The blogosphere continues to waste time on vain, incompetent climate debate on the part of non-experts, due to the failure of "expert" climate science, most recently on the WUWT site. The three most pernicious and most basic misunderstandings that plague such debates, especially among the consensus "experts", as brought to light by my Venus/Earth comparison, are:
1) Equating the "greenhouse effect" with the atmospheric absorption of infrared radiation. The latter is a physical reality, but the former is an hypothesis. When believers (and that is the only proper term for them, "believers") in the greenhouse effect go through their calculation that purports to prove that the "greenhouse effect" is responsible for warming the surface by 33°C, above what it would otherwise be, they are really (and rather obviously) arguing that the PRESENCE OF AN ATMOSPHERE is responsible for that added surface warming. But the real question is, and always has been, how is the atmosphere warmed, not how is the surface warmed by the Sun and THEN how does the surface warm the atmosphere? The unquestioned assumption of the latter question is what drives the nearly universal belief that planetary albedo affects the atmospheric temperature, which greenhouse believers use to incompetently dismiss my definitive factual findings.
2) Believing (again that word) that the atmosphere is warmed by heat from a warmed planetary surface, rather than by direct absorption of radiation from the Sun. This, in spite of the fact that even among consensus climate scientists, it is generally understood that at least 15% of the incident solar radiation is directly absorbed by the atmosphere. So, when pressed, they will admit that the atmosphere is partly warmed by direct absorption of solar radiation, and partly by heat from the surface (by both surface-emitted radiation and by convection and conduction). And so the complications begin to multiply for them, and for anyone trying to follow their explanations. The only reason they believe that the surface warms the atmosphere is because it is warmer than the atmosphere, so heat must flow upward from the surface and they cannot imagine that upward heat flow does not further warm the atmosphere. And they are right, in a limited sense: Heat from the surface can and does warm a part of the atmosphere -- but only transiently and locally (as within a temporary, rising column of warm air, or within a few meters of a "hot spot" surface, such as a fire or urban pavement). They fail to keep in mind that the general atmospheric temperature gradient, from surface to top of troposphere, is well explained by the vertical pressure distribution due to the weight of the atmosphere itself (in the governing hydrostatic condition of the atmosphere, the pressure at a given altitude is due to the weight of the atmosphere above that altitude, and the temperature necessarily increases with the pressure). There is no need to hypothesize a general atmospheric warming by surface heating, but it is an ingrained, unquestioned belief today among most scientists, and thus among their followers. And of course, my Venus/Earth comparison now makes it obvious that the atmosphere is fundamentally warmed ONLY by DIRECT absorption of incident solar radiation, specifically a portion of the infrared solar radiation (and the same portion, for both Earth and Venus). Since the visible portion of the Sun's radiation is not responsible for warming the atmosphere, the fact that Venus reflects 70% of the visible light from the Sun while Earth reflects only 30%, makes no difference in the warming of their atmospheres, and thus there is no albedo effect in the observed Venus/Earth temperature ratio, in my simple comparison.
3) Believing that the surface of the Earth is a blackbody. In the words of (for example) Raymond Pierrrehumbert, "The ground below the atmosphere emits as an ideal blackbody, characterized by the Planck function B." This belief underpins the radiative transfer theory and those who interpret the spectra of radiation emitted upwards from the top of the tropopause as "proof" of the greenhouse effect. The fact is, those spectra merely show the PRESENCE of water vapor, carbon dioxide and the other infrared-active gases in the atmosphere, and measured variations of those spectra over time can show the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- but they do NOT show increased atmospheric warming due to the increase in carbon dioxide, that is merely an unsupported assumption (particularly during the periods, such as 1940-1970 and the last decade or so, when the carbon dioxide has increased substantially, but the global average surface temperature has not increased at all, or even gone down, so that the assumption is not just unsupported, but positively invalidated). The question everyone should ask themselves is, is there any reason to believe that upward heat transport (including by absorption and emission of "upwelling" infrared radiation), along a temperature gradient governed solely by the hydrostatic distribution of pressure, will actually further heat the atmosphere; currently, in the present childish "scientific" debates, almost everyone laughs and says, "of course", but the real, factual answer, again provided by my Venus/Earth comparison, is "NO". In the absence of a change in the intensity of incident solar radiation, the temperatures at the top and bottom of the troposphere are held constant (as indicated by the empirically-determined Standard Atmosphere, which is confirmed by my Venus/Earth analysis), and increasing carbon dioxide or water vapor can only increase the efficiency, or speed, with which local temperature variations are dissipated by heat transfer, both vertically and around the planet (the temperature on Venus's dark side is just as hot as on the sunlit side, due, I claim, to the nearly pure carbon dioxide atmosphere there).
Monday, December 26, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Recently, my earlier post, "Blackbody: The Key Error in Climate Science", was attacked by Christopher Monckton (a widely-known "lukewarm" believer in the consensus greenhouse effect), on Jo Nova's site. I became aware of this about a day later, but since I had not been contacted by anyone (in particular, either Jo Nova or Monckton) to participate, and no one had submitted any comments about it to my "Blackbody..." page, I did not, and will not now, go there to respond. I generally only answer comments made directly to the relevant posts on my own site, or e-mailed to me at email@example.com. I will just say here that Monckton's points (which I came across during a casual internet browsing session just now, some four days after their posting) are scientifically and logically empty, merely consensus dogma sprayed forth without even noting that my blackbody claims are confirmed by my earlier Venus/Earth analysis, which used my understanding of the proper use of the blackbody equation. His detailed attack (which I, rather obviously, consider simply wrong in its basic blackbody assertions, and wrong-headed in its use of consensus theory) adds up merely to saying that my factual finding -- that the Venus/Earth temperature ratio, over the range of Earth tropospheric pressures (particularly outside of the thick cloud layer on Venus), is precisely and solely explained by the ratio of the two planets' distances from the Sun (and nothing else) -- is only an amazing coincidence. This is of course pathetic, on the part of a supposed "expert". Mr. Monckton, you have not explained my (yes, amazing) results with your irrelevant theoretical cant; you are miseducated, and incompetent in neglecting the factual results of my Venus/Earth analysis (you merely misdirected attention from them -- even Jo Nova had just enough integrity to quote from my blackbody article, "This of course was confirmed in my previous Venus/Earth analysis..."). In your attack upon me, you accomplished nothing real; you merely pontificated before an audience that accepts everything you say as gospel. There is no greenhouse effect as promulgated by you and the consensus, and your supposed expert knowledge about using the blackbody equation is worth precisely nothing, against the facts I have brought forward in my Venus/Earth analysis. Your loyal followers are ill-served by your dogmatic defense of the greenhouse effect, against those definitive facts.