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Discussion > United Theory of Climate

With thanks to Roger Longstaff for introducing this work on Unthreaded.

By the use of basic thermodynamics and a revised mathematical approach, which nobody has so far falsified, Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. & Karl Zeller, Ph.D conclude that "our atmosphere boosts Earth’s surface temperature not by 18K—33K as currently assumed, but by 133K! This raises the question: Can a handful of trace gases which amount to less than 0.5% of atmospheric mass trap enough radiant heat to cause such a huge thermal enhancement at the surface? Thermodynamics tells us that this not possible."

An abbreviation of Roger Longstaff's posts on unthreaded below:-

I made this comment today @ TB's: "In my opinion, for what it is worth, Nikolov & Zeller are now well ahead on points. With the correct application of Stephan-Boltzmann calculations, used to explain empirical planetary data in a simple exponential curve fit, any amount of arm waving is just noise until someone falsifies the analysis. This has not yet happened."

If the N&Z theory is accepted the game is over - CAGW is complete nonsense, and the trillion dollar carbon fraud is dead. It is interesting to see that most "respected scientists" are staying out of this controversy and sitting on the fence. In my experience the only thing you get from sitting on the fence are splinters! But then, my living does not depend on it.

Jan 25, 2012 at 7:04 PM | Roger Longstaff

http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/nikolov-and-zeller-reply-to-comments-on-the-utc-part-1/#more-4348

I suggest that you carefully study this (part 1), and then read N&Z's original paper:

http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/unified_theory_of_climate_poster_nikolov_zeller.pdf

Good luck!!

Jan 23, 2012 at 7:04 PM | Roger Longstaff

This could be the magic bullet to burst the AGW balloon.

Jan 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

“our atmosphere boosts Earth’s surface temperature .. by 133K”

If you’ll excuse an unexpert observation, is this not simply the result of having an atmosphere? The old ‘blanket’ analogy might not be so wrong. 133K sounds a lot, but night on the moon is about -150C...

Jan 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

“our atmosphere boosts Earth’s surface temperature .. by 133K”

If you’ll excuse an unexpert observation, is this not simply the result of having an atmosphere? The old ‘blanket’ analogy might not be so wrong. 133K sounds a lot, but night on the moon is about -150C...

Jan 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM | James P


Yes, this is simply the result of our atmosphere in total, leaving little room for CO2 to raise the temperature.

You have to read the paper part 1, including the PGB model and the maths, to see how the figures are obtained.

Jan 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

You have to wonder where the 18K—33K figure came from in the first place!

Jan 26, 2012 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

You have to wonder where the 18K—33K figure came from in the first place!

Jan 26, 2012 at 2:06 PM | James P

Para 2, Fig 1 citing current theory as taught at universities.

Jan 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

Thanks, RKS - I know it's current, and widely accepted, but given that we know that it would be over 100K less without an atmosphere, why so low, and why didn't it occur to any climatologists to investigate further?

Jan 26, 2012 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I do realise there's more to it than that (and I am reading the abstract) but I hadn't appreciated until today how effective the atmosphere is at moderating temperature.

Jan 26, 2012 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Thanks, RKS - I know it's current, and widely accepted, but given that we know that it would be over 100K less without an atmosphere, why so low, and why didn't it occur to any climatologists to investigate further?

Jan 26, 2012 at 10:17 PM | James P

It seems that rather than resorting to basic physics to to calculate surface temperature, the climate scientists pushing AGW came to what amounts to a collective best guess based on unproven statistics.

Another paper titled EMISSIVITY, ABSORBENCY AND TOTAL EMITTANCE OF CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2). by Nasif Nahle Sabag http://www.biocab.org/emissivity_co2.html, using a slightly different approach based on bog standard thermodynamics, came to a conclusion not too dissimilar to that in the paper we are now discussing.

Of course, I'm not claiming to be an expert, merely the messenger of work which offers some support to the AGW sceptic school of thought.

Jan 26, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

"rather than resorting to basic physics"

because it gives the wrong answer...

Jan 27, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

RKS - thank you for starting this thread.

I have notified Ned Nikolov, and he is grateful for our efforts. I have also assured him that if anything significant emerges here that we will pass it to him, in the event that he does not have to time to visit here on a regular basis.

The scientific method requires people to try to falsify the hypothesis, and physicists here who have been unaware of this work may now attempt this. A word of caution, however, some of this work is counter-intuitive (at least to me) and I think it is necessary to carefully study ALL of the work before forming an opinion. Please also remember that "part 2" will be published in abour a week (although all of the work is summarised in the original paper).

Jan 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

This seems like an appropriate time to wheel this out as it broadly supports N&Z;

Earth-atmosphere in equilibrium and as we know it now. Sun radiation spectrum is complete. Add two carbon dioxide molecules to Earth's atmosphere homogeneously. Because of their properties of absorption and radiation, each of the following will occur on average 25% of the time;

1. Sun >[~>( 0 )~>]> Space. = Sun radiated photon in. Earth radiated photon out.
2. Sun >[~>(+1)<~] Space. = Sun radiated photon in. Earth radiated photon in.
3. Sun ^[<~( 0 )<~] Space. = Sun radiated photon out. Earth radiated photon in.
4. Sun ^[<~(-1)~>]> Space.= Sun radiated photon out. Earth radiated photon out.

Key;
> Photon and direction.
~> Absorbing & radiating carbon dioxide molecule.
[Earth-atmosphere system]
(System energy change)

Result: albedo increased, emissivity reduced, system remains in equilibrium, system energy unchanged.

Conclusion: additional carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere of Earth does not change existing energy level as no mechanism for change is introduced by that addition.

QED?

Jan 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Your conclusion certainly aligns with N&Z (surface temperature depends only on atmospheric mass and insolation - not upon the chemical composition), but I am struggling with the logic. At what surface are you measuring these outcomes - TOA?

Jan 28, 2012 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

RL

I have avoided measurement and looked at delta difference. PVT can be ignored.
The radiation/absorption bands are present in the solar spectrum.
The red shift is ignored along with anything else happening in the system outside those bands.
To make things easier (for visualising), I added two molecules for delta, one irradiated by Sun and one by Earth (day/night).
The day side molecule has a 50% chance of increasing albedo by reflection to space.
The night side molecule has a 50% chance of reducing emissivity by reflection back toward surface.
The four possible scenarios using those chances show the changes in system energy level for each.
The average of those scenarios gives system in equilibrium and energy level unchanged.

Any of the above statements may be untrue, but if not, what am I missing? If untrue, what have I misunderstood? Hence my question mark in my original post.

P.S. On the TOA question, if I understand that correctly, am I adding molecules there? Not necessarily. The proof rests on the 50% chance, if it is a proof at all!

P.P.S.
The symbols were chosen within the limits of a keybord and posting on a blog. I hope they convey the meaning I intended.

Jan 28, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

simpleseekeraftertruth,

Thank yoy for your reply. My struggle to understand it is because I view the situation from a TOA boundary. We know that there is radiative balance over the diurnal cycle, as radiation is the only energy transport mechanism at this boundary. Within TOA the atmosphere can transport energy via radiation, convection and conduction, with radiation being either reflected, absorbed or transmitted.

If I understand it cirrectly, N&Z do not specify energy transport mechanisms within TOA but simply suggest that insolation (while correctly applying Holder's inequality) and surface pressure determine surface temperature, with an explanation from first principles using the ideal gas laws and gravity. Their exponential curve fit to known planets and planetoids seems to be excetionally strong evidence in support of their hypothesis. Your concept appears to apply to radiative transfer within the atmosphere - thereby extending the N&Z hypothesis - is this correct?

Please forgive me if I have misenterpreted your concept - I am not (and do not claim to be) a "top flight" physicist.

Jan 28, 2012 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

RL

Yes, it is solely radiative transfer within the atmosphere but only as far as equilibrium dictates. I say broadly supports N&Z because it may show a mechanism that negates CO2 from contributing to system energy. Once in the system, as you say, the other mechanisms of convection and conduction come into play. As we know the absorption and radiative properties of CO2 and are informed that this increases, system energy, then for N&Z to be correct, that has to be incorrect as I see it. N&Z have, at best, a competing theory to that which currently prevails. It has to be shown that delta CO2, even with its known molecular abilities, is effectively self-cancelling (ultimately radiatively) when within the atmosphere. Have I extended the N&Z hypothesis? I have not presumed to, but,and a very big but, if right it would at least put my mind to rest over this interminable question!

P.S. I am not even a medium flight physicist.

Jan 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Thanks SSAT, I will think on it.

I am away for a couple of days - perhaps others will have an opinion?

Jan 28, 2012 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

RL

"I am away for a couple of days..." Perhaps I should get out more myself:)

Below is an analogy. I usually hate them but as we are talking concepts rather than numbers, perhaps it will help. If you are averse to them then look away now.

A simple analogy would be to consider a water tank connected to a water main and a garden hose. Reducing only the flow from the main by a valve at the tank would cause the head (potential) in the tank to fall but if at the same time the hose nozzle is partly closed then the head can be maintained as before when the incoming and outgoing flows are matched. Only, a changed pressure in the main without changes to the valve, tank, contents or the nozzle would cause the head in the tank to change.

Extending this analogy to inspect current GHG theory we are asked to accept that the pressure head increases with no change at the tank valve (albedo) and that the head is increased by some addition or change downstream from that. But what could those be in this analogy? The change could be caused by turning the nozzle aperture down causing the head to increase until pressure rises to a point which overcomes the additional back pressure. The addition could be that the viscosity increases, the nozzle back pressure would then increase and the head also increase to overcome that.

GHG theory requires either or perhaps both those possibilities to act. If something can cause a nozzle to turn then it can also cause the valve to do likewise, to somehow discriminate between the two there would need to be a bias. But CO2 cares not where the IR is coming from when it intercepts and re-radiates. It has no bias. Is it viscosity perhaps? If something was added to the water in the tank which increased its viscosity, the head would increase until equilibrium was reached. The nature of the outgoing water would be changed as a result. But CO2 acts only on IR radiation in specific narrow bands whether received from the Sun or elsewhere. What it receives is what it passes on, unchanged.

Can we not therefore conclude, within the limits of this analogy, that any solar provided energy entrained in a planet-atmosphere system is a function of that system and not of a specific gas within it?

Jan 29, 2012 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Below is an analogy. I usually hate them but as we are talking concepts rather than numbers, perhaps it will help. If you are averse to them then look away now.

A simple analogy would be to consider a water tank connected to a water main and a garden hose. Reducing only the flow from the main by a valve at the tank would cause the head (potential) in the tank to fall but if at the same time the hose nozzle is partly closed then the head can be maintained as before when the incoming and outgoing flows are matched. Only, a changed pressure in the main without changes to the valve, tank, contents or the nozzle would cause the head in the tank to change.

Extending this analogy to inspect current GHG theory we are asked to accept that the pressure head increases with no change at the tank valve (albedo) and that the head is increased by some addition or change downstream from that. But what could those be in this analogy? The change could be caused by turning the nozzle aperture down causing the head to increase until pressure rises to a point which overcomes the additional back pressure. The addition could be that the viscosity increases, the nozzle back pressure would then increase and the head also increase to overcome that.

GHG theory requires either or perhaps both those possibilities to act. If something can cause a nozzle to turn then it can also cause the valve to do likewise, to somehow discriminate between the two there would need to be a bias. But CO2 cares not where the IR is coming from when it intercepts and re-radiates. It has no bias. Is it viscosity perhaps? If something was added to the water in the tank which increased its viscosity, the head would increase until equilibrium was reached. The nature of the outgoing water would be changed as a result. But CO2 acts only on IR radiation in specific narrow bands whether received from the Sun or elsewhere. What it receives is what it passes on, unchanged.

Can we not therefore conclude, within the limits of this analogy, that any solar provided energy entrained in a planet-atmosphere system is a function of that system and not of a specific gas within it?

Jan 29, 2012 at 6:28 PM | simpleseekeraftertruth

When you say the N&Z theory is talking about "concepts rather than numbers" I think you might have missed the empirical data used to verify the mathematics. They have worked this to the level of theory awaiting falsification rather than conceptual hypothesis.

Nevertheless, your own conceptual mind game, challenging accepted GHE, is another useful tool to help bring down the nonsense of 'runaway greenhouse effect'. N&Z show that the temperature of Venus would be the same as it is even if Nitrogen or oxygen replaced the present 97% level of CO2 - without any thermal runaway involved.

Jan 30, 2012 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

freelance writer

Jan 30, 2012 at 6:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterChambersKRISTY27

RKS

My apologies for misleading: with 'concept' I was referring to my post of Jan 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM and follow-on with Roger Longstaff. I am familiar with the N&Z theory and look forward to their second paper on the subject. My 'conceptual mind game' is an attempt to debunk the claimed effects of additional CO2. N&Z theory replaces the entire current in-place theory. They are not mutually exclusive.

Jan 30, 2012 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

RKS

My apologies for misleading: with 'concept' I was referring to my post of Jan 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM and follow-on with Roger Longstaff. I am familiar with the N&Z theory and look forward to their second paper on the subject. My 'conceptual mind game' is an attempt to debunk the claimed effects of additional CO2. N&Z theory replaces the entire current in-place theory. They are not mutually exclusive.

Jan 30, 2012 at 8:55 AM | simpleseekeraftertruth

No apology needed.

I think we're pretty much in agreement really.

Compared to the rather vigorous discussion about N&Z's theory at the Tallblog blog, The response at BH from it's AGW sceptics, when provided with a large chunk of scientific red meat to satisfy their prejudices, has been rather tame really.

It seems they'd rather complain about AGW just for the sake of complaining, rather than discussing fundamental science showing AGW to be wrong.

I know we have qualified scientists contributing to this blog, so let's be 'aving you please and give this theory a good airing.

Jan 30, 2012 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

Jan 30, 2012 at 10:10 AM | RKS

oops, Tallbloke blog of course

Jan 30, 2012 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

"Tallblog"

Does that make Roger the Tallblog bloke?

I'm tempted to create a Shortblog now...

Jan 30, 2012 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I'm tempted to create a Shortblog now...

Jan 30, 2012 at 10:49 AM | James P

For one liners I suppose.

Jan 30, 2012 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRKS

SSAT,

I think that I now undersatnd your analogy, and I like it as it is a good mind clearing exercise. I, too, have been wondering about the "albedo problem" and I have sought an alternative explanation based on conservation of momentum (bearing in mind that the momentum of an incoming photon is h*f/c, where h is Plank's constant, f the frequency and c is the speed of light). The following is my first attempt at an "elevator speech", so beloved at WUWT (a site that I no longer visit due to the bad manners and name calling).

"For a rotating planet in diurnal equilibrium (neither heating nor cooling over successive rotational cycles) both the temperature and pressure lapse rates can be empirically deduced considering only TOA insolation and the weight of the atmosphere, independent of chemical composition. The ideal gas laws, gravity and the laws of thermodynamics can be applied from first principles to explain this effect, independent of atmospheric mechanics. Insolation delivers energy to the atmosphere via transmission to the surface followed by conduction, absorbtion by gasses or clouds, and radiation pressure to the could tops via conservation of momentum. Energy is distributed through the atmosphere as a consequence of rotation, conduction, radiation and (primarily) convection."

Hence, the "albedo effect" dissapears and in a single bound they were free. If only...

Comments wellcome.

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff