David Cosserat: Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement Part II – So what kind of heat flow throttling do you favour?

Posted: February 19, 2013 by David Socrates in Analysis, climate, Energy, general circulation, methodology, Ocean dynamics
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My Thanks to David Cosserat for this second guest post, which builds on the material covered in the strongly debated part I. Although it doesn’t cover every aspect of the elevation of the surface temperature above that of an airless planet, it neatly covers the essential issues at stake between proponents on opposing sides of the ‘greenhouse effect’ debate.

Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement

Part II – So what kind of heat flow throttling do you favour?

Our goal in these articles is really quite simple. It is to determine, exactly, the mechanism that causes the Earth’s surface (land + ocean)  to have a significantly higher temperature than if it had no atmosphere at all. Is it due to the so-called radiative gases in the atmosphere such as water vapour and carbon dioxide? Or does it have some non-radiative physical cause? On this issue hangs the future of the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory.

In Part I, I discussed two possible mechanisms that might cause the temperature enhancement. One I called Throughput Throttling and the other Output Throttling. Throughput Throttling is not sensitive to radiative gas concentrations (provided those concentrations are above certain minimum levels). In contrast, Output Throttling would appear to be very sensitive to them.

Part I was intended to clear away a number of misconceptions that some skeptics have that I believe are getting in the way of a resolution of the above issue. Many skeptics tend to react against a number of ideas that appear to support the warmist cause but in reality don’t support it at all. For example they refuse to believe that:

  • Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) are an essential part of the earth-atmosphere energy transfer mechanism.
  • There is enhanced radiation from surface to atmosphere well above the net rate of inflow of energy from the Sun.
  • There is similarly enhanced ‘back radiation’ from atmosphere to surface.
  • The Trenberth energy flow model is a valuable aid to understanding the flows of energy through the earth and its atmosphere.

As long as skeptics maintain that the above propositions are false, I believe they cannot possibly engage effectively in debate with friendly warmist-inclined scientists to discuss the actual warming mechanism. This is very unfortunate because, as I hope I have demonstrated in Part I, and in the discussion trail, none of the above propositions in fact support the warmist cause anyway, even though they are believed to do so by both skeptics and warmists.

To summarise:
The presence of atmospheric GHGs are vital for converting a significant proportion of the Sun’s incoming radiation (78Wm-2) directly to Kinetic Energy in the atmosphere. This process, commonly referred to as thermalisation, heats the atmosphere. But the rate at which the thermalisation process occurs is NOT determined by the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere (assuming there is a sufficient minimum concentration of GHGs to do the job). It is instead determined by the constant rate at which the Sun delivers energy in the bands that are directly absorbed.

  1. The earth’s surface radiates energy at an enhanced rate (356Wm-2) towards the Base of the Atmosphere. At the same time, the lowest part of the atmosphere radiates energy at an enhanced rate (333Wm-2) towards the surface. Both those figures are well above the net inflow rate from the Sun to the earth’s surface of just 161Wm-2. These enhanced flow rates more-or-less cancel one another out, the net difference being just 23Wm-2. This means that 333Wm-2 of energy circulates round and round between the two bodies (earth and atmosphere) doing no work. But this enhanced level of radiative flow is not magically produced from nowhere. It is a simple consequence of the fact that bodies at an elevated temperature radiate energy at an elevated rate (Stefan-Boltzmann law). Repeat: the enhanced radiation is a consequence of enhanced temperature levels in the surface and atmosphere and is not its cause. It does no work. Skeptics should not be afraid of that. But warmists should.
  2. The presence of atmospheric GHGs are vital for converting all of the Kinetic Energy (199Wm-2) that flows to the Top of the Atmosphere to radiation that is lost to space. This process cools the atmosphere. If you are a warmist who believes in Output Throttling, the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere dictates the rate at which this ‘de-thermalisation’ process occurs. If you are a skeptic who believes instead in Throughput Throttling then the concentration of GHGs at the Top of the Atmosphere has no effect on the rate of flow of radiative energy because it acts simply as an open drain of energy to space (again assuming there is a sufficient minimum concentration of GHGs to do the job).

So, our investigation depends on the issue of whether or not so-called greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as water vapour and carbon dioxide are actually responsible for the atmospheric thermal enhancement (ATE) that leads to an elevated temperature above that of an airless planet. If they are, then adding additional CO2 to the atmosphere would cause a further temperature rise, with possibly alarming consequences for mankind. If they are not, then adding additional CO2 would not cause any further temperature rise, so attempts to limit man’s output of CO2 would be pointless.

The Controversial ‘Trenberth’ Figures

In summarising the conclusions of Part I, you will see I have used actual energy flux density figures rather than just relying on qualitative discussion. The figures are taken from the Earth’s Energy Balance diagram published in the 2009 paper by Trenberth, Fasullo & Kiehl.  I said then, and I repeat now, that I do not endorse these figures as being perfectly correct. Their main use is as a helpful conversational device to fix ideas on matters of scale. But I got a barrage of criticism for using them:

  • From people who thought the figures were wrong – but when challenged were unable to provide any alternative values.
  • From people who thought the figures were ludicrously accurate (3 significant figures) without having read the TFK 2009 paper where it is made clear that the numbers were just best rough estimates that came out of averaging the re-analyses of several other peoples’ work.
  • From people who appeared unable to appreciate that TFK 2009 might have done a fairly reasonable job on the energy flux density estimates, despite being regarded by skeptics as ‘wicked warmists’.
  • From people who were anxious to provide earnest advice about how to construct a much better model than Trenberth’s containing much more additional complexity – without being sensitive to the level of detail actually required for our purposes here.
  • From people who thought the model was wrong because they just hated the idea of the enhanced ‘back radiation’ loop, claiming without any proof at all that the associated upward and downward energy flow figures must  be a fabrication because they violate the 1st and/or 2nd laws of thermodynamics (they don’t).

And so on, and on…

There was one other recurring concern that I found quite baffling. Several people were uncomfortable with my insistence that the TFK 2009 model was designed to represent a steady-state energy flow scenario. How, they implied, could that be appropriate for an earth system that we know constantly undergoes change over both time and space and that is subjected to increasing levels of GHGs? Well from my viewpoint that question denied the whole objective of the model: which is to smooth out all time and spatial variations so that we are left with one that exhibits a fixed energy through-flow rate and a consequential fixed mean surface temperature. I had to explain that the model was simply a necessary starting reference point for our conversation – a balanced steady-state energy flow platform from which we could move forward in our subsequent discussion. Then we could ask questions like: what happens to the surface temperature if we do something radical like doubling the concentration of atmospheric CO2?

I confess that I remain wholly unconvinced by any of the above objections. In the final analysis, they mostly seemed to me to be ‘arm waving’ conversational ploys. As I said in Part I, for over 15 years the TFK model and figures (originally published in 1997 and updated only marginally in their subsequent 2009 paper) have remained the ‘best show in town’, despite all their undoubted imperfections.

The only significant challenge to any of the Trenberth figures that I think still needs to be addressed is an important philosophical one about the ‘back radiation’ loop: whether the uni-directional ‘upwelling’ and ‘downwelling’ radiation flows exist as separate real phenomena or are just ‘virtual’ energy flows. This issue divided commentators to the point where is spawned another blog article where we all had great fun debating whether pyrgeometer instruments, (which are specifically designed to measure uni-directional radiation, and are installed all over the world at atmospheric research centres) work accurately – or even possibly are some kind of self-referential confidence trick that don’t work at all. But whichever side you take in that ongoing debate should not detain you here (please go to that blog to register your views!) because, as you will see, in this Part II we will only be using the difference between the upwelling and downwelling figures (which is accepted by most people as a small real value).

Resistances to Energy Flow

So now let us move on to unravel the remaining part of the puzzle of why the atmosphere at the surface has a temperature that is several tens of degrees C warmer than the surface of an airless earth.

In Part I,  I described a Thought Experiment (Fig.2) to demonstrate that it is perfectly possible for a body that is well insulated from its surroundings to retain heat at a very high steady state temperature, whilst receiving a very small through-flow of energy. In the Thought Experiment, the resistance to flow, resulting in the high temperature, was provided simply by the near-perfect insulation of the container.

Now we have to consider which mechanism in the real atmosphere causes that resistance to flow that allows its temperature to be significantly elevated:

  • Is it due to a restriction on the rate at which energy can flow up the atmospheric column?
  • Is it a restriction on the rate at which energy can be converted to radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere from where it flows out of the atmosphere to space?

Of course in logic we should include other possibilities. The enhanced temperature of the atmosphere might be due to a combination of both of the above mechanisms. Or it might be due to some other entirely different cause. For the sake of clarity and simplicity, we will proceed by debating the first two ‘either/or’ possibilities, that I have dubbed Throughput Throttling and Output Throttling. We can always compromise later if we find that both effects (and/or some others) play a role.

Before considering these two contenders in more detail, we need to remember from Part I why there is an Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement effect at all (whatever mechanism proves to be correct). It has got to be due to some physical mechanism that keeps the atmosphere at a range of stable equilibrium temperatures such that the energy flowing into the earth system from the Sun exactly balances the energy flowing from the earth system out to space. This requires, as do all stable control systems, some kind of negative feedback, in this case caused by a physical resistance to energy flow.

Let us re-use our Thought Experiment apparatus from Part I, Fig. 2. But in this case we will not be considering radiation – just heat flow by conduction. This time there is no vacuum inside this new enclosure. We imagine it just contains three bodies X, Y and Z, each in contact with the next as shown in Fig. 4:

Fig. 4 - Thought Experiment 2

For this Thought Experiment we have no need of a top lid of ‘imperfect insulation’ to impede the outflow of energy. This is because the three bodies X, Y and Z are themselves imperfect insulators. That is, they possess varying conductivities, kx, ky and kz that are greater than zero but less than infinity.

Using a fixed 10 watts of through-flow power as in our previous Thought Experiment in Part I, body X (made of stainless steel) has the highest conductivity and therefore the lowest temperature difference between its lower and upper surfaces – just 0.5K. Body Y (made of glass) has a temperature difference of 10K. And body Z (made of plastic) has the largest temperature difference of 50K. This makes a total temperature drop up the column of 60.5K.

Now the important key question arises: if the total temperature difference up the column is 60.5K, what sets the corresponding absolute temperature values that are shown at the right of the column? Well, the temperature at the base is not fixed because the perfect insulation of the base prevents body X from being heated (or cooled) by a flow of energy through the base from (or to) the outside. Instead, you may remember, we postulated that the base is heated by some other means such as a 10 watt electrical heater. Therefore in this Thought Experiment, as in the previous one, the actual absolute temperatures in the column must be fixed relative to the temperature at the top – which in this case is simply the ambient temperature of the surroundings, 289K. Given this number, and the known temperature differences across the three bodies X, Y and Z, the other temperatures up the stack follow consequentially.

So what has a hypothetical insulated box containing three slices of differing solid materials got to do with an atmosphere? Well, it reminds us that:

  • At steady state, input energy flow rate = output energy flow rate (1st law of thermodynamics)
  • temperature drops are in the direction of energy flow (2nd law of thermodynamics)
  • temperature drops are different for materials that have different conductivities

and most importantly of all

  • external conditions dictate how those temperature differences relate to absolute temperature values (the 289K ambient temperature ‘anchor’ in our example).

Our Thought Experiment also has another important feature: it receives a constant input energy flow. This is not something we are very familiar with in everyday life where objects tend to heat up or cool down at reducing rates as they tend towards the ambient temperature of their surroundings. In contrast a constant flow source just…keeps on flowing at the same rate.

An analogy for constant energy flow that electrical engineers will understand is the case of a constant current source flowing through an electrical circuit that presents an overall constant resistance to the current flow and therefore develops a constant voltage difference across the circuit.

In the case of the earth-atmosphere system, the Sun provides the constant input energy flux. Energy flows through the atmosphere which provides resistance to heat flow. This develops an overall constant effective temperature difference between the ground and the top of the atmosphere where the energy is lost to space.

Simplified Earth-Atmosphere Energy Flow Model

Fig. 5 below is a slightly re-arranged and simplified version of Fig. 3 in Part 1. The energy flows are the standard ‘Trenberth’ numbers, as before:

Fig. 5 - Earth-Atmosphere Energy Flow Model

Fig. 5 shows just three energy entry routes for KE arriving into the atmosphere. The first entry route is the stream of KE derived directly from the SW radiation from the Sun (78Wm-2). The second entry route is the stream of KE derived at cloud levels from Latent Heat during precipitation (80Wm-2). The third entry route is the stream of KE derived from the surface – a combination of surface conduction/convection (17Wm-2) and surface KE-to-surface LW radiation- to-atmospheric KE (23Wm-2).

Note in particular that we now no longer show the 333Wm-2 LW radiation energy flow that was cycling around continuously between surface and atmosphere in Fig. 3. This is because this continuously cycling energy does no work and so is not part of the through-flow from Sun-to-earth-to-space – which is what we now are focusing on.

However Fig. 5 can be simplified still further by making one other (and perhaps for some people unintuitive) assumption:

It doesn’t matter at what various heights the directly absorbed solar flow of radiant energy, and the latent heat of vaporisation of surface water, are converted to Kinetic Energy.

Why doesn’t it matter? It’s all because of the Environmental Lapse Rate.

The Environmental Lapse Rate

Atmospheric pressure goes down as we ascend through the atmosphere. This is simply because the pressure at any height is determined by the fixed weight of air above that point, which obviously diminishes with increasing height above the surface.

This is summed up in the US Standard atmosphere (1987), shown in a neat graphical form in Fig. 6. The vertical axis is in kilometres above the earth’s surface. Four environmental lapse rates are shown, for pressure, density, temperature and speed of sound. Up to the tropopause, all four are negative and vary monotonically with height.

image3As we ascend through the troposphere, the reducing pressure (green line) means that each unit volume of air contains fewer and fewer molecules. In other words, it gets less dense (orange line). Lower and lower density means the air will contain less and less stored Kinetic Energy. This in turn means it also has a lower and lower temperature (red line).

The negative temperature profile up through the troposphere to the tropopause is fixed at absolute temperature values by reference to the surface. This is at the highest temperature end of the flow because the air at the bottom of the atmospheric column is in thermal contact with the surface and the surface has a temperature that relates to the rate at which it absorbs incident radiant energy from the Sun. Note that this is the opposite of our Thought Experiment above (Fig. 4) where the absolute temperatures are all referenced to the temperature of the coolest end of the column.

Ultra-simplified Earth-Atmosphere Energy Flow Model

For diagrammatic purposes in Fig. 5, the three energy streams are shown entering the atmosphere at three specific heights. Because cloud levels vary, in the cases of directly absorbed SW radiation and of Latent Heat, there will in practice be quite a wide spread of entry heights. Even in the case of the KE flowing from the surface, the 23Wm-2 fraction (radiated from the surface and then almost immediately re-absorbed in the Base of the Atmosphere) will re-appear as KE over a (short) spread of distances from the surface. So the reality is that energy flows into the atmosphere at a multiplicity of heights.

Now consider what happens when there is a flow of Kinetic Energy into the atmosphere at any particular given height. Will that layer’s temperature be raised as it absorbs that incoming energy, thus distorting the temperature lapse rate? No, because the heated air will simply convect upwards, cooling in the process, until it reaches a height at which its temperature is in equilibrium with the air surrounding it.

Therefore, for our very specific purposes here, we do not need to concern ourselves with the varying heights at which the energy enters the atmosphere, because:

At whatever height the energy flow enters, the fixed pressure profile of the atmosphere will force the energy to be redistributed so as to maintain a fixed Kinetic Energy profile in accordance with the environmental lapse rate.

So we can simply draw our diagram as if all the energy has entered at a single arbitrary point. And what better point to choose than the surface, as shown in Fig. 7 below:

image4

Wow! Simple or what? All that complicated climate sciencey stuff is now compressed down into one elementary diagram. Of course it won’t be a diagram that will be of much interest or use to people studying the intricacies of atmospheric sciences. (I fully expect it to generate many howls of anguish, just like before.) But for our purposes here it will do just fine.

We now have the simplest possible model of energy flow. It has factored out all the complications of the real earth-atmosphere system.  Look at the complexities we have lost:

  1. The insertion at a range of heights of that proportion of the Sun’s incoming radiation that is directly absorbed by the atmosphere.
  2. The conversion of KE in the surface to Latent Heat in rising water vapour.
  3. The conversion of Latent Heat to KE at a range of heights relating to cloud levels.
  4. The conversion of KE in the surface to upward radiation which is almost immediately absorbed back to KE within the Base of the Atmosphere.
  5. The conversion of KE in the Base of the Atmosphere to downward radiation which is absorbed immediately back to KE within the surface, thus (predominantly) balancing the radiative element of the upward energy flow.

We have conveniently lost all the above complexities but we haven’t forgotten them. If they turn out to be important in our subsequent discussions, we can always bring them back in.  In the meanwhile, let’s stay with the simplified diagram and see how well we get on with it.

And now for the $64 billion dollar question. What throttles the flow of energy through the atmosphere to space?  Let me describe the two competing mechanisms as succinctly as I can:

Throughput Throttling

From Fig. 7 we see that the energy lost to space through direct LW radiation (the atmospheric window) is 40Wm-2. The remainder of the energy flow, 199Wm-2, is in the form of Kinetic Energy which percolates up the atmospheric column by convection and then is lost to space at the ToA.

If convection did not exist, the atmosphere would be almost a perfect insulator. But convection does not turn the atmosphere into a perfect conductor – far from it. Convection gives the atmosphere an effective conductivity, katm, which behaves in an analogous way to the real conductivity values kx, ky and kz discussed above in Thought Experiment 2.  Strictly, to take account of the lapse rate, the layers of the atmosphere should be split into a sequence of different  effective conductivities, k1, k2, k3, ….kn, such that:

1/katm = 1/k1 + 1/k2 + 1/k3 + …….. + 1/kn

It is the combined effective conductivity katm that allows just sufficient energy through-flow to balance the Sun’s incoming energy flux whilst maintaining the fund of KE at one particular permanently elevated profile of temperatures.

If Throughput Throttling is the sole mechanism impeding energy flow though the atmosphere then adding GHGs to the atmosphere will have no effect – because the effective conductivity katm is due to a mechanical convective process that is not sensitive to the existence of GHG molecules.

Output Throttling

This proposed flow control mechanism relies on the fact that the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere affects the average height at which GHG molecules emit photons to space. If the concentration of GHGs goes up, the average emission height goes up. Why? Because the probability of photons being intercepted by other GHG molecules at the original average height is now greater due to the increased concentration of GHGs.

However, the increase in average emission height means the emission is appearing from GHGs which are at a lower temperature – so the average energy of the photons successfully emitted to space goes down. This downgrading of energy-per-photon would cause an imbalance between energy flow into the earth-atmosphere system from the Sun and energy flow outwards to space. And  so atmospheric temperature rises to compensate until the energy balance is restored.

Under this scenario, therefore, adding additional quantities of GHGs to the atmosphere will cause the whole temperature profile of the atmosphere to rise in compensation. In particular, and, of particular importance to humans, the temperature of the air at the surface will therefore rise.

Let the debate begin

So which kind of throttling do you favour?  Are you persuaded by the skeptical argument that says that the fund of KE in the atmosphere is kept at an elevated level by the slow rate at which convection moves KE energy up the atmospheric column, which offers an ‘effective conductance’ katm that is independent of GHG concentration? And that the conversion process to radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere offers no resistance, operating like an open drain?

Or do you prefer the warmist argument that the conversion of KE to radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere is limited in proportion to the concentration of atmospheric GHGs? The higher the concentration, the cooler is the mean height at which the release of radiation to space is achieved. This forces a compensating warming sufficient to achieve the required rate of energy throughput.

There are fierce arguments to be advanced on either side but the discussions conducted here at the Talkshop will of course be mature, polite, constructive and amicable.

Here is just one very recent dialogue on another blog to get you all going:

Steven Mosher: The greenhouse effect operates by raising the ERL [effective radiation level]. A raised ERL means an earth that radiates from a higher colder region. That means a slower rate of energy release to space and the surface cools less rapidly in response.

Konrad: No, running back to the ERL thing won’t work. The ERL game was only cooked up after it became impossible to ignore that most of the energy that radiative gases radiated to space was acquired through conduction and release of latent heat, not IR from the surface. And of course we can see cloud tops radiating strongly in IR images from space. Far hotter than the surrounding air at their altitude. The altitude of radiative gases provably does not set the temperature of much of those gases at the time they are radiating the most IR. Try again.

Let (friendly) battle begin…

Comments
  1. Stephen says: “No quantitative justifications in sight though. Still searching”. Yes, funny that. No such quantification from warmists but they keep asking me for it whenever simple logic doesn’t suit them.

    True. But that’s the endemic problem on both sides of this debate. Lots of assertions, but no quantitative data that can be checked. To me that just shows it’s a proto-science, not yet a real one.

    But our task is to rise above that and make a serious attempt to analyse both points of view quantitatively. Otherwise we are all just indulging in armchair assertion.

    Tim Folkerts says: “AGW theory says the ERL is at a colder location so that the surface must become warmer.” That follows from basic conservation of energy.

    Does it? That is probably true IF you already assume that the mechanism converting KE to radiation that escapes to space IS acting as a throttle. But suppose that mechanism is in actuality more like an open drain, offering little or no resistance – just an infinite heat sink at 200K or whatever?

    Tim Folkerts says: One of the most common models for explaining the GHE is the “glass shell” model…This model results in a 2^(1/4) = 19% increase in surface temperature — [for] example from 255 K for a bare planet to 303 K with the shell in place.

    Never heard of it. An explanation and reference would be helpful.

    Everyone else: Please refrain from an extended debate on the glass shell model once Tim F has enlightened us. This should NOT be taken as an invitation to go off-topic into the realms of fantasy. :-)

    DC

  2. Stephen Wilde says:

    As regards quantification I think we are here concluding that the entire mass of an atmosphere determines the temperature.

    What role is left for a significant contribution to temperature of CO2 at 0.004 % of the atmosphere ?

  3. clivebest says:

    Stephen writes :
    “The ERL does not change to a colder location. Instead it stays the same temperature but the height changes.”.

    Yes that is exactly right, but what matters is how the heat flow through the rest of the atmosphere adjusts. That is saying essentially the same thing as how the lapse rate adjusts. If it maintains a “moist” lapse rate then the surface temperaure must rise a littlesee here

    For surface temperatures not to change you need to define exactly how the lapse rate adjusts itself so that DTs = 0.0.

    I have no real problem with accepting that temperatures would rise by 1 degree for double CO2. if nothing else in the atmosphere changes. What I can’t accept are the accumulator bets made by IPCC scientists to ensure funding and influence.

  4. Tim Folkerts says:

    “The ERL [effective radiating level] does not change to a colder location. Instead it stays the same temperature but the height changes.

    That is sort of a matter of semantics. Each wavelength has an effective radiating level. The effective radiating level for 15 um IR photons (ie in the CO2 band) would move to a higher altitude with more CO2, and would therefore come from a cooler location. On the other hand, the effective radiation level for 10 um IR photons (ie in the atmospheric window) will remain at the surface (unless it is cloudy), but will get warmer. So both location AND temperature change!

    The ‘effective radiating temperature” will remain the same (~ 255 K) independent of the CO2 levels.

  5. Trick says:

    David 10:01am: “I have always used the US Standard lapse rate of 6.5K/km…”

    I looked for it and missed it in Fig. 7. Was looking for 0km to be 288.15K and found David using 287K; at 12km to be 216.65K and found David using 210K.

    Careers are built around finding 0.5K/century differences or so. And 15K over eons. 1K is not necessarily trivial. Throughput v. output throttling might cause less difference, or even “infinitesimal” if you ask Stephen.

  6. Stephen Wilde says:

    Clive.

    I’m puzzling over whether it really is zero (whilst being convinced by logic that it must be) but the fact is that mass, gravity and insolation set the temperature so how can anything else change it without upsetting the lapse rate slope set by gravity and thereby creating a TAO radiative imbalance for long periods of time such that the paleological record could not be as stable as it is.

    Most radiation to space is from the surface so anything that restricts the outward radiation so that it becomes less than the level of incoming radiation must heat up the system but that restriction has repeated effects on every successive attempt at energy loss from the surface which gives an indefinite positive feedback loop which is not possible if an atmosphere is to be retained.

    Trick’s numbers appear to ignore the successive repeating and therefore cumulative effect of atmospheric obstruction to the radiative outflow. In reality there will never be a regaining of thermal equilibrium at any higher temperature once destabilisation begins.

    I’ve pointed out that the change in equilibrium temperature required by a change in energy content for the atmosphere as a whole reduces in parallel with reduction in viscosity/density because convection can be faster in a less dense atmosphere.

    I accept that that still doesn’t reduce it to zero but then we have the conundrum of long term temperature stability.

    I have however explained why on Earth it could well be indistinguishable from zero due to the thin atmosphere and the water cycle.

    Logic and the Ideal Gas Law indicates that the removal of any final residual imbalance after increased convection has done its work must be linked to the pressure gradient.

    Quite simply an expanded atmosphere lets radiation out of the system faster due to less density at any given height and/or converts more of the available KE to PE which is a cooling effect.

    I know of no other explanation that can explain long term thermal stability for planets with atmospheres.

    The odd thing is that I come across many commentators who accept that the temperature of an atmosphere is set by mass, gravity and insolation yet then go on to accept that it can be altered by other factors such as radiative characteristics.

    Observations long term tell us that it cannot.

    What empirical proof is there that mass, gravity and insolation are NOT sufficient to explain the temperature of planetary atmospheres ?

    Most likely, radiative characteristics have no net thermal effect at all since the radiation being observed within an atmosphere is simply a consequence of the temperature set by mass and gravity subjected to an incoming energy source and the decline in pressure with height tightly controls the decline in temperature with height.

    I no longer think that the variable lapse rates that we actually observe have anything whatever to do with radiative characteristics but instead result from other non radiative characteristics of individual gases.

    For example, in the troposphere the actual lapse rate is due to the phase changes of water and not the radiative ability of water vapour.

    In the stratosphere the reversed lapse rate is due to the fact that ozone responds directly to incoming solar shortwave and is not due to the radiative ability of ozone.

    Yet still those lapse rate distortions fail to cause long term temperature changes for the atmosphere as a whole. The only such changes we have seen are due to changes in TOA insolation due to Milankovitch cycles.

    Other shorter term variations appear to be linked to variability in sun and oceans but again the system responses are always negative.

    Therefore there must be an internal mechanism for cancelling out the effects of water vapour and ozone variations.

    My conclusion is that the absorption and radiative qualities of molecules are irrelevant to anything because the temperature of those molecules and of the non GHGs around them is controlled absolutely by pressure and, via pressure, height.

    Changes in atmospheric volume and of the maximum height of that volume at any given time appear to work to negate any effects from radiative characteristics as a result of the fact that reducing pressure with height alters the rate of energy throughput as necessary using the rate of convection as part of the mechanism and density changes dealing with any residuals.

    As regards quantification I think we are here concluding that the entire mass of an atmosphere determines the temperature.

    What role is left for a significant contribution to temperature of CO2 at 0.004 % of the atmosphere ?

    What is 4 millionths of the temperature range between the temperature of space and the temperature of the Earth’s surface ?

    Please show your work :)

  7. Stephen Wilde says:

    Tim Folkerts said:

    “The effective radiating level for 15 um IR photons (ie in the CO2 band) would move to a higher altitude with more CO2, and would therefore come from a cooler location.”

    The location might have been cooler before but it has become warmer.

    Meanwhile density has reduced in the entire column which is a cooling effect so you cannot extrapolate the lapse rate back to the surface from the higher level. The change in densities would have changed the slope of the lapse rate.

    But as stated before I have doubts as to whether CO2 actually has the net warming effect proposed when loose in an atmosphere open to the sky as compared to within a laboratory.

    I think the decline in pressure and temperature with height eliminates any net thermal effect whether of warming or cooling.

    Anyway:

    As regards quantification I think we are here concluding that the entire mass of an atmosphere determines the temperature.

    What role is left for a significant contribution to temperature of CO2 at 0.004 % of the atmosphere ?

    What is 4 millionths of the temperature range between the temperature of space and the temperature of the Earth’s surface ?

    Please show your work

  8. Stephen Wilde says, March 2, 2013 at 4:48 pm: As regards quantification I think we are here concluding that the entire mass of an atmosphere determines the temperature. What role is left for a significant contribution to temperature of CO2 at 0.004 % of the atmosphere?

    Well the obvious riposte to that is to imagine what would happen if the concentration of all GHGs, including CO2, was reduced to nil. Under such circumstances there would be no emission to space from the ToA and all emission would be from the Earth’s surface, resulting in a mean surface temperature several tens of degreess cooler than is the actual case.

    If we then add all the GHGs back in, the mean surface temperature would rise back to a balmy 288K or so, thus demonstrating that GHGs DO cause ATE warming, with CO2 making its proportionate contribution.

    But there is a deadly snag with that apparently re-assuring argument for warmists. It is that the relationship between GHG concentration and output throttling may well be highly non-linear. Although there certainly must be a minmum amount of GHG at the ToA to facilitate the transfer of energy to space as radiation, after that minimum threshold has been reached the ToA may rapidly become a more-or-less open drain. Adding more and more GHGs will not have any significant further effect. So there will be no further output throttling, just source and/or throughput throttling.

    An analogy would be a gate valve on a high pressure water pipeline. Turn it one or two turns and water gushes out. But beyond that, further turns of the control knob have increasingly little additional effect. The rate of flow in the pipe is then mainly determined by the potentially available source flow rate, moderated by the pipe resistance, and is almost wholly insensitive to more turns of the gate valve control knob.

    I suspect that the earth’s concentration of GHGs is already way past that non-linear ‘knee’ in the energy flow rate curve; and that is why we see from the observational record little or no sign of an alarming rise in world mean surface temperature along the lines originally predicted by Hansen and others all those years ago.

  9. suricat says:

    David Socrates says: March 3, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Why do you ‘sit on the fence’ whilst presuming to be an ‘authority’ in both camps David? You know it’s ‘the water’ that upsets the lapse rate! Stephen comes closest with PE to KE to PE, but still ignores ‘LE’ (latent energy) with KE to PE and ‘V’ (volume) with PE to KE with some aspects.

    Guys, let’s go back to the ‘cartoon’ produced by Trenberth et al, as represented as Fig 1 in Part 1? Perhaps it shows ‘hidden depths’ that you’ve not ‘seen’ below the tropopause before? :)

    Surface emission:
    Sensible Heat [17W/m^2]
    Latent Heat [80W/m^2]
    Surface to Atm. LW [356W/m^2] – Atm. to Surface LW [333W/m^2] = 23W/m^2 OLR
    Surface to Space LW (window) [40W/m^2]

    We would do well to remind ourselves that the “Latent Heat [80W/m^2]” value is a ‘refrigeration value’ for Earth’s surface because the ‘energy for evaporation’ is taken ‘from the surface’. Yes! It’s ‘evapourative cooling’. :)

    The next thing we need to remind ourselves of is that this ‘Latent’ surface energy is released ‘slowly’ in the atmosphere as and when the ‘opportunity permits’ (the Vapour Pressure and Clausius Clapyron Relationship determines this opportunity). Which, in it’self, adds complexity.

    However (upwards from the surface), ‘half’ the OLR from the surface doesn’t register on a thermometer and ‘half’ the thermometer registration doesn’t include the ‘LH’ energy (OK, so this is a re-statement, but it just ‘needs’ to be understood). :)

    We now have a situation where a ‘lapse rate’ is ‘modified’ by LH energy that deviates from the ‘dry lapse rate’ by virtue of it’s ‘opportunistic’ phase change.

    That’s enough for now. :)

    Best regards, Ray.

  10. tallbloke says:

    What Ray says, pretty much. Ever since Peter Berenyi pointed out the comparative strength of molecular bonds in water vs gravity in the climate etc thread on Makarieva et al, the scales have been lifted from my eyes. And the water vapour feedback is to the Sun, not co2 as my SSN vs Specific Humidity plot shows.

  11. Stephen Wilde says:

    For the Earth all that water is a unique feature and gives a boost to the basic effectiveness of convection as a cooling mechanism because it is lighter than air.

    Suricat is right to point out that evaporation has a net cooling effect. I’ve been banging on about that for years in other articles and blog posts.

    The water cycle is an accelerator of energy transfer from surface to space and furthermore it can vary in speed and is highly sensitive to more energy in the air.

    Thus as I said above:

    “it is at least arguable (subject to empirical data) that the additional boost to convection from the surface of a planet with more than a certain amount of water cover could remove the need for any rise in equilibrium temperature at all when composition changes occur in the atmosphere.”

    AGW theory tries to counter that negative system response by proposing a positive feedback from increasing humidity but that then introduces the indefinite positive feedback loop that I keep mentioning (though I just noticed that I’ve been missing out the increasing humidity aspect in recent posts).

    As regards David’s point:

    “Well the obvious riposte to that is to imagine what would happen if the concentration of all GHGs, including CO2, was reduced to nil. Under such circumstances there would be no emission to space from the ToA and all emission would be from the Earth’s surface, resulting in a mean surface temperature several tens of degrees cooler than is the actual case.”

    I don’t see that because if all energy had to be returned to the surface before being re emitted from the surface then the atmosphere would simply become more vigorous so as to return energy to the surface faster and thereby maintain radiative equilibrium at TOA.

    Conduction from surface to air on the day side would simply be countered by conduction from air to surface on the night side with the larger temperature differential (than with GHGs) on each side leading to more convection.

    Taking both David’s and Suricat’s points together leads to a conclusion that I set out previously:

    Even if GHGs slow down energy throughput and even if water vapour speeds up energy throughput the only way to keep atmospheric energy content stable is to alter atmospheric volumes and heights so that the general convective circulation changes to constantly keep the system at the same stable rate of throughput.

    Still subject to oscillations about the mean though.

    The effect of non condensing GHGs and water vapour and ozone must therefore in the end all net out to zero when offset by circulation and volume changes.

    Indeed, the effect of everything other than changes in mass, gravity and insolation must be netted out in that way.

    The long term persistent stability of atmospheres tells us it must be so.

    The adiabatic loop stabilises changes in the diabatic loop.

  12. tallbloke says:

    Tim Folkerts, for a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, it has to have falsifiable content. In other words, you have to be able to devise a test so you can tell whether it is right or wrong. Please tell us how you propose to measure the ‘Effective altitude of emission’ of non-condensing GHG’s over time to see if an increase in their partial pressure makes a difference to surface temperature.

    Thanks. TB.

  13. tallbloke says:

    A TEMPERATURE AND ABUNDANCE RETRIEVAL METHOD FOR EXOPLANET ATMOSPHERES
    N. Madhusudhan and S. Seager
    The Astrophysical Journal, 707:24–39, 2009 December 10

    We focus on the generality that the temperature
    structure at a given altitude depends on the opacity at that
    altitude, along with density and gravity.
    In the deepest layers of the planet atmosphere, convection
    is the dominant energy transport mechanism. The high pressure
    (equivalently, high density) implies a high opacity, making
    energy transport by convection a more efficient energy
    transport mechanism than radiation.

  14. clivebest says:

    I would send 2 helium balloons up separated by 1000m. The first balloon contains a furnace of hot CO2 emitting IR. The second balloon contains a sensitive IR spectrometer. The height at which the second balloon begins to register each line in the CO2 spectrum emitted by the first balloon is the emission height for that wavelength.

    Repeat the measurement every year.

  15. tallbloke says:

    Clive: You don’t think local weather and the consequent daily, monthly and inter-annual variation would make such a scheme unworkable? What about longer term ocean dynamicss shifting climate zones latitudinally?

    I’m sorry but I think it’s just not realistic to believe you will get any useful data.

  16. Stephen Wilde says:

    http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/707/1/24/pdf/0004-637X_707_1_24.pdf

    Good find.

    “Moreover, a noticeably strong CO2 absorption in one data set is significantly weaker in another. We must, therefore, acknowledge the strong possibility that the atmosphere is variable, both in its energy redistribution state and in the chemical abundances.”

    Which pretty much sums up my long standing assertions that changes in chemical abundances are offset by changes in energy distribution.

    In addition I have suggested a variety of plausible mechanisms which boil down to the continual reapportionment of a fixed fund of energy between KE and PE.

  17. Stephen Wilde says:

    “The major difference from traditional 1D radiative transfer models is the parametric P–T profile, which essentially means adopting energy balance only at the top of the atmosphere and not in each layer”

    Which is exactly what I said should be done when I pointed out that radiative physics only applies at TOA with the Ideal Gas Laws in control within an atmosphere.

    It seems that they have to analyse exoplanets from afar before they can see what should have been obvious in relation to our planet.

  18. tallbloke says:

    Yep. Astrophysicists don’t seem to have any problem understanding that Tropospheres are dominated by convection and hydrostatic equilibrium and that density and gravity are key parameters in determining the magnitudes of the effects of those properties, thus making radiative balance of interest only near the TOA where radiation to space becomes the dominant factor in maintaining energy balance.

    Yet Tim Folkerts and the climate scientists just don’t/won’t get it. Very odd, and profoundly unscientific.

  19. Stephen Wilde says:

    “The high pressure (equivalently, high density) implies a high opacity”

    The link between pressure and opacity is significant because it accepts my contention that density affects throughput in the same way as an albedo change.

    The more tightly packed the molecules are the more resistance they will apply to energy throughput (higher opacity) and the higher the temperature will rise. Expansion makes the molecules less tightly packed (lower opacity).

    Opacity is not limited to visible wavelengths though many commenters seem to think that it is which is why they often treat it as synonymous with albedo which normally refers only to visible light.

    That gets rid of one of Trick’s objections which was that to get the result I required one would need to change albedo.

    In fact that is not necessary to change albedo because a change in optical depth is sufficient and that can arise from a simple density change.

    The density will change from expansion and contraction so if anything causes an increase in optical depth (as suggested for non condensing GHGs) then the resulting expansion causes reduced density and returns the optical depth to what it was before.

    That fits with Miskolczi who says that optical depth did not increase during the recent warming spell and with Verkley who said that the lapse rate is not affected by the radiative qualities of GHGs.

    We can see that the non radiative qualities of some GHGs can affect lapse rates though (water vapour and ozone) but even for them the resulting expansion results in reduced density at the affected levels so as to keep optical depth stable.

    So as I said before I don’t think that radiative characteristics affect lapse rates or optical depth at all. The temperature of GHGs is controlled by mass and gravity producing a pressure and temperature gradient with the observed radiative flows merely a consequence and not a cause.

  20. Stephen Wilde says, March 3, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Stephen,

    You say: Suricat is right to point out that evaporation has a net cooling effect. I’ve been banging on about that for years in other articles and blog posts.

    Agreed. But as shown in all my (relevant) diagrams in Parts I and II, there are four surface cooling effects, not one. Yes, much the largest one is indeed evaporation.

    You say: As regards David’s point: … Conduction from surface to air on the day side would simply be countered by conduction from air to surface on the night side with the larger temperature differential (than with GHGs) on each side leading to more convection.

    Yes, I take your point. Convection would occur from day side to night side, where the energy returning at night to the surface would be re-radiated to space. But there would be no ToA radiation (because no GHGs). I assume therefore that this would end up with much the same scenario as an earth without any atmosphere at all, with a surface several tens of degrees below the earth’s current mean surface temperature.

    You say: The effect of non condensing GHGs and water vapour and ozone must therefore in the end all net out to zero when offset by circulation and volume changes. Indeed, the effect of everything other than changes in mass, gravity and insolation must be netted out in that way. The long term persistent stability of atmospheres tells us it must be so.

    Yes that’s my view too. Warmists tend to cling to theory and forget that the overriding reason why most skeptics plug on at this debate is that there really is no real-world evidence of warming taking off at a rate over and above the long term gentle mean rise of around 0.4degC per century that has been going on for a couple of hundred of years (and long before SUVs :-)).

    DC

  21. Stephen Wilde says, March 3, 2013 at 9:27 am: “The major difference from traditional 1D radiative transfer models is the parametric P–T profile, which essentially means adopting energy balance only at the top of the atmosphere and not in each layer” Which is exactly what I said should be done when I pointed out that radiative physics only applies at TOA with the Ideal Gas Laws in control within an atmosphere.

    I support that 100%. As my Part I and II articles have tried to illustrate, in the Bulk of the Atmosphere radiation is just the natural consequence of the huge fund of KE contained there and radiation there does not have much of a statistical chance of escaping before being re-absorbed. However, at ToA the situation is quite different and GHGs there are the essential agents that help balance the earth’s incoming radiation with outgoing LW to space.

    The question remains as to whether the throttling effect that warmists propose occurs at ToA due to added CO2 causing a higher (cooler) altitude of emission, is or is not borne out by the observed facts. The lack of anomalous warming over the past 200 years fuels our skeptical concerns.

    DC

  22. clivebest says:

    Clive: You don’t think local weather and the consequent daily, monthly and inter-annual variation would make such a scheme unworkable?

    The only parameter that should effect the mean free path for photons in the 15 micron band should be the barometric pressure. Therefore it should be fairly independent of seasons but clearly it won’t work in a thunderstorm. You only need one balloon with one long cord carrying the detector just 100m below the IR emitter. As soon as the emitter starts to appear as a blob on the detector at a given wavelength – we have essentially measured the effective emission height for that wavelength.

  23. Trick says:

    Stephen 10:03am: “Opacity is not limited to visible wavelengths though many commenters seem to think that it is which is why they often treat it as synonymous with albedo which normally refers only to visible light. That gets rid of one of Trick’s objections which was that to get the result I required one would need to change albedo. In fact that is not necessary to change albedo because a change in optical depth is sufficient and that can arise from a simple density change.”

    Not in modern atm. science. I find Stephen’s assertion stream so dense as to be mostly opaque to modern text book science. Even basic atm. science doesn’t hinder Stephen from assertion. He can’t or won’t read the modern science so he easily almost completely ignores the science; Stephen is easily unfettered by physics. I’m amazed actually.

    Clouds are very efficient scatterers of short wave radiation (solar, visible) and very efficient absorbers/emitters of longwave infrared radiation (outgoing, invisible) in David’s Fig. 5 equilibrium. Science tells us this because pure water is transparent to visible but opaque to infrared radiation. This is science telling us surface temperature deep in a hydrated atm. is determined by more than mass, insolation, and gravity & not just Trick telling this.

    I’ll quote modern text book science (again) in Part 2 for those willing to read & discuss. I’ve observed Stephen won’t be interested to read, learn and discuss modern science easily found even in other links posted.

  24. Stephen Wilde says:

    “But there would be no ToA radiation (because no GHGs). I assume therefore that this would end up with much the same scenario as an earth without any atmosphere at all, with a surface several tens of degrees below the earth’s current mean surface temperature.”

    Agreed there would be no ToA radiation.

    Instead, the surface would do the lot as you say.

    But it wouldn’t be like a planet with no atmosphere because one still has conduction to and from the atmosphere with a delay in between departure and return and that delay would result in the same amount of warming as one gets with any atmosphere with given mass, gravity and insolation.

    At base, the warming is caused by delay in energy transmission through the system.

    The pressure and temperature gradient caused by gravity acting on mass determines the temperature achievable because the presence of mass and its density causes the delay.

    Radiative characteristics appear to have no effect on the length of delay.

    AGW proponents say the delay is lengthened by more CO2 but that is contrary to the accepted science that only mass, gravity and insolation matter.

    The Venus/Earth relationship, the data from those exoplanets that tallbloke helpfully found and the failure of temperature to match CO2 amounts both recently and in the entire paleological record must be pretty conclusive, surely ?

    Those old experiments in labs showing thermal effects from CO2 cannot be comparable with events in an atmosphere open to space.

    Some factor that operates out in the open must have been missing from the experiments.

    Was it convection and expansion perchance ?

    What sorts of containers were used ?

    Were they open to the surroundings ?

    Was the energy applied to the gases out of all proportion to what happens in an entire atmosphere so as to give an unrealistic result ?

    No sufficient adiabatic loop in an experiment on such a small scale ?

  25. Stephen Wilde says:

    Trick said:

    “Clouds are very efficient scatterers of short wave radiation (solar, visible) and very efficient absorbers/emitters of longwave infrared radiation (outgoing, invisible) in David’s Fig. 5 equilibrium.”

    Agreed, but clouds are secondary to the opacity caused by mass and density. The basic rule still applies however. If clouds try to force the system one way then the circulation changes to offset the effect.

    I deal with cloud and albedo effects separately as regards the interplay between solar and oceanic variations which both affect global cloudiness.

    It seems that others find it very difficult to see how the parts of my overall concept fit together.

    Not much point studying modern atmospheric science since it seems to have lost its way some 30 to 40 years ago.

    Anyway, in this case I made no assertion. I simply applied logic to the comments in that paper about exoplanets.

    In fact all my assertions result from the application of logic to well established physical principles such as the Ideal Gas Law and real world observations.

    The two favoured responses to points I make when the implications are inconvenient is to require me to produce numbers or read more modern (defective) atmospheric science.

    In due course it will become patently obvious that radiative characteristics have no effect on system temperature but instead they have effects on energy distribution within the system which I have been saying all along.

    “Moreover, a noticeably strong CO2 absorption in one data set is significantly weaker in another. We must, therefore, acknowledge the strong possibility that the atmosphere is variable, both in its energy redistribution state and in the chemical abundances.”

    That is not my assertion but it is exactly what I have been saying.

  26. tallbloke says:

    Clive, what about wind-borne dust?

  27. Stephen Wilde says:

    Trick said:

    “a surface temperature deep in a hydrated atm. is determined by more than mass, insolation, and gravity & not just Trick telling this.”

    We all accept the effect of water vapour in altering the lapse rate but that is due to the phase changes as suricat pointed out and not the radiative characteristics.

    And increased humidity has a cooling effect does it not ?

    Dry desert air reaches a higher temperature than humid jungle air.

    Humidity ‘smears’ the available energy through the vertical column and thereby reduces surface temperature.

    Trick, in this matter there really is no substitute for a broad general knowledge which you seem to lack.

  28. Trick says:

    Part 2 of my 3:54pm post.

    It is really that Stephen lacks the broad general modern science of emissivity knowledge and Stephen also lacks numeric ability; there is more to water vapor science than Stephen’s limited phase change:

    First for output throttling, a NB: Verkley paper tells why David is incorrect physically – writing for output throttling: “Under this scenario, therefore, adding additional quantities of GHGs to the atmosphere will cause the whole temperature profile of the atmosphere to rise in compensation.”

    Only the Fig. 5 lower atm. temperature profile rises under this scenario, the upper atm. temperature profile (above ~600hPa) lowers to conserve energy. Corrected statement would be: “Under this scenario, therefore, adding additional quantities of GHGs to the equilibrium Fig. 5 atmosphere will cause the lower atm. temperature profile to rise and upper atm. temperature profile to lower in compensation.”

    Cite Verkley paper showing the profile graphs in Fig. 2 and computed data in Table 1 comparable to David’s Fig. 5.

    ******
    Stephen 10:03am: “Opacity is not limited to visible wavelengths though many commenters seem to think that it is which is why they often treat it as synonymous with albedo which normally refers only to visible light. That gets rid of one of Trick’s objections which was that to get the result I required one would need to change albedo. In fact that is not necessary to change albedo because a change in optical depth is sufficient and that can arise from a simple density change.”

    “That” does not get rid of Trick’s objection which is Stephen ignores atm. emissivity in his assertion insolation, mass, gravity alone set temperature. Stephen won’t read modern texts to learn broad general knowledge about emissivity/absorption and how it affects surface temporal and spatial sampled avg. temperature computed for David’s Fig. 5.

    The emissivity of earth’s atm. also affects surface temperature since atm. contains clouds and other well mixed IR active gases. Clouds for sure affect both sides of the 1st law heat eqn. balance in LTE energy in = energy out: Trenberthian 239=239. Stephen just won’t deal with this fact, read modern texts about this fact, and/or accept this fact but the proper basic, simple earth numerics do show measured earth data computes observed surface temperature to within 1K.

    Simple mass, insolation and gravity cannot compute Tavg. alone for earth. Nowhere has Stephen shown that mass, insolation and gravity alone can compute the ~288K observed global earth Tavg. AFAIK.

    Yes, Stephen, I do have to agree the optimal trade-off between high atm. density (which gives high emissivity) with little enough overlying atm. permits radiation to escape earth to deep space which David has dubbed output throttling in top post.

    The fact is the science of measured insolation, albedo, & emissivity does compute LTE avg. height=0km earth US standard atm. avg. temperature ~288K from David’s Fig. 5 data in hydrostatic equilibrium. The observed lapse rate US Standard (ELR) tells us the standard T profile with height from this To,Po starting point. There are various approx. computed lapse rates that are useful to understand the lapse and “throttling” physics.

    David’s corrected statement of radiative output throttling effectively computes and is key to establishing h=0 atm. avg. temperature & David’s throughput throttling (effective conductivity) is a sideshow since science tells:

    The well mixed chief atm. infrared absorbers/emitters, in decreasing order of importance, are:

    1. H2O (water vapour), which absorbs all radiation in the ranges 5–8 μm and greater than 20 μm. The region of weak absorption (8–17 mum) is called the water vapour window.

    2. CO2 (carbon dioxide), absorbing much radiation between 14 and 16 μm. Note that this band falls in the water vapour window, which gives particular importance.

    3. O3 (ozone), better known as an absorber of ultraviolet, also active in the infrared at about 10 μm, again falling in the water vapour window.

    4. N2O (nitrous oxide) and CH4 (methane) both have bands centered around 8 μm, near
    the shorwave end of the water vapour window. The absorption coefficient for these
    bands is high, but the mass path is small and so the absorptivity is not high. However,
    because these bands are unsaturated, their absorptivity is very sensitive to increasing
    mass path: adding an extra molecule of N2O or methane has a much
    greater effect than adding an extra molecule of CO2.

  29. tchannon says:

    “Dry desert air reaches a higher temperature than humid jungle air.”

    Dispute. (as a lever)
    A thermometer reading is higher but temperature is the entropy of a mass so I question what the thermometer is stating.

    For a start the masses are different. Perhaps the energy content is the same and a difficulty is the use of temperature as a measure, there is an omitted variable hence lots of confusion.

    Maybe we need energy per unit volume or unit mass, which can only be computed except I reckon a lot of the needed data missing.

    Maps of say wet bulb readings might be interesting.

    Lets try something sideways, turn to a commercial understanding where we can throw politics away.

    http://www.spiraxsarco.com/resources/steam-engineering-tutorials/steam-engineering-principles-and-heat-transfer/entropy-a-basic-understanding.asp

    I don’t feel as though I understand much.

  30. Stephen Wilde says:

    Sorry Trick but that attempt to complicate simple concepts is not worthy of my time.

  31. Stephen Wilde says:

    tchannon said:

    “Perhaps the energy content is the same and a difficulty is the use of temperature as a measure,”

    Energy content for individual molecules is the same from surface to ToA but KE changes to PE as one goes higher due to the pressure gradient set by the intensity of the gravitational field.

    AGW theory relies on temperature to support the S-B equation.

    They cannot do so within an atmosphere because of the variable KE/PE relationship.

    Radiative physics is only applicable at ToA and there are difficulties even defining ToA.

    Mass, gravity and insolation are the sole determinant of the amount of KE plus PE that an atmosphere can contain.

    The Ideal Gas Law describes expansion and contraction (V) and its effect on temperatures (T) within the atmosphere. That Law achieves its purposes by allowing energy to switch between KE and PE as necessary to maintain radiative balance at ToA.

  32. Tim Folkerts says:

    Tallbloke shows that he just doesn’t get it when he says: “Astrophysicists don’t seem to have any problem understanding that Tropospheres are dominated by convection and hydrostatic equilibrium and that density and gravity are key parameters in determining the magnitudes of the effects of those properties, thus making radiative balance of interest only near the TOA where radiation to space becomes the dominant factor in maintaining energy balance.

    Yet Tim Folkerts and the climate scientists just don’t/won’t get it. Very odd, and profoundly unscientific.

    This entire statement is basically a strawman argument, whether Tallbloke realizes it or not.

    1) I don’t deny that convection is important in the troposphere. In fact, I have said repeatedly that convection will serve to prevent the environmental lapse rate from ever getting significantly above the adiabatic lapse rate — no matter how much energy is moving upward via radiation or conduction.

    2) I don’t deny that gravity and density are key parameters. Actually, density matters less than heat capacity — the DALR is g/Cp. Throw in the latent heat of water and you get the SALR (saturated). With only that you have a very good approximation to the temperature gradient of the troposphere. (NOTE: this only gives the “slope” — the “intercept” can still only be determined by radiative energy balance.)

    3) Astrophysicists don’t deny than radiation is important even within atmospheres where convection is present. Consider the sun. There is an inner “radiative zone” where there is no convection, and a “convective zone” where both are important. And of course, there is the photosphere, where radiation once again becomes dominant. Astrophysicists can correctly model this because astrophysicists understand BOTH mechanisms and apply BOTH ideas when trying to understand the atmospheres.

    4) I (and climate scientists) do get it. We get it well enough that we can see how BOTH radiation and convection matter and both are essential for understanding the atmosphere and global temperatures. Sure , there are plenty of webpages that present a simplified version of “the greenhouse effect” that focuses only on radiation — either because the author truly doesn’t “get it” or because the author is trying to keep things simplified for a general audience. But don’t think for a moment that these simplified presentations represent “state of the art” understanding about the greenhouse effect and atmospheric conditions.

    Yet Tallbloke (and especially Stephen Wilde) seem to want to focus on only one of the two topics, not recognizing that others know what they are talking about AND more. How profoundly myopic!

    (Sorry, David, for going a bit off topic, but this unfounded attack really bugged me!)

    [Reply] Tim, I’ll carry on driving the point home until it is realised that LW radiation in the lower troposphere is the outcome, not the driver of the lower tropospheric temperature. Sorry if that particular scientific truth really bugs you. TB.

  33. Stephen Wilde says:

    Tim Folkerts said:

    “Actually, density matters less than heat capacity — the DALR is g/Cp.”

    Density and volume changes in response to heat capacity in order to offset the thermal effect of heat capacity.

    In all this the warmists steadfastly ignore the fact that an expanded atmosphere with lower density is a cooler atmosphere that lets energy flow through faster.

    Changes in density always involve expansion or contraction of an atmosphere within a gravitational field because.

    Heat capacity and radiative characteristics do not affect equilibrium temperature, merely the distribution of energy within the system when the speed of throughput changes in response to any forcing element.

    The evidence is:

    I ) That Earth and Venus (and probably other planets) show much the same temperature at the same pressure adjusted only for distance from the sun.

    ii) The data from exoplanets referred to above.

    iii) The absence of a correlation between CO2 and temperature in the paleological data.

    iv) The absence of a correlation with CO2 in recent temperature trends.

    v) The stability of atmospheres despite extreme volcanic outbreaks and devastating asteroid impacts.

    vi) The fact that the entire atmospheric mass is involved and not just a gas forming 0.004% of the atmosphere.

    vii) The observation that global air circulation and atmospheric volumes change regularly in response to solar and oceanic variability.

    viii) The fact that specific humidity tracks solar activity and not CO2 quantities.

    Do we really need more ?

  34. Stephen Wilde says:

    Tim Folkerts said:

    ” In fact, I have said repeatedly that convection will serve to prevent the environmental lapse rate (here meaning the infinitely variable local lapse rates) from ever getting significantly above the adiabatic lapse rate (here meaning the DALR) — no matter how much energy is moving upward via radiation or conduction.”

    That represents a profound misunderstanding.

    The only factors that will give a higher lapse rate than the DALR (the adiabatic lapse rate) are less atmospheric mass or a weaker gravitational field.

    All other features of an atmosphere if they have any effect at all only serve to make the environmental lapse rate less than the DALR. The DALR is the closest that the atmosphere ever gets to the lapse rate slope set by gravity.

    The phase changes of water vapour are one such feature and direct heating of ozone from incoming solar shortwave is another.

    I have seen no evidence that radiative characteristics alone have any effect on the environmental lapse rate. It always seems to be some other characteristic that has such an effect.

    However, the system response to any such factors is an adjustment to convection and/or volume (density) so as to bring the net average lapse rate globally and through the entire vertical column back to the lapse rate set by gravity.

    Only when the net sum of all the environmental lapse rates matches the lapse rate set by gravity will the system be in thermal balance but in reality it oscillates around the mean constantly.

  35. Stephen Wilde says:

    “The only factors that will give a higher lapse rate than the DALR (the adiabatic lapse rate) are less atmospheric mass or a weaker gravitational field.”

    Correction. Mass sets the starting temperature at the surface and not the slope.

    Gravity sets the slope. The stronger the gravitational field the greater the decline with height because the available mass is concentrated nearer the surface so that the slope has less distance to travel from surface to space and is thus steeper.

    So should have said that the only factor that will give a higher lapse rate is a stronger gravitational field.

  36. Trick says, March 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm: [in describing output throttling] “…adding additional quantities of GHGs to the equilibrium Fig. 5 atmosphere will cause the lower atm. temperature profile to rise and upper atm. temperature profile to lower in compensation.”

    Well I thought I had taken my cue from Tim Folkerts but maybe I got it wrong. I thought his argument was that if, for example, you instantly doubled CO2, then radiation to space would on average be emitted at a higher level where the air was as minimally concentrated as it was before the doubling (so that the photons would have the same probability as before of being able to escape to space).

    But the temperature higher up is lower due to the lapse rate so the individual photons would be less energetic. So not so much energy would escape to space as before and this would create an energy flow imbalance. Consequently, equilibrium would be established by raising the temperature profile all the way up the atmospheric column from surface to ToA by an exactly compensating increment.

    In contrast, Trick, you suggest that the upper atmospheric temperatures would go down. But this would surely exacerbate the imbalance and so not provide the output throttling effect that Tim has described.

    [NOTE: I am not endorsing the output throttling theory, just trying to articulate it clearly in a way that would be acceptable to warmists such as Tim Folkerts. I'm more than happy to be corrected if I have got this all wrong.]

    DC

  37. Trick says:

    David 10:20pm: Very interesting observation. I’m interested enough to review what Tim F. has written and find how it fits together. Seems at first, the forcing assumptions are where one would need to start; will look thru the Part 1 and Part 2 comments. If you have a specific Tim F. post outside these 2 threads, please let me know. Maybe Tim will comment on your observation too.

  38. Trick says:

    Stephen 9:20pm: “So should have said that the only factor that will give a higher lapse rate is a stronger gravitational field.”

    Venus has higher lapse rate and weaker gravitational field.

  39. Trick says:

    Well David 10:20pm, I do recall reading Tim F.’s comments to pochas above 2/19 5:48pm “When CO2 levels increase… then all layers would warm up a bit — including the surface.”

    And then at 2/20 3:55am: “As I said to Pochas earlier, this should more accurately say something like the increase in average emission height means the emission is appearing from GHGs which are at a lower temperature – so the average energy of the photons successfully emitted to space goes down.”

    These statements are confusing to me; I ended up offering no comments. How could all layers warm up but avg. energy of higher photons go down. Tim F. would have to clarify for us. But I think he’s on the right track – some energy up, some energy down (judging too by earlier statements that I’ve not gone and checked).

    The Verkley graph Fig. 2 showing a higher To (=302K) T profile crossing over to a lower T above about 6oohPa – this makes more sense to conserve their column energy (and in Fig. 5) as they painstakingly calculate.

    Now at current T=255K, the Teq. measured by CERES satellite, & then changing to a higher To start caused by added IR active gas but same lapse rate curve would go by that T=255K measured point at a slightly lower hPa or slightly higher altitude – this is what is meant by added IR active gas increasing atm. emissivity & opacity and thereby raising the EEL.

    Now would the same Teq=255K still be measured from space with additional IR gas? Yes, because the 239in=239out balance is not disturbed as I showed above in summary 2/27 12:26pm; only the atm. emissivity, To & opacity are increased as the surface To raised a bit for equilibrium (that is self limiting as IR active gas ppm goes up) with upper atm. lowered a bit per Verkley energy conservation.

    Tim F.’s turn.

    David continues: “Trick, you suggest that the upper atmospheric temperatures would go down. But this would surely exacerbate the imbalance…”.

    The Verkley paper & 1st law heat eqn. show this would solve the imbalance created by more IR active gas not exacerbate it. If you continue to think otherwise, show how the Fig. 5 heat eqn. numerics differ from mine above 2/27 12:26pm (in more detail at 12:59am) and/or how T profile would differ from Verkley paper.

  40. Trick,

    Good point. I meant “Exacerbate the flow imbalance”, not the energy imbalance. But anyway, let’s await Tim Folkert’s response – otherwise we are both in danger of putting words into his mouth!

  41. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Venus has higher lapse rate and weaker gravitational field.”

    Maybe I got it the wrong way round. Either way the strength of the field accounts for the gradient of the slope.

  42. Kristian says:

    David Socrates says:

    March 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    “Convection would occur from day side to night side, where the energy returning at night to the surface would be re-radiated to space. But there would be no ToA radiation (because no GHGs). I assume therefore that this would end up with much the same scenario as an earth without any atmosphere at all, with a surface several tens of degrees below the earth’s current mean surface temperature.”

    I find this a peculiar notion, that an atmosphere free of so-called GHGs, but all the same being warmed by surface processes (convection), cannot and does not radiate thermal radiation. We are not talking about the specific ability of the air to absorb and reemit surface IR here. We are talking about IR being emitted by the air as a result of its temperature, and specifically the daily transfer of energy (KE – molecular collisions) from the Sun via the surface to the air.

    Is this a physical process that does not occur in air devoid of so-called GHGs …?

    I admit that IR would escape faster from the surface to space during the night in such a situation. But the atmosphere would still have a heat capacity, which means it would still contain and hold some of the heat received from the surface during the day, maintaining a temperature relative to the surface temperature – even after the night has passed. Or do you assume it would ‘convect’ it all out and back to the surface during that same night?

    If an atmosphere sans GHGs does in fact keep some of its heat through the night, but is at the same time incapable of cooling by thermal radiation, wouldn’t it warm by each passing diurnal cycle until it got immeasurably hot?

  43. Stephen Wilde says:

    Kristian.

    I agree with your points addressed to David but just want to check something about non GHGs.

    I know that their ability to react to radiation is very small. The usual description is that they are virtually transparent to radiation.

    However, once they acquire energy from conduction and begin to circulate then how well do they radiate directly to space ?

  44. gbaikie says:

    “So should have said that the only factor that will give a higher lapse rate is a stronger gravitational field.”

    It seems weaker gravity field requires more atmosphere to get same pressure.
    To make Mars have same 14.7 psi at sea level that Earth has, requires 3 times as much atmosphere.

    And if Earth had 3 times it’s atmosphere it would have 44.1 psi at sea level.
    Or if Earth had 3 times it’s gravity, it could have 1/3 it’s atmosphere and
    still have 14.7 at sea level.

    It seems if Earth had 3 times the gravity and 1/3 of it’s atmosphere, it
    would much shorter distance to top of troposphere. The average top of
    troposphere is 17 km:

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

    With 1/3 the atmosphere I would you lose basically all of it in Troposphere,
    so instead average being 17, it would be close to 6 Km.
    But also with 3 times the gravity, it would shrink the entire atmosphere.

    Or the troposphere hold 80% of the mass of the atmosphere, and remove
    2/3rd of atmosphere it has to come from here, but also with 3 times the gravity
    one might end up with more than 90% of mass in troposphere.

    So currently we have 80% in troposphere and 20% in stratosphere, and
    with 3 times the gravity and 1/3rd the atmosphere, it would be more like
    90% troposphere and 10% stratosphere.

    It seems to me, one might have greater temperature difference per 1000 meter elevation
    but difference in air pressure would greater difference per 1000 meter elevation.
    So with our earth one needs pressure suit at 45,000 feet, and 3 gee world would require
    one at 15,000 feet [or lower.]
    And official beginning of space is at 100 km, with 3 gee 1/3rd atm, it would be around
    30 km- satellites could fly much lower. Though end of Earth atmosphere at the edge of
    Exosphere could higher with 3 gee world as compared to Earth.

    In a world with 3 gee, you will have 3 times the buoyancy- balloons would work better.
    Boats will not hold more mass, but balloons should rise faster.
    Hmm. I guess it just the acceleration part- something would rise [or fall] at say 1/10th of gee-
    Earth a 1/10th is .98 m/s/s and 3 gee it’s 2.94 m/s/s.
    So things fall and rise “harder” [faster acceleration].
    Strange stuff. But there less total elevation and so the total lapse reduction should be less.
    Earth and it’s 17 km has say 6.5 times 17 = -110. C .
    I don’t see 3 gee world increasing lapse rate much, so 6 km times 10 C being -60 C
    And doubt it’s 6 km times 15 C being -90 C at top of troposphere.

    I suppose it’s possible there with higher gravity one basically gets rid of the tropopause- so instead of temperature decreasing then remain the same on tropopause, then getting warmer in stratosphere. There less transition- less tropopause.
    That kind of makes sense. So steeper decrease with elevation and abruptly a steeper and much shorter increase at stratosphere. And a finally, a much hotter Thermosphere.

    Now, how that different than if had same amount atmosphere and 3 times gravity?
    So that gives us 3 times 14.7 psi- 44.1 psi at sea level.
    And I assume 3 times the vapor pressure [same ratio but higher pressure]. Doesn’t that mean
    more evaporation?
    And seems there will less difference in air temperature and actual land surface- better convection.
    Though like 3 gee world with 3rd atm, one will greater difference in pressure with higher elevation- and slight increase of tropsphere from 6 to say 8 km- still 1/2 of 1 gee Earth’s troposphere.
    And I would guess one adds more back to tropopause and stratosphere, but both much less than
    Earth’s tropopause and stratosphere.

  45. Tim Folkerts says, March 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm: Sorry, David, for going a bit off topic, but this unfounded attack really bugged me!

    I don’t think you were off topic at all. On the contrary, I think this is the core of the issue. It is a debate between what we might reasonably call sophisticated skeptics and sophisticated warmists. (Yes, there are lots of more ignorant people in both camps but they rarely, if ever, visit the Talkshop so their sometimes hilarious musings and meanderings need not detain us here.)

    Below is a summary-to-date of my view on where sophisticated skeptics and warmists agree and disagree. [Note: where I emphasise the word fixed below, I am referring to a fixed average value for the earth as a whole - I have to include this otherwise I get endless comeback from the "what about the inverse lapse rate last night in my home town" brigade. :-)]:

    First of all let’s list the things on which most sophisticated skeptics and warmists seem to AGREE:

    1. We AGREE that the earth atmosphere’s average negative temperature gradient (‘lapse rate’) is a function only of its fixed weight and its fixed composition.

    [NOTES:
    (i) The theoretical formula for the dry adiabatic lapse rate is simply g/Cp where g is the fixed gravitational constant and Cp is the atmosphere's fixed specific heat at constant pressure.
    (ii) The more complex theoretical formula that includes the moderating effect of water vapour requires values for g, Cp and also r, the fixed mixing ratio of water/dry air.
    (iii) We assume an atmospheric temperature profile somewhere in its present broad range - e.g. sufficient to keep its constituent gases (other than water) permanently gaseous!]

    2. We AGREE that Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE), and hence (in particular) the observed average fixed absolute surface temperature, is due to the heating effect of energy flowing up through the atmospheric column at a fixed average rate towards the top of the atmosphere where it is lost to space.

    3. We AGREE that there would be no transfer of energy from the heated atmosphere to space at all without the presence in the upper troposphere of a fixed proportion of radiating gases, principally CO2 and water vapour, which provide the essential mechanism by which the heat in the atmosphere is transformed to radiation output to space.

    4. Sophisticated skeptics and warmists alike believe that the ATE is caused by a fixed restriction on the speed with which energy flows up through up the atmospheric column and out to space. This causes a fixed amount of energy to accumulate in the atmosphere as sensible heat (kinetic energy) which manifests itself as a fixed temperature profile commensurate with the constraints of the fixed lapse rate.

    Now for where the skeptics and warmists DISAGREE:

    5. Sophisticated skeptics believe the enhanced energy accumulation in the atmosphere is due to the comparatively slow mechanical process of convection which presents a fixed resistance to energy flow. In our discussions here, we have called this THROUGHPUT THROTTLING. This postulated process, by definition, is insensitive to the concentration of radiating gases in the atmosphere.

    6. Sophisticated warmists believe the enhanced energy accumulation in the atmosphere is due to the radiative gases in the rarified air at the top of the atmosphere restricting the output of radiation to space. In our discussions here, we have called this OUTPUT THROTTLING. This postulated process, by definition, is acutely sensitive to the concentration of radiating gases in the bulk of the atmosphere.

    _________________________________

    In an earlier posting (March 3, 2013 at 7:42 am ) TB wisely reminded us that for a hypothesis to be scientific, it has to be falsifiable. One has to be able to devise an empirical test that can tell whether it is right or wrong. If one cannot do that, the hypothesis remains merely a conjecture or, worse, an assertion of blind belief or faith.

    He asked you to propose how to measure the ‘effective altitude of emission’ of non-condensing GHG’s over time to see if an increase in their partial pressure makes a difference to surface temperature (a test of step 6 above).

    I note that you have not yet replied. But in fairness, the same question could also be asked of us skeptics concerning step 5 above.

    Any volunteers?

    DC

  46. Stephen Wilde says:

    As regards step 5 I don’t see the throttling effect of convection as fixed.

    Instead, it appears to vary oppositely to forcing influences other than mass gravity and insolation.

    It can do so due to the pressure gradient set by gravity which also gives rise to the lapse rate by reducing density with height.

    The rate of throughput of energy is very sensitive to changes in the lapse rate slope and thus the pressure gradient.

    So if any forcing agent changes the lapse rate slope the volume must change so as to offset the effect.

    It is not clear that radiative characteristics do change the slope at all. Other non radiative characteristics seem to be the culprits.

    I think the reason that radiative characteristics do not affect the lapse rate slope is simply because the temperature that GHGs can attain is limited by pressure (via height) just as it is for non GHGs.

    If one is to say that radiation is a consequence rather than a cause of temperature then we have to look at what sets temperature and that is pressure at any given height and level of insolation. Pressure encompasses both mass and gravity as per the Ideal Gas Laws.

    So temperature is set by mass and gravity (pressure) subjected to irradiation and the temperature of both GHGs and non GHGs fall into line with that.

    The radiative outcome is not a cause of anything, it is a consequence and that consequence encompasses energy out being maintained over time at a level equal to energy in at ToA.

  47. Kristian says, March 4, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Kristian,

    1. All gases radiate. It’s just that the 99% of so-called ‘non-radiative’ gases in the earth’s atmosphere such as nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%) don’t radiate significantly at earth’s atmospheric temperatures. That is why they are often referred to coloquially as ‘non-radiative’. So the only gases relevant to our discussion here that do absorb and radiate at earth temperatures (and then in some wavelengths only, remember) are CO2 and water vapour.

    2. You are right that if all ‘radiative gases’ were removed from the atmosphere, heat would still be transferred back and forth between the surface and the atmosphere by conduction/convection. But this would not cause it to heat up indefinitely! Its temperature would in fact adjust downwards until its surface layer had an average temperature equal to the actual surface’s average temperature.

    And what would be the actual surface’s temperature in that scenario? Answer: Much colder. This is because all the balancing radiation from the Sun absorbed by the surface would be being radiated directly from that surface to space (passing, of course, uninterrupted through the atmosphere). That temperature is subject to the Stefan-Boltzmann law and, depending on exact assumptions, would be several tens of degrees colder than its current nice warm average temperature of around 288K.

    So there’s no chance at all of the nitrogen and oxygen reaching the thousands of degrees that they would have to attain before they began absorbing/radiating significantly!

    A gentle warning to all: speculating any more deeply about a GHG-less earth atmosphere is definitely outside the scope of this thread. :-)

    DC

  48. Stephen Wilde says, March 4, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I hope my reply above to Kristian helps. Oxygen and nitrogen only radiate/absorb significantly at thousands of degrees kelvin.

    DC

  49. Stephen Wilde says, March 4, 2013 at 10:21 am: As regards step 5 I don’t see the throttling effect of convection as fixed.

    Stephen,

    Please do take this in good humour, as one sophisticated skeptic to another, but which part didn’t you understand of:

    “…where I emphasise the word fixed below, I am referring to a fixed average value for the earth as a whole…
    :-)

  50. gbaikie says:

    “5. Sophisticated skeptics believe the enhanced energy accumulation in the atmosphere is due to the comparatively slow mechanical process of convection which presents a fixed resistance to energy flow. In our discussions here, we have called this THROUGHPUT THROTTLING. This postulated process, by definition, is insensitive to the concentration of radiating gases in the atmosphere.”

    “He asked you to propose how to measure the ‘effective altitude of emission’ of non-condensing GHG’s over time to see if an increase in their partial pressure makes a difference to surface temperature (a test of step 6 above).

    I note that you have not yet replied. But in fairness, the same question could also be asked of us skeptics concerning step 5 above. ”

    “enhanced energy accumulation in the atmosphere is due to the comparatively slow mechanical process of convection which presents a fixed resistance to energy flow. ”

    I suppose I am not sophisticated skeptic, but I will note everyone seem to agree that the amount energy involved warm air being transported higher in the atmosphere is not a lot energy. Whether one calls this thermals or sensible heat it’s listed as 17 W/m with evaporation being 80 W/m.
    I don’t see many arguing about that.
    But convection isn’t just packets of air rising and heating top of atmosphere.
    It seems to me one only get thermals in unstable conditions, and such convection is mostly about mixing the air rather transporting warm to top of atmosphere. Or one can say gets thermals which don’t get to top of atmosphere- packet of air rise, they mix and could even fall back before they reach anywhere near the top of troposphere.
    Also most area of surface of earth is ocean in which air is driven evaporation and condensation.
    So I would say most atmosphere most of the time is fairly stable- or one count of the column of air
    from surface to edge of space following a lapse rate. And the way it can such uniformity is via convection [packet of air, mixing of air, and transfer of molecule energy [kinetic collision of air
    molecules]. Or single pane glass losing most of it’s heat via convection- double panes are inhibiting
    the convection of air [or in vacuum environment double pane glass doesn't stop a significant amount of loss of heat].

    So what convection is mostly doing is balancing heat. Without much convection the first meter of air above surface would much warmer than 10 meters above the surface. Whereas on Earth the air
    temperature when accounting for lapse rate is the same for thousand of meters above the surface- it’s commonly well mixed.
    If it wasn’t well mixed, you would have unstable air- you would then get a lot of thermals or air packet rushing all the way to top of the atmosphere. So having a uniformly warmed atmosphere
    inhibits thermals or large amounts of heat rushing to the top of the atmosphere.
    One could call this “fixed resistance to energy flow” if you like, but a bit confusing because the energy is being transported and is causing uniform temperature [if allowing for lapse rate].

    But if one didn’t have such uniformity of atmosphere, I don’t think it would cause more cooling
    of the atmosphere.
    It would be a cooler atmosphere, just as room warmed by a fireplace but not having all air in room is well mixed, will be cooler room [parts near fire are warm and further away are cooler].
    If you were on world which had lots energy in the form of thermals, it’s indication the planet is rapidly warming- it was colder from some reason and would be in process of warming up.

    So, as far as proving something, a planet going on highly elliptical orbit which had an atmosphere [so it spent part of it's year much further from the sun] as orbit got closer to Sun one should expect more thermals. Mars varies from 206.6 million km [Perihelion] and 249.2 million km [Aphelion].
    Though a problem is Mars has pretty thin atmosphere and not hugely elliptical orbit- but it seems to me the best we got for this purpose.

  51. Stephen Wilde says, March 4, 2013 at 10:21 am: So temperature is set by mass and gravity (pressure) subjected to irradiation…

    “…subjected to irradiation”? Freudian slip? Did you not mean “subjected to fixed energy flow” ? :-)

  52. Stephen Wilde says:

    David said:

    “where I emphasise the word fixed below, I am referring to a fixed average value for the earth as a whole…”

    I noticed that after doing my post but wasn’t sure whether you intended it to refer to the amount or speed of convection too.

    Certainly there is a fixed fund of energy ( KE plus PE) as a result of fixed mass, fixed gravity and fixed insolation at ToA which results in a fixed basic lapse rate which has its slope fixed by that fixed amount of gravity.

    BUt we do see that some types of compositional variations do distort the lapse rate away from the fixed one so we need variability elsewhere in the system to bring it back to the fixed slope set by gravity.

    Hence the need for variability of convection (and volume).

    Of course, if your model has fixed composition, then yes, there is a fixed amount of convection too.

    Perhaps I’m rushing ahead to Part III too soon.

  53. Stephen Wilde says:

    “…subjected to irradiation”? Freudian slip? Did you not mean “subjected to fixed energy flow” ?

    Yes, doesn’t matter where the energy comes from as long as it is from outside the atmosphere. Could include geothermal too in theory.

    For current purposes your model is treating the incoming flow as fixed which is fine by me at this stage.

  54. gbaikie says, March 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

    You say: I will note everyone seem to agree that the amount energy involved warm air being transported higher in the atmosphere is not a lot energy.

    Look at Fig.5. There you will see 199Wm-2 being lost to space. All that energy flow, repeat all, comes up the atmospheric column. Whether you consider that to be ‘small’ or ‘large’ is largely a matter of psychological perception, not a scientific one.

    I would simply say that, scientifically speaking, 199Wm-2 is exactly what is required to balance the incoming solar energy (after adjusting for the 40Wm-2 that goes up straight through the ‘atmospheric window’).

    In other words the 199Wm-2 incoming radiation is only making up the losses to space that would otherwise occur if the incoming 199W-2 from the Sun for some reason suddenly stopped.

    Think of a reservoir fed by an incoming stream, with a small outlet at the base of the dam into the continuing stream below. The incoming flow may be ‘slow’ but the reservoir may be arbitrarily big. Assuming a steady-state situation, with the incoming flow being exactly what is required to balance the outgoing flow, the level of the water above the dam will stay constant. Suppose the flow is just 1 cubic metre per second and the reservoir contains 1,000,000,000 cubic metres. You simply cannot equate the two numbers and say that the first one is ‘small’ because it is so much smaller than the second one which is ‘large’. Apart from anything else you are not even comparing numbers that measure the same thing. ‘Rate of flow of a quantity’ (cubic metres per second) and ‘quantity’ (cubic metres) are not the same thing!

    Likewise in the atmosphere, the rate of energy flowing through depends on resistance to flow, and that depends on the physical characteristics of the flow paths in ,through and out.

    This was discussed in Part I, not using an analogy with reservoirs but in terms of how a body in a vacuum might acquire a ‘very high’ steady-state temperature of 500K even though the energy flowing through it is a ‘very low’ 10Wm-2 (see Part I, Fig. 2).

    Likewise in this Part II, a similar effect for thermal (as opposed to radiative) resistance to flow is discussed. An insulated body acquires a ‘very high’ temperature of 349.5K even though the flow of energy through is a ‘very low’ 10Wm-2. (see Fig. 4 above).

    My advice is that, to get any handle on this climate problem you have to think ‘steady state’ almost all the time rather than (at least initially) worrying about variations such as ‘doubling CO2′. Otherwise you will find yourself chasing one variable or another all over the place and round in circles. That is why I have been resolutely insisting on this blog trail (sometimes against strong protests) that the model of the atmosphere I have presented here represents a long term, spacially averaged steady-state model of the earth-atmosphere system.

    And, finally, whatever you do, my advice is not to spend time worrying about fluctuations due to the weather. If you do that, you will be lost for ever . :-)

  55. Stephen Wilde says:

    Looking at 5 and 6 again.

    5 describes the effect of a surface subjected to an energy flow, heating the air above via conduction to an extent determined by the density of the air above it and the pressure exerted by the gravitational field.
    The atmosphere then obeys the Ideal Gas Laws in terms of expansion or contraction (which amounts to density adjustments) to ensure ToA radiative balance.

    6 proposes additional energy returning to the surface via downward radiation from GHGs. But where is the evidence that the surface becomes any warmer than it already would have done from the effects of pressure and density ?

    The former is proved by simply observing the natural changes in heights and densities that occur all the time pursuant to the Ideal Gas Laws.

    The latter could be proved by showing that the extra radiative energy reaching the surface fails to be dealt with by atmospheric expansion and contraction pursuant to the Ideal Gas Laws.

    The problem with proving option 6 is that the atmospheric heights and densities change all the time in response to multiple factors but primarily variations in sun and oceans.

    Thus we cannot tell whether any given change in heights and densities is due to a change in the net radiative characteristics of the atmosphere or due to non radiative characteristics or a combination.

    Water vapour changes heights and densities not necessarily from radiative ability but from the phase changes of water that take energy from the ground and release it higher up.

    Ozone in the stratosphere changes heights and densities not necessarily from radiative ability but from ozone’s ability to directly absorb solar shortwave from above.

    So 5 is pretty much proved by established science but 6 cannot be proved because the proposed effect from GHGs cannot be disentangled from the effects of the Ideal Gas Laws in 5.

    5 is falsifiable (but has never been falsified) but 6 is not falsifiable.

    I can see no logical reasaon why the Ideal Gas Laws should not operate to negate any potential additional warming from GHGs in exactly the same way as they regulate changes from other non radiative forcing elements such as those from the phase changes of water or from the ability of ozone to directly absorb solar energy.

    No one proposes taking a point in the relatively warm stratosphere and back calculating the lapse rate to the surface to establish what the surface temperature ‘should’ be. There is no point in any atmosphere other than at ToA from which such a calculation should be applied and if it is done from ToA it will always be at or near the lapse rate set by gravity.

    AGW theory requires some special characteristic of radiative gases which prevents their energy from being dissipated in the same way as all other forms of additional energy within an atmosphere are dissipated once the effect of density and gravity has been set.

    It is not likely and is not falsifiable.

  56. Trick says:

    Stephen 1:02pm: “The latter could be proved by showing that the extra radiative energy reaching the surface fails to be dealt with by atmospheric expansion and contraction pursuant to the Ideal Gas Laws.”

    In the past I’ve provided measured evidence that IGL does not “deal” with P&T at the surface. Can you recall the evidence and discuss your statement in face of that evidence?

  57. Stephen Wilde says:

    Trick said:

    “In the past I’ve provided measured evidence that IGL does not “deal” with P&T at the surface. Can you recall the evidence and discuss your statement in face of that evidence?”

    Seems like you missed the posts about exoplanets.

    “The major difference from traditional 1D radiative transfer models is the parametric P–T profile, which essentially means adopting energy balance only at the top of the atmosphere and not in each layer”

    http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/707/1/24/pdf/0004-637X_707_1_24.pdf

    “Moreover, a noticeably strong CO2 absorption in one data set is significantly weaker in another. We must, therefore, acknowledge the strong possibility that the atmosphere is variable, both in its energy redistribution state and in the chemical abundances.”

  58. clivebest says:

    In response to David’s challenge.

    There are 3 ways for the surface to cool.
    – radiation : 40 watts/m2 through IR window, and 23 watts/m2 radiative transfer
    – convection : 17 W/m2
    – latent heat: 80 W/m2

    There is only one way for the TOA to cool.
    – radiation : 239 W/m2

    Radiative transfer through the atmosphere is mostly controlled by water vapour, because its concentration is changing rapidly whereas CO2 is essentially constant. As a result radiative cooling of the surface increases rapidly for dry atmospheres, which then reduces the convective losses. In deserts radiation loss dominates heat transfer whereas convection dominates heat transfer in the tropics. At night deserts cool quickly through radiation whereas the tropics remain warm at night when convection halts. Therefore it is H2O that controls the balance between radiative cooling and convective/evaporative cooling of the surface. That means that we should interpret Trenberth’s figures only as some global average determined by some global average humidity.

    The CO2 radiative transfer for fixed concentration is not actually constant but depends also on humidity levels in the upper atmosphere because some H2O absorption lines overlap with the CO2 lines. The effective emission height for H20 outside the 15micron band is in general lower than for CO2 because most humidity is concentrated in the lower levels of the atmosphere. However what matters for CO2 feedback is the water vapour content at the top of the troposphere. If H20 levels fall in this region then this can completely offset any increases in CO2. So in terms of radiative forcing at the TOA.

    RF = 5.2 Ln(C/C0) – X Ln(H/H0)

    NASA recently made available the NVAP data which measure water vapour in three vertical levels from 1988 to 2001. The data up to 2009 has not been released yet. However the globally averaged data show clearly that in the highest level of the atmosphere water vapour has decreased between 1988 and 2001 sufficiently to fully offset extra CO2 forcing – see here. This is in contrast to climate models which predict that it should have increased.

    I also think everything is linked together through one “atmosphere effect” which includes convection, latent heat and radiative transfer. So to discuss the “greenhouse effect” in isolation from convection and evaporation is wrong and so is discussing thermodynamic effects without including radiation. H2O is the Earth’s thermostat control

    For throughput throttling H20 determines the balance between convective and net radiative heat loss from the surface. For output throttling water vapour ensures that energy balance is always exactly met. The NVAP data shows that a reduction in H2O between 6km and 10km altitude has apparently offset all CO2 forcing.

    Experimental tests:
    – measure H2O and CO2 levels in the upper atmosphere over time by stallite.
    – measure by ballon the effective emission height for CO2 absorption lines over time.

  59. Stephen Wilde says:

    clive

    It would be surprising if water vapour and humidity were to be the sole thermostat on Earth. After all, planets without water appear to have similar thermal stability.

    However, the system will adopt whatever method of retaining stability is most efficient so it is conceivable that in a water world a reduction in upper atmosphere humidity would be the favoured process for offsetting most forcings , not just that from CO2.

    Assuming in the first place that CO2 does have a net warming effect.

    It is also possible that CO2 had no effect at all and that the reduction in upper air humidity was a negative system response to something else that was warming the system, perhaps the increase in solar energy entering the oceans from reduced cloudiness at lower levels.

    The efficiency of water vapour as a thermostat would reduce the need for a more vigorous atmospheric circulation.

  60. tallbloke says:

    Stephen: Other molecules can act as condensing refrigerants in other atmospheres. Methane on the gas giants for example.

  61. Trick says:

    Stephen 1:32pm:

    I saw that. “We…acknowledge the strong possibility that the atmosphere is variable…” is not exactly news. You should read it closely, you can learn a lot about modern atm. science therein.

    The information I referred you to in the past is earth surface weather stations showing daily P&T traces where during the day pressue and temperature sometimes trend together and sometimes trend opposite. Evidently PV=nRT is ok for steam tables but not a very usefully conclusive tool for an atm.; Bohren 1998 has a great writeup if you want to dig in further.

  62. Stephen Wilde says:

    Trick.

    There is a lot going on at all times and on many scales in an atmosphere so pointing up short term local weather type variations to try and override a general principle is not useful.

  63. Trick says:

    Stephen 4:28pm:

    Bohren 1998 discussion of PV=nRT and weather is exactly useful to show Stephen 1:02pm “I can see no logical reasaon why the Ideal Gas Laws should not operate to negate any potential additional warming…” is simply another of Stephen’s assertions, not supportable by modern text book theory or any observational evidence.

    In the IOP piece citation list, Stephen should want to read also Goody&Yung’s “Atmospheric Radiation” even as far back as 1964. Some time ago I used my library syndicate to obtain a copy, it was very interesting and readable because as Amazon.com says:

    “As a complete treatment of physical and mathematical foundations, the text assumes no prior knowledge of atmospheric physics. The theoretical discussion is systematic, and can therefore be applied with minor extension to any planetary atmosphere.”

  64. Stephen Wilde says: March 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    You say: 5 [THROUGHPUT THROTTLING] describes the effect of a surface subjected to an energy flow, heating the air above via conduction to an extent determined by the density of the air above it and the pressure exerted by the gravitational field. The atmosphere then obeys the Ideal Gas Laws in terms of expansion or contraction (which amounts to density adjustments) to ensure ToA radiative balance.

    I’m having a tough time reconciling my words with yours. For ease of comparison, my statement was:

    5. Sophisticated skeptics believe the enhanced energy accumulation in the atmosphere is due to the comparatively slow mechanical process of convection which presents a fixed resistance to energy flow. In our discussions here, we have called this THROUGHPUT THROTTLING. This postulated process, by definition, is insensitive to the concentration of radiating gases in the atmosphere.

    Even though I know what you mean, I feel uncomfortable about words like heating, cooling, expansion and contraction when describing a steady-state model (as mine definitely is).

    You say: 6 [OUTPUT THROTTLING] proposes additional energy returning to the surface via downward radiation from GHGs. But where is the evidence that the surface becomes any warmer than it already would have done from the effects of pressure and density ?

    Again, I’m having a tough time reconciling my words with yours. Here is my statement, for comparison:

    6. Sophisticated warmists believe the enhanced energy accumulation in the atmosphere is due to the radiative gases in the rarified air at the top of the atmosphere restricting the output of radiation to space. In our discussions here, we have called this OUTPUT THROTTLING. This postulated process, by definition, is acutely sensitive to the concentration of radiating gases in the bulk of the atmosphere.

    From my statement, where did you get the idea that OUTPUT THROTTLING has anything at all to do with downwelling radiation at the surface? On the contrary it is solely a CO2 concentration issue at the ToA.

    DC

  65. wayne says:

    “Even though I know what you mean, I feel uncomfortable about words like heating, cooling, expansion and contraction when describing a steady-state model (as mine definitely is). ”

    But David, you have to realize that other also have a problem with your words such as “enhanced energy”, “enhanced radiation”, “enhanced back radiation”, “enhanced rate”, “enhanced flow” when describing a steady-state model (as yours definitely is)… those are about as far from my vocabulary in physics and thermodynamics as you can get. You never have spelled out on each, one by one, what exactly makes you think each of these needs the word “enhanced” attached, and if it is enhanced, what exactly is that? Special physics? Special thermodynamics?

  66. gbaikie says:

    “gbaikie says, March 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

    You say: I will note everyone seem to agree that the amount energy involved warm air being transported higher in the atmosphere is not a lot energy.

    Look at Fig.5. There you will see 199Wm-2 being lost to space. All that energy flow, repeat all, comes up the atmospheric column. Whether you consider that to be ‘small’ or ‘large’ is largely a matter of psychological perception, not a scientific one.

    I would simply say that, scientifically speaking, 199Wm-2 is exactly what is required to balance the incoming solar energy (after adjusting for the 40Wm-2 that goes up straight through the ‘atmospheric window’). ”

    Ah in term warm air being transported higher in the atmosphere, I mean directly- heat being transferred within a minute or two of time. Though not as quickly as this 40Wm-2 that goes up straight through the ‘atmospheric window in less than 1/5000th of second.

    As I see it, it’s only surfaces that convert radiant energy into heat with most this heat is stored for more than 1 second. And gases stored store heat in the form of kinetic energy.
    So after the sun goes down, what energy remains is the warmed surfaces and kinetic energy energy of the atmosphere, and that any IR radiant energy is not being stored for a significant amount time.
    So after the sun goes down what cools, what loses energy, is the surfaces and slowing down of the kinetic energy of the atmosphere.

    The warmer a surface the more heat it radiates, during the day there percentage of this 40Wm-2
    is going directly into space from the surface. And also higher percentage entire amount radiated from the surface. And surface may be as warm as 70 C during the day in warmest locations but average day surface is quite a bit cooler. But other than this difference of day and night, the surface is constantly putting this averaged value of 40Wm-2 directly into space, and a larger amount not directly into space.
    So surface and air cools, including the water droplets in clouds cooling, and the water vapor which condenses and this is the stored energy which radiating energy into space during the night.
    Most of the atmospheric gases are not radiating any significant amounts of energy. If leave out the greenhouse gases, everyone agrees the only way this kinetic energy is converted into heat which radiated by heating the surfaces.
    So anyways the surface doesn’t radiate most of heat directly into space, instead it’s re-radiated, and scattered/diffused by the atmosphere. Or looking from space one get an image from this 40 40Wm-2 part of the radiation, and the rest of radiation doesn’t directly pass thru the atmosphere- it’s traveling thru a foggy atmosphere.

    So I don’t think the TOA is being cooled and heated by how much it would need to radiate 199Wm-2 on average per second, instead radiation is passing thru the TOA scattered and difused
    from the surface. And the TOA is being warmed and cooled by a small amount

  67. wayne says, March 4, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Hi Wayne,

    Nothing wrong with having a problem with other peoples’ words. It happens all the time to me and I’m happy to respond to your query.

    No special physics! ‘Enhanced’ just means ‘larger than’.

    Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement is the general title of this series of articles which are investigating why the earth’s atmosphere causes the surface temperature to be larger than it would be without any atmosphere.

    And, yes, the word was also used at the begining of this Part II article in a quick recap on what had been covered at length in Part I where I discuss the difficulty some skeptics have with the concept of ‘back radiation’ which involves a flow of radiation back and forth between surface and atmosphere that is larger than the incoming absorbed flow from the Sun.

    If you haven’t already read Part I, take a look at the section in Part I entitled DOWNWELLING RADIATION and all will be revealed.

    I’m sorry if my terminology confused you.

    DC

  68. Kristian says:

    David Socrates says:
    March 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

    “And what would be the actual surface’s temperature in that scenario? Answer: Much colder. This is because all the balancing radiation from the Sun absorbed by the surface would be being radiated directly from that surface to space (passing, of course, uninterrupted through the atmosphere). That temperature is subject to the Stefan-Boltzmann law and, depending on exact assumptions, would be several tens of degrees colder than its current nice warm average temperature of around 288K.”

    Yes, I know this is off topic, but this simply has to be said, David. This will be my last posting on the subject. I promise.

    I’m surprised to see how you’ve seemingly fallen into the warmist trap here. I thought we had already established as fact that a planet’s mean surface temperature has got nothing to do with its mean radiative surface flux, neither incoming nor outgoing. Do I really have to pull out the Moon card once again?

    What is the mean radiative flux leaving the Moon’s global surface to space? ~302 W/m^2. Exactly the same size as the one received on average from the Sun. What is the mean global surface temperature of the Moon? ~197K. What happens if you put these two values into the S-B equation? Does it come out right? No, it doesn’t. They don’t match. At all. They don’t relate.

    What happens then if you put an atmosphere in between the surface and space? The temperature peaks are evened out. The mean global surface temperature rises. The mass and the density (heat capacity) of that atmosphere matters. The fact that it restrains buoyancy through its weight and
    sets up a temperature ‘resistance’ (limits the temperature gradient) through its capacity of being heated from below and to hold that heat, means that the surface temperature needs to rise to a certain level in order for the convectional engine to work adequately to spread the heat absorbed
    during the day north and south and to the nightside hemisphere. Don’t forget what Joe Postma points out. The planetary dayside receives vast amounts of insolation. On a planet such as ours but without clouds and ice, the global albedo would be somewhere in the vicinity of that of the Moon – 0.13. This would mean that the dayside hemisphere as a whole would receive on average 750-755
    W/m^2 from the Sun, much more in the tropics and especially in the near-zenith region. This energy would NOT simply radiate straight back to space. Because the surface temperature would not be allowed to rise sufficiently. It would mainly be spent driving convection, spreading the heat globally through the atmosphere. If the atmosphere were not able to radiate off any of its convectively absorbed heat to space, then it would’ve had to transfer all of it back to the surface during the night, thereby slowing down the cooling of the surface. If some of the heat being transferred by convection from the surface to the atmosphere during each day remained in the atmosphere as a residual after each following night, then the atmosphere would become warmer by each cycle.

    GHGs don’t insulate Earth’s surface. They don’t give Earth’s surface its temperature. The atmosphere itself does. By being there, by having a mass and a heat capacity, and by spreading the heat around by way of convection. The GHGs on the contrary facilitate Earth’s radiation back to space. They let Earth cool more readily.

  69. gbaikie says, March 4, 2013 at 8:58 pm says: So I don’t think the TOA is being cooled and heated by how much it would need to radiate 199Wm-2 on average per second, instead radiation is passing thru the TOA scattered and difused from the surface. And the TOA is being warmed and cooled by a small amount

    The whole point of my article was to demonstrate the absurdity of the idea that radiation from the surface is the cause of atmospheric warming.

    The ToA isn’t being “cooled and heated”. The ToA contains GHG molecules that convert sensible heat (KE) rising by convection up the atmospheric column to radiation which is lost to space.

    All the energy from the Sun that is absorbed either directly by the atmosphere or by the surface (land + ocean) MUST be returned to space by one means or another. Otherwise the system would not be in steady-state balance.

    According to the figures I have used (from Trenberth et. al.) in my Fig. 5:

    1. 40Wm-2 is radiated from the surface to space directly without being intercepted by the atmosphere

    2. 80Wm-2 is transferred via latent heat of vaporisation of water (and converted to KE at cloud level)

    3. 17Wm-2 is transferred as KE by conduction/convection

    4. 23Wm-2 is transferred by radiation which is IMMEDIATELY converted to KE in the first few hundred metres at the Base of the Atmosphere.

    5. 78Wm-2 is absorbed directly from the Sun and is IMMEDIATELY converted to KE, mainly at cloud level.

    So that is a total of 80+17+23+78 = 198Wm-2 of Kinetic Energy* travelling up the atmospheric column towards the ToA where it is converted by the GHGs there to radiation which is lost to space.

    What exactly is your argument against that analysis?

    [*NOTE: Yes I know there is a 1Wm-2 discrepancy but that's Trenberth's problem not mine. :-)]

    DC

  70. Stephen Wilde says:

    David.

    I framed my comments about 5 on the basis of what I mean by throughput throttling and about 6 on the basis of what I know warmists say about downward IR.

    I agree that that does not accord exactly with your wording but your wording is a little vague in certain respects too as wayne points out.

    I appreciate that your model is steady state but in considering 5 and 6 one has to go on to consider what happens if something changes because that is where the difference between the two scenarios is highlighted.

    In steady state both 5 and 6 could be equally valid if GHGs have the proposed thermal effect.

    I think you are presenting option 6 as a complete alternative to option 5 but as I understand it most warmists propose option 6 superimposed on option 5 as an additional thermal enhancement mechanism.

    Assessing which is correct and/or which is falsifiable (as per your request) requires observing the system response to variation and that is what my comment dealt with.

    Option 5 as described by me fits basic physics and observations and could be falsified by observations but as far as I know never has been.

    Option 6 appears to be speculative and not falsifiable because it cannot be disentangled from the undoubted effects of mass and gravity which observe the Ideal Gas Laws rather than radiative physics.

  71. Stephen Wilde says:

    I agree with Kristian’s summation at 10.00pm.

  72. Max™ says:

    Just popping back in to register my usual comment that without taking into account the difference between the day side of a body with and without an atmosphere, as well as that between the night side of a body with and without an atmosphere, I suspect progress will always be hindered unnecessarily.

    Averaging the above leads one to conclude that there is only one important difference: with atmosphere is warmer than without atmosphere.

    Explaining that effect in that context is unnecessarily difficult because the information lost when averaging is, I feel, critical to understanding the reason a body with an atmosphere is warmer than a body exposed to a vacuum alone.

    ___________

    The effect of an atmosphere on the day side is to decrease the maximum temperature by reducing the effectiveness of solar heating, and the effect of an atmosphere on the night side is to increase the minimum temperature by reducing the effectiveness of radiative cooling.

    If a body approaches equilibrium through radiative heating and cooling cycles, reducing the range of the temperature swings on top and bottom by the same amount will lead to a higher equilibrium temperature.

    Moon day: 390 K peak, ~330 K average
    Earth day: 330 K peak, ~295 K average

    Moon night: 25 K low, ~100 K average
    Earth night: 184 K low, ~283 K average

    Moon overall: 214 K average, 365 K min/max range, ~230 K day/night avg range
    Earth overall: 289 K average, 146 K min/max range, ~12 K day/night avg range

    _________

    *Note: the day/night average figures are not exact, I used a spreadsheet a poster on the xkcd forums put together and set up a lunar day/night cycle to test it out: This is the mangled copy of DaBigCheez’s much cleaner model I used, the central column only but the general point remains even if the values are not exact.

  73. suricat says:

    David Socrates says: March 4, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    “5. 78Wm-2 is absorbed directly from the Sun and is IMMEDIATELY converted to KE, mainly at cloud level.

    So that is a total of 80+17+23+78 = 198Wm-2 of Kinetic Energy* travelling up the atmospheric column towards the ToA where it is converted by the GHGs there to radiation which is lost to space.”

    I’ve not mentioned ‘cloud altitudes’ yet, so now may be a good time. :)

    Insolation onto ‘cloud top’ is complicated. Incident UV spectra usually passes (mostly) through, but with a direction vector change. Incident Vis spectra are scattered with ‘enhanced’ (greater ;) ) absorption at the ‘red’ end than the ‘blue’ end of the wave band. Whilst incident spectra of wave length ‘greater’ (longer ;) ) than the Vis wave band is absorbed as if the cloud top was a ‘surface’.

    Yup. A lot of energy is absorbed by cloud tops. However, the EM energy absorbed here ISN’T converted to “KE”! It IS converted to ‘LE’ (latent energy) though (Stephen disappoints me on this aspect, as I thought he was more conversant with this property of ‘enhanced’ ;) convection).

    David, please remember that the 80W/m^2 that you relate to is ‘ONLY’ (OK. ‘MOSTLY’) the ‘fallout’ from diurnal temperature forcing to the surface. Latent energy in Earth’s atmospheric ‘bulk’ plays a much greater role for Cp, and this changes when radiative forcing directs it to change (the Clausius-Clapyron Relationship again). :)

    I guess this falls ‘between’ the parameters of your models, but, are we not looking for ‘truths’ here?

    Best regards, Ray.

  74. wayne says:

    Hi David,

    So all of the “enhance” words have to do with the GHE, or ATE. I have no problem with that, except as many, I do realize that effect is much greater than a mere 33°C. As per your March 4, 2013 at 10:00 pm comment I do basically agree with your conclusions but I do seem to have some deeper differences as to why the GHE exists and how big that effect really is. Maybe I should wait to delve into those picky physics details till later. Is that your segment three?

  75. Stephen Wilde says:

    The issue as to whether David’s option 6 is instead of option 5 or merely supplemental to it is important.

    If 6 is instead of 5 then it is necessary to ignore the whole raft of established science dealt with in the Ideal Gas Laws and the Standard Atmosphere in favour of a radiative only solution. I think that position is untenable.

    If 6 is supplemental to 5 then one has a problem as to how the Ideal Gas Laws and the Standard Atmosphere can be so reliable with no provision made for the effect of radiative characteristics.

    We seem to be agreeing here that the radiative flows within an atmosphere are merely a consequence of the temperature profile caused by mass, gravity and insolation.

    That in itself denies any causative effect on temperature from radiative characteristics.

    Then we have the matter of scale.

    If the entire mass of an atmosphere is involved in setting the temperature as per the Ideal as Laws and as accurately reflected in the Standard Atmosphere then any disruptive effect from 0.004% of the mass must be imperceptible for all practical purposes.

    I have made all these points many times before with no satisfactory responses.

    AGW theory is wrong just on the basis of simple logic applied to established science.

  76. Kristian says, March 4, 2013 at 10:00 pm:

    Hi Kristian,

    You say:I’m surprised to see how you’ve seemingly fallen into the warmist trap here. I thought we had already established as fact that a planet’s mean surface temperature has got nothing to do with its mean radiative surface flux, neither incoming nor outgoing. Do I really have to pull out the Moon card once again?

    Briefly (because off-topic), you need have no fear that I have fallen into any kind of warmist trap. In fact I strongly support the N&Z method of calculating the moon’s mean surface temperature which (modified from their original figure to account for the heat retention effect in the surface) is around 200K. That’s 88K lower than the current average surface temperature of ~15degC. Whereas the standard ‘warmist’ calculation is only around 33K lower. Furthermore, N&Z’s theoretical calculation conforms almost exactly to the observational survey data from the Diviner Moon orbiter. And, by the way, N&Z’s calculations rely on the S-B law just as much as the standard warmist calculation does.

    But…you may notice in various discussions throughout Part I and this Part II, that I have been very careful to use the phrase “several tens of degrees” rather than “33K” when referring to the magnitude of the ATE effect. This is because I didn’t want here to divert us into a discussion about the actual figure which is a matter of huge controversy and (I maintain) not directly relevant to what we are trying to do here which is: build a model earth and ask what is the mechanism that causes the thermal enhancement, whether 88K, or 33K, or any other figure.

    Finally, and right back on topic, it is not true as you suggest that “a planet’s mean surface temperature has got nothing to do with its mean radiative surface flux, neither incoming nor outgoing.” The level of the incoming flux from the Sun to the surface is a pivotal determinant of its surface temperature, is it not? It’s just that it happens to be fixed for the purposes of our model. But, for example, switch the Sun off and the surface would be very chilly indeed. Double its intensity and we would fry. As it is, it is ‘just right’. :-)

    DC

  77. Stephen Wilde says, March 5, 2013 at 8:32 am:

    Stephen,

    You say: If 6 is instead of 5 then it is necessary to ignore the whole raft of established science dealt with in the Ideal Gas Laws and the Standard Atmosphere in favour of a radiative only solution. I think that position is untenable.

    But option 6 is not a “radiative only solution”. And option 5 is not a “non-radiative” solution! So that’s not a very good start to your argument. Both options rely on GHGs to transform incoming radiant energy to KE directly into the atmosphere (78Wm-2) and into the surface (161Wm-2). And both options rely on GHGs to transform KE at the ToA to radiant energy (199Wm-2) that is lost to space.

    The carefully crafted options are the result of prior blog articles in which you participated. They are intended to overcome the ‘dialogue block’ between skeptics and warmists on the emotional connotations around words like ‘radiation’, ‘back radiation’ and ‘Gas Law’ so that we can move forward with at least some things commonly agreed.

    You say:If the entire mass of an atmosphere is involved in setting the temperature as per the Ideal Gas Laws and as accurately reflected in the Standard Atmosphere then any disruptive effect from 0.004% of the mass must be imperceptible for all practical purposes.

    The surface temperature is NOT set just by the mass of the atmosphere and the ideal gas laws. It depends also on the level of insolation, as you yourself usually take pains to emphasise (but not on this occasion!). As I said to Kristian above, turn the Sun off and it would be very chilly. Double it and we would fry.

    Option 5 (THROUGHPUT THROTTLING) and option 6 (OUTPUT THROTTLING) were proposed in an attempt to focus us on a very narrow, but vital issue:

    …whether or not the atmospheric mechanism that transforms a particular FIXED level of insolation into a particular FIXED level of surface temperature (at steady state of course!) varies according to the CO2 concentration level.

    As specified, option 5 is not sensitive to CO2 (except in the sense that there must be minimum GHG levels to allow radiation-to-KE and KE-to-radiation conversions to take place at the rates demanded). Whereas option 6 is (by definition) sensitive to CO2 concentration level. If we could just get everyone to focus on the mechanisms in those two cases, I think we might learn a lot more than continually diverting off on to non-steady state side issues, etc, etc, that involve climate and (sigh!) weather imponderables that, frankly, nobody has a proper handle on (and probably never will, the climate system being so complex).

    You say: I have made all these points many times before with no satisfactory responses. AGW theory is wrong just on the basis of simple logic applied to established science.

    Stephen, I sense a growing wearilness and frustration. I know how you feel. However, assertions like that get us nowhere fast, whether from skeptics or warmists. :-)

    DC

  78. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Both options rely on GHGs to transform incoming radiant energy to KE both directly into the atmosphere (78Wm-2) and into the surface (161Wm-2). And both options rely on GHGs to transform KE at the ToA to radiant energy that is lost to space.”

    Which is why one needs to consider non GHG atmospheres.

    I don’t think GHGs are essential to the ATE set by mass, gravity and insolation at all.

    Radiation to and from the surface will work just fine and there will still be just as much enegy in the adiabatic loop and just as long a delay in the throughput of energy as if there were GHGs to assist the process.

  79. Stephen,

    Your comment made me realise that I had got my statement to you wrong . It should not have read “into the surface (161Wm-2)” because that transformation of course does not involve GHGs at all! It should have referred to the outgoing transformation to space at the ToA (199Wm-2). And, for completeness, the 23Wm-2 from the surface that is radiated upwards but almost immediately transformed back to KE in the Base of the Atmosphere!)

    Sorry about that confusion!

    DC

  80. Stephen,

    You say: Which is why one needs to consider non GHG atmospheres. I don’t think GHGs are essential to the ATE set by mass, gravity and insolation at all. Radiation to and from the surface will work just fine and there will still be just as much energy in the adiabatic loop and just as long a delay in the throughput of energy as if there were GHGs to assist the process.

    I think that IS probably a valid third option to investigate at some stage, although it flies in the face of most skeptical thinking as well as being, of course, anathema to warmists. My main difficulty is that I don’t think any of us could, at this fatigued stage, withstand the onslaught of a Doug Cotton thread-bombing like the one Roy Spencer had to endure recently. :-)

    DC

  81. Stephen Wilde says:

    David.

    Strange that it took me so long to realise that your were not with me on that (third) option.

    A couple of your comments did puzzle me but I didn’t see the significance.

    Given that gas clouds in space heat up from just mass and gravity even without insolation I think the third option is the only true one and my articles and comments have been on that basis.

    There is lots of science relating to the temperature of gases in a gravitational field that doesn’t recognise any contribution from radiative characteristics at all.

    There is no term for radiative characteristics in any form of the Gas Laws.

    Either the ATE is radiative, or non radiative or a combination.

    I favour non radiative which is consistent with earlier comments here that the radiation fluxes observed are a consequence of the temperature set by mass, gravity and insolation and not a cause.

  82. Stephen,

    What’s equally strange is that, despite my two lengthy articles where I thought I had described the distinctions between THROUGHPUT and OUTPUT THROTTLING very clearly, you were not with me.

    We must obviously both try much harder. :-)

    DC

  83. Stephen Wilde says:

    David, here is your definition from above:

    “Throughput Throttling

    From Fig. 7 we see that the energy lost to space through direct LW radiation (the atmospheric window) is 40Wm-2. The remainder of the energy flow, 199Wm-2, is in the form of Kinetic Energy which percolates up the atmospheric column by convection and then is lost to space at the ToA.

    If convection did not exist, the atmosphere would be almost a perfect insulator. But convection does not turn the atmosphere into a perfect conductor – far from it. Convection gives the atmosphere an effective conductivity, katm, which behaves in an analogous way to the real conductivity values kx, ky and kz discussed above in Thought Experiment 2. Strictly, to take account of the lapse rate, the layers of the atmosphere should be split into a sequence of different effective conductivities, k1, k2, k3, ….kn, such that:

    1/katm = 1/k1 + 1/k2 + 1/k3 + …….. + 1/kn

    It is the combined effective conductivity katm that allows just sufficient energy through-flow to balance the Sun’s incoming energy flux whilst maintaining the fund of KE at one particular permanently elevated profile of temperatures.

    If Throughput Throttling is the sole mechanism impeding energy flow though the atmosphere then adding GHGs to the atmosphere will have no effect – because the effective conductivity katm is due to a mechanical convective process that is not sensitive to the existence of GHG molecules.”

    That sounds very like my ‘third’ option in that the means whereby the energy throughput is initially slowed down is non radiative.

    However you do refer to a radiative loss from the atmosphere (via GHGs) of 199 Wm2. But that offsets the slowing down of throughput rather than creating it in the first place and of course if GHGs do assist with that then in return the circulation then needs to be less vigorous and so adding GHGs would have no net effect.

    So my proposition is consistent with your definition of throughput throttling and is entirely non radiative but you postulate that GHGs could act to offset it by radiative means. In my view that would only apply if radiation out exceeds radiation back downward and on balance I think they are equal because we have already agreed that radiative flows are a consequence and not a cause.

    In reality I think the radiative 199Wm2 out is due to clouds, aerosols and latent heat release rather than from the radiative ability of GHGs. I think that radiative ability nets out to zero as a consequence rather than a cause.

    As for your definition of output throttling it looks entirely radiative as far as I can see:

    “the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere affects the average height at which GHG molecules emit photons to space. If the concentration of GHGs goes up, the average emission height goes up. Why? Because the probability of photons being intercepted by other GHG molecules at the original average height is now greater due to the increased concentration of GHGs.

  84. Trick says:

    Stephen 4:29pm: “…the radiative 199Wm2 out is due to clouds, aerosols and latent heat release…”

    Stephen, geez, no heat out due to any of these 3 processes, only radiation out. You really need to read & catch up on the science or rephrase your point. And David’s output throttling heat transfer is not entirely radiative IN the atm., those 3 processes are important. Get a relevant text book from the library, catch up. You need a great big epiphany (see defn. 3 on dictionary dot com).

  85. Stephen Wilde says:

    Trick.

    Latent heat release warms aerosols and water droplets at higher levels. Jeez yourself.

    And perhaps you could point out the bit about non radiative processes in this definition.

    “Output Throttling

    This proposed flow control mechanism relies on the fact that the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere affects the average height at which GHG molecules emit photons to space. If the concentration of GHGs goes up, the average emission height goes up. Why? Because the probability of photons being intercepted by other GHG molecules at the original average height is now greater due to the increased concentration of GHGs.

    However, the increase in average emission height means the emission is appearing from GHGs which are at a lower temperature – so the average energy of the photons successfully emitted to space goes down. This downgrading of energy-per-photon would cause an imbalance between energy flow into the earth-atmosphere system from the Sun and energy flow outwards to space. And so atmospheric temperature rises to compensate until the energy balance is restored.

    Under this scenario, therefore, adding additional quantities of GHGs to the atmosphere will cause the whole temperature profile of the atmosphere to rise in compensation. In particular, and, of particular importance to humans, the temperature of the air at the surface will therefore rise.”

    Jeez, again.

  86. suricat says:

    Spot on Stephen!

    The phase change of H2O has a ‘cooling’ effect at the surface where WV is forced into the atmosphere (the energy that generates WV is taken from the ‘source’ water which, subsequently, draws more energy from its local environment) by the temperature forcing imposed by ‘diurnal’ (a 24 hr period that encompasses both night and day) temperature fluctuation.

    Once ‘in’ the atmosphere, WV is an active LW GHG that offers the greatest spectral band spread of all the other GHGs and so contributes the greatest influence towards the much bespoke “Greenhouse”. However, in this state, WV is also governed by the Gas Laws and, as a ‘lighter than air’ product/molecule within the atmosphere, stimulates convection wherever it is present. Though, this isn’t its main influence towards the enhancement of convection. That would be its ‘change of phase’ within the atmospheric variation in temperature which ‘threatens’ its survival ‘as a gas’ within the atmosphere.

    You probably guessed it. WV forms ‘clouds’ in the atmosphere (supersaturated solution)! This is the singular most important property of Earth’s atmosphere. Why? Because a ‘cloud’ intercepts most of the warming properties of insolation and converts a large proportion of that insolation into ‘phase change’ which ‘evaporates’ the ‘cloud’. Important to ‘note’ here! Because ‘phase change’ is observed to occur within ‘cloud survival’, the Cp of Earth’s atmosphere also needs to reflect this added Cp of ‘latent heat’. Namely, a lot more W/m^2 as Cp.

    I only hope I explained this well enough for everyone to understand. :)

    Best regards, Ray.

  87. Ray C says:

    suricat says: March 6, 2013 at 2:11 am

    “You probably guessed it. WV forms ‘clouds’ in the atmosphere (supersaturated solution)! This is the singular most important property of Earth’s atmosphere.”

    Hi, My understanding is WV condenses on aerosols to form droplets at humidity levels below supersaturation. Clouds become visible to us as these droplets come together. Is it a supersaturated solution or just lots of liquid droplets of water on lots of aerosols? If enough droplets coalesce before being evaporated then the growing mass becomes influenced by the force of gravity. As the liquid (or solid) raindrop is drawn back to Earth by its’ mass it gains more mass by collision.
    The fact that the cool condensing temperatures created by water, via clouds, allows water to cycle through the atmosphere moving energy via phase change (or suppressed phase change!) is due to the presence of aerosols. That puts aerosols and their numerous effects as one of the most important ingredients in atmospheric temperature regulation, imo.

  88. Ray C says:

    Hi, can I ask;-
    What regulates the cloud cover? Where would the gaseous form of water go if all aerosols were removed?

    Which sort of begs the question just how important are the 10 to the power 26 aerosols compared to the 10 to the power 40 co2 molecules?

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001141140.htm

    Aerosols link all three processes of convection, latent heat and radiative transfer.

    http://earth.huji.ac.il/data/pics/Space_Science_Reviews_Rosenfeld06.pdf

    “…….the representation of these aerosol effects is still very crude or mostly missing in numerical weather prediction and global climate models.

    …………suggesting that the cloud albedo effect is dwarfed compared to the cloud lifetime effect, which is a result of the aerosols suppressing precipitation and leaving the water floating in the air for longer in the form of cloud droplets.

    The change in precipitation affects the latent heat release and redistributes the
    timing and location of this substantial component of the atmospheric heat source.

    The aerosol control of the precipitation processes affects in turn the vertical distribution
    of latent heat release and the tropospheric lapse rate, which drive the atmospheric
    circulation and feedbacks to the distribution of clouds and precipitation.

    ………..because we know too little on how to quantify them accurately in the weather and climate models”

    Wish I had a pound for all the times I have read about the uncertainty of aerosol effects! My understanding is; Clouds do not form without them! Droplet formation via Supersaturation does not happen because water vapour condenses onto the surface of the very many types of aerosol present in the atmosphere simply because that is the easiest way to phase change to liquid water.
    Water vapour condenses onto aerosols, droplets form and turbulence brings them together to form raindrops. A raindrop contains many droplets formed around or on aerosols Gravity brings the water back to Earth.
    So, Where would water vapour go if all the aerosols were removed?

  89. Roger Clague says:

    I agree with Steven Wilde who says

    radiation fluxes observed are a consequence of the temperature set by mass, gravity and insolation and not a cause.

    I don’t agree with David Cossarat who says

    the surface has a temperature that relates to the rate at which it absorbs incident radiant energy from the Sun.

    Can you refer me to a calculation to support this assertion?

    The temperature at TOA is set by Kirchoff’s Law of Radiation and it together with the lapse rate determines the surface temperature. The lapse rate can be calculated using 1st Law of Thermodynamics. T/h = g/c. The answer is close to the measured value.

    The composition of an atmosphere is not significant, only its mass and the gravity of the planet. For example Jupiter has a lapse rate proportional to its gravity. It is made up of H and He which are not IR

  90. Kristian says:

    David Socrates says, March 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I promised not to continue down this path. So I won’t. This is only to say:

    David,

    I think you missed my point. The S-B equation/law does apply (by close approximation) to the surface of the Moon. It does NOT, however, apply to the surface of the Earth or to the surface of any celestial body WITH AN ATMOSPHERE. Nor does it apply to our ToA. Because the S-B law only applies to black/gray bodies (with real, physical surfaces) in a vacuum (like the Moon, although not at all when inserting only mean values). Or (again by approximation) to very hot surfaces.

    A black body cools (maintains its temperature) only by emitting radiation. “To remain in thermal equilibrium at constant temperature T, the black body must absorb or internally generate this amount [σT^4] of power P [W] over the given area A [m^2].” It should be quite clear that this does not apply to the surface of the Earth. The Earth’s surface does not need to generate such an amount of radiative power in order to cool adequately and thereby balance the absorbed energy from the Sun, because a lot of this energy is already being spent driving convective processes like conduction and evaporation, ridding the surface of much of its heat, contributing in a big way to its cooling. Still, it is simply assumed that the surface of the Earth, ignoring this large convective flux, emits IR according to its temperature as if it were a black (gray) body in a vacuum having no other means of shedding excess energy than through radiation. The 396 W/m^2 is purely an S-B-calculated value, based on the assumption that the radiative properties of Earth’s surface must and does comply with the S-B law.

    The same basically goes for a planetary surface at the bottom of an atmosphere without GHGs as for Earth’s. All it needs to do is balance the net incoming energy flux. It doesn’t have to reach a certain ideal emission temperature to accomplish this. Because it is not a black/gray body. The law stating this relation as a necessity does not apply to it. There is after all an atmosphere (a ‘medium’) adjacent to it. If the planet receives a mean global flux from its sun of say 300 W/m^2, then it will emit a mean flux of equal power. It has no choice. But this does NOT entail that the mean surface temperature of this planet needs to relate directly to this mean flux in accordance with the S-B equation. It does not have to be 270K. This is a major misunderstanding as I see it.

    You seemed to equate a planetary surface without an atmosphere altogether with a planetary surface with an atmosphere above it only without GHGs. This is where I feel you’ve been tricked by the way warmists normally rationalize their position: It is suggested (in fact, stated as a given) that a planetary surface with an atmosphere sans GHGs can and should be treated exactly like a planetary surface with no atmosphere at all on top of it when estimating the temperature of that surface. In other words, it is claimed that removing the GHGs from an atmosphere is equivalent to removing the entire atmosphere – the mean global surface temperature would fall considerably and equally in both cases.

    But the two are surely NOT the same! It is a bogus claim!

  91. Trick says:

    Kristian 12:46: “Still, it is simply assumed that the surface of the Earth, ignoring this large convective flux, emits IR according to its temperature as if it were a black (gray) body in a vacuum having no other means of shedding excess energy than through radiation.”

    It is NOT simply assumed the surface emits IR, the flux densities David presents in Fig. 5 are measured with many different calibrated instruments having roughly the same temporal and spatial sampled accuracy as many weather station thermometers.

    Similar Diviner instruments also proved radiative transfer physics work for temperature behavior of earth’s moon within very reasonable accuracy so can have more confidence in David’s Fig. 5.

    “…it is claimed that removing the GHGs from an atmosphere is equivalent to removing the entire atmosphere…”

    Kristian did write and Stephen agreed the surface temperature goes up adding an atm. with N2,O2,CO2,CH4,O3 et.al., Tup coming from combination of David’s output and throughput throttling.

    The 33K approximation comes from a very simple, basic introductory approx. model w/fixed albedo & surface emissivity; currently no one really knows what would happen to albedo & emissivity, so no one really knows the real answer Tup for earth or other planets. This should not be controversial, but I observe that it remains so. Reading up on modern atm. science & understanding the physics will reduce the controversy. Simple, not easy. Gotta’ do the home work.

    It is interesting due the IOP piece that same science is understood well enough to be applied to draw conclusions about exoplanets.

  92. Roger Clague says:

    Kristian says:
    March 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm
    David Socrates says, March 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I promised not to continue down this path. So I won’t. This is only to say

    I dont think that David Socrates ( Cossarat ) should have anything to do with the path taken in the comments about this post.
    I agree with the path Kristian’s comment takes. For example

    The S-B equation/law does not apply to the surface of the earth

    and

    Earth’s surface does not need to generate such an amount of radiative power in order to cool adequately and thereby balance the absorbed energy from the Sun, because a lot of this energy is already being spent driving convective processes

    That is the surface of earth cools by convection not radiation.

    David Cossarat’s radiative model is unnecessary and wrongly applies the S-B law.. Thermodynamics is enough and it gets the right answers.

    Trick says:
    March 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Your comment only contains assertions.

    Please refer me to a calculation of the earths surface temperature using GHG radiative physics

  93. Stephen Wilde says:

    Agreed.

    The S-B equation can only be applied at TOA.

    Everything between TOA and surface is thermodynamics governed by the Ideal Gas Law.

    AGW theory tries to apply the S-B equation from a point within the atmosphere. Not possible.

  94. Stephen Wilde says, March 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm:

    Stephen,

    You first repeat my definition of THROUGHPUT THROTTLING and then say: That sounds very like my ‘third’ option in that the means whereby the energy throughput is initially slowed down is non radiative. However you do refer to a radiative loss from the atmosphere (via GHGs) of 199 Wm2. But that offsets the slowing down of throughput rather than creating it in the first place

    By offsets the slowing down of throughput I assume you mean ‘speeds up the throughput’. If so, no it doesn’t! I am always at pains to say that there must be sufficient GHGs at the ToA to provide an open drain of radiation to space. If the mechanism at the ToA is an open drain, it by definition offers no significant resistance to flow (nor of course would it speed flow up!) So adding more GHGs would not change things. It would just make it even more of an open drain (if such a thing were logically possible!)

    It is only if you adhere to the (tortuous?) logic of the OUTPUT THROTTLING scenario, as supported by Tim Folkerts and other warmists, that you can argue that GHGs at the ToA are the true reason for the restriction to flow and that adding more CO2 actually increases that restriction.

    The whole point of this thread is that we are debating what is the true physics of the situation leading to ATE: THROUGHPUT resistance to flow, a non-radiant effect due to convection, or OUTPUT resistance to flow, involving a tortuous ‘reverse logic’ in the behaviour of GHGs at the ToA.

    Your third option, that all radiation to space comes from the surface anyway and none from the ToA maybe should be discussed later. But I suspect you won’t find too many supporters among skeptics, if only because it flies in the face of observational data measurements. (That doesn’t necessarily make it wrong of course, such is the scientific method. :-))

    DC

  95. Roger Clague says, March 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm: I agree with Steven Wilde who says, “radiation fluxes observed are a consequence of the temperature set by mass, gravity and insolation and not a cause.” I don’t agree with David Cosserat who says, “The surface has a temperature that relates to the rate at which it absorbs incident radiant energy from the Sun.”

    Roger,

    Both statements are true.

    1. A significant proportion of my Part I article was devoted to demonstrating that radiation in the Bulk of the Atmosphere is a consequence of the KE of the GHG molecules there and not the cause of it. So I agree completely with Stephen Wilde on that.

    2. The reason that the surface has a temperature that relates to the rate at which it absorbs incident radiant energy from the Sun is…er…because the surface is heated by the Sun’s net incoming radiation. If you magically halved the insolation, you would reduce the surface temperature, would you not? And if you magically doubled it, you would increase the surface temperature, would you not?

    So I don’t know what you are going on about. :-)

    DC

  96. Stephen Wilde says:

    David.

    The third option of all radiation to space from the surface only applies if there are no GHGs, clouds or aerosols but I raised it to illustrate that the primary means of heating an atmosphere has nothing to do with GHGs.

    I agree with you that the net effect of GHGs is likely zero.

    If the net effect of CO2 is zero and the ATE can occur without them then the ATE is clearly caused by non radiative processes and the radiative qualities of CO2 (or anything else) are irrelevant.

    However we do see that CO2 can absorb more energy in a lab scenario and no doubt they do so in the air as well. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have a net warming effect in the atmosphere though.

    IF they have a net warming effect (output throttling) that net effect has to be offset by a change in the non radiative processes (throughput throttling).

    If they don’t have a net warming effect then there will be no change in the non radiative processes.

    The true physics regarding the resistance to flow is simply non radiative processes converting energy to various forms of heat and then back to radiation so as to delay its exit.

    Incoming energy interacts with matter in the diabatic loop (energy in from space and leaving to space) to produce heat. That is output throttling.

    The adiabatic loop recycles energy from surface to ToA and in the process converts energy to and fro between KE (heat) and PE (not heat) to keep ToA radiative balance stable. That is throughput throttling.

    My versions of the two types of throttling may not exactly coincide with your definitions but I humbly submit that they are clearer and simpler.

  97. Kristian says, March 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm: I promised not to continue down this path. So I won’t. This is only to say…

    Kristian,

    1. I’m really sorry to say that the question of the mean surface temperatures of airless and GHG-less rocky planetary bodies at earth-distance from the Sun is definitely completely outside the scope of this blog trail. I hope to do another article on that soon when we can all have a lot of fun with what is, I agree, a very interesting topic but not one that is actually relevant to the discussion here – which is discussing one of two postulated mechanisms that cause ATE, and not the precise value of the ATE.

    2. The issue you raise about the earth’s surface S-B emission into the atmosphere (356Wm-2) has already been discussed at length in Part I. If you look at Fig. 3, it shows that it is offset almost entirely by the radiation from the atmosphere towards the surface (333Wm-2) leaving only a small residual of 23Wm-2 (which is in any case almost immediately converted to KE within the first kilometre above the surface). If you still feel uncomfortable about this, look at Part II above where the diagrams only show the net 23Wm-2 figure because that is all we need to concentrate on for our purposes here.

    So, yes, you are correct that the non-radiative pathways between surface and atmosphere do indeed predominate (totalling 80 + 17 =97Wm-2) compared with the radiative pathway (23Wm-2).The bottom line on this is my conclusion that all the energy rising up through the Bulk of the Atmosphere is in the form of KE not radiation. Please re-read the article carefully and you will see that point is hammered home.

    In the meanwhile I do hope you will stay around and contribute to the narrower (and equally fascinating) issue we are trying to discuss here about the precise physical mechanism that slows down the rate of flow of KE up through the atmopheric column and out to space, thus creating the ATE experienced here on earth.

    DC

  98. Roger Clague says, March 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm: I dont think that David Socrates ( Cosserat ) should have anything to do with the path taken in the comments about this post. I agree with the path Kristian’s comment takes.

    Roger, You are a guest here in Roger’s site and I am a guest author. Knowing Roger, if he is unhappy with the way I am responding to commentators, I know for certain he will say so. In which case I shall defer to him out of the same respect that you might perhaps consider according to me, a guest author who is doing his level best to keep the proceedings on track. :-)

    DC

  99. Trick says:

    Roger 2:53pm: “Trick says: March 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm “Your comment only contains assertions. Please refer me to a calculation of the earths surface temperature using GHG radiative physics.”

    Yes, Roger, only assertions b/c I’ve written David’s Fig. 5 throughput science eqn.s out here so often. Cite Bohren “Atmospheric Thermodynamics” 1998 text p.33 IIRC. 1st law gives energy in-out = 0 at equilibrium in terms of flux density W/m^2 using Fig. 5 in David’s top post.

    The energy-in is net of earth’s measured ~0.3 albedo, surface emissivity rounded up very slightly to 1.0, atm. emissivity IR active gas (half up, half down) measured about 0.8/2 in the heat eqn. Which I won’t write out again from the text unless you ask becomes:

    Net in from space – (net out to space) = Net in – (UWIR-DWIR) = 0 with all measured data from David’s Fig. 5.

    239 – (396-157) = 0 W/m^2

    The 157 is atm. flux leftover from atm. after Stephen’s adiabatic loop convective and latent heat fluxes are accounted for and the 78 diabatic accounted for in David’s Fig. 5 equilibrium.

    239-239=0, so equilibrium atm. global near surface temperature from the 157 computes out to ~289K. Compare to global Tavg. 288K, problem solved, all rounded give or take.

    Stephen 4:20: “I agree with you that the net effect of GHGs is likely zero. “

    Yes, for Tavg. of the atm. as a whole (whatever it is). But not the surface Tavg. which is measured.

    “If the net effect of CO2 is zero and the ATE can occur without them then the ATE is clearly caused by non radiative processes.”

    Not at all Stephen. The net effect on David’s Fig. 5 total Tavg. IS zero from added IR active gas ppm because energy-in is constant, so lower atm. cooling is slowed at equilibrium, upper atm. doesn’t receive as much energy (KE if you will) from surface so cooling is increased at equilibrium. Whatever the earth ATE is, basic, simple radiation transfer theory adequately describes temperature completely in many text books (and works for the moon and other planets also).

    The adiabatic loop can’t speed up b/c energy in-energy out = 0. No energy left over to speed it up. LH+Thermals not globally changed, still 80+17 even with more IR active gas, unless the albedo or surface emissivity changes which is really the interesting & controversial discussion.

    This is non-controversial beginning modern science no matter how much Stephen wants it to be controversial since he just hasn’t yet read about it. IMO someday his interest will allow him to read up on the basic science; allowing Stephen to discuss it after being updated and better informed.

  100. Roger Clague says:

    This post is about explaining ATE. That is thermal enhancement relative to no atmosphere. When studying an object ( the earth ) it is good science to consider a similar body.

    David Cossarat says
    mean surface temperatures of airless and GHG-less rocky planetary bodies at earth-distance from the Sun is definitely completely outside the scope of this blog trail.

    The moon is exactly what we should study. We should not apply S-B Law at the earth’s surface.

    We agree about the sun. But you do not have a role for gravity, which determines the temperature profile ( lapse rate ) as well as the pressure profile. The temperature profile is not determined by the surface temperature. It determines the surface temperature.

    Trick

    Where does your 157Wm-2 come from?

    I agree that there is a difference between throughput and input. Both happen at the same time.Imput/output is at TOA according to Kirchoff’s Radiation Law. Throughput is below TOA and is according to the Laws of Motion and the Gas Law

  101. donald penman says:

    Back radiation I think would cause an increase in the near surface equilibrium temperature because it will increase the kinetic energy a bit near the surface.back radiation would be like a diffuse scattering of light on a cloudy day.The back radiation would be coming from all directions ,not heating anything above the average temperature just increasing the average temperature .I don’t think back radiation can cause evaporation or heat the surface much because it does not carry enough energy per photon to do that.AGW gives us the picture that back radiation is a large portion of the heating of the Earths surface by radiation ,The arrows for back radiation all point down as for sunlight, ghg molecules emit lw radiation in all directions and it does not travel in one direction.

  102. Trick says:

    Roger 7:09pm: “Where does your 157Wm-2 come from?”

    Excellent question Roger. Covered in Part 1 comments. Refer to Fig. 5 and see David’s #1 point in top post clipped here for convenience:

    “…the lowest part of the atmosphere radiates energy at an enhanced rate (333Wm-2) towards the surface.”

    Then my comment from Part 1:

    “The 333 is equal 17 + 80 + 78 + 158; the 158 W/m^2 being atm. emission…” all by itself and including the 1 Trenberthian flow absorbed from atm. by earth.

    So the 157 = the atm. all alone 158 DWIR net of the 1 W/m^2 absorbed by earth L&O (Trenberth’s controversial missing heat). Note in Fig. 5 the 161 “SW in from SUN” has only 160 (=40+80+17+23) out from L&O surface, the 1 being that absorbed.

    So use the 157 W/m^2 as net atm. diabatic DWIR: 333 net of the 1 absorbed, 80 LH, 17 thermals, 78 SW from SUN. The 80+17 “net of” processes do not occur in space, so Stephen calls them adiabatic loop which is proper I suppose (but we all know reality is not quite adiabatic – the 80+17 all share energy back & forth inside the atm.).

    239 – (396-157) = 0

    239 – 239 = 0

    Which is the starting in – out = 0 LT earth equilibrium for Fig. 5. Simple, not easy.

  103. Tim Folkerts says:

    A few replies, and then I think I may take another hiatus.

    tallbloke says: “[Reply] Tim, I’ll carry on driving the point home until it is realised that LW radiation in the lower troposphere is the outcome, not the driver of the lower tropospheric temperature. Sorry if that particular scientific truth really bugs you. TB.”
    And in return, lower tropsphere temperatures are determined (at least in part) by upper troposphere temperatures, which are determined (at least in part) by radiation from the upper atmosphere. It is myopic to cut the discussion off mid-way through the trail.

    Upper atmosphere radiation ↔
    ↔ upper atmosphere temperature
    ↔ lower atmosphere temperature
    ↔ lower atmosphere radiation
    ↔ surface temperature

    [Reply] I’m not seeing convection included in this scheme Tim. What was that about myopia? TB

    Stephen says: “In all this the warmists steadfastly ignore the fact that an expanded atmosphere with lower density is a cooler atmosphere that lets energy flow through faster.

    Sigh. It is so simple.
    Energy is added ↔ gas gets warmer ↔ gas expands ↔ gas gets less dense.
    The atmosphere getting less dense (and any given altitude) equates to WARMER air, not cooler air!
    High pressure weather systems are generally associated with HIGH density and COLD air.
    Low pressure weather systems are generally associated with LOW density and WARM air.

    ” radiative characteristics do not affect equilibrium temperature
    What!? Energy entering and/or leaving an object do not affect the temperate ???

    “I have seen no evidence that radiative characteristics alone have any effect on the environmental lapse rate.”
    I disagree with a lot of the other things you say, but here I actually agree with you. The radiative characteristic have minimal impact on the lapse rate. On the other hand, they DO have an impact on the ToA temperature, which (via our mostly unchanged lapse rate) will impact the surface temperature (ie if I move one end of a line up or down, then the REST of the line has to move up or down in sync).

    There is the subtler question of how various feedbacks might change the lapse rate (eg humidity) or the energy absorbed by the earth as a whole (eg clouds). But this is not a situation where “hand-waving” is going to suffice. And so far all I see is a hope by you that the lapse rate would adjust exactly correctly to offset any and all ToA changes.

    Trick asks How could all layers warm up but avg. energy of higher photons go down. Tim F. would have to clarify for us.”
    Let me give that a shot.
    Suppose we have a hypothetical world where the surface is 300 K. The atmosphere has various types and quantities of GHGS so that the ToA is 0 km up @ 200K (ie a lapse rate of 10 K/km) with an emissivity of 0.5 (with absorption bands spread fairly uniformly over the thermal IR spectrum so the emissivity doesn’t change with temperature.

    The surface will emit (0.5)(5.67e-8)(300^4) = 229.6 W/m^2 to space
    (with another 229.6 absorbed along the way up by the atmosphere)

    The ToA will emit (0.5)(5.67e-8)(200^4) = 45.4 W/m^2 to space

    For a total of 275.0 W/m^2 to space. And of course, that must be what the sun is providing to this hypothetical planet.

    Now suppose I can suddenly add some MORE GHGs to raise the ToA to 11 km. One might naively expect that the new ToA would be 190 K (due to the 10 K/km lapse rate). However this will result in only 266.6 W/m^2 of power out, for a net imbalance of 8.4 W/m^2, meaning the planet will warm up. It will warm until the surface is 302.2, the 11 km ToA is 192.2, and the old ToA is 202.2.

    This restores the 275 W/m^2 while maintaining the 10 K/km lapse rate, and every altitude is warmer than it was before.

    And finally, David says:I thought his argument was that … “
    Yes, I think that was a pretty fair summary of my position.

    “It is a debate between what we might reasonably call sophisticated skeptics and sophisticated warmists. (Yes, there are lots of more ignorant people in both camps but they rarely, if ever, visit the Talkshop so their sometimes hilarious musings and meanderings need not detain us here.)
    I would suggest that there are also more LEARNED people in both camps. I enjoy the enthusiasm, but sometimes it feels kind of like the guys who watch legal shows on TV and think they could represent themselves in court. We are discussing some rather complex climatology and thermodynamics here, and that is NOT easy stuff! Even with a degree in physics, I have to think quite a while about many of these ideas before I understand (or at least, before I *think* I understand!).

  104. Max™ says:

    The reason that the surface has a temperature that relates to the rate at which it absorbs incident radiant energy from the Sun is…er…because the surface is heated by the Sun’s net incoming radiation. If you magically halved the insolation, you would reduce the surface temperature, would you not? And if you magically doubled it, you would increase the surface temperature, would you not?” ~David

    Well, yes, and if you magically halve the insolation and calculate a temperature for that halved value, it would be lower than the actual temperature too, wouldn’t it?

    Does that mean the planet is actually warmed by some effect above that value, or does it just mean the insolation isn’t actually that low? :P

  105. Roger Clague says:

    Trick

    From your explanation I see that

    157 is 396-239 and also

    333- ( 17 +80 +78 +1)

    However 333 and 396 have been abandoned by David for Figure 5.

    You add and subtract numbers without any logic.

    However you advise your critics to read up basic science

    It is you who should reexamine Trenbirth’s radiation diagram and consider when and when not to apply Physical Laws

    I suggest

    S-B Law and Kirchoff’s Radiation Law to radiation at and above the tropopause, TOA
    Laws of Motion and Gas Laws to mass in the atmosphere

  106. donald penman says, March 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm:

    Donald,

    Please refer to Fig. 3 in Part I. ‘Back radiation’ (i.e. the 333Wm-2 radiation from atmosphere to surface), does not “cause evaporation or heat the surface” at all.

    This is because the back radiation is more than offset by the forward radiation from surface to atmosphere of 356Wm-2. The only bit of the 333Wm-2 circular radiation cycle between surface and atmosphere that supplies any energy flow is the net 23Wm-2 which is almost immediately thermalised (converted to KE) in the Base of the Atmosphere and thereafter joins the remaining KE from non radiant sources on its way up to the ToA where it is radiated out to space.

    In the steady state model presented, the atmosphere is not, repeat not, heating the surface.

    DC

  107. Roger Clague says, March 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm: You add and subtract numbers without any logic. However you advise your critics to read up basic science

    Roger,

    I second that. I have just allowed myself (much against my better judgement) a few minutes to puzzle over Trick’s numbers and I can’t make head or tail of them.

    I might have been more motivated if he could just explain in simple words at the beginning why on earth he is going through his apparently random calculation steps in the first place and what goal or idea or proof he is trying to illustrate.

    On the other hand it looks suspiciously like radiative transfer gobbledegook in which case I am well out of it, believing, as I do, that radiation in the bulk of the atmosphere does not cause heating at all but is merely a consequence of the thermal energy (KE) present there.

    DC

  108. Trick says:

    Roger 9:52pm – The 333 and 396 are implicit in Davids’s Fig. 5 by ref. to TFK09. Not abandoned or maybe you could explain science of what you mean by that term beyond assertion.

    The arithmetic logic to add and subtract is exactly shown in Fig. 5 & TFK09, incoming arrow is positive, outgoing arrow is negative (and by extension the Trenberthian cartoon, Fig. 1 p. 314) but really one needs to read the top post linked Trenberth TFK09 paper to get all the atm. science logic and assumptions explained.

    “It is you who should reexamine Trenbirth’s radiation diagram and consider when and when not to apply Physical Laws.”

    That’s always good advice, as is reading up again on modern basic atm. science from different authors. I’ve re-examined Trenberth’s cartoon many times & learned more from it as I go. My application of physical law is per the modern text books unless you can find an issue which may or may not be a problem, which would be interesting to discuss if on topic, as David asks above w/o resorting to assertion.

    ******

    David 11:06pm: “I might have been more motivated if he could just explain in simple words…”

    If explain in simple words, Roger & David will complain about assertion. If add the math, Stephen and David complain. When I did so in l-o-o-o-ng simple word & math posts on other threads David eventually complained not “lucid”. So I shortened ‘em. If really interested in the science, just look up a good text for illustrations like I do.

    Or ask if interested in specific explanations needed, like Roger C. does. It is a talkshop after all! Cutting edge science you can dice with.

    There is temperature related KE of the molecules along with visible and invisible radiation of photons in the blue “bulk of atm.” Fig. 5, only significant heating from the sun.

  109. Trick,

    I am not prepared to spend ANY time unless I understand what the goal is. You are obviously on about something important to you but I don’t have a clue what it is you are asserting in the first place. (It’s OK to ‘assert’ if you follow it up with justification and proof.)

    DC

  110. Trick says:

    David – Goal is to increase understanding of the basic modern science in top post; can choose best source for gain in understanding; sometimes discussion helps, it does for me. Agree, not just assertion if followed with proper proof or cites.

  111. Tim Folkerts says:

    Roger says: :”I’m not seeing convection included in this scheme Tim. What was that about myopia? TB”

    Look closer!

    I had just said “… lower troposphere temperatures are determined (at least in part) by upper troposphere temperatures, … ”

    That connection between the top and bottom is the lapse rate, which is “set” by convection. The lapse rate gets “pegged” by convection, which keeps the ELR from (significantly) exceeding the ALR (either dray or saturated, depending on the circumstances). Convection is the “pop-off valve” that keep the lapse rate from getting too large.

  112. Max™ says, March 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Max ,

    Roger Clague on March 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm, challenged me to justify my assertion that “The surface has a temperature that relates to the rate at which it absorbs incident radiant energy from the Sun.”

    I replied that “The reason that the surface has a temperature that relates to the rate at which it absorbs incident radiant energy from the Sun is…er…because the surface is heated by the Sun’s net incoming radiation. If you magically halved the insolation, you would reduce the surface temperature, would you not? And if you magically doubled it, you would increase the surface temperature, would you not?”.

    1. You say: Well, yes, and if you magically halve the insolation and calculate a temperature for that halved value, it would be lower than the actual temperature too, wouldn’t it?

    Not if you got the calculation right (always assuming you were clever enough to have the right formula).

    2. You say: Does that mean the planet is actually warmed by some effect above that value, or does it just mean the insolation isn’t actually that low?

    Sorry but that question just doesn’t compute, in view of my reply to the previous one!

    DC

  113. Max™ says:

    Well, as I said, if the surface “should” be a cooler temperature, the same temperature as one obtains by say… halving the insolation as a result of spreading it across the entire surface… is that a physical result, or just an artifact of the calculation method used?

  114. Roger Clague says:

    Tim Folkerts says

    lower troposphere temperatures are determined (at least in part) by upper troposphere temperatures

    You cannot concede to your opponent and then continue arguing your case.

    You are supporting the mainstream position as for example Wikipedia

    temperature decreases with altitude at a fairly uniform rate. Because the atmosphere is warmed by conduction from Earth’s surface, this lapse or reduction in temperature is normal with increasing distance from the conductive source.

    I and some other people say the lapse rate is caused by warming due to gravity with increased distance from the colder and less pressured TOA.

    You and nearly every science institution in the world say the troposphere temperature profile is caused by cooling with distance from the hot surface.

    These are competely opposed and irreconsilable explanations.

    Defend your position or if you can’t say so. To admit error is honorable in a scientific debate.

    Trick

    You have been taught to believe in TFK09.

    Energy enters and leaves the earth/ atmosphere system as radiation. So, as Occams Razor suggests, we apply the S-B Law and Kirchoff’s Law of Radiation to the earth’s surface and to the atmosphere alone, in the same way as they are applied at the TOA.

    Is that your position?

  115. Kristian says:

    David, correct me if I’m wrong here, but I think this should be relevant to the throughput/output throttling discussion. In a steady state/equilibrium (no change) situation.

    Does the natural radiative GHE work?

    Let’s again consider the Earth and the Moon. They are at equal distance from the Sun – 1AU. The former is provided with an atmosphere, the latter is not.

    The Earth’s surface receives an average global flux of 165 W/m^2 from the Sun. The Moon’s surface receives an equivalent flux of 302 W/m^2. Yet the Earth’s surface holds a mean global temperature of ~288K while the mean global temperature of the Moon’s surface only reaches ~197K. That is a difference of about 90K in Earth’s favour.

    So, the Moon’s global surface enjoys a mean net energy flux from the Sun around 85% larger than the surface of the Earth and is still on average ~90 degrees colder.

    Clearly the one thing that makes the difference here is Earth’s atmosphere. There is no doubt about that.

    But WHAT is it about Earth’s atmosphere that enables the mean temperature of our planet’s global surface to rise way past that of the Moon’s surface?

    It is evidently not the incoming flux from the Sun. The warming one. (Yes, it has to be there in the first place, of course. That’s a no-brainer. But its specific magnitude doesn’t really give us any clues as to what the physical surface temperature would be.)

    So what is it? Has it got something to do with the outgoing flux? The cooling one?

    Well, it should be quite easy to deduce.

    Both the surface of the Earth and the surface of the Moon maintain a relative balance between net incoming and net outgoing energy. Anything else would constitute an awkward situation for any celestial body. The energy budget must balance. And in the long term it does.

    But here’s the thing. What balances what? The outgoing flux naturally needs to balance the incoming. Not the other way around. That would be silly. So, whatever the average flux absorbed by a planet’s surface would be, the planet’s surface is simply compelled to give off a flux of equal size. No more, no less. If more energy is absorbed, more has to be shed. If less energy is absorbed, less needs to be shed.

    It’s that simple.

    This means for instance that Earth’s surface has to rid itself of 165 W/m^2 worth of evened out energy flux in order to maintain thermodynamic equilibrium – to balance the incoming flux from the Sun. The Moon’s surface at the same time needs to power up a mean global flux of 302 W/m^2, again of equal size to the incoming one.

    It does not matter how this is accomplished. It merely has to be done. Somehow.

    So you see, it doesn’t matter how much water vapour or CO2 an atmosphere contains. It doesn’t matter how much radiation is flowing back and forth and up and down within the atmosphere. The atmosphere needs to let through a flux balancing the incoming one. No matter what. That’s it. And it makes it happen. Through whatever means necessary. It all balances out. Always.

    The Earth releases less power per unit area to space than the Moon. So does this mean that Earth’s atmosphere restricts the outgoing flow of net thermal radiation? No. It simply means that Earth has less net energy to release, because the atmosphere has already let less net energy from the Sun through. It goes both ways. Less in, less out. And that’s at the ToA. At the surface the discrepancy is even larger. Earth’s atmosphere keeps lots of solar energy from ever being absorbed by the surface. As a result, it receives much less energy than the Moon’s. And therefore accordingly has much less energy to get rid of.

    But its mean temperature is still much higher than the Moon’s. Go figure.

  116. Tim Folkerts says:

    Roger Clague,

    I see a lot of almost correct thinking in what you say. But you don’t put it all together correctly.

    “I and some other people say the lapse rate is caused by warming due to gravity … “
    The almost correct idea is that gravity can and does cause warming. This is a key idea in astrophysics, where contraction of sparse, cool clouds leads to hot, dense stars and planets.

    But this warming is the result of a continued contraction. At the gas contracts, PdV work is done on the gas, leading to an increase in U (thermal energy) and therefore T (Temperature). If the gas is not actively contracting (like the earth’s atmosphere), then gravity is NOT doing any NEW PdV work and therefore gravity is NOT contributing to any change in U.

    So when the earth was forming, with rocks and gas falling into the growing planet, then “gravitational heating” was important.

    ” … with increased distance from the colder and less pressured TOA.”
    Then there is the related idea that during convection, gases that “fall” will warm up. Of course the converse is also true – gases that rise will cool. This is indeed the origin of the lapse rate. “Gravity” is one of the key factors that explains why the atmosphere cools ~ 6-10 K/km. (But any energy added to one parcel of air as it falls is taken from another parcel as it rises, so there is no NET input of energy!)

    So, yes, the less pressurized, higher altitude TOA will be cooler than the more pressurized air at the bottom (in any “typical” planetary atmosphere). But this only sets the slope, ie the difference between the surface and some altitude. This cannot itself tell us if the temperatures 10 km up and at the surface should be 300K & 230K, or 290K & 220K, or 280K & 210K. ALL of these pairs have the same “warming due to the lapse rate” = “temperature difference due to gravity”.

    To decide which pair works, you need to use radiation balance.

    “You and nearly every science institution in the world say the troposphere temperature profile is caused by cooling with distance from the hot surface.”
    Not quite. I say the profile is caused by differential heating — energy in at the bottom and (approximately) equal energy out at the top. That will inevitably lead to a temperature gradient. (For example, heat will continue to flow outward through the wall of your house if the inside is heated and the outside is cooled.)

    Or stated another way … the bottom of the atmosphere is in “thermal contact” with the warm ground; the top of the atmosphere is in “thermal contact” with cold outer space. As you get farther from the warm region and closer to the cold region, it will of course be getting cooler. (For example, if the outside of your house is cold and the inside is warm, there will be a temperature gradient across the wall of your house.)

  117. Tim Folkerts says:

    Tying my last post back to the top post …

    “Throughput throttling” tells us the the DIFFERENCE between top & bottom for a given energy input at the bottom. (Ie between the surface and the TOA). But this itself cannot tell us what either number should be.

    “Output throttling” tells us the DIFFERENCE between the top and the surroundings for a give energy input (ie between earth and space).

    In fact, I much now suggest rephrasing the situation as two different “throughput throttlings”.
    1) “Throughput throttling” from the surface to the TOA.
    2) “Throughput throttling” from the TOA to the universe.

    The “net throughput throttling” is what determines the surface temperature!

  118. donald penman says:

    donald penman says, March 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm:
    David Cosserat say March 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm: [corrected addition DC]
    Donald,

    Please refer to Fig. 3 in Part I. ‘Back radiation’ (i.e. the 333Wm-2 radiation from atmosphere to surface), does not “cause evaporation or heat the surface” at all.

    This is because the back radiation is more than offset by the forward radiation from surface to atmosphere of 356Wm-2. The only bit of the 333Wm-2 circular radiation cycle between surface and atmosphere that supplies any energy flow is the net 23Wm-2 which is almost immediately thermalised (converted to KE) in the Base of the Atmosphere and thereafter joins the remaining KE from non radiant sources on its way up to the ToA where it is radiated out to space.

    In the steady state model presented, the atmosphere is not, repeat not, heating the surface.

    DC

    I would say that the 333wm-2 atmosphere to surface is meant to represent retained energy the model only balances in equilibrium which you assume it is in equilibrium it is not a surprise then that in your model the figures balance but the surface still has a higher equilibrium temperature than it would have without the 333wm2 atmosphere to surface exchange.

  119. Trick says:

    Roger C. 1:49pm: “Is that your position?”

    If I have a position it would be that earth atm. is optically thick (David’s output throttling*) such that the simple, basic physical model shown in atmosphere radiation texts works remarkably well to reasonably compute earth near surface global Tavg. from measured data. Understanding the simple model, improved by interesting discussion around here, is important as a foundation to discuss more complex concepts.

    “…we apply the S-B Law and Kirchoff’s Law of Radiation to the earth’s surface and to the atmosphere..”

    Yes as long as the basic assumptions therein are valid for Fig. 5 top post.

    Quick review of those assumptions for David’s Fig. 5, see the cites for more detail:

    • Kirchoff’s law is applicable to gases of interest provided the freq. of molecular collisions is much larger than the freq. of absorption/emission. Basic text authors agree this condition is observed in earth atm. below ~60km where local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) prevails. (Ref. Wallace&Hobbs p.121)
    • S-B Law is used because the flux densities in Fig. 5 are as integrated over the spectrum. (Wallace&Hobbs p.119).
    • Using TFK09 is the top post ground rule chosen by author David given his assumptions and noted limitations; Fig. 5 ref. shows LTE for earth measured during the CERES satellite period March 2000 thru May 2004 spatial and temporal sampled.

    *NB: Both throughput and output throttling are at work IN the atm. through conductive, convective and radiative heat transfer processes. Only radiative heat transfer allows significant heat gain/loss in/out of earth & atm. system from/to deep space.

  120. suricat says:

    Trick says: March 7, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I find the ‘throughput and output throttling’ terms confusing still Trick.

    If we take the system ‘overall’, it must be throughput throttling because an interacting mass always ‘slows’ EM energy and acts, at least, as a ‘delay line’. These interactions occur at many points for both insolation and OLR. :(

    Another problem I have with TFK09 is the back radiation that’s generated by 40W/m^2 at the surface (latent heat isn’t released near it).

    Best regards, Ray.

  121. suricat says:

    suricat says: March 8, 2013 at 12:14 am

    “(latent heat isn’t released near it)”

    Oh yes, and the 40W/m^2 window doesn’t add to it either. :)

    Best regards, Ray.

  122. gbaikie says:

    “Part II – So what kind of heat flow throttling do you favour?”

    I will another go at it.
    We given two option regarding how the atmosphere flow of heat is controlled
    or defined.
    One option is that heat flows from TOA.
    The other says heat flow is delayed by the bulk of atmosphere.
    But is assuming that significant amount of heat is leaving Earth FROM
    the TOA.
    So two option are at and to TOA.

    And I don’t think a significant amount heat is lost at TOA.
    But the question is not how much, the question is which one.

    One thing we know about the atmosphere is there is an uniformity-
    the temperature of the valley is warmer than mountain. If
    cold and raining in valley, on mountain it can be snowing. And
    this lapse rate if rain is occuring:
    “wet lapse rate of 3°F/1,000 ft (5.5°C/km)”

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

    So if valley is 1000 meters lower, and valley is
    has an air temperature 5.5 C higher than needed for
    snow, then the mountain will be cold enough for it to snow.
    And in conditions of low humidity there is a greater temperature
    difference between mountain and valley a very dry lapse rate of
    “dry lapse rate of 5.5°F/1,000 ft (10°C/km).”
    So if go up the mountain it’s going to get cooler within the range
    of 5.5°C/km to 10°C/km.
    And between the troposphere and stratosphere is region called
    the tropopause in which this lapse rate is around 0 C/km and at
    beginning of the stratosphere it gets warmer as one rises in elevation.
    And roughly speaking 80% of atmosphere is in the troposphere/tropopause
    and 20% is in the stratosphere [and above the stratosphere we dealing with
    less 1% of atmosphere in a vast volume of space, though the stratosphere is
    also relativity a large volume of space]. Troposphere can extend up as high as
    17 km at equator and stratosphere reaching about 51 km

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

    So Troposphere is relativity a smaller volume with a lot of the atmosphere in it.
    And near upper edge of troposphere has such thin air, one needs supplemental
    oxygen to breathe, and above 15 km a person needs a pressure suit to breathe-
    which is basically a spacesuit [it’s the vacuum of space, as far as humans are
    concerned regarding the topic of breathing. And at point one needs a spacesuit
    one still has a blue sky above you, at 20 to 25 km you start to see the blackness
    of space. And it is internationally recognized that 100 km up one becomes an
    astronaut- though one is still within Earth atmosphere. Personally I tend to think
    flying in the tropopause [on a commercial airline] is traveling thru the space
    environment].

    Anyhow the TOA is somewhere around the tropopause, or some have said [as I recall]
    of being somewhere around average of 6.9 km above surface.
    The peak of Mt Everest is 8,848 m (29,029 ft) and some might include the peak as
    part of TOA and Everest has about 1/3 the atmosphere pressure.
    But perhaps most would regard it above most clouds and well above any mountain.

    But regardless, it’s about 1/3 atm or less and dry cold air. Or also some may characterize
    it as has having air temperature of around -18 C.
    “Everest summit temperature roughly fluctuates between -20ºC during summer and -35ºC. The coldest forecasted summit temperature was -41ºC (on several occasions in Dec 2002, Jan and Feb 2003. The warmest forecasted temperature is -16ºC. ”

    http://www.explorersweb.com/adventureweather/charts/

    So the TOA isn’t a line, but rather I would like to know roughly where it starts and get to next part of question of where it ends- or are we to assume it’s all the atmosphere starting from
    say, 6 km to 500 km?

    We can cut the sky in half: “50% is below 5.6 km (18,000 ft)”.- wiki
    And should be able to agree that TOA isn’t part the lower half?

  123. Trick says:

    suricat 12:14am: “I find the ‘throughput and output throttling’ terms confusing still Trick.”

    Me too of course, but if your foundation understanding of the basics is solid then David’s concepts should be parsable. I am thinking of David’s “throughput throttling” as conductive & convective heat transfer b/c of his eqn. 1/Katm for combined effective conductivity & convection. However, I do not yet see and have not seen anywhere else how throughput throttling concept alone can reasonably well compute global Tavg. near the surface.

    I think of David’s “output throttling” as radiative heat transfer which is able to compute earth’s global Tavg. near the surface remarkably well. To within ~1K. With the assist the radiative transfer IN the atmosphere gets by conductive and convective heat transfer (the LH 80+thermals 17) thus my view is both throughput and output throttling co-exist IN the atm. Externally there is only radiation.

    The radiation out measured at TOA would be far lumpier if 80+17 did not spread heat transfer laterally (across Fig. 5 all of 1m^2, LOL) but I can’t prove that, just intuition, call it assertion I suppose.

    “Another problem I have with TFK09 is the back radiation that’s generated by 40W/m^2 at the surface…”

    I do not get this. This is just the controversial window, right? Zips right thru atm. at light speed, unencumbered. 8 minutes later, hits the sun (or maybe the moon quicker). Slowing sun’s (or moon’s) cooling slightly, ha. Or if hits moon at right spot, right time, heating the moon, double ha.

  124. gbaikie says:

    “Tim Folkerts says:
    March 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Tying my last post back to the top post …

    “Throughput throttling” tells us the the DIFFERENCE between top & bottom for a given energy input at the bottom. (Ie between the surface and the TOA). But this itself cannot tell us what either number should be.

    “Output throttling” tells us the DIFFERENCE between the top and the surroundings for a give energy input (ie between earth and space).

    In fact, I much now suggest rephrasing the situation as two different “throughput throttlings”.
    1) “Throughput throttling” from the surface to the TOA.
    2) “Throughput throttling” from the TOA to the universe.

    The “net throughput throttling” is what determines the surface temperature! ”

    It seems to me one should want to to know how much sunlight is being converted to heat
    in one day and this is about the same as how much is being radiated into space per day.

    So one measure how much energy is leaving in the night side of earth or flip side, how much energy from sun is heating on the daylight side of planet.

    In rough terms the tropics which confined between lines tropic of Cancer and Capricorn and is 40%
    of surface of Earth and easily absorbs much more than 50% of the sunlight and radiates more half of heat received from the Sun. The tropics absorbs more energy from the sun than this region emits back into space- or tropics warms the rest of the world. How much does the region within
    the lines tropic of Cancer and Capricorn warm the rest of the world. That answer is found from the difference the tropics absorbs heat and the amount it emits heat per day.
    One could also look regions north and south of Cancer and Capricorn these regions are importing heat from the tropics, but also net exporting of heat until they reach some point, going polewards.
    Where is this point? Somewhere around 40 degree? 35 or 50 degrees? You have winter and Summer and annual.
    It seems to be that more half the surface area of earth is net exporter of heat to rest of the world.

  125. suricat says:

    gbaikie says: March 8, 2013 at 12:35 am

    “We can cut the sky in half: “50% is below 5.6 km (18,000 ft)”.- wiki
    And should be able to agree that TOA isn’t part the lower half?”

    I WISH! :) Welcome to the house of ‘fun’. :)

    Different molecules interact with different ‘EM’ (radiant) ‘frequencies/wavelengths’ and herein lays the complexity!

    Some wavelengths of ‘OLR’ (for Earth’s cooling) just don’t interact with any molecules (the 40W/m^2 ‘window’ for example). For these ‘wave bands’ TOA is actually ‘the surface’.

    Other wavelengths, because they interact with various molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, find TOA from varying altitudes. This is why a full spectral analysis is made.

    If it was up to me, as an engineer, I’d push for an average altitude where we could say that ‘above here is radiative and below here is convective’, but this just doesn’t/can’t happen for the ‘sciency types’. :(

    Best regards, Ray.

  126. Trick says:

    Tim F. 3/6 8:48pm: “hypothetical world….so that the ToA is 0 km up…”

    Take that to mean 10km, right?

    “Now suppose I can suddenly add some MORE GHGs to raise the ToA to 11 km.”

    Yikes, entire added sphere of IR active gas added with radius delta (11km – 10km)? Not sure what you mean by this. Lost me there. Lotsa’ added mass. Gonna’ have to worry about delta m*Cp*DT/dt for quite awhile.

    Your hypothetical also would have a stratosphere heated from above so no lapse rate for that portion & it would heat up all layers due the extra mass, certainly per Stephen.

    Ok, try again, keep atm. mass the same this time, assume some O2 changed to CO2 by inhabitants breathing, burning the forests for firewood to cook in A/C’d (coal fired electric) wood shelters to keep cool since it is 300K, and driving singly to work&sports events in air conditioned V8 SUVs even though gas is $8/gal. and rising all the time. ^punt^

  127. gbaikie says:

    “Kristian says:
    March 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    David, correct me if I’m wrong here, but I think this should be relevant to the throughput/output throttling discussion. In a steady state/equilibrium (no change) situation.

    Does the natural radiative GHE work?

    Let’s again consider the Earth and the Moon. They are at equal distance from the Sun – 1AU. The former is provided with an atmosphere, the latter is not.

    The Earth’s surface receives an average global flux of 165 W/m^2 from the Sun. The Moon’s surface receives an equivalent flux of 302 W/m^2. Yet the Earth’s surface holds a mean global temperature of ~288K while the mean global temperature of the Moon’s surface only reaches ~197K. That is a difference of about 90K in Earth’s favour.

    So, the Moon’s global surface enjoys a mean net energy flux from the Sun around 85% larger than the surface of the Earth and is still on average ~90 degrees colder.

    Clearly the one thing that makes the difference here is Earth’s atmosphere. There is no doubt about that.

    But WHAT is it about Earth’s atmosphere that enables the mean temperature of our planet’s global surface to rise way past that of the Moon’s surface?

    It is evidently not the incoming flux from the Sun. The warming one. (Yes, it has to be there in the first place, of course. That’s a no-brainer. But its specific magnitude doesn’t really give us any clues as to what the physical surface temperature would be.)

    So what is it? Has it got something to do with the outgoing flux? The cooling one?

    Well, it should be quite easy to deduce.

    Both the surface of the Earth and the surface of the Moon maintain a relative balance between net incoming and net outgoing energy. Anything else would constitute an awkward situation for any celestial body. The energy budget must balance. And in the long term it does.

    But here’s the thing. What balances what? The outgoing flux naturally needs to balance the incoming. Not the other way around. That would be silly. So, whatever the average flux absorbed by a planet’s surface would be, the planet’s surface is simply compelled to give off a flux of equal size. No more, no less. If more energy is absorbed, more has to be shed. If less energy is absorbed, less needs to be shed.

    It’s that simple.”

    Well, you leaving out a massive elephant, which the the Earth’s oceans.
    Without doing the math, if you just took some of the coldest ocean water on Earth and
    dumped on the Moon- give it average depth of say 3000 meter [some small portion of
    Earth's oceans] just it’s heat would keep the Moon warm for centuries. And addition
    of sunlight would give as warm [or warmer] a body as the Earth.

    “This means for instance that Earth’s surface has to rid itself of 165 W/m^2 worth of evened out energy flux in order to maintain thermodynamic equilibrium – to balance the incoming flux from the Sun. The Moon’s surface at the same time needs to power up a mean global flux of 302 W/m^2, again of equal size to the incoming one.

    It does not matter how this is accomplished. It merely has to be done. Somehow.

    So you see, it doesn’t matter how much water vapour or CO2 an atmosphere contains. It doesn’t matter how much radiation is flowing back and forth and up and down within the atmosphere. The atmosphere needs to let through a flux balancing the incoming one. No matter what. That’s it. And it makes it happen. Through whatever means necessary. It all balances out. Always.

    The Earth releases less power per unit area to space than the Moon. So does this mean that Earth’s atmosphere restricts the outgoing flow of net thermal radiation? No. It simply means that Earth has less net energy to release, because the atmosphere has already let less net energy from the Sun through. It goes both ways. Less in, less out. And that’s at the ToA. At the surface the discrepancy is even larger. Earth’s atmosphere keeps lots of solar energy from ever being absorbed by the surface. As a result, it receives much less energy than the Moon’s. And therefore accordingly has much less energy to get rid of.

    But its mean temperature is still much higher than the Moon’s. Go figure.”

    Earth’s ocean is cold and so is it’s sky.
    One could say it’s hard to heat the Earth’s ocean and Sky.
    But you right the Earth isn’t warmed much in a day [or a year or century], therefore
    doesn’t radiate much heat
    The Moon’s surface certainly gets much hotter than Earth, but it’s not absorbing
    the energy. The moon is like tin foil in a fire. Earth of a pot of water. The pot of water
    retains more heat. Tin foil heats up quickly and stays hot while in fire. Pot of water
    takes a long time to heat up.
    Cover a basketball with a layer tin foil. Warm this amount tin foil to 120 C, put it a pot of cool
    water, the heat store in the in foil will not warm to pot of cool water by very much.
    Or 1 kg of aluminum has 0.91 kJ/kg K and room temperature of 20 C.
    Add 100 C to it. One has added 91 kilojoules of heat to it.
    1 kg of water has 4.204 kJ/kg K at 3 C. So 91 divide by 4.204 is 21.6 C
    So the 120 C kg of aluminum will warm 1 kg of water at 3 C to
    about 24 C.
    Now, has very fine dust covering all the Moon which about 3″ deep, and this dust is on top
    of meters lunar regolith [btw, this dust is also called lunar regolith- the dust is compacted sort of but regolith beneath it is more compacted- see Apollo footprints.] This dust is vaguely similar to sand on Earth- difference being it’s in a vacuum- there are a very small amounts of volatile gases in the lunar dust, but not like you find similar dust or sand on earth. It would be better insulation than fiberglass. So even with days of sunlight 120 C lunar dust is not 120 C 3 inches
    beneath it, instead it’s probably closer to 0 C. Sand on Earth is similar, the top surface of sand
    may be 60 C and 3 inches under it, may be 30 C. The difference being lunar dust is a far better
    insulator than sand in an atmosphere, and earth sand surface doesn’t get to 100 K every month,
    and leaving only 2 weeks of very hot “summer temperatures” to warm up.
    So only a small amount of matter is being warmed up.
    If have outside unheated swimming in cooler climate in summer the swimming pool will warm up a bit, and in a lunar day it would warm the same amount water to warmer temperature and it could hold to energy even during the longer lunar night. This assuming it is sealed- the vacuum of space will freeze in noon time sunlight due to evaporation- liquid water in vacuum should be somewhat explosive- or at least exciting.
    Or cover the moon in tin foil and even though it will be very shiny- the Moon will be warmer.

  128. suricat says:

    Trick says: March 8, 2013 at 1:07 am

    “Me too of course, but if your foundation understanding of the basics is solid then David’s concepts should be parsable. I am thinking of David’s “throughput throttling” as conductive & convective heat transfer b/c of his eqn. 1/Katm for combined effective conductivity & convection. However, I do not yet see and have not seen anywhere else how throughput throttling concept alone can reasonably well compute global Tavg. near the surface.”

    I concur. :) Insolation to cloud top interferes with OLR!

    “I think of David’s “output throttling” as radiative heat transfer which is able to compute earth’s global Tavg. near the surface remarkably well. To within ~1K. With the assist the radiative transfer IN the atmosphere gets by conductive and convective heat transfer (the LH 80+thermals 17) thus my view is both throughput and output throttling co-exist IN the atm. Externally there is only radiation.”

    I disagree. :( LH is “invisible” to thermometers and radiometers until condensation occurs! Thus, until condensation occurs, LH is ‘exempt’ from observation and activity! Though for, “Externally there is only radiation”, I must again concur. :)

    “The radiation out measured at TOA would be far lumpier if 80+17 did not spread heat transfer laterally (across Fig. 5 all of 1m^2, LOL) but I can’t prove that, just intuition, call it assertion I suppose.”

    I concur. Earth’s rotation also plays a part in ‘MEP’ (maximum entropy production). The ‘sideways’ (latitudinal progression) distribution is aided by Earth’s centrifuge and the ‘Climate Cells’ that arise from this.

    “I do not get this. This is just the controversial window, right? Zips right thru atm. at light speed, unencumbered. 8 minutes later, hits the sun (or maybe the moon quicker). Slowing sun’s (or moon’s) cooling slightly, ha. Or if hits moon at right spot, right time, heating the moon, double ha.

    Trick. :( When you write “ha” it’s quite intimidating. :( I’d rather you reply with ” : ) ” (a ‘smiley’), but without any spaces. A ” :) ” is more easily accepted than a “ha” (I’m trying to help here). :) I’m guessing that your native language isn’t English so your dialogue is most important for ‘free speech’. Please forgive me if I’m wrong.

    Back to your statement. NO! It isn’t ‘the window’. It’s the ‘valid’ ‘radiative’ ‘component’ from the surface! To say “This is just the controversial window” is just wrong.

    How can a 40W/m^2 radiative component elevate back radiation to that degree in the ‘throughput’ “cartoon” that TFK09 illustrated? It can’t. :( . TFK09 includes the OLR at surface with the ‘resistive’ nature of OLR “at the surface” by back radiation, which ‘isn’t’ a part of Earth’s energy ‘throughput’. The ‘back radiation’ data doesn’t have a place in TFK09. It should be mentioned ‘elsewhere’!

    Best regards, Ray.

  129. Trick says:

    suricat – “When you write “ha” it’s quite intimidating..”

    Excuse please, insert LOL instead. My talking habit leaking into writing – see your point as in conversation they can see me LOL. Happens I don’t like the smiley faces, but who would know. LOL.

    Still not sure what 40 you mean then, which flux is it part of in Fig. 5 or TFK09? Or are you saying 40 is missed + and – ?

  130. Tim Folkerts says:

    Trick,

    0) Related to the post by gbaikie, i should be a little more precise about “top of atmosphere” — which could be taken to mean two slightly different things
    * The “actual” ToA would be a (roughly) spherical layer that is “above all of the earth’s atmosphere”. Of course, the atmosphere has no sharp limit, above a few 100 km there is not much atmosphere left.
    * The “effective” ToA would be where the radiation is effectively coming from. Roughly I might define this as the level above which 50 % of the photons are emitted (and also below which 50% are emitted).
    NOTE: This level is different for different wavelengths. For 15 um photons in the CO2 band, this height is near the top of the troposphere; in the “atmospheric window, this is at the ground level; in H2O bands, this is somewhere inbetween.

    So what you see from the “actual” ToA” will basically be the radiation from the “effective” ToA.

    I was meaning the “effective ToA” in my discussion.

    1) Yes, the “effective” ToA started at 10 km … somehow the “1” disappeared.

    2) It won’t take that much gas actually to raise the “effective” ToA by 1 km from 10 km to 11 km. A relatively small change in the GHGs would do it. Or a larger change in the non-GHGs.

    3) the stratosphere is a different set of physics. I don;t think it really matters in my scenario.

  131. Trick says:

    suricat 3:36am: “LH is “invisible” to thermometers and radiometers until condensation occurs!”

    Yes of course. A subtle but very important point here is the LH is not KE rather it is an increase in internal energy associated entirely with a change in molecular configuration. So the total energy of inter-molecular forces needs be accounted for in the atm. in addition to KE. This is not easy, and about all I will write on LH, just leave it be as the Trenberthian 80 in Fig. 5.

    I think it was Max wrote latent heat just runs around doing pushups. I’ll buy that as part of Stephen’s adiabatic loop, none gets to space for sure.

  132. Max says, March 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm: Well, as I said, if the surface “should” be a cooler temperature, the same temperature as one obtains by say… halving the insolation as a result of spreading it across the entire surface… is that a physical result, or just an artifact of the calculation method used?

    I can see you are concerned about something significant and I am trying to understand where you are coming from.

    First of all let me explain more carefully where I am on this. To paraphrase several comments in this blog trail, ‘hard line’ skeptics (like me) often say something like: “the value of the surface temperature T is subject to atmospheric mass M, gravity g, and insolation I, but will not be increased by an increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2″.

    So if we regard the entire earth-atmosphere system as a ‘black box’ in steady-state energy flow balance (on average) with constant insolation I from the sun and a balancing constant radiation I out to space, then it will have (averaged over time and space) a constant surface temperature T.

    If we now (magically) increase any one of the variables, M, g or I, skeptics argue that the temperature T will increase accordingly – but if we increase the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere, T will not change at all.

    Note that this is a qualitative and not a quantitative assertion. It does NOT say that we are clever enough yet to be able to predict mathematically with perfect certainty how MUCH the increase in T will be for a given increase in M, g or I, because we don’t have the perfect formula yet. But what we can do with certainty is predict the sign of the change. And hard line skeptics maintain that in all three cases of increasing M, g or I, the answer is that the surface temperature T would go up. (But increasing the concentration of CO2 would not make any difference.)

    That is the simple, qualitative point that I was trying to make originally to Roger Clague and, latterly, to you.

    Now to come to your concerns (and maybe Roger Clague’s too).

    I suspect you are correctly hinting at the shaky grounds on which warmist mathematicians confidently base a lot of their math – for example calculating a precise figure of 33K for the temperature fall that would occur if you (magically) removed the entire atmosphere. I believe both the mathematical and physical assumptions on which that paticular calculation (and many other similar warmist ones) are based are very questonable. On the 33K figure, for example, the Diviner Moon orbiter observational results shows that it is almost certainly completely wrong. But that is a hugely controversial subject which can lead us right away from what we are doing here, hence my reluctance (yet) to get into it.

    So your question about relying on ANY quantitative calculation method about what would happen to T when we make any change to the earth conditions is absoutely spot on. But you will notice that my statement about what would happen if we (magically) increase incoming solar radiation I is a much weaker (but still correct) qualitative statement over which warmists and skeptics alike would find far fewer grounds for disagreement.

    DC

  133. Kristian says, March 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm:

    You say: But WHAT is it about Earth’s atmosphere that enables the mean temperature of our planet’s global surface to rise way past that of the Moon’s surface? It is evidently not the incoming flux from the Sun.

    And then, in the next breath, you say; Yes, it [the incoming flux from the sun] has to be there in the first place, of course. That’s a no-brainer. But its specific magnitude doesn’t really give us any clues as to what the physical surface temperature would be.

    So in two short sentences you manage both to say that the incoming flux from the Sun both IS and IS NOT an influence. I think this is because you, laudably, want to concentrate on what else influences the magnitude of the increase we see between Moon and earth mean surface temperatures besides insolation. Expressed that way, you have a well framed and important question.

    And the answer I would give to that is the same answer I outlined in my reply to Max just above. The earth’s mean surface temperature is a function of atmospheric mass M, the gravitational constant g and the net insolation I and is NOT a function of CO2 concentration.

    DC

  134. donald penman says, March 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm: I would say that the 333wm-2 atmosphere to surface is meant to represent retained energy the model only balances in equilibrium which you assume it is in equilibrium it is not a surprise then that in your model the figures balance but the surface still has a higher equilibrium temperature than it would have without the 333wm2 atmosphere to surface exchange.

    Donald,

    Absolutely spot on. You have got it completely correct!

    That was one of the major points of my Part I – to emphasise that the constantly re-circulating 333Wm-2, far from being some warmist plot to bring down Western civilisation, is in fact the correct physical way for sceptics to interpret what is going on. This is because:

    (1) It supports the correct skeptical view that that the contribution provided by the net radiative energy flow between surface and atmosphere to help maintain the observed mean surface temperature is a minor one at 23Wm-2 when it is compared with the other contributions that total 97Wm-2 (80Wm-2 latent heat + 17Wm-2 direct transfer of KE via conduction/convection.) And in any case, as I pointed out in Part I, even that small 23Wm-2 radiative contribution is almost immediately converted to KE!

    (2) It supports the correct skeptical view that the atmosphere isn’t warming the surface because the 333Wm-2 from atmosphere to surface is balanced by 333Wm-2 (out of the total 356Wm-2) radiative energy flow from surface to atmosphere, exactly as one would expect to happen when two hot surfaces radiate towards one another in a vacuum ‘for ever and doing no work’.

    To me the idea that the two counterposing radiation flows (356Wm-2 up, 333Wm-2 down) do not exist is simply ludicrous: if, as some skeptics unfortunately maintain, the base of the atmosphere were to radiate at 0Wm-2 towards the earth’s surface, it would have a surface temperature of 0K! And if the earth’s surface were consequently to radiate at just the net 23W-2 towards the base of the atmosphere, it would have a surface temperature of 2K!

    The reason for labouring this in Part I was to try to clear out of the way an issue which often prevents skeptics from bothering to challenge warmists on the real differences of substance between the skeptic and warmist positions – presumably because they assume warmists are just stupid for sticking to the ‘back’ radiation model and so don’t have a credible position. This is sloppy thinking which, in my view as a skeptic, doesn’t help the skeptical case at all.

    Thank you for articulating the point back so succinctly and correctly. You are the first to do so here explicitly and, as you may have noticed, there are sadly some skeptics here who still disagree. I plod on under the charitable assumption that others who have not specificaly challenged me on this matter are in agreement with me. :-))

    DC

  135. Bryan says:

    Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner pointed out that there are so many variables affecting climate that any attempt to model them accurately is bound to fail.
    One comment they made was that the Earths Electric and Magnetic Fields need to be factored in.
    To date no climate model includes these fields.

    arxiv.org/pdf/0707.1161

    This point in particular was ridiculed by the critics of the G&T paper.

    This recent article shows how out of touch the science used for climate models has turned out to be.

    More serious is the fact that the IPCC base current policy recommendations on these grossly defective models.

    G&T have been vindicated.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/mar/06/atmospheric-electricity-affects-cloud-height

    I think that this paper is a game changer and we might as well discard he current energy balance diagrams

  136. Max™ says:

    Just to note, David, I don’t disagree with you about CO2 being a minor factor in the atmospheric energy budget.

    I would even use the same acronym, ATE, but I wouldn’t call it an enhancement, just an “Atmospheric Thermal Effect”, again, because of my previously brought up issues with steady-state/long term averaging of an instantaneous flux across both the spatial and temporal dimensions overnight. Doing so does not produce accurate results in any situation, it is simply assumed that it does.

    The SB law by itself is fine, the gas laws, the laws of electromagnetism, the laws of thermodynamics, none of those really matter if the issue is simply one of geometry.

    When you average the incoming flux across the entire TOA you are effectively halving its power “magically”, and starting from this sort of foundation with the appearance that the atmosphere warms the surface by 10 or 30 or whatever K is an unfortunate choice.

    All of the thinking and working out ideas after that point is hindered by operating within that damned assumption of the atmosphere having a purely warming effect on the average surface temperature.

    _____________

    I wish I could find the person responsible for pushing the idea that the atmosphere/ground/ocean system is at an equilibrium state and punch them in the throat, because that is ultimately the source of all the disagreements and confusion and scams involved in discussions of the climate.

  137. Trick says:

    David 9:47am: “The earth’s mean surface temperature is a function of atmospheric mass M, the gravitational constant g and the net insolation I and is NOT a function of CO2 concentration.”

    Show us how then. Compute earth surface Tavg. = f(atm. m,g,net i) = ~288K or cite a ref. that does.

    Basic texts show us how to compute Tavg. remarkably well for earth surface Tavg. = f(insolation, albedo, emissivity) = ~288K

    ******

    David 10:55am: “To me the idea that the two counterposing radiation flows (356Wm-2 up, 333Wm-2 down) do not exist is simply ludicrous…”

    Agreed because this model from measurements works remarkably well to compute earth Tavg.

    ******

    David 9:22am: “On the 33K figure, for example, the Diviner Moon orbiter observational results shows that it is almost certainly completely wrong.”

    The Diviner results are based on the same radiative transfer theory measurements as used on earth so they completely agree with the basic, simple model ~33K for earth. Radiative transfer theory is proven basically right based on probe observations for earth, moon, Venus, Mars…even being applied to exoplanets per the IOP piece linked above.

    Observational results v. radiative transfer theory are complex, ever changing and not precise but reasonably close to observed diverse chaotic climates in local thermodynamic equilibrium.

  138. Ray C says:

    Bryan says:
    March 8, 2013 at 11:34 am

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/mar/06/atmospheric-electricity-affects-cloud-height

    “I think that this paper is a game changer and we might as well discard the current energy balance diagrams”

    I agree Bryan, a game changer! Electricity needs taking into account!!

    In a similar vein, monitoring the ‘schumann resonances’ may well give an accurate measure of lightning activity which is related to temperature, and so could be use to measure global temperatures!!

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/archive/previous_issues/vol4/v4n1/cutting.htm

    “ Scientists have suggested lately that another method may exist to accurately monitor planetary temperature.”

    “The method is based on the well-known fact that thunderstorms and lightning strokes in many parts of the world are directly related to lower-atmospheric air temperatures. Higher temperatures produce more lightning strokes, while lower temperatures tend to depress lightning activity.”

    I wonder if this could be use as an indicator of upper atmospheric water content, too. Thunderheads being a major transport mechanism!

  139. Trick says:

    Ray & Bryan: “I think that this paper is a game changer and we might as well discard the current energy balance diagrams”

    Current TFK09 & therfore Fig. 5 above balance measured March 2000 to May 2004 would already have the natural electric effects in there, no need to discard. Future measurements would reflect any changes.

  140. Trick says, March 7, 2013 at 9:11 pm says: Both throughput and output throttling are at work IN the atm. through conductive, convective and radiative heat transfer processes. Only radiative heat transfer allows significant heat gain/loss in/out of earth & atm. system from/to deep space.

    Sorry, no. You are attempting to re-define my definition of output throttling which ONLY relates to the process by which KE is converted to radiation that escapes DIRECTLY to space in the upper troposphere.

    DC

  141. suricat says, March 8, 2013 at 12:14 am: Another problem I have with TFK09 is the back radiation that’s generated by 40W/m^2 at the surface (latent heat isn’t released near it).

    What?!! The 40Wm-2 is the radiation from the surface that escapes straight to space. It doesn’t create any back radiation from atmosphere to surface.

    DC

  142. Bryan says:

    Trick implies that

    “Current TFK09 & therfore Fig. 5 above balance measured March 2000 to May 2004 would already have the natural electric effects in there,”

    This is unlikely as hard evidence for this effect was first confirmed by Henrik Svensmark in a cloud chamber in Copenhagen in 2006 .

    IPCC ‘science’ subsequently claimed that this effect was too weak to influence climate.

    Trick will need to provide evidence that the Climate Models were including the Earths electric and magnetic fields in the period 2000 to 2004

    [Brian and all: This is off-topic. Please desist. Thanks. DC]

  143. Kristian says:

    David Socrates says, March 8, 2013 at 9:47 am:

    David, we are in agreement about this. Of course the solar flux is what provides us with the energy/heat to maintain a temperature in the first place. But that’s not what I’m addressing here. That is not the issue. The global surface of the Moon receives a mean flux from the Sun of 302 W/m^2. The global surface of the Earth receives a mean flux from the Sun of 165 W/m^2. Still, our surface is 90 degrees warmer than the Moon’s. To me this makes it quite obvious that it’s not the solar flux itself that does the trick for us. It is evidently something else. A specific property of our atmosphere that amplifies the effect of our after all reduced solar flux. The ATE, if you will. The solar flux is not in itself part of the ATE. The insolation is just there to keep the engine running. Without it, the engine would naturally stop running altogether. But that is not the issue.

    What makes Earth’s surface warmer than the Moon’s by 90 degrees while on average receiving only 54% of the energy from the Sun? Yes, it is Earth’s gravity and the mass of our atmosphere. Restraining convection. The surface temperature simply needs to rise until it can adequately drive the troposphere’s convectional engine. If the insolation is reduced, the need for surface heat loss is reduced also. The convection can slow down a bit. And hence the surface temperature doesn’t need to be quite as high as it was. Conversely, if insolation increases, the convection needs to intensify in order to keep up. This means that the surface temperature must rise a bit.

  144. Bryan says, March 8, 2013 at 11:34 am says: This recent article shows how out of touch the science used for climate models has turned out to be. More serious is the fact that the IPCC base current policy recommendations on these grossly defective models.

    Bryan, with respect your comment is nonsensical and unhelpful. The energy balance climate model we are considering here is defined as averaged in time and space over the long term so that it evens out all fluctuations due to such externalites as solar fluctuations and cosmic rays. These things may be happenign but they are way outside our discussion area. You will never get anywhere in a scientific discourse if you keep trying to change the ground rules around the matter under discussion.

    DC

  145. Kristian says:

    Trick, Tim and others,

    Radiatively speaking, an atmosphere only ever really does one thing: It restricts the incoming (warming) net flux as compared to no atmosphere. It does NOT restrict or limit the outgoing (cooling) net flux. Because this is simply there to balance the incoming one. As much net energy goes out as comes in, whatever the incoming amount might be. With or without an atmosphere.

    Whenever there are times of imbalance in the energy budget, this would be the result of a transient discord (response lag) between insolation and convection.

  146. wayne says:

    Kristian,

    Absolutely spot on. You have got it completely correct!

    You said: “It is evidently something else. A specific property of our atmosphere that amplifies the effect of our after all reduced solar flux. The ATE, if you will. The solar flux is not in itself part of the ATE. The insolation is just there to keep the engine running.”

    That is the question. Try this:

    The answer seems to be specifically LW ‘mass extinction’. There is a coefficient for it, per line, the ‘Mass Extinction Coefficient’, but you can bundle all of those individual lines together to come up with a spectrum-wide extinction rate. It operates in Earth’s atmosphere and it operates in Venus’s atmosphere and guess what, the coefficients seem to be basically identical. You have a flux power at Earth’s surface of 396 W/m² and it is attenuated or absorbed at ~0.0157 W/m²/kg of atmospheric column mass to give an absorption of 9998kg*0.01575 or 157.5 W/m². 396-157.5 is the ~238.5 seen as OLR.

    Try it. Take Venus, column mass of ~1043000 kg. That gives you an extinction from the surface flux power of 16427 W/m². Venus’s surface is ~735 K with flux power of 16549 W/m², take away the absorption of 16427 W/m² and you should see an OLR of ~122 W/m². Pretty close, right? That is why Venus has a Bond albedo of 0.90 compared to Earth’s of about 0.30. TSI at Venus is 2614, get the in&out flux of 2614/4*(1-0.90) just like climatologists calculate it for Earth, it gives 63.4 W/m². Earth is 1362/4*(1-0.30) or 238.4 W/m².

    Those column masses are from NASA fact sheets, total atmosphere mass divided by the surface area for each.

    Ok, we are off a tiny factor of W/m² but to me too close to ignore.

    What do you gather from that? Is it a fact? You decide.

  147. Trick says:

    Brian 3:29pm: “This is unlikely as hard evidence for this effect was first confirmed by Henrik Svensmark in a cloud chamber in Copenhagen in 2006.”

    Brian – TFK09 & Fig. 5 are natural measured data. All nature’s fluxes are in there even including electric before it was confirmed. It is the GCMs you should complain about not modeling the new evidence since 2006.

    ******

    Kristian 4:19pm: “(Atm.) does NOT restrict or limit the outgoing (cooling) net flux”

    Thermometers measure near surface global Tavg. ~288K give or take a few tenths over any month, years, decades spatial and temporal sampled.

    Satellites measured earth Tavg. ~255K spatial and temporal sampled during March 2000 to May 2004.

    The only material in between is the contents of earth’s atmosphere; earth’s atm. has non-zero optical thickness integrated over the spectrum in long term (eons) thermodynamic equilibrium.

  148. Tim Folkerts says:

    Kristian,

    Radiatively speaking, there is a SECOND critical thing the atmosphere does. The atmosphere changes the LOCATION from which the radiation leaves the earth. Certainly the NET radiation leaving must (very nearly) equal the net radiation arriving (when averaged over sufficient area and time).

    * If all the IR radiation left from the surface, then at the surface it would be ~ 255 K (give or take)
    * If all the IR radiation left from an altitude of 12 km, then 12 km up it would be ~ 255 K (give or take)

    But if all the radiation left from 12 km up, then the OTHER effects of the atmosphere (the “throttling” responsible for the lapse rate) would serve to increase the temperature of the surface well above 255 K.

    (In an analogous way, if two houses are identical except of the thickness of the insulation, then the EXTERIOR of both houses will be the same temperature on a cold winter night, but the INTERIOR will be warmer with more insulation (assuming the furnaces are running at the same power).)

    Of course it is not that simple. Radiation escapes from multiple layers — from the ground to the top of the troposphere (and a little bit from above there even). So some “average” altitude at the “effective radiating height” will be ~ 255 K

  149. Trick says:

    David 3:09pm: “Sorry, no. You are attempting to re-define my definition of output throttling which ONLY relates to the process by which KE is converted to radiation that escapes DIRECTLY to space in the upper troposphere.”

    Ok then improve my nota bene 3/7 9:11pm to:

    *NB: Both throughput and the process by which KE is converted to radiation that escapes DIRECTLY to space in the upper troposphere throttling are at work IN the atm. through conductive, convective and radiative heat transfer processes. Only radiative heat transfer allows significant heat gain/loss in/out of earth & atm. system from/to deep space.

    And improve my recent Brian to Bryan,

    Tryck

  150. Bryan says:

    Trick says

    “Brian – TFK09 & Fig. 5 are natural measured data. All nature’s fluxes are in there even including electric before it was confirmed. It is the GCMs you should complain about not modeling the new evidence since 2006.”

    I am complaining about the GCMs.

    The TFK 09 numbers also included values calculated from Greenhouse Theory.
    The IR window value (for instance) might be twice that reported in TFK 09.
    How then can ‘naturally measured data’ cope with this gross quantity uncertainty?

    David Socrates thinks that we can ignore this electrical climate effect because it is all time averaged out.

    Perhaps the same logic could be applied to the bogus Greenhouse Effect! .

    Is it not time after 17 years of steady temperatures uncoupled from rising CO2 concentration to admit that the whole Greenhouse Theory and TFK 09 is a dead end.

    To think that you can accept the values of TFK 09 and yet outsmart the warmists is mistaken.

  151. Max™ says, March 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm: When you average the incoming flux across the entire TOA you are effectively halving its power “magically”, and starting from this sort of foundation with the appearance that the atmosphere warms the surface by 10 or 30 or whatever K is an unfortunate choice. All of the thinking and working out ideas after that point is hindered by operating within that damned assumption of the atmosphere having a purely warming effect on the average surface temperature.

    I don’t see what is so wrong about using the earth’s mean surface temperature as a metric even if it does not fairly represent the spread of temperatures from coldest to hottest. It is no worse of better a metric than a stock exchange index. I would just be much comfortable if the warmists didn’t use a method of calculation that produces palpably wrong results when measured against the observational record.

    But that is why, in this discussion here I have always been careful to describe the ATE as “several tens of degrees” rather than quoting a specfic number like 33degC (the warmist favourite from their wonky calculations) or ~90degC, the Diviner Moon orbiter empirical results. It is a councel of despair to say that we can’t proceed because nobody can agree on the precise number. Of course we can, and that is exactlty what we are doing here despite your protestations.

    You say: I wish I could find the person responsible for pushing the idea that the atmosphere/ground/ocean system is at an equilibrium state and punch them in the throat, because that is ultimately the source of all the disagreements and confusion and scams involved in discussions of the climate.

    Well I’m just glad this is an elecronic forum then. In my view, the earth-atmosphere is remarkably stable – less than a couple of degrees C variation in a 1000 years. The idea that we cannot proceed to analyse the reason for that remarkable degree of stability, and to have a sensible discussion about whether or not (for example) doubling CO2 concentration will make a significant change, using as our tool a simple energy equilibrium model, is just laughable.

    DC

  152. …and by the way, Max, when you say “Just to note, David, I don’t disagree with you about CO2 being a minor factor in the atmospheric energy budget”… let me be clear that I do not think CO2 is a minor factor in the atmospheric energy budget, I think it has a vital role. As I tried to explain in Part I, it facilitates the transformation of incoming radiation to KE in the Bulk of the Atmosphere and the transformation of KE to radiation lost to space at the Top of the Atmosphere.

    But the one thing it plays a ZERO role in is warming the atmosphere – which is solely due to the atmosphere’s mass, the gravitational constant, and the level of insolation, all three of which are (of course) held strictly constant in the steady state model under discussion here.

    DC

  153. Trick says, March 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    You say: David 9:47am: “The earth’s mean surface temperature is a function of atmospheric mass M, the gravitational constant g and the net insolation I and is NOT a function of CO2 concentration.” Show us how then.

    This is my hypothesis based on strong empirical evidence – the lack of sigificant warming in the last 150 years over and above what could reasonably be regarded as natural variation. On that basis alone, it is a stronger hypothesis than the opposite which that CO2 is a warming agent.

    You say: David 10:55am: “To me the idea that the two counterposing radiation flows (356Wm-2 up, 333Wm-2 down) do not exist is simply ludicrous…” Agreed because this model from measurements works remarkably well to compute earth Tavg.

    Excellent. But isn’t it amazing how when confronted with strong observational proof, people still find ways of disagreeing, twisting this way and that, with a lot of arm waving about the instruments that measure these things being so highly inaccurate as to be useless? (See recent TB blog on pyrgeometers.) Talk about confirmation bias… :-)

    You say: The Diviner results are based on the same radiative transfer theory measurements as used on earth so they completely agree with the basic, simple model ~33K for earth.

    The Diviner orbiter has instrumentation that continually scans the whole surface of the Moon measuring the surface temperature at every point. Using this observational data, it has found a mean temperature of around 195K. That is ~93K below the earth’s current mean surface temperature, not 33K. I hope you are not suffering from radiative transfer confirmation bias. :-)

    DC

  154. Kristian says, March 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm:David, we are in agreement about this. Of course the solar flux is what provides us with the energy/heat to maintain a temperature in the first place … What makes Earth’s surface warmer than the Moon’s by 90 degrees while on average receiving only 54% of the energy from the Sun? Yes, it is Earth’s gravity and the mass of our atmosphere. Restraining convection. The surface temperature simply needs to rise until it can adequately drive the troposphere’s convectional engine. If the insolation is reduced, the need for surface heat loss is reduced also.

    OK. Excellent. I’m glad we are now in total agreement. :-)

    DC

  155. Trick says:

    David 6:47pm: “The Diviner orbiter has instrumentation that continually scans the whole surface..”

    Diviner instrumentation is radiometers! When radiometers scan earth they find 255K for 33K ATE. When radiometers scan the moon they find: “…annual average temperatures …approximately 250K” for ~0 ATE cited here.

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2013/pdf/2492.pdf

    Not sure where David ~93K below earth (and Kristian ~90K) get David’s moon 195K or Kristian’s moon 197K since they give no cites or derivation. But at least they are ~in agreement, LOL.

    So not suffering from radiative transfer confirmation bias, radiative transfer works for Mars, Venus, Titan, moon, even now applied to exoplanets.

    Wayne showed 4:55pm where the earth 157 W/m^2 (a component of TFK09’s 333 atm. emission) comes from way better than me. Where you have absorption Kirchoff says you have emission under certain assumptions existing in earth’s atm. below 60km.

  156. Trick says:

    Bryan 5:40pm: The TFK09 numbers are just the ground rules for top post. I’m not debating them this thread.

    “Is it not time after 17 years of steady temperatures…”

    Global avg. surface temperature is not steady, there are continuously changing monthly global anomaly readouts as a f(insolation, albedo, emissivity) which are all constantly and chaotically changing.

    ******

    David 6:28pm: “But the one thing (CO2) plays a ZERO role in is warming the atmosphere…”

    I agree, CO2 adds zero net energy “…warming the atmosphere…” as a whole, however any IR active gas change can change optical thickness to move existing energy around IN the atm. while doing David’s “facilitating” affecting surface temperature (slowing cooling rate) and upper temperature (increased cooling rate) in long term thermodynamic equilibrium.

    “…the atmosphere’s mass, the gravitational constant, and the level of insolation, all three of which are (of course) held strictly constant in the steady state model under discussion here.”

    Yet surface temperature anomaly changes every month even with your steady state model fixed g,m,i so proves more physics involved to explain why global avg. T changes and is not held steady month after month. This physics is found in atm. emission and absorption changing with changing albedo & changing insolation.

  157. Tim Folkerts says:

    David says: “But the one thing it [CO2] plays a ZERO role in is warming the atmosphere – which is solely due to the atmosphere’s mass, the gravitational constant, and the level of insolation.

    David, there are a few different ways I can try to understand this sentence, and in every case I disagree with you!

    1) The “effective blackbody” temperature is due solely to insolation and is ~255K. Neither mass nor “g” play any role.

    2) The “effective temperature” at the “effective radiating height” will be ~255K. Mass and gravity (and C_p) will ensure a lapse rate that makes higher altitudes cooler and lower altitudes warmer. So you could legitimately say that GHGs play zero role in determining the lapse rate. You could say they play no role in setting the 255 K temperature. But they DO help set the “effective radiating height”, which in turn helps set the surface temperature. In this interpretation, mass & gravity warm AND cool the atmosphere (depending on whether you go up or down from the effective radiating height.

    3) If you have an atmosphere with no GHGs, the surface and the atmosphere near the surface would be ~255K. If you add GHGs the surface and the atmosphere, the surface and the atmosphere near the surface will be above 255 K. GHGs do play a role!

  158. Bryan says, March 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    You say: The TFK 09 numbers also included values calculated from Greenhouse Theory. The IR window value (for instance) might be twice that reported in TFK 09. How then can ‘naturally measured data’ cope with this gross quantity uncertainty?

    Bryan there is a very simple answer to your point here. I am using the Trenberth figures, good or bad, in the absence of anybody, repeat ANYBODY, having produced any significantly better numbers. As soon as you or anyone else comes up with alternative numbers that are sufficiently different to affect what we are trying to do here, I will consider them. Complaining about the Trenberth numbers without being able to say what values you would repace them with is extremely unhelpful.

    You say: David Socrates thinks that we can ignore this electrical climate effect because it is all time averaged out. Perhaps the same logic could be applied to the bogus Greenhouse Effect!

    Um…not sure how you can ‘time-average out’ a bogus effect. But I will work on it. :-)

    You say: Is it not time after 17 years of steady temperatures uncoupled from rising CO2 concentration to admit that the whole Greenhouse Theory and TFK 09 is a dead end.

    Yup, I tend to agree. So why are you and I blogging on then..? :-)

    DC

  159. Bryan says:

    Last word on this topic.

    Tim Folkerts maintains that the effective average radiating layer height is increased due to the radiative properties of CO2 increasing concentration.
    This in turn leads to higher temperatures in the troposphere.
    The paper I referred to shows that the height changes of up to 200m due to an entirely different physical mechanism.

    Electric current in the atmosphere.

    This is roughly equivalent to a two Kelvin variation so its no trivial effect.
    Trick is so fixated on radiative transfer that he thinks that this effect is already accounted for by radiative flux calculations in TFK 09.

    The electric current is not a radiative flux.
    The atmospheric electric effect will also manifest itself through electrostatic repulsion and attraction of charged clouds.

    None of this was envisaged by TFK 09.
    David asks for evidence but does not read the contrary evidence provided.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/mar/06/atmospheric-electricity-affects-cloud-height

    David, Trick and Tim can ignore all this and proceed with a discussion that is limited by the boundaries of TFK 09.

    How real is that?

  160. wayne says:

    “Diviner instrumentation is radiometers! When radiometers scan earth they find 255K for 33K ATE. When radiometers scan the moon they find: “…annual average temperatures …approximately 250K” for ~0 ATE cited here.

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2013/pdf/2492.pdf

    Trick, that annual chart in that paper, Figure 1, when zoomed has excellent resolution (is not blurred) and I just did a physical integration on the areas above and below that daily curve but the mean temperate comes out to be 213.9 K, not 250 K as stated in the text. I have no idea where they got that 250 K figure but it sure wasn’t from their graph!

    Besides, we have been through all of this before about a year ago and IIRC, we came up with very close to that same 214 figure, 212, 215, 206, can’t remember. Maybe tb or tchannon remember better, they were involved. The question at that time was “Why is it ~213 K instead of ~155 K as computed”, no doubt thermal inertia. Even though there is energy there at and just below the surface, some is buried and cannot radiate, the thermal flux is not instantaneous, just the top fraction of 1mm has an actual surface to radiate, there is a storage during the day. That is so logical and a great part of Earth’s boost in its temperature is from that same effect.

    On Earth the flying radiometers (that measure temperature, the radiation is calculated from the temperature) it has to be 254.7 K because the OLR is 238.5 W/m² at ε=1. No surprise there.

  161. Clive Best says:

    Tim,

    Basically the partial pressure of GHGs determine the altitude of the tropopause. This sets the verical scale of the lapse rate. Insolation then sets the absolute scale.

  162. Tim Folkerts says:

    Bryan.

    1) “The paper I referred to shows that the height changes of up to 200m… ” within individual days — in time with the diurnal changes. This is not a long-term change that would influence climate change.

    2) ” … due to an entirely different physical mechanism.” The existence of of some OTHER effect that impacts temperatures does not in any way diminish the fact that GHGs affect radiation and temperature.

    3) This effect was only observed in polar regions in the winter because “almost invariably, other much stronger influences on the droplets are present.“. So we have an interesting (but still relatively speculative) that is weak and observed only in very limited circumstances.

    4) “None of this was envisaged by TFK 09.” And this is really not that critical, I suspect. TFK09 summarizes the best measurements available. It also summarizes the best models (which in turn are constrained by observations). The data may or may not be accurate. The models may or may not be be accurate. But clouds bobbing up an down a bit during the polar winters should not have a major impact on any of he numbers beyond the uncertainties already present.

    Yes, it is an interesting little paper. Yes, it could have some small local effects. But it is not enough by itself to create major discrepancies in the TFK numbers.

  163. Tim Folkerts says:

    Clive Best says: March 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm …
    “Basically the partial pressure of GHGs determine the altitude of the tropopause. This sets the verical scale of the lapse rate. Insolation then sets the absolute scale.”

    Clive, that is a rather good 3 sentence summary of the whole topic! And with that I think I will ‘sign off’ until post three comes along. There is not too much more to say on this topic.

  164. Trick says, March 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    You say: Diviner instrumentation is radiometers! When radiometers scan earth they find 255K for 33K ATE. When radiometers scan the moon they find: “…annual average temperatures …approximately 250K” for ~0 ATE cited here.

    Well I am afraid you have misread the citation. The figure of 250K given in the refernce you provide is the mean equitorial temperature at depth (whatever that means). The correct mean figure I have for the whole surface is ~200K. I will try to dig out the original references.

  165. suricat says:

    David Socrates says: March 8, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    “suricat says, March 8, 2013 at 12:14 am: Another problem I have with TFK09 is the back radiation that’s generated by 40W/m^2 at the surface (latent heat isn’t released near it).”

    You’re ‘loosing it’ David. The 40W/m^2 that gives back radiation is ‘radiative 17W/m^2′ + ‘convective 23W/m^2′ = ’40W/m^2′. :)

    The very next post was by me also:
    “suricat says: March 8, 2013 at 12:34 am

    suricat says: March 8, 2013 at 12:14 am

    “(latent heat isn’t released near it)”

    Oh yes, and the 40W/m^2 window doesn’t add to it either. :)

    Best regards, Ray.”

    However, that’s a point easily overlooked when I didn’t explain all that well and you have so many responses to make. :) Just ‘keep calm and carry on’ ;)

    The point I was trying to make was that only the ‘radiative’ and ‘convective’ energy transports can support an ‘effective’ ‘back radiation’. The atmospheric hydrological cycle would need a very ‘low’ cloud base to offer back radiation to the surface. If this ‘was’ so, the cloud base would be the ~33C offset, but I think that would be too obvious to be overlooked and would be a candidate for a ‘hindsight committee’. :)

    Best regards, Ray.

  166. gbaikie says:

    “Donald,

    Absolutely spot on. You have got it completely correct!

    That was one of the major points of my Part I – to emphasise that the constantly re-circulating 333Wm-2, far from being some warmist plot to bring down Western civilisation, is in fact the correct physical way for sceptics to interpret what is going on. This is because:

    (1) It supports the correct skeptical view that that the contribution provided by the net radiative energy flow between surface and atmosphere to help maintain the observed mean surface temperature is a minor one at 23Wm-2 when it is compared with the other contributions that total 97Wm-2 (80Wm-2 latent heat + 17Wm-2 direct transfer of KE via conduction/convection.) And in any case, as I pointed out in Part I, even that small 23Wm-2 radiative contribution is almost immediately converted to KE!”

    If the 333Wm-2 is re-circulating why should houses have insulation?

    Btw, 23Wm-2 may seem like a small contribution, but the net absorbed of .9 Wm-2
    as indicated near bottom of Trenberth chart is the totality of AGW or CAGW.

  167. Max™ says:

    See, David, the gravity/mass is constant, the pressure is constant enough, but insolation is never constant, half the planet absorbs all the incoming radiation at any time, when you average it over more than a day trying to get a steady state you obscure the actual interactions taking place and produce a problem which doesn’t exist.

    There is no warming effect to explain if it is just a result of bad model assumptions.

    The Earth is warmer than the moon because it never gets as hot or cold as the moon does.

    Oh, just to add, the 255 K value is for a black body, the atmosphereless value should be 276 K, like that calculated for the moon… though obviously that calculation isn’t relevant to the real world case.

    IF the moon received the averaged insolation it would be warmer than it actually is because it receives full power insolation for half the time.

    This is a problem with the idea that averaging leads to realistic models, not a physical effect.

    You’re doing an admirable job trying to fix that problem, but it seems like it would be easier to just not do the thing which caused the problem, and since the problem doesn’t exist in the real world anyways… we can all rest easier.

    _________

    Note, yes, I agree that CO2 is involved in the conversion of IR to KE and back, but as you say, it has no warming effect.

  168. Kristian says:

    Tim Folkerts says, March 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm:

    “Radiatively speaking, there is a SECOND critical thing the atmosphere does. The atmosphere changes the LOCATION from which the radiation leaves the earth. Certainly the NET radiation leaving must (very nearly) equal the net radiation arriving (when averaged over sufficient area and time).

    * If all the IR radiation left from the surface, then at the surface it would be ~ 255 K (give or take)
    * If all the IR radiation left from an altitude of 12 km, then 12 km up it would be ~ 255 K (give or take)

    But if all the radiation left from 12 km up, then the OTHER effects of the atmosphere (the “throttling” responsible for the lapse rate) would serve to increase the temperature of the surface well above 255 K.”

    Tim. No. Just … no. I’ve answered this before. But you chose to ignore it. Jumped out of the discussion and rather jumped back in at a different place some time later, as if no counter-arguments were ever made, just keeping on promoting your same unsupported AGW talking points.

    Like you do here now, one more time.

    You turn everything on its head, Tim. Your claimed operative mechanism is nothing but a theoretical construct conjured up to make it seem that thermal radiation is a causative agent in the troposphere. And, by extension, that CO2 matters in setting the surface temperature. It is not. And it does not. The troposphere is convective. The S-B equation does not apply. Your 255K have got nothing to do with the incoming or outgoing energy flux at any one level of the Earth system. 240 W/m^2 enter and leave at ToA, on average 12 kms above the surface. The mean global temperature at the ToA is 205-210K. That should account for a BB emission flux of 100-110 W/m^2. 165 W/m^2 enter and leave at the surface of the Earth. The mean global surface temperature is ~288K. If the surface was a real black body, it would emit an IR flux of 390 W/m^2. It is NOT a black body, however. Nor a gray body. It does NOT (need to) emit 390 W/m^2. All it needs to do is balance the incoming flux. All basic thermodynamic budgeting. The 390 (396) is nothing but a postulated, S-B-calculated figure, ‘chanced upon’ only because we already knew the surface temperature.

    The only relevant fluxes are the net ones (actual heat transfer fluxes):

    Incoming – 240 W/m^2 at ToA; 165 W/m^2 at the surface (75 W/m^2 absorbed in the troposphere)
    Outgoing – 165 W/m^2 at the surface; 240 W/m^2 at ToA (75 W/m^2 gained from the troposphere)

    All this talk of a mid-tropospheric mean emission height for IR somehow controlling OLR and (in conjunction with the lapse rate) the surface temperature suggests a warped outlook on reality.

    IR is being emitted at every level of the Earth system, from the surface to the tropopause and beyond. In the troposphere it is just there, the result of the temperature already set by other mechanisms and of how convective processes spread the heat around.

    Have a look at this diagram, Tim:

    The following words are E. M. Smith’s, not mine:

    “First, look at that left hand lower edge. See that big red spot? That’s water, dumping heat like crazy at the top of the troposphere. At a height that is determined NOT by that nice flat dashed line of tropopause, but directly by the amount of heat that needs to be dumped! Once again we have a ‘static scored’ model in a dynamic real world. More heat at the surface means more and stronger convection, more and stronger evaporation, and a bigger red spot higher up that graph! Remember that tropical storm “overshoot”? Not seeing it on this graph, are we? … Surges of heat would lead to surges of water across that dotted tropopause line and into the lower stratosphere. That is what we KNOW actually happens.

    Now look over at that large orange/yellow/green “cat’s eye” in the stratosphere. That is the CO2 signature. Look directly below it. See that basically empty band of light blue? That is a direct reading on CO2, and it shows that the CO2 is just not doing anything that matters in the troposphere.

    From that point, as you move to the right below the tropopause, you find water once again radiating at height, but not as much, in an even larger wavenumber (shorter wavelength). The overall message of this graph is just that in the troposphere, water is everything and CO2 is nothing. We can also add to this graph that convection and evaporation/condensation are major processes in the troposphere and this radiative model isn’t really all that important for surface cooling at all.

    In the stratosphere we see some cooling from water vapor, so, little as there is up there, it still does something. However, THE largest blobs of cooling color come from CO2 and ozone. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes more radiative heat loss from just those parts of the atmosphere that DO radiative heat loss, and does nearly nothing in that part of the atmosphere dominated by convection and evaporation/precipitation. Warming of the surface of the earth increases convection, evaporation, and water transport, and deposits that water and heat higher in the sky; so will dump more heat into the stratosphere (and perhaps more water vapor too … enhancing that water radiative part).

    In short, the system is dynamic and has a convection driven lower layer, with a radiative driven upper layer. More CO2 means more radiative heat loss, not less. THAT is why the stratosphere has been cooling (though the upper atmosphere has dropped more on the loss of UV in the solar funk.).”

    I will add to this: Gray hues mark radiative warming effects. Deplete the lower stratosphere of ozone, and you’ll cool it. Supply it with more CO2 and you’ll also cool it. The only level at which CO2 does a small radiative warming contribution is AT the tropopause (ToA). (Just next to the H2O cooling and (stronger) ozone warming.) Nowhere inside the troposphere does CO2 warm. H2O never warms in this radiation chart. Its radiative net effect is rather to facilitate the heat loss back out to space through all levels of the troposphere, from the surface to the tropopause. And also into the stratosphere. The way H2O heats the troposphere (for it does) is evidently not through restricting the escape of thermal radiation from surface to space. It does it via latent heat transfer.

    One final and very important note, Tim. I’ve indicated the postulated mean global ERL, 5+ kms above the surface. That would be the tropospheric level with an average temperature of 255K. Problem is, as should easily be recognised from this diagram, that most of the radiation emitted from the troposphere back to space (the radiative cooling of the troposphere) originates from levels higher than the ERL. The flux of 240 W/m^2 going out (and coming in) is NOT found at the ERL. It is found at ToA, 7 kms higher up. Where the temperature is less than 210K.

    There is no direct relation between flux and temperature outside the BB world, Tim. The flux out is what it is at any specific level of the Earth system (surface to ToA) because that is the amount of energy per unit time that that same level needs to get rid of to balance its incoming flux. Nothing more, nothing less. It hasn’t got anything to do with the temperature of that specific layer. That is set by other means. The temperature of a gas is determined by its level of KE, not by its emitted IR flux.

  169. Kristian says:

    Trick says, March 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm:

    Trick, it seems you’re mixing up readings of brightness temperature (IR frequencies) (which is how satellites measure temperatures) and readings of total IR flux (which is NOT how satellites measure temperatures).

    BTW, as others have already pointed out to you, your 250K figure is for the Moon’s equatorial region. It is not a global mean. And even that figure seems to be nothing but a simple average of the max and min – it is most likely too high. Look here:

    http://www.diviner.ucla.edu/science.shtml

    Temperature graph and table.

  170. Trick says:

    Kristian 1:29pm – “…your 250K figure is for the Moon’s equatorial region.”

    That page you link shows the equator Tavg. as 206K which is close to what wayne roughly integrated for that single 24hr. strip at 0 Lat & not 250K which is annual global Tavg. “at depth”. The 206K is not clear if comes from “at depth”.

    The 250K moon global annual “at depth” Tavg. from the 2013 paper “Diviner daytime and nighttime observations (12 hour time bins) have essentially global coverage” is the meaningful moon global Tavg. once all the data from 0 to 90 lat. is used “at depth” over the annual period shown “..annual average temperatures at depth of approximately 250K.” My Mark 1 eyeball seems to agree with 250K in the link Kristian provided using the “at depth” findings – maybe wayne can use all the data or David/Kristian find a more precise provenance or derivation of the 250K. Remember can’t avg. temperatures, have to avg. flux say in W/m^2 and convert.

    I skimmed thru more Diviner papers & info. but not really my interest & very specialist language is used, so the Diviner paper as of 2013 moon meaningful global Tavg. is as reported ~250K annually “at depth” 0-90 lat. The “at depth” is the lateral and vertical transport of heat into equilibrium in regolith – sort of the moon’s stratosphere and troposphere. Chart showing that is in the 2013 paper ref. 7 (2012) and from the page you link “at depth” explanation is:

    “…the top 1-2 cm of lunar regolith has extremely low thermal conductivity. The mean temperature measured 35cm below the surface of the Apollo sites was 40-45K warmer than the surface. At a depth of 80cm the day/night temperature variation experienced at the surface was imperceptible.”

  171. Tim Folkerts says:

    Kristian,

    That is certainly and interesting graph .. one that would take a while to fully understand. It would be nice to be able to see the original paper, not simply one graph and a blog post attempting to explain the graph.

    There seems to be a lot of interesting information in that graph, but I am not yet convinced that is means what you and E.M. Smith thinks it means.

  172. wayne says:

    TricK: “– maybe wayne can use all the data or David/Kristian find a more precise provenance or derivation of the 250K. Remember can’t avg. temperatures, have to avg. flux say in W/m^2 and convert.”

    I noticed that graph by latitude in the paper Kristian ref’ed and was thinking the same thing, why not integrate that. the only problem is they overlaid all latitude graphs over themselves and I have no easy way to separate them without hours of tedious work, besides, that would add error. Bummer.

    Last night I re-performed that same integration (not trusting myself) and this time it came up 214.1K instead of 213.9K. Also, in your paper that does define what they mean by “equatorial”, it is +/- 15° about the equator, a 30° centered band. So, I thought the average ended up a bit above 200K but it is becoming even clearer that it may very well be near the ~197K I have seen others mention once all points on the moon are considered.

    Also along this same line, I re-did the very original year-old integrations on N-K’s suggestion of 154.3K (once again not trusting myself) but this time I wrote it as a Monte Carlo random routine getting away from the weighting and layers of cosines and sines, just one cosine to compensate for the angle of the sun’s incoming TSI… after two million probes it hits right at 154K, again. That is the fourth time I have integrated that figure, each time using different configuration of the possible geometries, by concentric rings, by latitudes, by horizontal stripes. I’m finally convinced they are correct there. Each time it is always the same, 154K. Of course, that has zero thermal inertia involved, everything is instantaneous.

  173. wayne says:

    As to that Monte Carlo integration, you would think it would be rather easy to come up with a routing to evenly distribute points on a sphere… not so… as I soon learned. In fact, I spent so much time getting this exact that I thought I would record it here to save someone one whole lot of time if you ever need or want that capability:


    class Vector
    {
    public double X, Y, Z;
    public Vector() { }
    public Vector( double x, double y, double z ) { X = x; Y = y; Z = z; }
    public override string ToString() { return string.Format(CultureInfo.CurrentCulture,
    "{0,24:g15}{1,24:g15}{2,24:g15}", X, Y, Z); }
    }
    static partial class Sphere
    {
    static Random rand = new Random(Environment.TickCount);

    public static Vector EvenlyDistributedRandomPoint( double radius )
    {
    double u = rand.NextDouble();
    double v = rand.NextDouble();
    double theta = 2.0 * u * Math.PI;
    double phi = Math.Cos(2.0 * v - 1.0);
    double cos_theta = Math.Cos(theta);
    double sin_theta = Math.Sin(theta);
    double cos_phi = Math.Cos(phi);
    double sin_phi = Math.Sqrt(1.0 - cos_phi * cos_phi);
    return new Vector(
    radius * sin_phi * cos_theta,
    radius * sin_phi * sin_theta,
    radius * cos_phi);
    }
    }

    You can expand this or convert it to another language as needed. (never to lost again… on David Cosserat’s thread II) ;)

  174. gbaikie says:

    “Our goal in these articles is really quite simple. It is to determine, exactly, the mechanism that causes the Earth’s surface (land + ocean) to have a significantly higher temperature than if it had no atmosphere at all.”

    The big difference in temperature between an airless world and one with an atmosphere is
    airless worlds can become colder when sun is not shining.
    With world with atmosphere areas without sunlight are warmed by the atmosphere.

    Both Mercury and the Moon are thought to have frozen water in the dark craters- both bodies
    are airless and to have frozen water in a vacuum one needs very cold temperature.

    “Poor Pluto. First it gets kicked out of the planet club, now it’s not even the coldest known place in the solar system. Dark craters near the moon’s south pole have snatched that title – which is good news for the prospects of finding water ice on Earth’s companion.”

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17810-moon-is-coldest-known-place-in-the-solar-system.html

    But Mercury could be as cold- we haven’t explored it enough to determine this- it was first thought Mercury had ice as it’s poles and it’s a good guess that Mercury has more ice than the Moon.
    But having any significant quantities of ice on the Moon is more important as compared to Mercury having many times as much.

    So the Moon has crater which have not have sunlight since the time the craters were created- same with Mercury [as much as billions of years]. So temperature around 50 K and lower.
    And with atmosphere one can’t get such cold temperatures.
    Mars:
    “The temperature on Mars may reach a high of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) at noon, at the equator in the summer, or a low of about -225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius) at the poles.”

    http://quest.nasa.gov/aero/planetary/mars.html

    And -153 C is 120 K
    So Mars is further from the Sun and has polar winter [constant darkness] for about a year
    and it’s about 20 K warmer than night time on the Moon [2 weeks of darkness] which is about
    100 K.
    So if Mars had more atmosphere or if the Moon had the thin Mars type they wouldn’t as cold
    at night. If the Moon had Mars atmosphere, it’s dark craters would fill up with frozen CO2, but would
    have small amount of this “ice cap” than Mars has, but the night side probably could only have a small amount frozen CO2 [forming at night in regions which have more shadow but not permanent
    shadow [mostly regions near the poles]. So unless it’s in caves the equator regions wouldn’t have
    CO2 form at night. So daily temperatures on Mars reach about 210 K and Moon’s night time though
    longer should also be over 200 K. Though it seems possible that no CO2 ice would form anywhere
    on the Lunar surface or one has “weather conditions” where at times CO2 ice is formed in colder regions which are permanent in sense they last for centuries or thousands of years.

    Such a thin atmosphere should at least add 50 K to the Moon average temperature and instead
    of having day time surface temperature of 120 C, it may be instead 110 C.
    And if had atmosphere
    one could interested in it’s air temperature. Hmm, if you have as much atmosphere as Earth,
    one could have lapse rate somewhat similar- if one allows for 1/6th the gravity. But the Moon has 1/2 the gravity of Mars and if it had the same amount of atmosphere Mars’ atmosphere would be
    roughly twice as high in elevation and has much more solar energy warming atmosphere which another factor increasing the atmospheric height. So half the pressure, and but a much thinner atmosphere than Mars.
    It would be a very unstable air.
    It seems a helium balloon could float in the atmosphere. And if so where and how would fly? :)

    Anyhow, an atmosphere is mostly about preventing nighttime temperature from lowering as much and compared with no atmosphere, but in terms human being’s comfort it doesn’t make it warmer. Homes and spacesuits aren’t affected by such thin atmosphere in terms of temperature [a far thicker atmosphere make it cooler at night and warmer in day]. Or it’s still mostly a vacuum. The Lunar surface with such thin atmosphere would have more similarity to LEO [ie, International Space Station] than the peak of Mt Everest.

  175. gbaikie says:

    I had thought for years that adding a significant amount of atmosphere to the Moon
    could have a bad effect upon the Moon- it would be a type of pollution.
    But now I think it would much effect- good or bad.
    It could be a unwanted contaminate- but it’s not a big deal.
    Mars has ~2.5 x 10^16 kg of atmosphere. A surface area of 144,800,000 km.

    Or 1.44 x 10^14 square meter. Per square meter: 173.6 kg
    Moon: 37,932,000 square km. And with 173.6 kg of atmosphere per square meter
    it’s total atmosphere mass is 6.5 x 10^15 kg. 6.5 trillion tonnes.
    So I was vaguely thinking that million of tonnes could be problem whereas
    a billion tonnes would have little effect.
    Another factor is if you emitted a billion tonnes of various types of volatiles
    most will not remain in “atmosphere”. Some will end up in dark craters
    but most will go into the regolith. And some tiny amount of human created
    volatiles are already in the polar craters.
    Apollo and etc have put around 100 tons of volatiles on Moon, so maybe
    1 ton or less is in polar regions.
    Though it could be such a small concentration it is not measurable- if it was
    measurable, that would have some scientific value.
    So there maybe tens of billions of tonnes of volatiles in polar region, so
    1 in 10 billion. But the tens of billion tonnes is in a couple meters of regolith
    and if looking at top 1 cm and/or gases in crater it’s less than 1/100th
    of this total amount. So hundreds of of part per billion may possibly be
    measurable.

    So anyhow, hundred of billion of tonnes of emission should still
    leave the Moon with far better vacuum than LEO.
    And it seems that with HUGE amounts of emission over decades of
    time the largest effect would be to warm the dark craters by tens of
    degrees and maybe warm the night side by a degree or two.
    It could be very difficult but humans might in some distant future
    cause some measurable amounts of global warming.

    Now, getting back to Earth. The 240 W/m-2 of energy entering
    and exiting Earth have little to do with surface temperature.
    Surface temperature has to do with mostly amount sunlight.
    The 240 W/m-2 is more about how cold Earth can get rather
    than how warm it gets.
    If Earth were 230 W/m-2 instead of 240 W/m-2 Earth could
    be colder, but could get as warm as it is. If Earth were instead
    250 W/m-2 Earth could not get as a cold as it is does now, but
    doesn’t mean it gets warmer than it is now.
    But we aren’t going to get a difference of +/-10 W/m-2 in terms
    of global heat budget. And no one making any claim it will-
    and perhaps no such degree of change has occurred within
    a million years.
    Instead what is claimed is we have 240 W/m-2 which if
    we had blackbody which uniformly heated the surface
    and there was no sky the temperature would 5 C and
    the amount energy blocked from reaching the blackbody
    due to atmosphere [clouds and the rest] would
    give uniform global temperature of -18 C.
    So in trenberth chart, 161 W/m-2 is reaching the blackbody
    and giving this -18 C uniform global temperature.
    And 78 W/m-2 is said to absorbed by atmosphere.

    So if one wants to include an atmosphere as surface
    the blackbody surface and atmosphere surface receives
    239 W/m-2 [161 + 78].

    [Now, I would contend that atmosphere is not heated directly
    by sunlight [though clouds which one could call part of the atmosphere
    are directly warmed by sunlight- clouds are said to burn off and
    think they actually are burnt off [warmer and drier air also makes them
    evaporate]. But I won’t quibble and go along with this false
    notion transparent gases [or colored gases] can convert
    radiant energy into molecular kinetic energy.]

    One could also imagine that if you had blackbody surface
    receiving 239 W/m-2 that 78 W/m-2 of heat is going towards
    warming the atmosphere. Or one is dividing the energy between
    these two “surfaces”.

    Now say there wasn’t any water in atmosphere [which blocks a large
    part of the spectrum- a large part of this 78 W/m-2.
    And one had blackbody receiving 239 W/m-2 and it’s temperature
    was -18 C and was warming the atmosphere by 1 W/m-2 and atmosphere
    radiates an insignificant amount energy per square meter.
    So the atmosphere is gaining a net of 1 W/m-2 and would get
    to -18 C given enough time. And once it’s heated to -18 C, the
    -18 C surface can’t heat anymore.
    Though actually come think about it, if blackbody heated atmosphere
    more than -18 C then air would heat the blackbody which would
    which then radiate it to space. So if one can continue adding 1 W/m-2
    until the blackbody surface gets 1 W/m-2 from the air.

    And what’s the limiting factor? If blackbody adds 78 W/m-2
    to air and air warms blackbody by 78 W/m-2, the 78 W/m-2
    has net flow of zero and blackbody is still radiating 239 W/m-2.

    So this means one doesn’t need a blackbody which uniformly heats
    the surface, it can put more energy on the sunlight side and the warmed air
    will warm the night side.
    So the limiting factor is how hot a blackbody [or surface can get] which
    allows the most amount energy per square meter to heat the air, and the warmed
    air warms night side part of blackbody, so energy is not needed to conducted
    there by the blackbody surface.
    So how much per square meter the atmosphere can warmed and how much
    per square meter the air can warm the surface.
    And of course the world continues to emit a total 239 W/m-2 into space.

    So max temperature of blackbody at earth distance 240 times 4 or 959 W/m-2
    which is about 360 K [87 C]. The hottest Earth surfaces can get is about 70 C
    with surface air temperature of about 50 C. To get this hot one needs air to
    warm enough so there is less loss of convection.
    So if air is cooling a surface [surface warming air] so it’s say 20 C cooler
    then as without convection losses, how much is this in terms watts per
    square meter?
    340 K is 758 watts. 959 minus 758 is 200 W/m-2.
    Now air is not going to heat surface by 200 W/m-2 but divide by 4 [because
    warming rest of sphere] then this within realm of possible.

    So the warmer the air, the less energy get be put in the air per square meter
    so this limits how much surface can add energy to atmosphere- in terms
    of land surfaces. And of course Earth is mostly ocean surface.
    Ocean surface temperature maxs around 35 C [308 K}
    So that’s about 510 W/m-2. And 15 C [288 K} which is 390 W/m-2.
    But ocean do not have such differences, and it’s mostly about
    evaporation. And once we put water into it we forced to have greenhouse
    gases.

    So, if take Earth and remove all the oceans, it seems one still will have
    heat budget of around 240 W/m-2. The huge empty ocean basins will
    be hot- warmer than any deserts we have. But with continent not be
    much warmer and regions [such as Europe] will be considerably cooler.
    Ocean basin are on average more than 3000 meters deep, with
    lapse making sea level air temperature about 30 C cooler. Making
    sea level as cool as compared to our ocean during day but cooling
    more at night.

  176. wayne says:

    Sorry everyone, I must correct myself, mine was years old, there is a much better version (thanks to a comment on Wolfram):

            public static CVector EvenlyDistributedRandomPoint()
            {
                double u = rand.NextDouble() * 2 - 1, f = Math.Sqrt(1 - u * u);
                double theta = (2 * Math.PI) * rand.NextDouble();
                return new CVector(Math.Cos(theta) * f, Math.Sin(theta) * f, u);
            }

    This lets checking or modifying things such as Diviner and N-K a snap.

  177. Trick says:

    wayne – When I was skimming thru the Diviner info. seem to recall the graphs broken out individually somewhere though maybe not for an annual period – may be in a form you could use out there.

  178. Roger Clague says:

    As Trick correctly says the energy budget theory is taught today as the basis of climate science.

    The Energy budget theory’s support originates from Nasa.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance

    which includes these phrases

    flow of heat to space,
    The energy escapes in the form of thermal infrared radiation
    Outgowing Heat ( longwave radiation )

    That is in the Energy Budget Theory radiation and heat have been equated.

    But that heat and radiation are different forms of energy, as is taught at school

    http://www.energyeducation.tx.gov/energy/section_1/topics/forms_of_energy/index.html

    Treating radiation and heat as the same leads to more mistakes, such as applying Kirchoff’s Law and the S-B Law to the surface and atmosphere separately. Also claiming back radiation from the atmosphere is heating the surface.

    I believe that energy enters as radiation, becomes heat and then leaves as radiation. And heat in the atmosphere is understood through thermodynanamics.

    Nasa are not stupid so why do they get this basic idea wrong.

    They need money. So they say climate ( which is dangerous ) is all about radiation. So we need more satellites, and Nasa to measure it.

  179. gbaikie says:

    “As Trick correctly says the energy budget theory is taught today as the basis of climate science.

    The Energy budget theory’s support originates from Nasa.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance

    which includes these phrases

    flow of heat to space,
    The energy escapes in the form of thermal infrared radiation
    Outgowing Heat ( longwave radiation )”

    NASA link also says:
    “The climate’s heat engine must not only redistribute solar heat from the equator toward the poles, but also from the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere back to space. Otherwise, Earth would endlessly heat up.”

    Earth would not endlessly heat up. There is a definite limit in which Earth can be heated up by the sunlight at Earth distance. And the only way one can get it hotter sunlight is by concentrating the sunlight- and this is also limited.
    The Earth’s ocean can store vast amounts of heat, but not endless amounts of heat.
    And following it:
    “Earth’s temperature doesn’t infinitely rise because the surface and the atmosphere are simultaneously radiating heat to space. This net flow of energy into and out of the Earth system is Earth’s energy budget.”
    Something already hot will not receive any energy from sunlight. A meter diameter sphere at Earth distance in a vacuum which is 200 C will cool down to 150 C as quickly in sunlight as not in sunlight.

    The Sun is 695,500 km radius with surface area of 6.0 x 10^12 square km
    A sphere with Earth distance radius of 149.6 million km,
    has a surface area of 2.8 x 10^17
    So 1 square meter at Sun surface is 46,849 square meters at earth distance.
    Sun has temperature of 5,778 K or emits 3.8×10^26 Joules per second.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_%28energy%29

    And so per meter of sun surface is 3.8×10^26 divided by 6.0 x 10^18 square
    meter of total surface area
    So that’s 63.3 million joules per square meter
    And divide that by 46,849 gives 1351 joules per square meter per second
    at Earth distance. and solar constant is 1.361 kilowatts per square meter:

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

    or 1361 joules per second.
    Close enough.
    So something at the sun can be heated to about 5,778 K
    and something at Earth distance can heated by 1/46,849th
    as much. Or if took an area of 46,849 square meter and
    reflected all energy received at earth distance and focused
    it into 1 square meter, that light could heat something to
    around 5,778 K.
    But light not concentrated it will heat something to around 400 K.
    And if instead one were capture say, 100,000 square meters
    of sunlight and focus into 1 square meter it would not heat something
    above 5,778 K.
    If it did, we are measuring the Sun’s temperature incorrectly.
    Or the most one can magnify the sun energy is the temperature of
    the Sun.

    Now the Sun’s corona may be millions of degrees but it’s not radiating
    much energy to Earth distance. As guess it’s probably less than 1 joule
    per square meter per second. Nor can one magnify this hot temperature
    to heat something above 5,778 K.
    The millions of degrees simply means the gas molecules are traveling
    at a high velocity. It’s sort of like imagining a very hot grain of sand
    is going to heat up something 100 meters from it. Or even if placed on your
    hand. If was a ton of rock- that would be different.

  180. Only a sporadic set of responses from me this week due to the fact that I am paying obeisance to the great god of skiing in the French alps rather than the great deity of climate change…
    ______________________

    Trick/Konrad/Kristian/Wayne re. Moon surface temperatures
    Trick’s reference to a mean equatorial temperature of 250K is simply wrong. The official mean equatorial temperature from the Diviner Orbiter mission is 213K. See the peer reviewed paper entitled “Lunar equitorial surface temperatures and regolith properties from the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment” at

    http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/lunar-equatorial-surface-temperature_2012.pdf

    Kristian is correct that the figure of 250K you quote is for the equator, not for the surface as a whole (which would be lower) but the figure of 250K itself is in any case not a surface measurement but is for the temperature of the regolith at depth and therefore is not at all relevant to the ATE discussion.

    The 213K mean equitorial temperature figure leads directly to a mean surface temperature of 197K using a finite computation method similar to Wayne’s but not based on monte carlo random sampling. It is also bang on N&Z’s independently calculated revised figure, calculated from theoretical principles, that takes into account the heat retaining properties of the Moon’s regolith.

    I hope to publish more on this subject in due course. It is indeed a serious blow to the whole warmist mantra, the mathematics of which is all centered around an ATE figure of only 33K. Having to deal with a true ATE figure of around 91K will be a major embarrassment.

    However, as I have now mentioned several times here, this is a topic for another (interesting) day. Could we please keep focussed on the alternative throttling mechanisms, irrespective of whether the ATE value turns out to be 33K or 91K. Thanks.
    ______________________

    gbaikie
    First a kindly warning: The long essays you are writing are receiving little or not response because they are just repeating text book stuff that nobody would probably disagree with, and without making any conclusion on the question that we are discussing here. So please desist.

    Secondly: Referring to the 333Wm-2 re-circulating on the surface-atmosphere interface, you ask:

    If the 333Wm-2 is re-circulating why should houses have insulation?

    I would have though the answer was obvious but, for the record here it is. Houses have insulation to slow the rate at which heat is lost from the interior of the house to the exterior environment. The amount of insulation used is based on (a) an assumption of worst case temperature difference in the region (e.g. 25K in Southern England); and (b) the amount of power available to heat the interior (e.g. a 10KW boiler for an average sized house).

    In the case of the surface-atmosphere interface, the mean difference in temperature is only around 2K. You have to understand that it is not 333Wm-2 that is needed to help make up the atmospheric heat losses. The losses are matched by the 23Wm-2 difference between the upward and downward gross radiation figures. So we might say that the ‘throttling’ effect in the atmosphere (whether ‘throughput’ or ‘output’!) is providing just sufficient ‘insulation’ to maintain that 2K temperature difference.

    I would also repeat a point you appear to have missed: the net 333Wm-2 radiation does no work. That is, it is simply a consequence of what happens when two bodies, both at a temperature of around 288K, radiate towards one another at around 333Wm-2.

    As a thought experiment, suppose you were to place two bodies, both at temperature 288K, at a distance from one another in a perfectly insulated evacuated container. Would you be surprised that they radiated 333Wm-2 at one another, for ever?
    ______________________

    Max
    You suggest that …the gravity/mass is constant, the pressure is constant enough, but insolation is never constant, half the planet absorbs all the incoming radiation at any time, when you average it over more than a day trying to get a steady state you obscure the actual interactions taking place and produce a problem which doesn’t exist. There is no warming effect to explain if it is just a result of bad model assumptions. The Earth is warmer than the moon because it never gets as hot or cold as the moon does.

    Sorry Max but this is nonsense. Both earth and Moon rotate (with respect to the Sun). The fact that they rotate at very different speeds (1 earth-day and 28 earth-days respectively) mean that, in the case of an atmosphere-less earth, the maximum and minimum surface temperatures would not be nearly so extreme as the Moon’s. But the mean values for their respective surface temperatures (around 197K, see above) would be the same (ignoring small differences due to slightly differing albedos and emissivities).

    If you want to maintain that speed of rotation affects the mean surface temperature of a rocky planetary body subject to fixed insolation, you will have to justify that with proper mathematics and physics – not just by making a wild assertion!
    ______________________

  181. Max™ says:

    Not sure if this will go through, but it is addressed to me so I’ll respond.

    I wasn’t talking about the Earth with no atmosphere, I was saying that the atmosphere reduces the temperature swings on both ends, and that alone is responsible for the planet being warmer than the Moon.

    The speed of rotation reduces the period of heating and cooling for an airless body, but that won’t produce the discrepancy between the Earth and Moon temperatures, as it would not be nearly as significant as the effects of an atmosphere.

    It would raise the average temperature of the Moon if it rotated every Earth-day, but not by a large amount, I don’t think.

    _____

    Either way that isn’t what I was getting at really, only that the atmosphere can’t be neatly described as “warming” or “cooling”, as it does both at the same time on the day side and night side of the planet.

    [Reply] Factual and appropriate is not a problem. TB

  182. Trick says:

    David – I recommend from experience to keep thumbs in when skiing thru alpine woods.

    David 5:46pm: “Trick’s reference to a mean equatorial temperature of 250K is simply wrong.”

    It is David being simply inaccurate here in that 250K is not the moon “mean equatorial temperature” that I referenced; the Diviner moon equator avg. temperature I referenced is ~206K shown in the link Kristian provided.

    “…the figure of 250K itself is in any case not a surface measurement but is for the temperature of the regolith at depth …”

    Here David gets it right. David’s link Fig. 7 shows the “at depth” chart. This is the relevant material for the useful surface Tavg. ~250K “at depth” heat capacity I referenced since there is no earthlike near surface atm. heat capacity on the moon hence “at depth” on moon IS relevant to top post discussion which reads:

    “…our investigation depends on the issue of whether or not so-called greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as water vapour and carbon dioxide are actually responsible for the atmospheric thermal enhancement (ATE) that leads to an elevated temperature above that of an airless planet.”

    The airless moon teaches “our investigation” need consider the moon relevant heat capacity as upper ~30cm regolith T profile since per the Diviner site:

    “The Earth and Moon each receive the same flux of solar radiation; the important difference is that the Moon doesn’t have an atmosphere to insulate its surface.”

    ******

    “…the net 333Wm-2 radiation does no work.”

    As far as earth house insulation, right, the 333 does no work b/c it can’t be used to move a mass thru a distance since it doesn’t heat up anything (333 can’t cook a turkey either w/o Maxwell’s demon, LOL).

    However, the earth house would need more insulation in earth’s winter season at same furnace expense if the TFK09 333 W/m^2 wasn’t there. This is reason the 333 is ok with 2nd law, it doesn’t cause surface heating, 333 doies cause slower earth near surface atm. cooling than if Trenberthian 333 did not exist and was not measured.

  183. Trick, you have descended into incoherence again. The correct mean equatorial surface temperature for the Moon is 213K. From this, the Moon’s calculated mean surface temperature is 197K. This is my last word for now on this subject.