Greenhouse Effect And Thermodynamics

If there were few greenhouse gases (like Antarctica) LW radiation would easily escape the earth’s atmosphere and temperatures would be much colder.

The presence of greenhouse gases makes it more difficult for LW radiation to escape, which forces the atmosphere to warm in order to maintain equilibrium.

Conservation of energy tells us that any LW radiation which gets absorbed by CO2, remains in the atmosphere for a while and keeps the atmosphere’s energy level up – which is reflected in higher temperatures.


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161 Responses to Greenhouse Effect And Thermodynamics

  1. You lie… CO2 is a poison which will flood the Earth, kill millions of people including women, children, and minorities who are more affected… racist … that’s it… you denialists and flat earthers are raising our sea levels and flooding out coastal cities.. especially those at-risk island nations… drought, food supplies, more tornado’s hurricanes, more snow, climate disruption…

    Ah, there, now I feel better… part of the comfy consensus… 😛

    • Thomas Fox says:

      Good we were not about when Co2 was many times today and 60 ton Giant Dinosaurs were eating tops out of 100ft giant sycamores

    • Herve D says:

      So CO² is that terrible? How come you are still alive? Oh, you don’t care about scientific reality, the only thing you care is maintaining alive the decaying CO² scam because as alive, it provides you money or fame by one way or another…
      We “deniers” are proud to not believe in it and have started to laugh for next 40 years non-stop…

  2. NotAGolfer says:

    When LW radiation bounces off the earth’s surface and heads toward space, it collides with CO2 molecules, which absorb the radiation energy and changes it to heat energy, which is then transferred to the surrounding atmospheric gases. However, nearly all the LW radiation in the CO2 absorption range was already being absorbed by CO2 and H2O and other molecules, so that the addition of more CO2 makes little difference.

      • John Finn says:

        Not strictly true. The CO2 effect is still significant in the higher, colder drier layers of the troposphere. As CO2 accumulates in the upper atmosphere, the average height at which energy escapes to space increases. As a consequence emission intensity is reduced (S-B Law ). This creates an imbalance whereby incoming energy is greater than outgoing energy. The earth’s surface and atmosphere will, therefore, warm until equilibrium is re-established.

        Whether or not the CO2 absorption bands in the lower atmosphere are saturated is largely irrelevant. They are not saturated in the upper layers near the tropopause.

        • Hey John, let’s do a mental exercise. CO2 absorbs mainly around 15 microns. What wavelength does it emit?

          Enquiring minds.

        • SMS says:

          Wouldn’t that create a hot spot; which has not been found?

        • 4TimesAYear says:

          The planet will not “warm until equilibrium is re-established”, but is constantly working to try to achieve equilibrium.

        • there is no substitute for victory says:

          Gee John, I thought CO2 was an Organic gas, much heavier than just everyday AIR, Pray tell now how this mystical, powerful, and dense gas schleps itself up into the upper atmosphere?

        • geran says:

          John is busy right now. If you want to leave a message….

        • kuhnkat says:

          Except if there is any warming the atmosphere EXPANDS leaving more room for the radiation to escape between the molecules of the GHG’s…

          Another ignored feedback that stabilizes the climate.

        • OK, so you didn’t answer my question. Let me ask it another way. If you add CO2 to the upper atmosphere and the elevation of the radiant TOA is determined by water vapor attenuation, as it is, what effect does increased CO2 have on radiation to space from CO2 molecules? Is the elevation really increased if it’s determined by water vapor?

          And once again, what wavelength does CO2 radiate if it absorbs 15 microns?

        • Herve D says:

          In case CO² effect is as large as claimed, if avalanche effect can start with 800ppm, how come Earth escaped from the “really hot” period 600millions years ago? It should have – as a logical conclusion – heated so much and become equal to Venus planet?

    • Smokey says:

      This chart shows why adding more CO2 makes no measurable difference to global temperatures:

      Almost all the warming effect took place in the first few dozen ppm. At current levels, the effect is so minuscule that it can be completely disregarded. Any warming from CO2 at 400 ppm is simply too small to measure.

    • Richard M says:

      It’s even worse than just other gases. Dust, salt, pollen, bacteria, clouds, soot, etc. all absorb in the CO2 frequency bands (near blackbodies). Even if CO2 started out at zero ppm I’m not sure adding any would have much of an effect.

      Also consider that CO2 gets thermalized from collisions with other gases and can radiate that energy outward towards space. More CO2 means more outward radiation.

    • dmmcmah says:

      Co2 absorption competes directly with water vapor in key absorption bands, limiting its impact since water vapor is more common. Also as everyone who follows climate knows, the Co2 is logarithmic, the mathematical way of stating what you describe in your last sentence. So there is no catastrophe even if the Co2 theory were true. Of course there are other things that impact the climate besides Co2 like cosmic rays, the earths orbit, ocean cycles etc.

      • Chewer says:

        log functions are fine in measureable coordinates, but the planetary functions exceed mann’s understanding of the processes in play!

  3. Yeah, but the question is, What happens when you add CO2? What happens when you add another blanket to the bed? Is it like adding a second blanket, or are we adding a 101st blanket on top of 100 blankets?

    • A better analogy than a second blanket is a second window blind, which does little to darken the room further.

      • Yes, as is the case when a 101st blanket is added on top of 100

        • Ben Vorlich says:

          Also adds a marginal amount to air pressure by adding mass to the atmosphere, so like adding the 101st blanket which adds a bit more weight to the bed. Is that a measurable amount if relapse rate is involved in surface temperature.

    • NotAGolfer says:

      Think of the CO2 and H2O as hungry animals in the atmosphere. The amount of LW radiation heading from earth to space remains fairly constant, and there are already enough hungry animals there to consume most of it and turn it into heat. There are many unbusy hungry animals, too, just sitting, waiting for an occasional CO2. If you double the number of hungry animals, there will just be a lot more hungrier animals.

      • Yes, it’s like real estate. Is it a buyers market or a seller’s market? Houses are IR photons, the sellers. Buyers are the CO2 molecules. The number of buyers keeps going up but the number of sellers remains constant.

        It’s a seller’s market. And there is no increase in sales.

  4. geran says:

    You’re reading right out of the IPCC playbook, Tony. Mustn’t do that.

  5. geran says:

    “The presence of greenhouse gases makes it more difficult for LW radiation to escape, which forces the atmosphere to warm in order to maintain equilibrium.

    Conservation of energy tells us that any LW radiation which gets absorbed by CO2, remains in the atmosphere for a while and keeps the atmosphere’s energy level up – which is reflected in higher temperatures.”
    WTF! Where did you get the kool-aid?

    • I used to model heat flow for a living. This is pretty fundamental stuff.

      • geran says:

        Did you use IPCC stuff for your model?

      • geran says:

        Explain the physics of your own statements:
        The presence of greenhouse gases makes it more difficult for LW radiation to escape, which forces the atmosphere to warm in order to maintain equilibrium.

        ESPECIALLY “forces the atmosphere to warm”

        And, this one:
        Conservation of energy tells us that any LW radiation which gets absorbed by CO2, remains in the atmosphere for a while and keeps the atmosphere’s energy level up – which is reflected in higher temperatures.

        ESPECIALLY “which is reflected in higher temperatures.”

        • In order to maintain equilibrium, the amount of heat leaving the atmosphere has to be equal to the amount entering. If it becomes more difficult for heat to leave, then the thermal gradient has to increase in order to increase the flux of outgoing heat.

        • geran says:

          Again, right out of the IPCC playbook.

          How is it that it “becomes more difficult for heat to leave”? Are you now claiming that mankind can make it “more difficult for heat to leave”?

          (Please empty out the kool-aid and refill with beer. Next you will be telling us the Arctic is going to melt this winter…)

        • NotAGolfer says:

          Energy in the form of heat can’t leave the atmosphere. Only radiation can leave the atmosphere. When CO2 and other absorbing molecules convert radiation energy into heat energy, the heat is trapped in the atmosphere, and warms the earth, which releases radiation to the atmosphere based on its temperature.

          LW radiation is emitted from the earth in a broad range of wavelengths, some of which wavelengths easily escape the atmosphere and some of which wavelengths are easily trapped by CO2 and H2O. So, yes, it’s an energy balance, not a heat balance, that is maintained, and wavelengths outside the CO2 absorption wavelength range are what leave the atmosphere to maintain the balance.

          As stated above, there is already enough CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere to absorb nearly all the LW radiation in the wavelength ranges that CO2 absorbs in. So doubling CO2 has little effect.

        • NotAGolfer says:

          Often, “heat” is used as a generic term for various types of “energy,” but for this discussion it’s best to talk in terms of energy balances. Heat and radiation are two forms of energy, and CO2 converts radiation energy into heat.

        • geran says:

          Notagolfer, you got some of it slightly “off the green”, but your final “putt” sank it.

      • tom0mason says:

        So you modeled life in you system? e.g. plants, animal, and all the lower forms. And what IR radiation does any of these use?
        Nature always has and hopefully will continue to act as an anti-entropic agent on our planet, marshalling small packets (in billions of processes) of energy away in its kenetic and chemical conversions.

  6. drtim12 says:

    In that case then the stratosphere should get warm faster than the surface and it is not.

    • NotAGolfer says:

      The theory is that by adding more CO2 to the atmosphere, more of the radiation is converted to heat at a lower height from the earth. About the same overall amount of radiation is converted to heat (since there is already enough CO2 to absorb nearly all the radiation in the wavelength range that CO2 absorbs in), but it’s done so lower in the atmosphere. So the troposphere warms a bit, and the stratosphere cools a bit. However, it is likely quickly mixed, and the net warming is negligible, since about the same amount of radiation is absorbed in the two layers, even after a doubling of CO2.

      • You know what’s really funny? When you increase the heat in the lower atmosphere, you increase evaporation of liquid water at the surface, which is a cooling process. All that vapor rises up and condenses in the upper layers, which is a warming process. Latent heat takes energy from the surface and brings it up high. So, you thought you were warming the surface but ….. how did that work out for you?

        Did you REALLY think you cool fool mother nature?

        • Oh I know, you are thinking, increased evaporation at the surface increases drought. But the water vapor rises to upper layers that are cooler than before. Extra water vapor with more cooling than before? More rain.

          Can I please have my tax money back??

  7. nickreality65 says:

    The atmospheric heating is from sensible heat which is negligible compared to the latent heat of evaporation at the ocean/atmosphere interface.

  8. darrylb says:

    We covered this in Tony’s “Yesterday’s Radio Interview” In there
    If you have a science background read Gail Combs articles by Peter Marcombe and Dr. Robert Brown which give a great deal of insight.

  9. drtim12 says:

    The Icelandic Volcano is depositing more CO2 and other pollution into the air daily than we do in years and they are not taxing Iceland for Cap and Trade. It had to melt the ice over it to get thru and we are not condemning Iceland for this environmental disaster. Why???

    • John Finn says:

      The icelandic volcano – or any other volcano for that matter – doesn’t produce anywhere near as much CO2 as we do.

      • Streetcred says:

        How much CO2 has been outgassed from the Oceans?

      • squid2112 says:

        The icelandic volcano – or any other volcano for that matter – doesn’t produce anywhere near as much CO2 as we do.

        ummm, wrong….

      • tom0mason says:

        Interesting idea.

        Nature Geoscience 4, 839–842 (2011) doi:10.1038/ngeo1294
        Received 24 May 2011 Accepted 14 September 2011 Published online 16 October 2011

        These rivers breathe a lot of carbon.” —David Butman , a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, who coauthored a recent article published in Nature Geoscience showing that rivers and streams in the United States are “supersaturated” with carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to the atmosphere, releasing an amount of CO2 equivalent to a car burning 40 million gallons of gasoline (enough to fuel 3.4 million car trips to the moon).
        Butman and coauthor Pete Raymond, a Yale professor, measured temperature, alkalinity, and pH from samples of more than 4,000 U.S. rivers and streams, and also studied the morphology and surface area of the waterways. They fed this data into a model to determine the flux of CO2 from the water and found that the amount of CO2 given off by rivers and streams “is significant enough for terrestrial modelers to note of it,” according to Butman.
        The study revealed that the CO2, after being released by decomposing plants, is making its way from the ground into the rivers and streams.
        The researchers also determined that an increase in precipitation caused by climate change will create a cycle that to increasing amounts of CO2 in the waterways and subsequently in the atmosphere. (Source : Yale University)

        Comments on page 149 of ‘Recent Changes of Arctic Multiyear Sea Ice Coverage and the Likely Causes’ by Polyakov et al, and he is refering to –
        David Butman & Peter A. Raymond

        Essentially nature has controls on CO2.

    • nielszoo says:

      They’ve offered to ship some ice to the UN to cool down the planet and ameliorate the unapproved actions of their skeptically racist, homophobic, anti-government pro-big-business loving volcano. The volcano has also pledged to sell a couple of it’s previously sacrificed Nordic virgins to AlGore™ (for shakra unblocking) in exchange for some extra carbon credits he “bought” to offset possible last minute Gulfstream travel to climate emergencies.

  10. Shazaam says:

    So, the ice ages have the extremely dry air as an “amplification factor” that radiates the heat away and keeps it cold. Runaway cooling is what they should be worried about….

    Not enough CO2 to make-up for dry arctic air.

  11. Robert of Ottawa says:

    If there were few greenhouse gases (like Antarctica) LW radiation would easily escape the earth’s atmosphere and temperatures would be much colder.
    This needs a bit of editing, Steve.

  12. mjc says:

    And the consensus is…nobody can actually come to an agreement on EXACTLY what and HOW CO2 does what it does…

    • rah says:

      Yea, but it has become abundantly clear that there is a saturation level at which CO2 does not do what it does at lower concentrations.

  13. SteveO says:

    This really separates the men from the boys…errr, sorry Gail. If you claim Tony is wrong, and say there is no such thing as a greenhouse gas, you truly do sound like a flat-earther. On the other hand, Tony is showing that in science, facts are facts. It is the manipulation of the messages surrounding these facts (plus false hypothoses, corrupted data, etc) that leaves the realm of acience and becomes AGW claptrap.

    • Gail Combs says:


      Read what I, or rather Dr Brown and Peter Malcombe said. CO2 is playing catch with photons of the correct wavelengths but it depends on where in the atmosphere it is as to how it hands off that energy. If it is in the near the earth it transfers it to other gases via collision. As the distance between molecules increase (presure decreases) the percent of energy radiated increases. It is all a matter of two competing mechanisms, pressure and time constants.

      …The lifetime of the excited state(s) is much longer than the mean free time between molecular collisions between the CO_2 molecule and the (usually nitrogen or oxygen or argon) other molecules in the surrounding gas. That means that the radiative energy absorbed by the molecule is almost never resonantly re-emitted, it is transferred to the surrounding gas, warming not just the CO_2 but the oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor, argon as well as the other CO_2 molecules around. — Dr Brown, Duke Univ

      (This is the micro view of radiative physics) John Kehr and Nasif Nahle deal with the macro view of thermodynamics and heat transfer.

      • geran says:

        Gail, hate to bother you, but weren’t you going to send me links about how clouds can form without water vapor?

        Surely, you can find some. The Internet is an infinite source for inquiring minds. The only problem is that you have to discriminate fact from fiction.

        Probably not a problem for you….

        • Gail Combs says:

          geran says:
          September 5, 2014 at 1:17 am

          Gail, hate to bother you, but weren’t you going to send me links about how clouds can form without water vapor?
          Easy Pease…
          Cassini Probe Watches Methane Clouds Waft Over Titan’s Seas

        • geran says:

          Cool, so all you have to offer, after you have attempted to attack “real science” is pictures of goats.

          Kinda telling…

        • geran says:

          Yeah, I know you think reality is a conspiracy, but we are on planet Earth. Sorry. Be there or be square.

        • geran says:

          Still waiting for you multiple links proving clouds have no linkage to water vapor.

        • Gail Combs says:

          geran your actual statement on September 4, 2014 at 7:56 pm
          was….(Yes, clouds are different, but they are water vapor, not CO2.)

          Clouds are not water vapor, yes they are formed FROM water vapor but they are condensed water dropplets or ice crystals. Water vapor is transparent. Which is what I said the first time.

          You want a link? Fine here is a link

          How Clouds Form

          A cloud is composed of tiny water droplets or ice crystals that are suspended in the air. [A Cloud is NOT water vapor although the condensation/evaporation cycle can be taking place within the cloud – gc] A series of processes have to happen in order for these water droplets or ice crystals to form into clouds in the atmosphere, and different types of clouds form from different processes. The four main ways that clouds can form are:
          Surface Heating
          Mountains and Terrain
          Air Masses Being Forced to Rise
          Weather Fronts (cold or warm)

          All of these processes involve the cooling of air. Warm air is able to hold larger amounts of water vapor than cool air, so when air cools it is no longer able to hold all of the water vapor it was able to hold when it was warm. This extra water vapor begins to condense out of the air into liquid water droplets….

        • geran says:

          “Clouds are not water vapor, yes they are formed FROM water vapor but they are condensed water dropplets or ice crystals.”

          That’s all you need to know. (Except, you misspelled “droplets”.)

          Now, you truly know everything….

        • darrylb says:

          Gail et al, If you have not caught it, Judith Curry along with Vitaly Khvorostyanov recently published a their book “Thermodynamics, Kinetics and microphysics of clouds”
          It is 720 pages and cost me $63.20 on my kindle. The hard copy is over $100,
          Do not consider buying if you do not have a fairly strong math background.
          I know it is going to give me some headaches. More than Steve McIntyre has.
          However, I believe the greatest amount of unknowns rests in the physics of clouds and it is very complicated.
          Gail, if you get it, please let me know.
          It would take only a one or two percent change in cloud amount to cause any of the temperature/weather/climate changes that have (or may have) occurred.
          Trouble is we
          For another addition to the discussion, not only would the type of cloud make a difference, but height would also determine whether it would have a net warming or cooling effect. Just Sayin 🙂
          Incidently, I think Russian scientists like Vitaly have had a lot to offer, but because they do not fall into the warming meme, they get very little world press. The have been predicting a cooling earth for a long time.

      • SteveO says:

        Gail, I wrote that poorly. The sorry was about using a masculine analogy. I did not mean to imply the following lines applied to you. Apologies.

      • corev says:

        Can anyone estimate the life times of this energy interaction? “…The lifetime of the EXCITED STATE(S) is much longer …”
        Or the life time of the “… than the mean free time between MOLECULAR COLLISIONS between the CO_2 molecule and the (usually nitrogen or oxygen or argon) other molecules in the surrounding gas.”

        This has been a confusion to me re: the ever present TRAPPING argument we hear.

  14. KevinK says:

    Tony, with respect, the “greenhouse effect” merely delays the flow of energy from the surface of the Sun to the surface of the Earth through the atmosphere and on towards the energy free void of space.

    It does this by absorbing and redirecting some of the energy to make another (or several) more trips through the system. The velocity of this energy (flowing as LWIR) is at close to the speed of light in a vacuum. This delay is miniscule and has no effect on the average temperature of the Earth.

    This is not a heat transfer analysis exactly, it is a hybrid thermal/optical analysis. The “greenhouse effect” is simply a sort of hybrid thermal/optical delay line. Optical delay lines are uncommon beasts, but well understood.

    A multilayer optical interference filter operates in much the same manner EXCEPT the presence of constructive and destructive optical interference does actually “cause more energy to stay here (inside the lens)”. When used as a anti-reflection coating (that purple film on good optics) a multilayer optical interference filter will reduce reflections and cause more energy to “stay” inside the lens instead of bouncing away at the speed of light.

    Agricultural greenhouses have been successfully fabricated out of both LWIR transmissive and opaque materials for years. A scientific study concluded that the temperatures inside were “the same” (within the measurement accuracy) for both materials.

    The “greenhouse effect” as described by climate scientists is a mirage, chimera, optical illusion.

    This is why they cannot find any observational proof of it.

    Cheers, Kevin

    • tom0mason says:

      Thanks Kevin, sanely put.

    • Scott Scarborough says:


      The green house effect does not delay the flow of energy from the surface of the sun to the surface of the earth. The wave lengths of radiation coming from the sun are not it the infrared range. The radiating temperature of the earth is in the infrared range, some of which is in the range that H2O and CO2 absorb thereby delaying energy transfer to space.

      • KevinK says:

        Scott, the “greenhouse effect” delays the flow of energy through the entire system; Sun’s Surface/Earth’s Surface/Earth’s Atmosphere/Earth Surface’s (again)/Earth’s Atmosphere (again)////Universe. The speed of light (in a vacuum) is independent of wavelength. And the speed of light in most gases is within 99% of the speed of light in a vacuum.

        Cheers, Kevin

        • KevinK says:

          Scott, sorry, I should clarify that a bit; the “greenhouse effect” only delays the flow of energy AFTER it has left the surface of the Earth as LWIR radiation. You are correct it has no effect on the time it takes for sunlight to arrive here on the surface.

          Cheers, Kevin.

        • Curt says:

          Kevin: Watts are units of power, not velocity. Your analysis went wrong before it even started. (Hint: It has nothing to do with any velocity, even the speed of light.)

        • Well come on. The speed of energy emitted by earth’s surface is slowed by evaporating water, waiting for the water vapor to rise and condense as cumulous cloud and emit the energy to space as blackbody radiation from the top of the cloud at all different wavelengths. Does that slow the speed of the radiation?

        • Curt says:

          Morgan: As soon as you are talking about physical velocity (length per unit time) rather than power (energy per unit time), you are completely off track and will never be able to complete any kind of proper analysis.

    • darrylb says:

      Kevin, ‘ the energy flows at the speed of light through the atmosphere and into space’
      Upon what do you base this? Yeah, photon flow would, but more is involved.
      I would get into this more, but currently my flow of energy seems to be hitting some opaque barriers.

      • Gail Combs says:

        LWR leaving the earth that is in the optical window wavelengths zips to space at or close to the speed of light.

        At the active wavelengths for H2O and CO2, the photons are captured. Dr Brown said within“a meter or few before they are absorbed by a CO_2 molecule.” At that point you start playing pinball with the energy being handed off to other molecules via collision and the hotter molecules then head up via convection. If this is the case, at least within the lower atmosphere there is really no difference between heat transferred from the surface via convection or photons being captured by CO2 and then ‘thermalized.’ The end result is exactly the same.
        The molecules of the air get warmer, cooling the surface and via convection transport the heat up. As the air rises it expands and cools because of the work done. link At high latitudes the tropopause and lower stratosphere temperature can be as low as ~ -85°C. In the stratosphere temperature then climbs because of the absorption of sunlight by oxygen molecules.

        Isn’t it interesting that you have a devil of a time finding any info about heat energy ===> radiative energy at the tropopause or in the stratosphere?

        At what point does the atmosphere become thin enough that energy is radiated instead of being transfered via collision?

        Links anyone?

    • Tel says:

      Agricultural greenhouses have been successfully fabricated out of both LWIR transmissive and opaque materials for years. A scientific study concluded that the temperatures inside were “the same” (within the measurement accuracy) for both materials.

      Agricultural greenhouses block CONVECTION and thus raise the temperature of the air inside the greenhouse, because the hot air cannot escape (normally hot air would rise).

      There is no layer of glass in the sky, the Earth has no “greenhouse” in the sense of an agricultural greenhouse. The mechanism of absorbtion of RADIATION by the Earth’s atmosphere is utterly and completely different. Any association of the two is merely confusion caused by the badly misnamed “greenhouse effect”.

  15. nickreality65 says:

    Excerpted from IPCC AR5 TS.6 Key Uncertainties
    “Paleoclimate reconstructions and Earth System Models indicate
    that there is a positive feedback between climate and the carbon
    cycle, but confidence remains low in the strength of this feedback,
    particularly for the land. {6.4}”

    TS.6 is a page and a half at the end of the technical section, a summary of what the scientists don’t know, have doubts, uncertainties. The authors of this section apparently did not compare notes with the authors of the summary. The tone of confidences and certainties could not be more contradictory. Other uncertainties include clouds, ice sheets, sea levels, and more. Recommended reading. Of particular interest is this comment’s opening excerpt. By “..remains low…” are they suggesting that IPCC AR4 had low confidence in the magnitude and that low confidence continues with AR5? Let’s take a look at this CO2 feedback loop.

    As I understand it, the CO2 feedback loop works like this: CO2 absorbs energy from a specific wavelength of sunlight, whereupon its electrons become excited, jumping in and out of their orbits. The excited CO2 molecule then emits a less energetic wavelength, the incident wavelength minus the work function. This is known as the photoelectric effect, the discovery and explanation of which garnered Einstein his Nobel prize. It’s also how fluorescent light bulbs, lasers, and LEDs work. The re-emitted wavelength excites water vapor molecules which heat up just as in your microwave. The heated water molecules heat the air which heat the oceans which release CO2. CO2 is less soluble in warm liquid than in cold. The crisp spritz opening a cold beer as opposed to the geyser from opening a beer that has been in the trunk all day. This is known as a positive feedback loop. It feeds on itself like feedback between a microphone and PA system. If the magnitude is large enough it rapidly escalates, like a chain reaction. The rapid increase in global warming predicted by assorted GCMs is due to the magnitude selected for the feedback loop. So how much heat does the air from this loop and the allegedly rising global temperatures transfer into the ocean?

    Here’s the science section:
    First let’s define the properties. The heat capacity of water is 1 Btu/lb-°F. The heat capacity of air is 0.24 Btu/lb-°F. The density of water is 62.4 lb/cu ft. The density of air is 0.0763 lb/cu ft. The latent heat of water’s evaporation or condensation is about 950 Btu/lb.
    Sensible Heat Transportation 4.2 pounds of air to heat one pound of water.
    Per pound Heat Capacity Hot Cold Btu
    Air 0.24/Btu/lb-°F 80 50 7.2
    Water 1.0/Btu/lb-°F 80 50 30 30/7.2 = 4.2

    Latent Heat Transportation, 1 lb of air
    Dry Bulb Relative Humidity water content, grains water content, lb Heat Content, Btu
    Air 90 °F 0% 0.0 0 21.6
    90 °F 100% 218.4 0.0312 56.0
    1,101 Btu/lb
    Latent Evaporation Heat Transportation, 1 lb of water
    Water 950 Btu/lb

    Premise 1: Water’s latent heat of evaporation moves a lot more energy, by a factor as large a 100, from the ocean to the atmosphere than the sensible heat of the temperature difference moves energy from the air to the ocean.

    Premise 2: Water evaporates into the air not because the air is warm, but because the air is dry.
    Here are few thought exercises to grasp the concepts.

    A therapeutic swimming pool in Phoenix is heated to 80 °F. The warm water soothes arthritic joints. The pool is covered with a canopy so there is no solar gain. The canopy sides are open to the ambient 105 °F. The heater fails. What happens to the pool’s water temperature? Thermodynamics says that heat will flow from the hot source to the cold sink, from the 105 °F air to the 80 °F water. This is sensible heat, transferred by contact, convection, conduction. So why is it necessary to heat the pool at all? Air is terrible heat transfer medium. It is stagnant air trapped in the walls of your house that keeps you warm or cool. But there is also evaporation from the pool’s surface. Just like your evaporative cooler, evaporating water cools itself. Actually the pool’s water temperature at the water/air interface will approach the ambient wet bulb temperature.

    Fill a plastic gallon milk jug with water and install the cap. Place it in 105 °F shade together with a shallow tub with a gallon of water about 1” to 2” deep. After several hours open the jug and pour a little water onto your cupped hands. Place a hand in the tub of water. What did you observe? The water in the closed jug is quite warm. The water in the tub is cool. What’s the difference? The open tub allowed the water to evaporate, transferring energy into the air and keeping the water cool. Repeat the experiment, but this time pour the contents of the warmed jug into another shallow pan. How long does it take for the warm water to cool to the same temperature as the tub? There’s the project for your next school science project.

    The water/steam/Rankine cycle has been used for over a hundred years in, among many applications, the production of electricity. The steam that exhausts from the turbine must be condensed back into water so it can be pumped back through the boiler. This condensation is accomplished by pumping cold water through a shell and tube heat exchanger, aka the steam surface condenser. Thousand horsepower pumps move hundreds of thousands of gallons per minute through the tubes where the water absorbs the latent heat of condensation, by coincidence, about 950 Btu/lb. The water is frequently pumped to a wet cooling tower where the water sprays and cascades through an air stream. The air and water droplets form surface contact layers where the latent heat of evaporation transfers the condensed steam’s energy to the air stream. In the process, the air’s sensible heat or dry bulb temperature actually increases only a few degrees.

    The crust on the ocean’s floor is relatively thin in many spots, as little as a few thousand feet. The weight of gazillion tons of water keep the earth’s molten core from breaking through – most of the time. However, the extreme heat from the earth’s core warms the water at the bottom of the ocean, a heat source similar to the steam surface condenser mentioned earlier. Instead of pumps, the warm water rises, circulates, to the surface where it evaporates the geothermal heat flux energy into the air, cools, and then sinks, natural circulation.

    Over the past couple of decades the CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa has steadily increased, but assorted atmospheric temperatures have essentially flat lined. (Build your own graphs at embarrassing missing heat was first supposedly “found” in the Pacific and then later “found” in the Atlantic. Considering the previous observations the chances that the newly discovered heat came from the atmosphere are rather slim. The heat most likely comes from the geothermal heat flux through the ocean floor. IPCC AR5 TS.6 doesn’t know what the ocean is doing below 2,000 meters and low confidence above that. The average depth of the ocean is 4,000 meters though that makes the bottom half a big unknown.

    Excerpted from IPCC AR5 TS.6
    “Observational coverage of the ocean deeper than 2000 m is still
    limited and hampers more robust estimates of changes in global
    ocean heat content and carbon content. This also limits the quantification
    of the contribution of deep ocean warming to sea level
    rise. {3.2, 3.7, 3.8; Box 3.1}”

    Why is the magnitude of the CO2 feedback loop important, why does it even matter? Quite frankly, the magnitude of the CO2 feedback loop is all that matters. That magnitude determines how quickly the atmosphere warms, how soon the ice caps melt, the sea levels rise, all of the dire projections of the IPCC AR5 summary and GCMs. If the magnitude of the feedback loop is small compared to other drivers of heating and cooling, such as the latent heat of evaporation (and that is rather obvious), then all of the dire projections, handwringing, and calls to action are naught but tales of sound and fury, signifying nothing, told by you know whom.

    Premise 3: The magnitude of the CO2 feedback loop is irrelevant since the role that loop plays in warming the atmosphere is insignificant.

    • Gail Combs says:

      Water is the Mammoth herd stampeding through the IPCC….

    • OK I’m going to ask you something about the bottom of the ocean. We know that the sunlight doesn’t penetrate more than a few hundred feet and doesn’t get there. We know that the heat from the rapidly increasing atmospheric temperature can’t get to the bottom of the ocean. Then again, we know that the atmosphere has not heated in 17 years so is not rapidly increasing or slowly increasing or increasing at all. We also know that ARGO doesn’t even go to the bottom of the ocean to measure it. So my question is, how the green team are so sure the heating of the bottom of the ocean, which they have no clue whether it’s even happening, can explain why global warming stopped around 1998?

      • Jason Calley says:

        Hey Morgan! I find an interesting similarity between the “oceans ate global warming” idea and the missing tropospheric hotspot. You may remember that some years back there was a publicized problem with the CAGW crowd. The tropospheric hotspot which had been touted as being the unique fingerprint of man made, CO2 induced, global warming, refused to be found. Millions of balloon measurements had been taken and the hotspot was not there. What to do? The CAGW crowd produced a study which attempted to find a correlation between wind shear and temperature, and then using wind shear readings, they found a hotspot which the thermometer had been unable to measure. Well, not really… What they did was produce a very poor way of measuring temperature (using wind shear) and then, because the errors bars were so huge and the temperature change estimates were so small, they announced that the hotspot was hiding in the wind shear readings.

        They have done the same thing with the ocean heat measurements. Every CAGW theory predicts that global warming has to be taking place in the Earth’s atmosphere — but actual temperature readings of the atmosphere fail to find the predicted heating. What to do? Take long term readings of deep ocean temperatures (which have very large error bars) and claim to find a signal much smaller than the noise. Viola! “We have found the missing heat!” No mention of the almost non-existingly scant data during the 20th Century. No mention of the enormous disparity between signal and noise. No mention of the need to know global deep ocean temperatures to within hundredths of a degree. No mention of the complete lack of effective physical mechanisms to move the heat out of the atmosphere and into the deep ocean. No mention of what would cause the heat to suddenly switch from accumulating in the atmosphere and cause it to dive into the water.

        This is not science — this is politics and propaganda.

  16. tom0mason says:

    Unfortunately as experiments show, at the lower altitudes, e.g. ground level, radiation in the IR is hugely constrained in gases by their close molecular proximity. That is to say most if not all heat is used in moving molecules around and not zapping IR energy about.
    Within our atmosphere this means convection, winds, and storms. You know the convection problem nobody dare speak about, or research as it kicks CO2 out of the park.

    This is further amplified in the case of water as a vapor in clouds, as it is in flux between it’s vapor state and its liquid state. If the cloud is particularly high, or cold, then solid/liquid/vapor states are active and in flux. Do we have the slightest understanding of clouds – NO. Until we do all the blather about IR bands of absorbtion/radiation are academic. If there is no understanding of air mass movement the weather (and climate) can not be understood. All through these times water’s IR band for both absorbing and emitting vary. Has any of this been added to the climate models – NO.

    Above the troposphere the radiation effect dominate as the distance between molecules is great. Below that bulk movements of gases and liquid vapors dominate and NOT IR radiation.

    Whittering on about CO2 and it’s IR parameters while we know so little about water (the greatest IR active gas) just show how much the CAGW’s have stolen the argument leaving you all arguing about the nothing of importance.
    CO2 is not the problem. And please, there is NO greenhouse gas! Professor oods executed that fox a century ago. If you think there is then define it for me. Until then a greenhouses only get warm because of the walls and roof inhibiting the natural cooling via convection. All other arguments I’ve heard for ‘greenhouse gases’ are variations on UN sanctioned science, aka BS.

    • Gail Combs says:

      Thw IPCC knows CO2 by itself is a 20 lb weakling so they hitched CO2 to water and called CO2 a ‘Forcing’ and water a ‘Feedback” — A neat bit of propaganda.

      The Earthshine Project that measures Albedo shot that connection dead.

      • tom0mason says:

        And as you have often shown people, experiments with lasers show that down here on the ground the excited molecules dissapate most of their energy through bumping into each other. In other words IR to kenetic energy transfers dominate.
        Higher in the atmosphere re-radiation to lower energy levels dominate.
        Comparing CO2 energy effects in the atmosphere to water’s is to show serveral orders of magnitude difference.

      • Gail, I completely agree. Using forcing and feedback to explain GHGs doesn’t even make sense as a thought experiment. Utter nonsense.

    • CO2 is meaningless in comparison to H2O latent heat of vaporization. The condensing gas H2O is the heat control mechanism on the planet, with transfer to space via radiation from water droplets a huge contributor to heat rejection / management.

      Heat is carried aloft via water vapor until water droplets form, then the water droplets become efficient black body radiators to space, at a level high enough that the chances of radiation being redirected via GHG’s is much lower than that at the lower troposphere. The cooling water droplets also rob energy from the surrounding gases, making the droplets and surrounding gases cooler. The cooler droplets make cooler air and the air becomes less buoyant, to be replaced by warmer air / droplets from below. The level of heat to be rejected and the heat gradient created by this mechanism determines the flow required and the cloud patterns we see. Mild heat rejection requirements could evolve cumulus or stratus clouds, heavy heat rejection requirements necessitate thunderstorms. We see everything in between.

      Fun fact of the day… How much energy loss is demonstrated by one inch of rain in one hour? 15,924 W/m^2. And we’re worried about the theoretical radiative-only forcing of a doubling of CO2 of 3.7 W/m^2? This ignores the HUGE elephant in the room that is the action of the condensing gas (a mechanism we use in our air conditioners)…

      Note also that it is not possible for the energy to be radiated away at 15,924 W/m^2 aloft, even if we have direct evidence of that amount of cooling in our rain gauge. If you take water droplet density, and use, say, 0°C as the temperature of the radiating medium (the water droplets), you get a radiating capacity of about 31W/m^2, so you need about 512x the radiating surface area aloft to maintain rain at 1″ per hour on the ground. This works out to needing about 13x the radius of the raining area as cooling area aloft as a radiating medium. It’s actually more than that because some of the atmosphere above is radiating toward earth, canceling out some of the radiating effectiveness. So you need even more storm diameter than that to dispose of the heat.

      So if you need to reject even more heat than that, which is fairly common in thunderstorms, the storms punch even higher, get even cooler (which drops radiating effectiveness at T^4), and forces the storm top area to become even larger. This happens in thunderheads when it gets so cold and so high, that the radiating media is ice crystals. By punching higher, even fewer GHGs are above the cloud tops, and radiation is more effective, and by having now a MUCH larger cloud top area, direct heating from sunlight is also reflected away to a much larger degree than small storms. Large storms also evaporate exponentially more water at the surface through higher winds. The amount of energy rejected to space is simply astronomical if you consider how many m^2 is receiving rain at tens of thousands of watts per square meter.

      The greenhouse effect is real, but the effect of CO2 once other factors have been considered makes the 3.7W/m^2 theoretical effect pretty non-sensical. It assumes these other extremely powerful processes simply don’t exist. Once H2O has done its job, there is not much left for CO2 to do.

  17. Don says:


    Marine and terrestrial proxy records suggest global cooling during the Late Holocene, following the peak warming of the Holocene Thermal Maximum (∼10 to 6 ka) until the rapid warming induced by increasing anthropogenic greenhouses gases. However, the physical mechanism responsible for this global cooling has remained elusive. Here, we show that climate models simulate a robust global annual mean warming in the Holocene, mainly in response to rising CO2 and the retreat of ice sheets. This model-data inconsistency demands a critical reexamination of both proxy data and models.


    A recent temperature reconstruction of global annual temperature shows Early Holocene warmth followed by a cooling trend through the Middle to Late Holocene [Marcott SA, et al., 2013, Science 339(6124):1198–1201]. This global cooling is puzzling because it is opposite from the expected and simulated global warming trend due to the retreating ice sheets and rising atmospheric greenhouse gases.

    Our critical reexamination of this contradiction between the reconstructed cooling and the simulated warming points to potentially significant biases in both the seasonality of the proxy reconstruction and the climate sensitivity of current climate models.


    • Gail Combs says:

      The forgot the Dragon in the room.
      The Solar Insolation (June 21 insolation minimum at 65N) calculations from NOAA:

      Holocene climate optimum insolation: 522.5 Wm-2

      NOW (modern Warm Period) 476Wm-2

      The solar insolation decrease is 46.5 Wm-2

      The paper, Temperature and precipitation history of the Arctic says: “Solar energy reached a summer maximum (9% higher than at present) ~11 ka ago and has been decreasing since then, primarily in response to the precession of the equinoxes. The extra energy elevated early Holocene summer temperatures throughout the Arctic 1-3°C above 20th century averages, enough to completely melt many small glaciers throughout the Arctic, although the Greenland Ice Sheet was only slightly smaller than at present.”

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Schimel, 1996] estimated that the change solar forcing between 1850 (start of the industrial age] and 1990 was only •0.3 W/m 2 at the top of the atmosphere vs. 1.5 W/m 2 for forcing anthropogenic CO2 [cf., Reid, 1997].

      In evaluating the overall significance of solar vs. CO2 forcings, an apples-to-apples comparison would be to contrast the role of these two parameters on an absolute scale. For incoming solar radiation, the absolute forcing amounts to around 340 W m–2 at the top of the atmosphere. The absolute forcing of atmospheric CO2 is estimated at about 32-34 W m–2 (see pp. 202–203 of Kiehl and Trenberth 1997). (A recent publication by Huang [2013, p. 1707], however, has calculated this value may be as high as 44.1 W m–2.) Small changes in the absolute forcing of the Sun can easily result in values much larger than the predicted changes in radiative forcing typically associated with increasing CO2, and these forcings could easily influence Earth’s climate

      • geran says:

        Cool, I count 3 links.

        No need to think for ourselves when we have “links”. Get more links, Gail!

        (Walmart has a great sale on tinfoil hats this week.)

  18. tmitsss says:

    CO2 is a snuggly blanket gas keeping us warm on cold winter nights

  19. Stephen Richards says:

    KevinK says:

    September 5, 2014 at 12:26 am

    The problem for all climate scientists is their total lack of knowledge and understanding of the interaction between classical physics (Newtonian) and quantum mechanics.

    Quantum mechs is a MODEL based on probabilities (eg Heisenberg uncertainty) while Newtonian is “Physical” (Newtonian gravity, which incidently is not precise enough for spaceflight). Where the 2 interact ie radiative absorption to kinetic (heat) energy the model suggests that they do so by probabilty function. This is why it is so difficult to be precise about the so called GHE. The sun emits a spectrum of radiation from sound (can’t hear it of course) to gamma and beta and alpha (helium nuclei). The 15µ and 9µ bands of H²o and Co² absorp incoming radiation as well as out going. Someone said early that the ground reflects radiation, this is not precise in the sense that the LW radiation (15µ & 9µ) is emited from the ground as it is ‘warmed by the incident radition. It is therefore probable that almost all of this radiation passes directly through the atmosphere to space with some of it being converted to kinetic energy at the surface.

    Now, this is my understanding which I know is still not precise enough but please correct me where you see fit.

    The discussion between GERAN and Gail is just nonsense. Gail is precisely correct. Water vapour is a gas, clouds are a liquid form of that gas.

  20. Gail Combs says:

    Morgan Wright says:

    So my question is, how the green team are so sure the heating of the bottom of the ocean, which they have no clue whether it’s even happening, can explain why global warming stopped around 1998?

    Wrong question.

    The correct question is:
    Why did the green team choose to stash the M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action heat at the bottom of the ocean?

    So the skeptics had no hope of finding it!

    All joking aside, I think that is the actual reason. With skeptic packs shredding any and all myths that the Green Team floats, they had to find something that would be very hard to disprove. (Remember they flipped the scientific method ass over tea kettle until any idiotic conjecture they float is gospel and skeptics have to DISPROVE the conjecture.)

  21. Steven Goddard wrote “Conservation of energy tells us that any LW radiation which gets absorbed by CO2, remains in the atmosphere FOR A WHILE and keeps the atmosphere’s energy level up – which is reflected in higher temperatures.”

    That’s how the greenhouse effect works. “For a while” is the critical point. The length of time it takes for the heat to get back out determines the greenhouse effect. It’s like disease and epidemiology………..incidence and prevalence. Prevalence is determined by incidence and how long the disease lasts. For a given incidence, the prevalence goes up when the disease lasts longer.

  22. Gail Combs says:

    Robertv says:
    So CO2 didn’t make temperature go up at the end of the last ice age….
    CO2 LAGS temperature by 800 years ( ~one over turning of the oceans) As the oceans warm they out gas CO2. CO2 is just along for the ride.

    Loutre and Berger (2003) forms the backbone of predictions of the future of the present interglacial over at Wikipedia. The Loutre and Berger (2003) paper was based on a model run (SURPRISE!).

    Observational data killed the Loutre and Berger model just 2 years later. Lisieki and Raymo (Oceanography, 2005) was an exhaustive look at 57 globally distributed deep Ocean Drilling Project (and other) cores.

    The other spanner in the works for the IPCC and Wiki’s super duper article adjusting editor, W. Connelly, is the Dansgaard-Oeschger events during glaciation where you get abrupt warming. Between this interglacial and the last one back, the Eemian, the Greenland ice cores show 24 Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations. (see next comment)

    Dr Robert Brown (physicist Duke Univ) made a comment about climate, chaos and bistable/multi-stable strange attractors.

    This paper actually looks at Dansgaard-Oeschger events, bistable climate and tipping points.

    Dansgaard-Oeschger events:
    tipping points in the climate system
    ( 2012

    The largest variability in temperature over the last sixty thousand years is connected with Dansgaard-Oeschger events. Various prototype models have been proposed to explain these rapid climate fluctuations, but until now no observational constraint has been forwarded to choose between different theories. We assess the bimodality of the system reconstructing the topology of the multidimensional attractor over which the climate system evolves. Furthermore, we show that Dansgaard-Oeschger events are compatible with the crossing of a tipping point in the climate system. We use high-resolution ice core isotope data to investigate the statistical properties of the climate fluctuations in the period before the onset of the abrupt change. We find that the statistics are consistent with the switches between two different climate equilibrium states in response to a changing external forcing.

    In the first part of the paper, we discuss the bimodality of the time series. In particular, we establish that bimodality is a robust feature of the climate system that produced it, and not an artifact of the projection of complex dynamics onto a scalar quantity.

    Despite limitations of the available data, we find that the statistics are most compatible with a system that switches between two differentclimate equilibrium states in response to a changing external forcing. …


    In this work, we performed two sets of analysis on a well-known paleoclimatic record, the δ 18 O isotope data from the NGRIP ice core (North Greenland Ice Core Project members, 2004; Svensson et al., 2008), believed to be representative of temperature over the North Atlantic sector. We assessed bimodality of the system using a phase-space embedding technique

    we analysed the statistical properties of the fluctuations in the paleoclimatic time series, before the onset of DOs. In particular, we focused on the average properties of the events considered as an ensemble instead of each separately. Despite the high level of noise in the data, we were able to conclude that EWSs are present, consistently with the hypothesis that DOs result from a repeated crossing of a tipping point in the climate system. … A disclaimer has to be made: our conclusions hold for the ensemble of the events,
    and are a probabilistic statement: we can only claim that a scenario that does not include a tipping point with EWS [a gradual increase in variance that makes up an early
    warning signal]
    is unlikely….

    A connection with thermohaline circulation instability remains in the domain of speculation, but is a plausible hypothesis considering the large evidence linking DOs signals to rapid changes in the meridional overturning circulation. Further investigation is needed to confirm this hypothesis and, more importantly, to address the fundamental question that remains open: if DOs are due to an external forcing, what is the nature of this forcing?

  23. Gail Combs says:

    If you look you can see the Dansgaard-Oeschger events reach near interglacial temperatures.

  24. Gail Combs says:

    If the climate is chaotic with two strange attractors, cold and warm. What information do we have about WHEN we are in the Holocene?

    This is not an idle question and should be the central “Climate Change” question because the Holocene interglacial is now 11,717 years old. That’s two centuries or so beyond half the present precession cycle (or 23,000/2=11,500). Only one interglacial , MIS-11, since the Mid-Pleistocene Transition has lasted longer than about half a precession cycle.

    NOAAs calculations show how close to the Solar Insolation** during the depths of the Wisconsin Ice Age the earth now is:

    NOW (modern Warm Period) 476 Wm-2
    Depth of the last ice age – around 463 Wm−2 (13 Wm-2)
    Holocene peak insolation: 522.5 Wm-2 (46.5 Wm-2)

    A fall 2012 paper Can we predict the duration of an interglacial? gives the calculated solar insolation values of several glacial inceptions:
    Current value – insolation = 479W m−2 (from that paper)

    MIS 7e – insolation = 463 W m−2,
    MIS 11c – insolation = 466 W m−2,
    MIS 13a – insolation = 500 W m−2,
    MIS 15a – insolation = 480 W m−2,
    MIS 17 – insolation = 477 W m−2

    ** (June 21 insolation minimum at 65N)

    So no matter who you use as a reference, the earth is in the ball park Solar Insolation for glacial inception. Any hope that the Holocene would go long was shot down by Lisiecki and Raymo in 2005 in their rebuttal of Loutre and Berger, 2003. link

    Since then no one in Quaternary Science has rebutted Lisiecki and Raymo. Not a fact to give one warm fussy feelings.

    Other papers suggest the Atlantic Ocean and thermohaline circulation instability are connected to the ‘tipping point’ into glaciation. This is why I have a keen interest in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the ozone/ wind connection that drives it. (Think of the changes in EUV and UV that NASA is just now finding in the ‘constant solar insolation’)

    For those who want to dig deep into the subject of glacial inception here is a starting point but be aware you are looking at hours of reading – mostly direct quotes from the literature.

    The science is decidedly NOT settled and CO2/Greenhouse gases are just red herrings.

    • Robertv says:

      Exactly. Climate is just one of the many ways they use to take our rights away. CO2 was the perfect tool because modern middle class society depends on it. Make CO2 a pollutant and you break the middle class. It is all about bringing us back into serfdom.

      This is serfdom

      • Gail Combs says:

        We were given the formula just after the UN’s First Earth Summit in 1972

        Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world. – Henry Kissinger, 1973.

        You will note that my comments are about these three basic necessities that are targeted for control and the people/entities doing the targeting.

  25. KevinK says:

    Curt wrote:

    “Kevin: Watts are units of power, not velocity. Your analysis went wrong before it even started. (Hint: It has nothing to do with any velocity, even the speed of light.)”

    Thanks for explaining fundamental units for me, I believe I mastered those many decades ago.


    I suggest you study up a bit about optical delay lines and multilayer optical interference filters before you go giving out “hints” to others.

    As I understand it you supervise folks that design electronics and use light bulbs as “low cost” resistors. I design Optical Systems including counting photons produced by a focal plane arrays from incoming radiation. I used to design electronics but frankly it became “boring”.

    I suggest you study “Born and Wolf” “Principles of Optics” before you start “expanding” your knowledge of electrical circuits to optics (aka radiation physics). I had the privileged of studying under Dr. Wolf at the University of Rochester several decades ago,

    You clearly have no understanding of how optical radiation flows through a system and you should just stop before you make a larger fool of yourself.

    Cheers, Kevin.

    • Gail Combs says:

      Kevin, Did you know Dr. Healy, Dean of Engineering @ Rochester Univ. died of brain cancer ~1970ish. He was a neighbor when I was a kid.

      • KevinK says:

        Gail, that was before my time at the University of Rochester, I did not have the pleasure of meeting Dr. Healy.

        Cheers, Kevin.

    • Curt says:

      Kevin, I too have worked in optics. All of what you say is completely irrelevant to the analysis of heat transfer.

      • Gail Combs says:

        You are incorrect TIME is very much the issue. How warm a spinning sphere with an atmosphere stays is dependent on how fast the incoming energy is returned to space vs how fast the sphere spins.

        The earth, thanks to and atmosphere and the latent heat of evaporation of water, has mild day night swings in temperature. The moon does not. Venus because of its very deep atmosphere is very warm while Mars with a very thin atmosphere is cool comparatively speaking.

        • Chris Barron says:

          @Gail “How warm a spinning sphere with an atmosphere stays is dependent on how fast the incoming energy is returned to space vs how fast the sphere spins.”

          Would you please explain the significance of the rotational velocity in that assertion. Sorry but it isn’t something I was aware of before

        • Curt says:

          Gail: Your argument has absolutely nothing to do with what KevinK and I are discussing. I’m beginning to doubt that it’s possible to have a coherent discussion here. Kevin says that the greenhouse effect, the ultimate heat transfer problem, with absorption and re-emission, should be treated as a reflective optical instrumentation problem. I disagree with him on this issue, and you say I’m wrong because of the thermal capacitance of the atmosphere…

  26. Chris Barron says:

    Oooh, designer wars ! Surely design is a doddle – set your aim, apply the extant laws to discover the size, position characteristic requirements of the elements necessary to complete the design and then get someone with more practical skill than yourself to make them.

    Whether it be kitchen design, nuclear reactor design, optical design, the methodology is crushingly simple and well understood.

    The clever folk are actually the ones who discover the laws the designers abide by.

  27. mellyrn says:

    If the greenhouse effect were real, Venus should be awfully hot, having 96% CO2 for atmosphere. It’s actually only awfully hot at the bottom of its (very thick, very dense at the bottom) atmosphere. But according to our Magellan probes, Venus, at the altitude where atmospheric pressure is equal to Earth at sea level, is only just as much hotter as straight-up Stefan-Boltzman predicts simply from being closer to the sun. Albedo? Then it’s a magic albedo that perfectly (and only just) offsets 96% CO2 “greenhouse” effect — and also a magic albedo that works more strongly higher in the atmosphere, where its effect “should” be less (higher altitudes are slightly cooler than straight-up S-B predicts).

    Here on Earth, recently increasing CO2 has not led to increasing temperatures.

    Here on Earth, 460 million years ago, CO2 was 4400 ppm — eleven times higher than today — and Earth was far, far colder, deep in an ice age. 95 million years ago, CO2 was one-fourth that of 460 mya, 1000 ppm, and Earth was — well, Earth was as hot as it usually (~80% of the last 4 billion years) has been, too warm for polar ice caps or indeed permanent, year-round ice anywhere on the planet. Yes, Earth-normal is much, much warmer than we children of the ice age are used to.

    I see zero correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global or local temperature. Correlation may not equal causation, but absence of correlation very much equals absence of causation.

    Maybe water-vapor clouds just slow down convective losses, the way my woollen blanket does, the way the hairs on my head and arms do. I see no “greenhouse effect” — in a gas? that is free to move and rise and carry its heat elsewhere? Certainly isn’t apparent on Venus, the “runaway greenhouse effect” poster child.

    Cite me all the weird & wonderful feedback loops and complex factors you like, but nowhere in the solar system, current or past, do I observe any sign of greenhousery.

  28. Chris Barron says:

    I have a question, a dumbass newbie type of question you could call it – how is the CO2 record produced with regards to the period of time before, say 50,000 years ago ? Is my understanding correct that, by and large, ice core samples are used.

    I have heard it said often that there have been periods in time when the polar ice melted completed. in this case where no ice formed, what proxy is used for the CO2 level at that time.

    I should probably say that I am firmly a “climate change = normality” guy, but I have wondered about any time when the polar ice melted completely and did not reform for long periods, that there would be a chronological jump in the historical record which is not reflected on the x-axis of any graph we currently see representing data from ice core samples.

    Could a 15000 year period of ‘no ice’ easily hide in the existing data (causing confusion about the duration of cyclic events in particular) because ‘no ice= no recorded value’ ?

    I’m doubtful that such a large period could hide without some indication being present on either side of the melting/freezing, but thought I could do with being humoured, if required, for asking about this !

  29. Andyj says:

    Here’s a thought.
    Ok, so, CO2 absorbs in the temperatures bands od 13C right down to around -50C. It catches the re-radiated Earth glow in the infra red and warms the air via latency.

    So, half the time its dark. Guess the band CO2 re-radiates.

    • Gail Combs says:

      conduction warms the air above a warm surface. sometimes you can even see the conduction/convection coming off a really warm surface. However air is a poor conductor. This is why we use double glazed and triple glazed windows in modern house and before that why Dad put up ‘Storm windows’ every fall.

      All CO2 is doing is making air a better conductor near the surface. See my Comment above.

  30. Gail Combs says:

    Chris Barron says:

    @Gail “How warm a spinning sphere with an atmosphere stays is dependent on how fast the incoming energy is returned to space vs how fast the sphere spins.”
    Just an observation.

    The hottest part of the day is about an hour or two after the sun reaches the highest/hottest point in the sky. The coolest part of the day is about an hour or two AFTER dawn. The hottest part of the summer is not at the summer solstice ( June 21) but a few weeks after.

    The most important clue is the poles where the day and the night are half a year long. The solar insolation at the poles (especially the south pole) is higher than at the equator.

    See this graph of Solar Insolation Versus Latitude from link

    These observations mean TIME is a major factor in the temperature. There are of course many other factors but TIME is always a factor conspicuous in its absence in the babblings of warmists.

    • Chris Barron says:

      You threw me with ‘spinning sphere with an atmosphere’. Obviously you meant ‘planet earth’.

      Dumb questions I have plenty of. Sorry !

      • Gail Combs says:

        No question is dumb. Only silence when confused is dumb.

        I am well aware that people sometimes have problems following what I am trying to say so I am always willing to clarify if needed.

    • Jason Calley says:

      Here is another reason why time is a factor on planetary surface temperatures. (And as always, if I screw this up, someone please correct me!) Consider two planets, OTHERWISE IDENTICAL (sorry for shouting, but that is important), both in orbit at identical distances from identical suns, but one (we will call it “Fast Planet”, FP) with a rotational period of 10 hours, the other (“Slow Planet, SP) with a period of 30 hours. Obviously SP will have a greater difference in temperatures between its lit and dark sides. Its hot side will be hotter and its cold side will be colder than those of FP. Will they have the same average temperatures? In other words if SP has temps of 30 degrees C (hot side) and 10 degrees (cold side) for an average of 20 degrees globally, will FP have the same average of 10 degrees C? No. Actually, FP will not only have a smaller temperature range between day and night, its overall average will be slightly higher than that of SP. Why? Because both planets (at equilibrium) receive the same amount of radiation, they both must radiate the same total energy out to space. The Stefan-Boltzmann law scales radiation out as a fourth power of temperature, so the hotter side of SP radiates so much more efficiently (even with a small temperature rise) that it more than counteracts for the lower radiation of the cooler nighttime side.

      So, time — especially rotational time — does more than just change the distribution of temperatures; it actually changes global averages. Similarly, a planet with a higher range of temperatures, cools by radiation more effectively than another planet with more homogenous temperatures, even if they have the same global average.

      (Which is one more reason why the concept of “global average temperature” is a very weak foundation for climatologists to build their theories on.)

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