Nikolov N, Zeller K (2017) New Insights on the Physical Nature of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Deduced from an Empirical Planetary Temperature Model. Environ Pollut Climate Change 1:112.s
A recent study has revealed that the Earth’s natural atmospheric greenhouse effect is around 90 K or about 2.7 times stronger than assumed for the past 40 years. A thermal enhancement of such a magnitude cannot be explained with the observed amount of outgoing infrared long-wave radiation absorbed by the atmosphere (i.e. ≈ 158 W m-2), thus requiring a re-examination of the underlying Greenhouse theory. We present here a new investigation into the physical nature of the atmospheric thermal effect using a novel empirical approach toward predicting the Global Mean Annual near-surface equilibrium Temperature (GMAT) of rocky planets with diverse atmospheres. Our method utilizes Dimensional Analysis (DA) applied to a vetted set of observed data from six celestial bodies representing a broad range of physical environments in our Solar System, i.e. Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, Titan (a moon of Saturn), and Triton (a moon of Neptune). Twelve relationships (models) suggested by DA are explored via non-linear regression analyses that involve dimensionless products comprised of solar irradiance, greenhouse-gas partial pressure/density and total atmospheric pressure/density as forcing variables, and two temperature ratios as dependent variables. One non-linear regression model is found to statistically outperform the rest by a wide margin. Our analysis revealed that GMATs of rocky planets with tangible atmospheres and a negligible geothermal surface heating can accurately be predicted over a broad range of conditions using only two forcing variables: top-of-the-atmosphere solar irradiance and total surface atmospheric pressure. The hereto discovered interplanetary pressure-temperature relationship is shown to be statistically robust while describing a smooth physical continuum without climatic tipping points. This continuum fully explains the recently discovered 90 K thermal effect of Earth’s atmosphere. The new model displays characteristics of an emergent macro-level thermodynamic relationship heretofore unbeknown to science that has important theoretical implications. A key entailment from the model is that the atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’ currently viewed as a radiative phenomenon is in fact an adiabatic (pressure-induced) thermal enhancement analogous to compression heating and independent of atmospheric composition. Consequently, the global down-welling long-wave flux presently assumed to drive Earth’s surface warming appears to be a product of the air temperature set by solar heating and atmospheric pressure. In other words, the so-called ‘greenhouse back radiation’ is globally a result of the atmospheric thermal effect rather than a cause for it. Our empirical model has also fundamental implications for the role of oceans, water vapour, and planetary albedo in global climate. Since produced by a rigorous attempt to describe planetary temperatures in the context of a cosmic continuum using an objective analysis of vetted observations from across the Solar System, these findings call for a paradigm shift in our understanding of the atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’ as a fundamental property of climate.
There’s an ongoing dispute on this question. The post here by Dr. Roy Spencer is the most recent in this discussion. I very much appreciate Dr. Spencer’s work on global temperatures (though I’ve never met him in person).
I’ve read Dr. Spencer’s explanation before and did not find it very persuasive. The experimental evidence is new to me. However, I’m still puzzled by this explanation and interpretation of the experimental data presented by Dr. Spencer. (There are other factors beyond the second law of thermodynamics at work here.)
I decided to ask a heat transfer expert (an experienced PhD mechanical engineer) with no dog in this fight to review these explanations and comments and give me an informal reaction. The response back to me was the following:
“I scanned quickly through the link. Any system has to follow the conservation of mass and energy (can be combined as in nuclear engineering). He is relying on some correct radiation principles. But he is clueless about the effects of reflectivity and that thermal imaging does not give accurate temperatures. “
I’ll be meeting with this expert to discuss the issue further and perhaps collaborate on a future experiment of our own. Dr. Spencer’s experiment is interesting but does not resolve the difficulties I had initially with the explanation provided.
Though I disagree with him on this matter I wish Dr. Spencer well in his future work.
This post is very interesting. The argument has been that “global warming” will happen on earth just like on Jupiter if atmospheric carbon dioxide is continues to increase. This study refutes that argument.
“Prior work has confirmed the gravito-thermal greenhouse effect on 8 planets including Earth, and why this falsifies the theory of catastrophic man-made global warming. On the basis of this new paper, we find the gravito-thermal greenhouse effect also holds for Jupiter and that the pressure vs. temperature curve satisfies the Poisson Relation of the gravito-thermal greenhouse effect.” click here
“The authors evaluate the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “consensus” that the increase of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is of anthropogenic origin and is causing dangerous global warming, climate change and climate disruption. They conclude that the data does not support the supposition.” click here
“How much will the doubling of CO2 in the air warm the global temperature? How do scientists take an accurate measurement of the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere? Why can scientists better measure atmospheric temperatures from satellites than surface temperatures from ground thermometers?” click here for answers
Gravito-Thermal greenhouse effect replaces Arrhenius as the best available science. From the Hockey Schtick:
“An excellent review of the Kinetic Theory of Gases, similar to Feynman’s lecture 40 on the Statistical Mechanics of the Atmosphere, and explains the fundamental basis of the 33C Maxwell et al Gravito-Thermal greenhouse effect (& which also falsifies the Arrhenius radiative-greenhouse effect).
The review also explains the fundamental reasons why the false analogies of inflated tires or static, closed gas cylinders to our atmosphere are incorrect.” click here for complete post.
An important but very technical point regarding lapse rate as it relates to a theoretically pure (N2) atmosphere is discussed here.
At issue is the relevance of the Arrhenius radiative greenhouse theory. The Maxwell et al gravito-thermal greenhouse effect is replacing “Arrhenius” as the best science-based explanation.