Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

22 June 2017

Create a Public Fear so Government Can Regulate and Tax More

Why has the absolutely essential carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which is required by all plants and therefore by all animal life, been declared a pollutant by our own EPA on the basis of some very poorly thought-out computer models?  Why have absurdly low concentrations of other chemicals, despite being hundreds to hundreds of thousands of times below concentrations shown to cause harm, been declared hazards requiring ever more regulations?  Why are x-ray sources enclosed in absolutely safe systems unnecessarily regulated by governments? These short video clips of a British TV show posted by Joanne Nova explain it all:

http://joannenova.com.au/2017/06/if-only-yes-prime-minister-re-elected-had-done-the-global-warming/

Water and many ingredients in common vitamin pills are deadly hazards at anywhere from a few tens to a few hundred times what people normally ingest of these chemicals.  One aspirin may be good, but 10 are never good.  The Alar scare of a few years ago was based on doses of Alar in mice, whose equivalent would have required a person to drink about 180,000 gallons of apple juice in a short period of time.  The linear projection of harmful consequences is nonsense, yet it is widely used in government and the EPA specifically to create fear and to justify more controls.

These fears and controls reduce our options, increase expenses greatly, and cut off many advances in technology.  They lower our standard of living now and by denying the compounding of yearly advances and productivity over decades, they hugely lower the standard of living in the latter years of most people's lives and through the lives of our children and grandchildren.  This over-regulation is a very serious matter.

21 June 2017

EPA's suspect science by John Rafuse

Paul Driessen (CFACT) sent me the following article with this statement and request:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been roundly criticized in recent years for numerous errors of omission and commission, for secret email accounts designed to hide questionable official dealings and activities, and for being increasingly dictatorial in implementing policies that are often rooted in highly “liberal” interpretations of federal laws and scientific research. What many people don’t realize is that problems like these have plagued the agency since its inception in 1970.

Energy and environmental consultant John Rafuse presents some of the unsavory details in this fascinating article. Thank you for posting it, quoting from it, and forwarding it to your friends and colleagues.

EPA’s suspect science  
Its practices have defiled scientific integrity, but proposed corrections bring shock and defiance.
John Rafuse
President Trump’s budget guidance sought to cut $1.6 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s $8.1 billion expectation. Shrieks of looming Armageddon prompted Congress to fund EPA in full until September 2017, when the battle will be joined again.
Then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said he would prioritize Superfund cleanups based on toxicity, health-impact and other factors. The ensuing caterwauling suggested that EPA had no priorities since Bill Ruckelshaus (EPA’s first administrator, 1970-1975). But consider some standard EPA practices:    
1. EPA advocates claim the US is unhealthy and dirty. They won’t admit that US water quality has improved dramatically since 1970. They deny that factories, cars and power plants are far more efficient and clean. They ignore that, while most nations continue to cut down forest habitats for fuel, the Lower 48 states have more forest coverage than when the Pilgrims landed in 1620.
They never mention that the US did not sign the 1992 Kyoto Accord, nor that it is the only nation to meet its Kyoto targets. Is it ignorance? malignance? eco-professional propaganda? Yes, yes, and yes.
The United States is one of the cleanest, healthiest nations on earth. Our progress will continue because we rejected the Paris Accord and thus will not cripple our economy, jobs or environmental progress. Other nations must work hard to catch us. They may work hard, but they won’t catch up, and they’ll blame us.     
2. Eco-militants at EPA tricked the Supreme Court into letting it label plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide a pollutant. Meanwhile, professional enviros demand “zero tolerance” for pollutants – because they claim “any dose kills.”
However, CO2 is plant fertilizer, the trace gas that makes plant and animal life possible on our planet. Atmospheric CO2 is just 400 parts per million (ppm), or 0.04% of the air we breathe, compared to 21% oxygen and almost 1% argon.  Classrooms average 1,000 to 2,000 ppm; US nuclear submarines average 5,000 to 8,000ppm. We inhale 400 ppm and exhale 40,000 to 50,000 ppm.
That means 100 to 125 times the “fatal dose” of a “zero tolerance pollutant” is always in our lungs.  We don’t die, because CO2 is not a pollutant and because real scientists know that dosage, not microscopic presence, is the key.
EPA keeps cheating, but dosage always determines poisonous impact. In fact, EPA experiments illegally exposed human test subjects to 10 and even 30 times the levels of fine soot particles that EPA claims are lethal. No one got sick or died, and yet EPA continues its “standards” and lies.
3. DDT saved millions in World War II from death by typhus. By 1970 DDT had helped wipe out malaria in 99 countries, including the USA. Administrator Ruckelshaus appointed a scientific committee to examine claims that the pesticide caused cancer and other problems. The experts said it did not, because dosage determines effect.
Ruckelshaus ignored them, never attended a minute of their hearings, never read a page of their extensive report. He simply banned DDT in 1972.  He later said he had a “political problem” due to Rachel Carson’s misinformed book Silent Spring and pressure from the Environmental Defense Fund, and he needed to “fix it.”
Other nations followed suit, banning DDT. Since 1972, some 40 million children and parents have needlessly died from malaria. Today DDT is partially reinstated, but P.A. Offit, Pandora’s Lab, Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong, quotes Michael Crichton, MD: “Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in twentieth century America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die, and we didn’t give a damn.” 
4. EPA knowingly relies on fake science. Data from point-source “pollution” are used to “project” thousands of asthma cases and cancer deaths. EPA “validates” the analyses by “assuming” that each projected death and illness happened to someone who had spent every second of a 70-year life at the point-source – within 6 feet of the measurement point. But Newton’s Law of Inverse Squares proves that dosage wanes by the inverse square of the distance; 5 units of distance cuts dosage impact to 1/25 what it was at its source. At 10 units, the impact is 1/100th.  EPA’s analysis is a dishonest, purposeful scam.
The 70-year/6-foot/no-movement assumption makes a joke of all its calculations and projections. EPA has relied on that scam for decades to “prove” need for a non-scientific regulatory remedy for every newly invented threat. 
5. EPA colludes with professional environmentalists to “fix” “inadequate” draft regulations. EPA then “settles” cases, pays co-conspirators’ fees with taxpayer funds and wins excessive regulatory powers it sought from the beginning. Parties who oppose the decision never get a day in court, and the “sue-and-settle” cases ensure high costs but provide no health or environmental benefits.
6. EPA covers up crimes. As the auto industry cratered since 2000, Flint, Michigan has lost 25,000 citizens and become poorer and more minority. The 2010 Census Report concluded that 42% of the population was in a “level of poverty and health … not comparable to other geographic levels of these estimates.” Yet EPA (and state and local authorities) did nothing to protect them. What happened?
The 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act delegated compliance to EPA, which typically approves a State Compliance Plan, re-delegates authority, and oversees State and local enforcement. Flint’s drinking water has been lead-poisoned for three years – ever since state and local officials switched water sources to save money with no hearings, approvals or notifications to EPA or affected citizens.
Drinking, tasting and smelling nauseating newly-brown water alerted residents to potential dangers. An EPA expert tested the water in 2014 and wrote repeated warnings to Agency officials. A February 2015 Detroit News report said EPA’s Regional Administrator knew the facts but claimed her “hands were tied.”
Then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy forbade the staff expert from meeting, writing or speaking about the issue, and reassigned him.  Thus the two most senior and directly responsible EPA officials “washed their hands” of the problem.
But Flint Medical Center tested for lead in the water and sounded the alarm. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added powerful voices. Flint’s mayor and Michigan’s governor took heat until the state’s attorney general initially charged five Flint and Michigan officials with wrongful issuance of permits, and tampering, altering and falsifying evidence. That has now expanded to more than 50 criminal charges against 15 state officials; including one of involuntary manslaughter (an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease took 12 lives).   
The two “clean-handed” EPA officials kept mum until June 12, 2016, when Gina McCarthy wrote to Michigan’s governor and Flint’s mayor. Citing “major challenges” and her “long-term” clean water goal, she blamed state and local staffs and old and (newly) over-large piping. She said EPA had no money to help. Will Michigan’s AG indict EPA officials involved in the EPA cover-ups?  That would be logical, but don’t bet on it. 
McCarthy’s was a nasty letter from a culpable official. Later in 2016, Congress voted $110 million to repair Flint’s drinking water, no thanks to EPA. The work will go on for years as Flint residents get bottled water from EPA and the state. 
President Trump’s budget guidance exposed decades-old EPA abuses. The evidence exposes EPA’s lack of mission, commitment and integrity. If EPA would use honest, evidence-based science to protect the nation’s health, it would be a welcome and long overdue change – perhaps a miracle. What’s your bet?

Independent consultant John Rafuse worked for government agencies, a think-tank and an international oil and gas company on energy, trade, environmental, regulatory and national security issues.    

19 June 2017

Water Vapor and Gravity Act Together to Warm the Earth

It is commonly said that greenhouse gases cause the Earth's surface temperature to be 33K warmer than it would be without these infrared-active gases.  This is based on the idea that the total solar insolation presently absorbed by the Earth, both surface and atmosphere, would all be emitted from the surface as thermal radiation and emitted directly to space if there were no greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law for thermal radiation, the surface temperature is then said to be 255 K.  No correction is made for the fact that without greenhouse gases, the solar radiation lost to space by reflection would be less.  There is no correction either for the fact that most of the solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere would be absorbed by the surface instead.  Let us make these corrections here to derive a more realistic total greenhouse gas effect as a starting point for understanding how water vapor and gravity together cause the Earth to be as warm as it is.

Reference is made to two NASA Earth Energy Budget diagrams to determine the reflections from the atmosphere, clouds, and the surface:




Despite the long-standing claim that the science is settled, it is interesting to note that these two NASA energy budgets, representing the settled science as they do, do not agree.

The first one says the sum of the solar radiation reflected by the atmosphere and clouds is 23%, while the second one says that sum is 26%.  The first one says the surface reflection is 7%, while the second one says it is 4%.  The first one says that 48% of the incoming solar radiation is absorbed by the surface, while the second one says that 51% is absorbed.  The first NASA energy budget says that 23% of the solar radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere and does not separate out the percentage absorbed by clouds.  The second energy budget says the sum of the incoming solar absorbed by the atmosphere and clouds is 19%.  Let us bear these differences in mind as we look at the following NASA Earth Energy Budget that states that the Earth is warming due to 0.6 W/m2 , which is only 0.18% of the incoming solar radiation.  With several percentage differences in the long settled science, it is fascinating that NASA can peer through the uncertainties to see a warming Earth due to only 0.18% of the solar radiation.  Among other things, NASA makes the claim that this 0.18% is not due to changing solar output.



In the third NASA energy budget, the solar radiation reflected by clouds and atmosphere is 22.6% and that reflected from the surface is 6.7%, in close agreement with the first energy budget.  Now the problem is that a portion of the reflection from the atmosphere is due to reflection off nitrogen and oxygen molecules.  Some is also due to reflection off haze due to water vapor.  To estimate the added solar insolation absorbed by the surface when greenhouse gases are eliminated from the atmosphere, it is necessary to know the reflection from haze, which would not exist but for water vapor.  There is no certain value for the added solar radiation incident on the surface and no agreement among the three diagrams on the fraction of that which will be reflected.  Such is the settled science.  I will work with an estimate that 22% of the top of the atmosphere solar radiation is added to that incident on the surface in the case of no greenhouse gases.  I will then assume that of the solar radiation incident on the surface, 12.3% is reflected.  This value is from the third diagram where 22.9/(22.9 + 163.3) = 0.123.

22% of 340.4 W/m2 is 74.9 W/m2 , which is all but 2.1 W/m2 of the 77.0 W/m2 reflected into space from the atmosphere in the third diagram.  The 77.1 W/m2 adsorbed by the atmosphere in that diagram does not happen with no greenhouse gases either. Consequently, the solar radiation incident on the surface is increased to 338.3 W/m2 .  Of this, 12.3% is reflected, so 296.7 W/m2 is adsorbed by the surface.  This is 133.4 W/m2 more than the 163.3 W/m2 adsorbed by the surface in the third NASA Earth energy budget and 56.8 W/m2  more than is now absorbed by both the atmosphere and the surface.  This is no small addition to the absorbed energy, though proponents of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis frequently claim that greenhouse gases have little effect on adsorbed solar radiation.  Some will say that I have no business removing the reflection from clouds, but I cannot understand how one can have clouds without the most important greenhouse gas of all, namely water vapor.

Applying the Stefan-Boltzmann equation we have for the surface temperature with no greenhouse gases:

P (W/m2) = 296.7 W/m2 = σ T(5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) T4, so T= 269.0 K,

which is only 19.0K less than 288.0 K, not the usually quoted 33K less.  The original greenhouse effect is only 19.0/33.0 = 0.576 times the scale we are usually told it is.  This is one of the means by which it is exaggerated in the settled science.

The role of water vapor is huge.  Gravity creates a gradient in atmospheric gas molecule kinetic energies and therefore in their temperature.  This gravity-induced temperature gradient will not have a large effect on the surface temperature unless there is a large atmospheric emission of energy to space from a substantial altitude.  Water vapor is the primary provider of both the required energy at substantial altitudes in the atmosphere.  It helps that the concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere falls off rapidly in the upper troposphere, so that water vapor with its relatively wide range of radiating frequencies can readily radiate most of the Earth's adsorbed solar radiation from the upper troposphere into space.

Water vapor critically reduces the direct emission of surface emitted thermal radiation to space.  In summary, it does this in three key ways:

  • Water vapor absorbs most of the two-thirds of the surface thermal emission of infrared radiation that is absorbed in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and the other infrared-active gases also participate in this function as minor partners.
  • The creation of water vapor reduces the surface emission of infrared radiation at the surface as a competing surface cooling mechanism by soaking up heat in the process of water evaporation.  This is a result of energy conservation.  Energy that goes into evaporating water cannot also go into photon emission. Carbon dioxide plays no role in this mechanism at all.
  • The condensation of water vapor at substantial altitudes in the troposphere provides a large store of energy to be radiated from the upper troposphere into space.  There is no corresponding role for carbon dioxide.

The fact of the large emission of radiation by infrared-active molecules at the top of the troposphere also allows thermals to come into play as a means of reducing surface radiation emission and as a feed of energy to the upper troposphere from whence it can be radiated into space.  It is then this radiation to space from the upper troposphere that determines the temperature of the upper troposphere.  This in turn allows the gravitational temperature gradient to increase the surface temperature relative to the temperature of the upper troposphere from which most of the Earth's thermal radiation into space is emitted.

Without greenhouse gases, the gravity-induced temperature gradient still exists, but the temperature anchor has to be the Earth's surface since it is the only possible source for thermal radiation to space.  The infrared-active gases do provide substantial warming of the Earth's surface, but contrary to the usual claim that it is due simply to absorbing surface emitted thermal infrared in the atmosphere, it is really due to all three of the bulleted mechanisms above.  Only water vapor plays a role in two of the three critical mechanisms and it is very dominant in the remaining mechanism. When this is understood, it is clear that water vapor is a much more dominant actor in the warming of the Earth than is recognized in the general settled science viewpoint.  When only the first bulleted mechanism is said to be the reason for a warmer Earth, carbon dioxide seems to play a bigger role than it really does.

The partnership of water vapor with the temperature gradient in the atmosphere due to gravity provides us with a much warmer Earth.  This partnership is completely lost in the so-called settled science.  To learn more about the gravity induced temperature gradient in the troposphere, see mgh, Not Just Greenhouse Gases, Provides a Warm Earth.  When the water vapor and gravity partnership is properly understood, the very minor role of carbon dioxide is better understood.  When that is understood, the wrongheadedness of catastrophic man-made global warming is understood.

15 June 2017

Political Discord and Anger Rule When Government is Too Big

With great frequency, we are told that the extent of the political discord in America today is too great and we must tone it down.  This is impossible because we have allowed government too much power. A government with the power of our federal government, and for that matter with the extensive powers of our state and local governments, just has too many ways to do harm to most of us and to rob and punish us for the benefit of those groups who control the power of those governments.  It is the excessive power and its inevitable use to harm most of us, and to allow profit to others at our expense, that calls forth great passions about politics.

Once government exceeds the limits of its legitimate function in protecting the rights of the individual to life, liberty, property, self-ownership, and the pursuit of happiness with broad freedoms of conscience and association, government will necessarily do harm to some even if it tries to do the greatest good for the greatest number.  That is not the proper function of government.  People should act for their own good in the private sector, taking full advantage of their protected individual rights to do so.  It is not for legitimate government to do harm to anyone.  Indeed, the wonderful thing about the private sector is that it in no way requires that harm be done to anyone.

Yes, some people will not fare as well as others in the private sector.  But, at least they have the opportunity to choose their own values in the private sector and to pursue those self-chosen values. When governments have grown beyond their individual rights protection functions, they chose the values that government will pursue and they drag us individuals along whether we would choose those values or not.  The government chooses values and imposes values on all of us by force.  This use of force to pursue its ends is the essence of government.  It is fundamentally why government must have very limited purposes and powers to pursue those purposes.  The Framers of the Constitution recognized this and the people who ratified the Constitution did too.

We have perverted that Constitution for highly limited and principled government with claims that it allows government to do anything in a law that includes taxes because it has the power to tax. Hogwash.  It has the power to tax only to support the very limited powers enumerated in the Constitution.  We have perverted the Constitution by claiming government has the power to regulate anything and everything that involves or could in any way affect interstate trade.  We have perverted the Constitution by ignoring the broad 9th Amendment that recognizes that individuals have rights not enumerated in the Constitution.  We have allowed the 10th Amendment to be weakened.  We have reduced the ability of the states to exert influence in Washington, DC by removing their power to appoint Senators to the Senate to represent the interests of the states.  We have reduced the representation of the People in the House of Representatives by allowing massive and ridiculous gerrymandering of Congressional Districts.

We have established government-dominated and controlled educational institutions with a serious conflict-of-interest problem.  These government-controlled institutions have seen to it that young Americans are unfamiliar with their individual rights and with the very limited role of legitimate governments.  They further the discord and distrust in order to further increase the powers of government.  The legislative law-creation function has also been substantially passed to regulatory agencies with little oversight by the People's representatives in Congress.  As a result about 80,000 pages of new regulations are produced each year.  No one knows how many federal laws and regulations there are.  In short, we have removed most of the limits on government power.

Consequently, it has become a matter of life and death whether one's personal interests are under attack by government.  Or, one might be in a particular band of robbers who stand to make out like bandits if only that band can control the levers of power.  The individual who stands up and defends his individual rights stands literally to be murdered as the governments exert their power.  Few people choose to suffer immolation at the hands of a brutal government eager to enforce its laws and regulations by using whatever force it may take.  But, though one may not present oneself for such immolation at the hands of overwhelming force, this does not mean that one is not suffering passionately one's subserviance.

Powerful governments with wily special interest groups working constantly to gain control over some function or other of said governments, understandably causes many citizens, who either do not have the time or who lack the mental power to understand what they are doing, to become very suspicious. Many begin to imagine that forces are arrayed against them that may not in fact be attempting to harm them.  The fact that many factions are taking advantage of the People in general, will cause many of the People to imagine the worst of motives for many who may only be trying to protect themselves from harmful government force.  Both rational and irrational fears will become common. This is a necessary result of governments that pursue the idea of doing the greatest good for the greatest number, which is made even worse by the fact that such governments only succeed in generating a general warfare among special interest groups for power at the cost of our general Welfare.

When the Framers of the Constitution and the People who ratified it, established a new government under that Constitution, they wisely opened it with:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The document that followed described a highly limited government and the main opposition to the adoption of the Constitution was by those who believed that that government was too powerful, not too weak.  It was a highly limited government that the People looked to to provide for Justice, domestic Tranquility, the promotion of the general Welfare, and the Blessings of Liberty.

We have failed their vision.  We have abandoned the principles of legitimate and good government which they perceived.  We are paying for that with governments that create injustices, stir up passions that lead to violence and discord, that harm many in the interests of factions too politically savvy, and deprive us of many of our Liberties.

It is no wonder that we have little domestic Tranquility under these conditions.  Who controls the levers of government has become a matter of life and death.  The only way to escape this sad state of affairs is to return to a highly principled and limited ideal of government.  Government should first do no harm to anyone.  It should promote our general Welfare and domestic Tranquility by simply protecting our individual rights and leaving us free to manage our own lives.

10 June 2017

The Settled Science of Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming Violates the Laws of Physics

President Trump has just recently announced that the U.S. will not participate in the Paris Climate Agreement.  He implied that he regarded it as a bad deal for the U.S. economy, while not necessarily disputing its premise that man’s use of fossil fuels was going to cause a disastrous deterioration of the Earth’s climate.  Only a minority of Americans seriously claim that the science behind the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis is wrong.  Most of mankind has been seriously misinformed on this critically important topic.

Almost all of the debate about the science is about whether the number of hurricanes of late; the world area under drought conditions; the area of melting ice somewhere in the arctic, Antarctica, or at the site of some glacier in the mountains is greater or reduced recently; the temperature of the ocean surface or at land stations near population centers has increased; or whether some area of the ocean has an increasing acidity or not.   Given the complexity of all the factors that might be linked to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and their cycles over decades and more, this debate could easily go on for decades with no certain conclusion.  The possible symptoms of man-made global warming are too much affected by weather, cycles in solar energy output, ocean heat cycles, and high altitude wind currents to clearly see the underlying long-term climate equilibrium trends.

Meanwhile, the alarmists will go on claiming that the Precautionary Principle requires us to make radical cut-backs in our use of carbon-based fuels, no matter the consequences in the cost of energy and its availability for the poor and most everyone else, on jobs, and on economic growth.  Preventing an imagined disaster decades into the future takes precedence over the well-being of billions of humans in the meantime in the eyes of the many advocates of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis.

This long, drawn out debate is unnecessary.  Worrying about a future climate catastrophe has no basis in the physics of the climate.  It turns out that the so-called settled science has internal flaws in the physics that constitutes its very most fundamental basis.  The advocates of the global warming by carbon dioxide hypothesis have told us that the science is settled. They make some very specific claims about how so-called greenhouse gases cause the present temperatures of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere to be warm as a part of what they claim to be the settled science.  Consequently, we can challenge the physics they claim to be behind the present conditions that control the Earth’s basic climate.  We do not even need to wait to see if their catastrophic man-made (anthropogenic) global warming hypothesis makes correct predictions for the future.  In challenging the physics of their theory, we may well learn more about what the effect of additional carbon dioxide on the climate in the future will be.  In any case, if their reasoning for the present temperatures of the surface and atmosphere is substantially wrong and in violation of fundamental laws of physics, then any further predictions they may make have no basis in science.  If they do not understand the present, they certainly do not understand the future.

Let me first lay out what their basic argument for how infrared-active (so-called greenhouse) gases cause the Earth to be much warmer than it would be without them.  Having done so, I will proceed to demolish their argument by showing the many ways in which it defies well-known physics principles, none of which the scientific advocates of the strong greenhouse effect will actually deny are true principles of science.  In fact, they make a pretense of using these same principles of science themselves.

Let us begin with an examination of the Earth Energy Budget NASA currently has on its website to explain the effect of infrared-active gases in warming the Earth.  Because this and many similar Earth energy budgets have been a key part of the claimed science of anthropogenic global warming by infrared-active gases for many years now and because they are adamant in claiming that the science is settled, then any violations of scientific principles in this NASA Earth Energy Budget invalidate the complete argument for catastrophic man-made global warming.

When faced with a complex scientific problem, a good scientist should have the wisdom to first establish whatever limits he can on what the range of physically possible solutions might be by seeing if he can establish lower or upper bounds for the values of a property he wishes to measure or calculate.  He will learn something about the essence of the complex problem in the process and he will protect himself from becoming an advocate for a physically impossible solution to the problem.  This has the real benefit of protecting him from making ridiculous conclusions.



According to this energy budget, the total photon energy flux absorbed by the entire Earth system is the incoming solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere plus that absorbed by the surface, which is

P (solar absorbed) = (77.1 + 163.3) W/m2 = 240.4 W/m2

Watts are Joules/second, or the rate at which energy flows.  This 240.4 W/m2 is the largest possible photon energy supply that the surface might ever be able to absorb.  It is an upper limit, since nothing on the Earth can add to the energy introduced into the Earth system from the solar radiation, save a possible very minor contribution of heat leakage from the hot interior of the Earth, which they do not consider in their energy budget.  This upper limit is actually further reduced by the amount of any energy absorbed by the atmosphere which is directly emitted as radiation into space, which is the case for sure of much of the 77.1 W/m2 absorbed from sunlight in the atmosphere.  This upper limit is a simple matter of conservation of energy.

Now we can immediately see that this energy budget claims that there is a miraculous supply of energy-bearing photons absorbed by the surface with a power of

P (surface absorbed) = (163.3 + 340.3) W/m2 = 503.6 W/m2

Where does this addition energy in the form of photons come from?  According to the settled science, this is not additional energy because the total energy flowing out of the Earth system at the top of the atmosphere is the maximum power of the first equation minus the net absorbed heat (0.6 W/m2 ) in the surface of a slowly warming Earth.  According to them, one can add as many photons as one wishes with as much energy as one wishes within the Earth system of atmosphere and surface, so long as enough of those photons have negative energy to cancel out the positive energy of other photons.

Of course, they never say it this way because there is no such thing as positive and negative energy photons.  The reality is that there are only positive energy photons and this settled theory has created a huge supply of energy carried by photons in violation of the Law of Conservation of Energy.  Somehow, greenhouse gases are supposed to have created a supply of photons with an additional energy flow rate of (503.6 – 240.4) W/m2 = 263.2 W/m2  compared the maximum possible energy in the form of photons, which is even more energy than was absorbed in the entire Earth system from the sun!

If the total rate of energy into the Earth system is 240.4 W/m2, this is the highest rate at which energy might leave the surface.  However, since the energy budget provides for a net absorption, thermals losses, and water evaporation, the largest possible flux of energy carried by photons leaving the surface on invoking the Law of Conservation of Energy is

P (photon energy flux leaving surface) = (240.4 -0.6 – 18.4 – 86.4) W/m2 = 135.0 W/m2

But having no regard for the Conservation of Energy, the settled science insists that photons carrying energy at the rate of 398.2 W/m2 are leaving the surface.  Somehow photons carrying energy at a rate of (398.2 – 135.0) W/m2 = 293.2 W/m2 have materialized out of nowhere through the miracle of greenhouse gases.  The photon flux leaving the surface is 398.2 / 135.0 = 2.95 times the theoretical upper limit.  Well, never let mere physics stop you from making whatever argument you might think will be good for the maintenance of the environment or the justification to propagate more governmental controls and taxes.

The ridiculous physics does not stop with these violations of the Conservation of Energy.  When once one has deviated so far from physical reality, it is necessary to violate still more well-known physics.  I will now apply a similar examination of physical limits to the issues of the amount of infrared radiation from the surface that is absorbed by the atmosphere and the amount of radiation from the atmosphere which is absorbed by the surface.

There is a well-known law of thermal radiation called the Stefan-Boltzmann Law which says that the power per unit area of thermal radiation from a black body radiator is

P (W/m2) = σ T4,

which is the maximum power that can be radiated by a black body when it has no competing power loss mechanisms to radiative cooling and is surrounded by vacuum at absolute zero temperature, or 0 K.  σ = 5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2 K4 and T is the absolute temperature in Kelvin, represented by K.  Of course, real materials usually radiate less power than this and do so to an environment which is not at 0 K, though deep space is at least close to that temperature.

The power that a cooler black body at Tc absorbs from a warmer black body radiator at Tw is

P (absorbed, W/m2) = σ ( Tw4 – Tc4 )

This power is greater than that which can be gained by a real material which is not a black body material from warmer real material which is more like a black body material.  Consequently, we will be using this to establish the upper limits of the transfer of heat by thermal radiation from the warmer Earth surface to the cooler atmosphere.

Returning to the NASA Earth Energy Budget, the Earth’s surface is shown to deposit 358.2 W/m2 of energy flux into the atmosphere out of the 398.2 W/m2 that it emits.  This surface emission of thermal infrared radiation from a black body behaving as though it were surrounded by 0 K vacuum implies a surface temperature of

P = 398.2 W/m2 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) T4, so T= 289.5 K,

Which is the highest average surface temperature for the Earth that I have ever seen claimed.  The usual range of temperatures claimed in the settled science is 287.5 to 288.5 K.

As I have done in some of the recent articles I have written, we will now calculate the temperature of a black body spherical shell surrounding the Earth which would be capable of absorbing the 358.2 W/m2 said to be absorbed from the surface thermal radiation by the atmosphere.  This is

P (absorbed, W/m2) = 358.2 W/m2 = σ ( Tw4 – Tc4 ) =
(5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) [(289.5 K)4 – Tc4], so Tc = 163.0 K

As I have previously pointed out, there is no part of the Earth’s atmosphere with a temperature as low as 163.0 K.  Insofar as infra-red absorbing gases in the atmosphere fall short of absorbing all of the infrared radiation from the Earth’s surface as efficiently as a black body absorber would, the required temperature of the absorbing gas molecules would have to be lower yet.  In fact, since they simply cannot absorb some of the infrared radiation frequencies or wavelengths from the surface at all, even if the so-called greenhouse gas were at zero Kelvin, absolute zero temperature, those greenhouse gases could not absorb as much energy flux as a black body absorber can at 163K.

Of course water vapor tends to condense in the atmosphere when it reaches just 273.15 K (0C), so there is a rapid decrease in the water vapor concentration even in the upper troposphere.  However, at pressures below 5.1 atmospheres carbon dioxide does not liquefy, let alone solidify.  In fact, the coldest part of the Earth’s atmosphere, the mesopause, at 86 km to 90 km has a minimum temperature of about 187 K because carbon dioxide radiates heat to space so efficiently from that super low density layer of the atmosphere.  Carbon dioxide is generally an effective coolant in the atmosphere above the altitude of water vapor condensation.  This is just one of many ways that CO2 acts to cool the Earth.

So let us examine the spectrum of energies of the photons that make up the thermal radiation from the Earth’s surface modeled as a black body radiator in vacuum and surrounded by nothing but space at absolute zero temperature.  Because we are interested in the flux of energy carried away from this hypothetical surface, which is exactly the surface assumed real in the settled science of the NASA Earth Energy Budget, I will provide the spectrum of radiated energy flux versus the radiated photon energy E = h ν, where h is Planck’s constant equal to 6.625 x 10-34 Joule-sec and ν is the frequency per second.

Because the energy of each radiated photon is very small, I will plot the energy scale in eV, a unit of energy equal to 1.602 x 10-19 Joules.  One Joule/second is a Watt.  This plot of power in W/m2 is for a more commonly accepted Earth average surface temperature of 288 K.  The area under the power output curve is the total power output due to the radiation from a black body radiator at 288 K, which is 390.06 W/m2.

Below the power output of the black body model of the Earth’s surface is a plot showing the infrared absorption spectra of water vapor and carbon dioxide taken in my laboratory using my FTIR infrared spectrometer.  This spectrometer does not produce an infrared beam with adequate intensity to make absorption measurements below an energy of 0.05 eV, so the absorption spectra start there and extend to about 0.9 eV for generally useful data.  The carbon dioxide concentration was several times that of the normal atmosphere and the water vapor was above 50% RH measured against an instrumental background spectrum made at about 25% RH. 





The important point here is not one of the relative degree of absorption of water vapor compared to carbon dioxide.  The critical point here is that from about 0.09 to 0.155 eV there is no absorption by either water vapor or carbon dioxide.  A good fraction of the infrared radiation emitted by the black body modeled surface of the Earth lies in this range, which is called the atmospheric window.  This portion of the power spectrum in which no absorption takes place is about 35.5% of the power radiated from the black body modeled Earth surface.  This is about 138.5 W/m2 which should be emitted to space if the Earth’s surface really radiated as a black body radiator as the settled science says it does.  Any incomplete absorption of the surface radiation at other energies would have to be added to this.

So how is it that the NASA Earth Energy Budget says that only 40.1 W/m2 is emitted from the surface into space?  If a minimum of what they say is emitted from the surface and will not be absorbed by water vapor or carbon dioxide is 138.5 W/m2, then the power they claim is emitted to space is only 29% of that minimum.  NASA says only 10.1% of the surface emitted radiation is emitted to space through the atmospheric window.  This sure would make the use of infrared sensors a lot more difficult than it is.  Fortunately, our military infrared sensor designers know that the NASA story on the atmospheric window is wrong.  In fact, many scientists in NASA surely know this is wrong, except for those steeped in Climate Change funding for their work there.  About half of the NASA budget recently has been directed at Climate Change investigations, so NASA has a huge incentive to hype climate alarmism.


The bottom line is that for the 358.2 W/m2 to be absorbed in the atmosphere out of the 398.2 W/m2 that NASA says is emitted from the surface, the absorber needs to be a black body absorber located about 6 Earth orbit radii from the sun.  That is how far one has to go out into our solar system to find sufficiently cold space to serve as the absorbing black body sphere to absorb so much radiation.  This is in no way a part of the Earth’s atmosphere and energy dumped into space cannot become significant back radiation to constitute a good part of the 340.3 W/m2 that NASA is claiming is back radiation from the atmosphere to the surface.  Of course we already know that 340.3 W/m2 of back radiation is impossible because there is only 240.4 W/m2 of power entering the entire Earth system.  But if you are willing to violate the Conservation of Energy, it is hardly surprising that you are driven to violate the Stefan-Boltzmann Law of thermal radiation.  One violation of reality inevitably leads to numerous other violations of reality.

We can also ask what the temperature of the black body radiator would have to be to generate the 340.3 W/m2 of back radiation that NASA is claiming in the settled science occurs.  We have

P = 340.3 W/m2 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) T4, so T= 278.3 K,

which in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere of 1976 means this radiation could originate from a black body sphere at an altitude of about 1500 meters.  Now we have learned that the 398.2 W/m2 emitted from the surface could not contribute 358.2 W/m2 to the atmosphere at an altitude of 1500 m.  Let us calculate about how much it could deposit into the atmosphere if it were a black body absorber.  This number will of course be a generous upper limit.  In fact, we could say the upper limit will be only 64.5% of this taking into account our measurement of the minimum power lost through the atmospheric window.

The maximum black body absorbed power at 278.3 K in the atmosphere from the surface would then be:

P = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) [(289.5K)4 - (278.3K)4] = 58.1 W/m2,

where I have used the NASA Earth average surface temperature of 289.5 K.  If we then subtract from this the minimal fraction lost through the atmospheric window, which is 35.5%, the power at about 1500 m altitude absorbed from the surface is only 37.5 W/m2.

Now let us determine an upper limit for the amount of power available in the atmosphere at 1500 m altitude.  We clearly have less than

77.1 W/m2 total atmospheric absorption from the sun, a large over-estimate
18.4 W/m2 in thermals
86.4 W/m2 in latent heat due to water condensation (much of which happens well above 1500 m altitude
37.5 W/m2 absorbed from the surface
Total Upper Limit Power Available in Atmosphere near 1500 m altitude = 219.4 W/m2

Now converting this upper limit power into radiation properly would mean that it would flow from warmer air to cooler air and therefore would almost all be transported upward through the atmosphere.  But in the NASA mindset, one fallaciously a part of the settled science viewpoint, thermal radiation is isotropic.  If one accepts that viewpoint, then only half of this upper limit of 219.4 W/m2 could become back radiation to the surface.  That value of half is then 109.7 W/m2.  Any claim of back radiation in excess of this amount is clearly absurd.  So, the NASA claim of 340.3 W/m2 of back radiation to the surface is at least (a lower bound) 3.1 times absurd.  In fact, any real back radiation is many times smaller than 109.7 W/m2.

Having discovered so many ways in which the NASA Earth Energy Budget of the settled science is ridiculous, one has to wonder if they got anything right.  I find myself very suspicious of the surface power loss to thermals and to latent heat through water evaporation.  On the other hand, one would think that they might be able to make good measurements of the reflection of solar radiation at least in total if not separately for that from the atmosphere and the surface.  I would also think that they could measure the radiation from the surface through the atmospheric window quite well also.

Let us examine some implications of this atmospheric window measurement.  If it is minimally 35.5% of the surface emission, then the surface radiative emission is at least 113.0 W/m2.  Let us now calculate the maximum power that the surface can emit in the form of radiation now that we have a very high upper bound for the back radiation under the assumption that NASA has the other absorbed and loss energy fluxes correct:

163.3 W/m2 absorbed from the sun
-18.4 W/m2 lost to thermals
-86.4 W/m2 lost to water evaporation
-0.6 W/m2 residual absorbed heat causing long term warming of the surface
109.7 W/m2 in greatly exaggerated back radiation
Maximum total radiation emitted from the surface = 167.6 W/m2

This generous maximum is only 42% of what NASA claims the thermal radiative emission to be.  Apparently, the surface of the Earth cannot radiate thermal energy as a black body radiator in vacuum surrounded by absolute zero would.  This should be no surprise.  This is once again a consequence of the Conservation of Energy.  Consequently, we know that within the framework of some of the measurements claimed as a part of the settled science that the thermal radiation from the Earth’s surface has be between 113.0 and 167.6 W/m2.

Why do materials emit thermal radiation?  The temperature of a material is determined by its kinetic energy.  Materials with internal modes of vibration share the kinetic energy they have equally with all the modes of motion available to the material.  The internal vibrations of atoms bound to one another necessarily cause electric charges to accelerate and decelerate due to oscillatory vibrations in the material.  The emission of electromagnetic radiation then depends upon the kinetic energy of bound atoms and their resonance states.  Solid materials tend to have so many modes of vibration that they emit radiation across a very wide spectrum of photon energies.  Liquids tend to be similar in this regard, though the range of energies tends to be a bit less.  Gas molecules, however, consist of very small numbers of atoms and consequently have few modes of vibration.  There emission spectra tend to have more discrete and narrow emission lines.  Contrary to popular belief, nitrogen and oxygen molecules do have electromagnetic emission spectra, though they lie outside of the infrared portion of the spectrum.  Oxygen actually has a small absorption and emission line near the border of the red visible light to near infrared spectrum that allows it to absorb some of the incoming solar insolation.

Let us suppose we are examining a few atoms on the surface of wet soil.  Each time a water molecule is evaporated from that wet soil, that molecule carries away an energy equal to its latent heat of evaporation.  This cools those atoms immediately around the site from which the water molecule evaporated from the surface.  Now heat will flow into this microscopic region from the warmer surrounding atoms, but for an instant in time this fractional area of the surface is cooler than the nominal average temperature of the surface.  As a result, any thermal emission of radiation from this microscopic area will be that from a slightly cooler surface.  This means that fractional area will be emitting slightly less power than will areas of the surface at the average temperature of the material.  The mean emitted photon energy will be slightly less also.  Similarly, if a cooler air molecule strikes a warmer surface and carries away a bit of energy as a result of that collision, then the surface will locally be cooler for a moment and that area will emit less thermal radiation.

Materials with water in them or in contact with air do not act exactly like black body radiators in space for this reason.  Energy is conserved.  Energy used to evaporate water cannot also be used to emit photons.  Energy transferred to the air molecules by collisions to increase their kinetic energy cannot be emitted as a photon.  This is not to say that there are not fractions of a macroscopic surface which are radiating on the microscopic level as one expects the same material to do in vacuum with no energy loss mechanisms except thermal radiation.  A square meter of the Earth’s surface might have 60% of the area emitting thermal radiation as though it were in vacuum, while the rest of the surface is radiating slightly less power and with a slight shift in the distribution of emitted photons to lower photon energies.

The emission is also limited by the temperature of the materials surroundings.  As we noted above, the radiation emitted is proportional to the difference of the fourth power of the temperature of the emitter and the absorber of the radiation.  Photon emission occurs because of electromagnetic fields and those photons travel along an electric field dependent upon the gradients of the electromagnetic field.  Photons are not just flung about as a primary entity.  They are creatures of electromagnetic fields.  The emitting higher temperature source is connected to the absorbing lower temperature photon sink by this electromagnetic field.  When you assume that every material is emitting radiation as a black body would when surrounded by vacuum at 0K, you will necessarily generate a host of non-existent photons which will upset the energy balance.

The act of ignoring the proper transfers of radiative power between objects has played a great role in the failure to recognize that the Earth’s gravitational field causes a kinetic energy gradient in the atmosphere.  Because the temperature of perfect or ideal gas is proportional to its kinetic energy, this means that gravity produces a temperature gradient in the atmosphere.  This long known gravitational temperature gradient does not imply a heat transfer or flow along the temperature gradient, though most scientists are under the misconception that any temperature gradient implies a flow of heat energy.  That belief is wrong.  Because the settled science ignores this gravitational temperature gradient and posits an exaggerated surface thermal radiative cooling compensated with a gigantically exaggerated back radiation, it could hardly be more in error.

As I have shown, the settle science represented by the NASA Earth Energy Budget is nonsense science.  It is self-contradictory in numerous ways.  It violates the Conservation of Energy.  It violates the transport of energy between objects of different temperatures by thermal radiation.  These are simple problems clearly and easily observed.  Given the huge expenditures of federal funds, United Nations funds, and the funds of many governments of developed nations around the world on issues relating to the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis, it is impossible to believe that there are not many scientists who are aware of these violations of physics and reality.

Yet there are too few scientists who are trying to bring these colossal mistakes to light. There are many pressures on scientists to conform to the prescribed theory.  Most scientific research performed at universities is funded by the federal government and it has been the policy of the government to only fund those who accept or at least do not deny the truth of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis.  There are also many government employee scientists under great pressure to conform.  Publishing papers opposed to the hypothesis in scientific publications has been made very difficult by what can only be termed a conspiracy.  There are many scientists who have told me that catastrophic man-made global warming theory is wrong, but they will not tell the public that out of fear for their careers.  This is why many of the open critics of this nonsense theory are retired scientists.
Nonetheless, the claims that 97% of scientists believe in catastrophic man-made global warming are completely bogus.  A more realistic assessment would be that about one-third do believe in it, about one-third are not sure, and about one-third think the hypothesis is unlikely true.

I am not retired.  I operate a materials analysis laboratory which uses electromagnetic radiation extensively to characterize material properties.  Relatively little of our funding comes directly from government agencies.  We have performed analyses for carbon fuel companies, but have actually done more work for so-called green energy companies.  I really do not have a horse in this race from a financial standpoint.  I am only concerned about the integrity of science, the freedom to think and act independently, and the well-being of my fellow man.  There is much evil being done in the name of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis and the alarmist attempts to promote it at the expense of rational thought and action.

28 May 2017

A Critical Lesson from the NASA Earth Energy Budget

The essence of the argument that an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide, an infrared-active or greenhouse gas, causes the Earth's surface to become warmer lies in a radiation-dominant viewpoint in the transport of energy between the surface and the atmosphere.  This viewpoint is depicted in the NASA energy budget shown below:

If the Earth's surface is simply viewed as a black body radiator at temperature T as though it were isolated in space with no other energy loss mechanisms, then the rate of energy loss by means of radiation would be

P = 398.2 W/m2 = σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) T4, and T = 289.5 K

Since the Earth's average surface temperature is usually said to be about 288 K, this means that the Earth's surface is assigned an emissivity of 1.02, making it a super black body radiator.  Real objects generally have an emissivity less than 1 and never more than 1.

Let us note a result discussed in my post mgh, Not Greenhouse Gases, Provides a Warm Earth because I do not want this critical observation to be lost among other observations.  I want to discuss its implications more here.

Of the 398.2 W/m2 of infrared radiation emitted from the surface in this NASA Earth energy budget, 358.2 W/m2 is absorbed by the atmosphere.  The atmosphere only absorbs infrared radiation at the wavelengths that water vapor and carbon dioxide absorb, aside from very minor absorption by other infrared-active gases.  It does not act like a black body absorber and it does not act like a black body emitter.  But we can establish upper and lower bounds on what the atmosphere is capable of doing if we treat it as though it were a black body radiator.  When dealing with complex physics problems, it is always good to know when the answers you provide are within the physically possible bounds.

Doing so, and taking Ta to be the temperature of the black body absorber and Ts the temperature of the surface, we have 

σ (Ts)4 -  σ (Ta)4 = 358.2 W/m2 ,

which is the maximum electromagnetic radiation the absorber can absorb from the higher temperature emitter black body.  We know that for the NASA Earth energy budget that the first term on the left is 398.2 W/m2 , albeit with an emissivity of 1.02, so we calculate that 

Ta = 163.0 K.

Now this is a very interestingly low temperature.  There is no temperature this low in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere Table of 1976.  The temperature with altitude drops approximately linearly in the troposphere, stabilizes at the minimum temperature of 216.65 K in the tropopause, and then increases with altitude through the stratosphere until there is essentially no atmosphere left to do any absorbing of infrared photons.  At 86 to 90 km altitude, in the mesopause, there is another temperature minimum of about 186.9 K in that table, though other sources say the temperture can get as low as 173 K.  These very low mesopause temperatures are caused by strong cooling due to carbon dioxide radiation of heat to space.  At 1000 km altitude, the U.S. Standard Atmosphere of 1976 temperature is 1000 K and the density of the atmosphere is only 2.9 x 10-15 times that at sea level.  Of course any surface thermal radiated heat absorbed in the upper atmosphere is generally going to be radiated out into space and not radiated back to the surface in any case.

So, there is no black body shell around the Earth at a temperature of 163.0 K.  But we can make an approximate calculation of where in the solar system we could place a black body absorber at a temperture of 163.0 K that could absorb such a large fraction of the power irradiated from the NASA Earth surface.  A black body radiator/absorber at temperature 163.0 K radiates 40.0 W/m2 , which matches the power of the infrared radiation that NASA says escapes the Earth's atmosphere without absorption.  

So we ask where does a sphere around the Sun in radiative equilibrium with the Sun have an energy output rate of 40.0 W/m2 corresponding to a temperature of 163.0 K?  This will be where the product of the power output per unit area of the photosphere of the Sun times the surface area of the sphere at the radius of the photosphere equals 40.0 W/m2 times the surface area of the sphere centered on the sun with a radius r large enough that the temperature of that sphere will be 163.0 K.  That is a temperature far above that of the distant universe, so it should be found somewhere within our solar system.  We have:

Temperature of the sun on the photosphere = 5772 K
Radius, R, of the sun at the photosphere = 6.957 x 105 km

We calculate the power output per unit area on the Sun's photosphere using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law to be:

Power output at the solar photosphere radius = 6.293 x 107 W/m2 

For the solar photosphere radius R, the distance r at which the solar power will be reduced to 40 W/m2 , will be 

r2  = [(6.293 x 107 W/m2 ) / ( 40 W/m2 )] R2   = [(6.293 x 107 W/m2 ) / ( 40 W/m2 )] [6.957 x 105 km]2  

and so r = 8.726 x 108 km.

The mean radius of the Earth's orbit is 1.496 x 108 km, so according to the NASA Earth energy budget, 358.2 W/m2 of power radiated as infrared radiation from the Earth's surface is dumped into the Earth's atmosphere at a distance from the Sun which is minimally 5.83 times further from the Sun than is the Earth.  Measured from the Earth, rather than the sun, the distance that portions of the surface emitted radiation is absorbed in space varies from 4.83 to 6.83 times the mean radius of the Earth's orbit.

NASA has a most interesting definition of the Earth's atmosphere.  What is more, how does that energy absorbed in the distant portions of our solar system manage to return to the Earth's atmosphere in any way that might increase the temperature of the Earth's surface?  Of course it does not.  This NASA Earth Energy Budget is a complete farce, as are the many similar Earth energy budgets used by the UN IPCC reports to justify their claims that adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will cause catastrophic warming problems for mankind.

One must also take note that without the absorption of this 358.2 W/m2 of power from the surface, the idea that the atmosphere can back radiate 340.3 W/m2 to the surface becomes impossible.  It is the absorption of the surface radiated power coupled with the back radiation of a nearly as great power that is the very basis of the claim that adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will cause the Earth surface temperature to rise.  And no, there is no way that water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane gas can absorb and emit more infrared radiation than can a black body absorber.  They fall well short of being as effective as absorbers and emitters as is a black body absorber/radiator.

According to the U.S. Standard Atmosphere of 1976 table, the coldest temperature within the Earth's atmosphere is the 216.65 K of the tropopause, the layer of the atmosphere between the troposphere and the stratosphere.  A black body layer placed there could at most absorb a power of infrared emitted from the surface of 

P = σ (Ts)4 -  σ (216.65 K)4 ,

where σ T4 = (5.6697 x 10-8 W/m2K4) (216.65K)= 124.9 W/mand  σ (Ts)4 =  398.2 W/m

so P = 273.3 W/m2 

This upper limit absorption of 273.3 W/m2 is well less than the claimed absorption of 358.2 W/m2 . What is more, this black body in the tropopause would radiate 124.9 W/m2 to space, making this energy flux immediately unavailable in the Earth's atmosphere.

Even if the theoretical limit of absorption did occur in the tropopause, one would still have the insurmountable problem of finding a way to return any significant portion of this absorbed energy to the surface from the tropopause to provide any significant warming of the surface.  Equally important, such a violation of such an easily calculated upper limit on the fraction of the surface infrared emission which can be absorbed wipes out any confidence one can reasonably have in any of the NASA science used to create this Earth energy budget.  Indeed, there are many other errors in this fanciful creation.

This upper limit as defined by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law of Electromagnetic Radiation and is itself much too high an upper limit for the following reasons:

1)  The surface of the Earth does not emit the 398.2 W/m2 as claimed by NASA because this surface is not emitting radiation at a vacuum interface and has competing energy loss mechanisms cooling at least local submicroscopic areas of the surface briefly.  This is a matter dictated by the Law of Conservation of Energy.  Since less energy is emitted from the surface as infrared radiation, the atmosphere cannot absorb as much either.

2)  As noted earlier, water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and other infrared-active molecules can each absorb only a fraction of the wavelengths of infrared radiation that a black body absorber/radiator can.  These gas molecules also have many cases of overlap of those wavelengths they do absorb. Therefore, once again, the fraction of the wide spectrum of infrared radiation that the surface emits that can be absorbed by the atmosphere is much reduced.

3)  The mean free path for the absorption of such infrared as the infrared-active molecules absorb is much too short for surface emitted infrared radiation that can be absorbed to reach the tropopause before it is absorbed.  Indeed, in most areas of the Earth, the absorption mean free path for water vapor is many, many times too short for this to happen.  Even that for carbon dioxide at present concentrations is much too short for this to happen.  This means the temperature differentials are much reduced and consequently much less energy is absorbed.

4)  The density of infrared-active absorbers in the troposphere, even if each were a black body absorber/radiator, would not be great enough to absorb all of the radiation coming from the surface even if that radiation could make it to the tropopause.

There is still another important consequence.  The black body absorber/emitter we have placed in the tropopause to maximize the absorption of radiation from the surface is, as noted above, radiating 124.9 W/mdirectly into space.  Since the surface is radiating 40.1 W/mdirectly into space, all but 74.9 W/maof the total radiation from the entire Earth system being radiated into space is accounted for.  Let us add up the remaining energy flux into the atmosphere:

77.1 W/mdirectly absorbed from solar insolation
273.3 W/mdeposited into the black body absorber in the troposphere
18.4 W/mdeposited in the atmosphere by thermals (conduction/convection)
86.4 W/mdeposited in the atmosphere by the condensation of water vapor

Total = 455.2 W/m2

How could an atmosphere with an additional power input of 455.2 W/mdirect 340.3 W/mof this power toward the surface and only 74.9 W/mtoward space?  The asymmetry of radiation to the surface and into space in the NASA Earth energy budget was already a red flag.  This asymmetry is now worse.  Note also that the sum of these two radiative fluxes is now 40.0 W/mshort of the 455.2 W/mof remaining energy flux into the atmosphere.

In short, the NASA Earth Energy Budget is based on nonsense physics.  This, we are told, is the settled science of the climate.  Is it any surprise that computer models based on nonsense physics have been making wrong predictions of climate warming for 19 years now? Garbage physics in means no reality out.