Sunday, August 7, 2011

Professor inadvertently explains why greenhouse theory is wrong

Professor David Archer of the University of Chicago has posted You-tube videos of his 10 week lecture series for non-science majors on climate change. In lecture 5, The Greenhouse Effect, Archer uses the Stefan-Boltzmann equation to calculate the supposed temperatures of Venus, Earth, and Mars with and without a greenhouse effect. Archer's calculations show the greenhouse effect on Venus is wildly underestimated by 415C and wildly overestimated on both Earth (by 23C) and on Mars (by 19C) in comparison to actual observed temperatures. This is despite the fact that CO2 levels are very high and virtually the same on Venus and Mars (around 96%) and only trace (0.039%) on Earth. Archer says in the lecture that one would have to assume the Venus atmosphere behaves like multiple panes of glass in order to obtain an answer near the observed temperature, yet on both Earth and Mars one would have to assume the atmospheres behave like much less than one pane of glass. Leaving aside the fact that no atmosphere behaves like a pane of glass, climate scientists cannot claim that the greenhouse theory comes close to a unified explanation of temperature on any of these 3 planets. The simple fact is the adiabatic lapse rate (effect of pressure with altitude) fully explains the temperature profiles on all 3 planets without any need to invoke a supposed 'greenhouse effect.' See Shattering the Greenhouse Effect and Venus: No Greenhouse Effect.

H/T Professor Claes Johnson, who explains why Archer also uses the Stefan-Boltzmann equation incorrectly (and here)

The table below is reproduced from Archer's lecture 5 near the end (around 40 minutes in), with temperatures converted from Kelvin to Celsius, and the differences between observed and calculated temperatures added to the table, along with atmospheric CO2 levels.

Legend for the table (Kelvins converted to Celsius):
Column 1: Average solar insolation over the entire planet in W/m2
Column 2: Albedo (% of incoming solar energy reflected from the atmosphere)
Column 3: Observed 'average' temperature of each planet
Column 4: Archer's calculated temperature of each planet without an atmosphere
Column 5: Archer's calculated temperature of each planet assuming the atmospheres act like a single pane of glass
Column 6: The difference in degrees C between observed temperatures and Archer's calculated 'greenhouse effect'
Column 7: The % CO2 in each atmosphere


  1. Thank you for the link to my article, "Venus: No Greenhouse Effect". However, I suggest readers be sent to the article's own page, with its comments, at

    because I strongly recommend readers also read the comments after the article, particularly my responses. The Venus/Earth comparison, properly done, corrects not just one, but a whole handful of fundamental mistakes committed by "consensus" scientists like Prof. Archer. It is amazing, I know, but they have all been fundamentally miseducated, and continue to miseducate the world.

  2. I think I might by right in saying that what Professor David Archer has said is in line with what Alan Siddons has proven in "Slaying The Sky Dragon - Death of the Greenhouse Effect"

  3. yes, except Archer doesn't seem to recognize it

  4. I see that Mostlyharmless complained about it

  5. Alex Hamilton says:
    February 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm
    Continuing from my comment at 2:16pm, the inevitable conclusion is that it is not greenhouse gases that are raising the surface temperature by 33 degrees or whatever, but the fact that the thermal profile is already established by the force of gravity acting at the molecular level on all solids, liquids and gases. So the “lapse rate” is already there, and indeed we see it in the atmospheres of other planets as well, even where no significant solar radiation penetrates.

    In fact, because the “dry” lapse rate is steeper, and that is what would evolve spontaneously in a pure nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere, and because we know that the wet adiabatic lapse rate is less steep than the dry one, it is obvious that the surface temperature is not as high because of these greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide (being one molecule in about 2,500 other molecules) has very little effect, but whatever effect it does have would thus be very minor cooling.

    I don’t care what you think you can deduce from whatever apparent correlation you think you can demonstrate from historical data, there is no valid physics which points to carbon dioxide warming.

  6. Alex Hamilton says:
    February 13, 2014 at 4:53 pm
    I suppose some may doubt in my comment at 3:13pm that carbon dioxide acts in the same way as moisture in the air in reducing the lapse rate and thus reducing the greater surface warming resulting from the thermal gradient (dry lapse rate) which evolves spontaneously simply because it is the state of greatest entropy that can be accessed in the gravitational field.

    Many think, as climatologists teach their climatology students, that the release of latent heat is what reduces the lapse rate over the whole troposphere.

    Well it’s not the primary cause of any overall effect on the lapse rate. That effect is fairly homogeneous, so the mean annual lapse rate in the tropics, for example is fairly similar at most altitudes. But the release of latent heat during condensation is not equal at all altitudes and warming at all altitudes would not necessarily reduce the gradient anyway. In fact, one would expect more such warming in the lower troposphere.

    The effect of reducing the lapse rate is to cool temperatures in the lower 4 or 5Km of the troposphere and raise them in the upper troposphere, so that this all helps to retain radiative balance with the Sun, such as is observed.

    So where is all the condensation in the uppermost regions of the troposphere and why is there apparently a cooling effect from whatever latent heat is released in the lower altitudes below 4 or 5Km?

    It’s nonsense what climatologists teach themselves, and the claims made are simply not backed up by physics.

    Radiation can transfer energy from warmer to cooler molecules within the system being considered, so this transfers energy far faster than the slow process that involves molecular collisions. That is why the gradient is reduced and the reduction also happens on other planets where no water is present. That is why water molecules and suspended droplets in the atmosphere, as well as carbon dioxide and other GHG all lead to cooler surface temperatures.

  7. Pressure explains Venus Temp

    stevengoddard says:
    March 6, 2014 at 10:41 am
    Let me try again, and explain this very slowly. The conversation has drifted off from mindless to idiotic.

    The “perpetual heat machine” is the Sun which is constantly providing huge amounts of energy to Venus atmosphere. Without the sun, Venus would be frozen solid.

    PV=nRT has no time component. P, n and R don’t change – they are constants. They only things that could change are volume and temperature. As long as the volume is held constant, the temperature will remain constant too. The height of the atmosphere is controlled by steady solar energy received at the top of the atmosphere, so the temperature is fixed.

    Obviously Venus is not a closed system – it has a massive ball of fire heating it up. How dense can you be?