[ BA comments ]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: AGWers , Show me the Physics! v1
Date: Sat, 18 Jul 2009 15:32:12 -0400
From: Brian Valentine
To: 'alan618034' , 'Pierre Latour' , 'Bob Armstrong' , 'Marc Morano-ClimateDepot.com'
CC: 'Joseph Bast' , 'Dennis Avery' , 'Howard Hayden' , , , , , 'Bob Ashworth'

"What can I put in an oven to make the oven hotter?" ┬ - D├ęcolletage photos of Paris Hilton

Subject: Re: AGWers , Show me the Physics! v1

The question I ask myself is, "What can I put in an oven to make the oven hotter?"

The question I started with was "Will a black ball stay warmer than a white ball in the freezer ."

To theoreticians this may seem a childish sort of inquiry, but to empirical me it encapsulates the whole matter of "radiative forcing." The initial condition is that of hot coils warming the air inside (principally nitrogen) by convective/conductive transfer (trace gases like CO2 included) and possibly by a small amount of radiative transfer to IR-sensitive gases that have not been otherwise excited. This is an obvious analog of the earth's surface heating the atmosphere.

Now, the paradigm has it that adding IR-sensitive gases like water vapor or CO2 will enhance the radiative transfer of heat from the coils (surface) to the chamber (atmosphere) and that this effect reverberates, making not only the chamber warmer but the coils too. For the life of me, though, I can't imagine how.

As greenhouse operators know, for instance, water vapor REDUCES an enclosure's temperature. It's a simple matter of water molecules storing heat in latent form and making less sensible heat available to the surroundings. Indeed, greenhouse operators find that the benefit of mechanically removing WV from the system outweighs the cost of trying to heat it. Dry air is just easier to keep warm. So discount the water molecule as a heat promoter.

CO2 then? Well, as an IR-absorber it's pretty weak, intercepting maybe 8% of the radiant energy the oven is generating. Thus, if infrared absorption and emission is the mechanism that raises the chamber's temperature, wouldn't a full-spectrum turkey do better?

But you could roast that turkey till it's a charred cinder, making it a virtual blackbody, an IR-radiator to the nth degree... nothing will change. The turkey's radiation is just a response to what the oven coils are providing, and the oven's temperature stays basically the same, if now a little lower due to the extra mass being heated.

To cut to the chase, the originators of greenhouse theory confused radiative absorption with "blockage." IR-opacity merely denotes responsiveness, and responsiveness necessitates emission. Appearances to the contrary, an absorption line in spectroscopy doesn't signify "trapping," only radiative dispersal.

What's absorbed isn't TRANSMITTED (uninterrupted light passage) but is instead EMITTED (transformed to multiple paths). No energy is lost.

Certainly, as a heated air mass the atmosphere radiates, and this radiation can be observed from the ground below. But nothing in thermodynamics permits this so-called back-radiation to heat the very object that's heating it. The oven heats the turkey; the turkey doesn't heat the oven. In other words, the second law prevails. Of course when you turn the oven off (nighttime falls) the mass that's been heated will help sustain the chamber's temperature. But this pertains to the chamber's contents per se (the atmosphere at large) not to any special property of trace gases. The energy spent in heating a mass by day is partly paid back at night, that's all. But a net GAIN of thermal energy can't be found anywhere in this picture. In other words, then, the first law prevails.

By conceptual default, I bought into greenhouse theory when I started to research global warming. I soon learned from AGW skeptics, after all, that the dispute wasn't whether more CO2 would lead to warming but only by how much. So when Gerlich and Tscheuschner came along, I merely considered their ideas interesting. But as my research progressed I began to notice that the "negative feedbacks" proposed by AGW skeptics were becoming as outlandish as the "tipping points" of alarmists. Where was any solid evidence for either kind of effect? Was the theory under debate even valid?

The answer is no. By reducing convective heat loss the originators of greenhouse theory observed higher temperatures inside their glass boxes. But they THOUGHT that they were reducing radiative heat loss because glass is a selective absorber, like CO2. Thus did a human misperception become a thundering law of nature: Restricting radiation induces a higher temperature - period. There are no brakes on this theory, however, no limits. And no formula to define it in any physics textbook. "With a radiative input of 1000 watts per square meter and an output of 50%, what temperature will a blackbody reach?" There SHOULD be an answer to such a basic question. Yet there isn't. The formula is missing from physics textbooks because the phenomenon of radiative forcing does not exist. .