torsdag 27 januari 2011

Power of Language: "Refrigerator Effect" vs "Greenhouse Effect"

The Refrigerator Effect:

Lord Monckton, Judy Curry and Roy Spencer are critical to the critique in the new book Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory of the "greenhouse effect" underlying CO2 climate alarmism. My arguments that the standard conception of the "greenhouse effect" represents a scientific dead end, are summarized in my contributions to the book:
By double negation (critique of critique) Monckton, Curry and Spencer effectively come out as supporters of the claimed consensus of (alarming) global warming by a "greenhouse effect".

M, C and S claim that they do not have the time required to enter into the mathematics of the criticism in the articles, but nevertheless remain critical to the critique referring to a strong belief that the greenhouse gas theory with its "greenhouse effect" cannot be killed because it is strong, healthy and very much alive. A seemingly invincible Sky Dragon...

It is natural to ask how it is possible to be so sure about the existence of a "greenhouse effect",
which in fact is not well described in the scientific literature? The meaning of the term ranges
from the total effect of the atmosphere as an "atmosphere effect" to the absorption spectrum of the "greenhouse gas" CO2 with unknown warming effect.

Is it simply due to the folklore description of the "greenhouse effect" acting like a "blanket" or "sheet of glass" helping us to stay warm in a chilly Universe at 3 K? Even if the atmosphere does not act like a blanket or sheet of glass at all?

Is the power of language so strong that the "greenhouse effect" from a "blanket in the sky" is
so seducing for the soul that the body becomes convinced? Maybe.

Suppose then that we change vocabulary and describe the effect of the atmosphere as the
"refrigerator effect", which is in fact more logical than the "greenhouse effect", because what
the atmosphere does is to transport heat (from insolation) away from the Earth surface to the top of the atmosphere for radiation to outer space. In the same way as the cooling system
of a refrigerator transports heat from the inside of the refrigerator to the outside.

OK, so everybody can now understand the "refrigerator effect" and with this understanding comes the immediate threat of a too strong effect of global cooling. Like with alchohol the risk is a too strong effect, not a too small effect (unless you are completely addicted).

So, with a "greenhouse effect" the imminent risk is too much of the effect into global warming. While with the "refrigerator effect" the threat is instead global cooling.

We see that semantics can twist our brains into firm beliefs which may lack scientific rationale. Of course we are all too familiar with this phenomenon in politics.

So how would the debate change if "greenhouse effect" was changed to "refrigerator effect?
Such a change could get quick acceptance this winter.

Judy now signals that she is ready to initiate a discussion on her blog starting from the two
articles listed above. I look forward to this discussion. Science without discussion is dead immobile science, while science with discussion is live science which can move forward.

PS1 If you want to get to understand thermodynamics for the first time in your life, download the draft of my upcoming book Computational Thermodynamics and explore physics with confusing statistics replaced by
  • analog finite precision computation (reality)
  • modeled by digital finite precision computation (virtual reality).
The idea of finite precision computation also underlies the new analysis of blackbody radiation

PS2 Comparing the thermodynamics of global climate with that of a refrigerator should be done understanding the following important difference: The atmosphere transports heat from the Earth surface to a top of the atmosphere at lower temperature, while the cooling system of a refrigerator transports heat from the inside of the refrigerator to the outside at higher temperature. More precisely:

To transport heat in a system from a cold part to a warmer part (without chemistry) requires compression consuming external energy (driving the compressor in a refrigerator), while transport of heat from a warm part to a colder can be performed without external input of energy. The compression in a standard compressor refrigerator cycle is needed because expansion is used to create the temperature drop required to absorb heat from the interior of refrigerator to the circulating medium. In the atmosphere ascending air expands and cools and descending air warms as potential energy is exchanged to heat energy, without net input of energy, if turbulent dissipation is neglected.

PS3 As concerns Planck, his radiation law and his heroic (resultless) struggle to derive it mathematically from electrodynamics, and his final surrender in an "act of despair" to statistics, see Planck: The Reluctant Revolutionary.

7 kommentarer:

  1. The "refrigerator effect" is spot on. It keeps the stratosphere colder even though the earth surface heats up. Like a refrigerator keeping your beers cold in a warmer surrounding.

  2. Claes, For those who are not engineers you need to explain in your diagram that expansion reduces the temperature lower than inside the refrigerator and that the compression raises the temperature higher than the outside cooling fluid (air or water). Heat always flows from hot to cold and never the reverse. Engineers have been making measurements in refrigeration and air conditioning for over 150 years. Pseudo-scientists (eg Trenberth), who deny the 2nd law of Thermodynamics, have no understanding of the engineering subjects of Thermodynamics and Heat transfer and/or are lying.
    You might also note that engineers were finding practical solutions to problems before scientists. I regard Imhotep of the 27BC century in Eygpt one of the first chemical engineers (his formula for artificial rock on the Irtysen Stele) shows engineering ingenuity which few even understand now-in Europe engineers are called Ingeneurs.

  3. Nullius in Verba29 januari 2011 01:28

    I think you might have got your refrigerator the wrong way round. As air descends in the atmosphere it is compressed by the increase in pressure and its temperature rises. As it ascends, its temperature drops. This is clearly a heat pump, but operating to transport heat *downwards*. The heat pump is powered by the convective loop of the Hadley cells at the equator, which transport net heat upwards. The relative effects of the downward heat pump are superimposed on the net upward spontaneous flow.

    The greenhouse effect in a convective atmosphere doesn't work by trapping heat, it works by changing the height of the 'refrigerator thermostat'.

  4. Anders, I have bookmarked your blog and would be happy to comment but I do not want to go through Google or Twitter etc. Can it be done directly as was the situation with Jeff ID site (I enjoyed the Technical discussion there) or indirectly as with Claes' Site? You can ask Claes for my email.
    I would like to see a discussion about the Stefan-Boltzman equation which I believe is being wrongly used by many. For a start it is assumed radiation is from black bodies when there is no such thing. It has been shown that the sun does not conform perfectly to a black body. An emissivity factor has been used in modifying the S-B equation but this seems to be variously define and actually varies with temperature. It seems to me many AGW people assume that molecules of CO2 are black bodies when in fact radiation is only absorbed over a small wavelength range of that of the emitting body ie I estimate that the emissivity is less than 0.1 for 100% CO2. This then needs further correction for the amount actually present. Engineers then further modify the S-B equation when calculating heat transfer to take account of the temperature and emissivity of the receiving body. The S-B equation can not be simply differentiated to determine a relation between heat flow and temperature because of multiple variables. Engineers such as Prof Hoyt Hottel have made much research in heat exhangers (admittly closed systems) to determine heat transfer coefficients which include radiation. My estimation using Hottel's equations is that CO2 has an insignificant effect on atmospheric temperatures.

  5. In the comment above to Anders I should have added my pseudonom Cementafriend which will allow Claes to identify me. I am a chemical engineer who is familiar with most of the information in Perry's Chemical Engineering Handbook -In this book chapter 3 is about Mathematics and Statistics, Chapter 4 has the title "Thermodynamics, Chapter 5 the title "Heat and Mass Transfer" wherein the radiation section is written by Hoyt Hottel (Prof. Chem. Eng. MIT), Chapter 6 has the title Fluid Dynamics. It appears to me that these are all subjects that the so called climate scientist do not understand.
    Keep strong

  6. Nullius in Verba sa...
    "The greenhouse effect in a convective atmosphere doesn't work by trapping heat, it works by changing the height of the 'refrigerator thermostat'. "

    The thermostat adjustment for CO2 is about 10 feet today, 200 years ago it was about 14 feet and when it is a full doubling from pre-industrial days it will be about 7 feet from the ground.

    The radiation bands where CO2 function are completely saturated at current CO2 levels within 10 feet of the ground. This is ignoring the fact that water vapor absorption bands overlap CO2 bands and already captures 100% of the available bandwidth within this same 10 feet. Thus the net effect of adding CO2 to a water vapor dominated atmosphere ends up having absolutely 0 effect on the temperature of the atmosphere as a whole. Thus, the thermostat setting from CO2 is 0.

  7. "By double negation (critique of critique) Monckton, Curry and Spencer effectively come out as supporters of the claimed consensus of (alarming) global warming by a "greenhouse effect"."

    This is not quite accurate. To accept the existence of a "greenhouse effect" is not necessarily to accept the claim that additional CO2 will increase the effect by a dangerous (or even measurable) amount; both Dr. L and Lord M would deny (and have denied) the latter claim quite forcefully and unequivocally, while Dr. C regards it as uncertain.

    For myself, I have some trouble understanding how -- since infrared radiation penetrates only a few microns deep into seawater, and when evaporation lowers the temperature of the top few millimeters of seawater by a quarter of a degree, and when the temperature of the top 10 to 20 meters of the ocean essentially determines the climate of the globe -- how, given all this, a tiny increase in CO2 could have any influence at all on surface temperature.