The “Heat” issue once again …

I want to applaud Joseph Postma and his latest blog post, spelling out his grievances against the “Greenhouse Apologists” and how they consistently manage to worm their way out of ever providing a definitive, coherent clarification of how the hypothetical “Radiative Greenhouse Effect” (RGHE, rGHE) is actually meant to work physically, brushing all sceptical objections to their vague – as it seems, deliberately equivocal – contentions aside by simply claiming that our differences are purely of a semantic nature. It doesn’t matter to them whether we describe one and the same process as “reducing cooling” or “increasing warming/heating”, because the end result – a higher temperature – will allegedly be the same either way, ignoring the simple fact that, in reality, these are two fully distinct (as in ‘opposite’) thermodynamic processes: 1) INSULATION, 2) HEATING. And so, conflating them, as if they were somehow basically the same process, causes confusion.

Unnecessary confusion. Scientifically pointless confusion.

Postma puts it very neatly and succinctly: Continue reading


‘To heat a planetary surface’ for dummies; Part 2

For something – anything – to acquire a temperature above absolute zero (0 K), it somehow needs to be able to warm. The only real requirement for something to be able to warm is for it to possess a ‘thermal mass’, or simply ‘mass’. A thermal mass provides the thing in question with what is (a bit awkwardly) called a ‘heat capacity’, meaning a capacity to absorb and store energy from some energy source (external or internal).

We already know, from basic thermodynamic principles, how energy can be transferred to (or from) an object. It can be transferred in the form of ‘heat’ [Q] or in the form of ‘work’ [W]. Whenever energy is transferred to an object, the ‘internal energy’ [U] of that object increases as a result, which simply means that the object in question has absorbed (energy isn’t ‘transferred’ to a system until it’s actually become ‘absorbed’ by it) the energy to store it inside its mass, as microscopic kinetic and potential energy of its atoms and molecules.

We already know, from the first post in this series, how system ‘internal energy’ [U] relates to system ‘temperature’ [T]. We know that a system with a high ‘heat capacity’ will warm more slowly than a system with a low ‘heat capacity’, both systems absorbing equal energy inputs, the high-heat-capacity system simply storing a larger portion of the absorbed energy as internal/molecular PE rather than as internal/molecular KE (determining the temperature). Both systems, however, will warm, only at different rates. U and T invariably move in the same direction. Unless there is an ongoing phase transition. Then U will increase and T will not. There is no process, though, where U increases and T decreases. The two correspond.

OK. We know that to make an object warm, we must make it accumulate ‘internal energy’. If it doesn’t, it cannot warm. Continue reading

‘To heat a planetary surface’ for dummies; Part 1

Happy New Year to everyone! Hope you all had a pleasant celebration.

I will unabashedly start off in 2015 with … another attempt at exposing the chasm that lies between what real physics tells us about the processes of nature (plus what we actually observe in the real world) on the one hand, and what the ‘physics’-like concoctions of the radiative GHE/AGW-establishment proclaim on the other.

The general public understanding (or should we rather call it ‘perception’?) of how the presence of an atmosphere would make the solar-heated planetary surface underneath warmer than if the atmosphere weren’t there, is so riddled with misconceptions and flawed ideas about how the world works, on such a fundamental level, that something needs to be done.

People simply need to understand that the official (and, I’m afraid, ‘authoritative’) rGHE/AGW ‘explanation’ is based altogether on self-invented nonsense physics.

The best way to let people realise this is to explain how things really work and to have this juxtaposed with the standard rGHE postulates advertised by ‘Climate ScienceTM’. Continue reading

The Great Magical ‘Greenhouse Effect’ Self-Amplifying Loop

Anyone with even a slight interest in the whole climate issue thing should be familiar with the iconic ‘Earth energy budget diagrams’ allegedly quantifying – by accounting for the various energy transfer fluxes to, from and within the Earth system – the so-called “atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect” (rGHE) and how it forces the global surface of our planet into a mean steady state temperature much higher than at a pure solar radiative equilibrium. The prototype of these diagrams appeared in the Kiehl and Trenberth 1997 paper (K&T97) “Earth’s annual global mean energy budget” (Figure 1), apparently already there setting the gold standard for compiling these budgets, for its successors have all essentially been showing the same thing, with only minor modifications to the original.

Figure 1.

At first glance, the diagram might seem a bit confusing. What are we actually looking at here? What are we looking for? How to make any sense of it all? How to extract its core substance, its central message to the world? Robert A. Rohde of ‘Global Warming Art’ attempted to present the gist of the K&T97 Earth energy budget diagram like this:

Figure 2.

You will notice how, in Rohde’s rendition of the K&T97 budget, the energy being continuously supplied to the surface from the Sun appears to be completely disconnected from the energy later going out from the surface. 168 W/m2 come in, but 492 (!!!) W/m2 go out. And by all means, you will find that same peculiar decoupled relation in the original diagram too, even though it might be a bit harder to immediately hone in on. Continue reading