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The greenhouse of Miskolczi

  1. May 3, 2008 #1
    Deeply burried in the stack of scientific publications is http://met.hu/doc/idojaras/vol111001_01.pdf [Broken].

    Miskolczi, F.M. (2007) Greenhouse effect in semi-transparent planetary
    atmospheres, Quarterly Journal of the Hungarian Meteorological Service
    Vol. 111, No. 1, January–March 2007, pp. 1–40

    It claims to refute the current math of greenhouse effect.

    According to scholar.google, the paper is only cited once, which suggest that it is carefully ignored, rather than being discussed scientifically. If Miskolczi was demonstratably wrong, you would expect that discussion in the primary scientific magazins

    Any atmospheric physician / mathematician prepared to sink his teeth in and confirm or refute the greenhouse of Miskolczi?

    Some quotes:

    Is he right?

    Edit, looked wrong, the paper is not cited at all according to scholar.google

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2008 #2
    Of course you would expect that with modern satellite measurements, the orginal math of radiative atmospheric properties, would have been confirmed or refuted. There is where this publication comes in

    Look who is the last author!

    Looks like a good reason for him work it all out once more.
  4. May 15, 2008 #3
    Thats it?
    Alarm bells have to be ringing when no one is willing to take up the discusion of Miscolzki and his refutation of the basic foundation of the warmer religion. I guess those who believe in AGW just take it on faith from their high priests.
    I see only these two posts from you andre....am I missing something or has no one taken up the debate?
  5. May 16, 2008 #4
    Sorry LC, that's it. A fair challenge I would say and I know that we can expect a reaction soon on RC. But it would have been nice if the exposé was challenged here.

    More later (limited time)
  6. May 19, 2008 #5
    Error on page 4

    Awww, this one's an easy one. There may be other mistakes, but clearly the author errs in point (g) on page 4. While the atmosphere is gravitationally bound to Earth, it does not orbit the Earth, in the sense that its kinetic energy is half the gravitational potential energy. If this were true, wind speeds would be 8 km/s on the surface! It therefore does not follow that "in terms of the radiative flux Sa=sigma T^4 represents also the gravitational potential energy."
  7. May 19, 2008 #6
    Thank you, Jdlawlis, good catch. We need to investigate it's consequences.
  8. Jun 16, 2008 #7
    Let's recap a bit about greenhouse effect.

    It is argued that the difference between Earth black body temperature of about 255 kelvin and the average global temperature of about 288 Kelvin is due to the greenhouse effect. http://geography.berkeley.edu:16080/ProgramCourses/CoursePagesFA2006/Geog40/L5.pdf

    Is this correct? Suppose (null hypothesis) that there were no greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and that heat exchange was only possible by convection and conduction.

    So the sun would heat up the Earth surface, which would heat up the lowermost molecules of the atmosphere. Due to the expansion this air is lighter and would rise up, convection, transferring the heating to higher parts of the atmosphere, as it happens http://sol.sci.uop.edu/~jfalward/heattransfer/heattransfer.html [Broken]. Because of the lapse rate/ temperature gradient, the expanding rising air cools but may remain above envirenment temperature, so that the upward convection may continue for a while.

    When the sun sets, the radiating Earth surface cools down, cooling the lower part of the atmosphere by conduction. But the contracting air is denser than the environment and there is no tendency for convection at all. The air becomes stable, cool below and warmer in the upper layers known as an 'inversion', just like the ocean. Hence this warming of the atmosphere by conduction and convection is basically one way until there is a dynamic equilibrium in the energy exchange between the daytime convection and night conduction cooling of the lowermost layer.

    Hence it appears that we don't need greenhouse effect, just an atmosphere to have higher ambient temperatures than the black body temperature.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  9. Jun 28, 2008 #8
    Disipation in atmosphere = gavitational Potential Energy; Climate sensitivity=0.3K

    When a physicist so thoroughly lays out a comprehensive theory, may I encourage you to carefully read Miskolczi's paper in full and try to understand it before jumping on such a simple "error". Miskolczi notes
    I understand this to refer to PV=nRT with its associated derivation from gas particle kinetics. I understand him to primarily mean the internal kinetic energy of the gas (with macro velocity giving small contributions.)

    Similarly see page 6
    A quick search on "Virial Theorem" pulls up supporting comments. e.g. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/gravc.html
    http://www.ipp.mpg.de/~bds/astro/virial.html" [Broken]
    If you find primary literature that supports your contention, please cite it to pursue this further. Otherwise I will assume Miskolczi is correct.

    Miskolcai' (g) and section 3.1 appear to be an important consequence of Kirchhoff's law applied to the atmosphere. See equations (5) and (6) which Miskolczi later proves by the energy minimization principle (in section 5.1 (page 16) and appendix B.)

    I encourage you to clearly verify or refute this important result.

    i.e., the sum of all radiation absorbed in the atmosphere is equal to the total internal kinetic energy of the atmosphere which in turn is equal to the total gravitational potential energy.

    i.e. incoming radiation absorbed in the atmosphere F plus
    portion absorbed in the atmosphere P (of the total thermal energy from the planetary interior to the surface-atmosphere P0,) plus
    the net thermal energy to the atmosphere of non-radiative origin K

    is equal to the total internal kinetic energy of the atmosphere
    which is equal to the total gravitational potential energy of the atmosphere.

    The much improved accuracy of Miskolczi's semi-transparent model compared to the semi-infinite and USST-76 is impressive. See Fig. 5 p 18. (I understand this to be simplified physics/thermodynamics model built on the results of his exhaustive radiance-transmittance code HARTCODE.)

    See Miskolczi's presentation on
    Physics of the Planetary Greenhouse Effect at
    2008 International Conference on Global Warming, New York March 2-4, 2008. http://www.heartland.org/newyork08/audio/Tuesday/miskolczi.mp3" [Broken]

    and Dr. Miklos Zagoni, Physicist and Science Historian
    Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary
    Paleoclimatic Consequences of Dr. Miskolczi’s Greenhouse Theory
    http://www.heartland.org/newyork08/audio/Tuesday/zagoni.mp3" [Broken]
    and posted at Zagoni's site: "[URL [Broken] Developments in greenhouse]theory[/URL]

    Note particularly Zagoni's table "evolution of the greenhouse effect"
    (i.e. "climate sensitivity" to doubling CO2) where he calculates Miskolczi's 2007 theory as giving a climate sensitivity of 0.3 K increase compared to Hansen-Houghton 2001 of 1.2 K.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  10. Jun 28, 2008 #9
    Correction to my previous post:

    Su= 2*Eu Total gravitational potential energy is equal to two times the internal kinetic energy (Virial theorem).

    See Physics of the Planetary Greenhouse Effect, Miskolczi 2008 presentation slide 8, and 2007 sect 3.1 p 7. "To identify Eu as the total internal kinetic energy fo the atmosphere, the Eu=Su/2 equation must hold."
  11. Jul 16, 2008 #10
    I have also been studying Miskolczi's paper, and have gotten through about to page 10 before being stopped by a series of problems and apparent non sequitors, some of which have been mentioned by others..

    I have written this up and sent my comments to Dr. Miskolczi, who said he would be traveling until August and might be able to respond at that time. The main points can be summarized as follows:

    - The validity of the “classical” statement of the Virial Theorem (specifically, the ratio [total KE]/[total PE] = ½) seems very doubtful in this application. (There is a lot of calculation behind this simple statement.)

    - The relationships between the bulk quantities and the fluxes ([total KE] and EU, and [total PE] and the radiation flux) are not clear. What are the equations relating them?

    - It is not clear how to interpret Eq. (7) in terms of the total energy flux into a specific system. It seems to me that any argument based on conservation of energy must have such an interpretation.

    - It is not clear how the factor of (3/2) between SU and OLR jumps discontinuously to (1) as the strength of the radiation-molecule interaction vanishes.

    - I do not understand the derivation of Eq. (9) from Eq. (8).

    I hope he gets back to me.

    If anyone wants to see the gory details, I can provide them.
  12. Jul 19, 2008 #11


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    Re: Error on page 4

    Sorry, but your reasoning is flawed, on two points:

    1.) You confuse bulk average velocity with RMS molecular speed. "Wind speed" is the magnitude of the bulk-averaged velocities of a macroscopically large number of randomly moving molecules, and compared to the RMS speed, it is usually fairly small (on the order of a few meters per second), because the average of a large number of random values of random sign is usually much smaller than their standard deviation.

    However, the RMS speed of atmospheric molecules is in fact quite high (on the order of several hundred meters per second), because the RMS velocity of air molecules is on the order of the speed of sound. [For an "ideal gas," V_sound = sqrt(gamma/3) * V_RMS, where gamma, the ratio of specific heats, is order-of-magnitude unity for most gases --- and unsaturated air does behave like an "ideal gas" to good approximation]

    Since the Kinetic Energy in the Virial Theorem is related to the RMS speed of the constituents of an N-body system, not the bulk average of their velocities, the small characteristic magnitude of bulk wind speeds on Earth is therefore irrelevant to whether or not the Virial Theorem may be applied to estimate the sum total of the kinetic energies of all the molecules making up its atmosphere.

    2.) You falsely conflate "being in orbit" with "moving at circular velocity." According to Newton's Laws of Motion and Newton's Law of Gravitation, in between collisions, gas molecules are indeed "in orbit:" Specifically, they are moving along an arc of a highly eccentric elliptical orbit that intersects the surface of the Earth, just like a thrown ball. Since the arc of orbit is necessarily near apogee (since a velocity of a few hundred m/s is not sufficient to climb more than a few kilometers above the surface of the Earth, i.e., much much less than the radius of the earth), the gas molecules are moving at considerably less than circular velocity --- but they are nevertheless still "in orbit" in between collisions, just like a thrown ball or an incoming asteroid. They are just on orbits that would collide with the Surface of the Earth if they somehow managed to not collide with another air molecule first.

    There are indeed probably flaws in Miskolczi's application of the Virial Theorem, but your misconceptions about kinetic theory and orbital motion do not represent valid falsifiers of his hypothesis.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  13. Jul 20, 2008 #12

    I half agree with you:

    1) Kinetic Energy must include the thermal energy as well as the KE associated with the bulk motion.

    2) However, there is a problem in saying that the path of molecule is part of an orbit: The Virial Theorm is a time-average, so it depends on the concept that the orbit will be allowed to "do its thing" in the context of all the forces imposed upon it. Inter-molecular collisions don't screw this up, but collisions with the Earth prevent the molecules from ever reaching the low radius and high speed that a real orbit would allow. Taking that into account screws up the "classical" VT result. An extreme case that illustrates the point: Let the temperature = near zero. Then the KE is essentially zero, but the PE is essentially constant at the PE of the Earth's radius, because the gas molecules just sit on the surface of the Earth.
  14. Jul 20, 2008 #13


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    I'm sorry, but you appear to be conflating http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virial_theorem#Special_case_of_power-law_forces"

    In particular, you appear to falsely assume that the sum over forces in the Virial Theorem is only over the `external' forces acting on the particles. On the contrary, one must sum over ALL the forces acting on each particle --- including the intermolecular forces between the air molecules, as well as the intermolecular forces exerted on the air molecules when they strike the surface of the Earth.

    This latter point is one of the several points where Miskolczi goes wrong: He neglects the contribution from the intermolecular potential between air molecules, and he also fails to include a "hard core" potential to model the fact that no air molecule can be found at a location within the interior of the Earth. Neglecting the potential between air molecules is probably reasonable, since they are at a temperature well above the boiling point of liquid air, and they do spend most of their time very far away from each other compared to the range of the intermolecular force --- but neglecting the "hard core" representing the surface of the Earth is most definitely NOT valid!

    The Virial Theorem proper does still hold, even in this more complicated case where the the forces between the molecules and the forces exerted on them by the surface of the Earth are also included in the sum, just as the Virial Theorem requires (the Virial Theorem is, after all, a theorem!). But the ratio of the time-averaged kinetic energy to the time-averaged potential energy will no longer be -1/2 in Miskolczi's case, since this is a special result that only holds in the case of an untruncated coulomb or keplerian potential that has no "hard core;" however, for any other force law, this ratio will have a value different from the -1/2 that Miskolczi falsely assumes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  15. Jul 21, 2008 #14

    I think we are in "violent agreement":

    - I agree that the VT applies in its general form. However, in the calculation of r*F, the intermolecular forces can be reasonably modeled as collisions between point-like molecules, so that the two equal & opposite forces are applied at the same point r (the point of collision), so in the virial calculation, they cancel pairwise. The contribution from the gravitational pull to the Earth does NOT cancel, nor do the forces from bouncing off the Earth's surface. Thus, the (n = -1) result does NOT apply. (I call it the "classical result" because it is quoted so frequently without any discussion concerning the circumstances of applicability.)

    - If you want to be picky about the intermolecular collisions, I think that the net result will be that you need to take into account the van der Waals equation of state instead of the perfect-gas equation of state. I believe that the VT offers one path to derivation of the vdW equation. In my calculation of total KE and its relation to total PE, I used the perfect-gas law: I suspect that if calculated with both finite molecules & the vdW law, I would get essentially the same result.
  16. Jul 21, 2008 #15


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    Miskolczi's key error in the "Virial Theorem" portion of his argument is definitely that he forgot to include a "hard core" potential to represent the surface of the Earth. His error means that Miskolczi's assumption that 2<K> = -<V> is false.

    He also makes errors in his application of "Kirchoff's Law of Radiation" --- but the errors in the "Virial Theorem" portion of his argument are already sufficient to invalidate his paper.

    ...The one annoying thing is, in some respect, Miskolczi's bogus paper fits the observed data better than the Global Climate Model simulations do: Miskolczi predicts warming at the surface, and cooling at high altitudes, just as seen in the observed data --- whereas http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/suppl/Ch10/indiv_maps/html/CCSM3_10.7.html" [Broken] The GCM predictions get the wrong sign for tropical tropospheric "warming" (when in reality, cooling has been observed), and are 300% wrong regarding its magnitude. So clearly, there is something very wrong with the unphysical "parameterizations" used in the GCMs to replace the components where it is still computationally impossible to model the physics in detail, such as cloudiness, vertical convection, and aerosol effects, and those errors must have their strongest effects high in the tropical convergence zone --- where indeed, terrestrial convection and cloudiness happen to be most prevalent.

    Which is not to say that Miskolczi is in any way "right" --- only that the GCMs are clearly also falsified, too...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  17. Jul 21, 2008 #16

    - It's not completely clear that Miskolczi's predictions are really predictions: Someone pointed out that in one presentation, he described as an observation what in this paper he describes as a theoretical prediction.

    - I'm not terribly familiar with atmospheric temperature data, but I have heard of many problems with getting long-term trends out of them: Basically, the original instrumentation and procedures were originally intended for more short-term purposes, so a lot of head-scratching and clever sorting out of systematics is necessary. You might remember that for a decade, they had one set of trends for lower-tropospheric temperatures that was at odds with everything else: It was the "poster child" for the "global warming ain't happening" crowd. Then, around 2004, somebody found an algebra error in the data reduction procedure. When that was fixed, the discrepancy went away.
  18. Jul 21, 2008 #17


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    About the only "significance" I personally grant to Miskolczi's paper is that it suggests that if the atmosphere or climate has an additional integral invariant, one may generically expect that changes in one part of the atmosphere or climate will be compensated for by changes in other parts of the atmosphere or climate.

    A candidate for such an additional "invariant" does indeed exist, but it's not the Clausius Virial --- it's http://homepage.mac.com/bradmarston/Presentations/Kleidon.pdf" [Broken]

    http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~douglass/papers/Published%20JOC1651.pdf" [Broken] are using observational data from groups within the Global Climate Modeling community themselves --- so if a mistake was made, it was made by the GCM people themselves.

    Interestingly, data indicating a contradiction between observation and prediction were in fact present in the IPCC AR4 itself, but were presented in such an obscure way that their significance was not at all obvious, and weasel-words dismissing the importance of said contradiction were inserted into the report. For details, see section 2.6 of http://ross.mckitrick.googlepages.com/McKitrick.final.pdf" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  19. Jul 21, 2008 #18

    - Yes, well the existence of such an integral invariant must be proven or at least motivated, not just claimed.

    - I am not convinced by McKitrick's arguments. I was heavily involved in a discussion on Parker's work on the UHI effect at ClimateAudit (a site managed by McIntyre, a close collaborator of McKitrick's), and I think Parker's disproof of the hypothesis that the global-warming signal could be simply an artifact of growing industrialization is pretty good. Having also read carefully the argumentation on the Mann hockey stick in the Wegener report and the following NAS report, I don't find McKitrick's arguments to the point: Mann made some errors, but his basic point is correct, and even the skeptics have moved away from position that "GW is not happening" to "GW is not due to humans" or even farther to "GW is not going to be such a big problem after all". The question of the hockey stick is really outdated: like wondering if there are other possible interpretations of the Michelson-Morley experiment that differ from Einstein's special relativity. Who cares? The theory hangs together pretty well with the rest of physics (better than any other proposal), and fits together with the data as well as can be expected (still better than any other COHERENT proposal). And it's a lot easier to understand than quantum mechanics, which nobody is really questioning.

    It's time for those who doubt the plausibility of AGW to find a better explanation, or stop complaining about computer models. Miskolczi's paper at least attempts an explanation - although I find serious holes in it.
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