Goiters and Fluoridation

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Goiters used to be a status symbol and dental cavities were common in children.

Iodide Deficiency

The area I grew up in has very little in iodide-containing minerals. As a result, both water and food from the area had insufficient iodide which caused men and women to get much enlarged thyroid glands (hypothyroidism), visible as goiter. Because this deformity increases with the length of time (of deficiency) it becomes more apparent with age. In fact, in several alpine areas goiters actually became somewhat fashionable and a sort of “status symbol” for having achieved a certain age and seniority. Increasing longevity then also meant an increasing occurrence of goiters in many populations worldwide.

goiter

Ever since the cause of goiter formation was recognized, starting in the 1920’s, common table salt has been supplemented with trace amounts of sodium iodide and hypothyroidism has disappeared in those areas where it was prevalent before the iodide supplements. A teaspoon of iodized table salt (1.5 g) now contains 70% of your daily iodide needs. Still, iodide deficiency appears to be a problem in many countries. For example, Wikipedia states that even now some 2 billion people are affected by iodide deficiency in their food and water.

Fluoride Deficiency

Fluoride deficiency is not much different from iodide deficiency. It just does not have the same effect. Some parts of our bodies, especially teeth are made up of fluoro-apatite (FA), a fluoride and phosphate containing mineral. Chemically, FA is similar to hydroxyl-apatite (HA) which makes up most of our bones.

In childhood, sufficient fluoride intake is vital to the formation of healthy teeth. Without it, FA is being replaced by HA, which is less resistant to the development of cavities. With that recognition, around the mid-1900’s, many societies began adding trace levels of fluoride minerals to potable water. The result was a seismic shift in the prevalence of caries-type cavities in such areas. Dentists observed much fewer cavities than before the introduction of fluoridation of water.

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Reusch’s Moraine – Another “Consensus” Gone Awry

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There is a unique rock formation at Norway’s northern coast. Well, the rock itself is not unique at all, but its age is – 1,000 million years old. Actually, that age is not remarkable either as much of the earth’s surface is covered with ancient rocks of that age and older. So, what is so special about that particular rock?

Old Rocks

The earth has lots of old rocks, from the “Granite Shield” covering much of North America’s northeast to Greenland, Scandinavia, large parts of Africa, India, South America, Australia and Antarctica. The formation of most of these granite type rocks dates back well over a billion years.

Those ancient rocks were formed deep in the earth and were pushed up to the surface through the tectonic forces pulling some continents apart and pushing others together. For example, along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge the American continents are steadily moving further west, relative to Europe and Africa. The rate of that movement is only 5 cm (a couple of inches) per year but over time it adds up. At that rate it only took 100 million years to widen the distance to its present 5,000 km.

To put the age of 1,000 million years into perspective, some 200 million years ago the dinosaurs began to evolve and lasted until the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event some 66 million years ago. One thousand million years ago, there were only bacteria, fungi and algae on the earth, no higher organisms. So what then is so remarkable about that Norwegian rock? The answer is: It is thought to be a moraine; at least that has been the “consensus” by all scientific experts who have studied it over the seven decades following Reusch’s discovery.

Norway moraine

Moraines

By definition, moraines are glacial deposits. Reusch’s Moraine (RM) was named after its discoverer, the Norwegian geologist Hans Henrik Reusch (1852-1922) who found it in 1891 at the edge of the Varangerfjord near the northern tip of Norway. Reusch and dozens of expert geologists over the following 75 years concluded that this rock was an ancient breccia deposit of glacial origin. If there ever was a scientific consensus about anything, it was as hard as the rock of Reusch’s Moraine: The rock was about 1,000 million years old and the result of a glacial deposit. Period, end of discussion. When I visited the site with a friend (then an undergrad geologist) 50 years ago, he explained to me the great geological significance of the find.

Later in the 1960s new studies by Schermerhorn and other scientists indicated that the formation of RM was not necessarily of glacial origin but more likely to be a conglomerate (tillite) resulting from a massive sub-marine debris flow. A brief review describing all the reasons for the new theory was published in 1997 by M. J. Oard; it is available on the web. Quite surprisingly then, yet another, more recent study of the underlying rock has concluded the exact opposite. Once again, the idea of a glacial origin of RM is gaining weight.

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Consensus and Controversy

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The Scottish Science, Climate & Energy Forum, scef.org.uk, showcases a brilliant new study by Emil A.Røyrvik constrasting and comparing the intellectual approach to learning and understanding between academia and the applied sciences in industry. The study focuses on the global warming controversy pinpointing perennial flaws in the reasoning process of academics with little, if any, experience of the real world. 

Carbon Positive Campaign

 Consensus and Controversy

 The Debate on Man-made global warming

 Author Emil A.Røyrvik

What marks this paper out from others** on the debate is that it treats the subject seriously and does not start from the premise that Sceptics or “contrarians” are either wrong, or ill-informed or deluded**. The paper is well worth reading as in online.

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Lord Monckton Replies to John O’Sullivan’s Open Letter

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Christopher Monckton, Lord Monckton of Brenchley to most people, has replied to our recent open letter challenging his promotion of the increasingly discredited greenhouse gas ‘theory.’ In the spirit of candid public debate we publish his reply in full below.
 
We thank Chris for finally meeting our challenge to publicly address this cornerstone scientific issue. We have sought a public debate with him since his lordship denigrated our groundbreaking book ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory‘ more than two years ago. Our full response will follow in due course. 
Lord Monckton
 
One John O’Sullivan has written me a confused and scientifically illiterate “open letter” in which he describes me as a “greenhouse gas promoter”. I do not promote greenhouse gases. 

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The Stefan-Boltzmann Law at a Non-Vacuum Interface: Misuse by Global Warming Alarmists

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One of the significant errors commonly made by the advocates of catastrophic man-made global warming due to COemissions is the claim by the settled science proclaimers that radiation from a non-vacuum interface is the same as radiation from a surface into a vacuum. This error in the physics of radiation from the Earth’s surface results in an exaggeration of the cooling radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface and contributes to them positing a hugely larger back-radiation from greenhouse gases than can actually occur.

I have previously pointed out that the Stefan-Boltzmann Law actually only tells us the amount of radiation emitted by a surface into a vacuum. A surface in contact with another material will lose energy by other mechanisms, so one must apply the law of Conservation of Energy to determine the actual amount of radiation in many cases of material contact across an interface. In the case of the Earth’s surface, water is evaporated at the surface with a very substantial cooling effect. In addition, air molecules strike the surface and carry away heat gained in collisions with the surface. Despite these obvious problems with an unchanged surface emission of radiant energy into the atmosphere compared to that into a vacuum, the settled science proclaimers have in many cases steadfastly said that I am wrong. OK, so I will try to explain this in greater detail in this post.

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Latent Heat and Trapped Heat

Written by Anthony Bright-Paul

We have to be careful to distinguish between latent heat and trapped heat, particularly in the sense that Anthropogenic Global Warmers use the term.

Latent Heat is used most often, following Joseph Black, to describe the change of state from ice, a solid, to water, a liquid, to steam, a gas (water vapour), which are all chemically of the same composition.

Latent Heat

In order to clarify the difference to ourselves we may buy at a Supermarket a bag of ice. Let us open the bag and pour the contents into a large saucepan, put it on the stove, light the gas. Having applied x calories of heat the ice rapidly turns to water – it has changed from a solid to a liquid, chemical composition H2O.

If I continue to heat this pan of water until 100C, the water will turn to steam, a gas.Steam and water vapour are one and the same, except that the concentration in the atmosphere differs. Steam is clearly visible to the naked eye, whereas water vapour istransparent, though it can be seen on summer mornings as dew rising from the grass.

It is notable that steam rapidly loses its heat and quickly condenses. This demonstrates the volatility of gases. Hot water on the other hand will retain its heat for a long period compared to the gas, demonstrating heat capacity.

Of course, steam can be used to drive turbines and steam engines – the beginning of railways and the industrial age. We can use a bag of ice in order to learn about the Arctic. If we keep the bag in a cold store where the temperature is rarely if ever above zero C. the ice will barely melt at all. However put the same bag of ice in a bowl of tepid water, the ice will melt rapidly. This shows that Arctic Ice will melt, not from the atmosphere, as the AGWs seem to think, but as the result of warm currents of water.

The AGWs use the analogy of sunlight on a stationary car, with windows closed. They aver correctly that the temperature within the car will rise, and they call this ‘trapped heat’. What they omit to add is that this rise of temperature will only occur and continue while heat is being generated. Once the Sun goes down the heat rapidly disperses.

This demonstrates that all sensible heat has to be generated, that such heat is never trapped, but is either being generated or being dissipated. There is no steady state. In particular, there is no way that Carbon Dioxide can trap heat – such an idea is bizarre!

Here I hope I have demonstrated the difference between latent heat and sensible heat in a way that is comprehensible to the layman.

Anthony Bright-Paul

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Common Misconceptions

Written by Anthony Bright-Paul

There is a common misconception that the atmosphere warms the Earth and it is this misconception that is at the root of all the theories of Anthropogenic Global Warming, and that beloved offshoot of theirs, namely Climate Change.

So let me ask you a question? Why is the temperature at the surface of the Earth warmer than the atmosphere above it? Why does standard atmosphere state that the temperature falls by 2°C for every 1,000 feet of altitude? I used to ask, ‘Why is there snow on the tops of mountains’, but it comes to the same thing.

CO2 confusion

The atmosphere gets progressively colder with altitude.

Every airline pilot knows this, as it is called Standard Atmosphere. Every scientist knows it, as it is called the Adiabatic Lapse Rate.

So then why has Sir John Beddington, the chief scientific adviser to the government, who appeared on TV this morning, churned out all that business about emissions of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere? If the atmosphere at 1,000 feet is colder than the atmosphere at ground or sea level how can it possibly cause warming? The atmosphere does not warm the ground or the oceans. It is the oceans that warm the atmosphere.

Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is a complete irrelevance. The cold cannot heat up what is warmer. He is confusing sensitivity with causation. It is the Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere that may get warmed by the oceans – not the other way round.

He is right in saying that there is sometimes a delay in Great Nature. Once again we see that he brings up the Arctic Circle as proof of warming. But it cannot be the atmosphere that warms the Arctic, can it? The radiation from the Sun has to encounter mass in order to produce heat. The atmosphere has very little mass so the radiation passes through the atmosphere until it strikes the earth and the oceans. It is the waters of the oceans that have the capacity to retain heat fifty times longer than the atmosphere. Therefore any warming of the atmosphere that does occur must come from the bottom up, not the other way round.

Nobody can deny that climates are changing, for the very simple reason that the whole Biosphere is evolving. If he, Sir John Beddington, truly imagines that man is causing Climate Change,let him prove it!

I hereby issue a challenge to Sir John, and to any scientist at the Meteorological Office, or at the Climatic Research Unit to show proof positive that Carbon Dioxide is causing Global Warming and that Carbon Dioxide is causing changes of climate.

For I declare here that it is completely impossible for Man to warm the atmosphere, and it is likewise completely and utterly impossible for Mankind to cause changes of climate anywhere upon this planet.

Anthony Bright-Paul

25 March 2013

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Temperature change in a Nutshell

Written by Ed Hoskins MA (Cantab) BDS (Lond)

The UK Met Office long term Central England Temperature record has kept a continuous and consistent data set since the 1660s.  It appears to be reliable and to have maintained its quality. It has not been adjusted as have so many other official temperature records.

Central England Temp Record

Although the CET record covers only a small part of the northern hemisphere, it has shown a consistent rise since the end of the little ice age in 1850 at a rate of about +0.45°C / century or about +0.67°C in the last 150 years. This rise accords well with other temperature records.

However since the year 2000, diminishing solar activity in solar cycle 24, moving back towards little ice age patterns, appears to be having an real effect.

Met Office Temp Anomaly 2000-2013

So since 2000 the CET shows an annual temperature diminution at the rate of -0.49°C / decade or -0.59°C in 12 years: this negates ~80% of the entire CET temperature rise since 1850. Although this is a very short period, the extent of the climate change that has been observed since the turn of the millennium is remarkable.

Using the March 2013 CET value it is possible to show the winter temperature values up until March 2013 with a combination of the four months December – March for the first 13 years of this century. The diminution of the four winter months temperatures is more remarkable at a rate of -1.11°C / decade or -1.49°C in the last 13 years. This compares with a winter temperature increase rate from 1850 to the year 2000 of +0.32°C / century or +0.48°C for the whole 150 year period.

There are substantial shorter term fluctuations in temperature and since about 1850 world temperatures have been recovering from a Little Ice Age up by about +0.7°C up until the year 2000. These fluctuations have correlated well with solar activity observable by the number of sunspots. There was a particularly active solar period from about 1970 onward coinciding well with sunspot cycles 21 – 22 – 23: it lead to comparatively rapid warming.

However the current cycle 24 is very much weaker and sunspots are diminishing to the levels of the earlier Little Ice Age.

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Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov joins Principia Scientific International

Written by Terri Jackson

Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov joins Principia Scientific International

a review by Terri Jackson membership officer for PSI

The latest recruit to the ranks of Principia Scientific International is Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov. Dr Abdussamatov is head of space research of the Sun Sector at the Polkovo Observatory and head of the Selenometria project on the Russian segment of the International Space Station. * [corrected with apologies: May 09, 2013]

 Dr Abdussamatov graduated from Samarkand University in 1962 as a physicist and a mathematician. He earned his doctorate at Polkovo Observatory and the University of Leningrad and is undoubtedly one of the world`s leading solar physicists.

International Space Station

The Polkovo Observatory is one of the best equipped astronomical observatories in the world and has been since its founding in 1839.  Dr Abdussamatov notes that the de-gassing of large amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from the oceans have been triggered by the increased solar irradiance which warmed the earth`s oceans in the last decades of the 20th century. The lack of any warming for the past seventeen years is a result of the decline of the total solar irradiance, a decline which is now accelerating.

Hundreds have died in the last year due to the cold. Hundreds dead in eastern europe with temperatures of fifty below. Thousands treated for hyperthermia. In the US over 3,300 cold records have been set this week alone. (www.iceagenow.info. Site of Dr Robert Felix.). Dr Abdussamatov has revealed to me that over the last 1000 years there has been five deep cold periods which occurred around 1030, 1315, 1500, 1680 and 1805. these fell in respectively the Oort, Wolf, Sporer, Maunder and Dalton minimums. These are all separated by a period of about 200 years (.+/- 70). Given the last occurred about 1805 we are well on the way to the next deep cooling. The bicentennial cycle of the sun is one of the most intense solar cycles and part of the total solar irradiance. It is basic in considering solar cycles.

Dr Abdussamatov debunks the greenhouse effect:

Referring to the present debate on the causes of climate change he says ” there is no need for the Koyoto protocol now. A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view that man`s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect” Mars has global warming – but without a greenhouse and without the participation of Martians. These parallel global warmings – observed simultaneously on Mars and on the earth can only be a consequence of the effect of the same factor: a long time change in solar irradiance.”

He notes that a new Little Ice Age will start around 2013/2014. the depth of the decline will occur around 2040 a deep freeze that will last for the rest of this century. Forget about global warming! (note: do the climate alarmist think that it was the Martians that produced the global warming on Mars in the later part of the 20th century?)

Note: With the biased reporting in sections of the mainline printed and television media in Britain especially it is clear that Britain, Europe and the United States are ill prepared for what lies ahead. Terri Jackson membership officer for PSI and founder of the Energy Group at the Institute of Physics in London and Dr Abdussamatov were both speakers at the recent 4th international climate conference at the Heartland Institute in Chicago.

References:

Interview with Lawrence Solomon Canadian Financial Post www.Canada.com

 Vasilev S.S Dergachev V. A Raspopov O. M Sources of the long term variations of the radiocarbon concentration in the earth`s atmosphere. Geomagn. Aeron. 1999; 39(6): 80-89

Abdussamatov H I The time of the end of the current solar cycle and the relationship between duration of 11 year cycles and secular cycle phase. Kin. Phys. Celest bodies. 2006; 22: 141-143 and other.        

* This article contained some errors which we now have corrected. Dr Abdussamatov is head of space research of the Sun Sector at the Polkovo Observatory and head of the Selenometria project on the Russian segment of the International Space Station. We apologize to both Dr Abdussamatov and Professor A V Stepanov for the mistakes and misunderstandings. Regrettably Dr. Abdussamatov has now resigned from PSI.

 

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No, Roy….

Written by Doug Cotton

PSI has removed this post by Mr Cotton (and others) due to his repeated and deranged harassment of other scientists who have patiently shown him the correct physics that proves Cotton’s pet theory of a gravity-thermal effect is junk. 

Mr Cotton is persona non grata here at PSI and we regret ever having any dealings with him. As others have shown, Mr Cotton is possessed of an anti-social obsession to harass and offend anyone who doesn’t submit to his ravings.

Critical mass of Cotton

Yesterday, the climate blogosphere reached critical mass of Cotton. Douglas J. Cotton. And with that critical mass, as such things go, they go boom. Lucia has previously announced why Doug Cotton is banned at her place. Undeterred, and fully advised he has been banned for bad behavior (here at WUWT also), Mr. Cotton continues to use his Cotton Socks™ to sockpuppet his presence throughout the climate blogosphere, and today, Lucia has had enough and has decided to provide Doug his own thread for entertainment purposes called: The Fullness of Time: Doug Cotton Comments Unveiled!

Lest you think this is a problem exclusive to Lucia’s shop, I can advise you that just about every sceptical climate blog has had similar problems with Mr. Cotton posting his own brand of physics under his real and/or list of sockpuppet names and fake emails.

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Watt’s Up with the Greenhouse Effect?

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Recently an article was posted on the WUWT web site that contained this statement:

CO2 and other GHG’s impede the transfer of LWIR energy to the top of the atmosphere where it is finally re-radiated into space. Without GHG’s, the lower atmosphere would be very cold . . . For those who doubt this, see” Roy Spencer’s post What If There Was No Greenhouse Effect?

I do; so I did. Unfortunately Spencer’s article is just a restatement of the same hypothetical but in the form of a “thought experiment” in which he describes what he imagines the temperature profile of the atmosphere would be if there were no “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere and no standing water on Earth that could evaporate into water vapor. He then attributes to the “greenhouse effect” the difference between what the temperature profile of the atmosphere actually is and what he imagines it would be if there were no “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere or standing water on the planet.

The problem with such “thought experiments” is that they exist purely in one’s mind and produce no empirical evidence. In short, they are not testable. We cannot, for example, remove all of the “greenhouse gases” from the atmosphere and rid the planet of standing water in order to test the veracity of Roy Spencer’s imaginary world. An axiom in science is that you cannot use a hypothetical to prove a hypothetical because an actual, physical, empirical experiment is needed to sort out the difference between what actually exists in the physical world and what only exists in the minds of men.

Karl Popper

Karl Popper (1902–1994) stressed this point. “Popper stresses the problem of demarcation—sorting the scientific from the unscientific—and lays the demarcation criterion falsifibility, such that the unfalsifiable are unscientific, and the practice of declaring an unfalsifiable theory proved true by scientific method is pseudoscience.” 

But all is not lost. Even though Spencer’s “thought experiment” is untestable and therefore unscientific it does contain two postulates that can be tested empirically:

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Open Letter Challenge to Greenhouse Gas Promoter Lord Monckton

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Dear Chris,

Principia Scientific International salutes your tireless efforts in recent years in opposing the nonsense of man-made global warming. But to those of us who carefully study the history of climate alarmism you are the veritable “poacher turned gatekeeper.”

Lord Monckton

You have carefully styled yourself as “science adviser” to Margaret Thatcher during her tenure as British Prime Minister in the 1980’s. As the records show, back then the “Iron Lady” became the first world leader to promote what we now know as the man-made global warming scam. At that time you boasted you used “the first computer they had ever seen in Downing Street,” to perform “radiative-transfer calculations that indicated climate scientists were right to say some ‘global warming’ would arise as CO2 [carbon dioxide] concentration continued to climb.”

But as an armchair scientist you have been proved wrong. As the decades passed and CO2 levels rose by 40 percent we have seen global temperatures flatline for 16 years. Greenhouse gas predictions (and thus the science) are shown to be wrong.

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Principia Scientific International Makes Changes at the Top

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After providing exemplary unpaid service in helping this fledgling science association get off the ground Dr. Tim Ball steps down as Chairman after a personally very challenging two-year period. With 2013 shaping up as an exciting year of growth Principia Scientific International (PSI) expands our leadership team with the appointment of highly respected and established talent.

Latour Sanderson Elliston

PSI’s new Chairman is Imperial College’s John Sanderson (photo, center). John is the immediate past president of the Royal College of Science Association, a physicist by training and an experienced and skilled administrator. John wishes to be more than just a figurehead as he helps guide our maverick organization forward as a credible alternative to established yet politicized science associations. John will focus on extending PSI’s reach, not only further into academia, but elsewhere where a truly independent voice on scientific issues needs to be heard.

Two new vice Chairmen: John Elliston & Pierre Latour

With PSI’s growing worldwide membership two new important positions have been created to cope with the demands of such diversity. Serving as Vice Chair (North) will be Dr. Pierre R. Latour, an internationally respected Chemical Engineer of few peers. Dr. Latour’s alma mater, Purdue University’s School of Chemical Engineering, has honored him with their Outstanding Chemical Engineer Award making him one of only 116 of the school’s 9,000 alumni to be so recognized. Pierre has published 68 papers, holds one U.S. patent, and was also Control magazine’s Engineer of the Year in 1999. 

Since joining us in 2011 Dr. Latour has taken a lead in shaping PSI’s policy on the applied sciences and engineering and he now assumes responsibility for guiding our development in North America and Europe.

John N.W. Elliston, a chemical geologist by training will be serving as Vice Chair (South) where he will have an open brief to expand PSI’s network of business and academic contacts throughout Australasia. In a long and successful career as manager, director and full time researcher John first distinguished himself at Peko-Wallsend Limited before engaging on a series of research contracts at CRA Exploration Pty. Limited. He has prepared 103 scientific papers and reports and is holder of the Order of Australia for his services to the Australian mining industry.

PSI wishes to thank all those other outstanding candidates who put their names forward for the above positions in what turned out to be a stunning pool of talent from which to choose. As an association that wishes to represent equally all members from academia and the applied sciences supportive of the traditional scientific method we trust our leadership balance struck between the applied and theoretical sciences will hearten all members.

Finally, we say a big thank you to outgoing Chairman, Dr. Tim Ball for the dignity, courage and humility he showed in the post and we wish him every success for the future.

 

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The Earth Surface Temperature without Greenhouse Gases: The Shade Effect of Infra-Red Active Gases

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It is commonly said that because the radiative power from the Earth system into space is the same as that of a black body with a temperature of about 255K and the observed average temperature of the Earth’s surface is about 14.5ºC or 287.65K, the surface of the Earth is nearly 33K warmer than it would be if there were no greenhouse effect.  The greenhouse effect is said to be due to infra-red active gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane gas, and nitrous oxide.

The problem with this argument is that while the Earth system is in radiative equilibrium with space, the surface of the Earth is not.  Thus, there is a complex relationship between the equilibrium temperature of the Earth’s surface and its equivalent radiative temperature as a black body radiator.  Some of the radiation into space is direct from the Earth’s surface, but most of it is from the infra-red active gases of the many layers of the atmosphere.

I have previously shown that the infra-red gases probably produce more cooling than warming.  Those arguments were not simple enough for most people to follow and they did not show what the amount of cooling of the Earth’s surface actually was.  I am going to show a surprisingly simple proof in this article that the infra-red gases, commonly called greenhouse gases, cause the surface temperature of the Earth to be much cooler than it would be if our atmosphere had no infra-red active gases in it.

Consider the following NASA energy budget of the Earth:

NASA Energy Budget Fig 2

As I have discussed in an article called The Unsettled Earth Energy Budget, one should add a small amount of energy absorbed by the Earth’s surface due to back-radiation from the atmosphere.  My estimate for that back-radiation is about 1 to 2% of the solar insolation radiation at the top of the atmosphere.  Since other NASA Earth energy budgets put the amount of energy absorbed from the direct solar insolation at 48 or 49%, let us only add the 1% back-radiation amount to the 51% absorbed solar insolation shown above.  In 2010, the average top of the atmosphere solar insolation was 1365.8 W/m2.  The average solar insolation over the day at a spot on the rotating Earth is one-quarter this amount.

At equilibrium, the power absorbed by the Earth’s surface equals the power emitted by the Earth’s surface.  If the Earth’s surface were an interface with vacuum, the total emitted power is given by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law and we have the equilibrium condition:

Pabs = ε σ T4,

Where ε is the Earth’s surface emissivity, σ = 5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4, and T is the average surface temperature of the Earth.  Thus we have:

Pabs = (1365.8/4)(0.52) = ε (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4)(287.65K)4

Solving the equation for ε, we find:

ε = 0.457

This is an emissivity somewhat less than half what most commonly is claimed for the Earth’s surface.

It is common to claim that emissivity is nearly black body-like, with 0.95 < ε < 0.98.  The claim is also made that like a near black body, the Earth both absorbs and emits a continuum of infra-red radiation in the mid- and far-infra-red ranges characteristic of a black body radiator with a temperature somewhere between 220 and 360K.  It is claimed that the absorptivity and the emissivity are matched as they would be in a black body radiator.  Yet, infra-red spectroscopy in the laboratory on common laboratory FTIR spectrometers show that the absorption spectra of water, minerals, soil, and plant materials are not at all similar to that of a black body.  The very characteristic spectra of these materials are used to identify them or similar materials.  Yet, there are those who claim that the emissivity of water which covers 71% of the Earth’s surface is in this near black body range and that so are the emissivity and absorptivity of most organic materials, such as plant materials.  Such a claim is inconsistent with the NASA Earth energy budget shown in the diagram above.

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