Fun With Lunar Temperatures

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

A while ago, I wrote a post called “The Moon Is A Cold Mistress”. In that post I discussed how the average temperature is not accurate when there are huge swings in temperature. Or to be clearer, I discussed why the average temperature of the moon is much lower than you’d expect given the distance from the sun. Read the post for the full discussion. Here’s the money graph from that post.

Unfortunately, the only data that I had for that post was the temperature from the Apollo mission. I still didn’t have a good measure of the temperature of the entire lunar surface.

Looking around, I found a study called “The global surface temperatures of the Moon as measured by the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment“, which contained the following graphic of lunar surface temperature. This shows temperature around the moon at a single moment in time.

Original Caption: Global instantaneous temperatures of the Moon in (a) cylindrical equidistant projection (ϕss = 180°) and (b) orthographic projection (ϕss = 180°, 120°, and 0°).

Unfortunately, nowhere in the graphic or the article itself did it say what the average temperature of the moon is. So … I had to take a long way around.

The long way looks like this. I took the graphic of the moon temperatures and the graphic of the temperature scale. And after more experimentation than it should have taken, I was able to use the scale to assign a temperature to each pixel in the graphic. What I did was to compare the red, green, and blue values of the color of each pixel to the color scale, figure out which color in the scale it was nearest to, and convert it to the corresponding temperature. What we used to call a “SMOP”, a “small matter of programming”, which is always a bigger matter than you’d like.

At the end of all that fun, I checked my results by printing them up on my usual globe, the Mollweide projection.

Works for me …

Once I’d converted it to temperature, I then converted each gridcell to the equivalent Stefan-Boltzmann radiation and averaged those. This gave me an average outgoing radiation of some 303.5 W/m2.

And this let me check the accuracy of my figures. The lunar albedo is generally thought to be on the order of 11-12%. The results I have give an albedo of 10.7% … I’d call that confirmation.

Finally, to compare my results to those in my previous post, I have:

                                Previous Post     This Post
Temperature by Direct Average        -77°C         -75°C
Temperature by Radiation Average     -2.5C        -2.7°C

Conclusion? Well, at last, I have some real numbers for the lunar temperature. And they confirm that the Stefan-Boltzmann equation does a good job of estimating the lunar temperature, whether we do it by averaging radiation and converting to temperature, or whether we average the temperature directly.

And which of the two ways of averaging temperature is correct? Well, both, or neither. You can use either one, depending on your needs. The underlying problem is that you can’t average an “intensive” variable like temperature … but that’s a discussion for another day.

Here, because we’re just past the full moon the forest is alive at night, and our cat wants to go outside no matter the hour. However, there are coyotes, raccoons, badgers, foxes, and the occasional mountain lion out there, so he has to stay inside at night. Ah well, in the morning I’ll have to let him out. Can’t use a “doggie door”, the raccoons love those, so … they say dogs have owners, but cats have a staff, and I can only agree.

Best of the night to all,


NOTE: As is my custom, I ask that to prevent misunderstandings, when you comment please quote the exact words that you are discussing.

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Bryan A
February 13, 2020 10:13 am

In your projections with this caption

Original Caption: Global instantaneous temperatures of the Moon in (a) cylindrical equidistant projection (ϕss = 180°) and (b) orthographic projection (ϕss = 180°, 120°, and 0°).

The 180° view is blue (cold) and the 0° is Red (hot).
The center of the 0° view is darker red than the surrounding area
In your Mollweide projection you’ve centered on the cold side which gives the appearance of the Hot edges registering Red but not indicating the Dark Red pixels apparent in the 0° projection.
Does centering over the 0° (hot side) yield the same results?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 5:49 pm

My cat door only allows entry to a racoon’s head, not a whole racoon. A typical housecat can negotiate a surprisingly small orifice when sufficiently motivated.

Reply to  Bryan A
February 14, 2020 1:21 am

My friend’s wife, who is a high school sciency teacher, will insist that the huge temperature swings observed on the moon are due to fossil fuel combustion and the global warming crisis.

She gets quite agitated when anyone questions her illogic. Apparently a lot of high school and university teachers think this way. I don’t want anyone this stupid teaching my kids.

February 14, 2020 2:13 am


Can she explain how this would work?

February 14, 2020 2:22 am

Not a decade ago, I met a school teacher — not of my children– who insisted that worms were insects.

She was a lovely woman. I blame society — most societies — for underrating and underpaying the educators of our youth, and thus lowering the standards.

Only when our young reach university level are their educators generally overpaid and overpraised.

(NB: I have never worked in the field of education at any level),

Samuel C Cogar
February 14, 2020 4:35 am

ALLAN MACRAE – February 14, 2020 at 1:21 am

My friend’s wife, who is a high school sciency teacher,

“sciency” is a correct description in more ways than most people would think.

First of all, there are literally tens-of-thousands of Middle and High School Teachers that are teaching classes in Science that do not have a College Certification (Degree) stipulating their ability to teach science. Without a sufficient number of Degreed Science Teachers, ….. the Administrators still have to provide Science Classes as the Curriculum stipulates.

And to add insult to injury, concerning said “sciency” teachers, …… one should keep in mind that +-90% of all currently employed School Teachers are the product of a post-1975 Education System wherein they were brainwashed (forced) to believe in all things being “junk sciency”.

Johann Wundersamer
February 25, 2020 8:06 pm


Recommend to her shopping at moon’s Walmart.

Must be SUV’s causing CO₂ at the moon.

Nick Schroeder
February 13, 2020 10:16 am

UCLA Diviner mission makes the observation that the moon is not like the earth because it has not the earth’s atmosphere.

Well, the quite obvious corollary is that without an atmosphere the earth would be much like the moon, a barren ball, no water vapor, no clouds, no ice, no snow, no vegetation, no oceans, hot^3 on the lit side, cold^3 on the dark, an albedo similar to the moons at 0.12. (See also Nikolov and Kramm)

The earth w/o an atmosphere would receive 20% more kJ/h with the hotter being the only possible result.

That alone trashes the greenhouse effect which postulates colder, the exact opposite and that a naked earth would be a -430F ice ball.

btw 288 K w/ – 255 K w/o = 33 C cooler is absolute JUNK!!!

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 5:53 pm

What’s the temperature of Earth’s molten core? Can the Earth’s crust form a perfect thermal insulator (ignoring any cracks as escape vents)?

Guy Dombrowski
Reply to  brians356
February 14, 2020 5:24 am

About Earth molten core, as there is no internal fusion process, it must have been cooling for
millions of years ?
So, logically, the internal heat escaping from the center must decrease all the time ?
We know that Earth used to be a lot warmer in the far past ?
Snowball Earth in a few millions years ?

Reply to  Guy Dombrowski
February 14, 2020 7:13 am

There is no internal fusion process, but there is uranium, thorium and potassium 40 that decay and provide continuing heat in the crust and mantle.

Tom Johnson
Reply to  brians356
February 14, 2020 8:28 am

An R value for dirt and rocks is sometimes considered to be about 1 (ft^2 deg. F/BTU) per inch of thickness. That’s not very good for your house’s walls, unless they’re quite thick. However, the earth’s mantle can be considered to be more than 10 miles thick, giving a total R of about a million. That’s about as close to zero as you would need for a back of envelop calculation.

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
February 13, 2020 10:58 am

Without an atmosphere or fluid elements the Moon has no heat transport mechanism to move heat from hot to cold regions and will swing wildly between extremes. Deep core samples will be enlightening as to how far any solar energy penetrates.

Bryan A
Reply to  Rocketscientist
February 13, 2020 12:20 pm

The Moon also swings to extremes due to exposure times. Any given point spends 348 hours bathed in Sunlight followed by 348 hours in pure darkness.
The Earth on the other hand would spend 10 – 14 hours in daylight followed by 10 – 14 hours in darkness shedding heat depending on seasonal tilt.
So the earth would only heat up to the point that the Moon does within the first 12 hours or so in sunlight and then only cool to the point the Moon does by the end of the first 12 hours of darkness.
Moderated f course by the size of the Earth and the amount of energy that mass could hold

donald penman
Reply to  Bryan A
February 13, 2020 1:53 pm

At the winter solstice in the UK it has 16 hours in darkness and only 8 hours of daylight and further north it would be more hours of darkness.

Reply to  Bryan A
February 14, 2020 1:28 am

The earth also has clouds which reflect sunlight…the amount of clouds varies. And albedo issues that the moon doesn’t have. Scientists also use the average over a year to get the planet’s “average temperature” – which is actually not a temperature, but a statistic that could mean both warming and cooling. There is no standard for averaging the global temp – there are many ways to do it; I don’t think they’ve settled on one yet.

Reply to  Bryan A
February 14, 2020 4:30 pm

Bryan A. Said;
“So the earth would only heat up to the point that the Moon does within the first 12 hours”
The maximum heat on the Moon and Earth is when the sun is at it’s Peak. For earth, with no atmosphere, it would be approximately 6 to 8 hours of a 12 hour cycle, before shadows begin absorbing heat from the sunny hotspots.
132c/269f. Maximum.
The astronauts landed on the moon when the temperatures averaged near 70° because battery life for heating and cooling is limited. You can tell by the shadows that the sun was not very high in the sky. No problems with the rest of the comment.
I would point out that the most significant difference between the earth and the moon is that the moon average (-60°c/-76°F), with full uninterrupted exposure to the sun, is 126°F colder than the average temperature of the earth. (51°F) despite 150° Of heat/ temperature never penetrating our atmosphere.
This is proof that the earth generates it’s own heat in excess of what it receives from the sun. Just like all the other planets with an atmosphere. As long as the models do not include this, none of the models will ever work.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Rocketscientist
February 14, 2020 7:10 am

Rocketscientist – February 13, 2020 at 10:58 am

Without an atmosphere or fluid elements the Moon has no heat transport mechanism to move heat from hot to cold regions ……

If the Moon has no heat transport mechanism to move heat from hot to cold regions of its surface, ….. then how does the Moon move heat from its “hot” surface to the cold of outer space?

Apparently the entire surface of the Moon has a “static” or constant temperature and it doesn’t absorb any solar irradiance ….. but only reflects it, thus making it visible to us earthlings.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Rocketscientist
February 25, 2020 7:44 pm

Every celestial body has an atmosphere.

The reason: the “void interstellar space” isn’t that void at all.

A celestial body’s mass attracts dust and gases, however small the amount.

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
February 13, 2020 1:20 pm

Nick Schroeder

“Well, the quite obvious corollary is that without an atmosphere the earth would be much like the moon, a barren ball, no water vapor, no clouds, no ice, no snow, no vegetation, no oceans…”

Sorry: I disagree.

What people calculate is when Earth’s atmosphere no longer has more IR intercepting material than some tiny CO2 amounts.

That happens when Earth, when reaching one (or more) Milankovitch cycle bottom(s) and thus lowest solar irradiance ‘evah’, becomes a frozen ice ball.

There is no water vapor in the atmosphere: it has totally precipitated. I don’t recall the CO2 level in such phases, but it must be very low.

In such a situation, Earth’s albedo factor is that of ice: 0.3, i.e. coincidentally the same value as right now.

It is absolutely evident that, if Earth never had any water in whichever form since its very beginning, the planet then would have an average temperature very similar to that of the Moon, even with an atmosphere made out of e.g. 78 % N2, 21 % O2 and 1 % Ar, as these gases’ IR absorption/emission ability is about 10^-6 lower than that of H2O or CO2.

J.-P. D.

Reply to  Bindidon
February 13, 2020 2:31 pm

“In such a situation, Earth’s albedo factor is that of ice 0.3….”
Your ice albedo is far off….

Reply to  DMacKenzie
February 13, 2020 5:13 pm


You are right, but I prefer to stay on ‘conservative’ data like e.g.

comment image

The point is: it’s not at all that of… regolith 🙂

John Tillman
February 13, 2020 10:18 am

Day and night on the Moon each last a bit over two weeks, as opposed to 12 hours at Earth’s equator.

Average equatorial temperature on the Moon varies from -183 degrees C at night to 106 degrees C during the day, for a mean of -38.5 C.

Reply to  John Tillman
February 13, 2020 10:36 am

Let’s cut to the chase John – when does the Lunar cocktail hour start and when does it finish?

Bryan A
Reply to  Mr.
February 13, 2020 12:22 pm

Cocktail hours are from Earth Rise to Earth Set 😉

Reply to  Bryan A
February 13, 2020 5:58 pm

What about Earthlight Savings Time? Do we ignore it and follow UCT?

John Tillman
Reply to  Mr.
February 13, 2020 12:36 pm

Bring your own yardarm!

Reply to  John Tillman
February 13, 2020 10:43 am

And yet the Moon’s average temperature is as useful a value as the world’s average telephone number.
Temperature differentials are useful for harvesting useful energy, averages not so much.

The value of knowledge is in its application not in its accumulation.

Jan E Christoffersen
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 12:04 pm


So, where did all of the Apollo missions land in order to avoid the temperature extremes?

Bryan A
Reply to  Jan E Christoffersen
February 13, 2020 2:15 pm

Bear in mind that the Apollo 11 mission was only on the lunar surface for 21 minutes so exposure was only at 1 level for the entire duration.
Apollo 17 was on the surface for 3 days so there was only a slight variance in potential exposures.

Mike Maxwell
Reply to  Bryan A
February 13, 2020 4:49 pm

Not sure where you get those #s for Apollo 11. Using the timeline here:
the Apollo 11 LEM was on the surface of the moon for about 21h 36m, and Aldrin (CDR) was standing or walking on the surface for 2h 13m.

Reply to  Jan E Christoffersen
February 13, 2020 3:00 pm

They landed at about the equivalent “10:30 am” of the lunar day and left before noon when things get warm and there is little shade.
Looking at the Earthside face of the moon the location would be towards the center of the face in lower left quadrant. On Earth it would be in the tropics, however the moon’s climate is less balmy.

Reply to  Jan E Christoffersen
February 13, 2020 4:58 pm

“So, where did all of the Apollo missions land in order to avoid the temperature extremes?”

Follow the trail. Leads to deeply disturbing places , as mych within yourself as you fight the obvious facts.

A film set on earth, perhaps, is the answer to you very pertinent question.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Michael
February 13, 2020 5:22 pm

I suppose “the truth is out there,” somewhere. But, I don’t think that unsupported speculation will lead us to it. There is at least one person who learned the hard way not to call an astronaut a liar. You mess with “The Right Stuff” at your peril.

Reply to  Michael
February 13, 2020 6:40 pm


Thanks for the reply. Not so much unsupported as not wanting to hijack a decent moon temp thread. Just take a look at the 3000 plus comments on the UNZ review when it sought to dismiss the issue, and where a couple of prominent scientists in relevant fields (and scores of others who confidently mocked the very idea at the beginning of this 2 month long thread(s)) had to admit in the end that evidence is almost beyond doubt. Interesting thread to follow if you have a spare 2 days (seriously).

Let’s just say I was quintessentially the last person to want the moon landings to be fraudulent. 5 stages of grief for me on that one. Part of my identity and even ego was tied to this heroic episode. I spent 20 years supressing the increasing incoherencies, then eventually i spent 2 months, full time, examinimg all the evidence (not speculations – only the evidence), taking full advantage of my academic access to all publications, etc.

Anyway – it’s not something that one can convince another of, I believe. You need to dive down that rabbit hole yourself and walk it yourself, ignoring the theories and just looking at evidemce and honest, sound logic. Just like seeing through the lies of CO2 global warming really. I warn you – it tells you more about yourself and the human herd than you might care to understand.

All the best Clyde.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Michael
February 13, 2020 6:56 pm

How do you explain observers on Earth verifying the presence of the laser retroreflector that the astronauts say they set up on the moon?

Michael S Lorrey
Reply to  Michael
February 13, 2020 8:53 pm

Any ham radio operator at the time could receive mission radio signals from the moon, and even use dipole or quadrupole antenna, if not a dish antenna, to verify the azimuth and inclination of the source. Such would not be faked by any aircraft or low earth orbit satellite. Lunar landing hoax nuts deserve a pop in the nose for being idiots.

Reply to  Michael
February 13, 2020 10:50 pm

Michael S. Lorry
“Lunar landing hoax nuts deserve a pop in the nose for being idiots.”

Both ad hominem and intimations that people who are SKEPTICS are deserving of violence …

Now, where have we seen such behaviour patterns before …? Oh yes – triggered Global Warmists who react exactly as you just did.

Honestly guys – your Performance Confirmations of what i suggested in this thread re Willis’ response to Jay J. are so predicable, just as Jay predicticted how others would respond to him. “But it’s reasonable when i do it” i hear your solopsistic internal rationalization say. The lack of self awareness and simple hypocrisy is telling.

So just like the typical behaviour pattern of CO2 warmists when given new possibilities, you react with glib drive by dismissal, Simian turd flinging and intimations that the Skeptic deserves to be hit.

You also clearly didn’t explore the two links even i sent – loooooong and detailed analysis of not only how that COULD have been easily spoofed, but detailed examination and actual evidence as to how it seems to have been done.

Really – the lack of self-reflection on WUWT is identical to the very people you almost all insinuate to be so much smarter than. By the behaviour evidence, the glib arrogant drive by dismissal with ad hom. and ‘you deserve a punch in the nose for even thinking such’ you seemingly are incapable of stopping yourselves proving the explicit psychological pattern i and JJ outlined above re responses. Even when it’s explicit. As i said to Clyde – the investigation tells you as much about yourself and the herd as it does about the topuc at hand. You just reinforced that claim Michael.

So – fine to be a pejorative slinging knee-jerk reactionary when YOU are not the SKEPTIC I see Michael, or Willis. Circular reasoning, ad Hom mentality, arguments from authority, affirming the consequent, precationary principle, desire to physically harm, etc, all apparently ok when you guys do it, but a mental disease, causal autism, when those CO2 reductionist simpletons do it – hey?

Honestly guys – look in the mirror and do some research. You are mostly exactly the same thought patterns as the Warmists you disdain, just starting from different emotionally determined conclusions.

Reply to  Jan E Christoffersen
February 13, 2020 8:48 pm

Clyde – the same way the Soviets got a reflector there. Unmanned.

There are vast discussions just on this one topic however Clyde. I’m not in Brisbane at the moment so i havent got my personal file on that sub-topic, but it is cross-examined, in detail, on non-nutter sites and publications. There are perhaps 28 main points from memory. Perhaps begin with the 16 part “Wagging the Moon-Doggie”

It’s not perfect but gives you an excellent starting point.

And this is the first thread mentioned above:

The real meat tends to be after comment # 1500 from memory, so long as UNZ didn’t trim this monster thread down. But this is only the beginning. But a good place to see believers and skeptics of varying degrees of idiocy, logic and expertise battle it out. Good to examine your own responses too, going through the ‘luke warmist’ stage of negotiation (“Ok ok. Some never left earth orbit, but a couple of missions still not disproven yet, right?”). Agsin – not something i wanted to do.

So, in honesty Clyde – think twice before you do. It’s genuinely an unsettling journey of discovery. Part of you dies, but I suppose one is resurrected stronger on the other side. You also have to read a lot of misinformation and unsound reasoning on both sides. Exhausting to plow through. Only for the deeply truth seeking and logically mature who can cross examine themselves as well as they do others.

Anyway – be naturally annoying to WUWT if this thread was jacked on another, if related, topic, so i will end it with this.

Cheers mate.

Hokey Schtick
Reply to  Michael
February 14, 2020 1:52 am

Great comments. Well done. Brilliantly put.

The open mind cannot just open and shut when you feel like it. It’s an attitude that must be carried through all of these questions. But we are such ego-driven creatures, so proud of our learning and intelligence, we “know” things because we are so smart. Except we don’t.

Global warming is just another episode where you have to think for yourself, or succumb to groupthink. The moon is another. There are plenty more, but even listing them will bring out the Thought Police, even here.

Seeing the lifesize model of the Apollo 11 landing module in the Smithsonian was a lightbulb moment for me. This flimsy thing? They landed on the moon in this? Ahuh, sure.

Dave McGowan does it with superb humour, a great place to start. But if you haven’t already started on your own moon journey in 2020, it’s a bit late frankly. You’re locked in now. We all get the moon landing we deserve.

richard verney
Reply to  Michael
February 14, 2020 5:07 pm

Both Russia and China havce orbited the Moon and photographed it. If there was no evidence of the Apollo missions, don’t you think that they would have called out the US? This would have been a great scoop, to belittle the world’s no.1 Superpower. Let’s face it for much of the cold war, it was a propoganda war, so that woukld have been a fantastic assault to play had they had evidence of the USA hoaxing the Apollo Missions.

The fact that neither Russia nor China have posted pictures of the Apollo landing sites and highlighting a hoax, is in itself very strong evidence that the Apollo Missions were not faked.

John Tillman
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 12:37 pm

From NASA.

February 13, 2020 10:20 am

Where energy is involved, you have to use rms values.

120 volts rms comes out of the wall socket. If you plug in a 120 ohm load, it will draw 1 amp. The power will be 120 watts.

If you look at the voltage coming out of the wall socket you will see that it varies between +170 volts and -170 volts. You could ask why we don’t call it 170 volts. That’s because the power won’t work out. For the power to work out we need rms.

For a sine wave, we divide the peak voltage by 1.41 to get rms but actually we can get the rms value of any arbitrary waveform. link It could be a square wave, a triangle wave, you name it including the energy hitting the moon, which looks a bit like a half wave rectified waveform.

If you got the energy to balance, you’ve calculated an rms value.

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  commieBob
February 13, 2020 11:57 am

To commieBob and Willis: Because the Stefan-Boltzmann law varies as the 4th power of the absolute temperature, we have to talk about the 4th-root-mean-fourth temperature (frmf temperature) to get the right answer for energy balance. It is an extension of the idea of rms voltage (since power varies as the square of the voltage for a constant resistance).

So Willis has calculated the frmf temperature of the Moon to be -2.7 Celsius (=270.5 K), the temperature which would give energy balance if the entire surface radiated evenly, both on the dark and the Sunlit side. However, the Moon rotates much more slowly than the Earth, so effectively almost all of the incoming absorbed Solar energy (after taking into account the amount reflected, i.e. the albedo) is balanced by emission to outer space only on the Sunlit side.

For example, the temperature peak on the Sunlit side is 90 C = 363 K, whereas the dark/night side goes down to -190 C = 83 K. The ratio of the two absolute temperatures is 363/83 = 4.37. But the 4th power of this ratio (which gives us the emission ratio) is 366:1 .

Climate calculations on the Earth do not have to deal with this difference (a) because the Earth rotates 28 times faster than the Moon, (b) the large heat capacity of the oceans moderates daytime/nighttime differences (but note that the dry solid Earth cools much more at night, e.g. in desert areas), (c) convection currents and winds transport heat from hotter to colder regions (these do not exist on the Moon which is solid and has no significant atmosphere), and (d) there is little heat transfer by phase changes (such as fog, dew or frost formation) on the Moon (except a tiny amount at the poles).

There would be a slight difference for the Earth between frmf and straight average temperatures, but we are interested in changes due to increasing CO2, in which case the difference becomes negligible. So for the Earth we simply average values of temperature weighted for equal surface patch areas.

Using this procedure, we get Willis’ -75 C average temperature, which is more realistic (on average, it’s cold on the Moon’s surface!). OTOH, every human being has on average one testicle and one ovary…

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Roger Taguchi
February 13, 2020 12:28 pm

But I thought deserts no longer get cold at night because of dangerously high levels of carbon pollution (AKA CO2).

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
February 13, 2020 1:27 pm

Good one, Matthew! Desert areas are deficient in water vapor (individual H2O molecules moving as gas molecules, not liquid droplets), and overall, water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas (twice as important as CO2).

So more long wavelength infrared (IR) emitted from the solid surface of the desert can escape to outer space, explaining the rapid cooling at night in deserts (blistering hot at midday, shiveringly cold at night).

What about back-radiation from CO2? During the daytime, net IR energy absorbed by greenhouse gases CO2 and H2O is transferred during inelastic collisions to the main gases of the atmosphere (N2, O2, Ar) which cannot and do not re-emit any significant amount of IR (because they are non-polar molecules with no electric dipole moment). So the energy ends up after a few more collisions partitioned among the translational and rotational modes of all the gas molecules; the slight increase in molecular kinetic energy corresponds to a slight increase in temperature. I.e. the air warms up in the daytime; energy is stored, mainly in N2, O2 and Ar molecules which outnumber CO2 molecules by a factor of 2500 (when CO2 is at 400 ppmv), with the heat capacity at constant pressure for linear molecules being 7k/2 per molecule (where k is Boltzmann’s constant).

There is at any time a rough energy flow balance between surface and the first few metres of the atmosphere which are essentially at the same temperature. At thermal equilibrium, there is a balance between IR photons emitted upward from the surface and IR photons emitted downward by greenhouse gases at their resonant frequencies. Note that the back-radiation does not therefore WARM the Earth’s surface, so the literature “explanation” of the greenhouse effect is wrong.

At nighttime, the Earth’s surface cools due to escape of IR photons to outer space at non-resonant frequencies. By LeChatelier’s Principle, the equilibrium shifts in such a direction as the PARTIALLY oppose that change. Now as the population of excited state CO2 molecules decreases due to loss of IR photons to both outer space and the cooling Earth, some more excited state molecules are produced by collision of fast-moving (“hot”) air (N2, O2, Ar) molecules with ground state (non-excited) CO2 molecules. But this decreases the average kinetic energy of the air molecules (i.e. the air cools down). But some of the energy stored in the air molecules during the daytime (2000 times more in N2, O2, and Ar molecules than in CO2 molecules which have a heat capacity at constant pressure a little more than 7k/2 due to energy stored in bond-bending vibrational modes) is sent back to the cooling Earth, moderating the rate of cooling somewhat.

This moderation of the rate of cooling by back-radiation would be greater in non-desert areas with higher concentrations of water vapor molecules (which can also return heat to the Earth’s surface during condensation to form dew or fog, or during sublimation to form frost).

But the back-radiation does not WARM UP (cause an INCREASE) in surface temperature. This is true even during the long (months-long) nights in the polar winters when the surface cools down so fast due to emission to outer space that there can be a temperature inversion in the first few hundred metres. In this case, there can be net heat flow via radiation from the warmer upper air layer to the cold ground, but still the ground keeps getting colder.

Warming by back-radiation is even more wrong as a mechanism for the greenhouse effect when one considers that the temperature normally decreases with increasing altitude. The dry adiabatic lapse rate can simply be derived by equating any increase in gravitational potential energy of a molecule to the loss in enthalpy (heat content): dU/dh = – dH/dh = -(dH/dT)(dT/dh) where U = mgh, dH/dT = Cp = heat capacity at constant pressure = 7k/2 per molecule, and we have used the Chain Rule of derivatives to get dT/dh, the change in temperature with altitude. This assumes no heat is injected into each layer of the troposphere (in reality, some heat is injected during phase changes like condensation during cloud formation, and by net absorption of IR emitted from the Earth’s surface by clouds and greenhouse gases, but this merely moderates the temperature drop of 9.8 K/km to 6.8 K/km).

This does not, however, mean that there is NO greenhouse effect. The throttling of the escape of IR to outer space means that for energy balance, the SAME incoming Solar radiation during the daytime warms the Earth’s surface MORE until the net escape of IR to outer space once again balances the net incoming radiation (after reflection to outer space, i.e. the albedo is taken into account). Hope this helps.

Reply to  Roger Taguchi
February 14, 2020 9:04 am

Roger Taguchi

Thanks for this well done exposé, to which I allow me to add a detail.

While H2O begins to heavily precipitate in the upper parts of the troposphere, CO2 is a non-condensing gas and is therefore present at altitudes up to 50 km if I well do remember.

The higher it manages to intercept and reemit LWIR from below, the lower the temperature (at least up to the altitude in the stratosphere where temperatures begin to increase).

And hence the lower the energy of the reemitted photons, what slightly but continuously increases the energy imbalance you described above.

This tiny add-on is nicely explained in

L’effet de serre atmosphérique : plus subtil qu’on ne le croit !
by Jean-Louis Dufresne and Jacques Treiner (2011)


(unfortunately in French, Google’s translator might help).

J.-P. Dehottay

Reply to  Roger Taguchi
February 13, 2020 2:00 pm

Good point.

The moon has an equilibrium temperature of 271 K, which is different than what I calculated (which was close to what Willis calculated). link

I tried changing the formula by substituting the 4th power instead of the 2nd power but the result was still quite a bit shy of 271 K. Hmmm.

Another Paul
Reply to  commieBob
February 13, 2020 1:08 pm

“…you will see that it varies between +170 volts and -170 volts” A +/- voltage implies a reference at zero crossing, meaning +85 volts and -85 volts, or 170V peak to peak.

Reply to  Another Paul
February 13, 2020 1:40 pm

No. A 120 V rms sine wave varies between plus and minus 170 volts.

Another Paul
Reply to  commieBob
February 17, 2020 3:58 am

But what is your reference Bob? 170 volt peak to peak. I recall my oscilloscope showing positive and negative peaks centered around zero.

Reply to  Another Paul
February 18, 2020 4:59 pm

340V peak to Peak

February 13, 2020 10:21 am

“The underlying problem is that you can’t average an “intensive” variable like temperature ”

Like standing with one foot on a hot stove and another on a block of ice and declaring that on average you’re comfortable.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 1:04 pm

Willis, people say an intensive variable cannot be averaged. I get a temperature of 42.5 C for the temp of your 2 water samples, once combined. I converted C to Kelvin to calculate degree-pounds for the 2 samples, added them together, then divided by 80 and converted back to C.
I wasn’t effectively averaging because I never divided by 2?

richard verney
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 5:21 pm

But also altitude and humidity rear their ugly heads.

Robert MacLellan
Reply to  Steve Reddish
February 13, 2020 2:13 pm

Shouldn’t your answer have come closer to 26 C? No matter how you average you should not get a result warmer than either of the components I hope.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Robert MacLellan
February 13, 2020 4:26 pm

You are so right! I confused the degrees and the pounds somewhere…

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Robert MacLellan
February 13, 2020 10:07 pm

Proof garbage in = garbage out. I had the right process, but input the wrong #s.
Once correct # of pounds input, with correct temperatures, then divided by correct # of pounds, 26C is indeed the answer, Robert.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Bear
February 13, 2020 1:12 pm

we typically dont average temperatures. except in very special cases.
We area average for a reason

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 13, 2020 1:47 pm

A lot of averaging is done to get to calculating the anomalies.

Each station’s daily records are averaged to get the TAVG for the month.
Each station’s monthly TAVG is averaged over a 30-year period to get the baseline for the station.
Each station’s daily records are averaged for any subsequent months for which an anomaly is needed.
Either all a station’s monthly TAVGs, or a station’s monthly anomalies, are averaged to get the grid average.
The there’s the average global anomaly average.

That’s a whole bunch of averaging. Or is there a different method that is used?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 13, 2020 5:38 pm

You said, “except [sic] in very special cases.” Such as when finding the mid-range value from a station daily high and low? Or calculating the monthly average of the mid-range values for a station — or a city, or a state, or a country?

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 14, 2020 4:25 am

You asked a very good question in a comment sometime ago to an intensive property adherent. Something like:

How do you calculate those numbers to compare and what are their unit when you say the LIA climate was colder than today’s?

So far I didn’t see an answer.

Hokey Schtick
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 14, 2020 5:32 am

Not even wrong.

Mark Pawelek
February 13, 2020 10:26 am

I’m told the moon’s surface can drop to -232 °C. The lunar night lasts 14 earth days. I don’t see how one can easily take an average lunar temperature to compare to earth. Because during its ‘day’, a lot of heat will be lost by radiative emission even as it warms. The warmer it gets the more that’s lost as black body radiation. Yet during the lunar night, black body emission is far less because its temperature is far less. Then there’s the heat capacity of the surface to consider, and its albedo. Where’s the discussion on the moons heat capacity? Comparing it to earth’s heat capacity; especially with earth’s 71% water surface!

NZ Willy
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
February 13, 2020 10:57 am

Exactly, your “heat capacity” is what I’d call the “heat retention” of the Moon’s surface layers. It would radiate heat which diminishes as the lunar night goes on. I’m not seeing it in the temperature maps above but it would surely be significant in the first hours after nightfall — the question is how long.

February 13, 2020 10:32 am

There are several differences between the Earth and the Moon that figure here.

1. Inclination 23.45 degrees (Earth) vs ~3 degrees (Moon)

This has enormous influence on temperature. The temperatures in the polar regions of the Moon average about -40c with very little variation (you can see this in Willis’s rendering a bit).

2. Composition…

The Moon’s Mare region has a much higher iron content than the highlands region, which is mostly aluminum. These are both oxides but you can literally see the difference in albedo by looking up at the Moon or looking at lunar samples from Apollo from highlands missions (16, 17) vs the ones the Mare regions (11, 12, 14, 15). This has an influence on temperature…

3. Magnetic Field…

The Moon has only a remnant magnetic field that is only strong in very localized regions. This has enormous influence on Albedo and surface properties. Here is an image of Reiner Gamma, the largest positive magnetic anomaly region on the Moon.

The regolith in that region is less “mature” because the magnetic field deflects the solar wind, which dramatically slows down the darkening of the regolith caused by the reduction of iron oxides (Fe2O3) to nano phase iron, which is a lot of what you see when you look at the darker regions of the Moon.

The earth has a different surface composition and a much stronger magnetic field, so temperature profiles would be different even with a completely airless Earth.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 2:20 pm

Cool picture ain’t it! Just FYI, a group that I mentored last summer has processed the entire 35+ terabyte DIVINER data. It shows some quite stark localized temperature excursions based on local surface materials properties. We are using these as a diagnostic to find metallic impactors.

The best DIVINER data has a 1/32 degree resolution. However, that is hard to process so most studies use 1/8 degree. We had access to the Google compute engine and there are significant local temperature extremes on the Moon, mostly in the polar regions due to the lack or the excess of sunlight.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Dennis Wingo
February 13, 2020 12:20 pm

The problem with this line of thought is that Earth’s surface has been constantly recycled many times by tectonics, such there are only a few very rare spot of surface material that haven’t got pulled down to the mantle. Tectonics didn’t start until the Earth was about 1 Billion years old, suggesting not just crustal solidification and the evolution of a MHD dynamo under convection from heat of crystalizing inner core, but the entrainment of deep water to the mantle-crust boundary was/is likely quite an important plate lubricant.

So many things are different, and they were all important. It’s difficult to say what things would be like without an atmosphere, because then there’d be no water, and then there likely would not have been tectonics recycling stuff.

One thing that stands out to me that the Apollo astronauts reported was the smell of lunar dust once they got back inside the Lunar lander and unsuited. The lunar dust stuck to everything. And then there was the smell of burnt gun powder, like after a rifle fire or a fireworks go off.

“It is really a strong smell,” radioed Apollo 16 pilot Charlie Duke. “It has that taste — to me, [of] gunpowder — and the smell of gunpowder, too.” On the next mission, Apollo 17, Gene Cernan remarked, “smells like someone just fired a carbine in here.”

Schmitt says, “All of the Apollo astronauts were used to handling guns.” So when they said ‘moondust smells like burnt gunpowder,’ they knew what they were talking about.

Make take on it is the lunar dust is “burning” (reacting) in the molecular oxygen atmosphere inside the space vehicle where the astronauts then breathed that “oxidation” product and said its smells like burning gunpowder.

And then there’s the toxicity of the moon dust as scientists who had to opportunity to study the lunar samples report:

Moon Dust Is Super Toxic to Human Cells

“One day, after a lunar walk, Schmitt accidentally breathed in some of the abundant moon dust that he and his commander had tracked back in to the Challenger living quarters. For a full day, Schmitt suffered from what he described as “lunar hay fever.” His eyes watered, his throat throbbed, and he broke into a sneezing fit.”

“A recent study published in the April issue of the journal GeoHealth examined exactly how dangerous that dust can be on a cellular level — and the results are as ominous as the dark side of the moon. In several lab tests, a single scoop of replica moon dust proved toxic enough to kill up to 90 percent of the lung and brain cells exposed to it.”

“On top of this, moon dust can float. With no atmosphere to protect the moon from constant bombardment by solar winds and the charged particles they carry, lunar soil can become electrostatically charged like clothing with static cling.

“This charge can be so strong that the soil particles actually levitate above the lunar surface,” the authors wrote in the new study.

From there, it’s easy enough for dust to cling in the nooks and crannies of an astronaut’s spacesuit and follow him or her back inside living quarters. These loose particles can clog sensitive equipment, jam zippers, ruin clothing and — as Schmitt discovered — wreak havoc on the human body if accidentally ingested by astronauts.”

The astronauts, even protected inside a shielded structure, will face many life threatening hazards to a prolonged manned-stay on the Moon from even just a routine walk on the surface after they are back inside their structure.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 13, 2020 1:41 pm

Another threat that a friend of mine discovered is from fire. Dr. Kurt Sacksteder of NASA/Glenn did a wide ranging experimental study of material flammability as a function of “g”, the acceleration of gravity. He was able to measure flammability from 1 micro g to 3.5 g in decade increments, and the results were eye-opening. Like the Laffer Curve, flammability is minimum at “zero” g and 3.5 g, with a peak in between. That peak just happens to be at 1/6 g, the acceleration of gravity on the lunar surface.

Reply to  Dennis Wingo
February 13, 2020 1:06 pm

So it’s RGMA-1 not TMA-1?

Reply to  Dennis Wingo
February 13, 2020 5:34 pm

Fascinating post Dennis. Thanks heaps mate.

February 13, 2020 10:42 am

A very interesting exercise Willis, but still leaves me in a quandry as to what items of wardrobe to pack for say a 4 week stay there (hoping that will be long enough to dodge the Corona virus, even though I don’t drink Coronas anyway)

February 13, 2020 10:46 am

“… you can’t average an “intensive” variable like temperature … but that’s a discussion for another day.”

Looking forward to that discussion.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 1:56 pm

oh you can average both color and temperature.
With color you have to remember that color is a 3D space.
So you have the square the R G and B

Color averaging is done for several reasons. For example testing the color consistency in
manufacturing and it’s done in image recognition/Machine learning and CBIR.

As with averaging temperature most people misunderstand what the averaging represents .

Once you understand what the averaging represents and operationally what you do with it
you’ll understand.

for example. when I tell you the average temperature of the sun is hotter than the average temperature of the earth

A) I am telling you something meaningful
B) I am telling you something you can test.

So if I measure the pool in my back yard and say the shallow end has a temperature of 71
and the deep end has a temperature of 69, and then say “the average temperature of the pool
is 70” what am I telling you? and how would you test the truth of what I said?

so I add 69 and 71 and divide by 2 and I get 70. When I say the average temperature of the pool
is 70.. am I saying something meaningful that you can test? yup.
simple exercise how would you attempt to convince me I was wrong?
Thats a clue as to what the “average” means.

Now if I took 1000 measurements all at one location in the shallow end and they were all
71 and one measurement in the deep end that was 69… How would I average them?
hint? the denominator would not be 1001. and the average would still be 70.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 13, 2020 2:20 pm

It’s always fun to play with numbers.

It’s when activists insist that their numbers constructs have application in policy development in real-world situations that things get cra3y.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 13, 2020 6:24 pm

You said, “With color you have to remember that color is a 3D space.” While additive color is commonly represented with three variables, such as RGB or IHS, there are many ways of representing and comparing color. The CIE color space is essentially a 2D representation of color, as perceived by humans. You can’t easily average Munsell colors. Because of the non-linearity of the human eye and color vision defects, trying to find an ‘average color,’ as perceived by a viewer, is not a simple matter of adding three numbers and dividing by three.

If one has two or more monochromatic light sources, one can calculate the percentage of the total that each wavelength contributes to the total light intensity. However, what is seen by someone with normal color vision (trichromat), Red-Green color ‘blindness,’ or ‘super-vision (tetrachromat), will all be different as measured by their ability to discriminate colors. Any attempt at simple averaging will have little utility.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 14, 2020 2:03 am

yes, but besides the point.
Averaging RGB is a useful method for CBIR content based Image retrieval.

There are other methods as well but I am addressing two claims

1. you cant average color ( yes you can)
2. the average is not useful ( yes it is for CBIR)

It is beside the point to mention that there are other color systems and beside the point
to talk about the human visual system.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 14, 2020 2:36 pm

You said, “It is … beside the point to talk about the human visual system.” Au contraire! “Color” has no meaning except in the context of what humans perceive with their eyes. What is the ‘color’ of gamma rays? Electromagnetic radiation outside the range of the human visual system does not have a color because it can only be detected with instrumentation, and assigned an energy. It does not have a “color” despite having all the properties of the portion of the EM spectrum that humans perceive as “light.”

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 1:43 am

“If we use the RGB color space, it’s kind of a dull purple … so what?

Useful for CBIR, as I said

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 13, 2020 10:15 pm


How many months will you leave out from a 30-year baseline before dropping the station? I’m working with the NOAA v4 GHCN-Monthly summaries, and if I require a station to have a complete record of 360 months, only 1807 stations out of 27418 qualify with a full, unblemished record.

That leaves a lot of uncovered area, so I figure there must be some amount of slack allowed to fill it. Question is, how much is allowed?

Steven Mosher
Reply to  James Schrumpf
February 14, 2020 1:42 am


How many months will you leave out from a 30-year baseline before dropping the station? I’m working with the NOAA v4 GHCN-Monthly summaries, and if I require a station to have a complete record of 360 months, only 1807 stations out of 27418 qualify with a full, unblemished record.

Thats one reason why I dont like the CAM method.

The important thing is to understand ( TEST) the trade off you are making

You are trading off noise in your baseline for Spatial sampling noise.

What I did in the past when I used that method was this.

For every station, change the criteria from 30 samples per month ( 360 total)
to 29, 28 ,27 ,26 etc down to 20.

Then test a different approach. at least 10 months in the year, Etc.

So spend some time experimenting with various setting to understand what the
effect of adding more stations (with sparse data ) is.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  James Schrumpf
February 14, 2020 9:59 am

Thanks, Steven. I’ll play with that for a bit, then.

Hokey Schtick
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 14, 2020 5:35 am

Not even wrong.

John Bell
February 13, 2020 10:48 am

You can eat at the Lunar Cafe restaurant, nice place, but no atmosphere.

rhoda klapp
February 13, 2020 11:07 am

If Betelgeuse were to go supernova next week, what would be the effect on nocturnal fauna? won’t they be very confused with two ‘full moon’ light sources?

Oh, and nobody ever mentions rotation rate when they are doing that 288k – 33k thing. The usual average/ Stefan-Boltzman thing only nears correctness when rotation is infinitely fast. Not too far off with a 24hour day on a wet planet, but useless for a rock which rotates slowly.

February 13, 2020 11:10 am

I have the notion that it would be really useful to send a manned or unmanned mission to one of the Apollo landing sites ( apart from Apollo 11, which should be sacrosanct) and retrieve various materials and components to assess the changes to the materials after being subject to near fifty years exposure.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  London247
February 13, 2020 6:33 pm

Why should it be sacrosanct? Do history and icons rate higher than knowledge?

Adam Gallon
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 14, 2020 1:00 am

Since the Apollo missions were so close together, July & November ’69, April ’70, January & July ’71, then finally April & December ’72; there’s enough up there, to leave Apollo 11’s site alone.
Since Apollo 12, removed & returned pieces of Surveyor III, which landed on April 2oth, 1967, that would be the site I’d target.

Joel O'Bryan
February 13, 2020 11:31 am

Lots ‘o critters run behind my backyard fence at night. Coyotes, javelina, bobcat.
And I have a dog door. But I also have an 85lb Dutch Shepherd and a 60lb Belgian Malinois.
Woe be to the varmint that tries to use their door.
The kids would have a new chew toy.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 13, 2020 11:34 am

This is pretty “harsh.”

(Well, somebody had to say it!)

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  oeman50
February 13, 2020 12:34 pm

Nice. I thoroughly enjoyed Robert Heinlein’s scifi novel, “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 13, 2020 12:39 pm

It takes quite a dog to tussle with a healthy adult bobcat! Of course, your two large dogs would team up…

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 13, 2020 6:31 pm

When I lived in Phoenix a few years ago, I had an 85-lb Rhodesian Ridgeback. One morning I got up and headed for the kitchen. Lying on the hallway rug was a yellow bark scorpion, the type that is extremely poisonous. It looked like it had lost an axe fight with another of its kind. I’m almost certain that my dog dispatched it during the night, and then came back to the bedroom without waking me up. Dogs are very protective.

February 13, 2020 12:19 pm

Whatever happened to RGB-at-Duke? Did we make him mad? Did he decide the Alarmist faction had it right? Is he just that busy teaching the 2020 spring semester of undergrads?

John Tillman
Reply to  pouncer
February 13, 2020 12:41 pm

Maybe he’s writing a new book.

February 13, 2020 12:51 pm

This is why I have difficulty with the concept of the Earth’s average temperature, much less the intense battle in the CAGW community to keep that number under control. I mean, what is Canada’s average temperature? Does that number have any real-world use?

Steven Mosher
Reply to  PaulH
February 13, 2020 2:13 pm

“. I mean, what is Canada’s average temperature? Does that number have any real-world use?

Annual average? -3.5 C or so

Whats that mean? Pick 1000 random places in canada. Pick 1000 random places in south africa
The temperatures you record in South africa will be about 21C warmer than those you select in Canada. Thats because the “average” temperature in canada is colder than South africa. Who knew?
And you know what? in Michigan the average temperature in summer is warmer than the winter average!! Who Knew!~!!!!

Real world use? Well for some products you make the average temperature might effect your reliability. Same goes for the Average minimum temperature

Making electronic gear that goes in the trunk of a car? you will want to know the lowest average temperature.

That’s one reason why I don’t worry when canadian customers buy my products. I know the average temperature is really low. That means.. “pick any place in canada” and my product will work just fine
without any additional cooling. because the average ambient temp is low. In contrast when someone in malaysia buys I have more concerns. Not so much about the peaks, but rather about the average.
Air conditioning load and PUE.. who knew!!

Any real world use? hell ya, I use it every day. works, makes more money than commenting on blogs.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 13, 2020 6:39 pm

You asked, “Any real world use?” Does that include average temperatures reported to 3-significant figures to the right of the decimal point, as NASA does? Will electronic gear fail because the ambient temperature exceeds the recommended range by 0.001 degrees F?

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 14, 2020 1:32 am

“You asked, “Any real world use?” Does that include average temperatures reported to 3-significant figures to the right of the decimal point, as NASA does?”

Sorry thats not what you think it is.

its not the average of a sample.

its a PREDICTION of the population

use as many digits as you like.

Rule of thumb is use estimated digits in the measured variable plus 1.

Remember a average temperature is not an average of temperatures, except in very rare cases

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 14, 2020 10:13 am


Is the average global anomaly then a prediction or an actual calculation? Over at the NOAA site they’re saying it’s the warmest January ever recorded, beating January 2016 by 0.04 F (0.02C).

No uncertainty range is given, no error bars in sight anyway. Do you figure they’re predicting that this Jan was the warmest, or are they claiming (as it seems in the article) that the measurements say it was the warmest?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 13, 2020 10:06 pm

As an Australian, I googled “ What is the average or mean temperature of Australia?”
I got the answer that “ The average temperature ranges from 23 degrees C. in February (74F) to 11.5C (52 degrees F) in July. Blah, blah, etc.
So, as with Canada, can I say that the Average Australian Surface Temperature is about 17.25 C annually?
For some reason everyone wants to tell me that the temperature is 1.25 C above a particular baseline, a fact designed to make me think that Australian Temperatures are accelerating disastrously.
Why I am interested is that we are about to have the Binskin Royal Commission into the recent Australian bushfires. Dr.Jennifer Marohassy claims that on raw data that summer 1938-39 was at least as hot as the present summer.
The Wikipedia entry on Australian Climate notes that 1939 was an extraordinarily hot summer.
The 1939 Stretton Royal Commission into the Black Friday Bushfires records that the 1930s left tinder dry conditions(like the Dustbowl 1930s in the US) after prolonged drought.
For arguments sake, if the AAST has increased by 0.5degrees C since 1939, why would stabilising AAST at 17.5 C +/- 0.5 C limit the frequency or ferocity of future bushfires?
My proposition based on World and Australian authorities is-
(1) Increased CO2 decreases drought and bushfires,
(2) Higher temperatures decrease drought and bushfires.
In other words, a warming world means increased moisture.
Any thoughts?

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Herbert
February 14, 2020 1:33 am

“As an Australian, I googled “ What is the average or mean temperature of Australia?”

well that was a waste of time.

Hokey Schtick
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 14, 2020 5:38 am

Not even wrong.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Herbert
February 15, 2020 12:24 pm

The larger the variance in a sample, the less value a mean value has. That is, reporting a range becomes more informative.

Ulric Lyons
February 13, 2020 12:57 pm

“the average temperature of the moon is much lower than you’d expect given the distance from the sun”

It is above it’s effective black body temperature because of its heat capacity.

The Lunar sunlit side is roughly in equilibrium with solar irradiance. Twice the illuminated disk area gives a mean equilibrium temperature for the sunlit side of 331.3K, or 322.7K with 10% albedo. With a dark side mean temperature of around 95K (4.6W/m^2), that gives a global mean of 208.8K. Close to what is observed. The impossible uniformly heated body model discounts both night time and rotation, and results in an artificially high black body equivalent temperature, by +113K globally. If the Lunar surface and regolith had negligible heat capacity, its global mean surface temperature would be around 47K lower, as the dark side would be approaching zero K.

The maths.

The solar constant of 1.362 kW/m² gives a maximum of 394K, typical for the lunar midday equator or a near Earth object.
Spread over 4 times the disk area of the spheroid is:

394 * (0.25^0.25) = 278.6K
and with 30% albedo for Earth is:
278.6 * (0.7^0.25) = 254.83K, or -18.32°C.

The lunar sunlit side at any given time is roughly in equilibrium with solar irradiance. Halving or doubling its rotation speed should not make any difference to the mean temperature of the sunlit side, but will effect the difference between dusk and dawn temperatures. Spreading the irradiance over twice the disk area, i.e just the lit hemisphere, is:

394 (0.5^0.25) = 331.31K.
or 322.7K with 10% lunar albedo.

332.7K averaged with the 95K mean dark side temperature is:

So if the Moon was tidally locked to the Sun instead of Earth, its mean surface temperature would be even lower as the permanent dark side would only warm to what Earth-shine could warm it.

Jay Johnson
February 13, 2020 1:00 pm

You cannot use “observations” from the Apollo frauds, because they never landed on the Moon. Yeah, hate away, throw the ad hominems at me, but I have hundreds of hours of research that bear witness to Apollo as a fraud. I didn’t just watch a video, and, because I liked the presenter, decide Apollo was a fraud. I was reluctant as anyone to believe that Apollo was a fraud until the evidence for the fraud overwhelmed the evidence against. “… whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” It’s a sad, sad, thing, the Apollo fraud.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 6:07 pm

“And on a much more serious note, bro’, you’ve got to stop listening to the voices in your head … truly, they’re not your friends.”

You self-owned there Willis, but you seem to not see it.

Juvenile and transparent ad hominem. Just like the Climate Alarmist do. Lot of that pretending to be rebuttal here on WUWT regretably.

I know I know, you will probably say “can’t you take joke” or other such sophistry memes. Please try to see your tactic was the same mocking tactics when encountering extreme cognitive dissonance as the Left and Global Warmist, yet all here like to pretend they are psychologically superior to warmist cultists in every way.

Immature. Also despite the fact that Kay even predicted the type of ad hominem response that was likely, you still couldn’t help yourself it seems. That’s likely your subconscious speaking Willis. Just saying mate. You do lots of great work – fantastic. But this type of response merely is a Performance Confirmation of what JJ is claiming.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 9:01 pm

Thaks for the reply Willis.

But i would reitterate my point – while there is ofc rhetorical valudity to what you just said, it is also both:

1) exactly the sort of justification that the CO2 Cult gives for using mockery and pejorative ad hominems, rather than engagement with factual rebuttals. Precisely the same argument, literally;

2) it doesn”t advance truth seeking, only personal catharsis and domination.

I could parse the objective problems with this attitude much more, but it would distract from your very interesting article.

Have a great weekend, good Sir.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 11:16 pm

Perhaps read my comment above to Michael.

There was too much in your comment – conflations, red herrings, non sequiturs, a straw man, just at a glance – that it would take too long to parse.

The use of humour when something is contemptible to you is of course a gentle, humane and civilised response. But all i can say that if you cannot see that you are merely mocking a SKEPTIC of your postion the way the Warmists do you and others, well … you don’t then, and the fault might be in my inability to concisely communicate it. Your second and third paragraph above were very misrepresentative of my analogy in truth, but obviously you dont see it that way.

All good. I don’t have the energy to disect every reply when it repeats the same logical fallacies or just adds in new irrationalities or unconscious sophistries. Your intent is good, as you are truth seeking i suspect. But think about your response and how it resembles those you characterise as low knowledge emotional sumpletons. You are not at all – but your thought patterns and fallacies are when a confronted by a skeptic.

I am not talking about the moon landings – i am drawing your attention to how you respond to a Skeptic whose ideas are beyond your ‘reasonableness’ window.

I am happy to parse in private or be corrected where i am wrong (strength comes from that), but not at the expense of totally sending this interesting thread and article off the rails so that either of us can feel vindicated on issues of rationality and psychology. Demonstating the proof of a logical fallacy is ~4 to 10 times as extensive as the intial statement. No different hrre.

All i can say is thank you for your very intersting article. Sorry for typos, in taxi.

Thanks for the reply Willis.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 2:15 am

Ok Willis. Sorry i gave you the benefit of the doubt.

I was wrong again. Silly me.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 2:30 am

“READ SOMETHING ELSE and leave me alone. Because I’ll guarantee you one thing.

All your comments have done is to further confirm in JJ’s warped understanding that he’s right. After all, I told him he was wrong, and I’ve gotten nothing but grief from you for doing so. ”

Willis – this is all you… I tried being very civil. I was very ligical and civil.

What an emotional, triggered, misrepresentive response. Embarrassing Wiilis. Seriously. And deep down, it appears that you know it.

Your responses re-enforce my points Willis, better than I ever could.

Anyhoo – i will say for the third time – interesting article. Thank you.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 13, 2020 8:15 pm

Yeah, the photos that Pete Conrad gave my lab looked really genuine, he even signed them! Both from Gemini and Apollo.

Hokey Schtick
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 6:11 am

Willis, you end every single article with a plea to people to quote the exact words blah blah.

Which is admirable.

Then you put words in Jay Johnson’s mouth, accusing him of calling astronauts “liars”. He never said any such thing. That is really a poor rhetorical choice on your part. Actually, it’s one of the worst: taking someone’s words, then substituting them with a much more pejorative term, in this case “liars”, and claiming that’s what they said.

You’ve made a fool of yourself here. You want people to quote you exactly, then you go ahead and put loaded terms into other people’s mouths. Not a good look.

Hokey Schtick
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 15, 2020 4:53 am

So he didn’t call them liars. Glad we sorted that out.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 2:00 pm


I my self, kinda of believe to a significant degree even in miracles… or as can be put otherwise very very extraordinary events and happenings… in some special given circumstances and given conditions.

Not meaning any offense, but I think you do not seem to me like you believing much in miracles, do you!?


Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 2:12 pm

So you actually do believe in miracles!?

Which could be which, as an answer here!


Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 3:45 pm

I think, I tried to put a kinda of definition about the context of the “miracle” in my question to you;
“believing to a significant degree in very very extraordinary events and happenings… in some special given circumstances and given conditions.”
(where still the laws of physics
are not considered as suspended, but still the given circumstance and condition results for an event or happening to be considered as very very extraordinary or very very special in its merit, within the realm of physical means.)

For example, in my case, significantly to a degree believing in the special merit of the “Philadelphia Experiment”. (am not trying to change the subject).

And I agree, in what some ppl believe others will not, a fundamental personal right.

maybe? 🙂


Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 5:39 pm

Thank you Willis, for the time and the effort.

“Like they say “Excrement occurs”, and sometimes extraordinary excrement occurs, way out in the tail of probabilities.”

Oh well like the case of a very extraordinary event of a successful-perfect landing of an aircraft or a spacecraft, completely way out of the designated landing area, quite in the sense of not only overshooting the “runway” but the entire “airport”, in a ‘blind” overshoot followed by a “blind” landing, way out in the tail of possibilities!

And yes, I believe in such “miracles”, some thing we seem to have in common… 🙂
But you see, some others may not.

I did not ask you any thing about “Philadelphia Experiment”, just expressed a position and explanation.

Really have no idea of the story of the two sailors you mention!

Were these two sailors twin brothers, by any chance, like in the Twin Paradox experiment!?
Kinda of believing with quite a significant degree in the special merit of this other experiment too…
which at this point it seems like it will be stuck in me mind as the Twin Sailors Paradox… 🙂


Reply to  Jay Johnson
February 13, 2020 1:59 pm


Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Jay Johnson
February 13, 2020 3:47 pm

I saw four Saturn V launches in person, from different viewing points. In each case, I had seen the rocket up close the day before, with people around the base for scale.

It’s easy to tell by perspective what happens in flight. When a 36 story structure weighing 3,000 tons leaves the ground, and in two minutes is 72 miles away…well, if you can do that, you might as well go on to the Moon, because you’ve already done something no one else on Earth could do.

That, and I’ve had a number of professional interactions with Buzz Aldrin, and was at one time a business associate of Pete Conrad (commander of Apollo 12, and the third man to walk on the moon). Neither of them ever mentioned defrauding the public.

Jay Johnson
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
February 13, 2020 8:13 pm

Yup, NASA fraudsters launched the rockets, but the astroNots did not leave low-Earth orbit. Radiation, from the Belts to the lunar surface was the show stopper, but venality was the motive for the fraud. Even today, the problem of radiation in space is little known, much less understood.

Reply to  Jay Johnson
February 14, 2020 6:36 am

Jay, have you actually calculated the dose rate for the radiation belt vs the time that the astronauts spent in that belt? The worst part of the radiation belt is between 1,000 and 4,000 km, with a secondary belt between about 10,000-20,000 km. The crews, moving at ~41,000 km an hour after SIV-B cutoff took under an hour to get through. Same velocity on the way back in.

Now in August of 1972, between the Apollo 16 and 17 missions there was a solar flare, that had it occurred during the mission, the crew would have died. However, we got lucky.

Today, with very low solar cycles, we have a Galactic Cosmic Ray problem for long term spaceflight. We understand these issues quite well and when we return to the Moon in 2024 we will be able to deal with that as well.

I consider Buzz Aldrin and Harrison Schmitt colleagues and friends, men of the highest integrity. The Russians and Brits had telescopes looking at the Apollo flights from the Earth during those missions. If there were any hoax involved, both would have cried foul.

I have held Moon rocks in my hand, worked with scientists that melted them (Dr. Larry Taylor), analyzed them, and seek to use them for industrial purposes. I worked for one of the original Lunar Science Working Group leads (Dr. Charles Lundquist), and a dear person friend before he passed away was Dr. Paul Spudis, a world leader in lunar research. Just last year I mentored a team of young scientists that are analyzing data from NASA’s current Lunar Recon Orbiter, lunar orbit today. The data from LRO confirms the ground truth of the Apollo samples beyond any reasonable doubt. LRO also carries a radiation detector that mimics the radiation dosage that humans would get (CRaTER), and thus we have a great deal of data and understanding today regarding the lunar radiation environment, and its resources.

That you are right, merely upon your assertion, and hundreds of thousands of scientists, engineers, and academics are wrong based on actual data and rocks (not computer models), is the essence of something, but it is not truth.

Will Nelson
Reply to  Jay Johnson
February 13, 2020 5:17 pm

The technology at the time was far too crude to fake lunar missions.

Will Nelson
Reply to  Will Nelson
February 13, 2020 5:20 pm

I mean, ironically

Jay Johnson
Reply to  Will Nelson
February 13, 2020 8:49 pm

Far from it. The rockets did go into low-Earth orbit, but did not go any further. The Apollo fraud photo record utilized early chroma key, blue-screen in the 60s (First used 1940’s “The Thief of Bagdad”), technologies of movie production together with a multi-plane camera apparatus like those often used in animation.

Costumed actors and props (lander, etc.) were photographed against a blue background, then filters, possibly assisted by early computers, removed the background. Various stages and/or scenes were photographed, cut up, and then composited back together creating at least three photographic terrain sets that made up the foregrounds, middle-grounds, and backgrounds of scenes.

Another set, a foreground soil set, the “action-set,” with upturned, and often moistened, soil was utilized to represent activity on the surface. The prepared action-set was photographed and it’s background too removed utilizing a blue-screen process. Footprints and tracks were then pasted over it.

Shadows were then added to all four of the photographic terrain sets.

The three photographic terrain sets were inserted on various levels of the multi-plane camera apparatus. The soil action-set was overlain the foreground set photo. On the top plane of the multi-plane apparatus, the filtered photos of the various props and actors were laid down.

The result was then photographed. Rinse and repeat.

The above process is revealed by the numerous, and often humorous, errors the NASA fraudsters made, and by tell-tale artifacts found in many of the photos in the Apollo fraud photo record. AS16-109-17800 is one of my all time favorites. The Moon buggy and astroNot’s shadow are off an impossible 90 degrees. Ditto AS16-117-18819. I have hundreds more as bad, and often worse, than those two.


Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jay Johnson
February 13, 2020 6:49 pm

How do you explain the hundreds of petrographers and other specialists that have examined the material ‘allegedly’ brought back from the moon having breccia textures with included glassy globules, and unique chemistry. How do you explain the titanium-rich minerals that have been analyzed and that have no counterpart on Earth, and have subsequently been approved by committees as being new minerals?

It would seem to me that you, and those like you, have engaged in serious cherry picking, or don’t have the background to properly evaluate the evidence.

Jay Johnson
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 13, 2020 8:56 pm

I have no idea what they are looking at and saying, and would never dare speculate. What I do know is that radiation prevented, and still prevents, any travel beyond low-Earth orbit–Not just in the Belts, but beyond in cislunar space, and on the surface of the Moon. The extent of the problem of space radiation is not even known, much less understood.

The rockets did go up to low-Earth obit, but no further. The photo, video, and audio record was falsified. The fraud has persisted ever since, except for those willing to look it in the eye; Well, photo, video, and audio record.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jay Johnson
February 14, 2020 2:53 pm

You said, “I have no idea what they are looking at and saying, and would never dare speculate.” In other words, if you don’t have acquaintance with facts, and/or don’t have the expertise to understand them, you dismiss them. You replace them with your belief that there is an insurmountable barrier that has the highest priority for determining truth.

I’m reminded of the old joke about how aeronautical engineers can’t explain how a bumble bee flies, therefore it must be incapable of flight. I know! You have never seen a bumble bee fly, and therefore, “would never dare speculate.”

James A. Schrumpf
Reply to  Jay Johnson
February 14, 2020 4:51 pm

It’s amazing that NASA would spend billions of dollars on all the terrestrial h/w, build all those Saturn Vs, command modules, LEMs, and what have you, and then fake the missions so poorly that any chump can tell.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  James A. Schrumpf
February 15, 2020 12:28 pm

Yes, according to the deniers, we had the capability of placing and properly orienting a laser retroreflector on the moon, but didn’t make the extra effort to place a lander with humans there. incredulous!

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Jay Johnson
February 13, 2020 9:42 pm

Oh my!
Here I thought Apollo Lunar Landing Deniers were an Urban Myth.
Jay Johnson, are you a unicorn. Do you really exist? Someone that utterly stupid?

Here is where I draw the line in the TimeLine sand …. at the Present.
Everything behind the TimeLine (past) can be verified or refuted with facts.
Hard facts. Hard evidence.
The Moon Landings of Apollo were 50 years ago (or so). There are millions of hard facts to substantiate they actually went there. Some such facts as recent international Lunar orbiters independently taking pictures of those Apollo rover tracks in the dust and other landing site artifacts from orbit 50 years later. The past is set in stone.

Ahead of the timeline, the Future on the other hand, is a multiverse of infinite possibilities. It is only the “meat grinder” of the harsh 2nd Law (entropy) that makes the present which collapses all those entangled quantum uncertainties/possibilities to one irrefutable outcome.

The whole Multiverse Theory (of an infinite Past outcomes) goes off the rails by a simple mis-interpretation of the i imaginary operator. They make a simple sign error on the timeline and put the multiverses in the past, when they are in the future.

The Moon Landings happened. Verifiable. The past.

OTOH: Future CAGW in the year 2100 is but a possibility of the many multiverses that lie in front of us. Increasingly less probable. But so far all the alarmists proclamations have utterly failed. CAGW in 2100 will likely fail as well is my bet. But I won’t be here to know it. And neither will you Jay.

February 13, 2020 1:10 pm

Link to the 2012 post: “The Moon Is A Cold Mistress”.
Do read that one along with this; it discusses some reasons why the Earth is different.

Since the moon has no atmosphere, the temperatures are those of the surface, not the air. Even on Earth, the surface temperatures can be extreme. Frying eggs hot.

Alasdair Fairbairn
February 13, 2020 3:20 pm

So; if you add up all the comments here and divide by their number you get an average conclusion that a Global Average Temperature is totally meaningless. Indeed a difficult base upon which to determine an average policy, particularly as policy is an intensive variable like temperature so cannot be averaged. But that is for discussion on another day.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
February 14, 2020 1:28 am

so there was no Little Ice age.
Good to know. I thought only Michael Mann denied that

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 15, 2020 1:26 pm

“so there was no Little Ice age.”

Non-sequitur, as usual.

February 13, 2020 5:36 pm

Been there, done that. As I see it, there are two problems which have not been accounted for here.

1. Surface emissivity of the moon is about 0.9, very close to absorptivity anyhow.
2. The surface is not even. So there is way more surface than a perfectly smooth sphere would have.

We encounter the first problem already when we look at peak temperatures. When the sun is in the zenith, they reach about 394K, which is way higher than they should be with an albedo of 0.11 or whatever exact value you take. With 1367W/m2 you could attain up to (1367 * (0.89/1) / 5.67e-8 )^0.25 = 382.7K, which is far below the 394K observed. But when you set absorptivity = emissivity the calculation actually works, as (1367 * (1/1) / 5.67e-8 )^0.25 = 394K.

Theoretically temperatures on the day side should obhere strictly to the angle of incidence and the amount of solar radiation received, with a little lag where the sun is rising or declining, as even the dusty surface of the moon has some mass.

But then comes problem number 2, which is essentially just a variation of the opposition effect. When the observer looks at the surface from a different angle as the sun shines on it, there will be more and more dark spots not illuminated at all, and thus much colder. For that reason, as measured, temperatures drop off faster towards the terminator, then they would if the surface was perfectly smooth.

If we ignore problem number 2 and stick to a more theoretical approach (assuming a smooth surface), then the weighted average temperature would be ~278K. Practically, due to issue Number 2, it is about 275 – 276K.

Either way the moon is definitely warmer than the ~270.5K you get without allowing for specific emissivity. In other words, the moon has a “GHE” just as Earth, with the same cause which is the ignorance of specific emissivity.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 6:45 am

It is one thing to discuss it, and another thing to account for it. Obviously the emissivity = 1 assumption fails badly on peak temperatures, undererstimating surface temperatures by (1 – 382.7 / 394) = 2.9%. Consequently your estimate for global weighted average (or radiative average, logarithmic average, whatever you want to call it) is off, and has to be off, by the same margin. 270.5 * 1.029 = 278.3K.


“For a surface with the sun directly overhead, for example a horizontal region near the equator at lunar noon, I is the solar constant in Earth’s neighborhood, about 1366 W/m^2, minus the portion reflected. Since the emissivity is close to 1 minus the reflectance, those two terms cancel out, and inverting the equation gives the maximum day-time high on the Moon: 394 K or about 120 degrees C.”

Reply to  Leitwolf
February 13, 2020 9:59 pm

I don’t like the term ’emissivity’ to apply across the board as in a broadband sort of way. I think of emissivity in terms of specific wavelengths. Using albedo (nails on a blackboard for me) is particularly uninformative and only used by people who are too lazy to do things in the correct way. It’s quite simple and free to obtain reflectance information on thousands of ‘things’ and apply the Planck formula and calculate the area under the curve.

February 13, 2020 5:38 pm


“Once I’d converted it to temperature, I then converted each gridcell to the equivalent Stefan-Boltzmann radiation and averaged those.”

Completely unphysical.

If you placed thermometers all over the moon, the average temperature would still be 200K.

This Willis post was a response to my post:

Thanks Willis.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
February 13, 2020 6:16 pm

Yeah – Willis using a bigger megaphone as ‘rebuttal’ perhaps.

Nonetheless Zoe – can you expand on what you see as the two main problems with Willis’ analysis please? Just your response is more truth by assertion than logical rebuttal, both on the link and here. While you may understand why he is in error, it’s not explit. Could you show a concrete example of how he is fundamentally in error?

Thanks in advance.

Reply to  Michael
February 13, 2020 7:54 pm

Sure, Michael,
A person or a thermometer would NOT feel an average radiation turned into temperature. It only responds to temperature.

In normal science, two objects of same heat capacity but different Temps will come to an equilibrium of (T1+T2)/2 and not (sigma*T1^4+sigma*T2^4)/2.

I think it’s fairly obvious.

Besides, his own linked paper does not use his technique for determining average equator temperature. Why not? …

Reply to  Zoe Phin
February 13, 2020 9:04 pm

Interesting. Thanks heaps Zoe. Admire your crackling intellectual energy 😊

Reply to  Zoe Phin
February 13, 2020 9:09 pm

I think you forgot to take the mass into account.

Reply to  Alex
February 13, 2020 9:13 pm


…two objects of same heat capacity AND MASS but different Temps will come to an equilibrium of…

Thanks for the correction.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 8:42 am

So Willis,
Why didn’t your Williams 2017 paper average the radiation and then report an “average temperature” for the equator?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 4:18 pm

The first link in your post.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 8:44 am

Hey Willis,
Put a frying pan on a stove. Turn it on. How much does the top of the pan emit?

Remember, CHF must equal CSR!

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 4:17 pm

LMAO is approriate.
SB Law and Planck Law is for cavity radiation at thermal equilibrium, i.e. CHF = 0.

Show me where SB Law says emission is based on CHF, and not Temp.

You’re practicing ideological mathematics and not physics. I doubt you care for the difference.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 6:32 pm

No, Willis,

Your analogy is stupid and self-serving.

Conductive heat flux is not like water flowing through a hose.

A heat flux of ZERO means all the water that enteted the hose is leaving the hose.

The higher the CHF the less water comes out. The lower, the more.

Learn physics not stupid analogies posing as physics.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 9:33 pm

Did you know that kinetic energy is molecules in RANDOM motion colliding with each other?

Did you know that if all the molecules are moving in one direction and not colliding with each other the temperature is 0 kelvin?

You see, a CHF of ZERO just means that one side of a metal bar has molecules moving at the same speed as the other side of the metal bar.

This motion generates EM radiation. This is not like water flowing out of a hose. The molecules are NOT flowing through the metal bar and falling out of the side.

A CHF > 0 means that the cold side of the bar has lower speed molecules than the hot side.
These colder molecules are still generating EM radiation in proportion to their speed.

CHF is essentially just the difference in molecular speed of two sides.

EM radiation from the cold side is determined by the speed of molecules on the cold side, and not by the difference in speed of hot side vs. cold side molecules.

If you’re gonna keep to what you said, you are basically saying that Boltzmann and Planck were dummies and they got it wrong. How arrogant of you.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 14, 2020 10:44 pm

LOL, you sound like one of those dumb lefty college students that thinks facts and logic are on their side.

I’m 34. How old are you? Grow up.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 15, 2020 9:51 am

That explains it.
Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 15, 2020 11:43 am

Yes, old but immature.
I don’t actually want to insult you. I just want you to embrace reality. Will you? Or will you stick to self-serving-analogies-as-physics?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 15, 2020 2:37 pm

Don’t play the victim card.
Just acknowledge that your analogy is inappropriate.

I thought you had no problem admitting error and being corrected.

Please don’t tell me you lied about that.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
February 15, 2020 2:36 pm

Don’t play the victim card.
Just acknowledge that your analogy is inappropriate.

I thought you had no problem admitting error and being corrected.

Please don’t tell me you lied about that.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
February 16, 2020 3:23 am

You’re insulting Boltzmann’s and Planck’s work, and you’re making me the mean girl?

Reply to  Zoe Phin
February 16, 2020 3:30 pm

No, I get it. It must be very uncomfortable for you to be wrong and not be able to admit it.

The longer you keep it up the more it tortures your soul.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
February 17, 2020 8:15 pm

How come Boltzmann and Planck didn’t discover that CSR = CHS?
You must be a genius.

February 13, 2020 9:01 pm

It’s fine to do an analysis on the temperature of the moon, but it can’t be said that the temperatures of the Moon and the Earth would be the same just because they are the same distance away from the sun (plus or minus atmosphere and rotation period).
Just because they are both ‘big’, from an earthlings perspective, doesn’t make them the same.
Why? The Moon is about a quarter the diameter of Earth, the surface area to volume ratio is different to Earth. If you’re a believer in the divide by 4 rule then it makes no difference with the temperatures. The divide by four rule completely misses the importance of specular reflection.
A smaller Moon would be cooler and a larger Moon would be hotter.

Reply to  Alex
February 14, 2020 10:52 am

if you are looking at analyzing energy per wavelength [instead of per surface area]
then the factor is not 4 but 2.
I is simply because the sun always shines 12 hours per day, everywhere , on average per year.

Jeff Alberts
February 13, 2020 9:09 pm

The average temperature of the Earth or the Moon is about as useful, and meaningful, as …. things… on a boar.

Matthew Sykes
February 14, 2020 1:24 am

So the earths atmosphere warms the surface by much more than 32C, more like 50C.

February 14, 2020 1:32 am

“And which of the two ways of averaging temperature is correct? Well, both, or neither. You can use either one, depending on your needs. The underlying problem is that you can’t average an “intensive” variable like temperature…”

February 14, 2020 10:55 am

it appears one of my comments to Willis has gone missing here.

February 14, 2020 11:00 am


I am always amazed at your skills in mathematics. Just like here, in this post. Very good, indeed!
You call it fun. I call any mathematical problem a hassle. Maybe it is because I am bad at it?
Regarding the ‘problem’ with carbon dioxide, I have come at a cross road where I need some assistance to solve a mathematical problem. It involves analyzing the spectrum of CO2, line by line, where each wavelength can be related to a specific amount of quantum energy. The areas of ‘absorption’ are of our interest.
The end result of this analysis would finally prove [at least to me] whether the net effect of more CO2 in the atmosphere is that of cooling or warming.

This is OT here. If you are interested in helping me, is there an e-mail address that I can use to formulate my problem to you?

Ed H
February 14, 2020 6:58 pm


Your post rang a faint bell, and after a bit I recalled a series of posts over a Tallblokes place, where he had a series of posts on modeling lunar temperature, and comparing against DIVINER results. The third part even considers the effect of differing lunar rotation rates on the surface temperatures.

Of interest as well is a remark in the comments about using the same approach to modeling Earth’s temperature without an atmosphere:

“ My model estimates the average temperature of an airless regolith covered Earth as 209 K. For an icy surface the temperature should be 234 K. So my GHE estimate is 79 K (regolith) or 54 K (ice)…”

February 15, 2020 1:54 am


Great article and great retorts to the fringe fake lunar landings mob. Having had an F4 at 65000 feet, MACH1.6 and on the stall buffet I know what it is like to be ‘at the edge’. I have met a couple of the moon walkers and believe me, they are the most genuine of people with gentlemen’s parts than dwarf my own 🤣.

‘This gave me an average outgoing radiation of some 303.5 W/m2.’ My question is simple – what effect does this have at TOA during a full moon?

Ulric Lyons
February 19, 2020 6:23 am

Willis, I’ll take it that ignoring my comment means you cannot refute it. It takes courage to admit when one is wrong. Roy Spencer who as you know subscribes to the same argument of the Moon being colder than what you think it should be, blocked from comments everywhere to avoid the debate. It is sad to see pride get in the way of advancing science, especially over such major errors within the current paradigm, it is sabotaging progress.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 22, 2020 4:48 pm

“Where have you proven me wrong?”

Obviously by showing that your claim “the average temperature of the moon is much lower than you’d expect given the distance from the sun”, is false.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
February 27, 2020 6:20 am

I did not call you a coward, you’re just using that as an excuse to avoid my argument, which you can’t even see apparently.

February 23, 2020 3:07 am

Using the model results of Vasavada et al. (2012), Nikolov & Zeller (2014), “On the average temperature of airless spherical bodies and the magnitude of Earth’s atmospheric thermal effect” (, derived a globally averaged surface temperature for the Moon of 197.3 K.

Kramm et al. (2017), “Using Earth’s Moon as a Testbed for Quantifying the Effect of the Terrestrial Atmosphere” ( obtained for the Moon a globally averaged temperature of 197.7 K. These authors already used the data of Williams et al. (2017), “The global surface temperatures of the Moon as measured by the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment” ( for model evaluation.

Keihm et al. (1973), “Apollo 15 measurement of lunar surface brightness temperatures thermal conductivity of the upper 1 1/2 meters of regolith” (Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 19(3), 337-351), stated:

“From theoretical daytime temperatures and the nighttime measurements, a mean surface temperature of 207°K has been calculated for the Apollo 15 site. A value about 4°K higher would be representative of the Hadley Rille site if there were no occlusion of the early morning sun due to topographic effects.”

The model of Kramm et al. (2017) provided for the Apollo 15 site a zonal average of the surface temperature of 208 K (Kramm, 2020, manuscript submitted).

Reply to  Gerhard Kramm
February 23, 2020 10:11 am

Unfortunately, I produced a typing error. Kramm et al. (2017) obtained 197.9 K, but not 197.7 K.

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