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Monckton on blackbody radiation

I wrote to Christopher Monckton a while back to ask him about a post Blackbody – the key error in climate science, and bless his soul, he whipped off a letter with his detailed answer and wrote it all back to me, saying that other people were asking him about that too. It’s a shame to keep it hidden and high time I brought it out. Usually this topic generates quite a discussion. Though, warning (!) it contains equations, and primarily discusses the physics of blackbody radiation from Earth. It is essentially a debate about the core physics among a few skeptics. The most curious thing being that this time — this blog is on the mainstream end of opinions. (Yes, I think there is a greenhouse effect as I explained here and here).

Huffman asserts there is no measureable greenhouse effect on Venus and Earth and that the temperatures of both planets is determined by their distance to the sun. (Michael Hammer responded to that with an explanation of why we know There is a Greenhouse Effect on Venus). My unsophisticated thought was that if distance explained it all, then ergo, albedo would have no effect at all — as in zero — and it seems hard to believe that a black planet and a white planet the same distance from the sun would be at identical temperatures. (It doesn’t gel with my experience of a white car vs black car parked in the baking sun.) – Jo

Huffman makes a point about albedo himself:

You cannot “correct for albedo” to use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation at the Earth’s surface, because a blackbody by definition has no albedo to “correct” for. This of course was confirmed in my previous Venus/Earth analysis, which showed there is simply no room for an albedo effect upon the long-term mean temperatures in the atmospheres of Venus and Earth

Guest Post: Christopher Monckton replies explaining the four errors of this reasoning

Dear Jo,

The blog posting to which you referred me, Blackbody – the key error in climate science has elementary errors.

Error 1:

The posting begins by making the common error of assuming that a blackbody cannot have an albedo. Of course it can. The Stefan-Boltzmann equation accounts for albedo in the simplest possible way: by simply taking it that the fraction of incident radiation that is reflected away by the albedo of the Earth plays no part in the radiative transfer at the characteristic-emission surface. Here is how it’s done.

The characteristic-emission surface of the Earth is not the surface we stand on. It is about 5 km up in the troposphere, varying quite a bit with latitude. At that surface, by definition, incoming and outgoing radiative fluxes balance, and there are no non-radiative fluxes as there are at the Earth’s surface.

Without allowing for albedo, the incoming solar radiative flux F at the characteristic-emission altitude is 1368 Watts per square metre, measured by cavitometers on satellites. We must divide this value by 4 to allow for the fact that the Earth is a rotating sphere that presents itself to the incoming radiation as a disc: thus –

Equation 1                                                                           (1)

The fraction in (1) simply adjusts for the ratio of the surface area of a disk to that of a sphere.

Now, we allow for the Earth’s albedo α, which various authorities tell us is 0.3 –

Equation 2
(2)

In (2), F is now the net incoming (and, by definition, outgoing) radiative flux at the characteristic-emission surface. We treat the emissivity ε of that surface as approximately unity (this is the usual assumption), and we recall that the Stefan-Boltzmann constant σ = 5.67 x 10–8 W m–2 K–4, we are now in a position to plug the value F = 239.4 W m–2 into the Stefan-Boltzmann equation (3), so as to discover the mean effective temperature T of the Earth at its characteristic-emission altitude –

Equation 3
(3)

Now, to obtain a first approximation to the value of the Planck or zero-feedback climate-sensitivity parameter λ0, we treat the two Greek-lettered values as constant, so that we can omit them, and take the first differential (4) of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, thus –

Equation 4
(4)

Or, retaining the two constants this time, one can do it this way –

Equation 4a (4a)

 


However, although (exasperatingly, and as usual) the IPCC doesn’t explain this, one also has to make allowance for latitudinal variations in the temperature T at the characteristic-emission surface. To settle this long-vexed question once and for all, I recently obtained 30 years’ temperature data for 73 distinct zones of latitude in the mid-troposphere from the ever-splendid John Christy and Roy Spencer at UAH, and performed a Herculean calculation allowing for the different areas of the various latitude zones and also for the different mean zenith angles of the Sun at each zone.

The result, after these and other appropriate adjustments: λ0 = 0.313 K W–1 m2. And the IPCc’s value, which one may derive from a characteristically obscurantist footnote on p. 631 of the Fourth Assessment Report (2007), is the reciprocal of 3.2, or – er – 0.313. So the IPCC has this one right. It is also quite clear from the above calculations that it has correctly allowed for the Earth’s albedo, contrary to what the posting asserts.

The error that was made here was to assume that a blackbody necessarily has no albedo. One can of course have an astronomical body one part of whose surface is reflective (i.e. possessing an albedo) and part of whose surface is a blackbody. That is the Earth.

Error 2:

The posting next asserts that climate scientists are defining what it calls their “effective blackbody” as “inside the solid Earth”. As explained above, all serious climate scientists calculate the effective temperature of the Earth at the characteristic-emission altitude, some 5 km above the Earth’s surface. Since we know by repeated measurements that the temperature lapse rate in the troposphere is very close to linear at 6.5 K km–1, and recalling that today’s mean surface temperature is 288 K and that the characteristic-emission altitude is 5 km up, we can verify that we got our characteristic-emission temperature calculation correct by (5) below –

Equation 5
(5)

And that is close enough to the value we first determined in (3) above.

Error 3:

The posting says that the blackbody system “must” be defined as being outside the atmosphere altogether, away from all non-radiative transports. There is no scientific basis for any such assertion. At the characteristic-emission altitude, well within the troposphere, there is so little non-radiative transport that it can safely be left out of account. And it is from that altitude, and only from that altitude, one optical depth into the atmosphere, that satellites “see” radiation emerging from the Earth’s surface.

Error 4:

The posting asserts, again without scientific foundation, that scientists ought to leave the albedo out of account when calculating the Earth’s effective temperature. Since three-tenths of the incoming radiation is simply reflected back out into Space at visible and ultra-violet (i.e. short to very short wave) wavelengths, it will not interact with greenhouse-gas molecules on its way out, and is therefore correctly omitted from the calculation of the Earth’s effective temperature.

Error 1, that a blackbody cannot have an albedo, is then repeated.

I conclude that if one attempts to use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation at the Earth’s surface rather than at the characteristic-emission altitude then one must also take into account non-radiative transports. This is done by Kimoto (2009, Eq. 18) by the simple (some have said “too simple”) expedient of including the non-radiative transports in the radiative-transport equation. What is interesting, though, is that Kiehl & Trenberth (1997), in their celebrated paper on the Earth’s energy budget, assume that the Stefan-Boltzmann equation holds at the surface, at least with respect to the radiative transport. Their diagram of incoming and outgoing fluxes shows three outbound fluxes at the surface: the radiative flux Frad = 390 W m–2, the non-radiative evapo-transpiration flux Fevt = 78 W m–2, and the non-radiative thermal-convective flux Fthc = 24 W m–2. They admit that they derived the value Frad = 390 W m–2 by taking it as a “blackbody” value. What they did is shown in (6):

 

=390.1 W m–2     

  (6)

But that, of course, assumes that there is a strict Stefan-Boltzmann relation between surface temperature and surface radiative flux. If so, then the value of the Planck parameter is given in (7) –

Equation 7
(7)

Since evapo-transpiration and thermal convection increase with temperature, and evapo-transpiration does so three times faster than the models predict, one could adopt Kimoto’s approach and come to an approximation of the right answer by including the non-radiative transports in F, as (8) shows –

Equation 8
(8)

And that would give you a climate sensitivity less than a quarter of the IPCC’s central estimate. Hardly what Kiehl & Trenberth intended, one feels, but that’s what you get if you make an incorrect assumption, as they did, that the SB equation applies strictly at the Earth’s surface.

UPDATE

Monckton calculates just how much the IPCC exaggerate climate sensitivity.

 

——————————————————————

 Disclaimer: Views expressed in a guest post are those of the author.

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Monckton on blackbody radiation, 8.8 out of 10 based on 69 ratings

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140 comments to Monckton on blackbody radiation

  • #
    FijiDave

    I wish I’d had Lord Monckton as my teacher when I was a brat – I might have learned something.

    Thank you for an interesting and informative post.

    Also, please have a suitably merry Christmas, and a prosperous and happy New Year.

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    Grumpy Old Man

    Wow! Dial up the popcorn and grab a stubby. It’s Party Time!

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  • #
    Bloke down the pub

    I wouldn’t want to be a tax collector trying to get anything out of the noble lord.

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  • #
    Ferdinand

    Veyy,very helpful – I think !

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  • #
    AndyG55

    All these fluxes, and constants.. can anyone tell me where they come from, and what is the error inherent in these values?

    eg “Earth’s albedo α, which various authorities tell us is 0.3″…….. say what ???

    Is it 0.3 exactly, or maybe 0.32 +/- .04?

    Is it even a constant? Does anyone know ?

    Talk about approximation propagation !!!

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    • #

      The albedo can be averaged, but it doesn’t behave as an average. Just like temperature.

      In thermodynamics, that’s always the case. Thermodynamics is non-linear in practice. The only thing that “reliably” approaches linearity is thermal conductivity through a solid; over a small range of temperatures.

      Gross assumptions about or based upon linearity in the natural world are inappropriate. The simplification is insufficient as it fails to explain anything in reality. However, it does serve well to conceal; especially ignorance.

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  • #
    AndyG55

    ps: If the 0.3 is actually 0.3000, then the calculations are ok, but if it is only “known” to 1 significant figure, ALL subsequent calculations are meaningless after the 1st or 2nd digit.

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  • #
    Philip Peake

    @FijiDave: Agree entirely. I was pretty bad at maths until pretty late in my school life, when I ended up with a teacher who wasn’t one of the primary teachers of the subject. However, his way of teaching the concepts resonated with me, and things that has been totally incomprehensible before suddenly made sense, and the more I understood, the more I understood (if you see what I mean!). Some people are just better teachers.

    @AndyG55: They are best guesses. Some confirmed by actual measurement from space, now that we have the technology. The hard part is that although the basic physics of blackbody radiation is well understood, how it applies to something which is actually a long way from a black body, not a flat surface, and surrounded by gas with convection currents, phase changes etc. is where the sources of error and argument lie.

    There is obviously a black-body equivalent of the earth. The problem is, the CAGW crowd insist that its not a fixed equivalent (which is probably correct) but that it is a highly unstable equivalent teetering on the edge of irrecoverably switching from one extreme to another (which is virtually certainly incorrect).

    The constants are mostly fixed, physical constants which few people dispute.

    The fluxes are where the arguments start. They are variable and hard to measure.

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  • #
    AndyG55

    pps: I am NOT haven’t a go at Lord Monckton, whom I greatly respect, only at the way the calculation is presented.

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  • #
    Jerome Hudson

    There seems to be a font problem in the equations, at least as seen with my Firefox viewer. The last digit in various numbers is given in a small font, as though it were to be subscripted or superscripted.

    Not to take away from an excellent and brief explanation.

    - Jerry

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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      It does the same in Safari

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    • #
      Juliar

      It is the same for everyone. The Editor must changed the ‘look’ of the site.

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      • #

        No, it’s none of the above. We had a slight site theme “reset” (of unknown cause) and lost the styles. The equations are from the images in the Word file that Christopher sent me. So I know not what the font is. Yes, fair point, it is not as reader friendly as it could be.

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        • #
          OzWizard

          It’s not a mistake! Metrologists would know that the smaller font of the digit at the end of the long number indicates a lack of confidence in its truth; it is ‘uncertain’ in that last digit.

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  • #
    AndyG55

    @Philip

    My point is that if you don’t know the value of the albedo to 4 significant figures, then calculations resulting from that cannot be stated to 4 significant figures.

    And since it seems that the 0.3 value is just a guess anyway, then the rest of the implied accuracy (4 figures) in the answers is nonsense.

    10

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Yes, well, but …

      When I was at the “School for Not Very Bright Engineers” we were taught that the speed of light was exactly 299,792,458 m/s. We were then told that assuming 300 million m/sec was close enough for most practical purposes, and given that we were still using slide rules to design space rockets, that was probably correct.

      The same thing applies to loads of “constants” and “rules of thumb” – close enough is good enough for most practical purposes, and if in doubt “make it a bit bigger”.

      It is only quite recently, when engineers started pushing individual electrons around, that it has become important. It is all about scale.

      In practical terms, if we are talking about planetary size effects, there is so much noise from other factors (random, cyclic, and constant), that a few decimal places are probably not that significant. If you get big enough, even the speed of light ceases to be a constant (at least according to Stephen Hawkins).

      And anyway, you can always calculate your error margins to n significant digits, if you really want to be anal.

      01

  • #
    AndyG55

    @Rereke

    ok assuming the 0.3 is a guess to 1 figure. that means it lies between 2.5 and 3.5

    then F in eq2 lies between 256 and 222
    and T in eq3 lies between 261 and 248
    and gamma eq4 lies bewteen .255 and .279

    ie .. NONE of the values can be accurately stated past ONE figure !!!!!

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  • #
    Reed Coray

    Heat (i.e., thermal energy transfer) (a) between the Earth’s surface and the Earth’s atmosphere, (b) among various parts of the Earth’s atmosphere, and (b) between the Earth/atmosphere system and space is an extremely complex subject. When I studied radiative physics at an elementary level, two caveats applied: (1) the properties of blackbody radiation are derived from the quantum mechanical nature of “cavity radiation”–i.e., radiation that would emanate into the vacuum of space from a small hole in the surface of a cavity (vacuum) whose internal walls were at a uniform temperature, and (2) the Stefan/Boltzmann (SB) blackbody radiation law did NOT apply to gases. [To apply the SB law to a blackbody, you must specify temperature over a surface area. For those who want to apply the SB law to a gas, what exactly is that surface?] If both are true, the use of the SB law to partially characterize Earth surface and atmospheric temperatures is at best an approximation and at worst inappropriate. When coupled with the complex thermodynamic nature (convection, conduction) of fluids (gases and liquids) on an approximately spherical rotating body in a directional radiation field so that only half of the sphere’s surface is being heated at any given time, and the thermodynamic properties of the Earth may be beyond mankind’s ability to quantify as a function of time. Discussions like Lord Monckton’s are interesting, but because of the complexity of the problem are not the final answer–kind of like the characterization of an elephant by 12 blind men each touching a different part of the elephant.

    Jo, I can understand why a white and black planet at equal distances from the sun would be at the same temperature doesn’t “gel with [your] experience of a white car vs black car parked in the baking sun.” However, except for the case where the albedo (one minus the absorptivity) is exactly 1, using the simple graybody radiation law for a perfectly thermal conducting planet whose surface albedo is everywhere the same (for a graybody the absorptivity is equal to the emissivity, and for a perfectly thermally conducting body the temperature throughout the body and on the surface of the body is everywhere the same), such a planet’s temperature in the presence of a solar radiation field will be independent of its albedo (i.e., its whiteness or blackness). This is because “one minus the albedo” appears as a linear multiplier on both sides of the steady-state radiation/absorption power equation. As such, as long as one minus the albedo is not zero, the temperature of such a planet will be independent of the albedo.

    One other example that contradicts intuition. If a small body is placed within the vacuum of a large cavity whose internal walls are maintained at a constant temprature, independent of both the material making up the wall or the material making up the small body, the temperature of the small body will everywhere eventually attain the same value as the cavity walls.

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    • #
      Patrick

      You are right in saying that it’s extremely complex.

      However,
      (1) professional astronomers accept the SB equation as being a reasonable approximation for stars (c.f. your comment about gases which implies that SB is only applicable to solids & liquids – perhaps true in a laboratory)
      (2) the cosmic microwave background has a Planck distribution consistent with black body radiation.
      (3) the EARTH is manifestly NOT a ‘graybody’ (possibly the point you were trying to emphasize) and calculations based on that assumption are oversimplifying the extremely complex situation you referred to earlier in your post. Is that the message?

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      • #
        Reed Coray

        Patrick,

        Yes and no. I’m not sure what you mean when you say “professional astronomers accept the SB equation as being a reasonable approximation for stars“. Specifically, how is the temperature of a star measured? I believe the power spectral density (PSD) of radiation from stars is consistent with that of a blackbody radiator at a fixed temperature. I believe the temperature of a blackbody radiator whose PSD most closely matches a star’s PSD is the temperature assigned to the star. I can’t believe the surface of a star (whatever that means) is everywhere the same temperature–e.g., aren’t sunspots regions of cooler temperatures on our sun? If I’m correct, then by definition astronomers use blackbody radiation characteristis as the mechanism to assign a temperature to a star. Am I wrong?

        Regarding cosmic microwave background radiation. Electromagnetic energy can exist without a blackbody surface. Are you implying that somewhere out there in the universe a blackbody surface exists at a fixed temperature and it is that surface that is creating the blackbody radiation?

        As to your last point, yes. The Earth/Earth atmosphere system does not radiate energy like a graybody–the temperature is not uniform, gases don’t radiate like graybody surface, gases don’t even possess “surfaces” in the sense of a graybody surface applicable to the SB equation, I don’t believe the PSD radiated from many gases behaves like the PSD of a graybody at any temperature, etc. In essence, any analysis of Earth radiation loss to space is extremely complex–and one definition of “extremely” is that it is waaaaaay beyond my ability to even identify all the relevant phenomena, must less quantify them.

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        • #
          Patrick

          Thanks for the clarification, Reed.
          Re: the ‘temperature’ of stars – the stellar spectroscopic classification system relies on the spectroscopic identification of various elements (in the ‘atmosphere’/envelope of the star) at various stages of ionisation to estimate the ‘temperature’ – the underlying photosphere provides a continuum spectrum (intensity vs wavelength/frequency) superimposed on which are line spectra (absorption/emission) which provide the spectral ‘fingerprints’ of the various elements/ions.
          The wavelength of peak intensity of the continuum is indicative of ‘temperature’ according to Wien’s displacement law. The reality, of course is that temperature varies with distance from the centre of the star. At least that’s my understanding.
          I just think it’s interesting that the Universe per se has a spectrum which is consistent with ‘blackbody radiation’ – not that it has a ‘surface’.

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    • #
      BobC

      Reed Coray
      December 20, 2011 at 6:00 am ·

      …as long as one minus the albedo is not zero, the temperature of such a planet will be independent of the albedo.

      This may be technically true, but it’s irrelevant to the Earth. The analogy here is that a reservoir will always stay at the same level, if the input stream and outlet stream have exactly the same flow rate, regardless of the magnitude of the flows. The Earth’s albedo, however, varies in both time and space. If, for example, it is cloudy on the sunward side and clear on the night side, the Earth will lose more heat than it is gaining and will cool down — and vice versa. (Not to mention that the Earth isn’t a perfect conductor of heat, either.)

      This is another case where a simple analysis misses the important points. (“Assume a spherical cow” — start of an undergraduate physics problem.)

      One other example that contradicts intuition. If a small body is placed within the vacuum of a large cavity whose internal walls are maintained at a constant temprature, independent of both the material making up the wall or the material making up the small body, the temperature of the small body will everywhere eventually attain the same value as the cavity walls.

      Emphasis on the word “eventually” — if the albedo is 1.0, eventually will be eternity. You don’t need an enclosed cavity, either — an infinite radiating plane will cause everything to eventually reach it’s temperature. Good thing they don’t actually exist!

      Approximations do exist, however: A crowning forest fire can produce a sheet of flame 20 – 30 m above the ground that extends so far horizontally that it rapidly (a few seconds) brings everything on the ground to the temperature of the flame. Since a crowning fire can easily move at 50kph or more, it is a serious threat to firefighters. Nowadays, firefighters are issued aluminum foil tents that can be deployed in just a few seconds. Many have ridden out being overtaken by a crown fire in these tents, using the high albedo of the aluminum to delay the rise of temperature long enough for the crown to burn out (about 45 seconds, at any one place).

      I have seen a truck that was passed over by a crown fire: The windshield had melted out of the frame, molded itself over the dashboard, and was in the process of dripping onto the floorboards when it froze as the crown burned out.

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  • #
    Patrick

    Re: Earth’s albedo – my understanding is that this is largely determined by CLOUDS & aerosols. Clouds vary (over time) in extent, altitude, optical depth, and latitude also has a bearing on their radiative properties. Also it is clear that aerosols (apart from their direct albedo effect) interact with clouds affecting particle size and duration.
    For those who may be interested, Graeme Stephens is a world expert on such matters and he recently gave a presentation on this topic – available at

    http://sites.agu.org/fallmeeting/scientific-program/lectures/bowie-and-named-lectures/6dec/

    (See the Charney lecture)

    It is abundantly clear that clouds have a major role in climate and the fundamental physics are complex and not well resolved. Modeling the microphysics of clouds would require orders of magnitude better spatio-temporal resolution than is practicable. For example, the phase change from water vapour to liquid water involves a 1000 fold change in radiative transfer! Add to this the fact that the physics of cloud formation are poorly understood, Svensmarks’s cosmic ray hypothesis (confirmed by the CLOUD experiment at CERN), the poorly understood interactions of aerosols with clouds and its is easy to understand why the IPCC’s computer models are lousy when it comes to predicting the location, extent and intensity of precipitation.

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    • #
      Patrick

      Correction: Of course an hypothesis cannot be confirmed. Better to say ‘supported by and consistent with the results of the CLOUD experiment”.

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    • #

      Albedo includes not only what’s in the air but also the nature of the surface.

      Surface albedo can vary substantially on land from season to season by vegetation adjusting to available sunlight. Changes in land use by civilsation also changes albedo.

      Out at sea, natural events can cause e.g. algal blooms which alter the albedo; and things like major drifts of surface ice must make a difference. Some effects are local and not as “extreme” in effect as one would think by considering that change alone. Nature comes along and smudges edges.

      And it’s not just the albedo that varies over time; there’s surface emissivity that usually changes along with the albedo.

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  • #
    mkelly

    See SOD site for the full write up.

    It can easily be shown that the W/m^2 on the surface measured at various places is in excess of twice the 240 in the above.

    From SOD site: A measured 700 W/m^2 at Matador, Saskatchewan Canada July 30, 1971. With a daytime temperature of 40 deg C. albedo is stated as 16%.

    It is also shown that El Miage CA lake bed was getting 600 W/m^2 as measured in 1950 using 240 or 288 is not accurate for vast areas of the earth.

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  • #
    Tom

    I’m sorry this is off-topic, but I thought it important to provide a link to the latest ludicrous attempt this morning by a climate zombie in academia to slime sceptics. They really stick together, these clowns, even in disciplines unrelated to climate!

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    • #
      Juliar

      The fact they use the term ‘climate sceptics’ shows how plain stupid they are. What is a climate sceptic?

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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        A climate sceptic is somebody who is not convinced that the climate exists. I am a climate sceptic.

        I accept that there is weather, and I accept that the weather we get each hour of each day is affected by various events, such as solar magnetism, cosmic radiation, volcanic activity, an a host of other random events and cyclic events.

        But to believe in “climate”, is to believe that there is some rational and detectable pattern to all of these events which can not only be fully explained, but can be confidently predicted.

        Since I have seen no evidence of that, I do not believe in “climate”, and therefore I am proud to be a Climate Sceptic, in exactly the same way that I am sceptical about the accuracy of bus timetables.

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        • #
          Truthseeker

          Rereke, I like your use of terminology here. I believe that no living organism on this planet is any way affected by “climate”, but all living organisms are affected by the “weather”. For deep-sea organisms “weather” manifests itself as ocean currents and water temperature changes.

          We should only be concerned with the “weather” and understanding it. “Climate” is a purely abstract construct that really has no bearing on the world we actually live in – except as an income source for those that cannot earn an income doing something productive.

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        • #
          Juliar

          Yes but in general terms ‘climate sceptic’ is associated with someone who doesn’t believe that man’s CO2 emissions are (dramatically) warming the planet.

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    • #
      wayne job

      What does it say about this academics state of mental health when his AGW falls into a cooling hole. He will need help coping with life.

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    • #
      Jazza

      Idiot!

      Has missed the fact that it’s the supporters of MMGW who have the brain farts of “doom and gloom” etc.

      I’m a sceptic and Julia Gillard’s bum is currently about twice the size of mine!

      Instant gratification confined to sceptics, ,my arse!

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  • #
    Philip Peake

    @Andy – agreed. Although, I always tend to calculate to three significant figures, even if the rounding errors and uncertainty limit the end result to one significant digit.

    It’s sometimes useful to do this to see where calculations are going.

    The point I was trying to make is that a lot of the factors are guesswork anyway. Some are getting a bit more solid as experimental/observational data tends to confirm them. Some change with time – for example, I really doubt that albedo is a fixed value from one day to the next, let alone one year to the next, over time, assuming all the other factors are somewhat stable, it probably averages out to ~ 0.3.

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  • #
    Siliggy

    We must divide this value by 4 to allow for the fact that the Earth is a rotating sphere that presents itself to the incoming radiation as a disc: thus –

    The Earth is NOT a sphere. The distance from pole to pole is shorter than the diameter at the equator. This means that the Earth does not present itself as a circular disc to the sun but rather a smaller elipse. The incoming radiation hits less than 1/4 of the total surface area. Also the planet as seen from above or below the poles is a larger circle so the outgoing radiation leaves from an area greater than 4 times the incoming area.
    Hold an LP record at 180 dergees or at right angles to the sun while you think about this.

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    • #
      Siliggy

      Christopher Monckton is doing a wonderful job of exposing some of the faults and problems in the radiative balance calculations. He just may not have hit out at or found them all yet EG:

      I conclude that if one attempts to use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation at the Earth’s surface rather than at the characteristic-emission altitude then one must also take into account non-radiative transports.

      The size and shape of the atmosphere changes (down comes skylab). So the radiating surface area changes because the “characteristic-emission altitude” changes.
      A W/M^2 calculation may go of the rails if the effective radiating surface area was to increase in sync with the solar or other cycles/changes. The radiation from each meter may go down while the total out going radiation has gone up because there are more M^2 radiating and/or less M^2 receiving. If the divide by 4 in to out ratio as well as being wrong also changes with the changes in atmospheric density then the changes need to be tracked or the whole idea of attempting to calculate radiative balance abandoned.
      What if increasing atmospheric CO2 increases the “characteristic-emission altitude” but does not as significantly increase the incoming radiation?
      Lance Pidgeon

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    Reed Coray

    Jo, another possible reason why a “dark” car is hotter than a “white” car when parked in the sun. Assume we have two, thin, square, planar surfaces of one-sided area “A”: one “light” (surface absorptivity/emissivity “L” on both sides), one “dark” (surface absorptivity/emissivity “D” on both sides, where D > L). Place each surface in the sun so that the normal to the planar surface area is in the direction of the incoming solar radiation (assumed to be arriving from a single direction). Let “W” be the solar power density (Watts per square meter) at each surface. The rate energy will be absorbed by the “light” square is L*W. The rate energy will be absorbed by the “dark” square is D*W. Since D > L, the “dark” square will absorb energy at a rate greater than the “white” square. If we assume graybody radiation, the “light” square will radiate energy at a rate equal to 2*sigma*A*L*(TL)^4, where “sigma” is the Stefan/Boltzmann constant, and “TL” is the temperature of the “light” square. The factor of “2″ comes from the fact that there are two sides of the square. If we assume graybody radiation, the “dark” square will radiate energy at a rate equal to 2*sigma*A*D*(TD)^4, where “TD” is the temperature of the “dark” square. The equation for “light” square energy rate equilibrium is

    L*W = 2*sigma*A*L*(TL)^4

    which implies

    TL = [W/(2*sigma*A)]^0.25 Equation (1)

    The equation for “dark” square energy rate equilibrium is

    D*W = 2*sigma*A*D*(TD)^4

    which implies

    TD = [W/(2*sigma*A)]^0.25 Equation (2)

    The equations (1 and 2) for TL and TD are the same.

    Thus, if radiation is the only “energy loss mechanism”, the temperaturess of the “light” and “dark” squares will be the same. However, for squares in the Earth’s atmosphere, radiation is NOT the only “energy loss mechanism”. Energy can and will be lost by conduction and convection. The energy loss rate for conduction will depend on the temperature difference between the air and the squares. As such, as the plate temperature rises, the “conductive” energy loss rate will increase. In the case of our squares, the energy absorption rate of the “dark” square is greater than the energy absorption rate of the “light” square. If conduction is a significant contributor to rate of energy loss, the energy rate equilibrium temperature of the “dark” square will be higher than the energy rate equilibrium temperature of the “light” square. I believe convection will behave in a similar manner. Thus, in the presence of an atmosphere (which allows conduction and convection energy loss), it is not surprising that in the presence of directional radiation, a “dark” object will come to a radiation rate equilibrium temperature higher than a “light” object.

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    Neville

    I’d just like to ask Jo whether her hubbie David agrees with the Lord’s calculations or not?

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    Konrad

    I believe it is correct to raise questions about the Kiehl – Trenberth diagram, as they show no distinction between surface type with regard to the impact of LWIR. I have found through experiment that different materials respond differently to LWIR, in particular water such as the oceans that are free to evaporatively cool. The recent Schmittner 2011 paper discusses whether the sensitivity for CO2 is different for different geographical regions of the Earth. See -

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/18/co2-sensitivity-is-multi-modal-all-bets-are-off/

    Without addressing the Viscounts calculations, I see a number of physical reasons not to be using black body calculations for a multi material planet covered in a gas blanket.

    1. Reducing a hemisphere to a disc for calculations confounds angle of incidence/albedo issues. Close to the terminator of a sphere clouds that would normally increase albedo will reduce it and oceans, ice and snow may increase albedo toward the terminator by a factor greater than the area reduction calculation allows for.

    2. The matter that makes up the surface and the atmosphere is not perfectly conductive, confounding the use of such equations.

    3. We could use these if we could properly quantify (far less assumptions) the incoming and out going radiation over the whole hemisphere of earth throughout a full diurnal cycle. While incoming radiation can be obtained from SOHO and SDO, further Earth observing platforms would be required. One at L1 position (DSCOVR still remains earth bound), to observe the whole sunlit earth, and a further similar platform at L5 to observe a whole hemisphere throughout a diurnal cycle.

    4. Calculating the radiation balance 5Km up in the gas blanket that surrounds us may tell us little about the effects of CO2 in the lower troposphere which concerns us and all life on earth. If there is no surface warming there is little problem in the tropopause being raised by a few meters.

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      jorgekafkazar

      I agree. The r in the numerator isn’t exactly the same as r in the denominator. Viewed from behind, the Earth shows a bluish glow at the limb. This is solar radiation that has been refracted at high zenith angles. I’m more concerned about the assumption of 0.30000 for the overall albedo. You don’t have to miss the “right” average albedo by very much to get errors greater than the estimated backradiation.

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    AndyG55

    @Philip Peake

    I guess its just the pretence at 4 figure accuracy that annoys me. If calculation were stated to, say, the nearest 10, i wouldn’t have bothered commenting.

    but that’s Climate Science for you. ;-) ) totally settled… no errors at all !!

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    I’ll take issue with a couple of points:

    Clouds are contributors to albedo. Many of them are below 5km. Some above. So what does this do at the 5km surface?

    There is in fact a large amount of non radiative transfer through 5km. Most thunderstorms move bulk amounts of lower air and water through 5km.

    Sorry but this is a fail. The real world is far more complex than this.

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      Winston

      Well said Mike,
      And what about variations in albedo with clouds at different latitudes with a different angle of incident light at equator versus poles. Clouds should, I think (please correct me if my thoughts are wrong- I am no expert clearly), have a different albedo according to their altitude, latitude, moisture content, depth, morphological type/shape, etc, etc- “how on earth” can an albedo “average” of ~0.3 be any sort of realistic figure- once again these guesstimates are POSSIBLY somewhat useful thought exercises, but one would hate to rely on them to predict anything substantive.

      One cannot assume for example that the average cloud albedo over the 20th century has been constant, a warming world is likely to have seen increased evaporation from oceans, variations in global distributions of cloud cover (??polewards) and variations in relative proportions of different cloud type, plus alterations in precipitation distribution, etc- so this can all be hand-waved away with an average!

      Like global average temperature, it seems to me to be a shorthand that has little or no bearing on the chaotic system of our climate, even IF the Stefan-Boltzmann equation did apply to a planet with 70% ocean cover and an atmosphere rather than a floating rock in space, which doesn’t seem quite so clear cut and irrefutable after reading some of the above posts.

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        Winston

        Apologies to Konrad in the post above, I didn’t read your post till just now and noticed you make some similar points to me about angle of incidence at equator to poles. Sorry for the oversight on my part.

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          Kevin Moore

          The thickness of the atmosphere that sunlight travels through is controlled by the tilt of the Earth relative to the Sun. The equator of Venus is always facing directly at the Sun.

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    AndyG55

    Convection is not going to be stopped by a “blanket” (warmista terminology, sorry) that makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere.

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      will gray

      Common sense has been replaced on this topic. I’ve read some of the extensive battles with the ‘sky dragons’ vs. Judith Curry on her blog climate etc.
      One take away was that it’s the terminology that’s misused between the two. Not good enough.
      Questions I have are:
      1. Where on Earth can I find a blackbody?
      2. Why do the stars sometimes ‘twinkle’?
      3. A portion of 40% of Earths revolving surface receives direct sunlight, how can any equation represent reality?
      4. Co2 has been conclusively proven to not contribute to temperature AT ALL. Why is climate equilibrium to be believed?

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        will gray

        Solar Radiation leaves the planet quickly. Simply, the forcing of solar – absorbtion through to conduction is released to Space due to planetary rotation. This heat is sucked-conducted to SPACE.
        There is no blackbody, equations are out of context. The stars sometimes ‘twinkle’ above a campfire as convection dictates, or looking through a City, or an hour past sunset in Bourke Australia.
        Co2 has been used to DRIVE the biggest most ridiculous scam ever.
        Greenhouse effect. Who cares if its wrong? SO WHAT?
        HHmm well umm ??

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    Jim Barker

    Thanks, Jo and Lord Monckton. It’s nice to see where the numbers being thrown around came from. Lord Monckton was not “proving” anything, merely demonstrating the way he would solve the problem, using numbers already accepted by some.

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    Kevin Moore

    If Santa’s now homeless because the ice at the North Pole has melted,what are all the believers going to tell their children?

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      Numberwang

      David Suzuki is growing a longer beard and wearing a green Santa outfit…

      The “naughty” realist children won’t be getting lumps of coal in their stockings at least.

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    Significant figures is a badly flawed concept. If you care about data, do not think in terms of significant figures. Look here for an explanation as to why. When you’re finished, surf around his site for an educational experience.

    (The link does not work.Can you fix it?) CTS

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    pat

    O/T but significant:

    20 Dec: ABC: Massive debt won’t force closure of power station
    The chief executive of the Loy Yang power station in Victoria’s east says he is confident the plant can refinance its debt.
    The power plant has almost $600 million of debt due next year.
    It provides around 30 per cent of the Victoria’s electricity needs…
    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has given the company permission to keep trading, despite the debt…
    He says the Federal Government carbon legislation allows it to look at another alternative to refinance that debt.
    “So while it’s created some difficulties for us, and some uncertainty in the market place, there are some other sides to that which gives us more comfort to be able to refinance that debt,” he (Ian Nethercote, Chief Exec Loy Yang)said.
    Mr Nethercote says most of the reports indicate that Loy Yang Power station will be required to continue to operate well into the year 2040.
    He also admitted that prices will increase as the carbon tax and costs are brought into play.
    “We can’t actually pay for that carbon tax without seeing an increase in the price of wholesale electricity,” he said…
    “We would expect an increase reflective of the carbon price, which is adding another $23.00 a tonne, and from the Loy Yang perspective we will have to add around $28.00 a megawatt hour, so that’s 2.8 cents a kilowatt hour to our wholesale price.
    Mr Nethercote says an increase to transmission and network charges, will be added on top of that.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-20/massive-debt-won27t-force-closure-of-power-station/3739812?section=vic

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      pat,
      thanks for this.

      I saw something recently and wondered what it was all about, and this places it into context.

      The Government got Frontier Economics to make up a scenario if a major power plant stopped generating, and I wondered why they specifically chose Loy Yang.

      This is the link to that scenario, and it’s a pdf document of 60 odd pages that I’m still trawling through.

      Tony.

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        Andrew McRae

        I guess the New World Order will need a Smart Grid, eh?
        http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1112/1112.3516v1.pdf

        The biggest concern in Europe is in the integration of renewable power generation to meet the 2020 targets for reduction of CO2 emissions from fossil power generation. The intermittent nature of these energy sources places demands that existing transmission and distribution networks have not been designed to meet.

        No kidding!

        Smart grids and smart metering are expected to contribute significantly towards improving energy usage levels through the following four mechanisms:
        ….• Real-time demand response and management strategies for lowering peak demand and overall load, through appliance control and energy storage mechanisms (including electrical vehicles).

        That doesn’t sound Orwellian in the slightest. Ah, look, a UML-style component interaction diagram, this will help me understand what clever things this grid can do for me!

        Figure 3 [71] depicts the interaction between a power management system (PMS),
        aggregate consumer load (CL), generation plant (GP), and spinning reserve (SR) when a peak is detected in a smart grid. The aggregate power consumed by the PMS customers
        needs to be brought into a power budget (budget) assigned to the PMS by the smart grid.
        When a peak event is detected (e.g. certain threshold being breached), the PMS could send its customers a schedule request to match the demand to the available supply by rescheduling non-critical loads to offpeak periods. This could possibly result in some reduction in demand.
        If, however, the demand still exceeds the allocated power budget, the PMS could send a request to the GP to increase its output by the amount of difference between the re-scheduled power demand and the budget of the PMS (diffPower).

        Good to see their priorities are in order, first cut the services, secondly increase supply.

        It’s a brave new world of Smart Grids! :(

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    pat

    20 Dec: SMH: Ben Cubby/Josephine Tovey: Wind farm opponents ‘aided and abetted’ by climate sceptic groups
    The Shooters and Fishers Party, which shares the balance of power in the upper house with the Christian Democrats, said yesterday it wanted a moratorium on new wind farms…
    Industry sources said a US Tea Party-style ”astroturf” campaign, which mimics grassroots local opposition but is at least partly directed from elsewhere, was being waged against wind energy in NSW, which was expected to bring up to $10 billion in investment this decade as it accelerated to meet the national 20 per cent renewable energy target…
    It ( Australian Environment Foundation) hosted the British climate sceptic Lord Monckton last year and says it ”questions the whole science behind anthropogenic global warming”…
    Labor’s environment spokesman, Luke Foley, said ”flat earthers” were running a scare campaign against wind power.
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/wind-farm-opponents-aided-and-abetted-by-climate-sceptic-groups-20111219-1p2l6.html

    and Labor might wonder why people like me will never vote for them again.

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    pat

    too shocking coming from a Prof to excerpt:

    20 Dec: The Conversation: Prof Ian Lowe: Plimer’s climate change book for kids underestimates science education
    http://theconversation.edu.au/plimers-climate-change-book-for-kids-underestimates-science-education-4803

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    markus

    Streetcred says: “So who exactly is a Flat Earther, Mr Foley?”

    I can answer that question. Flatearthers use the illogical argument of appealing to authority.

    The appeal to authority may take several forms.
    As a statistical syllogism, it will have the following basic structure:
    Most of what authority a has to say on subject matter S is correct.
    a says p about S.
    Therefore, p is correct.

    The strength of this argument depends upon two factors:
    The authority is a legitimate expert on the subject.
    A consensus exists among legitimate experts on the matter under discussion.
    These conditions may also simply be incorporated into the structure of the argument itself, in which case the form may look like this:
    X holds that A is true
    X is a legitimate expert on the subject.
    The consensus of experts agrees with X.
    Therefore, there’s a presumption that A is true.

    Yet both these would fail particularly as they argue universally. Appealing to authority is a fallacy. Not everything “A & X” say is true.

    Or in pure logic P(particular) cannot = U(universal)

    There is a similar method of argument used by flatearthers in our times. In fact one comes readily to mind: That is the argument of AGW.

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    Dr. John v. Kampen at my.opera.com/nepmak2000/blog and I have been quipping / posting on AGW for a couple of years now. While the geopolitical links in Climate in Contention in my Topical Index may not be of interest to you, it so happens the same question popped into my mind – http://opitslinkfest.blogspot.com/2011/12/19-december-denying-anti-science-agw.html

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    Jake

    Here is Albedo explained in fairly simple terms and with values for a number of surfaces
    http://www.eoearth.org/article/Albedo?topic=54300

    Found another site on the OLR issue I was after, this one seems to have been able to get hold of that NOAA data and put it in a graph.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/OLR&NGF_June2011.pdf

    Would indeed appear, if correct, that even the increase in CO2 does not reduce the OLR as per AGW theory but that despite the increase in CO2 the OLR has increased slightly too. Whilst CO2 may well absorb some of the waves and bounce them back, one would have to conclude that it is a pretty pathetic bouncer.
    Hey, there are 30% more of us guys out here but we can’t cope and let more and more through.

    Latest ABC headlines
    CO2 on strike.
    More long range waves get through to space.
    Major disaster waiting to happen

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    bananabender

    The Earth is not a blackbody. A blackbody is a purely theoretical entity (a hollow radiator of zero thickness) that doesn’t exist.

    The heat of any planetary atmosphere is controlled by the atmospheric pressure according to the Ideal Gas Law. Venus is hotter than Mercury because Venus has a dense atmosphere and Mercury has no atmosphere. It has nothing to do with albedo.

    The heating of the atmosphere is a physical process (phase changes of water, conduction and convection) not a radiative physics process

    There is no Greenhouse Effect. Period. End of discussion,

    p.s. Numerous practical experiments have shown that a black car and white car eventually get to the same temperature when left in the Sun. The black car merely heats up more quickly.

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      memoryvault

      Thank you BB.

      I was wondering how long before a little science sanity surfaced.

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      Truthseeker

      BB what you are saying is shown by Mr Huffman’s analysis that uses the Ideal Gas Law. When you compare apples to apples in terms of air pressure, the difference between Venus and Earth atmospheric temperatures is entirely explained by the relative distances from the Sun. Not approximately, not somewhat, but precisely with a small variation in the cloud band of Venus. I also did a “back of the envelope” calculation for Titan which also has comparable air pressures to Earth and got reasonably close figures based on some data retreived from a explorer probe that NASA sent back when NASA was actually concerned with space exploration. The variable that Titan has that is not true for Earth and Venus is the effect of reflected energy from Saturn which is difficult to guage due to a lack of data about the relative position of Titan, Saturn and the Sun when the probe got its atmosphere temperature data.

      I figure that makes it strike three for the radiative physics theory of atmospheric temperatures and I am not even a physicist …

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      Rohan Baker

      Hate to disagree with you there bananabender but there are three modes of heat transfer. Conduction, convection and radiation. In a gas phase system the least efficient and effective mechanism for heat transfer is radiation but it still occurs. What you’re inferring is that EM radiation effectively passes straight through with zero influence. Not so. Most radiation will pass through a gas system without influencing gas molecules but small percentages will collide hence heat (energy) transfer will occur. I recommend some good reading on the subject of heat transfer by J P Holman titled Heat Transfer. It goes through in detail the mechanisms of radiative heat transfer and I’ve just revisited this text to refresh my memory in the principals of the science.

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    Andrew McRae

    Off-topic tribute to our host… James Delingpole refers to Jo’s estimate of Big Oil vs Big Green astroturfing funding during an interview with a conservative think tank. It’s about 31 minutes into the 48 minute interview.

    Given the interviewer (from the Hoover institute) it unlikely any science would have been discussed anyway, so it is unfortunate that the lack of scientific merit of CAGW is implicitly assumed and so is cast in a bad light purely by political preferences. I can’t say I fully agree with everything Delingpole says, particularly about health care. But it would be difficult to judge his views based only on these absurdly short segments that, in total, attempt to cover the entirety of western civilisation. It’s a smattering (or perhaps splattering) of opinions with little time for detail. It nonetheless makes for interesting viewing compared to our presently mentally impoverished mainstream summer television programming (not that I watch television at all any more anyway and for that very reason).

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    cohenite

    LM says this:

    I conclude that if one attempts to use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation at the Earth’s surface rather than at the characteristic-emission altitude then one must also take into account non-radiative transports.

    That is precisely correct; and it is what Miskolczi did to arrive at his [in]famous Aa=Ed condition; as Christopher Game says:

    The relation Aa = Ed is physically possible precisely because the turbulently mixed boundary layer of the troposphere is not in pointwise radiative equilibrium,…..The physics of the departure from pointwise radiative equilibrium in the turbulently mixed boundary layer of the tropopause is that energy is supplied to that layer not only radiatively, but also by convection derived from conduction and evaporation from the land-sea body

    The point is, if there is backradiation, the deus ex machina of AGW, it ain’t doing much.

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      Andrew McRae

      May I link to some evidence from a known skeptic.
      http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/08/help-back-radiation-has-invaded-my-backyard/

      His off-the-shelf equipment shows a night time downwelling IR measurement which is humidity-dependent. That is backradiation. That’s some basic independent empirical evidence which supports what the mainstream is saying. You would have to show how Spencer’s measurement technique is flawed in ways he has not accounted for, and why everyone else is wrong too.

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        KinkyKeith

        Will read the article.

        One of the considerations is to quantify this down-welling radiation at night and compare to daytime energy fluxes.

        Just how significant is it.

        It is just part of the delay in losing heat which I see as the “greenhouse” effect.

        I don’t want to be too pedantic about defining what I mean by greenhouse, just a delayed heat loss with several roughly defined boundaries.

        The ultimate boundary, way up, has only radiation – no convection.

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        cohenite

        Hi Andrew; I am aware of Spencer’s experiment; but I have alluded to some of the profound defects of the devices used to measure backradiation below; here are some others and I refer to Morris Minor’s work:

        “The case for ‘back radiation’ is weak. Nothing here gives evidence that ‘back-radiation’ has been detected or measured. No papers or experiments show measurement of back-radiation. Instead they measure upward radiation and subtract this value from a hypothetical value relative to abs. zero [The blackbody reference]. The DIFFERENCE is the so-called back-radiation. Surely a value of 300W/m2 [from the official Kiel and Trenberth radiation flux cartoon] would seem implausible to most, it is comparable in magnitude to radiance from the sun!

        Here is how it is explained by the makers of a typical Pyrgeometer..

        “In order to calculate the incoming LW irradiance at the detector, the temperature of the pyrgeometer body must be known. … The downward longwave radiation is then calculated using the following formula :-

        LW = Uemf/S + ( 5.67*10-8 * Tb4 )

        where Uemf is the output voltage from the thermopile, S is the calibration constant of the instrument, and Tb is the pyrgeometer body temperature, measured by the thermistor, in degrees Kelvin. Note that for an upward facing pyrgeometer, the thermopile output voltage will in most instances be negative. This is because the upwelling irradiance from the pyrgeometer is likely to be greater then the incoming irradiance from the sky. “

        I therefore challenge anyone on this site to show me direct evidence of back-radiation. Better, show me a method to power a 40W light globe using back-radiation. It should be easy as there is 300 W/m2 available. If back-radiation is able to raise the temperature of the Earths surface then it will be possible to harness this energy to produce a small electrical generator. The first person with a solution wins a multi-million dollar share of the IP rights.”

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        BenAW

        @Andrew

        You may want to read this post, refuting Spencers backradiation position.
        Link to Post

        I value the opinion of engineers that work on a daily basis with this stuff ;-)

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          Tom in Oregon City

          More slayers stuff, right?

          (sarc)

          Wow, all the thermos bottle liner manufacturers of the world, pay attention! BenAW and the Slayers proclaim that mirroring the liners HAS NO VALUE, so stop wasting your money reflecting IR back into the chamber. IT DOESN’T WORK!

          (/sarc)

          Ben, think it through: you can’t tell a photon where to go when emitted, if a surface emits a wavelength it must absorb it also, don’t assume all the wavelengths “returning” to earth are the same wavelength, the surface has more “holes” (atoms that can be energized by absorption) to accept energy than is returning (indeed, way lots more, since insolation doesn’t even “fill” all the “holes” at the surface, the net flow is nicely characterized by Stefan-Boltzmann (proportional to (TS^4-TA^4), and still shows increasing entropy (thus not violating the second law).

          I don’t know why the slayers are so intense on avoiding radiative transfer, given that even convection depends in part on radiative transfer, and certainly — irrefutably — the transfer of heat to space is accomplished ONLY by radiative transfer. Seems to me that with the zeal of opposing the IPCC and CAGW alarmists, they have decided to through the baby (S/B surface emissions outward partially balanced by atmospheric emissions inward) with the bathwater (catastrophic predictions of runaway feedback).

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    Eole

    May be the key point which is not adressed neither in the post nor in the discussion is the spectral dependence of the emissivity, absorptivity and reflectivity (viz. albedo in the wording of Earth energy balance) of the object called Earth and supposed here to obbey blackbody laws. For a true blackbody, reflectivity (albedo) is zero and absorptivity = emissivity, at any frequency. This is the definition. Albedo is generally considered as a constant of 0.3. But is it at any frequency ? Has somebody published the measurement of the spectral dependence of the Earth albedo in the UV, visible and infrared ? Since it is related to diffusion by aerosols, by clouds or by ice or something else, it is not expected to be flat upon frequency.

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      bananabender

      Fresh snow reflects about 85% of visible light and absorbs nearly 100% of IR. How’s that for confusing?

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    MattB

    Personally if I wanted to learn about blackbody radiation I’d not be asking Monckton.
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/monckton-planck-parameter-no-better-than-pulling-numbers-out-of-a-hat/

    “The posting begins by making the common error of assuming that a blackbody cannot have an albedo”

    I’m pretty sure a blackbody does not have an albedo.

    “The error that was made here was to assume that a blackbody necessarily has no albedo. One can of course have an astronomical body one part of whose surface is reflective (i.e. possessing an albedo) and part of whose surface is a blackbody. That is the Earth.”

    I’m pretty sure that no portion of the surface of the earth is a blackbody. Some bits may be close to, but the earth is not a blackbody. Is it?

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      cohenite

      Matty asks hopefully:

      I’m pretty sure that no portion of the surface of the earth is a blackbody. Some bits may be close to, but the earth is not a blackbody. Is it?

      Read this matty and let us know will you:

      http://www.ptep-online.com/index_files/2009/PP-19-01.PDF

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        MattB

        I think you misinterpret my inflection.

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          cohenite

          No misinterpretation, just indifferent Matty. So, why is a blackbody used in calculations of backradiation by proponents of AGW?

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            MattB

            Having occasions where use of a blackbody approximation for calculation purposes is suitable is far different than saying that the earth IS a blackbody, and that blackbodies have albedo.

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            cohenite

            Using a blackbody approximation for calibration purposes still brings with it the same issues as saying the Earth is a blackbody. Consider what a blackbody is supposed to do; absorb all incident radiation; more importantly for calibration of measurement of backradiation a blackbody is also a perfect emitter pursuant to its temperature. So, if the temperature of the surface is known the blackbody emission can be calculated. In this paper the process is described:

            http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-40-15-2376

            Philipona is the doyen of measuring backradiation using pyrgeometers and he states this:

            The calibration of the ASR is based on a reference blackbody source traced to absolute temperature standards. The pyroelectric detector has no window to prevent thermal and spectral transmission effects. Scanning the sky with a narrow viewing angle and integrating with the Gaussian quadrature, rather than taking hemispherical measurements, prevent errors related to the cosine effect.

            There are a number of uncertainties here; for instance, Gaussian quadrature is a means of approximating values within a domain or area in the instance of backradiation which is defined by the cosine values; however this method of approximation is not suitable for functions which have singularities, or in the case of backradiation, values which have quantum uncertainty. Quantum uncertainty is this sense means that while the blackbody radiation from the surface can be calculated that radiation’s cancellation and interference with the backradiation coming from the sky cannot.

            There are many other problems with the measurment of backradiation, including the heat of the measuring device itself [which is why an IR measuring satellite telescope has to be super-cooled: otherwise it will detect no external target at all and will merely make incoherent images of the detector’s own output.], apart from the issue of albedo which LM discusses, all of which make any certainty about backradiation and therefore AGW problematic.

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        Andrew McRae

        I agree with MattB’s interpretation of plain English. Mr Monckton may be technically correct on all other points, but his first quoted “Error” is itself a potential interpretive error or at the very least a miscommunication.

        His statement:

        The posting begins by making the common error of assuming that a blackbody cannot have an albedo. Of course it can.

        …is not my interpretation of what Huffman was saying. Huffman said this:

        A blackbody is defined as a body (or system of bodies in thermal contact) which absorbs all of the radiation incident upon it. A blackbody necessarily has an albedo (reflection coefficient) of zero

        This is textbook stuff. No really! If I open my high school physics textbook “Physics Principles With Applications” by Giancoli to page 720 it very briefly says this:

        The spectrum of light emitted by a hot dense object is shown in Fig 27-1 for an idealized blackbody. Such a body would absorb all the radiation falling on it, and the radiation it would emit when hot and luminous, called blackbody radiation, is the easiest to deal with.

        The infamous Wikipedia concurs, stating that “A black body is an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation.” Also, the concept behind “blackbody” radiation originated with Balfour Stewart, who wrote “Lamp-black, which absorbs all the rays that fall upon it, and therefore possesses the greatest possible absorbing power, will possess also the greatest possible radiating power.”

        So it is clear that for over 140 years the widely held meaning of the symbol “blackbody” in Physics is a hypothetical object which absorbs all incident radiation, with logically no reflection and a zero albedo.

        If I may venture to repair Lord Monckton’s expression, one may suppose he meant to say:

        The posting begins by making the common error of assuming that an object modelled as a blackbody cannot have an albedo. Of course it can.

        All of Mr Monckton’s remaining text is compatible with such an interpretation. So his conclusions are probably still valid, especially by the quoted match between the theory he uses and the real measurements (and by the IPCC, of all people).

        In other words, since the definition of a blackbody requires emission to equal absorption, any surface which meets that criteria is okay, even one inside the atmosphere, and even if the real object has a non-zero albedo.

        Personally, as an amateur, I would explain this as follows: The effect of the ground’s positive albedo (eg snow) is to decrease emission power, so the altitude at which the emission power per unit area can equal the constant incoming power per unit area is moved lower from the top-of-atmosphere towards the centre of the Earth. The fact this balance point is measured and not just conjectured is reassuring. This means that reflection from high-level cloud must have already been accounted for in defining the blackbody surface at 5km altitude, even though some of the albedo occurs above that surface. High cirrus would reduce incoming power, so having the opposite radiative effect to snow, and so would move the equilibrium power level higher up. Whatever level it actually balances at is the result of both effects.

        My second (minor) criticism of the above article is that unnecessary effort is spent demonising Huffman’s first statement without first trying to show that a Top-of-Atmosphere definition of “Earth’s blackbody equivalent” does not meet the equilibrium requirement. i.e.- why doesn’t an outside-of-atmosphere surface also meet that definition? Is it just due to the different surface area sizes? If it does meet the power balance requirement, surely that section of Huffman’s argument is still valid even if one wishes to disagree with his other conclusions?

        A response by Mr Monckton to the above two quibbles would be enlightening for all.

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    Kevin Moore

    Global Warming and Cap-and-Trade

    Cap-and-trade legislation is designed to make gasoline and electricity significantly more expensive for consumers. It would have been the largest tax increase in American history, and it would have destroyed jobs and weakened our economy.

    Before imposing such harsh financial burdens on American families, Senator Inhofe decided to examine the scientific evidence surrounding global warming closely. At that time, the main argument for cap-and-trade was that the “science was settled,” the “debate was over” and that global warming was manmade and catastrophic; but Senator Inhofe began collecting data from hundreds of credible scientists who rejected this so-called consensus. These findings were published in an EPW minority report entitled, “More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims.”

    Later, when the scandal known as Climategate broke, Senator Inhofe released a report, “‘Consensus’ Exposed: The CRU Controversy,” which found that many of the world’s leading climate scientists were potentially manipulating data to fit preconceived conclusions; obstructing freedom-of-information requests and dissemination of climate data; and colluding to pressure journal editors against publishing scientific work contrary to their own. Climategate has widespread implications: in testimony before the EPW Committee, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that the Agency’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health is based on this potentially manipulated science.

    In addition to there being no scientific consensus, cap-and-trade would be all economic pain for no environmental gain. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson admitted before the EPW committee that the United States action alone on global warming would have no impact on global carbon emissions. In fact, as jobs went to places like India, China and Mexico, where they don’t have any emissions requirements, cap-and-trade would actually increase worldwide emissions.

    Many speculated that President Obama would sign an international agreement with binding limits on greenhouse gases during the United Nations Conference on Global Warming in Copenhagen in December 2009, but Senator Inhofe attended the conference to be a “one man truth squad.” He informed world leaders that the United States would not support an agreement that would surrender the country’s sovereignty, destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, and harm the American economy. Even though Democrats had overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress in 2009, they barely found the votes to get cap-and-trade through the House, and Senate Democrats never even brought it up for a vote.

    Cap-and-trade legislation may now be dead, but the fight isn’t over: the EPA is now trying to enact the same kind of energy tax through the back door by regulating greenhouse gases. But Senator Inhofe is fighting back against the Obama Administration’s efforts to achieve through regulation what they could not achieve though legislation. He recently introduced the Energy Tax Prevention Act, a bill that would prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, thereby stopping cap-and-trade regulations from taking effect once and for all. This bill will put Congress, not Washington bureaucrats back in charge of the nation’s climate policy.

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_id=88388d58-7e9c-9af9-7d66-62e366f3f189

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      When this Legislation was proposed I did some analysis in a series of Posts at my Home site.

      This was in May of 2010.

      The legislation was (artfully) titled ‘The American Power Act’, and was 987 pages long.

      Notice how Australia followed suit, also creating a diversionary title for its legislation, The Clean Energy Future’.

      The really funny thing in the whole U.S. legislation was that the day they were going to use for the implementation of their ETS, and subsequently, every year Day One.

      That date was to be, and wait for this, because I’m not just making it up ….. April 1st.

      That analysis is at the following link, if any of you wish to have a look.

      The Great Big April Fools Day Tax Grab

      At the bottom of this Post are links to four further Posts also dealing with the same (now thankfully failed) US legislation, and, er, oddly, the Australian legislation has, er, some similarities to this.

      Tony.

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        Kevin Moore

        Off topic but interesting -

        The Federal Reserves 99 year lease on its building ends on the 21st December 2012.

        Will the monetary system change?

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    David Wood

    I’m sure Lord Monkton’s mathematical treatment is impeccable. However I have great difficulty accepting that the extremely simplistic model he, along with the climatological industry in general, uses, is a valid representation of the real world. By dividing the radiative flux by four and assuming some sort of steady state equilibrium, the physical model seems to be one of a blackbody earth , entirely surrounded by a weak sun,which is of course ludicrous. Someone in an earlier post remarked along the lines “models should follow the physics, the physics should not be bent to match the mathematics’. I have little doubt that the 33 degree greenhouse effect is essentially a mathematical construct. I have really seen nothing to convence me that it is a physical reality.

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      bananabender

      The Earth is a rotating oblate spheroid. It receives 1400W/m2 radiation at the Equator and 0W/m2 radiation at the Poles. The albedo varies between 0.1 (water) and 0.85 (fresh snow). The surface temperature varies between -88C to 61C.

      The mathematics is correct but the model itself is total garbage.

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    Joe V.

    The man has a gift , for communicating not just ideas but for & demystifying maths as we’ve seen. It’s easy to see how the ‘obscuratism’ of the IPCC gets up the nose of a man like that.

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    crosspatch

    I have finally figured out how to put into words what it is that bothers me about all this warming hysteria scat.

    We know with absolute certainty that if we double CO2 in the atmosphere and it raises temperatures by the amount that the IPCC claim, it will not cause a problem.

    First of all, keep in mind that our “pre-industrial” CO2 number is basically a guess of what atmospheric CO2 was at the coldest part of the Little Ice Age. It was likely higher during the Medieval Warm Period.

    Now, we know that during the Holocene Climate Optimum temperatures were about 2C higher than they are now and sea levels were about 2 meters higher. We also know that this interglacial period is the coldest one in 400,000 years. The previous 3 interglacials were warmer than this one has been.

    Every species that exists today survived the Holocene Climate Optimum … including the Polar Bear. We know that every species that exists today experienced massive cooling and warming during the 8.2ky event. I am talking both cooling and warming of a scale that would pale in comparison to any warming we are creating by CO2. Any warming from CO2 emissions is quite gradual. Nature can change from today’s temperatures to glacial conditions and back again in only a century or so and has. Every single species alive today survived that.

    Now if someone has transported an “out of the blue” completely new species here, yes, that species may have a problem. But any new species evolving in the past 6000 years or so is simply an adaptation of a species that existed before that can survive climate changes.

    We are to be told that changing climate by a degree or two will be absolutely devastating. About haf of the temperature change that would be expected to occur from a doubling of CO2 from 280ppm has already happened as we are now at 390ppm and the response is logarithmic.

    The bottom line is that this rhetoric spouted off about the dangers of climate change is not only false, we absolutely know for a fact that it can not possibly be true. We have already experienced the conditions that they are warning about in the not very distant past. In 6000BC temperatures were pretty much exactly what these people are warning about.

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    pat

    these excerpts are the real story here, not the headline spin of a report commissioned by the state govt to suit its own purposes:

    20 Dec: Brisbane Times: Tony Moore: Raising dam wall costly and ineffective: floods report
    But in its executive summary the report finds that lowering Wivenhoe Dam’s full supply volume (FSV) to 75 per cent would have reduced the overall flood height in Brisbane, measured at the Brisbane Port Office gauge.
    It finds: “reducing the FSV to 75 per cent and using the [updated dam management manual] shows a decrease of the flood peak at the Port Office for the three events [floods in 1893, 1974 and 2011]…
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/raising-dam-wall-costly-and-ineffective-floods-report-20111220-1p398.html

    ABC is total spin:

    20 Dec: ABC: PM: No dam solution
    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3395092.htm

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    AusieDan

    Banabender has a point that cannot be ignored.

    The atmosphere is a complex gas and must obey the universal gas law.
    This is completely independet of whether the earth or indeed Venus is or is not a true or even an approximate blackbody.

    To explain why the temperature of the earth varies from Venus, you must first calculate the effect of the Gas Law.

    Then and only then can you begin to bring in all the refinements about black bodies with all the difficulties, assumptions and simplications that you may desire.

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    Mydogsgotnonose

    The BIG PROBLEM with oxymoronic climate science is that ‘back radiation’ as measured by a radiometer pointing upwards [at night] is really ‘Prevost exchange Energy’ so can do no thermodynamic work.

    It is simply a measure of temperature and emissivity. Read up Hottell’s work on it in the 1950s at MIT. Engineers know this because we have to calculate things accurately. Climate science is essentially propaganda.

    My own route to showing climate sensitivity on the IPCC’s figures is ~x4 too high is to show that real present GHG warming is nearer 9K with the rest of the 33K from lapse rate – this is the same as Monckton shows.

    However, he fails to account for the third big mistake in climate science, which is the aerosol optical physics. In reality the AIE has reversed sign, slight at the moment, but big in a polar climate. The bottom line is that the IPCC CO2 climate sensitivity is at least 6.7 times too high and could well be slightly negative.

    This is because the CO2 IR absorption band near the earth’s surface is saturated. For proof that CO2-AGW is very small look at North Atlantic OHC data: N. Atlantic OHC: http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/figure-101.png

    It’s been falling since 2004 because the Arctic biofeedback driven temperature oscillation is now going to the freeze state, showing that it’s reduction of cloud albedo which is dominant for the Earth, not CO2-AGW/GW.

    The rider to this is that since 1997, when the direct link between palaeoclimate and CO2 climate sensitivity was broken, climate science has been a clever fraud with multiple routes to the same propaganda answer. Those responsible need to go to jail.

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    Joe's World

    Jo,

    There is a MASSIVE time difference of exposure to solar radiation(NOT INCLUDED).
    Second, the single calculation misses that the planet is an orb with many angles of solar radiation on the different velocities.

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    CHIP

    I’m lost. I followed Monckton up until stage 7 and 8 and then I lost it. I have no idea what it is that he is specifically trying to communicate and I am someone who considers myself to be relatively mathematically adroit. A more in-depth lay-man explanation would be appreciated because comprehension of Monckton’s post probably only extends to Wikipedia-nerds and scientists. If anyone could give me the general gist of Monckton’s post in layman vernacular (read as: baby-speak) it would be much appreciated.

    I will say though, from what I was able to decipher, I don’t think that it *completely* disproves the IPCC’s claims of climate-sensitivity. Why? From my understanding, the IPCC use paleo-climate ice-core data to calculate sensitivity. Wikipedia states: “The change in temperature, revealed in ice core samples, is 5 °C, while the change in solar forcing is 7.1 W/m2. The computed climate sensitivity is therefore 5/7.1 = 0.7 K(W/m2)−1. We can use this empirically derived climate sensitivity to predict the temperature rise from a forcing of 4 W/m2, arising from a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels. The result is a predicted temperature increase of 3 °C”.

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    Joanne,

    Sorry, but Monckton muffs his equations a bit. It is not accurate to treat the sun-exposed side of the Earth as a disk. The solar radiating ‘surface’ is a hemisphere where the incoming radiation is maximum along the vector to the sun, and dissipates to zero as you hit the day-night terminus. It is therefore not the size of the Earth disk, but probably 2/3rds that size in terms of solar flux.

    In addition, the radiating surface is the total globe, not the sun facing hemisphere. These two observations alone will probably require a major re-dp.

    Also, the Earth is a fixed amount above zero degrees, since it has a hot molten core. What we see in our ‘temperature’ is the balance between the inner heat dissipating, the solar radiative heating and the dissipation/emission of heat.

    To further complicate the equation you need to recall the oceans trap heat during the day and emits it back into the atmosphere at night. Many things can effect this transmission rate, causing the nightly effect not to be at the same rate every night or season – some nights the emissions are more, other less. Think cloud cover for one such trap. Wind and wave action is another, and so on.

    Then you can get into the reflective nature of the land/sea surface, atmosphere and clouds – which is also not static. Add in the solar vector to the trapping or reflecting feature (ice, cloud, water, plants) and you realize the simple black body is nothing more than a very crude estimate.

    And this is why the GCMs fail, because they are way too simplistic.

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      Siliggy

      Sorry, but Monckton muffs his equations a bit. It is not accurate to treat the sun-exposed side of the Earth as a disk. The solar radiating ‘surface’ is a hemisphere where the incoming radiation is maximum along the vector to the sun, and dissipates to zero as you hit the day-night terminus. It is therefore not the size of the Earth disk, but probably 2/3rds that size in terms of solar flux.

      Who muffed it?
      Fomula one above boils down to 1368/4=342 Are you saying it should be MORE?
      1368/0.6667? or less 1368/0.3333?
      “His equations”?!? This is a “consensus” equation.
      Note the wording:
      “The fraction in (1) simply adjusts for the ratio of the surface area of a disk to that of a sphere.” I think this is the accounting for what you describe as “dissipates to zero as you hit the day-night terminus”. Not 2/3 of a disk but 1/2 of a disk. Which translates to 1/4 when you include the other side of the disk.
      Please explain if you still disagree.
      I say it is not a disk but an elipse which means very slightly less than 1/4.

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        Siliggy

        Argh!Now I muffed that!
        “Fomula one above boils down to 1368/4=342 Are you saying it should be MORE?
        1368/0.6667? or less 1368/0.3333?”
        Should be:
        “Fomula one above boils down to 1368/4=342 Are you saying it should be MORE?
        1368 x 2/3 or less 1368/4 x 2/3 or ?

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    Eole notes correctly that emissivity in a real object varies with the material emitting. The radiative capture/emission balance of any part of the Earth from surface up to the radiating altitude is immensely complex given all the components involved.

    I also have to agree with those who point out the obvious – a black body by definition has no albedo. Once you adjust for the actual albedo and emissivity of a real life object, then you are no longer dealing with a black body.

    BTW, I was under the impression black body analysis was used to compare stars by ignoring details like albedo and spectral emissivity. Sort of put the light on an equal footing so to speak. While good for astronomy, it is the wrong model for climate because it over simplifies and is completely theoretical.

    The Earth is NOT a black body, nor can its energy balance be described or understood by a black body model.

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    Mydogsgotnonose

    Answer to CHIP:

    Beware the Pea under the IPCC thimble. There has been systematic misrepresentation since in 1997 it was shown that CO2 rose ~600 years’ after T. The calibration of CO2 climate sensitivity to palaeo-data had to be dropped. Instead it went to post-industrial warming, hence Mann’s fraudulent hockey-stick and the temperature fiddling, the latest being NOAA: http://www.c3headlines.com/2011/12/science-by-lubchencos-noaa-fake-global-warming-by-changing-historical-temperature-data.html

    Systemic IPCC fraud.

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    Mark D.

    Funny, not a comment from Tristan, John Brooks or Catamon. Apparently science makes them nervous.

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      BobC

      John Brooks has admitted to ignorance of math, and Tristan has confessed he has no relevant scientific knowledge in this subject, and only posts to be a nuisance.

      I don’t know about Catamon, but from the lack of logical coherence in his previous posts, I doubt he would have anything of substance to say.

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      Tristan

      I wasn’t aware this bore commenting.

      It’s not news that Monckton is a ‘skeptic’, nor is it news that he thinks he’s a scientist.

      One more fringe-dweller with crackpot theories, convinced of his own genius.

      (What about the presentation in the blog post? Can you provide constructive criticism?) CTS

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        BobC

        Tristan
        December 21, 2011 at 2:56 am · Reply
        I wasn’t aware this bore commenting.

        It’s not news that Monckton is a ‘skeptic’, nor is it news that he thinks he’s a scientist.

        One more fringe-dweller with crackpot theories, convinced of his own genius.

        No doubt you have a trenchant critique of his logic and math, but just can’t be bothered to put it out right now.

        ROFLOL

        (Oh and Tristan; the “crackpot theory” Monckton is explaining is the one used by the IPCC — but you couldn’t be expected to recognize that, of course.)

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        Tristan

        Oh I can’t critique this sort of stuff. I wouldn’t be able to critique his AIDS or Graves cures either. My evaluations take place on a macro level. I evaluate the evaluations. I look at how people respond to their critics, I look at the tone people use and their style of argument. I look for evidence of ideological barriers to understanding.
        My opinion of Monckton is that he’s capable of logic and reasoning but seemingly incapable of considering himself wrong. Thus in this case he’s forced to defend an indefensible opinion. That’ll make anyone look silly.

        (Where is YOUR evaluation of his evaluation?) CTS

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          Mydogsgotnonose

          That was truly brilliant Tristan. To use your analytical principles, I am fairly certain that on a scale of 0 to 10 your logical reasoning skills hover slightly below zero. And to add my two penn’orth, Monckton’s big mistake has been think that the IPCC ‘science’ is based on reality. This comes from his not being trained in the details of the physics.

          The fact is, there are four humongous mistakes and to assemble it all together in a plausible format, they simply fake the data. The latest example of this is here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/20/hansens-arrested-development/

          Thus Monckton’s assessment of the IPCC fraud is way off base. There is now no credence whatsoever in its assessment of CO2 climate sensitivity. Assuming the IPCC’s IR physics is true, it can be no more than ~15% of the median claimed CO2 climate sensitivity. If you correct the IR physics, it’s slightly negative at present but could have been larger in the past.

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          Tristan

          CTS

          I can’t evaluate the math but plenty of people have tried to show that CS is small or the forcing is small or the the GHE can’t exist with their mathturbation and bedroom physics.

          It just ain’t that simple. That’s why even after thousands of papers, the CS value is still so imprecise. Some guy’s unpublished commentary doesn’t stack up to an enormous body of research. As for the ever-splendid Spencer and Christy.

          (Then you admit that you couldn’t justify calling Monckton names.Because you can’t tell us why he is wrong) CTS

          (We are still waiting for YOUR evaluation of Monckton’s evaluation of the IPCC report concerning Blackbody Radiation.Who wrote these words? “My evaluations take place on a macro level. I evaluate the evaluations.”) CTS

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          Tristan

          He is a fringe-dweller. He belongs to a fringe political party. He’s working on a broad spectrum cure for infectious diseases (after which he’ll solve nuclear fusion no doubt). He claims to understand the science of climate change yet his claims fly in the face of a huge body of research and he’s never published anything on the matter. He certainly does seem convinced of his own genius. I’m confident that every adversarial position he holds on global warming is wrong. I think he should stick to selling shirts.

          (Your “evaluation” of him fails to address his posted presentation.Name calling and mocking are the germ of your conclusions) CTS

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          Tristan

          As I said, I cannot evaluate his math (even if his math is an evaluation of IPCC AR4). I am thus restricted to evaluating the responses to his math from those who disagree. That said, given what I’ve seen of Monckton I don’t really bother to read his junk. I pretty much disregard his opinions carte blanche.

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            So Tristan, you agree then that in the past you would have been the guy calling names at the Wright Bros, “just bike mechanics”, or deriding Alexander Gordon, Oliver Wendell-Holmes, and Ignaz Semmelweis (a dogmatic, eccentric man) who were pilloried — for saying the outlandish — that women in childbirth were being killed by doctors who carried disease from one dying woman to the next.

            Fringe dwellers can be brilliant or nuts, so how do you tell the difference Tristan?

            Saying “I pretty much disregard his opinions carte blanche” is exactly what most of the witchdoctor surgeons were saying about Semmelweis in 1850. Dare I suggest that when you “cannot evaluate” something, the humble and wise would stay silent?

            Any idiot can drop a pompous, arrogant and uninformed opinion.

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            Tristan

            As I said: given what I’ve seen of Monckton I don’t really bother to read his junk.

            I didn’t say ‘because his opinion is contrary I don’t bother to read his junk’. I disregard his opinions because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and the evidence he uses to support his claims are often far from extraordinary.

            Any idiot can drop a pompous, arrogant and uninformed opinion.

            And any idiot can follow someone else’s pompous, arrogant and uninformed opinion.

            Have you asked how his ‘broad spectrum cure for infectious diseases’ is coming, or do you merely accept his opinions carte blanche?

            (Then you have no constructive criticism of the Monckton’s on Blackbody Radiation blog post.Thank you for shooting yourself in the foot) CTS

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            Tristan

            How am I shooting myself in the foot? I stated that this (Monckton post) didn’t bear comment and explained why I feel that way.

            (Then deleting all seven of your comments on this blog topic can be deleted without loss) CTS

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            BobC

            Does it never occur to you, Tristan, that if you have nothing to say, you should say nothing?

            It is, however, useful for Tristan to act the fool. I don’t participate in these forums just to talk to people who agree with me, or because I think I can change the mind of ideologues like Tristan.

            I participate because there are many lurkers (who may never post) who read these forums and do “meta-evaluation” of the subject by observing the behavior of the posters. When AGW supporters like Tristan play the fool, they help discredit the AGW scam.

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            Tristan

            If that’s what you need to do it’s no skin off my nose, although then we’d lose the ineffable wisdom of your responses. ;)

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            Tristan – Could you please explain what you mean by ineffable wisdom?

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            BobC

            Kevin,

            Tristan thinks he’s being clever by using a grade-school comeback (“you are too”) — and making my point while he’s at it. This about as deep as he gets. (Perhaps as deep as his education and intelligence will allow.)

            He’s fairly well described by the example given in yourdictionary.com of self delusion.

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    Bryan

    I’m afraid Lord Monckton just hasn’t got a clue about blackbodies.
    The blackbody radiation formula was derived from considerations of cavity radiation.
    A blackbody will absorb all radiation falling on it.

    This is clearly not the case for Earth.

    It will also produce a continuous spectrum as explained by Planck, and obeys the Stephan Boltzmann equation based on its temperature.

    What Monckton is talking about is a gray body which is another hypothetical entity which follows the Stephan Boltzmann Equation but reduced by a constant value for each wavelength.
    Again this does not describe the Earth.

    The shorter solar wavelengths are more likely to be reflected and the longer solar wavelengths to be absorbed.
    Indeed it is this variation of albedo with wavelength that is used by the believers of the greenhouse theory to justify their claim of a 33K greenhouse effect.

    Joseph Postma has written three papers on the greenhouse effect and deals with all the mistakes that Monckton makes.

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    Graeme M

    As a layperson with zero maths skills and no science training whatsoever I may be missing the point, but no-one seems to be addressing the central issue.

    LMs treatment extends to no more than a restatement of the consensus view of the greenhouse effect and the use of SB etc. It does not seem to address Huffman’s point.

    Huffman suggests that a blackbody is a theoretical model in which the surface is a perfect absorber and therefore radaiates at maximum efficiency. It is used to calculate purely radiative effects and ignores completely any conductive or convective transports beneath that surface (ie within the body).

    Thus for us to approximate earth as a blackbody, we should rightly do our calculations at an imaginary point (shell) beyond the eath’s atmosphere, thus avoiding the treatment of any other transports. Those are internal to the system and not relevant to the external radiative relationships.

    Why is he wrong?

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      Monckton gave his answer to that in #3

      Error 3:

      The posting says that the blackbody system “must” be defined as being outside the atmosphere altogether, away from all non-radiative transports. There is no scientific basis for any such assertion. At the characteristic-emission altitude, well within the troposphere, there is so little non-radiative transport that it can safely be left out of account. And it is from that altitude, and only from that altitude, one optical depth into the atmosphere, that satellites “see” radiation emerging from the Earth’s surface.

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        Graeme M

        Yes, he did. But not by demonstrating anything concrete, at least to me as an interested observer. I am not suggesting Huffman is right, and judging by his other views, well…

        However, LM simply states there is no scientific basis for HH’s assertion. LM then restates the existing process, but it is that process that HH argues is incorrect. HH asserts what he does for a reason, that is that the SB equation should be applied ‘outside’ the atmosphere in order to properly calculate the radiating temperature.

        I guess I am asking for a potted summary of why that is incorrect and LM’s position is not.

        HH goes on to argue that Venus is not unnaturally hot at the surface as he maintains that measured temperature values at the various pressure levels match very well. At the same pressure level as earth’s surface there is correspondence. Venus’ surface however experiences much greater pressure and hence the temp is higher (presumably matching the pressure/temp curve HH has expressed).

        Mind you, I think this subject has been covered on a few other blogs before now, I just haven’t read any of those arguments against HH]

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          The reason why SB Eq can’t be applied at the surface (read dirt) is because radiation is not the only form of transfer at that level’

          LM has clearly stated that in the case of Earth, surface means 5Km up because at that level, about the only significant transport that happens is radiation.

          The characteristic-emission surface of the Earth is not the surface we stand on. It is about 5 km up in the troposphere, varying quite a bit with latitude. At that surface, by definition, incoming and outgoing radiative fluxes balance, and there are no non-radiative fluxes as there are at the Earth’s surface.

          I like wide roads built right from the start. I would have gone to 15Kms

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            Graeme M

            Sooo… you are agreeing with Huffman then? I don’t think Huffman has suggested anything to do with the actual surface. His position is that to apply SB one should define the system in question so that its surface is at a point where only radiative transport is involved.

            Thus I presume he’d be happy with 15km up, and perhaps happier with even further than that.

            Huffman’s contention, if I understand him correctly, is that one does not use the concept of a blackbody and then adjust it for albedo etc, rather one ‘adjusts’ the system to avoid those considerations entirely.

            By defining the ‘surface’ as say 15km up, or maybe 100km (I don’t know where HH sees it being), no adjustments need to be made. You simply consider the system (ie the ‘surface’ 100km up) as a blackbody, and apply the SB calculation using the full solar insolation (around 1400 w/m2) without making various adjustments for albedo or whatever.

            I suspect that if you do that, the end result is that the radiating temp of the earth is not -18C, rather it is closer to what it actually is.

            In other words, HH is saying that the methodology for using the blackbody model in the way it is used – is flawed. Which sort of seems to be what LM – and you – are saying too.

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            Graeme M

            Perhaps too it would be better to read Huffman’s actual words rather than my poorly expressed summary of them.

            http://theendofthemystery.blogspot.com/2011/09/blackbody-key-error-in-climate-science.html

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            Graeme M

            Hmmm… I can see I am not explaining myself here well enough, largely due to my own lack of understanding of the detail. But I do understand the point HH is making (regardless of its correctness) and I do see why LM has not addressed it.

            Bear with me as I attempt again to explain, and perhaps I am flogging a dead horse here, but it hasn’t been explained to me at least why HH is wrong.

            LM argues that the incoming insolation is adjusted for albedo and a temp derived using SB. Then using the average temp of the earth’s surface and the lapse rate, he calculates at what altitude the temp agrees with the first value derived using SB. This he calls the characteristic emission altitude and is effectively the ‘surface’ of our blackbody approximation.

            However HH asserts this is assbackwards. He argues that one does not adjust for albedo. Rather, do the calc WITHOUT the .3 adjustment. In other words (I assume), use the value 342 w/m2 rather than 239.4 w/m2. This is because we define the blackbody approximation as one where no adjustments are made. A blackbody by definition has no albedo, so define the system such that this is the case, rather than adjust for albedo.

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    crosspatch

    Dear Lord Monckton,

    In reference to “We must divide this value by 4 to allow for the fact that the Earth is a rotating sphere”

    Per Loeb et al. 2009 (Journal of Climate Volume 22)

    Another positive bias is associated with how the global average solar irradiance is calculated. It is common practice to assume a spherical earth when averaging TOA insolation over the earth’s surface. This gives the well-known So/4 expression for mean solar irradiance, where So is the instantaneous solar irradiance at the TOA. When a more careful calculation is made by assuming the earth is an oblate spheroid instead of a sphere, and the annual cycle in the earth’s
    declination angle and the earth–sun distance are taken into account, the division factor becomes 4.0034 instead
    of 4. The spherical earth assumption causes a 1 0.29 W m^-2 bias in net TOA flux. Similarly, assuming a spherical earth in determining the global average SW andLW TOA fluxes (by using a latitude weighting in geocentric instead of geodedic coordinates) results in 10.18 and 20.05 W m^-2 biases, respectively.

    Not that it makes a huge difference in this case, it might make a difference for some work and I thought I might share that with the group here in cases where greater precision might be required.

    Sincerely yours,

    Nobody in particlar

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    CHIP

    @Mydogsgotnonose

    I understand that. Thanks. I just don’t get section 7 & and 8.

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      Mydogsgotnonose

      What he’s doing is to look at the practicalities of heat transport from the earth’s surface. The IPCC consensus is a sophisticated fraud. They assume all that heat transport is by radiation and that about half of that is ‘trapped’ by GHGs and re-radiated downwards.

      Both these processes are untrue. Monckton is changing the first to account for thermotranspiration/evaporation and convection thereby reducing the proportion of radiated IR. But this doesn’t account for the second IPCC falsehood: he’s behind the curve because he doesn’t know much heat transport physics.

      Let me explain using a thought experiment what the problem is. You’re on the beach, air temperature = 25°C, sand temperature = 30°C. Because it’s a bit cold, you put up a windbreak and in order to maintain constant convection + radiation, the sand temperature rises to 45°C, very nice.

      If the IPCC/Monckton claim that back radiation is valid, assuming 85% emissivity, you’ve just increased back radiation by 27 times the IPCC’s claimed net AGW [1.6 W/m^2]. This reductio ad absurdum experiment shows that the IPCC’s case is wrong, pure and simple, and I believe this has been done knowingly by insiders.

      So, ignore Monckton’s later findings because he believes too much of the IPCC fake science. He has picked up on part of the fraud which is to assume all heat transport from the Earth’s surface is radiation.

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    icebear

    err – - just a small quibble: Stephan-Boltzmann says Flux = sigma x T ^ 4… or T = k F ^(1/4)…. as per equation 3 above… ergo, dT/dF = 1/4 x k x F ^ (-5/4) or k / [4 x F ^ (5/4)] and NOT k/ (4 x F) as our hero has written above in equation 4????????

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    icebear

    Ugh! Now you’ve got me at it….. if T = k x F ^(1/4), then dT/dF = 1/4 x k x F ^ (-3/4) or k / [4 x F ^(3/4)]… but still different from what is used above

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    Everybody still seems to be pretty much ignoring the fact that the bottle has no top. If convection can waft away excess buildup of heat – and I trust you have felt the effect of storms firsthand – why cannot thunderheads vent planetary heat completely out of the atmosphere?
    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=heat%20transport%20via%20thunderstorm&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CDwQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fams.confex.com%2Fams%2Fpdfpapers%2F81752.pdf&ei=rQH0TpKVD6KRiAKcyfSMDQ&usg=AFQjCNEIfvLgVvvsMgr49Xue8jEgn9h-bg&sig2=yqFxf7lzU8EJ34jI5vdcEA

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    Richard Pearson

    Much of this entry by Lord Monkton is semantic objection, rather than substance, and he dresses it with math.

    He himself his Lordship blindly perpetuates the P/4 error – http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/The_Model_Atmosphere.pdf

    And say what you may – the 2nd law of thermodynamics will not go away, nor will it give way.

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    J Martin

    Is the mathematics so ably demonstrated by Lord Christopher Monckton only half the story ?

    Do we not also need to take into account not just the disc facing the sun, but also the disc facing away from the sun, ie. the nighttime half. Or is that somehow included in the calculations and I have missed that ?

    Does anyone have a viewpoint on this that might enlighten me ? OK I struggle with the 6th form maths, but it would nonetheless be appreciated.

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