Greenhouse gases cool planets: Volcanos warm them

Posted: January 26, 2012 by Rog Tallbloke in atmosphere, climate, Geomagnetism, Ice ages, Ocean dynamics, solar system dynamics, volcanos

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.[31] 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.

Comments
  1. markus says:

    “the overall effect of ‘greenhouse gases’ is to cool planets”

    Thank you so very much Rog, and you deserve every success, after what those bastards did to you.

    I do believe Baron Fourier would have called them atmospheric gases.

    Regards,

    Markus.

  2. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Markus. We have to follow the science, accept when we are wrong, and let the chips fall where they may.

  3. markus says:

    The last post.

    Look beyond the oceans for there you will see, your brother, for they are yee.

    Markus Fitzhenry.

  4. Hans says:

    TB

    What´s the reference article to the pressure graph? I was hunting this type of information when writing my thesis “Wind controlled climate in 1998 but couldn´t find any reliable source. I was thinking in along this line at taht time and wanted verifications. This graph is a perfect verification to the impact of static adiabatic temperature lapse rate if true. There are for sure other factors like the change of the Gulf Stream reaching further northward and cooling more in the GIN Sea.

    Assuming that the graph is approximately true it is indeed very intriguing. Just one example.
    The atmospheric mass per area unit area (which is proportional to surface pressure) decrease about 20% from 15 million year BP. That is when the Antarctica ice sheet started to expand. Polar areas is where the impact would be strongest. About 8 millon years ago most of that ice sheet go bottom frozen which is very essential. There are “fjords” in inland Antarctica from the older times but they stopped to evolve when the ice sheet couldn´t glide over the surface any longer. Nowadays the glaciers flow over a bottom frozen ice sheet.

    You do try to cover several processes at the same time. You cannot possibly treat volcanism and climate change forgetting about the Tambora explosion 1815 which is said to have produced the “year without a summer”. Low temperatures hit the norther Atlantic region from US east coast to the Ural mountains. The 5 year cold period was not primarily caused by the explosion since it started at least two years before the explosion and ended about 2 years after it. Check the intensity of volcanic eruptions and I am pretty sure Tambore was by far the worst one. My suggestion is that the impact of volcanism on Climate change is over estimated.

    Hans Jelbring

  5. Wayne Job says:

    GHG gases and volcanic eruptions have no long term effect on the earths temperature as the earth resets its thermostats and the norm is restored, many large eruptions over a long period can cause pain both in temperature change and ocean chemical composition leading to nasty stuff happening.

    Changing the volume of the atmosphere or the gravity up or down will see a reset of the earths thermostats. The electric and magnetic influence and it’s variances are little known and could be likely suspects in the onset of ice ages, the loss of our magnet would see us bombarded from all over the universe, what that does is only now being looked at, as in the chilling stars.

  6. Stephen Wilde says:

    If temperature is set by pressure and solar input then in the end the effects of both volcanoes and GHGs must be neutral unless they affect total atmospheric mass.

    When either tries to alter the lapse rate set by pressure then the entire atmospheric circulation must adjust to neutralise the effects.

    The lapse rate actually appears to be set by pressure alone such that the level of solar input is relevant only to atmospheric height.

    No sun and the atmosphere would freeze on the surface and the atmospheric height would be zero. Add sunshine and the atmospheric height would increase commensurate with the level of solar input.

    The lapse rate for a given planet would appear not to be any different at different levels of solar input.

    We all know that severe volcanic outbreaks have an effect on atmospheric circulation don’t we?

    Those changes in circulation constitute the inevitable negative system response to the volcanic event. In due course the system returns to the previous equilibrium.

    The system responds similarly to rising or falling quantities of GHGs and to all other forcings such as variations in the rate of energy release from the oceans.

    More total atmospheric mass or higher solar input are the only things that will raise the system equilibrium temperature but the lapse rate set by pressure must remain the same for any planet of a given mass.

    Anything other than planetary mass that might seek to alter the basic lapse rate can only do so by altering the atmospheric height but what goes up must come down so for every location where the heights are pushed up by warmth rising from the surface there is another location where the heights are pushed down by cooled upper air descending to the surface for a zero net effect on heights globally.

    The only exception would seem to be solar input which would raise absolute atmospheric height. Everything else seems only to affect relative atmospheric heights.

    There would be a climate consequence though because a warmer world gives deeper surface low pressure cells and more intense surface high pressure cells.

    However that climate effect from more GHGs would appear to be miniscule compared to similar such variability from sun and oceans interacting together in an ever changing dance.

    To summarise:

    i) The gravity field alone seems to determine the slope of the lapse rate on any given planet.

    ii) Adding solar input appears to affect only the ABSOLUTE height of the atmosphere and NOT the slope of the lapse rate.

    iiI) Anything other than solar input only affects the RELATIVE atmospheric heights.

    iv) The consequence is that anything other than solar input will only affect the rate at which energy flows from surface to space and not the equilibrium temperature of the planet.

  7. Hans says:

    TB
    If there were 80% more atmosphric mass during the Indian-European plate Collision the surface temperature of earth can easily be calculated. Most of that atmosphere increase must have been carbondioxide. There are observational evidence supporting this claim since the rate of limestone formation has been quite well reconstructed in Zdenek Kukal´s “Rate of Geological Processes”, Academia, Praha, 1990, 283 pages. The sedimentation rate has slowed down during the last 100 milion years and peaked about a rate 20 times the one of today (300-200 million years BP). It should also be notice that the density of the air would have been been much higher not only because more mass per unit area but also because carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen/nitrogen. This would mean that earth is nowadays depleted of carbon dioxide. As everybody knows carbon dioxide is the food for plants and hence also the food for us. Let´s wait for the next scare story when “scientists” are going to declare that we are running out of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere despite anthropgenic burning of it!! It might take a generation before global warming is forgotten.

    The density of carbon dioxide to air is 44/29.

  8. Nick Stokes says:

    No, GHG’s can never make a planet cooler. The most efficient way for the Earth to get rid of the heat that arrives at the surface is to radiate it directly from the surface. Most efficient means that it emits the heat at the lowest possible surface temperature.

    If GHGs are present, they do some of the emitting to space instead of the surface. Total emission is still the same. But the efficiency is less because:
    1. The heat has to be transported before emission. It doesn’t matter if convection helps (it doesn’t much) or whether it’s radiative; transporting the heat is less efficient than direct emission from where it is thermalised.
    2. Because of the lapse rate the heat is radiated from a cooler place than the surface.

    Passage down a thermal pathway is driven by temperature. That means that if the path is less efficient, the driving temperature has to be higher. Hotter surface.

  9. Hans says:

    TB

    “What causes loss of atmosphere?” Average over the surface of earth

    There is carbon in the air Average = 1.5 kg/m^2
    There is carbon in the oceans Average = 65 kg/m^2
    There is carbon in the crust Average = 55000 kg/m^2

    Any suggestion where the lost atmosphre went?
    Most carbon in the crust has been in organisms that lived in the oceans. Foraminifera is best known and very important in sedimentary layers producing lime stone.

  10. woops TB that graph is from Nikolov & Zeller’s first piece, pdf page 13, Chiefio shoulda said so and you shoulda remembered, well, guess you haven’t had much sleep this last fortnight :)

    otherwise v interesting.

  11. Hans says:

    To biologists

    Biologists know a lot about the these gigantic flying creatures. Nature seems to be a fantastic inventor. I saw a movie claiming that it took about 100 miljon years for the flying dinosaur to evolve a the best structure for flying and walking. The claim was that they had to be able to walk fairly well “on their knees” if I understood it correctly. Another feature that could be investigated is the mass of its sceleton and its construction. Modern birds havr holes in their bones. If the pressure decreased from 400 to 65 million years BP that should be possible to trace in the bone structure in different ways.

  12. Joe's World says:

    TB,

    Have you heard about “Pressure Equilibrium”?

    It is two apposing pressures that generate a balance. If one pressure is slightly off, the opposing pressure exerts.
    This is how I have been following the salt residue with the timeline of water loss.
    Volcanic rock is full of bubble pockets of gases when there is not massive pressure exerted on the rock. Old volcanic rock shows massive pressure yet are on dry land.
    Our carbon dating has a problem dating much on dry land beyond millions of years except some rock.
    We have very little meteor strikes compared to our smaller moon.
    Water is a good shock absorber for dispersing shock waves as seen by the shock waves after the land displacement in an earthquake.
    Currently our shell is thicker than back when the planet was forming. And yet we still have volcanic activity. As our planet slows, the centrifugal force under the planet by pressurized gases expands.

  13. Hans says:

    TB

    “Greenhouse gases” cool planets????

    According to NASA the surface of Venus is 737 K at its surface and the Venusian atmosphere contains 95% carbon dioxide.

    Any (small planet at least) planet has to emit as much IR power as it absorbs of solar irradiation power.
    That is true ragardles of how much greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere. This is a boundary condtion which is hard to reject. This state is close to a steady state condition which is why the energy eqilibrium state in the atmosphere is of great importance.

  14. Hans says:

    Thank you Lucy,
    Since the pressure graph is constructed from a temperature curve based on Hansen et al 2008 (by N&Z) interpreting 18O isotope (which is a tricky bussiness) that part has to be discussed separately. There is a need to directly verify old time pressure on earth. As I said earlier I haven´t succeded to do so. Still the N&Z reconstruction is worth serious investigations and direct evidence might have emerged lately.

  15. James says:

    I’m afraid to say that the atmospheric pressure graph above was first produced by N&Z and they simply derived it from the temperature of the earth over the same period.

    It first came to light, well my eyes anyway here on December 29th 2011
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-theory-of-climate/

  16. tallbloke says:

    Hans says:
    January 26, 2012 at 11:13 am

    TB

    “Greenhouse gases” cool planets????

    Hans,

    What I’m getting at is that gases with strong radiative properties have a big role in getting rid of energy back into space. They have a secondary role in partially blocking radiation from the surface direct to space, keeping nights warmer, and a minor role in reflecting solar energy back out before it gets to the surface during the day. Maybe I need to formulate my words better. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  17. tallbloke says:

    Joe says:

    As our planet slows, the centrifugal force under the planet by pressurized gases expands.

    You’ll have to explain that, because I can’t make sense of it.

  18. tallbloke says:

    Lucy Skywalker says:
    January 26, 2012 at 10:59 am

    woops TB that graph is from Nikolov & Zeller’s first piece, pdf page 13, Chiefio shoulda said so and you shoulda remembered, well, guess you haven’t had much sleep this last fortnight :)

    Heh, rumbled already. :)

  19. tallbloke says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    January 26, 2012 at 10:50 am

    No, GHG’s can never make a planet cooler. The most efficient way for the Earth to get rid of the heat that arrives at the surface is to radiate it directly from the surface.

    Wotcher Nick.
    But on Earth, quite a lot of the Sun’s energy is directly absorbed in the atmosphere. Where’s the most efficient place for that to be radiated back to space from?

    Notice I said that Greenhouse gases cool planets, not their surfaces. And I didn’t say they make them cooler than a planet with no atmosphere either. I said they cool planets. They are part of the planetary cooling system.

  20. mpf says:

    Rog, the thermo switch is at the mesopause,

    Could have called it a kelvinator.

  21. Joe's World says:

    TB,

    When we compress gases, they turn to liquid and has stored energy of wanting to be relaxed back into a gas. This is pressure in a cold setting.
    Hot gases vibrate and in doing so can be compressed much tighter to become more of a solid state than a liquid state.
    In a centrifugal force setting, of a planet, gases cannot expand toward the core, so they must release at the weakest points of our crust.
    At some point the planets crust will be too strong and thick.
    But going back in time, the crust was weaker and weaker.
    A massive amount of pressure was needed to counteract this event or our planet would be covered by toxic gases.
    By having 2 kilometers more water, the toxic gases were kept at the ocean floor rather than coming to the surface.
    The mechanics of compression in rotation can be replicated.
    4.5 billion years ago, we were in the vicinity of where Venus is today and were rotation 1/20 faster.
    Far greater centrifugal force in rotation would be much less pressure unless we had a water pressure cover.

  22. malagaview says:

    Venus seems to be the exception, you’d need a substance with a boiling point above 460C there.

    But the “boiling point” reduces with altitude :-)

    When you get to the “top of atmosphere” some particles can “boil off” into space.

    Any planet/moon with an atmosphere is actively degassing from the interior… like the Earth…

    The problems kick in when:

    1) The level of degassing is too low to replenish the atmosphere… like the Moon.
    or
    2) The lighter gases have boiled off and you are just left with CO2… like Venus.

    The main gases within the Earth’s exosphere are the lightest gases, mainly hydrogen, with some helium, carbon dioxide, and atomic oxygen near the exobase.

    The exosphere is the last layer before outer space. Since there is no clear boundary between outer space and the exosphere, the exosphere is sometimes considered a part of outer space.
    ….
    In the exosphere, an upward travelling molecule moving fast enough to attain escape velocity can escape to space with a low chance of collisions;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exobase

    http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/apollo/apollo16/med/s72-40822.jpg
    A color enhancement of a far ultraviolet photograph showing the geocorona, a halo of low density hydrogen which surrounds our planet.

    The light which produced this picture had a wavelength of 1,215 angstrom, about one-third the wavelength of the bluest light visible to the naked eye.

    Hold photo with open part of crescent facing right.

    The region artificially reproduced in red here is the faint hydrogen glow and other regions of the same brightness in the original black and white photograph.

    The spike on lower right is auroral activity over the south magnetic pole, and other light scattered by Earth’s atmosphere covers part of the dark side of Earth.

    The blue background represents black sky around Earth.

    http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/apollo/apollo16/html/s72-40822.html

  23. malagaview says:

    Hans says: January 26, 2012 at 10:36 am
    This would mean that earth is nowadays depleted of carbon dioxide. As everybody knows carbon dioxide is the food for plants and hence also the food for us.

    The biosphere has very successfully depleted the Earth’s atmosphere of CO2.
    But when it gets too depleted the biosphere will start to shut down.

    So enjoy our meagre 390 ppmv CO2 while it lasts and throw some more coal onto the fire :-)

  24. malagaview says:

    So do we have an answer to the age old questions:

    Why are we here? What is the purpose of human life?

    Yes: To raise the level of atmospheric CO2 by at least 42 ppmv

  25. Brian H says:

    Release all the CO2 trapped in limestone and other rocks, and you get many atmospheres worth. Prior to the “Great Oxygenation Event”, most of the atmosphere must have been CO2; CH4 is too unstable.

    As for the pteranodons, etc.:
    http://levenspiel.com/octave/dinosaurs.htm

    Their winspan etc. is optimized for about 3 bar. No “knee-walking” up steep cliffs required. And ground dinos are optimized to operate with about that much (or more) buoyancy in heavier air. It would then follow that they could breathe just fine in atmosphere with several 10s of percent CO2, at least.

    Radical stuff.

  26. tallbloke says:

    “Their wingspan etc. is optimized for about 3 bar”.

    Hmm. Well, could it be that if the atmosphere was “oxygen rich” as Katsufumi Sato says, then they were able to maintain a higher metabolic rate and flap their wings harder than modern birds?

    I ask because Ned and Karl’s reconstruction only give you 1.5 bar at 65Myr BP when they died out. Maybe their knees gave out.

  27. dp says:

    Quoting my own prescient snark from WUWT in the “Increased CO2 Emissions Will Delay Next Ice Age” thread:

    Obviously CO2 in the atmosphere is now so thick it is acting as a conductor of surface heat away from the surface, sending it to the upper atmosphere. The tripping point was in 1998. The heat trapping characteristic of CO2 has phase shifted to that of a heat conduit that is transporting our life giving warmth to the dead places between the galaxies.

    We need to do all we can to reduce CO2 – it’s for the children! Yes – it’s worse than we thought. Snowball Earth! OMG! We’re all going to die. Meh.

    My understanding is the LWIR extinction range in the atmosphere prevents direct radiation to space from the surface and that it is only by a continuous method of relaying IR from the surface to ever higher GHG molecules that heat leaves the TOA entirely from radiating solely from GHGs. The extinction distance grows as the atmosphere becomes less dense, and so the effort to radiate directly to the dead planets of Betelgeuse becomes easier with altitude.

  28. Michael Hart says:

    I found myself initially in agreement with Nic Stokes, but he omitted to say that if the greenhouse gas condenses and forms clouds then it is able to reduce the effective insolation received at the surface (or the point of thermalization, if that is different). Like water. I would also say that if the incoming solar radiation is absorbed by water which then evaporates, then it is effectively never thermalised at the surface.

    Tallbloke, I do not think you necessarily have to restrict yourself to invoking phase changes of a condensible greenhouse gas. It could also be reversible chemical changes. On Venus, one might postulate that high enough temperatures could dissociate sulfuric acid (or higher congeners such as oleum) which is an endergonic reaction, and then the original compound is reformed as liquid/clouds at higher, cooler locations. This, of course, then releases heat (exergonic) in the reverse reaction.

    I am not asserting that this necessarily happens on Venus, but it can be put forward as what Francis Crick termed “a ‘don’t worry’ argument”.

    One could further speculate about the effects of the carbon dioxide + water=carbonic acid equilibrium in the earth’s atmosphere, if this is not included in current models (which I don’t know). The thermodynamics would be very different, though, and “probably not significant” is my first guess.

    I’m still thinking about the rest.

  29. tallbloke says:

    Michael, good point! Nikolov and Zeller say one of the surprising things which comes out of their theory is that the albedo must somehow be dtermined by the pressure and distance from the Sun, because the only albedo they include in the calc is the albedo the planet would have if the planet had no atmosphere. One of the points WIlis failed to get on his eq8 post.

  30. Greg Elliott says:

    tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/greg-elliott-use-of-flow-diagrams-in-understanding-energy-balance/

    My flow analysis of the question showed that GHG and non GHG both warm the planet. This is in general agreement with N&Z.

    (note: the analysis also supported the conclusion that neither warmed the planet. What was excluded was for one to warm the planet and the other to not warm the planet)

    However, a second part of the analysis showed that GHG also cooled the planet by blocking incoming radiation as well as outgoing, Thus a planet with an atmosphere having no GHG could in fact be warmer than a planet with a GHG atmosphere, all else being equal.

    Specifically the analysis showed the adding GHG to the atmosphere would increase the albedo and that any climate models that assumed a constant albedo with increasing GHG could over estimate warming, by not accounting for the simultaneous cooling due to the increased albedo.

    This supports the conclusion that while the net effect of adding GHG may (or may not) be warming, it is likely to provide less warming than an adding equivalent amount of non GHG.

    In other words, GHG has a negative feedback, while non GHG has neutral feedback. This would lead to the further conclusion that GHG is vital to the heath of the planet, by moderating climate change through the mechanism of negative feedback. Rather than being a driver of climate change,

    GHG is a moderator of climate change. As temperatures drop during an ice age, GHG is removed from the atmosphere, allowing temperatures to become more extreme, which on occasion pops us out of the Ice Age. Under the current GHG theory of positive feedback, once in an Ice Age, we would be doomed to forever stay there.

  31. adolfogiurfa says:

    Transformation of energies on the earth include the metabolic processes of living beings on earth, be it trees in a forest or a humans in a concrete jungle. It is not a coincidence that of the UHI´s.
    We do not know yet its actual significance in earth´s energy budget.

  32. Hans says:

    malagaview says:

    “January 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm
    So do we have an answer to the age old questions:
    Why are we here? What is the purpose of human life?
    Yes: To raise the level of atmospheric CO2 by at least 42 ppmv”

    You have to inform IPCC since I believe they are ignorant of your conclustion.

  33. tallbloke says: January 26, 2012 at 11:56 am
    What I’m getting at is that gases with strong radiative properties have a big role in getting rid of energy back into space. They have a secondary role in partially blocking radiation from the surface direct to space, keeping nights warmer, and a minor role in reflecting solar energy back out before it gets to the surface during the day. Maybe I need to formulate my words better. Wouldn’t be the first time.
    ==============
    TB Even you suggest that the atmosphere is warmest at the bottom The surface of the planet must be warmer than the bottom of the atmosphere in order to transfer heat to the bottom of the atmosphere.
    Radiation from this interface will be “black body” at the highest temperature. With no GHGs tis will be the temperature radiating to space. Add GHGs and not only is the radiation delayed but transfer of radiation from molecule to molecule slows. When GHGs are sufficiently low there will be greater and greater percentage of radiation escaping directly to space (actually cooling the planet) The gas at these heights will be considerably cooler than at the surface so will be radiating at a cooler temperature.
    From the wuwt thread some killer documents:
    LW IR in the arctic (North Slope of Alaska (NSA) in Barrow) there is this document :
    http://www.slf.ch/ueber/mitarbeiter/homepages/marty/publications/Marty2003_IPASRCII_JGR.pdf
    140W/m^2 night
    150W/m^2 day
    For Southern Great Plains in Oklahoma
    http://www.patarnott.com/atms749/pdf/LongWaveIrradianceMeas.pdf
    Day=260W/m^2
    night=400W/m^2
    In both these documents this LW IR is in good agreement with Modtran Models based solely on GHGs
    Also see this:
    Please look at the spectra shown in slide 9 of:
    http://www.patarnott.com/atms749/powerpoint/ch6_GP.ppt
    This shows ground and TOA spectra GHG bands missing from TOA and present in upward looking ground spectra. What is not being lost to space is actually hitting the ground and some is being absorbed.

    How are these real world observations explained if GHGs are worthless?

  34. Nick Stokes says:
    January 26, 2012 at 10:50 am

    No, GHG’s can never make a planet cooler. The most efficient way for the Earth to get rid of the heat that arrives at the surface is to radiate it directly from the surface. Most efficient means that it emits the heat at the lowest possible surface temperature.

    If GHGs are present, they do some of the emitting to space instead of the surface. Total emission is still the same. But the efficiency is less because:
    1. The heat has to be transported before emission. It doesn’t matter if convection helps (it doesn’t much) or whether it’s radiative; transporting the heat is less efficient than direct emission from where it is thermalised.
    2. Because of the lapse rate the heat is radiated from a cooler place than the surface.

    Passage down a thermal pathway is driven by temperature. That means that if the path is less efficient, the driving temperature has to be higher. Hotter surface.

    There is another way to look at the sudden cooling of the earth that began about 50 million years ago. As mentioned above in Nick’s post, the most efficient way to radiate heat to space is for it to be directly radiated to space from the surface, not after going through a transfer to the atmosphere and then convected or radiated to a high enough altitude that the energy can be lost to space efficiently.

    The average effective radiating height of the atmosphere now is around 4.5 km (14,763 ft) altitude. That means that all the worlds high mountain range summits are at or above the mean radiating surface of the atmosphere and in effect short circuit the thermal warming effects of a thick atmosphere. Solar radiation falling on a high mountain summit should be almost immediately radiated away directly to space through the thin remaining very dry air at high altitude.

    Could this be the explanation of the cooling that followed the collision between India and Asia, resulting in the formation of the Himalayas and the high plateaus of that area?

    The same applies to the Andes and the Rockies, both are at or above the effective radiating surface of the atmosphere, and small changes in their surface albedo would have large impacts on how much energy they could radiate to space directly from the surface.

    Could the development of the ice ages have been triggered by a resetting of the planets heat balance after previously mostly flat low elevation land surface was thrust high enough to effectively radiate heat energy directly to space above the atmospheric insulating blanket?

    Larry

  35. Roger Andrews says:

    TB:

    Comments on your outrageous claims.

    “Volcanos have been observed to cause cooling, according to the world’s most eminent climate scientists.” Well, they undoubtedly do cause some, but you generally can’t pick it out of the background noise. Try it for yourself. See if you can pick the volcanic cooling episodes on the following graph, which plots detrended surface air temperatures since 1880.

    “Volcanos add mass to the atmosphere. On geological timescales, they add a lot of mass to the atmosphere.” Not sure about that. The residence time of ejecta in the atmosphere is negligible on geologic time scales. According to the Mauna Loa atmospheric transmission data the material ejected from El Chichón and Pinatubo disappeared almost entirely from the atmosphere within a few years.

    “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.”
    shows the MSU temperatures for the lower troposphere and lower stratosphere. The El Chichón and Pinatubo eruptions cause two warming spikes in the stratosphere. The Pinatubo spike is accompanied by cooling in the troposphere; the El Chichón spike isn’t. Radiative cooling? Maybe. The 1998 and 2010 El Niños, however, have a large impact on temperatures in the troposphere but none whatever on temperatures in the stratosphere, showing that ocean heat gets transported up only as far as the tropopause.

    Based on this result I’m now going to make an outrageous claim of my own. There is a greenhouse effect, and the plastic roof on top of the global greenhouse is the tropopause.

  36. diogenes says:

    Joe – please forgive me but I suspect that English is not your first language. I think many people do not engage with you because they do not totally understand you. Perhaps if you write in your native language, we will be able to make more sense of what your write, via web-translation

  37. diogenes says:

    the constant argufying is interesting but actually heading nowhere. Is someone able to propose a more rigorous experiment than the one already reported here – eg using rigid bottles…just suggesting :)

  38. tallbloke says:

    TFP: “How are these real world observations explained if GHGs are worthless?”

    They are not worthless, they are doing a damn fine job of radiating heat to space. :)
    From Trenberths energy budget (which is worthless for all the reasons explained on David Hoffers thread) you could say that the net budget between GHG’s in the atmosphere and the ground is 390-330 = 60W/M^2 Net upward, So longwave radiation cools the ground. And from the atmosphere to space 330-90 = 240W/m^2 Net upward, so longwave radiation does a fine job of cooling the atmosphere too.

    Any questions? :)

  39. tallbloke says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    January 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    TB:

    Comments on your outrageous claims.

    “Volcanos have been observed to cause cooling, according to the world’s most eminent climate scientists.” Well, they undoubtedly do cause some, but you generally can’t pick it out of the background noise. Try it for yourself. See if you can pick the volcanic cooling episodes on the following graph, which plots detrended surface air temperatures since 1880.

    http://oi40.tinypic.com/hs2uiq.jpg

    Glad you agree.

    “Volcanos add mass to the atmosphere. On geological timescales, they add a lot of mass to the atmosphere.” Not sure about that. The residence time of ejecta in the atmosphere is negligible on geologic time scales. According to the Mauna Loa atmospheric transmission data the material ejected from El Chichón and Pinatubo disappeared almost entirely from the atmosphere within a few years. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Mauna_Loa_atmospheric_transmission.png

    I’m not talking about ash particles and ejecta like that, I’m talking about gases. gases have mass, same as chunky solid stuff does.

    “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.” http://oi39.tinypic.com/3005jf8.jpg shows the MSU temperatures for the lower troposphere and lower stratosphere. The El Chichón and Pinatubo eruptions cause two warming spikes in the stratosphere. The Pinatubo spike is accompanied by cooling in the troposphere; the El Chichón spike isn’t. Radiative cooling? Maybe. The 1998 and 2010 El Niños, however, have a large impact on temperatures in the troposphere but none whatever on temperatures in the stratosphere, showing that ocean heat gets transported up only as far as the tropopause.

    Interesting observations to think about, thanks.

    Based on this result I’m now going to make an outrageous claim of my own. There is a greenhouse effect, and the plastic roof on top of the global greenhouse is the tropopause.

    You may be right, I wonder what it’s magnitude is if there is one. looking at N&Z’s data, pretty small compared to the effect of pressure and sunshine.

  40. Hans says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    January 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    “Based on this result I’m now going to make an outrageous claim of my own. There is a greenhouse effect, and the plastic roof on top of the global greenhouse is the tropopause.”

    This is not an outregeous claim at all. The definition of the border between the troposphere and the tropopause is the (average) coolest altitude under the stratosphere. This altitude varies very much as a function of latitude (actually as a result of varying solar irradiation on land or oceans). This border can be found between 15000 m and 4000 m.

    This means that the surface temperature has been found to be warmer than this border based on observational evidence and hence, there is a Greenhosue Effect (for sure a silly name).

    This is the reason why the “Greenhosue Effect” as such has been accepted by scientists. It is real. The problem arises when the cause of the Greenhouse Effect is taken for granted without any valid observational evidence and without any valid verification. The claim that the observed greenhosue effect (33 K) is mainly caused by carbon dioxide (governing the mixing ratio of water vapour) has no scientific valid foundation.

    it would make sense to talk about a regional “Greenhouse Effect for the reasons stated above”. A global one is mostly too much of an approximation.

  41. tallbloke says:

    Harry: welcome back and thank you. Ned and Karl have been alerted to the first two, but I guess the part III is pretty new? Thanks for bringing the links over here for us, we’ll have a read.
    I’ll add the later two links on the Venus-NASA post too where they can be in context with your other papers.

  42. tallbloke says: January 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm
    They are not worthless, they are doing a damn fine job of radiating heat to space.
    From Trenberths energy budget (which is worthless for all the reasons explained on David Hoffers thread) you could say that the net budget between GHG’s in the atmosphere and the ground is 390-330 = 60W/M^2 Net upward, So longwave radiation cools the ground. And from the atmosphere to space 330-90 = 240W/m^2 Net upward, so longwave radiation does a fine job of cooling the atmosphere too.
    ===============
    Oh come on!
    If the upward and downward is in balance then the temperature is stable at the figure that this balance occurs at.

    If it is not balanced then the ground temperature will rise or fall until the balance is restored

    You are looking at TSI not just LW when it comes to balancing the books.
    341 watts TSI incoming
    101.9 reflected TSI
    =239W TSI

    and 239 W LW leaving seems about right to me

    Without the GHG The TSI would still balance the LW just requiring less of a BB temperature to do so

  43. tallbloke says:

    TFP, the TOA TSI was around 1360W/m^2 last I looked at the figures. If you want to debate how things get averaged, and what the BB temperature of an airless Earth would really be, talk to David M Hoffer, and read N&Z’s response to comments part 1.

    Given that most or all of the extra warmth near the surface is a result of the sunshine mixing with the gravity induced high air density there, and that the consequent radiation buzzing around seems to be better at shifting energy from day side to night side along isobars than doing anything very exciting in the vertical column that wasn’t already done by convection and the latent heat of evaporation, I’m not moved by your argument.

    Sorry.

  44. Roger Andrews says:

    Hans:

    Thanks for your vote of confidence. However, I’m not sure the greenhouse effect is a “silly name”. If the tropopause does cause such an effect then it is in fact analogous to a greenhouse because it stops convective heat loss in the same way as a greenhouse roof does.

    TB:

    You ask how large a tropopause greenhouse effect might be. Well, I can’t tell you in quantitative terms, but I think the tropopause does keep the troposphere warmer than it otherwise would be. Here’s my logic:

    The sea surface is warmer than the air above it, therefore net heat transfer is from the sea to the air.

    The heat released from the sea makes its way from the surface up into the troposphere.

    The heat reaches the tropopause but can’t convect through it, so it spreads out in the troposphere. You see this effect clearly during El Niño events

    This heat eventually radiates back out into space, but while it’s doing this more heat is being added from below, so there’s always more heat retained in the troposphere than there would be if the tropopause wasn’t there.

  45. donald penman says:

    It could be that co2 had a bigger influence on temperature in the geological past than it does today because of greater atmospheric density.I think that co2 given out by volcanoes will increase the density of the atmosphere more than the co2 put into the atmosphere by humans through combustion because the o2 in the latter is already part of the atmosphere.This could in some way explain the greater co2 sensitivity in the past with respect to what we observe today.Leonard Weinstein has something to say on density and the greenhouse effect on the airvent
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/

  46. Hans says:

    Roger Andrews says:
    January 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm
    Hans:
    “Thanks for your vote of confidence. However, I’m not sure the greenhouse effect is a “silly name”. If the tropopause does cause such an effect then it is in fact analogous to a greenhouse because it stops convective heat loss in the same way as a greenhouse roof does.”

    No it does not stop the heat (energy power) in the same way as a greenhouse does.

    The Greenhouse Effect is mainly a consequence of energy storage in an atmosphere and has nothing to do with separation of electromagnetic radiation at different frequencies as is demonstrated in a greenhouse.

    It would exist even if radiomagnetic radiation did not exist as long as gravity was still around.
    That is why it is a silly name since the physical processes working in a greenhouse has nothing to do with what decides the surface temperature of a planet.

    Still, I am using the name since it is well known to people not familiar with other concepts. That´s the only reason for me to act in such an irrational way.

  47. tallbloke says:

    Roger A:since it’s the water vapour and carbon dioxide which does the final radiating to space for that trapped heat, maybe we should call them “greenhouse skylight gases” :)

  48. tallbloke says: January 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    TFP, the TOA TSI was around 1360W/m^2 last I looked at the figures.
    ============

    You are correct here I forgot thayt the plots were of instantaneous LW IR Flux levels

    Instant Trenberth
    incoming TSI 1360 341
    cloud reflection 0 79
    surface reflection 544 23
    absobed by atmosphere 315.0733138 79
    absorbed ground 500.9266862 161

    Desert sand albedo 0.4

    So it looks as if the ground gets 501Watts/sqmm on cloudless day in desert
    This will be radiated as LW IR
    This will be re-radiated by GHGs in all direction but averaging a bit less than 50% down and a bit more than 50% up (allowing for curvature of the earth.
    so we gave (315+501)/2 coming down during the day = 408w/m^2

    ============

    “Given that most or all of the extra warmth near the surface is a result of the sunshine mixing with the gravity induced high air density there,”

    =================

    So you hypothesise. Most scientists would disagree with this statement

    ===========
    and that the consequent radiation buzzing around seems to be better at shifting energy from day side to night side along isobars than doing anything very exciting in the vertical column that wasn’t already done by convection and the latent heat of evaporation,
    ==================
    The radiation in the atmosphere is radiated evenly in all directions. Because the only termination points are earth and space these eventually receive 50is% of the radiation. But all those horizontal and near horizontal directions of emission do distribute the energy round the planet (I cannot find the residence time in a CO2 molecule or even the mean distance between absorbtions of a photon so cannot say how far horizontally the energy is dispersed).

    There is little horizontal shift of energy in your model Convection is vertical conduction is very poor in a gas and can be ignored.

    So it seems to me that GHGs are still the prime mover in any heating above BB levels.

  49. Roger Andrews says:

    Hans:

    “A greenhouse works by reducing airflow, isolating the warm air inside the structure so that heat is not lost by convection.”

    TB:

    “A greenhouse is built of any material that passes sunlight, usually glass, or plastic. It mainly heats up because the Sun warms the ground inside, which then warms the air in the greenhouse. The air continues to heat because it is confined within the greenhouse, unlike the environment outside the greenhouse where warm air near the surface rises and mixes with cooler air aloft. This can be demonstrated by opening a small window near the roof of a greenhouse: the temperature will drop considerably.”

    Greenhouse skylight gases? Sounds good to me :-)

  50. mpf says:

    Atmospheric regulation gases.

  51. Graeme M says:

    On the matter of air density and pressure etc at the time of dinosaurs, this site is a good read.
    http://dinosaurtheory.com/thick_atmosphere.html

    On the matter of air pressure itself, Miles Mathis holds forth:
    http://milesmathis.com/atmo.html

    And also why warm air rises:
    http://milesmathis.com/atmo.html

    I present the above as entertainment, but Miles mathis in particular is most garrulous regarding many aspects of physics relevant to these discussions as he grinds the charge field axe. Certainly some out of left field thinking on those sites…

  52. Apologies if I don’t read the whole lot but…has anybody mentioned Titan yet?

    Why is its surface cooler than it would’ve been without an atmosphere?

  53. tchannon says:

    thefordprefect,

    There are a number of details which are unclear where perhaps you like to think about two of them.

    You mention atmospheric attenuating notches. With these there tends to be omission, failing to mention the solar radiation is stronger at all wavelengths, including those, specifically this is concurrent with other processes and may not be taken in isolation as is usually done.
    The slide 9 you cite confirms the notch but omits the solar input. Slide 10 (sun and earth emission spectrum) correctly uses log-log if focusing only on a small part of the whole.

    There you have one of the mental jumps I mention from time to time. See what is missing.

    Slide 11 (about the human eye) takes the mind right off the prior context, jump complete.

    In direct consequence solar radiation is attenuated and therefore does not heat the surface. Convolving the process, cooling also cannot occur. These two cancel each other, no matter the degree of attenuation.

    What is left are secondary effects where things get very complex so I think it is difficult to tell what actually happens.

    Another item to think about is the radiating area change with altitude, it increases, meaning that for a particular emissive flux a lower temperature will do. There seem to be power laws involved with both.

  54. E.M.Smith says:

    Be ware of “circular reference”. As Lucy Skywalker pointed out, I got it from the article here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-theory-of-climate/

    (which I did reference once I added it to the article, but down in the comments. The article originally did not include the graph – but I’d made an offhand remark about it. A comment asked, so I added the graph and then a pointer to the original article).

    As the original article said, this graph was made via back formation from the temperature history. To then use it to argue that pressure controls temperature is a bit, er, circular…

    From that first article:

    “Figure 9. Dynamics of mean surface atmospheric pressure during the Cenozoic Era reconstructed from the temperature record in Fig. 8 by inverting Eq. (8).”

    Where Fig. 8 said:

    “Figure 8. Dynamics of global surface temperature during the Cenozoic Era reconstructed from 18O proxies in marine sediments (Hansen et al. 2008).”

    So, in essence, it’s just taking oxygen 18 isotopes and interpreting them as pressure, not temperatures, with an inverse….

    @Nick Stokes:

    The problem with your “efficiency of radiation” argument is that the earth does not net radiate from the whole surface. It net GAINS in the topics and during summer at whatever pole is having a summer. It net LOSES at the poles most of the year, or at the pole having winter.

    The heat is basically always being added at the “hot pole” where we have a lot of sun and leaving at the “cold pole” where there is little sun (where “pole” is not a geographic reference, but a reference to the hot and cold pole of a heat engine). You can see that if you step through the graphs from Jan to Dec here:

    http://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/view.php?d1=CERES_NETFLUX_M

    You will notice that the ‘turn of the seasons’ happens IMMEDIATELY and without the couple of month lag that surface temperatures manifest. You will also notice that the net gain / loss is pretty darned even and with substantially no reflection of surface conditions. (The major exception I see is the Sahara where the air is both cloud free and moisture free so driven by CO2 only, not water or water vapor. Looking at June 2011 you will note the ‘rate of gain’ is lower than the surrounding areas and in October of 2011 it is substantially loosing heat while the surrounding areas gain.

    You could argue this as evidence for the effectiveness of GHGs, but then have to admit that it’s pretty much all the H20 the matters and the CO2 just isn’t cutting it… IMHO it is simply evidence that without cloud cover, heat leaves fast in the desert night (as anyone who has been in the desert can attest). Basically, water rules, CO2 drools…

    The planetary heat IS leaving from the stratosphere, not from the surface, and it IS convection that moves it to that layer (and does so largely in sync with the daily sun / dark cycle, modulo cloud shading. BTW, anyone in the topics can see that happen as each day the water evaporates, rises to altitude, and comes back as rain after leaving it’s heat at the bottom of the stratosphere.

    The Stratosphere then spreads it rapidly all over the planet (order of a month) and you can see that smoothing of heat distribution in the images at that link.

    So, like it or not, convection rules the troposphere (not really a surprise – consider the name…) and heat is “homogenized” over the globe (first, largely inside latitude bands, but over a few weeks to months over longitudes as well – dumping any net excess of heat to space).

    There is an incredibly efficient “heat pipe earth” using water transport to move heat to the stratosphere. While the TEMPERATURE drops, the heat flow is massive. A heat pipe can have heat conduction numbers better than solid metal even using water as a working fluid. So there isn’t any “loss of efficiency” from having water bypass all the CO2…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/spherical-heat-pipe-earth/

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/what-does-precipitation-say-about-heat-flow/

    As long as the Global Warming crowd is focused on surface radiation fantasies and not looking at the actual heat gain / loss patters and the actual working fluid of the earth (water), they will continue to argue about “efficiency” of processes that simply are not part of the actual process.

    Add all the CO2 you want, it will, at MOST, increase the rate of convection and enhance the high altitude radiation of IR. While I suspect that, net, the effect on heat balance of the planet will about neutral (i.e. it’s a system with negative feedbacks – more heat causes more transport away) it is possible that by increasing the heat loss at the ‘cold pole’ the whole heat engine runs faster and transports heat back to space faster.

    So I’d not hang a lot on that “efficiency of radiation” argument…

  55. suricat says:

    Hi TB.

    I’m glad there seems to be some sort of consensus here on “Greenhouse Skylight Gasses” (GSGs), as there are so many other ‘conundrums’ here as well.

    Earth and its atmosphere doesn’t ‘move from one dynamic to another, then return to an equilibrium’! Earth and its atmosphere ‘moves to an altered dynamic, then returns to its original dynamic’! The Earth and its atmosphere ‘always has a dynamic’ and is ‘never in equilibrium’! I say this because you started this thread with an Enthalpy Diagram (besides, Tom Vonk wouldn’t like me to leave this point un’mentioned :) ).

    I must say, I didn’t realise there was such a great degradation of surface pressure over the period of ‘MYBP’ (Millions of Years Before Present). This seems to ‘tie in’ with the ‘Theia collision theory’ in that, thin crust due to collision = increased volcanic gaseous emission (adds ‘gaseous’ mass to the atmosphere).

    The comment on ‘centrifugal force’ seems pertinent as well. Earth’s current rotational influence today reduces the effect of gravity by a bit more than 3 inches per second squared in ‘counterpoise’ to gravity at the equator (Earth’s centrifuge), which would be a reducing effect following the ‘original Theia encounter’s’ ‘torque factor’ to Earth’s rotation (the ‘Lunar tidal’ tele-connection is a ‘brake’ to Earth’s rotation rate and an ‘accelerator’ to Lunar velocity).

    Interesting stuff. :)

    Best regards, Ray.

  56. tchannon says: January 27, 2012 at 12:42 am
    There you have one of the mental jumps I mention from time to time. See what is missing.
    Slide 11 (about the human eye) takes the mind right off the prior context, jump complete.

    ============
    What are you talking about. These are lecture notes. Who knows what spoken words link the slides.

  57. Roger Andrews says:

    @ E.M.Smith

    There’s no circular reference in Nikolov and Zeller’s Figures 8 and 9. All they’ve done is taken a proxy 18O temperature record and converted it into a surface pressure record. The only issue is whether the conversion algorithm they used is realistic.

    However, the proxy record is worth a short note. It was first published by Zachos et al. (2001), who concluded that the 50 million years of cooling it shows was: “driven by tectonic processes … rhythmic or periodic cycles driven by orbital processes … rapid aberrant shifts and extreme climate transients”. CO2 didn’t even get a mention.

    Seven years later in 2008 Hansen et al. looked at the same record and concluded that the 50 million years of cooling had nothing to do with tectonic or orbital processes. It was all caused by decreasing CO2.

    What’s interesting about that? Just that Zachos was one of Hansen’s co-authors.

    Clearly you have to stay flexible if you want to survive in the climate science business.

  58. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, in reading through comments I see several other folks also pointed out the attribution of the graph.

    @Hans:

    Per volcanoes and cooling: A LOT of it is from stratospheric injection of particulates. Very fine particulates can stay up there for years as there is little rain to wash them out. Really large volcanoes reach the stratosphere, small ones do not. There is a bit of a conundrum that a lot of little volcanoes do not seem to cause cooling, but one large one does. I think this is evidence that it’s the particulates, not the CO2, that matters.

    @Malaga View:

    I did a simple set of “measure and calculate” and it would take a patch of bamboo of very modest size just a few years to clear the atmosphere entirely of CO2. Some tree species about the same to.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/got-wood/

    OK, I’ve got a couple of pictures for “illustration purposes”. In each picture, there is a 1 foot square white ceramic tile. That is the area of ‘air column’ that would be depleted by the object on the square. Behind each target item is a tree, just to give a bit of perspective… There are three pictures. In more or less reverse order, they are:

    One is an oak block of 13 ounces. The amount of CO2 over a square foot ought to be about 13.6 ounces, so you will need to imagine the oak about 5% larger. (In other words, it would look exactly like it does now ;-)

    Followed by these three photographs (note the much larger wood volume trees in the background ;-)

    http://chiefio.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/corndsc_60401.jpg

    http://chiefio.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/brushdsc_6041.jpg

    http://chiefio.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/oakdsc_6048.jpg

    Bottom line is that about a 10% forest cover can deplete the air over it in just a few years. We are (or were) at starvation levels of CO2 (which likely explains the VERY low crop yields in many very old records – some times as low as 7 grains of “corn” for one grain planted – where corn means things like barley corns – and also explains why C4 plant metabolism was evolved (by grasses about 6 million years ago) as the C3 metabolism ‘hits the wall’ at a higher level than does C4 and C4 has little advantage at higher CO2 levels. We had “hit the CO2 wall” and plants were struggling to adapt. Oddly, at about the same time, a lot of animals that in prior times ate browse or fruits converted to eating grasses and grains.

    Including humans who left the (ever more sparse) forest and entered the (newly formed) grassy plains, stood up, and started eating grains ( civilization came when we learned to make bread and beer form grains ;-)

    So, yes, there is evidence for CO2 having been higher in the past, and being near starvation levels in the recent past. Just look at anywhere that has grass growing and C4 metabolism…

    As soon as we stop creating CO2 and let the forests grow back, we go back to starvation level inside 100 to as short as 10 years (depending on size of new forest cover).

    @Brian H.:

    You got it! Looking at the rocks tells us how much gas there was before the rocks formed. Looking at the animals (and plants!) tells you for how much gas they were optimized.

    @Michael Hart:

    Some scientist types found that CO2 cools damp air. The “mixed species interacting” turns out to be important:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/co2-cools-damp-air/

    Also, just recently, it was discovered that you can have a “stable gas phase carbonic” species.

    Prior to this it was thought that it could only exist in a liquid. So much for settled science. Oh, BTW, nobody knows what it’s IR behavior is yet. Or how much is in the frozen stratosphere or above the poles. Or what impact it has on things.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/fizzy-sky-ir-spectrum-is/

    But interactions of the various atoms is one place that needs a lot more looking…

    @Thefordprefect:

    Since you leave out convection you miss the answer. It simply does not matter what IR gets reflected, downwelled, or whatever back to the surface. It just causes evaporation and convection to carry it away as non-IR, and when the water condenses at the tropopause, THEN you get to worry about IR (except for the part that gets carried by hundred mile and hour winds elsewhere…)

    “If it is not balanced then the ground temperature will rise or fall until the balance is restored”

    Another thing the Warmers do is forget about enthalpy. TEMPERATURE is not HEAT

    It could just as easily cause water evaporation WITH NET LOWER TEMPERATURES via a bit of induced wind, and then have the heat (NOT temperature) carried back to altitude where the water condenses and release the heat.

    Note that water vapor, at mass number 18, rises in air (mass number about 29) WITHOUT being higher temperature…

    Turn up the flame under a pot of boiling water, it does not get hotter, it evaporates faster.

    Turn up the IR on a water world, it does not get hotter, it evaporates and convects faster.

    Think HEAT not temperature, or things will always be bollixed up…

    @Roger Andrews:

    The sun, via UV, modulates the ozone in the stratosphere and through that, the atmospheric height and how much heat it dumps (ozone ‘blocking’ a band of IR, removing it letting the heat out). So the Troposphere dumps heat to the stratosphere via water cycling, then the sun controls the window shades via the UV / O3.

    THEN the (either hotter or colder as solar output changes) Stratospheric gases do some ‘downwelling’ of their own at the poles and give us weather. Including the hot 1998 (when UV was VERY high) and the very cold air in 2009 (when UV was very low).

    It is simply imperative to look at mass flow and species changes, along with phase changes, if you would have a hope of explaining the heat flow on the planet. Looking at a “global average” is guaranteed to fail as there IS NO global average. We have polar vortex and we have stratosphere controlled by the sun and we have LOCAL massive variations in mass flow of water to altitude (the vast bulk at the equator where stratospheric heat delivery is greatest too). This all ‘wobbles’ seasonally with the fact that the “very cold pole” (both as heat engine and as geographic) has very low insolation and very low ozone, so dumps heat most effectively through the 11 micron window as the stratospheric air descends (or else it would arrive at the ground a bit warm, instead of flash frozen… it being as warm as 0 C at altitude and would be warming as it descended)

    You can not do a static IR analysis on a dynamic mass flow phase change system and get anything other than error.

    BTW, you DO know that mass flow crosses the tropopause and that heat flow crosses the tropopause too… right? That the hight of the tropopause varies with the needed heat dumping, being higher at the equator where the heat is going up fastest and lowest at the poles. That major storms even dump water into the stratosphere and we get noctilucent clouds (and others) in the stratosphere from time to time? In fact, there are even BACTERIA living in the stratosphere? At least 3 species who’s genetics are not know to exist on the surface, but many others that DO come from the surface…

    There is no lid at the tropopause. There is a heck of a lot of mass transport through it, as needed by the amount of heat to dump as evidenced by the height changing with the clouds and storms…

    It is a very poor “roof” on a “greenhouse” when it rises as needed to let the heat out…

    (Or, put another way, using an “average” or “static” tropopause is saying “given my conclusions what assumptions can I draw?”…)

  59. E.M.Smith says:

    @Roger Andrews:

    The “circular argument” I was insinuating was to use the graph as proof that the changes in temperature were do to pressure when it was created from a temperature graph (as posted) by converting it to pressure instead.

    As an illustration, it’s fine.

    As an assertion of a theory, it’s fine.

    As a proposed pressure history to be tested, it’s fine.

    But to then use IT to argue that pressure Caused the temperature history (as they are such a close match) is circular, as one was made from the other so must match.

    What is needed is either an independent pressure proof or an independent temperature proof, to disambiguate them from each other.

    For example, both the massive quantity of carbonate rock and the size of dinosaur lungs / wings (along with the size of ancient insects) argue for much higher pressures in the past.

    Insects? Yes, those 3 foot long dragon flies from the Carboniferous…

    Seems that Insects have an interesting “scale” limitation . Body mass goes up as the linear measure cubed. Metabolic demand for air goes up directly with body mass. Air is delivered through little holes in the abdomen to air pipes that carry it through holes in the joints to all the places like legs and leg muscles. Air passages who’s cross section grows as the SQUARE of the linear dimension.

    We do not have 3 foot dragon flies today as they can not pump enough air through their joint passages… Square vs Cube problem…

    It is that kind of evidence (plus the global mass of coal that WAS CO2 in the air prior to the Carboniferous and was sucked out fairly quickly, making layers of carbon dozens of feet thick over large parts of the world…) that shows the air WAS much more dense and the graph has some validity. But I’ve not found enough to validate the whole thing at the detail level.

    So while I warn about watching out for circular reasoning being used as a proof, I see no reason not to use the graph as a tool for testing theories…

  60. tchannon says:

    thefordprefect,

    Unlikely much else was said without extra diagrams.

  61. Joe's World says:

    TB,

    Noticed that their is no mention of the different rotational speed of Venus to Earth in the “Unified Climate Theory” III. That is massive velocity differences.

  62. Joe's World says:

    TB,

    Have you ever noticed that the LAWS of thermodynamics do NOT include rotation, motion, velocity or centrifugal force?

    [Reply] Joe, has it ever occurred to you there might be a good reason for that? ;)

  63. Michael Hart says:

    Thanks E.M.Smith, that’s a very interesting piece of information (though I haven’t yet followed it up in detail). I have, on many occasions, mused about some of the other properties in the Water/Carbon dioxide/Carbonic acid system which displays remarkably slow kinetics. More specifically, whether this has a significant effect on atmospheric CO2 transport. I recall that tau, the time constant for the H2O +CO2=H2CO3 reaction, is about 20 seconds. This is significant in the context of rain falling to earth.

    The reverse reaction is also catalysed by the “perfect enzyme” carbonic anhydrase, which is ubiquitous in living organisms. This enzyme might be irrelevant in the atmosphere, but I doubt if the same is true for the oceans. A couple of years ago I was at a seminar where the speaker said that the daily carbon flux (turnover) by oceanic photosynthesis was estimated as equal to about 10% of the total carbon in the biosphere! Per day! Every day!

    While the daily net changes may be relatively small, the power of this system would be truly colossal if it turns out to be correct. With so much photosynthetic turnover in the top few millimetres, I would not be surprised to learn than carbonic anhydrase [mediated by living organisms] might have a profound influence upon the rate of exchange of CO2 between the oceans and the atmosphere.

    I wish I could find the papers the speaker referenced. I think one of them was in Science less than 5 years ago, and was also memorable for other reasons: It reported that the particular organism investigated also fixed gaseous Nitrogen at the same time as photosynthesis from CO2.

  64. Roger Andrews says:

    E.M.Smith:

    “There is no lid at the tropopause. There is a heck of a lot of mass transport through it, as needed by the amount of heat to dump as evidenced by the height changing with the clouds and storms…
    It is a very poor “roof” on a “greenhouse” when it rises as needed to let the heat out…”

    The tropopause indeed rises in response to tropospheric warming and falls in response to tropospheric cooling (or stratospheric warming). But it doesn’t rise to “let the heat out”. The lid (albeit a leaky one) stays there regardless of tropopause height. This is evident in http://oi39.tinypic.com/3005jf8.jpg . The heat released from the 1998 and 2010 El Niños had a major impact on troposphere temperatures but no visible impact on stratosphere temperatures. The heat still didn’t make it into the stratosphere even though the tropopause height increased during these events.

    “The “circular argument” I was insinuating was to use the graph as proof that the changes in temperature were do to pressure when it was created from a temperature graph (as posted) by converting it to pressure instead.”

    I just went back through their paper and as far as I can see N&Z never made this argument. But maybe I missed something?

  65. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @EMSmith: I am delighted that you have added some of your knowledge to these pages. Though many that comment here rather talk then listen. Pity, so much effort wasted on a totally insignificant gas from the point of view of it’s effect on climate/weather. EVERYONE, it is the water! After you understand that, then you can wonder about the effects of lesser gases.

    Gas Volume of atmosphere
    Nitrogen (N2) 780,840 ppmv (78.084%)
    Oxygen (O2) 209,460 ppmv (20.946%)
    Water vapor (H2O) ~0.40% over full atmosphere, typically 1%-4% at surface
    Argon (Ar) 9,340 ppmv (0.9340%)
    Carbon dioxide (CO2) 390 ppmv (0.039%)
    Neon (Ne) 18.18 ppmv (0.001818%)

    The above information raided from the Wikipedia. pg

  66. tallbloke says:

    Roger A: sudden stratospheric warming and subseqent tropospheric cooling? More leakiness?

  67. Roger Andrews says:

    TB:

    Think of the troposphere as a giant balloon, with the tropopause acting as the skin around it (although it has to have some holes in it or E.M.Smith’s bacteria wouldn’t have made it into the stratosphere). When we have an El Niño the temperature inside the balloon increases, the balloon expands, the tropopause rises, and vice versa with a La Niña. When we have a large volcanic eruption the temperature in the stratosphere – i.e. outside the balloon – increases, the balloon contracts.and the tropopause sinks. But I don’t think the leakiness of the balloon changes much from one condition to the other.

    I think this is what Willis Eschenbach calls an “elevator speech” :-)

  68. E.M.Smith says:

    @Michael Hart:

    You are most welcome.

    Yes, entirely missing from the whole “CO2 as Evil Greenhouse Gas” POV is the fact that the biosphere dominates CO2 handling.

    From diatoms taking megatons to the ocean bottoms to become chalk (look at the cliffs of Dover!) and limestone, to fish that make carbonate “gut rocks” (which was only recently discovered), to trees and grasses moving more CO2 out of the air per year than is in ALL the air column above them (and to algae that can do 10 times that much!!). No, to them CO2 is only from fossil fuels and only net goes to the atmosphere.

    @Roger Andrews:

    I never said N&Z made the ‘circular argument’. I was pointing out that using that graph HERE as proof that N&Z were correct is to use their derivative graph as proof of their thesis. It is using their conclusion as proof of their correctness that is circular.

    Per the tropopause:

    I see you continue to confuse HEAT with TEMPERATURE. Ever think that if the HEAT is leaving from the stratosphere it might not end up with a higher TEMPERATURE?

    So a few semi-random points.

    First off, as the tropopause rises, the degree of temperature drop at altitude will be greater, so you may be moving lots of heat that does not show up as added temperature.

    The added heat arrives into an area where the wind speeds can be hundreds of miles per hour. The heat parcels that arrive end up fairly rapidly at the point where the IR leaves. Measuring the temperature says nothing about the mass flow rate. Did the wind transport rate pick up? Was the cold pole heat loss greater? You just don’t know from that temperature record.

    http://www.atoptics.co.uk/highsky/htrop.htm

    Imagine an isolated bubble of air heated by the ground and bobbing upwards. As it climbs the pressure falls and so the bubble expands to equalise its pressure with the air around it. To expand, the bubble must exert a force on the surrounding air and move it away. The work done requires energy and the only source is the internal molecular energy or heat content of the bubble’s air. The internal energy decreases and the temperature, which is purely the measure of it, falls*.

    Notice that the work energy goes into MOVING the air in the way. How much did the stratosphere VELOCITY change?

    The tropopause is not a complete barrier, it leaks. Strongly convective tropospheric storms transport water vapour up across the tropopause. There are breaks in the tropopause near jet stream westerlies allowing interchange of stratospheric and tropospheric air.

    Mixing above the tropopause is helped by gravity waves. Much higher still, molecular diffusion becomes important.

    How much water vapor transport changed with the enhanced troposphere? You don’t know. Did that water vapor take any phase changes from vapor to liquid to stratospheric clouds? You don’t know. Did that water vapor enhance IR radiation to space (either when presented, or at the cold pole where the stratospheric air descends and net dumps energy)? You don’t know. Did the added water vapor / clouds in the stratosphere cause more heat rejection via reflection, so the heat gain of the stratosphere was reduced at the same time that more heat was injected to it from the troposphere? (Tending to leave TEMPERATURES more stable while having more total heat leaving the planet). I expect it to do so.

    What was the gravity wave profile during these enhancement events? Was the added mixing and higher wind velocity moving the heat faster to the point of ejection (so TEMPERATURE need not rise since it is enhanced mass flow moving the added HEAT)?

    You see, you can’t just look at temperatures and say ANYTHING about heat flow.

    (Something I learned in high school chemistry class, but seems to be regularly ignored by the “Global Warming Panic” folks).

    As the troposphere is delivering it’s added heat to altitude, that heat can show up as phase changes, as velocity changes, as mass transport changes, as IR changes, as chemical changes, as…

    There are a fairly large number of common things were added HEAT shows up with lower temperatures. As water freezes it gets colder. It also RELEASES a lot of heat into the environment. There is net more heat added to the environment as things got colder… Going the other way, if you had ice micro crystals delivered to the stratosphere and they sublimed at the low pressures and rising temperatures, you would be absorbing heat, at the same time that the temperatures rose.

    This, IMHO, is the core problem with all of the AGW “science”. It confounds temperature and heat (and ignores things like heat of fusion, heat of vaporization, etc.)

    I look at your two graphs of tropospheric vs stratospheric temperatures and see them attesting to a whole lot of missing PROCESS and an ignorance of heat, velocity, and phase changes.

    BTW, the same thing is seen at the surface where a fixation on temperature ignores the latent heat of vaporization of water. You often see that in the silly notion that the convective contribution to global cooling is low or suitable for dismissive treatment. It isn’t. It moves the water…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/perspective-on-rain-and-heat/

    Yes, it’s a bit “kitchen science” and really needs a more formal treatment. Still, as a ‘first cut’ it shows a rough equivalence between the total W/m^2 reaching the earth surface and the total W/m^2 of transport from the surface via water (as represented by rain / snow totals.)

    Every scrap of precipitation was condensed at altitude and DUMPED HEAT (even though that altitude is of lower TEMPERATURE than the ground). That precipitation directly represents heat transport via mass flow of water and dumping of heat.

    With some quick ‘rule of thumb’ calculations I find it to be roughly the same as the TOTAL heat arriving from the sun at the surface.

    The point? Ground based IR is entirely irrelevant to the heat transport off the planet.

    We can already account for all the heat transport with the observed water cycling.

    One simply MUST look at the tropopause / stratosphere / stratopause (yes, it has one too…) / mesophere to find how heat actually leaves the planet as IR.

    ALL the handwaving about surface temperatures is irrelevant. It is kabuki theatre and designed to distract from the actual physics. What actually happens is mass flow and enthalpy driven until you are at great altitude.

    In essence, IR only matters after you are in or above the stratosphere. At those altitudes, better IR absorbers also are better IR emitters. (To get back to the topic of this thread…)

    So we can argue about which dominates (the cooling or the warming) and this thread asserts the net effect of more is more cooling. I can’t say, net. But my ‘first blush’ sense of it is that all they would do is change the velocity of things, not the warmth, in either direction.

    If more radiative efficiency happens at the Stratopause, any cooling would translate into a lower troposphere and slower mass transport feeding that heat skyward. Balance restored.

    If less radiative efficiency happens at the Stratopause, any heating would translate into a higher troposphere and faster mass transport feeding that heat skyward. Balance restored.

    Is there some “slop” between those two ends? Most likely some, but not enough to matter.

    Can you find that mechanism by looking at temperatures? Not at all…

    Basically, to see where the heat flows, we need to look at mass flow, phase change, and precipitation levels. How high is the tropopause, how much is it raining, how fast are the winds. The temperatures just don’t inform about heat.

    IMHO you can clearly see this now. Look at the equator where the sun dumps in WAY more heat than at the poles. High tropopause. LOTS of rain (the vast majority of all of it on the planet). Pretty good winds, too. Now look at Phoenix Arizona. LOTS of temperature… but it gets a lot less total energy delivered from the sun than does an equatorial location.

    Look at Alaska in summer. What happens when it does get a massive change in heat flow in (from negative values with near zero sun in winter and a nearly water empty sky) to very high values in summer (with ‘midnight sun’)? You get thunderstorms. Admittedly, this is a very extreme case. But it illustrates the water cycle in action. Water flow STOPS in the extreme cold of winter in Alaska. (Actually, better seen at the South Pole where precipitation is near zero… an Antarctic Desert). Water flow accelerates in the Alaskan summer. From near zero W/m^2 to about a kW/m^2 and that just makes the single digit W/m^2 of asserted GHG effect completely pointless. At most it would show up as few more grams per square meter of summer rain (where the typical average is measured in kg / m^2…)

    In summer, the tropopause rises in Alaska. In winter is plunges. (And we get stratospheric air decending too). Mass flow going up to dump heat. Mass flow coming down cold.

    You can see the impact of a kW variation of “flux” from equator to pole. What you see are changes in mass flow, water flow, and tropospheric height and velocity / stratospheric height and velocity. Ignore those and you can not see where the heat flows.

  69. Roger Andrews says:

    E.M.

    My theory is admittedly crude and incomplete, and I certainly can’t prove that it’s right. But it does fit the observed temperature data.

    If you can come up with an alternative theory that explains why temperatures in the troposphere and stratosphere behave as they do without a heat flow boundary at the tropopause, then good on you, I say. :-)

  70. suricat says:

    @E.M.Smith. Regarding your post of January 27, 2012 at 8:54 p.m.

    I concur, except (ahem) it’s not as ‘prolific’, or ‘forceful’, as it could be. You’re wrong on the ‘coalition’ between ‘PVT’ and ‘gravity’ for ‘unbound PVT systems’. :(

    “Notice that the work energy goes into MOVING the air in the way.”

    The ‘attractor’ in this case is ‘density’, as it spans both ‘the gas laws’ and ‘the laws of gravity’.

    The ‘enthalpy’ from heat (not temp) that’s applied to a parcel of gas, which is surrounded by the same gas, is directed towards increasing the ‘molecular kinetic energy’ within the parcel and ‘nothing more’! The result from the ‘increased kinetic energy’ within the parcel is (twofold) firstly for the parcel to ‘increase in pressure and temperature’. However, being ‘surrounded’ by an ‘identical gas’, the parcel’s increased kinetic energy enables it to ‘increase in volume’ with little temp change (dependant on the ‘mass confinement’ scenario for the issue observed [perhaps something else to be discussed]) and zero mass change, which ‘reduces’ the parcel’s density compared to its surroundings. Secondly (this is where the ‘density attractor’ steps in), the force of gravity acts equally upon all mass, but within a fluid (gasses included) the ‘density of the medium’ ‘stratifies’ in comparison to ‘the density of other media’ within the same ‘gravity well’ (Archimedes principle).

    Thus, heat energy alters density and density change procures ‘thermals’ (due to a gravitational influence) within the atmosphere!

    You need to better define where ‘the work’ comes from. ‘Gravity’ does the work of “MOVING the air in the way”!

    Best regards, Ray Dart.

  71. E.M.Smith says:

    @Roger Andrews:

    Well, as a simple off the cuff example:

    Lower Troposphere rises with excess heat. That pushes upper tropospheric air into lower stratosphere (that “leakage” noted above, so, for example, the jet stream could become a bit ‘loopy’ and thus have more broadly disseminated “… breaks in the tropopause near jet stream westerlies allowing interchange of stratospheric and tropospheric air.” noted above.)

    That, then puts some of the colder tropospheric air into the warmer lower stratosphere as part of that “moving” it out of the way. This cools the stratosphere lower bound at the very same time that the heat is arriving (AS temperatures) at the upper troposphere.

    So look at this graph:

    Note that the local minimum is AT the tropopause. All it takes is that the ‘lower stratosphere’ being measured (in that Trop / Strat comparison graph above) be from about 30 km while the tropospheric air be from about 10 – 20 km. Now raise that (roughly) -55 C air from the tropopause into the stratosphere, lowering temperatures from -25 C or so toward -40 C.

    Heat arriving (and temperatures dropping in the air parcel as it rises DESPITE NO HEAT LOSS) and pushing colder tropopause air into higher WARMER stratospheric layers thus dropping those temperatures.

    All it depends on is looking at mass flow and realizing that heat might just get turned into velocity of stratospheric air as it gets pushed out of the way and / or mixed.

    Look, the stratospheric winds whip around at a couple of hundred miles per hour and move huge quantities of heat and air to whichever geographic pole is in a cold season (i.e. not summer). It creates the strong circumpolar winds. The energy to drive that process has to come from somewhere, and arrives as heat (even heat delivered at lower temperatures… it really is ESSENTIAL to remember that temperature does not mean heat… in fact the definition of adiabatic is change of temperature with no change of heat content. From the wiki: “In thermodynamics, an adiabatic process or an isocaloric process is a thermodynamic process in which the net heat transfer to or from the working fluid is zero” so you can have adiabatic increase and decrease of temperatures as air falls and rises).

    This also can explain some of the sudden stratospheric temperature rises at the poles. A bunch of stratospheric air hits the pole and starts going down the vortex drain, it has a compression temperature rise (and promptly begins radiating that heat away as high altitude IR in a near water free environment…).

    See how easy it is once you look at mass flow, heat (instead of temperatures), and water / phase changes?

    Same way a refrigerator works (again returning to the topic of the thread): Evaporate a fluid, move the heat, and condense the fluid again. (tropospheric cycle) Then at the stratosphere, the phase change is of lesser importance, but the mass flow rate picks up speed and we get the coldest upper tropospheric air put into the stratosphere and shipped off to the cold pole where (mixed with warmer stratospheric air along the way) compression heating lets IT dump heat to space (even though it arrived at low temperatures…) The air that was just put into the tropopause now cools down to the ‘usual’ low -55 C again and waits for the next ‘cycle’ of ‘hustle and bump’.

    Is that THE way it works? Well, I suspect there are many more subtleties than I’ve captured. But it isn’t at all hard to show reasonable ways for heat to move in opposition to the way temperatures change.

    It is the notion that the troposphere is a hard lid that is broken (and leads to broken conclusions). It is a “modest suggestion”, not a “barrier”. The descending polar air in the polar vortex is testimony to that. (It has to be replaced from somewhere…)

    http://www.jhu.edu/~dwaugh1/gallery_stratosphere.html

  72. Baa Humbug says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    January 26, 2012 at 10:50 am

    No, GHG’s can never make a planet cooler. The most efficient way for the Earth to get rid of the heat that arrives at the surface is to radiate it directly from the surface. Most efficient means that it emits the heat at the lowest possible surface temperature.

    I’m not convinced that radiation direct from the surface is the most efficient way for the Earth to get rid of heat.
    Build a fire in your backyard. Place a rock in the fire. Once quite hot, remove the rock and put the fire out.
    The fire warmed the rock just as it warmed the air around it. In an hours time, check the temperature of the rock. It’ll still be warm. But what about the air around the fire? Any trace of the previous warmth?
    Try the same with a container of water. Same result.

  73. tallbloke says:

    Good point Baa. The quickest way to cool a hot running engine is to spray water on the radiator. The cooling effect of the latent heat of evaporation is a lot more effective than radiation from the dry surface. The water vapour heads rapidly upwards due to its buoyancy, condenses due to lower temperature up where gravity isn’t causing so much pressure and radiates the latent heat of condensation direct to space from the top of the atmosphere. Just like a fridge system. Note that this would work even if the water you sprayed was as hot as the radiator itself.

  74. david says:

    I still maintain that conduction is not properly accounted for in the process of removing heat. Conduction and convection work hand in hand. I accept that gases are a poor conducter, yet we are talking about the entire surface of the planet in contact with a convecting moving atmosphere, as well as the fact that the entire atmosphere is convecting and smashing air masses into each other and allowing conduction over a three demensional medium.

    The existence of an atmosphere adds a second third and fourth method of cooling the surface; conduction convection, and evaporation. Now the surface has four methods of cooling. Now less of the specific heat is radiating from the surface, as some of the specific heat is now conducting, convecting, and evaporating, only to eventually radiate to space via GHG. (It is not easy to imagine that a planets earth, ocean and atmospheres sole means of cooling, radiation to space, can easily warm from greater ability to radiate to space) As the entire atmosphere is radiating conducting and convecting at the same time with energy from both the surface and TSI, it appears problmatic to determine exactly what one is measuring when one meausres radiation.

    Conduction of specfic heat is net flow from higher to lower, so conducted heat can either warm the surface, or slow the cooling. It appears logical to me that any heat conducted from the surface must escape the earth quicker if it conducts to a GHG, which can then radiate that conducted specific heat , 50% of which escapes away from the earth at light speed, verses that same conducted specific heat conducting to nitrogen or oxegen, where it cannot escape, as those gases, to my understanding, do not radiate at common earth temperatures. In this manner non GHGs increase the residence time of conducted energy, (warming) and GHG reduce the residence time of conducted energy (cooling) Yet I have never seen estimates of how much heat is conducted.

  75. Roger Andrews says:

    E.M.

    Thanks for your response.

    I don’t think we’re all that far apart.

    You mention “breaks in the tropopause near jet stream westerlies allowing interchange of stratospheric and tropospheric air.” The operative word is “breaks”. It presupposes that the tropopause is a boundary until something digs a hole in it. That’s what I’m saying too.

    However, the more breaks there are, the more interchange there is between the troposphere and the stratosphere, and the closer the stratosphere temperature record will get to the troposphere temperature record, all other things being equal. But the two records look nothing like each other. So unless heat is being transferred from the troposphere to the stratosphere in a manner that causes it to have no impact on temperature, which strikes me as unlikely, there can’t be very many breaks in the tropopause.

    But your response prompted me to do a little more work on the temperature records, and this led to some additional observationally-based conclusions.

    Take another look at http://oi39.tinypic.com/3005jf8.jpg . The stratosphere record is curious. It shows net cooling, but the cooling isn’t linear. It occurs in two +/-0.5C downward steps after the 1982 El Chichón and 1991 Pinatubo eruptions, which are defined by the warming spikes. Between these two eruptions and after the Pinatubo eruption the record is effectively flat, and one gets the impression that were it not for the two eruptions the entire record would be effectively flat. In fact it’s hard to escape the conclusion that temperatures in the stratosphere, at least since 1979, have been controlled mostly if not entirely by volcanic eruptions.

    The troposphere record is equally interesting. It shows overall warming but it’s hard to pick out longer-term trends because of the superimposed ENSO effects. So I removed these effects by deleting every El Niño month (Niño3.4 index >0.5) and La Niña month (Niño3.4 index <-0.5) from the record, and this is what I got:

    http://oi43.tinypic.com/qpgdaf.jpg

    Troposphere temperatures were flat between 1979 and 1998, but then the 1998 El Niño ramped them up by about 0.3C. They then continued flat until the 2010 El Niño, which ramped them up again, but right now we don't have enough data to say how much. Conclusion? The post-1979 tropospheric warming was caused mostly if not entirely by El Niño events.

    And the cooling in the stratosphere was probably caused by volcanic eruptions.

    So what happened to greenhouse gases? Well, unless they cause El Niños and volcanic eruptions, they don't figure into the equation.

    Got to go and do some work work now, but will check in from time to time.

  76. E.M.Smith says:

    @Roger Andrews:

    Some ‘breaks’ are permanent features. They are not ‘breaks in time’ only happening every so often, they are ‘breaks in space’ in that they happen at a particular location in the air flow. The one near the jet stream in particular. It’s a fairly consistent air flow feature, even if a bit chaotic.

    See;

    http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/waugh+polvani-PlumbFestVolume-2010.pdf

    The occurrence of strong and weak vortex events has been
    linked to the upward wave activity entering the stratosphere.
    Case studies and composite analyses have shown that
    anomalously strong wave activity nearly always precedes
    weak vortex events (SSWs), and, conversely, anomalously
    weak wave activity precedes strong vortex events [e.g.,
    Christiansen, 2001; Polvani and Waugh, 2004]. This is
    illustrated in Figure 7 where the time series of eddy heat flux at
    100 hPa integrated over the prior 40 days (a measure of the
    time-integrated wave activity entering the stratosphere) is
    shown to be anticorrelated with the NAM index at 10 hPa
    (correlation coefficient of “0.8). Theoretical support for this
    observed relationship is provided by Newman et al. [2001],
    who showed that stratospheric polar temperatures (and, via
    geostrophic balance, stratospheric winds) on a given day are
    related not to the instantaneous upward wave activity but to its
    weighted integral over several weeks prior to that day [see
    also Esler and Scott, 2005]. There is also a clear relationship
    on interannual time scales between the state of the
    stratosphere and the time-integrated wave activity upwelling
    from the troposphere, with strong upward wave activity
    during winters with a weaker, warmer vortex that breaks up
    earlier [e.g., Waugh et al., 1999; Newman et al., 2001; Hu and
    Tung, 2002].
    [...]
    5. STRATOSPHERE-TROPOSPHERE COUPLING
    Stratospheric vortices have, until recently, been considered
    an interesting middle-atmosphere phenomenon, with little
    attention paid to their possible impact on the troposphere.
    However, increasing observational and modeling evidence in
    the last decade suggests that polar stratospheric vortices can
    have a significant influence on the tropospheric flow for a
    range of time scales [e.g., Baldwin and Dunkerton, 2001;
    Thompson and Solomon, 2002; Polvani and Kushner, 2002;
    Gillett and Thompson, 2003; Norton, 2003; Charlton et al.,
    2004].
    Much of the evidence for a stratospheric impact on the
    troposphere focuses on the so-called annular modes: the
    Northern Annular Mode (NAM) and Southern Annular Mode
    (SAM) [e.g., Thompson and Wallace, 2000]. As discussed
    above, these modes are the dominant patterns of variability in
    the extratropical troposphere and stratosphere, and the NAM/
    SAM index in the stratosphere is a measure of the vortex
    strength (see Figure 7). Baldwin and Dunkerton [1999]
    showed that anomalous values in theNAMindex are found to
    appear in the stratosphere first and subsequently progress
    downward over periods of several weeks. Moreover, subsequent
    studies showed that extreme stratospheric events can
    be followed by anomalous weather regimes at the surface that
    persist for up to 2 months [Baldwin and Dunkerton, 2001;
    Thompson et al., 2002]. The exact dynamical mechanism by
    which the stratosphere influences the troposphere is
    unknown, but there are several proposed theories, including
    direct PV inversion [Hartley et al., 1998; Ambaum and
    Hoskins, 2002; Black, 2002], changes in refractive properties
    and Rossby wave propagation [Hartmann et al., 2000] or
    wave reflection [Perlwitz and Harnick, 2004], and eddymediated
    feedbacks [Kushner and Polvani, 2004; Song and
    Robinson, 2004; Chen and Held, 2007]. See Kushner [this
    volume] for more detailed discussion of these mechanisms.
    Although anomalous values of the annular mode index
    appear first in the upper stratosphere, it is important to note, as
    discussed in section 4, that these the extreme events are
    preceded by anomalous wave activity entering the stratosphere
    (see Figure 7). While the fact that stratospheric
    extreme events are preceded by anomalous wave activity
    might indicate that the stratosphere is slave to the troposphere,
    this is not necessarily the case. Numerous studies, using a
    hierarchy of models, have shown that internal variability can
    be generated within the stratosphere, with vacillation cycles
    of strong (westerly) and weak (easterly) polar winds [e.g.,
    Holton and Mass, 1976; Yoden, 1987; Scott and Haynes,
    2000; Rong and Waugh, 2003; Scott and Polvani, 2004].
    Furthermore, the Scott and Polvani [2004] simulations show
    cycles in wave activity entering the stratosphere that resemble
    those in observations (e.g., Figure 7) even though all forcings
    in their simple model are completely time-independent. This
    therefore suggests that the stratosphere plays a role in
    determining the wave activity entering from the troposphere.
    Couplings between the stratospheric vortices and tropospheric
    circulation have also been found in the SH.
    Observations show a strengthening of westerlies (and
    corresponding increase in the SAM) in both the stratosphere
    and troposphere over the past 2–3 decades. The largest
    stratospheric trends occur in spring months, whereas the
    largest tropospheric trends occur in the summer. This is
    consistent with Antarctic ozone depletion strengthening the
    stratospheric vortex (see section 6) and a time lag for
    stratospheric anomalies to descend to the surface [Thompson
    and Solomon, 2002; Gillett and Thompson, 2003]. By
    modifying theSAM,a strengthening (or weakening) Antarctic
    vortex also has the potential to impact other aspects of the
    tropospheric circulation, including subtropical jets, storm
    tracks, the Hadley cell width, and subtropical hydrology
    [Perlwitz et al., 2008; Son et al., 2008, 2009].

    You are not going to sort out that kind of complexity and interaction set with a graph of two wiggly lines of temperatures…

    Notice too just how MUCH interaction and coupling there is between stratosphere and troposphere. Notice just how much the stratospheric polar vortex drives the weather.

    But even that isn’t the half of it. There’s that whole sun / UV thing too.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the recovery of
    Antarctic ozone is predicted to cause a positive trend in lower
    stratospheric temperatures and vortex strength in late spring to
    summer. As discussed in section 5, changes in the Antarctic
    lower stratospheric temperatures over the last 2 decades have
    been linked to changes in Southern Hemisphere climate. The
    ozone recovery over the next 4 to 5 decades is predicted to
    reverse these changes [e.g., Son et al., 2008; Perlwitz et al.,
    2008]. It is important to note that in the latter part of the 20th
    century, the impact of ozone depletion on the tropospheric
    circulation has been in the same sense as the impact of
    increasing GHGs. However, as ozone recovers, the stratospheric
    impact will oppose, and even reverse, some of the
    expected changes to increases in GHGs.
    [...]
    Numerous recent observational and modeling studies have
    shown that changes in the stratospheric polar vortices can
    influence the tropospheric circulation, on both weather and
    climate time scales. However, there remains uncertainty in the
    precise dynamical processes involved. Several mechanisms
    have been proposed, including direct nonlocal dynamical
    effects, downward reflection of Rossby waves, and alteration
    of synoptic eddies in the upper troposphere, but more research
    is required to determine the relative importance of these
    processes.

    All of those things can represent various temperature changes OR various heat changes and they may be moving in opposite directions…

    So good luck with that whole ‘reasoning from temperatures’ thing…

    Oh, and as the polar vortex is pretty much always around, there is always a load of air moving into the Stratosphere elsewhere on the planet.

  77. Brian H says:

    Graeme M;
    Esker’s book, which I note you are very reticent about, really does take the “thick atmosphere” hypothesis to another level!

    Quick summary: he derives a “scaling factor” showing that the largest dinos at the time required a weight to mass ratio about 1/3 of present largest animals. Which means effective gravity of 1/3. Which can only be achieved with atmospheric “flotation”, which requires a pressure/density of about 370 bar (at the “peak” of the Mesozoic).

    Air almost as thick as water. Pteranodons and pterosaurs would be almost swimming through it, ultra-buoyant. They could have dived into the water and ‘flown’ through it, chasing down fish, then popped back up into the air and ‘swum’ away.

    In fact, the reverse sequence works too; imagine plesiosaurs surging out of the water like flying fish, and going hundreds of yards before easily slipping back into the waves.

    Brachiosaurs could carry their weight, and stretch their necks to full vertical extension, because 2/3 of the stress was removed by atmospheric flotation! Dinos had narrow streamlined fronts, and powerful rears and legs to push through the stuff.

    Ultra-radical stuff.

  78. Brian H says:

    tallbloke says:
    January 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    “Their wingspan etc. is optimized for about 3 bar”.

    Hmm. Well, could it be that if the atmosphere was “oxygen rich” as Katsufumi Sato says, then they were able to maintain a higher metabolic rate and flap their wings harder than modern birds?

    I ask because Ned and Karl’s reconstruction only give you 1.5 bar at 65Myr BP when they died out. Maybe their knees gave out.
    Yes, a huge range of densities are proposed, isn’t there? What fun!

    But the O2-richness idea as a solution to the pter***** flight question probably doesn’t fly. Consider the energy/heat transport; their tissues would have had to generate incredible power to overcome atmospheric thinness, like a crow flying at 20,000 feet, wings flickering as fast as a hummingbird’s. Even if it was flying in pure O2 it wouldn’t be able to generate the power, or dump the heat of “combustion” from its muscles and body if it did. I think.

  79. Brian H says:

    typo: “huge range of densities is proposed”

  80. E.M.Smith says:

    Also, volcanoes can stir up the polar vortex and mix a bunch of tropospheric air into it..

    http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/56/34/77/PDF/SSW.pdf

  81. [...] which have radiative properties is not to heat the surface with ‘back radiation’ but to cool it by radiating the oceanic heat it receives to space. Any ‘greenhouse effect’ from these radiative gases is negligible in comparison to this [...]