The Surface Energy Budget

Guest post by Wim Röst

Abstract

The energy budget for the surface is different from Earth’s energy budget. A look at the surface energy budget reveals that radiation is not the main factor in cooling the surface. The dominant factor in surface cooling is convection, responsible for the removal of more than three quarters of the surface’s energy.

Introduction

People live on the surface; thus, we are interested in surface temperatures. Surface temperatures result from the energy flux absorbed and released by the surface. Those energy fluxes are shown by the surface energy budget presented below in Table 1 and Figure 1. The energy budget of the surface is simple. Only two factors play a role in cooling the surface.

The surface

For Earth, as a planet, it is most important to know how much energy is entering the upper atmosphere and how much energy is leaving the upper atmosphere. However, for the surface and for surface temperatures it is important to know how much energy is entering and leaving the surface.

For billions of years life has survived on or near the surface of the Earth. Surface temperatures must have been very stable and must have always remained within certain limits. One big temperature anomaly during those billions of years would have killed all life on Earth. A closer look at energy flux at the surface shows which processes must be responsible for that stability.

Definition of ‘the surface’

For energy flux at the surface normally a broader definition of ‘the surface’ is used. Strictly speaking ‘the surface’ is just the contact layer between land and ocean with air. But for measuring ‘surface temperatures’ a level about 1.80 meter above the surface is used. Furthermore, absorption of solar energy ‘by the surface’ includes the absorption of solar energy by oceans to a depth of 200 meters. This indicates that for surface energy flux a broader definition of ‘the surface’ is needed.

Warming and cooling

To understand developments in surface temperatures both warming and cooling processes are important. The numbers used for the surface energy budget are derived from Kiehl-Trenberth’s 1997 Earth’s Energy Budget (Kiehl and Trenberth 1997).*

The solar shortwave energy flux warming the surface is 168 W/m2. The surface cooling fluxes observed are as follows.

Evaporation

Evaporation is the primary surface cooling process. Evaporation causes the fastest moving water molecules to escape from the surface, leaving the slower moving molecules behind and the surface cools. The escaping molecules carry ‘latent heat of evaporation’ with them and account for 78 W/m2 or nearly half (46.4 %) of total surface cooling.

Conduction

The surface loses absorbed energy by conduction: a warm surface loses sensible heat to the cooler air above. 24 W/m2 or 14.3% of total surface cooling results from conduction.**

Radiation

Most of the energy that leaves the surface in the form of radiation (390 W/m2) returns as back radiation, mostly from greenhouse gases: 324 W/m2. This part is not cooling the surface, it is not a net loss. This energy is going ‘from one pocket to the other’ without cooling the surface.

Part of the radiative energy leaving the surface directly reaches space. 40 W/m2 or 23.8% of all net surface cooling is radiated from the surface straight into space. It reaches space at about the speed of light, much faster than other processes.

The remaining 26 W/m2 of surface radiation is the part that is leaving the surface as radiation but is absorbed by greenhouse gases and not returned to the surface in the form of back radiation. This 26 W/m2 warms the air where it became absorbed: very near to the surface. After absorption this 26 W/m2 is thermalized: the absorbed energy is transmitted to other air molecules (mainly N2 and O2) and continues as sensible heat.

Total surface cooling

Total surface cooling by each factor is shown in Table 1.

Surface warming

168 W/m2 of the Sun’s incoming shortwave energy warms the surface as it is absorbed. The total of all cooling factors in Table 1 add to the same amount of 168 W/m2. Back radiation is adding many W/m2 to the surface (324 W/m2) but the same quantity of radiation leaves the surface as part of the 390 W/m2 radiative heat loss. The result is a net surface warming / cooling by back radiation of zero W/m2.

Surface cooling

‘Energy In’ must equal ‘Energy Out’ to keep temperatures stable. Any change in factors that are warming or cooling the surface will affect surface temperatures. Factors that are cooling and are warming the surface are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The Earth’s Surface Energy Budget. Numbers derived from Kiehl-Trenberth 1997. The surface of the Earth is cooled 40 W/m2 by radiation; this part of surface radiation is radiated straight into Space. 324 W/m2 of all outgoing surface radiation returns nearly simultaneously as back radiation. The remaining 26 W/m2 of surface radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases and results in the warming of the atmosphere near the surface (the Greenhouse Effect). Conduction cools the surface by 24 W/m2. The largest single factor that cools the surface is the evaporation of water vapor. The latent heat of evaporation removes 78 W/m2 of energy from the surface. Total surface cooling by all cooling factors together: 168 W/m2. Total solar heat gain: 168 W/m2.

Conduction and net absorbed radiation provide the lower atmosphere with 50 W/m2 of sensible heat. Together with the 78 W/m2 latent heat this thermal energy from sensible heat must be transported high in the atmosphere where it can be radiated into space. At the surface, there is a high rate of absorption of radiation by abundant water vapor. Because of this, direct radiation to space is inhibited. Radiation into space on the average takes place from about 5 kilometers above the Earth’s surface where radiation absorbing water molecules are rare. Above the clouds radiation to space becomes easier.

The transport to higher altitudes of a total of 128 W/m2 of latent and other thermal energy takes place via convection. Convection is the main player in surface cooling. Net surface radiation to space is only responsible for 40 W/m2 of the total surface heat loss. As surface temperatures rise, more evaporation takes place and convection works harder to cool the surface.

Three forms of energy transport cool the surface. But all surface energy is transported away from the surface (broad definition) in just two ways: by convection and by radiation. See Table 2.

Convection which is responsible for three quarters of all upward transport of surface energy is a very dynamic process. Convective heat loss varies from hour to hour, from day to day, from season to season, from year to year, and varies by geological period. It also constantly varies from place to place. Both quantity and speed of convection are constantly varying, adapting to local circumstances.

To understand changes in surface temperatures, understanding dynamics of convective heat loss is important.

The mechanism that sets the level of surface temperatures

When temperatures rise (which happens every day as soon as the Sun starts shining) more water vapor fills the air. This lowers the density of the air column. Water vapor is lighter (less dense) than dry air, so evaporation lowers the local air density and convection starts spontaneously. Convection carries latent heat of evaporation and all surface sensible heat from the surface upward to a higher altitude. Rising temperatures and rising water vapor cause convective cooling. But when temperatures go down the whole process of convective cooling slows down.

The surface stops the extra cooling at the point where extra warming is neutralized. Surface cooling is a daily occurring dynamic process that works harder at higher temperatures and less at lower temperatures. Dynamic daily cooling follows dynamic daily warming. Surface heating is always followed by surface cooling.

Theory
An object in space, like a planet, is cooled by radiation. On a rock planet without a greenhouse atmosphere all cooling takes place from the surface and no surface radiation is absorbed after release from the surface. But in the case of a planet surrounded by greenhouse gases effective radiation to space only takes place from elevations where greenhouse gases are sufficiently absent.

On an ocean planet water vapor dominates the greenhouse atmosphere and energy absorption in the lower atmosphere delays surface heat loss, so the surface is warmer than the surface of a rock planet. Convection has to take over the transport of energy to higher elevations in order to restore unhindered radiation to space.

From a rock planet without greenhouse gases to a full ocean Earth that is dominated by water and water vapor, the share of radiation in surface cooling diminishes. The surface of the rock planet is cooled 100% by radiation transport. The surface of ocean planet is mostly cooled by convection which transports sensible and latent heat from the surface to higher elevations. See Figure 2.

Figure 2. Surface cooling for two extremes. A 100% Rock Planet (without greenhouse gases) and a 100% Ocean Planet (with greenhouse gases). On the Rock Planet all surface energy disappears by surface radiation straight into space, no radiation is absorbed by an atmosphere. On the Ocean Planet greenhouse gases absorb all surface radiation with an appropriate frequency. Radiation to space mostly takes place from higher elevations, lacking significant water vapor. On Ocean Planet convection transports sensible and latent heat from the surface upward to elevations required for escape to space. The red line represents present Earth: convection is involved in the upward transport of more than three quarters of all surface energy.

General rule: the more greenhouse gases an atmosphere contains, the smaller the role of radiation in surface cooling. And the higher the role of convection.

Conclusions

The Earth’s surface is mostly cooled by convection, not by radiation. Most surface radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases and radiation transport becomes ineffective in cooling the surface. Only 23.8% of all surface energy is lost by direct radiation from surface into space.

The remaining three quarters of surface energy remains in the atmosphere just above the surface in the form of latent and sensible heat. This energy must be transported upward by convection. Energy can only effectively be radiated into space from higher altitudes because the upper air lacks the main greenhouse gas, water vapor. Water vapor absorbs most surface-emitted radiation near to the surface and transports it as latent heat to higher altitudes where it is released when the vapor condenses into liquid water droplets. There it is more easily emitted to space. For effective surface cooling, the upward transport of thermal energy, via convection, is key. Without convection the surface would not be cooled to present temperatures and would become warmer.

When greenhouse gases are absent from the atmosphere, radiation to space provides 100% of surface cooling. When the content of greenhouse gases rises the role of radiation diminishes in favor of the role of convection.

On Earth, the main greenhouse gas, water vapor, absorbs most surface radiated energy. Radiation, therefore, cannot cool the surface effectively. The cooling of the surface of the Earth is about three quarters dependent on convection.

The process of convection is very dynamic: it increases as temperatures rise and subsides as temperatures fall. Dynamic convective surface cooling follows surface heating, which stabilizes surface temperatures.

With regards to commenting, please adhere to the rules known for this site: quote and react, not personal.

About the author: Wim Röst studied human geography in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The above is his personal view. He is not connected to firms or foundations nor is he funded by government(s).

Thanks to Andy May who was so kind to correct and improve the text where necessary and useful.

* The Earth’s Energy Budget by Kiehl-Trenberth 1997:

Figure 3. Source: IPCC TAR WG1 (Kiehl and Trenberth 1997).

** In figure 3 ‘Thermals’ are mentioned where ‘conduction’ is meant. Table 1 in Kiehl-Trenbert 1997 mentions “surface sensible heat” and NASA shows in their energy budget ‘Conduction/convection’. Neither ‘thermals’ nor ‘convection’ are correct: convection should involve all sensible heat resulting from absorption and should involve all latent heat of evaporation. Sensible and latent heat have to be transported to higher elevations in order to be radiated to space.

A remark has to be made about the vertical scale used in fig. 3. Absorption of surface radiation and radiation back to the surface takes place very close to the surface, often within a few meters. The vertical scale as used in the figure 2 does not represent reality.

Works Cited

Kiehl, J., and Kevin Trenberth. 1997. “Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget.” BAMS 78 (2): 197-208. https://journals.ametsoc.org/bams/article/78/2/197/55482

262 thoughts on “The Surface Energy Budget

      • A generic ‘rock planet’ will achieve different numbers depending on the rotation period and the thermal characteristics of the rock. And the averaging method must be justified. Arithmetic means don’t work with T^4

  1. This seems to go along with Willis’ theory about thunderstorms in the tropics being a principal means of moderating heat on the planet.

    • And further implies that GCMs that don’t get the cloud modeling right are missing three-quarters of the question.

    • Figure 2 shows that on a greenhouse planet the role of radiation in surface cooling is small. Convection plays the main role. Because greenhouse gases prevent the direct energy loss from surface to space the surface warms and another system has to play the main role in surface cooling. Changes in the system of convection are more important for surface temperatures than changes in radiation. As Willis Eschenbach observed: small changes in surface temperature result in large changes in evaporative-convective surface cooling. The surface knows how to limit initial warming.

      • Do you have a good reference for micro climates created by vegetation? As a bicycle rider, I am frequently surprised at temperature variations riding through different terrain. I often note large cooling riding through a field of grass.

        • Scissor: “Do you have a good reference for micro climates created by vegetation?”

          WR: No, not really, perhaps someone else but I share the same experience. Yesterday evening I observed degrees of difference when cycling in between meadows I entered a zone with trees covering the roads. And I often observed the fog above meadows, disappearing when the terrain changed.

        • I too have noticed the coolness riding through grass. When I do, I think of a comment I read years ago.

          Imagine a car painted the exact shade of green of grass. Imagine it parked in the middle of a grass field in direct sun. After several hours, touch the car. It’s hot. Touch the grass. It’s cool. The energy that heated the car doesn’t heat the grass because it is turned into chemical energy via photosynthesis. There’s also transpiration, but photosynthesis is a neat simple first order explanation.

          • You have raised a very important point here.
            The radiation in sunlight is used by the plants and bacteria all over the world to create growth.
            Thus part of the radiation has been converted in to plant material and cannot be re-radiated from the planet’s surface because it is now “locked up”.
            In fact it is locked up forever unless the material is burnt, because when plants die they do not spontaneously combust.
            Has anybody got any idea how much so called heat it used by the plants?

          • The average energy gain by biomass in sunlight is approximately 0.1W /sq meter.
            This is not why grassland is cool.

            transpiration is a far bigger effect from vegetation, and grass has a pretty high surface area per ground area ratio.

      • Unfortunately, the average layman (or bureaucrat for that matter) believes that greenhouse gases magically “trap heat” and act like a greenhouse or blanket, an astounding ignorance of the basic laws of thermodynamics. They can look at a cloud and have no clue or interest in the processes involved.
        Trust the priesthood of the Church of Science to save our souls.

        • “…believes that greenhouse gases magically “trap heat” and act like a greenhouse or blanket” Because that’s exactly what we’re told is happening. It doesn’t make anyone astounding ignorant, it just means the “experts” we’re exposed to enjoy better marketing.

  2. Where are the numbers actually formulated though? I don’t see any evidence that Trenberth actually understands the kinetic theory of gases or quantum theory of radiation. I certainly do not understand all of it but it seems this is yet another oversimplification that cites the Earth energy budget paper and nothing more.

    http://web.ihep.su/dbserv/compas/src/einstein17/eng.pdf

    Absorption of photons by gas simply does not increase the temperature of gas, it can actually decrease the temperature. Photons and gas molecules have momentum, direction is important. Look at the areas of the planet with descending air, they actually lose more heat into space than they receive from the sun. Back radiation hypothesis is a gross oversimplification.

    • @RT
      Of course photon absorption by a gas increases average surrounding temperature. That is how IR radiation warms the atmosphere.
      When an electron bond absorbs a photon, its vibrational energy increases. When another molecule strikes this higher energy molecule, some of that absorbed vibrational energy is transferred to the second molecule as momentum. Heat measures momentum. The reverse also occurs. A molecule with greater velocity strikes a less energetic molecule and some of that momentum energy is transferred into bond vibration energy. The second molecule sometimes then emits an IR photon.

    • I’m pretty sure that “back radiation” part of his figure is purely made up. As you say, electromagnetic radiation simply doesn’t work that way. And then the kinetic theory of gases has a lot to say about the atmosphere’s thermal profile too, significantly more important than convection as far as I can tell.

      I was thinking about this quantum radiation the other day, because people claim to have measured that “back radiation” using cryogenically cooled IR sensors. It is true that if you have a sensor that is colder than the atmosphere, it will detect IR flowing into it from the warmer air. But that radiation isn’t there when the sensor isn’t there.

      • At least one person gets it. Most will go on repeating the utter nonsensical ramblings like that above your comment.

        • Robert W. Turner: “the utter nonsensical ramblings like that above your comment”

          WR: Hmmm. The answer could be a bit more factual. From above: “With regards to commenting, please adhere to the rules known for this site: quote and react, not personal.”

      • Actually water vapor absorbs a tremendous amount of IR directly from the sun. CO2 absorbs incoming IR from the sun also. I have been doing some research on IR and I didn’t realize that about 50% of the energy received by the earth is IR. I don’t know how you separate that from “back radiation”. I have a suspicion that a lot of back radiation is actually reradiation of the sun’s energy.

        The other thing to deal with is why CO2 appears to block radiation to the sky. I have an hypothesis that absorbed IR is transferred to N2/O2 before reradiation occurs. This IR then disappears from the IR spectrum. Convection then takes care of it.

      • Steve K-P
        The energy of the summation of photons emitted is proportional to Tbody^4…when you integrate all the photons emitted and absorbed between, say, a hot and a cold body, it mathematically works out the net photon energy is proportional to Thot^4-Tcold^4. This net difference is called HEAT. The (-Tcold^4) part is called back radiation. It is NOT “made up”. Trenberth’s averages have been shown to be a little bit out. Back radiation is confusing to those unskilled in radiative heat transfer calculations, and just (fore minus back) gives just as much information…in fact that is what Fig.1 of the article has done.

          • Q = sigma A (Thot – Tcold) is NOT “net” radiation with Tcold as the “back” radiation.

            The difference is the work required of a refrigeration loop to create and maintain the temperature difference in opposition to the only natural flow of energy from hot to cold.

      • Very few people grasp the concept of fields and how electromagnet energy propagates from a high energy source to a lower energy source. Until they do, we are stuck with this silly notion of back radiation.

        • Rick, what you call “electromagnet energy”, presumable electromagnetic energy, just propagates. It does NOT just propagate “from a high energy source to a lower energy source”.

          If you have two stars near each other in space, they both transfer energy to the other one, regardless of temperature.

          Yes, the sun heats the earth.

          But when you light a candle outdoors during the day … it heats the sun.

          The photons leaving the candle don’t know if they are going to strike the ground, your eyes, the candelabra, or the sun. The candle radiates in all directions including towards the sun. And that leaves the sun warmer than it would be without the energy absorbed from the candle.

          w.

          • Willis remains confused… candles don’t heat the sun… that would be a fundamental violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The only thing they can do is occupy space that would otherwise be occupied by something colder, which the sun could heat up more than it heats up the candle. That does reduce the amount of heat leaving the sun by a small amount… yes… but no photons are travelling from the candle to the sun. Electromagnetic radiation, as we have tried to explain to you, doesn’t work that way. Photons are not like bullets, or tennis balls. They really totally are not. That view of photons is over a hundred years out of date.

            (Our current view could easily be supplanted by something better in the future, of course! But the wave nature of photons and the associated wavefunction collapse, which only allows photons to travel from more energetic atoms to less energetic ones, are quite fundamental, and cannot be ignored if you want to get an accurate view of reality.)

          • Steve Keppel-Jones: “Willis remains confused… candles don’t heat the sun”

            WR: Willis is right. When energy is send by the candle in all directions that transport of energy is also to the Sun. The Sun warms by that (!) energy. The simple fact that the Sun is sending more energy back (and that the net flow is in favor of the Sun) does not make any difference.

          • No, sorry Wim, Steve Keppel-Jones is absolutely right, and the observation he makes here is absolutely key to an understanding of the nature of radiative transfer.

            As he remarks, the confusion arises because of the weirdness of how things are in life-the-Universe-and-everything, and the wave/particle duality that continues to still mystify the best thinkers we have. It’s what preoccupied Einstein for the last 30 years of his life, trying to reconcile classical mechanics, relativity and quantum mechanics. 100 years ago, it suited some to think of photons as little pool balls of energy bouncing around, because we needed some kind of imagery that made sense. But physicists have long since given up on that, and only describe in mathematical terms the bizarre world of energy that expresses itself sometimes as a wave and sometimes as a massless particle.

            It’s no weirder than (and intimately connected with) accepting that mass and energy are almost the same thing, and connected by the most beautiful expression of five simple symbols ever devised: e=mc2
            Why on earth would energy have anything to do with the speed of light? And SQUARED too? Even when the mass is not moving?

            But this is the truth as we now know ( by repeated confirmation) and (provisionally) understand it, and therefore, no, the candle you light is not heating the sun by sending a vigorous stream of photons at it. The most it can do is to stop the sun cooling a bit. But not much. The actual flow of net energy from warmer to cooler is a one way street.

            So you can forget the whole business of “back radiation” warming anything up unless that thing is at a lower temperature. All it can possibly do is slow down the cooling of a warmer object. And on the earth, the surface of the earth is usually warmer than the atmosphere. And the sea is typically 2C above the air above it. So the direction of heat flow is, almost invariably, from surface to atmosphere. (Bear in mind also that a cubic metre of water at 15C contains 3400 times as much heat as a cubic metre of air at 15C, so how much heating could the air supply, even if it wanted to)

            The proponents of a doomed earth have allowed this ghastly corruption of science – the notion of this so-called back radiation “frying the earth” to prosper. For that they should be ashamed of themselves, if they know better. If not, they should go back to school to be instructed in some real science.

          • Farquhar Knell: “The most it can do is to stop the sun cooling a bit. But not much.”

            WR: Thanks Farquhar for some further explanation about the fascinating world of energy. For me (being rather ‘practical’) the following sentence was important: “So you can forget the whole business of “back radiation” warming anything up unless that thing is at a lower temperature. All it can possibly do is slow down the cooling of a warmer object.”

            When the effect is the slowing down of the cooling of the warmer object (the surface) then the slowing down of cooling caused a delay in heat loss by the surface. The end result is a higher temperature.

            If all surface radiation (measured: 390 W/m2) would be radiated straight into space the surface would cool fast. But the effect of greenhouse gases is that surface emission is not very effective: because of massive absorption (mainly by water vapor) only some 10% of surface radiation reaches space (40 W/m2). It is this number of 10% that interests me, not the number for back radiation: I did put aside Back Radiation in figure 1 in the lightest color of gray. It might be there but the effectivity of surface radiation is much more important.

            Kiehl-Trenberth shows that 235 W/m2 is leaving the Earth at TOA: 168 W/m2 of sun energy absorbed by the surface + 67 W/m2 of sun energy absorbed by the atmosphere. If this number of 235 W/m2 had to be radiated (!) from the surface straight into space at an effectivity of only 10%, surface emissions would have to rise to 2350 W/m2. Only then 235 W/m2 (10% of the 2350) would escape to space. But because of the absorption in the lowest atmosphere of 90% of all emissions local temperatures would rise enormously. That this temperature rise does not happen is ONLY by the evaporative-convective cooling of the surface.

            Evaporative-convective cooling transports surface energy to elevations from where it can be radiated more effectively (!) into space. For example from 1 km with an effectivity of 15%, from 2 km with an effectivity of 20% and so on. From every higher elevation a higher percentage will reach space. If the total cooling would not be enough the temperatures at the surface should further rise and the evaporative-convective cooling (as Willis has shown) would have gone ‘through the roof’.

            The end result for this moment is a troposphere (the ‘turbulent layer’) reaching to 18 km in the tropics. The warmer, the higher the turbulent zone. But even in the tropics above 18 km the air lost most of its water vapor and high volumes of energy can easily be emitted to space, thanks to the cold dry and thin air at that elevation. See comment Gordon A. Dressler September 16, 2020 at 9:20 am. At that elevation all radiation is very effective: a very high percentage of all emission reaches space. And it is the role of the evaporative-convective system to bring surface energy to elevations from where it effectively can be radiated into space. It is the shortcut at rising temperatures.

            More greenhouse gases result in a little bit of extra warming: about 1.2 degree of extra INITIAL warming for a doubling of CO2. But then the evaporative-convective system jumps in. By large quantities of extra water vapor (caused by the temperature rise) the convective system gets a boost and convection transports much (!) more surface energy to ‘effectively radiating elevations’. Initial warming of the surface therefore again diminishes.

            This is the how surface (and atmospheric) cooling works. And for me: I don’t mind whether you call it ‘warming’ that stimulates the evaporative-convective complex or ‘back radiation’ (that is measured by……measuring temperatures): the effect from ‘higher energies at the surface’ always is a boost in evaporative-convective cooling. It is the Earth’s emergency system that is activated as soon as warming passes a certain threshold.

            By consequence, the Earth has its own natural airco-system. Above 25 degrees over open oceans the system starts working at full speed, limiting yearly temperatures over open oceans at 30C. Willis Eschenbach showed this limitation in many posts by analyzing data. The limitation of temperatures over open oceans already was noticed in Newell and Dopplick 1979 and also by other authors mentioned by them. Newell and Dopplick: “The sea at low latitudes reaches a limiting temperature based on the balance between radiative input energy and evaporative loss, which is close to 303K (Newell et al., 1978).” (h/t Andy May)

  3. Converting to TW by multiplying by 500 trillion square meters: solar warning the surface is 84,000 TW, convection is 39,000 TW. Manmade GHG has increased back radiation by 900 TW. A hurricane can add up to 600 TW to the 39,000 TW of latent heat transfer. Harvey’s heat loss was 230 TW for a month: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1029/2018EF000825 If hurricanes increase in strength and numbers that results in global cooling.

      • 6,371,000m^2 * PI() * 4 = 51 trillion m^2 not 500 trillion m^2.
        That’s for the entire spherical surface not just the lit hemisphere.
        * 168 W/m^2 = 8,600 TW not 84,000.
        Is this instantaneous or over a 24 hour full rotation?

        “Manmade GHG has increased back radiation by 900 TW.”
        I suspect this might be 90 TW.
        This might be based on the 324 W/m^2 GHG “extra” energy loop which does not in fact exist.
        Yeah, I too, would like to see the calc’s.

      • Jackie Pratt September 16, 2020 at 11:46 am

        Where does this get calculated:

        “Manmade GHG has increased back radiation by 900 TW.’

        Not my horse, not my rodeo, but I suspect the calculations go like this:

        900 TW / 5.11E+14 m^2 (Earth surface area) ≈ 1.75 W/m2

        Standard IPCC calculations: 3 W/m2 per doubling of CO2

        Pre-industrial assumed CO2: 280 PPMV

        Current CO2: 400 ppmv

        Theoretical forcing increase =

        3 Wm-2 / 2xCO2 * log2(400/285) ≈ 1.55 W/m2
        1.55 W/m2 * 5.11E+14 m2 ≈ 800 TW

        So that’s likely the kind of calculations they’re using, probably including other minor GHGs as well to get to the 900 TW.

        w.

        • So we were in a glacial climate before the industrial period? I thought it was an interglacial. Sarc off.

          So the 900 is based upon their horrible model.

          Thanks Nick and Willis.

  4. Wim,

    Nice focus on the surface issues.
    There are three possible mechanisms by which the global temperature can be changed.
    1. Block the Atmospheric Window , this can only add 40 W/m/^2 to the internal atmospheric energy reservoir.
    2. Alter the planetary Albedo, thereby allow the planet to receive more insolation.
    3. Change the mass of the atmosphere.

    Of these three, the most credible and the most effective is mechanism #2
    Carbon dioxide is not a condensing volatile in the Earth’s atmosphere, so there is no albedo involved climate role for this minor trace element of the atmosphere.

    • Philip,
      Some (additional) remarks:
      Ad 1. Block the Atmospheric Window , this can only add 40 W/m/^2 to the internal atmospheric energy reservoir.
      WR: Any extra surface warming is initial surface warming. The end result for the surface depends on how the evaporative-convective system (and other natural systems like redistribution of energy over latitudes) will react.

      Ad 2. Alter the planetary Albedo, thereby allow the planet to receive more insolation.
      WR: the evaporative-convective system changes the location and quantity of clouds as soon as somewhere surface temperatures change. Changing again the albedo.

      Ad 3. Change the mass of the atmosphere.
      WR: some more options could be added. For example: change the way the atmosphere behaves. Cutting woods, starting irrigation or building cities with an urban heat island effect are only some options that will have an effect on how the atmosphere behaves. And in all cases the surface will have an answer, nearly always trying to restore the kind of equilibrium there was before.

  5. Wim, thanks for this ‘refresher’ lecture on the energy budget at the surface. One question. Your 324W inbound radiation is absorbed near surface, but re-emitted in all directions, not just back to surface. The water vapor (and CO2) molecules are randomly oriented, so back radiation should be half the 324W. The other half (at varying angles ) becomes part of the upward motion of energy in the simplest view of the process.

    The bigger problem, however, is this LWIR radiated water vapor (mainly) is also being actively convected upward, carrying the radiated CO2 passively along with it to release energy eventually out to space. I suppose in a steady state situation the rising wet air is being continuously replaced by new vapor, but with formation of clouds in early afternoon (in the tropics), this process would be interrupted and the wet air at that time would rise and be gone. Maybe one has to cut the 324W in half for it’s back radiation and then half again for the half day interruption of the process.

    • Gary, I used the numbers that are measured at the surface (look for GEBA Energy Balance Archive) and are generally accepted. All numbers are estimations with a rather wide range of uncertainty and the numbers are different for many sources. I used Kiehl-Trenberth’s, the graphic is also used by the IPCC. I accepted the numbers for what they are, I only looked at the processes at the surface and reinterpreted the role radiation has in surface cooling/warming. Radiation only has a minor role. Convection is the dynamic one that should have dominated discussions.

      As soon as the atmosphere is mostly opaque for radiation (in case of a lot of greenhouse gases in the air: H2O and CO2) there is a huge delay in surface heat loss. When the evaporative-convective system transports excess energy from the surface to higher elevations this ‘adding of extra energy’ to the surface is ended. By the convective transport both latent and sensible heat is transported upward. Convection plays an enormous role in regulating surface temperatures.

      One should expect that any serious party that has an opinion about surface warming / about the Earth’s surface temperatures should have informed itself about the role of convection. Diminishing convection warms the surface, enhanced convection stabilizes rising surface temperatures and even limits surface warming.

      But how many chapters do we find in ‘the main reports about climate’ concerning surface cooling? How many about the role of water vapor H2O for surface temperatures? How many about convection? This is a serious question.

    • Gary
      You said, “The water vapor (and CO2) molecules are randomly oriented, so back radiation should be half the 324W.”

      I believe that 1/2 should be considered an upper-bound because the surface of the Earth is curved. That is to say, if the back radiation was originating very close to the surface, it would appear to be effectively a flat plate and receive half. However, as the height increases, more and more back radiation from a point source would miss the curving surface and escape to space.

  6. Regarding figure 3, Trenberth’s Energy heat budget, that is not the latest revision of the diagram. The reason it was revised, (my opinion) was because it balanced, the Earth according to global warming theory needed to warm up and there needed to be a net gain in temperature. Here’s a little scenario of how that may have happened:

    Trenbeth’s “Global Energy Budget” was updated March 2009 to show an imbalance of 0.9w/M² I wonder how that came about, might have gone something like this:

    Once upon a time on a bright sunny morning a few years back, Dr. James Hansen was looking at Kevin Trenberth’s iconic “World Energy Budget”

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/images/fig1-2.gif

    when he choked on his morning coffee because he realized that the darn thing balanced. That’s right, energy in equaled energy out. You see, he’s been saying for some time now that heat energy is slowly building up in Earth’s climate system and that’s not going to happen if the energy budget is balanced.

    So he did some fast calculations, snatched up his cell phone and punched in Trenberth’s number.

    “Hi Kev, Hansen here, how’s it goin’ with you? Got a minute?”

    “Sure Doc, what’s up?”

    “Glad you asked. I’ve been looking at your energy budget and it balances, can you fix that?”

    “What do you mean fix it, it’s supposed to balance?”

    “Kev, listen carefully now, if it balances, heat will never build up in the system do you see where I’m going?”

    “Uh I’m not sure, can you tell me a little more?”

    “Come on Kev don’t you get it? I need heat to build up in the system. My papers say that heat is in the pipeline, there’s a slow feedback, there’s an imbalance between radiation in and radiation out. Your Energy Budget diagram says it balances. Do you understand now?”

    “Gotcha Doc, I’ll get right on it” [starts to hang up the phone]

    “WAIT! I need an imbalance of point nine Watts per square meter [0.9 Wm²] for everything to work out right.”

    “Uh Doc, what if it doesn’t come out to that?”

    “Jeez Kev! Just stick it in there. Run up some of the numbers for back-radiation so it looks like an update, glitz up the graphics a little and come up with some gobbledygook of why you re-did the chart you know how to do that sort of thing don’t you?”

    “Sure do Doc, consider it done” [click]

    And so, here’s the new chart:link

    If you run the numbers, 0.9 Wm² will warm the ocean 600 meters deep about 1/2°C in a little over 40 years. Truly amazing stuff. The noon-day sun puts out nearly 1370 wm² and these guys are claiming they’ve added up all the chaotic movements of heat over the entire planet and have determined an imbalance of 0.9 Wm². That’s an accuracy to five places. No plus or minus error bars or anything.

    What it means is, all of the components

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

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

    Perhaps Hansen didn’t ring up Trenberth and bully him into changing his chart but, Trenberth did change it to show an imbalance and I bet he did so because he realized that if it balanced like his 1997 version, heat wouldn’t build up.

    And we all are supposed to sit still for this sort of thing.

    All that aside, like Wim Röst and Willis, I’ve always thought that the transfer by thermals, evapo-transpiration and latent heat in all of Trenberth’s charts was too small.

    • I wrote:

      All that aside, like Wim Röst and Willis, I’ve always thought that the transfer by thermals, evapo-transpiration and latent heat in all of Trenberth’s charts was too small.

      I don’t know that Willis and Wim Röst actually said exactly that, so I will apologize in advance.

    • When you read the Kiehl-Trenberth paper the paper is quite clear about uncertainties and about the wide divergence of all estimations. But in the graphic this is not shown (different from the GEBA graphics where differences in estimations are shown, for example here: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Schematic-diagram-of-the-global-mean-energy-balance-of-the-Earth-Numbers-indicate-best_fig3_316639693 . When you see the large variations in estimations, an estimation of 0.6 W/m2 for energy gain anyway is questionable.

      Furthermore you will find big arrows for radiation and but small ones for convection, not reflecting the real role of upward energy transport by convection. In the NASA graphic mentioned you even find the small arrows for convection and conduction being put somewhere aside, not reflecting their central role in surface temperatures. No graphic is showing the real role of the evaporative-convective surface cooling processes.

      • Wim Röst September 15, 2020 at 8:55 am

        When you read the Kiehl-Trenberth paper the
        paper is quite clear about uncertainties…

        Count me among those in the general public, politicians and probably the press that don’t read the papers. But when it’s displayed as 0.9 not 1.0 or 0.8 most people will assume that they really have it nailed, and it’s that accurate. I’m guessing that the diagram doesn’t show ±X Wm² because it’s a large enough number to allow for a negative value, so they left it off. Yes I’m that cynical.

          • Unless I’m missing something, they needed 0.9 W/m² and they didn’t include the ±X W/m² probably because it could have made the imbalance negative. And their house of cards would come tumbling down.

            Thanks for the reply.

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

      Actually, a precision to five significant figures. The accuracy is an entirely different question. And, what is missing is an estimate for the uncertainty in the accuracy. If there is a significant systemic inaccuracy in any one (or more) of the variables (such as the cloud fraction) then the imbalance is going to be similarly wrong.

      • Clyde – Thanks for the well deserved lesson. It isn’t
        that I don’t know that, I just screwed up – Duh!

        • Steve
          Few people would show such humility. Most would try to rationalize in defense. My hat, if I were wearing one, is off to you!

  7. A few points of clarification that Trenberth specifically wanted to obfuscate with his bogus balance diagram.

    Relative to the steady state, the surface receives 240 W/m^2 of solar input. The only part of the atmosphere that absorbs any appreciable solar energy is the water in clouds and the hydro cycle connects that water to the surface in a period of time far less than typical averaging intervals. Relative to the steady state, solar energy absorbed by clouds is a proxy for solar energy absorbed by the oceans. Instead, Trenberth rolls this forward energy from the Sun into the ‘back radiation’ term in a purposeful act of obfuscation and deception.

    The complete effect of latent heat, thermals and any other non radiant energy leaving the surface, plus their offset to the surface has already been completely accounted for by the average temperature and its corresponding radiant emissions which is also represents the state of the system. To the extent that radiant energy leaving the planet can be traced to latent heat, radiant energy leaving the surface must be returned to the surface to replace the lost latent heat. Bundling the return of non radiant energy to the surface in the bogus back radiation term is another purposeful act of deception.

    Both of these distortions impact the ability to comprehend the steady state RADIANT balance of the planet which is the only part of the balance that has anything to do with the sensitivity whose only influence is to change this steady state.

    • co2isnotevil stated: “Relative to the steady state, the surface receives 240 W/m^2 of solar input.”

      This is not correct. The incoming average solar radiation is about 341 W/m^2 but Earth’s atmosphere and clouds reflect about 79 W/m^2 of this, leaving about 262 W/m^2 downwelling radiation.

      Of that, about 78 W/m^2 is absorbed in Earth’s atmosphere (mostly by water vapor, but some by clouds also).

      This leaves about 184 W/m^2 arriving at Earth’s surface. (But note that about 23 W/m^2 of that arriving flux is reflected by the average albedo of Earth’s land and ocean surface areas, leaving about 161 W/m^2 that is actually absorbed.)

      It is the combined reflection of energy from both the atmosphere/clouds and Earth’s surface that accounts for Earth’s albedo being about (79 +23)/341 = 0.30 = 30%, but albedo alone does not determine what energy Earth’s SURFACE receives.

      • Gordon,

        The generally accepted albedo is 0.3, which leaves 240 W/m^2 entering the system and this spans all relevant wavelengths of incident energy from the Sun. The instantaneous peak from the solar wind can be as much as 20 W/m^2, but on average, the amount entering the system is well under 1 W/m^2, all of it into the ionosphere, so where is all this extra energy is coming from?

        Any reference to solar input as ‘downwelling radiation’ is just reinforcing Trenberth’s bastardization of the balance which you need to step back from as it will only confuse you. Solar energy is entering the system to warm its thermal mass and it doesn’t matter what part of the thermal mass is receiving that energy. Relative to averages, the hydro cycle makes the water in clouds operate as a temporary projection of ocean into the atmosphere resulting in no fundamental difference between solar energy absorbed by either.

        Water vapor absorbs very little solar energy. Only the liquid and solid water in the clouds absorbs any appreciable amount of solar energy.

        Keep in mind that just because something is theoretically possible doesn’t mean it’s occurrence is statistically significant. Solar absorbed by water vapor is one, another is BB radiation from atmospheric N2/O2 which if it does radiate is with an emissivity of less than .01 which is insignificant relative to the surface emissivity of 1.0, the equivalent emissivity of GHG gases of about 0.5 in their absorption/emissions bands and the equivalent emissivity of clouds which spans from about 0.5 to 1.0.

  8. Hmmmm . . . where to begin?

    1) The Kiehl and Trenberth diagram of W/m^2 fluxes and net balances in Earth’s “energy flows” was updated in 2008-2009. Some of the fluxes changed significantly in the update. The latest version (to my knowledge) can be found at https://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/an-update-to-kiehl-and-trenberth-1997/ , among many other sources.

    2) The updated version cites 396 W/m^2 as upwelling surface radiation and 333 W/m^2 as downwelling “back radiation” from the atmosphere, yielding a net of flux of 63 W/m^2 of radiation leaving Earth’s surface, 40 W/m^2 of which is said to pass directly to space through the “atmospheric window” (of LWIR radiation). In comparison, the updated diagram gives the following values for only two other mechanisms cited for energy leaving Earth’s surface: 17 W/m^2 for “Thermals” and 80 W/m^2 for “Evapo-transpiration”. In total, these net energy loss mechanisms sum to 63 +17+80 = 160 W/m^2. This would mean that 39% of net energy leaving Earth’s surface is attributed to LWIR radiation. Moreover, it also means that only 97 W/m^2 is lost by ALL other available loss mechanisms . . . and this directly contradicts your Table 2 line that attributes 128 W/m^2 to “total convected upward transport of thermal energy”

    3) Under your Figure 3 you state: “In figure 3 ‘Thermals’ are mentioned where ‘conduction’ is meant. . . . Neither ‘thermals’ nor ‘convection’ are correct: convection should involve all sensible heat resulting from absorption and should involve all latent heat of evaporation.” You appear to be greatly confused by the specific scientific meaning of the words “conduction”, “convection” and “latent heat”. As to your assertion “convection should involve . . .”, well, that speaks for itself.

    4) As near as I can tell, the fundamental error in your analysis is, per your Figure 1, attributing 26 W/m^2 of radiation as going directly into “sensible heat” in the air immediately at Earth’s surface and then asserting that that energy has to be “convected” from there higher into the atmosphere. In your words: “The remaining 26 W/m2 of surface radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases and results in the warming of the atmosphere near the surface.” In reality (and as per the K-T diagram) the energy is absorbed over the full LWIR radiation penetration depth of the atmosphere (on the order of 10 km or less). It is simply NOT correct to assert that radiation energy absorption can be modeled as convective transport of “sensible energy”.

    • Gordon A. Dressler:
      “As near as I can tell, the fundamental error in your analysis is, per your Figure 1, attributing 26 W/m^2 of radiation as going directly into “sensible heat” in the air immediately at Earth’s surface and then asserting that that energy has to be “convected” from there higher into the atmosphere.

      It is simply NOT correct to assert that radiation energy absorption can be modeled as convective transport of “sensible energy”.”

      WR:
      Figure 3 shows a surface energy loss of 24 W/m2 by thermals, 78 by evapotranspiration and 40 by radiation through the atmospheric window. Together 142 W/m2. 168 W/m2 is added to the surface. Missing in the graphic: 26 W/m2. Surface radiation is 390, back radiation is 324, loss through the atmospheric window 40, missing 390 – (324 +40) = 26 W/m2. What happened with the 26 W/m2 radiated from the surface?

      Absorbed radiation is thermalized. The energy of net absorbed radiation is transmitted to O2 and N2 molecules and continues as ‘sensible heat’, shown by rising temperatures – the greenhouse effect. Effective emission into space only takes place from elevations that are lacking absorbing water vapor, on the average from about 5 km. Energy that is present near the surface in the form of latent and sensible heat has to be transported to those higher elevations. Given the opacity of the atmosphere for radiation it is convection that is involved in the transport of sensible and latent heat from near the surface to the higher elevations needed for spaceward radiation. The energy of latent heat is somewhere up in the air freed by condensation. At elevations lacking abundant water vapor the kinetic energy of O2 and N2 molecules activate CO2 and H2O molecules high in the air that are able to radiate the received energy directly into space.

      The greenhouse effect results in net absorption of energy, resulting in higher atmospheric temperatures. Rising temperatures result in a higher evaporative heat loss by the surface. Both rising temperatures and the release of extra water vapor drive convection.

      In case of a greenhouse atmosphere energy loss by radiation is a two-step process in which convection plays a main role. It is simply not possible to radiate surface energy from the surface straight into space, the atmospheric window shows that only about 40 W/m2 of the 390 W/m2 emitted from the surface is able to reach space.

      • WR,
        First, you posted, referring to your Figure 3: “Missing in the graphic: 26 W/m2. Surface radiation is 390, back radiation is 324, loss through the atmospheric window 40, missing 390 – (324 +40) = 26 W/m2. What happened with the 26 W/m2 radiated from the surface?”

        It is not missing, it has been absorbed by the atmosphere, as the figure clearly indicates: the atmosphere absorbs 350 W/m^2 upwelling radiation (noting that an additional 40 W/m^2 is going directly to space) but it returns, as downwelling radiation (noted as “back radiation” in the figure) 324 W/m^2. The difference is your “missing” 26 W/m^2. That simple.

        Second, you posted: “Effective emission into space only takes place from elevations that are lacking absorbing water vapor, on the average from about 5 km.”

        This is not quite correct. LWIR thermal radiation to space takes place from the entire atmosphere at all frequencies outside of, and even between, the specific absorption bands of water vapor. And this radiation can originate from deeper within the atmosphere.

        Typically, less than 6% of the TPW in a column of air exists above 5 km altitude (ref: https://www.eso.org/gen-fac/pubs/astclim/espas/pwv/mockler.html#:~:text=The%20lower%20scale%20shows%20that,stratosphere%2C%20nominally%20above%2012%20km. ), so I generally agree with your stated constraint about water vapor versus altitude.

        I also agree with you on the fact that upwelling LWIR photons emitted from Earth’s surface are rapidly “thermalized” across all the constituent gases in air, raising their average temperatures. In particular, this applies to the predominate gases N2 and O2 that cannot absorb LWIR in the spectral band at which Earth’s surface radiates (from about 5 to 50 microns).

        However, that in turn means that these gases, because they have temperatures above absolute zero (across their Maxwell-Boltzmann energy distribution range) will be continuously radiating the additional thermal energy they receive. This energy is radiated in spectral lines characteristic of each molecule, with peak intensities of each line generally following the blackbody radiation distribution (spectral irradiance vs wavelength) given by Plank’s equation based on the average temperate of a collection of the same gas molecules. How often any given molecule will emit a thermal radiation photon at a given frequency is subject to quantum laws/probability governing spontaneous photon emission.

        Some of the thermalized energy radiation will be at wavelengths that are not absorbed by either water vapor or CO2 and thus, unless that radiation is absorbed by another molecule—and this will depend on EM penetration depth for the specific wavelength and characteristic of the medium the radiation is passing through—it can be radiated directly to space. But even an absorbed photon (at any wavelength) will eventually be re-thermalized. In fact, one can view the thermalized radiation of the atmosphere (that is being warmed by LWIR photon absorption, coupled with nanosecond-scale molecule-molecule collision energy exchanges, coupled with Maxwell-Boltsmann molecular energy distribution functions) as a diffuse isotropic radiation source with a spectrum ranging from microns to mm wavelengths, half of which is continuously radiating upward and half of which is continuously radiating downward.

        • Gordon A. Dressler: “It is not missing, it has been absorbed by the atmosphere”

          WR: meant is the 26 W/m2 that is not named in the Kiehl-Trenberth graphic. After absorption the 26 W/m2 raised the temperature of the atmosphere: the energy became ‘sensible’ for man and observable for thermometers. Molecules in warm air contain a lot of kinetic energy. All received energy at some point has to be radiated back into space. For this reason the warm air / kinetic energy of the molecules involved must be transported to elevations from where space ward radiation takes place. This transport should be shown in the graphic but in that case the role of convection would become visible for the eye of every person on Earth. And it seems that the role of ‘convection’ must remain hidden.

          Convection is the dynamic part of the Earth’s energy system, the part that is bringing back rising surface temperatures to something like ‘equilibrium point’. When all people would know and understand the role of convection the ‘state of fear’ that has been created would disappear.

  9. The Radiative GreenHouse Effect theory three-legged stool toppled – together with all the pseudo-scientific, confirmation bias, correlation = cause, climate change, Gorebal warming rubbish stacked on top.

    Leg 1: By reflecting away 30% +/- of the incoming solar radiation the albedo, which could not/would not exist without the atmosphere, makes the earth cooler not warmer. Remove the atmosphere and the albedo goes with it, i.e. no water vapor or clouds, no snow or ice, no vegetation, no oceans, the earth becomes a barren, airless, celestial rock much like the moon, albedo of 10% with 20% more incoming kJ/h, hot^3 lit side, cold^3 dark. Nikolov, Kramm (U of AK) and UCLA Diviner mission all tacitly admit this refuting the RGHE claim that the naked earth would become a -430 F frozen ball of ice.

    Leg 2: The downwelling radiation “trapped” and “back” radiated by the GHGs must first be removed from the terrestrial system. Removing this “extra” energy would short-change & disrupt the balance at ToA so it must be balanced by some kind of “extra” upwelling energy. Entropy absolutely, positively, emphatically PROHIBITS “trapped” “extra” energy.

    Leg 3: The “extra” upwelling LWIR comes from the assumption that the earth’s surface radiates as an ideal black body which, by THEORETICAL definition, with unitary emissivity absorbs ALL and emits ALL. However, because of the non-radiative heat transfer participation of the contiguous atmospheric molecules, radiation becomes accountable only for (ALL – non-radiative) which renders “extra” upwelling LWIR impossible. Emissivity is not 1.0 or .95 but (ALL – non-radiative)/ALL. In the case of the ubiquitous K-T power flux balance graphic: theoretical ε=63/396=0.16 or per the actual balance ε=63/160=0.39. There is no “extra” upwelling LWIR, no “extra” energy for the GHGs to “trap” and “back” radiate and no downwelling LWIR.

    The alleged up/down welling measurements are the result of incorrectly applied instruments and confirmation bias. Remember cold fusion where the “extra” energy was stray currents in the apparatus.

    As demonstrated by experiment, the gold standard of classical science.

    https://www.linkedin.com/posts/nicholas-schroeder-55934820_climatechange-globalwarming-carbondioxide-activity-6655639704802852864-_5jW

    Leg 1 + Leg 2 + Leg 3 = 0 RGHE + 0 GHG warming + 0 CAGW

  10. Another 2 graphs, something along the lines of figure 2, with a horizontal axis of 0% cloud cover rocky planet to 100% cloud cover rocky planet, and 0-100% cloud cover 100% ocean planet, would be a logical extension.

    • I have chosen the simplest form for the (schematic) graphic. In fact all H2O is involved in the natural system of stabilizing temperatures: as water in the oceans, as water vapor in the air and in the form of clouds. In another post I will show that it is the H2O molecule that ‘sets’ the level of surface temperatures.

  11. Article: ‘Thermals’ are mentioned where ‘conduction’ is meant.

    I read a British manual and it might as well have been written on an ancient wall in Egypt.

    A very good article. Thanks

      • If had deep ocean covering entire surface would have average temperature higher than Earth’s average temperature?

        Isn’t the tropical ocean of Earth the most significant aspect related to it’s global temperature?
        Earth tropical ocean covers nearly 80% of the tropical zone.
        If tropical ocean covered less than 70% of tropical zone, would be factor in causing Earth’s global temperature to be lower?
        If Earth tropical ocean nearly 100% of the tropics, would Earth absorb and emit more energy?

        If you Earth covered entirely with Ocean, would not easier to Model?

        I would say that since, Earth is covered by an ocean and that about 75% of volcanic activity occurs within the ocean, this alter the common perception that volcanic heat plays an insignificant part in regards to Earth’s global temperature and that with higher volcanic activity, that higher volcanic activity is important aspect related to Hothouse/Greenhouse global climates of the distant past {+40 million years ago}.

  12. You can easily smell the foul stench of the greenhouse gas warming theory. Consider this:

    The atmosphere directly absorbs 340 – 168 = 172 W/m^2 from the sun. Now we apply GH effect logic: The bottom half of the atmosphere needs to emit to space, but the top half blocks it, “therefore” it must warm up further. Also, the Earth blocks that bottom atmosphere from emitting to space on the other side of the Earth, “therefore” it must warm up further. Now that it’s doubly warmed up, your energy budget is “incorrect”.

    How about that quarter layer between 1/2 and 3/4 of atmosphere height? That also needs to cool, but can’t easily, so it must warm up further.

    You can’t say I’m wrong to use this logic.

    GH effect is a “just so” story meant to coverup Earth’s internal energy. Waky waky.

  13. Figure 2 shows “SURFACE COOLING BY FCTOR.” Is there a corresponding figure that shows surface heating by factor?

      • Figure 2 distinguishes between rock and ocean. I was thinking conduction/convection heating from non-solar sources: volcanoes, katabatic winds generating heat, polar vortexes, freezing or thawing of ice on ocean vs. rock, etc. Perhaps this is all down in the noise or just moving energy around. I am an EE and this may be an irreverent thermodynamic question. Thank you for the reply. Found this post to be very informative.

        • PMHinSC, the fluxes you mention are not shown in the K-T graphic and that is where I got my numbers from.

          And for figure 2 I have chosen the most simple setting, showing that as the share of greenhouse gases rise the role of radiation in surface (!) cooling diminishes. Therefore it is rather illogical that people are getting scared because of rising greenhouse gases without being informed by the rising role of convection when the surface warms. Only Willis Eschenbach studied extensively convection, as far as I know. It is interesting to check the number of pages in IPCC reports about water vapor in the troposphere, about surface cooling and about convection.

  14. This is essentially a cartoonish, data-free, practically reference-free opinion post, possibly suitable for an elementary school earth science book (if even correct). You can copy pictures with arrows and colors showing broad relationships all day, but it takes real data (a non-trivial exercise) along with quantitative physics and thermodynamics to fill in or challenge the numbers. This adds nothing to our understanding and is a tiresome waste of time for folks here to bother commenting.

    • Pflashgordon: “This adds nothing to our understanding”

      WR: Who does not understand which mechanisms are crucial for the removal of surface energy will never understand how weather and climate perform. Climate is nothing else than the average of thirty years of weather and weather is largely driven by water vapor and convection. This puts understanding the role of convection automatically in the center for understanding ‘climate’.

      • “Climate is nothing else than the average of thirty years of weather”
        Ok.
        But the average temperature of the Ocean which about 3.5 C, is global climate.
        Our present global climate is an icehouse climate.
        {due to our cold ocean}.

        Or news endless talks global warming when they actually talking weather / regional climate variations {which mostly about ocean circulation}.

  15. Sorry, OT, but:

    NASA NEWS CONFERENCE ABOUT THE SOLAR CYCLE: No one really knows how to predict the solar cycle. Nevertheless, NASA and NOAA are holding a media teleconference today, Sept. 15th, about predicting the solar cycle. Tune in at 1 pm Eastern Time to hear experts discuss recent updates in solar cycle progress, and their forecast for Solar Cycle 25.

    https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

  16. so if you are relying on convection to cool the planet where does this heat leave the atmosphere. Convection cannot do it, Evaporation cannot do it, latent heat cannot do it.
    Radiation is the only way energy can leave earth:
    Oxygen/nitrogen cannot do it
    Water vapour cannot do it at high altitudes (there is little there
    The green house gasses are the only emitters of radiation from the atmosphere at altitude.

    Water droplets in the form of clouds are near black body radiators
    The ground is a near black body radiator.
    But you say these have little effect

    Please tell me what actually allows energy to leave the planet

    • Ghalfrunt: “Please tell me what actually allows energy to leave the planet”

      WR: Water vapor accounts for about 2/3 of emitted energy and CO2 for about 1/3. See: Outgoing flux at TOA, table 1 from https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/wea.2072

      Water vapor H2O and CO2 can effectively emit high in the atmosphere because molecules are far apart and because there is only a very small quantity of water vapor molecules at those elevations: the chance that radiation to space again will be absorbed by a greenhouse molecule is small. Space ward radiation at high elevations is ‘effective’ because of the low number per volume of greenhouse molecules.

      So the only problem is: how to get sensible and latent heat from the surface high in the atmosphere? The answer is: by convection. And the pleasant thing is that when temperatures rise, convection will be extremely activated – and excess surface heat will be removed. Stabilizing the surface’s temperatures.

      • Wim Röst September 15, 2020 at 11:05 am
        ——
        Thanks for response!
        Water H2O does not exist at suitable altitudes – too cold. but since the wavelengths of water vapour emissions do not correspond to 100% of absorption wavelengths of co2 most may escape to space. But the point where they can escape without being reabsorbed will be cold – not good for emissions.

        You suggest that it is convection that gets the heat to altitude but then what about the lapse rate – hot at top = hotter at ground. This is not what we want = global heating.

        • Ghalfrunt: “Water H2O does not exist at suitable altitudes”
          WR: it does and H2O emissions are measured at TOA

          Ghalfrunt: “… cold – not good for emissions”.
          WR: A Black Body comparable with the Earth but without greenhouse atmosphere emits at an average of 255K. No problem to loose all absorbed energy at that low temperature.

          Further: Convection brings energy to high elevations without abundant water vapor. Energy that from those elevations is radiated to space never returns to ground level: the Earth cooled.

          • Wim Röst September 15, 2020 at 2:07 pm
            ———
            Water does not exist at 10km Water vapor does

            http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~aos121br/radn/radn/sld015.htm
            slide 13 onwards
            Read Horel and Geisler Chapter 2
            The ERL (Emitted Radiation Level), is that level in the atmosphere above which there is sufficiently little greenhouse gas (Water and CO2) that infra red radiation emitted upwards is just able to reach outer space without being absorbed. The greater the concentration of water and CO2, the higher in the atmosphere is the ERL. If there were no greenhouse gases or clouds, the ERL would be at the Earth surface. This simplified model treats the tropopause as effectively the top of the atmosphere, and lumps all wave lengths together. In practice each infra red wavelength has a different ERL.
            The intensity of emitted radiation increases with the temperature. Because the temperature decreases upwards, the higher the ERL the less intense is the infrared radiation leaving to space. Below the ERL heat is transferred from the surface primarily by convection, which maintains a fixed lapse rate of temperature with height.
            On average, the radiation leaving to space must equal that coming in from the sun (342 W/m2). Assuming a fixed fraction (about 30.7 % or 105 W/m2) of the incoming solar is reflected from the surface or from clouds, the remaining 69.3% or 337 W/m2 must leave as infra red. We idealize by assuming all the infra red leaves from the ERL, with intensity set by the temperature at that level.

        • Ghalfrunt –> Ask yourself what mechanism manages to offset gravity and move molecules to a higher altitude. Think about pushing a mass up an incline. This assumes that translational energy is absorbed and that kinetic energy is available. IOW, sensible heat and not latent heat.

          In order to move a molecule to a new higher altitude work must be done. Since convection is adiabatic no heat is added/lost but adiabatic doesn’t mean isothermal. These molecules can cool as energy is expended as per the lapse rate. At some point the energy is totally expended and gravity reasserts itself.

          At this point there is nothing to radiate.

      • WR, you posted “Water vapor accounts for about 2/3 of emitted energy and CO2 for about 1/3.”

        This is not correct. The reference that you linked, in its Figure 3, shows the spectrum of radiation from the top of the atmosphere (based on modeling) with significant dips in radiation intensity associated with CO2 and water vapor and other atmospheric constituents. The caption for Figure 3 states: “The black curve is a model-generated spectrum of the infrared radiative flux emitted to space at the top of the atmosphere (OLR). Coloured lines represent the blackbody spectrum at different temperatures (see legend). Regions of reduction of OLR due to the H2O rotation bands (0-540 cm^-1), CO2 15 µm band (550-800 cm^-1), O3 9.6 µm band (980-1100 cm^-1) and H2O 6.3 µm band (1400-1800 cm^-1) are identified.”

        Again, for emphasis, the figure and its caption show the marked REDUCTIONS in outgoing radiation flux from TOA that are due to CO2 and water vapor.

        The reason for this is simple to understand: Earth’s surface LWIR radiation is essentially totally absorbed, mostly by H2O and CO2, at relatively low altitude in the troposphere and then that energy is rapidly thermalized across all gases comprising the atmosphere and across the full Maxwell-Boltzmann energy distribution of each chemical species. Above a certain level, likely less than 5 km altitude, the upwelling radiation is basically 100% thermalized blackbody radiation-type reflecting peak intensities of the spectral emission lines characteristic of each chemical molecule at its given photon emission state. Above that notional 5 km altitude the thermalized, blackbody-like radiation spectrum is further modified by ABSORPTION in the aforementioned H2O, CO2 and other bands. You may ask “Why isn’t the energy absorbed by H2O and CO2 at higher altitudes likewise re-thermalized?” . . . the answer is because at the higher altitudes, still within the troposphere, the molecule-molecule collision rate (highly dependent on average gas density and absolute temperature) is too low to permit re-thermalization. This increases probability that de-excitation of these higher-altitude absorption molecules will be by isotropic photon emission at discrete frequencies, thus lowering their effective radiative flux as compared to the rest of the emissions comprising the Figure 3 curve (although I believe the given extent of reduction of radiation in these absorbing bands may be overstated due to modeling artifacts/errors).

        And please note that the overall spectrum emitted to space in Figure 3, excluding the aforementioned absorption dips, follows the characteristics of a BLACKBODY at an effective temperature between 250 and 287 K, with many discrete lines of emission indicated across the spectrum. The supports the fact that LWIR leaving Earth’s surface is thermalized across ALL molecules in the atmosphere.

        • OK Gordon, thanks for correction and for your explanation.

          Especially interesting was to learn the following: “You may ask “Why isn’t the energy absorbed by H2O and CO2 at higher altitudes likewise re-thermalized?” . . . the answer is because at the higher altitudes, still within the troposphere, the molecule-molecule collision rate (highly dependent on average gas density and absolute temperature) is too low to permit re-thermalization.”

          Remains the question: How many % of outgoing radiation at TOA is emitted by H2O and how much by CO2?

          • Wim, the answer to your question is available in the same Figure 3, assuming you trust the OLR modeling is correct, particularly in the specified absorption bands. There is still radiation in those bands and the y-axis of the graph states, quantitatively, the predicted radiative flux values, expressed as W/m^2/wavenumber. You would have to do the stepwise integration over the full OLR spectrum and then over those specific H2O and CO2 bands to derive the percentage values that you seek.

            As I mentioned previously, the predicted reductions in radiative fluxes due to absorptions by CO2 and H2O, particularly the CO2 band that is predicted to be reduced by about 60%, seem to me to be overstated, given that these gases should have been thermalized to the same average temperature as the rest of the atmosphere at somewhat lower altitudes (i.e., ~ 10 km lower).

          • Gordon: “You would have to do the stepwise integration over the full OLR spectrum and then over those specific H2O and CO2 bands to derive the percentage values that you seek.”

            WR: as a human geographer I am not educated in technical /mathematical skills. Therefore I rely on people like you: thanks for your explanations. Passively I can understand a lot (reading tables, maps, figures, schemes), but making calculations myself is risky. A geographer is a generalist: about a lot of things we know a bit. It is the overview over ‘the Earth’ and the answering of the specific geographical questions: ‘what’ (do we find), ‘where’ (do we find it) and ‘why (do we find it) there’ that we can discover new things or can get new insights or can act as a connecting factor between separated fields. But for specialized questions I am dependent on specialists.

            In the complex field of climate I think it is an advantage to know a bit about everything. Economical, political, organisational, historical, geological, physical, atmospheric, the hydrosphere and other areas of interest come together in a very complex setting. Even strategy and psychology and purely ‘power’ and ‘self interest’ play a role. A broad interest helps to understand the weird phenomena that is called ‘Climate Science’.

            The most interesting question I heard in the skeptical field was: “When climate does not work as stated by ‘mainstream’, how does it REALLY works?” Recent years I have been busy with that question and this post is one of the results. Although perhaps not perfect in its content it can help making steps forward. Good comments help. Some more posts are in preparation.

            I like good information and a good discussion. Thanks!

          • The atmosphere “works” same as any other thermal resistance.

            A combination of (conduction+convection+advection(wind, fans)+latent(evap/cond, sprays)+radiation)

            Just as your graphic illustrates.

            Go ask any engineer designing heat exchangers for AC condensers or industrial lube oil cooling systems or wet surface heat exchangers………..

            Physics is physics.

    • Why does energy need to leave Earth?

      Radiation from the sun was already converted to mechanical energy, temperature rose.

      Now you want mechanical energy that was already spent converted to photons and go somewhere else? It’s already gone. The motion was created, once, from the sun. There is nothing left.

      The abstract notion of photons in and photons out leaves no energy for motion.

      • Well, if Earth were a lot colder, it takes a long time to warm up.
        Also it’s assumed that Earth was much warmer than it is right now.
        If assume this is correct, how would earth cool down?
        We currently in an Ice Age, one coldest periods in Earth’s history.
        Also a few/several billion of years ago, Earth was considered to molten {at surface} rock and presently it’s quite cool.
        Or if our ocean were 10 C, rather the 3.5 C, it would take tens of thousands of years to cool that ocean. Our ocean was about 2 C, and has warmed up to 3.5 C and taking more than ten thousands of years. And in the last interglacial period our ocean was +4 C.
        And I believe our ocean over 6000 years ago was near 4 C and since cooled in terms long term trend, but over centuries time has warmed and cooled, and the Little Ice Age cooled by about .2 C and maybe we have warmed back up by about .2 C
        Anyhow people generally agree that since Little Ice Age which is said to have ended around 1850 AD, global air temperature has risen by about 1 C.

        • I hope we agree that the sun doesn’t warm the Earth, except in real-time, not OVER time.

          “If assume this is correct, how would earth cool down?”

          Given that geothermal is half acreation energy and half nuclear, we just have to wait for it to run out … like a nuclear plant that runs out of fuel.

          • “Zoe Phin September 15, 2020 at 6:11 pm
            I hope we agree that the sun doesn’t warm the Earth, except in real-time, not OVER time.”

            Well far as I know we get more sunlight now, than when Earth was warmer. Or more sunlight now, and we are in an Ice Age.

            Question I always have, does anyone know what Earth would be like if we were not in Ice Age.
            Not that going to leave this Ice Age, but just imagine we did.

            I will help. In our Ice Age we have a lot deserts. Not in an Ice Age, has lots of forests.

  17. Wim, I don’t understand this. You’ve said that the total energy hitting the surface is 168 W/m2, viz:

    The solar shortwave energy flux warming the surface is 168 W/m2. The surface cooling fluxes observed are as follows.

    But that is far from the total energy flux warming the surface. How do we know this?

    Well, inter alia, you claim that about half the absorbed energy is radiated. That would make surface radiation about 85 W/m2 … which would mean by S-B that the surface temperature is at -76°C … not.

    You’ve left the downwelling longwave radiation from the atmosphere totally out of your calculations … sorry, but that’s a fatal error. Energy absorbed by the surface is energy absorbed, regardless of how it is lost from the surface. You can’t simply “net it out”. When you do that, you’re zeroing out an important energy flow.

    Best regards,

    w.

    • Hi Willis,
      There’s a blanket covering you. It’s sending 521 W/m^2 down to you. That’s why you’re 98.6F. There can be no other reason why you’re 98.6F. lol. “Downwelling” is key!

      168 + geothermal = upwelling + sensible + latent

      It’s really simple.

      • Zoe, I’m gonna pass. Discussing science with you is no fun in the slightest. You rarely answer questions, seemingly preferring insults. Plus you think more water can flow out of a hose than is flowing through it … seems our universes only occasionally intersect.

        Best to you, stay well,

        w.

    • Willis Eschenbach: “You’ve said that the total energy hitting the surface is 168 W/m2.”

      WR: Willis, not really. I said: “The solar shortwave energy flux warming the surface is 168 W/m2”. But I think I can understand what you are afraid for: when I would start calculating with only 168 W/m2 that are leaving the surface my ‘Earth’s energy fluxes’ would not be correct. But that is not what I am doing, I am not calculating the Earth’s energy fluxes. I am only looking to the energy that constantly is added to the surface (!) as shortwave energy. That energy has to leave the surface and has (finally) to be radiated into space to keep temperatures at the surface constant. And because we know that average radiation takes place from higher elevations the question to be answered was: how can the latent and sensible heat released by the surface reach that elevations? From both we know that they cause convection. And we know that a greenhouse atmosphere is merely opaque for surface radiation: only some 10% of all surface radiation (40 W/m2 of 390 W/m2) reaches space. We also know that absorbed surface energy is thermalized, warming the other air molecules.

      Water vapor (baring latent heat by the state change) is a light molecule. The water vapor molecule directly starts pressure on the air column after release. The same for air molecules that rose in temperature by thermalization. Anyhow convection is instantly and constantly stimulated as soon as temperatures rise or when water vapor molecules are added to the atmosphere. Every higher air temperature and higher water vapor content everywhere on earth pushes convection. Convection is what makes weather and ‘weather’ is found everywhere on earth. Surface radiation does not make it to space and most times is absorbed very near to the surface.

      The only other way of upward energy transport would be by radiation. We know that average space ward radiation at TOA happens from an elevation of about 5 km. Energy leaving the surface has to travel some 5 km on average. Through an atmosphere that is merely opaque for radiation. Some radiation is radiated into space from 10 km, other radiation from 1 km. But the average elevation still remains 5 km to be reached.

      • “Water vapor (baring latent heat by the state change) is a light molecule. ”
        Wim,
        Quite so. And raindrops have this curious propensity to fall out of the sky.
        Never seen “Carbon” do that.

      • Thanks, Wim. Let me try an analogy.

        You have a bucket with a hole in it halfway up the side. You start adding water. At some point water entering equals water leaving.

        You subtract the amount of water leaving from water entering and your conclusion is that there is no water flowing through the bucket …

        Another example. I give you $75. You give me $50. NET flow is that I give you $25.

        Ask an accountant (I am one …) how that is entered in the books—as one transaction of $25, or as two transactions.

        Next, I give you $1,025 and you give me $1000. Just like before, net is I give you $25.

        Would an accountant record that as one transaction of $25, so it is indistinguishable from the previous $25 net transaction … or would it be recorded as two transactions?

        Then, when the accountant tells you “two transactions” in both cases, you should ponder … why not enter just the one net $25 transaction?

        When you figure out the answer to that question, you’ll see the problem with your energy accounting.

        My best to you,

        w.

        • Willis, you have been my teacher on many subjects concerning climate. You are a great observer and you know how to handle data. But looking to ‘what happens, where and why there’ (which are the questions a geographer has to answer) the handling of energy fluxes at the surface remained a problem for me, because ‘in energy world’ it remained hidden for the eye what happens, where and why there. Only knowing what processes are happening and where gives me insight. Graphics (if drawn on scale) also give insight in what happens where. And in order to understand what is really happening we must keep it as simple as possible.

          Let me give you another analogy. Coming from space 168 travelers arrive at the surface. Unfortunately for them, directly after arrival 40 of them are launched back into space, the other 128 take the bus to travel around.

          It is well known that travelers that start to travel around will return to space from an average level of 5 km.

          Let us assume that the remaining 128 people don’t multiply during the trip. But during the time that they are travelling around new passengers are arriving from space making it somewhat more crowded at the surface.

          The bus company transports two types of passengers: Latent passengers (blue pass) and Sensible passengers (red pass). Passengers may change passes with someone else but no more passes are provided: one traveler, one pass.

          Latent pass travelers get out somewhere on ‘Condensation Level’ which is always at higher elevations. A lot of Sensible pass travelers that preferred to travel together with the Latent travelers are getting out as well. At ‘Condensation Level’ all Latent passengers that are leaving the bus will continue as Sensible travelers, otherwise they are not allowed to leave the bus. They are forced by the travel organisation to change a Latent pass for a Sensible pass.

          At high elevations there are plenty possibilities to be launched back into space. The only thing the travelers need to do is hand over their travel pass to the Launch Institute in order to get the ‘Radiate Away’ permit.

          P.S. At many locations the number of travelers were counted. Because many were travelling around sometimes 390 were counted or 324 or another number. The counting was needed to know how many buses were needed and for what destination. But the number of travelers continuously arriving form space and leaving to space remained 168.

          • Wim, thanks for your answer. I’m sorry, your analogy was far too complex. I got lost in the middle.

            I’ll give it another shot. Here’s the situation:

            The downwelling thermal radiation from the atmosphere to the surface is a real, observable, measurable physical flow of energy.

            The upwelling thermal radiation from the surface is a real, observable, measurable physical flow of energy.

            Their net value, the sum of the two separate flows of energy, is a mathematical construct which has no counterpart in reality. None. No such flow exists.

            My position is that to understand the system we should study, measure, and understand the two real, observable, measurable physical flows. Each of them is a separate physical process which can be individually probed, measured, studied, and understood, with a corresponding deeper understanding of the system as a whole.

            You say no, we should ignore the two flows. You say the real subject, what we should be studying and using in our calculations and our understanding, is the imaginary net of the two flows, which can neither be observed nor measured because IT DOESN’T EXIST.

            Not seeing the advantage in your method … what’s the upside? Where is the gain from pretending that real flows don’t exist and studying an imaginary flow instead?

            My best to you,

            w.

          • Willis, you say: “My position is that to understand the system we should study, measure, and understand the two real, observable, measurable physical flows.”

            If there is a radiative flow that brings upward the energy that first has been absorbed (or first was released by conduction) and by further radiative transport will reach ‘launch level’, how big is that flow and from where to where in the atmosphere does it take place?

            If we know, all the rest of the upward transport may be supposed to take place by convection. My guess: convection plays a much larger role than Kiehl-Trenberth’s and NASA’s energy budgets suggest. A dominant role, now hidden for the eye of nearly everyone.

          • Willis as usual has it completely backwards. It is the NET that is actually observed, and the rest are theoretical constructs.

            Your “Downwelling IR” measurement can’t be distinguished from Upwelling-from-measurement-instrument IR. And you have NOTHING unless you can reference a thermometer. Radiation is theorized from that thermometer reading.

          • Zoe, you posted: “Your ‘Downwelling IR’ measurement can’t be distinguished from Upwelling-from-measurement-instrument IR.”

            Well, take a given pyrgeometer (yes, that is the correct term . . . look it up) capable of measuring integrated LWIR over the wavelength range of at least 5 – 50 microns. Point it first down to the ground, and then up to the sky. You will get positive readings in both cases, with the second (atmosphere reading) sure to be significantly positive, but less than the first reading. This makes it easy to OBJECTIVELY distinguish “upwelling” LWIR from “downwelling” LWIR.

            You also posted: “And you have NOTHING unless you can reference a thermometer. Radiation is theorized from that thermometer reading.”

            Well, gee, I guess you should inform all those medical professionals and common folks that use optical pyrometers to “measure” inner ear and outer skin temperatures that readings from such instruments mean NOTHING since they don’t use or reference a thermometer. That warning must be conveyed to all personal using optical pyrometers to screen for fevers that may be symptomatic of COVID-19 infection. Clearly, they use radiation to infer a temperature, most often relatively accurately and to a precision of 0.1 deg-F . . . how ignorant and careless of them (/sarc).

            BTW, the Sun sends out its radiation independent of whether or not humans know (or measure) its temperature . . . always has . . . always will.

            The above is enough troll feeding from me for the week.

          • Half inch from someone’s forehead is much different from 10,000 feet up in sky.
            The instrument was designed, fabricated and calibrated to do the first and absolutely not the second.
            Pointed into the sky delivers nonsense.
            Plus entropy prohibits downwelling energy.

          • Nick,
            You must have missed my reply to you, in a separate thread, about me coming around to the conclusion that I need to be mindful of the old saying about trying to teach a pig to sing.

          • Gordon

            ‘This makes it easy to OBJECTIVELY distinguish “upwelling” LWIR from “downwelling” LWIR.’

            You’re trying to confuse the issue on purpose.

            Here is how heat will travel:

            Hot ground -> Pyregeometer -> Cold Atmosphere

            There are TWO upwelling. One from the ground, the other from pyrgeometer.

            If you flip the pyrgeometer upside down, you will typically get a NEGATIVE reading under MOST conditions.

            A pyrgeometer is referenced from its physical BOTTOM! That is how it was designed.

            After you flip it, the bottom will be facing colder atmosphere, and the reading is negative.

            ‘Well, gee, I guess you should inform all those medical professionals and common folks that use optical pyrometers to “measure” inner ear and outer skin temperatures that readings from such instruments mean NOTHING since they don’t use or reference a thermometer’

            Wow, you are such a genius. These devices have a battery powered filament that is heated to a pre-determined FIXED temperature.

            No need for a thermometer, because the temperature is already set. That is a reference “thermometer”.

            Again, this device measures NET IR between target and internal filament. A voltage gain or drop is registered based on NET IR, not incoming IR.

            Incoming IR is DERIVED. The target’s temperature is DERIVED, and you better know its emissivity for it to be accurate.

            So I reiterate:
            These remote sensing devices measure voltage gain/loss based on NET IR. That’s all they do.

            It is then YOUR philosophical interpretation that a voltage drop means the atmosphere sent “colder rays” to the device.

            In reality, we only know that the device sent NET IR to some point in the atmosphere.

            There’s a reason the 1st LoT is about a CHANGE of Internal Energy, not an absolute. There is no electronic or mechanical device that can measure absolute internal energy, only CHANGES. The rest is DERIVED.

          • Amen!!!!!!
            BTW in case I did not mention this earlier I have an experiment posted on my LinkedIn site that demonstrates how incorrect emissivity creates energy where none exists.
            An actual experiment, like, ya know, the gold standard of classical science.

          • I’ll make a special exception:

            Zoe posted (and Nick affirmed with an “Amen!!!!!!”): “Wow, you are such a genius. These devices have a battery powered filament that is heated to a pre-determined FIXED temperature.”

            There are indeed old-fashioned manual “optical pyrometers” that used a heated filament to derive the temperature of an object that was manually centered and focused in the pyrometer’s telescope. This “disappearing filament type” had very thin tungsten filaments placed in the telescopes field of view that were NOT heated to a predetermined temperature, but rather the filament current was adjusted so that the visible color of the incandescent filament matched the radiation color of the object being measured. These instruments could NOT be used at temperatures below about 1000 def-F, IIRC. From the current versus the resistivity of the filament, the temperature of the filament could be calculated, from which, by color match and AND estimate of the measured object’s emissivity the temperature of the object could be CALCULATED. (Trust me in this . . . I used such an instrument more than 40 years ago.)

            Nowadays, almost all optical pyrometers in use are based on sampling infrared radiation (still validly referred to as “optical”) but do not use a heated reference unless extreme accuracy is needed. They are generically referred to as “digital pyrometers”.

            If you are interested in being educated on the engineering and functional differences between old-style heated filament pyrometers and today’s digital pyrometers, I suggest looking at https://www.explainthatstuff.com/how-pyrometers-work.html as a start.

            Just in case you’re not that interested, and for the benefit of all readers, here is what that website has to say about digital pyrometers in summary:
            “These days, it’s more common for engineers and scientists to use entirely automatic, digital pyrometers. which are quicker and simpler, and use two different types of detectors. Some measure heat by absorbing light, so they’re essentially light detectors: semiconductor-based, light-sensitive photocells, a bit like tiny solar cells, but with filters fitted in front so they respond only to a certain band of visible, infrared, or ultraviolet radiation. By sampling radiation far outside the visible spectrum, detectors like this can measure a bigger range of temperatures than older, manual pyrometers. Other pyrometers use detectors that measure heat by absorbing heat, using such things as thermocouples and silicon thermopiles (collections of thermocouples) or thermistors (heat-sensitive resistors).”

            Note there is no mentioned of the use of a “heated reference” in these devices in order to derive temperature measurements.

            Now, you were saying something about genius . . .

          • And how are these “new” instruments calibrated?
            By comparing them to the old standards using vintage procedures?
            Maybe Apogee, Kipp Zonen and Eppley should ring in.
            The Apogee user manual warns against using emissivity incorrectly.
            And “measuring” downwelling violates LoT.
            Hope you have a good explanation, i.e. no handwavium.

          • Whatever it is needs two criteria met, a surface and proximity.
            Pointing into space has neither of these.

          • “Calibration Traceability
            Apogee Instruments SP series pyranometers are calibrated through side-by-side comparison to the mean of four Apogee model SP-110 transfer standard pyranometers (shortwave radiation reference) under high intensity discharge metal halide lamps. The transfer standard pyranometers are calibrated through side-by-side comparison to the mean of at least two ISO-classified reference pyranometers under sunlight (clear sky conditions) in Logan, Utah. Each of four ISO-classified reference pyranometers are recalibrated on an alternating year schedule (two instruments each year) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. NREL reference standards are calibrated to the World Radiometric Reference (WRR) in Davos, Switzerland.”

            What I said.

          • Nick Schroeder posted:
            “Heinlein – Lazarus Long
            So, if you can’t defend the science resort to playground insults?”

            You are right. I apologize. I should not have insulted pigs in such a fashion.

          • Gordon,
            That much detail completely misses the main point. You are using a BATTERY powered device. The colder your target, the more the battery is drained. Disagree?

            This is a no brainer, genius. You are measuring NET IR.

            It doesn’t matter if you have a fixed brightness temperature and find the difference, or adjust the brightness temperature until there is no difference, and note that offset from a known value. The two different methods are irrelevant to the main point.

          • Or traveler don’t spend a second on Earth.
            And a lot those traveling into the ocean stay for centuries.

            Or when people imagine the Sun blinking out of existence and try describe how quickly it cools, it’s days, weeks and centuries.
            Or if one down in deep mine, it would take quite before any temperature change occurs, and same being in the ocean.

            But I would say much of what measure and call global average temperature does cool quickly. And surface air on land very quick.
            Or what is part surface air is the highest air temperature during the day and no sun, means no highest day temperature. So I am I having about 100 F daytime and 75 F night, boom goes the 100 F daytime temperature, lowering average by 12.5 F. And night was as warm as 75 F, because cooling from warmer day- in a day, cools more 25 F in terms of average air.
            The ocean is quite different, it’s average temperature does swing so far in terms of night and day. And tropical ocean thick slabs of warm water.
            Anyhow roughly when sun blinks out, the further tropics [unless in deserts] the more rapid the cooling is. Even if at south pole in winter, it going to get significantly colder fairly soon, as tropical ocean engine will have been turned off.

  18. Wikipedia — that suspect source on all things climate — claims H2O vapor is responsible for 60% of the “Greenhouse Effect” and CO2 for 20%. How far off are they?

      • Willis,
        Why is day and night averaged temperature in the Sahara slightly higher than in the Congo? The Congo has latitude and slight altitude advantage !!!

        Because GH Effect theory is garbage.

      • Willis
        MODTRAN was developed to correct nadir-view satellite imagery for atmospheric absorption. For the sunlit side of the Earth, all rays are oblique except for the point at local noon. That is, the path length (slant range) is greater for the vast majority of rays other than the assumed conditions for which MODTRAN was developed and usually employed. I don’t think it is fit for purpose of calculating temperatures without some extensive modifications.

        It does provide insight on how water is more important than CO2 to warm Earth, but I don’t have confidence in the absolute values.

        • True, Clyde … but I’m using it for first-cut proportions of the size of CO2 and H20 effects. For that purpose it’s unlikely to be too far out.

          w.

        • “to warm Earth”

          That’s a non-sequitur.

          Do you also believe a sponge makes a spill wetter due to backmoisture just because a sponge absorbs water?

          • The sun warms the terrestrial surface, the heated surface warms the contiguous atmospheric molecules much like that IR heater over the checkout counters at Home Depot.

            The elliptical orbit, tilted axis and albedo control the ASR, surface temperature, seasons and climate.

            Chaos and physics control the weather.

          • Nick,
            I observe/think/feel that geothermal provides an average of somewhere between 0 to 5 degrees C worth of Kinetic Energy to the surface. The sun adds 168 W/m^2 more to the surface. Then the total diffuses into the atmosphere … plus that 172 W/m^2 directly absorbed solar by atmo.

            Anything other than this makes no sense.

          • Is this under land or under the oceans?
            The 168 is the average spread over the entire spherical surface.
            That is not even close to how it works.
            The lit side gets all the incoming heat.
            The outgoing energy leaves 24/7 its rate depending on temperature difference surf to ToA

          • That’s almost as much as ISR and more than the net ASR.
            Seems to good to be true.
            I’m not convinced.
            And using averages just obfuscates the real process.

    • Daytime too. Any body or substance radiating energy (because its average temperature is above absolute zero) does not “know” or “care” if there are external source(s) separately and simultaneously radiating energy onto it.

      By extension, energy leaves Earth independent of the amount of radiation being absorbed at a given instant in time.

      What the NET energy exchange is is a totally separate, albeit related. subject.

      • What causes energy to leave the plant?
        The temperature difference per Q=1/R A (Tsurf-Ttoa) same as the thermal resistance of an insulated house.
        To move current through an electrical resistance requires a voltage difference.
        To move fluid through a hydraulic resistance requires a pressure difference.
        To move energy, i.e. heat, through a thermal resistance (atmosphere) requires a temperature difference.
        Physics be physics.

  19. Firstly. The spectral calculations of Kiehl & Trenberth are based on the the US Standard Atmospher 76. It looks like that the blogger has no idea what it means. It means that the water content of the atmospheric model is only 50 % of the actual content. Because water is the most powerful GH gas, the LW absorption calculation is badly wrong as well as the the radiation directly emitted into space. There are much better energy balance presentations that this more than 30 years old based on the wrong atmosphere.

    Just an example of wrong conclusions: “The Earth’s surface is mostly cooled by convection, not by radiation. Most surface radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases and radiation transport becomes ineffective in cooling the surface.” Compare the magnitudes of the three following energy fluxes from the surface: LW radiation 390 W/m2, latent heating 78 W/m2, sensible heating 24 W/m2. Even these figures are not up-to-date, how can anybody claim that 78 greater than 390?

    The surface has been cooled by these three enrgy fluxes and the magnitudes are as written above. It is another point that the part of LW radiation – namely 155 W/m2 – together with latent heating and sensible heating is radiated back to the surface. This magnitude 155+91+24 = 270 is the magnitude of GH effect. Finally the Earth cooling rate is 240 W/m2 but it is not teh same as the surface cooling rate.

    • Antero Olilla: Even these figures are not up-to-date, how can anybody claim that 78 greater than 390?

      WR: 78 W/m2 disappearing from the surface as latent heat is more than 40 W/m2 of surface radiation disappearing into space. 78 is greater than 40.

      Antero Olilla: “It is another point that the part of LW radiation – namely 155 W/m2 – together with latent heating and sensible heating is radiated back to the surface. “

      WR: No part of the 78 W/m2 latent heat is radiated back to the surface. The number for latent heat is calculated by knowing total precipitation: all water that was precipitating has to be evaporated. It is a net loss of surface energy by evaporation. Kiehl-Trenberth: “From conservation of water mass the latent heat flux is equal to the global mean rate of precipitation”.

      The same for the 24 W/m2 for conduction/sensible heating: nothing of those 24 W/m2 comes back, it is a net heat loss. Kiehl-Trenberth: The remaining heat flux into the atmosphere from sensible heat is deduced as a residual from the condition of the global energy balance at the surface, SW – LW – LH – SH = 0.”

      • TL;DR Version

        Surface energy gain ≈ one half kilowatt per square metre as a 24/7 global average
        of which:
              ~ 170 W/m2 is shortwave (solar)
              ~ 330 W/m2 is longwave (thermal infrared from atmosphere)

        Surface energy loss ≈ one half kilowatt per square metre as a 24/7 global average
        of which:
              ~ 110 W/m2 is sensible and latent heat loss to the atmosphere
              ~ 390 W/m2 is longwave (thermal infrared from surface)

        Now Wim, you like to subtract one from the other … the problem is that if you subtract the surface energy gains from the surface energy losses, you conclude that there is no energy flowing through the system …

        And the issue is this—those are real and separate energy flows. They are different physical entities that exist in the real world.

        You want to ignore those actual physical flows and replace them with a totally imaginary flow, one that is NOT a physical entity existing in the real world.

        And when you do that, you’ve left the real world and anything is possible.

        Finally, you claim you are only interested in solar energy … but you say:

        Surface temperatures result from the energy flux absorbed and released by the surface.

        Energy flux. Not solar flux. Energy flux.

        w.

        • Willis, I think my analogy at Wim Röst September 16, 2020 at 12:18 am explains why I am only concentrating on the solar energy flux of 168 W/m2 absorbed by the surface. I know many more fluxes are going around but what is absorbed by the surface has to leave the Earth. And because only 40 W/m2 leaves by radiation from the surface straight into space, all the rest of the ‘energy in’ (128 W/m2) first has to travel to the elevations from where it can be radiated into space: on average from 5 km.

          As the link ‘few meters’ below figure 3 in the post shows surface radiation does not perform much of the upward transport to 5 km. From the link:
          Robert G. Brown: “Either way, CO_2 doesn’t “scatter” LWIR radiation, it absorbs it (typically within a few meters, the mean free path at atmospheric concentrations) and the energy is almost instantly transferred to the surrounding air.”

          Convection is the other option for the transport upward to (on average) 5 km. In case I am missing some way of upward transport I would like to know which upward transport takes place from where and how much energy is involved. If no one knows, convection remains the only other option.

          • Wim, this is the problem with dealing with and imaginary energy flow and ignoring the real flows.

            The main way that energy gets up into the atmosphere is by radiation and thence by re-radiation. You know, the real energy flow you are ignoring.

            w.

          • Willis: “The main way that energy gets up into the atmosphere is by radiation and thence by re-radiation.”

            WR: As long as convective transport remains as hidden as it is until now (not quantified well) it could be the main way of upward transport. 390 W/m2 of surface emission is going upward but 324 W/m2 instantly returns and 26 W/m2 gets absorbed and is thermalized close to the surface. The latent heat in water vapor (78W/m2 and all of the thermalized energy has to be transported upwards. Latent heat cannot be ‘radiated upward’ but has to be transported upward by convection. Thermal energy is the other motor for convection and is not left behind when latent heat is transported upward. Convective transport is creating weather 24/7/365. It should be huge.

            What are the real numbers for convective upward energy transport? Without knowing them all assumptions about the relative role of radiation in the upward transport of energy through a greenhouse atmosphere are only assumptions.

          • @ Wim Röst
            “What are the real numbers for convective upward energy transport?”

            Global average precipitation = 1 meter H2O per year
            Evaporative heat of H2O at 20 C = 2,453.5 J/kg

            Evaporation = precipitation (what goes up must come down) =
            1 m/y = 2.74 mm/day = 2.74 l/m2.day = 2.74 kg/m2.day = 0.0317 g/m2.s
            Global evaporative heat per m2 = 0.0317 x 2,453.5 = 77.8 W/m2

          • Wim, I have no disagreement with Willis and Frans nearby in their replies. But I would note just as an example that an individual thunderstorm with a 1-inch-per hour rate of rainfall implies upward heat delivery of about 17,600 W/m^2, taking only the vapor-to-liquid heat of condensation into account. Cloud tops and radar returns indicating precipitation can be at very high altitudes, often >10 km. So my point is that the global average of about 1 meter of precipitation includes a huge number of localized high-power convective events. There are about 1.4 billion lightning discharges per year globally, every one of which indicates strong convective weather.

          • Thanks. I know Willis is very aware of the importance of convective processes.

            By this post I want to emphasize that surface energy that is not radiated straight into space has to be brought to elevations needed for emission to space: about 5 km. Convection has a 100% role for the upward transport of latent heat and a partial role for upward transport of sensible heat. I am missing the right and complete comparison between radiation and convection in the transport of surface energy to that height of 5 km.

            Perhaps it is better to say that when 168 W/m2 constantly is added to the surface the same amount has to be radiated into space to prevent a rise in surface temperatures. As only 40 W/m2 is radiated directly from surface to space, the other 128 W/m2 has to be brought to the average elevation from where atmospheric radiation to space takes place: an elevation of 5 km. In this process the role of convection is crucial. And therefore convection is crucial for surface temperatures and should be studied better. And by more people than just Willis.

          • Wim Röst September 16, 2020 at 12:31 pm

            Thanks. I know Willis is very aware of the importance of convective processes.

            By this post I want to emphasize that surface energy that is not radiated straight into space has to be brought to elevations needed for emission to space: about 5 km. Convection has a 100% role for the upward transport of latent heat and a partial role for upward transport of sensible heat. I am missing the right and complete comparison between radiation and convection in the transport of surface energy to that height of 5 km.

            ACTUAL LOSSES FROM THE SURFACE:

            Sensible Heat ≈ 20 W/m2

            Latent Heat ≈ 80 W/m2

            Radiated Energy ≈ 400 W/m2
            of which 10% (40 W/m2) goes directly to space

            Now, as you point out, this energy can be calculated as radiating at a theoretical “emission altitude”. But in fact, of course, this is just a mathematical construct. It’s radiating at all altitudes.

            For example, we know that the downwelling longwave radiation at the surface is about 345 W/m2 (CERES data). This corresponds to a temperature of about 6°. Using the US Standard Atmosphere this is a theoretical radiation altitude of about 1,400 metres.

            On the other hand, upwelling longwave at the top of the atmosphere is about 200 W/m2. As you point out, this corresponds to an elevation of about 7 km, varying by latitude.

            I fear I don’t understand the problem. Radiation leaving the surface is absorbed, re-radiated and radiated into space by the atmosphere at all levels, not just one.

            w.

          • Frans, once more: thanks, it is a good start.

            At least part of the thermalized energy from the surface could be added. Warm air is taken upwards by convection and warm air in itself is a driver for convection. Probably evaporating falling rain also will add some W/m2 to the numbers above.

            Of course the total number for direct convective upward energy transport is not all. Convection often causes surface cooling in an indirect way. For example the existence of the Hadley cells depends on convection. By convection air is dried high in the air and transported to higher latitudes where it descends over the subtropics, enabling more outward radiation in the dry descending air: a by-effect of convection in favor of radiative cooling.

            On the mid-latitudes the warmer humid air is one half of the system of fronts: in combination with cold and dry air from the North / Greenland massive low pressure areas are formed, transporting lots of surface energy to the top of the troposphere (which is found at lower elevations than in the tropics).

            More indirect surface cooling depends on convection. Think about clouds. Surface cooling in a greenhouse atmosphere depends in many ways on convection.

            I have to add that radiation plays a role at all elevations and more in dry and cold air. But when air is warming and becomes more humid convection is enlarging its share in total surface cooling. When we would calculate all direct and indirect effects of convective cooling in a greenhouse atmosphere I think we will be astonished by the dependency of surface cooling on the system of convection.

          • A comment on figure 2.

            As one moves to the left the non-radiative processes perform a lesser role transferring the absorbed heat and radiation picks up a greater role.

            Which it fulfills by increasing the surface temperature.

            When the contiguous kinetic energy heat transfer stops (vacuum) the surface radiates ALL the absorbed energy at maximum surface temperature as a BB.

            As demonstrated through experiment, the gold standard of science.
            https://www.linkedin.com/posts/nicholas-schroeder-55934820_climatechange-globalwarming-carbondioxide-activity-6655639704802852864-_5jW

            Plus the surface is cooled by the non-radiative atmospheric heat transfer processes not warmed.

          • Can I play please?
            Let’s start with the “Global average precipitation = 1 meter H2O per year”
            That means that 1 tonne of water per square metre is delivered to the surface of the Earth per year.
            Or as a per second rate (in small numbers) 0.031688 g/s/sq metre
            Not very much water. But that water is falling from an average height of 5,000 metres (half the thickness of the troposphere).
            So, the potential energy (mass*gravity*height) being released by this falling mass of water is 3.1668*10^-5 * 9.81 * 5000 =1.55 Watts/sq metre
            OK that is not a very big number so we can ignore it – right?
            Well no, because the mass of water being carried aloft by convection was only 1.8% of the air mass for a 16deg C air with a vapour pressure of 1.8 KPa
            Now that remaining 99.5 kpa mass of air must return to the surface also and in doing so it delivers 85 W/sq m of kinetic energy back at ground level at the completion of the convective overturning cycle.

          • In reaction to Willis Eschenbach September 16, 2020 at 2:19 pm :

            Willis, thanks for the question.

            About the relative role of convection and radiation in the upward transport of surface absorbed energy the following. There are two ways to derive a number.
            1. If exactly is known how radiation propagates through the horizontal layers of the atmosphere a number for the speed of transport by radiation could be derived. The efficiency of upward energy transport by the main greenhouse gases plays an important role. I have seen a preprint of a paper by Prof. van Wijngaarden and Prof. Happer about the Relative Potency of Greenhouse Molecules. The paper was too technical for me to understand everything, but I can ask for you for the most recent version.

            David Evans made an interesting figure for the average height different greenhouse gases emit to space: http://joannenova.com.au/2015/10/new-science-14-emission-layers-which-pipe-is-the-biggest/

            2. Second method: by calculating the energy transport by convection. Latent heat cannot be transported by radiation and convection of latent heat implies transport of thermalized energy in air. Antero Olilla already came with a number: see Antero Ollila September 16, 2020 at 9:46 am

            Of course the combination of both ways to know the relative role and relative importance of both processes would be best.

            The faster surface absorbed energy will disappear from the surface / from the Earth, the lower temperatures at the surface respectively the Earth will be. So the delay in heat loss is of importance.

            Convection gives a kind of shortcut for surface heat loss. As you already have shown convection is playing a key role in the control of surface temperatures. Knowing more about the speed of energy loss from the surface (for different latitudes and for different elevations) by radiation and knowing better the relative role of convection in surface heat loss will make us understand how the temperature regulation mechanisms of the Earth perform. As I tried to show in figure 3: the higher the concentration of greenhouse gases the more important the role of convection. Knowing more exactly how much of the daily ‘import’ (absorption) of solar energy is brought by convection to the elevations needed for emission will show the importance of convection in the ‘speed of daily heat loss’. From the elevation where definite emission to space takes place the loss by radiation is ‘instantly’. It is the long duration of the process of energy transport from the moment of absorption of solar energy by the surface to reaching ‘emission level’ that delays the heat loss and that accumulates energy at the surface and in the lower atmosphere.

            The delay in heat loss (by greenhouse gas absorption and following thermalization) is warming the surface. Changes in the speed of heat loss (here by convection*) determine to a great extent the rise / fall of temperatures at the Earth’s surface.

            How important is the role of convection in the speed of the loss of surface absorbed energy? How much delay is caused by a ‘stepwise’ upward radiation and how much by the duration of the process of convective heat loss?

            * Other processes also play a role. For example, the redistribution of absorbed energy over latitudes by oceans and by pressure/wind systems is very important too. All processes have their own time scale and their own role in ‘the delay’. The presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is just the first step in understanding warming/cooling. It is the dynamics of all kinds of processes that must be known. You were perfectly right to point to the importance of convection. For now is interesting the relative importance of convection in the process of surface energy loss.

          • –Global average precipitation = 1 meter H2O per year
            Evaporative heat of H2O at 20 C = 2,453.5 J/kg–

            Why 20 C and why 2,453.5 J/kg
            “Specific heat water vapor: 1.996 kJ/kgK”
            https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/water-thermal-properties-d_162.html#:~:text=Specific%20heat%20water%20vapor%3A%201.996,3%20%3D%2062.43%20lbf%2Fft
            So, 1996 J/kg per K.
            Or 26 C water vapor cooling by 10 K is 19960 J/kg
            If assume lapse rate of 6.5 C per 1 km, if water vapor rise by 1000 meter it cools by 6.5 K, when condense, you have different bin for latent heat, but came from the warmer surface water of tropical ocean which averages 26 C.

          • @ Philip Mulholland
            “Can I play please?”

            Game on.
            On average, an H2O molecule landing as precipitation on the earth’s surface has evaporated from the surface 9 days before (*). It gains potential energy as water vapor on its rise to cloud level and it loses the same amount of potential energy as precipitation on its way down to earth. After falling in the ocean, the precipitation warms up slightly to the ocean surface temperature. At that point the situation is the same as when the H2O evaporated from the surface 9 days before. There is no gain, nor loss of potential energy of the evaporated water, nor of the surrounding atmosphere.

            (*)
            The average water column in the atmosphere amounts 25 mm (www.usgs.gov).
            Average precipitation is 1 m/y = 2.74 mm/day.
            Average residence time of H2O in the atmosphere is therefore 25 / 2.74 = 9.1 days.

          • Hi Frans

            Nice return of serve.
            This is about a delivery process.
            You send me a parcel, I receive that parcel, but the delivery is clearly at a different place, typically at the top of a mountain – orthographic rainfall, and at a significant time delay – 9 days. In their diagram K&T subtract Evapo-transpiration from the surface as a cooling loss of 80 W/m^2. No problem – I agree, but they then disguise the absolutely necessary return process – which as you say is net neutral – as a fake Back Radiation process.

            As Wim clearly states, it is impossible for latent heat to be carried as radiation process, it is a mass motion process. So, water mass must be conserved also. The momentum changes alone when descending air reaches the ground in down-drafts tells us that vertical movement of mass transported energy is involved here.

            Convection overturn is not a radiation process. To follow the logic, if 80 units go up, then 80 units must come back down. You mention delay – 9 days – Fine, but that is a lot of energy stored up in the atmosphere.
            That the K & T diagram obfuscates is the politest explanation I can use.

          • Philip Mulholland: “To follow the logic, if 80 units go up, then 80 units must come back down.”

            WR: When 80 units go up as latent heat, that latent heat is freed when condensation takes place: the heat of condensation warms the air. At those higher elevations radiation is more effective in reaching space. Not 10% (as would have happened with the same radiation from the surface) but for example 30% (24 units) will reach space. So only 80 – 24 = 56 units are left in the air and are able to return to the surface.

            If (without convection) the 80 units of energy would have stayed at the surface and would have been radiated again only 10% (8 units) would have reached space.

            The abundance of water vapor at surface level prohibits 90% of all radiation to reach space in case (re-)radiation takes place from the surface. Therefore surface energy has to be brought to higher elevations to make cooling by radiation more effective.

            Convection enhances surface cooling.

          • “Convection enhances surface cooling.”
            Wim

            I agree. The issue I am focusing on is not Latent Heat, but the process of convection overturn and how to measure it. The average amount rainfall per year gives us a good handle on this process. The water was carried up by the air as a small percentage of the total air mass in motion. It can be and is argued that all things being equal the rain falls back at the same place. So no overall effect.
            However the system has a delay of 9.1 days (Frans number) this delay is crucial – any delay in the system necessarily stores energy. It is the slow response time of the atmospheric mass motion process that causes the “greenhouse ” effect.

          • @ Philip Mulholland
            “Convection overturn is not a radiation process.”

            @ Wim Röst
            @ Willis Eschenbach

            Can anybody tell or show me how – in what physical way – the latent heat is released when the water vapor condenses at cloud level? Does the vapor lose kinetic energy by collisions with surrounding air molecules, or does it shed its latent heat by emitting IR photons – or both? At higher altitudes with reduced air density, it’s less obvious that the latent heat is fully transferred by molecular collisions. The Kiehl-Trenberth diagram shows upward IR radiation of 30 W/m2 emitted by clouds. Is latent heat the origin of this radiation? Is an equal amount of 30 W/m2 emitted downward by clouds?

          • “Can anybody tell or show me how – in what physical way – the latent heat is released when the water vapor condenses at cloud level? ”

            Frans,
            Maybe I have the advantage of doing calorific experiments in A-level physics at school in the 1960s.
            Latent heat involves change of state (vapour to liquid water or liquid water to solid ice) without any change in temperature of the mixture.
            So when vapour condenses to liquid droplets the water droplets do not change temperature while this is happening, in effect their temperature is buffered. In an ascending air mass, as the air cools by adiabatic expansion, the latent heat released by the condensation process counters the drop in temperature caused by the ascent of the air. The moist air cools at a lower rate as it rises in the gravity field (gaining potential energy). This is why a moist air adiabat (5.5 deg C per kilometer) is lower than that of dry air (9.767 deg C per kilometer).
            https://en.mimi.hu/meteorology/moist_adiabat.html
            https://en.mimi.hu/meteorology/dry_adiabat.html

          • “Does the vapor lose kinetic energy by collisions with surrounding air molecules, or does it shed its latent heat by emitting IR photons – or both?”
            Frans,
            The process of latent heat release as vapor condenses (or water freezes) occurs in a rising air mass, so you need to add to your possibilities the actuality of potential energy gain as the air mass rises in the gravity field. Remember too that potential energy gain is a non radiative process.

          • @ Philip Mulholland

            Thanks.
            I’m looking for more (and free) information on this phenomenon:
            “Changes of energetic behaviors of water molecules during phase transitions are linked to the direct emission of infrared radiation.”
            https://www.amazon.de/Phase-Transition-Radiation-Water-Fundamental-Approach/dp/3659205141

            It’s interesting. The energy of IR back radiation at the surface (e.g. from enhanced CO2) enhances ocean water evaporation and convects upwards as latent heat, to be released when condensing at about 5 km altitude in the shape of IR radiation. From there it can escape to space (at least in part) without having warmed up anything at all.

          • “The energy of IR back radiation…”

            What energy?

            No BB “extra” energy upwelling from the surface mean no downwelling “back” radiation.

          • ” From there it can escape to space (at least in part) without having warmed up anything at all”

            Frans,
            Part of what you say is correct ” From there it can escape to space”
            but this is not correct “without having warmed up anything at all”
            It is not about warming per se, the issue is energy transfer and storage.

            To understand my point please look at the meteorological concept of Potential Temperature https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potential_temperature
            The air lifted aloft from the surface to the tropopause is cold at altitude typically -50C
            However this air now possesses a huge quantity of Potential Temperature. Ask an aircraft engineer why it is necessary to cool the outside air when it is pressurised inside the cabin of a jet airliner when the aircraft is flying at an altitude of say 10 km.

            Potential Temperature is a measure of the store of energy that the air at altitude contains. This energy can be radiated away to space by the action of flexure within the air mass (ice crystals, dust grains and poly-atomic molecules), and this slow radiative process is responsible for the large surface area footprint of descending air high pressure systems compared with the small surface area footprint of ascending air low pressure storms.

          • Handwavium.

            The potential temperature theoretical concept is constrained by requiring an adiabatic process, i.e an isolated system, no energy enters or leaves.

            The atmosphere is an open system with free movement of both mass and energy.

            The atmosphere is -40 C/F at 10 km. Flew in a leaky twin engine Beechcraft over the Rockies. The cabin needed heating not cooling. Was glad I brought a warm jacket.

        • –Philip Mulholland September 18, 2020 at 4:32 am

          “So when vapour condenses to liquid droplets the water droplets do not change temperature while this is happening, in effect their temperature is buffered.–

          I would say they can’t change temperature. Or kind of wrong to say it, but it’s a “force” that maintains temperature.
          Water is always evaporating AND condensing. And it’s balanced when partial pressure of water gas is high enough which is dependent the temperature of the air {amount kinetic energy of air}. Balanced meaning equal amount evaporating and condensing- not gain water in liquid state vs water in gas state, within say cubic meter of volume of atmosphere which will trillions of molecules of H20 and say thousands becoming gas and becoming liquid in a second of time- a chaotic thing which roughly balances.
          So one can tiny droplet of say 1000 molecule of liquid water- which more “unstable” than say less tiny droplet of 1 million molecules of water. And if tiny speck of dust {or salt particle] that “helps” in terms condensation- and marine surface environment is a fog of salt particles and other chemicals [it “smells like ocean”- though suppose in sterile vastness ocean doesn’t smell as much as in coastal regions- but still has salt}.

    • “LW radiation 390 W/m2, latent heating 78 W/m2, sensible heating 24 W/m2. Even these figures are not up-to-date, how can anybody claim that 78 greater than 390?”

      What is 390, mostly. The temperature is of the surface of ocean, which is 70% of the entire earth surface. And that ocean surface average about 17 C. And the average surface air temperature of 30% of planet surface which the land area averages about 10 C. And 80% of tropics is ocean, and tropic ocean is heat engine of the world and has average surface temperature of about 26 C.

  20. Philip Mulholland September 15, 2020 at 11:16 am
    “Please tell me what actually allows energy to leave the planet”
    Nighttime.
    ——————
    Brilliant. So particles of nighttime are blackbody or grey body radiators? What is the altitude of nighttime particles where they radiate

    The only things that can balance the energy from the sun by radiating to space are GHGs, Clouds, solid objects like ground.

    • The correct terminology is “radiative” gases.

      The only gas that acts remotely like a greenhouse, in altering convection, is H2O.

      The original naming of “GHG” , way back, was due to a misunderstanding of the atmospheric physics.

      Science needs correcting.

  21. People seem to believe the sun delivers photons, and then the Earth spits them ALL out.

    Do those solar photons add to KINETIC energy, i.e. molecular motion? or not? Is that motion not the spending of photonic energy in real time? So what is left to be emitted? Why would anything be emitted to space? (Ignore satellite measurements. Satellites are matter. They can receive photons)

    If you move a chair 1 meter across, is it supposed to go back 1 meter by itself? You’re the photons, the movement is your work.

    If you can prove the chair moves back, then I’ll believe Earth actually emits ~240 W/m^2 to space, and space only (not moon or satellites).

    Until then, think!

  22. [[The energy budget for the surface is different from Earth’s energy budget. A look at the surface energy budget reveals that radiation is not the main factor in cooling the surface. The dominant factor in surface cooling is convection, responsible for the removal of more than three quarters of the surface’s energy. ]]

    Funny, but that’s what the first critics of G.S. Callendar’s CO2 radiation-driven Earth surface heating theory observed back in 1938:

    “The temperature distribution of the atmosphere was determined almost entirely by the
    movement of the air up and down. This forced the atmosphere into a temperature distribution which was quite out of balance with the radiation.” – https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/06/29/peer-review-comments-on-callendar-1938/

    Too bad, the leftist-run U.N. IPCC has no interest in real science, only in framing CO2 emissions as evil so they can get governments to force the shutdown of the fossil fuel industry that is the engine driving capitalism to pave the way for mass poverty, starvation, anarchy, and finally global Marxism.

    To fool the public, plus a number of kept useful idiot scientists, they push the narrative that the Sun alone can’t keep the Earth from freezing, and that only atmospheric CO2 saves us, but at the same time it’s at a dangerous tipping point threatening climate Armageddon if the CO2 emissions aren’t completely shut off now. This is pure moose hockey, because atmospheric CO2 can’t melt an ice cube with its 15 micron absorption/wavelength that is the same as -80C dry ice and can’t even interfere with Earth’s surface temperature range of -50C to +50C.

    Yes, some of the heat deposited on Earth’s surface by solar radiation radiates harmlessly to space, but most of it conducts to the air in contact with it then slowly convects toward space, wasting most of its energy to convert heat to work as it expands against the decreasing pressure, generating winds and weather. The Earth’s atmosphere isn’t a greenhouse but a gigantic chimney that’s also a Carnot heat engine that uses solar heat as fuel to drive our weather system. And I’m not even mentioning clouds which use the almost magical powers of water to keep Earth surface temperatures livable, but are more likely to force runaway cooling AKA ice ages than runaway heating.

    Nobody interested in the Earth climate field can afford to ignore the fatal-80C problem with the IPCC’s fake physics CO2 warming hoax. Here’s my essay explaining all the details, furnishing an education in radiative physics. I wish the general public would catch on and laugh the IPCC octopus into oblivion, but unfortunately they control the media and use their great power to spread lies while suppressing the simple fatal truth that should be the end to their whole circus. I wish that one of the duped billionaires like Bill Gates would happen on this message and write a check for a billion or two to pay for the big lie about CO2 to be preached throughout the world.

    http://www.historyscoper.com/thebiglieaboutco2.html

  23. “The Earth’s surface is mostly cooled by convection, not by radiation. “
    Silly and pointless distinctions are being made here. In fact the dominant mode of heat transfer near the surface is advection due to wind shear, and the associated turbulence. That dominates over a vertical scale of up to hundreds of meters, and of course induces fluxes both ways. It keeps the temperature reasonably uniform locally. But it doesn’t move heat very far vertically.

    The Trenberth diagram is all about how the heat comes in from space, and gets out again. Turbulent heat transfer, because of the short scale, isn’t a big factor here. Thermal convection works over a somewhat longer scale, and so gets a mention. But on the scales important to the heat budget, radiation dominates, and then latent heat transfer.

    • Nick Stokes: “But on the scales important to the heat budget, radiation dominates, and then latent heat transfer”

      WR: How is sensible and latent heat from the surface transported to the average height of 5 km needed for emission to space while the lower atmosphere is opaque for nearly all radiation?

      • There is nothing special about 5 km. The atmosphere doesn’t suddenly become transparent there. And it wasn’t opaque below. Some IR bands pass with little absorption; with others there is absorption and re-emission. That impedes transport, but doesn’t prevent it.

        • “There is nothing special about 5 km.”
          Or any elevation higher
          It seems sea level is pretty special.
          Also what going on near ocean floor is important.

        • Nick Stokes: “There is nothing special about 5 km”.

          WR: The special thing about 5 km is that it is the average elevation from where radiation into space has to take place. This implies that in some way surface energy has to be transported to [on average] 5 km.

          If it is not by convection, how does that upward transport takes place? And where is it shown?

    • Sorry Nick, but the main movement of energy in the atmosphere is by air movement. That includes winds, and convection

      Convection isn’t just a small parcel of air, it moves the whole column of air above it.

      The energy transfer is enormous.

      Analysis of balloon data proves that the air remains in thermodynamic equilibrium except for the effect of H2O during the day, and that equilibrium is controlled by the molecular density, ie atmospheric pressure.

  24. “LW radiation 390 W/m2, latent heating 78 W/m2, sensible heating 24 W/m2. Even these figures are not up-to-date, how can anybody claim that 78 greater than 390?”

    What is 390, mostly. The temperature is of the surface of ocean, which is 70% of the entire earth surface. And that ocean surface average about 17 C. And the average surface air temperature of 30% of planet surface which the land area averages about 10 C. And 80% of tropics is ocean, and tropic ocean is heat engine of the world and has average surface temperature of about 26 C.

  25. TL;DR Version

    Surface energy gain ≈ one half kilowatt per square metre as a 24/7 global average
    of which:
          ~ 170 W/m2 is shortwave (solar)
          ~ 330 W/m2 is longwave (thermal infrared from atmosphere)

    Surface energy loss ≈ one half kilowatt per square metre as a 24/7 global average
    of which:
          ~ 110 W/m2 is sensible and latent heat loss to the atmosphere
          ~ 390 W/m2 is longwave (thermal infrared from surface)

    Now Wim, you like to subtract one from the other … the problem is that if you subtract the surface energy gains from the surface energy losses, you conclude that there is no energy flowing through the system …

    And the issue is this—those are real and separate energy flows. They are different physical entities that exist in the real world.

    You want to ignore those actual physical flows and replace them with a totally imaginary flow, one that is NOT a physical entity existing in the real world.

    And when you do that, you’ve left the real world and anything is possible.

    Finally, you claim you are only interested in solar energy … but you say:

    Surface temperatures result from the energy flux absorbed and released by the surface.

    Energy flux. Not solar flux. Energy flux.

    w.

  26. “The energy budget for the surface is different from Earth’s energy budget. A look at the surface energy budget reveals that radiation is not the main factor in cooling the surface. The dominant factor in surface cooling is convection, responsible for the removal of more than three quarters of the surface’s energy.”

    Which makes upwelling surface LWIR emissivity .25 not .95.

    • No matter how many times it is pointed out to you, Nick, you keep getting the concept of emissivity completely wrong. It’s one of the most basic concepts in heat transfer, and you don’t understand it AT ALL!

  27. A comment on the Kiehl-Trenberth energy budget. It’s one of the reasons I got interested in climate. Here it is:

    I looked at it and I thought “that’s not possible—up and down radiation have to be about equal”. And when I analyzed it, I also realized that a single-layer greenhouse couldn’t represent earth—not enough energy gathered to allow for the heating plus the losses. So I calculated my own energy budget, one which avoids those problems.

    Note that unlike the K/T budget above, in my energy budget, at all levels the amount of energy absorbed equals that emitted, and the amount radiated upwards equals that radiated downwards.

    My best to all … and if you are among those who can’t explain in detail why a single-layer greenhouse is unable to model the earth, perhaps you might dial back a bit on your certainty about these questions.

    w.

    • 29 seems like a lot reflected light from surface.
      The most amount sunlight reaching surface is during peak solar hours and ocean not reflecting much sunlight during that time.
      I have seen much in terms tropical zone energy budgets and never seen one for tropical ocean.

      • CERES puts the global average reflected sunlight at 23 W/m2.

        It also puts the tropical ocean reflected sunlight at 43 W/m2.

        w.

        • so reflected sunlight which is leaving earth from the surface {and I assume mostly at low angle? – therefore traveling thru a huge amount of Earth’s atmosphere]

      • Yep. 29 W/m^2 reflected from Earth’s surface plus 76 W/m^2 reflected by “clouds, aerosols & atmosphere” = 105 W/m^2. Divide that by Willis’ incoming 342 W/m^2 (an unexplained slight increase above the generally-accepted value of 341.3 W/m^2 that K-T uses) and Earth’s overall average albedo magically becomes 0.307, which is higher than the scientific, commonly-accepted value of 0.30.

        Think this difference doesn’t matter? It is a difference of 2.3%. In comparison, the K-T diagram—and even Willis’ modification of such—is tracking fluxes to the nearest 1 W/m^2 out of the largest single value of 341 (Willis’ value of 341) . . . implying a necessary precision of 1/341 = 0.3%. That’s an 8:1 difference, and it REALLY MATTERS!

        • I have some albedo trends from http://www.climatedata.info.

          Average isn’t even close to representing what actually happens.

          Albedo is very low around the equator and very high around the poles.

          Hmm, wonder why that is?

          A monthly trend barely exceeded 0.25 and fell as low as .15.

          Averages are for fools and simpletons!

    • I agree with you that the 1 layer model is not enough. You need 2 layers for the funny GHE math to boost from 168 to 392.

      There is still a loop of unknown origin, however.

      Is the backradiation created from geothermal, or from that 169 of the sun trying to escape?

      Geothermal makes more sense. Even Fourier thought geothermal could melt ice cubes (average location).

      • –Is the backradiation created from geothermal, or from that 169 of the sun trying to escape?–
        Geothermal is actually energy that can do work.
        Geothermal: 1
        backradiation: 0

  28. The idea of this blog is not according to the physical reality. The surface receives about 510 W/m2 energy and because the surface temperature is almost stable and constant, it means that the same amount of energy is cooling the surface. It is that simple. I am wondering why WUWT publishes this kind of rubbish.

    • Antero, you mistake the purpose of WUWT. It is not to only publish validated, verified ideas.

      Instead, it functions as a public peer review of all types of papers, good and bad. In this instance, it allows people to understand exactly why Wim’s ideas are not generally accepted.

      w.

      • One can also learn by listening to an experienced/qualified teacher . . . or several. I have found many such teachers here at WUWT and have learned much from them.

        • Gordon
          Army Training Manual 101
          Tell em – They listen and forget,
          Show em – They see and remember,
          Make em do it – They learn and understand.

          (OK, I crafted this from memory, but it is pretty close to the original I heard many years ago)

          • Phillip,
            Having to remember something verbatim is not the same as learning.

            Memorization is helpful in dealing with life, but of far greater importance is gaining knowledge of principles such as logic, inductive and deductive reasoning, the scientific method, mathematics (particularly algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus; as well as interpolation and extrapolation and how to read and construct various types of graphs), physics (at least the basics across a wide range of disciplines), the art of effective communication (in speaking and writing), the appreciation of history (you know, those that don’t learn its lessons are doomed to repeat them), and what many of the greatest past and present philosophers have observed and/or mused over.

            I have undoubtedly left out many other significant things that one learns in high school and college . . . these are just the most significant that I could summarize quickly from my own experience.

            And please note that, in regards to the greatly-simplistic Army manual that you summarized, some—but not all—of school/college education does involve “showing them” and “making them do it”: these activities are generally referred to as “classroom presentations/demonstrations” and “lab work/homework”, respectively.

            To answer the exact question that you asked:
            1) Time passes, plus
            2) The human brain parses inputs on both short-term and long-term priority bases, and tend to discard inputs it considers as basically “junk”, plus
            3) The human mind is not infallible.

            All above IMHO.

    • Antero Ollila, for you the same question as I posed elsewhere: how big is the role of convection in the upward transport of surface energy to the elevations needed for direct radiation to space? What is the physical reality of convection? Please in exact numbers.

      • Sensible heat is convection type of heat transfer and the best estimate I know is 24 W/m2. Latent heating is a combinations of convection and the heat release of latent energy, and the best estimate is 91 W/m2. Without convection, lantent heat would not rise up from the surface. It is a matter of definition. If I say that it is totally convection, it is incorrect, because the main role is by the latent heat. So, I would call it latent heating and not convection heat transfer.

        • Thanks Antero. I understand that the 91 W/m2 is a combination of the effect of the sensible heat of 24 W/m2 and latent energy (in this post 78 W/m2 – Kiehl Trenberth).

          If correct, one more question. What about the 26 W/m2 absorbed radiation as shown in figure 2 of this post? Is it involved in the 91 W/m2 mentioned? If not, shouldn’t it be added? All sensible heat has a convective effect.

  29. Backradiation at 324W/m^2?
    The atmosphere is average 255K/-18C, the maximum emission of a perfectly emitting blackbody at 255K is ~240W/m^2. Only an idiot would claim that a gas at -18C emits 80W/m^2 MORE than a blackbody.

    The errors in the greenhouse hypothesis is amazing.

    • Very true, but it seems there are lots of idiots out there who are prepared to believe this unphysical stuff that does not even withstand the test of common sense or daily experience.

      One of the problems with the Kiehl/Trenberth diagram is that, while some of the figures are actual heat flows in w/m2, the figures for radiation from the earth and backradiation are not. They are measures of what you might call a flux field, which are derived from temperature readings, and give an indication of potential heat flows, not actual flows, which are determined by the difference in temperature between the radiative sources. And as we know, while radiation may pass both ways between them, the net heat flow is only ever in the direction of from warmer to cooler.

      The key figure therefore is the difference between surface radiation and backradiation, which is a positive number because THE SURFACE WARMS THE ATMOSPHERE, AND NOT VICE VERSA. I wish these freaks would learn to understand this simple fact. Then we would not have to listen to the insane babbling of people claiming that “man’s emissions are warming the oceans”.

      KT have muddied (deliberately?) the water here by including in their diagram the text “Absorbed by surface” beside the figure for Back Radiation. This is misleading, because there is no heat absorption, it’s a one way street the other way.

      The other key point is that the figures are misleading, because we know what 300+ watts feels like. I’ve got electric heaters, and infra-red lamps in my bathroom. I know exactly how many watts of heat they produce, because I can measure volts and amps in the supply and multiply them. And they heat us because they are at a higher temperature than our bodies at 37C. And if the ground were actually pumping out 390w/m2 in the middle of the night at 15C, we’d notice it.

      So it’s not surprising that this subject causes a lot of confusion. Anyone knows that direct sunlight provides a great deal more heat than the atmosphere, which is why people like to strip off on the beach in lower latitudes on holiday, rather than standing naked in their backyard on a wet day in Manchester. But according to the K/T diagram, it looks like we get almost twice as much heat from the air than from the sun.

      Everybody who’s ever been outside knows that’s b***s**t.

      • You make sense. It’s the same with the earth absorbing about 170w/m**2 and radiating about 390w/m**2 along with about 100w/m**2 of sensible and latent heat.

        I just can’t get my head around these figures!

      • Farquhar, in trying to imagine ‘what happens where’, your “flux field” helps. It is easy to imagine such a field of radiation depending on temperature. As soon as surface energy warms greenhouse air above the surface, such a flux field will exist. And the experience of such a flux field (by experiencing a certain temperature) is quite different from the experience of being warmed by Sun rays. Sunlight is different because we can experience Sunlight as going from A to B. Quite different from the general experience of warming from all sides ‘in a field’.

        There is another problem with adding the two fluxes LW and SW. Their effects on the surface often are quite different. Sun rays are entering deeply in clear oceans leaving some energy even at depths of 100-200m, but LW radiation does not penetrate deeper than 0.01 mm or so. Another difference is that SW is concentrated on 12 of the 24 hours, while LW radiation is a 24 hour flux for all locations on Earth. SW is depending on season and latitude, LW just on temperature. For climate the two fluxes must have quite different consequences.

        I never have a problem with ‘physical forces’ that each have clear characteristics. But I always have problems with ‘forcings’ represented by just a number while I don’t know the physical effects of that number when used in combinations and/or calculations. One 10 W/m2 is quite different in its climatic effect from another 10 W/m2.

    • I’ll try to diagram this with text:

      Height of stack represents energy. 3 Stacks represent 3 spots.

      Conservation of Energy:
      A B C
      A B C
      A,B,C

      All equal

      Conservation of Heat Flow:
      A
      A B
      A,B,C

      Stack B-C = Stack A-B

      – – –
      E=Earth, A=Atmosphere, S=Space

      E,A,S <- Sun

      Using GHG funny math creates energy out of nothing in order to conserve heat flow!

      E
      E A
      E,A,S

      They think this is legit science. Where is there ANY experiment showing source of longwave radiation will rise in intensity to conserve heat flow? Where?

      NOWHERE

      These people are not interested in reality.

      But if they add geothermal, it all makes sense! There is no magical addition of energy from energy trying to escape to space. It's just already there.

      OK, the diagrams will be misunderstood by GHG cranks, but real scientists will get it, I think.

      Thoughts?

  30. Wim,
    I appreciate your post. This offers a viewpoint in agreement with Willis Eschenbach that the values of both downward and upward longwave radiation should be kept in mind. It’s not just about the net value.

    Consider the strength and variability of the longwave radiative coupling (my term) of the atmosphere to the surface, as quantified at the surface. To illustrate, I have placed links below to plots of hourly values for all of 2019 for a single gridpoint near where I live in upstate NY, USA. The data is from the ERA5 reanalysis product, by ECMWF. There are 4 values considered: Downward longwave at the surface in W/m^2, Upward longwave from the surface in W/m^2, Net surface upward longwave absorbed into the atmosphere in W/m^2, and Total Column Water in Kg/m^2 (which includes vapor, cloud droplets, and cloud ice crystals.) There is a time series plot for each of these four values, a scatter plot of TCW vs Downward Longwave, and a scatter plot of Downward Longwave vs Upward Longwave.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/pyqro6xfdo63sca/ERA5_1hr_strd_2019.jpeg?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/iwqdrw56zj2c416/ERA5_1hr_stru_2019.jpeg?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ftpfqewafd59d1o/ERA5_1hr_str_2019.jpeg?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/q47n7omcg442w7j/ERA5_1hr_tcw_2019.jpeg?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/h0w5vtck045qt60/ERA5_1hr_scatter_strd_tcw_2019.jpeg?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/yelsz6657r13ois/ERA5_1hr_scatter_strd_stru_2019.jpeg?dl=0

    Key comments:
    1. This is an illustration using one gridpoint. A plot for another gridpoint on the planet would look a bit different but the key concepts are the same, as noted here.
    2. The downward and upward longwave fluxes are large and highly variable. The net upward longwave absorbed into the atmosphere is also highly variable. The net can be less than zero, as a warm humid air mass moves over cool terrain, for example. The scatter plot shows that at most values of upward longwave, there is a wide range of downward longwave values experienced depending on the weather.
    3. The variable nature of water vapor and clouds is the big driver of the radiative coupling and thus the “greenhouse effect.”
    4. Global averages of various energy flows are nice to know, but do not mean much as to what is happening at a specific location at a point in time. The “climate,” whether evaluated globally, regionally, or locally, is the end product of huge numbers of changes and events of high localized power.
    5. So to your point that convective action powerfully moves heat from near the surface to higher altitudes where it more easily escapes to space, I say yes, absolutely! The power of convective weather to do so depends on the strength of the radiative coupling with the surface.

    I hope this is helpful.

    • The upwelling W/m^2 assumes an emissivity of about 1.0 and that is just flat wrong.

      The downwelling W/m^2 defies LoT.

      Neither one of these in fact exist.

    • I’m replying to my own comment to correct a misstatement. About the net upward longwave from the surface, it is incorrect to say it is “absorbed into the atmosphere”. Some may end up being absorbed, but the parameter itself is simply the net value of thermal radiation passing through a horizontal plane at the surface. I obtained the values of upward longwave by adding the net value (directly from the reanalysis data) to the downward (also directly from the reanalysis data.) Sorry for the confusion. I should have been more careful with what I was thinking when I wrote my comment.

  31. To IPCC/WMO/et. al. “surface” measures the AIR temperature 1.5 or 1.8 or whatever ABOVE the actual ground/soil that the measurer has arbitrarily defined.

    Some USCRN data sets with an agricultural client base measure and record actual ground/soil/surface temperatures at several depths. (5, 10, 20, 50, 100 cm) Farmers find this data useful for deciding when to plant. I like La Junta, CO for personal reasons as well.
    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/qcdatasets.html

    Plotting this data reveals some interesting information.

    As the surface rotates out into the ISR (That’s how it works.) air temperature and ground temperatures increase in parallel warmed simultaneously by the sun until a little past noon when the air temperature begins to cool rapidly falling much below the ground temperature. The ground cools slowly. The air remains colder than the ground throughout the night until the cycle begins over at dawn. Energy flows from the ground to the air NOT the air to the ground.

    Because:
    Air has a very low heat capacity (0.24 Btu/lb F) so its temperature swings widely.
    Ground has a high heat capacity so its temperature has a moderate swing. And that fluctuation diminishes with depth. Around 100 cm (10 m) the soil temperature is almost constant. kJ/h upwelling from the core?
    The real key is RH which absorbs and releases energy through evaporation/condensation.
    The air & RH toss energy back & forth during the diurnal cycle like a pair of energy surge tanks.
    The water cycle is what makes the climate.
    *****
    I like figure 2. It’s a graphical representation of my equation for upwelling energy: (conduction+convection+advection+latent+radiation) = all of it.
    The moon should be shown at the left end of the graphic which is where the earth would be sans atmosphere. And the premise is w/o the ATMOSPHERE not just w/o GHGs although it really makes no difference. The result is the same – no greenhouse effect.
    ******
    Rost’s version of the heat balance (It’s not a kJ/h heat balance, it’s a power flux balance, W/m^2.) is just a variation of K-T and all the clones.
    The GHG “extra” energy loop on the left side of figure 1 still defies LoT: 1) energy upwelling out of a “what if” S-B BB 1.0 emissivity calculation aka nowhere, 2) 100% efficiency perpetual loop, 3) heat to cold w/o work – 2 & 3 contrary to entropy.

  32. Willis,
    Here’s your diagram:

    https://149366104.v2.pressablecdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/trenberth_mine_latest_big1.jpg

    It looks like you have 321 W/m^2 emitted upward from the middle of the troposphere, where it’s actually about ~-18C. That’s physically impossible!

    It looks like you have 271 W/m^2 absorbed by lowest stratosphere where it’s actually about ~220K. That’s physically possible, but what happened to the difference?

    It looks like you have 147 W/m^2 emitted upward from the lowest stratosphere, where it’s actually about ~220K. That’s physically impossible!

    It seems your funny math needs a specific setup that is not physically observed. You miss the stratospheric inversion completely, and have over and under representation in different layers of atmosphere.

    But the math works! Great job with the algebra!
    Physics, not so much.

  33. Philip Mulholland September 15, 2020 at 6:59 am

    Wim,

    Nice focus on the surface issues.
    There are three possible mechanisms by which the global temperature can be changed.
    1. Block the Atmospheric Window , this can only add 40 W/m/^2 to the internal atmospheric energy reservoir.
    2. Alter the planetary Albedo, thereby allow the planet to receive more insolation.
    3. Change the mass of the atmosphere.

    Thanks, Phillip. There are a number of other ways by which the global average surface temperature can be changed:

    • Changes in evaporation rate.

    • Changes in wind speed, both peak and average.

    • Changes in the pumping rate of warm surface Pacific water poleward by the La Nina pump.

    • Changes in hurricane frequency/strength/duration.

    • Changes in number/intensity/duration of dust devils.

    • Changes in wind speed.

    • Changes in number/intensity/duration of thunderstorms.

    My first rule of climate is:

    No matter how complex I think it is … it’s worse.

    Regards,

    w.

    • Oh, yeah. My second rule of climate is:

      Everything is connected to everything else … which in turn is connected to everything else … except when it isn’t.

      w.

    • I would say that if anything other than atmospheric mass, the strength of the gravitational field or top of atmosphere insolation changes then the convective overturning cycle adjusts to neutralise any imbalance thereby introduced.
      Otherwise an atmosphere could not be retained.
      We would never be able to measure the miniscule changes caused by variations in radiative gas quantities in the face of substantial solar and ocean induced natural variability.
      That proposition is supported by the data for Earth, Venus and Titan and proved by the observation that for Venus that temperature within its atmosphere which correlates with Earth’s surface temperature is much the same after adjusting for distance from the sun.
      No effect from radiative gases needs to be considered.

      • Venus, we are told, has an atmosphere that is almost pure carbon dioxide and an extremely high surface temperature, 750 K, and this is allegedly due to the radiative greenhouse effect, RGHE. But the only apparent defense is, “Well, WHAT else could it BE?!”

        Well, what follows is the else it could be. (Q = U * A * ΔT)

        Venus is 70% of the Earth’s distance to the sun, its average solar constant/irradiance is about twice as intense as that of earth, 2,602 W/m^2 as opposed to 1,361 W/m^2.

        But the albedo of Venus is 0.77 compared to 0.31 for the Earth – or – Venus 601.5 W/m^2 net ASR (absorbed solar radiation) compared to Earth 943.9 W/m^2 net ASR.

        The Venusian atmosphere is 250 km thick as opposed to Earth’s at 100 km. Picture how hot you would get stacking 1.5 more blankets on your bed. RGHE’s got jack to do with it, it’s all Q = U * A * ΔT.

        The thermal conductivity of carbon dioxide is about half that of air, 0.0146 W/m-K as opposed to 0.0240 W/m-K so it takes twice the ΔT/m to move the same kJ from surface to ToA.

        Put the higher irradiance & albedo (lower Q = lower ΔT), thickness (greater thickness increases ΔT) and conductivity (lower conductivity raises ΔT) all together: 601.5/943.9 * 250/100 * 0.0240/0.0146 = 2.61.

        So, Q = U * A * ΔT suggests that the Venusian ΔT would be 2.61 times greater than that of Earth. If the surface of the Earth is 15C/288K and ToA is effectively 0K then Earth ΔT = 288K. Venus ΔT would be 2.61 * 288 K = 748.8 K surface temperature.

        All explained, no need for any S-B BB LWIR RGHE hocus pocus.

        Simplest explanation for the observation.

        (Venus has a lot of volcanic activity which implies a hot core.)

  34. The “downwelled IR” is meant to come from CO2 I guess?

    A long time ago, during WW2 even, some people actually did spectroscopy of this “downwelled IR”. Science wasn’t so ugly in those days so they called it “sky shine”. They identified the wavelengths and thus the emitters. Was CO2 foremost among them? No. It was absent entirely.

    The main sky IR emitter measurable at the surface is nitrogen, as it transiently forms a kind of atomic triplet. Then there are various oxygen species, and hydroxide. But no CO2.

    https://ptolemy2.wordpress.com/2020/08/15/twos-company-threes-a-crowd-a-nitrogen-threesome-joins-the-ir-party/

  35. 1) By reflecting away 30% of ISR the albedo, which exists only because of the atmosphere, cools the earth much like that reflective panel propped up on the dash. And as Rost’s graphic illustrates the more non-radiative processes in play, i.e. conduction, convection, latent, the less radiation and a colder temperature. More atmosphere = less radiation = cooler, less atmosphere = more radiation = warmer. No atmosphere and the earth joins the moon at the left side of the graphic, all radiation and hot^3.

    2) The GHG up/down loop demands “extra” energy from somewhere. And since it nets a big fat zero it should simply be erased from the graphic.

    3) That somewhere source of “extra” energy is BB radiation upwelling from the surface which I have demonstrated by experiment is not possible. Rost’s graphic also illustrates that as non-radiative processes increase towards the right radiation’s share diminishes. Since emissivity is the ratio of radiation to ALL the energy, emissivity/temperature decreases from left to right and increases from right to left.

    RGHE stands or falls on any one of these three points.

    All the rest is sound and fury signifying nothing.
    Macbeth

  36. Clive Best has a very nice description of the two CO2 warming arguments, the “back radiation” one for public consumption, and the other, tortuously complicated one for scientists who understand that “back radiation” is nonsense.

    Clive points out that absorption of IR by CO2 is complete after a path of only 25 meters in air. So the CAGW argument has to resort to arcane details like “shoulders of the CO2 absorption peak” where photons are somehow supposed to wriggle free of this 25 meter total absorption problem and make it all 1000 km
    up to space. And stuff about emission heights:

    https://ptolemy2.wordpress.com/2020/07/05/clive-best-its-a-circular-argument-if-we-assume-co2-warms-the-earth-we-find-that-co2-warms-the-earth/

    Wim’s point here about convection is very important. Increasing IR absorption in the atmosphere does not increase heat trapping by radiation. It simply reduces toward insignificance the thermal role of radiation in the atmosphere.

    Warmist narrative about atmosphere thermodynamics just go on and on about radiation only. Convection is briefly mentioned only in order to be dismissed. It is an entirely false radiation-dominated paradigm. Heat can be and is transported from the surface to the IR emission height by all the mechanisms that Win mentions (evaporation, convection, conduction and surface radiation giving sensible heat to air).

    • Phil, Wikipedia also states “. . . the mean free path of IR radiation in the atmosphere is ~25 meters . . .” (ref:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrgeometer ). However, mean free path is not the same as extinction length. In particular, in terms of EM radiation penetration depth, mean free path translates to an “e-folding” length; that is, THEORETICALLY, after 25 m of LWIR propagation into the atmosphere, only 1/2.72 of the radiation intensity will remain . . . in the next 25 m, only 1/(2.27^2) of the original radiation intensity will remain . . . and so on, and so on. See related Beer-Lambert law. After six e-foldings (or about 150 m total penetration depth) into the atmosphere, only about 0.2% of the original radiation intensity will remain.

      However, this is all theoretical. It does not account for the fact that some of the absorbing molecules (mainly H2O and CO2) along the optical path length may already be excited by previous absorptions of LWIR photons, and thus unable to absorb more such photons, nor does it take into account the thermalized energy and Doppler shifts in the photon frequencies, as seen by the Maxwell-Boltzmann range of molecular energy for a given average atmospheric temperature, that may preclude ability of a large portion of CO2 molecules to absorb specific LWIR frequencies, as calculated based on just an asserted single mean free path distance value. One has to look into the ensemble statistics of CO2 (and H2O as well) as they actually exist in the real atmosphere to determine the true EM penetration depth of any frequency of LWIR emitted from Earth’s surface.

      However, considering the above, I am very confident that no LWIR emitted by Earth’s surface penetrates beyond a distance of 5 km above Earth’s surface. Most of this absorbed LWIR energy is thermalized across all atmospheric constituents . . . only a very tiny fraction is radiated as a photon at the same frequency as the absorbed LWIR photon. And this reduction in original-frequency photon absorption/radiation continues on its exponential decrease across the depth of the troposphere.

      IMHO, the biggest “missing part” in most LWIR/atmosphere energy transfer discussions involves the fact that the very rapid molecule-molecule collisions in the troposphere nearest Earth’s surface (on the order of 10^10 to 10^8 collisions per second) rapidly thermalizes absorbed upwelling LWIR with the result that the average temperature of ALL molecules in the atmosphere is raised slightly, and then ALL these molecules themselves radiate thermal energy in discrete spectral lines having peak intensities that generally follow a S-B blackbody radiation profile.

  37. I always use J.T Houghton, Physics of Atmospheres to help in areas I don’t understand. Fig 2.5 shows a curve of Radiative Equilibrium Temperature plotted against altitude and the line which shows the mean adiabatic Lapse rate temperature draw through the surface temperature. The lines cross at the Tropopause indicating a troposphere dominated by convection below a stratosphere in approximate radiative equilibrium. I guess this is why they call it the Troposphere. The thrust of this article is thus correct, convection dominates radiation in the troposphere.

    • The most recent edition (the 3rd) of “The Physics of Atmospheres” was made in March 2002.

      There is some danger in using data that is 18 years old, given the rate of progression in science, particular atmospheric science.

      Not that Houghton’s data and conclusions are necessarily wrong, but just saying . . .

  38. Sorry, by that I mean the radiative equilibrium temp is always below the adiabatic lapse rate temp in the troposphere.

  39. A little help requested here
    Heat is generated in the earths core.
    If the sun was not there the earth would still have a temperature due to its innate heat.
    Of 35 K, only – 237 C.
    Produced by “The flow of heat from Earth’s interior to the surface is estimated at 47 terawatts (TW) “. This heat energy coming from Earth’s interior is actually only 0.03% of Earth’s total energy budget at the surface.
    Dominated by 173,000 TW of incoming solar radiation.

    So the innate or natural temperature of the earth is around 35K.
    This raises an interesting question.
    Re effective radiation level. The equations we are given from the GHG effectAnd the energy budgets.
    Treat the earth as a 510,000,000 sq K surface black body, that is it emits all the radiation it receives.
    But this treats the earth as a black body having no temperature of its own .
    The rationale for this is that the earths contribution is only 0.3%.
    But this is might be an important criteria missing from the Trembath diagrams of Earths energy balance.
    Now maybe the Stefan Boltzmann energy /temp means it is not important.
    On the other hand the 35 K starting temperature given by the earth matches the GHG effect.
    True the energy input is very small.
    But the temperature of the whole earth is constantly putting that small amount of energy into the atmosphere and not from the sun.
    Does it negate the need for a GHG effect in any small way.
    Does it mean ECS is a lot lower because over a thousand years it counteracts the need for CO2 to have a long lag.

    • Nikolov and Kramm and UCLA Diviner acknowledge that without an atmosphere (or GHGs) the earth would be much like the moon with a lit side S-B maximum equilibrium temperature of about 400 K based on 1,368 W/m^2.
      Near earth space is not 5 K, it’s 400 K.
      There is a temperature gradient between the core and surface similar to the gradient between the inside and outside of an insulated house.
      And the governing equation is: Q = 1/R * A *(Tcore – Tsurf).
      The thermal resistance of the solid and liquid surrounding the core is not simple.

  40. ‘The dominant factor in surface cooling is convection, responsible for the removal of more than three quarters of the surface’s energy.’

    Correct BUT only for the sunlit side.
    On the unlit side the dominant factor in surface WARMING is convection which adds back to the surface the same amount of kinetic energy as was taken upwards in potential form on the lit side.
    For a rotating planet with oceans that vary the rate of heat loss the atmospheric circulation between the lit and unlit sides jumbles up the two processes but on average that is the truth of it.
    The two processes net out to zero but they introduce a delay in the emission of incoming solar energy back to space and that is what raises surface temperature for planets with atmospheres.
    Philip Mulholland and I have published several papers on the issue, many of which were first trawled in front of readers here thanks to Anthony.
    There has been no effective rebuttal to anything that we propose and our work has predictive value for various planets with atmospheres thick enough to support consistent convective overturning. Our papers on Venus, Earth and Titan demonstrate the validity of our basic proposition that surface warming is a consequence of convective overturning and not radiative gases.

    • The lit side gets all the input.
      The entire surface loses 24/7.

      Set your furnace on a 12 hour timer.
      It has to deliver enough heat in that 12 hours to maintain a comfortable average for 24.
      Any HVAC engineer can ‘splain how they would size a furnace/AC to do that.
      Gozintaz in 12 hours = gozoutaz over 24.
      And figure in some thermal storage (oceans, clouds, air, RH, ground) for thermal inertia aka “delay.”

      • The surface heat converted to potential energy in the ascent cannot be lost to space because potential energy is not heat and cannot be radiated.
        It can only be radiated out to space by radiative gases during descent or from the surface upon arrival and only after the potential energy has been converted back to heat during the descent.

  41. My post hasn’t appeared so I’ll try again.

    ‘The dominant factor in surface cooling is convection, responsible for the removal of more than three quarters of the surface’s energy.’

    Correct BUT only for the sunlit side.
    On the unlit side the dominant factor in surface WARMING is convection which adds back to the surface the same amount of kinetic energy as was taken upwards in potential form on the lit side.
    For a rotating planet with oceans that vary the rate of heat loss the atmospheric circulation between the lit and unlit sides jumbles up the two processes but on average that is the truth of it.
    The two processes net out to zero but they introduce a delay in the emission of incoming solar energy back to space and that is what raises surface temperature for planets with atmospheres.
    Philip Mulholland and I have published several papers on the issue, many of which were first trawled in front of readers here thanks to Anthony.
    There has been no effective rebuttal to anything that we propose and our work has predictive value for various planets with atmospheres thick enough to support consistent convective overturning. Our papers on Venus, Earth and Titan demonstrate the validity of our basic proposition that surface warming is a consequence of convective overturning and not radiative gases.

  42. I would say that if anything other than atmospheric mass, the strength of the gravitational field or top of atmosphere insolation changes then the convective overturning cycle adjusts to neutralise any imbalance thereby introduced.
    Otherwise an atmosphere could not be retained.
    We would never be able to measure the miniscule changes caused by variations in radiative gas quantities in the face of substantial solar and ocean induced natural variability.
    That proposition is supported by the data for Earth, Venus and Titan and proved by the observation that for Venus that temperature within its atmosphere which correlates with Earth’s surface temperature is much the same after adjusting for distance from the sun.
    No effect from radiative gases needs to be considered.

      • Rising air is warmer than the surroundings and descending air starts off at the same temperature as its surroundings.
        Once it starts to descend, adiabatic heating from compression then makes it warmer than its surroundings but it can’t rise again because it is being forced down by rising air elsewhere.
        It then stays warmer than its surroundings all the way down and thus delivers additional kinetic energy to the surface when the descent completes.
        Read about adiabatic ascent and descent.

        • “…adiabatic heating from compression then makes it warmer than its surroundings…”
          Maybe in a closed system which the atmosphere is not.
          PV = nRT describes a thermal state, the relationship between n, P, V, T.
          Similar to an industrial compress air system any heat created is promptly lost to the open system surroundings.
          Any industrial compressed air system offers plenty of examples.

          Q = 1/R * A * dT is thermal process that sufficiently explains the temperature difference.
          Thermal resistance = dT, electrical resistance = dV, hydraulic resistance = dP.

          • “Maybe in a closed system which the atmosphere is not.”

            Nick,
            A planetary atmosphere is most definitely a closed system.
            The planetary surface area has a defined and measurable quantity.
            The mass of the atmosphere is a fixed and measurable quantity.
            The planetary gravitational field is a fixed constraining force.
            The planetary rotation rate is also a constraining feature on atmospheric motion.
            The atmosphere has a base, it has a top and it has sides (aka fronts). The sides are the internal dynamic boundaries caused by planetary rotation.
            Forced descent is a real feature of atmospheric circulation on a rotating globe.
            If the atmosphere was just an open system we would not be able to identify measure and describe atmospheric features with persistent structure and global in-homogeneity such as the Hadley cell.

          • By definition an isolated system does not allow for the interchange of either matter or energy with the surroundings.
            By definition a closed system does not allow for the interchange of matter with the surroundings but does allow energy to crossover.
            By definition an open system allows for the interchange of both matter and energy with the surroundings.
            The atmosphere is, by definition, an open system.

            Which is all very interesting – and moot because:

            1) By reflecting away 30% of ISR the albedo, which only exists because of the atmosphere, cools the earth compared to no atmosphere. Remove the atmosphere and the earth becomes much like the moon.

            2) The GHG “extra” energy loop must be powered by BB LWIR upwelling “extra” energy from the surface.

            3) Because of the non-radiative heat transfer processes (cond, conv, latent) of the contiguous atmospheric molecule such BB upwelling of “extra” energy is not possible. (Rost Figure 2)

            Thermodynamics does not allow for “extra” energy.

            1+2+3=0 RGHE+0 GHG warming + 0 CAGW

          • “By definition an open system allows for the interchange of both matter and energy with the surroundings.”

            Nick
            You are not thinking at the correct scale.
            The atmosphere is clearly a mass conserved system.

          • W/ Gt of incoming space dust annually.
            Meteors.
            Comets.
            There is mass in space and on the moon that is no longer on earth.

          • Once established, a convective overturning cycle is a closed system because the amount of KE converted to PE always matches the amount of PE converted to KE.
            The observed phenomenon of hydrostatic equilibrium proves that to be the case.
            No hydrostatic equilibrium over the long term means no atmosphere.

  43. The surface heat converted to potential energy in the ascent cannot be lost to space because potential energy is not heat and cannot be radiated.
    It can only be radiated out to space by radiative gases during descent or from the surface upon arrival and only after the potential energy has been converted back to heat during the descent.

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