I’d like to have an answer for:
          How long does it take for the Geothermal Gradient to completely re-adjust to a 1K sudden warming at the surface? So 1k higher average surface temperature for continental crust, and 1K warmer ocean floor water.

          From ocean bottom it convects away, so ocean bottom temperatures may not be indicative of how much heat is delivered.

          Geothermal heat is disregarded since the flux is so low. Yet the entire heat CONTENT of the crust is from geothermal origin, except for the upper 10-20 m or so of continental crust.
          Same for the oceans, below a certain depth the (500m 1000m ?) the influence of solar energy is zero.
          Although small, the ~100 mW/m^2 geothermal flux into the oceans alone is capable of bringing the oceans from freezing to boiling in just ~500.000 years.
          Every liter of water warmed at the ocean floor has to be physically transported to (mostly) Antarctica before it can surface and “vent” this energy to the atmosphere and space.
          A very slow and inefficient process.

  36. There are the same old stories about the radiation. For example, the cold atmosphere cannot heat up the warm surface. Here are some facts. The Earth’s surface emits LW radiation according to Plank’s law and it is about 395 W/m2 corresponding to the temperature about 16 °C. The Earth receives SW radiation 165 W/m2 and absorbs it. There is an error in energy balance of 395-165 =230 W/m^2.

    What about this balance: The surface receives the SW radiation 165 and LW radiation 345, totally 510 W/m2. The following energy fluxes leave the surface: LW radiation 395, latent heating 91, and 24 sensible heating, totally 510 W/m2. No error in energy balance.

    If you say that there is no energy flow from a lower temperature to the higher temperature, you are wrong. The net energy flux is from higher to lower temperature, but the lower temperature surface radiates as well according to its temperature as stated by Max Planck’s law. My cheap infrared measuring device can measure the temperatures of my room surface and it is real. They radiate, even though I am standing there with my 35 °C skin temperature. I cannot stop the radiation of the surfaces of the room even they have lower temperatures. And neither can you. The radiates about 1360 W/m2 to the Earth and the Earth radiates back 240 W/m2 with the 4 times greater surface. The sun cannot stop it.

    • Antero, you say:

      There are the same old stories about the radiation. For example, the cold atmosphere cannot heat up the warm surface.

      Compared to what? If we take away the atmosphere, the ground would be exposed to ~3 W/m2 background radiation of outer space. Instead, it’s getting ~320 W/m2 from the cold atmosphere.

      Which one ends up with a warmer earth? Obviously, the one with the atmosphere …

      See my post “Can A Cold Object Warm a Hot Object” for a full discussion. The key is “compared to what”?

      Or you could look at it the other way. Can a hot object cool a cold object? Sounds crazy, right, but again, “compared to what”?

      Suppose you have a stove at say 400°C. You’re getting too hot, so you put a metal plate between you and the stove. It warms up to say 100°C. What happens to you?

      Obviously, you end up cooler … so a hot object (the metal plate at 100°C) has made you cooler.

      Always remember, “compared to what”? The cool atmosphere leaves the surface warmer than it would be if it were exposed to outer space.

      Best regards,

      w.

      • I have to say that I did not understand what you tried to formulate. The basic question was if the LW radiation emitted by the atmosphere (345 or 320 no matter) adds energy to the surface or not. I say the same as all the researchers who have published energy balances of the Earth: Yes, it does.

        I understood that you say in the way. If you do not say so, please correct me.

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

      • Willis
        “Compared to what? If we take away the atmosphere, the ground would be exposed to ~3 W/m2 background radiation of outer space. Instead, it’s getting ~320 W/m2 from the cold atmosphere.”

        Not fair.
        Both get the background radiation 3.
        The atmosphere is insulating the surface from the sun remember?
        “ put a metal plate at 100 C Source at 400 C A hotter object cools you?”
        Your quote.
        The atmosphere actually stops the surface getting as warm as it could if exposed to the bare sun. Surface of the moon is hotter under the sun than on earth .
        Colder on the other side and most importantly has the same TOA out as the earth.
        Because they both get the same in just the TOA is virtually the moon surface not 100 km radius further out and so they both radiate the same amount out.

        • Angtech, I’m gonna pass on this subject. I can explain it to you. I can refer you to a long discussion on how it works.

          But I can’t understand it for you.

          w.

  37. It also depends on what is considered “top of atmosphere”–between what two altitudes? If IR radiation is emitted from the surface of the earth, most of it will be absorbed and converted to heat (kinetic energy of molecules) at low altitudes (higher atmospheric pressures), where the number of molecules of water vapor and CO2 per unit volume are the highest. With increasing altitude, atmospheric pressure decreases, as does the number of molecules of water vapor and CO2 per unit volume, so the intensity of IR radiation absorbed and converted to heat also decreases. The thinner atmosphere may not affect the temperature change, since the specific heat per unit volume also decreases with decreasing pressure, but most of the energy is absorbed in the lower atmosphere.

    Also, the calculation of the IR radiation rate varies not only with temperature, but also the type of surface. On dry land, the emission rate would depend primarily on albedo and temperature, but over oceans, some of the radiant heat received from the sun is converted into latent heat to evaporate ocean water, which can have a huge effect on ocean temperature during daylight hours, and the Stefan-Boltzmann equation would not take this into account.

    “By comparison, the IPCC says that a doubling of CO2 would increase the surface temperature by 1.5°C to 4.5°C. If we take the midrange value of 3°C, this would imply that there is some mysterious feedback increasing the CO2-caused surface temperature change by a factor of about ten …”

    There are probably many variables that both Willis Eschenbach (in this article) and the IPCC have not taken into account.

    However, it is within the realm of possibility that the IPCC may be wrong!

    • “With increasing altitude, atmospheric pressure decreases, as does the number of molecules of water vapor and CO2 per unit volume, so the intensity of IR radiation absorbed and converted to heat also decreases”

      I cannot see much of a change in the greenhouse effect if the mean path to thermalization drops from say 5 meters to 3 meters above the surface with a doubling of CO2. The latency is still in milliseconds.

      The average radiating temperature is warmer at 3 meters than at 5 meters. (abt 0.015C)

      Thus the surface effect is extra heating from the average DWLR being up the Plank distribution to a more energetic level.

      Seems trivially small to me.

  38. This is the same answer I keep getting when looking at OHC too, and also proves strong negative feedback. If the “direct effect” of CO2 doubling is 3.7W/m^2 and this direct effect is supposed to be 1.2°C, my answer generally comes in at 1/4 that (0.3°C), not 3x that (3.6°C after + feedback).

    This means the feedback is negative.

    Twice now, I’ve seen articles about how the energy of N gazillion Hiroshima bombs have been input into the oceans, yet if you take the “area under the curve” of the CO2 forcing since, say, 1950, we “should have” seen MUCH more than we see, by the direct effect alone, using “top layer” of the ocean plus some mixing. Since oceans are the only true reservoir of energy of any substance on this rock, and this is a direct measurement of ocean heat (despite its troubles as a measurement), the amount of heat accumulating is nowhere near the “expected” amount. Each time it comes out to about 1/4 the “expected” amount. This agrees with your work shown here, and effectively destroys any argument about extreme ill effects or any emergencies.

    So I always view these studies showing huge energy increases with great relief.

    • “Since oceans are the only true reservoir of energy of any substance on this rock….”
      A pertinent reminder of the most appropriate measure of planetary climate.
      In June 2009 Professor Robert Carter and 3 other scientists commented on the response of the Australian Chief Scientist and Will Steffen to the Wong- Fielding exchange ( Full Assessment available on line) as follows-
      1. What is the most appropriate measure of planetary climate?
      1.1 The government’s reply says “ When climate change scientists talk about global warming they mean warming of the climate system as a whole, which includes the atmosphere, the oceans , and the Cryosphere”, and then adds, “ in terms of a single indicator of global warming, change in ocean heat content is most appropriate.”
      1.2 “
      We agree that in an ideal academic discussion, and were accurate historical data available, ocean heat content might be a better criterion by which to judge global warming than would be atmospheric temperature. Use of this indicator was first pressed by Pielke (2007,2009) as a test of the dangerous warming hypothesis, but it has not been widely publicised by the IPCC.
      1.3. In any case , Senator Fielding’s question was predicated upon the history of IPCC’s public advice which has consistently used the UK Hadley Centre near-surface air temperature record as the one that dominates in IPCC and government policy papers and discussion and is the criterion of judgement that both politicians and the public are familiar with.”
      2. Natural variability in Air Temperature.
      2.1 The government asserts that “at time scales of around a decade, natural variability can mask the atmospheric warming trend caused by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases.”
      2.2 It is widely agreed there is a considerable natural variability in air temperature on decadal timescales and longer. It is the IPCC who have previously denied the effect of natural variability.
      For example the 2001 Summary for Policymakers, based on computer model simulations, that the climate system has only a limited variability. In turn, this claim was and is used to underpin the argument that carbon dioxide is the only plausible explanation for the late 20th century warming trend.
      For the government to now invoke natural variability as an explanation for the elapsed temperature curve is to destroy the credibility of their previous arguments for carbon dioxide forcing.”
      2.3 The government also claims that” in terms of the climate system as a whole, only about 5% of the warming since 1960 has taken place in the air”.
      2.4 Using the Hadley CRU temperature record , the rise in air temperature since 1960 has been about 0,5 degrees C. Translating the 15×10 22 J of additional heat in the upper 700 metres of ocean since 1960 into a temperature rise, we find that this corresponds to an increase in upper ocean temperature of only 0.25C.
      Thus, using these metrics air temperature increase since 1960 has been more than three times greater than ocean temperature increase.”

  39. Willis Eschenbach
    Excellent evidence and observations.
    Your first figure of the difference in Long Wave Greenhouse Radiation vs TOA radiation appears related to regional rainfall and clouds. See especially the reds in the western Pacific. Comparing those may further your thermostat model.
    Best wishes
    David

  40. To Willis Eschenbach
     
    To Willis Eschenbach January 21, 2020 at 12:24 am
    Willis, in the Stefan-Boltzmann equation the term including albedo is missing: E(1-A) ε = σ T4 . The Earth’s surface temperature 255 K (according to IPCC) can be obtained when E = 1368/4 = 341 W/m^2, albedo A=0.3, emissivity ε =1. However, albedo varies significantly: for water it is 0.06 – 0.1, for snow and ice 0.7 – 0.9, for sand 0.35, forests 0.07 – 0.18.
    https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth103/node/1002
    This invalidates the accuracy of calculating both temperature and energy using the Stefan-Boltzmann equation.

  41. “Since oceans are the only true reservoir of energy of any substance on this rock….”
    A pertinent reminder of the most appropriate measure of planetary climate.
    In June 2009 Professor Robert Carter and 3 other scientists commented on the response of the Australian Chief Scientist and Will Steffen to the Wong- Fielding exchange ( Full Assessment available on line) as follows-
    1. What is the most appropriate measure of planetary climate?
    1.1 The government’s reply says “ When climate change scientists talk about global warming they mean warming of the climate system as a whole, which includes the atmosphere, the oceans , and the Cryosphere”, and then adds, “ in terms of a single indicator of global warming, change in ocean heat content is most appropriate.”
    1.2 “
    We agree that in an ideal academic discussion, and were accurate historical data available, ocean heat content might be a better criterion by which to judge global warming than would be atmospheric temperature. Use of this indicator was first pressed by Pielke (2007,2009) as a test of the dangerous warming hypothesis, but it has not been widely publicised by the IPCC.
    1.3. In any case , Senator Fielding’s question was predicated upon the history of IPCC’s public advice which has consistently used the UK Hadley Centre near-surface air temperature record as the one that dominates in IPCC and government policy papers and discussion and is the criterion of judgement that both politicians and the public are familiar with.”
    2. Natural variability in Air Temperature.
    2.1 The government asserts that “at time scales of around a decade, natural variability can mask the atmospheric warming trend caused by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases.”
    2.2 It is widely agreed there is a considerable natural variability in air temperature on decadal timescales and longer. It is the IPCC who have previously denied the effect of natural variability.
    For example the 2001 Summary for Policymakers, based on computer model simulations, that the climate system has only a limited variability. In turn, this claim was and is used to underpin the argument that carbon dioxide is the only plausible explanation for the late 20th century warming trend.
    For the government to now invoke natural variability as an explanation for the elapsed temperature curve is to destroy the credibility of their previous arguments for carbon dioxide forcing.”
    2.3 The government also claims that” in terms of the climate system as a whole, only about 5% of the warming since 1960 has taken place in the air”.
    2.4 Using the Hadley CRU temperature record , the rise in air temperature since 1960 has been about 0,5 degrees C. Translating the 15×10 22 J of additional heat in the upper 700 metres of ocean since 1960 into a temperature rise, we find that this corresponds to an increase in upper ocean temperature of only 0.25C.
    Thus, using these metrics air temperature increase since 1960 has been more than three times greater than ocean temperature increase.”

    (Rescued from spam bin) SUNMOD

  42. Johanus, just a small nitpick to your informative comment. Your linked diagram says the area under the solar radiation curve is 63,000,000 Wm^2 compared to 250 Wm^2 for the earth radiance curve.

  43. Feldman et al did NOT measure downwelling IR directly.
    The AERI instruments were designed to be extremely sensitive and they do measure downwelling IR in a number of regions. Just not in the 15 micron band. This was a major failing per Gero prior to Feldman getting involved. Feldman created a simulated spectra and then compared it to the measured spectra which showed nothing. Viola! We now have downwelling IR appearing.

    It just seems to be overly Mannomatic.

  44. I think that on TOA the SW should balance LW and this value is not dependent of greenhouse , only Sun and albedo : so the equation becomes SW (Sun- albedo) = LW (window + green house * K)
    if greenhouse is increasing, then the window part is reduced .
    When greenhouse = 0, SW(sun-albedo ) = LW (window)
    On surface we have LW(surface) = LW (window + greenhouse)
    So if greenhouse is increasing by 3.7 Watts/m2 , the window part is reduced and the increase of the total LW(surface ) is not 3.7 watts/m2, but less because the window part is reduced .
    I hope it is clear .

  45. “This doubling of CO2, in turn, would warm the surface by: 1.8 watts per square metre CO2 surface forcing / 5.5 watts per square metre per degree C ≈ 0.3°C …”

    So Willis, you are saying that the ECS is 1/10th of the number the IPCC used. If so we are going to have to burn a lot more fossil fuel in order to to dodge the next Stadial and have any hope of ending the Quaternary period ice age.

  46. “Now, this is curious. On average the change at the surface is a little less than half the TOA greenhouse effect change. So an increase of 3.7 W/m2 at the TOA from a doubling of CO2 becomes a 1.8 W/m2 increase at the surface.”
    “The key is to realize that the atmosphere is not heated by just Ramanathan’s ~150 W/m2.”

    Hate that diagram.
    Trying to explain things
    There is a TOA of 237 W/m2.
    At this level 100 km above the earth the incoming energy that is not reflected exactly balances the outgoing energy 237 W/m2.
    The surface of the earth is radiating at 392 W/m2.
    This is amazingly higher than the 342 W/m2. from the total incoming reflected and incident solar radiation.
    The GHG effect is basically to add 321 W/m2. of back radiation to the heating of the earth surface to the 169 W/m2. from the incident solar radiation that reaches the earth.
    Basically the surface should be at a temperature commensurate with 490 W/m2. ie hotter than it is.
    It emits however at 392 W/m2.giving I presume a temp of 15C, because the other 98 W/m2. is lost by sensible heat 10 W/m2. and latent heat 18 W/m2.

    Now there is no Ramanathan 150 W/m2. being absorbed all the time. Some energy has to absorbed to raise the temperature of the air and surface but this is almost instantaneous and trivial when considering all those hydrogen bombs of energy going through the atmosphere every second. Air temperature changes very quickly night to day. Once it is warmed up there is no 150 W/m2. being drained into an atmospheric greenhouse battery all the time.
    The energy in equals the energy out at the TOA.

    Now why do we have a seeming TOA imbalance from the surface when there is not one at the TOA?
    Because we are not comparing oranges with oranges.
    The total energy absorbed at the surface is for a much smaller sphere.
    Earth Surface area: 510.1 million km² Radius: 6,371 km energy emitted 392.
    TOA surface area 526.2 million km² Radius: 6,471 km energy emitted 237.
    Is this enough to make these 2 figures equal is what I would like someone to answer.
    On the surface it does not look likely but?

    One cannot take energy figures per square meter of a much larger sphere from energy figures for a much smaller sphere without doing a calibration for surface area and attenuation.

  47. Hmm seems the outgoing IR is measured at the TOA 100 KM out so spread over a bigger sphere surface area but the energy going into the ground is measured at earth surface area a smaller sphere so the energy budget diagrams are technically out of whack.
    Technically the two have to balance to have a TOA in the first place

    OLR is a critical component of the Earth’s energy budget, and represents the total radiation going to space emitted by the atmosphere.[3] OLR contributes to the net all-wave radiation for a surface which is equal to the sum of shortwave and long-wave down-welling radiation minus the sum of shortwave and long-wave up-welling radiation.[4] The net all-wave radiation balance is dominated by long-wave radiation during the night and during most times of the year in the polar regions.[5] Earth’s radiation balance is quite closely achieved since the OLR very nearly equals the Shortwave Absorbed Radiation received at high energy from the sun. Thus, the Earth’s average temperature is very nearly stable

    • angech January 21, 2020 at 11:04 pm

      Hmm seems the outgoing IR is measured at the TOA 100 KM out so spread over a bigger sphere surface area but the energy going into the ground is measured at earth surface area a smaller sphere so the energy budget diagrams are technically out of whack.

      Angtech, I would be shocked if this were not taken into consideration. Scientists are often foolish but rarely dumb. Hang on, let me run the numbers …

      … OK, The surface area of a sphere varies as R^2. The CERES satellites are actually at an altitude of about 500 km., not 100. That means that the area of the sphere where the satellites orbit is about 16.3% larger than the earth’s surface. The idea that scientists wouldn’t bot notice and adjust for a potential error of 16% is simply not reasonable.

      w.

  48. angech January 21, 2020 at 10:14 pm Edit

    “Now, this is curious. On average the change at the surface is a little less than half the TOA greenhouse effect change. So an increase of 3.7 W/m2 at the TOA from a doubling of CO2 becomes a 1.8 W/m2 increase at the surface.”
     
    “The key is to realize that the atmosphere is not heated by just Ramanathan’s ~150 W/m2.”


    Hate that diagram.

    Back up. Explain what it is that you hate about my diagram. It is a representation of the simplest possible layout of the energy flows. Just what is it that you “hate” about it?

    Now, I drew that up about 20 years ago because of the problems with the Trenberth version, which has lots of handwaving. Mine, on the other hand, obeys the physical laws—energy is conserved at all levels, and radiation up = radiation down.

    Now, the numbers are slightly out per CERES … but then two decades ago I didn’t have CERES data. But other than that … what’s wrong with it?

    Finally, the top layer is not 500 km out, or a hundred KM out. The bottom layer of the stratosphere is the effective radiating layer. We know this from the brightness temperature of the radiation. It’s at about 10 km. This difference in altitude introduces an error of 0.3% in the simplified energy diagram … lost in the noise.

    w.

    • Willis,
      I notice that you’ve got, (in your diagram), 321 watts/sq.m of “backradiation” from the “greenhouse” gases coming down from the atmosphere and absorbed by the surface.
      According to the diagram you only get 169 watts/sq.m impinging on the surface from the sun…the sun Willis,… in summer hot enough to melt tar on the roads.
      I was wondering if you leave your bacon and eggs out on the porch overnight and have them cooked for you in the morning by that backradiation from the atmosphere.?

      • Mack January 22, 2020 at 2:47 am

        Willis,
        I notice that you’ve got, (in your diagram), 321 watts/sq.m of “backradiation” from the “greenhouse” gases coming down from the atmosphere and absorbed by the surface.
        According to the diagram you only get 169 watts/sq.m impinging on the surface from the sun…the sun Willis,… in summer hot enough to melt tar on the roads.
        I was wondering if you leave your bacon and eggs out on the porch overnight and have them cooked for you in the morning by that backradiation from the atmosphere.?

        Summer roads are not heated by the average radiation of 169 W/m2. They’re heated by something like a kilowatt per square metre or so of sunshine, plus thermal radiation from the atmosphere.

        Next, it seems you think that the idea that the atmosphere emits thermal radiation to be somehow incredible or impossible. Not sure why. It’s been measured, not theorized but measured, thousands and thousands of times by scientists around the planet.

        w.

        • Well, I thought those numbers would have pricked up your ears, Willis I would have thought that 321 watts/ sq.m. of “backradiation” belting down from the ATMOSPHERE 24/7, would have triggered some form of thought process in your head….. particularly since it’s nearly TWICE the amount of solar radiation impinging upon the surface.! Is there nothing about that which really unsettles you? Is there nothing about that which says…”hang on, there could be some mistake in these diagrams.” ?

          • Thanks, Mack. You clearly think downwelling longwave infrared radiation is imaginary.

            Me, I know that it’s been measured all over the planet by scientists. It’s measured at all the SURFRAD sites. It’s measured by the TAO buoys. It’s measured at the ARM sites.

            Do you truly think that those hundreds of scientists are just making it up?

            Also, if the ≈ 169 w/m2 of sunlight was the only thing heating the surface, it would be at about -40°C or so … is there nothing about that which really unsettles you?

            w.

          • Willis Eschenbach January 23, 2020 at 12:35 am

            Also, if the ≈ 169 w/m2 of sunlight was the only thing heating the surface, it would be at about -40°C or so …

            Why do you keep pushing this radiative balance temperature nonsense?
            If the surface temperatures on Earth were in radiative balance with incoming solar we would see temperature swings from ~3K during the night to 365K or higher during the day.
            Is not happening.
            169 W/m^2 is ~14,6 MJ/m^2 over 24 hrs. This seems close to the world average as shown in these charts:
            https://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/properties-of-sunlight/isoflux-contour-plots
            14,6 MJ/m^2 between sunrise and sunset is enough energy to INCREASE the temperature of the upper 4 m of ocean water 1K.
            Has nothing to do with RADIATIVE balance.
            Backradiation does not warm the surface, it reduces the energy loss from the surface to the atmosphere. Otherwise we would see your 321 W/m^2 + ~1000 W/m^2 at noon giving temperatures of ~390K.

          • Ben Wouters January 23, 2020 at 4:03 am

            Willis Eschenbach January 23, 2020 at 12:35 am

            Also, if the ≈ 169 w/m2 of sunlight was the only thing heating the surface, it would be at about -40°C or so …

            Why do you keep pushing this radiative balance temperature nonsense?

            Seriously?

            Ben, if you don’t know the answer to that question there’s no point in discussing it further. Average energy budgets are a very useful tool for studying the nature and size of the energy flows of the climate system. Come back when you understand that and we can continue the discussion.

            w.

          • Willis Eschenbach January 23, 2020 at 10:01 am

            Seriously?

            Absolutely.

            Average energy budgets are a very useful tool for studying the nature and size of the energy flows of the climate system.

            Absolutely agree: average ENERGY budgets.
            The moment you assign a SB temperature to these energy flows, you implicitly assume RADIATIVE balance.
            On Earth we do NOT see radiative balance temperatures. Nigh time temperatures do not drop to ~3K, nor do daytime temperatures soar to ~364K, the RADIATIVE balance temperature for 1000 W/m^2 solar radiation.

            The 169 W/m^2 average solar that actually heats the surface is enough energy to increase to temperature of ~3,5 m^3 ocean water 1K.
            169 J/s/m^2 x 60 x 60 x 24 = 14,6 MJ/m^2/day.

            On our moon we DO see ~radiaitve balance temperatures during the day.
            Not so for the lunar night. Temperatures do not drop to ~3K as radiaitve balance would suggest, but to ~80K on average.

            Difference between the two obviously our oceans vs lunar regolith.

          • The thing that unsettles me ,Willis, is that you think the ATMOSPHERE raises the temperature of the planet from that… ” -40deg C or so” to what we have in reality of about 15deg C.

          • “On our moon we DO see ~radiaitve balance temperatures during the day.”

            No Ben, DIVINER radiometer results show brightness temperatures are always changing lunar day and night (diurnal) so no ~radiative balance. Or define your ~. Apollo derived results though show temperature unchanging diurnally about 0.3m deep in the lunar soil.

          • Mack January 24, 2020 at 1:16 pm

            The thing that unsettles me ,Willis, is that you think the ATMOSPHERE raises the temperature of the planet from that… ” -40deg C or so” to what we have in reality of about 15deg C.

            Compared to the moon it’s even more unsettling’.
            On the moon ~90% of incoming solar is available for heating, resulting in avg temperature of ~197K. Increasing its rotation to ours should result in ~220K.
            Adding an earth-like atmosphere reduces the amount of solar that actually reaches the surface to <50%. Yet this same atmosphere is supposed to heat the surface to ~290K.

        • Trick January 24, 2020 at 8:12 pm

          No Ben, DIVINER radiometer results show brightness temperatures are always changing lunar day and night (diurnal) so no ~radiative balance.

          See https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011JE003987
          (search for equilibrium)
          Nighttime temperatures never go to 3K, the radiative balance temperature with the Cosmic Background radiation.
          Noon temperature on the equator is even slightly above radiative balance temperature, reason probably the high temperature at sunrise (~100K or so) Reason for this some geothermal plus heat storage from the previous day.

    • Apologies,
      no offence intended.
      It was a comment on the complexity of the radiation flows and trying to work through them, not on the authorship of the diagram.
      You see it everywhere. I did not know it was yours.
      Love it.

  49. Willis
    Finally, the top layer is not 500 km out, or a hundred KM out. The bottom layer of the stratosphere is the effective radiating layer. We know this from the brightness temperature of the radiation. It’s at about 10 km. This difference in altitude introduces an error of 0.3% in the simplified energy diagram … lost in the noise.”

    Respectfully,
    I may be wrong.
    I thought the Top of Atmosphere is defined as where radiation in equals radiation out by convention.
    For a sphere the average distance is said to be about 100 km.
    In truth the TOA is very close to the poles and further away at the equator during the day.
    The effective radiating layer may be the bottom of the stratosphere but the TOA is where the energy in balances the energy out by definition.
    The satellites may be out 500 km but what they are measuring is the output of IR from those top layers and formulating an overall TOA value.
    Incidentally they rely on ground stations for the IR out and in at surface level because the satellites have a lot of trouble trying to assess IR levels below 800 meters and cannot do it through clouds, apparently.
    CERES apparently does it’s TOA from an amalgam of satellites and a computed input from GCMs with an inbuilt warming and it is extremely variable with large margins of error and does not do clouds well.

    “The idea that scientists wouldn’t notice and adjust for a potential error of is simply not reasonable.”
    True.
    Very hard to actually find out. Perhaps Dr Spencer could enlighten us if he is reading.

  50. “. Here’s my diagram of the simplified energy budget. Unlike Trenberths similar diagram, this one actually balances, with equal amounts radiated up and down from the two atmospheric levels.“
    As said missed that attribution totally at the time.
    Would never be deliberately that rude.

  51. Interesting post and comments!

    Something that always bothers me is when discussions surround surface temperatures and radiation and no mention is made of convection.

    Here is a paper that looks at the radiation budget at the earth’s surface. The bottom line is that they didn’t find temperature changes that correlated with increases in surface radiation. Why? They give several reasons but advection and convection are among them.

    Doesn’t the abstract below support Stephen Wilde’s idea as well as Willis’s.

    I had never looked at the Baseline Surface Radiation Network until recently. There is lots of interesting data that should be right in Willis’s wheelhouse.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2012JD018551

    Abstract
    [1] Sixteen years of high‐quality surface radiation budget (SRB) measurements over seven U.S. stations are summarized. The network average total surface net radiation increases by +8.2 Wm−2 per decade from 1996 to 2011. A significant upward trend in downwelling shortwave (SW‐down) of +6.6 Wm−2 per decade dominates the total surface net radiation signal. This SW brightening is attributed to a decrease in cloud coverage, and aerosols have only a minor effect. Increasing downwelling longwave (LW‐down) of +1.5 Wm−2 per decade and decreasing upwelling LW (LW‐up) of −0.9 Wm−2 per decade produce a +2.3 Wm−2 per decade increase in surface net‐LW, which dwarfs the expected contribution to LW‐down from the 30 ppm increase of CO2 during the analysis period. The dramatic surface net radiation excess should have stimulated surface energy fluxes, but, oddly, the temperature trend is flat, and specific humidity decreases. The enigmatic nature of LW‐down, temperature, and moisture may be a chaotic result of their large interannual variations. Interannual variation of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) ONI index is shown to be moderately correlated with temperature, moisture, and LW‐down. Thus, circulations associated with ENSO events may be responsible for manipulating (e.g., by advection or convection) the excess surface energy available from the SRB increase. It is clear that continued monitoring is necessary to separate the SRB’s response to long‐term climate processes from natural variability and that collocated surface energy flux measurements at the SRB stations would be beneficial.

  52. From what I remember, the paper by Legates, Monckton and Soon in Science Bulletin calculated climate sensitivity as 0.6 degrees C. Interesting!

    Mind you, I no longer accept the ‘greenhouse effect’ as temperature is not affected by CO2, not even by a little bit. The governor of temperature seems to be atmospheric pressure.

    I do have two questions if someone has the time to address them:

    1. What’s the difference between upwelling and surface temperature? Are they not the same thing?

    2. The difference between the 390 and 237 W/m^2 could be due to the larger surface area of the TOA, right? Or is that naive reasoning? (I wanted to calculate the difference in surface area but my geometry is a bit rough, and I am not sure where TOA is supposed to be for this argument).

  53. “First let us denote the solar radiative flux at the top of the planets atmosphere by So (for solar constant) and the albedo of the planet by a. Then let us figure out the total amount of radiation absorbed by the planet. the amount distributed over the sphere is equal the amount that would be collected on the planets surface if it was a disk (with the same radius as the sphere), placed perpendicular to the sunlight. If the planet’s radius is R the area of that disk is πR2. Thus:
    heat absorbed by planet = (1 – a) πR2So
    The total heat radiated from the planet is equal to the energy flux implied by its temperature, Te(from the Stefan-Boltzman law) times the entire surface of the planet or:
    heat radiated from planet = (4πR2) σT4
    In radiative balance we thus have:
    (4πR2 ) σTe4 = (1 – a) πR2So
    Solving this equation for temperature we obtain:
    Te = [(1-Aa)So / 4σ] 1/4
    We have added a subscript e to the temperature to emphasize that this would be the temperature at the surface of the planet if it had no atmosphere. It is referred to as the effective temperature of the planet. According to this calculation, the effective temperature of Earth is about 255 K (or -18 °C). With this temperature the Earth radiation will be centered on a wavelength of about 11 μm, well within the range of infrared (IR) radiation.“

    The TOA seems to be defined as the radius that gives a temp of 255 K.
    I would imagine this is 100 Km out.
    It is defined as the boundary where incoming and outgoing energies match so is not a sphere at all.
    Close to earth on the night side and far away on the hot side
    There is a SB factor of 4 for the temp which means it drops off very quickly as the surface area expands .
    This means that the 390 W/m2 emitted at the surface is exactly the same as the 237 W/m2 escaping to space at the TOA .
    There is no 150 W/m2 being trapped in the atmosphere at all.
    There is no difference in the energy leaving the earth surface to that going into space.
    One cannot take 237 away from 390 because they are the same figure
    – some confusion comes in because the energy comes in from one direction only but goes out from all sides of the TOA simultaneously.
    One thinks of the temp decreasing by the square root of the distance but this is only in a straight line. From a sphere the total energy decreases by the fourth root.
    There is a GHG effect but this is pretty instantaneous otherwise the atmosphere could not heat up and down through 30 C in every 24 hours.

  54. Unfortuanetely this post is a little confused.

    The sun delivers ~240 W/m^2. Holding 150 W/m^2 back would cause the earth to emit only 90 W/m^2.

    Secondly in Planck’s radiation oven, he did not have two way photon streams flowing between two opposing walls. There was only one standing wave per frequency between two walls.

    Boltzmann and Planck debunked Clausius, but it seems like climate scientists didn’t get the memo.

      • ZOE, I get lost when people divide by 4 to get an “average” It seems to me that a realistic model would capture the fact that at 0 latitude at noon the surface gets about 800 w/m2 (see Willis’s Tao buoy data) and as you move away toward the poles the amount of radiation received drops. As the earth spins radiation drops until at night the sun provides zero.

        All of the convective forces that are important for heat transfer in the Troposphere are generated by the spinning globe that creates changing levels of radiation by time-of-day and latitude.

        I think all of the average radiation stuff is basically fake physics.

        Why do people present it the way they do? It makes things easy.

  55. Zoe
    “The sun delivers ~240 W/m^2. Holding 150 W/m^2 back would cause the earth to emit only 90 W/m^2.”

    Exactly.
    Not sure why this is hard to see

  56. Ramanathan does say that as Willis quoted.
    There seems some important kind of disconnect here.
    The TOA EEI is poorly known, calculated in par from models ,adjusted the heck out because it does not fit the warming narrative and presented as a real figure in the rampage of < 2 MW a year with an error range much greater .
    The 150 MW figure is taken as a constant warming when at any given time it is not storing any extra energy the atmosphere is at that energy purely because that is how hot is has to be to radiate out the heat that comes in .
    No storage.
    The energy diagram suffers from being an average not a day night picture showing the tremendous outpouring of heat during the day
    Where is this mysterious 150 MW on the night side?
    Not there at all because now their is no input.
    Where is this 600 MW on the day sidearm midday directly underneath?
    Forget the eggs cooking on the footpath.
    With all that energy roaring through the CO2 we should have an oven melting cars and burning houses.
    But we don’t.
    The temperature of the air is controlled by the level of GHG.
    There is no storage cooking us.
    What comes in goes out.
    The TOA goes much higher in the day so we do not cook and comes in to probably 10 km in the cold bits at night.
    Nobody measures a TOA boundary by satellite.
    They calculate the heat in find where it matches heat out.
    Both difficult for different reasons, atmospheric water at low levels wrecks satellite assessments as do clouds.
    Then they add in ocean heat, the models add in a CO2 rise adjustment factor and they calculate it all into one unreal average boundary distance or radius.
    Which not surprisingly is the distance from the earth ( on average) that a hot body radiating back the energy of the sun that was absorbed and reemmitted was.
    You do not need any of that.
    You just put in the energy received sun.
    Size of sphere to radiate it out.
    Bingo TOA
    100 km out from earth.

    If this is the science Ramanathan is doing there are a lot of Emperors out there without clothes.

    Nice to have a rant

  57. While appealing to primitive intuition, the mere arithmetic difference between LWIR radiating upwards from the surface and from TOA cannot characterize the GHE thermodynamically. Lacking any specification of downwelling LWIR, it fails to define the NET radiative transfer and totally ignores the dominant role of LATENT heat transfer from surface to atmosphere on an aqueous planet. It provides, however, a springboard for confusing the unsophisticated mind.

    • 1sky1, it is you that is confused about DWIR “totally ignores the dominant role of LATENT heat transfer from surface to atmosphere”.

      See Willis’ chart where both LH and SH upwelling from, AND downwelling to, surface are included: add up the components of the 321 total DWIR shown & as shown in Trenberth’s paper(s). LH and SH are found balanced, up and down, for no meaningful net energy flow to/from surface over the several annual periods observed.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/20/top-and-bottom-of-the-atmosphere/#comment-2899126

      • The issue in this thread is the arithmetic difference between surface and TOA LWIR emissions, not what you reference. Nor is it true that “LH and SH are found balanced, up and down, for no meaningful net energy flow…” in Willis’ cartoon. There’s a 76 W/m^2 upward flow of LH shown at the surface and only 392 – 321= 71 W/m^2 of NET radiative cooling along with 22 W/m^2 attributed to thermals. In reality, we have closer to 98 W^/m^2 of moist convection, which rises not because of surface thermalization per se, but because water vapor is lighter than air. You’ve managed to trick yourself into believing a fiction.

        • 1sky1 January 25, 2020 at 1:28 pm Edit

          Nor is it true that “LH and SH are found balanced, up and down, for no meaningful net energy flow…” in Willis’ cartoon. There’s a 76 W/m^2 upward flow of LH shown at the surface and only 392 – 321= 71 W/m^2 of NET radiative cooling along with 22 W/m^2 attributed to thermals.

          The surface is indeed balanced in my global energy budget diagram. There’s 490 W/m2 absorbed by the surface, 169 W/m2 from shortwave and 321 from longwave.

          The surface loses the same amount, 490 W/m2. It has to or the earth would be continually heating or cooling. In this case, it lose 392 W/m2 by radiation, 76 W/m2 by latent heat, and 22 W/m2 by sensible heat.

          Not sure why this is even a question.

          And if we actually had 98 W/m2 of evaporation as you claim, we should have a global average rainfall of 1.25 metres per year … but we don’t. We have about one metre per year, which means that the latent heat loss has to be around the 76 W/m2 shown in my graphic.

          w.

          • 1sky1 claims: “Nor is it true that “LH and SH are found balanced, up and down, for no meaningful net energy flow…” in Willis’ cartoon.”

            1sky1’s claim is false:

            Upwards LW power flux from SH + LH = 22 + 76 “absorbed by troposphere”
            Downwards LW power flux from troposphere = 321 = (LH + SH) + 58 + (339-321) + 147

            Where LH + SH = 22 + 76 = 98 up and 98 down. Balanced.

            LH is part of the water cycle; called a cycle because it cycles up and down moving energy around within the system thus nil system temperature change due LH or SH processes as observed over enough multiannual periods.

        • Not sure why this is even a question.</blockquote

          The balance at issue here is that between actual LH and SH rising from the surface (Bowen ratio), not the total arithmetic balance between modeled energy fluxes, real or imagined. SW radiation, which transports only energy, thus is not a factor.

          We have about one metre per year…,

          The global average annual evaporation over the oceans has stayed consistently well above 1 meter. See:
          https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Global-average-annual-evaporation-rate-from-the-ocean-from-1958-to-2005-according-to-the_fig2_33549704

          Over land, we only have guess-work.

  58. Am reposting this at Climate etc to find out where I am going wrong.
    Must be a simple explanation I am missing.

    Ramanathan’s estimate of the size of the greenhouse effect was “about 150 W/m2” and modern CERES data shows a number very close to that, 158 W/m2″
    At a globally averaged temperature of 15°C the surface emits about 390 W m -2, while according to satellites, the long-wave radiation escaping to space is only 237 W m -2. Thus the absorption and emission of long-wave radiation by the intervening atmospheric gases and clouds cause a net reduction of about 150 W m -2 in the radiation emitted to space.

    the absorbed SW, energy in, is 238. or 237
    the 237, energy out,

    So how does Ramanathan claim
    “a net reduction of about 150 W m -2 in the radiation emitted to space”

    If it is all going back out how can he constantly chip off 150 MW per second, minute hour day or year and claim it is all going to the atmosphere when it is gong back into space.

    Note what happens when the sun comes up.
    Basic physics says C02 level X gives Y warming and it heats up instantly.
    Some energy absorption.
    But then it sits there all day not gaining any more energy. Not needing it to keep warm. It is quite happy at this new radiating temp as long as energy goes in and out.
    Night comes and it almost instantly drops as the energy suppl disappears for 12 hours.
    It is not like it is a battery retaining 150 MW during the night as the lesser but still real fluxes pass through it.

    He seems to have confused energy flow with an energy state.

      • Yeah, that Ramanathan, he’s an idiot …

        angech, something on the order of 390 W/m2 is radiated by the surface. We know that it’s about that because the average global temperature is about 15° C, which by S-B gives a radiation of about 391 W/m2.

        But when we measure that same radiation at the TOA it’s only, as you point out, about 237 W/m2. I and Ramanathan both say that the difference is absorbed by the atmosphere and radiated downwards to the surface.

        Where do you say it goes?

        w.

      • I’ll give angech first crack at explaining to the confused the key difference between heat transport and incompletely specified radiative intensity.

  59. Ramanathan is much brighter than I will ever be.
    Energy flows are very complex
    OK.
    What I am trying to say is that the 390 emitted at the surface is being double counted.
    It is being double counted because you cannot make energy out of nothing.
    There is only, repeat only 237 coming in all the time.
    There is only 237 going out, all the time.
    You and he know that

    Take a step back.
    Where is this 390 being emitted From the surface come from in the first place?
    Not a new source.
    Only partly from the 169 of shortwave energy that Directly hits the ground.

    Note that even that 169 does not leave as infrared energy 22, is sensible heat and and 76 is latent heat.
    That leaves 71 Mw only to radiate back the atmosphere as IR.
    (Of which 10 % goes straight through to the TOA without touching the sides)

    How do we turn 64 MW into 390?

    The answer is the Greenhouse effect, using a combination of the actual energy, latent energy sensible energy In the system = 169, plus IR components absorbed in the atmosphere already.
    10 strat, 58 troposphere, obviously 237*.
    ( note some not contributing to GHG as goes direct back to space)

    We have 237* in the atmosphere causing back radiation of 319 to add to the 71 giving a total of 390 being emitted as radiation. 498 total energy reaching the ground when you consider latent and sensible heat losses.
    This back radiation of 319 is not new energy.
    It is just fairly instantaneous heating up of the surface to the right heat level to radiate enough heat to keep it at that level.
    It is not 150 MW being permanently trapped in the system.
    It is a description of the energy transfers from atmosphere to ground and ground to atmosphere as the 237 works its way Down through the atmosphere and back out.
    You could even describe it as a delay in the energy getting to the real surface rather than as a buildup of energy in the system, and a delay getting back out again.

    Let’s go through it.
    Earth surface temperature now 288 C. Check.
    Emissions at this temp 390. Check.
    New energy into the system to keep it stable 237. Check.
    Energy emitted at (contrived) TOA 237 check.
    Temperature TOA 254 C. Check.

    Which is of course the black body minus 0.29 albedo of the temperature at the earth surface.

    The back radiation to earth from the atmosphere in your diagram is not 150.
    Forgetting the Stratosphere the Troposphere to earth Surface is 319 (321 in diagram)
    This implies the atmosphere absorbs much more than 150 in total.

    • angech January 25, 2020 at 6:59 pm

      Ramanathan is much brighter than I will ever be.
      Energy flows are very complex
      OK.
      What I am trying to say is that the 390 emitted at the surface is being double counted.
      It is being double counted because you cannot make energy out of nothing.
      There is only, repeat only 237 coming in all the time.
      There is only 237 going out, all the time.
      You and he know that

      You don’t know a damn thing about what I know and don’t know, and you can stuff your arrogance where the TSI is zero. I don’t play that kind of fake mind-reading game, and I don’t discuss science with anyone who does. You just totally canceled your vote with me. Go try your playground mind-reading nonsense on someone else. I’m done with you now and forever.

      w.

  60. 1sky1 January 25, 2020 at 4:58 pm
    “I’ll give angech first crack at explaining the key difference between heat transport and incompletely specified radiative intensity.“

    Not sure if I can.

    I am trying to make a valid point on Ramanathan’s assumption that the energy at the TOA and the surface can be considered equivalent and subtracted Because he says so.

    The TOA is an idea, an artificial construct, like the average solar irradiance of the earth.
    It is a needed but artificial mathematical model to help understand heat transfers.
    As such it is defined for any planet with an atmosphere as that radius where the incoming solar energy balances the outgoing solar energy.
    It represents but is not a sphere. On the night side with lower temps it could be as close as 10 Km in.
    During the day under the midnight sun it could be 140 Km away.
    A key point is that the surface area at the TOA is larger than that at the earth surface and variable depending on the distance from the sun.

    The surface long wave emission is a totally different energy
    There is only 1 semisperical surface area to consider which is smaller than the TOA.


    Problems.
    1. Not apples to oranges.
    The figures applies to energy flux over 2 different surface area sizes but treats them as being of the same area.
    The total energy of the 150 Mw close but not right.
    Ramanathan is remiss in not pointing this out if trying to do any energy budget.
    Close enough is not good enough.

    2. No energy is gained or lost from the system as described other than a very small quantum to adjust any forcing changes
    A very important point.
    If we just looked at the world going from late night to midday at one point in isolation at the equator we would have a template of a massive forcing increase 0 to 360 Wm ^2 Approx.
    20C of atmospheric warming and1C of ocean warming in 8 hours!
    Yet it all goes away and comes back again the next day. So much energy.
    Now look at a knife blade in a steady fire constant heat in, constant heat out what amount of energy is going into the knife blade to keep it at that temperature.
    None.
    The energy flow in equals that out the nature of the substrate is unimportant.

    3 Not sure if that helps explain incompletely specified radiative intensity or not.
    The knife is hot, the greenhouse effect is real but the energy required to maintain the heat emitting state is not the same as that to set it up in the first place.

    • angech January 25, 2020 at 8:25 pm

      The TOA is an idea, an artificial construct, like the average solar irradiance of the earth.

      It is just the height above the surface where all radiation from earth is coming from below 😉
      This means radiation directly from the surface (atmospheric window), from clouds and from all layers in the entire atmosphere that radiate directly to space.
      This ensemble of radiation amounts to ~240 W/m^2 and resembles a SB curve for a body radiating at ~255K.

      Problem with all the GHE believers is that they fail to understand that Earth has a temperature from itself. Just 10-20 m below our feet the temperature is equal to the average surface temperature, going deeper it increases, in spite of the low flux.
      Same for the oceans. Solar just slightly increases the temperature of a shallow surface layer. The bulk of the oceans temperature (heat content) is from geothermal origin, again in spite of the low flux.

      Accepting this makes it possible for the ~169 W/m^2 (more relevant ~14,6 MJ/m^2/day) to increase the surface temperatures to the observed values.
      In the energy budget diagrams you can leave out the back radiation and replace the outgoing ~390 W/m^2 with the NET energy loss by radiation, and have a neatly balanced energy budget.
      Now the surface is warmed by the sun, and loses this energy again either directly or through the atmosphere to space.
      The backradiation that opposes the energy loss to space comes mostly from the first 1-2 km of the atmosphere. Higher up the atmosphere does hardly react to the temperature fluctuations at the surface.
      See http://weather.uwyo.edu/cgi-bin/sounding?region=africa&TYPE=GIF%3ASKEWT&YEAR=2019&MONTH=08&FROM=1400&TO=1412&STNM=40437
      Made at this site: http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html

      This is what everybody with an open mind can observe on a daily basis.

    • While the somewhat differing diameters of Earth and TOA present a source of inaccuracy in estimating the areal density of energy fluxes, that is not the fundamental thermodynamic problem in accounting for terrestrial LWIR backscattered by a semi-absorbent “greenhouse” atmosphere. The real key is that

      the energy required to maintain the heat emitting state is not the same as that to set it up in the first place.

      Indeed, thermodynamics is concerned with energy in transit, not with that stored internally by thermalized matter.

      That crucial distinction is greatly confounded by cartoon presentations that portray the coupled LWIR exchange between surface and atmosphere as if the large, oppositely directed components were independent heat transfers, with DLWIR acting along with insolation as a “forcing.” In reality, the NET LWIR effect is simply a highly reduced radiative COOLING of the surface, which is overshadowed by the dominant role of moist convection. Without a complete specification of these demonstrable heat transfers, the mere arithmetic difference between surface and TOA radiation intensity means little. There’s conservation of energy but no conservation of radiative intensity in physics.

      To physically astute minds, the notion that any passive system can sustain power fluxes exceeding that of the input is absurd on the face of it. Yet in “climate science,” with only ~340 W/m^2 of TSI available, one routinely encounters such claims that “[t]here’s 490 W/m2 absorbed by the surface, 169 W/m2 from shortwave and 321 from longwave.” The atmosphere thus is tacitly treated as an external power generator, like another star, instead of a passive system reservoir. As angech correctly recognizes, only a balance between TOA input and TOA output fluxes is needed to maintain whatever regime of temperatures our aqueous Earth sustains–largely through non-radiative mechanisms. The anthropogenic components of the water-vapor dominated GHE are but a minor player in that.

      • 1sky1 January 26, 2020 at 3:37 pm

        only a balance between TOA input and TOA output fluxes is needed to maintain whatever regime of temperatures our aqueous Earth sustains–largely through non-radiative mechanisms.

        Wonder how long it will take before GHE believers will begin to recognize this simple truth, and we are discussing the details in realistic energy budget diagrams like this one:
        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/NASA_earth_energy_budget.gif

        This will also mean that the ideas of basic meteorology will be recognized again:
        – sun heats the surface
        – surface heats the (lower) atmosphere
        These two effects create all our interesting weather.

        • Sadly, multi-factor heating of the atmosphere and realistic energy flux budgets are destined to remain terra incognita in minds that fail to grasp the implications of phase changes and of adiabatic heating. They cling to the illusion that LH convection is a component of LW radiation (sic!) and, being part of the hydrologic cycle, has a downward component, producing “nil system temperature change…”

          • 1sky1: apparently your life experience does not include rain (virga) or snow or even downdrafts. You have lived a sheltered life thinking there is only LH+SH up arrows. Time to crack open a text on meteorology, try to identify the down arrow components hidden in the ~321 totals. Then you can knowingly smile at those that simply write catch-all “backradiation”. Stephens 2012 improved with: “all-sky emission to surface” but didn’t quite get as close as those that show E up and P down in addition to radiation.

            “adiabatic heating”?? Ha. Try to figure out on your own what you fail to grasp using those words together.

          • It’s astonishing how those who speculate blindly about the “life experience” of mature scientists fail to grasp their own physical ill-logic while doing schoolboy arithmetic. The “down-arrow components” of precipitation and downdrafts are transfers of mass, rather than of heat. Rain is usually cooler than the surface. And so are downdrafts, which are indeed subject to the seemingly self-contradictory process of adiabatic heating. See:
            https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/adiabatic-heating
            Bona fide heat transfer from the surface on climatic scales is almost always a one-way street.

  61. Interesting to see people actually believing that atmospheric convection is driven by the lower density of water vapor iso the release of latent heat during condensation

    • Actually, it’s driven by both, but in different locations. At the surface, increased evaporation at the base of thunderstorms due to the storm generated winds adds additional water vapor to the air. And this increases the uptake of air by the thunderstorm.

      On the other hand, condensation at the LCL drives the further upward development of the cumulonimbus tower and propels the air in the tower upwards.

      Nature is more complex than generally imagined … go figure.

      w.

      • Start of convection is most often driven by local differences in solar heating. Differences in local Relative Humidity are usually small.
        If convection makes jt to the LCL the release of latent heat drives convection all the way to the top of the cloud, untill all latent heat is used up.

        • Ben, please, read what I wrote. I didn’t say that differences in local RH are usually large. And I didn’t say that local RH starts the convection.

          I said:

          At the surface, increased evaporation at the base of thunderstorms due to the storm generated winds adds additional water vapor to the air. And this increases the uptake of air by the thunderstorm.

          Evaporation is roughly linearly proportional to the local wind speed. Under the base of the thunderstorm, this is often 10X what’s happening outside the thunderstorm. This, curiously, makes the thunderstorm a dual-fuel heat engine, and in turn it allows the thunderstorm to cool the surface below the initiation temperature.

          And this “overshoot” is crucial in controlling any lagged system like the surface temperature.

          w.

          • Willis Eschenbach January 29, 2020 at 9:23 am

            Evaporation is roughly linearly proportional to the local wind speed. Under the base of the thunderstorm, this is often 10X what’s happening outside the thunderstorm.

            That’s fine, but the “carrying capacity” of a volume of air is limited to 100% RH. This translates into eg 15g/1000g at 20 C.
            Since the cloudbase of a CB is almost never on the surface, this means that the air that rises and forms a CB is not fully saturated when leaving the surface.
            The best way to increase the amount of WV in a volume of air is to make sure the air has a high temperature.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_humidity#/media/File:Relative_Humidity.png

          • So what? How does any of that change in any significant manner what I’ve said? You’re just arguing to argue at this point. I’ll let you do it with someone else, your style of discussion goes retrograde …

            Regards and regrets,

            w.

          • Willis Eschenbach January 31, 2020 at 12:58 am

            So what? How does any of that change in any significant manner what I’ve said?

            If evaparoration increases 10x as you state in air that already has a high RH, this means that condensation also must go up dramatically. Not a reason for extra WV in the rising air.
            Furthermore I don’t see the air rushing in when a CB begins to form being very dramatic.
            High winds under a mature CB are the downbursts that come together with the falling rain or hail.

          • Ben Wouters February 1, 2020 at 12:13 am Edit
            Willis Eschenbach January 31, 2020 at 12:58 am

            If evaparoration increases 10x as you state in air that already has a high RH, this means that condensation also must go up dramatically. Not a reason for extra WV in the rising air.

            Ah. I see the problem. Descending air around a thunderstorm has a low relative humidity, not high. This is because the air has been stripped of water by condensation at the LCL, followed by a trip up the thunderstorm tower where remaining water is frozen out. As a result, thunderstorms are surrounded by descending dry air.

            Furthermore I don’t see the air rushing in when a CB begins to form being very dramatic.
            High winds under a mature CB are the downbursts that come together with the falling rain or hail

            Sometimes the air is rushing in, sometimes it is moving slowly, but my point is simple.

            The air rising up to the LCL is MOIST, otherwise we wouldn’t get rain.

            The air surrounding that is DRY, because we get rain.

            As a result, the thunderstorm is driven both by heat from the sun, and by the increased water vapor in the air from the action of the thunderstorm itself. This makes it a dual-fuel engine that allows it to continue to exist at a surface temperature below that necessary for thunderstorm initiation.

            Regards,

            w.

          • Willis Eschenbach February 1, 2020 at 9:52 am

            Descending air around a thunderstorm has a low relative humidity, not high. This is because the air has been stripped of water by condensation at the LCL

            After a career as airlinepilot plus gliderflying and paragliding I feel I know a thing or two about thermals and CB’s. When avoiding a CB, it is possible to stay pretty close to the cloud. It is pretty quit there. Most action is INSIDE the cloud.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderstorm#/media/File:Thunderstorm_formation.jpg
            Have to disagree with your description of convection.
            Rising (non condensing) air cools at the DALR until the LCL is reached. Now condensation starts, lowering the cooling rate from DALR to MALR (or SALR)
            While rising eventually all WV is turned into droplets. When all WV is “squeezed” out of the air the rising air again cools according the DALR.
            The falling rate of the droplets, drops, hail etc. determines whether they will still be carried up by the rising air.
            see https://www.atmos.illinois.edu/~snesbitt/ATMS505/stuff/09%20Convective%20forecasting.pdf
            and notice the spectacular difference between the DALR and MALR that start at the same temperature.

            The air rising up to the LCL is MOIST, otherwise we wouldn’t get rain.

            Obviously. My point is that this air wasn’t at 100% RH, otherwise it would start condensing at the surface.
            Interested in your thoughts on the Convective Forecasting PDF., since it covers (almost) all relevant factors in atmospheric convection.

          • Ben, once again your style of discussion is very frustrating. I say, and you quote:

            Descending air around a thunderstorm has a low relative humidity, not high. This is because the air has been stripped of water by condensation at the LCL

            I said this because you’d stated, incorrectly, that the descending air was moist, viz (emphasis mine):

            If evaparoration increases 10x as you state in air that already has a high RH, this means that condensation also must go up dramatically. Not a reason for extra WV in the rising air.

            In response, you go on about gliding and being a pilot and how the slowly descending air around a thunderstorm is slowly descending, but NONE of it either supports, opposes, or has anything to do with what I said.

            Next, I’d said and you quoted:

            The air rising up to the LCL is MOIST, otherwise we wouldn’t get rain.

            To which you reply

            Obviously. My point is that this air wasn’t at 100% RH, otherwise it would start condensing at the surface.

            I didn’t say it was at 100% RH, I didn’t think it was at 100% RH, so once again, you’re talking past me.

            Thanks for the pdf about convective forecasting, most interesting.

            I’ll leave it there.

            Regards,

            w.

          • Wiilis Esschenbach February 2, 2020 at 8:49 am

            It seems you confuse yourself.
            Where you state that the winds at the base of the CB’s increase evaporation often 10x, this can only apply to air moving over a wet surface/water. That air already has a high RH, so increasing evaporation can not add much more WV to that air before it is fully saturated. Yet this air does not start to condense immediately after leaving the surface, since the LCL is some distance above the surface.

            Air descending around a CB just isn’t there. Almost all action is inside the CB.

          • Ben Wouters February 2, 2020 at 12:40 pm Edit

            Air descending around a CB just isn’t there. Almost all action is inside the CB.

            I see. There’s lots and lots of air moving upwards inside the CB … but there is no air descending around it to replace the air moving upwards. It’s all just going up. Nothing going down to replace it. The air going up just piles up in the upper troposphere and doesn’t come down. Got it.

            I give up. If you believe that, I can’t help you.

            w.

      • 1sky1 January 29, 2020 at 2:48 pm

        I’m not convinced the Rayleigh-Benard convection is very relevant for our atmosphere.
        Maybe in the surface layer (a few meters) but not for higher up.
        The buoyant convection model is adequate imo for thermals, CB’s etc.
        For the large scale circulation (cells Hadley etc.) R-B is irrelevant.
        see eg.
        http://maxwell.ucsc.edu/~drip/talks/lorenz/comment.html
        https://blogs.egu.eu/divisions/as/2019/09/20/a-simple-model-of-convection-to-study-the-atmospheric-surface-layer/

      • I’m not convinced the Rayleigh-Benard convection is very relevant for our atmosphere.
        Maybe in the surface layer (a few meters) but not for higher up.

        Observation often contradicts conviction. Benard cells and the popcorn clouds they produce a few HUNDRED meters above the surface are almost daily occurrences in coastal zones throughout the globe. On the other hand, deep convection leading to severe thunderstorms–especially in the tropics–is critically dependent upon additional buoyancy supplied by water vapor.

        BTW, in the real world, Hadley cells are more a climatic abstraction than an observable process.

        • 1sky1 February 1, 2020 at 1:11 pm

          Observation often contradicts conviction.

          Correct, and exactly the reason why I don’t see R-B like patterns in the formation of the nice thermals with cumuli on top.
          This is simple buoyant convection. The thermals start at surfaces that easily heat under solar warming. These places are placed totally random relative to each other. What you may see are eg cloud streets, cumuli that all started at the same spot, and are blown downwind while rising. These “streets” are great for gliding, since you can maintain altitude or even climb without having to circle to stay within a rising thermal.

          On the other hand, deep convection leading to severe thunderstorms–especially in the tropics–is critically dependent upon additional buoyancy supplied by water vapor.

          Agree, without WV condensing we wouldn’t see much convection a all.
          The DALR is just to steep to allow dry air to rise much.

          BTW, in the real world, Hadley cells are more a climatic abstraction than an observable process.

          Wow. The air flowing at altitude from the (thermal) Equator towards the poles is very real. Just as the low pressure it leaves at the surface and the high pressure it creates when this air accumulates in the Subtropical jets.
          The Tradewinds these surface pressures create are also very real.
          Curious what makes you think otherwise.

          • I don’t see R-B like patterns in the formation of the nice thermals with cumuli on top. This is simple buoyant convection.

            What is seen in the atmosphere is a strong tendency for the formation of Benard cells as a result of “simple buoyant convection.” A clear example is shown in Fig.1 of:
            http://bibliotheek.knmi.nl/stageverslagen/stageverslag_Noteboom.pdf
            These cells can exist without any WV, being an example of “dry” convection.

            [W]ithout WV condensing we wouldn’t see much convection a all.

            It’s primarily the evaporation at the surface–not the condensation aloft–that supplies the critical additional buoyancy for deep, moist convection.

            The air flowing at altitude from the (thermal) Equator towards the poles is very real.

            While undeniably real, at such large spatial scales the Coriolis effect and planetary waves tend to make the Hadley cell a feature difficult to detect without averaging over climatic time-scales. Unlike Benard cells, there’s no emergent self-organization and no spatially coherent ferris-wheel of circulation.

          • Ben Wouters February 2, 2020 at 3:45 am

            Correct, and exactly the reason why I don’t see R-B like patterns in the formation of the nice thermals with cumuli on top.
             
            This is simple buoyant convection. The thermals start at surfaces that easily heat under solar warming. These places are placed totally random relative to each other.

            1sky1 February 2, 2020 at 4:04 pm

            What is seen in the atmosphere is a strong tendency for the formation of Benard cells as a result of “simple buoyant convection.” A clear example is shown in Fig.1 of:
            http://bibliotheek.knmi.nl/stageverslagen/stageverslag_Noteboom.pdf
            These cells can exist without any WV, being an example of “dry” convection. …

            Sky, you’re wasting your breath. Ben knows everything there is to know about the atmosphere because he’s a PILOT!!! He knows there’s no R-B circulation in the atmosphere. He knows there’s no descending air around thunderstorms. You’ll never change his mind because HE FLIES GLIDERS! He doesn’t care if us poor earthbound folks are deluded by dozens of scientific studies showing R-B circulation in the lower troposphere, he knows far better than that.

            w.

            PS—If you’d like to know just how arrogant and unwilling to be shown to be wrong many pilots are, just ask any stewardess …

          • 1sky1 February 2, 2020 at 4:04 pm

            It’s primarily the evaporation at the surface–not the condensation aloft–that supplies the critical additional buoyancy for deep, moist convection.

            I don’t see how convection can exist without the release of latent heat keeping the rising air warmer (= less dense) than the surrounding air.
            All the calculations of CAPE made worldwide everyday are showing just that.

            To me the subtropical jets are proof that the upper air flow from tropics to poles is real.
            Around 30 N/S is just the latitude were the pressure gradient force and the Coriolis effect balance for the first time.

            (I’ll be travelling today, to a place without internet probably.)

  62. Willis Eschenbach February 2, 2020 at 4:31 pm
    Apparently you’re afraid that your Thermostat theory will turn out to be a non-starter, and you have to become your unpleasant self again attacking the messenger.
    You never answered some simple questions on how the atmosphere can overheat the oceans, or why sand heats up so much more than oceanwater during a day while receiving the same solar energy.

    • Ben Wouters February 3, 2020 at 12:06 am

      Apparently you’re afraid that your Thermostat theory will turn out to be a non-starter

      Ben, your mind-reading skills are as bad as your ability to hold a discussion.

      And I don’t recall your questions about “how the atmosphere can overheat the oceans, or why sand heats up so much more than oceanwater during a day while receiving the same solar energy.” As I requested, please QUOTE MY EXACT WORDS where I made some kind of claim about either of those.

      I just did a quick search for “sand”. Other than a note that the albedo of sand is 0.35, the only place it appears is in your question. And the same is true about the word “overheat”, the first time it’s appeared in this thread is in your question above … so WTF are you raving about?

      THIS is exactly why discussing things with you sucks so badly.

      w.

  63. No “yclept” here:

    Journal of Geophysical Research:
    AtmospheresVolume 92, Issue D4

    The role of earth radiation budget studies in climate and general circulation research

    V. Ramanathan

    First published:20 April 1987

    Two decades of near‐continuous measurements of earth radiation budget data from satellites have made significant contributions to our understanding of the global mean climate, the greenhouse effect, the meridional radiative heating that drives the general circulation, the influence of radiative heating on regional climate, and climate feedback processes. The remaining outstanding problems largely concern the role of clouds in governing climate, in influencing the general circulation, and in determining the sensitivity of climate to external perturbations, i.e., the so‐called cloud feedback problem. In this paper a remarkably simple and effective approach is proposed to address these problems, with the aid of the comprehensive radiation budget data collected by the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE). ERBE is a multisatellite experiment which began collecting data in November 1984. The simple approach calls for the estimation of clear‐sky fluxes from the high spatial resolution scanner measurements. A cloud‐radiative forcing (or simply cloud forcing) is defined which is the difference between clear‐sky and cloudy‐sky (clear plus overcast skies) fluxes. The global average of the sum of the solar and long‐wave cloud forcing yields directly the net radiative effect (i.e., cooling or warming) of clouds on climate. Furthermore, analyses of variations in clear‐sky fluxes and the cloud forcing in terms of temperature variations would yield the radiation‐temperature feedbacks, including the mysterious cloud feedback, that are needed to verify present theories of climate. Finally, general circulation model results are used to discuss the nature of the cloud radiative forcing. It is shown that the long‐wave effect of clouds is to enhance the meridional heating gradient in the troposphere, while the albedo or solar effect of clouds is largely to reduce the available solar energy at the surface. The long‐wave cloud‐induced drive for the circulation is particularly large in the monsoon regions. Thus it is concluded that analyses of ERBE data in terms of cloud forcing would add much needed insights into the role of clouds in the general circulation. With respect to the future, the scientific need is discussed for continuing broadband measurements of earth radiation budget data into the next century in order to understand the processes that govern interannual and decadal climate trends. Finally, the spectral variations in clear‐sky fluxes and cloud forcing and the need for broadband data to obtain the desired accuracies are described.

    PUBLICATION Info © 2020 American Geophysical Union

    Copyright © 1999-2019 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved
    ____________________________________

    Anyway – including the mysterious cloud feedback!

  64. The problem with “The general view seems to be that this mysterious ten-fold increase is somehow the result of feedback from water vapor and clouds”

    is that feedbacks, as anyhow other “mechanical” phenomena,

    never “produce” energy.

    Sure they can gather, withhold, and redistribute energy.

    Full stop.

    – what’s missing again: the energy produced via pressure by the weight of Earth’s atmosphere.

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