Heating the natural greenhouse

Kees Le Pair

Kees Le Pair

Guest contribution by Kees le Pair – Category: Atmosphere

Abstract
The gap between measured temperatures and the radiation equilibrium is more than 33 ºC as assumed in present day greenhouse considerations. Either the atmospheric greenhouse is not understood well enough, or rather there may be other mechanisms that help to bridge part of or nearly all of a perhaps 60+ ºC gap. Some are listed.

Samenvatting
Het verschil tussen de actueel gemeten gemiddelde temperatuur van de aarde en de gemiddelde temperatuur van een aarde zonder atmosfeer met broeikaseffecten is veel groter dan de veronderstelde 33 graden. Òf de werking van het broeikaseffect is onvoldoende begrepen òf kunnen er andere mechanismes werken om het werkelijke gat te overbruggen van misschien wel 60+ ºC. Een aantal kandidaten daarvoor worden hier kort beschreven.

Introduction
Textbooks and other treatises often explain the earth’s climate with a sphere in space irradiated by the sun. It would have an average surface temperature of 255 K (-18 ºC) without an atmosphere. Thanks to multi atomic gases in the atmosphere such as CO2 and H2O, we live in a greenhouse, in which the average temperature according to measurements is ~ 288 K (+15 ºC). Which means: the greenhouse effect is 33° warming. And with more CO2 it would become warmer.

Discussion
Public media speak of warming the Earth due to more CO2. This is inaccurate. The earth core has a temperature of around 5000 K(1), in the mantle and the crust all possible intermediate temperatures occur toward the surface. In the atmosphere a height of 12 km and the surface at the poles, the temperature is often lower than 223 K. The average result of the measurements, 288 K, only tells us something about a minimal part of ‘the earth’. Meteorologists indicate it as the temperature of the atmosphere at 2 m above the surface. Above the sea this is a sharp demarcation, but above land it is strange physics. Think of mountain ranges and high plains. What makes a useful concept for weather reports, means little about the condition of other parts of the earth. Although they do play a role in the climate. The mass of 13 meters of the ocean, which is certainly part of the formation of weather and ultimately, the climate, is just equal to that of all air up to 300 kilometers. And the heat content of that first 13 m is higher than that of the atmosphere.

If we try to recalculate how to reach a 255 K radiation balance temperature, it seems that it was assumed, that the earth would be a perfect conductor, distributing heat equally instantaneously everywhere, hence it always has the same temperature everywhere. With a homogeneous temperature, the earth at 255 K would send as much radiant energy into the universe as the sun delivers to the earth. Then there is equilibrium and the temperature is stable. However, the earth does not have the same temperature everywhere, the arithmetic is wrong. In the calculation of incoming and outgoing energy – the law of Stefan-Botzmann, I = εσT4 – we deal with temperature T in the fourth power. The average of T4 is not equal to the average of T to the fourth power (<T4> ≠ <T>4, ‘Hölder’s’ inequality).

The other extreme is a sphere in the solar radiation field, which as a perfect insolator does not transport heat at all. Its equilibrium is at equal irradiation and emission everywhere at all times. Such an instantaneous and local radiation balance would mean ~ 0 K(1) where the sun does not shine and elsewhere the Stefan-Boltzmann temperature at that location (geographical latitude) and that time of the day and the year. If we calculate the average temperature for such a sphere without heat transport, we find an average temperature of 145 K(3) for the same values ​​of ε and σ(2).Compare this to the moon at an average temperature of 213 K(2a).

Earth Rise. Photo NASA AS11-44-6550

Keep in mind that because of rotation the moon does distribute heat by retaining and loosing it at another place. The conclusion that the state of the Earth is somewhere between the two extremes is obvious. The radiation equilibrium temperature is thus significantly lower than 255 K. Which means that the so-called greenhouse effect should be much stronger than for bridging a gap of 33º, or there are other processes besides the atmospheric greenhouse that bring the surface to a livable temperature and to save the ocean from freezing.According to Nikolov and Zeller(4), the temperature gap to be covered is approximately 90°. They compare the outcome with the temperature of other planets. Which they say supports their claim.

Nikolov and Zeller cite 6 recent leading publications (Science, Springer NY, Academic Press Cal., Tellus & J. Geophysics Res) by well known climatologists assuming 33° warming caused by the atmospheric greenhouse effect. Hence 2 or 3 times too small to bridge the gap with the radiation equilibrium temperature. Obviously other processes are stronger than the much-discussed greenhouse, to bring our environment to a suitable temperature. Also the stability of those processes must be investigated.

We know of three such processes.

  • First, the temperature equalization on earth through the earth’s rotation, through ocean currents and wind.
  • Secondly, the influence on the radiation equilibrium temperature as a result of partial transparency of the components of the earth that contribute to the climate.
  • There could be a third process, signaled by Hughes(6), Rörsch(5) and others: the stabilizing effect of heat transport via latent heat.

The magnitude of the possible influence of the first process is indicated above. Between the best possible and the worst possible temperature equalization the resulting average temperatures differ 110°. How well would the earth actually do that? And couldn’t something be changing there over time? In a recent publication, Rörsch(5), calculated the influence of the rotation on the measured temperatures and compared it with site measurements. The retention of heat in soil and water and the displacement by rotation to a position with less or no radiation changes the temperature which would prevail there wihout.The rotation also means a huge heat transport that accounts for a large part of the temperature equalization.Ocean currents and winds also equalize the temperature. They are not constant and thus the equalization and thus the radiation equilibrium changes. But with the degree of equalization alone, the measured surface temperature can not be explained. That would lift it from 145 to 255 K at most. That is still 33º short.

The second process that has to do with the influence of turbid transparency receives little attention in climate science. In a turbid transparent body radiation is only absorbed progressively with depth of penetration. It has a different temperature pattern than an opaque body that heats up at the surface due to the radiation according to the law of Stefan-Boltzmann. The radiation that leaves the body at equilibrium does not only come from the surface, but also from the layers beneath it, so the surface temperature cannot be used for a Stefan-Boltzmann calculation. The atmosphere is such a turbid transparent medium as well as the oceans, which cover 70% of the earth’s surface. We measure our 288 K inside a complex of different transparent media. The temperature of the radiation equilibrium can be significantly higher here than that of Stefan-Boltzmann at the surface. I hope to address this here later(7). According to Hughes(6).

The third process, heat transport by latent heat, would reduce the effective emissivity of the oceans, which would then be compensated by a higher radiation equilibrium temperature. Rörsch(6)  follows directly the course of the temperature in his treatment of the diurnal cycle, which also results in a smaller influence of the atmospheric greenhouse effect.

Conclusion.The aforementioned complications of the heat exchange processes on Earth challenge the basic greenhouse effect. The gap between actual temperatures and hypothetical temperatures without an atmosphere is much larger (60+ ºC ) than the greenhouse effect is supposed to bridge (ca. 33 ºC) Either the atmospheric greenhouse effect is not understood, or there are other mechanisms at work here.

Notes

(1) The radiation temperature of the universe is about 3 K. But at that temperature the radiation is so small compared to that of the sun, that it may be neglected. The same applies to the heat that reaches the surface from the core and the shell of the earth.

(2) ε is a material constant, ε = 1 for an ideal black body. That is the maximum value. ε = 0 for the other extreme, a body that does not radiate at all (copper and aluminum foil get close to it). σ = 5,6703.10-8 Wm-2K-4, the Stefan-Boltzmann constant. It is a universal constant of nature.

(2a) https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/empirical-results-from-diviner-confirm-s-b-law-was-misapplied-to-moon/

(3) C. le Pair: Climate, radiation and temperature equalization-2 ( In Dutch.)

(4) N. Nikolov & K. Zeller: New Insights on the Physical Nature of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Deduced from an Empirical Planetary Temperature Model; Environment Pollution and Climate Change (2017) 1: 2.

(5) A. Rörsch: In search of autonomous regulatory processes in the global atmosphere; Rethinking the model of the Earth’s greenhouse. https://www.arthurrorsch.com/articles/ , November 2018.

(6) G. Hughes: The watery planet effect;  .

(7) C. le Pair: Radiation balance and transparent media-3;

 

About: Kees le Pair

His lifelong question: which scientific research is worthwhile? After studying mathematics and physics in Leiden, he stayed at that university for several years, then the American university in Beirut and research agencies in the United States. He was director of the national institutes for physics and technical research, FOM and STW In the Netherlands; in addition, he was advisor to the government for energy, ICT, technology and defense research. He wrote several books and was an editor or co-author of other. He was also Middle East correspondent and columnist for NRC Handelsblad and various magazines. In the recently published novel ‘The Second Apocalypse’ he incorporated some of his newly acquired knowledge about climate and energy, about which he also published less romantic pieces. His hobby is sea sailing. Kees is Knight O.N.L., honorary doctor TU Delft, Ehre Mitglied Deutsche Wissenschafts Forscher and he received the distinction of merit for the science of the Royal Academy.

 

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Ben WoutersAndre BijkerkKees le PairF.C.H.D. Van den BeemtRonald Recent comment authors

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Hans Erren
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Hans Erren
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Hi Kees, sometime ago I calculated the local effect for an increase of 3.7 W/m2, Using Stefan-Boltzmann in the desert you need only half a degree surface heating to compensate immediately for 3.7 W/m2 forcing.

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Arthur Rörsch
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Style on this website. You wrote: Hans Erren 21 december 2018 06.54 “André, a serious word of advice. I think it is not the proper way to conduct a scientific debate if you keep stuff hidden in your argument. Your writing style is teaching and trying to let your “pupils” think and come to your conclusions instead of giving the conclusions yourself. Try to explain everything you think beforehand so your audience can comment on that. I see only questions in this posting, not conclusions, try to be concise and to the point.”. We are still experimenting with http://www.sciencetalks.nl. Your… Read more »

Hans Erren
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Hi Arthur, I suggest to keep the dialogue in english so that international readers can follow our debate.
What the graph is saying is that a constant 3.7 W/m2 is proportional to the inverse first derivative of the Stefan Boltzmann law I = σT^4: i.e. dI/dT = 4 σT^3
Which gives dT = dI/(4 σT^3) in approximation ΔT = 3.7/(4 σT^3)

If you can prove that the net forcing of 2xCO2 is smaller than 3.7 W/m2, then of course the localised SB-sensitivity for 2x CO2gets also smaller.

arthur rörsch
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arthur rörsch
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Most scientists, including authors in the IPCC reports, agree on that value, I take it for granted. It has been contested however that it would contribute >1 C to the rise of the surface temperature. < 0.3 C is more likely. I will elaborate on this in due course.

Kees le Pair
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Hans, The derivative of SB is the energy transport equation in a turbid medium. In gasses and water the heat conductivity is low. The dominant transport of energy is mass transport. In gasses in a gravitational field, the radiative processes may not be described with a wavelength dependent constant ε alone. There ε must be replaced by ερ. Which reduces the radiative energy transport. In a simple kitchen table experiment this can be shown quite convincing . SB is deduced to describe the radiative properties of a solid black body. By introducing emissivity ε this was extended to an opaque… Read more »

Hans Erren
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Hans Erren
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Kees, emissivity of a solid surface is 1, the graph shows therefore the temperature that a solid surface needs to increase to compensatie for a forcing of 3.7 W/m2.

Kees le Pair
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Hans, The earth is far from a solid surface. 70% of the surface is water a turbid substance that absorbs the incoming insolation many meters below the surface. Also blue – yellow light is incoming energy.
Also the temperature distibution over the surface, even it were an opaque solid body would greatly affect the average temperature.
Let’s not prolong this discussion here. We need to do more work and especially get more measured data to progress.

Hans Erren
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Ok let me know when you have something quantitative that fits observations as well.

Frans van den Beemt
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Dear Cees Le Pair, 7jan19 The temperature distribution over the Earth makes it difficult to calculate an average global temperature. Nevertheless, if we work with such an average we have to do it right. The calculation of 255K for an earth atmosphere without IR active (greenhouse) gasses is often based on an albedo A=0,3. But the Albedo is determined greatly by sun (radiation) reflection on clouds and therefore I put forward that for an atmosphere without IR active gasses A=0,3 is not well chosen. Further H2O is a strong IR active gas that forms clouds that contribute to what we… Read more »

Ronald
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Dear Frans, in a personal communication in the context of the “rethinking” drafted by Arthur Rörsch, Arthur concludes a much lower value of -30 degrees Celsius for an atmosphere free of IR active gasses, i.e., including the absence of water vapour. Clearly, this number deviates strongly from the number you suggest.

For me this confirms there is not only disagreement of some scientists on the generally accepted theoretical value of -18 degrees for a fully transparant atmosphere, but the there is strong disagreement among these scientists too.

F.C.H.D. Van den Beemt
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F.C.H.D. Van den Beemt
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Dear Ronald, That is the case.
We are eager learn from each other.

Ben Wouters
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Seems like a good moment to go back to the roots of the (in)famous 255K number. 255K is the calculated Effective Temperature (Te) of planet Earth. Its origin lies in planetary astronomy. It’s a kind of “back of the envelope” calculation to get a first approximation of a planet/moons average surface temperature. Procedure is straightforward: – calculate the remaining radiation from the local star at its distance from that star after applying albedo – assuming the incoming energy is radiated equally from the entire surface of the sphere, that radiates as an ideal Black Body (BB) with emissivity 1, the… Read more »

F.C.H.D. Van den Beemt
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F.C.H.D. Van den Beemt
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Dear Ben Wouters, ” after applying albedo”: how could we measure the albedo of an imaginary earth without IR active gasses?

Ben Wouters
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Ben Wouters
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how could we measure the albedo of an imaginary earth without IR active gasses? Te is about real planets circling real suns. it is just a first approximation for the surface temperature of a planet / moon when no better data is available. Te was probably “invented” in the pre-satellite era. The albedo for most planets in our solar system can be measured using telescopes. The moon is straightforward, especially during a full moon. Earths albedo has been calculated by measuring the light that reflected from the Earth on the moon (Earthshine). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetshine For exoplanets different procedures (with different problems)… Read more »

Ben Wouters
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Ben Wouters
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To have an idea what the temperature of an ideal black body (iBB) at our distance from the sun would be a simple calculation is the following. (an iBB has every part of its surface continuously in radiative balance with the incoming radiation. Since no heat capacity or conduction is specified, even rotation has no influence on the calculation) Interesting article: https://www.pnas.org/content/106/15/6044.full Assuming solar radiation to be 1364 W/m^2, the radiative balance temperature of the “sunny side” is calculated by spreading incoming radiation over half the sphere => 682 W/m^2. SB calculation results in 331 K. The dark side receives… Read more »

Kees le Pair
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Dear Ben,Excuse. Ref 3. in the above article should read: http://www.clepair.net/temperatuurverevening-2.html.
May I refer to that article in reply to your remark?

Ben Wouters
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Ben Wouters
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Dear Kees
I did see your website, and it seems we are mostly on the same page regarding this subject. I just wanted to show (again) that the 255K radiative balance temperature for planet Earth is non-sense.
Yet in eg Arthur Rörschs article I read (page 42):
“At the same distance from the Sun as Earth, an ideal black body would have a temperature of 5,3 C.”
This is ~279K.
As long as this kind of nonsense persists we will get nowhere.
I wrote on this subject nearly 6 years ago:
https://principia-scientific.org/moons-hidden-message.html/

Ben Wouters
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Ben Wouters
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Dear Kees Under Notes you state: (1) The radiation temperature of the universe is about 3 K. But at that temperature the radiation is so small compared to that of the sun, that it may be neglected. The same applies to the heat that reaches the surface from the core and the shell of the earth. I’ll try to show that for the moon this is not correct. (see https://www.diviner.ucla.edu/science) The Geothermal Flux (GF) for our Moon is not as well known as for Earth. Apollo Missions have left some instruments that give an indication. But we can make a… Read more »

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