This article marks, not a further advance in the general understanding, per se, but a correction in my own. I hope it will allow those who have previously rejected my attempted correction of climate science to finally begin to see the basic physical truth I have been trying to get across for over a year. And I hope those who have recognized that truth, and defended me, will not be dismayed by my admission of error, but see it as I do, as the light dawning ever clearer and brighter upon that truth.
Throughout the nearly 16 months since my Venus/Earth comparison showed that the ratio of the temperatures in the atmospheres of the two planets, over the range of Earth tropospheric pressures, was essentially a constant independent of the pressure, and in fact was precisely explained by the ratio of their distances from the Sun, I have continually stressed the need to focus upon that fact. I will continue to do so, and stress that this fact is the definitive key to correcting climate science.
However, my path to uncovering that fact contains two separate analyses, which I have incorrectly combined, for one of them contains a fundamental error (though not a fatal one, as so many think). Others have pounced upon that error to dismiss both analyses, and they are right to pounce, but wrong to pounce on both--or upon my deductions concerning the fundamental warming of the atmosphere. So the public may consider all of us to be incompetent (and that is just my larger thesis anyway), for bringing wrong science into the public debate. This is not entirely fair, since we skeptics were and are right to confront publicly what we see as an incompetent consensus, being foisted in the most egregious way upon the public. Nevertheless, no one has had all the answers (and this, too, I have consistently emphasized), and no one has yet gotten completely or consistently right, all the physics used to "explain" temperatures in the Earth-plus-atmosphere system.
The two lines of reasoning I wrongly combined were the following:
1) That the Earth-plus-atmosphere system can be replaced by a blackbody, even though that system reflects a substantial portion of the solar radiation incident upon it from the Sun, while a blackbody absorbs all of the radiation incident upon it. That is, as I now see it, a false proposition, but it was consistent with my early physics education, as I remembered it, and, amazingly, it was apparently and spectacularly confirmed by:
2) The fact I started this article with--that, despite the quite different fractions of incident solar radiation reflected by Venus and Earth, their temperature ratio affirms, positively and undeniably, that they both absorb the same portion of the incident solar radiation.
The question immediately presents itself: How can two systems reflect different fractions of the incident solar radiation, yet absorb the same fraction, as logically implied by their atmospheric temperatures? This has always niggled at my mind, but the definitive fact (2) above was so obviously right, and explained so much, that I knew I had to emphasize it, against all criticisms. And I was right to do so, as I was led by the sure fact to the right physical explanation. Nevertheless, I was wrong about (1) above, and I have only just last night finally and fully separated the two statements above from each other--for they are logically independent of each other (the second one being an empirical fact). We have all been focused upon using the blackbody formula directly and naively, in the first place, by the consensus's emphasis, and misuse, of it.
Those who want to dismiss me say, effectively, that the two systems cannot reflect different fractions, yet absorb the same fraction, and since I am wrong about (1) above, my "fact" (2) must also be wrong, and my quantitative findings just a coincidence, or coincidence-squared (since I didn't consciously "make up" my own rules concerning blackbodies, but merely followed what I understood from my early physics education, to obtain those quantitative findings, and those findings stand on their own, as empirical facts, no matter how I came to get them--and claims of "coincidence" aside, consensus theory cannot explain those facts either).
But I say, I have already explained physically how two planet-with-atmosphere systems can reflect different fractions, yet apparently absorb the same fraction: Only the two planetary surfaces absorb different fractions, while the atmospheres above those surfaces absorb the same fraction. Then the temperature lapse rate of the atmosphere, acting as the heat-governor of the system, allows vertical heat transport from the surface to pass through the atmosphere to outer space, without heating the atmosphere further (that is, without changing the vertical lapse rate, or the global mean atmospheric temperature), while also allowing the horizontal heat transport that acts to smooth out variations in the heating (primarily due to the difference between day and night, as well as latitudinal and seasonal variations).
So, my present position is that the atmosphere (warmed independently of any surface warming) allows the planet-plus-atmosphere system, with its unique atmospheric thermal governor, to mimic a blackbody, by making the albedo irrelevant. It does this so well, that my calculation of the "true energy balance" of the system confirmed the naive blackbody temperature of 279K, rather than the 255K of the consensus. I cannot explain, at this time, why the system appears to be at the blackbody temperature of 279K so well, in my calculation; it is just another reason why I thought the system "was" a blackbody.
The above explanation of the fundamental warming of the atmosphere is the only way I know to make sense of the facts, and it also explains the seemingly insoluble conundrum that has split skeptics of the consensus so fundamentally, and lies at the heart of the false science of the consensus: How to use the Stefan-Boltzmann blackbody formula properly to explain atmospheric warming. (The consensus is wrong, because it essentially adds supposed "blackbody radiation from the surface" onto the real energy supplied by the Sun, and thus has to postulate "back radiation" to balance it out.) Through a wrong understanding, I nevertheless uncovered the definitive facts, and have now shown how I was right, in my physical interpretation, even though I was partially, and fundamentally, wrong in my initial assumptions. I don't expect those who have determinedly dismissed me to respond as dispassionate scientists, interested only in the truth, but I am content with having recognized the truth when I found it, and focused upon the definitive facts as well as I did (in an insane debate environment).
And I still think, given how naturally and easily I did my Venus/Earth analysis, it should have been done 20 years ago--or someone should simply have studied the data, and noted that the Venus/Earth temperature ratio, at Earth tropospheric pressures, does, in fact, depend only upon the ratio of their distances from the Sun. A generation of climate science was wasted on politicization of patently false theory.
I encourage everyone to face and throw off their errors (and thus, retract the consensus, all you climate scientists). It is simply a liberating experience for the mind--but it takes some intestinal fortitude to be unflinchingly honest, even for one who has been nearly universally dismissed, and has little to lose by coming clean. Here I am, human (big surprise).
By the way, for those who still think the Earth-plus-atmosphere system is equivalent to a blackbody, what changed my mind was considering, for the umpteenth time (in the "still of the night"), and this time seeing it clearly, the following: Two billiard balls, one black and one white, placed in space the same distance from the Sun (and both subject basically only to the radiation from the Sun). Drawing an imaginary "blackbody" sphere just outside of each, according to my original prescription, would predict the same temperature for both balls. But in fact, the white ball does not absorb all the radiation that the black ball does, so they cannot attain the same temperature. So my prescription is false--except, strangely, when you add an atmosphere, then it gives you startling new insight into the real, fundamental physics. Again, the only thing that saved that prescription from failing, in comparing the Venus and Earth atmospheres, is that the atmospheres are both warmed by the same fraction of the incident solar energy, not by the total non-reflected fraction of that energy, and the atmospheres are fundamentally structured to shrug off "extra" heat from the surface, upwards along the governing temperature gradient.
So a proper presentation of my Venus/Earth comparison is to HYPOTHESIZE that the two atmospheres are both warmed by direct absorption of the same fraction of the incident solar radiation--and then note that the results precisely confirm that hypothesis. Or science can just celebrate another great moment of "true discovery from mistaken premise" (and I would also suggest, my higher mind must have known better than me, and guided me--by the most direct way possible in the current, universally dismissive, intellectual atmosphere--to the truth).