In The “Greenhouse” Effect Explained in Simple Terms I list, and briefly explain, the main items that create the “greenhouse” effect. I also explain why more CO2 (and other GHGs) will, all other things remaining equal, increase the surface temperature. I recommend that article as the place to go for the straightforward explanation of the “greenhouse” effect. It also highlights that the radiative balance higher up in the troposphere is the most important component of the “greenhouse” effect.
However, someone recently commented on my first Kramm & Dlugi article and said I was “plainly wrong”. Kramm & Dlugi were in complete agreement with Gerlich and Tscheuschner because they both claim the “purported greenhouse effect simply doesn’t exist in the real world”.
If it’s just about flying a flag or wearing a football jersey then I couldn’t agree more. However, science does rely on tedious detail and “facts” rather than football jerseys. As I pointed out in New Theory Proves AGW Wrong! two contradictory theories don’t add up to two theories making the same case..
In the case of the first Kramm & Dlugi article I highlighted one point only. It wasn’t their main point. It wasn’t their minor point. They weren’t even making a point of it at all.
Many people believe the “greenhouse” effect violates the second law of thermodynamics, these are herein called “the illuminati”.
Kramm & Dlugi’s equation demonstrates that the illuminati are wrong. I thought this was worth pointing out.
The “illuminati” don’t understand entropy, can’t provide an equation for entropy, or even demonstrate the flaw in the simplest example of why the greenhouse effect is not in violation of the second law of thermodynamics. Therefore, it is necessary to highlight the (published) disagreement between celebrated champions of the illuminati – even if their demonstration of the disagreement was unintentional.
Let’s take a look.
Here is the one of the most popular G&T graphics in the blogosphere:
It’s difficult to know how to criticize an imaginary diagram. We could, for example, point out that it is imaginary. But that would be picky.
We could say that no one draws this diagram in atmospheric physics. That should be sufficient. But as so many of the illuminati have learnt their application of the second law of thermodynamics to the atmosphere from this fictitious diagram I feel the need to press forward a little.
Here is an extract from a widely-used undergraduate textbook on heat transfer, with a little annotation (red & blue):
This is the actual textbook, before the Gerlich manoeuvre as I would like to describe it. We can see in the diagram and in the text that radiation travels both ways and there is a net transfer which is from the hotter to the colder. The term “net” is not really capable of being confused. It means one minus the other, “x-y”. Not “x”. (For extracts from six heat transfer textbooks and their equations read Amazing Things we Find in Textbooks – The Real Second Law of Thermodynamics).
Now let’s apply the Gerlich manoeuvre (compare fig. 2):
So hopefully that’s clear. Proof by parody. This is “now” a perpetual motion machine and so heat transfer textbooks are wrong. All of them. Somehow.
Just for comparison, we can review the globally annually averaged values of energy transfer in the atmosphere, including radiation, from Kiehl & Trenberth (I use the 1997 version because it is so familiar even though values were updated more recently):
It should be clear that the radiation from the hotter surface is higher than the radiation from the colder atmosphere. If anyone wants this explained, please ask.
I could apply the Gerlich manoeuvre to this diagram but they’ve already done that in their paper (as shown above in figure 1).
So lastly, we return to Kramm & Dlugi, and their “not even tiny point”, which nevertheless makes a useful point. They don’t provide a diagram, they provide an equation for energy balance at the surface – and I highlight each term in the equation to assist the less mathematically inclined:
The equation says, the sum of all fluxes – at one point on the surface = 0. This is an application of the famous first law of thermodynamics, that is, energy cannot be created or destroyed.
The red term – absorbed atmospheric radiation – is the radiation from the colder atmosphere absorbed by the hotter surface. This is also known as “DLR” or “downward longwave radiation, and as “back-radiation”.
Now, let’s assume that the atmospheric radiation increases in intensity over a small period. What happens?
The only way this equation can continue to be true is for one or more of the last 4 terms to increase.
- The emitted surface radiation – can only increase if the surface temperature increases
- The latent heat transfer – can only increase if there is an increase in wind speed or in the humidity differential between the surface and the atmosphere just above
- The sensible heat transfer – can only increase if there is an increase in wind speed or in the temperature differential between the surface and the atmosphere just above
- The heat transfer into the ground – can only increase if the surface temperature increases or the temperature below ground spontaneously cools
So, when atmospheric radiation increases the surface temperature must increase (or amazingly the humidity differential spontaneously increases to balance, but without a surface temperature change). According to G&T and the illuminati this surface temperature increase is impossible. According to Kramm & Dlugi, this is inevitable.
I would love it for Gerlich or Tscheuschner to show up and confirm (or deny?):
- yes the atmosphere does emit thermal radiation
- yes the surface of the earth does absorb atmospheric thermal radiation
- yes this energy does not disappear (1st law of thermodynamics)
- yes this energy must increase the temperature of the earth’s surface above what it would be if this radiation did not exist (1st law of thermodynamics)
Or even, which one of the above is wrong. That would be outstanding.
Of course, I know they won’t do that – even though I’m certain they believe all of the above points. (Likewise, Kramm & Dlugi won’t answer the question I have posed of them).
Well, we all know why
Hopefully, the illuminati can contact Kramm & Dlugi and explain to them where they went wrong. I have my doubts that any of the illuminati have grasped the first law of thermodynamics or the equation for temperature change and heat capacity, but who could say.