Thinking about the logical outcomes of Nikolov and Zeller’s ‘Unified Theory of Climate‘, a couple of ideas emerge which turn conventional climate science ‘wisdom’ on its head. It has long been believed that ‘greenhouse gases’ cause warming of the planet’s surface. While this may be true at the local level near the surface at certain times of day, I think I agree with Markus that the overall effect of ‘greenhouse gases’ is to cool planets. Here’s why:
Nikolov and Zeller have shown that by far the greatest influences on the surface temperature of a planet with an atmosphere are their distance from the Sun, and the pressure generated at the surface by gravity acting on atmospheric mass. Planets with more GHG’s relative to their surface pressure, like Mars, are cold relative to their distance from the Sun. Planets with less GHG’s relative to surface pressure like Earth and Venus are warm.
GHG’s are necessary for a planet with an atmosphere to be able to lose heat to space efficiently. This is because you can’t conduct heat to the near vacuum of space. There’s almost nothing to conduct it to. Likewise with convection. Convect into what? Nikolov and Zeller point out that planets and Moons with atmospheres tend to have precipitable gases. On earth, it’s water. On Titan, Methane. Phase change of these substances can be via evaporation or sublimation. The key point is, they transport heat up from the surface against the gravity well, through the pressure gradient, and radiate it to space. It’s similar to the way a household fridge works. Venus seems to be the exception, you’d need a substance with a boiling point above 460C there.
Onto the second half of my outrageous claims. (We’ll find out how wrong they are in comments :) )
Volcanos have been observed to cause cooling, according to the world’s most eminent climate scientists. As exemplars they hold up the recent big eruptions which have occurred during the space age when we have had better instrumentation to observe temperature response. However, a while back, I posted a thread showing that a lot of other big eruptions over the last 120 years didn’t cause cooling at a global scale. Also, Pinatubo coincided with a drop in solar activity, and global temperature had been on an upswing prior to the eruption anyway, and was about ready for a downswing looking at the general oscillation of ENSO in historical terms.
But all this focussing on the short term of which the climate science mainstream seems so fond is blinkering us to the bigger picture. Volcanos add mass to the atmosphere. On geological timescales, they add a lot of mass to the atmosphere. And more mass means more surface pressure. More surface pressure means less evaporation from the oceans, and higher surface temperatures. Now to some extent, you might think, these two might offset each other. This needs more investigation, perhaps through the study of the growth of rock formations in caves where dripping water forms speleothems.
One strong piece of evidence is the story told by the bones of pterosaurs. The body mass deduced from bone structure means that they shouldn’t have been able to fly. Katsufumi Sato, a Japanese scientist, did calculations using modern birds and decided that it is impossible for a pterosaur to stay aloft. In the book Posture, Locomotion, and Paleoecology of Pterosaurs it is theorized that they were able to fly due to the oxygen-rich, dense atmosphere of the Late Cretaceous period.[32 . We know there was plenty of volcanic activity back then, and so more atmospheric mass, greater surface pressure, and so greater air density. As Konrad’s experiment shows us, greater pressure and density in air subjected to sunlight causes higher temperature to evolve. The gas laws developed over the last 300 years tell us the same thing. From Guillaume Amontons at the start of the 1700′s, through JosephLouis Gay-Lussac and Stanislao Canizarro and on to the development of the ideal gas law, it has been well known for centuries that there is a fundamental relatiionship between pressure, mass by volume, and temperature.
But surface pressure on Earth has been falling for many millions of years, look at this graph I’ve poached from the Chiefio’s website:
This would seem to explain why there was sufficient plant life to sustain lots of big dinosaurs and why we have been though an ice age for the last few million years.
So what causes the drop in surface pressure?
Loss of atmosphere.
What causes loss of atmosphere?
Good question. Gases can be fixed by biological life and lost to the atmosphere in rock formation. The solar wind can get lairy from time to time. That might blow some of it away into space. Especially if Earth’s magnetosphere was weak at the time. As global cooling becomes the new global warming, maybe we’ll have to ban windmills because the back EMF from the turbine alternators is counteracting the Earth’s magnetic field… I can imagine that would have about the same effect as cutting co2 emissions.