Men Are From Mars, Alarmists Are From Venus

Does Tamino still think the hot temperatures on Venus are due to CO2?

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66 Responses to Men Are From Mars, Alarmists Are From Venus

  1. bubbagyro says:

    Is he for real? If T=0 on the right, P=0 on the left. There is no atmosphere at absolute zero. Why does he not grasp this? This is 8th grade physics.

  2. bubbagyro says:

    This is why it is hottest at Death Valley and at the Dead Sea. Pressure is higher than at sea level. If P is higher, and volume stays constant, temperature goes up directly proportional to the pressure increase. If the pressure is 1 atmosphere at sea level, but 1.01 atmospheres in Death Valley, and it is 27°C at sea level, then it will be 30°C in the Death Valley if the air is still and there is no mixing.

    At ten thousand feet, the temperature is low, proportional to the decrease in pressure.

    There. I passed my eighth grade test.

    • Congratulations bubbagyro.

      In fact, whenever anybody claims that the GH effect will definitely warm the planet because that’s what can be shown in the lab, simply point them to the fact that in the same lab, it can be shown that it’s much warmer near to the ceiling.

      Hence the top of Mt Everest has obviously to be the hottest spot on the planet.

  3. Charles Higley says:

    Tamino does not expect anybody to really understand the high school taught gas law and jump at the idea that an atmosphere on a planet, lacking an internal or external heat source, would cool to liquids and solids.

    Tamino is arrogant^2. He inuends that there is plenty to dissect in Goddard’s presentation, which there is not, really.

    Goddard, rah!

    It should be pointed out, however, that most discussions appear to leave out the heat constantly reaching the surface from the Earth’s core, so the temperature would not reach the 2.7 K of deep space (it’s not absolute zero out there).

  4. Am with Lubos on this, surface temperature is a combination of radiative and adiabatic effects, and one can’t isolate one from the other.

    IOW a 1-atm Venus would be substantially cooler and a 90-atm Earth substantially warmer, even if the atmospheric composition were exactly the same as now. And there is no such a thing as a runaway gh effect, just physics at work.

  5. papertiger says:

    Men are from Mars, Alarmists are from Venus, and Tamino has his head up Uranus . err… Hisanus? – alternate title.

    Foster’s problem is all he knows of science he learned between sets at a renaissance faire.

  6. Keith Grubb says:

    Dude…327 comments? And counting.

  7. NoMoreGore says:

    Tamino makes his claim, yet he didn’t make a single counter argument. He didn’t present anything except his claim that your statement was incorrect.

    Without energy there is no heat to support a meaningful temperature. I think it’s well understood by our crowd that some energy may radiate from any heavenly body. If memory serves, Jupiter radiates more than it receives from the sun. But this doesn’t detract from the main points of your articles. It’s mice nuts on a small rocky planet.

    It’s one thing to check the work of others for omission or error. It’s far more difficult to be he who asserts truth perfectly.

  8. mkelly says:

    One of the reasons I was kicked off Little Green Footballs is this very argument. I noted this to SOD a year and a half ago and he admitted he never thought about it as possible part of the GHE. Ira at WUWT appears to ignore this input to atmospheric temperature. STP (standard temperature and pressure) says we should be at 0 C. So if there is a GHE it is only 15 C not 33 C as many state.

  9. bobdroege says:

    Try the PV=nRT thing on earth, do it at the poles and at the equator.

    Do you get the same answer?

    Maybe that will tell you that you are doing something wrong.

    Hint: the equation has 4 variables.

  10. Bernard J. says:

    What happens when one fills a SCUBA tank with air?

    What happens when one leaves that tank in the corner of the garage for a week?

    Depending on the answers to these questions, I have a perpetual motion machine to sell…

    • The temperate equilibrates with the surroundings.

      Really annoying when people show up here thinking they are on to something.

      • Bernard J. says:

        Perhaps at this point a definition of ‘work’ might be in order, and in particular in which circumstances energy is transferred, and in which it is not.

        It might also be instructive to define whether the ideal gas law dictates that Venus will retain a hot (i.e. above the average temperature of the solar system) atmosphere at equilibrium, should the sun instantaneously and miraculously vanish.

        • It might be instructive for you to do some reading before bringing up “new” topics which have been discussed ad nauseum here and at WUWT over the last two years.

    • suyts says:

      The question I have is, why do you feel compelled to comment on this a week after its been posted? Steve probably has over 100 more current posts you can comment on. What’s the game here? It’s not like you just discovered this site and scrolled through until you found an article you thought you were qualified to comment upon.

      Sis, how you correlate moving a scuba tank from one place to another with a planet that perpetually orbits and rotates, is beyond me, but if you wanna step up and state a case, do so. You get no points for gamesmanship.

      • Bernard J. says:

        Keep your knickers on suyts.

        There is no game. I came to this thread via a link, and not through trawling the rest of the blog. And I have no intention of wandering through the rest of the threads here: exploring the free-energy machine of continual warming through gravity is a sufficient endeavour for now.

        As to the SCUBA tank, the movement of said receptacle to the corner of a room is an irrelevance in the question – it is the fact of the passage of time after compression that matters.

        • If you had of read anything, then you would know that the Sun is the source of essentially all of the energy in the system. Your post and your attitude is a joke.

      • Bernard J. says:

        If such is the case Steven, where then did Tamino diverge from physics in his criticism of your attribution of Venus’ atmospheric temperature to its high pressure?

        • Tamino’s post was complete nonsense. The convective atmospheres of Earth and Venus heat adiabatically several degrees per kilometer as they descend towards the surface. The lapse rate is very similar on both planets.

  11. Bernard J. says:

    Yes, that’s energy redistribution in a convecting atmosphere. However, the overall adiabatic budget is, by definition, zero.

    If pressure, rather than a greenhouse effect, continuously maintains Venus’ high atmospheric temperature over æons, how is this process adiabatic? Or are you simply saying that the adiabatic process is one that pumps (via the action of atmospheric pressure) heat from the upper parts of an atmosphere, itself in thermal equilibrium with space, to the lower parts?

    • Can you please read my articles before commenting. You are arguing against a straw man. Tamino quoted me as saying that the heat comes from the Sun. Is it too difficult for you to read three paragraphs?

  12. chriscolose says:

    Here is something for those interested in the actual science

    Hint: Both climatologists and astrophysicsts are well aware of the ideal gas law. They didn’t get anything wrong…Goddard just doesn’t understand what he is doing

  13. bobdroege says:

    No, it’s not.

    The volume is the same at the poles as it is at the equator.

    • Do you know how to use Google?

      The height of the troposphere varies from the equator to the poles. At the equator it is around 11-12 miles (18-20 km) high, at 50N and 50S, 5 miles and at the poles just under four miles high. The transition boundary between the troposphere and the layer above is called the tropopause. Both the tropopause and the troposphere are known as the lower atmosphere.

      • Phil. says:

        Do you know how to read an equation?
        Why are you ignoring n?

        • The number of molecules is obviously fixed, because the atmospheric pressure is the same at the poles as the equator. Atmospheric pressure is determined by the mass of the air in the column above you.

          The two variables that change are T and V

      • bobdroege says:

        Right, the atmospere is thinner at the poles, but you still have the same amount of gases, 14.7 pounds per square inch.

        All I’m trying to say is that you can’t use PV=nRT to solve for temperature relating to conditions on Venus, or to explain the high temperature of Venus.

        When you use volume in the equation, it has to be a volume where the pressure is constant over that volume, you can’t use the whole volume of the atmosphere. That’s what I mean by the volume is the same at the poles, in using the equation PV=nRT properly.

        Besides that the ideal gas law is most accurate at high temperatures and low pressures. Applying it to the high pressure situation on Venus is problematic.

        By the way, have you figured out what the triple point of water is yet?

        • I live along the Front Range of Colorado. When the wind blows from the west, it is warm. This is because it is moving downslope to areas of higher pressure where it compresses and heats. When the wind blows from the East, it moves upslope to regions of lower pressure and cools.

          A similar phenomenon happens due to convection in the atmosphere. Falling air heats, and rising air cools. And it is all well defined by the ideal gas law. In Venus atmosphere at 1bar elevation, temperatures are very similar to earth.

  14. Phil. says:

    That’s your problem, you don’t understand the gas laws!

  15. Phil. says:

    Yes, they are the same, but the gas laws don’t determine the temperature of the planets.

    • Yes they do. Tell me P V and n and I will tell you T

      • Bernard J. says:


        Are you not also the person who said:

        If there were no Sun (or other external energy source) atmospheric temperature would approach absolute zero.

        If so, do you agree then that “the heat” to which you referred on April 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm does comes from the sun? Or are you now saying again that it comes instead from compression? But if it does so, is not this process adiabatic? And if it is such, how does an adiabatic process continue to create heat that is lost to space?

        Over on one of your posts at Watts’ you proposed a series of ‘experiments’. I note that you didn’t include this one:

        Experiment # 5 – Suppose that we could instantly change the molecular composition of Venus atmosphere to 100% nitrogen.

        I’d be interested to know what you conclusion is…

        • is this a junior high science class?

          In order to do work (compression) you obviously have to have a source of energy. That source is the Sun. Please stop embarrassing yourself.

          Read up on the first law of thermodynamics.

  16. Phil. says:

    stevengoddard says:
    April 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm
    Give a specific objection with numbers.

    Arctic: T=-23ºC (250 K), P=101 kPa, R=8.314 J/K.mole, d= 1.2 kg/m^3
    Tropics: T=27ºC (300 K), P=101 kPa, R=8.314 J/K.mole, d= 1.46 kg/m^3

    stevengoddard says:
    April 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm
    Yes they do. Tell me P V and n and I will tell you T

    No, that’s your fundamental mistake, the gas laws determine the relationship between the parameters. T is determined by the energy balance between the planet and its surroundings and P by the mass of the atmosphere, the density of the atmosphere is a consequence of the others which can be calculated using the gas laws.

    If I tell you there’s an earth sized planet with a surface pressure of 1 atm you’ll have no idea what its temperature will be unless I tell you something about its energy balance.

    • The volume in the Arctic is less, because the height of the atmosphere is less. Where did you get your density numbers from? Obviously cold air is heavier than warm air, and your numbers show the opposite. The tropics also have a different chemical makeup, with a lot more H2O – so you couldn’t use density directly to calculate volume anyway.

      • Phil. says:

        They’re calculated from d=P/RT, the data got transposed in typing, they should be:
        Arctic: T=-23ºC (250 K), P=101 kPa, R=8.314 J/K.mole, d= 1.46 kg/m^3
        Tropics: T=27ºC (300 K), P=101 kPa, R=8.314 J/K.mole, d= 1.2 kg/m^3

        The molar densities are 48.6 mole/m^3 and 40.5 mole/m^3 respectively which doesn’t depend on the humidity (which won’t change things much). You persist in your error of thinking that the V in the gas laws is related to the height of the atmosphere, it is not.
        Thinking about my earlier answer to suyts, there is a difference in that you’d probably have to use the van der Waals equation of state (or other real gas equation) for Venus, since the compressibility of CO2 is less than 0.5 at the surface pressure.

        • You have just proven that the Ideal gas law is almost perfect

          1.46 kg/m^3 / 1.2 kg/m^3 = 300 K / 250 K = 1.21

          The ratio of temperatures (equator/pole) is equal to the ratio of volume. Because P and n are equal at both locations.

          Density is proportional to the height of the atmosphere.

      • suyts says:

        Hmmm. 101 kPa = 29.82528 in

        You’re over generalizing barometric pressure. That’s like saying the pressure is near 30 inches. And, while that’s true, it isn’t sufficient for this conversation. But, I think you know that already.

    • suyts says:

      Phil, I’m trying to follow what you’re saying, and maybe I’m contexting things differently here. Are you stating the volume in the atmosphere doesn’t change with elevation?

  17. chriscolose says:


    Atmospheric scientists don’t typically deal with the form of equation of state being discussed here, because we can’t go out and measure the ‘volume’ of an air parcel or an air mass. Rather, p=ρR’T is a typical equation used in our field (note the R’ has a different meaning than the R in pV=nRT, since you need to account for the mean molecular weight of the atmosphere; in either case we can think of it as a constant so it doesn’t matter here)

    Concerning the argument about the thickness of a warm vs. cold body of air, it is easily demonstrated that if you fix two pressure surfaces (say, between 1000 and 500 mb), the thickness between those two layers (Δz) is increased for warmer air. I leave it as an exercise to show that Δz = z2-z1~ (R’ T/g)*ln(p1/p2), where T is the average column temperature between the two pressure surfaces p1 and p2 (hint: use the hydrostatic equation and the ideal gas law I presented here)….the important point that a higher T corresponds to a higher Δz.

  18. Bernard J. says:

    Ah, so now we’re creeping incrementally forward.

    So we get back now to a previous comment of mine, where I asked whether pressure was an engine pumping heat downward to increase the surface temperature of a planet?

    Or rather, is pressure a blanket that retains heat?

    Of course, I’m being facetious (apparently that tendency is lost on some)… but more seriously, I’d like to see the rest of the equations that link your affection for the ideal gas law with the proportions and the properties of greenhouse and non-greenhouse gases, with the output of the sun, with the orbital radius of a planet.

    You previously stated that all you required in order to determine temperature was P, V, and n. I’m curious to know exactly what relevance other parameters might have in determining T.

  19. Phil. says:

    stevengoddard says:
    April 16, 2011 at 12:16 am
    You have just proven that the Ideal gas law is almost perfect

    1.46 kg/m^3 / 1.2 kg/m^3 = 300 K / 250 K = 1.21

    I used the ideal gas law to calculate the densities, of course it agrees!

    The ratio of temperatures (equator/pole) is equal to the ratio of volume. Because P and n are equal at both locations.

    Density is proportional to the height of the atmosphere.

    It certainly is not

  20. JeffG says:

    Umm…. The ideal gas law does not hold at the high pressures on Venus’s surface. Applying it there is bound to lead to a false conclusion.

  21. Mark says:

    Ok, let me begin by correcting Goddard. Well intentioned, he used the wrong law. Because of Venus’s extreme atmospheric pressures, you must used the Modified Ideal Gas Law (van der Waals): [(P + an^2/V^2)*(V-nb)] = nRT

    Now when you do that (and please, compute the moles in a Venetian atmosphere first), you get a temperature of about 770K. This is a bit high. Venus has a surface temperature of about 735K. Hint…hint…temperature equilibrium clue.

    If you do not believe the above law from which I performed my calculation, simply remember the reason why diesel engines ignite their fuel without a spark. Compression raises the temperature to the point of ignition!

    Now in your squabbling, you are all missing something fundamental. Consider Pluto’s atmosphere. It is a frozen frost on its surface. Remember that both van der Waal’s law and the Ideal Gas Law both assume constant scenarios…no cooling off, right? So if it was impossible for Venus to cool, and it received no incoming radiation, its temperature would remain 770K indefinitely.

    But Vensus emits blackbody radiation…i.e., it cools. Long story short…if Venus’s atmosphere was initially created, it would be at 770K. It would instantly begin to cool, and fall as liquid CO2 rain (the great pressure allows this) onto the planets surface, creating an ocean of CO2. This ocean would then freeze, and walla, Venus would be covered in CO2 ice!

    Of course the sun warms Venus so that this does not occur.

    Although Goddard made several mistakes, his initial instinct was right … straightforward calculations shows the CO2 greenhouse effect is not needed to explain Venetian surface temperatures! In fact, it even makes sense that the Venetian atmosphere should be lower than 770K, since as it cools, the sun warms it, and the two processes meet in the middle.

    All this without the need for a runaway greenhouse effect!

  22. Mark says:

    I would add one more thing. Remember how hot the Earth’s core is by compression? This temperature is only maintained because the core cannot appreciably cool over time. I postulate Venus’s atmosphere has the same cooling problem…it can only cool through the CO2 bands, which takes considerable time, and in addition its cloud bottoms reflect IR rays. Therefore the cooling is very slow, meaning the sun can more than counter it, even with Venus’s extremely high albedo.

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