Thermodynamics of the Climate System

From Physics Today HT/Leif Svalgaard

Martin S. Singh and Morgan E O’Neill , “Thermodynamics of the climate system”, Physics Today 75, 30-37 (2022) https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.5038

Here is the introduction:

Throughout its history, Earth has experienced vastly different climates, including “snowball Earth” episodes, during which the planet is believed to have been entirely covered in ice, and hothouse periods, during which prehistoric alligators may have roamed the Arctic. Recent anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of modern, rapid climatic change, which poses a growing hazard to societies and ecosystems.

The climate system comprises the fluid envelopes of Earth: the atmosphere, oceans, and cryosphere. Those constituents, along with the evolving surface properties of the solid lithosphere, are responsible for reflecting some and absorbing most radiation received from the Sun. The climate system is close to an energy balance at all times. The total energy doesn’t significantly fluctuate in time because terrestrial radiation is emitted to space at approximately the same rate at which solar energy is absorbed.

Being in nearly exact energy balance with the universe allows Earth to have a relatively familiar climate tomorrow and a century from now. But over time, small deviations from a strict energy balance can induce massive changes in climate. Such small deviations are due to the diurnal and seasonal cycles, orbital variations— the Milankovitch cycles, for example (see the article by Mark Maslin, Physics TodayMay 2020, page 48)—and internal forcings, such as anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide.

Another characteristic of Earth’s climate—indeed, any planetary climate—is that it evolves irreversibly. Imagine watching a 10-second video of a field with a leafy tree on a sunny day. Would you notice if that video had been shown in reverse? Maybe not. Now imagine watching a 10-second clip of the same field and tree during a windy rainstorm. You could probably immediately assess whether the clip was run forward or backward in time. Some obvious tells stand out: Rain should fall toward the ground, and leaves should separate from, not attach to, the tree.

The climate system contains myriad irreversible processes, and on both a calm day and a stormy day they produce entropy. Like energy, entropy is a property of any thermodynamic system, and it can be calculated if one knows the state of the system. But unlike energy, entropy is not conserved. Rather, it is continuously produced by irreversible processes. Although physicists often consider ideal, reversible processes, all real physical processes are irreversible and therefore produce entropy.

In accordance with the second law of thermodynamics, irreversibility in the climate system permanently increases the total entropy of the universe. As in the case for total energy, though, the total entropy in the climate system is relatively steady. That’s because the climate is an open system that receives much less entropy from the Sun than it exports to the universe (see box 1). The difference between what is imported and what is exported is produced locally, through friction, mixing, or irreversible phase changes.

Although the climate is approximately steady, it is far from thermodynamic equilibrium, which would be a very cold and boring state with no motion. Instead, the climate system may be thought of as an engine, fueled by the unequal distribution of solar radiation incident upon it. It is those gradients in energy, and the resulting gradients in temperature and pressure they produce, that allow the wind to blow.1

https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.5038

The article then moves on through the Climate System as a Heat Engine

But how do climate scientists characterize the work performed by the planetary heat engine? Earth cannot push on any external body, and in the framework of a classic heat engine, its work output is identically zero! The oceans and atmosphere do, however, perform work on themselves and each other, and that work generates the familiar winds and ocean currents that scientists observe. For climate scientists, useful work is that used to drive atmospheric and oceanic circulations.

Then drilling down with sections on Irreversible Processes,

The resultant cycle of energy production and dissipation, beautifully described in 1955 by Edward Lorenz,4 implies a balance between work and frictional dissipation in the climate system.

drivers of Global Circulation,

On global scales, the atmospheric circulation is driven by the differential heating associated with the Sun’s angle. It manifests as large overturning cells and jet streams. All planets in orbit around a star are heated most strongly at any given moment at the substellar point, where the planet’s surface is directly perpendicular to the star’s radiation. 

modeling irreversibility,

Indeed, analysis of the entropy budget of climate models has allowed scientists to probe the climate system’s irreversibility far beyond what observations alone would allow. Such studies have shed light on the role played by moist processes in governing how Earth’s planetary heat engine may respond to climate change.

and beyond classical thermodynamics,

How can climate scientists reconcile a conceptual model of a planetary heat engine, which requires a temperature gradient to induce an overturning circulation, with the fact that observed large-scale vortices can be predicted by models that forbid temperature gradients? Tropical cyclones certainly have an important overturning circulation that responds to surface heating and upper-level cooling, but the much larger stratospheric polar vortex does not: It is a 2D phenomenon that is amenable to description using Boltzmann entropy. The most useful interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics is evidently feature-dependent in the climate system.

Read the full article here.

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WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 6:13 am

Works. …except it leaves out extraterrestrial H2O Inputs. The infall of Frank’s Small Comets, ten million snowballs a year, 40 tons each.
http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu

Scissor
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 6:31 am

Over a billion years, that really adds up to a lot of water.

The big lie of Singh and O’Neill is their claim that the climate is changing rapidly, especially surprising that they could believe such a thing when they fully acknowledge the natural extremes in virtually the same breath.

There is nothing unnatural about a 1C change in global temperature over a year or too, so a similar change over a century is really insignificant.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Scissor
July 2, 2022 7:17 am

“Scientists calculate that the total mass of the oceans on Earth is 1.35 x 10^18 metric tonnes.”
https://phys.org/news/2014-12-percent-earth.html

If I assume WILLIAM ABBOT was using “short tons”, then he would be claiming that of the Frank’s Small Comet snowballs would be be averaging about 36.4 metric tonnes apiece.

So let’s simply work out the math for the asserted numbers:
10e^6 * 36.4 * 1e^9 = 3.64e^17 metric tonnes. That’s equivalent to an infall of 27% of the mass of today’s oceans in just the last billion years!

This value seems highly dubious. I’ve never seen this asserted rate of infall of water ice cited as a factor in calculating sea level rise or in calculations of ice sheet mass over continents during major Ice Ages.

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 7:40 am

That’s the primary reason Frank’s discovery of small comets is controversial. They overturn our fundamental understanding of the geologic and (evolutionary) past.

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 7:57 am

It’s not controversial. It’s patently absurd on its face.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1997-06-19-me-4997-story.html

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  John Tillman
July 2, 2022 9:07 am

How do you explain the hundreds of billions, the trillions, of tons of water-ice on the moon and Mercury? How do you explain the. 0.25%
water vapor in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere? Frank estimated 500 comets a second would infall into Jupiter.

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 9:38 am

https://www.space.com/mercury-scorching-heat-leads-to-ice.html

Similarly, water is continuously produced on the lunar surface by solar wind protons striking minerals containing oxygen. Protons are hydrogen nuclei.

The moon also has been hit by comets and asteroids over geologic time, especially in the Late Heavy Bombardment, c. 3.8 Ga.

If Frank’s conjecture were right, the lunar surface would look much different. That it looks as it does is prima facie evidence that the supposition is false.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 2, 2022 10:11 am

Mercury’s polar ice, as opposed to that in shaded craters formed by the process in the link above, appears to have been delivered by a comet 50 to 150 Ma.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7243170/

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  John Tillman
July 2, 2022 12:29 pm

If we would look at the lunar surface carefully we will see the impact evidence. A snowball doesn’t impact the moon’s surface with the force of a solid object.

Frank’s small comets are the cause/source of the hollows on Mercury. The hollows are real time impact phenomenon.

“Strange Hollows Discovered on Mercury | Science Mission Directorate” https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/24oct_sleepyhollows

You are going to have to buy the book John.
https://www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Rain-Controversial-Discovery-Comets/dp/1949501191?ref_=d6k_applink_bb_dls&dplnkId=150b7927-5776-418e-a779-6a1ee159b37f

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 2:19 pm

Mercury’s hollows are not formed by snowball impacts,

Hollows are clusters of rimless depressions with flat floors and haloes of bright (high albedo) material surrounding them. Hollows form by loss of volatiles from the surface by sublimation, caused by the intense solar radiation on the virtually airless planet. They are some of the youngest features on Mercury.

Venus’ thick atmosphere is very dry, only 20 ppm water vapor. If snowballs from some unknown location were raining down on it, its air would be a lot wetter than that.

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  John Tillman
July 2, 2022 2:46 pm

Mercury’s hollows look like what you would expect a forty ton snowball impacting a 850°F surface at extremely high speed to make. Why are volatiles concentrated on Mercury’s surface and present in the exosphere in the first place? I think small comets delivered them. The volatiles in Earth’s oceans came from someplace too.

MarkW
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 5:45 pm

At the speeds these things are travelling, there is no difference between a comet and a rock meteor. As to the temperature, when either a comet or rock meteor hits, the temperature at the point of impact instantly goes up to multiple thousands of degrees.
Everything on all of the planets came from somewhere else. By definition.

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 7:05 pm

You seriously believe a mere 40 ton “snowball” comet arriving from deep space would survive soar radiation to make it all the way to the orbit of Mercury?

Comets have “tails” for a reason.

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 4, 2022 4:52 pm

Frank assumed not. Not surprisingly. But the hollows are best explained by small comet impact. The assumed carbon mantle evidently preserves the comet until Mercury.

Small comets do not have tails. For a reason.

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  John Tillman
July 2, 2022 3:20 pm

Venus and Mars: water in their atmospheres. Thank you for mentioning this. There is no uniformity to the presence of water vapor in Mar’s Mesosphere or Venus’ upper atmosphere. Read the literature. Variability is the descriptive term. Wild variability. Noctilucent clouds 50 km above the surface are imaged in the Martian night sky. It’s water vapor. Because we image water vapor in Mar’s Mesosphere sometimes in unexplainable densities.

You guy’s are on a mission, right? All this extreme language. There is nothing remotely absurd about Frank’s small comets. The evidence for them is accumulating like snow in a drift. It’s just a matter of time. Maybe the LunaH-mapper will provide the confirmation in November.

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 5:21 pm

They are an absurd, wevidence=free figment of Frank’s imagination.

If you think they’re real, please tell me where the small comets come from? Where do they live when they’re not hitting Earth, Moon and Mercury, while avoiding Mars and Venus?

The inner solar system is dry, thanks to ionizing solar radiation. Earth’s atmosphere makes it a rare exception. Ceres, the Moon and Mars have small amounts of water ice. Mars may have more underground, and even liquid water, but is obviously not being struck by small comets.

They have never been observed, so where are they hiding? The inner solar system has now been well explored, unlike when Frank cooked up his crazy speculation.

Large quantities of ice are found at Jupiter and betond, where solar radiation is less intense.

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 6:16 pm

“The literature” is all by Frank and two of his grad students.

He collaborated with a writer on a non-scientific book about the idle speculation, which dragged in the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs.
“The literature” is all by Frank and two of his grad students.

He collaborated with a writer on a non-scientific book about the idle speculation, which dragged in the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs.

If you think comments here are extreme, read what JPL scientists and astronomers at the 1997 AGU conference had to say, after Frank falsely claimed that visible and UV pixels “proved” his cockamamie conjecture.

They asked, why are we even talking about this blatantly false nonsense?

Last edited 1 month ago by John Tillman
WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  John Tillman
July 4, 2022 4:56 pm

I spoke about the atmospheres of Venus and Mars. The literature, you know, published papers, finds wild variability in water vapor concentrations. Not Frank’s work

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  John Tillman
July 4, 2022 6:55 pm

John Tillman, Gordon Dressler, Mark W. I am happy you are interested enough in small comets to at least spend some time trying to dismiss them. I don’t suppose you will buy his recently republished book, Cosmic Rain, much less read his published GRL papers, but please consider Louis A Frank’s credentials. He was a full professor at thirty-two at the University of Iowa. He was Professor James Van Allen’s (Van Allen Radiation Belts) graduate teaching assistant when he was a sophomore undergraduate. Frank was the principal investigator on imaging equipment on over forty spacecraft. He was preeminent in his field. He certainly never looked for small comets. The ‘holes’ or ‘spots’ in his dynamics explorer images of the aurora were crashing the software they were writing to process the images. They needed to figure out what was causing the ‘holes’. They knew it wasn’t noise from the equipment. Over a period of months/years they were able to determine dense water vapor was the only probable substance to block out the UV dayglow i n the images. The discovery is completely out of character compared to all of Frank’s other work. Frank freely admitted he wished he hadn’t discovered small comets. They didn’t ruin his career, but they sure altered it in a negative way. The problem with his discovery, the problem you gentlemen have with his discovery, The problem Alex Dessler and Tom Donahue had, is there are so many small comets. Frank would have won a prize if he had discovered only a few thousand of them.

It is an error to suppose everyone in Space Physics rejected Frank’s discovery. Clayne Yeates began a skeptic and set out to show Frank his small comets wouldn’t appear in the telescope
images as Frank predicted. Yeates was with NASA, the Science Manager for the Galileo Project in 1977. He was responsible for all aspects of the Galileo science investigations, including controlling the resources of more than 100 scientists in six countries. In the end Yeates was totally certain his telescope data was seeing the small comets. Bob Hoffman, another Science Manager at NASA’s JPL understood Frank’s discovery has never been disproved or refuted. Yeates died in a car crash in 91. Hoffman is eighty-eight and not active. Frank himself had a stroke in 03 and died in 2014.

I wonder what Frank thought of the mathematician, Pierre-Simon Laplace’s maxim: “The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.” No denying that twenty small comets dissolving in earth’s atmosphere every minute is exceedingly strange. It’s pretty wild. But there is a lot of accumulating evidence for these strange, water-bearing, objects presence in the solar system.

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 5, 2022 5:32 pm

His credentials don’t matter.

Everything he cites as “evidence” has been shown false and/or laughably preposterous.

Despite reprinting, nothing in the book has been confirmed. All falsified.

I suggest you read the papers debunking the whole cockamamie conjecture, rightly characterized by scientists in all relevant disciplines as “whacko”.

Again I ask, why does no scientist today support the ridiculous speculation? Only two of his grad students ever co-authored a paper on the nutty idea with Frank. The crackpot notion was conclusively shown false in 1997.

NASA was ashamed ever to have reported his “observations”, promptly shown bogus.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 5, 2022 6:03 pm

Michael Mann has credentials. James Hansen has credentials, and from the University of Iowa, no less.

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 5, 2022 7:56 pm

Again, it is not a discovery. It’s a raving lunatic conjecture without the least scrap of supporting physical evidence.

No scientists today gives it the least credence.

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 6:41 pm

William, please cite a scientist today who advocates this ludicrous rubbish from 40 years ago.

I don’t think that even Frank’s former grad students still do. The nonsense died with him.

But I’d welcome being shown wrong. Maybe one of his acolytes still soldiers on, even though they must be retired by now.

I await your references to scientists in relevant disciplines advocating this easily falsified hypothesis today.

MarkW
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 5:40 pm

A snowball doesn’t impact the moon’s surface with the force of a solid object.

Utter nonsense. Ice by definition is a solid object. What matters is momentum, mass and speed.

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  MarkW
July 4, 2022 4:59 pm

Why don’t you throw a snowball at your vehicle’s windscreen. Then throw a stone or a piece of solid ice. Record the results. Repeat it on your wife’s car and then get back with us. Maybe you can get your experiment published

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 10:07 am

Water ice on the Moon is pretty well established to exist only in permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s poles.

The pattern of impact craters on the Moon’s surface shows that any hypothetical “Frank’s Small Comets” should be distributed more or less equally over the Moon’ surface, independent of lunar latitude.

Finally, the energy release for an average 40 short ton (36 metric ton) mass of water impacting the Moon at cometary velocity would most certainly create at visible flash and visible plume of Moon dust that would be easily seen/imagined in Earth telescopes.

Heck,
“A precisely targeted, deliberate crash was also achieved in 2009 when NASA’s LCROSS mission sent a projectile into a permanently shadowed polar crater – making a smaller crater on its icy floor and throwing up a plume that proved to contain the hoped for water vapour”.
—- https://www.space.com/spacex-rocket-crashing-into-moon-crater

The largest “projectile” for the LCROSS mission was the spent Centaur upper stage of the launch vehicle, having an impact mass of about 2,305 kg (2.3 metric tonnes), and an impact velocity of about 9,000 km/h (5,600 mph), releasing the kinetic energy equivalent of detonating approximately 2 tons of TNT (7.2 GJ). This kinetic energy is “peanuts” compared to that of a hypothetical average “Frank’s Small Comet”.

Also, a claimed rate of 10 million such impacts per year for Earth’s surface would translate, based on proportioning surface area, to a rate of such impacts on the Moon of 2,000 a day. For the side continuously facing Earth, this would be about 1,000 impacts a day!

Obviously, nothing close to this number of visible flashes is seen in telescope imaging, especially long duration exposures of the Moon’s visible surface taken during a new Moon or during lunar eclipses.

Thus, I have to agree with John Tillman’s comment above that the theory of Frank’s Small Comets is “patently absurd on its face”.

Tip-of-the-hat for the pun there, intended or not.

John Tillman
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 2:11 pm

Glad you picked up on the reference.

Drake
Reply to  John Tillman
July 2, 2022 11:08 am

One quote from the article, “even though they don’t have the data in front of them”. And without the data, they scoff at the theory. Yep, I trust those SCIENTISTS! LOL!

John Tillman
Reply to  Drake
July 2, 2022 2:09 pm

They have the data. They just didn’t have it while being interviewed.

Zero evidence supports the hypothesis, and all the facts on Earth, Moon and Mercury show it false. What scientists besides Frank and two grad students at Iowa ever advocated it?

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 2, 2022 5:51 pm

If they existed, they’d be constantly visible in daytime, falling to earth.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 3, 2022 2:17 pm

“Other researchers chatting about the announcement on an electronic bulletin board dedicated to so-called “near Earth objects” weren’t so restrained.
If the theory was correct, “You should be able to see these things with a pair of binoculars in the evening sky at the rate of one every few minutes,” wrote JPL planetary scientist Alan Harris. “So [the] hypothesis is wacko.”
A member of the U.S. Air Force Space Command said he saw the story in his local paper. “I’m surprised to learn this theory is being seriously discussed,” he said.”

And of course the skeptics were soon proved right, once what Frank thought were snowballs were shown to be electronic noise in the pixels.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 3, 2022 2:45 pm

Arizona scientists highly skeptical of small comet theoryContacts: Alex Dessler, 520-621-4589, Jennifer Grier, 520-621-1507, David Kring, 520-621-2024, Alfred McEwen, 520-621-4573, Bashar Rizk, 520-621-1160, Timothy Swindle, currently collecting meteorites in Antarctica; after January, 520-621-4128, )

Earth’s sky would sparkle like a Christmas tree, its air would hold at least 30,000 times more inert gas and its moon would be pocked with millions more bright-spot craters than spacecraft see if a prominently publicized small-comet theory were correct, scientists from The University of Arizona in Tucson report in the Dec. 15 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

University of Iowa physicist Louis A. Frank and his former graduate student announced last May in a NASA news release and at an American Geophysical Union news briefing that images from their Visible Imaging System on the Polar spacecraft show Earth is showered by a steady stream of water-packed objects, small comets that bombard our planet at a rate of between five and 30 per minute. They published the results in the Oct. 1 Geophysical Research Letters. If true, the discovery would force a rethinking of the origins of the oceans, terrestrial life and the formation of the solar system.

In five independent studies to be published Dec. 15, scientists including three teams from The University of Arizona conclude that theoretical calculations and observational evidence rule out the small-comet hypothesis.

If the small-comet theory were correct, the Earth’s sky would be a continual display of bright clouds and flashes, according to calculations by Bashar Rizk and Alex J. Dessler of the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. If 30,000 small comets bombard Earth daily, as the theory says, constant meteor-like displays would be visible even during the day.

The expanding cloud of tiny ice particles that small-comet theory suggests is created when a 30-ton, 40-foot-diameter comet breaks up high in the atmosphere would have a brightness somewhere between that of Venus and the full moon, Rizk and Dessler calculate. (Dessler in the late 1980s published a review of several earlier scientific studies that rigorously tested small-comet theory.)

If, as small-comet theory says, a small comet strikes Earth about every three seconds, it would be visible for at least a minute to the naked eye, readily seen by anyone looking up, Rizk and Dessler add. “Where are they? We should see them,” the LPL researchers puzzle.

“A whole-Earth flux of 20 comets per minute implies the sudden appearance of at least two bright patches of light every five minutes,” they report in GRL. “The two-hour periods after sunset and before sunrise ought to produce the most spectacular sightings intermittent punctuations of bright, rapidly moving points of light.” Twilight would be much more exciting in Tucson, Cairo, Sydney, Capetown and other communities, say Rizk and Dessler. Citizens of Fairbanks, Montreal, Moscow and Stockholm would be treated to near all-night meteor shows, they add.

Small-comet theory requires that the bombarding comets were formed in very cold regions far the from sun, Timothy D. Swindle and David A. Kring of the LPL note in their paper. Comets that formed far out in space condensed from the same dust and gas that accreted into planets, trapping “noble” gases in the same ratio as the sun and the rest of the solar system. Noble gases are inert, or non-reactive gases, not easily removed from the atmosphere. They include argon, krypton, xenon, as well as the more common nitrogen, helium and neon.

Swindle and Kring analyzed how much noble gas the small comets would have delivered to Earth’s atmosphere over the lifetime of the solar system. “We know that if the Earth’s atmosphere were bombarded according to small planet theory, it would have a dramatically different composition,” Kring said in an interview.

At the current rate of supposed small comet bombardment, Earth should have 500 times as much krypton and xenon and 30,000 times as much argon in its atmosphere, Swindle and Kring calculate. Put another way, all the krypton and xenon in Earth’s atmosphere would have been delivered by small comets in 10 million years. All the argon present would have been added in 100,000 years. The scenario for Mars’ atmosphere is an even more enigmatic: Small comets would have delivered the known Martian inventory of krypton and xenon in 500 years and the known inventory of argon in about 60,000 years.

Either the rate of supposed small-comet bombardment is today 30,000 times greater than it has been over the 4.5-billion-year lifetime of the solar system, or the comets formed much nearer the sun, about the distance of Jupiter, for the theory to fit the observed noble gas inventory, Swindle and Kring conclude.

Comets can be greatly depleted in noble gases if they form closer to the sun, near Jupiter. “The problem with that idea is that it is completely inconsistent with several other physical conditions that Frank’s team require to explain other features of their hypothesis,” Kring said in the interview.

If the small-comet hypothesis is right, a small comet hits the moon at a rate of almost one per minute, Jennifer A. Grier and Alfred S. McEwen of the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory report in their paper. That is, scientists should see evidence of 400,000 comet hits on the moon annually.

Even a small, low-density comet would excavate a crater at least 50 meters in diameter and spread bright ejecta over an area of at least 150 meters in diameter, Grier and McEwen calculate. (The lunar surface darkens over time; the underlying, unexposed soil is lighter in color.)

Grier and McEwen compared Apollo 17 images taken in late 1972 to Clementine images taken 22 years later for a 52,000 square-kilometer area of the moon, which is about half the size of Kentucky and more than one-tenth of one percent of the lunar surface. Any crater and bright spot seen in the 1994 Clementine images but not visible in the 1972 Apollo photos might record a small impact or hit.

Each of the 3,920 bright spots seen over the study area in 1994 by the Clementine spacecraft was also recorded by Apollo. If the small-comet theory were correct, Clementine imaging should have discovered more than 10,000 new bright impact spots over this area.

Grier and McEwen calculate from the spacecraft observations an upper limit of 33 impacts a year for the entire moon, not 400,000 hits per year as expected according to the small- comet hypothesis. Small comets with properties hypothesized by Frank’s team are probably more than a billion times less abundant than predicted,

Grier and McEwen further conclude.
In another research article published in the Dec. 15 Geophysical Review Letters, a team of researchers who use a Polar spacecraft camera similar to the Frank team’s Visible Imaging System also report seeing the dark pixels, or black points, that Frank interprets as evidence for small comets. This team, however, concludes the dark pixels are an inherent camera feature, or “noise” rather than real features.
 
U. Washington Physicist says “little comets” are black snow on screenGiant snowballs in space? No, says researcher, they’re simply black snow on the TV screen

MarkW
Reply to  Drake
July 2, 2022 5:51 pm

If someone made the claim that the average temperature in Death Valley was -40C, I would state that their claim is patently absurd, even if I didn’t have their data in front of me.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
July 5, 2022 7:25 pm

Good analogy!

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 7:38 am

Frank’s hypothesis was promptly shown false.

https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/1997/ast09dec97_2

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 10:25 am

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980910074516.htm

Frank’s “comets” were the UV equivalent of TV snow, ie noise.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 10:30 am

How do these snowballs avoid the Moon?

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  Curious George
July 2, 2022 12:17 pm

They don’t. Frank’s Small Comets are the source of the H2O imaged on the sunlit side of the moon.

“NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon | NASA” https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-sofia-discovers-water-on-sunlit-surface-of-moon

Rich Davis
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 12:38 pm

The sunlit side of the moon?

Say what?

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 2, 2022 12:53 pm

Read the link. Water was imaged by NASA’S
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy SOFIA in late 2020. Frank’s Small Comets are the obvious explanation.

Rich Davis
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 1:30 pm

What is the opposite of the sunlit side of the moon, William? A Pink Floyd song?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z39KZAryzk

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 2, 2022 2:10 pm

Yes! Humans on Earth see the dark side of the Moon each and every lunar month . . . it is commonly referred to as a “new moon”, the opposite of a “full moon”.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 5:53 pm

I assume you understand that my objection is to a “sunlit side” since the half of the moon that is in sunlight is continuously changing. Every bit of the moon (except ironically the one place where significant amounts of water have actually been detected—permanently shaded craters near the south pole) are sunlit at some point every 28 days.

John Tillman
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 2, 2022 8:55 pm

Clearly William does not understand that simple fact.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 2:06 pm

And what did NASA conclude was the resulting concentration of water in the lunar surface?

“Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million . . .
“As a comparison, the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what SOFIA detected in the lunar soil. Despite the small amounts, the discovery raises new questions about how water is created . . .
“Several forces could be at play in the delivery or creation of this water. Micrometeorites raining down on the lunar surface, carrying small amounts of water, could deposit the water on the lunar surface upon impact. Another possibility is there could be a two-step process whereby the Sun’s solar wind delivers hydrogen to the lunar surface and causes a chemical reaction with oxygen-bearing minerals in the soil to create hydroxyl. Meanwhile, radiation from the bombardment of micrometeorites could be transforming that hydroxyl into water.”
https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-sofia-discovers-water-on-sunlit-surface-of-moon
(my underlining emphasis added)

There is reference to micrometeorites possibly depositing water on the Moon’s surface, but not a single mention of icy comet-like objects of average size of 40 tons doing such.

Hence, the evidence is that NASA does not consider Frank’s Small Comets to be a possible—let alone obvious—explanation.

It’s strange—well, maybe not—that you would cite this same URL, but go so far as to ignore that the information therein obviously contradicts your bogus claims regarding the existence of Frank’s Small Comets. 

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 3:04 pm

How long will water be present in even those 400 ppm concentrations. The moon’s exosphere at that temperature 120° C water becomes water vapor more or less instantly.

Without a precursor source like Frank’s comets, where does the water come from?

NASA is just like you, they have completely forgotten Frank’s discovery. Frank’s images recorded the presence of something blocking out the UV light in the images. It was not noise. It was dense water vapor. No one ever did anything to refute the discovery other than assert Frank was seeing noise. Not possible. Not on separate spacecraft instruments. They were present also on separate investigator’s data. It’s hard to believe, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

NASA says they are guessing. I think small comets is a good guess.

MarkW
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 5:58 pm

The “precursors” were given in the explanations you are ignoring.

At the orbit of the Earth, these “small” comets would be vaporized in just a couple of years. So where are all these comets coming from?
Secondly, the tails of these comets would be quite visible from the Earth.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
July 2, 2022 8:56 pm

They would be visible in Earth’s air, even during the day.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 7:01 pm

“Without a precursor source like Frank’s comets, where does the water come from?”

First, Frank’s comets, as you yourself presented them, would be a currently on-going process . . . NOT a “precursor” event. Or are you now asserted they stopped for some unexplained reason some, oh, many millions of years ago?

Second, the current, most widely accepted theory of the Moon’s formation is the giant-impact theory. It proposes that the Moon formed during a collision between the Earth and another small planet, about the size of Mars. The debris from this impact collected in an orbit around Earth to form the Moon. The Moon is believed to have formed about the same time as as Earth, some 4.5 billion years ago.

The most straightforward explanation for the very low (hundreds of ppmv) concentration of water vapor measured by SOFIA near the Moon’s surface is the continuing outgassing from water forced deep below the Moon’s surface as a result of ancient water ice-bearing asteroid impacts, the same source believed to account for water presently on Earth’s surface.

“Multiple geochemical studies have concluded that asteroids are most likely the primary source of Earth’s water. Carbonaceous chondrites–which are a subclass of the oldest meteorites in the Solar System–have isotopic levels most similar to ocean water”
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_water_on_Earth

It is not hard to answer your question scientifically and completely.

Finally, as to your comment:
“NASA is just like you, they have completely forgotten Frank’s discovery.”
Completely wrong . . . up until reading about this theory in your OP (first comment) under the above article, I had never heard about such an absurd “discovery”.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
John Tillman
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 10:09 pm

It is not a “discovery”, but a fractured fairy tale, without the least basis in observation of nature.

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 4, 2022 6:02 pm

WILLIAM, all you’ve done is to display your abject ignorance of elementary astronomy and physics, while at the same time showing naieve gullibility based upon such profound lack of knowledge.

Please buy a book on astrophysics rather than buying into such blatant malarkey out of sheer ignorance.

Thanks!

WILLIAM ABBOTT
Reply to  John Tillman
July 4, 2022 8:51 pm

“Profound lack of knowledge” “abject ignorance” “naive gullibility” “blatant malarkey” “sheer ignorance”

You sound like Alfred Wegener’s critics.

“Alfred Wegener – Wikipedia” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Wegener

John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 5, 2022 9:18 pm

No, I sound like critics of phlogiston.

Wegener had a theory well supported, but without a mechanism.

Frank has an hypothesis without any support whatsoever.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 6, 2022 6:07 pm

Wegener was shown right once a mechanism for continental drift–seafloor spreading–was discovered.

Frank’s evidence-free speculation has repeatedly been shown not just false on its face, but preposterous.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Tillman
MarkW
Reply to  WILLIAM ABBOTT
July 2, 2022 5:54 pm

Frank’s explanation is AN explanation, it is not the only one. It is also one that fails to match most of the known facts.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
July 2, 2022 8:57 pm

It fails to match all observed facts.

July 2, 2022 6:29 am

I read the whole article.
I have to dismiss the author as biased, and don’t recommend it
Two examples: Quotes from the article that I disagree with:

“Since weather and climate models are based on fundamental physics, one can naturally expect them to satisfy the second law of thermodynamics.”

Why I disagree:
Models make consistently wrong predictions.
Therefore, they can NOT be based on correct physics.

“Amid a period of rapid anthropogenic climate change, it is more important than ever to make sure that climate science is accessible to the broadest possible coalition of researchers.”

Why I disagree:
Climate change in the past 150 years was not rapid.
Global warming in the past 50 years was faster than one might expect
from 100% natural causes, but 100% natural causes are still a possibility.

The “rapid anthropogenic climate change” phase is merely an opinion,
but is presented as a fact.

I edit a climate science and energy blog where I post the best 4 or 5 articles I’ve read every day. I’ve had over 234,000 page views. My skill as an editor is deciding which authors know what they are talking about and are not biased. There arer a lot of good authors here. But this article does not qualify.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Richard Greene
July 2, 2022 7:37 am

climate models are based on fundamental physics,

It is true that the climate models include fundamental physics; however, they cannot handle the energy exchanges at the spatial resolution of clouds, so that component is parameterized. It is not unlike the pure physics of Einstein’s famous exact equation being modified thusly: E = f(m)c^2, where f(m) is a poorly-known function dependent on the mass. The end result is no better than the accuracy of the mass function.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 2, 2022 8:17 am

The models will predict whatever their owners want predicted.
The owners will predict what the get paid to predict.
Accuracy is not a goal. If accuracy was a goal
the Russian INM model would get 99% of the attention.
And accuracy would have improved in the past 40 years.
But accuracy is worse than ever with CMIP6.

Bureaucrat scientists get paid for scary climate predictions.
So they provide scary climate predictions.
I never trust a government bureaucrat.

I also assume half of what I hear and read is wrong,
and try my best to determine which half.

I also assume leftists will ruin everything they touch.
I wish they never touched the electric grid.
It was reliable and boring — not broken.

To leftists, everything is broken and must be fixed.
With them in charge.
They are experts on every subject, in their own minds.
In reality, they know just a little about many subjects.
With the goal of knowing nothing about everything.
Jumpin’ Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have met that goal.
NOTE: my doctor recommended insulting leftists
every day to reduce my blood pressure.
It works.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard Greene
Steve Case
Reply to  Richard Greene
July 2, 2022 12:10 pm

To leftists, everything is broken and must be fixed.
With them in charge.
_______________________________________

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! That one goes in the file.

b.nice
Reply to  Richard Greene
July 2, 2022 1:57 pm

To leftists, everything is broken and must be fixed.
With them in charge.”

Ignoring the fact that the leftists did most of the breaking. !

commieBob
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 2, 2022 8:46 am

The models include fundamental physics but they are also tuned.

One of the fathers of climate modeling is Edward Norton Lorenz, who also discovered chaos theory. If I understand his comments here, the tuning of the models invalidates them.

If the models rely on fundamental physics, and only fundamental physics, they stand a chance of being valid.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Richard Greene
July 2, 2022 11:51 am

I also read the whole article. It’s good that more young Cli-Sci types are putting some thought into the thermodynamic engine that is our atmosphere. Lest it go to their heads though, their discussion is about at the level of second year engineering textbook thermo without the details, so they have much more yet to consider….Study of skew-T and tephigrams would be a good addition to their knowledge of atmospheric phenomena (tephigram is T-entropy)….and is better than the “messy bedroom” entropy discussion on which non-engineering professors like to waste a lecture.

Crisp
Reply to  Richard Greene
July 3, 2022 3:31 am

Global warming in the past 50 years was faster than one might expect
from 100% natural causes,

Why would you say that? We don’t understand all the natural causes, nor how fast they work.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Richard Greene
July 4, 2022 6:14 am

Weather models just project the fluid motion from current conditions, if they had the fundamental physics of what drives the atmospheric teleconnection variability, they could predict seven years ahead rather than seven days, and have a much better climate model.

mkelly
July 2, 2022 6:33 am

From the article:”Recent anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of modern, rapid climatic change, which poses a growing hazard to societies and ecosystems.”

Nope.

mikee
Reply to  mkelly
July 2, 2022 6:45 am

Not to worry, Bowen will legislate the 2nd law of thermodynamics out of existence. Solved!!!!

Bill Everett
Reply to  mkelly
July 2, 2022 8:28 am

The atmospheric CO2 level has only increased about one-hundreth of one percent in the past sixty-two years according to Muana Loa measurements.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bill Everett
July 4, 2022 9:15 am

Sorry, Bill, your statement is easily falsified.

According to https://gml.noaa.gov/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2/co2_annmean_mlo.txt ,
the NOAA observatory at Mauna Loa states the following mean annual atmospheric concentrations of CO2:

1959: 315.98 ppmv

2021 (62 years after 1959): 416.45 ppmv

416.45/315.98 = 1.318 = a 32% increase, not a one-hundreth of one percent increase.

Accurate mathematics, like facts, matter.

Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 6:41 am

Last sentence of the second paragraph of the above-quoted introduction:
“The total energy doesn’t significantly fluctuate in time because terrestrial radiation is emitted to space at approximately the same rate at which solar energy is absorbed.”

Excuse me, but it is scientifically well-known that the solar insolation (TOA) varies by a total of 6.9% annually due solely to Earth’s slightly elliptical orbit around the Sun.

For all intents and purposes, the Sun is what provides the total of incoming energy to Earth.

I consider at variation of 6.9% as significant . . . but YMMV.

Well, at least there was no claim that the above-referenced article had been “peer reviewed”.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 8:26 am

From Wiki:

aphelion152.10×10^6 km
perihelion 147.10×10^6 km

That looks like 3% and change to me, peak-to-trough, but I suppose the annual variation is probably greater based on daily averaging around an elliptical orbit. Anyway, year-over-year variation is probably not significant and I’m good with the idea that LW_out = SW_absorbed.

Meab
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
July 2, 2022 9:28 am

Light falls off by the square of the distance. Dressler is correct.

The only factor he’s missing is the difference between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere’s albedo (2/3 of land is in the NH). That’s why, despite the fact that the Earth is closest to the sun during the SH summer, the global average temperature is actually slightly higher during the NH summer.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
July 2, 2022 10:13 am

Frank from NoVA,

You obviously overlooked that radiation scales as 1/(R^2), where R is the distance from the source.

My number of 6.9% total variation over the course of a year is correct, to one significant decimal place and for Earth’s current orbital eccentricity.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 10:23 am

I did overlook that, thanks.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 12:17 pm

I consider at variation of 6.9% as significant . . . but YMMV.”
He didn’t say that incoming energy was stable. He said total energy – balancing inflow and outflow.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 2, 2022 1:39 pm

Hmmm . . . the total energy of a system is NOT dependent on the incoming energy?

Who knew?

I can theoretically balance 5 watts inflow with 5 watts outflow. But I can also balance 100 watts inflow with 100 watts outflow. Do you seriously believe achieving a balance in both cases means that the total energy being considered is the same?

ROTFLMAO!

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 3:13 pm

Yes
5+-5=100+-100=0

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 3, 2022 5:29 am

You’ve had engineering courses, right? If you run 5 amps through a resistor one-way and then run 5 amps through it the other way you get a certain amount of heating in the resistor. You are trying to claim that if I then run 100 amps one way and then 100 amps the other way that the resultant effect is zero for both. Give it a try some time!

If you don’t like electricity then try water into a bucket. Or try a 5 watt heater and then a 100 watt heater in a room and see if you get the same total effect.

Robert B
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 3, 2022 1:54 am

An axiom that can’t be true, most of the time, but important to believe in if you want to claim that the globe could not have warmed if not for fossil fuel emissions rather than changes in ocean currents.

Julian Flood
July 2, 2022 6:47 am

OK, let’s ask the thermodynamicists why the Sea of Marmara is warming at twice the forecast rate which is already warmer than the reality. Is it because the physics is wrong or is something happening to the Sea of Marmora that they are not taking into account. And Lake Michigan, the Baltic, the Mediterranean…

JF
Surface pollution is my bet.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Julian Flood
July 2, 2022 12:04 pm

More sunshine warms the surface. Natural gas fuel for industry and home heating, low Sulphur engine fuels, vehicle catalytic converters, more stringent coal plant stack emission controls….these help cause less aerosol, more sunshine….this a one cause of local warming in industrialized and high intensity agricultural areas since the 1990’s….

Crisp
Reply to  Julian Flood
July 3, 2022 3:34 am

Whose forecast would that be? And what is it based on?

Duane
July 2, 2022 6:47 am

To the extent that the authors claim that Earth is subject to irreversible changes in consonance with constantly increasing entropy, while theoretically that might be true it also has had literally zero, or at least an unmeasurable impact on climate. The climate is determined by energy inputs, energy outputs, and the state of the atmosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere. All of which act both dependently as well as independently of each other in an extremely complex systems of systems which humans have so far been entirely incapable of modeling with any reliability or accuracy. It might be theoretically possible to model the entire system of systems, perhaps someday by better computers and smarter scientists than we have today .. but certainly not enough to confirm that global warming from CO2-induced “greenhouse effect” is even a thing at all, let alone a determinate thing.

Given the vast changes in climate that have cycled back and forth ever since the Earth gained an atmosphere (can’t have “climate” without an atmosphere), from a literal “hell on earth” hot and extremely toxic atmosphere totally incapable of supporting life, to “snowball Earth” that apparently happened more than once (so much for “irreversibility”), to a vast geologic era stretching for hundreds of millions of years of most of the Phanerozoic eon, where the climate was virtually static and “boring” as the authors characterized it, with growing concentrations of oxygen that led to the development of life as we know it … to the obviously completely reversible cycle of glaciations and interglacial periods – 26 major such cycles – over the last 2.6 million years, it is obvious that the odious sounding “irreversibility” of the climate system claimed by the authors simply is of no effect.

The Earth can go on experiencing glaciations and interglacials for millions of years more, or even billions of years more … or they can suddenly cease in the same way that they suddenly occurred starting 2.6 MYA. We don’t know enough about the how and why of the processes and causes of the Quaternary to predict anything at all.

Last edited 1 month ago by Duane
Reply to  Duane
July 2, 2022 7:06 am

“The climate is determined by energy inputs, energy outputs, and the state of the atmosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere.”

On a higher level, the climate data are determined by government financed PEOPLE who can not be trusted. They adjust raw data. They guess data for a significant portion of the planet (infilling) and those guesses can never be verified. As a result. their version of the global average temperature is whatever they think it would have been if measured correctly in the first place.

They have made large arbitrary revisions to historical data, such as “disappearing” significant global cooling from 1940 to 1975.

The actual global average temperature is not what we are told by government agencies. It is what they want to tell us. Their almost universal belief in a coming global warming crisis will cause bias in what they report to the public.
That bias may not exist in the alternative UAH satellite data that show
a slower rate of global warming,

Climate reconstructions are local and not accurate.
They most likely have large margins of error.

Your own personal experience with climate change over your life
probably reveals more than the average temperature
that not one person lives in.

John Tillman
Reply to  Duane
July 2, 2022 8:28 am

Our current ice age began about 34 Ma, when deep channels opened between Antarctica and its fellow Gondwanan continents South America and Australia, forming the Southern Ocean.

Three Ma, the Isthmus of Panama formed, which increased NH glaciation.

Duane
Reply to  John Tillman
July 2, 2022 6:12 pm

No – the glaciation and interglacials are a feature only of the last 2.6 MYA. Before that for most of the previous 580 MY years the climate was extremely stable but for the meteor collision 65 MYA – a classic example of a perturbation that upset the prior equilibrium lasting more than half a billion years. And then settled back to the norm until 2.6 MYA.

John Tillman
Reply to  Duane
July 2, 2022 9:04 pm

That is totally and completely false.

Paleozoic and even Mesozoic climate were not stable. The Paleozoic had two extreme Ice Houses. The end Ordovician was fairly brief, but extreme. The Carboniferous-Permian was deep and long-lasting, longer than the Cenozoic Ice House to date, and just as deep.

Then the end-Permian mass extinction produced a spile to the highest temperatures of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, since it occurred at the era transition.

The Cretaceous Period and Eocene Epoch then again experienced heat almost equal to the Permian-Triassic.

Stable, the Phanerozoic Eon has not been. It has not however suffered a Snowball Earth episode, as occurred repeatedly during the Proterozoic Eon.

John Tillman
Reply to  Duane
July 4, 2022 1:11 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Paleozoic_icehouse

Second of two Paleozoic ice ages.

The earlier, shorter end Ordovician ice age nevertheless saw the extinction of 61% of marine life. Multicellular life on land was rare then.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  Duane
July 4, 2022 1:27 pm

For that matter, Milankovitch cycles are evident in Miocene varves.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Duane
July 2, 2022 8:39 am

‘The Earth can go on experiencing glaciations and interglacials for millions of years more, or even billions of years more … or they can suddenly cease in the same way that they suddenly occurred starting 2.6 MYA.’

There’s nothing ‘sudden’ about continental drift.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/09/15/cooling-the-hothouse/

Duane
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
July 2, 2022 6:08 pm

Sudden in geologic timescales, idiot.

Meab
Reply to  Duane
July 2, 2022 9:43 am

Pure bunk, DuhWayne. Without irreversibility wind speeds would grow almost without bound. An example is surface drag converting wind to heat in an irreversible process that limits wind speeds near the ground.

You are a great example of a person who knows a whole lot less than they think they do.

Duane
Reply to  Meab
July 2, 2022 6:07 pm

You are a great example of a scientific moron who should STFU.

Entropy has zilch to do with systems in equilibrium until something intervenes to upset it. It is literally impossible for winds to “increase without bound” … WTF man? Ever hear of the term “non sequitur”?

Meab
Reply to  Duane
July 2, 2022 7:14 pm

The Earth is in disequilibrium at ALL scales. That’s why we have thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. It’s why we have wind.

It gets colder in the winter and warmer in the summer. There is unequal solar heating in time and across the planet, the Earth is NOT in equilibrium.

I gave an example of how wind energy dissipates by heat generation in surface drag. That example is so obvious (where do you think the wind energy goes) that if you knew the first thing about thermodynamics you would have realized that you are wrong, heat generation by friction is an irreversible process.

Oh, I used to teach thermodynamics at a major university for several years. You didn’t. How do I know? It’s because you’re full of shit, DuhWayne.

fretslider
July 2, 2022 7:01 am

I hit the buffers at the end of the first paragraph…

“Recent anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of modern, rapid climatic change, which poses a growing hazard to societies and ecosystems.”

What utter nonsense. Then I thought of two words; climate and model(s). Were they further down in the text?

“Indeed, analysis of the entropy budget of climate models has allowed scientists to probe the climate system’s irreversibility far beyond what observations alone would allow. “

Conclusion:

This is a steaming pile of smeg. The very idea that their woefully inadequate and heavily parameterised models surpass observation [and measurement] is risible.

I’m sure the climate clerisy will approve.

Last edited 1 month ago by fretslider
July 2, 2022 7:07 am

“….and internal forcings such as anthropocentric production of carbon dioxide.” Why mention this without an estimate? Why leave out volcanoes…hot springs….the mid ocean rift….the heat from radioactive material within the earth’s core?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Anti-griff
July 2, 2022 7:42 am

“Anthropocentric?”

Scissor
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 2, 2022 9:47 am

Maybe they meant Satanic.

H. D. Hoese
July 2, 2022 7:32 am

This is an old discussion, ever hear of negentropy, even gotten in sociology.
https://theconversation.com/a-concept-from-physics-called-negentropy-could-help-your-life-run-smoother-155030

Kevin kilty
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
July 7, 2022 8:46 am

Oh, my. An article complete with the messy bedroom meme…

Dave Miller
July 2, 2022 7:37 am

Wow “Thermodynamics” and the even more sciency “entropy” used in the same article. Authors obviously have little understanding of either, or are partisans, not scientists.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave Miller
David Dibbell
July 2, 2022 7:39 am

I read the full article.

“Recent anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of modern, rapid climatic change, which poses a growing hazard to societies and ecosystems.”

No. You know no such thing. Why not?

Because you also know:

“A challenge in climate modeling is representing processes that act on scales smaller than the model’s grid length. For example, the large-eddy simulation represented in figure 4 has a horizontal grid spacing of 250 m. It can resolve the air movements of a given cloud, but it cannot resolve processes at smaller scales in, for example, turbulence that leads to irreversible mixing or the formation of individual raindrops. The effect of those subgrid processes must be accounted for using submodels called parameterizations.”

Any such model relying on estimates of subgrid processes will be inherently incapable of isolating the effects of rising concentrations of non-condensing GHGs such as CO2 and methane, from the effects of water vapor and clouds.

Why claim, in the first quote, that anthropogenic GHG emissions (presumably referring to non-condensing GHGs) “are” “the” cause of rapid climate change, but then ignore the huge anthropogenic emissions of water vapor itself as a possible cause?

I am not concerned about emissions or the resulting slow increase of CO2 or methane for the SAME REASON that I am not concerned about massive emissions of water vapor – it is because the heat-engine operation of the atmosphere at all scales so easily overpowers the incremental static effect of absorption and emission of infrared energy experienced at the surface looking toward space.

Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 7:42 am

Last sentence of the sixth paragraph of the above-quoted introduction:
“The difference between what is imported and what is exported is produced locally, through friction, mixing, or irreversible phase changes.”

What irreversible phase changes?

The above quoted text and the accompanying lead-in figure refer to only the gas-liquid (evaporation/condensation) and solid-liquid (freeze-thaw) phase changes of water. Both of these are known scientifically as being completely reversible thermodynamic processes, even though they may not be isentropic processes.

As I mentioned in a separate post above, at least there was no claim that the above-referenced article had been “peer reviewed”.

JCM
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 9:18 am

Lorenz omitted irreversible transport of latent heat in the moist atmosphere. This thermal dissipation leads to direct waste of the “available” potential energy. Most condensation occurring at lower pressure altitudes than evaporation.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JCM
July 2, 2022 10:26 am

“Most condensation occurring at lower pressure altitudes than evaporation.”

Fog? Especially, morning fog and dew?

JCM
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 11:18 am

Thermodynamic efficiency in the moist atmosphere is much lower than an idealized scenario. The losses due to transport of latent heat which condense into cloud at altitude (lower pressure or density). The moist atmosphere does not behave like a perfect heat engine. This thermal dissipation results in wastage ~ 8 W m-2. This concept is critically important to closing surface energy budgets. A dry atmosphere more closely resembles a perfect heat engine.

https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/atsc/59/2/1520-0469_2002_059_0125_eboaai_2.0.co_2.xml

Last edited 1 month ago by JCM
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JCM
July 2, 2022 1:43 pm

“This thermal dissipation results in wastage ~ 8 W m-2.”

And in what form of energy does this “wastage” appear?

JCM
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 2:25 pm

We’re discussing second law so the terms relate to entropy production, or inversely exergy. A discussion of how much energy is stored for a given input.

Put another way, the diffusivity of the Earth system as the sun’s energy passes through the system on its way to space.

Lorenz discusses the concepts in terms of maximum potential energy production, but introducing the moist atmosphere allows us to quantify entropy production. Total rate of entropy production is expressed in units of W m-2 K-1.

It’s a useful way to help balance energy budgets. You may notice the feedback response conjecture to a radiative forcing is also expressed in units of W m-2 K-1.

In many minds the energy is first stored then the feedback response kicks in. But in reality the energy is never really stored in the first place. Second law helps us understand this.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JCM
July 2, 2022 7:24 pm

Thank you for all of that, but the direct question was:
And in what form of energy does this “wastage” appear?”

JCM
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 2, 2022 7:59 pm

We’re not talking about energy, we’re talking about entropy. The effectiveness of the solar input for heating the atmosphere. Entropy budgets are useful companions to energy budgets in nonlinear fluid systems. If you feel you must can picture the result of entropy production expressed as the emission spectrum of OLR.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JCM
July 3, 2022 9:26 am

Well, JCM, it was you yourself who posted at July 2, 2022 11:18 am above:
“This thermal dissipation results in wastage ~ 8 W m-2.”

Now you are claiming:
“We’re not talking about energy, we’re talking about entropy.”

Furthermore you state:
“Total rate of entropy production is expressed in units of W m-2 K-1.”

In the world of science, entropy can be expressed in units of energy per degree temperature change, such as joules per kelvin.

Therefore, the rate of change of entropy for a given process can be expressed in units of power per degree temperature change, such as watts per kelvin.

W*K^-1 is a unit of measurement completely different from W*m^-2*K^-1.

It appears that you are a tad confused about entropy and the correct units to be used for it and its time-derivative changes in any process flow.

JCM
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 3, 2022 3:55 pm

It is not I who is confused. If you would like to learn more try this summary which is relevant to the discussion. Many people struggle with the abstractions in second law so you are not alone. The relevance is observed in CMIP modelers now attempting to quantify the cloud feedbacks required to explain low observational ECS. It has been realized the radiative convective computations and parameterizations have been inadequate. It also ties into the control theory feedbacks discussed by Monckton on WUWT. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2002RG000113

Last edited 1 month ago by JCM
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JCM
July 3, 2022 5:14 pm

The modelers, like you, are doomed to failure if they use units of (W/m^2)/K, or equivalent, to calculate a rate of entropy production.

I do understand the laws of thermodynamics quite well. You?

JCM
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 3, 2022 5:32 pm

Humility can go a long way to advancing one’s understanding. You have offered very little to the discussion other than demonstrating classic smugness. Good luck to you.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JCM
July 3, 2022 11:48 pm

“It is not I who is confused. If you would like to learn more try this summary which is relevant to the discussion. Many people struggle with the abstractions in second law so you are not alone.” — JCM

Now, you were saying something about humility and smugness . . .

JCM
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 4, 2022 6:42 am

Indeed it is a struggle for us all. To advance requires putting in the work. Lorenz has provided an ample launching pad. I suggesting starting from there. After-which you may be able to begin a more productive discussion with a foundation of terms and concepts. https://eapsweb.mit.edu/sites/default/files/Generation_of_available_1960.pdf

The remaining body of literature is here. https://eapsweb.mit.edu/about/history/publications/lorenz

To take a step further refer to the summaries I have provided in previous correspondence. It is a remarkable achievement to feel one has adequately digested the material in the time between July 3, 2022 3:55 pm and July 3, 2022 5:14 pm

It seems more likely one has briefly scanned the material seeking units with which they feel discomfort. Then to confidently dismiss the material. This is the peril of ego. Learning how to understand is a skill very few appear to possess. This trait is exhibited by both consensus defenders and skeptics alike far too often. For it is not uncommon to express entropy production of heat flow in base units of Q. Your dismissal is limiting the advancement of your knowledge. Learn to recognize this and you will go far.

JCM
Reply to  JCM
July 4, 2022 7:08 am

As an addendum, I encourage you to observe the lightbulbs going off in the 18 hours of ECS & Cloud Feedback symposium sessions which have been occurring virtually over the past two years. In particular this presentation where there is acknowledgement that despite well understood radiative physics the climate model parameterizations remain inaccurate and they don’t know why. This is the impetus and theme of the entire symposium. The answers may lie in thermodynamics. This is what they should be learning from the CMIP simulations – but instead there seems to be a drive to make ‘feedback’ corrections ex-post facto to radiative forcings. This is an inelegant solution. https://youtu.be/LrjrNyBT198?t=185

MkeBob
July 2, 2022 8:11 am

entropy
ĕn′trə-pē
noun

  1. For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work. 
  2. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.

The Earth’s global weather is a “closed” system? If it is, then it IS a greenhouse… But isn’t that one of the basic fallacies of “climate change” dogma?

JCM
July 2, 2022 8:26 am

Regardless of one’s imaginings there is no escaping the linear dependence between surface flux and emittance from the atmosphere.

The ratio of OLR to surface temperature is unchanging over climate scales.

Standard theory requires a substantial difference between the temperature of the surface and the air just above in the order of 60 W m-2. 

In reality, there is no difference between ground and air temperature at the lower boundary in a global average sense. Radiative equilibrium extends to the surface.

Dry surfaces may get hotter, wet surfaces colder.

Theoretically a CO2 perturbation may heat the surface and cool at great height. However, the compensating feedbacks are immediately initiated. As soon as the temperature lapse rate becomes greater than adiabatic expansion instability kicks in delivering heat aloft.

Due to the existence of IR active gases the atmosphere is always instable. Addition of more IR actives gases steepens the temperature lapse rate and so can only enhance moist convection. This change barely observable as the CO2 radiative perturbation by human emission is so minor. The heat dissipation can present itself in numerous ways, not least by cloud top altitude and other water cycle effects.

By far the greatest climate perturbation can occur by human interference with the water cycle on land, not by CO2. This interference with water cycle is a much more powerful ‘forcing’ as far as how humans perceive climate changes where we live. Climatology has erred in focusing so much on global curves. Much more practical actions to reduce drought and temperature extremes can be achieved by understanding the human interactions with the ecosystem and hydrology. So much brainpower is wasted on nonsense, where publicly funded scientists would much better serve citizens by offering real answers.

Last edited 1 month ago by JCM
Rud Istvan
July 2, 2022 8:36 am

Lost me at the last sentence of the first paragraph, meaning the rest of the hifalutin sounding ‘science’ isn’t.
‘….cause of modern rapid climate change…’. Well, no:

  1. Earth has been slowly warming since the end of the LIA about 1818 (last Thames ice fair). Most of that must be natural, since even the IPCC says there was not enough change in atmospheric CO2 to do anything until after 1950.
  2. Arctic summer sea ice hasn’t disappeared, and is now again slowly increasing as predicted by Akasofu in 2010.
  3. Sea level rise has not accelerated, and has been rising at about the same rate since about 1900.
  4. No increases in weather extremes.
  5. Glacier National Park still has glaciers.

There is literally NO observational evidence (yet) for modern GHE caused climate change at all, let alone rapidly.

One more thing. The climate models CANNOT represent the most important underlying atmospheric physics like convection cells and Tstorms. Those phenomena arise at fine grid scales that are 6-7 orders of magnitude computationally intractable thanks to the CFL constraint on numerical solutions to PDFs. They must be parameterized. The parameters are tuned to best hindcast. Tuning drags in the attribution problem of natural variation—for example points 1 and 2 above. To claim otherwise as here is either abject ignorance or deliberate prevarication.

H. D. Hoese
July 2, 2022 9:20 am

Tired of reading about science ran across these having to do with “entropy.”
https://www.wunderground.com/video/top-stories/heres-why-berlin-constructed-a-giant-thermos Stores heat from renewable energy for “13 hours”
 https://www.wunderground.com/video/top-stories/a-new-solar-powered-car-called-lightyear-can-go-months-without-plugging-in   $262,000

Reply to  H. D. Hoese
July 2, 2022 10:44 am

The second link now asks Will You Join 140 Million People In A Plastic Free July?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
July 4, 2022 6:39 am

“Stores heat from renewable energy for ’13 hours’ “

Zoe Phin, calling Zoe Phin.

July 2, 2022 9:27 am

Regarding the climate system as an heat engine, I am more confident in studies done by Valerio Lucarini and colleagues. A recent example is Robustness of competing climatic states April 2022 Journal of Climate

ABSTRACT: The climate is a nonequilibrium system undergoing the continuous action of forcing and dissipation. Under the effect of a spatially inhomogeneous absorption of solar energy, all the climate components dynamically respond until an approximate steady state (or attractor) is reached. However, multiple steady states can coexist for a given forcing and with the same boundary conditions.

Here, we apply the Thermodynamic Diagnostic Tool (TheDiaTo) to investigate the statistical properties of five coexisting climates, ranging from a snowball to an ice-free aquaplanet, obtained in MITgcm coupled simulations. The aim is to explore the multistability of the climate model setup by highlighting differences in competing steady states and their characteristic signatures regarding the meridional transport of heat and water mass, the Lorenz energy cycle, and the material entropy production.

We also investigate how such attractors change when the model configuration is varied. We consider, in particular, the effect of changing the representation of the cloud albedo, and of implementing an improved closure of the energy budget. We find that, even if the dynamics remain on the same attractor, state variables are modified. The set of metrics in TheDiaTo quantifies such modifications and represents a valuable tool for model evaluation.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/359830698_Robustness_of_competing_climatic_states

Last edited 1 month ago by Ron Clutz
DHR
July 2, 2022 9:43 am

Why is it that people like Singh and O’Neill never seem to have read Happer and Wjingaarten? The latter are spectroscopists and atmospheric physicists and spectroscopy is the root of CO2 theory. Yet their work is ignored. And the paper is mostly about about hydrodynamics, not thermodynamics since the radiation physics of the atmosphere isn’t’ even mentioned.

Reply to  DHR
July 2, 2022 9:55 am

“the radiation physics of the atmosphere isn’t’ even mentioned.”

I suppose that subject was “inconvenient”.

July 2, 2022 9:55 am

Mathematics has no solution for the general N body problem where N greater than 2. Why is this? What does it tell us about predictions?

What surprised me most studying mathematics is the wide range of problems where this applies. It cannot be coincidence. It happens too often.

I strongly suspect there is a fundamental underlying property of the universe that prevents us from reliably predicting the future. This is the basis fot quantum mechanics.

Is it coincidence that we can exactly solve 2 dimensional problems but not 3 dimensions or above, and live in 3 dimensions?

Is climate modelling a fools errand?

Reply to  ferdberple
July 2, 2022 10:06 am

It may turn out as you say. Yet IMO people like Lucarini and Gritsun (of the INMCM team) are pioneering a new approach to address the fact of climate system non-equilbirum and the fact of thermodynamics driving the system. They were among to first to fault CMIP models for failing to represent observed thermodynamics. If you are interested in this development, a synopsis of the history is here:

https://rclutz.com/2019/03/30/on-thermodynamic-climate-modelling/

Reply to  Ron Clutz
July 2, 2022 10:48 am

Just nitpicking .. how do you observe thermodynamics?

Reply to  Curious George
July 2, 2022 7:51 pm

I think you know. Would you prefer “energy and heat exchanges”?

Last edited 1 month ago by Ron Clutz
Reply to  ferdberple
July 2, 2022 10:51 am

Geometry has no solution for trisecting an angle ..

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  ferdberple
July 4, 2022 9:58 am

“Is it coincidence that we can exactly solve 2 dimensional problems but not 3 dimensions or above, and live in 3 dimensions?”

Oh, pleeeease!

Given a (3D) solid “regular” tetrahedron, one having six edges of equal length “a” oriented randomly with respect the x-, y-, and z spatial axes, the formula to calculate the mathematically-exact volume contained in that tetrahedron is simply V = (a^3)*sqrt (2)/12.

There are more complex formula that still lead to a closed-form solution for calculating the volume of any arbitrary irregular tetrahedron having edges of unequal lengths.

There are many, many more examples of mathematics that can calculate exact results in three-dimensional space, such as “What is the surface area of a sphere?”

July 2, 2022 10:10 am

Could we exist if the universe was predictable. Wouldn’t that mean that all future action was preordained by the past. That at the moment of the big bang our existence and what we had for breakfast was already set in stone. In that case we are simply actors on a stage with the story already written.

Unless the future cannot be predicted at the most fundamental level, any action we will take with regard to climate change has already been determined billions of years ago.

Predictability is simply an illusion of our present state. Future states can only deviate relative to now. So we can reliably predict that tomorrow will look a lot like today. The day after tomorrow will look a lot like tomorrow. Etc.

Pat Frank
July 2, 2022 10:32 am

Posted as a comment under the article at Physics Today.

“Propagation of Error and the Reliability of Global Air Temperature Projections”
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feart.2019.00223/ful

Climate models have no predictive value. They cannot detect, attribute, predict or resolve the effect, if any, of CO₂ emissions on the climate.

None of you people seem to know anything about physical error analysis. Climate modelers don’t even recognize the distinction between accuracy and precision.

And apparently, neither do the editors of Physics Today, even though that distinction is absolutely fundamental to Physics. Shame on them.

Of course, PT will moderate the comment. So, it may not appear. Criticism of climate models is hate speech in today’s world. And maybe even Physics Today’s world.

RickWill
Reply to  Pat Frank
July 2, 2022 5:56 pm

None of you people seem to know anything about physical error analysis. 

It is far worse than that. None of them know a jot about climate. If they did, they would not forecast physically impossible temperatures.

It is not possible for ocean surfaces to sustain more than 30C. That is the surface temperature where deep convection shuts down. It is a hard limit that can only be breached briefly before it becomes the dominant convective zone. Convective columns at 30C base are the biggest boys – the limit.

Every climate model shows some ocean sustaining more than 30C. That is nothing that can occur on Earth while there is 10t/m^2 of air over oceans.

Nino34_CSIRO_CIMP3.png
Kevin kilty
July 2, 2022 10:33 am

I don’t plan to read the full article until I wander on up to campus maybe next week and fetch Physics Today from my mailbox. However, relying on just Leif’s summary I will note that the authors of this piece managed to leave out the largest contributor to entropy generation which is the cascade of various transport processes that move energy to lower and lower local temperature. They mention mixing, phase changes, and viscosity, but not transport per se. Now mixing might pertain to some of this transport, but so does radiation and conduction. One would think in an article all about the atmosphere as a “heat engine” they would have thought to mention heat transport as a source of entropy generation.

Just because a model is based on physics, doesn’t necessarily mean it will account for entropy balance prperly. The devil is in the parameterized details and numerical methods.

Max
Reply to  Kevin kilty
July 2, 2022 3:09 pm

Go to the NASA website, type in second law of thermodynamics. It blatantly states that there is no violation of the second law of thermodynamics in nature… that is an admission that there’s never been an observed case validating the greenhouse theory!
After 40 years of atmospheric observation by satellites, there has yet to be measured the heating of the planet via colder atmosphere.
The greenhouse theory is junk science.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Max
July 2, 2022 3:56 pm

Max, you may have misunderstood my comment. I know there has been no violation of the second law in reality. That does not mean that some modeling or simulation hasn’t violated it. Now, with regard to your claim that the colder atmosphere cannot heat the warmer surface — the second law is not violated by energy flowing from a colder to a hotter body, but only by net transfer from colder to hotter.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
July 2, 2022 6:59 pm

“Just because a model is based on physics, doesn’t necessarily mean it will account for entropy balance properly.”
GCMs don’t deal with entropy as such. They compute heat fluxes, which respond to temperature differences (they also have SW and LW radiation models), and they compute temperature, basically from heat content and specific heat. You can deduce entropy, but GCMs don’t need to.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 3, 2022 8:23 am

Indeed, the fundamental equations are those of fluid dynamics coupled to energy (heat) flow. I know this. There is no explicit contribution from anything like entropy. But still such a model may not account for entropy balance properly because entropy balance has contributions from exports and imports through the boundaries of systems and perhaps even from quasi-physical rules used within the model. Have you actually tried to deduce an entropy balance from a model yourself? I have done so for processes and machines and based on that experience I think demonstrating such in a GCM might be quite a task.

There was a movement of sorts some decades ago where people were trying to apply “principles” like maximum dissipation rate, or maximum entropy generation rate to problems not only of atmospheric physics, but also to solid earth geophysics. Yet, there are no such principles in reality (even Prigogine’s minimum entropy generation rate principle is limited to near equilibrium and has other limitations imposed) and no useful insights came about from this effort that I am aware of.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 7, 2022 7:40 am

Nick, I don’t know why you get so many down votes for simply stating a fact, but you do and I am glad that you continue to respond occasionally because you get me to think about things. I just spent two days reading some of the older papers (2003 to 2013) on maximum entropy generation rate, some of which I had read long ago, and realized that people have actually considered substituting this “principle” for the dynamical methods in GCMs because it seems to do a surprisingly good job reproducing general features of climate and is computationally far less expensive. Maximum entropy is an interesting tool that can be applied to disparate problems (like image reconstruction) without seemingly any input from fundamental mechanics — sort of spooky. Occasionally it doesn’t work so well, though.

Steve Case
July 2, 2022 12:12 pm

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Steve Case
July 4, 2022 8:51 am

Ummmm . . . I’m just guessing here, but I think the top row in the video represents the best of the IPCC CMIP6 climate model predictions whereas the bottom row represents reality.

The divergence is obvious and complete in less than half the length of the video.

Thanks for presenting this excellent video . . . and excuse me for adding text commentary to point out “the obvious”.

RickWill
July 2, 2022 3:26 pm

 which requires a temperature gradient to induce an overturning circulation, with the fact that observed large-scale vortices can be predicted by models that forbid temperature gradients? 

This is not accurate. Deep convection in the atmosphere is the result of a condensing, buoyant gas. The fact that it produces a highly reflective solid ultimately limits the extent of deep convection. With the present atmospheric mass of just over 10t per m^2, deep convection literally runs out of steam at 30C surface temperature.No open ocean surface can sustain a temperature above 30C over an annual cycle.

The attached chart shows the area averaged ocean surface temperature response to average annual sunlight at top of the atmosphere. This shows how sharp the 30C temperature limit is. It also shows how sea ice reduces heat loss from the oceans.

The temperature response to solar forcing is anything but monotonic. There are two inflection points. One is associated with the formation of sea ice at -1.8C but anywhere between 80 to 200W/m^2 ToA Solar EMR and the other with the upper limit of surface temperature at 30C.

SSTvSolarEMR.png
Michael Hammer
July 2, 2022 3:36 pm

The author is right, the atmosphere of earth is the working fluid of a heat engine. That is, a system that converts thermal energy (sunlight) into mechanical energy (wind, falling rain etc). The science underlying heat engines was first described by Carnot in the late 18th century. 100% conversion efficiency is not possible, a heat engine must not only have a hot junction where heat is injected into the working fluid but also a cold junction a point which is at both lower pressure and temperature where heat is abstracted form the working fluid. Now think of the Hadley cell – the main driver of Earths atmospheric heat engine. The hot junction is obvious, Earth’s surface that absorbs solar energy and couples it into the atmosphere. Where is the cold junction? A region where both temperature and pressure is significantly lower than the surface. For the Hadley cell there is only one possibility – the tropopause, the top of the atmospheric circulation where the air warmed by the surface cools enough to descend again completing the convective loop. So how does the air at the tropopause cool, remember this is effectively the coldest point in the atmosphere and heat always flows from hot to cold?

The only way the air at the tropopause can cool is by radiating energy to space. But any gas that can radiate energy in the thermal infrared range (the only wavelength range where significant energy can be radiated according to Planks law) is BY DEFINITION a green house gas (GHG). Oxygen and nitrogen are not GHG’s. Without GHG’s in the atmosphere the tropopause would not be able to radiate to space. The cold junction could not exist and thus neither could the heat engine. There would be no wind, no rain (and thus no clouds), no dust, no air movement (since air movement implies mechanical work), no surface evaporation since the atmosphere would be saturated with respect to water vapour, in short no weather at all. The atmosphere would become isothermal at a temperature equal to the maximum surface temperature leading to constant thermal inversion and thus no significant transfer of energy between the surface and the atmosphere (other than a tiny bit of conductive transfer).

The surface would receive and radiate freely to space with a day night temperature variation determined only by the variation in incoming solar energy and the thermal time constant of the surface. Anyone walking on beach sand or a concrete path or even dry ground on a clear summers day can testify the time constant is short – less than 1 hour. Under these conditions the situation would approach that on the moon (which is the same distance from the sun as Earth) 127C during the day around -200C at night. That really would extinguish life on Earth!!!!!

Oh, by the way, under that scenario, Earth’s albedo would be low so the insolation would not be 243 watts/sqM but closer to 340 watts/sqM which would give an average (whatever that means) temperature of +5C not the -20C claimed by warmists. Earth would NOT be 33C colder, only 9C colder. Hmmm, a 10% increase in the energy retained by the sub dominant GHG increases warming by 33%!!! Hardly credible.

RickWill
Reply to  Michael Hammer
July 2, 2022 5:16 pm

Where is the cold junction? 

The cold junction varies in altitude. It is created above the Level of Free Convection where water is condensing and solidifying.

The solidifying water produces reflective cloud that shuts down the engine when the surface reaches 30C. At that point the surface insolation is down to 200W/m^2.

No ocean surface can sustain a temperature above 30C irrespective of the incoming solar EMR. An increasing proportion of the EMR is just reflected and remains unthermalised.

Surface sunlight increases gradually to 26C then reduces dramitacally to the 30C deep convection shutdown point.

You should read up on Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) it is ubiquitous over warm water and is closely observed for storm prediction over land:
https://www.spc.noaa.gov/exper/soundings/22063012_OBS/
https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=cape/orthographic=-254.19,12.51,388/loc=114.759,14.360

SSTvSolarEMR.png
Reply to  Michael Hammer
July 2, 2022 5:50 pm

“The cold junction could not exist and thus neither could the heat engine. There would be no wind, no rain…”
No, the mid-latitude surface would be a suitable cold sink. The circulation would sti8ll exist, along with winds etc. The atmosphere could hardly be isothermal; the poles would still be cold.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Michael Hammer
July 4, 2022 8:26 am

Michael Hammer posted:
“But any gas that can radiate energy in the thermal infrared range (the only wavelength range where significant energy can be radiated according to Planks law) is BY DEFINITION a green house gas (GHG). Oxygen and nitrogen are not GHG’s. Without GHG’s in the atmosphere the tropopause would not be able to radiate to space.”

Absolutely, unequivocally not true and thus a “garbage science” claim.

It is well know that all gases—including the “non-greenhouse gases” nitrogen and oxygen that together comprise 99% by volume of Earth’s atmosphere—radiate thermal energy purely as a fact of their sensible temperature being above absolute zero. A large segment of the spectrum of that radiation includes the “thermal infrared range” (IR in the range of 3 to 70 microns) as a result of atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen molecules having effective temperatures in the range of 288 to 220 K (range of temperatures in the troposphere per standard atmosphere).

Without GHG’s in the atmosphere, the tropopause would still radiate (energy) to space.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Tom Abbott
July 2, 2022 3:37 pm

From the article: “Recent anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of modern, rapid climatic change, which poses a growing hazard to societies and ecosystems.”

Nope, there’s no evidence for that. It is pure speculation. Wild speculation. Totally unsubstantiated speculation.

One should be wary of believing things written by people like this who cannot tell the difference between evidence and speculation.

Jopo
July 2, 2022 4:37 pm

Sometimes we are distracted and are focused on the macro. CO2 is not special. This paper clearly shows that something else is at play. It is simply Earths charge field and electrons

The average temperature of Earth and Venus at 1 BAR can be calculated straight from the energy required to raise the potential of 1 electron through 1 volt. We simply sum up all the electrons in a MOLE of AIR on Earth and multiply it by the energy required to charge up each electron in a mole of air to 1 electron volt. 

http://milesmathis.com/farad.pdf

Gordon Robertson
Reply to  Jopo
July 2, 2022 8:09 pm

Just want to point out that electrons bound to atoms in gases like nitrogen and oxygen are not free to have their energies raised at random. They are subject to the laws of quantum theory as proposed by Bohr, hence to elevate the energy of an electron in atoms the electron must absorb electromagnetic energy or thermal energy that gives them the required energy to rise to a higher energy state (orbital). .

The theory you propose would apply to free electrons in something like a battery.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon Robertson
July 3, 2022 9:58 am

I just want to point out that the energies required to raise electrons from lower shell (aka “orbital”) levels to higher shell levels (i.e., allowed electron quantum states around nuclei) in any nitrogen or oxygen molecule on on the order of 1-3 eV.

As the attached figure shows, the energy levels (in eV) corresponding to LWIR emitted from Earth’s surface are well below 1 eV.

So when discussing oxygen and nitrogen exchanging energy with LWIR-excited GHGs in Earth’s atmosphere, the energy changes occur in translational (i.e., molecule velocity) and vibrational modes of the molecular bonds, only the last of which is governed by quantum mechanics, NOT in the electron shells.

To the extent that sub-eV energy absorbed by nitrogen or oxygen gases can be partitioned between all all degrees of freedom, these gas molecules can effective have their energies “raised at random”.

Then too, given the quantum mechanical basis for radiation and the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of energies in any ensemble of gas molecules at any given average temperature, the thermal radiation of energy from these molecules occurs more or less randomly.

GHG_absorption_vs_eV.jpg
Gordon Robertson
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 5, 2022 5:49 pm

“So when discussing oxygen and nitrogen exchanging energy with LWIR-excited GHGs in Earth’s atmosphere, the energy changes occur in translational (i.e., molecule velocity) and vibrational modes of the molecular bonds, only the last of which is governed by quantum mechanics, NOT in the electron shells”.

***

Gordon…molecular bonds are electrons. A molecule is nothing more than two or more atoms bonded by shared electrons or charges produced by electrons. Vibrational modes are related to electron bonds and involved electron transitions as well..

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Jopo
July 3, 2022 2:51 pm

Jopo,

Earth’s atmosphere has much more than a single mole of “air”. And what’s the basis for your calculation—wrong as it is on mass—using just a single eV of energy per electron for all electrons in one mole? Aren’t you aware that K shell electrons have different eV energy values than L shell electrons, which in turn have different eV energy values compared to M shell electrons, and so forth?

The mass of Earth’s atmosphere has been estimated to be 5.1*10^18 kg.
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/earthfact.html

For air having an average molecular weight of 28.96, the weight per mole would be 28.96 grams, or 0.029 kg.

Therefore, there are approximately 1.76*10^20 moles in the atmosphere.

N.B. The relative concentrations of different gases comprising the atmosphere doesn’t change significantly until above the 100 km altitude. An altitude up to 100 km contains 99.9999% by mass of the total atmosphere, and by convention this altitude is taken to be “the top of the atmosphere (TOA)”.

You also may want to consider that near Earth’s surface, the normal atmospheric potential field gradient is on the average around 100 V/m, so any free electron would only have to move a distance vertically upward of 1/100 m, less than 1/2 inch, to gain one eV in energy.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Jopo
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 4, 2022 5:55 am

You need to read the paper again. It states the “that the energy in a Mole of charged electrons to 1 volt is also the same as the Earth’s average temperature

You have gone somewhere where the paper does not go. Totally irrelevant. As for the Ionisation energy levels. 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. Yes been there and done that. Do you know just using the First level also brings it extremely close. Like 289 K I think it was. So lets address the “astonishing correlation” Try and get an alarmist to provide numbers like that. Yeah right. Instead they have said. yeah it is a coincidence. I mean like really guys. Come on!

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Jopo
July 4, 2022 6:45 am

Jopo, I need go no further than this:
You state, in bold typeface no less, “the energy in a Mole of charged electrons to 1 volt is also the same as the Earth’s average temperature”.

Energy is not temperature.

And I certainly don’t need to read any paper that would state such, so thanks for the “heads up” info.

Jopo
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 4, 2022 6:57 am

lol. you accept CO2 getting back to ground state as being energy emitted. But put your head in the sand when other gases fall back to a ground state. That is poor of you.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Jopo
July 4, 2022 7:57 am

Please cite the specific post where I accepted “CO2 getting back to ground state as being energy emitted.”

Now, you were saying something about putting one’s head in the sand . . .

Jopo
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 4, 2022 6:00 am

Did you know that if you sum up the numbers on all the balls on a billiard table it comes to 136. The average weighting on each ball being 8.5.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jopo
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Jopo
July 4, 2022 6:56 am

Numbers have weight?

Who knew!

And, by the way, the numbers on a standard set of billiard balls go successively from 1 to 15. (The white, cue ball does not have a number.)
The sum of 1+2+3+4 … +15 = 120, not 136.

Need I say more?

Jopo
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 4, 2022 7:37 am

darn 15 balls shoot. you got the point though. eV are directly linked to Kelvin. You are just choosing to ignore that.

Gordon Robertson
July 2, 2022 7:04 pm

There is a serious misunderstanding of entropy in this article. Entropy was defined by Clausius as the sum of infinitesimal quantities of heat at temperature T. He produced this relationship…

ds = dq/T

That is in the infinitesimal, differential form. The definition, as a sum, claims…

S = integral dq/T

Since T is defined as a constant, it can be taken outside the integral sign as…

S = entropy = T integral dq.

It is completely obvious that entropy is a measure of heat transfer, a sum of heat transfer, and is the mathematical statement of the 2nd law.

However, Clausius also stated the 2nd law like this….”Heat can NEVER be transferred, by its own means, from a colder body to a hotter body. He later claimed that applied equally to radiation. IMHO, that is the definition of the 2nd law that should be used since it addresses the laws of heat transfer in a clear fashion.

Confusion has arisen based on another statement made by Clausius in relation to entropy. He stated that entropy is zero for a reversible process and positive for an irreversible process. He noted that most processes are irreversible and scientists seem to have confused that as entropy being a measure of irreversibility.

Entropy is not a measure of irreversible processes in general, only a measure of heat given off by an irreversible process. Natural erosion is not related to entropy unless heat is given off. Even at that, how much of that irreversible process is related to other phenomena?

Gordon Robertson
Reply to  Gordon Robertson
July 2, 2022 7:58 pm

Correction…S = T.integral dq should be S = 1/T.integral dq.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Gordon Robertson
July 3, 2022 8:47 am

You have made an astute observation that, as you say, is often overlooked. Entropy changes are related to transfer of heat. In this view entropy is simply a state function and when combined with temperature is very useful for visualizing heat transfers in refrigeration and thermal power cycles. It is no different than using pressure and volume to calculate work for processes involving a gaseous working fluid.

However, entropy has a further use in looking at wasted work potential in irreversible processes. An irreversible process doesn’t require explicit heat transport to be related to a permanent entropy gain of the universe. For example, one can envision the (minimal) amount of work that would have to be expended to undo the irreversible process (put the universe back to its original state — undo the erosion if you will), divided by the dead state temperature as a measure of the minimal permanent entropy increase.

Some years ago I had an influential department colleague who lectured me about emphasizing entropy concepts and calculations in my thermodynamics course as a waste of effort that no engineer would put to good use. I could only counter that such lessons were central to engineers thinking about efficiencies of processes and machines — and ultimately the costs of such. Thermodynamics, I think, is widely misunderstood even by people who could make better use of it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kevin kilty
Gordon Robertson
Reply to  Kevin kilty
July 5, 2022 6:21 pm

“…one can envision the (minimal) amount of work that would have to be expended to undo the irreversible process (put the universe back to its original state — undo the erosion if you will)…”

Interesting way of looking at it. Clausius talked a great deal about the equivalence of heat and work.If you have not read his original work I strongly recommend it. The guy was brilliant and meticulous about his science.

I agree that thermodynamics is a poorly understood discipline. .

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Gordon Robertson
July 7, 2022 7:27 am

Most of the founders of thermodynamics were so brilliant that I am utterly puzzled about the origin of their insights. I don’t recall ever having read Clausius, and perhaps on your recommendation I will. I have read Carnot and while he was brilliantly inspired much of his musings are confused because, as you likely know, there was no first law as yet annuciated. Another thing you likely recognize is that one’s views about thermodynamics depend to a large extent on where you learned the basic concepts — chemists, physicists, engineers all look at the topic a bit differently. I have been fortunate to have first taken a course in ug physics using Zemansky’s superb text, then a graduate course in mechanical engineering, then statistical mechanics in physics graduate school, then taught it to engineers about eight times — after 47 years I am beginning to feel that I understand it pretty well…but I am also learning new things all the time.

Thanks for the reply.

burl Henry
July 3, 2022 3:20 pm

The article states that “Recent anthropognic greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of modern climate change”

I believe that I can offer a simple way to REFUTE that statement, and would appreciate input from anyone wanting to comment upon it, since I may be wrong.

As I understand it, the major tenet of the greenhouse gas hypothesis is that CO2 warms the climate by retaining heat”

However water vapor is well known to be the major greenhouse gas that retains heat.

Now, consider the atmospheres over desert areas. They are hot and very dry, and contain only a small amount of water vapor. As a result temperatures plunge during the night, because there is insufficient heat retention from the small amount of water vapor present.

CO2 is a well-mixed gas in our atmosphere and is present at the same levels over deserts at noon and at night

.IFit it actually had any heat retentive properties worth considering,it would prevent temperatures from plunging.

One might speculate that temperatures might plunge even more, if there were no CO2 present. However this is testable. Cycle a metal container over a day, in a desert setting, filled with desert air from which the CO2 has been removed, and see whether the temperature within the box drops more than outside the container

.

Gordon Robertson
Reply to  burl Henry
July 5, 2022 6:18 pm

“As I understand it, the major tenet of the greenhouse gas hypothesis is that CO2 warms the climate by retaining heat…”

***

That’s one of them, that GHGs trap heat. However, heat is a property of atoms and unless you trap the atoms defining the heat, you can’t trap heat. The glass in a real greenhouse can trap heat as rising atoms/molecules of air but molecules of air like GHGs cannot do that.

Circa 1909, R. W. Wood posited that air is heated at the surface and rises. Since the air is 99% nitrogen and oxygen, and they are both poor emitters of infrared, the N2/O2 retains the heat until it reaches an altitude where the heat dissipates naturally through a reduction of pressure. That alone could explain the so-called greenhouse effect.

A more refined aspect of the heat trapping theory is that GHGs slow the dissipation rate of heat at the surface. However, Newton’s Law of Cooling claims that the rate of heat dissipation is proportional to the difference in temperature between a body and its environment. That infers the difference between surface temperature and the atmosphere at the boundary between them.

Of course, the atmosphere and surface would normally be in thermal equilibrium, hence no heat could be transferred via conduction.However, heated air rises and is replace by cooler air from aloft and that forms a temperature differential so heat can be dissipated to the cooler air.

Since air is 99% nitrogen and oxygen, they set the temperature of the atmosphere, not trace GHGs. Therefore it has to be nitrogen and oxygen controlling the rate of surface heat dissipation.

ATheoK
July 3, 2022 8:38 pm

The climate system contains myriad irreversible processes, and on both a calm day and a stormy day they produce entropy.”

“Produce entropy”? Absurd!

From Merriam-Webster:

Definition of entropy

1 thermodynamics a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system’s disorder, that is a property of the system’s state, and that varies directly with any reversible change in heat in the system and inversely with the temperature of the system

broadly the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system”

Entropy is not measured. Entropy is ‘estimated’ and assumed.

Gordon Robertson
Reply to  ATheoK
July 5, 2022 6:26 pm

The problem is, Clausius invented entropy, defined it and named it. He defined it roughly as the sum of infinitesimal transfers of heat at a temperature T. ds = dq/t is the infinitesimal relationship and S = integral dq/T is the integral form. There is nothing in that relationship about unavailable energy or disorder, only heat.

I fear that modern scientists have taken it upon themselves to redefine the work of a scholar in thermodynamics.

Ulric Lyons
July 4, 2022 6:18 am

The energy flow is irreversible, the state of the global climate is not irreversible, but the opinions of some climate scientists appear robustly irreversible.

Gordon Robertson
Reply to  Ulric Lyons
July 5, 2022 6:27 pm

Good point about the climate scientists.

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