Clouds reduce the energy at the surface, i.e. they currently cool the climate.
The DIY way to demystify „greenhouse gas” claims, Part 6
Are you feeling helpless when trying to assess the veracity of “climate doom is looming” claims we are permanently bombarded with? Don’t give up trying to understand the relevant basics, there is a rather simple way to get an idea about what this is all about. Even without a scientific background, most people have at least a good common sense. And that’s all it takes to get a grasp of how energy flows back and forth between earth’s surface and the skies.
By Fred F. Mueller
Preceding chapters see part 1 1), part 2 2), part 3 3), part 4 4), part 5 5)
Fig. 1. An interesting combination of cumulus clouds with white tops and dark underbellies arranged in a nearly linear formation from the background (center right) towards the left side of the picture.
The decisive faulty assumption of current climate science
When discussing climate topics related to the role of the so-called “greenhouse gases” and the distinction the IPCC makes with respect to “forcers” and “feedback amplifiers,” one inevitably stumbles across the question about what is the difference between both. In fact, the molecules from the “nobility” of the greenhouse gases – CO2, N2O and methane complemented by a few minor gases – can pick up very specific types of photons from the infrared spectrum emitted by earth’s surface and re-emit another photon with comparable wavelength some time thereafter. The absorbed photon energy will raise the internal energy of the molecule by initiating mechanical oscillations between its components. Scientist say that such a molecule has been “stimulated”. In this context, it has to be emphasized that under near-surface conditions, a re-emission will take place only for a minuscule fraction of the intercepted photons. Most of the photon energy absorbed by stimulated molecules will simply be converted to kinetic energy due to collisions with the surrounding air molecules, resulting in an insignificant temperature rise of the surrounding air. And only half of the few IR photons that happen to be re-emitted will be oriented downwards to the surface while the other half will follow an upward trajectory. This small fraction of a fraction is alleged to bring down the balance of our climate system. Such allegations simply ignore the fact that our climate system has proven to be resilient against all sorts of catastrophic events including monster volcanic emissions or the impact of the mighty “dino-killer” asteroid some 64 million years ago. But this is not the whole story.
Why is the strongest “greenhouse gas” classified as not being a “real” greenhouse gas?
In an elaborated article, the climate pundits from NASA and NOAA 6) first admit that “water vapor is Earth’s most abundant greenhouse gas. It’s responsible for about half of Earth’s greenhouse effect 7).” Indeed, water vapor interacts with infrared photons in just as as the other “greenhouse gases”. It not only stronger with respect to the bandwidth of IR radiation it is able to intercept but also due to the fact that its abundance in the atmosphere is much higher than that of all the others. Nevertheless, it is dishonourably discharged from their exclusive “greenhouse gas” club because the average residence time of a given water molecule in the atmosphere between evaporation and downpour as rain is only about 8-10 days. That’s the main justification for the claim that increased water vapor “doesn’t cause global warming. Instead, it’s a consequence of it. Increased water vapor in the atmosphere amplifies the warming caused by other greenhouse gases.” While the evaporation of water is driven by temperature, the atmospheric content of the “nobler” greenhouse gases is allegedly being “driven directly by human activities.” Furthermore, they are non-condensing and thus have long residence times ranging from decades to millennia. For this reason, these substances are classified as “forcers” while water vapor (and, together with it, clouds) are designated as simple amplifiers slavishly following the influence of their masters, a view culminating in the subheading: “Carbon dioxide is still king.” This opinion is shared by NASA pundit PhD Andrew Lacis et al 8) who states that: “since CO2 is by far the strongest and most effective of these non-condensing radiative-forcing gases, it follows that CO2 can be identified as the principal LW control knob that governs the global climate of Earth”.
Despite this being a seemingly obvious explanation underscoring the current IPCC narrative, it does not hold water. A river is a mighty phenomenon of its own right, and nobody would deny the might of the Niagara falls with the argument that the individual water molecules forming it will be gone within just a few seconds. Open water, evaporation, water vapor, clouds and rain are just the manifestations of persistent energy streams perceivable as water in various state forms. Although the role of any individual water molecule in it is in fact ephemeral, this stream itself is perpetually kept active by the solar energy the earth constantly receives. And as we have already seen in the previous chapters, it itself – in the form of clouds – plays a decisive role in the control of the amounts of energy reaching the surface of our planet. And that on the other hand is a feat the “official” greenhouse gases are not able to perform. This might be the explanation why the CO2 apologists treat clouds and their effect in the climate process in such an obviously shabby manner.
And worse still for the IPCC narrative, the purported longevity of the “greenhouse gases” is far from being solely dependant on human activity. There are numerous additional factors influencing the fate of these gases apart from the human activities the climate change apologists try so eagerly to put in the spotlight. We will highlight these topics later in this consideration.
NASA’s control system gaffe
The IPCC, NOAA and NASA all are big, powerful and well-financed organisations that claim to represent the highest level of science when it comes to climate. It is thus all the more astonishing when one looks at how they claim to be educating the public with respect to their narrative of the difference between “real, forcing” greenhouse gases and the “simple, slavishly amplifying” water vapor. Let’s have a closer look at the graphic Fig. 2:
Fig. 2., original caption: “This diagram shows the mechanisms behind a positive water vapor feedback loop. Increases in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, cause a rise global air temperatures. Due to increased evaporation and since warmer air holds more water, water vapor levels in the atmosphere rise, which further increases greenhouse warming. The cycle reinforces itself. The background is a sunset through altocumulus clouds. Credit: NASA and NOAA 9) Historic NWS Collection”
This graphic might be regarded as a striking example for the obvious low esteem our climate pundits have for the recipients of their messages. Even a layman can easily recognize that the loop formed by the three curved red arrows represents a runaway feed back that just has to be triggered once in order to continue indefinitely until the system breaks down or runs out of steam. One can simply reproduce such a phenomenon by connecting a microphone to an amplifier and holding the former next to the loudspeaker: as soon as a critical distance is undershot, the system will start to produce a loud, squealing noise that can only be interrupted by either retracting the mike or by turning back the volume control knob of the amplifier.
The decisive omission is that a system as depicted in Fig. 2. Simply lacks any control handle or knob. If it were true, earth would suffer under conditions resembling those on Venus, with an atmosphere consisting of evaporated oceans, evaporated sulphur dioxide and a minor amount of CO2. Temperatures up there reach a median value of 467 °C. Contrasting with these conditions, earth’s natural processes exhibit a very efficient control system that is self-regulating and has, for more than 3.5 billion years, securely kept our climate system within boundaries supporting life. This is done by cutting back the influx of solar radiation energy as soon as the temperatures rise too much. Keep in mind that a stable climate can only exist if energy input and output is largely balanced, with the main control lever being to cut back the input (= solar radiation) if it is too high. And there’s only one mechanism in the atmosphere’s climate influencing toolbox that’s able to do this job: water vapor. Among the “greenhouse gases,” only water vapor can form clouds that will gradually block solar energy from reaching the surface. If higher temperatures cause more water to evaporate, the skies will fill with more clouds reflecting higher proportions of solar radiation back into space. Neither CO2 nor the other “greenhouse gases” can do this. It’s as simple as that. Let’s just have a look at the relevant figures.
Evolution of the atmospheric CO2 content since 1750
In order to clarify this question, let us first have a look at the development of CO2 levels in the atmosphere since 1750, which has been declared as starting point of human interference in our climate system, see Fig. 3:
Fig. 3. The blue line shows the increase of atmospheric CO2 in ppm since 1750 in comparison to the red line representing the cumulated human CO2 emissions converted to ppm over the same time period. Graphic based on figures from CDIAC 10), EUROPEAN 11), NOAA 12) and IEA 13)
On a side note, looking at Fig. 3., one can immediately see that both diagrams seem to follow comparable characteristics albeit with different parameter sets. Their intersection around the year 1960 marks a clear disconnect since from then on, the absorption of CO2 by sinks such as the ocean and plant growth takes the lead over the role of the atmosphere as dominant buffer for CO2 released by human activity. This fact casts doubts on the validity of the assumption that the oceans won’t be able to take up atmospheric CO2 14) at the same rate as before. And it also collides with claims related to the validity of the much-cited Revelle or buffer 15) factor influencing oceanic CO2 uptake. We will focus on this topic in subsequent chapters of the article.
What dominates cloud effects: warming or cooling?
As we have seen in part 2 and part 3 of this article, clouds have two opposing effects on earth’s energy budget. On the one hand, they reflect incoming solar radiation, thus greatly reducing the solar energy input into the system consisting of the surfaces of land and oceans and the atmosphere. On the other hand, they can absorb infrared emissions from the surface and partly re-emit it back down, thus significantly slowing the radiative cooling of the earth’s surface. The tricky thing about this is that the same cloud can have a largely different effect – ranging from strong warming or strong cooling – depending on the time of day it passes over a given location. Their function as a sort of lid reflecting incoming solar energy is expressed by their albedo, a figure between 0 and 1 characterizing the proportion of solar shortwave radiation they reverberate back into space, see Fig 4.
Fig 4. The albedo or reflectance of different structures on earth for incoming solar radiation energy (Graphic: Wereon, CC 2.5) 16)
On a planetary scale, clouds, ice and snow are the dominating factors when it comes to determine the proportion of incoming solar energy that will be allowed to reach the surface. Once there, most structures such as soil and especially water will absorb most of it, transforming it into the warmth that is the base for all life on earth.
But without a sufficient planetary albedo, we would really have a sort of global warming threatening life on earth. On large swathes of our surface, temperatures would by far exceed the levels we now have in death valley. In this context, the American Meteorological Society 17) states that “on average, the earth reflects 31 units of solar radiation back to the space for every 100 units received (thus, the total earth albedo is 0.31). The cloud albedo accounts for 23 units of the 31”.
But in addition, one should not forget about the other decisive effect of clouds with respect to livable conditions:
Their warming effect helps in preserving this warmth over sufficient time periods to prevent temperatures chuting too far below freezing levels during night time or in the winter. In fact, as seen in Part 3 of the article, clouds act as an insulating cover preserving significant proportions of the IR radiation constantly emitted from the surface of soils and oceans from simply disappearing into space. In fact, the majority of what our climate change pundits call the “greenhouse effect” of our atmosphere is in reality secured by two factors the official climate science is disregarding as ephemeral: water vapor and clouds.
Different assessments of cloud effects within the climate science community
In this context, it is interesting to note that – probably due to the fact that our climate scientists are solely focused on CO2 –, there is dissent when it comes to qualifying the overall effect of clouds. Just a few statements, starting with two sources representing the more modelling-oriented approach while the two others are more inclined to focus on measurements:
Science education center of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) 18): “currently, the combined effect of all clouds is one of net cooling, meaning that clouds are dampening the rate of climate warming……According to model results, clouds will likely amplify climate change in the future. This is called a positive feedback”.
Our warming planet – Andrew Lacis NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies 19): “as a result, water vapor and clouds can only act to magnify an initial radiative perturbation, but cannot act on their own initiative to manufacture or impose a sustained warming or cooling trend on global climate, even though they may contribute more strongly to the overall atmospheric radiative structure than the radiative-forcing GHGs that actually drive and control the global temperature trend”.
NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory 20): “The net global mean CRE (= Cloud Radiative Effect) is approximately -20 W/m2 implying a strong net cooling effect of clouds on the current climate”. The -20 W/m2 are the mean value between the shortwave and the longwave radiation effects displayed in Fig. 5.
Fig. 5. IPCC AR5 report (Chapter 7, Fig.7.7a-b): distribution of annual-mean top of the atmosphere (a) shortwave, (b) longwave cloud radiative effects averaged over the period 2001-2011 from the CERES EBAF (ed2.6) data set. (Graphic: NOAA)
This view is also shared by the German DWD 21): “Clouds have therefore a cooling effect in the shortwave wavelength range and a warming effect in the longwave wavelength range, respectively. The resulting net effect of clouds on the radiative balance is estimated to be around -20W/m-2, averaged over the entire globe. This implies that clouds reduce the energy at the surface, i.e. they currently cool the climate. The radiative effect of the clouds is about four to five times larger than the radiative effect expected from a doubling of CO2concentration”.
In the next part of this series, we will present measured long-term variances of cloud effects underscoring the fact that water vapor and clouds have definitively broken the “simple follower and amplifier of CO2” ideological chains restricting them from being recognized as climate factors of their own right. Stay tuned.
36 responses to “Water Vapor, Clouds Are The Real Direct Masters Controlling Our Climate”
Water vapor is not a “heat trapping greenhouse gas”. It acts literally as a *refrigerant* (in the strict ‘refrigeration cycle’ sense) below the tropopause.
We live, at the surface of the planet, in what can be analogized to the evaporator section of an AC unit. The atmosphere is the working fluid.
The refrigeration cycle (Earth) [A/C system]:
A liquid evaporates at the heat source (the surface) [in the evaporator], it is transported (convected) [via an A/C compressor], it gives up its energy to the heat sink and undergoes phase change (emits radiation in the upper atmosphere, the majority of which is upwelling owing to the mean free path length / altitude / air density relation) [in the condenser], it is transported (falls as rain or snow) [via that A/C compressor], and the cycle repeats.
That’s kind of why, after all, the humid adiabatic lapse rate (~3.5 to ~6.5 K km-1) is lower than the dry adiabatic lapse rate (~9.81 K km-1).
The dry adiabatic lapse rate, of course, is primarily due to the monoatomics and homonuclear diatomics, which are the true “heat trapping, global warming” gases.
Think about it… monoatomics have no vibrational mode quantum states and thus cannot emit (nor absorb) IR. Homonuclear diatomics have a net-zero magnetic dipole and thus cannot emit (nor absorb) IR unless that dipole is perturbed via collision with other molecules or atoms.
They can pick up energy via conduction by contacting the surface, just as the polyatomics can; they can convect just as the polyatomics can; but once in the upper atmosphere, they cannot as effectively radiatively emit that energy to space.
In an atmosphere consisting of solely monoatomics and homonuclear diatomics, then, the upper atmosphere would warm… and the gravitational auto-compression which sets up the lapse rate would ensure that the surface would likewise warm, given that the lapse rate is ‘anchored’ at TOA (where the atmosphere effectively becomes transparent to any given wavelength of radiation).
One can thus draw the conclusion that the higher the DOF (Degrees of Freedom) any particular molecular species has, the more it convectively (and advectively) transits energy from surface to upper atmosphere and radiatively emits it, whereas the few the DOF, the less it does so.
IOW, everything you’ve been told is diametrically opposite to reality. H2O and CO2 are net atmospheric radiative coolants, whereas the homonuclear diatomics and monoatomics are the ‘heat trapping, global warming’ gases.
Reference Hakuba (NASA JPL) and Ackerman et. al and Clough and Iacono for the peer-reviewed studies proving that what is stated above is fact.
The image above is from a presentation given by atmospheric research scientist Maria Z. Hakuba at NASA JPL.
That’s adapted from the Clough and Iacono study, Journal Of Geophysical Research, Vol. 100, No. D8, Pages 16,519-16,535, August 20, 1995.
Note that the Clough & Iacono study is for the atmospheric radiative cooling effect, so positive numbers at right are cooling, negative numbers are warming.
I’m afraid you missed the point of my presentation.
I highlighted the fact that clouds are the ONLY continuous climate factors that HINDER solar energy from reaching earth’s surface. That’s a primary climate driver. Ever heard of volcanic cooling after major eruptions? That’s because volcanic ash does exactly the job that clouds to too: it prevents solar energy from reaching the surface.
Instead, you’re focusing on the secondary side, the loss of energy into space. And there again, you pick the secondary aspects, i.e. evapotranspiration and convection.
Energy transfer from the earth’s surface upwards consists of three main streams:
– Radiation 398 W/sqm
– Evapotranspiration 88 W/sqm
– Convection 22 W/sqm
Total: 498 W/sqm
Secondly, you’re advocating an interesting twist of energy transfer by radiation. With some professional experience in this field, I flatly tell you that here too, you’re on the wrong path.
Fred F. Mueller wrote:
“Energy transfer from the earth’s surface upwards consists of three main streams:
– Radiation 398 W/sqm”
The surface is not emitting 398 W m-2. That’s using the calculations of the climate warmists, who use the form of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation meant for idealized blackbodies, not for graybodies. That form assumes emission to 0 K (and in most cases, emissivity of 1).
Look at the Kiehl-Trenberth graphic and plug in the numbers… there’s no way to get to their claimed 390 W m-2 on the K-T diagram except by assuming emission to 0K and emissivity = 1 (IOW, by assuming the planet is an idealized blackbody (in an isolated system so it cannot interact via the EM fundamental interaction with other objects) and thus assuming emission to 0 K)… but idealized blackbodies don’t actually exist… they’re idealizations and provable contradictions).
… but using the proper form of the S-B equation leads to far different results (and quashes their claimed ‘backradiation’… a violation of 2LoT in the Clausius Statement sense and of Stefan’s Law):
How do I get in contact with you, Fred? I can send you my writings on this matter… once you’ve reviewed them, you’ll see that we’ve bought into a bunch of bafflegab based upon mathematical fraudery and an egregious misuse of the fundamental physical laws.
You’re lost in mathematics and physics. Of course earth is not an ideal blackbody, but the differences to the idealized blackbody are not significant (emissivity 0.984 instead of 1 in the case of the Hamburg weathermast discussed in part 4) for the topic of this article.
You’re still attempting to calculate for emission to 0 K, exactly as the warmists do. Check the images above. Objects interact via the EM field in the intervening space between the objects, the energy differential between two objects sets up the energy density gradient, which determines radiant exitance of the warmer object.
The warmists misuse the S-B equation by isolating each object into its own system (so it cannot interact via the EM field), and thus assume emission to 0 K for all objects. This inflates radiant exitance of all objects. To get their calculations to balance, they must subtract the wholly-fictive ‘cooler to warmer’ energy flow from the real (but too high because it was calculated for emission to 0 K) ‘warmer to cooler’ energy flow.
But the S-B equation for graybody objects isn’t meant to be used to subtract a fictive ‘cooler to warmer’ energy flow from the incorrectly calculated and thus too high ‘warmer to cooler’ energy flow, it’s meant to be used to subtract cooler object radiation energy density (temperature is a measure of radiation energy density, the fourth root of radiation energy density divided by Stefan’s constant, per Stefan’s Law) from warmer object radiation energy density. Radiant exitance of the warmer object is predicated upon the radiation energy density gradient.
Do remember that a warmer object will have higher energy density at all wavelengths than a cooler object.
It would be much easier if you were to read my writings on this topic… the current consensus take on radiative energy transfer (as shilled for by the warmists, and accepted by even many who are anti-CAGW) demonstrably violates several fundamental physical laws, whereas my take hews to every single fundamental physical law.
So, how can I get that PDF file to you, Fred?
Fred F. Mueller wrote:
“Secondly, you’re advocating an interesting twist of energy transfer by radiation. With some professional experience in this field, I flatly tell you that here too, you’re on the wrong path.”
My “take” on radiative energetic exchange is taken directly from Thermal Physics, 2nd Edition by Philip M. Morse, Professor of Physics at MIT, co-founding editor of Annals of Physics, co-founder of MIT Acoustics Laboratory, first Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory, founder of MIT Computation Center.
I’m afraid it is you, Fred, who’s bought into the junk-science of the warmists, who claim that energy can flow from cooler-to-warmer (the underlying basis of their ‘backradiation’ claim) in violation of 2LoT and Stefan’s Law, amongst sundry other fundamental physical laws.
Once you read and comprehend my writings on this topic, you’ll understand just how far off-track the warmists have taken science… even those like yourself who fight against the CAGW narrative have bought into its underlying premises.
Here too, you’re on the wrong track. Energy flows ALWAYS in all directions, except in the case of a target that has 0 K, which is purely hypothetical. Even space has a back radiation consistent with a temperature of some 2.7 K. In radiative just as well as in solid body energy flows, it is the difference between outgoing and incoming energy stream that counts. Don’t try to impress me with oh so famous professors as sources: Just buy a simple IR thermometer and take measurements in your fridge or in your deep freezer. When theory and facts collide, the facts always win. According to your theory, this should be impossible, but in fact, its standard practice millions of times a day in all sorts of private and industrial applications. And believe, it is futile to pretend that these people are all idiots.
Fred F. Mueller wrote:
“Energy flows ALWAYS in all directions, except in the case of a target that has 0 K, which is purely hypothetical.”
Wrong. That’s what the warmists want people to believe, but that’s taken from the long-debunked Prevost Principle and Prevost Theory of Exchanges. Even Planck got that one wrong as regards radiative energy transfer.
The immediate corollary to Prevost’s Principle is that E = e… that the actual emission is equal to the disposition to emit, which is false, implying that an object must emit all energy it absorbs (the definition of idealized blackbody objects, which do not and cannot exist).
A further corollary to Prevost’s Principle is that A = I * a… that the actual absorption is equal to the intensity of the incident beam times the disposition to absorb, which is again false, implying that excited quantum states have the same disposition to absorb as do unexcited quantum states (again, the definition of idealized blackbody objects, which do not and cannot exist). Of course, Prevost, in 1791, didn’t know of quantum states, so he couldn’t have known that the corollaries to Prevost’s Principle were incorrect.
I can prove what I state mathematically, but it’s not short so it’s not able to be put in a comments section.
How do I send you a PDF file, Fred? It’ll open your eyes to the sophistry committed by the warmists.
Here, Fred. Read through it, learn how thermodynamics actually works. It’s 32 pages, filled with maths and physics, but you should be able to suss it.
I encourage you to do the calculations yourself to determine for yourself that you’ve bought into the warmist skewing of science to fit their narrative.
Do remember, their take on radiative energy exchange demonstrably violates several fundamental physical laws, whereas the proper take as I write of hews to every single fundamental physical law.
Sorry but I think you both miss an aspect that is “convection + radiation in participating media. The air certainly absorbs and re-emit most of the thermal radiation, so it is proven that the radiation coming from the soil does not reach directly the upper parts of the atmosphere but it does so through convection-radiation mechanisms.
I do not disagree that below TOA (that altitude at which the atmosphere becomes effectively transparent to any given wavelength of radiation), that radiation is absorbed by the radiative polyatomics and thermalized to some extent… except at Earthly temperatures, the energy transferred during that thermalization event is very, very close to the average combined kinetic energy of two colliding molecules or atoms.
So the energy transfer goes both ways, with it balanced at ~289 K (288.64 K, to be exact); more energy going from translational mode to vibrational mode quantum states above that temperature, more energy going from vibrational mode quantum states to translational mode below that temperature. There’s a reason the atmosphere has averaged out to ~289 K, after all (and that reason is not “global warming”).
That makes CO2 a dual-role molecule… below ~289 K, it undergoes a v-t (vibrational-translational) collisional thermalization process which increases kinetic energy of the atmospheric atoms and molecules, the net result of which being an increase of CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy), which increases convection, that increased convection carrying with it the tremendously high latent heat capacity of the other net atmospheric radiative coolant (H2O)… a net cooling effect.
Above ~289 K, it undergoes a t-v (translational-vibrational) collisional process which transfers kinetic energy of the atmospheric atoms and molecules to vibrational mode quantum state energy of the radiative polyatomics such as CO2. Given that temperature is a measure of kinetic energy, that is also a cooling process, as long as that energy is radiatively emitted to space.
It’s not a hard delineation… as temperature rises (and thus atmospheric atom and molecule kinetic energy rises) a successively higher proportion of t-v processes happen, and a successively lower proportion of v-t processes happen; and vice versa.
And given the mean free path length / altitude / air density relation (air density decreases exponentially with increasing altitude, thus mean free path length increases exponentially with increasing altitude; air density increases exponentially with decreasing altitude, thus mean free path length decreases exponentially with decreasing altitude), the majority of emitted radiation is upwelling, no matter which direction is was originally emitted.
For example (and not using real numbers here), if a photon can only go 1 m downwelling, but 10 m upwelling, it would have to be absorbed and emitted 10 times to make it 10 m downwelling, whereas it would only need to be absorbed and emitted once to make it 10 m upwelling. It’s easy to see, then, that given a random emission direction, any downwelling radiation is quickly turned back around to upwelling in short order.
With the near-surface mean free path length in the 14.98352 um band being a mere ~10.4 m, if “global warming due to CO2” were true, nearly all of the radiation causing that “global warming” would *have* *to* come from that ultra-thin layer of air within ~10.4 m of the surface, with ~90% of that coming from within ~1 m of the surface. Any radiation emitted at a higher altitude would be absorbed and re-emitted, and its net vector eventually turned to upwelling due to that mean free path length / altitude / air density relation. There is nearly no radiation in the 14.98352 um band from higher than ~10.4 m reaching the surface. The near-surface extinction depth is simply too short.
Fortunately, you put this up yesterday! 🙂
Question for all of the advocates for a “Hydrogen Economy”: If existing fossil fuel-based heavy transportation (shipping, rail, road transport), heavy industry (steel, glass, smelting) and electricity production were switched to hydrogen as a fuel, what would be the impact on the emissions of water vapour?
Apart from the potential macroclimate impact, imagine a typical large city where all the heavy vehicles and local industry were hydrogen-powered. How would the local water vapour emissions affect the local microclimate? What would the local effect be on relative humidity? Most people who live where there are daily or seasonal variations in weather are familiar with the impact of relative humidity on day-to-day weather and comfort.
One need only look at the makeup of any given fuel to determine what will be emitted.
For H2 (hydrogen), H2O will primarily be emitted. Some NH3 may be, but it’s flammable and won’t survive the combustion process, so its end-product would likely be H2O, NOx and N2. Of course, H2 isn’t really a fuel… it’s a means of energy storage which must be produced (whereas fuels are pre-existing stores which can be mined or pumped from the ground), so whichever fuel you’re using to produce H2 will dictate what is emitted.
For NH3 (ammonia), H2O, NOx and N2 will be emitted (depending upon peak combustion temperature).
For CH4 (methane), H2O, CO, CO2, NOx will be emitted (depending upon peak combustion temperature).
For wood, it mostly consists of cellulose (C6 H10 O5) and carbohydrates (C6 H12 O6). It’s ~50% carbon, ~42% oxygen, ~6% hydrogen, ~1% nitrogen, and ~1% other elements… it’s a pretty dirty fuel, as should be obvious from its smoke.
So, the climate loons wish to do away with all carbon dioxide emission, and thus want to get rid of CH4, which is as close to pure H2 as one can get and still have it in an easily-transportable, relatively safe form that won’t embrittle metals (as H2 does) nor leak through metals (as H2 does). To produce that pure H2, they propose burning CH4, then wasting the majority of the energy produced to capture the emitted carbon, which would mean even more CH4 would have to be burned than just using the CH4 directly.
But that’s what they always do… they propose some expensive, impractical Rube Goldbergesque mechanism that introduces more problems than it solves (electric vehicles being one glaring example)… because they don’t understand that each conversion of energy from one form to another isn’t 100% efficient, there’s waste energy. They, I’ve found, have trouble discerning between theoretical / imaginary and real-world.
That’s why they use the idealized blackbody case for the S-B equation to calculate radiant exitance, which essentially isolates each object into its own system unable to interact via the ambient EM field with other objects, and thus inherently assumes each object is emitting to 0 K. Thus they vastly inflate radiant exitance of each object, that error which they must carry through their calculations and subtract on the back end to get the equations to balance (subtracting a wholly-fictive ‘cooler to warmer’ energy flow from the real (but too high because it was calculated for emission to 0 K) ‘warmer to cooler’ energy flow… an egregious misuse of the S-B equation and the fundamental physical laws), which invents out of thin air their claimed “backradiation” (and hence their CAGW, and hence their ‘carbon footprint’ term, etc., etc., etc.)… the entire CAGW charade is borne from a mathematical artifact brought about by their inability to discern between theoretical / imaginary and real-world.
“Green” Hydrogen will yield less than ONE THIRD of the energy it needed to be made.
While a Li/Ion battery will yield almost 90 p.c. of its charging electric energy.
That’s thermodynamical facts: Impossible getting around them.
Forget hydrogen: It is a dead end.
In other words if one million electric cars need an average 4 nuclear power plants charging their batteries, one will need to build 12 nuclear plants to make the hydrogen for this same number (1 million) hydrogen vehicles to work
This said, though I am not an E.V. fan.
Wellllll… yeah and nah.
A battery will reach 90% energy out / energy in if it’s in good condition (it can go down to ~80% if its an older or hard-used battery)… but then you’ve got self-discharge losses, the conversion efficiency of the charger, the line losses, the transformer losses, the energy conversion losses from burning a fuel to heat water to turn a turbine.
The proper way to measure the efficiency of an EV is to calculate the “fuel-to-wheels” efficiency… how much fuel was burned at that power station to make the wheels turn a given distance.
We do the same for ICE-engined vehicles. If one assumes that the production and delivery energy cost for the fuel to a power plant and the fuel for an ICE-engined vehicle are similar, we can then compare like-for-like “fuel-to-wheels” efficiency.
You’ll find that for a Tesla Model S and a 180 pound driver, the amount of fuel burned to push that overweight vehicle down the road is equivalent to an ICE-engined vehicle attaining ~38 MPG.
I’ll see if I can find my calculations. If I do, I’ll post them.
Ok,this was in reply to a warmist who was crowing about the “incredible” efficiency on his Tesla Model S… he was going strictly off that energy out / energy in of the battery statistic. He’d claimed that his vehicle only consumed 250 Wh mile-1, but that’s better than the factory-stated efficiency of ~314 Wh mile-1.
250 Wh mile-1… let’s put that into a better context.
For your 50 MPH, that means you’re consuming 12,500 Watts every hour. Or 12.5 kWh.
That’s enough to run twelve 1000-watt room heaters for an hour, with enough left over to light five 100-watt lights.
That’s not ‘efficiency’, that’s wasteful. If someone told you to plug in twelve 1000-watt room heaters and five 100-watt lights and run them for an hour, you’d scoff at them.
Let’s say you drive for an hour and consume that 12.5 kWh. You’ve now got to put that energy back into the battery.
– The battery efficiency alone (power delivered to the battery vs. the power delivered by the battery) for Lithium batteries tops out at 90% for newer or highly-expensive batteries, and can be as low as 80% for older or consumer-grade batteries:
We’ll assume 85% efficiency for your aged battery.
– The Tesla charger has a 92% efficiency for 240V at 24A, and 94% efficiency for 240V at 40A/80A:
((12500 Wh / 0.85)/0.92) = 15984.6547 Wh
That’s how much you actually used, just from your wall plug to your battery.
Now, the grid itself is, per Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and DOE, only 34.831460674157303370786516853933% efficient.
So in actuality, you’re burning:
15984.6547 / 0.34831460674157303370786516853933 = 45,891.428 Wh worth of fuel… in a single hour.
So you’ve just wasted 33391.428 Wh worth of energy. In an hour.
That’s enough to run thirty-three 1000-watt room heaters, with enough left over to run three 100-watt lights.
And that’s just the amount of power you wasted.
All told, to drive a mere 50 miles, you used 45,891.428 Wh worth of fuel, for a ‘fuel to wheels’ consumption of 917.82856 Wh mile-1.
That’s far less efficient that even a gas-guzzling ICE vehicle.
My vehicle regularly gets 40 mpg (0.05880375 L/km).
A liter of gasoline has 45 MJ/kg, and 0.05880375 L weighs 0.04436029434375 kg and has 1.99621324546875 MJ of energy.
That’s 892.3872 Wh mile-1. That’s less than what you claim your glorified golfcart consumes. LOL
892.3872 Wh mile-1 < 917.82856 Wh mile-1
But your rolling flaming deathwish toy electric clowncar doesn't consume a mere 250 Wh mile-1… that's even better than the factory rating for your vehicle, and your old decrepit vehicle certainly can't surpass the efficiency of a factory-fresh vehicle.
No, your rolling flaming EV deathmobile consumes ~88.9891 Wh / km / 1000 kg, as you admit.
Model S = 2107 kg + 85 kg driver (2192 kg)
That's 313.92525 Wh mile-1, as you have admitted to.
That's 15696.262523 Wh at 50 MPH.
(((15696.262526883839232515547485488 / 0.85)/0.92) / 0.34831460674157303370786516853933) = 57,625.91225 Wh worth of fuel burned.
And that's 1,152.51825 Wh worth of fuel burned for every mile.
892.3872 Wh mile-1 < 1,152.51825 Wh mile-1
My vehicle only consumes 77.429% of the fuel yours does. Which means your vehicle gets the equivalent to 30.97 MPG.
You’re far too stupid to do the simple math to determine that you’re driving a grossly-inefficient highly-polluting fuel-guzzling rolling flaming deathwish toy electric clowncar, Special Ed. LOL
And that’s why I often state that EVs are products specifically made to be marketed to people who are too stupid to do the simple math to determine that EVs are products specifically made to be marketed to people who are too stupid to do simple math. LOL
OK, but do you agree with me that Green Hydrogen is a deas end ?
“OK, but do you agree with me that Green Hydrogen is a deas end ?”
Absolutely. They still haven’t solved the embrittlement problem with H2… remember that pipeline explosion in San Bruno, CA in 2010? I was there at the time, lived about 5 blocks away.
Now imagine pipelines like that getting embrittled from H2 leaking through the metal of the pipe (as H2 does), and blowing up all around the US… that’s bound to happen if they put H2 into those pipes.
Imagine vehicle high-pressure H2 tanks getting embrittled from H2 leaking through the metal and exploding without warning.
Do the warmists care? Apparently not… their narrative must be kept alive, no matter what damage is done.
The Link to Part 4 above is the same as the link to Part 3.
It is given correctly in Part 5:
[…] From NoTricksZone […]
Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, but not a r direct cause of global warming or global cooling. It is a feedback to other causes of climate change, that cause changes in the average temperature of the troposphere. Therefore, climate change can not be directly blamed on water vapor.
Clouds are a climate change variable. They reduce incoming solar energy — aka cloud albedo — just like other variations of albedo, including changes in air pollution, UHI effects, land use effects, dark soot on Arctic snow and ice, and melting of Arctic sea ice. From the other direction, clouds also have a greenhouse effect.
The problem with jumping to conclusions about water vapor and clouds are inaccurate global average statistics. There are local estimates of cloudiness, but no accurate global average. Scientists seem to disagree with each other over their global average estimates.
For water vapor, a global average is also impossible to compile accurately.
But government scientists never say “We don’t know”. They generally ignore changes in cloudiness, and wild guess the water vapor positive feedback over he next 200 to 400 years. That’s junk science, not real science. The government goal is to create fear, and blame humans, in an effort to control them.
The exact causes of climate change are just a list of the usual subjects with not one person on this planet knowing exactly how much each variable has affected the climate in the past 50 years. Many people will claim they know: They are all liars.
My own personal list of climate change variables is one example of how complicated climate change really is:
The following variables are likely to influence Earth’s climate:
1) Earth’s orbital and orientation variations
(aka planetary geometry)
2) Changes in ocean circulation
Including ENSO and others
3) Solar energy and irradiance,
including clouds, surface albedo, volcanic and manmade aerosols, and effects of cosmic rays and extraterrestrial dust
4) Greenhouse gas emissions
5) Land use changes
(cities growing, logging, crop irrigation, etc.)
6) Unknown causes of variations of a
complex, non-linear system
7) Unpredictable natural and
8) Climate measurement errors
(unintentional errors, or deliberate science fraud)
9) Interactions and feedbacks,
involving two or more variables.
For you too, I’m afraid you missed the decisive point of my presentation.
I highlighted the fact that clouds are the ONLY continuous climate factor that HINDER solar energy from reaching earth’s surface. That’s a primary climate driver.
This insight is a fatal tipping point for the IPCC “greenhouse gas” narrative that is simply wrong and utterly misleading. This not a question of accurate or inaccurate global average statistics. Preventing solar energy from entering earth’s intricate energy venting systems is definitely the decisive permanent negative feedback mechanism that has been guaranteeing the stability of earth’s climate for billions of years. No “greenhouse gas” can deliver this effect, they only influence the upwards path earth uses to rid itself from surplus energy back into space.
CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but not a direct cause of global warming or global cooling. It is a feedback to other causes of climate change, that cause changes in the average temperature of the troposphere.
Thanks Mr. Long gone Greene
Do any of these globalists and ‘scientists’ actually believe CO2, which is a mere 0.042% of our atmosphere, can have a significant effect on climate? It’s an invisible trace gas and so is methane, which is a mere 0.00017% of our atmosphere.
Spending over a trillion dollars in a vain (or fake) attempt to bring CO2 levels down to 0.030% wouldn’t make a measurable difference in the climate changes some areas have been experiencing. I hope this madness backfires on the money-grubbing con artists who are blaming CO2 and methane.
Don’t take this article too seriously. It ignores convection.
You missed the point. The article concentrated on a VITAL primary aspect: the blocking of radiation INPUT into the earth system. Among all so-called greenhouse gases, clouds are the only ones that can do this.
All the other participants are only able to influence the upwards transport of energy from the surface towards the top of the atmosphere where it is dumped into space. Among these mechanisms, radiation from the surface has a share of 78 %, evapotranspiration 17 % and convection just about 4.3 %.
Of the earths albedo of 0.31, a full 74 % are the result of reflection from clouds. Even small changes of total cloud cover will thus have a material impact on the input energy budget of the planet. The IPCC has done all it can over the past decades to divert attention from this inconvenient fact. The greenhouse gas theory will collapse like a house of cards once this insight will gain traction.
There is no “greenhouse” on this planet. The notion was debunked in 1904 by Dr. R.W. Wood’s experiment demonstrating that the release of infrared radiation by one of two model greenhouses was less than a degree Celsius in 65. Most cooling here in the troposphere is by conduction and convection, which cool air temperature well below that of the surface. Wood’s conclusion has never been refuted or modified, although many have misinterpreted it.
The “greenhouse” was originally a grade school teaching aid that became a convenient crutch to evade the work of explaining the real world. That happened much before World Government found in it a handy weapon for terrorizing people who were too rich and complacent to face reality. The U.S. Dept. of Energy in 1985 described the “greenhouse” as a great misnomer, which is not the least of it.
NASA’s “U.S. Standard Atmosphere of 1976” calculated then confirmed by millions of observations the temperature profile of the Earth’s atmosphere, from its dense solar-heated surface to the thin far cooler threshold of space. No real world observation confirms an “energy trapping” lid “to “back-radiate” or “downwell” inexplicably doubled energy — and from the cool upper atmosphere to the warmer surface. – a thermodynamic impossibility.
Of the six general explanations (or conjectures) for this grotesque fantasy all have been discredited with established physics and particularly the laws of thermodynamics. The refutations take up too much space here but can be found with a little persistence.
Exactly what I’ve found, as well, Tom. Well said. Society has erased, for the most part, those old observations, those observations have largely been forgotten, and so the CAGW lie is believed because people have no historical context.
If you like, I’ve got some writings on this topic which mathematically destroy the case for CAGW and prove it’s entirely due to mathematical fraudery and an egregious misuse of the fundamental physical laws… I can send it to you, but it’s quite the read. 32 pages, full of maths and physics. I construct a model atmosphere consisting of 16 molecular species and show how to calculate on the increase (or decrease) of any constituent species, and I show unequivocally that the temperature of the lower tropopause is largely controlled by gravitational auto-compression and solar insolation reaching the surface.
I even analogize thermodynamics to electrical theory and provide a circuit simulator link that allows one to do the calculations for themselves… because energy is energy, no matter its form… it all obeys the same laws, and thermodynamics and electrical theory are just different forms of the same thing. Their equations are essentially identical, just for different forms of energy.
In my as-yet approved post to Tom Anderson…
“tropopause” should be “troposphere”.
“far from being solely dependant on human activity. ”
Possibly didn’t I read it well and missed this capital information: Certainly the global temperatures have an effect on the global cloud cover. Does the ongoing temperatures rise increase or reduce the Earth’s average cloud cover ?
Thanks for your comment, Jack. I will focus on this question in a later chapter. The mechanisms of cloud cover and temperature are complicated and involve long-term climate oscillations such as El Ninjo/ la Ninja, Atlantic multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and others. And the real big water cycle through the deep oceans is estimated at taking some 2000 years. Unfortunately, we have no reliable records dating back more than about 50-150 years, so there’s a lot of guesswork involved. But in stark contrast to our IPCC pundits, I do not pretend to have all the answers until beyond the year 3000 or even 10000. So please be patient and stay tuned.