Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide


Based on Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures Feb 2013, Douglas J Cotton

Website: http://www.climate-change-theory.com   –  Page on PSI Slayer Errors

Most people don’t like physics, probably because they don’t understand much of it, especially thermodynamics and entropy. In climatology texts I have shown precisely how and where the laws of physics are disregarded and/or altered so as to be incorrect, but usable to “explain” their false radiative forcing “greenhouse” conjecture.

When we apply the laws of physics correctly everything falls into place and science is confirmed by empirical evidence, as it should be.

It is no longer a “coincidence” that planetary systems have just the right temperature gradient from the core to the tropopause, getting down to just the right temperature there so as to be in radiative balance with the Sun. It’s not a coincidence at all, because it happens the other way around: the temperature plot builds up going downwards from that anchoring layer.

Many other “mysteries” are also solved, not least of which is how the surfaces of Earth and Venus receive the required thermal energy to rise in temperature during the day, balancing the cooling from the night before. Is convection going downwards during the day? Well, study what I have explained and find out what is really happening, because the Sun’s direct radiation to the surface is way too little to explain the mean temperature.

You can be enlightened, or you can stick with such mysteries seemingly unsolved: that’s your choice, because I just write here to help those who want to learn.


The world needs to focus more on what is and what is not the correct physics that does in fact explain temperatures and energy transfers both on Earth and other planets. That correct physics has nothing to do with radiation reaching a planet’s surface, because nearly all such solar radiation is not sufficient to raise the existing temperatures. Most solar radiation merely warms the upper troposphere and stratosphere, and this is very obvious for Venus if you apply Stefan-Boltzmann calculations. The “greenhouse effect” assumes incorrectly that the most prolific so-called “greenhouse gas” water vapour warms the Earth’s surface by most of 33 degrees on average. So, given that water vapour concentrations vary between about 1% and 4% we could deduce from the invalid “science” that rain forests should be more than 50 degrees hotter than dry deserts at similar latitude and altitude. Of course they are not, and that disproves the “settled” science. My study showed that, in the real world, the more moist regions have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than the drier regions. Water vapour cools, and it’s just as well that it does. So does carbon dioxide, but by less than 0.1 degree.

In all of world literature there is nothing which correctly explains the necessary thermal energy transfers on planets other than this website and my linked papers, videos and book. You need to study this and, if you think you can fault it, there’s a AU $10,000 reward for the first to do so and also to produce a similar study showing opposite results. You’d do better to recognise that it’s correct physics and spread the word in the fight against the hoax.

Douglas Cotton  (Author of the book: “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All.”)



By pointing his IR thermometer at a cloud and reading a temperature of about -3°C our friendly climatologist Roy Spencer claims he has proved the truth of the radiative forcing greenhouse conjecture because he says the sensor in the thermometer is affected by the radiation. He doesn’t say if its temperature rises or falls – just that it changes. Well, actually it changes downwards, because the radiated heat is not coming from the cloud – it is going towards the cloud from the instrument, which measures its own rate of cooling as a result. He doesn’t perhaps realize that his 3°C cloud is not actually radiating like a true “blackbody” in Space, and it cannot possibly be providing anything like the 324W/m^2 that the IPCC and NASA energy diagrams claim to be a global mean for the atmospheric radiation – roughly twice the 168W/m^2 of Solar radiation reaching the surface. Maybe it is, or maybe it isn’t 324W/m^2 on average, but whatever the case, such radiation does not help the Sun to heat the surface, and in fact it does not even penetrate the oceans. Roy knows this, but seems immune to the evidence that it provides.

The fundamental underlying assumption of the greenhouse conjecture is that, without greenhouse gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane, there would be no convection in the atmosphere and (since they think it requires convection for there to be a temperature gradient) the whole atmosphere, they think, and Roy Spencer documents, would supposedly collapse temperature-wise until isothermal (same-temperature) conditions prevail at all altitudes. Spencer et al come to this conclusion because of a very incorrect concept taught by climatologists to the next generation of climatologists. That concept is that there are imaginary parcels of air rising, expanding and getting cooler as a result. Well, unfortunately for their conjecture, molecules move around randomly and nothing restricts them to any confined space (or parcel) in the open air. Instead, as you will read in my paper linked above, everything happens at the molecular level due to molecular collisions.

In developing my hypothesis, variable weather conditions are ignored because they tend to average out globally, and we consider the net effect of what happens in molecular collisions and free flight between those collisions. Below, for real physicists, is what really happens as the temperature gradient evolves …

In the state of thermodynamic equilibrium in a column of the troposphere the pressure from above and below any horizontal plane is equal. Because pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density, and because there can be no transfer of energy or matter across any internal boundary when there is thermodynamic equilibrium, we can deduce that, for any horizontal plane, there must be equal numbers of molecules crossing upwards as there are crossing downwards, and the mean kinetic energy of each group while crossing the plane must be equal.

Now, for the numbers to be equal we note that the effect of gravity creates a slightly greater than 50% chance that net downward motion will occur between molecular collisions. This means that there must be a higher density below the plane and a lower one above. So we have a density gradient.

And, for the temperatures to be equal, this means that (because molecules gain Kinetic Energy with downward motion) there must have been lower mean molecular KE (temperature) above the plane and warmer temperature below. Hence there is a temperature gradient.

See also the item “EXPLANATION TO Dr ROY SPENCER AS TO WHY HE IS MISTAKEN” below towards the end of this post.



The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that, in an isolated system, entropy will never decrease in any independent process. The combination of two or more inter-dependent processes may be considered to be a single independent process. For example, in a siphon the two sides may be considered to host inter-dependent processes, so water will flow upwards on one side provided that it must flow further downwards on the other side because of the inter-dependence. But water will not flow up a creek to a lake on top of a mountain just because it will subsequently flow further down the other side. Hence, a one-way pencil of radiation must obey the second law because there is no inter-dependence with any reverse pencil of radiation. For example, radiation may heat some water, but some of the energy may exit the water via evaporation or conduction into the surrounding air. Nothing compels it to exit via radiation. Once the electro-magnetic energy in the radiation is converted to thermal energy (as only happens in a cooler target) then the new thermal energy can escape by any heat transfer process, and such a process is totally independent of the first process. Entropy will not decrease in either process. So radiation from the colder atmosphere cannot warm the surface by supplying new thermal energy to the surface. The radiation is pseudo-scattered – a process which (energy-wise) is similar to diffuse reflection.

Now, in the fictitious fiddled physics of climatology the incorrect assumption is made that pencils of radiation from the colder atmosphere can transfer thermal energy into a warmer surface, thus creating an independent process that would decrease entropy. Nature does not permit this, and the way that it prevents it happening is absolutely fascinating. It was the subject of extensive research I did before writing my paper on radiated energy that is linked at the foot of this page.

You can prove what I say is correct with a simple experiment in your backyard. Suspend a mercury bulb thermometer horizontally in a sunny spot. Let’s say that, early one morning it reads 15C – the assumed global mean surface temperature which climatologists want you to be gullible enough to believe is brought about by the combination of direct solar radiation and about twice as much radiation from the atmosphere. But your thermometer is also receiving radiation from the ground beneath so why is it not much hotter? Suppose you now block most of the ground radiation with a large tray filled with ice and placed just under your suspended thermometer. Try it and see if you can explain the temperature readings by adding all the radiation to get a net effect. You can’t, because radiation does not compound like that, and radiation from the colder atmosphere cannot be added to solar radiation in Stefan Boltzmann calculations because the Second Law cannot be violated.

Fortunately there’s more to the Second Law than you realize, and this has now been known since the 1980’s in more recent work by physicists including myself. That’s what you can learn about in my second paper (linked on the same page) that explains the process which accounts for all planetary temperatures and the necessary heat transfers that support such temperatures. It’s a whole new paradigm – a totally different ball park. And of course it proves the greenhouse conjecture to be false, whilst also explaining the observed fact that water vapor does not warm the surface by about 20 degrees for each 1% of WV in the atmosphere – another piece of garbage the IPCC would like you to believe.



Governments should pay due diligence and ask for verifiable physics which shows what physical mechanism supplies the thermal energy (“heat”) required to maintain the mean surface temperature of Earth, and how the increase of carbon dioxide supposedly causes that mechanism to increase the surface temperature each morning.

If you provide me here with some future “explanation” that they provide then I will expose the errors in their physics, as I have done regarding their “gold standard” textbook by Pierrehumbert.

They will try to prove that the surface temperature is determined by radiation. It is not, as I have explained in my website http://climate-change-theory.com.

Because the Sun’s direct radiation is not strong enough, they will claim that they can add about twice as much radiation from the colder atmosphere supposedly helping the Sun to raise the surface temperature each morning. It can’t, because heat cannot be transferred from a colder atmosphere to a warmer surface.

They will say, yes it can provided more heat comes back out. That is not correct: it is just like saying water could flow up a hillside to a lake at the top provided that it subsequently flows further down the other side.

They will say that, when they add this radiation from the atmosphere that they then have 390 watts per square metre and that this flux produces a temperature of 15C.

But, even though the 390 figure is wrong (because it includes radiation from the atmosphere) it still does not give anything like 15C as a mean temperature. That is because the flux is proportional to the fourth power of the temperature. Hence, if the flux varies (as it does) the effective mean temperature produced by that variable flux is always much colder than the temperature produced by uniform flux equal to the mean of the variable flux – that’s a mathematical fact.

All their “science” is wrong and in the wrong ball park. What happens is here: http://climate-change-theory.com.

Doug Cotton (author of the book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All”)



There have been significant developments in the understanding of entropy maximization and the Second Law of Thermodynamics since the 1980’s as you can read at this site: http://entropylaw.com where you will note that we can determine what will happen in a natural process if we understand the existence of unbalanced energy potentials and what will happen as those potentials dissipate. The reduction of unbalanced energy potentials is synonymous with entropy increasing, and the complete dissipation is synonymous with maximum entropy, namely the state called “thermodynamic equilibrium” by physicists. Such a state normally only has homogeneous temperature in a horizontal plane in a gravitational field. In a vertical plane, when energy potentials have all dissipated, there is a homogeneous sum of mean molecular (kinetic energy + gravitational potential energy) and thus there is a temperature gradient because temperature is proportional to mean molecular kinetic energy.

Inter-molecular radiation has a temperature leveling effect (as seen with water vapor) but not all molecules radiate significantly, and so the leveling effect is incomplete and it merely reduces the magnitude of the temperature gradient by up to about a third in some planetary tropospheres such as in moist regions in our own. For the planet Uranus, the reduction is less than about 10% of the magnitude of the gradient that is determined by -g/cp where g is the acceleration due to the planet’s gravity and cp is the weighted mean specific heat of the gases.

Now, because the temperature gradient in a planet’s troposphere is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium (maximum entropy) any subsequent absorption of new solar energy (mostly in the upper troposphere and the stratosphere) each planetary morning causes the equilibrium state to be disturbed because it creates new unbalanced energy potentials, there being then more energy (PE+KE) at the top of a column in the troposphere. To restore maximum entropy, some of the extra energy will have to move downwards (yes, to warmer regions) and that is how the required thermal energy gets into a planet’s surface by diffusion (molecular collision processes) in order to raise the temperature of that surface each morning. Solar radiation cannot do it, and there is none anyway at the base of the 350Km high nominal troposphere of Uranus, but it’s hotter than Earth’s surface down there, despite being about 30 times further from the Sun. Nor does radiation from the colder atmosphere to the surface.

For more detail, complete with explanatory diagrams, please visit http://climate-change-theory.com where you can watch a 43 minute video presentation and read my  peer-reviewed paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” that was published in February, 2013.

Doug Cotton (author of the book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All”)



Here are calculations using the (incorrect) IPCC net flux of 390W/m^2 into the surface* where we assume that there is really variable flux that contributes to the 390 figure and it applies to five equal zones that receive 20%, 60%, 100%, 140% and 180% of the mean of 390W/m^2. This is far more realistic than using 390 for the whole globe including the dark side. Now, using the on-line Stefan-Boltzmann calculator at tutorvista.com (and all the flux, because the reflected component has been deducted) we get blackbody temperatures as shown below.

20% zone (78W/m^2) – 192.6K
60% zone (234W/m^2) – 253.5K
100% zone (390W/m^2) – 288.0K
140% zone (546W/m^2) – 313.5K
180% zone (702W/m^2) – 333.6K

Mean temperature 276.2K (about 3°C)

Firstly, the IPCC et al incorrectly assumed they could include the back radiation and so their energy diagrams show a net of 390W/m^2 into the surface, a slightly fudged figure I would suggest anyway, and one which ignores the outward radiation. But, note the temperature for 100% is 288K (they fluked it right with 390 – or did they?) – just what they wanted for the mean temperature.

But, even when they incorrectly added back radiation (which does not penetrate the ocean surface and so cannot warm it) they still “forgot” the T^4 relationship in S-B, effectively treating the Earth as a flat disc receiving uniform flux day and night. Pierrehumbert made the same mistake.

When we insert realistic variation into the flux (as above) we get a far colder (and unrealistic) mean temperature, and we always will – that’s a mathematical fact. And we should not have added the back radiation anyway.

Do you now see how gullible you have all been to accept the whole incorrect paradigm that radiation to a planet’s surface explains the temperature? It doesn’t, and that’s blatantly obvious on Venus, because how could the atmosphere deliver the required 20,000W/m^2 or more to explain the Venus surface temperature when the incident solar radiation even at TOA is only about an eighth of that? Because radiation does not determine the temperature, radiation from CO2 is irrelevant.

* A typical Energy Budget diagram can be seen on this page.



We know that, apart from direct solar radiation, there must be additional thermal energy entering a planet’s surface each morning and early afternoon because otherwise we don’t have any warming at those times, and we don’t have overall energy balance each 24 hours at the surface. In typical energy diagrams like the one on this page, they show back radiation of about 324W/m^2 into the surface, but the electro-magnetic energy in that radiation is not converted to thermal energy in the warmer surface, and so there is no heat transfer from cooler to warmer regions. Such heat transfers can never happen by radiation. Instead, a similar amount of thermal energy is actually delivered into the surface by conduction across the interface with the atmosphere. This was energy originally absorbed each morning from new solar radiation that is strong enough to raise the cold temperatures found mostly in the upper troposphere and above. This new energy must be what makes its way to the surface, but it does not do so by radiation. Only non-radiative processes (natural convective heat transfers) can transfer thermal energy up the sloping thermal plane, provided that the process is increasing entropy. This is because such processes depend upon energy being transferred by molecular collisions, and gravity acts on molecules in flight between collisions increasing their kinetic energy as their gravitational potential energy decreases. But, by definition, no energy is transferred across internal boundaries in a perfect state of thermodynamic equilibrium. Energy transfers only happen when new energy creates a state that is not in thermodynamic equilibrium, so that entropy can increase. If the new energy is at the top of a “column” of the troposphere, then a new state of thermodynamic equilibrium (with its associated temperature gradient) can only be attained if some of that new thermal energy at the top is dispersed downwards to warmer regions. That is what I have been first to explain does in fact happen, so that we know this “heat creep” process is possible, and it is indeed the missing link that explains the missing energy that raises the surface temperature each morning, even under thick cloud cover.



Some believe they can disprove the gravito-thermal effect (that is, the effect whereby gravity forms a stable, equilibrium temperature gradient) with thought experiments such as attaching wires from the top to the base of a cylinder of gas. These thought experiments are refuted on this page.

Others think that the reverse temperature gradient in the oceans disproves the gravito-thermal effect. In fact, in polar regions in winter there can be observed in isolated lakes and some calm regions of the Arctic Ocean near Norway warmer temperatures at deeper depths. However, in most oceans there is a state approaching hydrostatic equilibrium, rather than the thermodynamic equilibrium required to observe the gravito-thermal effect. The “heat creep” process feeds thermal energy into the non-polar ocean surfaces, mostly by day, and thermal energy is driven downwards by natural convective heat transfers into the colder depths. From there the heat transfers can be expected to follow isotherms which eventually surface in polar regions. The floor of the ocean thus acts like a heat sink draining thermal energy from the tropics to the poles. Because of this heat sink, we can understand why the outer crust in the first 100 meters or so below the ocean floor is not much warmer than the cold, nearly freezing water at the ocean floor. In contrast, the outer crust just below solid surface regions is warmer in non-polar regions, being usually about the mean temperature of the surface above, though getting warmer at depths greater than the first hundred meters or so. The difference between the crust temperatures is due to the heat sink at the ocean floor.



(1) You claimed an incremental rise in surface temperature can be expressed as a function of an incremental increase in carbon dioxide radiation which would normally come from a colder region of the atmosphere. Is that a reasonable summation of a key element of the greenhouse hypothesis?

(2) Assuming “yes” then I say that (to convince me of that hypothesis) I need empirical evidence that the surface temperature is a function of such radiation, because if it is not, then neither is the derivative of the temperature. Is that correct?

(3) Assuming “yes” then please explain at least one point on the graph. Doing so does not prove that the function is correct, but it at least supports it and does not disprove it. If you can’t explain even a single temperature with correct physics then I am not convinced in any way, shape or form. Is that reasonable?

(4) Assuming “yes” then please explain a typical surface temperature of, say, 15°C by demonstrating (using any relevant data about any flux) how you calculate 15°C from such typical radiative flux alone.

I would appreciate discussion of the physics only.

When they claim that a mean flux of 390W/m^2 explains 15°C (because that is the blackbody temperature) ask them if they understand that temperature is only proportional to the fourth root of the flux. Then, get them to agree that the flux varies a lot, and ask for calculations for five equal regions having 20%, 60%, 100%, 140% and 180% of the mean flux. (They will get a lower mean temperature around 3°C.) Finally, ask them why they think they can add together solar radiation and back radiation in their Stefan-Boltzmann calculations. Suggest that, if an electric bar radiator is raising the temperature of an object to 350K, then, if there were sixteen such radiators and we add all the flux, Stefan Boltzmann calculations would give a temperature of 700K. Ask if they think that would happen. Assuming “no” then ask why they think they can add solar radiation and back radiation. They cannot claim to be able to do so because they have just agreed that adding the flux from all the radiators does not give a realistic temperature. Any one such example disproves their conjecture that radiative fluxes can be compounded in that way.



(Sent by email 14 March 2016)
Roy, Firstly, what you depend on is NOT the official IPCC explanation. Their energy diagrams very clearly imply that we can mathematically add the two fluxes (solar and atmospheric) just as if they have identical warming properties. It’s there in the figures: deduct the non-radiative cooling and you have 168+324-102=390W/m^2 which by coincidence (/sarc) has a blackbody temperature of 287.99K. This also assumes we have a flat Earth receiving a steady 390W/m^2 day and night.
The Sun’s direct radiation reaching the surface is far too weak to explain the observed surface temperatures in nearly all of the surface of the globe except where the Sun is nearly directly overhead on a clear day. On Venus the solar radiation reaching its surface is never sufficient anywhere.
So the rate of cooling is irrelevant.  Unless you do it the incorrect IPCC way, you cannot “explain” the surface temperature at all, as James Hansen realized and thus assumed back radiation did it because he forgot what Loschmidt said about the gravitationally induced temperature gradient that explains what happens on all planets.
Secondly, there is about twice as much non-radiative energy loss and, as I said in my 2012 paper, that cooling is not affected and it can accelerate to compensate. But what determines the minimum temperature that night is the supporting temperature in all the adjoining (mostly) nitrogen, oxygen and argon molecules. This is explained in my 2013 paper. Who cares if it takes an extra minute or so to get down to the supporting temperature in calm conditions in the early pre-dawn hours when we know cooling almost stops altogether? Do you ever wonder why?
Increasing water vapor lowers the supporting temperature (by reducing the lapse rate = temperature gradient) far more than any slowing of radiative cooling could increase the minimum temperature.
You, Roy, try to claim water vapor increases the surface temperature and lowers the upper troposphere temperature, thus making the lapse rate steeper, whereas in fact it becomes less steep, and my study (in the Appendix of my 2013 paper) shows more moist regions are indeed cooler.
Yet again, Roy (and others) I refer you to “THE QUESTIONS THAT STUMP LUKES AND WARMISTS” towards the end of my blog https://itsnotco2.wordpress.com
The electro-magnetic energy in radiation from an effectively cooler source (as even the Sun is, for example, just after dawn) is not thermalized in the surface as explained by Prof Claes Johnson, whose work I cited in my 2012 paper.
Just because the IR thermometer reads warmer than the surface where you are when pointed almost parallel to the surface merely means that either the air is actually warmer over there (due to weather conditions) or the thermometer is not correctly calibrated for such measurements because it “assumes” the wrong emissivity.
As I have pointed out, you simply cannot explain Venus surface temperatures (which would require radiation over 16,600W/m^2) with 20W/m^2 of solar radiation, even if you incorrectly add atmospheric radiation, because, with emissivity well below 1.00 and atmospheric temperature below that of the surface, there simply is not enough. Non radiative cooling losses would be several times the solar radiation, and atmospheric radiation could never exceed what would be required to explain a rise from about 732K to about 737K during 4 months on the sunlit side.
The radiative greenhouse conjecture is thus wrong because …
(1) You cannot explain surface temperatures with radiation reaching the surface
(2) So you cannot explain changes in surface temperatures with such radiation.


I still receive occasional comments from those who believe in the carbon dioxide hoax. The writers completely ignore the explanation of the “heat creep” hypothesis and merely regurgitate typical “explanations” of the so-called “greenhouse effect” whilst citing typical pal-reviewed papers.

Would all readers please understand that the “heat creep” hypothesis and the AGW greenhouse radiative forcing one are mutually exclusive: only one can be correct. Hence, if you cannot prove the “heat creep” hypothesis to be false (using the laws of physics) then you cannot prove the AGW conjecture to be correct.

Physics is a precise subject. Heat transfers in nature occur if and only if entropy is increasing. Indeed, every autonomous independent process in nature occurs because entropy is increasing (and so unbalanced energy potentials are diminishing) and all such processes cease when entropy reaches a maximum within the relevant constraints. So, you cannot deduce anything about any process unless you have a clear and precise understanding as to just exactly why unbalanced energy potentials are decreasing, why entropy is thus increasing and when and why it will cease doing so.

Hence, if you think you can prove the “heat creep” hypothesis false, then you need to explain why you think my analysis of the entropy maximization involved is incorrect.