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Feynman, the blanket analogy, and Greenhouse effect "theory".
"I am more interested in the marvel of nature who can obey such a simple and elegant law...and how clever she is to pay attention to it."
Richard Feynman 1963.

In other words, the overall rule, the simple, elegant law, the generality, is not of itself an explanation, but a prediction of what the answer will be. We should marvel at, and try to understand HOW nature achieved the answer. In the specific nature may well not obey the generality, but overall she must, between the two lies the understanding and explanation of what is actually happening.

Earth's near surface air temperature, usually referred to as Global Mean Temperature (GMT) is on average about 15C, and the actual surface temperature is nearer on average about 25 to 28C. Yet, earth emits to space 240W/m2 in accordance with the overall rule, generality, "law" of P/4 and the Stefan Boltzman equation. How?

Currently within Climate Science the overall average figures described above are thought to be explained by the Greenhouse effect "theory".

[Image: Slide23.jpg]

and the later version,
[Image: Nathan_Phillips_GH_four_arrows_theory_zpsc96ef366.jpg]

What is the greenhouse effect "theory", and why is it actually a failed hypothesis?

In short the "theory" is that the sun (on average, overall) warms earth's surface up to MINUS 18 degrees Celsius, or 240w/m2, and that atmospheric back radiation (on average, overall) further warms, piles up heat at earth's surface, by another 240W/m2 (these figures vary between versions of the "theory", but the same principles apply). This results in a surface heated by the sun and the atmosphere of 480W/m2, or 30 degrees Celsius. Obviously, the near air temperature is somewhat cooler so a GMT of 15 degrees Celsius is explained by this "theory".

The overall rule, the generality, is P/4 and S/B for earth = 240W/m2 emitted to space.
P/4 being the Power of sunlight received at the top of earth's atmosphere, divided by 4. This is because the same diameter globe has four times the surface area of the same diameter flat disc.
S/B is the Stefan Boltzman equation, and W/m2 is Watts per square meter, per second.
But, how nature obeys this, is what we should marvel at and try to understand.

HOWEVER, the "theory" is a failed hypothesis BECAUSE heat does not pile up at earth's surface due to a supposed atmospheric back radiation warming effect of earth's surface.
THAT is in violation of the 2nd Law of thermodynamics.
One of the two has to be false, they can not both be right. They are in direct contradiction of each other. If it is not the 2nd Law of thermodynamics that is wrong, AND IT IS NOT, then the unphysical "theory" has to be a failed hypothesis.
The Atmosphere does not “Pile Heat”
Joseph Postma
21st January 2015.

The blanket analogy, is often used to try to explain greenhouse effect "theory".
[Image: Theblanketanalogy_zps9da81eda.jpg]
BUT the blanket analogy, and the similar greenhouse analogy does not explain the unphysical "theory" at all. A blanket, and a greenhouse work by reducing conduction and convection losses of sensible and latent heat LOSSES from the heated surface. Greenhouse effect "theory" is that atmospheric back radiation PILES UP HEAT at the heated surface. They are completely different. The blanket, and a greenhouse are physical, they exist, they work as described. The notion that heat can be piled up IS UNPHYSICAL, it can not, and does not happen.

It is a simple fact that is often overlooked, but something that is unphysical, is something that does not exist, for example we all know a unicorn does not exist, it is imaginary. If a hypothesis, or "theory" is unphysical it is something that does not happen, it does not explain what is happening in reality, for example the unphysical greenhouse effect "theory". Put simply, there is no greenhouse effect, nor has there ever been a greenhouse effect, and there never can be a greenhouse effect, or "theory" BECAUSE it is unphysical. Heat can not be piled. Literally, for there to be any possibility of a greenhouse effect or "theory" FIRST ones has to disprove the Laws of thermodynamics.

It is often said that the moon proves, because it is colder on average than the earth, that there is a greenhouse effect at earth's surface. This is sort of the case, but it is not the case, because comparing the moon and the earth is a false comparison. They are completely different systems, that work very differently, by different mechanisms, and so should not be directly compared. If they are compared then most likely false conclusions will be drawn. Feynman described that the generality is what nature obeys and we should marvel at, then try to understand HOW nature achieves the correct answer, as described by the generality, the overall rule, the "law". Directly comparing the moon's surface to earth's surface is exactly the type of false comparison that Feynman was trying to warn us against.

The earth and the moon when observed as objects in space are seen to be objects at an average temperature of MINUS 18 degrees Celsius. No one disputes this as far as one can tell. No one disputes, as far as one can tell that earth's near surface average air temperature is about PLUS 15 degrees Celsius, and the moon's average surface temperature is about MINUS 18 degrees Celsius. Earth's surface is 33 degrees Celsius warmer than the moon's surface. Why? How? And, how does earth still appear to be an object at an average temperature of -18 degrees Celsius when observed as an object in space?

The moon is a far simpler system than earth. There are many differences between the moon and the earth, some are relevant here and some are not. The lunar day for instance is just over 27 earth days long, hence (partially) "nights" on the moon are much, much, colder. The moon's surface however is the exterior part of that system. Earth by direct comparison is a far more complex system than the moon, it has an atmosphere and oceans, and a hot core too. The earth's surface is not the exterior part of the system, it is an internal part. For earth the atmosphere is the most exterior part of the system. As has already been described, when the most exterior parts of the different systems are compared then both objects, which are different systems are seen to be the same temperature, and have obeyed the overall rule, the generality, the "law" of P/4 and S/B of MINUS 18 degrees Celsius.

The fact the systems are different does not explain why there is a 33 degrees Celsius difference between the average surface temperatures of the two different systems, obviously. We have to understand the two systems and how they work. The differences between the systems will then explain why on average the surface of one system is PLUS 15 degrees Celsius and on average the surface of the other system is MINUS 18 degrees Celsius.

Why, on average, in spite of diurnal highs and lows, which are more extreme on the moon than earth, does the presence of an atmosphere make earth's surface (on average) so much warmer than (on average) the moon's surface?
THAT is THE question.

We know the question can not be answered unphysically, so the greenhouse effect "theory" is NOT the answer. Simply, that can not be right, BECAUSE the "theory" itself is unphysical. It is a failed hypothesis, nothing more, nothing less.

The above question is made even more perplexing because the atmosphere obviously cools earth's surface. An atmosphere cools earth's surface by conduction and convection of sensible and latent heat losses, which simply do not happen if there is no atmosphere.

At present there is some confusion about the relative importance of the three main cooling mechanisms of earth's surface, but in order of importance they should be conduction and convection of latent heat losses of water vapourisation, conduction and convection of sensible heat losses and finally, and least of all cooling by emissions of thermal radiation. For example, this home experiment that shows latent heat losses by water vapourisation is the most powerful cooling mechanism at earth's surface, remembering earth is a planet that is 70% covered in oceans and it is quite windy a lot of the time.

It is worth noting that the current confusion, or rather errors, over the relative importance of the different cooling mechanisms, which are the three methods of heat transfer that operate at earth's surface support the failed greenhouse effect hypothesis. The most important of which, the latent heat losses of water vapourisation, often totally incorrectly and falsely being portrayed as the least! One has to wonder WHY, or may be not wonder too much!

It would seem THE question is not possible to answer! How can a very powerfully cooling atmosphere raise earth's on average surface temperature, compared to the moon's on average surface temperature, by 33 degrees Celsius! Richard Feynman said we should marvel at how nature obeys the generalization. Indeed.

He also said we should try to understand HOW nature obeys such laws. What is missing? What could help us to explain this apparent conundrum that a cooling atmosphere insulates earth's surface, when patently it does not, and can not?

Earth's surface IS, on average insulated in comparison to the moon's, by 33 degrees Celsius. HOW, that is now the question. It can not be by a cooling atmosphere.

Are there any other obvious differences between the two systems? Is there a difference so massive, so large that could possibly account for so much of a difference? An on average 33 degrees Celsius difference!

It may well be the question can be answered in one word.


Water has a very high heat capacity, a thousand times that of air. Earth's surface is 71% covered in oceans that are on average 3,682 meters (12,080 ft) deep. The total volume of water in the world's oceans is approximately 1.3 billion cubic kilometers (310 million cu mi).

Are the oceans sufficient to insulate earth's surface? If they are doing so, may they well also be hiding a large geothermal heat input into earth's atmosphere?

"I am more interested in the marvel of nature who can obey such a simple and elegant law...and how clever she is to pay attention to it."
Richard Feynman 1963.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
(and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken.  

The hobgoblins have to be imaginary so that
"they" can offer their solutions, not THE solutions.
ignoring the small changes in albedo, the only question that matters is how much heat energy escapes to space.

So anyone looking at this from a scientific perspective will only be interested in what can be seen from space. Which boils down to a question of what temperature is the part of the atmosphere from which the bulk of IR emission emanate.

However, if you are a propagandist who cares nothing about science and want to describe something very natural as a problem that non-scientists can empathise with ... you describe the problem from their perspective on the ground.

And as a result you end up with a noddy theory with blankets and a lot of other non-science. And of course many people really dislike these noddy theories. And worse many sceptics just accept them hook line and sinker as "true" when they are just propagandist tools.
(02-06-2015, 04:17 AM)scottishsceptic Wrote: the only question that matters is how much heat energy escapes to space.

Errr, that IS nature having obeyed the generality. We know the answer, it is described by the generality. BUT what is the sum????

HOW she does it, in each specific case (within the system) IS the question.
That is what Feynman was saying, to my understanding.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
(and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken.  

The hobgoblins have to be imaginary so that
"they" can offer their solutions, not THE solutions.
Thank you to Jim Peden.

[Image: JP_QM_Rebuttal_zps0b848854.jpg]
and, thank you to Marc Facer, who posted on facebook the following.
"In one breath your saying that the atmosphere cools & in the other your saying its not - but it does - NOX & CO2 at the TOA reflect electromagnetic radiation back into space - Oxygen / nitrogen & Ozone also knock back UV ....If you were on the moon & in the suns rays without an atmosphere & no protection you would boil in a few minutes !
I agree that there is a huge cooling force by latent heating / convection / conduction - but you have at least less than half or less the temp on Earth as on the moon surface - so the atmosphere does a huge job in cooling

"Solar radiation is mainly absorbed in the atmosphere by O2, O3, N2, CO2, H2O, O, and N, although NO, N2O, CO, and CH4, which occur in very small quantities, also exhibit absorption spectra. Absorption spectra due to electronic transitions of molecular and atomic oxygen and nitrogen, and ozone occur chiefly in the ultraviolet (UV) region, while those due to the vibrational and rotational transitions of triatomic molecules such as H2O, O3, and CO2 lie in the infrared region." "

"The atmosphere cools earth's surface, BUT, because of it's presence earth's surface also has oceans, with their massive heat capacity (plus ignored geothermal inputs) and thermal inertia. It is the oceans that insulate earth's surface not the atmosphere. " "

I replied,
I am saying that an atmosphere cools earth's surface, by conduction and convection of sensible and latent heat losses, which do not occur without an atmosphere.

You are correct, and thank you for pointing out what I have grossly in error missed, earth's atmosphere also absorbs / reflects large amounts of incoming solar energy, that does not directly warm earth's surface.

So, earth's surface is warmed significantly LESS by the sun directly than the moon's but still, on average, earth's surface temperature is 33 degrees warmer than the moon's on average surface temperature.

Marc Facer, thank you for pointing out the atmosphere also reduces the amount the sun directly heats earth's surface by absorbing / reflecting a a large amount of sunlight. This only makes the conundrum I am trying to describe worse.. Earth's surface is also heated significantly LESS than the moon's by the sun directly, YET, earth's surface is on average 33 degrees Celsius warmer than the moon's on average surface temperature.

The conundrum is how does the presence of a cooling atmosphere increase, insulate, earth's on average surface temperature compared to the moon's on average surface temperature?
Fred WLittle you do not seem to be including the fact that the oceans massively increase the thermal capacity and inertia of earth's surface, particularly when compared to the moon's surface and it's thermal capacity / inertia? Slow to warm, slow to cool, is also playing a part, but how big a part? More than emissions? I would suggest so.

Are we agreeing "None of the above"?

The presence of an atmosphere is quite a different thing to an atmosphere, namely you can not have oceans without an atmosphere, and without oceans you will not have a water cycle within the atmosphere.....
Hmm, if I were to be strictly accurate, the moon's surface is at an average of minus 15 to minus 18 degrees Celsius and earth's actual surface is at an all over average of about +25 to +28 degrees Celsius, so earth's actual surface is on average between 40 and 46 degrees Celsius warmer than the moon's, not just 33 degrees Celsius warmer. AND, greenhouse effect "theory" is for a surface at minus 18 degrees Celsius being warmed to +30 degrees Celsius, a supposed 48 degrees Celsius effect...

How can earth's GMT, which is near surface air temperature be compared to the moon's actual surface anyway? The supposed way the moon proves the 33C effect. They are two different things. GMT should not be used because the moon does not have an atmosphere, so there is no lunar GMT to compare with..

K&T type global energy budgets show the sun only warms earth's surface to 163.3W/m2, or minus 41.49 degrees Celsius, but atmospheric back radiation piles up another 340.3W/m2 at earth's surface!!! Meaning the surface is heated to an amazing 503.6 W/m2... That is 33.84 degrees Celsius. A 75.33 degrees Celsius effect.....
Unbelievable, but many do.... Of course they say that this is an energy flux or flow diagram, not a temperature diagram.... Nice trick. Shame earth is depicted as emitting how much to space???? 240W/m2, because it is at an average temperature of minus -18C...
[Image: GEBMk3_zps1ed50a5f.jpg]

It seems they want to have their cake and eat it.
Oh, the complicated webs they weave when they try to deceive..

Attached Files
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The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
(and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken.  

The hobgoblins have to be imaginary so that
"they" can offer their solutions, not THE solutions.

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