Tuesday, 27 November 2012



by Dr Vincent Gray



In several recent newsletters I have attacked the plausibility of the basic climate model promoted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC.)

Its assumptions include the following:
  • The Earth is flat;
  • The sun shines all day and all night with equal intensity;
  • Energy interchange in the climate is almost entirely by radiation;
  • Energy flow parameters are constants with no variability;
  • Energy flow is "balanced" with input equal to output;
  • Change in this system is entirely caused by increasing human-induced trace gases in the atmosphere.

These assumptions are completely at odds with meteorological science which finds that energy changes in the climate are

  • Energy absorption from the sun to the surface in an irregular fashion, exclusively  by day
  • Immediate cooling of the heated surfaces by
  •               Heat transfer to the surface,
  •               Convection by the atmosphere and
  •               Evaporation of water.
  • Transport of warmed air and water by complex circulation patterns whose accurate prediction is confounded by our poor understanding of fluid flow, referred to as "chaos"

Energy is returned to space from all surfaces and from every level of the atmosphere by infra red radiation.

No importance has been established for an influence of so-called greenhouse gases.

A Greenhouse is a device for continuing to receive solar radiation, but protecting a small patch of The Earth from the "chaos" of air movement and precipitation  outside it.  Internally the absorbed radiation is received and cooled in the same way as outside, by convection and by evaporation of water. The convected air cannot mix with the rest of the atmosphere so the internal atmosphere is above the outside. As greenhouses are not insulated it cools by conduction from the air to the frame which is in turn cooled by the outside "chaos" which becomes dominant when the sun does not shine. There is no role for trace gases, although carbon dioxide may be supplied to enhance growth.

The so-called "greenhouse effect" thus has nothing to do with the behaviour of a greenhouse.

The IPCC chooses to deal with only part of the total climate, by what it calls "the climate system."

This is defined as follows:
"The Climate System is the highly complex system consisting of five major components: the atmosphere, the cryosphere, the lithosphere, the biosphere and the interactions between them"

This does not include the other components of the real climate, which are the sun, the Earth and outer space. The Real Climate is a heat engine.

Input energy is radiation from the sun and the exhaust is infra red radiation to outer space. In the process the sun's energy increases its entropy.

The "Climate System" is only part of this complete system so it cannot comply with the conditions for thermodynamic equilibrium, that only apply to systems isolated from all inputs and outputs of energy. There is therefore no reason to assume that the claimed balance between input and output energy should mean that it is subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, so that "back radiation" deriving from the Stefan/Boltzmann radiation law cannot exist which some try to claim.

The most important function of this engine is to maintain all living organisms on earth. This is achieved by various biological mechanisms which are able to change the absorbed radiation energy into chemical energy which can be used to provide all the pathways by which all organisms exist. The most important mechanism is the use of chlorophyll by plants which by absorbing radiant energy enables them to synthesize carbohydrates from atmospheric carbon dioxide and water. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is thus the source of almost all life on earth, yet some seem to think it is a pollutant.

It is possible to derive a model of the real climate by an ilustration which shows one or more of the following features:

A rotating earth which comes under the influence of increasing intensity of the sun's ray from dawn to noon each day, with a decline from noon to dusk. All of the energy received from the sun arrives in this way, sequentially each day.  The surface is then cooled by these processes.

Conduction of part of the energy absorbed into the surface layer, both solid and liquid.

Conduction of part of the heat to the layer of air next to the surface, its removal as it rises and its replacement by another layer. This is called convection and its influence is enhanced by turbulence particularly over land and by the development of complex air movements which carry the air around the entire air and convey the heat up into the atmosphere. This responsible for the Lapse Rate, as the temperature declines all the way to the tropopause as the additional energy in the atmosphere is progressively radiated outwards.

The surface is also cooled by evaporation of water, mainly from the oceans, thus removing latent heat. This heat is recovered, warming the atmosphere as the air reaches the dew point temperature higher in the atmosphere, Some of it will form liquid water, snow or hail, whose precipitation will, by day, further cool the Earth surface which is warmer than the region of the clouds. By night the precipitation may even warm the cooling surface, or there may be deposition of frost or dew which also warms the surface.

Finally, the surfaces radiate heat to space, and by night, cool until the next dawn, Also each layer of gas radiates to space. The Stefan/Boltzmann law states that radiation from gas goes in all directions, so there is "back radiation" which gets incorporated with the rest. Also the Law states that the emission energy is proportional to the fourth power of the absolute temperature. This means that most outwards radiation is from daytime surfaces, particularly from the tropics, and radiation from the atmosphere is greatest in the layer closest to the earth. This is the layer that constitutes our weather and is the basis of our weather forecasting system.

It is possible that changes on the so-called "greenhouse gases" may play a role in this system, but there is currently no evidence to support a belief that such an influence could be important despite the tremendous amount of effort that has been put in the attempt to show it. It would in any case largely involve water vapour, as another influence in addition to its vital role in latent heat transfer.

An influence of trace gases is currently covered up by the vagaries of the chaos: associated with air and ocean movements. The main object of the rather absurd IPCC model is that it avoids the influence of "chaos" by pretending it does not exist.

I have tried to provide a diagram of the Real Climate I describe but I am no good at all at using computer draw programmes. I hope this might inspire one or other of you to provide a convincing diagram of the real climate.

I also attach a diagram of the lapse rate which is actually a very useful supplement to any diagram of the climate based on the realities I have described.


Vincent Gray