Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Miskolczi's Theorem

A former employee of NASA, Ferene M. Miskolczi, published a paper Greenhouse effect in semi-transparent planetary atmospheres, in which he argues that the long-wave radiation from the planet surface is 1.5 times the long-wave radiation from the upper surface of the atmosphere. He uses this factor of 1.5, together with some mathematics that we have not studies, to show that the warming due to the greenhouse effect in a semi-transparent atmosphere is inherently self-stabilizing, and claims that addition of CO2 to the atmosphere will result in a decrease in water vapor content so as to restore the warming to its stable value.

You will find Dr. Miskolczi's paper reviewed in detail at Niche Modeling. Our friend Peter Newnam pointed us to the paper and we started going through it a few days ago. We follow his argument up to and including his equation (6), but when he comes to equation (7), he loses us. Try as we might, we cannot understand how "The principle of conservation of energy dictates that" his equation (7) holds. Nor are we convinced of equation (7) by the review at Niche Modeling.

Having said that, we see that Dr. Miskolczi arrived at his conclusion from his examination of atmospheric data while working at NASA. It appears that his equation (7), together with some other mathematical work, produce a theorem that is consistent with his observations. We will keep Dr. Miskolczi's theorem in mind as we explore the Greenhouse Effect in further posts.

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