Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Unified Climate Theory" III

The tallbloke climate site appears to have warmly (and all too quickly) embraced the "Unified Climate Theory" of Nikolov and Zeller. Here I offer my physical understanding, and my reasons for rejecting that theory, even though it supports my Venus/Earth analysis, and appears, to many commenters, to extend my findings to other planetary bodies in the solar system.

Among the many comments at the tallbloke site, are the following:

Stephen Wilde wrote: "If temperature is set by pressure and solar input then in the end the effects of both volcanoes and GHGs [greenhouse gases, esp. carbon dioxide] must be neutral unless they affect total atmospheric mass."

and tallbloke wrote: "quite a lot of the Sun’s energy is directly absorbed in the atmosphere"

These observations basically follow from my Venus/Earth temperature comparison, and I have emphasized for more than a year, not only that the Venus/Earth temperature ratio, at points of equal pressure over the range of Earth tropospheric pressures, depends only upon the planets' distances from the Sun, but also (and Nikolov & Zeller have not said this) that the atmosphere is fundamentally warmed by direct absorption of incident solar infrared radiation, as tallbloke seems to understand (although his statement is evasive about making my point, contenting himself with saying only "quite a lot" of the Sun's energy is directly absorbed).

Stephen Wilde is right about the effect of increased GHGs being neutral, that is neither warming nor cooling, because from my Venus/Earth analysis, the temperature at any given pressure in the troposphere depends only on its position within the lapse rate structure (physically, due to the weight of the atmosphere above, pressing down on that level) and the solar input. It does not depend upon the composition of the atmosphere (how much of GHGs there are), nor even upon the planetary albedo. It should be noted that every pressure level is receiving energy (during the daylight hours) by direct absorption of solar radiation (so we are not talking about a temperature lapse rate appearing spontaneously, out of nowhere, or from pressure differences alone, without energy input from the Sun--OR EVEN FROM VERTICAL CONVECTION, as defenders of the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect claim; but, no matter how it is formed, it dominates over all other processes to govern the temperatures, because my Venus/Earth temperature comparison confirms the Standard Atmosphere, with its lapse rate, as the stable thermodynamic state of the atmosphere). Even before performing my simple analysis of Venus and Earth, I deduced from the most basic understanding of heat transfer, that GHGs cannot either trap heat or slow down its transport within the atmosphere; increasing their concentration in the atmosphere can only speed up heat transport, by providing a greater radiation path for it (in addition to whatever convection and conduction is going on). One of my blog readers insightfully likened the effect as that of a "lubricant" for heat transport, rather than a "furnace" producing more heat (or a refrigerator producing more cooling, for that matter). So increasing the amount of carbon dioxide neither warms nor cools, it only quickens the re-attainment of the physically dominant lapse rate structure, which the atmosphere is always trying to do.

But Wilde is not necessarily right about volcanoes having no effect, as my Venus/Earth comparison shows there is a further effect, within the clouds of Venus, and presumably in the clouds on other planets, amounting to about 5K cooling below the temperature predicted by the lapse rate structure itself. I found the same modest temperature effect (7K) for Titan (which has a particulate haze, rather than water-based clouds, throughout its troposphere), and pointed it out in my observations on the "Unified Climate Theory", here and here.

So there is good reason to think that Nikolov and Zeller's "Theory", which is really only an arbitrary fitting of planetary data to a (rather extreme) mathematical form of their own devising, is hiding a real, although modest (5-7K), physical effect--a cooling effect--upon the temperature inside clouds and haze alike.

More telling than the hiding of that clear physical effect by the "Unified Climate Theory", however, and indeed more outrageous, is the shape of their NTE function. They tried to give that function some physical support by comparing its shape to that of the Poisson formula for temperature as a function of pressure, but it should be noted (using their own Figure 5) that their NTE function WOULD APPEAR TO BE USELESS for calculating the surface temperature of 5 of the 8 planetary bodies they considered, as all of those 5 bodies (Mercury, Moon, Mars, Europa, and Triton) have practically zero surface pressure, while their surface temperatures vary greatly (in other words, the NTE function is a vertical straight line, at a surface pressure of zero, in their Figure 5). Yet they claim, in their Table 1, perfect prediction of the surface temperatures of 2 of those 5 bodies (Mars and Europa), and near perfect prediction of another (Triton). It is my understanding, in the case of Mars, that its surface temperature varies widely, one would presume precisely because its pressure is so low, thus unstable. Even if their data and calculations are correct in this, this unphysical result explains the extreme form of their NTE function; and the extreme accuracy of their predicted temperatures cannot possibly be true. And sure enough, if one checks their values for the OBSERVED surface temperatures, one finds they claim to know every one of those temperatures to within 0.1K! I do not hesitate to call this delusionary.

So I reject the "Unified Climate Theory", as it now stands, just as I reject the consensus greenhouse effect, as unphysical and incompetent. There is no physical insight in it, that is not already in my Venus/Earth analysis.


  1. Hi Harry,

    I think both you and N&Z are pushing the cart in the general direction of home, so there's no need for me to take sides other than my own while being supportive of both you and N&Z.
    You said:
    "the atmosphere is fundamentally warmed by direct absorption of incident solar infrared radiation, as tallbloke seems to understand (although his statement is evasive about making my point, contenting himself with saying only "quite a lot" of the Sun's energy is directly absorbed)".

    According to NASA Earth's atmosphere and clouds absorb 19% of incoming solar radiation and the land and oceans absorb 51%. There is a very different situation on Venus I know.

    One fifth is quite a lot but it's a lot less than half.

    Radiative models of Earth's clouds have a ~30w/m^2 deficiency in estimating their capacity to absorb energy. This may be due to fundamentally flawed physics around the issues of forward propagation and Mie scattering. But let's not allow mere details to spoilt the party for now.

  2. Good Day, tallbloke,

    I will separate my response into two parts.

    The reason I say that the atmosphere is fundamentally warmed by direct absorption of incident solar radiation is NOT because it is said that some percentage of that radiation is directly absorbed by the atmosphere (at this stage, the exact percentage means nothing). I say it through logical necessity--that is, because of the logical consequences of my Venus/Earth findings. I recommend that you read my second response to biocab in the comments on my "Venus: No Greenhouse Effect post, but I will restate my logic here.

    The main physical interpretation of my Venus/Earth findings is this: The portion of the incident solar radiation that goes to warm the Earth's atmosphere must be the SAME portion, exactly, that warms the Venus atmosphere; that is the only way their temperature ratio can be due only to the ratio of their distances from the Sun (see my answer to biocab on this point). Using your stated number, then: If 19% of the Sun's radiation goes to warm Earth's atmosphere, that same 19% must be what warms Venus's atmosphere as well.

    That (Venus and Earth)-atmosphere-warming portion of the solar radiation cannot include the visible wavelengths, because the two planets reflect quite different fractions of the visible light (30% for Earth, 70% for Venus, approximately); this of course just says the difference in planetary albedo means nothing, in the warming of the two atmospheres. As I see it, it also cannot include any IR radiation that makes it to the surface and is absorbed there, and that heat then added to the atmosphere, because the Earth is 70% ocean, while Venus is all solid crust, and the two surfaces would absorb different fractions of any such IR that makes it to the surface--again, destroying that "common warming portion" that we know must exist. That portion CAN include any IR that makes it to the surface and is simply reflected, unchanged, back into the atmosphere and absorbed there, but that is no different than saying such IR is directly absorbed by the atmosphere. This is my simple physical understanding of what my Venus/Earth comparison shows.

  3. tallbloke,

    Now as for your still supporting the "Unified Climate Theory", after reading my (and no doubt others') strong criticisms of it, consider this as well: Their invention of "atmospheric thermal enhancement" (ATE), as if it were a new idea,when it is just the hydrostatic lapse rate structure known to generations of scientists, is really just a way to avoid having to confront the basic error in climate science, of considering the surface of the Earth a blackbody (or even a "gray body" with an added atmosphere). Formulating the "greenhouse effect" in terms of "surface temperature with and without an atmosphere" (when we all know it is really "increasing atmospheric temperature with increasing carbon dioxide"), is just framing the problem (naively, it turns out) in terms of the radiative transfer theory, which is taken to be "settled science" (though my Venus/Earth comparison shows it is obviously wrong; there is NO greenhouse effect, of global warming due to increasing carbon dioxide, although it is indicated by the theory). The "Unified Climate Theory" of Nikolov and Zeller dutifully follows this framing, which leads either to "radiative forcings" in the consensus theory of global warming, or "atmospheric thermal enhancement", also known as "pressure-induced thermal enhancement" (PTE), in Nikolov and Zeller's theory. Both are bogus science (as well illustrated by the Kiehl-Trenberth energy budget diagram, for the consensus, depicting clear violation of energy conservation, and N&K's strong attraction for statements like, "empirical evidence indicates that the lower atmosphere contains more kinetic energy than provided by the Sun" and "the atmosphere does not act as a ‘blanket’..., but is in and of itself a source of extra energy through pressure", both of which are FALSE). It is instead just the lapse rate, as in the long-known Standard Atmosphere, and direct absorption of incoming solar radiation. While N&K get so far in their thinking as to claim, "This makes the GH Effect a thermodynamic phenomenon, not a radiative one as presently assumed!", in truth they are using the same false definition of the greenhouse effect as does the consensus, and are not able to break from the radiative transfer theory and its fundamental error, of missing the true thermodynamics of the atmosphere completely.

    1. Hi Harry,
      I'm supportive of both your work and N&Z's work, but this does not mean I'm wedded to either. I have my own understanding. Ned Nikolov agreed with me that his "extra energy" phraseology was a poor choice of wording. I reformulated it in a way he was happy with, and here it is:

      "The extra warmth or ATE observed at the surface of Earth or Venus compared to an airless planet is NOT a result of slowing down (or reducing) of the surface cooling by the atmosphere. It is because there is a bigger proportion of the total atmospheric kinetic energy nearer the surface due to the gravitationally induced pressure gradient in combination with solar heating"

      I don't feel ready to tackle your logic concerning the proportion of solar energy absorbed in the atmosphere (though I note the convection set up in shallow lakes by the solar heating of the dark bottom surface).

      I would very much like to see you and Ned debate the differences between your ideas together on my blog if you feel up to it. I'll re-publish your articles there first with your permission if you agree. I'm suggesting this because I think the differences aren't as great as first appeared, and could be ironed out with some clarification. It would be highly informative for contributors, and the wider public too. I hope you accept.

      Thanks for your consideration

      Rog tallbloke.

  4. tallbloke,

    Others deal in theories, I deal in definitive facts (and I am not a climate scientist, despite my insights from my Venus/Earth comparison and subsequent analysis). It is a fact that there has been no substantial rapprochement between the positions taken by alarmist greenhouse believers, "lukewarmers", and deniers of the consensus greenhouse effect, despite a constant debate, for years (certainly long before I came on the scene), and even despite my efforts to communicate just the definitive facts of the Venus/Earth comparison. It is a fact that Nikolov responded dismissively and illogically to my initial observations on his theory, although I tried to be entirely dispassionate, and logically clear and simple, in those observations. And I must emphasize how vain have been all the debates, and all the articles posted on all the blogs, to date; I can't even get the debaters to agree that the "greenhouse effect" is really "an increasing atmospheric temperature with increasing carbon dioxide", although that is what is being rammed down the public's throat, by all of our suborned institutions. I don't want to be part of just another vain, essentially incompetent, "debate" over theory. I want to end those sordid spectacles, with the definitive facts. I just want scientists (or the wider public) to face the definitive facts of my Venus/Earth comparison, and accept them as such, because I have far greater work to do, far more important knowledge to communicate.

    If you want to discuss this further, I suggest you e-mail me, at But I don't sense that a "debate" is what is needed here. The definitive facts need to be confronted, and accepted, before theory can be debated.

    1. Harry,
      This was Ned's most recent word on the matter:

      "I agree with you about the importance of Huffman’s work. As I said earlier, I’ll study his approach more up close next week."

      Give it a little time. I hope your 'facts' and their 'facts' can eventually be aligned in logical harmony .

      Best to you

      Rog tallbloke

  5. Good Morning, Roger,

    I appreciate your desire, and effort, to bring us together, and I agree more time is required (although not on my side, I'm afraid).

    ...but (with respect to definitive facts that need to be faced, and your own difficulty in doing so) I deduced nothing about the "proportion" or "amount" of solar energy absorbed by the atmosphere. I deduced something about the fraction of solar energy absorbed by the atmospheres of both Venus and Earth: They absorb the same fraction, and it is in the infrared. The amount they absorb is different, as the definitive fact is, Venus absorbs 1.91 times as much solar power as the earth (so its atmospheric temperature is 1.176 times that in Earth's atmosphere, at a given tropospheric pressure), because it is closer to the Sun (and not for any other reason).

    I am waiting to see that fact acknowledged as such by all, in all the debates.

    Harry Dale Huffman

  6. Harry;
    the "facts" are the temperature, insolation, and pressure measurements. As soon as you say "therefore" or "because", you are stating conclusions and hypotheses. It's unlikely you will get your deductions accepted as "facts" as a precondition of discussion, or even of consideration. It's a bridge too far, and too much of a "framing the debate" demand.

  7. Good Evening, Brian,

    I don't think you are a competent physicist, if you deny that what I told tallbloke was a definitive fact, is indeed a fact. Dogmatically refusing to consider as factual any statement that has a "therefore" or a "because" in it, is wrong-headed, and logically (and therefore scientifically) incompetent. The facts include not only a measurement (in this case, the Venus/Earth temperature ratio of 1.176, at pressures over the range of Earth tropospheric pressures), and the known effect of one of the provable causes of the measurement (the Sun, which by itself should make the temperature ratio 1.176), but also the logically necessary implications of the measurement and the known cause (the temperature ratio MUST be at least partly due to the planets' relative distances from the Sun, so if that known cause in fact entirely and precisely explains the temperature ratio, it MUST be the only cause for it). I know that most are logically timid when contradicting a seemingly overwhelming consensus, and I don't claim to have all the answers to questions raised by my Venus/Earth analysis, but when I know myself to be on solid ground--and I do here--I will not budge, even though it means not only denying the greenhouse effect, but also the radiative transfer theory that indicates that effect. The defenders of the consensus treat the radiative transfer theory, as applied in climate science, as fact, and so have managed to keep framing the greenhouse debate--incompetently, and perhaps fraudulently--in terms of "the surface temperature with and without an atmosphere" (while you and I both know that is NOT the greenhouse effect as promulgated by the IPCC and foisted upon the public as "settled science"). I am not framing the debate, I am re-framing it, taking it away from the incompetent consensus. Of course it is a bridge too far, for them, and no doubt for most critics of the consensus. But it is necessary for science. I would not even think of injecting myself into the debate, if I were not sure of my facts, especially considering my greater work, which is far more controversial (and much farther outside the comfort zone of other scientists) than is my greenhouse stand.

  8. I tend to agree with some of the points made by Harry.

    In particular I currently fail to see the difference between ATE and the Adiabatic Lapse Rate, I do see the atmosphere as slowing down the rate of energy loss to space and I don't see pressure as supplying any ADDITIONAL energy over and above that initially supplied by the sun.

    As regards volcanic activity I see the effect as being neutral over enough time because the atmospheric circulation restores the pre existing equilibrium after a while provided the volanic activity is not maintained.

    My basic position is that pressure alone dictates the slope of the adiabatic lapse rate, solar input alone affects the volume and height of the atmosphere and the Ideal Gas Law determines the surface temperature. The atmospheric circulation then reconfigures itself around the pressure induced lapse rate to keep the system stable.

    Whenever anything seeks to produce instability the air circulation alters to supply a negative system response.

    As to the details of the adjustment process they will depend on the individual features of each planet and atmosphere.

    I was put off Harry's work previously because I thought rightly or wrongly that he denied any greenhouse effect at all. However he seems only to deny the radiative GHE whilst accepting the pressure induced GHE (I think) which I agree with.

    I also thought he denied the thermal characteristics of GHGs but that seems to be incorrect too. I think (unless corrected) that Harry accepts those characteristics but like me he does not accept that they have any effect.

    I will be interested to see where all this leads.

    I want to see the N & Z figures firmed up and Harry's contentions more fully discussed.

    If either or both of Harry and N & Z are correct then a unified climate theory still needs to have my work on the behaviour of the atmosphere grafted onto it (IMHO).

  9. Harry, you might find this interesting from 2008:

    "Greenhouse Confusion Resolved"

    It seems to match your position quite closely although I should have been clearer about the effect of distance from the sun.

    Essentially I pointed out that the surface temperature is a consequence of atmospheric density (mass,gravity and pressure) plus solar input and nothing to do with atmospheric composition.

  10. Good Evening, Stephen,

    Once again, I do not have a theory, I just have what I consider the definitive facts for correcting climate science, particularly disproving the greenhouse effect, which I define (in agreement with how it is presented to the public) as an increase in atmospheric temperature with an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    This blog is not about comparing theories, because other blogs do that every day, and it has not brought about any improvement in the scientific conversation on climate science. I only posted on the "Unified Climate Theory" because I heard that it was being compared with my Venus/Earth findings, and was seen by many as extending my findings to other planetary bodies. But it doesn't do that, it only fits the surface temperature and surface pressure data of 8 such bodies to an arbitrary mathematical function, without any physical motivation; and, since it uses all the data to fit that function, it doesn't have any other data, from yet other planets or moons, to show that the function also fits them. This is called an ad hoc explanation, and it has no predictive value at all; having no physical motivation, it in fact has no scientific value at all.

    You and I are agreed that the "ATE" is really just the hydrostatic lapse rate structure (I consider the hydrostatic condition to be simpler to describe and understand than the "adiabatic" designation others use in explaining the lapse rate structure of the troposphere). We are also agreed that the Sun provides all the energy, and the pressure none, so I prefer to stick with my definition of the greenhouse effect, above, and deny its existence. I consider the radiative transfer theory wrong as it is currently applied, and see no reason to define the greenhouse effect as "the surface temperature with, versus without, an atmosphere". Everybody has to get beyond the latter, it is a trojan horse hiding bad physics.

    I don't see the sense in saying the pressure dictates the slope of the lapse rate, since the tropospheric lapse rate is a constant temperature "slope" over the entire RANGE of tropospheric pressures; that is, pressure is not a factor in defining the lapse rate at all (it is given in terms of the gravitational acceleration and the specific heat of the air). I would say the surface temperature is determined by the incident solar intensity and the tropospheric lapse rate, with the latter determined by the ideal gas law and the hydrostatic condition (which is how the Standard Atmosphere lapse rate is mathematically defined).

  11. Yes, I meant to say that gravity sets the slope rather than pressure so I agree with you.

    How to get it out into public knowledge, there is the problem.

  12. Thanks, Harry, for presenting the observational facts in a nice simple way that anyone can understand - no need for further discussion I think, this blows the science behind the IPCC consensus on climate out of the water!

    Regarding Steven's good point on communication, getting the information out via a celebrity would have impact. Lady Gaga would be a good choice for this as she enjoys being unconventional and has 18m Twitter followers and 36m Facebook fans.

    If she, or someone like her, could be enrolled as a messenger to get the facts in front of the public this would cause many ripples across the establishments media pond.


  13. Good Morning, Tenuc,

    Thank you.

    Those having suggestions for how to get my findings out to the public are welcome to e-mail me, at (although I reserve the right not to respond, of course, if it seems unwise). This blog is meant just to showcase my scientific findings, which I consider definitive for science now.

    The issue of "getting it out there" is a life's work in itself. I have learned not to force it, but to let it be known, wherever I see the reasonable possibility that I will be heeded.

  14. Harry,

    I do appreciate your continuous requirement to bring any theory back to verifiable facts and that is certainly necessary for science to progress. I also believe that your very clear Earth/Venus analysis is not incompatible with Nikolov and Zeller's Unified Theory of Climate. However, Nikolov and Zeller's work is a theory in its early stages and needs more work and verification to progress to anywhere near the status of the Standard Atmosphere has in explaining any part of the universe around us.

    I do think that it is inappropriate and incorrect to label Nikolov and Zeller with the "consensus" as you put it as they are arguing against the "consensus" as well. I also think that "AussieDan's" latest posting on the "Tallbloke's Talkshop" blog does very well in clearing up a lot of the misconceptions about the Unified Theory of Climate that are getting bandied about here and elsewhere.

    I would like to thank you for your clarity and candour.

  15. Truthseeker,

    Okay, I'll check out AussieDan's post. But, for the record and once again, I don't label Nikolov and Zeller as "consensus". I merely told tallbloke above, and I quote, "they are using the same false definition of the greenhouse effect as does the consensus, and are not able to break from the radiative transfer theory and its fundamental error, of missing the true thermodynamics of the atmosphere completely."

  16. I thought N & Z were arguing that the radiative greenhouse effect (if any) is an irrelevance against the thermal effects of pressure and solar irradiation.

    Very much as per the Standard Atmosphere concept.

    I have emailed Ned as follows:

    "I’d like to be able to explain to laypersons how the ATE of N & K differs from the Standard Atmosphere concept and the Adiabatic Lapse Rate. Any suggestions ?”

  17. Stephen,

    I see you are trying to be politic, and I appreciate your stamina against the tides of incompetence coming from all sides, it seems. I can only inform people of what I know to be the basic facts, and then I have to stay out of the vain debates, when I see I am not being heeded. I have done three posts on the subject, without any effect upon those who want to believe the "Unified Climate Theory".

    I checked out the "ausiedan" post that truthseeker referred to above. Tallbloke et al. are now in full protective mode with respect to the "Unified Climate Theory", convinced that it has withstood all criticisms (I even saw it called the "Ultimate Theory of Macroclimate", if my eyes did not deceive me--I didn't stay there long, it is too depressing). I saw your comment there, the same that you say you sent to Ned Nikolov. I would expect that, since he thoroughly believes in his theory, he will tell you that it extends my little Venus/Earth comparison and offers a more generally applicable formulation than the lapse rate structure alone.

    I confess that it seems elementary to me that his theory does no such thing. His function NTE is basically just an arbitrary mathematical description of the functional relationship he and Zeller found between surface temperature (divided by a constant, "universal gray body" temperature) and surface pressure. NTE was thus specifically formed to fit the surface temperatures and pressures of the eight bodies he considered, so to brag that it fits the surface temperatures and pressures of all of those bodies is a logically empty boast, not science at all. Willis Eschenbach tried to make the same criticism, but the newly-forming consensus on the tallbloke site simply refuses to see any criticism of the theory as sound.

    The most obvious way in which the "ATE" differs from the lapse rate structure is that it only deals with the surface temperature, not the temperature at different pressure levels in a given atmosphere. But, as I have tried to emphasize without success, it also defines the greenhouse effect the same way the radiative transfer theorists do, as the surface temperature with, versus without, an atmosphere.

  18. Nonetheless the N & Z proposition has given the issue a useful kick start.

    Over time it will become clear as to whether they have anything more to add to science than does the well established lapse rate structure for all planets with atmospheres.

    If it helps to get more minds realising that there is simply no need for that irrelevant radiative theory of the greenhouse effect then all well and good.

    Mind you, even within the concept of the Standard Atmosphere I believe there will be a climate consequence of more GHGs because the surface air pressure distribution in the form of the climate zones must shift in order to maintain the lapse rate structure.

    However, from human emissions such a shift would be miniscule and unmeasurable compared to natural solar and oceanic effects.

  19. Stephen,

    We are in a time of general scientific incompetence--else the academics would have done what I have done 20 years ago--and it may very well be that a wrong theory could tip the course of the debate where solid, but "outside the establishment" science, has not (so far). Maybe more people need to be proven wrong, before everyone finally sees that there is no expertise in climate science, that it is in fact a failed science (unless and until it accepts fundamental correction).

    But I am not about winning a debate, I am about informing of the truth. The truth is that the "establishment" will never accept the "Unified Climate Theory" on the basis of the NTE function, and it should not, because that function is not science at all. It is not even consistent for a physical equation, because it is a dimensionless ratio (Ts/Tgb) on one side, and a complicated function of pressure on the other. Nikolov and Zeller don't even seem to be aware that the Poisson formula with which they compare it, is just the temperature as a function of pressure for a diatomic ideal gas subject to the hydrostatic condition--they just call the resemblance of their NTE function to that formula, "striking". Again, if they just studied the physical derivation of the Standard Atmosphere equations a little, they would soon know that. But they would also thereby realize--I would hope--that their "ATE" is really just a reflection of the dominance of the hydrostatic lapse rate structure.

    In fact, that last statement was my initial assessment of their theory, when it was presented at WUWT. I submitted a comment then (on December 29, 2011), in which I made this assessment:

    "I look upon this article as an attempt to harmonize the radiation transfer theory with the real thermodynamics of the atmosphere, basically through application of the ideal gas law, but from my Venus/Earth findings ... I know this is in the end a vain attempt. This article is just a demonstration of the predominance of a governing hydrostatic vertical temperature lapse rate in sufficiently massive planetary atmospheres, in my opinion. That is something my Venus/Earth comparison already well indicates, and it boils down, in climate science, to saying 'The Standard Atmosphere model of Earth's atmosphere is THE equilibrium state of the atmosphere, and any and all deviations from it constitute the weather as we know it.'"

    I think my initial reaction was a good one, and I will stand by it.

  20. How does the surface temperature of our moon relate to the comparison between Earth and Venus please

  21. Good Morning, RKS,

    It doesn't. The Venus/Earth comparison is between the two atmospheres of those planets, specifically the temperatures at points of equal pressure in those two atmospheres (and only over the range of Earth tropospheric pressures). The Moon doesn't have an atmosphere. An improper focus upon the temperature at the surface of a planetary body, rather than upon the temperature as a function of atmospheric pressure, has been the hallmark of the radiative transfer theorists' approach to atmospheric warming. My Venus/Earth temperatures comparison demonstrates that approach is misdirected, that is, wrong-headed.

  22. If I have understood you correctly, Harry D.H., then one of your contentions is that sunlight heats the atmosphere of Earth and other planets DIRECTLY.

    This seems pretty defiant of current accepted physics, if I understand the gist of current physics correctly. My understanding has been that Earth's atmosphere is primarily transparent to incoming sunlight, and that Earth's atmosphere reflects almost all of the incoming infrared. Consequently, the way I have been led to believe that Earth's air warms up is by the INDIRECT path of "direct sunlight", or, by the infrared light that Earth's surface emits back to the air, after absorbing direct light of the sun.

    If what you contend is true, however, then I assume that you are saying that physics, as currently accepted, must have a fundamental wrong idea about how stars heat atmospheres.

    How do you tell a mainstream physicist that, no, your widely accepted concept of heat is wrong? How do you explain the mechanism of direct-sun heating of air? They will tell you, no, it does not work this way -- the atmosphere is transparent to incoming light -- incoming light goes straight through, as if the atmosphere is invisible to it.

  23. Good Evening, Robert,

    Why ignore my quote of tallbloke, about the direct absorption of incident sunlight by the atmosphere, near the beginning of my post above?

    Go to this post and look at the "Earth Energy Budget" of the consensus climate scientists. You will see 67 out of 342 W/m^2 of the incident radiation is directly absorbed in the atmosphere. That's almost 20% directly absorbed. In all the other planets with massive atmospheres in our solar system, no sunlight even reaches the planetary surface, so all of the incident radiation goes to directly warm the atmosphere. The lower atmosphere absorbs solar infrared, not visible, wavelengths. The precise fit between the T-P profiles of Venus and the Standard Atmosphere model of Earth's lower atmosphere, when the former is corrected only for Venus's closer distance from the Sun, should tell any competent physical scientist that both atmospheres are warmed by direct absorption of an infrared portion of the incident solar radiation, with no correction necessary for all the other great differences in the two atmospheres, including the planetary albedos, the greatly different cloud covers, the ocean-covered Earth vs. the solid crust of Venus, and any constituent of the atmospheres, especially carbon dioxide concentration (96.5% on Venus, only 0.04% on Earth). In fact, the two atmospheres must absorb the SAME fraction of the incident solar, with the distance from the Sun the only variable affecting the temperature at any given atmospheric pressure.

    I have explained this, and pointed out the hard and simple facts, many times over the last 7 years and more. I wish doubters would read more carefully, and not ignore those facts simply because they can't believe the harsh truth: There is no valid "global climate" science, and no competent climate scientists. Any "mainstream physicist" who denies that has not competently faced my Venus/Earth comparison, and accepted its clear physical meaning.

  24. Thanks, Harry, for responding to my late entry into your blog -- six years late. I'm glad you are still answering comments at this late date.

    You asked me why I "ignore" the quote of tallbloke. I assume that you are referring to this quote: "quite a lot of the Sun’s energy is directly absorbed in the atmosphere".

    Let me clarify that I was, by no means, "ignoring" the quote. I was, in fact, questioning this quote, as I was questioning you, for the MECHANISM by which the atmosphere DIRECTLY absorbs sun energy.

    Your observations and calculations might lead a person to suspect more direct absorption, and I certainly am not resistant to suspecting it myself. But I am also interested in how a person might explain to modern physicists that nitrogen oxygen (making up the the bulk of Earth's atmosphere) absorb sunlight DIRECTLY -- they do not have the atomic structure to allow direct absorption, so the physicists seem to be saying.

    Also my understanding of other planets with massive atmospheres is that SOME sunlight does get through, creating the effect of a very overcast day here on Earth. My understanding also is that the infrared that the lower atmosphere absorbs comes from the planet's surface -- yes it originated from the sun as visible light, but upon warming the surface, it radiates as infrared.

    To clarify further, I am not doubting the relationships that you point out. I am merely trying to put them into a broader context of what I understand as a physics paradigm (NOT a climate science paradigm) -- a PHYSICS paradigm -- that currently would have to be challenged, as well, in order to say that the bulk of Earth's atmosphere absorbs sunlight DIRECTLY.

    I do NOT believe in the "greenhouse effect". I do NOT believe that carbon dioxide is, in any way shape or form, a significant factor in Earth's heating. I DO appreciate your observations. I am just trying to see the claim of direct solar absorption in a broader context, where it would have to be defended in this broader context of physics too.

    Thanks for focusing my attention on the diagram's 20% direct absorption by Earth's atmosphere. I never took note of this particular detail, because I had so many other problems with that diagram. Now I am even more curious as to how ONLY 20% can be attributed to direct absorption. I want to know exactly how ONLY 20% gets absorbed. Are other trace gases doing this, or are nitrogen and oxygen doing this?

    I appreciate the follow up, and be assured that I am not criticizing, but rather trying to make the greatest sense possible out of, your efforts.

    1. Okay. I have written many times that I don't feel any compulsion to put forth an alternate climate theory, as practically everyone demands. My contribution to human knowledge, and to scientific knowledge in particular, is much (MUCH) larger than even a full-blown explanation of the physics of atmospheric warming would provide; I am simply informing the climate debaters of definitive, and simple, evidence against the consensus theory(ies), which directly impugns the competence of climate science and scientists (especially the physicists that defend that consensus).

      I also, of course, say that I don't have all of the answers (to questions like yours, of the detailed physics involved). I believe other, concerned, scientists should look for the details which my Venus/Earth comparison indicates need to be newly, properly confronted and answered.

      I have put forth a few ideas, over the last 8 years here, on what I think are key points where old answers need to be fundamentally challenged and rethought. Look at this post, and this one. I have also mentioned the possibility of larger, more complex molecular species -- look up "dimers", two diatomic molecules stuck together -- that would absorb incident solar where single molecules would not, and with a concomitant increase in the atmospheric specific heat due to a larger number of degrees of freedom in these more complex absorbers of IR radiation (needed to explain what is currently known to science as the "wet adiabatic" specific heat observed in the atmosphere). There is also necessarily the possibility of multiple scattering of incident photons, with consequent enhancement of absorptivity; we know such effects exist, simply from the preferential multiple scattering of incident sunlight that makes the entire sky appear blue. I don't claim these musings will necessarily help you or others in building a final satisfactory theory, but there they are.

  25. Thanks, Harry. Very useful insight.

    At the very least, we might be more assured that there are intricacies that we clearly do NOT understand. There are details that need further study. That's why the so called "consensus" stand seems so idiotic sometimes -- "incompetent" might be too nice.

    Carry on the great insights.

    1. Thank you. Such insights come naturally once one faces the fact that the consensus is wrong-headed, and what that must mean about the assumptions that went into that consensus.