A Window on Water Vapor and Planetary Temperature – Part 2

A few days ago I posted a story highlighting the drop in water vapor in the atmosphere which initially looked like the entire atmosphere due to a labeling issue by ESRL, but turned out to be only at the 300 millibar height and not up to 300mb as the ESRL graph was labeled.

Even so, that brought a lot of people into looking at and analyzing the issue further. Barry Hearn of the website junkscience.com brought to my attention a review of the various atmospheric levels contained in the ERSL database. I had planned to do this myself, but I’ve been traveling this week and didn’t have as much time as I normally would, so  I’m pleased to present Barry’s writeup here for further consideration.

For some background into atmospheric absorption efficiency of common gases compared to the  electromagnetic spectrum, this graph is valuable:

Note the CO2 peak at 15 microns is the only significant one, as the 2.7 and 4.3 micron CO2 peaks have little energy to absorb in that portion of the spectrum.  But the H2O (water vapor) has many peaks from .8 to 8 microns, two that are fairly broad,  and H2O begins absorbing almost continuously from 10 microns on up, making it overwhelmingly the major “greenhouse gas”.


Click for a larger image


Is the atmosphere holding more water vapor?

JunkScience.com
June, 2008

As followers of the enhanced greenhouse controversy are no doubt aware carbon dioxide cannot, unaided, drive catastrophic global warming — it simply lacks the physical properties.

In order to generate interesting outcomes climate modelers include impressive positive feedback from increasing atmospheric water vapor (marvelous magical multipliers, as we call them). By trivial warming of the atmosphere increased CO is supposed to facilitate an increase in the atmosphere’s capacity for the one truly significant greenhouse gas, water vapor, which then further heats the atmosphere, facilitating more water vapor and so on.

So, the obvious question is, is the atmosphere getting “wetter” and, if so, where?

Fortunately ESRL provides time series for various layers of the atmosphere:

Note that all graphics are confusingly labeled “up to 300mb only” but this refers to their maximum availability and not the current representation. Water vapor is given as specific, not relative humidity (grams water per kilogram of air) and is thus temperature independent for our purposes.

Firstly, there has been a moistening trend in the 1000mb (up to about 500 feet) layer.

Click for a larger image

While mostly flat the 925mb (to about 2,500 feet) layer has seen a rise over the last decade (slightly exceeding the 1950s)

Click for a larger image

850mb (to about 5,000 feet — underground in much of Colorado. Colorado’s mean altitude is 6,800 feet) trend is essentially flat, perhaps lower than the 1950s.


Click for a larger image

700mb (about 10,000 feet) down and flat.


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600mb (under 15,000 feet or about the height of Colorado’s tallest peaks) Well down and flat.


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500mb (about 18,000 feet) Same again.


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400mb (under 25,000 feet) Falling.


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300mb (30,000 feet or just above Mt. Everest) A little quirky but falling.


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So, what do these time series tell us?

To begin with, what atmospheric moistening is believed to have occurred is at altitudes basically well below the surface altitudes of the major ice shields, Greenland and the East & West Antarctic and much of Earth’s land surfaces.

Secondly, the atmospheric region of most interest from a weather/climate perspective appears to be on a drying trend, contrary to that expected under the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis.

Simply eyeballing the time series suggests the 1977 Pacific phase shift is a much better fit with changes in trends than is the steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Bottom line is that the regions climate models are programmed to expect atmospheric moistening are not actually doing so, making either the models or the atmosphere wrong. None of the above time series leads to a plausible conclusion that we should anticipate any increase in weather activity.

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65 thoughts on “A Window on Water Vapor and Planetary Temperature – Part 2

  1. Pingback: A Window on Water Vapor and Planetary Temperature « Watts Up With That?

  2. Well, our humidity is up considerably … it is raining (!!!!!) at my house in San Jose as I type this. Very odd for the end of June here. And it looks like there is a line of showers headed in from the ocean according to the local RADAR. The kids are glued to the windows. It might be the first time in their lives they have seen rain during Summer vacation.

    I love weather.

  3. The answer is clearly no. I’m guessing the down trends in the upper atmospher are a lot more important than the lower (diminshing returns of GHGs and all.

    I’d also like to see how these trends compare with ENSO activity and PDO shift.

  4. Thanks Anthony ans Barry, these time series are interesting and while not compelling evidence of falsification, do lead one further toward it.

    Plotting these against UAH time series at these same pressures (and CO2 perhaps if we had these at various pressures/elevations) would be a start to building the case.

  5. The question is, if we can’t seem to figure out how to take the temperature properly at the surface, do you really believe the specific humidity measurements from 600-300mb from the 1950s! There’s a reason why nobody has a solid trend of atmospheric water vapor, it is a tremendously difficult variable to measure for climatic purposes. Hopefully satellite measurements from things like COSMIC will help, but I don’t know that I trust any analysis based off of the reanalysis data.

  6. I’ve been looking for this data for years basically. In my mind, it is the nail in the coffin for the +3.5C global warming sensitivity estimate.

    It is no wonder than no climate researcher has published a paper using all of this data. I imagine they will try to take it down as soon as possible once it gets spread around a little so someone needs to save the data now.

    We should start using the 1.0C to 1.5C temperature increase per doubling of CO2 as THE global warming estimate. This more closely matches the experience of the past century and the long-term historical climate estimates anyway. Sometime before 2100, we will have reached the 1.0C increase level and in the millenium following (if we don’t run out of oil and coal before then) we will reach the next doubling plateau and will have a 2.0C increase. Pretty minor implications in my mind.

  7. crosspatch said:

    … It might be the first time in their lives they have seen rain during Summer vacation.

    I live in San Jose too, and you can usually win a bar bet around here by betting it will rain at least once during July [I know, it's still June. Must be climate change, huh?] And a neighbor just told me it was raining heavy in Los Gatos a little while ago.

  8. Pingback: Niche Modeling » Greenhouse Thermodynamics and Water Vapor

  9. I thought that I read somewhere [perhaps an Australian newpaper article] that the US sent up the “Aqua” satellite in 2004 to measure the INCREASE in atmospheric water vapor as the CO2 levels go up. The preliminary results are that the CO2 is going up but the satellite is measuring a DECREASE in water vapor. [I believe that it said the "scientists" are trying to figure out if the satellite is faulty since it blows up all of the CO2 modeling.]

  10. Where is the additional water coming from?

    The answer is probably irrigation. There has been a huge increase in irrigation since WW2. 35% of the world’s crop lands are irrigated as well as large portions of many urban areas (eg Perth Australia).

    All or almost all the water used for irrigation evapourates or transpires into water vapour. It would be an interesting exercise to correlate local temperature trends with the amount of nearby irrigation.

  11. One thing that has been missing in this and related posts is just what wavelengths of light are around to be absorbed. http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Atmospheric_Transmission_png shows the transmission curves and the source radiation for both the sun and the Earth at various temperatures. It shows very nicely that the the 15 micron CO2 absorption band is the only important one.

    I use the image and talk about it more at http://wermenh.com/climate/science.html

    REPLY: It is not missing now. ;-)

  12. So, if the current cooling trend persists and deepens over the next fifty years, I wonder what the odds are that the slope of these lines will be reversed in fifty years, with a decreasing slope at 1000mb and an increasing slope at 300mb. An intersting and speculative thought…

    Love that scroll button on the mouse; can move up and down through the graphs and see the changes over time and elevation.

  13. Pingback: Niche Modeling » Greenhouse Thermodynamics of Water Vapor and the IPCC

  14. I’m guessing the down trends in the upper atmospher are a lot more important than the lower (diminshing returns of GHGs and all.

    My understanding (via Aqua Sat) is more simple. Low level cloud cover increases albedo and leads to homeostasis. High level water vapor leads to warmer temperatures.

    This would explain temperatures over the last decade.

  15. Has anyone integrated the total water content of the atmosphere from this data? It would be interesting to know if there is a net increase, decrease, or if the water is just moving around.

  16. Up in the first couple of plots with the spectra – is there any inclusion of clouds?

    When you go from gas-phase ‘water vapor’ to liquid-phase ‘suspended droplets’ you get a dramatic shift in effective absorption spectra.

    (I mean, just think about the visible spectra. High humidity – still transparent. Clouds – quite opaque.)

    Can’t quite recall offhand if that’s strictly refraction or absorption, but regardless it should be dramatic.

  17. The IPCC’s computer model projections depends on the assumption that relative humidity is constant while CO2 concentrations increase. Therefore, it is important to review the relative humidity trends.

    The average annual relative humidity at the 300 mb altitude has declined by 21.5% from 1948 to 2007!

    There have been a significant drop in relative humidity at all levels from 700 to 300 mb as shown here.

    This falsifies the climate models.

    I prepared a discussion of this issue and the Miskolczi greenhouse effect theory here:

    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/The_Saturated_Greenhouse_Effect.htm

    He shows that at a constant solar forcing, the current greenhouse effect is at its maximum value, so adding CO2 replaced water vapour to maintain a constant greenhouse effect.
    Please review and provide feedback. Thanks.

  18. My question looking at this as a reviewer would be: Since the lower atmosphere is seems to be on an upward trend since 1950, and it holds more water vapor than the higher continental land mass, what does the sum of the overall water vapor look like for the whole atmospheric column?

    Remember, roughly 70%+ of the earth is at almost exactly 0 m altitude–the oceans. This would also be neglecting the amount of land that is <500 m altitude.

    Also, parroting Anthony’s comment about ice shields: this lower amount of humidity at altitudes where glaciers form might correlate well with the loss of ice mass in (esp.) valley glaciers and mountain ice domes.

  19. Re: Phillip_B

    The answer is probably irrigation. There has been a huge increase in irrigation since WW2. 35% of the world’s crop lands are irrigated as well as large portions of many urban areas (eg Perth Australia).

    My guess would be increased sea surface temperature causing increased humidity. Compare the amount of the surface area of the earth irrigated (Wikipedia value = 3 x 10^6 sq km) to the amount of the ocean (I’m lazy: Wikipedia value for surface of ocean 360 x 10^6 sq km) and you get < 1% of the land that is irrigated relative to the surface area of water on earth.

    But I certainly could understand a valid argument in the irrigation increase considering that most measurements are made on land.

  20. I’m guessing the down trends in the upper atmospher are a lot more important than the lower (diminshing returns of GHGs and all.

    They might be, if the changes were of the same magnitude. But they aren’t. You need to look at the scales. The range of the y-axis at 1000 mb is 0.45 gm/kg. At 300 mb it is 0.045 gm/kg. The increase at 1000 mb is almost ten times greater than the decrease at 300 mb.

  21. In keeping with this piece on water vapor, there’s a new article in Icecap & Friends of Science about a paper by Ferenc M. Miskolczi. The summary is interesting {especially for the layperson:

    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/The_Saturated_Greenhouse_Effect.htm

    For those interested in a copy of the actual {math laden} paper, I found many of the links to the PDF copy wouldn’t work until I tried the following:

    http://www.met.hu/idojaras/IDOJARAS_vol111_No1_01.pdf

  22. On icecap.us Ken Gregory summarizes the Miskolczi paper. If the ‘saturated greenhouse effect’ is correct, the IPCC paradigm collapses.
    ==============================

  23. If most of the atmosphere is losing H20, then cooling in the upper atmosphere is a certainty. I would have believed the AGW hoax if CO2 caused an increase in H2O. But if we are seeing a decrease in H20, then everything we know says global temps will cool.

    Suprise suprise. Global temps have been cooling over the past decade

    Not to mention what a weak Solar Cycle 24 will do

  24. Drew, this is a what has changed over a particular timeframe to cause an effect question.

    Most warming has occured over land and especially in Asia, where irrigation has seen the most dramatic growth.

    I tried to find numbers on the amount water used in irrigation without success. I do know the amount of increase water vapour from irrigation is at least an order of magnitude bigger than CO2 emissions.

  25. Leon, Thanks. I was frustrated by the lack of working links as well.

    Barry,

    “the regions climate models are programmed to expect atmospheric moistening are not actually doing so, making either the models or the atmosphere wrong.”

    ROFL, of course the atmosphere is wrong, models, at least GCMs, are never wrong, because, as is pointed out in the article in Icecap, CO2 and atmospheric physics is not really ‘modeled’ in the GCMs, they are parameters set at a specific value by the modelers. (Yes, I know it isn’t quite that simple, but, as an Operations Research feedback modeler in another life, I was shocked that this is so, it makes the models just about useless in my book for predicting atmospheric feedback effects. All the model does is represent the modelers beliefs about where the feedback will end up, not where it will in real life).

  26. Evan Jones:

    My understanding (via Aqua Sat) is more simple. Low level cloud cover increases albedo and leads to homeostasis. High level water vapor leads to warmer temperatures. This would explain temperatures over the last decade.

    Philip_B makes an interesting point about increased irrigation, I’d expect it to have a compounding effect along with UHE effects. So with a higher WV & RH at the surface I’d expect more cloud cover and greater convection (another cooling process in addition to albedo/surface shading). It’d make the surface trend warmer, but since we have both drier air & cooler temperatures in higher altitudes, the role of CO2 mustn’t be very large at either the surface or upper altitudes, since we’d expect a uniform warming trend, and never a cooling one (even w/ drier air).

    There are studies also showing that both Antarctica & general upper tropospheric _relative_humidity_ are lower than had been modeled, so both will not be as warm as the (worst-case) climate models. One big known problem with the climate models has been that they modeled an averaged, constant RH in the upper altitudes (just as they have modeled a slab-like ocean). This is of course quite wrong.

    The 400 mb cooling trend defies climate models projections, as does the stratospheric warming trend (they predict a cooling).

    UV-B warms ozone (UV-C is filtered by O3 & O2). Pinatubo caused a drastic cooling of the stratosphere due to ozone depletion (-0.6 degrC IIRC), which imparted cooling only down to the tropopause and upper troposphere, but would’ve added that much UV wattage to the lower troposphere.

    That extra UV penetrating deeper toward the surface had to have warmed (& formed) surface-level ozone, of which we have plenty & more every day. The more hybrid electric vehicles we have the more surface ozone we’ll have.

    So after Pinatubo increased surface ozone + increased UV + irrigation WV + UHE probably helped make the 1990’s very warm, culminating in a huge el Nino (the 1998 WV signal shows in all of them). I don’t know if total aerosols or tropospheric soot have changed significantly, but certainly CO2’s rate of increase has risen slightly from newer, cleaner combustion sources in Asia, so there’d be less new aerosols but more ozone.

    FWIW there are AGW websites that make no mention of Pinatubo and the current stratospheric warming trend.

  27. Ric Werme (17:18:14), thanks for the link to that graphic; it’s great.

    I’ve read that the greenhouse effect of CO2 grows more slowly as levels increase — the first 20ppm have great effect while the last 20ppm have little effect.

    In light of the information in this graphic, I would appreciate if someone could explain how that works.

    It seems to me that this graphic perhaps doesn’t tell the whole picture. Like, perhaps it’s showing absorption for a specific concentration of these gases.

    Thanks,

    MikeEE

  28. Ok, as I look at the overall absorption curve, it appears that in the 15uM range that CO2 is “important,” you already have virtually 100% absorption of outgoing radiation. To my thinking, this would mean that virtually any increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration would have virtually no effect?

    Am I missing something here?

    Dave K

  29. The global precipitable water time series. from ERSL/NCEP Reanalysis, is here:

    These reanalysis plots are a mix of both observations and computer “guesses” about water content, so use with some caution.

  30. We should start using the 1.0C to 1.5C temperature increase per doubling of CO2 as THE global warming estimate. This more closely matches the experience of the past century and the long-term historical climate estimates anyway.
    Really? But why start with such a flawed assumption? The vast majority of that warming “effect” is actually simple correlation. C02’s warming effect is very small, and easily overpowered by changes in solar activity, as evidenced by the cooling of the past 11 years.
    If C02 levels were to actually double, which is highly unlikely, about the only effect that would have would be a significant increase in plant growth, which would be great for us, of course.

  31. Pingback: Humidity trends as a function of altitude « Lamentations on Chemistry

  32. And that, Dave K, is why they have to postulate a positive feedback whereby a tiny additional amount of warming from more CO2 leads to more evaporation of water vapour and thereby more substantial warming from that H2O. As you say, extra CO2 by itself can achieve precious little: it’s already absorbing almost everything it can.

  33. DaveK (08:48:54) :

    “Ok, as I look at the overall absorption curve, it appears that in the 15uM range that CO2 is “important,” you already have virtually 100% absorption of outgoing radiation. To my thinking, this would mean that virtually any increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration would have virtually no effect?

    Am I missing something here?”

    Nope, it’s the whole key to why “skeptics” don’t believe that CO2 is the dominant cause behind warming. CH4 levels have leveled off, so that’s out, O3 is level, H2O varies hugely, but as the above shows no one has definitive answers.

    So if Greenhouse Gases aren’t the cause then what is? Joe D’Aleo has some interesting graphs showing that global temperatures track ocean currents related to the PDO and AMO better than they do CO2, but what drives those? There has been an “annoying” link between sunspots and climate since 1801, and the current best idea is Solar activity affecting the cosmic ray flux and that affects cloud cover. Research at CERN will provide a lot of data for us to chew over in the next couple of years.

    We’ve wasted a decade or so of knowledge believing that CO2 is behind it all.

  34. Austin (08:02:59) :
    One of the major components of tailpipe emissions is water vapor.

    That’s right. The perfect combustion of any pure hydrocarbon with pure oxygen yields carbon dioxide and water vapor, both of which are “greenhouse” gases. So if you think the environmentalist wackos will be happy should we succeed in completely offsetting or sequestering all man-made carbon dioxide, think again. These people’s entire livelihood is dependent upon crusading against made-made pollutants. The problem, of course, is that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. And if they can succeed in labeling plant food a pollutant, I see no reason why they won’t try to label water vapor a pollutant. It’s all about fear and control.

  35. I’ve always wondered why water vapor and CO2 are treated so differently by climate models. There is ample measurement data to show that CO2 lifetime in the atmosphere is somewhere around 5-7 years. The climate models then use an ‘effective’ atmospheric lifetime of more than 100 years based on the argument that CO2 cycles many times between surface and atmosphere before it is finally sequestered. Water vapor is commonly argued to have an atmospheric lifetime of a few days. Using the same logic, it would seem to me that water vapor has an ‘effective’ atmospheric lifetime of thousands of years before it is sequestered in ice.

  36. There is ample measurement data to show that CO2 lifetime in the atmosphere is somewhere around 5-7 years.

    I have heard this but cannot establish it. (I’d like to.) Gotta link?

  37. From UCAR

    http://dss.ucar.edu/pub/

    Reanalysis projects are efforts to reanalyze historical data using state-of-the-art models. The data resulting from reanalyses are especially useful for climate change studies, as it is difficult to separate changes due to model improvements from real climate changes when the model has evolved over time. We have data from both the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis and the ECMWF Reanalysis.

    and

    http://dss.ucar.edu/pub/reanalysis/rean_model.html

    The reanalysis is done at NCEP (formerly NMC) using T62 (209 km) global spectral model of 28 vertical levels. This is the same model used in the assimilation system, as implemented in the NCEP operational system in December 1994.

    i.e. The reanalysis data is itself produced by a model.

  38. Pingback: Humidity Time Series: Where to find. | The Blackboard

  39. “The increase at 1000 mb is almost ten times greater than the decrease at 300 mb.”

    On the other hand, given the semi logarithmic nature of GHG absorbtion, since there are so many more molecules of H20 in the lower atmosphere, the decrease at 300mb will have more affect than a similar (absolute) decrease at 1000mb.

  40. Anthony,

    On the chart labeled “Radiation Transmitted by the Atmosphere”. What is the meaning of the blue, black, and purple lines? The purple line appears to be labeled 210-310K. I’m guessing that they are three temperature curves, but only one of them appears to be labeled.

  41. The affect of irrigation on temperature records also messes with the assumption of Hansen and others, that rural stations represent uncontaminated data which can be used to “correct” urban stations.

    Potential problems with rural sites.
    1) Microsite contamination.
    2) Sites that were rural 50 years ago, aren’t now.
    3) Changes in irrigation and crop patterns over the last 50 years within 50 to 100 miles of the station could affect humidity patterns.

    Here in Iowa I’ve had people tell me that much of the humidity in the summer is due to the corn crops. (Warning, the following was uncorroborated, and anecdotal in nature.)

  42. Evan Jones-
    Segalstad has a nice review of peer-reviewed articles on CO2 in the atmosphere here http://www.co2web.info
    Download the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF) report, Volume 2. Page 13 has a review of peer-reviewed literature on CO2 half-life in the atmosphere. It seems to me this was settled science back in the 1970’s. There are some familiar names among the copious peer-reviewed literature cited.

  43. Reanalysis projects are efforts to reanalyze historical data using state-of-the-art models. The data resulting from reanalyses are especially useful for climate change studies, as it is difficult to separate changes due to model improvements from real climate changes when the model has evolved over time. We have data from both the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis and the ECMWF Reanalysis.

    Data is what you get when you measure something. It’s not data if it’s the result of the analysis of models. This is a fundamental problem in this type of “science”. People massage, reanalyze and fudge data to create “new” data that other people then use as the basis of their analyses, and so on. The phrase “state-of-the-art” is very telling: it’s art, not science.

  44. MarkW (06:45:39) :

    “On the chart labeled “Radiation Transmitted by the Atmosphere”. What is the meaning of the blue, black, and purple lines? The purple line appears to be labeled 210-310K. I’m guessing that they are three temperature curves, but only one of them appears to be labeled.”

    I think the three curves are the blackbody radiation curves for 210K, 260K, and 310K. So the center one should match Earth’s temperate zones, and the other go beyond arctic and tropical conditions.

    BTW, I think there’s an important flaw in the curves. The logarithmic scale may handle some of it, but amplitude of the overall curve should climb quickly with increasing temperatures. For the application here, just showing the range of wavelengths affected is the important point and for that the graph is fine.

  45. Another thing that I have noticed is that as the earth’s temperature increases, the peak of the outgoing radiation band starts to shift into a region that is much more transparent to IR radiation.

  46. Ric Werme,

    Do you know how the radiation curves are generated? Do they just take the average temperature of the earth and draw a curve from that value? As you well know, the temperature of the earth varies quite abit, from -70C in Antarctica in the winter, to somewhere around +35-40C in places like Death Valley in the summer.

    Seems to me that the most accurate way to do such a chart would be to grid the entire planet, calculate the radiation curves for each grid, then average the curves together. That sounds like a lot of work, but it seems to me like something worth doing. If we don’t know exactly how the earth is radiating, how the heck are we ever going to figure out what is being blocked.

  47. MarkW:
    “Another thing that I have noticed is that as the earth’s temperature increases, the peak of the outgoing radiation band starts to shift into a region that is much more transparent to IR radiation.”

    Very good point. Yet another negative feedback?

  48. Does anybody know how to pronounce “Miskolczi”? His work (http://hps.elte.hu/zagoni/Proofs_of_the_Miskolczi_theory.htm) seems to me to be more robust than that of Gerlich and Tscheuschner (http://arxiv.org/abs/0707.1161).

    Although the latter has the best description I’ve seen of why the greenhouse effect works and how it differs from the atmosphere, they seem to go too far in several arguments: denying the existence of an average surface temperature of a body (because it cannot be calculated from first principles), the proposition that because the atmospheric greenhouse effect as commonly described constitutes a perpetuum mobile of the second kind the atmosphere does not provide overall warming, and their questioning of the meaning of the arrows in the radiative heating diagrams (the obvious answer being “energy”, which is conserved). On they other hand, their description of the folly of trusting GCMs, especially those that would purport to give accurate solutions to the Navier-Stokes equation from uncertain initial conditions over dozens of years, is exactly right. Their analysis left me puzzled by certain observations, such as why it becomes much colder at nights where there is no cloud cover than on nights where there is.

    The analysis by Miskolczi has much more explanatory power, in my opinion, taking into account convection and the optical depth; it also makes predictions that are upheld by current measurements.

    –Mark

  49. Pingback: Is the atmosphere drying up? « Climate Change

  50. RE: Philip_B (04:44:38) :

    They love swamp coolers in Asia. Even non swamp cooler AC systems add moisture to the air.

  51. Anthony,

    If you ever feel like it, I would love to read a post about dry lightning, a somewhat related subject, and one that has my attention as a forester and fire guy. Possibly it has your attention, too, as a Chicoan and CA meteorologist, during this unusual fire bust there.

  52. MarkW: “Another thing that I have noticed is that as the earth’s temperature increases, the peak of the outgoing radiation band starts to shift into a region that is much more transparent to IR radiation.”

    That’s the kind of beautiful homeostasis that makes me go all misty-eyed about Gaia again. Shame Lovelock himself no longer seems to believe it’s powerful enough to deal with our puny efforts at messing things up.

  53. MarkW (10:56:34) :

    “Do you know how the radiation curves are generated? Do they just take the average temperature of the earth and draw a curve from that value?”

    I suspect there is no empirical data in the radiation curves. While I have no connection with the source, I think they generated one black body radiation curve from Planck’s Law (or drew it by hand) and put four copies on the graphic at the appropriate points.

    I haven’t looked at that in detail and don’t intend to – too much other stuff demands attention first!

    “Seems to me that the most accurate way to do such a chart would be to grid the entire planet, calculate the radiation curves for each grid, then average the curves together. That sounds like a lot of work, but it seems to me like something worth doing. If we don’t know exactly how the earth is radiating, how the heck are we ever going to figure out what is being blocked.”

    Well, we have satellites telling us what’s getting radiated away. And reflected away – that’s a key part of the cooling and it’s not part of blackbody radiation. As for what’s being blocked within the atmosphere, I’d think there’s both lab and satellite data for that, though in real life clouds provide complications.

  54. Can anyone refute the conclusion drawn below by Ian Fordon this subject?

    From: Ian Ford
    Sent: 23 June 2008 17:58
    To: Marshall Stoneham
    Subject: Re: FW: “Saturated Greenhouse Effect” Wrecks Climate models

    Dear Marshall,

    This email carries the implied message ‘All these so-called scientific experts have missed some basic physics which when treated correctly eliminates the Greenhouse Effect’. There are a lot of people out there who wish to make such a claim. The basic physics he mentions is the dynamics of water exchange between ocean and atmosphere. The partition of water between gas and liquid phases is modelled phenomenologically, I imagine, but it is surely incorrect to claim, as he does, that the relative humidity is assumed to be fixed. I am not totally au fait with the inner assumptions of GCMs, but I cannot accept that everyone in the field has ignored this extremely important question. There will be dynamics of evaporation and condensation, which depend on temperature. So my view is to disregard this claim.

    In any case, the article makes much of a model by Miskolczi describing the self-stabilisation of a climate system. This is the first I’ve heard of this model. It appears in a rather obscure journal. The description of it makes me wonder. The reference to a virial theorem with radiation considered as potential energy here and kinetic energy there sounds screwy. This is central to a claimed fraction of surface-emitted radiation that escapes into space. I am dubious.

    He says that adding CO2 to the atmosphere raises the temperature but the relative humidity declines. Possibly, dependent on the evaporative dynamics. He goes further to say that adding CO2 reduces the content of water vapour. Adding one greenhouse gas is compensated by the removal of quantities of another. This is such nonsense.

    So my view is that it is wishful thinking!

    Ian

    Marshall Stoneham wrote:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Dear Ian

    Do you have a view on this?

    Best wishes

    Marshall

    Professor Marshall Stoneham FRS
    Emeritus Massey Professor
    London Centre for Nanotechnology and Department of Physics and Astronomy
    University College London, Gower Street
    London WC1E 6BT
    ucapams@ucl.ac.uk
    marshallstoneham@tiscali.co.uk
    +44 207679 1377 (direct) 1308 (secretary) 1360 (fax)
    From: Jack Sarfatti [mailto:sarfatti@pacbell.net]
    Sent: 22 June 2008 22:23
    To: Jeremy Asher
    Cc: Marshall Stoneham
    Subject: Fwd: “Saturated Greenhouse Effect” Wrecks Climate models

  55. Great..!! Great report.

    Global warming is very dangerious for all countries.
    It challange the world’s future.
    Close chacol turbines.
    Maintain evergreen forests.
    Use electric cars.
    Clear Nuclear Weapons from earth.

    Welcome with good environments to the next generations.

    http://hlaingmore.wordpress.com

    Hlaing of Myanmar

  56. David,

    in fact Ian is quite right. Though I don’t think he addresses some of the real issues of the paper, including completely misunderstanding Kirchoff’s law, and he thinks his applications of the Virial theorem somehow relate directly to atmospheric and surface radiative fluxes. But like usual, it’s always better to scream that “I’m the new Galileo” than to read a textbook.

  57. davidsmith1

    The global precipitable water time series. from ERSL/NCEP Reanalysis, is here:

    These reanalysis plots are a mix of both observations and computer “guesses” about water content, so use with some caution.

    That looks important.

    This “trend” in precipitable water with time appears to decline and then increase.

    That is about opposite the temperature trend over that period.

    Could this evidence that the precipitable water is negatively (or inversely?) related to the global temperature?

    If solar cycle 24 is longer and colder as is being predicted – then this would suggest an INCREASING trend in precipitable water over the coming decades.

    Miskolczi’s theory is based on equilibrium for a given solar flux and albedo. His prediction of declining precipitable water content vs increasing CO2 would appear to be a second order effect compared to the primary effect of the larger changes with global temperature.

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