Fourier is considered a direct predecessor to mainstream climatology. Mainstream climatology follows him and purposefully neglects geothermal energy in Earth’s energy budget due to the belief that it is too small. This then allows them to make the outrageous claim that it is IR-absorbing gases in the atmosphere that boosts surface temperatures to what we measure with thermometers.
So is it true that geothermal is negligible?
According to Fourier’s translated 1827 paper:
The effect of the primitive heat which the globe has retained has therefore
become essentially imperceptible at the Earth’s surface …
the effect of the interior heat is no longer perceptible at the surface of the Earth– Temperatures of the Terrestrial Sphere, Page 15
Well that looks settled. Doesn’t it? Let’s see the whole context:
This is a very curious paragraph, for it admits too much.
The only way to melt ice is to provide at least 0°C worth of energy. Right?
0°C is not “negligible”, now is it?
I can already hear my critics saying: “But Zoe, he said over a century!”
Sure. It’s so marginally over 0°C, that it takes a century to melt 3 cubic meters of ice. So what? It’s still at least 0°C. And it’s coming from the Earth.
Fourier contradicts himself when he claims Earth’s internal heat is imperceptible. Is ice melting not perceptible? What if he chose dry ice? More perceptible. What about nitrogen or oxygen “ice”? Even more perceptible!
Is 0°C correct? What do modern geophysicists think?
Same thing! 0°C is still the convention.
The radiative equivalent of 0°C at emissivity=1 is 315.6 W/m²
Can this really be excluded from the energy budget? No.
What’s the significance of this?
It means the greenhouse effect is junk science. The surface has enough energy from geothermal and solar to explain surface temperatures.
I have two previous articles describing how the geothermal contribution can be computed more accurately using two different methods:
It’s nice to know that the geothermal hypothesis was accidently scientifically supported by the very guy that unfortunately rejected it. A guy who modern academics follow uncritically. The answer was right beneath his feet, but unfortunately his head was in the clouds. Because of him, modern academics truly believe that it is the atmosphere that provides raw energy to the surface, rather than geothermal. What a colossal mistake. They flipped reality completely upside down.
While my critics like to claim that geothermal can only provide ~36 Kelvin because they applied Stefan-Boltzmann formula to the small conductive heat flux of 91.6 mW/m², actual scientists know that geothermal can melt ice. And this knowledge is 200 years old! When are climate scientists going to wake up?
My critics point out that Fourier meant to add that 318 mW/m² over a course of a century; 3 centuries by today’s known geothermal heat flux: 91 mW/m².
That’s not the point. The point was to expose Fourier’s own confusion over the difference between heat and energy. Fourier’s conduction formula applies to HEAT flow, not energy. 318 mW/m² or 91 mW/m² of total emissive energy will NEVER melt ice. But 318 or 91 mW/m² of HEAT flow might, depending on the temperature the ice is sitting on.
Bottom line: Did Fourier claim geothermal could melt ice? YES. Did he give a good explanation? NO.
Is Fourier a good choice to be a father of climate science? That’s a big NO.
But … since Fourier claimed geothermal could melt ice, I will take his word for it, because in this case he is absolutely right.