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“How the “Greenhouse Effect” Is Built upon Arrhenius’ Legacy of Error: Misattribution, Misunderstanding, and Energy Creation.

Arrhenius’ first error was to assume that greenhouses and hotboxes work as a radiation trap. Fourier explained quite clearly that such structures simply prevent the replenishment of the air inside, allowing it to reach much higher temperatures than are possible in circulating air (Fourier, 1824, translated by Burgess, 1837, p. 12; Fourier, 1827, p. 586). Yet, as we have seen in the previous quotation of Arrhenius, this fundamental misunderstanding of greenhouses is attributed by Arrhenius to Fourier.

2.1 Misattribution versus What Fourier Really Found

Contrary to what Arrhenius (1896, 1906b) and many popular authors may claim (Weart, 2003; Flannery, 2005; Archer, 2009), Fourier did not consider the atmosphere to be anything like glass. In fact, Fourier (1827, p. 587) rejected the comparison by stipulating the impossible condition that, in order for the atmosphere to even remotely resemble the workings of a hotbox or greenhouse, layers of the air would have to solidify without affecting the air’s optical properties. What Fourier (1824, translated by Burgess, 1837, p. 12) actually wrote stands in stark contrast to Arrhenius’ claims about Fourier’s ideas:

“In short, if all the strata of air of which the atmosphere is formed, preserved their density with their transparency, and lost only the mobility which is peculiar to them, this mass of air, thus become solid, on being exposed to the rays of the sun, would produce an effect the same in kind with that we have just described. The heat, coming in the state of light to the solid earth, would lose all at once, and almost entirely, its power of passing through transparent solids: it would accumulate in the lower strata of the atmosphere, which would thus acquire very high temperatures. We should observe at the same time a diminution of the degree of acquired heat, as we go from the surface of the earth.”

A statement to the same effect can be found in Fourier (1827, p. 586). This demonstrates the sheer dissonance between these statements and what proponents of the “Greenhouse Effect” claim that Fourier says in their support. Moreover, I am not the first author to have discovered this fact by reading Fourier for myself (e.g. Fleming, 1999; Gerlich & Tscheuschner, 2007 and 2009). Furthermore, in his conclusion, the optical effect of air on heat is dropped by Fourier (1824, translated by Burgess, 1837, pp. 17-18) and Fourier (1827, pp. 597-598) which both state:

“The earth receives the rays of the sun, which penetrate its mass, and are converted into non-luminous heat: it likewise possesses an internal heat with which it was created, and which is continually dissipated at the surface: and lastly, the earth receives rays of light and heat from innumerable stars, in the midst of which is placed the solar system. These are three general causes which determine the temperature of the earth.”

Fourier’s fame has, in fact, nothing to do with any theory of atmospheric or surface temperature. This fame was earned years before such musings, when Fourier derived the law of physics that governs heat flow, and was subsequently named after him. About this, Fourier (1824, p. 166; Translation by Burgess, 1837, p. 19) remarks:

“Perhaps other properties of radiating heat will be discovered, or causes which modify the temperatures of the globe. But all the principle laws of the motion of heat are known. This theory, which rests upon immutable foundations, constitutes a new branch of mathematical sciences.”

As you can see, Fourier admits that his work is constrained to the net movement of heat. In fact, nowhere does Fourier differentiate between radiative and, for example, “kinetic” heat transfer, because the means to tell the difference were not available when Fourier studied heat flow. What this tells us is that Fourier’s Law, and only Fourier’s Law, can describe the transfer of heat between bodies in thermal contact. Thus the distribution of heat between the atmosphere and the surface of the earth, with which it has thermal contact, cannot be correctly calculated using the radiative transfer equations derived from Boltzmann (1884) because the thermal contact of these bodies makes this a question of Fourier’s Law. However, to better understand this it is necessary to explore the motion of heat and the modes of heat transfer more thoroughly than did Arrhenius.”

from… Timothy Casey

The Shattered Greenhouse: How simple physics demolishes the ” Greenhouse Effect”
“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” Richard P. Feynman.

“The further society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”
George Orwell


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