A conversation with Ken Rice on the causes of the ‘Greenhouse effect’

Posted: October 4, 2018 by tallbloke in Analysis, Critique, Education, modelling, physics, solar system dynamics, Temperature, Thermodynamics

  1. Michael Ioffe says:

    1. In convection forces we must include that billions of molecules of water vapor are making any volume of air lighter, than others with less molecules of water vapor.
    It helps transport all energy of all gasses from ocean (land) level to upper troposphere, where energy is going to space easy than from ocean (land0 level. In this case all upward and downward explanation are useless.
    2. Clouds, white snow, and ice are reflect back to space direct sun radiation.
    Properties of water are cooling the atmosphere despite water vapor is greenhouse gas.
    To speak about intelligence of persons, which do not understand this simplicity in atmosphere processes are out of any wisdom.

  2. John OSullivan says:

    Roger, nice handling of the obstruction and hand waving of Ken Rice – we’ve been demanding access to these supposed official 3D climate models for years – Rice & Co won’t release them because they don’t exist..All they have is the simplistic flat earth, non-temporal ‘toy’ model GHE. Good to see you, Nikolov & Zeller and others advancing the work begun by the ‘Slayers’

    Hi John, and thanks for the props. Not sure what you mean by “the work begun by the ‘Slayers'”? If you are referring to Hans’ Jelbring’s E&E paper, two points:

    1) He wrote about density rather than pressure
    2) He didn’t become associated with the ‘slayers’ until 5 years after I published the original N&Z article here at the talkshop.

  3. JB says:

    What can a person comment to that doesn’t belabor the issue?

    I did not formally study thermodynamics, so I sit cross-legged at the feet of those who have.
    It seems to me however, that an appeal to the authority of advanced studies is a very weak argument, and certainly does not resolve the conceptual conflict(s). What seems pertinent to me is a solid understanding of the fundamental principles. Further in depth studies does not improve that understanding as much as its application in the lab (or field).

    I have never been impressed with Doctor of Philosophy degrees; 1) as a physicist once told me: You’re fortunate not to have had common sense drummed out of you in the pursuit of “higher” degrees. 2) From the time I first contemplated collegiate studies >40 yrs ago, I frequently ran into possessors of PhDs who, though they possessed specialized knowledge in some subject, exhibited no particular advanced wit,sensibility, or understanding of that precious knowledge they were so proud of. Over the years, parsing through trade journals and such depositories as INFIS I’ve read too many papers where the authors were exceptionally skilled at verbiage, but hadn’t a sensible thing to say. The worst offenders were those who resorted to mathematical modeling in their papers, as though manipulation of symbols explains physical processes. What such an approach signifies to me is their (in)competence at mathematics, and says nothing about any special insight.

    As I haplessly discovered in the middle of my own technical career, my father and oldest brother fit well into this category of PhDs. Both had completely forgotten the fundamental principles of their field, and inquiries into certain specific questions resulted in responses equivalent to looking for tits on a boar hog.

  4. tallbloke says:

    Heh. Following our conversation Ken’s gone off to have a chunter to himself:

  5. cognog2 says:

    Michael Loffe indeed raises the main issue which is missing from this discussion; namely the thermodynamics of water. The buoyancy of gaseous water(vapor) acts similarly to Convection; but for different reasons. Convection operates on temperature difference. Vapor buoyancy does not; so this discussion is somewhat pointless unless this is taken into account.
    The main point that emerges, if account is taken, is that of Latent Heat which operates at constant temperature during phase change, involving large energy (circa 680 WattHrs/Kg.) transfers. This means that the coefficient in the Plank Equation is zero. Namely a zero “Climate Sensitivity” in Climate Debate terms.
    It is this Latent Heat which is carried up through the atmosphere and hence to space irrespective of the convection process that renders the use of radiation and the gas laws only, as inappropriate when dealing with climate matters.

  6. tallbloke says:

    I fully agree with both of you. It’s just difficult to deal with the complexity of the latent heat issue in tweet-length chunks. I did mention the suppression of evaporation by air pressure though. Another point worth noting is that while rising humid air loses temperature at the environmental lapse rate, descending dry air gains temperature nearer the adiabatic lapse rate.

  7. Ian W says:

    Also the glib use of ‘temperature’ when what is meant is heat content and they are not the same in a gas especially not so in a humid atmosphere with increased enthalpy. The metric used should be kilojoules per kilogram. If you use the correct metric then all the vague terms like hotter / cooler disappear and the radiative issues also disappear.

  8. cognog2 says:

    Agree Tallbloke. The comments section is not very suitable for dealing with this complex subject. I just wish that the workings of the Rankine Cycle in the atmosphere get included in the IPCC calculations eventually. Perhaps then it might start comprehending what is happening in the clouds.
    This obsession with pesky CO2 is really messing things up.

    Also – Yes Ian . Temperature is much misused. I prefer enthalpy. Temperature is only one factor of State of many which comprise the energy content (enthalpy) of a closed Thermodynamic system.
    As for the metric I get confused on occasions as I was built in the days of Btus/ Lb.! However I think WattHrs/Kg can be understood by many. Not many people know what a Joule is

    Finally- as an aside: I read somewhere that a balloon filled with gaseous water provides much more lift than a hot air balloon. Don’t know whether it is true as I haven’t bothered to calculate it out; but expect it is.
    The IPCC can’t see these skinless balloons as they are invisible; but indeed they are there, busy cooling the Earth.

  9. oldbrew says:

    The energy budget diagram is full of sunshine. Given that half the planet is in the dark at any given time, is there a night-time version of the diagram anywhere?
    – – –
    Found this video…

  10. oldbrew says:

    Expected to peak Sun./Mon.

  11. JKrob says:

    tallbloke said:
    “Another point worth noting is that while rising humid air loses temperature at the environmental lapse rate, descending dry air gains temperature nearer the adiabatic lapse rate.”

    That is factually incorrect. The vertical motion of air causes heating *or* cooling at the adiabatic (moist or dry) lapse rate. The environmental lapse rate (the actual temperature of the atmosphere at a specific level) determines if the air parcel will rise on it’s own (unstable), or stay where it is (stable)… presuming no kinematic, isentropic or orographic forcing.

    “… because there’s no roof to prevent convection.”

    Incorrect again. There are things called inversions (part of that environmental lapse rate) which *does* cap/inhibit convection and is quite common throughout the atmosphere – “Trade Wind Inversion” is the most wide-spread common example which caps deep convection across broad areas of the tropics.

    If you are going to talk about meteorological processes, it helps to understand meteorological processes.

  12. dai davies says:

    “is there a night-time version of the diagram anywhere?”

    OCM shows variation over the daily cycle

    or a snapshot

  13. Found this comment on 2/10/18 at the Andrew Bolt blog
    “Andrew, I disagree with your second point that man’s emissions have a tendency to heat the planet. Firstly, I am have university qualifications in subjects that include heat and mass transfer plus more than that i have practical experience in heat and mass transfer and the measurement of CO2 in many applications including measuring of CO2 in the atmosphere and high up at the outlet of smoke stacks.
    1.The S-B equation (Q=AeσT^4) was developed for surfaces (note A area in m^2) in a vacuum. Gases do not have a surface, Prof Hoyt Hottel developed a modified form which is based on volumes and uses path length as one of the variables. Using Hottel’s form it is found that the absorption by CO2 in the atmosphere is insignificaant and so small to be unmeasurable. Further, of the total CO2 in the atmosphere man’s emission is only a tiny fraction so overall man’s contribution is nothing of nothing.
    2. Clouds (water droplets-H2Ol & ice-H2Os) are the major controlling factor of radiation coming in and delay of radiation going out (note the top of clouds radiate to space). Water vapor H2Og is something like 10 times more important for radiation absorption and emission than CO2 and in addition there is more than 50 times as much ie CO2 is insignificant.
    3.There is considerable evidence and the results of measurements that temperature changes lead CO2 changes (daily, seasonal, cycles of 40,60 120 years, and cycles of thousand of years) This should negate all thoughts of CO2 causing temperature changes.”

    From my experience as an engineer, I agree with these points. If you not know of Prof Hoyt Hottel’s (Prof at MIT) work -look at the Chapters on heat transfer in Mark’s Mechanical Engineering Handbook or Perry’s Chemical Engineering Handbook. You might learn something.

  14. Brett Keane says:

    JK Rob: How’s about you leave the snark about Met when we discuss atmospheric physics. Like radiation, inversions are temporary effects of more relevant causative factors. Understand those, right down to molecular and quantum level; through the diurnal evaporation/condensation cycles, and you will get it. Met should be applied physics with no impossible climate models; and predictions only with what you really know….. Surprise still shall come.
    Show us your roof over the whole world, please. Cheers from Brett

  15. gallopingcamel says:

    There are dozens of mathematical models that explain the Green House Effect with some semblance of accuracy when compared to reality (=observations).

    My personal favorite is the Robinson & Catling model for the following reasons:
    1. The model is derived from first principles with only one “Fudge Factor”
    2. The model explains the temperatures observed on all seven bodies in our solar system that have significant atmospheres (Venus. Earth, Titan, Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune).
    3. The model explains temperatures in tropospheres, tropopauses and stratospheres.

    Here is a link showing how well it works for Titan that has a denser atmosphere than Earth:

  16. tallbloke says:


  17. Brett Keane says:

    Totally agree GC. Looking at the Solar System Pressure/T/Solar Distance(AU) figures and Lapse Rates no matter what gases present: shows how “God Integrates Empirically”. Leaves no wriggle room for Radiative heat storage by gases. CO2 has no effect but mass and insolation does.

    The select 97%, some 67 odd, needed something to pin their hopes of destroying the West on. When it became obvious CO2 would not have the power even with the best of special effects tricks, they slipped sideways and had it somehow boil water too. Never mind experimental or observational evidence. Tough that those needed to pay the piper are now making themselves scarcer than hen’s teeth. Wonder why? Hmmmmm, maybe the Ideal Gas Law caused by the distance between gas molecules. No Ideal Liquid or Solid Laws. Still waiting for some to notice that WV can uplift many times more energy than now asked of it. Or the rapid buoyancy of warmed gases of any stripe. All achieving what Equipartition demands, the most energy efficient way out to space for solar input.
    Which radiation cannot do with atmospheres over c.0.1 bar, as demonstrated by the work of R+C and many others here and elsewhere, The US Standard Atmosphere, NASA data and also Russian on Venus.

    Maxwell was the first to integrate Gas Laws by the “Poisson Relationship” with his Thermodynamic work, world-shaking stuff, in His “Theory of Heat” as pertaining to Atmospheres. Which he realised were not confined but only constrained by Gravity. That Foundation from the giant of Thermodynamics stands today. It is only proven again by the solar system data.

  18. Brett Keane says:

    Looking at the whole column, one might be surprised at the lack of deeper understanding of atmospheres and physics, roofless or otherwise. But then again. Are they losing Heart?

  19. oldbrew says:

    BBC to launch weekly climate propaganda slot
    OCTOBER 6, 2018

    However, we’re not intending to give you a weekly update on Doomsday.


    Not much :/

    From an earlier BBC comedy show…

  20. tom0mason says:

    I note that Joanne Nova site is reporting about the inaccuracy of the HADCUT temperature record.

    All this after a Dr John McLean audited the record to find glaring holes, obvious inconsistencies, and fundamental error in the temperature compilation record.

  21. michael hart says:

    It intrigues me that the atmospheric role of CO2 is usually only explained in the context of it absorbing and emitting in certain specific windows that water does not. I.e., it has a degree of complementarity to water vapour.

    But I never see any mention of its effects on air that is very close to saturated with water vapor (or indeed air that may already contain liquid water). While I can accept that adiabatic cooling due to expansion may prevail in the lower troposphere, it seems necessary that cooling by radiation, and hence condensation/cloud-formation, must be increasingly dependent on direct radiative cooling in the upper troposphere.
    Is this not also the region of interest where radiative losses to space become important? Yet I never see anything said about such direct effects of CO2 upon condensation and cloud formation (or cloud evaporation) in the upper troposphere. I would have thought that this ought to have a potentially large effect on the Earth’s energy budget through changed cloud dynamics.

  22. Brett Keane says:

    From 5km upward, massive Water Vapour Latent Heat release occurs, and the Free Path to space starts to dominate…… CO2 has colder bands higher up, but they are not critical to the heat budget as we have it now. Everywhere and into the Tropopause, Convection and LH do the heavy lifting to where the Gradient favours Radiation again. Forget radiative transfer where the energy gradient does not favour its flow over other means. Simple Physics ie Mechanics ie Work.

  23. oldbrew says:

    MH – Daytime and night-time cloud effects may cancel each other out?

  24. cognog2 says:

    Dead right Brett. The buoyancy of gaseous water transports large energies up through the atmosphere and beyond independently of radiation and convection and as far as I can see this is generally ignored in the debates.
    The rate at which this occurs is directly linked to the radiation input received whether down or up welling and it takes place at zero Plank equation coefficient (aka climate sensitivity).
    Why this is ignored beats me, for in essence it is acting as a form of thermostat with the temperature determined ultimately by gravity induced pressures.
    The Hydro cycle being basically a Rankine Cycle.
    Why, otherwise does the kettle in your kitchen boil at 100C however much you turn up the heat?

  25. tallbloke says:

    And boil at 68C at camp 5 on Everest.

  26. cognog2 says:

    OMG. Did I really need to put that in? Cheers👍