What is heating…
The “steel greenhouse” provides a basic schematic for the meme of the atmospheric greenhouse effect, among other sources. Sometimes the terminology goes by the phraseology of “backradiation”, and sometimes it goes by that of “heat trapping” or “heat flow restriction”, and others, as the need arises. There is little consistency, and these terms can all mean very different things physically, which is curious for a supposedly scientific concept.
Generally, the underlying concept is that a heat source which is enclosed in some relevant fashion will “become” warmer because, variously, A) radiation from the source of thermal radiation directed back to the source of radiation (i.e. backradiation) by the enclosure leads to the source becoming warmer, because i) radiation from the cooler passive enclosure, either reflected or absorbed and re-emitted from the passive enclosure and back to the warmer source, becomes thermally absorbed by the surface of the warmer source which leads to the warmer source becoming warmer still, or ii) heat trapped by the enclosure leads to the source of heat inside the enclosure to become warmer as the source struggles to radiatively emit the same amount of thermal energy to the outside of the passive enclosure, or B) as the source of heat warms the cooler enclosure, the source of heat is lead to become warmer still as the cooler enclosure warms up to equilibrium with the source of heat, in order to maintain the temperature difference between the source and the passive cooler enclosure.
Applied to the atmosphere, the terminologies are such that the atmosphere heats the surface of the Earth with backradiation, or that the atmosphere traps heat from the surface thus leading to the surface becoming warmer in the attempt to cool, etc. It is the presence of a cooler object, i.e. cold atmospheric gas, that by some method, leads to the source of heat of the cooler gas, which is the ground surface, to become warmer.
None of these statements are physically valid or are supported by traditional or modern physics.
Let it be clear, the only physically valid statement that could be made is that:
The atmosphere becomes warmer, if it absorbs more heat.
The surface becomes warmer, if it absorbs more heat.
I will let Pierre Latour speak here, from a private email discussion:
“The Stefan-Boltzmann equation gives intensity of radiation, W/m2, emitted by a body at temperature T. It is analogous to fluid pressure, kg/m2. Stefan and Boltzmann called it intensity, not heat transfer, because it is intensity, not heat transfer. (It becomes heat transfer in maximum case emitting to 0K surroundings, so it is a max heat transfer. Real transfer is always less.) All bodies radiate with an intensity and they all experience a pressure. But for a fluid to flow there must be a driving force, a pressure difference. Physics teaches the fluid flows from high pressure to lower at a rate proportional to the pressure difference. The pressure at the bottom of the sea is high but uniform so no fluid flow.
For radiant energy to flow, transfer from one body to be absorbed by another body, heating it, there must be a driving force and that force for radiant energy transfer is an intensity difference. Physics teaches that the radiant heat flows from high intensity, to lower intensity, at a rate proportional to the difference (TH4 – TL4). Two identical glowing radiators facing each other radiate intensely but without any heat transfer between them.
The GHGT error is assigning to that second intensity term in the radiant heat transfer law an energy flow from cold to hot. Just because there is an algebraic term in the equation for cooler body radiating intensity does not mean it corresponds to a rate of heat transfer from cold to hot.
Atmospheric CO2 radiates with same intensity in all directions but the direction and rate of heat transfer to surroundings depends on surrounding’s radiating intensity. Energy transfer is asymmetric. So if the K-T 333 back-radiation arrow signifies direction of downward radiation intensity in all directions, ok, if they point it in all directions. But K-T labeled their diagram energy flows, and their back-radiation arrow 333 cannot be a flow, absorbed by surface, warming it further. Hence we have the dispute about semantics of physics which GHE believers dismiss with derision. “
If the atmosphere gets warmer by absorbing more heat, then something already warmer than the atmosphere (particularly its own source of heat, the surface) doesn’t need to become warmer-still in this process. The atmosphere is simply heated to higher temperature by something warmer than it, up to the point where they’d be equal in temperature. And that’s it.
However, such a statement is actually never made by advocates of the atmospheric greenhouse meme, and the reason is that a re-warming or additional warming of the source surface to a higher temperature by the cooler atmosphere is the centerpiece of the atmospheric greenhouse meme. But the definition, the fundamental concept itself, of heat flow inducing a temperature rise, is that it only works from hot to cold. The presence of cold does not require hot to to become hotter still, as the hot thing warms the cool thing. Such a conjecture is asinine at best, or simply amateur.
This is simple logic, and only drastically logically illiterate people should have a difficult time with it: if a heater, in heating something colder, has to become hotter because of heating the colder, then as the colder warms up, the heater must warm up also. This process doesn’t have an end point. Nothing is known to behave like this. It’s the most basic common-sense. It is introductory thermodynamics.
What is heating? It is something cooler becoming warmer, due to something warmer. The ability of the warmer thing to induce heating on the cooler thing is proportional to the temperature difference between the warm thing and the cool thing, and the direction of heating is only from the warmer thing to the cooler thing, meaning that only the cooler thing “heats up” or rises in temperature. The warmer thing doesn’t heat up or rise in temperature because it warms the cooler thing or due to the presence of a cooler thing.
Heating is like voltage is like pressure and force – something only happens when there’s a differential, and the direction of the “happening” is only downhill the differential. That’s it. Therefore the GHE is a fraud.
Traditional physics would say that the atmosphere can rise in temperature if 1) the temperature of its source of heat input independently increased, 2) the atmosphere’s ability to absorb heat from an independent and warmer source increased, 3) the atmosphere’s emissivity is decreased.
For option 1), the source of heat input to the atmosphere is the surface, and also a little direct absorption of solar energy, but since the surface’s heat source is also the Sun in the first place, then option 1 requires sunshine to increase. Clearly, option 1 is aside from any greenhouse effect, and the greenhouse effect is not predicated upon increasing the absorption of solar energy on either the surface or in the atmosphere. Nor is the GHE about increasing geothermal soil temperatures, if that source is referenced. And to be sure, if the GHE caused water vapor to increase, this is a huge negative feedback due to increased albedo and increased atmospheric emissivity.
For option 2), the so-called “greenhouse gases” do not cause more absorption of solar energy at the surface. And there’s a NASA study which shows that GHG’s reflect incoming solar energy in any case. The NASA study had shown that greenhouse gases reflect solar energy back out into space and so in fact decrease the amount of solar energy for input absorption at the surface or in the atmosphere.
However, the greenhouse meme in any case is that greenhouse gases increase the atmosphere’s ability to absorb heat from the surface. This is ostensibly alright, but it is not really what the greenhouse effect meme is about.
The meme goes wrong by subsequently claiming that a warmer atmosphere (still cooler than the source surface) will lead to the surface having to becoming warmer still. The surface simply emits directly to space less that by which the atmosphere might increase radiant absorption originating from the surface, and this does not mean that the surface has become warmer or needs to become warmer because at no point does the surface intrinsically emit less radiation. The surface emits the same amount of radiation as before, according to the Stefan-Boltzmann Law and its temperature, it is just that the atmosphere might absorb more of it. The warmer atmosphere then emits to space what it had absorbed from the surface, in conservation of energy, and because radiant emission goes up as temperature goes up. At best, the atmosphere could become the same temperature as the surface.
To be sure, the atmosphere being warmed by the surface is not the atmospheric greenhouse effect meme. The greenhouse effect meme is not the simple fact that a warmer surface can heat a cooler gas. There’s nothing wrong with this.
The meme requires the surface, by some method, to become warmer due to the cooler atmosphere, either from the cooler atmosphere’s thermal radiation, or its “trapped energy” in its thermal radiation, or from “backradiation”…it specifically requires something cooler to lead to its specific source of heat becoming warmer, as if insulation in your house would make the furnace burn hotter.
So, option 2 doesn’t allow for a greenhouse effect, although it does allow the cooler atmosphere to be warmed by the warmer surface, which is unproblematic. It is therefore curios why the greenhouse meme has added this idea that the cooler atmosphere causes, by some method, the warmer surface heating it, to become warmer still. The reason for this confusion is of course well known, due to the problem of “greenhouse energy budgets” attempting to conserve flux in place of energy, and reducing the solar flux to an artificially small value incapable of heating anything above -40F in their literal flat-Earth physics. This has all been discussed extensively in my papers and on this blog.
The only valid question is then one of how much does CO2 interception of surface-radiation contribute to the warming of the atmosphere? However, this is beyond and aside from the GHE because it is not what the GHE is about. The GHE can be completely discarded while still discussing how well the surface might heat the atmosphere due to greenhouse gases.
In any case, CO2 is dominated by collisional excitation in the atmosphere, and so interception of terrestrial radiation via its already-vibrationally-excited modes is simply a photon scattering effect rather than a true thermal absorption effect. Also, CO2 comprises only 1 in 2500 atmospheric molecules.
For option 3), since greenhouse gases are said to be emitters, and since the majority of the atmospheric gases of oxygen and nitrogen are either very poor emitters or don’t emit at all, then greenhouse gases must not reduce the atmospheric emissivity, while the atmosphere must have a low emissivity in the first place due to its 99% of oxygen and nitrogen.
As warmer temperatures can be held for a given output flux for a substance of low emissivity as compared to high emissivity, then oxygen and nitrogen are the components of the atmosphere which can lend a higher temperature than otherwise, given the terrestrial output flux.
To repeat: nitrogen and oxygen have very low emissivity, and this means that the atmosphere can hold a higher temperature than it would otherwise, given the radiative output. Traditional and modern physics can’t be any more clear or simple about this: low emissivity allows higher temperatures for a given output flux, and oxygen and nitrogen have very low emissivity. If GHG’s reduce emissivity, then they could lead to atmospheric warming; however, such a conjecture is opposite the idea that GHG’s are good emitters, and, oxygen and nitrogen are already poor emitters.
Combine low emissivity with the fact that the atmosphere has to have a sequential distribution in its temperature from warmer at the surface to cooler at altitude, and the temperature of the near-surface air is entirely explained.
Now what does traditional science say about the surface rising in temperature (appreciating the silly ambiguity in climate science that mistakes the near-surface air temperature for actual surface temperature…they are NOT the same thing guys!).
The surface can rise in temperature if 1) its source of heat input increases temperature, 2) its ability to absorb heat from its source increases, 3) its emissivity decreases, 4) the atmosphere is warmer than the surface.
Options 1, 2, and 3 should be self-explanatory at this point. The pertinent point is #4 – only if the atmosphere is warmer than the surface, will the atmosphere warm the surface. (Is it not terrible what climate science has done to destroy logic, language, and science? How do I even need to write that?) Since in general the atmosphere is warmed by the surface, because it is cooler than the surface, then the atmosphere does not generally warm the surface. And even when it does, this is not the greenhouse effect, because that meme requires a colder atmosphere to make a warmer surface warmer still, which is basically the precise opposite of traditional (and modern) physics.
The atmosphere can only warm the surface or cause it to rise in temperature if the atmosphere is warmer than the surface. Therefore, the greenhouse effect is wrong.
Ambiguous Words and Math
Check out this quote from Robert G. Brown of Duke University, a fellow who pretends to have a degree in physics and who pretends that he’s taught physics for a career:
“Increasing atmospheric CO2 increases resistance to radiant heat transfer from surface to space. Assuming surface heat must continue to transfer at same rate and emissivity, the surface must radiate more intensely at a higher temperature.”
This directly relates to Pierre Latour’s earlier quote and the physics and math of heat transfer he discussed.
The first sentence is actually completely ambiguous to the point of being meaningless, but it has a certain convenience for the GHE fraudster. Let us analyze it. The convenience of such a sentence is that it can be analogized to, say, insulation in your house. Insulation reduces heat transfer to the outside, i.e. “increases resistance to heat transfer”, and lets the furnace make the air inside the house a higher temperature for longer periods, with greater ease.
Well, what’s greenhouse gas then? Is the greenhouse gas the insulation, which is found as solid matter in the walls physically trapping molecules, or is the GHG a component of the gaseous air inside the house, found between the furnace and the walls? This is ambiguity to the point of entirely losing physical and logical resolution. Insulation physically traps gas; a GHG can not physically trap itself. Insulation can trap a GHG but a GHG can not trap itself.
Let’s give the benefit of the doubt and say that GHG’s are both a component of the air inside the house, and the insulation therein such air. This might work but only if the mechanism of “insulation” (temperature increase) is in low emissivity, in which case the misnamed greenhouse gases are oxygen and nitrogen.
But there’s one fact that you can’t get around: insulation doesn’t make the furnace burn hotter. The best that could happen is that the air got to the same temperature of the furnace, and this is of course catastrophic to the greenhouse effect, because the furnace for the greenhouse effect diagrams is only inputting flux at a temperature of -40F. The solution is stupidly simple: stop modelling the Earth as flat.
The second sentence from the above quote is usually associated with the heat flow equation that Latour referenced, i.e. radiant heat flow being proportional to temperature difference: Q ~ (TH4 – TC4). The above quote states that there should be an assumption about the surface transferring heat at the same rate, i.e., that Q shouldn’t change.
Well, if TC is the cooler temperature of the atmosphere, and TH is the hotter temperature of the surface, then yes indeed, the equation simply shows that the rate of heat transfer from the surface to the atmosphere becomes smaller if the atmosphere increases in temperature. There’s nothing wrong with that…it’s the basic heat flow equation.(!) There is no a-priori fixed relationship for the rate of heat transfer that has to exist between the surface and the atmosphere. Where would you even get such an idea? Q doesn’t have to be and is not fixed between the surface and the atmosphere.
But there was the introduction of more ambiguity, because what should be fixed is the combined rate of energy transfer from the surface plus atmosphere to outerspace. That makes sense to assume as fixed. The “Q” from the Earth, QE, is QE = QS + QA for the energy transfer from the surface plus that from the atmosphere. Assuming a constant energy input, then this QE is a valid thing to assume is constant. QE = QS + QA is an equation that makes sense and makes sense to hold as constant; the previous claim doesn’t make sense at all.
So now we see that, if the atmosphere increases in temperature, then even with low emissivity, it still will emit more radiation to space, because radiant emission goes up with temperature (to the fourth power). So, if QA increases, then QS decreases because QE is fixed. This is totally consistent now because if QS only decreased because QA increased absorption of QS, i.e. the atmosphere absorbed more energy from the surface on that energy’s way out, then the resulting balances are totally expected – some of the QS goes into the QA. QA increased because its temperature increased because it absorbed more QS; QS decreased but this doesn’t mean the surface got warmer, it means the atmosphere got warmer by taking some more of the surface’s energy. It definitely doesn’t mean the cooler atmosphere made the surface hotter.
To be sure, we can use that totally sensible equation, QE = QS + QA, and say that if for some reason, QA started emitting more, say, from increased atmospheric emissivity, then either QS would have to emit less in order to keep QE constant, meaning that the surface would have to become cooler, or, the temperature of the atmosphere would decrease to emit the same as it did previously. Simplifying: if the atmosphere’s emissivity increased, then it would emit more energy, and so to keep the QE emitted to space constant, the surface and/or the atmosphere would decrease in temperature. This is precisely what Carl Brehmer has been looking at, and demonstrating the simple truth of.
If CO2 increases the atmosphere’s emissivity, this would finally be an explanation for why the planet has continually reentered ice-ages after the CO2 concentration goes up as shown in the ice-core records (the same ones which show CO2 increasing after temperature increase; the cause of temperature increase is still an unknown, aside from probable speculations of Milankovitch cycles).
So if we were to make the above quotation logical and based in science and real physics, it should read:
“Increasing atmospheric CO2 increases radiant heat transfer from surface to atmosphere. Assuming total terrestrial energy output must continue to transfer at same rate and emissivity to outerspace, the atmosphere must radiate more intensely at a higher temperature.”
But that really only captures part of the physics, and, of course, it no longer supports the greenhouse effect meme, and, it still wrongly assumes constant emissivity. In totality you have to consider what effect CO2 is having on the atmosphere’s emissivity; if the emissivity increases, this will likely manifest as a reduction in temperature of the atmosphere, and also of even the surface itself. If increasing CO2 has no effect on the emissivity of the atmosphere, and if CO2 actually does thermally absorb radiation from the surface, rather than just scattering it since CO2 is already vibrationally excited from collision anyway, then the atmosphere could increase in temperature from more CO2. This would then likely follow the logarithmic absorption curve we’ve seen in the Skeptic’s Handbook, for example, which means that CO2 has already had almost all of the effect that it can, and, this still is not the greenhouse effect(!), even if it works this way.
And even with logarithmic CO2 absorption, how much heating can 1 in 2500 molecules have on the rest, particularly when energy is equipartitioned among degrees of freedom, and CO2 has more degrees of freedom than O2 and N2, meaning that it will be kinetically COLDER than those gases in any case, while being mixed in with them? In a gas, it is energy which gets equipartitioned, not temperature. The kinetic temperature of a particular species in a gas ensemble is proportional to the mean kinetic energy of the gas, divided by the number of degrees of freedom of the particular species. CO2 absorbs energy from the gas and puts it into additional internal degrees of freedom, and thus should have a lower kinetic temperature than the other atmospheric gas species. Therefore, perhaps CO2 really is a basic atmospheric coolant.
Light-bulbs disprove the GHE
Check out these two light-bulbs:
These bulbs have identical voltage input, Wattage power, identical filament and therefore identical current usage, and identical color temperature (meaning temperature of the filament).
The only difference is that one of the bulbs is frosted, thus trapping some light, heat, and energy, inside. What is the effect of trapping some of the light/energy inside the frosted bulb?
There is no change in power usage, and no change in color temperature. If there’s no change in color temperature, then the filament has not gotten hotter.
There is a change in the lumen output for the frosted bulb (it is reduced), and this is the visible portion of its spectral output. There are two ways to reduce the lumen output:
1) by reducing the color temperature (which is a cooler blackbody spectral output and hence a less-intense visible portion)
2) by occluding with a semi-transparent screen some of the light output from the filament
Option 1) isn’t occurring as per the spec-sheet, and if it did occur, it would mean the filament got cooler, not warmer, in any case. The only way to do this would be to reduce the voltage across the circuit.
Obviously, option 2) is occurring because the frosted bulb occludes (traps) some of the filament output. This proves that some light is being trapped, while having no effect on the power output or temperature of the source. The lumen output is reduced, but it has no effect on the current usage or color temperature of the bulb.
Hence, a bulb can’t brighten itself with its own light, which is an asinine thing to claim anyway.(!) You can’t make a light brighten itself with its own light, as some of the greenhouse fraudsters accidentally helped demonstrate (without understanding their own results…).
The bulb gets its power from the voltage applied across the circuit, from outside – backradiated light from the bulb doesn’t increase the voltage or the current, and so the bulb doesn’t get brighter from that. That is why the lightbulb experiment proved that there is no GHE. If it could, then it would be a run-away, over-unity, perpetual motion device, because the more the bulb brightened, the more it would get backradiation, and hence the more it would brighten, etc., in a never-ending loop. Again, this is basic logic that only completely philosophically inept and irrational people have a difficult time with.
Disproved by its own Usefulness
Now, I work with some very big players in the aerospace engineering business…the biggest companies and most expert engineers that Canada has to offer. You don’t find any higher electrical, mechanical, computing, optical, radio, etc., and thermal engineering expertise than you do with these guys and gals. My role with these fellows is as an expert scientist for data analysis, detector calibration, systems configuration, specifications, and functionality, etc. This is the top level of engineering and science you can get to in Canada. This isn’t teaching, it’s doing. We physically and mentally handle things, hardware, software, etc., that end up in outer-space, and function as they should, and we produce original and qualified scientific data.
So I asked these people if sending radiation from a filament, back to the filament, will make the filament hotter. That is, if trapping/backradiating (whatever phraseology you want) radiant energy to its own source can cause the source to increase in temperature.
Their answer was that this would be wishful thinking by people who want to get around the laws of thermodynamics, particularly the 2nd Law. They said it is a basic violation of power input and output.
The power in a circuit with a resistor like a light-bulb filament is P = V2/R = I2*R. The energy is supplied from outside the circuit via the voltage which induces the current. Heat and light (light being the visible portion of the dissipated heat) is a dissapatory output of the circuit and can’t be used as further input. Not only can the light/heat dissipation from the circuit not be somehow added to the circuit’s voltage (which is a physically meaningless proposition), it also cannot simply be directly added back to the heat dissipator (the filament) itself because this would not follow the laws of heat transfer, i.e. that heat flows from hot to cold which means that the cold thing warms up due to the hot thing. Any heat (quote/unquote) “returned” to the filament can at best be the same temperature as the filament, and so this would be null for heat transfer and hence null for temperature increase.
Holding “I” and “V” constant so that the power input is constant, returning the light back to the filament or otherwise trapping the energy output does not change the current “I” or voltage “V”, hence, the power emitted by the filament doesn’t change and hence it doesn’t get brighter.
If it did, then the power output (brightness) of the bulb would increase; this increase would then cause more light to come back to the filament or be trapped; this would cause the filament to emit more power (become brighter); then this would cause more light to come back to the filament or be trapped; this would cause a brighter filament; this would cause more light to come back to the filament or be trapped etc. And this would all happen without increasing the input power. It is perpetual motion, and a basic violation of energy conservation and heat flow mechanics. No devices have been made to operate this way, nor do they in nature.
A device like this would be useful! High temperature is useful. If we could get higher temperature out of a source of energy, with some simple passive trick, that produces higher temperature than the source intrinsically creates, this would be useful. It would be the most useful thing ever created, ever.
Willis’ steel greenhouse would be extremely useful! If the internal sphere was filled with water, then with a passive outer shell you could boil the water inside the inner sphere and create a steam-engine with less heat input than is actually required to boil water. Then it is just a matter of engineering – engineer it well enough, and you could build a steam engine to work with a pittance of external input.
All of the thermodynamic cycles that we use to create power, to do work, etc., are based on the precise disallowance of the meme of the greenhouse effect.
All of these cycles work, they all produce power and work, precisely because something like the atmospheric greenhouse effect does not exist! There is nothing more thermodynamically factual, than this statement.
The fact that greenhouse-effect devices do not exist, given their purported thermodynamic usefulness, is proof enough that the meme is a fraud. The fact that devices have been manufactured which should show evidence of the supposed greenhouse principle, and don’t, is proof enough that the meme is a fraud.
The make-pretend physicist that was quoted above also insisted to me that insulation in your house does indeed increase the temperature of the source of heat, of the furnace. Let’s analyze that and consider just how unscientific the claim is.
What is it that produces high temperature in your furnace in the first place? Let’s assume natural gas is the fuel source. Okay, so then it’s the combustion of natural gas which produces high temperature. If you had a parcel of natural gas, but diluted it over a cubic kilometer, and then it combusted all at once, well, this would be much lower density of energy release than if that parcel of gas were confined to a cubic meter and combusted. This parcel of gas would have hardly any effect on the temperature of an entire cubic kilometer, but would have a much larger effect on a cubic meter. So, the volume in which a parcel of gas is combusted has an effect on what temperature will be produced – smaller volume, higher temperature, for a given parcel of gas undergoing combustion in an equal amount of time.
Obviously the same physics works for “volumes” of time – for a given parcel of gas, the quicker it is combusted in one location, the greater effect it will have on the local temperature.
Finally, for a given parcel of natural gas, what determines the total amount of energy it is capable releasing in the first place? Well, that is a function of the chemical potential, of the energy released per molecule when it undergoes oxidation with O2. This “chemical potential” is a fixed quantity per unit mass of the gas.
So, the internal temperature that a furnace achieves is a function of the volume of combustion of the gas, the flow rate (time of combustion) of the gas, and the intrinsic chemical potential of the gas.
Does insulation in your house, or greenhouse gases in the air inside your house, change any of those parameters? No, it does not. And any real physicist would know that. Insulation does not make the source of heat hotter! Greenhouse gases do not increase radiant heat absorption from the Sun at the surface of the Earth!
This is of course entirely analogous to the fact that the temperature and brightness of a lightbulb is due to the external voltage applied to its circuit, and not due to backradiation. (Of course, as we saw, the greenhouse fraudsters attempted some experimental sophistry in measuring the temperature of the frosted glass, rather than the actual source of heat/light, the filament. Nice try losers.)
Another proof of the fraud of the greenhouse meme is that its promoters use fraudulent concepts, claims, analogies, and experiments, to try to promote it. The whole meme cannot at this point be any more of a fraud.