Magic Turtle: On the wisdom of throwing stones at the greenhouse theory

Posted: March 9, 2012 by Rog Tallbloke in atmosphere, climate, Energy, methodology, Philosophy, Politics

My thanks to Talkshop commenter and now guest author ‘Magic Turtle’  for this  short essay expressing concern about the climate debate within the wider context of the scientific endeavour, and the society in which it is embedded. This concern is shared by people on all sides of the debate, and gives an opportunity for reflection on the non-partisan aspects of people’s motivation for being involved as well as an opportunity for critique of specific theoretical considerations.

I would like to start by declaring my position in the man-made global warming debate. I am not a ‘warmist’ and I do not buy the IPCC’s and the Hockey Team’s alarmist technobabble with which they claim to demonstrate that human society’s emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are endangering the planet and making drastic mitigation measures urgently necessary. To my mind this claim has got ‘Political Scam’ written all over it – an impression that has only been reinforced for me by the Climategate emails.

However, I am less concerned about the politics of man-made global warming than I am about what is being done to science in the brouhaha surrounding it. Today’s political battles are transient and in a hundred years time they will be half-remembered history for schoolchildren to study, but I think the institution of science is one of the central pillars of civilization that needs to be preserved and continually perfected throughout time if civilization is to flourish. But it appears to have become something of a political football in the global warming debate and I think that has to be bad for science and civilization. It seems to me that the warmists have perverted science quite cynically and deliberately in order to make their false argument persuasive. Their so-called ‘climate science’ is no science at all in my eyes and it looks more like an exercise in manufacturing and maintaining a grand illusion to me.

I think the warmist threat to honest science is an insidious one because most people are unaware of it (and that includes most of the people who are teaching it too). And because warmist ‘climate science’ is now being taught in our schools and universities as standard, a whole generation of young people is growing up thinking that it has been educated in the ways of science when in fact it has been miseducated in them and has been given a mass of false impressions and illusions about science that it will need to unlearn before it can start to learn real science. Naturally people who become aware of this travesty that the warmists have made of science tend to become sceptical of warmist theory and to reject it wholesale. But in doing that I think they are in danger of throwing out the baby with bathwater, because the essential greenhouse principle that the warmists have hijacked and perverted to their political advantage appears to be sound and well-supported by modern physics to me. I imagine that the warmists hijacked it precisely because it is so well-founded on the tried and tested laws of physics!

So now another threat to honest science is emerging in the form of those people who reject not only the warmist superstition and propaganda dressed up as ‘climate science’, but who also reject the scientifically-sound principle of the greenhouse theory that the warmists say (wrongly, in my opinion) justifies their cause. I think these anti-greenhouse theorists may be sincere but as I see it the position that they have adopted places them in denial of the genuine science that implies the greenhouse theory and this automatically places them in conflict with real science in general as a result. Whether they realise it or not, I think these revolutionaries are not just trying to replace the greenhouse theory, but the fundamental physics which underlies it too.

That is a revolution too far in my view. There is no need to cut so ruthlessly and so deep into the intellectual strata that support our civilization just in order to refute the exaggerated claims that have been made for the greenhouse effect by the warmists. It is already possible to show quite simply, straightforwardly and easily, on the basis of the IPCC’s own data, that greenhouse warming from humanity’s CO2-emissions cannot be happening faster than at the rate of about 0.03ºC per century, which is undetectable with present techniques of measurement. So there is no need to rewrite the laws of physics in order to show that the man-made greenhouse effect on Earth is insignificant, ineffectual and utterly inconsequential. We can already do that on the basis of the existing greenhouse theory being left as it is.

Since there is thus no obvious practical need for the greenhouse theory to be replaced with a different one, the only conceivable need for it seems to be the academic one of advancing our theoretical understanding of how atmospheric heating at planetary surfaces works. That’s fine, but I think it needs to be gone about in an orderly manner. Essentially, I think there are two aspects to the process of proving that someone’s alternative theory is better at explaining a given phenomenon than the existing one, namely a theoretical aspect and an empirical one.

I think the theoretical aspect here entails showing two things. First, one must show that there is something wrong, or inadequate with the way that the existing greenhouse theory explains planetary surface warming above the temperature that it otherwise would have if it was warmed by insolation alone. And before one can do that one must first know what the existing greenhouse theory is actually saying. Unfortunately that is a bit vague at the present time and this lack of theoretical definition allows massive scope for confusion. For example, although it is generally understood that the theory holds that greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere are having a ‘greenhouse effect’ on the surface by re-radiating back to it radiant energy that they have previously absorbed from it, what about the possible greenhouse effects of clouds and aerosols, which are not GHGs? And what about the possible alternative method of greenhouse warming via the gravitational lapse that has nothing to do with back-radiation? Are these other principles included in the ‘standard’ greenhouse theory which the anti-greenhouse theorists are wanting to replace? Since there is nothing in the existing greenhouse theory that prohibits them, I take the view that, in principle, they are.

The implication of this complication is that anti-greenhouse theorists cannot disprove the greenhouse theory just by proving that GHGs don’t have a greenhouse effect or that back-radiation is a myth, because the existing greenhouse theory has extra cards hidden up its sleeve that it hasn’t played yet in the forms of these other greenhouse mechanisms that are not being considered. In order to show that the whole greenhouse theory is false it would be necessary to show that all of its possible mechanisms are false, not just some of them. And as far as I have seen, none of them have been shown to be false or flawed to date.

In any case, in order to show that GHGs don’t have a greenhouse effect it would be necessary to show that they do not absorb or emit infrared radiation in substantially greater quantities than non-GHGs do. This would require the overturning of more than a century’s worth of experimental research in radiative physics. And in order to show that back-radiation was false, it would be necessary to show that the Beer-Lambert law of optics does not apply to the situation for some extraordinary reason that no-one else has noticed in the past hundred years.

If these theoretical challenges to the anti-greenhouse revolutionary seem daunting, I can only tell him that there’s worse to come. I gather that his second task at the theoretical level is to show that his alternative theory explains the phenomenon of planetary surface warming ‘better’ than the existing greenhouse theory does. That is to say, after having shown how the existing greenhouse theory does not explain the known facts about planetary warming adequately, his next task is to show that his alternative theory does explain it adequately with fewer basic principles or the same number in accordance with Occam’s Razor. (In fact the existing GH-theory purports to explain it with only one principle – the ‘greenhouse effect’ – so any alternative theory would not be able to do it with less in fact.)

Demonstrating the superior virtue of an alternative to the greenhouse theory entails more than just explaining how the new theory works. It also entails explaining clearly how it works independently of the greenhouse effect that the alternative theory is eschewing. This means that one must show how it is thought to work in a totally GHG-free, cloud-free atmosphere that has no greenhouse properties whatsoever. And so far, I have not seen any anti-greenhouse theories do this.

I can already hear howls of protest from certain quarters to the effect that they have done this, but I think these theorists are not being honest with themselves over this matter. The essential difference between a greenhouse atmosphere and a non-greenhouse one is that the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation emanating from the planetary surface whereas a non-greenhouse atmosphere does not and is totally transparent in the IR-waveband. Consequently a non-greenhouse atmosphere would be heated only by its contact with the surface and that means it cannot warm spontaneously above the temperature of the surface, which itself can warm up only to the temperature determined by the amount of incoming insolation that it absorbs. So in order for the IR-transparent non-greenhouse atmosphere to warm any higher (and transfer its extra warmth back to the surface to warm it higher in turn) there must be some hitherto unknown property of an atmosphere that enables it to absorb more power from some source other than the surface. What is that property and what is that extra power-source? Neither has been disclosed up to now and they both remain mysterious as far as I can see.

Finally, there is the empirical aspect of the challenge. I think it is to show, by some form of replicable real-world observation, that one’s particular anti-greenhouse theory is able to predict planetary surface temperatures better than the greenhouse theory does. Again, it is crucial here to discriminate between planets (and moons) that have greenhouse atmospheres and those that do not because if the alternative theory is valid, it should work just as well for non-greenhouse atmospheres as for greenhouse ones. And that hasn’t been done either (at least, as far as I have been able to tell).

The anti-greenhouse theorist cannot be blamed for that though, in my opinion. It is not his fault that the solar system does not contain any celestial bodies with pure non-greenhouse atmospheres which demonstrate his theory’s validity. But it is not valid either to pretend that there are some and that his theory works perfectly well on them too just as it does on all the others. I think that is an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes. Such an anti-greenhouse theorist’s empirical position is like that of a Victorian engineer who claims to have invented a new kind of horseless carriage. His empirical challenge is to demonstrate before the awe-struck public’s eyes that he has a carriage which goes by itself without the aid of horses. It is simply not enough for him to display an ordinary horse-drawn carriage and to say that it is working differently to the way in which everyone has thought its works up to now. That is not an empirical demonstration of his theory. That’s a swizz.

To summarise my argument and bring this monologue to a close, I am suggesting that the current anti-greenhouse theorists are on a quixotic quest to prove something that they cannot prove, which doesn’t need to be proved, which they are not attempting to prove in a rational and orderly manner and which could only cause scientific confusion if people believe them without real proof being provided. That is not to say that the greenhouse theory shouldn’t be questioned or challenged, of course. It just means that I think proffered proofs of alternative new theories need to be tested rigorously and shown to be genuine before they succeed in deposing and replacing the old ones.

Comments
  1. James says:

    This really is causing me some pause to consider.

    I like this: http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=9241#post_comments but it is a reply to this: http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2012/03/necessary-correction-of-climate-science.html

    I think they be singing from the same hymn sheet.

  2. Truthseeker says:

    I would like to start by saying that this post is a tribute to Tallbloke’s commitment to free and open scientific discussion.

    I would also like to say to Magic Turtle that is good to see reasoned argument that is leaving the politicising of science in the dust bin to which it belongs.

    I may not be a trained physicist (my background is in accounting and IT), but I have been reading enough recently to suggest that there is a probable disconnect between what is happening in the radiative sense and what is happening in the thermal sense. This is where the pro and anti GHG arguments may be talking at cross-purposes.

    Maybe you would like to comment on this repeatable experiment;

    http://principia-scientific.org/publications/New_Concise_Experiment_on_Backradiation.pdf

  3. Stephen Wilde says:

    “that one’s particular anti-greenhouse theory is able to predict planetary surface temperatures better than the greenhouse theory does”

    PV-nRT

    The science behind that predates AGW theory by a long way.

    Until Carl Sagan decided that the surface temperature of Venus was due to the CO2 in the atmosphere the settled science was that the surface temperature was a consequence of pressure and solar input.

    It is the AGW crowd that needs to explain why the Ideal Gas Law is not sufficient.

    Furthermore I think they have made a basic mistake as described here:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=9254&linkbox=true&position=2

    “Stephen Wilde: Atmospheric Composition, Planetary Surface Temperatures and How AGW Theory Fails To Observe The Laws of Physics.”

  4. mkelly says:

    Magic Turtle says: “So in order for the IR-transparent non-greenhouse atmosphere to
    warm any higher (and transfer its extra warmth back to the surface to warm it higher in turn) there must be some
    hitherto unknown property of an atmosphere that enables it to absorb more power from some source other than the
    surface. What is that property and what is that extra power-source?”

    I was with you until you write sentences like these. Extra warmth? Extra power source? I advise you to write out your ideas in first law equations and radiative heat transfer equations so you can understand where you are wrong.

  5. 1DandyTroll says:

    “but who also reject the scientifically-sound principle of the greenhouse theory that the warmists say (wrongly, in my opinion) justifies their cause.”

    How sound can a scientifically-sound principle be if it has been refuted and the refutations never been contradicted?

    The so called greenhouse effect that is the basis of the so called media frenzied greenhouse theory is so non-existent it needs special environment to exist but even then it’s so minute it, for all practical applications, does not exist.

    Scientifically it was “debunked” in the fifties or what, and then a couple of years ago, then most tube-proofs has ben firmly debunked-by-the-tube as well.

    There’s one thing serious greenhouse owners in the northern hemisphere know and that is to save electricity when you can, and, apparently, no matter how much GHGs you pump into a greenhouse it does nothing to bump the temperature for practical purposes or keep a temperature at a high level and that’s even with an actual greenhouse, down on the crust of the earth, in an urban environment. The moment the sun disappears, that’s when you have to crank up the heat if you want a somewhat stable temp.

    I’ve have come to view the planet’s greenhouse effect as somewhat like the big bang theory, a hypothesis that “everyone” believes in but has yet to be conclusively proven. And we “all” believe in it even though it is more probable, by the very same scientists’s observable findings, that there has been about a hundred billion big bangs, one for each galaxy observed, mostly known, afterall, but before that, for one big bang, absolutely nothing.

    Does an object become warmer because of the amount of molecules “trapping” heat or because the amount of molecules lead to a higher preassure? Obviously some planets only seem to need the preassure, but for that it need shit loads of molecules. :p

    Just because there is a slight GHG effect on a jam yar under a sunlight in a “scientific” environment, that has yet to mimic the planet… ;-)

  6. tchannon says:

    Stephen,
    “Until Carl Sagan decided that the surface temperature of Venus was due to the CO2 in the atmosphere the settled science was that the surface temperature was a consequence of pressure and solar input.”

    The real story is hidden/deleted and took me some effort to uncover, complete with an admission of failing to correct the public record.

    The truth of what Sagan wrote is in the followed item deleted by NASA, a 1960 report written by Sagan and preserved on archive.org

    Off you go http://www.archive.org/details/nasa_techdoc_19630039653

    He said water. Wrong temperature. Wrong pressure. Wrong gas mix. Wrong math.

    Awful lot of ghastly back story but I don’t want to tell all in public.

  7. tchannon says:

    MT,

    “The essential difference between a greenhouse atmosphere and a non-greenhouse one is that the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation emanating from the planetary surface whereas a non-greenhouse atmosphere does not and is totally transparent in the IR-waveband.”

    That is in error.

    “the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation emanating from the planetary surface”

    That is wrong. I have repeatedly corrected the notion but it is either ignored or there is sudden silence.

    Correct would be ‘the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation’

    Or.

    ‘the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation emanating from the planetary surface, from the sun and other sources’

    The GHG column is strongly heated from the top. Quite possibly many are unaware of this because it is omitted from official texts.

  8. You call the people who are sceptical about CAGW “anti-greenhouse theorists” and call upon us to show that our theories are superior to the consensus “Climate Science”.

    If we were the ones calling for reshaping the world’s energy policies sources on which our comforts depend while spending trillions of tax dollars I would agree with you.

    In fact it is the warmists who have their hands on the levers of power. It is the warmists who are causing immense sums to be wasted on follies such as subsidizing “Renewables”. They are the ones who should be called upon to prove that their theories are correct in the face of mounting evidence that they are hopelessly wrong.

  9. I have posted a response (to Will Pratt) at the “climaterealists” site cited by James in the first comment above. I recommend clicking on James’s link, and reading that response.

    Magic Turtle wrote: “… the existing greenhouse theory explains planetary surface warming above the temperature that it otherwise would have if it was warmed by insolation alone”

    That is NOT the “greenhouse effect” that has been, and continues to be, sold to the world’s people. I keep reminding everyone of that FACT, but still articles like this one keep coming out, showing that their authors aren’t listening, and haven’t a clue why we can’t all come together and reasonably agree on what the author thinks the problem is. The greenhouse effect that is being sold to the people is “the (global mean surface) atmospheric temperature increases with an increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide.”

    I have shown that publicly-promulgated effect to be factually wrong. I repeat, my claim is not theory, it is the definitive fact: There is not the slightest evidence of any extra warming of Venus’s atmosphere, due to its almost pure carbon dioxide atmosphere. Its atmospheric temperatures, over the range of Earth tropospheric pressures, are larger than the temperatures in Earth’s troposphere, at points of corresponding pressure, by just the amount expected by Venus’s smaller distance from the Sun, nothing more (except within Venus’s cloud layer, where the temperature is even LESS than that expected from its smaller distance from the Sun, by a modest 5K or so–not MORE than expected, as the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect would require). There is no greenhouse effect (due to the huge difference in the carbon dioxide levels in the two atmospheres), and no albedo effect (due to the large difference in the fraction of solar radiation reflected by the two planet-plus-atmosphere systems). The fundamental difference in the surfaces of the two planets–the Earth, 70% ocean; Venus, all solid crust–also dictates that both planets’ atmospheres MUST be warmed ONLY by direct absorption of incident solar radiation (and NOT “from the top down”, but THROUGHOUT the troposphere), not at all by heat from the surface (because liquid water ocean and solid crust would absorb different fractions of any incident radiation reaching those surfaces, and the Venus/Earth temperature ratio would show the effect of that quite fundamental surface difference, and not be due to the solar distances alone–but it IS due to the solar distances alone, so HEAT FROM THE SURFACE DOES NOT FUNDAMENTALLY WARM THE TROPOSPHERE, except locally and transiently, as “weather”. And it is readily understandable, to me, why it doesn’t: The governing temperature lapse rate allows upward heat transfer to pass THROUGH the troposphere, WITHOUT heating it further.

    That’s enough here. Just remember this: There have been no competent climate scientists for over 20 years, since the Venus data that should have killed the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis was obtained by the Magellan spacecraft (on October 5, 1991). The miseducation of at least two generations, of scientists(!) as well as the public, has to be stopped and corrected. My Venus/Earth analysis does the latter, uniquely and definitively, in my understanding, on a whole handful of points concerning the basic physics. And those miseducated scientists are the ones who have dared to “rewrite the laws of physics”, not me.

  10. Sparks says:

    Something about…

  11. Stephen Wilde says:

    tchannon,

    It seems that I did mis-state the Sagan position so please scrub that remark. I won’t go into it further here or the thread will go off topic.

  12. Stephen Wilde says:

    “the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation emanating from the planetary surface whereas a non-greenhouse atmosphere does not and is totally transparent in the IR-waveband.”

    Then how come the non GHG molecules are all at the ambient temperature of the GHG molecules at every level in the atmosphere ?

  13. Truthseeker says:

    Stephen Wilde – good point.

    “Then how come the non GHG molecules are all at the ambient temperature of the GHG molecules at every level in the atmosphere ?”

    Maybe, just maybe because radiation does not equal heat, perhaps? [corrected, user req --T]

  14. Hans says:

    “Today’s political battles are transient and in a hundred years time they will be half-remembered history for schoolchildren to study, but I think the institution of science is one of the central pillars of civilization that needs to be preserved and continually perfected throughout time if civilization is to flourish. But it appears to have become something of a political football in the global warming debate and I think that has to be bad for science and civilization. It seems to me that the warmists have perverted science quite cynically and deliberately in order to make their false argument persuasive. Their so-called ‘climate science’ is no science at all in my eyes and it looks more like an exercise in manufacturing and maintaining a grand illusion to me.”

    It can be proven and has been proven that there exist physical processes that aren´t included in the IPCC opinion of how “greenhouse gases” impact on the temperature of the atmosphere and the surface of earth.

    The insensitivity to such arguments by IPCC and most of the establishment within the realm of climatology is in fact showing an old phenomenon. When influential groups of a societey have strong beliefs and are advocating the spread of such a belief it will have an impact. What we are witnessing at an almost global level is the birth of a new religion. This religion rejects scientific methods and the result of scientific methods as they have been formulated since the Age of Enlightenment started. We seem to be leaving that period when many scientist turns into believers instead of allowing and applying the old scientific methods and standards.

    IPCC has been producing a new “bible” every 4:th year in defence of a hypothesis which is unproven and can be refuted on a valid scientific ground.

  15. wayne says:

    MT: “In any case, in order to show that GHGs don’t have a greenhouse effect it would be necessary to show that they do not absorb or emit infrared radiation in substantially greater quantities than non-GHGs do.”

    I think everyone who knows the least about science knows that GHGs absorb infrared radiation. So what? Our atmosphere has been that way, with absorption of infrared, for eons upon eons into the past. That occurred when water vapor (h2o), and to a much smaller portion carbon dioxide, first appeared in our atmosphere. The real question is whether the increase in population and our use of energy FURTHER raises the temperature of the atmosphere in any measureable amount. I say un-equivalently NO! Not one degree. Dr. Miskolczi has shown that false. Drs. Nikolov and Zeller have shown that to be false. Drs. Tscheuschner & Gerlich have shown that to be false. Dr. Sorokhtin has shown that to be false. Drs. Dryson, Johnson, Wood, Hertzberg, Nahle, Olson, Anderson, O’Sullivan, Shaviv, Siddons, Schreuder, Carlin, de los Garza, and the list just keeps going on and on.

    I also think co2 has next to zero effect unless we were to magnify its concentration many times over again… if that is even possible without an increase in solar radiation to further warm this planet with then additional degassing of co2 from the oceans.

    I almost bet you are one who thinks if you were to take a gigantic hemispheric bubble the size of a large city, filled with only non-GHGs, and lit a huge fire in the center, ignoring convection and conduction, that this bubble’s temperature would not change over time. I almost bet that. I am one who knows that over time the temperature would go up. And, over time, like the eons of time the Earth has had, it would end up at the same temperature as with GHGs included. You see, the real question is the rate of absorption but we are speaking of huge, huge amount of seconds of time. The only effect over these long periods of time is that GHGs greatly speed any equalization of mis-matches in local energies. GHGs make energy equalize faster, that is all.

    All matter absorbs radiative energy at some rate. Period. And given enough time, that’s the key, they are all the same. And we have one whole lot of time when you talk at climate scales.

    MT, I think your view of this discussion is far too simplistic and your view of most skeptical scientists is the one that is a bit warped from reality.

    You see, Magic Turtle, there does need to be a re-education on greenhouse gas effects to prevent our children from learning something that is totally unreal and very pseudo-science. That pseudo-science is being taught to them today.

  16. Hans says:

    gallopingcamel says: March 10, 2012 at 3:25 am

    “You call the people who are sceptical about CAGW “anti-greenhouse theorists” and call upon us to show that our theories are superior to the consensus “Climate Science”.

    If we were the ones calling for reshaping the world’s energy policies sources on which our comforts depend while spending trillions of tax dollars I would agree with you.

    In fact it is the warmists who have their hands on the levers of power. It is the warmists who are causing immense sums to be wasted on follies such as subsidizing “Renewables”. They are the ones who should be called upon to prove that their theories are correct in the face of mounting evidence that they are hopelessly wrong.”

    Couldn´t agree more and especially to your last sentence. The skill of IPCC to ignore facts is amazing. NASA published a book named “Sunspots, Weahter, and Climate” in 1978. It has about 450 referencies. Many of them show correlations between solar phenomena and earth climate variables. This area of knowledge is tabu in the IPCC camp which does not comply to scientific methods.

  17. Stephen Richards says:

    because the essential greenhouse principle that the warmists have hijacked and perverted to their political advantage appears to be sound and well-supported by modern physics to me.

    You need to separate in your mind global warming and greenhouse effect. The quantum mechanical model behind radiative transfer and therefore the greenhouse effect is a model. At the moment, it mimics well enough, the real world but because radiative absorption and transfer may be well modeled warming of the planet derived from the radiative model is not. I’m not talking about the climate model either I’m talking about real mathematical and physical models. It would be very difficult for me as a physicist to agree that CO² warms the planet and I use Planet very carefully. The oceans absorp and absorb the vast majority of energy striking the planet and give it back through convection and evaporation (mostly). Lastly, evaporation cools and cools markedly and very quickly.

    The climate models, so adored by the climate technicians, are at the very best poor at the worst, completely futile and a waste of our money.

  18. Stephen Richards says:

    So on this occasion, and actually most occasions I concur with Dr Robert Brown and Hale Huffington. I disagree intensely with Mosher ( although I admire him) and Zeke.

  19. Stephen Richards says:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=9264

    Another read for you. Please read and inwardly digest.

  20. tallbloke says:

    There is a lot packed into MT’s short essay, so I’m going to tackle the different themes in a succession of comments. Firstly, I’m going to take on this bit:

    Demonstrating the superior virtue of an alternative to the greenhouse theory entails more than just explaining how the new theory works. It also entails explaining clearly how it works independently of the greenhouse effect that the alternative theory is eschewing. This means that one must show how it is thought to work in a totally GHG-free, cloud-free atmosphere that has no greenhouse properties whatsoever. And so far, I have not seen any anti-greenhouse theories do this.

    A radiative property is a physical attribute inherent to certain species of matter. ‘Greenhouse’ is not a physical property, it is a description laden with extra theoretical baggage.

    It’s perfectly possible to construct an alternative theory which, while replacing the existing greenhouse effect theory, nonetheless relies on the real world presence of gases with radiative properties in the real atmosphere.

    A theory which applies to our real world does not as MT claims, have to be able to work in a GHG-free, cloud-free atmosphere, because the gases with radiative properties claimed by proponents of the greenhouse theory to be ‘greenhouse gases’ are in fact just gases with radiative properties.

    MT’s argument rests on the shamanistic idea that by naming something, one gains power over it. By renaming water vapour and carbon dioxide as ‘greenhouse gases’ the warmista attempt to claim exclusive use of them and deny them to other theorists with alternative propositions. So powerful has this meme ‘Greenhouse gas’ become, that false arguments such as the one MT proposes here have become stock-in-trade methods by which warmists dispose of opposing argument. There is a lot of unlearning and deprogramming to be done, as MT himself points out elsewhere in his essay.

    “They’re MY greenhouse gases and YOU can’t play with them.”

    Lol. :)

  21. David Springer says:

    There is a fundamental mistake being made by anyone saying something like this in the OP:

    “existing greenhouse theory explains planetary surface warming above the temperature that it otherwise would have if it was warmed by insolation alone”

    Let’s be clear here. There is no significant source of warming aside from insolation. Nothing that doesn’t generate additional energy can raise the surface temperature.

    The earth’s surface (discounting magma reaching the surface or the tiny amount of energy that leaks through the crustal rocks from the core) cannot reach a temperature higher than that of a perfect black body. This is an uncomfortably high temperature. The earth’s moon for instance, which has little capacity for buffering insolation because it has no ocean, quickly reaches a daytime temperature of near boiling at the equator. And that’s not as hot as a black body can get because the moon is gray.

    So here’s what greenhouse gases *actually* do. They effectively make the globe closer to black. In no case do they raise the temperature above what insolation alone could acheive. They raise the temperature a bit closer to the maximum possible temperature.

    Over water this effect is minimal for two several reasons. Water is a greenhouse fluid onto itself as it is transparent to shortwave radiation from the sun and opaque to longwave radiation from the earth. It’s an UBER greenhouse agent with about a thousand times the heat capacity of the atmosphere and, unlike greenhouse gases, it is perfectly opaque at all relevant emission frequencies. Second of all the ocean is already very close to black so there isn’t much room for greenhouses gases to make it blacker. You can’t get more than 100% black and the ocean is already close. The primary effect then would be slowing down the rate of heat loss at night. This works well enough on dry land and is the basis for the greenhouse “warming” (which is actually not warming but rather less cooling). But it’s a different story over water. Dry land can only lose heat to space through conduction (not very efficient), convection (moderately efficient), and radiation (very efficient). Greenhouse gases restrict the most efficient mode of heat loss (radiation) and force it to take less efficient paths which result in a higher surface equilibrium temperature. However, over the ocean there is always an additional path as there is an endless supply of water for evaporation. When the radiative path is restricted over water the back radiation on the water’s surface is absorbed in the so-called “cool skin layer” which is less than a millimeter thick and is about 1C cooler than the water beneath it.. The longwave energy backscattered from the atmosphere above simply raises the evaporation rate in the skin layer and literally sucks heat out of the ocean instead of adding to it which is why the skin layer is colder than the water below it which would not otherwise be possible. Due to whats’ called latent heat of vaporization this energy contained in the water vapor rising off the ocean isn’t warmer than the water itself. That’s why it’s called “latent” heat. This heat won’t register on a thermometer until the vapor condenses which (barring fog and very low clouds) happens thousands of feet above the surface. So this energy transport mechanism basically drills right through the densest layer of insulating greenhouse gases like they weren’t even there and releases the energy high in the atmosphere. Once the energy has been transported above the densest layer of GHGs then those GHGs below it continue being insulators only now they restrict the energy in the warm clouds from making it back to the surface.

    The long and the short of it is there is no significant greenhouse effect due to greenhouse gases over the ocean but rather the ocean itself is an uber greenhouse fluid unto itself. So there is a greenhouse effect, a big one, over the ocean but it’s the ocean itself which does it not the air above it. Over land is where we need to focus on the effect of greenhouse gases because rocks don’t evaporate in response to backscattered thermal energy from the atmosphere. They must by physical neccessity slow down their rate of cooling which will raise their equilibrium temperature closer to the physical limit set by the perfect black body.

    In point of fact the highest mean annual temperature ever recorded is in a desert near the equator, near sea level, (Dullal, Ethiopia) which receives only 1-3 inches of rainfall annually. The record was set in the years 1960-1966 and is 34.4C. Note the extreme absence of water, water vapor, and clouds in this record setting location. That alone speaks volumes about the so-called water vapor amplification that climate boffins invented out of whole cloth to raise the welcome bit of warming from additional CO2 to an alarming level. Without water vapor amplification, which clearly doesn’t exist, there’s nothing to be alarmed about. If water vapor amplification was real it would be a humid equatorial location near sea level that would hold the record for highest mean annual temperture not a bone dry desert. Moreover if CO2 had anywhere near the effect, even over land, that is claimed then the record highest mean annual temperature would not have been set in 1960 when CO2 was 60ppm lower than today. Presumably Dullal should be setting new records every year. In fact what happened is that 1960-1966 was an extraordinarily dry period for Dullal which hasn’t (yet) repeated and the lower than average water vapor had more effect than the modern higher level of CO2.

  22. tallbloke says:

    Hi Dave and thanks for dropping by. I think that’s a pretty good summary and there’s not much in it I’d argue with.

    Something worth noting is the empirical data Hans Jelbring alerted us to. Measurements taken in a very dry Australian desert back in the 70′s showed no more than 100W/m^2 downwelling LW.

    This may be an indication that Trenberth’s energy budget is overinflated on the downwelling LW figure. So far as I know, it’s a theoretical figure derived from what the surface ‘must be’ emitting to satisfy S-B law. But as we know, S-B law is not appropriately applied to two ‘surfaces’ which do not have a vacuum between them. Rather a roiling mass of moist gases…

  23. David Springer says:

    As long as I’m here I might as well explain what I learned about Nicholov et al gravitational heating hypothesis. After no small amount of bickering via email with a Duke professor of physics there’s a detail which doesn’t get much focus in the physics classroom with regard to the definition of isothermal.

    Duke boy kept repeating to me that a non-convecting atmosphere must be isothermal owing to fundamental laws of physics. On this point I cannot argue. He’s right. However, the defintion of isothermal includes gravitational potential energy. A thermometer does not measure gravitational potential energy. Thus in any gravitationally bound gas column we will record a temperature increase on a thermometer as we move closer to the bottom of the column. However, if we convert the gravitational energy in the gas molecules at the top of the column to kinetic energy so that it registers on a thermometer then we will find that the average temperature is the same at the top and bottom of the column.

    Next someone objects that this is a perpetual motion machine. No. As energy is extracted from the gas column it collapses in length. Gravitational potential energy at the top of the column is lessened and it remains isothermal. The joules add up correctly. No laws are broken. At some point as the gas loses energy it becomes an isothermal liquid or solid with drastically diminished gravitational gradient from top to bottom and likewise a drastically reduced sensible temperature gradient.

    Anyhow, Nicholov et all are correct about sensible temperature in a non-convecting atmosphere and this is copacetic with first principles and most assuredly does not result in perpetual motion of the first kind (that which violates conservation of energy). A perpetuum mobile of the second kind which converts heat to work until the second law (entropy) kicks in is not conceivable in any fashion from this effect.

    So what we have is a lapse rate which is no mystery. Linking back to my previous point however is that nothing which doesn’t add energy to a surface can raise the temperature of it above that of an ideal black body. So the earth’s surface isn’t made any warmer due to gravitational compression. The atmosphere moving away from the surface become sensibly cooler as the sensible energy is transformed into gravitational energy joule for joule. So it’s not so much that Nicholov is incorrect. It’s simply irrelevant because it doesn’t change how much energy the surface absorbs. In the big picture the sun heats the surface and the surface heats the atmosphere. Gravitational compression just establishes a sensible temperature gradient but DOES NOT raise the sensible surface temperature because gravitational potential energy at surface is always zero with or without gravity. Thus there is no greenhouse warming by this mechanism and THAT is where Nicholov et al go wrong.

    [corrected per user, I hope! -Tim]

  24. tallbloke says:

    Another key sentence in MT’s essay is this one:

    “I think the institution of science is one of the central pillars of civilization that needs to be preserved and continually perfected throughout time if civilization is to flourish.”

    I for one fully agree that the institution of science needs to be preserved if civilisation is to flourish. But this does not mean we have to preserve or ‘continually perfect’ any particular theory which is produced from within the ‘institutions of science’.

    First of all, ‘the institution of science’ is not to be confused with ‘the institutions of science’. The ‘institution of science’ is a set of guiding principles, not a collection of buildings, roles, funding streams and currently fashionable methods, or currently generally accepted theories.

    Secondly, you can only get so far ‘perfecting’ fundamentally flawed theories. Additional epicycles explaining away serious problems such as the 800-2800 year lag between changes in temperature at the beginning and end of ice ages and the corresponding changes in co2 levels are just sophistry. They save the theory for a while, but eventually the other big flaws add up to an overwhelming case for discarding the theory and working with a better one, such as that explained in the previous post on the new theory of climate, and enlarged on by Dave Springer in his first comment on this thread.

    Neither of these disagree with the basic physics, but take a more realistic look at the true real world situation, and have additional explanatory power, regarding the lag of several months between changes in sea surface temperature and the matching changes in lower tropospheric temperature for example.

  25. tallbloke says:

    Dave Springer says:
    gravitational potential energy at surface is always zero

    This is not correct. The Earth’s surface for example is several thousand kilometres above the centre of gravity. This doesn’t make much difference to Dave’s argument, but that argument itself misses the point of the Nikolov-Zeller theory.

    The thermal enhancement isn’t created by gravity acting on atmospheric mass in isolation. When coupled with the throughput of solar energy entering and leaving the system, the effect of higher air density near the surface is to generate more sensible heat near the surface than is generated at high altitude. It’s about heat distribution, not energy creation.

    However, Dave and I are in agreement that this is not sufficient to account for Earth’s surface temperature, given the inability of the air to heat the oceans. We agree that it is the effect of pressure setting the limit to evaporation which does that, by forcing the ocean to accumulate solar energy until its surface temperature is high enough to be able to shed energy at the same rate it arrives from the sun.

    Right Dave?

    By the way, the gravitational potential energy element in the ‘isothermal’ atmosphere is what gives a packet of air its ‘potential temperature’.

  26. David Springer says:

    @Tallbloke re; Australian desert 100W/m2 DWLIR

    Most DWLIR comes from water vapor and clouds. Trenberth won’t argue that in clear dry air 100W/m2 is wrong so far as I know. That’s far below average and he bandies about global average numbers. We live on a water world and most of the troposphere most of the time has a lot more water vapor in it and a lot more DWLIR. Unfortunately for Trenberth he’s looking in the wrong direction for the missing heat. DWLIR has no significant effect over the ocean so the place that has the most DWLIR because of high humidity and cloud cover is least effected by it. How ironic.

  27. tallbloke says:

    Indeed. Rather than a thermometer to find his ‘missing heat’ with, Trenberth needs a good radio telescope, since it’s somewhere past Alpha Centauri by now.

  28. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    I think the GHE is wrong but there is greenhouse heating. Let me explain:

    The 1859 Tyndall experiment and the modern PET bottle analogue were constant volume so much of the temperature rise was from the constrained increase in pressure. Also, between 250 and 350 K, Cp for CO2 rises by ~13% as the long wavelength absorption bands develop. So, heat the gas and it absorbs more IR. Slacken the bottle cap and temperature rise is lower.

    What’s more, even that temperature rise is not proven to be from direct thermalisation. It may well be optical scattering with no such temperature rise followed by increased absorption at the vessel walls, which heating heats the gas.

    So, by now you MUST realise I’m one of those dangerous subversives, a scientifically-trained troublemaker of the kind the alarmists thought had been expunged from society by 20 years of fake IPCC science and associated propaganda. But no, I head up a rebel cell of 1 and we’re, sorry I, just about to destroy the Death Star.

    What really happens? Read physics’ textbooks and IR absorption is quantised because the bond oscillations in the asymmetrical molecule are resonant. The typical argument by ‘climate scientists’ who are essentially poorly trained technicians, is that in the ~1 ms it needs before the excited GHG molecule re-emits the IR photon, it has ~1,000 collisions with non-GHGs and the energy is lost in dribs and drabs. There’s absolutely no proof of this and it illustrates poor scientific training.

    Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibbs_paradox

    ‘It is often said that the resolution to the Gibbs paradox derives from the fact that, according to the quantum theory, like particles are indistinguishable in principle. By Jaynes’ reasoning, if the particles are experimentally indistinguishable for whatever reason, Gibbs paradox is resolved, and quantum mechanics only provides an assurance that in the quantum realm, this indistinguishability will be true as a matter of principle, rather than being due to an insufficiently refined experimental capability.’

    So, the conventional thinking is absurdly wrong as is the interpretation of the experiments. This is because science isn’t taught properly nowadays and it takes us grey heads who were taught classical science to go back to where the error was made and fix it.

    The only way you can transfer photonic energy to another molecule is if it is another asymmetrical GHG molecule. You can’t transfer it to general kinetic energy in bits so no direct thermalisation.to the majority symmetrical molecules.

    So, what really happens? Well, I’ll develop two ideas. The first is that at room temperature, about 5% of CO2 molecules are thermally excited enough to be IR emitters. In practice this means that a molecule with high enough kinetic energy when it collides with another molecule can convert the exact quantum from kinetic energy to vibrational energy. That implies a reverse process so there can be direct thermalisation after all, but via the GHG molecule.

    The second concept is the most basic law in physics, Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium. What this means is that in a system of oscillators and spheres bouncing off each other, there is at any temperature a fixed relationship between all the modes which define the average change of Gibbs free energy, delta G = delta H – T.delta S relative to a known state. H is enthalpy and S is entropy.

    So, when an IR photon is absorbed by a GHG molecule, it increases G a bit without changing T. This disturbs LTE. There are thereafter two possible paths to equilibrium. One is for another GHG molecule in that local assembly to emit an IR photon of the same energy in a random direction. The other is for the excess energy to be dumped into kinetic energy of the GHG molecule thence to the assembly. The latter requires some delay time which depends on the probability of the process. However, the former is virtually instantaneous in the macroscopic world, so will be preferred except at very high pressures, low average collision time.

    And now there’s a powerful theorem emerging which I don’t think anyone else has considered. In the absence of direct thermalisation the LTE principle applies to the whole of the atmosphere and an absorbed IR photon at the bottom will exit the system at the speed of light at heterogeneous interfaces [aerosols, back at the ground, or into space] with no intermediate thermalisation.

    So, ‘GHG warming’ does occur but it’s mostly at clouds and bare aerosols. The temperature of the bulk of the atmosphere will be controlled by convection/lapse rate. As [CO2] increases, convection and precipitation will increase, reducing [H2O]. This is probably what accounts for Miskolczi’s experimental observation of constant IR optical depth.

    Sorry climate science suckers, you’ve been conned by people whose grasp of basic physics has been too poor and who have therefore deceived you over this and three other basic bits of physics. The GHGs act as a heat transfer medium so IR from the ground is absorbed elsewhere in the atmosphere than the gaseous phase or is lost to space. The next thing that happens is that the clouds are affected probably to reduce H2O to compensate for increased CO2, a wonderful control system.

  29. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    PS I see that people are still peddling DWLIR despite us proper scientists telling them this is another BIG MISTAKE. It only exists because the exactly identical UWLIR part of the ground emission [assuming no temperature inversion] which forms the standing wave we refer to as Prevost Exchange Energy, has been blocked.

    DWLIR CAN DO NO THERMODYNAMIC WORK.

    Forget about it and the imaginary positive feedback that comes from Trenberth’s ludicrous.double counting iterations. And if i have offended anybody by my correct science, no apologies; you should have looked harder at the text books and at the false science you were taught. Science must win over the new Lysenkoism,

  30. Zeke says:

    It has been quite a spectacle to see geologists, paleontologists, meterologists, biologists, NASA, AGU et al, the major science magazines, and the educational institutions quickly and completely readjust their mission and theories to suit the current Anthropogenic Global Warming narrative.

    If these branches of study had no scientific defense against this happening, I think it demonstrates that there has been a long term tolerance of soft science, which is based on decades of conjectures that preserve systems.

    The takeover by AGW was simple and seemingly effortless.

    They say “corruptio optimi pessima,” the corruption of the best is the worst. But I don’t think that’s what we have here. There was no real opposition in the sciences to this pandemic error, proving that they had not the means to oppose it.

  31. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    When Hansen first made his claims in 1988, high feedback was plausible because at that time it was believed CO2 rose with T at the end of ice ages. However, in 1997 it was shown CO2 lagged by 600 years so there had to be different amplification and CO2 climate sensitivity had to be calibrated against modern warming.

    Thus we had the fraudulent hockey stick and they fiddled past T data. In 2005 Hansen claimed ‘albedo flip’ as the amplification but then CO2 took over. To keep high feedback in AR4, NASA in 2004 claimed fake physics.

    In 2007, it was shown that the amplification of delta tsi at the end of the last ice age started 2 ky before CO2 rose: the real mechanism is the reduction of cloud albedo, which also explains modern Arctic warming. In all probability, CO2-(A)GW is kept very low by the above control system and the scare is over. However, they are having another go by ocean acidification. The problem the average ‘climate scientist’ has is they know even less physical chemistry than physics.

  32. I have realized, on my own, that my claim, recently repeated, that the blackbody temperature of the Earth is 279K, is wrong, and have posted upon this at

    “My Own Blackbody Error”

    where I show why the definitive facts of my Venus/Earth comparison, are not only unaffected by that error, but why my physical explanation of the fundamental warming of the atmosphere has all along focused on why that error isn’t fatal: Because both atmospheres are fundamentally warmed by the same fraction of the incident solar radiation.

    As I posted to Will Pratt at climaterealists.com, I do not mind finding myself mistaken on a fundamental point (it doesn’t change the definitive fact of my Venus/Earth comparison, or my physical conclusions, as everyone still needs to realize), and I hope others will throw out their errors as easily as I now do.

  33. Richard111 says:

    Interesting comments from David Springer. Having lived and worked for a number of years in the deserts of Arabia and Namibia I became very aware of the temperature drop over night. During my time in the deserts AGW was not on my horizon so I paid no attention to the diurnal temperature range apart from the usual egg cooking attempts and remembering to take a sweater when going out at night. But now a thought occurs to me that if the minimum temperatures and the RH are recorded would we see a slow decrease (getting warmer) of the minimum as the level of CO2 in the atmosphere increases?

  34. Tenuc says:

    A agree with Mydogsgotnonose. DWIR radiation emitted toward the earth is scattered by the atmosphere in all directions. However, this does not prove that those photons that do make it to the warmer surface warm it. This is because the surface of the Earth is warmer than the atmospheric DWIR radiation and it’s molecules are at a high enough excitation level that the surface is already emitting these wavelengths of radiation and above thus cannot be heated further. It is, therefore, impossible for the surface to be further heated by this relatively low energy radiation. It would also be a violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

  35. 1DandyTroll says:

    @tallbloke says:
    March 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    “The thermal enhancement isn’t created by gravity acting on atmospheric mass in isolation. When coupled with the throughput of solar energy entering and leaving the system, the effect of higher air density near the surface is to generate more sensible heat near the surface than is generated at high altitude. It’s about heat distribution, not energy creation.”

    I might misunderstand what I read, but you do know that thicker “air” creates heat in and of itself right and that thicker “air” is a function of gravity? Otherwise Saturn wouldn’t be so hot and all bothered if I’m not mistaken. :p

  36. tallbloke says:

    I too am interested in what Mydog says, though I’m not sufficiently well versed in the physics to pass judgement. I’m thinking we might not need to confront the issue as the pressure related phenomena can pretty much account for all the joules anyway.

  37. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Tallbloke; if I’m right and there’s no guarantee this is so, what may emerge is the explanation of Miskolczi’s theoretical and experimental observation of constant IR optical depth as [CO2] increases.

  38. tallbloke says:

    1Dandytroll says:
    “thicker “air” creates heat in and of itself”

    How does it do that? Not by rubbing sticks together I presume. :)

  39. mkelly says:

    Mr. M…nose says : “DWLIR CAN DO NO THERMODYNAMIC WORK.”

    Agreed. I have asked numerous persons to write a radiative heat transfer equation to show how dwlir could transfer heat from atmosphere to the ground to warm the surface. None have done so.

  40. tallbloke says:

    Mydog: Sincerely, I hope you succeed with that aim. Bring the guest post here when You’re ready to go.

  41. Michael Hart says:

    mdgnn,
    I think you’ve referred a few times recently to the Dutch student with a flagpole and a radiometer experiment [sounds like the makings of a rude joke]. Is that information in the public domain yet, or is it still a Ph.D. in progress?

  42. James says:

    Cheers Harry the 279k was realy causing me major confusion.

  43. David Springer says:

    re; back radiation

    I’m reminded why I avoid certain blogs.

    As two objects with different temperatures in radiative contact approach the same temperature the rate of exchange diminishes. This is only explained by there being a two-way exchange of energy with a greater emission from the warmer object from which we subtract the emission of cooler object and obtain the net rate of transmission from warmer to colder. Got it? Write that down!

  44. David Springer says:

    The equator at high noon on a clear day receives approximately 1000W/m2. Because it’s only lit half the time that’s a daily average of 500W/m2. According to spectral-calc:

    http://www.spectralcalc.com/blackbody_calculator/blackbody.php

    a blackbody at 34.4C emits 507W/m2.

    Now you know why the spot on the earth with the highest mean annual temperature ever recorded was 34.4.C. That’s almost exactly the maximum possible attainable temperature for the amount of energy reaching the surface at the equator in a clear sky on this third rock from the sun.

    If you examine ARGO data you’ll find that not a single buoy ever recorded a surface temperature above 35C. You should NOT be surprised.

  45. David Springer says:

    Working backwards a little more from the record high mean annual temperature on the earth we can ascertain the effective albedo of the salt desert where it was set back in the 1960′s.

    We know sunshine at 1 AU from sol is 1360W/m2. The equatorial surface, lit only half the time, therefore can receive no more than 680W/m2 which our handy dandy spectral calculator says is about 58C. So if the salt was black and the atmosphere was 100% transparent that would be Dullal’s mean average temperature. Ouch. Anyhow, 507/680 gives us an emittance figure of 0.745. Albedo is the reciprocal so the effective albedo of Dullal is 25%.

    Now wasn’t that fun? :-)

    For some real fun I want a climate boffin with faith in magical, mystical water vapor amplification will explain to me why the record holder for highest mean annual temperature is a friggin’ desert with average annual rainfall of 2″. Every time I ask the only answer I get is the sound of crickets chirping.

  46. David Springer says:

    So what then do so-called greenhouse gases do? They effectively make the surface a little bit blacker***.

    Let’s take CO2. We know from experimental measurement how much long wave infrared energy CO2 absorbs and the percentage that is backscattered towards the source. There is a bit of fuzziness in the figure because the source (the earth mostly) has a varying surface temperature which can be closer or further from CO2′s main absorption bands. Colder parts of the planet are closer to it which explains why higher latitudes over land are the main beneficiaries (and I DO mean BENEFICIARY) of anthropogenic GHG warming. Anyhow, running through the numbers we get a maximum equilibrium temperature increase per CO2 doubling (at least once you get over about 100ppm where it moves from linear to logarithmic response) of about 1C. This is the commonly given number for CO2 “sensitivity” without water vapor amplification. It’s supported (barely) in the instrumental land temperature record if we trust that record to not have been too badly pencil whipped. Since that’s a maximum number and there are many things which can thwart it in the real world I tend to doubt the effective number is greater than about 0.5C per doubling on average over land and for all practical purposes is 0.0 over the ocean where the surface is not frozen.

    These things you should not throw stones at. At least not big stones. There are indeed grand fallacies in CAGW but it doesn’t follow that everything about it is false. The ironic thing is that the things about it that are true are beneficially true. In other words if CO2 wasn’t rising through fossil fuel consumption we’d want to invent another way for it to rise because, for crying out loud, it’s plant food and what little extra warming it provides it puts right where it’s needed where growing seasons are the shortest.

    ***Water vapor, because it forms clouds which reflect sunlight, appears to have its greenhouse capacity negated by the clouds which form when it inevitably condenses.

  47. Ronaldo says:

    CO2 absorbs IR energy at specific frequencies related to the vibrational energy of the carbon – oxygen bond and these vibrations are quantised i.e. the CO2 molecule absorbs a quantum of energy which increases its internal, vibrational energy but has no effect on its kinetic energy and thus on its contribution to the temperature of the atmosphere. Rapid relaxation from the excited state releases a quantum of energy at precisely the absorbed frequency. The CO2 molecule is then able to absorb another quantum at the same frequency either from the up-welling IR from earth or from scattered IR from other CO2 molecules.

    When the atmosphere is bathed in IR, say from a cooling earth surface, the CO2 molecules act as tiny resonant aerials in absorbing and re-transmitting the resonant frequency. At TOA 50% of this re-transmitted energy is lost to outer space, so that an energy gradient is created which drives further loss of energy to space. Because the absorption and re-transmiossion are lossless, ie no energy is lost to kinetic energy, the system behaves in an analogous way to a lossless cable transmitting radio frequencies with standing waves being developed to match the energy transfer.

    Radio Amateurs use the phenomenon of resonance to pick out very weak signals from operators at the other side of the world and to reply using remarkably low levels of radiated power and simple radiators (ie antennas). It never fails to amaze me that my 10 metre length of copper wire can pick out an incredibly weak signal against a background r.f. from broadcast transmissions orders of magnitude larger, simply by making it resonant.

    If this conjecture is viable, it points to a physical reason for only a small influence of CO2 on global temperatures. If not – no doubt someone will enlighten me.

  48. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Ronaldo; you have explained the exact idea for the GHGs transmitting IR energy losslessly to heterogeneities including space. All we need to do now is to develop a theoretical framework which describes the impedance of IR transfer to space as a function of the absorption and warming at aerosols, even over the horizon. The prime experimental measurement, DWLIR, is a measure of that impedance.

    [Note to Tallbloke: I have completed the analysis of the incorrect aerosol optical physics used to justify imaginary cooling to offset imaginary warming from 'back radiation'. There is a second optical process, easily explained by existing physics. i believe the modellers have made a big mistake but i could still be wrong!]

  49. Brian H says:

    Truthseeker;
    In the linked paper by Dr. Nahle, there are a number of issues, but I would like to point out a drastic arithmetic error in his “Summarized Dataset”. In the 3rd “Daytime” column the difference is given as 207.04. This is a bookkeeper’s typo. The correct number is 270.04 (reversed digits, error is equal to the difference of the digits x 9, or 0-7 = -63).
    As a consequence, his Diff. overall total is also wrong by that amount; instead of -39.23 it should be +23.77.

    With serious consequences for his conclusions.

  50. tallbloke says:

    Ah, the advantages of having someone with unrelenting attention to detail on the team.

    Thank you Brian H.

  51. Brian H says:

    HDH;
    Your link to your correction is full of typos, and doesn’t work. Here’s the correct one:

    http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-own-blackbody-error-scientific.html

    [reply] Thanks Brian, I’ve fixed Harry’s original link.

  52. tallbloke says:

    Mydog, Good stuff. Could I also call your attention this this thread for your opinion:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/alistairmcd-aerosols-cause-warming/

    Also this paper I linked in comments on that thread find a modeling error of some 30W/m^2 (!) in cloud absorption. It seems physics theory around the forward propogation of energy and mie scattering has some way to go.

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cms/wcollins/papers/cess.pdf

    The paper refers to an experiment where aircraft flew simultaneously above and below a cloud deck taking measurements and found that the clouds were absorbing a lot more shortwave energy than theory supposed they would.

    The whole paper is worth a read, I can’t cut and paste any relevant stuff because the pdf is encoded in some weird way.

  53. Bruce says:

    Harry said:

    I have realized, on my own, that my claim, recently repeated, that the blackbody temperature of the Earth is 279K, is wrong, and have posted upon this at…

    Well done, Harry. Humans being what they are, the very fact that you have admitted an error means I’ll certainly be more confident in trusting whatever you say in future, subject of course to the usual healthy dose of scepticism.

  54. mkelly says:

    Mr. Springer says:”This is only explained by there being a two-way exchange of energy…”

    Since higher energy (higher temperature)objects do not absorb lower energy emissions there is no two way exchange.

    If what you said were true there would be no reason for energy exchange to cease when T1=T2. Why would something absorb lower energy but not absorb equal energy?

    Sir, I agree with almost everything you write, this however I do not. It is counter to all I was taught.

  55. David Springer says:

    Anyone who thinks CO2 doesn’t absorb and backscatter radiation needs to explain how infrared CO2 detectors work. There are millions of these installed in high occupancy buildings the world over which serve to control ventilation fans. When a lot of people are in the building breathing out a lot of CO2 these devices have a trip point where when CO2 reaches the trip point it turns on ventilation fans to exchange indoor air with outdoor air.

    http://www.systechillinois.com/en/infrared-carbon-dioxide-sensors_48.html

    Have fun with that!

    P.S. to Ronaldo

    Not all frequencies torque the molecule which then results in latent heat. Some modes are vibrational which is sensible. Regardless there is no need for the air to be directly warmed by IR to raise the air temperature. Either effect restricts the transmission of radiation through the atmosphere which, over land, causes the equilibrium temperature to rise. The warmer land surface then warms all gases in contact with it through conduction and then convection mixes them upward. One must always keep in mind the maxim “The sun heats the surface and the surface heats the air.” While this maxim is not 100% true it’s true enough especially near to the ground where we live and breathe and place our min/max thermometers inside Stevenson screens.

  56. David Springer says:

    MKelly

    Energy exchange doesn’t cease when T1=T2. Energy exchange is simply equal in both directions. One object does not stop a remote object from emitting energy nor does it stop a remote object from absorbing energy. All matter with a temperature above absolute zero radiates. Nothing can stop it from radiating. It’s a consequence of charged particles in relative motion and as long as the particles are above absolute zero they are in motion. The only thing that prevents all matter from radiating energy away through constant emission is it is continually absorbing energy from the outside.

  57. David Springer says:

    Tallbloke says:
    March 11, 2012 at 9:00 am

    “The paper refers to an experiment where aircraft flew simultaneously above and below a cloud deck taking measurements and found that the clouds were absorbing a lot more shortwave energy than theory supposed they would.”

    There is no theory of clouds and shortwave energy. This is the major weakness of GCMs. I would direct you to a recent article in Scientific American:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-science-of-the-glory

    Looking down on a cloud from a mountain or an airplane, sometimes you can spot a glory: rings of colored light around your shadow or the plane’s.
    As in a rainbow, the colors are produced by the microscopic water droplets that compose clouds, but in the case of glories the physics is more subtle.
    The light energy beamed back by a glory originates mostly from wave tunneling, which is when light rays that missed a droplet can still transfer energy into it.
    The understanding gained from glories is helping climatologists to improve models of how cloud cover may contribute to or alleviate climate change.

    I get the dead tree version of SciAm and read the whole article a few days ago. Fascinating stuff. Basically physicists don’t understand how shortwave radiation behaves in a dense cloud of water droplets of varying size and different kinds of impurities in the droplets and no one has satisfactorily explained the glory which was first observed several centuries ago. The author of the above article believes he has an explanation which involves quantum tunneling wherein a photon can be turned around precisely 180 degrees instead of the much smaller index of refraction normally associated with an air/water interface.

    This has a large consequence for GCMs which model clouds and handily explains why the warming effect from infrared backscatter is of a lesser magnitude than shortwave reflection. This turns the feedback sign for clouds from positive to negative and thereby relegates the so-called water vapor amplification effect to the dustbin of history.

  58. David Springer says:

    Water vapor amplification is the only thing in the physics employed by GCMs worth throwing stones at. Arguing that CO2 doesn’t cause backradiation or that backradiation can’t restrict radiative heat loss from surface to space might just as well be arguing that invisible green men from Mars with little wheel barrows carry energy from surface to space and the recent warming is just them taking a cigarette break.

    Kirk to Enterprise. Beam me up, Scotty. [snip]

    [Reply] Easy tiger.

  59. tallbloke says:

    Dave,
    I’ve seen a glory in very unusual circumstances and have some first hand knowledge to impart.

    I was walking on a mountain ridge with two friends in Wales many years ago, when one of them shouted
    “Wow look at the brocken spectres!”

    Looking to my left I saw three giant shadow figures striding along in the mist which hung like a curtain off to one side.
    “And I can see a glory” said my other friend, referring to the halo he could see around ‘his’ spectre’s head.

    The thing is, we could all see all three spectres, but only our own glories. This means the refraction/reflection angle is very very specific and narrow.

    optics is a fascinating science, which we still haven’t fully theorised.

    The way I conceptualised it back then, was that the light I was seeing that made the glory, was being diffracted on it’s way to the mist bank, in finer mist, not being reflected back from from the thicker bank the spectres were projected on.

  60. johanna says:

    I am not qualified to comment on the technical aspects of this discussion. But I am a long term student of the history of science, and practitioner in public policy at the interface of science and government, and crave your indulgence on those aspects of the Turtle’s interesting post.

    Firstly, I agree with Tallbloke that science is not an institution. It is a methodology which has generated a body of work. There certainly are institutions based in scientific endeavour, but they manifest all the virtues and shortcomings of institutions of all kinds. I suspect that some scientists have a somewhat over-inflated view of their standing and importance in society. The truth is, ordinary people have little or no opinion about the integrity of scientists on a day to day basis. They care a lot more about engineers, whose shortcomings can quickly spell disaster in dozens of possible ways every day. They care about doctors and nurses, ditto. That the work of these people is underpinned by scientists is a secondary concern.

    While it is true that the world is awash with junk science, and this has devalued the currency, it should be remembered that from at least the 1930s to the early 60s, the ‘mad scientist’ was a popular archetype in books and films. Scientists have had trust issues with the public in the past, sometimes with good reason.

    Which brings me to genetics, which provides some useful context for the climate science discussion. Like climate science, genetics is bedevilled with ideological agendas, junk science, scaremongering and politics. Like climate science, it promises to unravel the fundamentals of our past and future existence on this planet. It simultaneously offers salvation and Armageddon.

    It is worth reiterating that eugenics, which led to unspeakable horrors, and not just in the Godwin’s Law sense, was absolutely respectable and mainstream in the 1920s and 30s. The last remnants were still practised in many parts of the Western world well into the 1960s, mainly via forced sterilisation. Eugenics seemed intuitively to make sense, especially to people who bred animals.

    The trouble was, apart from the ethical issues, the science it was based on was mostly rubbish. Many of the characteristics identified as being undesirable were not heritable, or no more heritable than not. Others could be prevented, treated or rectified as medicine progressed. Others simply did not exist outside the moral preconceptions of those who named them.

    Fast forward to the present day, and we have furious disputes about GM food, about genetic medicine, about the uses of genetic testing of humans and embryos, etc etc. But the thing that most depresses many of the geneticists I have spoken to is the widespread disinformation in the popular press about their work. We have all seen the stories about the x type cancer gene, the gay gene, the Altzheimer’s gene yada yada. There ain’t no such thing. A ‘gene’ is not even a discrete particle in the way it is conceptualised in the popular media. This kind of thinking is, in a way, a legacy of eugenics. More generally, it demonstrates how the lot of a genuine and ethical scientist in a contested field is not a happy one.

    I must respectfully disagree with the Turtle’s view that only an alternative hypothesis can clean out the mucky stable that is modern climate science. It is the quest for a universal theory that got climate science, and many other branches of science in the past, into trouble in the first place. We do not want to meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Surely the objective is to contribute solid, well tested building blocks which may one day come together to form a grand cathedral. Or perhaps to put a few of them together to start creating a wall. But this old policy analyst has heard many grand unifying theories on all sorts of subjects over the decades, and my (correct) advice on every occasion has been – don’t buy into it.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  61. Ronaldo says:

    Dave Springer

    I don’t think I said anything about all frequencies ‘torquing’ the molecule. The quantisation effect is just that, i.e. only very narrow bands are capable of being absorbed by the CO2 molecule. The point I was making was that the CO2 molecule only selectively absorb narrow bands of IR and has very little impedance to radiative heat transfer. Of course the entire content of the atmosphere contributes to upwards heat transfer by conduction, evaporation and convection. This acts as a parallel mechanism to radiative transfer and probably swamps any radiative effects, particularly over the oceans.

    I think it is important in the context of radiative heat transfer in gases to differentiate molecular kinetic energy effects from internal vibrational (quantised) effects.

  62. tallbloke says:

    Johanna, welcome, and thanks for your insightful input. I agree that climate science is not the only controversial area and that misconceptions abound in the public mind about many scientific paradigms. This is due largely to the oversimplified way they are presented by partisan medias which have a non-scientific agenda to push. Anyone pushing an agenda seeks to maximise the certainty of their correctness in the mind of the reader, and so the nuances of uncertainty present in all scientific theories get glossed over, whether the writer is supportive of the theory or using other scientific arguments to rebut it.

    Incompatible ideas which proponents present as solid fact leave the public with the impression that neither side knows for sure, since paradox is a sure sign of incomplete theory. Raise the rhetoric a notch and one side accusing the other of sowing uncertainty in the minds of the public for their own ends.

    The thing that amuses me about the mainstream climate science patter merchants we hear from is that they carry on as if nothing has happened when discovery after discovery falsifies their theory.

    Co2 change lags behind temperature change at every timescale
    Changes in sea surface temperature precedde changes in air temperature by months.

    Yet the proponents of the theory that co2 in the atmosphere is an important climate driver carry on regardless of the principle that cause precedes effect.

    It’s a mad world.

  63. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Dave Springer. Nothing personal and perhaps i am very peculiar in insisting on absolute accuracy in science but I am astonished at the basic lack of understanding by most people that ‘back radiation’ is an artefact of the experiment that measures it.

    When you point a radiometer in the colder direction of a radiation field, you also shield it from radiation from the opposite direction. So, what you measure is zero minus what you have shielded. Before then it did not exist.. people must think hard what an experiment does.

    Explanation: the Prevost Exchange Energy is the flux from the cooler to hotter and is exactly offset by an equal energy from from hotter to cooler. On top of that is the net energy exchange.

    The purpose of Prevost Exchange is to turn on or off the IR density of states depending on the variation of the temperature difference, also to modify emissivity/absorptivity to make them equal in any wavelength interval at equal Ts, according to Kirchhoff’s law of radiation.

    To explain it perfectly is very difficult except to a damned good physicist, and I’m not one, being an engineer., Planck invented the imaginary photon to avoid the ‘Ultraviolet Catastrophe’ and it’s really a soliton with a group velocity in the standing wave.

    You’ll have to go to advanced texts for this but I can assure you that ‘back radiation’ can do no thermodynamic work. As for ‘back scattering’ of IR, it’s not that. instead it’s emission of new quanta in random directions.

    I am working on the theory of the GHG IR energy transfer – it’s very early yet, but it explains a lot of observations including the different apparent emissivity of clouds and clear sky as measured by DWLIR. That is most definitely a measure of IR impedance because it correlates well with the equilibrium temperatures!

    As for the second optical effect, I did contribute earlier on the idea. The ‘Glory’ may be well be a relation but until I publish I’ll keep quiet about what I really think happens. It’s beautifully simple!

  64. johanna says:

    Tallbloke, your example about CO2 believers being undeterred by countervailing facts is far from unprecedented in the history of science. In genetics, as I mentioned, eugenics persisted long after it had been discredited both ethically and empirically. More recently, I remember reading that well after h. pylori was identified as the primary cause of stomach ulcers – to worldwide publicity – many institutions and medical practitioners carried on with the old treatments as if nothing had happened. Only pressure from their patients forced many of them to give up the beliefs they clung to so stubbornly.

    Climate science is tangled up with so many other agendas that mere scientific proof is never going to overcome people’s anxiety about it. It goes right back to our species’ well justified fear of the weather, which has determined our survival odds since the earliest times. It has captured environmentalists, vegetarians, anti-capitalists, Malthusians, the guilt-ridden bourgeoisie, those who fear the end of the world, politicians, savvy corporate interests and all their camp followers under one umbrella.

    I don’t think there was ever a golden era or science, or of scientific reporting. The bizarre and the dramatic have always been the preferred fodder of the media. Most people I know are now pretty cynical about the articles – sometimes on the same day in the same publication – that say that X is the new superfood/X has been linked to cancer and should be avoided. But it is undoubtedly true that the relatively new category called ‘environment reporters’ are almost always deep-green in their beliefs and do not even attempt to conceal their bias. Sadly, they often double up as the general science reporters as well. Worst of all, almost none of them has a decent science qualification, or even a basic understanding of how science works.

  65. tallbloke says:

    Johanna says:
    Tallbloke, your example about CO2 believers being undeterred by countervailing facts is far from unprecedented in the history of science

    I know, I have a degree in the subject. :)

    What is unprecedented is the amount of public money being spent, the loss of personal freedom and the degree to which the institutions of science and the politicians have stuck their neck out with position statements supporting the already falsified theory.

    I think the rank and file members of those institutions will have [to] perform a takeover, because the incumbents just won’t be able to swallow the climbdown required.

    Climate science is tangled up with so many other agendas that mere scientific proof is never going to overcome people’s anxiety about it. It goes right back to our species’ well justified fear of the weather, which has determined our survival odds since the earliest times

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
    -H. L. Mencken-

    After the cold war,the ultimate post-modern common enemy is ourselves, the sinful emitters of the gas of death.

  66. Hans says:

    tallbloke says:
    March 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    “After the cold war,the ultimate post-modern common enemy is ourselves, the sinful emitters of the gas of death.”

    From Wikipeida:
    “The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, commonly known as The Ninety-Five Theses, were written by Martin Luther in 1517 and are widely regarded as the primary catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.— Excerpted from 95 Theses on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.”

    We need a reformation of the scientific religion (climate scientology?) to get back to proper scientific methods and to leave the trail of scare mongering and fantasies. 95 thesis how IPCC twists and rejects accepted scientific methods might force them to confess that IPCC followers are preaching when claiming they base their statements on a scientific ground (relating to CAGW and more).

    PS: The modern sin is to emit CO2 and the indulgence is to pay extra tax and to buy carbon credits

  67. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    The 6 Theses:of Martin Luther Hansen.

    1. I shalt shine light energy into a plastic bottle of CO2 gas and without thinking out what the experiment really proves, claim 100% direct thermalisation at ~1 K per doubling CO2 when in reality it’s much smaller, perhaps zero because the heating is at the walls, from constrained pressure rise and is amplified because of the increase of scattering with temperature!

    2. I shalt point a radiometer, with closed back to the sky and without thinking out what the experiment really proves, claim that the signal, in reality net zero minus what I have blocked by shielding, is evidence of the energy created by (1). Then by the scientific equivalent of painting by numbers I shalt invent imaginary positive feedback.

    3. I shalt imagine that by taking out the atmosphere of the Earth that the imaginary flat disk radiation model equilibrium temperature of -18°C can be added to the +15°C from lapse rate heating and some GHG warming to give 33 K net present GHG warming with which I amplify the results of 2 by a factor of ~3.7.

    4. I shalt imagine that Sagan’s use of the empirical analysis by van der Hulst of albedo data assuming just one optical process predicts that clouds get darker underneath because droplet size falls. This is through an imaginary surface reflection physics claimed by NASA and believed firmly by oxymoronic climate science, yet the reality as can be seen just by looking out of the bloody window is that it is a large droplet phenomenon so the 2nd AIE can be strongly warming..

    5. I shalt imagine that if I can claim twice real low level cloud optical depth to hide the artificially amplified (2) and no-one notices the subterfuge, I can also use the artificial cooling from (4) exactly to offset an AGW that is 3-5 times real temperature increase assuming no other major cause. and the mugs will believe that this null result is true, making the final exaggeration of IPCC median CO2 climate sensitivity at least a factor of ~6.7.

    6. I shalt then create my most masterful stoke of genius which is to state from Authority that there is also extra heat transfer to the oceans, with absolutely no theoretical or experimental proof, that will eventually, unless checked by killing off most of the World’s population, lead to universal climate catastrophe.

    Verily I say unto thee, the Lord has spoken and ye shall tremble in your obeisance to ME!

  68. spence says:

    Sorry to butt in, you all sound smarter than me, but can anyone explain the following ..

    The Watt is a derived unit and represents one joule of energy per second. The energy emitted by the Sun is measured as ‘Total Solar Irradiance’ which is energy averaged (not summed) across the entire solar spectrum. So it is possible that a decrease of Infrared energy could be offset by an increase in Ultra Violet energy, without any change to the T.S.I. (as has recently happened).

    This is important because we know that the greenhouse gas theory is centred around the effects of Long wave radiation on CO2. Yet we are concentrating the search for the energy budget using the entire T.S.I. and the Watt. How can this be?

  69. Brian H says:

    “David Springer says:
    March 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    MKelly

    Energy exchange doesn’t cease when T1=T2. Energy exchange is simply equal in both directions. One object does not stop a remote object from emitting energy nor does it stop a remote object from absorbing energy.”

    Indeed. Consider these two examples:
    Two naked people standing 6″ apart. Can they feel each other’s IR?
    A binary star system (majority of the universe), with white dwarf (hot) and red giant (cool). RG is perhaps 10% of the sky viewed from WD. Does it warm the WD? Is the side of the WD facing the RG at any given moment hotter than the other side?

    Anyone who answers “no” to any of the above has some ‘splainin’ to do.

  70. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Brian H: you’ve got it the wrong way round. Two naked people feel warmer on the side facing each other because less heat is lost. It’s the same for the RG-WD system.

    Physicists and engineers calculate it from S-B convolved with emissivity/absorptivity and geometrical view factor to get net energy flux. Very good physicists and engineers know this is a kludge to the real physics which is far more subtle [how do you handle the GHG emission/absorption peaks with a grey body assumption?]

    A cooler body cannot transfer heat energy to a hotter body for fundamental thermodynamics’ reasons. However, it can slow the rate of energy transfer from the hotter body to its cooler surroundings.

  71. Brian H says:

    Mydogsgotnonose says:
    March 11, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Cute, but clumsy and libelous. Martin Luther didn’t make pronouncements of infallibility and BS, he challenged them. And “I shalt” is improper declension.
    auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person shall, 2nd shall or ( Archaic ) shalt, 3rd shall, present plural shall;
    “shalt” is used only with “you” or “thou”, singular or plural.

  72. tallbloke says:

    Hi Spence and welcome. Good question.

    Aside from the Watts issue you raise is the question of what UV does to upper atmosphere chemistry. This may have a far greater effect on climate than the relatively low energies carried by the amount of UV in relation to the longer wavelengths will in raw power terms.

    There’s more to Sunshine than bean counting.

  73. Brian H says:

    “Mydogsgotnonose says:
    March 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Brian H: you’ve got it the wrong way round. Two naked people feel warmer on the side facing each other because less heat is lost. It’s the same for the RG-WD system.”

    Bullpucky. Try it. Less heat is lost, net, but that has steps and components, one of which is receipt of IR from the other body.

  74. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Brian H; the new would be Martin Luther ain’t a Martin Luther…….

    ‘Imagine’ isn’t actionable because as you can’t read someone’s thoughts, it’s a matter of opinion, not a statement of fact!

    As for the extra heat in the oceans with no theoretical or experimental basis, that is a statement of fact, so defensible: http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/figure-102.png

    [And yes, I have predicted exactly this massive cooling of the North Atlantic, a consequence of the Arctic freezing as cloud albedo increases: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php.%5D

    Shalt thou accept this interpretation, I would verily be pleased……

  75. tallbloke says:

    Mydog: IMO all ocean heat content graphs should come with an obligatory line at 2003 with a caption saying; “Dodgy data splice between XBT and ARGO here”

    Here’s why:
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/working-out-where-the-energy-goes-part-2-peter-berenyi/

    By the way, your icecover link is broke.

  76. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Brian H: Radiation from the cooler body is absorbed by the areal quantum density of states at the hotter body convolved with the geometrical view factor. However, because the temperature is higher, a higher proportion of those states per unit time is filled by transfer of kinetic energy from the interior than by the arrival of radiant energy from the cooler body.

    At the cooler body, we have the reverse; the difference between the external and internal arrival rates to/from internal kinetic energy is the positive net heat transfer rate. A key issue is the quantum principle of indistiguishability; once a quantum state is occupied, it has no memory of the past.

    So, no net heat energy can ever be transferred from the cooler to the hotter body. Its arrival simply changes the probability that quantum states emit to the outside World by inhibiting internal energy transfer. Prevost Exchange is a radiation throttle. It can never do thermodynamic work.

  77. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    DMI Arctic Ice a 7 year high: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php

  78. tallbloke says:

    Got it thanks. It was the full stop on the original which borked the link.

    I like to use this service:
    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

    I find the squiggles a bit easier too differentiate. Having said that, 2012 look like a rerun of 2010 so far.

  79. David Appell says:

    Stephen Wilde: the atmosphere is not an ideal gas.

    It is, instead, a combination of two things: a gas that would, on its own, be nearly ideal, and a photon gas.

    The ideal gas law only holds with certain assumptions, the most important here being that no forces act on the molecules except during elastic collisions of negligible duration.

    This is true for just the molecules that make up air, but *not* true when photons are added because some of the constituents of the gas interact with them through absorption and emission.

    So of course the ideal gas law has “no term for the presence or absence of GHGs or their radiative characteristics.” That’s by assumption, and it’s not a very good one for a gas through which solar and IR radiation is streaming when it contains molecules that interact with that radiation, such as CO2, methane, water vapor, etc.

    Your thinking is confused.

  80. David Appell says:

    Mydogsgotnonose says:
    DMI Arctic Ice a 7 year high: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php

    And a few weeks ago it was at a 7-year low.

    So what? Conditions fluctuate. The concern is about the long-term trend.

  81. David Appell says:

    Mydogsgotnonose says:
    When you point a radiometer in the colder direction of a radiation field, you also shield it from radiation from the opposite direction. So, what you measure is zero minus what you have shielded.

    Your view of the scattering isn’t accurate.

    Back radiation isn’t a radiation field of IR photons streaming in a particular direction. They are streaming in all directions, and the photons measured by a sensor have been scattered just microns above it.

    The distance an IR photon travels before it scatters is going to be ~ the average distance between CO2 molecules, and that’s going to be ~ the cube root of the inverse of the number density of CO2 molecules.

    The number density of CO2 molecules is the number density of air molecules times the proportion that are CO2.

    Air at STP has a number density of about 3e25 per cubic meter, and CO2 is about 400 ppm of air.

    Do the math and you find the average distance between CO2 molecules is less than a micron.

    To be sure, not all CO2 molecules are available to absorb an IR photon, since its excited state has a lifetime ~ microseconds (it depends on temperature and pressure). But still an IR photon isn’t going to get far.

    Besides, any halfway competent experimentalist would have thought of your objection and overcome it by, for example, mounting a plane sensor in a vertical position.

  82. Magic Turtle says:

    I have held off commenting until now because I wanted to allow enough comments to accumulate to give me a sense of the general reaction to my post. The comments so far have given me the general impression that most people have misunderstood it. Only Truthseeker (10th Mar. 12:02 am) and Hans (March 10, 2012 at 8:30 am) seem to have understood where I am coming from. Why is this, I am wondering?

    I think possibly one major reason is the general confusion about what the words ‘greenhouse theory’ actually refer to. Some people seem to think I was referring to ‘warmist theory’ by them. I wasn’t. I was talking about the pure scientific theory of the greenhouse effect that is used not just in warmist-controlled ‘climate science’, but also throughout astronomy and all those other fields of scientific enquiry too where the question of a planet’s surface temperature may be of interest and perhaps critical importance. As I thought I had explained, in my view the warmist ‘greenhouse theory’ is a corrupt and bastardised version of the original ‘greenhouse theory’ that is still used elsewhere in science and which I regard as being rational and scientifically sound. So it was with surprise that I read some commenters trying to tell me what is wrong with the warmist ‘greenhouse theory’ that they evidently had perceived me to be endorsing, in spite of my having stated at the beginning of my post that ‘I am not a warmist…’ etc.

    This experience is similar to the one that I get on warmist blog-sites. Warmists are so identified with their perverted theory of the greenhouse effect that I only have to mention the words ‘greenhouse theory’ to them and their minds immediately jump to the conclusion that I am referring to their theory and hasten to disabuse me of my perceived false notions about it. When they do it they usually throw rude names and slanders at me whereas you lot are more genteel about it. But underneath the different ways of doing it, the misidentification of their false ‘greenhouse theory’ with the original scientific one that I was talking about seems just the same here as there to me and to give rise to a basic misunderstanding of my position accordingly. And this makes discussing the scientific greenhouse theory sensibly as difficult (albeit not so painful) here as it is with them.

    Then there are the commenters who haven’t misunderstood me, don’t particularly want to ‘correct’ me, nor to teach me either, but who apparently just want to express their own theories and beliefs at this forum. Well, that’s OK by me and I’ve no objection to them doing that, although I get the feeling that the flow of information can be only one way with them, ie. from them to me. They seem to want to do all of the telling and none of the listening. No doubt they cannot help being self-assertive extraverts any more than I can help being a retiring introvert, but the situation is an unbalanced one when one party does all the talking and the other party does all the listening. You extraverts are off-balance and don’t appear to realise it. The rest of us are not here just to be an audience for you. I think you need some challenging questioning to balance you up and put you back on your centre. That stagnant, unbalanced condition predominates absolutely in the warmist camp and we can all see what a degenerate state the warmists have fallen into as a result of their continued mental stagnation. And from here on in it’s nothing but a downhill run for them. That is the state that I fear you will fall into as well if you let yourselves.

    So you want to produce an alternative theory to the fundamental greenhouse theory. Have you asked yourselves why you want to do that? Is it to answer some objective need that you have perceived in the world whose fulfilment would somehow alleviate the suffering of humanity in some way and to some degree? If it is, what is that need? Show it to me and I will do all that I can to help you. But I haven’t read here of anyone saying ‘Look everyone, there is this crying need for such and such in the world and we’ve just got to come up with a new theory of planetary warming in order to resolve it!’. So I’m inclined to think that this can’t be the reason.

    Or have you, perhaps, discovered the existence of fatal flaws in the basic greenhouse theory that make the need for a replacement theory urgent and compelling? Well, I haven’t yet seen anyone here present a devastating critique of the essential greenhouse theory that exposes any fatal flaws in it that they are sure of and can prove, so I don’t think that can be the reason either.

    Or again, is it because you have already experienced a Eureka-moment in which you have had the blazing vision of an elegant and comprehensive new climate theory that renders the old greenhouse theory superfluous, obsolete and fit for the scrap-heap? If so, why can you not explain your vision logically, simply, clearly and in complete detail like someone who has experienced a great clarifying vision is normally able to do? Instead, you seem to me to have a number of disparate half-formed theories that you are conflating together and you have even produced a blog-post entitled ‘The Talkshop thrusts towards a new climate theory’, which implies to me that you are still on the way towards one and have not arrived there yet. So I don’t think that can be the reason either.

    So what is your justifying cause for wanting to scrap the basic scientific greenhouse theory that most people seem to think is currently serving humanity’s needs well enough and to replace it with another theory of your invention? You don’t appear to have one. Instead you appear to be intellectual revolutionaries without a cause, indulging in revolution for its own sake. And that is not merely reckless and irresponsible but it is ultimately destructive of social order and harmony too. It is what the Chinese were subjected to under Mao Tse Tung’s Red Guard – perpetual revolution for its own sake. That is what you appear to me to be endeavouring to bring upon the scientific community, no doubt unintentionally but doing it nonetheless.

    It looks all very quixotic to me. Nobody needs a new fundamental theory of planetary warming. Instead of tilting at the academic ‘windmill’ of the underlying physics of the greenhouse theory, why don’t you put your advanced intellectual skills and energy to good use by tilting at some real windmills instead? I speak of the monstrous windfarm-follies that are depoiling our countryside, disrupting our power-supply system and draining the life-blood out of our economy in order to feed parasitic banksters, rich landowners and vampiristic mafia-run construction companies, all in the name of being green and saving the planet from plant food? Doesn’t reality have enough problems in it for your powerful intellects to solve without your needing to fabricate false ones with which to divert yourselves instead?

  83. David Springer said: (March 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm)
    “As long as I’m here I might as well explain what I learned about Nicholov et al gravitational heating hypothesis.”

    The N&K poster is not about a “Gravitational Heating Hypothesis”. It claims that you can predict the average surface temperature of a planet or moon if you know the TSI and the surface pressure.

    This is a truly remarkable claim. No need to know what the albedo is or what liquids or vapors are present or what the chemical composition of the atmosphere may be.

    Today we live in an “Ice Age” that N&K say was initiated by a loss of 53% of the planet’s atmosphere. See the caption (D) to Figure 9 here:

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

    I am highly sceptical of such a bold hypothesis but if Earth can lose half its atmosphere in 17 million years this planet could eventually look like Mars if our volcanoes remain relatively quiet. Loss of atmosphere sounds way more scary than a tiny increase in atmospheric CO2.

    [Apologies to Tallbloke for using the WUWT link but I could not findN&K's Figure 9 on your fine website]
    [ Because it isn't there, PDF only, post was approved by Ned, uploaded that image, which is above. --Tim]

  84. Magic Turtle says:

    spence (March 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm)

    ’Good to see you here.

    Regarding your question about increase of solar UV possibly compensating for decrease of IR, were you referring to in-coming IR or out-going? I assume you meant out-going, because if it was in-coming solar, the power in the IR waveband would tend to increase with that in the UV waveband. In that case, according to the greenhouse theory as I understand it, the answer to your question could be ‘yes’. However I think the effect could also be marginal in the case of the Earth because most solar UV tends to be absorbed in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, principally by ozone, where it tends to be re-emitted relatively quickly back out to space.

  85. Dave Springer said:
    “Duke boy kept repeating to me that a non-convecting atmosphere must be isothermal owing to fundamental laws of physics.”

    While I don’t always agree with my ex-colleague from the Duke physics department, he (Robert G. Brown) is right on this question. However it is the wrong question as in real planets it only applies in the non-convective layers of the atmosphere.

    Down in the troposphere where we live, convection and eddies driven by Coriolis forces transfer the heat very efficiently with the result that an adiabatic lapse rate with temperature decreasing with altitude is observed on all planets and moons that have substantial atmospheres.

    If you doubt me, the measurements have been done for Earth, Venus (Magellan and many Venera missions), Titan (Huygens probe) and Jupiter (Galileo HASI experiment).

    A while ago there was an interesting discussion at “Science of Doom”:
    http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/08/16/convection-venus-thought-experiments-and-tall-rooms-full-of-gas/

    A probe that entered Jupiter’s atmosphere in 1995 found a particularly “tall room”. The probe descended through more than 180 km of troposphere before it was destroyed by heat or pressure.
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1998JGR…10322857S

    “Thermal structure of the atmosphere of Jupiter was measured from 1029 km above to 133 km below the 1-bar level during entry and descent of the Galileo probe. The data confirm the hot exosphere observed by Voyager (~900 K at 1 nanobar). The deep atmosphere, which reached 429 K at 22 bars, was close to dry adiabatic from 6 to 16 bars within an uncertainty ~0.1 K/km.”

  86. wayne says:

    gallopingcamel, I am assuming then you also accept the new definition of ‘isothermal’ as Dave was explaining, that, apparently, he and Dr. Brown ended up agreeing on. With that new definition including the graviational potential energy and not merely what a thermometer would measure, I also agree. In that respect, “temperature” itself is relative to the gravitional field strenths. But that then is just isentropic as others were pointing out. Am I reading you right?

    [Reply] Only a tiny term would be relative to the field strength. The much bigger effect is in the gravitational potential of the mass. This is what creates the temperature gradient which is directly proportional to the lapse rate.

  87. tallbloke says:

    Magic Turtle says:
    I was talking about the pure scientific theory of the greenhouse effect that is used not just in warmist-controlled ‘climate science’, but also throughout astronomy and all those other fields of scientific enquiry too where the question of a planet’s surface temperature may be of interest and perhaps critical importance.

    Hi MT, can you give us some examples of where astronomers have used the greenhouse theory to correctly calculate the temperature of other planets please.

    Also, I’d like to know if you intend to reply to my first response to your post where I took issue with your assertion that an alternative theory has to be able to work in a non-GHG atmosphere.

    Magic Turtle says:
    I haven’t yet seen anyone here present a devastating critique of the essential greenhouse theory that exposes any fatal flaws in it that they are sure of and can prove

    I think we have exposed several flaws in the greenhouse theory espoused by the co2 alarmists on this site, including but not limited to:

    The inapplicability of the S-B law in the troposphere – S-B is for radiating surfaces with a vacuum between them, not a roiling mass of convecting gases.

    The misinterpretation of measurements made with Pyrometers – as pointed out in this thread.

    The mistaken assumption that back radiation is absorbed in the ocean – it gets no further than it’s own wavelength and increases evaporation rather than heating the ocean bulk or slowing it’s rate of cooling to any measurable extent.

    Now you may counter by saying these flaws are in the greenhouse theory espoused by co2 alarmists, not the ‘essential greehouse theory’ you believe is used by astronomers, but I think you need to define for us or provide a link to an exposition of the ‘essential greenhouse theory’ you believe to be the correct one which we should be accepting. Otherwise we are likely to end up talking past each other.

    Thanks.

  88. tallbloke says:

    Magic Turtle says:
    the power in the IR waveband would tend to increase with that in the UV waveband.

    This is incorrect.
    Solar UV can vary up to 15% while total solar output varies around 0.1%
    Morover, this variation can be of opposite sign to the simultaneous variation in TSI.

  89. tallbloke says:

    Magic turtle says:
    Then there are the commenters who haven’t misunderstood me, don’t particularly want to ‘correct’ me, nor to teach me either, but who apparently just want to express their own theories and beliefs at this forum.

    Actually, what happened was that after you didn’t respond to the early comments regarding your post, we got sidetracked with other interesting issues.

    you appear to be intellectual revolutionaries without a cause, indulging in revolution for its own sake. And that is not merely reckless and irresponsible but it is ultimately destructive of social order and harmony too.

    Try not to worry too much MT, I doubt anyone will take too much notice of our scientific curiosity and hypothesis testing until we have a quantified theory ready to rock. ;)

    So far as I’m aware, those here investigating the misuse of physics you acknowledge the warmists have been indulging in are trying to be good scientists by closely examining the physics and its applicability which is underpinning the theoretical framework of warmism. This is a perfectly healthy thing for scientists to do and is part of the scientific method.

    I do hope you’ll respond in kind by directly addressing specific points raised in regard to your post rather than continuing to post generalised diatribe comparing sceptics to Mao’s red army. Non-responsiveness is something I regard as bad etiquette in debate.

  90. Truthseeker says:

    Brian H,

    I can see the transposition error that you refer to, but it is with the day time measurements. The subsequent analysis uses night time measurements and observations and neither the 207.04 or 270.04 values appear elsewhere in the paper. I do not see the link between this transposition error and any issues with the subsequent analysis.

    Then again, I missed the transposition error that you have pointed out, so maybe I am missing something else as well …

  91. Doug Cotton says:

    Harry, you are mistaken if you believe radiation from the atmosphere transfers thermal energy to a warmer surface. All it can do is slow the radiative cooling rate, but not the rate of cooling due to evaporation, diffusion and other processes.

    You also have a strange idea about the troposphere not radiating away thermal energy to space.

    Nor did I see any mention of the upwelling backradiation of incident solar IR radiation captured by water vapour, carbon dioxide etc..

    I have spent some 1,000 hours or more researching this and have determined why carbon dioxide has no warming effect and probably a slight net cooling effect.

  92. tallbloke says:

    Truthseeker says:
    March 10, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I would like to start by saying that this post is a tribute to Tallbloke’s commitment to free and open scientific discussion.

    I would also like to say to Magic Turtle that is good to see reasoned argument that is leaving the politicising of science in the dust bin to which it belongs.

    Unfortunately, it’s looks like Magic Turtle has failed to live up to your expectations here:

    Magic Turtle says:
    It is what the Chinese were subjected to under Mao Tse Tung’s Red Guard – perpetual revolution for its own sake. That is what you appear to me to be endeavouring to bring upon the scientific community, no doubt unintentionally but doing it nonetheless.

    If we were “endeavouring” to do what MT accuses us of then it would hardly be unintentional would it? However, after the crocked co2 alarmist theory is thrown out in favour of the better and more complete theory we are building, things will settle down for a while until some other group comes up with an even better theory.
    H/T Thomas Kuhn. ;)

  93. tallbloke says:

    David Appell says:
    March 12, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Stephen Wilde: the atmosphere is not an ideal gas.

    It’s not a vacuum either, but that doesn’t deter radiative theorists from applying the S-B law to it.

    The atmosphere is a lot closer to being an ideal gas than it is to being a vacuum. And Stephen Wilde isn’t the only person to perform calculations on the atmosphere using the ideal gas assumption. Thousands of meteorologists do it too.

    Is their thinking confused too David?

  94. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    David Appell 2:40 am: ‘Back radiation isn’t a radiation field of IR photons streaming in a particular direction. They are streaming in all directions, and the photons measured by a sensor have been scattered just microns above it.

    The distance an IR photon travels before it scatters is going to be…… ~less than a micron.’

    My questioning of the concept of ‘back radiation’ is not that it doesn’t exist, which it does once you shield the 180° radiation that offset it to zero, but that it cannot do thermodynamic work because at the hotter emitter, the statistics give more quanta from the interior than entering the interior from the [IR] density of states which emits and absorbs radiation.

    As an exercise i suggest you look up the classical works by Planck as he wrestled with such physics!

    As for your estimate of mean free path, fine, but that is not a measure of the distance over which IR is absorbed and emitted. The latter is tens of metres.

  95. wayne said, March 12, 2012 at 5:14 am:
    “With that new definition including the graviational potential energy and not merely what a thermometer would measure, I also agree. In that respect, “temperature” itself is relative to the gravitional field strenths. But that then is just isentropic as others were pointing out.”

    You raise an interesting question. Given that the dry adiabatic lapse rate, DALR = C(p)/g one might expect “g” to have some influence on the temperature at a planet’s surface. Yet it is another important parameter that is ignored in N&K’s theory.

    My qualitative rationalization of this is that if one were able to change “g” at a planet’s surface, the DALR would change proportionally and the height of the tropopause would also change, so that the effect on surface temperature would be small.

    The idea that “g” can be ignored is just as remarkable as the idea that the chemical composition of the atmosphere does not matter. Many of us who were trying to improve on the consensus GHG theory were coming to similar conclusions before N&K tied it up in a neat package:
    http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/06/12/venusian-mysteries/#comment-2953

  96. tallbloke says:

    GC: Is gravity ignored in N&Z’s theory? I thought it was implicit in their treatment of pressure over the surface area. Surface pressure is the consequence of the action of gravity on atmospheric mass is it not?

  97. N&K say that surface temperature is determined by TSI and pressure alone, implying that you can ignore everything else.

    If this idea stands up to scrutiny the consequences for the IPCC’s house of cards will be devastating.

  98. tallbloke says:

    If you look at fig 10 on their original poster they show that surface temperature is determine by pressure and TOA insolation in the longer term. i.e. thousands to millions of years

    At centennial scales they also show that fluctuations in the longterm surface temperature are caused by cloud cover variation and other such factors, and at a decadal level by internal oscillations such as ENSO, QBO and so on.

    Their theory still leaves room for a lot of other climate drivers, although they are claiming that pressure and TOA insolation are the overarching variables which set the stage.

  99. I have not expressed myself very well here. N&K don’t “ignore” parameters such as “g” but they have presented an equation for calculating surface temperature that only has one variable (Pressure) once TSI has been determined.

    Simplicity is something one seeks in physics. Remember E=mc^2?

    N&K’s simplification may not be quite as precise as Einstein’s but it may turn out to be useful.

  100. tallbloke said, March 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm:
    “Their theory still leaves room for a lot of other climate drivers, although they are claiming that pressure and TOA insolation are the overarching variables which set the stage.”

    That puts it in a nutshell. At present I am trying to undertand why the other variables such as “g”, Bond albedo, chemical composition, water vapor, clouds, ocean currents, particulates and so on appear to be playing only minor roles.

    I am working on a critique of N&K’s poster which should be ready soon.

  101. Brian H says:

    “Mydogsgotnonose says:
    March 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    So, no net heat energy can ever be transferred from the cooler to the hotter body.”
    All double-talk. Trying to have it both ways. “net” doesn’t mean no receipt and absorption. It just means less in from the cooler body than out towards it. And the two nekked bodies both absorb heat from each other, which will have to be dumped elsewhere so incoming=outgoing overall.

    .

  102. Tenuc says:

    I think Harry Dale Huffman’s extraordinary observation that only the planets average distance from the sun and the atmospheric pressure are needed to compare temperature on Venus vv Earth.

    Result:-

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_99K-sArn07w/TPedH4f2BlI/AAAAAAAAADg/QvonOeJ4w0o/s1600/venus%2Bblog%2B112210%2Bb.JPG

    The Venus atmosphere is 96.5% carbon dioxide, and supposedly superheated due to a runaway greenhouse effect, yet that portion of it within the pressure bounds of the Earth atmosphere is remarkably like the Earth in temperature.

    Occam’s Razor would tend to suggest that this is a better approach than others, with no need to know what happens to the energy while it remains inside the planetary system – this system can be treated as a black-box.

    As to weather/climate I think these are, in broad terms, simply the result of oscillations in the energy transfer processes of earth as these turbulent, non-linear systems strive towards maximum entropy production at the behest of the changing amounts of energy received from our sun. This in turn depending on solar activity, Earth orbital factors and differing density in the solar system and local galactic dust fields.

    Working out the details to facilitate accurate forecasts of future variability is a very hard problem, as spatio-temporal chaos comes into play. This, and a basic lack of understanding of the physical processes involved, is why the Met Office and other weather/climate centres look like incompetent idiots so much of the time, even for seasonal forecasts and the IPCC GCMs have zero predictive power at any time scale.

    This graph from Dr. Nicola Scafetta shows how badly the IPCC models are drifting from reality even after a few years…

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/image33.png

    “As the figure shows, the temperature for Jan/2012 was 0.218 oC, which is a cooling respect to the Dec/2011 temperature, and which is about 0.5 oC below the average IPCC projection value (the central thin curve in the middle of the green area). Note that this is a very significant discrepancy between the data and the IPCC projection.

    On the contrary, the data continue to be in reasonable agreement with my empirical model, which I remind, is constructed as a full forecast since Jan/2000.”

  103. mkelly says:

    David Springer says:
    March 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm
    MKelly

    Energy exchange doesn’t cease when T1=T2. Energy exchange is simply equal in both directions. One object does not stop a remote object from emitting energy nor does it stop a remote object from absorbing energy. All matter with a temperature above absolute zero radiates. Nothing can stop it from radiating. It’s a consequence of charged particles in relative motion and as long as the particles are above absolute zero they are in motion. The only thing that prevents all matter from radiating energy away through constant emission is it is continually absorbing energy from the outside.

    I agree they still radiate, but when T1=T2, w/m^2 is zero ie heat transfer is zero. Again, higher enery state objects do not absorb lower energy state emissions they reflect them.

  104. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Brian H: 3.26 pm: ‘And the two nekked bodies both absorb heat from each other, which will have to be dumped elsewhere so incoming=outgoing overall.’

    Still haven’t got it have you? I’ll explain again. Both bodies absorb radiated energy in their emitting/absorbing densities of states but only for the cooler body is their net transfer of part of that absorbed radiant energy to interior heat energy.

    The proof is very simple; when both bodies are at the same temperature, there can be no conversion of the input energy to heat at either body. Climate science imagines that there is hence it claims that the Stephan-Boltzmann constant is double its real value.

    The failure to understand this most basic physics from Arrhenius onwards has ensured that modern climate science remains a pseudo-science, our version of Lysenkoism because of this new version of Phlogiston.

  105. Magic Turtle says:

    Tallbloke (March 12, 2012 at 7:43 am)

    Hi MT, can you give us some examples of where astronomers have used the greenhouse theory to correctly calculate the temperature of other planets please.

    No, of course not. The greenhouse theory cannot be tested empirically at the present time, as cannot N&Z’s and the other alternative theories that you have been discussing here.

    Also, I’d like to know if you intend to reply to my first response to your post where I took issue with your assertion that an alternative theory has to be able to work in a non-GHG atmosphere.

    Yes. I’m sorry that I have not been able to post my reply before now but I have had a busy weekend in between having stayed up until 1:47am on Saturday to post my article to you and until 3:11am this morning to post my comment above. I apologise for not being able to snap to it with my responses as you appear to expect, but I do have another life to live outside this blog and I can only be in one place at a time.

    I think we have exposed several flaws in the greenhouse theory espoused by the co2 alarmists on this site, including but not limited to:

    The inapplicability of the S-B law in the troposphere – S-B is for radiating surfaces with a vacuum between them, not a roiling mass of convecting gases.

    The S-B law is not restricted in that way inside the atmosphere, which is not dense enough to affect the intensity of radiation emanating from the Earth’s surface significantly, ie. within the error-bands for measurement. The atmosphere might as well be a vacuum for all the difference it makes. We are only dealing with approximate temperatures anyway and that is inevitable because there are countless spatial and temporal variations in the surface temperature. The S-B law applies just fine under these circumstances and this ‘flaw’ that you have perceived in the greenhouse theory is imaginary, not real.

    The misinterpretation of measurements made with Pyrometers – as pointed out in this thread.

    How is the greenhouse theory misinterpreting pyrometer measurements? The greenhouse theory is not dependent on pyrometer measurements in any way. As an idealistic theory it exists on a plane of mind that is divorced from real world measurements. It is a set of interrelated concepts that is all. And why is it a ‘misinterpretation’ of pyrometer measurements to consider them to be measuring IR-radiant intensity in the standard way that they were designed for? Again, your perceived ‘flaw’ in the greenhouse theory seems wholly imaginary to me.

    The mistaken assumption that back radiation is absorbed in the ocean – it gets no further than it’s own wavelength and increases evaporation rather than heating the ocean bulk or slowing it’s rate of cooling to any measurable extent.

    I don’t know why you have chosen to think that back radiation ‘gets no further than its own wavelength’ into the oceans. The Beer-Lambert law applies as much to radiation in clear water as it does to radiation in the atmosphere. But even if what you say is true the oceans are still absorbing it, are they not? And yes, most of the back-radiation that is absorbed by the oceans will go into supplying latent heat of evaporation with only a small proportion going into ‘sensible heat’ of ocean warming. But so what? The principle of the greenhouse theory is unaffected by such complications in the Earth’s particular, highly complex climate system. The principle is supposed to apply to all planets that have greenhouse atmospheres, not just to the Earth, and most of the ones that we know about don’t even have water-oceans on them anyway. Sorry, but this ‘flaw’ that you’ve spotted in the theory isn’t real either.

    Have you perceived any more flaws in the theory, or is that the lot?

    Now you may counter by saying these flaws are in the greenhouse theory espoused by co2 alarmists, not the ‘essential greehouse theory’ you believe is used by astronomers,…..

    No, I don’t think these perceived flaws exist in the warmists’ corrupt greenhouse theory either. As far as I am aware they exist only in your imagination.

    ….but I think you need to define for us or provide a link to an exposition of the ‘essential greenhouse theory’ you believe to be the correct one which we should be accepting. Otherwise we are likely to end up talking past each other.

    Tallbloke, I do not believe that you should be accepting anything that you yourself don’t believe you should accept. I don’t want you to accept the greenhouse theory necessarily and I don’t want you to reject it necessarily either. But it is evident that you have rejected it and therefore I have asked why you have done this, especially in view of your not seeming to be able to express a rational cause for doing it.

    I would define the basic scientific greenhouse theory as the principle of the ‘greenhouse effect’, which I would describe in the following way:

    The greenhouse effect is the action of substances in a planet’s atmosphere that are relatively transparent to short-wave radiation and absorbent of radiation of longer wavelengths, which enables them to transmit most in-coming shortwave radiation and absorb some of the out-going infrared radiation emitted from the surface that would otherwise escape to space. Some of the energy of this absorbed radiance is then transferred back to the surface (by indeterminate means that include back-radiation) where it warms the surface to a temperature above that which the surface would have if those greenhouse substances were not present in the atmosphere.

    This definition is less restricted than the one used by the IPCC (attributed to Houghton, 1990) in two ways. First, the definition above includes all atmospheric substances that have the special radiative property described, such as clouds and aerosols perhaps, whereas the IPCC’s definition specifically includes only ‘trace gases’ (which are not just CO2 of course). Second, my definition above includes the possibility of the absorbed radiant energy being transferred back to the surface by other mediating mechanisms than back-radiation, such as the gravitational lapse, whereas the IPCC’s definition refers only to back-radiation specifically.

    Sorry I haven’t got time to hunt down an original definition on the ’net but if you hunt one down yourself I think you’ll find that it corresponds closely with the one that I’ve given.

  106. Sparks says:

    Roger, (a bit OT, sorry!) just looking for an opinion, Using Excel, I was trying to understand monthly SSN during winter in relation to minimum temps. Does the scale and trend look right in this chart below, I don’t think you are supposed to this but I wanted to see, I thought the monthly SSN as an indicator of solar activity through January and February matched very well with Armagh min temps for march. any criticism is welcome, thanks.

    [1886-2011
    Grey = March tmin
    Blue & Black = January & Febuary ssn
    Left= ssn
    Right= tmin]

  107. tallbloke says:

    Hi Sparks, your graph looks very interesting, but it needs a legend or list of which colours relate to which quantities. Can you just type up a list and let us know what the smoothed grey and blue lines represent as well as the other colours, and what period the smoothing has been done over.

    If one of those blue and black smoothed lines is smoothed jan-feb ssn and the other is Armagh march temps then it’s an exciting result in my view.

  108. Stephen Wilde says:

    MT, given your belief that the ‘consensus’ greenhouse theory is an adequate explanation for observations and your refusal to accept anything said here as an adequate counter to that could you please set out your reason for your oft expressed doubt as to the validity of that theory ?

    You show every sign of being emotionally committed to AGW whilst trying to give us the impression that you are not.

  109. Magic Turtle says:

    Tallbloke (March 12, 2012 at 8:00 am)

    “Then there are the commenters who haven’t misunderstood me, don’t particularly want to ‘correct’ me, nor to teach me either, but who apparently just want to express their own theories and beliefs at this forum.”

    Actually, what happened was that after you didn’t respond to the early comments regarding your post, we got sidetracked with other interesting issues.

    Sorry, but I don’t see how your reply relates to the piece of my text that you are quoting.

    “you appear to be intellectual revolutionaries without a cause, indulging in revolution for its own sake. And that is not merely reckless and irresponsible but it is ultimately destructive of social order and harmony too.”

    Try not to worry too much MT, I doubt anyone will take too much notice of our scientific curiosity and hypothesis testing until we have a quantified theory ready to rock.

    I’m not worrying, Tallbloke. I’m just saying honestly what I see so as to give you some impartial feedback from a point of view that is outside your current frame of reference. I’m trying to help you if you did but know it.

    So far as I’m aware, those here investigating the misuse of physics you acknowledge the warmists have been indulging in are trying to be good scientists by closely examining the physics and its applicability which is underpinning the theoretical framework of warmism. This is a perfectly healthy thing for scientists to do and is part of the scientific method.

    I would agree with you if I thought that this was all that they were doing. I do not doubt their sincerity in trying to be good scientists, but I don’t think it is good scientific practice to attack the underlying physics of the basic scientific greenhouse theory if the thing that you know has gone wrong and needs correcting is the grotesque parody that the warmists have grafted onto it. If you come back from your holiday to find that some psychotic builders have added a new storey to your house, you might want to check the foundations to make sure that they haven’t caused anything amiss there too, but if those look OK surely you would focus on putting things right at the top where they’ve done the damage, not at the bottom which apparently remains intact. Upon inspection the underlying physics of the greenhouse theory appear to be fine so I think we should leave them be and concentrate on taking down that alien warmist superstructure.

    I do hope you’ll respond in kind by directly addressing specific points raised in regard to your post rather than continuing to post generalised diatribe comparing sceptics to Mao’s red army. Non-responsiveness is something I regard as bad etiquette in debate.

    Fear not, I have every intention of responding to everyone’s specific points that are addressed to me. But we turtles are slow creatures so I must beg your patience.

    My reference to Mao’s Red Guard was not intended to insult anyone, but only to point out a real-life example of what revolution for its own sake can lead to in extremis. It is hard to think of anything that could be more wasteful ultimately of life and everything that living people value.

  110. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    The 2nd optical effect I am working on and which supplants the flawed two-stream approximation in the climate models also explains the ‘Glory Phenomenon’. It’s nice to have experimental proof: more later.

  111. Stephen Wilde says:

    (That which) “needs correcting is the grotesque parody that the warmists have grafted onto it. ”

    Please specify what you consider to be that grotesque parody and explain how your suggestion differs from the stance taken by others in this thread.

  112. Sparks says:

    Roger, I appreciate the feedback, the sequence is January ssn -> February ssn -> March tmin

    quick legend until I do an update.
    1886-2011
    Grey = March tmin
    Blue & Black = January & Febuary ssn
    Left= ssn
    Right= tmin

    There is a similar result with December ssn, I noticed when previous monthly ssn remains low the minimum temps for preceding month also remained low and vice versa when when the ssn remained high.

  113. tallbloke says:

    Earlier I asked Magic Turtle:
    “Also, I’d like to know if you intend to reply to my first response to your post where I took issue with your assertion that an alternative theory has to be able to work in a non-GHG atmosphere.”

    MT’s response is:

    Yes. I’m sorry that I have not been able to post my reply before now but I have had a busy weekend in between having stayed up until 1:47am on Saturday to post my article to you and until 3:11am this morning to post my comment above. I apologise for not being able to snap to it with my responses as you appear to expect, but I do have another life to live outside this blog and I can only be in one place at a time.

    MT then spent some time answering other stuff I wrote but still didn’t get around to answering my original point, which I made in my first reply to this thread. No problem, we are all busy people with lives to lead and theories to build. If and when MT gets around to answering my first reply to the post, I’ll try to find the time to get around to answering the rest of the comment.

  114. tallbloke says:

    Sparks: Ah, OK, I missed the grey line on the grey background using this little netbook. I can’t see it except where it crosses other curves. Any chance of changing the background colour, or the temperature curve colour?

  115. Magic Turtle says:

    Truthseeker (10th Mar. 12:02 am)

    “I would also like to say to Magic Turtle that is good to see reasoned argument that is leaving the politicising of science in the dust bin to which it belongs.”

    Thanks Truthseeker. It is good to find someone here who understands where I’m coming from.

    “I may not be a trained physicist (my background is in accounting and IT), but I have been reading enough recently to suggest that there is a probable disconnect between what is happening in the radiative sense and what is happening in the thermal sense. This is where the pro and anti GHG arguments may be talking at cross-purposes.”

    Actually I have often been struck by the thought of how like accounting it is to construct the relevant power-balance equations that apply to the top of the atmosphere and the planetary surface under equilibrium conditions. The books have to balance, that seems to be the key-principle involved to me. So I think your background in accounting could be an advantage to you here.

    Regarding the probable ‘disconnect’ that you perceive, I could not comment without knowing what specifically you are seeing.

    “Maybe you would like to comment on this repeatable experiment;..”

    I don’t have time to consider data and arguments that are off-site, I’m afraid. If you feel that the link is to a relevant argument then if you would care to summarise its key-points briefly here I would be able to consider it and maybe comment then.

  116. Magic Turtle says:

    Stephen Wilde (March 10, 2012 at 12:10 am)

    “that one’s particular anti-greenhouse theory is able to predict planetary surface temperatures better than the greenhouse theory does”
    PV-nRT
    The science behind that predates AGW theory by a long way.

    It is the AGW crowd that needs to explain why the Ideal Gas Law is not sufficient.”

    You were on the wrong page with this comment, I’m afraid. I have not been discussing AGW theory here yet.

  117. Magic Turtle says:

    Mkelly (March 10, 2012 at 12:19 am)

    “Magic Turtle says: “So in order for the IR-transparent non-greenhouse atmosphere to
    warm any higher (and transfer its extra warmth back to the surface to warm it higher in turn) there must be some hitherto unknown property of an atmosphere that enables it to absorb more power from some source other than the surface. What is that property and what is that extra power-source?”

    I was with you until you write sentences like these. Extra warmth? Extra power source? I advise you to write out your ideas in first law equations and radiative heat transfer equations so you can understand where you are wrong.

    I have already written out those equations and they look fine to me. I would ask you to please be specific and state the flaw that you are seeing in them so that I can understand what you are talking about, but I gather from your later comments here that your objection arises from your belief that radiation from a cooler body cannot add heat to a warmer one. I believe David Springer answered your objection correctly on March 11th 1:10pm and I have nothing to add to that.

  118. Magic Turtle says:

    1Dandy Troll (March 10, 2012 at 12:24 am)

    “but who also reject the scientifically-sound principle of the greenhouse theory that the warmists say (wrongly, in my opinion) justifies their cause.”

    How sound can a scientifically-sound principle be if it has been refuted and the refutations never been contradicted?

    How has it been refuted?

    The so called greenhouse effect that is the basis of the so called media frenzied greenhouse theory is so non-existent it needs special environment to exist but even then it’s so minute it, for all practical applications, does not exist.

    I was discussing the theoretical soundness of the greenhouse principle, not the size of the ultimate greenhouse effect.

    There’s one thing serious greenhouse owners in the northern hemisphere know and that is to save electricity when you can, and, apparently, no matter how much GHGs you pump into a greenhouse it does nothing to bump the temperature for practical purposes…..

    Anecdotal reports of this kind are not reports of critical scientific experiments that can determine whether the greenhouse principle is, or is not valid.

    I’ve have come to view the planet’s greenhouse effect as somewhat like the big bang theory, a hypothesis that “everyone” believes in but has yet to be conclusively proven.

    I quite agree. But real science doesn’t attempt to prove theories conclusively anyway. It attempts to ‘falsify’ them and if it can’t do that it retains them until it can. As I understand it the status of the greenhouse theory at present is that it is still unfalsified.

    Does an object become warmer because of the amount of molecules “trapping” heat or because the amount of molecules lead to a higher preassure?

    It is impossible to answer such an assumption-laden question. It is an observable fact that the surfaces of most planets in the solar system are substantially warmer than they would be if they were being warmed only by the radiation that they absorb from the Sun. The scientific challenge is to explain this surface-temperature anomaly. The basic principle of the greenhouse theory offers a possible explanation for it that appears to be consistent with the rest of our existing physics and therefore the scientific community has adopted it provisionally as standard until either the greenhouse theory is falsified by new evidence or a ‘better’ theory involving fewer explanatory principles comes along.

  119. Magic Turtle says:

    tchannon (March 10, 2012 at 2:09 am)

    “the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation emanating from the planetary surface”

    That is wrong. I have repeatedly corrected the notion but it is either ignored or there is sudden silence.

    Sorry tchannon but I don’t recall seeing you make this point before. That may be because I haven’t read all of your comments on every post before this one.

    In any case I think you are mistaken. I think a greenhouse atmosphere is defined as one that absorbs some of the outgoing IR-radiance from the planetary surface. It could not produce a greenhouse effect if it didn’t.

    Correct would be ‘the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation’
    Or.
    ‘the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation emanating from the planetary surface, from the sun and other sources’

    Well of course I could have said those alternative things, but they would not have expressed the key-idea that I was wanting to convey, which was that the absorption of radiation from the surface is crucial to the operation of the greenhouse principle. I was trying to make clear the essential theoretical difference between a greenhouse atmosphere and a non-greenhouse one.

    The GHG column is strongly heated from the top. Quite possibly many are unaware of this because it is omitted from official texts.

    I am familiar with the idea of heating from the top, but I didn’t know it was believed to be strong – at least, not in the case of the Earth. How strong is it, in fact? Do you have a link to a data-source for that?

    In any case though, I don’t think it necessarily presents a problem for the greenhouse theory on the idealistic level on which scientific theories are conceived. That level is populated by all manner of strange entities that have no real-world existence whatsoever. Take the ideal spherical Earth for example. In the actual physical world the Earth is not a perfect sphere, but in the realm of ideals it can be. It is the same with the ideal principle of the greenhouse theory. Ideal GHGs and non-GHGs cannot exist in the real world, but close approximations to them may.

  120. Magic Turtle says:

    gallopingcamel (March 10, 2012 at 3:25 am)

    You call the people who are sceptical about CAGW “anti-greenhouse theorists” and call upon us to show that our theories are superior to the consensus “Climate Science”.

    No, you have misunderstood me. I myself am sceptical about CAGW but I am not an anti-greenhouse theorist – because I am not advocating a theory that contradicts or opposes the greenhouse theory. There are many climate scientists who share my position too, such as Prof. Richard Lindzen and Dr Roy Spencer to name but two examples.

    If we were the ones calling for reshaping the world’s energy policies sources on which our comforts depend while spending trillions of tax dollars I would agree with you.

    Then we are not viewing the situation in the same frame of reference. I am not discussing questions of social policy but questions of scientific theory. They are worlds apart.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you assuming that the warmists own the greenhouse theory? They may have hijacked it but I don’t think that means it belongs to them to make of and do with as they please. It is public intellectual property and I think that means it belongs to all of us by rights. We have as much right to own it as they do.

  121. Magic Turtle says:

    Harry Dale Huffman (March 10, 2012 at 3:58 am)

    Magic Turtle wrote: “… the existing greenhouse theory explains planetary surface warming above the temperature that it otherwise would have if it was warmed by insolation alone”

    That is NOT the “greenhouse effect” that has been, and continues to be, sold to the world’s people. I keep reminding everyone of that FACT, but still articles like this one keep coming out, showing that their authors aren’t listening, and haven’t a clue why we can’t all come together and reasonably agree on what the author thinks the problem is. The greenhouse effect that is being sold to the people is “the (global mean surface) atmospheric temperature increases with an increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide.”

    I agree with you that this version of the greenhouse theory is the one being ‘sold’ to the public by the warmists (although sales don’t seem to be going very well at the moment, I gather – people just aren’t buying it any more apparently). However, if you had actually read my post above before presuming to tell everyone how I am ‘not listening’ and that I ‘haven’t a clue why we can’t all come together and reasonably agree on what the author thinks the problem is’, you would have seen that I am not trying to sell anyone’s version of the greenhouse theory to anyone and that I certainly don’t believe the role of atmospheric CO2 in global warming is anything more than ridiculously trivial. 0.03ºC/century hardly seems anything to get panicky about to me.

  122. Magic Turtle says:

    Stephen Wilde (March 10, 2012 at 8:12 am)

    “the greenhouse atmosphere absorbs IR-radiation emanating from the planetary surface whereas a non-greenhouse atmosphere does not and is totally transparent in the IR-waveband.”

    Then how come the non GHG molecules are all at the ambient temperature of the GHG molecules at every level in the atmosphere ?

    How do you know that they are? Temperature is the average kinetic energy of the molecules, not their individual temperatures necessarily. Under normal conditions, the individual molecules of a gas are thought to be moving around at different speeds and to be transferring kinetic energy to one another via radiative transfers and intermolecular collisions. Electrical exchanges also play a part. Once the molecules of a GHG get mixed up with those of a non-GHG they cease to have a separate existence as a GHG and participate in the general energy-sharing along with all the others. I suppose one could determine the mean temperatures of the individual GHG components of the atmosphere if their radiances could be distinguished well-enough from those of all the other components, but I don’t know if that has ever been done.

  123. Magic Turtle says:

    Hans (March 10, 2012 at 8:30 am)

    Our thinking seems to be running along very similar lines.

    It can be proven and has been proven that there exist physical processes that aren´t included in the IPCC opinion of how “greenhouse gases” impact on the temperature of the atmosphere and the surface of earth.

    Indeed so.

    What we are witnessing at an almost global level is the birth of a new religion. This religion rejects scientific methods and the result of scientific methods as they have been formulated since the Age of Enlightenment starrted. We seem to be leaving that period when many scientist turns into believers instead of allowing and applying the old scientific methods and standards.

    This is exactly the problem that I see too. To me this reversion to pre-Enlightenment dogmatism is the most alarming aspect of the AGW-controversy because it appears to constitute a retrograde step in our cultural development. The people who are falling in with this movement can come to no good by it, in my view.

  124. Magic Turtle says:

    Wayne (March 10, 2012 at 8:38 am)

    I think everyone who knows the least about science knows that GHGs absorb infrared radiation. So what?

    It’s not just that GHGs absorb IR. It’s also that they are transparent to shorter wavelengths. This means that they will let visible sunlight through to the surface to warm it and will absorb only the IR-radiation emanating from the warmed surface on its way out to space, thereby capturing some of it and then returning some of this captured energy to the surface by way of radiation and the gravitational lapse.

    I also think co2 has next to zero effect unless we were to magnify its concentration many times over again…

    Me too.

    I almost bet you are one who thinks if you were to take a gigantic hemispheric bubble the size of a large city, filled with only non-GHGs, and lit a huge fire in the center, ignoring convection and conduction, that this bubble’s temperature would not change over time. I almost bet that….

    I’m afraid you would lose any such bet so I advise you not to make it.

  125. Magic Turtle says:

    Stephen Richards (March 10, 2012 at 9:30 am)

    “because the essential greenhouse principle that the warmists have hijacked and perverted to their political advantage appears to be sound and well-supported by modern physics to me.”

    You need to separate in your mind global warming and greenhouse effect…..

    I already have done. The warmists have not, however, and they are treating global warming as an automatic, one-to-one, cause-effect consequence of the greenhouse effect. The original greenhouse theory does not imply this automatic consequence though and therefore I think they have gone beyond known science in asserting it. But they will not admit that of course and for that reason I say that they have hijacked the theory – they are claiming that it supports their beliefs when it doesn’t. It is sheer demagoguery in my eyes.

    …. The quantum mechanical model behind radiative transfer and therefore the greenhouse effect is a model. At the moment, it mimics well enough, the real world but because radiative absorption and transfer may be well modeled warming of the planet derived from the radiative model is not. I’m not talking about the climate model either I’m talking about real mathematical and physical models. It would be very difficult for me as a physicist to agree that CO² warms the planet and I use Planet very carefully. The oceans absorp and absorb the vast majority of energy striking the planet and give it back through convection and evaporation (mostly). Lastly, evaporation cools and cools markedly and very quickly.

    The climate models, so adored by the climate technicians, are at the very best poor at the worst, completely futile and a waste of our money.

    I absolutely agree. Many good points there. Thanks for making them.

    (March 10, 2012 at 9:41 am ): http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=9264
    Another read for you. Please read and inwardly digest.

    (March 10, 2012 at 9:42 am): http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=9264
    another read.

    Ghahh! Have mercy, please! I already have more than enough reading matter to occupy me full-time for the rest of my life! Sorry, but I really don’t have time for all the off-site reading that some of you folks here want me to do. I am willing to consider arguments that commenters put to me here but I cannot go off-site to do general background reading on matters relating tangentially to the thread topic.

  126. Magic Turtle says:

    Tallbloke (March 10, 2012 at 9:42 am)

    A radiative property is a physical attribute inherent to certain species of matter. ‘Greenhouse’ is not a physical property, it is a description laden with extra theoretical baggage.

    ‘Greenhouse’ certainly is a physical property in the greenhouse theory that I’ve been talking about. It is the theoretical property of an atmosphere whereby it is able to absorb out-going IR-radiation from the surface and return it to the surface. The way in which it works is supposed to be explicit in the theory and as far as I am aware all of it is. So I don’t know what you mean by ‘extra theoretical baggage’ here.

    It’s perfectly possible to construct an alternative theory which, while replacing the existing greenhouse effect theory, nonetheless relies on the real world presence of gases with radiative properties in the real atmosphere.

    It may be possible to construct such a theory and to replace the greenhouse theory with it in your mind, but it is another thing entirely to replace it in the minds of the physics community. There are still rules to follow in doing that in spite of the efforts of the post-normalists to politicise and disperse them.

    A theory which applies to our real world does not as MT claims, have to be able to work in a GHG-free, cloud-free atmosphere,…

    It does if you want to prove its validity to other people. But if you don’t want to do that, no problem I guess.

    The point of doing that is to show that the effect is independent of the greenhouse effect. N&Z’s ‘empirical’ proof of their theory falls down precisely on this point because all of the planets and moons with atmospheres to which they have applied their theory have greenhouses gases in them. There isn’t one that doesn’t! The possibility still exists then that the planets’ and moons’ surface temperatures are being warmed above their computed insolation levels by greenhouse gases instead of by the means that N&Z’s theory proposes. The greenhouse theory predicts that a planet with a non-greenhouse atmosphere should have a surface temperature determined by its insolation alone whereas N&Z’s theory, which says that GHGs have no more effect than non-GHGs, predicts that the surface temperature will be higher because of a ‘pressure enhancement’ effect. We need to find a planet with a non-greenhouse atmosphere and measure its actual surface temperature in order to discover which theory is correct (if either of them are).

    …. because the gases with radiative properties claimed by proponents of the greenhouse theory to be ‘greenhouse gases’ are in fact just gases with radiative properties.

    It is precisely their special radiative properties that defines and distinguishes them as ‘greenhouse gases’. Without having those they would not be ‘greenhouse gases’.

    MT’s argument rests on the shamanistic idea that by naming something, one gains power over it.

    No it doesn’t. My argument rests on the common-sense idea that you need to be clear and consistent in making your definitions and carry out critical experiments, either in the real world or as thought experiments in the mind, to help you determine how you should expect different kinds of atmospheres to behave.

    By renaming water vapour and carbon dioxide as ‘greenhouse gases’ the warmista attempt to claim exclusive use of them and deny them to other theorists with alternative propositions.

    Maybe that is what they are doing, but I assure you that it is not what I am doing.

    So powerful has this meme ‘Greenhouse gas’ become, that false arguments such as the one MT proposes here have become stock-in-trade methods by which warmists dispose of opposing argument.

    What is ‘false’ about my argument? You haven’t said.

    “They’re MY greenhouse gases and YOU can’t play with them.”

    I am not saying that. They’re public property as far as I’m concerned and I am not trying to stop anyone from playing with them. However, I think you chose voluntarily not to play with them when you rejected the basic greenhouse theory. I haven’t tried to stop you.

  127. Magic Turtle says:

    David Springer (March 10, 2012 at 11:02 am)

    There is a fundamental mistake being made by anyone saying something like this in the OP:

    “existing greenhouse theory explains planetary surface warming above the temperature that it otherwise would have if it was warmed by insolation alone”

    Let’s be clear here. There is no significant source of warming aside from insolation. Nothing that doesn’t generate additional energy can raise the surface temperature.

    I don’t think the one making the fundamental mistake here is I. The existing greenhouse theory does not deny that insolation is the only significant primary source of power. It postulates the surface radiance as a secondary source of power, not a primary one.

    The earth’s surface (discounting magma reaching the surface or the tiny amount of energy that leaks through the crustal rocks from the core) cannot reach a temperature higher than that of a perfect black body. This is an uncomfortably high temperature.

    The greenhouse theory does not identify the global mean surface temperature of the Earth as the maximum possible black body temperature that is attainable in any locality on Earth. I think you are making some wrong assumptions about the theory here.

  128. Magic Turtle says:

    Tallbloke (March 10, 2012 at 12:26 pm)

    Another key sentence in MT’s essay is this one:

    “I think the institution of science is one of the central pillars of civilization that needs to be preserved and continually perfected throughout time if civilization is to flourish.”

    I for one fully agree that the institution of science needs to be preserved if civilisation is to flourish. But this does not mean we have to preserve or ‘continually perfect’ any particular theory which is produced from within the ‘institutions of science’.

    I quite agree. When a theory has become obsolete I think it should be discarded in favour of a better one.

    First of all, ‘the institution of science’ is not to be confused with ‘the institutions of science’. The ‘institution of science’ is a set of guiding principles, not a collection of buildings, roles, funding streams and currently fashionable methods, or currently generally accepted theories.

    Yes, absolutely!

    Secondly, you can only get so far ‘perfecting’ fundamentally flawed theories. Additional epicycles explaining away serious problems such as the 800-2800 year lag between changes in temperature at the beginning and end of ice ages and the corresponding changes in co2 levels are just sophistry. They save the theory for a while, but eventually the other big flaws add up to an overwhelming case for discarding the theory and working with a better one,….

    Yes, but there is a natural evolutionary process at work here whereby the need for a new theory becomes compelling after a while and we cannot shortcut that maturation process. It is something that nature is in control of, not us. The Ptolemaic theory of epicycles served European society well for more than a thousand years and it was only when the techniques of astronomical measurement became good enough to detect regular inexplicable discrepancies between the predictions of the theory and actual astronomical observations of the movements of the planets that the need for a new theory became compelling. And when it did, Galileo came along with a new theory that answered the pre-existing need. Likewise, when Einstein came along with his theory of relativity, that also answered a pre-existing need that was compelling, namely to resolve the paradox implied in the observation by Michelson and Morley in 1898 that the velocity of the Earth relative to the ‘ether’ through which it was supposed to be moving appeared to be zero.

    It is perhaps significant that Einstein also came up with numerous other theoretical advances that generally have not been accepted by the scientific community in practice although it does pay lip-service to them now and again. For example his General Theory of Relativity that came after the Special Theory which resolved the Michelson-Morley paradox implies not only that Galileo was correct in saying that the Earth revolved around the Sun but also that the pre-Galileans were equally correct to say that the Sun went around the Earth! It’s all a question of where you fix your ‘frame of reference’, you see.

    My point in saying all this is that for a new theory to be taken up by people and clutched to their breasts as it were, it must answer a pre-existing need. Otherwise they will not really want it and will find reasons to ignore or reject it, even if they say they have accepted it as per Einstein. And the hard fact of the matter for would-be proposers of alternatives to the greenhouse theory is that there is no compelling need for one at the present time.

    …such as that explained in the previous post on the new theory of climate, and enlarged on by Dave Springer in his first comment on this thread.

    Neither of these disagree with the basic physics,..

    I suspect that they do. Unless they can explain how the Earth’s atmosphere is absorbing about 153 W/sq.m of power from the 390 W/sq.m radiating from the surface and recycling it back to the surface so that 237 W/sq.m is leaving the TOA in perfect balance with the incoming insolation all without the aid of atmospheric greenhouse agents, I think they will definitely be in disagreement with the current basic physics. And they will also need to explain why the perceived greenhouse agents are NOT recycling that amount of power back to the surface too, because the current basic physics lead us to expect them to be doing precisely that.

    ….but take a more realistic look at the true real world situation, and have additional explanatory power, regarding the lag of several months between changes in sea surface temperature and the matching changes in lower tropospheric temperature for example.

    I’m afraid people will not be interested in the additional explanatory power of your alternative theory if it does not have greater fundamental explanatory power that the existing greenhouse theory is perceived to have. Those will be regarded as selling points, not must-have properties.

  129. tallbloke says:

    MT says:
    Fear not, I have every intention of responding to everyone’s specific points that are addressed to me. But we turtles are slow creatures so I must beg your patience.

    You sell yourself short. For a turtle, you’ve been troddling up and down the keyboard at a pretty impressive rate for the last hour and a half. :)

    My thanks for your reply to my initial response, I’ll sleep on that and reply in the morning.

  130. Magic Turtle,

    While I find Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer convincing most of the time, they make me squirm a little when they talk about the warming caused by traces of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    I am more inclined to the opinions of Nikolov & Zeller who say that chemical composition is not an important factor determining surface temperatures. It matters very little whether CO2 or methane or water vapor absorb strongly at certain wavelengths in regions of the atmosphere where convective processes are dominant. The convection and processes involving latent heat dominate so radiation rarely has a significant effect.

    When convection is abnormally low the lapse rate can invert even in the lower atmosphere. We all know that on a clear, still night the ground cools strongly through direct radiation to space leading to a temperature inversion. Quite often the result is fog or even freezing rain:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inversion_%28meteorology%29

    Once you get above the tropopause radiative processes dominate so the lapse rate will usually be “inverted”.

  131. tchannon says:

    “I am familiar with the idea of heating from the top, but I didn’t know it was believed to be strong – at least, not in the case of the Earth. How strong is it, in fact? Do you have a link to a data-source for that?”

    http://www.spacewx.com/solar_spectrum.html

    A body at 5500K radiates more strongly at all wavelengths than a body at 300K. This goes right across the GHG at the top. This should block the columns to varying degrees and should be subtracted from heating.
    If you really want some information there are plots already on the Talkshop.

    Could probably figure out a compare plot.

    You have quoted a definition of the greenhouse effect. I reject it as an incomplete specification.

  132. Magic Turtle says:

    Zeke (March 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm)

    “The takeover by AGW was simple and seemingly effortless.

    They say “corruptio optimi pessima,” the corruption of the best is the worst. But I don’t think that’s what we have here. There was no real opposition in the sciences to this pandemic error, proving that they had not the means to oppose it.”

    That is so true and very startling. I think something must have happened to the sciences to remove their traditional self-correcting faculty – the negative feedback mechanism that should have operated to weed out the errors, illusions, delusions and deliberate disinformation that have been fostered and nurtured instead until they have grown into the crazed Frankenstein monster of the CAGW-cult that is now confronting us. I think I know what happened to the sciences to do that to them as well – post-normalism.

  133. Michael Hart says:

    MT,
    One of my objections to the “Greenhouse Theory” is that, as Tallbloke alluded, the term can cause more confusion and dispute than it actually resolves. The term generates more heat than light. Especially amongst those that actually know more about the physics than does the average lay person. I’m not surprised that so many people think the common ‘consensus’ explanation appears to break the 2nd Law. The “Greenhouse” term works well for politicians, MSM, or others with something to explain or sell to the electorate, but it has also wasted a lot of people’s time.
    Some people, of course, enjoy argument for it’s own sake. Others such as myself have doubts about how the physics is applied and what has been omitted, not the so-called “basics.” Beer’s law and matter absorbing electromagnetic radiation resulting in increased temperatures is not something I dispute or see disputed. Yet why do so many people argue as if this is somehow the mainstay of the ‘sceptics’ objections? I quite frequently read what “sceptics think” or “even the sceptics accept…”. I have to say that some of your words also seem to approaching from that perspective. I suspect that by using the G-word some people lull themselves into thinking that is a straightforward step or three between a quartz cuvette in an undergraduate IR-measurement lab, to everything-else-that-must-follow’.

    Concatenating explanations can save time, but it can also pay dividends to first invest some time in the details. It was quite a long way down in this thread before I felt I had any real understanding of what you thought “Greenhouse Theory” meant.
    For the record, I prefer the explanations often given by Leonard Weinstein such as can be found at The Science of Doom blog. He opines that “back radiation” is an effect, not the cause, of increased temperature in an atmosphere where the greenhouse effect is operating.

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2012/01/05/kramm-dlugi-on-dodging-the-greenhouse-bullet/

    Much of that thread seems well worth the time to read and, as I understand it, his explanations appear in agreement with people here like MDGNN and Dave Springer. For sure, it may not be complete, and not everyone will agree on every point. But there does not have to be one “best” explanation that helps people avoid arguing round in circles, though it’s quite normal to desire one. I don’t agree with everything on TB’s blog, but I find it’s generally pleasant and interesting. I have greater doubts, [too long to list here], and other competencies [rather shorter], to spend a lot of time rationalising planetary lapse rates.

    And if I feel the need to get insulted or patronised and disagree with AGW proponents then, well, there’s no shortage of places to do that. :) And when I feel duty calls, I can trudge wearily over to the BBC Science & Environment & Climate & Environmental-Politics & Environmental-disEconomics & Climate and Environmental-anything-else-we-can-Climate-think-of-page.

  134. Michael Hart says:

    If you’re not aware, I should add that Leonard Weinstein is not the blog host at Science of Doom. I think he does have one, but the name escapes me at the moment.

  135. Truthseeker says:

    Magic Turtle says:

    March 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    “Regarding the probable ‘disconnect’ that you perceive, I could not comment without knowing what specifically you are seeing.”

    Proponents of the “greenhouse” effect invariably talk about the way that CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere block or absorb IR wavelength radiation. Spectrometry observations confirm this.

    Oppenents of the “greenhouse” effect point to the lack of any observable temperature effect based on atmospheric composition as shown by comparing Earth to Venus at equivalent levels of air pressure (Huffman) or other planets to each other at all levels (Nikolov and Zeller), and others (see Wayne’s comment at March 10 at 8:38am).

    Radiation does not equal heat. Therefore saying one causes the other is not only logically wrong and theoretically wrong, it is (more importantly) observably wrong.

    If you want to say that the atmosphere holds heat because it has mass, then go right ahead. This is NOT the “greenhouse” effect that is being generally spouted. The term “greenhouse” was incorrect to start with and has been ruined beyond any point of usefulness in any discussion of the physics of what is occurring. Choose another term and define it. The term “greenhouse” itself should be thrown into the dust bin unless you are talking about growing plants.

  136. Magic Turtle says:

    johanna (March 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm)

    “I am not qualified to comment on the technical aspects of this discussion. But I am a long term student of the history of science, and practitioner in public policy at the interface of science and government, and crave your indulgence on those aspects of the Turtle’s interesting post.”

    And thanks for your interesting response johanna.

    “ Firstly, I agree with Tallbloke that science is not an institution. It is a methodology which has generated a body of work.”

    I was meaning that science is an ‘institution’ of civilization in the same sense that marriage is said to be one, ie. that it is an essential cultural activity that is practiced by all civilized societies regardless of the regions of time and space that they may occupy. If a society hasn’t got science, it isn’t truly civilized to my mind.

    “Which brings me to genetics, which provides some useful context for the climate science discussion. Like climate science, genetics is bedevilled with ideological agendas, junk science, scaremongering and politics. Like climate science, it promises to unravel the fundamentals of our past and future existence on this planet. It simultaneously offers salvation and Armageddon.

    It is worth reiterating that eugenics,….

    The trouble was, apart from the ethical issues, the science it was based on was mostly rubbish. Many of the characteristics identified as being undesirable were not heritable,….

    Fast forward to the present day, and we have furious disputes about GM food,…. This kind of thinking is, in a way, a legacy of eugenics. More generally, it demonstrates how the lot of a genuine and ethical scientist in a contested field is not a happy one.”

    Yes, indeed. I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately scientific ethics, which never were clearly defined, seem to be becoming just ever more indefinite with each new technical advance, especially in the life-sciences. Science used to be about the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, but these days it seems to be more about the pursuit of new technical capabilities, ie. power. I think the pursuit of power is naturally hostile to ethical constraints and with power-seekers in control of the sciences, there’s always bound to be just more and more trouble coming down the pipeline. More latterly, science appears to have taken on another decadent role too – that of providing the justifying technobabble to support political programs of social engineering and control. But the ambitions of the new technocrats don’t stop even there, of course. Now they want to re-engineer the world with ‘geoengineering’. We’ve got genies coming out of bottles all over the place. The man-made global warming charade is just one of them, I fear.

    “I must respectfully disagree with the Turtle’s view that only an alternative hypothesis can clean out the mucky stable that is modern climate science…….”

    So must I, Johanna, because it isn’t my view. I think the only thing that can clean out the Augean Stables that science has become is a massively popular rediscovery of the quest for absolute knowledge of reality. Modern science has been overwhelmed by relativism in my view and it has lot sight of, and lost touch with absolute reality. I think modern scientists generally are trapped inside a nihilistic worldview in which absolute knowledge of anything is absolutely impossible, which is a self-contradiction of course but most of them appear unable to see that.

  137. Magic Turtle says:

    Tallbloke (March 12, 2012 at 7:45 am)

    Magic Turtle says:
    “the power in the IR waveband would tend to increase with that in the UV waveband.”

    This is incorrect.
    Solar UV can vary up to 15% while total solar output varies around 0.1%
    Morover, this variation can be of opposite sign to the simultaneous variation in TSI.

    My statement was not incorrect. I was referring to a tendency, not a fixed 1:1 correlation. It is only an underlying tendency however (from Planck’s Law of black body radiation) and I wouldn’t have mentioned it if it was not the only means I could think of to decide whether Spence’s question related to in-coming or out-going IR.

  138. David Appell says:

    tallbloke says:
    And Stephen Wilde isn’t the only person to perform calculations on the atmosphere using the ideal gas assumption. Thousands of meteorologists do it too.

    Is their thinking confused too David?

    Meterologists are concerned with macroscopic properties of the atmosphere and so don’t consider the effects of radiative transfer. In that case the ideal gas law is good enough. They are trying to explain weather and the movement of large systems, not the energy balance on the planet.

  139. David Appell says:

    Tenuc says:
    I think Harry Dale Huffman’s extraordinary observation that only the planets average distance from the sun and the atmospheric pressure are needed to compare temperature on Venus vv Earth.

    Huffman’s calculation ignores albedos! That’s not justifiable.

    His calculated ratio of temperatures is simply

    T(V)/T(E) = sqrt(rE/rV) = 1.176

    where rV and rE are the orbital distances from the Sun for Venus and Earth.But this is just the standard calculation for a planetary temperature in the absence of a greenhouse effect, done long ago and repeated on this blog many times now, such as that for Tp on this page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-body_radiation#Temperature_relation_between_a_planet_and_its_star

    Huffman’s result follows by setting (1-alpha)/emissivity for each planet either
    1) equal to each other (so their ratio is one), or
    2) setting alpha=0 and emissivity=1 for each planet.

    Neither is physically justifiable. All he’s found is a numerical coincidence that happens to hold at one particular set of {p,T}. For example, at 500 mb the author’s theory predicts a Venus temperature of 296 K, but it’s actually 283 K. He himself notes that his predictions for Venus fail at many pressure levels (300-600 mb), but that is a large failure for a theory.

    You can do the same calculation for Mars, which receives a power per unit area of 0.43 that of Earth and Huffman’s theory predicts has a radiating temperature of

    T(M)/T(E) = sqrt(rE/rM) = 0.81

    Mar’s surface atmospheric pressure averages 6.4 mb, which in the Earth is at an altitude of 34.1 km (see the calculator at http://www.digitaldutch.com/atmoscalc/) with an average temperature of 234 K. So Huffman’s theory predicts a Martian surface temperature of 190 K, but it’s actually 201 K. And unlike his hand waving arguments about convection on Venus (an argument that violates conservation of energy, because energy can’t both be reflected from the planet *and* absorbed in its atmosphere), Mars has a very thin atmosphere and so there’s little convection there. And so on.

  140. tallbloke says:

    In his original post MT said this:

    “Demonstrating the superior virtue of an alternative to the greenhouse theory entails more than just explaining how the new theory works. It also entails explaining clearly how it works independently of the greenhouse effect that the alternative theory is eschewing. This means that one must show how it is thought to work in a totally GHG-free, cloud-free atmosphere that has no greenhouse properties whatsoever. And so far, I have not seen any anti-greenhouse theories do this.”

    This is a sciency sounding argument but it contains a couple of logical fallacies.

    1) It assumes that the radiative greenhouse effect is proven, which it isn’t.
    2) It states that an alternative theory “must show how it is thought to work in a totally GHG-free, cloud-free atmosphere”. MT later reinforces this by saying:
    “The point of doing that is to show that the effect is independent of the greenhouse effect. N&Z’s ‘empirical’ proof of their theory falls down precisely on this point”

    One of the main difficulties of doing climate science is that we only have one Earth and it’s too big to fit in a lab, is full of confounding variables, and is never in equilibrium. MT’s complaint about Nikolov and Zeller’s theory is of course equally applicable to greenhouse theory. The greenhouse effect in the real atmosphere can’t be shown to be independent from the effect of gravity on atmospheric mass. So we have to use other tools in the scientific method toolbox to help us decide which is the better theory.

    MT suggests that parsimony is important:
    “his next task is to show that his alternative theory does explain it adequately with fewer basic principles or the same number in accordance with Occam’s Razor. (In fact the existing GH-theory purports to explain it with only one principle – the ‘greenhouse effect’”

    Well anyone can make up a name which encapsulates a theory. I could equally say that the alternative theory we are proposing explains planetary surface warming with only one principle – the ‘gravito-thermal effect’, but this leaves us none the wiser. We have to see how many variables are involved and how universally the theory can be applied.

    N&Z do well in this respect, they have successfully calculated the surface temperature of eight solar system bodies using two variables (distance from Sun and surface pressure) and four constants. With the extension to their work made with our addition of a surface pressure effect on the ocean as well as their surface pressure effect on near surface air temperature, the conceptual underpinning of their theory is further improved.

    Greenhouse theory on the other hand needs distance from Sun, ‘effective radiating height’ (calculated from a demonstrably incorrect grey body temperature), albedo, S-B law (the applicability of which is disputed in convecting atmospheres), radiative transfer models, a set of unrealistic assumptions about the properties of the surfaces involved, and so on. With all this it obtains a temperature for Earth’s surface. But despite numerous attempts, the same set of assumptions and equations fail to produce the surface temperature of Venus, without employing the decoupling of convection from radiation in the model, and the insertion of fudge factors to get the numbers to add up.

    In short, it’s a crock of a theory.

    In his later reply to the objections to MT’s argument I raised in my original comment on this thread, MT says:

    “It may be possible to construct such a theory and to replace the greenhouse theory with it in your mind, but it is another thing entirely to replace it in the minds of the physics community. There are still rules to follow in doing that in spite of the efforts of the post-normalists to politicise and disperse them.”

    I’ll just point out to MT that the rules that need to be followed have been disregarded by the greenhouse theorists themselves, and since they cling to their failed theory despite multiple proofs showing the atmospheric greenhouse theory to be falsified, I personally don’t hold much hope of replacing anything in the climatologists minds, which have long been closed. They (and MT it seems) regard any attempt by ‘outsiders’ to improve our understanding of the way physical processes operate in our climate systems as an ‘assault on science’. In fact, our new theory doesn’t need to rely on falsifying the radiative greenhouse theory, because if we are correct, it is very much a second order effect anyway, and of no great concern in the bigger scheme of planetary science. I think the prospect of their pet theory being made irrelevant probably enrages ‘the climate community’ more than a competing theory which aims to confront the radiative greenhouse theory as an equal force however. :)

    MT himself has been doing the politicising in this thread, and I am unswayed by the namecalling and unfavourable comparisons of sceptics to red army thugs because the new theory we are working on adheres to classical scientific method in its construction and hypothesis testing. Konrads empirical experiment showing the temperature increase in a pressurised vessel subjected to solar radiation supports our theoretical work.

    If ‘the physicists community’ choose to ignore our theory and empirical results for whatever reason, it’s their loss, and they will continue to labour under their delusions to their own detriment. ‘The physics community’ is not ‘the institution of science’. By ignoring requests to replicate Konrad’s and Roderick Graeff’s experiments under certified lab controlled conditions, they are making an irrelevance of themselves, and losing the confidence of the increasingly (due to blogs such as this one) well informed public.

    As Einstein said:

    “Experimentum summas judex”

  141. Chris M says:

    From MT’s head post:

    “It is already possible to show quite simply, straightforwardly and easily, on the basis of the IPCC’s own data, that greenhouse warming from humanity’s CO2-emissions cannot be happening faster than at the rate of about 0.03ºC per century, which is undetectable with present techniques of measurement.”

    Please Magic Turtle, do tell! I may have missed where you explained it, but IMHO it would be a much more positive contribution than most of the dreary, pedantic and dismal verbiage above. (Sorry!) Most of us do understand the principle of LWIR absorption and re-emission as explained for example by Dr Roy Spencer on his site (clearly a very decent gentleman btw, as I expect you are as well). But that isn’t the point is it? The point is to break the nexus between CAGW and the greenhouse effect, a politically-motivated “consensus” which is in defiance of the data. You present yourself as having expertise in this field, and if so it would be helpful to know in what general sense, e.g. PhD in ?

    I say this as a climate outsider, a tertiary and post-graduate educated professional who is alarmed at the way do-gooding (as they seem to see it) societal elites throughout the West are setting us up for destruction. It is a truly awful situation, which must somehow be reversed. Without the internet the MSM (the vast majority of them) may have gotten away with pushing government propaganda, as big-end of towners who share privileged lifestyles. Honesty and basic decency is ebbing away, imho. I am not as sanguine as Pointman that the skeptics have already won. So I would ask that you contribute more positively with your expertise. It doesn’t really matter that some people dispute classical greenhouse theory, if as you believe the effect is insignificant!

  142. Doug Cotton says:

    Tallbloke says: In short, it’s a crock of a theory.

    Indeed it is, but when trying to persuade physicists that this is the case we have to present sound arguments based on the physics they recognise. In general, it is no good, I believe, bringing in issues of other planets which are so different the physicists will just fob it all off to astrophysicists or whoever. In short, we need to talk heat transfer theory as in radiation, conduction, diffusion, convection and evaporative cooling.

    There has been discussion above about what happens when radiation meets radiation with the surface and atmosphere radiating at each other. Yes, the radiation does exist, but radiation from cooler sources merely resonates and gets immediately emitted again without being converted to thermal energy and thus not violating the Second Law.

    However, every physicist knows than one blackbody close to another can in fact slow the rate of radiative cooling. This is where the proponents of the greenhouse effect stop and claim victory.

    But should they? First of all, we are primarily concerned with carbon dioxide. But carbon dioxide gas does not radiate like a true blackbody, because quantum mechanics tells us it can only radiate at certain frequencies, and spectroscopy confirms this.

    Hence, when it comes to carbon dioxide having any slowing effect on the rate of cooling due to radiation from the surface, all it is doing is holding up a few cricket stumps against a full blown flood of radiation from the surface which is not only warmer, but also far more complete in its spread of frequencies right across the relevant Planck curve.

    Water vapour molecules do quite a bit better than carbon dioxide molecules because they have more frequencies. And they outnumber carbon dioxide molecules even 50 times or more when the relative humidity is high. So, just because the surface cools more slowly on moist nights, does not mean that carbon dioxide is having any significant effect – clearly water vapour is doing more than 99% of the job, and that’s why we notice a difference when relative humidity is high. Carbon dioxide may well have to be hundreds of times more prevalent to bring about a similar effect.

    But, even when the radiative cooling is slowed down, then, perhaps later in the night or even the next morning, the cooling by evaporation will be faster because of the greater temperature gap at the interface of the surface and atmosphere. Likewise diffusion (molecular collision) processes may step up their rate of transfer. Radiation from the atmosphere can have no effect on these other transfer processes, because there is no additional thermal energy transferred to the surface – just a resonating effect which reduces outward radiation.

    There are also processes whereby water vapour and carbon dioxide can, and do, absorb some of the high energy infra-red radiation from the Sun, all of which carries more energy per photon than the lower frequency and thus lower energy IR radiation from the surface. Some of this solar radiation will then be radiated back to space in SW-IR upwelling backradiation, thus cooling.

    Hence the overall effect of carbon dioxide is almost certainly a cooling one, but we do need to concede a GHE for water vapour, which has been around since the formation of the Earth.

    Make it enough, folks, to debunk AGW, and avoid fighting unwinnable fights over GHE, other planets and temperature trends.

  143. Magic Turtle says:

    Stephen Wilde (March 12, 2012 at 8:14 pm)

    MT, given your belief that the ‘consensus’ greenhouse theory is an adequate explanation for observations…

    That’s not my belief.

    and your refusal to accept anything said here as an adequate counter to that…

    You seem still to be confusing the essential scientific theory of the greenhouse effect at the ideal conceptual level that I have been talking about with the fraudulent warmist theory that is claimed to be based upon it (but isn’t really in my view). I endorse the former and denounce the latter. I hope this is clear now.

    could you please set out your reason for your oft expressed doubt as to the validity of that theory?

    I have many reasons both for doubting the warmist false theory and for rejecting it outright as fraudulent twaddle. There are too many of them to rehearse here and now but I will try to explain the main ones in my reply to your next post below.

  144. Magic Turtle says:

    Stephen Wilde (March 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm)

    (That which) “needs correcting is the grotesque parody that the warmists have grafted onto it.”

    Please specify what you consider to be that grotesque parody and explain how your suggestion differs from the stance taken by others in this thread.

    Thanks for asking this question. I was hoping that somebody would.

    Let me start by describing the original, essential greenhouse theory that I have been saying is genuinely consistent with the laws of physics and which Chris M has aptly termed the ‘classical greenhouse theory’.

    The Classical Greenhouse Theory

    The fundamental greenhouse theory that I have been saying is scientifically sound and in accord with well-tried and tested physics is the idea that substances in a planet’s atmosphere which possess the special radiative property of being relatively transmissive of shortwave radiation and relatively absorbent of longwave radiation will cause warming of the planet’s surface by absorbing outgoing longwave radiation emitted by the surface that would otherwise be lost to space and returning some of that back to the surface by back-radiation and other possible means such as the gravitational lapse.

    I could explain it in much greater depth and detail for now but since you have already protested at the length of my ‘verbiage’ as you call it, I think I’ll leave it there for now.

    The Warmist Theoretical Superstructure

    The warmists claim that their theory of the greenhouse effect is based on well-tried and tested physics and that it is the natural elaboration and refined development of the basic ‘classical’ theory that I have just described above. That is simply not true. Their theory is an arbitrary, delusional construct that they have made up all by themselves and which is not based upon or derived from the classical GH-theory in any way. Indeed, their theory is significantly at odds with the physical laws and principles enshrined in the classical theory and how it is so can be discovered only by assiduous research and investigation. The warmists appear to have designed it deliberately to be like that. Their theoretical superstructure is actually a 2-tier one.

    The first tier consists of the contrived illusions that, firstly, CO2 (and other GHGs to a lesser degree) is a powerful greenhouse gas that is the main driver of planetary global warming and the climate change consequent upon it in the present epoch of human history and, secondly, that humanity is causing CO2 to accumulate in the atmosphere at an exponential rate.

    At this first level of theoretical perversion they claim that a doubling of atmospheric CO2-concentration would produce an increase of radiant energy from CO2 of about 3.71 W/sq.m and an equivalent surface temperature rise of about 1ºC. Both assertions are false and absurd for reasons which I won’t go into now in order to keep this brief. They also claim that human-sourced CO2 is currently accumulating in the atmosphere at the rate of about 2ppmv/year. This claim is demonstrably false, although again, I must be brief so will leave that issue there as well.

    The second tier consists of the illusion that the initial global warming from CO2 (and other human-sourced GHGs) is amplified about 4x by ‘positive feedback’ from water-vapour, which is another physical and mathematical absurdity, as I would need to be verbose in order to demonstrate.

    You ask me to explain how my stance differs from that of others in this thread. I don’t really know how to answer that, since we seem to be a fairly diverse bunch here, each of us having our own individual approach according, I imagine, to our own unique individual points of view. However, I see my stance differing from that of the ‘new theorists’ here, if I may call them that, in that I have not rejected the ‘classical’ greenhouse theory that I have described above whereas they appear to me to have done so. I only reject the illusionary warmist superstructure that it is claimed the classical theory supports but doesn’t really in my view.

  145. tallbloke says:

    I think some folk may have misunderstood what our new theory is about. It’s about a shift in emphasis from atmospheric radiative concerns to the effect of surface pressure on energy flows. The radiative greenhouse theory isn’t denied or negated, merely put in it’s proper place in the scheme of things, which happens to be a pretty small corner. :)

    The ‘greenhouse’ effect of the ocean has been ignored. It actually represents most of the effect. Nerly all the rest of it is the near surface atmospheric temperature enhancement produced by the Loschmidt effect.
    See the four comments on the new theory thread starting at the link below, it might help.
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-talkshop-thrusts-towards-a-new-theory-of-climate/#comment-19649

  146. Tenuc says:

    Chris M says:
    March 13, 2012 at 9:26 am
    “…The point is to break the nexus between CAGW and the greenhouse effect, a politically-motivated “consensus” which is in defiance of the data…”

    Totally agree with you here. There are so many holes in the current conjecture it just beggars belief! For example, it has been known for some time that temperature leads CO2 levels at all time scales. Graph here…

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3009/5818025663_9fceef1f28.jpg

    This falsifies the current CAGW theory, and it is incredible that both Warmers and Luke-warmers conflate cause and effect.

    It as also foolish to assume that any single factor dominates weather/climate as it is obvious that many, many different mechanisms are operating together dynamically to produce the observed effects.

    It is my view the the sun and the oceans are the dominant plays in determining Earth’s temperature oscillations and we still have much to learn about both of these factors before meaningful long-term predictions of future weather/climate behaviour can be made.

    OT…

    Large, mean looking coronal hole on the sun is now in Earth facing position. Prepare for unusual weather and it could be time for the tin-foil hats… :-)

    Solar image courtesy Solen.info…

    http://www.solen.info/solar/index.html

  147. Stephen Wilde says:

    Thank you MT, that is most helpful.

    I don’t think we deny here the radiative characterisatics of GHGs. We are merely putting them in the proper perspective i.e miniscule and easily negated by other processes leaving atmospheric pressure and solar input in control.

    We then go on to the more fruitful area of discussing how observed climate changes could be a product of pressure and insolation variations on a water world.

    I see that you agree with us that the effects of GHGs are minimal if not zero and so we are as one after all.

    The sole difference seems to be that you incorrectly thought we were denying the thermal characterisatics of GHGs.

    By the way, that which you call the ‘classical’ greenhouse theory is in fact a recent upstart limited to the radiative properties of GHGs and only about 30 years old.

    The truly ‘classical’ theory is the one that subsisted previously namely the one created by pressure and insolation which was commonly understood and widely accepted in the 50s and 60s.

    The high temperature of the Venusian atmosphere was then put down to its density plus solar input.

    All we are doing here is returning to the earlier well established truth and exploring the climate implications of that.

  148. Brian H says:

    Truthseeker says:
    March 12, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Brian H,

    I can see the transposition error that you refer to, but it is with the day time measurements. The subsequent analysis uses night time measurements and observations and neither the 207.04 or 270.04 values appear elsewhere in the paper. I do not see the link between this transposition error and any issues with the subsequent analysis.

    Then again, I missed the transposition error that you have pointed out, so maybe I am missing something else as well.
    Dr. Nahle confirms what you say in an email:

    Dear Brian,

    Thank you so much for making me know about that error. I had noticed it and changed on the pdf published by biocab.org:

    http://www.biocab.org/Concise_Experiment_on_Backradiation.pdf

    Fortunately, those errors don’t affect conclusions because I did not used those numbers to get conclusions, but directly the measurements and graphs. I included differences just as information for the reader.

    Thanks again for your kind message.

    All the best,

    Nasif Nahle Sabag

    Scientific Research Director at Biology Cabinet

    I have downloaded the final version he links,and the correction is indeed made there.

  149. Roger Clague says:

    MT has given an explanation and defence of his understanding of the Greenhouse Effect

    “The Classical Greenhouse Theory

    The fundamental greenhouse theory that I have been saying is scientifically sound and in accord with well-tried and tested physics is the idea that substances in a planet’s atmosphere which possess the special radiative property of being relatively transmissive of shortwave radiation and relatively absorbent of longwave radiation will cause warming of the planet’s surface by absorbing outgoing long-wave radiation emitted by the surface that would otherwise be lost to space and returning some of that back to the surface by back-radiation and other possible means such as the gravitational lapse.”

    Classical physics is pre-1900, laws of motion and thermodynamics. Radiation theory is post-1900.The GHG theory is not classical physics.

    Lab experiments within the atmosphere cannot tell us about the properties of the whole atmosphere. We can compare the atmosphere with others in the solar system.The composition of atmospheres does not explain surface temperatures,the mass of atmospheres does.

    Back-radiation from the cooler atmosphere heating the warmer surface surface is against the thermodynamic law that heat can only move from warm to cool.

    Finally mentioning gravitation lapse is surprising as radiation is not affected by gravity. However it does suggest that you begin to realise that your radiation theory is not working.

  150. David Springer says:

    Roger Clague says:

    March 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    “Classical physics is pre-1900, laws of motion and thermodynamics. Radiation theory is post-1900.The GHG theory is not classical physics.”

    [snip] Infrared radiation was called “calorific rays” 150 years ago. The theory is even older. They were performing experiments to test the theory back in those days. I think you’re confusing quantum physics with classical. Quantum physics was early 20th century. Classical physics (which entirely explains GHG’s) goes back to the 18th century.

  151. mkelly says:

    Magic Turtle says: “…(and transfer its extra warmth…”

    Where did the extra warmth come from that you speak of? There is no extra warmth there is only what the sun provides. Back radiation cannot be extra warmth since it came from the surface. There is no extra warmth.

  152. tallbloke says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    March 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you MT, that is most helpful.

    I see that you agree with us that the effects of GHGs are minimal if not zero and so we are as one after all.

    Well, no. MT still believes it is the radiative effects of GHG’s which raises the Earth from 255K to 289K I think.

    Is that so MT?

  153. Chris M says:

    Magic Turtle says:
    March 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    The Warmist Theoretical Superstructure

    Thank you MT for that clear and concise statement. It is promising that the IPCC’s premises are built on sand, and their superstructure will will surely collapse once this is pointed out by enough people whose expertise is difficult to ignore, although with the collusion of the MSM that has happened in the past, e.g to Ian Plimer. I for one would be interested to see your more detailed exposition of the IPCC flaws.

    Meanwhile the cozy arrangement between big government and big media continues unabated. For many years the CSIRO was one of our most respected institutions which materially contributed to Australia’s prosperity and economic development. The non-politicised scientists who still work there (I’m sure there must be some) must be tearing their hair out!

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/carbon-emissions-hit-a-new-record-20120313-1uyk8.html

  154. Arfur Bryant says:

    I think Magic Turtle has made a robust and well-debated defence of his stance. It is to Tallbloke’s credit that such a discussion can exist these days without too much snark and ad-hominem attacks.

    I would suggest that there is a subtle but distinct difference between the ‘basic physics’ and the ‘Greenhouse Theory’ as described. To me, the basic physics applies to a single CO2 molecule (not just CO2, but any non-condensing GHG) whereas the Greenhouse Theory applies to the entire atmosphere. There is a huge difference in scale here. I can’t imagine that any sceptic (and I am most certainly a sceptic) could argue that an individual molecule of CO2 has the ability to absorb and re-emit radiation in the wavelengths relevant to this discussion. The trouble with the pro-CAGW argument is the giant leap of faith that takes them from a known property of CO2 to the ‘consensus’ conclusion that an increase in CO2 will cause catastrophic climate change. The term ‘catastrophic’ was not coined by sceptics, but by the IPCC. The first simple fact is that there is not enough CO2 in the atmosphere to make a significant increase in global temperature. The second simple fact is that there is absolutely no evidence that such an increase has, is, or is ever likely to make the hyped difference.

    In spite of puerile attempts to hide these facts behind deflection and dubious accounting, the pro-CAGW lobby is unable to explain why a 40% increase in the main culprit (CO2) has neither led to a significant nor an accelerative increase in global temperature. There simply is no evidence of ‘thermal inertia lag’ or of the much vaunted ‘positive feedback’ effect.

    So, I say a reserved well done to MT. I agree with you that any effect of CO2 (etc) is likely to be minimal and maybe insignificant, but I disagree that the ‘greenhouse theory’ should not be attacked in the way it has been presented to Joe Public. We have been led to believe that the greenhouse theory is a ‘sequiter’ to the basic physics. Unfortunately for the pro-CAGW side, the planet seems not to have got the memo.

  155. tallbloke says:

    Arfur, thank you, it’s not easy to keep such a debate on an even keel, and there have been a couple of cross words behind the scenes. However, I think the policy of strongly insisted on politeness has cleared the way for lucid debate and I’m pleased with the outcome.

    I agree with you that MT has debated the scientific aspects regarding the theory he supports well. However, there remain outstanding issues unaddressed as yet, and I hope MT will find the time to maintain engagement here.

    For me, two big issues which never seem to get satisfactorily answered are these:

    1) If the atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect is what lifts the planet’s surface temperature from ~255K (theoretical limit of Holder’s Inequality for Earth) to ~289K, how is it that changes in lower tropospheric temps lag changes in SST by several months, and why is the ocean surface on average 3C warmer than the near surface air?

    2) If a water vapour soaked atmosphere is regarded as a strong greenhouse fluid, why is the ocean ignored as a greenhouse fluid by the standard theory?

  156. Stephen Wilde says:

    tallbloke said:

    “Well, no. MT still believes it is the radiative effects of GHG’s which raises the Earth from 255K to 289K I think.”

    Well MT referred to “contrived illusions that, firstly, CO2 (and other GHGs to a lesser degree) is a powerful greenhouse gas”.

    I’ll leave it to MT to explain the apparent discrepancy.

  157. Tenuc says:

    Arfur Bryant says:
    March 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm
    “…We have been led to believe that the greenhouse theory is a ‘sequiter’ to the basic physics. Unfortunately for the pro-CAGW side, the planet seems not to have got the memo.”

    Once the CAGM is meme is finally dead, time for ‘us sceptics’ to start making more noise about about the quality of the standard of our current generation of theoretical physicists who, since the Copenhagen interpretation back in the 1920′s, have drifted further and further away from ‘physical physics’ of tangibles into a world of magic ‘proved’ by complex heuristic abstract math. As a result, no real progress has been made on any of the ‘hard problems’ since Einstein and we still lack knowledge of the basics, for example, what gravity is. Disgraceful!

  158. Stephen Wilde says:

    THe AGW camp really cannot entertain the oceans as a Greenhouse material because it makes GHGs in the air a complete irrelevance.

    I said this back in 2008:

    “The radiative Greenhouse Effect is a flea on the back of an oceanic elephant and the influence of CO2 but a microbe on the back of the flea and the influence of anthropogenic CO2 but a molecule on the back of the microbe.”

    here:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=9085

    “Greenhouse Confusion Revised”

    which anticipated N & Z by referring to the ‘old’ science of atmospheric density being the most important factor in generating heat from the atmospheric interaction with solar input. Density being a consequence of atmospheric mass and gravity leading to increasing pressure towards a surface.

    It really is all very simple.

  159. Arfur Bryant says:

    ["tallbloke says:
    March 13, 2012 at 10:26 pm..."]

    Well, I’m certainly not going to try to answer those questions at this time of night! But I suspect that wind, conduction and convection play a part in 1). As for 2), I suspect that the Greenhouse Effect is an atmospheric effect, not a surface effect but I think Stephen Wilde’s flea analogy is much better! :) FLEA

    ["Tenuc says:
    March 13, 2012 at 10:51 pm..."]

    Agreed, Tenuc. I’m afraid we live in a world where spin is more important than substance…

  160. Tenuc,
    As you point out, Harry Dale Huffmann made an extraordinary observation that has been given new legs by Nikolov & Zeller.

    David Appell (March 13, 2012 at 8:15 am) makes the excellent point that Huffmann ignores albedos. He also ignores emissivity, chemical composition of the atmosphere, the presence of vapors, seas, ice caps, clouds, “g” and much more.

    The perplexing thing is that Huffmann’s theory fits the observations with uncanny accuracy. The same goes for N&K.

    Instead of fighting hypotheses that work we might do better by asking ourselves why they work.

    David Appell has a high opinion of James Hansen who I regard as a dangerous lunatic. I would be very interested to know what the folks here think of this video:

  161. David Appell said:
    “Mars has a very thin atmosphere and so there’s little convection there.”

    There is evidence of dust devils on Mars and even huge dust storms that envelop a quarter of the planet. Sounds like convection and Coriolis storms to me.

  162. Magic Turtle says:

    gallopingcamel (March 13, 2012 at 1:40 am)

    While I find Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer convincing most of the time, they make me squirm a little when they talk about the warming caused by traces of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Me too, GC. Especially when they say that ‘We know from physics that the doubling of atmospheric CO2-concentration would, by itself, cause about 1ºC of global warming’! In fact they don’t know any such thing from physics. It is simply an item of warmist folklore which the warmists try to justify with their absurd logarithmic equation for CO2 ‘forcing’ that came straight out of the MODTRAN radiative transfer code that was created on a computer and has never been empirically verified. In short, it didn’t originate in physics at all, but originated in the mind of the programmer who wrote the code. Hearing them say that does make me squirm.

    “I am more inclined to the opinions of Nikolov & Zeller who say that chemical composition is not an important factor determining surface temperatures. It matters very little whether CO2 or methane or water vapor absorb strongly at certain wavelengths in regions of the atmosphere where convective processes are dominant. The convection and processes involving latent heat dominate so radiation rarely has a significant effect.”

    Your view may well be the more realistic one to apply in real-world situations too for all I can tell at the moment. But our goals are different, I think. My priority is not to produce a better method of determining planetary surface temperatures, but to preserve the rational consistency of scientific theory.

    When convection is abnormally low the lapse rate can invert even in the lower atmosphere.

    Yes. However, regarding the role of the lapse rate in respect to theories of planetary heating, I think the crucial question is that of what is causal. Does the lapse-rate cause surface warming or does surface warming cause the lapse rate? I’m operating on the assumption that the purpose of a theory is to explain something and in order to do that here I think it needs to specify what is causing what. In the classical greenhouse theory I think the gravitational lapse would have a role, but it would be a mediating one, not a causative one. I can’t speak for N&Z’s theory though, of course.

  163. Magic Turtle says:

    tchannon (March 13, 2012 at 2:01 am)

    “I am familiar with the idea of heating from the top, but I didn’t know it was believed to be strong – at least, not in the case of the Earth. How strong is it, in fact? Do you have a link to a data-source for that?”

    http://www.spacewx.com/solar_spectrum.html

    Thanks for the link. Interesting, but it refers only to the in-coming solar spectrum at the TOA, not to the amount absorbed by the upper-atmosphere.

    A body at 5500K radiates more strongly at all wavelengths than a body at 300K. This goes right across the GHG at the top. This should block the columns to varying degrees and should be subtracted from heating.

    I can think of a number of reasons why the blocking effect that you are perceiving would affect the operation of the greenhouse principle only marginally. Three of them are:

    i. The proportion of incoming insolation-energy on GHG absorption wavebands is relatively small (eg. about 2.2% for CO2, somewhat more for H2O although I don’t know the precise figure off-hand, but in any case the different percentages not being additive due to wavebands overlapping);
    ii. The amount of power absorbed near the top of the atmosphere would be small because the atmospheric density there would be relatively low;
    iii. There would still be some greenhouse effect anyway from the absorbed radiance in the upper atmosphere, albeit small perhaps, due to back-radiation and the gravitational lapse.

    Could probably figure out a compare plot.

    By all means figure one out if you wish. What would you be comparing though?

    You have quoted a definition of the greenhouse effect. I reject it as an incomplete specification.

    In what way/s do you see it being incomplete? I have covered the processes of shortwave transmission, long-wave absorption and two of the possible methods whereby the power absorbed by greenhouse substances could be transferred back to the surface. What else do you think my definition should include?

  164. Magic Turtle says:

    Michael Hart (March 13, 2012 at 2:40 am)

    Thanks for elaborating your thoughts. It is good to know where our thinking agrees and differs.

    One of my objections to the “Greenhouse Theory” is that, as Tallbloke alluded, the term can cause more confusion and dispute than it actually resolves.

    I couldn’t agree more. It is a phrase so loaded with unclear, indistinct, unspoken assumptions, associations and connotations that I feel like I’m walking through a minefield every time I use it. But I have no choice, since I don’t know of any other terms in common usage that mean the same thing. I think this confusion stems largely from warmist bamboozlement-strategies applied lavishly in the mainstream media and supported by the leading bamboozlers at the UEA, Hadley Centre, NASA, NOAA, IPCC, etc etc.

    I’m not surprised that so many people think the common ‘consensus’ explanation appears to break the 2nd Law.

    Neither am I. However, I have found that most people who think this seem to know as little about the 2nd law as they do about the greenhouse theory. Both of them are pure ideal abstractions of an extremely subtle nature that it takes most studious minds years to really grasp properly and to understand how they should be applied in different situations. Yet people with little familiarity with these abstruse concepts seem often to assume that they know what they are talking about when using them. But of course, every teenager with an internet link to Wikipedia is an expert on them these days.

    Yet why do so many people argue as if this is somehow the mainstay of the ‘sceptics’ objections? I quite frequently read what “sceptics think” or “even the sceptics accept…”. I have to say that some of your words also seem to approaching from that perspective.

    I don’t know which words of mine you are referring to there. Would you care to point some of them out to me?

    Beer’s law and matter absorbing electromagnetic radiation resulting in increased temperatures is not something I dispute or see disputed.

    Those forms of words might not be disputed, but the ideas that they imply are I think – by some though, not all.

    Concatenating explanations can save time, but it can also pay dividends to first invest some time in the details. It was quite a long way down in this thread before I felt I had any real understanding of what you thought “Greenhouse Theory” meant.

    Ah. With hindsight, I can see it would probably have been better if I had begun my post with a few definitions of the key words and phrases that I would be using, but I am a relative newcomer to the blog and at the time of writing my post I was unaware of the general level of confusion here over what the essence of the greenhouse theory actually is. I hope I have been able to help clear up some of that for some folks.

    (Leonard Weinstein) opines that “back radiation” is an effect, not the cause, of increased temperature in an atmosphere where the greenhouse effect is operating.

    There are so many people opining different things about these matters that it is easy to become bewildered by them all and to lose one’s own sense of what is true and what is false about them. I prefer to be guided by my own knowledge of the laws of physics rather than by the opinions of others. In this case my guidance from physics is that the mean temperature of the atmosphere must go up automatically by a finite amount, however small, every time an atmospheric GH-molecule absorbs a photon of out-going IR-radiation.

    But there does not have to be one “best” explanation that helps people avoid arguing round in circles, though it’s quite normal to desire one.

    True, but if one wants to come away with a mind that is at peace with itself I think one’s thoughts on the subject need to be coherent and integrated together as one. One needs to reconcile the hidden conflicts in one’s own thinking in order to do that. It is hard mental work, but the rewards are commensurate.

    And when I feel duty calls, I can trudge wearily over to the BBC Science & Environment & Climate & Environmental-Politics & Environmental-disEconomics & Climate and Environmental-anything-else-we-can-Climate-think-of-page.

    LOL. I’m sure that many of us know just what you mean.

  165. Magic Turtle says:

    Truthseeker (March 13, 2012 at 2:50 am)

    Oppenents of the “greenhouse” effect point to the lack of any observable temperature effect based on atmospheric composition as shown by comparing Earth to Venus at equivalent levels of air pressure (Huffman) or other planets to each other at all levels (Nikolov and Zeller), and others (see Wayne’s comment at March 10 at 8:38am).

    I think the ‘opponents’ of whom you speak are mistaken if they think they know what the anomalous temperatures at the surfaces of planets are really based upon. To assume that one’s own untested hypothesis is correct is to try to leapfrog the science that would be needed to determine whether or not it was. That is what the warmists do. Where is the difference here?

    Radiation does not equal heat. Therefore saying one causes the other is not only logically wrong and theoretically wrong, it is (more importantly) observably wrong.

    Radiation is energy. Heat is energy. Therefore they can be equated and they are inter-convertible between one another. Much of thermodynamics is based on this correspondence. All warm bodies emit radiation and their own internal heat content is reduced to the extent of the radiation that they have emit unless it is replenished by energy from a source. This is an inescapable consequence of the fundamental 1st law of thermodynamics – the ‘energy conservation law’. All theories which do not observe this law implicitly deny it. There is no law against denying it. But if one wants their theory to apply to the physical universe that we are all living in, denying it is pointless because as far as is known in the public domain the 1st law is inexorable in it. If you have observed the 1st law being violated somewhere in this universe then that is truly extraordinary.

    If you want to say that the atmosphere holds heat because it has mass, then go right ahead. This is NOT the “greenhouse” effect that is being generally spouted.

    No, I don’t particularly want to say that, thank you. And I agree that it would not be an exposition of the greenhouse effect to say it.

    The term “greenhouse” was incorrect to start with and has been ruined beyond any point of usefulness in any discussion of the physics of what is occurring. Choose another term and define it. The term “greenhouse” itself should be thrown into the dust bin unless you are talking about growing plants.

    If you would like to suggest an alternative term for the basic concept of the greenhouse effect that everyone will accept I shall be happy to use it. At the moment though there don’t seem to be any alternative options on the table to me.

  166. Magic Turtle says:

    tallbloke (March 13, 2012 at 9:04 am)

    “Demonstrating the superior virtue of an alternative to the greenhouse theory entails more than just explaining how the new theory works. It also entails explaining clearly how it works independently of the greenhouse effect that the alternative theory is eschewing. This means that one must show how it is thought to work in a totally GHG-free, cloud-free atmosphere that has no greenhouse properties whatsoever. And so far, I have not seen any anti-greenhouse theories do this.”

    This is a sciency sounding argument but it contains a couple of logical fallacies.

    1) It assumes that the radiative greenhouse effect is proven, which it isn’t.

    I can’t imagine why you think it assumes that. It doesn’t, anyway. I have even stated on at least two previous occasions here that the greenhouse theory has not, to my knowledge, been proven.

    2) It states that an alternative theory “must show how it is thought to work in a totally GHG-free, cloud-free atmosphere”. MT later reinforces this by saying:
    “The point of doing that is to show that the effect is independent of the greenhouse effect. N&Z’s ‘empirical’ proof of their theory falls down precisely on this point”

    One of the main difficulties of doing climate science is that we only have one Earth and it’s too big to fit in a lab, is full of confounding variables, and is never in equilibrium. MT’s complaint about Nikolov and Zeller’s theory is of course equally applicable to greenhouse theory. The greenhouse effect in the real atmosphere can’t be shown to be independent from the effect of gravity on atmospheric mass.

    It wasn’t a complaint, Tallbloke. It was simply an observation that N&Z’s hypothesis is empirically untestable at the present time because there is not an exemplary planet or moon available that demonstrates the principle of the theory in a pure form. I have also said that the same limitation also applies to the empirical testing of the greenhouse theory. You appear to have restated my own points in a way that makes it seem as though I have been arguing against them!

    So we have to use other tools in the scientific method toolbox to help us decide which is the better theory.

    What ‘other tools’ do you have ‘in the scientific method toolbox’?

    MT suggests that parsimony is important:
    “his next task is to show that his alternative theory does explain it adequately with fewer basic principles or the same number in accordance with Occam’s Razor. (In fact the existing GH-theory purports to explain it with only one principle – the ‘greenhouse effect’”

    Well anyone can make up a name which encapsulates a theory.

    That is precisely why scientific theorists use Occam’s Razor to discriminate between the best available theory and the not so good ones.

    I could equally say that the alternative theory we are proposing explains planetary surface warming with only one principle – the ‘gravito-thermal effect’, but this leaves us none the wiser.

    I haven’t denied it. I was merely pointing to the fact that your theory cannot best the greenhouse theory on grounds of having fewer explanatory principles that is all.

    N&Z do well in this respect, they have successfully calculated the surface temperature of eight solar system bodies using two variables (distance from Sun and surface pressure) and four constants.

    Bully for N&Z! But it still doesn’t demonstrate that their theory works without the aid of the greenhouse effect, does it? The only possible way to demonstrate it empirically is to show that their theory can accurately predict the surface temperature of a planet or moon that has a purely non-greenhouse atmosphere so that the greenhouse effect cannot possibly be at work in it. Calculating the surface temperatures of planets and moons that only have greenhouse atmospheres or else no atmospheres at all is utterly useless for demonstration purposes. I am surprised that you appear unable to see this point. It is as though they are saying ‘Look everyone, we have invented a new horseless carriage’ but when they show it to us it still has the horses hitched to it. We need to see it going without the horses, I think. ;-)

    With the extension to their work made with our addition of a surface pressure effect on the ocean as well as their surface pressure effect on near surface air temperature, the conceptual underpinning of their theory is further improved.

    Good luck with that. I think you are flying in the face of fundamental laws of thermodynamics with it, but I’m not going repeat myself any more about it because you are evidently committed to it whatever I may say.

    Greenhouse theory on the other hand needs distance from Sun, ‘effective radiating height’ (calculated from a demonstrably incorrect grey body temperature), albedo, S-B law….

    In short, it’s a crock of a theory.

    I cannot agree. I think you are failing to distinguish between the principle of the theory and the ways it has been applied in practice, in the same way that one might fail, say, to discriminate between the precepts of a religion and the ways in which its adherents apply those. The greenhouse theory does not depend for its validity on how many items of data it requires in order to be applied. It depends for it instead on the number of theoretical causes that it requires (in accordance with Occam’s Razor) to explain the observable effect. The ‘observable effect’ in question here is the elevation of planetary surface temperatures above the level that theoretically they could attain by absorption of insolation alone. The greenhouse theory proffers a single causal principle to explain it – the ‘greenhouse effect’. All the other requirements that you have listed are practical considerations that I think have no bearing at the theoretical level. They do not falsify the theory either in my view, although in yours they evidently do.

    In his later reply to the objections to MT’s argument I raised in my original comment on this thread, MT says:

    “It may be possible to construct such a theory and to replace the greenhouse theory with it in your mind, but it is another thing entirely to replace it in the minds of the physics community. There are still rules to follow in doing that in spite of the efforts of the post-normalists to politicise and disperse them.”

    I’ll just point out to MT that the rules that need to be followed have been disregarded by the greenhouse theorists themselves,

    I don’t accept that in regard to the essential form of the greenhouse theory and the physics community as a body has not accepted the corrupt and bastardised version of it that has been peddled by the warmists although attempts have been made to foist the warmist version onto it by underhand means by the leaders of physical science associations such as the Royal Society, which have been resisted with some success by their members.

    and since they cling to their failed theory despite multiple proofs showing the atmospheric greenhouse theory to be falsified,

    Where are these ‘multiple proofs’ that have shown the greenhouse theory to be falsified? I have never seen any. Not a single one.

    I personally don’t hold much hope of replacing anything in the climatologists minds, which have long been closed.

    What a sweeping judgement. But aren’t you being a ‘climatologist’ here, ie. one who studies climates, yourself? ‘Judge not, that you be not judged,’ springs to mind.

    They (and MT it seems) regard any attempt by ‘outsiders’ to improve our understanding of the way physical processes operate in our climate systems as an ‘assault on science’.

    That’s not what I said. I said merely that I think your theory is in conflict with basic scientific laws and principles and that by extension it places you in a position of conflict with the conventional scientific community. I never said anything about your committing an ‘assault on science’.

    In fact, our new theory doesn’t need to rely on falsifying the radiative greenhouse theory, because if we are correct, it is very much a second order effect anyway, and of no great concern in the bigger scheme of planetary science. I think the prospect of their pet theory being made irrelevant probably enrages ‘the climate community’ more than a competing theory which aims to confront the radiative greenhouse theory as an equal force however.

    Ah, so it is your aim ‘to confront the radiative greenhouse theory’ then. What was that you said a moment ago about an ‘assault on science’? Oh well, I’ve done all I can to save you from this partizan folly. On your own heads be it.

    MT himself has been doing the politicising in this thread,

    Oh? Where and when have I done that? Please point it out.

    and I am unswayed by the namecalling

    What ‘namecalling’ have I done? Please point it out.

    and unfavourable comparisons of sceptics to red army thugs

    I never made any such comparison to ‘red army thugs’. You’ve coined that phrase and put those words into my mouth, inventing a comparison that I didn’t make in the process. Why have you done that?

    ….because the new theory we are working on adheres to classical scientific method in its construction and hypothesis testing.

    That is just what it doesn’t do I’m afraid. But it’s your pet project and your look out for what happens to it. I wish you good luck as I said.

  167. Magic Turtle says:

    Chris M (March 13, 2012 at 9:26 am)

    Hi Chris, and thanks for your thoughtful comment. I am sorry that you saw most of my previous writings as ‘dreary, pedantic and dismal verbiage above’ but I thank you for the feedback.

    You ask for proof of my statement: “It is already possible to show quite simply, straightforwardly and easily, on the basis of the IPCC’s own data, that greenhouse warming from humanity’s CO2-emissions cannot be happening faster than at the rate of about 0.03ºC per century, which is undetectable with present techniques of measurement.”

    Here it is in the form of my simple ‘Heretical Argument’ that I constructed some time ago in order to show people how simple and easy it is to disprove the warmists’ claims using their own sourced data. The data that I have used has all come from the IPCC’s AR4 (2007) with the exception of the data on the ‘partitioning ratio’ derived from Henry’s law, which I first heard had been calculated by Prof. Segakstad and which I then calculated myself independently and got the same result.

    Enjoy.
    __________________________________________

    A Heretical Argument

    1. The atmospheric greenhouse consists principally of over 96% water-vapour (H2O) and less than 4% carbon dioxide (CO2), with various other greenhouse gases such as methane (CH4) being present in negligible trace amounts. Hence we may say that CO2 comprises less than 4% of the total greenhouse.

    2. Warmists claim that the total greenhouse is responsible for warming the planet by about 33 degC above its estimated black-body temperature of -18C.
    Hence we may say that the less-than 4% CO2 must be responsible for causing less than 4% of this warming, which would be 1.32 degC. (The net contribution to global warming from CO2 would be less than 4% of 33C not just because CO2 amounts to less than 4% of the total greenhouse, but also because the remaining 96% H2O is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.)

    3. The size of the CO2 component of the atmospheric greenhouse is about 390ppmv at present and this is equivalent to about 3,050Gt (ie. ‘gigatonnes’). Hence 1ppmv is equivalent to about 7.8Gt.

    4. According to the IPCC, humanity is emitting CO2 into the atmosphere at the rate of about 30Gt/year. However, Henry’s law, which governs the dissolution of gases in liquids, ordains that about 50 times as much CO2 will be dissolved in the oceans as remains in the atmosphere as an addition to the resident CO2 greenhouse. Hence humanity is adding CO2 to the greenhouse at the rate of about 30/50 = 0.6Gt/year. This is equivalent to about 0.08ppmv/year.

    5. Steps (2) & (3) above have told us that 390ppmv of atmospheric CO2 cause less than 1.32C global warming. Therefore the annual anthropogenic CO2 increment of 0.08ppmv must produce less than (0.08/390)x1.32C = 0.0003C.
    Hence AGW is currently less than 0.0003C/year, or less than 0.03C/century.
    _____________________________________________________

  168. Magic Turtle says:

    PS to Chris M above: ‘Prof. Segakstad’ in my previous comment to you should have been Prof. Tom V. Segalstad and his web-site is at http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef0.htm

  169. tallbloke says:

    Mornin’ MT, and thanks for your lengthy response. Here goes:

    “I have also said that the same limitation also applies to the empirical testing of the [radiative]greenhouse theory.”

    My apologies, I missed that in the prodigious flow of your comments, please link the comment where you did so (right click the timestamp and copy/paste) and quote the relevant passage from it.

    Bully for N&Z! But it still doesn’t demonstrate that their theory works without the aid of the [radiative] greenhouse effect, does it?

    Well the fact that they are able to calculate the surface temperatures of eight solar system bodies without a single radiative component in their equations speaks volumes (and pressures) to me. ;)

    the physics community as a body has not accepted the corrupt and bastardised version of it that has been peddled by the warmists although attempts have been made to foist the warmist version onto it by underhand means by the leaders of physical science associations such as the Royal Society, which have been resisted with some success by their members.

    I’m very pleased to hear this, though I admit I haven’t seen much visibility of the protesting physics community members, or heard about their successes in resisting the incumbent leaders of the physical science associations such as the Royal Society. Please give us the news.

    Where are these ‘multiple proofs’ that have shown the greenhouse theory to be falsified?

    You clearly haven’t been paying attention to the output of this website long enough. Certainly the ‘bastardized version’ has been falsified many times. :)

    Ah, so it is your aim ‘to confront the radiative greenhouse theory’ then.

    Please re-read what I wrote;
    ” I think the prospect of their pet theory being made irrelevant probably enrages ‘the climate community’ more than a competing theory which aims to confront the radiative greenhouse theory”
    I’m sure you can see how the bolded logical operator acts to distinguish two separate identities here.

    I think your theory is in conflict with basic scientific laws and principles

    Easy to say, show us the beef. And while you’re at it, please have a go at answering these three questions:

    1) If the atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect is what lifts the planet’s surface temperature from ~255K (theoretical limit of Holder’s Inequality for Earth) to ~289K, how is it that changes in lower tropospheric temps lag changes in SST by several months, and why is the ocean surface on average 3C warmer than the near surface air?

    2) If an atmosphere carrying 4% water vapour is regarded as a strong greenhouse fluid, why is the ocean ignored as a greenhouse fluid by the standard theory?

    3) Do you really believe that the ocean surface can be warmed by the air to a temperature 3C above itself by wafting it with a weak LW ‘back radiation’ flux which has a net ~60W/m^2 upward flow??

    I never made any such comparison to ‘red army thugs’. You’ve coined that phrase and put those words into my mouth, inventing a comparison that I didn’t make in the process.

    MT said:
    “I think these revolutionaries are not just trying to replace the greenhouse theory, but the fundamental physics which underlies it too. That is a revolution too far in my view.”
    and
    “you appear to be intellectual revolutionaries without a cause, indulging in revolution for its own sake. And that is not merely reckless and irresponsible but it is ultimately destructive of social order and harmony too. It is what the Chinese were subjected to under Mao Tse Tung’s Red Guard – perpetual revolution for its own sake.”

    Tell you what MT, let’s do a deal. I’ll drop the issue of the politicisation and the comparison of sceptics to the Red Guard if you’ll stop trying to flannel us with tales of the heroic efforts made by the brave resistance fighters of ‘the physics community’ in stemming the tide of greenwash, and give some straight answers to my questions.

    You asked me to enumerate papers falsifying the enhanced greenhouse effect. My question to you is:

    Why don’t you already know of many written by the indignant and brave resistance fighters of ‘the Physics community’?

    TB: ….because the new theory we are working on adheres to classical scientific method in its construction and hypothesis testing.

    MT: That is just what it doesn’t do I’m afraid.

    So once more the plea for replication of Konrad’s and Rod Graeff’s empirical results in an accredited lab funded by taxpayers (so we have a right to see the results) goes unheeded and ignored by a member of ‘the physics community’. Clearly there is a fear we may be proved right by actual experimental results conducted by people who aren’t so easily dismissed as ‘citizen scientists’.

    Please tell me it ain’t so MT. Please tell me ‘the physics community’ really does want to discover the scientific facts and proclaim them loud and clear to those ‘climatologists’ who have “bastardized” the greenhouse theory. I really, really don’t want to be in conflict with genuine scientists and I don’t think there’s any need for us to be. All it takes to avoid it is some straight talking and a genuine effort to uncover the real facts.

  170. tallbloke says:

    gallopingcamel says:
    March 14, 2012 at 3:15 am

    David Appell said:
    “Mars has a very thin atmosphere and so there’s little convection there.”

    There is evidence of dust devils on Mars and even huge dust storms that envelop a quarter of the planet. Sounds like convection and Coriolis storms to me.

    Indeed:

    NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped this photo of a dust devil on the Red Planet on Feb. 16, 2012.
    CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

  171. Chris M says:

    Magic Turtle says:
    March 14, 2012 at 6:40 am
    A Heretical Argument

    Brilliant MT, thank you again. And a belated apology for my impolite remark about your previous writing style. I have been ill and off work this week and the remark reflected related grumpiness; I felt almost immediately after posting that it was unfair.

    What do you say about the IPCC’s contention that CO2 backradiation amplifies the greenhouse effect via increased evaporation, hence an increase in water vapour? This seems to ignore the fact that increased humidity results in increased cloudiness and precipitation, with quite likely a net cooling effect.

    I agree with tallbloke that physicists in general haven’t been active enough in refuting the AGW climatologists. A physicist from Oxford or Cambridge who briefly commented on the Bishop Hill blog late last year expressed his bemusement at the buffoonery displayed by ‘Team’ members in the CG2 emails. So if a majority of physicists see the situation as you do, they are obligated in my view to speak up and to protest the “official” positions of bodies like the RS. This should not be difficult for those with tenured professorships, particularly if their research funding is not reliant on government grants. (And of course if grants were withdrawn due to a principled scientific stance, the resulting scandal should see the end of the CAGW meme anyway.)

    So I suggest that physicists should band together and make direct representations to government, which can then say to the public: “We were misinformed and will now only support energy efficiency projects which are cost-effective and do not burden the economy or blight the countryside.” It is important that physicists and other influential scientists don’t stand mutely on the sidelines.

  172. “On the wisdom of throwing stones at the greenhouse theory”

    Is is pointless throwing stones at something that does not exist!

    All we are doing is pointing out to the emperor that is new clothes are not there…..

  173. Roger Clague says:

    MT says

    “Radiation is energy. Heat is energy. Therefore they can be equated and they are inter-convertible between one another. Much of thermodynamics is based on this correspondence.”

    I disagree.

    Thermodynamics is the study of heat changing to other forms of energy.Firstly to mechanical then electrical and more recently to radiation.

    Heat is the kinetic energy of atoms or molecules which have mass and collide.Photons have no mass and they do not interact as particles. There is no photon thermodynamics.

    He also says

    “show that their theory can accurately predict the surface temperature of a planet or moon that has a purely non-greenhouse atmosphere so that the greenhouse effect cannot possibly be at work in it.”

    Jupiter is made of H2 and He, not GHGs. It has no surface, but it has a lapse rate in its lower atmosphere.

  174. scousebilly says:

    TB and MT, thank you for posting this very interesting article which I have only just come across.

    TB at 7.43am:

    “Why don’t you already know of many written by the indignant and brave resistance fighters of ‘the Physics community’?”

    MT was made aware of such papers by me back in Dec/Jan at James Delingpole’s blog at the DT, the subject of which was yourself, TB.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100124846/tallbloke-a-christmas-appeal/#comment-395265529

    I introduced the Kleespies, Claes Johnson and Postma papers.

    MT’s position on the Postma paper was stated thus:

    “I thought then, and still think now that he has misunderstood the laws of radiative physics and thermodynamics which he is attempting to expound. The key point that I think he is missing is that all radiation carries energy and whenever a body absorbs radiation its internal energy – and hence its temperature – must increase in conformity with the 1st law of thermodynamics. Therefore, if the energy radiating from a body is returned to it by any means or process, including by radiation from a cooler body, that body’s internal energy and temperature must be increased accordingly. Postma says this can never happen but I think his position violates the 1st law of thermodynamics because it implies that if a body absorbs radiant energy from a cooler one its own internal energy will be unchanged.”

    I think MT has misunderstood said laws when he says:

    “Therefore, if the energy radiating from a body is returned to it by any means or process, including by radiation from a cooler body, that body’s internal energy and temperature must be increased accordingly.”

  175. Arfur Bryant says:

    Magic Turtle says:
    March 14, 2012 at 6:40 am…

    ["The atmospheric greenhouse consists principally of over 96% water-vapour (H2O) and less than 4% carbon dioxide (CO2), ..."]

    MT, could you provide a reference for that statement please? I don’t remember seeing it before.

    Thanks in advance.

    Arfur

    ps, in answer to your challenge: “If you would like to suggest an alternative term for the basic concept of the greenhouse effect that everyone will accept I shall be happy to use it., I would suggest that the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ should be replaced by the “Atmosphere Effect”. Just a thought…

  176. tchannon says:

    Arfur,
    The figure is something like that, without water vapour, no angst. These are tiny effects, if they actually exist.

    Atmospheric water is about 1%, sometimes stated higher, more than Argon.

    Let’s see 1%/0.03% == 33x

    To “get” an effect this is where the supposed multiplication effect comes in. Pyramid selling.

    This presupposes water vapour is constant, not a card they can play given they have nailed CO2 to the mast.

    1C is 1K is 0.3% energy change (on 300K) and I doubt we can measure absolute to 1%, but hey, every team has a pet metrologist on board, not. Believe in fairy maths too. All things where I am closer to the soil. Nothing I nor anyone can say to them, don’t want to hear.

  177. Truthseeker says:

    Magic Turtle (March 14, 2012 at 5:55am)

    “I think the ‘opponents’ of whom you speak are mistaken if they think they know what the anomalous temperatures at the surfaces of planets are really based upon. To assume that one’s own untested hypothesis is correct is to try to leapfrog the science that would be needed to determine whether or not it was. That is what the warmists do. Where is the difference here?”

    Well Huffman is certainly using observations to make this point as is not actually postulating any theory, just the simple facts from the data that he uses that is publically available. Nikolov and Zeller also use observation data to support their theories. I think that “untested hypothesis” relates to your efforts, not theirs.

    “Radiation is energy. Heat is energy. Therefore they can be equated and they are inter-convertible between one another. “

    By that logic the following is true: Chalk is matter. Cheese is matter. Therefore they can be equated so that chalk equals cheese. Heat is energy expressed as vibration of molecules. Radiation is the flow of photons at different wavelengths. They are not the same and cannot be equated. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be converted. It is the conversion of radiation energy to thermal energy is where this discussion really belongs and where the laws of thermodynamics come into play. This is the point at which the “greenhouse” proponents of all shades come unstuck.

    As for terminology, you can try “blanket” as in the planet has a blanket of atmosphere that allows heat to be both diffused and retained rather than “greenhouse”.

  178. Michael Hart says:

    MT,
    It’s probably off-topic, but many of the Henry’s law arguments that fly around are probably best avoided. Not that I’m objecting to Henry’s law, but that the whole discipline of chemistry, biochemistry, reaction rates and coupled aqueous equilibria seems to get ignored for CO2.

    Ignored that is, right up until someone decides it’s a good idea to make up some claims about ocean acidification. [IPCC treatment of chemistry appears even worse than physics]

  179. Magic Turtle says:

    tallbloke (March 14, 2012 at 7:43 am)

    ’Morning TB

    Thanks for your long reply yesterday to my previous long reply to you. We seem to have been getting into some misunderstandings where we’ve been ‘talking past each other’, do we not? Let me begin then by proposing that we put the past behind us, shake hands metaphorically and start again. You have proffered a deal and I agree to it. [Icon of smiley-face spitting into palm of hand and extending it to seal the deal.]

    Next, please allow me to clear up some misconceptions that I think you and some others might have about me. I am not a professional physicist and I am not representing the interests of the physics community here. My position in climate science is that of a ‘citizen scientist’ who is doing his best to investigate and critically test the claims of the warmist establishment with the exacting methods of real science, or that is to say, with the traditional ‘scientific method’. So you need not fear that I have any special relationships with the physics community or with the scientific community as a whole that might undermine or compromise my relations with you or anyone else here, which I want to be as open and honest as it is possible for us to be. The same goes for my position with respect to the powers-that-be. I imagine that they have no more love for me than they have for you and I reckon that they probably find me a bigger threat to their peace and security than you might find that I am to yours. I hope they do anyway! :-)

    I appreciate though that the stance that I have taken to your new theory of planetary warming must have come across as threatening from your point of view. I am sorry for that, but please understand that it was not intended as an assault on your theory in an attempt to destroy it but as an attempt to alert you to its fundamental conflicts with the accepted laws of modern physics. The warmists’ ideology (you could hardly call it a ‘theory’ in any meaningful sense) is now foundering on the rocks of those well-tried and tested physical laws and principles, even though the warmists came close to owning the entire worldwide community of scientists, including the physics community, for a while. Those laws contain humanity’s most refined understanding of nature’s physical laws and I think they should therefore be extremely valuable in our eyes. Thousands upon thousands of man-years of arduous mental, emotional and physical effort have been invested in their development and refinement and if we were ever to lose them we would probably have to invest thousands upon thousands more to get them back again. So the laws of physics are not trivial things to be treated lightly. There may be no-one around at the moment who can force us to respect them, but if we don’t pay them due heed at the beginning of an enterprise we are liable to find ourselves forced to pay them respect with interest later on when our highly probable collision with natural reality eventually occurs. The Icarus-myth reminds us of the unwisdom of casually disregarding known laws of physical nature.

    As I expect you know, many, many scientists have spent their whole lives pursuing their intuitive visions of how some part of natural reality must work, with total passion and conviction too, only to discover at the end that it had all been in vain because they had overlooked something vital that they had thought was trivial and of no consequence up to then. How do you imagine that feels? Can you imagine it? Or must you actually have the experience to find out?

    When I came here I soon saw that your new theory was overlooking some pretty fundamental laws and principles of physics. As someone who has been studying them for almost all his life, the areas of conflict with your theory were not difficult for me to spot. As I have learned more about your theory, I have not discovered any ‘new evidence’ as it were to cause me to revise my original perception of them. They are still there and they show no signs of leaving.

    To be frank, I don’t know where to go with your new theory from here. I cannot help you to develop it along the lines that it is developing because I see it as being fundamentally incompatible with the existing corpus of physical laws and theories that are accepted as standard by mainstream world civilization. It cannot be blended, merged, or united with that body of scientific belief rationally and equably. If you fudge or gloss over the disparities you will only be hiding them from view and they will re-emerge later on, probably at some inconvenient time when you are on the threshold of making a great advance with it. But I don’t want to subject you to any more of my ‘lengthy verbiage’ so perhaps it will be best if I simply refrain from commenting on your new theory from now on and leave you to take it wherever you want to go with it.

    I’ll leave answering the remaining points in your last comment to me for now and respond to them later if you still want me to.

    Enjoy your day.
    MT

    [Reply] Hi MT. This is all just argument by assertion. You say our new theory breaks fundamental laws of physics, but you don’t give any reasoning to back up your assertion. Where’s the beef?

    I would appreciate it if you did respond to the scientific questions in my previous reply. You are welcome to leave the other stuff so we can have a fresh start. Lets do the science together. Tell me, precisely, where you think our new theory conflicts with fundamental physical laws, and then I can reply to those points. Making blanket assertions without being specific is unfair to me, because I can’t reply other than to say I don’t think we do break said laws. At that point our conversation is just a vacuous tit for tat of “yes it does” and “no it doesn’t”, which can’t inform anyone and which has no value, and is just a waste of everyones time.

    In brief, you need to engage in scientific debate, rather than indulge in empty rhetoric.

    Specifically then: You say:
    “not intended as an assault on your theory in an attempt to destroy it but as an attempt to alert you to its fundamental conflicts with the accepted laws of modern physics.”

    Which parts of our theory conflict with which laws and how?

    You say:
    “When I came here I soon saw that your new theory was overlooking some pretty fundamental laws and principles of physics.”

    Which laws and principles and how do they relate to our theory?

    You say:
    “I see it as being fundamentally incompatible with the existing corpus of physical laws and theories that are accepted as standard by mainstream world civilization. It cannot be blended, merged, or united with that body of scientific belief rationally and equably.”

    But you don’t offer a shred of evidence to support your contention. It is as I said, argument by assertion. That’s not good enough for this website. Assertions must be backed by reasoning. You get one more go at this and if nothing satisfactory is forthcoming in the way of reasoned argumentation, I’m calling a halt to this thread.

    Please also answer the questions I posed in my last reply. They are easy to spot. They are the ones with numbers at the start and question marks at the end.

    Here they are again:

    1) If the atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect is what lifts the planet’s surface temperature from ~255K (theoretical limit of Holder’s Inequality for Earth) to ~289K, how is it that changes in lower tropospheric temps lag changes in SST by several months, and why is the ocean surface on average 3C warmer than the near surface air?

    2) If an atmosphere carrying 1% water vapour is regarded as a strong greenhouse fluid, why is the ocean ignored as a greenhouse fluid by the standard theory?

    3) Do you really believe that the ocean surface can be warmed by the air to a temperature 3C above itself by wafting it with a weak LW ‘back radiation’ which is part of a flux which has a net ~60W/m^2 upward flow??

    Some straight answers to some straight questions please.

    Thank you.

  180. Magic Turtle says:

    Stephen Wilde (March 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm)

    Thanks for your swift response to my comment explaining the distinction that I see between the fundamental greenhouse principle which I see as being scientifically sound and the warmist theoretical superstructure that has been built onto that principle and which I regard as being false.

    I fear though that I must disappoint you in your hope that we are now both seeing the greenhouse effect as being negligibly small. I certainly do think that the greenhouse effect of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere is negligibly small, but CO2 is only one possible greenhouse agent among many in my view. As far as I am aware, water-vapour is by far the most abundant and powerful greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere although the greenhouse effects of aerosols and clouds are probably greater still.

    The absorption of IR-radiation by atoms and molecules of different kinds and sizes tends to follow the general rule that the bigger and more complex the molecule, the more IR it is able to absorb. Aerosols and cloud-droplets may be very small but they comprise many trillions of molecules united together into so-called ‘macromolecules’ that behave as single huge molecules in many ways, especially radiatively. So at least theoretically these are liable to be the most potent greenhouse agents in the atmosphere in fact, clouds being probably more powerful than aerosols because of their greater overall mass. (This leads us back once more to water being by far the dominant regulator of the Earth’s climate system, which is hardly a revelation since it covers about 70% of the surface to an average depth of more than two miles.) However, it seems that there is not yet enough of the right kinds of data available to enable us to determine the absolute and relative contributions that each of the greenhouse agents is making individually and it is still not possible to tell empirically how much the combination of them together is responsible for raising the global mean surface temperature above the basal level determined by absorbed insolation alone.

    So my position is that I don’t know how big the total greenhouse effect on Earth is really. It might be very small but then again it might be quite large for all I can tell. However, I am sure that the greenhouse effect from human-sourced CO2 is negligibly small, but I’ve already explained that so won’t go over it again.

    You mention Venus. It is true to the best of my knowledge that the CO2 on Venus cannot account for its extraordinarily high surface temperature. However, the surface is also blanketed in dense clouds which are composed of sulphurous compounds. Theoretically, these should be massively powerful greenhouse agents and so we cannot eliminate the greenhouse effect on Venus from the realms of possibility yet.

  181. Magic Turtle says:

    tallbloke

    I have not been unfair to you. I have been trying to be considerate towards you. I had already given you the ‘beef’ that you are demanding I give you now in my comments on Stephen’s thread from which this one is an offshoot, entitled ‘The Myth of Backradiation’. However, all the feedback that I have been given about that is that I am wrong, I don’t understand your theory and I talk too much. So I got the impression that you did not really want to hear any more from me about how your theory conflicts with the fundamental laws of physics. And since this thread which you are now threatening to close was not centrally about your theory anyway, I took care not to bring up that subject again here.

    However, it came up of its own accord anyway and in my reply to you of (12.03.2012 at 10:55 pm) I wrote:

    tallbloke: …such as that explained in the previous post on the new theory of climate, and enlarged on by Dave Springer in his first comment on this thread.

    Neither of these disagree with the basic physics,..

    Magic Turtle: I suspect that they do. Unless they can explain how the Earth’s atmosphere is absorbing about 153 W/sq.m of power from the 390 W/sq.m radiating from the surface and recycling it back to the surface so that 237 W/sq.m is leaving the TOA in perfect balance with the incoming insolation all without the aid of atmospheric greenhouse agents, I think they will definitely be in disagreement with the current basic physics. And they will also need to explain why the perceived greenhouse agents are NOT recycling that amount of power back to the surface too, because the current basic physics lead us to expect them to be doing precisely that.

    So there, in the highlighted text, I gave you a simple and concise statement of how I see your theory conflicting with the basic laws of physics – a taste of the ‘beef’ that you say I have not shown you. And how have you responded to that? By asking me to elaborate and explain in more depth how I see those conflicts arising? No. You have responded by accusing me of withholding my answer to your peremptory question that I had already given you there and by giving me one last chance to answer up or else! And you think that I am being unfair to you?

    Regarding your three additional questions which you demand, without explanation, that I also answer, I do not submit to interrogation.

    So you might as well close the thread I guess because I shall not be subjecting myself to any more such high-handed treatment as I have received from you.

  182. Chris M says:

    Well yes I do feel slightly dudded that you are not in a vanguard of skeptical physicists, as I imagined you to be. Had some hopes there! It is probably your confidence and cheerful perseverance that led me astray. I would like to lend my support to tallbloke in his effort to get you to answer his specific questions, which is a reasonable request. Without such answers we have no way of knowing whether the greenhouse theory is all you have in-depth knowledge in, as opposed to the much wider perspective anyone professing climate expertise should have, imho.

  183. tallbloke says:

    Heh, so Magic Turtle writes a post saying the radiative greenhouse theory is correct but won’t defend it against criticism or attempt to answer awkward questions about it because I got stroppy about his repeated argument by assertion denigrating my own hypothesis, which he then refuses to specify his issues with in a way I can respond to. Classic.Thank heavens MT turned out not to be a member of ‘the physics community’ or we’d really be in the poo.

    OK, what’s left?

    MT says:
    Unless they can explain how the Earth’s atmosphere is absorbing about 153 W/sq.m of power from the 390 W/sq.m radiating from the surface and recycling it back to the surface so that 237 W/sq.m is leaving the TOA in perfect balance with the incoming insolation all without the aid of atmospheric greenhouse agents, I think they will definitely be in disagreement with the current basic physics.

    I don’t have a problem accepting that’s what the radiative situation is (Though real world measurements of quantities seem awful rare and averages disputable), and that it happens with “the aid of atmospheric greenhouse agents” (AKA water vapour and a few trace gases), which are essential to my hypothesis too, (as cooling agents primarily). I have simply pointed out that the radiative greenhouse effect is only a minor part of the overall greenhouse effect, and that the formulation above misses most of what actually does the heavy lifting in the climate system. See the new post for details.
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/gaelic-dancing-part-two-arms-the-missing-half-of-the-greenhouse-effect/

    Thread closed.