2011-07-04 09:00:13Request to rebut 'Understanding the Thermodynamic Atmosphere Effect'
John Cook


Email request for rebuttal:

I would like your rebuttal of www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/pdf/Understanding_the_Atmosphere_Effect.pdf

(albedo and adiabatic compression as factors in atmospheric temperature)

i.e. How does CO2 affect Earth albedo?

2011-07-04 09:35:58
Alex C


I'll give more in-depth first impressions after I have had time to read the paper, but this amuses me highly:

"When I read a scientific paper that has lots of math in it, usually I can just skip over the math parts and keep on reading the text to see what the point of it all is."

This is coming from the guy who not a couple pages before admonishes scientists for accepting theories without taking the time to understand them fully.

Anyways, I'll keep reading; not sure if I'll be able to compose a full rebuttal, but I think I can find a few holes...

2011-07-04 13:07:14
Alex C


• Page 5:

"In radiative thermal equilibrium, the object absorbing the light will not come to the same temperature as the source emitting the light, but actually will always be cooler than it because the distance between the two objects reduces the energy flux density of the radiation from the source."

Fails to predict the temperatures of Venus and Mercury.

• Page 6 (emph.):

"...imagine that you take a mirror which reflects infrared light, and you reflect some of the infrared light the blackbody is emitting back onto itself. What then happens to the temperature of the blackbody? One might think that, because the blackbody is now absorbing more light, even if it is its own infrared light, then it should warm up. But in fact it does not warm up; it‟s temperature remains exactly the same. The reason why is very simple to understand but extremely important to physics: the blackbody is already in radiative thermal equilibrium with a hotter source of energy, the higher radiative energy spectrum light from the light-bulb. You cannot make something warmer by introducing to it something colder, or even the same temperature! You can only make something warmer, with something that is warmer! This reality is central to the Laws of Thermodynamics, and is so fundamental to modern physics it cannot be expressed strongly enough."

Complete crap, for two reasons:

- despite his insistence on separating these issues earlier, he is now completely confusing radiative equilibrium with thermal equilibrium;

- if you cause all of the radiation to be enclosed within a system (the mirror) while not hindering incoming energy, the system MUST WARM UP.

This also completely goes against this previous statement:

"If the source of light is constant, meaning it shines with the same unchanging brightness all the time, then the blackbody absorbing that light will warm up to some maximum temperature corresponding to the energy in the light, and then warm up no further."

The source of incoming radiation is NOT constant if you hold up a mirror.

• Page 7:

"Could you then simply bring in another ice-cube which is also at 00C and of course also radiating its own thermal energy at that temperature, and thereby heat up the first ice-cube by placing this second one near it?"

Analogy fails due to the fact that the energy radiated from the first ice cube is not being re-radiated back to the cube, and the whole point of the greenhouse effect is that there is also a constant source of energy to make it work (the Sun), a variable missing from this analogy.

• Page 12-13:

"In yet another amazing confirmation of the power of the Laws of Thermodynamics, blackbody spectrums and Kirchhoff‟s Law of radiation, the average spectrum of thermal radiation from the Earth (and its atmosphere) indeed resembles a blackbody at -18˚C! ... The Earth is neither warmer nor cooler than it should be under the laws of physics."

The last time I checked, temperature was decided by kinetic molecular motion, not radiative equilibrium.  If I have a planet that receives a constant energy input from the Sun, and I have a GHE that returns a given value of OLR as DLR, then the Earth, assuming it's not in radiative equilibrium, will increase in temperature due to the larger incoming flux than outgoing (and since the "reflected" IR doesn't just bounce right back up like an inverse slinky, but instead travels back down to induce kinetic motion), and to a point where the increased OLR now equals the sum of that which is reflected and that which is received in shortwave from the Sun.  Since you cannot change the temperature without changing the forcing, and if we are assuming a constant solar input, then the only way that the temperature will increase is if the downward forcing constant from the GHE increases.  However, the temperature will only increase to the point where the OLR equals that increased GHE forcing - you will ALWAYS observe an equilibrium TOA radiative temperature profile of an object at -18˚C, as you are never raising the long term OLR that escapes the planet.

• After reading Page 15, I have absolutely no further intent to read any more of this.  This isn't worth a rebuttal.