Many people ask questions about some quite basic concepts. Which is wonderful.
I have introduced this page to capture the many articles on science basics and “alternative theories”.
Many of these articles reduce the “problem” down to the absolute simplest basics. That doesn’t mean climate science treats the subject as a simplistic problem – but the easiest way to demonstrate the flaw in a point of view is to consider the simplest model that demonstrates an error.
This section has a vague arrangement but from a visitor’s point of view is in no particular order – pick your problem and work from there..
The “Greenhouse” Effect Explained in Simple Terms – summarizing the effect, attempting to “make it simple but not too simple” with many links to other articles
Physics and Thermodynamics Basics
Heat Transfer Basics – Part Zero – a few examples of heat transfer, simple stuff but often misunderstood.
Heat Transfer Basics and Non-Radiative Atmospheres – a few minor comments on “Heat Transfer Basics”
Sensible Heat, Latent Heat and Radiation – the relative importance of different components in the surface energy balance
The Dull Case of Emissivity and Average Temperatures – how “emissivity” changes with surface type or why the earth is really quite close to a “blackbody”
The Amazing Case of “Back Radiation” – Part Three – the radiation from the atmosphere, and why it is absorbed by the surface, see also Part Two on how we know it comes from the “trace gases” like CO2 and water vapor, and Part One on the actual values.
The First Law of Thermodynamics
Do Trenberth and Kiehl understand the First Law of Thermodynamics? – examines a very simple (non-climate) model to demonstrate a simple yet important principle. Temperatures inside a system can be much higher than the boundary temperature. And this doesn’t violate any thermodynamics laws. And Part Two – small addition to Part One, showing the dynamic results of how equilibrium is reached.
Plus Interesting Refutation of Some Basics – as another blog explains why I have got it so wrong..
And not quite on the first law but a convenient place to park What’s the Palaver? – Kiehl and Trenberth 1997 – some basic comments on this simple paper which has somehow become a lightning rod for everyone unhappy about stuff to do with climate science.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics
A law very misunderstood..
The Real Second Law of Thermodynamics – explaining how entropy is calculated with a few simple examples. How entropy increases – in accordance with this law – when energy is transferred by radiation from colder to hotter bodies, as well as the reverse, so long as net heat transfer is in the right direction.
Amazing Things we Find in Textbooks – The Real Second Law of Thermodynamics – simple but necessary – pages from six heat transfer textbooks to confirm the stuff that so many people dispute.
Kramm & Dlugi On Illuminating the Confusion of the Unclear – Kramm & Dlugi step up as skeptics of the “greenhouse” effect, fans of Gerlich & Tscheuschner and yet clarify that colder atmospheric radiation is absorbed by the warmer earth..
Kramm & Dlugi On Dodging the “Greenhouse” Bullet – Kramm & Dlugi demonstrate that the “greenhouse” effect doesn’t exist by writing a few words in a conclusion but carefully dodging the actual main point throughout their entire paper. However, they do recover Kepler’s laws and point out a few errors in a few websites.
The Three Body Problem – a simple example with three bodies to demonstrate how a “with atmosphere” earth vs a “without atmosphere earth” will generate different equilibrium temperatures.
“Blah blah blah” vs Equations – a prediction that inappropriately-named “skeptics” of the “greenhouse” effect will not be able to produce an equation.
Absorption of Radiation from Different Temperature Sources – explaining how it is impossible that energy from lower temperature sources can’t be absorbed by higher temperature sources.
Intelligent Materials and the Imaginary Second Law of Thermodynamics and The First Law of Thermodynamics Meets the Imaginary Second Law– all continuing an in-depth look at the second law of thermodynamics
The Imaginary Second Law of Thermodynamics – looking at the “problem” from one point of view.
Radiation Basics and the Imaginary Second Law of Thermodynamics – considering this second law “problem” from the point of view of one question asked by a commenter.
Solar and Terrestrial Radiation
The Sun and Max Planck Agree – Part Two – shortwave (solar) and longwave (terrestrial) radiation and how they can be easily distinguished.
The Hoover Incident – what the earth’s climate might be like if all of the gases like CO2 and water vapor were “hoovered up” so that the atmosphere didn’t absorb or emit any radiation
Commentary on Alternative Theories
New Theory Proves AGW Wrong! – a guide to the steady stream of new “disproofs” of the “greenhouse” effect or of AGW. And why you can usually only be a fan of – at most – one of these theories.
Lunar Madness and Physics Basics – a look at the effect of heat capacity of the moon’s surface on its temperature, and why average temperature can easily confuse.
On Missing the Point by Chilingar et al (2008) – a good demonstration of how to mislead people..
Paradigm Shifts in Convection and Water Vapor? – reviewing a paper that claims to show huge problems in the basic ideas of climate science on water vapor. A paper where, surprisingly yet helpfully, the author shows up to clarify his own lack of basic understanding of maths.
Venusian Mysteries – does the high pressure of the Venusian atmosphere (due to its huge mass) create the high surface temperatures?
Venusian Mysteries – Part Two – a more in-depth and technical look at Venus under certain artificial conditions
The Rotational Effect – why the rotation of the earth has absolutely no effect on climate, or so a parody article explains..
Water Vapor vs CO2 as a “Greenhouse” Gas – if only climate science had realized..
American Thinker – the Difference between a Smoking Gun and a Science Paper – comments on theAmerican Thinker article “The AGW Smoking Gun” – and following comments by the author – American Thinker Smoking Gun – Gary Thompson’s comments examined