Guest Posting by
Jerry L Krause 2017
First we need to review a bit of history from the pen of the one who founded this thing we now term physical science. But before we review what Galileo wrote in Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, we need to consider what the publishers (Elzevir) of his book wrote in their preface to the reader. According to the common saying, sight can teach more and with greater certainty in a single day than can precept even though repeated a thousand times. (as translated by Henry Crew and Alfonso de Salvio, 1914)
Many of us have been taught that Galileo refuted a long accepted general idea—that bodies twice as heavy fell twice as fast—of the Greek philosopher Aristotle by dropping, at the same time, bodies of significantly different masses (weights) from high places and observing that they struck the ground at basically the same time. However, it seems Galileo efforts of demonstration were not readily accepted by everyone.
For Galileo had his character Simplicio state: Your discussion is really admirable; yet I do not find it easy to believe that a bird-shot falls as a cannon ball. To which Galielo had the character Salviati reply: Why not say a grain of sand as rapidly as grindstone? But, Simplicio, I trust you will not follow the example of many others who divert the discussion from its main intent and fasten upon some statement of mine which lacks a hair’s-breath of the truth and, under this hair, hide the fault of another which is as big as a ship’s cable. Several pages Simplicio stated: The previous experiments, in my opinion, left something to be desired: but now I am fully satisfied. Even after Simplicio accepted that Aristotle’s idea was false, it seems it was not the demonstration which convinced him. What was it that convinced Simplicio?
Immediately after Simplicio’s concession, Salviati replied: The facts set forth by me up to this point and, in particular, the one which shows that difference of weight, even when very great, is without effect in changing the speed of falling bodies, so that as far as weight is concerned they all fall with equal speed: this idea is, I say, so new, and at first glance so remote from fact, that if we do not have the means of making it just as clear as sunlight, it had better not be mentioned; but having once allowed it to pass my lips I must neglect no experiment or argument to establish it. Herein lies the possible answer to what convinced Simplicio. If we remove no experiment from Saviati’s last statement, we are left with: I must neglect no argument to establish it.
I have read that Galileo refused to accept the result (that the planets’ orbits about the sun were ellipses) of Tycho Brahe’s very careful naked-eye astronomical observations and Johannes Kepler’s very careful mathematical analysis of Brahe’s observational data. I have read that Galileo did this because he considered a circle to be a more perfect figure than an ellipse. Whatever his reason, the observed fact is he was wrong about the ‘shape’ of the planet’s orbit. Because of some argument he had with himself?
Relative to Saliviati’s previous reply, I question what was so new, and at first glance so remote from fact. What was the fact that Galileo’s new idea was so remote from? I have pondered this question and have concluded the fact was the result of this experiment (experience): hold a ten-pound bag of sugar in one hand and a one-pound package of butter in the other.
But Galileo was not done, after Salviati’s comment, he had his third character, Sagredo, immediately state: Not only this but also many other of your views are so far removed from the commonly accepted opinions and doctrines that if you were to publish them you would stir up a large number of antagonists; for human nature is such that men do not look with favor upon discoveries—either of truth or fallacy—in their own field, when made by others than themselves. A bit later Sagredo added: In this manner he has, as I have learned from various sources, given occasion to a highly esteemed professor for undervaluing his discoveries on the ground that they are commonplace, and established upon a mean and vulgar basis; as if it were not a most admirable and praiseworthy feature of demonstrative science that it springs from and grows out of principles well-known, understood and conceded by all.
The title of this essay is this essay’s sole purpose. So as I bring measurements (observations) to your attention, we will only consider the observed facts which apply to this purpose.
It is an undebatable fact that certain atmospheric gases have been observed, by instruments, to absorb certain portions of the invisible, to human eyes, infrared (IR) radiation being continuously emitted by the earth’s surface. And there are many undebatable cases that when radiation is absorbed by matter it is observed to be transformed into a sensible heat (an increase in temperature) of that matter. So based upon these cases and a radiation balance calculation, it has been long accepted that the result of this absorption of the IR radiation is that the earth’s average surface temperature would need to be about 33 degrees Celsius (33C) less if not for the presence of these certain atmospheric gases. This is the claimed greenhouse effect (GHE).
- C. Sutcliffe, a notable meteorologist, in his book (Weather and Climate) wrote: These results, obtained first by Wilson and broadly confirmed by many later experimenters, have a very important bearing on natural meteorology, not because supersaturation occurs in the atmosphere but because it does not occur: why is it that in the atmosphere condensation to clouds invariably happens as soon as normal saturation is reached? The answer is that the natural atmosphere, however clean it may appear to be, is always supplied with a sufficient number of minute particles of salts, acids or other substances which serve just as well as liquid water in capturing water molecules from the vapour. These are the ‘nuclei of condensation’, and are effective as soon as the air becomes even slightly supersaturated.
I summarize what I consider Sutcliffe had described: The atmosphere, anywhere, can never be colder than its dewpoint temperature (the temperature at which water vapor must begin condensing on some surface as it (the condensation nuclei or another surface) cools. The atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature depends solely upon the water vapor’s (molecule) density in the atmosphere and not upon the water molecule’s ability to absorb any portion of the IR radiation being emitted from the earth’s surface.
However, a proponent of the idea known as the greenhouse effect (GHE) argued that the measured dewpoint temperature was the result of the temperature which was 33C (degrees Celsius) greater than it would be if there were no greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Since I do not believe argument should be productive activity of physical science, I concluded I had to discover a measurement, or measurements, which could invalidated this argument. Eventually I found that Carl Allen Brehmer (private communication) had made what I considered such measurements. For had he measured soil temperatures at certain depths as well as actually measuring the ground’s surface temperature for a month at his location near Chino Valley AZ. Which, having read and understood that if one lays a thermometer, or other temperature measure device on ground, what one is measuring is the temperature of the device and not that beneath it, I doubted. However, his results (average maximum daily top soil temperature was about 55C while the average conventionally measured air temperature was only about 34C) was evidence that I considered refuted the GHE proponent’s argument.
About three months later I discovered the website (https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/scan/) of the SCAN (soil climate analysis network) project funded through the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
Figures 1 to 5 are the products of the SCAN project at Essex CA that has a summer hot-dry climate similar to that where Brehmer made his temperature measurements.
The graphical display of SCAN data, as seen in Fig 1, of the measurements of the soil temperatures (STO.I) being measured at 2, 4, 8, 20, and 40 inch (in) depths and the air temperatures (TBOS) is immensely valuable. Such monthly displays of daily measurements allow one to simply compare one day’s measurements with the others of the month even though some details can be difficult to discern. So in the case of Fig. 1, it is not difficult to see that many of the maximum soil temperatures at the 2in depth of August 2017 were comparable to Brehmer’s averaged surface temperatures. I could see the days 8/11 and 8/12 had the highest 2in temperatures. So I quickly switched to the hourly plots for those days (Fig 2,3) to better see each of their highest air temperatures ( about 37C and 38C. If I needed more precise values for these temperatures, I could have quickly switched to the data file, knowing the nearest hour of these highest temperatures, to access the precise temperatures actually measured. But knowing the highest 2in temperatures were about 55C and the highest air temperatures were no higher than about 38C was sufficient to support the validity of Brehmer’s averaged high temperatures and the difference between the soil temperature and the air temperature. Which I considered was observational evidence which refuted the argument of the GHE proponent.
Now, since I consider the proponent’s has been refuted, the atmosphere’s dewpoint temperature must be considered to limit the cooling of air temperature and the cooling of the surface temperature. However, low values of the measured atmospheric dewpoint temperatures (Fig. 4 and 5, DPTP.H-1) relative to minimum air and 2in depth temperature might seem insignificant. Unless one is aware that the average ‘accepted’ temperature of the earth’s surface, which is actually the earth’s averaged atmospheric temperature, is about 15C. Hence this data also must refute the idea of the GHE if the temperature of this hot, dry surface and atmosphere cannot cool rapidly below about 11C because of water vapor condensation.
While I only discovered the SCAN project and its website less than a year ago, I have been award of USA government’s funded SURFRAD (surface radiation) project about 4 years ago. Figures 6 to 14 are from the SURFRAD website. (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/surfrad/dataplot.html)
The principal data of the SURFRAD project is the measurements of six radiation observed near groundlevel: Downwelling Solar, Upwelling Solar, Direct-Normal Solar, Diffuse [Downwelling] Solar, Downwelling IR, and Upwelling IR. The idea of the GHE is about both radiation and temperature, so the measurement of air temperature at the same time of the radiation measurements is also clearly important.
Do not ignore the following eight figures; but do only briefly scan each.\
A distinct difference between SURFRAD data and the SCAN data is that the SURFRAD data is being recorded each minute instead of each hour as is the case of SCAN measurements. Hence, very rapid actual changes of any measured values can now be seen as you should have noticed as you briefly scanned the figures. But because the sole purpose of this essay is to only refute the idea of GHE, we will only use the Upwelling IR radiation, which can be seen (Fig 6, 8, 10, and 12) to change the least, to indirectly determine the minimum surface temperature by using the well accepted Stefan-Boltzmann radiation law (SBL). The minimum, not actual, surface temperature, because a property, the emissivity of a surface, is part of the law and we do not know the soil surface’s emissivity. But we can assume the maximum possible value (1) for this unknown property and know that if the surface’s emissivity is less, that actual emitting temperature has to be greater (higher) than the minimum possible calculated. Of course, we do this to validate extreme temperature measured by Brehmer, measured at the 2in soil depth at the Essex CA SCAN site, and now the indirectly calculated minimum-maximum surface temperatures at the Desert Rock MV SURFRAD site.
And the four calculated values for consecutive days (8/9, 8/10, 8/11, and 8/12) are sequentially: 57, 56, 57, and 56C. Inspection of the measured air temperatures (Fig. 7, 9, 11, and 13) quickly establishes these 4 consecutive maximum air temperatures: 37, 36, 37, and 37C. Thus, confirming the validity of Brehmer’s measurement or establishing that his measurements are reproducible. Which was established by the fact his values were averaged values. I missed this until now.
Can you see, as I see, that these certain observations refute the idea of the GHE just as Galileo’s demonstration refuted Aristotle’s idea without any need of arguments?