The “enhanced” greenhouse effect that wasn’t

Update (March 24th) at the end of this post – a kind of a response from Feldman.



There was much ado recently about a new paper published in ‘Nature’ (“Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010″ by Feldman et al.) claiming to have observed a strengthening in CO2-specific “surface radiative forcing” at two sites in North America going from 2000 to the end of 2010 (a period of 11 years) of about 0.2 W/m2 per decade, and through this observation further claiming how they have shown empirically (allegedly for the first time outside the laboratory) how the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration directly and positively affects the surface energy balance, by adding more and more energy to it as “back radiation” (“downwelling longwave (infrared) radiation” (DWLWIR)), thus – by implication – leading to surface warming.

In other words, Feldman et al. claim to have obtained direct empirical evidence – from the field – of a strengthening of the “greenhouse effect”, a result, it would seem, lending considerable support to the hypothesis that our industrial emissions of CO2 and other similar gaseous substances to the atmosphere has enhanced, and is indeed enhancing still, the Earth’s atmospheric rGHE, thus causing a warming global surface – the AGW proposition.

From the abstract:

(…) we present observationally based evidence of clear-sky CO2 surface radiative forcing that is directly attributable to the increase, between 2000 and 2010, of 22 parts per million atmospheric CO2.”

And,

“These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels (…) are affecting the surface energy balance.”

So the question is: Do these results really “confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions”?

Of course they don’t. As usual, the warmists refuse to look at the whole picture, insisting rather on staying inside the tightly confined space of their own little bubble model world.


Let us first see what they mean by “surface radiative forcing”. From the paper:

“Surface forcing represents a complementary, underutilized resource with which to quantify the effects of rising CO2 concentrations on downwelling longwave radiation. This quantity is distinct from stratosphere-adjusted radiative forcing at the tropopause, but both are fundamental measures of energy imbalance caused by well-mixed greenhouse gases. The former is less than, but proportional to, the latter owing to tropospheric adjustments of sensible and latent heat, and is a useful metric for localized aspects of climate response.”

There are definite problems with some of the things stated in this paragraph, especially how they assume a direct proportional connection between the energy balance at the ToA and at the surface.

But we’ll put this aside for now. Let’s rather see where the above definition actually ends up taking us. “Surface radiative forcing”, according to Feldman et al., is all about quantifying “the effects of rising CO2 concentrations on downwelling longwave radiation” (DWLWIR).

The two sites used in their study are 1) at the North Slope of Alaska (NSA), close to Barrow, and 2) on the Southern Great Plains in Oklahoma (SGP), in Lamont, about 30 km NE of Enid.

Here are their results:

Nature, Fig. 4

Figure 1. This is a cropped version of Figure 4 from the paper, stating: “Time-series of surface forcing. a, Time series of observed spectrally integrated (520-1,800 cm-1)     CO2 surface radiative forcing at SGP (in red) with overlaid CT2011 estimate of CO2 concentration from the surface to an altitude of 2 km (grey), and a least-squares trend of the forcing and its uncertainty (blue). (…) c, As for a but for the NSA site.”

Looks like a strong case. Especially the NSA fit is impressive (the SGP forcing appears to be sagging a bit after 2007, doesn’t it?).

This blog post, however, is here to provide some much needed context to these findings. Context that Feldman et al. really should have explored themselves, but of couse wouldn’t. Because the context basically renders their study irrelevant (as simply an artefact of an extreme “cherry-picking” exercise) and their grand conclusion at best somewhat rash, at worst a prime example of pseudoscience.


These are the (visually suggestive) plots that the ‘Climate Establishment’ prefers for people to see, in order for them to silently draw their own inevitable conclusions about what really causes ‘global warming’ and what doesn’t:

trendFigure 2. Global temperatures between 2000 and spring 2014 according to GISS (central red curve) versus atmospheric CO2 concentration (upper blue curve) and sunspots as a proxy for solar activity (lower light cyan curve).

Got to be CO2, right? Most likely somewhat augmented by an accompanying positive feedback from H2O (not depicted here). If anything, natural factors like the Sun (as one can well observe) and maybe volcanic aerosols plus internal decadal variability like ENSO (not represented), has pulled the opposite way, making the rise in global temperatures evidently less than the increased “radiative forcing” from the clearly enhanced “rGHE” as a consequence of our evil industrial emissions alone would have it.

This is their carefully chosen narrative. This is the story they wish to convey to the world. This is the visual impression they want to leave in people’s minds. Repeat, repeat and repeat yet again. So that we don’t forget. Never forget. Never question. This is what they want us to believe, firmly, with all our hearts.

And Feldman et al. seem only too eager to bolster this narrative. Their study might just be seen as a work aspiring to become some kind of capstone to this meticulously assembled AGW structure, one final ‘piece of the puzzle’ to complete the storyline.

Too bad, then, that it’s ultimately void of real, objective science …


The basic premise behind the idea of the “enhanced greenhouse effect” as a cause of ‘global warming’ is that the more IR-active (IR absorbing and emitting) substances are released into the atmosphere, the more intense the DWLWIR (the “atmospheric back radiation”) to the surface will be. This effect is meant to be directly proportional, only inversely so, to the corresponding parallel effect of a less intense radiative flux from Earth to space. They both represent increased “radiative forcing”, only the former at the surface, the latter at the ToA. The increased “back radiation” will, by adding energy to the surface (!!), reduce its ‘radiative heat loss’, meaning, its ability to cool by radiation. Which will lead to piling up of energy and thus … warming.

This is what should happen as we keep spewing our evil industrial emissions out into the atmosphere … according to theory.

But what about reality?

Reality very much appears to tell a different story:

  • From March 2000 to May 2014, average atmospheric DWLWIR (LW down, “back radiation”) to the global surface of the Earth decreased by about 0.63 W/m2 (-0.44 W/m2 per decade) (Figure 3).
  • During that same time, average insolation (SW down) to the global surface of the Earth increased by 0.51 W/m2  (+0.36 W/m2 per decade) (Figure 4).

LW NED

Figure 3.

SW NED

Figure 4.

This is actually the exact opposite development from what those curves presented in Figure 2 would seem to suggest, that atmospheric “radiative forcing” is increasing while solar “radiative forcing” is decreasing.

It goes without saying, then, that the ‘Climate Establishment’ never presents the plots in Figures 3 and 4 to the general public. Only the ones in Figure 2. First rule of biased (pseudo)science: Presenting ‘observed reality’ over ‘hypothetical reality’ is never a good idea when your goal is to preserve and promote a hypothetical (imaginary) storyline …

But atmospheric CO2 is going up globally, right? So should contribute to an overall rise in the global atmospheric DWLWIR and hence its global “surface radiative forcing”. Right?

True. If the world were in fact that simple …

To see how important (or unimportant) – in the grand scheme of things – this ‘contribution’ from CO2 to the total atmospheric DWLWIR really is, let’s start by having a look at the evolution in total DWLWIR to the surface from 2000 to 2010 at or around the two sites used in Feldman’s study.

For this we will use data from the CERES EBAF-Surface Ed2.8 product (same as in Figures 3 and 4 above). Be advised that this differs substantially from the ToA product in that its radiation data to a much larger extent is simply derived mathematically from observed proxy variables obtained from various other sources and used as input to a standard radiative transfer model. These variables or parameters significantly include atmospheric temperature, humidity and cloud profiles. (This is how NASA decribe the estimation/computation process of CERES surface data.)

The interesting (and quite convenient) thing here, though, is that the CERES team specifically uses ARM facilities and their surface-based instruments, such as the ones at the North Slope and in Oklahoma, to validate its output products, notably through efforts such as CAVE (‘CERES/ARM Validation Experiment’).

There is therefore no immediate reason to doubt the consistency between the findings of DWLWIR from CO2 in Feldman et al. 2015 and the CERES estimates of total DWLWIR at the same sites.

Here’s Feldman’s claimed increase in “surface radiative forcing” from a rise in atmospheric CO2 plotted against the total DWLWIR at the two sites in question:

ARM1

Figure 5. Southern Great Plains, Oklahoma.

ARM2

Figure 6. North Slope, Alaska.

Note how what appears as white, near horizontal lines in the two graphics above actually represent the CO2 ‘contribution’ to the total “radiative forcing”, rising by about 0.2 W/m2 from end to end in each case. Comparing this value to the scale along the y-axis to the right puts it in its proper context. The mean seasonal range in total DWLWIR is ~30 W/m2, two orders of magnitude larger than the total rise in CO2 “forcing” from 2000 to 2010. What’s more, any apparent overall correlation between the trends in total DWLWIR and the CO2 part of it seems to be coincidental at best, and certainly not indicative of any +CO2 ⇨ +DWLWIRtot ’cause and effect’ relationship.

In summary, the whole hypothesis of the “enhanced greenhouse effect” seems very much to be resting on the premise of ‘All Else Being Equal’: If air temperatures and the water cycle (including convective power) didn’t in any way change in response to other physical processes, and if the solar input remained constant, then (and only then) a simple increase in atmospheric CO2 content would potentially be able to force a net energy imbalance on the surface, making energy pile up and thus induce warming.”

In other words, ‘Climate ScienceTM’ assumes that all changes in all other climatic processes on Earth come only as mere ‘feedbacks’ to an initial change in atmospheric CO2 concentration, meaning, they are simply there to either attenuate or amplify the original effect of the induced “radiative forcing” from rising CO2 – if the CO“forcing” increases, then the rest of the climate system can only respond to this increase to make the ultimate increase lesser (neg. feedback) or greater (pos. feedback) in extent. Never override it. Never do ‘other stuff’ independent of the “radiative forcing”. The final result of the originally imposed energy imbalance can thus – in this model world – never end up being zero and definitely not negative. The corollary of this of course being that an increase in atmospheric CO2 must induce surface warming of some magnitude, no matter what happens elsewhere. Because what happens elsewhere is always mere ‘feedbacks’ to what happens here.

Looking at Figures 5 and 6 above makes you quickly realise what an absurd approach to how the real world works this really is.

The three primary variables of 1) air temperature, 2) air water vapour content, and 3) air column cloud distribution, couldn’t care less what CO2 is up to. They all operate on a completely different scale, vary on a completely different level and they thus all fundamentally respond to a completely unrelated set of physical mechanisms. Figure 3 tells us how total atmospheric DWLWIR to the global surface has gone significantly down since 2000, despite the fact that the total atmospheric CO2 content simultaneously went up globally by more than 7.5%.

There is simply no connection …

CO2 is but the fly riding on the back of an elephant, in this case a three-headed one. The fly can always try, but it can never tell the elephant where to go.

Why did global DWLWIR from the atmosphere to the surface decline over the last 14 years (Figure 3), while the global UWLWIR back out from the surface at the same time saw a significant increase (Figure 7)?

LW OPP

Figure 7.

What kind of twisted logic would even try to still explain the former as somehow the cause of the latter in such a situation? The ‘logic’ of the ‘Climate Establishment’ surely would … If it only cared to even have this issue addressed, that is (it’s a total non-issue to the warmist high-priests, firmly swept under the rug, kept safely under lock and key from the public eye).

Both the rise in the blackbody emission (UWLWIR) of the global surface and the parallel decline in global “sky radiance” (DWLWIR) contribute to the quite massive increase in the net surface LW flux since 2000*, the ‘net LW flux’ effectively being the ‘radiative heat loss’ of the global surface. IR-absorbing substances accumulating in the atmosphere (for they clearly are) in other words do a surprisingly poor job at reducing the surface’s ability to cool by radiation, seeing how this ability has rather been robustly strengthened over the last 14 years.

*The increase [growing more negative, it’s heat loss, after all] is -0.25 W/m2 (-0.17 W/m2 per decade) for clear-sky conditions (clouds excluded), -1.52 W/m2  (-1.07 W/m2 per decade) for all-sky conditions (clouds included).

So how will people ever get to see all this and understand its implications? As long as no one’s telling them about these basic, observable facts of the natural world at present?


Most of what one calls atmospheric DWLWIR to the surface is a ‘consequence’ simply of the temperature of the air in the lower part of the troposphere, which in turn is simply a ‘consequence’ of the surface temperature beneath:

CERES_EBAF-Surface_Ed2.8_Surface_Longwave_Flux_Down-All-Sky_April-CLIMATE_YEAR

Figure 8.

To this base block of “sky radiation” comes – almost exclusively over land – variation from differences in water vapour not directly related to surface temperatures; over the ocean, tropospheric water vapour content is extremely closely correlated to the sea surface temperature (with the latter clearly the cause, the former the effect), over land less so, the Sahara-Sahel a good case in point.

Finally, on top of this, comes the cloud radiation, what is normally referred to as LW CRE (‘longwave cloud radiative forcing’). Globally, this contributes no more than ~29 W/m2 to the total atmospheric DWLWIR ‘flux’ (according to CERES), a mere 8.4% of the full 345 W/m2.

But what will become clear is that it’s still the clouds that make all the difference, being by nature much more responsive and prone to variability (through both extent, type and vertical distribution), than both global temps and the accompanying WV content.

When it comes to change, clouds are the main player without a doubt.

Clear-Sky

Figure 9. Global clear-sky DWLWIR, from air temps and WV; anomalies.

CRE

Figure 10. Cloud LW forcing, the global cloud contribution to the total atmospheric DWLWIR; anomalies.

While the air temp+WV “forcing” has stayed remarkably stable (Figure 9), cloud “forcing” makes a major downward swoop over the period (Figure 10) and in effect proves to be responsible for the entire drop in total DWLWIR globally since 2000, comfortably trumping every other effect and, as it appears, working quite independently from all other contributing factors (including CO2).

How does this intriguing change in LW CRE spread spatially across the globe?

Sky N

Figure 11. Cloud LW forcing, a zonal breakdown of the global signal in Figure 10; top: NH (90-20N), middle: tropics (20N-20S), bottom: SH (20-90S).

I will leave these plots for the reader to ponder …



ADDENDUM

Higher up I stated the following: [‘All Else Being Equal’,] a simple increase in atmospheric CO2 content would potentially be able to force a net energy imbalance on the surface, making energy pile up and thus induce warming.”

How come such an imposed energy imbalance from an increase in atmospheric CO2 is only potential? Why isn’t it a given?

Well, empirical tests have shown quite conclusively that even pure (100%) CO2 as opposed to regular dry air (containing just 0.035-0.04% CO2) is not capable of slowing – not even in the slightest – the total heat transfer through the medium by simple absorption of IR within certain spectral bands. Much has to do with the simultaneous IR emission by the gas. Furthermore, heat transfer from a heated surface through a fluid to the ultimate heat sink at the top of it is governed almost exclusively by convection. Whatever stimulates the movement of bulk air between the heating end down low and the cooling end up high, like on Earth, will help boost the cooling ability of the heated surface at the bottom. IR-absorbing gases in the air directly contribute to the warming of the air above the surface by radiative heat transfer. When this air warms, it automatically and instantly expands and floats up, adding to convective uplift and thus the efficient removal of the energy transferred from the surface to the air, making room for new energy to arrive.

Water is a special case in this regard, since it possesses a comparatively high ‘heat capacity’, so will maintain a fairly large thermal inertia (it needs to absorb more IR to warm as much as CO2 for instance, which has a ‘heat capacity’ even slightly lower than N2 and O2). But H2O is still a fierce facilitator of convective uplift and thus of surface cooling (regardless of its radiative properties).

Below are two plots by Willis Eschenbach from observations in the tropical Pacific showing how the relative humidity of the air above the ocean surface is almost perfectly inversely correlated to the temperature of that same air. Knowing how the temperature of the air is a direct, though lagged, response to the temperature of the ocean surface below it, and knowing how the temperature of the ocean surface strongly affects its evaporation rate plus how the temperature of the air strongly affects its capacity to hold evaporated water, this would, on the face of it, seem to be a strange finding indeed. After all, higher temps should give a higher specific humidity (total air WV content) and thus a fairly stable relative humidity (air WV content as related to the air temperature – more WV, but also higher temp, stable rel. humidity).

What these observations show in an elegant manner, however, is that something negates the piling up of WV (and thereby surface energy) in the air (the increase in specific humidity) as temps go up (it likewise negates the depletion of WV in the air (the reduction in specific humidity) as temps go down). Something simply brings the water evaporated up and away from the surface. Convective uplift. The higher the temperature, the more powerful the evaporation rate, the more powerful the resulting convective uplift:

TAO temp vs. rel. humidity

Figure 12. (From Willis Eschenbach, using TAO data.)



To sum up:

The world is not a simple, linear place. It is a complex and highly interconnected place. Focusing solely on radiative heat transfers within the Earth system and then try to draw conclusions about what overall (net) effects these will have on temps is quite simply proof you’ve lost your touch with reality.

If the Earth’s surface warmed from 2000 to 2014, it sure wasn’t the result of an “enhanced greenhouse effect”. Because the “greenhouse effect” (rGHE) as defined by the warmists themselves has significantly weakened over this particular period. The atmosphere as a whole now imposes a considerably smaller “radiative forcing” on the surface than it did 15 years ago.

And isn’t that jolly good to know …?



Update (March 24th): Commenter Rafael Molina Navas contacted Daniel R. Feldman of the ‘Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’ and the lead author of the study under discussion here, about this blogpost, and was kind enough to share with us his reply. It is not a terribly informative answer, the way I see it, but I’ll post it here anyway for you to read:

“Thanks for your interest and I appreciate you sending these to me.

Kristian’s blog is very detailed and he has thought about these issues for a while. That being said, our study was focused on the effect from CO2 alone, which we found pushes the system towards a warmer state, by radiative forcing, and that blog post appears to conflate what we found with a large number of other effects. It is important to note that while there are certainly other feedbacks in the climate system, the forcing from CO2 is largely independent and separable from these. The feedbacks on CO2 forcing tend to enhance the effect of rising CO2, as cited in the paper, so I think Kristian has a sign issue there.

It would take a significant amount of time to formulate a detailed response to every claim made in the post (which unfortunately I don’t have time for), but suffice it to say, there are numerous issues there.

For example, I should note that the ARM observations are superior to the CERES products for surface forcing, because we’re measuring at the surface and CERES is a satellite instrument. I applaud the CERES team for putting together a surface flux product, but the surface stations have direct measurements. Also, we are looking essentially continuously at two sites rather than how CERES observes these sites occasionally and at the same time of day (CERES is sun-synchronous). Also, we have independent, in situ measurements from weather balloons, and are able to identify clear-sky scenes with very sensitive radar and lidar measurements, which are not available for the CERES products.

Hope that helps a little. Right now, I have numerous projects with pressing deadlines, but I would be happy to respond to peer-reviewed criticism.”

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63 comments on “The “enhanced” greenhouse effect that wasn’t

  1. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Kristian,

    Decided to give you an idea where I come from. You wrote: “To sum up:
    The world is not a simple, linear place. It is a complex and highly interconnected place. Focusing solely on radiative heat transfers within the Earth system and then try to draw conclusions about what overall (net) effects these will have on temps is quite simply proof you’ve lost your touch with reality.”
    If you accept that the world is not simple, but that it is a complex and a highly interconnected place, you will never be able to understand it. So why try? Newton wrote that rule #1 in reasoning in natural philosophy is that nature is simple and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes. Einstein wrote: “Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone”
    You wrote the term: “radiative forcing”. I do not know when this term was invented but I do know it was not a term I ever saw 40 years ago. From Ackerman and Knox’s textbook I read in their glossary: “Radiative forcing: The change in the net radiation, or the difference between incoming and outgoing radiative energy, at the tropopause.” At the tropopause????
    The heading of one of the figures of Figure 12 reads: “Two Daily Cycles, Air Temperature Measured at 8 TAO Moored Buoys on the Equator in the Pacific … ” I wish I could see these air temperatures measured because they are what were directly measured. I have no idea what the diurnal temperature oscillation actually was and I have no idea of how this actual diurnal temperature oscillation varied from one buoy to the next etc. And I know that the water vapor content of the ambient atmosphere could have been constant for two days and the relative humidity oscillated because if this were the case, relative humidity would decrease at the atmospheric temperature increased and vice-versa. So, to me the pretty lines (curves) of Figure 12 are next to meaningless and it’s no wonder that the world appears to a complex and highly interconnected place.
    Have a good day, Jerry

    • okulaer says:

      Hi Jerry, and thanks for your interest 🙂

      I’m not entirely sure I get what your position is, however; what is your take on the “greenhouse effect” and the causes of ‘global warming’?

      You say: “If you accept that the world is not simple, but that it is a complex and a highly interconnected place, you will never be able to understand it. So why try? Newton wrote that rule #1 in reasoning in natural philosophy is that nature is simple and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes. Einstein wrote: “Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone””

      Stating (and realising) that the world is not a simple, linear place, but rather a complex and highly interconnected one, is not tantamount to not understanding the fundamentals of what’s governing it.

      My reference to ‘simplicity’ and ‘linearity’ specifically addressed the warmist notion of the (simplistic and linear) causal relationship +CO2_atm ⇨ +T_sfc. And my post tried to show how that notion doesn’t work in the real world.

      Yes, the climate system is complex and highly interconnected. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fairly easy to tell how it works on a global scale.

      But there are very few factors (if any at all) that all by themselves are able to control and steer the global climate in a linear fashion without other parts of it interfering.

      The closest one I can think of is the ENSO process. But even the ENSO process is a complex and interconnected composite of many different processes, both oceanic and atmospheric. And then there is always the question of what ‘controls’ ENSO …?

      Further, you say: “You wrote the term: “radiative forcing”.”

      Yes, but it sure isn’t my term. It is a term promoted by the ‘Climate Establishment’ (represented by the IPCC and affiliates) to make it seem that the cool atmosphere can somehow ‘force’ the warm surface to jump.

      I would never use the term myself (except perhaps concerning solar variability).

      Finally, you state: “And I know that the water vapor content of the ambient atmosphere could have been constant for two days and the relative humidity oscillated because if this were the case, relative humidity would decrease at the atmospheric temperature increased and vice-versa. So, to me the pretty lines (curves) of Figure 12 are next to meaningless and it’s no wonder that the world appears to a complex and highly interconnected place.”

      I don’t get your objection here, Jerry.

      That’s the whole point, the total WV content in the air surrounding the buoys did NOT increase even as the air temperature rose (as a response to rising sea surface temperature and consequently, one would presume, intensifying evaporation rates), which is why the relative humidity went up and down, inversely correlated with the temps, while the specific humidity (not shown) stayed rather flat.

      • jerry l krause says:

        Hi Kristian,

        Thank you for responding to my comments. Yes, I have the problem that people do not seem to understand what I write. And I guess that is why I write. Of course, there are a several factors which influence the air temperature observed at any time and at any place. But the major factor is the sun or its absence. So, to understand its influence I must first study the diurnal temperature oscillation.

        You wrote: “That’s the whole point, the total WV content in the air surrounding the buoys did NOT increase even as the airtemperature rose (as a response to rising sea surface temperature and consequently, one would presume, intensifying evaporation rates), which is why the relativehumidity went up and down, inversely correlated with the temps, while the specific humidity (not shown) stayed rather flat.”

        A fact is that, given the information of the figure, we do not know what the temperature or relative humidity observed were. We only know how they deviated from some unknown averaged diurnal cycle of previously observed values. And if we consider the temperature differences is of the order of tenths of a degree and the relative humidity differences are seldom more than 2%, I must conclude that one day to the next at these 8 locations along the equator are amazing similar. But I also know the reason for these buoys being placed along the equator is that we know the sea surface and air temperature can change on a long term (a year or so) basis. And how or why this happens still remains a somewhat mystery.

        And I am quite certain that the sea surface temperature at these buoys is also being observed as well as the air temperature. And I suspect that the magnitude of diurnal temperature oscillation of the sea surface temperature is significantly less than that of the air temperature. But you wrote the air temperature rose as a response to rising sea surface temperature. Unless we know the actual diurnal air temperatures relative to the actual diurnal sea surface temperatures we cannot evaluate the validity of your assumption or of my assumption which is different from yours.

        You wrote that a rise in the sea surface temperature would intensify evaporation rates. How long do you think it would take for the water vapor in a shallow layer of the atmosphere come to equilibrium with the vapor pressure of water on the surface? I can imagine that at the lowest temperature of the diurnal oscillation that the atmosphere’s relative humidity should be near 100% and that as the air temperature increases the relative humidity decreases because the sea surface temperature actually does not oscillate with the same magnitude as the air temperature does. So the vapor pressure of the sea remains relatively constant as the air temperature increases after sunrise.
        Now Roy wrote (for some unknown reason) that the earth system primarily absorbed the visible portion of the solar radiation. Whereas a well-known fact is that the energy content of the invisible IR portion of solar radiation is greater than its visible portion. Now, the invisible IR portion of solar radiation becomes a quite important factor when it is acknowledged that water vapor has absorption bands just beyond the visible portion. So, based upon established facts, I can conclude that immediately after sunrise solar radiation begins to warm the atmosphere much more rapidity than it could warm the sea surface (for a couple of reasons).

        Now I write things like the preceding because I have never read someone else writing such. Maybe you will conclude I am another Doug Cotton but if you do, that is not my problem. For I try to bring things to your (and others) attention that you might consider. And that is all I can do.

        I specifically write to you because you are clearly not a Doug Cotton.

        Have a good day, Jerry

      • okulaer says:

        Jerry, my plots are from this blog post at WUWT:

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/18/tao-and-tao-again/

        All the TAO data are available. You should check it out.

      • okulaer says:

        “And I am quite certain that the sea surface temperature at these buoys is also being observed as well as the air temperature.”

        Yes it is.

        “And I suspect that the magnitude of diurnal temperature oscillation of the sea surface temperature is significantly less than that of the air temperature.”

        Also true.

        “But you wrote the air temperature rose as a response to rising sea surface temperature. Unless we know the actual diurnal air temperatures relative to the actual diurnal sea surface temperatures we cannot evaluate the validity of your assumption or of my assumption which is different from yours.”

        The air temps have larger swings, but are always cooler than the SSTs. The turning points don’t always lag the SST turning points, however, which is interesting.

        So, yes, I agree it’s ‘simplistic’ of me saying that the air temps are merely a ‘response’ to the SSTs. The Sun is quite obviously a significant player here, with the small heat capacity of the air lending it a larger (and quicker) responsivity than the more sluggish ocean.

        Being ‘associated/correlated’ is probably more correct. But heat (barring the solar heat) is clearly flowing one way only here, from the sea surface to the air above, never the other way. From warmer to cooler. The transfer of latent heat of vaporisation is one such (the main) transfer. Direct conduction and radiation other (and minor) mechanisms.

        “You wrote that a rise in the sea surface temperature would intensify evaporation rates. How long do you think it would take for the water vapor in a shallow layer of the atmosphere come to equilibrium with the vapor pressure of water on the surface? I can imagine that at the lowest temperature of the diurnal oscillation that the atmosphere’s relative humidity should be near 100% and that as the air temperature increases the relative humidity decreases because the sea surface temperature actually does not oscillate with the same magnitude as the air temperature does. So the vapor pressure of the sea remains relatively constant as the air temperature increases after sunrise.”

        Seems to me you question here the whole idea of higher sfc temps > higher evap rates > stronger convection. Am I understanding you right?

        “Now Roy wrote (for some unknown reason) that the earth system primarily absorbed the visible portion of the solar radiation. Whereas a well-known fact is that the energy content of the invisible IR portion of solar radiation is greater than its visible portion. Now, the invisible IR portion of solar radiation becomes a quite important factor when it is acknowledged that water vapor has absorption bands just beyond the visible portion. So, based upon established facts, I can conclude that immediately after sunrise solar radiation begins to warm the atmosphere much more rapidity than it could warm the sea surface (for a couple of reasons).”

        You’re right. There is no question the atmosphere is warmed both directly by the Sun and ‘indirectly’ by the surface. But when you look at it globally, the troposphere never warms (or cools) before the surface (except perhaps during ‘volcanic’ times such as Pinatubo and El Chichón). The troposphere always warms (and cools) as a ‘response’ to (mimicking, though amplifying) the surface signal.

  2. Do you have any of the spectra radiance “measurements” made at these two sites? The new Fourier transform radiometers are cooled and do actually measure spectral flux “to” the 77 Kelvin MCT detectors. I would guess that the up and down IR spectrum is identical at night except for the 3-5 and 8-14 micron bands. It is only the band by band difference in opposing radiance that results in any flux (W/m^2). I can find nothing of such measurements!! Were they ever actually done? The paper claims measurement! Where are the measurements? What are they hiding that is contrary to the Gospel?
    BTW Solar radiance in space is 3% for less than 0.4 microns, 91% between 0.4-0.7 microns, 5% between 0.7 and 3 microns and approx 1% at all longer wavelengths. The SWIR is indeed part of the atmospheric sensible heat, radiated to space at wavelengths greater than 14 microns from WV.

  3. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Kristian,

    “So, yes, I agree it’s ‘simplistic’ of me saying that the air temps are merely a ‘response’ to the SSTs. The Sun is quite obviously a significant player here, with the small heat capacity of the air lending it a larger (and quicker) responsivity than the more sluggish ocean.” This verifies you are a student who has strived to see what I have not commonly read but had seen because I consider myself a student also. A student who knows something but doesn’t know it all, so he or she strives to learn more.

    I started to compose this response before I checked your reference to Eschenbach’s post. Which would have been a serious mistake because it would have suggested I was not a serious student if I did not read what was suggested. After reading it and starting to compose some comments relative to it, I decided to learn a little more about what you thought and read your previous post and the discussion which followed.

    Which brought me back to your statement: “Being ‘associated/correlated’ is probably more correct. But heat (barring the solar heat) is clearly flowing one way only here, from the sea surface to the air above, never the other way.” To which I had originally begun to respond. So, I will put Eschenbach etc. on hold and will try to limit my comments your previous post and this comment which seem related.

    I do not like 2nd Law arguments but a scientific law explains nothing, the law only states what had never been observed to have happened. I do not agree with your proposal that the downward radiation from GHGs is not absorbed by the surface. But if we were in total agreement with each other there would be no purpose in corresponding with each other. I do agree that the downward radiation from a colder atmosphere could never warm a warmer surface because if that actually happened the 2nd Law would cease to exist.

    So the goal is to explain how it is that the second law holds and you did seem to attempt to do so. But your first step: the warmer surface does not absorb the downward radiation from the colder of the GHGs is beyond my imagination. It is beyond my imagination because I am certain that the potential absorbing body cannot know whether the photon it absorbs originated from matter at a higher or a lower temperature. Much more believable (I conclude) is to state the fact, from my basic understanding of matter, radiation, and the absorption process, that when a body absorbs a photon, it is the generic internal energy of that body which is increased by the absorption process and not directly the body’s translational motion. What I am imagining is most easily followed by focusing on molecules which are gases, or molecular liquids such as water, or molecular solids such as ice. It seems simplest to consider water molecules in the atmosphere which are capable of absorbing certain near IR photos being emitted by the sun. We understand the water molecule can absorb this certain photon, because there is an existing, empty energy level, that the motions of the atoms of the molecule can change to when this photon of certain energy is absorbed. But the translational motion of the molecule is unchanged by this absorption-excitation step. Hence this absorbed photon has been transformed into the potential energy of this excited molecule. So you are correct when you state the radiation has been transformed into potential energy but not correct if you maintain the photon has not been absorbed.

    Now, given the excited water molecule there are two possible happenings. The excited molecule can reemit the photon or the molecule can collide with a another molecule in such a process that increases the translational motion (speed) of one or both of the molecules as the internal energy of the excited molecule returns to its formerly unexcited state. In Eschenbach’s figure we can see the rapid increase of the air temperature shortly after sunrise and the rapid decrease of the air temperature near sunset. For these water molecules cannot absorb, in the near IR absorption bands, photons emitted by the water surface because the water surface is not emitting photons in the near IR portion of electromagnetic radiation. The surface temperature of the water is not great enough.

    But we cannot end the story here. We must address how it is that absorbed photons from the sun can warm the atmosphere and maintain this warmth until sunset and the continued absorption of longer wavelength photons, which water molecules can absorb in other absorption bands, being continuously emitted by the surface cannot. While the difference now is the difference of temperature between the sun and the earth surface (the sea surface relative to Eschenbach’s figures), the central factor is not only the difference of wavelengths, it is also the greater flux of photons of these photons from the sun. Which when the factors of energy ‘content’ of the photon and the number of photons are combined, the flux is an energy flux.

    So, the energy flux from sun is capable of warming the atmosphere to a certain temperature while the energy flux from the atmosphere is not capable of stopping the cooling of the atmosphere which is commonly observed (here I must qualify by imposing clear sky conditions) to occur, to begin even before sunset and to continue even a little past sunrise.
    But I cannot end the story here. I have constructed a very simple and inexpensive radiometer, according to the design of the Suomi, Staley, Kuhn net radiometer, of which I observe the temperature of its absorbing-emitting surface. Now this is not necessarily a research grade instrument but it does not need to because the temperatures I observe are like the every-day temperatures that nearly everyone has to observe the temperature inside their home and outside their homes and I am reasonably sure that nearly everyone considers the tenth of a degree to which many digital temperature sensors display temperature is meaningless practical information.

    So, during a clear day near the summer solstice at midday, the temperature of my almost level a-e surface can exceed 220F when the ambient air temperature is possibly only 70F (I forget and I am too lazy to search for my disorganized records because I consider exact observations is of minor importance because my purposed is to qualitatively understand before I move on to a more quantitative understanding which would become meaningless of the many factors actually involved. To understand what I mean, consider tides. If I remember right 220F is almost the hottest temperature observed at the moon’s surface which has no atmosphere. But the reason I call attention this high temperature is that the temperature difference between the a-e surface and the ambient air temperature is evidence of how well the a-e surface is isolated from its surroundings except via radiation.

    And I am sure you know the principal reason the surface of the earth never rises near 220F is thermal inertia and the fact that a day is only 24 hours long. Or, put in other words, the a-e rises quickly to such a high temperature because it has a very low thermal inertia. And I certainly noticed that you used the term thermal inertia, which I have seldom read elsewhere.

    So given this background, I can continue my story. Again given clear sky conditions, which do not have to be absolutely cloud (or haze) free, I know the temperature of my a-e surface, at sunset, can be 10F or more less than the ambient air temperature which at that time might be near the surface temperature. But more likely the actual surface temperature is a little less than the ambient air temperature. But I know the surface temperature cannot be below the temperature of the a-e surface because if the temperature of the surface were to cool to that temperature, it could not decrease further because emission of the surface would match the downward emission from the atmosphere. So because the surface, the atmosphere, and my a-e surface have begun to cool at this time and that the temperature of my a-e surface is the lowest of the three, I know there is no evidence that the downward radiation from the atmosphere is heating (warming) the surface. It can only be slowing the cooling of the surface just as later during the night water vapor may begin condensing on surfaces, and once this occurs, we commonly know, that the cooling rate really slows.

    But when I tried to explain this to a proponent of the GHE this proponent argued that the slowing of the cooling actually warmed the surface because the surface would be cooler, at a given time, if there were no downward radiation. I am sure you are familiar with this argument, which at face value I had to accept.

    But the story does not end here. The next step is to accept the argument, that if the surface temperature becomes greater when it absorbs the downward radiation But immediately upon the temperature of the surface becoming greater, its rate of the surface’s emission immediately becomes greater and the photons just absorbed are emitted back toward space along with the all the photons that were be emitted toward space at the lower temperature. So the surface temperature really never remains at significantly greater temperature because the surface is always cooling, emitting more radiation than heat is being transferred to it by any energy transport (transfer) mechanism.

    To me what I have just written is not an argument, it is an explanation how the 2nd Law holds in this particular case. And I have observations which support the fundamentals of this explanation.

    But I know I could be wrong, because I have often been wrong. That is why I write to you and others. So I can receive your responses. And when you cannot understand something you should say as you have. To which, I might respond that you need to identify just what is it specially that you do not understand. This reminds me I need to go back to what you did not understand because I do not remember responding in anyway except that this is a common problem.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • okulaer says:

      “I do not agree with your proposal that the downward radiation from GHGs is not absorbed by the surface. (…) I do agree that the downward radiation from a colder atmosphere could never warm a warmer surface because if that actually happened the 2nd Law would cease to exist.”

      I’m sorry, but these two positions are mutually exclusive. If you know the Stefan-Boltzmann radiative heat transfer equation, you will realise why and how.

      “(…) your first step: the warmer surface does not absorb the downward radiation from the colder of the GHGs is beyond my imagination. It is beyond my imagination because I am certain that the potential absorbing body cannot know whether the photon it absorbs originated from matter at a higher or a lower temperature.”

      This has got absolutely nothing to do with ‘photons’ knowing or not knowing where they’re coming from or where they’re going, Jerry. You simply cannot have a bidirectional transfer of energy through an integrated radiation field between two warm surfaces.

      I would like for you to read through these two posts of mine, where I attempt to explain exactly why:

      https://okulaer.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/to-heat-a-planetary-surface-for-dummies-part-4/

      https://okulaer.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/to-heat-a-planetary-surface-for-dummies-part-3/

      “Much more believable (I conclude) is to state the fact, from my basic understanding of matter, radiation, and the absorption process, that when a body absorbs a photon, it is the generic internal energy of that body which is increased by the absorption process and not directly the body’s translational motion. (…) So you are correct when you state the radiation has been transformed into potential energy but not correct if you maintain the photon has not been absorbed.”

      Again, you need to take in the meaning of the Stefan-Boltzmann radiative heat transfer equation. It is rendered useless (meaningless) if you arbitrarily choose to put all of the incoming energy from the cooler object into the warmer object’s microscopic (internal) ‘potential energy’ compartment (not affecting temperature), but let all of the outgoing energy from the warmer object be drawn from its microscopic (internal) ‘kinetic energy’ compartment (affecting temperature). In such a circumstance, the warmer object would cool just as fast with the “back radiation” from the cooler object as it would without it. Is that your suggestion? If so, you have managed to invalidate the S-B radiative heat transfer equation.

      It’s not like ‘photons’ from a hotter object will affect the kinetic energy of a cool object, while ‘photons’ from an colder object can only affect the potential energy of the cool object. You know of course that discrete ‘photons’ from a cooler object, emitted from within a specific spectral band (wavelength), are themselves exactly as energetic as ‘photons’ from a warmer object emitted from within the same spectral band. It is not the difference in energy between single ‘photons’ coming from the cool or the warm object that separates the two.

      Even much of the solar input (clearly heat from a hotter object) goes into storage as potential energy when absorbed by water. And when the warm water radiates energy back out to the cooler air above it, much of this energy is likewise drawn from the water’s potential energy storage.

      You have hypothetically created an unnatural divide for yourself here, Jerry. A divide that doesn’t really exist. Energy is energy. Striking matter, it is either reflected/scattered, transmitted, or … absorbed. If it’s absorbed, it will affect temperature (or add positively to a phase transition process), it can’t just be tucked away, not doing anything. Energy absorbed will do some kind of thermodynamic ‘job’, be it directed towards heating or phase change.

      There ain’t no free lunch to be had here, sorry.

      “(…) because the surface, the atmosphere, and my a-e surface have begun to cool at this time and that the temperature of my a-e surface is the lowest of the three, I know there is no evidence that the downward radiation from the atmosphere is heating (warming) the surface. It can only be slowing the cooling of the surface just as later during the night water vapor may begin condensing on surfaces, and once this occurs, we commonly know, that the cooling rate really slows.”

      The point is, this is reality. The rGHE hypothesis, specifically the “back radiation” version of it, does not concern itself with reality. It concerns itself fully with a hypothetical model world.

      This is how that version blatantly violates the 2nd Law:

      (Derived from Stephens et al. 2012.)

      “But when I tried to explain this to a proponent of the GHE this proponent argued that the slowing of the cooling actually warmed the surface because the surface would be cooler, at a given time, if there were no downward radiation. I am sure you are familiar with this argument, which at face value I had to accept.”

      Ask him to provide observational proof that our radiative atmosphere in fact slows the nighttime cooling of the surface of the Earth over that of the Moon. I’m excluding WV here, because as you yourself point out, WV does not slow cooling by “back radiation”, but (principally) by the release of latent heat.

      There is no empirical evidence to suggest that the surface in desert areas on Earth, for instance, cools more slowly after sunset than the lunar surface. If anything, rather the opposite … There is simply nothing 350-400 ppm of CO2 in a dry atmosphere can do to slow the radiative cooling of the surface.

      This knowledge has been repeatedly confirmed in experimental tests, like this one from 1989:

      http://gaia.lbl.gov/btech/papers/29389.pdf

      The researchers looked at the ability of different gases to impede the heat transfer through double-glazed windows. When using a gas-fill of pure (100%) CO2 and compared its ability to slow the total transfer of heat from the warm to the cool side of the window to that of regular dry air (containing a mere 0.035% CO2), this is what they found:

      “… the effect of the infrared radiation properties of CO2 is unnoticeable …”

      “(…) if the surface temperature becomes greater when it absorbs the downward radiation But immediately upon the temperature of the surface becoming greater, its rate of the surface’s emission immediately becomes greater and the photons just absorbed are emitted back toward space along with the all the photons that were be emitted toward space at the lower temperature. So the surface temperature really never remains at significantly greater temperature because the surface is always cooling, emitting more radiation than heat is being transferred to it by any energy transport (transfer) mechanism.

      To me what I have just written is not an argument, it is an explanation how the 2nd Law holds in this particular case. And I have observations which support the fundamentals of this explanation.”

      The 2nd Law always holds, Jerry. It’s the idea of a ‘bidirectional energy transfer’ between two radiating surfaces at different temperatures that doesn’t hold up. You simply cannot have a heat transfer where BOTH ends warm. The 2nd Law does NOT grant BOTH ends to warm as long as the cooler end simply warms more than the warmer end. Such an idea is absurd and un-physical. The universe would’ve self-destructed a long time ago if such a process were allowed to occur.

      And I have explained why I think it can’t and does not happen in the two posts linked to above. So I won’t be doing it again here now.

      • jerry l krause says:

        Hi Kristian,

        Thank you for replying.

        “I do not agree with your proposal that the downward radiation from GHGs is not absorbed by the surface. (…) I do agree that the downward radiation from a colder atmosphere could never warm a warmer surface because if that actually happened the 2nd Law would cease to exist.”
        I’m sorry, but these two positions are mutually exclusive. If you know the Stefan-Boltzmann radiative heat transfer equation, you will realise why and how.
        “(…) your first step: the warmer surface does not absorb the downward radiation from the colder of the GHGs is beyond my imagination. It is beyond my imagination because I am certain that the potential absorbing body cannot know whether the photon it absorbs originated from matter at a higher or a lower temperature.”
        This has got absolutely nothing to do with ‘photons’ knowing or not knowing where they’re coming from or where they’re going, Jerry. You simply cannot have a bidirectional transfer of energy through an integrated radiation field between two warm surfaces.
        I would like for you to read through these two posts of mine, where I attempt to explain exactly why:

        Because it quickly became apparent that I was not familiar with the Stefan-Boltzmann Net Emissive Power Law I went to a physics textbook by Marshall and Pounder. After reviewing the Stefan-Boltzmann Law with which I was familiar they moved on to the net emissive power. They wrote: “The Stefan-Boltzmann Law as we have stated it in equation (22.07) and its combination with Kirchhoff’s Law in equation (22.08) refer to the radiation coming out from a body. At the same time that radiation is being emitted, radiation from the surroundings is being absorbed. This applies even if the surroundings are colder than the body in question, although the surroundings need not be much cooler for the inflow to become insignificant compared with the emission.” After this they presented the same equation as you did.

        Given what these two physics professors wrote and what you wrote: “You simply cannot have a bidirectional transfer of energy through an integrated radiation field between two warm surfaces.”, whom do you think I might have a tendency to believe? Now, I have observed the downward emission from the atmosphere (the surrounding) by the temperature of the a-e surface of my radiometer. Because this temperature, which I accept should be the integrated temperature of the surroundings, is seldom 10C lower than the ambient air temperature, which for discussion purposes I assume to be the temperature of the emitting surface. So the result of this simple calculation is that the net emission of the surface is only 13.5%, or likely less, of that the surface would emit if there were no downward emission, no GHGs. Which result begs the question: What do Marshall and Pounder consider to be not much cooler? So, I must conclude that my reasoning that this downward emission has little, or no, influence on the rate of cooling of the surface is wrong. But it is right in that the surface cools and observation proves that, given clear sky condition, that the surface’s rate of net emission is capable of significantly cooling the surface and the surface atmospheric layer whose temperature is observed between the a day’s high temperature and the next morning’s low temperature if other factors, such as the condensation of water vapor because the surface temperature had cooled to the surface atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature, had even further slowed the cooling of the surround.

        But as crazy as it sounds to me, given my previous wrong understanding (belief?), we should not forget (overlook) the significant upward emission of the GHGs, which reasonably should be at least the equal of their downward emission.

        Because of your response I conclude I have learned something vital. So, I am sending this off to see how much more I might need to adjust my understanding.

        Have I good day, Jerry

      • okulaer says:

        [Me:] ”I would like for you to read through these two posts of mine, where I attempt to explain exactly why:”

        [Marshall & Pounder:] “At the same time that radiation is being emitted, radiation from the surroundings is being absorbed. This applies even if the surroundings are colder than the body in question, although the surroundings need not be much cooler for the inflow to become insignificant compared with the emission.”

        Given what these two physics professors wrote and what you wrote: “You simply cannot have a bidirectional transfer of energy through an integrated radiation field between two warm surfaces.”, whom do you think I might have a tendency to believe?”

        You apparently, then, didn’t read those two posts of mine … Because here you’re simply repeating the very arguments that these two posts address.

        This is not about ‘believing’ the words of others, Jerry. I thought you knew that. It’s about thinking it through for yourself. Trust, but verify. Connect those dots. Zoom out and see a bigger picture.

        Your two physics professors are simply adhering to (and presenting) the (purely conceptual) ‘bidirectional model’ of radiative heat transfer. They have never observed such a bidirectional energy transfer themselves. No one has. Because that would be physically impossible. Experimentalists and theorists alike realised this already in the 19th Century. Maxwell, Stefan, Planck, Bohr, Einstein and other Old Masters admitted quite openly that this model is but a hypothetical construct, a mere theoretical attempt at a description of an inherently unobservable part of reality. Today this (pretty important) caveat seems to be long ‘forgotten’, and people tend to view the ‘bidirectional model’ as a physical Truth, established Fact. It’s not. It is still very much a descriptive model and only that.

        No, your two professors, like everyone else, simply assume that this – a bidirectional transfer of energy, making up a ‘net’ transfer – is what’s happening. It’s a neat explanatory model of an observed physical phenomenon. But the phenomenon itself is, when it gets down to it, simply the UNIdirectional transfer of energy as ‘heat’. Always.

        The problem with the ‘bidirectional model’ is that it ultimately ends up violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. You don’t necessarily see it, however, until you connect the warmer object to a constant heat/power source and then use the other – cooler – object as its insulator. At this point, the ‘bidirectional’ explanation of radiative heat transfer breaks down. The observed EFFECT of putting up the insulation is still real, of course. It violates no physical laws. But you cannot EXPLAIN this effect as the direct result of the cooler insulator feeding the warmer object with extra incoming energy.

        “Now, I have observed the downward emission from the atmosphere (the surrounding) by the temperature of the a-e surface of my radiometer.”

        But then you haven’t observed the ‘downward emission’, Jerry. Open your eyes! Stop and think! Then you have observed the temperature of you sensor. You’ve got a ‘thermal detector’. It detects the ‘heat flux’ between itself and its surroundings. And a ‘heat flux’ is always and only UNIdirectional. It never moves both ways.

        Try and read once more what I wrote about internal radiation in the Earth system. It doesn’t matter how hard and long you study it. You will never figure out the internal temperature/energy distribution of the Earth system from studying its internal radiative transfer. It will get you nowhere. To this end, it is a pointless exercise.

        “The DWLWIR I observe evidence of by the temperature of the radiometer’s low thermal inertia absorbing-emitting surface is not an illusion any more than any other temperature you might consider. Can you not see that what I observe is evidence of what the atmosphere should be ”emitting directly to a vacuum at 0 K (or simply to an object much, much colder than it)”?”

        No, Jerry. It is not evidence of anything but the atmospheric ‘radiative potential’. The rest is all in your head. You observe the changes in your sensor temperature readings and then you interpret the cause of these changes to be the absorption of downwelling radiation from the atmosphere. But what your sensor actually detects is the unidirectional ‘heat flux’. It moves out of the sensor if it’s warmer than the air around/above it. And it moves into the sensor if it’s cooler. The rest is only your conjecture.

        “You wrote: “The clouds both on Earth and on Venus radiatively exert a net cooling effect on the planetary surface below, significantly lowering the global albedo.” So suspect you did not even consider that clouds might scatter LWIR, as it appears most do. I stayed up until about 3AM trying to freeze water when I considered the sky was clear, but in each case the weather observed there was a high cirrus 10% overcast. So I know, from experience, that while these thin clouds did not warm the surface they certainly slowed its cooling.”

        I had hoped you’d noticed that little word ‘net’. Clouds exert a NET cooling effect on the planetary surface below. They also slow cooling, when the surface actually cools. But their contribution to the reduction in surface heating easily outstrips this effect. I deliberated on this topic here:

        https://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/the-greenhouse-effect-that-wasnt-part-1/

        A cloud deck could thus never radiatively raise the MEAN surface temperature, even if it also exerts a partial positive effect.

        [Feynman:] “It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.””

        True words.

      • "RealOldOne2" impersonator says:

        “the idea of a ‘bidirectional energy transfer’ between two radiating surfaces at different temperatures that doesn’t hold up”

        Why? Everything above absolute zero radiates energy, what precludes thermal radiation from being radiated from one body to another?

        Kirchoff Law of thermal radiation states

        “For an arbitrary body emitting and absorbing thermal radiation in thermodynamic equilibrium, the emissivity is equal to the absorptivity.”

        That could not be the case unless there were energy transfer in both directions.

        It is accepted science from Maxwell and Boltzmann that “The energy distribution for a gas will comprise a range of particle momentums and velocities. Two gases at the same temperature will therefore be constantly exchanging energy.”

        So, if two gases can have a bidirectional energy transfer through molecular collisions, what physical mechanism prohibits that transfer by EM?

        • okulaer says:

          It’s very simple. On a MICROSCOPIC level there is of course energy moving around in every possible direction. These inherently random/chaotic movements are governed by the principles of quantum mechanics. On a MACROSCOPIC level, however, this is no longer true. All individual, disordered movements of energy then statistically/probabilistically average out to ONE (ordered) net movement – a thermodynamic transfer of energy, in the form of “heat” [Q] or “work” [W]. Within this perspective, having TWO opposing macroscopic/thermodynamically independent energy transfers operating inside ONE and the same radiation field bears absolutely no meaning. In fact, it would only be a ‘real’ situation to the extent that you could call it a mathematical formalism.

          • David Appell says:

            Okulaer wrote, well, what kinda sounds like gobbleygook, but the important point is that the atmosphere is not an isolated system, hence the strict interpretation (cold can’t warm warm) isn’t valid. There is all kind of energy entering and leaving the system.

            Sure, two net fluxes total out to one, but the Schwarzschild equations are a coupled pair that are solved simultaneously by climate models.

          • "RealOldOne2" impersonator says:

            “On a MICROSCOPIC level there is of course energy moving around in every possible direction.”

            This statement wholly contradicts your previous comment:

            “the idea of a ‘bidirectional energy transfer’ between two radiating surfaces at different temperatures that doesn’t hold up”

            If you accept that everything above absolute zero is radiating EM radiation at rate which is related to its temperature, then it most certainly does hold up.

            “having TWO opposing macroscopic/thermodynamically independent energy transfers operating inside ONE and the same radiation field bears absolutely no meaning”

            It does, it means that there is bidirectional energy transfer via EM radiation, EM travelling in both directions. With out such a phenomenon there would be no diffuse light, and the concept of reflection would not exist.

            The direction components of such energy exchange can and are measured empirically too.

            Indeed the net energy transfer dictates the heat exchange.

            • okulaer says:

              “On a MICROSCOPIC level there is of course energy moving around in every possible direction.”

              This statement wholly contradicts your previous comment:

              “the idea of a ‘bidirectional energy transfer’ between two radiating surfaces at different temperatures that doesn’t hold up”

              Uhm, no. ‘Photons’ are not measured in Watts per square metre, but in . I’m only talking about macroscopic transfers of energy here. Power density fluxes.

              If you accept that everything above absolute zero is radiating EM radiation at rate which is related to its temperature, then it most certainly does hold up.

              Nope. You need to understand what I’m actually talking about first …

              (…) it means that there is bidirectional energy transfer via EM radiation, EM travelling in both directions.

              But there isn’t. MICROscopically there is energy transfer in NOT JUST TWO directions, but in a million different directions. And MACROscopically there is only energy transfer in ONE direction. That’s the NET transfer. The net of ALL photon movements and intensities inside the radiation field. The two-way transfer is ONLY a mathematical construct. A formalism.

              • David Appell says:

                “MICROscopically there is energy transfer in NOT JUST TWO directions, but in a million different directions.”

                That doesn’t even make sense — there are only three spatial directions.

                “And MACROscopically there is only energy transfer in ONE direction. That’s the NET transfer. The net of ALL photon movements and intensities inside the radiation field. The two-way transfer is ONLY a mathematical construct. A formalism.”

                Nope. There energy transfer in the most relevant direction, the vertical, is upward *and* downward. Sometimes the energy escapes to space; sometime it collides with the ground, and those aren’t equivalent situations with equivalent results. In fact, about 2/3rds of the energy we receive at the surface is from infrared photons scattered by the atmosphere and clouds.

              • "RealOldOne2" impersonator says:

                “Uhm, no. ‘Photons’ are not measured in Watts per square metre, but in hν.”

                Good grief. You do realise that the energy of a photon can be measured in (Joules) that is the same as hv? The Watts per square metre is merely a measure of the rate of that energy transfer per unit time (J/s = Watt) per unit surface area? The same as the radiant exitance, or exposure, or irradiance.

                “I’m only talking about macroscopic transfers of energy here.”

                Any macroscopic event is made up from the many, many microscopic processes. If you accept that on a microscopic level everything radiates energy, then there will be a bidirectional energy flux.

                Indeed, two bodies at the same temperature will be exchanging the same amount of EM energy between them.

                “MICROscopically there is energy transfer in NOT JUST TWO directions, but in a million different directions.”

                That is what is known as bidirectional energy transfer. Unless you propose a process whereby a cooler body and detect and refuse to absorb an photon of energy from another body, then there is no question that there is bidirectional energy transfer.

                “MACROscopically there is only energy transfer in ONE direction.”

                In the most crude of senses that that is what is commonly observed yes, but the bidirectional energy fluxes are routinely measured and quantified.

                “That’s the NET transfer. The net of ALL photon movements and intensities inside the radiation field. The two-way transfer is ONLY a mathematical construct.”

                You’ve lost me again. Either the everything above absolute zero radiates energy to everything else, thereby bidirectional energy transfer occurs, or it does not.

                The only mathematical construct here is determining the net which is deducing one flux from the other in the bidirectional energy transfer to find out out where the net energy, and hence heat, is flowing.

                • okulaer says:

                  You do realise that the energy of a photon can be measured in (Joules) that is the same as hv? The Watts per square metre is merely a measure of the rate of that energy transfer per unit time (J/s = Watt) per unit surface area? The same as the radiant exitance, or exposure, or irradiance.

                  You’re really not getting it, are you? A photon is not a power density flux. A photon is an individual microscopic (quantum) packet of electromagnetic energy. A power density flux is a macroscopic transfer of radiant energy, a probabilistic/statistical average of trillions upon trillions of individual microscopic (quantum) packets of electromagnetic energy moving about inside the radiation field in NOT JUST ONE, and NOT JUST TWO separate directions, but in millions and billions of different directions through threedimensional space. We cannot possibly track the completely random path of any one particular photon, and so we need to zoom out to see bulk patterns of movement and intensity emerge inside the field. And what we see then, is 1) a gradient of radiative intensity and/or energy density through the field, and 2) a net bulk movement of energy down that gradient through the field. This gradient and the net movement that accompanies it will naturally go from warmer to cooler.

                  Again, I am only talking about the power density fluxes here, the macroscopic transfers of energy, the statistical averages, the thermodynamically relevant, actually detectable/observable movements of radiant energy. Photons only become thermodynamically relevant at the point when their individual movements and intensities are statistically averaged into macroscopic patterns.

                  • "RealOldOne2" impersonator says:

                    “A power density flux is a macroscopic transfer of radiant energy, a probabilistic/statistical average of trillions upon trillions of individual microscopic (quantum) packets”

                    This is not correct. It is the sum, not average, of all quanta.

                    “electromagnetic energy moving about inside the radiation field in NOT JUST ONE, and NOT JUST TWO separate directions, but in millions and billions of different directions through threedimensional space.”

                    So if you considered a plane within that field, you would have a bidirectional energy transfer across that plane, something you previously suggest could not exist.

                    If you take two identical separated torches and shine them at one another both will be emitting photos of light towards each other on the microscopic scale. On the macroscopic scale you will have two bidirectional beams of light energy. You will not observe the net resultant which would be darkness. The same occurs with other wavelengths of EM. Bidirectional energy transfer.

                    • okulaer says:

                      It is the sum, not average, of all quanta.

                      Yes, the vector sum. Which gives the average (net) movement.

                      So if you considered a plane within that field, you would have a bidirectional energy transfer across that plane, something you previously suggest could not exist.

                      Yes, this is exactly it. This is the reasoning behind the concept of a bidirectional flow. The hypothetical, twodimensional (temperatureless) plane dividing the threedimensional radiation field. Thing is, you could tilt this imaginary plane in any direction and at any angle and you would still get what seems to be a bidirectional transfer, because there are photons flying about in ALL directions, not just the two. And so in order to get the ACTUAL average of all these directions (and intensities), you would have to include ALL those potential planes, at ALL angles, giving a UNIdirectional net movement of energy as a result.

                    • okulaer says:

                      This looks more like a string of strange poems now. I’ll move the discussion to the bottom of the thread …

                • okulaer says:

                  (…) but the bidirectional energy fluxes are routinely measured and quantified.

                  Uhm, no. That’s exactly it. They are NOT routinely measured. They are routinely CALCULATED. What is routinely measured, as in ‘physically detected’, is the net lw, the radiant heat. UWLWIR is calculated from the measured sensor temperature. The DWLWIR is then calculated from the UWLWIR minus the sensor signal, the net LW. This is not a secret. It is how it’s done. Routinely.

                  • "RealOldOne2" impersonator says:

                    “Uhm, no. That’s exactly it. They are NOT routinely measured.”

                    Indeed they are. The AERI instrument employed in the paper used by Feldman et al 2015 uses a HgCdTe semiconductor that measures the incoming energy from absorbed IR quanta. No net, this is solely the absorbed DWLIR from the atmosphere that promotes an electron to produce an calibrated electrical response to the atmospheric irradiance.

                    Routinely measured directly quantifiable energy transfer from the atmosphere to the ground, just one element of the bidirectional energy flux.

  4. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Kristian,

    As I await your response to my latest comments, I have reread about ‘about’ as I try to imagine who you are. I looked up what a Quaternary geologist actually was. Which implies you have not only studied the present geology, the recent geology, and what I would term ancient geology. So I cannot fully understand your seemingly focus upon the most recent, short term, temperature trends. Nor could I understand your naïve thought that the proponents of the GHE actually knew something given what should have been common knowledge to you: the continental drift affair.

    Now, I had been naïve about fundamental science too far into my life (and career as a postdoc and then as a chemistry instructor) because I had never read the classic books of the founders (Galileo, Newton, and Boyle) of what I term modern science, to distinguish it from the science of the Greek philosophers, until never the end of my teaching career. But I had learned during graduate school that this modern science never could ‘prove’ anything to be true; it could only prove ideas to be false. And I have long known about the continental drift affair. And because the mid-seventies I was expected to teach my chemistry students about the greenhouse effect, I immediately learned that the proponents of this idea did not know what they were talking about. For a prime example of the greenhouse effect found in many (USA) textbooks of that time, was the warm, humid, nights, common to Iowa, where corn with the highest yields could be grown because of these warm, humid, nights. Because I had farmed as a young person in the Midwest of the USA, I knew the reason of the warm night was that dew began to form on grass blades (and probably the corn leaves) near sunset and that it was the latent heat of the water vapor’s condensation which was the reason for the warm Iowa nights and not the result of any greenhouse effect. And this example of the ‘greenhouse effect’ has generally disappeared from any textbooks.

    Another often referred to example of the greenhouse effect was the planet Venus which had a very dense surface atmosphere composed of primarily carbon dioxide and whose surface temperature was observed to be exceedingly great. Totally ignored was the also observed fact that this atmosphere had a cloud deck, at an exceedingly high altitude, which permanently covered the entire planet. Totally ignored was the fact that I knew about by living in the Midwest of the USA which was that during the winter the temperature would cool to much lower temperatures, from the daytime high, during a night when the sky was clear than when there was a nighttime overcast. But it was never considered that the exceedingly great (and uniform) temperature of the Venus surface could be due to the cloud deck and not the GHE. While I have not read about any serious consideration that its extreme surface temperature is due to the cloud deck, I find no reference to greenhouse effect, relative to Venus, in a recent popular USA meteorology textbook. This is somewhat puzzlingly to me. Maybe I have not read the right articles.

    But returning to the lecturer’s statement, this lecturer seems not to know that science cannot prove any idea to be true. And the lecturer has the ‘philosophy’ that nothing can exist unless one can explain how it exists. Hence, my reference to the classics which I should have read near the beginning of my scientific educations instead of near the end of my teaching career. For in the second to last paragraph of his classic he wrote how he did not know the cause of gravity because he know no evidence that pointed to such a cause. And he concluded the paragraph with this statement as translated by Motte: “And to us it is enough that gravity does really exist, and act according to the law which we have explained, and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies, and of our sea.”

    Relative to the study of meteorology and climate, with the many factors which we can reason influence what ultimately does occur, Newton’s reference to the all the motions of our sea needs to be thoughtfully considered. For many factors contribute to the very varied tides that are observed at various times and places, yet he is of these very varied observations supports his reasoning and certainly does not refute it as observation can sometimes do. So I conclude the mistake that Wegener and the other proponents of continental made was they did not quote what Newton had written and state we do not know how continents can drift, but there is considerable evidence that they have.

    I cannot understand how you and so many others can focus upon trends of tenths of a degree change, which as you point out, are not even certain. Why do I consider that they are not certain? Because as an experimentalist, I know to claim to measure the actual temperature of any specific limited element of the atmosphere to a tenth of a degree is fantasy. And I know professors and instructors of chemistry agonized when digital calculators began to be used instead of a slide rule by their students. For when a student used a slide rule to calculate a result, the result could be a maximum of three digits. Which might be an exaggeration of the accuracy of the calculation but it was not four nor five nor six digits which the students could copy unwittingly from the digital calculator. For the chemists had a rule that only the right most digit of a measurement could be uncertain and then it might be uncertain by one, two, or even three digits, high or low. And the result of any calculation could not contain more digits than one of the least precise measurement or constant used in the calculation. And I am sure that this teaching of what we termed—significant figures—was a reason that some students did not enjoy studying chemistry. And I cannot say when we stopped teaching it.

    I cannot understand how you and so many others can try to explain these recent trends of tenths of degree when you are aware of the weather of nearly a decade during the 1930s in the Midwest of the USA and possibly other locations around the world when the industrial activity of that time was so much less than has occurred since the end of WWII. I cannot understand why the glaciers which once covered the land which my family farmed in eastern South Dakota seem to be ignored. For the melting of the repeating glaciations of which Louis Agassiz saw evidence had to have been the consequence of really serious global warming. For the rocks, sand, topography of this farm and the surrounding regions are very convincing evidence that there were glaciers and that they melted, more than once.

    I do not know if you know how, or what, Agassiz taught his students at Harvard University. And I did not learn about this until near the end of my teaching career. And even after I learned this I had to conclude, given the existing circumstances of how I was teaching and how so many were critical of how I was teaching, that I could never try to teach as he taught. For his primary teaching objective was not to teach his students the scientific knowledge of the day, it was to teach his students to see. By reading how he taught some of his students to see, I conclude I have learned to see and I consider this is why I have been told by Spenser and you that you both do not understand my points which are true.

    I support this conclusion by referring to a comment made by Galileo in his classical book as translated by Crew and de Salvio. “My reason for saying these things has been rather because I wanted to learn whether I had correctly understood Salviati, than because I thought Sinplicio had any need of a clearer explanation than that given by Salviati which like everything else of his is extremely lucid, so lucid, indeed, that when he solves questions which are difficult not merely in appearance, but in reality and in fact, he does so with reasons, observations and experiments what are common and familiar to everyone. In this manner he has, as I have learned from various sources, given occasion to a highly esteemed professor for undervaluing his discoveries on the ground that they are commonplace, and established upon a mean and vulgar basis; as if it were not a most admirable and praiseworthy feature of demonstrative science that it springs from and grows out of principles well-known, understood and conceded by all.”

    Now my objective is to refute the greenhouse effect in the same manner that Galileo refuted the idea that bodies twice as heavy fell twice as fast or the idea that bodies fell at a constant rate. One of these observations is the scientific law which is the air (atmosphere) temperature has never been observed to less than its dewpoint temperature. Another observation, my own, is that the downward radiation from a clear sky atmosphere, as observed by the temperature my radiometer’s a-e surface during the nighttime, is always less than the surface atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature. Here, I need the conformation of by others at various locations to verify the universality of this ‘law’. But most of all I need to have you to critically evaluate what I claim and to convince you how these two laws refute the proposal that the earth’s surface temperature would be about 33C lower if it were not GHGs. Than the next step is the reasoning I have already sent that there is actually no influence upon the atmosphere’s temperature due to GHGs.

    One more observation, since you seem to like to play with numbers. We commonly consider that GHGs emit only vertically, up or down. This is a simplifying assumption which seems to have some validity. But does it? If we consider an ocean location and ignore the influence of refraction (because I do not know what this influence might be upon outgoing radiation), horizontal emission from an atmospheric greenhouse gas molecule is toward space because the earth is a near sphere. Therefore it would seem that greenhouse gases could (should?) be emitting from more radiation to space than we generally acknowledge they do because we base our understanding solely upon what we observe they emit in a downward direction.

    There is a reason for the question. For I was about to give up my effort to refute the greenhouse effect which I was sure did not exist as proposed because it seemed no one wanted to seriously consider what I thought I had learned. But while going through old papers I found a rough draft of some one’s (UA) attempt to refute the greenhouse effect. After making a 2nd law argument UA referred to three published article’s that had received scant attention. The one most related to what I have done and thought is: V. E. Suomi, D. O. Staley, and P. M. Kuhn, “a Direct Measurement of Infra-red Radiation Divergence to 160 mb,” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, vol. 84, No. 360, Apr. 1958, pp. 134-141. In this article the authors describe a lightweight, inexpensive, net radiometer which they had designed and constructed to use during an atmospheric sounding and they reported data, in figure 3, of one of its accents.. This net radiometer had two a-e surfaces, one facing upward and one downward. So there were three temperatures observed: the ambient air temperature (actually determined during sounding made an hour later), that of the upward facing a-e surface, and that of the downward facing surface. And UA noted the fact that the temperature difference between the upward facing surface and the ambient air temperate at a given altitude was consistently about 10C up to the tropopause, upon which the authors never commented.

    So this is the reason I began to observe the downward radiation from clear skies in my backyard. And on several occasions I have observed temperature differences of 10C and recently maybe even 12C. But the reason I call your attention to this article is the change of temperature of the downward facing a-e surface, about which both the authors and UA made no comment. For after it the radiometer had been lifted to an atmospheric pressure 900mb, the temperature of the downward facing surface began to decrease until, just before the tropopause, its temperature was about 35C less than its temperature at 900mb. So it there was ever evidence the upward radiation from the earth’s being trapped in the atmosphere by the GHE, this is it. But while the a-e’s temperature was decreasing, the ambient temperature was decreasing at an ever greater rate. And based on my experience with my radiometer and my analysis of the article’s data, I cannot begin to explain the decrease upon unintended heat leaks. However, it seems, if little radiation emitted from a ‘flat’ surface directly passes through atmosphere without being absorbed and reemitted any direction at least once, that as the radiation rises, it is able to only detect a smaller portion of the radiation actually being emitted in all directions from the atmosphere, at varying altitudes beneath it. Sometimes it seems to me that what I am trying to describe is merely hand waving. So again I seek the opinion of a serious student.

    I hope I do not bore you so that you stop corresponding. Because I know I need help.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • okulaer says:

      “(…) I cannot fully understand your seemingly focus upon the most recent, short term, temperature trends.”

      Because 1) this is the time that we live in, and 2) this is the time that we have actual, comprehensive, firsthand data from, not just scant proxies.

      “(…) a prime example of the greenhouse effect found in many (USA) textbooks of that time, was the warm, humid, nights, common to Iowa, where corn with the highest yields could be grown because of these warm, humid, nights. Because I had farmed as a young person in the Midwest of the USA, I knew the reason of the warm night was that dew began to form on grass blades (and probably the corn leaves) near sunset and that it was the latent heat of the water vapor’s condensation which was the reason for the warm Iowa nights and not the result of any greenhouse effect. And this example of the ‘greenhouse effect’ has generally disappeared from any textbooks.”

      It might have disappeared from textbooks, I don’t know. But it sure hasn’t disappeared from common people’s minds. I’m still told on a regular basis how the slow cooling on humid nights is undeniable proof of the reality of the rGHE.

      “(…) it was never considered that the exceedingly great (and uniform) temperature of the Venus surface could be due to the cloud deck and not the GHE.”

      It’s not due to the cloud deck. That would be an rGHE mechanism for warming as good as any. The clouds both on Earth and on Venus radiatively exert a net cooling effect on the planetary surface below, significantly lowering the global albedo. The clouds on Venus are the main reason why so little solar heat reaches the surface in the first place, mostly reflecting, but also absorbing, the incoming radiation.

      The exceedingly high surface temperatures on Venus are simply due to the immense weight and density of its atmosphere.

      “(…) I conclude the mistake that Wegener and the other proponents of continental made was they did not quote what Newton had written and state we do not know how continents can drift, but there is considerable evidence that they have.”

      I agree this is a problem in today’s ‘scientific discourse’. If you point out a problem with some hypothesis, you are immediately asked to come up with a better explanation. And if you can’t, then the hypothesis in question automatically prevails. Saying you don’t know simply won’t cut it. And if you point something out in the observational data, but you cannot readily explain why the data shows what it shows, then what you see must somehow be an optical illusion, for it sure can’t be the result of anything real, a real physical phenomenon. You will apparently have to be able to EXPLAIN the data before you can make USE of the data in further research. This is turning the scientific method completely on its head.

      “I cannot understand how you and so many others can try to explain these recent trends of tenths of degree (…)”

      Because it’s fun! And because there is so much the available (and pretty good, much of it) observational data can tell us about the physical processes at work in our natural world. It doesn’t have to be perfect down to the tiniest detail. There are clear patterns revealed. Consistent patterns. Definite causal correlations.

      I normally restrict my investigations to the last 40-45 years, from about 1970 onwards. I don’t trust for one minute the data from earlier times, even though I sometimes (rarely) choose to present such also. Adjustments have basically ruined them forever.

      “I do not know if you know how, or what, Agassiz taught his students at Harvard University. And I did not learn about this until near the end of my teaching career. And even after I learned this I had to conclude, given the existing circumstances of how I was teaching and how so many were critical of how I was teaching, that I could never try to teach as he taught. For his primary teaching objective was not to teach his students the scientific knowledge of the day, it was to teach his students to see.”

      Yup, that’s what I do. I look. I look for patterns. And I stop and think. Weighing the possible connections. Collecting clues. Stringing loose ends together. Slowly, but steadily. I like that method. It is the best one. Keeps your mind open and flexible. You always need to start by observing. The last thing you do is make your mind up.

      “But most of all I need to have you to critically evaluate what I claim and to convince you how these two laws refute the proposal that the earth’s surface temperature would be about 33C lower if it were not GHGs. Than the next step is the reasoning I have already sent that there is actually no influence upon the atmosphere’s temperature due to GHGs.”

      There is no need for you to convince me of any of this, Jerry. I already know the so-called GHGs in the atmosphere are not making the surface of the Earth any warmer. The cool atmosphere does not transfer a separate flux of energy (on top of the solar one) to the warmer surface for it to absorb (and thus become even warmer). Because this would constitute a strict violation of the 2nd Law. The cool atmosphere is not a source of energy to its own energy source, the warm surface. The surface cannot warm itself by absorbing its own previously emitted energy a second time.

      The DWLWIR you ‘measure’ is a chimaera, Jerry. It is an atmospheric ‘radiative potential’ only. It is the ‘radiant heat flux’ the atmosphere would emit directly to a vacuum at 0 K (or simply to an object much, much colder than it; the warmer surface of the Earth is not such an object).

      “For after it the radiometer had been lifted to an atmospheric pressure 900mb, the temperature of the downward facing surface began to decrease until, just before the tropopause, its temperature was about 35C less than its temperature at 900mb. So it there was ever evidence the upward radiation from the earth’s being trapped in the atmosphere by the GHE, this is it. But while the a-e’s temperature was decreasing, the ambient temperature was decreasing at an ever greater rate. And based on my experience with my radiometer and my analysis of the article’s data, I cannot begin to explain the decrease upon unintended heat leaks. However, it seems, if little radiation emitted from a ‘flat’ surface directly passes through atmosphere without being absorbed and reemitted any direction at least once, that as the radiation rises, it is able to only detect a smaller portion of the radiation actually being emitted in all directions from the atmosphere, at varying altitudes beneath it.”

      I can tell you this much, Jerry: Trying to figure out tropospheric temperature/energy distribution by looking at internal radiation is a pointless endeavour. Sir George Simpson alerted Guy Callendar to this simple fact already back in 1938:

      “In the first place he [Simpson] thought it was not sufficiently realised by non-meteorologists who came for the first time to help the [Royal] Society in its study, that it was impossible to solve the problem of the temperature distribution in the atmosphere by working out the radiation. The atmosphere was not in a state of radiative equilibrium, and it also received heat by transfer from one part to another.

      In the second place, one had to remember that the temperature distribution in the atmosphere was determined almost entirely by the movement of the air up and down. This forced the atmosphere into a temperature distribution which was quite out of balance with the radiation. One could not, therefore, calculate the effect of changing any one factor in the atmosphere (…).”

      Radiation does not matter when it comes to the transport of energy inside the troposphere. The same thing with conduction. It might try, and it sure does. But it does not matter in the end. It makes no difference. The internal temperature (and hence energy) distribution of the troposphere is fully determined (and maintained) by the movement of bulk air. Convection-advection simply and effortlessly trumps all radiative/conductive attempts at perturbing the net flow of energy through the troposphere from the heating end down low to the cooling end up high.

      Radiation thus only really functions as input to and output from the surface-troposphere system. In between, convection-advection reigns supreme. Proof? The environmental lapse rate, which is set at the balance point between solar heating at the surface (input) and IR cooling up towards the tropopause (output) (radiation thus always, on a global scale, working towards steepening the lapse rate) on one side, and convection (connecting the two ends by smoothing out the lapse rate – moving excess heat from the surface up towards the tropopause) on the other. There is no way internal radiation can do anything about this setup.

      • jerry l krause says:

        Hi Kristian,

        Again thanks for replying.

        Because it’s fun! Yes, I have concluded that participating on a blog-site such as Spenser’s is a game (like chess) to many. To me it is a responsibility. “God blessed them, and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”” (Genesis 1:28 NIV) Devote Christian men founded the science we try to practice. Previous to their efforts it might be said that man had not subdued nearly all that he was commanded to do; but now we can see have come close in little more than 4 centuries because of the science demonstrated by these founders. Yet, there are those who conclude that such is wrong. They consider God’s creation should have dominion over man.
        Consider the preface Richard Feynman wrote to his address—The Value of Science—given at the 1995 autumn meeting of the National Academy of Sciences as published in this book “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” “When I was younger, I thought science would make good things for everybody. During the war I worked on the atomic bomb. This result of science was obviously a very serious matter: it represented the destruction of people.

        “After the war I was very worried about the bomb. I didn’t know what the future was going to look like, and I certainly wasn’t anywhere near sure that we would last until now. Therefore one questions was—is there some evil involved in science?

        “Put another way—what is the value of the science I had dedicated myself to—the thing I loved—when I saw what terrible things it could do? It was a question I had to answer.

        “The Value of Science is a kind of report, if you will, on many of the thoughts that came to me when I tried to answer that question.”

        “The DWLWIR you ‘measure’ is a chimaera, Jerry. It is an atmospheric ‘radiative potential’ only. It is the ‘radiant heat flux’ the atmosphere would emit directly to a vacuum at 0 K (or simply to an object much, much colder than it; the warmer surface of the Earth isnot such an object).”

        The DWLWIR I observe evidence of by the temperature of the radiometer’s low thermal inertia absorbing-emitting surface is not an illusion any more than any other temperature you might consider. Can you not see that what I observe is evidence of what the atmosphere should be ”emitting directly to a vacuum at 0 K (or simply to an object much, much colder than it)”? That is if there are no clouds to scatter it back downward. For the clouds would temporarily delay the transmission of LWIR to space.

        Several times I have quoted what Feynman taught his students at Caltech about light scattering by clouds. So, one more time. He taught: “We have just explained that every atom scatters light, and of course the water vapor will scatter light, too. This mystery is why, when the water is condensed into clouds, does it scatter such a tremendously greater amount of light.?” I omit the theoretical reasoning presented by Feynman to the class because I do not pretend to be able to fully comprehend it and now pick up his lecture at the point I believe I can fully comprehend what he was teaching. “That is to say, the scattering of water in lumps of N molecules each is N times more tense than the scattering of the single atoms. So as the water agglomerates the scattering increases. Does it increase ad infinitum? No! When does this analysis begin to fail? How many atoms can we put together before we cannot drive this argument any further? Answer: If the water drop gets so big that from one end to the other is a wavelength or so, then the atoms are no longer all in phase because they are too far apart. So as we keep increasing the size of the droplets we get more and more scattering, until such a time that a drop gets about the size of a wavelength, and then the scattering does not increase anywhere nearly as rapidly as the drop gets bigger. Furthermore, the blue disappears, because for long wavelengths the drops can be bigger, before this limit is reached, than they can be for short wavelengths. Although the short wave lengths scatter more per atom than the long waves, there is a bigger enhancement for the red end of the spectrum than for the blue end when all the drops are bigger than the wavelength, so the color is shifted from the blue toward the red.” (The Feynman Lectures On Physics) There is more to the lecture (32-8,9) and you might read everything that Feynman taught in this lecture.

        Now, I have not found anyone who seems aware of this teaching. I have tried to contact Caltech but could not find anyone who would answer the phone or call back or respond to an email. One physicist considered it was Mie scattering but I cannot imagine Feynman dishonoring Mie by not giving him credit. All I can say I can read and Feynman clearly proposed that common sized cloud droplets should scatter LWIR much more strongly than visible light. You wrote: “The clouds both on Earth and on Venus radiatively exert a net cooling effect on the planetary surface below, significantly lowering the global albedo.” So suspect you did not even consider that clouds might scatter LWIR, as it appears most do. I stayed up until about 3AM trying to freeze water when I considered the sky was clear, but in each case the weather observed there was a high cirrus 10% overcast. So I know, from experience, that while these thin clouds did not warm the surface they certainly slowed its cooling.

        Finally, if you would read Feynman’s address, you will find a warning that the last thing a scientist should do to make his/her mind up, for no matter how sure a scientist might be is there has to remain some uncertainity. This warning was the cornerstone of his address as he concluded: “It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.”

        So I will end on this note and come back to other issues later.

        Have a good day, Jerry

  5. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Kristian,

    I see I am unable to place this comment after your latest comment of 3/11.

    No, Jerry. It is not evidence of anything but the atmospheric ‘radiative potential’. The rest is all in your head. You observe the changes in your sensor temperature readings and then you interpret the cause of these changes to be the absorption of downwelling radiation from the atmosphere. But what your sensor actually detects is the unidirectional ‘heat flux’. It moves out of the sensor if it’s warmer than the air around/above it. And it moves into the sensor if it’s cooler. The rest is only your conjecture.

    While it is very important to me that we continue our correspondence, I must strongly disagree with what you have stated. You use the phrase ‘atmospheric radiative potential’, with which I have no experience. I just Googled it and although I never found a specific reference to those three words I did find phrases which seem related. I think I wrote about the word—forcing—which I had never read when I first began to read the literature about the greenhouse effect and the potential of increasing carbon dioxide concentration to increase of the temperature of earth-atmosphere system. But suddenly when I went to talk with an atmospheric scientist there was this new word—forcing.

    You may or may not know about Linus Pauling and his fundamental contributions to the science known as chemistry. And you may or may not consider what he stated during a lecture, held in the physics building at Oregon State University, has anything to do with the invention of new words by the establishment which promotes the idea of the greenhouse effect and its potential to change the naturally fluctuating temperature of the earth-atmosphere system. In the lecture he told how he decided read about (study) nuclear physics and what he found was a language which only the nuclear physicists could speak and which no one else could understand. So, he concluded that the nuclear physicists did not really know anything.

    You seem to be using the words invented by the very people with whom I thought you had more disagreements than with me. Relative to what you wrote, I have one question. When I observe the temperature of the a-e surface of my radiometer, is there a radiation balance between absorption and emission according at that surface?

    You stated: “I had hoped you’d noticed that little word ‘net’. Clouds exert a NET cooling effect on the planetary surface below. Theyalso slow cooling, when the surface actually cools. But their contribution to the reduction in surface heating easily outstrips this effect. I deliberated on this topic here: … ”

    I did not deliberate, I cited actual observed evidence of how clouds, very thin high altitude clouds, significantly reduced the lost of heat from the water surface I was expecting to freeze significantly during a night of more than 12 hours. You did not respond, in any way to what Feynman taught, so why should I read your deliberations. You referred to something you claim well-known scientists stated that more ordinary scientists seem to have ignored, yet you did not refer me to where I might read the statements of the well-known scientists to whom you referred.

    I have quoted R. C. Sutcliffe from his book Weather and Climate many times. He stated: “Clouds which do not give rain, which never even threaten to give rain but which dissolve again into vapour before the precipitation stage is ever reached, have a profound effect on our climate. This is obvious enough if we only think of the difference between a cloudy and a sunny day in summer or between an overcast and a clear frosty night in winter.” Spenser stated: “I have a long history of advocating that clouds are probably the biggest uncertainty in climate change forecasts.” The issue is not understanding change, the issue is understanding weather because I know climate is merely the average of weather at individual locations at varying times of the year. I do not think this I claim to know this even though it seems many consider climate to even be independent of weather.

    And I can read of book of physical geography and find it is easy to understand the principal physical factors involved in the resulting climate of a particular location at a particular time. What we and I do not understand are the extreme, relatively short term, departures from the ‘climate’ expected for a particular location at a particular time.

    One thing I think we agree upon, which is too seldom discussed, is the importance of understanding the circulation of the global atmosphere which in turn causes the ocean’s currents. But another statement of Sutcliffe which I have repeated and repeated is: “All this may seem a far cry from the general circulation of the world’s atmosphere but the detail serves to point the moral, that one cannot explain the broad features of world climate if one does not know the actual mechanisms involved.” Here a key word is general. Again, I seem to have seen things which I do not find being commonly discussed in the fundamental ways I conclude they should be.

    But first it seems we need to resolve some issues so we can better respect each other and learn from each other. You not doubt are quite intelligent, better read than me, and more skilled in many ways. But I possibly might have more experience in some areas. But I really do not know your background beyond geology and your ability to quickly grasp what is generally known, in one way or another, about the topic which we are discussing.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • okulaer says:

      [I said:] “No, Jerry. It is not evidence of anything but the atmospheric ‘radiative potential’. The rest is all in your head. You observe the changes in your sensor temperature readings and then you interpret the cause of these changes to be the absorption of downwelling radiation from the atmosphere. But what your sensor actually detects is the unidirectional ‘heat flux’. It moves out of the sensor if it’s warmer than the air around/above it. And it moves into the sensor if it’s cooler. The rest is only your conjecture.”

      While it is very important to me that we continue our correspondence, I must strongly disagree with what you have stated.”

      But then I’m curious to know, Jerry, what specifically in what I say is it that you disagree with? And why?

      # Is it my pointing out to you the simple fact that the temperature variation of your sensor in no way constitutes evidence of it absorbing atmospheric DWLWIR? That that’s only your assumed cause of the temperature variation? (I can assume another cause and get the same effect. We only observe an ‘effect’ here, Jerry. Not the ’cause’ of that effect. The ’cause’ is what we hypothesize about.)

      # And/or is it my pointing out to you the simple fact that your sensor only ever actually detects a UNIdirectional transfer of energy as ‘heat’, to it if it’s cooler than its surroundings, from it if it’s warmer?

      We can get no further until we’ve settled this issue.

    • okulaer says:

      “You stated: “I had hoped you’d noticed that little word ‘net’. Clouds exert a NET cooling effect on the planetary surface below. They also slow cooling, when the surface actually cools. But their contribution to the reduction in surface heating easily outstrips this effect. I deliberated on this topic here: … ”

      I did not deliberate, I cited actual observed evidence of how clouds, very thin high altitude clouds, significantly reduced the lost of heat from the water surface I was expecting to freeze significantly during a night of more than 12 hours. You did not respond, in any way to what Feynman taught, so why should I read your deliberations. You referred to something you claim well-known scientists stated that more ordinary scientists seem to have ignored, yet you did not refer me to where I might read the statements of the well-known scientists to whom you referred.”

      But then I fear we’ve reached the end of this communication, Jerry. If you don’t read what I write, and then simply continue to object to what I say based on arguments I’ve already addressed elsewhere (and I direct you to it), then, sorry, I can’t be bothered repeating myself to no avail. It’s the same thing with the whole DWLWIR issue. If you had only read (and taken in) the posts I’ve linked to now on multiple occasions, you would understand that your arguments for the ‘bidirectional flow’ concept is EXACTLY the ones I have addressed for the last couple of months on this blog.

      If you disagree with me, then that’s completely fine. I don’t mind. And I thank you for your interest.

      • jerry l krause says:

        Hi Kristian,

        If you do not respond to this I will not submit another comment to you blog-site because I do not want to waste anybody else’s time. So, do not feel obligated to read further. I do not argue. I try not write what I think. I do write about what I have observed that I know you could observed if you tried. I write about what others have written that you could read for yourself because I have tried to reference where you can read that which I quote or paraphrase. I do not claim to know the truth because I do not know the truth.

        I only respond here to your latest comments because you asked me specific questions which I conclude I am obligated. This because I have benefitted from your previous comments. And since I have just written you are not obligated to read further, I know that you are already voluntarily reading further.

        You ask:
        “But then I’m curious to know, Jerry, what specifically in what I say is it that you disagree with? And why?
        # Is it my pointing out to you the simple fact that the temperature variation of your sensor in no way constitutes evidence of it absorbing atmospheric DWLWIR? That that’s only your assumed cause of the temperature variation? (I can assume another cause and get the same effect. We only observe an ‘effect’ here, Jerry. Not the ’cause’ of that effect. The ’cause’ is what we hypothesize about.)
        # And/or is it my pointing out to you the simple fact that your sensor only ever actually detects a UNIdirectional transfer of energy as ‘heat’, to it if it’s cooler than its surroundings, from it if it’s warmer?”

        I disagree with the attitude (for lack of a better word that I can think of) of a person who can state: “I can assume another cause and get the same effect.”, and then not tell me what this other cause might be which would give the same effect.

        Relative to the second specific question, I believe I have told you, but I must admit my memory is not perfect, that the temperature of the ambient atmosphere just above the a-e surface, given cloudless sky condition and that the has already set, is always greater than the temperature of the a-e surface and the temperature of the ambient atmosphere just above the a-e surface remains greater until a little after sunrise the next morning. But whether or not I informed you of such, how is it that you consider that all the atmosphere above the surface is cooling so that its temperature is always cooler than the temperature of the ambient atmosphere, about 1.5 meters above the surface, as it cools maybe 20C from its high at about 4PM, or later at the higher latitudes during summer, to its low shortly after sunrise. While the ranges of the diurnal temperature oscillations are not this extreme at all locations, given cloudless sky conditions, it is common at many specific locations at specific times.

        So while you have written that you try to see common things, the truth is that you seem not to have seen some of the most obvious. Starting about a year or two, when I learned I could access raw sounding data at the University of Wyoming website, I have studied this data and have observed the temperature inversions which commonly form, given cloudless sky conditions, each and every night over land surfaces. Unfortunately, I know of no regular soundings that are made in the open ocean where the range of the diurnal temperature oscillation, given cloudless conditions, is much, much, less than 20C. But based upon the information that Eshenbach posted, I do know how quickly the temperature of the ambient atmosphere warms 0.5C or so, shortly after sunrise and how rapidly it cools about the same near sunset.

        Another reason I was obligated to answer these specific questions, is I also have asked specific questions to which you have not responded as you ask me to read your arguments. When anyone asks a question he/she is not telling the other person anything. Your specific questions were good and I have answered them as honestly as I could.

        Have a good day, Jerry

        • okulaer says:

          “I disagree with the attitude (for lack of a better word that I can think of) of a person who can state: “I can assume another cause and get the same effect.”, and then not tell me what this other cause might be which would give the same effect.”

          It is in those other posts of mine that I kept linking to but you refused to read, Jerry! Hence the end of our communication.

  6. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Kristian,

    I’m going back on my word. I see you as a quite intelligent person who could help me, and maybe it would be fun. Could we put aside our differences about radiation for a while and focus upon atmospheric circulation? I have no idea if you have thought at length about it and if you have, I have no idea what you may have concluded. But I have thought at length about it and have concluded a fundamental issue involves topography (geology?) and the centrifugal effect relative to the Northern Hemisphere’s winters. I do not commonly see these factors as being considered as the major players which I consider they are.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  7. Rafael Molina Navas says:

    I have a “metaphysical” question.
    An object, warmer than the objects and air around, is emitting radiation in all directions. In a certain moment, we put nearby other still warmer object.
    How the first object “knows” that it has to stop radiating in the direction of the second, because a principium of Physics “forbids” it?

    • okulaer says:

      It doesn’t stop radiating in the direction of the second object, Rafael. But an actual ‘transfer of energy’ away from the first object through its radiation is no longer realised in that specific direction. Please read this post in which the difference between ‘potential radiative energy transfers’ and ‘real (realised) radiative energy transfers’ is explained:
      https://okulaer.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/to-heat-a-planetary-surface-for-dummies-part-4/

      • Rafael Molina Navas says:

        Thank you.
        To be honest, after reading what linked by you, I must say I find you very smart … especially in juggling with concepts, words, and even with animated figures.
        ALL events are “just potential (hypothetical)” (not only radiation energy transfers) before they actually happen … But not beeing English my mother tongue, I´m not going to discuss with you on that field.
        But as radiation from the cold object in the direction of the hotter is real, ITS energy must also be real, not hypothetical. What happens with that energy when that radiation reaches the hotter object, if its transference is “forbidden” ?
        Or with your animated figures are you suggesting that the electromagnetic waves in the direction of the hotter object are canceld out by what coming in the opposite direction?

  8. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Kristian and Rafael,

    Kristian, I do not know how much attention you have given to Rafael’s comments over, say, the last month. I do know that you responded to his challenge to respond to the article by Feldman et al. Which you did at length and this seemed to cause Rafael to go silent. Silent because we (you and I) now know he was reading and studying, what I should have done, that you had previously posted on your site.

    Kristian I lie. I lie because I cannot allow such a talented person as you suffer under the illusion that you cannot be wrong. I made a stubborn mistake by not going to your post when you asked me to do so. I made a mistake when I initially did not voluntary begin to read, as Rafael has, what you had written when I learned about your site. I have gone to the beginning of your posts and have gotten to November on which I am still reading. But I have already copied so much to comment upon that it seems best to begin and see I far I get.

    But I have just read Rafael’s response to your comment. By which I know he has read what I should have. Rafael, because I have begun to read what you have, I am being to conclude that Kristian is not only a very talented, intelligent, person, but that he might be considered a genius. But a generally unrecognized genius. The extended comments about what he has posted have generally been from people disagreeing with this or that. When a posting has generated one or two comments, these comments have been complimentary and maybe continued reading will so me wrong, but I do not find them extolling to others or commenting again. Or as you have, commenting him and then disagreeing with him about a fundamental proposition of his which you are not willing to accept without further discussion. As I have (commented and disagreed) in my conversations with you and him.

    We three come at a common problem from three different directions. I am no genius but I have read and thought about this common problem longer than it seems both of you have. And I consider it possible that I have read more about the giants of the past than either of you. And I consider I have seen several things that I do not commonly read about just as Kristian has seen the three steps (jumps) in the Pacific sea surface temperatures that it seems others may not have seen. I began participating in Spencer’s site to specifically call to his attention to two things that I had seen that it seemed few others had seen or had chosen to ignore; only to learn that he could not understand the possible importance of that (simple) to which I drew his attention. It seems this is the same problem that Kristian faces. People recognize his talent and intelligence but they go on their ways as if he has not said anything of importance.

    An ancient king, Solomon, is said to have stated: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though on may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

    Galileo in his classic book used the dialogues of three fictional characters to share his method of science which overturned a few very fundamental ideas about the world in which we live and replaced them with ideas which we still commonly accept to be the truth today. But despite his knowledge of Kepler’s analysis of Tycho Brahe’s very accurate naked-eye astronomical observations. From which Kepler concluded the orbits of the planets about the sun were elliptical. Galileo refused to accept they were elliptical and instead claimed they were circular because he believed that a circle was more perfect than an ellipse and he further believed that his creator God would not create something that was not perfect. So even though he taught us that science must be based upon observation and not reason or debate, he based some of his understanding upon what he believed and seemed ignore that which had been observed. And we now know beyond any question, because we have observations which cannot be questioned, he was wrong about the shape of the planets’ orbits.

    Feynman has written the Bohr, when he came to Los Alamos with his latest ideas would always seek out Feynman first to tell Feynman his latest ideas because he knew Feynman would critically examine the ideas and tell him, Bohr, that he was full of it, if he was, whereas the others would likely agree to any idea because he was Bohr.

    Kristian, I called attention to how Feynman closed his address to the National Academy of Sciences, “[Feynman:] “It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations.””, and you replied: “True words.” But I am not sure that you, have, at this point, a “satisfactory philosophy of ignorance” about some of your ideas.

    I am going to reply to what you wrote August 11 in a way that I do not consider polite but it seems to be a way too many, maybe even you and me sometimes, communicate on Spencer’s site. You wrote (quite politely): You will, however, never find an example in any of these textbooks where it is even hinted or suggested that energy transferred from a cold to a hot body in a spontaneous thermal exchange (a heat transfer) will be able to directly cause an increase in the hot body’s internal energy and thus make it warmer in absolute terms.
    So even in the ‘two bodies cooling’ situation, it cannot be correct to say that it is the energy coming IN from the cooler to the warmer body that makes the warmer body cool more slowly than if it were facing a heat sink at 0 K. The slower cooling rate of the warmer body is rather the result of less energy going OUT from the warmer body to the cooler one. Because it’s facing a higher temperature than 0 K.

    To which I reply impolitely: How does the hotter body know it’s facing a colder body whose temperature is greater than 0 K? Oh, I get it, the colder body is blocking the transmission of the hotter body because the hotter body cannot absorb the emission of the colder. That’s an alternative explanation I guess. But it seems amazingly like the proposed greenhouse effect.

    In the same post you wrote:
    Scenario 1: Warm body facing space.
    External heat input (Qin from hot reservoir): 2. Heat output (Qout to space): 2. Net heat (Q): 2 – 2 = 0. No change in internal energy: ΔU = 0. Steady-state temperature. Notice here that the heat output from the warm body equals its Stefan-Boltzmann-derived radiant emittance, because the cold reservoir (space) has no temperature: Q = εσT4.

    Here, the problem seems more serious. One body emitting to the emptiness of space. Your body emits but it doesn’t cool. Where, oh where, from where did this external heat input come? Where is this hot reservoir if it is not the body? Oh, it is the sun. But I thought the issue was the slower cooling rate of the warmer body and in Scenario 2 you propose the same input from the external hot reservoir. So the hot body of Scenario 2 had no chance to cool because the body of Scenario 1 did not. And I have no idea of how you will respond to this critique of what you wrote; or even if you will reply. While I have read and commented upon more of what you have written, it got to be way too long.

    Rafael, very glad you are back and Kristian, I hope, given my apologies and the fact I am now reading what you wrote, you will begin corresponding with me again. For, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  9. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Kristian,

    Yes, I lie. I said I could not waste anyone’s time. You don’t have to read what follows and you do not have to reply. But as I have written: “I cannot allow such a talented person as you suffer under the illusion that you cannot be wrong.” So I hammer away.

    Elsevirs, the publisher of Galileo’s Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, called attention to a common saying of that time. And I have frequently quoted it. It was (as translated by Crew and de Salvio): “Intuitive knowledge keeps pace with accurate definition.” A quote of Einstein which I have never quoted is (as translated by Motte): “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” I have never quoted it because I could not imagine where it might apply. Now I do.

    In your post of 8/11/15 you defined a scenario of a warm body emitting radiation toward the 0K temperature of empty space. But according to your scenario this warm body did not cool. Why? Because out of the emptiness of space you proposed a source of energy to replace that being emitted by the body toward this empty space. I called this problem to your attention in my last comments to which you have not responded. I only repeat it now because of Einstein’s quote. I have no idea why you created this problem or if you will even admit that what you did is a problem.

    And I call attention to another fact which is that I did read the posting of Willis Eshenbach’s guest posting on WUWT.com on 2/18/15 to which you referred after I had questioned something about the figures which you had included in one of your postings. There I found his figures of the temperatures of the sea surface temperatures and of the ambient atmosphere temperatures instead of figures of temperature anomalies. And I have just looked up the definition of anomalous in the dictionary I was required to purchase for my first university English course. And I found anomalous could be defined as: “inconsistent with what would naturally be expected”. Since this had been my working definition of anomalous when I inspected the figures which showed continuously varying temperatures during two consecutive days of which I naturally expected, I was lost as to what the plots of the anomalies shown in his other, and then your, figures were about.

    Finally, today, I have finally concluded the anomalies are the differences between the actual temperatures observed during the day and the average temperature of that day, which does not vary during the day. So it is this average temperature which is the anomalous temperature. But, there is a reason for focusing on these differences. Because the range of the daily temperature oscillation along the equator in the Pacific Ocean is much less than that commonly observed over a land surface, plotting this difference between the actual expected temperatures and the average temperature allows a temperature scale to be used which highlights the actual small variations of temperature which naturally occur during a day. But without clearly defining what these anomalies actually were must create confusion instead of intuitive knowledge. Now, I could go on about what can be more easily seen in the figures of these difference but this would detract from the central purpose of these comments.

    Another result of the lack of accurate definition is that ‘I’ finally had to conclude that the temperature plots were not the plots of the actual temperatures observed during a given day or two, they were the temperatures observed during many days and averaged to make a smooth trace. Which quickly prompted a question: Which many days? But if the temperatures were actual temperatures of given days, the time (season) of those temperatures still should have been given to accurately define the system whose properties are being described. Maybe there is no seasonal variation of the eastern Pacific’s surface temperatures along the equator and maybe there are. But I a reader of Eshenbach’s posting would have dig much deeper to find the data sets of the actual daily temperatures from which the figures in one way or another were constructed.

    So, Kristian, I ask you to ponder the wisdom of Elsevirs’ and Einstein’s quotes.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • okulaer says:

      Jerry, you quote Einstein, saying: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

      Which is exactly what you’re doing with your attempted “back radiation is absorbed by the surface, but it still somehow doesn’t warm it” rationalising exercise. It doesn’t work, Jerry. You can’t have it both ways. Either energy is absorbed and warms the absorbing system. Or it’s not absorbed and thus cannot warm it. I’ve explained why the energy from the cooler atmosphere cannot be absorbed by the warmer surface (because that would ultimately lead to a violation of the 2nd Law), and I’ve explained how the energy from the cooler atmosphere is not absorbed by the warmer surface, even as both opposing systems are radiating (because radiative energy can only be transferred through space by the movement of EM wavefronts, so when a set of wavefronts is no longer able to move separately in a forward direction (like when it meets a more energetic set of wavefronts), then the radiative energy it carries is also no longer able to move any further in that direction).

      I am thinking differently, Jerry. Just what you’re calling for. I specifically move away from and beyond the archaic conceptual model of ‘bidirectional transfer’ that everyone (including you) seems to be hanging on to for dear life, to explain what really happens in a ‘radiative heat transfer’ situation. My explanation gives the exact same result as yours. The EFFECT remains the same. It just doesn’t end up violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Like yours does. It is the physical transfer of energy that goes only one way. Like an electric current spontaneously generated between two electric potentials (voltages) at different strengths. The potentials are not themselves real opposing currents making up a ‘net current’. There is only ONE real current. The difference in strength between the two potentials simply drives the actual UNIdirectional transfer of energy, the electric current, from high to low potential. The greater the difference in potential field strengths, the stronger the current.

      You continue:

      “In your post of 8/11/15 you defined a scenario of a warm body emitting radiation toward the 0K temperature of empty space. But according to your scenario this warm body did not cool. Why? Because out of the emptiness of space you proposed a source of energy to replace that being emitted by the body toward this empty space. I called this problem to your attention in my last comments to which you have not responded. I only repeat it now because of Einstein’s quote. I have no idea why you created this problem or if you will even admit that what you did is a problem.”

      In what way is this a problem!? Does the surface of the Sun cool at any point, Jerry? No. And neither does it grow any hotter. Because energy is constantly being released from chemical reactions (fusion processes) at its core and this constant supply of energy (heat IN) is exactly balanced by the release of radiant heat OUT from the Sun’s global surface into space. Q_in = Q_out; Q_net = 0; ΔU = 0; ΔT = 0. This is basic stuff. Nothing mysterious about it at all.

      I simply don’t get your objection. You don’t seem to understand what you’re objecting to. You need to open your mind and your eyes and start practicing what Einstein told you about the approach to scientific problems. Don’t you think I’ve been through that process? I’m still there. It’s a constant struggle. Because we’re all caught in our old ways, our old ideas, always. It’s only human …

      • Rafael Molina Navas says:

        You haven´t replied my six days old post … But I can read now, on your answer to Jerry:
        “I’ve explained why the energy from the cooler atmosphere cannot be absorbed by the warmer surface (because that would ultimately lead to a violation of the 2nd Law)”
        You have been told by some of us that your interpretation of 2nd law “may” be wrong … So, beeing that the core of the issue, what quoted CAN´T be considered any explanation whatsoever.
        You also say:
        “…radiative energy can only be transferred through space by the movement of EM wavefronts, so when a set of wavefronts is no longer able to move separately in a forward direction (like when it meets a more energetic set of wavefronts), then the radiative energy it carries is also no longer able to move any further in that direction”.
        Do you actually think so? Do you REALLY mean that electromagnetic waves in opposite directions, even of different frequencies, can cancel each other out, and their energies kind of disapear?
        I´m not an expert, but feel pretty sure that is utterly wrong. I can understand now why perhaps you didn´t unswer my post, where at the end I already asked:

        “Or with your animated figures are you suggesting that the electromagnetic waves in the direction of the hotter object are canceld out by what coming in the opposite direction?”

  10. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Kristian and Rafael, and anyone else who might read this,

    If you have not read Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences by Galileo Galilei, I urge you to do so. I have read that when Galileo wrote this book he was under house arrest and forbidden to write another book. And I have read that Galileo stated: “We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.” Given this statement, I ask: Why did Galileo write this forbidden book? And my answer is: To help a reader discover it within themselves.

    The following seems to be common knowledge. Socrates was a teacher with students. It is said that he taught by only asking questions. It is said that Socrates stated the reason that he only asked questions was that he did not know anything, so he was trying to find out. It is said that the city authorities concluded his teaching was corrupting the youth (students) so they sentenced him to death. It is said Plato was one of his students and Plato became a teacher. A teacher who taught some of what Socrates had taught him. But Socrates had not taught Plato anything; he had only asked questions. But it is seems Plato did not only ask his students questions. It seems he began to teach his students what he had learned from Socrates. And it seems one of Plato’s students was Aristotle. And I (we?) know that Aristotle, and other ‘philosophers’ of that time, established certain ideas about natural things that Galileo demonstrated by his methods to be totally false. But Galileo not only demonstrated these certain ideas to be wrong, but he offered other ideas, formatted by observation and accurate definition, that have not yet been proven to be false.

    I reviewed this bit of history to demonstrate the change that occurred during three generations of Greek philosophers. As I read what I conclude to be endless argument and debate that predominates on this and other blog-sites, I urge you to read what Galileo wrote to help a reader to discover within themselves the mysteries of nature. For it seems, in the case of the hypothesis known as the greenhouse effect, that the methods of present day natural science has reverted to the methods that Aristotle, and the natural philosophers of that time, practiced.

    Rafael, I have agonized over what to write that might help Kristian see what so many of us see. I finally concluded that several beside you and I have tried to help so he is well informed and I doubt any more discussion of this difference of opinion would not be productive for any of us. Kristian replied to Feldman et al. article and you have not, to my knowledge, addressed his comments. I began to and then I got distracted. A problem (and it is not necessarily a bad problem) is Kristian provides so much information to consider that it seldom gets properly digested.
    You know that one of my crusades is that the averaging process destroys actual information. You probably have read, and if you haven’t you can, about what has been said about Willis Eschenbach’s guest posting on WUWT. In it he made a comment that I find interesting. He stated: The first is my own experience of a couple of decades of working in these tropical regions. My observations are that before the afternoon thunderstorms come rolling in, the air is often “sticky” with moisture. After the thunderstorms, on the other hand, the air feels dryer. Anecdotal, I know, but I tend to trust my own experience over theory …

    Anecdotal: based on or consisting of reports or observations of usually unscientific observers. Is Willis an unscientific observer? No. Am I, in making my backyard observations, an unscientific observer? No. Is it a valid observation that in Willis’s tropical region that during certain periods, if not consistently during the entire year, that afternoon thunderstorms consistently occur? Probably yes, based on other things I have read. Is Willis’ experience accurate? Probably. What can we learn from this information? Or, can we explain this information?

    Later, I have discovered I am maybe wrong about my somewhat endorsement of Willis. But rather than address this problem now, I will not change anything I had previously written to the point of my discovery of the problem, except for this warning.

    Relative to Willis’ stated purpose of his posting, significant is the apparent fact that even though it seems that after the thunderstorm the air feels dryer that by the next afternoon the air is ‘sticky’ with moisture before the next afternoon thunderstorm. From this I have to conclude that rehumidifying the atmosphere is not a problem over the open ocean. That is if thunderstorms occur over a specific area of the open ocean most every afternoon. I wonder if Willis is conscious of the fact that where he lives and works is quite different from the conditions of the open tropical ocean. I wonder if he is considering the fact that thunderstorms are small in area and short in duration. I wonder if he considering what happens, or is occurring during the very large scale tropical atmospheric system commonly termed a hurricane or typhoon or cyclone? I wonder if Willis is remembering what happens when these large, long period, systems move over extensive land areas where rehumidifying the atmosphere is a problem.

    The following is his explanation of the change from ‘sticky’ air to ‘dry’ air. The other reason is that although there is a lot of moisture moving around during the thunderstorm regime, it’s mostly concentrated under and inside the thunderstorms, and that moist air is moving rapidly upwards to have the water wrung out of it by the thunderstorm. But in the much larger area in between the thunderstorms, you have dry descending air. This is air from which the water has been stripped by the thunderstorm through a combination of condensation and freezing.

    At first glance it might seem that nothing in this explanation is wrong, because nothing stated is wrong. What is wrong is that the atmospheric system termed a thunderstorm has not been accurately defined. What is not defined is how a tropical thunderstorm differs from a thunderstorm of the mid-latitudes.

    Willis knows, or should know, that his audience is not generally well informed about the topic he addresses as he attempts to refute a scholar such as Dr. Ramanathan. Therefore, the burden is upon him to accurately define for them the topic he is addressing. Yes, such accurate definition would require many words and that is why (I conclude) that Galileo had to write a book. I looked up who Willis Eschenbach actually was. Rafael, you have formally studied scientific subjects and engineering subjects which deal with the physical world. From what I read he has not. This does not disqualify him as being a knowledgeable person about that which he wrote. But the fact is he did not begin to accurately define the atmospheric system he was addressing.

    Kristian, beyond the fact you have been formally educated with a major in geology I know nothing of your other experiences and I do not even know what other sciences geology majors are required to study. Again, there is nothing wrong with being self-taught. But I know my extensive scientific experiences were greatly lacking because I had not read, or tried to read, Galileo’s, Newton’s, and Boyle’s classic books or read about how Louis Agassiz taught his students.

    A serious oversight of Willis was that he basically overlooked the precipitation of the thunderstorm. He does allude to the fact that it involved the freezing of condensed water vapor (cloud droplets). But he does not mention the likely fact that some of the precipitation, which fell to the earth’s surface during a tropical thunderstorm, had been, only a short time earlier, ice frozen to a temperature of about –75C. For this is the temperature commonly observed at the top of the tropical troposphere. Now, a proper question is how was this ice warmed and melted as it fell? Of course, it was falling through an atmosphere whose temperature was ever increasing. Another question, of which I do not the answer, is: Does all this ice fall through an atmosphere which had just recently had much of it water vapor removed by condensation in the rising column of atmosphere or it falling through an atmosphere that was not part of the rising column? For if it were the latter, there would be much water vapor to condense of the surfaces of the falling ice particles and then, when the ice has been melted by the latent heat of the condensation process, these droplets’ temperatures would begin at 0C and then be further warmed by further condensation of water vapor upon their surfaces as the droplets fell.

    My point is that if one has ever experienced the actual downpour of a thunderstorm, one knows the air temperature suddenly decreases as the rain falls. So the ‘sticky’ hot atmosphere has in a short period of time become cooler, drier. But only at the locations where the precipitation has actually occurred. Then, if the location where the precipitation has occurred is land, the sun soon shines with nearly its previous intensity which begins to warm the surface and evaporate a portion of the precipitation that just fell and thereby begin rehumidifying the atmosphere as well as by the mixing (which can be reasonably rapid because of the limited volume through which the precipitation fell and the limited area upon which it fell) of the undehumidified atmosphere with the dehumidified atmosphere.

    It was at this point I went back to Willis’ post because I remembered, or thought I remember a place in the tropical Pacific where he had some of his experiences. And on the way I thought I would check a more ‘reliable’ source about who Willis was than I had. This time I learned more damning information about his background. Rafael, there seems no doubt that you have a better background with which to study and understand the subject we, including Willis, are discussing. For even Spencer has commented negatively about Willis. If you google Willis’ biography you can read what I have read. But Willis’ writing, as a taking off point for discussion, is no worse than what Aristotle wrote about his scientific knowledge. Nor, is it necessarily worse than what Roy Spencer Ph. D. has written or what he and his colleagues who study our atmospheric system from space have reported about it.

    Rafael was johnny-on-the-spot and called Feldman et al.’ article to our attention. Somehow I learned that Judith Curry had drawn attention to a recent article about the earth’s albedo as observed from space. Which, as she recognized, is a very fundamental factor in the earth’s radiation balance. Now, a fact is that in the 80s or early 90s I had several telephone conversation with Robert Cess. You can read about him on Wikipedia and discover he does not seem to be a Willis. During the course of these conversations he said something which caused me to recognize that one cannot observe the earth’s albedo from space. Which, of course, he denied as he stated he was the principal investigator in this project. Now, another fact is that I came to visit Verner Suomi at the U. of Wisconsin because I had read that he still could not understand how it was that the value of the albedo observed from space at that time was about 0.30 whereas studies previously made on the earth’s surface had concluded that the value of the albedo was about 0.36. Again, check who Verner Suomi was on Wikipedia.

    Kristian, if you want to possibly attract a lot of attention, find a high place, or a small airplane or drone from which you can take pictures, from various angles, of sunlight being reflected from a lake, sea, ocean surface. The closer the angle is to perpendicular to the surface the better. I propose you do this because you have the technological skills to make a great e-article (if this is the correct terminology) using these images as your data. The reason that the earth’s albedo cannot be directly observed from space is solar radiation is specularly reflected, instead of diffusely reflected, from a water surface because a liquid surface is always atomistically smooth. Hence, the satellite has to be in precisely to right place at the right time to intercept any sunlight being reflected from a liquid water surface. And then it is likely to be, from space, a quite small area of reflected light because the liquid surface is spherical.

    Can you imagine proposing such an expensive project, which from the beginning could be known to be impossible? Consider the fact that Suomi could not see the problem even though he thought there might be a problem. One of the first things that one of Agassiz’s student learned the first day of his initial assignment was the obvious is sometimes the most difficult to see.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • Rafael Molina Navas says:

      Hi Jerry. Among many other things, you say:
      “Kristian replied to Feldman et al. article and you have not, to my knowledge, addressed his comments”.
      If “address” means “think about and begin to deal with (an issue or problem)”, I firstly said (eight days ago):
      “To be honest, after reading what linked by you, I must say I find you very smart … especially in juggling with concepts, words, and even with animated figures.
      ALL events are “just potential (hypothetical)” (not only radiation energy transfers) before they actually happen … But not beeing English my mother tongue, I´m not going to discuss with you on that field.
      But as radiation from the cold object in the direction of the hotter is real, ITS energy must also be real, not hypothetical. What happens with that energy when that radiation reaches the hotter object, if its transference is “forbidden” ?
      Or with your animated figures are you suggesting that the electromagnetic waves in the direction of the hotter object are canceld out by what coming in the opposite direction?”

      And two days ago, on his answer to you, I saw that his theory is that the electromagnetic waves emitted by the cooler object are “no longer able to move separately in a forward direction” (after meeting the more energetic wave front emitted by the hotter object). I CANN´T even imagine what physical mechanism could produce that. But, still more important, if those waves can´t progress towards the hotter object any more, what happens with them and their energy? Have they a kind of “negative” (!) energy, that disappear when added to part of the energy of the other more energetic waves?
      For me it is USELESS to discuss any longer without previously reaching an agreement on that, because it is the CORE of many skeptic argument that GHE can´t be real: it would be against 2nd principle of Thermodynamics … If they can´t answer my questions, it would be clear that it is THEIR interpretation of that principle what is WRONG, and is to blame for the “misunderstanding” …

  11. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Rafael and Kristain,

    Eureka!! Observation rules.

    V. E. Suomi is said to have stated that the presence of downward longwave radiation from a clear sky was positive evidence of the greenhouse effect. While I cannot find the reference to where he stated this, I doubt if there is anyone who would doubt this statement. V. E. Suomi, D. O. Staley, and P. M. Kuhn (SSK) designed and constructed a simple, economical balloon-borne net radiometer. In an article [1] they described, analyzed, and reported the result of one sounding made with this instrument. This net radiometer was designed and constructed to thermally isolate two absorbing and emitting (a-e) surfaces from each other and to thermally isolate each a-e surface from its surrounding except by radiation through two very thin polyethylene films. The temperatures of the instrument’s upward and downward facing absorbing-emitting surfaces were graphically plotted versus the atmospheric pressure at which the temperature observation were recorded as shown in Figure 1. The ambient air temperature was observed during a sounding began an hour later. From this figure it can be seen that the temperature of the upward facing a-e surface remained about 10C less than the temperature of the ambient atmosphere, during the instrument’s accent through the troposphere. I only saw this relatively consistent difference because I happened by a rough-draft of an article begun by an unknown author. And if Suomi et al. saw it, they did not mention it in the article.

    I have constructed a simple radiometer similar to one-half of the SSK net radiometer. And several observations have been made during clear sky conditions during many nights. I have always observed the temperatures of the upward facing a-e surface to be at least several degrees less than the ambient air temperature and on several (relative to many) occasions to be 10C less. The ambient temperatures during my observations have ranged from about –10C up to about 25C. And I call attention to SSK’s observations which ranged from about 0C down to –50C. I do not report any of my data because it is so ordinary and it would only establish what can be seen from SSK’s data. And those who doubt my qualitative report they can easily construct their own radiometer and make their own observations. Which needs to be done by others if one is to correctly practice science.

    I can imagine a reader questioning: What is the importance of this observed temperature difference? I imagine this because for well more than a year or two, I had not recognized its importance. I did not recognized its importance even though I had not accepted Suomi statement that the observed presence of downward longwave radiation from a clear sky was positive evidence of the greenhouse effect. Given the presence of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere capable of absorbing and emitting longwave infrared radiation (LWIR) and the temperatures of the atmosphere, I would expect to observe a temperature of the a-e surface, which temperature is evidence of the presence of this downward radiation. But I did not know what the value of this temperature would be. And I knew the controversy concerning the greenhouse effect was that our atmosphere’s average temperature, in which most people live, was proposed be about 33C less than the average ambient temperature which we observe, if not for the presence of the GHGs.

    I finally saw, if the downward radiation could not warm the temperature of the a-e surface to the ambient air temperature, this same downward radiation could not prevent the ambient air from cooling to the lower temperature of the a-e surface. Hence, these observed temperatures refute the possibility that the ambient temperature could be less if there were no GHGs. There had to be some other factor limiting the cooling of atmosphere during the nighttime. Which factor could reasonably be due to the thermal inertia of the nearby surface and then, if the atmosphere cooled to its dew, or frost, point temperature, be additionally due to the release of the latent heat of condensation.

    Because I have frequently observed dew droplets or frost forming on the outer polyethylene film, one should not overlook the fact that now radiation is being emitted downward from the atmosphere and by these droplets, or frost, whose temperature should be that of the atmosphere’s dewpoint or frost temperature. And there is no way to prevent these droplets or frost from forming on the film once the air in contact with the film cools to the condensation temperature. So, in this case, the temperature of the a-e surface might begin to approach that of the ambient atmosphere, decreasing the temperature difference which would be greater if the condensation had not occurred on the surface of the film.

    There is one final question to be answered. I have recently discovered there have been several others who have observed the downward radiation from the atmosphere. Why have not these others not seen what I have just reported? While I can ask this question, one must ask the others for their answers. I can report that it is not common to report the temperature of a radiometer’s a-e surface as was the case with the SSK net radiometer. There are only a few reports of this net radiometer’s use because it quickly became obsolete the Russians and then the USA successfully placed satellites in space about this time. Suomi immediately saw that space seemed to be a much better place from which to observe the earth-atmosphere longwave radiation system. So he, with Parent, quickly designed and constructed an instrument package to place in space. But even in the few reports involving the use of the SSK net radiometer, the temperatures of the a-e surfaces actually observed were converted to radiation flux by using the S-B Radiation Law. So it not possible to directly compare the a-e surface temperatures with the ambient air temperatures.

    [1] V. E. Suomi, D. O. Staley, and P. M. Kuhn “A Direct Measurement of Infra-red Radiation Divergence to 160 mb,” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, vol. 84, No. 360, Apr. 1958, pp. 134-141

    Rafael, I did not mean to offend you by what I wrote. But just as I think averaging, except by drawing a smooth line (curve) through somewhat scattered actual data, only destroys information. I think argument has no place in science. You can state your opinion once, and why you have that opinion once, and the other person do like-wise. Then it is up to each individual, knowing that both opinions cannot be right because they are so extremely different, work it out individually. It is okay to ask questions to clarify issues. And as I have reviewed Kristian and my comments, I see I have not properly responded to such questions of his and this is maybe true to questions you have asked of me.

    I am anxious to read what you think about my Eureka moment for I expected it contradicts your understanding of the greenhouse effect.

    Have a good day, both of you, Jerry

    • Rafael Molina Navas says:

      Hi Jerry,
      You say:
      “You can state your opinion once, and why you have that opinion once, and the other person do like-wise. Then it is up to each individual, knowing that both opinions cannot be right because they are so extremely different, work it out individually”.
      You would be quite right, as far as my opinions are concerned, if I´ve only said that Kristian´s interpretation of 2nd law is erroneous.
      But he says that the electromagnetic waves emitted by the cooler object are “no longer able to move separately in a forward direction” (after meeting the more energetic wave front emitted by the hotter object) (this is NOT to repeat my opinion …) And I ask what happens with the energy of of that radiation, if what HE says is right. He has NOT anwered so far. And I just added some rethoric questions relative to “possible” answers to my question, because as you know:
      “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”
      (Einstein´s “opinion”, NOT just mine).
      If K. cannot answer those questions, to say that his interpretation of 2nd law IS wrong could be considered an opinion, but to say that it “must” be wrong should NOT be considered an opinion, just basic Logics.

      By the way. I contacted Feldman and sent him the Kristian challenging blog link, asking for his opinion about it and some “help”. Anfortunatelly he seems very busy, but he told me:
      “Thanks for your interest and I appreciate you sending these to me.
      Kristian’s blog is very detailed and he has thought about these issues for a while. That being said, our study was focused on the effect from CO2 alone, which we found pushes the system towards a warmer state, by radiative forcing, and that blog post appears to conflate what we found with a large number of other effects. It is important to note that while there are certainly other feedbacks in the climate system, the forcing from CO2 is largely independent and separable from these. The feedbacks on CO2 forcing tend to enhance the effect of rising CO2, as cited in the paper, so I think Kristian has a sign issue there.
      It would take a significant amount of time to formulate a detailed response to every claim made in the post (which unfortunately I don’t have time for), but suffice it to say, there are numerous issues there.
      For example, I should note that the ARM observations are superior to the CERES products for surface forcing, because we’re measuring at the surface and CERES is a satellite instrument. I applaud the CERES team for putting together a surface flux product, but the surface stations have direct measurements. Also, we are looking essentially continuously at two sites rather than how CERES observes these sites occasionally and at the same time of day (CERES is sun-synchronous). Also, we have independent, in situ measurements from weather balloons, and are able to identify clear-sky scenes with very sensitive radar and lidar measurements, which are not available for the CERES products.
      Hope that helps a little. Right now, I have numerous projects with pressing deadlines, but I would be happy to respond to peer-reviewed criticism”.

      • okulaer says:

        That’s an interesting response from Feldman, and a not totally unexpected one at that, if I must say so 😉

        Thanks, Rafael, for bothering to contact him about this …

        I wonder, isn’t Feldman aware of the fact that the CERES surface estimates are specifically validated – through projects like CAVE – against the measurements from ARM installations like the ones in Alaska and Oklahoma? There is no reason to assume or imply, like Feldman seems to be doing, that the CERES sfc estimates of DWLWIR in any way disagree with the in situ ARM measurements that Feldman uses, that there is some kind of disconnect …

  12. jerry l krause says:

    Hi Rafael,

    I commend you for contacting Feldman and I commend Feldman for responding as he did. And I commend Kristian for his efforts.

    Logic: the science of the formal principles of reasoning. I am sure the ancient Greek philosophers who logically concluded false principles of natural (physical) science were well versed in these formal principles of reasoning. Yet, they got some very fundamental principles of natural science totally wrong. From which I conclude nature is not logical. I have no doubt that Kristian considers what he concludes is very logical; that he considers you and I and the others, who do not agree with him, to be not logical.

    Galileo considered the size of things. Boats specifically. His issue was that people generally consider the larger a thing, the stronger it is. He thought was quite the opposite. The larger a thing is, the weaker it is. In his book he points out that a builder of a small row boat can support it at only two points, whereas the builder of a large ship must support it at many points upon it is placed in water which continuously supports it. I know of a case where an experienced chemical company had constructed a chemical plant having a projected extreme capacity. Except it never produced any product. Because of the large investment that had been made, they tried for a couple years to discover what could be done to make the plant productive. But in the end they had to give up and admit to their financial loss. Galileo purpose in considering this issue of size which contradicts what most would consider logical is scaling up in size is dangerous. Better to build two small plants that you know that will work than to build one with double the capacity that you do not know if it will work. It is thoughts like this, which Galileo addresses, that I urge you and all scientists to read his book.

    While the length of the pause between responses could be due to many factors, I consider that a long pause might be due to the fact the responder has been confronted with something that challenges his/her previous thinking (logical reasoning). But only the responder knows the actual cause of a long pause.

    Still looking forward to learn about your (and Kristian’s) response to my Eureka moment.

    Have a good day, Jerry

  13. David Appell says:

    You didn’t understand the Feldman et al paper.

    It wasn’t about global changes in downward IR or outgoing IR — it measured downward IR at two specific places on the surface. That allowed them to also measure other relevant parameters above those two places, and then control for them. Then they could isolate out the influence of changes in CO2 alone, AT THOSE TWO PLACES.

    They found that increases in CO2 alone produces more downward IR.

    So the study said nothing about global net downward IR, which is influenced by clouds, ENSOs, etc.

  14. eadler2 says:

    Okulaer is not the only blogger who has recognized that the overall source of warming that has been observed is increased insolation due to reduced cloud cover. The Climate system is complicated, with a lot internally generated random variation and feedback mechanisms on top of the basic long term forcings. So arguments such as okulaer’s claim that CO2 cannot be the source of warming, based solely on observed data, are not convincing. What is required are physical models, taking into account the significant mechanisms and interactions, to determine how things are working.
    There is a model which includes the effect of CO2 fertilization of plants on the climate system. It produces the effect of reduction in cumulus clouds and an increase in insolation which enhances the warming effect of CO2.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-09-climate-carbon-dioxide-clouds.html
    “The cascade starts harmless: in the double CO2 scenario, the stomata close earlier since the plants can assimilate the necessary CO2 for photosynthesis more optimally. As a result, less moisture is evaporated by the plants and there is overall less water vapour introduced into the atmosphere.
    Consequently, fewer cumulus clouds are formed, which means that the Earth’s surface becomes warmer, as the sun’s rays hit it directly and are not reflected by clouds. Then, warmer air creates more turbulence in the atmosphere near the surface, and in consequence there is more heat and less moisture transported. The earth and the atmosphere thus heat up through the plants’ response to the higher CO2 levels.
    The researchers have thus found another feedback mechanism in the climate system, a self-reinforcing process. This feedback mechanism did not develop in the second scenario, in which the atmosphere only warms by two degrees Celsius without the effect of higher concentrations of the greenhouse gas CO2 on plants.”
    Observations have shown enhanced forest plant growth due to CO2, so part of the mechanism has been clearly verified.

  15. okulaer says:

    “RealOldOne2” impersonator:

    It is the sum, not average, of all quanta.

    Yes, the vector sum. Which gives the average (net) movement.

    So if you considered a plane within that field, you would have a bidirectional energy transfer across that plane, something you previously suggest could not exist.

    Yes, this is exactly it. This is the reasoning behind the concept of a bidirectional flow. The hypothetical, twodimensional (temperatureless) plane dividing the threedimensional radiation field. Thing is, you could tilt this imaginary plane in any direction and at any angle and you would still get what seems to be a bidirectional transfer, because there are photons flying about in ALL directions, not just the two. And so in order to get the ACTUAL average of all these directions (and intensities), you would have to include ALL those potential planes, at ALL angles, giving a UNIdirectional net movement of energy as a result.

    • David Appell says:

      “…because there are photons flying about in ALL directions, not just the two…”

      Right. And if you use a sensor you can measure the energy of these photons. In the vertical you’ll find energy going up and energy going down. Bi-directional energy flow.

      For example, here are two surface measurements of the downward energy flux at the surface:

      “Radiative forcing – measured at Earth’s surface – corroborate the increasing greenhouse effect,” R. Philipona et al, Geo Res Letters, v31 L03202 (2004)
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2003GL018765/abstract

      “Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010,” D. R. Feldman et al, Nature 519, 339–343 (19 March 2015)
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v519/n7543/full/nature14240.html

    • "RealOldOne2" impersonator says:

      Thing is, you could tilt this imaginary plane in any direction and at any angle and you would still get what seems to be a bidirectional transfer, because there are photons flying about in ALL directions, not just the two.

      If you are accepting that photons are travelling in opposing directions, you are accepting that there is a bidirectional energy transfer given that photons carry energy.

      Your claims are of no bidirectional energy transfer are somewhat mute given your position is that there is bidirectional energy transfer given your description of opposing photon fluxes.

      • okulaer says:

        *Sigh*

        For the nth time, I’m “accepting” that photons fly in MILLIONS and BILLIONS of different INDIVIDUAL directions – NOT just two – inside a radiation field. THAT’S why we need to average their movements to find the NET macroscopic movement of energy, which goes ONE way, from hot to cold.

        You would only find bidirectional transfer across an imaginary, twodimensional plane dividing the radiation field. Simply because that plane has two sides. IOW, it is purely an artefact of the geometric constraints that YOU have decided to impose on the system. If you placed an imaginary (temperatureless) CUBE inside the radiation field instead, that cube would tell you that there is in fact a HEXAdirectional transfer of energy going on. And so on, and so forth …

        How hard is this?

  16. okulaer says:

    “RealOldOne2” impersonator:

    The AERI instrument employed in the paper used by Feldman et al 2015 uses a HgCdTe semiconductor that measures the incoming energy from absorbed IR quanta. No net, this is solely the absorbed DWLIR from the atmosphere that promotes an electron to produce an calibrated electrical response to the atmospheric irradiance.

    Sorry, no. The AERI instrument of course also measures a net LW flux, like all other radiometric devices, this time from the cool air to the cryogenically cooled detector at 67 or 77 K. The manufacturers even state specifically that if the detector is too warm, then it would “drown” in its own radiation, and could thus not make an accurate measurement of the incoming radiation, another way of saying that the net LW value would then be too small relative to the ideal BB emission flux to 0 K. A detector with an emissivity equal to 1, would give off between 1 and 2 W/m2 at 67-77 K.

    There is simply a natural, spontaneous radiant heat transfer going on from the cool air to the super-cold detector, no more mysterious than that. People, though, tend to ‘forget’ that this heat transfer is specifically NOT from the atmosphere to the ground.

    • "RealOldOne2" impersonator says:

      “The AERI instrument of course also measures a net LW flux”

      No it does not. It is only absorbed photons on the semi conductor that create an electrical current and calibrated signal to a black body radiator reference.

      Indeed the whole detector can be cryogenically cooled, but this is only to improve the signal to noise ratio as the internal housing of the detector is also radiating IR energy. Indeed the detector at ambient temperature, in thermal equilibrium, is radiating constant energy to other aspects of the detector at the same temperature. That’s known as a bidirectional energy transfer.

      another way of saying that the net LW value would then be too small relative to the ideal BB emission flux to 0 K.

      What? Are you suggesting that two objects of the same material and temperature will have two different emissivities depending upon the temperature of their surroundings? You seem to be inventing new laws of physics unknown to the scientific community.

      A detector with an emissivity equal to 1, would give off

      The detector has a tuned semiconductor that captures and measures the specific energy quanta of photon absorption only, no emission whatsoever.

      There is simply a natural, spontaneous radiant heat transfer going on from the cool air to the super-cold detector, no more mysterious than that.

      Then please elaborate on this simple process. The photon energy flux from the atmosphere first strikes the primary interferometer mirror which is not cyrogenically cooled, but at ground temperature. Mirrors are not absolutely efficient at reflecting photons, some energy will be absorbed. The cool atmosphere will add energy to the warmer mirror at the surface.

      You seem to be suggesting that there is a spontaneous radiant energy transfer going on from the atmosphere to the surface at all times, the heat flow being dependent upon the net energy direction.

      • okulaer says:

        No it does not.

        Sure it does. If the detector were warmer than the air, it wouldn’t “see” anything from the air. Then it would have to CALCULATE the flux instead. Like pyrgeometers do. That’s precisely why we need to use a cryogenically cooled detector in cases like this. Pyrgeometers don’t use cooled sensors. If these things worked like you suggest, then the pyrgeometer sensor should STILL easily be able to detect the “photon flux” from the cooler sky directly, and just simply ignore its “own” radiation. It can’t. And it doesn’t.

      • okulaer says:

        It is only absorbed photons on the semi conductor that create an electrical current and calibrated signal to a black body radiator reference.

        You seemingly don’t get this. The detector hardly gives off photons of its own. BECAUSE IT’S SO BLOODY COLD! That’s one of the main reasons why it is kept that cold. So that the photons – the COLLIMATED photons, mind you! – coming IN will almost combine into a full, ‘clean’ radiant heat flux. This is exactly equivalent to the radiometers on board the satellites circling the Earth, measuring the “outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR)” from our planet. The OLR is Earth’s HEAT LOSS (‘net LW’) to space. The reason that Earth’s heat loss to space can basically be equated to its pure blackbody “radiant exitance” (the emission flux based solely on Earth’s own temperature), is that SPACE IS SO FRIGGIN’ COLD, very close indeed to absolute zero.

        Indeed the whole detector can be cryogenically cooled, but this is only to improve the signal to noise ratio as the internal housing of the detector is also radiating IR energy.

        It is not ONLY to improve the signal to noise ratio. If it weren’t cooled down cryogenically, you wouldn’t get a signal at all. It is specifically stated by the manufacturers themselves that the detector would “drown” in its “own” radiation if it were too warm. It simply wouldn’t be able to put out a proper signal.

        Indeed the detector at ambient temperature, in thermal equilibrium, is radiating constant energy to other aspects of the detector at the same temperature. That’s known as a bidirectional energy transfer.

        No. Nothing here is BIdirectional. Only in your head. Photons fly in ALL directions, not just two. Try removing the collimator and put up a whole bunch of detectors, pointing in multiple directions, up and down and to all sides. They would ALL detect “photon fluxes” coming in. Because they are cooled and the air inside and outside the instrument house is MUCH warmer. HEAT spontaneously goes wherever and whenever there is a downward temperature difference/gradient, always, direction doesn’t matter. If you had a radiometric instrument and you pointed its cryogenically cooled detector, not UP, not DOWN, but in a horizontal direction, do you think it would detect a “photon flux” coming in from there as well? Of course it would. Doesn’t that mean we should account for a “lateral-welling long wave IR” flux as well? Not just the DWLWIR and UWLWIR ‘fluxes’. How about we turn our instrument around 180 degrees? Wouldn’t it detect another “photon flux” coming in from that direction? So let’s just continue. We tilt our instrument up 10 degrees, down 25 degrees, we turn it again, say halfway back this time, and point it up at a 60 degree angle. And on and on and on. We could orient our instrument in pretty much any direction imaginable. So, how many individual “flux directions” would we end up detecting this way? As many as we could be bothered looking for!

        Again, you need to distinguish between the MICRO (quantum) realm and the MACRO (thermodynamic) realm. I’m ONLY talking about the latter. In the end, all these “photon fluxes” that we “found”, they net out to ONE macroscopic movement of radiant energy, from the warm surface to the cool sky above … ONLY.

        The photon energy flux from the atmosphere first strikes the primary interferometer mirror which is not cyrogenically cooled, but at ground temperature.

        Yes, but it’s a mirror. Hence, it is not part of the heat transfer in question. It simply radiatively connects the cool sky and the much colder detector.

        You seem to be suggesting that there is a spontaneous radiant energy transfer going on from the atmosphere to the surface at all times (…)

        Uhm, no. You are.

      • okulaer says:

        “RealOldOne2” impersonator,

        I suggest you get a new handle …

  17. RealOldOne2 says:

    Kristian,
    First, thank you for your blog. It does an excellent job of explaining why ‘backradiation’ is not a real energy flow from the cold atmosphere to the warmer surface of the Earth.

    Second, I want to make you aware that the person who is commenting here using the name RealOldOne2 is impersonating me. I have used RealOldOne2 as my name since I began commenting on YouTube in ~2008/2009. When YT became part of Google and they forced you to have a Google+ social media account, I stopped commenting there. I created my Disqus RealOldOne2 account in 2013.

    Here is a little background. I am a degreed scientist with over 4 decades of professional experience, including thermodynamics, heat transfer and computer modeling. I began a detailed study of the climate change issue in 2007. I came to the conclusion that the empirical data didn’t support the alarmist claims of the global warmists. I began commenting on climate change blog articles, pointing out the flaws in the warmist’s claims and statements.

    Many of these interactions include the Climate Establishment’s false Earth’s energy budget where they show the non-real 324W/m² of alleged ‘backradiation’ energy/heat which they claim is being “Absorbed by Surface”, which develops into the ‘bi-directional’ energy flow discussion. Some of the arguments that I use are:
    1) show them a correct energy budget diagram from Ozawa(2003) ‘The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Earth’s Climate System’, http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3163/2606/original.jpg , which shows no energy/heat flux from the atmosphere to the surface. This diagram shows the true energy flows from the perspective of the 2nd Law. They ignore or dismiss it.
    2) ask them if the 324W/m² was a real energy/heat flow, why can’t it be collected with a ‘backradiation’ collector that collects twice as much energy/heat as a solar collector, and collects just as much energy at night as during the daytime. I have never gotten a valid answer. They would say things like ‘the earth is the backradiation collector, which is begging the question.
    3) pointed out that if the 324W/m² were a real energy/heat flow which was absorbed by the surface, that would mean that backradiation from the cold atmosphere was the primary source of energy that heats the Earth’s surface, since the 324W/m² of backradiation energy was ~twice the 168W/m² of solar energy, and a W/m² of energy is a W/m² of energy. They obfuscate by saying I don’t understand the ghe, physics, photons, etc.
    4) If they would stick to their 324W/m² of energy in and 390W/m² out as being real, but admit that the net energy/heat was from the surface to the Earth, I would make the point that if there is really 390W/m² of outgoing energy/heat from the surface, that would mean that solar radiation is a net cooler of the surface, since the net heat flow is away from the surface.

    When I came across your several excellent articles dealing with this, ‘Magical GHE’, ‘IPCC’, ‘chimera’, ‘heating a planetary surface’, I began posting links to those articles on your site. I suspect that is how my impersonator came here. My impersonator’s previous Disqus name was Dan, and in comments he had said that his real name was Dana and has said that he is English (Nuccelliti?). He and many other of his other climate alarmist commenters hated me with passion because of the many times I exposed their false claims. I found that they would never admit to any of their mistakes, so I began compiling lists of their erroneous statements. This incensed them. Dan was especially angry and began impersonating me. His first attempt was Real0ld0ne2(numeral 0s instead of letter Os). When I alerted the Telegraph website, where I was commenting most frequently, to his impersonation that account was blocked.

    His next attempt was creating a RealOldOne3 username and posting with it, but when I reported that one to the Telegraph, it was blocked too, as well as his Dan username was blocked. He tried coming back with another Dan account but it too was blocked. This was June 2015. That must have incensed Dan and fostered an obsession to serially impersonate me. Shortly after his Dan account was blocked, he created his current ROO2 username in late June 2015. Many people called me that and I used that shortened nickname to sign many of my posts. Well that wasn’t good enough for him, so in early 2016 he created an exact same RealOldOne2 Disqus username. But that account only had 64 comments, where mine had 18,000. He was posting with my identical username, and posting ridiculous, inflamatory and sometimes libelous comments. I reported that one to the Telegraph website and to Disqus, and I haven’t seen him use it since. He wasn’t smart enough to cover his tracks though, because when you hovered over the fake RealOldOne2 avatar and then clicked on ‘profile’, his ROO2 profile came up, giving irrefutable evidence that it was ROO2 who created the fake RealOldOne2 account. When I saw his second attempt at impersonating me, I began doing screen captures to document his dishonest behavior. Here is that evidence.

    Here is a screen capture of his RealOldOne3 impersonation: http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3591/2275/original.jpg His reference to “phoenix” was because I had just been blocked on the Telegraph website evidently because the climate alarmists would all flag my comments, which probably created a lot of work for the moderators or they didn’t like the lists of erroneous statements that I posted. Note HandOfGod137’s reply to RealOldOne3. I had many go arounds with him on the 2nd law too.

    That RealOldOne3 comment got deleted when his RealOldOne3 account was blocked, as evidenced in this screenshot: http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3591/3197/original.jpg?w=800&h . Note the June 11, 2015 date. Also notice the same HandOfGod137 comment below the deleted RealOldOne3 comment.

    After reporting the RealOldOne3 impersonation to the Telegraph they blocked both Dan and the RealOldOne3 accounts. Here is the screen capture that documents Dan’s account was blocked: http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3591/5800/original.jpg?w=800&h Note that MrMojo refers to me as ROO2. This was prior to Dan creating his ROO2 account. MrMojo’s “the departure of Dan” documents his first blocking. This screen capture was after Dan tried coming back as a second Dan, as evidence by evenminded’s “I don’t get it because it is the same name”, and Mr.Mojo’s “I am very happy to have been mistaken”, and HandOfGod137’s “Welcome back!”. When Dan’s second return account was blocked, all his comments were deleted, which is shown by the responses to “Guest” instead of Dan.

    Dan evidently had another account or used a different email, because he showed up again as Dan. This screenshot documents his return: http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3591/2277/original.jpg The “welcome back” was after Dan’s original account had been blocked and his comments disappeared. That comment from Dan “my ‘joke’ resurrection” also documents his admission that it was him who created the RealOldOne3 username.

    Here is the screen capture of Dan’s ROO2’s account creation. http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3591/3174/original.jpg Note the June, 30, 2015 account creation date.

    Here is a screen capture of Dan/ROO2’s impersonating me with exactly my same username: http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3592/4261/original.jpg?w=800&h Notice the account creation date of January 23, 2016 and the fact that it only had 64 comments.

    Here is a screen capture of one of Dan/ROO2’s comments using my exact same username: http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3592/3789/original.jpg?w=800&h

    Since I reported him to Disqus, and it is a violation of terms of service to impersonate someone, I expect that his fake RealOldOne2 account was deleted. But on other sites such as yours where you can enter whatever username you want, I expect that he thought it would be cute to post comments which are exactly the opposite position that I hold.

    Here are a couple recent exchanges that I have had with him. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/2016/11/09/dear-president-elect-trump-climate-change-is-not-a-hoax/#comment-3007464175 . When pressed why he couldn’t refute the heat transfer example which showed that his understanding, ROO2 said: “Alas, my dimwitted friend, there is no science in your post” – http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/2016/11/09/dear-president-elect-trump-climate-change-is-not-a-hoax/#comment-3010430940

    Here’s another: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/302527-study-co2-levels-will-stay-above-key-measure-for-generations#comment-2977029789

    As you have observed, he can be quite obtuse, ignoring what you post and references that you link to, and just repeating his false understandings.

    My username is not a common name, so having it show up here, I am certain that it is Dana, aka Dan, aka Real0ld0ne2, aka RealOldOne3, aka ROO2, aka RealOldOne2. You now know his email. Most sites block users who impersonate other users, and they delete their comments. I think this would be appropriate, as it would serve him right to have his time wasted. He could always come back and re-post his comments, if you would allow.
    But it is your website and you can decide what actions to take.

    At minimum, I think ROO2’s (or whoever it may be) fake impersonating username should be struck out, since he is not me, but is impersonating me, and is taking a position exactly the opposite the one I hold.

    I thought you should be aware of the facts on this. Thanks for your consideration, and again, thanks for your website.

    The real RealOldOne2.

    • okulaer says:

      Real RealOldOne2,

      Thanks for letting me know. I have now called him for what he is. However, I won’t delete his posts, because I think the discussion that they’re part of is enlightening in many ways.

      Thanks again 🙂

      • RealOldOne2 says:

        Thank you. I agree that leaving his posts allows others to see his flawed arguments, which you handily dismantled. And identifying him as an impersonator is better than changing his name to something like ‘anonymous’, because it reveals their dishonest & corrupt impersonation/identity theft tactics, ala Peter Gleick and his sordid Heartland affair.

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