One More Attempt To End This Madness

If you put on a heavy coat, and go out for a run, the coat makes you warm faster.

If you come back from the run, and do not remove your coat, the coat makes you cool slower. The distinction between warming and cooling is meaningless with respect to the insulating properties of the coat.  The coat makes you warmer than you would be without the coat. The direction of warming or cooling is controlled by the heat source, not by the fixed insulator.

The ugly anti-greenhouse gas argument which keeps popping its head up here is so stupid, it had to have been a plant from alarmists designed to make skeptics look stupid.

Anyone who attempts to bring that argument up again after this thread, will be spammed. It is making it impossible to have any serious scientific discussion.

About stevengoddard

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115 Responses to One More Attempt To End This Madness

  1. philjourdan says:

    This problem you are having is actually a symptom of a good thing. More and more are becoming skeptical, yet fewer and fewer places allow skeptics of any stripe to comment. So they seek out places that do.

    It is a sign that the alarmists are losing. No one (other than liberals) like to kick a dog when he is down.

  2. A Fine Man says:

    I think the people in this discussion can all detect that there is something wrong with the inital assumptions. They are correct. The “blanket” or “coat” you speak of in your analogy would perform exactly as you describe on a living body with no convection flow of energy 1000’s of times greater than the heat generated. Or with no huge cunductive heating between bulk fluids and matter. Or the actual green house effect of water absorbing bulk heat dominating the exchange. The miniscule amount of heat is transformed into latent heat and many other real world variables that even the laymen sense that a coat or blanket analogy is somehow counterintuitive.

  3. Password protected says:

    So the question becomes, what is the quantity of greenhouse effect provided by 4/1000000 vs 3/1000000 CO2.
    Significant or insignificant?

  4. A Fine Man says:

    Its not that what you say may not be true but on what level does it effect the overall temperature? Is the molecular radiative effect great enough to over come the dominant conductive, convective and true water greenhouse effect that intuitively appears to regulate the temperature. I think the confusion is od a true fact and its actualeffect on the temperature. I think you two are discusssing two separate issues. Yes, CO2 causses less heat to leave the atmosphere when present. one topic. Does the radiative effect of CO2 overcome the conductive, covective abd green house effects of the bulk fluids of the world… like oceans and winds and all types of absorptions between stuff?

  5. Edward. says:

    Arguing the toss over CO2 and its GHG properties – is hardly the bloody point – it is?

    The argument is about, if mankind’s additional input, the man made emissions of CO2 are causing somehow any sort of significant alteration, even an upward tick in world atmospheric temperatures.
    Realists aver that, set against the background noise of natural warming = mankind’s effects are so insignificant as to be undetectable. Further, why are western nations wasting £$€trillions on palliatives…………………in an attempt to prevent a chimera? Evidently, we’ve [western taxpayers] been sold a pup.

    That’s the f***ing problem.

    • A Fine Man says:

      Except for the last point I agree. All this discussion comes down to a simple point can the CO2 effect override all the other stuff. The facts and information in the last 20 years say NO. Why are we debating it? its gets lost in the natural variability or noise as you put it.

  6. NancyG says:

    Hmm, looks like I missed something interesting. I have to go back through articles and posts, I hope it hasn’t been deleted. I’ve been gone so long it’ll be days of playing catch up. I wonder if Buffalo is liking their global warming these days.

  7. Steven, I can see you are becoming frustrated, but you really are not making much sense. I have looked back through the comments trying to find anyone who is obviously “anti-” but whilst people have clearly emphasised different ways of putting the theory, there’s no one who is completely wrong.

    Could you please identify what it is that has been said which you disagree with so I can see what you are arguing against.

    • I am making perfect sense.

      People are claiming that the greenhouse effect can’t be real, because a cooler object can’t heat a warmer object.

      The argument is based on a complete failure to understand what insulators do, and how they work.

      • The analogy here is a stream with a weir. One group is saying the weir is “raising the level of the water”. The other is saying “the weir can’t raise the water – it’s the water coming in that makes the height higher”.

        If that’s the basis of the argument, then it really is a “glass half full/half empty” … or the other “do vacuums such or does air pressure blow”.

        There’s another group who argue on “adiabatic lapse rates”. It took me several years to finally work out that this wasn’t incompatible with standard physics, but the way the Greenhouse theory is stated appears to make it incompatible.

        However, my biggest bug-bear with the greenhouse theory as stated, is that as soon as you start talking about radiation, it presupposes a static atmosphere with no heat flux from convection, therefore no clouds therefore … the IPCC are able to con people that clouds don’t matter.

        Yes a static atmosphere simplifies to the system you are describing … but a real atmosphere is not static and has clouds and heat flows and under such conditions the “greenhouse gas” theory isn’t very helpful and you need a more sophisticated model.

        But even if you use the static model and the “greenhouse” theory … the simple fact is that the IPCC are refusing to accept that the latest and presumably best estimate of that “greenhouse” warming effect of CO2. Instead, as far as I can see (and they clearly try to hide it so no one really knows what they are doing) … but as far as I can see, they continue to use the 1998 HITRAN database to calculate the direct radiative warming of CO2, when any reasonable person would now be using the 2007 (?) database which Hermann Harde used, which reduces the estimated warming of CO2 by 30%.

      • Gail Combs says:

        Lets try this another way.

        20 packets of energy hits the surface of the earth from the sun.
        The earth emits 5 packets of equivalent energy.
        The GHGs bounce back to earth 2 packets of equivalent energy and three packets head for space. (This neglects the intermediate energy that is transmitted to the general atmosphere via collision since that energy eventually heads for space or back to earth.)

        At that point the earth has 17 packets of energy and 3 packets have escaped to space. (This equals the original 20 packets of energy from the sun.)

        Without the GHGs the earth would only have 15 packets of energy and 5 packets have escaped to space.

        Therefore in the presence of GHGs the earth is warmer than it would have been without the presence of GHGs.

        • Sparks says:

          So the GHGs would be how many packets with out the earth?

        • Gail Combs says:

          Sparks says:
          “So the GHGs would be how many packets with out the earth?”

          The temperature in space is generally considered to be 2.725 Kelvin.
          Emissivity of water = .67
          The two sides of the water molecule triangle are 95.84 pm The third side of the water molecule triangle is 151.533 pm so the area is 4447 pm, or 4.45 X 10^-21 sq meters.

          You can go to Energy of Photon plug the number in and it gives you an energy of 9.7388378808205E-29 kW

          Of course the number is a crock, but ask a stupid question…..

      • says:

        I’m not saying that c02 isn’t a green house gas but when you use analogies like a coat as an insulator well that coat has substance its almost a solid the coat is your atmosphere when you wear it and its one million parts per million of coat not four hundred parts per million of coat as then it wouldn’t really be a coat then it would be air.

      • Sparks says:

        I would think that most people would argue about that analogy as it is worded “a cooler object can heat a warmer object” any skeptic I know will argue and debate over the details, it’s like the old alarmist “carbon dioxide layer” causing a “run a way green house effect” from years ago..
        The devil is in the details.

        And besides, A cool object under certain conditions will cool a warm object. insulators keep warm objects warm and cold objects cool and can also cool warm objects. the missing factor is time and energy source.. so no, cold objects do not heat warm objects, cool objects don’t warm themselves as objects.
        Shoot me down for being synoptical if you like but I am correct.

      • Anne Ominous says:

        No, Steve, it’s not.

        Don’t get me wrong… I am NOT saying there is no such thing as a greenhouse effect. But the “back-radiation” greenhouse idea has absolutely NOTHING to do with insulators.

        Insulators are largely IRRELEVANT to radiative heat transfer. Getting the two confused is the worst mistake you could make.

        Spencer’s challenge — in which he claimed a passive plate would cause a heat SOURCE to get warmer — was thoroughly debunked by Latour, and he did it soundly, if not very understandably to the layman. The attempts by both Anthony Watts, and by Spencer himself, to prove Latour wrong were badly bungled.

        Now… let’s keep this straight: Spencer’s puzzle does not translate directly to a greenhouse effect. He made some invalid assumptions, among other things about the role played by the refrigerated chamber wall in his experiment. He intended that to represent the “cold” of space, but… well, let’s not get into the minute details.

        Here is the thing: in a place where the ONLY heat transfer is via radiation — there is no conduction, convection, or reflection — and there is only ONE heat source, all other surfaces are cooler — then those surfaces do NOT warm the heat source even further. To do so would be a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics… it would involve heat energy spontaneously transferring from colder to hotter.

        Now, the important thing to remember here is that Spencer’s experiment was in a VACUUM, while we, of course, are not. But Spencer failed to realize that changes the physics rather dramatically.

        When you are in an air-filled room, and all the matter around you is in contact with you, you experience an “ambient” temperature. Increase that ambient temperature, and it warms you… of course. But you are being warmed by CONDUCTION and CONVECTION, by all the matter surrounding you which are being kept at that ambient temperature. In other words, the energy input to you does not have to get there by radiation.

        RADIATIVELY, you are gaining no energy from a 70-degree room, because you are hotter than it is, and all the radiative energy is going from hotter to colder (as the Second Law demands). BUT — and here is where most people get it wrong — if you turn up the furnace, if your body temperature remains constant you may feel warmer but you are STILL losing just as much energy from radiation to your surroundings. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is the temperature of the physical matter surrounding you, and the conductive and convective heat input.

        This is the problem of trying to associate our experience with radiative heat transfer. It is very much counterintuitive.

        Keep turning up the heat, and you will continue to radiate the SAME amount of energy to your surroundings… contrary to subjective experience, it does not change! You are losing less heat via conduction and convection, but you are still radiating exactly the same. Your radiative temperature depends only on your own temperature, and nothing else… as long as you are the hottest thing in the room. It makes no difference whether you are hotter than the walls by 1 degree or 50.

        At the point the room temperature reaches the same as your body, and not before, does the room radiation actually start to affect your own temperature. Otherwise, as before: it would be a violation of thermodynamics. Radiative energy does NOT spontaneously transfer from cold to hot.

        It is not a gradual thing. And that’s what stumps people. Because what you feel with your skin is not heat per se, it is relative heat LOSS (or gain).

        In a room filled with air, we gain energy from the MATTER around us via conduction and convection. But it is a huge mistake to conflate those with radiation in any way. Radiation just plain does not work that way.

        Spencer was wrong. Any textbook on heat transfer (I have at least 4 of them) will tell you so.

        • Baa Humbug says:

          Here is the thing: in a place where the ONLY heat transfer is via radiation — there is no conduction, convection, or reflection — and there is only ONE heat source, all other surfaces are cooler…

          This is a 100% correct statement which can be intuitively confirmed even by the least smart man in the room.

          The passive body absorbs radiation from the source across only HALF its surface area, but emits from the FULL surface area meaning THE PASSIVE OBJECT WILL NEVER EVER REACH THE TEMPERATURE OF THE SOURCE..PERIOD.

      • Anne Ominous says:

        To elaborate just a bit more: this is where Spencer got it wrong. He neglected to account for the fact that the ONLY heat transfer in his experiment was by radiation. If we assume you are a gray body (not wholly unreasonable for a thought experiment), a corollary of the Stefan-Boltzmann law says that YOUR radiative power output depends only on your temperature and emissivity. In fact it is equal to sigma * e * (T^4), where sigma is the Stefan-Boltmann constant, e is your emissivity, and T is your temperature in Kelvin. Note that this is radiative power output, not radiative TRANSFER. This equation relates only to your body and its temperature. Things outside your body are irrelevant.

        When the room is much colder than you, the heat radiative heat TRANSFER from you to the walls is greater, because of the temperature differential. But that doesn’t affect your radiative OUTPUT. As long as you stay at the same temperature, that output remains the same. That’s another thing that many people get wrong.

        When the room warms, the TRANSFER from you to the walls is less, but your own total radiative output is still the same. This is because the walls are gaining energy, not because you are putting out less. It is the differential that matters there (and which you feel).

        Only when the room is warmer than you, and the INPUT to you is greater than the output, then your temperature rises, which means your radiative output rises. But it is important to note that it takes an INPUT of energy that is greater than your output to accomplish this. Again, that Stefan-Boltzmann relation: your radiative output is related only to your temperature if emissivity doesn’t also change. In this case of course thermal “input” includes your metabolism, which generates thermal energy, plus your surroundings.

        In Spencer’s experiment, in vacuum, there is nothing there warmer than the source. The walls are actively cooled. The passive plate is just that… passive. At all times the heat source is the hottest thing in its environment. You can prove this two ways: you can prove that no net radiative energy transfers to the warmer body from the colder bodies. That one is almost a tautology because the Second Law of thermodynamics says that’s the way it must work.

        The other way is to show that since your ONLY energy input is the heat source, and that energy is fixed (Spencer’s stipulation), and since the Second Law says that the heat source cannot absorb any net RADIATIVE energy from the colder bodies (in vacuum, remember, so the only energy transfer is radiation), then the radiative energy output of the heat source can be calculated knowing nothing more than its emissivity, its radiating area, and the total energy input, which was the electricity used to heat it. And since Spencer stipulated the energy input to the heat source is constant, then the radiated energy is constant, and thus so is the temperature. It is therefore proved that the temperature of the heat source remains constant in the presence of the passive plate.

        I could do the math for you, but it would take a while and use up lots of space. I promise you, a heat transfer textbook really will tell you the same thing. Along with the math.

        • Baa Humbug says:

          your radiative output is related only to your temperature if emissivity doesn’t also change.

          This is where you lost the argument of this thread which is about insulation. But you did well across your comments so I commend you.

          The passive object never reaches the temperature of the source object (assuming black body) because it emits across twice the area it absorbs.
          If you were to place around the passive object an insulator which interacts with the outgoing radiation of the object, then you have EFFECTIVELY CHANGED ITS EMISSIVITY. e.g.

          Source radiates 300W, emissivity =1 therefore is 270K
          Passive radiates 150W, emissivity = 1 therefore is 227K (called equilibrium temperature)

          Now insulate the passive object so that its emissivity is now 0.5
          Passive radiates 150W, emissivity = 0.5 therefore is 270K eq.
          We’ve just increased the temperature of the passive object by changing its emissivity.

          Where the GH theory falls over is that the Earth atmosphere system is treated as a black body and its emissivity doesn’t change regardless of how much GHGs there are in the atmosphere if any.
          If emissivity doesn’t change, the temperature CANNOT change so long as the power source is constant which in Earths case it is for all intents and purposes of this discussion.
          Bare rock Earth theoretically would emit at 255K.
          Earth with atmosphere STILL EMITS AT 255K
          Therefore we have NOT changed its emissivity by “insulating” it radiatively with an atmosphere.

          AGW and GHG theory proponents claim that because the Earth is now radiating from an altitude, the ‘natural’ lapse rate dictates what the (bare rock) surface temperature will be. And it will be warmer by some 33K in Earths case.
          If the radiation altitude changes, surface temperature will change accordingly.

          I’m sceptical about the greenhouse lapse rate theory for a number of reasons. That means I have further enquiries, but AGW proponents and Steve Goddard – the owner of this blog – do not have further enquiries. Their science is settled. THAT’S OK BY ME.

          And it’s perfectly OK by me if the blog owner doesn’t want to spend more time on this subject (how can it be otherwise?)


          That also means we’re free to choose the resolution (fine/coarse) of our knowledge.

      • Anne Ominous says:

        So… pardon the multiple posts, but they were long.

        The thing is that the “back radiation” concept of AGW has to do with radiative heat transfer, not insulators. Insulators inhibit conduction and convection, not the “back radiation” of AGW. It also doesn’t have to do with reflectors. It deals with the absorption and re-emission of longer-wave radiation. That is a VERY different animal, and works in a completely different way. We know clouds, for example, may insulate to a degree but more importantly reflect. Granted. But neither of those represent the back-radiation of AGW.

        The reason back-radiation is not capable of warming the surface is precisely because it is longer-wave radiation and so represents a thermodynamically cooler radiative temperature than the surface. You don’t want to go around violating the Second Law.

        BUT, having said that: I don’t deny that there may be a greenhouse effect, or even that it might play a (minor) role in climate. What I *AM* saying, is that if there is one, it doesn’t work the way the people behind the greenhouse warming models claim it does.

        • Gail Combs says:

          This is an interesting supplement to what you have said
          Temperature Dependence of the Earth’s Outgoing Energy

          It is one of the things the CAGW fanatics neglect to tell the public.

        • DEEBEE says:

          So Anne just shut up

        • Anne Ominous says:

          @ Baa Humbug: the purpose of my comments was to point out why comparing greenhouse gases to insulators causes confusion, and rather works in favor of the alarmists.

          The “back-radiation” model of greenhouse warming — which is what most CO2 warming models are based on — does not involve insulation. It is a radiative argument only.

          Quote: “The passive object never reaches the temperature of the source object (assuming black body) because it emits across twice the area it absorbs.”

          Well, yes, but that’s overly simplistic. The passive object as a WHOLE never reaches the temperature of the source object because thermodynamics says it can’t radiate more power than its input. In a vacuum, with no heat transfer via conduction, even if it were wrapped completely around the heat source (with a gap between; no conduction), AND radiating ALL of its power outward, it would still be cooler on the outside than the heat source simply due to greater area, while the heat source itself remains no warmer than before.

          In Spencer’s experiment the plate was assumed to be metal or some other good heat conductor. But that is also true of an insulator. Not just the system as a whole but also the heat source by itself cannot radiate more power than is input. IT doesn’t change. Only the wrapper does.

          The point of the Spencer experiment though is that even if the emissivity of your winter coat is different from your emissivity, that still doesn’t change YOU. That is one of the errors Spencer and Watts made in trying to debunk Latour. The outside of the surrounding material is NOT the heat source. The heat source is still inside it, the radiative output of the heat source still hasn’t changed, and the heat source is still not absorbing any net radiative power from its surroundings. Your wrapper may have warmed but — the central point I was making — the heat source has not, and will not, get hotter, as long as it remains warmer than the surroundings. And it must remain that way, due to conservation of energy.

          So your point about insulators is taken, but please understand that I was pointing out the DIFFERENCE between the “back radiation” models, and insulation.

          If the emissivity of your wrapper changes, your wrapper could get warmer, lowering temperature differential which in turn can slow heat loss via conduction and convection. That’s one of the ways reality — in an atmosphere — differs from Spencer’s experiment. But Spencer was trying to show that the heat source “retains” more heat via radiative transfer alone… which is nonsense.

          In reality we aren’t discussing gray bodies, so your wrapper getting warmer than before will only occur if its emissivity is different IN RELATION to its absorptivity, as they are not necessarily equal for a given radiation band.

          In any event: Spencer was wrong about his challenge. In that case, which involved only radiation, the heat source never gets warmer than its initial temperature. That’s why conflating the “back radiation” CO2 warming model with insulators only serves to confuse the issue in the minds of the general populace. Spencer’s thought experiment is in fact a classic lesson in how people — some of them even physicists — have often gotten this wrong. I wasn’t aiming my comments at people who already have them confused. I was trying to point out that it confuses other people, and why.

        • Curt says:

          Anne: For all of your longwindedness, you miss some very basic points at the beginning. You are not able to do some very basic energy balance calculations, especially when there is a separate power source for a body (metabolic in the case of the human body, solar in the case of the earth).

          People die every day of hyperthermia (elevated body temperature, aka heat stroke) in ambient temperatures below standard body temperatures. But when these temperatures get closer to body temperature, the (net) losses to ambient are reduced.

          If these power losses to ambient are less than the metabolic power input (which cannot go below a certain minimum), the internal energy, and therefore the temperature of the body increases. (This is the very basic energy balance calculation.) If this continues for too long, body temperature increases to the point where the person dies. And through the entire process, ambient temperature can be less than body temperature, and the net heat flow always from the warmer body to the colder ambient, in accordance with the 2nd Law.

          Similarly, the earth has an essentially constant power input from the sun. For the earth/atmosphere as a whole to balance this input, the only method it has to output power is to radiate it to space. If the atmosphere were transparent to this radiation, the earth’s surface would radiate to space, which for radiative purposes has a temperature very close to 0K, and therefore no significant “back radiation”.

          If you go through the energy balance calculations for the earth, you will find that the surface temperatures in this case must be on average well below what we see, and well below water’s freezing point.

          If you take this hypothetical planet and add some radiatively active gases, the surface is no longer radiating to the ~0K of deep space (for many wavelengths); it is radiating to substances far above absolute zero, but still colder than the surface.

          Now, whether you consider this second case a reduction in net radiative power losses from the surface, or the addition of a new gross radiative power input (“back radiation”), the effect is the same. The total power losses from the earth’s surface are less than the total power input (including solar power), so by fundamental 1st Law calculations, the internal energy of the earth must increase. This increase will continue until the temperature increases enough that the total losses to space equal the power input from the sun.

          And through this whole process, the net heat flow from surface to atmosphere is always from the warmer surface to the cooler atmosphere, in accordance with the 2nd Law.

          So yes, the presence of a cooler body near a separately powered warmer body can lead to a higher temperature of the warmer body – when it substitutes for the presence of an even colder body.

      • bwdave says:

        A warmer “cooler object” can make the “warmer object” cool less, but the ‘warmer “cooler object” can’t heat anything warmer than itself.

    • jae43 says:

      “Anyone who attempts to bring that argument up again after this thread, will be spammed. ”

      And you say you believe in SCIENCE?????

      Just like the LA Times–don’t allow any debate.

      • There is plenty of debate here. Assholes who come here and insult me over their hare-brained ideas – are spam.

        • Truthseeker says:

          Yes, debate is allowed as long as the other person agrees with you.

          Anyone else gets insulted before they are eventually banned.

          Debate occurs when allow those that disagree with you an equal chance to state their case.

          Free speech starts with allowing people to say what you disagree with. Anything else is an echo chamber.

        • People who don’t know the alphabet should be sent back to the first grade. There is no point debating somebody who says “There are no letters, and even if there are, they don’t really form words.”

  8. davidswuk says:

    Tis the nature of the insulator dear Steven – the glass of a greenhouse is neither a coat nor a blanket as are neither the GHG`s you cite of course.
    I do not believe there to be any significant skeptic disagreement with this view.
    Where difference does arise however is in the “what then comes next” debate about whether back-radiated LWIR then gets reflected back-down into a REAL greenhouse and then back up and down again near ad infinitum to turn it into a veritable Pandora`s Box as it must do if ever it were that the Warmist (Trenberth Cartoon) showing such a breach of the Gas Laws by way of cold flowing to warmer places could possibly occur.

    • I’m not interested in having this straw man discussion again.

      • davidswuk says:

        You`re so hot tonight Steve you must be working under a cloud (of bullshit)

        • Go Canucks!! says:

          My what an obnoxious fellow you are, David. It’s also too bad you do not understand “Trenberth’s Cartoon” as your statements are totally false. The energy budget shows a loss of surface energy of approx. 60 wm2. No up or down ad infinitum, no laws being broken. Net energy radiates into the atmosphere or space.

        • Gail Combs says:

          Go Canucks!!
          You might want to read what a chem engineer has to say about the problems with “Trenberth’s Cartoon”

          The Earth’s Energy Balance: Simple Overview
          My Presentation to The Right Climate Stuff group ( The Right Climate Stuff group is largely composed of a group of NASA engineers and scientists. )

          …There were about 25 people in attendance so before my presentation started they went around and introduced themselves to the group as there were several people from outside the group attending as well. Each and every person there had a strong scientific background and lots of experience in the real world applying their education….

          …Some of the people had previously read my book and had been involved in previous discussions about the topics covered. Others did not have that exposure so the views came from many perspectives. That is exactly how science should work. There was learning on all sides throughout the entire day. The saddest part about the state of the climate science today is that such discussion is simply not allowed. Such talk is heresy to those that claim that human CO2 emissions are causing the Earth to warm and the loss is everyone’s, but theirs in particular. Different perspectives have helped clarify issues for me in the past, but outside of rare moments like this one, it is mostly a highly insular group that all have the same perspective….

          Words of wisdom from a man I highly respect.

        • Go Canucks!! says:

          Hi Gail. The link says the same thing that I did. 40 wm2 go into space and 22wm2 goes into the atmosphere. The total of the 2 equals my approximately 60 wm2.

  9. richard says:

    which is hotter by midday the tropics or the dry sahara desert. Of course we know which cools faster and which has to get to a hotter state by midday.

  10. Steven: “You want to discuss other topics, which are not the topic of this thread.”

    As I understand it you are discussing the Greenhouse theory.

    Prof Hermann Harde, who calculates the absorption of gases as part of his work and is experienced in this kind of work used the industry standard database of gas spectra and calculated the size of the “greenhouse effect” – not in some abstract way – but in the tried and tested way used by industry.

    He has shown that the latest database of gas spectra gives a figure 30% lower than the IPCC are currently using. This is because the IPCC appear to be INTENTIONALLY using out of date data.

    This has similar implications to finding that the IPCC had hidden data showing the 20th century rise was 30% smaller than it was stating.

    • No, I want to discuss the basic property of the greenhouse effect – not create a climate model in one paragraph.

      • davidswuk says:

        stevengoddard says:
        November 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm
        I’m not interested in having this straw man discussion again.

      • The greenhouse effect is not a scientific theory or even a usable approximation and it is certainly not “like Gravity” because if it were you would write the equation out and there would be no argument.

        And this is clearly shown by the way you cannot just write out a mathematical equation for the “greenhouse effect” like you could for gravity.

        All the “greenhouse theory” is, is a way of making intelligible to the public the overall behaviour of the atmosphere when certain gases are added. But the simplification is a gross distortion which uses a impossible atmosphere with no heat flows, no dynamic change and where atmospheric temperature is ignored.

        It has only one property – that it explains in a very simple way how a doubling of CO2 is calculated to lead to around 0.6C of direct warming (if you use the latest HITRAN data) or 1 to 1.2C warming (if you are the IPCC and use out of date data).

        And if you aren’t interested it’s one and only property … what is the point talking about it?

        • I’m not interested in having this discussion

        • Gail Combs says:

          Scottish Sceptic says:
          “The greenhouse effect is not a scientific theory or even a usable approximation and it is certainly not “like Gravity” because if it were you would write the equation out and there would be no argument….”

          Correct. Dr Happer just took a marker and drew a big X through the equations and he hasn’t even published the paper yet.

    • Gail Combs says:

      From your website,
      Professor Hermann Harde, found:
      “…due to the strong overlap of the CO2 and CH4 spectra with water vapour lines the influence of these gases significantly declines with increasing water vapour pressure, and that with increasing CO2-concentration well noticeable saturation effects are observed limiting substantially the impact of CO2 on global warming… corresponding to a CO2 climate sensitivity of 0.6 °C (doubling of CO2) and a solar sensitivity of 0.5 °C (0.1 % increase of the solar constant).”

      Combine that with Dr Happer’s information that backs this up from a different direction and CAGW should be dead and buried.

    • Curt says:

      SS: Harde’s work is about the differential increment of the greenhouse effect to added radiatively active gases. As such, it completely accepts the existence of the atmospheric greenhouse effect. Do you?

      • Gail Combs says:

        Curt, I am a chemist that routinely used Infrared spectrometers. It would be a bit difficult after 45 years for me to deny IR absorption exists.

        This is a comment about what I believe at the moment.

        Or rather the information from scientists I agree with.

        If other reasonable information comes in I will add it to this. All this information I ran into in the last six months BTW although the idea of photons and absorption/emission I learned back in the late 1960s.

        • Curt says:

          Gail: As with Harde, Happer’s work (on which he is collaborating with Freeman Dyson) is all about how much additional radiation absorption added CO2 will cause. Like Harde, he believes the figure used by the mainstream climate establishment is significantly too high.

          But for the purposes of the discussion here, it must be emphasized that the work of all these scientists completely accepts the existence of the atmospheric greenhouse effect.

        • Curt says:

          By the way, I was addressing Scottish Skeptic (SS) in my earlier comment, not you.

        • Gail Combs says:

          Curt, instead of “..scientists completely accepts the existence of the atmospheric greenhouse effect.” I think it would be better to say they understand radiative energy transfer and they go from there. After all if radiative energy transfer did not exist the sun could not warm the earth at all.

  11. nickreality65 says:

    “People are claiming that the greenhouse effect can’t be real, because a cooler object can’t heat a warmer object.”
    Is it the greenhouse effect itself? or the strength of GHGs in the greenhouse effect?
    Who are these people? Why do we care? What’s the cooler object they claim can not heat the warmer object? And what does that have to do w/ greenhouse effect?
    I guess I missed some of these threads so I’m asking for a summary. Thnx,

  12. richard says:

    “If you put on a heavy coat, and go out for a run, the coat makes you warm faster”

    If this is supposed to represent the earth’s atmosphere then let’s play like for like.

    The man is his own energy source, he has a skin and the potential to sweat, so far so good, as it stands now this would represent the earths atmosphere, but no you now want to add on a coat and then by having him running- up the heat.

    So like for like, if your put glass or wrap a big wool coat around the earth ten miles up or whatever distance you like then that would correspond with the man with the fur coat and I am sure the earth would get a lot hotter.

    • Your misconceptions have all been discussed on another thread. This is your last warning.

    • Curt says:

      Richard: The earth has a power source — it’s called the sun. The coat is the radiative gases in the atmosphere, and they do make the earth warmer than it would be without them

      Take a person and wrap him in enough layers of clothes, and his temperature will rise. The body’s metabolism cannot be reduced past a certain minimum needed to maintain life, and it must be able to dissipate this power to ambient to keep body temperature from rising too much.

      Prevent this heat loss to ambient and body temperature rises. If it rises enough, the person will die. At this point, all metabolic power stops, and the layers of insulation just slow the rate at which the dead body’s temperature falls to ambient temperature.

  13. davidswuk says:

    Go Canucks!! says:
    November 19, 2014 at 10:39
    Fie fie foe fum- I smell the BS of a Warmistman!

    • Go Canucks!! says:

      A childish response to a scientific statement.

      • davidswuk says:

        Oh well – simple strokes for simple folks, as they say.

        Perhaps someone will find the right words to impress the truth of the matter once it can be rammed through the Calmist never mind Alarmist ranks!

  14. Roy Spencer says:

    Steve, it warms my heart to see someone else attracting the slings and arrows. You made my day. 🙂

  15. I have a particular distaste for this one: I keep hearing that since CO2 is in the 15 micron band, which is the same peak emission as something emits which has a temperature of -200°F or some crap, its emission doesn’t matter to something warmer. Who makes this stuff up?

    Besides, temperature of a body with a peak at 15u is more like -80°C, or -112°F, not that it matters in the least to the discussion of radiation.

    I feel your pain.

    • I think the 200 you remember was probably 200 K. Not that it matters, it’s still above absolute zero

    • Curt says:

      Wait! That wasn’t a valid argument? Based on that argument, I just threw away my microwave oven.

      Since a microwave oven uses radiation with a 12 cm (120,00 um) wavelength, I calculated that it is the peak wavelength of a substance with a temperature of 0.025K (1/40 of a degree above absolute zero). These guys were telling me that this radiation could not heat anything that was above that temperature.

      And here I had been thinking it was boiling my water at 373K…

      • davidswuk says:

        Yes indeed woolly-shirt Curt – all you really need to do is re-glaze that GH of yours with glass of appropriate transparency and let the Universe do all your cooking for free!

      • mkelly says:

        Curt you need to learn how a micro wave oven works. Will your oven pass energy to the water to boil if it is unplugged or if you fail to push the start button? There is no, and here is the word that is important, “spontaneous” transfer of energy from the oven to the water. By the by there are microwave safe things that you oven will not warm period.

      • Curt says:

        davidswuk, mkelly: What Michael and I are objecting to is the ridiculous argument put forth by several posters here in recent threads that because the 15um radiation emitted by CO2 corresponds to the peak emission of a blackbody at a temperature far below that of the earth’s surface, this 15um radiation could not be absorbed by the surface.

        If that argument were true, then the 120,000um radiation emitted by the klystron tube in a microwave oven, which corresponds to the peak emission of a blackbody at 0.025K, could not possibly warm liquid water at 273 – 373K.

        H2O, as a polar molecule, has a response frequency in the microwave band that non-polar molecules do not have. Molecules like H2O and CO2, with multiple polar bonds, have response frequencies in the far infrared band that simpler molecules like N2, O2, and Ar do not have. These response frequencies allow them to absorb IR from the surface instead of permitting this IR to escape directly to space.

        • Gail Combs says:

          Looks like confusion over line spectra (gas) and the broad spectrum emitted by a black/gray body.

          Just a wild donkey guess.

        • davidswuk says:

          Hi Curt- if you pump 1kW of power into any container of around 1cuft it will get HOT(dot).
          On the other hand you flick hot fag ash on a freezing sidewalk it won`t!

  16. nielszoo says:

    Steven/Tony, you do wonderful things and I’m very grateful for your efforts in exposing the truth, but as an engineer my biggest problem with this issue is that you are sticking with the erroneous label “greenhouse gas” to describe water vapor and “greenhouse effect” to describe what it does. Your description of how water vapor increases the heat absorption and emission in the atmosphere is correct but the label is misleading. The “greenhouse gases” the Warmists whine about (CO2, CH4, O3) have almost immeasurably small emissivity values and contribute almost nothing to the heat content of the atmosphere and no radiation output at all below the stratosphere. Lumping their miniscule contribution together with the large energy fluxes of atmospheric water vapor’s heat properties, surface evaporation, plant transpiration, cloud effects, etc. under the blanket name “greenhouse effect” (pun intended) helps promote the bogus CAGW evil carbon meme IMHO. The “greenhouse effect” as named and described does not exist… especially since a greenhouse will work just fine and dandy full of a gas that has no IR excitation bands whatsoever… they work by blocking convection.

    • They call it a greenhouse effect because they both let in almost all of the sunlight and retain some of the IR. That’s all. At that point you stop looking for trivial differences between the two.

      • nielszoo says:

        An atmosphere moves energy via convection, working against gravity and eventually looses some of it (via radiation) at the edge of space where vacuum prohibits convective heat transfer. It will work just fine and dandy without “greenhouse” gases considering that 99.9% of our atmosphere is “non-greenhouse” gas (as previously stated, water vapor is NOT a gas and does not behave as one until it is above 100°C at 1 bar.) The temperature gradation and heat flows in our atmosphere are driven by gravity and gas law and its base surface air temperature, at equilibrium, is about 15°C with zero, zip, nada IR absorbing needed, just surface radiation.

        Greenhouses work (when heated with the sun) by taking mostly visible and NIR energy, absorbing it in solid material and transferring that heat to the air by conduction and then convective mixing. Very little LWIR gets through glass and it doesn’t really matter as none of the gases in our atmosphere radiate at 1 bar anyway… all of their energy transfer is via convection.

        So, a gravity and convection system vs. a closed box… you equate those things? Huge difference between atmospheric heat transfer and the closed box that is a greenhouse.

        • bwdave says:

          I agree with most of what you say, but you are incorrect about water vapor. It is definitely a gas. At 100°C, water’s saturation pressure is 1 atmosphere (1.013 bar or 14.7 psi). At temperatures less than 100°C the saturation pressure is also less, but it is possible to have gaseous water vapor in the air in an amount up to the point where its partial pressure equals its saturation pressure. This is humidity, and while only a small fraction of the atmosphere (~1% mass over all) is water vapor, it holds an enormous amount of heat. This is because, at sub-atmospheric pressures, the heat required to evaporate liquid water (this heat is released when the vapor condenses) is over 4000 times the heat required to raise an equal mass of dry air 1°C, . Also, the heat required to raise liquid water 1°C is about 4 times the heat required to raise an equal mass of dry air 1°C, and the heat required to raise water vapor 1°C is about 2 times that required to raise an equal mass of dry air 1°C.

          (My source is “Thermodynamic Properties of Steam”, Keenan and Keyes, J. Wiley & Sons, 1936. The units are °F, lbs., in., so I ‘m converting, as I write. I hope, correctly.)

          At 40°C, water has a saturation pressure of approximately 0.086 bar.. This the maximum partial pressure for vapor, at this temperature and also a volume fraction. The corresponding fraction of the weight is about 0.056. The saturation pressure and maximum partial pressure at 30°C is about 0.041 bar, at 20°C, about 0.023 bar, at 10°C, about 0.012 bar, and at 0°C, about 0.006 bar.

          In addition to these thermal effects, water’s phase change also imparts dynamic effects because the volume change during the phase transition is enormous. At 40°C, water vapor occupies a volume over nineteen-thousand times that of liquid water. At 0°C it is over two-hundred-thousand times.

    • Olaf Koenders says:

      That being the case, what new name do you propose? LW insulator perhaps?

      • Gail Combs says:

        Infrared active gases.

      • nielszoo says:

        It’s an atmosphere effect and works whether the gases involved have excitation bands in LWIR or not. The primary reason it works is that gravity holds warmed gas close to the ground.

        • Gail Combs says:

          And that shows just how much confusion the name “greenhouse effect” causes.

          I think it means photon capture and emittance of gas molecules in the atmosphere while Niels is lumping in other interactions that goes on in the atmosphere.

        • nielszoo says:

          Gail, I don’t like the term at all and would love for us to quit using it (along with the term “greenhouse gas.”) It is not representative of anything that happens in normal atmospheric energy exchanges. As you say, it causes more confusion than almost everything else. See any thread on any Climate site for proof of that.

        • Gail Combs says:


          We both know that the other aspects of water as well as the adiabatic lapse rate, ozone and lord knows what else trump the heck out of what CO2 does.

          Do you have a better name for the Warmists ‘special gases’? (Be clean now)

    • Go Canucks!! says:

      It’s a metaphor or a figure of speech. They are both similar in that both a greenhouse and a greenhouse gas reduce the rate of cooling in their respective spheres. They are not literally the same or operate the same.

    • Robertv says:

      “a greenhouse will work just fine and dandy full of a gas that has no IR excitation bands whatsoever”

      Don’t think so, and certainly not at night. Without H2O it would be as cold as outside your greenhouse. It is the moisture you want to keep in.

      • nielszoo says:

        The glass in a greenhouse is opaque to LWIR radiation. All water vapor does is increase the heat capacity of the gaseous volume of the greenhouse and it also doesn’t matter what its IR bands are. See my reply to Morgan W. above on how most of the heat gets into a greenhouse.

        A properly designed greenhouse will keep quite a bit of its heat at night. Yes, water vapor helps (as would any other vapor that increased the density of the greenhouse’s open volume) as its mass holds heat that can be moved back into the gas volume through condensation… IR spectral sensitivity a miniscule part of the energy budget.

  17. Andy DC says:

    There seems to be plenty of evidence that the planet in not heating out of control as predicted and that the science behind that conclusion was always flawed. That is what unites us, thus it is pointless and self defeating to allow minutia to divide us.

  18. I seriously wonder how many of these trolls are Michael Mann with a wig on.

    Some of them deny the MWP, LIA and RWP. One even denied the Ice Age.

    I had one who continually rubbished HH Lamb, for daring to say we had cycles of warming and cooling.

    If Warmists really wanted to disrupt sceptics arguments, what better way to do it.

    • Olaf Koenders says:

      Haha. Nice one Paul.

      There’s no way to CSI handwriting on the interweb, but grammatical sentence constructs in their blogging would point to the wig-wearing warmist. Not that it matters, because they give away their stupidity with every word.

    • As stupid as they are, they are not as stupid as Michael Mann. Have you ever READ some of the idiocy he has written? I can’t figure out who is stupider, him or the Mann with the donkey jawbone.

  19. Olaf Koenders says:

    The greenhouse effect is obvious to anyone with a couple of neurons. Moons and planets without an atmosphere have surface temps on their dark side not significantly greater than absolute zero on their dark side, meaning the long wave radiation absorbed during their day escapes directly into space.

    Those with turnips for brains sometimes refuse to see the obvious.

    • says:

      Funny how a so called real science blog is now dictating what people can say and believe . FFS why not go the whole hog and get John Cooke to moderate.

  20. says:

    Hold on. Using your analogy : So if you go for a run in a coat made of atmosphere but with 400 parts of wool for every million parts of atmosphere that with that very coat made of atmosphere you’d get much warmer and stay warm then opposed to the same coat with no 400 parts of wool per million . I’d say you’d hardly notice any difference. Sorry but the scales are preposterous.

  21. emsnews says:

    And the problem with men exploring the moon was, keeping them COOL when the sun was shining. Then keeping them from utterly freezing when in shadows or the night side.

    Same problem with space craft which get hammered by the sun while the opposite side is utterly cold. Engineering things so humans can inhabit these machines while in space is a whole big study in itself.

    The earth’s atmosphere is the warm blanket that protects everyone and disruptions to this are highly dangerous (like when an asteroid hits and causes immense disruptions leading to mass die offs of living creatures and plants!).

    And THAT is what NASA should be worried about, not CO2.

    I am furious that NASA has been yanked off course and is no longer focused on space to see what is going on in the Great Darkness out there!

    • Well, you know those Muslims are pretty high maintenance. It takes a lot of engineers to create the notion that they’ve actually accomplished anything important in the last 1200 years.

    • Curt says:

      emsnews: I like to look at what the engineers who put device and people into space do to keep temperatures under control, because these objects in space are like the earth in space as far as heat transfer is concerned.

      Our intuitions about heat transfer are not good for this, because day-to-day we experience a world with lots of ambient radiation (~400 W/m^2 from our surroundings in a temperature-controlled building) and the conductive/convective transfer of air at 1 atmosphere. In space, you have neither (and either does the earth).

  22. Lawrence13 says:

    Hold on. Using your analogy : So if you go for a run in a coat made of atmosphere but with 400 parts of wool for every million parts of atmosphere that with that very coat made of atmosphere you’d get much warmer and stay warm then opposed to the same coat with no 400 parts of wool per million . I’d say you’d hardly notice any difference. Sorry but the scales are preposterous

    • Curt says:

      If you coated a covering fabric with a few microns of aluminum, which is a tiny fraction of the mass of the fabric, would it keep you warmer? Why, yes it would, by preventing radiative losses. It’s the principle of the space blanket, which they give to marathon runners after they finish to prevent hypothermia as their metabolism greatly reduces.

      • kuhnkat says:

        The space blanket is non porous and retains moisture. DUUUUUHHHHHHH!!!

        • Curt says:

          So is the plastic sheeting underneath it. Why do they add the (highly conductive) aluminum coating at extra cost?

        • kuhnkat says:

          Maybe you can explain it. I can tell you from experience the conduction is quite good through that plastic and aluminum thing even through my cheap sleeping bag. A space blanket works well as a wrap where it is in contact with only the air on the outside.

        • Neal S says:

          When forced by necessity to bicycle commute in freezing weather, I have used ‘space socks’ which have aluminised threads woven into the fabric. These help reflect body heat back. These particular garments are porous and do NOT retain moisture. I would use these as a middle layer between other layers including wool. I also used ‘space gloves’ and it was interesting that these permitted wind to flow right through them. To get the best effect I had to ensure I was wearing something that also cut the wind. But these space gloves and socks garments definitely were superior at reflecting heat than their non-metallized equivalents.

  23. emsnews says:

    Then there are tin foil hats! 🙂

  24. kuhnkat says:

    If you put on a pair of fishnet stockings and go for a run you will be warmer but never notice.

  25. emsnews says:

    Not in Buffalo, NY. Brrrr….I am just east of there. Wind is howling.

  26. Sparks says:

    Here’s a better analogy, when you throw a bouncy ball at the ground, will it bounce in an atmosphere?

  27. Gail Combs says:

    This my husband, a physicist, contribution to the discussion.

    It’s Time to End ‘Physics for Poets’

    …The third element is perhaps the most important: the course should involve the minimum possible amount of math. Many of the students who are the target audience for these classes are uncomfortable with mathematical reasoning, and react badly when asked to manipulate and interpret equations. This final characteristic is also the main reason why I am profoundly ambivalent about such classes.

    Science for non-majors offers an important chance to reach out to students outside the sciences, and try to give them some appreciation for scientific inquiry. This is critically important, as we live in a time where science itself is under political assault from both the left and right. People with political agendas are constantly peddling distorted views of science, from conspiracy theories regarding pharmaceutical companies and drug development, to industry-backed attempts to challenge the scientific findings regarding global climate change, to the well-documented attempts to force religion into science curricula under the guise of “intelligent design.” It’s more important than ever for our students to be able to understand and critically evaluate competing claims about science.

    ….By their very existence, these classes send two damaging messages to students in other disciplines: first, that science is something alien and difficult, the exclusive province of nerds and geeks; and second, that we will happily accommodate their distaste for science and mathematics, by providing them with special classes that minimize the difficult aspects of the subject.

    The first of these messages is sadly misguided. Science is more than just a collection of difficult facts to be learned. It’s a way of looking at the universe, a systematic approach to studying the world around us, and understanding how things work. As such, it’s as fundamental a part of human civilization as anything to be found in art or literature. The skills needed to do science are the same skills needed to excel in most other fields: careful observation, critical thinking, and an ability to support arguments with evidence.

    The second subtext, however, is disturbingly accurate. We do make special accommodations for students who are uncomfortable with science, and particularly mathematics…..

    Maybe if we actually started teaching reading, writing and arithmetic in grammar school again we wouldn’t need science classes for poets

    • davidswuk says:

      we could all chiv-up to advantage on English too – judging by your opening sentence might one opine?

      • Gail Combs says:

        ACK! I really wish we had an edit function. That is what I get for changing part of a sentence and not proof reading a second time.

        Can’t spell worth a darn either. – Blame John Dewey and the experimental ‘See and Say’ method.

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