Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Own Blackbody Error: The Scientific Method Poignantly Illustrated

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).



  1. Hi Harry,

    it is the greater man who can admit his mistakes, so well done.

    The white and black no-atmosphere planets at the same distance from the sun is also the gedanken experiment Leif Svalgaard has chosen to confront the N&Z hypothesis with. It seems nature is only prepared to provide similarly grey airless bodies for us to experiment with, at least in the solar system.

    Anyway, now that we're all dealing with hypotheses rather then facts, the debate can continue!

    Best to you.


  2. Good Morning, Tallbloke,

    Thank you, I appreciate your well-wishes, and your forgiveness. But I think I have made my definitive contribution to climate science, whether anyone else realizes it now or not, and I do not want to deal with hypotheses--everyone is stuffed to the gills, and worn out, with hypotheses, which proliferate like rabbits and always overstay their welcome (currently, to the point of becoming unwanted, ruling laws).

    My position, reiterated above, makes me a lonely man--not from personal desire or personal character, but for the sake of true science in an otherwise insane intellectual environment, where uninformed personal opinion is generally the deciding judge on every point made--in which regard, for some reason, my inner voice says, "too many chiefs, not enough indians". (I suppose that means there are too many haughty opinions, and not enough humble ones, that die easily and bravely for the common good.)

  3. Hi Mr Huffman,
    An experiment that shows that concentrated GHgs do not increase in temperature above ambient air when exposed to sunlight or artificial high IR light was performed by
    Berthold Klein P.E. jan 15 2012, "The Experiment that Failed which can save the World Trillions: Proving the "greenhouse gas effect"does not exist!
    It also showed that there was no back radiation from these concentrated GHgs
    This I think supports your findings, the question is, why was such a seemingly simple experiment not conducted long ago by some enterprising "climate scientist student"?
    Julian Braggins

  4. Good Morning, Julian,

    The short answer to your question is, the aura of "settled science" has acted as a literal enchantment of scientists' minds, for more than a generation.

    This is important enough, however, that I am going to post a longer response, today, as a separate post on this blog.

  5. Hi Harry,
    Thank you for the extended reply and agree with the sentiments expressed.
    I did think to propose that water vapour might have made a difference to the experiment, but was hesitant after reading your remark about hypotheses breeding like rabbits!
    To that end, I will make a simple non scientific experiment with three balloons under similar conditions to Klein's, one filled with compressed air, one with butane, and one with air plus enough water to be saturated when heated for an hour in the sun. Lacking any method to measure temperature in situ, I propose to release the balloons slowly through a tube in which there is a small fish tank bulb thermometer.
    If there is a significant difference in these temperatures I will post back ;)

  6. Julian,

    I didn't mean to imply that water vapor would have shown a different result in Klein's experiment, which, as I recall, only deals with absorption of IR from a heated surface, not IR from the Sun. I'm not sure what you want to demonstrate with direct solar heating, but the only ways I see your experiment working are: 1) to heat your three balloons in the Sun (you could try different heating times, say from a few minutes to a half hour), and then release them and measure the initial velocities with which they rise; I would expect the one that has absorbed the most heat in a given time will rise the fastest. I think all scientists would expect the water vapor-containing one to rise fastest, since it absorbs IR nearer the peak of the solar spectrum. Or 2) just stick a thermometer on the (under)side of each balloon, and observe how quickly they each heat up in the Sun. Either way, you're just investigating whether the various gases absorb IR as consensus science says they do, you are not testing whether heat from the surface heats the atmosphere, or heats it more with more IR-active ("greenhouse") gas in the air. But all this is off the top of my head, and beyond my emphasized goal, of communicating what I have identified as the definitive evidence against the climate consensus.

  7. Hi Harry,
    Yes, of course it has all been done before, as a search of military and meteorological uses of IR equipment showed me . IR is both absorbed and reflected proportionate to density in any direction.
    So IR from the ground will heat the air more when there is more WV, and then we get into the old arguments of whether a small increase in CO2 can make any difference when there is an unlimited supply of Water Vapour that limits temperature anyway.

    An experiment that I haven't found, would be to reproduce the atmospheric heat engine of circulation to answer the question, "does the atmospheric circulation maintain the pressure temperature relationship of gases permanently"

    A large insulated chamber, a refrigerator circuit with air as the refrigerant, the cooling section at the base and heating section at the top, to eliminate air circulation in the chamber.
    The pressures to be maintained in the low pressure closed circuit portion to mimic the top of the troposphere, and the high pressure section at sea level pressure, the motor, representing the driving force of the Sun outside the chamber to eliminate most heat contamination.

    If the chamber retained a heat differential that reflected actual atmospheric temperatures at sea level and top of troposphere, though in reverse,
    it would support:

    Oleg Sorokhtin from 2005

    Expanding the Concept of Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Using Thermodynamic Principles: Implications for Predicting Future Climate Change
    Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. & Karl Zeller, Ph.D.
    USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort Collins CO, USA

  8. Julian,

    Your "atmospheric simulation" box recreates my thinking about why heat from the surface cannot heat the atmosphere, except locally and/or transiently.

    For that is part of the conclusion I reached about fundamental atmospheric warming (versus weather/climate), from the Venus/Earth comparison I made, because it is necessary that the surface NOT warm the atmosphere in order for the Venus/Earth temperature ratio to be due only to the solar distances (and I explain the empirical fact physically, as being because Earth's surface is so different from Venus's--liquid water vs. solid crust--and if there were atmospheric heating by the surface, those different surfaces would heat by different amounts, just as a white surface would heat less than a black one, and that difference would show up in the Venus/Earth temperature ratio, which it does not). So I envisaged the atmosphere as it is, with the negative lapse rate--which is what your simulation provides--and saw that heat from the surface MUST only pass through that temperature gradient, not change it. The key, apparently, is that the lapse rate is created by heat (IR) from the Sun being directly absorbed by the atmosphere, so every level of the atmosphere has its own heater on site, as it were--and heat from the surface can only slide through, vertically, as radiation, or as transient parcels of warmer air, that merely rise and cool, their heat soon dissipated either radiationally or in "weather" events like precipitation (but I am outside of my area of detailed education by this time). In my post on "For Climate, All the World's a Stage", I added that heat from the surface diffuses horizontally as it rises, driving the weather/climate, but even that can't change the global mean lapse rate or global mean temperature, or the simple Venus/Earth temperature ratio wouldn't be what it is, determined only by the solar distances of the two planets.

    I had hoped true experts would accept my Venus/Earth correction to climate science and do properly that which I can only outline. Instead, the "scientific standard" (immature as it seems, to me) is to demand that one rewrite the entire consensus in detail--bring forth one's own complete theory of climate, as many have been doing--before any "expert" will deign to listen. But I have better things to do than rewrite climate science in detail; there is no "runaway climate", not even recurring global "ice ages" (!), and that should be enough for me to introduce climate scientists to.

  9. To Julian Braggins and Dr. Huffman: I just became aware of the comments on My Experiment and I'll add some additional information that should clear up comments above.
    (1) the balloons were exposed to both inbound IR from the sun or from an IR source a 500 watt shop light- plenty of IR. Results no heating of the balloon contents. This was tested in several ways- IR thermometer, a digital thermocouple thermometer and by noting the degree of tension in the surface of the balloon. Julian if you had used a very sensitive inclined manometer you could have determined that there was no heating -no increase in pressure.
    (2) I did do the experiment by adding water to the balloon as you did and I found that just water vapor did not cause the balloon to heat.
    (3) I continued to add more water when I reached a point were there was some liquid water in the balloon I was surprised to find that the temperature in the balloon decreased significantly when the balloon was placed in bright sunlight on a warm summer day. I have a video of this which I'm trying to convert for inclusion on a post. The temperature decrease was shown by IR readings,the digital thermometer and the balloon started to collapse. Just after I did the experiment with water I found that Dr. Nasif Nahle had done an experiment with air,CO2 and water in which he proved that the combination does cause a decrease in temperature. This is found on the web-site www.The Great Climate
    The object of my experiment does demonstrate that air,CO2 and water vapor do not cause the atmosphere to warm when they absorb IR.
    Now lets get to another area that is the behavior of water/liquid/solid in the atmosphere- there is no question that these forms of H2O will heat when they absorb IR or any other form of electromagnetic energy. This can be demonstrated any day of the week,any hour of the day in any lab, in microwave ovens, in Ozone generator etc. As Scientists many have also ignored the effect of cosmic particles on temperature- the super collider at CERN has just started to show the significance of this form of energy on the surface of the earth and every other planet is the Solar system and the universe.
    I know that Dr. Huffman has explained why Venus does not prove the existence of the GHGE but I have a hypotheses of why Venus is so hot which is in the writing stage.

  10. Good Evening, cleanwater,

    Thank you for the information. My contribution to climate science, via the Venus/Earth temperatures comparison, has been to show that the Venus/Earth temperature ratio, over the range of Earth tropospheric pressures, is entirely and precisely explained by the ratio of the two planets' distances from the Sun, nothing else (except within Venus's cloud layer, where, just as you have noted above for the effect of liquid water, and I have also consistently noted, the Venus temperature is about 5K LOWER in temperature than expected). Anyone with a theory of how Venus is heated, in my view, must explain that amazing fact, that only the solar distance matters. As I explained it, and have tried--since November 2010, with no observable success whatsoever--to make other scientists see and admit, that fact (that only the distance from the Sun seems to matter) requires that the atmospheres of Venus and Earth must both be warmed by absorption of the same physical fraction of the incident solar radiation. Since Earth's stratosphere removes almost all of the ultraviolet in the Sun's radiation, and Venus's thick cloud cover keeps most of the visible radiation from reaching that planet's surface, that leaves IR absorption as the common heating mechanism for the two tropospheres. Considering also that the surfaces of the two planets are so different--one 70% liquid water, the other all solid crust--I maintain that only DIRECT absorption of (that same fraction of) incoming solar IR, by the two atmospheres, can explain the Venus/Earth temperature ratio. Those who have dismissed my factual finding have so far only been able to say it is but a "coincidence", that the Venus/Earth temperature ratio is due only to the ratio of their solar distances. I find that "explanation" to be incompetent.

    I am not a climate scientist nor a meteorologist, I have much wider and deeper knowledge to impart, so I have no particular interest in climate science per se. I merely stand in the road, as it were, with my hands up, saying, "you climate scientists must explain this obvious fact, of two detailed atmospheres, before climate science can be properly corrected and progress--otherwise, in my scientific judgment, you all stand indicted of scientific incompetence, for not having noted the Venus/Earth temperature ratio 20 years ago when the Venus data became available, and dropping the 'global warming' greenhouse effect from climate science then". I know that sounds awful to those who demand polite scientific debate, but no one on either side of the climate debates, since November 2010, has shown enough "expertise" to understand and properly heed my factual Venus/Earth temperatures comparison, which I consider definitive, and the general incompetence thus exhibited by climate scientists (indeed by everyone in the debate) is just the tip of the iceberg, a general crisis of incompetence in modern physical science.

  11. What do you make of Alan Siddons short analysis of the Planetary Fact Sheets suppled by Nasa wherin he shows that every planet that has an atmosphere which reaches at least 1 Bar has temperatures at that pressure which are a minimum of 30 % higher than the "Blackbody" radiative temperature as calculated by climate scientists - most without more than the merest trace of any "Greenhouse Gas" and most with very small levels of solar radiation ?

    Jupiter for example - almost entirely Hydrogen and Helium with 50.4 W/sq metre with corresponding "Blackbody" temperature calculated to be 110 K has a temperature at 1 Bar pressure of 165 K - a fifty percent increase with nary a trace of any "Greenhouse Effect" - hell there isn't a surface to radiate to those magical molecules as far as we know.

  12. Good Evening, Roscomac,

    Basically, I think if the consensus climate scientists will not heed the definitive evidence of my Venus/Earth temperatures comparison, they aren't likely to heed this latest effort by Siddons (whom I respect as one of the strongest voices on the internet, even among the "Slayers", against the greenhouse effect, before I did that comparison).

    About his analysis, I would say, off the top of my head, that the point of comparing the "Blackbody" temperature with the actual temperature at some arbitrary pressure level (even if 1 bar seems a handy number) eludes me (and remember, I am writing extemporaneously here, without any study of his analysis at all, so "caveat emptor"). I suppose one might make the case that his results tend to indicate the importance -- indeed, the predominance -- of the negative temperature lapse rate structure, which all of those planets considered show, but I'm not sure how to make that a definitive statement, speaking off the cuff as I am, so it would be dangerous to try.

    I would also say that, from my Venus/Earth comparison, we know that all of those planets have atmospheres that are warmed by direct absorption of incident solar radiation -- it must already have been understood so for the outer gas giants, I would think, and I took my analysis to imply it must be so for any planetary body with at least as much atmosphere as Earth, since amazingly it is true for Earth, against the overwhelming current belief among scientists.

    I think I will leave it at that for now. The arbitrariness of comparing the blackbody temperature with any particular pressure level within the atmosphere raises my concern; I would have to see the justification for doing that.

    If I think of a more definitive answer, I will post it. Thank you for bringing Siddons's analysis to my attention.