By Herb Rose
When people talk of the Earth what they are usually referring to is the very thin layer that we are familiar with. The Earth is not the just the upper layer of the crust and the troposphere but is the entire system consisting of the entire atmosphere and the entire solid Earth.
When they speak of the Earth radiating heat they are thinking of heat loss from the surface of the planet. This is wrong because the surface of the Earth is the coolest part of it.
As you dig deeper into the Earth the molecules get hotter until you reach the core which has the highest temperature. As you rise up through the atmosphere the molecules in the atmosphere get hotter. The temperature may decline but this is because temperature is how we measure heat and is a function of the kinetic energy of molecules and the number of molecules transferring that energy to the temperature probe.
It is very simple. If you heat a gas it expands and becomes less dense. If you cool a gas it contracts and becomes denser. The less dense gases higher in the atmosphere must be hotter than the denser gases lower in the atmosphere. It does not matter if these molecules are oxygen, nitrogen, water, carbon dioxide or any other gas they will absorb energy from the sun light and hold that energy until they can lose it.
A satellite orbiting above the atmosphere will have the surface facing the sun heated to a temperature of 250 degrees while the same object resting on the surface of the Earth will be heated to 50 degrees. The atmosphere at sea level contains approximately the same number of molecules as a layer of fresh water 33 feet deep.
This layer of molecules contains the energy, radiated by the sun, accounting for this 200 degree difference which constitutes most of the heat being transferred from the sun to the Earth. The atmosphere is absorbing heat on the day side of the Earth and by rotating it transfers that heat to the night side of the Earth where it can then be radiated into space.
The atmosphere, being hotter than the surface of the earth, is also radiating heat to the surface of the Earth. This is evident when there is a cloudy night and the temperature on the surface remains warmer than on a clear night. The water in the clouds are not reflecting heat back to the Earth’s surface. Water is a very good conductor of heat not a reflector and the clouds are transferring heat from the hotter molecules in the upper atmosphere to the surface of the Earth.
‘Greenhouse gases’ in the atmosphere cannot be reflecting heat from the surface of the Earth back to the Earth because they are hotter than the molecules on the surface of the Earth which are already transferring heat to them.
The surface of the Earth is receiving heat from both the atmosphere and the interior of the Earth in the form of volcanic eruptions and geothermic hot spots like Yellowstone. This combined heat is being radiated by the Earth on the night side of the planet. It is important to understand the difference between radiating heat and losing heat (see diagram below)
Every object above absolute zero radiates heat. Every object absorbs radiated heat. According to the conservation of energy principle in order for an object to lose heat it must transfer heat to an object with less heat or radiate more heat than it is absorbing. A molecule at 10 degrees Kelvin is radiating heat but it is not losing heat because it is absorbing more radiated heat than it is radiating. The Earth radiates heat towards the sun but does not lose heat to the sun.
Picture heat as water and the sun and the Earth are both sources of water. The sun is pumping out a large amount of water in all directions at a high pressure. The Earth is pumping a much smaller amount of water at a lower pressure in all directions. The pressure of the water decreases with distance from the source so little of the water from the sun will strike the surface of the Earth but will be blocked by the water coming from the Earth where the two pressures equalize in the atmosphere.
The rotating atmosphere carries both the water emitted by the Earth and the water coming from the sun to the night side of the planet where there is no water coming from the sun to block the flow. The water can then be radiated away from the Earth into space where it will equalize with the water flow from the sun that passes around the Earth.
It doesn’t matter if the heat the Earth is radiating comes from the sun or from the interior of the Earth. The flow of heat from the two sources, like the water, will equalize in the atmosphere and then the atmosphere will transfer the combined energy of the sun and Earth around the Earth to be radiated on the shade side where the heat being radiated by the molecules is greater than the heat they are absorbing.
This transferring of heat by an atmosphere can be seen on Venus where one side of the planet continuously faces the sun but the thick atmosphere distributes the heat around the planet making for a uniform temperature on the planet.
‘Greenhouse gas’ molecules behave like all other gas molecules absorbing radiated energy and then emitting radiated energy. This may appear to be reflecting energy because a molecule will radiated energy of the same wavelength that it absorbs but it is an entirely different process. When you see a color on a painted surface it is a result of the surface reflecting that wavelength of light and absorbing the other colors.
When you see a colored piece of glass, the glass is the same color on all sides tinting any transmitted image. This is because the glass is not reflecting that wavelength but is absorbing it and other wavelengths and then emitting the absorbed energy in the wavelength producing the color. In order for an object to reflect something it must have a rigid structure that returns to its original form after being distorted. Gases do not have rigid structures and do not reflect light. They can absorb energy and emit light of different wavelengths, like neon lights, but they do not reflect.
The Spoofing Of Climate Science
By Robert L Bradley Jr
The Onion’s recent satire on climate science, “Climate Researchers Warn Only Hope For Humanity Now Lies In Possibility They Making All Of This Up,” presents a paradox worth solving.
“Saying the time to act has come and gone,” the piece begins, “a group of researchers from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned Tuesday that any hope for the future of humanity now hinges on the possibility that scientists like themselves are simply making all of this up.” The spoof continues:
After reviewing our climate models and projections of worldwide CO2 emissions, we have come to the conclusion that the only scenario in which the human race survives is if our thousands upon thousands of meticulous empirical studies on climate change turn out to be something we’ve been lying about all along,” said climate scientist Philip Vanderwall…. “The evidence indicates our planet still might stand a chance of averting a complete climate catastrophe as long as my colleagues and I belong to a cabal of charlatans who are secretly paid huge sums of money to trick everyone into believing excess greenhouse gases will precipitate record-breaking natural disasters and worldwide famine. Otherwise, we’re all doomed.
Have a chuckle, then note the paradox. A bevy of mainstream climate scientists hassounded the alarm—and for thirty long years. Many models back up their prognostications. And it is not a bad dream or made up.
Yet, global food production is at an all-time high, and climate-related deaths have declined precipitously as fossil-fuel consumption and population have soared in the last century. Virtually all human welfare indicators are positive in capitalistic countries in the manmade greenhouse gas era, as documented at HumanProgress.
So, what gives with the so-called scientific consensus on problematic, even catastrophic, climate change? Why the false “consensus”? Part of the answer is a deep-seated bias against humankind’s quest to tame and overcome the limits from nature, the latest manifestation being climate alarmism.
The Malthusianism Virus
Climate angst is another verse of an old lament. Today’s melancholia can be traced to a 1798 pamphlet, An Essay on the Principle of Population, which mathematically determined a future of subsistence living. Its simple model compared a geometrically increasing population to an arithmetic increase in food supply. “The argument is conclusive against the perfectibility of the mass of mankind,” Thomas Robert Malthus declared, and “decisive against the possible existence of a society, all the members of which should live in ease, happiness, and comparative leisure.”
In the last half-century, popular Malthusian scares have gone from the population bomb of Paul Ehrlich to resource exhaustion of the Club of Rome, oil and gas exhaustion (Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas), and even global cooling. Elevated fears of genetically modified foods and other mini-scares add to this list.
The “Cabal of Charlatans”
The population bomb, resource famine, and Peak Oil/Gas were consensus science for Association of the Advancement of Science, “the world’s largest general scientific society,” and its flagship publication, Science. But a “charlatan” article in that magazine in 1980, “Resources, Population, Environment: An Oversupply of False Bad News,” inflamed the membership. Paul Ehrlich asked: “Could the editors have found someone to review [Julian] Simon’s manuscript who had to take off his shoes to count to 20?”
The consensus was an inverse relationship between people and the environment, captured in the model I = PAT, where (negative) environmental Impact equals Population times Affluence times Technology.
Simple model—except that the very opposite has proven to be the case. Per Simon, environmental improvement and prosperity (including safety) is positively correlated with the same three factors in a regime of private property, market exchange, and the rule of law.
Julian Simon was a shining example of the adage, one plus the truth equals a majority. But (contrary to Onion), a “cabal of charlatans,” top scientists all, has ruptured the alleged consensus. Judith Curry is the most active dissenter from the climate-crisis troupe, and such high-powered scientists such as John Christy, William Happer, David Legates, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels, and Roy Spencer, among others, are effectively challenging the high-sensitivity estimates from climate models run by establishment scientists.
The Onion is right-on regarding the sirens of climate alarm. “We have at most ten years” to act, stated James Hansen twelve years ago, echoed by Al Gore’s predicated “point of no return.” And just last week: “We are pushing the planet toward an irreversible ‘Hothouse Earth’,” stated Joe Romm. “And we may be much closer to the ‘point of no return’ than most people realize.”
Laugh at the Onion piece but unmask the irony. Climate models may enjoy “consensus,” but they are not science. Physical science is prediction, independent replication, and potential falsifiability, not Malthus-in Malthus-out modeling.
When it comes to the climate “consensus,” just remember that the same people with the same agenda and with the same confidence and zeal proclaimed global resource famines, mass starvation in American streets, and Peak Oil and Gas. Humility, anyone?
The real laugh is on Malthusian consensus, past and present, not on the critics of doom-and-gloom.
Read more at www.instituteforenergyresearch.org