Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Comment Dr. Roy Spencer Wouldn't Publish

There has been quite a flurry of activity over the past two days between the small band of "true skeptics" [Gerlich, Tscheuschner, Kramm, Chilingar, Sorotkin, Thieme, Siddons, Schroeder, Hertzberg, Johnson, etc] and the more numerous "lukewarm skeptics" [Spencer, Lindzen, Monckton, Watts, Pielke, etc.], perhaps triggered by Kirk Myers' newspaper article: Global warming alarmists in full retreat as skeptics attack greenhouse theory, with WUWT publishing Explaining misconceptions on the "greenhouse effect," which apparently accomplished nothing of the sort judging from the over 200 mostly critical replies. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Roy Spencer posted Yes, Virginia, Cooler Objects Can Make Warmer Objects Even Warmer Still, which also generated several negative comments. I took 10 minutes to prepare my comment below on Dr. Spencer's post, but am sad to report that after more than 8 hours, my former hero has not published my comment, despite publishing no less than 30 additional comments by himself and others timestamped AFTER my comment was sent in:

Since I took the time to carefully prepare this and didn't want the 10 minutes to go to waste, I post the comment below for anyone interested who wants to show me why it was not worthy of publication on Dr. Spencer's site:

Hockey Schtick says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
July 24, 2010 at 8:03 AM

Dr. Spencer,

Love your site and most of your skeptical approach, but have to agree with several other comments that AGW violates not only the 2nd law, but the 1st law as well. Here’s why:

Violation of the 1st law:
Assumes that GHGs can perpetually recycle IR from the earth’s surface and thereby ADD energy or work input to the system. Take a look at this University course diagram showing 239.7 W/m2 solar input, but somehow the GHGs are then capable of radiating 239.7 W/m2 BOTH UP AND DOWN FOR A TOTAL OF 479.4 W/m2!!!

(other similar diagrams (e.g. K-T) show a TRIPLING of energy by the atmosphere!)

or look at this online “greenhouse effect” calculator from another University climatology course for another flagrant violation of the 1st law:

Violation of the 2nd Law:
Clausius formulation: “Heat DOESN’T flow from cold to hot (WITHOUT WORK INPUT)” AND “total entropy always increases until equilibrium”

AGW assumes the perpetual heat pump created by the violation of the 1st law DOES THE WORK INPUT TO MAKE HEAT FLOW FROM COLD TO HOT.

AGW also incorrectly assumes the total entropy of the system can DECREASE because from the mathematical description of entropy, if heat flows from cold to hot, entropy must locally DECREASE while the total entropy must INCREASE. Therefore, the AGW “hotspot” hasn’t happened, and won’t happen, and heat will not flow from cold to hot because the atmosphere cannot ADD WORK INPUT.

GHGs only slow the rate of cooling of the earth, but they cannot make the warm earth warmer.

I do hope you take a look at the posts from Professor Johnson (author of several textbooks on thermodynamics):

all the best!


  1. "Assumes that GHGs can perpetually recycle IR from the earth’s surface and thereby ADD energy or work input to the system."

    I don't think most alarmists believe the sentence above but do believe that GHGs do have thermal mass and do increase the retention of heat in the atmosphere for longer (not perpetually) than would have been the case if there were no GHGs.

    For example, it feels hotter when the humidity is higher because the water vapor in the air retains heat. There is no doubt that GHGs slow down a bit the escape of some heat from the earth to space, right?

  2. Hello,

    I thought you might be interested in another comment (not related to your topic) Dr. Roy Spencer hasn't posted yet although I have no idea why mine is still flagged "Your comment is awaiting moderation" 12 hours later when 4 other comments time-stamped after appear. Below is my post at it currently appears on Spencer's blog, with a small update. I posted this in his "My Global Warming Skepticism, for Dummies" post at:

    Mohib says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    July 25, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    I’ve been wondering about something that I’ve not seen anywhere else, but seems so obvious, perhaps its been overlooked (or I’ve just not seen it).

    It seems from what I’ve read, CO2 rises +/- 800 years after the temperature rises. Although there are of course ups and downs in temp in that interim period, the big rise in CO2 following a big rise in temps seems to be a signature in the temp/CO2 record.

    Now perhaps this is not correct, but the research listed here (search for “CO2 lags Temperature changes”):
    seems to suggest its correct, although the ranges seem to be from 1200 +/- 700 years, or 800 +/- 600 years, and so forth. [UPDATE: I notice even accepts CO2 rises 800 +/-200 years after temps -- "What does the lag of CO2 behind temperature in ice cores tell us about global warming?" ]

    Well the MWP was about 1000 years ago and so if the above is correct, then shouldn’t the CO2 be rising around this time and thus explain the rising CO2 and/or make it impossible to tell how much is man’s contribution if there is this huge overlapping signature from nature.

  3. While they may not believe it, if they just take a few minutes to look at the 2 examples I provided (out of literally hundreds of others), they cannot deny that the greenhouse theory violates the conservation of energy.

    As to your last statement, GHGs slow the rate of cooling, but they do not "trap" heat and NOT allow it to ultimately escape. I think the best way to think of what they really do is "slow the rate of cooling at night and slow the rate of warming during the day due to absorption of incoming IR in sunlight"

  4. Anonymous,
    The reason I rejected your comment is that it is degrogatory and completely lacking in any scientific basis whatsoever. If you care to back up your defamatory statements with one single piece of scientific evidence, then do so, but I'm not going to bother to publish statements that just say this site is "trash." To say that Spencer won't publish my comment because it is "pseudo-scientific trash" is ridiculous - if it is so easily debunked, why doesn't he publish it (now more than 48 hours later) and show me why it is "trash?" i.e. what is he afraid of? He has published many other comments that basically say the same things I do, but without the additional evidence I provide.

  5. OK, we agree that GHGs don't trap heat permanently but they can retain it temporarily.

    If a particular chunk of heat spends twice as much time in the atmosphere because of GHGs then it has twice the effect on heating the earth that it would have had if it would not have been detained by GHGs, right? A chunk of energy that radiates back out to space immediately upon entering the atmosphere heats the atmosphere less than a chunk of energy that bounces around for a while in the atmosphere before it radiates out to space.

    At any instant, the atmosphere stores a certain amount of energy. How much of that energy is stored in CO2 released by man?

    There is no question that the earth's atmosphere is warmer because of GHGs (primarily water vapor, right? The real question is how much warmer?

  6. Steve Koch,
    GHGs slow the rate of cooling at night, but they do not cause warming, because a cold body can't heat a warm body without work input. They act like a blanket, but cannot act like an electric blanket.

    Average daytime temp on the moon: 107C (much much hotter than earth)
    Average nighttime temp on the moon: -153C

    (yes, lunar days are 27+ earth days, so I am trying to obtain detailed data to compare the rates of warming and cooling between earth & moon)

    Anonymous (again),
    please read the comment policy which I have now moved to the upper right column, 2nd item.

  7. This idea of "true" skeptic seems strange. There can be a million different reasons why one is skeptical. Saying that scientists like Spencer are not "true" skeptics seems ill advised to me.

    My AGW skepticism is more focused on the following:
    * I'm naturally skeptical
    * poor predictive performance of AGW models
    * politicizing of climate science
    * pretending that the science is settled when so much remains to be learned about climate science
    * explicit admission in IPCC reports that feedbacks (especially cloud and biological) are so poorly understood. Without the feedbacks, the warming directly attributable to CO2 levels rising is tiny.

    In general, you are doing great stuff with this blog.

  8. If, at anytime, you would really welcome a debate on this topic then publish what I say first. A fair exchange of views would improve your site immensely. However, whilst you insist on censoring anything that you don't agree with, then debate becomes pointless and ignorance rules.
    If you are up for this, first publish what I say fist and then put any objections you have to it after.

    Yes or No?

  9. Sunsettommy says:

    I was able to post at Roys blog with no moderation at all.It posted immediately.

    Maybe you are on his moderation list?

  10. "GHGs slow the rate of cooling at night, but they do not cause warming, because a cold body can't heat a warm body without work input. They act like a blanket, but cannot act like an electric blanket."

    Let's assume there are two same size atmospheres. Atmosphere 1 gets half as much energy from the sun as atmosphere 2 but atmosphere 2, because of GHGs, retains heat twice as long as atmosphere 1. At any instant, the two atmospheres have the same amount of energy. GHGs make a big difference in the amount of energy in the the atmosphere at a particular instant.

  11. Anonymous a.k.a. Bomber_the_Cat‏:
    Read the comment policy again - if you submit a totally scientific comment which does not contain ANY non-scientific emotional vitriol, I will publish. Blogger doesn't allow me to snip nasty & baseless parts out; it's all or none.

    Sunsettommy: I don't know why I would be on a "moderation list" as I have never posted on his site before and have featured him on this site many many times before always in a positive light. I have also corresponded with him via email a number of times, only to ask his opinion and told him many times he is a hero of mine.

    Steve Koch,
    I used to think along pretty much the same lines until translating & editing Rescue from the Climate Saviours a few months ago, when I realized that G&T and Chilingar are correct and the whole "greenhouse effect" is nonsense. Alan Siddons, Claes Johnson, et al have also convinced me that lukewarm skeptics such as Spencer, Lindzen, and Monckton are really just perpetuating this myth, arguing forever about what the exact "sensitivity" to CO2 is, when it is actually zero and we could stop wasting billions to determine "sensitivity."

  12. Steve Koch, You should know that the body generates heat. How you feel is related to the heat loss from the body. If the relative humidity is high then you will perspire less (lower heat loss by evaporation- beads of perspiration may be apparent because there is minimal evaporation ). You will feel hotter in humid conditions than you would in a dry atmosphere at the same temperature because you lose less heat. On the other hand, chill factors are due to wind increasing heat loss by convection (Reynolds number is proportional to velocity). In cold conditions humidity is normally also low, the wind will increase evaporation ie the skin will dry out. If you go into an igloo, for a start, you will be out of the wind so lower heat loss will make you feel warmer. Packed snow and ice are poor heat conductors so gradually the air in the igloo will be warmed by your body. However, never will the walls of the igloo raise the temperature above your body temperature of about 37C. Unheated walls of an enclosure can never heat the interior they can only reduce the heat loss. Those in snow country can do their own experiment by building an igloo or making a cave in the snow.

  13. Clearly there is a biological feedback or sensitivity to CO2. CO2 is plant food so green stuff grows faster when CO2 levels rise. What effect this has on the climate, I do not know but it would not surprise me if increased vegetation had some effect on climate.

    More CO2 is said to stimulate the growth of organisms in the ocean that facilitate cloud production. Does this tend to heat or cool the earth?

    If the average high temp of the moon is 107C and the average low temp is -153, then the average temp overall is -30C (very cold by earth standards). The moon not having an atmosphere means that, on average, it is colder than the earth even though (on average) it is the same distance from the sun as the earth.

    IIRC, the earth's high average annual temp has topped in at around 25C over the last several hundred million years. Clearly the earth has some built in mechanisms that keep global average temps from going over 25C for extended periods. Most likely this has something to do with clouds and biological responses to increased CO2 and heat.

    It is worth continuing climate research to understand how the world's climate works.

  14. Steve Koch,
    Here's the answer on plants (take your pick):

    Comparing the "average temperature" of planets has numerous problems which are discussed in detail in the 1st G&T paper. Comparing daytime temps earth vs. moon and nighttime earth vs. moon suggests (to me at least) an atmosphere primarily serves to slow cooling at night and slow warming during the day, a buffering effect in both directions.

  15. I should have said -23C is the midpoint temp (not -30C).

  16. If you don't want to compare average temps, why not compare heat contents of the planets (which is more relevant, anyway). The planet without oceans and atmosphere has less thermal mass than another same size/same lithology planet with oceans and an atmosphere. The more thermal mass, the greater the ability to store energy, the more energy is stored at any instant.

    An atmosphere that has more GHGs (especially water vapor) has more thermal mass than an atmosphere without GHGs and thus will store more energy. On a planet without GHGs, the LWR emitted by the planet is lost to space immediately. On a planet with GHGs, some of this energy is captured (at least for a while) by the GHGs. An atmosphere with GHGs will contain more energy than an atmosphere without GHGs.

  17. Because of a certain air plane phobia, I studied once the magic of those machines: powerful engines push them through the air, causing a pressure difference above and below the wings. This is not considered a refutation of the Law of Gravity, neither is the phenomenon called back gravitation.

    Look at Spencer’s demonstration with an experimenters eye: repeat it with the difference that after putting the cool plate in place, the electric current for the warm plate is switched off. In that case the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics will reign in her full majesty (compare: without engines air planes will drop). Therefore, the rise of warm plate's temperature in the original experiment must be due to this difference only, an external power supply.

    Similarly, in another demonstration a specific control condition is easily forgotten. If you lie on the ground and I give you a blanket, you will remain warm for a longer time than without. What happens when you die at the moment I give you the blanket?

    We have two dichotomous variables here: (1) with/without insulation, (2) with/without external power supply or insolation. Cooling does not happen instantaneously. It takes t seconds to reach the equilibrium point. We have as cross table for t:

    with insolation without
    with insulation t(11) t(12)
    without t(21) t(22)

    In this context I want to understand why t(11)>t(21) requires back radiation as explanation whereas t(12)>t(22) does not. I would ask:

    Why t(1.)>t(2.)?
    Why t(.1)>t(.2)?

    When these questions are answered, we may consider a possible interaction effect.

    Perhaps the latter question is trivially easy. Let's consider the first one.

    Is it correct to say that the first dichotomous variable is a dichotomy of specific heat capacity (SHC) of the envelope? If this is true, I would consult a table of SHC's (at a certain pressure and temperature, as can be found in Wikipedia).

    Here we may read that SHC of CO2 is less than SHC of oxygen, nitrogen, or normal air. Then we may predict that if the earth's atmosphere consisted entirely of CO2, it would cool sooner than at present. Therefore,

    (1) CO2 is a cooling gas;
    (2) If the table does not contain an interaction effect, back radiation does not exist.

  18. Mindert Eiting,
    Yes agreed. See also Heinz Thieme:

    and Chilingar et al:

  19. Another comment Dr. Roy Spencer wouldn't publish:

    RE: The Myth of Backradiation
    Quote [from Dr Nasif Nahle]: Well that's the answer to Roy's puzzle; unfortunately, he doesn't post anything coming from me. I don't know why. So if any of you wish to post the explanation there, go ahead, you have my permission granted. Don't forget to mention my name

  20. On July 28, 2010, 10.00 A.M. I posted on Spencers site (2nd experiment) a factual comment. At 4.03 A.M. he wrote a silly reply. Since that moment I cannot find his site on my computer anymore (the well known error message), whereas I can find it on my work. Did he insulate his site against my IP adress? Never mind, because this site is so much better!

  21. A crucial experiment in my shed.
    Like almost all inhabitants of The Netherlands I own a bike with two wheels and tires. Sometimes it happens by a small piece of glass that a tire gets damaged. If the hole is large, it may take a short time before the tire is empty. If the hole is very small, it may take one hour or so. What would happen if I pump air through the vent during this process? Yes, it will take more time before the tire is empty. But here comes the miracle: if I pump fast enough, air pressure in the tire will increase! Even Spencer’s little daughter may understand this but I do not need back flow of air for an explanation.

  22. Dear MS,
    I still owe you and your readers something. In one of my former comments I concluded 'if the table does not contain an interaction effect, back radiation does not exist'. Is an interaction effect possible? Let's return to that text. Spencer said in his title 'Yes, Virginia, cooler objects can make warmer objects even warmer still'. As I have shown, the warmer object was made warmer still by an external power supply. This is the only conclusion to be drawn from a real experiment with an experimental and control condition. Therefore, what Spencer told to Virginia, is basically wrong.

    The elementary 2x2 table appeared a bit mutilated on your site but its meaning is clear (I will try dashes).

    ------------- insolation no-insolation
    no-insulation t(21)------t(22)

    In the extreme case of no-insulation we have a body radiating into empty space. Back radiation does not apply at the second row. If it applied at the first row, at both cells, its effect cannot be separated from the main effect of the independent variable for which I proposed the term specific heat capacity. It would be superfluous (see also Claes Johnson). Let it apply at the first cell: it adds something (a) to cooling time t(11). Is that possible? Here is the table for the interaction effect:

    a -a 0
    -a a 0
    0 0 0

    Therefore, we must have the same addition to the case of no-insulation, no-insolation. This is absurd as explained above. Therefore, back radiation does not exist. Have a nice day.

  23. An experiment which cannot be done in my shed

    In the previous comment I have shown that back radiation does not exist as interaction effect (in the meaning of experimental design). Whether or not we have insolation (work input) it must exist as a main effect, i.e. an aspect of the heat capacity of the system. Therefore, an experiment in the no-insolation condition suffices.

    We need a vacuum chamber and three iron bars A, B, and C. The latter two may be big guys, considerable more heavy than A. They are placed in the mentioned order. A and B are fixed but C moves around A, like a planet around the sun. Therefore its motion does not represent work input. A is heated by an electric current till its maximum temperature is reached above the temperatures of B and C. We shut the current off.

    Each time A, B, and C are on one line, A's temperature must drop (more than it already does) because back radiation of C is blocked by B. As C leaves that line, A's temperature must relatively increase because the back radiation of C reaches A again. It returns to the point on the temperature gradient where it would have been when C did not move. Is this allowed by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

    I am not a physicist. Let an expert (Claes Johnson?) give the answer.

  24. The falsification of back radiation

    Dear Ms,
    I finished my former comment on August 7, 2010 in uncertainty, because I was not sure about a point, I will introduce immediately below. Thereafter the proof is a piece of cake.

    Let’s proceed from the sentence 'Each time A, B, and C are on one line, A's temperature must drop (more than it already does) because back radiation of C is blocked by B. As C leaves that line, A's temperature must relatively increase because the back radiation of C reaches A again'.

    In the first stage of cooling, A's temperature will steeply descend as may be inferred from Newton’s cooling law, stating that the descent is proportional to the difference of temperatures of A and A’s environment. With back radiation we can easily obtain here a strictly decreasing temperature during and after the eclipse. A simple graph may suffice as demonstration.

    Let TA(t) be A’s temperature and TC(t) C’s temperature at time t. We assume that the temperatures are above zero Kelvin.

    Here the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says that TA(t) is strictly decreasing and TC(t) strictly increasing till equilibrium time.

    Let RAC(t) be the contribution to TA(t) by C’s direct back radiation. We ignore indirect back radiation, e.g. reflection via the walls of the vacuum chamber. Because TC(t) is strictly increasing till equilibrium, so does RAC(t). However, this fact is not needed below.

    The essence of back radiation is that it contributes to the temperature of the receiving object. Even in equilibrium this must be the case. If we prevent back radiation, the temperature of the receiving object must drop. Compare what James Clerk Maxwell's demon does with photons and what Claes Johnson says about the exchange (spitting) of photons.

    By hypothesis that back radiation exists:

    RAC(t) > 0, for all t. [1]

    Let t be the moment of total eclipse in the experiment (A, B, and C on one line) and let the eclipse be over at t+x (x>0). Define

    QA(t) = TA(t) – TA(t+x). [2]

    The following can be easily proven from (2):

    (RAC(t+x) > QA(t)) equivalent ((TA(t+x) + RAC(t+x)) > TA(t)). [3]

    Because the latter part of (3) contradicts the 2nd Law, we obtain

    RAC(t+x) <= QA(t). [4]

    By definition of equilibrium

    QA(equilibrium) = 0. [5]

    From (4) and (5) we have

    RAC(equilibrium+x) <= 0. [6]

    From (1)

    RAC(equilibrium+x) > 0. [7]

    We have a paradox between (6) and (7). Either the 2nd Law is false or back radiation does not exist.

  25. Mindert Eiting, thanks again for your comments, which I have forwarded to others for input.

  26. Thanks. Hopefully they will not get lost in details, e.g. the painting of the walls: should be a fatty black substance with high heat capacity, like black tar, simulating a dark universe without any spark of hope. There is no hope, because the experiment in a thermodynamically isolated system is devastating to the theory of back radiation.