Planetary cloud albedo level is a function of solar energy absorption and atmospheric pressure

Posted: January 30, 2012 by tallbloke in Astronomy, Astrophysics, atmosphere, Energy, solar system dynamics

Pioneer photo of Venus in the UV

OK, I think we have more clarity on the difference between N&Z and Harry Dale Huffman’s interpretation of Venus and Earth data.

> On 1/29/2012 12:34 PM, Rog Tallbloke wrote:
>
> Hi Ned,
>
> I think I’ve managed to get Harry Dale Huffman to state what
> the key point he has at issue is:
>
> “I deduced nothing about the “proportion” or “amount” of solar
>energy absorbed by the atmosphere. I deduced something about
>the fraction of solar energy absorbed by the atmospheres of both
>Venus and Earth: They absorb the same fraction, and it is in the infrared. The amount they absorb is different,
>as the definitive fact is, Venus absorbs 1.91  times as much solar power as the earth (so its atmospheric
>temperature  is 1.176 times that in Earth’s atmosphere, at a given tropospheric  pressure), because it is closer to
>the Sun (and not for any other  reason).
>
> I am waiting to see that fact acknowledged as such by all, in all the debates.”
>
> Harry Dale Huffman
>
> Is this something you would agree with him on? If so, we can tell him that, and move forward together.
>
> Thanks for your time.
>
> Rog

Galileo photo of Earth in the UV

On Sun, 29 Jan 2012 15:13:55 -0700, Ned Nikolov wrote:
> Rog,
>
> I agree with Huffman’s general finding that the temperature of
> Venus’s atmosphere should be about 1.176 times that of Earth’s
> atmosphere at the _same_ pressure level. This is fully consistent with
> our theory! Indeed, the solar irradiance at the top of Venus’
> atmosphere is about 1.92 time larger than the solar irradiance above
> Earth’s atmosphere. Since temperature is proportional to the 4th root
> of radiation, it follows that 1.92^0.25 = 1.177, which is very close
> to the ratio reported by Huffman
>
> However, Huffman needs to correct his terminology. The ratio 1.91
> (or 1.92 in my calculation) is NOT how much more radiation Venus
> _absorbs_ than Earth, but how much _larger_ the SOLAR IRRADIANCE (i.e.
> solar constant) of Venus is compared to that of Earth. This is the
> solar flux ON TOP OF THE ATMOSPHERE (TOA) and BEFORE correcting for
> the albedo. The actual_ absorbed_ radiation by a planet is calculated
> by the formula: S*(1-A)/4, where S is the TOA solar irradiance, and
> A is the albedo. Since A = 0.75 for Venus while A = 0.30 for Earth ,
> Venus actually absorbs some 31% LESS radiation than Earth despite
> being closer to the Sun and having a larger solar irradiance!
> Huffman states “…_Venus absorbs 1.91 times as much solar power as
> the earth_ ..”, which is INCORRECT! Venus is ILLUMINATED 1.91 times
> stronger than the Earth, but it absorbs 31% less radiation than Earth.
>
> There is a very interesting phenomenon here, which is that surface
> temperature apparently scales with TOA irradiance rather than with
> actual_ absorbed_ radiation. We discuss this in our full paper. The
> implication of this is that the atmospheric albedo (cloud cover
> reflectivity) is a function of the internal energy of the system
> maintained by solar heating and pressure. In other words, the cloud
> albedo is mostly a _byproduct_ of the atmospheric energy, not an
> independent driver of planetary climate as assumed by the current GH
> theory.
>
> – Ned
>

Exciting stuff!!

Harry’s  says this in his original article:

“This result also flies in the face of those who would say the clouds of Venus reflect much of the incident solar energy, and that therefore it cannot get 1.91 times the power per unit area received by the Earth — the direct evidence presented here is that its atmosphere does, in fact, get that amount of power, remarkably closely. This in fact indicates that the Venusian atmosphere is heated mainly by incident infrared radiation from the Sun, which is not reflected but absorbed by Venus’s clouds, rather than by warming first of the planetary surface. (It also indicates that the Earth atmosphere is substantially warmed the same way, during daylight hours, by direct solar infrared irradiation, and that the temperature profile, or lapse rate, for any planetary atmosphere is relatively oblivious to how the atmosphere is heated, whether from above or below.)”

However, the Albedo of Venus is what it is, and can be measured quite accurately from it’s brightness. Harry told me that:
“I deduced something about the fraction of solar energy absorbed by the atmospheres of both Venus and Earth: They absorb the same fraction, and it is in the infrared.”

I pointed out that convection currents are set up in shallow lakes on Earth, from the heat absorbed in the dark coloured bottom. Clearly, Earth does not absorb anything like as much of the incident solar radiation in the atmosphere as Venus does, since almost none of it reaches Venus’ surface. There seems to be some contradiction in what Harry says, but I’ll let everyone help tease it out in comments.

Comments
  1. Stephen Wilde says:

    What would the figures for Earth look like if one were to include the oceans as part of the ‘atmosphere’ ?

  2. James says:

    We shall see, as the TOA solar irradince is now reducing in this solar cycle and the next cycle. The MET office say that planet Earth will continue to warm because of man made CO2, Harry is implying that it will cool as indeed I think N and Z are.

  3. tallbloke says:

    Stephen, clearly much more in terms of how much energy is absorbed by the atmosphere, and the same in terms of albedo.

  4. Stephen Wilde says:

    “The implication of this is that the atmospheric albedo (cloud cover
    reflectivity) is a function of the internal energy of the system
    maintained by solar heating and pressure. In other words, the cloud
    albedo is mostly a by product of the atmospheric energy,”

    That would make sense since more energy circulating within the system results in more convection and more clouds of anything that is capable of a phase change at ambient temperatures.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Once again though, this might be a general truth which is modified on shorter timescales by other factors such as the Svensmark effect.

    So,
    reduction in Solar radiation > less energy in > less cloud
    But
    reduction in Solar radiation > more GCR’s in > more cloud

    Net effect: cooling.

  6. Stephen Wilde says:

    “the TOA solar irradince is now reducing in this solar cycle and the next cycle”

    However total cloudiness is now increasing whereas it decreased when the sun was more active.That is opposite to the proposition.

    I think there may be an interesting variation on the theme for Earth since it isn’t so much TOA irradiance that has the largest effect on variations in Earth’s albedo but rather chemical reactions from changes in the mix of wavelengths and particle types coming from the sun and then reacting with ozone to alter the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere so that the surface pressure distribution changes with consequent variations in cloudiness.

    The TOA irradiance may well be enough to fix the basic thermal characteristics of the system including a certain level of albedo but there sees to be some variation around that from changes in solar activity independently of Total Solar Irradiance reaching TOA.

    That would be consistent with a significant portion of climate variability being an internal system energy redistribution process involving air circulation changes rather than being a consequence of any change in the fundamental pressure induced lapse rate.

  7. Stephen Wilde says:

    rog,

    We were both focusing on the same issue at the same time and cross posted each other 🙂

    I prefer latitudinal jetstream shifting to Svensmark’s cosmic ray hypothesis unless he can show that somehow cosmic rays alter the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere such that the jets get pushed around latitudinally.

    That would be a very different process to his cloud seeding suggestion though.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Stephen, yes! busy minds working fast.

    More GCR’s get into the polar areas than equatorial. If this meant more cloud and less insolation and less emission at high latitudes relative to tropical then wouldn’t that cause a poleward shift in the jet streams as the tropics expanded to increase emission at temperate latitudes?

  9. Tenuc says:

    I think Harry’s point regarding albedo is that if you measure only the radiation going into and out of the atmosphere at its boundary with the vacuum of space then the system is equivalent to a perfect black body when the SB equation is applied. This means that only the planets average distance from the sun and the atmospheric pressure are needed to compare temperature on Venus vv Earth. Seems to produce good results, so I would tend to agree with him! Occam’s Razor would tend to suggest that this is a better approach than others, with no need to know what happens to the energy while it remains inside the planetary system.

    As to weather/climate I think these are, in broad terms, simply the result of oscillations in the energy transfer processes of earth as these turbulent, non-linear systems strive towards maximum entropy production at the behest of the changing amounts of energy received from our sun.

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

  10. Stephen Wilde says:

    The poleward shift occurred when the sun was MORE active i.e. less (not more) GCRs.

    Clouds are all below the tropopause but it is the temperatures above the tropopause that change to alter the height of the tropopause. Cooling of the stratosphere and mesosphere when the sun is active and warming there when the sun is less active.

    Recently it was discovered that contrary to all expectations (except mine) ozone amounts in the mesosphere INCREASED with a less active sun and I suggest that the temperature of the mesosphere affects the temperature of the stratosphere. More ozone in the mesosphere at a time of less active sun seems to warm both stratosphere and mesosphere. Less ozone in the mesosphere at a time of more active sun seems to cool both mesosphere and stratosphere.

    One needs a colder stratosphere above the poles to get the jets to shift poleward and a warmer stratosphere above the poles to get the jets to shift equatorward.

    I can’t think of any other scenario that fits both basic physics and observations.

    I don’t think cloud seeding in the troposphere from GCRs could achieve all that.

    That is all overlaid on the basic pressure induced lapse rate by internal system characteristics. The internal system responses being not to TSI variations but most likely to UV effects and other chemical responses at high levels to a variable mix of wavelengths and particles in solar output.

    It is all part of the system acting negatively to any internal or external forcing (or a combination) so as to maintain the pressure induced lapse rate.

  11. Stephen Wilde says:

    “simply the result of oscillations in the energy transfer processes of earth as these turbulent, non-linear systems strive towards maximum entropy production at the behest of the changing amounts of energy received from our sun.”

    Yes, and I think I suggested previously that maximum entropy is achieved with the lapse rate set by pressure alone.

    Any persistent deviation will result in instability that will over time heat up the system until the atmosphere is boiled off into space or cool it down until the atmosphere freezes onto the surface.

    The AGW proposal is for a persistent GHG induced deviation on the warm side. More CO2 begets more water vapour which heats up the system to produce more water vapour ad infinitum. It doesn’t make any sense.

    On that basis the atmosphere and the oceans would have been lost to space billions of years ago.

  12. tchannon says:

    I’m confused by the confusion. I seem to have been watching feel the elephant for quite some time where I am mystified at what people don’t get, assuming I didn’t get it. Starting to wonder whether it is the other way around.

  13. tallbloke says:

    “I think Harry’s point regarding albedo is that if you measure only the radiation going into and out of the atmosphere at its boundary with the vacuum of space then the system is equivalent to a perfect black body when the SB equation is applied.”

    Tenuc: That’s not what Harry is saying in the quotes above. He seems to be saying the quoted albedo must be wrong because the same amount of solar adiation is absorbed in the atmosphere both on Venus and Earth.
    “I deduced something about the fraction of solar energy absorbed by the atmospheres of both Venus and Earth: They absorb the same fraction [of TSI at each planet??], and it is in the infrared. ”
    Can you quote from his work please, he may have said something elsewhere I’ve missed, and I don’t want to treat him unfairly. It’s always possible I’ve misunderstood something.

    Stephen: I suspect there are ‘wheels within wheels’ which maintain the negative feedback to various kinds of perturbations of energy balance. So our thoughts may not be as contradictory as they appear.

    Tim: Feel free to enlighten us!

  14. Stephen Wilde says:

    rog,

    We are agreed on all the basic issues.

    Our apparent disgreement above is only in relation to whether the Svensmark hypothesis cuts it or whether my alternative proposal works better.

    That is only a matter of how the negative system response is best achieved. We agree that there is a negative system response which arises whenever there is a perturbation of energy balance away from the pressure induced lapse rate.

  15. davidmhoffer says:

    Stephen Wilde says:
    January 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm
    rog,
    We are agreed on all the basic issues.
    Our apparent disgreement above is only in relation to whether the Svensmark hypothesis cuts it or whether my alternative proposal works better.>>>

    I’m voting for Stephen Wilde (yet again) here (but with a caveat).

    It seems to me that the net effect of clouds is the same as the net effect of CO2 in terms of effect on outgoing LW. Clouds don’t change the energy balance from that perspective, they simply alter the over all energy distribution. T(e) remains the same, but T(a) changes.

    But….

    What about albedo? I just cannot reconcile clouds having a zero affect on albedo. Everything I’ve thought through about N&Z and how they worked their way up from PN=nRT fits the entire discussion PROVIDED that the change in the atmosphere doesn’t change the amount of energy being absorbed by the system in the first place. I’m not certain we can say that about clouds.

    Or can we?

  16. Tenuc says:

    Hi Rog, yes does sound like a contradiction, although at the end he says…

    “…the temperature profile, or lapse rate, for any planetary atmosphere is relatively oblivious to how the atmosphere is heated, whether from above or below.”

    I’ll see if I can find his exact wording, as perhaps I’ve made assumptions which contradict what Harry really means? However, if you have to look inside the black box which comprises each planets climate system, then Harry’s simple method should break down and give incorrect results?

  17. davidmhoffer says:

    Beyond my comment above, I think they are in agreement for the most part, they just seem to be defining things differently. I think also that there are multiple ways to “measure” the effects that both are talking about. For example, pressure is a convenient way to begin for N&Z, but they could have begun with atmospheric mass and gravitational constant. Pressure is a product of the latter two, and I have a sneaking suspicion that part of the confusion relates to (as an anology) one party saying “its pressure” and the other party saying “no, its mass and gravity” and not realizing they are both measuring the same thing but in different ways.

  18. Richard says:

    I rather suspect that the salt cycle is of more importance for temperature variations than the (long term) solar cycle.

    Salt impeeds both the evaporation and freezing of sea water. This acts as a brake on the hydrological cycle. Salt is recycled through both the surface and the bottom layers of the ocean.

    That last path has a very long delay time and could probably account for ice ages and/or lack of. After all there are significant geographic multipliers that can directly effect salt distribution adn hence the effect of the brake.

    Worry now, the more ice that is produced now and the more likely extra cold will come in the long term!

    After all there is a ~40 meter deep band of salt over the whole surface of this Earth and we do not see it at all. Easy to miss its importance.

  19. tallbloke says:

    “if you have to look inside the black box which comprises each planets climate system, then Harry’s simple method should break down and give incorrect results?”

    That’s the crux of it. N&Z are saying that surface temperature relates to pressure and TOA irradiance, despite differing atmospheric opacities/albedo, and that albedo is a function of the energy state of the atmosphere. At first this seems to beg the question, but on further reflection it seems to me that the composition will be affected by temperature too, and that itself will affect albedo. There’s a host of interlocking self regulatory systems and factors hidden in the seemingly simple TOA TSI/pressure relationship.

  20. Tenuc says:

    Well managed to find this page on Harry’s blog – not what I was looking for, but worth a read I think…

    Blackbody: The Key Error in Climate Science

    http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2011/09/blackbody-key-error-in-climate-science.html

  21. Stephen Wilde says:

    “There’s a host of interlocking self regulatory systems and factors hidden in the seemingly simple TOA TSI/pressure relationship”

    Quite so, and they all combine to work the system back to the pressure induced lapse rate.

    The Earth system has different layering in oceans and air plus the reversed lapse rates in stratosphere and thermosphere plus constantly changing relative heights at different levels due most likely to solar variations in wavelengths and particle types having different thermal effects at different levels.

    It is very difficult to track the internal system variables and often some of those variables will be moving in opposite directions to each other and from what we might logically expect.

    I think that in due course when the basic fact of a stable pressure induced lapse rate creating a stable system energy content has been accepted (I always thought it had been via the Adiabatic Lapse Rate) then a whole new field of climatology will open up trying to track, reconcile and hopefully predict from the interplay of all those other internal system variables.

    At present, the models have barely made a start.

  22. P.G. Sharrow says:

    The discussion here covers three different systems that have three different working conditions that predominate. The troposphere that works like a refrigeration system and the stratosphere that works like an radiative oven. The thermosphere that works like a microwave oven.

    Stephen is correct when he says that we must consider the oceans as a part of the troposphere as it IS the bottom part of the refrigeration cycle that creates our weather/climate.

    As to the chemistry involved, that is an interesting part that is involved in all parts to some degree.
    An adsorption refrigeration system utilizes mechanical, chemical and thermodynamics all together to achieve its function. pg

  23. tallbloke says:

    Description:
    A color enhancement of an ultraviolet photograph of the geocorona, a halo of low density hydrogen around the Earth. Sunlight is shining from the left, and the geocorona is brighter on that side. The UV camera was operated by Astronaut John W. Young on the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission.

  24. Stephen Wilde says:

    Tenuc has referred us to Harry Dale Huffman who said this:

    “So how do current “expert scientists” go wrong? Because they define their “effective blackbody” system as inside the solid Earth, bounded by the Earth’s surface — and it should be obvious there is more than just radiation passing through that surface (there is conduction through the surface, and convection away from it). To use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation properly, they must define the boundary of the Earth system as outside of its atmosphere — beyond all conduction and convection — and use the mean incident solar irradiation only, not the “incident minus reflected” as they do.”

    That seems pretty obviously true to my mind.

    Putting the surface of the blackbody beyond the confounding effects of non radiative energy transfers must be the right way to do it.

    Are there any objections ?

    Mind you, that only deals with the incorrect assertion that the Earth system somehow breaches the S -B equations. It does nothing for the analysis of internal system variability within the new, expanded blackbody boundary.

  25. tallbloke says:

    Are there any objections ?

    Uh – Oh.

    Looks like an invitation to Bill and the team. 🙂

  26. Brian H says:

    I read Harry as denying that the Venusian atmosphere either reflects or blocks IR. Albedo re visible light is not relevant. Opacity re visible light is not relevant. IR thus makes it all the way into the lower atmosphere and/or the surface.

  27. Graeme M says:

    I am not sure why there is confusion. It seems perfectly clear to me what Harry is saying. He may be wrong, but it’s clear just the same.

    Harry is simply arguing that the atmosphere of each planet absorbs the same wavelengths of light. That is, they absorb the infrared component. The other wavelengths which do not confer energy to the atmosphere are passed through or reflected depending on cloud cover. Thus, while Venus reflects most of the VISIBLE light, it still absorbs the same proportion of infrared.

    In other words, the albedo is a red herring in calculating the heat absorbed by the respective atmospheres.

  28. wayne says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    January 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm
    “Pressure is a product of the latter two, and I have a sneaking suspicion that part of the confusion relates to (as an anology) one party saying “its pressure” and the other party saying “no, its mass and gravity” and not realizing they are both measuring the same thing but in different ways.”

    David is right, there sometimes seem to be some confusion as to what exactly is ‘atmospheric pressure’ and it can be visualized in multiple ways.

    Defining:
    P – Atmospheric pressure in Pascal (Pa or N/m^2 or kg/(m*s^2))
    g – The gravitational acceleration (m/s^2)
    r – Radius of the astronomical body (well measured) (m)
    GM – astronomical body’s gravitational x mass (well measured) (m^3/s^2)

    One way is:
    P = m.atm • g / (4π•r^2)

    Carrying units through you get:
    kg • (m•s-2) • m-2 = kg/(m • s^2) = N/m2 = Pa

    Another more astrophysics way would be to take the form:

    P = m.atm • GM/(4π•r^4)

    Carrying the unit through you get:
    kg • (m3•s-2) • m-4 = kg/(m • s^2) = N/m2 = Pa

    Both are the same and both end up the atmospheric pressure.

    The reason the later might be better is that GM is one of the best-known and most precise parameters known in astrophysics. We cannot actual ‘weigh’ Jupiter or Mars or even the sun. Our largest scales are still just too small! 😉 However, one thing that we can measure is GM, the combination of the gravitational field strength and the body’s mass. The precision of GM is usually known to at least six digits of precision; usually many more. For instance Earth’s is reported to be ‘about☺’ 3.986004418e+14 ± 8E+05 (m3/s2), very well know and precise.

    Therefore, if you know either g/(4π•r^2) or the equivalent GM/(4π•r^4) for each body, it’s then a constant, the only remaining varying parameter is the mass of the atmosphere or column. You can easily retrieve the GM and usually the radius for all solar system bodies at NASA’s Horizon system.

  29. Graeme M says:

    To clarify slightly, the IR proportion is absorbed primarily by clouds on Venus, which heats the atmosphere and subsequently the surface, and largely by the surface on the earth, which then radiates heat into the atmosphere. The pressure profile drives the lapse rate. As harry says, this is largely oblivious to whether the heat comes from above (Venus) or below (Earth). The SAME AMOUNT of heat is input to the system.

  30. tallbloke says:

    Graeme. The problem is that albedo refers to all wavelengths, and Venus’ clouds do reflect a proportion of shortwave IR as well as visible spectrum wavelengths.

  31. wayne says:

    … “Since A = 0.75 for Venus while A = 0.30 for Earth ,
    > Venus actually absorbs some 31% LESS radiation than Earth despite
    > being closer to the Sun” …

    I have a problem with that statement and this is a bit ‘picky’. NASA fact sheets list of Earth the bond albedo as 0.306 and the visual geometric albedo as 0.367 whereas in Venus’s case the report is a bond albedo of 0.90 and a visual geometric albedo of 0.67. The bond albedo and visual albedo in two cases are mixed. The visual is strictly the frequencies within the visual range where as the bond albedo encompasses the entire spectrum.

    Now, is there a specific reason to use one in one case and the other in another? Caveat: In the N&Z’s case, it seems to not matter for any case. Maybe that is why Ned was just speaking loosely. Alternatively, Ned might have better data than NASA publicly lists, that does occur in a surprising number of occurrences. Does anyone have more information?

    [reply] I’ve asked Ned to clarify.

  32. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.Sharrow: It’s like talking in different languages, or seeing through different glasses, and some of them pitch black…
    Just to add one more “language”: What if that cooling/heating happens like in a thermocouple?, or, like others say, a heating/cooling leaking condenser. Not to mention friction between the strings that make the universe, or gravity waves, and so on. 🙂
    Babel was just a kid´s game compared with today´s confusion.

  33. Chris M says:

    Could it be that for solid planets and moons with sufficient atmosphere, albedo reflects (not in the literal sense) the total atmospheric energy, since a lot of the atmosphere is above the cloud tops and fully exposed to total solar irradiance?

  34. Graeme M says:

    TB, I am not arguing for or against the proposition – I simply haven’t a clue. But from reading Harry’s claims I cannot make any other interpretation.

    He states very clearly that in his view, the portion of the solar radiation responsible for heating the planetary surface is not reflected by Venus’ clouds. In the case of Venus, that radiation is absorbed by the clouds and thus heats the atmosphere and consequently the surface. In the case of Earth, that radiation passes through the atmosphere and is absorbed and reradiated by both clouds and the surface.

    You said in the original post “Clearly, Earth does not absorb anything like as much of the incident solar radiation in the atmosphere as Venus does, since almost none of it reaches Venus’ surface. ” That is Harry’s point in that respect. The radiation doesn’t reach Venus’ surface and is absorbed in the atmosphere. On the Earth, it does reach the surface. The point is that in both cases, the heat energy is absorbed INTO the system, not reflected.

    Again, I am not arguing this is actually so, it is how I interpret Harry’s claims. How confident are we that the portion of the solar radiation that warms is actually reflected?

  35. kuhnkat says:

    Stephen Wilde,

    one of the requirements for SB to be accurate is that the object has a geometry that does not allow self irradiation. I keep falling over this when contemplating the atmosphere. It has a large amount of self irradiation. That is the GHE argument!!

    The surface will have areas where SB breaks down also. Buildings, trees, bushes… all mess it up in local areas. Mountainous areas would be silly to consider as SB compliant. Even water with ripples and waves will have what I would THINK would be significant self irradiation.

    We are told GHG’s slow the cooling of the surface. How much does the surface itself slow its own cooling??

    Even so, I would agree that measuring outside the atmosphere would be better.

  36. Graeme M says:

    Hmmm… OK, I am wading in the deep end and talking about things of which I know nothing… 🙂

    Wikipedia defines albedo as the diffuse reflectivity of a surface and states “Albedo depends on the frequency of the radiation. When quoted unqualified, it usually refers to some appropriate average across the spectrum of visible light. ” Now, I don’t know if in climatology we use albedo as an unqualified term, but according to that I would assume that albedo in this context is unqualified and hence refers purely to the reflective capacity of clouds in terms of visible light, not IR.

    Although it is cooler beneath cloud on the earth, might this be a function of the absorbing quality of the clouds rather than their reflectance? It seems to be assumed that clouds cool by reducing the available heat from the sun. What if the clouds reduce the light levels via reflectance, but reduce heat via absorption?

  37. Genghis says:

    The take home message I am getting from both N&Z and Huffman is that the AGW “scientists” screwed up horribly in applying the S-B Law. Not just in calculating the planetary temperatures, but the more basic calculation where they thought that adding a perfectly conducting black body plate (GHG) between two bb plates actually added energy to the system.

    The only real difference I see between Huffman’s and the N&Z approach is that Huffman is computing the BB radiation at the TOA and N&Z are computing the surface temps.

  38. Roger Longstaff says:

    The albedo problem seems to be that most of the sun’s radiant energy comes in the visible spectrum, and (if I understand it correctly) HDH seems to state that Venus just absorbs the IR, and this accounts for the pressure effect that he identified. However, I ask myself the question – when a visible photon is reflected back to space by a water molecule (or a sulphuric acid molecule in the case of Venus), what is the change in energy of the reflecting molecule before and after the collision? The “missing heat”?

    Probably dumb, as I have just got off a plane. However, I do agree with HDH that calculations at TOA are highly relevant, as radiation is the only energy transfer mechanism, and that must balance for a planet that is in equilibrium over the diurnal cycle.

  39. Need a bit of time to consider all the comments. However, it is necessary to be clear on definitions. In Perry’s Chemical Engineering Handbook (used by tens of thousands of Chemical Engineers over more than 70 years) a black body is defined as having a surface. Thus the S-B equation can not apply to a gas. Further engineers never talk about albedo, only absorption and emission. It is very clear that CO2 absorbs radiation in only narrow limited wavelengths. To in any way apply the S-B equation to CO2 is pure fiction. However, there is something to Huffman’s concept of an equivalent thermodynamic “black body” or “black hole” in a vacuum (or better a grey body) whereby the body includes a surface surrounded by an atmosphere. It should be noted that going by its spectrum the sun is not a perfect black body, nobody knows the size of its internal surface and nobody knows the temperature of that surface. People have rightly or wrongly assumed that the sun has an equivalent diameter (its visible projection) and an equivalent temperature around 5800K. All measurements of the suns irradience are based on the assumption that the S-B equation applies to the sun.
    It is a requirement of registered engineers to be very clear about their workings so that any other registered engineer can check the work, assumptions, and data if there is a dispute. Registered engineers can be legally and criminally liable if they can not justify their assumptions when a problem arises.

  40. Chris M says:

    Hmmm … Not a lot of this is making much sense to me, sorry chaps. Wouldn’t it be better to wait until Ned Nikolov (and or Karl Zeller) and HDH are available to answer questions?

  41. tallbloke says:

    Chris, Harry won’t join debate, but believes he is in possession of the drfinitive facts. You can find links to his articles on the NASA-Venus thread.

    Ned and Karl are hard at work on ‘reply to comments’ part 2 and a reply to Willis’ ‘mystery of equation 8’ post.

    Meantime we have plenty of interest to keep us occupied thinking about their theories from different angles to make sure we (and they) haven’t missed anything.

  42. Graeme M says:

    RL, you say “HDH seems to state that Venus just absorbs the IR, and this accounts for the pressure effect that he identified.”

    But I think that in fact what HDH is saying is that the pressure gradient defines the lapse rate and hence the temperature at varying altitudes (or pressure levels). The actual heat that is distributed as temperature within the system is sourced from two different mechanisms – direct absorption of heat by the Venusian clouds in the case of Venus, and by the surface and to a much lesser extent the clouds in the case of Earth.

    Thus your sentence would read correctly (if I understand HDH and if I am not using terms I don’t understand incorrectly) as “Venus and Earth absorb the same IR proportionate to total irradiance and the heat is distributed according to the lapse rate as defined by the pressure gradient”.

    Cementafriend, I don’t know if the definition of a blackbody means that for approximation purposes we have to have an actual surface, but isn’t HDH simply saying that to apply SB to the Earth system, we should define a notional surface at the TOA where only radiative exchange is possible?

  43. davidmhoffer says:

    Tallbloke;
    Ned and Karl are hard at work on ‘reply to comments’ part 2 and a reply to Willis’ ‘mystery of equation 8′ post>>>

    Are they seriously going to respond there? After the shocking yellow journalism of the WUWT “writer in residence” Willis Eschenbach?

    Further, I think Willis’ attack on “equation 8” is distracting everyone from the seminal points of N&Z. All “equation 8” actually amounts to is the calculation of a couple of constants, which Willis and his hordes of gushing fans have gone to extraordinary lengths to discredit, while ignoring the fundamental truths:

    1. Climate “science” is predicated on the practice of averaging insolation, calculating an average blackbody temperature, and comparing it to an average observed temperature. Given that P varies with T^4, that amounts to the biggest math blunder in human history. Rather than acknowledge this fact, Willis and Co instead continue the misapplication of SB Law to try and discredit N&Z. Either their grasp of the math is faulty, or….

    2. PV does in fact = nRT. No, the atmosphere isn’t bounded by a container, and yes, P varies with altitude, but that just means we need to calculate an “effective” P just as we calculate an “effective T”! How to do that? Gosh I don’t know, I’m just a salesman, go ask a mathematician. But once you have a way of doing that:

    P cannot change because it is a function of gravity and atmospheric mass. Taking out 280 ppm of O2 and replacing it with 280 ppm of CO2 doesn’t change the mass by a even a rounding error.

    V can change, provided that some other value changes.

    n cannot change because it is the number of moles in the atmosphere, and taking out one O2 to replace it with one CO2 amounts to a change of ZERO.

    R is a constant (and before someone t’s off on me about the constant only being a constant for a given mix, fine, so we have to calculate an “effective” constant too…at which time what we’ll have is a…constant!)

    T cannot change because T is a function of SB Law, and SB Law dictates that unless P changes, T cannot change. As increasing CO2 doesn’t cange the amount of P absorbed… T doesn’t change!

    Since P, n, R & T don’t change…neither does V!

    Those are the seminal points of N&Z. Stephen Wilde has added to that a very logical description of how changes in atmospheric composition can have no other effect than to re-distribute energy causing a change in T(average) but no change in T(effective) which in turn is exhibited by the temperate zones either retreating from, or moving toward, the poles.

    Equation 8 is a distraction at best from the above points, and I’d like to see Willis engage on THESE issues BEFORE we even bother to discuss E8. That won’t happen over at WUWT, and my suggestion is to post it here and/or other blogs like Lucy Skylwalker’s where it well get dealt with fairly (not to mention not having to read comment after comment telling Willis how wonderful he is).

    Let’s see Willis show up here with his gang of learned supporters…Joel Shore, R. Gates, Nick Stokes, William Connolley… yeah, that’s a stellar support team for Willis to draw upon, isn’t it!

  44. davidmhoffer says:

    Kuhnkat;
    Stephen Wilde,
    one of the requirements for SB to be accurate is that the object has a geometry that does not allow self irradiation.>>>>

    What SB Law requires is a uniform surface at a uniform temperature subject to a uniform radiance.

    Hardly describes earth at all, and attempting to “average” everything in order to pretend that it is…amounts to (sorry I keep saying this, but I believe it to be true) the greatest math error in human history.

  45. tchannon says:

    I’ve written a long comment but I don’t have the nerve to post it. I’ll have to think about it by which time folks will have moved on. Such is life.

  46. mt says:

    davidmhoffer:
    What about humidity? That would allow n to change, and also change the atmospheric mass, which by your reasoning would allow P to change, which allows T to change, and R would change with the changing mix of gasses. Since P, n, R & T can change, I’m guessing V can as well.

  47. davidmhoffer says:

    mt says:
    January 31, 2012 at 4:50 am
    davidmhoffer:
    What about humidity? That would allow n to change, and also change the atmospheric mass, which by your reasoning would allow P to change, which allows T to change, and R would change with the changing mix of gasses. Since P, n, R & T can change, I’m guessing V can as well.>>>

    OK, I gotta cipher on that one a bit.

    I guess my question would be, what causes the change in humidity?

    If we assume a system at equilibrium, changing the CO2 from 280ppm to 560ppm changes nojthing. But we know what causes the change,which is burning stuff. But what would change the humidity? Burning stuff? Not really, we’re back to a change so small as to be hard to even measure.

    I have to think about that one some more, but my initial suspiscion is that for a given equilibrium state, there is an equilibrium humidity. One can drive additional water vapour into the atmosphere by some artificial means, and all that happens is that the excess amount over the equilibrium amount precipitates out to return the system to equilibrium. Would a waterless planet be a different temperature than one with water? Methinks yes! But if we have a planet with water at equilibrium, what would cause the humidity to change in the first place?

  48. Roger Longstaff says:

    Graeme M says: January 31, 2012 at 1:23 am:

    Yes Graeme – semantics are very important. My point was – can we apply radiation pressure (from reflected radiation at all wavelengths) to deliver energy to the Venusian clouds, as well as absorbtion of IR radiation, thus removing the albedo problem? In other words, insolation can either be aborbed, transmitted or reflected, energy is delivered to clouds via absotbtion (of IR), reflection of visible (via radiation pressure) or transmission to the surface in the case of visible light through cloud free skies on Earth – so the albedo effect dissapears from any analysis that considers only TOA insolation, as in the case of both HDH and N&Z.

  49. tallbloke says:

    mt: The total amount of water in the atmosphere does vary, but over the holocene, not very much.

    There is a lot less evaporation and precipitation during glacial periods though, and this will explain most of the drop in temperature. Think of it as an amplifying mechanism for the Milankovitch cycles.

    It no doubt has a strong part to play in localised weather cycles though.

    Hoff: “Let’s see Willis show up here with his gang of learned supporters…Joel Shore, R. Gates, Nick Stokes, William Connolley… ”

    And have them do here what they’ve done to WUWT? No thanks. For one thing it’s too much of a moderation headache trying to control their gish-galloping tendencies.

    Nick has been ok because so far he has simply desisted once asked a question he can’t or chooses not to answer. Bill got the message too I think. ‘ WIllis’ ‘Mystery of Equation 8’ will be replied to on WUWT by Ned and Karl, and here by Ausie Dan.

    Then Ned and Karl will have their ‘Reply to comments part 2’ paper published here when it is ready. Ned and I have an agreement that this will be exclusive to the talkshop for a week. That will give us the opportunity to discuss it in the uncluttered and serene environment that is the Talkshop. Then we can get on with exploring the ramifications while the noise goes on elsewhere. Any substantive points raised elsewhere can be dealt with here in our own way.

  50. tallbloke says:

    I tried to post at Harry Dale Huffmans site, but the scripts on the page are not responding:

    Hi Harry

    You said:
    “the logically necessary implications of the measurement and the known cause (the temperature ratio MUST be at least partly due to the planets’ relative distances from the Sun, so if that known cause in fact entirely and precisely explains the temperature ratio, it MUST be the only cause for it).”

    What N&Z are saying is that it is the relative distances from the Sun plus the pressure (mass of atmosphere) which determine the temperature profile. Venus has a much higher surface pressure, but also has a much higher albedo (reflecting more IR as well as more visible light). The fact that the temperatur/pressure profiles match given the relative distances from the Sun of the two planets means the logical deduction is that albedo is a function of the energy state of the atmosphere which is in turn a function of the atmospheric mass and distance from the Sun.

    You and they are not far apart, but they have gone a step further in accounting for the similarity of the temperature profiles at specific pressures (allowing for the difference caused by distance from the Sun), despite the different albedos.

    You assert Earth and Venus absorb the same fraction of shortwave IR. They say the measurements show this is not the case (The overall albedo for Venus is 0.75, 0.3 for Earth according to them), but you end up with the same result as them, because (if they are correct) albedo is a function of pressure and solar proximity anyway.

    There may in fact be more factors involved in albedo, but the logical inference from the temperature and pressure data is that they will ultimately be found to be consequences of irradiance and pressure which act to maintain the dry adiabatic lapse rate.

    Best to you

    Rog Tallbloke

  51. Wayne Job says:

    Much tooing and froing in this post but I am heartened by the discussions that place much of the causes of climate off planet. We can consider ourselves fortunate, nay, privileged that our planet is moderated and controlled by water.

    This medium gives us a climate that allows for huge variations in the diverse bombardments of radiation in divers forms, and the myriads of meteorites, accompanied by the occasional larger ones that tend to arrive. The robustness of our climate in protecting life would suggest that it is not possible for our planet to be perturbed by minor variations in trace gases.

    Solar, planetary and galactic implications would most likely be the cause of the cyclic nature of our climate, I take heart that progress in the understanding of our planetary climate is being addressed by people untouched by consensus.

  52. davidmhoffer says:

    mt says:
    January 31, 2012 at 4:50 am
    davidmhoffer:
    What about humidity? That would allow n to change, and also change the atmospheric mass, which by your reasoning would allow P to change, which allows T to change, and R would change with the changing mix of gasses. Since P, n, R & T can change, I’m guessing V can as well>>>>

    OK, slept on it, and the answer is….
    Believe it or don’t…..
    Someone call me out if I got this wrong….

    almost zero!

    PV = nRT

    Take an atmosphere at equilibrium with no water vapour and add 40,000 ppm of water vapour. What changes? Two values change. P and n. But P and n are on opposite sides of the equation, so they tend to cancel each other out. P would increase by the mass of the water x gravity and n would increase by 4%. What’s the average mass of a molecule of H2O compared to the rest of the atmosphere? If it matches exactly, both P and n increase by 4% and no change occurs.

    It doesn’t match exactly…. raising the question, does a change in the amount of energy being absorbed occurr? Gotta run to a meeting, but I think not. If we assume not, then T doesn’t change. R might in theory be different, but not by much, so I’m guessing what little change there would be in R and P would actually be balanced out by a change in V.

    This is a counter intuitive, my brain is telling me I got the math wrong, but there it is.

  53. davidmhoffer says:

    tallbloke;
    And have them do here what they’ve done to WUWT? No thanks. For one thing it’s too much of a moderation headache trying to control their gish-galloping tendencies.>>>

    Understood. Part of me is very angry about what they’ve done and I want to see this matter dealt with in a fair fight, which ain’t gonna happen at WUWT. Did I say angry? Try incensed.

    There’s a certain psychology involved in all of this. When you are the “writer in residence” of WUWT and can count on Anthony’s protection when push comes to shove, you can say pretty much anything you want to anybody. Plus, the writer in residence of WUWT has legions of die hard fans fighting each other for the chance to be the first to tell the writer in residence that his latest diatribe is like pearls falling from his keyboard.

    Would the legions of fans follow him here to lend their support? Some, but only a tiny fraction I’d warrant. And I warrant as well that Willis himself would be more circumspect in his remarks when commenting away from home.

    Regardless, I am very glad you are giving this air time, and that a proper discussion of the science is happening.

    dmh

  54. mt says:

    davidmhoffer:
    I would agree, a system at equilibrium would probably have no net change between condensation and evaporation. But that isn’t the Earth. As you’ve noted, applying the SB law to the Earth is an approximation at best, incorrect at worst. What exactly is being used for N&Z? How far from an ideal gas is the Earth’s atmosphere? Could I go outside right now and use the infamous Eq 8 to calculate the current temperature from the current pressure and insolation, or does N&Z only work by giving an average for the entire Earth over some time frame?

  55. davidmhoffer says:

    mt says:
    January 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm
    davidmhoffer:
    I would agree, a system at equilibrium would probably have no net change between condensation and evaporation. But that isn’t the Earth. As you’ve noted, applying the SB law to the Earth is an approximation at best, incorrect at worst. What exactly is being used for N&Z? How far from an ideal gas is the Earth’s atmosphere? Could I go outside right now and use the infamous Eq 8 to calculate the current temperature from the current pressure and insolation, or does N&Z only work by giving an average for the entire Earth over some time frame?>>>

    Part of what N&Z have done is to arrive at a method of applying SB Law properly in the first place. Rather than average everything, they used calculus techniques to essentially divide the earth up into infinitisably small slices and calculate the SB Law values for each one. The reason that their formulas work is because they applied SB Law correctly.

  56. davidmhoffer says:

    mt;
    Could I go outside right now and use the infamous Eq 8 to calculate the current temperature from the current pressure and insolation>>>

    Yes!

  57. mt says:

    I finally found the poster, turns out Eq8 is “a simple yet robust formula for predicting a planet’s mean surface temperature as a function of only two variables – TOA solar irradiance and mean atmospheric surface pressure”. Which is good as it’s nighttime here, and without solar irradiance, it would be either really cold at the current pressure, or really pressurized (200 atmospheres) at the current temperature of 27F. Additionally, I just checked the weather in Barrow, Alaska, -38F and near normal pressure.

    If the function is only good for predicting an actual measured temperature if it’s taken at the equator at noon, I’m disinclined to believe it’s really capturing physical processes.

  58. Roger Longstaff says:

    TB, I am dissapointed that nobody has commented on my speculation that radiation pressure (conservation of momentum) can be applied to estimate the albedo effect on atmospheric temperatures (7.32 am, Jan 31st). If it is completely daft, could someone please explain why?

    [Reply] Roger, it seems likely no-one here has the expertise to comment. Could you do some more background and I’ll post it as a new article. Thanks.

  59. Roger Longstaff says:

    Thanks TB. I had expected someone to shoot it down in flames by now, but perhaps it is not so daft after all. I was simply trying to explain to myself the “missing link” between Huffman and N&Z (who I regret now seem to be at war with each other).

    Pressure of work means that it will take me a few days to prepare something, but hopefully, others will pick it up here beforehand and a new post will not be necessary.

  60. Roger Longstaff says:

    Sorry TB, the my last post was a “cop-out”. I’ll try a post of an “elevator speech” (so beloved to some…..) that I posted on BH:

    “For a rotating planet in diurnal equilibrium (neither heating nor cooling over successive rotational cycles) both the temperature and pressure lapse rates can be empirically explained considering only TOA insolation and the weight of the atmosphere, independent of chemical composition. The ideal gas laws, gravity and the laws of thermodynamics can be applied from first principles to at least partially explain this effect, independent of atmospheric mechanics. Insolation delivers energy to the atmosphere via transmission to the surface followed by conduction, absorbtion by gasses or clouds, and radiation pressure to the could tops via conservation of momentum (bearing in mind that the momentum of an incoming photon is h*f/c, where h is Plank’s constant, f the frequency and c is the speed of light). Energy is distributed through the atmosphere as a consequence of rotation, conduction, radiation and (primarily) convection.”

    Hence, the “albedo effect” dissapears, and in a single bound they were free!

    Now, that is provocative enough to get things going!

  61. RKS says:

    Roger Longstaff says:
    February 1, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Roger,

    Continuing our discussion from BH’s blog.

    Can we get an answer why Harry Huffman’s assertions, regarding solar distances, do not seem to account for the measured temperature of our moon’s surface, whilst N&Z explain why?

  62. RKS says:

    Roger Longstaff says:
    February 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm
    Sorry TB, the my last post was a “cop-out”. I’ll try a post of an “elevator speech” (so beloved to some…..) that I posted on BH:

    “For a rotating planet in diurnal equilibrium (neither heating nor cooling over successive rotational cycles) both the temperature and pressure lapse rates can be empirically explained considering only TOA insolation and the weight of the atmosphere, independent of chemical composition. The ideal gas laws, gravity and the laws of thermodynamics can be applied from first principles to at least partially explain this effect, independent of atmospheric mechanics. Insolation delivers energy to the atmosphere via transmission to the surface followed by conduction, absorbtion by gasses or clouds, and radiation pressure to the could tops via conservation of momentum (bearing in mind that the momentum of an incoming photon is h*f/c, where h is Plank’s constant, f the frequency and c is the speed of light). Energy is distributed through the atmosphere as a consequence of rotation, conduction, radiation and (primarily) convection.”

    Hence, the “albedo effect” dissapears, and in a single bound they were free!

    Now, that is provocative enough to get things going!

    Roger,

    As I’m pretty lazy at detailed maths manipulation, have you tried your conservation of momentum calculations over a wide bandwidth from short to LW radiation?

  63. Roger Longstaff says:

    RKS,

    “As I’m pretty lazy at detailed maths manipulation, have you tried your conservation of momentum calculations over a wide bandwidth from short to LW radiation?”

    The short anwer is no – I am working intuitively and I do not have the time. N&Z seem to have sorted out the Moon, but for a planet with an atmosphere I would need the help of a mathematician competent in vector calculus in order to attempt this.

    However, the relativistic approach to conservation of momentum was an attempt to remove the albedo problem (over all frequencies), where HDH appears to say that only IR is reponsible for temperature lapse rates, whilst conversely, visible radiation is responsible for most of the energy from the sun. I think that if we can sort out Venus/Earth, with a full SB explanation calculated from TOA where only radiation applies, and accounting for the different albedos and emisivities, then it could all fall into place.

    If I have misrepresented either N&Z, or HDH in these matters I apologise. Any mistakes in the physics are mine, and mine alone.

  64. Graeme M says:

    RKS says:
    “Can we get an answer why Harry Huffman’s assertions, regarding solar distances, do not seem to account for the measured temperature of our moon’s surface, whilst N&Z explain why?”

    I seriously don’t understand what you mean. HDH is explaining the temperature of the atmosphere. HDH’s explanation depends on an atmosphere. The moon has none.

  65. RKS says:

    Roger Longstaff says:
    February 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm
    RKS,

    “As I’m pretty lazy at detailed maths manipulation, have you tried your conservation of momentum calculations over a wide bandwidth from short to LW radiation?”

    The short anwer is no – I am working intuitively and I do not have the time. N&Z seem to have sorted out the Moon, but for a planet with an atmosphere I would need the help of a mathematician competent in vector calculus in order to attempt this.

    However, the relativistic approach to conservation of momentum was an attempt to remove the albedo problem (over all frequencies), where HDH appears to say that only IR is reponsible for temperature lapse rates, whilst conversely, visible radiation is responsible for most of the energy from the sun. I think that if we can sort out Venus/Earth, with a full SB explanation calculated from TOA where only radiation applies, and accounting for the different albedos and emisivities, then it could all fall into place.

    If I have misrepresented either N&Z, or HDH in these matters I apologise. Any mistakes in the physics are mine, and mine alone.

    Let’s hope N&Z are taking notice of this.

    I think you may well be on to something useful here.

  66. Chris M says:

    Roger Longstaff says:
    February 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    ‘I’ll try a post of an “elevator speech” (so beloved to some…..) that I posted on BH:”

    The so-called elevator speech is a facile meme introduced by WE a few weeks ago, in an apparent attempt to display his oh so profound erudition to an adoring audience. IMHO it is an expression that should never see the light of day again.

  67. RKS says:

    Chris M says:
    February 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm
    Roger Longstaff says:
    February 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    ‘I’ll try a post of an “elevator speech” (so beloved to some…..) that I posted on BH:”

    The so-called elevator speech is a facile meme introduced by WE a few weeks ago, in an apparent attempt to display his oh so profound erudition to an adoring audience. IMHO it is an expression that should never see the light of day again.”

    What are your views on Roger’s Hypothesis within his “speech”

  68. Anything is possible says:

    Roger Longstaff says:
    February 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    “I think that if we can sort out Venus/Earth, with a full SB explanation calculated from TOA where only radiation applies, and accounting for the different albedos and emisivities, then it could all fall into place.”

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines…

    The tropopause is the key to all this, IMHO. Temperatures there can be explained by radiation alone, if an NTE factor of 1.4 is applied to the SPBG figures worked out by N & Z. That works for both Earth and Venus. Less precisely on Titan. The tropopause on all 3 planets appears to occur at, or close to, the 226mb level in the atmosphere.

    Above the tropopause, where pressures are less than 226mb, the lapse rate disintegrates completely. Below the tropopause, the environmental lapse rate applies consistently all the way down to the surface EXCEPT local variations occur due to the presence of CONDENSING (not “greenhouse”) gases. This is why water vapour plays such a key role in the dynamic processes in the Earth’s atmosphere. Sulphur dioxide! plays a similar, but more limited role on Venus, with Ammonia performing the trick on Jupiter and Methane on Saturn, Titan Uranus Neptune and Pluto.

    Condensing gases! No planetary atmosphere should be without one… (:-

    I am finding it very difficult to avoid the conclusion that lapse rates are the LAW. Every climate scientist in the world will tell you that lapse rates are a consequence of surface temperatures. I think they have it exactly wrong. Surface temperatures are, in fact, are consequence of lapse rates.

    Vive la revolution!!!!

  69. Roger Longstaff says:

    OK folks, we are well into the “lager zone” (at least in the UK) and I want to stop worrying about this. So please answer the following simple question:

    Did EVERYBODY, from Hansen to Huffman, including N&Z, etc., etc., forget about the relativistic effects of reflected radiation pressure?

    Answer yes or no.

  70. tallbloke says:

    Wibble. 🙂

    Can you point me to a web resource where I can read about

    “the relativistic effects of reflected radiation pressure?”

    Thanks

    tb.

  71. Roger Longstaff says:

    TB – I just made it up. What I mean is conservation of momentum with the reflecting molecule(s), bearing in mind that the normal momentum of an incoming photon is h*f/c, where h is Plank’s constant, f the frequency and c is the speed of light.

  72. RKS says:

    Roger Longstaff says:
    February 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    “OK folks, we are well into the “lager zone” (at least in the UK) and I want to stop worrying about this. So please answer the following simple question:

    Did EVERYBODY, from Hansen to Huffman, including N&Z, etc., etc., forget about the relativistic effects of reflected radiation pressure?

    Answer yes or no.”

    Hic!

  73. Brian H says:

    Roger &/or TB;
    Here’s a simplistic mechanistic model, with pain as a dependent variable.

    On the left, a professional baseball pitcher. On the right, his 2 human targets. The pitcher has two rounds of ammo. One is a superball (idealized to have 100% elasticity). The other is an equal mass of plasticine.

    He r’ars back, and nails Target one in the middle of the forehead with the superball, radar tracked at 100 mph throughout its flight, which rebounds directly to the pitcher, who prudently snags it with a glove. Considerable damage has been done to forehead #1.
    Then, he does the same to target #2 with the plasticine, which travels at the same speed, but adheres to the receiving forehead. It is observed, inspecting the prone figures, that #2 suffered far less damage.

    How can this be? #2 took in 100% of the imparted energy, while #1 … Oh, wait! #1 recoiled with twice the momentum of #2, because the superball went back along its vector, at the same speed it arrived.

    So bouncing photons away does not mean being unaffected by them. It means suffering up to twice the “impact” compared to absorption (depending on angle of reflection).

    [Reply] I suspect that applying simple mechanical concepts to sub-atomic particles is one of the reasons for slow progress in physics. 🙂

  74. Roger Longstaff says:

    Brian H,

    Agreed, reflected radiation pressure is double that of absorbed radiation pressure, as a consequence of conservation of momentum.

    I still think that as visible radiation delivers most of the energy from the sun it would be interesting to estimate the “albedo effect” on the atmosphere. The maths could be pretty horrific because an integration over all angles of incidence would be required, in spherical coordinates. But if N&Z can manage this for SB calculations….?

    I still think that an Earth/Venus comparison could be interesing, as a consequence of the difference between partial and total cloud cover.

  75. Roger Longstaff says:

    TB, I should have added….

    Radiation pressure is not a “simple mechanical concept”, but rather a consequence of both special relativity (E=m*c^2) and quantum mechanics (E=h*f). Indeed, it is the propulsion principle proposed for “solar sailing” – interplanetary (or even interstellar) spaceflight with infinite specific impulse.

    But what effect on the atmosphere? It would be interesting if somebody did the sums…

  76. “However, Huffman needs to correct his terminology.”

    No, Nikolov is obviously incapable of following what I consider a simple train of thought–because he thinks he already knows better, and refuses to follow the logic. And Tallbloke, who wrote on my site that “I don’t feel ready to tackle your logic”, indeed doesn’t get it either. I don’t know if it will do any good to try once again to spell it out, but here is the real logic:

    1) The OBSERVED Venus/Earth atmospheric temperature ratio (over the range of Earth tropospheric pressures) is very precisely 1.176 (except within the Venus cloud layer). THAT IS A FACT.

    2) That temperature ratio corresponds to an ABSORBED POWER RATIO (watts/sq. meter) of 1.91. THAT IS ANOTHER FACT. (i.e.: Two bodies, isolated in space, are subject to two different incident radiation intensities, with one intensity 1.91 times that of the other. What is the ratio of the equilibrium temperatures of the two bodies? By the Stefan-Boltzmann formula, it is 1.176.)

    3) The actual (ACTUAL) INCIDENT POWER RATIO, from the ratio of the two planets’ average distances from the Sun (i.e., calculated beyond the atmosphere), is also 1.91. Yet another FACT.

    4) Ergo (and that means no fooling, this is just the unavoidable truth): a) the actual power per unit area absorbed by Venus’s atmosphere is 1.91 times that absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere–this is just factual statement (2) above; and b) that is also equal to the INCIDENT POWER RATIO (calculated beyond the atmosphere, BEFORE ANY REFLECTION of solar radiation)–this is just factual statement (3) above.

    Statement (4a) above is the empirical fact, DESPITE THE FACT that Venus’s albedo is much larger than Earth’s. So you see I don’t argue about the value of the albedo, there is no need to; instead I continue, logically and very simply in my professional opinion:

    Thus, the portion of the solar radiation that goes to warm either planet’s atmosphere DOES NOT INCLUDE the portion that is REFLECTED, by either planet–if it did, and Nikolov knew what he was talking about, then the observed Venus/Earth temperature ratio would NOT, could not, indicate statement (4a) above (that is, it would not BE 1.176, indicating an absorbed power ratio of 1.91)–but that temperature ratio DOES indicate statement (4a), and the two planets’ difference in albedo OBVIOUSLY makes no difference in the amount of power absorbed by either atmosphere. Simply stated, their temperature ratio is completely and precisely explained by the ratio of their distances from the Sun, nothing else.

    I gave David Socrates some numbers to indicate what is going on. Given that 30% of the solar radiation incident upon the Earth-plus-atmosphere system is reflected, and about 50% absorbed by the surface, then 20% is directly absorbed by the atmosphere, warming it. For Venus, given 70% is reflected, and the same 20% that warms Earth’s atmosphere also warms Venus’s atmosphere (only Venus is closer to the Sun, so that 20% contains 1.91 times the power that is in the same 20% hitting the Earth’s atmosphere), then Venus’s surface must absorb the remaining 10% (or, if the reflection is 75%, the surface absorbs about 5%). The approximate 20% of the incident solar power that warms BOTH planets is in the infrared, practically none is in the visible or in the ultraviolet (the latter, they tell us, is absorbed in the stratosphere).

    So forget “albedo is a function of pressure and solar proximity”, or “a function of the internal energy of the system” as Nikolov wrote at the top of this page. I am astounded that any physical scientist would make such a statement. The reflected radiation is simply not that radiation which can and does warm the atmosphere. All the above facts, plus the fact that the surfaces of Earth and Venus differ greatly (Earth being 70% ocean, while Venus is all solid crust) and would absorb different fractions of any radiation reaching them, also mean that THE ATMOSPHERES OF VENUS AND EARTH ARE BOTH WARMED BY DIRECT ABSORPTION OF INCIDENT SOLAR RADIATION (the approximate 20% of the total solar power just discussed), and NOT FROM THE SURFACE. The corollary to this is that, ANY UPWARD HEAT TRANSPORT, INCLUDING BY WAY OF THE ABSORPTION AND EMISSION OF UPWELLING LONGWAVE RADIATION, DOES NOT FUNDAMENTALLY WARM THE ATMOSPHERE (that is, has nothing to do with the tropospheric temperatures as established in the Standard Atmosphere, by its lapse rate structure and the incident solar intensity, but only has to do with the “weather”). ONLY DIRECT ABSORPTION OF INCIDENT SOLAR RADIATION FUNDAMENTALLY WARMS THE ATMOSPHERE. The only other person I know who independently came to this conclusion is William R. Pratt, but mine is the only factual demonstration of this revolutionary finding that I know of, and it is as important as the factual finding that there is no increase in global average atmospheric temperature with increasing carbon dioxide–no “greenhouse effect” as promulgated by the IPCC.

    Some of you also need to stop saying “most of the Sun’s radiation is in the visible”. That is not correct, the PEAK of the Sun’s spectrum is in the visible, but about half of the solar power is in the infrared (beyond the visible in wavelength).

    I will post this comment on my own site, to make sure everyone sees it.

  77. Roger Longstaff says:

    Dr. Huffman,

    The logic of your first 4 points is clear and easy to follow. However, the problem that I (and perhaps others) have is that in demonstrating the correlation between empirical evidence and insolation calculations you use the Stephan Boltzmann law.

    The SB law is derived by integrating Plank’s law over ALL frequencies, whereas you only seem to consider infrared radiation as the heating mechanism for both Earth and Venus, which have a substantial fraction of their insolation in the visible and very different albedos. I note that the SB law can also be derived using classical thermodynamics from the starting premise that radiation pressure is related to the internal energy density of a system. The proofs for both derivations are given here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan%E2%80%93Boltzmann_law

    This is NOT a criticism of your work, which I admire. Neither is it a criticism of N&Z. What I feel is perhaps lacking in both is a comprehensive description of the mechanisms that lead to thermodynamic eqilibrium over the diurnal (rotational) cycle. May I respectfully suggest that you work together on this?

  78. Stephen Wilde says:

    I find myself agreeing with Harry on this pending part 2 of the N & Z paper.

    It may simply be a matter of semantics.

    To my mind the albedo variations and the differing atmospheric compositions between Earth and Venus would simply be reflected in the different atmospheric circulations (or weather) on each planet so as to leave the system energy content and the basic lapse rate unchanged.

    Composition and albedo differences would then just be relegated to ‘weather’ and such weather would be an ever changing process which constantly adjusts the rate of energy flow through the system so as to maintain equilibrium system energy content and the basic lapse rate.

    In the process the relative sizes positions and intensities of the permanent climate zones on each planet would change as necessary creating regional climate change in the process but the critical fact is that such climate changes and the associated weather phenomena are always NEGATIVE system responses maintaining stability.

    I think that the mobility of the atmospheric heights in the vertical plane and the shifting of the climate zones in the horizontal plane (both longitudinally and latitudinally) provide the mechanism required to validate the observations noted by both Harry and N & Z.

    Once one accepts such mobility as a constantly varying negative system response to disruptive influences then the whole climate system makes sense.

    That is the mechanism which Roger (Longstaff) has called for. It applies not just over the diurnal cycle but across every cycle on every timescale and covers compositional changes and albedo variations too.

    I don’t see how any unified climate theory can be proposed that does not recognise the power of that vertical and horizontal system flexibility in terms of accelerating and decelerating energy flow through the system.

    That is the key to the entire climate debate (IMHO).

    A bit more CO2 from human emissions therefore has no effect on system energy content or on the lapse rate but does involve a faster flow of energy from surface to space via both radiative and non radiative processes.

    However, sun and oceans seem to shift the climate zones by 1000 miles or so going by the changes observed from MWP to LIA to date. Human emissions might shift them by just a mile or two.

  79. wayne says:

    Stephen: “A bit more CO2 from human emissions therefore has no effect on system energy content or on the lapse rate but does involve a faster flow of energy from surface to space via both radiative and non radiative processes.”

    Just to agree on the above, and that applies to any infrared enabled gas, not just CO2. Yes… radiation as a fast conductor by principle.

    However, I would not leave out Ferenc from this union of theories. Haven’t been able to mathematically prove it yet, but seems so far to imply N&Z’s Nte for Earth at 1.86.. and Miskolczi’s optical depth tau at 1.86.. is not by pure coincidence! Ferenc has shown that the total GHGs will also always arrange internally to keep that parameter constant. That is also what N&Z are saying in their theory in relation to the 1.86.. depending solely on the pressure (g, atm.mass & area).

  80. Roger Longstaff says:

    In order to consider the physics of the albedo problem, it may be useful to refer to the following graph:

    Take the black body spectrum for the sun at 6000K. Now consider two identical photons with a wavelength of 1 micron that are normally incident upon the cloud tops of Earth. Each will have a 50% probability of being either absorbed or reflected back to space, so postulate that one photon is absorbed by a water molecule and one is reflected by a water droplet or ice crystal. The absorbed photon will release all of its energy (=h*f) to the water molecule and also transfer its momentum (=E/c), the reflected photon will impart double its momentum to the reflecting object and then exit the atmosphere.

    In order to calculate the effects of these processes it will be necessary to integrate over all frequencies and over all angles of incidence.

    Is this correct?

  81. Roger Longstaff says:

    As this thread appears to have died, I would like to add one final thought, for the record.

    Considering the one micron photons normally incident upon clouds, mentioned above, some will be absorbed, some will be reflected and some will penetrate the cloud and undergo multiple internal reflections (and consequent momentum exchanges) and eventual absorbtion, or exit from the cloud in any direction. The empirical evidence for this is that when you fly through clouds you can still see light.

    Clearly, the physics solar photons impinging on clouds is complex, and, though I hesitate to say it, a possible job for computer modelling?