Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Climate Models Without a 'Greenhouse Effect'

Several posts have demonstrated that the Earth's climate can be physically described without any need to invent a 'greenhouse effect' caused by 'heat-trapping' 'greenhouse gases' that 'back-radiate' from the colder atmosphere to heat the hotter Earth surface in violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Five published Earth energy budgets which roughly agree and do not incorporate 'greenhouse gases' at all were shown in the post Earth Energy Budgets without Greenhouse Gases, including one from the NASA Langley Research Center. A peer-reviewed paper by Ozawa et al published in Reviews of Geophysics also develops an Earth energy budget and climate model that does not incorporate a 'greenhouse effect' from 'greenhouse gases.' This is in remarkable contrast to the Earth energy budget of Kevin Trenberth used by the IPCC, which claims that 'greenhouse gases' heat the Earth by 324 Wm-2 compared to only 168 Wm-2 directly from the Sun! Thus, we have at least 6 published Earth energy budgets stating the contribution to the Earth surface temperature from 'greenhouse gases' is zero, compared to the IPCC/Trenberth budget claiming 'greenhouse gases' heat the Earth almost twice as much as direct sunlight and in violation of the 2nd law. Kevin "missing heat" Trenberth's energy budget is indeed, in his own words, "a travesty." The reason Trenberth's budget has "missing heat" is because it never existed in the first place, since 'greenhouse gases' cannot provide added energy to warm the Earth; only the Sun and geothermal energy sources can add heat to the Earth's surface.
Ozawa et al Earth energy & entropy budgets
For fans of the real 2nd law of thermodynamics, see Fig. 3 in the paper which shows heat only flows one way from the hotter Earth to colder atmosphere. The paper discusses the 2nd law in the context of maximum entropy production, which also explains why the so-called 'fingerprint' of AGW - the "hot spot" - won't occur.

Reviews of Geophysics, 41, 4 / 1018 2003 doi:10.1029/2002RG000113


Hisashi Ozawa, Atsumu Ohmura, Ralph D. Lorenz & Toni Pujol

Abstract: The long-term mean properties of the global climate system and those of turbulent fluid systems are reviewed from a thermodynamic viewpoint. Two general expressions are derived for a rate of entropy production due to thermal and viscous dissipation (turbulent dissipation) in a fluid system. It is shown with these expressions that maximum entropy production in the Earth's climate system suggested by Paltridge, as well as maximum transport properties of heat or momentum in a turbulent system suggested by Malkus and Busse, correspond to a state in which the rate of entropy production due to the turbulent dissipation is at a maximum. Entropy production due to absorption of solar radiation in the climate system is found to be irrelevant to the maximized properties associated with turbulence. The hypothesis of maximum entropy production also seems to be applicable to the planetary atmospheres of Mars and Titan and perhaps to mantle convection. Lorenz's conjecture on maximum generation of available potential energy is shown to be akin to this hypothesis with a few minor approximations. A possible mechanism by which turbulent fluid systems adjust themselves to the states of maximum entropy production is presented as a self-feedback mechanism for the generation of available potential energy. These results tend to support the hypothesis of maximum entropy production that underlies a wide variety of nonlinear fluid systems, including our planet as well as other planets and stars.


  1. Fascinating to see that there is a small enclave of scientists, operating in the shadow of the loud, corrupt and incompetent IPCC, trying to understand the planetary physics by the methods of scientific inquiry.

  2. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas that has the ability to be heated. We feel the effect of this "trapped" energy as humidity. That is why 100 degrees in humid Houston feels much hotter than 100 degrees in dry Arizona.

    Greenhouse gases have thermal mass and can "trap" or retain heat for a while.

    Everything is relative. The bigger the difference in temperature between the earth and the atmosphere, eg. the warmer the earth is relative to the atmosphere, the faster the earth is going to cool. In the desert, when night falls, it gets cooler much more rapidly than in a humid area because there is less water vapor in the atmosphere retaining heat.

    You should separate your posts about the green house effect not being real into a separate website because they destroy the credibility of this website (which is a shame).

  3. Steve Koch,

    The reason why a humid 100 degrees "feels" hotter than a dry 100 degrees is because the air is already saturated with water vapor in a humid environment thus decreasing evaporative cooling, not because of "heat trapping" or "back-radiation."

    Nothing in the universe can "trap" heat except a black hole. Increasing thermal mass by adding 'greenhouse gases' to the atmosphere in effect increases the radiative surface area and thus cooling. Energy in = energy out, and GHGs can't add any energy. GHGs do "back-radiate," but this "back-radiation" is not capable of heating the Earth because a radiating lower frequency/lower entropy/lower temperature body cannot heat a higher frequency/higher entropy/higher temperature body at all.

    Sorry you feel these posts decrease the credibility, but I am not willing to accede to violations of basic physics to support a non-problem. And there are several physicists who agree, including Claes Johnson, G&T, Sorotkin, Kramm, the authors of this paper, et al. If you also don't think these physicists have any credibility, explain specifically why.

  4. I've always regarded the so called greenhouse effect as meaning that the speed of energy loss to space is reduced by the bouncing around of energy between molecules of the atmosphere before it is released to space.

    In that process all the molecules present in the atmosphere radiate energy in every direction including downward hence the so called back or downward radiation.

    Is it contended that none of that actually happens ?

  5. GHG do radiate isotropically, i.e. 50% up and 50% down, but that does not make the hot Earth even hotter, because a radiating lower frequency/lower entropy/lower temperature body cannot heat a higher frequency/higher entropy/higher temperature body at all.

    Please go to for many posts that explain this in depth.

    Warmists claim that the back-radiation from GHG makes the Earth 33C or now apparently 60C "hotter than it would otherwise be," which requires a NET FLOW of heat from the cold atmosphere to hot Earth in violation of the 2nd law. (for the 60C figure see Roy Spencer's post):

    The adiabatic lapse rate, pressure, gravity, & volume are all that is needed to model the atmosphere temperature profile, and without breaking any laws of physics:

  6. Steve Koch,

    EVERYTHING has thermal mass and can "trap" heat for a while. Of course that TRAPPING is simply the 2nd law of thermodynamics at work in conjunction with the properties of the material which controls how fast it can absorb, radiate and conduct energy.

  7. Cats have higher body temperatures than humans. So, when my cat sits on my lap, I feel warmer due to its body heat. But do think that the cat doesn't feel warmer as well?
    You see, heat flow is bi-directional, irrespective of the which body is hotter. The 2nd Law of thermodynamics is best described in statistical terms rather than the over-simplified "Heat flows from hot to cold". A more accurate simplification is 'The NET flow of heat is from a warm body to a cold body' which you sometimes see in the better textbooks.
    When radiation is absorbed by a body, it increases the energy of that body - usually manifesting itself as heat. It really doesn't matter what the frequency of the radiation is or where it comes from; whether it's from a hotter body or colder body. The receiving object certainly doesn't know the latter.
    The Earth is surrounded by the cold vacuum of space. So an atmospheric blanket at any temperature above absolute zero, interposed between the Earth and this cold vacuum, results in the surface of the Earth being warmer than it would otherwise be. This seems obvious to me - what is the difficulty?

    When I hear someone citing the schoolboy version of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, I know what follows is likely to be nonsense - this article didn't disappoint.

  8. An in depth analysis of the GHE is presented by John Nicol physicist at James Cook Univ. Townsville Australia. Well worth a read -
    Thanks to Tallbloke for tip.
    I have read at least 4 analyses by serious physicists that come to similar conclusions.
    Roy Spencer and Science of Doom disagree.

  9. Anonymous,
    Your school boy version doesn't disappoint. Who knows or cares what your cat thinks. You see, heat flow from cold to hot is between zero to negligible, as determined by statistical mechanics:

    The GHE effect states the Earth is 33C (60C from backradiation) "hotter than it would otherwise be," which requires the NET heat flow to be 33C (60C radiative) from cold to hot. DID YOU SEE THE WORD 'NET' IN THE LAST SENTENCE?

    Your statement "It really doesn't matter what the frequency of the radiation is or where it comes from; whether it's from a hotter body or colder body." is absolutely false. In your universe, putting an ice cube in a glass of water will cause the water to boil.

    Since you didn't learn these things as a school boy, here's some remedial reading. After you have read and understood, then let me know all of Professor Johnson's errors:

  10. T.G.Watkins,

    Yes, I featured Dr. Nicol's paper a while back, and added it to a list of 28 others:

  11. Does the NET rate of flow of energy from hot (surface) to cold (space) not decline if more CO2 (or any other GHG) is added to the atmosphere ?

    Unless perhaps compensated for by an increase in the NET rate of flow as a result of another non radiative process such as a change in the speed of the hydrological cycle ?

  12. Adding “greenhouse gases”, since they are not energy sources, will cause the temperature of the Earth/atmosphere to decrease because “greenhouse gases” require energy to heat up and will also increase the radiating surface area of the atmosphere. This is analogous to a heat sink cooling the microprocessor in your computer.

    The Watts disipated by the microprocessor remains the same, but the Watts are distributed over a larger radiating surface area DROPPING the watts/m^2 and therefore the TEMPERATURE of the microprocessor DROPS.

    Claes Johnson and Chilingar et al find that adding GHGs results in slight cooling.

  13. There seems to be many different understandings of the greenhouse effect. Firstly, if it is only a matter of heat insulation then why is it given a posh new name "the greenhouse EFFECT", and why is this "EFFECT" not taken into account and exploited in any heat conduction problem which does not take place in the atmosphere. Secondly, why does the stratosphere get colder when the earth heats up? Don't tell me that it is a matter of heat insulation again, I've heard it before, think again. Things like that happen in a refrigerator. You guys just have to wake up to the fact that you have been scammed.

    Thirdly, of course the existence of a colder upper atmosphere heats the surface. This is because it exerts a pressure on the ground. And don't tell me that there is any significant difference between radiation pressure and pressure from molecular collisions.

  14. Anders,
    yes, the "effect" word is a cover for the violation of the 1st law of thermodynamics claiming GHGs ADD energy to the system.

    And their silly answer to your question about the stratosphere cooling is because the troposphere is supposedly "trapping heat" -the hot spot that has failed to occur - once again implying the NET flow of heat is cold to hot and a DECREASE in entropy!


  15. simple explanation of why the K-T Earth Energy Balance is wrong - you can't just add radiation fluxes!

  16. True