To be 33C or not to be 33C R1 052617

To be 33C or not to be 33C

There is a popular fantasy that the earth is 33C warmer with an atmosphere than without due to the radiative greenhouse effect, RGHE and 0.04% atmospheric CO2.

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start – or so I hear.

The 33C difference is between an alleged average surface temperature of 288K/15C and 255K/-18C, the alleged surface temperature without an atmosphere. Let’s take a closer look.

Just which average surface temperature? The two extremes? (71C + -90C) / 2 = -10C? Or the average of all the real actual (adjusted, homogenized, corrupted) measurements 90% of which are in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia? What about the sea surface? Satellite data? Over thirty years?

Per IPCC AR5 glossary the average land surface temperature is measured 1.5 meters above the ground, but 80% of the land (Africa, Siberia, South America, SE Asia) doesn’t even have reliable weather instrumentation or data.

The average sea surface temperature is a combination of buckets and thermometers, engine cooling intakes, buoys, satellites, etc.

This composite “global” surface average temperature, one number to rule them all, must represent: both lit and dark sides, both poles, oceans, deserts, jungles and a wide range of both land and sea surfaces. The uncertainty band must be YUGE!

The 255K is a theoretical calculation using the S-B ideal BB temperature associated with the 240 W/m^2 radiative balance at the top of the – wait for it – atmosphere, i.e. 100 km.

So what would the earth be like without an atmosphere?

The average solar constant is 1,368 W/m^2 with an S-B BB temperature of 390 K or 17 C higher than the boiling point of water under sea level atmospheric pressure, which would no longer exist. The oceans would boil away removing the giga-tons of pressure that keeps the molten core in place. The molten core would push through the floor flooding the surface with dark magma changing both emissivity and albedo. With no atmosphere a steady rain of meteorites would pulverize the surface to dust same as the moon. The earth would be much like the moon with a similar albedo (0.12) and large swings in surface temperature from lit to dark sides. No clouds, no vegetation, no snow, no ice a completely different albedo, certainly not the current 30%. No molecules means no convection, conduction, latent energy and surface absorption/radiation would be anybody’s guess. Whatever the conditions of the earth would be without an atmosphere, it is most certainly NOT 240 W/m^2 and 255K.

The alleged 33C difference is between a) an average surface temperature composed of thousands of WAGs that must be +/- entire degrees and b) a theoretical temperature calculation 100 km away that cannot even be measured and c) all with an intact and fully functioning atmosphere.

The surface of the earth is warm because the atmosphere provides an insulating blanket, a thermal resistance, no different from the insulation in the ceiling and walls of a house with the temperature differential determined per the equation Q = U * A * dT, simple to verify and demonstrate. (Explains why 250 km thick atmosphere of Venus with twice the irradiance heats surface bigly compared to earth.)

A voltage difference is needed for current to flow through an electrical resistance.
A pressure difference is needed for fluid to flow through a physical resistance.
A temperature difference is needed for energy to flow, i.e. heat, through a thermal resistance.

RGHE upwelling/downwelling/”back” radiation is a fictional anti-thermodynamic non-explanation for the “33C without an atmosphere” phenomenon that doesn’t actually exist.


Peter Machen Added May 28, 2017 - 8:01am
I am interested in views, science, to explain how ozone layer warms. Most say its from space via UV. A claim I read suggests it is warmed from earths surface emitted IR because ozone can absorb at 9.6um. I am troubled by difference in energy intensity as wavelengths get longer. Just because there is radiation may not lead to warming. I love the math here..makes good science sense to me, so any insights?
Nicholas Schroeder Added May 29, 2017 - 10:51am
Nice esoteric question.

Only 3 out of 10 E6 molecules are ozone, 0.00003%, decimal fraction 0.0000003 or 0.3 ppm. CO2 is 400 ppm or 0.04%.

Metro Denver has a population of about 3 million people. So 1 person, 3 * .3, out of that s million represents ozone.

Ozone might do a good job blocking UV, but at 0.3 ppm it miniscule mass does close to zip about moving Btus or kJ.

Radiation from the sun on the day light side heats the troposphere, ground and oceans because that’s where the molecules are.

The earth loses heat 24/7 back into space up through the troposphere by conduction, convection, latent, radiative heat processes (just like the insulated walls of your house per Q = U * A dT) and the atmosphere works exactly the same way. No greenhouse effect needed. Once the heat flow runs out of molecules at around 32 km, it’s all radiation.

About 342 W/m^2 arrive at top of atmosphere, ToA. About 102 W/m^2 are reflected by the albedo. About 240 W/m^2 are absorbed by the troposphere, ground and oceans. In order to maintain thermal equilibrium, i.e. the great balance, 240 W/m^2 must radiate back into space from the ToA.

When the furnace delivers more heat than leaves through the walls, windows, door, etc. the house warms up. If the earth’s albedo decreases, more heat arrives at the surface and the earth warms.

When the furnace delivers less heat than leaves through the walls, windows, door, etc. the house cools off. If the earth’s albedo increases, less heat arrives at the surface and the earth cools.

It’s all basic heat transfer and natural variation and the role of mankind’s CO2 is insignificant.
Peter Machen Added May 30, 2017 - 8:59am
The ozone content of the stratosphere depends upon the the ionisation of the oxygen molecule by short wave radiation from the sun. But it is also is observed that the ozone layer is the one point that temperature actually rises with height (with falling pressure).  
So how is it that the ozone content of the air in high latitudes increases strongly in winter, when there is no UV creating it by breaking Oxygen bonds? As for GHG, at the heights I have seen there is also no water content  either. 
Ozone is also not (relativley) uniformly distributed like CO2. I often look at the polar vortex via nullschoolearth for modern insight to balance older papers.  Erl Happ asks good questions at https:/ 
Why is it that the Antarctic stratosphere above 150 hPa warms faster than the  atmosphere below 150 hPa in spring?
Why do we see the abrupt change in slope in the temperature of the air above 70 hPa in November?
Why does temperature between the surface and 400 hPa decline at an invariable rate between April and August while the atmosphere above becomes increasingly colder?
These are observations are not consistent with the basic q=mct. Now I do not subscribe to CAGW theory...just looking for answers within the atmosphere, which includes ionisation, cosmic rays, etc. 
Nicholas Schroeder Added May 30, 2017 - 11:07am
When you speak of the temperature in the stratosphere what exactly do you mean and how are you measuring it?

As I see it there are two types of temperatures: one due to the kinetic energy of molecules ½ m v^2 and one due to radiation per S-B.

As you rise up through the atmosphere molecular density falls. 99% of the atmosphere’s molecules are below 32 km.

So temperature become less about molecules and more about S-B radiation.

As noted elsewhere the S-B BB equivalent temperature for 1,368 W/m^2 at ToA is 390K.

At some point between the earth’s surface and the stratosphere molecular cooling due to decreasing density becomes less than the heating of incoming radiation and “temperature” appears to increase.

Just my two cents.
Peter Machen Added Jun 1, 2017 - 11:24am
Come on Nic. I do not take the temperature measurements. Radiosondes or lidar, etc.. Have been shown to agree. Seriously.... Did you even check the link I provided in good faith?  I really think there is good science in this. Where does the stratosphere,  polar in particular, get its heat when there is no UV or moisture. Ozone is doing things. CO2 is irrelevant.  Your "appearances" and "2 cents" is not good science despite your good ( IMO) track record so far.
Nicholas Schroeder Added Jun 1, 2017 - 12:19pm
"Where does the stratosphere,  polar in particular, get its heat when there is no UV or moisture."
Hadley cell circulation.
I'll look at those links again later. Busy in the yard.
BTW what are hPa? Some kind of Pascals? Hecto-Pascals?
Nicholas Schroeder Added Jun 1, 2017 - 2:51pm
Re: links

Erl Happ, economics and geography. Are you kidding me?

I spent 5 years earning my BSME, 8 hrs sitting the EIT, 8 hrs sitting the PE to prove I knew my field which is heavily mathematics, algebra, geometry, heat transfer, chemistry, physics, thermodynamics, etc. And a lucrative 35 year career actually applying those topics.

It irritates me no end to see a bunch of amateurs with neither formal nor informal training in the hard sciences (hard because they are difficult and not for everybody and anybody) who think after an hour on the internet and Excel sheets full of crap data they don’t comprehend they are instant experts and entitled to a place at the table.

“See current wind, weather, ocean, and pollution conditions, as forecast by supercomputers, on an interactive animated map. Updated every three hours.”

Nullschoolearth forecasts with super-dee-duper computer programs. Ouija boards, Tarot cards, magic eight balls have better records than climate computer models. Even IPCC AR5 9.3 questions the value of their own massive fleet of climate computer models.

It’s that knowledge of hard science that enables one to realize how full of lying propaganda crap NOAA is. They say what the boss wants said and do what the boss wants done trading their scientific integrity for a paycheck. Curry, Pielke Jr, Spencer,Bill Gray, are examples of those who did not.

Go to DMI for the Arctic and climate4you for the raw data and observe and think for yourself.
Peter Machen Added Jun 1, 2017 - 9:07pm
 Nic, I frequent all those sites and more. Apealling by authority is no assurance of truth nor changes my mind. Your maths does, has so far. You realise I would not have found your work if I blindly accepted NASA, IPCC, MSM, etc.  By the do not know Erl. If you did you see he uses No models at all...just observation and thought...which is what I am doing albeit more slowly than the brains in this world.  He needs to understand weather and climatento grow better grapes for wine...hence livelihood not by government or political grants. Hmmm.