The Kinetic Energy of Air Molecules & Altitude

Written by Herb Rose

Everyone knows that the temperature decreases with an increasing altitude and temperature is defined as the mean kinetic energy of the molecules being measured. However, the hypothesis is supported by the fundamental laws of physics and it is the thermometer that is giving inaccurate information.

The basic laws supporting this theory are:

1: All objects absorb radiated energy.

2: All objects above absolute zero will radiate energy.

3: An object will equalize its energy (radiate an amount of energy equal to the amount it absorbs) with the energy surrounding it.

The sun radiates energy into space and it is that energy which is absorbed by objects in space. In order for energy to be detected it must interact with matter and that energy will then be radiated by the matter.

A black body, where all energy is absorbed, cannot be detected since it emits or reflects no energy and must have a temperature of absolute zero. As energy is added to it, it will cease to be a black body and emit energy according to the laws of thermodynamics.

The sun radiates a broad range of electromagnetic radiation. The molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere do not absorb the electromagnetic energy in the visible spectrum or longer wavelengths but they do absorb radiated energy in the x-ray and ultraviolet spectrum.

These shorter wavelengths contain more energy than the longer wavelengths so while the surface of the Earth is being heated by the visible light the atmosphere is absorbing energy and being heated by shorter wavelengths.

The visible light and longer wavelengths are emitted by the surface of the sun and remain fairly constant. The ultraviolet and x-rays are emitted by the solar flares coming from the sun and vary with sunspot activity.

This means that the surface of the Earth will have a constant source of energy but the energy being absorbed by the gasses in the atmosphere will be variable depending on sunspot activity. When there are a lot of sunspots the atmosphere becomes warmer while fewer sunspots results in cooling.

The energy from any source will decrease with increasing distance from its source as the energy is spread over a larger area, but energy cannot be created or destroyed so the only other way that energy can decrease is if that energy is transferred to another object with less energy (not in equilibrium).

The decrease in the sun’s energy through the atmosphere because of increase in distance to the sun (140000000km vs 140000080km) is negligible and the decreasing of the energy in the atmosphere is due to energy being transferred to matter in the atmosphere, that, when in equilibrium with the energy, will then radiate that energy in all directions.

At an altitude of 80 km the density of the air molecules is .000018 kg/m^3. These molecules will absorb energy coming from the sun and attain equilibrium with that energy, thereby reducing the amount of energy that continues towards the surface of the Earth.

At sea level the density of the air molecules is 1.2 kg/m^3. These molecules will also absorb energy equalizing with the energy coming from the sun.

This means that even if no energy was being lost to the mass of the air molecules between altitudes of 0 km and 80 km (considerable energy is lost to this matter) the kinetic energy of an air molecule at 80 km will be 67,000 times the kinetic energy of the air molecule at 0 km.

Since matter radiates energy, not temperature and the transfer of energy is from objects with greater energy to objects with less energy this means the molecules of air higher in the atmosphere are transferring heat to the molecules lower in the atmosphere.

The visible light energy striking the ground is being distributed to a number of molecules a thousand times the number of molecules in the atmosphere and is not adding energy to the atmosphere. The energy from visible light is being transferred to cooler molecules below the Earth’s surface.

It is the upper atmosphere that is absorbing energy during the day and radiating energy into space at night.

When energy reaches the stratosphere-troposphere border the means of energy transfer switches from radiation to convection. This is where the oxygen atoms created when the energy from the sun exceeds the bond energy of oxygen molecules, collide with oxygen molecules creating ozone. It is not ozone molecules that are absorbing uv light, it is oxygen molecules and ozone is created as oxygen loses energy by transferring energy to more matter.

The current contention that the atmosphere is warmer at lower altitudes because gravity adds energy to descending molecules is pure garbage. It is a result of the thermometer not giving an accurate indication of the kinetic energy of air molecules. To do that you must use the universal gas law, not a thermometer.

If the gas molecules in the atmosphere had little kinetic energy they would be a solid layer on the surface of the Earth. When they absorb energy they convert to a gas and the addition of more energy causes that gas to expand creating the atmosphere. When a molecule descends in the atmosphere it is losing energy, not gaining energy.

Meteorology and climatology will remain fake sciences as long as they ignore the basic laws of physics and remain ignorant of the energy driving these systems.


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Comments (59)

  • Avatar

    Warren Schaich

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    Thank God you are reporting and supporting solid science, you’re critiques of global warming are superb. Thank you. I will become a supporter for your brave and courage efforts.

  • Avatar

    James McGinn

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    Herb:
    Everyone knows that . . . temperature is defined as the mean kinetic energy of the molecules being measured.

    James:
    Herb, I think you are mistaken on this point. A thermometer doesn’t measure energy it measures the rate of flow of energy, or heat.

    The Central Confusion of Water Science
    https://anchor.fm/james-mcginn/episodes/The-Central-Confusion-of-Water-Science-edrnr2

    James McGinn / Genius
    President, Solving Tornadoes

    • Avatar

      Herb Rose

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      Hi James,
      I know a thermometer doesn’t measure energy but every time I say it people keeps saying Einstein and Wikipedia say temperature measures the mean kinetic energy of the molecules being tested.
      Herb

      • Avatar

        James McGinn

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        Herb:
        . . . people keeps saying Einstein and Wikipedia say temperature measures the mean kinetic energy . . .

        James:
        Yes. I know. They are using temperature as a proxy for energy. In many instances this is okay because temperature and energy are usually proportional. But this proportionality breaks down when it involves mixture of substances that have differing capacities to absorb and conserve energy and that have different heat capacities in different phases (most notably H2O).

        But also I recognize and appreciate that the inconsistencies of employing temperature as a proxy for energy is your point. So, in a sense, I think these points I raise are complimentary to your larger point, which is an important point, in my opinion.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/05/10/cold-air-rises-how-wrong-are-our-global-climate-models/#comment-2996504

        James McGinn / Genius

    • Avatar

      geran

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      A thermometer measures temperature. Temperature is a human construct to compare internal energies. A thermometer is typically calibrated from the boiling and freezing points of water.

      “Heat” is the transfer of energy from hot to cold. So the proper use of a thermometer would not involve “heat”, as the thermometer would be at thermal equilibrium with whatever it was measuring. There would be no “heat”.

  • Avatar

    jerry krause

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    Hi Herb,

    You and many others regularly state: “Everyone knows that the temperature decreases with an increasing altitude .” You and they state this as if it is a scientific law that has never been observed (measured) to be refuted.

    You and they apparently have never studied the data of the common atmospheric soundings. Here is a link to just one example of a common temperature inversion. (http://weather.uwyo.edu/cgi-bin/sounding?region=np&TYPE=TEXT%3ALIST&YEAR=2020&MONTH=01&FROM=1000&TO=1812&STNM).

    Have a good day, Jerry

    • Avatar

      CD Marshall

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      Jerry,
      The adiabatic lapse rate with pressure is well established. The Ideal Gas Law even in manuals states it is more a guideline in the atmosphere, an average more accurate with greater pressure and less accurate as pressure decreases (with elevation) in the troposphere. Auto compression works to warm air as it moves closer to the surface which is why mines are warmer than the surface on average.

      The atmosphere is not in thermal equilibrium and as a result the Ideal Gas Law is not “set in stone”.

      An “average” temperature can be obtained from the Troposphere, which is naturally colder as it climbs. I fail to see the point you were trying to express here?

      I am only referring to the open atmosphere in regards to the surface-troposphere.

      I may have misunderstood your point which if so my apologies.

      • Avatar

        jerry krause

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        Hi CD,

        You concluded: “I may have misunderstood your point which if so my apologies.”

        You certainly did. I referred you to measured data which establishes that the atmospheric temperature clearly does decrease everywhere with increasing altitude. And you did not write one word about this data. Only you can explain why you did not write one word about this data.

        Have a good day, Jerry

    • Avatar

      jerry krause

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      Hi Herb,

      I just discovered that my link does not get one to where I intended. But no one has told me about this problem. So if one is interested one can go to (http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html) and learn how to access the data from the Arctic..

      Have a good day, Jerry

      • Avatar

        JDHuffman

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        Jerry, that’s a great link.

        Thanks for sharing.

      • Avatar

        jerry krause

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        Hi JD,

        I got up at 4am because I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep because of your brief comment which I quote less there be any confusion. “Jerry, that’s a great link.
        Thanks for sharing.”

        For your comment makes it seem that you were unaware of this actual sounding data. Is this true?

        For it is hard for me to believe that you, who told me about the inexpensive IR thermometer and uses it to measure the temperature of the atmosphere, is not aware (have seen) actual sounding data. It seems you actually believe that you are measuring a ‘meaningful’ temperature of the atmosphere while Herb maintains that one cannot measure the temperature of the atmosphere with a conventional thermometer.

        Please answer: Have you ever looked at the sounding data for anywhere which you found at the link I shared?

        Have a good day, Jerry

        .

        • Avatar

          JDHuffman

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          jerry, I don’t remember seeing that link before.

          I bet folks that live in Corpus Christi, TX don’t realize that this morning, about 10 miles over their heads the temperature was -70.5 ºC (-94.9 ºF)!

        • Avatar

          jerry krause

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          Hi JD,

          I bet folks that live in Corpus Christi, TX don’t realize that this , about 10 miles over their heads the temperature was -70.5 ºC (-9morning4.9 ºF)!

          And I bet that at the same time, over the mid-Arctic Ocean, they don’t realize that the temperature at any altitude was below -55ºC. And given these observed facts, how are they, or you, or anyone going to explain this difference between these two minimum atmospheric temperatures at these drastically different locations.?

          Have a good day, Jerry

          • Avatar

            JDHuffman

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            I’d bet we’d win our bets.

        • Avatar

          jerry krause

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          Hi JD,

          I got nervous and considered the possibility I had made another of my common errors. So I checked the reported data again and found I did not make an error.

          But I as checked more dates I began to see that maybe I can not generalize as I had. So I know, because I am considering actual data, there is some significant magnitude changes of atmospheric temperatures occurring over the mid-Arctic Ocean which need more study.

          Which changes, when studied, might produce a better ‘fundamental’ understanding of the earth’s atmospheric system. But one would never know of this possibility if one never knew of the atmospheric sounding data. And just knowing about the data serves no purpose if one does not invest time in studying it.

          Remember, in science one does not know what one will see unless one looks. This is science. Lots of investment of time with no assurance that anything useful will be found.

          Have a good day, Jerry

      • Avatar

        jerry krause

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        Hi Herb,

        Have you ever studied the data of this link?

        Have a good day, Jerry

  • Avatar

    Carbon Bigfoot

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    Jerry K. perhaps by bud from Lehighton chose not to site the exceptions.
    Hey Herb we need to do lunch when the endangered species Wolf is impeached!!

  • Avatar

    TL Winslow

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    Once again P-S stinks itself up with the crackpot thermodynamic theories of Herb Rose.

    [[A black body, where all energy is absorbed, cannot be detected since it emits or reflects no energy and must have a temperature of absolute zero. As energy is added to it, it will cease to be a black body and emit energy according to the laws of thermodynamics.]]

    This is so lame. Here’s the truth:
    [[The name “black body” is given because it absorbs radiation in all frequencies, not because it only absorbs. Indeed, a black body can also emit radiation.]] – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_body

    [[The energy from any source will decrease with increasing distance from its source as the energy is spread over a larger area, but energy cannot be created or destroyed so the only other way that energy can decrease is if that energy is transferred to another object with less energy (not in equilibrium).
    Duh, the inverse square law causes radiated energy to decrease with distance (except for collimated laser radiation), but energy can be transferred to another object with less or more energy. It just can’t transfer heat energy to a colder body and raise its temperature. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics

    [[At an altitude of 80 km the density of the air molecules is .000018 kg/m^3. These molecules will absorb energy coming from the sun and attain equilibrium with that energy, thereby reducing the amount of energy that continues towards the surface of the Earth.]]
    Yes, but they absorb a tiny fraction of solar energy, allowing most of it to pass through to the surface. For the purposes of weather, it’s of little or no importance.

    [[At sea level the density of the air molecules is 1.2 kg/m^3. These molecules will also absorb energy equalizing with the energy coming from the sun.

    This means that even if no energy was being lost to the mass of the air molecules between altitudes of 0 km and 80 km (considerable energy is lost to this matter) the kinetic energy of an air molecule at 80 km will be 67,000 times the kinetic energy of the air molecule at 0 km.

    Since matter radiates energy, not temperature and the transfer of energy is from objects with greater energy to objects with less energy this means the molecules of air higher in the atmosphere are transferring heat to the molecules lower in the atmosphere.]]
    Play the Looney Tunes theme here. See my previous comment about your confusion of energy with heat energy emitted by objects.

    [[The current contention that the atmosphere is warmer at lower altitudes because gravity adds energy to descending molecules is pure garbage. It is a result of the thermometer not giving an accurate indication of the kinetic energy of air molecules. To do that you must use the universal gas law, not a thermometer.]]
    Duh, the atmosphere is warmer at the surface because that’s where the pressure of the air column above it is greatest, and a thermometer works using the UGL.

    A classic thermometer is a bulb of mercury with a long glass capillary. The bulb is immersed in some fluid and achieves thermal equilibrium via conduction, and the fluid expands based on its average kinetic energy AKA TEMPERATURE. This expansion is ultimately based on the universal gas law, which is best seen with gas thermometers, but liquids behave similarly and have a coefficient of thermal expansion.- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_thermometer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_expansion

    With mercury themometers the 0C mark is calibrated by immersing it in ice water, and the 100C mark by immersing it in steam, after which the capillary is marked into 100 equal increments A bunch of thermometers may not always agree on the exact numerical temperature value but will always agree on what fluid is hotter than the others. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermometer http://thermopedia.com/content/1197/

    [[If the gas molecules in the atmosphere had little kinetic energy they would be a solid layer on the surface of the Earth. When they absorb energy they convert to a gas and the addition of more energy causes that gas to expand creating the atmosphere. When a molecule descends in the atmosphere it is losing energy, not gaining energy.]]
    Duh, the kinetic energy of atmospheric molecules is easily measured with a THERMOMETER no matter what height. The lapse rate profile is graphed for you so look it up.When the surface of the Earth is heated by SUNLIGHT it heats up, and the air in contact absorbs some heat energy via conduction, becoming less dense and rising, then transforming heat into work to expand as the pressure decreases with height. So you have it backwards, like just about everything else. The Earth keeps rotating and getting basted by the Sun, keeping the atmosphere from freezing and dropping to the surface like on Mars.

    [[Meteorology and climatology will remain fake sciences as long as they ignore the basic laws of physics and remain ignorant of the energy driving these systems.]]
    We’re talking about thermodynamics here, not M and C. The latter has indeed been turned into fake science by the global Marxists at the U.N. IPCC with their fake CO2 back radiation hoax. But thermodynamics is a solid science and I wish I had 9 lives so I could study it more deeply. Before publishing any more ROTFL dumbass-stamped-on-my-forehead articles try studying and mastering a good text on Thermal Physics that bases it on quantum mechanics, either Kittel or Schroeder, if you’re able:

    https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Thermal-Physics-Daniel-Schroeder/dp/0201380277/

    https://www.amazon.com/Thermal-Physics-2nd-Charles-Kittel/dp/0716710889/

    TLW, WGG
    http://tlwinslow.weebly.com
    https://www.quora.com/q/newrealclimatescience
    http://www.historyscoper.com/newrealclimatesciencecourse.html

    • Avatar

      Herb Rose

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      TL,
      “but energy can be transferred to an object with less or more energy, it just can’t transfer heat energy to a colder object raising its temperature.”. Your unique understanding of thermodynamics explains a lot.
      The heat sink is designed to take energy from a source and transfer that energy to many molecules to be radiated, thereby preventing the object from getting to hot. You seem to believe that by transferring energy to more molecules lower in the atmosphere those molecules become hotter.
      I believe the universal gas law that says if you add heat to an unconfined gas, like the atmosphere, the gas will expand. The greater the kinetic energy the greater the volume.
      You believe the thermometer which, as you stated is calibrated using water. Because of the unique properties of water this is a poor choice for calibrating an instrument. Even the size of a calorie (energy needed to raise the temperature of 1gram of water 1 C is not constant, changing with the initial temperature of the water.
      In water every molecule in the measuring area of the bulb has energy transferred to it by a molecule of water.This energy is transferred to the body of the thermometer where those molecules radiate the energy. When the absorbed energy equals the radiated energy the temperature is determined.
      In the atmosphere, at sea level, every 12 molecules of air transfer energy to 10,000 molecules of the bulb. this energy is then transferred to the body of the thermometer where the same number of molecules as in the water radiate the energy. As the temperature increases the gas expands and even fewer molecules are transferring energy to the thermometer while the same number continue to radiate it. You believe that this gives an accurate measurement and an accurate indication of kinetic energy no matter the balance of molecules absorbing energy and those radiating energy.
      You spend to much time reading wikipedia for answers and to little time thinking.
      Herb

      • Avatar

        Zoe Phin

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        “every 12 molecules of air transfer energy to 10,000 molecules”

        You forgot conduction and convection.

        There’s direct heating from the dense solid/liquid surface to ALL the gas molecules adjascent to it.

      • Avatar

        TL Winslow

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        [[“but energy can be transferred to an object with less or more energy, it just can’t transfer heat energy to a colder object raising its temperature.”. Your unique understanding of thermodynamics explains a lot.]]

        Duh, you can shine a laser on the Sun. Or a planet can crash into the Sun. Those are examples of energy being transferred to an object with more energy. Once again you totally fail to understand the difference between energy and heat, which is created when radiation strikes condensed matter and has the right wavelength to be absorbed into its quantum structure, increasing its average kinetic energy, and disappears when the matter radiates it via the Planck radiation law, losing that kinetic energy and cooling down. The radiation is energy not heat. The 2nd Law says that heat can only flow from a hotter to colder object because entropy can never decrease. Heat is the energy flow involving conversion of radiation back and forth to internal kinetic energy, not energy per se. Energy can flow any which way it wants.Remember E=MC^2? For a gas there is only the average kinetic energy, with the constant collisions causing a tendency toward equilibrium. But there is no heat flow because that works only with condensed matter, i.e., solids and liquids. If you have two glass tubes of gas with different temperatures, and place them in contact, heat will flow through the walls via conduction and eventually equal temperatures will be obtained.

        [[I believe the universal gas law that says if you add heat to an unconfined gas, like the atmosphere, the gas will expand. The greater the kinetic energy the greater the volume.
        You believe the thermometer which, as you stated is calibrated using water.]]

        I said gas or mercury, not water. I even provided a link explaining gas thermometers and how they use the UGL to work. Apparently you have dyslexia and only know the dab of physics you heard orally at a party. Like you said: [[You spend to much time reading wikipedia for answers and to little time thinking.]] I read more than anybody on Earth and also think more than anybody and thus know more than anybody. But I can’t teach a brick.

        [[In the atmosphere, at sea level, every 12 molecules of air transfer energy to 10,000 molecules of the bulb. this energy is then transferred to the body of the thermometer where the same number of molecules as in the water radiate the energy. As the temperature increases the gas expands and even fewer molecules are transferring energy to the thermometer while the same number continue to radiate it. You believe that this gives an accurate measurement and an accurate indication of kinetic energy no matter the balance of molecules absorbing energy and those radiating energy.]]

        Shouldn’t that be 13? 🙂

        Duh, all the molecules of the gas strike the bulb and transfer energy to the gas via conduction. The average kinetic energies soon equalize, so that the gas becomes the same temperature as the bulb – all the molecules in the gas, not just 12 or 10,000 of them. The gas has a thermal expansion coefficient that ultimately traces to the UGL and reaches a volume dependent on its temperature, allowing readings to be made. Radiation is irrelevant because the bulb and the gas are in thermal equilibrium. This is physics, your diatribe is moose hockey.

        You can’t argue with a brick. I quit. All I tried to point out is that P-S stunk itself up by turning your moose hockey into a feature article instead of relegating it to the comments where it belongs. If you only know thermal physics which is based on quantum mechanics you’d see how bad your horse manure stinks. I wish everybody would purchase an undergraduate textbook on thermal physics and work through it to get this baby issue behind them. Herb excepted, he already knows it all 🙂

        I got it! Herb is actually a Chinese AI viral bot spreading disinformation and confusion to the West! 🙂 P-S is infected! 🙂

        • Avatar

          Herb Rose

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          TL,
          The quoted statement you are criticizing came from your comment. It shows you don’t know what your talking about.
          You say there is no heat flow from a gas. I guess all those people who use hot air furnace to heat their homes are mistaken when they think they are being warmed by the hot air..
          You say the bulb of the thermometer is heating the gas. The thermometer is calibrated using water where only the bulb is submerged to absorb energy while the body of the thermometer radiates energy until equilibrium is achieved. Using it in a gas where the entire thermometer is both absorbing and radiating energy is using it in a way that it was not designed for yet you believe that it gives accurate results.
          You use “Duh” a lot. That’s because you are to damn dumb to know what you are saying much less what anybody else is saying.

        • Avatar

          James McGinn

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          TL Winslow:
          The 2nd Law says that heat can only flow from a hotter to colder object because entropy can never decrease.

          James McGinn:
          TL, you got this wrong–again. The second law DOES NOT say that heat can only flow from hotter to colder objects. It also does not say that entropy can never decrease. An entity considered in isolation can decrease its entropy. When you eat food and digest it you are decreasing entropy.

          The second law says that there is always an NET increase in entropy. So, even though you can decrease entropy in yourself by eating and digesting food, a lot of work took place in order to create the food. And the OVERALL (NET) effect of this is an increase in entropy.

          James McGinn / Genius
          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/05/10/cold-air-rises-how-wrong-are-our-global-climate-models/#comment-2996504
          Differential pressure is the force underlying atmospheric flow. Water is involved with atmospheric flow (winds) but meteorology has mischaracterized its role as being the source of the energy. Water is not the source of the energy of storms. As I stated above, the source of the energy of storms is differential pressure. Water’s role is structural. It is the surface tension properties of H2O that are maximized on wind shear boundaries to produce a plasma that is the basis of the sheath of vortices, with vortices being the proximate mechanism that channels and focuses the flow into streams and storms.

    • Avatar

      lifeisthermal

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      “but energy can be transferred to another object with less or more energy, It just can’t transfer heat energy to a colder body and raise its temperature.”

      Of course, it can be transferred as work. Heat and work are the only types of energy that can be transferred.

  • Avatar

    Zoe Phin

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    Herb doesn’t make any sense.

    He divides 1.2 by 0.000018 to get his ~67000 times figure. This is nonsense. At TOA the sun provides 340 W/m^2, at sea level ~165 W/m^2.

    You can’t divide densities. Those higher molecules are only getting ~2 times the intensity. Just because they’re sparse doesn’t mean they get more energy, especially ~67,000 times. That is so silly. The energy provided is not like a bottle of water shared among less drinkers, therefore giving each drinker more water.

    • Avatar

      Herb Rose

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      Zoe,
      You confuse rate of flow of energy with the energy of an object. When an object absorbs energy the rate of energy it gains decreases as the energy it emits approaches the energy it absorbs. When it reaches equilibrium it contains a quantity of energy that remains constant. By comparing densities you determine the amount of energy each molecule contains.
      Kinetic energy is a function of both mass and energy. A thermometer absorbs kinetic energy and radiates that absorbed energy. It has no way of knowing if the absorb energy came from one large low speed molecule or a smaller high velocity molecule. It cannot tell if that energy came many molecules or few it only registers how much kinetic energy it is absorbing and radiating .
      We’ve gone through this before but I will repeat it in the forlorn hope that you can finally learn something.
      The thermometers in a 100 C oven and a boiling pot of water are receiving and radiating the same amount 0f kinetic energy.The mass/number of molecules transferring energy to the thermometer in the oven is small compared to the mass/number of molecules transferring kinetic energy to the thermometer in the water therefore the velocity of the gas molecules in the oven is greater than the velocity of the water molecules. The individual gas molecules have more kinetic energy than the individual water molecules but because there are more water molecules/mass in the water it contains more total kinetic energy and can cook food faster.
      The amount of energy of an object is not just a result the energy flowing into it but also the energy it is losing. You can boil a cup of water with a source of energy but never be able to boil a drum of water with the same source because of the greater number of molecules absorbing and radiating the energy.

      • Avatar

        Zoe Phin

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        “By comparing densities you determine the amount of energy each molecule contains.”

        That is so incredibly stupid. The molecules in both places are the same size. Just because there is less molecules per volume doesn’t mean each one gets more energy.

        There is SPACE between molecules where radiation can go.

        You’ve hit rock bottom, Herb.

        • Avatar

          Herb Rose

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          Zoe,
          It is you that is truly stupid. Energy equalizes which means the energy will be equally distributed between all the molecules. The more molecule the less energy each molecule gets.

          • Avatar

            Zoe Phin

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            Are you truly that stupid?

            Radiation can pass between molecules.

            Higher elevation:
            -> A
            ->
            ->
            -> B

            Lower Elevation:
            -> A
            -> B
            -> C
            -> D

            At higher elevation there is not more energy shared between A and B.

            High A and B each gets the same as Low A,B,C,D each.

            But actually … Low A,B,C,D each get less, because there was absorptive interference above.

            Herb, you are insane.

          • Avatar

            Herb Rose

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            Zoe,
            Over 90% of the uv light (which heats the atmosphere) is being absorbed before reaching the Earth’s surface. The further it penetrates the greater number of molecules it is transferred to.
            The amount of energy from the sun striking the arctic regions is not much different than the amount of light striking the equatorial zone. The different climates are a result of the angle that the light hits the Earth. In the arctic the light is spread to a greater number of molecules giving them less energy (cooler) just like what happens in the atmosphere.

  • Avatar

    John Nicol

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    I can’t ever remember reading a longer list of pieces of physics which the main author and most of the commentators totally misunderstand. At ground level, the energy of the air molecules is
    1. Kinetic energy and
    2.Potential energy represented by the attraction between molecules.
    3. An arbitrarily defined zero energy in the gravitational field.
    The potential energy related to gravity is arbitrarily set to zero, although if a molecule of oxygen, say, moves to the bottom of a mine shaft, it will do so while converting a gravitational “potential” energy into kinetic energy.
    At ground level, the pressure of the atmosphere of 100,000 Pascals (Newtons per metre squared) corresponds to the total force per square metre of the total mass of air above – effectively to about 100 km – theoretically going out to an infinite distance from the earth (if we draw a VERY long bow!) As we go upwards, this mass of air is reduced and so is the air pressure commensurately. As the molecules rise, they exchange part of their kinetic energy – which drives them upwards because of their intrinsic velocity – for the potential energies of gravity and intermolecular attraction. The change in kinetic energy, kDelta – T = mgDelta – h + the loss due to the attractive fields of its fellow molecules which are proportional to r^-3 where r is the average varying distance between pairs of molecules. m is the mass of the molecule. {At 5,000 metres, for instance, a molecule of Oxygen with initial kinetic energy of kT = 1.3810^-23 x 290 K = 4 x 10^-21 J and of mass 32 x 1.610^-27 kg, loses energy of 5000 x 32 x 1.6*10^-27 x 9.8 =2.5 x 10^-21 J to gravity and potentially more through expansion under the attractive force between all molecules in the sample.
    So the kinetic energy of all of the molecules in a rising air mass is reduced and their potential energy increases. When the air mass returns to Earth during the process of normal circulation to cooler climes, the potential energy is re-converted back to kinetic energy and the air warms its environment which is why the temperature at the North Pole does not get down close to 0 K.
    In many cases, of course, the loss of energy is much smaller than the original kinetic energy of the molecules in a ground heated gas. In this case it may rise to be replaced by an influx of cooler air, in which case a temperature inversion appears which may persist to significant heights but will eventually be replaced as the temperature of the molecules falls below that of the temperature on the ground. John Nicol, PhD (Physics) having also spent 30 years working in gas spectroscopy.

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    John Nicol

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    Well said TL Winslow. I can’t ever remember reading a longer list of pieces of physics which the main author and most of the commentators totally misunderstand. I believe that Winslow feels the same. At ground level, the energy of the air molecules is
    1. Kinetic energy and
    2.Potential energy represented by the attraction between molecules.
    3. An arbitrarily defined zero energy in the gravitational field.
    The potential energy related to gravity is arbitrarily set to zero, although if a molecule of oxygen, say, moves to the bottom of a mine shaft, it will do so while converting a gravitational “potential” energy into kinetic energy.
    At ground level, the pressure of the atmosphere of 100,000 Pascals (Newtons per metre squared) corresponds to the total force per square metre of the total mass of air above – effectively to about 100 km – theoretically going out to an infinite distance from the earth (if we draw a VERY long bow!) As we go upwards, this mass of air is reduced and so is the air pressure commensurately. As the molecules rise, they exchange part of their kinetic energy – which drives them upwards because of their intrinsic velocity – for the potential energies of gravity and intermolecular attraction. The change in kinetic energy, kDelta – T = mgDelta – h + the loss due to the attractive fields of its fellow molecules which are proportional to r^-3 where r is the average varying distance between pairs of molecules. m is the mass of the molecule. {At 5,000 metres, for instance, a molecule of Oxygen with initial kinetic energy of kT = 1.3810^-23 x 290 K = 4 x 10^-21 J and of mass 32 x 1.610^-27 kg, loses energy of 5000 x 32 x 1.6*10^-27 x 9.8 =2.5 x 10^-21 J to gravity and potentially more through expansion under the attractive force between all molecules in the sample.
    So the kinetic energy of all of the molecules in a rising air mass is reduced and their potential energy increases. When the air mass returns to Earth during the process of normal circulation to cooler climes, the potential energy is re-converted back to kinetic energy and the air warms its environment which is why the temperature at the North Pole does not get down close to 0 K.
    In many cases, of course, the loss of energy is much smaller than the original kinetic energy of the molecules in a ground heated gas. In this case it may rise to be replaced by an influx of cooler air, in which case a temperature inversion appears which may persist to significant heights but will eventually be replaced as the temperature of the molecules falls below that of the temperature on the ground. John Nicol, PhD (Physics) having also spent 30 years working in gas spectroscopy.

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      CD Marshall

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      “In simple terms, the reason is that the intensity of sunlight reaching the surface of the earth at midday in the tropics at a point directly below the sun, has a value of 957.6 Watts per square metre (Wm ).”
      Is that from you?

      I have calculated (thanks to the hard work of others), that the thermal conversion at the Equatorial Zenith is only around 34% of the potential energy. The average temps being around 30 Celsius. Quite frankly I thought I was wrong is estimating around 960 W/m^2 at the Equator I mean where is all the rest of that energy going? The full potential of that temperature would be around 87.57 Celsius (360.7 Kelvin).

      I know the oceans store an enormous amount of energy at the Equator but that is still a lot of energy that is going somewhere.

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        Zoe Phin

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        Chris,
        You can’t use an albedo of 0.3.
        You need to use an albedo that tells you what reaches the surface.

        I explain that here:
        http://phzoe.com/2020/02/25/deducing-geothermal/

        The actual albedo-to-the-surface is 0.52

        The peak insolation is therefore
        1352 * 0.48 = 653.28 W/m^2 => 54.48C

        https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/highest-recorded-temperature/

        Record is a little higher, but that’s just because my albedo-to-surface is a global average, not a local value.

        I hope that helps.

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          CD Marshall

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          Something seems to be missing Zoe in general on everyone’s calculations and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

          Not all energy is going to raise temperature and therefore the kinetic temperature will not reflect energy in (obviously to most of you).

          Lower energy bosons (in this case photons) can stack w/o increasing energy (also should be obvious to most of you) and we are in a Brightening Stage overall on the planet aside from the pollution of Southern Asia. Less clouds, cleaner air from less atmospheric particles equates more surface irradiation especially at the Equator but not all of that energy is converting into a rise in local equatorial temperatures.

          However and this is where my lack of science skills show, the correlation between % of total sunlight per longitude and latitude does not add up.

          Some fine gents did some calculations on CERES and their per cell average (Hadley, Ferrel and Polar) do not add up to total solar input for those regions.

          https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334480358_Calibrating_the_CERES_Image_of_the_Earth's_Radiant_Emission_to_Space

          I did do a few real time calculations (crude math) using each cell % to average out a global standard temperature and it does work out between 13-18C but it changes constantly and is a headache and only valid in the moment you are doing the calculations.

          Regional albedo would certainly be a variable and only regional average temperatures are a real reflection of anything using near real time and separating real solar input in near real time which obviously shines on only half the Earth in real time.

          Differential calculus seems a valid approach to me to figure that part out.

          Cheers

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            Zoe Phin

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            I don’t understand what you’re doing. The reference you provide just tells you the outgoing IR.

            Outgoing IR = Geothermal + Net Solar – (Latent Heat + Sensible Heat)

            The alone is not enough, especially on Venus.

            And no, the mass of the atmosphere does not make the surface warmer.

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            Zoe Phin

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            The SUN alone is not enough, especially on Venus.

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            Zoe Phin

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            Uhuh, Venus can be a ball of lava, but Earth is a dead rock?

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            CD Marshall

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            “And no, the mass of the atmosphere does not make the surface warmer.”

            Not a believer in auto compression anymore well, okay?

            That AP on Venus does contribute to its temperature and unlike Earth, Venus has a thin crust and over a million volcanoes on its surface. In retrospect Venus is quite cool compared to its potential temperature and on Venus yes, the Sun has little to do with the temperature its mostly all pressure and geothermal.

            I don’t disagree that geothermal has a part to play on the Earth but in the order of magnitude you are referring to…

            I can’t say its not true but I can’t say it is true either. Out of my field of knowledge either way to be honest.

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            CD Marshall

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            Ha ha my spine could really use some decompression about now.

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      Herb Rose

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      Hi John,
      All your theory is based on the belief that a thermometer gives an accurate indication of the kinetic energy of molecules. Exactly how does a thermometer know whether the energy it receives come from one large molecule or several small molecules, or if it comes from a low velocity high mass molecule or a low mass high velocity molecule? I must assume you don’t believe in the universal gas law (The pressure confining the atmosphere is gravity not atmospheric pressure) and have some explanation how “cold” can overcome the bond between oxygen atoms creating the oxygen atoms that present in the high atmosphere.
      Herb

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    Lloyd

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    Please explain what the Sun’s radiation does to our atmosphere versus possible heat bubbling up from the interior of the Earth (geysers, volcanoes, etc.} Also, bodies of water seem to help heat retention at night. So all these constant arguments about what heat transfer really means just confuse the basic information all of us great unwashed just want.

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    Jonas

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    i think you have a very important point about thermometers. What is really the equilibrium condition for a gas – solid system (the thermometer) ? I have not found that “equation” in my books.
    Seems to me as if the gas density should be a factor – not only the average energy of the gas molecules.
    If you push it to the extreme – one gas molecule in a big vaccum. I think the termometer should show 0K (due to radiation losses), not a temperature corresponding to the average speed of that single molecule.

    Maybee there is a good explanation (that I have not found)

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      jerry krause

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      Hi Jonas,

      When at night, no solar radiation, you hang a convention thermometer from a tree and ‘read’ its temperature with the light of flashlight, what do you see? I see a temperature scale and beside the scale I see something which indicates the temperature is according to this scale. And this something I see does not seem to move rapidly, or even slowly, relative to the stationary scale. I and others term this a steady state condition. I can put my hand briefly on the bulb of the thermometer and the something moves and when it quickly returns to the same scale position as previous, I must conclude that the thermometer is in thermal equilibrium which the atmosphere. Otherwise, why do you, Herb, and I ever pretend to measure this phenomenon we call temperature?

      Have a good day, Jerry

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    geran

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    That’s correct, Jonas. You have to know how to use any device, or the results won’t be very good.

    An airplane can fly safely, but not if the pilot does not know how to fly.

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    Kevin Doyle

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    Lots of you ‘smart’ people here need a grounding in reality. Sun shines. Earth at mid-day receives about 960 watts/sq-meter on a flat pancake. Dispersed over half of the globe surface, 480 watts/sq-m would warm the surface to about 30 degrees C. What is the surface temperature of the oceans between 30 deg North and 30 deg South? Answer: 26-28 degrees Celsius.
    Interesting coincidence…

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      Zoe Phin

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      “Dispersed over half of the globe surface, 480 watts/sq-m would warm the surface to about 30 degrees C.”

      Yes, for ~12 hours. Then you have no energy for the following 12 hours of night.

      “Earth at mid-day receives about 960 watts/sq-meter on a flat pancake. ”

      Based on an albedo of 0.3
      The actual albedo-to-the-surface is ~0.52

      http://phzoe.com/2020/02/25/deducing-geothermal/

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        geran

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        Geothermal is 90 milliwatts, Zoe.

        Face reality.

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          geran

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          So as not to confuse….that was meant to be 90 milliwatts/m^2.

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          Zoe Phin

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          Geran, you so silly.

          The m^2 in geothermal heat flux is not emission through a surface area (A).

          The m^2 comes from components k and L. L is at a 90 degree angle to A.

          By analogy what you’re saying that the amount of rain fall on a roof is determined by the roof material and building height. It’s insanely stupid.

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            geran

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            Wrong again, Zoe. The 90 mW/m^2 is after taking into account k and L.

            In terms you might be able to understand, it’s like when you take cookies out of the oven. If you did everything right, they’re done.

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            Zoe Phin

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            k and L has nothing to do with A, stupid.

            The heat flux through the cookies will approach zero, and this has nothing to do with what it can emit, which is based on edge temperature.

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            geran

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            Wrong again, Zoe.

            The heat flux continues. That’s why you have to let the cookies cool.

            I hope your cookies are better than your physics….

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            CD Marshall

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            Actually because of retained heat if you don’t let the cookies out in time they will be overdone.

            If the cookies are “done” in the oven they will be overdone by the time they cool unless you can save them by tossing them in the freezer in time.

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            Zoe Phin

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            “That’s why you have to let the cookies cool.”

            You’re messing up the analogy.

            If the oven is an analogy for geothermal, you’re never taking the cookies out.

            But even if you take the cookies out, it will equilibrate with the room temperature, i.e. heat flux = 0.

            Just because heat flux = 0, doesn’t mean an IR thermometer won’t tell you the cookie has temperature, i.e. emission is not ZERO.

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