Basic Physics of the climate: A short debate with Roger Pielke Sr.

Posted: June 25, 2020 by tallbloke in climate, Energy, pressure, radiative theory

It’s always a pleasure to interact with Roger Pielke Sr. A climate scientist who is open to debate, respectful of honestly held opinion, and willing to concede ground where the facts dictate.

Roger A. Pielke Sr@RogerAPielkeSr·Nice to see sfc moist enthalpy that we proposed being added to the assessment of heat. “Outdoor Thermal Comfort and Building Energy Use Potential in Different Land-Use Areas in Tropical Cities: Case of Kuala Lumpur”… Our paper is…

Rog Tallbloke @RogTallbloke·My experiment ended today Roger. It took 25ml of water at 20C at sfc pressure 12 days to evaporate compared to 2.5 hours at 20C in 266 times less pressure. What do you think really makes Earth’s surface ~90K warmer than the moon’s; GHGs or atmospheric pressure?

Roger A. Pielke Sr@RogerAPielkeSr·Pressure occurs from weight of air – hydrostatic relation. It certainly is part of the vertical distribution of T – ideal gas law. But GHGs result in a warmer temperatures than would otherwise occur – from radiative flux divergence. More GHGs, the warmer atmosphere becomes.

Rog Tallbloke @RogTallbloke·OK, thank you. This is progress. All GHG based models predict mid trop warming faster than surface. It has to, to warm the surface. But has this been observed in sufficient magnitude?

Roger A. Pielke Sr@RogerAPielkeSr·The climate models quite significantly over predict observed warming as you and others have shown.

Rog Tallbloke @RogTallbloke· I’m not gloating. There’s something more fundamental. Gavin Schmidt shows that climate models are not as far off at surface as they are at mid trop. But this is fatal for GHG theory itself. Where did the energy come from? Sun via cloud cover reduced by undocumented GHG effect?

Roger A. Pielke Sr@RogerAPielkeSr·That the surface has a different magnitude of trend than the troposphere clearly indcates the models are significantly incomplete in representing forcings and feedbacks. Unfortunately this is still mostly ignored in climate assessments.

Rog Tallbloke @RogTallbloke·I’m encouraged. I want to demonstrate that pressure doesn’t just redistribute energy in the vertical profile, but raises absolute T at surface by impeding energy flows from land and ocean, causing the rise in T necessary to the emission of as much energy as arrives from the Sun.

Roger A. Pielke Sr@RogerAPielkeSr·Integrated global surface pressure is essentially constant. Has been for a very long time. Not sure why you propose pressure impedes energy transfers. There are significant issues with the models but I don’t see this as a robust hypothesis.

Rog Tallbloke @RogTallbloke·I’m not arguing pressure drives decadal change in surface T (That’s clouds ;-)). I’m proposing pressure does most of the heavy lifting from Moon temp of ~198K towards 288K Earth sfc T. Please look again at calcs on right here. PV/Nr=T

Roger A. Pielke Sr@RogerAPielkeSr·We will just have to disagree on this. Earth’s surface is as warm as it is from the reduction of long wave radiative emission to Space due to atmos water vapor, CO2 & other GHGs. We see this occurring, for example, by comparing Tmin on nights with low dew versus high dew points.

Rog Tallbloke @RogTallblokeReplying to @RogerAPielkeSrYes, atmos water vapour keeps sfc warmer at night. BUT, the WV evaporated from somewhere, cooling the surface during the day. LW absorption/emission redistributes energy as well as pressure. BUT, look at the impedances, not just the W/m^2, for really big forces. Thanks for debate.

  1. oldbrew says:

    GHGs at night and in daytime – where’s the data?

  2. Joe Lalonde says:

    Now add to this…
    What generates the downward pressure?
    How is the planet shaped into it’s orb shape?

    That is the orbital solar winds that rotate and blasts past or vulnerable orb.

  3. Peter Norman says:

    Rog, I admire the patience you have with this guy. Basic gas laws prove beyond doubt the lapse rate is a simple function of pressure. Back radiation crap is so stupid an idea I have nothing but pity for the low intellect scientists who believe in such nonsense. If CO2 has any effect on climate then it probably adds to cooling. Any molecules between the Sun and a thermometer on Earth’s surface will reduce the day-time reading. Yes, atmospheric molecules can also impede cooling at night but all surface and atmospheric molecules radiate to space. Yes, falling molecules can return some energy to the surface. But that’s it! Trace atmospheric gasses are irrelevant except in silly climate computer models. What’s so difficult here that these guys can’t understand it?

  4. tom0mason says:

    Back radiation works the same as the Sun being ‘warmed’ by forest fires on Earth radiating ‘heat’ to it’s surface.

  5. Paul Vaughan says:

    I laugh as soon as I see the word “physics”.
    They frame a debate based on false assumptions.
    Some assign themselves voluntarily to that cage. (“W/m^2” is a sure sign of surrender.)
    My suggestion: Stay away from the cage. There are NO climate keys in that cage.

  6. Ron Clutz says:

    Some years ago Roger Pielke Sr. did excellent research on a set of weather stations in Colorado to investigate a strange phenomenon. The regional average from the 11 stations did not reflect any of the individual records that went into the calculation. The study linked below showed that numerous differences in the landscapes at each site meant that temperature and precipitation measurements differed significantly from one to the other, even when located a few kms apart. Not only absolute differences, such as altitude would create, but also the trends of changes differed due to terrain features. Thus the averages are not descriptive of any of the local realities. In my studies of temperature trends, I took Pielke findings to heart and focused on the pattern of change observed in each specific site.

    The paper is available here:

  7. tallbloke says:

    PaulV: No matter how ridiculous it is, I have to try to get the climate scientists to understand thermodynamics. Not just for the sake of science being done properly, but to protect ordinary people from the economic damage climate policy is inflicting on us.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Everyone knows that most so-called greenhouse gas is water vapour, so what benefit do they imagine could arise from a slight reduction, or lack of increase, in the already small CO2 component?
    – – –
    Even NOAA doesn’t really know what’s going on with water vapour…

    The feedback loop in which water is involved is critically important to projecting future climate change, but as yet is still fairly poorly measured and understood.

    But the science is settled 🙄

  9. Paul Vaughan says:

    TB wrote: “PaulV: No matter how ridiculous it is, I have to try to get the climate scientists to understand thermodynamics. Not just for the sake of science being done properly, but to protect ordinary people from the economic damage climate policy is inflicting on us.”

    Do they still assume a disk?

  10. A C Osborn says:

    The key for me about cloud cover is that during the day very high power UV & white light are reflected and therefore reduced at the surface especially over the seas.
    At night only low power LWIR is affected, high desert diurnal temperaure swing also shows that CO2 does nothing.
    The anti correlation between Tropical cloud cover and temperature shown here during the 1970-1998 period says it all.

    I keep asking this question of the CAGW crowd, if Oxygen and Nitrogen do not cool the Atmosphere via LWIR when they are at the same temperature as CO2 and CO2 does, which is the cooling gas ndn which are the real green house gases holding on to the heat?
    There answer is all hot object emit radiation.

  11. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Dear Rog. Tall bloke, not the other Rog. Keep plugging away, you may get the point through the other Rog’s thick skull.

  12. A C Osborn says:

    Their not there answer.

  13. tallbloke says:

    PaulV: Do they still assume a disk?

    The disk assumption estimates (quite well) the AVERAGE insolation to the sunlit hemisphere ins simple 1D models. They don’t assume a disk for IR emission.

  14. Pablo says:

    On 10 days of observation by Angstrom in august 1905.

    “Lake Vassijaure being in latitude 68º N, we thus find that of the incoming radiation from the sun and sky, 8 per cent is reflected from the water surface, and 33 per cent is used in evaporation, the remaining 59 per cent being absorbed by the water and re-radiated to the atmosphere as long waves.”

    from “Physical and Dynamic Meteorology” by David Brunt 1934

  15. Tallbloke it is not only Thermodynamics they do not understand but also Heat&Mass transfer and fluid dynamics. which are chemical and mechanical engineering subjects.
    Peter Norman -agree, there is and can be no back radiation from the atmosphere unless there is one of those rare inversions. Any chemical or mechanical engineer with experience knows of the the 4th & 5th postulates of thermodynamics and has likely found they hold in their measurements, experiments and design (eg measurement of heat loss from a duct or pipe and the effect of insulation)

  16. Pablo says:


    “as far as true absorption in the atmosphere is concerned the incoming solar beam passes through the atmosphere almost undiminished.
    The light reflected and scattered by molecules of dry air and water-vapour, water drops, etc., will remain short-wave radiation.”


    “The net outward flow of long-wave radiation from the earth, which is the difference between the radiation from the earth’s surface and the long-wave radiation of the atmosphere, is the same order of magnitude by night and by day. But is much easier to observe this net radiation by night than by day,….”

  17. tallbloke says:

    Pablo: the incoming solar beam passes through the atmosphere almost undiminished.

    I think you need a more up to date textbook. According to NASA measurements, 79W/m^2 of the incoming at 341W/m^2 at TOA is absorbed in the atmosphere. See energy budget diagram above.

  18. Pablo says:

    TB: I assume that is the average , but this old book also reveals that… “on a clear day, with the sun in the zenith, the total loss from the the solar beam due to absorption in atmosphere down to sea level is only about 6 to 8 per cent…

    The danger of averages I guess, which can distort a whole load of realities.

  19. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    Take a single atom. If it is vibrating at a frequency f and I apply an external force also vibrating at frequency f will the atom vibrate faster? If I apply an external force at 0.5f will it slow it down? If I apply an external force at 2f will it speed it up? To cause extra heat the atom must vibrate faster.

  20. tallbloke says:

    Pablo: The NASA measured average is 21%. But indeed, many important processes are smeared into obliteration by averaging.

    Kelvin: I leave the sub-molecular stuff to others on the whole. I deal in empirically observable stuff.

  21. Pablo says:

    TB: Any thoughts on dividing incoming solar by 4 instead of two as per Joe Postma?

  22. tallbloke says:

    Yes. Use the proper integration published by Nikolov and Zeller.

  23. Pablo says:

    Postma backs them also.

  24. Paul Vaughan says:

    TB wrote “The disk assumption estimates (quite well) the AVERAGE insolation to the sunlit hemisphere ins simple 1D models. They don’t assume a disk for IR emission.”

    Your 1st sentence: Sunspot integral. SAM. Acknowledged. Got it. Your 2nd:
    Then they’re left to rightly acknowledge solar cycle deceleration SHAPES IR emission (wind shape eats ice margin to asymmetrically net cool! differintegral exports).

    Bottom Line:
    “military-modeling complex” is simply based on data misinterpretation.

  25. Paul Vaughan says:

    …and lastly (nothing lunar hear):
    How dare we press 96 to demon state anything monstrous AB out LAC?….

  26. Paul Vaughan says:

    Another thought to be left: “Physics” (what they call it) has no. thing to DO with changing the shape of the boundary (line of actual control)….

    Right got it….

  27. Paul Vaughan says:

    A short D-bait in deed.

  28. oldbrew says:

    For believers in human greenhouse effects…

    Ninety five percent of greenhouse gas warming is due to water vapor and there is no evidence that atmospheric water vapor has increased. Only 3.6% of the greenhouse effect is due to CO2.

    Don Easterbrook

    Chapter 1 – Geologic Evidence of Recurring Climate Cycles and Their Implications for the Cause of Global Climate Changes—The Past is the Key to the Future (2011)

    And only a fraction of the 3.6% is due to fuel burning by humans.

  29. Bloke no longer down the pub says:

    This may be of help to the uneducated.

  30. tallbloke says:

    Bloke. Grew up on it. My mum owns the original LP.

  31. tallbloke says:

    PaulV: How dare we press 96 to demon state anything monstrous AB out LAC?

    96 years isn’t divisible by 18.6, but the lines of nodes crosses the line of apse every 4 years. Am I getting warmer?

  32. Paul Vaughan says:

    TB: I spelled it out right down to like .000000something% on Suggestions. There are SEVERAL different 96’s (call it a bundle) and each can be calculated from the other precisely. Sometimes I invite misunderstanding (an efficient way to learn who’s trustworthy) by writing with symbolism, knowing different people will perceive a different message (exploring both climate and human nature), but the calculations are there right down to .000000something% for real …posing no risk to anyone’s “global agenda”, but do know that I’ve learned to see Five Eyes ever so clearly as Five Lies just by watching Johnson and Trump play backstabbing politics.

  33. Paul Vaughan says:

    Tallbloke, bad physicists (who swing hammers at freedom) can’t deflect boundary conditions:

    “Mathematics is the queen of the sciences—and number theory is the queen of mathematics.” — Gauss

    Note from other threads I have withdrawn my support for both Five Eyes and the British Commonwealth.

  34. Johna says:

    Re. tallbloke says: June 26, 2020 at 7:41 am PaulV:…..” Not just for the sake of science being done properly, but to protect ordinary people from the economic damage climate policy is inflicting on us..”
    Dear Tallbloke; mydogsgotnonose, Gerhard Gerlich and many others have explained how co2 does not cause so called man made global warming and joseph postma has made this far more easy to understand i.e. flat earth theory and false heat transfer v Earths hemispherical surface and real heat transfer interaction with the only heat source – the Sun. But the real issue is some of the so called climate scientists have a political agenda to keep supporting co2 agw i.e. they make a lot of money and want to keep their cushy jobs. And that’s exactly what our politicians want to. And to make it even worse for the public, who are getting shafted, the UN wants total control of the World politics. So perhaps you should be educating the ordinary public instead as they are the key to give us what we all want; True Democracy.

  35. Pablo says:

    “Downward longwave radiation (DLR) is often assumed to be an independent forcing on the surface energy budget ….
    Our results suggest that surface DLR is tightly coupled to surface temperature; therefore, it cannot be considered an independent component of the surface energy budget.”


  36. oldbrew says:

    “Downward longwave radiation (DLR) is often assumed to be an independent forcing on the surface energy budget”

    Can the ‘assumers’ tell us where it derives its energy from, and then whether or not that energy source or sources has/have already appeared elsewhere in the budget? If they say GHGs, ask what energy source heated the GHGs.

  37. tallbloke says:

    This is so stupid. Everything radiates according to its temperature. The net flux is upward, and has a value of 56W/m^2 on average. 40 of that goes through the ‘atmospheric window’. The current theory would have you believe the remaining 16W/m^2 raises the surface temperature 90K – the difference between our surface temperature here and the surface temperature of the Moon.

    Gavin Schmidt recently demonstrated that the models don’t overestimate the (hypothesised) warming power of additional CO2 at the surface as badly as they do in the mid troposphere. But the mid troposphere has to warm more than the surface or the theory is wrong.

    The theory is wrong.

    What really causes the temperature at the surface to be 90K higher than the moon’s, despite the 30% albedo, is the action of the force of gravity on our massive atmosphere (~99% O2+N2) generating a gradient of pressure which reaches 14.6 lb/in^2 at the surface. That impedes the loss of energy from the surface and forces it to rise in temperature until it can balance energy in with energy out.

  38. Paul Vaughan says:

    Johna: Debate has no effect on these people. It does not constrain them — at all. Understand what that means.

  39. tallbloke says:

    JohnA: So perhaps you should be educating the ordinary public instead as they are the key to give us what we all want; True Democracy.

    Sure. That’s what popular science blogs like this one try to do. They allow people to participate in the production of knowledge.

    And UKIP did get out there to educate the UK public about the real undemocratic nature of the EU. And we forced and won the referendum. And then with Leave Means Leave and the Brexit Party we carried on fighting to force the politicians to honour the result. I was the Yorkshire organiser for all these pressure groups. That’s why I’ve been mostly missing from this blog for years.

    Tonight we have passed the deadline for requesting an extension to the ‘transition period’. I hope that means I can devote more time and effort to creating the science we need to replace the failed radiative greenhouse theory.

  40. Johna says:

    I’m really glad to hear that Tallbloke. And as a Scot who seen and made the best of “Made in Scotland/England“ engineering manufacturing and mining and having worked in Doncaster Plant and heard the tales of other fine Yorkshire soldiers who said “the biggest mistake we made was not to turn our guns on the Slimy gutless pieces of S who sent us to our death”… Sure I and billions more agree it is time to level up the field that Thatcher Blair et all tilted vertically – after they killed off King Arthur – i.e. them on top and the plebs back bellow. So blow the whistle anytime mate and count me and Billions in. I voted out too on the back of NF rhetoric as as an engineer I want real jobs for my children and us all. But and I mean But, we need NF and or some other leader who will listen to the the facts and get UK manufacturing back to where we were kicking arse – and take it from there. BJ et all are stupid know SFA clowns in fools clothing and are not what we need. PS Who is mydogsgotnonose as ide like to see more of his fine scientific work please? Also in relation to Joseph Postma and Gerhard Gerlic! PPS I know for a fact that some top tier climate geezers agree with us, but don’t want to go on the dole for a laugh – ha ha said the clown?

  41. Pablo says:

    Thanks for all your efforts with Brexit.

    On atmospheric long wave radiation, I really would recommend that old book quoted from earlier (mentioned by Richard Lindzen on a YouTube lecture).
    Way over my head for the most part, but nowhere within it can I find mention of a Greenhouse Effect that raises the surface temperature by 33ºC.

    There is a secondhand copy on there right now for £4.50.

  42. Paul Vaughan says:

    Tallbloke, are you guys working out a strategy for correcting Boris where he backstabbed people who worked extremely hard to facilitate his victory? Believe me: This is of very high international importance. Again: He has caused us problems I dare not write on the net. I’m curious to know how feasible you think correction is, for your whole country is responsible for a big symbolic problem for the rest of us if this can’t be achieved within a reasonable amount of time. You worked really hard. It’s the type of battle that takes a long-term toll. Please do not feel pressured to respond now, but do know that readers are curious to hear something on this topic in the days and weeks ahead. The way it looks right now is like spoiled PC said “fine if we can’t do it through EU we’ll do it EVEN BIGGER through UN”. I can never accept that guy as king. I feel like he wants me starving and homeless in the dead of winter.

  43. tallbloke says:

    John A: We’re on the same wavelength. This is the 10 minute talk I gave to UKIP’s energy and environment policy forum back in 2017, the day after the Manchester Arena bombing.

    Paul V: Watch this space. 😉

  44. Pablo says:

    “…the main transport of heat in the troposphere is carried out by some other mechanism than radiation. The mechanism is obviously convection,….

    In low latitudes,….water vapour in the atmosphere acts as a blanket on the outward flow of radiation, and by keeping the energy at low levels, gives the general circulation of the atmosphere time to carry it away to high latitudes.”

    David Brunt

  45. tallbloke says:

    Hmmm, well, the stratocumulus thunderheads that build in the tropical afternoon are shifting humungus amount of energy up the vertical column in the form of latent heat, which radiates to space from the cloudtops up near the tropopause. The ocean transports more heat to the edge of the tropics than the atmosphere does. Then the atmospheric circulation takes over as the main heat transporter to higher latitudes.

  46. Pablo says:

    “The ocean transports more heat..”

    air moves a thousand times faster than water but carries only about 1/1000 as much heat per unit volume, which suggests that water is approximately of equal importance to air in moving heat over the planet.