This massive effort was critical to the entire space program and aeronautics, and hundreds of rocket scientists, physicists, meteorologists, aeronautical engineers, and atmospheric scientists contributed to this project necessary to physically model and then verify with millions of observations from weather balloons, research flights, and rocket launches, that their physical 1-D vertical model of the atmosphere was correct. The 1958 first edition of the US Standard Atmosphere was followed by revisions, mostly of the far upper atmosphere at the edge of space, as more data became available from the space program, with revisions published in 1962, 1966, and the final 1976 version still widely used as the gold standard today.
This effort to model the atmosphere for NASA, NOAA, and the US military during the cold war began long before the field of 'climate science' or 'climatologists' even existed, long before anyone ever thought or knew about alleged "radiative forcing from greenhouse gases" causing "catastrophic man-made global warming or climate change," and twenty years before the first 'climatologists' gave us the ice age scare of the 1970's, immediately followed by the global warming scare of the 1980's that is still haunting us today [but now called 'climate change' since it's not warming].
These early atmospheric scientists began this effort to model the atmosphere with the basic physics of gases and air known since the 1800's from the ideal gas law, 1st Law of Thermodynamics, Newton's second law of motion (F=ma=mg), the physical chemistry of molecular weights, partial pressures of each gas, heat capacities of individual gases and air at both constant pressure and constant volume, the gravitational acceleration constant, barometric formulae, Boltzmann's constant, Avogadro's number, mean atmospheric molecular weights, number density of individual species, total number density, atmospheric mass density, mole volume, scale height, geopotential height of gravitational potential energy (PE), mean air-particle speed, mean free-path of air molecules, mean collision frequency, calculated speed of sound, dynamic viscosity, kinematic viscosity, coefficient of thermal conductivity, and on and on...
And never once used any "radiative forcing" from any IR-active greenhouse gases or any radiative calculations from any greenhouse gases whatsoever to produce an accurate 1-D model that could calculate Earth's entire pressure, mass density, temperature, and molecular-scale temperature as a function of geopotential altitude (geopotential height ~ geopotential altitude ~ gravitational potential energy (PE)) profile from the surface to the edge of space.
The entire US Standard Atmosphere physical model was derived from physical laws assuming a completely dry atmosphere without any water vapor (the so called primary greenhouse gas) or any natural or man-made CO2 whatsoever (since CO2 at 0.03-0.04% contributes negligibly to atmospheric mass). It was only after the entire dry atmosphere model was finished that the average water vapor in Earth's atmosphere was added back in solely by changing one essentially constant parameter (on an annual & global basis):
the heat capacity of air at constant pressure (Cp) (on a global annual average basis)
of the atmosphere to calculate the tropospheric lapse rate, since water vapor has a high heat capacity more than double that of N2, O2, and CO2 (which are all lower and close to the same). This is the primary means (other than clouds) by which water vapor cools the Earth surface and atmosphere, since by the lapse rate equation
dT/dh = -g/Cp
dT = change in temperature
dh = change in altitude
g = gravitational acceleration constant
Cp = heat capacity at constant pressure
the change in temperature dT is inversely related to a change in heat capacity (Cp). Note also that temperature T is a function of the constants gravity (g) and (Cp), and that neither g or Cp (within the temperature range of Earth's atmosphere) are a function of temperature (T).
Since water vapor increases heat capacity (Cp) in the lapse rate equation, it decreases the temperature (T) at any altitude (h) including the surface where (h) = 0, and decreases the lapse rate by half from the dry rate 9.8 C/km to the wet rate of 5 C/km if the atmosphere is fully saturated with water vapor.
The scientists involved with the US Standard Atmosphere calculated the global average lapse rate of 6.5 K/km on the basis of the known heat capacity constants of water vapor and measured global average water vapor concentrations, to calculate and confirm with observations that it is ~6.5 C/km, intermediate as expected between the dry and wet fully saturated adiabatic lapse rates, and thus this is the value used to calculate the global annual average temperature, pressure, and density profile of the Standard Atmosphere. We now know from weather balloon and satellite measurements that the global average total water vapor is quite constant, and there is little agreement about whether it has stayed the same or slightly increased or decreased over the past 35 years of the satellite era.
The tiny 0.03-0.04% of CO2 in the atmosphere does not contribute in any significant way to atmospheric molecular mass, molecular density, partial pressures, heat capacity (Cp), etc., thus in the multiple versions of the US Standard Atmosphere models, the calculated CO2 effect on the atmospheric temperature was so negligible that the atmospheric scientists thereafter completely discarded CO2 from their model calculations of the atmosphere. The same potential effects were calculated for what is called today the "20 times stronger greenhouse gas than CO2" methane; these atmospheric scientists found the mass contribution and heat capacity to the atmosphere from methane was far too negligible to consider, thus, it was also discarded from the model along with CO2.
Thus, these hundreds of scientists were in effect "deniers" of the man-made CO2 global warming hypothesis that would come much later, and didn't recognize any "radiative forcing" from any "greenhouse gases" at the time they provided an accurate physically derived & straightforward model of the atmosphere. Hansen's (falsified) climate models and the CAGW hypothesis scare didn't arrive until ~30 years later. These atmospheric scientists never once used any radiative calculations of "back-radiation" or "radiative forcing" from IR-active greenhouse gases or clouds, or any absorption/emission spectra from greenhouse gases, all of which are the absolutely essential and critical underpinnings of the entire 33C Arrhenius radiative greenhouse theory a.k.a. the catastrophic man-made CO2 global warming theory.
Because they knew, as did scientists including Maxwell in 1872, that the atmospheric temperature gradient is a function of atmospheric mass/gravity/pressure, not the other way around. Temperature is calculated in their model as a function of geopotential height (gravitational potential energy (PE)) and molecular mass of the constituents in each atmospheric layer, from which atmospheric pressure, density, etc. are calculated using the geopotential height (gravitational potential energy (PE) at a given height). After these intermediate parameters are calculated, then the temperature at a particular altitude is calculated as a function of mass/gravity/pressure, not the other way around. The only assumption about temperature made in their atmospheric model was that global surface temperature is, by international agreement and definition, 15C.
Ah, you say, they assumed the surface temperature and thus everything else is a function of that!
It's true that the only assumption made about temperature in their model is the surface temperature, by definition 15C. They, of course, had to do so because that is the surface temperature by definition from international agreement, and also because there were no satellite measurements at that time from the Sun and Earth to determine Earth's equilibrium temperature with the Sun. Therefore, they used 15C by definition as the starting point at the surface, and then calculated the entire remainder of the atmosphere as a function of the geopotential height (gravitational potential energy (PE) at a given height), and given the mass and molecular weights of the constituents of the air observed at each level of the atmosphere (without the greenhouse gases water vapor and CO2).
Now that satellite measurements make it possible to determine the Earth's equilibrium temperature with the Sun (Te = 255K), we can now use the greenhouse equation to bootstrap onto this huge effort by these pioneering atmospheric scientists, and thereby calculate the average global temperature at any altitude (geopotential height) in Earth's atmosphere all the way from the surface to the edge of space at ~100,000 km altitude, entirely without any radiative forcing from greenhouse gases whatsoever, and based only upon the mass/gravity theory of the greenhouse effect (first described by the famous physicist Maxwell in 1872), and calculated atmospheric center of mass, and without knowing the surface temperature or any other atmospheric temperature other than the constant equilibrium temperature with the Sun in advance.
|The "Greenhouse Equation" calculates temperature (T) at any location from the surface to the top of the troposphere as a function of atmospheric mass/gravity/pressure and radiative forcing from the Sun only, and without any radiative forcing from greenhouse gases. Note the pressure (P) divided by 2 in the greenhouse equation is the pressure at the center of mass of the atmosphere, where the temperature and height are equal to the equilibrium temperature with the Sun and average "Effective Radiating Level" or ERL, respectively.
The calculation of not only the entire troposphere temperature profile by the greenhouse equation, but also the calculation of the temperature profiles of all remaining levels of the entire atmosphere all the way to space at ~100,000 meters, by bootstrapping onto this seminal gravito-thermal model of the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere above the troposphere, will be the topic of the next post in this series.
The entire 241 page 1976 US Standard Atmosphere document and database (which still remains the gold standard today and has not changed despite 39 years of greenhouse gas emissions) is posted below. It is an absolute goldmine of detailed information on the physical derivation of the standard atmospheric model and confirmatory observations. It thus provides overwhelming physical proof and overwhelming observational evidence that the Maxwell gravito-thermal mass/gravity/pressure theory of the 33C "greenhouse effect" is correct, and would necessarily falsify any significant "radiative forcing from greenhouse gases" affecting the lapse rates or various atmospheric temperature gradients, and thus as well negate the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Only one of these two competing greenhouse theories can account for the 33C greenhouse effect, since if both were true, the Earth would be an additional 33C warmer than present.