Ferenc Miskolczi

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Miskolczi, Ferenc M. 2007. "Greenhouse Effect in Semi-Transparent Planetary Atmospheres." Időjárás 111, 1-40 (pdf)

Main Issues

from Nick Stokes

1. The whole theme of the analysis as something that undermines current AGW practice is wrong. Dr Miskolczi’s modelling is of a gray-body atmosphere (no spectral lines or shapes). No GCM or practical climate study would use such an assumption, or use any gray-body theory due to Milne. A gray-body model is sometimes used for teaching purposes to convey concepts.

2. The paper is presented as a physics-based theoretical analysis. It is based on three fundamental errors: a. Kirchhoff’s Law, which is completely mis-stated. KL says that emissivity equals absorptivity. These are coefficients, which are used with other environment variables (temperature, incident radiation) to determine actual emittances and absorbances (total energy amounts). Dr Miskolczi simply assumes the emittances and absorbances can be equated. b. The Virial Theorem. People who know about this scratch their heads here, because it is a principle which can be important in stars, but applied to Earth just describes the hydrostatic balance of the atmosphere. Dr Miskolczi’s statement is totally mystifying - he says that because of some relation between energies, two fluxes must have a certain relation. No-one can work that out. c. A third equation, (7) in the paper and on this site. Dr Miskolczi has two equations which describe the result of applying conservation of energy to the Earth and the atmosphere, the two entities in his simple model. In the paper he introduced (7) as a third, but never said over what entity or region energy balance was being assessed. In an earlier version of this on-line “proof”, he sought to invoke conservation of momentum instead - a different principle, and very strange in the context. In this latest version, it sounds like it’s back to energy conservation, but eq (7) still makes no sense.

So with the physics not really working so well, he (or Zagoni) says now on this site “Regardsless of the names and laws referred to in their derivation, the equations of Dr Miskolczi given in the points 3.-9. above are original and proved to be valid.”

3. So the proof is now, presumably, held to be empirical. But what does empirical mean here? In the paper, Dr M makes frequent reference to plots of 228 points, which seem to have reasonable regression fits. But what are the points? He sometimes talks of (”selected” ;) radiosonde readings, but there isn’t much detail offerred. And sometimes of simulations, using his code “HartCode”. In this site he assembles the results to prove the main principles, but the claim to their observational nature is somewhat undermined by the fact that he has similar graphs for Mars. It seems clear the results are simulations - how real-world observations fit in is quite unclear.

The key finding, often quoted, is that the greenhouse effect is limited. This result follows from his claim that the optical depth has a theoretical value (about 1.84), so if more CO2 is put into the atmosphere, somehow water is squeezed out. But that theoretical depth is based on a claim that the atmosphere must somehow optimise cooling, which he never justifies. Towards the end of this “proof” site, he lists comments from some of the referees of journals that rejected his paper. I don’t know why; the referees seem to make very strong points. On this particular point, one said: ”The overall concluding statement that ‘the existence of a stable climate requires a unique surface upward flux density and a unique optical depth of 1.841’ makes absolutely no sense at all. An atmosphere can be in stable radiative equilibrium for any LW optical depth, but the equilibrium surface temperature will monotonically depend on the value of the optical depth….” Quite right - the radiative balance can’t remove or add gases to the atmosphere.


Other Rebuttals