Bob Ashworth said of the concept of a backradiation greenhouse effect:
“The US Patent Office would never patent such a concept.”
What exactly is this concept? In a previous post, we discovered that the greenhouse effect isn’t actually even defined all that well, that the math which has been shown for it is fraudulent, and that the basic idea of a 33 Kelvin difference between the “equivalent radiation temperature” and the “specific kinetic temperature near the surface” is an ambiguous and undefined and arbitrary concept in the first place.
Also recall that the backradiation greenhouse effect has nothing to do with an actual real greenhouse, and so even the very name of the atmospheric concept is meaningless and sophistic. The whole thing seems to be based on sophistry – its name, its math, its physics, its presumptions, etc. Of course, after the article discussing the 33 Kelvin problem, I saw greenhouse believers begin denying that the greenhouse effect has anything to do with 33 Kelvin! This is how they work – they throw their own theories and claims under the bus when you prove them to be wrong, and then they escape by simply inventing a new theory or description for what they sophize the greenhouse effect is. This is how you can tell that you’re not dealing with science, but with fanaticism. Real science abandons failed theories, rather than reinvent them; it criticizes its own flaws, rather than defend them and hide them.
Remember, this is not so much about CO2, or the atmosphere, specifically. Rather, it is about the underlying physical principle of the GHE (supposedly) at work. That’s how engineering and science works – you figure out what the underlying physical principle is, and then you engineer it, and exploit it.
Given that this is what science is actually about, it is all the more telling that the underlying principle of the GHE is so hard to actually identify. As we’ve seen, as soon as you identify it and analyze it, and show it to be wrong, another version will be created that is a new, alternative underlying principle. For example, when backradiation is shown to not cause an increase in temperature, then the principle of backradiation changes to only causing delaying cooling at night time; when delayed cooling at night time is found to not occur from backradiation, then the greenhouse effect changes to causing subsurface conduction.
However, according to the IPCC, “greenhouse gases” send back to the surface some IR radiation that otherwise would escape to space, thus increasing the surface temperature:
“The Sun powers Earth’s climate, radiating energy at very short wavelengths, predominately in the visible or near-visible (e.g., ultraviolet) part of the spectrum. Roughly one-third of the solar energy that reaches the top of Earth’s atmosphere is reflected directly back to space. The remaining two-thirds is absorbed by the surface and, to a lesser extent, by the atmosphere. To balance the absorbed incoming energy, the Earth must, on average, radiate the same amount of energy back to space. Because the Earth is much colder than the Sun, it radiates at much longer wavelengths, primarily in the infrared part of the spectrum (see Figure 1). Much of this thermal radiation emitted by the land and ocean is absorbed by the atmosphere, including clouds, and re-radiated back to Earth. This is called the greenhouse effect. The glass walls in a greenhouse reduce airflow and increase the temperature of the air inside. Analogously, but through a different physical process, the Earth’s greenhouse effect warms the surface of the planet. Without the natural greenhouse effect, the average temperature at Earth’s surface would be below the freezing point of water. Thus, Earth’s natural greenhouse effect makes life as we know it possible. However, human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have greatly intensified the natural greenhouse effect, causing global warming.”
Mr. Greg House had this to say about the above IPCC proposition of the GHE:
“I allow me to remind you on this occasion that this concept is 150 years old and was debunked 100 years ago by professor R.W.Wood (1909). The concept is long dead, Ladies and Gentlemen. Nevertheless, the IPCC has found it appropriate to revive this dead body and sell it to the politicians and the press as “climate science”. Note also their “Analogously, but through a different physical process”… This is absolutely absurd crap, a contradiction in itself. But they need it, apparently, to fool people with the association the word “greenhouse” causes “very warm”; I can not find any other rational reason for that.”
Note that in the IPCC “explanation” of the GHE that the underlying physical principle still isn’t actually really defined. We see that the atmosphere absorbs some radiation from the surface – okay, that’s fine. Then the radiation is “re-radiated back to Earth”. Okay, that’s fine too. But what does it mean, and why is it a greenhouse effect? What is it doing? They don’t say! Re-radiation (i.e. backradiation) is not what makes a real greenhouse function, so why is this called a greenhouse effect in the atmosphere? The implication though, and what GHE people eventually say, is that this backradiation causes more heating, even though it is radiation coming from a colder source, and therefore implies that something cold is heating up something which is already warmer. Of course, when this contradiction is pointed out, the argument switches to delayed cooling at night time. But the only thing which delays cooling at night time is the latent heat trapped in water and water vapor, and this has nothing to do with backradiation. Then when delayed cooling from backradiation isn’t actually observed, the GHE changes to subsurface conduction. So you see how slippery-eel-like and anti-scientific the defense of the GHE is.
This is much like climate alarmism in the first place, and the correlation between the anti-science of climate alarm and the anti-science of the greenhouse effect is not coincidental: the greenhouse effect forms the basis of climate alarm. The denial of greenhouse effect criticism may in fact be a stop-gap measure placed under the guise of skepticism (i.e., it is very strange that so-called skeptics behave the exact same way that climate alarmist pseudoscientists do upon criticism of alarmism, if you criticize the GHE), such that alarmist anthropogenic climate change can permanently still be defended as a question of “how much”, rather than “not at all”. It is a way to make the issue a permanent argument that will never go away and never be resolved, because the climate always changes, always has, and always will, and we will thus be wasting time permanently fighting the climate and arguing about it! No one wants to question whether we should be fighting the climate: what do they want to do, stop the climate!?
Indeed, many skeptics openly declare their position that the question of (alarmist) anthropogenic climate change via carbon dioxide “is a question of how much”, and thus you have to wonder what their motive is, because there is no rational reason to prejudicially condemn and outlaw the possibility of “not at all”, particularly if the GHE is wrong. Just read this blog and look at how easy it is to criticize the GHE and even reject it; why wouldn’t a skeptic want to explore this possibility if they truly disagree with climate alarm and its obvious political ends? Of course, the question of “how much climate change is due to humans” can and has been abused into all levels of irrationality by the climate alarmist pseudoscientists, and in politics all you need is “a little bit” to get the ball started rolling on “carbon austerity measures” to increase taxes and reduce productive technological development, and basically (re)enslave society; you still end up with a carbon-based economy, down the line, and it would probably be an even worse system than the speculative-debt-based system we have now. See Joe Olson’s “Fractional Reserve Banking Begat Faux Reality” for an excellent overview on that issue.
Coincidental? Not likely. It actually seems as if getting the “greenhouse effect” emplaced into the public lexicon was the actual goal of climate alarm in the first place, or it was at least the platform that alarmism intended to have emplaced even once alarmism was shown to be pseudoscientific – the greenhouse effect got slipped in to remain unmolested, and other goals could then be achieved with this simulacrum of atmospheric physics incorrectly believed as reality by the public. Yes, this ties in to the “religion series” on this site, which I should finish for the sake of those following it!
Anyway. What is the mechanism, the underlying concept, that is the backradiation greenhouse effect (BRGHE)? The concept is that the backradiation from the atmosphere represents radiative energy which has been prevented from leaving the atmosphere. In other words, there is more energy in the atmosphere than there would have been otherwise if the radiation was allowed to escape. This results in a higher temperature than there otherwise would have been, and it supposedly allows for higher temperatures to be generated as compared to the temperature which would be generated if no energy were returned to the source (the surface). The math for this is exactly that as discussed in this previous post, and as we saw, it was physically tautologous and fraudulent and violated the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Bob Ashworth made a very important point that no one has yet taken seriously. If such a thing as radiant energy trapping to generate higher temperatures can occur, then this is something that can be engineered by utilizing the underlying physical principles involved, and the principle can be sent to the patent office in a device exploiting it. Someone can make money off of it. (Not in the “carbon tax” sense, but in the “product” sense.) And we ask someone to try! The principle is simple: trap energy! Particularly, trap radiation energy. So, lets’ design a device that will trap radiant energy and thus achieve higher temperature than the input, using the supposed physical principle of the backradiation greenhouse effect.
First, take an oven-top heating coil. You can make these red-hot if you want, and boil water with them, but if we apply the principle of the BRGHE, we should be able to trap its own radiant energy from a much lower temperature, and have the temperature of the coil become amplified.
A heating coil in free space, which can radiate to infinite distance with no blockage, given a certain input voltage, held constant, of Vo, will produce a certain kinetic temperature in the coil of To. If we know the effective emissivity (‘e’) of the coil, its radiant flux output can be calculated with the Stefan-Boltzmann Law such that Fo = e*s*T4 (‘s’ is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant equal to 5.67 x10-8 W/m2/K4).
Now, let us surround the coil with an internally silvered (or otherwise very highly reflective) shell, with the coil at the center. If we construct it well enough, which is relatively easy to do, we can reduce the direct escape of radiation from the coil to almost zero; say we reduce it to a one-tenth of one percent relative to the original output, meaning that 99.9% of the output energy from the coil gets backradiated to it.
What happens now? If the coil were instead a hot lump of metal, placed into the sphere without a power source, we would just have a thermos. The energy the lump of metal emitted would just be returned, and so the lump would just keep its temperature for a long time. But in this case, the coil has an internal power source (a small battery, say), and so more radiant thermal energy is being produced while the previously emitted radiant energy is being returned.
Will this increase the temperature of the resistor?
If it did, then you could supply some “low” voltage, and get the resistor to the same temperature as would be produced at much “higher” voltage when it wasn’t inside the shell. Say, at the low voltage outside the shell, the resistor would get to 50C, but inside the shell at the same voltage, the resistor would get to 150C.
You could have the resistor attached to a “heat pot”, so that at the low voltage outside the shell, the heat pot would only ever get to 50C once it equilibrated. Can’t boil water with that. But at the same low voltage and placed inside the shell, the resistor could get the heat pot to 150C. Take the “pot” out of the shell and then boil water with it.
Thus you get more work than the circuit would have produced on its own.
You could make a giant resistor that is itself the “heat pot”, and by supplying a low voltage to it, the GHE says you could amplify the temperature of the resistor to far beyond the temperature than the circuit could itself produce from its actual input voltage. Thus, you can take the “heat pot resistor” out of the shell and while it is still hot, use its high temperature to boil water and do “work stuff”. It would directly be over-unity work, because you could do a higher degree of work – boiling water – than the circuit itself with its actual voltage input could actually do.
Defenders of the GHE proposition always refer to the 1st Law of Thermodynamics which says that energy can not be destroyed; if energy can not be destroyed then the energy which is being trapped must just keep on building up, and if it keeps on building up then this must increase the temperature.
Critics of the GHE proposition say that this argument ignores the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics which says that you can’t get more power out, or work, than you put in. Temperature represents the ability to do work and if you increase the temperature of an object without actually doing the work that should have been required to create that temperature, then whatever it is you’re proposing will not work.
The 1st-Law people try, but can’t explain away, the 2nd Law; but the 2nd-Law people can’t answer the 1st-Law people as to what happens to the energy.
Engineers will tell you that in a question of the outcome of a thermodynamic proposition, where there is an apparent conflict between the 1st and 2nd Law, it is the 2nd Law which is there to tell you the answer. Over-unity work output, i.e. greater than 100% efficiency, is simply impossible, and so it doesn’t happen. You just forget about whatever you were thinking with the 1st Law because obviously what you were thinking isn’t correct, but you are left without knowing why your 1st Law idea was wrong. You just have to concede the 2nd Law. It is that vacancy for an answer to the 1st Law problem where the GHE gets to sophize all of its various modes of operation, by ignoring the 2nd Law! Thus, we must unify the 1st and 2nd Law into a cohesive answer…at least for this problem presented here.
Photons are not little indivisible balls of energy, like atoms. They are waves, and they are bosons, and they can pile up on top of each other indefinitely. Fermionic particles, like most atoms and molecules, can not pile on top of each other, and so when you add more and more of them with a non-zero kinetic energy into a confined space, the pressure increases, their rate of vibration increases, and their temperature increases. But photons (i.e. light waves), instead, constructively and destructively interfere with each other in superposition. They don’t affect each others frequency or energy. This is essentially opposite of the behavior of fermions, which we more intuitively associate with, and so it isn’t surprising that people get confused about what photons can actually do to themselves.
What happens with photons when they are in superposition, “piled up”? Any high-school physics student knows this: there is equal amount of constructive and destructive interference, so that there is no net change in the radiative energy field. Where is the radiation being created in the first place? At the surface of the resistor. Where is the radiant energy being back-radiated to? The surface of the resistor. What happens with the outward radiant energy produced at the surface of the resistor and the backradiation energy coming back? Constructive and destructive interference in superposition in equal amount, which means that there is no net gain.
Why even speak of a possibility of net gain? Why not net loss? Net loss is obviously ridiculous given equal amounts of constructive and destructive interference, and so this wish for net positive gain is likewise impossible. If there can’t be net loss then there can’t be net gain. (Actually net loss is guaranteed in the end because no system is 100% efficient.) How much energy is left? 50% from the outgoing part, and 50% from the incoming (backradiated) part which gets scattered back out, and thus 100%.
Note also that in an ideal situation where the radiant energy is a blackbody spectrum, that such a spectrum of photons in superposition with itself (the outgoing photons from the source in superposition with the backradiated photons of the same spectrum) will not and can not change the frequency distribution of the spectrum. If there’s no change in the frequency distribution of the photon spectrum caused by superposition with itself, then there is no change in temperature, since the temperature gets defined by the frequency distribution.
Thus, we answer both the 1st Law and the 2nd Law arguments, and indeed we see that both laws are obeyed. All due to the feature of the wave nature of bosonic photons. It is really amazing that nature is existent as it is, such that photons obey the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics because of their wave-like nature, while not violating the 1st Law. Constructive and destructive interference of light waves do not represent a violation of the 1st Law of Thermodynamics. It is not surprising that climate scientists have such a difficult time understanding that radiant energy also obeys the Laws of Thermodynamics, given that they are not actually trained in physics. Climate scientists may not be pseudoscientists as a matter of intent (although, this likely can’t be claimed for all of them), but many of them may simply be pseudoscientists as a matter of their lack of knowledge of physics.
I asked a real engineer, Lionell Griffith, about the proposed device based on the principle underlying the IPCC greenhouse effect, and he had the following to say (below). Remember, engineers actually make things that work. Your life, my life, everybody’s lives, depend on an engineer’s knowledge of reality and ability to make nature do things which they intend. They have to know the underlying physical principles through which nature operates, and they have to obey them or else they get people killed. A single engineer, particularly a power or electrical engineer, is probably worth 1000, perhaps even an infinite number, of climate pseudoscientists. Remember, a sum of an infinite number of terms can still be finite, and if we sum an infinite number of climate pseudoscientists, we would still likely be left with climate alarm based on violating the Laws of Thermodynamics; whereas a single engineer would never violate the Laws of Thermodynamics. As an equation: 1 * Engineer > infinite * “climatists”.
“The Engineering Perspective:
The basic premise of engineering is that engineering is the application of science and math to the invention and production of economically useful devices and processes.
The proposed device appears to be an attempt to get around the workings of the laws of thermodynamics. The Three Laws of Thermodynamics cannot be escaped simply by the use of mirrors and radiation – even if (n.b., non-existent) perfect mirrors are used. The sequence of energy transformations grantees a very impractical device that might be useful only for scamming money out of gullible and scientifically ignorant investors and politicians.
The sequence of energy transformations:
1. electrical energy to heat energy
2. heat energy to radiant energy
3. radiant energy back to heat energy
4. heat energy to kinetic energy
5. kinetic energy to doing useful work
It is much more practical, efficient, and cost effective to omit the middle man of radiation and heat and transform the electrical energy into kinetic energy. Then using that kinetic energy to do useful work.
The Marketing Perspective:
We have a Super Duper New Greenhouse Effect Amplifier that, after an initial low cost charging, can heat your house all winter for free. Connect enough of them in series and you can even melt steel. Today only, we have a two for the price of one special. Call and place your order by 6pm today and we will include a set of EverSharp (TM) carving knives absolutely free except for shipping and handling charges. Our operators are standing by to take your order. Remember! This special is for today only so don’t delay.
The Three Laws of Thermodynamics Perspective:
The First Law insists that you cannot extract more useful energy out of a system than the energy input into the system. It would seem that if energy were accumulated for a time, as if the system were in effect a heat capacitor, then one could extract a higher level of energy out of the system for a shorter period of time than the charging time. However, the output time-energy integral cannot exceed the input time-energy integral. (You can’t get ahead.)
The Second Law insists that the actual amount of useful work that can be done with the stored heat energy is a function of the temperature delta between the heat source and heat sink. Thus the rate at which work can be done with the stored energy will decay to the level allowed by the rate of energy being input into the system as the stored heat energy is used. However, since all real heat sinks are at a temperature above absolute zero, you cannot convert all of the accumulated and continuous input heat energy into doing useful work. (You can’t even break even)
The Third Law insists that you can’t even do that much work because of inevitable losses in the various energy transformation reactions. The proposed device has five transformations ALL incapable of transforming all of the input energy into useful output energy. (You are behind before you start – in fact way behind.)
Hence, the device will not work as hoped. It does not get around the Three Laws of Thermodynamics and you must put much more energy into it than you can get useful work out of it.
The Patent Perspective:
1. Applications for perpetual motion machines are automatically prejudicially refused (cannot simply be modified and resubmitted) and it has been so since the late 19th century.
2. The device or process to be patented must not be obvious to one practiced in the arts. This one is so obvious that a fifth grader could think of it.
3. The claims to be covered may not infringe upon prior art – meaning that it must actually be new. It is a variation of the same old same old.
4. The device must have a direct, clear, and useful result coming from the operation of the device. Indirect usefulness such as being useful for the scamming of money from gullible investors is not an acceptable usefulness.
I suggest the proposed device fails to be patentable on all counts via. a valid and honest patent procedure.”
So there you have it. The thing about obvious and natural physical principles is that if they actually exist, people have usually already exploited it. If it was possible to increase the temperature of a flame by placing the flame at the focus of a mirror and having its radiation come back to it and focus on itself, this would have been discovered thousands of years ago. Think of how useful such a thing would be, and how immediately useful it would have been for people. Think of how easy it would have been for GHE supporters to demonstrate the effect of backradiation to answer the critics!
Why are there no patents which exploit the underlying physical principle of the GHE? Because there is no underlying principle for the GHE; the one the IPCC identifies violates the Laws of Thermodynamics and all the other ones that GHE people invent are a mere sophistry of changing reference frames and shifting goal posts.
But of course, what happens? Right now, what’s going to happen, is that greenhouse effect believers are thinking of a way to say that the IPCC’s definition of the GHE “isn’t actually the greenhouse effect”, or that the greenhouse effect “only works in atmosphere where there’s a longer path length of travel for the photons”, or that “a lapse rate (which is caused by the GHE) is required in order to see the GHE and so the device would need to contain a few miles worth of air”, etc. I know this is what they’ll say because this is already what they say, because the IPCC definition of the GHE has already long been known to be fraudulent. But that also means that all of these other explanations are also fraudulent. The IPCC explanation doesn’t really specifically identify the physical principle it implies, other than implying that “heat is created from backradiation”. Being so open ended, GHE advocates are free to create whatever other explanations they wish.
Photons obey all of the Laws of Thermodynamics, and the usual appeals to 1st-Law-only arguments by GHE advocacy and backradiation are wrong. You have to obey the principle that heat does not flow from cold to hot, and that cold things can’t make warmer things warmer still. Another real engineer, Pierre Latour, has of course already discussed this issue as well in his No Virginia, Cooler Objects Cannot Make Warmer Object Even Warmer Still. Temperature does not add to itself. Radiant energy does not increase its own frequency/temperature spectrum. Photon light waves always constructively and destructively interfere with each other. These are facts that will never go away. Thermodynamics is true…all of it…not just a subset.
“Why are there no patents which exploit the underlying physical principle of the GHE? “
Patents are already contaminated:
Click to access USPTO%20HIR%20bulbs.pdf
[Reply: Too bad there are no patents that actually do more work that can be exploited for higher power production. The underlying principle of the GHE needs to be explicitly stated, an engineered experiment needs to be stated, and the principle needs to be verified. None of that has been done. Attempts to do so are always met with changes in what the underlying principle actually is, so that verification becomes a) impossible b) failed demonstrations are dismissed.]
Looks like the “marketing perspective” has begun with light bulbs. Super duper GHE light bulbs!
[Reply: Yes it is obvious BS. But hey, if they CAN produce over-unity work production, then why don’t they engineer it and fix the world’s energy problems? Imagine that…the “physics” of the GHE is what turns out to create free energy. lol
It’s just stupid…you can’t trap energy to make it do more than it would do on its first usage…basic engineering and thermo.]
Actually, there is a good reason to call CO2 a “greenhouse gas.” After all, greenhouse operators routinely add CO2 because plants do so much better at concentrations of 1000 ppm.
[Reply: Indeed! To vilify CO2 is to hate life itself…such people are deranged.]
Clearly humans have an environmental impact – land clearing and degradation through mining, intensive farming, building cities and urban landscapes or the primitive simply trying to avoid starvation through poaching wildlife or burning trees for energy and warmth.
But without a villain it is difficult to dupe the masses but convince gullible people you have a noblr cause and you can manipulate people into doing horrendous deeds to further some necessary cause.
Stalin had the Romanoffs, Hitler had the Jews, the Crusaders had to free the Holy Land from the Muslims, Serbia had to remove the Croats, Muslims and anyone else who got in the way etc etc ad-infinitum.
“Save the Planet” is simply the latest catchcry of the would-be dictators who need some rallying crusade – you can witness they are having some successes as the less intelligent, irrational psychopaths among us are already rallying with their “burn the witches” kill denier outbursts – and a lot of them have PhDs.
I would have lost my job forthwith for uttering some of the obscene filth some of these halfwits espouse publically !
[Reply: Too true! And these morons mean it when they talk about what they would like to do to “save the planet”.]
Over on talkshop I was informed that I had made a mistake.
While discussing the Trenberth energy budget from 2009, I said a surface at 289 K in a vacuum will emit up to 396 W/m^2 if it emissivity is set to unity.
I suggested that the energy carried away from the surface by convection and evaporation would reduce that 396 W/m^2 value.
Apparently I was wrong, which is when I hit upon the most brilliant idea ever!
1. Supply 396 W/m^2 to a surface in a vacuum and raise the temperature to 289 K.
2. Expose the surface to moisture and an atmosphere.
3. Collect the 396 W/m^2 it emits through radiation.
4. Collect the 97 W/m^2 it loses through convection and evaporation.
Getting a vacuum takes energy though, but what if you were in a spaceship?
Attach carbon nanotube (one of the blackest substances known) to a square meter hunk of metal and slide it out into direct sunlight until it warms up to the desired temperature, then retract it back into a compartment designed to collect energy from radiation, convection, and evaporation.
As long as the energy required to slide the plate out into the sun and back inside the ship is less than the energy collected, you should be able to get full power emissions AND energy from convection/evaporation, pump some of that energy back into sliding the plate back and forth… poof, no more energy troubles!
This is an insightful comment from Bob Ryan on a thread at WUWT.
A very telling phrase: ”Climate is the average of the weather….’. But, that is not what climate scientists like Slingo believe. For them ‘climate drives weather’. This is the inversion of thought which distinguishes the traditional meteorological paradigm from that of the (new) climate scientist. The former is informed by a straightforward empiricist view of the world – the latter by a form of rationalism based upon the Platonic concept that there are certain ideal and immutable laws (in this case the laws of radiation physics and thermodynamics) from which the future of the climate can be deduced and modelled. The problem is that these methodological paradigms are quite incommensurable and the debate between the two sides is like ships passing in the night. For Slingo what is observed is the servant of theory and quoting Feynman or Popper will not make the slightest bit of difference. Slingo isn’t pretending she knows why it has been wet – she really, really believes she knows.
[Reply: Great point. Many (real) meteorologists have amde the point that there is no real such thing as global climate, but only local weather. Sure, some short-term average state might come out of that weather, but that average state is not what created the weather!]
Yes, and I recall the Pielkes did some studies showing that weather stations even a few kms apart showed major differences in readings of temperature, wind, precipitation, etc. Regional averages are calculated, but in fact those numbers do not represent the reality of any microclimate included in the mix. Only .local weather is real–regional, continental and global climates are all statistical artifacts.
[Reply: Yes and Michael Crichton wrote about that too: that stations not far apart from each other could show the OPPOSITE trends, one warming the other cooling, and so he asked: how can this be possible if the greenhouse effect and warming is a global phenomenon?]
I like to bring up the case of two cups of water, one a degree above freezing, one a degree below boiling.
Set them side by side, you can try to take an average of those temperatures, but what does that represent?
Is there an invisible cup between them?
Is that cup warming and cooling at the same time?
Strangely I never find much interest in discussing this.
Science of Doom on his blog uses an example very much like yours to try and show how backradiation works(?). It is in a blog article headed’ Do Trenberth and Kiehl understand the First Law of Thermodynamics? Part Three – The Creation of Energy?’ (July 26th 2010) He uses a ‘thought experiment’ of a hollow pvc sphere with an interior heat source of 30000 watts. He says that the interior heats up until the inner surface reaches a temperature of 423K i.e. at the point that (given the emissivity of the pvc) the outer surface will emit 30000 watts. At this point the inner surface is radiating nearly 1.85 mW. The essence of his thought experiment is “If 30,000 Joules per second are input to the system, then in steady state 30,000 Joules per second will leave the system – if less than 30,000 Joules per second are leaving the system then the system will be heating up.” And again: “If the outer surface is not radiating 30,000W then heat is being accumulated somewhere – which increases the internal temperature – until finally the outer surface temperature rises to the point where radiation = 30,000W.”
I wonder if you could critique it. One of the commenters, an electrical engineer who calls himself Gord, takes issue with SoD’s claims and the fascinating debate is preserved on the pages of the Hockey Schtick blog. (‘Gord replies to comments’ – Tuesday 9th November 2010) It is surprising to me (as a non-physicist) that what is obviously basic physics seems to be in dispute. Surely we know the answer to this question?
Reply: I can take a look soon. Cheers.
I looked at this some time ago and couldn’t see the point of the exercise. The simple thought experiment was nothing to do with Kiehl and Trenberth. SoD kept trying to confuse matters by mixing energy with power, eg the following quote: “So the total radiation from the inner surface will be 1,824,900W. What??? You have created energy!!!”
As I recall it the essence of the model is that at steady state, the problem is solved by calculating the temperature of the outer surface of the sphere based on it radiating at 30kW to space which is essentially at 0K. Given the emissivity of the sphere and its surface area, it is easy to calculate the outer surface temperature. It is then straightforward to calculate the inner surface temperature of the sphere, based on the flux of 30kW, the sphere’s thickness and its conductivity. The source of 30kW is at the centre of the sphere and is a point source and so has no temperature. The inner surface of the sphere is all at the same temperature and so any small area is radiating according to its temperature and emissivity to all other parts of the inner surface, but of course it is absorbing an equal amount of radiation from the other parts. In essence molecules on the surface of the inner sphere are swapping photons with each other, but no net energy is being transferred (ΔT^4 – ΔT^4 = 0). The huge amount of power apparently being radiated by the inner surface (1,824.9kW) is not real because it is balanced by 1,824.9kW being absorbed. Nothing is happening. The point source clearly has no surface area and temperature and so does not interact with any of the radiation. Of course, if the source of the 30kW was another smaller sphere of finite surface area with a known emissivity, then we could calculate its temperature based on the inner surface temperature of the outer sphere. But of course the radiation coming from inner surface of the outer sphere is taken care of in the calculation based on the term (ΔT^4source – ΔT^4inner surface of outer sphere).
What this has to do with Kiehl and Trenberth with their ridiculous energy budget based on some hypothetical and nonsensical average earth conditions and a mythical layer in the atmosphere doing all this radiating, and the answer to the question “Do Trenberth and Kiehl understand the First Law of Thermodynamics?”, I have no idea.
Thanks Joe. Another thoughtful post.
WUWT has run a post about a ”slayer” crit. of a NASA paper about heat loss from the thermosphere, due to NO and CO2. Have you seen this ”slayer” piece as I cannot as yet. WUWT has been very critical of the ”slayers”. In fact WUWT is becoming a bit alarmist.
Richard Smith:- I think PVC heated to over 400C would have melted at around 200C. So the Tremberth experiment is like his AR4 graphic. Totally unrealistic.
@John @2013/03/31 at 5:12 AM
Well look at it this way: as long as the GHE exists, there will be alarmism, because the GHE is the fundamental and sole basis of alarmism. It is totally irrational that so-called skeptics defend and shield at all costs any criticism of the GHE. So, what are they ACTUALLY doing?
You have a mass: you’re heating it.
You through physical contact, thermally couple a second mass, you’re not heating.
As heat transfers through direct physical contact the temperature of mass A goes:
In MAGICK GAiS country y’AWw,
is * B *