Postma on the greenhouse effect

by Judith Curry

With over 1000 comments on Saturday’s greenhouse thread, here is a new thread devoted to technical discussions of Joseph Postma’s paper on the greenhouse effect and Chris Colose’s rebuttal at Skeptical Science.

A primer on solar insolation is excerpted from text Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans, link [thermo txt].

1,289 responses to “Postma on the greenhouse effect

  1. As this is now the topic of a new thread, I repeat my overall conclusion:

    The whole content is a combination of a big strawman argument, several serious errors, which are the only basis for some of the central conclusions, and some very vague ideas for continuation.

    More in the earlier comment

    https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/13/slaying-the-greenhouse-dragon-part-iv/#comment-99848

    • Pekka,

      However stupid Postma’s model may be and pages 7-17 may be a strawman, it is notable that pages 2-6 agree with my (generally warm-luke-warmist) understanding of the GHE.

      The stuff he gets into later (my reading still incomplete) are the sorts of things that I ask myself when I have tried to take a skeptical perspective on my understanding.

      So while his conclusions may not be supported by his argument, it may be worthwhile for some of us to read it anyway and not just accept that it has been rebutted…

      Bill

      • Ps Then we read the rebuttal.

        & this is just general discussion, Pekka I don’t mean to insinuate that you are telling us not to read it….

    • Postma answered to my message in the other thread, I continue here:

      Pekka Pirilä
      “Who and where has ever made such claims?”

      The equation themselves make those claims. No one needs to, it is a matter of interpreting the meaning of the math.

      You presented the equations and you made the strawman out of them

      “Next one concerns the issue of day and night”

      You can’t average the insolation power into area it does not impinge.

      Not exactly, but most certainly well enough for even much more accurate statements. You are discussing issues that are more wrong by a big factor or even of wrong sign.

      “The paper builds a stupid model”

      A model universally taught as justification for the GHE and establishing the paradigm for characterization of the atmosphere. It’s not MY model! :-)

      It’s not. It’s only a toy model to explain one idea. It’s not supposed to be anything more. It’s part of your strawman argument to claim otherwise.

      It’s not your model, but neither is it what you claim it to be. The claim is yours.

      “The paper fails to tell at all, what maintains the lapse rate. The author just leaves that as a riddle”

      It’s not a riddle at all. The incoming energy sustains the system, and then gravity and thermal capacity does the rest. There’s no dependance on GHG a-priori. That was explained clearly.

      Empty and totally false claims. It’s not explained at all. The only explanation is in the GHE. That’s the only effect that creates a significant temperature gradient. Everything else just reduces its size. Gravity enters in this reduction as a factor leading to convection. Convection doesn’t warm the surface, it cools the surface. (This is perhaps your largest and most essential error). Without GHE all that sun brings would radiate directly out and the surface would be close to the effective blackbody temperature.

      Without GHE the surface would be very cold.

      “The whole content is a combination of a big strawman argument, several serious errors, which are the only basis for some of the central conclusions, and some very vague ideas for continuation.”

      Well, read it a few times over. Especially understand the point about night & day, and the actual insolation input power of +30C on average with a ~90C maximum.

      I see absolutely no reason to change my view. It’s well known, how much the temperatures vary between day and night. It’s also known that the variation is largest, when the GHE is weakest.

      • Pekka, you’ve not yet addressed the request that Tomas Milanovic made earlier.

        “… It should be very obvious for everybody or at least to those who did a minimum of fluid mechanics that even the GHGless atmosphere would exhibit different more or less complex flow modes.
        Did you really think that it’d be isothermal and static?
        Then give me your estimation of this constant temperature – a number or a finite interval I don’t care.
        And then I will show you that your estimation violates the laws of thermodynamics .
        The proof is actually rather easy undergrad level and I am surprised that you didn’t think of it yourself already.

        Let’s do that, it will at least evacuate some misconceptions. …”

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/10/greenhouse-dragon-technical-discussion-thread/#comment-97346

      • I was arguing with Tomas on that. My understanding is that he didn’t take into account the power of stratification in stopping convection. He didn’t accept that the stratosphere would start almost directly from the surface. The day/night effects would remain very local and limited to a very thin layer at the bottom. That’s the result, when the lapse rate is much less than the adiabatic lapse rate.

        Gradually the lapse rate should almost vanish in absence of all IR absorption and emission, but even a much weaker radiative heat transfer would maintain some troposphere and more convection. I haven’t checked, whether N2 and O2 could do that in presence of UV and cosmic rays, which cause various excitations and through them some radiative heat transfer.

        I have no estimates for the nearly constant temperature of an non-radiative atmosphere, but my guess is that it’s much closer to the warmest areas of the surface than coldest. The actual value would depend on the albedo. Should we assume non-GHG water or no water? That affects the albedo a lot.

      • The discussion below has revealed more about the nature of the errors of Postma.

        It turns out that he has made two serious errors in the calculation of the average flux of incoming solar energy. In total they make an error by pi (3.14). Making such a huge error in the first step of the calculation makes of course also the rest faulty.

        All that concerns his alternative calculations.

        The one layer model is described mathematically correctly in the first part of the paper. Concerning that the error is that he implies that others would not know all what he describes already, or that they would use the one layer model for purposes it doesn’t fit to. These claims are unjustified. His claims are pure strawman argumentation in this part of the paper.

      • As usual you are spamming or carpet-bombing the thread with your vague woolly claims, making the thread unreadable and any response virtually impossible. If your claims had any validity you would say which of postma’s equations in his paper is wrong and why. Why don’t you write it up on your own blog if you have anything sensible to say.

      • I told you in response to your other post and also above.

        The error is in the energy flux to surface. He multiplies the correct value by 3.14 through his ridiculously erroneous calculation of averages. That error has been discussed in this thread by many people.

        You told also, how the average should be calculated. You can easily find out that Postma doesn’t follow the rule you gave, but divides by a number that is 1/3.14 times the surface area, not by the area as he should and as you wrote also. That’s his largest single error.

        When he has done that huge error, he can claim that the surface gets enough heat without GHE. Yes, an error by 3.14 leads to that conclusion.

        The main errors are not in the formulas that he presents. They are in those parts of his paper that are not represented by formulas. No wonder that they aren’t, because that would have made it easier to see the errors. All his conclusions that are presented against the main stream science are based on the text. The formulas are used in the strawman fashion in that, but the formulas are not the essential point here, but the errors of the text and of the conclusions.

      • And you still haven’t said which equation in his paper is wrong!
        If he’s wrong by pi that should be clear in an equation.
        Your failure to identify this shows that you are making things up.
        Clearly you have nothing valid to say, but you continue to say it in enormous quantity.
        Postma’s paper may well be wrong.
        But you and Chris Colose are the worst people to try and explain it.

      • Read, what I wrote.

        If you cannot understand my earlier comments, then you cannot.

      • PaulM
        I agree Postma has been given almost a free ride here.
        The main conclusions overlooked.
        The only common theme for his critics seems to be the question of averages.
        Postma has given valid reasons for his method.

      • But not for his alternative arithmetic.

        Postma doesn’t even get the atmospheric radiative flux right.

        The emission is not σTa4, it is fσTa4, where f is the atmospheric emissivity/absorptivity (following his notation) and Ta is the atmospheric temperature. The emissivity is a unitless factor between 0 and 1 descrbing how good of an absorber/emitter the object is relative to an ideal body.

      • I’m only presenting the standard GHE model as found in physics textbooks from such places as the Atmospheric Modelling Group from Harvard. It is their mistakes, not mine.

      • As I said, my paper uses the linear distribution factor of 2 for calculating the average input power over the hemisphere, which therefore has a temperature equivalent value of +30C. I introduced on this blog the idea of taking the integrated average value of the insolation instead, since the mapping of the insolation in non-linear. But either way you want to look at it, the input power temperature is very warm, and not equal to -18C. We need to distinguish between simple mathematical averages and actual physics. That is, use the math the way the physics tells you. And the physics is that the insolation is on one side of the planet only.

      • Pekka: “It turns out that he has made two serious errors in the calculation of the average flux of incoming solar energy. In total they make an error by pi (3.14). Making such a huge error in the first step of the calculation makes of course also the rest faulty. ”

        In my paper I used the linear surface-area projection factor of 2. On this blog I have discussed the integrated average value. Either one produces an actual insolation temperature of at least +30C.

        Pekka: “The one layer model is described mathematically correctly in the first part of the paper.”

        But it is NOT mathematically correct, nor physically correct, of its own design. It is inherently nonsensical. That was the point. It doesn’t mean anything nor does it work as a model for demonstrating the GHE, neither directly, nor in analogy. It is mathematical sophistry. But we don’t tell anyone that when we teach it to people. That’s just not good philosophy.

    • Pekka, the strawman is your not Postma’s. Postma paper shows you that Co2 is the opposite of a conductor – it is an insulator. To insulate your house, you want a material that DOESN’T absorb heat. When something absorbs heat it’s a conductor. But greenhouse theory falsely teaches us to think of heat-absorption as insulation. It’s twisted junk logic.
      Relative to nitrogen and oxygen, one can only call CO2 a radiative conductor. It would be an insulator if it reflected IR, but it doesn’t. Instead, it is “black” to IR, i.e., it’s an absorber. And absorbers conduct heat from one place to another. Throw in the second law and it’s clear which way the heat goes.
      Think of the confused greenhouse theorist on the Titanic who jumps into the frigid Atlantic and shouts: “Good thing this water is absorbing my body heat. Now I’ll stay warm enough to survive.”
      Bottom line: If greenhouse gases trap radiation and don’t emit it, then heating by back-radiation cannot occur. If greenhouse gases emit the radiation they absorb, however, they cannot be said to trap it. QED.

      • CO2 is both. It’s a insulator for radiation emitted from the surface that would otherwise leave the Earth system freely.

        It’s provides a conductor type mechanism for heat transfer in the atmosphere.

        The first effect the origin of the GHE. That’s the whole idea.

    • As more intellectual big hitters assess the Postma paper I’m indebted to Dr. Pierre Latour, who has now conducted his own analysis and affirmed that “it seems fair for this old Skeptic to adopt Postma theory until Postma is proven wrong, to my satisfaction.”
      https://engineering.purdue.edu/ChE/AboutUs/News/DrsPierreLatourandDuncanMellichampReceive2007Outsta

      Below is Dr. Latour’s assessment:

      Conclusions: Postma affirms there is no such thing as a GHG. CO2 causes slight global cooling rather than vanishingly small global warming.
      Atmospheric gases do indeed “trap” or hold more energy when CO2 increases because their heat capacity increases with CO2 exchange for O2. H2O works the same way and dominates. But if global average temperature is fixed at -18C, 5 km up, the temperature-altitude profile adjusts a bit and air becomes cooler at the surface, not warmer. This procedure works for all planets of all stars.
      Whole CO2 cooling package.
      Measure and analyze solar spectrum.
      Calculate corresponding T avg from radiating surface = 5778K using Plank’s Law of Radiation (1905)
      Calculate energy emission rate, w/sq mtr from Stephan-Boltzmann law W = kT**4 (Solar Radiance is 2.01*10**7 w/sq mtr – steridian)
      Determine dispersed reception rate at Earth by geometry 150 kk km away. The solar constant is 1366 to 1370 w/sq mtr at Earth.
      NASA measured 30% is reflected. Rest is absorbed and reradiated into space; constant input = constant output.
      So remaining 959 w/sq mtr absorbed and readmitted at corresponding avg T from Stephan-Boltzmann Law again. T avg = -18C.
      (It is important to account for geometry, stationary flat disk to rotating sphere. GHG model got this wrong.)
      Actual temperature at 5 km is measured to be -18C.
      Conservation of energy = KE+PE proves atmosphere KE and hence T decreases with increasing PE and altitude, determined only by gas heat capacity, Cp.
      (GHG theory got this wrong because it imagined a glass greenhouse in the sky, back-radiating energy from cold high altitudes to warmer surface in violation of Second Law of Thermodynamics.)
      Using Cp air, average T of air at surface is 14.5C.
      Cp depends on composition. Cp of CO2 is 63% greater than Cp of N2; Cp of H2O and O2 are 23.5% greater than N2.
      Temperature measures molecular motion and it takes more energy to move a heavier molecule of CO2 than O2 the same amount.
      This means a cu mtr of CO2 contains 63% more energy than a cu mtr of N2 at the same temperature and pressure.
      If CO2 increases from 400 to 500 ppm, and T avg remains the same where did the additional energy trapped in CO2 instead of O2 come from? Below! Cools.
      T avg at surface decreases 0.675C to 13.825C. GHG theory says it goes up about +0.005C, maybe.
      Whole temperature vs altitude profile pivots a bit at 5 km to accommodate higher CO2 according to these laws of physics.

  2. the Postma link doesn’t link to Postman’s paper

  3. The link to Postma’s paper does not go there. It goes to a discussion of a paper on modeling by Mote.

  4. I’ll add my last comment from the previous thread:

    “The integrated insolation average is around 610 W/m2, including albedo losses. This is the integrated average of power input, and has an equivalent temperature of 322K or +49C [usually I cite +30C via a different analysis…I will use the integrated average power of 610W/m2 here]. This is the power forcing which comes IN to the planet on the day side. 240W/m2, equivalent to 255K, is what leaves, on average, in accordance with the law of conservation of total energy, over the entire planet.

    With a temperature forcing equivalent to +49C, but a day-side temperature which does not actually achieve this, then it is obvious that there is no need for temperature amplification via a GHE postulate. You only need that postulate if you mistakenly model the input as -18C. There’s more than enough energy to go around to explain the ground temperature, and the emission of the entire ensemble is still 240W/m2, with or without a GHE.”

    • And, I’ll add my (slightly expanded) response:

      Okay…Let’s do the calculation right, shall we? First of all, the surface area of a hemisphere is 2*pi*R^2, which is half the area of a disc of the same radius. Hence, in the absence of albedo, the integrated insolation average is around 0.5*1366 W/m^2 = 683 W/m^2. Multiplying this by the factor of (1-albedo) of 0.7 then gives 478 W/m^2. This is the average W/m^2 over half of the earth. The average over the whole earth is half this, or 239 W/m^2. (If that last step confuses you, you can work in terms of total energies by multiplying by the total surface area of the hemisphere.)

      Hence, we find that the earth should emit ~239 W/m^2, and indeed, when we look at it from space, it does this since it is indeed very close to energy balance (a little off balance because of rising greenhouse gases, but probably by only about 1 W/m^2). However, the surface of the earth is at a temperature of about 15 C, or 288 K, which means (via the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation) that the surface emits ~390 W/m^2. The difference between these two numbers represents the greenhouse effect, i.e., the only way that the surface can emit 390 W/m^2 and still have the earth be in radiative balance is to have the atmosphere absorb and subsequently re-emit some of the terrestrial radiation, so that the total emission back out into space is only ~239 W/m^2.

      As an exercise to the reader, see if you can spot all the mistakes that Postma has made in the above post.

      Bonus question: Do you think, given Postma’s background, that these errors are likely honest mistakes or purposeful deceptions?

      • Give Eli a hint. Is he an engineer?

      • Apparently an astrophysicist…if Eli believes the climaterealist crazies he is one of those ¨ẗop climatologists¨
        http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=8138

        I found a single publication about absorption in giant stars in 2002. See if others can find him elsewhere…maybe he went emertius?
        http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002PASP..114..536G

      • Look on NASA ADS, that should give a larger list of my publications.

      • chriscolose,
        I suggest you check out this graph and consider where you are on it:

        Before you dig a hole so deep it will take a significant period of time for a photon to travel down to you.

      • You are a consistant ass, I’ll give you that

      • Swing and a miss.
        Eli. Engineers in this fight could be your best ally because we actually have to use the science you discover to make things that work.
        When an IR sensor is built with the understanding provided by RTE it works! when we use the physics that that Dragon slayers deny to build things, those things work. Which means the physics is probably correct.
        You would do well to focus on the engineering applications which actually use the physics in GCMs.
        We are also your worst enemies because we’ve spent lifetimes working with ivory towered insolent pricks and when they challenge us to write papers ( steig verus odonnell) or to take “matlab’ classes from them, we will gladly rise to the challenge. Or when folks attempt to stall us with beaurocratic bullshit ( FOIA tomfoolery) we do know how to work a paperwork system into stasis or the the head office (ICO). where we win because we do not pick fights unless we know we have a good chance of prevailing. In short, we graduated and left college.

      • Engineers are into design not theory IEHE

      • Eli–Do you always reach broad incorrect generalizations about people’s behavior, or is it only in the case of engineers.

      • No, they are also stuffed shirts. . . .or at least some of them. C’mon with the concern trolling.

      • steven mosher

        yes eli every profession has a spectrum of personalities. So now that you’ve found out your theory about him being an engineer is wrong, can you say these words ” I was wrong” Over the years I’ve worked with all sorts of engineers and scientists. I would avoid making generalizations. If I did make one and was wrong, I’d correct myself. Thank people for pointing out my mistake and move on. We all make mistakes. You could have had hank Roberts google the guy for you before you took a quick swipe. swing and a miss. perhaps you might pause before swinging. just a bit

      • Thumper thot he thaw a puddy tat.
        ===========

      • Scientists, in general, bring posturing and pretense to problem solving.
        If you want something actually dealt with, turn the engineers loose on it.
        If you want endless games and posturing, leave it to the academics.

      • Your assessment of the dichotomy is quite honest! :-)

      • Alexander Harvey

        Joel and all,

        It would be a large coincidence that the figure could been derived in the following way.

        1366*0.7 * (2/pi) =~ 609

        Which is consistent with the ratio of the hemispheric area to the plane area of pi/2 as opposed to 2.

        This is a curiousity.

        Alex

      • So, in other words, he got the ratio of the surface area of a hemisphere to the area of a disc wrong? Okay. I had no clue where it came from.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Joel

        I make no claim on where it came from, but it is a curious happenstance and perhaps he may clarify. Perhaps not.

        Alex

      • scepticalWombat

        A small typo. It doesn’t make a difference to the rest of your argument but the surface area of a half hemisphere is actually twice the area of a disc with the same radius, not half. Because the area is doubled the average flux is halved which is where you get back on track.

      • Joel, I apologize if this has already been said; but the area of a hemisphere is twice that of the area of a circle with the same radius.

      • Joel Shore, you wrote:

        Hence, we find that the earth should emit ~239 W/m^2, and indeed, when we look at it from space, it does […]. However, the surface of the earth is at a temperature of about 15 C, or 288 K, which means (via the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation) that the surface emits ~390 W/m^2. The difference between these two numbers represents the greenhouse effect […]>blockquote>

        Seems you’ve missed one of the most important (and forward) messages in J.E. Postma’s paper, which a lot of people already thought about — though unfortunately, few warmists among them? The statement the Earth should emit ~239 W/m^2 correctly describes the entire [solid Earth+oceans+atmosphere] system when looked from the space, where it can only send heat via radiative transfer (let’s forget other possible ways for the Earth to transmit energy around). It’s completely wrong to directly translate that statement to: the Earth surface — lands and oceans, at altitude=0 (R~6371Km) — should emit ~239 W/m^2. We may consider an “equivalent radius/altitude” (for purely radiative transfer to space) which temperature is -18°C (255 K), but at that stage nobody knows what’s the value of that “equivalent radius/altitude”.

        Following your logic, I’ll now consider the “mean” temperature of the Earth in the underground, at depths 700 Km (R=5671 Km), 2900m (R=3471 Km) and 5100 Km (1271 Km), which correspond respectively to transitions between the internal mantle and external mantle, external core and internal mantle, and internal core and external core. So, following the same logic, I’d write: every 3 spherical layers 700, 2900 and 5100 Km deep should emit ~239 W/m^2. However, their temperatures are respectively 2000°C, 3200°C and 3500°C, which means (via the Stefan-Boltzmann equation) that they respectively emit ~1,5, ~8.25 and ~63 millions of W/m^2. Now, let’s take into account the large differences between the radiuses of those spheres (whereas one usualy neglects them when dealing with several kilometers change of altitude in the atmosphere). With the values indicated above, I get ~5*10^16 W at the Earth surface, and 1,5*10^20 W, 3,1*10^20 W and 3,2*10^20 W at depths 700, 2900 and 5100 Km respectively. But that’s still wide differences! Unbelivable! I’ve just brought evidence for a huge green-house effect under the ground!…

        More seriously, what’s wrong here?

        First, I entirely forgot other ways to transport heat (energy, more generally) than radiation… But that’s what you’ve just done.

        Second, I dropped the sticking issue of net transfer VS two-ways transfer… which allowed me to completely forget that any sphere below the ground, as well as the Earth surface (and any strate in the atmosphere) are in contact with other layers which temperatures are obviously not 0 K. But you’ve done the same

        Even if we go on forgetting other possible ways to transfert heat than radiation, and even if we drop the problem of abusing extrapolation of that law to gases and liquids, when refering to Stefan-Boltzmann law, people usually don’t consider sigma*T^4 but sigma*(T1^4 – T2^4). However, if you consider exchanges between the solid+liquid surface and the air immediately in contact with it, you should take into account the fact that they have the same temperatures, because they are in contact. And if you want to take a mean value for a one day + one night cycle, you get a steady-state field with no net transfer. The same way you’ve got an energy balance at the top of atmosphere. Now, go back to my 3 underground layers: how is it that the undergrounds remain in a steady-state (when looked in the mid-term, neglecting the convection in the rocks, not to mention internal nuclear sources)? Simply because those value have nothing to do with net energy transfert / heat transfer. They are just related to the local temperatures, which depend on the pressure, due to gravity, on the calorific capacities, etc.

        The net radiative transfer, that’s what gives the heat flux (in a purely radiative context). Your ~390 W/m^2 only describe a theoretical flux in a two-ways transfer (purely radiative) model, not a net (heat) flux. In other words, your ~390 W/m^2, if somehow real, have no reality in terms of heat transfer. So why would they have some room in the calculation of an energy balance? Why consider an equaly virtual (390 – 239 ~ 150 W/m^2) flux as something which is likely to warm the Earth? Only a non-null net transfer is likely to induce some warming. However, that DWLWR just get in and out, so it doesn’t. And it wouldn’t, even if the DWLWR slowly increased, as long as it keeps going in and out in same quantities.

    • Dear Dr. Postma:
      With all due respect, your model is flawed for the following:
      1) Equation (12) is wrong and does not represent the energy balance of the atmosphere. Where is the latent heat of condensation of water vapor?
      2) In Figure-1, how can a colder atmosphere exchange a net radiation, σ TA4, with a warmer surface of the earth. This violates the law of thermodynamics.
      3) Your model in Figure-1 suggests that the atmosphere as a whole traps fσ Ts4, which must heat all of the atmosphere. Our observations shows that the upper atmosphere is not warming but cooling instead. How do you explain the greenhouse cooling effect in the upper atmosphere?
      4) There is no greenhouse gas effect and practical experiments are a proof.

  5. [copied from the previous thread]
    Joel Shore: “Okay…Let’s do the calculation right, shall we?”

    Joel, you are missing the fine points in that calculation. You’re also assuming that gases radiate directly according to the S-B Law, which they don’t have to. That’s where astrophysics and stellar modelling comes in. The S-B Law is for surfaces, not gases. Even with the ground-air temperature of +15C, the integrated emission is still equivalent 255K. GHG’s can NOT reduce that emission, by heating the Earth. That would be a direct violation of the S-B Law.

    • The earth’s surface is not a gas. It is a solid surface that, at an average temperature of +15C is emitting ~390 W/m^2. How is it that the earth as seen from space is only emitting ~240 W/m^2?

      • It is not the surface which is at +15C, it is the surface air. That’s where the temperature is measured…in the air. The thermometers aren’t in the ground.
        How does a photosphere have a temperature of 9000K at its bottom but only emit 5700K in aggregate? Same reason the Earth can do it at its temperatures. There are no papers in the astrophysical literature about the greenhouse effect in stellar photospheres…so, don’t try to say that there a GHE in stars.

      • So, you are saying the “ground” (including ocean surface) is only at a temperature of somewhere around 255 K? Doesn’t seem too likely, does it?

        There’s simply no way around the following logic:

        (1) The ground emits about 390 W/m^2 of radiation.
        (2) The earth as seen from space emits about 240 W/m^2 of radiation.
        (3) Therefore, the atmosphere must absorb some of the radiation from the ground. (It, of course, subsequently re-emits some, but less gets emitted to space than is absorbed by the atmosphere.)

        This is what we call “the greenhouse effect”. I don’t know what similar effects are called in stellar photospheres or if there are other important factors there. However, there is no getting around the fact that the earth’s surface could not be at its current temperature if it were not for the fact that there are elements in the atmosphere that absorb terrestrial IR radiation (elements we commonly call “greenhouse gases” and “clouds”).

      • Yet the physics is precisely that light will not escape from the stellar atmosphere until it becomes optically thin enough to do so. On any planet with a greenhouse effect- on Earth, Venus, or on the gas planets, heat moves upward radiatively or via convection until it reaches overlying atmosphere that is no longer opaque to infrared radiation. For a planet constantly illuminated by sunlight, this results in an excess of solar absorption for a constant T, since the outgoing radiation is inhibited. T can only rise as a result. This is what happens on Venus, which absorbs less sunlight than Earth, and is as far into the uniform temperature approximation that you can get. Your misunderstanding of the geometry of energy balance will not change this, nor are your attempts with Joel to move the goal posts.

      • Joseph E Postma : “The thermometers aren’t in the ground.”

        Hmm. The water coming from my well, not too deep in the ground, is an unvarying 12.2 oC. I take it to be a good measure of the average ground temperature at my location.

      • Is the ground at the depth where your water comes from being heated from below or above? Below I suggest.

      • Good point.

      • On second thought, the surface boundary condition is still determined by what’s going on outside, regardless of the geothermal gradient (which does not impose a steep temperature gradient where I live). I estimate that the water is about 1 oC warmer than the (temporally averaged) surface, if it equilibrates at my well depth of about 30 meters.

      • Maybe in the winter, but in the summer, it’s probably getting more heat from above. Think about it. Permafrost in Alaska stays frozen even in ~20°C temperatures in summer. Or, it did until global warming began to fundamentally change the climate of Earth.

      • Nobody talks about a GHE in stars because there is a net energy flux in the outward direction, having been generated in the core. A planetary GHE is quite different because the energy source is external to the atmosphere. As Chris points out, the physics is otherwise identical – the radiation at any given wavelength arises from the layer at which the optical depth falls below 1. At the center of strong solar absorption lines (like the ionized calcium lines near 3950 angstroms) one is seeing a higher, cooler layer than one is in the wings of those lines and the line profiles mirror the photospheric temperature structure. For the Earth’s atmosphere it’s the CO2 and H20 molecular absorption at play, but the effect is the same – the higher the concentration of the greenhouse gases the greater the height at which the radiation to space can occur. Since radiative balance with the Sun fixes the effective radiative temperature of the Earth, the surface temperature must necessarily increase.

      • Actually, the energy is NOT external too the source. The Sun is outside, yes, but the generated temperature is UPON the surface, inside the atmosphere, at the bottom. So in fact it is very similar to a photosphere, in that particular regard. The energy comes from below and transfers out via several mechanisms. And yes then I agree, the physics would be similar.
        However, if the temperature-generating energy is modeled as some average value FAR below its actual value, then that same physics, though it might be correct in principle, will not be correct in relation to a reality with a much higher insolation Wattage (much higher than 240 W/m2). This is why it is so important so understand the difference between the 240 W/m2 output, and the 610 W/m2 integrated average input, with a maximum of 1370 W/m2 if there is no albedo and under the zenith.

      • The difference is the 610 W/m2 is a number that is calculated incorrectly if it is supposed to represent an average over the earth’s surface (or, to put it another way, if that value multiplied by the surface area of the earth is supposed to represent the total input power) whereas the 240 W/m^2 is a correct calculation: see https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/16/postma-on-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-99914 Needless to say, the 1370 W/m^2 merits no comment.

      • You have no respect for the Stefan-Boltzmann law.

      • I respect it enough to apply it correctly. I have already explained how to do the calculation that you tried to do correctly here https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/16/postma-on-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-99914 (still in the spirit that you tried to do it…I explained it in another way in the other thread).

      • Joel Shore, you wrote:

        Hence, we find that the earth should emit ~239 W/m^2, and indeed, when we look at it from space, it does […]. However, the surface of the earth is at a temperature of about 15 C, or 288 K, which means (via the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation) that the surface emits ~390 W/m^2. The difference between these two numbers represents the greenhouse effect […]

        Seems you’ve missed one of the most important (and forward) messages in J.E. Postma’s paper, which a lot of people already thought about — though unfortunately, few warmists among them? The statement the Earth should emit ~239 W/m^2 correctly describes the entire [solid Earth+oceans+atmosphere] system when looked from the space, where it can only send heat via radiative transfer (let’s forget other possible ways for the Earth to transmit energy around). It’s completely wrong to directly translate that statement to: the Earth surface — lands and oceans, at altitude=0 (R~6371Km) — should emit ~239 W/m^2. We may consider an “equivalent radius/altitude” (for purely radiative transfer to space) which temperature is -18°C (255 K), but at that stage nobody knows what’s the value of that “equivalent radius/altitude”.

        Following your logic, I’ll now consider the “mean” temperature of the Earth in the underground, at depths 700 Km (R=5671 Km), 2900m (R=3471 Km) and 5100 Km (1271 Km), which correspond respectively to transitions between the internal mantle and external mantle, external core and internal mantle, and internal core and external core. So, following the same logic, I’d write: every 3 spherical layers 700, 2900 and 5100 Km deep should emit ~239 W/m^2. However, their temperatures are respectively 2000°C, 3200°C and 3500°C, which means (via the Stefan-Boltzmann equation) that they respectively emit ~1,5, ~8.25 and ~63 millions of W/m^2. Now, let’s take into account the large differences between the radiuses of those spheres (whereas one usualy neglects them when dealing with several kilometers change of altitude in the atmosphere). With the values indicated above, I get ~5*10^16 W at the Earth surface, and 1,5*10^20 W, 3,1*10^20 W and 3,2*10^20 W at depths 700, 2900 and 5100 Km respectively. But that’s still wide differences! Unbelivable! I’ve just brought evidence for a huge green-house effect under the ground!…

        More seriously, what’s wrong here?

        First, I entirely forgot other ways to transport heat (energy, more generally) than radiation… But that’s what you’ve just done.

        Second, I dropped the sticking issue of net transfer VS two-ways transfer… which allowed me to completely forget that any sphere below the ground, as well as the Earth surface (and any strate in the atmosphere) are in contact with other layers which temperatures are obviously not 0 K. But you’ve done the same

        Even if we go on forgetting other possible ways to transfert heat than radiation, and even if we drop the problem of abusing extrapolation of that law to gases and liquids, when refering to Stefan-Boltzmann law, people usually don’t consider sigma*T^4 but sigma*(T1^4 – T2^4). However, if you consider exchanges between the solid+liquid surface and the air immediately in contact with it, you should take into account the fact that they have the same temperatures, because they are in contact. And if you want to take a mean value for a one day + one night cycle, you get a steady-state field with no net transfer. The same way you’ve got an energy balance at the top of atmosphere. Now, go back to my 3 underground layers: how is it that the undergrounds remain in a steady-state (when looked in the mid-term, neglecting the convection in the rocks, not to mention internal nuclear sources)? Simply because those value have nothing to do with net energy transfert / heat transfer. They are just related to the local temperatures, which depend on the pressure, due to gravity, on the calorific capacities, etc.

        The net radiative transfer, that’s what gives the heat flux (in a purely radiative context). Your ~390 W/m^2 only describe a theoretical flux in a two-ways transfer (purely radiative) model, not a net (heat) flux. In other words, your ~390 W/m^2, if somehow real, have no reality in terms of heat transfer. So why would they have some room in the calculation of an energy balance? Why consider an equaly virtual (390 – 239 ~ 150 W/m^2) flux as something which is likely to warm the Earth? Only a non-null net transfer is likely to induce some warming. However, that DWLWR just get in and out, so it doesn’t. And it wouldn’t, even if the DWLWR slowly increased, as long as it keeps going in and out in same quantities.

      • Joel Shore, you wrote:

        However, the surface of the earth is at a temperature of about 15 C, or 288 K, which means (via the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation) that the surface emits ~390 W/m^2.

        Wait! There’s something else which seems plainly wrong to me, there.

        At best, you can consider that the Earth is a gray body, not a black one — as you can see, tree leaves are a green body, snow a white one, most stones are browns, … So the Earth emissivity is obviously not 1. If one uses the standard value of e = (1 – a) = 0.7, one gets: the surface of the earth is at a temperature of about 15 C, or 288 K, which means (via the Stefan-Boltzmann equation) that the surface emits ~273 W/m^2.

        Now, the Earth isn’t a grey body. And as far as I know, there are big heat transfers involving something else than radiation. Water and rocks have large thermal inertia (capacity); it takes loads of energy to change ice to liquid water, or water to water vapour; so we’re far from an ‘ideal’ situation with instantaneous radiative equilibrium everywhere at the surface.

        Besides, nobody nows what an ‘averaged temperature’ is — to what it is supposed to correspond, in physics. At best, one must consider that there are different ways to make a calculation.

        First, take into account the fact that radiative power is induced by the temperature, and not vice versa, and the problem of the 4th power on T. Take 8 points ‘representing’ 8 squares of same areas, which local measured temperatures are respectively -20, 10, …, +30, +40 and +50 °C. The direct averaging on the measured temperatures gets T_avg = 15°C, leading to ~ 390 * 0,7 ~ 273 W/m^2. Now, for each square separately, compute the expected radiative power, then take the average P, then deduce the equivalent ‘averaged temperature’: you’ll get 17,7°C. What to conclude? Do we even know?

        But the problem is probably much more complicated. One other big issue can be perceived in the fact that kinetic temperature already involves some kind of averaging, at a microscopic level, which questions the way you get a mean temperature : linear or square mean, etc?

        Anyway: sincerly, what kind of averaged temperature can drop the local thermal capacities? Temperature is intensive. ‘Worse’: in most situation, of course including that of the Earth surface, an average temperature probably has no physical sense at all. Remember, for example, how many Joules it takes only to change ice in water, then water in ice, before the temperature of the same volume of water can just go on increasing: if a balance on energy make sense, what would be the meaning of similar calculations (additions, balance, average) on the temperatures of blocks of ice, liquid water and volumes of water vapour considered together, their phases changing with time?…

      • Dimanche shabbas.
        ============

      • Dr. Postma:

        Let me try this from another angle. I’m not debating the physics here;
        people like Joel are doing fine with that aspect of things.

        I’m responding to your argument above, which seems to boil down to:

        (A) Nobody talks about a GHE in stars
        (B) Stars have a temperature profile that decreases through the photosphere
        therefore
        (C) The terrestrial atmospheric temperature profile cannot result from the GHE

        Beyond the glaring logical fallacy, I’m trying to offer an explanation for
        point (A). Nobody talks about a GHE in stars because it’s irrelevant.
        The very name of the effect came from the analogy to a greenhouse,
        which is transparent to visible light impinging on it from the outside
        but which interferes with the subsequent escape of the resultant energy
        arising from the heated surfaces within. Yes, in the case of an actual
        greenhouse it’s due to convection being blocked while in a planetary
        atmosphere it’s due to attenuation of IR radiation, but the basic analogy
        holds, while in the context of stellar atmospheres it would be nonsensical.

      • Yah it is not quite that simple FS. You A B & C is too simple of a break down.
        But if a real greenhouse DOES attenuate IR radiation, and this does NOT have an effect upon the temperature inside, it makes no sense. Physics can’t be selective. If IR attenuation works for an atmosphere it should also work inside an experiment.
        The idea that some have posted here, that the GHE depends on or creates the temperature gradient, is ridiculous. That gradient is derived from fundamental physics independent of GHG’s or a GHE. My paper explains why and how the lapse rate arises.

      • Actually 70% of the temperature is measured in the water. 30% is measured at 2meters. the rest is measured in the water

      • Sorry no cupydoll for you, these are measurements from 10cm below surface to 100cm below surface.

      • But meteorologists never ever in their lifetime measure surface temperature! they measure surface _air_ temperature, which can be, and is very different from ‘surface’ temperature. The only place where surface temperature actually makes sense is arid desert, and also to some extent – sea surface. What is the surface temperature of grassland? A forest? better yet, what is the surface of three-tired forest? Oak leafs? Hornbeam leafs? grass? Soil? What about transpiration, how to count it in? Of course, you can say ‘the surface temperature is what satellite measure emitting in atmospheric windows’, and apparently it is composed partly of oak leafs emitting, partly of hornbeam’s, partly of grass and partly of soil. But, does it make _physical_ sense?

  6. Chriscolose rebut attempt
    Page 2
    Postma picks the highest emissivity value (e=1) for atmosphere to give it a chance to show an effect but chris objects.
    Usual insults “Postma does not know how to derive result formally”
    Page 3 moves quickly to Venus hoping others are not to sure of chris slight of hand.

    Bottom of page
    simple model not good
    simple model good
    take your pick
    Page 4
    Back to Venus
    Lapse rate dance around then back to Venus with no conclusion
    Page 5
    Chris has now abandoned the previous model he used (2010) but is not up front about it.
    His previous model was a 3 layer tropopause mutually radiating layers.
    Now the more sophisticated TOA model is used .
    Page 6
    Desert discussed but Postmas conclusion is not seriously challenged.
    Deserts are apparently complicated
    If we don’t have a greenhouse effect we will have snowball earth which is the biggest evidence of circular reasoning you will find on the internet.

    If this was the challenge that Judith imagined she must be disappointed.
    Its like a heavyweight boxing match where Postma knocks out Chris in the first round.
    The fans who have paid good money are not very happy.

    • I’m afraid the heavyweights are not bothering with this thread. As far as I’m concerned Postma was already knocked out on the previous thread.

      • Stuff like this probably convinced the Andy Lacis´ of the world to leave…

      • Settle down you guys. Boundary conditions can be difficult to wrap your head around. 240 W/m2 is NOT the input power to the Earth.

      • Who? Is he overweight as well?

      • What is a heavyweight? It is usually someone who has a high opinion of him/herself.

      • A heavy weight is someone with substantial past academic or applied credentials, with demonstrated meta-cognitive abilities to reason about diverse scientific problems and communicate that reasoning.

      • You have stated two very different criteria — expertise and reasoning ability. I suspect you just mean expertise. I see no evidence of superior reasoning among the experts.

      • Yes, I am looking for both

      • It is a good point. Remember- Oliver has credentials

      • Oliver may have great reasoning skills. He just happens to have a fixation on a topic that is not necessarily relevant to our discussions. Descartes is supposed to have said, of a lunatic who thought his head was made of glass (a true delusion), that he reasoned very well for a man with a glass head. In other words, reasoning and truth are two different things. In logic this is the difference between a valid argument and a sound one. Only the latter yields a true result but reasoning per se is about the former.

      • There may not be any. Most of our experts are relatively incoherent. This is not unusual. One of the central roles of the university is to shelter such people. Intelligence and intelligibility do not go hand in hand.

      • Well for this particular topic, someone with a graduate degree in a physical science or related engineering field has the requisite expertise. And most with such expertise that hang out in the climate blogosphere have developed some communications skills.

      • One of the central roles of the university is to shelter such people.

        I am highly critical of academe – but I can’t agree with this statement.

        There are those who lack communication skills but who are able to stay afloat by virtue of their intellectual power; but they, by definition, are a relative minority. If someone lacks intellectual power but is able to survive by virtue of their political expediency, then by definition they possess effective communication skills. Like any work context, some people just luck out or fall into the correct place. But for the most part, effective communication skills and expertise are highly correlative with success in academe.

        I suspect your politics are showing, David.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        David Wojick

        You may be right, otherwise perfection would be in excess supply. It is as if a zero sum game is in play with attributes involving persuasion.

        Were I to meet someone with God-like beauty, strength, charm, intelligence, charisma and clarity of spoken word, I would likely start edging for the door. I’d be nervous about compensatory defects that I don’t want to find out about first hand.

      • I don’t think we have heavy weights here. Andy Lacis qualifies but I have not seen him in a while. We have a spectrum from cranks, uninformed, curious, to different levels of informed.

      • Happily that mix is sufficient to get the job done. No one is an expert on more than a small fraction of the issues so great expertise is not especially useful, and might actually be distracting.

      • “We have a spectrum from cranks, uninformed, curious, to different levels of informed.”

        I think I have that covered. Who else ya got??

      • steven mosher

        The interesting thing is that skeptics are not here defending very much or very well. I suspect some know it’s wrong but don’t feel comfortable calling out their brethren.

      • A skeptic disagreeing with me would be no more important than an alarmist doing so.

      • steven mosher

        Facts disagreeing with you wouldnt change your opinion.

      • Oh, no that would! But the fact is that sunshine is hot.

      • Personally, I’m staying out of this for now, because although, going by what I’ve learnt and figured out for myself over the years, I’m 99.9% confident that they’re wrong, there’s always that niggling 0.1%
        Why am I not 100% confident?
        Because, in other fields, I’ve found out on more than one occasion that what appears to be generally accepted, long-standing, intuitive and settled can be turned completely on its head by simply using a different frame of reference, eg the frequency domain as opposed to the time domain.
        There’s enough people here picking holes in their arguments, and all I have to offer at the moment is more of the same.

      • “can be turned completely on its head by simply using a different frame of reference”

        That is an extremely insightful and valid observation. It characterizes what is happening here too, and what I present in my paper. A possible paradigm shift…change of reference frame.

      • Unfortunately, if that’s indeed the case – and I’m not saying that it is, or isn’t – you have your work cut out to convince people.
        You’ll have to find a way to explain it exactly on a detailed blow-by-blow basis, from microscopic all the way upwards to planetary scales and beyond, with clear workings out at every stage, but, at the same time, in such a way that doesn’t cause the average reader’s eyes to glaze over a quarter of the way through.
        No mean feat, as I’m sure you can understand, but it’s unfortunately the only way, short of physically being in the same room as the rest of us.

      • Imagine that, all of us in the same room? Eeeek!

        Yah unfortunately, what you specify is more than one man can handle! Hey, unless I get a big research grant and direct the research activities of, say, a group of a dozen scientists or so! I’d do that :-)
        But really, I think that the community will take up the research automatically, once the boundary condition issue is clarified.
        Cheers.

      • Well, in reality, more of half of us are actually beautiful women masquerading as men on this blog.
        Does that make it better? :-)

        Just kidding :-(

      • I just got married…so…

        LOL :-)

  7. Joel Shore:
    “Bonus question: Do you think, given Postma’s background, that these errors are likely honest mistakes or purposeful deceptions?”

    Oh that’s a fun game.

    • Personally, I don’t consider it fun at all when someone’s actions lead me to the almost inescapable conclusion that the person is being purposely deceptive (or that he is self-deluded beyond my abilities to fathom)…especially when that person claims to be a scientist. I consider it very, very sad.

      • I can assure you I am not being purposely deceptive. When we get into that kind of bashing…ugh, why bother. Same for comments about delusions. I know I do it to, and it isn’t correct. :-)

        No, I seriously have honest questions that I wrote about in my paper(s). What happens if we model the input at its actual values? It feels hot under the Sun, doesn’t it? Averaging that out to -18C just isn’t real. Look again at the model of the radiative interaction at the end of my paper.

      • Joe,

        We don’t do energy conservation calculations by trying to figure out how it feels. But, if you want to know, I think that it feels hot under the sun and that it would feel damn cold at night under a sky in which there is no radiative emission from the sun and if there was no radiative emission from the sky either.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Joel,

        sadly in terms of feeling or sensation we are insensitive to background IR yet without it we might freeze in warm air.

        I think that we vary in surface area from around 1 to 2 m^2 and at 37C we must radiate quite strongly perhaps 500W or so, I haven’t calculated a figure. We don’t generate those sort of amounts at rest and we are not deriving it from cooling the air around us, yet one could stand naked in a room at say 25C and not freeze.

        We simply do not sense background IR but I think we would miss it.

        Alex

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Alexander Harvey

        at 37C we must radiate quite strongly perhaps 500W or so

        Don’t need S-B for this.

        2000 Calorie/day diet = ~97 watts

      • Great idea, but it ignores other sources of body energy besides food (such as solar or infrared radiation & conduction) and other sinks of body energy (such as conduction & evaporation).

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        John N-G

        Yah, but humans also turn on the furnace/air-conditioning and dress for weather and perspire during physical labor. The result is to adjust the rate of daily energy loss so that it roughly matches input (i.e. 2000 kcal = ~97 W). Of course, some goes into the energy sink around the waist. :)

        Anyway, is S-B even applicable? I hope you realize that not everybody with a large energy sink is a round blackbody. What then to use for greybody emissivity? Some say you must calculate radiated power separately for whitebodies and blackbodies because associative combining violates fundamental law, but I will use 0.5 anyway even though I suppose someone will get upset. And don’t forget, 37C is core internal temp, not surface.

        However, since you insist, the S-B radiated power for a round, human greybody with 2.0 m^2 surface area and an unrealistic 37C SST (skin surface temperature) is: 0.5 * 5.67 * 10E-8 * 2.0 * 310.2^4 = 525 W.

        Happy?

      • I know I do it to, and it isn’t correct.

        Would that everyone here would write that on a virtual post-it and tack it onto their computer screen.

      • Joel Shore

        You missed out the bit about moral character Joel.

      • Joel says,
        “Personally, I don’t consider it fun at all when someone’s actions lead me to the almost inescapable conclusion that the person is being purposely deceptive (or that he is self-deluded beyond my abilities to fathom)…especially when that person claims to be a scientist. I consider it very, very sad.”

        Given many of the dishonest protestations of Mann, Schmidt, and many others through the past few years, you must be a really, really, really sad person.

      • Joel,
        The scummiest thing you believers indulge in is to attribute motives.

      • Your good manners and politeness stand out as a beacon of light on these pages.

  8. Postma makes a big deal about night and day but this is accounted for already in his eq. (4), which uses the Earth’s cross section, and eq. (6), which uses the total surface area.

    Then he makes a big deal that at an estimated 288 K the estimated emission doesn’t match the estimated incoming energy, even though the error is sensitive to the 4th power. The effective temperature required to make the two wattages match exactly is 279 K, a 3% difference. A 3% difference from a textbook estimate disproves the GHE?

  9. We cannot use Venus-Earth-Mercury analogy for a quite simple reason:
    Carbon dioxide on Venus’ surface behaves as a supercritical fluid coolant.
    Joel Shore, with his entire physics burden on his back, confounds dispersion/diffusion/distribution of thermal energy with an inexistent “storage of heat”. Joel Shore cannot ignore that heat cannot be stored.

    • Does this mean that Joel is “being purposely deceptive (or that he is self-deluded beyond my abilities to fathom)”? Hey, he started it. Joel likes to substitute “deception” and “delusion” for “disagreement.” Sadly there are many such in the climate debate.

      • David,

        That is simply not the case.

        I have made a distinction between legitimate scientific disagreement and nonsense. I may not think that Roy Spencer has always shown the best scientific judgement…He’s made some pretty bone-headed errors in fact (one being arguing that intelligent design and evolution are equally valid scientific theories and others related to analysis of climate change). However, I would not say that his work shows purposeful deception or unfathomable delusion.

        There are some arguments that are so ridiculous scientifically that they enter a different category. Do you believe that the differences between a Young Earther and a scientist who believes the earth to be more than 6000 years old are just legitimate scientific disagreement?

      • Postma is not a Young Earther, Joel. You however are an ignorant fool. Save the term delusion for the real thing, which has a clinical definition. If I had my way you would be kicked off this list for abuse.

      • David,

        If you were actually looking at the argument we are having and if you able to evaluate it yourself, I think you’d have to conclude that the comparison is very generous. I had a guy where I used to work make much better arguments for a 6000 year old earth than this.

      • Really, that’s what you want me to argue about with you now? You really want to degrade this to a discussion of 6000 year old earth believers? Running from the actual argument.

      • Joel.

        “one being arguing that intelligent design and evolution are equally valid scientific”

        Then you do not believe in signal processing, artificial intelligence and any number of other scientific endeavours based on many of the same principles?? My, you warmistas are sure a picky lot for who you hang out with!!

      • This thread is growing into an illustration of what I am saying. We have Nasif arguing that one doesn’t have to divide the solar constant of 1370 W/m^2 by four to get the average over the surface area of a sphere. You have Postma making simple mistakes in computing total energy by using wrong geometric factors, etc.

        This is not a real scientific argument. It is science vs something that is not science.

      • And neither one taking into account that only little more than half of the solar radiation reaches the surface and some of that is reflected leaving little less than half. Atmosphere including clouds absorbs about 23% and reflects the same amount.

        Using almost the maximal value of best conditions as average is unbelievable.

      • And we have Joel, Pekka, and Fred highly confused with astrophysical constants.

      • To be fair, Postma is including the albedo correction in what I have seen from him thus far. A good point that we are all ignoring that not all of that 240 W/m^2 makes it to the surface, which could have some implications, depending on assumptions regarding what happens to the radiation absorbed by the atmosphere, for how much the surface could then re-radiate in the absence of a greenhouse effect. But from the point of view of the top-of-the-atmosphere, it is correct to have 240 W/m^2 going out.

      • Joel… You say: “…for how much the surface could then re-radiate in the absence of a greenhouse effect.”

        The same because such greenhouse effect, as it is described, doesn’t exist.

  10. Postma says

    …”Joel, you are missing the fine points in that calculation. You’re also assuming that gases radiate directly according to the S-B Law,”…..

    This is a point that G&T made and can be checked by anyone with a spreadsheet.
    Pick one small section of Planck radiation curve to represent the filtered radiation chosen.say 14um to 16um to get the intensity.
    Then for a range of temperatures find the area on the Planck curve between these wavelengths
    Plot the intensity against the Kelvin temperature.
    Result the T^4 law is no longer strictly valid
    Conclusion
    1.blackbody assumption not justified
    2 for accurate work gray body approximation no longer valid

    • …which is why the line-by-line radiative-convective codes used for quantitative work don’t make this approximation.

      • he’s never seen RTEs, and cant spell LBL. But he uses devices that rely on the physics he denies. weird.

      • And of course, since Steven Mosher was associated with military engineering projects in some capacity he knows these models are perfect from personal experience.

        Bravo.

      • I know the models are good enough to protect the lives of men and women who protect your freedom. The real test of any science is can you build a working useful device. Dragon slayers physics? not yesterday today or tomorrow.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        steven mosher

        Bryan’s point is also about clarifying the physics. It is a mistake, I think, to reduce the issue to a contest between denying vs. unblinking credulity.

        Haven’t you noticed the appalling number of times that the lesser ‘champions of physics’ have conflated back-radiation with Heat? This also is denial of physics, albeit unintentional.

        Again, clarity is what is needed.

  11. Judith you say this is a technical discussion. Why then do you allow Joel Shore, Eli Rabbett and Chris Colose to immediately wade in with the insults?

  12. In the last thread I posted a link to Vaughan Pratt’s experiment:
    http://boole.stanford.edu/WoodExpt/

    It was implied by Bryan that Prof. Pratt now views the experiment as flawed, although he didn’t update the page to say so. Prof. Pratt, if you are following this thread, I’d appreciate your present view on the linked experiment.

    • Dr. Postma, it’s a shame you didn’t make the experiment (i.e. Wood-type experiment) you describe in your paper. Do you intend to do it and report about it? Thanks.

  13. My help is probably not needed in dismantling Joseph Postma’s conclusions, because Pekka, Chris Colose, Joel Shore, David N, Eli, and others have been doing a creditable job. Not being a mind reader, I won’t question his motives, which I will presume to be honorable. I’ll add one small observation, however.

    I read through the earlier version of his treatise, which was discussed previously on this blog. I found many of the same errors that appear to persist in the current version, which I’ve only skimmed through, and so I probably don’t have the patience to scrutinize the latest version in detail. It appears generally similar in its approach to the earlier one. I notice one interesting difference.

    In the earlier version, Postma tries to reinforce his theorizing with a concrete hypothetical example in which the absence of back radiation will be proved by the failure of an emitting object to warm up. The problem with the earlier example, in my view (and this is not meant sarcastically) is that it was simple and visualizable enough so that readers could promptly understand why it would give the opposite answer and demonstrate back radiation via a “greenhouse effect” mechanism. It was also simple enough so that a practical demonstration could probably be devised. This was a tactical error in the sense that it made Postma’s assertions empirically testable.

    What he appears to have done in the current version is retreat from that simplicity and propose a test that will probably never be attempted because of practical difficulties, and which is much harder to visualize, so that its outcome will not be as obviously contradictory to the theorizing as in the earlier version. (It has significant design flaws in addition, but these can probably be addressed with some adjustments). I conclude from this that regardless of motive, he has revised his theorizing in the direction of making it less testable, without changing its essential elements.

    The only other point I’ll make is that a number of participants in this thread have already cited real-world examples of back radiation, some in the infrared, and some in other wavelengths, that refute the Postma conclusions. However, if he ever wishes actually to implement the example he now cites (after approriate adjustments), I will be interested to see the quantitative interpretation of results.

    • Fred your post is like the manager of a football team down 6-0 at half time.
      Its good practice to rally the troops and say what a wonderful effort they have all made.
      There’s always the second half.

    • The experiment is called the Wood Experiment, which showed that heating inside an enclosure is caused by preventing convection, rather than by radiative trapping. It is radiative trapping by which the atmospheric GHE (as opposed to a greenhouse’s greenhouse effect) is theorized to operate – such a mechanism SHOULD be replicable by experiment. It is not. What I desired to make more testable was the theory of the GHE via radiative trapping…I explained that quite well. It is also a test of the S-B Law itself. It should be reproducible experimentally.
      Nasif Nahle recently replicated the Wood experiment (which is slightly different than the one I proposed), and her verified its results – the heat inside a GH is due to convective prevention, not radiative trapping.
      Look it doesn’t help to “lightly-read” and then criticize. Please actually read with intention.

      • In the earlier discussion I brought up flat plate thermal solar collectors. They have selective coating on the collector surface, but they have also selective glazing. They are reported to reach temperatures up to 180C, when not cooled by the liquid being heated. A straightforward quantitative calculation appears to confirm that using selective glass is not just a promotional trick, but really needed for that performance.

        The significance of selective glazing is a direct confirmation of the effect that Wood could not find due to his crude experimental settings.

      • Joseph – Go back through various recent threads and look for descriptions of the Wood experiment. You will find that it did nothing to support your conclusions. Rather, it was a very weak test of greenhouse effects, which tended to show results consistent with some effect, but not at an unequivocal level, due to the very limited radiative modifications possible with the experimental design. Examples cited in these threads by others more clearly demonstrate back radiation and its warming effects, confirming theory with observational data..

        Failure to properly account for convective changes is one of the design flaws in the test proposed in your current version. If you ever intend to carry out the test, you will have to change the design from the one you described. There are other adjustments that would also be required.

      • I haven´t looked at these experiments in any detail, but I am not sure how they would reproduce the essential physics of the real greenhouse effect. For example, in the real world the greenhouse effect depends on the vertical temperature gradient (between the surface and the upper atmosphere); how do you set that up in such a boxed experiment?

      • Chris – I believe they would be a test of back radiation and not the entirety of the greenhouse effect.

      • The GHE does not cause, nor is caused by, the temperature gradient. The temperature gradient exists independent of GHG’s. If the real world greenhouse actually did depend on the temperature gradient, then why do we teach it as a model which has ZERO dependance upon the temperature gradient…

      • In fact, in simple models like the one that you looked at, the GHE and the solar insolation both are responsible for setting up a temperature gradient, i.e., lapse rate. Just look at the difference between the temperature at the surface and the temperature on the shell representing the atmosphere. (The value of the gradient wouldn’t really be defined in such a model until you defined the height of your layer representing the atmosphere.)

        In more realistic convective-radiative models and in the real atmosphere, the heating from below causes the lapse rate to exceed the adiabatic lapse rate, which makes the troposphere unstable to convection. Convection then restores the lapse rate to the appropriate (moist or dry) adiabatic lapse rate. The existence of this lapse rate is indeed important for understanding how an increase in greenhouse gases then leads to an increase in temperature at the surface.

      • This comment by Postma just proves that he has no familiarity with the greenhouse effect. I would strongly recommend to him Ray Pierrehumbert´s cliamte book, which goes into detail the dependence of the lapse rate (or any paper on climate feedbacks that discusses the lapse rate feedback in terms of contemporary global warming).

        I do think it is a valid criticism of the simple 0-D model however, but it is a straw man in the context of radiative transfer modeling.

      • I made a comment about this but it seemed to disappear, so I’ll try again.

        For a simple model of the greenhouse effect that does not include convection, like the one that you lay out in your paper, the greenhouse effect together with the solar insolation heating the atmosphere from below does in fact create a temperature gradient [lapse rate] (note the temperature difference between the surface and the shell representing the atmosphere) although the model is so simple that the “gradient” just consists of temperatures at two different points and to turn that into a gradient, you’d have to define the height of the shell.

        For radiative-convective models of the greenhouse effect, the insolation and greenhouse radiation actually create a lapse rate that would be larger than the adiabatic lapse rate but because an atmosphere with a lapse rate above the adiabatic lapse rate is unstable to convection, convection comes in and transports heat up through the troposphere, enforcing that the lapse rate to be approximately at the adiabatic lapse rate in most of the troposphere. This lapse rate is indeed then important in determining how the surface temperature increases as additional greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere.

      • Wood’s experiments were neither a test of backradiation nor of the GHE. Wood explored the mechanism of a glasshouse, so I’m a bit confused why Postma mentions Wood.

        BTW:
        The mechanism has been already explained by Fourier 1827 in studying de Saussure’s Hot Boxes (a tool for measuring IR), the same paper Fourier claimed the atmospheric GHE for the first time in history.

      • Woods experiment is a paragraph. no data. and utterly besides the point of how radiation transfers through the entire column of the atmosphere. An example of skeptics being unskeptical of their own.

      • steven mosher
        It looks like the Woods experiment is about to (or has been recently) repeated with much more accuracy.
        For instance by Nasif Nahle.
        This may be replicated several times to become universally accepted.
        What will your reaction be?
        Some greenhouse theory advocates would not be surprised with an almost negligible effect.
        While others believe in a quite substantial, almost Glasshouse effect

      • Very simply the Woods experiment or any replication of it doesnt test what is claimed by AGW. Adding GHGs to the atmosphere makes it more opaque to IR. That increase in Opacity raises the effective radiating height of the atmosphere.

        You dont test that by doing an experiment in a greenhouse.

        wanna know why? see C02 in the the dry stratosphere

      • I get your point.
        But why do several greenhouse enthusiasts want to deny Woods results.
        Do they not understand their own Greenhouse Theory?

      • Steven… You reject the real methodology of science: Experimentation.

        What your hypothesis of GHE assures? That the greenhouse effect is due to “trapped” longwave radiation by the atmosphere, in particular, CO2.

        Wood’s experiment, and my experiment, demonstrates that such “trapped” longwave radiation by the atmosphere doesn’t exist. So you cannot resort to the old tale of longwave radiation being “stored” by the CO2.

        Science is based on facts, not on tortured mathematics and unphysical laws.

      • Why weak, Fred? Explain yourself scientifically.

      • This also is an interesting paper especially as it comes from a source with no “spin” on the AGW debate.

        The way I read the paper is it gives massive support for the conclusions of the famous Woods experiment.

        Basically the project was to find if it made any sense to add Infra Red absorbers to polyethylene plastic for use in agricultural plastic greenhouses.

        Polyethylene is IR transparent like the Rocksalt used in Woods Experiment.

        The addition of IR absorbers to the plastic made it equivalent to “glass”

        The results of the study show that( Page2 )

        …”IR blocking films may occasionally raise night temperatures” (by less than 1.5C) “the trend does not seem to be consistent over time”

        http://www.hort.cornell.edu/hightunnel/about/research/general/penn_state_plastic_study.pdf

      • The problem is Bryan that to measure the entire effect of GHGs you have to understand that the effect C02 has for example changes as you go up into the dry stratosphere. You cannot test the effect of added c02 in the ENTIRE COLUMN by looking at a small fraction of it.

      • Heh, we’re gonna get to CO2 having a cooling effect, yet. So it’s convection, eh? Reminds me of ‘Why Turbulence’?
        ============

      • So not only do we have worry about climate sensitivity to CO2 varying through time and space, but we have to worry about the radiative effect of CO2 varying through time and space. I still wonder if my argument with Carrick about CO2 facilitating the release of energy toward the poles may have some merit. He convinced me otherwise, but I’ve forgotten why.
        =========================

      • “I still wonder if my argument with Carrick about CO2 facilitating the release of energy toward the poles”

        Well not only that, it also facilitates the release of energy to space. All of the other gases in the atmosphere can only lose thermal energy by bumping into each other. CO2 can do it that way, PLUS all by itself with its internal oscillations. In effect it provides another degree of freedom for energy loss to space. Oh sure it scatters radiation back down to the surface…but a small fraction of much colder-sourced radiation won’t warm up the hotter place where it came from!

      • Oh, yeah, I meant CO2 facilitated the release of energy to space from the poleward parts of the earth. Thanks for the elucidation.
        ===================

      • It seems convectively and/or conductively heated CO2 might relatively facilitate the export of energy to space at night, in drier air, and poleward. This effect would increase with increased energy in the system and it would increase with higher CO2 thus providing two negative feedbacks to the warming effect of rising CO2.

        Ah, and it was DeWitt Payne with which I discussed this, not Carrick. Both so gigantic I sometimes can’t distinguish them.
        ==============

      • But you should be able to replicate the physical principles involved in a designed experiment to do so. You don’t have to experiment an entire atmosphere. The physical principles involved tell you what you want to test. And that is radiative amplification of temperature by passive IR attenuation.

    • Here is a paper by S. D. Silverstein that may be of interest. It is behind a paywall, though.

      Effect of Infrared Transparency on the Heat Transfer Through Windows: A Clarification of the Greenhouse Effect

      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/193/4249/229.abstract

      Fred Staples summarizes it in the following way at

      http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/the_arrogance_of_physicists?page=2

      “… SD Silverstein (who he?) did exactly this in a 1976 paper entitled
      “A Clarification of the Greenhouse Effect”.

      He used an atmospheric temperature of 0 degrees C, an interior temperature of 21 degrees C, and he calculated the radiative and convective heat flows (heat, not energy) from room to glass/rock salt interior, interior to exterior, and exterior to atmosphere. The radiative heat transfer from the interior was substantial, passing through the rock salt and being absorbed in the glass.

      As a result, the glass was warmer than the rock-salt, 4.3 degrees against 2.5 degrees. But, consequently, the convection from the warmer glass was greater than from the cooler rock-salt, compensating for the much greater radiation through the rock salt to the atmosphere.

      There is something for almost everyone in this analysis. For RW Woods, Silverstein concludes that IR opacity or transparency is important but “this effect is more in the mix of different transport mechanisms than in the net thermal transport”. Increased convection balances reduced radiation, so the internal temperature is much the same.

      Nevertheless, the figures do show the total thermal transport for the transparent case to be 18% greater than for the opaque case. So for the opaque greenhouse salesmen, the temperature differential might be a few degrees centigrade in favour of the glass house.

      For the AGW advocates, Silverstein concludes that the IR-absorbing components of the atmosphere do provide a radiation shield, reducing the surface to tropopause radiation and hence the surface cooling.

      For the AGW denialists, the corresponding effect of radiative warming of the atmosphere will increase the convective transfer to the tropopause, and the radiative cooling to space. The figures suggest that the difference between zero IR absorption and 100% absorption is a few degrees C.

      For the direct atmosphere to surface, back-warming enthusiasts, Silverstein, like Sir Arthur Eddington and RW Woods, can offer no hope. …”

  14. Alexander Harvey

    Joseph,

    I am curious to know how you derived the 610W/m^2 figure.

    I noted a close arithmetic similarity above:

    1366*0.7 * (2/pi) =~ 609

    or using the figure you have used above:

    1370*0.7 * (2/pi) =~ 611

    but am missing the logic in it.

    Alex

    • I did that by calculating the integrated mean of the insolation upon the day-side surface (the only surface that receives the insolation). It is the integrated average value. The linear average value would be 1370*0.7*0.5, but, the insolation isn’t actually distributed linearly. That’s why I thought it might be better to use the integrated average value.

      • That makes no sense at all. What you call the “linear average value” is in fact the average value per unit surface area, since a hemisphere has twice the surface of one side of a disc of the same radius. Multiplying that value by the surface area of the hemisphere then gives you the total power. Alternatively, you could take the 1370 W/m^2*0.7 and multiply it by the disc area of pi*R^2 to get the total power.

      • You seem to not understand the difference between a linear vs. non-linear mapping function. Using an integrated average produces a better estimate of the mean than a linear average does if the mapping function is non-linear. Which it isn’t. It varies as the cosine of the zenith angle.

        But either way you cut it, division by 2, or division by 2/pi, the solar insolation on the surface it actually impinges, which is the ONLY place the S-B Law has meaning, has an average temperature equivalent power of +30C or more. The day-side doesn’t actually achieve this temperature.

      • No…The S-B Law has meaning in applying it to consider the total energy balance. It has no meaning when you restrict yourself to part of the earth because there are other energy transfers that occur (both within the atmosphere and between the atmosphere and the oceans/land etc..

      • The S-B Law states the instantaneous power output from a surface of a given temperature. It can also tell you the temperature forcing UPON a surface given an instantaneous incoming insolation. It does NOT tell you that the average insolation upon a surface extends to areas where the surface does not actually receive any insolation. The insolation power only occurs where it occurs – that is where the S-B Law applies.
        You can also figure out the average power output of the Earth given the known total energy input, but this output power does not have the same energy density as the input. The total energy is what is conserved…not the energy flux densities.

      • Like I said, if the elementary way that we average numbers over a surface is too complicated for you to follow, I recommend that we don’t average anything and just work in terms of total powers, which is what I do here: https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/16/postma-on-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-100061

      • We’ve already discussed that this derivation glosses over too much of the physics. Please reference equations 17 through 20 in my paper.

      • Apparently, it did not gloss over too much when you were trying to talk in terms of averages. How does it suddenly gloss over too much physics when we are simply putting it in terms of total power? Do you believe that the earth can have power in not close to equal to power out over significant amounts of time?

      • Power in terms of W/m2, no, not at all equal.

        Total energy in terms of Joules, or even Joules per second? Yes absolutely.

        Don’t mix up power with total energy.

      • Joe,

        Power times time gives energy (or the integral of P*dt if the power varies in time). I am not the one mixing anything up.

      • Good we’re agreed then. The sun doesn’t shine during the nighttime.

        A Joule coming in in one second over 1-meter doesn’t get spread instantaneously into the night.

      • Joe,

        Have you ever worked out a problem in your life in which you had to balance power in and power out OR energy in and energy out?

      • “Have you ever worked out a problem in your life in which you had to balance power in and power out OR energy in and energy out?”

        That’s really cute. Please refer to my paper, where I do both.

      • Joseph E Postma | August 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Reply
        I did that by calculating the integrated mean of the insolation upon the day-side surface (the only surface that receives the insolation). It is the integrated average value. The linear average value would be 1370*0.7*0.5, but, the insolation isn’t actually distributed linearly. That’s why I thought it might be better to use the integrated average value.

        I agree. There does remain the issues of the flows of energy, but Joseph’s method is more realistic. I always said smearing differentiated energy flows into averages was a bad way to try to understand a system which lives and breathes on differentials pumping the bellows of the climate.

        Thank you for your interesting and important paper Joseph.

      • “Thank you for your interesting and important paper Joseph.”

        Thank you for the rationality :-)

      • tallbloke: I have to say that while I may have not thought your arguments to be exactly the greatest, I did not expect you to get taken in by complete nonsense. Now I know.

      • The sun doesn’t shine during the nighttime.

        Please. I can’t comment on your physics, but at least try to get the syntax correct. The Sun will never (hopefully) stop “shining” in our lifetimes.

      • tallbloke, Bryan, and hunter are generally permanent rebels (for its own sake).

      • Like with Xeno, the sun keeps trying to shine into the dark, and never quite gets there.
        ================

      • Heh, an astrophysicist turns up to lend us the benefit of his expertise in calculating the delivery of energy from a star to a planet, and the computer weenies are aghast at the idea that energy from a star only falls on one side of a planet. But instead of considering carefully whether their previoud habit of simply smearing the energy as an average planetwide, instantaneously may not yield a realistic result, they simply start the ad hominem attacks.

        Laughable, but sad at the same time.

      • tallbloke,

        it would seem that Steig is not the only one who has a bad habit of smearing. Seems to be the standard way for many of them to interface with sceptics also.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Joseph,

        Thank you,

        I believe that this the same thing as equatorial insolation during one of the days of the equinox.

        Which integrates as the total insolation that a 1m^2 area would recieve during such a day divided by the 12 hours that it lasts. Which indeed has the 2/pi term. So it equates to the average equatorial inolation on that day.

        Whereas others are integrating first the insolation and secondly the area over the entire hemisphere and dividing.

        Alex

      • Yah that’s exactly right Alexander. The equinox average along the meridian is the same thing as the always-existing average independent of the cardinal reference points.

        “Whereas others are integrating first the insolation and secondly the area over the entire hemisphere and dividing.”

        Actually what most others do is divide not by the hemispherical area, but by the entire surface of the Earth, including the night-side – two hemispheres. As far as I know I am the one who introduced the idea of averaging only over the hemisphere, and the factor of two. While that is a much more physical and realistic average for power input than diluting the sunlight into the night-time where it doesn’t even impinge, we recently realized that the integrated average over the sunlight hemisphere makes the most physical sense. Thus the 2/pi result and 610 W/m2, equivalent to +49C of “temperature forcing”.

      • As Alex, says, this 609 W/m2 is the daytime forcing at a point on the equator at the equinox with an albedo of 0.7. The full diurnal forcing there would be half that, and it is this number that matters if you want a long-term average. This (609/2) gives an equilibrium temperature near 270 K for that latitude. It seems to ignore that parts of the earth are away from the equator, and it is not always the equinox. Using 0.25 instead of 2/pi accounts for all latitudes, the diurnal cycle and the tilt too. It is more accurate.

      • Only as for calculating the average output of the system. But that’s not the same thing as the input boundary conditions.

      • We need the output longwave to balance the input shortwave. You can’t be suggesting that the longwave also goes to zero on the night side, can you?

      • No of course not. Just that the shortwave only comes in on the day-side.

      • You are saying the diurnal average longwave doesn’t have to balance the diurnal average solar input over the earth, only the daytime input implying longwave is only radiated in the daytime. Really only half of it is needed in the daytime because the other half can continue through night, hence the factor of two when figuring the longwave part.

      • The total energies need to equal out, yes indeed. But the powers do not, which are in terms of W/m2. The power figures are different: 240 W/m2 output on average, 610 W/m2 input on average. These equate to the same total energy when factoring in the relevant surface area where these powers values actually occur (entire surface for 240 W.m2 average, sunlight hemisphere for 610 W/m2 average).

      • Oh, you have to be careful about the geometric mapping though. It is simpler to use 480 W/m2 as the average input for the sunlight hemisphere…then you don’t need to worry about weighting by the projection factor.

      • To everyone here it is the output that matters. You can define the input any way you like, but you have to use the same area when comparing it to the output. The output gives you the -18 C radiative temperature, which would be the same with no atmosphere (same albedo).

      • “To everyone here it is the output that matters. You can define the input any way you like, but you have to use the same area when comparing it to the output. The output gives you the -18 C radiative temperature, which would be the same with no atmosphere (same albedo).”

        Yah I agree with all that. -18C is the radiative temperature, or 240 W/m2 output.

        But where the error occurs is in considering 240 W/m2, or -18C, as also the input power, the “temperature forcing” for lack of a better term. This premise it what leads to the need to postulate a heat-amplifying atmospheric GHE via back-radiative GHG’s. But with a power input of 480 W/m2 (30C), or 610 (49C), or whatever the right value is, you don’t find yourself needing to postulate the back-radiative heating mechanism. GHG’s still exist etc, and yes, everything emits radiation including back down to the ground, but it doesn’t heat the ground, nor is it needed to a-priori, because the input power is already much higher than the ground temperature. So in fact there is excess power being absorbed not showing up as temperature. This excess is what drives convection and evaporation etc, and the balance is emitted by the night-side.

      • Convection, evaporation, etc. are energy transports, not sinks. The only way for the earth to shed excess energy is through longwave emission out to space.

      • Anyway, you can’t say 480 inm 240 out. The earth would burn to a crisp very quickly with that accumulation rate.

      • “Convection, evaporation, etc. are energy transports, not sinks. The only way for the earth to shed excess energy is through longwave emission out to space.
        Anyway, you can’t say 480 inm 240 out. The earth would burn to a crisp very quickly with that accumulation rate.”

        You need to absorb the energy to get the processes of convection and evaporation going, and going into a cycle. That is certainly a sink which constantly needs replenished…it is not self-sustaining with no further energy input. And yes it transfers energy around to.

        Agreed that to SHED energy, the only output is to space.

        I am saying 480 over the sunlight hemisphere, 240 out of the sphere. That makes an equality of total energy, and hence no accumulation rate.

      • If you can see that 480 is irrelevant to the earth’s average radiating temperature, and only 240 is, you would be agreeing with the mainstream.

      • “If you can see that 480 is irrelevant to the earth’s average radiating temperature, and only 240 is, you would be agreeing with the mainstream.”

        Well, let me correct that. 480 is important because it determines the total energy absorbed as the initial boundary condition. It also represents the input temperature forcing. From that total energy absorbed, you get the 240 output. So yes certainly, 240 or -18C represents the radiating temperature of the entire ensemble, but, the input forcing is 480 or +30C. The difference between considering 240 as an input, vs. 480 as an input, is the difference between the existence or requirement to postulate a back-radiative GHE – and this is what my main thesis is about.

      • You are saying that solar energy is enough to keep the surface temperature above the radiating temperature. Where that falls apart is the case of no atmosphere, where both these should be the same? Which one would you choose?

      • “You are saying that solar energy is enough to keep the surface temperature above the radiating temperature. Where that falls apart is the case of no atmosphere, where both these should be the same? Which one would you choose?”

        I choose both. The average radiative output power of the entire thermodynamic ensemble would be equal with our without an atmosphere. With an atmosphere allows a higher ground temperature than the average because of natural adiabatic effects which exist independent of GHG’s, and because of their thermal capacity and sharing of the radiative output energy – there’s a lot more gas emitting at much colder temperature than -18C; the average of those with the +15C ground-air temperature provide the aggregate output of -18C or 240 W/m2.

      • And of course, yes I do think the Sun is capable of supporting whatever conditions exist on the Earth. It’s the only source of energy after all. The atmosphere does not represent another source of energy. And it doesn’t need to with the correct power input. It only needs to spontaneously provide phantom additional energy if the input is incorrectly modeled as the output, at 240 W/m2. But that’s obviously not the actual boundary condition that exists.

      • So your whole argument about the sun making the surface warmer in daytime doesn’t apply without an atmosphere, because now you say it will be colder. Can you see a contradiction here? Does the sun explain the surface temperature or the atmosphere? You are going to say both again, I bet, but you went to a lot of trouble trying to prove it was the sun.

      • The sun would make the surface over one hundred degrees Celsius in the day time without an atmosphere. The atmosphere helps distribute all that heat and energy around and then keeps the ground cooler, in the day time. The Sun is what provides the energy, for both the ground surface and the atmosphere if there is one. The atmosphere is not an additional source of energy in and of itself.

      • OK, your model has a warm surface, and a cold radiating level that make it look like the real atmosphere, but I guess you don’t like the standard idea that much of this radiation is from GHGs, and maybe that is your only difference. Instead you say it comes from the atmosphere as a whole. If you saw a spectrum of outgoing or surface IR and saw how it matched expected wavelengths from GHGs you might have trouble defending your model. The standard model has the radiating level at the ground without GHGs because O2 and N2 have no emission at IR thermal wavelengths. If you are in astrophysics, you should know the concept of emission and absorption spectra and how they distinguish the radiating gases.

      • OK, your model has a warm surface, and a cold radiating level that make it look like the real atmosphere, but I guess you don’t like the standard idea that much of this radiation is from GHGs, and maybe that is your only difference. Instead you say it comes from the atmosphere as a whole. If you saw a spectrum of outgoing or surface IR and saw how it matched expected wavelengths from GHGs you might have trouble defending your model. The standard model has the radiating level at the ground without GHGs because O2 and N2 have no emission at IR thermal wavelengths. If you are in astrophysics, you should know the concept of emission and absorption spectra and how they distinguish the radiating gases.

        You know I’m not even really talking about a new model. I’m just elucidating the actual power input input, which is much higher than 240 W/m2…at least double that on average. That’s going to change a bunch of stuff from the idea that the input is -18C on average. The details of all that? Yep, a lot of work to do there. But the first step is to understand the actual power input, of at least 480 W/m2 on average, or +30C.
        Everything which has a temperature emits radiation. It is not just spectral emission and absorption that causes thermal emission…thermal emission comes from a completely different process than that and everything does it. Even a perfectly reflective mirror has a temperature, and therefore will emit thermal radiation and this can be observed by thermal cameras. The average radiating level could never be at the ground with an atmosphere, whether or not it has GHG’s. But as I said, the problem of input power comes first…what happens after that then comes, and it will be different from what we understand now.

  15. Judith

    In the article by Chris Colose he says this;

    ‘The claims are of course extraordinary, along the lines of Gerlich and Tseuchner’s alleged falsification of the atmospheric greenhouse effect. As is often the case with these types of “skeptics,” the more extravagant the claim, the more obscure the publishing venue; in this case the host is Principia Scientific International, which according to the website “…was conceived after 22 international climate experts and authors joined forces to write the climate science bestseller, ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory.’” Most rational people would stop here, but this is the Americanized age where we need to glorify everyone’s opinion and must provide rebuttals for everything, so here it goes:’

    This immediately sets a tone that the article and its author are by inference not credible.

    I know that Chris is very new to the climate game-his background is up on his blog. Other than that he is involved in astrophysics I can find nothing about Postma. Therefore in trying to judge the credibility and track record of those principally involved in the debate I feel at an disadvanatage with regards to Postmas credentials. Can anyone help with some soliid, factual non smearing background to the guy?
    tonyb

    • tony –

      Postma himself pointed to where one might find some of his previously published material:

      Look on NASA ADS, that should give a larger list of my publications.

      but he didn’t provide any links. Perhaps his articles are proprietary?

      Do you find it interesting that he is associated with the Sky Dragon folks?

      Do you find it interesting that the Sky Dragon book was published by Stairway Press – who also published this other, rather “interesting” book:

      http://www.stairwaypress.com/bookstore/into-the-cannibals-pot-lessons-for-america-post-apartheid-south-africa/

      Some related discussion here:

      https://judithcurry.com/2011/01/31/slaying-a-greenhouse-dragon/#comment-84169

      Multiple degrees if separation – but does that fall under the category of “smearing?” Would you associate yourself with such people? If not, why not? Would you argue that such an association is irrelevant?

      • Joshua

        Calm down.:)

        I merely asked if anyone had factual information on Postma. I have no idea of his academic background so it is difficult to know how credible he is.

      • Yes, use NASA ADS. I have an MSc in Astrophysics, might do a PhD one day, but, I don’t really want to be poor again.
        I used to believe in alarmist AGW and thought the IR-cross section of CO2 supported a GHE and the alarmism. Decided to study the science myself so that I could refute the deniers. Discovered loads of sophistry. Realized there might be a problem with the GHE theory itself. Met Hans Schreuder online and was invited to the Slayer team. Still haven’t been able to find convincing evidence for the GHE. Wrote two papers for online publication discussing the problems in the theory and philosophy of the premises of the GHE. Still haven’t found any rebuttals that I couldn’t answer. Some I don’t bother :-)
        Cheers.

      • RB and Joseph postma

        RB, thanks for the link to Canada Free Press. I was uncomfortable with the languge of the article but it wasnt written by ‘our’ Joseph, it merely referred to him.

        It would seem to me that Joseph Postma and Chris Colose are of a similar age and with limited practical experience (as yet) of climate science . With no disrespect to either of them there would appear to be better qualified people around to engage in a debate concerning a subject of such complexity

        tonyb

      • tonyb,
        This whole ongoing discussion about averaging the solar constant is of undergraduate level sophistication and one doesn’t even need to know climate science to do that.

      • A lot of people seem to get it wrong :-)

      • As described here?
        http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/30865

        Too funny:

        Interesting place, the Canada Free Press

        The question that matters most:
        The Silence that Shatters America
        By Judi McLeod

        Why do we take it as gospel that Barack Hussein Obama gets to fundamentally transform America just because he makes the bold claim that’s what he’s going to do?

        Why do decent, rational, American-loving people let Obama get away with saying he will “fundamentally transform America”?

        The first time he arrogantly uttered these words, the response should have been: “It should go without saying that no one, not even a president or a king will ever be allowed to fundamentally transform America.”

      • If we want to restrict a science discussion to only those whose political views we share then what about
        Heisenberg
        Edward Teller
        These two of the top of my head.
        I’m sure if I googled “scientists with extreme views” I would cast a very wide net.
        I think that bringing up smears reminds me of the late and unlamented Senator Joe McCarthy.
        Its also a sign of the perpetrators losing the argument

      • If we want to restrict a science discussion to only those whose political views we share then what about

        In case you are thinking so, I have no desire to restrict a science discussion to those who share my political views.

        However, at some point it becomes relevant to ask whether, or more realistically, to what degree, do political views influence how people interpret the science. Those questions are asked all the time at this here blog – most frequently by those on the “skeptical un-convinced/denier” side of the debate, with rarely a peep of protest.

        In this case I don’t presume any political affiliations, let alone political affiliations that singularly explain a view on the science – but would you consider the questions to necessarily be irrelevant, not worthy of consideration?

        BTW – it is my observation that sometimes proclamations of victory in an argument is a sign that the proclaimer is losing the argument. FWIW.

    • tonyb,

      I think these are his publications
      http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/basic_connect?qsearch=Joseph+E+Postma&version=1

      I don´t know his astrophysics background, which I will presume to be good. I don´t know if this is a case of someone smart simply trying to jump into another field without reading anything on it, a case of ¨going emeritus,¨ or intentional nonsense. In any case, it is awful. I am much less prone to attribute this to simple error on his part because there was no attempt to even put this in a publishing venue appropriate for climate scientists. If I had an insight in astrophysics that I intended for scientists to read and learn from, I would publish it in an astronomy journal. This paper is not meant for scientists, nor does the tone read like a scientific paper (I actually linked this paper to Grant Petty, who was a professor at my undergrad institution and has written a radiation book people frequently cite around here, and he dismissed it purely because of the paper´s tone…most scientists would, but this is blog world and I am playing along).
      http://www.sundogpublishing.com/AtmosRad/index.html

      While I am a grad student, and no one needs to listen to me, this is all very simple stuff which I am sure anyone here can work out, and I promise you I understand this material. I won´t say it is 101 level stuff, but an atmospheric science major should be able to spot a lot of errors in his text by junior or senior college year.

  16. Alexander Harvey

    Note to all milestone watchers

    This may be post 999994 :)

    Alex

  17. Averages are most deceptive than revealing. A good average of insolation should take into account every square meter of the Earth’s surface.

    AGW trick is to reduce the local constant by dividing it by the total surface area of the globe, which is absolutely incorrect because the solar constant is already an average of the solar power received on the surface of the whole outer sphere, along one year.

    The quantity 1365 W/m^2 means that the average of solar power received on each square meter of the outer sphere surface area is 1365 W. It is not the total amount of solar power received on the whole surface area of the outer sphere. Point.

    Actually, the net power impinging on the total surface area of the outer sphere is 2.4535875 x 10^26 W.

    If we consider the surface area of the Earth as a flat bi-dimensional surface, the amount of power impinging on each square meter of the surface area of the Earth would be 5.23341 x 10^17 W. This is not insolation, but incident net power on the surface of the Earth.

    From here, we are able to calculate insolation, which is the incident solar power per square meter of the Earth’s surface area after being mitigated by the atmosphere. Read it well, it is “mitigated”, not multiplied by two.

    Such mitigation is not due to the angle of incidence of the solar quantum/waves, but by absorption, reflection, and dispersion of the solar radiation caused by the atmospheric components before the solar energy “touches” the surface of the Earth.

    The angle of incidence of solar radiation affects insolation, so the amount of solar radiation impinging on a perpendicular angle will be higher than the amount of incident solar radiation at higher angles. This means that the Poles receive lesser solar energy than the equatorial regions.

    Considering measurements made at key locations on the Earth’s surface area, the average insolation on Earth is ~1000 W/m^2, after mitigation by the atmosphere.

    For any given location, getting the issue real, we measure the solar radiation impinging on the surface. For example, today at 19:00 hr (UT), we are receiving in Monterrey an amount of 725 W/m^2 of solar radiation.

    Such quantity, if absorbed by a factor of 1, would give as a surface temperature of ~63 °C. The temperature of the surface, at this moment, is 65.8 °C. The difference of almost 3 °C is explained by the absorptance potential of the surface and subsurface materials, which change in proportion to dampening.

    On the other hand, the temperature of the air, at the same location, is 34 °C. Consequently, the air is taken thermal energy from the surface by convection. Under these circumstances, and getting real, the surface area of this location is receiving about 3.24 x 10^21 quantum waves m^-2 per second (E = ~726.75 J).

    You can verify insolation at different locations of the Earth and you’ll find it varies around 1000 W/m^2, not too far from this amount even at the Pole which is being illuminated by the Sun. ~1000 W/m^2 is the amount of solar power hitting the floor on the illuminated side.

    Tonight, the process will continue. If not was for our atmosphere, the Earth’s hemisphere facing the Sun would be toasted. And… If it not were by our oceans and subsurface materials, the opposed hemisphere with respect to the Sun would be frozen.

    As you can see, we don’t need to resort to any mythical greenhouse effect, but only to good convective distributors of thermal energy, i.e. oceans, subsurface materials and atmospheric gases. (Peixoto and Oort. Physics of Climate. 1992).

    • AGW trick is to reduce the local constant by dividing it by the total surface area of the globe, which is absolutely incorrect because the solar constant is already an average of the solar power received on the surface of the whole outer sphere, along one year.

      Nasif – You should reconsider that statement.

      • Yes? Why I should reconsider that statement? Do you have another concept besides the scientific definition of solar constant?

      • Your geometry is wrong. At all times throughout the year, the surface is receiving different levels of solar radiation depending on angle, with half of the surface receiving none because it is at night. Those must be included in the average, which doesn’t change just because the night and day areas change locations over the course of 24 hours. The solar constant, currently estimated at about 1361 W/m^2 (based on the recent Judith Lean et al revision), must be divided by 4, because the area of a sphere, 4 pi r^2, is four times the area of a disk that solar radiation would traverse to reach the Earth.

      • Mumbo Jumbo, Fred… Explain why my geometry is “wrong”.

        “At all times throughout the year, the surface is receiving different levels of solar radiation depending on angle, with half of the surface receiving none because it is at night.”

        Again, mumbo jumbo, Fred. I had mentioned it in my post.

        As night falls over your hemisphere, the opposed hemisphere is being illuminated. So the average of insolation is ~1000 W/m^2.

        “The solar constant, currently estimated at about 1361 W/m^2 (based on the recent Judith Lean et al revision), must be divided by 4, because the area of a sphere, 4 pi r^2, is four times the area of a disk that solar radiation would traverse to reach the Earth.”

        Here, AGW trick starts because the solar constant, corrected by Lean et al, contains units “/m^2”. Do you know what “/m^2” means? Do you know what the outer sphere is?

    • The solar constant is defined as the amount of solar irradiance passing through a surface perpendicular to a line connecting the sun to the particular point in question. Since the “shadow” of a sphere is a disc of area pi*R^2 and the surface area of the sphere is 4*pi*R^2, you have to divide the solar constant by 4 to get the average solar insolation across the surface of a sphere.

      • Wrong, Fred… Very, very Wrong.

        Read this:

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SORCE/sorce_05.php

        And this:

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SORCE/sorce_02.php

        This will help you a lot:

        http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/sunfact.html

        You must not divide the solar constant by nothing because it is the solar irradiance received on every square meter of the outer sphere.

      • Sorry, wrong, Joel, very, very wrong… The same goes to Fred…

      • Injecting my 2 cents here, Joel is correct

      • Yes? Read the articles I posted, Judith… :)

      • Nasif, one of your links is misleading you I think. Let’s blame NASA. TSI is defined by the cross section not the surface area.

      • David, here the formula to calculate the solar power is:

        P_ʘhemis = (εʘ )(Aʘhemis )(σ) (T)^4

        Where Pʘhemis is the solar power from the solar hemisphere facing the Earth, εʘ is the total emittance of the Sun (0.9875), Aʘhemis is the solar surface area of the solar hemisphere facing the Earth (3*π*r^2), σ is the Stefan-Boltzmann Constant (0.56697 (erg/s)/(m^2 K^4)), and T is the solar surface temperature (5804.135 K).

        Pʘhemis = 0.9875 x (3 * 3.141593 (6.955 x 10^8 m)2)(0.56697 (erg/s)/(m^2 K^4)) (5804.135 K)^4 = 2.897 x 10^33 erg/s

        Now, the formula to calculate the solar constant is as follows:

        SC = ((fʘ (4π (r^2)) sun) / ((4π * r^2)os)

        SC = [6.354 x 10^14 (((erg/s))/( m^2 ))* (6.087 x 10^18 m^2 )ʘ ]/((2.79 x 10^23 m^2 )OS )= 1.386 x 10^10 (((erg/s))/((m^2 ) ))

        Where SC is the Total Solar Irradiance on the outer sphere or Solar Constant, fʘ is the solar power emitted from each square meter of the solar surface (6.354 x 1014 ((erg/s)/m2), (4π x (R)2)ʘ is the total surface area of the Sun, and (4π x (r)2)os is the total surface area of the outer sphere on which the Earth orbits around the Sun.

        Another formula to calculate the solar constant is:

        GPL = QSUN / (4π (POR)^2)

        GPL = (3.86235 × 10^26 W) / (2.812 x 10^23 m^2) = 1376.56 W/m^2

        Where GPL is the solar constant on the surface area of the outer sphere, QSUN is the load of power emitted from the solar surface (3.86235 × 10^26 W), and (4π (POR)^2) is the surface area of the outer sphere.

        Now let’s see the formula to calculate insolation:

        I = S * (Cos Z)

        Where I is for insolation on any place of the Earth’s surface, S is the average incident solar power on the surface of the Earth, and Cos Z is the cosine of the angle of incidence of the solar radiation.

        For example:

        I = 1000 W/m^2 * (Cos (43.51°) )=725.25 (W/m^(2 ))

        As you can see, Joel, Fred, etc., procedures are flawed and absolutely wrong.

      • I don’t see that at all. The total incidence S * πR^2 must be averaged over the total earth surface 4πR^2 to get an average insolation value, therefore average insolation is S / 4.

      • Yes, David, but the total incident solar radiation is not ~1000 W, but the bolometric incident solar radiation on the surface of the Earth.

      • I think we’re still crossing wires here on power/energy units. The “divide by 4” is required if you are talking energy/hr., and looking for the average Watt-hours per hr. per m^2 over the course of a day, and therefore 24/7/365. I.e., if you want to treat the planet as a disk projection illuminated full time. So 240Whr/hr x 24hr = daily total incident energy (prior to Raleigh scattering etc.; i.e., at the outermost fringes of the atmosphere).

      • Correction: 343, not 240, in my above.

      • Here are two definitions:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_constant

        http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/552889/solar-constant

        Both say it is the power per area for plane 1au from the sun. 1.366 Kw/m2

        ?????

      • And, the solar constant changes.

        Summary
        The energy transfer processes that occur at the Earth’s surface are examined from first principles. The effect of small changes in the solar constant caused by variations in the sunspot cycles and small increases in downward long wave infrared flux due to a 100 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration on surface temperature are considered in detail.The changes in the solar constant are sufficient to change ocean temperatures and alter the Earth’s climate. The effects on surface temperature of small increases in downward LWIR flux are too small to be measured and cannot cause climate change. The assumptions underlying the use of radiative forcing in climate models are shown to be invalid. A null hypothesis for CO2 is proposed that it is impossible to show that changes in CO2 concentration have caused any climate change, at least since the current composition of the atmosphere was set by ocean photosynthesis about one billion years ago.

        ~Roy Clark, A Null Hypothesis For CO2

      • 1/4 the Solar constant ≈ 343 W m-2 is is the mean solar irradiance at the top of the atmosphere or somebody better call Stephen E. Schwartz at Brookhaven.

      • Well I agree if you think it is an important call to make! :-)

        The solar irradiance can’t be divided by 4 because that would imply it impinges the night-side at the SAME time that it impinges the day-side. But it only impinges the day side, therefore dividing by 2 is the most you might like to do in terms of the average.

      • Joe,

        We want the average Watts per surface area of the earth. But, like I said, if averaging over a surface is too complex a concept for you, we can always work in terms of total powers.

      • You need to average the power over where it actually occurs, not where it doesn’t. Why is nighttime so difficult to understand?

      • Like I said, we can always work in terms of total powers. I can understand why you want to stick to averages though. Much more difficult to confuse people about total powers.

      • Joel: “Like I said, we can always work in terms of total powers. I can understand why you want to stick to averages though. Much more difficult to confuse people about total powers.”

        Such is physics! You either understand how the averages and totals work out and why they do, or you gloss it all over and make inputs numerically equal to outputs when the reality is not nearly that scenario.

      • No, it probably is more important to consider, as Rancourt does, ‘changes in the solar constant such as may be caused by soot from coal-powered plants, mineral, soil, and organic matter dust from changes in agricultural practices, fires from changes in water and land management practices, increased high-altitude and polar atmospheric transparency,’ etc.

      • But it’s not true. Satellite sensors measure ~1365 W/m^2:

      • That’s because the sensor measures the irradiance over a surface perpendicular to a line between the sun and the sensor. The earth’s surface is not all perpendicular to the sun; in fact, half of it doesn’t even face the sun at all at any given time.

      • And that’s why you can’t average the input power INTO the night-time.

      • Averaging to get W-hr/hr for the whole day makes any consideration of diurnal dynamics impossible. The act of averaging across 24 hrs. rules that out from the outset.

        But if you want to match daytime “excess” input to nightime output, and consider the atmospherics, you must treat each day as a 2-part process. Postma and Nahle are asserting that if you take the trouble to do that, the need to account for the brief CO2 IR ping-pong lag drops away.

      • Precisely, Brian. Thanks.

      • That is incorrect Joel. You have to divide the solar constant by the ACTUAL area which it impinges upon, which is NOT both sides of the Earth at once and 4-times the area, but on only half of the Earth, and 2-times the surface area. Even this would only be a linear dilution of the insolation, and so the integrated mean insolation is actually reduced by 2/pi from the maximum, on average, not 0.5.

      • Joe,

        I know this is nonsense. Judith Curry knows this is nonsense. And, you should know it is nonsense. I have explained how you compute the total energy in and the total energy out here in the last thread and repeat it here:

        The energy balance equation that must be satisfied is that the total energy into the earth has to equal the total energy out. The total power in is equal to pi*R^2*S*(1-a) where R is the radius of the earth, S is the solar constant, and a is the albedo. The total power out from the surface is 4*pi*R^2*epsilon*sigma*T^4 where epsilon is the emissivity, very close to 1 in the IR for most terrestrial surfaces and T is the absolute surface temperature. If the atmosphere does not absorb any of the terrestrial radiation, then you equate these two and you get the value T = 255 K. If the atmosphere does absorb IR radiation, you can get a higher surface temperature because the 255 K corresponds to the temperature at some effective radiating level that depends on the atmospheric absorption, i.e., greenhouse gases and clouds.

        Since it is easier to confuse people when we deal with averages than totals, why don’t you comment on that?

      • My paper specifically discusses the issue of TOTAL energy and how it is input, and how it should be spread about the Earth.

        As I have said, you miss out on the finer points in that derivation. You can NOT model the average input as P/4, because this would never produce liquid water. It is a completely meaningless average which does not conform to reality in any way. You have to look at the REAL, physically existing, actual insolation power input, which provides more than enough power to create a liquid H20 planet, and sustain the observed temperatures. 240 W/m2 could never do that….and it doesn’t.

      • I’m not averaging. I am getting a total by taking the solar input and multiplying by the cross-sectional area presented by a spherical body to get the total power input. Then I am computing the total power output by multiplying the W/m^2 emitted from the earth by the surface area.

        Hence, you can’t try to confuse people with nonsensical statements about averages. No averages are being discussed for the power input or power output. I am looking at the totals.

      • You’re averaging an average, Joel, not the total solar irradiance on the whole outer sphere.

      • And you continually try to prevent yourself from understanding the finer points in that derivation.
        In terms of energy flux density, i.e., W/m2, the input is not equal to the output. Energy flux density is NOT total energy and does not directly follow conservation. Please read read the paragraphs containing equations 17 through 20 in my paper for a thorough breakdown.

      • Joe,

        When you multiply a flux density in W/m2 by an area, you get a power in Watts.

      • “When you multiply a flux density in W/m2 by an area, you get a power in Watts.”

        Precisely understood. But the the flux doesn’t impinge the night-side. We’re talking about the difference between input power and output power. They’re not equal. And they don’t occur (because they don’t occur) over the same surface area. Output is over 4*pi*r^2, input is over 2*pi*r^2 and non-linearly distributed.

      • …which is why I used a surface area of pi*R^2*the solar constant for the input and 4*pi*R^2 for the surface over which the earth emits to space. Joe, this isn’t that difficult. I’ve gotten introductory physics students in an algebra-based course to understand it.

      • Joe,

        The amount of solar power hitting the bright side of the earth (and hence the amount hitting the total earth) is the same as the power going through a disc having a radius of the earth, or pi*R^2.

      • Joe:

        We’re talking about input power and output power over the entire earth. That is the conservation of energy we are worried about. Energy can move around on the earth but you can’t create energy out of nothing (or disappear it) on the earth.

      • Yes and those powers need to be considered over where they actually occur. The input doesn’t occur over the same surface area as the input. And, power is different from total energy, in any case.

      • Joel Shore | August 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm |

        …which is why I used a surface area of pi*R^2*the solar constant for the input and 4*pi*R^2 for the surface over which the earth emits to space. Joe, this isn’t that difficult. I’ve gotten introductory physics students in an algebra-based course to understand it.

      • You understand the Math Joel, for sure. But you don’t understand the physics. It is a big difference.

      • Joe:

        Math is the language of physics. If you can’t do elementary mathematical calculations, you have no hope of getting the physics right.

      • @Joel… You say:

        “Math is the language of physics. If you can’t do elementary mathematical calculations, you have no hope of getting the physics right.”

        You’re correct, physics makes maths; maths doesn’t make physics. Do you agree?

        As you describe it, it seems that you think that maths makes reality, not the opposite.

      • “Math is the language of physics. If you can’t do elementary mathematical calculations, you have no hope of getting the physics right.”

        Actually, if you don’t understand the physics, what beliefs you have about your math equations pertaining to reality mean nothing.

        Math and physics work together…you need to get them both right.

      • Heh! As AGWers have not physics support, they resort to twist mathematics; I mean to torture mathematics. :D

      • Joel, you seem to be in denial. You ARE averaging! You are integrating the solar input and then dividing by the area of the Earth. This is the DEFINITION of averaging. It is ironic that you claim other people do not know elementary mathematics.

      • The problem is that Postma and Nasif Nahle indeed appear to not know elementary mathematics. They cannot calculate the average.

      • They are perfectly capable of calculating an average. They are just pointing out that this is a misleading thing to do.

      • No, they did it explicitly in a wrong way. You told in your above comment, how it should be done. They got it wrong by factors of 4 (Nahle) and 3.14 (Postma).

      • Averages are one thing; physics is another.
        The S-B Law, which is physics, is in regards to the Joules found in one second, i.e., a Watt = Joule/second. In one second, the power output was an average 240 J/m2. Which is equivalent to -18C with the S-B Law. In that second, where was the input? The input in that second was over the day-side, and because it should be the same as the total energy, the power of that input must be a lot higher, and therefore hotter, i.e., about +30C or higher or 480 W/m2 +, depending on how you distribute the average. It is not an instantaneous balance of energy, though. The Joules that come in on the day side are not all immediately radiated by the entire globe…lots of the energy is absorbed into the system first and then radiated back out later. Lots of energy gets absorbed into evaporation, convection, even life, etc. But the long term energy balance does work out because the Earth should be somewhere near thermal equilibrium with the Sun in the long-term.

      • It is not an instantaneous balance of energy, though.

        Please excuse a comment from someone without basic knowledge of physics – but who says that it is instantaneous? Is there any physicist, anywhere, who doubts that the burning of fossil fuels represents a delayed release of previously stored solar energy?

      • Joseph,

        Which is equivalent to -18C with the S-B Law. In that second, where was the input? The input in that second was over the day-side, and because it should be the same as the total energy, the power of that input must be a lot higher, and therefore hotter, i.e., about +30C or higher or 480 W/m2 +, depending on how you distribute the average.

        First I would recommend you that you take a break from this site to get rid of the natural reaction of defending own work. As long as you are in the defensive mode, you cannot look at the issues objectively. Then you should think at the total energy balance of the Earth. Not per square meter, but over the whole surface, and the whole surface includes both the day side and the night side.When you have figured out, what the numbers are for that, you can calculate averages, and you must calculate averages for the whole surface, not half of it, and even less “as the integrated average”, which applies only at the equator using the formula that you used.

        When you have done that, I trust that you know more.

      • “but who says that it is instantaneous?”

        That was in regards to radiative power input and output, that’s what I’m referring to. The interesting question you pose is different from that.

      • Pekka, maybe you should take a break. Everyone is averaging.

      • That was in regards to radiative power input and output, that’s what I’m referring to.

        Yes – I realized my error after I posted my comment.

      • Pekka: I have done all of what you recommended me to do, and I still arrive at the solution of the input power being a much higher energy flux density, i.e. power, than the output. The input is anywhere between +30C to +49C depending on how you calculate the average; the output is -18C as everyone knows. These values lead to conservation of total energy when you incorporate the specific surface areas applicable to each, and with the correct projection weighting factors. Cheers.

      • Joseph,

        Quite a break.

        You are listing temperatures, not energy fluxes. Jumping all essential steps is a good way of perpetuating errors.

      • Oh I’ve listed energy fluxes all throughout my posts. :-)

        Not jumping steps at all…actually I am breaking them down into their piece-wise components individually. When you do that you see a lot more, and better, physics. Jumping to a conclusion of a 240 W/m2 or -18C power input IS what skips the essential steps.

      • Total fluxes, not peak values at maximum insolation or erroneously calculated averages, please.

      • More precisely:

        Total fluxes, not peak values of flux density at maximum insolation or erroneously calculated averages, please.

      • “Total fluxes, not peak values at maximum insolation or erroneously calculated averages, please.”

        I am specifically using total fluxes and total energies. I just also consider than the Sun shines only on one side of the Earth…because that’s physics.

      • Please, tell us, what is the total flux of solar radiation that reaches the Earth surface.

      • “Please, tell us, what is the total flux of solar radiation that reaches the Earth surface.”

        You already know the answer tot hat, but here goes once again:

        The total ENERGY which reaches the Earth is the raw Solar flux (1370 W/m2) times the cross-sectional area of the Earth. This comes out to 1.22×120^17 Watts, or Joules in one second.

        This provides an input power of 480 W/m2 (factoring in albedo) if you use a linear distribution of that energy over the hemisphere, or 610 W/m2 if you use an integrated average. These are equivalent to +30C & +4(C respectively.

        This total incoming energy of 1.22×10^17 Watts, in the long run, should be in equality with the total outgoing energy from the entire surface of the Earth, if there is a rough equilibrium and conservation of energy. That energy therefore will be come from over twice the area of the input, and therefore gets reduced to 240 W/m2,equivalent to -18C.

        So, the idea that -18C or 240 W/m2 is equivalent to the input power is incorrect. The total energies equate but the power densities do not. The input forcing is much warmer than the output balance.

      • You like the Stephan-Boltzmann law. Tell us, how much the Earth surface emits radiative energy. If you wish, you may use a safely low value for the average effective temperature.

      • I already specified that directly above.

      • I don’t think you told the total power of emission from the surface.

      • The difference between the effective radiating temperature of the entire thermodynamic ensemble, and the ground temperature, – two physically unique metrics – is entirely expected given the natural distribution of the temperature of a gas in a gravitational field and the definition of what an “effective radiating temperature of the ensemble” is. Similar to a stellar photosphere, you expect the bottom of the atmosphere to be kinetically warmer than the effective radiative average of the entire ensemble. This occurs without a GHE in stellar photospheres, and physics is universal.

      • Why don’t you answer the simple question?

        What’s the total power in watts of the emission of IR radiation from the Earth surface?

      • It’s not a simple question. But I have answered it as simply as is possible. Any more simply, in the way that you transparently desire, will only jump over the physics and obfuscate the results.

      • I think that I know, why you don’t answer the question. It’s totally simple, when good accuracy is not required. The effective temperature is about 17C and the power is 200 PW. The solar energy with albedo correction is 122 PW, but less than 90 PW is absorbed by surface, rest in the atmosphere. In addition there’s about 50 PW loss of energy from surface by evaporation and convection.

        The balance of all this is about 160 PW negative at the surface.

        Do you have any idea of, what compensates for that.

      • The input power and energy is almost instantaneously received by the Sun facing side.
        What happens next is much more complicated.
        Where did each photon land.
        What was the temperature and nature of the surface.
        Was chemical change caused and the energy trapped – eg photosynthesis.
        Burning of fossil fuels from stored energy from 400million years ago is of current concern.
        What thermal energy transport systems were involved and so on.
        The general term of thermal inertia hardly covers it.
        How fast the Earth rotates has a big part to play.
        How much cooling takes place before the next cycle of heating.
        Compare the Earth and Moon in that regard.
        So to say that the input energy and the output energy should be treated in much the same way is not physically realistic.
        They don’t even have to equal one another except perhaps on the scale of a millennium.
        Even then there is no law in that regard
        Just our hopes and prayer’s
        Sorry Joel.

      • Dear Joel,

        If you consider the earth as a disc for the calculations then the solar constant is 1368 W/m2, before the effect of the atmosphere. However, if the earth as a sphere is considered as basis for the calculations, then the solar constant is about 1368/4=342 W/m2. Either way is correct as long as the basis for the calculations is defined.

      • Brilliant. Problem is that you can’t use this average radiation to say anything about the resulting temperature. ( The infamous 255K average earth temp by raduiation alone) Notice the fourth power in Stefan-Boltzman?
        Ever went outside just after sunset and felt the warmth coming from a wall or something? Heat is stored in stuff, like oceans eg.
        So using the sunlit half of the earth to calculate the temp. there, then take the accumulated warmth to the nightside where it is slowly released makes perfect sense.

    • I have to disagree. It should be 5.23342x10^17 W. ;-)

      Seriously, there’s such a thing as plugging in numbers too early. Makes it harder to learn your models sensitivity to errors in your estimated values. Makes it harder to spot flaws in the math or logic. I think you should offer a symbolic accounting of the terms in your conservation equation.

    • Dear Dr. Nahle:
      Here is a quote from your comments:”Considering measurements made at key locations on the Earth’s surface area, the average isolation on Earth is ~1000 W/m^2, after mitigation by the atmosphere.”
      Do you mean that the atmosphere is not transparent to solar radiations, contrary to the claim of the folks of the greenhouse gas theory?

  18. So, which post is this?

  19. There are many comments under the top that are over the top here. :)

  20. Folks

    Let’s forget the ad homs or badmouthing the journals where work was published.

    Instead, let’s talk about the work itself.

    Has anyone refuted it scientifically?

    Chris has made an attempt to do so, but has pretty much cancelled out the effect of his rebuttal with his closing statement, which smacks of the ad homs and badmouthing of the journal:

    This work makes extraordinary claims and yet no effort was made to put it in a real climate science journal, since it was never intended to educate climate scientists or improve the field; it is a sham, intended only to confuse casual readers and provide a citation on blogs. The author should be ashamed.

    Doesn’t sound very scientific to me.

    Max

    • So, if someone rebutted someone who was going all over the internet saying that the earth is flat or someone who was claiming that the Earth is 6000 years old, you would conclude the work has not been scientifically refuted if they happened to note that they were appalled by the kind of nonsense that was being passed off as science?

      • Joel… I am showing you correct formulas to calculate total solar irradiance, insolation, etc. You can verify them on any book on astrophysics. You’re a physicist, you can verify them yourself.

      • Joel, this statement is incredibly ironic. You’re the one who believes the Earth is flat! That’s how you treat your power averaging method!

      • There’s something really distasteful about the crowing of the AGW Believers that they have succeed in installing such effective pal-review gatekeeping at the most prominent journals that no skeptical research can get published there.

      • Or because the skeptical ¨research¨ is this sort of pseudo-science, that no real journal would screw up their reputation to publish it…

      • Do you consider universities are bad peer reviewers?

      • Joel

        Is anyone here arguing that the earth is flat or …that the Earth is 6000 years old?

        If not, your argument is baloney.

        Max

  21. The comments by Joseph Postma and Nasif Nahle are very revealing, and at this point I don´t think they are fooling anyone except themselves and a few people who have been fooled on this blog for a long time now anyway. They are certainly not out to educate any scientists. I will note that they have also not yet replied to my SkS piece in any substance.

    As I pointed out in my article, the utility of spreading the solar radiation (averaging) depends on the application, and for estimating the global emission temperature on Earth, it is not a bad approximation. We can compare to worse applications from Mercury or the Moon to see this. The absorbed solar radiation over the whole Earth is S(1-a)*pi*R^2, where S is 1365 W/m2, a is 0.3, and R is the radius. The emitted longwave radiation is cT^4 * 4 *pi *R^2. c is the S-B constant, and T is temperature. For the purposes here, we are interested in using these two facts to come up with an emission temperature.

    As explained in the Selsis et al 2007 paper that I linked to in my SkS article, we can in fact equate these and come up with a general expression of T =[S(1-a)/f*c]^0.25, where c is defined as before and f is the solar-redistribution factor. Note that differences in flux only project onto the temperature as a 1/4th root dependence. What solar re-distribution factor we choose to use depends on the planetary body and location on that body. For airless planets like Mercury that have little thermal inertia and no solar energy re-distribution, any point at noon on the equator will be much hotter than at higher latitudes, or at a point on the nightside. Using ¨4¨ in this case is not incredibly useful because an effective or average temperature is not terribly meaningful; On Earth, this is much less the case (in absolute temperatures), since we have oceans and an atmosphere which smooth out temperature differences to first order. On Venus, there are virtually no temperature gradients except in the very uppermost part of the atmosphere. Thus, on Mercury, the dayside will get hotter than our definition of T above, and the nightside much colder than T. On Earth, the nightside is warmer than absolute zero, which you would get if you naively applied the local solar flux into the above equation, and the dayside does not get as hot as it would with no thermal inertia or heat transport. If Earth had no atmosphere or ocean, it would tend to me more Moon-like, with much larger thermal gradients. With effective re-distribution, this allows us to set up the problem in a way where we can define a global emission temperature even though the instantaneous solar flux impinges unequally over half a sphere.

    In essence, we can almost think of 255 K as applying to a hypothetical planet with an atmosphere that effectively re-distributes heat but has no greenhouse effect. To first order, this would be the temperature all across the planet if we kept the albedo at modern value. We can in fact remove the heat distribution and raise the dayside temperature, but at the expense of decreasing the night temperature. This has been extensively studied in other astrophysical communities, notably by the extrasolar planet community attempting to make sense of the prospective climates on other bodies. For an appropriate application of this, see equation 2 at http://arxiv.org/pdf/1106.1152 and the following pages. The authors discuss the temperature in the f=2 and f=4 limit for planets in the 55 Cancri system. This is important for habitability since for planets with super-slow rotation or a thin atmosphere, it is possible to warm the sub-stellar point above freezing while keeping the rest of the planet under ice. The problem with keeping this as a stable climate is the ice-albedo feedback (see Ray Pierrehumbert´s Gliese 581g 2011 paper) which would tend to keep planets too near an average temperature under 280 K into a snowball.

    The physics of the greenhouse effect, despite many thousands of comments on various threads here, is unassailable and undisputed amongst real climate scientists (and planetary astrophysicists). If there was a better explanation that could account for the temperature on Earth, and even more obvious, the temperature on Venus (not including Postma´s absurd straw man attacks of setting his absorptivity to 200% and saying it is impossible), then I´d like to see it. Moreover, these explanations should explain the radiant spectra we can observe from these planets, and be consistent with radiative transfer theory. For all the complaining done about the greenhouse effect, no one has provided an answer with such explanatory and predictive capability, and until then I will continue to assume such people are at best hand waving and are too gullible to accept anything in reality with climate science, at at worst, are lying.

    • Chris… The only person fooled here is you. Answer this question to me:

      What the bolometric total solar irradiance on TOA?

      Thanks!

    • Nice exposition, Chris. My own PhD dates back to the 1980s with most of my research centered on stellar physics and related spectroscopic studies, but applying what I know to terrestrial atmospheres isn’t always clear-cut. I’ve learned a lot from you and others (especially Pekka, Fred, and Joel) over the past few months.

      I must say that I find the approach taken by Postma to be curious. When my own understanding turns out to be in conflict with others, particularly those with solid credentials and/or more experience, I begin by assuming I’m wrong and then try to find my error. This is even more automatic if my conclusion would require rewriting every textbook in the field. Yet Postma and his ilk respond by digging their heels in that much harder. I simply can’t imagine that mindset.

      • People on blogs like to rebel for the sake of rebellion, but the default position is usually that the textbooks are right :-)

        Not always, but I can´t think of an example where the blog debates have changed this…ever

      • Being supported by reality helps. Conviction and great strength of character does too.

        Might as well compliment myself, ha. :-)

        Being in conflict with others does not establish which direction the truth lies.

      • Being in conflict with the entire body of professional physicists should be a very strong clue to you in establishing the direction in which the truth lies. The fact that it doesn’t clearly establishes you as just another latter-day Galileo wannabe.

      • There is no physicist in the world with any sanity inside of him that would disagree with the solar insolation being distributed as a cosine function over the daylight hemisphere. They’ve just never been asked the question.

      • FoveString… Your “entire body or professional physicists” are in conflict with reality, if it is what you meant… :D

  22. Joe: I will have sporadic access to the internet at best over the next several days, so except for occasional comments, I think I will leave it there.

    I must say it has been a very surreal experience. I don’t think I can sum things up any better than Chris did immediately above.

    • Then I must add you to the fooled people here, you and Chris. I hope Chris answers my question without evasive ad hominem and insults.

      • Well I’ve read all the comments and I have to say you should just give up now.

        I am not particularly bright but even I followed all the above to understand that you need to divide TSI by 4.

      • What the reason is to divide the TSI by 4? Do you have a scientific answer? Also, if you have the answer to my question to Chris, go on… What the bolometric total solar irradiance on TOA is?

      • Please read my paper to come to a better understanding. The sun doesn’t shine during the night. It is that simple. Dividing by 4 “makes” the Sun shine into the night.

      • Its night here and the sun is shining.

      • Your not a big fan of Bishop Barclay then.

      • which basically sums up your understanding of climate….

      • wrong reply button…see below

      • Ha, that’s a funny play on words. I truly hope you understand the intention of my meaning. It’s like the phrase “dark side of the moon”. We all know what it means…but, the wording could be better! ha :-)

      • steven mosher

        Its your math that needs work.

      • The Sunshine is warm. Hot, even.

      • which basically sums up your understanding of climate….

      • It’s the Sun… Chris… Honestly, do you believe the carbon dioxide shines more intensely than the Sun?

      • Chris

        I think you will have to admit that the tiny bit of CO2 in our atmosphere is not likely to be the principal driver of our climate, while the sun remains the 800-lb gorilla in the room (whose impacts we know in general, but do not understand fully as yet).

        Let’s not overestimate how much we really know. It could backfire.

        Max

      • You should add Judith Curry too. She made it quite clear here https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/16/postma-on-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-100037 that she was also fooled and unable to recognize your brilliant and insightful work regarding the solar constant!

        I have to say that I would seriously consider lending you and Postma some financial support if you want to take your “show on the road” so-to-speak in order to, say, send your brilliant and insightful work to policymakers or members of the National Academy of Sciences, although I would really encourage you to tout your own horn in explaining how your work represents the cutting edge of thought in the AGW skeptic community. (You may find a bit of push-back from fellow skeptics though if you do this.)

      • Nope, Judith Curry has not given to me a real motive to do it, as you and Chris have done. You are adding Judith to the list, not me… Judith Curry is a very respectable person and I feel honored for having been allowed to post on his blog and expose your mythical physics. Point.

      • But she told you you were wrong, above. You’ve been told many times already excatly why you’re wrong.

      • That’s her opinion. He didn’t told me fool, as Chris did and Joel backed him.

      • Besides, I supported my arguments with scientific literature, not with mumbo jumbo… :D

      • The question over power input and output is of paramount importance. With -18C or 240 W/m2 modeled as the input, you HAVE to have a GHE in operation warming the planet and making liquid water.

        But with the actual power input distributed non-linearly over the daylight hemisphere, with an integrated average power value of 610 W/m2, or +49C, and a maximum power input around +100C, you’re into an entirely different regime of physics and phase-spaces of matter. -18C can’t make liquid or evaporating water; 610 W/m2 + can do it. The paradigm changes considerably.

        Whether or not a GHE is needed in this physically realistic paradigm will need to remain to be seen. But the reasons for the postulate of the existing GHE will no longer remain, and so, there’s no reason to expect a GHE to remain in any of the forms we understand it today. It certainly won’t be considered to have the importance people believe it does today.

      • With -18C or 240 W/m2 modeled as the input, you HAVE to have a GHE in operation warming the planet and making liquid water.

        Okay…I thought I would highlight this as the first correct statement that I have seen you make here. Indeed, if you want to figure out how much ice melt or how much water vapor gets into the atmosphere, the insolation distribution is quite important and you would want to use a real climate model that deals with that.

        However, that is not what we have been talking about so far. What we have been talking about is how one can use basic energy balance on a global scale to determine constraints on the earth’s surface temperature in the absence of elements in the atmosphere that absorb terrestrial radiation, producing the greenhouse effect.

      • Well that’s the point, thank you. We should STOP using a “basic energy balance”, as you defined it, to determine what the boundary conditions are. The basic balance meme of 240 W/m2, P/4, is incorrect as a boundary condition. And it is the initial boundary condition, the one that matters the most!

      • I suggest that you read more than one paragraph at a time.

      • I suggest you start treating people with more respect, or they might start treating you with less.

      • What’s the GHE explanation for the 600 km.-high diurnal bulge?

        Do you “average” the bulge?

        :D

    • It is fine to leave it…we both have better things to do than write on a blog.

      But that feeling you’re having will subside once you come to terms with reality…it is eventually a very pleasant experience.

  23. Should you choose to use surface averages, remember that the average earth emittance is a global, 24/7 figure. It applies to the total surface, at every moment. I think we all agree on that.

    Postma argues that solar incidence should be averaged only over the “daytime” surface. But then, his average insolation is not a global, 24/7 figure. At every moment he is excluding half the earth’s surface from his average. He is comparing two averages that don’t have the same basis.

    This is not a math error or a physics error, it’s a logic error. I can’t make it any plainer than this.

    • Well, I’ve learned from this a new way to average numbers: The average, say, of 0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,10 is 10 because you exclude the zero values from the average!

      • It would be a better average than yours:

        1365 W on one square meter “actually” is 7.6 x 10^-21 W, following your averaging methodology.

      • I had 10 dogs, but only fed one of them. The other nine just starved to death, because the poor bastards didn’t know that they were fed a reasonable amount of food “on average”.

        Lesson: No physical or real world stuff, no sense.

      • More like you dumped a lot of it into one dog bowl (you are the sun), but in reality the big dog was pretty nice, used his big nose as a shovel, and decided to share with the rest (the winds, ocean, etc)…

      • So what was the actual input of dog food energy then? Not the same as the average! :-)

      • OK, I lied. I have only cats, and they are extremely egoistic. Though alive and well.

        The point remains, though. If some receive nothing, the average gives them nothing.

      • Good point, Bebben… :)

      • A more accurate analogy for what Postma has argued above is: I have 10 dogs and I take 2 of them into the kitchen and share a can of dog food with them. I conclude that on average, all of my dogs have consumed half a can of dog food apiece because the ones that were not in the kitchen don’t count.

        Of course, if I looked at the total amount of dog food and noticed that half a can of dog food per dog multiplied by 10 dogs, I would know that my reasoning was wrong…but I can solve that by just not looking at the total.

      • Correction: of the dogs that ate, the consumption was half a can of food.

        Just as: of the place that the sun actually shines, the input is 610 W/m2.

        Small but incredibly important distinction.

      • And, to get the total amount of dog food eaten, you could either multiply the half a can per dog by the two who ate it or you could multiply the 1/10 of a can per dog total by all 10 dogs. I showed you how to do it both ways in this thread but you refused to engage because I think you know that if you go to total powers, you can no longer fool people (including perhaps yourself, who knows) but you can with averages.

      • But we’re not interested in unphysical averages in physics. We’re interested in the actual values of the power input. -18C is not equivalent to +30C in terms of the physics which can be produced from each. I.E., ice-cubes or liquid water.

      • Actual values?

        In Physics?

        This differs from my introduction to the material, where Laws, such as S-B, were generally based on ‘ideal’ figures, not actual ones.

        And really, what actual source do you have for -18C or +30C? Do they exist anywhere in the physical universe?

        Plenty of physics applies meaningfully to averages, such as for instance the ‘center of gravity’ where interpreted with a reasonable connection to the physical events investigated.

        Nothing in physics means much where the interpretation is independent of logical correlation with the actual.

        So far, it has been amply demonstrated that Postma has significant issues of interpretation he has not addressed.

        Address those, and please stop starving dogs pointlessly.

      • Hi Bart.
        Right, that’s all well in regards to averages, I agree. But sometimes you need to be VERY careful about how you interpret them.
        The value of -18C is the equivalent temperature of the output of 240 W/m2.
        The value of +30C is the equivalent temperature of the input of 480 W/m2, on average.
        These are obviously not the same. You use averaging to arrive at both values, quite indeed. But you can’t then reverse the output power and call it the input. 240 W/m2 is NOT incoming, it is outgoing. The much higher power flux of ~480 W/m2 is what is incoming, instantaneously over half the sphere. This provides a liquid water planet without need to postulate a GHE.

      • Also, Joe, the assertions made that the “outgoing” is steady and constant day and night-side is false. As the dayside warms, it cranks up its OLR to match; as the nightside cools, its OLR drops. In proportion to the 4th power.

        Just another little “averaging” fudge that distorts the analysis enough to make room for the GHE.

    • You’re mixing up the logic there, David. No one is saying the output power doesn’t come from all over the Earth. It is that the input power comes in on only one side of the Earth. This changes the physics considerably. It makes it more realistic. Averaging the input into the nighttime, and modelling that as the input, is wrong. Such is only the output, not the input. The input has a much higher flux density.

      • No, it’s still you that is mixed up. If you were to distinguish between dayside and nightside, and I don’t think you should, then you must do so for both emttance and insolation, becuase you must use the same basis to compare the averages. Since daytime surface temperatures are higher, the daytime emittance is higher than the global average. Likewise the nightime emittance is lower than average.

        Let Ps be the solar incidence on the dayside of Earth.
        Let 0 be the solar incidence on the nightside. ←this is the part you forgot
        Let Pd be the total emittance of the dayside of Earth.
        Let Pn be the total emittance of the nightside.

        Clearly, the total emittance of earth Pe = Ps + Pn, at every moment.

        (Ps – Pd) + (0 – Pn) = 0.
        Ps = Pd + Pn
        Ps = Pe.
        QED

        Using the same basis for comparison leads to the same result as when the day/night issue is properly ignored.

      • “If you were to distinguish between dayside and nightside, and I don’t think you should”

        Well, I can’t agree with denying the existence of day & night.

        The solar incidence on the night-side is zero. Any mathematical abstraction that dilutes the input power into the night time is unphysical.

      • Nothing about your post above is the truth. I didn’t deny the existence of day and night; I didn’t create an abstraction; I didn’t “dilute” any input power.

      • David, thanks for supporting our real physics. You say:

        “Since daytime surface temperatures are higher, the daytime emittance is higher than the global average. Likewise the nightime emittance is lower than average.”

        Dismissing the point that you are not considering partial pressures of atmospheric gases, you have said it all. The atmospheric gases during nighttime are unable to emit radiation because their emittance diminishes from 0.3 down to 0.045. Of course, you are wrong because you’re only taking into acount temperature.

    • With great temerity, I wander into a debate on which I have little background information, and thereby no doubt will expose my ignorance – but your comment gives me momentum:

      From the summary of the paper at Climaterealists.com

      A qualified astrophysicist, Postma says climate researchers incorrectly applied such models to the Earth, a planet receiving solar energy only during daylight. It is this omission of the time element from climate models that has led to Earth effectively being modeled as if it were a constantly radiating sun.

      “The planet” receives solar energy only “at night?” When it is night on “the planet?”

      It is my assumption that given the configuration of the Earth and the Sun, the Earth is receiving solar energy 24/7/365. I would imagine only some 1/2 of the Earth receives the bulk of direct radiation at any given time, but obviously “The Earth,” as a single entity, is receiving energy from the Sun at all times.

      Or perhaps god flips the switch from on to off every 12 hours, and the Earth really is flat?

      My assumption was that I simply didn’t understand an obvious point that accounts for the spherical nature of a rotating planet. Your comment leads me to wonder…

    • Daytime radiation is absorbed, mostly by th eoceans, resulting in (very high) temperatures. This heat is again slowly released during the night.
      What’s so difficult to understand about hat?

  24. It is this omission of the time element from climate models that has led to Earth effectively being modeled as if it were a constantly radiating sun.

    …as if it were a constantly radiating sun?

    Whaaaa?

    • Joshua, that is not nearly as good as this paragraph in the Postma paper:

      //…which is generally labelled the GHE, then arises as a meaningful juxtaposition of physically unique metrics with a concurrent physical justification found in fundamental physical equations and including the bare logical necessity that the thermal average of the ensemble be found
      at altitude, in-between its two boundaries. This, as opposed to the illogical direct comparison of said physically unique (i.e., different) metrics without qualification and the consequent arrangement of tautologies built up to superficially sustain and promote that original deception. Thus, there is
      absolutely no allowance nor justification for a back-radiative GHE whatsoever, in the reference frame of logic and Natural Philosophy.//

      Who knew?

  25. Dear Dr. Judith Curry… I beg your pardon for Joel and other people attempts to imply me on offending you. I have nothing against you or your post betting your two cents on Joel’s mythology. I think you must give me those two cents because Joel and Chris have demonstrated to be wrong and I have demonstrated to be right. Please, Dr. Judith, read what NASA says on this issue:

    http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/experimental/July61999siteupdate/inv99Project.Site/Pages/solar.insolation.html

    Then, the average insolation on the Earth is ~1000 W/m^2, not 249 W/m^2. I’m right, they’re wrong.

    All the best,

    Nasif S. Nahle

    • Here a fragment of NASA’s article:

      “The solar constant is the average amount of energy striking one square meter (perpendicular to the suns’ rays) each second at the top of the earths’ atmosphere. The satellite measured solar constant is 1366 W/m^2. Of this energy reaching the top of the atmosphere as much as 70% can be absorbed & reflected by the atmosphere. Solar insolation is the amount of energy received by the sun at the earths’ surface. On a clear day ~1000 W/m^2 reaches a surface perpendicular to the incoming radiation. This energy varies due to the angle of the incoming radiation and again cloud cover.”

      Thank you, Dr. Curry

      • A weird typo there; is it yours or NASA’s? “Solar insolation is the amount of energy received by the sun at the earths’ surface.”
        “from” the sun, surely!!

    • From your link: On a clear day ~1000 W/m2 reaches a surface perpendicular to the incoming radiation

      Perpendicular.

    • Yup you got us all. Thanks.

  26. Joseph Postma,

    As I understand it the Earth has an average temperature, when measured from space, of 255deg K. (-18 deg C)

    To measure a real average temperature of -18 deg C, on Earth, we need to be at altitude of approx 5000 metres.

    So don’t these two easily observable facts show that the GH effect is real, and therefore there is no point tying ourself in knots with convoluted arguments about back radiation, or the second law of thermodynamics or whatever, in trying to disprove it?

    • Hi temp,
      No it doesn’t show the GHE is real, actually. It shows there is, as expected, an adiabatic temperature distribution of a gas in a gravitational field. And it also shows that the temperature of the entire thermodynamic ensemble is roughly 255K, satisfying conservation of energy. The warmer-than-average bottom of the atmosphere is entirely expected….it is supposed to be like that and would be like that without a GHE a-priori.
      This is the reason why, now, some people are trying to say that the adiabatic distribution is due to the GHE. Which is quite incorrect.

      • (1) Conservation of energy is only satisfied if the atmosphere absorbs terrestrial radiation. You have 390 W/m^2 leaving the surface but you would only have 240 W/m^2 leaving the earth as seen from space. Ergo, the atmosphere is absorbing some of the terrestrial radiation, allowing the surface temperature to be larger than would otherwise be possible under energy balance conditions. We call this “the greenhouse effect”.

        (2) Nobody is saying that the adiabatic distribution is due to GHE. What we are saying is that it is due to the fact that the earth is heated from below (by the combination of solar and terrestrial radiative inputs) together with the fact that the adiabatic lapse rate is a stability limit: The atmospheric lapse rate can’t get above it without tended to prompt convection.

      • We never said radiation isn’t absorbed by the atmosphere. Sure it is. It just doesn’t go back and heat the surface where it came from. That’s the postulated GHE. Nor is it needed to do so with a physically correct understanding of the high-value of the input power. You only need to postulate a mechanism like that if you assume the input is 240W/m2…which it isn’t. It is much higher.

      • Joe,

        It really isn’t that complicated:

        (1) The surface is at a temperature such that it is emitting 390 W/m^2.

        (2) The earth as viewed from space is emitting 240 W/m^2.

        (3) These two facts would not both be possible if the atmosphere were not absorbing some of the terrestrial radiation…i.e., if it weren’t then the earth’ surface would have to be at a temperature such that it was emitting only 240 W/m^2.

        That makes no reference to radiation going back to the surface and causing the increase in temperature. (Not to say it doesn’t, but that is not one of the axioms.)

      • Well I repeat, then, that we never said radiation isn’t absorbed by the atmosphere. But that it does is not a GHE, nor has it ever been explained to be. But, this is where the GHE then sets off, tautologically taking credit for the already-existing warmer surface air.

      • The greenhouse effect is that the earth’s surface is warmer because elements in the atmosphere absorb terrestrial radiation. You can see from the above that in the absence of the IR-absorbing elements, the earth’s surface could only be so warm as to emit 240 W/m^2. Instead, the surface is considerably warmer, emitting 390 W/m^2.

      • No you’d still have the adiabatic and thermal storage effects in a completely transparent atmosphere.

      • simon abingdon

        Joel, when does the surface emit 390W/m^2? At midday perhaps? Surely not early morning or at dusk? Maybe integrating sin(angle of incidence) over the daylight hours gives you 240W/m^2.

        And here’s an interesting point. At sunset (wherever you are) temperatures begin to drop relentlessly until dawn, when temperatures start to climb again until midday. But after that they don’t drop as much as they rise (Tsunset > Tsunrise). Why the asymmetry? You’d expect daytime temperatures to be the top half of a sine curve cycle culminating at midday.

        Thing is Joel, your flat-earth theory needs to explain the day-night cycle from every angle.

      • Joel, it’s good you have touched this point.

        “(1) Conservation of energy is only satisfied if the atmosphere absorbs terrestrial radiation. You have 390 W/m^2 leaving the surface but you would only have 240 W/m^2 leaving the earth as seen from space. Ergo, the atmosphere is absorbing some of the terrestrial radiation, allowing the surface temperature to be larger than would otherwise be possible under energy balance conditions. We call this “the greenhouse effect”.”

        Gravity field is a sink of heat. Agree or not?

        You are aware of the oceanic currents which take heat from one mass of water and take it to another place. Agree or not?

        You know that the average temperature of the atmosphere is not 105 °C (378.5 K). Agree or not?

        Now answer this question… How long the atmosphere molecules of carbon dioxide retains “heat”?

      • My fave little gedanken toy model is perhaps relevant here.
        Start with an atmosphere without CO2, with some “average” temperature. Instantaneously add 0.04% CO2, well-mixed.
        Expected: a “lag” introduced in the exit of some OLR from the atmosphere, corresponding to its power in the CO2 “notch” x lag duration. The consequent additional molecular agitation of atmosphere and/or surface shows up as a slight temperature increase.
        Then, the first lagged OLR makes it through the gauntlet, the OLR resumes its previous level, or perhaps slightly more according to S-B — and a new “average” temperature, slightly higher than before, takes hold.

        Next: instantaneously remove all CO2.
        Expected: for the duration of the lag, the temperature of the atmosphere will hold at about the higher “average” level, until the last of the lagged OLR makes its escape. Then the temperature will return to the original value.

        Thus: the effect of the GHE is a one-time “bump”, whose total energy can be calculated once you know the power of the “bounced” LWIR and the duration of the lag.

        Are either or both of those known to any degree of precision whatsoever?

      • Joseph,

        Yes I understand that the lapse rate (approx 5 deg C per 1000m) is entirely due to gravity. Even if the atmosphere was totally transparent to IR you’d still have that.

        But isn’t the 6000 metres still significant as the effective surface of the Earth for a distant measurement of temperature?

        Increase the IR transparency and the level falls. Decrease the IR transparency and the level rises. As anyone might expect. And knowing what that effective level is, means we can still use the lapse rate to calculate the surface temperature.

        Or have I still misunderstood?

      • temp,
        Well if the effective surface decreased in altitude due to increased opacity, then wouldn’t there be less distance for the adiabatic temperature profile to effect a warmer temperature for the ground surface? Seems you could equally conclude GHG’s cause cooling. As said earlier, they do provide an additional degree of freedom for radiative loss to space which non-GHG’s do not have.

        However, what interests me more are the boundary conditions which establish how we even begin to THINK about the atmosphere. The boundary condition of a 240 W/m2 input (power divided by four [P/4]) is totally unphysical. The input power temperature is MUCH higher than this. It really changes how you approach the system, and what postulates you need to make to help understand it, in a very significant way.

      • You don’t even need that to accept the greenhouse effect. Do you accept that measurements from space show emission is about 240 W/m^2? Do you accept that the earth’s surface is emitting much more…about 390 W/m^2?

        For heaven’s sake! What the heck will you accept?

      • You just said that the absorbance of radiation by the atmosphere is not the GHE! Perhaps I misread your other post. In any case, it’s true that it isn’t.
        I agree with the output of 240 W/m2, I also agree with the surface air being +15C, equivalent to 390 W/m2 if it were a blackbody (which it isn’t).

        But none of that means there’s a GHE.

      • Okay, so explain to me: If we had an atmosphere that did not absorb infrared radiation, would the surface still be emitting ~390 W/m^2. (It is close enough to a blackbody for our purposes, plus the foruth-root of the average of T^4 over the earth is larger than the average of T.)

      • The atmosphere is no where near a black body, the 390, is because T^4 means its radiating more strongly in area’s where the T is above the average T than below, and it just works out close to doing a black body calc on the average T… a coincidence is all. the emissivity o the atmosphere is quite variable, depending on clouds humidity etc, somewhere between .7 up past .85… all depending on local conditions.

      • There’s no reason why the surface could not emit 390 W/m2 without GHG’s. But that still wouldn’t be characteristic of the entire thermodynamic ensemble or conservation of energy because the atmosphere would still be emitting at whatever temperature it emits at. The aggregate average would still come out to 255K. With less emission from the atmosphere due to lack of GHG’s, the surface would likely need to warm to make up for the deficit.

      • King,

        You are confusing the effective emissivity of the entire earth-atmosphere system with the emissivity of the earth’s surface. In fact, the emissivity of the surface in the IR is very close to 1. The surface emits somewhere in the range of 390 W/m^2. However, when viewed from space, we see only about 240 W/m^2 coming from the earth.

        You could quibble about a few percent here or there depending on exact emissivities and if you average T or T^4 but you ain’t gonna turn 240 into 390.

      • dudh, i read it as atmosphere somehow… yea the oceans are around .96, varying from equator to pole between .99 and ,8… my bad

      • Joe,

        You don’t take an aggregate average if the atmosphere is not absorbing the terrestrial radiation. In that case, any additional radiation from the atmosphere would be added to the terrestrial radiation, not averaged with it.

      • It doesn’t HAVE to absorb the radiation…it will absorb energy by conduction and THEN radiate that energy. It will factor in to the aggregate output as it is participating in said output.

      • I’ll just repeat what I said:

        You don’t take an aggregate average if the atmosphere is not absorbing the terrestrial radiation. In that case, any additional radiation from the atmosphere would be added to the terrestrial radiation that was not absorbed. So, the total amount of radiation emitted would be at least as great as that which is emitted by the surface.

      • Indeed, it must have been those magic sky dragon that chew on 150 joules per second per square meter. In fact, they have competitions to see who can do it the fastest. One of them, named Daisey, didn´t get to play in any dragon games because he was too slow at it.

      • I suggest you leave off the alcohol (or whatever you are on).

      • You’re wrong since the begining, Chris an Joel. You are averaging power by square meter. It is not energy, physicists; you cannot average power.

      • Dr. Postma: You have not addresses my comments yet, and they are here again:
        With all due respect, your model is flawed for the following:
        1) Equation (12) is wrong and does not represent the energy balance of the atmosphere. Where is the latent heat of condensation of water vapor?
        2) In Figure-1, how can a colder atmosphere exchange a net radiation, σ TA4, with a warmer surface of the earth? This violates the laws of thermodynamics.
        3) Your model in Figure-1 suggests that the atmosphere as a whole traps fσ Ts4, which must heat all of the atmosphere. Our observations shows that the upper atmosphere is not warming but cooling instead. How do you explain the cooling in the upper atmosphere?
        4) There is no greenhouse gas effect and practical experiments are a proof.

      • Nabil! Friend! My paper IS a criticism of the points you brought up! I present this model, as it is taught entirely in its specifics by universities all over the place, including Harvard etc, such that I can then demonstrate exactly what is wrong with it. Please read the entire paper. Get passed the section where I present this standard model GHE.

      • Dr. Postma:
        Sorry for the misunderstanding. I read the rest of the work and found some good science and scientific approach. Most importantly the following from page 16:

        “Now, it isexpected that an increase in GHG’s will increase the temperature of the bottom of the atmosphere,while decreasing that at the top, and because the atmosphere is essentially fixed in depth,etc…….”

        The question that I have, won’t atmospheric radiation to space reduce when air temperature decreases at the top due to GHG emissions? Won’t heat accumulate in the earth as a result of radiation reduction?This is in agreement with my work, and I wrote over 100 pages on this very subject and projected global warming. Would you be interested in taking a look at my book global warming calculation and projection and Earth’s Magic, Article-12, posted on my website: http://www.global-heat.net? Please let me know what you think.

      • Sure Nabil I would be happy to take a look at your work. But please understand that my time is a little limited and it may take a few days. Is there contact info on your website? We can communicate via email if I can find it.
        As to your question: the Earth is open to space. There’s no solid barriers to space. If the atmosphere warms for whatever reason, its thermal energy will, within a few milliseconds, make it out to space and be gone forever. Something needs to sustain a permanent warming, and it needs to sustain it with additional energy. The atmosphere, or molecules of gas, are not additional sources of energy. They’re energetically inert and only react to changes in the ambient energy of their surroundings. There’s only one main energy source for the planet and that is the Sun. But you could also increase the amount of energy with a constant Sun, but with less cloud-cover on the Earth. Cosmic rays and the Sun’s magnetic activity likely plays a role there, rather than the Sun’s direct insolation.

      • Dr. Postma:
        Yes, there is contact us button on my website. Or you can write directly to me to the following e-mail address: nabil@global-heat.net.

        As you will find, and you covered some of this in your paper, the amount of solar energy absorbed by the earth is variable with the distance between earth and sun. But, at the completion of one revolution the solar energy exchanged and absorbed by the earth is constant, regardless of orbital eccentricity. You will see the proof of this in Earth’s Magic, Article-12, and in your paper, you were not far off from proving it.

        On the other hand, if the sensible heat radiated by the atmosphere to the outer space reduces for any reason, provided that everything else being equal, the surface accumulate heat without additional source of energy. This what carbon dioxide emissions do. As you found out, these emissions decrease laps rate at the top, or air temperature profile decreases, and the sensible heat radiated to the outer space decreases as well. As a result, the surface of the earth accumulates the difference as global warming heat. All described in the book global warming calculation and projection posted on my website: http://www.global-heat.net. you may print copies for your record if you wish. Thank you and am looking forward to hearing your comments.

    • Dear Tempterrain… 255 K is the blackbody temperature of the Earth, not a measured quantity. It is the result of calculations on a blackbody Earth’s emissions:

      P = (5.6697 x 10^18 W/m^2 K^4) (m^2) (Tbb^4)

      Or

      T^4 = 239.73 W/(5.6697 x 10^18 W/m^2 K^4)

      Those are imaginary numbers. The real temperature of the Earth, as seen from the space is 292 K in average; it is approximately 19 °C.

      • @Tempterrain… This link could help you:

        http://www.universetoday.com/55043/earths-temperature/

        An excerpt from the article:

        “However, Earth’s average temperature is about 14 or 15 degrees Celsius although it varies a few degrees depending on your source. The hottest temperature recorded on Earth was 70.7°C (159°F) in the Lut Desert in Iran; the temperature was recorded by a NASA satellite.”

      • Nasif,

        I can understand how we can measure the surface temperature of the Earth, from a distance, if the atmosphere was totally transparent to IR radiation

        But if its opaque or partially opaque, how is that possible? You’d just be measuring the temperature of the outer layer. You’d need to know how high that layer was and then use the adiabatic lapse rate to calculate the surface temperature.

      • Dear Tempterrain… For calculating the surface temperature we resort to other formulas.

        For example, my pyrgeometer gives a reading of 495 W of solar radiation impinging on the surface at several locations sepparated by 100 m each from the others. We average the five locations and get 492 W/m^2 of insolation. After that, we apply an algorithm and obtain an average temperature of the ground (soil) of 333 K or 60 °C.

        We know that the ground has a limited absorptance and emittance, so we have introduced the absorptance of the soil to calculate the load of radiation absorbed. If we wish to know how much heat is transferred from the surface to the atmosphere, we resort to other formulas which take into account the mass of air, not a surface of air because the air has not surface, but volume and density. Additionally, we take into account gravity, buoyancy and viscosity of the air at the current temperature. This way, we know how much heat has been transferred from the soil to the atmosphere by convection.

        In all calculations, the heat taken by the atmosphere by convection overwhelms the heat taken by radiation.

      • Once again, you remind me of the summary offered in 1972 by Schack, as cited by G&T:
        “the radiative component of heat transfer of CO2, though relevant at the temperatures in combustion chambers, can be neglected at atmospheric temperatures.”

    • After a pretty stimulating discussion on Dr. Pratt’s post this is a comical let down. Postma’s credential’s are impressive but his logic in this case is on a par with Wagathon. If you don’t like the “flat” disc concept you can use a hemisphere and take the angle of incident from 0 to 90 and back to 0, then divide by two for the unlit side, same answer. If dividing is an issue, how about a time lapse record of a few sundials? A basketball, spotlight and a protractor? I know, a soccerball, heat lamp and non-contact thermometer. I would how many ways this could be done? We should contact Myth Busters!

      • You can’t dilute the input power into the nighttime where it doesn’t occur. That’s quite simple. It establishes completely different phase-spaces of matter. Diluting to 240W/m2 means sunlight can never make liquid water. The integrated average input power of 610 W/m2 will make liquid water. These are completely different phase-spaces of matter and reality. They can not be set equal to each other in some mathematical abstraction which doesn’t represent reality.

      • With no atmospheric response you are probably right, but with the atmosphere we have… We live on a water world. Most of that water is at or near freezing. Enough is above freezing that there is trace water vapor in the atmosphere. Neglecting any CO2 impact, we will maintain liquid water even during the next glacial period. If we didn’t, we would not have interglacial periods. There are valid areas of debate, geometry is not one nor is basic thermodynamics.

        Whether DWLR “warms” the surface as a good debate issue mainly due to semantics. Whether DWLR exists is not, because the sky has a temperature. If there were no GHE the sky would still have a temperature, the tropopause would be near the surface and its average temperature would be warmer that it is now, but not warm enough to sustain liquid water. But that is a moot point since the Earth luckily never reached the real snowball Earth point.

  27. tempterrain,

    Nasif really hasn´t the first clue of what he is talking about, nor does Postma. You are correct that the observed ¨temperature¨ viewed from above is something like 255 K, but more precisely, it depends on what wavelength interval you are looking over. This requires inverting the full use of the Planck function, not the S-B law. In the atmospheric window, the temperature is closer to the ground temperature, and at say, 15 microns the temperature is stratospheric. Aside from their geometrical confusions, it would be even better to hear Nasif´s and Postma´s interpretation of standard radiant spectra measurements. Note that Venus in some areas looks as cold as Mars in the IR.

    The lapse rate stuff Postma is pulling on you is also nonsense. With no greenhouse gases, the effective radiating level would not be 5 km, it would be zero, and the tropopause would migrate to the surface. The adiabatic lapse rate is indeed -g/cp, but it only necessarily relaxes to this value under certain conditions, and even in the real atmosphere it only does so until the tropopause (where convection gives out). In the optically thick limit, like on Venus, you can extrapolate along the adiabat all the way to something like 60 km. This was another point I touched on in my SkS article.

    • Chris… What the bolometric total solar irradiance on top of the atmosphere is?

    • “With no greenhouse gases, the effective radiating level would not be 5 km, it would be zero, and the tropopause would migrate to the surface.”

      Prove it.

      Simple logic dictates that the average radiative output of a gaseous ensemble in a gravitational field must be found at altitude, not at the surface. It is simple logic: what is an average? It is an average of something that has maxima and minima. Fundamental physics dictates the maxima be found at the bottom of the atmosphere. Therefore the average is at altitude.

      • This is so well-established science, that I think you need to prove otherwise, rather than just hand wave in your paper. If there are no IR absorbers/emitters, all the emission from the surface escapes, and the sensor in space doesn´t care about the atmosphere. You´d know this if you actually bothered to sit down with a climate textbook or read some papers on how the greenhouse effect is actually interpreted. I will presume you haven´t because you didn´t reference a single one in your paper.

      • Actually, I’d say it’s worse than that, chris. If the atmosphere doesn’t absorb any of the terrestrial radiation, then the least you could have being emitted in W/m^2 is what is coming from the surface. You could have additional energy coming from the atmosphere if it was also emitting. (Of course, it wouldn’t emit if it didn’t absorb, so I guess this point is sort of moot…but my point is we don’t even have to argue about whether or not the atmosphere is emitting. If it’s not absorbing, he’s screwed.)

      • You think if something can’t absorb radiation, it can’t emit it?

        You think the atmosphere wouldn’t emit if it didn’t have GHG’s?

      • Joe,

        It doesn’t matter whether it can emit or not. The amount of radiation is going to just get higher anyway…and it is already too high…i.e., higher than is seen from space. The atmosphere has to be able to absorb.

        (But, yes, Kirchoff’s Law says that emissivity = absorptivity, although this is only true at each particular wavelength.)

      • If the radiation gets higher in the atmosphere from GHG’s, then to balance the energy output the ground will have to emit less.

        Non-GHG’s in the atmosphere already emit lots of thermal IR, and this emission takes part in establishing the total energy balance with the input.

      • What’s your description of Kirchhoff’s law, Tempterrain?

      • The atmosphere will still emit radiation without GHG’s! Come on fellas.

        Actually it is stellar photosphere modelling texts I am familiar with…and never have we discussed back-radiative heating in them! And astrophysics is universal, ho ho ho.

      • The atmosphere will still emit [IR] radiation without GHG’s!

        No. It won’t. If a gas doesn’t absorb , it can’t radiate either!

      • There goes Kirchoff´s law too…amazing how many Galileo´s come around these days.

      • Kirchoff’s “Law” is not a “law”; it’s a rough arithmetical approximation of a bulk effect. It does not constrain molecular radiative physics.

      • You’re wrong my friend. Anything with a temperature radiates thermal energy. That phenomenon does not depend on its ability to absorb radiation.

      • Joseph,

        Greenhouse gases, yes including water vapour too, are the cause of the opacity of the atmosphere to IR radiation. Remove all GH gases and the atmosphere becomes totally IR transparent.

        That’s just a definition of terms. If the atmosphere was totally IR transparent the radiation level would be zero. Again, by definition.

        How could it be otherwise?

      • “If the atmosphere was totally IR transparent the radiation level would be zero.”

        Would the atmosphere still not be heated by conduction and then emit said acquired thermal energy as radiation? It doesn’t need to be able to absorb radiation in order to emit thermal radiation…

      • Not even what I was talking about. I am withholding further comments until you´ve had a chance to look at the paper I linked to below. It is a good introduction and will be educational, and can provide a starting point for further discussion, since you did not want to comment on much on my SkS article.

      • Yah the point about your article: as I read it I kept on thinking that my paper itself IS the re-rebuttal to your rebuttal. So I don’t know what to do about that. I suggest everyone just re-read my paper.

        In any case, nice that you wish to close your mouth now that you exposed yourself as believing that non-GHG’s can’t radiate! The entire atmosphere radiates, and most of that comes from non-GHG’s :-)

      • I look forward to your next paper telling us all what IR wavelengths all the N2/O2 is emitting at independent of GHG´s, and of course winning your nobel prize for this work. Till then, goodnight.

      • They would emit continuously. Seriously guys, you think a gas of, say, helium, would never ever ever cool down? Anything with a temperature emits thermal radiative energy.
        The premise that non-GHG’s can not emit and participate in the radiative energy balance…it’s, a very poor attempt to save the GHE.

      • “Would the atmosphere still not be heated by conduction and then emit said acquired thermal energy as radiation? It doesn’t need to be able to absorb radiation in order to emit thermal radiation”

        Technically, a gas could have almost zero emissivity in the infrared and still emit in the microwave range, as atmospheric O2 is known to do at atmospheric temperatures and pressures, based, I believe, on its magnetic dipole moment (perhaps someone can comment on this). However, the energy and temperature effects will be so small as to have no discernible consequences for the Earth’s energy budget.

      • I would add that oxygen also absorbs in the microwave spectrum. If it didn’t, it couldn’t emit.

      • Chris may be letting it go but I’d just like to nail this point. Yes if the atmosphere were totally IR transparent you’d still get a some flow of upward heat by convection. But it wouldn’t be radiated into space. In fact a new equilibrium would be set up – with the only heat exchange possible between the atmosphere and the ground.

        So that atmosphere would look a lot different to the one we have – it would just act as a reservoir of heat, sometimes cooling the Earth and sometimes warming.

        The only radiation to space possible would be from the Earth’s surface itself.

      • Anything with a temperature radiates thermal energy. If the energy is picked up only by conduction this does not mean it can not be radiated.

      • Joseph,

        Say we had a hypothetical gas which could do what you suggest; and we housed it in a glass containment vessel constructed like a vacuum flask with almost zero thermal conduction possible between the gas and the container. The outer surface of the container is painted black.

        The gas has a temperature and from its temperature we can calculate, using Planck’s law and Wien’s displacement law, just how it should radiate. So it radiates , losing energy in the process, and cools. The black surface warms and tries to radiate the energy back. But, the gas is transparent so it can’t absorb the energy. Does it just carry on cooling , and cooling, as it can radiate energy but not absorb it?

        Is this what you really think will happen? Besides the above two laws you need to look up what Kirchhoff had to say also.

        So it loses energy to its container. The energy is absorbed by the container

      • The container also has an outside from which it will radiate to the outside. The system will therefore lose energy and cool with time.

      • The system will therefore lose energy and cool with time.

        Well no it won’t!

        The container and the gas within it will just sit there, in the laboratory, doing nothing very much at all. The only changes in temperature that will occur will be, possibly, when the central heating is switched off overnight!

      • It is not possible to build a thermos that will stay hot forever.

      • Joseph,

        The gas isn’t hot to start with. Its at the same temperature as its surroundings. According to your model it will cool as it is totally transparent to IR radiation but it still radiates IR because it is at a finite temperature.

        Its just so obvious that this won’t happen and your thinking is flawed.

        Science is isn’t about defending an erroneous position, come what may. Learn to deal with it , learn from it and move on.

      • Nothing to move on from temp. :-)

        I see the situation now…

        Hmm, well there must be some mechanism by which the gas would still be able to absorb heat energy. Everything with a temperature radiates…we know that much. But could a completely isolated system otherwise surrounded by a warm environment cool to below that environment’s temperature, passively? Well for one thing, it likely isn’t possible to completely isolate a system in the first place. It’s a good question, someone should actually do an experiment or look it up, rather than theorize in unrealistic and never-existing ideal systems.

        In any case this actually has little to do with my position.

      • To propose a totally non radiating gas you need to leave physics behind.
        Gas molecules collide and in the process decelerate.
        The electrons in each molecule will experiance a distortion in their electric field.
        Bremsstrahlung is electromagnetic radiation produced by the deceleration of a charged particle when deflected by another charged particle, typically an electron.
        The energy of the photon will be very weak in the microwave region.
        Weak but it still exists.
        CO2and H2O radiate several orders of magnitude higher than this.
        For practical purposes microwave radiation is often ignored.

    • Chris,

      Yes thanks for your comments. They make perfect sense to me. I agree that my IR thermometer/detector is more of a conceptual idea than a simple instrument. The IR spectrum is made up a band of frequencies/wavelengths all of which have different absorption coefficients – so you’d need to integrate measurements over the whole of the emitted spectrum to effectively create that.

    • Dear Chris:
      The adiabatic lapse rate reduces with carbon dioxide emissions for the molecular weight and specific heat of of CO2 is larger than that of air. An increase of 100 ppm of CO2 will decrease lapse rate by about 0.0005 degrees centigrades/Km. Total reduction is about 0.05 degrees centigrades at the top of the atmosphere. Do not underestimate this reduction for surface area of the atmosphere is huge. This reduction accumulated in the surface about 4.5 E22 joules in 250 years- It caused global warming!

    • chriscolose

      …”The lapse rate stuff Postma is pulling on you is also nonsense. With no greenhouse gases, the effective radiating level would not be 5 km, it would be zero, and the tropopause would migrate to the surface.”…..

      No Chris its you spouting nonsense.

      You have left out clouds (condensing water) which provides a surface and hence much better radiating output than the gaseous form of H2O and CO2.
      If gaseous H2O and CO2 did not radiate in the IR where would not be the conditions you describe.

  28. I think it would be worthwhile if Postma read an actual paper discussing this. Ray´s Physics Today article strikes me as a good starting point. We´ve all taken the time to read his paper, let´s see if he will take the time to read a single one on the topic of the atmosphere. It will then be nice to hear his comments.
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/papers/PhysTodayRT2011.pdf

    • I read that article when it came out…it was full of inaccuracies. You can ask me to discuss them but I am informing you right now I will NOT :-) This is already taking up a lot of my time and I can not handle expansion of the discussion beyond close proximity to issues surrounding my paper. Yes that article does qualify as that, but it’s the time thing. Sorry. In any case, that article annoyed the heck out of me for its inaccuracies, it was faulty. I’m sorry I just can’t take more time. I should be spending time with my wife.

      • Well if Joel wants to continue with this discussion, I think everyone else on this thread has converged to a conclusion. It doesn´t appear you have much else to say or are capable of learning anything.

      • Well I think I’ve had LOTS to say on almost every single point of contention with the theses in my paper. :-) I’m willing to learn from you folks but you haven’t presented better logic. Everyone just got stuck not understanding the difference between an actual power input of 610 W/m2 (on average) and the output power of 240 W/m2 (on average).

      • Physicists are nothing if not eager to pounce on mistakes. Do you REALLY think that an article ‘full of inaccuracies’ could be published in Physics Today and that you’re the only one bright enough to spot them? Never mind – I’m sure that you do.

    • Tortured mathematics and logics, that’s what Ray’s article is… :D

  29. I am the afore mentioned “Joseph” that is the author of the above referenced “Climate Warfare Rules of Engagement” posted at http://www.CanadaFreePress.com/index.php/article/30865 and am a co-author of “Slaying the Sky Dragon” and am a colleague of Postma & Nahle. What Postma has done is to prove there is no GHE using first principles of Physics. This work defeats GHE but only applies to a small portion of the defective science aluded to by Shore, Colose et al above.

    The Postma article concerns ‘energy’ but the more revelant factor is ‘power’ which is a function of time. Dr Nahle has calculated the total OLR delay from CO2 impacts at less than 5 milliseconds. This ‘absorption/emission’ is then shared with adjoining Nitrogen and Oxygen molecules in the form of kinetic energy which then moves away from the warm Earth surface, just ask any ‘excited’ hot air balloon. There is NO radiant or convective ‘flux’ toward the Earth. Warmist & Lukes like to pretend that this ‘captured’ energy can somehow stick around and warm all night long. If you have a 1000 watt heater you have no ‘heat’ without energy flow. If that flow lasts for 5 milliseconds you have no heat.

    The next Thermodynamic dilemma involves ‘Thermal Mass’. Earth had 259 trillion cubic miles of mostly molten rock and 310 million cubic miles of ocean and we are to believe that 28 gigatons of microscopic CO2 dust controls the planets temperature. I recommend objective readers to visit the Canada Free Press article above and the +60 additional articles I have in archive there. Then visit my website http://www.FauxScienceSlayer.com for more on the Faux Science and Faux History of our Faux Reality.

    • Light travels 1500 km in 5 milleseconds.

      Downdrafts and downbursts are known hazards to aviation.

      Co2 doesn’t exist as dust, try gas.

      All the molten rock is effectively isulated from the atmosphere.

      Other than that, great post.

      • Sir Droege

        ‘Light’ travels 1500 km in 5 milliseconds but RADIANT ENERGY is slowed by mass.

        Downdrafts are always COLD and accompanied by an adjoining warm updraft.

        CO2 is a gas temporarly….it is soon converted to DIRT….3 cu miles of dirt do not control the planet temperature.

        Molten rock is NOT insulated from the ocean, read “Earth’s Missing Geothermal Flux”

        Other than that, not so great comment.

  30. I clicked on your name and the first thing I seen was
    ¨My site will expose the FAUX SCIENCE that enslaves us all¨

    I´m afraid my crackpot meter has reached its limits for the day. I will let other tackle this…

  31. I hope Chris can find what the bolometric TSI on TOA is… I will wait patiently… :D

  32. The greenhouse dragon is indeed a hydra monster. This thread is making my head hurt :(

      • but it is fun to play along. Have a couple beers first…

      • Chris you have been doing a good job :)

      • Joel showed a lot of patience and restraint too.

      • Jim D

        …”Joel showed a lot of patience and restraint too.”….

        What planet do you live on?

        Joel and Chris have called Postma a liar and of low moral character.

        How abusive does it have to get for you?

        They have also failed to indicate any flaws in Postmas paper but that’s quite beside the point.
        By stooping to the gutter level of smears they are a disgrace to rational discussion.

    • Judy – I hesitate even to suggest this “last resort” option when a thread’s absurdities threaten to spiral out of control, but I’ve seen it work in other venues. When you absolutely can’t tolerate trying to respond further in a situation like that and thereby keep the argument going, the option I speak of is to respond to the previous comment not with a direct answer but instead with your favorite recipe.

      I’ve come across some really delicious items that way, and it can sometimes turn things around in a more sane direction.

      Do you have any good recipes?

      • THAT is actually the response of a true believer. You have no more sophistries to defend a failed idea, so you resort to silliness. Please do so.

        Power input and output isn’t that difficult to understand!

      • You don’t know me, Joseph. If you did, you’d know that ridicule is not my specialty. However, the level of ignorance expounded here is so profound that it has become an embarrassment, and a bit of levity might at least rescue it from being a total disaster

        If no-one wants to participate, that’s fine too. But I’m sympathetic with participants who just want to give up banging their heads against the stone wall of your stubbornness, and would enjoy a respite. You don’t need needling from me, Joseph, to give up and admit you’re wrong. What you need is the integrity and courage to realize that an exercise you’ve poured some effort into is a failure, and defending it will dig you deeper into the hole you’ve dug. The rest is up to you. Our lives will go on peacefully regardless of your choice.

      • Thanks for the advice Fred. I am sure you’re a great guy. Honestly. Thanks.

        I did come face-to-face with changing my position once or twice on this thread, but then I would realize I was still correct and my opponent was still wrong. All I can see is that there was some profound misunderstanding regarding the concepts of energy flux density and related power inputs and outputs, and how they are not equal under the context of conservation of total energy.

        Well, we can both claim observance of ignorance and stubbornness…I don’t care for consensus arguments on that point! Ha! :-)

        I WILL admit I am wrong if I have a good reason to. That reason was not presented here. Yah we’ll disagree on that point!

        I’m committed to learning what I have, want, and need to. As I said, I used to be an alarmist. I have to be willing to find myself in a hole if I am to be a real skeptical scientist. Socially, sure, I am in a hole with some people. But my physics is good.

    • I’m done for a while. This one is just sad.

  33. * 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken pieces
    * 4 cups water
    * 4 cups chicken broth
    * 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
    * 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste, depending on saltiness of broth
    * 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    * 1 leek or small onion chopped
    * 1 carrot, chopped
    * 2 stalks celery, chopped
    * 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
    * 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram or basil
    * 1 bay leaf
    * 6 ounces noodles

    Preparation:
    Place all ingredients except noodles in the Crock Pot. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Remove chicken and bay leaf from pot; take meat from bones, dice, and return to broth, and add the noodles. Cook another hour or until noodles are done (about 1/2 hour on high). Or, cook the noodles separately and add them just before serving.

    • It sounds good, Chris. We came across some good recipes in MySpace debates – remember?

      I’m not sure Dr. Curry can engage in this without risking her status as a moderator. Or maybe she can. But I’m sure there are other good recipes out there from other participants.

    • We say in Mexico “métete tu sopa por donde mejor te quepa”.

      • Heh. ;) I posted a “shaggy dog story” response, but it seems to have violated a forbidden-word filter, so here’s a slightly “fudged” version:

        Heard the Foo Bird Saga?
        the classic story of the Foo Bird.
        Great White Hunter retired in England with wall of trophy heads becomes restless, decides on one last great hunt. Heard of mysterious Foo Bird, never bagged, rarely even seen.
        Makes it to darkest Africa, obtains guides and porters with greatest difficulty and expense, natives very skittish. After weeks of tromping futilely about in swamps and jungle, about to accept defeat, turns for home. Porter hears “foo-foo” sound from trees, shouts, “Bwana!”, points. GWH raises gun, porter slaps it down, as it fires. Foo Bird takes flight overhead, crapping on now bared GWH’s head as it flees. GWH irate, but is told Foo Bird carries curse, very dangerous. Starts to wipe hair, hand held down, told that to remove crap is ignominious death within minutes. Scoffs, but leaves hair alone.
        Makes it to port, embarks, heads home. But even hat can’t completely cover vile crap smell. At home, in club lounge, people avoid him. Finally gets fed up, defies curse, showers, slips on soap bar, cracks skull open on tub fixtures, dies face-down in own suds.

        Moral?

        “If the Foo Sh??s, wear it!”

  34. At least we all add had to think on Claes Johnson’s thread. Postma’s model is easily debunked at a level of freshman physics and geometry. This thread has about 2600 hits so far, are any of the lurkers convinced by Postma’s arguments? The heavyweight physicists seem to be ignoring this thread, although Chris Colose with a few undergraduate courses in meteorology can clearly see the problems with this.

    • My model actually hasn’t even been referenced, really. We hadn’t even left dissecting the standard model.

      People’s lack of understanding of the inequality between input and output power hardly constitutes…anything.

      • I think you are justified in thinking there are problems with some of the climate models and applaud you for looking for new solutions.

        Just a question.

        What would happen with an axial tilt of 90 degrees? like Uranus, which has the coldest recorded planetary atmospheric temp where one pole faces the sun and the other away perpetual darkness.

      • That’s an interesting question. The Sun still will still obviously shine only on whatever hemisphere ends up facing it. But who knows what kind of current would get set up in the atmosphere etc. You might get a situation like on Venus, where there is quick enough distribution of heat that the night-side is kept at a relatively decent temperature, and doesn’t completely freeze out. But with 121C of insolation always occurring on one physical spot, rather than one geometric spot with a planet rotating underneath, it might be able to generate a heck of a lot more atmospheric H20, and increase the thickness of the atmosphere.
        Anyway, of course I don’t know what would actually happen in that scenario, but it is a very neat idea to speculate on. I’m sure someone out there might have a good perspective. Maybe life would only exist on a band around the equator. Very neat scenario for sci-fi!
        Thanks for your consideration :-)

    • Claes just had an alternative view of the thermodynamic paradigm. This challenges the overly simplified models from which so much smoke pollutes the air. The earth is a gigantic heat engine, pumping energy from the tropics to the poles. Sure, we’ve an approximate figure for the anthropogenic input of just one small variable in that heat engine. The climate is a huge analog computer processing that input with many others, some unknown. It is absurd to expect our relatively primitive digital simulacrums, which can’t even model a single cloud, to authentically model the whole heat engine.
      ==================

      • However you accept your simple heat engine metaphor without question.

        basically, since you cant grasp the physics you grasp this complicated thing with a metaphor you do understand.

      • I’ve told you before, moshe, that I have this all figured out, but you have to read the blogs.

        Neither you nor I nor anyone completely understand the physics of climate. We are all using metaphors. Frankly, mine explain it better than do yours.
        ================

      • steven mosher

        seriously. post the hindcast of your metaphor.

        epistemically its metaphors all the way down..

        pragmatically, the best numbers win. post yours

      • seriously. attach the forequarters of the horse to the post.

        epistemically it’s turtles all the way down but for the last one, who sits on a metaphor.

        pragmatically, I’m consulting Koutsoyiannis, Tsonis, and Old Sol. Peering into an opaque crystal, the numbers seem negative.
        ======================

      • More simply, moshe, because I understand the physics of CO2’s radiative effect(positive number), I’m a lukewarmer. Because I believe the sun may cool the earth for a century(negative number), I’m a cooler. That’s numbers attached to two separate phenomena, so I call myself a lukewarming cooler, nomenclature that lucia believes is nonsensical. I can’t get her to understand that the terms refer to separate things.
        ========================

    • I am stunned that there is so much argument for little purpose over whether total solar insulation should be divided by 2 (Postma) or 4 ( Joel, chris, et al).

      Insolation happens on only one half of the Earth “sphere” and the energy flux of the daylight side should be calculated accordingly. So Insolation of (610*0.7) W/m2 on the day side and almost zero (moonlight) on the night side is A correct way to model it.

      Perhaps those who want to divide 1320 W/m2 by 4 (the Gang of 4?) are making a harmless simplification. Maybe it is harmless. If it were a linear system, I’d be the first to agree.

      The subject under discussion is NOT a LINEAR system. It is the surface of a rotating spheroid, tracking heat flows proportional to T^4, with gigatons of heat retentive liquids and gases in motion. So perhaps Postma’s setup provides some critical insight into energy flux and temperature differences between the day side, night side, and zenith and poles.

      Instead of a debate of day versus night heat flows, I witnessed pointless arguments that dividing by 4 is correct and dividing by 2 for a hemisphere and using zero for the other hemisphere is in error. I learned a lot about those who never got past this point. Frankly, I’m surprised divide by 4 is the orthodoxy. I’m siding with the heretic on this point. Averaging night and day may not be the more accurate analysis assumption.

      What I did not see enough in the thread was what important difference Postma’s setup made to the analysis. Ok, he says (7:37pm) that his way 610 W/m2 (actually closer to 540 w/m2) allows for a temperature that makes liquid water without GHE. There is enough to insolation on the day side to have liquid water at an angle of incidence of >43 deg. You then have an insulating atmosphere and ocean heat sinks that retain and spread heat into the night and convection to bleed off heat in the hottest portions of the earth. But it does not eliminate a mild GHE with or without GHGs.

      Is that it? Postma’s way is able to make and retain liquid water without invoking back-radiation from GHG’s? The orthodoxy (divide by 4) requires heat retention by GHE to make liquid water?

      • Amounts of energy are additive. That’s a linear operation. Concerning energy coming from the Sun to the Earth that’s all. There’s no place for nonlinearity. Postma claims that there is, but that’s an empty and totally unsubstantiated claim. Repeating it 100 times doesn’t make it a bit more reasonable.

        There are some effects due to nonlinearity in the emission and other energy transfers from the surface, but the Earth surface temperature doesn’t vary so much between night and day that this would lead to a major change in the results. All those variations are also included in the model calculations.

        The whole point is ridiculous. It’s maintained only to mislead people, who wish to be misled.

      • No one is being misled and that is not my intention. I’ve been quite open about who I am and people have even posted where I work, and my publications.
        Input power is much warmer than the output power. Total energy is the same but the input is HOT, the output is cold. Because of the difference in surface area.

      • Prekka, I’ll agree that Postma’s paper is a mess after the middle of page 12 and needs a thorough rewrite from that point.

        However, his central thesis that solar insolation varies over the earth is sound. It is on much stronger ground than the assumption of divide solar insolation by 4 and make it uniform over the earth’s surface.

        there is no place for non-linearity Now you are saying things unsupportable. Solar insolation as a function of time of day, lat and long, complicates the model greatly. As far as emissions, just how constant is that over the earth surface? Everyone seems to agree on 240 W/m2 as an average, but does it vary with latitude and longitude and time of day? Is 240 W/m2 valid for 90S on August 1 at 00:00 GMT?

        The whole point is ridiculous. What whole point? Postma’s biggest mistake was to tackle too much, trying to make too many points in a paper that attempted to shift a paradigm.

        The promise of his approach may allow for earth models that do not require as strong a GHE and allow for lower GHG sensitivities as the one dimension orthodoxy. The orthodoxy needs a strong GHE to raise the average surface temp to reasonable levels. By dumping all the insolation onto one hemisphere, we need a weaker GHE so as to retain the heat at night and means of cooling (convection) in the day. That may or may not be right, but it is not a ridiculous point.

      • Stephen, everyone knows solar radiation varies over the planet. It is only made an average in simple zero-dimensional energy balance model´s, not in any real climate model simulations or detailed analyses, so the whole argument is a straw man to begin with. In any case, for the purposes of temperature, it isn´t a bad 0-D model. The night is not absolute zero.

      • a strawman Yet you and Joel wrote thousands of words yesterday defending the divide by 4 0-D (strawman) model. You focused on the wrong things.

        The night is not absolute zero The night what?
        The night Temperature? Certainly not, who said it was?
        The night emission flux? I asked for the emission flux over the south pole in the dead of winter. Didn’t say it was zero. I only suggested it might not be 240 W/m2.
        The night solar insolation? Well maybe not absolutely zero, but are you suggesting we do not discard moonlight and the zodiacal light as insignificant sources of insolation?

      • Right, and I will continue to defend the model because it is a matter of simple geometry. The Earth emits over 4 pi R^2 and it absorbs over pi R^2, giving a ratio of 4. If you want the oblate spheroid edition see
        http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/08/11/the-simplest-climate-model-oblate-spheroid-edition/

        The argument that you should divide by two is strictly an acceptance that the dayside absorbs all incident radiation uniformly (it doesn´t, there are latitudinal and time of day differences) and the nighttime doesn´t get anything. In the real world though, the night isn´t getting solar radiation but it is not immune to the presence of the day hemisphere or to the sunlight it received 12 hours ago. So translate the problem into temperature and you get absolute zero on the nightside and 303 K on the dayside. In even more reality, the equator is super-hot and the Poles are less hot, on the dayside. The real world doesn´t behave this (maybe this sort of thing is better on Mercury, as I suggested to Judith Curry).

      • “The Earth emits over 4 pi R^2 and it absorbs over pi R^2, giving a ratio of 4”

        Nowhere has that been disputed.

        “The argument that you should divide by two is strictly an acceptance that the dayside absorbs all incident radiation uniformly (it doesn´t, there are latitudinal and time of day differences) and the nighttime doesn´t get anything.”

        Yes that’s correct. The Wattage only impinges one side of the Earth. You may consider a uniform distribution of that Wattage or an integrated average. It means the input is much warmer than the output. The input is warm enough to sustain a water planet without a GHE necessarily.

        “In the real world though, the night isn´t getting solar radiation but it is not immune to the presence of the day hemisphere or to the sunlight it received 12 hours ago.”

        Exactly. The energy from the night time is left over energy absorbed from the day-time. Perhaps going a few days back even. The balance with the day-time energy does not need to be instantaneous – i.e., the SAME joules coming in do not need to be the SAME joules going out, instantaneously.

        “So translate the problem into temperature and you get absolute zero on the nightside and 303 K on the dayside.”

        Why would you think that? It is obviously not what exists. The 303K may be the forcing on the day side, but that temperature isn’t actually achieved, even though the energy is absorbed. It gets absorbed into other degrees of freedom in the system. These carry the energy over into the night-time, where the long term balance with the input is reached.

      • you´re on to something. Keep it going.

      • Oh I was doing that for your sake, Chris ;-)

        You’ve almost learned the difference between temperature and energy.

        Radiative temperature forcing in > radiative temperature out.
        Results in:
        Energy in = energy out.

        And the Sunshine is warm.

      • Stephen,
        When energy balances are considered incoming energies add up linearly. That’s totally independent of temperature.

        The diurnal variations are important in many other ways. Stephan-Boltzmann law has the fourth power. That leads as an example to the effect that sum of two hours of radiation, one at 10C and one at 30C leads to 0.7% more emission than two hours at 20C. It’s not exactly linear, but the effect is not very large either.

        The diurnal variations lead to other larger effects as well through varying evaporation and convection, etc.

        Earth without night and day would not be our Earth, but the effects are not going to invalidate any of the basic calculations of energy balance.

      • The difference between a characterization of -18C power input and +30C power input (240 vs 480 W/m2) is the difference between no liquid water and liquid/evaporative water. Those are completely different phase-spaces of matter with different thermal capacities and “flow” abilities. The difference is obviously quite important.
        Basic total energy balance is still satisfied, of course and certainly. But the planet will have entirely different physical characteristics, naturally, and without additional GHE energy.

      • So what?

        How common are day/night variations of that magnitude.

        As I explained, incoming energy just adds up. Everything else goes through the actual temperature variations.

        By to way, where do you think the 160 PW comes from?

      • Thanks Stephen for the rational summary.

        Your last questions are exactly and precisely the point. Using the correct power input figure provides enough forcing to sustain a liquid planet with lots of water vapor, etc. And that water has a very high heat capacity and cools very slowly, so it can easily carry that heat to the poles and not freeze over night. You can’t get ANY of that physics with an input of -18C. Not unless you invoke self-amplification heating. So, maybe self-amplification of heat isn’t necessary…we’ve just had the boundary conditions messed up: the output radiation temperature isn’t the input radiation temperature. The input radiation is MUCH hotter than -18C. It establishes different physics in the system all of its own ability.

      • Joseph, as I replied to Prekka, you would do well to go rewrite from the middle of page 12 to the end. Focus on the elements of the paradigm shift and scrap all extraneous asides. A couple more diagrams illustrating the components of your formulas. Break the argument down into smaller bullet points with immediate compare and contrast between your model and the orthodoxy. Substantiate the orthodoxy as real and not a strawman through the use of a few recently published references or classroom texts. Do not lose focus on explaining why the paradigm change matters.

      • Thanks for that. It seems that linking to the sixty references to the GHE was not good enough…I should have directly included them in the text on or a bibliography at the end. You’re right that it is not a straw man I am critiquing but the entire standard paradigm. I could likely shorten the paper considerably by focusing on the specifics, as you point out. It was intended for online publication…I enjoyed the philosophical discussion of the logic personally…I enjoyed writing that. I shouldn’t assume other would! I will copy your message to my paper for future reference, if we decide to re-publish online or publish to a journal.
        Thanks!

    • “This thread has about 2600 hits so far, are any of the lurkers convinced by Postma’s arguments? ”

      Dear Dr. Curry,
      Thanks for asking this question!
      I’ve been lurking here since the beginning of this blog and for first thing I want to thank You for providing this forum for sharing so many different ideas, now it’s one of the most interesting places in the whole blogosphere.

      After reading Joe Postma’s paper and all the comments (especially Joe’s answers to various attacks based on settled scientific consensus) here, I have to say that it seems now reasonable enough to try to write some software for “sanity checking” his calculations with 3D rotating earth (with small number of hexagons as an approximation of sphere and made 100% of water + a lot of other simplifications). If this even nearly works out without the obvious need for GHE, then I must conclude that mr. Postma is probably right and GHE does not represent fundamental Law of Nature, but is merely an approximation (based on flawed thinking, sorry to say that), maybe still useful for some types of analyses (including Moshers instrument building needs, actually, as one of the instrument builders myself, I must say that we use frequently various kinds of approximations when real calculations are too demanding for small microcontrollers), but perfectly avoidable using correct calculations from the first principles. And you surely can’t avoid real laws of nature, if heating from back-radiation is the law, then we have no way to avoid it in the sun’s photosphere and temperature difference 9000K-5700K there must also be explained using the same law…. at least partially, today it looks like nobody does this kind of thing.

      So, I still don’t know what the GHE is, a realistic description of natural law or just an arbitrary method of calculation, before this thread I was sure about GHE fundamental reality.

      • ::grin::
        ====

      • Allan,
        Thank you for the reasoned response and assessment of the paper.

        It should be pretty clear that an input of +30C on average will produce a very different world, all of its own accord, than an input of -18C. Whether or not a GHE might still exist remains to be seen, but it certainly won’t have the role it is thought to have now. The Slayer team and I think the GHE does not likely even exist. Certainly, we’ve removed the boundary conditions which support its postulation in the first place.

      • I believe that the concatenation of cooling phases of the oceanic oscillations will lead to a couple of decades of cooling. If the sunspots leaving the visible spectrum means cooling, the earth may cool for a century or so. I hope that CO2’s radiative effect is powerful enough to prevent the social holocaust that will result, but I haven’t seen any evidence yet that the greenhouse effect from CO2 has such puissance..
        ==============

      • Indeed. Against all physics and sense, I hope that GHE is real. Then perhaps cranking up all the world’s coal-fired power plants to the max will offer some relief and protection.

        But I doubt it.

      • Read the Smith 2008 paper in my SkS piece for treating a rotating Earth…

      • If you cannot state in two sentences what I should learn from these papers, why should I bother?

      • Sometimes learning requires more than reading two sentences. Perhaps this is the problem.

      • Thanks, Chris. You have saved me hours knowing I do not need bother reading more of your stuff.

      • He didn’t say he’d learn it from two sentences, he asked you to state in two sentences what he should learn. Talking past your correspondents is perhaps the problem.
        ===========

      • Actually, snarking past your correspondents is the problem. Wear it.
        ================

      • Chris starters are snark hors d’oeuvrers along with his other recipes.

        “If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
        Fetch it home by all means—you may serve it with greens,
        And it’s handy for striking a light.
        You may seek it with thimbles—and seek it with care;
        You may hunt it with forks and hope;
        You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
        You may charm it with smiles and soap—”

        From Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”.

      • Those are what abstracts are for. Let´s try bullet points, if it´s still too tough let me know. I can condense it further.

        –energy balance of a rotating Earth.
        — Conclusion: you still need a greenhouse effect.

      • See, that wasn’t so bad. Not nearly as bad as closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.
        =============

    • Dr. Curry, one of the things that I see bandied about on sceptic sites is the meme that real science should be able to predict something with regard to the subject that it is analyzing.

      SOOOO, what predictions do Dr. Nasif or Dr. Potsma need to give this crowd so that we can then see if their ideas are any where near to reality?

      • They should be able to predict the average planetary surface temperatures for the two planets that have very thin atmospheres, Mars and Mercury. Then, with information about the optical depth of the atmosphere, they should try to predict the average surface temperature for the Earth and Venus (the Venusian case is not straightforward, but the other 3 planets are).

      • Sorry Dr. Curry, I wasn’t quite specific enough. By reading what I have so far in this post, your suggestions wou;d just lead to more arguments.

        I was thinking more along the lines of “in five years according to my ideas, this should be occuring”

        What should the “this” in the prediction be?

        PS – I will try to be more precise when asking questions from now on.

        :(

      • Leo, your point is relevant for the broader AGW issue. However, for the simple energy balance problem we are considering on this thread, we don’t need to predict the future, we just need to explain the basic planetary energy balances in the context of the observed planetary surface temperatures. This problem is rather simple, and Postma’s model is easily refuted by the tests I propose. Thanks for asking good questions :)

      • My “model” does exactly what you said: “explain the basic planetary energy balances”.

        It is not even a model. It is a graphical representation of the actual, real, physically existing, boundary conditions and radiative envelopes. There’s no “test” to prove or disprove this because it is the only thing that can exist…unless the Earth really IS flat. The boundary conditions, or radiative envelopes, which are real and what actually physically exist, are different from what the standard model GHE describes. Therefore the standard model GHE can’t describe what actually exists. It is simple logic.

      • It is simple logic.

        Simple logic would seem to dictate that you can isolate individual variables that aren’t sufficiently understood or modeled but yet do not significantly affect the overall estimates of energy balance.

        As I see it, a “test” of whether those variables have significant impact would be to employ your methods of quantifying those variables and compare results when measuring “controls.”

        But you seem to be ducking a challenge to prove or disprove your quantification of (what you claim are) physical realities. As an agnostic on the physics (due to an inability to understand the theoretical analysis being bandied about), it seems that here you are failing to analyze the full implications of your hypothesis.

      • Oh, no then. PLEASE go ahead and measure the actual insolation fluxes with solarimeters. Please do that! The implications of my hypothesis, that the solar insolation exists only instantaneously on one side of the planet. But that’s not actually a hypothesis…I think we all agree on that. That’s why I questioned the need to prove it :-)

      • The implications of my hypothesis, that the solar insolation exists only instantaneously on one side of the planet.

        Again – please excuse my ignorance – but as I read it, you are not simply hypothesizing a phenomenon, but you’re also hypothesizing that the phenomenon you describe has an overall, significant impact on global energy balance – to the extent that it negates the understanding of the vast majority of people who study the relevant physcial interactions. You are hypothesizing not only about a phenomenon, but about the degree of impact of that phenomenon. As such, it would seem that you would seek opportunities to use controls to measure that degree of impact.

        I’ll bow out now. I have no real business in this exchange anyway. Just trying to get some understanding of the discussion.

      • That’s pretty good assessment Joshua, I’d buy that.

        But to be technical, I would say that it is the boundary conditions of the system which are different. The energy balances per-se will all equal out, of course, because they have to, but the initial conditions of the actual power that comes in is different than what the standard model GHE says it is. Yes it does have a huge impact, that would be true. It is distinguishing “power” from “energy”.

  35. Sorry Chris, but if your ‘crackpot meter’ is that close to ‘pegged’ it must be sitting right next to a world class crackpot. “An epiphany is a one-time, one-way event”, the opening line from my “Hoodwinked by Hoodlums” posted at Canada Free Press. There are NO Deniers who have turned to Warmists [without government funding]. Nearly every non-Warmist wanted to believe in the honesty of science. Warmists have proven our trust was misplaced. The truth is inconvenient, but days of “hiding declines” and “redefining peer review” are over.

    • There are NO Deniers who have turned to Warmists [without government funding].

      That simply isn’t true – and the fact that you’d make such an unfounded categorical statement does not speak well to your approach to analysis. It would seem that political ideology is driving your perspective about the climate debate.

      For a particularly notable example that you are wrong, check out the blogger Charles Johnson, of Little Green Footballs. Once the darling of the right wing, he’s now reviled by many “conservatives” for, among other things, the evolution in his perspective on climate change. If you read through the comments on his site, you will find that quite a few of his readers speak of evolving similarly in their views.

      If you need links, I could dig some up for you – but a relatively simple use of The Google should do the trick.

      • Nonetheless, the flow is from belief to disbelief, and shocked disbelief at that.
        ==============

      • Winnowing again kim?

        You do realize, don’t you, that when someone points out an inaccurately categorical statement, and you subsequently winnow that statement down, you are in effect simply acknowledging the point

        Next time, save a few electrons, and simply write “Good point.”

      • Your point was correct, but trivial. My point is correct and non-trivial. Your point is less good than mine.
        =================

      • Interesting that you think that it is trivial when someone states, with absolute certainty (using all caps no less), something to be true when it is abundantly obvious that the statement is, in fact, not true – and more than likely driven by an underlying political orientation.

        And you further think it trivial when someone provides evidence of why a statement of “fact” is invalid.

        Think about that for a minute, kim – and then go back to your analysis of the “rot” of climate science.

        Anyway, FWIW – I think that when someone displays a disregard for facts, and draws inaccurately categorical conclusions in contrast to abundantly available evidence, it suggests that their overall analytical process might be suspect.

        I will give you this much – you are a dogged winnower.

      • Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

      • Please explain. A bit too cryptic for someone of my limited intelligence.

      • Your point contradicted an unsupportable absolute. Trivially easy, and the result is a trivial bit of information. My point gives you an important clue to the dynamics of this conversation. Your point is valid(how could it not be?) but the rhetoric is beneath you. Picking obvious nits is showtime at the zoo.
        =======

      • That it was easy is precisely why it was not trivial.

        When someone overlooks obviously contradictory evidence, it speaks volumes.

        At this point I’ll drop it as we will just have already stepped into the recursive dimension of blog arguments.

      • Basically, son, you’ve supported the general point by picking the nit of the absolute point. You’ve no answer for the general point that belief in CAGW is fading, and the ranks of skeptics rising. You apparently don’t sense very weak rhetorical meat when you find a sophistical nut you can bash open.

        As nursemaid, you are fretting over a hangnail when the child is wracked with fever.
        ===========

      • Joshua is the better man than I, for discretion in dropping a argument.

        In mathematics, the foundation of Physics, wherein this technical thread is grounded, proof by counterexample is a staple not to be dismissed.

        The word ‘trivial’ too has contextual significance: a statement axiomatically true except for a single trivial case explicit in the statement retains the weight of axiom. A statement generally true except a few trivial cases explicit in the generalisation retains its generality.

        A disproof does not become trivial because it is trivially easy to make.

        Joshua has satisfied the requirements of logic, trivially. Disbelief has no power to unmake his truth, however much shock is manufactured in the credulous mediasphere.

        Kim’s argument for the power of consensus (though her word ‘flow’ is more poetic and rhetorically potent), over logic is non-trivial, but it is trivially easy to reveal as just more Kim.

      • You’ve no answer for the general point that belief in CAGW is fading, and the ranks of skeptics rising.

        And here you make a statement that is not true. I have made a number of posts on this site on the topic of “belief in CAGW fading.” Since you tend to read my comments carefully and respond as to their character, I assume that you’ve read them.

        In the case that you haven’t, or have but have forgotten about them, you might have asked me whether I have an “answer” for (what you deem to be) the general point. (Which I’ll point out is simply your version of what the point of the original comment was. As I read it, point of the original comment was the supposedly categorical nature of the phenomenon. That is why all caps were used – to emphasize the supposed absoluteness. And that is why you felt compelled to interject your winnowing into the dialogue.)

        If you had asked, I would have answered (although I would probably have requested that you refine your point a bit first). But instead of acknowledging your lack of information – as required to draw a conclusion – and responding accordingly, instead you went ahead and drew your, incorrect,conclusion.

        And kim – as an aside….. when I pointed out that calling me a nursemaid seems intended to insult my character, I failed to add that I’m not offended by your use of that term. You seem to think that you struck a nerve, and so want to take advantage and repeat the characterization. Actually, in spite of your apparent intent, I find it quite amusing. And in fact, it is exactly that type of rhetoric emanating from the “skeptical un-convinced/deniers” side of the debate that underlines my overall focus on this blog.

      • In mathematics, the foundation of Physics,

        I sometimes work with classes of graduate students from a variety of fields. I’ll never forget a very heated debate between students of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology – all absolutely certain that their field was the foundation of the others.

      • The nursemaid to the narrative has found an assistant who has a mathematical formula to mask the triviality of refuting an absolute.

        Whatsa matta with those grad students, Joshua, who cannot see the obvious hierarchy of math, physics, chemistry and biology?

        Already answered about ‘nursemaid’ below. You are tasked with tending a dying child. You are successfully reporting the color of the child’s skin, but you know so little of the internal milieu that you are hastening its demise with ignorant neglect. Get help, besides with maths.
        =================

    • Joseph,
      Always and never are seldom true. And if I told you once, I have told you a million times: don’t exagerrate.
      The majority of the motion in the great disputation is from AGW belief towards skepticism.
      Just like cooler bodies heating warmer, movement from skeptical to believer is a real but very minor phenomenon.
      On a serious point, anything to do with human behavior in large numbers is going to be a cloud of possible responses, not a digital on/off.

  36. Strange that with DLR so much greater than solar radiation, that polar temperatures are so much warmer in summer than winter. Given that solar radiation is so weak as compared to DLR according to the GHG model, it seems strange that the poles aren’t roughly the same temperature all year long.

    How can comparatively weak solar radiation, at such a low angle on incidence at the poles make such a dramatic difference in temperature between winter and summer? Why does the so much higher DLR not rule the poles if it is as big as the AGW theory suggests?

  37. Judith,

    Yes you are right ” Postma’s model [and others too -tt] is easily debunked at a level of freshman physics and geometry.”

    So, why is it that hardcore skeptics/deniers want to keep up their argument against the natural GH effect being real? The may not be able to convince even freshmen Physicists but there are plenty of non-scientists out there who will happily agree with them. They have votes too. So, maybe, they aren’t being quite so stupid about this after all. Looking at it from their POV, if they agree to 33 degs of natural warming then it’s a much harder task to argue that another few degrees of anthropogenic warming aren’t a real danger if CO2 levels do continue to rise as projected.

  38. Alexander Harvey

    Joseph,

    So the 610W/m^2 and your equivalent temps 322K 49C, defined in the way you have stated, are equivalent to a equinoctial day at the equator.

    I believe it to be the case that equivalent days with 7.32Kwh of surface insolation (0.610*12) could perhaps be found but only on a few places on Earth but only during the tropical summer so over more than the 12 hours period. I believe that a figure of 550W/m^2 averaged over the daytime is really about as sunny as it ever gets at the surface over a day. Your peak insolation of 958W/m^2 = 1368*0.7 just happens to be very close to the clear day maximum insolation for the sun at the zenith which confirms that we are unlikely to realise 610W/m^2 as the calculation needs to take account of more than just the angle of incidence at the surface but the increase in scattering and absorption once away from the zenith.

    So it seems likely that your 610W/m^2 does not actually occur in terms of surface insolation, this seems problematic.

    Of the few places that reach ~550W/m^2 those on land tend to be deserts which is not that surprising.

    The difference between 550 and 610W/m^2 lowers your temperature to 40C and in terms of surface temperatures these would be moderate for such places as do receive 550W/m^2, as would your 49C for that matter and the absence of a requirement for the GHE would not be obvious. Emissivity is an issue in this but deserts tend to IR emissivities around 0.7 to 0.8 and albedos of 0.2 to 0.35 so that seems more likely to lower than raise surface temperatures.

    I presume that your temperature is some sort of average with a higher peak. Even deserts take time to warm and do not peak till the afternoon when the sun is already declining. The surface warms the ground below and the air above, this all subtracts from the 7.32Wh of available insolation.

    Surface temperatures for tropical desert sand are not easily measured, but they sometimes are and temperatures of 65-70C are common. Given that these are achieved after peak insolation and maintained, it would seem necessary for there to be no convection for this to be the case without some GHE. The absence of convection is known not to be case. I think that it is not at all obvious that the surface temperatures that are known to be attained can be done so by the known surface insolation alone. As I see it the surface temperature only has to be rising above the predicted temperature due to insolation on a single occassion for this to become problematic.

    Rocky deserts or rocks in deserts seem if anything more problematic. Temperatures are taken for the purposes of understanding heat weathering and I have seen figures of 70C and even 80C mentioned and not as exceptions.

    Alex

    • The 610 W/m2 is a very simple integrated average of the insolation. The insolation has a power, or energy flux density, of 1370 W/m2 (forget albedo for the moment). You project that energy density over top of the hemisphere where it actually impinges. This projection is simply the cosine function of the solar zenith angle. The integrated average of this mapping, factoring in albedo, is 610 W/m2. And this exists continuously, always over the hemisphere.
      Now, if you have a solar pyrometer, you certainly DO find incoming fluxes of ~1000 W/m2, or more or less, depending on the angle you point it at the Sun, and how much atmospheric absorption is taking place along the line of sight. Some weather stations have this information available online…the solarimeters do indeed measure fluxes higher than 1000W/m2, if the conditions are clear and the sun is overhead. So that amount of insolation certainly does exist. That would be a good study to conduct and get finding for – place solarimeters all over the world and record their instantaneous flux measurements.
      The lag of temperature to peak insolation is a very interesting phenomenon. It also exists for maximum temperatures in the summer time too, and minimums in the winter. Something very interesting is going in the system there. I have actually modeled this a little bit in software, and think I have an answer for the daily lag. It could extend to the seasonal lag as well. But that’s neither here nor there…just something I’m playing with.
      As for the desert – also think about sand on a beach. Or asphalt. How is the sand able to get so hot that it can burn your feet? But the air isn’t that hot. Well the sand is that hot because of the solar insolation upon it on those nice sunny days…upwards of 1000 W/m2 is what makes that sand so darned hot.

    • “tropical summer”? What months would those be? If anything, the tropics (between Capricorn and Cancer) have 2 summers per year, corresponding to the spring/fall seasons in the non-tropics.

      Insolation in the tropics, and their temperature, are astonishingly stable and constant.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Brian,

        Each tropic has but one summer, at the southern tropic it is around Jan and at the northern around July.

        The equator does have the marked six monthly variation but that declines towards the tropics at which point the sun only passes through the zenith on midsummers day as opposed to twice, once on each equinox, at the equator. It is true that on the immediately equatorial side of each tropic their are two passes through the zenith but if they are within days or weeks of each other there is not much of a difference to notice.

        Alex

      • Alexander Harvey

        Brian,

        Regarding temperature an insolation, these do vary markedly at the tropics were the day length varies by a few hours from summer to winter and the insolation by a significant factor maybe +/- 20% but that depends on the pattern of the seasonal rains. There is a difference albeit a bit blurred between tropical and equatorial, and I think you would be correct regarding the equatorial regions.

        Alex

  39. Alexander Harvey

    Joseph,

    I think it is clear that the tropical desert must radiate around 240W/m^2 by night so for 12 hours 2.88kWh and typically does so below still dry air which conducts poorly and may fail to reach its dewpoint.

    If this 2.88kWh is not coming from the atmosphere it must come from the ground. Given the thermal capacity of sand you could calculate that this equates to heating more than the top 1 metre to the maximum temperature if that was 70 or 80C. We know that the subsurface sand warms not to that temperature and depth. This seems to be problematic if the atmosphere does not supply the energy. Ignoring the issue of the boundary layer, moving air 10C warmer than the surface would have to bath the surface at around 18 litres a second and thereby cool those 10 degrees yet we know the air to be still and this temperature gradient not to exist near the surface.

    Also energy retained in the ground during the day subtracts from the 7.32kWh that might be available from insolation and given that the surface temperature reaches or exceeds the temperature that is sustainable by insolation alone from afternoon till dusk that energy would have to have been saved from the first two thirds of the day which I think would not leave enough left over to allow for the energy that the surface would have to radiate during the first two thirds of the day if the temperature only climbed to 50C whereas it is known to reach 60 – 70C, This seems to be problematic.

    Alex

    • Alex,
      Well the 240 W/m2 would be an expected global average output…I don’t know if that extends specifically to the exact regions of a desert. No reason to assume it does, but maybe it does. Anyway, what’s important is that the measured insolation with a solarimeter, under the zenith, is around 1000 W/m2 or higher, and this provides more than enough wattage to get up to 70 or 80C ground temperature, just by insolation alone, in the day-time. Of course if you add in water and water vapor lots of other physics starts happening and the temperatures don’t get quite that hot. But as O pointed out, even on a beach, the sand surface can get so hot as to burn your feet…it is about 50-60C, maybe a bit more. If you dig your feet in only a couple of inches though, the sand is cool. The insolation has the value able to provide this, so, it is reasonable to assume it is the insolation providing this temperature. No other energy source is required.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Joseph,

        Yes I agree the sand is cool below, it does not seem to have gained the energy during the day that will be needed at night if the surface is not supplied energy from the atmosphere. An atmosphere, under an inversion, that is both too dry and too static to supply the required amounts of energy by sensible exchange and the formation of dew.

        Now there are very few places on Earth where the thermal capacity of the surface the the insolation so extreme that we can by way of concrete example begin to evaluate what you consider to be the lack of an obvious need for a GHE, deserts fall into this category.

        The simple tranquility of the night and the low thermal capacity of the sand make for circumstances whereby I cannot see how your model can make it through the night without some additional source of energy for the desert surface.

        Alex

      • The atmosphere obviously holds on to a lot of heat as well that it had gained during the day time via conduction with the ground. Even still, it DOES get quite cold in a desert at night.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Joseph,

        I think you will find, as I do, that the desert at night does not get as cold as it would if there were not some other mechanism for transfering energy from the atmosphere to the surface that is above and beyond what the mechanisms that we both hold to exist, sensible and latent are capable of in the known nocturnal conditions. I think this is problematic.

        I agree that the atmosphere must have accumulated energy during the day but that does not of itself help unless a sufficient mechanism can be determined to transfer it back again at night.

        If you care not to examine this in the detail required, that is your privilege, but unless you indicate how you think the energy is supplied to the surface overnight there is little or nothing more to discuss.

        Alex

      • its a great question Alex, but, it’s getting beyond the scope of my specific thesis. But totally agreed, that type of question will likely become anew.
        Well, the only source of energy is whatever is left for the night-side. It would be helpful to know the specific night & day side average temperatures. That would tell you something more about the thermal capacity of the system than the simply daily averages do.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Joseph,

        Then we must close at this point. I do urge you to consider it. Data on various factors are available from numerous websites. Some parochial knowledge may be required too. The most interesting deserts will be the tropical ones for they have the insolation.

        You may have the last word if it pleases you.

        Alex

      • Bon-chance my friend! May your future be bright :-)

  40. It’s really unbelievable. Postma cannot calculate averages. He continues to claim that he can replace 24 average by daytime average. He repeats that crazy claim time after time.

    In addition he uses the average at the equator to represent the whole Earth. As if the worldwide average could be the same as equatorial average. As if it would be as warm here in Finland than at the equator.

    That’s really incredible. How can anyone be so blind to totally clear facts. Of course he adds some confusing statements to his messages, but nothing in them changes the fact that he’s calculating averages totally wrong. The statement about integrated average insolation is just claiming that the whole Earth is equatorial. That error is already large, but not large enough for his needs. Thus he adds the replacement of 24 hour average by that equatorial daytime average. Again some confusing word to “support” such nonsensical operation.

    (OK: Nasif Taleb can err more by making the error 4. That’s more than Postma can reach.)

    Then some people are asking for “scientific refutation”. Isn’t it enough that errors of this size are pointed out. When the solar energy is miscalculated so essentially, it’s easy to reach the surface temperature without GHE. That error seems to be behind many of Postma’s misstatements.

    • As a side remark this paper provides evidence for the observation that papers that try to refute solid physical knowledge cannot be analyzed systematically. While it can be shown that the paper has many errors and while it’s known with certainty that the claims are totally wrong, it’s often impossible to figure out the real origin of the error.

      That has become clear in this thread, when Postma has tried to defend his paper. Only his comments here have revealed, how simple and basic the error really is. Evidently nobody could imagine that he would err so badly on so trivial part of the analysis.

      • My comments have elucidated how clear and simple the thesis of my paper really is :-)
        It is a simple fact of reality that the input comes over a hemisphere, and the output comes over the globe.

    • Its simple! The Postmaic radius of the Earth is 11,360 km which includes the troposphere at the poles. The Nasific radius 13,360 km which includes the average height of the troposphere. Once you include the atmospheric and gravitational lens effects… :)

      Its a Holistic thing.

    • You misunderstand the concept of power input and output.
      In one second, which is what the S-B Law applies to (i.e., W/m2) the output comes over the entire globe. Where is the input in that same second, in accordance with the S-B Law? The input is over the daylight hemisphere. Output and input have different surface area and so the input power is at least twice as high as the output power. Total energy is balanced in aggregate, and the energy absorbed on the day-side is not immediately output over the entire globe. Please distinguish between power and total energy.

    • Pekka, your comments are explaining this for me. Thx
      How do you feel about the way climatologist use a global temperature averages? I hope it’s the same.

      Also, doesn’t the name, Equator, imply that an astrophysicist could use it for averaging? Is it an error or just a different approach?

      Its plain as day that the Sun is shinning on half the earth. I do not get the incredulity you express.

      • The Earth system is complex. Temperature average is one summary number that tells something about that. Each different temperature average tells a little different thing, but they are closely correlated, and thus tell approximately the same thing.

        Most people seem to agree that the most useful summary number would be the heat content of the Earth system with boundaries that include all parts, whose heat content varies significantly (i.e. oceans, atmosphere, glaciers and continents to some depth). Unfortunately that cannot be measured with satisfactory accuracy. Even if it could, it would still be just a summary number, a little better than the average temperature determined by some specific method, but still only one number.

        What we would really like to know includes all other major aspects of climate, oceans and biosphere on regional level. We are far from that, but something is known on each.

      • Worse, there would be no way of going back and getting that in the past to spot trends.

      • Tempearture is an intensive variable. You cannot average it. It is meaningless.

  41. One wonders why Dr.Curry carries on reviving these kind of threads (see also The Dragon drag).. What purpose does is this serving? Unless you’re into SM?

    • Because it really does get an effective exchange of information quickly. You can see when people’s ideas are effectively evaluated and shown unsupportable.

      • You can see when people’s ideas are effectively evaluated and shown unsupportable.

        Here’s what’s interesting to me about that. As someone who lacks the technical background and smarts required to evaluate the scientific debate, I see here a discussion that reminds me of fractals. We have a smaller debate that takes the exact same form as debate that forms the larger context.

        We have here a “skeptic,” or an “heretic” if you will, with supporters in tow, who criticizes the “dogma” and “group think” of people who in turn, claim to be “skeptics,” or “heretics” if you will, with supporters in tow who criticize “dogma” and “group think” of people who ……

        The terms “effective” and “unsupportable” seem to be entirely subjective unless I, at some point, find a way to ascertain some insight into the “expertise” and objectivity of the players in the game.

        And here’s where that gets difficult. I’m told that years of study in the most closely related fields is not necessarily germane (because the topic is so broad that no one’s expertise could be sufficiently comprehensive). I’m told that credentials of expertise are not necessarily instructive, as the process of credentialing is entirely corrupted. I’m alternately told that the source of funding for study is irrelevant (when it supports the work of the “skeptical un-convinced/denier”) or relevant (when it supports the work of the “skeptical convinced/believer) – so in the end I am unable to accept funding source as a conclusive metric. Players are alternately trashed and accepted – by both sides – depending on how they report the results of their research (see how players on both sides switched rhetoric re: Muller after he reported the results of his preliminary research).

        A player who rejects the “consensus” on some issues while arguing in favor of the “consensus” on others, does seem to gain a degree of credibility – but then so often I see that very same player throw their credibility in doubt by making obviously inaccurately categorical statements, by contradicting themselves from one moment to another on underlying logic (for example, as Judith did when she alternately argued that context-specific expertise was not a requirement of some players but dismissed other players for a lack of context-specific expertise), or when people make statements that reveal ideological frameworks that may or may not be a driving influence in how they interpret the science.

        And to top it all off – I read statements made with absolute certainty, by people who seem smart and well-informed – that lie in direct contrast to statements made with absolute certainty, by people who seem smart and well-informed.

        Ah. But hey, I’m just a troll anyway, (and “stupid,” “retarded,” a “nursemaid,” a “liar” who possesses “poor reading comprehension skills,” who makes “silly” and “ridiculous” comments that “misrepresent” what people say. Oh, and who is a “pissant,” “statist” that applauds the deaths of millions due to malaria).

      • You’re just gonna have to explore the science, Joshua. Come on in, the waters fine. But, oh, how wet we get.
        ==========

      • I’m a little amused that you consider ‘nursemaid’ pejorative. Most anyone with a sick child would hire the finest nursemaid to be found, and I think that is the case here. Unfortunately, this one fluffed through basic science in school, and hides this basic defect with a facile tongue.

        Pity the child, and spare a little for the parents. They are trying.
        ==============

      • kim – you’re a nanny. Or better yet, a schoolmarm.

        But I mean that in the best of ways, of course.

      • Shall we rate each other on misogynism?
        ===================

      • Kim

        I would suggest the the science on this point is really not the key issue on the subject of “what should nations do about CO2 emissions.”

        The exchanges are interesting, and although I do not find Postma’s position to be correct.

    • Because real climate science moves at the speed of glaciers (literally). We need something to talk about.

      Andrew

  42. I am a number 4- a spectator, Nasif is way over everyones head. The greenhouse effect does not intensify -has it ever?
    radiation absorbtion conduction and convection- up up and away.
    Doctor Curry you are the joan of arch- I applaud this blog brazen and brave in the face of groupthink.
    What has the Chief to say?

  43. Does O2 gas in the atmosphere emitt IR or not?

    How about in space?

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/aug/HQ_11-252_Herschel.html

    • The answer is how much. The answer is insignificant amounts wrt energy flows in the atmosphere as opposed to the strong greenhouse gases.

      The long answer was in one of the other greenhouse threads. Basically strong emitters and absorbers such as the greenhouse gases interact with radiation by a mechanism that is several orders of magnitude stronger than for O2 or N2. If you are curious google dipole, quadrupole and magnetic dipole radiation.

      BTW the MSUs observe an emission from O2 in the microwave region.

      • @Eli… According to astrophysics calculations, oxygen emitts twice as carbon dioxide does on their respective bands of emission.

      • Nahle et al 2012…duh

      • Chris… You’re misinformed. Read books on heat transfer and the experiments that honest scientists have done on this issue.

      • Hottel, H. C. Radiant Heat Transmission-3rd Edition. 1954. McGraw-Hill, NY.

        Leckner, B. The Spectral and Total Emissivity of Water Vapor and Carbon Dioxide. Combustion and Flame. Volume 17; Issue 1; August 1971, Pages 37-44.

        http://thesis.library.caltech.edu/2809/1/Lapp_m_1960.pdf

        Ludwig, C. B., Malkmus, W., Reardon, J. E., and Thomson, J. A. L. Handbook of Infrared Radiation from Combustion Gases. Technical Report SP-3080.NASA. 1973.

        Sarofim, A. F., Farag, I. H., Hottel, H. C. Radiative Heat Transmission from Nonluminous Gases. Computational Study of the Emissivities of Carbon Dioxide. ASME paper No. 78-HT-55.1978

        Schwartz, Stephen E. 2007. Heat Capacity, Time Constant, and Sensitivity of Earth’s Climate System. Journal of Geophysical Research.

      • So Eli followed the link (Eli always follows links as in RTFR)

        GEAFB Nahle, Lapp’s thesis finds emissivities for CO2 and OH, you know (oh, Eli takes a wild guess not) OH is the hydroxyl radical not the oxygen molecule, and steady state concentrations of OH in the atmosphere are like pp[next to nothing],~ 10^7 molecules/cm3 (that’s about 10^-12 atm. Here and links for some more details.

        Want to get some more undressed?

      • I’ve just looked at two of those references and I am familiar with the Schwartz one. None of them support the claim, as I expected. Surprise

      • Wadda U want, its the Pielke Plop. Throw a bunch of irrelevant references against the wall.

      • I did not realize how much Rabetts like sour grapes.

      • Hunter, I tend to disagree often with the Rabett, but not on this. This discussion is beyond circular, so sites without substance is particularly bad.

      • Dallas,
        Sorry, that was an inside comment about how the Rabett is unhappy he wiffed it in three pitches at Pielke’s.

      • Read Roger’s latest on probability, he is beyond floundering, but has landed a world record rotten fish.

      • Hunter,

        Sorry I missed that, Rabett has a fair batting average until it comes to politics. :)

      • Thank you Eli,
        I was thinking of the no greenhouse gas atmosphere model, and whether or not there would be DWIR in that case.

        And I think that sometimes you can tell the source of a photon by its wavelength but most times you cannot. I am trying to get a handle on blackbody radiation with respect to how an object emitts a continuous spectrum of radiation.

        I have been searching without luck to determine how fast a CO2 molecule relaxes from an excited state.

  44. Joseph, if you think your model is correct, please use it to explain the surface temperatures of Mercury and Mars, both of which have very thin atmospheres and small greenhouse effects. Some basic numbers to start with (others may know of some more up to date values):

    Mars: solar constant = 600 W m-2, albedo=175, T0=223
    Mercury: solar constant=9200 W m-2, albedo=5.8%, T0=452

    My calculations show that the conventional model does a good job of predicting the the average surface temperature. Which means that your model should produce a substantially incorrect answer.

    • Judith Curry,

      Actually I think Mercury and Mars fall more into the limit of where Postma´s model would be better, as I discussed in my lengthy comment above at
      https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/16/postma-on-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-100129

      Actually dividing by four or by two are both wrong if you really care about being super-realistic, since they both assume some sort of uniform solar distribution (one over the globe, one over a half-sphere). Neither is true.

      What Postma can´t understand is that the utility of dividing by four in the context of solving for an ¨average temperature¨ depends not just on the existence of daytime and nighttime, but on the strength of the diurnal cycle relative to the efficiency of thermal inertia and atmospheric circulation to tighten the temperature gradient.

      • Crunch the numbers, the conventional model does fine on Mars and Mercury.

      • No, and that would be because of the greenhouse effect!

      • It is the model greenhouse effect specifically that breaks down and can’t explain it.

      • which is why radiative-convective models of Venus do a good job with simulating the temperature profile…look up some papers on it. Your misuse of simple models is irrelevant.

      • Again, it is not possible to talk about radiative models of Venus because the carbon dioxide on the surface of Venus behaves as a supercritical coolant. Your argument and comparison is not valid.

      • ~0 diurnal temperature variation & warmer average temp on Venus than Mercury, despite Mercury being closer to Sun, are both consistent with GHG Theory and inconsistent with any other explanation. Whatever you’re claiming “breaks down” when modeling Venus is just irrelevant. If you really understood the basics, you would know that that planet is dramatic proof that greenhouse warming by CO2 is a FACT.

        In other words, what you are denying is Settled Science.

      • Mercury has not clouds… :D

      • Oh, I see, the settled science argument.

        Yes, we deny plenty of settled science. Not the first time and not the last.

      • You´re not Galileos. I know you think you guys are.

      • Unsettledscience doesn’t understand what a supercritical coolant is…

      • We’re not Galileos, of course; but you are the inquisition, sure… :D

      • haha! Very nice Nasif!

      • You guys have it mastered!

        But no, there is no inquisition here; basically, virtually everyone on this forum has called you both out on the pseudoscience. You have demonstrated either a large severity of Dunning-Kruger or intellectual dishonesty. Your theories of radiative transfer and radiative geometry would make such profound insights into planetary climate (and I´m sure astrophysics) that it would undoubtedly win you a nobel prize, but you´d definitely be mentioned with the great scientists in history. Which is, of course, why I´m sure you don´t want to publish it in a real journal…you are just too humble!

      • Hah! Nice vid Chris. Very cute.

        You think our work could be worth that much if we’re correct?

        Well, my, I’d better keep slugging! The worst possible result is only that I could be wrong! Which we’re not of course. Sunshine is hot.

      • I’ve read some of your “work” Nasif, and to put it mildly, I’m not intimidated by your “expertise.”

        Nasif Nahle | August 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
        Unsettledscience doesn’t understand what a supercritical coolant is…

        Supercritical or otherwise, if you’re saying CO2 is any kind of coolant, then with a 96% “supercritical coolant” atmosphere and greater distance from the Sun, your model predicts Venus has a lower mean temperature than Mercury. The opposite is true.

        QED, amateur.

      • To Settledpseudoscience…

        I do prefer to be a correct amateur with correct science than presume of expert with false science.

        On Venus’ surface, the carbon dioxide works like a supercritical coolant, not like a warmer. Consequently, you cannot compare Venus’ conditions with Earth’s case. It’s a matter of amateur physics. :D

      • Supercritical or otherwise, if CO2 was any kind of coolant, then with a 96% “(supercritical) coolant” atmosphere and greater distance from the Sun, your assertion predicts Venus has a lower mean temperature than Mercury. The opposite is already known to be true. It doesn’t take extensive knowledge of nuclear reactor design to know that you’re both full of baloney.

      • Sooorry, Settledpseudoscience… You’re completely ignoring that a supercritical coolant… cools!!!! Not warms!!! So you must look for another cause of such phenomenon on Venus…

        Don’t tell me, you think that a coolant heats up an engine… :D

      • You wouldn’t know “cool” if you suffered frostbite, Nasif.

        Venus is still further from the Sun than Mercury, and still warmer. So tell me, what is cooling Mercury even more than Venus? “Superdupercritical coolants?”

      • I certainly understand the application of the division by four in order to arrive at the average radiative output temperature.
        The radiative output temperature is not the same value as the radiative input temperature, however. This changes the boundary conditions of the approach to characterization of the system.
        The geometric factor of 4 does not depend on thermal inertia, atmospheric circulation, or the temperature gradient.

      • If I understand you right, you’re saying that to be more realistic, dividing by an integer is less accurate than modeling insolation as decaying continuously, from a maximum at the Equator, to a near-zero but non-zero dayside minimum intensity near the poles (at the Terminator Line), because the curvature of Earth causes a m^2 of incoming solar radiation on any surface concentric to the Sun to be spread over a larger surface area on Earth near the poles than at the Equator. In addition to passing through a thicker layer of atmosphere, and for the same geometric reason as that, this lower intensity of Sunlight per square meter is why summer at the poles is still not as warm as an Equinox near the Equator.

        Actually dividing by four or by two are both wrong if you really care about being super-realistic, since they both assume some sort of uniform solar distribution (one over the globe, one over a half-sphere). Neither is true.

        Postma’s models clearly uses solar distribution over a circle having area equal to a North-South cross-section of Earth, then by arithmetic spreads it over half the surface area of a spherical Earth — as you say, uniformly, not as it really is, more intense at the Equator than the poles.

        To calculate the total power intercepted by the Earth, we multiply the above equation by Earth’s cross-sectional area. (Postma 2011, page 3)

        Immediately following that quote, Equation {4} clearly shows him making a mathematical simplification himself, which mismatches a simple aspect of physical reality, which is his own complaint about the model that appears in simple textbooks.

        Ironic.

      • “Immediately following that quote, Equation {4} clearly shows him making a mathematical simplification himself, which mismatches a simple aspect of physical reality, which is his own complaint about the model that appears in simple textbooks.”

        It was presented to do exactly what you point out – that section was presenting the standard model. Not ironic but purposeful.

      • So on what page do you distribute the insolation non-uniformly?

      • I distribute the insolation over the hemisphere, rather than the sphere, uniformly. That’s on page 9. But here I have discussed using an integrated average value via the cosine function.

      • That’s exactly what’s so ironic.

        I distribute the insolation over the hemisphere, rather than the sphere, uniformly. That’s on page 9.

        You complain that “The Standard Model” doesn’t accurately account for physical fact, but your own model makes a simplifying assumption that you show no sign of having ever noticed, until somebody else pointed out that you, too, are making simplifications.

        But here I have discussed using an integrated average value via the cosine function.

        But not until it was pointed out to you.

        Ironic.

      • First, distributing linearly over the hemisphere is a much better approximation to the actual average power of the input. It actually represents a minimum average value. Secondly, the Slayers and I had been discussing the integrated average approach previously, and as far as I know, I presented it here originally. Perhaps someone pointed it out and prompted me to discuss that here…I don’t remember. But I did answer with a full acknowledgement in any case because we’d already been working on it.
        In any case, characterizing that as ironic misses the point. If someone pointed out the integrated approach before I mentioned it, which I thought I did originally here, it only helps the case that the insolation is of a much higher temperature than the output. So whoever did that, thanks for the help.

      • Being realistic… If you got a flu and read 40 °C in your body, would you average such temperature dividing it by 6 billion people? Or, perhaps you would divide it by the number of cells of your body? :D

    • Calculating the planetary temperatures was not exactly the point of my paper. What I did was point out the flaw in the boundary conditions which lead to the postulation of a GHE. My “model” doesn’t do anything other than show you what the actual insolation and output values are. These are quite different from the standard paradigm, which incorrectly considers the average input as -18C for the Earth. My model would certainly apply in this same regard to the other planets. But all it characterizes is the radiative boundary conditions. If you have an atmosphere, adiabatic effects will affect the ground-air temperature. But the fundamental point is that there doesn’t seem to be a need to postulate a GHE if you use the actual insolation input power, rather than modelling the output power incorrectly as the input.

      • Joseph, this is getting tedious. I´m not even sure you know what the point of your own paper was. Nor does ¨an average input of -18C¨ make any sense; energy flux is not the same thing as temperature.

        If the only interest people have is the absorbed impinging solar radiation at a particular point, then yes, it depends on the latitude, the time of day, the local albedo, etc. This is all well understood and is in every GCM that we use for climate, and so your criticisms are just bashes against zero-dimensional EBM´s simply because they are zero-dimensional. This is unproductive.

        Traditionally however, we want to make use of these equations to come up with some sort of no-greenhouse temperature estimate. The energy coming in from the sun must equal the energy out. The surface areas are different and this is taken into account by dividing by four. It still gives a meaningful temperature result in our case because heat is well distributed between the globe. If you want, you can think of Earth as rotating rapidly enough so that the diurnal cycle does not matter much (ignoring all the other unpleasant effects), or think of annual averages. This is really not complicated, and none of it removed the necessity to invoke a greenhouse effect, which is well rooted in radiative transfer theory anyway (none of which you seem to understand, based on your comments about gas absorption above). I really have no clue how you are making it in astrophysics.

      • “Nor does ¨an average input of -18C¨ make any sense”

        That’s not my postulate, it is the GHE input boundary condition. And it is the condition I have criticized.

        Just because GCM’s exist doesn’t mean they’re right. It is well known these play-station model have their faults. They certainly can’t incorporate a GHE along anywhere near the same philosophy as the standard model demonstrates it.

        As for rest: power in is great than power out. Although total energy is the same. The power in is equivalent to +30C of forcing, coming from 480 W/m2 input on average.

      • You´re grasping at straws. Just stop.

      • Straws exist in reality.

      • The also get tossed in the trash can

      • AGW pseudoscience gets tossed in the trash can, yes…

    • Trop sec.
      =====

      • er, the M&Ms.
        ========

      • The bolometric solar power is 3.86235 × 10^33 erg/s. After the mitigating effect of distance, the net solar power received on the surface area of the outer sphere is 2.4689 x 10^33 erg/s. Therefore, the net solar power received on Top of the atmosphere is 5.2654 x 10^24 erg/s, and the amount of solar power per unit area on top of the atmosphere is f_os.

        Joel and Chris… I hope you have seen your mistakes and correct them if you have the intention of doing correct science.

    • Why not the moon? or some of the moons of Saturn or Jupiter? Most have no atmosphere, differing rotations and axial tilts. Titan, in contrast, seems to have many greenhouse gases but its clouds create anti-greenhouse cooling.

    • ” Mars: solar constant = 600 W m-2, albedo=175, T0=223 ”
      Is this correct?
      Generally, what kind of experiment would indicate this is correct?
      Would average temperature indicate the temperature 1 meter below the surface.
      600 W m-2 is amount solar flux at average orbital distance
      albedo=175 is this a typo?
      And 223 is 223 K
      A practical application of Earth average temperature is understanding that water would mostly be in liquid state. Is there something similar one could say about Mars or Mercury average temperature?

  45. Dr. Curry, just want to remark that a miracle has happened here on your site, Eli Rabbett is actually participating like a true scientist! You have accomplished a feat that others have tried in vain for years to achieve. You may now retire in complete satisfaction.

    PS – to Eli, I always knew that you could actually bring some substance to this debate, and hopefully you will continue to do so.

    • Leo… Eli has not brought any substance to this debate, but only mumbo jumbo, as always. :D

    • Eli made some good contributions on the original greenhouse dragon thread also.

    • Sometimes I think that the blogosphere is one big extension of elementary school.

      “Eli has made contributions of substance.”

      “No he hasn’t.”

      “Yes he has.”

      It’s all about confirmation bias, baby. Maybe folks should realize that their pronouncements about the substance of someone else’s posts are more than likely nothing other than a reflection of their original orientation to the subject at hand?

      • Very smart argument, Joshua… That’s why I support my arguments with algorithms and references. The reason you give is why I procure to avoid quoting from my own work.

  46. Joseph E Postma | August 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm |

    Hmm, well there must be some mechanism by which the gas would still be able to absorb heat energy. Everything with a temperature radiates…we know that much.

    Not true, I suggest that you take some courses on the Physics of Gases.

    • From Wiki:
      “Thermal radiation is the emission of electromagnetic waves from all matter that has a temperature greater than absolute zero.[3] It represents a conversion of thermal energy into electromagnetic energy. Thermal energy is the collective mean kinetic energy of the random movements of atoms and molecules in matter. Atoms and molecules are composed of charged particles, i.e. protons and electrons and their oscillations result in the electrodynamic generation of coupled electric and magnetic fields, resulting in the emission of photons, radiating energy and carrying entropy away from the body through its surface boundary. “

      • I agree with Joseph E. Postma… The argument that there are substances that don’t radiate energy is pure pseudoscience.

        All atoms in the known universe are able to emit radiation whenever they fullfill the thermodynamic conditions to do it, and the thermodynamic condition is that they absorb energy above their fundamental microstate by any mechanism of heat transfer.

      • I suggest you try something more authoritative and more accurate than Wiki! “Molecular Spectra and Molecular Structure” by Gerhard Herzberg would be a good start, if that’s too challenging for you try “Introduction to molecular spectroscopy” by Barrow.

      • The wiki article is not bad at first glance, if you understand gases are horrible blackbodies, Kirchoff´s law, spectra…Nasif and Postma seem incapable of learning anything.

      • Wasn’t it you guys who cited wiki just above? Laughable retort.

      • Well, is it okay the following quote?

        Modest. Radiative Heat Transfer. 2003. Page 1:

        “All materials continuously emit and absorb electromagnetic waves, or photons, by lowering or raising their molecular energy levels.”

        Evidently, yours is pseudoscience, Phil.

      • That is indeed what happens when em is absorbed or emitted, it in no way supports your erroneous position.

      • Hah! You’re evading your own mistake… You said that Oxygen and Nitrogen does not emit radiation… :D

    • Phil, what bugs me about this is that if you are right, you could have a big cloud of gas at some high temperature, and it would never cool down. That seems unphysical to me.

      • You’re correct, Paul… Phil’s viewpoint is unphysical.

      • No it’s the physical reality which you and Postma are unaware of.

      • You could under appropriate conditions, that’s the principle behind the CO2 laser for example, N2 gas is excited by an electrical discharge however it’s unable to lose that energy by emitting radiation, fortunately the CO2 in the laser takes that energy via collisions and then emits that energy in the form of a laser pulse. Similarly in the Earth’s atmosphere the presence of GHG molecules such as CO2 and H2O are able to radiate in the IR whereas O2 and N2 can not.

      • The problem is that those gases need to radiate somewhere, and presumably they’ll radiate according to their temperature. That would just so happen to provide the continuous emission, or general black-body curve, of the terrestrial & atmospheric emission profile, with the spectral effects from H20, O2, N2, and CO2 superimposed on top of that.

      • No they will not “radiate according to their temperature”, any allowed transition from an excited state to a lower state can occur giving line spectra. In the IR H2O and CO2 will do so, O2 and N2 will not. As I said before you’re sorely in need of a basic undergrad course in the Physics of gases, read the books I recommended, you’re making a fool of yourself!

      • Thermal emission doesn’t come from electronic state transitions. That is a quite foolish assertion.

      • God you’re hopeless, I suggest you reread my comment where you’ll find no mention of ‘electronic’. You really don’t know very much (if anything) about molecular spectra.

      • The solar continuum (a pretty good 5780K blackbody) is the result of thermalized opacity due to H-minus ions (neutral hydrogen with an extra electron) in the photosphere. What would be the source of opacity of your gas cloud that ‘needs’ to radiate somewhere? In the real atmosphere it’s provided by the greenhouse gases…

      • Opacity is not required for emission. GHG’s are not required for the atmosphere to radiate. Where does the profile of the blackbody spectrum of the terrestrial and atmospheric output come from? That certainly can not be created by spectral emission. We know where it comes from…continuous thermal emission from that everything that’s radiating…which is everything that has a temperature above absolute zero.

      • Joseph, how did you get a degree in astrophysics? You don´t understand the first thing about gaseous radiative transfer. Seriously! Pick up a textbook!

      • The system isn’t limited to spectral absorption and emission. Continuous emission exists independent of spectral effects…in fact it comes first. I’ve got a photospheric text book right in front of me. :-)

      • Generally dilute gases produce either emission or absorption lines instead of a continuous spectrum; hot, dense gases (or solids) like in the interior of the sun won´t necessarily work that way, and I´m such less familiar with stellar atmospheres than with Earth´s atmosphere, but this is easily confirmed by looking at spectra of Earth´s radiation– in the downwelling spectra, the radiation in the GHG windows is from the ~2 K background of space since the air is transparent. This could be a case of two different fields where different physics needs to be considered as first-order, but you seem unable to learn anything in climate science.

      • Chris, how did you avoid having your lights punched out repeatedly? You don’t understand the first thing about courteous debate. Seriously! Pick up some manners!

        No wonder your side has lost support in droves. Look at the way you talk down to people! Joseph’s paper might not have everything right, but it makes a few very important and valid points about systems inertia and the non-instantaneous nature of energy transfer which makes the averaging of insolation over the night side and day side a dubious proposition. Hi sargument has merit and deserves considered reflection, even if he has it wrong about the GHE. Go on, admit it!

      • Yes, the sun’s surface is not too far off black body radiation, and this is called ‘continuum’ radiation from hydrogen ionisation. Similarly for other stars at different temperatures. Yet the claim is that the behavior of the earth’s atmosphere of Nitrogen and oxygen is totally different. Is this because of the lower temperature or because of the different properties of N and O compared with H?
        It still seems unphysical to me for hot gas not to be able to lose heat.

  47. Nasif Nahle | August 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Reply
    @Eli… According to astrophysics calculations, oxygen emitts twice as carbon dioxide does on their respective bands of emission.

    In the IR O2 only emits very weakly around 6.45 microns with a peak intensity of ~10^-28 cm-1mole-1cm2. By contrast CO2 emits virtually everywhere between 1 and 25 microns, the peak intensity of the 15 micron band is ~10^-18 so CO2 emits billions of times more intensity than O2! So you appear to be misinformed.

    • Here are a few more details about the relationship between O2 and CO2 in the infrared.

      The commonest isotopes of O2 and CO2 represent respectively 99.53% and 98.42% of their respective molecules in the atmosphere, whence without significant loss of accuracy we can restrict attention to those two species.

      Infrared radiation with wavenumbers between 125 and 2500 /cm (wavelengths 4 to 80 microns) comprises 99% of terrestrial IR radiation, whence again without significant loss of accuracy we can restrict attention to that band of the spectrum.

      The following analysis compares O2 and CO2 lines in the above IR band for quantity and strength. For convenience of notation strengths are scaled up by 1E24 (10^24).

      Oxygen has 455 lines. 21 of these have strength greater than .0001. The strongest is at wavenumber 129.301136 /cm with strength .0003635.

      CO2 has 53758 lines. 239 of these have strength greater than 1000. The strongest line is at wavenumber 2361.465809 /cm with strength 3524000.

      23859 CO2 lines are stronger than the strongest oxygen line.

  48. And the IR CO2 emission is half the emission of oxygen in its strongest band of emission. That’s a fact.

    It’s not true that CO2 emits everywhere. The bands of emission are quite limited. You’re confounding CO2 with water vapor. :)

    • I suggest you look up ‘virtually’ in an English dictionary, also at the 10^-28 intensity level (the peak emission of O2 if you recall) CO2 does cover the whole range from 1-25 microns. Your ‘fact’ is a falsehood.

  49. Whole spectrum emittance of Carbon dioxide = 0.0028
    Whole spectrum emittance of Oxygen = 0.0043

    ε = ((1- (e^(0.0049 s * (-1/s) ) ) ))/((√3.1415…) ) = 0.0028

  50. How disappointing that the only potentially useful comment I left here, a delicious cucumber salad recipe, was deleted. :-(

  51. Alexander Harvey

    If I have it right, there is a tendency by some to suggest that a radiative system in which the power density of the input varies temporally (or temporally and spatially) in some cyclic way, would have a higher average temperature than if the same amount of energy (per cycle) were input but as a constant power density.

    Given that the SB law holds, that view would be problematic due to its T^4 nature. Of all of the cyclic temperature functions for the surface that have the same average temperature, a constant temperature must radiate the least energy during one cycle. From the tendency for a varying input power density to result in a varying temperature it follows that such a variation will result in a lower average temperature when averaged over the cycle for the same averaged energy input over the cycle.

    Action that tends toward a more constant temperature whether by a more constant input power density or by increaing thermal capacity tends to result in a higher average temperature for the same average input power density when both are averaged over the cycle, if the mechanism by which energy is transfered out of the system is by the SB law.

    Alex

    • It would perhaps be useful for people to think about a much more rapidly rotating Earth (ignoring any other unpleasant side effects). It could be much easier to intuit that the average solar radiation over the year is what constrains the global climate.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Chris,

        One must be careful which buttons one presses, lest there be some that think the rotation is the cause of the warming. In this virtual world more realistic examples correlate with more concrete misunderstandings. Sometimes people are less likely to fail to ignore any unpleasant side effects than to ignore everything but them.

        Alex

  52. Snowlover123

    I have a few questions for the GHE slayers. I would consider myself to be a “skeptic” but not a skeptic of the GHE. Human Activity is really quite innocuous compared to the powerful natural cycles, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a Greenhouse Effect.

    It has been well documented that Clouds, (aside from Water Vapour) are one of the most powerful contributors to the GHE.

    If there is no GHE, then can one of you please explain why on a cloudy night, the temperatures are warmer compared to a clear night.

    I also have a second question: If you (as in the GHE slayers) are right about this whole issue, why are so few scientists backing it up? I would appreciate your responses.

    • “If there is no GHE, then can one of you please explain why on a cloudy night, the temperatures are warmer compared to a clear night.”

      There’s more humidity and thermal capacity, and therefore slower cooling. There could also be reduced convection, which would reduce the cooling. The clouds themselves are typically much colder than the ground-air however, so no radiation from them could make something already warmer than them more warm. Perhaps clouds actually DO act like a blanket. But that’s not the GHE.

      “If you (as in the GHE slayers) are right about this whole issue, why are so few scientists backing it up? I would appreciate your responses.”

      We’re quite new on the scene, really, and opinions change slowly. More and more are coming around though as time goes on. Paradigms don’t change over night. You may be witnessing the rise of reason in the climate debate. :-)

      • But where do you get the 160 PW without GHE?

      • What is that random number you’re referring to?

      • Don’t lie that you don’t know.

      • You’re imagining things, Pekka Pirilä… :)

      • “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

      • “There’s more humidity and thermal capacity, and therefore slower cooling. There could also be reduced convection, which would reduce the cooling. The clouds themselves are typically much colder than the ground-air however, so no radiation from them could make something already warmer than them more warm. Perhaps clouds actually DO act like a blanket. But that’s not the GHE.”

        It seems the affects of clouds can be quite significant- at least 5 C maybe more like around 10 C.
        Where I grew up during winter, if it was clear skies, generally you would get ice during the nite, if cloudy unlikely to get ice. To go ice skating on lakes [have thick enough ice] you need a a few days of clear skies- cloudy weather and rain were the norm. Snow, fairly rare. A fair amount of snow on mountains in winter most of the time.
        At least that was the case on Vancouver Island, Canada. Rains a lot and mild temperatures. No igloos. :)
        Though clouds would have a fair amount of thermal capacity, I would guess the rest of the sky would as much or more.

        Would agree that if we had half as much atmosphere, it would be warmer in the day and colder in the nite?

      • Just like on the moon…scorching days, beyond freezing nights.

      • “Just like on the moon…scorching days, beyond freezing nights.”

        It would more like the Moon but still radically different. Half an atmosphere would be somewhere around the the atmospheric conditions at 20,000′. You could still breath. One would need to half it again to get close to the point of needed a pressure suit to breath. and at 1/4 of earth atmosphere there is still a lot more atmosphere as compared to Mars. And Mars has a lot more atmosphere than the Moon. Earth has more atmosphere at 200 miles up or at ISS than the Moon does.

        Anyhow, another important difference is length of the day, the Moon’s day is about 28 earth days. The longer day of the Moon wouldn’t add any significant amount of warmth [making it more scorching], but longer nite allows it to get much colder. So on earth since the day is shorter than Moon, Earth with 1/2 of it’s atmosphere, wouldn’t get anywhere near these extremely cold temperatures.

        I would say with 1/2 the atmosphere, instead of hottest part of day being around 2 pm, the hottest part of day would occur early- say an hour earlier and on average may be about 5 C warmer in land areas- with more significant increases in temperate and polar regions. Whereas in ocean areas the temperature increase could be less than 1 C.

        In terms of nite time, I think there would little difference in ocean regions, and probably 10 C cooler in temperate and polar regions.

        So since average global temperatures are dominated by ocean temperatures, the effect of having 1/2 of the atmosphere would rather insignificant, but it would be fairly dramatic change for humans and other land animals.

      • Joseph,
        You are missing a very important reason cloudy nights are warmer than clear sky nights:
        The clouds reflect heat from the Earth.
        I am going to bet you have put on blankets on your bed at night.
        Clouds can act as reflective blankets.
        The atmosphere itself can and does act as a blanket.

    • Dear Snowlover123:
      Because clouds act like the roof of a house. They “step in” between surface and outer space and reduce surface radiation to outer space. Therefore, surface cooling reduces and feels warmer. In a clear day ice can form on surface even though air temperature is above freezing. Because surface radiation is more intense in a clear day than in a cloudy day. This is not a greenhouse gas effect. Greenhouse gas effect is fiction and does not exist.

      For the second question, there are a lot of people who believe in the GHE for there is no other theories to explain global warming. Those on this side of the global warming debate cannot be all wrong. And those on the other side of the global warming cannot be all wrong as well. We still have to find the correct science. Until then, we have only the GHE, even though it is fiction.

      • Pre-refrigeration, ice could be made by leaving water in shallow bowls in straw lined depressions, on clear nights, even when the air temperature was well above freezing.

        The reason that no ice formed on cloudy nights may have been from warmer air temperature, whatever the cause, from less radiation because clouds were there, or because of back radiation; which explanation prevails, I’m not sure. Where’s my time machine?
        ============

      • I just noted gbaikies’ 9:59 comment. Apparently you don’t need a time machine, just hockey skates. Stick optional.
        ===========

  53. Judith Curry’s post on ocean heat transport, which preceded this one, was inherently far more interesting in my view than this one on the Postma article, and it’s unfortunate it has received less attention. That is probably because it is more complex and less incendiary. I’ve been waiting for a new post of equal importance to ocean heat transport, but Dr. Curry is having a busy week, and so we’re not sure when the next one will appear. In the meantime, despite my earlier intentions, I’ve gone back through Joseph Postma’s treatise to see how much it differed from his earlier version. I conclude that the answer is “not much”. The multiple errors, qualitative and quantitative, have been cited here by others, but I thought I’d epitomize some of this with examples of the type of misstatements that abound. Here are a few:

    Atmosphere height is fixed; an increased temperature at the bottom requires a reduced temperature at specified higher altitudes.

    Daytime temperatures don’t reach equilibrium (“input”) temperatures because the energy is absorbed in non-thermal ways.

    Energy absorbed by the daylight hemisphere is twice the total output energy of the entire planet.

    Non-GHGs can radiate to space at more than negligible levels at atmospheric temperatures.

    When comparing surface with atmospheric radiation (in the unrealistic model used), it’s incorrect regarding the latter radiation to divide W/m^2 by two because atmospheric radiation is isotropic, not just “up and down”.

    These are examples of errors of fact and logic. However, the main errors are “non-sequitur” errors, of the “if A, then B” type, where the claimed A is sometimes correct and sometimes incorrect, but B doesn’t follow even when A is correct. In general, B appears to be the implausibility of the greenhouse effect, and there is no A cited for which it follows. The fact that there are multiple observational confirmations of back radiation as well as other aspects of the GHE is not addressed in the text, but is more important than anything that is. If he ever carries out the experiment he proposes (with appropriate control of confounding variables), I expect he’ll add one more confirmation.

    It’s hard to avoid appearing unkind to Joseph Postma, but these errors strike me as being at the “kindergarten” level of climate physics, and undeserving the attention that posts in this blog tend to attract. I hope that the appearance of a new post will be an incentive to move on.

    • Unfortunately you didn’t address the actual main thesis of the paper – that the insolation actually has a power value equivalent to +30C on average. The other points I’ll let slide. But the fact that can not be disputed is that sunshine is hot, and it can not be averaged out to -18C or 240 W/m2 worth of input, and have that make any sort of physically meaningful sense, and that can not be used as a boundary condition to characterize the system in a model.

      • But please answer, where the 160 PW comes from.

        I have repeated this question, because I consider that a test of your honesty. As long as you don’t even try to answer, but keep on making points invalidated by that point in my view, I cannot consider you honest.

      • You’re imagining things, Pekka Pirilä… :D

      • Nothing can make me believe that Postma stopped reading that subthread before this message

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/16/postma-on-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-100677

        He new perfectly well that he was in trouble.

        In addition he has had already several earlier possibilities to ask, what 160 PW

        The point is of course that his energy balance is missing more than half of the needed energy to maintain the surface temperature, because the back radiation is not included.

        There just isn’t any other explanation. Variability does not add anything to the average. As Alex said it actually makes the imbalance a little worse.

      • Pekka I haven’t answered every single post on this thread…it doesn’t make you special.

        “I think that I know, why you don’t answer the question. It’s totally simple, when good accuracy is not required. The effective temperature is about 17C and the power is 200 PW. The solar energy with albedo correction is 122 PW, but less than 90 PW is absorbed by surface, rest in the atmosphere. In addition there’s about 50 PW loss of energy from surface by evaporation and convection.
        The balance of all this is about 160 PW negative at the surface.”

        Ahh I see what the question is.

        Wait a minute.. I’ve already answered this this exact question! – you’ve simply changes the numbers from temperatures to Wattages! LOL!!

        You didn’t like my answer that there’s nothing wrong with having a warmer ground temperature than the radiative average because such a situation is expected via first-principles physics…so you changed the temperature values into Wattages to try to confound the question.
        My answer remains the same as when you asked this question in terms of temperatures.

      • You did confirm the incoming flux. You have confirmed that you believe Sterhan-Boltzmann law. Look at the numbers, you have no way out.

        You may argue on the precise value 160 PW (it may actually be closer to 170 PW), but you have no change of making that small and you have no flux to help you, except downwelling IR (or back radiation).

        You have not presented anything to counter that.

      • And you knew that. It was clear from your previous posts, when you started to see, what’s coming upon you.

      • My above post stands as it is. I answered the question the frist time and did so successfully with relation to stellar photospheres. The aggregate radiative temperature of the ensemble in no way dictates that the bottom of the atmosphere temperature has to be the same…in fact it dictates that it must be higher. No GHE is required to have this.

      • Then my conclusion on your honesty stands as well.

      • I am being perfectly honest when I say that the radiative temperature of an atmospheric ensemble does not dictate that the specific kinetic temperature found at the bottom of said atmosphere must be equal in value to it.

      • But you know that we have the first law of thermodynamics. If Earth surface loses energy at more than double rate of the incoming it gets very, very cold very, very soon.

        No mumbling can get you around that, and you know that.

      • It doesn’t lose energy at double the rate of the incoming. Where would you get that idea. The math clearly equates to an equality of incoming and outgoing energy.

      • Numbers tell that your description has the huge imbalance. You have confirmed the incoming total flux of 122 PW. You have confirmed that Stefan-Boltzmann law tells the emission strength. That gives 200 PW out. If you have a lower estimate for the surface temperature, you may cut a little of that, but 122 PW corresponds to -18C and you know that the Earth surface is much warmer.

        These facts alone tell that you have an imbalance. When absorption of solar energy on atmosphere is subtracted from solar radiation and convection and evaporation are added, the result is 160-170 PW deficit.

        You understand that. You are dishonest, when you claim that you don’t understand.

        If you were honest, you would withdraw your faulty paper, and tell openly that it was false.

      • I thought it was you guys who said that the atmosphere only radiates because of GHG’s. If that is true than that means it is a spectral thing. If that is true it means the S-B Law doesn’t apply. QED. Your 200PW out is a red-herring.
        The ensemble radiative temperature average is -18C, even with a kinetic ground temperature of +15C. It is the meaning of an average.
        And this is still beside the point of the boundary conditions issue. You have 1370 W/m2 coming in, distributed over a hemisphere. That provides for a very high temperature, +30C on average, and the average ground temperature is *cooler* than that.

      • The Earth surface can be separated with fixed boundaries. On one side is the atmosphere. The other limit can be taken to include ocean to considerable depth to make it absorb the solar radiation. On the continents a few meters is enough.

        This fixed volume has an energy balance. The deviation from zero causes it to warm or cool. The energy balance can be calculated over different periods, but one year is a good choice.

        The only major incoming energy is the solar radiation of average power between 80 PW and 90 PW, when albedo and the absorption by the atmosphere is taken into account. Lets use 90 PW to make it easier for you.

        Warm surface radiates at the power determined by its temperature and emissivity. The emissivity of the Earth surface is close to 1 for LW infrared radiation. The Stefan-Boltzmann law applies. It applies at every point of the surface according to the temperature of that point. The effective average of the Earth surface is about 17C. You cannot seriously propose that it would be much lower. -18C has not connection to that.

        Calculating with the temperature of 17C the total emissive power is 200 PW. You cannot seriously contest that, as it’s very easy to check.

        You counterclaims are pathetic.

      • Smart system choice Pekka. Where’s the “backradiation”? Can you please do the energy balance for this system?

      • You’re only characterizing what you expect of the surface. This has nothing to do with what the entire ensemble is…as you said, it includes all of the atmosphere. You can’t look at only the warmest part of the average and then become confused why it is warmer than the average…

      • We would say in Mexico: Pekka Pirilä es muy imaginativa.

      • Joseph – I addressed it indirectly in my second example of misstatements, which focused on your misunderstanding of heat transfer. The daytime hemisphere doesn’t achieve an “input temperature” because it is equilibrating – thermally and non-thermally – with the land and oceans. That temperature therefore is fictional and can’t be averaged with any temperatures that are actually realized or computed.

        This was not the main point of my examples, but I see it as one more straw man argument that suggests because a high daytime temperature could be reached at the surface if we stopped the Earth’s daily rotation for a thousand years, made it always face the sun at a fixed distance, and halted all interhemispheric wind, ocean currents, and heat conduction and convection, that therefore that equilibrium temperature, which never materializes in actuality, obviates the need for a greenhouse effect. The input temperature argument strikes me as another non sequitur in addition to the problems with geometry you seem to exhibit in example three in trying to compare energy in with energy out..

      • Saying that I have a problem with geometry is really off the mark. I have repeatedly referenced the geometry of the insolation envelope and specified two different ways to asses the average power – either by linear distribution or an integrated average, over the geometry.

        I agree that the day-time hemisphere doesn’t achieve the equivalent temperature of the input power because the system is equilibrating. That is precisely the point. And the input power certainly is not fictional – the sunshine does feel quite warm, even hot. The last paragraph almost understands the issue, but then deviates into the geometry confusion again.

      • Joseph – Maybe it was just that you carelessly referred to energy when you meant power, so we can disregard that as a problem. However, none of this changes the conclusion that citing an “input temperature” can’t close the Earth’s energy budget and explain how the Earth manages to be as warm as it is. As a contradiction to the greenhouse effect, it’s a non-sequitur. The other criticisms remain – you have made numerous incorrect statements about climate dynamics (I’ve cited examples), none of your statements invalidates the greenhouse effect or renders it unnecessary, and you’ve provided no alternative mechanism. Evidence that the greenhouse effect principles have been validated by theory confirmed by observational data.has been described in detail elsewhere.

      • This is ending up as a hopeless waste of time, and educating Postma seems like little more than an exercise in futility.

        For people who are interested, there is an online textbook that discusses the geometry of the energy budget.
        http://stratus.astr.ucl.ac.be/textbook/chapter2_node3.xml

      • Ahh, another reference to the exact model which I have debunked. Thank you…will add it. Note the power over 4 input. Garbage.

      • Well, it does actually explain the energy budget, and it does explain the existence of a liquid water planet without need for a GHE.

        The system isn’t linear…the responses aren’t linear. Because of that you can’t model 240 W/m2 as the input. When you use the real input distributed over the sunlight hemisphere, you get entirely different natural responses, automatically, than with a 240 W/m2 input, which can only get to those same responses by postulating a self-amplification heating mechanism.
        Of course, validated principles are commonly overturned. That data stays teh same…the way you look at the problem changes.

      • Wait a second. Is your argument really that the optical response of the earth (thermally or non-thermally) is a non-linear process? At even 1300 W/m^2 that’s a ridiculous claim. One needs laser power densities to get the non-linear cross-sections of material system.

        That’s a new one, though I guess everything gets thrown at the greenhouse effect by people who just don’t understand basic physics.

        But here is the rub, and Fred is getting pretty close to it. You’re not taking time into account. At any instant, you’re right, only half the earth is being illuminated by the sun. But you have to average over time, which means averaging over the surface of the earth because it is rotating in the disc of sunlight.

        And when that time averaging is done, the response of the earth’s temperature to the distribution of energy through the solid earth, oceans and atmosphere is TOTALLY LINEAR IN THE AMOUNT OF ENERGY INPUTTED BY THE SUN! The internal dynamics of the earth on weekly, monthly, annually or decadal time scales may contain nonlinearities, but the climatological response of the earth’s energy system to the energy from the sun is linear to a very good approximation when simply observing the total amount of energy reaching and emitted by the earth.

        I think anyone who claims otherwise can be ignored without afterthought, as I’m sure your work will be in the coming days and weeks.

      • No not the optical response. The physical system response. This is where the averaging doesn’t make sense because of the physical non-linear response.

      • Wait, how can you differentiate between the ‘physical response’ of the system versus the ‘optical response’ of the system? Is the ‘optical response’ not ‘physical’ to you?

        The only response to EM radiation from the sun is the optical response. In the limit that there is low power density (which is true even for 1300 W/m^2) the material that makes up the earth will respond linearly to the incident light.

        So are you talking about non-linearities within the earth’s climate system like ENSO or something else?

        The point you seem to be missing is that you don’t have to do a spatial average if you do a time average. When one averages for long enough (30 or 40 years), one clearly sees that the greenhouse effect is the linear optical response of the earth climate system.

        Do you disagree with that?

      • You referred to the optical response, which means radiative. My reference was to physical things, like ice, water, water vapor, material thermal capacities, etc.

        An example of a non-linearity would be the step-function response of ice to power input. -18*C worth of insolation won’t melt an ice-cube. 480 W/m2 will. In between that is a step function response which creates entirely different worlds and physics. You suddenly go from ice to liquid water. That’s why you can’t average the power input down to 240 W/m2 or -18C, because it doesn’t make sense anymore….it can’t breach that step function. But it is obviously breached by the warm sunlight.
        What I agree with averaging is where power actually interacts, and in the context of what a Watt is. A Watt is a joule in a second. That is what the S-B Law relates with. Where an average can go wrong is when it implicitly implies that a Watt simultaneously impinges both the night and say side of the Earth. In one second those Joules only interact with one side of the Earth, not both. So yah I know *all about* (ha) averaging, and you have to be careful about how you interpret it, especially in relation to physics.

      • Joseph,

        I want you to read what I am about to write very carefully.

        ‘An example of a non-linearity would be the step-function response of ice to power input.’

        THAT IS OPTICAL RESPONSE!!!

        What power are you talking about?! You’re talking about the power of sunlight! That is radiation!

        That’s how ice melts. It absorbs EM radiation in sunlight which is converted by the internal degrees of freedom of the material to heat via non-radiative decay.

        How can you say that optical response deals with radiation, claim you’re not interested in radiation and then talk about sunlight melting ice!?!

        This is really preposterous.

        Dr. Curry, I understand that you’re very busy, but I think at this point, this thread should just be terminated. Everyone has seen that this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There is really nothing left to be said or done about it.

      • That’s correct maxwell….a *physical* response to incident radiation. That’s what I’m referring to, and what has a nonlinear response. You were referring to linear responses to radiation with lasers which is not relevant to the climate. We’re actually talking about the same thing….just started using different terminology.

      • Here’s a very interesting comment by an instrument specialist about deserts, in the WUWT posting on the major updating of Lindzen-Choi that finally made it past the ‘concensor’ gatekeepers, AKA ideologically hostile reviewers:
        Desert flux measurement.

        Those devilish details.

    • Fred… Again, mumble jumble from you. Look at this picture from NASA:

      Now tell me, what’s that greenish glaze above clouds? What is causing the atmosphere glazes? And, what’s the apparent height of the glaze?

      • Yes, there is solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere beyond the day/night boundary. The atmosphere absorbs roughly 16% of the incoming and the absorption adds to the temperature of the surface because it adds to the atmosphere. Perhaps if you show your calculations just how much it night time solar atmospheric warming adds, the debate would be more interesting.

    • Fred, without taking a position, as I have not tracked the science that closely, I am impressed by the fact that Postma has detailed answers to his critics objections. He probably has answers to yours. I suggest that if you do not know what these are then you probably do not understand his hypothesis. Rather than kindergarten errors it sounds like he is taking a radically different approach to the problem, which people are having a lot of trouble grasping. If he is than that is normal. It may also explain the fascination.

      • The thing is quite simple, David. We work on real numbers, real measurements, real science.

      • He hasn’t answered my objections. and more are forthcoming.

      • Oh c’mon, this is disingenuous at best. He doesn’t have detailed answers, he simply moves the goalposts and waves his hands. The guy who couldn’t even bother to finish his PhD in one field wanders into another and commits basic errors, as pointed out by numerous other highly qualified experts. His approach isn’t radically different. It’s just misinformed.

        As someone who mostly lurks on this board (trying to learn from the arguments about the more subtle points in the debate) my fascination with this thread is analogous to watching a train wreck.

      • Ad hominem… As always when AGWers have been vanquished.

      • Again, Fred or anyone who wishes to answer the questions.

        Look at this picture from NASA:

        Now tell me, what’s that greenish glaze above clouds? What is causing the atmosphere glazes? And, what’s the apparent height of the glaze?

      • I did answer your questions JCurry.

        Secondly, FS…well, there you go. Baseless ad-homs and mischaracterizations.

      • Perhaps it would be helpful to clarify exactly what the questions were by Dr. Curry and exactly what the answers were by Joseph. With so many comments and responses, it’s easy to lose track of who said what and when and how.

        Bruce

      • …and there it is folks. When the Dean of a school of Earth Sciences tells some guy on the internet has done nothing to answer the main criticisms of his, and yet he thinks he has answered those concerns, it’s all over. He doesn’t even understand what the main points of the science are.

      • Appeal to authority?

      • No. Reference to legitimate authority. Whatever the quality of Postma’s and Curry’s work objectively, she outranks him in their common profession. Evading her questions, and lying that he has already answered him, means what maxwell says it means about Postma.

        “He doesn’t even understand what the main points of the science are.”

      • Does anyone understand what a Watt is and how it relates to the S-B Law? That’s the real question here…

      • No, the real question here is why you are so stubborn towards everyone’s criticism of your work. It’s as though you think that because you’ve ‘seen’ things a certain way, that the way you see them can’t possibly be wrong.

        There is no relation between a Watt and the Stefan-Boltzmann law that Pekka or Fred or Judy or myself cannot grasp or that you are instilling in us. They are high school level physical concepts that are little more than a distraction in this argument. If it some ‘new’ idea of these concepts on which your argument rests, then we’ve wasted 1000 comments on this thread, as well as countless hours.

        This is another instance where someone is conflating the use of technical verbiage with actual interest in science. If someone is truly interested in science, technical criticism is met with technical explanation or admission of misunderstanding. Those are the only two professionally acceptable ways to move forward with an understanding.

        And it should serve as a lesson to lurkers here and the David W.’s of the world that when a particular presenter of an unaccepted scientific argument is unwilling to engage with a group of technically educated people trying to explain in technical terms what is the problems with their work, it is very likely that such a presenter has nothing meaningful to present and is either deluded by ignorance or lack of an ability for true introspection.

        That was the case with Miskolczi, Johnson and is now with Potsma.

        In this case, it seems like it’s a mixture of these two issues.

      • maxwell, that’s a bit of a mischaracterization. I’m defending my work because the critiques miss the point.
        The people you referenced think it is ok to average a Watt into times and places it doesn’t impinge. It’s incorrect.

      • I didn’t ask appeal to false authority, which is a form of an appeal to authority. I asked if this was an appeal to authority? Just because a person “out ranks” another person doesn’t mean they are correct.

      • I disagree. I see no “mischaracterization” by maxwell, of anything. “It’s incorrect” and Prof. Curry or others “miss the point” can be just asserted without reason or explanation, I suppose — in the sense that it is your Constitutional right — but it is not good enough. If you intend for your work to be taken seriously, you must explain yourself. You must show how “the critiques miss the point” and if it is not “ok to average a Watt into times and places it doesn’t impinge,” then you must justify such statements rationally.

        maxwell, that’s a bit of a mischaracterization. I’m defending my work because the critiques miss the point. The people you referenced think it is ok to average a Watt into times and places it doesn’t impinge.

        So do I.

        It’s incorrect.

        No it isn’t. Just make that, “it is ok to average a Watt into places that during some times it doesn’t impinge” to be a little more linguistically clear why averaging is just fine.

        As a first-order approximation, every sq m of Earth’s surface gets ~1/2 year of Sunlight per Solar year (~12h of Sunlight average per day). The daily variance is obviously less at the Equator than at the poles, but the mean is ~same (time of exposure, not intensity, obviously) — agreed?

        Okay, now that we have established that Sunlight impinges on all places, just during different times, let’s consider the validity of time-averaging, in an intentionally extreme set of special cases. For femtosecond or attosecond pulsed lasers, obviously a time-average doesn’t tell you “this thing can cut through 1/8 inch steel” or whatever, so time-averaging omits vital information in that case. But for a laser that pulses on time scales just shorter than the human eye can perceive — say 37 times per second, just to be arbitrary — then for many intents and purposes, a time-average is a useful quantity, agreed?

        For information processing purposes, of course computer techs want to know the exact pulse rate. And an eye surgeon (or the tech who calibrates the surgeon’s instruments) would want to know the exact frequency to be sure his laser will fix the shape of corneas, not burn through them. But mostly, it’s a bad idea to look into lasers because they’re bright, and most standard pointer-intensity lasers won’t burn your skin, even if it’s pulsed a bit. You see my point now?

        Now, for sake of discussion, I’m open-minded to the possibility that maybe this first-order approximation is too approximate and not precise enough. But if so, show me; don’t presume that I should take your word on faith!


        Self-deprecating humor aside, I think I have illustrated very clearly that pulsing isn’t necessarily very relevant for all radiant energy problems, especially low-frequency pulsing! And 12-hour cycles are pretty darned low-frequency, and you certainly haven’t established that it is relevant for Earth, for the purposes that approximation is actually used in climate science. Please proceed, or concede.

      • In the missing space was an image, but I guess those aren’t supported by this forum.
        http://xkcd.com/793/
        It’s not quite as funny presented this way, but still a classic.

      • “Okay, now that we have established that Sunlight impinges on all places, just during different times”

        This doesn’t mean you can diurnally dilute the input flux. You CAN do it with math, but then it no longer conforms to physics. It’s the instantaneous power which matters for the system, and actually acts on the system, not the average of that power. It is explained in my paper and I have done so several times on this thread. Sorry I can’t agree to comparison with lasers and human eyes because it gets too far away from the power input issue. I’m sure lasers and eyeballs can do lots of things! :-)
        Regards.

      • This doesn’t mean you can diurnally dilute the input flux. You CAN do it with math, but then it no longer conforms to physics. It’s the instantaneous power which matters for the system, and actually acts on the system, not the average of that power. It is explained in my paper and I have done so several times on this thread.

        The issue is not whether your assertion is “explained” in your essay. Your scientific peers in this forum have told you clearly and repeatedly, that assertion is not adequately supported, in that essay nor in this thread. The burden is squarely on you to support your claim, not to “explain” anything, to me or anybody else here.

        Sorry I can’t agree to comparison with lasers and human eyes because it gets too far away from the power input issue.

        Well I don’t need you to agree. It’s your scientific reputation on the line here. Besides, I thought I made it clear enough that I don’t “agree” that pulsing is necessarily relevant myself (certainly not in all applications, and particularly not to the climate), I just offered those examples for your consideration, and to see what you would make of them.

        And I know that I did show a valid example to the contrary, that a laser can pulse several orders of magnitude more rapidly than the diurnal cycle (37s^-1 = 0.037kHz), before the power is so high that it changes much, other than very specialized applications. On the other hand, the fact that more rapidly pulsed lasers can cut strong materials demonstrates that at least in extreme cases, the same energy per area, delivered in a shorter time, can make an important difference. Really, I thought that was a lifeline I was throwing to you! Of course, for pulses of 12hours *(3600sec/hour) = 43,200s –> 0.0000231Hz = 2.31e-8kHz, to show that for that case, anything similar is true — that pulsing matters in any way — all your work is still ahead of you. [For context, 1kHz is the slowest pulsed laser I noticed in a brief scan of Wikipedia’s “Laser cutting” article; 1kHz is 43,200,000 times the pulse rate of the diurnal cycle, 2.31e-8kHz.]

        If you don’t want to use those analogies, don’t. But do explain yourself. I think you’re bringing up optical power to dismiss admittedly simplified models that are only used to illustrate energy balance, models in which power just isn’t in the picture. Or as Judith Curry said:

        Averaging the insolation has NOTHING to do with the SB law. “meaningless in physics” is a meaningless term. It depends on what your application is and how you define the system. The simplest energy balance model of the earth is energy in minus energy out of the top of the atmosphere. The “system” is the whole earth and its atmosphere. The application is the energy balance of the system.

        Power doesn’t enter into that application.

        Why exactly do you believe diurnal averaging is not valid for the applications it is actually used in climatology?

      • “Why exactly do you believe diurnal averaging is not valid for the applications it is actually used in climatology?”

        Because it violates the meaning of the S-B Law, and the meaning of power input, and what a Watt is. Instantaneous power input defines the physical interaction and its response, not the diurnal average which doesn’t have meaning anyway. As someone pointed out elsewhere, there’s no physical meaning in having two dogs and feeding one, and saying that both ate half, on average.

      • “Final answer?”

        As someone pointed out elsewhere, there’s no physical meaning in having two dogs and feeding one, and saying that both ate half, on average.

        Is that the best you can do?

      • Also, no it doesn’t.

        Because it violates the meaning of the S-B Law…

        The Stefan-Boltzmann Law deals with blackbody radiation. It describes the intensity of radiation from a heated object. It doesn’t care how the ideal blackbody got its thermal energy.

        … and the meaning of power input, and what a Watt is.

        Totally irrelevant, because S-B doesn’t care how the ideal blackbody got its thermal energy. It only cares how much thermal energy it has. Averaging works just fine for that.

  54. Snowlover123
    …..”If there is no GHE, then can one of you please explain why on a cloudy night, the temperatures are warmer compared to a clear night.”…..

    3 mechanisms in play here
    1. Water in clouds have liquid water component of condensing gas.
    Latent Heat of Vapourisation is very large keeps the clouds at much higher temperature than the altitude would suggest.

    2. Because the clouds absorb surface IR very effectively they stay warmer.

    3. Because the Earth surface / cloud temperature gap is now much smaller the convection currents will be suppressed.

  55. To Pekka Pirila…

    If you get a flu and you want to know what’s your body’s temperature, would you divide your reading by 6 billion people? :D

  56. Alexander Harvey

    For those that think that the radiative flux emissions from a body are subject to variation when the temperature or position of remote bodies change.

    Could they explain the mechanism that governs this effect?

    If that remote body has the higher temerpature and is in relative motion, do photons that set out in a direction that the remote body was not occupying, deviate, turn back, or cease to exist if that remote body is moved into their trajectory?

    Alex

    • Alex… That remote body that you refer emits a bolometric power of 3.86235 × 10^33 erg/s. Would you asure it doesn’t affect climate?

      Does the system that AGW hypothesis argues as being the cause of warming emit more power than such remote body?… :D

      • Alex… Regarding your question, the energy of those quantum/waves that are not intercepted by any cosmological body would go into the Universe gravity field. I could show you how Higgs’ fields work.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Nasif,

        It was very interesting to hear that. You did have and could have no idea about which remote body I was thinking of. And you certainly got it wrong.

        Alex

  57. No I didn’t cite Wiki, try reading the texts I recommended.

  58. Brandon Shollenberger

    I’m going to add my two cents as an observer. I was avoiding reading this topic because I’m not knowledgeable enough about the details of the physics of the greenhouse effect. and I really don’t find the subject interesting. Since I didn’t intend to participate, I figured could wait a while while people hashed out the issue. My expectation was a certain amount of clarity would appear. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Upthread, David Wojick says:

    Fred, without taking a position, as I have not tracked the science that closely, I am impressed by the fact that Postma has detailed answers to his critics objections. He probably has answers to yours. I suggest that if you do not know what these are then you probably do not understand his hypothesis.

    This is largely how I feel. My expectation is as a discussion progresses, positions would become clearer and simpler, perhaps even with numbered/bulleted points. Each side would be able to say, “This is what I believe, this is what my opponent believes, and this is why I think I am correct.” I’ve seen nothing of the sort. Instead of clarity, all I see is a disjointed, shambling discussion with no order or direction.

    Of course, this is partially due to how threaded conversations work, and I accept that. On the other hand, it is easy to combat to some extent, even if it can’t be beaten completely. In that regard, I have to applaud Postma.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Somehow my comment got posted while I was still typing it up. I’m not sure how it happened, but there’s no point in keeping this partial copy. Feel free to delete it.

    • Thanks Brandon, for what its worth :-)

      The important point is that the system is non-linear. Not just in terms of geometry etc., but in how it responds to power input. A highly non-linear step function response occurs with the matter phase space transition below and above 0 degrees Celsius.

      With -18C, or 240 W/m2, you could never melt an ice-cube. It would just never happen. But with 480 W/m2 on average and ~1000 W/m2 at maximum, we naturally enter the phase-space of liquid and evaporating water. You can’t average the power down to 240 W/m2 in any model because then that model couldn’t naturally ever explain liquid water. It would have to invent some other mechanism. But we KNOW the actual input is ~1370 W/m2 at maximum and simple math shows the input is around 480 W/m2 on average. You don’t need the postulated GHE mechanism that comes out of a 240 W/m2 input model any longer. Perhaps SOME form a GHE might still exist…but it isn’t the same thing we think of now.

      • Whichever way you look at it the Earth is only absorbing 122petawatts of sunlight.

        Even in the best case (for you) where all that energy is being absorbed by the surface, so that the surface is emitting 122petawatts, that isn’t enough to explain average surface temperature of 15C.

        Try distributing a 122petawatt emission in any fashion and average surface temperature will fall below 15C every time.

        Without backradiation as an additional source of energy, the observed 15C average surface temperature of Earth isn’t possible to maintain.

      • The radiative emission of the entire thermodynamic ensemble is 122PW, or -18C radiative equivalent on average. It’s is fine that a very tiny fraction of that aggregate ensemble has a higher kinetic temperature…that is the requirement and meaning of an average radiative emission. Some parts hot, some parts cold; one average. Hot is supposed to be at the bottom, cold is supposed to be at the top. Average is in the middle.

      • The surface is only aborbing 122PW sunlight.

        If the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist then this is the only source of energy for the surface. In which case the surface cannot be shedding more than 122PW.

        This map of temperature requires the Earth’s surface to be emitting more than 122PW:

      • The surface is the not representative of the entire thermodynamic radiative ensemble. Referring to the surface only, of this much larger system, can not be characteristic of or compared to the global energy balances. It’s unphysical. The entire system has the exact radiating temperature it is supposed to have, even with a +15C ground surface, as expected by the definition of what an average radiative output is, a-priori.

      • While you may have already done so, it is difficult to follow, I think it would be helpful separate the radiative ensemble. 1366*.7*.25 = 240 is a valid estimate of the solar irradiance felt at the surface of the Earth. Beyond the horizon of the surface, there is solar irradiance absorbed by the atmosphere with a limit of roughly 218 w/m2 (16 percent of 1366 per NASA’s radiation budget), though with penetration, perhaps you may think it is more. Only some fraction of that over the horizon atmospheric absorption would have an impact on surface temperature. So for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the 240 W/m2 is a valid approximation for the sea level part of Earth and that your 610-240 or 370 W/m2 is something else, solar input number 2 (SI2) for example. From what I gather, you believe that water vapor (not clouds) and CO2 have no significant radiative impact. So I believe you are severely over estimating the over the horizon atmospheric absorption impact on the surface.

        I you explain SI2, the non-astrophysicists may better understand things.

      • 240 is specifically *not* a valid estimate of the solar irradiance felt at the surface of the Earth. So I do not agree to an assumption of its validity in any model approximation or characterization. Water vapor has a significant thermal capacity effect, CO2 has a smaller thermal capacity than that of standard air. I don’t actually refer to the over-the-horizon insolation at all.
        Sorry it wasn’t clear what you asked me to explain… The solar irradiance value I refer to?
        It is 1.22×10^17 Watts (Watt = Joule per second) impinging the day-side of the Earth. This therefore has a power value average of 480 W/m2 using a linear distribution of that energy over the hemisphere, equivalent to +30C in temperature value, or 610 W/m2 is using an integrated average value via a cosine distribution, which has a +49C equivalent temperature value. Both of these equate to a 240 W/m2 average output value if you correctly consider the projection weighting method and surface areas.

      • Running out of reply things, 480 W/m2 does indeed equal 1.22e17/the area of one Earth hemisphere. If I use 1366 W/m2 provided by NASA measurements at the TOA I get 2.44e17 Watts total impinging solar irradiance for a hemisphere using an Earth surface area of 5.1e8 km^2 and albedo of 0.7. That is the same stumbling block noted by most of the people commenting. It is hard to get past this one to move on to your other differences with diurnal averaging.

      • Dallas, you forgot to divide by 2 for the obliquity of the terrestrial limb. i.e. the angle of incidence increases as you go to the edge of the hemisphere presented to the sun.

      • LOL, Tallbloke, I don’t think so, since his value is exactly half with albedo considered. He could argue that the effective radius of Earth is greater and include some or all of the atmosphere and then work down to the surface of the rock, but then he would face a new conundrum.

  59. Brandon Shollenberger

    I’m going to add my two cents as an observer. I was avoiding reading this topic because I’m not knowledgeable enough about the details of the physics of the greenhouse effect. and I really don’t find the subject interesting. Since I didn’t intend to participate, I figured could wait a while while people hashed out the issue. My expectation was a certain amount of clarity would appear. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Upthread, David Wojick says:

    Fred, without taking a position, as I have not tracked the science that closely, I am impressed by the fact that Postma has detailed answers to his critics objections. He probably has answers to yours. I suggest that if you do not know what these are then you probably do not understand his hypothesis.

    This is largely how I feel. My expectation is as a discussion progresses, positions would become clearer and simpler, perhaps even with numbered/bulleted points. Each side would be able to say, “This is what I believe, this is what my opponent believes, and this is why I think I am correct.” I’ve seen nothing of the sort. Instead of clarity, all I see is a disjointed, shambling discussion with no order or direction.

    Of course, this is partially due to how threaded conversations work, and I accept that. On the other hand, it is easy to combat to some extent, even if it can’t be beaten completely. In that regard, I have to applaud Postma above all others. Regardless of the merits of his position, he has (as far as I’ve seen) made a consistent effort to maintain focus on the issues being discussed. This is contrasted those who I am supposed to believe are right, people who seem to the (supposed) obviousness of their position means they don’t need to provide any real explanation.

    Even worse, they seem to feel it justifies comments which are nothing more than pathetic insults. For example, Pekka Pirilä has effectively called Postma a liar. Why? I don’t know. He didn’t bother to explain it well enough that anyone who didn’t already know the answer could tell.

    I’ve actually judged a lot of debates in my life, and I have to say, if I were judging this one, I’d declare Postma the winner. It’s not because I think he’s right. I just think nobody has done a good job of making me understand how he is wrong. He may have the burden of proof, but when people tell me his work is obviously wrong then make hundreds of comments without making it clear to me how his work is wrong, I can’t side with them.

    • Yours is an interesting perspective, Brandon, and an informative one as well. At the time of this comment, you hadn’t yet read the paper and didn’t claim to be highly knowledgeable on the physics, but you judged the issue exclusively by arguments about something you hadn’t read.

      Is that legitimate? Absolutely, because this is how many controversies are judged, including by bystanders much less intelligent than you, and so it’s useful to understand your perspective. I obviously can’t share it, because I understand the science, I’ve read the paper, and I’m aware of its many mistakes.

      There’s an additional problem, however, which further confounds judgment. Pointing out the individual mistakes in the paper is not a particularly powerful way to refute it, because each of those points can be argued back and forth. What is much harder to put into the context of a blog discussion is perhaps a more central weakness of the paper. That is the failure of individual claims to lead to the conclusions that Postma has derived from them – what I referred to as the non-sequitur element. In fact, I would suggest that it’s almost impossible to evaluate that type of illogic without reading the paper itself or quoting huge excerpts. As a result, what we tend to see is a debate of a kind that would read:

      “By analysis of teeth, I’ve shown through the equations and derivations described in these 35 pages that dogs can’t have skeletons with calcium in them.”

      “Your method of tooth analysis neglects the effect of other minerals.”

      “Even if you correct for sodium and strontium, the tooth calcium in dogs is very low.

      “Well, how do you account for the fact that dog teeth appear very dense in x-rays?”

      I’ll suggest that the above argument failed to refute the claim in the original sentence, which would have required a rigorous examination of the logic whereby tooth analysis leads to a reliable conclusion about dog skeletons. If that conclusion is a non-sequitur (requiring a very extensive recapitulation of the article at issue), then sodium, strontium, and x-rays are simply quibbles at the margins.

      It’s a difficult challenge. You may be right that it wasn’t met from your perspective, but after all the other mistakes are acknowledged, dismissed, or bypassed, it turns out that Postma’s conclusions about the greenhouse effect are based on many statements – some false, some true – but absolutely none of which prove his main point. If you don’t read the paper and follow his arguments, there is not much prospect that you can discern that from the blog discussion. The rest tends to be obfuscation.

      I gather you will now have a chance to read the paper. You might then go back through this thread and the other sources of discussion to see whether your perspective changes – particularly on the non-sequitur component.

      • Actually is not multiple statements which I require to come to the conclusion of disagreement with a GHE. It is a single issue. And that is the issue of diurnal rather than day-side averaging. The difference in power input then becomes obvious, is easily testable with any solarimeter, and perfectly obvious if you’ve ever felt warm or hot sunshine.
        If I made a mistake, it was only in relating too many other aspects to the central thesis. All the side-issues only present fodder for distraction from the central thesis.

      • If that is your issue, your argument fails on that issue alone. No matter how averaged, total energy in must equal energy out, absorbed energy in can be accounted for by solar irradiance corrected by albedo, and energy out would require that value to be matched by a very cold surface temperature without the amplifying effect of back radiation as part of the greenhouse mechanism. If you review your own paper, I think you’ll find that you haven’t balanced that budget by any other mechanism. Employing terms like “input temperature” and “diurnal averaging” can’t substitute for making the numbers come out right.

        Others are encouraged to read the paper as well to see if they can identify any other source of energy that allows the temperature to be what it is without the greenhouse mechanism. If so, all the mathematics should be given here in detail, with quantitation, rather than described in general qualitative terms. I don’t think it will be possible for those mathematics to find its way here. (I believe Pekka issued a similar challenge earlier that was evaded by referring to descriptive terminology rather than a budget-balancing set of equations filled in with numbers that are consistent with observed surface temperatures).

        Joseph – If you can’t do it, and I truly doubt you can, you needn’t respond here – certainly not with generalizations. You should take a step back, understand that you’ve made a mistake, and try to arrive at a more accurate understanding of how the climate behaves.

        At some point in your life, that will be necessary.

      • Fred you’re still not actually saying anything of substance. And missing the point. You can obfuscate the incredibly clear and concise explanations I have given on power averaging and energy balances all you like. It doesn’t change the fact that the Sunshine is warm, even hot, and that this can’t be averaged down to 240 W/m2 input. Moving the goal posts around doesn’t change that fact either.

      • Numbers, Joseph! At this point, you must be aware you’re ducking the issue and that others see it too. Put in any values you like, justify them, compute the energy in, compute energy out as a function of surface temperature and the SB equation, and show a balance that doesn’t require the greenhouse effect at the temperatures we live at.

        I try to be open minded. I make no secret of the fact that I believe your task is impossible, but I will publicly retract that conclusion if you show the mathematics that balance the energy budget under the known constraints of solar irradiance, albedo, and surface temperature.

        Not only that, but I will trumpet the fact that you have single handedly revolutionized the field of climate physics.

      • The surface is not the only thing you need to look at for the energy balance. If one does that they’ll automatically be in trouble. The surface is a TINY fraction of a much larger ensemble. So therefore you can’t say that it singularly has anything to do with characterizing the entire ensemble’s energy balances. If you look at what the ensemble is – an atmosphere with a temperature forcing input at the bottom of about +30C on average at +121C at maximum – and you include the fact that this ensemble naturally must be hotter at the bottom than at the top, and you consider than the temperature of the entire ensemble IS in equilibrium with the input energy at -18C…then there’s no need for a GHE. Necessarily anyway. Not as it is understood today.

      • The surface is a nice constraint. It has emissivity near 1 and only absorbs energy from sunlight and back-radiation. The surface has to shed the same amount of energy it absorbs. Plus without a greenhouse effect the surface emission goes straight into space.

        If an idea can’t balance the surface then the idea is bust.

      • Joseph – In case I didn’t express myself clearly, what I’m asking you to do is show how the surface energy budget can be balanced at observed temperatures without the greenhouse effect, including back radiation. For the moment, you can let events at other altitudes be whatever you like – simply show surface temperature as a function of SB, and show how that’s possible from solar energy reaching the surface after solar irradiance is corrected for albedo. Put in all the relevant values for irradiance, albedo, and incident surface radiation, and make the numbers come out right without the back radiation from the atmosphere.

        But please don’t use words as a substitute for numbers.

      • Unfortunately the problem won’t be that easy to solve. It is not as simple as just applying the S-B Law to specific temperatures and creating energy balances out of them. But I agree there is a problem to solve. As I said, I think I know a way to do it.
        And sorry for repeating myself, but it is the boundary conditions issue which exists as its own question in relation to the GHE. This other stuff comes after that. And the real boundary conditions are certainly different than the ones of the standard model GHE…as I have attempted to explain.
        Thanks.

      • Oh, and give me some time to work on the rest of the numbers. I’ve got the boundary conditions correct now…that was the start. :-)
        I’ve got some great ideas for how to model it now…not the whole system obviously, just some of the characteristics. Such as how the temperature will distribute, etc.
        That said, I don’t think we have much more to bash our heads over. I see a way forward…you’ve pointed out I should do it. So, we’ll see. :-)
        Take care friend.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Fred Moolten, your timing is impeccable. I was getting ready to make a comment discussing an issue, and here you’ve just brought it up:

        There’s an additional problem, however, which further confounds judgment. Pointing out the individual mistakes in the paper is not a particularly powerful way to refute it, because each of those points can be argued back and forth. What is much harder to put into the context of a blog discussion is perhaps a more central weakness of the paper. That is the failure of individual claims to lead to the conclusions that Postma has derived from them – what I referred to as the non-sequitur element. In fact, I would suggest that it’s almost impossible to evaluate that type of illogic without reading the paper itself or quoting huge excerpts.

        I agree what you refer to is a problem, but it is nowhere near as difficult to overcome as you portray. The correct way to respond to non-sequitur offered as evidence is to simply explain how it fails to support the argument. All you have to do is list the lines of evidence/reasoning which are used, explain which ones are irrelevant (non-sequitur), and then refute whichever ones may still remain. Nobody has done this.

        I haven’t had a lot of time to spend reading the paper yet due to getting it recently (and eating dinner), and I’m not prepared to pass judgment on it (I may never be). However, I have begun reading the Skeptical Science article and follow along with the paper (as Chris Colose recommends in the article). While I have my issues with both the author and the site, I am prepared to give the article a fair shake. I am even willing to overlook Chris Colose’s unsavory and snide comments (though they naturally make me suspicious). All I am interested in is what Postma’s paper said, and what Chris Colose says was wrong with it.

        The first error Chris Colose points out is found about 500 words in. It’s a simple error that changes nothing. The second error is pointed out shortly after in the same paragraph, but no significance is attached to it. The next six hundred words or so are used to say how things are done, but no flaw of Postma’s work is mentioned. He then spends a few hundred words explaining why Postma’s example of Venus is wrong.

        I’ve read 1,800 words of a 2,600 word article, and the only thing it has said which had any significance is one example Postma used is wrong. That’s it. There are still 800 or so words left, and then I’ll read Postma’s paper in its entirety. After that, I’ll probably try to read all the comments here again. However, since the first two thirds of the major rebuttal proffered are basically meaningless, I have little confidence Postma’s paper has actually been rebutted.

      • Well thanks for reading it, Brandon. Just read it openly and honestly…try to find the message. Hopefully don’t be jaded going in. :-)

      • Postma’s entire geometrical reasoning is flawed, which I spend half my SkS piece trying to provide clarity on. And while that is the only thing he cares to defend on this blog, he made a lot of other claims (lapse rate, Venus model breakdown, etc) that were all wrong too. Give it an even fairer read…

      • The geometry of the boundary conditions is my central concern right now and the thesis of my paper. It is actually very easy to understand the difference between the reality, as I have presented it, and the fictional conditions related to diurnal averaging. The dayside is real…the sunshine is hot. That can’t be flawed…except by misapplication of mathematics.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Chris Colose, your response is non-responsive, as I’ve come to expect from you. I’ve had little interest in any discussion with you since during an exchange on your blog, you deleted one of my comments then flat-out misrepresented what I said in order to belittle me. As such, I’m not going to discuss your article in any detail with you.

        However, you say you spend half of your “piece trying to provide clarity on” an issue, and I want to address that point. Providing clarity about a point does not rebut a contrary point. Explaining one position does not inherently dispute a different position. As such, your response to me in no way contradicts what I said.

        Now then, I stopped right before the Lapse Rate section of the piece so I could catch up in Postma’s paper. I’ll post any further impressions I get once I’ve read more.

      • I don’t remember my moderation, but I am very very good with letting things through, so if I deleted it then there was a very good reason for it.

        Also, my philosophy is if you learn something right, you can spot the 1000 different flavors of wrong that pop up all over the internet. I’m sure you can piece together from the article why S/4 is correct. Plus it has been discussed a lot in these comments.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Obviously you and I disagree on your moderation policy seeing as I am flat-out calling what you did dishonest. However, the issue is irrelevant to this thread other than to explain why I don’t care to engage with you, so it’s fine to leave things as a disagreement.

        Regardless, nothing you’ve said contradicts my point, and that’s all that matters. Regardless of the accuracy (or lack thereof) of your piece and Postma’s paper, your piece is not a refutation of his work. This doesn’t make your piece valueless, and it doesn’t make Postma’s paper right, but it does mean Postma’s paper is not refuted by your piece.

        That means if there is a true refutation, it can only be found by digging through the 800+ posts on this page for it, by finding some other page nobody here has mentioned, or by coming up with it on my own. Honestly, I’d expect better.

  60. Joseph E Postma | August 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    The system isn’t limited to spectral absorption and emission. Continuous emission exists independent of spectral effects…in fact it comes first. I’ve got a photospheric text book right in front of me.

    Perhaps you should put it away because it’s severely misleading you concerning the atmosphere!

  61. On the main post, I’ve added a link to some text from my thermodynamics text on solar insolation https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/thermo-txt1.pdf

    Of particular relevance, look at the figure, which gives the values of insolation at the top of the atmosphere for different latitudes, integrated over the diurnal cycle and month. Joel, do you question the numbers in this figure?

    Doing a rough eyeball estimate, with the area between 30N and 30S comprising half of the average, the global average looks alot closer to 1370/4 than 1370/2, if that is what is being argued about.

    • I agree that the values in the figure are divided by 4, rather than by 2. Although I am surprised to find the 400 W/m2 line so I wonder how the numbers were actually created.

      Assuming they are P/4 numbers, this mathematically abstract model therefore doesn’t actually correspond to the actual physics or radiative envelope.

      • Joseph, the figures are not albedo adjusted as they are TOA.

      • The numbers were created according to the equations in the text. S cos Z, basically, integrated over the diurnal cycle. Doesn’t get more basic or simple than that. So exactly what physics or radiative envelope does this not correspond to. Have you ever done the S cos Z calculations?

      • Right, I saw all that: it is diluting the power flux by a factor of 4, as you said, over the diurnal cycle. This is what is incorrect. The power can not be diluted like that into a system with non-linear responses and have it mean anything…there’s no linear equality.

      • Judith, by integrating over day and night i.e. 24 hour periods, the peak insolation near Zenith is obscured. I think Joseph is trying to get at the fact that water’s non-linear response to energy input means this fails to capture important processes in the climate system which will affect the calculation of temperature without GHE. Warm water creates its own microclimate which retains more heat. I think Joseph has a valid point. What say you?

      • Right, so, factor in the albedo, multiply all of the iso-contours by a factor of 2, and call it a constant day-time insolation, rather than a diurnal average.

      • Tallbloke, I’m not buying postma’s argument at all. The climate models do the full integration, and generally agree with simple traditional energy balance model.

        IMO I’ve provided two showstopper arguments: the insolation figure, and the surface temperature of mars and mercury. In spite of these showstoppers, Postma’s show goes on and on, he’s not convincing anyone that understands this stuff.

      • The insolation figure isn’t the actual measured values! If those values did come from measurements, those measurements were divided by a factor of four. If they came from theory, they were divided by a factor of four. A Watt is a Joule per SECOND. That Joule in that second only interacts with one side of the Earth, and this is the only thing the S-B Law applies to. So “showing a figure” doesn’t show-stop anything. It is the central thesis of my correction.

      • No, they were calculated using S cos Z. nothing to do with stephan boltzmann law. Do you understand basic earth-sun geometry and the solar zenith angle? it seems not. the figure has NOTHING to do with the SB law.

      • S cosZ applied over the entire globe is a diurnal average, as specified clearly in that document which was linked. Power doesn’t impinge where it doesn’t impinge, and the system in non-linear. Therefore actual values are required, not diluted diurnal averages.
        A Watt is a Joule per second.
        A diurnal average means average over day + night.

      • Nope to your first two lines

      • Well whatever it was that was done in that figure…the values are wrong. As a diurnal average, sure they’re likely correct. But the diurnal average doesn’t have any physical meaning when compared to the actual day-side input, continuously occurring.

      • It is an integration over the diurnal cycle. which if you divide by the number of hours, you get a diurnal average. It is of relevance to how much solar energy enters the earth atmosphere system, which is what we are talking about. The issue of what happens at one location at a particular time, is a different issue. Climate models and wether prediction models integrate over the diurnal cycle, with insolation at the top of the atmosphere for a give time and place calculated from S cos Z.

      • Right, so, if they’re using diurnal averages, they’re not going to get good physics. Because a diurnal average doesn’t have the correct power density…and the system responds non-linearly to that. They may be able to fit such model to the climate data, sure, but that just means the model fitted the data, not that its actually correct.

      • The figure uses the equation

        S/pi *[cos φ cos δ sin h + h(sin φ) sin δ]

        which is the daily mean solar radiation incident on each square meter of the planet (i.e., the integrated solar flux per unit surface area between sunrise and sunset divided by 24 hours). φ is latitude; δ is the subsolar latitude (characterized by the obliquity); h is a measure of the longitude relative to the longitude at which local noon occurs (i.e., the hour angle), in this case related to sunrise and sunset (when the zenith angle is 90 degrees).

      • Chris writes “i.e., the integrated solar flux per unit surface area between sunrise and sunset divided by 24 hours”

        Here is your error : there are not 24 hours between sunrise and sunset.

      • Precisely…daily mean…which is why it doesn’t mean anything. It’s the instantaneous power which physically impinges and acts upon the system..not the diluted average. The system is nonlinear in its response and so an abstract dilution of the power won’t mean anything in regards to the physics which is produced from the instantaneous power, which is much higher energy density.

      • It’s not an error, but I’ll give you a hint as to why it’s not. Compare values on the graph at the equator and at the Poles, then tell me why the Poles are higher…

      • In terms of math, not an error in an abstract sense. In terms of physics…meaningless. As such, I don’t care to discuss its dissection…it is meaningless a-priori.

      • Chris, so we can go on record that you think that sunrise to sunset is 24 hrs? I will admit you are right if you live at Lagrange point L1

        Anyhow, check this out, day length as a function of day of year and latitude, very similar to that other figure:

      • Kermit- I didn´t say sunrise and sunset are 24 hours. I said the calculation is not an error. You can debate the usefulness of the calculation, but you´re free to do an integral between sundown and sunrise and add zero to the answer.

      • It’s not generally true that the instantaneous flux is all that matters. Granted, it’s also not generally true that the averaged daily solar flux matter much for anything either.

      • In a system with non-linear responses and hysteresis relative to that response, dependent specifically upon the instantaneous flux, it is a general matter of concern. For any abstract system in general…there would be a different set of generalities.

      • You’re just making stuff up now, and throwing terms around like “hysteresis” and “non-linear” without any concept of what it means or how it can be usefully applied mathematically. You have no clue what you are talking about because you haven’t read a single atmospheric science text in your life. When you are willing to read some of Judith’s papers, or the Pierrehumbert article, or a textbook and comment intelligently than this will be better worth mine and everyone else’s time.

        And you have the time; you’ve been here almost non-stop for 2 days now, so I don’t need the “you are too busy” or have “better things to do” sound byte. You had enough time to pull together a whole essay of nonsense.

      • Yah that’s right…non-linear and hysteresis don’t mean anything. Matter phase transitions and thermal capacity don’t exist. Ad homs do though.

      • Chris,
        If the averaged daily flux does not matter much, why is it and the averaged energy from it used so often?

      • Judith, I think Joseph overstretched the thesis to fit the dragonslayer paradigm, and unfortunately, the baby is getting thrown out with what the GHE enthusiasts see as the bathwater. Put aside the GHE argument and assess what Joseph is saying about the no-GHE temperature and the non-linearity of the response of oceans to high insolation. If he is right about that, then even if he is wrong about the non-existence of the GHE, it may be smaller than previously estimated, because water which reaches higher daytime temperatures will create a microclimate which survives sundown. Nighttime clouds trap heat, regardless of the back radiation argument.

        Mars and mercury don’t have oceans…

      • I have studied extensively the surface energy balance of tropical oceans under high insolation, with extensive measurements undertaken during the TOGA COARE experiment. I wrote several papers on the diutnal cycle, one major Ph.D. thesis was written. I have not seen any kind of a coherent and sensible argument from postma on this subject.

        some references to my papers and that of my former Ph.D. student Carol Anne Clayson:

        Clayson, C.A. and J.A. Curry, 1996: Determination of surface turbulent fluxes for TOGA COARE: Comparison of satellite retrievals and in situ measurements. J. Geophys. Res., 101, 28,503-28,513. (pdf)

        Webster, P. J., C. A. Clayson and J. A. Curry, 1996: Clouds, radiation and the diurnal cycle of sea surface temperature in the tropical western Pacific Ocean. J. Clim., 9, 1712-1730. (pdf)

        Curry, J. A., C. A. Clayson, W. B. Rossow, R. Reeder, Y.C. Zhang, P. J. Webster, G. Liu, and R. S. Sheu, 1999: High-resolution satellite-derived dataset of the surface fluxes of heat, freshwater and momentum for the TOGA COARE IOP. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 80, 2059-2080. pdf

        if you are further interested, go to google scholar “Carol Anne Clayson”

        see especially this paper
        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0442%282002%29015%3C1805%3ASOACSC%3E2.0.CO%3B2

      • I respect your expertise. Maybe I’m running ahead of what Joseph is saying with my own thoughts and projecting back to his paper things which aren’t there. I’ll take a read of yours too, thanks for the cites.

      • And in those papers on the diurnal cycle, you never realized the power input only occurred over the day-time?

      • Read the papers, then ask me questions about them.

      • Judith

        I am reading through the various papers you reference at 7.48pm.

        Can we agree on some terminology? With Satellite temperatures you are presumably referring to the first few microns of the surface, which can be cooler than the next layers due to evaporation.

        You then mention SST readings taken at 5cm. In this respect the Met office are interested in readings taken at 30cm. As you know historic measurements could have been taken at any depth the bucket ended up with, and is hugely confused by how quickly a thermometer was then stuck in the bucket. Other measurements-ships intake etc were also taken at different heights.

        I would observe from actual physical readings that the temperature at the very surface is different to that at 5cm, 30 cm and 1metre.

        Consequently is your paper, those from other academics, and ‘official’ data from such as the Met office actually comparing like for like or is it all adjusted and homogenised in order to end up with a consistent figure which doesn’t actually reflect real world figures?
        tonyb

      • actually satellites measure the skin, right at the surface, however they are then adjusted to look like a bulk SST temperature measured at 0.3 m depth. The measurements referred to in this paper are at 5 cm. In the papers, we used a skin SST and high resolution ocean mixed layer model to sort all this out. A theme of our work has been to determine the actual skin SST and its diurnal variation; this is what the atmosphere “feels”, whereas oceanographers prefer the bulk SST since it better reflects upper ocean heat content.

      • Thanks Judith. From the abstract of the Clayson paper (I did look through the rest!)
        “The extent to which a daily averaged
        sea surface temperature changes the resulting atmospheric profiles depends on whether the diurnal variability
        was strong; under low-wind conditions the differences are the most dramatic.”

        I note in fig 7 some particularly big differences between modeled and observed SST’s around the 6th-14th Jan (perihelion), when upwelling longwave is high. Isolation is lower and cloud increases.

        In your opinion, would this be due to non-linearities in the atmospheric response to higher diurnal variation not captured by the models? If so, would you agree that it’s possible that smearing the insolation into a diurnal average and then using the SB equation or models to produce a theoretical non-GHE surface temperature might give an artificially low result?

      • there can be very big differences in tropical oceans under calm wind conditions. This is not such a big deal in high latitudes.

      • Thanks Judith, is that because it’s less often calm, and/or because the diurnal insolation range is less? The insolation varies more seasonally away from the equator, the additional energy stored at depth in the ocean in summer and released at a higher rate when the temperature differential between air and water is higher in winter is going to play a big role in maintaining a liquid ocean too.

        The more I think about it the more I think the use of the S-B equation to derive a theoretical non-GHE average surface temperature 33C colder is a fictional nonsense. Do you still think it gives an approximately correct answer? If so, How approximate, roughly?

      • “If he is right about that, then even if he is wrong about the non-existence of the GHE, it may be smaller than previously estimated, because water which reaches higher daytime temperatures will create a microclimate which survives sundown.”

        Surely this has already been tested decades ago. Or more recently by GCMs at the very least. They simulate to something like 30 minute resolution don’t they? Such unquantified conjecture should be humbly positioned as undergraduate level questioning rather than touted as cutting-edge challenges to the field.

      • lolwot… Sorry, but the GHE, as it is explained by AGW proponents, is not real; I mean, it doesn’t exist.

      • Like you Wolnot, I don’t know what goes on in the tuned models, but that is irrelevant, because the models are not used to calculate the theoretical non-GHE surface temperature. According to Joseph, a mis-application of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation is used for that.

      • Dr. Curry,
        Averaging day and night yields dusk or dawn. Please explain why anyone would prefer equations over the reality? Frankly this raises more questions regarding the credibility of the models than I thought existed.
        I would like an explanation, preferably from someone who will do a bit better than the Colose method of communication.

      • I am talking about INTEGRATING over time, not averaging. Once you integrate over time, if you want you can divide by time to get an average. And the reality is what exactly? Satellite observations of of the solar flux, which require models to actually give you a flux from the direct measurement of the instrument?

      • Judith,

        Your patience is admirable, but some ‘denizens’ are just a big black hole for time and energy.

      • well hopefully everyone is learning something :)

      • The linked document discusses diurnal averaging..integrating, call it whatever you want. If the solar flux gets reduced by a factor of 4 from its actual value, then it is incorrect. And that is what you referenced does.

      • Dr. Curry,
        A quick check with the blog’s search engine for ‘integrating’ shows its use in three threads, including this one you just made.
        I have attemtpted to clarify my question further in three posts below.
        Additinoally, my post regarding insulation, which included lab tests of how insulation works in the field, are part of this line of question.
        I apologize if I am being frustrating by reliance on the terms like “average” when they appear to be the most frequent way the concept of energy is ussed in climate.
        If, for cliamte energy purposes, the atmosphere does not largely behave as an insulation blanket, I would like to understand why.

      • “Please explain why anyone would prefer equations over the reality? Frankly this raises more questions regarding the credibility of the models than I thought existed.”

        Oh wow the condescending tone says it all.

        Imagine a student approaching a professor after a lecture with that attitude. And at least they would be paying for tuition!

        And some people wonder why Colose et al are often blunt and terse in these discussions…

      • Colose is blunt and terse because he can, and it saves him from thinking. He can simply go into his put out TA mode, and treat us like he undoubtedly treats the students he is inflicted on.
        As to my questions, I would do a word search to read how often ‘integrating over time’ was used instead of ‘average’.
        My question still stands, how are the metrics tossed about here meaningful?
        The answers offered are not persuasive.

    • “integrated over the diurnal cycle” – so is that 24 hrs (on average – 12hrs of day and 12hrs of night)? Wouldn’t that explain the difference? Postma would exclude night.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insolation – says this is used in spacecraft design maybe someone could ask a spacecraft engineer for the real answer (sorry Eli)!

      • Kermit,
        That is a good link.
        The graph used to show insolation levels underscores the basic question I have: How can the concept of global “average watt per meter” be meaningful?
        Look at the wide range of insolation levels from equator to polar regions. How can ‘average’ be meaningful over that range. Weather is not based on a global average. It is based on local and regional conditions. And climate is weather over time.
        As I pointed out in another thread on this never ending topic, the Earth system is heated from outside its insulating blanket. So the re-radiation of energy by the insulator(atmosphere) is a significant pathway for energy striking Earth to get to the surface.
        But what is the heat content of that blanket? Not very high. How much does CO2 add to that heat content?
        Even here, the figures offered (on the dubious basis of global average) is in the single watt numbers. But in a system that is budgeted for hundreds on that same dubious basis.
        I thought a good way to kill off the dragon slayers was to properly rename the GHE as the Tyndall gas effect. That seems to be rejected for now. That is too bad.
        But I do believe that treating the Earth as if it is an evenly reaction vessel, which using terms like ‘global average of temperature or watts does, when the facts clearly show otherwise, is a mistake in this, and one that probably leads to bad science, not just confusing talk.

      • Right, Hunter, we could say that nature abhors extreme temperature differences…the response is the opposite of linear. Nature attacks large differences, not easy averages.

      • Ken,
        From my perspective, once the sun goes down the atmosphere is not heating the Earth, it is moderating the cooling. That may be a picayune difference, but I suspect it is not.
        During the day, the atmosphere is being ‘recharged’ as it re-radiates the insolation. At night, every watt of energy the atmosphere radiates out from its latent heat is a net loss of energy. Think of what happens at night in a clear dry sky or in the long nights within the polar circles. It gets quite cold.
        Potsma, I am certain, is significantly wrong. But that does not mean that the consensus is right.

      • All I’m trying to say (ineptly) is:if you have an average temperature of…pick a number…300K, then mother nature acts quite differently if Point A is 300K and point B is 300K compared to if point A is 360K and point B is 240K. So, I urge caution when using averages to describe physical processes.

      • Ken,
        We are in agreement on your point.

      • andrew adams

        hunter,

        I don’t pretend to have any specialised knowlege of this subject but insolation refers to incoming solar radiation whereas the GHE relates to the re-radiation of IR radiation emitted by the earth’s surface. The “insulating blanket” doesn’t play much part in incoming solar radiation reaching the surface and I think I’m right in saying that the amount of IR radiation emitted over the earth’s surface is more evenly distributed (and certainly less variable) than the level of insolation.

        As to how meaningful the global “average watts per meter” is, well I’ll leave that to someone better qualified than me to explain, but given that it is known with some precision how much insolation varies over the earth’s surface I would expect that scientists know enough to be confident that their use of such a concept is justified. I certainly find that more likely than the possibility that you have stumbled across a flaw in the mainstream science that scientists were previously unaware of (or were covering up). Or that Chris Colose does not know how many hours there are in a day.

      • aa,
        I am not kidding myself that I have found the chink in the armor to destroy the consensus or some wonderful physical insight.
        I am simply asking some questions.
        If you look at the insolation graph in the link above, it is clear that a lot of insolatoin at the top is lost. But I would also point out that according to Dr. Curry’s link regarding the tropics, the tropics are the tropics for a reason, and the energy hitting the tropics is not reflecting or being radiated into the non-tropical regions.
        I am not the first person to question the concept of global averages, but I do think the question has not been well answered.
        As to the reliance on the experts, history is littered with unjustified reliance.
        As for Chris, I am certain he knows the hours in the day, but I am also certain he could share that knowledge rudely and evasively if given half a chance.

      • andrew adams

        hunter,

        Fine, there’s nothing wrong with asking questions but a little humility wouldn’t go amiss – if something seems not quite right to me when trying to understand a complex topic my first assumption is that my understanding is at fault. Not that it was an unreasonable question – I think M answered it here.

        Regarding experts, sometimes we just have to accept that other know more about certain stuff than we do an respect their knowlege and experience. AFAICT this is all pretty basic textbook stuff for those who have studied atmospheric physics.
        And Chris (along with certain others) has done a sterling job IMHO of trying to explain exactly why Postma and the “dragons” are wrong.

      • “Kermit,
        That is a good link.
        The graph used to show insolation levels underscores the basic question I have: How can the concept of global “average watt per meter” be meaningful?”

        Good question.
        It could be somewhat meaningful in terms of collecting solar energy from solar panels.
        One could also derive some information of measuring the earth surface from Space.
        But it doesn’t tell you how much energy is being radiated.

  62. There is now a new post on reanalyses, which are an important element of current climate data interpretation. This promises to be a more useful topic than the current thread, which has been useful to most of us mainly in motivating us to review our own understanding of the physics of the greenhouse effect. In that sense, some of us have learned from each other, even if not from the paper that motivated the post. The discussions do not appear to have convinced Joseph Postma to abandon his claims about the non-existence of the GHE despite what I perceive to have been decisive refutation of those claims – a conclusion I expect many knowledgeable readers here will share if they carefully read his paper and then examine the discussion here as it applies to the paper itself. Chris Colose has been particularly thorough, both here and on SKS, in point by point responses to the various fallacies in the paper. In any case Joseph Postma is not really engaged in conflict with any of us but with nature, and in those conflicts, the winner is usually predictable.

    I’m hopeful that the reanalysis thread will be more informative than this one has been.

    • Dis-interested bystanders have come to a remarkably different conclusion Fred. Conflict with reality is encountered when thinking that the sunshine isn’t warm…because math tells you so.

    • Again, Fred… Look at this picture from NASA:

      Now tell me, what’s that greenish glaze above clouds? What is causing the atmosphere glazes? And, what’s the apparent height of the glaze?

      Why you evade to answer those “amateur” questions?

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Fred Moolten, you say:

      The discussions do not appear to have convinced Joseph Postma to abandon his claims about the non-existence of the GHE despite what I perceive to have been decisive refutation of those claims – a conclusion I expect many knowledgeable readers here will share if they carefully read his paper and then examine the discussion here as it applies to the paper itself.

      As it happens, I can’t look at Postma’s paper as the web site tells me a bandwidth cap has been reached whenever I try to download it. This means I couldn’t possibly hope to come to a conclusion based upon my own examinations. All I have to go on is this page and Chris Colose’s comments at Skeptical Science. As I mentioned just above, neither offers a good refutation.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Thanks, that worked. Now I can at least read the paper (understanding it may be a different matter).

      • Well from what I hear, I wax on about too much stuff that I didn’t need to. Perhaps I accidentally don’t make my point clear enough, in my attempt to make it as clear as I could!
        But there’s some fun philosophical discussion that can be pulled out of it…that much is certain! I tried to have fun with it.

      • One of the lessons I have learned from years of writing is that the difference between a good paper and a great paper is the parts you take out. Just take this as a writing lesson and keep up the good work.

      • One of the lessons I have learned from years of writing is that the difference between a good paper and a great paper is the parts you take out.

        I’d say that is also the fundamental difference between a bad piece of writing and a good or great piece of writing – even down to the sentence and paragraph level let alone at the level of a paper overall.

      • I certainly agree there.

  63. Joseph,

    Just wondering if you’d come up with an answer to the “cooling gas” paradox we discussed earlier?

    https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/16/postma-on-the-greenhouse-effect/#comment-100369

    I would say you have to have this one resolved, in your own mind at least, before you can start correcting conventional science’s explanation of the GHE.

    • That’s a very nice shifting of the goal posts.
      The sunshine is hot, it is enough to create a liquid water planet without a GHE.
      I won’t spring your trap of some physically unrealistic sophistic scenario which violates the rule of entropy increase and thermal radiation.

    • tempterrain is this an explanation/

      To propose a totally non radiating gas you need to leave physics behind.
      Gas molecules collide and in the process decelerate.
      The electrons in each molecule will experiance a distortion in their electric field.
      Bremsstrahlung is electromagnetic radiation produced by the deceleration of a charged particle when deflected by another charged particle, typically an electron.
      The energy of the photon will be very weak in the microwave region.
      Weak but it still exists.
      CO2and H2O radiate several orders of magnitude higher than this.
      For practical purposes microwave radiation is often ignored.

      • Bryan,
        You ask tempterrain is this an explanation ?
        I’d say not.

        Joseph,
        There is no trap. When faced with a paradox , its well worth thinking of an explanation. It will result in a better understanding of the problem.

      • tempterrain you say
        “Bryan,
        You ask tempterrain is this an explanation ?
        I’d say not.
        Yet no reason given when I show you that by the Laws of Electromagnetism you cannot have a gas that emits absolutely no radiation
        Next you badger Postma to solve a non existent paradox for you.
        “Joseph,
        There is no trap. When faced with a paradox , its well worth thinking of an explanation. It will result in a better understanding of the problem.”

        If non radiating gases cannot exist how can they help with a better understanding of anything?

  64. Fred… You say:

    “The discussions do not appear to have convinced Joseph Postma to abandon his claims about the non-existence of the GHE despite what I perceive to have been decisive refutation of those claims – a conclusion I expect many knowledgeable readers here will share if they carefully read his paper and then examine the discussion here as it applies to the paper itself.”

    I have not seen any refutation to Postma’s work in any of your arguments. How you could expect an honest scientist, based on real observations, abandon real science to adopt AGW pseudoscience?

  65. Absorbed sunlight = 122 petawatts
    Infrared emission into space = 122 petawatts

    If the infrared emission came from the surface, how could the surface be on average 15C? It couldn’t. A sphere radiating 122 petawatts must be on average a lot cooler than 15C.

  66. @Tempterrain… You say:

    The gas isn’t hot to start with. Its at the same temperature as its surroundings. According to your model it will cool as it is totally transparent to IR radiation but it still radiates IR because it is at a finite temperature.

    You’re wrong. Gases are not yo-yos… Additionaly, you have not undertood Postma’s observations of real world.

    You say:

    Its just so obvious that this won’t happen and your thinking is flawed.

    Your interpretation of Postma’s work is flawed. Quite obvious.

    You say:

    Science is isn’t about defending an erroneous position, come what may. Learn to deal with it , learn from it and move on.”

    Science is about observations of real world, not the results of AGW tortured mathematics. AGW says a gas emits more energy than the Sun, but the reality is that such gas (CO2) in the atmosphere doesn’t emit plasma; it is not a primary source of energy. AGW with its “longwave trapped” and “backradiation warming a warmer surface” is a myth.

    • And yet back-radiation is a directly observed and measured fact of nature.

      Observations show that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere emit more energy towards the surface than incoming sunlight. AGW follows from those observations.

      • Actually, observations form weather stations show that the insolation can easily be upwards or more of 1000 W/m2. And it is from the Sun. That far exceeds any back-radiation that’s ever been proposed.

      • That’s in a specific place. I am talking about the whole Earth. Globally greenhouse gases emit more energy towards the surface than incoming sunlight.

        Incoming sunlight is something like 85 petawatts. Incoming backradiation is closer to 170 petawatts.

      • Really? someone should tell the solar power industry.

      • I assure you they already know.
        See here: http://www.oocities.org/marie.mitchell@rogers.com/climate_files/DownwellingLongwaveRadiation_GlobalSurface.png

        Vast amounts of the Earth’s surface are receiving in excess of 300wm-2. Add all those areas up, the result will come out greater than the 85 petawatts of insolation.

        Or even just compare the backradation map with a map of insolation to see which one provides more energy:

      • I assure you they already know. Check a map of backradiation and compare it with a map of insolation. You can visually see backradiation provides more energy than insolation.

      • That’s a cartoon.

        Check a map of backradiation and a map of insolation instead. Educate yourself.

      • You are missing the point. Back radiation doesn’t ‘give energy’. it’s merely recirculating downwards what is being ‘given’ upwards. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. We get energy created by the Sun,

      • Ladies and gentleman!!! Here we have a superblackbody that emits more energy than it receives!!! Anchoring, the fabulous lowot, who making use of his magical faculties has created energy up from nothingness!

      • Take a gander at an energy budget diagram. You’ll note no energy is being created nor destroyed.

        Here’s a global map of insolation:

        Here are some graphs of site measurements of backradiation:

        Backradiation wins

      • I do prefer to see what happens in the real world, not in flawed diagrams.

        Here the measurement for solar irradiance alone on the floor in Monterrey, Mexico. Instantaneous measurement from a pyrgeometer adjusted to detect only solar radiation: 531 W. Point.

      • And if you do it at night? How much sunlight is being absorbed then vs the hundreds of watts of backradiation?

        Do you not understand how over a 24 hour period the surface will absorb more infrared from the sky than visible light from the Sun?

      • Well, given that you’re handling fallacious arguments, I will use another fallacious argument. I will run at the speed of the rotation of the Earth so my pyrgeometer is always at the same angle and gives me the same readings.

      • Put sensors all over the Earth, cover it fully. How much energy does the Earth’s surface – all of the surface – absorb in total in 24 hours from a) sunlight and b) backradiation.

        See your placing of sensors at a single point at a single time, or even running round the earth measuring a single point at a time, does not provide the totals of a) and b) above for the entire Earth’s surface.

        For it is that which I am saying backradiation provides more energy than sunlight.

      • reminiscent of Feynman’s “What is Science?” speech:



        In order to talk to each other, we have to have words, and that’s all right. It’s a good idea to try to see the difference, and it’s a good idea to know when we are teaching the tools of science, such as words, and when we are teaching science itself.

        To make my point still clearer, I shall pick out a certain science book to criticize unfavorably, which is unfair, because I am sure that with little ingenuity, I can find equally unfavorable things to say about others. There is a first grade science book which, in the first lesson of the first grade, begins in an unfortunate manner to teach science, because it starts off an the wrong idea of what science is. There is a picture of a dog–a windable toy dog–and a hand comes to the winder, and then the dog is able to move. Under the last picture, it says “What makes it move?” Later on, there is a picture of a real dog and the question, “What makes it move?” Then there is a picture of a motorbike and the question, “What makes it move?” and so on.

        I thought at first they were getting ready to tell what science was going to be about–physics, biology, chemistry–but that wasn’t it. The answer was in the teacher’s edition of the book: the answer I was trying to learn is that “energy makes it move.”

        Now, energy is a very subtle concept. It is very, very difficult to get right. What I meant is that it is not easy to understand energy well enough to use it right, so that you can deduce something correctly using the energy idea–it is beyond the first grade. It would be equally well to say that “God makes it move,” or “spirit makes it move,” or “movability makes it move.” (In fact, one could equally well say “energy makes it stop.”)

        Look at it this way: that’s only the definition of energy; it should be reversed. We might say when something can move that it has energy in it, but not what makes it move is energy. This is a very subtle difference. It’s the same with this inertia proposition.

        Perhaps I can make the difference a little clearer this way: If you ask a child what makes the toy dog move, you should think about what an ordinary human being would answer. The answer is that you wound up the spring; it tries to unwind and pushes the gear around.

        What a good way to begin a science course! Take apart the toy; see how it works. See the cleverness of the gears; see the ratchets. Learn something about the toy, the way the toy is put together, the ingenuity of people devising the ratchets and other things. That’s good. The question is fine. The answer is a little unfortunate, because what they were trying to do is teach a definition of what is energy. But nothing whatever is learned.

        Suppose a student would say, “I don’t think energy makes it move.” Where does the discussion go from there?

        I finally figured out a way to test whether you have taught an idea or you have only taught a definition.

        Test it this way: you say, “Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own languag