Dumb And Dumberer On Venus

Climate experts and other stoners like Carl Sagan claimed that the high temperatures on Venus are due to the greenhouse effect. This is idiotic because the surface of Venus receives very little sunlight, and in fact goes for months at a time without receiving any sunlight during the long Venusian night. The whole point of the greenhouse effect is that the sun warms the surface and greenhouse gases impede the return of the heat back to space. This obviously can’t happen if there is no sunlight.

The high temperatures on Venus are the result of the very thick troposphere, which creates high atmospheric pressure at the surface – compressing the gases and generating heat like a bicycle pump does.

Every time I bring this up, climate morons make blog posts claiming that I can’t be correct because the bicycle pump cools down after the person pumping stops doing work to compress the air. Apparently they haven’t heard of the Sun, which is continuously doing work to the atmosphere and keeping it inflated. If the Sun turned off, the atmosphere would quickly collapse and freeze, and the atmospheric pressure would drop to near zero.

The adiabatic lapse rate is the temperature gradient through a stable atmosphere. It is nearly the same on Venus as it is on Earth – despite dramatically different atmospheric compositions, temperatures and radiative characteristics of the atmosphere. Gas temperature increases as pressure goes up, as seen at the Grand Canyon. The bottom of the Grand Canyon is hot, and the top is cold.

If Earth’s atmosphere had the same mass as Venus, the temperature at Earth’s surface would be approximately the same as Venus. It has almost nothing to do with the greenhouse effect.

But it is worse than it seems. The world’s greatest climate scientist (James Hansen) wrote his doctoral dissertation claiming that aerosols created the heat on Venus. This same genius now claims that Chinese aerosols are the cause of the global warming pause. You really can’t make this stuff up.

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121 Responses to Dumb And Dumberer On Venus

  1. Stephen Richards says:


  2. Stephen Richards says:

    or P ~ Density

  3. oeman50 says:

    Geez, Steve, you must have studied thermo if you go throwing around terms like “adiabatic.” I get the feeling this debate is being fueled by those who wouldn’t know the 1st law if it bit them in the arse.

    Happy Thansgiving!

  4. nielszoo says:

    The really “funny part” is that when you do the actual math, if Venus had our atmospheric mix of mostly N2 and O2 (gases only, no water vapor) it would be even hotter than it is now with 90%+ evil CO2.

    I learned the basics of most of this stuff in High School chemistry and physics… what on Earth do they teach now?

    • Modelling based upon unproven relationships.

    • Olaf Koenders says:

      It can’t be better than what they taught back in the day. I remember a sequence of video where Carl Sagan was postulating that although the upper atmosphere of Venus was hot, the surface temps would be similar to Earth’s.

      Anyone can make a mistake, but after making just one doozy, it’s better they keep their trap shut than suffer foot-in-mouth disease forever after.

  5. Eric Barnes says:

    It’s the new 21st century “science”. Climate Science (using the science term very loosely) is being used by the elite to control the population rather than as a tool to free mankind from the burdens of existence. If those at the top of the government have their way, we will find ourselves paying an essentially unlimited tax to frauds who just make it up as they go along. Say goodbye to limited govenment and hello to the new despotism.

    • Robertv says:

      It’s the new 21st century “science”.

      Law of gravity found the same problem. Freefall works different in the new 21st century “science”.

  6. nickreality65 says:

    Miatello’s paper does a nice job of explaining Venus.
    Well, the pump does cool down – after you quit pumping, quit putting energy into the system. An industrial air compressor removes this heat with a water jacket and an after cooler.

    • nielszoo says:

      Thanks for the remind. I lost the link for that paper. Here it is:

      Click to access PSI_Miatello_Refutation_GHE.pdf

      • Robert B says:

        “due to the mechanisms of expansion and adiabatic (no heat added or removed) compression of atmospheric masses, convective phenomena, such as wind and storms, ”

        I hope people realise that bulk movement of air being compressed or expanding is not needed for an adiabatic lapse rate. One single molecule in a vacuum behaves the same as a hammer or a feather. Each movement of a molecule in the very short time before collision with another is accelerating down at 9.8 m/s2 due to gravity. It all adds up. Only if the atmosphere were a solid would it have to be adiabatic (thrown in to avoid proving that argument).

  7. aaron says:

    I feel it in my bones………There is a lot of data to misinterpret……..It’s so complicated there is a buck in it. http://www.newser.com/article/ffec0eac35c048d5a8fbd93114bea78f/researchers-mastodon-bones-and-sediment-from-colorado-site-shows-what-warmer-world-was-like.html

  8. Gail Combs says:

    Steve says: “…. Apparently they haven’t heard of the Sun, which is continuously doing work to the atmosphere and keeping it inflated. If the Sun turned off, the atmosphere would quickly collapse and freeze, and the atmospheric pressure would drop to near zero….”

    NASA provided proof. Seems the height is not as constant as some would think although it is the rarified air of the thermosphere that is mostly responding.

    Solar S’Mores
    May 30, 2000 — As most Boy and Girl Scouts can testify, if you hold a marshmallow close to a roaring camp fire it puffs up. A well-roasted marshmallow can grow to nearly twice its normal size, doubling its allure to a voracious sweet tooth.

    Something similar happens to Earth’s atmosphere every 11 years when the sunspot cycle nears maximum. As solar activity increases, extreme ultraviolet radiation (EUV) heats our planet’s gaseous envelope, causing it to swell and reach farther into space than normal. While puffed-up marshmallows can lead to tooth decay, our puffed-up atmosphere vexes satellite operators with a different kind of problem — orbit decay….

    The solar cycle has a big effect on the thermosphere where satellite drag takes place, agreed David Hathaway. “During solar minimum, the gas temperature in the thermosphere is around 700 °C. That’s high, but not nearly as high as the temperature during Solar Max. When the Sun is active, high levels of solar EUV raise the temperature of the thermosphere all the way to 1,500 °C.”

    Increased solar heating makes the thermosphere puff out as denser layers from lower altitudes expand upward. The density of the thermosphere can soar by a factor of 50 during solar maximum, with a commensurate increase in atmospheric drag on satellites….

    More recently:

    A Puzzling Collapse of Earth’s Upper Atmosphere
    July 15, 2010: NASA-funded researchers are monitoring a big event in our planet’s atmosphere. High above Earth’s surface where the atmosphere meets space, a rarefied layer of gas called “the thermosphere” recently collapsed and now is rebounding again.
    Layers of Earth’s upper atmosphere. Credit: John Emmert/NRL. [larger image]

    “This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years,” says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab…

    • Jason Calley says:

      Hey Gail! “The solar cycle has a big effect on the thermosphere where satellite drag takes place”

      I suspect that NASA has known about this for quite a while. I really, really, really, hope that the following comment does not unlock a bunch of weird HAARP responses, but one of the 1987 patents for what turned into HAARP says this about high altitude heated plumes: “Also, large regions of the atmosphere could be lifted to an unexpectedly high altitude so that missiles encounter unexpected and unplanned drag forces with resultant destruction or deflection of same.”

      Maybe NASA didn’t know about solar induced drag — but the basic concept is over a quarter century old!

  9. Andrew S says:

    Kirchoff’s Law under question: http://youtu.be/w21K4KiYd4I

  10. A C Osborn says:

    The Gas Giants are an even better example, at Earth surface size Diameters their gases are thousands of degrees higher due to atmospheric pressure when they are much farther from the Sun than the earth.

  11. I’ve been telling you all that since 2008.

    Glad it is sinking in at last 🙂

  12. Jim Lion says:

    I for one appreciate all the dumbed-down explanations for idiots. I’m learning a great deal about how this stuff works. Keep up the good work.

  13. Stephen Richards says:

    I love Steve/Tony’s work but there are times when I go ……. oooooh !

  14. Chris says:

    Thanks a million for all your work. Please forgive the long post exploring personal theorising. I’ve been influenced quite a lot by what I’ve read at your site, as a long-term lurker, but haven’t quite been able to put together many thoughts of my own into something worth posting, until now – perhaps?

    So let’s assume (big assumption I know) that the environmental lapse rate on both planets, without any greenhouse effect, would be similar to what it is now.
    [Hints to the uninitiated for exploring the credibility of this hypothesis: (a) would a sealed mine shaft get warmer as it went down, even relative to warming of ambient earth? (b) does differential heating of the earth’s surface cause significant convection with a vertical component, factoring in the properties of water vapor besides as a greenhouse gas?]

    We hit the problem of how the surface temperature is maintained without anything to stop direct radiation to space.
    On Venus this issue may be overcome by the 100 per cent cloud cover – in other words, by the (total) cloud blanket effect…. which should really be distinguished from greenhouse gas effects.
    Of course, we need water vapour in order to have clouds. So…. when it comes to Earth, a useful exercise might be to imagine a scenario in which water vapour (and CO2) is non-radiative, but water generally keeps all of its other properties, including evaporation/condensation etc. (Note, still keeping the assumption of Earth-like environmental lapse rate).
    [Also n.b. a humid night in this scenario is a case study that is often missed?!]

    My back-of-the-envelope calculation for Earth suggests

    (1) Allowing for the cloud blanket effect – i.e. allowing clouds to reflect IR from surface, not just reflect incoming solar – raises the surface temperature from 255K to ~270K. Remember, this is water acting as a reflector, not water vapour acting as a greenhouse gas. (I used figures from ISCCP cloud analysis part 1 in my calculation)

    (2) Something more novel? The properties and behaviour of water, including density, salinity effects and currents, mean that although the average temp of ocean water is ~5C (278K), there is a disproportionately warm upper layer (combined with extra-cold deep layer). Simplistically speaking, the causation involves the poleward surface spreading of warm water as linked with the sinking of the coldest water at the poles. This warmth would radiate to space until the temp got down to 270K….. *but* for water’s other feature of latent heat transfer. When water evaporates from the surface of the ocean, the ocean water cools, and the heat is released again when condensation takes place, typically a few kilometres up, and up to well over 10,000m. (An upward heat flux of ~78Wm-2 I believe?)
    Crucially, this means that the solar energy generating the heat flux isn’t really heating the surface at all for that 78Wm-2, but heating the atmosphere at a certain level [and gravity enables the flux to reach this level via the relative low density of water vapour?]. Very roughly, this could mean that the sun in fact heats the Earth at an average of 1.5km up, overall. [Factors to consider here: (a) I’m ignoring absorption by gases of incoming solar; (b) the average heating height would be raised further if the famous 288K global average temp is adjusted to sea-level: is it?]
    This is the equivalent of an effective radiating level for greenhouse gases… and means that the surface (ocean + land combined) can then equilibrate at a higher temperature, of 270K + (6.4K x 1.5) = ~280K (where 6.4K is the environmental lapse rate per km).

    The cooling of the upper ocean water is masked by its disproportionately warm starting temp. Effectively (and to recap) the configuration of the ocean means that the surface is warmer at the expense of the depths, and latent heat means that the greater surface warmth can be extended up into the atmosphere. Hence the atmosphere is warmer (than without latent heat effects), and even the ocean surface is warmer overall – since the latent-heat-induced warming of the atmosphere more than compensates for the cooling of the water by evaporation (the latent heat has greater potential energy at altitude?).

    It *could* be said that there is a transfer of heat from the ocean depths to the atmosphere, and this is how a temperature of 10K above 270K is sustainable without greenhouse gas effects. However, this perspective tends to confuse the issue, for various reasons. It’s better to think more simply in equilibrium terms: over time the ocean depths stay cold, this ‘enables’ the atmosphere at altitude to stay relatively warm (i.e. compared to what it would otherwise be), but nonetheless at the ocean surface downward energy flux = upward energy flux (ignoring geothermal energy). Alternatively, imagine that if the ocean was a uniform temperature, downward energy flux would still equal upward energy flux, it’s just that both would be lower.

    As for the the further 8C to get to 288K, this could be where the greenhouse gases have their limited effect. I could elaborate on this?
    Even if I’m badly wrong in my overall reasoning, I’m still yet to see a good explanation for what I think of as the real missing heat issue in the ocean. Why is average ocean temperature a good 10 degrees C colder than the surface temperature??? Especially given that an equivalent chunk of the Earth’s crust would be significantly warmer than the surface on average.
    Could it be that the cold ocean and warm(er) atmosphere are two sides of the same coin?

    • nielszoo says:

      Go through this for a pretty good 30k ft flyover of the physics.

      Click to access PSI_Miatello_Refutation_GHE.pdf

      h/t to nickreality65’s post above for reminding me about this paper. I’d lost the link on my last PC changeover.

    • Genghis says:


      You almost have it. The ocean is the key.

      The average temperature of the ocean is ~5C which is exactly the S-B solution for a black body.

      The ocean is the greenhouse effect (it heats by absorbing SW radiation and cools via evaporation).
      The atmosphere is a rounding error.

  15. I finally worked out how to deal with the “no back radiation” claims:

    Proof: cold can be turned into warm.

  16. Truthseeker says:

    Here is an analysis using publicly available observational data and known principles to support everything that was stated by Steven in this post.


  17. ntesdorf says:

    Steve, good explanation of what is going on, on Venus James Hansen is just making up more fake explanations of fake problems as he goes along, on the run.

  18. Nikolov and Zeller said this:

    “Thus, empirical evidence indicates that the lower atmosphere contains more kinetic energy than provided by the Sun. Understanding the origin of this extra energy is a key to the GHE.”

    My proposition explained in detail elsewhere is that the ‘extra’ kinetic energy is coming from conversion of gravitational potential energy back to kinetic energy within adiabatically warmed descending air.

    At any given moment half the atmosphere is rising and half is falling.

    That returning kinetic energy cannot escape the system as radiation to space because before it can do so it is taken upwards again in the next cycle of adiabatic ascent.

    The surface temperature is determined by insolation PLUS returning kinetic energy from the atmosphere.

  19. Compression causes heat. Steady state pressure does not.

    The bicycle pump heats air when it compresses it. Once in the tire, it cools back again.

  20. wayne says:

    “The high temperatures on Venus are the result of the very thick troposphere, which creates high atmospheric pressure at the surface – compressing the gases and generating heat like a bicycle pump does.”

    Close SG, but that is your fatal flaw in your explanation right there. As Morgan said above, steady state pressure does not cause any warming, that is true.

    It is instead all in the hydrostatic equilibrium equations that demand that the pressure curve and the density curve diverge in a set of exponentials that vary by precisely one (1). The exponent of pressure via temperature is ‘f‘ while the exponent of density via temperature is ‘f−1‘. Since the ratio of pressure to density is directly proportional to the temperature the temperature must have a gradient. All planets or moons with thick tropospheres bow to that relationship though it is not just ‘warming’ like pumping up a bicycle tire but caused be the always changing ratio of pressure to density. Hope I didn’t just fly over your head.

    • Genghis says:


      If you take an insulated gas filled tube and place a gravity well on one end, initially it will compress and heat the air at the end of the tube at the bottom of the gravity well and it will have a lapse rate.

      Very quickly though, the ‘heat’ will flow from the compressed end to the uncompressed end and the total column will be isothermal. It will still have a density gradient but the temperature will be the same all the way.

      It is the radiation from the surface (or the sun in the case of the inverted lapse rate of the stratosphere) that creates the lapse rate.

  21. Richard Lee Stevens says:

    I just can’t take this confusion between heat and temperature any longer. Compression raises the temperature of a gas by doing WORK on the gas. The internal energy of a closed system is equal to the heat added to it plus the work done on it.

  22. kuhnkat says:

    Some Russian scientists using data from their probes determined that the cloud layer REFLECTED over 60% of the radiation coming from below. What was that about CO2 and insulation again??


    • Gail Combs says:

      See Slide #16 upper right, line starts at #40 (two lines in that graph)
      SLIDES: link

      The outgoing radiation looking down on a thunderhead is blocked

  23. edward1968 says:

    I saw Bill Nye (The Science Guy?) do an “experiment” one time on television to prove that CO2 causes global warming. He took two identical glass jugs, both half filled with water and dropped a couple of what looked like standard over the counter Alka-Seltzer tablets into one of them and immediately placed caps on both vessels. Then he placed both under a powerful sun lamp for a while and used an infrared thermometer to test the temperature of each jug. Lo and behold the one filled with CO2 was much warmer than the one with just room air and water.

    I barely got through high school and even I knew he was a snake oil salesman using a cheap parlor trick when I saw that. The increased air pressure of the gas inside the sealed jug had to be raising the temperature way, way more than what kind of air is in there.

  24. Mack says:

    Well UV is at the blue end of the spectrum . A “UV tanning lamp” ,(your words), has a BLUE coloured light. A dentist’s light curing lamp shines a BLUE light.. So I’m not the fussy one with the quack CO2 theory quibbling about the wavelengths of the energy.

  25. justwondering says:

    i just love how work done on the atmosphere through its own mass has just lit up as a variable for me. now i wonder, in a what-if kindof way, what the connection does for us, here. what does atmospheric data tell us about its total weight over time? how large/small a contribution/variance are we talking about – for this factor, on earth?

    just how much new stuff have we added to the atmosphere that doesnt rain- or sublimate-out? could gas-mass from a volcanic eruption affect climate by pressure alone

  26. Robertv says:

    So is a rainforest where nearly no sunlight hits the ground and where day and night temperatures are more or less the same a Venus or a greenhouse example ?

    • Andrew S says:

      More Greenhouse, less Venus. Equatorial regions, where most rainforest climes are located have less difference in day/night temperatures than do more temperate regions.

    • Robertv says:

      But No sunlight hits the ground so where does the IR comes from? All the energy of the sun is absorbed by the green leaves far above the surface. Would it be better to paint the glass of your greenhouse green to make temperature more stable inside ?

      • Baa Humbug says:

        But No sunlight hits the ground so where does the IR comes from?

        Ever been in a place like that? The forest floor is a compost bed. Ever turned over a compost pile? Can get hot enough to start fires. So there is some IR there.
        The fact that sunlight hardly reaches the ground indicates what a good cover it is for convection restriction. But it can’t keep rain water out which bounces and drips off of the canopy to ground creating a very very nice greenhouse. By the way, some forests experience dry seasons at which time they can get very very warm.

        Would it be better to paint the glass of your greenhouse green to make temperature more stable inside ?

        I haven’t asked them yet but I’m pretty sure that leaves that reflect (read reject) green light ain’t gunna be happy with just green light to feed on.

        • Olaf Koenders says:

          Ask any pot grower why they use sodium discharge (yellow) lamps to grow weed fast. Some fluoro aquarium lamps emit the blue and red spectrum, which is good for the plants and brightens the reflected colours of the fish.

          Anything but green.

    • Robertv says:

      The only way you can warm the surface is by transporting that heat down to the surface by water.

  27. Dave1billion says:

    In the interest of shedding light (pun intended) on another assertation from the original post “the surface of Venus receives very little sunlight” I’ve attached the link below:


    The images are from the Soviet era Vernera Venus landers. In them, you can see fairly clear details of the surface and the lander itself and the surface of Venus, including a horizon. The last of these pictures date from 1982 (seeing that the last of these images are from 42 years ago makes me feel really old).

    I make no claims as to how much sunlight the surface of Venus receives (I couldn’t Google up any information on this) and I’m not doing this to contradict any of the above post.

    It’s just interesting to note that the surface of Venus seems to receive a not-insignificant amount of visible light.

    There are several caveats on these images.

    1. The cameras were “digital facsimile scanning telephotometers”. I have no idea how sensitive they are to light or how bright the surface would appear to my (incredibly and painfully compressed) eyes.
    2. There seems to be legitimate doubt in some quarters about the authenticity of at least some of these images.

    • Dave1billion says:

      Venera, not Vernera. I did not go to a school where I learned about vernereal diseases.

    • Olaf Koenders says:

      Notice the lack of sharply defined shadows, especially under the surface temp sensor arm. I remember a description of the light available on Venus to be similar to a heavily overcast day on Earth.

  28. nickreality65 says:

    There’s no water on Venus. Any comparison to Earth is meaningless.

    • Andrew S says:

      Water in its liquid state does not exist on Venus. But there is a small content of Water Vapor in its atmosphere. It is thought it once had a lot more than presently.

  29. lorne50 says:

    Tomato tomato ” Earth Venus ” right hand left foot ;>( move on we know Hanson was talking $hit this is going no where, Round and round just like Mann and the lot love to see ;>(

  30. Why is Death Valley cold in the winter? It has ice and everything, but the pressure is the same as in the summer.

    • The troposphere is not as tall in the winter as it is in the summer, so the volume is reduced. PV = nRT

      • I sort of buy that, but I need to think about it a while……and my head hurts.

        • While we are talking about Death Valley in the winter and all those rocks that slide around the lake bed mysteriously that leave tracks and nobody can explain why…..it’s a tourist trap. We have known for 40 years why those rocks slide around. In the winter water flows into the lake bed and freezes and the rocks freeze into the ice, in the spring the meltwater rushed down from the mountains and breaks up the ice and slides the rocks over. The light rocks are stuck in the ice and float up and move over without tracks but the heavy rocks are dragged by the ice and leave tracks. In the summer it all dries up and the people go “oooohhh it’s a big mystery” and hand over their tourist dollars like idiots.

        • Olaf Koenders says:

          Also, there’s a lack of water vapour in the atmosphere of a desert, often which is why it’s colder than a forest at night.

      • OK I thought about it.

        PV = nRT is just an equation, it doesn’t show causation, just correlation. You are saying that PV causes T but it looks like T is really causing PV, and T is caused by the sun.

        Now my head doesn’t hurt anymore.

        • It is an equation which has to balance.

        • Yes. On Venus the atmosphere is very thick so there can be a big value of PV, which allows a big value of T. On Earth, with its thin atmosphere (thinner than that of any planet but Mercury and Mars), the atmosphere is too thin for a large value of PV, and therefore, there can’t be a large value for T, it can’t be anything like it is on Venus.

          So, the temperature on Venus is entirely due to the thick atmosphere, it makes no difference if it’s CO2, N2, Argon, or Freon. It just has to be thick for a big PV.

    • Robert Austin says:

      Primarily for the same reason it can be cold at many other locations of the same latitude in winter and modified by the lack of water in the form of bother vapour (greenhouse gas) and aerosols (clouds).

  31. chrismarlChris says:

    More ways that heat is manifested higher in the atmosphere than otherwise?
    “…on a global scale, so much precipitation falls that it dissipates almost as much atmospheric energy as does turbulence. ”
    “…Dissipation from rainfall accounts, on average, for….. 1.8 watts per square meter….’
    So the sun/latent heat generates kinetic energy, which is then (partly) converted into heat energy **in the atmosphere** – not at the surface?
    This came up when I was checking whether/to what extent the upward transport of latent heat is cancelled out by falling rain cooling the air as it goes. Factoring in the frictional warming seems to suggest that the upward transport is still dominant?
    Interesting to see Kevin Trenberth (and others) jumping in on this re: global warming 😉

  32. Chris says:

    More ways that heat is manifested higher in the atmosphere than otherwise?
    “…on a global scale, so much precipitation falls that it dissipates almost as much atmospheric energy as does turbulence. ”
    “…Dissipation from rainfall accounts, on average, for….. 1.8 watts per square meter….’
    So the sun/latent heat generates kinetic energy, which is then (partly) converted into heat energy **in the atmosphere** – not at the surface?
    This came up when I was checking whether/to what extent the upward transport of latent heat is cancelled out by falling rain cooling the air as it goes. Factoring in the frictional warming seems to suggest that the upward transport is still dominant?
    Interesting to see Kevin Trenberth (and others) jumping in on this re: global warming 😉
    [By the way please delete the version of this comment with the typo in the name, that I just posted by accident]

  33. graemebird says:

    Actually Velikovsky was right. Venus is a new planet. Its still cooling down. Its craters are pristine proving its new planet status. The data shows it to be hot from the inside out. For sure the high air pressure is going to mean its going to take a long time to cool down. Also its unnaturally thick atmosphere is a symptom of its youth and it is throwing this atmosphere off.

  34. Genghis says:

    Geez Stephen, let me present a very simple example of why you are totally 100% wrong : ) It is also why the Warmers are wrong too, but for a different reason.

    Go out on a sailboat onto the great big ocean and take an IR Gun and point it at the ocean and then at a cloud. You will quickly discover that the cloud is always within a couple of degrees (less) than the ocean surface temperature. There is almost a zero net radiation difference between the two and the temperature doesn’t matter at all. Temperature here is independent. Put the earth closer to the sun and it goes up, take it further away and it goes down.

    Albedo doesn’t effect the equilibrium temperature. Nor does any greenhouse effect. Nor does pressure. Get over it.

    And please look up adiabatic.

    Other than the above, I find your blog remarkably refreshing and above all honest.

    • You don’t understand what I am saying.

      • Genghis says:

        Yes I do understand. I am a sailplane pilot and I ride the thermals caused by the expanding warm air. You are correct in that most of the temperature gradient comes from the pressure gradient.

        Here is the problem, if I tell you a gas is at 20 psi can you tell me the temperature? Of course not because pressure doesn’t determine temperature.

        On the other hand, if you happen to know the temperature and pressure before hand, You can tell me how much the temperature will rise or fall depending on how much I compress or allow the gas to expand. That is how a refrigerator works. It compresses a gas causing it to heat up and then it allows that heated gas to cool. Then after that gas (or fluid) has cooled it allows the cooled gas to expand cooling it further and then it pumps that very cold gas through the refrigerator where it warms up.

        Much of our system works that way and because people can use the S-B equation they can apx. the initial temps and if they know the density they can apx. the lapse rate. It works fairly well for a couple of planets and and a moon or two. But that is just a trivial extrapolation of the S-B equation and the gas law.

        The Warmers are making a very similar mistake, except instead of pressure they are focused on radiation flow.

        Forget the Atmosphere. It is a rounding error by comparison to the energy in the oceans. The average temperature of the Ocean is 5.5˚ exactly what the S-B equation says it should be when Kirchoffs law is applied. NO GREENHOUSE or PRESSURE Laws, or Albedo needs apply.

        • I am talking about surface pressure, which averages 1,000 mb at sea level due to the weight of the air above it. You are introducing unwanted and irrelevant noise into a discussion of basic principles.

        • Genghis says:

          I should add that the warmers can’t tell anyone what the temperature is based solely on net radiation, any more than you can tell the temperature based solely on pressure.

          The Sky Dragons and Warmers are both making the same error.

        • Genghis says:

          stevengoddard says: – “I am talking about surface pressure, which averages 1,000 mb at sea level due to the weight of the air above it.”

          I am good with that. I have a container of air at 1,000 mb. What is its temperature?

          If you can answer that within +/- 25˚C I’ll send you a check for a thousand dollars, much more if you are dead on within a degree or so.

        • As I explained quite clearly – there are two degrees of freedom – temperature and volume.

          If you made it past middle school math, you know that you can’t solve for two unknowns with one equation.

  35. Genghis says:

    Stevengoddard – “As I explained quite clearly – there are two degrees of freedom – temperature and volume.”

    Exactly and you can’t derive one from the other, independently.

    All you can say is that if the pressure goes up the temperature rises (or vice versa).

    It is exactly the same dilemma the warmists have, except that they can’t even say if an increase in net radiation will raise the temperature or not, because they have an extra independent variable.

    Here’s a thought. If you increased the volume of the atmosphere the pressure and temperature would go up on the surface right?

    That is exactly the logic the warmistas are using, except that they are talking about more radiation. Of course they have an extra variable or two but that is the general idea.

    You are both right, but trivially so.

    • Read your post, that is 30 seconds of my life I’ll never get back.

      • Genghis says:


        Titans surface air pressure is higher than the Earths. Is its temperature higher or lower than the Earths? And why?

        • As explained about 4,000 times – you can’t solve for two degrees of freedom with one equation – much less zero equations.

        • Genghis says:

          StevenGoddard, – “you can’t solve for two degrees of freedom with one equation – much less zero equations.”

          Let me try explaining again with math 🙂 since you seem to think that I am mathematically challenged (which I am). First of all you have three degrees of freedom not two.
          PV=K or P = 1/V as long as the temperature stays constant.
          If the temperature is not constant P ≠ 1/V.
          Of course we can also write the equation as PV/T=K.
          That is three degrees of freedom. And the solution is 1. The same as E=MC^2 : ) Not the correct equation as I am sure you know.

          Here is the point. Holding T constant, P = 1/V either P or V can have any positive value, all that can be known is that they have an inverse relationship.

          In an OPEN system like the earth, changes in either P or V don’t effect T.

        • Any time a skeptic wants to throw out the laws of physics, they throw in the term “open system” – in the belief it gives them some sort of exemption from reality.

        • Genghis says:

          Steven, you do know that the P – V – T mathematical relationship is dependent on being in a closed system? A sealed container in fact.

          A hurricane with its attendant massive expansion of the atmosphere, high winds and extremely low pressure isn’t caused by temperature, pressure or volume alone. Those are simply measurements that we use to describe the hurricane, not causes.

          The “cause” of a hurricane is evaporation (convection), which is an outside gas being injected into the system (phase change included free of charge). It turns out that evaporation is the engine that drives the changes in the atmosphere.

          The rest of the system just goes along for the ride.

        • Do you know that you are parroting meaningless gibberish?

        • Genghis says:

          stevengoddard says: “Do you know that you are parroting meaningless gibberish?”

          Sorry about that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It won’t happen again.

  36. Mack says:

    This business as to whether or not the Earth and its atmosphere is an open or closed system is a bit of a conundrum. I know that the true believers of the “greenhouse” effect would much prefer that it was a closed system, because it means that we are stuck with forever, with whatever we’re producing in the way of pollution, or changes in the composition of the atmosphere. Radioactive stuff lasting the longest. We are making it, so we have to stew in our own juice. They would maintain that the Earth System is a closed system, with only heat leaving. The thing I want to ask is , does some atoms escape Earth’s gravitational pull and wander off into space. ;,,there being some loss of mass … in which case..is it not an open system?

    • Genghis says:

      Mack, the system is mostly closed, with the exception of energy flows.

      But there is a steady rain of meteors that continuously add to to the planet and there is a steady loss of gases and highly energetic particles to space.

      But there is a more important part of the system that is being neglected and that is the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere. The Ocean system contains 90% of the energy in the system and is the driver of the weather and climate.

      Any climate theory which focuses primarily on the atmosphere is almost certainly wrong, and at best a rounding error.

      • Gail Combs says:

        Yes, it is the ocean, the sun and the configuration of the continents. You can toss in Geothermal too especially when a big, strategically placed volcano blows its top.

  37. Interesting conversation on another site:

    SkyHunter > Roald J. Larsen • 13 days ago

    So then you agree that Venus is hot because CO2 traps IR. Thank you for clearing that up.

    5 △ ▽

    M. Wright > SkyHunter • 3 days ago

    What you have not cleared up is how the temperature on Venus is the same everywhere on the planet. Daytime side, night side, equator, and pole, are all the same. There are only 2 ways this is possible:
    1. The “even heating” approach says the source of heat on Venus is the same everywhere. Sort of like central heating, like when your floor is made of heating stones, or there is a heat vent in every room. This is impossible if the sun is the source of all heat, since insolation on Venus is far from even.
    2. The “fast distribution” approach says Venus has a very short day, as if the period of rotation was only a few hours, and it includes the planet not only spinning, but tumbling pole to equator. Obviously not true. Or maybe the winds on Venus are so fast they distribute the heat from hot to cold instantly, as if the winds were thousands of MPH. Not true either, the wind on Venus is very slow.

    △ ▽

    SkyHunter > M. Wright • 3 days ago

    3. The atmosphere traps the heat so effectively that it dwarfs all other sources of surface flux.

    2 △ ▽

    M. Wright > SkyHunter • 3 days ago

    4. The atmosphere generates the heat.

    △ ▽

    SkyHunter > M. Wright • 3 days ago

    How does the atmosphere generate heat?

    M. Wright > SkyHunter • 3 days ago

    Tidal forces from the sun will lift the atmosphere towards the sun via the Sun’s gravity, the way it lifts the ocean on earth. As it lifts, the compression at the surface is less and air at the surface moves over from the side. As Venus rotates, the atmosphere on the non-tidal side falls back, compressing the atmosphere at the surface. Heat is generated when the atmosphere compresses back.

    △ ▽

    SkyHunter > M. Wright • 2 days ago

    Interesting hypothesis.

    Got any numbers to validate it?

    1 △ ▽

    M. Wright > SkyHunter • 2 days ago

    I’m working on it. In the mean time, get some numbers to validate how the greenhouse effect keeps the dark side of Venus the same temp as the sunny side.

    △ ▽

    SkyHunter > M. Wright • an hour ago

    Most of the heat flux at the surface is from the atmosphere. Venus’ albedo is .9, it reflects away most of the sunlight, but the little that does get absorbed is trapped by the carbon in the atmosphere,

    △ ▽

    M. Wright > SkyHunter • 9 minutes ago

    Interesting. Direct incoming sunlight (visible and UV, and very short IR) being absorbed by carbon? How did all this carbon get into the atmosphere of Venus? Ohhhh ..maybe you mean carbon dioxide and not carbon. Why didn’t you say so? We know that carbon absorbs all wavelengths, but I assume you understand that carbon dioxide doesn’t. Do you?
    Pardon me for not assuming you have an education. You once told me that water vapor doesn’t count as a greenhouse gas on Earth because it has a short residence time, so I assume you either have no education at all, a very low IQ, or you are just full of shizzle. So, I’ll just chalk up the “Carbon absorbs sunlight” comment as more of the same.
    Are you aware that almost no sunlight makes it to the surface of Venus? It’s much darker than it is on Earth. The reason is, incoming sunlight is absorbed by H2SO4 on the way down. That is why Venus is so hot. Most of the sunlight is absorbed on its way in, by H2SO4, which is the exact opposite of Earth’s greenhouse effect, which absorbs IR on the way out. That’s why, when people compare Earth to Venus, I assume they are drooling idiots.

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