Earth’s Ionosphere drops to a new low

The height of the ionosphere/space transition is controlled in part by the amount of extreme ultraviolet energy emitted by the Sun and a somewhat contracted ionosphere could have been expected because C/NOFS was launched during a minimum in the 11-year cycle of solar activity. However, the size of the actual contraction caught investigators by surprise. (Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2008) — Observations made by NASA instruments onboard an Air Force satellite have shown that the boundary between the Earth’s upper atmosphere and space has moved to extraordinarily low altitudes. These observations were made by the Coupled Ion Neutral Dynamics Investigation (CINDI) instrument suite, which was launched aboard the U.S. Air Force’s Communication/Navigation Outage Forecast System (C/NOFS) satellite on April 16, 2008.

The CINDI suite, which was built under the direction Principal Investigator Rod Heelis of the University of Texas at Dallas, includes both ion and neutral sensors and makes measurements of the variations in neutral and ion densities and drifts.

CINDI and C/NOFS were designed to study disturbances in Earth’s ionosphere that can result in a disruption of navigation and communication signals. The ionosphere is a gaseous envelope of electrically charged particles that surrounds our planet and it is important because Radar, radio waves, and global positioning system signals can be disrupted by ionospheric disturbances.

CINDI’s first discovery was, however, that the ionosphere was not where it had been expected to be. During the first months of CINDI operations the transition between the ionosphere and space was found to be at about 260 miles (420 km) altitude during the nighttime, barely rising above 500 miles (800 km) during the day. These altitudes were extraordinarily low compared with the more typical values of 400 miles (640 km) during the nighttime and 600 miles (960 km) during the day.

(h/t to Dan Lee)

read more at Science Daily

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165 Responses to Earth’s Ionosphere drops to a new low

  1. Power Engineer says:

    so is disrupted communications all that is to be expected of a shortened atmosphere or are there worse implications? not saying that disrupted comms is a good thing..

  2. Denis Hopkins says:

    I am amazed at the range and quantity of interesting articles that are posted here! Wonderful site…always stimulating

  3. jonk says:

    Argh… The sky is falling!

  4. Novoburgo says:

    Obviously “unprecedented.”

  5. Douglas DC says:

    Climate Change!-quick call Algore! BTW this isn’t warming-is it 7F. today in La Grande Or. and we are the local bananna belt….

  6. Steven Hill says:

    Let me guess, elevations of CO2 has caused this and we will be burned up soon if CO2 levels are not held under control.

  7. Ed Scott says:

    The big melt: 2 trillion tons of ice gone since ’03
    Scientists say NASA satellite data on global warming ‘should alarm people’
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28249708/

    WASHINGTON – More than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003, according to new NASA satellite data that show the latest signs of what scientists say is global warming.

    Between Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska, melting land ice has raised global sea levels about one-fifth of an inch in the past five years, Luthcke said. Sea levels also rise from water expanding as it warms.

    The pace of change is starting to outstrip our ability to keep up with it, in terms of our understanding of it,” said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., a co-author of the Arctic amplification study.

    Two other studies coming out at the conference assess how Arctic thawing is releasing methane — the second most potent greenhouse gas. One study shows that the loss of sea ice warms the water, which warms the permafrost on nearby land in Alaska, thus producing methane, Stroeve says.

    The amounts of methane in the region could dramatically increase global warming if they get released, he said.

    That, Semiletov said, “should alarm people.”

  8. George Bruce says:

    Any theories about the effect of this on climate?

  9. Gary says:

    Is this the reason why night-time radio reception of distant stations hasn’t been so good lately? Or is it my radio?

  10. BillR says:

    Oh boy, now the left will hit the panic button, and try to find mankind’s fingerprint on this somehow. I mean, it can’t be a natural phenomenon, right?

  11. I assume they are mostly referring to the F1 and F2 layers of the ionosphere. Have ham radio operators noticed this lowering while using the HF Spectrum? (3-30 Megahertz)

  12. jerry says:

    Is this related to this article about the earth breathing?

    http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/12/earthbreathing.html

  13. Steven Hill says:

    How do we even know that this data is correct? I mean, they might have tweaked it to get the perfered outcome.

  14. Smokey says:

    The sea level isn’t rising as predicted: click

  15. Steven Hill says:

    Go here and you’d think the world is about to end….

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20081216_climatestats.html

  16. Richard (Swe) says:

    I am not an scientist but i bet this has something to do with the sun….or what else

  17. C Smith says:

    Hmm, picture kinda looks like the moon’s surface to me.

  18. Basil says:

    Right on time with the latest GISS, which shows no change between October and November.

    This is very curious. The two satellite metrics showed a warming in November. HadCRUT3 showed slight cooling, and GISS shows no change. How often does this happen (satellite showing warmer than surface stations)?

  19. Pamela Gray says:

    Disturbances happen with extreme UV events, like when the Sun is full of sunspots spewing plasma. If I am reading this correctly, anytime something thins up there, we should get colder. I would ask if the ionosphere is thinning or compacting. If it is thinning, like a worn out blanket, then heat escape from Earth’s surface is facilitated.

    A note to Douglas, it is 9:34 AM and it is -5 F in Pendleton. Send pictures of palm trees.

  20. Richard deSousa says:

    With the sun spotless and the plasma ejection at an all time low, I’d suspect that’s the reason for the ionosphere to shrink. I’m still hoping Santa brings us a return of the Dalton Minimum…

  21. Mike M says:

    would the ‘shrinking’ of the atmosphere reduce the insulation it provides and exacerbate the cooling?

    i really have no idea, just asking

  22. Tom in Texas says:

    Almost noon in San Antonio: 35F going to high of 41F.

  23. Jim G says:

    Solar XUV is down about 50%, Soft X-rays about by about 1/10,000 since solar max.

    Could there possibly be a sun-earth atmosphere connection?

    Say it isn’t so!

  24. Mike Bryant says:

    Basil,
    Don’t worry about GISS showing no change in November. The November temperature will change in January and February etc.
    Mike

  25. Pamela Gray says:

    Increases in solar radiation increases the ionosphere. The more sunspots, the more radiation. Injections of strong plasma streams can create disturbances, like shooting a hole in a blanket. But the hole recovers. There is a 24 hr and seasonal change in the depth of the ionosphere. There is also a sunspot number correlation (because of increased radiation). It has been assumed that a quiet Sun would cause thinning. What was surprising was the amount of thinning. For those of us following the Sun, we know just how quiet it has been, in all it’s indices. Once I combined that in my thinking, I am not surprised by this. Maybe the scientists involved in the article haven’t been studying the Sun?

  26. MarkW says:

    I guess this means the tool bag will stay in orbit a few months longer than anticipated.

  27. Keith says:

    Basil, just a slight correction to your post. UAH and RSS showed a slight increase in the temperature anomaly, not the temperature. November was still colder than October.

  28. pkatt says:

    Warm things expand, Cool things contract.. hmmm dont suppose it could be explained that easily?

  29. Allen63 says:

    Pamela,

    Atmospheric thinning: A worthwhile thought. My amateur solar heating model (not a simple curve fit) indicated a strong correlation (with a physically explained lag) between sunspots and temperatures over the last 150+ years. But, measured fluctuations in actual energy reaching earth were not sufficient to explain all the effect according to scientists. So, I am interested in other potential heating-cooling mechanisms related to sunspot cycles. Maybe this “atmospheric blanket” thinning you describe is a candidate to explain one of the physical processes involved.

  30. David Gladstone says:

    Ed Scott, fear-mongering and misstating reality are not useful. The 3T tons of ice are not gone and didn’t melt. You must have missed the article that showed the ice level worldwide is trending flat or slightly up.

  31. alexjc38 says:

    Space, the final frontier… now just that little bit closer.

    Seriously though, could these simply be normal conditions for a Grand Minimum (if that’s indeed where we’re heading)? We didn’t have satellites during the LIA, after all, so we could be in previously uncharted territory, so to speak.

  32. George E. Smith says:

    Well these “ionospheric layers” are a long way above the very thin atmospheric layer that is Ozone, so one would expect to find pretty near the full complement of solar UV still there. I don’t have handy a recent solar specrum based on satellite observations, but the very well known and oft republished graph of Valley in 1965, shows the extraterrestrial solar spectrum as fairly closely fitting a 5900K black body radiation curve. The better books generally quote two different temperatures for the effective blackbody temperature of the sun. The 5900 K temperature I believe is the temperature that gives the best spectral fit to the blackbody curve. A slightly different temperature gives the best match to the earth received value of the solar constant. (no I don’t hve that number handy).

    The problem is of course, that the sun is not an isothermal body at a single temperature. In particular, the coronal regions of the sun have temperatures up to a million K, which produces energy at much shorter wavelengths that a 6K black body. Other surface phenomena yield different temperatures which create bumps here and there so the shape is not exact BB shape.

    In particular, the sun exhibits an “anomalous glitch that peaks above the 5900 K BB curve at around 450 nm (which is similar to the Blue LED color. The glitch sticks up about 10% higher than the BB peak at around 500nm. Shorter than 400 nm, the deviation from the BB curve is quite pronounced; but in the direction of undershooting the 5900K BB curve.

    So the upper atmosphere gets hit by all kinds of hot photons.

    The Einstein E x lambda product is 1.2398 electron Volts, so a 0.5 micron green photon is about 2.48 eV, and the solar spectrum peters out at about 0.2 microns, which is about 6.2 eV. I don’t remember what the ionisation potentials are for any ordinary gases any more particularly O2 and N2, but I imagine that there’s plenty of photon energy to create all thoise plasma ions in the ionosphere.

    If you look at the ground level solar spectrum, the peak is knocked down by at least 25% all the way out to about 0.62 microns in the red region, and the culprit is Ozone, and Oxygen (mostly Ozone), so the O3 which is supposed to protect us from skin cancer, also is responsible for keeping the ground cooler, by eliminating a big chunk of the strongest sunlight. But Ozone also absorbs strongly in the 9-10 micron range, so it acts as a GHG gas in that range, having the greatest effect over the hottest regions of the globe.

    In addition to the hot photons, you also have the solar charged particles and cosmic ray primaries which probably create some of the ionosphere layer’s plasma.

    I’m sure there are climate effects that result from movement of the ionosphere layers; but I don’t have the foggiest idea what they would be.

  33. Jeff Alberts says:

    “However, the size of the actual contraction caught investigators by surprise.”

    How could that be? Don’t scientists know everything there is to know about our atmosphere and any possible contributions/interactions with the sun? Isn’t the science settled? Golly jeepers!

  34. PearlandAggie says:

    pkatt…i was thinking the same thing!

  35. pkatt (10:26:47) : “Warm things expand, Cool things contract.. hmmm dont suppose it could be explained that easily?”

    No, that’s why the days are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter.

  36. Ray says:

    Is this “thickness” homogeneous around the globe or does it depend on seasons too, or just on the sun’s activity?

  37. George E. Smith says:

    To Pamela Grey.

    Hi Pamela; are you some kind of official ‘sun-worshipper’ ?

    I am becoming increasingly non-plussed by how many alleged “climatologists” seem to know damn near nothing about the sun; as if it is just an aberraration in their Playstation models.

    Don’t have to reveal any State secrets; but you seem to know your sun .

    George

  38. pkatt (10:26:47) :
    Warm things expand, Cool things contract.. hmmm dont suppose it could be explained that easily?
    Yes, this is close to the correct explanation, at solar maximum the upper [way upper?] atmosphere heats up and expands.

  39. Steve Berry says:

    pkatt. Except water.

  40. Ed Scott says:

    “Observations made by NASA instruments onboard an Air Force satellite have shown that the boundary between the Earth’s upper atmosphere and space has moved to extraordinarily low altitudes. These observations were made by the Coupled Ion Neutral Dynamics Investigation (CINDI) instrument suite, which was launched aboard the U.S. Air Force’s Communication/Navigation Outage Forecast System (C/NOFS) satellite on April 16, 2008.”

    The time span over which these measurements have been made is hardly adequate to establish that this an anomaly and not an un-remarkable cyclical occurrence. Scientists are always surprised at discovering unknown facts about the planet, Earth.

    “The ionosphere is a gaseous envelope of electrically charged particles that surrounds our planet and it is important because Radar, radio waves, and global positioning system signals can be disrupted by ionospheric disturbances.”

    How has this affected other observations using Radar, radio waves, and global positioning system signals, the measurement of sea level, for instance.

    Scientists should always expect the unknown when investigating the unknown. What is the point of investigating the known?

  41. Tom G(ologist) says:

    Lawyers call it the ‘weight of evidence’. Scientists refer to ‘parsimony’. Sherlock Holmes said that when you eliminate every explanation which is impossible , whatever explanation remains, no matter how implausible (or unpopular) is correct. William of Occam (Ockam, Hockam, as you will) said something else like this while he was shaving ;-)

    All lines of evidence are … well.. lining up. It all coheres and the data trends have a pretty damned straight trajectory that points directly at, surprise, the sun. Who would have guessed that the same energy source which makes for the differences in temperatures between day and night, winter and summer also plays the major role in longer term temprature cycles?

    I’m going home and turning up the heat ’cause it’s cold here in the east, too.

    Tom

  42. Person of Choler says:

    (1) the ionosphere is lower
    (2) this is bad, very bad
    (3) we don’t yet know the reason for the lowering, but we will soon learn that it is caused by something that normal humans like or need to do.

  43. Mike D says:

    pkatt:
    yes.
    Natural variation!

  44. Basil says:

    Keith,

    Thanks for the correction. I was a bit sloppy in the way I wrote.

    Basil

  45. PaulHClark says:

    OT – but did anyone see this.

    “Study-Climate change may force skiers uphill”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/28251193

    There is a suggestion that the resorts (Aspen/Park City) should be in good shape for the next 25 years but the long term trend is that there will be “there will be less snowpack — or no snow at all — at the base areas, and the season will be shorter because snow will accumulate later and melt earlier.”

    I wonder if the AGW crowd is already starting to shift to an understanding of a negative PDO and hedge their bets?

  46. E.M.Smith says:

    Ravishal Bentham (08:51:49) :
    I assume they are mostly referring to the F1 and F2 layers of the ionosphere. Have ham radio operators noticed this lowering while using the HF Spectrum? (3-30 Megahertz)

    See: http://www.solarcycle24.com VE3EN runs it. They have a 6m tools section that ought to answer your question (along with a nifty summary of solar status from other sites and great pictures…)

  47. David L. Hagen says:

    Could this ionospheric altitude be used as a highly sensitive measure of solar cycle and consequently of Svensmark’s cosmoclimatology?

    If so, there may be a strong correlation between the ionospheric altitude and cloud variation. These in turn would be a leading (“differential”) signal for global temperature change.

  48. Neil Jones says:

    Off Topic

    Hows this for a headline?

    Last decade is the warmest on record, scientists say ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/3794475/Last-decade-is-the-warmest-on-record-scientists-say.html )

  49. Retired Engineer says:

    This cannot happen. I read a story a few years back that said because of CO2, the upper atmosphere had heated and expanded to the point where low orbit satellites were slowing sown and would crash into the earth. Of course, the scientists needed huge grants to study the problem.

    I’m sure a simple adjustment will fix this.

    (the story was written during the last solar max, but that couldn’t have any effect)

  50. Steven H. (Not Hill) says:

    Sorry for this being slightly off this particular topic, but has anyone gone to the trouble of recording a daily set of images from the NSIDC “daily” updates for Arctic Ice Extent? Thing is, I have been monitoring these daily, but not saving the images, and todays appears to me to be markedly different than that displayed yesterday, with the current year’s line deviating sharply and suddenly towards that of last year, and away from the 1979-2000 average. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that this involves more retrospective editing. Does anyone have an image capture from the 15th or 16th of December? If so, a link would be great, or else just confirmation of the edit.

  51. David VK2 says:

    This has absolutely no influence on the climate or weather or the exent of the weather sphere (troposphere) which extends to only about 10 miles (16Km). The sun is the major driver of the ionosphere and it’s quite normal for depletion at solar minimum. The effect has implications for some HF radio services but more extended D layer collapse also means that AM radio transmissions can propogate further into the daytime hours. However, the MUF or maximum usable frequency is determined by F1,2 and E layers and this will be subdued and below 14 Mhz at the moment. See this site for more information..
    http://www.solarcycle24.com/

  52. Carlo says:

    2008 AMONG THE TEN WARMEST YEARS; MARKED BY WEATHER EXTREMES AND SECOND-LOWEST LEVEL OF ARCTIC ICE COVER

    Geneva, 16 December 2008 (WMO)

    http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_835_en.html

  53. Werner Weber says:

    Ed Scott (08:27:09) :
    The big melt: 2 trillion tons of ice gone since ‘03…

    Two trillion tons of glacier ice translates into 2000 km3 of ice which raises the ocean level by 6 millimeter in 6 years (2003 and 2008 included) or 1 mm per year. We know that ocean level raises by 3.3 mm per year in recent years, see
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_global.jpg and recent discussions in WUWT.
    This is 1/3 of the total, a well known figure. I remember seeing it in the 2007 IPCC report as attributed to glacier ice melting. In Germany, numbers such as 100 km3 for annual (excess) Greenland glacier melt have been circulated, when chancellor Merkel visited Greenland this summer (Remember, who else did so?). Total Greenland glacier volume is 2 Million km3, total annual precipitation is approx. 1000 km3.
    Another 1/3 of the raise is thermal expansion of oceans, among the rest changes in land use could be responsible, or fossile water pumping. 1200 km3 per year of ground water are pumped, mainly for irrigation, but it is not clear, how much is taken out of the ground for good, how much is replenished during rain seasons.
    In addition, error bars on all above numbers are pretty large.

    For the increase of methane in recent years, see:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Methane-global-average-2006.jpg
    Where is the contribution of permafrost thawing during the last 10 years of excess arctic sea ice melt during the arctic summers?

    Maybe, 2 quadrillion kilogram of ice sounds even better.
    Or 1 quintillion glasses of whisky/whiskey could have been put on the rocks (2 grams of ice each)

  54. JP says:

    MMmmm…I was wondering why Art Bell’s show was coming in clearer…

  55. Ray says:

    David L. – I though exactly the same thing… the decrease in the sun’s activity and the reduction of both the Heliosheath and the Ionisphere must help in creating more clouds… they must be correlated!

  56. Pamela Gray says:

    When I look at the ice chart Anthony has to the right of his blogs, I can see that there are other times when the ice extent slopes down for a short period then rises again. What is suspect is when all the lines for all the years do it at the same time of the year. These little bumps would be categorized as noise (IE random events) and shouldn’t occur at the same time from one year to the next. There is an area on the graph that looks odd to me in that the noise occurred on at least 3 line graphs at the same time of the year. But the little downturn at the end of 2008 doesn’t concern me much. A strong less cold wind or current, or both, can melt stuff and then go away as soon as it appeared, allowing ice to grow again. Wish it were blowing my way.

  57. Steven Hill says:

    Steven H

    I saw the same thing….suddenly it appears that we are losing ice with record cold going on.

  58. DaveE says:

    Richard deSousa (09:46:49) :

    “I’m still hoping Santa brings us a return of the Dalton Minimum…”

    Noooooo… I’m too old for that!

    DaveE.

  59. John B says:

    I don’t think it was edited. I’ve seen that trend over the past couple of days. I did think it strange that the curve looks different than this one:

    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

  60. DocWat says:

    Anecdotal evidence of global warming:

    Here in Kansas, yesterday, it was 20F below normal, It was so cold that today at 5F below normal it feels positively warm.

  61. Louis Hissink says:

    Not so surprising from plasma physics POV. The bottom of the ionosphere is one part of a double layer, the other being the earth’s surface (?). The earth’s electric field is constrained within this DL (100 volts/meter vertical under quiescent conditions).

    This double layer is powered by incoming electric currents, and if these decrease in power, the DL becomes smaller, and moves closer to the earth.

    The sun’s heliopause has also decreased in diameter some 25% which, together with the lack of sunspot activity, suggests that the electric currents powering the solar system, have decreased in power.

    So, lack of sunspots, smaller heliopause and earth’s ionosphere lower together suggests a decrease in electrical power.

    It’s this input of electrical energy via the FTE’s which establishes the thermal state of the earth, and hence its surface.

    Now if Anthony could figure a way to power his electric car from this enormous energy source……….

  62. Philip_B says:

    Ed Scott, the interesting part of this thoroughly alarmist piece from MSNBC is,

    In the 1990s, Greenland didn’t add to world sea level rise;

    So in the supposedly warmest decade on record when the “unprecedented” warming reached its peak, there was no net ice melt in Greenland.

    Yet, post 2002, when we know temperatures have stopped rising and may well have fallen we suddenly get massive ice melt.

    Something is seriously wrong with someone’s dataset. Or there is no relationship between ice melt and temperatures over decadal timescales (as unituitive as it sounds, it’s probably the latter).

  63. davidgmills says:

    Tom:

    How about glollyjust. As in, gollyjust when you think Hansen has the answer….

  64. Bob B says:

    Ed Scott–global sea ice is about “normal” right now.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

    Move along nothing to see here.

  65. davidgmills says:

    Stephen H:

    You are absolutely right. I saw the same thing much to my great surprise this morning.

    What’s a little revisionist history?

  66. Stephen Fox says:

    “Study-Climate change may force skiers uphill”

    I tried skiing uphill, but always ended up getting the lift instead. It’s jolly hard work, though safer.

  67. Les Johnson says:

    Possibly related….a giant breech in the magnetosphere…

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/16dec_giantbreach.htm?list91627

  68. George E. Smith says:

    “” Leif Svalgaard (11:03:03) :

    pkatt (10:26:47) :
    Warm things expand, Cool things contract.. hmmm dont suppose it could be explained that easily?
    Yes, this is close to the correct explanation, at solar maximum the upper [way upper?] atmosphere heats up and expands. “”

    Leif, I don’t have any recollection as to what extent the ionosphere is “ionised” but I would guess that it is still mostly neutral gaseous, and I imagine encounters with energetic particles or photons within the capture crossection, are rare rather than frequent.

    So that would suggest that any electric or magnetic field confinement, that might apply to the ions, would have little effect on the bulk of the neutral gas.

    So why wouldn’t that gas behave pretty much like an ideal gas under those circumstances. There’s enough interraction with the incoming solar radiation; at least by the oxygen, that ordinary heating would seem to require the expansion you describe.

    Electric and magnetic fields may move the ions around, but you don’t need those effects (if any) to get the gas molecules to disperse under more heating from the sun.

    George

  69. Tex says:

    Ok, bear with me, its been a long time since I had any thermodynamics education. Do most climate computer models have a component that deals with the dissipation of heat from the earth’s surface through the atmosphere and out into space? I am assuming they do. If so, then the thickness of the atmosphere should be a key variable in how fast that heat radiates from the surface to the top of the atmosphere and out into space. If science has been underestimating how much the atmosphere contracts in response to decreases in solar activity, then wouldn’t it make sense that the models would also underestimate how big of a factor that component is in the natural variability in the planet’s thermal balance?

  70. tarpon says:

    I think it is simple lack of enough ions in the ionosphere. Radio communications which rely on an active ionosphere are in the pits. Now anyone want to put forth why there are fewer ions in the ionosphere? Big yellow ball on vacation?

  71. crosspatch says:

    “Yes, this is close to the correct explanation, at solar maximum the upper [way upper?] atmosphere heats up and expands.”

    This is the way I understand it too. I seem to remember (it has been a while so bear with me) some time back when a spacecraft was using atmospheric braking to obtain the proper orbit around one of the planets (either Mars of Venus, I can’t remember which, it has been used at both) that the first couple of passes had to be very carefully planned. This was because, as it was explained, the upper reaches of the atmosphere vary in altitude with solar activity and they weren’t exactly sure where the edge was of the density profile as you got deeper in. If they accidentally got too deep into the atmosphere initially, the spacecraft would overheat or be damaged by excessive drag on the components. So they had to start with an orbit that they were sure was outside of the atmosphere and use small bursts of the chemical thrusters until they made contact and could measure the density and altitude. Then they could begin their process of using the upper atmosphere to brake the speed of the spacecraft and get it into the proper orbit.

    I also recall it said concerning space station or space shuttle operations that during periods of solar maximum, the orbits needed to be adjusted higher to compensate for an atmosphere that expands due to greater solar excitation.

  72. crosspatch says:

    Ahh here we go:

    As a result of the solar maximum, Earth’s atmosphere
    is “puffed up” like a marshmallow over a campfire leading to extra drag on Earth-orbiting satellites.

    As solar activity increases, extreme ultraviolet radiation (EUV) heats our planet’s gaseous envelope, causing it to swell and reach farther into space than normal.

    So with the current minimum we are seeing, I can’t understand why they should be surprised that it has shrunk. I mean, if they knew it expanded during high solar activity and why it did so, why are they surprised that the opposite happens under the opposite conditions?

  73. Tom in sunny Florida says:

    Well. well, well ……. another little surprise for the “science is settled” folks. But perhaps as the heavier CO2 molecules increase, gravity will compact the atmosphere. I’m sure that was in the models somewhere.

  74. George E. Smith says:

    Tex,

    I don’t think it works that way. To a large extent, the total amount of gas in the atmosphere stays pretty constant (shorter terms) but it moves around over the planet to create high and low pressures, and regions of average pressures. There always has to be highs and lows which are above and below the average.
    So by and large, a photon emitted from the earth’s surface has to run the gamut of the same number of gas molecules to get out of the atmosphere. It only takes a millisecond to clear 300 km, whcih isn’t the all clear, but 5 ms certainly would be.

    Those photons could care less, whether they pass up all those molecules in the first 100 km or whether it takes 1000 km travel to pass them all; the probablility of hitting any of them shouldn’t change.

    Now the temperature may mess with that a bit, in that any single molecule covers a larger piece of the outfield, if it is warmer, but, that would just reduce the time it spends in any one place so I don’t see how much would change in the way of capture probablity. (but I’ll readily accept anybody’s math that says otherwise.)

    I suspect that a significant way in which the “atmosphere height” may affect climate would be in what it does to water vapor distribution, and hence cloud formation.

    But off-hand I can’t say what that effect might be.

  75. MartinGAtkins says:

    Bob B (14:16:43) :

    Ed Scott–global sea ice is about “normal” right now.
    Move along nothing to see here.

    http://tinyurl.com/5g5owd

  76. Stephen Wilde says:

    The main thing missing from my theories is the mechanism whereby small changes in solar activity have such a large effect on observed global temperatures.

    Even Leif Svalgaard has been flummoxed by that to the extent that he has been driven to doubt about the validity of the apparent historical link between climate changes and solar changes.

    To my mind the smaller the depth of any part of the atmosphere the more exposed is the surface to the cold of space and the faster heat energy is lost from the atmosphere.

    As I’ve said before the weather patterns and the global temperature trend FOLLOW a change in the global heat balance. So, if small solar changes (moderated by the oceans) can change that balance then the weather patterns change and over time a climatic change becomes apparent.

    There’s so much that we do not know that any suggestion that the science is settled is a product of a non scientific agenda.

  77. Stephen Wilde says:

    Whoops.

    I should make it clear that by global temperatures I mean ocean and atmosphere combined. Not just the atmosphere.

  78. Les Johnson (14:38:36) :

    Possibly related….a giant breech in the magnetosphere…

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/16dec_giantbreach.htm?list91627

    I wonder if vukcevic has seen this article, goes along nicely with his theory.

    But once again new horizons opening before our very eyes.

  79. Stephen Leiper says:

    [snip - Sorry, but I will not let this thread get hijacked by HARRP worriers - no discussion of this subject here - Anthony]

  80. Jim G says:

    With any gas, as temp (measure of the average kinetic energy) increases the volume will increase.

    So, if the volume is shrinking? The atmosphere must be getting cooler.

    I didn’t get the impression that they were surprised that it contracted, but by how much it contracted.

  81. crosspatch says:

    “To a large extent, the total amount of gas in the atmosphere stays pretty constant”

    Oh, man … someone should write a tongue-in-cheek story about how increased iron mining to support increased automotive production is causing a weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field. This weakening is allowing the solar wind to strip away the atmosphere at an “alarming rate”. Include graphs of steel production, Earth’s magnetic field over time, and the height of the atmosphere … all since the last solar maximum.

    Steel production will increase, magnetic field will decrease and height of the ionosphere will decrease … and tin foil hat crew will begin demonstrating for a freeze on iron mining.

  82. Lief, Pamela:

    Remarkably little basic internet data (on sites updated since 2003 at least!) on the EARTH’S magnetic field, its relative strength, and the position of the (rapidly-moving-towards-Siberia) magnetic north pole.

    Now, we (the few skeptics in this AGW-dominated world) have long theorized that a decrease in the SUN’S magnetic field reduces the shielding effect AROUND the earth, and this decrease in the solar system’s net shielding allows more cosmic rays (creating more cloud nuclei) into the upper and mid atmosphere; which then increases reflectivity, which reduces temperature.

    An increase in the sun’s activity increases the shielding effect, which reduces the cloud nuclei formation, which (in general) increases the amount of energypenetrating the atmosphere, which increases temperature.

    BUT ,,,, (dramatic paused added for effect in the classroom) ….

    What if the EARTH’S magnetic and self-shielding effects need to be added to the sun’s shielding and magnetic fields? If the earth’s shielding were steadily going down as the poles shift – they are loooong overdue! – then the recent 160 years of a warming trend might be twice related to magnetic field shielding: the earth’s shielding is being reduced, at the same time as the sun’s shielding is being reduced.

    —-
    From this web site:
    http://thepanelist.com/Opinions/Opinions/Shifting_Gears,_or_What_Happens_When_the_Poles_Fail_200809241195/
    —-

    It won’t be the first time it has happened. In fact, earth’s polarity has shifted a number of times in the past, usually in 250,000-year intervals (based on the study of lava flows and old ship’s records). One such shift, called the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal, is estimated to have occurred about 780,000 years ago, or double the time between the two pole shifts prior to that. This unexpectedly long interval is, in fact, what has scientists concerned about a coming pole shift.

    In 2001, an international polar expedition discovered that the earth’s North magnetic pole has shifted about 186 miles since 1994. This drift continues today, moving about 25 miles a year from the Canadian Arctic toward the Severnaya Zemkya islands north of Russia in the Arctic Ocean, leading some scientists to predict that the North Pole may eventually end up in the South Atlantic. This speculation is supported by an anomaly in that area with a surprisingly high magnetic field intensity of about 60 percent. Although how a shift to the east predicts a subsequent movement south is beyond me.

    The movement and shift is further supported by the fact that, in the last two decades, Earth’s field intensity (measured in gauss and mentioned above) has shrunk by almost 2 percent, with a decrease in the South Atlantic nearer 10 percent.

    This decline in field intensity is one of the factors leading scientists to predict a pole reversal. What they can’t even guess at is how long before it happens, how the transition occurs, or what happens to living creatures at the time.

  83. Paul Friesen says:

    At http://www.solarcycle24.com is a article about A Giant Breach in Earth’s Magnetic Field. it seems to be a big story but im just a dumb farmer and no idea if it means a big cycle 24.

  84. Ric Werme says:

    Person of Choler (11:41:29) :

    (1) the ionosphere is lower
    (2) this is bad, very bad
    (3) we don’t yet know the reason for the lowering, but we will soon learn that it is caused by something that normal humans like or need to do.

    Re: (2): The movie “The Day After Tomorrow” is on FX tonight. The storm just brought down some -150F air from the stratosphere so quickly it didn’t have a chance to warm. (That is the worst of the science in the movie.) Three helicopters froze and crashed.

  85. Ed Scott says:

    MartinGAtkins (15:45:11) :

    Bob B (14:16:43) :

    Ed Scott–global sea ice is about “normal” right now.
    Move along nothing to see here.

    Bob B (14:16:43) :

    Ed Scott–global sea ice is about “normal” right now.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

    Move along nothing to see here.

    Werner Weber (12:33:18) :

    Ed Scott (08:27:09) :
    The big melt: 2 trillion tons of ice gone since ‘03…

    All of the information on the posting was excerpted from the linked article. There is nothing in the article that I commented on.

    I buy you books, er, I provided you links, but you do not read them.

    AGW and Dr. Pachauri’s BGW are bunk. Global warming/climate change is completely independent of any human or bovine influence and most certainly independent of the output of the computer models of Algore/UN/IPCC/Pachauri.

  86. Indigo says:

    Steven H.:

    Kind of randomly I had been looking at those pictures the last few days, but I noticed that the extent image was “stuck” on December 11. Today’s image is the first new one I’ve seen since last Friday. I’m afraid my browser’s cache didn’t save the old file.

    The slope of the line graph definitely changed since Friday (to nearly 0!) – I wonder if there has been a problem with the data and values from last week have carrying over?

    That would explain the zero slope. What’s clearly different about today’s extent image is that the “1979-2000 median” line has been updated, but I think the sea ice has also been updated as Hudson Bay is almost entirely covered now.

    The website does say there are occasional problems with the “real-time” updates and that monthly data are considered more accurate. Perhaps there were just some data glitches and this will all work out.

  87. Richard Sharpe says:

    Robert Cook PE says:

    usually in 250,000-year intervals (based on the study of lava flows and old ship’s records)

    If you know the location of a ship that old with intact records, please let me know, because I think I can make us unbelievably rich.

  88. George E. Smith says:

    “” Stephen Wilde (16:10:53) :

    The main thing missing from my theories is the mechanism whereby small changes in solar activity have such a large effect on observed global temperatures.

    Even Leif Svalgaard has been flummoxed by that to the extent that he has been driven to doubt about the validity of the apparent historical link between climate changes and solar changes. “”

    Well Steven, that position, that the sun can’t possibly be responsible for changes in earth climate; is one of the mantras of the UN IPCC club; and among the most commonly cited problems by the so-called mainstream press that propagates the IPCC propaganda (IMHO).

    So I have to say I am very surprised to learn that Leif holds such a position.

    I’m not a climatologist, so I don’t know exactly (or even approximately) how any of these global oscilaltion cycles works; but to me, they ONLY relate to how local climate changes; and I don’t believe they have much to do with the overriding question of whether the earth is gaining energy and getting hotter, or losing energy and getting colder, or pretty much staying put.

    And I should hasten to add, that I am not interested in major earth orbit shifts; they clearly do things that are somewhat out of the ordinary, and hopefully somewhat understod.

    But I have a VERY simple view of how I believe that basic energy balance situation works. It’s so simple I can’t believe it is not widely taught, and I can’t even imagine how it could possibly be wrong. (a good proof it is wrong would be gladly accepted).

    The basic sun problem (evidently) is that around 35 years or three sunspot cycles of satellite measurments of the solar constant (Unfortunately not all from the same satellite) show that the solar constant changes cyclically with the sunspot numbers, so that it is higher at high sunspot numbers, and lower at low sunspot numbers; and the curve to me seems to have significant harmonic that makes it flatter at the bottoms and pointier at the peaks; which may be nothing more than the amount of time the sunspot numbers are near the peaks versus near the valleys. In any case, the peak to peak vartiation in the solar constant is only about 0.1% amplitude.

    And the IPCC global warmers say that isn’t nearly enough heating change to affect the earth’s climate even though there is a significant body of data that shows earth temperature somewhat tracking the sunspot cycles, at least as far as the 22/23 year full magnetic cycle.

    Despite this statistical linkage; the IPCCers are much more able to believe a linkage between global surface temperatures, and concurrent atmospheric CO2; even though the data shows absolutely no such correlation.

    So what gives; the temperatures show clear linkages to multiples of the 22/3 year magnetic cycle and nobody believes; but they readily believe a CO2 temperature link in the absence of any such data.

    So if the sun has an effect how does it do it; if 0.1% is not enough of a “forcing” (IPCC swear word) to cause any observable change in global surface temperatures.

    Here’s my simple (IMHO) explanation; and I should hasten to add that I originated none of this; I’m just reading other people’s data, and connecting dots.

    The major greenhouse gas in the atmosphere by far is water. Were it not for water in the atmosphere this planet would be an ice ball, no matter how much CO2 we had.

    Water absorbs (some) incoming solar radiation, beginning at around 700 nm where there is significant solar energy. That helps warm the atmosphere directly; but works to cool the surface (less surface sunlight).

    Water also absorbs in the infra-red starting around 1.1 microns, and then all over the place in bands out to around 3 microns; which adds to the direct solar warming of the atmosphere but subtracts from the surface warming. But the earth emitted IR near BB radiation, even over the hottest desert areas, has very little energy below about 4.5 microns, and over most of the globe below 5 microns, with 75% of it being generally longer that 10 microns where water becomes strongly absorbing. CO2 doesn’t really kick in in the IR region till around 13.5 to 16.5 microns (near ground level where the highest atmospheric density and pressure and CO2 partial pressure, makes CO2 most active. Beyond the 16.5 micron region water is the most opaque liquid known, and absorbs everything in less than ten microns of water depth.

    So water vapor creates a GHG warming effect that also is a positive feedback effect, in that the warming due to water vapor absorption of IR, leads to further (prompt) evaporation from the oceans (73% of the earth surface).

    That is the basic GHG positive feedback warming that raises the earth temperature from less than -15 C up to about +15C.

    CO2 also intercepts part of the earth IR (the 13.5-16.5 micron slot), which also causes (on return to earth) prompt water evaporation; arguably a positive feedback effect, except there is so much water vapor compared to CO2, that the water vapor doesn’t really need any help to cause positive feedback warming on its own.

    Now in addition to being by far the majority of earth GHG in the atmosphere, water is unique in that it is THE ONLY GHG which occurs in the atmosphere in all three phases; vapor, liquid, and solid; and in the liquid and solid phases, water forms clouds; so much clouds, that the earth has about 50% cloud coverage of its surface at all times. Clouds are the biggest contributor to the earth albedo of 0.367 or thereabouts. Snow and ice are miniscule in that very little sunlight reaches the regions where snow and ice are, and old snow and ice don’t reflect anywhere near as much as people think; snow in particular traps quite a bit anechoically.

    So clouds reflect quite a bit of direct sunlight back into space, which cools both the atmosphere, and also the ground; and in addition clouds that can precipitate, further absorb a lot more direct sunlight which may warm the atmosphere, but further cools the surface by reduction of ground level insolation. (ever been under a midwest thunderstorm in summertime?)

    Nobody ever observed the earth surface to warm up, when cloud passes in front of the sun; it ALWAYS cools due to simple geometrical optics. Evne at night, when metorologists (on the six o’clock news) claim it warms due to high clouds; it doesn’t; it still cools, but maybe at a slower pace; but it still cools, and in the daylight (we’re talking climate; not last night’s weather) it cools a whole lot more.

    Most of the earth’s cooling takes place in broad daylight; like around noon . Try running cold water through your car’s radiator and see how ineffective it is at cooling your engine; that’s why it is pressurized to raise the water temperature.

    So water vapor leads to positive feedback warming, and clouds lead to negative feedback cooling.

    Recent measuremnts from satellites show that a 1 deg C increase in global mean surface temps, results in a 7% increase in global evaporation; total atmospheric water content; and total global precipitation. See Wentz et al, in SCIENCE for July 2007. “How much more Rain will global Warming Produce”) (maybe give or bring; don’t have the paper in front of me). Wentz hangs out at RSS in Santa Rosa California.

    What Wentz et al didn’t say was the obvious, that precipitation is fashionably associated with Clouds; real clouds of the dark sun blocking kind; not the “cloud that floats on high oer dale and hill”.

    That total global evaporation and precipitaiton must be equal is obvious; other wise we would end up with the oceans over our heads.

    It is also interesting to note, that the Playstation video gamers also agree with Wentz et al, on the 7% per deg C increase in global evaporation and total atmospheric water vapor. (read the water vapor pressure tables in the CRC handbook of chemistry and physics, ofr obviousness).
    BUT !! The gamers cliam that the total global precipitaiton only increases by from 1 to 3% per deg C, not 7%. So the models are in error by as much as a factor of seven from real world actual experimental observations of reality; and aren’t perturbed by the one way transport of the oceans up into the atmosphere. Notice the ever present 3:1 fudge factor that is built into all Playstation climate models.
    So now we have a regulating system. If it gets too cold, we get lots of rain and snow, and soon the dark clouds break up and disappear; and more sunlight reqaches the ground and it stops colling.
    If it gets too hot, you get more evaporation, more water vapor GHG (remember the logarithmic warming versus GHG), and eventually you get more clouds, and more albedo, and less ground level insolation and it stops warming.

    So as long as we have the oceans out there, we couldn’t change the temperature of this planet either up or down even if we wanted to.

    So now what all this solar activity business ??

    Well it is obvious (at least to me) that the earth’s temperature is regulated by modulation of the cloud cover. Too cold, lose clouds, warm up; too hot, more clouds, cool down.

    So anything that encourages cloud formation will cause the cloud cover to shift to ballance at a lower temperature. So dust from a volcano cools the earth; not so much by blocking or scattering much sunlight, but by nucleating raindrops in clouds to give more cloud cover at a lower temperature. Anything that inhibits cloud formation, like California clean air particulate regulations, causes it to warm up to get enough evaporation to produce enough clouds.

    Now enter Henrik Svensmark et al, with their cosmic ray thesis. I have to admit, that from an earlier life as a nuclear physicist, I knew about the Wilson cloud chamber, and its abilty to show charged particle tracks in a supersaturated water vapor chamber.

    Water molecules do not like to condense on each other; but they will condense on damn near anything else; dust particles, pollen grains, microbes, even on showers of ionised gases, which is what cosmic rays produce in the upper atmosphere. Various kinds of high energy particles from mesons to protons, and weirder things, crash into upper atmospheric gases,a dn create thick trails of ionised atoms/molecules that are ideal for growing water droplets and starting cloud formation. Some of these nuclear reactions result in N14 turning into C14 which is raioactive. Some of these reactions result in release of Neutrons, and being uncharged, they can pass through the atmosphere largely unscathed, whereas the high energy charged primaries can never get through all that gas mess up there withoug hitting something; so the neutrons are measurable at surface level to monitor cosmic ray flux.

    So cosmic rays and charged particles from the sun can create charged particle showers in the upper atmosphere and encourage cloud fromation through droplet nucleation.

    Solar activity affects the charged ion flux, and can be historically monitored before the space age, by measuring the C14 concentration in clearly datable tree rings; and C14 variation has a very convincing linkage to solar activity since the space age. In fact I got a nice paper from Fred Singer just yesterday, since I was discussing this very subject with him.

    The linkage between solar activity and cosmic ray flux as evidenced by C14 production is very striking. There is no such match between CO2 and global temperatures.

    Now solar charged particles and cosmic rays are also influenced by the magnetic environment of the earth, which includes the solar magnetosphere, and when the near earth fields are strong, the charged particles get steered towards the magnetic poles, which are regions of low water vapor concentration, so not a lot of cloud nucleation can occur; but when the combined near earth magnetic fields are weaker, the cosmic ray flux on earth is more uniform, and stronger so lots of CRs fall in the tropical regions where ther is plenty of water vapor to form clouds, so cosmic rays and charged solar ions have more effect when near earth magnetic fields are low, and that relates to the 22/3 year solar magnetic cycle.

    When I first heard of Svensmark’s work about a year ago; I did some cartwheels.

    I have to confess I have not read their original papers in detail yet; but I am quite convinced that they are correct.

    The linkage between that pesky orange ball up there, and earth climate; is not the insipid 0.1% change in the soalr constant, but it is the very sizeable change in cloud formation that results form the solar magnetic fields, cosmic rays, and solar charged particles.

    And why that is so blessed hard for climate scientists to grasp is quite beyond my ken.

    I’m strictly limited to what I can distill out of other people’s data and papers, since I don’t work in this field; but If I can understanbd it, I don’t see why the people who call themselves climate scientists can’t see it.

    I gotta go and eat before I become part of the methane producing decay matter; but tomorrow I will post a link to the paper that Fred Singer sent me.

  89. Robert Bateman says:

    At this late stage of 2008, the question “Are we heading for a Grand Minimum”
    should be changed to “Why are we not heading to a Grand Minimum?”
    The sun today just hung there and seemed to say :” What are you lookin’ at?”
    NW Coastal CA – tonight 12 degrees.
    NE CA – tonight -14 degrees.

  90. Jeff Alberts says:

    pkatt (10:26:47) : “Warm things expand, Cool things contract.. hmmm dont suppose it could be explained that easily?”

    Except that water expands when it turns to ice…

  91. Jeff Alberts says:

    Tom G(ologist) (11:32:09) :

    Lawyers call it the ‘weight of evidence’. Scientists refer to ‘parsimony’. Sherlock Holmes said that when you eliminate every explanation which is impossible , whatever explanation remains, no matter how implausible (or unpopular) is correct.

    Actually Sherlock Holmes never said anything, since he was a fictional character.

  92. Jeff Alberts says:

    JP (12:35:35) :

    MMmmm…I was wondering why Art Bell’s show was coming in clearer…

    If Art Bell’s show is coming in with any kind of clarity you need to adjust your brain.

  93. Jeff Alberts says:

    Neil Jones (12:01:56) :

    Off Topic

    Hows this for a headline?

    Last decade is the warmest on record, scientists say

    Saying anything is the warmest or coldest on record is an empty statement. It’s tantamount to saying I’m hungrier than I was an hour ago. The time frame is way too short to have any meaning.

  94. Jim Thomas says:

    What about the effect of the reduced surface area of the atmospheric sphere?

    If the amount of energy presented to the top of the earth is roughly 1,366 Watts per Square Meter, and you contract the total volume of the atmospheric sphere, this necessarily reduces the surface area irradiated by the sun.

    Now obviously a square meter of the top atmosphere that is interpose between the sun and the surface of the earth holds more heating effect than a square meter that presents a straight line missing the earth (where the light would pass in though the atmosphere and go out into space having missed the earth but presumably partially heating up those molecules it comes in contact with).

    But I’m not suggesting that this effect would huge, but I’m guessing that the effect might be non-zero. Given the fact that sun’s irradiance varies only 0.1% during the solar cycle, could this effect overtime be significant for the earth’s climate and represent a up-to-now hidden component of solar forcing? Or does the solar energy that misses the earth but hits the atmosphere largely irrelevant?

    Of course I would think that the greater surface area may represent a greater opportunity for the earth’s atmosphere to radiate it’s heat out. I certainly don’t know how this would all wash out numerically, but if the models currently assume a larger (and less variable) surface area, might they need to be adjusted to account for this reduction?

    Jim Thomas

  95. Jim G says:

    George.
    Regarding small changes in the sun….

    In regard to TSI that is true.

    However,
    XUV is down about 50% and soft/hard x-rays are down by about 1/1000-1/10,000 of the the values they were at during solar max. There were a several solar flares that were 1,000,000 times greater than the current x-ray flux.

    UV interacts with the ozone layer to create ozone, while at the same time solar protons and energetic electrons interact with the upper atmosphere to create NOx and HOx compounds that destroy ozone.

    Solar particles also enter the poles to create the aurora releasing 100′s of billions of joules (per Themis press releases). The aurora substorm recorded by Themis was a small one compared to the ones created during solar max, which were seen as far south as Florida.

  96. Jeff Alberts says:

    tarpon (15:08:54) :

    I think it is simple lack of enough ions in the ionosphere. Radio communications which rely on an active ionosphere are in the pits. Now anyone want to put forth why there are fewer ions in the ionosphere? Big yellow ball on vacation?

    I think it’s because all the ions are being placed into Qray bracelets. Obviously this is a man made problem. /sarc

  97. George E. Smith (18:50:49) :
    “” Stephen Wilde (16:10:53) :
    The main thing missing from my theories is the mechanism whereby small changes in solar activity have such a large effect on observed global temperatures.
    But that is the only thing that matters. No mechanism, no effect.

    Even Leif Svalgaard has been flummoxed by that to the extent that he has been driven to doubt about the validity of the apparent historical link between climate changes and solar changes. “”
    This has it backwards. It is not so that I have been driven to doubt, it is instead that the link has not been demonstrated to my satisfaction, so I have not been driven to belief. “Flummoxed’ does not describe my feeling or attitude about this.

    Well Steven, that position, that the sun can’t possibly be responsible for changes in earth climate; is one of the mantras of the UN IPCC club; and among the most commonly cited problems by the so-called mainstream press that propagates the IPCC propaganda (IMHO).
    I think this is incorrect. The IPPC needs to solar connection to explain climate change before AGW. Of course, one way out of this is to posit that there has never been any climate change except the last 50 years, but I don’t think many people would subscribe to that.

    So I have to say I am very surprised to learn that Leif holds such a position.
    so am I. Solar activity seems to have some small effect [of the order of 0.1C]. But the Sun changes too little to account for changes ten or more times as large. Simple enough, and I don’t see a problem, puzzle, or paradox here.

    —–

    The ‘shrinking’ of the upper atmosphere is due to two causes: less UV and less geomagnetic activity that heats the upper atmosphere. The expansion is simple thermal expansion and does not directly depend on ionization or magnetic fields [only as facilitators of electric currents resulting from magnetic storms]. There is no reason to make a big deal out of this [has been known for three quarters of a century], but NASA has a known tendency to make these ‘sensationalist’ statements.

  98. Richard Sharpe (17:57:15) :

    Robert Cook PE says:

    usually in 250,000-year intervals (based on the study of lava flows and old ship’s records)

    If you know the location of a ship that old with intact records, please let me know, because I think I can make us unbelievably rich.

    ……

    Thank you for finding that in the piece I quoted. What the writer is trying to say, but expressed poorly, is that north magnetic pole (pole location, mag field declination, mag field intensity, etc) can be derived from (recent) ship logs, and from (ancient) iron particles trapped in old lava flows.

    Same problem remains: how much of the changing magnetic field influences are from changes in the sun’s external magnetic field, and how much are from changes in the earth’s internal field?

  99. PaulHClark says:

    George E. Smith (18:50:49) :

    I have always enjoyed reading your posts but that one was a fantastic read and made enormous sense. Thank you for taking the time to share your thinking – I very much look forward to reading the Fred Singer paper.

  100. Stephen Wilde says:

    George E Smith,

    Thanks for your thoughtful and comprehensive summary of Svensmark’s ideas
    and your take on the evaporative and water vapour effects which I find broadly plausible since it accords with the gist of one of my articles at CO2sceptics.com.

    I too am intrigued by what Svensmark says and look forward to future developments. Apparently the CERN experiment will be looking at it amongst other things.

    I’m not surprised by your view as regards the regional effect of weather patterns. That is the general view. However I think it is wrong. All my observations over 50 years lead me to believe that the global heat balance changes for whatever reason (usually a combination of solar and oceanic influences) and weather patterns follow and once new patterns have been in place for a while then there is your new climate until the heat balance shifts again.

    I’d venture to suggest here,as I have done elsewhere, that if one calculates the average distance of the jet streams from the equator then subject to some sort of calibration that will tell us whether the atmospheric temperature is rising or falling and with some refinement it could also tell us how slow or rapid the process is in either direction.

  101. Lance says:

    ey Robert Cook PE,

    So modern real ionosphere observations with satellite equipment are not equal to some log ship records? All derived from 250,000-year intervals, of course based on the study of lava flows and old ship’s records. And some how this sounds rational to you?

    Well, Indiana Jones would be proud of you, or maybe Jack Sparrow and the pirates of the Caribbean.

    Psst… The secret….non of this data existed before April 2008,

    So my bad, don’t let me disturb your witch doctor “rolling of the bones” with my/our ….of course, reality.

    Is the world getting colder or warmer? Go Ask A Dinosaur.

    Oh Sheit, I was just informed.

    it was the farts what killed them , silent but deadly dinosaur farts….yeah riight! lol?!

    Love this site, lurked for a long while. :)

  102. twawki says:

    As the atmosphere thins does the relative thickness of each level proportionally thin as well? As the troposphere etc is cooling wouldnt this 1 – cause contraction and 2 impact on the temperature of the earth by reducing it. Everthing interplays

  103. DaveE says:

    George E. Smith (18:50:49)
    Try running cold water through your car’s radiator and see how ineffective it is at cooling your engine; that’s why it is pressurized to raise the water temperature.

    Cold water is VERY effective at cooling your car’s engine, which is why the thermostat remains closed limiting the amount of cold water getting to said engine until operating temperature is attained.

    The reasons the cooling system is pressurised are:

    1) it raises the boiling point of the coolant, allowing the engine to run hotter, (more efficiently).

    2) it prevents coolant from vaporising & leaving you without coolant.

    DaveE

  104. Ric Werme says:

    Stephen Wilde (01:42:34) :

    I’d venture to suggest here,as I have done elsewhere, that if one calculates the average distance of the jet streams from the equator then subject to some sort of calibration that will tell us whether the atmospheric temperature is rising or falling and with some refinement it could also tell us how slow or rapid the process is in either direction.

    Yeah, but is it cause or effect? In 1816, the “Year without a Summer,” – see my http://wermenh.com/1816.html – it appears to me that the storm track/jet stream shifted south. It was not that New England froze throughout the summer, we had enough warm periods so that apple blossoms didn’t freeze and that crop was quite good. However, there were frequent cold fronts and storms ushering severe weather that froze the corn crop three times.

    I’d stick with the PDO, AMO, and satellite temperature measurements myself.

  105. Steve Keohane says:

    Just another inconvenient, (inconsequential/sarc) parameter not in the climate computer (Playstation/sarc) models. George E. Smith, thank you for your elucidation.

  106. John B says:

    CNN and NASA are at it again. Headline:

    “Ice melting across globe at accelerating rate, NASA says”

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/12/16/melting.ice/index.html

    Also, I have a question about triggers of potential climate change. Can anyone comment on the effects that real pollution (as opposed to CO2 as a pollutant) has had on temperatures? Is it possible that the high levels of pollution from coal and other sources produced dark particulates in the atmosphere that absorbed solar heat and triggered what appeared to be global cooling. Then our efforts to clean up the air removed these particles over the course of decades, allowing us to see the full effect of the sun again?

    Just wondering and don’t have time to reserach now.

  107. Stephen Wilde says:

    Ric Werme,

    The change in heat balance must come first. There is no other force that would change the weather patterns. Weather patterns in themselves drive nothing but they are the mechanism by which a change in energy balance from other causes is translated into a rise or fall of atmospheric temperatures.

    Anything that affects the weather patterns has to operate via a change in the energy balance of the planet.

    The net influenvce of the oceanic oscillations can change the energy balance and so can changes in solar input. The weather patterns then follow.

    IF human CO2 could have a big enough effect on the global energy balance then it would do the same but as far as I can see the effect of such CO2 is miniscule compared to sun and oceans.

  108. George E. Smith says:

    “” DaveE (05:20:08) :

    George E. Smith (18:50:49)
    Try running cold water through your car’s radiator and see how ineffective it is at cooling your engine; that’s why it is pressurized to raise the water temperature.

    Cold water is VERY effective at cooling your car’s engine, which is why the thermostat remains closed limiting the amount of cold water getting to said engine until operating temperature is attained. “”

    Dave, if the cold water is so effective at cooling the engine; then why does the engine heat up with the thermostat closed, when all that is in there when you start it is cold water ?

    The waste engine heat has to be transported from the engine to the atmosphere; and that requires passing it through the “radiator”, which is more properly described as a “heat exchanger”, which does both “radiation” as in electromagnetic radiation cooling, and conduction/convection to the air flow that is passing through it via the fan or vehicle .

    The hotter the water is, the more efficiently both the radiation (4th power of Temperature) and conduction/convection (linear with temperature) operate.

    Apparently 85% of all roadside automobile problems (USA) are cooling system related. Temperature destroys automotive components, and if it was legal to do it (in California), I would pull the thermostat unit out of all my cars, as it just constricts the water flow.

    Instant on passenger heat is the main incentive for putting a thermostat in the cooling system; it’s just another unnecessary compoonent to go wrong and fail out on the road. Too many cars simply don’t have any where near enough heat exchanger capacity to cool modern engines, so they have to be super pressurised to get the cooling efficiency up so the engine doesn’t overheat. That results in burst hoses; right when you are least able to handle the problem.

    I used to own a Dodge van purchased new with the factory towing package to pull a boat. On a trip to southern California with the boat, the radiator developed a header tank crack, and started losing water at a good clip just when I was on my way home, so I had a 20 gallon cooler chest full of water, in the back and had to stop periodically to resupply the water. I finally got tired of the process, so I took one of my MIL’s hair clips, and bent it to sit on top of the tank under the pressure cap so it held the pressure cap permanently open. The vehicle had a plastic overflow tank, with about a 1 1/2 gallon capacity, open to the air, and I filled that full of water.

    Without the pressurization from the radiator cap, the whole system operated at atmospheric pressure; so the presure didn’t force open the header tank crack;but with an extra 1 1/2 gallons of water capacity in the header tank (extended) there was plenty of cooling capacity, and I drove most of the 300 plus miles in that condition, and never touched it again for months.
    It turns out that there were four differnt “radiator cores” available for that vehicle. The regular one was a single layer of tubes, and the heavy duty tow package one that I had had two layers so was twice as thick. the header tanks were wide enough to support three and four layer cores; so I had the radiator shop put a four layer core in and never ever had another cooling problem. The hair pin eventually rusted away so I replace the pressure cap with a sealed cap that had no pressure valve, os as water expanded in the engine, it simply flowed over into the extra 1 1/2 gallons of coolant.
    I once owned an MG-1100 sedan that had a completely sealed radiator sysystem. The radiator header tank had a non valved sealing cap just like I installed on the dodge, and then a steel overflow tube lead to a steel water tank that held about 1 gallon of cooling fluid, and that tank had a pressure cap on it. The system worked perfectly for years, until a gas station idiot undid the sealed cap on the radiator header tank, before I could stop him, and it never quite sealed properly again.

  109. George E. Smith says:

    For Steven Wilde,

    I am not dismissive of the global circulations, which evidently link to all these various “oscillations”, as in ENSO, PDO, AMO etc; and I plead total ignorance of those processes since I am not a climatologist, and I would rather leave that science to those who are schooled in those crafts.

    so I realize that there are powerful influences, that determine how much total rainfall Australia is going to get, or whether Europe is going to freeze or have a heat wave. To me that is local climate, and is clearly a very complex subject.

    My interest ( and Physics background) are focussed on the general question of the total energy balance of the planet, and how that relates to the various solar linkages, and also the thermal processes that go on on earth.

    To me, the whole concept of a “global mean temperature”, as represented by GISStemp et al, is completely without any scientific validity whatsoever.

    Ultimately, energy loss from earth is a radiative process; well a whole gamut of radiation processes from various parts of the system, and that generally must follow something like a 4th power of temperature law as in BB radiation, so already an average temperature is meaningless, since the fourth power of an average temperature is always less than the average of the fourth power of temperatures; so a global mean temperature, underestimates the total radiative cooling.
    When it comes to the interception effects of GHGs such as CO2, then it is more important to consider, not the total Stefan-Boltzmann radiation; but the Wien displaced peak spectral radiance; which goes as the fifth power of the temperature; not the fourth, and the peak wavelength shifts to shorter wavelengths at higher temperatures, while the wavelength of the CO2 absorption band does not (to any great extent).
    So the hottest places on earth; the tropical deserts in the noonday sun, are not only radiating at the highest rate (fastest cooling) but the peak of that radiation is further removed from the CO2 absorption band so those locations are less affected by CO2; whereas in the very coldest places, where the total radiant emittance is down by over an order of magnitude, the wien shift put the spectral peak of the IR right on the CO2 band; which is part of the reason why GHG warming is more effective in the polar regions.

    But finally, the thermal processes that go on over different terrains are totally different so there is NO simple relationship between local temperature and local energy flows. The interractions of radiation, conduction, convection, and evaporation, lead to totally differnt thermal behavior in different locations.

    So “mean global temperature” has absolutley no more scientific validity (or meaning) than say an enumeration of the average number of “animals” per hectare over the earth; taking animal as meaning any critter of ant size or larger.

    You might as well average all the telephone numbers in your local phone book to get a mean telephone number for your city. Unless it is YOUR phone numbert it is of no value or interest to anybody.

    Which is why I claim, that Dr James Hansen’s GISStemp anomaly graph, monitors GISStemp anomaly; (whatever that is), and nothing else of any scientific importance.

    And it most certainly is NOT the average temperature of this planet by any means or even of the surface of this planet; because his entire sampling regimen violates the basic laws of sampled data systems so badly, that even a true average of the function he thinks he is measuring; is theoretically not recoverable from his data.

    And as Anthony has been demonstrating to us; much of that data is garbage anyway.

    I have very little concern about how accurate any of these GCM climate models are; because I already know that the very data that goes into them is complete rubbish.

    In January 2001 , Geophysical Letters or somesuch journal, there was a report on about 20 years of ocean bouy studies that simultaneously monitored air temperatures 3 metres above the ocean, and water temperatures one metre below the surface. the result showed that temperature increase ove rthat 20 years had been exaggerated by about 40% based on the fact that tempertaures of ocean water had been used up to that point.

    That doesn’t mean that a simple 60% warming factor needed to be applied to the previous 100 years of temperature data over the oceans. The important discovery was that the water and air temperatures were not correlated; why would you expect them to be with wind speeds much different from ocean currents. Nothing like equilibrium could ever be established.

    The lack of correlation means that 100 years of faulty ocean data obtained from measuring water temperature cannot be resurrected to exchange for lower troposphere temperatures, and that means that 73% of the earth’s surface has no believeable temperature history data.

    So garbage in , garbage out, and that’s about what GISStemp is.

  110. Steven Hill says:

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png

    Ice levels drop again today….soon it will be lower than all the lines on that chart.

  111. Bill P says:

    Paul Clark,

    RE: “Study-Climate change may force skiers uphill”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/28251193

    The key to the survival of the larger ski areas in the Rockies will be adaptation, according to the study by Williams and Brian Lazar, a scientist at Boulder-based Stratus Consulting.

    Frightening to think how skiers themselves may need to evolve. It might play out along these lines.

    Skiers will become hairless as the extra body covering proves superfluous in the ever-advancing temperatures. More pronounced will be adaptations against the ravages of heat. Ears will “hang low” (like the song) and learn to flap in order to cool bare shoulders and backs from the stuffy warmth of the close atmosphere – even above timberline. Bermuda shorts will come back. But I digress. As CO2 replaces all the good air in the lowlands, skiers will compete for the best breathing space and best snow in the upper regions. Thoraxes will begin to look like Michael Phelps’, and unintelligible sounds will be heard as larynxes evolve to produce loud territorial barks. Folds will develop in the back skin, for carrying granola bars and large-denomination bills needed to pay carbon taxes… How many generations it will take skiers make these adaptaions is not presently known, but I believe there may be a CU Boulder scientist with a business card who is ready to consult with anyone interested who needs a prediction.

  112. George E. Smith says:

    Here’s the Link to the paper (book) that I referred to from Dr Fred Singer.

    http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf

    You will note their whimsical title of NIPCC Report.

    Theres’ a huge amount of data and stuff for anyone to dig into here; whatever your own view/bias happens to be.

    I believe it is figs 14 or 15 or thereabouts that show pretty good indication of solar linkage to earth climate via the charged particle/cosmic ray/cloud linkage, which way overshadows nay small variation in the solar constant with sunspot cycle.

    The C14 production in the upper atmosphere is taken as a proxy for solar activity.

    You can research the literature on C14 or ask Leif , if you want to validate this idea for yourself. (Hey that’s what I do; without the data these chaps in the field put out we would all be in the dark.)

    By the way; I believe you have permission to print yourself a copy of this book; but don’t go pasting it all over the web. link people to the site and follow the normal copyright procedures; and if you use pieces of it elsewhere, give the usual credit to the NIPCC, and Fred Singer and Co will be happy you find it useful.

  113. Samuel says:

    Eureka.. I have my primer!!!
    I have been looking for a way to correlate siesmonic/ volcanic behaviors, solar minimums.. this is it.. for those who will look.. you will see.. historical trends for midplate quakes/ volcanic events, solar dead phases / global cooling. this magnetic bubble effects individual plates. it is part of a cycle.

  114. yonsaon says:

    Driving South on 275 yesterday about 45 minutes before sunset I say a really interesting thing I don’t ever remember seeing before, a rainbow in very high altitude clouds. It persisted for about a half hour and I was able to get a crude shot of it with my cell phone camera, which didn’t capture the brightest part, but brought out the background irridescence in in the rest of the cloud that I hadn’t noticed when taking it.

  115. Philip_B says:

    George E Smith, while you make a number of errors, for example it’s cooler under a thunderstorm because of evaporative cooling caused by the rain, you are on the right track.

    A couple of other things to consider.

    It’s a common misconception that increased evaporation results in increased cloud. While this is true in high humidity areas, it’s often not true in low humidity areas.

    Where I live in Perth, Australia, we often have clear air humidity. The air near to the ground is humid and there is a potent greenhouse effect and consequently much hotter, but no cloud, because the air further up isn’t humid and convection doesn’t produce clouds.

    This matters because because over the last 50 years there has been a huge increase in irrigation and this has made clear air, near ground humidity more common. It also occurs naturally after rain in summer.

    I also think you are under-estimating the impact of snow/ice albedo. In many areas, particularly mountainous areas, you get quite high levels of solar insolation on snow/ice. Anything that effects snow/ice albedo, eg dust/soot will impact temperatures, and more importantly produce a longer term feedback (less snow = less albedo = warmer temps = less snow).

    Otherwise, I agree with you that the water vapour to liquid – clouds and then rain – phase change dominates the earth’s climate, and only things that effect the phase change will significantly impact climate, ie Svenmark’s galactic radiation, dust and some gases/ions.

    And to answer your question,

    And why that is so blessed hard for climate scientists to grasp is quite beyond my ken.

    Most scientists are not theoreticians. In particular, for a number of reasons, including social/professional pressure, they do not question the main paradigms (theories) underlying their disciplines. The Forcings Model underlies almost all of climate science. Few climate scientists publically question it. Read Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

  116. Austin says:

    Stephen Wilde,

    You have not lived on the Pacific Coast. The ocean temps drive both local and large scale weather patterns. Offshore winds cause upwelling of 40 degree water which drops local temps signficantly and the PDO is driven by surface winds.

    Weather is a complex phenomenon and patterns will arise independent of outside input due to the complexity of the system.

    Add in the oceans and geography and the properties of water and it gets evenmore complex- what is a hurricane.

  117. George E. Smith says:

    “” Philip_B (14:02:25) :

    “George E Smith, while you make a number of errors, for example it’s cooler under a thunderstorm because of evaporative cooling caused by the rain, you are on the right track.”

    Phillip, I was referring to the very simple fact, that under a thunderstorm, whether it is raining or not, it is VERY dark; ergo there is very little sunshine reaching the ground; and that can be observed even inside a house where the cold air associated with storms doesn’t reach but normal sunlight surely does. Evidently my command of the English language is somewhat lacking. No cloud; sun hits ground. cloud passes in front of sun; LESS sunlight reaches ground.

    “A couple of other things to consider.”

    “It’s a common misconception that increased evaporation results in increased cloud. While this is true in high humidity areas, it’s often not true in low humidity areas.”

    I refer you to Wentz et al, SCIENCE July 2007 “How much More Rain will global Warming Bring”
    They show from satellite measurments that a one degree C increase in GLOBAL SURFACE MEAN TEMPERATURE results in a 7% increase in GLOBAL TOTAL EVAPORATION, and a 7% increase in TOTAL GLOBAL ATMOSPHERIC WATER, and a 7% increase in TOTAL GLOBAL PRECIPITATION. That is measured real observation satellite data. The GCM models agree with the 7% evaporation and total atmospheric water, but claim the TOTAL GLOBAL PRECIPITATION is only 1-3%, not 7% which is actually observed.

    If total global precipitation does not equal total global precipitation, then we end up with the oceans over our heads; they have to be equal (over the long haul), and the measured data says they are. I agree that the Monsoon rains of India do not originate over dry areas of India; the water comes from somewhere else; like the Indian Ocean.

    I apologise for forgetting that Kosciusco hill sometimes gets snow.

    The total amount of snow/ice outside of the polar circles is rather negligible (other than Greenland) Some people think that the reason there is so much ice and snow in the polar regions is that very little sunshine ever reaches there to stop it from snowing, or to melt the snow that is there.
    So I stand by my statement that snow/ice reflection doesn’t contribute much to albedo. The record (since the dawn of history in 1979) arctic sea ice meltback of 2007 summer, evidently caused the mother of all lake effect snow storms that has now blanketed all that land in the north with record snow levels. There is actually more land north of +60 degrees latitude (the Arctic), than there is south of -60 degrees latitude (the Antarctic).

    “Where I live in Perth, Australia, we often have clear air humidity. The air near to the ground is humid and there is a potent greenhouse effect and consequently much hotter, but no cloud, because the air further up isn’t humid and convection doesn’t produce clouds.”

    I don’t doubt the humid conditions of Perth (don’t get a lot of snow there); but my comments are related to the global totality, not to localised climate effects; which as I explained I have no expertise in; so I leave that to those who do. My interest is very simply the question of whether the total solar input of energy to earth is greater than or less than the total outgoing long wavelength IR radiation that is the ONLY means of planet earth cooling (maybe we lose a few molecules occasionally).

    To me the question of local climate is somewhat irrelevent; the temperature will be somewhere between -90C and +60 C, measured on the ground, no matter where you go on earth (surface), and somehow humans have adapted to deal with that whole range, and I don’t see any sudden flooding of New York because it changes 0.5 deg F somewhere; or even everywhere.

    “This matters because because over the last 50 years there has been a huge increase in irrigation and this has made clear air, near ground humidity more common. It also occurs naturally after rain in summer.”

    “I also think you are under-estimating the impact of snow/ice albedo. In many areas, particularly mountainous areas, you get quite high levels of solar insolation on snow/ice. Anything that effects snow/ice albedo, eg dust/soot will impact temperatures, and more importantly produce a longer term feedback (less snow = less albedo = warmer temps = less snow). ”

    Well I already dealt with that; most of the ice and snow is in places where there isn’t much sunlight. Dust of course can nucleate rain drops and cause more clouds to cool things; happens every time there is a major volcano

    Otherwise, I agree with you that the water vapour to liquid – clouds and then rain – phase change dominates the earth’s climate, and only things that effect the phase change will significantly impact climate, ie Svenmark’s galactic radiation, dust and some gases/ions.

    And to answer your question,

    And why that is so blessed hard for climate scientists to grasp is quite beyond my ken.

    “Most scientists are not theoreticians. In particular, for a number of reasons, including social/professional pressure, they do not question the main paradigms (theories) underlying their disciplines. The Forcings Model underlies almost all of climate science. Few climate scientists publically question it. Read Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”

    Well I always thought the aim of science theory was to define the properties of a model which accurately mimics the real universe. We are very intolerant of models which behave differently from the real universe. Einstein’s gravity replaced Newton’s gravity (for serious work) all because of a lousy 34 seconds of arc per century error in the precession of the perihelion of Mercury from Newton, which Einsten completely removed.

    Conside r the official NOAA energy budget graph which models standard climate forcing theory.

    The sun illuminates a spot on earth with 342 W/m^2, which the atmosphere reduces to a ground level of 168 W/m^2. That tends to raise the temperature of that spot. The spot is connected to the rest of the ground through some thermal resistance, and also to the atmosphere by some higher thermal resistance; those being reasonably linear parameters so the 168 watts bleeds off to the rest of the environment according to a linear sort of Ohm’s law thermal calculation which determines the temperature elevation of the spot.
    Unfortunately, as a result of that spot temperature, it also radiates at roughly a T^4 rate, so less of the incoming energy is available to conduct to the ground/atmosphere, so the temperature rise is actually less than the Ohm’s law calculation. So we have a certain fraction of the energy re-radiated as IR and the rest transported to the rest of the planet (stored).

    That’s the official NOAA budget model. So now to the real world.

    The REAL sun illuminates the spot at 1368 W/m^2; four times what NOAA claims, and the atmosphere reduces that down to 672 W/m^2 at the ground also 4 times what NOAA claims.
    Sans radiation that spot would reach four times the temperature elevation claimed by NOAA model; but the raidation from that higher temperature increases as T^4, so the radiation grows very much larger in the real case, than the NOAA case, and as a result the energy transported linear with temperature differential to the rest of the planet, is MUCH LESS than what the NOAA fictional model predicts.

    The result is the real world cools very much faster than the NOAA budget model suggests; so the NOAA model underestimates the global cooling rate, and hence overestimates the global surface temperature necessary to maintain energy balance.

    The earth does most of its cooling in the glare of the noonday sun when ground temperatures are at their highest. The cooling rate for the coolest spots on earth is more than 12 times less that for the hottest spots, and over six times less than what is predicted from the isothermal global mean temperature forcing model.

    I don’t really care what motivates most climatologists to not question what they evidently are taught; but at least it should bother them, that the models don’t behave even vaguely like the real world does. the whole idea of science theory is to describe the exactly predictable behaviour of a fictional model, whose properties have been defined so that the model mimics the real oveserved system, that we can measure the real bahaviour of.

    If the measured data says the real world does “this”, and the fictional model analysis says the model does “that”; which is significantly different from “this”, then the model is no good and must be discarded (or rebuilt so it mimics reality more closely.)

    In any case, my pictographs are just skin and bone images; they clearly need real flesh added to them by people who know what the real world data is; and certainly I welcome argument as to why my images are untenable. That is how I learn too.

  118. Jeff Alberts says:

    George E Smith wrote:

    To me the question of local climate is somewhat irrelevent; the temperature will be somewhere between -90C and +60 C, measured on the ground, no matter where you go on earth (surface), and somehow humans have adapted to deal with that whole range

    Actually we haven’t adapted. We change our surroundings to suit us instead of adapting to our surroundings. We put on a coat instead of growing one. We turn on the AC instead of evolving a better method of keeping cool.

  119. Chris V says:

    George E. Smith (17:58:19) said:

    The REAL sun illuminates the spot at 1368 W/m^2; four times what NOAA claims, and the atmosphere reduces that down to 672 W/m^2 at the ground also 4 times what NOAA claims.

    The number you cite for the REAL sun illumination (1368 W/m^2) is what hits the equator, at noon. It decreases towards the poles (because of the lower relative angle of the suns rays) and is zero on the night side of the earth. The total illumination hitting the earth is 1368 multiplied by the surface area of a circle with the radius of the earth.

    The number NOAA gives is that total illumination, divided by the the entire surface area of the earth.

    The surface area of a sphere is 4 pi r^2. The area of a circle is pi r^2. That is why the “real” numbers you cite are 4 times the NOAA numbers.

  120. Jack Simmons says:

    PaulHClark (11:55:17) :

    OT – but did anyone see this.

    “Study-Climate change may force skiers uphill”

    Here all this time I was under the impression skiers always had to go uphill (via those expensive ski lifts) before going back downhill.

  121. Sergio da Roma says:

    It is a very interesting blog! I guess this matter could have some interest if we look to the Global Electric Circuit and the Tisley’s work. What climate consequences do we have with a less charged ionosphere on GEC and on cloud formation? It could be a not so obvious answer…

  122. Roger Carr says:

    George E. Smith (17:58:19) “I apologise for forgetting that Kosciusco hill sometimes gets snow.”
    And well you may apolgise, Sir! Kosciusco is a hillock. It is somewhat taller than I am, and even I have snow up top… Damnit.
    (p.s. I also ripped the thermostat out of my ’48 Holden to good effect; after it had done 125,000 miles.)

  123. Stephen Wilde says:

    From comments made by others I should define what I mean by ‘weather patterns’.

    I do not mean simple local or regional variability as some have assumed.

    Weather to me means the interplay of high and low pressure systems. Thus a shift in the average positions of those synoptic systems around the globe are as much ‘weather’ as the local or regional consequences of those shifts.

    Any degree of persistence following a shift in the average positions becomes a shift in climate for the areas affected.

    Thus a change in the Earth’s radiative energy balance dictates the size, position and persistence of those synoptic systems.

    If the atmosphere is losing energy the jet streams move equatorward dragging the temperate zone lows and highs with them.
    If the atmosphere is gaining energy the jet streams move poleward.

    Either way the shift in global energy balance precedes and drives the changes which over time then affect the average atmospheric temperature.

  124. George E. Smith says:

    “” Roger Carr (05:13:50) :

    George E. Smith (17:58:19) “I apologise for forgetting that Kosciusco hill sometimes gets snow.”
    And well you may apolgise, Sir! Kosciusco is a hillock. It is somewhat taller than I am, and even I have snow up top… Damnit.
    (p.s. I also ripped the thermostat out of my ‘48 Holden to good effect; after it had done 125,000 miles.) “”

    No offense intended Sir Roger; we of the shaky isles have to yank your chain occasionally. I have often wondered (OBSCON) if the fact that the land of Oz was such a low down place, has something to do with your lousy rainfall. There’s plenty of moisture coming off the ocean, but it just buzzes right across the whol dang place without hitting anything important.

    Maybe you need to build some synthetic mountains out there in the ouback to encourage the clouds to climb to precipitation height.

  125. DaveE says:

    George E. Smith (09:49:21) :

    Dave, if the cold water is so effective at cooling the engine; then why does the engine heat up with the thermostat closed, when all that is in there when you start it is cold water ?

    Simply because you transfer the heat generated by the engine is transferred to the water. A continuous supply of cold water would cool very effectively.

    I will not even attempt to dispute that heat exchangers work more efficaciously with a higher temperature differential, because that is obvious.

    That the IC engine works more efficiently at higher temperatures is indisputable also, which is why I maintain that the thermostat remains in effect until the beast has reached operating temperature.

    Ideally we would operate IC engines at an even higher temperature but a cheap and plentiful coolant is not available to allow that.

    DaveE.

  126. George E. Smith says:

    “” Chris V (21:29:20) :

    George E. Smith (17:58:19) said:

    The REAL sun illuminates the spot at 1368 W/m^2; four times what NOAA claims, and the atmosphere reduces that down to 672 W/m^2 at the ground also 4 times what NOAA claims.

    The number you cite for the REAL sun illumination (1368 W/m^2) is what hits the equator, at noon. It decreases towards the poles (because of the lower relative angle of the suns rays) and is zero on the night side of the earth. The total illumination hitting the earth is 1368 multiplied by the surface area of a circle with the radius of the earth.

    The number NOAA gives is that total illumination, divided by the the entire surface area of the earth.

    The surface area of a sphere is 4 pi r^2. The area of a circle is pi r^2. That is why the “real” numbers you cite are 4 times the NOAA numbers.
    “”

    I guess I just totally wasted my time even raising the issue.

    So if you know what the real number is, perhaps you also know why NOAA doesn’t use it.

    What good is a climate model if it isn’t a model of anything real ?

  127. Richard Sharpe says:

    George E Smith, quoting Roger Carr says:

    (p.s. I also ripped the thermostat out of my ‘48 Holden to good effect; after it had done 125,000 miles.)

    Yeah, I had to rip the thermostat out of my ’67 Holden just after Christmas ’79 on the way back to Canberra from Brisbane. Never really needed it after that.

  128. George E. Smith says:

    “” Jeff Alberts (19:14:00) :

    George E Smith wrote:

    To me the question of local climate is somewhat irrelevent; the temperature will be somewhere between -90C and +60 C, measured on the ground, no matter where you go on earth (surface), and somehow humans have adapted to deal with that whole range

    Actually we haven’t adapted. We change our surroundings to suit us instead of adapting to our surroundings. We put on a coat instead of growing one. We turn on the AC instead of evolving a better method of keeping cool. “”

    Well each of us is different; no matter how much effort is expended trying to make us all the same. So you can adapt in whatever way you want; others will choose to do other things.

    Just consider the absurdity of trying to “Adapt” to a change of just a half deg F over the last century; which has the whole planet in an uproar. A century ago we did everything so differently from now, who knows how uncomfortable we were with our lot.

    As for me; my plan A for adaptation to the global warming of 0.5F is to do exactly nothing; it will be all gone before I was able to detect any improvement in my lot anyway.

  129. Chris V. says:

    George E. Smith (11:26:19) wrote:

    So if you know what the real number is, perhaps you also know why NOAA doesn’t use it.

    What good is a climate model if it isn’t a model of anything real ?

    Maybe I wasn’t clear enough- both sets of numbers are correct; they are just in a slightly different form (think of it as something like the difference between pounds per square inch and pounds per square foot).

    Most climate scientists use the NOAA “versions” because they are easier to use when calculating things like global forcings. You could use the 1368 number to calculate the forcings also; you’d just have to do an extra calculation or two.

    I guess I just totally wasted my time even raising the issue.

    Not at all- you just made a very simple and fundamental mistake. I am sure that lots and lots of meteorology undergrads have made the same mistake.

    Of course, most of those meteorology student aren’t proposing their own “theory of climate”, either. Maybe you need to get a slightly better handle on the basics before you overturn the existing paradigm.

  130. SteveSadlov says:

    All the signs are here. Hint – I am not referring to any of Algore’s scenarios.

  131. George E. Smith says:

    “” Chris V. (14:04:34) :

    “Maybe I wasn’t clear enough- both sets of numbers are correct; they are just in a slightly different form (think of it as something like the difference between pounds per square inch and pounds per square foot).”
    Well they are a little more different than that. One set of numbers is actually observable on a real planet; namely ours; the other set is fictional and not observable anywhere of interest to humans.

    “Most climate scientists use the NOAA “versions” because they are easier to use when calculating things like global forcings. You could use the 1368 number to calculate the forcings also; you’d just have to do an extra calculation or two.”
    Well I have a pretty good idea what some climate scientists do, and none of those that I know use a model that has 168 W/m^2 striking the south pole continuously even in the dead of winter midnight. while the same thing is striking the equatorial noonday tropics.

    On the other hand Physicists use real units; not fictions like “forcings” and the other trappings of “meteorological undergraduates”. That way, they have a finite chance of understanding what really happens on a real planet.

    “Not at all- you just made a very simple and fundamental mistake. I am sure that lots and lots of meteorology undergrads have made the same mistake. ”
    Yes I certainly did; merely in assuming that “climate scientists “would understand ordinary high school Physics

    “Of course, most of those meteorology student aren’t proposing their own “theory of climate”, either. Maybe you need to get a slightly better handle on the basics before you overturn the existing paradigm.”

    Well you’re very charitable; actually I’m not proposing any theory of climate; because I don’t really have much interest in climate, since we can do nothing about it.

    And it is my quite sound grasp of “the basics” that convinces me that the existing “paradigm” of “climate theory” is a shameful caricature of science.

    When your “existing paradigm” is capable of explaining the climate history we already know about; say for example the little ice age, and the mediaeval warming period; after all your models that can predict the future 100 years ahead, ought to be able to replicate the past which presumably was used to create them; then maybe I’ll start paying attention.

    In the meantime; if the “climate science” field learned some very simple fundamentals themselves; like the general theory of sampled data systems; they might actually start measuring things that are meaningful, instead of palming off total garbage data, and equally garbage models as capable of predicting even the very next point to appear on their plots; with less than a 3:1 fudge factor.

    We now have over ten years of demonstrated failure of the “existing paradigm” to meet its own chicken little scenarios.

    By the way; why would “meteorolgy undergraduates” be studying climate?

  132. Joel Shore says:

    George E. Smith: That’s a lot of words to attempt to cover up the fact that you are attempting to judge a field of science but have some extremely basic misunderstandings of the field (as Chris V. has illustrated). I think I will trust the judgement of the scientists in the field themselves…and reputable scientific bodies such as the National Academy of Sciences (as well as my own judgement as a physicist).

    Fortunately, since we will soon have a President who seems to actually believe in using the best science available rather than distorting science to fit his ideology (as we had to contend with for the last 8 years), that will also hopefully the prevailing view in guiding our public policy.

  133. Roger Carr says:

    George E. Smith (11:19:53) “…land of Oz was such a low down place, has something to do with your lousy rainfall. There’s plenty of moisture coming off the ocean, but it just buzzes right across the whol dang place without hitting anything important.”

    Check the rainfall again, George. We are drowning in it right now. This has always been a land of droughts and flooding rains and is right on schedule.

  134. George E. Smith says:

    Hey Roger,

    I was in Melbourne Christmas of 2006, when you were having terrible droughts, and bush fires. My relatives were getting into the water tank thing to try and save more water for their needs. The day we flew out to Auckland again, the drought broke and they got rain to try out their new storage tanks. Glad you’re getting some relief; the smell of that bush fire smoke was pretty pungent.

  135. Mike Bryant says:

    George E. Smith,
    Just wanted you to know how much your explanations of basic science are appreciated. Please keep it coming. You know you are hitting the mark when you have a physicist sputtering. I wonder why basics have been forgotten in the ivory towers academe?
    Mike Bryant

  136. anna v says:

    Chris V. (14:04:34) :

    and Joel Shore (17:56:40) :

    As another physicist I agree with the exposition of George E. Smith (16:34:09) :.

    What he was trying to explain is that there is no meaning in making a ball of the earth and equitably distributing the incoming sun energy because this model has no correspondence with the way the earth radiates away the heat.

    The heat is lost much faster ( I think he says 12 times faster) from the tropics than from the north . A model that depends on isotropic input and output cannot represent the real earth conditions. There cannot be a one to one correspondence with real earth because of the different functional forms needed all over the globe.
    Integrations are necessary which are not being done.

  137. George E. Smith says:

    “” Chris V. (14:04:34) :

    Joel Shore (17:56:40) : “”

    Well with almost 140 posts so far, by all and sundry on this thread, the insightful contributions by two experts such as yourselves are greatly appreciated.
    We amateurs are totally dependent on the helpful contributions you brought to this discussion.

    From my perspective, it is gratifying to see remarks from folks like Mike Bryant and Anna V. above.

    I don’t do this for a living; my employer is paying me to design stuff for them; they have only one test, and that is my stuff has to work or I get fired. While my computer is thinking for me, I’m able to pop into places like this and try to be helpful to anyone like Mike, and helping just one person to understand some things that are esoteric, yet within the grasp of any sensible person, makes it very worthwhile to me.
    To know there are fellow Physicists like Anna out there to straighten me out when I goof up, is also much appreciated, since my academic days are half a century in the past, and I’ve probably forgotten more than I have remembered.
    Well I probably could go to Google and bone up on some of this stuff, but then anybody else can already do that for themselves, so they don’t need me.

    So I like to stay in the desert island mode; if I can’t figure it out with a stick on a sandy beach, with what is in my head, I’d rather tell people to go to the textbooks themselves.

    Apart from that, I come here to learn myself; if I wasn’t learning from others here, I wouldn’t be here.

    As for the numbers of words; is it better to drop a one liner with disciplinary jargon, only to draw blank stares, and more questions to be answered, or is better to try and be more complete, even at the risk of boring those fully schooled in the subject.
    Well the skilled can always change the station, but what of the others who may not even find guidance as to where to look for answers.

    My guiding principle, is that ignorance is NOT a disease; we are all born with it. But stupidity has to be taught, and there are plenty of people willing and able to teach it.
    For me, there are no stupid questions; except those that are never asked. My office door is always open; and if I want to learn from others I simply bust into THEIR offices.

    So Chris and Joel; if you are quite satisfied with the state of your fields of science, then you don’t need this place; you’d probably be more comfortable among your peers.

  138. Roger Carr says:

    Steady, anna (anna v | 23:50:26), that sounds most unsettling…

  139. Chris V. says:

    anna v and George:

    The NOAA numbers come from a simple diagram showing the earths energy budget- incoming sunlight, radiated longwave, reflected sunlight, etc. Those numbers are perfectly appropriate when looking at the global energy budget and the NET climate forcings.

    The computer models do not assume an equal solar forcing everywhere on the earth; the models calculate the solar forcing for individual latitude bands.

    Arhennius did his calculations that way over a hundred years ago.

  140. George E. Smith says:

    Well I’m not going to belabor the point, and waste a bunch more of Anthony’s space.

    The NOAA budget chart gives 390 W/m^2 for the surface radiation; which corresponds very closely to the blackbody radiation rate for 15 deg C (59 F) which has been the typically cited “mean global surface temperature” at least in the public media for quite afew recent years, although it may be slightly lower these days. I’m not unhappy with taking BB rates as applying to the real world, since some 73% of the real world surface is ocean and oceans do radiate somewhat like ablack body; probably with an emissivity in the 97-98% range (based on Fresnel reflection losses)
    The hottest air temperatures correspond to 1.75-1.8 times that rate, and probably the hottest surfaces reach 2.0 times that or more.
    The lowest temperatures go below -120F, and at least anecdotal reports from Vostock go to -140 F (-90C). For those typical lows the radiation rate drops by about 6 times from the “Global average”, giving a typical range of about 10:1, and as much as 12:1 for the extremes.

    If the radiation rate (radiant emittance) were linear with temperature, then using an average temperature, with an average radiation rate would still yield a correct total radiation number.

    But the real system isn’t linear, and it is reasonable to expect it to follow something close to a fourth power law.

    Anytime you have a cyclic function raised to some power greater than 1, the integral of that is always greater than what you get by simply integrating the average, and for a fourth power function it becomes significantly greater.

    So a radiation total based on an average global temperature must underestimate the total radiant cooling of the earth.
    Where I live the climate follows a pattern that it has followed for thousands or millions of years.
    The solar blow torch goes around my location in a 24 hour cycle, and has always done so, so that the insolation is only positive for a portion of that 24 hour cycle, typically around a third, but that varies from place to place on earth, but everywhere outside the Arctic, and Antarctic circles sees that 24 hour cyclic insolation climate behavior. On top of that, the earth moves in its elliptical orbit, so the amount of insolation also goes through an annual cycle of about 365 days.

    If you don’t integrate the actual cyclic variations in that clearly observable climate behavior not only over the 24 hour day but also over the 365 day year then you don’t get the correct total radiation for any point on the planet.

    That also doesn’t take into account that on average about 50% of the total globe surface is covered by clouds, and those clouds typically come and go on time cycles that can be just a few minutes to hours or days, and if you only measure the minimum and the maximum temperature at any measuring location, for any day, then you get no information about the higher frequency cloud related changes in the solar insolation at surface level.

    If you ignore the cloud variations (I’m told that the GCMs do ignore clouds), and if you measure the temperature twice a day at regular intervals (midday/midnight or somesuch), your best chance of getting a correct daily average temperature would be if the temperature curve were a pure sinusoidal function. Theoretically, you can recover the average temperature (for the day) in that case, but you cannot recover the cyclic variation during the day, because you are employing “critical sampling”.

    Well unfortunately the daily temperature cycle is not sinusoidal, even in the cloudless case, because the heating and cooling rates don’t match, so the temperature signal contains frequency components at least twice the daily rate, and in that case, you are undersampling and it is theoretically impossible to recover even the average value of the temperature for the day, even with no clouds. If you can’t get even the correct average temperature for a single day, you certainly can’t get it for a whole year, and just throwing in the random cloud variations means you have no idea what the mean temperature or total insolation is for even a single day, at any point on the planet.

    Twice aday temperature sampling is not adequate for determining the average temperature.

    That problem pales into significance when you start looking at the spatial sampling.

    I read somewhere that back around 1900 there were a total of 12 reporting weather stations in the arctic (north of +60 degrees). That number grew to the mid 80s at its peak, but then declined to somewhere in the 70s; and I’m guessing that occurred around the collapse of the soviet empire.

    I have no idea how many reporting stations there are south of -60, but I doubt that it is much different.

    Over the oceans which after all are 70% or so of the total surface, measurements are often reported from ships, and historically, such as back when Arrhenius was doing hsi thing 100 years ago, they threw a bucket over the side to gather water from some unknown depth in some unknown location. Since 2001, we have known that ocean water temperatures do not correlate with ocean air temperatures, and why would we expect them to since air over Hawaii today, may be over America in a few days. also the ocean currents meander, so even in the same GPS co-ordinates, you cannot depend on being in the same water.

    So prior to about 1980 when those ocean buoy studies were begun, we don’t have any reliable oceanic lower tropospheric temperatures, for 70% of the globe; even whatever measurements Arrhenius was doing.

    So maybe the climate community are satisfied with that situation; but there isn’t any mathematical support for the way they sample gl”global temperatures”.

    And even if they could get the correct global average value, it still tells us nothing about the total radiative cooling or total global insolation.

    That’s the only global energy problem that i’m interested in; I’ll leave it to others to worry about whether the Riviera will be comfortable next year.

    As for the GHG “forcings” (IPCC swear word), I would be pleasantly surprised to find out that any of the GCMs consider local temperatures, and Wien Displacement of the IR spectrum in computing the local CO2 absorption of surface emitted IR radiation. In the polar regions with lower temperatures, the IR emission falls closer to the CO2 absorption band, but the lower atmospheric temperatures reduce the Doppler broadening of that band.
    In the hottest tropic areas, the IR spectrum peak moves further away form the CO2 band, but the Doppler width is increased. I’m sure I could find all that accounted for in the Computer models of climate.
    Of course it suits the IPCC to maintain that 3:1 fudge factor in all of their utterances, because they can then ask; what if this worst case was the real one ?
    If their error margins were reduced, they might find their predictions were no longer scary enough to suit their political purposes.
    And I’m outa here.

  141. Chris V. says:

    George-

    I don’t know where you’ve gotten your ideas about climate modeling, but they are very wrong.

    Here’s a great link about how climate models work:

    http://www.climateprediction.net/science/cl-intro.php

    FYI-

    Climate models don’t treat the earth as a black body (as you seem to think?).

    They DO include the effects of clouds.

    They don’t plug in some global solar forcing from NOAAs energy budget; they calculate it at different latitudes.

    They use short time steps (1/2 hour, for the particular model in my link), so they take into account daily variations.

    And any errors there might be in the global temperature set are not really important, as far as the models are concerned. They are only used to set up the initial starting conditions- after that, the model determines it own temperature, based on the physics. After running the model for some number of model years, the initial temps that were input don’t even matter any more.

    ~snip~

  142. Joel Shore says:

    George E. Smith says:

    I don’t do this for a living; my employer is paying me to design stuff for them; they have only one test, and that is my stuff has to work or I get fired. While my computer is thinking for me, I’m able to pop into places like this and try to be helpful to anyone like Mike, and helping just one person to understand some things that are esoteric, yet within the grasp of any sensible person, makes it very worthwhile to me.

    We are similar in that regard, as I also do not do this stuff for a living. Like you, I do computational work in a different area for a living and read (and comment) about climate science in my free time.

    I do appreciate many aspects of your philosophy. I too like to figure things out for myself. However, I think that when one does that, it is important to do it with lots of humility and the understanding that if you don’t understand something that the experts in the field are saying or doing, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong…It more likely is a lack of understanding on your side.

    In fact, a while back, I ran into the exact same factor of four issue regarding the solar constant that you ran into above…i.e., I was looking at the variations in the solar constant over the solar cycle and not understanding why they weren’t considered more significant in comparison to other forcings, until I learned that one had to divide by a factor of four to account for the difference between the surface area of the earth and the pi*r^2 projected area as “seen from the sun” (and there is also an additional factor of 0.7 because of the earth’s albedo). However, it seems to me that when you run into something you don’t understand, you seem to assume the worst of the scientists…i.e. that they are doing it wrong. So, you think they are using the wrong forcing…or that they applying the forcing equally over the whole earth in the climate models, which as Chris V. pointed out is not the case.

  143. anna v says:

    Joel Shore and Chris V

    I have looked a bit into the mechanics of the GCM and the assumptions and equations that enter into them. I will have a look at your link, too.

    I have previously stated my criticism of these models on posts here. These models started as weather prediction models. We all know that weather can be predicted for a very few days, even though they have this grid over the globe and they use the appropriate equations on the boundaries of their grids and averages within the grids.

    The reason the models fail after a few days are due to this: the solutions even of the differential equations they are using are highly non linear because that is the nature of coupled differential equations. Let us expand these solutions in a perturbation expansion, and even suppose that it converges. The first term of the expansion, the linear term is connected with the average, and usually the first terms of expansions fit quite adequately for the first steps of the variable, in this case time every 20 minutes. After some time, i.e. number of steps,( by observation for weather in 300 or 400 iterations), the higher terms come in force and spoil the fit and thus predictions are off.

    Now when these models are taken over and used on different time scales, the same applies, and they have substituted a lot more averages in their ambitious expansion.
    By observation we see that these solutions diverge after a very few years, for the same reason: the first order terms cannot stand in for the complete solution of highly divergent solutions of coupled nonlinear differential equations, even if one had all of them in.

    In addition a lot of equations are missing as George is arguing.

    The way other sciences are facing this problem (of highly nonlinear coupled differential equations) is with complexity and chaos theory and applications. There is a paper by Tsonis et al who have used neural nets to this effect and I think that this is the way climate modeling should go.

  144. Joel Shore says:

    anna v: What you are stating is nothing new to climate scientists. They understand chaos and sensitivity to initial conditions and indeed they do see it in their models. I.e., if they perturb the initial conditions, then the model follows a different trend of ups-and-downs in the temperature. However, despite these differences, the predictions of how much the global temperature changes over a reasonable-length period due to a change in greenhouse gas forcing is robust to these perturbations in the initial conditions.

    The technical distinction that is often made is that weather prediction is an initial value problem whereas predicting a change in climate in response to a forcing is a boundary value problem.

  145. Chris V. says:

    anna v (22:34:19) :

    You seem to be moving the goal posts a bit. I didn’t say anything about whether the models were “right” or “wrong”. I was addressing your’s and George’s misconceptions about how the models work.

    Saying that the models don’t deal with clouds correctly is one thing; saying that models completely ignore clouds is another!

    I just think that anyone who wants to argue about the accuracy of the models needs to have at least a basic understanding of how they work.

    When someone gets the fundamental basics completely wrong, it makes it difficult for me to take any of their arguments seriously.

  146. anna v says:

    Joel Shore,

    Using chaos in the language and using chaos theory to calculate are two different and distinct issues.

    In the IPCC reports where models are given with spaghetti graphs and large bands of
    “errors” when you go to chapter 8, you see that these are not real errors, i.e. varying systematically the parameters and initial conditions to see how much the solutions are perturbed , but “educated estimates of what the errors are”, i.e depending on the modeler’s intuition.
    I am too lazy to hunt again the exact chapter and verse where it is stated clearly In the last IPCC report that “no likelihood” has been developed yet for the models.

    I am sure that the reason they have not been able to develop a likelihood function for these models is what I stated in my previous post: first order approximations (that the use of averages is), diverge strongly in systems of coupled non linear differential equations.

    So the robustness depends on the intuition of the modelers and not on hard mathematics.

    It is all done by sleight of hand and magic.

  147. Joel Shore says:

    Anna V: If likelihoods are what you desire, various groups (such as Annan et al.) have done Bayesian likelihoods for the climate sensitivity based on climate models simulating various empirical climate changes in the past.

    I think the reasons that the IPCC has stayed away from likelihood is:

    (1) Their emissions scenarios about future evolution of society and how that affects energy use etc. are just that…scenarios. It is hard to ascribe likelihoods to such things.

    (2) The models biggest source of error are not errors in integrating the equations but potential systematic errors of various sorts (the representation of clouds, …). In such cases, establishing likelihood functions is not really possible.

    Science can rarely quantify uncertainty rigorously. What I think this really all comes down to is holding climate science to a different standard than other physical sciences simply because you don’t like the political / societal implications of its conclusions. As I have noted before, if quantum field theory had controversial implications, we would see QFT “skeptics” who would be asking us how we could believe a theory where you have to subtract quantities that are diverging to infinity to get a meaningful result!

  148. Smokey says:

    If the UN/IPCC’s ‘emissions scenarios about the future evolution of society’ and how that affects energy use makes it hard to ascribe likelihoods to such things, then how about we stop spending any more taxpayer money on the UN/IPCC, until their models can actually, you know, like, predict something?

    In more normal times, it was understood that the market sorted out things like energy use, much more efficiently than any government could.

    Can anyone prove to us that the UN/IPCC adds value anywhere near the $Billions that they cost taxpayers? Or must we take it on blind faith — since the UN adamantly refuses to provide any transparency of their massive and opaque bureaucracy, or transparency of the raw data that they rely on for their scary predictions, or transparency of the methodology and algorithms that they publish? It sure looks like they’re trying to sell us a pig in a poke, doesn’t it? They want our $Billions based on: “Trust us.”

    Certainly the UN has the clout to insist that Mann and the other Elmer Gantry-type climate scamsters must publicly archive all of their raw data and algorithms [paid for with taxpayer funds], but they don’t. Why not? What are they hiding? This isn’t nuclear warfare secrets we’re talking about, this is the climate.

    Better yet, let’s put it to a vote. OK, there’s Joel, and there’s Brendan, and there’s Pete… Anyone else? Spicoli? Anyone?

    Well, we listen to the minority report here [unlike most pro-AGW/catastrophe sites, which believe that censorship is justified in order to *ahem* 'save the planet'].

    But we’ll have to go with the mainstream consensus: the UN is thoroughly corrupt, their predictions are consistently wrong, predicated on a repeatedly falsified hypothesis, and catastrophic runaway global warming [the AGW hypothesis] remains completely unproven, and it is based only on always inaccurate computer models.

    But if the consensus changes, folks, you’ll read about it here first.

    Now, please:click

  149. Joel Shore (17:12:38) :
    climate sensitivity based on climate models simulating various empirical climate changes in the past

    a theorist – knows little, understands much
    an experimenter – knows much, understands little
    a modeler – knows everything, understands nothing
    a true scientist – know nothing, understands everything
    [V. Vasiliunas, AGU Fall 2008]

  150. anna v says:

    Joel Shore (17:12:38) :

    Anna V: If likelihoods are what you desire, various groups (such as Annan et al.) have done Bayesian likelihoods for the climate sensitivity based on climate models simulating various empirical climate changes in the past.

    I would like errors to be statistical errors and not estimates of the modelers, whether by a likelihood fit or any other way.

    this is from AR

    chapter 8
    Climate Models and Their Evaluation,8.1.2.2 Metrics of Model Reliability, partway in the second paragraph:

    The above studies show promise
    that quantitative metrics for the likelihood of model projections
    may be developed, but because the development of robust
    metrics is still at an early stage, the model evaluations presented
    in this chapter are based primarily on experience and physical
    reasoning, as has been the norm in the past.

    you say:

    As I have noted before, if quantum field theory had controversial implications, we would see QFT “skeptics” who would be asking us how we could believe a theory where you have to subtract quantities that are diverging to infinity to get a meaningful result!.

    The analogy is misleading. If QFT were giving results contradicting the data, it would have long ago been thrown in the wastebasket. Theoretical calculations using it always give errors, not estimates of theoreticians of what the errors should be There are calculations of the fine structure constant that are parts in a billion correct. The IPCC models are failing in most of their predictions. I will repeat here what I have shown before:

    The AGW hypothesis’ only justification comes from the computer models, GCMs, used extensively in the AR report of IPCC.A model/theory falls even if one datum disproves it, and there are at least four:

    1) Temperatures do not follow IPCC projections. Here is a plot to remind this:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/ipccchart.jpg

    2) The fingerprint of CO2 in the tropical troposphere as set out in the AR4 report is absent in the data. Here are the links
    for models:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf
    data:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/GHGModsvsReality.jpg

    3) The oceans are cooling instead of warming and setting off a feedback loop of greenhouse warming: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88520025
    The spin is: global warming missing heat. The truth is, nature does not follow the GCM IPCC models.

    4) the specific humidity is not rising as it should in order to create the runaway feedback loop predicated in the models:
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/Timeseries/timeseries.pl?ntype=1&var=Specific+Humidity+(up+to+300mb+only)&level=300&lat1=90&lat2=-90&lon1=-180&lon2=180&iseas=1&mon1=0&mon2=11&iarea=0&typeout=2&Submit=Create+Timeseries

    The basic premise of the models, that the tiny, (anthropogenic CO2 is a tiny fraction of the CO2 in the atmosphere:
    http://www.co2web.info/Icecap_CarbonDioxide.pdf) anthropogenic CO2 is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and starts runaway greenhouse warming is absolutely not supported by the data

    In addition there is no driving correlation between the rise in CO2 and global temperatures in this plot: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Correlation_of_Carbon_Dioxide_with_Temperatures_Negative_Again.pdf

    If this were a scientific proposition it would have been thrown out and rethought from the beginning. That is why I think it is just political.

    Thus, imo, all this AGW business is a production set up to stampede the masses into supporting policies they would never consider otherwise.

  151. WestHighlander says:

    Look up in the sky — its the SUN:

    There is only one thing that can effect the height of the Ionosphere, the atmosphere’s of other planets or the temperature of the earth — its the SUN

    Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn’t be better off if there was a severe penalty for being a “True Believer” Pseudo-scientist and intentionally writing something claiming AGW when they should know better. Perhaps such a miscreant could be given a useful job — such as helping some unfortunate community in the path of an advancing glacier — by doing some serious hand shoveling {“you load 16 Metric Tons — what’a you get….”)

    However, If I was Plato’s enlightened Autocrat — I would further punish the leaders of the useful idiots masquerading as climate scientists — I’d just line up the leaders — starting with Jim Hansen and MBH and have them beaten with an icicle until they admit that they — lied, fabricated and intentionally misled everyone about Anthropogenic Global Warming for some stupid political reason — such as they really like Marx

    By the way — despite the fact that traditionally here in the Greater Boston area we have only a 1/4 chance of a White Christmas — its been snowing rather continuously since Friday at noon and tomorrow we will have a mid January-like “daily high” of about -10C

    Westy

  152. WestHighlander says:

    Sorry, error in my sentence structure — left my intent somewhat ambiguous in my immediate preceding post

    I meant to say — “There is only one thing that can effect the height of the Ionosphere, the atmosphere’s of other planets, and the temperature of the earth — its the SUN

    i.e. one factor that can collectively effect all of the above
    — no CO2, methane or other “Green House Gas” need bother to apply

    Still recovering from recently shoveling the beginnings of the next glacial outbreak

    Westy

  153. Joel Shore says:

    Anna v says:

    1) Temperatures do not follow IPCC projections. Here is a plot to remind this:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/ipccchart.jpg

    You might ask how they have aligned the predictions and the data, since this doesn’t agree with plots in the literature (such as that shown in Chapter 1 of the IPCC AR4 or in this paper in Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;316/5825/709 ). Also note that there the model predictions are basically the forced component, i.e., not including “noise” due to El Nina / La Nina and the like, and the data for 2008 only includes the first half of the year (which was considerably colder than the second half). That’s a lot of problems with one graph!

    2) The fingerprint of CO2 in the tropical troposphere as set out in the AR4 report is absent in the data. Here are the links
    for models:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf
    data:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/GHGModsvsReality.jpg

    You’ve been hoodwinked if you believe that the “hotspot” in the tropical troposphere is a fingerprint of CO2. It has nothing to do with CO2. It is expected on basic physical principles regardless of the mechanism causing the warming (see here for a picture of what happens in a climate model if you increase the solar forcing instead of the greenhouse gas forcing: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/ ) and is simply due to the fact that the temperature in the tropics is expected to closely follow the moist adiabat. And, the data that you show has severe known problems…and, in fact, various analyses and re-analyses of that data yield a whole plethora of results, some of which agree and some which disagree with the expectation of moist adiabatic lapse rate theory.

    The real signature of greenhouse gas warming, as opposed to many other mechanisms like solar, is that solar has the stratosphere warming too whereas greenhouse gas forcing has the stratosphere cooling (which is in fact what it has been doing).

    3) The oceans are cooling instead of warming and setting off a feedback loop of greenhouse warming: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88520025
    The spin is: global warming missing heat. The truth is, nature does not follow the GCM IPCC models.

    There is admittedly some mystery surrounding the ocean measurements…but some variability is expected and there have also been some measurement issues. (A group that initially reported cooling with the new ARGO floats had to retract their paper after they found an error.)

    4) the specific humidity is not rising as it should in order to create the runaway feedback loop predicated in the models:
    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/Timeseries/timeseries.pl?ntype=1&var=Specific+Humidity+(up+to+300mb+only)&level=300&lat1=90&lat2=-90&lon1=-180&lon2=180&iseas=1&mon1=0&mon2=11&iarea=0&typeout=2&Submit=Create+Timeseries

    I am always amused how people are willing to take and plot some data that they don’t even understand…and understand the potential problems with and then believe it over peer-reviewed science that concludes precisely the opposite. I recommend you read Brian Soden’s work on this: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;310/5749/841 (this paper notes the severe problems with the radiosonde measurements that I believe you are plotting in your link above) and also http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;296/5568/727 (And, lest you think Soden is biased because he is reaching a conclusion you don’t like, I will point out that Soden is skeptical about the link between global warming and stronger hurricanes: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;322/5902/687 ) There is also some recent work by Dessler: Dessler, A. E., Z. Zhang, and P. Yang (2008), Water-vapor climate feedback inferred from climate fluctuations, 2003–2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35 ( http://www.agu.org/journals/scripts/highlight.php?pid=2008GL035333 ).

    The fact that all four of your statements (or at least 3 out of the 4) have severe problems to the point of being essentially wrong is a good reason why your opinion on the science differs so dramatically from the opinions of the IPCC, the NAS, the AAAS, the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, etc.

  154. anna v says:

    You might ask how they have aligned the predictions and the data, since this doesn’t agree with plots in the literature (such as that shown in Chapter 1 of the IPCC AR4 or in this paper in Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;316/5825/709 ). Also note that there the model predictions are basically the forced component, i.e., not including “noise” due to El Nina / La Nina and the like, and the data for 2008 only includes the first half of the year (which was considerably colder than the second half). That’s a lot of problems with one graph!

    There are many similar graphs, and they all show the discrepancy. Look at my last link:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Correlation_of_Carbon_Dioxide_with_Temperatures_Negative_Again.pdf

    You can handwave, but data do not go away.

    You’ve been hoodwinked if you believe that the “hotspot” in the tropical troposphere is a fingerprint of CO2. It has nothing to do with CO2

    If so, it is the IPCC report that is doing the hoodwinking. Actually in the first internet version, the CO2 only plot had the words “fingerprint” or maybe “signature” on it. It is after the Douglass et al report that they retroactively disappeared it, but did not dare disappear the plots quoted. It seems you do not read links. People can keep changing the goal posts, but that is not science. The world is asked to commit energy hara kiri based on the IPCC reports, not the later glossing over and hand waving.

    The link for humidity is NOA data , and it is not working well at the moment ( even if one copies the non highlighted parts), only one plot but it shows the diminishing specific humidity. Here are plots of relative humidity also falling: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/GlobalRelativeHumidity300_700mb.jpg. The paper you refer to is not freely available.

    I do not think you have replied to the four points in any clear way.

  155. Joel Shore says:

    anna v says:

    There are many similar graphs, and they all show the discrepancy. Look at my last link:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Correlation_of_Carbon_Dioxide_with_Temperatures_Negative_Again.pdf

    You can handwave, but data do not go away.

    As a fellow physicist, I really do wish that you would be more discerning rather than just post silly propaganda from a site that has no serious scientific credentials. What you linked to here is even worse than what you linked to before! The first plot tries to look for a correlation between the U.S. temperatures and CO2 ignoring the facts that :

    (1) Over the period that they look, everyone would agree that there were other major players besides CO2.

    (2) The U.S. is only something like 2% of the total surface area of the earth.

    As for the second graph, it is just a pathetic attempt to ignore basic facts such as:

    (1) Climate variability makes it such that a strong correlation between CO2 and temperature is not expected over such a short period. In fact, one could produce the same graph but have, substituted in for the actual temperatures, the output from climate models driven with increasing CO2…because they too show such variations.

    (2) That graph uses a great deception by plotting CO2 and temperature on the same graph but with the scales such that for temperature to follow the same trend as CO2 (i.e., have the same slope on that graph), the transient climate response to a doubling of CO2 would have to be about 9 C. As it is the IPCC’s best estimate is that the equilibrium climate sensitivity, which is greater than transient climate response, is about 2 to 4.5 C. I believe the transient climate response is expected to be roughly 2 C, give or take…So, basically, if they wanted a realistic comparison to the IPCC predictions, they should have made the scales such that the CO2 line has about 4 to 5 times lower slope than it does. But, of course, if they did that, it would become obvious that the temperature fluctuations are so large compared to the shallow upward slope expected that things are dominated by noise.

    If so, it is the IPCC report that is doing the hoodwinking. Actually in the first internet version, the CO2 only plot had the words “fingerprint” or maybe “signature” on it. It is after the Douglass et al report that they retroactively disappeared it, but did not dare disappear the plots quoted. It seems you do not read links. People can keep changing the goal posts, but that is not science. The world is asked to commit energy hara kiri based on the IPCC reports, not the later glossing over and hand waving.

    Perhaps they changed the word fingerprint or signature because someone pointed out to them that this could be misinterpreted by people to mean that the “hot spot” itself is a signature of CO2 specifically, rather than the signature being a warming of the troposphere and a cooling of the stratosphere…which is at least more unique to the mechanism of greenhouse gases causing the warming (i.e., if an increase in solar insolation causes warming, the stratosphere warms too).

    Look, this isn’t difficult stuff to understand: The hot spot in the tropical troposphere is expected to be there independent of the mechanism causing the warming. It is simply due to the fact that for saturated air, the adiabatic lapse rate (the rate at which a parcel of air cools as it goes up in the atmosphere) is lower when the air initially warmer than cooler because warm air holds more water vapor than cool air and thus more water must condense out as the air cools. Since condensation releases heat energy, this means that the initially-warmer parcel of air cools more slowly as it rises. This is simple basic physics.

    The link for humidity is NOA data , and it is not working well at the moment ( even if one copies the non highlighted parts), only one plot but it shows the diminishing specific humidity. Here are plots of relative humidity also falling: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/GlobalRelativeHumidity300_700mb.jpg. The paper you refer to is not freely available.

    Science magazine is freely available in libraries across the country. What you (or icecap) has done is taken data with lots of severe known problems (as explained in the Soden reference that I gave you) and just plotted it up assuming that these problems don’t exist. You can’t reference a real peer-reviewed journal for those results because they would be unlikely to pass muster in such a venue.

    You are basically grasping at straws and this explains why you and many of your fellow skeptics are living in your own world where the facts are completely different than the facts that the scientific community accepts.

  156. anna v says:

    Joel Shore

    Of course there must be a similar mechanism for all extra heatings ( I hate the forcing business, which tries to mask three dimensional physics into two dimensions). The crux is what the models used as parameters and feedback loops etc.
    The red in the hot spot appears only for the CO2 labeled plot in the IPCC report, and that is a fact. The data do not show the enhancement which is given in the IPCC report for the sum total of effects.

    As for the temperature and CO2 plots, I would make them myself from scratch if I were up to all these new tools of excel work sheets and stuff.

    I am sorry, but you still are not “explaining away” the discrepancies between the IPCC model claims in the formal report, and data since then.

    All the rest is “epea pteroenta” flying words.

  157. WestHighlander says:

    Come on

    “Joel Shore (17:42:54) :
    You are basically grasping at straws and this explains why you and many of your fellow skeptics are living in your own world where the facts are completely different than the facts that the scientific community accepts.”

    earlier you said

    “As a fellow physicist, I really do wish that you would be more discerning rather than just post silly propaganda from a site that has no serious scientific credentials…..

    As for the second graph, it is just a pathetic attempt to ignore basic facts such as:

    (1) Climate variability makes it such that a strong correlation between CO2 and temperature is not expected over such a short period….”

    One thing that I learned as an experimental physicist was that if a fancy model needed even more fancy disclaimers, etc — then the model was not worth the paper, tape, magnetic disk surface, etc that it was encoded upon

    The first thing that you must do with a complex system — is understand what you are measuring and how to get a handle on the data at the “back of the envelope” level — only then can you consuider trying to make a fancy model

    The fundamental problem with computer models of a strongly coupled complex system of many variables is that unless you know the physics in great detail to include in the model -=- then the model produces results that are classic GIGO (Garbage IN Garbage OUT)

    This is the result of the so-called Lorentz Effect — that for a certain level of complexity and hence non-linearity — a small error in initial conditions or strength of coupling (e.g the positive or negative or both feedback effects of clouds) translates into ultimate unpredictability

    A good example of this is the weather itself — no weather forecast (except for the magic incantations of the Old Farmers Almanac) can give any “actionable intelligence” as to the temperature to be expected in Boston 2 weeks from today (12/23/08) — if you wish to — you can personally review the temperature data for Boston on or about January 1 — you will find that there is extreme variability on all time scales from minutes to decades — forecasts made more than 36 hours prior are as unreliable now as they were when Lorentz first noted his effect in the 1960′s

    Of course in addition to the temporal variability of the weather — we also have to precisely specify where we are making our measurements. Only a few km separates the official weather observation station at Logan International Airport (sea level surrounded by water) and my location inland in Lexington (<100 m elevation). Yet this few km and slight change in elevation can mean the difference between a rain storm and a dozen cm of snow or often more than 5 degrees C (warmer or colder depending not only on the season but the direction of the local wind).

    But you say — climate averages out a lot of the above complexity issues and we don’t credibly try to predict the climate of any specific point 100 years into the future — just some sort of average. The problem with that argument is that since your model is self admittedly full of averages over things poorly understood — such as the strength of the effects on radiative forcing due to clouds (ref IPCC reports) – -we just don’t know whether the output has any validity at all.

    The only way to test the partial validity is to see if the model (with all parameters set to the best of our knowledge) can track the past record of the measurements (averaged in some agreed upon manner) — and surprise — there is not one GCM that can without fiddling about (e.g we use a different parameter to explain what happened in the 1980′s than we chose to use for the 2060 to 2100) time interval

    This is just plain and simple intellectual dishonesty and outside of a politically polluted field such as climatology wouldn’t be tolerated

    Back to the Back of the Envelope argument– If CO2 is such a strong determinant of global temperature (what-ever that really means — subject to future discussion) — then we should see something happen in the temperature data that correlates with the measured CO2 over the past 1/2 Century –(can’t really trust absolute CO2 levels from earlier – subject to another discussion). Among other things the CO2 data shows a non constant rate of increase as well as a superimposed sawtooth oscillation with a period of about 6 months. This oscillation is typically explained in terms of the fact that the vegetation in the northern hemisphere is dominated by temperate forests and grasslands while in the southern hemisphere it is dominated by plankton and tropical rain forests – and hence vegetation (and hence carbon sequestration) should have a correlation with the northern hemisphere seasons – subject to another discussion

    Anyway — We don’t see even a hidden signature of the 6 moth oscillation in the “Global Surface Temperature record” nor in the MSU data from the satellites, nor in the radiosonde data – instead what we tend to see in the spectral analysis is an approximate 11 year periodicity – that seems to fit sunspot cycles

    So how can you credibly say that “the science is settled”? — when we are constantly discovering things about or environment such as incomplete plasma sheaths, low ionosphere heights, magnetic field anomalies, unexpected strength of the solar wind, etc.

    Westy

  158. E.M.Smith says:

    anna v (22:52:54) :
    All the rest is “epea pteroenta” flying words.

    Beautifully put. We owe so much to Greek… I can read some small bit of it, just enough to make me feel inadequate. In England my mother was required to learn latin and Greek. I always felt cheated by the U.S. system, so she taught me a little… We owe so much to mothers too… Maybe I’ll dig out that ‘teach yourself Greek’ book I never finished…

    Anna, you might want to take a look at the end of the ‘resources’ tab above. I’ve posted a collection of things that seem to point to a sun / ozone / weather cycles connection. It might be an alternative or enhancement to the cosmic ray portion of solar impact. Still leaves open why the sun varies.

  159. Joel Shore says:

    anna v:

    The red in the hot spot appears only for the CO2 labeled plot in the IPCC report, and that is a fact. The data do not show the enhancement which is given in the IPCC report for the sum total of effects.

    I am afraid that you misunderstood the contour plot in the IPCC report. The point in Fig. 9.1 of the IPCC AR4 report is that the contours were designed to be the same for all of the plots, which made it useful for the purposes it was designed for (preserving the relative magnitudes of the different contributions to the total temperature change) but does not allow you to discern very clearly what the behavior with spatial behavior of the temperature is for the less-important forcings. The spatial behavior of the GHG forcing is just going to look more dramatic to you because it is better resolved by the contour interval.

    Thus, for example, if you look at the solar forcing, all one can say from that plot is that the model predicts a surface warming in the tropics of 0 to 0.2 C and a warming of 0.2 to 0.4 in the upper troposphere. Although this doesn’t look like a dramatic “hot spot” on this plot because of the lack of contours, it is in fact compatible with any magnification factor between 1 and infinity (and in particular, with the magnification of 2-3 that is seen for the case of forcing by greenhouse gases). At RealClimate, Gavin posted a result where he turned up the solar forcing so that one could see what the structure would look like if we assumed that the solar forcing had a value large enough to explain all (or most) of the surface warming, rather than the actual estimated 20th century forcing that explains very little of it, and lo and behold, there is the “hot spot” in the tropical troposphere: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/ This is expected since, as I noted, the tropical atmosphere is basically expected to have its temperature distribution slave to the moist adiabat due to the fact that there is a lot of convection and the air is already saturated with water vapor at or near the surface.

  160. Joel Shore says:

    WestHighlander says:

    One thing that I learned as an experimental physicist was that if a fancy model needed even more fancy disclaimers, etc — then the model was not worth the paper, tape, magnetic disk surface, etc that it was encoded upon

    I would be curious to know what level you reached in terms of physics research because your experience is much different than mine. Mine is that science is rarely as cut-and-dried as people like to think it is. With any model, one can dream up millions of reasons why it is wrong…and, frankly, even to this day I never fail to be a little bit surprised when a piece of experimental data confirms my modeling. There are always so many things that can be wrong with it…and so many ways in which nature introduces complications. And yet, I think we scientists have done pretty well at modeling and understanding it nonetheless!

    But you say — climate averages out a lot of the above complexity issues and we don’t credibly try to predict the climate of any specific point 100 years into the future — just some sort of average.

    Yes…The point is more precisely that predicting the response of the climate to an external forcing is a boundary value problem and is very different from an initial value problem. What you didn’t note regarding that sensitivity to initial conditions is that while runs of climate models with perturbed boundary conditions rapidly diverge in the sense of having different jiggles up and down, they all show similar behavior in response to a significant forcing over a long enough period of time.

    The only way to test the partial validity is to see if the model (with all parameters set to the best of our knowledge) can track the past record of the measurements (averaged in some agreed upon manner) — and surprise — there is not one GCM that can without fiddling about (e.g we use a different parameter to explain what happened in the 1980’s than we chose to use for the 2060 to 2100) time interval

    Actually, Hansen made predictions with an early crude model back in the late 1980s and his predictions have turned out so well that there is a whole industry of distorting the record on that. However, you are also incorrect that this is the only way to test the models. There are a variety of ways to test them…both the entire model…and the pieces of the model and, moreover, there are a variety of empirical ways to get estimates for the equilibrium climate sensitivity…which is really the main thing that the models are trying to predict (well, one could I suppose argue that they are also trying to predict the transient climate response).

    Anyway — We don’t see even a hidden signature of the 6 moth oscillation in the “Global Surface Temperature record” nor in the MSU data from the satellites, nor in the radiosonde data – instead what we tend to see in the spectral analysis is an approximate 11 year periodicity – that seems to fit sunspot cycles

    This is a bogus test. If a climate model were forced with this small oscillation in CO2 levels and produced a detectable response then I would agree that one should then expect to see it in nature. However, do you have any such evidence that the climate models would do so? I doubt it extremely for a variety of reasons (the main one being the shortness of this oscillation period relative to various relaxation times in the system). You can’t just invent tests and say that you expect to see this if the theory is true without subjecting your own hypothesis to the test…And, the best way to test whether this is what one would expect from the theory is to run the models that encode our current theoretical understanding.

    So how can you credibly say that “the science is settled”? — when we are constantly discovering things about or environment such as incomplete plasma sheaths, low ionosphere heights, magnetic field anomalies, unexpected strength of the solar wind, etc.

    Oh, I have no doubt that the science is not settled in the sense that I imagine we are still in for some surprises. Unfortunately, I think that these surprises are just as likely if not more likely to be unpleasant ones than pleasant ones (such as that the significant change we are making to the composition of GHGs in the atmosphere is not going to have any major effects). And, just because we don’t know everything does not mean we know nothing. Science deals with uncertainty all the time…Nothing is ever certain in science. However, the only time when we let this paralyze us into complete inaction is when we allow politics to triumph over science.

  161. anna v says:

    Joel Shore (16:38:28) :

    It is called spinning. There is one color bar at the bottom of the six figures. The red spot comes from what now is label GHG ( used to have clearly been CO2, it keeps changing it I see).
    This is Lucia’s link for convenience, it can be found in chapter9 of the AR report in http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf fig 9.2.

    What is amazing is that once more the labelling of the figures has changed. In Lucia’s snapshot fig. 2 was GHG, in mine it was CO2 and now there is nothing next to the figb. Only the caption clarifies it is GHG.

    And I had read the first versions where there was much less spin in the presentations. They were very confident that that is the way the real world worked.

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