Global Warming ‘Science’: Three Impossible Outcomes

Written by Alan Siddons

With all the talk about CO2 and global warming today, it’s odd that the heating mechanism to blame for this concern – the Greenhouse Effect – is seldom contemplated or discussed. Rather, it’s taken for granted.

It is a popular view that “greenhouse gases” act like a blanket or winter clothing. As a thermal camera consistently testifies, after all, a body that suppresses heat loss cools off less, which is to say “stays warmer.” infra red coats

Indeed, notice in this case the bright thermal radiation escaping from the children’s bare faces versus the darkness of their winter jackets.

Insulation limits heat loss, pure and simple. And that’s what the Greenhouse Effect does too.

Compared to this popular belief, however, the scientific view proposes something quite peculiar. It contends that under a jacket of greenhouse gases the Earth will radiate as much to its surroundings as it would WITHOUT such insulation.

To repeat, scientific theory states that an Earth thermally shielded by greenhouse gases radiates as strongly to outer space as an Earth without this shield. To an infrared camera, the Earth with a jacket on or a jacket off would look much the same.

 As commonsense as the simpler, popular notion of the Greenhouse Effect might seem, though, evidence contradicts it. For satellite observations do indicate that the Earth emits to space the same amount of thermal energy that it absorbs from the Sun. In other words, there’s no evidence of an insulative barrier as most people would conceive it, no physical sign of withholding any heat.

Scientists have sought a way to address this apparent discrepancy. A detailed explanation of their proposed solution may be found in MIT professor Richard Lindzen’s essay Greenhouse Effect. But here is the main idea (see diagram).

solar flux diagram

Briefly, incoming sunlight hits the Earth and warms it, so it radiates this energy toward outer space. But a layer of greenhouse gases catches this radiation and emits the same amount back to Earth, thus doubling the thermal energy on its surface – while simultaneously releasing the same amount to space.

Hardly unique, Lindzen’s depiction of basic greenhouse principles conforms to what is taught elsewhere. For instance, this is University of Chicago’s professor David Archer teaching the same model of the Greenhouse Effect.

david archer

Furthermore, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt has done the same (below).

schmidt diagram

The factor of two for A (the radiation emitted from the atmosphere) comes in because the atmosphere radiates both up and down.” – Gavin A. Schmidt

See more on this topic here.

These examples make Derek Alker’s explanatory diagram a valuable reference. Compare it to what Lindzen, Archer, Schmidt and others present. Alker’s is a faithful rendition.

real greenhouse theory

In its most rudimentary form, this is the Greenhouse Effect that climate experts go by. Although they’re always quick to point out that it’s an “overly simplified model,” however, its problem isn’t simplicity, it’s that a heating mechanism like this one would fail from the start. For it requires three impossible outcomes.

First Impossible Outcome: Examine how much energy that two-sided air layer is radiating. In the real world, when a unit of light is absorbed by a flat plane that’s free to discharge this energy in two directions, its emission on each side will be cut in half. This means that a 1 square meter plane emitting 1 Watt per square meter will radiate half a Watt from one side and half a Watt from the other — certainly not a Watt from each side! Otherwise, two Watts would be emitted for each Watt absorbed.

This is confirmed by a European Space Agency chart.

esa graph

The section I’ve highlighted in blue depicts the responses of a fully-absorptive flat plate. With a radiant barrier affixed to its backside, a 1-s (one-surface) plate can only radiate in one direction. Stimulated by a 1367 W/m² light beam, then, this single surface reacts with a 1367 W/m² emission, a 100% return. The same plate without a radiant barrier (2-s) is able to radiate from two surfaces, of course. So, having twice the area to radiate with, it yields 50% from each side (diagram below).

50percent side

As you can guess, dilution is the reason, the same bundle of energy being spread over a larger area. Please note that a larger emission area also rules out a two-sided emitter getting as hot as a single surface.

The conclusion is obvious: The academic version of the greenhouse mechanism has a two-sided layer that’s impossibly warm and radiating an impossible magnitude of energy.

Second Impossible Outcome: Even if that hovering greenhouse layer did match the temperature of the surface whose radiation it is responding to, its own radiation would be unable to raise the surface’s temperature – since its temperature is the SAME as the surface’s. It is an axiom of physics that heat can be transferred only when a temperature difference exists. Thus the greenhouse layer, at minus 18° (Celsius), cannot induce a higher temperature on another minus 18° body like the surface.

Impossible Outcome 3: Besides just proposing that an Atmosphere as warm as the Surface nevertheless transfers heat to the Surface, this peculiar scenario also forbids the now-warmer Surface to transfer heat to the Atmosphere, even though thermal law demands that it make this transfer due to the temperature difference between them!

As this heating mechanism indicates, the sky responds to the surface by matching its temperature and emission. The surface then responds to the sky by warming and radiating more than otherwise. But notice that once this point is reached the atmosphere ceases to respond to the surface’s higher temperature and emission.

Given an air layer subjected to 480 W/m² coming up from the surface, the rules dictate that it absorb and re-radiate this 480 downwards (while tossing another impossible 480 out to space). Yet that air layer holds onto its initial 240 intensity, stuck at -18° for some reason.

So it would seem that the modelers stopped the clock as soon as they obtained a plausible surface temperature.

To repeat, two bodies at the same temperature can’t heat each other. It’s a thermal standoff. But if A heats B, whose updated temperature then heats A, and so on, what can prevent this from spinning out of control? A runaway perpetual motion machine would have been created. That’s why modelers stop the clock, because the mutual heating process they’ve hatched threatens to proceed without end. And that’s a tacit acknowledgment of an impossible heating process.

caltech

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To put it mildly, the academic version of the Greenhouse Effect lacks scientific rigor. Yet this incoherent conjecture is what most climate authorities and even most skeptics consider “a settled science.” To my mind, the cruder public notion – that of an insulating blanket – makes a lot more physical sense. But then, one must answer why satellites report that the Earth’s emission to space equals the energy it absorbs from the Sun.

Might it be that there is no Greenhouse Effect at all?

un prog

 

Comments (18)

  • Avatar

    Greg House

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    Alan, you have written lately on J.Postma’s site: “To Radiative GHE Advocates, however, it seems that no amount of words is enough to convince them.”

    Maybe you should be focused less on climate liars, this is hopeless per definition. Focus instead on normal people misled by the press. And please do not use a huge amount of words on a simple issue, otherwise people won’t get it, they will reject it. They will sort of puke mentally. I have really to restrain myself to read your articles, the rejection starts on the early stage already. You are certainly a smart guy and can do much better, I really believe that. But you should learn to look at what you write from a different angle. Keep it as concise and simple as possible, otherwise it is all in vain. Unless you enjoy conversations with all those despicable persons, of course, then please disregard what I have just written.

  • Avatar

    Jim McGinn

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    I think debating greenhouse theory using the laws of thermodynamics is like trying to kill a cockroach with a sledgehammer. It would be real effective if you could ever get the cockroach to hold still.

    • Avatar

      crakpot

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      Science is experiment, not debate. “Laws” are only theories that have never been disproved experimentally. Wood’s experiment upheld the 2nd Law for a real greenhouse. Nahle and others (including me) have repeated it using CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide – zero temperature increase.

      • Avatar

        Jim McGinn

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        “Science is experiment, not debate.”

        I agree. The hysteria surrounding CO2 is completely irrational. But hysteria about the atmosphere didn’t start with CO2. It started with H2O. And it didn’t start recently, it started way back in 1840 with the birth of meteorology, by a guy named Walter James Espy, the father of meteorology:
        https://youtu.be/pl-GOPq8aA0

        • Avatar

          Jim McGinn

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          We all grow up believing that the moisture in clear air is gaseous. Most of us have at least enough education to realize the boiling point of water is much higher than that of our ambient environment. And most of us realize that boiling has to do with a phase change from a liquid state of matter to a gaseous state of matter. Most of us reconcile this dichotomy by just not thinking about it. Some of us come up with rationalization to explain it away. But if you are going to do science you can’t fall back on these excuses. You have to see things for what they actually are.

          There is no gaseous H2O in earth’s atmosphere.

          Moist air is heavier than dry air.

          Moist air convection is impossible.

          Meteorology needs another way to explain the power of storms, why storms are wet, and how heavier moist air gets so high in earth’s atmosphere.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwSyalcoRAk

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dexlOvP7mPw

          James McGinn
          Solving Tornadoes

  • Avatar

    Rosco

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    And of course the whole concept is absurd – how is it possible that “incoming solar radiation is absorbed at the surface, which, in the absence of an atmosphere, would have an equilibrium temperature Te” ?

    Given we know the Earth rotates thus the solar radiation varies from maximum at noon to zero during night there IS NO EQUILIBRIUM SURFACE temperature – EVER !

    I simply cannot believe people can swallow such errant nonsense so completely they are prepared to revert to the dark ages thinking people can control the weather.

  • Avatar

    Rosco

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    The easiest way to make anyone question the absurd proposal pictured as Lindzen’s description of the back radiative greenhouse effect is to point out that it unequivocally states that the atmospheric back radiation has equal heating power to the solar radiation – they ALL state so in their description of the simple model !

    How any person with even a modicum of intelligence can believe this is beyond me – it is a completely absurd model !

    There are obvious examples which prove this absurd model is totally wrong because there are no examples of devices which produce energy driven by the solar radiation which work at half power at night !

    Thus the hypothesis is absurd.

    Even the most fervent acolytes cannot mount any comprehensible argument against this fact – the model which underpins the back radiative greenhouse effect is obviously wrong !

    If there were any validity in what they teach it should be easy to replicate the solar heating by simply providing sufficient polished metal parabolic mirrors to concentrate enough back infra-red radiation to boil water.

    If the model is real why has no-one attempted to manufacture 24 hour radiation heated thermal power stations ? It should be easy given they allocate such a low figure to sunlight.

  • Avatar

    crakpot

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    I always thought they assumed half in, half out on the “first bounce,” then the inward half magically raises the surface temperature a little, then about 3/8 in, 3/8 out the second time, raise surface temperature a little more, and so on, until extinction. They “simplify” this fantasy for the unwashed masses to get the end result displayed in this article, so according to them, they don’t assume Impossible Outcome #1 or #3. All it comes down to is Impossible Outcome #2 – they clearly violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which is only a “Law” because in thousands of controlled experiments it has never been proved wrong even once.

    The surface of the Earth simply cannot pull its temperature up “by its own bootstraps,” nor can any gas do what the solid roof and walls of a real greenhouse do – block convection.

    • Avatar

      Greg House

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      I do not like the references to the 2nd Law at all, because people do not understand it and get lost and warmists get plenty of opportunities to further obfuscate the matter. This is not a winning strategy.

      References to the 1st Law on the other hand can be translated into easily comprehensible “production of energy out of nothing” and are much more difficult to obfuscate.

      • Avatar

        crakpot

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        Look at their drawing above. 240 W/m^2 into the atmosphere; 240 W/m^2 out. The 1st Law falls on deaf ears.

        “If your theory doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” Richard Feynman

        That’s the real key to science. People know from personal experience that a real greenhouse is warmer than outside. You have to show them, with experiment, why that works, and thus why a “greenhouse gas” is a ridiculous concept, despite the fact that it can absorb some infrared under the right conditions. R.W. Wood did that back in 1909 with a simple, controlled experiment that’s easy to understand by any willing to listen. He used a classic approach to disproving a hypothesis. Greatly exaggerate the claimed cause. If there’s no effect, there’s no cause. In doing so, he was upholding the 2nd Law, like many experiments previous, and many more since.

        • Avatar

          Greg House

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          It is not what I mean referring to the 1st Law. Please read my comment below.

          They get ” 240 W/m^2 into the atmosphere; 240 W/m^2 out” by cheating TWICE. But the first cheat is already sufficient, when they let the surface have a higher temperature than the Sun (allegedly) can possibly do.

          Example of double cheating yielding correct result: 2+1=5, 5+1=4, hence 2+1+1=4. If you accept it because the last one is correct the last one, you have swallowed 2+1=5, congratulation.

          From my experience , the reference to the 1st Law works very fast with normal mislead people. It takes them just a few minutes to get the idea. Not so however with climate liars and sort of “professional” long time skeptics, both groups are practically hopeless. The only problem with the 1st Law line is that people refuse to believe that climate scientists can be so stupid and incompetent, so I have to refer them to certain sections in the IPCC reports.

          As for the Wood experiment, the other side has already produced a lot of fake ones, so people simply get lost in all that.

      • Avatar

        John Marshall

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        What’s not to understand? 2nd law is clear, heat flows from hot to cold, cannot flow in the opposite direction.

        • Avatar

          crakpot

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          Precisely. The 2nd Law talks about temperature, which is the issue here, and applies to every process within a control volume. The “back-radiative forcing” process is where their hypothesis falls apart, and that’s where you stop it.

          They also violate the 1st Law, if you draw a control volume not around the entire Earth, but around just the atmospheric shell, which get 240 W from the Earth in, but radiates 480W out, but that’s after their imaginary process has “bounced” many times. It’s like arguing how much water falls off the edge of a flat Earth.

  • Avatar

    Rosco

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    I wrote an article some years ago about the “Steel Greenhouse” B.S. being promoted by W.U.W.T. at the time.

    I found a reference which had a couple of examples which demonstrated that the “settled science” is not what greenhouse effect acolytes claim.

    I quoted these but I was ridiculed. Amazing that quoting a reputable textbook used by major American Universities results in being ridiculed by people who advocate perpetual motion.

    I believed that the total energy emitted by a solid sphere and absorbed by a thin 2 layer shell reduces the energy “lost” to the system by one half – exactly as Alan correctly writes and endorsed by the European Space Agency.

    It seems unbelievable to me that the energy absorbed by a thin shell of 1 watt which raises its internal energy – temperature – such that it radiates over double the surface area can possibly produce any other result than 1/2 “out and in”.

    Once absorbed that watt totally “is gone” – it has increased the internal energy / temperature of the shell and without another injection the shell will return to a lower energy state yet somehow greenhouse advocates claim it can not only sustain the energy increase of the shell but also increase the energy level of the object supplying the heat energy.

    The reference I quoted developed a relationship based on the Stefan-Boltzmann equation from first principles involving no assumptions and this relationship did not support the “steel greenhouse” hypothesis – which is exactly the same BS Alan exposes above as the simply unbelievable the “settled science”.

    The “back radiative greenhouse effect” defenders – alarmist and “sceptic” will destroy anyone who dares question the validity of this hypothesis yet they go further with their multi layer hypothesis causing even more heating as you pile on more layers – ad infinitum apparently.

    I may not have any real idea but what Physics I have been taught is clearly at odds with this accumulating layered radiating heating hypothesis. If two objects are at equal temperature and there is not “net” energy transfer between them how can one cause the other to increase in temperature ?

  • Avatar

    Jim McGinn

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    I have to agree with Greg House. Unfortunately any attempt to explicate the greenhouse effect just gives the propagandists more terminology that they use as ammunition. And, unfortunately, this is a war of terminology attrition, not a war of logic.

  • Avatar

    Greg House

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    Alan, it is very simple. The climate pseudo-science maintains that the Sun (other sources being negligible) can do only -18°C on the surface but the surface is +15°C and they call the difference “greenhouse effect”. Unfortunately for them, that difference violates the Law of Conservation of Energy, since the warmer surface would radiate more energy away than it gets from the Sun, hence the “greenhouse effect ” does not exist. Done. Maybe you should focus on that.

    • Avatar

      Rosco

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      I don’t get how anyone can deny that an atmosphere absorbs energy and “holds” it – no one would argue that water, and especially the oceans, does not absorb energy and “hold” it – if the oceans did not they would freeze – as they do when circumstances allow.

      Gases don’t absorb and radiate over the whole spectrum – this is simple uncontested fact. Gases radiate with far less “power” than solids or liquids.

      Just because the “back radiative” greenhouse effect model is absurd doesn’t negate these simple indisputable truths.

      Any atmosphere held in place by gravity is hotter at the bottom where it is denser – simple indisputable demonstrated fact.

      The larger the mass the larger the amount of energy “held” – universal fact.

      Pressure, volume and temperature of gases are interrelated.

      I do not for one minute believe that the simple model as taught is something even alarmists really believe in because it is unbelievably stupid to expect that <2% of the atmosphere which are "greenhouse gases" form a "shell like layer" under any circumstances – let alone the absurdity of a "net" energy transfer from cold to hot.

      But the atmosphere obviously does maintain an energy level – this is indisputable.

      According to NASA the Earth has been radiating at a higher level for several decades

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Nimbus/nimbus2.php

      It is interesting that more radiation to space as shown in the graph is consistent with "global warming" yet strangely inconsistent with "radiation trapping" being the cause.

      Guess you can't have it both ways – desperate to demonstrate global warming by showing that the Earth is warmer because it radiates more – which is reasonable as things radiate more as they heat up – they forgot that their basic mechanism involves radiating less with the "trapped" radiation explaining the warming.

  • Avatar

    Ken Coffman

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    Alan, you, along with other heroes like Carl Brehmer, Hans Schreuder, Tim Ball and others are unsung heroes for your role in pushing back the frontiers of ignorance. I would like to collect your work in book form.

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