Posted on behalf of Peter Morcombe
Consensus climate scientists contend that the GHE (Greenhouse Effect) amounts to 33oC. My definition of the GHE is the change in the average temperature of a planetary body that can be attributed to its atmosphere. In an earlier post the theories of respectable climate scientists such as Scott Denning were compared to the theories mavericks such as Nikolov & Zeller.
The two sides agree that Earth’s average temperature is ~288 Kelvin. However they can’t agree about the temperature of an airless Earth, so one says the GHE is 33 Kelvin while the other says 134 Kelvin. Both parties apply the same principles of physics so how can they arrive at such different answers? The explanation lies in the assumptions that they made in an attempt to simplify their analysis.
“Climate Scientists” don’t seem to care whether the GHE is 33 or 134 Kelvin, but the blogosphere has taken up the challenge.
Scott Denning’s calculation assumes that the surface of an airless Earth would be at a uniform temperature. Given that solar energy is not evenly distributed over the Earth’s surface the planet would have to be composed of a thermal superconductor to achieve this. So does that mean that the mavericks are right? While I am inclined to encourage the underdog, it turns out that N&Z are wrong too. Their calculation would be correct if an airless Earth was a perfect insulator! One interesting result of their simplifications is that the temperatures they predict are not affected by the rate of rotation (see Ned Nikolov’s explanation here).
It should be possible to decide which approach comes closest to explaining reality if we had some experimental data from a real airless body. Fortunately the Diviner LRE mission took care of that by mapping the Moon’s surface temperature with the first data sets released to the general public in 2010.
So can we explain the Diviner measurements in terms of the properties of radiation and the lunar surface which mostly consists of “Regolith”? This is no simple task given that the regolith properties vary according to depth. There is a peer reviewed simulation of the Diviner measurements. Following the Chinese CE-1 mission a lunar surface temperature profile was published using regolith properties determined by the Apollo landers. The Chinese models are in good agreement with the Diviner measurements at the lunar equator:
Latitude = 0o Diviner CE-1
Maximum temperature (K) 385 395
Minimum temperature (K) 95 95
A model by Tim Channon that accurately reproduces the Diviner data can be found on Tallbloke’s blog. It turns out that the average temperature of the Moon is 197.3 Kelvin. Why bother with a model produced by an amateur? Remember that neither Denning nor Nikolov can tell us anything about rotating objects and the Diviner team’s models are behind paywalls. Tim Channon’s model tells us that the average temperature of the Moon would not change if it rotated once per day as the Earth does.
Thanks to the CE-1 and Diviner missions we now know that the Moon’s average temperature is ~197 Kelvin. It is plausible that the temperature of an airless Earth would be the same, so the Greenhouse Effect is 288 – 197 = 91 Kelvin. This is a major problem for the Arrhenius theory that can’t explain a GHE of 33 Kelvin, much less one that is three times higher. Even so, another stake through the heart of the Arrhenius vampire won’t make any difference. It never mattered that the theory was demonstrably false as long as it served a political purpose.
Sagan was able to predict the surface temperature of Venus without knowing the composition of the atmosphere, using only Newtonian mechanics/gravity and thermodynamics. The same approach works for Earth and all of the other planets in our solar system that have significant atmospheres. So why do “Climate Scientists” cling to the crazy Arrhenius theory with its nonsensical doublings? Does this make them SINOs (Scientists In Name Only), working hard to keep their place on the government funded gravy train?
Given that the primary determinant of planetary temperatures is atmospheric pressure rather than trace gases we need to stop wasting billions “mitigating” CO2, while redirecting the funds to real problems such as making electricity cheap and available to everyone.