How the IPCC turn calculated numbers into heat

‘Climate ScienceTM’ (represented and promoted by the IPCC) has so corrupted ordinary people’s way of thinking, that in order to demonstrate why there is no ‘atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect’ (rGHE), you have to start all the way from scratch. You have to step completely outside the framework of their concocted ‘mental model’ within which they shape their arguments.

‘Climate ScienceTM’ is afflicted with a dual case of monomania, two major fixations that they cannot and will not drop under any circumstances.

The first one is a complete linear trend line mania. They are unable to look at a data time series and not mentally project one onto it. The data – and especially the variation in it – basically doesn’t matter. Only the straight trend line plastered across it, from the one end to the other, does.

The second one, of direct relevance to this post, is their peculiar obsession with radiative flux intensities and their perceived direct correlation with the surface temperature of objects, expressed by the purely radiative Stefan-Boltzmann relationship. They clearly misinterpret and hence stretch the applicability of this law in the real world far beyond its actual justified range of operation, but absolutely refuse to recognise it. They worship (and use) it as sanctified truth.

Basically, they see the world in terms of radiation first and last. Everything in their world is in the end determined and controlled by thermal radiation. When it comes down to it, according to the warmists, you can simply scrape away everything else and just look at instantaneous radiative emission fluxes and directly know surface temperatures. As if we all lived in Max Planck’s conceptually pure radiative universe.

‘Climate ScienceTM’ thinks (or promotes the idea) that the temperature of any object – even real-world objects on Earth – is determined strictly by its radiative energy output (its emission flux), likewise that this final temperature is known and fixed even from the onset of heating, simply by the instantaneous intensity of its radiative energy input (the absorbed flux) minus convective loss (!).

In other words, if you only know the total (added) intensity of the instantaneous radiative energy flux input to the surface of an object and you are at the same time able to determine its energy loss through convection per unit of time, you will be able to tell its final temperature, no actual thermo-measurement required. Or, turn it around, if you know the temperature of an object, you instantly know the intensity of its radiative energy output, regardless of any simultaneous convective loss of energy.

(Well, you also need to know its surface emissivity/absorptivity, but according to ‘Climate ScienceTM’ most relevant real-world materials (like soil, rock, water, vegetation) possess emissivities close to unity anyway, and so can be approximated as (convecting) black bodies …!)

How a real-world object actually warms vs. how ‘Climate ScienceTMthinks it warms.

A real-world object warms by increasing its internal energy. If we disregard ‘work’, such an object will warm as long as more ‘heat’ (energy transferred thermally from hot to cold) comes IN than what goes OUT. In between, the object ‘fills’ with energy. The surplus energy accumulates within the molecules of the object raising its general temperature in the process. As its temperature rises, its heat output also naturally increases. In the end, when heat OUT finally equals heat IN, the object stops warming. It has reached its steady-state temperature.

So what will this temperature be? At what level is this steady state reached? Hard to predict. It depends on the object’s surrounding conditions. If the object in question is a pure black body radiating into a perfect vacuum at 0 K, then eventually, as the object’s heat OUTPUT finally equals its heat INPUT, its surface temperature will be exactly determined by the intensity of its (radiative) heat fluxes. The higher the instantaneous heat flux intensity, the higher the steady-state temperature. And the other way around.

But this situation is not realistic for most objects familiar to us. Why? Because of something called air …

For example, for Earth’s mean global surface, the total heat flux IN and OUT are both 165 J/s/m2. They balance each other. So there’s no doubt the surface is in a kind of dynamic steady state. And its steady-state temperature happens to be ± 289K.

But we can’t really tell how it got there from looking at the heat input/output fluxes alone. An instantaneous flux intensity of 165 W/m2 (accompanied by an emissivity close to 1) does not at all translate, through the Stefan-Boltzmann relationship, into a physical temperature of 289K. If Earth’s surface were really a black body abutting the vacuum of space, then such a flux would only correlate to a maximum steady-state temperature of 232K.

That’s 57 degrees too cold.


Earth’s energy budget according to Stephens et al. 2012.

‘Climate ScienceTM’ has found a nice ‘solution’ to this. They start off by assuming the Earth’s surface is a black body radiating into a perfect heat sink at 0 K after all. Forget about the intervening atmosphere. This means they will assume that the intensity (W/m2) of the radiative emission flux from the surface will always directly correlate with its physical temperature. It starts at 0 and grows to 398 W/mas the temperature starts at 0 K and rises to 289K. Directly connected all along.

But – and this is the crucial point – the assumed (calculated) 398 W/m2 radiative emission flux from the surface isn’t the radiative heat output from the surface. It is only what the radiative heat output would be for a black body in space at 289K. And ‘Climate ScienceTM’ knows this perfectly well. They just don’t care. They willfully and deliberately let the thermodynamic concept of ‘heat’ in a thermal energy exchange be conflated with the SB-calculated potential emission flux (radiant emittance) from a warm surface to a heat sink at 0 K. Basically by not mentioning either. They only ever talk about the ‘absorbed radiative energy flux’ and the ‘emitted radiative energy flux’.

The First Law of Thermodynamics, however, makes it very clear indeed that it is the HEAT output (Qout) that must finally equal the HEAT input (Qin). The actual average radiative HEAT output (the radiative contribution to the total heat output) from the global surface of the Earth is a mere 52.4 W/m2. No one really denies this when pointed out (they couldn’t really). So why do they go to such great lengths to not address this pretty significant distinction?

One can only speculate. What we do know is that ‘Climate ScienceTM’ has found itself a way to work around this ‘problem’.

They simply ignore (and do their utmost to not talk about) what the fundamental concept of ‘heat’ is really about. Heat is defined in physics as the unidirectional transfer of energy which occurs spontaneously between two systems/objects/regions at different temperatures, always from hot to cold, solely as a result of the temperature difference. In radiative heat transfer it is equivalent to the so-called ‘net energy’ between the two systems involved in the thermal exchange.

‘Climate ScienceTM’ chooses to blatantly ignore this pretty clear-cut and universally accepted definition. They sweep it quietly under the rug and rather create their own interpretation based on something they’ve read about black bodies:

“A black body is an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation, regardless of frequency or angle of incidence.”

(My bold.)

In other words, they essentially pile all the energy which they perceive as being ‘incident’ to the object in question (like the surface of the Earth) into the heap marked ‘Heat IN’.

It’s all about promoting confusion. Smoke and mirrors. They want to confuse people into thinking that it doesn’t really matter. Energy is energy. It all works the same way. Doesn’t it?

What they conveniently ‘forget’ when performing this trick is how ‘Heat IN’ is always something that comes from somewhere hotter. If it’s not from somewhere hotter, then it’s not ‘Heat IN’. It is not part of a thermal energy input to the object.

The ‘Sun-surface-atmosphere system’ is a three body configuration. There are two (2) separate thermal exchanges (heat transfers) at hand (three really, but never mind the Sun-atmosphere transfer for now). ‘Climate ScienceTM’ prefers to lump them together into one (1) only. They have to do this in order to make their own private definition of ‘heat’ work.

So what have we?

1) ‘Sun-surface’ – the Sun heats the surface; 165 W/m2 worth of mean radiative heat INPUT. The Earth’s surface radiates to space of course, but cannot be said to ‘counter’ any of the incoming solar flux. This cannot be said to be a real thermal exchange. Simply because the two objects are so far apart, and because the Sun is 20 times (!) as hot in absolute temperature as Earth’s surface. So, whatever the Earth does or does not do, the Sun will never notice. Thus, the Sun can be regarded as a pure external heat source for the Earth’s surface.

2) ‘Surface-atmosphere’ – this thermal exchange, however, is much more integrated. Because the two systems involved are close together, in direct thermal contact, and the warm system (the surface) is only a little bit warmer in absolute terms than the cool system (the atmosphere). So the presence of the atmosphere will directly affect the surface. Even as the surface is clearly the heat source and the atmosphere the heat sink, even though the surface still heats the atmosphere and not the other way around.

The surface is in a dynamic steady state with regards to mean temperature and energy exchange, and hence sheds just as much heat OUT as it gets IN from the Sun – 165 W/m2 on average in both cases. Most of the heat out goes to the atmosphere: 112 W/m2 from conductive/evaporative loss, ~33 W/m2 from radiative loss. Some goes directly to space: ~20 W/m2. (All these figures derive from the Stephens et al. 2012 paper, diagram above.)

As you will understand, these are two distinct heat transfers. They can not be meshed into one. There are two steps involved here. First the Sun heats the surface. Then the surface heats the atmosphere. Qin for the surface comes from the Sun and Qout goes to the atmosphere (and space). That’s called ‘net heat’. See, not ‘net energy’. Net energy is to be found within one thermal exchange, one heat transfer, the net energy moving between two systems. Heat (net energy) can only ever travel in one direction between two opposing systems, from hot to cold. But when following the example of Carnot’s heat engine, we see that a central object will have both heat coming in (from its hot reservoir) and heat going out (to its cold reservoir). Heat never moves back from where it came from. Not even a little.

So this is the crux of the matter:

Neither the mathematically derived 345 DWLWIR term of ‘Climate ScienceTM’, nor its opposing 398 UWLWIR term, would be part of any heat INPUT to the surface. They would obviously both be part of the heat OUTPUT from the surface.

They are both conceptually part of the thermal exchange between the surface and the atmosphere. On paper, working together in one operation, the one always mathematically inseparable from the other, they define the actual spontaneous energy transfer (the P/A, the Q, the HEAT, the ‘net energy’) ([398-20-345=] 33 W/m2) between the two systems. The Sun, the heat source of the surface, does not enter this equation.

To verify to yourself in what direction the heat (the thermal energy transfer) moves, you only need to look at where the temperatures are higher. Since the surface is generally warmer than the atmosphere, the heat (the energy) between them moves from surface to atmosphere, not the other way around.

It’s that simple.

The calculated DWLWIR term (an atmospheric potential) does not represent an increase to the heating of the surface. It does not add to the input. It represents a reduction to the cooling of the surface. It subtracts from the output.

So, we are strictly not allowed by the laws of thermodynamics to do our energy accounting for the surface like this:

  • INPUT (“Qin“): 165 + 345 – 112 = 398 W/m2
  • OUTPUT (“Qout“): 398 W/m2

But that’s exactly what ‘Climate ScienceTM’ does. In order to make the surface appear to be a black body radiating into a perfect heat sink at 0 K. Even though we’re all aware of the trivial fact that it’s not.

Simply so that they can claim to have ‘explained’ in purely radiative terms the surface temperature of the Earth. 398 both IN and OUT? Yup, then we know that the temp has to be 289K. Because that’s what the Stefan-Boltzmann equation tells us.

Sorry. It won’t do. At best, this is pretending to work forward (FROM dependent variables that we have to calculate from the variables we simply measure/detect, TO – ahem – those very same measured variables), when in fact working backwards on a problem that warrants no such ‘deconstruction’ at all, because we already know the detectable/measured variables – the temperature and the heat fluxes – which is all we ever need to know to solve it.

The average radiative heat in from the Sun is 165 W/m2. The average radiative heat out from the surface is 53 W/m2. The total heat out is 165 W/m2. The mean temperature of the global surface is 289K.

This is the very simple (and correct) way to do the surface budget:

  • INPUT (Qin): 165 W/m2
  • OUTPUT (Qout): 53 + 112 = 165 W/m2

Because all we need to keep track of (by the First Law of Thermodynamics) is Qin & Qout. The net HEAT.

The surface temperature obviously doesn’t have anything to do with its energy/heat fluxes.

In conclusion, the steady-state temperature of a real-world object depends on its heat capacity and the surrounding conditions. It does NOT depend on the instantaneous intensity of the EM radiation heating it, like ‘Climate ScienceTM’ wants us to believe.

In simple words: If Earth’s surface lay beneath a lighter atmosphere, it wouldn’t need to be as warm as it is now to balance the incoming heat from the Sun with its outgoing. If it however lay beneath a heavier atmosphere, it would’ve had to become warmer to maintain balance.

The heat balance would’ve been 165 W/m2 IN/OUT in all three cases. But the steady-state temperature would’ve been different from case to case.

Why? Because this is not a purely radiative situation. The Earth’s surface is a real-world object with a heat capacity and with a massive atmosphere resting on top of it that restricts average convective/evaporative heat loss from reduced temperature gradients and at certain temperature/pressure/density configurations.

‘Climate ScienceTM’ conflating actual energy transfer in a thermal exchange (heat) and radiances/potentials, mathematical terms in equations pertaining to ideal radiative situations, leads to slightly absurd approaches to how the energy from the Sun moves through the Earth system.

They basically portray the energy movement up through the troposphere as a diminishing one, not an accumulating one. They turn reality exactly on its head.

Their idea is that each layer of air going up absorbs some of the radiative energy for itself (or, rather, radiating it back down instead of up), leaving less to move on to the next. In their world this progressive absorption reduces the surface IR flux of 398 W/m2 to the ToA IR flux of 240 W/m2, a difference of 158 W/m2.

In reality, there is only the 165 W/m2 escaping the surface (same as coming in) while 240 W/m2 are (still) escaping the system as a whole through the ToA, an accumulated 75 W/m2 on the way up through the troposphere.

That is, instead of tracking the energy which actually leaves the ground, they track a calculated number based on their purely radiative black body view of the world.

52.4 W/m2 leaves the surface as radiative heat, not 398. 32.4 W/m2 are absorbed by the air rather at once and taken up into the troposphere by convection. 20 W/m2 go straight from the surface out to space. The ‘upward’ atmospheric radiation flux accumulates (grows more intense) on its way up, from a mere 32.4 at surface air level to 219.7 W/m2 at the ToA.

Every single layer of air up through the tropospheric column makes a small contribution to the total flux moving out of the Earth system, making it gradually larger, not gradually smaller as ‘Climate ScienceTM’ wants us to believe.

What is interesting is how the same thing occurs simultaneously on the way down. The solar flux coming in through the ToA is 240.2 W/m2 but is reduced to only 165 when reaching the surface. The 75.2 W/m2 missing is absorbed within the troposphere on the way down. And then emitted back out again.

That is, the troposphere absorbs 2.32 times more radiative heat from the Sun from above than from the surface from below. WORTH NOTING!

‘Climate ScienceTM’ wants us to think that some of the energy that leaves the surface of the Earth never escapes the system as a whole to space. According to their way of thinking, 158 W/m2 worth of energy is somehow ‘locked’ (or ‘trapped’) inside the system in an eternal flux loop, making it warmer by radiative means.

In reality, there is of course no ‘leftover’ or ‘surplus’ energy/flux remaining inside the troposphere, forever looping around between the atmosphere and the surface, as a result of more energy going out from the surface than through the ToA. All that enters also exits. Brought up by convection to be finally radiated out. There is no internal (‘back radiation’) self-augmenting warming process going on. It’s all in their heads!

One has to – and this is essential – differentiate between the energy constantly moving in and out of the system (and each part of it) – represented by the energy fluxes, the ‘dynamic’ transfers to and from, the Qin and Qout – and the base fund of energy held inside the system at all times, its ‘static’ storage of internal energy (U). This is, so to say, the energy originally stocked up during warming before balance. Most of it resides in the ocean, but a fair bit is also contained within the soil, vegetation, ice and rock of the landmasses plus the atmosphere (basically, the troposphere). It’s there because these domains have mass and thus heat capacities. They warm gradually as they accumulate energy. Most all of the energy thus stored inside the Earth system originates from the Sun, but some also from internal (geothermal) sources.

This vast constant fund of energy is not itself a part of Earth’s running energy throughput. It’s a state property. It is simply the quantity that grows and shrinks (ever so slightly) from the ongoing dynamic process of IN vs. OUT. It grows if Qin for some reason becomes larger than Qout. And it likewise shrinks if Qin becomes smaller than Qout.

What it does do is correlate directly with the mean temperature of the Earth system. Because its magnitude was set by how much it took before the system could match its input with its output. Total heat capacity + surrounding conditions. If for example the atmosphere makes it hard for the surface to shed its energy equally fast as it comes in at a certain kinetic level (temperature, reflected in the size of U), then there will still be an imbalance and more energy will naturally accumulate. Until the temperature has risen enough to make energy escape at a sufficient rate.

That’s the secret.

What the atmosphere does is simply to obstruct the free escape of surface energy, setting a limit at a certain mean temperature (kinetic level). The Qout. This obstruction forces the surface to warm (accumulate U) in order to attain its balance between in and out.

And it does so through its sheer mass.

More later …

13 comments on “How the IPCC turn calculated numbers into heat

  1. Christopher says:

    Excellent 🙂

    but I think there is a typo in the following which makes it a bit meaningless:

    To verify to yourself in what direction the heat (the thermal energy transfer) moves, you only need to look at where the temperatures are higher. Since the surface is generally warmer than the surface, the heat (the energy) between them moves from surface to atmosphere, not the other way around.

    I think it should read:

    To verify to yourself in what direction the heat (the thermal energy transfer) moves, you only need to look at where the temperatures are higher. Since the surface is generally warmer than the atmosphere, the heat (the energy) between them moves from surface to atmosphere, not the other way around.

  2. I am trying to understand your argument using Goody and Yung as by basis.

    Solar radiation and Earth radiation are shown in their diagram on page 4 of Atmospheric Radiation: Theoretical Basis, Goody and Yung. OUP, 1989 reprinted 1995. If your copy is not handy, a convenient source is:

    I note in passing that Murray Salby is a skeptic but his textbook more or less follows Goody and Yung.

    Murray Salby’s Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate (Cambridge U Press, 2012) See Chapter 8, Radiative transfer, p.203. Salby’s approach can be seen from this less generous peek at URL:

    *** Query

    Are you saying that Goody and Yung got it wrong or are you saying that Climate Scientists, including Graeme Steven and Norman Loeb ignore Goody and Yung.

    My own take on the work of Loeb and Stephens is here:

    Where I find a problem with the use of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation is that Goody and Yung use the average value of T for Earth whereas T varies everywhere on Earth as well as emissivity.

    Reference: Far-infrared surface emissivity and climate by Daniel R. Feldman,William D. Collins, Robert Pincus, Xianglei Huang, and Xiuhong Chen published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) doi: 10.1073/pnas.1413640111.

    *** Comment on Feldman et al.

    The average of T^4 estimated for every location on Earth is not the same as (Average T)^4. For me that is the significance of the paper by Feldman et al whether or not that is what they intended.

    Finally I have used my newsreader to subscribe to your RSS feed and will try to work through your arguments.

    • okulaer says:

      Hi, Frederick.

      I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. Could you perhaps quote a passage from Goody and Yung that you feel is relevant and to the point?

      But anyway, thanks for the links 🙂

  3. I am wondering where in the overall theory of radiance theory you diverge from Goody and Yung.

    I see that you diverge in your definition of heat because you express heat in Wm-2 whereas my understanding is that Wm-2 is the RATE of energy transfer while heat is a measure of the AMOUNT of energy transfer.

    I think what you are focusing on is the relationship (1-albedo) = e where e is emissivity.

    I think what you are saying is that maybe this relationship is an oversimplification.

    An aerospace engineer claimed the same thing 5 years ago. Clausius said:

    “A relationship called Kirchoff’s Law says that surfaces with high reflectivity (or, roughly, albedo) have low emissivity. This is why survival blankets are silver; they shed less heat through radiation because they have low emissivity. However this relationship does not rigidly hold, and so I tend to refer to it as Kirchoff’s Suggestion, rather than a law. In aerospace we use coatings (e.g., Mylar) that often violate Kirchoff’s Law intentionally.”

    One of the citations I sent was a recent paper that seems to apply this idea to the Earth based on data from the Southern Hemisphere..

    • okulaer says:

      You say: “I see that you diverge in your definition of heat because you express heat in Wm-2 whereas my understanding is that Wm-2 is the RATE of energy transfer while heat is a measure of the AMOUNT of energy transfer.”

      Yes, that’s actually true. ‘Heat’ is simply energy (joule), in thermodynamics defined as “energy in transit between two systems or regions at different temperatures by virtue of the temperature difference.”

      What I do is simply using ‘power density flux’ (J/s/m2) to describe the rate and intensity of the energy (‘heat’) transfer.

      There is no disagreement here. If you for instance were to multiply the average solar radiative heat flux absorbed by Earth’s surface (evened out across the globe and the diurnal cycle) – 165 W/m2 – with the number of seconds in a 24h day and with the number of square metres making up the global surface, you would end up with the total amount of energy transferred to (and absorbed by) Earth’s surface as ‘heat’ during one full day.

  4. Ok, Got that. Just a change in units from watt-hours to joules. No substantive difference from standard theory.

    As for your approach to the applicability of the Stefan-Boltzmann are you more or less saying the same as this post?

    Or are you arguing the same points as Feldman et al?

    I can see arguments based on the departures of the Earth’s surfaces from the ideal Blackbody whatever the elevation of the surface from land and sea levels to the various levels of the atmosphere.

    Since the energy imbalance estimated by NASA scientists is only 0.5 Wm-2 compared with down-welling energy of 340 Wm-2, not much departure from the ideal entities defined in Goody and Yung would mean that G & Y’s “classical” approach yields an elegant dream that does not fit the messy reality of Earth’s surface.

    In 2009, a group led by NASA’s Norman Loeb reported their study, “Toward Optimal Closure of the Earth’s Top-of-Atmosphere Radiation Budget” based on satellite observations. (J.of Climate, AMS, V.22, p.748.) This group found that the parameters used for the classical method cannot account for satellite observations. Work by the NIS gives 1361 W/m2 as the solar constant S. Previous bias Bias +1.00 W/m2.

    Click to access 2008_JC_Loeb.pdf

    In my opinion, the classical physics approach is not wrong. It is merely too blunt a tool for determining TOA flux. The billions spent on climate satellites is starting to pay off. And fortunately, many scientists in NASA and other government research establishments are not blinkered by global warming activism.

    Wein’s Law

    As for Wein’s law, physicists know very well that it is an approximation that works well for short wavelengths and not so well for long wavelengths. If I recall correctly, the mismatch between “Wein’s Approximation” and observations is what inspired Max Planck.

    • okulaer says:

      What I’m saying is that you cannot apply the S-B equation to the surface of the Earth and expect to get any meaningful results from it. Because the surface is not in a purely radiative situation. It’s energy output is totally dependent on its input (from the Sun). If 165 W/m^2 (on average) comes IN, then the surface has no business putting OUT 500 W/m^2. This extra energy could only come from the surface feeding back on itself, through the “atmospheric back radiation”. If you read my posts on this, maybe especially this one:

      then you will hopefully be able to understand my take on this issue. I know it might appear convoluted, but I try to be as clear as I can 😛

      Thanks for the hockeyschtick link. I will read it. I can say one thing, I don’t agree with him on the interpretation of the radiative heat transfer equation (the two-body Stefan-Boltzmann equation). The two T^4 terms are ONLY potentials, mathematical steps, not real fluxes of energy, neither heat nor radiation.

      • “It’s energy output is totally dependent on its input (from the Sun). If 165 W/m^2 (on average) comes IN, then the surface has no business putting OUT 500 W/m^2.”

        I assume we mean long wave “energy output” (ignoring short wave reflection). If so, blackbody radiation depends in theory only on the temperature of the emitting body.

        However, if you are saying that the Earth does NOT radiate simply according to its temperature , then you have to claim that the Earth’s surface does not behave as an ideal blackbody.

        Rather, Earth emits as a “greybody”. I understand that this is the argument of Feldman et al.

        Alternatively, as a first critique of the way the “classical theory” is applied to climate, you might say that whether or not Earth radiates as a blackbody, the average of T for the whole Earth is not appropriate for insertion into the equations, because the relationship is not linear (T^4).

        For each location on Earth the local T should be inserted (to get T^4) and then all locations should be aggregated.

        The reason is: The Average of (T to the power of 4) aggregated for all locations is not the same as (average of T for the Earth to the power of 4).

        The difference may be small, but the rate of energy imbalance estimated by NASA scientists is only 0.5 Wm-2 in 340 Wm-2, about 0.15%.

        I have a rather large confidential document I can send you. Why not contact me via email since you have my email address, and I will send the document.

      • okulaer says:

        Frederick, sorry for the late reply.

        You say: “(…) if you are saying that the Earth does NOT radiate simply according to its temperature , then you have to claim that the Earth’s surface does not behave as an ideal blackbody. Rather, Earth emits as a “greybody”.”

        No, it doesn’t. That’s exactly my point. The surface would only emit as a black or gray body (in direct accordance to its temperature and emissivity) if it were in a purely radiative situation, meaning, all its energy were lost through radiation only. It’s not. There’s air. There’s conduction and evaporation. And it all (radiation, conduction, evaporation) goes into convection. It is convection, the bulk movement of air, that brings the surface energy up and away to the levels from where it can be emitted freely as IR to space.

        These two quotes I think pretty well capture the gist of my argument:

        “By obsessing about the use of the purely radiative S-B equation in desiring to determine directly the IR flux emitted from the surface solely from its mean physical temperature (emissivity considered 1), the rGHE adherents completely ignore standard budgetting principles; they fail to account for the energy actually available to be emitted at each point in time. Starting with the already known (measured – estimated – averaged) mean global temperature, as they do, is simply starting at the wrong end. You have to start with the energy.”


        [The fundamental premise of the rGHE hypothesis is this:] The surface of the Earth is at any one time able to shed three (!!!) times as much energy as it receives from the Sun, its only source of energy.

        This means, in order to accomplish such an outstanding feat, it needs to continuously absorb energy also from somewhere else, other than the ultimate source, the Sun, even though this somewhere else couldn’t itself be an independent source of energy. Hmm. Just think about that one for a minute. Do you feel the absurdity trickling forth? One will have to assert that the surface, in addition to absorbing the solar flux of 165 W/m2, is somehow also absorbing a separate atmospheric flux of 345 W/m2 (i.e., one that is more than twice as powerful on average!) to make your already S-B-calculated numbers add up.”

        It’s all about the surface energy budget, Frederick. Not the purely radiative Stefan-Boltzmann relation. You need to start with the energy available. Not with the temperature.

        If you start out saying that, yup, this surface has a temperature of 288K, then we ‘know’ from the S-B equation that it MUST emit ~390 W/m2, then if you measure the mean INPUT of energy from the Sun (the energy source) to the surface at any one time as being only one third of this, and you refuse to take that rather obvious hint something’s wrong, that’s when you end up having to construct an absurd radiative hypothesis completely detached from reality like the rGHE one, because you then need to INVENT extra energy coming in from somewhere else to make your original S-B figure stand.

        They of course should’ve discarded this original S-B figure even at their first look at the problem, but didn’t. Instead they started creating epicycles for themselves, justifying their nonsense, making up their own weird brand of physics as they went along.

        • “It’s all about the surface energy budget, Frederick. Not the purely radiative Stefan-Boltzmann relation. You need to start with the energy available. Not with the temperature.”

          There is no way that energy can pass from the Earth to space EXCEPT by radiation.

          Your contribution to the science seems to be about the location of the emitting body. The “classical” theory uses the top of the atmosphere (TOA) precisely because of convection.

          Feldman et al. appear to be saying that not all energy is emitted to space from the TOA. Some is emitted directly from other surfaces. And other surfaces may not act as blackbodies but instead have specific emissivities depending on their physical properties.

          My overall impression is that you are not setting out fairly the position of the physicists that you disagree with and therefor suggest you read Goody and Yung not to convince you to abandon your position, but to ensure you are not knocking down a straw man.

  5. okulaer says:

    Frederick, I fear you will have to read my posts on this again (if you care to). Because it appears to me you misunderstand on a quite fundamental level what I’m saying.

    For instance, how did you end up with the impression that I somehow think convection brings energy from the surface and all the way into space …???

    • Well, that is true. I don’t understand what you are saying and I don’t know how much time I can spend trying to work out what contribution you may be offering to climate science.

      I do understand Goody and Yung (G&Y), which is still the basis for virtually every textbook on the radiative transfer aspects of atmospheric physics. I understand how the GCM models work about as well as an outsider can know them. (I have many years experience modelling in another field.)

      Most of all, I follow the energy budget estimates that NASA scientists and their colleagues are making with the satellite and ARGOS buouy data. And rightly or wrongly, I am predisposed to rely on the empiricists to support or refute theory (GCMs) by their observations.

      Based on all of this I am more skeptical now than I was 5 years ago of the claim by IPCC that global climate is changing in an alarming manner. I hold that the dominant drivers of climate change are natural and quasi-cyclical.(The null hypothesis.)

      NASA scientists have reduced James Hansen’s 2005 estimate of energy imbalance from 0.85 Wm-2 to 0.50 Wm-2 (Loeb et al, 2012). The estimate of 0.5 Wm-2 as the energy imbalance is small enough to be counteracted by solar variability or oceanic oscillations. This is small enough that other climate phenomena (such as clouds) can to counteract the effect of CO2 (negative feedbacks). There is simply not enough evidence to say that man is the dominant driver of climate change or to say that the climate homeostasis has been and is being replaced by secular (one-direction) change in climate (temperature and precipitation).

      Possibly a doubling of CO2 might force a global average increase in temperature of little more than 1.0 degree Celsius, but that is not something to be alarmed about. Mankind, by burning fossil fuels and in other ways may have some effect on climate, but the benefits of additional CO2 in the atmosphere and slight warming would offset any small dis-benefits.

      I will continue to hold the null hypothesis concerning global warming not because I reject the standard radiative theory (G&Y) but because NASA and other agencies have shown that the parameter values used by Goody and Yung and most textbook writers contained errors of estimation.(Loeb et al. 2009, referenced below).

      However, I suspect that the theory is incomplete rather than wrong. Possibly Svensmark and his colleagues will eventually convince physicists to accept their extension of the radiative theory of climate change to include cosmic influences. Climate science was overtaken by dogmatists as far back as the days of H.H. Lamb, long before enough was know to sound the alarms..

      No matter how elegant the theory of radiative transfer, if the real world does not behave according to the theory, it is the theory that is inadequate. (Paraphrased from Feynman and Popper.)

      For this reason, I am willing to study any physical theory but I cannot understand your theory and I believe it is because you do not know enough about the physical theory of Goody and Yung and because you use terminology that is not standard in discussing radiative transfer..

      If you do not communicate in the manner of a physicist then you won’t get very far with physics.

      My offer is still open to send you a document that may or may not assist your in you efforts.

      Loeb et al. Toward Optimal Closure of the Earth’s Top-of-Atmosphere Radiation Budget. J.of Climate, AMS, V.22, p.748.)


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