The Irrelevance of Geothermal Heat Flux

You’ve probably heard it before: the geothermal heat flux is so small (91.6 mW/m²) that it can be effectively ignored in Earth’s energy budget. The first part is true, the heat flux is small, but this fact is completely irrelevant. And what is relevant is popularly denied and masked as something else.

I’ve already explained the problem here and here. Unfortunately not everyone understood the point I was trying to make, so I made a visualization:

Various Profiles with the same Geothermal Heat Flux (CF). Emissivity=1

CF (Conductive Flux) is the Geothermal Heat Flux, EF is the Emergent Geothermal Flux, Th and Tc are the temperatures of the hot side and cold side. d is depth. Compatibility with my previous terminology: CF = CHF and EF = CSR.

As you can see all of these profiles have the same geothermal heat flux (CF), and all of them produce a very different emergent flux (EF) out of the surface. The popularly stated geothermal heat flux is NOT a value that you can compare to insolation. The value itself gives you NO clue as to what can emerge at the top. Anyone telling you otherwise is stupid or lying.

The geothermal heat flux and the thermal conductivity factor determines the temperature gradient. A gradient can never tell you either what kinetic energy is at the bottom or the top. Never.

So what really emerges at the top on Earth? In this visualization, the closest answer is ~5°C or ~340 W/m² – what was calculated and observed here and here. ~340 W/m² is what is claimed for the total greenhouse gas backradiation effect, as shown in the “official” energy budget here. That’s not surprising, because the greenhouse gas effect is secretly just geothermal flipped upside down. It’s the biggest scam in climate science, and you heard it here first.

Geothermal provides a tremendous amount of energy, even more than the sun, but climate scientists ignore it because they are looking at a component of a gradient/slope measure, rather than the temperature (kinetic energy) it delivers to the surface.

I invite everyone to give this some serious thought and not just dismiss it using sophistry.

Love, -Zoe


  1. Geothermal Heat Flux (CF) is a very useful value for commercial geothermal energy prospectors, but not for atmospheric scientists creating an energy budget. EF is what they need to use. They do use it, but they flip it upside down and call it GHE.
  2. The temperature gradient value used is 27.5 °C/km, which I got from here: “it is about 25–30 °C/km”. This makes k = 0.333 W/(m*K).

23 thoughts on “The Irrelevance of Geothermal Heat Flux

  1. “… because the greenhouse gas effect is just geothermal flipped upside down.”

    Boom …

    Man, this is gonna trigger Cognitive Dissonance to the point of cognitive epilepsy Zoe.

    Well done indeed.

    Would you cover the permafrost that is deeper than 10m?

    An exploration of the atmosheric warming effect of cloud cover deep into antarctic winters (when the effect of the sun is essentally absent) would perhaps be interesting too, as it suggests that geothermal is very significant indeed. I know you deal with surface T but nonetheless it might be illustrative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A whole map is provided here:

      Many think that this latitude distribution means it can’t be geothermal. This is false.

      The geotherm is simply more oblate than the surface of the Earth. This is a result of hot magma rotating inside a semi-hard shell. The centripetal force causes a geothermal bulge.

      What this means is that there is more distance to the same temperature at the poles than the equator. Thus causing a latitudinal distribution.


  2. I have done a graph in a single constant scale showing the earth + atmosphere temperature profile all together, and the first thing that comes to mind is “how the heck is it possible that (almost) no one is considering geothermal”…I would post it here but I don’t think it’s possible. And then you Zoe are way better than me at doing these things 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scientist (Satire):

      The geothermal heat flux is small. Don’t need to look into it further than that.

      I don’t care that my feet are burning on a hot plate. A gradient/slope measure is small! My feet must be burning due to the sun and atmosphere. It has to be this way because an irrelevant measure is small.”

      Climate scientists are pack animals and their god is Fourier, the geothermal denier.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Zoe, I’d love to say that I’m comprehending your work in a way that I can repeat it in conversation but unfortunately I just can’t. The time it takes to absorb and comprehend, within context, the terminology is proving too difficult for a part-time reader with my ability. I was closer a few months ago (sigh)… In any event, I intuitively see that you’re onto something important, and I comprehend from a macro viewpoint just not enough to raise it in conversation. But I’ll continue my attempt. Question: are there any scientists that have embraced your ‘GHGT is really geothermal flipped theory’? Also, I recall John O’Sullivan stating in some thread on Principia Scientific that he would publish your work when you were ready to do so – has anything come of that? regards, Nicky

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nicky.
      No, no one with a bigger audience has embraced my ideas. John might help, but I see he hasn’t accepted it himself. So what’s the point?

      The idea is simple. The planets are not complete slaves to the sun. They have their own thermal energy. The sun adds to it, creating the surface temperatures we observe. Fourier was a geothermal denier; he claimed the extra warming came from the atmosphere. Since he said it, it must be true. All climate scientists uncritically followed him.

      The idea is easy to understand but responding to all the silly sophistic objections you will receive, is indeed very difficult. Their premises are false, but they don’t know that.

      I haven’t yet seen anyone defend my ideas in detail, but some have managed to summarize it briefly.

      Thank you for the support. I really appreciate it.

      How can I make this material easier to understand?


      1. Hi Zoe, honestly there’s nothing wrong with your explanation – it lays in my comprehension and ability to articulate. Regarding John O’Sullivan accepting your theory; does he need to? I got the impression he would publish it regardless? If this was the case, I would encourage you to submit something irrespective of his current opinion. If it were submitted then he would be forced to ponder it more closely, and then perhaps it would resonate. In any case, keep up the great work. You’re inspiring. Nicky


      2. –The idea is simple. The planets are not complete slaves to the sun. They have their own thermal energy. The sun adds to it, creating the surface temperatures we observe. Fourier was a geothermal denier; he claimed the extra warming came from the atmosphere. Since he said it, it must be true. All climate scientists uncritically followed him.–

        Problem with that idea, is: “it’s the sun stupid”.
        A lot of opposition to “global warming” is idea that climate is related to solar activity.
        Let’s make list of ideas:
        No, wait let’s start with who:
        “The iris hypothesis is a hypothesis proposed by Richard Lindzen et al. in 2001 that suggested increased sea surface temperature in the tropics would result in reduced cirrus clouds and thus more infrared radiation leakage from Earth’s atmosphere.”
        Richard Lindzen is the most hated “denier”. Though believes CO2 has or could some warming effect.
        He the devil to global warming believers- they will flee in panic.
        [A lot people in his camp} We can put Willis Eschenbach in that camp, WUWT also. Most people].
        sunspots related to climate. Willis Eschenbach is against.
        But WUWT posts a lot about that.
        I think Sunspot related weather. Lots people believe global climate is addition or sum of weather effects- and
        might include Richard Lindzen. And put “global warming” believers in that camp.
        I would say weather is only thing studied, really in term of global climate.
        And weather is actually important.
        Also who is published a lot at WUWT: Willis Eschenbach and Roy Spencer and WUWT started
        on the topic bad measurement of Surface Air temperature.
        Anthony Watts whole life related to topic of weather.
        And most opposition to global warming religion is from professionals on topic meteorology.
        But funny thing I ever heard about topic was from oceanographer- but mostly it’s meteorologists.
        You can’t say it’s “not about sun” to meteorologists.
        Connected sunspots is the varying intensity of our variable star, which effect the amount GCR reaching
        Earth, which effects cloud formation, but also just more or less sunlight.

        Oh, also a lot people are just mad that the global warming religion has tried to erase the Little Ice Age
        from history- so the Hockey Stick graph. Hide the decline. And Climategate.
        Big player on that is Climate Audit. which mainly, Steve McIntyre. Steve McIntyre and team destroyed
        the hockey stick, and killing field was in US congress.
        If want criticism {and you should- if vaguely interested in science} give it to Steve McIntyre who to punch holes it.
        And you will can published after that, globally. Or give to anyone who professional statistician, which Steve is.
        Main thing I say about Steve, is seems trustworthy and obsessive.
        WUWT will publish anything Steve peer reviews.
        I think will end with that. Oh, website


  4. –That’s not surprising, because the greenhouse gas effect is secretly just geothermal flipped upside down. It’s the biggest scam in climate science, and you heard it here first.–

    What you seem to be saying is that the greenhouse gas effect can be replaced with a geothermal effect.

    From my prospective greenhouse gas effect is small I don’t think greenhouse gases warm by 33 K, and you seem to say it’s non-existence. Which I think is possible.
    Or as example I think a doubling of CO2 causes 0 to .5 C increase upon surface air temperature. And you seem to be saying a doubling is closer to 0 C.

    But I also claim that surface air temperature doesn’t warm the ocean, and how cold or warm the ocean is what determines global climate temperature.
    And I think that being on water planet is important element in terms of our global temperature.
    And geothermal heat is important element of keeping ocean warm.
    But wouldn’t have considered that Geothermal heat is an important element in keeping land areas warm- in terms of surface air land temperature.

    I think whole theory that determines greenhouse gases causes 33 K is wrong- is pseudo science.
    The numerous authors said they could not determine any other warming effect other greenhouse gases.

    I would say the sheer mass of N2 and O2 gases of 10 tons per square meter of the atmosphere is one or a warming effect.

    Many claim clouds are warming effect- some have claimed that as much 50% of warming effect of greenhouse
    gases is due to clouds- general idea about clouds is depends “type” of clouds, or roughly high elevation clouds are regarded as cooling effect and lower elevation clouds are warming effect

    So it seems your point what causing the increase of 33 K is not greenhouse gases, but rather geothermal heat.
    And roughly I think the +33 K is based first simple and wrong model indicating Earth have average temperature of -18 C without 33 C warming effect.

    And I think what determine global climate is the temperature of the ocean. Or I would say geothermal energy is a significant factor mainly because it warms the ocean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mass can’t cause temperature increase. Temperature is a function of mass and VELOCITY. If the atmosphere fell there would be a ONE time warm up.

      It’s because of geothermal and solar that there is VELOCITY in atmospheric mass.

      Greenhouse effect theory is wrong, and so is N&Z pressure theory.

      The Earth is an infrared star, and it ALONE is capable of providing a habitable environment for humans between -40 and 40 latitude.

      The only thing CO2 can do is change the lapse rate. CO2 does effect the temperature at 2 meters above surface, but it is extremely tiny, less than 0.01C.


  5. “Mass can’t cause temperature increase. Temperature is a function of mass and VELOCITY. If the atmosphere fell there would be a ONE time warm up.”

    Yes. And you agreeing with what I saying about the warmer surface air {global average surface air temperature of 15 C- and actually, an average of 17 C in terms surface air over the ocean areas] does warm the 3,5 C average temperature of the ocean.
    But I speaking to people who assume global surface air temperature is Earth’s average temperature and I am saying Earth average temperature is 3.5 C.
    So we have the pseudo science of Earth average temperature is 15 C, and pressure “idea” is likewise imagining Earth average temperature is 15 C. More mass will increase the temperature of surface air- and doesn’t warm the ocean. So more mass does increase temperature of surface temperature, but also decreases the mount of sunlight which reaches the ocean surface {which is what warms the world and gives us the average surface air temperature of 15 C. And average air temperature of 15 C, is first of all, cold. Second it’s an “illusion” air surface temperature is 15 C- because tropical surface ocean temperature is 26 C and it’s 40% of the surface of ocean and roughly the world.
    And in most of this vast region no one living in. Some in terms of religious idiots of global warming, they living in cooler surface air temperature than 15 C. And all them, are educated to know they are living in an Ice Age. Which important issue considering where they live. Not very important if living in near or in the tropics. If living in southern California a glacial period means you can’t grow oranges {but most of fanatics are living where you can not grow oranges-or other tropical plants.

    So surface air temperature is in the middle of two heat gradients, atmosphere and ocean- surface air and surface ocean. Maximum ocean surface is about 35 C and Maximum ground surface is about 70 C. Ocean surface is same as ocean surface air temperature. Land ground temperature is quite different surface air temperature- the highest recorded {which is correctly measured} surface air temperature is “56.7 °C (134.1 °F) in Furnace Creek Ranch, California,…on 10 July 1913. {{And you should get higher air temperature with lower global average temperature- don’t make mistake it’s disproves global warming.}} Of course can make the sun warm more than 70 C and increase air temperature higher than 56.7 °C.
    Roll window up in car and be warmer part of clear sky day.
    And in nature one can warmer air temperature, and this related to pressure or as I would say gradients.
    And it was in glacial period and when the Mediterranean Sea dried up and it’s called, Messinian salinity crisis.
    Wiki, Messinian salinity crisis:
    “Using the dry adiabatic lapse rate of around 10 °C (18 °F) per kilometer, the maximum possible temperature of an area 4 km (2.5 mi) below sea level would be about 40 °C (72 °F) warmer than it would be at sea level. Under this extreme assumption, maxima would be near 80 °C (176 °F) at the lowest points of the dry abyssal plain, permitting no permanent life but extremophiles. ”
    And that is surface air temperature {ground surface would close to 80 C also- it’s not really heating by sunlight in basin floor, it’s heated ground temperature at a higher elevation [region surrounding Mediterranean Sea basin]
    And how I would say Venus is hot on it’s rocky surface {which gets almost no sunlight], and would say Venus surface is it’s clouds which about 50 km higher than rocky surface of Venus.
    “Temperature is a function of mass and VELOCITY. If the atmosphere fell there would be a ONE time warm up.”

    Right, and average air velocity at Venus cloud level is the same as the dense atmosphere at rocky surface.
    Or air molecule are travelling at about 400- 500 m/s.
    Or roughly same air average velocity as on Earth.


  6. Btw, everyone know about this lapse rate or gradient of temperature- and there is no need of “new theory”.
    Though the religious global warming fanatic are clueless, as are all fanatics.

    And hardly the only area where pseudo science is rampant.
    Racism is also pseudo science- I say that, because it’s even more obvious- or known by
    Over population is also pseudo science, and endless etc. Soft sciences, a mushy word
    for pseudo science.
    Modeling is useful, but doesn’t predict future. And we currently have quite a degree of
    fanatical belief on these somewhat useful China virus models. Not mention the often corrupt and
    inaccurate election polling.

    But ocean thing is new. And we need this theory- but I wouldn’t call it quite done yet.
    But then again, science is really never done.

    Nor is religion, politics, or philosophy.
    I am more interested in philosophy and other arts.
    Like mechanical arts of invention- which have always
    used cutting edge science. And interested in exploration- which drives science.
    I am interested Moon and Mars- and have been interested in terraforming Mars.
    Which I think can be quite simple and cheap.


  7. Getting to other part:
    –Greenhouse effect theory is wrong, and so is N&Z pressure theory.–
    Sure. But craziness probably as some unknowable value.
    One can it in surplus, Einstein considered it an ever increasing value. I don’t imagine Einstein
    was overly depressed by it- it can be irritating- and it seems to be related to it’s value {perhaps, unfortunately}.
    I believe human mind is better than super computer, could be. And that include the minds of all crazies-
    includes every one. And includes dumb animals like dolphins- and the other smarter meat eaters.

    –The Earth is an infrared star, and it ALONE is capable of providing a habitable environment for humans between -40 and 40 latitude.–
    In terms of “perhaps” mindless/random evolution.

    The human is technological creature- as are other animals.
    There some merit to idea that Earth is a prison- it’s hard to leave.
    If you can leave the planet, one will be a starfaring civilization. An important aspect of starfaring in the term term is using large telescopes.
    So if we can get off Earth we can built vast telescopes.
    Currently we using what call large telescopes to explore the beginning time. And would do more of that with the much larger telescope.
    But we also look at closer targets.
    One thing has been underfunded and though increased, still underfunded is looking for space rocks which will at upset us if they hit earth. Any solar system in universe will have billions of such space rocks. Such number of rocks everywhere, should be part of variable of Fermi paradox- known simply, as where are the aliens?
    We can live off world. It’s would be easy. We already be off world, if we explored space, instead focusing
    things like NASA making rockets. Governments imagining they can make rockets and imagining they can mine things
    in space, has been a foolishness sought- and still is being foolishly seeked.

    But it might be changing.

    –The only thing CO2 can do is change the lapse rate. CO2 does effect the temperature at 2 meters above surface, but it is extremely tiny, less than 0.01C–

    I don’t think CO2 changes lapse rate, I heard lots people claim it does, but I think everyone agrees that it mostly water vapor that changes lapse rate and does this due it being condensable in atmosphere.

    CO2 gases does condense into solid on Mars. So anyhow t seems CO2 on Earth would related to radiant process.

    In terms CO2 only, Mars has far more CO2 than Earth, about 30 times as much per square meter of surface.
    Some claim there is greenhouse effect on Mars, but other latent heat associated to freezing CO2, there does not seem be a warming effect due it’s atmosphere.
    But one also say, that other Mars having around average temperature of -60 C {and could be warmer or colder- and are we talking ground surface or surface air- and if surface air, how far off the surface as there wide difference in less than 1 meter of height in regards to near the ground surface on Mars}.

    In terms of warming effects of CO2 on Earth, I tend of believe in it warming in top 100 meters or so
    But I don’t think much agreement about it. If I were guess what most common view, it’s effect is suppose effect radiation emitted at 5 to 7 km elevation. Though maybe 7 to 9 km.
    The problem I have any religion is the internal confusion about their religion.

    I can agree that Jesus was a god, but then I sort gets into to topic gods with me which conflicts idea of the need
    for one god, but again Christianity has sort of 3 gods, and I also to tend to go in direction there is only 1 God, which is *perfectly able* to have many gods, which devolve into topic of angels. And counting how many could dance on pin, and etc.
    Or quite willing to listen their religion. But also tends into secrets in any religion. And secrets are never important, but does manage to confuse the followers. It seems obvious that secrets are political way to control the believers.
    And the leadership are the most idiotic. The current Pope is regarded by all as complete fool, and seems no doubt because he talks too much.


    1. dT/dz = -g / Cp

      Of course CO2 alters the lapse rate. How can it not? It has a different Cp than other gases and therefore its proportion must alter the lapse rate. QED


      1. Cp being heat capacity?
        All major gases in atmosphere have different heat capacities. Air is about 1000 joules per kg per 1 C increase or
        decrease in temperature. CO2 is less than 1000 joules per kg per 1 K, Argon which far more abundant than CO2
        is lot less than 1.
        Speaking heat capacity, liquid water is 4179.6 joules per kg when water is 25 C. Heat capacity changes a bit depending temperature. Quote something:

        Q = cp m dT


        Q = amount of heat (kJ)

        cp = specific heat (kJ/kgK)

        m = mass (kg)

        dT = temperature difference between hot and cold side (K)
        Consider the energy required to heat 1.0 kg of water from 0 oC to 100 oC when the specific heat of water is 4.19 kJ/kgoC–
        Example Heating Water

        Consider the energy required to heat 1.0 kg of water from 0 oC to 100 oC when the specific heat of water is 4.19 kJ/kgoC:

        Q = (4.19 kJ/kgoC) (1.0 kg) ((100 oC) – (0 oC))

        = 419 (kJ)

        But we want saltwater:
        — 39.86 kJ
        It takes 39.86 kJ to heat 1 kg of seawater from 0 to 10 °C.–
        But it’s warming to 10 C, let’s roughly 1/2 it so 0 to 5 C
        19930 joules per kg or 19.93 million joules per ton or roughly cubic meter of ocean water {it would slight compressed
        at depth, but seems insignificant factor.

        Your number which seems low, I guess because averaging with land area: 91.6 mW/m
        Or 329.76 watts per hour or 329.76 joules of heat in a hour of time.
        Not working. 3.986 KJ per Kg per K.
        3986 KJ per ton per K or 3.986 million joules. And divided by 329.76 joules is 12,086.48 hours
        to warm cubic meter water by 1 K. But concerned about less say 1/100th of C
        120 hours.
        So 60 hours the first 1/2 meter water above the sea floor could warm by .01 C and
        120 hour the 1 meter height is warmed by .01 C. And put 3.986 million joules heat into a
        cubic meter of seawater.
        Roughly speaking the average temperature of ocean doesn’t change in 1000 years.
        An 1 degree change is “impossible” or 1 C change is the end of the world, if continue like
        climate change idiots claims it could do.
        Or would .5 C increase in average temperature is ‘remarkable, and we have not had such
        increase in ocean temperature within 1000 year. Or wild claim is portion of ocean warmed
        by .2 C would tiny compared to .5 C increase of entire ocean.
        I think it’s quite possible {and may happened, the entire has cooled .5 C over the last +5000 years.
        Or I think possible 1 C warming has occurred in time periods of 10,000 years.

        And I would say to some kind balance ocean cooling and ocean warming due to sunlight, and when just
        consider sunlight, the cooling seems more powerful.

        So I would say global climate is “measured” in thousand of years. {and weather is mater of hours or mins}.
        So 5 days is insignificant in terms of global climate. Plus everyone say the only way to measure global temperature
        is over time periods 30 years {some say 17 years for some reason- I would at least 100 years to measure it- which is serious problem for the short lifetime of people- it should introduce bias due career goals.}
        What also known by “everyone” is this interglacial period will end, it’s only a mater of when. Or would say
        our ocean is going to cool to lower temperature than 3.5 C, and it only a question of when. Or we are
        in an Ice Age: Intergalactic periods are about 1/5th the duration of glaciation periods. Or about 20,000 vs about 100,000 years.
        So in 5 days adds 3.986 million joules and 5000 days adds 3986 million joules of heat to ocean, and 5000 days
        is mere 13.7 years. This is 3986 million joules per square meter, and per square km it’s 3986 million million joules or
        3.985 x 10^15 joules. 1 metaton bomb is 4.18 x 10^15 joules vs 3.985 x 10^15 joules is slightly.
        The underwater nuke test weren’t as much as 1 metaton and they were in comparably shallow water- “WIGWAM was the first atomic test in the
        deep ocean, and it remains the only test that has been conducted in water deeper than 1,000 ft (300 m).” and 30 kt
        Since ocean floor is 361.9 million square kilometers. It would similar to exploding 361.9 million slightly less powerful than 1 metaton
        nuclear bombs at +4000 meter of ocean depth every 13.7 years and after 137 year of this, and if for massive cooling effect of falling
        cold polar waters this could signifcantly warm the ocean in very short period of time.
        But one is nullify an effect of the cold water falling which isn’t even mentioned in any Global Energy Budgets.


        1. 91.6 mW/m^2 is a heat flux. It’s not kinetic energy. If you want to know the T, then just look directly at geotherm diagrams:

          The minimum is 0C. This is BULK heat. The real dense deal. There is no problem with sensible ocean heating. The heat flux is a type of gradient measure, and totally inapropriate, unless you’re prospecting for “geothermal energy” for electricity production.


  8. Interesting Zoe.
    Here in Sweden we are using two methods to extract energy from the soil. One is to put horizontal pipes 1-2m below the surface.The other is to drill 100-200m deep holes. In both variants we are using heat pumps to extract the energy conserved in the soil. By altering gas pressure we can lift a 6-8C source to 30-70C and then distribute that within our houses for heating and hot water.
    In your theory what portion of the 6-8C is generated from the Th side?
    In the descriptions I read it is 100% the sun and/or ground water originally heated by the sun. Th contribution is virtually zero even at -200m.
    True or false?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question.

      Mostly False.
      The Th at -200m is COMPLETELY of geothermal origin. However, I suppose it’s possible for the water to have first been heated by the sun, then it seeped into the ground, where it was maintained by geothermal, then came back up.

      There is no solar action to maintain such high level of energy for water at depths below 10 meters (possibly less for Sweden). Anything below that is geothermal.

      The shallow soil pipes are indeed pure solar.


      1. Firstly I am on your side, we need to poke a hole in this insane climate catastrophe story.
        You can see by following the provided website link that I am trying to prove that temperature measurements are not reliable and to a high degree “administrated”.
        Now to my follow up question to illustrate how I think the climate complex sees it.

        Imagine it is night and the temperature is -10C. My heat pipes still enjoys a +6C source for heat. I have invented a machine that can rip of the soil down to 2 meters in 1 second. At the bottom I find two equally sized stones. I leave one on the ground and put the other on a table. The table has been outside for a while so it already -10C.
        Both stones will eventually cool to -10C. The one on the table will cool faster because the one I left on ground enjoys the conserved energy in the soil.
        Has also Th a dampening effect on the cooling?
        Here is where they use the approx 9mW/m2. (Hope I remember that figure right)



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