The Earth's atmosphere is an adiabatic temperature gradient system, with heat capacities, mass, density, gravity and the Laws of Physics and Thermodynamics determining the outcome. The atmosphere is cooler than the surface and decreases in temperature further with altitude. Thus, heat flows away from the warmer surface to the cooler atmosphere. Heat can’t be “trapped” at the warmer surface by the cooler atmosphere because heat spontaneously flows from hot to cold, and this can’t be stopped.
Energy from the Sun called short wave infrared radiation is directed towards the Earth, the albedo effect reflects about 30% back to space and most of the remainder is absorbed by Earth’s surface. Here, the Plank’s Blackbody Radiation Law is activated. This law allows us to calculate the total amount of energy in a blackbody spectrum, and what the temperature the object actually needs to be at in order to emit that amount of energy. The Earth is not a full ‘blackbody” it is rated at about 0.7, with 1 being a full black body. Next the Stefan-Boltzmann law comes into play, and it states that an object which radiates like a blackbody has a surface brightness which is proportional to the object’s temperature (“T” in degrees Kelvin) to the fourth power.
“Let’s look at blackbody radiation. Arrange two identical blackbodies to radiate at each other. Just make sure one is warmer than the other. It will soon be apparent that the cooler body is not cooling as rapidly as the warmer body. In fact, if it was way cooler, it could warm up a bit first and then cool slowly. The cooler body is absorbing the HIGH FREQUENCY radiation from the warmer body and converting it to lower frequency radiation appropriate to its current temperature and radiating this back to the warmer body. The warmer body does NOT respond to radiation from a lower temperature range. Eventually both bodies will be at equilibrium with each other, having reached the same temperature, and continue cooling at the same rate.”
Next, another Law is activated called Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Radiation. It states: “At radiative thermal equilibrium, the emissivity of a body equals its absorptivity.” In other words, the Earth will give off just as much power in radiation as it absorbs, when it’s in radiative thermal equilibrium with the Sun.
Now we must look at photons. What defines the energy in a photon? For this we need to look up the basic principles of molecular emission/absorption. That slant is important, a photon CANNOT emit AND absorb at the same time. Just one or the other. Low emissivity warms, high emissivity cools. Oxygen and Nitrogen have low emissivity, where as the so-called greenhouse gases have a higher emissivity, thus cool the atmosphere.
The total energy of a photon is the sum of rotational energy plus the vibrational energy plus the electronic energy plus the translation energy. The translation energy is acquired by kinetic collisions with other photons.A photon does not have a temperature rating. It has an energy rating appropriate to its frequency. This energy is defined as Planck’s Constant times the frequency. Thus high frequency photons are more energetic than low frequency photons.
From “Thermodynamics”, G. J. V. Wylen, John Wiley & Sons, 1960:
“Heat is defined as the form of energy that is transferred across a boundary by virtue of a temperature difference or temperature gradient. Implied in this definition is the very important fact that a body never contains heat, but that heat is identified as heat only as it crosses the boundary. Thus, heat is a transient phenomenon.
Therefore, there is no heat transfer from the atmosphere to the surface, or from a cooler object to a warmer object in general. And since positive heat flow is what is required for temperature increase, then no cooler object raises the temperature of a warmer object by utilization of its thermal energy. That is why there is no “back radiation” or “heat trapping” as the IPCC Greenhouse Gas theory suggests and why it is a myth.
These are the Laws of Physics that are the foundation into understanding a very complex process that has been has been subject to much controversy and abuse through ignorance.