Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hydrostatic Vs. "Gravito-Thermal": Real Physics Vs. Latter-Day Incompetence in Science

The Hockeyschtick site has another post hyping a "gravito-thermal" greenhouse effect. My response:

This is just a rehashing of Nikolov and Zeller's "Unified Climate Theory" (N&Z), only claiming the use of "dimensional analysis methodology", presumably meaning their mysterious "Eq(10)"--mysterious because it is not deemed important enough to actually reveal it here--has physical units consistent on both sides of the equation, that refer to the physical parameters involved in the problem (and not to an arbitrary amalgamation of variables--an ad hoc fitting function--without physical consistency, as N&Z did). There is still the "atmospheric thermal enhancement" (ATE) factor, the airy reference to the "Poisson formula", and the apparently absolutely precise fitting of the global mean surface temperatures of all the considered planetary bodies to one formula, that featured also in N&Z -- and no physics involved, of course, just carefree mathematical modelling (and the claim that it "deserves further investigation and possibly a theoretical interpretation"). The Moon, Mars and Triton are practically meaningless in it, however, as the fitting function is vertical (insensitive to the pressure) for such small-to-nonexistent surface pressures as these 3 bodies possess. And they say Titan wasn't even used in the regressions, so only Earth and Venus really matter in them (and see below for my caveat on Titan). I already, nearly 5 years ago, compared Earth's Standard Atmosphere to the temperature vs. pressure profile of Venus, not at one point (the planetary surface) but over the full range of Earth tropospheric pressures.

None of this present hype goes beyond, or even rises to the level of, my Venus/Earth comparison as the definitive correction of the false physics embraced by climate and atmospheric science today. None of it rises to the level of the utterly stable Standard Atmosphere, which was known to everyone before scientists turned away from it to pursue the chimaera of "runaway global warming". None of it rises to the level of understanding, gained from simply looking at the temperature and pressure profiles of all the planets, that they all have the same form: Above approximately 200 mb pressure, they all have the negative, constant vertical temperature lapse rate structure that Earth has, and which is due simply to the hydrostatic condition: that the pressure at any level in the atmosphere is just the weight of the atmosphere above that level. The Standard Atmosphere is of course based upon assuming the hydrostatic condition.

But none of the other planetary bodies compares so precisely with Earth as does Venus, where only the ratio of solar distances is needed to explain the Venus/Earth temperature ratio, at any given pressure. So the "gravito-thermal" theory glosses over (simply does not recognize) any other variables that are necessary to explain the temperatures in the other planetary bodies considered. The comparison of Earth's Standard Atmosphere with Titan, for example, as I compared Earth with Venus, shows that the near-surface temperature of Titan's atmosphere is too low, by about 7K (while near the tropopause, around 300 to 200 mb, it comes into close alignment with Earth's atmosphere, corrected only by the effect of its different solar distance); the modelling touted here, and that done by Nikolov and Zeller, can't even recognize that awkward fact, much less explain it physically--whereas the Venus/Earth comparison can, because Venus's temperatures, inside its thick cloud layer, are also too low, by about the same amount (5K), and both are probably due to the same cause: Non-gaseous particles suspended in the atmospheres (water-based clouds on Venus, particulate haze on Titan) that increase the effective specific heat of the atmosphere, in those regions where they occur.

And, of course, my definitive contribution was left out of the list presented above. No one is learning anything. The "gravito-thermal" effect is nothing but the effect of the hydrostatic condition, so far as any real physics is concerned.

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