Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate

The 2nd law of thermodynamics is consistent with the greenhouse effect which is directly observed.

Climate Myth...

2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory

 

"The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that many authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861, and Arrhenius 1896, and which is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist." (Gerhard Gerlich)

 

Skeptics sometimes claim that the explanation for global warming contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. But does it? To answer that, first, we need to know how global warming works. Then, we need to know what the second law of thermodynamics is, and how it applies to global warming. Global warming, in a nutshell, works like this:

The sun warms the Earth. The Earth and its atmosphere radiate heat away into space. They radiate most of the heat that is received from the sun, so the average temperature of the Earth stays more or less constant. Greenhouse gases trap some of the escaping heat closer to the Earth's surface, making it harder for it to shed that heat, so the Earth warms up in order to radiate the heat more effectively. So the greenhouse gases make the Earth warmer - like a blanket conserving body heat - and voila, you have global warming. See What is Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect for a more detailed explanation.

The second law of thermodynamics has been stated in many ways. For us, Rudolf Clausius said it best:

"Heat generally cannot flow spontaneously from a material at lower temperature to a material at higher temperature."

So if you put something hot next to something cold, the hot thing won't get hotter, and the cold thing won't get colder. That's so obvious that it hardly needs a scientist to say it, we know this from our daily lives. If you put an ice-cube into your drink, the drink doesn't boil!

The skeptic tells us that, because the air, including the greenhouse gasses, is cooler than the surface of the Earth, it cannot warm the Earth. If it did, they say, that means heat would have to flow from cold to hot, in apparent violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

So have climate scientists made an elementary mistake? Of course not! The skeptic is ignoring the fact that the Earth is being warmed by the sun, which makes all the difference.

To see why, consider that blanket that keeps you warm. If your skin feels cold, wrapping yourself in a blanket can make you warmer. Why? Because your body is generating heat, and that heat is escaping from your body into the environment. When you wrap yourself in a blanket, the loss of heat is reduced, some is retained at the surface of your body, and you warm up. You get warmer because the heat that your body is generating cannot escape as fast as before.

If you put the blanket on a tailors dummy, which does not generate heat, it will have no effect. The dummy will not spontaneously get warmer. That's obvious too!

Is using a blanket an accurate model for global warming by greenhouse gases? Certainly there are differences in how the heat is created and lost, and our body can produce varying amounts of heat, unlike the near-constant heat we receive from the sun. But as far as the second law of thermodynamics goes, where we are only talking about the flow of heat, the comparison is good. The second law says nothing about how the heat is produced, only about how it flows between things.

To summarise: Heat from the sun warms the Earth, as heat from your body keeps you warm. The Earth loses heat to space, and your body loses heat to the environment. Greenhouse gases slow down the rate of heat-loss from the surface of the Earth, like a blanket that slows down the rate at which your body loses heat. The result is the same in both cases, the surface of the Earth, or of your body, gets warmer.

So global warming does not violate the second law of thermodynamics. And if someone tells you otherwise, just remember that you're a warm human being, and certainly nobody's dummy.

Basic rebuttal written by Tony Wildish


Update July 2015:

Here is the relevant lecture-video from Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

 


Update October 2017:

Here is a walk-through explanation of the Greenhouse Effect for bunnies, by none other than Eli, over at Rabbit Run.

Last updated on 7 October 2017 by skeptickev. View Archives

Printable Version  |  Offline PDF Version  |  Link to this page

Related Arguments

Further reading

  • Most textbooks on climate or atmospheric physics describe the greenhouse effect, and you can easily find these in a university library. Some examples include:
  • The Greenhouse Effect, part of a module on "Cycles of the Earth and Atmosphere" provided for teachers by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).
  • What is the greenhouse effect?, part of a FAQ provided by the European Environment Agency.

References

Comments

Prev  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  Next

Comments 1051 to 1100 out of 1481:

  1. Fairly clear evidence that RW1 is trolling rather than debating: Me @1048:
    "The difference is 1.2 rather than 0.9, but Trenberth et al use 0.9 because: a) The difference between 1.2 and 0.9 is well within experimental error; b) The TOA balance has smaller experimental errors (+/-3% for individual components), and hence is considered more accurate than the surface balance (+/-5% for individual components except for Surface Radiation and Back Radiation which are +/-10%); and because c) If the surface was absorbing 0.3 Watts/m^2 more than was the planet (TOA) over a five year period, the excess energy would need to come from the atmosphere, plummeting atmospheric temperatures by about 24 degrees C over that period, whereas atmospheric temperatures increased over that period."
    RW1 @1050:
    "how is it that the 'NET Down" in the surface components table 2b and the TOA components table 2a is exactly the same (0.9 W/m^2?)? Are you saying that 'Net Down' means something different in each table?"
    So, in the post to which RW1 is responding I indicate that Trenberth et al use the Net Down calculated from the TOA at the surface rather than that calculated at the surface. I give sound reasons for that decision. In response RW1 accuses me of saying the Net Down means something different for the TOA and Surface tables, and suggests the identity of the values is unexplained. Either RW1 is deliberately misrepresenting the content of my (and e, and Sphaerica, and whoever else has been mad enough to try and clear up his "confusion" in this 1050 post thread) and of Trenberth et al; or he is terminally stupid; or he simply does not bother reading the responses in any event. All of RW1s confusions have been cleared up multiple times before, including by myself in the last 24 hours. If he really wants to understand, he can reread those posts and try to understand them.
    Response:

    [DB] When dealing with RW1, remember his own words:

    "I appreciate that you seem to be interested in helping me, but I'm not really interested in being helped per say. I'm a staunch skeptic of AGW, so my purpose here is to present contradictory evidence and logic that disputes the theory. That's what I'm doing."

    We deal with a closed-minded individual who is here for the sole purpose of wasting as much of as many people's time as possible.

    Solution

    Ignore him.  DNFTT.

  2. RW1@everywhere Are you trying to learn about a subject you do not understand or do you think you understand it better than anyone else?
  3. Tom Curtis (RE: 1051), "In response RW1 accuses me of saying the Net Down means something different for the TOA and Surface tables, and suggests the identity of the values is unexplained." I'm not accusing, just asking for clarification because I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. If you agree that "NET Down" means the same thing in both tables, why not just acknowledge it? I specifically asked about the data in the table of 0.9 W/m^2, not the 0.3 W/m^2 discrepancy relative to the numbers in the diagram, which I am aware of. I'll ask one more time. What does "NET Down" mean in tables 2a and 2b? If they mean the same thing, there is only one possible answer.
  4. pbjamm (RE: 1052), "Are you trying to learn about a subject you do not understand or do you think you understand it better than anyone else?" I admit I'm not here specifically to 'learn' per say, but I am fully capable of changing my mind on things when evidence dictates. I even changed my mind on something here due to evidence presented by Tom Curtis in regards to insolation in the Artic. I couldn't deny the evidence he presented to the contrary and acknowledged I was wrong. It is my view that the overwhelming majority of people at this site do not understand the information in tables and diagram from Trenberth's 2009 paper, nor do they understand the constraints COE puts on the boundary between the surface and the TOA, so I'm presenting evidence and logic in support of these things. Everyone here is free to make up their own mind, of course. If Tom does not want to continue this discussion - that's fine with me, but I can't help but to interpret his self removal as defeat. But again, everyone should make up their own mind.
  5. RW1 - "If Tom does not want to continue this discussion - that's fine with me, but I can't help but to interpret his self removal as defeat." Actually, if Tom decides he doesn't want to continue the discussion with you, I would congratulate him. You have consistently and repeatedly dismissed/ignored proven physics, cycled over and over on ideas that have been notably contradicted by actual measurements, and stated that: "...I'm not really interested in being helped per say. I'm a staunch skeptic of AGW, so my purpose here is to present contradictory evidence and logic that disputes the theory. That's what I'm doing." In my eyes, RW1, that makes you a troll, not someone actually interested in the science. Your arguments (and conclusions) are driven by your position, which is exactly backwards from how the scientific method works. And your comments on these posts illustrate that clearly to the unbiased reader - a self correcting issue. Folks, DNFTT.
  6. Tom Curtis (RE: 1048, 1050), ""The difference is 1.2 rather than 0.9, but Trenberth et al use 0.9 because: a) The difference between 1.2 and 0.9 is well within experimental error;" So what you're saying is Trenberth lists 0.9 as the "NET Down" in table 2b because it's arbitrarily within 'experimental error' of 1.2 W/m^2 and not because it means the same thing as "NET Down" in table 2a? OK, I'm perfectly willing to let this stand against what I've presented and everyone can make up their own mind.
  7. RW1,
    It is my view that the overwhelming majority of people at this site do not understand the information in tables and diagram from Trenberth's 2009 paper, nor do they understand the constraints COE puts on the boundary between the surface and the TOA, so I'm presenting evidence and logic in support of these things.
    Here's a homework assignment for you to work out entirely on your own, without assistance. This is a fairly simple assignment. I'm pretty sure just about everyone in my town middle school (6th to 8th grade) could get it right. The Trenberth energy budget has three layers: space, atmosphere, ground. It has 6 distinct paths of energy flow; space/sun to atmosphere, space/sun to ground, atmosphere to space, atmosphere to ground, ground to atmosphere, and ground to space. Please identify the components and individual and sum values for each of these elements (meaning in/out for each layer [3 pairs of values, in and out], and in/out for each interface between layers [6 pairs of values, in and out] ), identify which balance, and where you would expect the system, based on these numbers, to get out of balance. This is not a post that requires any response other than the answers. Until you arrive at these answers on your own, no one has any reason to listen or respond to you.
  8. Sphaerica (RE: 1059), I don't understand the assignment as you've laid it out. Thanks for the interest though.
  9. RW1@1054: "I admit I'm not here specifically to 'learn' per say..." And that about says it all wrt you. " If Tom does not want to continue this discussion - that's fine with me, but I can't help but to interpret his self removal as defeat." Yes, much like refusing to engage the raving derelict on the street corner is an admission of defeat and that his conspiracy is Truth.
  10. 1058, RW1,
    sun (A)<-6---1->atmosphere (B)<-5---2->surface (C)
    <-4-------------------------------------3->
    3 layers: sun/space (A), atmosphere (B), surface (C) 6 paths: sun to atmosphere (1), atmosphere to surface (2), sun directly to surface (3), surface directly to space (4), surface to atmosphere (5) and atmosphere to space (6). For each path (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) identify the total energy flow, and list the contributing components and values (e.g. "thermals, 17"). For each layer (A, B, C) identify to the total in and out in each direction (up, down), as well as the total in/out for the layer, and the net (i.e. in minus out). For extra credit, identify the separate amounts of energy absorbed, reflected, and emitted by each layer. When you have worked through these numbers, and can see that everything balances and why, then you will be ready to actually start discussing any meaning behind the numbers and how they were determined.
  11. Sphaerica (RE: 1060), Even if I or anyone else could actually determine all these numbers (virtually impossible), what would be the point of any such exercise? To discover some new physical law? To discover that Conservation of Energy does not hold at the boundary between the surface and the TOA? If you're trying imply that all of these specific quantities need to be known in order to understand the contraints COE puts on the system, then I suggest you take some time to think about this a bit more. It's not that complicated.
  12. RW1 - I believe that Sphaerica is attempting to determine if you have actually understood the Trenberth diagrams. So far, it is not evident that you have. And hence (so far) your disagreements have not been particularly relevant, insofar as they have been understandable.
  13. KR (1062), I'm not saying the Trenberth diagram is entirely 'wrong' per say - it's just very misleading and has been largely misinterpreted by virtually everyone here. Let me ask you this, where in the diagram is the return path of latent heat in the form of precipitation? Surely, you agree evaporative latent heat of water and precipitation is a major surface -> atmosphere -> surface circulation current, right?
  14. 1061, RW1,
    Even if I or anyone else could actually determine all these numbers (virtually impossible)...
    It is more than possible, it's a trivial task. A twelve year old could do it. Tackle the assignment and see where it leads you. If you are not capable of doing the assignment, or choose not to, then you are clearly simply ignorant of the most basic aspects of Trenberth's diagrams, and communication with you is simply not possible. BIn taking that course, you would then abdicate any right whatsoever to offer any criticism or supposed insight on the subject. Why should anyone listen to you if you not only can't accomplish such a simple, five minute, analysis, but also think it is impossible? Gain some credibility. Perform the assigned task.
  15. 1063, RW1,
    ...where in the diagram is the return path of latent heat in the form of precipitation?
    Precipitation does not transport energy back to the surface. That only happens one way. Water vapor gains heat when evaporating at the surface, then releases that heat when condensing in the atmosphere. This moves the heat from the surface into the atmosphere, and that's all. It is clearly marked on the diagram as 80 W/m2 for "evapotranspiration" and "latent heat". There is no reverse mechanism. Do the assigned task. Until then you are complaining and criticizing without the most basic grasp of the diagram.
  16. 1063, RW1,
    it's just very misleading and has been largely misinterpreted by virtually everyone here.
    RW1, I'm sorry, but this is a laughable comment given how poorly you understand the diagram yourself. You are in no position to make such criticisms of others. Readers are asked to recognize this attitude on RW1's part, and take all of his comments with the grain of salt he has earned.
  17. Grain?
  18. The amount of energy coming into the ground is 184 watts from space(23 of which is reflected), and 333 watts from the atmosphere. The grand total of which is 517 watts. This is very close to the 516 watts being emitted from the ground through reflection (23), thermals (17), evapotranspiration (80) and surface radiation (396). The amount of energy coming into the atmosphere is 17 watts from thermals, 80 watts from evapotranspiration, 356 from surface radiation, 157 watts from space (79 of which is reflected). The grand total being 610 watts. This is very close to the 611 watts exiting through reflection (79), back radiation (333), and simply being emitted (199). The amount of energy coming into space is 102 watts through reflection (23 from the surface, 79 from the atmosphere), and 239 watts from outgoing longwave radiation (40 watts from the surface, 199 from the atmosphere). The grand total being 341 watts. This is the same amount of energy being released through incoming solar radiation. I'm 14.
  19. RW1@1063> Let me ask you this, where in the diagram is the return path of latent heat in the form of precipitation? Please read up on the basics of latent heat before commenting further. This is high school level material, until you understand it you cannot pretend to know what you're talking about. As Sphaerica described, latent heat is only released when a substance goes from vapor -> liquid or liquid -> solid. Since water vapor condenses in the atmosphere, it cannot release that same energy back to the ground as it is already a liquid. The "thermals" portion of Trenberth's diagram refers to sensible heat. In other words, it represents the conduction of heat from the warm water molecules into the cooler air molecules, resulting in the water molecules being cooled and the atmosphere heated. This will always be net positive from surface to atmosphere per the 2nd law of thermodynamics, since the atmosphere is cooler than the surface. The only mechanism by which cold falling rain can heat the warm surface is via the friction generated when the rain hits the ground and makes its way to the ocean. Is this the mechanism you are suggesting that negates energy transfer from latent heat? That would certainly be a "unique" claim.
  20. 1068, p. Curtis :D !!!! I was just going to scold you for giving RW1 the answers (don't you know that exchanging answers is academic misconduct?). Then I saw "I'm 14." Thank you. You made my day.
    Response:

    [DB] That one is precocious indeed.  I could not have done similarly at that age (but it was the mid-70s).

  21. RW1 - "Let me ask you this, where in the diagram is the return path of latent heat in the form of precipitation? Surely, you agree evaporative latent heat of water and precipitation is a major surface -> atmosphere -> surface circulation current, right?" You don't understand latent heat transport? The fact that it's one-way? I'm, well, I'm appalled. Learn some high-school physics before critiquing those who have spent their careers with this material. P. Curtis - My compliments. Folks whose ages are significant integer multiples of yours seem strangely unable to understand what you have done so clearly.
  22. Thanks for the compliments. I feel very happy that those of intelligent status think I am doing well :) Science is my greatest passion so it's always good to know I am succeeding in it.
    Response:

    [DB] Just keep working hard at it if that's what you enjoy.  The only thing separating you from anyone here is time and effort.  Good job!

  23. I don't want to revive a dead thread, but I've noticed that the responses on 2-nd law violation tend to be a bit um... dry. So I thought of an analogy that might...err resonate. Consider pushing a child in a swing. You aren't strong enough to push the swing very far in one push. But each cycle of the swing you can push a bit more and the higher the child goes. The kinetic energy of the swing can greatly exceed what you've put in in any one push. However, eventually you reach a point where the energy you put into the swing is completely dissipated on any cycle.... the swing goes no higher. This isn't obviously an exact analogy, but reason you can have larger values of back radiation and surface emitted radiation than TSI is somewhat analogous to pumping a swing. Whether this will help people caught up in inventing their own versions of the 2nd law I dont know.
  24. Will someone debunk this argument please? http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/17/regarding-thermodynamics-and-heat-transfer-why-al-gore’s-comments-to-bill-o’reilly-at-fox-news-are-wrong/#more-34175
  25. Your claim that the greenhouse warming at the Earth's surface is 33K is plain wrong. This is because for an opaque [to IR] atmosphere, the -18°C equilibrium with space is in the upper atmosphere, about 5 km up. The surface temperature is then set by the rise in temperature from the lapse rate, c. 6.5K/km. So, the Earth's surface temperature is c. 33K higher than the upper atmosphere's radiative equilibrium 'temperature'**. If you take out the GHGs, the IR radiation from the Earth's surface is then not absorbed in the atmosphere, so it cools. However, your claim that the earth's surface would fall to -18°C is plain wrong because you still have the lapse rate, a consequence of gravitational potential energy. Because only a small proportion of heat is directly radiated from the Earth's surface, most is convected away and because the IR emissivity of N2/O2 is very low, that heat remains as sensible heat. The real GHG warming of the earth's surface is a bit less than 10K. If you still believe it's 33K then you have to go back to your basic education. **To calculate that you have to do a Hottel analysis. [-snipped-]
  26. alistair @1075: You noted that the radiative equilibrium is achieved at 5 km altitude. This is, of course, a feature of our current atmosphere because it contains gases that emit and absorb in the IR portion of the spectrum, ie, in the wavelengths of peak emissions for a black body at 255 degrees K. In the non-greenhouse case, the case with no IR absorbing or emitting gases, radiative equilibrium necessarily is achieved at the surface. That is because, with no IR radiating gases, all radiation to space from Earth must come from the surface. As all radiation comes from the surface with no green house gases, it necessarily follows that the altitude of radiative equilibrium is at the surface. It follows that the surface temperature will be the temperature that results in radiative equilibrium, ie, 255 degrees K. With no GHG, and ignoring the effect of ozone, the average temperature at 5 km will be 206 degrees K (255 - 5 * the dry adiabatic lapse rate). Heat would cease being carried from the surface by convection once the atmosphere establishes a thermal profile equal to the dry adiabatic lapse rate. Most importantly, if heat did not stop being carried away by convection, you would be invoking a violation of the first and/or second law of thermodynamics. Specifically, the heat being carried away would not be then radiated to space because there would be no IR radiating gases in the atmosphere. Therefore it would accumulate until equilibrium of heat exchange with the surface was achieved, something accomplished when the dry adiabatic lapse rate describes the heat profile of the atmosphere. Heating beyond this point would require net heat to flow from the colder to the hotter body (2nd law violation), or else the heat in the atmosphere to be dissipated without flowing back to the surface. As we have established the heat is not radiated to space because of there being no IR radiating gases, the second case requires non-conservation of energy.
  27. Is anyone really saying Oxygen and Nitrogen don't become heated AND they DON'T emit infra red radiation ? If they do then they too are "greenhouse Gases". If they don't then they defy every law of physics and all our science must be completely wrong. Before you start showing me radiation absorbtion spectra charts to prove O2 and N2 don't absorb thermal radiation energy simply let me point out radiation is a very inefficient method of transferring thermal energy. Conduction is also poor but way more important on earth than radiation whilst convection is by far the most efficient and important. And you guys ignore both of these. If you don't believe it why is it that the old fashioned electric bar heaters have been replaced by fan dispersal models which heat spaces much more efficiently ? Similarly fan forced ovens. We don't rely on radiation to keep our car motors cool. A simple experiment should prove it and you don't even need to perform it - I recommend you don't - just think about it. If you put your hand near - not above - some heating element like a bar radiative heater you'll feel the radiative heat sure but you will probably be able to keep your hand near it for a long time. But would you touch the bar ? No, of course not - the heat transfer to your hand would be orders of magnitude greater than what is radiated. If radiation was such a dominant thermal transfer mechanism no child would ever scald or burn themselves on a hot stove because the radiative energy would be a clear warning - it isn't and they burn themselves - hopefully not too badly and only once. So the earth and oceans warmed by the sun heat up the whole atmosphere by conduction, the warmed air convects all over the globe moving thermal energy to the poles from the equator. The whole atmosphere radiates infra red radiation but this is only a small part of the thermal transfer mechanism. I, and everyone else, also radiate infra-red radiation and there are many more of us now than 40 years ago - perhaps that's the explanation of the temperature anomaly. This ridiculous insistence that only a miniscule proportion of the atmosphere can absorb thermal energy and radiate infra-red radiation is absolute nonsense and deserves to die and be buried.
  28. Rosco, a greenhouse gas is one that impedes the transfer of energy from the Earth to outer space. Convection cannot transfer energy from the Earth to outer space, because there are (effectively) no molecules in outer space for the Earth's atmospheric molecules to bump into. Radiation is the only method. By the way, your attitude could use improvement.
  29. Rosco #1077: "Is anyone really saying Oxygen and Nitrogen don't become heated AND they DON'T emit infra red radiation ?" Seems like you ought to go back several hundred comments in this thread or do some research on the vibrational modes of various gas molecules. "If radiation was such a dominant thermal transfer mechanism" Guess that bright light that appears in the eastern sky every morning doesn't use the dominant thermal mechanism? "I, and everyone else, also radiate infra-red radiation and there are many more of us now than 40 years ago" Maybe you ought to run some numbers on that; there are some great journals out there that might publish your 'global warming is people' theory. And I second Tom Dayton's final words.
  30. Rosco @1077: 1) Rather than ignoring the transfer of energy by collisions (conduction) modern green house theory absolutely depends on it. If it were not for that transfer, the equipartition theorem would be false, and energy could not transfer from oxygen or nitrogen to carbon dioxide, and in particular to those rotational modes of CO2 that spontaneously release their energy by emitting infrared radiation. In other words, without the transfer of energy by collisions the greenhouse effect could not work. The effects of energy transfer by collision are built into green house theory by its use of the ideal theory of gases, by its use of statistical dynamics, and by its use of quantum mechanics as it relates to molecular absorption and emission. 2) Transfer of energy by convection is essential to understanding the modern theory of the green house effect. In this case it is not essential to the effect itself, in that in principle you could have a green house effect without it. But in practice understanding the greenhouse effect cannot be divorced from understanding convection. That is because convection absolutely dominates vertical transfer of energy in the troposphere. Because of this domination, the change of temperature with altitude approximates the adiabatic lapse rate. As a result, any change in equilibrium temperature in the upper troposphere must be matched by an equivalent change at the surface. The equilibrium temperature is set by the fact that much of Earth's Outgoing Longwave Radiation comes from the mid and upper tropospheres, and that the total of the outgoing radiation from all sources must equal the total incoming radiation from the sun if the Earth's temperature is to remain constant. If CO2 levels increase, the result is that outgoing atmospheric radiation comes from slightly higher in the atmosphere. Because the vertical temperature structure of the atmosphere is set by convection, that means it comes from a slightly cooler location. As illustrated below, the result is that both the temperature at that higher altitude, and, because the vertical temperature structure is set by convection, the temperature at the surface must increase until equilibrium is reached again: Chris Colose, whose diagram I have used, provides a more detailed explanation. 3) So far we have seen that you do not understand the atmospheric greenhouse effect unless you understand the essential roles energy transfer by collision and by convection play in it. Of course, energy transfer by radiation also plays an essential role, because only by radiation can energy cross vacuums. Consequently (for practical purposes) all energy transfer from the Sun to the Earth, and all energy transfer from Earth to space is by radiation. Convection cannot vent radiation to space nor bring energy from the sun, no matter how many bad science fiction movies you have seen. As it happens the majority of energy transfer from the surface to the atmosphere is also by radiation, but that is largely irrelevant to the theory. So, our "ridiculous insistence" that only a miniscule proportion of the atmosphere accounts for nearly all radiation of energy from the atmosphere to space is based on a detailed knowledge of the physics of radiation, and on thousands of experiments mostly by the US Department of Defence undertaken with complete disregard of greenhouse theory. The DoD didn't care about global warming in the 1950's and 60's (when most of the experiments were conducted). They cared very much about which atmospheric gases absorbed IR radiation, and which didn't so that their IR heat seeking missiles, and their Forward Looking Infra Red could be effective. And our acceptance of the atmospheric green house theory is based on a sound understanding of all forms of energy transfer in the atmosphere.
  31. Tom Curtis, you have the patience and forbearance of... well, of someone with an exemplary amount of patience and forbearance. Or a saint. Take your pick. The explanations which invariably follow the appearance of a new contrarian on this thread have been very enlightening for this layman.
    I recently came across a similar discussion on how the 2nd Law of Thermodymanics is mis-used in a similar fashion by creationists to argue against evolutionary biology. You may find this comment (author's tongue firmly in cheek, I dare say) to be an amusing take on contrarian argumentation, if adapted for the climate debate.
  32. 1079, muoncounter,
    'global warming is people'
    That was one of the greatest moments in cinematic history, when Charlton Heston said that line in Soylent Warm. That, and when the little kid in Sixth Sense said:
    I see warming people.
  33. Re #1080 Tom Curtis you write:- "2) Transfer of energy by convection is essential to understanding the modern theory of the green house effect. In this case it is not essential to the effect itself, in that in principle you could have a green house effect without it." Which is what I interpret as 'the adiabatic compression effect of gravity on the atmosphere' This is modest (55K) on Earth but severe (400K) on Venus with its x90 atmospheric mass. Are you able to distinguish between this compressive heating of the surface and the GH effect?. For me this is critical to the understanding of atmospheric physics and not often discussed. For example, in your post #1080 you have a diagram of atmospheric temperature profile with two T vs H gradients, one for 'CO2' and another for '2xCo2'. From your diagram both gradients appear to be the same i.e. the amount of CO2 does not change the gradient, only the surface temperature. From this diagram I cannot derive a clear understanding of how changes in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 influence the surface temperature.
  34. damorbel @1083, the diagram in 1080 shows three horizontal lines, H, H + delta H, and the Tropopause. It shows two diagonal lines, CO2 and 2*CO2. The line H represents the effective altitude of radiation with the initial CO2 concentration. The equilibrium temperature at that altitude is set by the energy balance such that the Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) equals the Incoming solar radiation times the planetary albedo. The surface temperature at the normal CO2 level is set by the intersect of the lapse rate with the effective altitude of radiation at the equilibrium temperature for that altitude. If you double CO2, the effective altitude of radiation is increased. In the diagram the new effective altitude of radiation is represented by H + delta H. The equilibrium temperature at this new altitude is approximately the same as the original equilibrium temperature because incoming solar radiation and albedo have not changed (but see below). Therefore the surface temperature is still set by the intersect of the lapse rate with the new altitude of effective radiation at the equilibrium temperature. As the diagram shows, this requires that the intersect of the lapse rate with the surface shift to the right, ie, that the surface temperature increase. Of course, in real life there will be feed back effects that may change albedo, and may change the lapse rate, as well as introducing increased GHG concentrations (water vapour) to the atmosphere. These complexities do effect the final result. Indeed, in the most likely case given the evidence, they increase the change in surface temperature by a factor of 2.5. But they do not change the fundamental principles involved. Regarding the compression effect, it was once fundamental to the Earth's climate, but is no longer. To illustrate this, consider the example of pumping up a bicycle tire. As we well know, doing so raised the temperature of the air in the tire. But once we stop pumping, the extra heat dissipates even though the air remains compressed. Indeed, if we leave the bike for a few hours, the air temperature inside the tire will be the same as the ambient air temperature. The reason for this is that so long as the wall of the tire is merely holding the pressure instead of increasing it, it does no work. And because it does no work, it introduces no new energy into the air to replace any that escapes to the environment by conduction or radiation. In exactly the same manner, gravity currently holds the pressure of the atmosphere, but does not increase it. Therefore it does no work and cannot replace the energy that escapes to space by radiation. In the very distant past the Earth's gravitational field created the compression in the first place in a process astronomers call "accretion". The amount of energy released by this compression left the Earth completely molten, but as William Thompson, Lord Kelvin showed over a hundred years ago, it only takes from a hundred thousand to ten million years for all that energy to dissipate. Consequently, from long before any life evolved on Earth, almost all energy on Earth has come from the sun, and the Earth has remained molten only because of the radioactive elements in its core.
  35. Re #1084 Tom Curtis you write:- "The surface temperature at the normal CO2 level is set by the intersect of the lapse rate with the effective altitude of radiation at the equilibrium temperature for that altitude." You argue here that the surface temperature is governed by the TOA temperature, the '2nd Law' argument says that the thin, cold upper atmosphere that is losing lots of radiation to deep space is quite incapable of transferring any significant quantity of thermal energy to the warm, dense surface. The simple questions are 1/ 'Where does this energy come from'? 2/ How can a cold layer with a density about a tenth of the surface value possibly raise the surface temperature by even a small amount. The laws of heat transfer say that heat energy goes only from the hot surface to the tropopause where it is further radiated into deep space. These are valid questions; if the GHE is to be accepted valid answers to theses questions are needed also. Further you write:- "In exactly the same manner, gravity currently holds the pressure of the atmosphere, but does not increase it. Therefore it does no work and cannot replace the energy that escapes to space by radiation." This isn't the whole story because the pressure increases with depth, contrary to your claim that it doesn't change. It is gravity that causes the pressure gradient. According to thermodynamic laws this temperature gradient is sustained by the pressure gradient. Your example of a bicycle tire is not valid because there is no pressure gradient in a tire. The temperature change in the tire you note dies away because the pressure gradient is supported by the tire walls and not the gas in the tire.
  36. damorbel I am astonished that this point is still being debated here, given that the questions you raise have already been answered repeatedly. The law of heat transfer says that the NET flow of energy is from hot to cold. It does not say that no energy is transfered from the colder object to the warmer, just that the flow of energy in the other direction will be larger. Thus the questions are not valid as they are based on at least one fundamental misunderstanding of thermodynamics. BTW the GHE is accepted already. The fact that you are at odds with the vast majority of scientists on this one ought to suggest to you that perhaps the problem is with your understanding of the physics rather than with the physics itself.
  37. 1085, damorbel, In answer to all of your questions about net heat flow, please refer to the following simplified diagram of radiation exchange between the surface of the earth, the atmosphere, and the sun. The atmosphere (blue) is transparent to visible light (yellow) from the sun. This warms the surface (+4). The surface emits (according to its temperature of 5) in wavelengths which pass through the atmosphere into space (-3), losing that heat, and in wavelengths which are absorbed by the atmosphere (2). The atmosphere emits (according to its temperature of 2) equally in all directions, which means some heads into space and some back down. Thus, the temperature of the surface is 5 (4 from the sun, plus 1 from the atmosphere). The temperature of the atmosphere is 2 (from the surface). The planet gains and loses 5 at all times. The atmosphere gains and loses 2 at all times. Space gains and loses 4 at all times. Everything nets to zero. There is no energy created or lost. The 1st Law of Thermodynamics is never violated. Every net transfer (which is the only actual restriction) is warm to cold. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is never violated.
  38. 1085, damorbel, Concerning gravity, work is only done when the pressure is changed. While it is true that the measured pressure is higher closer to the ground... it stays that way. The pressure is not changing. To increase the temperature, you must compress the gas further. This clearly is not happening. You say:
    According to thermodynamic laws this temperature gradient is sustained by the pressure gradient.
    What does this statement mean? That a gas under pressure cannot cool? Think about it. [Hint #1: There is no such statement or law in Thermodynamics, that a temperature gradient is sustained by a pressure gradient. This is an inference arrived at by misapplying the Laws of Thermodynamics.] [Hint #2: The Laws of Thermodynamics apply specifically to bodies that are in Thermodynamic Equilibrium. A non-homogeneous atmosphere with a temperature and pressure gradient is clearly not a single body in Thermodynamic Equilibrium, so the Laws simply cannot be applied in a simple, single-minded fashion.]
  39. Re #1086 Dikran Marsupial you write:- "The law of heat transfer says that the NET flow of energy is from hot to cold. It does not say that no energy is transfered from the colder object to the warmer, just that the flow of energy in the other direction will be larger." I suggest that, from this argument, you would also accept that the 'net' transfer is from the warmer to the colder part of the atmosphere and thus it is the colder part that tends to be heated by the warmer surface. The logic of this is clear, CO2 in the atmosphere indeed radiates heat to deep space, cooling the planet down from the heating effect of the Sun - more CO2 makes for a greater cooling effect by re-radiating the ('net) heat transferring from the surface by convection, evaporation (and condensation) of water, surface radiation, hurricanes etc., etc. PS I would like to know what you think of the theory that the pressure gradient in the atmosphere results in a temperature gradient.
  40. Re #1087 Sphaerica you write:- "In answer to all of your questions about net heat flow." I did not mention 'Net' heat flow on #1086. In thermodynamics there is no such thing as "net heat flow". Heat flow, Net or otherwise is a concept belonging to the caloric theory of heat, a theory not accepted since about 1845 following the work of James Joule on the conservation of energy. I suggest that, from this argument, you would also accept that the 'net' transfer is from the warmer to the colder part of the atmosphere and thus it is the colder part that tends to be heated by the warmer surface. The logic of this is clear, CO2 in the atmosphere indeed radiates heat to deep space, cooling the planet down from the heating effect of the Sun - more CO2 makes for a greater cooling effect by re-radiating the ('net) heat transferring from the surface by convection, evaporation (and condensation) of water, surface radiation, hurricanes etc., etc. PS I can see nothing in your diagram that shows a warming effect on the surface, thare are no temperatures to be seen, it is not possible to argue for a warming effect without atleast two temperatures.
  41. damorbel wrote: "I suggest that, from this argument, you would also accept that the 'net' transfer is from the warmer to the colder part of the atmosphere and thus it is the colder part that tends to be heated by the warmer surface." Yes, of course it is, and that is completely compatible with the commonly accepted physics of the GHE. BTW, your putting 'net' in quote strongly suggests you don't understand the reason it is there. It is a perfectly standard term, and it's meaning is key to your misunderstanding. "The logic of this is clear, CO2 in the atmosphere indeed radiates heat to deep space, cooling the planet down from the heating effect of the Sun" No, that does not follow logically. The CO2 in the amtosphere prevents heat from being radiated directly into space from the surface. Instead heat is only radiated to space from the upper trophosphere. The upper trophosphere is cooler than the surface, so there is less heat to radiate. Hence the more CO2, the higher in the trophosphere the radiating layer becomes, the colder this radiating layer is and the less heat that is radiated, not more. As for pressure gradients, I suggest we deal with the major flaw in your reasoning before getting on to more subtle points.
  42. Re #1088 Sphaerica you write:- "While it is true that the measured pressure is higher closer to the ground... it stays that way. The pressure is not changing. To increase the temperature, you must compress the gas further. This clearly is not happening." As you decend through the atmosphere the pressure rises and the temperature rises. This is quite different from the bicycle pump, diesel engine etc. With the bicycle pump the ambient pressure remains the same so its temperature does not change, so the heat in the pump is tranferred into the ambient (thus the unchanging) temperature. The case of the atmosphere is quite different in that all the air at a given altitude heats up as you change that altitude, this means that the ambient temperature is changing at the same time, thus quite different from the bicycle pump example. It is a fact that, apart from wind blowing the air about a bit, the temperature gradient in the troposphere (not the absolute temperature!) is uniform over the entire globe because the force of gravity is, more or less, uniform also.
  43. Damorbel @1085, I did not mention energy transfer from the upper troposphere to the surface. In fact you could develop a model of the greenhouse effect in which all energy transfers within the atmosphere are convective. In that purely convective model of heat transfer within the atmosphere, there is no energy transfer from the upper troposphere to the surface. Never-the-less there is a greenhouse effect, which differs minimally from the real greenhouse effect. In such a model, the Earth's surface is warmed entirely by the Sun. But introducing more CO2 to the atmosphere temporarily slows the rate at which energy leaves the atmosphere. That creates an imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy, which must be stored somewhere and is stored as additional heat. Once enough heat is stored, the energy balance is restored, and all energy lost (or gained) is matched by energy gained (or lost) meaning the stored heat remains constant. Consider a bath tub, with a tap which lets water in, and another tap on the drain which can control the rate at which water goes out. If you turn the inlet tap on full, and the outlet tap on full, the water level of the bath will be constant. If you then half close the outlet tap, the water level in the bath will rise, even though no water flows back up the outlet pipe into the bath. This is exactly analogous to how the greenhouse effect works, and your objection is equivalent to a know-it-all on the side lines saying you can't raise the water level by closing the outlet tap. Your further claim that increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere will increase the radiation to space assumes that energy radiated at a lower level in the atmosphere is never absorbed by CO2 at a higher level in the atmosphere. If you do not make that transparently false assumption, it becomes obvious that if you double the CO2 content, atmospheric radiation from lower in the atmosphere that formerly made it to space will be absorbed by the additional CO2 higher in the atmosphere. It will then be reradiated, but because it is reradiated by a higher and hence colder gass, it will emit less energy to space. I note that Sphaerica's and Dikran's post above more than adequately cover your other errors. As they note, you have been fully rebutted on these points many times and at length in this thread. Consequently I know there is no point in debate with you. I have responded twice now so that any late comers to this thread have a clear statement of the nature of your errors, but will not respond further. As you obviously have nothing new to add, nor any desire to learn, may I suggest you take to heart the moderator's prior direction to you.
  44. Re #1093 Tom Curtis you write:- "I did not mention energy transfer from the upper troposphere to the surface." If a temperature rise is to take place, from any cause, GHE or whatever, there must be an energy source. If it is CO2 in the upper atmosphere producing 'back radiation' that warms the surface, don't you agree that the GHG-caused-back-radiation must be some sort of energy source? You also write:- "In fact you could develop a model of the greenhouse effect in which all energy transfers within the atmosphere are convective" This unlikely, gas flow surely dominates but there is plenty of gas flow that is not convective; surely surface winds play an even more important role? To restrict your analysis to convection is going rather too far I suggest; how else, apart from ocean currents, is thermal energy going to get from the tropics to the poles? You also write:- "But introducing more CO2 to the atmosphere temporarily slows the rate at which energy leaves the atmosphere". Sorry but I cannot see how this can be the case. CO2 is a powerful radiator of thermal energy and on Earth CO2 is always warmer than deep space, even Fourier when writing about heat transfer recognised that is transferred in the direction of hot to cold, so CO2 is always going to absorb heat from the warm atmosphere, both by absorbing radiation and molecular collision so that it, together with the other GHGs, cools the planet very effectively by radiating to deep space. You argue :- "if you double the CO2 content, atmospheric radiation from lower in the atmosphere that formerly made it to space will be absorbed by the additional CO2 higher in the atmosphere." Indeed the change in height does change the radiation temperature by perhaps a few degrees but this only makes a small difference because the radiation to 2.7K (deep space) is for a temperature difference of about 200K (raised to the 4th power don't forget!); the few degrees change arising from height difference will have only a tiny effect. Also the higher effective radiation level means the radiating gas has a lower density so it cannot absorb all the radiation coming from below, some radiation will pass straight through without being reabsorbed by the upper levels because the gas density is dropping.
  45. damorbel, I'm not going to waste of lot of time here, because clearly many others have been down this road before, but here are a few salient points:
    In thermodynamics there is no such thing as "net heat flow".
    Yes, there is. Go study. To provide a simple example, thermodynamics does not apply on an individual molecular level. It applies in aggregate (i.e. at the macroscopic level). If a molecule emits energy in the form of a photon, the receiving molecule does not and cannot know if the emitting molecule was warmer or cooler. It does not and cannot discriminate based on the source of the photon. If that photon is of the correct frequency, then it is absorbed, no matter where it came from. To give another example, do you think that it is impossible to shine a flashlight into the sun? Of course not. The light from the flashlight (some of it) will reach the sun and be absorbed. Far more light/energy from the sun will of course reach and be absorbed by the flashlight. The net flow is from warmer (sun) to cooler (flashlight). but energy still has flowed from the flashlight to the sun.
    I can see nothing in your diagram that shows a warming effect on the surface, thare are no temperatures to be seen, it is not possible to argue for a warming effect without atleast two temperatures.
    Look again. I simplified the "temperatures" to 5 for the surface and 2 for the atmosphere, but they are clearly there. The surface temperature should be 4 (the amount coming from the sun) but it is 5. The extra "ray" is the red one, coming from the atmosphere. Take the time to actually study and understand the diagram before commenting further (although arguing without listening appears to be your modus operandi).
    As you decend through the atmosphere the pressure rises and the temperature rises.
    Wow, really? Except that the pressure is greater near the surface, but not increasing at any particular altitude. Again, no work is being done. The pressure at any altitude is constant. As such, gravity doesn't increase the temperature or artificially maintain a higher temperature. Yes, it maintains the pressure gradient, and a rising parcel of air will do work and cool. But barring that motion, and that actual expenditure of work, the atmosphere should still cool to restore the temperature differential (warm to cool, remember?). Thermodynamics does not allow gravity to violate (or suspend) the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, any more than anything else might. [Did you even realize that when you argue that gravity maintains the temperature differential, it is in fact you who are violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?] The misapplication of the laws of thermodynamics where they do not apply (i.e. a system that is not in thermodynamic equilibrium) is where people often go wrong here. That, and trying to over-simplistically apply basic theories and laws (PV=rRT, etc.) without considering all of the interactions and ramifications. In particular, the system is greatly complicated by quantum mechanics, and the fact that the substances involved may be transparent or opaque to various frequencies of radiation. The system is just far, far more complex than your simple model allows, and as such your simple model is incapable of adequately describing or bounding the system. I suggest you study the facts behind radiation (at the molecular level) in detail before proceeding further with your erroneous train of thought.
  46. 1094, damorbel,
    ...so CO2 is always going to absorb heat from the warm atmosphere, both by absorbing radiation and molecular collision...
    This one statement is very, very, wrong, and a major source of confusion. First, the energy is being absorbed from the surface, not the surrounding atmosphere. Thus, the surface is warming the CO2, which is in turn warming the surrounding O2/N2 in the atmosphere (it's not the atmosphere warming the contained CO2). Basically, the CO2 absorbs the radiation from the surface (or from other layers of the atmosphere, but ignore that complexity for now). Before the CO2 is able to radiate that energy away again (usually) it collides with an O2 or N2 molecule and passes the energy on that way -- freeing it to absorb more radiation from other sources. Thus, the surface warms the CO2, and the CO2 warms the O2/N2. This behavior is more pronounced near the surface, where the air is denser and collisions are more frequent. As one rises in the atmosphere, and it becomes less dense, the chance of collision is reduced, and so, too, is the time between collisions as well as the chance of receiving energy through absorbing radiation (for the CO2 molecule). As a result, CO2 higher up is more likely to gain energy through a collision, and emit it through radiation. Thus, we have a gradually changing effect, where in the denser, lower atmosphere, CO2 acts to absorb radiation and transfer it to the (otherwise transparent to IR) O2 and N2 molecules. As one rises, the balance slowly changes, until one reaches the very upper troposphere and stratosphere, where the opposite is likely to occur, and CO2 actually acts to accentuate heat loss.
  47. damorbel#1083: "distinguish between this compressive heating of the surface and the GH effect?. For me this is critical to the understanding of atmospheric physics and not often discussed." Perhaps an idea is 'not often discussed' because it is clear to most that it has little merit. You appeared as the champion of this idea as far back as comment #125 on this very thread, where the "death knell of the GHG hypothesis really is the effect of gravity on the atmosphere." Rumors of the 'death knell' of the 'GHG hypothesis' have been greatly exaggerated. This is not your personal soapbox; if you have nothing new to contribute, no one really enjoys reruns.
  48. Re #1095 Sphaerica you write:- "In thermodynamics there is no such thing as "net heat flow". Yes, there is. Go study." The concept of heat 'flowing' went out with the 'fluid' concept of heat i.e. caloric. There have been many attempts to describe heat and the idea that heat is conserved was gradually replaced with the conservation of energy during the 2nd half of the 19th century. All these arguments about 'back radiation' and the like appear to be based on this idea of heat as a fluid substance and the preictions do not fit the observations. You write:- "If a molecule emits energy in the form of a photon, the receiving molecule does not and cannot know if the emitting molecule was warmer or cooler. The energy of a photon has the relationship E = hv, this is at the basis of quantum theory laid down by Max Planck and further developed by A Einstein, Werner Heisenberg etc., etc. in the early 20thC. This discussion has raised this point about 'photons not knowing the source temperature - I'm sure I have seen it before and it just isn't true! In this respect photons are no different to any other particles. If this 'ignorance of source temperature' on the part of photons is the basis of your science then I suggest you think again. How do you suppose a remote sensing infrared thermometer works if it doesn't relate the photon energy to the temperature of the emitter? Again you write:- "thermodynamics does not apply on an individual molecular level. It applies in aggregate (i.e. at the macroscopic level)." Since thermodynamics is base on the conservation of energy, not heat, it applies not only at the microscopic (molecular) level but to the sub-molecular i.e. quantum level. I suggest you are thinking of statistical mechanics which is indeed very useful for understanding ensembles of freely interacting particles. But statistical mechanics relies just as much on the conservation of energy and the conservation of momentum (both angular and linear) as does themodynamics and quantum mechanics. Further you write:- "I simplified the "temperatures" to 5 for the surface and 2 for the atmosphere, but they are clearly there. The surface temperature should be 4 (the amount coming from the sun) but it is 5. The extra "ray" is the red one, coming from the atmosphere." I am not sure of your meaning here. According to Fourier heat transfer is between two bodies according to the temperature difference you have in your diagram 2 units of heat going from the Earth at 5deg. to the atmosphere at 2 deg - quite possible. But how can you have 1 (red) unit going from the atmosphere at 2deg. to the Earth at 5deg. How so? Did Fourier get it wrong? You write:- "Thermodynamics does not allow gravity to violate (or suspend) the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, any more than anything else might. [Did you even realize that when you argue that gravity maintains the temperature differential, it is in fact you who are violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?]" What is missing from your argument is the conservation of energy, both potential and kinetic. Any object, including volumes of air, moving in a gravitational field, changes its potential and kinetic energy according to the strength of the gravitational field and the (vector) distance it moves; this is the argument that got Galileo into trouble. As for a volume of gas, it loses kinetic energy as it rises in a gravitational field, changing into potential energy therefore it cools, it is as simple as that. No need to talk about compression and expansion, gas is free to move as it likes in an atmosphere, but these movements must conform tho the conservation of momentum, potential and kinetic energy, don't you think?
  49. 1098, damorbel,
    All these arguments about 'back radiation' and the like appear to be based on this idea of heat as a fluid substance and the preictions do not fit the observations.
    This statement is not only wrong, but demonstrates a woefully poor understanding of the subject matter. You appear to be completely oblivious to radiative and molecular physics, and trapped in a 1960s mode. Please educate yourself.
    If this 'ignorance of source temperature' on the part of photons is the basis of your science then I suggest you think again. How do you suppose a remote sensing infrared thermometer works if it doesn't relate the photon energy to the temperature of the emitter?
    You clearly failed to comprehend anything I wrote. Please go back and reread it. At the same time, this statement also represents a complete lack of understanding of radiative physics. Again, go study.
    it applies not only at the microscopic (molecular) level but to the sub-molecular i.e. quantum level.
    No. Go study.
    But how can you have 1 (red) unit going from the atmosphere at 2deg. to the Earth at 5deg. How so? Did Fourier get it wrong?
    No, Fourier didn't, but you do. Go study.
    Any object, including volumes of air, moving in a gravitational field, changes its potential and kinetic energy according to...
    But we're not talking about moving parcels of air. We're talking about stationary air.
    ...but these movements must conform tho the conservation of momentum, potential and kinetic energy, don't you think?
    Okay, this makes it pretty clear that you're one of those people who thinks they know what they are talking about to the point that they are hopelessly lost. Hence, this is all a complete waste of time. Enjoy applying your personal version of physics to the world.
  50. Damorbel is at it again, after demonstrating how willing he was to contradict himself for the sake of argument. "How do you suppose a remote sensing infrared thermometer works if it doesn't relate the photon energy to the temperature of the emitter?" The hot plate of my stove emits IR photons. So does the Sun. No "IR thermometer" can tell whether an IR photon comes from one or the other. We've been there already. Damorbel's total confusion with Wien's law was clearly exposed on that occasion. Now the confusion is back, this time with gravity. It never ends.
    Response: (DB) Everything has an ending, including one's patience in allowing PRATT to continue to be bandied about.

Prev  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  Next

Post a Comment

Political, off-topic or ad hominem comments will be deleted. Comments Policy...

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

Link to this page



The Consensus Project Website

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)


© Copyright 2020 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us