Just one fact

Albert Einstein

To defeat relativity one did not need the word of 100 scientists, just one fact.

Albert Einstein.

This statement is not true because Einstein made it — it’s true because it accords with reason. Theory must always bow to observation.

… or just one paper

Unfortunately, in CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) we have a theory which is undefined in a peer-reviewed paper, which means it’s almost impossible to refute. This is deliberate. Sceptical questions provoke the inevitable challenge to “produce a better theory” — as though their opponents’ failure to do so proves the half-baked theory correct, which it cannot.

Any evidence contrary to part of the theory is answered by talking about some other part. “Heads we win, tails you lose.”

Any change in the climate, especially any violent weather event which injures us or damages our property, “proves” climate change, which, by a mere trick of linguistic association, “proves” global warming. That, in turn, is our fault. After all, so many people wouldn’t be talking about how to prevent it if it didn’t exist, right?

Well, no, actually. Many people are by now keen for the CAGW effect to be true, for their several different reasons. Journalists want to sell the drama of it, scientists want funds to study their topic and will bend things any way they need to go to show a connection with global warming, a few environmentalists want leverage over us to safeguard the environment, most environmentalists really want a world government, international aid agencies recognise the power in all of these factors to persuade us to part with our money, politicians are always looking for more avenues of taxation, only a world government could interfere strongly enough in our lives to control the bureaucracy of taxing “carbon” use (which suits the UN) and decent people everywhere are still persuaded by the ancient, deeply embedded puritanical principle that, by merely enjoying ourselves and certainly by being prosperous, we must be harming the Earth and ought to atone for it.

Warmists unconsciously collude

That explains the attraction of trading in “indulgences” — or carbon credits — which let you have your sin and get away with it as well.

By using the vicious epithet “deniers” all these warmists, who came to their warmistry by distinctly separate and unconnected routes, unconsciously collude to foster the twin false impressions that their opponents are unscientific ignoramuses who don’t even care about the environment.

CAGW believers sit comfortably behind these cleverly-constructed near-impregnable walls. However, the walls look impregnable not because of their substance but only because they’re shape-shifting illusions.

Their opponents must contend with an amorphous grey lump of loosely-related concepts that assumes different shapes depending on the current argument.

Remaining undefined, the theory remains also unfalsifiable, which, following our beloved Popper, renders the theory by definition unscientific.

Challenge for the RS, NIWA, NASA, NAS, CRU & others

The warmists beat the peer review drum loudly and often, yet the one peer-reviewed paper you would expect was taken care of a long time ago is still missing, the one peer-reviewed paper the rest of the story relies upon is still missing. The most-often cited reason the warmists give for not answering scientific sceptical arguments is the claim that “there’s no peer-reviewed paper on that” (even when there is). Yet the most important peer-reviewed paper of all is still missing.

What, precisely, is the “anthropogenic global warming” theory? To which we should add “catastrophic” or “dangerous”, otherwise there’s no point in worrying about it.

Why is there no scientist anywhere prepared to describe the CAGW theory in a peer-reviewed paper — nor has there ever been?

If I’m wrong, cite me the paper. If I’m right, write one.

95 Thoughts on “Just one fact

  1. Einstein’s famous quote does actually appear early on in IPCC AR4


    There is a bit of stuff about falsifiability, Popper, and null hypotheses.
    The subsequent pages are quite a good backgound to the greenhouse theory.

  2. Yes, it is good. Thanks for this, Andy. For a minute I thought my carefully-crafted article was on the wrong track, but now I don’t think it is. For there’s still no seminal paper accepted as a definition of the CAGW theory, and I wonder why not?

    It’s strange that the scientific process considered most important for the survival of the environment and the reconstruction of the global economic system has no strict definition.

  3. “I wonder why not?”

    I found everyone using the numbers in Kiehl and Trenberth, “Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget”, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78, 197-208 (1997), and the now-infamous energy budget diagram presented therein, available at


    It has certainly been treated as the seminal paper accepted as a definition of the greenhouse effect.

    The greenhouse effect hypothesis is that increasing atmospheric CO2 causes an increase in atmospheric temperature, particularly at the Earth’s surface. I have given the very simple and definitive evidence that denies that hypothesis in my article “Venus: No Greenhouse Effect”, at


    and taken the Kiehl and Trenberth energy budget diagram to task, for violating the conservation of energy, at


    The beauty and simplicity of the Venus/Earth comparison, properly done, by a non-climate scientist (me), fully 19 years after the Venus data was obtained by the Magellan spacecraft, is an indictment of the entire climate science community, and all of the physicists, and scientific institutions, who have been suborned to an hypothesis that should have been recognized as patently false a generation ago. No one in academia or any position of power or authority wants to face that amazing, and utterly humiliating, fact.

  4. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 6:53 am said:


    There is no definition of “CAGW theory” in the peer-reviewed scientific literature because there is no theory of CAGW. It is a term invented by the quixotic “skeptics” of climate science which, as near as iI can tell, translates as “windmill”.

  5. Flipper on August 6, 2011 at 8:53 am said:

    Mike Palin, can you confirm you are, really, a card carrying member of the Flat Earth Society. Offensive ? Yes. But look at your windmill statement. And you posted that AFTER that by Harry Dale Huffman. So, as a simple man, I say to you Mike Palin, “open your eyes – and your brain”.

    Anyway, for a meanigful summary of the whole sorry mess, please go read Will Alexander’s “Memo 05/11 Global Conflicts ahead” . Will is to be found at; alexwjr@iafrica.com

    Here is his “Grand summary”:

    1. Early in the latter half of the last century several influential scientists expressed their concerns that the increasing discharges of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuels (principally from coal burning power stations, transport and heavy industries) would create a greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. This in turn would cause global temperatures to rise (global warming). These could have a number of serious environmental, humanitarian and hydrological consequences (increases in floods and droughts).
    2. There are two international bodies that deal with this issue. These are the UNFCCC (policy aspects) and the IPCC (scientific aspects). The UNFCCC organises annual conferences (called conferences of the parties or COP). The 17th COP is due to be held in Durban at the end of this year. The IPCC publishes comprehensive assessment reports at approximately five-yearly intervals, the last being in 2007.
    3. Another important international body is the group of the world’s most influential nations called the Group of Eight (G8 now G20) nations. It holds annual meetings attended by the heads of state.
    4. In 2005 the Academies of Science of the G8 nations submitted a short document on the seriousness of the situation for consideration at the forthcoming G8 meeting at Gleneagles in the UK.
    5. In response to this submission by the academies of science, Nicholas Stern an experienced UK economist was appointed to review the situation. He called for submissions. I submitted a detailed 93-page response in which I demonstrated that the concerns were groundless. It was completely ignored. It became obvious that Stern was seeking a political solution that favoured the developed nations.
    6. The developed nations led by the EU accepted the ‘science’ presented by Nicholas Stern, and imposed restrictions that reduced their greenhouse gas emissions. They naïvely assumed that the rest of the world would follow their example.
    7. The first strains at international level arose during the UNFCCC’s annual conference at Bali at the end of 2007. The US nearly wrecked the conference by its uncooperative attitude but softened its approach at the last minute.
    8. The subsequent UNFCCC conference was held in Copenhagen at the end of 2009. It was attended by the heads of state. The high hopes of achieving an international agreement on controlling greenhouse gas emissions were dashed when the BASIC nations (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) acting on behalf of the majority of the developing nations of the world refused to sign any binding agreements.
    9. It was at this point that the whole climate change issues started falling apart. The deterioration has accelerated in recent months as it coincided with global economic recession.
    10. The developed nations that have already imposed restrictions on their own citizens are now in a very difficult position. This is illustrated by their failed attempt to involve the UN Security Council. This was very foolish. They should have foreseen that this would only further antagonise the developing world.
    11. There is now a widely accepted view that the developing nations are unlikely to impose meaningful restrictions in the foreseeable future.
    12. The big question is, what will be the strategy of the developed nations at the postponed Bonn meeting that is due to take place next month as the lead up to the Durban conference? You may have noticed that South Africa has postponed its decision on the climate change issue until October which is after the postponed discussion.
    13. I realise that my own contribution to climate change issue will be minimal. I will describe my successful climate prediction model in the next memo that I will distribute tomorrow. There is a remote possibility (less than 1%) that nations will accept this as proof that the science which is the foundation of the whole climate change affair is seriously in error. The developed nations could explain this to their citizens and relax all their restrictions. This is sure to be a popular decision.
    14. This will only happen if somehow and somewhere a trustworthy, independent commission of enquiry is established to review the whole climate change mess. The commission will understand that if they reject the critical views of many scientists and simply confirm the present position, they will only worsen global instability in this field. Their very clear mandate should be to solve the problem.

  6. James Hansen is telling us that this is the last decade to save the planet.

    Presumably he believes that AGW will be “catastrophic”, and has some idea of its definition?

  7. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 11:49 am said:

    I would not presume to speak for James Hansen and neither should you.

    I would have thought that the lack of any reference to a “CAGW theory” in the peer-reviewed scientific literature would tell you immediately that no such theory exists, but it’s a different world over here.

  8. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 11:58 am said:

    An excellent history of climate science has been compiled by Spencer Weart and is available at:

    Links to the official position statements of the American Physical Society and American Geophysical Union are also provided at the bottom of that webpage. The APS statement includes the following, “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.”

  9. Windmill! Heh, heh! I like that.

    But the lack of a theorem bothers me, Mike. If it cannot be falsified, how can it be taken as an object of scientific study? For what is it that’s being studied? You must know that sceptics have falsified many of the component parts of “AGW” but the thing keeps bouncing back. Now it drives much international traffic in goods, money and talk. Yet what is it?

  10. OK, Mike, we can probably phrase it thus (IPCC Summary for Policymakers, AR4)


    “Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

    It is extremely unlikely (<5%) that the global pattern of warming during the past half century can be explained without external forcing (i.e., it is inconsistent with being the result of internal variability), and very unlikely that it is due to known natural external causes alone. The warming occurred in both the ocean and the atmosphere and took place at a time when natural external forcing factors would likely have produced cooling


    There may well be no individual scientist that has made such a statement. However, this is the IPCC view, and that which drives public policy decisions.

  11. “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.”

    Mike, organisations like the APS have been taken over by activists and members in many of them are moving to take them back. So the authority these statements seem to have is diluted by all the dissenting members whose views were not polled.

    Anyway, consider the statement itself. What is it saying? Who could disagree? In fact, find me a single person who disagrees (notice that no period of warming is stated). Since it mentions nothing of a human cause for the warming, we need take no action.

    It’s a weasel statement that takes no responsibility for the furious actions it is intended to trigger. In the event of no future warming the authors can truthfully say: “we never said the warming would get dangerous.”

    It’s a statement of alarm with no substance.

  12. Flipper on August 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm said:

    So, Mr Palin, produce the evidence (not esoteric , edited, BS) and let’s have done with it. Science is wonderful. But politics will, in the end, count.

  13. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm said:

    “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.”

    True, and it was occurring prior to human attribution. How so?

    Update: “Global warming was occurring but now Natural variability has taken over. We are of the opinion that the warming hiatus is only temporary and we expect warming to resume some time in the near future”.

  14. One can also say “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global cooling is occurring.” … I agree both cooling, warming and climate change is always happening…

    yet man’s insignificant output of C02 has nothing to do with it however…

    man doesn’t even “control” C02 at all – see “Planetary temperature controls CO2 levels — not humans” at JoNova http://joannenova.com.au/2011/08/blockbuster-planetary-temperature-controls-co2-levels-not-humans/


  15. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm said:

    Carefully crafted article it is Richard T. I’ve already in past comments trotted out G&Ts difficulty in finding a documented proposition to address so wont bore everyone with it again. Interesting though that Harry DF suggests that K&T has “been treated as the seminal paper accepted as a definition of the greenhouse effect”.

    Good, let’s use that.

    On other O/T matters, I see this at Climate Depot:-

    Finally, warmist UK Met office admits ocean warming has stopped! ‘Pause in upper ocean warming explained’ (Will they blame lack of ocean warming on Chinese coal as well!?)

    UK Met Office: ‘There has been a pause in this warming during the period from 2003 to 2010…natural climate variability can temporarily mask longer-term trends in upper ocean heat content and sea surface temperature’

    Climate Depot Response: Funny how a lack of warming is attributed to ‘natural variability’ but warming always seems to attributed to mankind’

    Apparently natural variability is a “temporary mask”.

    I see this as the beginning of a trend for national institutions to adopt a fall-back position (face saving exercise) in the face of undeniable and unequivocal reality – there’s a warming hiatus and they better have a reason.

    The UK Met Office fall-back is the NZ Ministry for the Environment (Climate Change) face-saver too,.

  16. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm said:

    OK, here’s “the seminal paper accepted as a definition of the greenhouse effect” that Harry DF points to that we can address:-

    Earth’s annual global mean energy budget

    Kiehl and Trenberth 1997


    Followed by the update:-

    Earth’s global energy budget

    Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl 2009


    TF&K Figure 1 talking points:-

    #1 It’s always daytime in TF&Ks world

    #2 Their atm molecules are perfectly flat and oriented horizontally

    #3 The upwelling radiation figure is dopey in comparison to incoming solar (396 vs 361).

    #4 Apparently 36 year old science (Hale & Querry 1973) had not reached the attention of cutting edge climate science even by 2009 (333 backradiation absorbed by the surface vs 161 solar absorbed by the surface) i.e. LWIR is not “absorbed” by water (70% of the Earth’s surface) and we need a breakdown of land-based materials that absorb at that wavelength.to check the validity of “333”.

    #5 The net absorbed 0.9 W.m2 is stuff that TF&K made up (why not use measurements?).

    Any more?

    Next to address the rest of the 2 papers.

  17. Here is another angle on this question.

    Roger Pielke Jr, in his book “The Climate Fix”, points out that not even the UN can agree on a definition of “climate change”

    He states (page 143) that the IPCC defines “climate change” as “any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity”

    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, on the other hand, defines “climate change” as “a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”.

    If the UNFCCC and the IPCC cannot even agree between them on what “climate change” means, what hope is there for the rest of us?

  18. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 6:28 pm said:

    I don’t see any reference to the “C” word in the IPCC statement.

    I agree with our host that, “in CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) we have a theory which is undefined in a peer-reviewed paper.” The reason is that no such theory or hypothesis exists in climate science or anywhere except in the minds of climate change “skeptics”.

  19. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm said:

    Re #1 – #4 talking points

    MUST READ: Joseph E. Postma: Junk Greenhouse Gas Theory Numbers Turned Earth into a Star by John O’Sullivan, guest post at Climate Realists

    Powerful new physics paper shows how climate modellers treated Earth like a star ignoring night and day temperature differences. Fudged equations exposed.

    Astrophysicist, Joe Postma’s new paper, ‘The Model Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect’ (July 22, 2011) is touted by skeptics as the definitive debunk of the faux science that props up the man-made global warming scare industry.

    The paper highlights and then dissects the “night & day flaw” in standard greenhouse gas effect (GHE) equations plus the spurious concept of “back radiation heating” that is increasingly dismissed by experts as unphysical.



    ‘The Model Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect’, Postma, July 2011



    Understanding the Thermodynamic Atmosphere Effect
    Joseph E. Postma
    (M.Sc. Astrophysics, Honours B.Sc. Astronomy)
    March, 2011


  20. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 6:52 pm said:

    Latest proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States grudgingly conceding, “It has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008”.

  21. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm said:

    IPCC AR4 SYR Annex II

    Climate change
    Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods’. The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes. See also Climate variability; Detection and Attribution.

  22. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm said:

    If by “C” word you mean catastrophe, if there’s no impending catastrophe – great!

    Repeal the ETS now, crisis averted, the catastrophe was only in the minds of sceptics.

    You’ve saved the country millions Mike P, you’re a hero, but why have you waited all this time to step forward with this vital piece of information?

  23. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 7:14 pm said:

    So the APS has been taken over by climate change activists who have made a statement that nobody can disagree with? Some real Einsteins, eh?

    The full APS statement does mention a human cause for the observed warming and makes a strong recommendation for a course of action, but I won’t spoil it for you.

  24. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm said:

    Darn, I’ve already put this in another thread but it should have gone here
    IPCC AR4 SYR Annex II

    Climate change
    Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods’. The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes. See also Climate variability; Detection and Attribution.
    So “climate change” is due to:-


    Natural internal processes or external forcings

    Persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere

    Persistent anthropogenic changes in land use


    Human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods
    Neither includes the ocean.

    The UNFCCC version EXCLUDES natural variability

    The IPCC version INCLUDES natural variability

    What an interesting discovery, thank you Andy

  25. Mike Palin on August 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm said:

    Richard C,
    You are too kind.

    But before you send my reward, I must make clear that I do consider there is a catastrophe looming for society related to AGW. It is the legacy of the current campaign of hate being perpetuated against science and scientists by climate change “skeptics”. Like their ideological brethren of past ages, whether religious or patriotic, such “skeptics” employ any slur and misconstrue any statement or action to support their position. One only need look at the current state of political discourse in the USA to see the consequence of years of unrelenting attacks on science. A new dark age is on the horizon. Congratulations!

  26. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 9:28 pm said:

    Mike P, this comment speaks volumes of your (rather paranoid) mindset in this debate

    “..,,,the current campaign of hate being perpetuated against science and scientists by climate change “skeptics”

    There’s no “campaign of hate”, mirth maybe against AGW scientists, scrutiny and questioning certainly, but not hate.

    “Like their ideological brethren of past ages, whether religious or patriotic, such “skeptics” employ any slur and misconstrue any statement or action to support their position”

    What a load of rubbish. What sceptics use to support their position is fully functioning BS detectors and propaganda filters backed up by thorough investigative analysis of the thesis put forward for AGW by climate science. That analysis has recourse to a wealth of knowledge gained by the much wider disciplines outside of the narrow confines of climate science.

    What you are miffed about (and oddly characterise as “hate”) is that sceptics have not only been able to ascribe a null to the thesis but are now well on the way to an anti-thesis. If you move now to the post “Just One Fact” and this comment you will see what I mean:-


    A thesis that purports to be a “consensus” and is the basis of economic distortion measured in the billions deserves intense scrutiny and it’s getting it. The fact that your cherished thesis has been found deficient by reasoned and physics based analysis is what really has upset you but there’s no hate in it.

    Now let’s look at K&T and TF&K at the link above and the anti-thesis put forward by Postma (sans hate) without malice.

  27. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm said:

    I should add that we have the benefit of the Climategate emails – very insightful they are.

  28. QuentinF on August 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm said:

    Agreed Harry. A total lack of understanding of physics by the so called climate experts has resulted in this. Its great that it takes astrophysics to prove climate science wrong. Just wish theyd drop the so called terms “forcings’ and ‘feedbacks’ feedback applies to electrical circuits.!
    What they refer to as ‘forcings’ is just radiation from photons imparting incident energy E = hv. simple just call it that!

  29. Richard C (NZ) on August 6, 2011 at 11:06 pm said:

    An alternative theory of global temperature dynamics

    Accumulation Theory of Solar Influence

    The physical structure of the oceans and atmosphere entails very long equilibrium dynamics due the slow accumulation of heat in the land and ocean. An ARMA analysis evaluates the potential of accumulation of solar anomaly to explain the global temperature changes over glacial/interglacial and recent time-frames.

    [See image]

    Click image above for animation of the accumulation model for the 1950-2011 period. [Wow!]

    On the Dynamics of Global Temperature

    Authors: David R.B. Stockwell

    In this alternative theory of global temperature dynamics over the annual to the glacial time scales, the accumulation of variations in solar irradiance dominates the dynamics of global temperature change. A straightforward recurrence matrix representation of the atmosphere/surface/deep ocean system, models temperature changes by (1) the size of a forcing, (2) its duration (due to accumulation of heat), and (3) the depth of forcing in the atmosphere/surface/deep ocean system (due to increasing mixing losses and increasing intrinsic gain with depth). The model can explain most of the rise in temperature since 1950, and more than 70\% of the variance with correct phase shift of the 11-year solar cycle. Global temperature displays the characteristics of an accumulative system over 6 temporal orders of magnitude, as shown by a linear $f^{-1}$ log-log relationship of frequency to the temperature range, and other statistical relationships such as near random-walk and distribution asymmetry. Over the last century, annual global surface temperature rises or falls $0.063\pm 0.028C/W/m^2$ per year when solar irradiance is greater or less than an equilibrium value of $1366W/m^2$ at top-of-atmosphere. Due to an extremely slow characteristic time scale the notion of ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ is largely superfluous. The theory does not require a range of distinctive feedback and lag parameters. Mixing losses attenuate the effectiveness of greenhouse gasses, and the amplification of solar variations by slow accumulation of heat dominates the dynamics of global temperature at all time-scales.


  30. Mike Jowsey on August 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm said:

    We apologise for this break in transmission……. Global warming is expected to resume shortly.

  31. Mike Palin on August 7, 2011 at 2:57 am said:

    Richard C,
    Yet I am to believe that academies of science around the world (NAS, Royal Society, RSNZ, etc.) that represent all sciences, not just climate science, have been fooled into position statements of the kind I noted for the APS and AGU. Isn’t that a bit, well, kooky?

  32. Andy,
    I don’t see any reference to the “C” word in the IPCC statement.

    Mike, you raise an interesting point. The IPCC word their statements in a relatively conservative way, yet the politicians, activists, and media routinely phrase this subject in terms of doom and gloom. (Sean Plunket used the term “catastrophe” in his interview on TV3’s The Nation yesterday, for example)

    The oft-cited figure of 2 degrees beyond which climate change is considered dangerous, comes from where, exactly?

    Similarly, the figure of 350 ppm for CO2 “safe” levels probably appears nowhere in any IPCC report. Does it?

  33. Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

    2.2.4 Risk of catastrophic or abrupt change

    The possibility of abrupt climate change and/or abrupt changes in the earth system triggered by climate change, with potentially catastrophic consequences, cannot be ruled out (Meehl et al., 2007). Disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (See Meehl et al., 2007), if it occurred, could raise sea level by 4-6 metres over several centuries. A shutdown of the North Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation (See Meehl et al., 2007) could have far-reaching, adverse ecological and agricultural consequences (See IPCC, 2007b, Chapter 17), although some studies raise the possibility that the isolated, economic costs of this event might not be as high as assumed (See Meehl et al., 2007). Increases in the frequency of droughts (Salinger, 2005) or a higher intensity of tropical cyclones (See Meehl et al., 2007) could occur. Positive feedback from warming may cause the release of carbon or methane from the terrestrial biosphere and oceans (See Meehl et al., 2007), which would add to the mitigation required.


    So it looks like I was wrong. They do use the C word in AR4, and probably the 350 figure too.

    This is from Hansen, linked from 350.org


  34. Richard C (NZ) on August 7, 2011 at 10:58 am said:

    Catastrophe potential is predicated on abrupt change only.

    No abrupt change – no catastrophe.

  35. Richard C (NZ) on August 7, 2011 at 11:14 am said:

    Mike P, your question:-

    Yet I am to believe that academies of science around the world (NAS, Royal Society, RSNZ, etc.) that represent all sciences, not just climate science, have been fooled into position statements of the kind I noted for the APS and AGU. Isn’t that a bit, well, kooky?

    No. Governments have been fooled, whole sectors of society have been fooled, but not everyone has been fooled (you can fool some of the people some of the time but……..)

    Now at least one of those academies that has been fooled (National Academy of Sciences of the United States) is scratching their heads stating:-

    “It has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008”.

    Similarly, national institutions (UK Met Office, NZ MftE CC) are now grasping the “natural variation” fall-back to save face. Isn’t that a bit, well, kooky?

  36. Mike P @ Aug 6, 7:14 pm,

    So the APS has been taken over by climate change activists who have made a statement that nobody can disagree with? Some real Einsteins, eh?

    The full APS statement does mention a human cause for the observed warming and makes a strong recommendation for a course of action.

    I responded to your actual quote and didn’t go back to their original statement, so you crept up on me there.

    But, yes, activists are in control, that’s obvious, because many of their members have disagreed with the statement, and what other evidence do you need to show that members of a particular bias have crafted the position statement?

    But look a little deeper. It says “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.” These leading scientists cannot bring themselves to say our emissions affect the Earth’s climate, much less to specify how and by how much.

    Then: “significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems … are likely to occur.” Oh!

    I tell you, a six-year-old can see through this. These statements shout loudly that the author does not believe what he wants us to take from them. They’re rubbish.

    Now, add to that the fact that they’re incorrect, and no “significant disruptions” are occurring or likely, and we don’t have to explain why the APS said this when we can see that they’re wrong.

  37. Richard C (NZ) on August 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm said:

    #6 The heating effect of backradiation is grossly overestimated

    Result of Debate on Fiction of Backradiation


    After 6 months and 2000 comments on Judy Curry’s blog about my refutation of the basic postulate of CO2 climate alarmism of backradiation, I can make the following sum up:

    1. My new derivation of Planck’s radiation law has stood the test. Nobody has shown that it is incorrect.
    2. In my version of Planck’s law there is no radiative transfer of heat from one blackbody to a warmer blackbody, only from a warmer to a colder. In other words, there is no backradiation.
    3. The reason is that such a process would be unstable and real physics cannot operate with unstable processes. Backradiation thus is fiction without reality.
    4. Backradiation is not described in the physics literature.
    5. Backradiation has been invented out of the blue to serve CO2 alarmism by supplying gross two-way radiative transfer of heat energy back and forth between the Earth surface and the atmosphere, and the instability of this exchange is the root of the alarmism.
    6. CO2 alarmism based on a fiction of backradiation is fiction.

    I ask Judy to make her own sum up of the debate and compare with mine.
    Personally I agree that there’s no “gross two-way radiative transfer of heat energy back and forth between the Earth surface and the atmosphere” but not that “there is no backradiation”.

    Backradiation can be measured but what is it that is being measured? It’s not a thermally effective heating agent across the number of materials that solar thermal em radiation is. One day (I wish) I’m going to scour my texts and the internet to try to compile a list of earth surface materials that absorb in the DLR spectrum (if there are any at all).

    Climate science has yet to grasp this fundamental and overarching concept I think because they are generally not used to dealing with heat in the real world as say heat engineers are.

    Meantime, when was the last time anyone can remember being burnt by DLR (backradiation) at night?

  38. Richard C (NZ) on August 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm said:

    Climate science is probably deaf and blind to the Skin Cancer Foundation too i.e. solar radiation has varying penetration and heating effect depending on the wavelength (UVA, UVB).

    Understanding UVA and UVB


    W.m2 don’t mean nothin unless there’s an actual heating effect taking place and even when it is it’s complex as in UVA and UVB heating.

  39. Mike Palin on August 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm said:


    If you were a voluntary dues-paying member of a group which made position statements that you believed were seriously in error, what would you do? Quit? Maybe send a letter to the leadership in protest? Well, that’s exactly what a few dozen of the 47,947 members (as of Jan 2010) of the APS have done since the position statement was released in Nov 2007 and updated in Apr 2010 (re-affirmed after the CRU emails had been hacked).

    But hey, according to you, six-year olds can see what the nearly 48,000 scientists who chose to remain members of the APS haven’t.

  40. Mike,

    You’ve turned to me, not what I said. Someone else observed you’ve regularly raised further questions and not answered the ones asked of you. You’re more credible and certainly less irritating when you address the substance. This “If you were a voluntary… etc., etc.” diversion from you is useless. I stand by what I said about the substance of the APS position statement and all the speculation in the world about their membership won’t change that statement.

    If you have time, I’d be grateful to hear, as a beginning, what evidence you have that dangerous anthropogenic global warming is occurring. If I were to make that query personal, I might ask: “what persuades you that it’s true?” That’s what I’m curious to hear. That’s what, if true, needs to be promulgated.

    I know you’re becoming frustrated, but please try to keep the conversation on an even keel and ignore others when they try to tilt it. We all try to, we all fail occasionally, and we all try again. Because we do, this is becoming a world-class site. The traffic is tremendous. Already this month: 100,000 hits, 34,000 pages served, nearly 9000 visits from 3200 sites. About 75% is not from NZ.


  41. Richard C (NZ) on August 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm said:

    Doctoral Thesis.

    Atmospheric downwelling longwave radiation at the surface and during cloudless and overcast conditions.

    Measurements and modelling

    Viudez-Mora 2011

    So what did he measure? See Figure 1.1 page 24, Figure 3.6 page 50.

    DLR band >4000 nm (4 microns) – <16000nm (16 microns)

    Compare to:-

    UVB 290nm – 320nm (0.29 microns – 0,32 microns)

    UVA 320nm – 400nm (0.32 microns – 0.40 microns)

    See Electromagnetic-Spectrum


    What will that DLR reflect and absorb? I don't know about the 4 – 16 micron thermal IR spectrum but see the 0.4 – 2.5 micron thermal IR spectrum:-


    @ 2.5 microns (ask yourself: to what depth and how much is temperature raised?)

    Red Basalt____ absorbs 20%, reflects 80%

    Clouds_______ absorbs 45%, reflects 55%

    Granite_______ absorbs 58%, reflects 42%

    Grey Basalt___ absorbs 73%, reflects 27%

    Snow________ absorbs 100%, reflects 0% (does it melt it? don't know, suspect not – not much snow melt at night)

    But to what depth is the DLR absorbed? (don't know) And what does it do to the temperature of the substance? (don't know, suspect b***** all)

    Optical Absorption of Water Compendium


    1973 Hale and Querry (gif)
    Optical constants of water in the 200nm to 200µm wavelength region


    Shows penetration depth of water (2.5 microns – 16 microns) of approx 10 microns

    Thus DLR does not penetrate more than 10 microns over 70% of the Earth's surface (water), I've yet to find what it does on land in the 4 – 16 micron band but an indication is the 0.4 – 2.5 micron band above but again, to what depth is the DLR absorbed? (don't know) And how much is temperature raised (don't know, suspect b***** all or nothing).

  42. Australis on August 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm said:


    The APS has its job to do – and it is not the job of researching physics.

    Have a look at the Society’s mission statement:

    … the advancement of physics;
    Provide effective programs in support of the physics community…
    Collaborate … for the advancement of ..the science community;
    …to promote physics, to support physicists worldwide..
    … support the activities of its units and members.

    So, it’s clearly a sort of promotional collective (bit like a trade union) whose role in life is to maximise the status and funding of physical scientists. And nobody’s arguing that CAGW is the best thing that’s ever happened to the profession. If it didn’t throw maximum support behind the golden goose, its board would be thrown out tomorrow.

    But all this doesn’t tell us a damn thing about the true level of carbon sensitivity.

  43. It’s also worth noting that the UK Royal Society has had a break of ranks over the climate issue, which was reported last year

    Rebel scientists force Royal Society to accept climate change scepticism


  44. QuentinF on August 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm said:

    Mike Palin AGW is a contrived scam ..provable!

  45. Mike Palin on August 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm said:


    The overwhelming consensus of my scientific colleagues is that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are causing warming of Earth’s surface and acidification of the oceans. I understand the physical basis of these processes and I accept the measurements reported in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. As atmospheric CO2 concentrations increase, the warming will continue and is likely to trigger positive feedbacks that will result in ice sheet melting and rapid sea level rise. Again, this is what I read in all of the peer-reviewed scientific literature on the subject in top journals such as Science and Nature. All national science academies and professional societies agree.

    As a geologist, I am familiar with these kinds of large scale changes over Earth history. The evidence in the rock record is certainly real enough. I also appreciate that the rate of change that is observed today is much greater than in the past (geochronology is my particular field of expertise).

    I trust my fellow scientists in these matters because I know how they obtained their expertise and how they practice their craft. I know what it takes to master the knowledge base in a field of science and what it take to use it to conduct research and get the findings published in the peer-reviewed literature.

    As to the direction policy should take In light of this information, it is beyond my area of knowledge and not of great interest to me. If you push me (you haven’t), I would say it would be prudent to err on the side of caution as with any potential hazard. You may disagree, but the supply of inexpensive oil and gas is coming to an end. It was slowly generated over hundreds of millions of years and enough has been consumed over the last hundred years to make the remainder increasingly expensive. The alternatives are to increase use of coal – a dirty business at best – or make the inevitable shift to renewable energy sooner rather than later. (Nuclear is a pipe dream.) With regard to coal, I believe in “banking” it. If it turns out you are right and there is no problem, then it will be even more valuable (and safer to extract) in the future. If my scientific colleagues are right, then it will have been a good choice to have avoided burning it now.

    I’ll wrap up by saying that IMO terms such as “catastrophic” and “dangerous” are indefinite in meaning and therefore have no place in scientific discussions. There is no doubt in my mind that Earth and life will survive. There is also little doubt in my mind that human populations will suffer if CO2 emissions are not reduced. What present-day price is worth paying to limit these uncertain future costs is the difficult discussion we should be having.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t help asking: billions and billions served worldwide?

  46. Mike Palin on August 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm said:

    So the leadership does represent the 48,000 members?

  47. Mike,

    Thanks. Your reply is thoughtful. I’ll take some time to consider it, but I get the feeling we’re pretty close on many of the points you mention.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t help asking: billions and billions served worldwide?

    What do you mean?

  48. Australis on August 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm said:

    Yes they do, within their own very limited remit. They are a lobby whose job is to PROMOTE physics on behalf of 48,000 members, and they probably do well what they are paid to do. Their expertise lies in PR and politics, not in science.

    Surely, Mike, even you don’t believe the collective is an authoritative source of RESEARCH into the complexities of physical science. That would be like asking the Law Society for a legal opinion, or the Medical Association for a diagnosis.

  49. Mike Palin on August 8, 2011 at 3:33 am said:

    I agree that the statement accurately reflects the research-informed position of the membership on an issue of public interest.

    The Law Society and Medical Association often give policy advice on the basis of the expertise of their members.

  50. The American Association for Pediatrics also has a “position statement ” on Global Warming

    Direct health impacts from global warming include injury and death from more frequent extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and tornados. For children, this can mean post-traumatic stress, loss of caregivers, disrupted education and displacement. Increased climate-sensitive infectious diseases, air pollution-related illness, and heat-related illness and fatalities also are expected.

    As the climate changes, the earth’s geography also will change, leading to a host of health risks for kids. Disruptions in the availability of food and water and the displacement of coastal populations can cause malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies and waterborne illness, the statement said.


  51. Mike Palin on August 8, 2011 at 8:43 am said:

    Almost sounds dangerous doesn’t it?

  52. Sounds dangerous? Yes it does, but surely the biggest danger to children is poverty?
    We are spending, or proposing to spend, so much money on mitigating “climate change” that is money not spent on trying to eliminate world poverty.

    This was one of the points made in Monckton’s talk, and has been made by others too.

  53. Australis on August 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm said:

    Mike – At the very heart of the “overwhelming consensus” you mention is this key sentence, upon which everything else is built:

    “As atmospheric CO2 concentrations increase, the warming will continue and is likely to trigger positive feedbacks that will result in ice sheet melting and rapid sea level rise.”

    I agree that increased CO2 concentrations will increase warming to some (probably tiny) extent – remember the effect is logarithmic. When concentration reaches 560ppm, we will theoretically reach 1°C above 1750 levels, of which 0.7°C has already occurred. So far, this is mere bagatelle.

    Let’s assume doubling occurs about 2050, and the remaining 0.3°C of warming occurs. Whether this is ho-hum or “dangerous” depends largely on whether positive feedbacks are actually triggered to increase this figure to about 1.0°C. I don’t think this will happen. You do. Why?

    As far as I am aware, the inclusion of positive feedback in the models is only an assumption, and has no empirical basis. I have three reasons for doubting that assumption:

    1. The null hypothesis is that what has happened in the past will continue in the future.
    2. Most natural systems are self-correcting rather than cumulative. If there had been positive feedbacks in every past warming, instability would have resulted.
    3. The CERES satellite data suggests it is not happening (Lindzen, Spencer).

    For these reasons, the risk of future dangerous warming seems very slight. And the figures suggest there is no practical way to “insure” against the residual risk.

  54. Richard C (NZ) on August 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm said:

    The DLR (333 W.m2) in TF&Ks earth energy budget would be best described using an electrical analogy I’m thinking i.e. it’s apparent power – not real power. Climate science doesn’t do heating effect (search for it in TF&K or K&T, nothing comes up) but engineering science and medical science does. Electrical engineers know all about power factor correction (Robin Pittman are you reading this?) and so do mechanical engineers and I’m sure both will be able to relate to the analogy.

    Medical physics and radiology have a different terminology than climate science when it comes to radiation (and a vastly better understanding of it I’m sure). They are concerned with ionizing radiation whereas solar SW (UV) and DLR (LWIR) is non-ionizing but the principles are the same when it comes to heating effect. The medical science term for UV and LWIR is: “low” linear energy transfer (LET) radiation. See this medical physics ppt dealing with the interaction of ionizing radiation with matter on a molecular level.

    I’m reasonably sure that LWIR (DLR) is a “lower” form of LET than UV (solar SW) i.e that (using the analogy) LWIR has a lessor “power factor” than UV and that it should be designated as such on TF&K Figure 1. The power factor also depends upon the properties of the geologic material that is receiving the radiation.

    I invite comments on this analogy from lurkers that have expertise in the area of radiative heating effect (please).

    The difficulty (for me) is to demonstrate that there is a power factor issue with DLR by calculating the propagation of heat (Q) and temperature rise in a cubic metre of granite say using the heat transfer properties of granite and the two different power fluxes (333 W.m2 vs 161 W.m2) from TF&K. Hopefully a text such as my “Applied Heat” by Roger Kinskey will point me in the right direction but I’m not sure that he goes as far as differentiating between UV and LWIR or that he deals with the conversion of radiation energy to heat energy. The Medical physics ppt puts it this way: “the total deposited energy divided by the length of the “track” is the linear energy transfer of the radiation, or LET”, but again, that is before conversion to heat.

    What I find odd about the TF&K energy budget is that the 161 W.m2 UV power flux is amplified 2.46 times so that there’s an up-welling 396 W.m2 power flux from the surface. 84% of that comes straight back down again as the 333 W.m2 DLR power flax when all along, the source of that is the original 161 W.m2 solar power flux. This seems inherently shonkey on an intuitive level before trying to apply the power to numeric heating effect calculations.

    I’ve found some further papers dealing with the day-night heating and cooling of geologic material (e.g. a mountain rock face) over a monthly period and the measurement of DLR that I will place references and links to below in my next comment maybe tomorrow.

    I’ve also found a database of spectral indices for geological mapping and mineral identification. See:- ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection) Spectral Library. This should provide the data in the 4 micron – 16 micron DLR range that I have not come across previously. The database is used by, among others, the US Army Corps of Engineers for land-mine counter measures.

    That’s all for tonight (11/7 work commitments at the moment – an inconvenient distraction), stay tuned, watch this space etc.

  55. Richard C (NZ) on August 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm said:

    I note these snippets from K&T:-

    b. Longwave radiation

    “We must rely on model calculations to determine the surface radiative fluxes.”

    “Emission from the surface is assumed to follow Planck’s function, assuming a surface emissivity of 1. Globally, variations in surface emissivity can lead to variations in the net longwave flux of less than 5 W m-2 (Briegleb 1992).”

    I can’t work out how they came up with their DLR figure though.

    I’ll have to look at TF&K to see what the updates were and I think these fluxes (upwelling sfc LWIR and atm DLR) and the above assumptions could do with intense scrutiny.

  56. Richard C (NZ) on August 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm said:

    I note too that Miskolczi limits the long wave upward radiation from the surface to 1.5 times the short wave downward radiation from the Sun (contrary to TF&Ks 2.46 times)

    Also, here’s a NASA budget without backradiation (very sensible):-



    Earth Energy Budgets without ‘Greenhouse Gases’ or ‘Back Radiation’


  57. Richard C (NZ) on August 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm said:

    This is crazy, NASA and Goody, “Principles of Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry” both limit the long wave upward radiation from the surface to around 0.4 times the short wave downward radiation from the Sun (Miskolczi 1.5, TF&K 2.46).

  58. Mike Palin on August 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm said:

    “I don’t think this will happen. You do. Why?'”

    I explained above at August 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm.

    “Most natural systems are self-correcting rather than cumulative. If there had been positive feedbacks in every past warming, instability would have resulted.”

    Warming is the natural self-corrective response to an increased atmospheric CO2 concentration in order to restore radiative energy balance. There is a period of instability that is transient. The geologic record provides evidence for both phenomena.

  59. Mike Palin on August 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm said:

    Any progress?

    The “served” comment was a lame allusion to the motto of a popular global fast-food chain.

  60. Mike Palin says:
    August 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    “Nuclear power is a pipe dream”

    Nuclear power is providing most of France’s energy needs, and presumably will also be providing a good chunk of the UK’s when it runs out of its own sources.

    Would you not agree that the current offerings of renewables – i.e solar and wind – are not really viable for producing sufficient baseload electricity at this point in time?

    Germany has decided to opt out of nuclear, and is now ramping up coal-fired generation as a result. This doesn’t seem particularly smart for a country that is supposedly serious about CO2 emissions.

    Personally, I think Thorium looks the most promising new technology, if it can be made to work on an industrial scale. It has the promise of safe, clean nuclear power.

    My concern is that the “Deep Greens” (watermelons, etc) are not actually that interested in clean nuclear because it doesn’t fit with their anti-capitalist agenda.

  61. Richard C (NZ) on August 15, 2011 at 1:53 pm said:

    Some DLR perspective:-

    Downwelling Longwave Radiation

    “The Down-welling Long-wave Radiation (DLR) flux (W.m-2) is defined as the thermal irradiance reaching the surface in the thermal infrared spectrum (4 – 100 µm). It is determined by the radiation that originates from a shallow layer close to the surface, about one third being emitted by the lowest 10 meters and 80% by the 500-meter layer.”


    Compare this to upwelling LWIR from the surface and it’s rapid absorption. See this instructive article:-

    Climate Change (A Fundamental Analysis of the Greenhouse Effect)

    An article by Dr John Nicol, 2008 (president of the Australian Climate Science Coalition.

    “Figure 6. This diagram shows the power absorbed by carbon dioxide within a sequence of 10 m thick layers up to a height of 50 metres in the troposphere. The five curves represent the level of absorption for concentrations of CO2 equal to 100%, 200% and 300% of the reported current value of 380 ppm. As can be seen, the magnitude of absorption for the different concentrations are largest close to the ground and the curves cross over at heights between 3 and 4 metres, reflecting the fact that for higher concentrations of CO2, more radiation is absorbed at the lower levels leaving less power for absorption in the upper regions.”

    And the last (as far as I’m concerned) of the DLR measurement papers:-

    “Determination of longwave heat flux at the air-sea interface using measurements from buoy platforms”

    Dickey, Manov, Weller and Siegal. 1993


  62. Richard C (NZ) on August 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm said:

    Analysis of Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) Soil Data to Predict Reflectance Response

    Janet E. Simms, Ernest S. Berney IV, Danny W. Harrelson,
    Maureen K. Corcoran, and Ray M. Castellane. 2009

    Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory
    U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center
    3909 Halls Ferry Road
    Vicksburg, MS 39180-6199

    Abstract: The spectral response of quartz is a phenomenon of interest
    to countermine technologies because of suspected disruption in spectral
    signature from disturbed soil during emplacement of landmines in the
    subsurface. The research was divided into two: data analysis using spectral
    information from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflec-
    tion (ASTER) spectral library and a laboratory study using a Fourier trans-
    form infrared (FTIR) spectrometer.

    Spectral and mineralogical data for five major soil orders (Alfisols,
    Aridisols, Entisols, Mollisols, and Inceptisols) were acquired from the
    spectral library. Using these data, the relationship of the percentage of
    reflectance around the 8.2-m quartz peak to the percentage of quartz in
    a soil was used to develop a linear regression model. The equations from
    this model predict the expected quartz peak reflectance for a soil of given
    quartz percentage. The predictive equations determined from the ASTER
    database can be modified based on quartz species and grain size to enable
    better prediction of expected reflectance from natural soils.

    The FTIR system was used to measure the spectral response of different
    forms of quartz, clays, and quartz-clay mixtures. The spectral results
    revealed that different species of quartz exhibit different reflectance spec-
    tra, suggesting that the quartz reflectance response of a given soil type will
    vary depending on its impurities and depositional history. Grain-size frac-
    tion plays an important role in influencing the magnitude of reflectance.
    From the pure quartz studied, as grain size decreased from particle diame-
    ters of 1180 μm to less than 300 μm, FTIR reflectance increased according
    to a logarithmic relationship.

  63. Richard C (NZ) on August 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm said:

    Downwelling long-wave infrared (LWIR) radiation (DLR) is supposed to increase evaporation and evapotranspiration according to AGW due to increasing GHG effect from CO2 levels. DLR penetrates 10 microns into the ocean so to find out if it causes evaporation (and it’s increasing) a study of night-time ocean evaporation would be required, has anyone come across such a study?

    The significance of NH land (greater landmass vs SH) evapotranspiration can be seen in the following link where column water vapour levels are highest when NH rates are highest:-

    http://climate4you.com/ (click “Greenhouse Gasses)

    But does DLR play any part in evapotranspiration (or ocean evaporation)?


    “Nighttime, Wet Canopy Evaporation Rates and the Water Balance of an Evergreen Mixed Forest”

    Pearce FRI, Christchurch, NZ, Rowe, FRI,

    Christchurch, NZ, Stewart, Inst of Hydrology,

    Oxon, UK.

    “The similarity of daytime and nighttime evaporation rates indicates that evaporation from the wet canopy is driven by advected energy not by radiation”



    “Night-time evaporation from a short-rotation willow stand”

    Iritz and Landroth,

    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

    “Night-time evaporation was controlled mainly by vapour pressure deficit and ventilation whereas net radiation had only a minor influence.”


    I.e. DLR from GHGs (or any other radiation) was not the evapotranspiration driver.

    AGW takes a big hit here.

  64. Richard C (NZ) on August 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm said:
  65. Richard C (NZ) on August 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm said:

    Dr John Nicol on heating effect of radiation and energy transfer from a perspective outside of climate science:-

    “While some of the ‘pictures’ painted in this discussion may seem at odds with expectations, none of the apparently extreme circumstances described will appear as unusual to anyone with even modest experience in optical spectroscopy.

    We refer for instance to the very rapid absorption of radiation as it enters the atmosphere from ground level which has been referred to before by experienced scientists suggesting that the radiation is absorbed in the first few metres. This is often disputed by others without reason. However, anyone with experience in studying absorption of visible radiation by metal vapours, where the density of atoms is miniscule compared to the density of atmospheric CO2, is familiar with the need to “reduce the temperature of the oven” to allow the laser beam being used in the measurements to get through even the first few millimeters of the atoms of the metal vapour.

    The transfer of significant energy by collisions between molecules is also perhaps conceptually difficult until one realizes that the most common of all lasers, the He-Ne laser, which radiates effectively at a single frequency, easily provides an intensity over an area of about 1 mm2 corresponding to 100 kW/m2 compared to the sun’s irradiance at the earth’s surface, of 1.3 kW/m2. The energy emitted by this laser depends totally on collisional energy transfer from the Helium atoms, which absorb energy, to the Neon atoms, which radiate the same energy.

    Similarly, the most powerful of lasers, the CO2-N2 industrial laser used for precision cutting of hard metals with power outputs exceeding a kilowatt (with intensity several MWm-2), depend entirely on the transfer of energy from one type of molecule, which absorbs energy from an electric current, to another entirely different molecule which engorges that energy through mutual collisions and then radiates.”


  66. Richard C (NZ) on August 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm said:

    The TF&K Figure 1 diagram gives the impression that DLR originates mostly from what looks to be the upper troposphere – not so. 80% originates BELOW 500m altitude (33% originates below 10m altitude) from Nicol 08.


    This begs some questions, see this article:-

    Carbon Dioxide

    “The Mauna Loa data for the Keeling curve is obtained at an altitude of 3.4 km. Aircraft approaching and leaving Hawaii fly at altitudes greater than 3.4 km.

    State of Hawaii Department of Transportation air traffic statistics for the calendar years 1994 through 2005 show that Hilo International Airport alone had 108,462 takeoffs and landings in 2005 compared to 86,292 takeoffs and landings in 1994. This is a 25% increase over ten years. Graphs of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations measured at Mauna Loa Observatory also show an increase over this same time period.”


  67. Mike Palin on August 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm said:

    Andy, nuclear has an important place, but it also has important limitations and is hugely expensive. France has made it work. Australia would be one place where it could expand and work beautifully. But I agree, it should be part of the mix to prevent coal from being used.

  68. Bob_FJ on August 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm said:

    Mike Palin:
    YAWN. [Bob: It’s good to have you join the conversation, but please give reasons for your criticism. Your comment does not meet our standards.]

  69. Mike Palin says:
    August 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    “Nuclear power is a pipe dream”

    Mike Palin says:
    August 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Andy, nuclear has an important place, but it also has important limitations and is hugely expensive.

    Mike, it looks like we might have found some common ground.
    Personally, I accept that fossil fuels will run out and we need to find alternatives. My view is that we should pursue this aim without crippling our economies with punitive legislation.
    When Bjorn Lomborg suggested this, he was compared to Adolf Hitler by Rajendra Pauchari.

    Why is this so difficult?

  70. Richard C (NZ) on August 16, 2011 at 10:34 am said:

    Post at Judith Curry’s Climate Etc dealing with backradiation (DLR). As usual, neglects heating effect.

    Slaying the Greenhouse Dragon. Part IV
    Posted on August 13, 2011 by curryja| 888 Comments

    by Vaughan Pratt


  71. Richard C (NZ) on August 16, 2011 at 10:04 pm said:

    Post at WUWT dealing with DLR by Willis Eschenbach


    Gets a round of applause from Roy Spencer in comments but I see this in his very first argument:-

    “Argument 1. People claim that because the DLR is absorbed in the first mm of water, it can’t heat the mass of the ocean……….”


    Yes Willlis it is absorbed in the first mm. It’s even absorbed within the first 0.1 mm. But to be a little more precise, it’s absorbed within the first 10 microns (0.01 mm or 10/1000th of a mm or 10/1000,000 of a metre or 0.00001 metres).

    Meanwhile 161 W.m2 solar SW penetrates about 100 metres but lets say 1 metre effectively so the penetration depth (track length) of DLR relative to solar (a power factor) is 0.00001/1 = 0.00001.

    Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl estimate DLR at 333 W.m2 so applying the power factor we get a quick and dirty effective heating power of DLR to the ocean relative to solar:-

    333 * 0.00001 = 0.00333 W.m2 equivalent solar heating

    Yeah that should do some heating. Fortunately some understanding in comments but will restrict to some salient points (intensity, IR must be tuned to be effective and why people don’t harness the energy in DLR)
    George E. Smith says:
    August 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    “”””” Look, folks, there’s lot’s of good, valid scientific objections against the AGW claims, but the idea that DLR can’t heat the ocean is nonsense. Go buy an infrared lamp, put it over a pan of water, and see what happens. It only hurts the general skeptical arguments when people believe and espouse impossible things … “””””

    Well first off, an “infrared lamp” has a temperature in the range of about 1000 K and is not too bad an imitator of a black body radiator, being incandescent. That said it emits near infra red radiation that peaks at about 1.0 microns wavelength and also at about 4.0 megaWatts per square metre. Compare that to the average atmosphere which has a Temperature around 288 K, and is emitting wavelengths more in the 10 micron range and about 400 W/m^2.

    So your heat lamp is 10,000 times the radiance of the atmosphere, and is spectrally peaked where H2O is an extremely good absorber, in fact at 3.0 microns, H2O has its maximum absorption coefficient of around 10^4 cm^-1..

    Why not use an ordinary bottle of water at about 15 deg C (288K) as a source to demonstrate how “downwelling” LWIR radiation heats the ocean.
    DR says:
    August 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm


    Per Doug Hoyt:

    In the laboratory, you can point a 10.6 micron laser at a body of water. Its intensity will be millions of times greater than the intensity increase due to a doubling of carbon dioxide. A thermometer placed just a few centimeters deep in the water will not rise in temperature. It is clear that infrared radiation cannot do bulk heating of water with any efficiency.

    At best an increased amount of infrared radiation will slow down any cooling that is occurring. It will not cause a bulk heating.
    richard verney says:
    August 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    As regards the second argument. DWLWIR is not heat. We all know that the DWLWIR cannot effectively heat anything and cannot do sensible work. That is why no one is seeking to utilise the alleged 333 mw per sqm of backradiation and use this to cure the world’s energy needs. After all, according to Trenberth, the backradiation is nearly twice the solar energy and if it was truly a source of heat or if it could truly do work, man would exploit this valuable resource.

  72. Richard C (NZ) on August 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm said:

    Wires crossed again, I’ve used “solar SW (UV)” up-thread (got confused by my Cancer Society reading). Should be solar SWIR (and NIR) and any other references to “UV” should be read as IR as in this solar spectrum:-


    Solar NIR is 0.75-1.4 µm, SWIR is 1.4-3 µm (solar “heat”)

    DLR MWIR is 3-8 µm, LWIR is 8–15 µm (GHG “backradiation”)

    See:- Infrared


    I note TF&K omit “diffuse” radiation from the Earth Energy Budget. They show 161 W.m2 direct radiation striking the earth and 79 W.m2 absorbed by the atmosphere but the atmosphere (sky) will re-radiate and some energy will be directed down to earth. This is diffuse radiation and is equivalent to direct solar in terms of real power except that it is less intense and usually expressed (in Engineering Science) as a percentage (say 20%) of the solar incidence. Diffuse radiation is not to be confused with DLR. Looking at TF&Ks Figure 3, diffuse radiation would be a vector down to earth from “78 Absorbed by Atmosphere”.

    Direct, Diffuse and Reflected Radiation (and with respect to solar power technology)


    I’ve been reading “Applied Heat” by Roger Kinskey (getting back to Engineering Science basics) and he has an Example 17.10 (page 359) dealing with solar energy (direct and diffuse):-

    Calculate, using 1.4 kW/m2 solar energy received just outside the earths atmosphere:

    (d) Energy received by a solar collector (1m x 1m) whose perpendicular is inclined at 30 degrees to the sun, if the energy loss through the atmosphere is 40% and diffuse radiation is 20% of direct radiation.

    Direct energy per m2 reaching the earth is 1.4 x 0.6 = 0.84 kW/m2 (840 W.m2)

    Diffuse radiation is 0.2 x 0.84 = 0.168 kW/m2 (168 W.m2)

    Total radiation reaching the plate is 1.008 kW/m2 (1008 W.m2)

    Projected plate area is 1 x 1 x 0.866 = 0.866 m2

    Energy received by plate is 0.866 x 1.008

    = 0.87 kW (870 W)

    i.e. Diffuse radiation is added to direct in the Engineering Science calculation but TF&K AGW Climate Science would not arrive at the 870 W figure because they neglect diffuse radiation.

    TF&K AGW Climate Science calculation:-

    0.866 x 0.84 = 0.73 kW (730 W)

    No there’s some missing heat, 140 Watts of it (870 – 730)

    Diffuse radiation is used in global climate models so why don’t TF&K account for it?

  73. Richard C (NZ) on August 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm said:

    Starting to get a handle on diffuse radiation (the search for information has been agonizing). It’s also known as:-

    Sky radiation

    Diffuse sky radiation (or irradiance)

    Primary diffuse radiation (secondary diffuse is DLR or GHG backradiation – see below))

    Diffuse insolation


    Diffuse skylight

    A simple graphic from ArcGIS Resource Centre (Geographic Information System) can be seen here:- “Modeling solar radiation”


    Next a very detailed diagram of the solar energy budget from “The Sun’s Energy”:-

    Figure 2.9 Nominal range of clear sky absorption and scattering of incident solar energy


    Next a schematic showing direct beam, primary diffuse and secondary diffuse (which turns out to be DLR) from “A Model of Diffuse Broadband Solar Irradiance for a Cloudless Sky”

    Figure 3 Schematic of main features of the model. Incoming solar radiation, Q, at the top of the atmosphere may undergo absorption, scattering within the atmosphere or reflection from the ground. Once scattered or reflected, light may undergo subsequent scattering.


    “Earth’s radiation balance” from Wikipedia provides this:-

    Earth’s radiation balance is the equation of the incoming and outgoing thermal radiation.
    The incoming solar radiation is short wave, therefore the equation below is called the short wave radiation balance Qs:

    Qs = G – R = D + H – R or depending on the albedo (back-reflection to space): = G (1 – a)

    * G = global radiation
    * D = direct radiation
    * H = diffuse radiation
    * R = reflected portion of global radiation (ca. 4%)
    * a = albedo


    Diffuse sky radiation falls within the spectral range 0.3 µm – about 1 µm which is less than (but overlapping) the solar “heat” spectrum starting at NIR 0.75 µm so must have heating effect to justify adding diffuse to direct for solar collector calcs such as the Kinskey example in the previous comment. See (click on) the diagram here (but note the description of what it is):-

    Diffuse sky radiation


    I found (after much searching) this paper with empirical observations (diffuse and global, cloudy and clear- surprising that diffuse is greater):-

    “Spectral distribution of global and diffuse solar radiation in Ny-hesund, Spitsbergen”
    Hisdal, V. 1986:

    Fig. 6. Various types of average noon spectra expressed in relative units (equal to 100 at 560 nm). Above 560 nm the curves for Zenith (clear sky) and Zenith (overcast) are omitted. They run below, but very close to the curves for Sky radiation (clear sky) and Global radiation (overcast) respectively. The spectrum representing fog situations is indicated by small rings.


    Turns out that Ny-hesund, Spitsbergen is part of:-

    Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN/WCRP): New Precision Radiometry for Climate Research


    BSRN measure:-

    a. Direct solar irradiance
    b. Diffuse sky irradiance
    c. Longwave downward irradiance (DLR)
    d. Global solar irradiance

    Lastly from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    SMART Instruments
    Surface-sensing Measurements for Atmospheric Radiative Transfer (SMART)

    Precision Spectral Pyranometer (PSP)

    The Eppley Lab Precision Spectral Pyranometer is a radiometer designed for the measurement of sun and sky radiation, totally or in defined broad wavelength bands.

    Spectral range: 0.295 – 2.8, 0.4 – 2.75 and 0.695 – 2.75 µm


  74. Richard C (NZ) on August 18, 2011 at 9:33 am said:

    I’m wrong about secondary diffuse being DLR. The sequence is: reflected solar SW radiation from the surface is absorbed by the atmosphere and re-emitted in all directions with a proportion (<1/2) being directed back down to the surface.

    Since reflected radiation retains the properties of the incident radiation (solar SW), the secondary diffuse will have the same properties as primary i.e.spectral range 0.3 – about 1 µm, not the 3 -16 µm DLR range.

    On TF&K Figure 3 it would be a vector back down from the upwards "23 Reflected by Surface". It would only be 1/2 of 20% of that (80% escapes to space) so 23 x 0.2 x 0.5 = approx 4 W.m2. Not much but real heating power nevertheless.

    Now back to whether DLR heats geologic materials on land (soil, clay, rock) via it's 333 W.m2 "power" (according to TF&K) in the 3 -16 µm spectral range

  75. Richard C (NZ) on August 18, 2011 at 3:47 pm said:

    Little details make all the difference. I spotted this plot that turns up in Wikipedia and Google Images:-

    Black Body Emission Curves of the Sun and Earth


    It leaves the casual observer with the impression that the radiative flux of the sun is about 3 or 4 times that of the earth but closer examination reveals that the sun’s flux is scaled by a factor of 10^-6.

    Peak fluxes:

    Sun ______80,000,000 W/m2 @ 0.5 µm
    Earth____________25 W/m2 @ 11.0 µm

    There’s an unscaled plot Figure 6f-2: Spectrum of the Sun and Figure 6f-3: Spectrum of the Earth here:-


    The sun’s flux falls to the average 1366 W/m2 (solar constant) value by the time it reaches earth. The earth’s flux would be imperceptible at the sun and at the longer wavelength than the sun’s flux.

    I think this example illustrates the divide between those that subscribe to the conventional “warm heats cool” (myself) vs those that subscribe (including luke-warmers Eschenbach and Spencer) to the AGW “cool makes warm warmer than if cool was not there” schools of physics.

    Using the “cool makes warm warmer” reasoning in the sun vs earth example, the sun is warmer than if the earth did not exist. What gets lost in the argument is that the warmer matter is in a higher state of excitation and emits at a higher frequency (sun 0.5 µm) than the cooler matter (earth 11.0 µm). Thus there is a decreasing energy per photon as frequency increases. See the electromagnetic spectrum diagram (right hand side) here:-


    Energy per photon:-

    1.24 eV @ 1 µm
    1.24 x 10^-1 @ 10 µm

    Even if the sun and earth fluxes were equal when they reached each other at say the solar constant value 1366 W/m2, the earth flux is delivering less energy per photon than the energy level that the sun is already at and emitting from. The incoming flux to the sun will therefore not increase the excitation (vibrational state) of solar matter unless it is tuned to the same characteristics that already exist or the intensity is such that the vibrational state of the solar matter is modified to the characteristics of an (overpowering) incoming flux (indicating the presence of a superior heat source than the sun).

    The same rebuttal can be extended to incoming (downwelling) radiation at the earths surface. Using TF&K’s figures, the solar 161 W/m2 is delivering NIR at 0.75-1.4 µm and SWIR at 1.4-3 µm with higher energy per photon than 333 W/m2 of MWIR at 3-8 µm and LWIR at 8–15 µm is delivering.

    In energy per photon terms:-

    Solar SWIR (approx) 5.0 eV – 0.7 eV
    GHG DLR (approx) 0.7 eV – 0.09 eV

    This explains why solar SWIR is a better heating agent than GHG DLR.

    See Electronvolt

    In physics, the electron volt (symbol eV; also written electronvolt[1][2]) is a unit of energy equal to approximately 1.602×10−19 J. By definition, it is equal to the amount of kinetic energy gained by a single unbound electron when it accelerates through an electric potential difference of one volt. Thus it is 1 volt (1 joule per coulomb) multiplied by the electron charge (1 e, or 1.602176565(35)×10−19 C). Therefore, one electron volt is equal to 1.602176565(35)×10−19 J.[3] Historically, the electron volt was devised as a standard unit of measure through its usefulness in electrostatic particle accelerator sciences because a particle with charge q has an energy E=qV after passing through the potential V; if q is quoted in integer units of the elementary charge and the terminal bias in volts, one gets an energy in eV.


    And, calculate the energy in Joules for one photon of light (light being at 610 nm frequency).

    E = hc / lambda, hc = 1240 eV.nm

    so 1240/610 = 2.03 eV

    1 eV = 1.602 x 10^-19 J

    so ~ 3.26 x 10^-19 J

  76. Richard C (NZ) on August 18, 2011 at 4:30 pm said:

    Basically, TF&K’s solar 161 W.m2 flux and GHG 333 W.m2 flux are apples and oranges when it comes to heating effectiveness.

    My hunch is that for GHG DLR to heat granite at night say, above the energy threshold that daytime solar raises it to (and then it cools gradually at night), it would have to be focussed (tuned) to the spectral absorbing characteristics of the material and at a far greater intensity than is naturally occurring (>333 W.m2)..

    This seems to be how infrared lamps, infrared saunas and infrared food heating etc are effective.

    Now all I have to do is prove my hunch and AGW’s “GHGs heat the earth” has no basis. I could be wrong of course (perish the thought).

  77. Richard C (NZ) on September 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm said:

    Have found a paper that goes a long way towards proving my hunch that the heating effect of GHG DLR does not raise the night-time temperature of rock say, above the temperature that the rock cools to at night having been solar heated by day.

    Will look at that paper in the following comment but meantime here’s some spectroscopy background.

    USGS Spectroscopy Lab Homepage


    Linked from that page:-

    Spectroscopy of Rocks and Minerals, and Principles of Spectroscopy

    by Roger N. Clark

    U.S. Geological Survey


    Not much on heating effect but there is this:-

    3.1 Electronic Processes.

    Isolated atoms and ions have discrete energy states. Absorption of photons of a specific wavelength causes a change from one energy state to a higher one. Emission of a photon occurs as a result of a change in an energy state to a lower one. When a photon is absorbed it is usually not emitted at the same wavelength. For example, it can cause heating of the material, resulting in grey-body emission at longer wavelengths.

    And this:-

    3.2 Vibrational Processes.

    The bonds in a molecule or crystal lattice are like springs with attached weights: the whole system can vibrate. The frequency of vibration depends on the strength of each spring (the bond in a molecule) and their masses (the mass of each element in a molecule). For a molecule with N atoms, there are 3N-6 normal modes of vibrations called fundamentals. Each vibration can also occur at roughly multiples of the original fundamental frequency. The additional vibrations are called overtones when they involve multiples of a single fundamental mode, and combinations when they involve different modes of vibrations.

    A vibrational absorption will be seen in the infrared spectrum only if the molecule responsible shows a dipole moment (it is said to be infrared active). A symmetric molecule, like N2 is not normally infrared active unless it is distorted (for example, when under high pressure). Vibrations from two or more modes can occur at the same frequency, and because they can’t be distinguished, are said to be degenerate. An isolated molecule with degenerate modes may show the modes at slightly different frequencies in a crystal because of the non-symmetric influences of the crystal field.

    A free molecule can rotate and move translationally, but even in a solid partial rotation and slight translation can occur. These motions are called lattice modes and typically occur at very low energies (longer mid-infrared wavelengths), beyond about 20 µm.

    20 µm is the upper limit of GHG DLR as far as I can ascertain.

    I haven’t been able to find useful spectral information on granite probably because it’s a mixture, see:-


    6.1 Mixtures.

    The real world (and for that matter, the universe) is a complex mixture of materials, at just about any scale we view it. In general, there are 4 types of mixtures:

    2) Intimate Mixture. An intimate mixture occurs when different materials are in intimate contact in a scattering surface, such as the mineral grains in a soil or rock. Depending on the optical properties of each component, the resulting signal is a highly non-linear combination of the end-member spectra.

    Also this but not in respect to heating:-




    Spectral Library also linked from the homepage here:-

    USGS Digital Spectral Library splib06a


    Chapter 1: Minerals
    Chapter 2: Mixtures
    Chapter 3: Coatings
    Chapter 5: Man-Made
    Chapter 6: Plants, Vegetation Communities,
    Mixtures with Vegetation, and Microorganisms

    The relevant plots are in the 4-16 µm GHG DLR range (3-20 µm at most).

    I did find this Korean study of granite but it doesn’t help much:-

    Surface Weathering Degree Mapping for Granite Using Reflectance Spectroscopy


    Not to worry because the dissertation by Stephan Gruber in the following comment is very useful.

  78. Richard C (NZ) on September 1, 2011 at 9:20 pm said:

    The following dissertation contains 6 papers (Publications 1 – 6) that help answer the question: does GHG DLR “heat the earth”?

    Mountain Permafrost: Transient Spatial Modelling,
    Model Verification and the Use of Remote Sensing.

    Dissertation by Stephan Gruber, Zürich, 2005

    The papers study rock temperature in the Swiss Alps in response to a spate of rockfalls during a hot summer in 2003. From the Summary:-

    Permafrost research has a practical relevance for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure as well as for the assessment or prevention of natural hazards in cold-mountain areas. The occurrence and temperature of permafrost are largely controlled by climatic conditions and, therefore, atmospheric warming leads to corresponding warming or thawing of permafrost in most cases

    Part A: Scientific setting

    2 Characteristics of mountain permafrost and its
    response to a changing climate

    2.1 Factors and processes that influence ground temperatures

    2.2 The influence of topography

    Figure 3 Energy fluxes at and below the surface for steep rock and coarse debris covers.

    4 Validation of spatial surface energy-balance
    models in complex terrain

    5 Rock wall temperatures

    6 Sub-surface temperatures in complex

    7 Spatial input data derived by remote sensing

    8 Synopsis

    8.1 Main progress

    o Surface temperatures derived from modelling and measurements were used to drive a model of 3-dimensional heat flow in rock.

    8.2 Main findings

    • The inter-annual and diurnal variability of temperatures in the South is greater than in the North because two signal contribute (air temperature, solar radiation).

    • The difference between Northern and Central Alps is greatest in southern aspects and at high elevation due the importance of short-wave radiation.

    Part B: Publications

    Publication 1:

    Permafrost thaw and destabilization of Alpine rock walls in the hot summer of 2003

    3. Results and Discussion

    [7] In northern slopes, the depth of thaw is mainly controlled by the influence of air temperature (mostly via long-wave radiation) on surface temperatures, whereas southern slopes additionally receive high amounts of shortwave radiation. As a consequence, southern slopes exhibit greater inter-annual variability of thaw depth

    They discount diffuse solar radiation (probably through ignorance because they don’t account for it in the first place) but I have not read the paper in detail to find out why they state “mostly via long-wave radiation”. I suspect it may just be an assumption conditioned by their man-made climate change approach (see Part A: Scientific setting, Introduction etc).

    Publication 2:

    Surface temperatures in steep alpine rock faces – A strategy for regional-scale measurement and modelling

    Figure 5. 2-hourly temperatures recorded at 4500 m during
    November 2001. Lower curve: north-facing (Zumsteinspitze),
    upper curve: south-facing (Signalkuppe). Smooth lines represent the 2-day running average.

    Figure 5 speaks volumes. There is far greater diurnal fluctuation on the south-facing slope that receives direct solar radiation + diffuse solar + DLR than on the north face that only receives diffuse solar + DLR. Both slopes receive GHG DLR day and night but on NO day do night-time north-facing temperatures equal south-facing. The curves come very close in the night of day 14 only but there is considerable difference for the other days of the month.

    Gruber et al say that north-facing temperatures are governed by air temperature but I’ve yet to see how and why they discount diffuse solar radiation, they just seem to lump all non-direct solar into “long-wave” which must include diffuse solar during the day and DLR from air temperature day and night applicable to north-facing slopes.

    Days 5, 11, 12, 14, 19, 22, 26 and 30 would appear to be cloudy so that both north and south facing receive similar diffuse solar and on days 11, 12, 14 and 19 the curves come closest to each other but diffuse solar would surely be the heating agent – not air or GHG DLR.

    Where in Figure 5 is there evidence of GHG DLR “heating the earth” (rock in this case) beyond what solar heating (direct or diffuse) has already acheived?

    Further on we see the temperature gradient through a mountain but even in Figure 5 we can see a gradient of between about 2 – 10 deg C and I don’t think the thaw that is suspected of being the cause of the rockfalls is occurring on the north face because the temperature is no more than about -10 C in Figure 5 (if so that would mean air or GHG DLR is not the culprit).

    More tomorrow, eyestrain calls a halt tonight.

  79. Just one fact – the arguments pro and con are all based on a science fiction world which has no real physical basis in our reality.


    Richard, I’ve linked here my reply to you on wuwt, from which:

    What I am fixated about is the fact that AGWScience Fiction Inc, as my mnemonic for this phenomenon, is deliberately, and I think with malice aforethought, teaching that Light is Heat, as per KT97. This has two immediate effects, it is dumbing the education of the masses and it is keeping anti AGW’s caught in false arguments, because, it appears, no one else has noticed this change, this manipulation, of basic standard traditional, well-known, tried and tested, real world physics…

    My discovery of this has been spread over several discussions, and now complicated to summerise. I think, the confusions are deliberately manufactured, by taking laws out of context, changing properties and processes and so on. The basic problem here, and what I am fixated about, is that thermal infrared, Heat, from the Sun has been taken out of the ‘energy budget’ as the ‘mechanism’ for heating the Earth’s land and oceans, and replaced by Light, a.k.a Solar/Sunlight/Visible. “Solar” is defined in the AGWSF energy budget as Visible and the two shortwaves either side of UV and NR IR, (one needs to be aware of the term ‘sunlight’ adding to the confusion), it is often shortened to ‘shortwave in, longwave out’.

    The ‘energy budget’ is now taken as ‘real physics fact’ both by antis and pro AGW and is practically ingrained by this change of physics, from real to fiction, by the introduction of this AGW fiction physics meme that only shortwave, visible light from the sun, converts the land and oceans to heat, so raising the temperature of the Earth to give off longwave, thermal infrared. It is widely taught in schools and as can be seen here and all the discussions dealing with the ‘energy budget’, this is taken to be real physics fact. People, even scientists with PhD’s.., now think that Light from the Sun directly converts to heat the Earth’s land and oceans, and, that the real Heat from the Sun doesn’t even reach the Earth’s surface and plays no part directly heating the Earth’s land and oceans.

    I’m concerned, therefore, that because the real understanding of physical properties has been turned upside down and jumbled up so completely that anyone, everyone, buying into the AGWScience Fiction Inc’s manufactured fictional physics, now no longer has any concept of how the world around us really works on a fundamental, basic, physical level. [They’ve done the same kind of manipulation with Carbon Dioxide.]

    The primary heating mechanism is the Heat radiated out from the Sun, this the invisible thermal infrared which is heat energy on the move. It is there flowing out from hot to cold around it whether anyone is able to receive or perceive it, or not. It takes eight minutes to get to us at the surface of the Earth, it has been taken out of the AGWSF ‘energy budget’, which the majority here, and now inculcated in the education system, take to be real world physics properties, not realising this is absolute made up fiction, creating a completely different world to the one we actually physically inhabit.

    Visible light, in the real world’s energy budget, can certainly be included in the ‘thermal out’ through the intermediary of Life itself, for example via photosynthesis by the absorption of visible and the chemical not-heat-creating conversion into sugars using that visible energy, and, the next step of burning the sugar for life and in doing so releasing heat which is transpired by the plants, i.e., the plant releases the heat through releasing water – water being the great absorber of heat the plant ‘sweats’ it away.

    So anyway, the first thing that has to be put right here is to give the Sun’s heat energy back to thermal infrared as the primary mechanism of converting land and oceans and us carbon life all to heat, the outgoing thermal infrared is a secondary heating of the atmosphere, it doesn’t carry the same uni-directional power as it does from the Sun direct to us, around 10 microns against the full spectrum of thermal from the Sun direct.

    Next, this [wuwt] discussion is about role of clouds, the thermal infrared heat direct from the Sun will be trapped/blocked by clouds on the way down from the Sun, because clouds are water and water is the great absorber of thermal energy. …and of course anyway, clouds as the primary agent of cooling the Earth in the Water Cycle, the Earth would be 67°C without the water vapour taking away the heat, so that’s on the first to do list.

    That’s really important, the AGWSF meme has taken the primary cooling of the Earth via the greenhouse gas water vapour out of the ‘energy budget’ entirely, just as it has by taking out the primary heat-in mechanism of the thermal infrared. The two primary regulatory mechanisms of heat-in and cold-out both deliberately excluded. None of the rest is going to make any kind of sense until we can get these arguments out of this AGWScience Fiction trap creating an alternative word, and back to our real physical reality.


    I’ve given this page before in discussions, it has a presentation of the differences in the way UV/Visible (and therefore Near IR which is also in the reflective light category) and thermal energies work, some extracts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparency_and_translucency

    “Mechanisms of selective light wave absorption include:

    Electronic: Transitions in electron energy levels within the atom (e.g., pigments). These transitions are typically in the ultraviolet (UV) and/or visible portions of the spectrum.

    Vibrational: Resonance in atomic/molecular vibrational modes. These transitions are typically in the infrared portion of the spectrum.

    UV-Vis: Electronic transitions

    When photons (individual packets of light energy) come in contact with the valence electrons of atom, one of several things can and will occur:

    *An electron absorbs all of the energy of the photon and re-emits it with different color. This gives rise to luminescence, fluorescence and phosphorescence.

    *An electron absorbs the energy of the photon and sends it back out the way it came in. This
    results in reflection or scattering.

    *An electron cannot absorb the energy of the photon and the photon continues on its path. This results in transmission (provided no other absorption mechanisms are active).

    *An electron selectively absorbs a portion of the photon, and the remaining frequencies are transmitted in the form of spectral color.

    [The second is what happens to visible in our atmosphere where we see the sky blue because reflected by the molecules of oxygen and nitrogen, it is briefly absorbed by the electron and then sent out again. The atmosphere therefore not transparent to visible. The third is what happens to visible in water, which is a transparent medium for visible, it is not absorbed but passed through, transmitted. We can see this effect in clear water and glass, the light is transmitted through and reflects back from whatever the water is covering.]

    Infrared: Bond stretching
    The primary physical mechanism for storing mechanical energy of motion in condensed matter is through heat, or thermal energy. Thermal energy manifests itself as energy of motion. Thus, heat is motion at the atomic and molecular levels. The primary mode of motion in crystalline substances is vibration. Any given atom will vibrate around some mean or average position within a crystalline structure, surrounded by its nearest neighbors.

    When a light wave of a given frequency strikes a material with particles having the same or (resonant) vibrational frequencies, then those particles will absorb the energy of the light wave and transform it into thermal energy of vibrational motion.”

    [This is how water absorbs thermal infrared. How our bodies are warmed up internally. This is different from UV, which does not warm us up because it doesn’t have the mechanism to do this, it is a light energy working on the electron level, not on the resonance vibrational. The body uses it for the chemical conversion of Vitamin D for example.]

  80. Richard C (NZ) on September 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm said:

    Duplicated from WUWT in reply to these comments from Myrrh:-


    @ Myrrh, Lazy Teenager

    There’s 2 parts to this response to Myrrh, Part 1 addresses heat/light and Part 2 addresses diffuse solar radiation and heating effect on geologic material and atmospheric gasses in the context of Dessler 2011 and Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl’s Earth’s Energy Budget Figure 1.
    Part 1
    Myrrh, you say:-

    This is how […] our bodies are warmed up internally. This is different from UV, which does not warm us up because it doesn’t have the mechanism to do this, it is a light energy working on the electron level, not on the resonance vibrational

    I agree that IR-A and IR-B in the band 0.74 μm – 3 μm (IR is conventionally 0.74 μm – 300 μm) warms our bodies internally but how do you account for my anecdote previously that UVB seriously burns (heats) the upper layers of my skin and UVA will burn a little deeper but IR is relatively benign? Are you saying I’m not getting burnt? That the Skin Cancer Foundation is wrong?

    You say:-

    Heat and Light. “Sunlight” actually should refer to Light, the visible light from the Sun, and heat, to Heat, the invisible thermal infrared

    That a part of the EM spectrum is visible is simply due to human optics: birds can see UV, bees can see IR. I draw your attention to the Wikipedia Infrared article Heat section:-

    Infrared radiation is popularly known as “heat” or sometimes known as “heat radiation”, since many people attribute all radiant heating to infrared light and/or all infrared radiation to heating. This is a widespread misconception, since light and electromagnetic waves of any frequency will heat surfaces that absorb them. Infrared light from the Sun only accounts for 49%[12] of the heating of the Earth, with the rest being caused by visible light that is absorbed then re-radiated at longer wavelengths. Visible light or ultraviolet-emitting lasers can char paper and incandescently hot objects emit visible radiation

    And the Thermography section that should amend your incorrect understanding e.g. “infrared cameras understand this… they take a picture of the reflected infrared bouncing off the subject”:-

    Infrared radiation can be used to remotely determine the temperature of objects (if the emissivity is known). This is termed thermography, or in the case of very hot objects in the NIR or visible it is termed pyrometry.

    Any matter that has temperature above absolute zero (K) emits radiation, this is nothing to do with reflection, see Specular reflection

    Radiation is not heat, heat only manifests after the electronic and vibrational mechanisms of radiation (that you reference) take effect on matter – no matter, no heat.

  81. Richard C (NZ) on September 12, 2011 at 1:33 am said:

    Part 2 duplicated from WUWT in reply to comments from Myrrh
    Part 2

    Myrrh, good idea linking to Transparency and translucency, more on that in relation to Dessler 2011 below.

    I draw your attention to this article Artificial Lighting and the Blue Light Hazard:-

    What is Light?
    Light is made up of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves. The human eye responds to only a small part of the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

    The Blue Light Hazard
    According to the CVRL Color & Vision database,
    light waves measuring approximately 470nm to 400nm in length are seen as the color blue

    Note though that blue dominates 0.4 – 0.47 μm, peaks at approx 0.445 μm (445nm or 445 microns) but the range is approx 0.38 – 0.63 μm (use the database Plot function with Energy (linear)).

    In terms of solar heating, where does blue light fit in? See ASTM G197 – 08 Standard Table for Reference Solar Spectral Distributions: Direct and Diffuse on 20° Tilted and Vertical Surfaces:-

    1. Scope
    1.1 This table provides terrestrial solar spectral irradiance distributions that may be employed as weighting functions to (1) calculate the broadband solar or light transmittance of fenestration from its spectral properties; or (2) evaluate the performance of building-integrated technologies such as photovoltaic electricity generators. Most of these systems are installed on vertical walls, but some are also installed on pitched roofs or on other tilted structures, such as sunspaces. Glazing transmittance calculations or measurements require information on both the direct and diffuse components of irradiance. The table provides separate information for direct and diffuse irradiance, and for two different tilt angles, 20° and 90° relative to the horizontal. All distributions are provided at 2002 wavelengths within the spectral range 280–4000 nm. The data contained in this table reflect reference spectra with uniform wavelength interval (0.5 nanometer (nm) below 400 nm, 1 nm between 400 and 1700 nm, an intermediate wavelength at 1702 nm, and 5 nm intervals from 1705 to 4000 nm). The data table represents reasonable cloudless atmospheric conditions favorable for the computerized simulation, comparative rating, or experimental testing of fenestration systems.

    Note that GHG DLR (4000 nm/4 μm – 16000 nm/16 μm) is NOT included but Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl’s (TF&K) Earth’s Energy Budget Figure 1 ascribes 333 W.m2 to it and a status equivalent (except for the colour coding) to solar SW (161 W.m2) and diffuse solar SW is not accounted for although it is probably included in the 161 W.m2 “Absorbed by Surface”, more on this below.

    ASTM G197 is behind a paywall but plots from it can be viewed at Solar Consulting Services REFERENCE SPECTRA, see Figure 3 Comparison of direct, diffuse and global irradiance on various tilted sun-facing surfaces per ASTM G173 and G197 standards.

    Solar power peaks at approx 500nm (blue at approx 445nm) but the total solar power available is the area under the curve 300nm – 2500nm. Green and red peak further along the spectrum at approx 545nm and 575nm respectively. Sunlight at zenith provides an irradiance of just over 1 kilowatt per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation.

    But what is happening with energy-per-photon? See Electromagnetic spectrum:-

    Ultraviolet: 124 eV – 3 eV
    Visible:- 3 eV – approx 1 eV
    Infrared:- approx 1 eV – < approx 124 meV

    Energy decreases as wavelength increases.

    Blue thermal emission is not often seen, see:-

    Light sources
    There are many sources of light. The most common light sources are thermal: a body at a given temperature emits a characteristic spectrum of black-body radiation. Examples include sunlight (the radiation emitted by the chromosphere of the Sun at around 6,000 Kelvin peaks in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum when plotted in wavelength units [6] and roughly 40% of sunlight is visible), incandescent light bulbs (which emit only around 10% of their energy as visible light and the remainder as infrared), and glowing solid particles in flames. The peak of the blackbody spectrum is in the infrared for relatively cool objects like human beings. As the temperature increases, the peak shifts to shorter wavelengths, producing first a red glow, then a white one, and finally a blue colour as the peak moves out of the visible part of the spectrum and into the ultraviolet. These colours can be seen when metal is heated to “red hot” or “white hot”. Blue thermal emission is not often seen. The commonly seen blue colour in a gas flame or a welder’s torch is in fact due to molecular emission, notably by CH radicals (emitting a wavelength band around 425 nm).

    You say:-

    Next, this discussion is about role of clouds, the thermal infrared heat direct from the Sun will be trapped/blocked by clouds on the way down from the Sun, because clouds are water and water is the great absorber of thermal energy

    Role of clouds yes, analysis no. Again, radiation is NOT heat, both are forms of ENERGY. Energy from the sun comes to earth via radiation, heat will only manifest when the radiation encounters matter that will absorb (not reflect or diffuse) that radiation due to the properties of the matter. Clouds and atmosphere reflect 79 W.m2 and absorb 78 W.m2 of the incoming solar according to TF&K Fig 1 but clouds are also translucent so that on a very cloudy day 100% of incoming solar energy at the surface (residual of reflection and absorption) is diffuse and the energy arriving at the surface is LESS than if it were 100% direct (none reflected). TF&K omit a downward emitted component of “Absorbed by Atmosphere” (which is not diffuse note, see Transparency and translucency link above), they just show an upward emission.

    Obviously then, local cloud variation results in a spectral distribution and direct/diffuse ratio different to the ASTM G173 and G197 plots, see “Spectral distribution of global and diffuse solar radiation in Ny-hesund, Spitsbergen” Hisdal, V. 1986.

    I have not read Dessler 2011 in detail myself but going by others analysis that I’ve seen, he seems to assume that clouds can only effect temperature via absorption so that reflection and diffusion are not factors. This is bizarre if I’ve got the story right.

    Finally, where does GHG DLR come in (given that it is infrared)? See Doctoral Thesis. “Atmospheric downwelling longwave radiation at the surface and during cloudless and overcast conditions. Measurements and modelling”, Viudez-Mora 2011. Figure 1.1. shows the distinction between solar and terrestrial (GHG DLR) irradiance and why the threshold between both wavelengths is conventionally set at 4000nm (4μm, 4 microns) the other limit being 16μm. GHG DLR does NOT include IR-A and IR-B, see Infrared. It is only IR-C: 3000 nm–1 mm (3 µm – 1000 µm). The photon energy in the 4 – 16µm range is only around 124 meV.

    Consequently, GHG DLR lacks the power for effective heating of geologic materials so that on the side of a mountain that does not receive direct solar, heating by Diffuse solar and GHG DLR is significantly less than direct solar. This can be seen in Publication 2 of “Mountain Permafrost: Transient Spatial Modelling, Model Verification and the Use of Remote Sensing”. Dissertation by Stephan Gruber, Zürich, 2005

    TF&K’s 333 W.m2 of GHG DLR therefore, can only have an effect on surface material that does NOT receive direct solar and even then what little heating there is will be dominated by diffuse solar that carries greater photon energy.

  82. Richard C (NZ) on September 12, 2011 at 2:04 am said:

    Hi Myrrh, my reply to your comment here and the previous one at WUWT is posted up-thread here:-


    Part 2 is awaiting moderation at comment time. The boss blogger here, Richard Treadgold, is most probably asleep at 2am NZ time so you will have to wait a few hours to see it here but it should come out of mods at WUWT soon where I’ve duplicated there.


  83. Richard C (NZ) on September 12, 2011 at 2:59 am said:

    Oops, should read:-

    “Note though that blue dominates 0.4 – 0.47 μm, peaks at approx 0.445 μm (445nm or [0.445] microns) “

  84. Richard C (NZ) on September 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm said:

    Duplicated from WUWT in reply to this comment from Myrrh:-

    @ Myrrh says: September 11, 2011 at 4:21 am

    [Myrrh’s reply to my September 11, 2011 at 6:40 am comment came in at WUWT before my comment was cleared because my comment was duplicated at CCG (Myrrh read it there) and it cleared moderation faster there. The comment and reply sequence is reversed at WUWT in this case]

    Part A (Part B follows)

    Myrrh, we agree on a great deal and I appreciate your 4:21 am response so please don’t take offense when I attack specific portions of it in Part B. We are getting to the bottom of what I believe is the fundamental flaw in AGW and also a concept that is understood in medical physics and radiology also heat engineering, Emag/microwave/RF sector etc but not well understood in climate science (AGW proponents and sceptics alike). That concept being the heating effect on matter by radiated energy which is explored here in Part A.

    Two examples from climate science:-

    1) This Columbia University lecture “Solar Radiation and the Earth’s Energy Balance”:-

    The physics of radiative heat transfer.
    * The radiative heat transfer process is independent of the presence of matter. It can move heat even through empty space.

    To read more about these points go to radiative heat transfer.

    Clicking on the “radiative heat transfer” link reveals this subtle contradiction:-

    The Physics of Radiative Heat Transfer.
    1. Forms of thermal energy transfer in the climate system:
    Radiation: The transfer of energy through electromagnetic waves. This form of energy transfer does not require the presence of matter to occur

    Suddenly they switch from heat to (the more correct in this case) energy. There’s heat at both ends of the transfer but it’s energy that’s transferred by radiation – not heat. Heat transfer DOES require the presence of matter and the properties of the matter are important parameters of the transfer.

    2) This “Clouds and Radiation” article from NASA Earth Observatory:-

    The study of clouds, where they occur, and their characteristics, play a key role in the understanding of climate change. Low, thick clouds primarily reflect solar radiation and cool the surface of the Earth. High, thin clouds primarily transmit incoming solar radiation; at the same time, they trap some of the outgoing infrared radiation emitted by the Earth and radiate it back downward, thereby warming the surface of the Earth.

    This part of the statement “thereby warming the surface of the Earth” is AGW climate science baloney due to the inferior radiative heating effect on the earth (ocean, lands, rocks etc) of that DLR energy compared to direct and diffuse solar. They (with advice from Trenberth) are implicitly referring to the “Back Radiation” of Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl’s (TF&K) Earth’s Energy budget Fig 1. showing 333 W.m2 of energy from cloud and GHG DLR which although measurable is an impotent heating agent (it’s not being harnessed is it?).

    Now to some people that DO understand radiative heating effect. From Microwaves101.com “Biological effects of electromagnetic radiation”:-

    Electromagnetic energy is carried by photons. The higher the frequency, the higher the energy in each photon. When a certain energy level is reached, the photon has enough energy to knock off electrons from molecules that it encounters. At this point it is called ionizing radiation. The critical energy level is 10 electron volts (eV). One Joule is 6.2x10E18 electron volts, so a single electron volt is immeasurably small. Here’s how to calculate the energy of a photon, depending on its frequency:


    h=Planck’s constant = 6.626E-34 Joule-seconds

    For the ISM band (2.45 GHz) where your microwave oven operates, energy of each photon is therefore 0.00001 electron volts. The power needed to ionize a molecule is one million times higher than this, so it simply won’t happen.

    Sunlight is far higher in frequency than microwaves, it doesn’t penetrate the body, so it is more dangerous at the same power level. Sunlight provides a power level of 100 mW/cm2 during the summer months, mostly infrared, but with some visible and ultraviolet energy

    What they mean by “it doesn’t penetrate the body” is that it doesn’t migrate evenly throughout the innards thereby facilitating useful cooking – it just cooks the outer layers (sunburn) and warms a little deeper. Further down see “The following table shows the effects of exposure to certain power levels”:-

    100 mW/cm2 (1 kW,m2) Summer sunlight is at this level.

    5000 mW/cm2 (5 kW.m2) Cooking commences [in microwave ovens]

    So microwave cooking throughout a carcass occurs at a higher intensity and longer wavelength than solar that only cooks the outer layers but the solar cooking (surface sunburn) is due to the higher photon energy in the solar spectrum compared to microwave (exposure time is obviously a factor). The cooking efficiency of microwave explains why microwave cooking is easier than infrared, see “Problems with Infrared”:-

    Infrared cooking can be brutally powerful. While solid and dense meats can hold up to the heat of an infrared grill, fish, and vegetables can be harder to cook on this type of burner because of the intensity of the heat. […] For most food you cook on infrared you need the maximum temperature for a very short time, around a minute per side, before reducing the temperature or moving to a non-infrared part of the grill to finish cooking

    Note that it’s a grill, not ant an oven and they use high intensity but there’s still problems with penetration (as there would be with solar if it were to be used for cooking at higher intensities).

    But with geologic materials (water, land, rock etc) radiative heating effect is different and opposite. For example, solar (high photon energy and in the right conditions) will penetrate water several hundred metres but GHG DLR (low photon energy and next to microwave in the EM spactrum) less than 100 microns at similar intensity levels for both. Consequently, “warming the surface of the Earth” is overwhelmingly solar – GHG DLR hasn’t got the grunt to even overtake the night-time temperatures that rock (say) cools to after being warmed by solar during the day.

    Myrrh, my presentation of what I understand to be radiative heating effect has the basis of the EM spectrum and it explains a number of phenomena but I make no recourse to a separate but parallel “thermal” or “heat” spectrum that you seem to require. You will need to produce that spectrum if in fact it exists to support your case.

  85. Richard C (NZ) on September 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm said:

    Oops, Part A should read:-

    5000 mW/cm2 ([50] kW.m2) Cooking commences [in microwave ovens]

  86. Richard C (NZ) on September 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm said:

    Duplicated from WUWT in response to Brian H’s comment
    @ Brian, thanks for your response.

    You say:-

    …..you’d have to overwhelm its heat-transport capacity to begin the “cooking” process.

    Right, so it’s just a case of increasing the intensity of the source of UV (if it were possible) as in IR and MW cooking except that UV is an inefficient cooking agent because it doesn’t penetrate beyond the outer layer and wouldn’t go much further at higher intensities when it would just overcook the track length it did penetrate anyway. There’s a similar problem with laser penetration of gasses in experiments where the gasses contain metallic vapour (I think). A similar problem also exists with IR cooking but to a much lessor degree but at high intensity (5000 mW/cm2, 50 kW.m2) MW is an efficient cooking agent.

    Melanin’s “tuned” to absorb UV to protect DNA. Note the reflected color: brown, which is really darkened red. So it absorbs all the high frequencies and bounces away some of the low stuff. Probably including much of the IR, by the way.

    Yes, this is very important I think to the question of TF&K’s 333 W.m2 of GHG and cloud backradiation “heating the earth” (as NASA put it – see Part A, 2) up-thread here). The earth’s geologic materials have differing characteristics so that a material and the irradiance it receives must be “tuned” for heating to be effective. AGW-based climate science ignores this little detail completely but goes to great lengths to measure what in reality is an inefficient heating agent (see below).

    BTW, my skin contains very little melanin and I don’t go brown so cooking would commence in my epidermis before it would in melanin rich skin I think but I don’t want to argue this point, better to relate to the topics: cloud, radiation, heating effect on earth etc. I do however think it is very important to understand the concepts we are discussing because they are central to the notion of anthropogenic global warming, the earth’s energy budget and the consequences of the Dessler and Spencer-Braswell cloud oriented papers.

    I draw little or no distinction between solar and ‘DLR’. The latter is just slightly lagged solar still in the pipeline a bit longer than it would be without GHGs, which interfere with its escape into the cold dark of the Great Beyond.

    Yes and No. Yes to the general concept but no to the detail. There is a very significant distinction between photon energy in the respective spectral ranges. Those being: the solar spectrum (200nm – 4000nm) and the DLR spectrum (4000nm -16,000nm), the latter measured in this Doctoral Thesis, “Atmospheric downwelling longwave radiation at the surface and during cloudless and overcast conditions, Measurements and modelling”, Viudez-Mora 2011.

    I’ve already shown up-thread in Part 2a,also Part A and at the CCG blog here how the photon energy in the electro magnetic spectrum decreases as wavelength increases and how to calculate the energy. Just look at the table (2nd down right-hand side EM link).

    So not only is there insufficient intensity of GHG and cloud DLR for DLR to be an effective heating agent on geologic material but the energy-per-photon that IS delivered in the 4000nm to 16,000nm DLR spectral range is significantly less than in the 200nm to 4000nm solar spectral range.

    Ergo, DLR does NOT “heat the earth” as NASA, the Team and every AGW/Warmist blog commentator and national institution that parrots the meme would have the world believe.

    I challenge anyone reading this to present a scientific paper that shows DLR actually heating a geologic material above the temperature that the material cools to at night after being heated by solar during the day. So far I have come up with a dissertation by Stephan Gruber “Mountain Permafrost: Transient Spatial Modelling, Model Verification and the Use of Remote Sensing” that contains 6 papers by Gruber and others that (among other things) measures rock temperature on a mountain that receives direct solar on one side and the face on the other side that only receives DLR (and diffuse solar, although they seem to ignore that little detail). Only on 4 days of a month do non-direct-solar-side temperatures come close to direct-solar-side temperatures (Paper 2). Gruber et al says non-direct-solar-side temperatures are governed by air temperature but I say they are governed by diffuse solar.

    I have begun an analysis of Gruber et al at CCG here that is incomplete due to work commitments and recent developments in climate science e.g. I’ve compiled “Scientific developments and background re: Dessler 2011, Spencer – Braswell 2011, Lindzen and Choi 2011 now at “IPCC Science”” at CCG.

    My entire investigation of heating effect in respect to “Earth’s global energy budget”, Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl 2009 starts at this CCG thread header. It addresses all of what I’ve discussed in this thread and more and is cross-linked to this thread with some duplicated comments.

    And we should all know by now that DLR has no bulk ocean heating effect.

  87. Richard C (NZ) on September 16, 2011 at 11:45 am said:

    Put this plea to Lubos Motl at The Reference Frame (TRF) under his “Why is there energy and what it isn’t” post. Turns out his blog doesn’t accept HTML so its a mess but maybe the message will get through.
    Lubos, most of this is way above my level but I do have a question in regard to energy and climate science that may be worthwhile answering in a separate post.

    From your post:-

    “….energy 2 times 3.5 TeV pumped by electromagnetic fields into fast protons”

    Climate science, in Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl’s (TF&K) 2009 “Earth’s Global Energy Budget” Figure 1 ascribe 333 W.m2 to DLR vs 161 W.m2 to incoming solar and goes to great lengths to measure DLR (Dr Roy Spencer included, see – Help! Back Radiation has Invaded my Backyard) because in AGW parlance it “warms the earth”. NASA says this on their Clouds and Radiation page:-

    “High, thin clouds primarily transmit incoming solar radiation; at the same time, they trap some of the outgoing infrared radiation emitted by the Earth and radiate it back downward, thereby warming the surface of the Earth”.

    I cannot see how DLR can do work (heat) geologic material (we know it doesn’t heat the ocean in bulk) anywhere near what solar already does due to the energy-per-photon in the DLR range of the EM spectrum. As far as I can make out very approximately, the eV values are these:-

    Ultraviolet: 124 eV – 3 eV
    Visible:- 3 eV – approx 1 eV
    Infrared:- approx 1 eV – < approx 124 meV

    And the spectral ranges are these:-

    Solar: 200 – 4000nm
    DLR: 4000 – 16000nm

    IR-A and B occurring in the solar spectrum but IR-C is DLR

    If DLR was an effective heating agent at the earth's surface, it would have been harnessed as is solar energy but it obviously isn't. For example the annual mean DLR measurement at Darwin, Australia is 409 W.m2.

    So the question is this: is climate science making a gigantic error by not considering the actual heating effect on geologic material of DLR?

    Additionally, is the Earth's Global Energy Budget in the wrong units? They use W.m2 radiative fluxes but it should be Joules. It seems to me that the budget should be in terms of work so that the work expended by solar SW at the earth's surface is accounted for (e.g. energy stored in the ocean) and the illusion that solar, OLR and DLR are able to do work equally is removed. Alternatively, the TF&K budget should be renamed Earth's Global Radiation Budget and a separate budget prepared in units of Joules titled Earth's Global Energy Budget.

    I've tried to get traction with this at WUWT up and down from this comment but got nowhere (I was off-topic to be fair but was responding to a comment by someone else). I introduced the electrical concepts of real, apparent and Watt-less power and issued a challenge re peer-reviewed papers on geologic heating by DLR (the closest I’ve got is Gruber 2005) but so far no takers and the herd has moved on.

    I’ve also documented an extensive investigation of this topic at Climate Conversations Group (CCG) starting at this thread header but I’ve taken it about as far as I can go and would appreciate your input (advancement or correction of argument – whatever) at this stage.


    Richard Cumming (NZ)

  88. Richard, in case you haven’t checked back to wuwt, I’ve now been able, somewhat, to reply to you. I’m leaving this discussion for a while, other pressing committments, I hope what I’ve posted has at least made you stop and think about the actual premises these argument are based on, I was really shocked by the complicity of NASA in this. If the premises hold no physical reality in our world, then any figures and measurements produced can hardly be referring without confusion to what we see around us.

    Good luck with your work.

  89. Richard C (NZ) on September 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm said:

    Myrrh, my reply to you at WUWT duplicated here:-
    @ Myrrh

    You make 2 fundamental errors that give us the clue as to why you have gone off at a tangent but first note that we understand that radiation and matter must be “tuned” for heating to occur i.e. we understand that blue light (or visible light) is not the agent that heats the ocean and that the energy for that comes from UV, IR-A, IR-B and a small part of MWIR, IR-C (see Infrared and Electromagnetic spectrum) in the SOLAR spectral range 200-4000nm. This article “New Paper: Solar UV activity increased almost 50% over past 400 years” shows why UV is much more important than IR in respect to ocean heating:-

    This is highly significant because the UV portion of the solar spectrum is the most important for heating of the oceans due to the greatest penetration beyond the surface and highest energy levels. Solar UV is capable of penetrating the ocean to depths of several meters to cause ocean heating. whereas long wave infrared emission from “greenhouse gases” or the sun is only capable of penetrating the ocean surface a few microns with all energy lost to the phase change of evaporation with no net heating of the ocean.

    Note that IR-A, IR-B and 1000nm of MWIR IR-C are within the SOLAR EM spectral range (< 4000nm) and contribute to water heating but are minor agents, UV being the major agent and visible sunlight (also within the SOLAR spectrum) is ineffective. MWIR IR-C in the range 3000 – 8000nm (there’s a 1000nm overlap with the solar spectrum) is mostly NOT in the SOLAR spectrum (except for the 3000-4000nm overlap) and GHG DLR is IR-C in the range MWIR 3000-8000nm and LWIR 8000-15,000nm giving a total DLR range of 3000-15,000nm but conventionally the DLR range for clouds and GHGs is the range 4000-16,000nm i.e. if it’s greater than 4000nm, it ain’t solar. More on this below but error 1 first.

    Error 1, you say:-

    So, no. It’s heat that on the move. Heat moves from hotter to colder, the Sun is very hot, it’s giving off a lot of heat, that heat is moving to colder space around it.

    Really? What then is the temperature of that space? About 3°K (-270°C). That 3° is only due to the very few particles of matter present in it but put a spacecraft in space and the bare metal (matter) can reach 260°C (533° K) i.e. the sun is hot yes, but it is giving off energy in the form of radiation (the SOLAR range of the EM spectrum that INCLUDES the visible light range). The radiation moves through space at the speed of light (being the only way, no conduction or convection in a vacuum), the heat only manifests on an encounter by the radiation with matter (say a spacecraft).

    In summary, it’s energy that’s on the move in the form of radiation and some of that radiation will convert to heat depending on the properties of the matter it encounters being “tuned” to a thermal heating effect of any part of the solar spectral range (the visible range not “tuned” and therefore ineffective).

    Error 2, you say:-

    DLR actually means Downwelling Longwave Radiation

    Almost correct but not quite. DLR actually means Downwelling Longwave [Infrared] Radiation, the “Infrared” being IR-C MWIR and LWIR only – not IR-A or IR-B and NOT within the SOLAR EM spectral range except for the 1000nm MWIR overlap.

    Then following on you say:-

    – and that is technically what is downwelling direct from the Sun in energy budgets and should only therefore apply to thermal infrared direct from the Sun to Earth.

    WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. The solar spectral EM range that is “downwelling direct from the Sun” is 200-4000nm. DLR is 4000-16,000nm. If radiation is in the EM spectral range 4000-16,000nm and greater, it’s NOT solar radiation.

    You say (quoting a blog):-

    Any thoughts on this:

    There is a band of wavelengths between 8 and 12 microns where little infrared radiation is absorbed in the atmosphere. Radiation in this band of wavelengths is what reaches the ground to heat things up.

    My thoughts? BOGUS

    First, radiation in the EM spectral range 8000-12,000nm is outside the solar EM spectral range so it is neither direct solar nor diffuse solar (161 W.m2 TF&K global average) and therefore (in this case) it is DLR from GHGs and clouds (333 W.m2 TF&K global average).

    Second, solar radiation “heats things up” – not DLR. Calculations for solar energy collectors add direct and diffuse solar to arrive at the useful flux – you do NOT add the DLR flux to the direct+diffuse solar flux to arrive at the total useful flux.

    The second point is what I believe to be the gigantic error that climate science (including Spencer, Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl) and AGW make. They do not understand real, apparent and Watt-less power the way electrical engineers, technicians and electricians do. They assume that 1 W.m2 of DLR power has equivalent heating effect to 1 W.m2 of solar power on geologic material (including ocean) but clearly it doesn’t. All they have to do is consult the Electromagnetic spectrum to find out what the difference is. The energy decreases as wavelength increases (no Myrrh, no “density” increase either, that’s concentration as in a laser – I think you mean an increase in INTENSITY of flux say to 50 W.m2 that is required for MW cooking). So moving from EUV to FIR, the energy-per-photon is:-

    100nm: 12.4 eV

    1000nm: 1.24 eV (in solar EM spectral range)

    10,000nm: 12.4 meV (in DLR EM spectral range)

    I.e. there’s negligible useful heating power in the DLR power flux at earth’s surface – it’s apparent power, not real power.

    I tried to make this point to Lubus Motl at The Reference Frame under his “Why is there energy and what it isn’t” post but his blog does not accept HTML so I stuffed up the comment. That comment is reproduced in my next comment in this thread.

  90. Richard C (NZ) on September 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm said:

    Refer to the bottom of my previous comment to make sense of why this is posted here
    Lubos, most of this is way above my level but I do have a question in regard to energy and climate science that may be worthwhile answering in a separate post.

    From your post:-

    “….energy 2 times 3.5 TeV pumped by electromagnetic fields into fast protons”

    Climate science, in Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl’s (TF&K) 2009 “Earth’s Global Energy Budget” Figure 1 ascribe 333 W.m2 to DLR vs 161 W.m2 to incoming solar and goes to great lengths to measure DLR (Dr Roy Spencer included, see – Help! Back Radiation has Invaded my Backyard) because in AGW parlance it “warms the earth”. NASA says this on their Clouds and Radiation page:-

    “High, thin clouds primarily transmit incoming solar radiation; at the same time, they trap some of the outgoing infrared radiation emitted by the Earth and radiate it back downward, thereby warming the surface of the Earth”.

    I cannot see how DLR can do work (heat) geologic material (we know it doesn’t heat the ocean in bulk) anywhere near what solar already does due to the energy-per-photon in the DLR range of the EM spectrum. As far as I can make out very approximately, the eV values are these:-

    Ultraviolet: 124 eV – 3 eV
    Visible:- 3 eV – approx 1 eV
    Infrared:- approx 1 eV – < approx 124 meV

    And the spectral ranges are these:-

    Solar: 200 – 4000nm
    DLR: 4000 – 16000nm

    IR-A and B occurring in the solar spectrum but IR-C is DLR

    If DLR was an effective heating agent at the earth's surface, it would have been harnessed as is solar energy but it obviously isn't. For example the annual mean DLR measurement at Darwin, Australia is 409 W.m2.

    So the question is this: is climate science making a gigantic error by not considering the actual heating effect on geologic material of DLR?

    Additionally, is the Earth's Global Energy Budget in the wrong units? They use W.m2 radiative fluxes but it should be Joules. It seems to me that the budget should be in terms of work so that the work expended by solar SW at the earth's surface is accounted for (e.g. energy stored in the ocean) and the illusion that solar, OLR and DLR are able to do work equally is removed. Alternatively, the TF&K budget should be renamed Earth's Global Radiation Budget and a separate budget prepared in units of Joules titled Earth's Global Energy Budget.

    I've tried to get traction with this at WUWT up and down from this comment but got nowhere (I was off-topic to be fair but was responding to a comment by someone else). I introduced the electrical concepts of real, apparent and Watt-less power and issued a challenge re peer-reviewed papers on geologic heating by DLR (the closest I’ve got is Gruber 2005) but so far no takers and the herd has moved on.

    I’ve also documented an extensive investigation of this topic at Climate Conversations Group (CCG) starting at this thread header but I’ve taken it about as far as I can go and would appreciate your input (advancement or correction of argument – whatever) at this stage.


    Richard Cumming (NZ)

  91. Richard C (NZ) on September 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm said:

    The link to the WUWT thread with the 2 previous comments in it is here

  92. Richard C (NZ) on September 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm said:

    Climate scientists discover magical unlimited power source: The Greenhouse Effect

    To hell with the 1st Law of Thermodynamics: 1 plus 0 equals 2. Climate scientists have made the remarkable discovery that the greenhouse effect is an unlimited source of free and perpetual energy, as shown in this powerpoint presentation The role of satellite data in estimating the impact of anthropogenic activity on climate change, by Jean-Louis Dufresne, Director of Research at CNRS (National Center of Scientific Research) in France.

    email from Alan Siddons:

    Speaking of “heat from nowhere,” here’s a charming energy budget that tries to show that there’s no funny business going on with the greenhouse effect.

    [See diagram]

    See? Half goes out to space but half goes down to earth. Then half of that and half of that and so on. It’s 50/50 all the way. What could be wrong in that? Problem is, when you extrapolate this process and add up all the OUT values and the DOWN values you get this:

    [See table]

    In other words, a DOUBLING of energy has occurred.


    But they haven’t harnessed it, why not?

  93. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm said:

    “it” may not even be DLR.

    Thermometer Manufacturer Destroys Greenhouse Gas Warming Myth

    An independent climate science think tank produces evidence from a leading infrared thermometer manufacturer proving that climatologists were mistakenly taking incorrect readings of atmospheric temperatures. Latest findings are set to trigger a paradigm shift in climate science.

    Researchers from Canada, USA, Mexico and Britain this week announce a startling discovery that destroys 20 years’ of thinking among government climatologists.

    Climate scientists had long believed infrared thermometers measured thermal radiation from the atmosphere and assumed it was ‘proof’ of the greenhouse gas effect (GHE). Their assumption was that infrared thermometers (IRT’s) were measuring ‘back radiated’ heat from greenhouse gases (including water vapor and carbon dioxide). But damning new evidence proves IRT’s do no such thing.

    Now a world-leading manufacturer of these high-tech instruments, Mikron Instrument Company Inc., has confirmed that IRT’s are deliberately set to AVOID registering any feedback from greenhouse gases. Thus climate scientists were measuring everything but the energy emitted by carbon dioxide and water vapor.


  94. Richard C (NZ) on September 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm said:

    Professor Nasif Nahle Publishes New Paper Discrediting Basis of Theory of Man-Made Global Warming

    The fundamental basis of the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming is the notion that colder ‘greenhouse’ gases like CO2 ‘back-radiate’ infrared capable of heating the hotter Earth surface. Professor Nasif Nahle has a new paper out explaining why this notion is false and unphysical.

    Abstract: Through a series of real time measurements of thermal radiation from the atmosphere and surface materials during nighttime and daytime, I demonstrate that warming backradiation emitted from Earth’s atmosphere back toward the earth’s surface and the idea that a cooler system can warm a warmer system are unphysical concepts.


  95. Richard C (NZ) on October 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm said:

    Does the Trenberth et al “Earth’s Energy Budget Diagram” Contain a Paradox?

    Guest post by Bob Fernley-Jones by Bob Fernley-Jones AKA Bob_FJ

    The unusual aspect of this diagram is that instead of directly showing radiative Heat Transfer from the surface, it gives their depiction of the greenhouse effect in terms of radiation flux or Electro-Magnetic Radiation, (AKA; EMR and a number of other descriptions of conflict between applied scientists and physicists). EMR is a form of energy that is sometimes confused with HEAT. It will be explained later, that the 396 W/m^2 surface radiation depicted above has very different behaviour to HEAT. Furthermore, temperature change in matter can only take place when there is a HEAT transfer, regardless of how much EMR is whizzing around in the atmosphere.


    DISCUSSION; So what to make of this?

    The initial isotropic S-B surface emission, (Trenberth’s global 396 W/m2), would largely be absorbed by the greenhouse gases instantaneously near the surface. (ignoring some escaping directly to space through the so-called “atmospheric window”). However, a large proportion of the initial S-B 396 surface emission would be continuously lateral, at the Trenberth imposed constant conditions, without any heat transfer, and its horizontal vectors CANNOT be part of the alleged 396 vertical flux, because they are outside of the vertical field of view.

    After the initial atmospheric absorptions, the S-B law, which applied initially to the surface, no longer applies to the air above. (although some clouds are sometimes considered to be not far-off from a black body). Most of the air’s initial absorption/emission is close to the surface, but the vertical distribution range is large, because of considerable variation in the photon free path lengths [linked and see below]. These vary with many factors, a big one being the regional and more powerful GHG water vapour level range which varies globally between around ~0 to ~4%. (compared with CO2 at a somewhat constant ~0.04%). The total complexities in attempting to model/calculate what may be happening are huge and beyond the scope of this here, but the point is that every layer of air at ascending altitudes continuously possesses a great deal of lateral radiation that is partly driven by the S-B hemispherical 396, but cannot therefore be part of the vertical 396 claimed in Figure 1.


    The vertical radiative flux portrayed by Trenberth et al of 396 W/m^2 ascending from the surface to a high cloud level is not supported by first principle considerations. The S-B 396 W/m^2 is by definition isotropic as also is its ascending progeny, with always prevailing horizontal vector components that are not in the field of view of the vertical. The remaining vertical components of EMR from that source are thus less than 396 W/m^2.

    It is apparent that HEAT loss from the surface via convective/evaporative processes must add to the real vertical EMR loss from the surface, and as observed from space. It may be that there is a resultant of similar order to 396 W/m^2, but that is NOT the S-B radiative process described by Trenberth.


    Mean free path

    In physics, the mean free path is the average distance covered by a moving particle (such as an atom, a molecule, a photon) between successive impacts (collisions) [1] which modify its direction or energy or other particle properties.

    Determination of Mean Free Path of Quantum/Waves and Total Emissivity of the Carbon Dioxide Considering the Molecular Cross Section.

    By Nasif Nahle



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