## David Hoffer: Short Circuiting the Greenhouse Effect

Posted: February 13, 2012 by tallbloke in climate, Energy, methodology

The Hoff takes a novel approach to explaining the way energy moves through the Earth’s climate system and raises surface temperature above the theoretical limit of Holder’s Inequality without the need for any radiative ‘greenhouse effect'; illustrated by a simple electrical circuit.

While the commonly accepted “average” insolation for the earth is 240 w/m2 (which in turn yields a black body temperature via SB Law of 255K), these figures have very little practical value. If you go to the links, I have two additional comments that illustrated this. The first one shows a very simple “step” function insolation curve that averages 240 w/m2, but, when broken down into hourly increments, yields a BB temperature on the order of 100 degrees below 255K. In a subsequent comment, I did pretty much the same modeling, but this time assumed some level od [of?] heat capacity. Again, the average watts/m2 comes out to 240, but when broken down into hourly increments, the temperature is much much higher. Two completely different temperatures from the exact same average insolation. That’s Holder’s Inequality in action, and the reason that averaging insolation or temperature across the earth in either time or space yields meaningless figures.

That said, Holder’s Inequality does in fact act as the mathematical concept of a “limit”. The more uniform the earth’s temperature is, and the more uniform insolation is, the closer to 255K the earth will be on “average”. Even when one considers conduction and convection processes that move energy from the tropics to the much colder high latitudes, the trading in of (for example) a one degree reduction in temperature in the tropics of several degrees increase in the high latitudes, one cannot come up with a radiatively balanced model that gets to more than 255K.

But the earth IS on “average” warmer that 255K, about 288K in fact (though that number results from averaging, which I’ve just explained is a misleading approach, but close enough in this case). The extra 33 degrees has always been attributed to GHG’s. But should it be?

In all the traditional analysis of SB Law and the earth’s equilibrium temperature, the manner in which the earth absorbs radiance, and emits radiance, are assumed to be equivalent in terms of how easily energy moves through the system. This doesn’t seem like a good assumption to me. In coming radiance is Short Wave, and hence slices right through the atmosphere for the most part, penetrating the oceans to a depth of as much as 100 meters. It gets there at the speed of light. How does it get back out?

Not at the speed of light, at least not most of it. It has to make it’s way up from the ocean depths via conduction and convection. At earth surface, some can escape via radiance, and a bunch of that gets intercepted by GHG’s and sent sideways, downward, backward, what have you. Most transfers to the atmosphere via conduction though, which in turn starts convective processes. In addition to all this transfer of energy upward and downward, both ocean and air currents move energy from tropics to higher latitudes, forcing energy that may have started upward from the ocean depths to travel horizontally as well as vertically before escaping to space.

In other words, SW doesn’t meet with much resistance on the way in, but LW meets with plenty of resistance on the way out.

Given that the paths in and out are completely different, they cannot be modeled by a single equation. While reading Doug Proctor’s article on this blog I noticed his point about the manner in which heating occurs on a completely different curve than cooling (see his figure 5, top graphic)

I realized that this is highly analogous to an electric circuit like the one below. AC voltage for example, is subject to Holder’s Inequality, just like insolation and temperature are. In fact, the only difference is that voltage is subject to a variable squared relationship while insolation is subject to a variable to the power of 4 relationship. Other than that, the exact same issues apply. For a 120 volt AC input, peak voltage is actually 170 volts.

In the circuit above, Power (Volts AC) is fed into the circuit and can only flow through the first diode. How fast it can charge the capacitor is subject to how high that resistance is. The higher the resistance, the longer it takes. Similarly, the bigger the capacitor, the longer it takes. Capacitance in this case operates exactly like heat capacity.

The second diode represents the discharge path, which has a completely different resistance and which represents Long Wave trying to exit the system. Again, Holder’s Inequality comes into play.

If the system was balanced, the voltage measured across the capacitor would approach a limit set by the “effective” average voltage, which would be 120 volts. Discharge would happen about the same as charge, and so the effective average would be the result. If, on the other hand, we increase the discharge resistance and decrease the charge resistance, a curious thing happens. The limit is no longer the effective average, the limit is the peak voltage. If the charge resistance is close to zero, and the discharge resistance close to infinity, the capacitor would, in fact, charge beyond the 120 V effective all the way to 170 Volts.

In other words, given that the paths for incoming and outgoing energy flux are completely different, and the resistance to the movement of energy completely different, we have to calculate equilibrium temperature in the context of resistance to energy movement that is different, plus heat capacity, plus Holder’s Inequality. But the sum total of doing so arrives at a temperature that is higher than the effective average of 255K

1. Nick Stokes says:

I don’t think your circuit can work. With a capacitor fed by a diode, unless something leaks, all that can happen is that the voltage across builds up to 400V, steady, whereupon no current flows.

[Moderation note] Nick and Dave below are referring to an earlier version of the circuit, found here:

http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/no-ghgs-required.jpg

2. Dave Perkins says:

The other diode prevents discharge part of the circuit from working also.

3. tallbloke says:

OK gents, I’m going to hold my hand up here and say that due to a comms mixup I posted this before David was really sure about it. So, here’s a box of diodes, caps and bullets and some wires with croc clips on the ends, roll your sleeves up and stand on this rubber mat with us. :)

4. Doug Cotton says:

There is no systematic causal relationship between carbon dioxide levels and climate change simply because the greenhouse conjecture is not based on real world physics.

Prof Claes Johnson has proved in Computational Blackbody Radiation* that energy in radiation only gets converted to thermal energy if the peak frequency of the radiation from the source is above the peak frequency of the radiation from the target.

This essentially provides a mechanism which explains why the Second Law of Thermodynamics also applies for radiative heat transfer, as it does for heat transferred by conduction.

There seems no plausible alternative explanation for the observed Second Law, so I suggest we all heed what Johnson has deduced mathematically, being as he is, a Professor of Applied Mathematics.

It is not the net radiative flux (or even its direction) which determines whether (and in which direction) thermal energy is transferred. For example, if the emissivity of two bodies is very different, there can be more radiative flux from the cooler one. But all that flux will be scattered by the warmer one and not converted to thermal energy. Only the flux from the warmer one (no matter how weak) will be converted to thermal energy in the cooler one. This “ensures” that the Second Law is valid in all cases because it depends
on peak frequency which is proportional to absolute temperature – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wien's_displacement_law

Thus the IPCC “backradiation” cannot affect the temperature of the surface and there can be no atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect.

5. davidmhoffer says:

Yup, Nick and Dave are both right, I didn’t draw the circuit up correctly. (If Nick is reading this, his jaw has more than likely dropped open, I just said he was right about something ;-) )

I’ll redraw the circuit in the AM, no time just now. But stop worrying a whole lot about the circuit layout, stick with the concepts. The most important one being that all the radiative physics regarding equilibrium temperature are founded upon the same fallacy, that the energy flux moves in both directions simply based on SB Law.

With incoming photons burying themselves 100 meters deep in the ocean before they change their minds and decide they want to leave, modeling the path back out to space through stages of convection and conduction, then the surface/atmosphere interface, more convection/conduction…the paths are simply not comparable, and modeling them both as just x degrees gives you Y watts/m2 makes no sense to me.

6. F. Ross says:

Clarification?

Is one half-wave considered to be “daytime” [charging the system] and the other half-wave “nighttime” [and so discharging]? Even though, presumably, “charging” and “discharging” would both be going on during the day, wouldn’t the only nighttime function be discharging?

Or am I out in left field?

7. Doug Cotton says:

The adiabatic lapse rate is primarily established by the mass of the atmosphere and the acceleration due to gravity. It varies with relative humidity.

In assessing temperature plots, in the very long-term you also have to take into account variations to the plot from the core to the surface – this having to move up at the surface end if there were to be long term warming. This means much more energy has to go underground than just into the oceans and land surfaces in order to reach approx. equilibrium.

The 255 deg.K figure is not only inaccurate, but even when corrected (to a much colder figure) it is a weighted mean for the whole Earth-plus-atmosphere system.

So of course, given a determined lapse rate, it will be warmer than the mean at the surface and colder at the mesopause – which is not the official TOA but is colder than the tropopause.

None of this argument depends on any backradiation which, as I have explained in the post above, has no effect anyway.

8. Dave Perkins says:

I was nit-picking the circuit (sorry), but conceptually, I agree with the concept you are presenting. The storage capacity of air, water, and rock/dirt can be represented as capacitance, the redistribution of energy before it can be stored or radiated back to space can be represented as resistors, and the solar input can be simulated as an AC source (night and day). In all electric circuits everything has to balance and the earth’s thermal system has to balance also.

9. tchannon says:

Dave, thank you for the mature view, conceptually is sensible. David Hoffer did ask my opinion in private but I didn’t cotton on it was urgent.

I’m afraid I disagree with the concept of bright sunlight causing deep penetrating heating of the ocean where it tends to stay. This view came from a brief trawl of the net where a very complex picture emerges, a lot has been discovered.

The effect applies to near tropical but there is a twist. Yes the ocean can be heated relatively deep; then the sun goes down. What follows is the problem.

There is hot water some way down and the surface cools somewhat, the conditions where vigorous convection occurs mixing the water, the effect if it forms is unstable.

I am not an expert so input is welcome, it’s all more pieces of a jigsaw.

10. davidmhoffer says:

tchannon;
The effect applies to near tropical but there is a twist. Yes the ocean can be heated relatively deep; then the sun goes down. What follows is the problem.
There is hot water some way down and the surface cools somewhat, the conditions where vigorous convection occurs mixing the water, the effect if it forms is unstable.>>>

Exactly, that’s what I’m trying to get at. Incoming short wave draws a staright line from TOA to where ever it gets abosrbed. But for every kw/h that goes in, one kw/h must come out, and it comes out no where near as efficiently as it went in.

So… we shine 1000 watts on one square meter of ocean for one hour. That’s a kw/h. Ocean temp increases a few degrees. Shut the sun off. In one hour, will the ocean have lost the 1 kw/h it gained? Not a chance. The ocean at 288K is only radiating at 390 w/m2. So that self same one square meter of ocean will require over 2.5 hours to lose the 1 kw/h it gained.

So, in one hour, turn that 1000 watt source on again. Ocean starts heating up again, gains another kw/h over the course of an hour. Shut sun off again for one hour. It might be a few degrees warmer still now, so it perhaps needs only 2 hours before it loses that kw/h. Except an hour later we turn on the heat source again.

This is what BenAW is getting at regarding the oceans “already” being at 275 when the sun comes up. As long as they cool down as fast as they warm up, they must hit an equilibrium temperature commensurate with the average insolation. But since they CAN’T cool down as fast as they heat up, the second day of heating gets to build upon the first, and so on. To hit equilibrium, the surface temps have to get hot enough to radiate out the amount they are gaining at every heating cycle. To do that, I’m thinking they have to be above the “average” to accomodate the peak.

I’ll mess with some illustrative graphy things that make it look like I know what I am doing (or not) tomorrow.

11. Larry Ledwick (hotrod ) says:

To hit equilibrium, the surface temps have to get hot enough to radiate out the amount they are gaining at every heating cycle.

Except you are forgetting that the ocean has two ways to lose that energy. It can radiate it as electromagnetic energy in the IR from its surface, or it can simply evaporate a trivial amount of surface water and convert that heat to latent heat of the water vapor which as a gas might be 20 degrees F cooler than the water surface (think swamp cooler).

The big fallacy I see is that everyone tries to balance the energy gains and losses entirely with the radiation of energy at the water surface. The evaporation can carry an order of magnitude more energy to high altitude as water vapor and then radiate it away from the cloud tops at some later time.

In that sense the water vapor is part of the capacitance of the system. It might take minutes, hours or days until conditions allow that water vapor to condense into a cloud. Until then it is radiating as a gas in the H2O window of IR emissions at some level above the surface of the water.

Larry

12. Genghis says:

I just did the S-B equations for the earth for myself and I think there is a mistake in the standard calculations. I think everyone just subtracts the 30% of the energy (due to the albedo) hitting the earth and recalculates the temperature as if the earth was a black body with an emissivity of 1.

Here is what wiki says http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan%E2%80%93Boltzmann_law. “The Earth has an albedo of 0.3, meaning that 30% of the solar radiation that hits the planet gets scattered back into space without absorption. The effect of albedo on temperature can be approximated by assuming that the energy absorbed is multiplied by 0.7, but that the planet still radiates as a black body (the latter by definition of effective temperature, which is what we are calculating). This approximation reduces the temperature by a factor of 0.71/4, giving 255 K (−18 °C).”

My understanding according to Kirchhoff’s law is that absorption = emission therefore emission should be 70% not 100%. The earths albedo doesn’t affect the equilibrium temperature.

In other words, use the 238 W/M^2, but change the emission to .70 and the solution the equation stays at 279˚. Just as if you used 341 W/M^2 on a black body with an emissivity of 1.

I have experimentally tested that result on two metal rods, one completely black and the other with half the rod painted white. When both rods reached equilibrium they were both at exactly the same temperature.

13. Nick Stokes says:

TC, David,
The ocean surface is pretty much in balance – the solar heat which penetrates is conveyed back out through the surface on a fairly short timescale. There are some day/night temperature profiles here.

Genghis, absorptivity and emissivity are functions of wavelength (eg colors). Kirchhoff’s law says they are equal for each wavelength. At light frequencies the absorptivity is 70%, but the earth is too cool to emit. At thermal IR wavelength the earth, like most solids, is close to 100% absorptivity and emissivity.

14. Brian H says:

Also, re albedo: reflection imparts double the momentum of the incoming photon to the reflective particle, along the original vector of the photon. If you treat the photon as truly massless, this is still zero. But solar sails work.

15. Chris M says:

I’m not sure that it is as simple as short wave radiation in (raising atmospheric temperature), although it is long wave radiation out to space. Clearly I’m no expert but the solar spectrum does include a large proportion of IR, which I would think can also warm the atmosphere, and if it gets that far the surface. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunlight

By the time sunlight reaches the surface it has large chunks taken out of the IR portion of its spectrum via H2O absorption on the way down, but there is still a lot of it. I would suggest that the warmth we feel on our faces in bright sunshine is IR radiation, even though it is UV that causes sunburn.

Should this be nonsense let me know – happy to be corrected if I’ve misinterpreted the solar spectrum.

16. tallbloke says:

Chris M: you are pretty much right. According to NASA, around 16% of the incoming sunlight energy is absorbed int he atmosphere and just over 50% reaches the ground and is absorbed in land and oceans. Most solar energy hitting the ocean is absorbed in the first couple of feet and is then mixed into the ‘well mixed layer’ by wave and tide. The shorter wavelengths do penetrate much deeper, but carry less energy.

17. tallbloke says:

Hoff: thinking about this, it should be possible to get some idea of the hysteresis of the system by observing the lag between the peak of summer surface insolation and the reaching of maximum temperature in the mixed layer. This is around a month in temperature latitudes from memory.

18. Chris M says:

Also shortwave radiation has a flexible definition, but only includes the near-infrared.

19. tallbloke says:

I don’t think the Sun emits much in the way of Far IR does it?

20. Chris M says:

Yes actually I take that all back! The definition of shortwave (up to 3 micrometres) does include virtually all of the solar infrared spectrum. Apologies for introducing a furphy. Next time I’ll be less precipitate in my assumptons!

21. Vuk says:

OT (but related to the ‘electric Earth’)
Geomagnetic storm around midnight

http://flux.phys.uit.no/cgi-bin/plotgeodata.cgi?Last24&site=tro2a&amp

followed by two 6+ magnitude earthquakes

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.php

within 1.5 hours of each other in different parts of the Pacific, a very rare event in itself (2 x M6+) and the first M6 eqs in last 7 days. Most worrying is the Honshu one, since it is nearly a year since the big one and it was assumed that the area may have settled for a while.

http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/gms.htm

22. steveta_uk says:

Not sure why the intro says “without any need for a radiative effect” when the article itself sayd the exact opposite:

“At earth surface, some can escape via radiance, and a bunch of that gets intercepted by GHG’s and sent sideways, downward, backward, what have you.”

As far as I can see, this simple model dones’t prove or disprove anything. Surely a warming can very easily claim that additional CO2 in the system is equivalent to modifying both resistance paths in such a way that T raises.

23. steveta_uk says:

Corrections:

“sayd” -> “says”

“dones’t” -> “doesn’t”

“warming” -> “warmist”

Wish I could type.

24. James says:

I take it by SW you mean radiation in the visible spectrum. How does that create heat?

25. tallbloke says:

Hi James, visible light creates heat the same way any other electromagnetic radiation does. SW also includes UV and near IR.

26. James says:

Hi Tallbloke. I’ve always found this a difficult thing to get detailed info on Herschel discovered IR by detecting heat. Even NASA describes IR as thermal ” The heat that we feel from sunlight, a fire, a radiator or a warm sidewalk is infrared”

http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/infrared.html

I personally have never felt any heat from visible light only infra red.

27. tallbloke says:

How did you go about removing the near IR from the sunlight you tested?

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mod4.html

28. James says:

I didn’t use sunlight as I have no way of filtering out near infrared. My magnifying glass, windows and greenhouse all allow IR to pass through (TV remote/camera autofocus). So I’ve been messing about with powerfull pure white to blue LEDs and I just can not detect any heat in the visible spectrum.

This is why I am so taken with Harry Huffman’s discovery that it is solely solar IR irradiation that is warming the atmosphere and the so called Albedo effect of reflected visible light has no effect on the temperature of the atmosphere. He is the first physicist I have ever read who has said this. Venus and Earth reflect vast differences of visible light back into space but their temperature at any given atmospheric pressure only vary from each other by the distance they are away from the Sun.

http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2010/11/venus-no-greenhouse-effect.html

I really have tried to find definitive proof the EM radiation in the visible spectrum creates heat and I just can not find it, only hearsay stuff.

29. davidmhoffer says:

Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says;
Except you are forgetting that the ocean has two ways to lose that energy. It can radiate it as electromagnetic energy in the IR from its surface, or it can simply evaporate a trivial amount of surface water and convert that heat to latent heat of the water vapor which as a gas might be 20 degrees F cooler than the water surface (think swamp cooler).>>>>

EXACTLY!
That is one of the many possible processes that occurr to hold up release of energy back into space until a later point in time. Mayby “resistance” isn’t the right term, so put that aside for a moment and let’s just discuss the exact example you provided. For sake of argument:

Sun sends 1000 w/m2, all of which is absorbed
900 w/m2 gets stored as “heat”. 100 w/m2 gets stored as phase change in the water vapour.

As far as the Earth is concerned, it is in energy balance. It is getting 1000 w/m2 from the Sun, and rising to a temperature such that it radiates out 900 w/m2, and the other 100 w/m2 is stored in the water vapour.

As far as the Sun is concerned however, the Earth is NOT in energy balance. 1000 w/m2 went in, only 900 w/m2 came out. Let’s say this goes on for a million years, until no more energy can be stored in the system via that method. What happens?

Well now there’s an extra 100 w/m2 that is NOT being absorbed, and must instead go into raising the planet’s temperature. The planet’s temperature would rise until it was in radiative balance, 1000 w/m2 in, and 1,000 w/m2 out.

Then it starts to rain. Releasing (for sake of argument) 10 w/m2 on a constant basis.

Uh oh. No more radiative balance. The temperature is such that the planet is receiving 1000 w/m2, and radiating 1010 w/m2. As far as the earth is concerned, it is still in radiative balance. From the perspective of the Sun however, the earth is radiating 10 w/m2 more than it is absorbing. It has a “temperature” higher than the black body temperature should be.

Now multiply that example by all the other ways energy can possibly be stored on the planet. Phase change (water/water vapour/ice), Kinetic (ocean currents, air currents), Potential (Snow on mountain tops, ice crystals in the air), and Heat Capacity (ocean depth for example where it will take a considerable period of time for that energy to work its way back to the surface where it can participate in radiative xfer).

That is potentially an awfull lot of energy stored about the planet. When we perceive the planet to be in a “cooling” cycle, it just means there is more energy going into storage systems than “normal” and when we perceive the planet to be in a “warming” cycle, it just means that we’re getting the sun’s insolation PLUS the energy being released by all those other storage systems.

Of course, the storage systems aren’t all going the same way at the same time, it is the net of them that counts. But this takes me back to my original point:

The Sun sends in SW, which, other than albedo, enters the earth system pretty much unimpeded.

The Earth achieves radiative balance by a combination of radiance plus storage of energy in all those other mechanism I mentioned above (and probably a few I never thought of). Those mechanisms represent an awfull lot of energy. Energy that (for lack of a better term) meets with a lot of resistance to escape from planet earth. Repeating again, the resistance to incoming energy is low. The resistance to energy leaving is high.

30. davidmhoffer says:

James;
I personally have never felt any heat from visible light only infra red>>>

Perception and reality are two different things. All frequencies carry energy. Your skin is “tuned” to “sense” infrared while your eyes are “tuned” to “sense” visible light.

31. tallbloke says:

James, try this early critique of Herschel’s methodology from 1879. I find it’s always good to start at the beginning with controversial subjects:

http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/spectrum-heat.pdf

32. davidmhoffer says:

James;
So I’ve been messing about with powerfull pure white to blue LEDs and I just can not detect any heat in the visible spectrum.>>>

That has everything to do with your methods and apparatus, and nothing to do with reality. All frequencies carry energy, different frequencies carry it more densely than others, and higher frequencies (visible light) are therefore harder to measure dirfectly without sufficiently accurate instrumentation. But that doesn’t mean the number is zero.

If the number was zero, you would be blind. Your eyes work by converting the energy carried by the visible spectrum into electrical impulses that travel to your brain to assemble a “picture” of what you can “see”. Are the w/m2 small? Yes. Are they zero? No. No energy to excite the receptors at the back of your eyeballs, not picture in your brain.

Digital cameras work the same way.

So does photographic film, the visible light carries enough energy to cause a chemical reaction on the film.

The visible light from a welding arc is so concentrated that it can in fact, blind you, by burning the backs of your eyeballs.

33. davidmhoffer says:

All,
I redrew the circuit, which I see tallbloke has now substituted for my original.
In answe to the question someone asked upthread, the AC voltage source is a “half wave” meaning only the positive part of the sine wave. Instead of the negative side of the sinewave, just a flat line. This is analagous to insolation which rises from zero to a peak and falls to zero over 12 hours, the other 12 hours it is zero.

At “equilibrium” the capacitor is charged to some value which fluctuates about an average equal to the effective average voltage input, PROVIDED THAT the input and output resistors are equal. If the input resistor is very small impedance, and the output resistor is very high impedance, the charge on the capacitor will approach the peak voltage over time, well above the average or effective voltage.

34. tallbloke says:

It’s a very elegant analogy, and I’m trying to think how we can quantify it as it affects the real climate system. Good food for thought Hoff, well done!

35. James says:

I’m still tying myself in knots here. I can find quite a few quotes that visible light can cause electrons to change to higher energy levels and when an electron changes back to a lower energy level a photon is emitted but infra red radiation causes molecular vibration ie heat.

36. Genghis says:

Nick – I am not buying your explanation unless you can explain why with different albedos the body temperature is identical at equilibrium.

37. davidmhoffer says:

James;
I can find quite a few quotes that visible light can cause electrons to change to higher energy levels and when an electron changes back to a lower energy level a photon is emitted but infra red radiation causes molecular vibration ie heat.>>>

You just described two different ways for energy to be transmitted by light. Infrared is better at one than the other and vice versa. But they are both manifestations of energy being moved, and they are both measured in watts. A watt is a joule per second.

38. Bengt Abelsson says:

Another way of looking on the “problem” is to see our sphere as a two-layered ball, one inner core, radius say 6371 km, and an outer insulating layer, say 100 km thick.
On the outside of the insulating layer, the sphere is in radiative balance with the surroundings.
So far, so good.
We cannot say anything of the inside temperature of a house, given only the temperature of the outside layer and the thickness / properties of the insulation. But, without a flow of energy, the inside and outside will eventually even out. (for cold places)
Here is the surprise: Our insulating layer is transparent to energy transfer from the sun!
The surface temperature is depending on the insulating properties of the atmosphere – we have no need of a complicated theory of “backradiation”.
The energy transfer from the surface through the insulation is complicated processes involving phase changes, radiation, convection and conduction but all within normal physics.

39. davidmhoffer says:

Nick Stokes;
Nick Stokes says:
February 14, 2012 at 5:06 am
TC, David,
The ocean surface is pretty much in balance – the solar heat which penetrates is conveyed back out through the surface on a fairly short timescale. There are some day/night temperature profiles here.>>>

A photon goes in and a photon comes out. But you have no way of knowing if the photon that comes out went in yesterday or 1 million years ago. That’s the tricky thing about systems in a quasi-euilibrium state. Even if the temperature response is fairly quick (as in the link you used) that speaks to only part of the system, not all of it. The daily fluctuation in temperature may well represent a quick response, but it only represents a tiny fraction of the actual energy being exchanged. So if there is a fluctuation of say 10 degrees over the course of a day, it looks like a quick response. But the ocean being at 288 degrees, that leaves an awful lot of degrees that are maintained by SW in and LW out, and the LW out could well have gone in yesterday, or 1 million years ago. The steady state must underly the fluctuations, and they do not necessarily have the same drivers.

40. davidmhoffer says:

steveta_uk says:
February 14, 2012 at 11:00 am
Not sure why the intro says “without any need for a radiative effect” when the article itself sayd the exact opposite:
“At earth surface, some can escape via radiance, and a bunch of that gets intercepted by GHG’s and sent sideways, downward, backward, what have you.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Yup, I was pointing out that there are a large number of processes that impede the escape of a photon to space. GHG’s are one of them. If they were they only one, then you’d be correct. But they are one of many. In other words, they may ADD to the effect, but without them, the effect still exists.

41. davidmhoffer says:

tallbloke says:
February 14, 2012 at 8:39 am
Chris M: you are pretty much right. According to NASA, around 16% of the incoming sunlight energy is absorbed int he atmosphere and just over 50% reaches the ground and is absorbed in land and oceans>>>

Which brings up a couple of interesting notes. First, all the radiative balance equations use 240 w/m2 at the surface. But since 16% gets absorbed by the atmosphere itself, those watts never gett to the surface (at least not directly).

Secondly, this in part explains the lapse rate? At lower altitudes density is higher, which in turn leads to more efficient aborption of that 16%, such that a lot more is absorbed at low altitudes versus high altitudes on density alone? Thinking out loud on that one. Then also, water vapour is MUCH higher at low altitudes, so a lot more abosrption of SW would occurr as a result at low altitude?

42. wayne says:

Ah… thermal radiation… so the misunderstanding continues….

See figure 12-1

http://www.mhtl.uwaterloo.ca/courses/ece309/lectures/pdffiles/summary_ch12.pdf

And yes, visible light is also thermal. Just don’t tell the warmists… they react strangely to real science.

43. tallbloke says:

David, yup, that’s several of the reasons the atmosphere strongly holds to the lapse rate, and why it’s consequently warmer near the surface.

44. tchannon says:

Water evaporation is of immense importance, by far the strongest heat transport mechanism on Earth, orders of magnitude denser and it can do this with zero temperature change. Part of this is wind scour, which is the clue that physical movement of energy is taking place, magical vanish turning into the lightest atmospheric gas.

It releases somewhere else.

Does deep penetration of heat actually lead to “pumping up of ocean temperature”?

No. It will heat the whole ocean so any effect is one of time delay, the ocean will stabilise and smother out variations in input.

I think the process being described is frequency (wavelength) skew. This happens anyway, the Sun inputs mostly high frequency which leaks back out via lower frequency, the normal radiative processes. Seems to me there is a considerable similarity between Sun – Earth and Sun – Ocean, both leading to Thermoclines and both leading to convection.

Is there a thermostat effect?

Quite possibly. What we need are asymmetric effects, non-linear effects. Certainly the hotter it gets the faster things move, that dang gravity playing a major role.

What we really need is a trap door to a very high order effect vs. temperature. I think there are two, one being the water cycle, the other hasn’t been discussed. By trap door (essentially those diodes) is a more literal one way effect where the difficulty is almost all processes are actually linear, increase this and the opposite effect occurs even if that is to a power law, the result is still no mechanism for explaining abnormal temperatures. (I’m having difficultly explaining what I mean)

This is the flaw in the AGW argument where ignoring part of the whole process seems to lead to declaring it is real. (ignoring the sun and ignoring input process)

Any or all the above might be wrong.

As far as the circuit is concerned an important factor not shown is the nature of the energy source and is exactly equivalent to a constant current source.

45. BenAW says:

tchannon says:
February 14, 2012 at 3:38 am

There is hot water some way down and the surface cools somewhat, the conditions where vigorous convection occurs mixing the water, the effect if it forms is unstable.

I am not an expert so input is welcome, it’s all more pieces of a jigsaw.

Tim, I did some searching as well, and came up with this paper:

http://www.terrapub.co.jp/journals/JO/pdf/6305/63050721.pdf

Seems the daily variations are handled in the top 5-10m of the oceans, keeping a SST
(they have 5 different ones) remarkebly stable (< 1K variation over the day).

The influence of total solar seems to go to about 750m max, decreasing towards the poles.
See http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/earthguide/diagrams/woce/

I've plotted some ocean temps on a blackbody graph, they are extremely high in that graph.
My explanation still being that the sun only warms a very shallow layer of the oceans, that are already at ~275K.

46. davidmhoffer says:

wayne;
And yes, visible light is also thermal. Just don’t tell the warmists… they react strangely to real science.>>>

Oddly, whenever I hear the “visible isn’t thermal” meme, it usually comes from misguided skeptics. I always do my best to explain the matter for the simple reason that the last thing the skeptic side needs is skeptics with horridly bad science.

47. steveta_uk says:

James, while you are wondering if visible light can be absorbed and wamr an object, try thinking about what the colour “black” means, and how a black shirt feels in sunlight.

48. Zeke says:

And then there is the heat capacitance of life, which increases its surface area greatly in the light and warmth of spring. (: (;

49. RayC says:

Hi, don’t know if this sheds any light on things!!
Absorption of Radiation by Phytoplankton in the Upper Ocean

While absorption of solar energy is dominated by absorption from seawater itself in many open ocean regions, the variability in the absorption and distribution of solar energy into the upper layers of the open ocean is controlled primarily by phytoplankton pigment concentrations.

The results present a scenario where subsurface chlorophyll concentrations force changes in subsurface heating rates and leading to changes in subsurface heating, mixed-layer deepening, alterations in surface ocean currents, and ultimately supporting an eastern Pacific surface warming.

So it seems ocean thermodynamics and bio-optical processes are liked!

Question is do the cold , nutrient rich, up-welling ENSO waters proliferate phytoplankton production? In doing so the energy absorption must change triggering the heating process to start over again and during plankton blooms the DMS aerosol production must increase to give more cloud formation and stop heat from escaping. A warming process.

What happens when the water clears? I think maybe the opposite happens! Less heat in, less cloud formation more heat out.

A lot of incoming energy is stored by the biosphere as potential energy and is released over massively different rates and timescales and is linked to the biosphere one way or the other.
Sorry for generalising but I’m no scientist, just thought it was interesting.

50. BenAW says:

@Davidmhoffer

David, this is the plot I tried to explain in an earlier discussion we had:

http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/david-hoffer-short-circuiting-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-17352

I used TSI 1364 W/m^2 30% reflected, and half that for the Latt60 plot.
The SST plots for Latt 0 and Latt 60 are eyeballed from a SST chart, I used 300K and 275K resp.
So it’s clear to me that heat capacity makes a huge difference for actual temps. compared to BB temps.
The high values for the SST’s relative to their BB curves are due to the “base” temp of the oceans to me.

51. wayne says:

dmh: Oddly, whenever I hear the “visible isn’t thermal” meme, it usually comes from misguided skeptics. I always do my best to explain the matter for the simple reason that the last thing the skeptic side needs is skeptics with horridly bad science.

Right David. Now that i have that great link I’ll pass it to Myrrh next time we happen onto the same thread. Too many want either/ors, always/nevers, yes/nos. In radiative physics I find those hardly ever occurs… you only end up with shades of gray, and, on multiple fronts.

Visible light, due to the size of the wavelengths and the size of atoms cause it to be more reflective and yet more penetrating in cases. But black is black when it’s black… just violated my previous statement didn’t I? That is why discussions on this subject will drive you up a wall, it’s too hard to encompass all of the various factors across shades of gray without writing an entire chapter, and no wonder so many are confused on this point or that point (or… just seem confused for they are describing one of the other aspects, that constantly happens to me!).

This is where a pointer to a book is sometimes the best. I fact, Lucy is right, that is where blogs fall down. There is nothing constant to point at. Good links get lost. For years now I’ve thought a blog should have one or more permanent reference pages that the mods use to gather agreed on truths and vital references, no permanent comments… so you can just point to item #37 instead of writing yet another lengthy comment just to watch it float away down the stream of never-ending posts. ;-)

52. Brian H says:

Please remember: heat is the lowest rung of the entropy ladder. All forms of energy are flowing down toward heat, and end up there sometime between now and the “heat death of the universe”.

“Larry Ledwick (hotrod ) says:
February 14, 2012 at 4:19 am

The evaporation can carry an order of magnitude more energy to high altitude as water vapor and then radiate it away from the cloud tops at some later time.

Larry”
Yes, an interesting viewpoint: clouds are the upper extension of the sea surface, and part of its heat-dumping mechanism. I like it!

53. Brian H says:

RayC commented on David Hoffer: Short Circuiting the Greenhouse Effect.

The results present a scenario where subsurface chlorophyll concentrations force changes in subsurface heating rates and leading to changes in subsurface heating, mixed-layer deepening, alterations in surface ocean currents, and ultimately supporting an eastern Pacific surface warming.

Yes, sort of a modulation/control of the ocean and climate by phytoplankton.

It is interesting to keep in mind that the colour “green” is from the REJECTED (bounced) light, and chlorophyll is preferentially absorbing the lowest (red) and highest (blue-violet) frequencies.

54. davidmhoffer says:

wayne;
Right David. Now that i have that great link I’ll pass it to Myrrh next time we happen onto the same thread>>>

Let me know how that goes!

My prediction however is that Myrrh will respond with his standard “that’s not proof, I asked you for proof.”

There’s a thread on WUWT where Myrrh said he was right on some issue or other and cited the fact that no physics text book on that matter existed that said otherwise. Leif promptly linked to a text book with pointers to the exact chapters and page numbers. Myrrh promptly replied that he’d looked at it, and it wasn’t proof. That’s when I just gave up on him.

(Though I did egg him on a bit about how the Sun works just so I could see him argue about it with Leif. I’m pretty certain he had no idea who he was arguing with).

55. davidmhoffer says:

BenAW;
Thanks for that plot!

I remember your first comment on the matter, your conjecture was that the break even point would be at 60 latitude. I thought that sounded too high, but I flipped over to ERBE, did a rough guestimate based on their graphical representation of the energy balance, and sure enough… it is at about 60 degrees:

Nice job!

Your graph also illustrates the same issue I raised in the N&Z thread about Holder’s Inequality, but in more detail. I did a second comment in that thread where I added in a heat capacity to show that doing so arrives at a much higher “average” temperature driven by the exact same insolation. But it still cannot go beyond 255K for 240 w/m2.

BUT!

There have been any number of comments upthread about other processes that intercept the energy flux (in both directions) on a temporary basis. 16% of the insolation gets absorbed into the atmosphere and never makes it directly to earth surface in the first place. Phytoplankton alters substantively how deeply insolation penetrates the oceans. Insolation that does penetrate the oceans to a substantive depth does so at the speed of light, but it sure doesn’t come back at the speed of light. Much of the xfer from oceans to atmosphere happens through evaporation. there is a massive amount of kinetic energy stored in wind and ocean currents….and so on. Photosynthesis gobbles up a huge amount of energy that would otherwise be seen as temperature increases. Potential energy stored in snow on mountain tops. It is a long list.

I’m not certain which of these is significant, and which not. I expect that they are ALL significant. After all, we’re only trying to explain 1 w/m2 or 2 at most in the context of the last century. It would be interesting to come up with some sort of list of all the ways that the energy flux can get intercepted (in both directions) and the order of magnitude of each on a global basis. Just having the list all in one place might well be an eye opener.

56. Chris M says:

It’s interesting that N2, O2 and water vapour all emit in the infrared.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionized-air_glow

What I’d like to know is what proportion of the earth’s longwave emission actually emanates from those three predominant molecules, and the relative contribution of each. Couldn’t find the answer in a brief search. Can anyone enlighten me?

57. tallbloke says:

A belated welcome to Bengt, who commented at 4pm

http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/david-hoffer-short-circuiting-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-17345

His comment got held up in the pending queue, and I missed it while I was out on my travels with the mobile phone access.

Man! This thread is busy with ideas!

58. Larry Ledwick (hotrod ) says:

Probably trival compared to other energy sources, but another non-IR energy loss path is emissions in the radio frequency spectrum.

What is the total RF emissions of the earth in the radio frequency spectrum? Most of which is due to thunderstorm activity, (sprites, elfs etc.) and even a few xray emissions from these high energy discharges. All these paths turn gravitational potential energy due to heating into other forms of energy, visible light in the form of lightning, and all the secondary radio emissions that are generated by high energy electrical discharges. Even ringing of the earths magnetic field due to these electrical discharges radiates some energy. The atmosphere also has a night glow where it radiates in the visible spectrum at night as it gives up energy absorbed by certain molecules during the day time sun. (part of that 16% that does not reach the ground)

On the other topic of phytoplankton changing the visible absorption depth of the ocean, the same applies to turbidity from all causes, such as dust sifting down from sahara dust storms onto the ocean, muddy water outflow from the Amazon, Nile and Yangtze rivers etc. Storm induced stirring of bottom sediment in shallow coastal areas to mention a few.

What is the net power output of all the phytoplankton phosphorescent glow at night in the oceans of the world? That energy came from photosynthesis at some point in time.

Add all these individual energy leaks together and I bet you would eat up a large fraction of the “missing heat”.

All “heat loss” is not in the IR spectrum, we really should change our terminology to “energy loss” to include other paths for radiation of energy to the cosmos, not just limit our accounting to IR.

Larry

59. James says:

“steveta_uk says:
February 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm
James, while you are wondering if visible light can be absorbed and wamr an object, try thinking about what the colour “black” means, and how a black shirt feels in sunlight.”

Steveta_uk. This is not just a whimsical notion of mine. I try to keep my posts simple as I like to consider things in a simple way. I also own a white van as it keeps my dogs cool when the sun shines but that does not mean that it is visible light that is warming up black cars and reflecting off white cars keeping them cool, it could easily be that it is above red light wavelength radiation that is causing the heating effect. Everything I find tells me that visible light excites electrons and make them more prone to emit energy in photon form and longer wave lengths up to a point cause molecules to vibrate and produce heat energy.

David Hoffer has been very polite in his responses to my questions but at the same time very condescending. I do not do bad science, I hate bad science. But would someone please put up some experimental proof that EM radiation energy in the visible spectrum heats up gases?

60. davidmhoffer says:

James;
David Hoffer has been very polite in his responses to my questions but at the same time very condescending. I do not do bad science, I hate bad science. But would someone please put up some experimental proof that EM radiation energy in the visible spectrum heats up gases>>>

I didn’t mean to be condescending. The problem is that there are people out there stirring the pot on this issue who have no idea what they are talking about. On the other hand, it isn’t dead simple to explain either. My analogy is the earth is flat. Look out your window. Prove to me that it isn’t. I can see the darn thing so you’ll have trouble with that. The sun circles the earth by the way, I can see that too. Prove I’m wrong.

That’s the type of argument one gets into when one deals with this issue. So, in answer to your questions:

1. Look up the work of Stefan-Boltzmann and Planck. SB arrived at the equations to determine how many w/m2 a given body at a given temperature will radiate. Planck came after and determined the equations which define what the disrtribution of the spectrum is so that you can actually determine how many w/m2 a given body at a given temperature will radiate at a given frequency. Any good write up on their work should provide you with pointers to the experiments that were done by them and others to confirm their work.

2. Check out any engineering text book on radiative physics and you will find design pararmeters for all sorts of materials in all sorts of applications that are built upon the work of Stefan-Boltzmann and Planck. And Wiens. And others. The experiments you are looking for are done every day by (literaly) millions of engineers all over the world who design everything from freezers to nuclear power plants. They use those equations to design things that work as expected before they are even built, and for every news story you hear about an engineer “getting it wrong” there are tens of thousands you don’t hear about because they got it right.

3. Your last question is actually not the same as what you asked before. As I said before, visible light carries energy. If the question is, does visible light carry energy that can heat up gases, then the answer is slightly different. Visible light at exactly what frequency? And exactly what gas? In fact, gas molecules do not absorb and radiate like a solid does. They only abosrb and radiate at very specific frequencies and at very specific energy levels. Here’s the spectrum broken down by which atmospheric gases absorb at which spectrums:

Water vapour, oxygen and methan all have absorption capacities in the visible spectrum, though none of them are all that good at it. But that is why sunshine slices right through the atmosphere in the first place. If those gases were broad absorbers of visible light…it would be dark out all the time.

4. Lastly, I think some confusion arises from the term “visible light”. there seems to be a perception out there that “visible light” is something distinct and different from other types of radiance. It is isn’t. It is exactly the same, just a different flux density than other frequencies (which is what you use SB Law and Planck to calculate). The reason, and the ONLY reason, that part of the spectrum is called “visible light” is because that is the part of the spectrum that we humans can sense with our eyes, and hence “see”. If we were owls, we would have defined “visible light” as a completely different spectrum. So the name is just one of convenience. It implies no properties that are any different from the properties of the spectrum at any other frequency. Except our eyeballs are tuned to it.

61. tallbloke says:

James,
the context I have come across the discussion before is in the question of how much sunlight warms the ocean. Very roughly, of the incoming 240W/m^2 after cloud albedo reflect 30%, 16% is absorbed by the atmosphere and around 50% is absorbed by land and ocean. Quite a lot of the near IR and nearly all of the visible strikes the surface. In the ocean, the near IR is all absorbed in the top few inches, but the visible gets a lot deeper, especially the higher frequencies.

Now, regarding the ability of visible light to heat molecules. In a still lake of, say, around 4m depth. All the near IR is absorbed in the top foot, but the visible penetrates all the way to the bottom, and is absorbed by the dark mud, which warms and conducts warmth to the bottom water. This sets up easily measurable convection in the water, which demonstrates that visible light does indeed heat matter. The amount of energy in visible light from the Sun amounts to about half the energy.

Point to remember: In temperate latitudes, the ocean has a lot of biota suspended in the top mixed layer, this absorbs a lot of the visible, so it’s cold not far down (and you can’t see much).

Hope that helps. Did you read the paper I linked for you?

62. Chris M says:

This is a really intriguing graphic that shows the pre-eminence of water vapour in the absorption of outgoing longwave radiation. (I think it would be worthwhile reproducing somewhere tallbloke.) On my interpretation it shows that the longwave absorption in the part of the spectrum attributed to CO2 is already maxed out at 100%, which implies that any increase in CO2 will have NIL effect in atmospheric warming, does it not??

Source wikipedia, click for full size

63. Chris M says:

Whoops, sorry about that David, I didn’t notice that you’d noted the same graphic before me, shows I’m not paying full attention to the thread! Nonetheless it’s a highly informative graphic.

64. davidmhoffer says:

Chris M;
On my interpretation it shows that the longwave absorption in the part of the spectrum attributed to CO2 is already maxed out at 100%, which implies that any increase in CO2 will have NIL effect in atmospheric warming, does it not??>>>

Unfortunately…. not.

If you take a look at the top graph, which is all the other absorption spectra added together, you’ll not that the shape of the curve doesn’t exactly follow the curve for water alone in the CO2 region. A small bit of the CO2 curve extends out into what would otherwise be white space.

But that isn’t the whole picture. At low altitudes, water vapour hits as much as 40,000 ppm compared to CO2’s 400 ppm. Even if they didn’t overlap, the effects of CO2 would be a rounding error compared to water vapour. But at high altitudes, temperature drops off. The colder it gets, the less water vapour. Below freezing, water vapour becomes nearly insignificant. CO2 still sits in at about 400 ppm. So, CO2’s effects are in theory, insignificant at low altitude while of increasing significance at high altitude.

65. Doug Cotton says:

Tallbloke (and others):

It is indeed correct that both visible light and of course UV will warm the ocean and the land surfaces as well. After all, UV can burn our skin. All warming is caused by incident solar insolation, not “backradiation.”

Electromagnetic radiation is neither light nor heat nor thermal energy. It is simply radiative flux (energy being radiated) and the radiation from the Sun can be converted to light or thermal energy (usually both) when it strikes matter. But it can also just be reflected, transmitted, refracted or scattered without leaving much (or any) energy behind.

It can even be scattered (and not converted to any thermal energy) when it strikes a solid surface if that surface is hotter than the (spontaneously) emitting source of the radiation. This is how and why the Second Law of Thermodynamics operates for radiation. All radiation from cold to hot is “ignored” and irrelevant. Only radiation from hot to cold has surplus energy which has to be (and is) converted to thermal energy, thus causing warming. So “heat” does not travel along with “net” radiation. There is no way that two opposing beams of radiation can be combined anyway, turning back the weaker one and forming some sort of vector sum beam or whatever. You won’t see that happen with two torch beams, now will you?.

The IPCC conveniently “forgets” that about half the solar insolation is in the near infra-red, and the other half in the (sum of) the visible and UV spectra. So carbon dioxide absorbs some of the IR (as spectroscopy shows) and sends some of that straight back to space, thus having a cooling effect which can be calculated as being about 7 times the assumed warming effect.

That assumed warming effect is, however, based upon a false conjecture badly named the greenhouse effect. The reason it is incorrect is explained in several of my posts, the latest being http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/11/open-thread-weekend-7/#comment-893076

The IPCC assumed that heat transfer is always in the same direction as (net) radiative flux. But it isn’t and if it were then in some cases the Second Law of Thermodynamics would be violated. Now before you copy an “answer” from SkS I suggest you read my linked post above which explains why SkS is wrong again when they try to debunk the physics which explains why a cooler atmosphere cannot warm a surface which is already warming every sunny morning – or slow its cooling rate that evening.

Because the colder atmosphere cannot transfer thermal energy to a warmer surface (as explained in more detail in the linked post) the greenhouse conjecture is debunked.

66. Tenuc says:

RayC says:
February 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm
“…A lot of incoming energy is stored by the biosphere as potential energy and is released over massively different rates and time-scales and is linked to the biosphere one way or the other…”

Good point, Ray, and one that is often dismissed by the CAGW brigade who want to simplify things to the degree that the results are worthless. The biosphere and lots of other problems confound things when we have to deal with the real world. Here are some questions we perhaps need to ask…

At the size of a photon, what is the real fractal area of the ocean?

How much energy is absorbed by the 3.5% of sea water which is ionised salts + dissolved gasses?

Water is a good conductor so how quickly does hot surface transfer heat down to cooler, deeper areas?

How does turbidity due to suspended nano dust/clay change and effect thermal transfer?

How does wave geometry, at size of photon, alter albido over time?

What influence does differing wind strength and direction have on all above factors?

I’m sure there are many more issues I have not mentioned which could cause changes to results provided by current perceived scientific knowledge. Averaging the few real observations we have of a complex dynamic system will always show a divergence from reality!

67. Paul-in-UK says:

James

Here’s an experiment YOU can do: get a photo cell from Maplins , shine a light on it, connect the 2 output terminals to a resistor and put your finger on the resistor. The resistor gets hot.

It’s all down to Quantum mechanics

68. BenAW says:

davidmhoffer says:
February 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm

“BenAW;
Thanks for that plot!

Your graph also illustrates the same issue I raised in the N&Z thread about Holder’s Inequality, but in more detail. I did a second comment in that thread where I added in a heat capacity to show that doing so arrives at a much higher “average” temperature driven by the exact same insolation. But it still cannot go beyond 255K for 240 w/m2″

If you come away with the impression that earths surface and oceans have been MUCH warmer than they are today, great. SInce their creation, or the last major meteor impact vaporizing them, the oceans have been COOLING via the surface and the atmosphere to space.
Assuming constant solar radiation over time (I know, faint sun etc.etc) the earth has been radiating more to space then it received from the sun.

– First simple model:
solid core, same temp as the deep of the oceans, surrounded by 5km of ocean and an atmosphere, same temp. structure as we have today, no tilt for the earths axe.
Let’s assume that solar in and radiation out cancel today, so the oceans aren’t cooling anymore.
The sun KEEPS a small layer of water warmer than the deep oceans, forming a band of warm water spanning our model earth, being deepest at the equator and decreasing towards the poles.
Highest temps of course at the equator, lower towards the poles.

Anything wrong with this model? If not we can start adding “complications” like tilted axes, continents, hot core, watervapour in the atmosphere, ocean currents etc. etc.

I do feel however that this simple model does explain why the earth has a temp. above the BB models.

69. Chris M says:

dmh, I have lined up the absorption and transmission spectra as best I could and the CO2 overlap is small with the outlying part of the spectrum where absorption is not quite total. Also I wonder whether the unusual almost perfect bell shape of the CO2 curve is significant in any way.

70. BenAW says:

Doug Cotton says:
February 15, 2012 at 10:31 am

Tallbloke (and others):

It is indeed correct that both visible light and of course UV will warm the ocean and the land surfaces as well. After all, UV can burn our skin. All warming is caused by incident solar insolation, not “backradiation.”

Because the colder atmosphere cannot transfer thermal energy to a warmer surface (as explained in more detail in the linked post) the greenhouse conjecture is debunked.

I think you are correct. You may already be familiar with this:
Prof Claes Johnson explaining what you actually measure when “measuring backradiation”.

http://claesjohnson.blogspot.com/2011/08/how-to-fool-yourself-with-pyrgeometer.html

Along the same lines prof. Nasif Nahle:

71. steveta_uk says:

I’ve read an awfull lot of complete rubbish from Doug Cotton over the last few days, as he bombards the whole blogosphere with his complete inability to understand basic physics.

But today he’s dropped below the 5-year-old comprehension level with this one:

radiation from the Sun can be converted to light

72. tallbloke says:

steveta: Perhaps Doug is being elliptical and means “radiation from the Sun can be converted to what we percieve as light”. In order to keep dialogue potentially fruitful, it’s best to ask before saying people are talking rubbish. However I agree he needs to read up on some other stuff like just how it it UV causes sunburn, and what a net flux actually is.

73. steveta_uk says:

TB, perhaps I over-reacted, but I’m getting really sick of him posting exactly the same stuff at every site and failing to convince anyone about this back-radition being impossible nonsense.

He is doing serious damage to the skeptical blogosphere by posting his laugable worship of Claes Johnson everywhere he can – anyone less familiar with his postings would easily conclude that skeptical sites, including this one, just post rubbish, so can be ignored.

74. tallbloke says:

steveta: OK, noted. There has been an influx of new commenters here, but it usually doesn’t take too long to sort the genuine folk from the provocateurs. I’ll keep an eye open.
.

75. James says:

Thank you David Hoffer and Tall Bloke for taking the time and trouble. Unfortunately Harry Huffman has just put up another post claiming that it is solar IR that warms the atmosphere.

http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2012/02/incompetent-skeptics-ii-willis.html

I’ll do more studying on this in silence and not interrupt the flow of your blog. Thanks again.

76. davidmhoffer says:

Chris M;
Also I wonder whether the unusual almost perfect bell shape of the CO2 curve is significant in any way.>>>

Nah. It just is. Those curves aren’t calculated for the most part, they are arrived at through experimentation and carefull measurement.

77. davidmhoffer says:

James;
Unfortunately Harry Huffman has just put up another post claiming that it is solar IR that warms the atmosphere.>>>>

Thanks for that link James, is was an interesting rant to read.

What Dr Huffman said though is not that solar IR warms the atmosphere. What he said is:

“The REAL atmosphere absorbs 15-20% of the incident solar energy. It is NOT “transparent” to IR radiation. ”

For sake of brevity, he has (in my opinion) summarized to make a point. To expand this out, there are two important points:

1. The atmosphere is NOT transparent to IR.

Correct. If you will take a look at the atmospheric transmission graphic I linked to, you will see that is exactly what it shows. Several atmospheric gases absorb in the IR range.

2. The REAL atmosphere absorbs 15-20% of the incident solar energy.

Correct. Take a look at that graphic again. Most of the absorption of IR from the sun (red part of the graphic) is done by water vapour.

But your original assertion was that visible light didn’t carry any energy in the first place. Later on in the discussion, you asked about visible light heating gases. Those are two different questions. Again, take a look at the graphic. Gases don’t have much in the way of absorption spectra in the visible light region, and hence visible light cuts straight through the atmosphere and heats your nice white van up.

Not as much as it heats up a black van for the simple reason that black is a more efficient absorber. White tends to reflect more of the light. But they both absorb.

Now, take a look again at that red curve which represents the distribution of energy flux across the spectrum emitted by the sun. The energy flux of visible light is far higher than that of IR. Solid matter doesn’t have absorption spectrum in the first place. Unlike gases, solids absorb (and emitt) at ALL frequencies. They may reflect larger or smaller amounts at various frequencies as well (white van vs black van) So:

If your argument is that visible light cannot heat up atmospheric gases, you are, for the most part, correct.

If your argument is that visible light doesn’t carry energy capable of heating up your white van, you’d be wrong.

You also asked for experimental evidence, the absorption curves are pretty much derived experimentally, and the emission curves were as well, though due to Stefan,Boltzmann,Planck, Wiens and others we now have formulas from which these values can be calculated to go along with the experimental results.

But does visible light carry energy? Yes, and plenty of it.

78. davidmhoffer says:

Tallbloke;

The Harry Huffman rant that James linked to is well worth a read. It is a rebuttal to Willis Eschenbach, and a rather harsh one. Apparently it was provided to WUWT and Anthony rejected it for the manner in which Willis was called out by Harry.

79. tallbloke says:

“(you can’t take your own medicine, as doled out by Eschenbach). Duh.”

Ouch.

80. davidmhoffer says:

BenAW;
If you come away with the impression that earths surface and oceans have been MUCH warmer than they are today, great>>>>

That is part of what I was getting at earlier. Energy can be stored as heat capacity, potential energy (water stored in lakes at altitude, snow on mountain tops), kinetic energy (air and ocean currents, rivers), chemical (evaporation, photosynthesis) and the amount of energy stored is by no means trivial. So the higher temperatures of earth in the past are part of what I am getting at.

I think the heat storage of the planet which has been “leaking out” for millions of years is part of it. That would be a low frequency influence. Wind would be a high frequency influence. We know that the earth was, in the past, both warmer AND colder than it is now. The net of all those possible energy storage mechanisms however is either positive or negative at any given time, and I suspect that those cycles combined dictate cooling and warming phases (if we presume the sun to be stable, which I don’t, it has variability too, particularly at those time scales).

But you’ve given me another Aha! moment. Let’s consider two factors:

1. Conduction and convection cannot boost the temperature of the earth, for 240 w/m2 in, beyond 255K. BUT! What these processes CAN do is spread the energy flux around such that the earth’s temperature becomes more uniform.

2. The consequence of a more uniform earth temperature is that….conduction and convection SLOW DOWN.

That gives us an energy storage pool that must fluctuate between extremes! In a “cooling phase” energy is being pumped INTO heat capacity, kinetic,potential and chemical storage sinks. In a warming phase, energy is coming OUT of those sinks as air and ocean currents slow down, water drains down from high lakes to oceans in greater quantities than it is returned, and so on. If the net energy coming out is significant, then we HAVE to get a temperature HIGHER than blackbody. If the net energy going in is significant, then we HAVE to get a temperature that is LOWER than blackbody.

So… how much energy is actually present in all those processes? If the order of magnitude is too small to matter, then I am wrong. If it is large enough to matter, then that is one possible explanation (or part of the explanation) for a lot fo things ranging from repetitive ice ages to surface temps higher than blackbody would allow for.

81. tallbloke says:

Hoff: at Milankovitch timescales, you need to be thinking of the processes which cause really big shifts in energy distribution. Like the precession of the equinoxs changing the time of Earth perihelion from Austral summer to winter. Or the tilt on Earth’s axis changing from zero to 25 degrees and back. Or the eccentricity of the orbit changing form zero to its maximum.

It’s those processes which will really gives Holders inequality some meaning.

82. davidmhoffer says:

tallbloke;
It’s those processes which will really gives Holders inequality some meaning.>>>

Yup, thanks for bringing that up, I have to do some mental ciphering on that.

Any idea as to where I’d find numbers for how much energy is stored as kinetic energy in ocean currents? I’d be interested in numbers for photosynthesis, etc as well, but my gut tells me the biggest storage facility on the planet after heat capacity itself would be kinetic energy of ocean currents.

83. tallbloke says:

Hmm, well, I think the changes in the sub-mantle currents inside earth probably store and release more energy, but it goes into changes in axial spin rate (and geomagnetism strength?). There’s some kind of linkage there between Length of day, changes in Atmospheric angular momentum, oceanic cycles (changes in current?) and the motion of the big planets. It seems to be linked to surface temperature too.

84. Paul Bahlin says:

In medicine there is a similar effect relating to drug dosages. If the body needs some mean level of chemical in the blood stream, what happens is that a medication is given to the patient as a series of ‘pulses’ every time you take a pill. The chemical leaves the body as some fractional proportion of the amount in the body after every ingestion.

Over time then, the amount of chemical in your blood stream will oscillate around an exponential that levels off after a few days to a desired mean value. Once this level is reached, your blood stream’s quantity of the drug oscillates around this mean.

I don’t think you would even need to invoke your ‘circuitry’ to imagine a similar energy affect on the planet surface. Imagine an ideal gas where the molecules are perfectly elastic and also perfectly transparent to all forms of radiation. Nitrogen might be a close approximation.

Start at some low temperature, say 200K just for argument. Each sunrise this atmosphere would heat from the only possible source, conduction. Nitrogen is a lousy conductor so by the end of the day the atmosphere has not equilibrated. The daytime represents a pulse of energy in (via radiation) that doesn’t all come out, not because of a GHE but because energy has been taken from the surface by conduction.

At night, you could assume (not sure if this is correct but stay with me for a bit) that all of the day’s atmospheric energy pulse will be transferred back to the surface, again by conduction only. The radiation bookkeeping says that night time radiation is not as strong as daytime radiation since T is lower. It’s just like the body with medicine. You can pulse a bit in but it doesn’t all come out as long as you’ve not saturated the system. Successive pulses will see an oscillating increase in energy riding on an exponential until the energy reaches a mean value where the radiation out equals the radiation in.

At this point you’ll have a planet whose surface temperature has been increased without any GHG at all. It might even be that higher pressure creates better conduction. Ya think? This would imply that daily input pulses in a high pressure nitrogen atmosphere result in a higher mean energy storage capacity than that of a lower pressure atmosphere.

85. Chris M says:

I think someone upthread mentioned lightning. International space station videos show just how ubiquitous lightning is in the atmosphere. These very high energy discharges not only produce very bright light, much of it in higher energy parts of the spectrum, but exert various effects on molecules in their path, such as high temperature heating and ionization, with secondary effects on those molecules’ emission spectra. My point is that the atmosphere has other ways of releasing EMR to space, not just via low energy longwave radiation.

86. James says:

Oh gosh David you say ” But your original assertion was that visible light didn’t carry any energy in the first place” I’m not sure I ever said that and I am certain that I have never thought that. I just remain to be convinced that EM radiation in the wavelength that we can see transfers energy in the form of molecular vibration (heat).

I have imposed a my own embargo on this subject but I had to correct that.

I do find it interesting though that Harry iis now separating planet surface heating from atmosphere heating. It does occur to me that measuring air temperatures in a box about 3 feet from the surface is prone to many errors (as Anthony Watts keeps pointing out). I could place the box on my tarmac drive and then place it on the field and I know the thermometer inside would record different temperatures. I guess we record temperatures at that height because that is what we the human experiece.

As for Harry’s “rant”. I think he is entirely justified. Watts up with that is a fantastic site but I do believe Willis has too much power over him and that can not be healthy for free debate.

Thanks to you and Tallbloke for suffering fools gladly :)

87. davidmhoffer says:

James;
Agree with you re WUWT. It is why I am here now and not there.

Re “heat”

What do you mean by heat? We may simply have a problem with definitions here.

EM carries energy. We measure it in watts/m2. The specifics of how that energy gets absorbed is another matter. That energy can cause electrons to enter a higher orbital plane, molecules to “twist” such that there is more energy stored in the molecular bonds themselves, the whole molecule can vibrate faster…. but they are all just different ways to absorb energy. In gases, the methods by which energy can be absorbed are very specific. Any energy that cuts through the atmosphere that doesn’t meet those exact specifications cannot be absorbed and passes through to earth surface where the properties of a solid take over.

Heat and energy are not the same thing.

88. Doug Cotton says:

When solar radiation (UV, visible and IR etc) travels through space we do not know what its end effect will be until it strikes something. We will observe its effect and say – there’s some light from the Sun – but it may be more light if it hits a white surface than a dark surface, as a camera exposure meter will confirm. It may generate thermal energy (more or less depending on what it strikes) or it may appear as light as it starts to penetrate the oceans, but end up as thermal energy in the deeper depths. Of course some will be reflected or scattered and strike another target sooner or later, and another etc.

My point is, “heat” is the transfer of thermal energy, but thermal energy is not a fixed amount of energy travelling along with radiation. The energy in the radiation has to go through a physical process of being converted to thermal energy. This happens only for those frequencies in the radiation which are above the natural frequencies that can be emitted by the target, because the target cannot re-emit those frequencies. (The hotter the source of spontaneous radiation, the higher will be the peak frequency.) So solar radiation can be converted to thermal energy in the Earth’s surface, but radiation emitted from a cooler atmosphere cannot be converted to thermal energy in a warmer surface. “Heat” only appears to be transferred (and only from hot to cold) because only radiation from hot to cold will be converted to extra thermal energy in the target.

It does not matter whether you are increasing the rate of warming in the morning or decreasing the rate of cooling later in the day, you still need extra thermal energy to do this. You cannot get this extra thermal energy from a cooler atmosphere, morning or evening. You cannot say the Second Law is not broken because of the direction of net radiation or net heat flow. All that matters is, what actually happens between any two points – one point on the surface and one point in a cooler atmosphere. What goes on between other “points” – a point on the Sun and another point on the surface is irrelevant. The Second Law must apply between any two points.

So the whole conjecture about backradiation slowing the rate of cooling, and about the greenhouse effect, is all based on incorrect assumptions which involve a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. That law could not function anywhere and everywhere if radiation from cold to hot could transfer thermal energy.

89. davidmhoffer says:

Doug Cotton;
So the whole conjecture about backradiation slowing the rate of cooling, and about the greenhouse effect, is all based on incorrect assumptions which involve a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. That law could not function anywhere and everywhere if radiation from cold to hot could transfer thermal energy>>>

In a cold room, I put on a sweater that is at room temperature, and I warm up. Further, if I take the temperature of the sweater, I’ll find that it warms up too, but it never gets as warm as my skin temperature.

How does that work?

90. Paul Bahlin says:

If I have a black body sphere at some temperature, say Tb, and I enclose it with a distant black body container at temperature Tc, with vacuum between them, does the temperature of Tc affect the rate of radiation leaving the sphere?

Take the case where Tb is much much greater than Tc and compare it to Tb just a little bit greater than Tc. Do both systems result in the same rate of energy decay in the sphere?

How about if Tc is greater than Tb. Does the sphere lose energy?

How about if Tb = Tc, does the sphere lose energy?

91. Paul Bahlin says:

Since black bodies emit a Planck distribution I don’t think it appropriate to say that only incoming frequencies higher than the peak frequency of the body can be absorbed. Isn’t it more correct to say that any incoming frequency within the distribution can be absorbed?

As such, I would think that the incoming frequency can certainly affect the outgoing energy (in the distribution) that is at the same frequency, thus reducing the amount of outgoing radiation (at that frequency).

If the incoming doesn’t get absorbed where does it go? If it’s reflected then you don’t have a black body. You just created some albedo in the black body. If it isn’t reflected or absorbed then it just rattles around inside the black body forever, correct? What’s up with that?

92. Doug Cotton says:

davidmhoffer says:
February 16, 2012 at 2:32 am

In a cold room, I put on a sweater that is at room temperature, and I warm up. Further, if I take the temperature of the sweater, I’ll find that it warms up too, but it never gets as warm as my skin temperature. How does that work?
__________________________________________________

I’m not here to explain such basic stuff. Your body generates heat. The cold room extracts heat. So your jacket ends up being between your body temperature and the room temperature due to conduction. What on Earth has that to do with spontaneous radiation without other sources of energy – as radiation between a cold atmosphere and a warmer surface?

93. Doug Cotton says:

Paul Bahlin says:
February 16, 2012 at 2:48 am

You can answer all your own questions if you just remember that spontaneous radiation from a cooler body to a warmer body does not transfer any thermal energy to the warmer one, and so does not affect its rate of cooling.

If you are considering the rate of addition of thermal energy to the cooler one, that rate will slow down as the temperatures approach each other because there is more overlap of the two spectra.

94. Chris M says:

Good on Harry Huffman, and very funny to boot! Whether his theory is correct or not, some things just need to be said. xD

95. Paul-in-UK says:

Ever since I came to this site I’ve had to do lots of reading up and learning.

I came across fluorescence the other day which I always thought of as objects glowing when you shine UV on them. Apparently though its’ technical definition is conversion of shortwave ER into longwave ER. It comes about because the nuclei of atoms rearrange themselves when they absorb a photon and when a photon is released later it’s at a lower frequency.
I thought that sounded very similar to that of the Earth absorbing visible light and re-emitting longwave infra red.

Don’t some gases also have this property?

96. BenAW says:

davidmhoffer says:
February 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm
BenAW;
If you come away with the impression that earths surface and oceans have been MUCH warmer than they are today, great>>>>

But you’ve given me another Aha! moment. Let’s consider two factors:

1. Conduction and convection cannot boost the temperature of the earth, for 240 w/m2 in, beyond 255K. BUT! What these processes CAN do is spread the energy flux around such that the earth’s temperature becomes more uniform.

Forget about the atmosphere !!!!. Its heat capacity is equivalent to ~3 meters of ocean water.
The oceans warm the atmosphere and loose their excess heat THROUGH the atmosphere to space. The temperature of earth IS incredibly uniform. ~275K all over the place (except over land, but that’s only 30% of earths surface)
The only part that is slightly warmer is the warm layer of ocean water that the sun heats.

That a couple of fish decided to move from the seas to land and became our ancestors, doesn’t make the land and the air above it overly relevant in the grand scheme of things. ;-)

The hot centre of the earth is barely contained by the thin crust. The rapid warming the earth has shown during certain periods can imo only really be explained by sudden releases of large quantities of the heat widely available just below the crust.
eg. the breaking up of Pangea, at the lines where the continents parted magma could flow up, or during ice ages,when large quantities of ocean water ended up on the continents (> 120m of ocean became ice) This could imbalance the continents, and allow magma to flow up.
Speculation, I know, but I don’t think the sun is capable of rapidly ending an ice age.

97. Doug Cotton says:

BenAW says:
February 16, 2012 at 9:03 am

You are right to a point. There is far more thermal energy under the Earth’s surface and it helps stabilise the climate. See the ‘Explanation’ page on my site regarding how it does this http://climate-change-theory.com

But it doesn’t change suddenly. Long term cycles (1,000 years or greater) could be caused by variations in core, mantle and crust energy maybe resulting from planetary orbits. See my first site on this http://earth-climate.com

98. davidmhoffer says:

Doug Cotton;
I’m not here to explain such basic stuff. Your body generates heat. The cold room extracts heat. So your jacket ends up being between your body temperature and the room temperature due to conduction. What on Earth has that to do with spontaneous radiation without other sources of energy – as radiation between a cold atmosphere and a warmer surface?>>>>

I repeate the question. If the sweater is cooler than I am, how does it warm me up?

99. davidmhoffer says:

doug cotton;
You can answer all your own questions if you just remember that spontaneous radiation from a cooler body to a warmer body does not transfer any thermal energy to the warmer one, and so does not affect its rate of cooling.>>>>

Repeat: How does a sweater that is cooler than I am warm me up?

New Question: How does an igloo keep people warm inside?

Supplementary Question: How does a blast furnace raise the internal temperature of the furnace despite the sides of the furnace being cooler than the inside?

Supplementary Question2: Why does a “tee pee” arrangement of logs on a fire produce a vigorous fire while logs laid flat do not?

Supplementary Question 3: How is it possible to raise the internal temperature of a house in winter by piling snow against the walls?

Supplementary Question 4: How is it possible that millions of engineers design all manner of systems every single day that work as designed, yet are based on practical application of laws of physics that are exactly opposite your position?

[Reply] David, thanks for your patience and apposite teaching. We need to communicate correct science, and you are doing a damn good job of it. Mr Cotton, please take careful note and don’t avoid fairly put questions.

100. BenAW says:

Doug Cotton says:
February 15, 2012 at 10:31 am

Because the colder atmosphere cannot transfer thermal energy to a warmer surface (as explained in more detail in the linked post) the greenhouse conjecture is debunked.

Even if the atmosphere IS warmer than the surface, like on Antarctica during winter when this huge inversion develops, this warmer layer of air about 5km thick doesn’t do much appearent warming by backradiation. Very small heat flux appearently.

101. Paul Bahlin says:

If the back radiation does nothing then one of two things must be happening. It is either;

1.) Being completely reflected in which case the reflector has a long wave albedo of 1 and an emissivity of 0, and subsequently is incapable of emitting any longwave radiation at all or,

2.) The incoming photons accumulate inside the black body (without thermalization) until such time as the black body photon limit is reached at which time the black body is converted into a super nova. /snark

As far as answering my own questions above they are;

1) The rate at which energy leaves the black body sphere in a black body container is directly proportional to the positive difference between the sphere and container energies.

2) If the sphere and container are at the same temperature the sphere’s energy content is constant.

3) if the black body container has more energy than the black body sphere then the sphere will have increasing energy.

How do you explain that? BTW remember that my very cold radar antenna can cook a chicken at 100 feet.

We are talking about energy differences here that are so close together that the Planck distributions overlap. So seriously, if a planet is emitting radiation such that somewhere in its Planck distribution it has a frequency that is the same as those in the ‘back radiation’ bands; H2O, CO2, Methane, etc. then those frequencies have to be absorbed by the planet else they are simply not emitting there in the first place, right?

And please note that this does not prove or disprove AGW. It is just one of MANY thermal mechanisms in a very poorly understood system. You don’t have to fight for this hill to be skeptical of AGW.

102. davidmhoffer says:

Getting back on topic…

I found several references regrding the kinetic energy of ocean currents estimating them at 5,000 GW. That comes out to .009 w/mw, so hardly sigificant in comparison to the 240 w/m2 of solar radiance. I didn’t expect the number from KE of ocean currents to be so small, but that’s the only credible number I was able to find.

103. mkelly says:

Paul Bahlin says:
February 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

“… BTW remember that my very cold radar antenna can cook a chicken at 100 feet.”

No it cannot. The microwaves being reflected off the antenna probably can. So be accurate since you are not good at cute.

You have given a good example of why addition and subraction of W/m^2 is flawed. The mircowaves don’t cause the temperature of the antenna to rise but they do cause the molecules of water to vibrate in the chicken which cause its temperature to rise.

We used to cook soup and light flouresent lamps with radars years ago.

104. Paul Bahlin says:

Would those be chicken microwaves or microwaves from the magnetron feeding my cold antenna?

105. Doug Cotton says:

davidmhoffer says:
February 16, 2012 at 9:42 am

I repeate the question. If the sweater is cooler than I am, how does it warm me up?
_______________________________________________________________________

It slows the rate at which thermal energy leaves your body to the cool room, just like a vacuum flask slows the rate of cooling of some hot coffee, but it does not warm the coffee one iota, despite all the extra reflected radiation due to its silver lining.

I really don’t know why you are asking such basic physics questions which you should have been able to answer yourself if you did even just secondary physics. You don’t need a degree in physics (as I have) to answer such elementary heat transfer questions.

106. davidmhoffer says:

Doug Cotton;
You don’t need a degree in physics (as I have) to answer such elementary heat transfer questions.>>>

Please state the year of graduation and the university which granted you this degree for verification. Because frankly, I don’t believe you.

107. davidmhoffer says:

Doug Cotton;
It slows the rate at which thermal energy leaves your body to the cool room>>>

Really? And how, exactly, does it do that? Since it is cooler than my skin temperature, and cooling INCREASES via conductance, I should be cooler for wearing the sweater, not warmer. Are you saying that conduction decreases the cooling rate? That radiance of my skin + conduction = LESS cooling? Really?

University of Corn Flakes perhaps?

108. davidmhoffer says:

Doug Cotton;
You skipped right on past several questions. In addition to claiming that by removing heat from my body via conductant + radiance, my body would cool slower than by radiance alone (giggle) you skipped several additional questions that should make the issue just as obvious. I repeat:

New Question: How does an igloo keep people warm inside?

Supplementary Question: How does a blast furnace raise the internal temperature of the furnace despite the sides of the furnace being cooler than the inside?

Supplementary Question2: Why does a “tee pee” arrangement of logs on a fire produce a vigorous fire while logs laid flat do not?

Supplementary Question 3: How is it possible to raise the internal temperature of a house in winter by piling snow against the walls?

Supplementary Question 4: How is it possible that millions of engineers design all manner of systems every single day that work as designed, yet are based on practical application of laws of physics that are exactly opposite your position?

109. Doug Cotton says:

I studied under Professors Harry Messel, Julius Sumner-Miller and Werner VonBraun at Sydney University from 1963 to 1966 inclusive, the degree being awarded in 1967. I subsequently did two further university courses, a degree and post graduate diploma, then engaged in on going private study in physics, climatology and nutrition, as well as private tutoring, including being Principal of a college with interstate branches.

Regarding the process of conduction, the temperature gradient (through the conducting material) is determined by the temperatures at each end, in this case the temperature of your body and the temperature of the cold room. The inside and outside of your jacket may not match these temperatures exactly as the jacket is relatively thin, but in general the ends of a long metal rod would do so.

110. davidmhoffer says:

Doug Cotton;
Regarding the process of conduction, the temperature gradient (through the conducting material) is determined by the temperatures at each end>>>

Yes it is.

Now answer the question. Why do I get warmer when I put the sweater on? You’ve explained that the temperature gradient works the way it does, what you did NOT explain was why the warm end of the temperature gradient increased in temperature when the sweater was put on. You also haven’t explained how conductance, which is vastly more efficient at xferring energy than radiance alone, could result in less cooling, not more.

111. Doug Cotton says:

An igloo works the same way as your jacket.

Energy is generated and passed through the walls of the blast furnace. The temperature gradient within the walls likewise depends on the temperatures on each side, just like your jacket. Energy being “pumped” into the furnace will accumulate until equilibrium is reached with the rate of escape of the energy. The inside will of course be hotter than the outside, just like your jacket.

Fire draws air in at its base, so an arrangement which facilitates this leads to a hotter fire.

Snow stops thermal energy escaping from the house so it doesn’t cool as much, just like your jacket.

The final question includes an incorrect statement.

None of the above has anything whatsoever to do with the radiative atmospheric greenhouse effect as postulated by the IPCC and “explained” on their website.

So as I said, I am not here to give free tuition in physics which is irrelevant to the thread anyway. Enough is enough.

112. Doug Cotton says:

Why do I get warmer when I put the sweater on?

If your body heat dropped perhaps a fraction of a degree then the extra insulation may have allowed your body thermostat to generate extra energy from your food to bring your body back up a fraction of a degree to normal body temperature. The very outside layer of your skin would undoubtedly feel warmer as a result of the energy from your food, or maybe your fat supply.

This has nothing to do with climate.

As I said, enough is enough.

113. davidmhoffer says:

Doug Cotton;
An igloo works the same way as your jacket.>>>>

Really? I’m in contact with the sides of the igloo, prompting conductance as a means of xferring energy? Really? BULL! I don’t ever need to come in contact with the igloo itself to become warmer for being inside it, which can happen via radiative physics only.

Doug Cotton;
Energy is generated and passed through the walls of the blast furnace>>>>

If you have no clue how a blast furnace works, perhaps best to say so rather than go down a rat hole that displays the problem.

Doug Cotton;
Fire draws air in at its base, so an arrangement which facilitates this leads to a hotter fire.>>>

The teepee and log hut formation both restrict air flow, they don’t promote it. If you were correct, the fire would be hottest on the outsides of the logs where contact with the air is unrestricted.

Doug Cotton;
Snow stops thermal energy escaping from the house so it doesn’t cool as much, just like your jacket>>>

So once again, you are claiming that conductance is less efficient than radiance.

Doug Cotton;
The final question includes an incorrect statement>>>>

You mean those millions of engineers get it wrong and don’t make headlines every day by doing so?

114. davidmhoffer says:

Doug Cotton says:
February 17, 2012 at 7:12 am
Why do I get warmer when I put the sweater on?

If your body heat dropped perhaps a fraction of a degree then the extra insulation may have allowed your body thermostat to generate extra energy from your food to bring your body back up a fraction of a degree to normal body temperature. The very outside layer of your skin would undoubtedly feel warmer as a result of the energy from your food, or maybe your fat supply.

This has nothing to do with climate.

As I said, enough is enough.>>>>

Your right. Enough is enough. Standing in a cold room doesn’t prompt my body’s thermostat to generate extra energy, but putting a sweater on does. Tell me Doug, what is the mechanism that results in the extra energy being generated after that initial fraction of a degree from putting the sweater on has been recovered continuing? I lose 1/10th of a degree by putting the sweater on and my mody responds by generating an extra 3 degrees?

Tallbloke, enough is enough. This guy is pumping a book. If your site policy doesn’t prohibit promotion for commerical purposes, then perhaps it should.

115. Doug Cotton says:

Standing in a cold room doesn’t prompt my body’s thermostat to generate extra energy, but putting a sweater on does.

Quite the opposite – learn some biology.

Your body won’t have to keep generating at a super fast rate – just a medium fast rate with the sweater on.

116. Doug Cotton says:

Paul Bahlin says:
February 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

If the back radiation does nothing then one of two things must be happening. It is either;

1.) Being completely reflected in which case the reflector has a long wave albedo of 1 and an emissivity of 0, and subsequently is incapable of emitting any longwave radiation at all or,

2.) The incoming photons accumulate inside the black body (without thermalization) until such time as the black body photon limit is reached at which time the black body is converted into a super nova. /snark
____________________________________________________________

(1) Not quite correct – consider partial reflection from the ocean.

(2) is not correct at all – they resonate and are immediately scattered, sooner or later getting to space.

A third needs to be added …

(3) If their energy is sufficient (with frequency above the cut-off frequency) then their energy will be converted to thermal energy, as when the Sun warms the surface.

117. Doug Cotton says:

David said: I don’t ever need to come in contact with the igloo itself to become warmer for being inside it, which can happen via radiative physics only.
_____________________________________

Not true either. There is air inside the igloo if you are alive. Thermal energy diffuses through air.
Have you never seen an oil filled heater in a room?

The air makes contact with the walls. But sure, some thermal energy is radiated from your warm body to the cold igloo wall. So what? Your body heat also warms the air by diffusion. Look up Wikipedia “Heat Transfer” second paragraph.

What on Earth is your point, and what do you imagine is the relevance to what I have been writing about?

All these examples are similar to the coffee in the vacuum flask which does not warm up due to the “backradiation” from the inside walls.

Now, you answer a question: Have you ever seen coffee at say 97 deg.C start to boil because of the reflected backradiation from those walls? Or even go to 97.5 deg.C?

118. davidmhoffer says:

Doug Cotton;
Not true either. There is air inside the igloo if you are alive. Thermal energy diffuses through air.>>>

Excuse me, but the use case described was in regard to being in the open (in the air) versus being inside an igloo (in the air). You’re not as much fun as R. Gates, but you’re close. Keep ‘em coming.

Doug Cotton;
What on Earth is your point, and what do you imagine is the relevance to what I have been writing about.>>>>

Seriously? You propose that a specific mechanism doesn’t exist, I give you a list of examples showing it does exist, and you want to know why it is relevant?

Doug Cotton;
Now, you answer a question: Have you ever seen coffee at say 97 deg.C start to boil because of the reflected backradiation from those walls? Or even go to 97.5 deg.C?>>>>

No. The discussion regarded reduced rates of cooling and how they work. You’ve now changes the argument. Can’t win the one you’ve got, get another one?

Doug Cotton;
Standing in a cold room doesn’t prompt my body’s thermostat to generate extra energy, but putting a sweater on does.
Quite the opposite – learn some biology.
Your body won’t have to keep generating at a super fast rate – just a medium fast rate with the sweater on.>>>>

So now you are claiming that I get warmer due to putting the sweater on because my metabolic rate goes down. You began by arguing that putting the sweater on reduced my body temperature a fraction of a degree, causing my metabolic rate to rise in response. Further, you conjectured that it would rise MORE than the fraction of a degree it lost due to putting the sweater on. You are proposing that -3 degrees from normal makes me feel cold, but -3.1 degrees causes a metabolic response that raises my temperature to normal. Why doesn’t -3 do that? Why, if the response is to -3.1, doesn’t the body adjust to -3 like it was before the sweater? and how does the body adjust the metabolic rate to compensate for -3.1 while at the same time being a lower metabolic rate?

When you’ve shot off both your feet, aim for the knees?

Doug Cotton;

At least you’re simply pumping a site with that comment instead of the incessant “soon to be published book”.

119. Paul Bahlin says:

Doug says:

(1) Not quite correct – consider partial reflection from the ocean.

(2) is not correct at all – they resonate and are immediately scattered, sooner or later getting to space.

I say, yes consider partial reflection from the ocean. It works both ways doesn’t it? If the ocean SURFACE is reflecting incoming then it is also reflecting outgoing. Take it to the limit and you’ll have on ocean that is incapable of emitting long wave radiation.

As for #2, what’s resonating, the photons or the water molecules? Sounds a lot like absorption to me. Does the water know that the resonating photon that is leaving is one that just arrived or one that is running away from home. “Sooner or later getting to space” sounds like radiation leaving the surface to me. Do these resonating guys contribute to the radiation balance at the TOA?

I’m also curious about your #3 claim re: cutoff frequency. This is a peak value in a distribution. It’s not a discontinuity is it?

Any frequency that is within the Planck distribution will be absorbed by a black body. If it is not then you have a ‘Planck distribution’ with a hole in it which then implies that the body can’t emit there either.

Bonus questions:

In your flask of coffee, if I pour in a bit of energy to your 97 degree coffee, say just a bit more than what is leaving via radiation. Will the quality of the reflective coating on the OUTER wall matter?

Will the coffee ever boil? [let’s assume a magical top that prevents pressure build up and eliminates all energy exchange]

120. davidmhoffer says:

Earnestly trying to get back on topic:

I found enough general references that agree to suggest the following numbers in watts are realistic:

Solar to earth 1.73*10^17
Reflected 5.2*10^16
heat lnd/ocn 8.1*10^16
evaporation 4.0*10^16
photosynthesis 4.0*10^13
tides 2.0*10^12
earth core 3.23*10^13
KE ocn currents 5*10^12

So…of these, fluctuations in photosynthesis, tides, earth core radiance, and kinetic energy of ocean currents appear to be insignificant.

121. mkelly says:

Paul Bahlin says:
February 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm
Would those be chicken microwaves or microwaves from the magnetron feeding my cold antenna?

I take this as an admission that you were incorrect.

122. Paul Bahlin says:

Funny! I take it as humor.

123. Bryan says:

1. The capacitor analogy for thermal capacity.
2. The diode to produce day/night diurnal effect.

If we have some analogy for an inductor(L) for a reactive effect we have the possibility of a tuned LC circuit.
This would imply we can have more energy circulating in the circuit (Earth climate) by storage than the daily make up energy from the Sun.

James had a point which was not in conflict with the thermal storage theme of the post.
The photochemical processes initiated by short wavelength solar do not immediately turn into thermal energy.
These wavelengths correspond to orbital changes in electron levels of molecules.
They are not directly related to the translational,vibrational or rotational modes which are described as thermal.

Of course all energy eventually end up as thermal as Kelvin points out in his heat death of the universe.
Some large fraction quite quickly
However for some photochemical reactions fixed in the fossil fuels the originally solar energy has a very long time scale.

124. Paul Bahlin says:

v = L (di/dt) and i = C (dv/dt)

I would equate v to energy potentials and i to energy flux that should do it. C has to be related to a materials specific heat because it is essentially a storage mechanism. L I’m not so sure. I’d guess L would be different depending on what kind of energy potential you were modeling. For radiation L would equate to emissivity. For conduction L would be related to the rate of heat flow in a material. For convection L would be, wow really complicated.

125. Bryan says:

Paul Bahlin your post helped me to develop my point.

v = L (di/dt)

The reactive component (L) opposes any change.
It opposes the rising current but then impedes the tendency of the falling current.

Evaporation and condensation of water are possible analogues of the electrical inductor(L)
When the sun shines the temperature of earth surface increases.
The evaporation of water slows the temperature rise storing energy as Latent heat.
When the Sun goes down condensation of water releases the latent heat to reduce the temperature drop.

There may be other reactive and storage mechanisms in the climate.

The reason I am pursuing this idea is to counter the point made by IPCC advocates that the Earth surface emits 390W/m2 but only receives 168W/m2 .

Some sceptics say that this is impossible by first law of TD but this is wrong.
A tuned LC circuit can have more energy circulating between the components than the make up energy from the supply.

126. davidmhoffer says:

CROSS POSTED FROM UNIFIED THEORY THREAD WHERE PAUL BAHLIN PROMPTED THE IDEA

Paul Bahlin;

AHA! AHA! AHA!

(Aha moment to follow)

You gave me an idea from your last response. Yes we can model (roughly) SW as being one way due to a diode and LW being one way due to a diode in the opposite direction. We can model a capacitor that gets charged by this circuit as charging to a voltage which has a lower limit governed by Holder’s Inequality and the relative resistance of the charge and discharge circuits, and an upper limit defined by the peak voltage.

But given that LW originates from multiple layers of the atmosphere as well as earth surface, and each is at a different temperature, we cannot model the system as a SINGLE capacitor, we have to model it as multiple capacitors in series. So here comes the conundrum and the Aha! moment.

Let’s say I have a series of capacitors. I measure the “voltage” across all of them combined, and I get 240. Then I measure the voltage across the one on the bottom and it measures 390. What conclusion would I draw?

The conclusion I would draw is that some of the capacitors are charged in reverse. There are additional wires and diodes in the circuit that result in some of the capacitors charging with the opposite polarity to the rest of the capacitors. The voltage across the stack is 240 but it is the fact that some of them are negative and some of them are positive that result in one big one at the bottom being 390 and the total across the stack being 240.

I’ll cross post this in the “short circuit” thread as it seems more appropriate there, but you gave me the idea here

127. davidmhoffer says:

Just to expand on the above, we know that the atmosphere has both upward and downward LW fluxes. Infact, if we expand the discussion to all methods of moving energy, there are many more (rain for example).

So the atmosphere shouldn’t be modeled as a single plane that radiates in one direction. It shouldbe modeled as many planes, each of which radiates both up and down.

A CO2 molecule may emitt omindirectionaly, but it doesn’t absorb omnidirectionally unless it is exposed to radiance that is omnidirectional. So, a molecule of CO2 low in the atmosphere would be exposed to slightly more upward bound than downward bound. A molecule of CO2 high in the atmosphere on the other hand would be exposed to mostly upward bound as be definition there isn’t much downward bound for it to absorb.

That being the case, we can think of each layer of the atmosphere as having an input that is unbalanced, and an output that is balanced. The net of the two results in a NEGATIVE “voltage” compared to the 390 emitted at earth surface because the upward bound LW will ALWAYS be higher than the downward bound LW (else we would cook). How large the disparity is would be a range that is small at low altitudes and large at high alttitudes.

But that model isn’t limited to radiance. We can think of convection, conduction, and the hydrological cycle itself as all contributing with either positive or negative voltages that, when measured in series, total the equilibrium black body votlage/temperature of earth. But because we have some negative voltages as well as some positive ones, the fact that the one at the very bottom is higher than the total is no longer an issue.

128. Paul Bahlin says:

First off I would say that since the 240 and 390 are flows they wouldn’t be analogous to voltage. They would be analogous to current. From the equation i=C* dv/dt you could draw the conclusion that for two capacitors to have different ‘i’ they would need different dv/dt or different C.

You might model incoming short wave as a series circuit consisting of a forward biased ideal diode (forward being pointed towards the earth) and a resistance, call it Ris. It is ideal in that it doesn’t have any voltage drop like real diodes do and it does not allow anything to go through in the reverse direction. In parallel with this I would put another resistor, call it Ros. Ris models the incoming shortwave emissivity. Ros models the outgoing shortwave emissivity. The diode provides for two different values (should you need them).

I would model outgoing long wave similarly with an Rol and an Ros. Once you have these diode networks in place, all the flux flowing around is just like current in an electrical circuit.

Remember that voltage is nothing but a potential energy and current is an energy flow that can do work when it passes through a resistance. Once you’ve made sure that everywhere there is a wavelength discriminator and installed similar circuitry you’re on your way.

At the highest level your 240 and 390 represent two capacitors in parallel, each carrying some value for C and (most likely different) i. I’m not sure about taking this particular monkey any further up the tree because I want to say they’re in parallel with each other, but before you can claim that you have to realize they each have different potential energies across them (potentially) and so there may be other circuitry needed to make them loosely coupled parallel circuits. They also are crummy capacitors because they are lossy so you need to parallel them with resistors too, just like real capacitors (which might not be quite so crummy. Any real capacitor also has an internal series resistance too.

I remember doing this sort of modeling for an acoustics course that I took as an elective. In that case all the sound components were modeled as springs and masses and reduced to equations of dynamic physics. Kind of neat and it worked really well.

You have to be really careful not to get your lossy stuff wrong. Resistors could well be the wrong thing to put around the diodes as a resistor implies a loss. It might be that they are more properly modeled with coupled coils (transformers) to provide for ‘reflections’ that occur with no loss. For that matter you might need transformers and resistors. It gets really complicated, really fast.

I’m really surprised that nobody has tried to model this way. The behaviors are all equivalent and if you can reduced it to circuitry you’ve just put all the math into a really well understood domain called control theory in electrical engineering. It’s got it all; positive feedbacks, negative feedbacks, amplification, oscillation, stability analysis methods, etc.

129. davidmhoffer says:

Hmmm…

How about modeling inductive coils in series instead of resistors. Well yes but no. I’d get not a resistance to flow but a resistance to change in the flow, but there’d be no loss like there is with a resistor. Both are “half right”. Or half wrong, take your pick.

Interested in the acoustics analogy to springs etc. I sat in once on a mech engineering class and was very surprised at the similarity in the equations they use to describe friction, momentum and springs to equations used to describe an RLC circuit.

[co-mod: there are many duals where identical math is involved, acoustics, thermonics, electronics, pneumatics, mechanics, solving can just be entry correctly into a great big matrix, and off you go, or a bit more involved sometimes, what might look complex isn’t really, then you have finite element meshing, still much the same, can even do EM waves such as cellphone aerial work with a head and so on –Tim]

I’m not certain that there is direct analog to an RLC circuit. 340 and 290 are both w/m2 which is power. In a circuit, power = volts times amps. amps are joules/sec. So to be truly equivalent we’d need to convert w/m2 to joules/sec. To do that, we’d need to convert on an area averaged basis taking Holder’s Inequality into consideration in order to arrive at any number that is meaningful. My head hurts in regard to that task alone. Could we start with just one square meter? I don’t know, my initial reaction is not.

But what do we model as volts? If the comparison were to hold, would it not be T? Well yes and no. The driving factor for flux outbound would be T at any given altitude/temperature. But we cannot use T for the incoming SW can we? Earth surface radiates at a given w/m2 based on T, but what arrives…just arrives. Unless we were to model the incoming as a shell incident to the TOA and producing an outbound SW in 1370 w/m2 commensurate with whatever T we would need to accomplish that at TOA?

130. tchannon says:

DH,
“A molecule of CO2 high in the atmosphere on the other hand would be exposed to mostly upward bound as be definition there isn’t much downward bound for it to absorb.”

I think that is wrong. The sun is a strong radiator at these wavelengths.

131. tchannon says:

From: Compact Modeling and SPICE-Based Simulation for Electrothermal
Analysis of Multilevel ULSI Interconnects
Ting-Yen Chiang, Kaustav Banerjee, and Krishna C. Saraswat

q[W} is exactly thermal flux but not called that in this version of the duals.

132. Paul Bahlin says:

T is not really like a force except maybe in solid conduction where you get a certain flow based on a delta T. When it comes to radiation, the flow is independent of the delta T. Outbound flow doesn’t care what the temperature at the other end of the path is. It just leaves. I don’t know. Have to think more about all the units involved.

You’re right when you say that the flux is power and this makes me wan’t to make the flow something else.

133. davidmhoffer says:

tchannon;
I think that is wrong. The sun is a strong radiator at these wavelengths>>>

Hard to tell from the atmospheric transmission graph on wikipedia since they overlay the sun’s curve with the earth’s. That said, if it is significant, it doesn’t change what I’m getting at, it just makes it harder to calculate the effects. There would be a downward gradient of LW flux and an upward gradient of LW flux. Starting from TOA and moving down, a larger and larger portion of LW from the sun would get absorbed (to be re-radiated). Starting at surface and moving up, a larger and larger amount of LW from the earth would be absorbed (to be re-radiated). Once absorbed and re-radiated we’ve no idea what the “source” of any given photon is (does it matter?).

Point being that the LW that a CO2 molecule is subjected to at any given altitude is biased either toward upward or downward LW depending on altitude, but radiates omnidirectionaly. So, the current (based on your thermal/electrical chart above, very helpful and thanks for that) has to be thought of (I’m thinking out loud here) as having a vector rather than simply a magnitude. So, at any given altitude, LW would have three different components:

LW(down from sun) watts/m2
LW (up from earth) watts/m2
LW(field?) watts/m2

wasn’t certain what to call the third one, does field make sense?

The incident LW seen by any given CO2 molecule would be different based not only on altitude, but also upon local temperature of the source LW in question, and any given LW could originate anywhere from microns away to kilometers away. My head hurts.

Other factors (more thinking out loud)

o LW(down) may be significant, but has to be considerably less than LW(up) since LW(up) includes the converted SW(down) as well as the LW(down).

o LW(field) ought to cancel to zero?

o At altitudes where LW(down) exceeds LW(up) we’d have to assign a negative voltage/temperature to that layer? Are there any layers that would meet that criteria?

134. Nick Stokes says:

David Hoffer,
“Earth surface radiates at a given w/m2 based on T, but what arrives…just arrives.”

Yes, the electrical analogy of the input is a current source (high impedance). As I think Paul is saying, your circuit would be a better analogy if it used a current source rather than a voltage source.

135. tchannon says:

Nick,

Flux is exactly a current source, which has strange properties rarely met in day to day life.

A flow of energy but zero power. Power only appears if the flow is resisted and more or less is irresistible except by a mirror.

136. davidmhoffer says:

OK, so I’m thinking this through and I think Paul Bahlin’s comment from the unified theory objections thread helps. If we model not one sphere radiating out and subject to an incoming insolation of ~960 w/m2 (after albedo) but two spheres, we get something more realistic.

The outer sphere radiates at pretty close to the full 960 w/m2 at the tropics at noon, and falls to zero at both the east/west horizons and the poles. Accounting for day/night the “average” is 240 w/m2. That’s pretty much how N&Z modeled it as I understand it.

So keeping my circuit in mind with all the flaws pointed out in this thread, but call it a reasonable facsimile for now, we have unbalanced circuits left right an centre.

In the tropics at noon, we have SW going in one way, but from the ERBE data, we know that the outgoing LW is a lot less. So the “input” resistor in my circuit is a lower value than the output circuit resistance. Hence, the capacitor charges to a temperature at the lower bound of Holder’s Inequality.

But let’s go up latitude beyond the 60 degree mark that BenAW pointed out was the “break even” point. Above that latitude, the outbound LW exceeds the inbound SW. Note that I said EXCEEDS. It does so because GHG’s, convection, conductant, what have you, move energy from the tropics toward the poles. So, the regions at higher than 60 latitude have in coming SW from the Sun PLUS incoming LW from the tropics. That brings up an interesting conundrum.

In my circuit, the capacitor cannot charge higher than the peak input. But, while the high latitudes have a lower peak input from a strictly SW perspective, they CAN charge to a value HIGHER than the peak because they are charging to peak PLUS input from LW.

So, the tropics have a shortfall compared to the limit imposed by Holder’s Inequality, but the higher latitudes actually exceed the limit imposed by Holder’s Inequality.

Am I making sense here?

137. davidmhoffer says:

So, the tropics have a shortfall compared to the limit imposed by Holder’s Inequality, but the higher latitudes actually exceed the limit imposed by Holder’s Inequality>>>

In fact, the horizons at the equator and the entire night side would ALL have incoming longwave that exceeeds the incoming shortwave, leaving a good 3/4 of the planet in a charge cycle that exceeds the peak input at any given point in time.

138. Paul Bahlin says:

Ever since the N&Z paper came out I’ve been thinking about the physical mechanism that could make their theory work. And while I’ve read a lot of hand waving about it working and how it is a dominant mechanism, I’ve not read anything about what could be happening, physically – first principles, etc, to make it work. The most I’ve heard is vague references to gas laws like they’ve just been discovered and everybody in the climate debate is so stupid they forgot all about them.

So while all this discussion has been going on, I’ve been trying to figure out how an atmosphere which is completely transparent to long wave could heat up. Or if you like, since this is a fantasy world, just think about how the N2 and O2 can heat with no other interaction but that with each other and the surface, treating these as the first order dominant interactions and ignoring everything else. You could model this and use it as one term in a larger set of equations aimed at a universal one.

Here’s where I’m at……

Dew forms on STILL mornings on surfaces that radiate away enough energy to get below the dew point. The reason it only happens on still mornings is that still air above a surface is dominated by its viscosity and it becomes a pretty decent local insulator separating the surface from the warmer air above it. This enables radiative surface cooling to a degree that can’t happen in turbulent air. Turbulent air is dominant over the viscosity and the ‘insulation’ is ruined. Energetic air keeps the surface as warm as the air itself via conduction and no dew happens.

On beaches a curious thing happens. One of the hottest things you’ll ever stand on is the WHITE sand of a nice beach in the sun. This seeming paradox – you might be inclined to think a white surface would be cooler than a dark one – is due to the fact that the intense short wave insolation is converted to lots thermal energy that has no where to go. Beaches are intensely dry on one side so the energy can’t move downward very well and covered by a poorly conducting atmosphere on the other. So locally, that surface sand has to rise to a high enough temperature to shed energy by long wave and it gets very hot.

Now these two things taken together tell me that conduction rates in and out of a surface are not symmetrical. They’re dependent on the moisture and material content beneath them and they’re dependent on the turbulence and temperature of the nitrogen and oxygen above them.

All the N&Z hypothesis needs to do its thing is to have some physical mechanism that can pump up the energy level of the nitrogen and oxygen and then prevent it from going back to where it came from, asymmetrically. Then you can have an energetic N2,O2 level higher than SB predicts, and a planetary body emitting anomalous long wave at levels below what you would predict using the atmospheric temperature without invoking a GHE. You can have a planet with a black body temp of, say 255 (or maybe even way lower), and an atmosphere with a mean temp of 288.

So go back to my beach and think about how, during the day, enormous amounts of thermal energy are available to transfer (relatively) efficiently to a highly turbulent daytime atmospheric regime that is going to have trouble giving it back during the still evening by conduction. There’s your pump (with a check valve in it). The N2 and O2 can’t give it away by radiation. Conduction is all they’ve got going for them to stay in balance.

This also shows why working with averages is bogus. Averages would tell me that conduction out equals conduction in and if I had my fantasy planet working under these averages I would have an atmospheric mean temp equal to the black body temp.

It also seems to me that you could make a case that says the quality of the ‘pump’ is pressure dependent. I would guess (have no clue if this is true or not) that conduction in a gas is directly proportional to its density. So you can ‘pump’ more energy into a high pressure atmosphere than otherwise and not only that a high pressure atmosphere can hold more energy than a low pressure one too. So increasing pressure enhances the ‘pump’ and the storage capacity of an atmosphere.

Even if my thinking here is bogus, I’m still left with the notion that to really develop an understanding of everything that is happening with the energy book keeping you must work everything out in terms of energies with RATE dependancies. Averages are completely bogus tools for the realities at hand.

139. Stephen Wilde says:

Paul,

as far as I can tell your suggested ‘pump’ is exactly as per the Standard Atmosphere, Gas Laws and Adiabatic Lapse rate:

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

“While most often applied to Earth’s atmosphere the concept can be extended to any gravitationally supported ball of gas.”

“Because the atmosphere is warmed by conduction from Earth’s surface, this lapse or reduction in temperature is normal with increasing distance from the conductive source.”

140. davidmhoffer says:

Paul,
I have a pretty foul taste in my mouth in regard to what passes for a rational discussion of climate in general and N&Z in particular. I’m only involved in two threads anymore (this being one) and when they peter out, I’m done.

I’m on the same page as you from multiple perspectives. N&Z provide a means to predict surface temperatures, as you pointed out, they do not provide the physical mechanism by which this is achieved. In regard to your “check valve”, again we agree. Your “check valve” and my “diode” are just two different descriptors for the same physical process.

Neither your check valve nor my diode however can ever give us, Holder’s Inequality setting the limit, a surface temperature of 288K against input insolation that will only support 255K. The only possible explanation for the observed temperatures we actually see and the observed insolation we actually see is a mechanism by which energy flux is re-circulated aka your coil analogy from the other thread.

I think this has merit from multiple perspectives. Firstly, in your coil analogy, if one considers the current through TWO planes, one on each side of the coil, the net is zero. 1000 amps going one way, and 1000 amps going the other way. I think a similar process must be at play in terms of exchange of energy between surface and atmosphere. It re-circulates, the net of the re-criculation is zero. The surface winds up warmer than it otherwise would be, and the atmosphere colder than it otherwise would be, and the average is 255K. But the surface is at a higher temperature, and if one consideres the temperature profile of the atmosphere, most of it is, in fact, well below 255K. The exiting radiance at TOA does not orginate at a single plane, it originates from ALL the planes from surface to TOA, and is the “average” of the upward bound LW that escapes. Arriving at an “average” of 255K from a temperature profile that ranges from well above to well below 255K ought not to be that astounding in my books.

The question remaining in my mind is what is the mechanism by which this re-circulation takes place? I think you’ve described one. Back radiation is another. Is it all one thing? No. It is the sum total of all the possibilities, and what N&Z are showing is that the feedback mechanisms at play always result in the same sum total. Less back radiation = more conduction or some other mechanism.

I think one of the largest factors we may be missing in terms of quantifying this re-circulation effect is evaporation. Massive amounts of water vaporise every day, and then condense out every night. I found an article somewhere or other that had a pretty decent list of the raw watts of various processes:

Solar to earth 1.73*10^17
Reflected 5.2*10^16
heat lnd/ocn 8.1*10^16
evaporation 4.0*10^16
photosynthesis 4.0*10^13
tides 2.0*10^12
earth core 3.23*10^13
Kinetic Energy of ocean currents 5*10^12

Tides, earth core heating, photosynthesis, KE of ocean currents, all amount to mice nuts compared to insolation. The heating/cooling cycle is significant, but that’s a “breath in, breath out” process, it accomplishes no recirculation on its own.

Evaporation on the other hand (plus condensation) is exactly that; recirculation of energy, and the raw watts involved is large enough to be significant. Evaporation removes energy from the surface in large quantities during the day,leaving the surface cooler than it otherwise would be. But what happens when it recondenses?

Some of the energy goes back down by converting potential energy to kinetic energy which is then absorbed by the surface on impact. Most I would think however gets left in the air at the point where condensation occurred. What happens to it?

If we presume that no radiative gases exist, then the air is heated up and must transfer that heat elsewhere via conductive and convective processes. How much makes it back down to earth surface? Some. If we presume radiative gases DO exist, then obviously some of the energy raises the temperature of thise gases which then emmit, and some of that emission goes upward to space and some downward to surface.

As I said before, I don’t think it is any single thing. It is back radiation + conduction + convection + hydrological cycle + whatever things I haven’t thought about that should be added to the list = some amount of energy recirculation that, when all the “upward” and all the “downward” are added up,net to zero. But the result is a colder than 255K atmosphere and a warmer than 255K surface resulting in an upward bound energy flux whose sum total at TOA is REPRESENTATIVE of a 255K “average” temperature, but is not SOURCED from a 255K average temperature. Further, per N&Z, if one changes ONE of those things in the list, then there are feedback mechanisms by which they ALL change, and the net remains zero.

141. tallbloke says:

David, I’m truly sorry if the way we’ve tried to keep debate on track here has failed for you. It’s not easy, and we do our best to be fair to all parties taken on the whole. I hope we can persuade you to keep contributing, this present thread has been very useful.

You said:
“Neither your check valve nor my diode however can ever give us, Holder’s Inequality setting the limit, a surface temperature of 288K against input insolation that will only support 255K. The only possible explanation for the observed temperatures we actually see and the observed insolation we actually see is a mechanism by which energy flux is re-circulated aka your coil analogy from the other thread.”

Do I take it you’ve given up on Ben AW’s idea of the insolation into the ocean plus your insight into the rate of cooling being slower tthan the rate of heating causing the temperature to be higher than 255K? If so, why? Sorry if I missed something, I’ve been away as you know.

Cheers

Rog

142. davidmhoffer says:

Do I take it you’ve given up on Ben AW’s idea of the insolation into the ocean plus your insight into the rate of cooling being slower tthan the rate of heating causing the temperature to be higher than 255K? If so, why? Sorry if I missed something, I’ve been away as you know.>>>

No, that is part of it. There are many parts of it. I’m attempting to add Paul Bahlin’s coil analogy on top of everything else. I think they are all part of the big picture. N&Z may have a way of predicting what the surface temperature will be, but they have not provided the physical means by which it is maintained. We’ll not ever understand that if we simply decide that a given mechanism for moving energy about is immaterial. It obviously IS material by virtue of the fact thaty it moves energy around! Duh! The question is what are the negative feedback(s) that cancel it out? And if they cancel out the FLOW that does NOT mean they cancel out where the energy gets deposited which is an entirely different discussion.

143. RKS says:

Your model looks quite interesting and I’d like to get the input clear in my mind.

Does the input curve to your diode pump represent max/min insolation over the complete 24 hour cycle with the mean represented by the rms value?

In which case the sinusoid could be a pretty fair representation.

I’ve had one or two ideas for a computer simulation buzzing round my head, but not being familiar with atmospheric terminology I’d need to see the parameters tabulated clearly.

regards,

144. davidmhoffer says:

RKS;
Does the input curve to your diode pump represent max/min insolation over the complete 24 hour cycle with the mean represented by the rms value?>>>

The circuit is intended to illustrate an issue related to Holder’s Inequality. The input is a half wave. In other words, the positive part of the sine wave with the negative part replaced by flat at zero. If the input resistor and the output resistor are of equal value, then the capacitor will charge toward the rms value, but will never exceed it. If, on the other hand, the input resistance is low, and the output resistance is high, the capacitor will charge with the peak voltage of the sine wave as its upper limit.

In the climate system, over oceans in particular, the input is SW which zips through the atmosphere pretty much unimpeded (comparitively) and penetrates a substantial amount of ocean depth to boot. In other words, low input resistance. But the path back out to space must be trekked by LW, and it has to fight every step of the way. The energy absorbed at depth must conduct upwards, or hitch a ride on a convective current. Then it gets to surface and just as it is thinking about radiating off to space, it evaporates (or at least some of it). What energy does radiates smacks straight into water vapour (it didn’t go far after it evaporated) and gets absorbed and re-radiated. While the poor lost photons are zinging back and forth and up and down between water molecules, the water vapour is also convecting, so the energy can hitch a ride to a higher altitude that way. Up higher, condensation occurs, rain going down and energy getting left behind high up in the atmosphere where it has the best shot yet in my story of radiating to space. Provided there are some GHG’s for it to radiate from. If not…conductance and so on and so forth.

Point being that the path in is straight forward and simple. The path out, not so much. In the electrical circuit, that unbalanced resistance provides the means for the capacitor voltage to exceed the rms value of the input. In the climate system, the input is 240 w/m2, but the surface outputs 390 w/m2. The rms input equates to 255K, which, if the earth temperature was completely uniform, would represent the rms limit of the input. If the model holds (and I’m not certain that it does) then this would in part explain why/how the surface temperature exceeds the rms value and instead approaches the peak value (which for earth would be 960 w/m2 at the tropics).

145. RKS says:

davidmhoffer says:
February 23, 2012 at 7:55 am>>>>>

Many thanks,

I hadn’t realized you were modelling the ocean as well.

The last couple of paragraphs give me a good general description of the model, but I’ll have to study the rest of the description carefully to see how the multiple obstructions can be represented.

As you say, it might be quite difficult with just a few components.

146. […] here at the Talkshop with important contributions from Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller, Stephen Wilde, David M Hoffer, Ben Wouters,  Doug Proctor,  Tim Channon and […]