# Another New Paper Dismantles The CO2 Greenhouse Effect ‘Thought Experiment’

## Based On ‘Physically Irrelevant Assumptions’

Yet another new scientific paper has been published that questions the current understanding of the Earth’s globally averaged surface temperature and its relation to the theoretical greenhouse effect.

Perhaps the most fundamental equation in climate science is the “thought experiment” that envisions what the temperature of the Earth would be if it had no atmosphere (or greenhouse gases).

Simplistically, the globally averaged surface temperature is assumed to be 288 K.   In the “thought experiment”, an imaginary Earth that has no atmosphere (or greenhouse gases to absorb and re-emit the surface heat) would have a temperature of 255 K.  The difference between the real and imagined Earth with no atmosphere is 33 K, meaning that the Earth would be much colder (and uninhabitable) without the presence of greenhouse gases.  Of that 33 K, it is assumed that CO2 concentrations in range of 200 – 280 ppm (the pre-industrial ranges for the last 800,000 years) contribute 7.2 K (~20%), while water vapor concentrations (ranging between about 1,000 to 40,000 ppm for the globe) contribute 20.6 K to the 33 K greenhouse effect.

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, NASA

###### “The size of the greenhouse effect is often estimated as being the difference between the actual global surface temperature and the temperature the planet would be without any atmospheric absorption, but with exactly the same planetary albedo, around 33°C. This is more of a “thought experiment” than an observable state, but it is a useful baseline.”

Atmospheric scientists Dr. Gerhard Kramm, Dr. Ralph Dlugi, and Dr. Nicole Mölders have just published a paper in the journal Natural Science that exposes the physical and observational shortcomings of the widely-accepted 288 K – 255 K = 33 K greenhouse effect equation.   They conclude that this “though experiment” is “based on physically irrelevant assumptions and its results considerably disagree with observations“.

The scientists offer a new approach to gauging the Earth’s surface temperature(s), and their results are significantly at variance with the 288 K – 255 K = 33 K  “thought experiment”.  For their calculations, they use observational measurements for the moon — which actually does not have an atmosphere — as their “testbed”.   Using moon data would appear to yield more reliable results than an imaginary-world Earth with no atmosphere.

The following is a very abbreviated summary of these scientists’ conclusions about calculating Earth’s mean temperatures.

### Kramm et al., 2017

###### It is well known from physics that the mean temperature of a system is the mean of the size-weighted temperatures of its sub-systems. Temperature is an intensive quantity. It is not conserved. On the contrary, energy is an extensive quantity. Energies are additive and governed by a conservation law. Thus, one has to conclude that concept of the effective radiation temperature oversimplifies the physical processes as it ignores the impact of local temperatures on the fluxes in the planetary radiative balance.

Instead of focusing on the technicalities of these authors’ Earth-temperature calculations using moon data, it’s important to call attention to the 5-point critique of the 288 K – 255 K = 33 K greenhouse effect equation outlined in the introduction to the Kramm et al. (2017) paper.   The very first criticism listed is, by itself, worth expounding upon in detail.   Here it is:

###### (1) “Only a planetary radiation budget of the Earth in the absence of an atmosphere is considered, i.e., any heat storage in the oceans (if at all existing in such a case) and land masses is neglected.”

This is crucial.  Not only is the heating contribution of the water vapor-and-CO2 greenhouse effect viewed as a “thought experiment” because it uses an imaginary world without an atmosphere as its premise,  the 288 K – 255 K = 33 K greenhouse effect equation only considers a radiation budget analysis that pertains to atmospheric heating, not ocean heating.  This is theoretical negligence, as it is tantamount to claiming that we should measure the temperature of a person’s spit to accurately determine his overall body temperature.

According to the IPCC (citing Levitus et al., 2012), 93% of the Earth’s heat energy resides in the oceans.  The atmosphere hosts just 1% of the Earth’s heat energy “trapped” by greenhouse gases.  To be physically meaningful, then, the Earth’s energy budget and “mean global temperature” should be calculated by featuring measurements for the thousands-of-meters-deep oceans, and not the atmosphere vs. no-atmosphere conceptualization

Furthermore, it is essential to consider that the heat flux for the Earth’s climate system nearly always goes from ocean to atmosphere, and not the other way around.   The atmosphere does not warm the oceans; the oceans warm the atmosphere.

###### Minnett et al., 2011 : “…the heat flux is nearly always from the ocean to the atmosphere“

And because the direction of the heat flux is from ocean to atmosphere, for greenhouse gases like water vapor and CO2 to warm the atmosphere by 33 K, they necessarily must heat the oceans by that equivalent first.   In other words, for the Earth’s theoretical greenhouse effect to “work”, downwelling longwave infrared radiation (LWIR) from water vapor and CO2 must be fundamental players in heating the Earth’s oceans to depths of thousands of meters.

An unheralded problem with this conceptualization arises:  We have no physical measurements from a real-world scientific experiment that identify how much, if at all, parts per million (0.000001) increases (or decreases) in atmospheric CO2 concentrations heat (or cool) water bodies.

Even the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) advocacy blogs RealClimate.org and SkepticalScience.com acknowledge that we have no real-world evidence identifying the extent to which heat changes occur in water bodies when CO2 concentrations are varied in volumes of +/-0.000001 above them.   We have to use proxy evidence from clouds instead.

###### SkepticalScience.com :  “Obviously, it’s not possible to manipulate the concentration of CO2 in the air to carry out real world experiments, but natural changes in cloud cover provide an opportunity to test the principle [that CO2 heats water].”

And the problem with using clouds as a proxy for CO2 is that even very small (1%) cloud cover variations can quite easily overwhelm and supersede the greenhouse effect associated with changes in CO2 concentrations due to the magnitude and dominance of cloud LWIR forcing.

###### RealClimate.org :    “Of course the range of net infrared forcing caused by changing cloud conditions (~100 W/m2) is much greater than that caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases (e.g. doubling pre-industrial CO2 levels will increase the net forcing by ~4 W/m2)”

Using clouds as a proxy for CO2 in assessing how CO2 concentration changes affect water temperatures is therefore not comparing apples to apples in calculating their radiative significance, and thus any experimental results using clouds can not be generalized or assumed to simulate the heating effects of CO2 when varied over water bodies.

So we are left with an equation (288 K – 255 K = 33 K) that (a) is based upon a “thought experiment” using an imaginary world without an atmosphere; (b) claims to measure Earth’s temperatures, but doesn’t consider the temperatures of the Earth’s oceans as its primary parameter; and (c) assumes ppm changes in CO2 concentrations heat or cool water bodies to a measurable degree when raised or lowered even though no physical measurements from a real-world scientific experiment exists to support such a claim.

And this is just point (1) in the Kramm et al. (2017) critique of the 288 K – 255 K = 33 K greenhouse effect equation.   Four other criticisms of the “inadequate” equation are also listed below.

As these three atmospheric scientists conclude, the 288 K – 255 K = 33 K equation underlying the theoretical greenhouse effect “lacks adequate physical meaning as do any contributions from optically active gaseous components calculated thereby“.

### 209 responses to “Another New Paper Dismantles The CO2 Greenhouse Effect ‘Thought Experiment’”

1. Pay to publish. Natural Science is published by Scientific Research Publishing, a known predatory journal publisher.

1. And publishing in that journal automatically makes the science in the article wrong??

Claiming that earth’s atmospheric greenhouse effect is 33 degrees C compared to a totally fictitious and impossible “earth with no atmosphere“ is also totally wrong.

2. So that is all you got? What a surprise.

I assume that these people behind the journal are vastly more competent that you in matter concerning scientific publishing: http://www.scirp.org/journal/EditorialBoard.aspx?JournalID=69

1. Poor Pethefin, unable to understand the philosophy of science, looks for authorities to lean on. Argumentum ad auctoritatem certainly does not cut it in science, even if fools like you fall for it.

1. Poor Jack Dale, who spends a lot of time making irrelevant complaints.

Who cares where it is published in,it is RESEARCH in the paper that matters. So far you have not made a single comment about it.

You got anything better than whining?

2. “Poor Pethefin, unable to understand the philosophy of science, looks for authorities to lean on. ” – Jack Dale

Says the guy who has to lean on the “authority” of biased pal-reviewed journals that shill for global warming.

“Peer review” is bad enough on a good day.
https://judithcurry.com/2011/11/12/peer-review-is-fed-up/

But when it comes to climate, they are totally out to lunch.

And so is Jack Dale.

3. Poor Jack, you still have not realized that the only point with peer review is to filter obviously non-plausible scientific papers from the journals. For that purpose, people with doctoral degrees certainly have a better competence than a trivial “Jack Dale”. It has nothing to do with authority but everything with scientific literacy that you “Jack” so obviously do not have.

3. Dr. Kramm, Ph.D. in meteorology and author of a graduate level atmospheric physics textbook, has “served as a [peer] reviewer for 15 different meteorological and geophysical journals”.

http://www.aksci.org/instructor_kramm.html

This “predatory journal” defense you continue to employ is non-substantive and logically fallacious.

1. Kenneth – Check my posting on the FTC versus OMCIS; unless it is still hung up in moderation.

4. Jack Dale. And your point is? Mine would be “So what, it invalidates the science of the paper no more than publishing it in a peer or is that pal reviewed journal

5. The main point of this paper by Kramm et al. (2017) is that there has been a large error in calculating the strength of the so-called atmospheric “Greenhouse” effect made for the past 40+ years. This conclusion fully agrees with results from our study (Volokin & ReLlez 2014), which Kramm et al cite.

The fact that the atmosphere raises Earth’s global surface temperature by more than 65 K above an equivalent airless environment such as the Moon (Volokin & ReLles estimate this thermal enhancement to be ~90 K) poses a major problem for the Greenhouse theory, because the observed 155 W m-2 absorption of outgoing LW radiation by the atmosphere cannot explain such a huge thermal effect.

Therefore, the heating effect of the atmosphere must include some other mechanism. Nikolov & Zeller (2017) showed empirically what this mechanism is – the total atmospheric pressure, which enhances the energy received from the Sun through force in a process analogous to compression heating. This is a qualitatively different process compared to the one assumed by the GH theory. The consequences of this discovery for climate science are paradigm-altering.

Reference:

Nikolov N, Zeller K (2017) New Insights on the Physical Nature of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Deduced from an Empirical Planetary Temperature Model. Environ Pollut Climate Change 1: 112. doi:10.4172/2573-458X.1000112

2. Can anyone tell me how could the oceans have not effect in the temperature difference between an atmosphere and an atmosphere-less planet?

3. […] Source: Another New Paper Dismantles The CO2 Greenhouse Effect ‘Thought Experiment’ […]

1. Oh, Nooooos!

Maybe you should report them to INTERPOL? …or the Lady’s Home Journal? Really, something MUST be done! //s//

Seriously? DeSmogBlog? And you’re complaining about OMICS??? LOLOL

2. You are trolling here,Dale.

It is clear you have no complaint about the paper itself.

Now run along.

4. this is indeed an interesting paper, and many of the points discussed, I raised with George White (CO2ISNOTEVIL) on WUWT when he put forward an alternative model assessing Climate Sensitivity. It is well worth looking at that article and the comments. See WUWT: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/08/20/a-consensus-of-convenience/

I made many observations on a comparison between the Moon and the Earth, for example: This is one area where the analogy between the Earth and the Moon breaks down.

The speed of rotation matters where the body is not a perfect blackbody, and in particular where energy is not absorbed at the surface and where there are lags.

The Earth is a water world with approx 70% of the surface covered by ocean, and solar irradiance is not absorbed at the surface of the ocean, but rather at depth. There are lags in the system with the ocean containing a vast reservoir of latent heat.

With such differing characteristics, no meaningful comparison between the Moon and the Earth can be made.

One cannot ignore the substantial difference brought about by the fact that our planet is a water world with most of the energy stored in the oceans.

There are huge problems with DWLWIR and the oceans, and I have been arguing this point with Willis for many many years. On fudamental problem is that the absorption characteristics of LWIR in water is that almost all LWIR is absorbed in just 10 microns. But the position is even worse than that since DWLWIR does not operate perpendicular to the oceans where it would reach a perpendicular depth of 10 microns. But rather DWLWIR is omnidirectional such that the grazing angle varies from 1 deg to 90 deg. This means that almost all DWLWIR is fully absorbed in no more than 6 microns.

Now just stop and consider the implications of this for one moment. According to K&T the average DWLWIR received at the surface 24/7 is some 324 W per m2. All that energy is is being inputted 24/7 and contained in a volume of 1m x 1m x 6/1000000 m = to 0.000006 cu metres, equivalent to 0.000006 grams.

Now bear in mind that it only takes ~4.18 joules to raise 1 gram of water 1 deg C, and we are talking about 0.000006 grams of water. Potentially, there is enough energy to drive evaporation equivalent to over 16 metres of rainfall annually, but we see nothing like that amount of rainfall (perhaps more like 1.5 metres annually).

It is obvious from this that if DWLWIR consists of sensible energy capable of performing sensible, unless the energy absorbed in the top 6 micron layer can be sequestered to depth thereby dissipating and diluting the energy by volume at a rate faster than the energy absorbed in the top 6 micron layer would otherwise drive evaporation, the oceans would have boiled off from the top down long ago.

However, the only known processes are slow mechanical processes such as ocean overturning (which in any event is a diurnal event not operating 24/7) or the action of the wind and swell (which again is slow and all but non existent in condition of BF2 or less when the ocean is like a mill pond). The energy cannot be conducted to depth since the energy flux is upward at the top of the ocean 9the top millimetres are cooler than the layer below).

In contrast consider the position with solar. Due to the wavelength of solar irradiance, almost no solar is absorbed in the top microns or millimetres. Almost all solar is absobed at depth between about 1.5 metres to 10 metres, although some pentrates and is absorbed even at 100 metres. What this means is that solar is effectively absorbed in a volume of water extending to about 8.5 metres (ie., 10m – 1.5m) equivalent to 8.5 cubic metres (or 9.5 tonnes).

According to the K&T energy budget cartoon about 168 W per m2 of solar is received by the surface and this energy is absorbed and contained in a volume of 8.5 tonnes. We are fortunate that solar irradiance is absorbed in this manner since if it were not and was absorbed like LWIR, once again the oceans would have boiled off long ago.

So as to emphasise and compare the position K&T would have us believe that, on average, we have some 324 W per m2 of DWLWIR, which due to its wavelength is fully absorbed in just 0.000006 grams, whereas we have some 169 W per m2 of solar irradiance, which due to its wavelength, is absorbed in some 8.5 tonnes!

1. Thank you, Richard, that was very informative

2. The reasons the oceans have not boiled off is their ability, in combination with air circulation, to distribute heat from low latitudes to high latitudes.

When Drakes Passage opened to enable the circumpolar circulation of the Southern Ocean the Pacific Ocean dropped in temperature and the Atlantic Ocean increased in temperature. The circumpolar circulation distributed heat from west to east because the Pacific has higher proportion of water at lower latitudes than the Atlantic so is a net heat receptor.

An ocean surface at 305K loses about 280W/sq.m through evaporation, conduction and radiation so there is heat build up at low latitudes given that this part of the surface receives and average of about 420W/sq.m. Ocean surface loses about 240W/sq.m at 277K so there heat loss at high latitudes. At a latitude of 34 degrees the heat loss balances the heat gain.

Water bodies at latitudes lower than 34 degrees and at sea level tend to disappear if they are isolated from higher latitudes; Dead Sea for example.

Sea ice insulates the oceans so acts as a thermostatic control on the planet depending on its extent. Even if CO2 caused lower rate of heat loss it will not affect the surface temperature significantly until all the sea ice has disappeared. The sea ice extent has been quite steady over the last 50 years. The total dropped marginally at the end of the 2017 El Nino as that heat that built up since the previous El Nino was discharged from the Southern Ocean.

If there was no ocean and air circulation then the planet would be dry in the low latitudes and ice in the high latitudes. The temperature would vary significantly from day to night.

1. Quite possibly, the reason the oceans have not boiled off is that temperatures on earth are below the boiling point of water (and have not been since the Hadean Eon).

1. Er, “have been since the Hadean Eon”.

2. If there was no water and air circulation the tropical oceans would reach its boiling point until they disappeared then the earth would get hotter in those locations. The moon reaches 123C at its hottest point. If there is more heat in than heat out then the temperature keeps rising until it achieves a balance.

3. “Quite possibly, the reason the oceans have not boiled off is that”

something to do with the Earth’s magnetosphere – quite possibly.

5. Seems a useful set of experiments -Gedanken and otherwise- would be to start very basic- Simulated sun, blackbody non rotating, no atmosphere planet, and calculate the temperatures. Add factors (perhaps even in different orders) to see how far one can get where everyone agrees. Repeat as needed to resolve differences- if possible. With this paper it’s hard to argue that the moon is a good starting proxy. Adding atmosphere and water will complicate, but not impossibly so. One can even imagine an actual expt with a large sphere studded with thermocouples, in a vacuum and illuminated… Add atmospheres, diatomic and water, CH4 NH3 CO2…

6. Another point that illustrates the difficulty in making a direct comparison between the Earth and Moon, is that on Earth the clear sky noon temperatures at the equator are considerably less than the equivalent on the Moon.

This suggests that the atmosphere cools the Earth, but stabilizes its temperature. It prevents the planet from getting as hot, but prevents it from getting so cold.

Whilst most of the energy is stored in the oceans, the atmosphere itself contains considerable thermal mass and thermal inertia. One sees that very clearly when there is high humidity.

I am presently in Spain, on the shores of the Med, and yesterday (on 25th September) it was a cloudless sunny day with a day time high of around 26degC. I happened to look at the weather forecast for 26th Septmeber. At 02:37 hrs (on 26th september) it was said to be 24 degC. Even though it was a cloudless night sky, the temperature had only fallen by 2 degC. I am writing this at 05:00hrs and it is now down to 22 degC, ie., in the last 2.5 hours it has only fallen by a further 2 degC, and only fallen by 4 degC since the highs of the previous day in the early afternoon of 25th September.

Of particular interest, the forecast is for 17 degC at 06:00 hrs, 16 degC at 07:00 and 16 degC 08:00 hrs, 18degC at 09:00 hrs, 20 degC at 10:00 hrs and 22 degC at 11:00 hrs.

The sun up is about 07:45 hrs and it is forecast to be cloudless and sunny. It will take approximately 3 hrs of sun (07:45 to 11:00 hrs) before the temperature is as warm as it is at 05:00 hrs.

Why is there such thermal inertia even though there are no clouds to impede convection or to bathe the ground in lots of wonderful DWLWIR from the underneath of the clouds? The answer is simple, the humidity at 02:37 hrs was 83%, and it is still at 05:00hrs some 73%.

This thermal inertia means that it takes the atmosphere a long time to give up its energy and cool, and then a long time to recharge and warm.

In relative terms, I am not that far away from the deserts of Africa, but they have a very different temperature profile since they have so very little humidity. In the nearby deserts the day quickly warms as the sun gets up, and quickly cools as the sun goes down. However on the shores of the Med, all this sunshine evaporates a lot of water resulting in high humidity, and this creates an atmosphere with far more thermal mass and far more thermal inertia that has to be overcome before temperatures change either up or down.

This is why it is very important to take full account of the fact that we are living on a water world, and the water cycle is dominant.

1. Richard might want to look at the climate for Lima in Peru. The cold Humboldt currents have a profound effect on the climate in a very soothing manner.
Its far colder than it would be otherwise without the impact of the sea. Lima is particular interesting as there is a high humidity and cloud cover which cools the climate even more.
Lima has little rain and is a temperate desert due to cold ocean water and fog/clouds.

7. Interesting but nevertheless, all conjecturing on non existent phenomenon is as useless as is the supposition that by somehow man made CO2 is by some sretch of the imagination going to boil the planet nand thank God for the Earth’s molten Fe core and our gloriously spinning orbit, plus that big shiny thing in the sky and oh yeah – water too.

8. Interesting posting … let’s look at what you (and they wrote):

Perhaps the most fundamental equation in climate science is the “thought experiment” that envisions what the temperature of the Earth would be if it had no atmosphere (or greenhouse gases).

Ok. And here I thought climate science is based on models and observations and not on a thought experiment to show normal people that there is a temperature gap that is being bridged by the atmosphere. Or put better:

This is more of a “thought experiment” than an observable state, but it is a useful baseline.

Right? But some people including you seem to think that there is more to this. They even feel that it is necessary to write a whole paper about it.

It’s kind of strange to read papers that are barking at the wrong tree (you linked to a few others before), but it is even stranger when you believe that it’s actually “dismantling the CO2 greenhouse effect thought experiment” (whatever that is).

(1) “Only a planetary radiation budget of the Earth in the absence of an atmosphere is considered, i.e., any heat storage in the oceans (if at all existing in such a case) and land masses is neglected.”

You quote this from the paper and immediately go to your usual “but the oceans” rhetoric. The “thought experiment” is actually assuming infinite heat storage and the planet is in an equilibrium. That’s why it is just a “useful baseline”.

All your nonsense with CO2 needs to be able to warm the oceans just shows that you still don’t understand how downwelling LW radiation is causing heat content (or storage as you wrote) to increase and decrease when it varies. And you still use those quote as if cloud forcing vs. CO2 forcing where actually 100 W/m² vs. 4 W/m² …

Using clouds as a proxy for CO2 in assessing how CO2 concentration changes affect water temperatures is therefore not comparing apples to apples in calculating their radiative significance, and thus any experimental results using clouds can not be generalized or assumed to simulate the heating effects of CO2 when varied over water bodies.

Are you suggesting that a big change by a temporary, sun covering cloud has effects on the heat content, but small changes don’t? You aren’t trying to say that water (or any other surface) can somehow distinguish where the incoming radiation is coming from, are you?

As these three atmospheric scientists conclude, the 288 K – 255 K = 33 K equation underlying the theoretical greenhouse effect “lacks adequate physical meaning as do any contributions from optically active gaseous components calculated thereby“.

That’s why it is a “useful baseline”, Kenneth. Earth’s relatively fast rotation and high heat capacity enable this kind of generalization … it’s close enough. Of course, it isn’t the whole story. But just out of curiosity … you’ve read the paper Kenneth, do you think that the real and complete radiative greenhouse effect is smaller or bigger than those 33K of the “thought experiment”? In which direction does that “gap” go when you increase the details of the model and consider rotation, surface materials, etc?

The rest of the paper … well, none of those points change the 33K “gap” towards being 0K, do they? They only point out the obvious, like when you quoted from a paper that actually argued against the greenhouse effect because there is no glass roof around Earth, remember that one?

Arguing that Earth’s surface temperature without an atmosphere would be even lower than those 255K does dismantle anything CO2 greenhouse effect related how exactly?

P.S.: You often argue that I and others are impressed by authority, but here you are mentioning credentials and PhDs when someone attacks the way this paper got published. It doesn’t seem to make them smart enough to notice that the “thought experiment” is just a “useful baseline”.

1. “Arguing that Earth’s surface temperature without an atmosphere would be even lower than those 255K does dismantle anything CO2 greenhouse effect related how exactly?”

Comment from Ned Nikolov, above:

“The main point of this paper by Kramm et al. (2017) is that there has been a large error in calculating the strength of the so-called atmospheric “Greenhouse” effect made for the past 40+ years. This conclusion fully agrees with results from our study (Volokin & ReLlez 2014), which Kramm et al cite.

The fact that the atmosphere raises Earth’s global surface temperature by more than 65 K above an equivalent airless environment such as the Moon (Volokin & ReLles estimate this thermal enhancement to be ~90 K) poses a major problem for the Greenhouse theory, because the observed 155 W m-2 absorption of outgoing LW radiation by the atmosphere cannot explain such a huge thermal effect.”

1. Continuing the quote:
“Therefore, the heating effect of the atmosphere must include some other mechanism. Nikolov & Zeller (2017) showed empirically what this mechanism is – the total atmospheric pressure, which enhances the energy received from the Sun through force in a process analogous to compression heating.”

Yeah, right … the energy from nothing hypothesis again 😉

The fact that the atmosphere raises Earth’s global surface temperature by more than 65 K above an equivalent airless environment such as the Moon (Volokin & ReLles estimate this thermal enhancement to be ~90 K) poses a major problem for the Greenhouse theory, because the observed 155 W m-2 absorption of outgoing LW radiation by the atmosphere cannot explain such a huge thermal effect.

The Nikolov/Volokin isn’t aging well … and what does the last part even mean? I guess it is referring to the Trenberth diagram (356 – 169 – 30 W/m²) and that most certainly doesn’t feature an Earth with a 65 K (or 90 K) cooler surface, does it? So where is the problem?

1. “Yeah, right … the energy from nothing hypothesis again”

I couldn’t agree more, the GHE conjecture does indeed require energy from nothing.

“The Nikolov/Volokin isn’t aging well … and what does the last part even mean?”

It means that there isn’t enough energy available from outgoing LW radiation to explain a >65 K thermal effect. In other words the GHE requires energy from nothing to make it work. Your criticisms of Nikolov and Zeller’s theory (and Allmendinger’s, which I’m guessing you were also referencing) apply equally to the GHE.

1. I couldn’t agree more, the GHE conjecture does indeed require energy from nothing.

It doesn’t. Claiming so makes you part of those who use “not understanding how stuff works” as an argument against it.

It means that there isn’t enough energy available from outgoing LW radiation to explain a >65 K thermal effect.

How so? How would 1000 W/m² (just as an example) of LW radiation absorbed by the atmosphere better explain a 65K “gap”?

2. “It doesn’t. Claiming so makes you part of those who use “not understanding how stuff works” as an argument against it.”

Claiming that by stating the GHE requires energy from nothing means I don’t understand how it works makes you part of those who use “you just don’t understand it” as an argument for it.

“How so? How would 1000 W/m² (just as an example) of LW radiation absorbed by the atmosphere better explain a 65K “gap”?”

How not? How wouldn’t 1000 W/m2 (just as an example) of LW radiation absorbed by the atmosphere better explain a 65K “gap”?

3. Nice try at trolling …

Do you understand the concept of heat content, GW? How does a body of water get warmer and why doesn’t it get warmer indefinitely when you only have a constant energy source? What happens if you add insulation to/around the body of water?

4. If copying your style and directing it back at you is trolling, that doesn’t say much for you…

In answer to your questions, yes. I do understand the concept of heat content. The body of water gets warmer if it receives more energy than it emits. Once it has reached the temperature at which it is emitting as much as it is receiving, it is said to be at equilibrium and remains at this temperature. If you add insulation to/around the body of water it would not be able to emit as much as it was receiving and would so warm again to another (higher) equilibrium temperature, the point at which it was again emitting as much as it receives.

Now the point of my firing your original questions back at you is that higher radiation fluxes relate to higher temperatures and so it ought to be fairly obvious that a higher flux is better able to explain a 65K (or greater) gap than a lower flux. But please explain why that would not be the case now I have done you the courtesy of answering your questions.

5. I do understand the concept of heat content.

Apparently, you do.

Now the point of my firing your original questions back at you is that higher radiation fluxes relate to higher temperatures and so it ought to be fairly obvious that a higher flux is better able to explain a 65K (or greater) gap than a lower flux. But please explain why that would not be the case now I have done you the courtesy of answering your questions.

I don’t think the current equilibrium state depicted in those Trenberth diagrams depends on the starting conditions (whether Earth would be 33K or 65 K or 90K cooler without GHGs). Does it?

The current flux depends on the current temperatures.

2. “The current flux depends on the current temperatures”

And we’re nicely back to the beginning again, for the merry-go-round to spin once more!

“The point with the Kiehl and Trenberth budget is, it starts with the surface being 288 K. Whatever fluxes are featured in the budget, it all comes back down to a 288 K surface. What their budget absolutely doesn’t explain is HOW the surface got to be 288 K in the first place”

1. As to your question, I don’t know about “starting conditions” but the incoming and outgoing flux at the TOA of 235 W/m2 (as shown on the budget Yonason linked to) does equate to a blackbody temperature of 255 K. So the K-T budget shows a surface at 288 K with the fluxes associated with that temperature and it shows the whole Earth system (at TOA) receiving and emitting a flux of radiation associated with a temperature of 255 K.

2. If this completes the picture, the 390 W/m2 equates to a blackbody temperature of 288K, and 390 W/m2 (288 K) – 235 W/m2 (255 K) = 155 W/m2. Enough to potentially explain a difference of 33 K but not a difference of > 65 K. Kramm et al and Nikolov/Zeller among others are arguing that the 235 W/m2 input would not actually raise the surface temperature to 255 K in the first place. Therefore regardless of whichever way you look at the K/T budget there would not be enough LW radiation being absorbed by the atmosphere to account for all the thermal effect which has occurred if these new calculations are correct (even if you assume GHGs do work as insulation in the way you envisage it).

At least that’s the way I understand what Ned Nikolov has said but it would be good to hear from the man himself since it’s quite possible (if not likely!) I’ve got something wrong.

3. If this completes the picture, the 390 W/m2 equates to a blackbody temperature of 288K, and 390 W/m2 (288 K) – 235 W/m2 (255 K) = 155 W/m2. Enough to potentially explain a difference of 33 K but not a difference of > 65 K.

235 W/m² is the amount of radiation from the Sun that is absorbed by the Earth system, therefore that is the amount of radiation that is emitted by the Earth system in an equilibrium state. That’s with the current albedo value. It has nothing to do with the surface temperature that we could measure if no atmosphere (or a transparent one) were in place.

Following your argument you seem to think that it should be 390 W/m² (288 K) – 140 W/m² (223 K) to explain the difference of ~65 K? Where are the remaining 95 W/m² being emitted to that Earth receives from the Sun?

4. “235 W/m² is the amount of radiation from the Sun that is absorbed by the Earth system, therefore that is the amount of radiation that is emitted by the Earth system in an equilibrium state. That’s with the current albedo value. It has nothing to do with the surface temperature that we could measure if no atmosphere (or a transparent one) were in place.”

Correct.

“Following your argument you seem to think that…”

Incorrect.

This obsession with the K-T energy budget which began from your realisation that Nikolov/Zeller got their 155 W/m2 from it has led you down the garden path.

Begin again.

N/Z cite a LW absorption value by the current atmosphere of 155 W/m2. This is from observations of the system as it currently is. It is observed that the atmosphere absorbs 155 W/m2 of LW radiation. 155 W/m2 equates to a temperature of 33 K. Therefore any thermal effect which has resulted from the back radiation from the atmosphere cannot have exceeded 33 K. So if it is calculated that the difference between the surface temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere and the current surface temperature exceeds 33 K, there is a problem. Agree?

This is from their first (Volokin/ReLlez) paper:

“According to satellite observations, Earth’s atmosphere retains on average 155–158 W m−2 of the upwelling long-wave radiation emitted by the surface (Kiehl and Trenberth 1997; Trenberth et al. 2009; Stephens et al. 2012; Wild et al. 2013). This infrared heat absorption by greenhouse gases a.k.a. long-wave radiative forcing (Kiehl and Trenberth 1997) is presently believed to drive 100% of the near-surface ATE (Peixoto and Oort 1992; Lacis et al. 2010; Pierrehumbert 2010; Schmidt et al. 2010).”

and this is from their second:

“In a recent study Volokin et al. [1] demonstrated that the strength of Earth’s atmospheric Greenhouse Effect (GE) is about 90 K instead of 33 K as presently assumed by most researchers e.g. [2-7]. The new estimate corrected a long-standing mathematical error in the application of the Stefan–Boltzmann (SB) radiation law to a sphere pertaining to Hölder’s inequality between integrals. Since the current greenhouse theory strives to explain GE solely through a retention (trapping) of outgoing long-wavelength (LW) radiation by atmospheric gases [2,5,7- 10], a thermal enhancement of 90 K creates a logical conundrum, since satellite observations constrain the global atmospheric LW absorption to 155–158 W m-2 [11-13]. Such a flux might only explain a surface warming up to 35 K. Hence, more than 60% of Earth’s 90 K atmospheric effect appears to remain inexplicable in the context of the current theory.”

So if you don’t agree, what do you disagree with? If it’s this bit:

“This infrared heat absorption by greenhouse gases a.k.a. long-wave radiative forcing (Kiehl and Trenberth 1997) is presently believed to drive 100% of the near-surface ATE (Peixoto and Oort 1992; Lacis et al. 2010; Pierrehumbert 2010; Schmidt et al. 2010).”

Are you disagreeing with all those citations? Pierrehumbert, Schmidt et al? Are you saying they’re misrepresenting those citations?

5. Begin again.

It is observed that the atmosphere absorbs 155 W/m2 of LW radiation. 155 W/m2 equates to a temperature of 33 K.

No, it the difference between what is emitted by the whole system (same amount as is absorbed) and what is emitted by the surface.

So if it is calculated that the difference between the surface temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere and the current surface temperature exceeds 33 K, there is a problem. Agree?

No, since those 33 K aren’t the what you think they are. Ignore the thought experiment for a moment and just look at the energy budgets. A planet with an incoming amount of radiation X also has to emit X when in equilibrium. That’s where those 255 K / ~235 W/m² are coming from.

So if you don’t agree, what do you disagree with?

I disagree with this part: “Such a flux might only explain a surface warming up to 35 K. Hence, more than 60% of Earth’s 90 K atmospheric effect appears to remain inexplicable in the context of the current theory.”

There is no state where Earth was 90 K cooler and where the current atmosphere has been slabbed onto that version of Earth. It doesn’t need to overcome that much of a difference.

6. “No, it the difference between what is emitted by the whole system (same amount as is absorbed) and what is emitted by the surface.”

No, it’s what is observed by satellite measurement.

“No, since those 33 K aren’t the what you think they are.”

Yes, they are.

“There is no state where Earth was 90 K cooler and where the current atmosphere has been slabbed onto that version of Earth. It doesn’t need to overcome that much of a difference.”

Yes, there is, and yes it does. Time for you to actually read the first Nikolov/Zeller paper.

7. “Yes, there is”

Well, not literally, obviously. I mean no, nobody has come along and whacked the current atmosphere onto a 90 K cooler Earth. What I mean is, if their calculations and reasoning are correct, N/Z show that without an atmosphere the Earth’s surface would be 90 K lower than presently. If you disagree you have to explain what exactly it is that they’re saying that you disagree with and why. Not just complain that something that is physically impossible to do (stick the current atmosphere on on a 90 K cooler Earth) hasn’t happened. That might well classify as “unreasonable expectations”.

My God the ridiculous depths that this has sunk to…

2. That must have been some party the chatbot_SebH went to. He/she/it/whatever is still high, and the brain damage is more palpable than usual.

“Yeah, right … the energy from nothing hypothesis again.” – SebH

And do not simply regurgitate the nonsense sums you gave me last time. They are meaningless. If you cannot explain how you can get the earth to radiate 48 watts per sq-meter MORE than it receives from the sun, while it is ALSO expending AN ADDITIONAL 102 watts per sq-meter to warm air by convection and evaporate water, then just shut up!

coming off earth = 492 W/sqM
UNEXPLAINED EXCESS = 150 W/sqM

(And NO, you can’t create this out of nowhere, pretending it came from CO2 and include it in “back radiation.” That violates the STRICT law of physics prohibiting creation and destruction of energy.)

1. The point with the Kiehl and Trenberth budget is, it starts with the surface being 288 K. Whatever fluxes are featured in the budget, it all comes back down to a 288 K surface. What their budget absolutely doesn’t explain is HOW the surface got to be 288 K in the first place. Seb H’s comment:

“I guess it is referring to the Trenberth diagram (356 – 169 – 30 W/m²) and that most certainly doesn’t feature an Earth with a 65 K (or 90 K) cooler surface, does it? So where is the problem?”

Is especially strange in light of this, since if Ned Nikolov’s 155 Wm-2 figure DOES come from the Kiehl and Trenberth budget, it relates to a surface temperature of 288 K. With a surface temperature significantly lower than this, there would be even less energy from LW radiation to “play with”, making the problem worse for Seb H, not better. The question should be “where isn’t the problem?”, if anything.

1. Basically it comes down to this explanation:

“The energy to make the surface temperature up to 288 K comes from the LW radiation emitted by a surface already at 288 K”

and that’s just fine with Seb H.

Whereas the idea that the energy could come from an atmospheric pressure effect is completely out of the question and ridiculous: energy from nothing!

2. “The energy to make the surface temperature up to 288 K comes from the LW radiation emitted by a surface already at 288 K”

and that’s just fine with Seb H.

That’s not how energy budgets and the greenhouse effect works.

Earth didn’t start at 0K, but let’s just assume that. So we have 0 Joules of heat content in the surface/mantle of the planet and the Sun begins to shine on it. Let’s also assume that the current atmosphere could exist in such conditions.

What would happen? Some amount X of Joules per time period would be absorbed by the surface and since there is this LW radiation absorbing atmosphere above the surface and the temperature is at 0 K (meaning 0 W/m² of radiation emitted) not all of those Joules get emitted back to space. The heat content increases. We now have A Joules of energy within the surface/mantle and the temperature rises accordingly. The Sun keeps shining and the surface keeps absorbing more Joules and the temperature keeps increasing until the moment where a balance with the atmosphere is reached and the exact same amount of Joules that get absorbed are also being emitted. That’s the current 288 K level.

This is how things get warmer. You add Joules and stuff heats up until the Joules can’t accumulate anymore since equilibrium was reached.

Whereas the idea that the energy could come from an atmospheric pressure effect is completely out of the question and ridiculous: energy from nothing!

Static pressure doesn’t change temperature. If it were then that would truly be energy from nothing. The GHE doesn’t have this the laws of physics contradicting problem.

3. Exactly. The surface at 288 K provides exactly enough energy to warm itself beyond what it receives from the sun, right up to 288 K, by its own emitted radiation which is a result of its own temperature. What could make more sense?

4. Exactly. The surface at 288 K provides exactly enough energy to warm itself beyond what it receives from the sun, right up to 288 K, by its own emitted radiation which is a result of its own temperature. What could make more sense?

You, if you had understood how the warming of anything works?

Not understanding science (or math for that matter) is not a good argument against something.

5. Pretending that I don’t understand something (and if only I did understand, I would agree you were right), is not a good argument for something.

I mean I could argue like you, and claim that you don’t understand that this:

“The energy to make the surface temperature up to 288 K comes from the LW radiation emitted by a surface already at 288 K”

is impossible; but that wouldn’t be true, because your response indicated you did realise it was impossible. The trouble was that your lengthy response still ultimately boiled down to saying exactly the same thing. So maybe you do understand my argument, but don’t understand your own. Who knows?

6. because your response indicated you did realise it was impossible

What the hell are you talking about?

Pretending that I don’t understand something (and if only I did understand, I would agree you were right), is not a good argument for something.

It isn’t meant as an argument, GW. But if you’d understand that the Trenberth diagram shows an equilibrium state, we could move on from this silly debate. You could start at 280 K or at 300 K, it doesn’t matter … the end result would be those 288 K when the system reaches equilibrium.

The trouble was that your lengthy response still ultimately boiled down to saying exactly the same thing.

No, it doesn’t.

Here is another “thought experiment” for you. You have a 10 Watt energy source surrounded by a perfect water sphere. The sphere is drifting in space/vacuum with no surrounding objects. The surface of the sphere will lose 10 W to space by emitting radiation. Correct? What happens when you put insulation around that sphere? What will the surface of that insulation emit to space? The same 10 W. But, what happened to the temperature inside? Did it increase? If so, how can that possibly happen? Do you consider this also impossible?

7. “What the hell are you talking about?”

I am saying that your response indicated you realised this statement:

“The energy to make the surface temperature up to 288 K comes from the LW radiation emitted by a surface already at 288 K”

was impossible; since you quoted this and then went on immediately to say that this was not how energy budgets and the GHE works. Not particularly difficult to follow, surely?

“It isn’t meant as an argument, GW”

OK. Perhaps stop doing it, then?

“But if you’d understand that the Trenberth diagram…”

You’re doing it again! Assuming that I don’t understand something, and if I just did I would agree with you. If it isn’t meant as an argument I don’t see the point in it. Certainly comes across as argumentative.

It’s plain that both here and further up you’re warming up to the big reveal that “CO2 is insulation” and so let’s just cut to the chase: it isn’t. Energy is re-radiated towards the surface by CO2 molecules, true, but also upwards. The atmosphere is warmed by conduction and convection as well as radiation, and CO2 molecules can receive energy from neighbouring N2 and O2 molecules through collision just as they can through radiation. Ultimately energy leaves the Earth system via radiation only. Add more CO2 molecules to the atmosphere and you are opening up more pathways for this energy to leave, just as much as you are closing off pathways for it to leave (via redirecting towards the surface).

The amount of time it takes for a CO2 molecule to emit a photon comes into play here too; where this amount of time is longer than the amount of time it takes between collisions with other molecules (i.e the closer you are towards the ground) then the more likely it is that a CO2 molecule having received a photon through radiation will pass it on via collision with another molecule rather than re-emit.

8. GW,

I am saying that your response indicated you realised this statement:

“The energy to make the surface temperature up to 288 K comes from the LW radiation emitted by a surface already at 288 K”

was impossible

No-one is claiming that this is a true statement, but you implied that I am fine with such a statement and/or that this is how AGW explains the GHE via diagrams like the one from Trenberth, didn’t you? You brought this up, so I intended to correct it.

It’s plain that both here and further up you’re warming up to the big reveal that “CO2 is insulation” and so let’s just cut to the chase: it isn’t. Energy is re-radiated towards the surface by CO2 molecules, true, but also upwards.

Insulation re-radiates in all directions, too. Insulation is not a reflector and neither is CO2 and other GHGs.

Add more CO2 molecules to the atmosphere and you are opening up more pathways for this energy to leave, just as much as you are closing off pathways for it to leave (via redirecting towards the surface).

I am very interested in a source for that claim. That would be true if CO2 were a single insulation layer, like in that steel greenhouse “thought experiment”. But the atmosphere is usually modeled as many layers. Which explains why the LW radiation towards space is on average less than the radiation towards the surface.

Kenneth,

It’s magical thinking (on SebastianH’s part) to believe that the re-radiation only heads in one direction. But that’s a leap he has to make to keep the faith – among several other problematic presuppositions.

why do you need to make something like this up? When did I claim that radiation from GHGs is uni-directional (towards the surface)?

9. “No-one is claiming that this is a true statement, but you implied that I am fine with such a statement”

Ha ha. No, I knew you wouldn’t be fine with the statement. It shows how ridiculous it really is. The problem is that at the moment you can’t see that no matter how sophisticated your explanation, analogy, or general method for convincing yourself that it works (everyone has a particular way they can make sense of the GHE in their heads, myself included), it actually boils down to that statement. You won’t agree, and this discussion could go on forever, it really could. It won’t though because after a while I won’t be bothered to carry on. When this happens, try not to assume that because I haven’t responded, you must be correct. 😉

“I am very interested in a source for that claim”

What would you need a source for? It is a logical conclusion following on from the premises I wrote:
1) Energy is re-radiated towards the surface by CO2 molecules, true, but also upwards.
2) The atmosphere is warmed by conduction and convection as well as radiation.
3) CO2 molecules can receive energy from neighbouring N2 and O2 molecules through collision just as they can through radiation.
I’m assuming you don’t need a source for 1) to 3)?

It’s just the other side of the story to thinking, “well, adding GHGs means radiation will be intercepted and then re-radiated in all directions, including down, which will mean overall that less radiation escapes than would have done otherwise”. That might (or might not, see below) work in a “radiation-only” sense, however energy transferred from the surface via conduction, convection, evaporation/condensation etc, has only one way to get out of the Earth system, and adding GHGs facilitates that. Adding more molecules of CO2 enables that to happen more and more efficiently.

“But the atmosphere is usually modeled as many layers. Which explains why the LW radiation towards space is on average less than the radiation towards the surface”

As written, this is a non-sequitur (you need far more explanation to get from “the atmosphere is usually modelled as many layers” to “therefore more radiation goes down than up”), however, to save you the bother, there’s also the bit I wrote at the end, which you didn’t quote or address, which helps to explain why it’s not as simple as that.

10. “why do you need to make something like this up? When did I claim that radiation from GHGs is uni-directional (towards the surface)?”

Kenneth, I predicted this exact response from Seb H. I should have said at the time (as no-one will believe me now). I understand why you said what you said. But you have to be so, so careful with every single word you write to these people! Already there are a couple of things in my last reply that I can see Seb might be able to manufacture some point over. Oh well.

11. Oh. I made the wrong assumption, then. So you agree that CO2 absorbs and then re-emits mostly to space (sideways and up) instead of mostly “trapping” heat at the surface like a blanket (downwards)?

CO2 doesn’t re-emit mostly to space (sideways and up). Individual molecules do emit in all directions but a volume of GHGs in the atmosphere acts like many many blankets and is re-emitting more towards the surface. (it can’t emit more than what the planet receives from the Sun – 235 W/m² – in an equilibrium state, yet we can measure a higher amount of downwelling LW radiation)

all those Trenberth-esque global W m-2 radiation charts with the LW arrows pointing in only one direction (downward) are both inaccurate and misleading? If not inaccurate and misleading, how would you defend the uni-directional arrows for GHGs in those charts if you don’t agree GHG radiation is uni-directional?

There are no uni-direction arrows in those diagrams. LW radiation emitted by the atmosphere has arrows in both directions.

@GW:

it actually boils down to that statement.

No, it doesn’t. And here I thought you understand heat content and how it accumulates.

But you have to be so, so careful with every single word you write to these people! Already there are a couple of things in my last reply that I can see Seb might be able to manufacture some point over

Like this one?

however energy transferred from the surface via conduction, convection, evaporation/condensation etc, has only one way to get out of the Earth system, and adding GHGs facilitates that. Adding more molecules of CO2 enables that to happen more and more efficiently.

So in equilibrium Earth emits some value X W/m² towards space, the same amount as it receives from the Sun. And you argue now that adding GHGs increases X and therefore decreases Earth’s heat content? No words …

12. A single CO2 behaves that way (radiating in all directions). The CO2 or rather all GHGsin the atmosphere as a volume behave differently. You’d know that if you finally tried to understand how the GHE works and how radiative energy transfers work.

Regarding the diagram: notice the 165 W/m2 arrow that point from the atmosphere to space? What do you think that is?

13. “So in equilibrium Earth emits some value X W/m² towards space, the same amount as it receives from the Sun. And you argue now that adding GHGs increases X and therefore decreases Earth’s heat content”

I have said there are two sides to it. So on balance I would argue it makes no overall difference to X. Funnily enough I argue what I say, and not what you say that I say.

14. Kenneth, google optical depth and/or use the modtran tool to understand how a volume of gas with varying density behaves in regards to radiation.

GW: you are arguing that the 255K is not the surface temperature of the surface without an atmosphere and that therefore the difference between 288K and 255K radiation is too small. You ignore that those 255K have nothing to do with the temperature the surface would have without an atmosphere. However, it is a good baseline (minimum GHE)

15. Seb H: You’ve now done what you just accused Kenneth of doing elsewhere…perhaps you meant to post your reply to me somewhere else, but you’ve all of a sudden completely changed tack from what we were arguing in this specific thread. But OK…

For the estimate of 255K for a temperature of the Earth’s surface without an atmosphere, I will quote Ed Bo below:

“Gavin Schmidt’s alternate imaginary earth is one that absorbs as much solar energy as our earth does, has unit (1.0) infrared emissivity, a completely transparent (or no) atmosphere, and has a high enough thermal capacitance and low enough lateral thermal resistance that it has a uniform surface temperature over its entire area. This alternate imaginary earth would have a surface temperature of 255K.”

and

“Holder’s inequality demonstrates that the larger the temperature variation over a surface that radiates power as the 4th power (or really any power greater than 1) of absolute temperature, the lower the mean temperature of the surface (and hence the integrated energy level) will be for a constant power input.

So Schmidt’s alternate imaginary earth with no temperature variation provides an upper limit on the average surface temperature that absorbs as much solar power as the earth does, has unit infrared emissivity, and a transparent (or no) atmosphere.”

As 255 K is an upper limit based on an imaginary Earth with uniform temperature, and due to Holder’s inequality we know that any “true” surface temperature without atmosphere MUST be lower than this (since there are huge temperature variations present across the planet even under current conditions) we know that the “true” value of the thermal enhancement provided by the presence of an atmosphere on Earth MUST be higher than 33 K.

As Nikolov and Zeller point out, there is an observed flux to the atmosphere of only 155 W/m2, which equates to 33K. So even if, as theorised by the current understanding of the GHE, ALL of that energy were to have gone into raising the temperature of the Earth from what it would have been without an atmosphere to what it is now, it could not have provided a thermal enhancement greater than 33 K.

And even if you think that their estimate of approximately 90 K for their total thermal enhancement is too high, for whatever reason, or if you think that factors to do with adding an atmosphere other than pressure, or factors relating to taking the oceans into account, etc, will account for some of the 90 K difference, you’re still left with the inevitable conclusion that there is simply too much thermal enhancement to be accounted for by greenhouse gases alone. So whatever way you look at it the re-calculation of what the surface temperature without an atmosphere would be DOES present a problem to the current understanding of GHE theory.

16. all of a sudden completely changed tack from what we were arguing in this specific thread. But OK…

Yeah, noticed that. It is hard to write comments on a mobile phone on this blog. Sorry.

As Nikolov and Zeller point out, there is an observed flux to the atmosphere of only 155 W/m2, which equates to 33K.

You write about (or quote) Hölder Inequality like you know what it means and then you come up with this. No, those 155 W/m² don’t equate to 33 K. The difference between 390 W/m² and 235 W/m² is not a difference of 33 K, it is a difference of 155 W/m².

you’re still left with the inevitable conclusion that there is simply too much thermal enhancement to be accounted for by greenhouse gases alone.

Not really. There exists no Earth with a different albedo and surface composition than the current one that is being thermally enhanced. It is the current version of Earth that has a higher surface temperature than what incoming SW radiation would allow it to have without the GHE. And for that Earth, everything balances out.

So whatever way you look at it the re-calculation of what the surface temperature without an atmosphere would be DOES present a problem to the current understanding of GHE theory.

No, not really. Every effort in that direction results in imaginary temperatures from an imaginary world. And we assume that the transformation towards the currently observable Earth happened from that imaginary world and the difference is the GHE. But that is only true when we assume that this imaginary world is similar to ours. When you change the albedo, the surface composition, etc you can’t argue anymore that the GHE has a problem because it can’t explain the difference anymore. Is that too hard to understand? (not a native English writer here).

17. “No, those 155 W/m² don’t equate to 33 K”

http://www.spectralcalc.com/blackbody_calculator/blackbody.php

I guess if you completely ignore every word I’ve said, as you have done, you can stick your fingers in your ears and shout “la la la”.

That’s all your response amounts to.

18. “When you change the albedo, the surface composition, etc”

Keep everything absolutely the same, if you like (other than the absence of an atmosphere). Albedo the same as the current Earth, surface composition the same, same ocean currents etc. It will still have a surface temperature lower than 255 K. So there’s still a problem for GHE theory. Why will it still be lower than 255 K? I’ve already explained why. Ed Bo’s own words, that I quoted above, already explained why. This is why I’m saying that at this stage you can only be simply ignoring what is said.

19. And that seems to be the problem at the moment Kenneth. Not just on blogs but even in the literature! For example one of the first modern papers to challenge the GHE, the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper. Halpern et al wrote a rebuttal which was effectively for the most part just a huge strawman. G & T wrote back a rebuttal pointing this out, but still to this day the same people just repeat over and over again their same strawman and refuse to ever publically acknowledge their mistake (if it was even a mistake in the first place and not deliberate). Same with the 97% consensus paper by Cook et al. It has been absolutely, comprehensively, refuted in pretty much every single aspect imaginable and yet the journal have closed off any further commenting on it, it will never be retracted by its authors, it will still get cited, and the 97% meme will be endlessly regurgitated.

It is simply a network of people who refuse to admit they’re wrong, and just keep repeating the same lies over and over again in the hope that people will believe it. Every single major climate blog on whatever side of the issue comes with its own little gang of trolls who all seem to think exactly the same thing, always argue in exactly the same ways, and repeat the exact same lies ad nauseam. Their M.O is:

1) Always have the last word.
3) Portray themselves as the teacher and you the student.
4) Do whatever they can to undermine confidence in their opponent (their person rather than their argument).
5) Always misrepresent their opponents position.

I can’t see any end for this climate debate. Since integrity seems to have left the building, how can there be? If scientists are at the point now where even when they’re shown to be wrong they just don’t admit it, and come up with increasingly elaborate ways to convince themselves they’re right (or if they know they’re wrong, to convince others that they’re right) then surely that’s just the end of science? The self-correcting, progressive part of it gone. It will just stagnate indefinitely.

20. “As Nikolov and Zeller point out, there is an observed flux to the atmosphere of only 155 W/m2, which equates to 33K”

To clarify, since the surface temperature is 288 K (390 W/m2) and the Earth as a whole is emitting 235 W/m2 to space (which relates to a blackbody temperature of about 255 K) then the observed flux to the atmosphere of 155 W/m2 equates to approx. 33 K in that context. “Such a flux might only explain a surface warming up to 35 K”, as N-Z put it. I am not suggesting that if you put 33 K into that blackbody calculator I linked to that 155 W/m2 will come out.

Just trying to anticipate the next ridiculous strawman, is all.

21. GW,

I guess if you completely ignore every word I’ve said, as you have done, you can stick your fingers in your ears and shout “la la la”.

It’s rather you who is ignoring words …

It will still have a surface temperature lower than 255 K. So there’s still a problem for GHE theory.

I am not claiming that the average surface temperature without an atmosphere would be lower than 255 K. This is absolutely correct to say. But claiming that a lower than 255 K temperature could not be explained by a greenhouse effect of “155 W/m² which equates 33 K” is just wrong. I tried to explain it to you, but apparently, I am not a proficient enough user of the English language or you really can’t understand it.

One more time then. Earth receives around 342 W/m² of solar radiation. The albedo reduces that to around 235 W/m². Earth has to get rid of that amount of radiation to be at equilibrium. Now let’s say there would be no atmosphere and the albedo would change to the one of the Moon (0.12). So Earth has to get rid of 301 W/m². On a very fast rotating planet where the Sun is shining with equal power on every square meter of the surface this would mean the surface would have an average temperature of around 270 K. But Earth isn’t that kind of a planet and the Moon is even less so.

So far so good. Now how can Earth be cooler than 270 K and still emit 301 W/m²? Any idea? Let’s look at an extreme situation. Half the planet emits 702 W/m² and the other half 0 W/m². The average is still 301 W/m², but now the Earth’s average surface temperature is just 166.8 K.

Was that understandable enough? No “la la la” from your side this time, please …

22. That came out wrong. There should be an edit function 10 minutes after you post something …

I am not claiming that the average surface temperature without an atmosphere would be lower than 255 K.

I meant to write the opposite. Of course the average surface temperature of the planet would be lower without an atmosphere than 255 K. That 255 K value resulting from the 235 W/m² is for an imaginary planet, but never the less 235 W/m² must leave the planet. And that is possible with lower than 255 K average temperatures. Do you disagree?

Regarding your post “GW 6. October 2017 at 10:53 AM”: it describes the skeptic side very well. It’s kind of funny how people on skeptic blogs seem to think they are on to something – a big conspiracy maybe – when it is really them basing their arguments on misunderstanding after misunderstanding.

23. “On a very fast rotating planet where the Sun is shining with equal power on every square meter of the surface”

Ooop. There you go, you’ve gone wrong again. Ed Bo’s words once more:

“Holder’s inequality demonstrates that the larger the temperature variation over a surface that radiates power as the 4th power (or really any power greater than 1) of absolute temperature, the lower the mean temperature of the surface (and hence the integrated energy level) will be for a constant power input.

So Schmidt’s alternate imaginary earth with NO TEMPERATURE VARIATION provides an upper limit on the average surface temperature that absorbs as much solar power as the earth does, has unit infrared emissivity, and a transparent (or no) atmosphere.”

It’s very funny to watch you twist and turn. Keep it up!

It’s a mathematical and physical certainty that you’re wrong.

24. “Of course the average surface temperature of the planet would be lower without an atmosphere than 255 K. That 255 K value resulting from the 235 W/m² is for an imaginary planet, but never the less 235 W/m² must leave the planet. And that is possible with lower than 255 K average temperatures. Do you disagree?”

Why would I disagree when that’s precisely the point I’m making!? The surface temperature of a planet without an atmosphere would be lower than 255 K. The planet as it is has a surface temperature of 288 K. So you definitely have a greater than 33 K difference to explain. There is only enough energy flux to the atmosphere to explain a 33 K difference (via a GHE). Is that clear enough for YOU to understand!?

25. It’s very funny to watch you twist and turn. Keep it up!

It’s a mathematical and physical certainty that you’re wrong.

What are you talking about? I am not disagreeing with what you repeatedly quoted from Ed Bo. Below you write people just disagree and do not misunderstand concepts … I do not concur.

Why would I disagree when that’s precisely the point I’m making!?

Because you aren’t making the point that you think you are making. You seem to recognize that a certain amount of emittance X W/m² doesn’t correspond 1:1 to a planet wide average temperature, but you fail to see that the difference between 390 W/m² and 235 W/m² is not a difference in temperature by the very same principle. That would only be the case if Earth had the same temperature everywhere on the surface.

There is only enough energy flux to the atmosphere to explain a 33 K difference (via a GHE).

Nope. The energy flux that we can observe now is exactly the one that is necessary to arrive at the current state (from however cold an imaginary Earth without radiation absorbing gases would be). That’s why we are observing it know. Your fixation on this 33K value is mind boggling …

26. “What are you talking about? I am not disagreeing with what you repeatedly quoted from Ed Bo.”

Yeah, I realised that after I’d written the first reply. You threw me by suddenly doing a complete 180 on your position and arguing a point to me that I already agreed with, and had in fact made in the first place, then presenting it back to me as if it was something I was arguing against. These conversations go on so long it gets to the point you automatically assume whatever the person says to you in reply will constitute a disagreement.

“Because you aren’t making the point that you think you are making.”

A ridiculous statement, that presupposes you can read my mind. In what you say next, you’re forgetting that in the case of the 390 W/m2 vs 235 W/m2 (real-life Earth situation), Holder’s inequality won’t apply to the temperature associated with the 235 W/m2 since that flux is the output, and it’s not the surface (it’s the outgoing flux at TOA), and so we can be fairly sure it equates to a blackbody temperature of 255 K. Then the surface temperature of 288 K is known. So unless you’re suggesting that the K-T budget is wrong and that actually the flux shown coming from the surface should be something other than 390 W/m2, you don’t really have a point.

“The energy flux that we can observe now is exactly the one that is necessary to arrive at the current state (from however cold an imaginary Earth without radiation absorbing gases would be).”

Again, a fairly ludicrous statement. You can’t just say “from however cold…”, different amounts of warming require different amounts of energy to induce.

27. “What are you talking about? I am not disagreeing with what you repeatedly quoted from Ed Bo.”

Sorry if this ends up being a repeat post. I recently wrote a long reply only to see it disappear after pressing “post comment”. Anyway, yes, my first reply to you was a mistake. When dealing with post after post from you continuously disagreeing with every word I said it was somewhat of a surprise to see you suddenly arguing my points back to me as if I hadn’t made them to you in the first place, so I guess I was thrown off there.

“but you fail to see that the difference between 390 W/m² and 235 W/m² is not a difference in temperature by the very same principle.”

Well, Holder’s inequality won’t apply to the 235 W/m2, so we can be fairly sure that this flux equates to a blackbody temperature of 255 K. In other words the temperature of the whole Earth system, as seen from space, would be 255 K. The 288 K temperature is measured. So, unless you’re suggesting the K/T energy budget is wrong to show 390 W/m2 as the flux coming from the surface, then yes that difference between the fluxes does equate to a 33 K temperature difference or thereabouts once the temperatures associated with them are worked out. But generally, no, fluxes aren’t temperatures, they’re fluxes. I’m not suggesting otherwise.

“The energy flux that we can observe now is exactly the one that is necessary to arrive at the current state (from however cold an imaginary Earth without radiation absorbing gases would be).”

Saying “from however cold” is a bit of a silly statement considering different amounts of warming require different amounts of energy to induce.

2. And do not simply regurgitate the nonsense sums you gave me last time. They are meaningless. If you cannot explain how you can get the earth to radiate 48 watts per sq-meter MORE than it receives from the sun, while it is ALSO expending AN ADDITIONAL 102 watts per sq-meter to warm air by convection and evaporate water, then just shut up!

168 W/m² reach the surface from the Sun. 102 W/m² (thermal and evaporation) + 66 W/m² (radiation) are emitted back to the atmosphere/space. Those 66 W/m² are the net result of the surface emitting radiation at the current average temperature and the atmosphere emitting LW radiation back down to the surface.

And it’s not like GW is writing that this assumes the surface is at 288 K. If it were lower than thermals + evaporation + outgoing radiation would be lower too, but there would still be 168 W/m² absorbed by the surface, increasing heat content and therefore the temperature. The diagram shows the energy budget in an equilibrium state.

(And NO, you can’t create this out of nowhere, pretending it came from CO2 and include it in “back radiation.” That violates the STRICT law of physics prohibiting creation and destruction of energy.)

It’s not created out of nowhere. If someone would give you money at a faster rate than you could spend it then it would accumulate in your bank account, wouldn’t it? Now, if your ability to spend money were a function of the amount of money in your bank account, there would be some equilibrium state where you would indeed spend as fast as you receive and you would stop getting richer. Has there been money created out of nowhere in this example?

3. Do you think someone measured the CO2 forcing 265 years ago and compared it to today’s value to arrive at a 1.8 W/m² figure? Then I could understand why you think that the uncertainty matters and that we can not trust that 1.8 W/m² figure. – SebH 4.October 2017 at 12:30 AM

But, because we haven’t measured it (assuming we could then which we can’t, even now), and because our ignorance of what it might be is thereby even greater than it would have been had we been able to measure it then; the now larger uncertainty therefore doesn’t matter, and we can TOTALLY trust a number the warmunistas pulled out of thin air.

You see, Kenneth, it’s totally understandable, …IF one has’t a brain.

If someone would give you money at a faster rate than you could spend it then it would accumulate in your bank account, wouldn’t it? – SebH 3. October 2017 at 2:41 PM

It seems that SebH misses the little detail that as 342 W/sqM are shown by the cartoon to be arriving, (107+235)=342 are shown to be concurrently leaving. Everything comimg in then goes out. They show ZERO excess. According to that cartoon THERE IS NO WAY TO ACCUMULATE ANYTHING!!! What they are saying is that you got $100.00 at the bank, and after you brought it home, entered your house and looked into you wallet, it had become$200.00. That isn’t “science.” It’s magic. And that is exactly my criticism of the cartoon, as it is presented.

In fact, in my first post on this, in response to the Trenberth version of that cartoon that YOU first posted, I hinted at how that was the only way you could accumulate energy, by having more coming in than was going out. You completely ignored that then. Now you think you are telling me something I didn’t know??!! You are neither telling me anything new, nor shedding any light on the energy budget, at all. You are blathering ignorantly, and carelessly.

1. That’s a weird way of saying that you haven’t read to the end of what I wrote. Why do you ignore that the diagram is the equilibrium state? There is no accumulation …

2. Everything comimg in then goes out. They show ZERO excess. According to that cartoon THERE IS NO WAY TO ACCUMULATE ANYTHING!!!

That’s because it shows the energy fluxes in the equilibrium state.

and after you brought it home, entered your house and looked into you wallet, it had become \$200.00. That isn’t “science.” It’s magic. And that is exactly my criticism of the cartoon, as it is presented.

What you are doing is misinterpreting a diagram.

I don’t know if there is any animation of that diagram with arbitrary starting points reaching the shown state, but there really should be, so someone like you can understand what is shown and what is not shown in there. Don’t make up “divine interventions” when everything perfectly adds up.

3. Why do you ignore that the diagram is the equilibrium state? There is no accumulation … – SebastianH 4. October 2017 at 7:06 AM

Great. No accumulation of heat = no warming.

Ok, guys, we’re done here. Last one out turn out the lights and lock up.

Good night.

4. Great. No accumulation of heat = no warming.

I’ll make you an animation of that diagram where you can start with any temperature you want and reach that equilibrium state. Why would such a diagram show accumulation and/or warming? The one you linked to doesn’t … the normal Trenberth diagrams have a 0.x W/m² imbalance which means the surface is warming.

5. “Why would such a diagram show accumulation and/or warming? The one you linked to doesn’t … the normal Trenberth diagrams have a 0.x W/m² imbalance which means the surface is warming.” – SebH

AGAIN – What do you mean, “The one you linked to?!” That IS Trenberth’s cartoon, the one from his paper, …the one you first posted, and to which I have been responding. You keep saying I don’t understand, but you never explain what I don’t understand or why.

Now, you go ahead and make an animation, if you wish, or save yourself the time and explain it in words, if you can.

6. You keep saying I don’t understand, but you never explain what I don’t understand or why.

You don’t understand that the diagram displays an equilibrium state. All arrows balance out, there is no surplus anywhere.

Are those words enough for you?

7. “Don’t make up “divine interventions” when everything perfectly adds up.” – SebH

LOL – No, everything doesn’t add up. And I’m not the only one who notices.

According to the usual theory of the large greenhouse gas effect on the climate, the primary reason the Earth’s surface has an average temperature of about 288K [as opposed to 255K] is the absorption of radiation from the sun directly and the absorption of an even larger amount of radiation energy from the atmosphere.

……………………….

All of the energy that warms the surface is in the form of these two radiation sources [solar, and atmospheric], with the back radiation from the atmosphere being 2.08 times the direct solar radiation absorption according to this NASA Earth energy budget. This is entirely false, which I have explained many times. This viewpoint is based on the wrongheaded idea that the Earth’s entire surface emits radiation as though it were in a vacuum and absorbs massive radiant energy from a generally cooler atmosphere which is even greater than the energy absorbed from the Sun. In reality, the Earth’s surface emission is much, much less than shown in this diagram and the back radiation is much, much, much, much less than is shown. In fact, back radiation is actually limited to those cases of atmospheric temperature inversions, which do occur in a dynamic atmosphere, but have a much smaller effect than that claimed.

It does NOT “add up,” SebH, and never will, because it is a fantasy based on fictitious physics, or “divine intervention,” as you please. I repeat: you cannot have more energy internally than what is supplied from without, as they want us to believe. That is a physical impossibility.

You’re going to have to do a lot better than accusing us of “not understanding” if you want to show others that you do, which you obviously do not.

8. MY FINAL POST TO THIS THREAD

or….

I’ll let this fellow beat that dead horse one last time.

While he is saying the same as I am, in general, about why the K-T cartoon of Earth’s energy budget is wrong, he also elaborates on the details of why it is so. And from it we can see why, being so, the repeated and tiresome fact-free faith-based assertions of SebH are completely wrong.

“The Settled Science of Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming Violates the Laws of Physics”
https://objectivistindividualist.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-settled-science-of-catastrophic-man.html

Enjoy.

9. It’s pretty sad that you can’t tell that the person on that objectivistindividualist blog knows little about physics. He/she would likely fail a basic university exam. Why is it so hard for you to understand this diagram and see that everything adds up?

There is no new energy that magically appears.

Do you know how your kitchen oven works? What do you think happens when you strip it of all but one layer of insulation? Do you think the interior will still get as hot a before with the same amount of energy drawn from the grid? So why is the oven getting warmer with more insulation or requires less energy to keep a certain temperature? It is the same principle …

10. FED UP WITH SEBH

“It’s pretty sad that you can’t tell that the person on that objectivistindividualist blog knows little about physics. He/she would likely fail a basic university exam.” – SebH – ignoramus at large

It’s his business. It’s what he does for a living. He’s a PhD materials scientist with his own company. Here’s the website.
http://www.andersonmaterials.com/

And these are the people on the company’s team.
http://www.andersonmaterials.com/our-team-2.html

Are you really that stupid that you can’t bother to check on someone’s qualifications before accusing them of not having any???? Are you so unashamed at telling such bald-faced lies that even a child could see through them????

You never have anything constructive to offer in response to anyone. Insult, slander and logical fallacy are your stock in trade. And your opinions are worthless rubbish.

If you ever comment to anything I write again, I will post this comment of mine in response, so people will know why I’m ignoring you. And that is far better than you deserve!

11. So if a professor tells you that 1+1 can’t be 2, you believe it?

Oh boy. You can always find qualified people telling nonsense. When someone claims that there is magic additional energy in the Trenberth diagram because the fluxes are higher than what is received from the Sun, then you should be very skeptic about his/her other claims, since that claim demonstrates that basic laws of physics are not well understood.

9. Kenneth:

I have written in previous threads that I don’t find the “greenhouse effect warms the earth by xxK” to be productive, because it requires a comparison to some alternate imaginary earth, and you can get completely tied up in arguing about the nature of this alternate imaginary earth, as has occupied most of this thread. (This is why I prefer to examine the surface “power gap” of this very real world instead.)

Gavin Schmidt’s alternate imaginary earh is one that absorbs as much solar energy as our earth does, has unit (1.0) infrared emissivity, a completely transparent (or no) atmosphere, and has a high enough thermal capacitance and low enough lateral thermal resistance that it has a uniform surface temperature over its entire area. This alternate imaginary earth would have a surface temperature of 255K.

So Kramm gets it exactly wrong when he claims that “any heat storage in the oceans … and land masses is neglected.” A more valid criticism is that the heat storage (thermal capacitance) in the oceans etc. is grossly exaggerated so that temperature variations can be ignored. A paper that makes this fundamental an error can also be ignored.

Holder’s inequality demonstrates that the larger the temperature variation over a surface that radiates power as the 4th power (or really any power greater than 1) of absolute temperature, the lower the mean temperature of the surface (and hence the integrated energy level) will be for a constant power input.

So Schmidt’s alternate imaginary earth with no temperature variation provides an upper limit on the average surface temperature that absorbs as much solar power as the earth does, has unit infrared emissivity, and a transparent (or no) atmosphere.

Nikolov and Zeller get the math of Holder’s inequality correct that the larger the variations, the lower the average temperature in these situations. But they draw completely the wrong conclusions from this.

N&Z’s alternate imaginary earth is … the moon. The moon has huge temperature variations and a much lower average temperature, as they note. But then they argue that only atmospheric effects could explain the difference, which is simply absurd.

There are multiple reasons that the moon has greater temperature variations than the earth does, that have nothing to do with atmospheric effects.

1. The moon’s day is almost 30 times longer than the earth’s, so it would heat up much more in each of its days, and cool off much more in each of its nights, than the earth would, even with other things equal.

2. The nature of the moon’s surface — the dust of the “regolith” — means that the thermal capacitance of the surface layer that responds to day/night cycles is very small compared to that of the earth, and would yield much greater diurnal temperature variations than the earth, even for days of the same time length.

3. The moon has no significant lateral heat transfer mechanisms to transfer thermal energy from the equatorial regions towards the polar regions — nothing like the Gulf Stream or similar currents on earth.

4. The moon has no “phase changes” in its materials that absorb or emit lots of energy without changing temperature. The earth does.

So N&Z’s argument that the 90K difference between the earth’s average surface temperature and the moon’s average surface temperature can only be made up by atmospheric effects (and that it is far too large for any “greenhouse effect” is completely fallacious.

1. Ed Bo, your points 1 – 4 are all dealt with in the Volokin & ReLlez paper. There is an entire section on the rotational speed of the bodies. They argue that the Earth in absence of atmosphere would not have oceans and that the soil would be similar to that of the moon:

“Aside from this coincidental similarity of surface albedos between present-day Earth and the Moon, one can also argue that, in the absence of atmosphere, Earth would have no liquid oceans and/or exposed glaciers, since these require an atmospheric pressure (P) and temperature (T) above the triple point of water to exist, i.e. T > 273.2 K and P > 611.73 Pa (Cengel and Turner 2004). Without an atmosphere, the surface of our planet would be subjected to the same geologic processes that presently govern regolith formation on the Moon (e.g. bombardment by cosmic radiation and micrometeorites). Hence, an airless Earth would likely have a surface soil layer of similar radiative and optical properties (shortwave albedo and long-wave emissivity) as the lunar regolith”

Plus of course, without water your point no. 4 about phase changes is also redundant.

1. GW:

There are huge problems with the V&R paper you cite, which would have gotten it rejected as an undergraduate paper.

Let’s look at their treatment of the rotational speed. They go through the fancy integrals demonstrating Holder’s inequality, which show that the greater the variation in temperature, the lower the average temperature will be, given constant insolation and ambient conditions around the planet, due to the 4th-power relationship of radiative flux to temperature. So far, so good.

But then in their consideration of rotational speed effects, they do not include the heat loss effects of radiation from the surface to space AT ALL in their calculations. They assume that all of the solar energy absorbed during the day is conducted down below the surface, then conducted back up at night. Since conduction is related to the 1st power of temperature, Holder’s inequality does not apply, and they conclude that rotational speed does not affect average temperature.

This is, to say the least, completely daft. The idea that the surface is not radiating away energy during the day is laughably absurd. Especially so when you consider the powdery surface is a terrible conductor, but a great radiator.

More generally, they try to make conclusions about MECHANISMS of heat transfer when they are really analyzing SUBSTANCES with multiple mechanisms. I argued that the large thermal capacitance of the earth’s oceans involved in the day/night transfers minimizes temperature swings compared to the minimal capacitance of the lunar regolith. They (and you) conflate the effect of the MECHANISM of capacitance with all of the other mechanisms that an ocean of water brings.

But fundamentally, they have absolutely NO basis for their claim that the radiative greenhouse effect cannot explain the temperature levels of the earth.

1. Varying the speed of rotation would create differences in the amount of temperature variation across the planet. The more temperature variation there is, according to Holders inequality, the lower the average temperature must be. In Schmidt’s 255 K scenario effectively the Earth is rotating so fast that there are no temperature variations at all. The slower the body rotates the larger the temperature variations there are and so the lower the average temperature will be. The moon rotates slower than the Earth.

OK, so with all of this said, even IF Nikolov and Zeller were to concede the point you’ve just raised about their first paper, and acknowledge that their 90 K estimate for the Earth is an overestimate…the “true” surface temperature value for Earth without an atmosphere must still be lower than 255 K. Because whatever the “true” effect of the Earth’s rotation speed is in comparison to the moon; the Earth is still going to be rotating far slower than the one in Schmidt’s scenario, so it must have a far lower average surface temperature than 255 K. That being the case, and a greater than 33 K difference between the surface temperature of the real and the theoretical Earth requires explanation, then the point raised in their second paper still stands. That point being, “since the current greenhouse theory strives to explain GE solely through a retention (trapping) of outgoing long-wavelength (LW) radiation by atmospheric gases [2,5,7- 10], a thermal enhancement of 90 K creates a logical conundrum, since satellite observations constrain the global atmospheric LW absorption to 155–158 W m-2 [11-13]. Such a flux might only explain a surface warming up to 35 K. Hence, more than 60% of Earth’s 90 K atmospheric effect appears to remain inexplicable in the context of the current theory”

All you are doing is arguing to increase the difference between the average surface temperature of the moon and the average surface temperature of this fictional Earth without an atmosphere that they have calculated. The point though is that anything below a 255 K surface temperature of an Earth without an atmosphere presents a problem to the GHE theory (as per my quote from their second paper), and due to Holders inequality (as you have already said yourself) the “true” surface temperature of Earth without an atmosphere MUST be lower than 255 K. All that your arguments would change is to reduce the amount of the atmospheric effect that “appears to remain inexplicable in the context of the current theory”. There would still be an amount that remains inexplicable so long as the “true” surface temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere is below 255 K.

1. GW:

You quote N&Z 2017 as saying “a thermal enhancement of 90 K creates a logical conundrum, since satellite observations constrain the global atmospheric LW absorption to 155–158 W m-2 [11-13]. Such a flux might only explain a surface warming up to 35 K.”

The first problem with this is that their cited sources show atmospheric LW absorption of 350 W m-2. This can easily be seen in the summary diagram in their source 11, which shows 356 W m-2. So their claim as stated is completely wrong.

Now, what I think they are trying to note is the difference between the measured surface upward radiation (given as 396 W m-2 in their source 11) and the measure top-of-atmosphere radiation (given as 239 W m-2 in the same source). They seem to conclude the difference (157 here) is what is absorbed by the atmosphere.

They claim that this difference can only explain changes in surface temperature of up to 35K. It is true that a planetary surface of uniform temperature radiating 239 W m-2 will be at about 255K and a planetary surface of uniform temperature radiating 396 W m-2 will be at about 289K, a difference of about 35K.

But this comparison is for surfaces of UNIFORM TEMPERATURE! There is no such limit when that constraint is relaxed. I find it astonishing, that in a paper focused on the effects of non-uniformity of surface temperatures, they could make such a basic error.

Thanks for highlighting that for me — it gave me the best laugh I have had in a while!

2. Yawn. The 239 W/m2 is the flux leaving at TOA so yes, it will equate to a 255 K temperature or thereabouts. It isn’t a “surface temperature”. The surface at 288 K is measured. Their source is the K/T energy budget so unless you’re saying the arrow showing a flux of 390 W/m2 leaving from the surface is wrong, then I guess you are forced to concede the point.

3. GW, you are still failing to see that the same principle applies to the difference of 155 W/m2 … That doesn’t mean that it’s a 33K difference for a not as fast rotating planet.

4. Seb H, you are still failing to see that in the case of the Earth as it is, the surface temperature is measured. It’s 288 K. The flux leaving at the TOA equates to a temperature of 255 K. The Earth as seen from space has a temperature of 255 K. You can argue that either of those temperatures are wrong, if you like…but I fail to see how.

So all you can really argue is whether the flux difference related to those temperatures should actually be 155 W/m2 (which would then mean an error with the K/T budget). And even then, it would be irrelevant to their point. Whatever that flux difference was, it would represent conditions as they are on the real Earth, and would represent the maximum energy flux the Earth has to have produced any GHE warming of the surface. And would have to relate to a max inducible temperature increase of around 33 – 35 K.

5. You can argue that either of those temperatures are wrong, if you like…but I fail to see how.

Why would I argue that?

would have to relate to a max inducible temperature increase of around 33 – 35 K.

33K is the minimum GHE for an Earth with uniform temperature distribution. A GHE of 65 K or even 90 K (for an imaginary Earth without an atmosphere) results in the same 155 W/m² in equilibrium.

6. “Why would I argue that?”

OK then, so you agree. Good!

“33K is the minimum GHE for an Earth with uniform temperature distribution”

It’s the minimum total Atmospheric Temperature Enhancement, based on an Earth without an atmosphere with uniform temperature. Since the “true” Earth without an atmosphere would not have a uniform temperature, the total ATE must be greater than this. As you have just agreed that there is nothing wrong with either the surface temperature of the real Earth being approx. 288 K or the ‘real Earth as seen from space temperature’ being approx. 255 K, you agree there is only sufficient energy absorption by the atmosphere (that thing between the surface and space) to explain up to a 33 – 35 K sort of effect.

So you agree there is a problem with the current understanding of the GHE. Excellent!

7. We were all so close to peace and harmony I was just about ready to sing, Kumbaya. Such a shame…

And thank you. Likewise!

8. It’s the minimum total Atmospheric Temperature Enhancement, based on an Earth without an atmosphere with uniform temperature. Since the “true” Earth without an atmosphere would not have a uniform temperature, the total ATE must be greater than this.

You explained why that is somewhere in the comments here and yet you still come to the conclusion that a 155 W/m² “gap” means that the enhancement can only be 33-35K. Why are you unable to recognize that the same principle applies here too? You can have two surfaces which differ by 155 W/m² in emitted radiation and have a greater than 33-35K average temperature difference.

This 33-35K value only applies to uniform temperature distribution and as you wrote, that is not and would not be the case.

9. So you lied! You hadn’t given up after all.

“Why are you unable to recognize that the same principle applies here too?”

Well, read the rest of the post other than the bit you selectively quoted, e.g:

“As you have just agreed that there is nothing wrong with either the surface temperature of the real Earth being approx. 288 K or the ‘real Earth as seen from space temperature’ being approx. 255 K, you agree there is only sufficient energy absorption by the atmosphere (that thing between the surface and space) to explain up to a 33 – 35 K sort of effect”

Here’s the absolute crux of where you go wrong (time and again):

“This 33-35K value only applies to uniform temperature distribution and as you wrote, that is not and would not be the case.”

No it doesn’t. The 33-35K value applies to the real Earth, the one we live on. Now. Measured, factual, irrefutable. You are conflating two different 33 K values, from two completely different contexts, relating to different things. You do this continuously, and I can only assume by this point, deliberately.

1) There’s this “33-35K value” based on actual measurements of the system as it is. As I said; measured, factual, irrefutable.
2) There’s the minimum ATE enhancement that is possible from considering an Earth without an atmosphere compared to the Earth in reality. That is also, perhaps entirely coincidentally, 33 K. However, 33 K is the absolute minimum it can be, due to Holder’s inequality. We know it must be greater than this.

The problem for the GHE theory is that the amount in 1) is therefore not sufficient to account fully for 2), which it is supposed to be, according to the theory.

You can’t say, “well, why isn’t the surface temperature in 1) also affected by Holder’s inequality”. Perhaps it is. Regardless, it is measured. So you can’t exactly claim that it is less than it is measured to be. So that’s it. Done. You have nothing left you can possibly say. You even said you weren’t going to say anything else.

And yet…

10. You are conflating two different 33 K values, from two completely different contexts, relating to different things. You do this continuously, and I can only assume by this point, deliberately.

You are doing this. Somehow the similarity between those figures has confused you.

1) There’s this “33-35K value” based on actual measurements of the system as it is. As I said; measured, factual, irrefutable.

The unit is W/m² and the value is around 155 W/m². It does correspond to some temperature in that range, but it doesn’t mean that this is the atmospheric effect (or GHE). I don’t know why you believe that.

The problem for the GHE theory is that the amount in 1) is therefore not sufficient to account fully for 2), which it is supposed to be, according to the theory.

Again, no. 1) is the current equilibrium state and 2) comes from imaginary Earths without the GHE. At some point the GHE gets added to those Earths and the planets warm up. And since we are talking about Earths here, they warm up to the current state with the current measurements (from point 1).

Now you try to argue that this warming up is impossible from the GHE alone. But how is it possible then that the current equilibrium state does look like it does? Your claim makes no sense.

You can’t say, “well, why isn’t the surface temperature in 1) also affected by Holder’s inequality”

Of course I can.

So you can’t exactly claim that it is less than it is measured to be.

What exactly is measured in your view? That Earth uniformly emits 235 W/m² towards space? That the surface uniformly emits 390 W/m² towards space/the atmosphere?

You even said you weren’t going to say anything else.

I meant Kenneth with that. It’s pointless trying to get him understand. He is fixated on his close-minded view and thinks that everything AGW proponents could come up with is a hoax, fake, etc … regardless of what he writes about himself being agnostic and open-minded (he should really read and understand a physics textbook if he is so open-minded).

11. “You are doing this.”

No I’m not.

“The unit is W/m² and the value is around 155 W/m². It does correspond to some temperature in that range, but it doesn’t mean that this is the atmospheric effect (or GHE). I don’t know why you believe that.”

Let’s just go back to the other place where we were arguing this exact same thing, and I’ll ask you the same questions. I realise I have to write it all out in full here, else you will just ignore it. I could simply link to the relevant comment if I was arguing with someone honest, but OK:

“This is from their first (Volokin/ReLlez) paper:

“According to satellite observations, Earth’s atmosphere retains on average 155–158 W m−2 of the upwelling long-wave radiation emitted by the surface (Kiehl and Trenberth 1997; Trenberth et al. 2009; Stephens et al. 2012; Wild et al. 2013). This infrared heat absorption by greenhouse gases a.k.a. long-wave radiative forcing (Kiehl and Trenberth 1997) is presently believed to drive 100% of the near-surface ATE (Peixoto and Oort 1992; Lacis et al. 2010; Pierrehumbert 2010; Schmidt et al. 2010).”

and this is from their second:

“In a recent study Volokin et al. [1] demonstrated that the strength of Earth’s atmospheric Greenhouse Effect (GE) is about 90 K instead of 33 K as presently assumed by most researchers e.g. [2-7]. The new estimate corrected a long-standing mathematical error in the application of the Stefan–Boltzmann (SB) radiation law to a sphere pertaining to Hölder’s inequality between integrals. Since the current greenhouse theory strives to explain GE solely through a retention (trapping) of outgoing long-wavelength (LW) radiation by atmospheric gases [2,5,7- 10], a thermal enhancement of 90 K creates a logical conundrum, since satellite observations constrain the global atmospheric LW absorption to 155–158 W m-2 [11-13]. Such a flux might only explain a surface warming up to 35 K. Hence, more than 60% of Earth’s 90 K atmospheric effect appears to remain inexplicable in the context of the current theory.”

So if you don’t agree, what do you disagree with? If it’s this bit:

“This infrared heat absorption by greenhouse gases a.k.a. long-wave radiative forcing (Kiehl and Trenberth 1997) is presently believed to drive 100% of the near-surface ATE (Peixoto and Oort 1992; Lacis et al. 2010; Pierrehumbert 2010; Schmidt et al. 2010).”

Are you disagreeing with all those citations? Pierrehumbert, Schmidt et al? Are you saying they’re misrepresenting those citations?”

OK. That’s that. Hopefully that resolves for you whatever it is that is leading you to conclude in your next paragraph that my (their) “claim makes no sense”. If not, please proceed by answering my questions. Otherwise we are going to get nowhere. Then you say:

“Of course I can.”

OK, and I agree; in the sense that yes, Holder’s inequality should affect the surface temperature of the planet as it is. As I went on to say, “Perhaps it is. Regardless, it is measured”. Meaning (to answer your next question), the temperature of 288 K is measured. What I meant was that you can’t say “well, why isn’t the surface temperature in 1) also affected by Holder’s inequality” in the sense that the current surface temperature is measured to be what it is. I was trying to say, you can’t argue that due to Holder’s inequality the Earth’s surface temperature as it is now is *less* than 288 K, because it is *measured to be 288 K*. I mean, this is self-evident, and shouldn’t need to be said, but I am at the point now that I felt like every single possible thing that you could possibly misconstrue needed to be explained just in case. Because you seem hell-bent on (perhaps deliberately) misconstruing every single aspect of this until I just give up trying to explain it to you and so you’ve had the last word. Perhaps that is your debating tactic. Who knows.

The only thing, then, that could be different due to Holder’s Inequality is the flux relating to that measured surface temperature of 288 K. This, as I said before (to either you, or Ed, or both, can’t remember now) would mean that the K/T energy budget would need adjusting (if the 390 W/m2 flux associated with that temperature is wrong). It doesn’t, however, affect N/Z’s point. Whatever the flux difference is between what is emitted by the surface and what is emitted at TOA to space, that also relates to the difference between the temperatures those fluxes are associated with. To finish answering your question, in my view it is measured that Earth emits 235 W/m2 to space, which equates to a blackbody temperature of 255 K. I’ve already said that the surface temperature is measured at 288 K. You have already said that you would not argue against either of those temperatures. That’s a 33-35K (including margin for error) temperature reduction from surface to TOA which can only be accounted for by the thing inbetween the Earth’s surface and space – the atmosphere.

Now, we have the difference in fluxes as being 155 W/m2 if we believe the Earth’s surface is emitting 390 W/m2. If that 390 W/m2 should actually be something different (due to Holder’s inequality) then that 155 W/m2 will also be different. As I said before, this doesn’t affect N/Z’s point. I assume I don’t have to now repeat why.

Hopefully this explains everything.

10. Kenneth:

Below is a response I tried to post in an earlier thread well over a week ago, but you shut down comments. When I get more time, I will try to answer your new points.

************************************************

Kenneth:

I have been overwhelmingly focused here on the subjects of the posts you put up uncritically that question the very existence of a radiative greenhouse effect. I have argued that we have a VERY high certainty that this effect exists, far beyond any uncertainty in measurements or possibility of alternative explanations.

You keep demanding that I express similar certainty about the sensitivity of this radiative greenhouse effect to small changes in some atmospheric constituents. (I am sadly coming to the conclusion that fully distinguishing between level and derivative is beyond your capability.)

On this subject, I have also been clear that the posited sensitivities are well within measurement uncertainties, feedback uncertainties, and other possible causal sources, so I am – uncertain. You don’t seem to be able to accept this.

I have also been clear that while we do have precise measurements of DWLWIR for various combined atmospheric compositions, the overlap in absorption/emission between some of these constituents makes blanket statements of attribution problematic.

It seems that I have to spell it out for you step by step. Go to the following website:

climatemodels.uchicago.edu/modtran

This site is based on decades of measurements by the US Air Force backed up by a century of spectroscopic lab measurements.

Select:
Altitude: 0 km
Looking Up
Mid-latitude summer
No clouds or rain

Enter 400ppm CO2, all other constituents zero. You will get 98.8 W/m2 DWLWIR

Now increase H2O to 1.0 (100% standard concentration). You will get 331 W/m2.

So CO2 provides 30%, right? Not so fast.

Keep H2O at 1.0, and zero out CO2. You will get 317 W/m2. Comparing these last two values, CO2 only contributes 4%.

It is important to realize that the values from the MODTRAN (and related HITRAN) agree VERY closely with spectroradiometer readings under multiple conditions.

So it all depends on how your frame your analysis. So I’m not being evasive at all when I do not provide A NUMBER. And if you even remotely understood the subject, you would realize that.

I encourage you to spend time playing with multiple different variations from this database. It may be the single best way of understanding the underlying physics.

Now, the thermal effects from small variations in DWLWIR are much less certain, as I have been stating, given the poorly understood knock-on (feedback) effects, and other (poorly understood) competing “forcings”.

You continue to try to get me to ascribe certainty to all sorts of effects we have next to no certainty on. How did solar activity change over the last millennium? Serious scientists are all over the place on that one – but you read one paper, and think you know. Did volcanism have any real long-term effects (we only really see short-term dips recently)?

You completely miss my point about my avoiding the “33K” argument. I avoid it because it leads to a pointless circle of arguments about what imaginary, alternate, and unphysical world is being compared to ours. The 33K argument assumes a certain imaginary world – that argument is intended for less technical people who can understand temperature differences better than power flux density differences.

11. Yet another new scientific paper has been published that questions the current understanding of the Earth’s globally averaged surface temperature and its relation to the hypothetical greenhouse effect……fixed

You give a thought bubble and it’s back of a beer-mat math far to much credit calling it a Theory.

Theory definition.
In science, an explanation that covers a substantial group of occurrences in nature and has been confirmed by a substantial number of experiments and observations. A theory is more general and better verified than a hypothesis

There quite simply is no verification of a Radiative Greenhouse Effect.

Keep up the good work’s, the bastards are finally on the back foot.

12. This article is bunk. Sensible people know the GHE is real and has been measured. Without GHGs, temperatures would be much lower. Trying to nitpick how much lower is a distraction. GHGs capture and resend heat back down to earth, thus warming beyond what the sun alone can do. How are you not embarassed by denying 100+ years of textbook physics?

13. Kenneth:

You say: “I also find it interesting that both Ed Bo and SebastianH wish to back off from accepting the 288 – 255 = 33 K greenhouse effect equation as representing reality”

For weeks now, I’ve been emphasizing an argument based on this world alone, emphasizing that my argument does not rely on any specific alternate imaginary world in a “thought experiment”. So no, I am not “back[ing] off from accepting” that. I was never “on” it.

I have been pushing a very basic argument based on the 1st Law of Thermodynamics. The earth’s surface outputs power at a far greater rate than the input from the sun could provide. Yet the surface is very close to being in power balance.

The measured power of the downwelling longwave infrared radiation explains this balance. I have considered other possible explanations and found them completely wanting. I have challenged you and the others to provide any other explanation. Crickets…

You claim I am being close minded here. ” In other words, if no one can provide a better explanation, that makes what they believe in right, or reality.”

The thing is, thermodynamics, radiative heat transfer, and spectroscopy are very mature sciences now. (Unlike the finer points of climate science.) Every day, they make very successful predictions in all sorts of fields. Engineering designs for over a century have successfully used the predictions of these fields to create our modern world.

So I think the chances of an as yet unidentified power source amounting to 250 W/m2 over the entire globe, while simultaneously explaining how the power in the DWLWIR is “disappeared”, are for all intents and purposes NIL. It is not an “argument from ignorance”; it is an argument from knowledge.

I also have a VERY high level of certainty that gravity is the source of the force that pulls me toward the earth. I have examined other possible forces — e.g. electrostatic, magnetic — and rejected them. Gravitational theory explains what we see very well, and nothing else does. So, I conclude that there is NO PLAUSIBLE ALTERNATIVE.

I have told you I would welcome plausible alternatives to the (real) earth’s “power gap”. You don’t even try to suggest one, even given the incredible amount of time you have spent researching scientific papers on climate. Do you really think that someone will come up with another power source that no one has thought of before? (I’m not holding my breath.)

In my professional career, I must make sure that my thermal designs work and my designs don’t fry. I take into account conductive, convective, and radiative heat transfer modes in my designs. I do not lose any sleep that I might have missed some as yet undiscovered thermal source. (That is different from worrying about subtle modeling errors in the designs. That is what safety margins are all about.)