A conversation with Brandon Gates on the causes of the ‘greenhouse’ effect

Posted: October 8, 2018 by tallbloke in atmosphere, climate, Gravity, Measurement, radiative theory, Temperature, Thermodynamics

  1. tallbloke says:

    Twitter thread here

  2. gymnosperm says:

    Trouble is, you’re both right. Compression warmed atmospheric gasses (including CO2) do elevate the radiative temperature of CO2, but CO2’s radiative absorption also warms the other atmospheric gasses kinetically, even at the short (~1 meter) optical depth of the fundamental bend. Compression also broadens absorption.

    Nothing is simple. This is why observations are critical for figuring out how these factors balance. CERES tells us that LW to space is flat or increasing from the chosen altitude of 20 km. Since the temperature of the middle stratosphere has been declining sharply by all accounts, it seems likely that LW to space is increasing there.

  3. tom0mason says:

    Rog says “Mean free path means ‘downwelling’ LW doesn’t get directly from cloud base to surface as Trenberth’s misleading cartoon implies”

    Indeed doesn’t the LW get scattered, just the same as other light is scattered by our atmosphere. What comes to my mind is the daily phenomenon of blue color of the daytime sky and the reddening of the Sun at sunset. Surely a similar principle applies?

  4. ivan says:

    I’m still trying to work out how you can have a greenhouse effect when the atmosphere is open to space. That statement generally gets the warmists to either explode or just shut up, the latter are usually those that have experienced the polly tunnel ‘greenhouses’ used by the farmers around here.

  5. oldbrew says:

    The troposphere looks like this but the heights are variable.

    temperature as a function of height varies continuously through the atmosphere but the temperature gradient does not


    The lapse rate is the rate at which temperature in Earth’s atmosphere decreases with an increase in altitude, or increases with the decrease in altitude

    – – –

  6. avro607 says:

    Hottel who wrote many textbooks on thermodynamics stated that CO2 has no effect at atmospheric temps.
    Schack went further on this ,and said that CO2 would have to be at combustion chamber temp.:3000deg.centigrade to have any effect.
    I am not aware of any refutation of the above,only ignorance of their work.

  7. tallbloke says:

    The conversation continues…

  8. Stephen Richards says:

    there isn’t one parameter in your conversation that cannot be proven whereas non of Brandon’s have been proven even after 100 years

  9. angech says:

    1. “Although CO2 absorbs thermal radiation from the Earth, it emits more. Carbon dioxide is in thermal deficit in terms of radiative balance.”
    CO2 is not the sun. It is not an energy production molecule.
    CO2 absorbs energy, from LW or from collisions. It releases same.
    It cannot emit more than it absorbs in a re-energising environment [energy from the sun.

    In vacuum, CO2 molecules at a higher temperature than -77.8C will emit more radiation than they receive, and by doing so cool down, until they are in radiative balance, at -77.8C. Do not call us children if you wish to continue posting here.

  10. angech says:

    gymnosperm says: October 8, 2018 at 3:34 pm “Trouble is, you’re both right.”
    We have the problem that Roger believes that all is due to Pressure, gravity height and Brandon that CO2 causes all the fuss.
    Impressive scientific arguments for both sides.
    Let us call it a draw with some acknowledgement of Brandon’s argument [yuk].

  11. angech says:

    The reality is that pressure, gravity height acting on a body of air of known composition does, must determine the temperature[s] of said body of air.
    However said body of air will differ markedly if its composition included greenhouse gases of any variety, including CO2.
    Not exactly noted by Nikolic but not disputed by him either.
    In other words the heat retaining capacity of CO2 alters the temperature and the height at which CO2 emits to space.
    It does not happen in a vacuum.
    The O2 and N do heat up by collision and receive and transmit energy by collision to and with CO2 molecules.
    You are both right.
    Yeah, as my teenage son would say.
    Acknowledgements welcome.

  12. tallbloke says:

    angech: “The O2 and N do heat up by collision…with CO2 molecules”

    No. In collision with CO2 molecules they cool down.This is because in the troposphere where the N2 and O2 is, the temperature is above the radiative equilibrium value for CO2,which is therefore radiating energy faster than it receives it via radiation. The CO2’s radiating temperature is the same as the N2 and O2 around it, it is therefore taking energy from the N2 and O2. QED.

    I haven’t seen a coherent argument from Brandon, so there’s nothing to acknowledge, yet. Feel free to summarise it if you see one.

  13. tallbloke says:

    Here we go again:

  14. wyoskeptic says:

    Me thinks that is most of his problem. But rather than not enough, he’s smoked way tooooooo much.
    It is a wonder he did not demand that you supply him with munchies …

  15. nickreality65 says:

    I’ll plow this plowed ground and beat this dead horse yet some more. Maybe somebody will step up and ‘splain scientifically how/why I’ve got it wrong – or not.

    Radiative Green House Effect theory (TFK_bams09):

    1) 288 K – 255 K = 33 C warmer with atmosphere, RGHE’s only reason to even exist – rubbish. (simple observation & Nikolov & Kramm)
    But how, exactly is that supposed to work?

    2) There is a 333 W/m^2 up/down/”back” energy loop consisting of the 0.04% GHG’s that traps/re-emits per QED simultaneously warming BOTH the atmosphere and the surface. – Good trick, too bad it’s not real, thermodynamic nonsense.
    And where does this magical GHG energy loop first get that energy?

    3) From the 16 C/289 K/396 W/m^2 S-B 1.0 ε ideal theoretical BB radiation upwelling from the surface. – which due to the non-radiative heat transfer participation of the atmospheric molecules is simply not possible.

    No BB upwelling & no GHG energy loop & no 33 C warmer means no RGHE theory & no CO2 warming & no man caused climate change.

    Got science? Bring it!!

    Nick Schroeder, BSME CU ‘78, CO PE 22774


  16. Brett Keane says:

    Thanks Nick and Rog etc.. ‘They’ have claimed in the past that energy quanta cannot tell the energy of what they meet, so can add energy to it. Or act like a blanket so it warms above its inputted energy/enthalpy. I say try pushing a 5mph cart by walking behind at 4mph……. Just Magic!

  17. EternalOptimist says:

    Hi Rog. im a physics ignoramus but I have a question. what would happen if you pumped a bit of co2 into a microwaveable item? would it make my cottage pie cook any faster ?

  18. Brett Keane says:

    EO, water is what the MW frequencies are set to interact with. Same water that dominates atmospheric energy uplift rather than poor little radiation….. Bit like Brandon, dazzled by his own repartee. Wish he could bring science, as Nick requests. Brett

  19. kuhnkat says:

    Hard to believe a literate individual would use Moshpup’s distortion of reality to actually use in an argument!!


  20. EternalOptimist says:

    Brett, thanks for the answer. The point is, if the microwave was set to excite water molecules as well as CO2. and we saturated the target with water, don’t we have the basis of an experiment ?

  21. Brett Keane says:

    EO, CO2 Lasers have been discussed here in the past IIRC. As I remember, they work well by KE excitations concentrated so a focused beam is released at the KE temperature. Not CO2’s radiative T, which lacks useful energy. But I could stand corrected………

  22. Brett Keane says:

    EO, about 3ya some students invented a way to make electricity from “CO2 downwelling radiation frequencies”. I thought that would provide no useful energy or work, and they would not be heard from again. Seems to be the case……

  23. Brett Keane says:

    Hmmmm- crickets from Brandon?

  24. Bud Roberts says:

    It is lovely to see an actual conversation with no name calling. I only wish I had more knowledge to understand what the two of you were saying.

    On Monday, October 8, 2018, Tallbloke’s Talkshop wrote:

    > tallbloke posted: ” Rog Tallbloke‏ @RogTallbloke Oct 7 Hi Brandon, What > is the best estimate of the ratio of radiation to space taking place from > CO2 relative to H2O? Brandon R. Gates‏ @brandonrgates Oct 7 Dunno Rog. > MODTRAN ” >

  25. Tim Folkerts says:

    “In vacuum, CO2 molecules at a higher temperature than -77.8C will emit more radiation than they receive, and by doing so cool down, until they are in radiative balance, at -77.8C. ”

    Where does this come from? Maybe I am missing some specific bit of previous context with the surroundings held at -77.8.

    In general, CO2 molecules that are warmer than their surroundings will radiate more than they receive. CO2 molecules that are cooler than their surroundings will radiate less than they receive. CO2 will be in radiative balance when it is the same temperature as its surroundings.

    So if you put a small amount of CO2 molecules @ 0 C into a vacuum chamber where the walls are @ 20C, the CO2 will be GAINING energy from radiation and WARMING up toward 20 C.

    PS. I have a hunch that “-77.8C” comes from Wein’s Law and the fact that CO2’s strongest peak is at 15 um. If that is the source of “-77.8C” then you are badly mistaken.

  26. Tim Folkerts says:

    “Consider instead my V=1m^3 air parcel at P=101,32Kpa surface air pressure weighing 1.2Kg because it contains n=42.3mol. What is its temperature T according to the ideal gas law PV=nRT?”

    This is circular reasoning. The 1 m^3 contains 42.3 moles BECAUSE it is at 288 K. If you go somewhere warmer than 288 K, your 1 m^3 will contain fewer than 42.3 moles. If you go somewhere cooler than 288 K, your 1 m^3 will contain fewer than 42.3 moles. If you assume you have 42.3 moles (based on a prediction based on 288 K), then of course you will calculate a temperature of 288 K for that cubic meter of gas.

  27. Tim Folkerts says:

    “Although CO2 absorbs thermal radiation from the Earth, it emits more.”


    The thermal radiation emitted from the earth basically follows a smooth curve between the top two curves on that MODTRAN graph (ie basically follows a blackbody emission curve @ ~ 285 K).

    The ability of CO2 to absorb those wavenumbers is why the curve doesn’t follow the blackbody predictions. From ~ 600 – 800 cm-1, CO2 absorbs thermal radiation coming from the earth. That radiation from the earth has an intensity of ~ 35 – 40 in the units of the graph.

    In that same range, CO2 emits thermal LESS thermal radiation. CO2 emits about 1/2 as much radiation — about 15 – 35 in the units of the graph. All across that range, CO2 is emitting LESS than the surface is emitting.

    CO2 is a net ABSORBER of thermal radiation, absorbing the strong upwelling thermal IR from the surface, emitting LESS to space, and RETURNING some back to the surface.

  28. oldbrew says:

    CO2 is a tiny 0.04% of the atmosphere.

  29. kuhnkat says:

    Tim Folkerts, in the lower troposphere smart guys tell me the time to collision is shorter than the time to emission for CO2. That means a portion of the IR is transferred to O2 and N2 as someone above mentioned. Of course, in most areas of the earth, water vapor is involved even in the active CO2 bands.

  30. tjfolkerts says:

    Kuhnkat, I agree with everything you said.

  31. kuhnkat says:

    Anyone else remember a post Tim wrote here years ago explaining why the measurements of downwelling IR were wrong?? Wish I had copied it…

  32. tjfolkerts says:

    I am sure I have made various mistakes over the years, but I can’t think which sort of comment might be specifically interesting here. I wish you had copied it too — I am curious what stuck in your mind all this time.

    Your statements here are pretty non-controversial.
    * Yes, the time between atmospheric collisions is small compared to the time between absorbing and emitting an IR photon for CO2.
    * Yes some energy is transferred from CO2 to other gases by collisions (just like some energy is transferred to CO2 from other gasses by collisions).
    * Yes, the absorption bands of CO2 and H2O overlap.
    * (and yes, oldbrew, CO2 is only 0.04% of the atmosphere. )

    None of that seems particularly relevant to the points I had just been making. None seems directly related to whether or not some specific measurements of downward IR might have been incorrect.

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